Admission PartV: Paradise Found
by Aries

See Disclaimer in Part I

Summary: NC-17
Mulder is BACK, bay-bee...
and he's hungry!

You Are My Starship by Norman Connors

Poem for Alexei by me

********************

There was a time
When I was everything
And nothing all in one

When you found me
I was feeling like a cloud across the sun

I need to tell you
How you light up every second of the day That in the moonlight
You just shine like a beacon on the bay

And I can't explain
But it's something about the way you look tonight Takes my breath away
It's that feeling I get about you deep inside And I can't describe
That it's something about the way you look tonight It takes my breath away
The way you look tonight

The Way You Look Tonight ~ Elton John

********************


Tuesday, 3:38 a.m.


Mulder lay on his back, staring up in the direction of the ceiling and listeningto the soft sounds of sleep made by the man beside him. He shifted to lookat Alex. He couldn't make much out in the darkness of the very early morning,but he could tell that his back was to him. Without actually making contact,Mulder's fingers traced a line across one shoulder and down his side. Hewanted to touch that smooth skin. He wanted to so very much...

He closed his eyes and let himself imagine running his hand down Alex'strim waist to his hip, then letting it wander down the front of him untilhe reached his sleeping cock. In his mind, he could hear the soft sigh.He could feel the slight stir of the shaft in his palm as he gently fondledit through the thin cotton of Alex's underwear. He could feel the movementof his lover's body as he pushed back with his hips, slowly writhing againstMulder's stony erection.

As if on cue, Krycek moaned softly in his sleep and shifted his position.Mulder moved back quickly. If he hadn't, their bodies would have touchedand after that little fantasy, it really wouldn't have been such a greatidea. In the last week they'd been very careful to avoid any situation thatmight cause Mulder any more pain. Alex had even suggested sleeping on thesofa, but that was the one thing that Mulder absolutely would not agreeto.


"This is just too much temptation Fox," Krycek argued the nightafter Mulder's nightmare. "I can't watch you suffer like that, again."

"And *I* can't stand the thought of you out there on the couch."He inched closer, brushing his thigh against Krycek's. "I need to haveyou here with me. I promise I'll behave myself."

"I must be out of my mind," he mumbled. "Okay, but I'm tellingyou, one slip and I *am* going to sleep on the couch. Deal?"

Mulder sighed. "Deal."


A week later, he'd kept up his end of the bargain. But being so close toAlex all night, night after night and not being able to touch him the wayhe was dying to touch him, was a torture all it's own. He hoped to hellthat this vacation helped.

He looked over at the dark pile of luggage by the wall, then over at theclock. It'd be going off in about ten minutes, then they'd get up, get dressedand be on their way.

They were going to spend two months on Andros. The largest but possiblyone of the least explored of the Bahama Islands. Perfect for those who craveprivacy. Perfect for them.

From the day Mulder had decided on the location, it took Alex three daysto make all the necessary arrangements...none of which he'd discuss withhis traveling companion. He insisted on complete control over all of theplans. From their flight, to where on the island they'd be staying, to theaccomodations themselves, Alex was in charge. Mulder put up a little fussjust for show, but in reality he was looking forward to being surprised.

He'd had no problems at all, getting the time off. Skinner knew how sickhe'd been. Had watched him deteriorate for months and was almost as anxiousas Scully to see him get well.

Scully.

She'd been amazing through all of this. Going from the role of the antagonistto guardian angel, doing everything in her power to get he and Alex backtogether and keep them together. A better friend, there never was. He wishedhe could find some way to properly thank her for all she'd done for him.


He slipped quietly out of bed, taking care not to wake Alex. He hadn't sleptespecially well the past week. He'd always been a light sleeper, but sinceMulder's dream the week before and the one he'd had just three nights ago,it was worse than usual. If he so much as sighed, Alex was awake, checkingto make sure that everything was all right. Mulder hoped that this vacationwould do as much for Alex's well-being as Alex hoped it would do for his.

He shut the alarm function off on the clock by the bed and stole out ofthe room. After a quick shower and shave, he got dressed and returned tothe bedroom where Alex was still sleeping peacefully. He hated to wake himbut it was time that he got up. Scully would be there to pick them up inabout fifty-five minutes and he didn't want to keep her waiting.

He seated himself at the edge of the bed and touched Krycek's shoulder.

"Alex."

Krycek's eyes snapped open and he drew himself up on one elbow. Concernedeyes focused on the man in front of him.

"Hmm? You okay?"

Mulder's hand moved from his shoulder to the back of his head. "I'mfine," he said softly. "It's time to get up, that's all."

Krycek blinked and shook his head. "Oh. Okay." He noticed forthe first time that Mulder was already dressed. " How long have youbeen up?"

"Only about twenty minutes."

Krycek gave him a sleepy smile. "Anxious?"

One corner of Mulder's mouth slanted upwards. "Yeah, I guess."

"You guess? You mean you're not sure that you want to leave this twenty-fivedegree weather and be someplace where you can lay in the warm sun, swimin the ocean..." He skimmed one finger down the curve of Mulder's cheek."..take long, moonlit walks..."

Mulder's lopsided grin turned into a full smile. "Get dressed, wouldyou? Let's get the hell out of here."


5:15 a.m.

Scully popped the trunk of her car and stood back as the men lifted thebags into the compartment.

"Thanks again Scully for getting up at such an ungodly hour,"Krycek said.

"No problem." She pushed the trunk closed and they got into thecar. "Now you said it was Gate two, right?"

Krycek pulled a small black notebook from his back pocket and flipped througha couple of pages. "Yeah. Gate two."

Mulder turned around and tried to sneak a peek at what was written in thebook, but Krycek snapped it closed before he could see anything. Muldercast his eyes upward and turned his head.

"Give up Mulder," Scully said, displaying a ëcat that atethe canary' smirk.

"C'mon Scully, give me a clue." He shot a disgusted glance atthe one who had closed his eyes and stretched out in the back seat. "We'vebeen partners for six years. *I'm* the one you have an allegiance to, *not*him...you never even *liked* him!" He chose to ignore the soft chucklethat came from behind.

Scully shrugged. "Sorry."

Mulder slouched in his seat. "Fine."

Quiet prevailed until Scully approached the airport. She called to Krycek.

"Hey Alex, there's the sign for Gate two."

Krycek broke his silence. "Okay. Just follow the road right around.You'll come right to it."

//Come right to what?// Mulder wondered. His silent question was answereda few minutes later.

Scully pulled into a largely deserted lot and stopped the car. A few dozenyards away, sat a lone jet. A few people, the hangar crew from what Muldercould tell, were milling around, making last minute checks.

Mulder turned around and raised his eyebrows. "You chartered a plane?"

Krycek winked. "No obnoxious drunks, no complaining old ladies, noscreaming kids. Our peace and quiet starts right *now*."

Mulder lowered his head and laughed softly.

Krycek leaned forward and kissed his temple. "Surprise..."

The tinkle of Scully's laughter drew the attention of both men. She lookedaway and laughed again.

Mulder asked first. "What's so funny?"

"Nothing, it's...I just can't believe that I'm sitting here thinkinghow damn cute you two are together."

Mulder laughed too. "*You* can't believe it..."

Scully tapped the seat with her palm. "Come on, let's get you out ofhere."

As soon as she opened the trunk, two porters descended on them from behind.

"We've got those, ma'am."

She whirled to face the men, more than a bit startled. "Oh...sure."

When the men were gone, she turned to Alex.

"Would their last names happen to be Krycek?"

"What do you mean?"

"They seem to possess the same ability to appear out of nowhere, thatyou do."

He merely shrugged and gave her a sly grin.

Minutes later, they were informed that the jet was ready to be boarded.Scully went to Mulder and wrapped him in a snug embrace.

"You get plenty of rest, you hear? Enjoy yourself and don't worry abouta thing. I got it all covered." She leaned back and pointed a sternfinger at him. "And eat! If you don't put on at least eight pounds,don't even come back."

"I'll try. I promise. Scully....thanks. I don't...I don't know whatI would have done..."

She cut him off before this started to get mushy. "Don't give it anotherthought. The best thanks I could have is to get my old partner back."

Mulder gave her another squeeze, then backed away. Scully looked to Krycekwho was watching from a distance. She regarded him thoughtfully, then steppedforward.

"I know you'll take good care of him."

Krycek nodded. "I appreciate your trust."

Mulder was taken aback as he watched his partner stretch up and wind herarms around Krycek's neck.

Krycek himself was a bit stunned and it took him a second or two to respond.He brought his arms around her waist and hugged her back.

The embrace was brief but highly significant in the progression of the relationshipbetween these two. They were no longer rivals but rather partners of a sort,both fiercely dedicated to the emotional and physical well-being of oneFox Mulder.

"Call when you get there," she reminded him.

"We will."

Scully moved away and waved at Mulder, who returned the gesture.

Krycek approached him and with a hand at the small of his back, steeredMulder toward the waiting jet. When they reached the top of the steps, bothmen turned and waved once more at Scully then disappeared inside.

Scully stood beside her car and watched the jet move toward the runway.Watched it's taxi and ascent. Not until she could see it no longer did sheget into her car and drive off the field.


6:30 a.m.

Mulder ran a hand down the arm of his very comfortable seat and looked around.

"This is nice. Think I could get the Bureau to spring for a Lear formy next case?"

Krycek shook with silent laughter. "Nah. The Bureau couldn't give agood damn about your comfort." He brushed a few stray strands of hairaway from Mulder's face. "*They* don't love you."

Mulder gave him an almost shy smile and changed the subject.

"Thanksgiving and Christmas in the Bahamas. Gonna be great."

"Are you sure you're okay with not being with you mother?"

"I'm fine. She's obviously okay with not being with *me*."

"I can't believe that she had no reaction when you told her you hadn'tbeen well."

Mulder shrugged. "Well, she did ask if I was okay. Once I told herthat I was, the barrier was back in place. A holiday together with her wouldbe anything but relaxing." He reached for Krycek's hand, intertwiningtheir fingers. "She's got family and friends. She won't be alone. Andneither will I."

"But she doesn't know that..."

"True. She never asked if I was going away alone. I don't think shecares to know...whatever."

Krycek kissed the back of his hand. "Will you ever tell her?"

"I don't....I can't see that happening. She's already had one stroke.And if it she doesn't die from the shock, I think she'd write me off forgood. It's too bad. I'd really like to think that she would be glad to knowthat for once in his life, her son was happy but..." He shook his headand went silent.

Krycek cupped his face. "Are you really happy with me?"

"I'm spending two months alone with you on a tropical island. Do youthink I'd do that if I wasn't?"

Krycek grinned. "Guess not."

"Damn straight."

"It's just that...so much has happened in the last few months. SometimesI wonder."

"Wonder what?"

"Do you ever look at me sometimes and wonder what the hell you're doing,trusting me again?"

Mulder thought for a moment, then answered. "No. I mean...after thislast week, how could I *not* trust you? Maybe...maybe at first...that morningyou walked into my bedroom and Scully told me that she'd brought you there...allI could think about was the last time I'd seen you and I couldn't trustthat you were there for *me*. For *us*. I really did think that either she'dforced you somehow, or guilt had gotten the better of you..."

"I understood that. It hurt like hell to hear it, but I did understandhow you'd think it." His eyes searched his lover's. "You haveno doubts at all anymore?"

Mulder shook his head.

Alex bowed his head as a smile crossed his lips. "Probably should haveasked you this stuff *before* we got on the plane."

"To repeat Alex, if I didn't trust you, the last thing I'd be doingis going away with you for two months."

Alex leaned in and planted a chaste kiss on Mulder's lips. "How aboutsome breakfast?"

"Sure."

Twenty minutes later, they were feasting on a light fare, consisting ofwarm butter croissants, fresh fruit and muffins. Well...Alex feasted. Mulderpicked.

"Not hungry?" Alex asked after polishing off his third croissant.

"I'm eating..."

"You've had two strawberries and about a quarter of that muffin."

Mulder looked down at his plate. "More like a third."

Alex sighed softly and broke off a small piece of muffin, bringing it tohis lover's mouth. A sudden heaviness invaded his eyelids as he watchedthose sinfully beautiful lips part. A teasing flash of pink tongue and themorsel disappeared inside. When Mulder swallowed, he repeated the process.This time, the tip of Mulder's tongue inched out and managed to touch oneof his fingers. Alex inhaled sharply at the tiny caress.

"Behave..."

"What'd I do?"

"You know what you did."

"You want to toss it into my mouth from a distance?"

"That might be safer."

"Can't control yourself?"

"I can control myself just fine, thank you."

"So then what's the problem?" There was that tongue again, snakingout to lap at a crumb stuck in the corner of his mouth. The muscle in Alex'sjaw worked convulsively.

"No problem at all." His hand went back to his own plate. "Justeat, please."

Mulder slouched into the back of his seat.

"Fox..."

"What?"

"Come on, don't make me."

"You don't have to," Mulder said in that soft, sulky voice...theone that drove Alex crazy.

"But you won't eat if I don't."

Mulder pushed the crumbs around in the plate. "It doesn't taste asgood..."

Alex rolled his eyes toward the ceiling and expelled a hard breath. "I*swear*, when you're better I'm going to..."

Alex's words caught in his throat as a ray of sunlight passed through oneof the windows, falling across Mulder's hair and eyes, highlighting bothwith the gold that was always there, dancing in the background.

"You're going to what?"
------------------------------------------------------------------------Free Web-based e-mail groups -- http://www.eGroups.comSee Disclaimer inPart I




Alex stared mutely.

Mulder waved a hand in front of his face. "You're going to *what*?"

Alex sighed. "Nothing.

//Christ, you're so gorgeous.//

He reached into the plate and broke off another small piece of the muffin.Mulder smiled happily and opened his mouth.

"You're killin' me," Alex muttered as he fed the man beside him.Two more bites of the muffin and Mulder decided to carry the torture onestep further.

"Can I have a slice of your orange?"

The corner of Alex's mouth twitched as he hesitated then reached down intohis own plate. He carried the orange slice to Mulder's mouth, just knowingthat he was up to no good.

Sure enough.

Once again his lips parted and he pushed forward, taking the whole sliceinto his mouth, *accidentally* covering part of Alex's fingers as well.He drew back slowly, licking and suckling along the way. When he reachedthe middle of the slice, he bit down and pulled away the portion that remainedin his mouth. Alex remained motionless, hunger blazing in his dark eyesas he watched Mulder swallow.

"Mmm. Juicy." Mulder's gaze went to Alex's fingers and the secondhalf of the fruit still held between them. "It's dripping down yourhand."

Before he could respond, Mulder gently grasped his wrist and brought hismouth to the slightly trembling hand. He licked the lines of sweet moistureaway from Alex's skin, his eyes closed in sensual bliss. This was the closesthe'd come to anything other than platonic physical contact in over a weekand he was enjoying every second of it.

Alex moaned softly. Christ, that mouth...

//Stop this now, Alex. Stop it while you still can...//

Mulder closed his mouth around Krycek's fingers and, wrapping his tonguearound the remaining bit of orange, pulled it from his grip.

When his hand was freed, Krycek slumped back against his seat, trying tocontrol the erratic pounding of his heart. "That's it," he whispered."You can finish the rest on your own."

"You used to be fun..."

"And I will be again," Alex promised, "just as soon as weget you straight. Now stop being such a damn tease and finish your breakfast."


Ten minutes later, Mulder had eaten all he was going to eat, and Alex summonedthe attendant to clear the trays away.

"You look a little tired," he said, observing Mulder's droopingeyelids. "Why don't you catch some z's?"

"What about you?"

Alex shrugged. "I think I'll take my own advice and do the same."He skimmed Mulder's arm. "How ëbout it?"

"Yeah actually, I *am* feeling pretty sleepy."

"I'm sure. Mercilessly teasing your man *will* do that to you."

"*Mercilessly*. Come on now..."

Krycek reclined Mulder's seat, then did the same to his own. "Shutup and go to sleep, Fox."

Mulder watched the green eyes close, then turned his head and shut his own.A soft smile played at his lips.

*His man*.

Well....he was...


1:48 p.m.

A short, heavy-set woman watched from the doorway of the villa, as the limowound it's way up the path. The car stopped in front of the door and beforethe driver could walk around to it, the back door opened and a tall, handsomeyoung man stepped out. The bright sunlight shimmered in his hair as he movedto the side and allowed the other passenger to exit the car. The secondman swung his long legs out and stood up. Just as tall. Slimmer. Pale butevery bit as good looking as the first.

The woman shielded deep brown eyes against the sun as she continued to observethe two men. The dark one wound and arm around the other's waist and steeredhim toward the house. The woman revealed an incredibly white, gap-toothedsmile.

"We've been expecting you," she said in her thick Bahamian accent."Welcome."

Krycek smiled back. "You're Marie?"

"Yes, sir."

"I'm Alex. This is Fox."

Marie's eyes lit up. "Fox? Is that your real name, darlin'?"

Mulder took a liking to her immediately. "Afraid so."

Marie clapped her hands together and laughed. It was a deep, rich chuckle."I think it's a lovely name. Perfect."

Mulder lowered his eyes and smiled again.

"Come in, come in," Marie motioned with a wave of her hand.

Krycek followed Mulder into the house and looked around.

"Your home for the next two months, gentlemen. We hope it's to yourliking."

Mulder turned in a circle, taking in his surroundings. From what he couldsee of the downstairs, it was an open, airy floor plan. Comfortable over-stuffedfurniture, large sparkling windows, from which hung long, billowy whitecurtains. Mulder watched, temporarily entranced by the way they danced inthe warm breeze.

And there were plants. Lots of huge floor plants, adding a splash of deepcolor to the otherwise pale hues of the house.

Krycek leaned in and murmured in his ear. "Like it?"

"It's beautiful. You rented this whole house just for the two of us?

"Just you and me, remember?" Krycek nuzzled the ear he was speakinginto.

Mulder risked an embarrassed glance at the housekeeper who watched at adiscreet distance, smiling an amused, motherly smile.

Krycek spoke again. "Why don't you have a look around? I need to talkwith Marie for a minute." He dropped a quick kiss on Mulder's jaw,then led Marie away.

Mulder watched his lover's slow pace, marveling at how very much at easehe seemed. He had no qualms whatsoever about his blatant displays of affectionin front of the housekeeper and the driver, who had since brought theirluggage into the house and was standing by the door, waiting for his nextdirection.

When Krycek and the woman stopped walking and began to talk, Mulder turnedaway and began to tentatively explore his new surroundings.


"Marie, I'm going to need some help."

"Yes, sir?"

"Yeah. First, don't call me sir. It's Alex. Second," He lookedin the direction of the man who had meandered out onto the terrace. "We'rehere for some very specific reasons. Umm...Fox hasn't been well. He's hadit pretty rough for the last several months. He's getting better now, butwe'd decided that maybe we could speed his recovery along someplace otherthan home."

Marie tossed a sympathetic glance in Mulder's direction. "I did noticean unhealthy paleness to him when you arrived. And he's so terribly thin,poor child."

"Yeah. He's dropped quite a bit of weight. We've got a lot of rebuildingto do. Not just his weight. Strength, endurance..." He hesitated. "Somany things. So uh...as far as meals go, he's still eating lightly for now.His stomach won't tolerate anything heavy or spicy."

"Not a problem. I can plan a menu a couple of days at a time in advance.I will of course, check with you to make sure that it meets with your approval."

"Thank you."

Marie followed his gaze to the terrace. She glanced back at Krycek, notingthe softness in his expression as he watched the other man.

"Don't you worry none. We'll fatten him up in no time." She studiedKrycek for a moment then continued. "You look as though you could dowith some lookin'after, yourself."

"Me?" He smiled. "I'm fine."

"I been a mother for more years than you been alive, darlin'. I suspectthat you been frettin' so long about *him*, that you take no time to takecare of yourself. But what good will you be to him if you take sick?"

Krycek silently considered her words.

"Why don't you get on now? See the rest of the house and get yourselvessettled? Will you be wantin' dinner at home this evenin'?

"Uh, yeah. We'll just be hanging out here for the next couple of daysto unwind."

Marie winked. "Good idea. You go on now. See to your sweetheart."

Krycek cocked his head and gave her a curious half smile.

"Darlin', I been around sixty-one years and if I learned one thing,it's that love is love. Makes no nevermind who it's between." She shookher head. "Not nearly enough love in the world. If you're lucky enoughto find it, hang on to it."

Krycek said nothing, only stared at her in silent amazement. Marie shovedhim away.

"Go on with you now. Have a look around...maybe have yourselves a napbefore dinner."

"Which would be at what time?"

"What time would you like it?"

Krycek shrugged. "I don't know...six-thirty?"

"Very good." Marie gave him another wide grin and bustled away.

Krycek stared after her for a moment, then turned to join Mulder on theterrace. As he passed through the parlor, a deep voice reached his ear.

"Excuse me sir but, where would you like your bags?"

"I'm sorry Anthony, I forgot you were there. Uh...just put them inthe master bedroom. Do you know where that is?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good. Because I have no idea."

"Up the stairs, sir. Last door on the right."

"Thanks."

As Anthony made his way up the stairs, Krycek found his way to the terrace.


Mulder leaned forward against the stucco wall and breathed in the warm saltair. Even though he wore his sunglasses, his light-sensitive eyes squintedin the glare of the early afternoon sun. He looked down at the empty beach.The sand had the appearance of pink sugar, fine and pure. Turquoise water,capped with foam, washed it's edges, smoothing and flattening and makingit look not entirely like the stuff in the bottom of nine year old Fox Mulder'scereal bowl.

He smiled, hearing a very young Samantha complain as he scraped his spoonalong the bottom of the bowl, gathering up the gritty sweetness.

"How come mine doesn't make that noise, Fox?"

"Because you don't let it sink to the bottom. You stir it around untilit all melts."

He scrunched his lips up and sighed as his little sister began to pout.

"Here," he slid his bowl across the table. "You can havemine."

Smiling again, Samantha happily scratched at the remains in the bottom ofher brother's bowl.


"Earth to Mulder."

"Huh?"

Krycek smiled and leaned back against the wall. "You were a millionmiles away."

"Yeah, I guess."

"Was it a good place?"

Mulder nodded and turned to Krycek. "This is beautiful. I can't believeyou did this. It must have cost you a fortune."

Krycel shrugged. "I never splurge. Felt good."

"Let me help you with the expenses."

"Nope. I got it covered."

"Yeah, but Alex..."

"No." He raised a hand to Mulder's cheek. His thumb swept backand forth. "Just shut up and let me spoil you, okay?"

Mulder opened his mouth to protest further, then thought better of it.

Krycek leaned to the left and laid a soft kiss on his mouth.

"Tired?"

"Not really."

"Want to poke around the rest of the place?"

"Sure."

For the next couple of hours they explored the house and grounds, leavingthe upstairs for last. When they'd finally reached the second floor, Mulderwas looking a bit weary.

"I think we could both do with a nap," Krycek suggested, readinghis eyes.

They reached the last door on the right and Krycek opened it with a flourish,bowing deeply.

"Your bed chamber, my lord."

Mulder grinned and grasping a handful of dark hair, pulled Krycek up straight."Knock it off," he said on a soft chuckle, as he entered the roomand looked around. "Damn."

The bedroom was huge, done in mostly ivory, with pale accents here and there.In one corner of the room, sat a small round dining table and two overstuffedchairs, draped in ivory. In the middle of the table, there was a slim crystalvase, from which sprang three graceful, green Midori anthuriums. Severalfeet away, against the north wall, there was a polished teak highboy dresser.Slightly right of the center of the room, was a sitting area. The sofa andone of the two chairs, done in the familiar ivory. The odd chair was a dullceladon. The three seats surrounded an oblong coffee table, carved of thesame gleaming teak. In the middle of it rested a bowl, cradling the samegreen anthuriums as those found on the dining table.

Mulder's eyes traveled to the left and took in the sight of the king-sizedfour poster bed. Adorned with a fluffy ivory comforter and at least eightpillows in different sizes and shapes, it beckoned to his exhausted body,invitingly.

Just beyond the bed and straight out before them, were two huge french doors,the frame draped with yard upon yard of sheer ivory curtains. Mulder movedto the doors. He opened them and stepped out onto the private veranda, wherehe found yet another small table and two chairs. He smiled, fondling oneof the half dozen plants inhabiting the area and looked out to the ocean.

"Bet it's a hell of a sunset."

He felt a gentle hand on his shoulder. He turned to meet Krycek's eye.

"Think you can take two months of this?"

He faced the ocean once more. "Yeah, I think I can suffer through it."

"Glad to hear it. I think I'll go take a shower, I feel kinda grubby."

Mulder nuzzled his cheek. "Want some company?"

"Now why does that not sound like such a good idea?"

"Sounds good to *me*..."

"No, no...I can't trust you to be good."

Mulder pulled back and stared into his eyes. "Oh, you can trust meto be good..."

"God." The word broke from Krycek's lips in a choked whisper."Come on, Fox. Let's just try to unwind and relax first, okay? We'vegot two months. Let's take it slow and easy." He could see the disappointmentin Mulder's face.

"Fine. Go take your shower. I gotta call Scully, anyway. Forgot allabout it. She must be having a fit."

Krycek wanted to say something to him. But what the hell could he say? Eventhough Mulder knew the consequences, he was becoming more and more frustratedwith each refusal and it was becoming increasingly difficult for Krycekto pacify him.

He dropped his head to Mulder's shoulder. "I'll be back in a few."

Not receiving an answer, he lifted his head and walked back into the bedroomand toward the bathroom, picking up one of the small bags along the way.

Mulder waited until the door closed, before he walked back into the roomand picked up the phone.


"Scully."

"It's me."

"Mulder." He could hear the relieved breath. "You forgot,didn't you?"

"Yeah. I'm sorry. We started looking around and it completely slippedour minds."

"It's okay. So how do you like it?"

"It's beautiful."

"You don't sound very enthused."

"I am, I'm just..I'm tired."

"Sound like more than just fatigue."

Sometimes he really hated that she could read him so well.

"I'm fine, Scully."

"Where's Alex?"

"Shower."

Scully rubbed her temple. When he started with the one word answers, itwas a sure bet that something was up. She decided not to pursue it. LetAlex handle it.

"Okay, Mulder. Get some rest and please, try to relax and have a goodtime."

"I will. I'll call you soon."

"All right, then. Bye, Mulder."

Mulder dropped the phone back into the cradle and walked back out to theveranda.


Alex turned on the spray and stripped out of his clothes. He sighed as thecooler open air hit his screaming erection. He stepped into the shower andlet the water flow over him.

"Mmmm...."

The warm water played over his cock, teasing it into greater stiffness.Unable to stand the pressure any longer, he closed his hand around the shaftand began to slowly stroke it. His eyes drifted shut as he imagined thatit was his Fox's hand wrapped lovingly around him, bringing him to thatdelicious state of insanity, doing things to his mind and body that onlyFox could do.

In his mind's eye, he could see his lover, soaking wet and sliding downhis body. Kneeling on the cool tile, in a pool of water. Taking him intohis mouth. Long fingers gently squeezing his ass, pulling him forward, coaxinghim as far down his throat as he could go...

Krycek leaned forward on one hand, directly under the shower head. His otherhand worked his cock faster and with firmer strokes. He bit the inside ofhis lip to keep himself from crying out as he came. Warm, slick fluid gushedup and flowed over his fist and down his arm. He turned and fell back againstthe wall, gasping for air.

As he drifted back into awareness, he felt a sharp stab at his chest. Herecognized the pain as remorse. So often now, he jerked off alone in theshower and he hated it. But Fox drove him crazy and though he always offered...hell,he practically begged Krycek to let him take care of him, he'd always refused.


"No, lisa. It's not fair to you."

"But Alex..."

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"You can't tell me that getting me off wouldn't turn you on."

"Well...yeah..."

"Yeah. And there's nothing I can do about it. So you stay frustratedand unsatisfied." He shook his head. "I can't do that to you.When we get away and you wind down and relax, we'll try again. Okay?"

"Yeah, okay."

He always turned quiet after one of these conversations. Going off intoa corner to lick his wounds. Krycek learned quickly to leave him alone whenhe got like that. He'd come out of it by himself and be all right, untilthe next time.

He moved back under the water and washed quickly. After he'd dried off,he pulled on a pair of white boxer briefs and a loose fitting tank top andleft the bathroom. As he walked into the room, he noticed that Mulder wasstill on the veranda, only now he was sitting at one of the wrought-ironchairs, staring out into the water.

"All yours."

Mulder turned in the direction of the voice. His eyes quickly swept thelength of Krycek's body. He nodded and rose from the chair. Krycek stoodmotionless as the still brooding man brushed past him and walked into thebathroom. When he heard the soft click of the door, he walked slowly tothe bed and sat down.

Soft.

He ran his hand over the comforter and spun to his feet, throwing it backand folding it neatly at the foot of the bed. He lowered himself again tothe mattress and lay back against the pillows. By the time Mulder had emergedfrom the bathroom, he was sound asleep.

Mulder stood over his sleeping lover, dressed much the same way. Heather-grayboxer briefs and a loose gray tank. His hair fell in damp strands over hisforehead and into one eye, giving him that "little boy lost" appearancethat always went straight to Alex's heart.

He hesitated for a moment then got into bed, propping himself up againstthe pillows. He stared down at the still figure beside him. He always feltso bad after they'd had one of these *things*. Yet he knew with certainty,that he'd react the same way again. As much as tried not to, every timeAlex denied him, he'd shut down. He didn't want to. He *knew* all too well,Alex's concerns and he knew that his refusals were necessary, but he wasso damned tired of it. He wanted Alex. He wanted to have him the way heused to. Willing and sweet. Not afraid of causing him unimaginable pain.Mulder skimmed the dark hair with the back of his hand.

And hot.

He smiled.

Jesus, this man was hot. Mulder found himself wondering sometimes, how anyone person could have such a bone-jarring effect on another. One of Alex'ssmoldering looks, and he was jelly. One lingering touch and he was goodto go. He wanted that back. He needed it and it drove him out of his mindthat he couldn't have it. He shouldn't take it out on Alex, though. He wasjust as unhappy about this as Mulder was, though infinitely more patient.

"I'm sorry, Alex," he said, so softly, even *he* barely heardit, but Alex's eyes snapped open and he turned onto his back. He blinkedup at Mulder.

//Damn.//

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake you. Go back to sleep."

"You okay?"

"Yeah. Go back to sleep."

"What about you?"

To appease Krycek, Mulder slouched down into the pillows and closed hiseyes, though he did not relax. And Krycek knew it. Tension radiated fromhim like so much steam from a hot press.

"Fox?"

"What?"

"Lie flat and turn over."

Mulder opened his eyes and looked at Krycek, who was now sitting up.

"Go on."

Never moving his eyes away from Krycek's face, he slid flat onto his backthen turned onto his stomach.

Krycek manuevered into a more comfortable position beside him then beganto massage his back and shoulders. An involuntary moan escaped Mulder'slips.

"Close your eyes and relax," the low soothing voice said. "Letit all go."

Slowly, Mulder's knotted muscles began to relax. As usual, he never completelyunwound, but it was enough to aid in getting him to sleep.

As Mulder's respiration slowed, Krycek continued to speak softly to him.

"That's it, baby. Let all your troubles go. You're with me and you'resafe. Go to sleep. I'll be right here when you wake up. Right here. I promiseyou..."


6:01 p.m.

Mulder's eyes drifted open and focused on the empty space beside him. Hejerked into a sitting postion, eyes darting around the room.

Empty.

He looked to the spot where their bags had been left.

Only his remained.

Heart pounding, he skittered across the bed and started for the door. Beforehe could reach it, the bathroom door swung open and Alex stepped out. Mulderstopped short and forced himself to drag two long breaths into his lungs.

"What's the matter?" Krycek asked, noting the trace of panic inhis eyes. "Where are you going?"

"N-nowhere."

"You look a little spooked. Did it startle you to wake up in a strangeplace?"

"Uh..." he raked a hand through his hair. "Yeah. Y-yeah,that must be it. Um...Alex...I ...I'm sorry about before."

"S'okay."

Mulder shook his head. "When are you going to get tired of acceptingmy apologies?"

"All the stuff you're going through right now is my fault. You don'towe me any apologies and I feel guilty as hell every time you make one.*Please*. I wish you would stop."

"What's done is done, Alex. You're here and you're trying to make itright and I accepted that. I'm supposed to be working *with* you, not makingsthings harder."

"You didn't ask for this. I'd have to be out of my mind to think thatany of this was going to be easy. You feel how you feel and there's no needto make apologies for it."

Mulder's eyes danced away from Krycek's face and over to his bags. "Where'syour stuff?"

"I just finished putting it all away. I was just coming in to get yoursand wake you up. Dinner is in half an hour."

//See, Mulder? Logical explanation. //

"Okay. I'll get changed."

Without another word, he grabbed one of the bags and started toward thebathroom. Krycek caught him by the arm, bringing him to a halt. The sensationfrom the light pressure of his fingers around Mulder's bicep, traveled throughthe restrained man's body, generating tiny shivers.

"What were you thinking?"

"When?"

"When you were heading out of the room."

The way Mulder saw it, he had three choices. Tell the truth and risk anargument or worse, hurting his feelings, lie and leave him suspicious orsay nothing at all and open his non-reaction up to speculation.

He remained silent.

//Let the postulations begin.//

"You thought I'd left, didn't you?"

//Accuracy has never been much of a problem with you, has it Alex?//

More silence was Krycek's answer.

He could have told Mulder to stop worrying. He could have said, for thehundreth time, that he *would not* leave him, but he knew that it wouldbe pointless. Words were not going to do it. All he could do was keep doingwhat he was doing and hope that Mulder would finally, really get it.

He backed up a couple of steps, then moved in front of him. His arms wentaround Mulder's back and pulled him in close.

The bag fell to the floor and Mulder's hands slid up Krycek's back and clenchedin his shirt. He closed his eyes and released a shuddering breath as hefelt a gentle hand weave through his hair and a soft mouth, planting reassuringkisses on the side of his face. He raised his head and met his lover's eyes.

"I'll go get dressed."

Krycek nodded and laid another kiss on the tip of his nose. He watched Mulderdisappear into the bathroom, then picked up the remaining bags and walkedtoward the second closet.


6:35 p.m.

The two men sat across from each other at opposite ends of the dining roomtable, separated by at least three place settings.

"If we move everything away from the middle, we can play table hockeywith the salt shaker," Mulder offered.

Krycek laughed. He was in better humor. Good.

"I think Marie probably thinks that this is romantic."

Mulder rested his head against his splayed thumb and forefinger and raisedhis eyebrows.

"The lady is way cool."

"I guess *so*."

As if she'd heard her name, Marie appeared out of the kitchen with dinner,interrupting their conversation.

"All right, you two. Eat." She turned and stared pointedly atMulder. "Especially you."

Mulder made show of looking around. He faced Marie again and pointed a fingerinto his chest. "Me?"

"Yes, you. If you got any thinner, you'd disappear completely."

"I'm not that *thin*."

"Don't argue with me, child. Eat."

Mulder smirked at Krycek. "Yes, ma'am."

Marie gave him one of those maternal smiles and paraded out of the diningroom.

Krycek waited until she was out of earshot, then leaned over his plate andspoke in a low, confidential tone.

"I think we've been adopted."

"I can think of worse things than being mothered for eight weeks."

Krycek displayed a flash of white teeth. "Definitely." He pluckedhis glass from the table and raised it. "To two months of peace andrelaxation."

Mulder did the same. "To getting us back to where we were."

Each man took a small sip. Krycek spoke again. "To...patience."

Mulder countered. "To warm nights..."

"To long walks and quiet conversation."

"To...the pale moonlight reflecting in your eyes..."

A tiny smirk quivered in the corner of Krycek's mouth. "Eat your dinner."

Deciding not to push the issue any further, Mulder turned his attentionto his meal. Twenty minutes later, Krycek looked across the length of thetable, at his plate and smiled.

"Hey, you did pretty well."

"It was good."

"Feel okay?"

"Yeah."

"Up for some dessert?"

//Shit, did I just say that?//

Mulder chewed the corner of his lower lip. The heat of his gold-fleckedstare traveled the length of the table like a fireball, hitting it's targetfull-on. Were it not for the fact that he was already sitting, it wouldhave knocked Krycek flat on his ass. It took him a moment to find his voice.

"Uh..." he cleared his throat. "You know...pie...chocolatepudding..."

Mulder continued to stare.

"Jello?"

Mulder's eyes finally dropped away, letting him off the hook. "I couldn'teat another bite."

Krycek blew out a silent breath. "How about a walk?"

Mulder looked up again, the raging fire reduced to smoldering embers.

"Sure. Why not?"


7:45 p.m.

"Sky's starting to change color." Krycek stopped and hoisted himselfup onto a flat rock. "Want to watch?"

Mulder removed his sunglasses and squinted up at him. A soft smile gracedhis lips as he observed the child-like enthusiasm.

Krycek grinned down at him. "What?"

"You act like you've never seen a sunset before."

Krycek looked out to where sky met water. "It's been years since I'veactually had time to sit and appreciate one." His eyes darted backdown to Mulder's. "I'm willing to bet that it's been a while for you,too."

Mulder climbed up and sat beside him. "My last memory of a sunset waswhen I was a kid at our summer place. I'd take Samantha out near the waterto see it. It was so quiet up there. Too quiet. I got her as far away aspossible, but the sound of my parents arguing, carried for quite a distance."

"Well...I hope in another twenty-five, thirty years, you can look backand remember this as being good."

Mulder fixed a soft stare on him. "How else *could* I remember this?"

Krycek released a satisfied sigh. His eyes cut away, back to the skyline.

Not another word was said between them as they watched the sun dip belowthe horizon, turning the sky and inhabiting clouds to a countless numberof shades of purple and pink. When dusk had finally settled, Krycek turnedback to the man sitting beside him. He breathed deeply, drinking in theshadowed beauty of him.

Awesome.

Jesus, this man was more beautiful than any man had a right to be...

Mulder sensed more than saw that he was being watched. His head turned inthe direction of the stare. Curious hazel eyes locked with solemn greeneyes, searching. Seeking an answer to questions that had no definitive answers.Not now.

The muscle in Krycek's jaw flexed. He could feel the warmth of his Fox'sthigh, just a hair-breadth away from his. He felt himself falling. Sinkingdeeper into those eyes. He swallowed against the dryness in his throat.All he had to do was lean in a few inches. Fox would meet him the rest ofthe way...

His eyes flicked to that outrageously sexy mouth. He wanted that mouth inthe worst way. He could spend hours on that bottom lip alone, licking. Suckingit's sweet fullness into his mouth. Biting hard enough to draw those lowraspy moans that he loved to hear, but not so hard as to bruise. He couldnever hurt these beautiful lips.

He focused again on the eyes. They seemed closer, somehow. The gold in them,brighter and more prevalent. Had he moved? He wasn't sure. He might have.Or maybe Fox had. Maybe they both did. He blinked and backed away. He torehis eyes away and looked up at the sky.

"It's almost dark," he said, faintly above a whisper. "Youwant to head back?"

The answer took a while to reach him. "No. Un-unless you want to..."

"No. No, I was j...I..I was just asking."

They sat quietly in the gathering darkness. An hour had passed before eitherof them spoke. Finally, it was Mulder who broke the silence.

"I'm a little tired."

Krycek rose and held a hand out to him. "Come on, then."

Mulder reached up and grasped the hand, pulling himself up. As soon as hewas on his feet, he released his grip and started to move his hand away.Before he was completely out of reach, Krycek recaptured the hand. Keepinghis eyes focused on Mulder's, he interlaced their fingers and gently pulledhim close. He tilted his head and laid a brief kiss along the line of theolder man's jaw. Still holding on to Mulder's hand, he led him up the rocksand back to the house.


10:01 p.m.

Mulder lay against the mass of pillows, the light sheet draped across hiships. His bare chest rose and fell slowly as he drifted into sleep. Krycekemerged from the bathroom and stopped at the edge of the bed. His eyes roamedthe length of his lover's torso, letting them drop to the sheet coveredarea. He idly wondered if he was wearing anything under that sheet.

He smiled.

It'd be just like Fox to be naked...just to drive him crazy.

He lifted the sheet and slid underneath. And while he was at it, he snucka peek. Underwear. He found it unimaginable that he was actually behavinghimself, but anything was possible. Maybe he was just too tired.

He leaned to his left and brushed his lips across the surface of Mulder'shair. He slid closer and settled back against the pillows beside him. "Goodnight,lisa."


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Thursday, 6:17 p.m.
Thanksgiving

"God, I'm stuffed." Krycek caught Marie as she passed by the table."Marie, that was fabulous."

"Glad you liked it." She looked to the other man at the oppositeend of the table. "What about you, child?"

"Excellent. Thank you, Marie."

The housekeeper moved closer to investigate Mulder's plate. She nodded approvingly."Not bad. Not bad at all. By the time you leave here, you are goingto be at least ten pounds heavier."

"Sounds like a threat."

"Take it for what you want, boy."

Marie cleared the table and left the two to themselves.

"It's been forever since I've actually sat down to Thanksgiving dinner,"Mulder commented.

"I know. Me too." Krycek studied him. "You probably thoughtthat the next time you did this, it'd be with your wife and kids, huh?"

Mulder's mouth opened slightly and turned up into some semblance of a smile.His head twitched back and forth. When finally found his voice he said,"You know, I never thought about it."

One dark eyebrow arched upward. "Never?"

He thought for a moment then, "No."

"Wow."

"You?"

Silence then, "No."

"Why not?"

"Well, first of all, not in *my* business, second, I never thoughtI'd live long enough to even consider something like that and third, I'vespent the last several years of my life lusting after a *guy*."

Mulder feigned shock. "Get the hell outta here..."

Krycek raised a hand. "Swear to God."

"Holy shit. Anybody I know?"

The corner of Krycek's mouth quivered. "I'm not sure. He's in law enforcementof all things. Tall, gorgeous, lips that I'd kill or die for..." Hesuppressed the smirk he felt coming. "Eyes you could fall into andbeautiful blonde hair..."

He couldn't duck fast enough to avoid the balled-up napkin that sailed acrossthe table. It connected with his head as he laughed helplessly.

While Mulder was looking around for something else to throw, Krycek slippedout of his chair and moved behind him. His arms encircled the seated man,securing his arms to his sides. He nuzzled the slightly rough cheek. "Youknow I'm kidding."

Mulder twisted his head away from the soft lips. "I know no such thing."

Soft chuckle. A hand against his cheek, turning his face into a waitingkiss. "Yes you do."

Mulder closed his eyes. The feel of his lover's mouth skimming his cheeksparked a riot of sensation within other parts of his body. He freed anarm, reaching behind him and plunged a hand into the dark silk, intent onholding Krycek's head where it was.

He couldn't be sure which of them that throaty, feral moan came from butit did snap him back into reality. He'd made a promise to himself that firstnight, after they got back from the beach that he would stop torturing Alexand himself. It was a promise he intended to keep.

The hand in his hair released it's grip, surprising Alex. Mulder droppeda quick kiss on his lips, then pulled completely away. He stood quietlystartled as he watched the older man move across the room, stopping at theglass doors.

"Going to be another beautiful sunset, I think. Want to go for a walk?"

Alex gave no immediate answer. He was presently wrapped up in trying tofigure out this new phase in Fox's attitude.

For two days now, he'd been on his best behavior. No questionable comments.No smoky looks. Tonight was the closest he'd come to anything resemblinga sexually motivated touch and even now, he'd reined himself in. Alex'seyes narrowed. There was something going on in that gorgeous head but hewasn't sure what...

"Alex?"

"Hmm?"

"Walk?"

"Yeah. Sure. Let's go."


The next couple of weeks went fairly smoothly. On the whole, Mulder's appetitehad improved. He'd gained three pounds and his color had started to comeback. His sleeping habits had also improved, though he was still plaguedby the occasional dream. He'd had two since they'd arrived. The first happenedtheir third night on the island and the second came just two nights ago.

He awoke as he usually did, clinging desperately to Alex, shaking and inpain but made no attempt to ask for release. Alex wondered why. Could itbe that he was simply accepting this as part of his life or was there somethingelse going on here? Mulder gave him no clues and when he tried to broachthe subject just yesterday, it was promptly changed.


Alex glanced at his watch. Five-fifteen. Until now, they'd stuck relativelyclose to the house, exploring the surrounding caves and mangroves or loungingon the private beach. Today, they were going to dinner in town. Mulder'ssuggestion. Krycek couldn't hide the surprised expression when he'd broughtthe idea up yesterday.

"Really? Uh...yeah. Sure, that'd be great."

"Well if it's so great," Mulder teased, "how come you hadn'tsuggested it yourself?"

Krycek shrugged. "I didn't want to push."

"I think maybe it wouldn't hurt for you to push just a little..."


Krycek finished buttoning his shirt then stood back to check himself inthe full-length mirror.

Cool and casual but not overly so, he'd chosen a pair of oatmeal coloredpleated pants and a chocolate brown, raw silk shirt. The leather slip-onshoes matched the shade of the shirt almost exactly.

He turned to the left then to the right, tucking and smoothing and whenhe was satisfied, exited the bathroom. He walked through the bedroom andstopped just short of the French doors, observing Fox in silence.

He stood on the veranda, leaning on his forearms against the rail, givingthe man behind him a rather enticing view of his rear, encased in the light-weightfabric of the black pants he wore.

Alex sucked half of his lower lip into his mouth as he advanced.

Sensing that he was no longer alone, Fox spun on his heel and came faceto face with Alex.

"Scully was right."

The younger man raised a curious eyebrow.

"I should get you a bell."

Alex gave him a mock sneer then looked him up and down.

"Very nice."

Mulder shrugged. "If you slapped a jacket and tie on me, it'd looklike I was ready for work."

Alex shook his head slowly. "No. This material is loose." He broughthis hands up to the white silk shirt. "Touchable..." He undidtwo buttons, partially baring Fox's chest, his fingers teasing the sprinklingof golden-brown hairs along the way. "Sexy."

Fox's eyes rose to meet Alex's. It had been quite a while since he'd seenthat look. Predatory. So completely raw. Utterly Alex. He'd missed it.

Mulder wondered what would happen if he responded the way he wanted to.If he moved just half a step forward and rubbed up against him....

The familiar stir in his crotch brought him back to his senses. He backedaway, maybe a bit too quickly because he could see the lust flicker andfade. Confusion tinged with a bit a of regret took it's place.

Alex cleared his throat and ran a hand through his hair. "Ready togo?"

Mulder plucked his wallet off the bed and slipped it into his back pocket."Ready."

As the two men made their way down the stairs and through the parlor, adeep warm voice followed them.

"Enjoy your evenin', children."

"Thanks Marie," they called in unison as they departed.


"Where'd this come from?" Mulder asked, walking toward the theblack Porsche convertible.

"The garage. It came with the package." He grinned and openedMulder's door. "I really didn't think you'd be comfortable riding aroundin the back of a limousine all the time."

Mulder hesitated then folded himself into the low seat. "You're rightabout that."

Alex shut the door and rounded the front of the car. Once inside, he turnedto Mulder and smiled. "I figured."

A flick of the key and the engine roared to life. "Ohhhh, I could getused to this," Krycek murmured. "Maybe I'll trade my car in whenwe get back."

Mulder chuckled. "A car freak. Wonderful."

Alex pulled out of the driveway and started down the narrow road. "Comeon, you can't tell me that this isn't nice..."

"Of course it is. I guess I just never give a whole lot of thoughtto what I'm driving. All those cheap rentals and requisitions."

Alex pulled off to the side of the road and parked. Mulder watched curiouslyas he opened the door and got out. He motioned to the other man to do thesame.

"What?"

Alex came around to the passenger's side and threw the door open. "Youdrive."

"What the hell for?"

"You need to appreciate this."

"And I can't do that from the passenger's seat?"

"It's not the same. Get out. Let's go."

Mulder heaved a long sigh and switched places with Krycek. He pulled backonto the road and continued on to their destination.

"Well?" Krycek said impatiently.

"Well what?"

He cocked his head and scowled at Mulder.

"*Yeah*, it's nice."

"We're on a straightaway. Open her up."

"I *said* it was nice..."

"Would you just...*please*..."

"All right, all right." Mulder threw it into high gear and inseconds, reached a speed in excess of seventy.

"Happy?" he shouted over the roar of engine and wind.

Alex closed his eyes and threw his head back. "Aren't you? Come on,Fox. Can't you feel it?"

Mulder fell silent and concentrated on the loud rumble that surrounded himand the feel of barely contained power at his fingertips. He had to admit,it did have a wee bit of an erotic quality to it. And okay, maybe it wouldn'tbe such a bad idea for Alex to consider trading in his car.

He smiled.

Or maybe he'd just buy his own...

It *did* feel good. Too good. That steady rumble beneath him was *not* agood thing. Ordinarily it would be, but...

Alex's eyes flew open as he felt the car begin to slow. His head rolledto Mulder's direction. "What are you doing?"

"Slowing down to a speed less apt to kill us."

Long sigh. "Yeah, okay....but wasn't it cool?"

The corner of Mulder's mouth twitched. "Yeah, Alex. It was cool."


They arrived at the restaurant windblown but in one piece and were almostimmediately escorted to their outdoor table.

"Hope you don't mind," Alex said, "but they told me thatthe terrace provided a spectacular view."

"No. Not at all." Mulder observed the ocean scene. "It *is*beautiful." He glanced at Alex who at the moment had his eyes trainedon the seascape before them.

The view was beautiful but could never rival the one right before him. Hiseyes slid over the man across the table, marveling at the way the lengtheningshadows of the coming evening touched him in all the right places, softeningand caressing. The waning sunlight highlighting and illuminating and whenhe turned, Mulder's breath caught in his throat. A pale orangy-yellow bandof sunlight fell across his eyes, catching in them, being absorbed, givingthem a warm glow all their own.

"You okay?"

Mulder blinked. "Okay?"

"Yeah. You seem like you're somewhere else."

"No," he murmured softly. "No, I'm right here."

Before the conversation could continue, the waiter arrived with menus, tooktheir drink orders, then departed. After he'd gone, Mulder looked around."Not a whole lot of people," he said, noting only four other coupleson the large terrace, one of which was another couple of men.

"We got what we wanted then, didn't we? Privacy. Quiet."

Mulder nodded in agreement.

They sat quietly together enjoying their surroundings and sharing long lingeringlooks until the waiter returned with their drinks. Mulder gave the waiterhis dinner order first and began to glance around the terrace. He hadn'tnoticed it before, but there was music playing. He probably wouldn't havetaken notice *now* were it not for the fact that two of the couples hadgotten up to dance. He focused in on the male couple, wrapped around eachother, swaying in time to the music.

Krycek finished ordering and turned to watch Mulder, watching the men. Longminutes went by before he leaned across the table and spoke softly to hisentranced partner.

"What do you say?"

"Hmm?"

Krycek motioned to the floor with a tiny toss of his head.

Mulder opened his mouth then closed it again, not knowing how to answer.

"Come on," Alex prodded softly.

"I don't think so."

"Why not?"

Mulder shrugged. "I just...I don't..." He grimaced and fell silent.

"Okay." Krycek reached out, taking his hand. "I just thoughtthat maybe you wanted to. You seemed to be watching them so intently."

"I guess I'm just surprised. They seem so..." he struggled forthe words. Krycek finished the sentence for him.

"Relaxed? Oblivious?"

"Yeah."

"This is the Bahamas. They're much more laid back here."

"I guess so."

They went on to other subjects but every now and then, Mulder couldn't helpsneeking glances at the couple who had since returned to their table. Theysat close together, laughing and touching, sharing tiny kisses and intimatewhispers.

They lingered a while after dinner was finished, sipping wine until thesun completely disappeared beneath the horizon.

"How was your meal?" Krycek asked, finally weary of the silence.

"Very good."

"I wasn't sure you liked it. You didn't eat that much."

"No, I really liked it. It was just very filling."

Krycek drained his glass. Mulder took two more small sips of his wine, thenset the glass down, pushing it away.

"Want to get going?"

"You don't have to rush. Finish your wine."

"I've had enough."

"All right, then."

After Mulder won the ten minute argument over who was going to pay the bill,they left the restaurant. As they passed through the parking lot, a voiceout of the darkness spun them around.

"Remember when we were that age, Jack?"

A soft chuckle followed by another voice. "Remember when we were that*handsome*?"

The two men from the terrace.

They leaned side by side up against a blue Cadillac, one drawing deeplyon a cigarette. Mulder froze, studying them curiosly. Krycek smiled andstarted to turn away.

"Have a nice evening, gentlemen."

"How long have you boys been together?"

He stopped and turned back. Casting a sideways glance at Mulder, he answered."Not long."

"Weeks? Months...days?"

Krycek sighed, not knowing how to answer and wondered at the same time whyhe should answer at all. "Less than a year."

"Remember our first year, Jack?"

"Yeah. The newness. The excitement..."

"How long have you been together?"

Krycek turned surprised eyes to Mulder.

Jack smiled. "He speaks."

Eric stamped out his cigarette and blew a long stream of smoke out of hislungs. "Fifteen years."

"You're still very close."

Eric nodded. "What people don't understand is that our relationshipsare not much different than those of men and women. We love, too. And wecertainly are capable of spending our lives with only one person."He skimmed his knuckles across Jack's cheek. "Right, babe?"

Jack caught the other man's hand and pressed a kiss into it. He turned hishead to the young men. "You boys in love?"

Mulder and Krycek looked at each other. They'd admitted it to each otherbut never to anyone else. Well, besides Scully and *then*, it was only Krycekshe'd heard the words from.

Mulder was first to answer.

"Yes."

Krycek smiled softly and ran the back of his hand down Mulder's arm.

Eric nudged Jack's arm. "I knew it."

"Yeah, you knew it."

"Good luck kids. Enjoy your stay on the island."

"Thanks. We will." Krycek hooked a finger around one of Mulder'sand motioned toward the car. Mulder gave the men a slight trace of a smile,then let Krycek lead him away.

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Once they were on their way, Mulder settled into a pensive silence. Krycekallowed him some time to himself, then reached across the seat and coveredhis hand.

"Talk to me, lisa."

Mulder looked to the side, then again turned his eyes to the road. "Fifteenyears."

"Long time."

Wary hazel eyes searched his face. "Do you ever think about the future?"

"Our future or the future in general?"

Mulder stared silently at him. His expression was answer enough.

"Sure. I think about it."

"Do you ever think of us in the long-term?"

Krycek squeezed his hand. "I'm here for as long as you want me."

The tone in his voice left no room for ëwhat ifs'. Mulder gave a barelynoticeable nod of his head, then turned his attention back to the road.


9:52 p.m.

Krycek pushed the bedroom door open and let Mulder enter first. He watchedfrom the doorway as Mulder wandered into the room and toward the Frenchdoors. He swung them open and stood there, staring out into the starlitsky.

"Another beautiful night," he observed. "This place has gotto be as close to paradise as you can get."

He heard no answer, only the soft sounds of music coming from behind. Thevolume increased slightly and he closed his eyes.

Nice. Soulful...sexy.

He cocked his head ever so slightly as a new sound was added.

"You are...
my life
I have to go on
Have me
any way you want to..."

Singing. A smooth alto, drifting closer. Right behind him. Vibrating gentlyagainst the side of his neck...

He opened his eyes as if it would help him to confirm what he was hearing.

"Just take care
and love me till my tension's gone
Cause you are
my starship
Come take me up tonight..."

Arms slipping around him. One at his waist, the other coming over his shoulderand down across his chest. Pulling him back against the warmth right behindhim.

"And don't be late
Yes you are
my starship
Come take me up tonight
And don't be late
And don't you come too soon..."

His eyes slipped shut again as his body was pulled into in a slow, rhythmicsweep. Alex continued his seductive serenade for a few minutes more, thenturned Mulder around to face him. His eyes, mesmerizing. His voice softlypersuasive.

"Dance with me."

Not waiting for an answer, he pulled his lover into his arms and began tosway in time to the music.

Mulder trembled as he wound his arms around Alex's neck and moved with him.Their eyes met and he lowered his head. He couldn't look at him. Here theywere, wrapped in each others arms, their bodies touching everywhere twobodies could touch, writhing against each other in perfect harmony. Lookinginto his eyes was just too much.

He was afraid.

Jesus, of what?

Of where this was going.

This had been such a good couple of weeks, with just a few exceptions andhe was terrified of ruining it by finding out that his condition hadn'tchanged.

//But you have to find out sooner or later.//

//Well, let's just make it a little later, okay? I'm not ready...//

The tightening of the material in the vicinity of his crotch told him somethingelse.

He drew a few deep breaths and attempted to shake off the feeling.

No go.

His body tensed and he began to pull away.

"Alex..."

Krycek allowed him only a few inches distance.

"What's wrong?"

"I don't...I can't..."

"Fox, listen to me. This isn't going to go anywhere you don't wantit to go."

Mulder shook his head. "It's not a matter of want."

"Okay. This won't go anywhere you're not *ready* for it to go."

"I'm sorry..."

"Stop. I told you about apologizing."

Mulder looked down and away.

Alex slipped a hand under his chin and lifted. He smiled reassuringly. "It'sokay. All I want to do is dance with you." He skimmed the stubble-roughenedskin. "Is that all right?"

Mulder answered by melting back into him and they began to move once more.An eternity later, he spoke.

"You never told me you could sing."

The low rumble of his voice vibrated against Alex's cheek, drawing the youngerman out of the sea of sensuality he'd been immersed in. He inhaled and exhaledslowly, then answered.

"Told you I was a choirboy."

"Yeah, when you were eight."

Silence.

"Do you have any other surprises for me?"

"Maybe yes, maybe no."

"Thanks for clearing that up."

"No problem...you sound tired."

"I guess I am, a little."

Krycek stopped their rocking motion. "Let's get some sleep, then."

Fifteen minutes later, they were settled into bed. As Krycek moved to drawMulder into his arms, the older man stopped him. He pulled away and rolledback against the pillows. The confusion cleared from Alex's eyes as Mulderheld his arms out to him. He rolled onto his side and tucked himself againstthe warm length of his lover's body. A gentle hand in his hair pulled hishead down under the stubbled chin.

"You're tired too," Mulder whispered into his hair. "Youtry so hard not to let it show but I can see it."

"What would I be tired *from*? Marie does everything."

"You do plenty."

"Like what?"

"You worry about me and I know that lately, that's been a full timejob. Stress is exhausting. *I* know."

"Well, I'm fine."

"Liar." He hugged Krycek to him. "All I've done the lastfew weeks is take all the comfort you've had to offer me. I need to givesome back."

"You owe me nothing."

"How can you say that? I love you, Alex. And that brings with it acertain amount of responsibility. Or at least it should. I can't continueto ignore your feelings and needs because I've got problems..."

"Problems that *I* caused."

"So because of that, you think that you don't deserve my consideration?Say yes, and I'll beat your ass."

Krycek smiled into his chest. "I don't think that you're capable ofthat quite yet."

"I'll make that second on my ëto do' list."

"What's first?"

Mulder buried his face in his lover's hair and hugged him tighter still."You."

Krycek quivered with silent laughter. "Let me get this straight. You'regoing to do me, then beat me."

Mulder smirked into his hair. "Mmm hmm."

"Could you maybe like...reverse that?"

"Beat you *then* do you?"

"Makes better sense. Unless you don't *want* to kiss all my boo boosand make em better."

"Are you kidding?"

Krycek closed his eyes and rubbed his head against the sensitive skin ofMulder's throat. "You know, I have to admit...this *does* feel good.It's been so long. I loved waking up in the middle of the night and feelingyour arms around me. I'd only be awake for a few minutes but it was duringthose few minutes that I'd really felt that maybe I wasn't so worthlessafter all..."

"Why then?"

"There's truth in sleep." His hand traveled slowly up and downMulder's arm. "I fell asleep in your arms but never expected to wakeup there. It's only natural to move during the night. Nobody falls asleepand wakes up in the same position. But you never let me go. And I *knew*I was wanted."

Mulder laid his palm against Alex's face and brushed his thumb back andforth across his cheekbone. "I want you to know that all the time,Alex. Not just in the middle of the night. Don't ever doubt that I wantyou. All of you. Always."

Krycek shifted, releasing a tiny flutter of kisses across Mulder's collarbone.His mouth traveled up the slender length of his lover's throat, over hischin and finally coming to rest tenderly against the full lips. He pulledaway and once again snuggled against Mulder's chest. They lay quietly together,losing themselves in each other and the soft music that still wafted throughthe room. The last CD finished and there was no other sound but those ofdeep, peaceful sleep.


Tuesday, 2:55 p.m.
less than one week later

Krycek treaded water, watching entranced as Mulder's lithe body cut gracefully,effortlessly, through the ocean. The sun danced madly on each flash of skinas he stroked smoothly, in wide circles around his stationary partner.

"Come on, we gotta get back," Krycek called without conviction."You don't want to lose our reservation, do you?"

Mulder had felt like a swim before they went out to dinner and as soon asthey'd gotten down to the beach, he unceremoniously stripped off his shirtand plunged into the water. He'd gone out probably ten yards before truningaround to find Krycek still standing on the shore.

"You coming?"

Krycek shook his head, smiling as he kicked off his topsiders and swam outto meet him.

"Race you."

"My, aren't *we* feeling frisky this afternoon."

Mulder's eyes sparkled. "Well?"

"Let's just have a nice swim. I don't want you to overdo it."

Mulder would not be put off. He began to swim in circles around Krycek,taunting him. "Whatsa matter? Afraid I'll beat you?"

"Ha! I could beat you on your best day."

"Well? Put up or shut up."

Krycek snorted. "Where to?"

Mulder squinted at the shore and pointed out a particularly conspicuousformation of rocks. "To there and back. Ready?"

"Whoa! Hang on, now." Krycek grinned. "Care to make it interesting?"

Mulder cocked his head. "What'd you have in mind?"

"Nothing too unreasonable. Loser makes the winner breakfast in bedfor a week."

"Fine. I'll give you my order later."

"Oh, Fox. My poor beautiful, delusional Fox. This is going to hurtme more than it hurts you."

"That's sweet. Are you ready?"

"Let's go."

Krycek was a good swimmer. Excellent, in fact. He gave the older man a runfor his money, but it was Mulder who won, beating him by at least four lengths.

Laughter greeted him as he reached the point from which they'd started.

"Well.....let's see now...." Mulder began to backstroke aroundKrycek, grinning triumphantly. "Tomorrow, I'd like...uhhhhh....pineapplepancakes, I think."

"I *let* you win."

"Bullshit. Bacon...crisp, but not burnt....fresh squeezed orange juice..."

"I was just trying to build your confidence."

"Uh huh. Right. Admit it. You *couldn't* beat me." He turned overand continued to swim around Krycek. "On Thursday....french toast.I like it sweet and a little on the dry side. I hate it when it's soggy..."

"How long are you going to gloat?"

"I don't know. A while, probably....ham. Thinly sliced...fried..."

"You're supposed to be gracious in victory."

"I thought I was. I *could* make you serve me wearing nothing but aG-string..." He stopped swimming and stared off into the distance."Hmm."

He arched and disappeared beneath the surface, leaving Krycek to contemplatethe meaning of that ëhmm'. While he was wondering, he felt somethingbrush the back of his shin. By the time he'd turned around, it was gone.

Not it. Him.

Another brush. Higher this time, right across the small of his back. Kryceksmiled and turned again.

Nothing.

"You gotta surface sometime," he shouted at the water. "I'llj..." He groaned. The latest contact came across the front of his thighs.Dangerously close to his crotch. "Come on, now..."

The swish as Mulder surfaced behind Krycek was swallowed in the continuouscrash of the ocean. One arm clamped around his chest and the other aroundhis neck, catching him by surprise and dragging him backward.

"Shit!" He ceased his initial struggle for balance and relaxed,letting Mulder pull him along.

"Sorry, did I scare you?"

"Scare me? Well, if you consider taking ten years off a guy's lifescaring him, then yeah. You scared me."

"You *knew* it was me..."

"I never expected that you were going to grab me like that."

Cool, wet lips grazed his cheek. He winced and groaned softly, feeling Mulder'steeth close around his earlobe. He tugged gently at the ear then releasedit and Krycek. He glided away and began to swim in circle around him.

"Dinner, Fox..."

"Okay, okay. Two more minutes."

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Krycek waited patiently, thankful for the seemingly dramatic change in Mulder'smood. He'd been in relatively good humor lately but today was exceptional.He'd never seen him more relaxed and he'd be damned if he was going to doanything to spoil his playful mood.

Finally, after executing a few lazy circles around his patient lover, Mulderstarted swimming in a straight line for the shore.

"Come on," he called to Krycek. "Do you want to lose ourreservation?"

Krycek tipped his head up and blinked into the sun. "Didn't I justsay that a little while ago?" He swam to catch up to Mulder, who wasalready halfway to shore.


4:50 p.m.

"...and on Thursday, banana walnut muffins...from scratch..."

Krycek closed the bedroom door behind them as they entered. "Are youenjoying yourself?"

Mulder spun to face him, eyes sparkling. "Very much."

Krycek made a faint rasping sound in the back of his throat and walked tohis closet. "I'm going to take a shower," he announced as he pulledout a shirt and pair of pants. Before he could close the door a pair ofarms imprisoned him and warm breath fanned his ear. the seductively lowvoice closed his eyes and brought a smile to his face.

"That was nice."

"Yeah, I'll *bet* it was."

Soft chuckle. "I don't mean because I beat you. Well...that was funbut it's not what I meant. I just had a good time in general."

"Yeah?"

"Mmm hmm."

Krycek caressed the arm across his chest. "Good. Well...I'd betterget into the shower." He paused, hoping to hear an offer to join himbut none was forthcoming. He untangled himself from Mulder's embrace andwent into the bathroom. Had he turned around, he wouldn't have missed thedevious grin on the other man's face.

Alex entered the bathroom and closed the door, leaning against it.

//Shit.//

Didn't Fox realize what the hell he was doing? Couldn't he feel the rapidpounding of the heart beneath his hand? Didn't he know the amount of damagehe caused when he spoke in that tone? He couldn't know or he wouldn't doit...would he? He drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly.

//Shit, shit.//

Time to hit the shower.

Mulder listened at the door, waiting to hear the shower go on. When it did,he waited a few minutes more, then eased the door open and peeked inside.A quick glance at the opaque shower door told him that Alex was inside.He slipped into the room, pulling his shirt over his head. As his hand movedto the button of his shorts, he looked back toward the shower door. Thesmile fell from his face as he got a better look at Alex's profile. He wasleaning against the wall of the shower, head thrown back as his hand workedquickly and steadily on his erect cock.

Mulder stood frozen for a moment, trying to swallow past the lump that hadsuddenly risen to his throat. The small gasp he heard above the runningwater spurred him into action. He picked his shirt up and quietly left theroom.

Back in the bedroom once more, he slipped the shirt on and went out to theveranda. He sat heavily in one of the two chairs, his mind racing in a dozendifferent directions at once.

//Come on, now. What did you expect? Did you really think that he's goneall this time without it just because you have?//

//I didn't want him to! I wanted to take care of him and he wouldn't letme!//

//He told you why he didn't want you to.//

//But I needed to. I needed to feel like I wasn't totally useless.//

//You never told him that.//

//Did I have to? I begged him and he refused. No wonder. What did he need*me* for?//

"Fox?"

Mulder's head jerked in the direction of the voice coming from right behindhim. Krycek smiled and laid a hand on his shoulder. The smile was replacedby a look of curiosity as he felt the muscles tighten beneath his hand.

"What's up?"

"Nothing."

"Nothing," Krycek repeated. "That look on your face tellsme that it's something."

//Let it go, Mulder. Don't ruin everything. It's not that big a deal.//

He stood and faced Krycek, trying his level best to look nonchalant. "I'mfine. Really."

Krycek studied him, not believing his words for a second.

"I'd better go get ready." Without another word, Mulder brushedby him and headed for the bathroom.

Krycek stared after him completely mystified.

//What the hell happened?//

Still pondering that question, he started to get dressed.


Mulder appeared twenty minutes later, gorgeous as usual, but still lookingvery much troubled.

"We'd uh, better get going," Krycek said softly.

"I'm ready."

"We don't have to go if you don't feel up to it, you know."

"I told you, I'm fine. Besides, the reservations are made."

"It doesn't matter about the reservations."

"I *want* to go, okay? Come on." Without any more conversation,they left for the restaurant.


6:57 p.m.

Alex looked around the dining room. "This is nice, huh?"

"Yeah." Mulder stared down into his wine glass.

Krycek chewed his bottom lip for a moment then reached across the smalltable, covering Mulder's hand with his own.

"Baby, tell me what's wrong. What happened between the time I wentin to the shower and the time I got out?"

"*Nothing*."

"How can you expect me to believe that?"

Mulder shrugged and lifted the glass to his lips.

"Lisa..."

"Leave it alone okay, Alex?"

There was no anger in his voice, just a kind of sadness that disturbed Krycekmore than any irritation would have.

He released Mulder's hand. "Okay. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to bug you,I'm just worried, that's all."

"There's nothing for you to be worried about. Everything's fine."

Krycek pinched the bridge of his nose. He could feel the beginings of athrobbing headache.

Christ.//

How could such a wonderful, promising day turn around so quickly?


7:29 p.m.

"Oh my God. Nicole, you should see the two guys in the other diningroom. They're *gorgeous*!"

"Yeah?"

"Shit, yeah! Go look!"

"What am I supposed to do, Deb? Just walk in there, gawk at them, thenwalk back?"

"No! Go to the ladies room, stay in there a minute, *then* come back."

"Nah."

"Come *on*, Nic! You *gotta* see them!"

"Okay, okay. I suppose you won't leave me alone till I do."

The young woman was gone nearly ten minutes before her companion saw herreturning, hand raised to her chest.

"My, my, my."

Deb laughed. "Let's get ëem before somebody else does. Which onedo you want? I'll let you pick, cause I just can't make up my mind."

"Sorry, kid. They're attached."

"Damn! There are women with them, now?"

"No."

"So who are they attached to?"

"Each other."

"You're kidding. How do you know?"

"I know."

"*How* do you know? Where they kissing?"

"No."

"Holding hands?"

"Nope."

"*So*?"

"Okay. The one with the lighter hair is picking at his food and brooding.And the dark one is really concerned."

Deb stared at her. "And from that, you're assuming that they're a couple?"

Nicole nodded. "Since when does a guy friend care so much about whetheror not his buddy is eating?"

"If you were upset about something and had no appetite, I'd care."

"We're women. I'm not saying that guys might not be concerned. It'spossible. But the *look* on the dark one's face...trust me. It's more thanbuddy-buddy."

Deb sighed. "Are you sure?"

"Wish I could say I wasn't."

"Damn."


Krycek watched as Mulder pushed the food around on his plate. "Do youfeel okay?"

Mulder managed a weak smile. "Yeah. Just not very hungry, I guess."

Krycek grinned. "Trying to get me to feed you, again?"

"No."

"Well...if you don't eat tonight, I guess I'm in for a lot of cookingtomorrow morning."

Mulder shook his head. "Forget about that."

"Nooo, no. A bet's a bet. I lost...much as it pains me to say it, andI intend to honor our bet."

Mulder knew that if he said any more, Krycek would end up right back onthe ëwhat's the matter' thing, so he elected to keep quiet.

That quiet continued on the drive home. Not until they entered the house,did Mulder finally speak.

"You know, I'm exhausted. I think I'll go up to bed."

Krycek set the keys down on an end table and looked up at him. "Doyou want to be alone?"

Mulder blinked. "Uh...I didn't....I....it's just that it's early andI didn't think that you'd want to turn in right now."

Krycek nodded. "Yeah. You're uh...you're right. You go on. I'll beup later."

Mulder's eyes cut away and he proceeded up the stairs to the second floor.

Krycek watched his ascent then dropped onto the sofa, pressing his knucklesto his temples and rubbing in small, firm circles.

Upstairs, Mulder stripped and fell into bed. He stared up at the ceiling,his mind screaming at him.

//What are you doing? Why the fuck do you do this shit? You're screwingup what was a perfect day. If you hadn't reacted like such a baby and justgotten into the shower with him, it could have been really great.//

//And maybe he's perfectly happy with the way things are and wouldn't haveappreciated the interruption.//

//Oh, please. That sounds crazy, even to you.//

Fifteen minues later, he gave up the one way argument and fell into an uneasysleep.


Wednesday
1:12 a.m.

Krycek stirred. A faint sound drew him out of sleep and into semi-consciousness.As he began to blink, another sound brought him upright on the sofa, wherehe'd fallen asleep. He shook off the heaviness and bolted for the stairs.

As he reached the last door on the right, Mulder's voice, pleading and desperate,sounded from within the room.

He threw the door open and ran to the bed, where Mulder was twisting andsobbing his name.

"Fox." He shook Mulder gently. "Fox! Wake up." He tappedthe stubbled cheek with his palm. "Come on. Wake up!"

Mulder's eyes opened and stared up into Alex's shadowed face. He turnedaway, trembling violently.

"Fox," Krycek's voice softened as he lay behind the shaking manand tucked an arm around his chest. "I'm here. It's okay. Everything'sokay. Take a deep breath and try to relax. Does it hurt much?"

"Do you care?" Mulder ground out between clenched teeth.

"You *know* I do. Why would you ask me that?"

Mulder gave no response. He buried his face into the pillows and drew hisknees up.

Krycek released a soft hiss of breath and kissed the back of Mulder's neck.Then the the curve of his shoulder. The muscle quivered beneath his touch.

"Don't."

A rasping plea so soft, he almost hadn't heard it.

"Don't what? Don't try to make you feel better? Don't show you thatI love you? Sorry. Can't do it. You don't want me so close to you?"His hand slid up and down Mulder's arm. "You don't want me to touchyou? Tell me. Push me away."

Mulder didn't move. He didn't speak. The only sound that came from him wasa deep, distressed wheeze. Krycek hesitated a few seconds more, then droppedthe softest of kisses into his hair. "If there was anything I coulddo to make this go away," he whispered, "you have to know thatI'd do it."

Still nothing.

"You had the dream again because of something that happened this afternoon,didn't you? Things had been so good until then. You were eating. The dreamshad stopped. I even thought that maybe...well..."

Mulder turned his head. The dim moonlight illuminated his face just enoughso that Krycek could see the pain still etched in his features.

"Sorry to disappoint you."

"I'm *not* disappointed..."

"No. Why should you be?"

"What does *that* mean?"

Silence.

He could feel his headache coming back. Worse than before, yet he knew itcouldn't compare to the pain that his Fox was suffering. He shifted higheragainst the pillows, pulling the tense, prone body back against his. Hestroked the golden-brown hair again and again, half expecting some sortof protest but received none.

"Relax, baby. Try to go back to sleep. You'll feel better in the morning."He wasn't sure he believed that but at this point, he was at a total lossfor anything else to say. He continued to caress Mulder's heated skin andspeak soothing words to him until he finally fell asleep. Even after hisrespiration slowed and his body stopped trembling, Krycek continued to lightlymassage his arm and chest. The action was no longer for Mulder, but forhimself. He needed the closeness and comfort. He needed to feel that thingshadn't gone as downhill as they seemed to have done, even if just for tonight.He curled himself tightly around his sleeping Fox and closed his eyes.


Thursday, 9:12 a.m.

Mulder opened his eyes and sniffed at the subtle odor that wafted by hisnose.

Pancakes. Pineapple to be exact.

Just as he was sitting up, Alex entered the room with a large tray. He lookedshyly at Mulder.

"Morning."

"You didn't have to do this. I told you..."

"I wanted to. How do you feel?"

"Okay."

"Hungry?"

"Smells good. Let me just go brush my teeth, at least. Be right back."

Krycek waited patiently until Mulder returned five minutes later. As heheaded for the table, Alex's voice stopped him.

"I believe that the bet was breakfast in *bed*."

Mulder turned around without argument and slipped back under the sheet.Krycek placed the tray down in front of him, the legs straddling his thighs.He removed the silver lid from the dish and handed Mulder a forest greennapkin. He took the linen cloth and dropped it into his lap.

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Krycek watched as the first forkful went into his mouth.

"Good?"

"Yeah. Thank you. Did you eat?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"Just wasn't hungry."

"You wouldn't appreciate it if *I* didn't want to eat..." He cutinto the huge stack of pancakes and held the fork out the Krycek.

His eyes never leaving Mulder's, Krycek leaned forward and opened his mouth.Mulder placed the fork into his mouth and withdrew as his lips closed aroundit. He chewed slowly and swallowed as Mulder ate some more.

"Fox?"

"Hmm?"

Krycek hesitated, not entirely sure that he should ask.

"What?"

"Are....are we okay?"

Mulder blinked twice and looked down at his plate. "I'm sorry aboutyesterday."

"Sorry about what? Tell me what it was that got you so upset in thefirst place."

Mulder shook his head. "Can we just drop it? Just chalk it up to mebeing foolish and let it go at that."

Ah, if only he could. Krycek pushed the issue, much to the protestationsof the little voice in the back of his head.

"But what do you think you were being foolish about? I don't understand."

Mulder set his fork down. "Forget it, Alex. Please."

"I don't know that I can. You were upset. Enough to trigger anotherdream. I want to see those dreams gone for good. I want you to be at peace.How can I help you if I don't know what's wrong?"

"Maybe you *can't* help me with everything. Stop knocking yourselfout trying."

He was irritated again. Alex could hear it in his voice and immediatelybacked off.

"Okay. I'm sorry." He covered Mulder's hand. "I'm sorry.Finish your breakfast."

Mulder took one more bite, then pushed the tray away. "I'm not hungryanymore. I'm sorry you went to so much trouble."

Alex hesitated, staring down at his own hand, gathering and twisting bitsof ivory sheet. "It's okay," he said softly, then rose to clearaway the tray. Once Alex was gone, he threw himself back against the pillowsand swore aloud.

"Fuck!"

He threw the sheet off and stormed off in the direction of the bathroom.


10:56 p.m.

Mulder stared out at the beach, straining to see. The light of the almostfull moon, bright though it was, didn't afford him much illumination.

Where the hell was he?

Alex had gone out for a walk two hours ago and had yet to return.

Mulder groaned. When Alex made the announcement after dinner, he'd gottenthe distinct impression that he wanted to be alone. He couldn't blame him.They'd spent the day in one of two ways. In silence or apart.

It was insane.

Mulder knew that all he had to do was go to Alex and put his arms aroundhim. Apologize sincerely for his behavior...then *explain* said behavior.Not a difficult thing to do. It was damn easy, in fact.

So why couldn't he do it?

And now Alex was gone. Off for a walk. Alone. For two hours.

//Go look for him.//

//And if you find him, then what?//

//Talk to him, you freakin' idiot. Tell him what he wants to know.//

//I don't know...//

//What's not to know? It's not that hard. He'll understand. Christ, he'sunderstood a hell of a lot more than this. Do it. Put all this shit to restonce and for all. Unless you *want* to lose him...//

Mulder spun around and stalked out of the room.


11:13 p.m.

Alex sat against the rocks, hidden from view. Mulder almost walked rightby him, but the sensation of his presence was strong. Mulder stopped andturned slowly, peering into the near darkness. He stopped as he caught sightof the dark figure sitting silently, about eight feet away.

"Where you just going to let me walk right by you?"

Krycek answered his question with a question.

"What are you doing out here? I thought you'd be asleep by now."

"I wouldn't be able to sleep knowing that you were still out here.What are you doing?"

"Sitting. Listening to the ocean. Thinking."

"About?"

"Us. This." His eyes glistened in the moonlight. "I don'tknow what else to do. I've tried so hard and still I've failed."

Mulder shook his head. "You haven't failed..."

"Of course I have. Look at us. We're not happy. Yeah, we had a fewgood days, but what does that mean after a couple of days like yesterdayand today?"

"It means that I'm an impossible mess. And it's not your fault. You*have* tried. You've made a superhuman effort and I've sabotaged that effortat every turn. What can you do if I won't help you?" He walked overto Alex and sank down into the sand beside him. "I wouldn't blame youif you wanted to throw in the towel and hop a plane back to the states tomorrow."

"I thought about it," Krycek answered honestly.

Mulder cast his eyes downward. "Have you made a decision?"

"That's what I was thinking about when you got here."

"And?"

"I vowed that I wouldn't leave your side. That I'd do whatever I hadto, to put this right....but I don't know what else to do. I think I'vetried just about everything and still, when all is said and done, I've gottennowhere."

"You don't have keep that vow, Alex. If you've had enough, and I wouldn'tblame you if you have, we can stop this. I hate thinking that you're unhappyhere with me but you're just hanging around because of some promise yourefuse to break."

"Fox...*you're* the reason I've stayed. Did you forget that? The promisesI've made, the things I've done...they're all because I love you."

"And look what it's gotten you. Nothing but misery."

Krycek shook his head. "Because you won't *talk* to me. I can handleall the rest of it. We can get through it together if only you'd open upyour mouth and *talk* to me."

Mulder picked his head up and met the tired green eyes.

"I'm begging you, Fox. Trust me enough to tell me what you're afraidof. I'll help you work through it. You just have to let me."

Mulder lowered his eyes.

"Why are you so afraid to tell me? What do you think is going to happen?"

"I don't know."

"The only times you've ever expressed your fears about me leaving you,you've been under extreme stress. Anytime I've ever tried to initiate aregular conversation with you about it, you shut down. I've tried in everyway I know how to let you know that I'm here to stay. Why doesn't it sinkin?"

Mulder sat quietly for a moment, gathering his thoughts. Then, "I...haven'thad many personal relationships. Outside of my family and Scully, I've onlyhad one other."

"Phoebe Greene."

Mulder raised his eyes to Krycek's face. The other man lifted one shoulderand let it drop.

"Anyway, it was a disaster. All she wanted was to play with my head.After her, I smartened up. No more relationships. Not that kind. I neveragain allowed myself to get close to anyone. To trust or become emotionallydependent on anyone, until a few months ago. I never thought I'd take toit so readily, but I did. And when you were gone so suddenly from my life,I couldn't handle it. I'm like an addict Alex, and you're my fix. Scullykept telling me that I needed to get over you but it was so much easiersaid than done. I'd do okay for a short while then something would happento make me think of you and I'd be gone again. I tried telling myself thatneeding someone as much as I needed you couldn't be good. I'd fallen intosuch a deep depression that Scully was actually afraid I wasn't going tomake it." He stared out into the darkness. "Sometimes, in a particularlyweak moment, I'd wish that I wouldn't."

Krycek's eyes closed. His jaw worked convulsively.

"It was frightening sometimes, needing you the way I did. Missing you.I felt so out of control..."

Alex interrupted. "...The way you *did*?"

Mulder regarded him. His eyes glowed softly in this light. He correctedhis statement. "Do. I *do* need you, Alex."

"But?"

"But...I'm afraid. I'm afraid of needing you too much. If you leftme....I couldn't...I couldn't go through that again..."

"Fox, I'm not going anywhere."

"You were just thinking about it..."

"Right. I was *thinking*. Just thinking."

"But you could decide..."

Krycek rose suddenly and stalked back and forth. "How many goddamntimes do I have to say it?" He turned away and shouted into the night."I'm not going to leave you!"

Mulder got his feet as well. "*You* wanted to know how I felt, remember?*This* is how I feel! I can't help it. If you can't deal with that, I'msorry. Believe me, I'd really prefer *not* to feel this way!"

Krycek spun around. "What were you upset about yesterday?"

Mulder's anger seeped away. "Haven't you heard enough?"

"No! I want all of it!"

No answer.

Krycek advanced and grabbed Mulder's shoulders. His fingers bit into thesoft skin.

"*Tell* me!"

"I saw you in the shower!"

Krycek blinked, unable for a moment to respond. Mulder went on.

"Yesterday *was* a good day. I felt *strong* and *relaxed*. And I hadevery intention of surprising you in the shower. I snuck in a few minutesafter you'd gone in and I saw you in there, against the wall...jerking off."

Krycek's hands slipped away from Mulder's shoulders and hung limply at hissides.

"I would beg you Alex, to let me...but you wouldn't. I was always disappointedbut I tried to understand that you were just concerned about me. I nevergave any thought to the fact that you must have been taking care of yourselfand when I saw you yesterday, it just...it threw me. I felt so completelyuseless. So unnecessary."

"That's not true..."

"Maybe not, but it's how I felt. I knew it was unreasonable and I wastrying to deal with it *myself*. You didn't need any more to worry about."

"Do you still feel that way?"

"What way?"

"Unnecessary."

Mulder looked down at the sand between them and shrugged. "I'm trying..."

Krycek stepped forward until their bodies were about as close as they couldbe without touching.

"Listen to me. You are *not* useless, unnecessary or anything elsealong those lines. You couldn't *be* more necessary. Don't you know thatyou're the center of my world and that I was just as miserable as you werewhile we were apart? *You* were all there was between me and the barrelof my gun. If you had died, I wouldn't have stayed. There wouldn't be anythingleft to stay *for*. It..." his eyes filled with tears. "...ithurt so much." He swiped at one eye with the back of his hand. "Don'tyou see? Once I had you back, how could I ever dream of leaving you?"

Mulder leaned forward a fraction then stopped. Alex stood motionless, gaspingsoft, ragged breaths. He sucked the last one in and held it as he felt hisFox's lips against his face, kissing a tear away as it rolled down overhis cheekbone.

Alex brought his hands up, curling his fingers in Mulder's shirt and restedhis forehead against his shoulder. He uttered a broken, last-ditch, desperateplea.

"Please...*please*, can't we fix this?"

Mulder wrapped his arms around Alex and pulled him closer. "I wantto. God knows I do. I know I haven't acted like it at times."

Krycek lifted his head from Mulder's shoulder and sniffed. "Do youthink you can give me your complete trust?"

Mulder studied him for a brief moment before nodding.

"Are you sure?"

"...Yeah."

Cautiously, Alex leaned forward and touched his lips to Mulder's. He pulledaway almost immediately and waited. His eyelids drooped as fingertips, featherlight,whispered across his bottom lip. He forced himself to refocus on the turbulenthazel eyes that watched him so intently.

"I'm..." he stopped to clear his throat. "I'm sorry aboutyesterday. Please believe that I would much rather have *your* hands onme..."

Mulder's fingers left Alex's mouth, sweeping down the length of his throatand coming to rest at the opening of his shirt. He traced small lazy designsthere, teasing the sparse dark hairs that peeked above the midnight bluesilk.

"Like this?"

Krycek nodded, unable to speak. Christ, he really could do with a glassof water about now.

Their eyes met and locked. Mulder moved in, not closing his eyes until hislips gently covered Krycek's. The low moan that vibrated against his mouth,encouraged him to deepen the kiss. Krycek opened himself to it eagerly,his tongue meeting the one that had just slipped inside.

Mulder teased the warm interior for a few seconds more, then withdrew andkissed his lover's chin. The hand that was still stroking the small patchof exposed skin, dropped down to the buttons of Alex's shirt, undoing themslowly. When he'd reached the last visible button, he began to pull theshirt free of Alex's pants. Once he'd unfastened the remaining buttons,he slipped the shirt over the lean shoulders and let it drape down his back.

Alex flinched, groaning harshly as he felt that tongue again, sliding throughhis chest hair and over to an already tight, brown nipple.

"My God..."

His fingers wove through the golden brown hair and he lowered his face toit, nuzzling the silky strands. A gentle nip and pull on the hard littlepeak just about sent him over the edge. His fingers clenched reflexivelyand a coarse gasp escaped his throat. His head was swimming. His body beganto scream it's need. His conscience...his fucking conscience shouted tohim, trying to be heard above the din.

//What is he doing? And what are *you* doing, *letting* him do what he'sdoing?//

//Oh, give it a rest, would you? This constant attack of conscience is gettingpretty tired...//

Alex felt like a cartoon character, sure that if he opened his eyes, he'dfind a tiny little Alex, complete with pitchfork and horns, sitting on hisshoulder.

//You want him, he wants you. He knows the chances and he's obviously willingto take them, so for the love of Christ, relax and enjoy the ride. Dealwith the consequences later. //

//I can't, I...he's in so much pain after...//

//What the hell has happened to you, man? When did you become such an emotionalsap?//

//The minute I realized how good it felt to love him and know that he lovedme, no matter how unworthy I thought I was.//

Just as his mind was clearing, Alex felt himself being turned and backedagainst the rocks. The pop of the button at the waistband of his pants,forced a decision.

"Baby..."

Mulder paused, hand at the zipper. Reading Alex's expression, he leanedforward taking his mouth again, this time with an unrestrained hunger. Makinghis intention well known, daring and at the same time pleading for submission.

Krycek wrapped his arms around his lover, his acquiescent sigh devouredby the mouth that refused to release him until it drank in yet another softmoan.

"I'm tired of being careful, Alex. I'm sick of us tip toeing aroundthis." He gripped the zipper and drew it downward. "I've missedtouching you." He separated the material and brushed his knuckles againstthe hardness behind it. "I need to feel you in my hand..."

Alex inhaled sharply as the other man slipped the pants and underwear overhis slim hips and let them drop to the ground. Mulder's hand gently cradledhis pulsing cock, stroking slowly along the velvety shaft.

"You're so hard," Mulder whispered, squeezing him gently. "DidI do this?"

"You know you did. Jesus Fox, just the thought of you does *this*."

While one hand teased Krycek's rigid cock, the other threaded through hishair, grasping the strands and pulling his head back. Starting at the baseof his throat, Mulder licked a long, straight line all the way up to hischin.

"Mmmmmm......"

The rest of Krycek's moan was lost in another kiss. Tender, slow and seductive.Fanning the flames of lust, taking him past the point of rationality andstraight into madness.

Finally, Mulder released his mouth and slid back down his throat, plantingtiny kisses along the way. He continued his descent and zig zagging to anipple, pulled it into his mouth and tugged.

Krycek arched against his mouth and whimpered impatiently.

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Feeling more than a little anxious himself, Mulder continued his downwardjourney. He sank to his knees in the sand, kissing and licking the smoothskin of his lover's stomach and hips, coming close to but never touchingthe rock solid erection that bobbed so temptingly before him. Summoningevery last bit of restraint, he moved down to the muscular thighs.

Krycek yelped, not so much in pain but surprise, as he felt Mulder's teethnip at the sensitive skin of his inner thigh. The cry faded into a moanwhen the teeth were replaced by a warm,wet tongue, soothing and caressing...teasing.Moving steadily upward. He sucked in his breath, waiting.

Mulder nuzzled the heavy sac below Alex's cock, letting the fuzz ticklethe tip of his tongue. Alex threw his head back and opened his mouth ona silent gasp. This was just too good. It was just too...

Before he could finish his thought, Mulder's lips closed around the headof his cock, sucking and licking greedily at the leaking tip.

Alex Krycek had never passed out before in his life, but had he not hadthe rocks behind him for support, he would most assuredly have dropped tothe ground. He wound his fingers in Mulder's hair and thrust deeper intothe welcoming heat of his mouth. A drawn out moan vibrated against the shaft,making him even harder, if that was at all possible.

"Moy lisa. God, that mouth is magic..."

Mulder gripped his hips and pulled him closer, taking his length as fardown his throat as it would go. He pushed Krycek back about halfway, thenpulled him forward again, encouraging him to thrust on his own.

Krycek complied eagerly, rocking his hips back and forth in ever quickeningstrokes.

Mulder knew that from the increasing speed of his movements and noticeablechange in his respiration, Alex wouldn't last much longer. He tightenedthe muscles in his arms, bringing Krycek to a very abrupt halt.

"Fox...what...no. *Please*."

Mulder released Alex from his mouth and rose to his feet. He placed a handat the back of the younger man's head and titlted it forward. Alex openedhis eyes and met the amber blaze that raged before him.

Without a word, Mulder's hand went to the buttons of his own shirt. He backedaway slowly, undoing the buttons at the same maddening pace. Krycek watchedfor a few seconds, praying that this was no dream. He stepped out of thepants that were still pooled around his feet and moved forward. His eyesnever leaving his lover's, he practically ripped his own shirt off as hestalked his prey.

He caught up to Mulder just as the shirt was dropping from the other man'sbody. An arm around the slim waist, jerking forward and Mulder practicallyfell against his chest. He moved to take those sinfully full lips but Mulderavoided the kiss, drawing a frustrated moan from him. Mulder leaned in,brushing a soft kiss along the line of his jaw, then gently pushed him away.Alex watched hungrily as his hands dropped to the waistband of his pants,unbuttoning and unzipping.

//God, please...oh please...//

Green and gold glittered in the pale light of the moon as the remainderof Mulder's clothing was removed and kicked away.

Alex's eyes raked over the length of the body just a few feet before him.The excercise and Marie's cooking had begun to pay off. Mulder was fillingout, gaining mass and muscle and not an ounce of it was lost on his lover.

Mulder stood quietly, bathed in shadow and dim light. His gaze slipped awaythen back up, through the veil of thick brown lashes. He was backing down.Turning control over to Alex.

The other man understood and responded to the submissive action, closingthe short distance between them in a few long strides.

A loud gasp. From one or possibly both men, as they came together. Skinagainst skin, pressing, sharing heat and hardness.

Mulder clung trembling to Alex as his hands knowingly traveled the familiarpaths of the body he loved so much. "You are beautiful," Alexwhispered against his ear, as his hands took a downward turn, followingthe line of his back to the delicious dip just before the gentle outwardcurve of his backside.

Mulder groaned into Alex's shoulder as he was pulled closer. Held immobileas his lover's hips ground into his.

"Alex...oh Jesus, Alex..."

"Sshhhhh." Alex stroked his hair with one hand. He kissed Mulder'sear then murmured into it.

"On your knees."

Mulder lifted his head from Krycek's shoulder and looked into the glitteringdarkness of his eyes.

A command.

Issued gently, but a command nonetheless. And the businesslike look in hiseyes left no room for debate. Not that Mulder had the desire to do anythingof the kind. He kneeled obediently in the sand and waited, head tilted ata slight downward angle.

Alex slipped a hand under his chin and lifted. He stroked the stubble-roughenedskin there, with the tips of his fingers then moved to Mulder's cheek, doingthe same with the back of his hand. He walked in a half circle, slidinghis knuckles across the trembling lower lip. He came to a stop when he wasdirectly behind the kneeling man.

Mulder swallowed hard, anticipating...what? What was he doing?

//Christ Alex, *do* something. A touch. A word. *Something*...//

Krycek read his thoughts and moved forward, stradling Mulder's calves. Heslid his palms over his shoulders and down his chest, coming together brieflyto feel the thundering heartbeat. He continued on, scraping his nails lightlyagainst the flat nipples, ugring them into tighter buds.

Mulder inhaled deeply as Alex moved closer still, letting his cock brushfirmly between his shoulderblades. His own erection throbbed, the increasingache becoming more and more difficult to ignore. He was going to be in someserious agony later, but being here like this with Alex was worth it.

Krycek slid to his knees behind Mulder and wrapped one arm around his chestwhile his other hand cupped his lover's chin, tilting his head back. Mulderpushed back instinctively, against the hardness that teased him. He chokedback a sob as Alex's hand momentarily left his face to help guide his cockbetween the rounded cheeks of his ass. Alex's hand returned once again,tipping Mulder's head back to his shoulder.

Mulder grasped Krycek's forearm with both hands, his fingers digging intothe tanned skin. His breaths came in short, panting gasps.

Alex nipped at the tender skin of his neck, working his way up to and stoppingat his ear. His hand held Mulder's head still while he expertly tonguedthe sensitive interior.

"Alex..." Mulder shook all over. "Please..."

"Shh, shh, shhhhhh. Listen to me, lisa." Krycek's hand swept slowly,up and down Mulder's chest. "Do you hear me?"

Mulder nodded.

Krycek pushed against him, wedging his cock tighter into the fleshy creviceand releasing a flood of new whimpers and moans.

"Shhh. Easy. You're too tense. I need you to relax. Can you do thatfor me?"

"I don't...don't know. It's s...so hard."

Krycek kissed the side of Mulder's neck and pulled away. Supporting theolder man's quivering body, he eased him down onto his back, then stretchedout beside him in the sand. He draped one long leg over Mulder's hips, hisknee pressed snuggly against the base of his cock.

Mulder gritted his teeth and, letting his head roll to the side, closedhis eyes. The next thing he felt was Alex's hand on his face. His thumbswept back and forth along the tight jaw.

"You're not relaxing. Come on, let the tension drain out of your body.Breathe slowly and concentrate on my voice. Breathe, Fox...that's right.Follow my voice. Hear only me." Krycek caressed his forehead. "Feelonly me. You fear nothing. The world is yours." He bowed his head,brushing his lips against Mulder's flushed cheek. "*I'm* yours. Always.Nothing will separate us. Say it."

Mulder opened his eyes and turned them to the man hovering above him. Herepeated the words as if in a trance. "Nothing will separate us."

"Believe it." Alex kissed the corner of his Fox's mouth. "Thisis *your* world. You can do anything. You can *have* anything."

Mulder stared up at him, mesmerized.

"Is there something you want?"

He nodded slowly.

Krycek held his eyes. "Take it."

Mulder reached up and, threading his fingers through the dark hair, pulledKrycek down to his waiting lips. The younger man melted into his lover'skiss, surrendering his will and body.

Taking the lead, Mulder rolled Alex beneath him. He covered the sweet mouthonce more, muffling the soft grunt emitted from the constricted throat.An eternity later, Mulder broke the kiss and moved down the lithe body,scattering tiny kisses along the way.

Alex writhed and moaned, conveying his need with perfect clarity. His hipsjerked upward and Mulder's name ripped from his throat as his lover unceremoniouslysucked the complete length of his cock into his mouth.

Mulder maintained suction, prolonging the unbearable pressure until he wassure that Alex could take no more. He picked his head up slowly, flickingat the underside with the tip of his tongue then focused on the head, swirlinghis tongue around it, again and again. He paused abruptly, smiling. Hmm.That was different. Alex arched against his mouth, making a low mewlingsound deep in his throat.

He drew the head into his mouth once more, but only briefly. Alex was morethan ready and he didn't want to push it. Reluctantly, he let go, kissingthe tip softly before rising up to settle his body on top of his lover's.

"God, I love you," Krycek breathed into his mouth as he came downfor another kiss.

"Of course you do," Mulder whispered confidently, sliding hishands under the other man's knees and lifting. "This is *my* world."

Krycek's soft chuckle turned to a loud gasp as his lover entered him withone firm push.


Friday, 12:25 a.m.

"This is beautiful, but we really shouldn't be here," the youngwoman reminded her friend.

"Don't sweat it, Deb. It's late. And if we *should* come across anyone,we just smile, say hello and act like we belong here. Who's to know?"

"I guess...wow. Look at the beach down there, Nic. It looks beautiful*now*, imagine how gorgeous it must be in the daytime."

"Yeah...hey, let's go take a walk."

"What? Down there? You think we should?"

"Yeah, why not? Come on Deb, live a little."

Nicole bounded ahead and disappeared behind a large clump of shrubs. Bythe time her companion had caught up to her, she'd found her crouching overa bunch of rocks, staring intently at something down on the beach.

"Nic, what are..."

Nicole quickly held two fingers up to her lips and motioned to Deb.

As the other woman approached, Nicole grasped her wrist, pulling her downto her knees.

"Want to see something absolutely gorgeous?" Nicole asked, justbelow a whisper.

Deb's brow wrinkled.

"Down there." Nicole pointed to a moonwashed spot on the beach.Deb followed her direction and practically fell over.

"Oh - my - God...are they doing what I think they're doing?"

"You *bet* they are."

"Those are the guys from the restaurant, Nic! I'm willing to bet moneyon it."

"Yeah, I think so too...they're beautiful, aren't they?"

Deb nodded, entranced. "Nic...we should go..."

"Why?" Nicole asked, not taking her eyes off of the scene below.

"Because...we should give them their privacy."

"They won't even know we're here. Come on Deb, how many more timesin your life do you think you're going to get to see something like this?Look at the way they move. So fluid...graceful." She stiffled a giggle."Like jungle cats."

"Nic, you've been reading too many smutty novels."

"I know. Ain't it great?"

Deb watched the men, chewing her bottom lip. "Never thought I wouldappreciate watching two men doing it but damn, they *are* beautiful..."


The sand crunched softly under Alex's back as Mulder thrust slowly intohim, adding layer upon layer of tension with each stroke. His eyes flutteredopen and he stared dazedly up at the clear, star-strewn sky. It was as ifhe was a part of that sky, hovering with the stars, there in the blackness.And it was this man, this beautiful, unselfish man who had taken him there.

//Cause you are
my starship
Come take me up tonight...//

Mulder smiled through his building agony, listening to Alex's soft soundsof pleasure. It almost sounded for a second there, like he was humming.He studied his lover's expression. So soft. His lips...those lips that henever tired of kissing, slightly parted, allowing low moans and sighs toescape. And his eyes. Beautiful, hypnotic eyes, glazed and distant, turnedup toward the stars.

//Time to reach those stars, lover.//

Alex's body arched and a harsh growl filled the night air as he felt Mulder'sfist close around his rigid cock and begin a series of long firm strokes,exactly matching the tempo of his hips.

"Oh my..*.God*...Fox...*Fox*..."

There was more than just the frantic need for release in his broken cries.Mulder cut him off, every word spoken with agonizing deliberateness.

"Come on, baby. Come for me. It's what I want..."

Mulder quickened his pace and took Alex over the edge, pulling spasm afterviolent spasm from his body, pumping relentlessly, plunging as deep as hepossibly could to prolong the moment.

An eternity later, the coursing shudders subsided but the driving presencewithin, remained. Blindly, Alex reached up and pulled Mulder down to him,sliding his hands along the perspiration drenched, sand sprinkled back.His fingers dug into slippery muscle, giving silent encouragement.

Mulder squeezed his eyes shut, his soft whimpers growing in volume as heslammed into the man beneath him with short, almost brutal thrusts. Hiswhole body felt like a spring, being wound tighter and tighter until itwas ready to break apart at the seams. The sensation and the need to relieveit consumed him, drove him harder and faster, wringing choking sobs fromhim as Alex held him tightly.

//*Please*//... A tear formed in the corner of Alex's eye and rolled down,dropping off of his cheek and into the sand. //Don't let him suffer anymore. Don't let him...//

Almost as his thought was completed, something happened to the man abovehim.

Mulder gritted his teeth as a tidal wave of devastation blasted throughhis body, ripping him apart. A furious snarl tore from his throat as hecontinued to ram into his lover until sheer exhaustion forced him to stop.He collapsed onto Alex's chest, his now depleted cock slipping from betweenthe still twitching muscles of the younger man.

Through the aftermath of Fox's orgasm, he clung desperately to Alex, hisbody still wracked with violent shudders. Alex hugged him tightly, strokinghis damp hair as he began to sob. Alex smiled through the flood of his owntears and kissed the top of the golden brown head.

"No more pain, lisa." He kissed him again. "No more dreams..."

Mulder inhaled raggedly, struggling for breath as he continued to cry. Krycekheld him, cooing softly and dropping tender kisses into his hair. Gradually,the sobs abated and his respiration slowed. His body began to relax andhis grip on Alex loosened.

"Fox?" Alex called softly to him.

No answer.

"Baby, are you with me?"

"Mmmm..." Mulder tried to lift his head but a gentle hand stoppedhim.

"No. It's all right. I just wanted to know if you were still alive."He rubbed the barely conscious man's back. "Relax. It's okay. I loveyou. You rest...."

The two men lay quietly together, lost in each other and the joy of thelong awaited completion of their reunion. All was silent now, except forthe constant swish of the ocean and the steady rhythm of their combinedbreaths.


1:04 a.m.

The two women watched, struck silent by the thing they'd just witnessed.

It was over now, the beautiful, sensuous prelude. The ferocious, screamingclimax that would have drawn all sorts of attention, had this not been privateproperty....the achingly emotional finish that left both men exhausted andcrying in each other's arms.

Nicole drew a deep shaky breath and turned glazed eyes to her companion."I get the feeling that we just witnessed a hell of a lot more thanjust two guys having sex."

Deb swiped at the corner of one eye. "I know. I have no idea what itwas but...*damn*. My hands are shaking." She started to back away."Come on, Nic. Let's leave them alone."

The two women left as silently as they'd arrived, leaving the objects oftheir attention blissfully unaware that they'd ever been there.


2:45 a.m.

Mulder stirred and sighed softly. Gentle fingers massaged his temple anda warm mouth pressed against his forehead.

"Alex?"

"Thought you were going to be out for the night."

He lifted his head and looked down into tired but contented eyes. "Sorry."

Alex reached up and pushed the hair away from Mulder's eyes. He gave hislover a devilish grin. "What for? I can think of a hell of a lot worseways to wake up in the morning than naked with you, on a beach."

Mulder gave him a timid half smile.

Alex caught a handful of hair and pulled Mulder down to his mouth. Aftera long dizzying kiss, he murmured softly. "So..."

Mulder drew the corner of his lower lip into his mouth. "So."

Soft chuckle. "How do you feel?"

"Weak. Exhausted...better than I remember feeling in a long, long time."He lowered his head to Alex's chest. "Thank you."

"For?"

"For sticking this out with me. I know it hasn't been easy."

"It's been hell. Watching you suffer so much and not being able tohelp....it was a hell of a chance we took tonight. I woud've hated myselfif nothing had changed."

"Right. *We*. I was as much a part of it as you were. You didn't forceme." He stretched up and kissed the underside of Alex's chin, tastingthe clean salty flavor of sweat and sea spray. "Actually, *I* was theone who'd initiated it. And even if it *had* ended badly for me, it wouldhave been well worth the pain to know that I could still satisfy you."

Krycek tightened his hold on the man in his arms. "The pleasure lastsonly so long. But the misery I'd feel later, would go on and on. Don't youknow that it breaks my heart every time I think about one of those episodes?Every time it happened I'd lay there holding you, feeling your body shake,seeing the agony in your face and wishing to God I could absorb the pain..."

"I understand how you felt. But worse than that *pain* for me, wasthe pain of wanting to be close to you. Of wanting to be what you neededand knowing that I couldn't. It made me crazy." He lifted his headonce more and smiled. "I guess this is one point we'll never agreeon."

Krycek skimmed the side of his finger down his lover's nose. "Guessnot...we don't have to. It's over. Thank God....come on. Let's get backto the house. You need to get to sleep."

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"You too..."

The men rose and brushed the sand off of each other, then went about collectingtheir clothes. As Mulder was pulling his pants up, Alex appeared behindhim and helped him slip into his shirt.

"Thanks." He groaned softly. "God, my muscles feel like spaghetti."

"Still weak?"

"Yeah."

"Nothing that a warm shower and a good long rest won't cure."

"That sounds so good."

Alex took his hand and silently led him back to the house.


3:38 a.m.

The bedroom door opened and Mulder entered first. He heard the click, signalingthe locking of the door and then Alex was behind him, removing his shirt.He grinned.

"Make up your mind, would you?"

"Hmm?"

"You dress me, you undress me..."

Alex moved around to his front and began to unzip his pants. "I promise...Iwill *not* be dressing you again tonight."

Mulder leaned in and, pushing Alex's shirt from his shoulders, planted along, teasing kiss on his mouth.

"Morning."

"Huh?"

"It's morning."

"Whatever...m-mmm..." Alex slipped the pants down and off andraised an amused eyebrow. "What's *this*?"

"Nothing."

"Really. Have I ever told you that you've got the most impressive ënothing'I've ever seen?"

"Yeah?"

Alex reached for his own zipper. "Oh, yeah." He let his pantsdrop and kicked them away before he moved closer, brushing against Mulderwho glanced down between them, then back up.

"Speaking of impressive..." He inhaled sharply as Alex shifted,bringing their cocks together, allowing them to rub against each other.

"Yes?" Alex rumbled against his cheek.

"I uh..." he swallowed hard. "I forgot what I was saying..."

"Come on," Alex grasped his wrist and pulled him toward the bathroom."Shower, then bed."

They entered the bathroom and Alex turned on the shower, testing the waterbefore leading the other man inside.

Mulder closed his eyes, enjoying the warm spray as it ran down his body.He ran his fingers through his hair, pushing it back as he turned his faceup under the water. Alex joined him, their bodies touching, as he did thesame. He smirked and turned to reach for the bath wash and sponge. As hedid, Alex wrapped his arms around him and pulled him backward.

"What are you...*aah*..." He winced, feeling the nip of teethat his shoulder. Alex pressed his straining erection against his lover'sbackside and stroked his hand up and down his chest.

"Too tempting," he mumbled into Mulder's shoulder and pushed harderagainst him.

Mulder dropped the items in his hand, letting Alex push him up against thetiled wall of the shower. Alex fastened his lips onto the padded musclebetween his shoulder and the base of his neck and applied a moderate suction.Mulder grinned.

"You know how many years it's been since I've gotten a hickey?"

Alex released him and admired his handiwork. "No, how many?"

"More than I can count."

Alex licked the mildly tender area, sending shivers up his lover's spine."Well, that's just too long." His hand slid downward and grazedthe tip of Mulder's swollen cock.

Mulder bit off a harsh groan.

"I didn't think you'd be so sensitive again so soon," Alex purredagainst his shoulder as he closed his hand around the smooth shaft.

"Got a lot of catching up to do," Mulder replied through grittedteeth.

"Hmm...I see." Alex stroked him slowly.

"Mmmmmmmmm..."

"Good?"

Mulder laid his cheek against the tile and nodded.

Alex grinned wickedly and ran the fingers of his other hand down the cleftof his ass.

Mulder jerked reflexively against his hand. "Alex..."

"Hmm?"

"Please..."

Alex worked one finger in, past the clenching muscle, preparing him. Ithad been a while and he was extremely tight. He added a second finger andsmiled as his Fox bucked against his hand.

"We are impatient, aren't we?" He pulled his fingers out, leavingMulder scratching at the tiles and whimpering.

"Nooo...Alex..."

"Easy, lisa. I'm not going to tease you..." He guided his cockto the place his fingers had just been. "I just thought you might likethis instead. Would you?"

"*Yes*." Mulder pushed back against him. "Give it to me,Alex..."

Alex wrapped an arm around his chest and leaned forward against his back.His mouth traveled up Mulder's neck to his ear. "I have a questionfor you."

"*Now*?"

"Mmm hmm."

"Come on, Alex..."

"Answer my question first."

Frustrated sigh. "What?"

Alex pushed forward until the head of his cock just began to stretch themuscle. A low growl rumbled deep in Mulder's chest. Alex's tongue inchedout and swiped at his outer ear.

"Who do *you* belong to?"

Not a second's hesitation. "You."

Mulder's mouth dropped open and a hard shuddering gasp escaped as his loversurged forward, filling him with his solid heat.

Alex held him in a secure embrace and pumped steadily into him. One handslipped down to his hard, wet cock and curled around it. Mulder automaticallybegan to thrust into the firmly closed fist but Alex stopped him.

"Don't move," he instructed softly. "Let me."

Difficult as it was, Mulder submitted to his lover's request and held still.Alex soon found a comfortable rhythm and got down to business. No teasing,no fooling around. Pure and simple, this was a matter of need.

Mulder rested his forehead against the wall, palms flat out on either side.His breaths came out in rasping hisses from behind tightly clenched teethand every muscle in his body screamed for relief.

Alex increased the speed and strength of his movements, taking Fox for thesecond time tonight, to the heaven he never thought he'd see again.

"Jesus.....ah, *shit*..."

In a heartbeat, it was on him. That teeth-grinding, mind-shattering ecstasythat had for far too long, eluded him. His strangled screams bounced offof the walls of the shower. His muscles tightened like a vice around Alex'scock, triggering the younger man's own violent orgasm. He held tightly tohis lover, his hoarse cries muffled in the older man's back. His hand continuedto milk the cock it held, even after it had become slick with fluid. Onlyafter they both went quiet, did he let go and wrap both arms around Mulder.Still connected, both men slumped forward, gasping for air.

Alex recovered first. He gently disengaged himself and pulled Mulder intohis arms.

"You okay?"

Mulder nodded wearily, the hazel barely discernible beneath his heavy eyelids.

"You're not going to slide to the floor if I let you go for a minute?"he teased.

A slow shake of his head was all the answer Mulder could muster.

Krycek released him and retrieved the bathwash and sponge from the floor.Quickly and efficiently, he washed his barely awake lover then led him outof the shower where he dried him and then put him to bed. That done, hereturned to complete his own shower. Ten minutes later, he was under thelight sheet, draping one long leg and an arm across the sleeping man. Henestled his head close to Mulder's and immediately fell into a heavy slumber.


1:41 p.m.

//Comes the day
bright
new
leaving night's soft sighs
and tender passions behind

Still he sleeps
dark angel
lover of my dreams

Truth in love and light
and sleep

Take from me what you will
for I have more to give
than ever I imagined

And you
my heart's deepest secret
love's most puzzling mystery
give more than ever I knew
you possessed

Boundless patience
soothing touch
and loving promises
made so earnest

You made me believe

And the specter of an icy solitude
haunts me no more...//


Alex stirred, rising from a sleep, deeper than any he could recall. Thearms around his back and the steady thud beneath his cheek brought a smileto his lips. He moaned softly and cuddled against the man who held him.

Mulder ceased his rhapsodic musings and opened his eyes. One hand begana slow sweep up and down Alex's back and he rubbed his cheek into the silkyhair.

"Good afternoon."

Sleepy reply. "Afternoon? Really?"

"Mmm hmm. Going on one."

Alex lifted his head and found his lover's eyes. "How did you sleep?"

"Like the dead. You?"

He laughed softly and again rested his head "The same."

"Alex."

"Yeah?"

"Last night...this morning was...shattering. I had no idea...it tookme completely by surprise."

"I know. I prayed for it but I didn't think..."

"Neither did I. I'd been scared to death, thinking about what wouldhappen to us if this trip didn't work out."

"You would've gone for professional help when we got back home andI would have been there with you every step of the way."

Mulder raised a hand to Alex's hair, petting and finger-combing the wildstrands. "I know that you would have stayed. Finally I can say, I *really*know. The patience you've shown is nothing short of amazing."

"I'm a *very* patient man."

Mulder's amused voice reached his ear. "Not always..."

"Well okay but you know...when it counts..."

"Uh huh."

Alex shifted and came in contact with the stony length of Mulder's erectcock. "Ooooh." His hand dipped down between their bodies and strokedthe twitching shaft. "Is this for me?"

Mulder's eyelids fluttered then slid shut. "Only for you."

"That's good to hear. What do you suggest I do with it?"

"I'll just leave that to you. I trust your good judgment."

"Really?" Alex turned his face into Mulder's chest and teaseda nipple to stiffness with the tip of his tongue. "What if I decidethat you've had enough? Three times in twelve hours may be overdoing ita bit..."

"Alex..." Mulder released his name on a deep sigh. "I would*really* hate to have to hurt you."

"S'cuse me...didn't you just say that you trusted my judgment?"

"Yeah...except when it's so glaringly flawed."

"Ohhh, so it's like *that*. He only trusts me when it suits him..."

"Alex."

"And when it doesn't I get threats of violence..."

Alex..."

"Pretty damn good. I think I should be insulted..."

"Alexei..."

Alex broke off his tirade upon hearing the unfamiliar sound of his fullname on his lover's lips. "What?"

"Shut the hell up and suck my cock."

A tiny smile twitched in the corner of his mouth. "Pushy, pushy..."

Alex slid down Mulder's chest, licking and nipping all the way. Mulder closedhis eyes and rolled his head to one side. He inhaled deeply, anticipatingthat first sweet touch of his lover's mouth.

Alex reached his destination and delicately ran the very tip of his tongueup the underside of the smooth shaft, following the large, distended vein.

"Oh, *yeah*...m-mmm..." Mulder's hands clenched in the sheetsand he squirmed in response to Alex's teasing touch. "Baby..."

Alex smiled and lapped at the weeping tip. "You never call me that.I like it..."

"Sure, I have."

"When?"

"Last night..."

"I don't remember."

"You were busy."

"Oh. Well anyway...say it again." He sucked the entire shaft downhis throat, causing Mulder's body to jerk up off the mattress. A hard groanfilled the air.

"Mphh...oh God, *baby*..." He sucked a long hissing breath inthrough his teeth. "Aaaaah....so good..."

Alex's already erect cock throbbed in reaction to Mulder's words. He ignoredit, difficult as that was, and concentrated on bringing his Fox to anotherblinding orgasm.

Minutes later, Mulder lay panting and exhausted and completely satisfied."Goddamn, you're..."

Before he could finish, Alex's mouth came down hard on his, robbing himof words and breath. An insistent tongue invaded his open mouth, bringingwith it a familiar bitter tang.

Mulder's soft moan vibrated inside Alex's mouth, traveling down his throat,through his body and settling right around the general vicinity of his groin.He tore his lips away and grasped a handful of hair.

"I'm not done with you yet."

He locked eyes with his drained lover, giving him a moment to decide ifhe wished to protest. Hearing no sound, he stroked the stubbled cheek. "Spreadyour legs for me."

Mulder obeyed without question. He closed his eyes and tilted his head back.

"Open your eyes, Fox."

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As he did so, Alex kneeled between his thighs. "Look at me. Don't letyour eyes leave mine."

Mulder's respiration deepened. He loved it when Alex took control. He lovedit when Alex was submissive...shit, he loved *Alex*.

Alex stroked his own cock. "You see this?"

//Oh, no. You're not going to get me with that*.// He kept his eyes trainedon the glittering green above him.

Alex smiled his understanding. "You can look."

He glanced down at the stiff erection then right back up to his partner'seyes.

"You know when that happened?"

Mulder shook his head.

"It happened the second I woke up and felt your arms around me. I needto do something about this...uh...allow me to rephrase...*you* need to dosomething about this."

He decided to play it out. "But Alex..."

"But Alex, what?"

Mulder gave him his best pathetic look. "I'm so tired."

Alex shook away a smile. "Yeah?"

Slow nod.

He pitched forward to drop a flutter of tiny kisses along Fox's jaw. "Mypoor lisa. Well. This does pose a problem. How do you propose we solve it?"

"Cold shower?"

"I don't think so."

"Then what do *you* suggest?"

"I suggest fucking you till I can't fuck you anymore."

"I don't know..."

"I do." He hooked his hands under Mulder's knees, pulling himforward and into position.

"I don't get a say in this?"

Alex's eyes burned into his. "No." He grasped his cock by thebase and guided it, unlubricated, to the small opening.

Mulder bit his bottom lip and waited.

"Don't take your eyes off of me..."

Alex grasped his hips and pulled as he pushed foward. Mulder gasped outloud and his formerly flaccid cock began to harden.

"Thought you were tired," Alex whispered as he pumped slowly intothe tight heat.

"I am."

"Apparently your cock doesn't know..." He thust a little harder.

Sharp groan and a rough whisper. "It just really likes you."

Alex gingerly wrapped his fingers around it. "Yeah?"

"Oh, yeah." Mulder's back arched as Alex's hand moved up and downon him. "Uhhhhhhh....Alex...." As his eyelids began to droop,the low demanding voice drifted down to him.

"Look at me." He removed his hand from his lover's now completely-hardenedcock and used two fingers to point to his eyes. "I want you right herewhen you come." He returned his hand and began to stroke faster.

"What...oh *God*...what makes you...think that I'm go...going to?"

"Of course you will," he promised breathlessly. "You *have*to, don't you? You can't get enough. I'll finish you now, and you'll beready for me again by lunch time."

"It *is* lunch time."

"You're a fucking wise-ass, you know it? Someday I'm going to whipthat ass..." He plunged deeper. "And I promise...you're goingto *like* it." He pumped harder and faster, his hand keeping time withhis hips. The building presure that started at the base of his spine andspread through his lower body drove him harder, still. Each word he utteredwas accompanied by a brutal thrust. "Come..with..*me*..." Thehand at Mulder's hip left it to wind in his hair, holding his head immobile.He stayed fixed on the glazed hazel eyes before him, refusing to let themclose or turn away.

"Alex...I'm..." Mulder's next words stretched into long, unintelligiblegasping sobs. Alex immediately followed, adding his own hoarse cries. Hecollapsed onto the older man's heaving chest and lay there for a while,listening to his lover's occasional moans of contentment. When he'd gatheredenough strength, he rolled onto the mattress and tucked an arm around theunconscious man. A gentle brush of his lips against the relaxed jaw andhe drifted into sleep.


7:38 p.m.

Alex opened his eyes slowly. He blinked, closed them then opened them again.

//What the...//

Candles. Dozens of lit candles all over the room in various shapes and sizes.

His eyes flicked back and forth around the room until he found what he waslooking for.

Mulder walked over to the bed and leaned against one of the posts at theend. The candlelight shimmered around him, highlighting and shadowing hisfeatures.

"About time," he said softly.

"How long have you been up?" Alex asked, noting that he was dressed.

"Hour and a half or so."

Green eyes slid appreciatively over the man before them. Black pants. Blacksilk shirt, three buttons undone. Fox knew that he loved him in black. Hair,carelessly sexy and a day's growth of stubble, yet to be removed. He wasup to no good.

"What's with all the candles?"

"Atmosphere."

One corner of his mouth slanted upward. "For?"

Mulder motioned with a flick of his head to the table at the other end ofthe room. It was set for two, silver and crystal gleaming in the yellowflickering light.

"Dinner in our room, huh?"

Mulder nodded then pushed away from the bed. "Come with me."

Alex got out of bed and followed him to the bathroom, also lit with candles.He turned curious eyes to Mulder who was busy rolling up his sleeves.

"Time for your bath."

"My...bath?"

"Mmm hmm." He motioned to the full tub.

Alex felt his cock stir. "Let...let me get this straight. You're goingto give me a bath?"

"Any objections?"

Alex cleared his throat and answered in a small voice. "No..."

"Good. Get in the tub. I'll be right back."

Alex stepped into the cavernous claw-foot tub and sank up to his neck insuds. Seconds after he heard the soft music start, Fox reappeared and satint the chair he'd placed beside the tub. He reached for the sponge and,dipping it into the water, began to move it across Alex's chest and shoulders.Alex's eyes rolled upward and his lids slid shut.

"Mmmm..."

"You like that?"

"Yes." He was so far gone, Fox could have been using twenty gritsandpaper and it would have felt just as good.

As Mulder continued with his thorough ministrations, Alex sat quietly inhis warm, wet heaven, wondering how the bloody hell an existence as cursedas his had been, could turn into something so beautiful.

"What are you thinking about?"

He opened his eyes. "Hmm?"

"You look deep in thought."

"I was just thinking..." he raised a soapy hand to Mulder's faceand traced a line down his jaw with his knuckles. "..how my life hasgone from hell to this...and how thankful I am to have you." He smiledand shook his head. "I never dreamed that you could ever be anythingmore than an unreachable fantasy. You got me through a lot of bad shit,you know."

Mulder cocked his head.

"Thoughts of you, I mean. Any time I was in a tight spot, sometimesin a shitload of pain and it looked like I wasn't going to be able to getout of it, I'd retreat into myself. Far away from the dirt and the slimeand the hurt. I'd go to where I could always find you. In the deepest, mostprotected part of my soul. The one tiny little part I'd never let them takeaway from me. And you'd be there waiting, smiling...and I'd go to you. Kissyou. Love you...*talk* to you."

Mulder's hand stilled and he listened to the surprising admission in silence.

Alex stopped, taking note of his expression. "Are you shocked?"

"I wouldn't say shocked..."

"I told you I'd wanted you for a long time. That was the only way Iever thought I could have you. And you'd do exactly what I wanted. *Be*exactly what I wanted."

"Real life seldom measures up to our fantasies. How far off am I fromwhat you wanted me to be?"

Alex turned to look at him head on. "You're more than I could havehoped for. Christ, you're so much more. More vulnerable, much more complexand far more open and talkative than I thought you'd be. I thought I hada pretty damn good imagination but you're definitely *hotter*...I nevercould have imagined *all* those pretty little sounds you make when we're..."

Mulder interrupted him. "What's all this about talking?"

"Talking?"

"Yeah. You've mentioned it twice."

"Oh. Well...it's been literally years since I've had an actual conversationwith someone. I thought I might have forgotten how. Nobody I worked foror with ever wanted to *talk* to me and I gotta say, I wasn't really toointo talking to them either but...I was starved for conversation. My fantasyFox filled that need for me..." His eyes closed and a soft smile crossedhis lips. "That and a few other needs..."

Mulder's hand began to move again, sinking lower into the water, carressingand stroking. As he moved to Alex's thigh, the back of his hand brusheda smooth hardness. He smiled but ignored it, instead working all aroundit.

Alex tipped his head back and groaned softly. He reopened his eyes and rakedthem over the upper body of his lover. "You should take that off."

"What?"

"That shirt. It might get wet."

"Not if you hold still and don't splash."

"Come on, take it off."

"Nope."

Alex smirked and brought his hand up out of the water. He flicked the dropsfrom his fingers, directly at Mulder's chest.

"Bastard."

"Take it off."

"No."

More drops.

"You're going to ruin this shirt."

"I'll get you a new one tomorrow. Take it off."

"You're *not* getting me into this tub with you, Alex."

"Did I say anything about that? I just prefer that my bath boys bebare chested, that's all..."

"S'cuse me...bath *boys*?"

"Figure of speech."

"It'd *better* be."

Alex rose a little higher in the tub and leaned to the side, pressing hislips against Mulder's. "You know it is." He kissed him again,and busied his hands, unbuttoning the shirt.

Mulder moaned against his lips in protest. "Alex..."

"Shut up." Mulder complied and he chuckled. "Just your shirt,okay? I promise."

"I think," Mulder murmured softly, removing his shirt, "thatit's a very bad thing that I can't seem to be able to say no to you."

"Funny, I think it's a pretty *good* thing." He scattered a fewheated kisses over the surface of the older man's chest. "I'll neverask you to do anything illegal....well....you know, not *too* illegal..."His lips captured a hard nipple and pulled gently.

"God Alex, you're killin' me. Come on now, this isn't how this is supposedto go."

Alex released the nipple and sat back. "Okay, I'm sorry. I promise,I'll be a good boy."

"Yeah, why don't you just promise world peace while you're at it?"

Alex closed his eyes and grinned. "You may continue."

"Gee. Can I? Thanks."

Fifteen minutes and a whole lot of teasing later, he made the announcement."All done."

"You sure?"

"Didn't miss a spot."

"Oh *yeah*, you did..."

One corner of Mulder's mouth slanted upward. "Really? Where?"

Alex pouted. "You know where."

"Okay, but no funny business."

"Scouts honor."

The sponge dipped back into the water, sliding up one thigh. Mulder's otherhand joined the one holding the sponge and gently lifted Alex's aching ballsto wash the area underneath. Alex gritted his teeth, trying unsuccessfullynot to make a sound.

Mulder released him and ran the sponge up and around the sac again and againbefore proceeding up to his cock. Alex flinched when finally, he reachedthe base and stroked upward along the solid length. When he reached thetip, Mulder caressed down the other side, skimming the back of his handalong the sensitive skin on Alex's belly. When he again reached the base,he closed his hand into a fist, wrapping the sponge around Alex and drawingit up slowly.

"Oh God..."

"What is it, baby?" Fox whispered, so very close to his ear.

"Finish me."

"No, no, no."

"Come on," Alex whined. "You *know* I'll be good to go againby the time dinner is through."

"Yeah, I believe you. But, I want you *desperate*."

Long sigh. "Well, that's just *wrong*."

"Depends on which side of the sponge you're on."

"Evil..."

"No. I just like when you're out of control."

Alex's eyes turned dark. "Be careful what you wish for..."

Mulder stared intently at him, doing that insanity inspiring thing thathe did with his mouth. He rose from the chair and moved away, calling overhis shoulder. "Get out of the tub."

Alex hesitated for a moment, drumming his fingers on the edge of the tubthen got up and out. A thick towel came around him from behind and warm,sweet breath fanned his cheek as Mulder dried him gently. He worked slowly,methodically, moving down his lover's body, paying loving attention to hiscock and balls.

Alex placed both hands on Mulder's head and kneaded gently. "Hey, uh...whileyou're down there..."

"I do admire your tenacity." Mulder kissed the tip of Alex's cock,then stood up. "All done."

"Sadistic son of a bitch."

"But you love me."

Alex trailed his fingers through the hairs on Mulder's chest. "*And*I love you."

Mulder rewarded his statement with a deep, heart-stopping kiss. Secondslater, he broke away, leaving Alex panting and flushed.

"Let's go get dressed."

Alex followed him into the bedroom and waited while he opened the closetdoor and looked inside. He selected a dark tan pair of pants, an ivory shirtand the brown slip-on shoes. He turned to Alex and raised an eyebrow. "Well.I was going to tell you to drop the towel but...nevermind."

Alex smirked, totally unselfconscious about his present state of undress.

Mulder laid the clothes across the bed and crossed over to the highboy.He pulled out a pair of brown silk underwear and returned. Alex reachedfor the underwear but he snapped it away. Alex heaved an exasperated sigh.

"*What*?" He smiled, noting the gleam in his lover's eye. "You'regoing to dress me?"

Mulder bent over in front of him and let him step into the shorts then slowlyslid them up his legs. Just before he brought them up all the way, his tongueslithered out and licked it's way up the underside of Alex's cock. He smiledat the coarse groan.

Once he had the underwear in place, he snatched the pants off of the bedand dropped the shoes to the floor in front of Alex. He slipped the pantsup over the muscular thighs, brushing his cheek against the silk coveredhardness between them.

"Fox..."

Mulder ignored him, zipping and buttoning. When he had it done, he snappedhis fingers. "Oh...wait. Gotta tuck your shirt in first." He undidthe button, then dragged the zipper back down slowly, taking care to brushhis knuckles firmly against the bulge underneath. He looked up through thegolden-brown fringe of lashes at the contorted face of his lover and smiled.He picked the shirt up and held it up as Alex shrugged into it. He beganat the bottom button, moving slowly and deliberately upward. When he'd madeit to the third button from the bottom, their eyes met. Mulder stopped andran the back of one finger up and down his chest. Alex grasped his handand brought it up to his mouth. He took the finger between his lips and,never taking his eyes off of his Fox, sucked it into the warm recesses ofhis mouth. Mulder gritted his teeth and winced.

Alex let the finger go and moved forward until their bodies were touching.He raised a hand to Mulder's bare shoulder and stroked downward. When hereached the other man's hand, he curled his fingers around it and leanedin close to his ear.

"Come on, lisa. What do you say we take the edge off?"

Mulder chewed on the inside corner of his lip and said nothing.

Alex's other hand slipped down to his crotch. "You're just as hardas I am. You want me. Don't you?"

Mulder paused then whispered, "You know I do."

"Then why torture us both? I want to feel you inside me so bad, I cantaste it." He tugged gently on Mulder's hand. "Do me, baby. Ineed you. Please..."

Just as Mulder was about to give in, there was a soft knock on the door.Mulder tore his eyes away from his lover's, breaking the spell. He clearedhis throat and answered the knock.

"Yes, Marie?"

"Dinner in ten minutes?"

"That's good. Just bring it up when it's ready. Thanks, Marie."

He looked back to Alex. The heat blazing in the younger man's eyes hadn'tdiminished. He finished buttoning the shirt and, tucking it into his pants,kissed him softly.

"Saved by the bell."

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"Uh huh. So we'll have dinner first." Mulder moved toward thecloset for another shirt and Alex grabbed his arm, roughly pulling him back."But just so you know? *You* are my dessert and I've got a vicioussweet tooth."

Mulder speared a hand through Alex's hair and pulled him close. His mouthbrushed the other before covering it in a long, gentle kiss. He pulled awaythen returned with two tiny kisses, before again moving toward the closet.

Alex stepped into his shoes and watched as he pulled the only other blackshirt out and put it on. He turned around and smiled as he tucked it in."I like the feel of the other one better, but this'll do for now."

"We can go look for another one tomorrow, okay?"

Mulder nodded and moved toward the knock at the door. He swung it open andallowed Marie to enter, carrying a large tray. She set it down beside thetable and gave both men the once over.

"Aren't you two looking handsome this evenin'? Much be a special night,"she said, regarding Mulder. "You look happier than I've seen you inthe past month. Those eyes are sparklin' like emeralds."

"Not much gets by you, does it Marie?"

"I got children, darlin'. I knew from their eyes exactly what theywere feelin'." She squinted at him. "And I know *that* look."She smiled knowingly and flounced out of the room. "Have a lovely evenin',children."

The door closed soundlessly behind her and they were alone again.

"Is it that obvious," Mulder began, "or is she really justthat good?"

"I don't know," Alex approached. "You look much better to*me*, but I'm on the inside, you know? It's my business to notice thingslike that." He stopped just inches in front of his partner and spokesoftly. "From yesterday to today, your color has improved. That dullfilm that always seemed to be there in your eyes, no matter how much funwe seemed to be having...that's gone. Your movements are much more relaxedand you look about ten years younger." He smiled and ran the back ofhis hand down Mulder's cheek. "It's amazing."

"*You're* amazing. You've been so good to me through all of this."

Alex wrapped him securely in his arms. "I'd go to hell and back foryou. You must know that by now."

Mulder tightened his arms around his lover and buried his face in the curvebetween his neck and shoulder. He inhaled the clean, male scent, lettingit swirl seductively through his senses.

"I love you, Alex."

Alex's brow creased and he pulled Fox tighter to him. "Everytime yousay that," he murmured, "it's like I'm hearing it for the firsttime."

They stood, wrapped around each other for long seconds. Mulder was firstto pull away. "Come on," he said gently. "Let's eat."Alex nodded and let himself be led to the table.

Dinner was a study in seduction. Long glances, full of meaning. Every bodymovement designed to attract and entice, conveying the promise of a nightso deeply intimate, a worded description was pointless.

Halfway through the meal, Mulder interrupted his lover's lascivious thoughtswith a totally unrelated subject.

"You know what I was just thinking?"

"Did it have anything to do with me licking raspberry sauce off ofyou?"

Mulder's cock jumped within the confines of his pants. "No."

"Then I have no idea."

"Chirstmas is in five days."

"So it is. I'd suggest that we do a little decorating but somehow Idoubt that we'd find a Christmas tree anywhere on this island."

"We can still decorate. Let's go shopping tomorrow and see what wecan find."

"Okay. Gotta look for your present anyway..."

"No. Oh, no you don't. This trip should cover Christmas, my birthdayand any other gift giving holiday for the next fifteen years."

"Don't bother to fight me on this one, Fox. You *will* lose. Besides,this trip wasn't a gift. It was necessary. To your physical *and* emotionalhealth. It was necessary for me to try and repair the damage that I'd doneto you."

Mulder had learned quickly that arguing with Alex about this subject wasfutile. He reached across the short distance and covered the younger man'shand.

"You can stop driving yourself crazy, now. I feel more at peace todaythan I have in a long, long time. More complete than I ever have. You didthat."

Alex turned his hand palm up and grasped Fox's hand. He brought it up tohis lips then held it to his cheek. His eyes glowed softly in the candlelight.

"My beautiful Fox."

Mulder felt that familiar lethargy invading his body. Desire weighed heavyon his eyelids...his limbs. Somehow he managed to pull himself out of hischair and traverse the few feet to where Alex still sat.

The seated man pulled his chair away from the table and started to rise,but was halted by a hand on his shoulder. Mulder moved in front of him andstraddling his thighs, lowered himself onto Alex's lap. Alex's hands immediatelyrose to caress his back. Mulder's fingers wove through the thick fringeof hair at the back of his neck and slowly inclined his head, capturinghis lips in a sweet, agonizingly tender kiss.

They went on that way for an eternity it seemed, their mouths separatingonly to be rejoined an instant later, tongues searching, stroking...teasingmercilessly.

When Mulder pulled away, he did so only within a fraction of Alex's lips.His tongue slid out of his open mouth and began to lap delicately at hislover's swollen bottom lip. He could feel Alex's rock-solid erection spasmagainst his crotch. He rocked gently against it as he continued to lickAlex's lips.

A low rumble fromed deep in Alex's chest. "Do you have any idea whatyou're doing to me?"

"Driving you crazy, if I'm doing it right."

"*God* yes, you're doing it right. I'd say you've only got a few secondsbefore I throw you down on the floor..."

"Uh-uh. We're going to do this *my* way." He started undoing thebuttons on Alex's shirt one by one, licking and nuzzling each patch of newlyexposed skin along the way.

The grate of stubble against the more sensitive skin of Alex's chest, drewa sharp groan from him. Mulder looked up, concerned.

"Does that bother you?"

"No," he said quickly. "No...don't...don't you stop..."

Fox continued his journey south and when he could bend no lower, got downon his knees and spread Alex's legs. He moved between them and finishedthe buttons. When the shirt was pulled from Alex's pants and lay completelyopen, he licked a long continuous trail back up to his lover's mouth andplanted a teasing kiss there. He slid back down to his knees and startedworking on the pants. He got the belt undone, then the button and finallythe zipper. His lips brushed the silk-covered bulge and he listened to Alex'ssharp intake of breath.

"Oh *God*, baby..."

Mulder smiled and gently clamping his teeth onto his lover's cock, pulledat it.

Alex emitted a loud gasp and sank down in the chair.

So this was how he was going to die.

Half naked, in a chair, in a bedroom of a rented house in the Bahamas, withhis lover nibbling at his cock through a pair of silk boxer shorts.

Nice.

The tapping of Fox's hand against his thigh brought him back.

"Lift up a little."

Alex complied, lifting himself a few inches off the chair so that his tormentorcould slip his pants and underwear off.

Mulder discarded the clothing and his shoes, then spread his legs againand moved between them.

Alex looked down at him through glazed eyes. He laid a hand on Fox's cheekand swept his thumb back and forth over the bone. And waited.

Mulder smiled and lowered his head.

Alex's head fell back and his hips thrust upward as he felt the warm, moisttongue on him, licking every inch of his cock.

"Fox...mmph...baby, don't...oh Jesus....Jesus..."

Mulder lifted his head, knowing full well that Alex was teetering righton the edge.

"Fox, *please*!"

"Sshhh. Calm down..."

"But..."

"I know. I know you're close." He kissed the inside of Alex'sthigh. "Look at me, Alexei."

Alex opened his eyes and tried to focus on the man kneeling before him.

"Hang on, okay? I want you inside me when you come."

Alex swallowed past the huge lump that had formed in his throat. "I'lltry, baby."

Mulder smiled seductively up at him. "Just relax." His fingersmassaged his lover's thighs. "We're going to come together....soon."He stood up and moved to the back of the chair, lovingly stroking his lover'shair. "Close your eyes."

Alex did as he asked and attempted to breathe evenly. The hands in his hairfelt so good...so soothing. He let out a long sigh.

"That's it. Calm. Slow..." One hand left his head but the otherremained, petting and massaging. "Better now?"

Alex nodded slowly.

"Good."

There was the sound of metal, at first clinking, then a soft grinding andAlex felt his lover moving behind him. The next sound he heard was thatof material hitting the carpet.

The missing hand returned, this time resting on his right shoulder. Theother hand dropped from his hair to his left shoulder and massaged slowly.

"Mmmm, that's good."

Mulder worked silently, efficiently. When Alex's knotted muscles began toloosen, he stopped and moved to the side of the chair.

"Open your eyes."

Alex's eyelids slid open and he looked to his right.

So much for calm.

A swollen cock bobbed invitingly below his face. His hand went to it immediately,grasping it at the base. He bent over and took the tip into his mouth, dragginga soft moan from Mulder. He opened his throat and swallowed the entire lengthof it.

Mulder's eyes rolled up into his head and he gripped handfuls of dark hair.

The blood roared through Alex's veins once again as he sucked hungrily athis lover. He moaned his protest as the hands in his hair began to pullhis head up and away. He opened his eyes and met the amber-flecked gazeof his Fox.

"Sorry," Mulder panted. "Had to stop you." He stradledAlex once again and sat down. Two rigid cocks bobbed and bumped againsteach other. Mulder pitched forward for better contact.

Alex threw his head back and blew out a heavy breath.

Mulder leaned all the way forward until his chest was resting against Alex's."Does that feel good, Alex?" He rocked his hips back and forth."Does it?"

Alex gritted his teeth. "Yes..."

The older man leaned back, breaking off a good portion of the contact. "Alex."

"Hmm."

"Take off my shirt."

Alex forced his eyes to open as he reached for the first button of his partner'sshirt. Mulder stroked both cocks ever so gently, together in one hand asAlex fumbled with the button. His hands shook so much, it was nearly impossiblefor him to get the small disk through the hole.

With the first button finally undone, he reached for the second. Muldersqueezed them together in his hand and Alex nearly lost it. He stopped strugglingwith the button and issued a loud groan.

"Come on, Alex. Take off my shirt and you can have me..."

Short, fast breaths came from the open mouth as Alex resumed his fight withthe second button. "Fox," he stammered. "I can't. I...myhands are shaking too much..."

"No shirt, no Fox," he warned in a low teasing voice.

Alex grimaced and tried again. Finally, he'd had enough.

"Fuck!"

With little more than a deep growl, he grasped the shirt and yanked it apart,sending buttons flying everywhere. He pulled it from Mulder's body and threwit to the floor. "There you go," he whispered roughly. "It'soff."

"That's the second shirt you've ruined..."

Alex reached down swiping away the fluid that leaked from the tip of Mulder'scock and used it and his own, to lube himself. "Fuck the shirts."He lifted Mulder and slouched down a bit. When the older man was again lowered,he gasped. A hot, hard presence had made itself known just behind him. Itpressed urgently against his ass. He locked eyes with the man underneathhim.

"I can't stand it anymore, Fox. Come on..."

Still held by his lover's eyes, Mulder lifted himself a bit. Alex graspedhis own cock by the base and guided it to the small opening. Mulder loweredhimself slowly, wincing as he felt every inch of the thick shaft work it'sway up into him.

Alex removed his hand and pushed as he pulled Mulder's hips down, insuringthat he was as far inside of his lover as he could get. He held on to thelean hips, not moving a muscle. His eyes closed and he fought to regainhis composure.

Mulder understood and remained still, taking the opportunity the study thetaut face in front of him.

So different from his own. Rounder. Less angular. Long, thick eyelashes.Dark. Tempting, bow-shaped mouth. Definitely a nicer nose than his own....abeautiful face, almost angelic in repose. Downright malevolent when he wasangered. Completely changeable. Utterly fascinating...always gorgeous.

The green eyes opened and looked up into his face. They flicked back andforth, searching his expression.

"What is it?" Alex whispered.

Mulder smiled serenely. "I love you."

Alex's heart leapt in his chest. He wrapped his arms around Mulder's backand pulled him down for a lingering kiss. He began to move beneath him,thrusting carefully.

Mulder moaned into that beautiful bow-shaped mouth and moved with him. Hefelt Alex's hands on his chest, pushing him away, urging him into a straightsitting position.

"I want to look at you," Alex said softly, caressing his chest."You're so beautiful when I'm fucking you..."

"Christ, Alex..." Mulder moved with him, establishing a perfectrhythm.

"Remember..." Alex grimaced, thrusting deeply. "Rememberwhen I told you once, that I could make you come twenty times a day, justto see the look on your face?"

Mulder smiled and closed his eyes briefly.

Alex grinned up at him. "I'd like to see how close to that number wecan come."

Mulder's laugh ended on a faint moan. "I don't think we'll come tooclose today."

"Mmmm....I know....maybe we can start early tomorrow..."

"Alex."

"Hmm?"

He grasped one of the hands that still stroked his chest and placed it overhis straining erection. "Make me come."

Alex's fingers closed around him. "With pleasure, lisa."

Mulder's head fell back and a long groan slipped past his lips as his lover'shand expertly milked his cock. He gripped Alex's shoulders and ground hisass into the younger man's groin, tightening his muscles.

"Aww, baby..." Alex grated, "God, that's good..." Hepumped Mulder's cock faster. "Come on, beautiful...come with me..."

Mulder began to rock frantically against his lover. "Alex...I'm...it'scoming..."

"Let it. I'm with you. I'm with...you...."

Two bodies, drenched in sweat, thrashed against each other, giving in tothe storm that overtook them. Two voices combined, doubling the deafeningcries that emanated from constricted throats. Two hearts stopped then startedagain, beating triple-time as lovers clung shuddering, to each other.

They remained connected for a time, neither man possessing the strengthnecessary to move. Mulder trembled in Alex's arms, his head resting heavilyagainst the younger man's shoulder.

Alex's dark head lay against the perspiration dampened, golden-brown silkto his right. His chest heaved in an effort to drag air into his lungs.Whenhe'd successfully managed to gain some control of his body, he moved a hand,sweeping it up and down his Fox's slick back.

"I think I'm dead..." He kissed the side of Mulder's head. "You'reincredible, you know that?"

Mulder sighed and snuggled against Alex's shoulder. "*We're* incredible."

Alex hugged him. "I'll buy that." He pulled Mulder's head backand kissed him again and again. "How about a nice warm shower?"

Mulder traced the line of his jaw with the tip of one finger. "Soundsgood...if I can stand up long enough, that is."

"Want a few more minutes?"

"I think I *need* a few more minutes."

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Alex pulled him closer. "Okay. Just rest." He kissed Mulder'sbare shoulder. The taste of salt was strong on his lips. "Mmmm."He opened his mouth and slid it along the smooth skin, licking at the quicklydrying sheen of moisture. "You taste good."

Mulder moaned softly into Alex's neck as he continued to bathe his lover'sshoulder.

"Umm," He disengaged himself and stood on shaky legs. "Let'stake that shower, now."

Alex looked up at him. "You okay?"

Mulder gave him a soft smile and nodded. "Let's go."

They linked fingers and moved slowly toward the bathroom. Once in the shower,they washed each other gently, rinsed and dried off, then fell into bed.Alex curled himself tightly around Fox and almost immediately, they fellinto a deep, dreamless sleep.


Saturday, 11:32 a.m.

Mulder shifted the two bags he carried to his left hand. "We got somepretty neat stuff, huh?"

Alex chuckled. It's certainly different from any Christmas ornaments I canremember."

"Me too. I think that's what I like best about them. No reminders ofmy childhood."

They walked in silence for a few moments, then Mulder spoke up again. "ThinkScully'll like her gift?"

Alex shrugged. "I think so, but what do *I* know? You've got a muchbetter idea about that than I do." he swung the three bags he carried."Let's dump this stuff in the car, okay? I'm getting pretty sick oflugging them around."

With the bags safely stored in the small trunk of the car, they returnedto the middle of the shopping center.

"Okay," Alex announced, checking his watch. "How about wesplit up for an hour, then meet back here and go have some lunch?"

"Sounds good. I'm a little hungry now, I should be starving by then."He leaned across the short distance and gave Alex a quick peck on the mouth."See you in an hour."

Alex smiled, pleasantly surprised at Fox's public display of affection.He stood watching his lover as he walked away, momentarily taken with thebeauty of his lean frame as it moved smoothly through the sparse crowd.The increasing tightness in his pants snapped him out of his trance. "Ah,shit." He smiled, rolled his eyes up and strolled in the opposite direction.


12:01 p.m.

Mulder walked the narrow path, wandering by shop after shop. What the hellwas he going to buy? He'd never shopped for a man before, not even his father.His mother always handled things like that.

Hell, this should be easy but if anything, it was somehow harder. Maybeit was because Alex was his lover. He sure as hell couldn't just pick upthe first nailgun that caught his eye...it had to be a meaningful gift.But what was he supposed to get that was masculine *and* sentimental? Thetwo just didn't seem to go together.

He stopped in front of the jewelry store where they had bought Scully'sbracelet.

//Hmm. That watch of his looks pretty old...//

While he stood contemplating, an odd feeling came over him. Not terriblystrong, but it was there. Someone was watching him. Not Alex, he knew verywell what that felt like and this was not it. He searched the reflectionsin the window in front of him but detected nothing out of the ordinary.He shrugged the sensation off and entered the store.

"Hello again!" The salesman smiled. "Something else you need?"

Mulder returned the smile. "Yeah, I'd like to see some watches."

"For a lady or gentleman?"

"A man's watch."

"For yourself?"

"No uh...it's a gift...for the man I was in here with earlier...theseare nice." He pointed to a grouping of Movados.

"Any of the six would be an excellent choice. Which do you prefer?"

Mulder studied the watches then pointed. "That one."

The salesman opened the case and presented the watch for inspection. Ashe rattled on about it's features, Mulder began to frown. There was thatfeeling again...

"It's very handsome but I think you'd look better in gold."

Mulder's head snapped around and met the brown gaze of the man behind him.

"Thanks for your opinion but it's not for me."

The man smiled. "I see."

Two words. Yet they felt like ants crawling straight up his spine. He turnedwithout another word and attempted to pick up his conversation with thesalesman.

"So you said that it's waterproof up to ninety nine feet?"

"Yes sir."

"It's a nice little piece of machinery. Lucky guy...your dad, is it?"

Mulder's irritation began to show. "If you don't mind..."

"I'm sorry. I'll let you shop in peace."

The man sauntered quietly to the door and disappeared onto the street.

Mulder turned back to the man behind the counter. "I'm going to takeit. Do you engrave?"

"Yes sir! I can have it done for you by tomorrow if you like."

"That'd be great."

"How would you like it to read?"

Mulder paused, not knowing exactly what to say. He wanted it to mean somethingbut was afraid of getting too mushy. A thought and a smile came to his lips.

//Ah, what the hell?//

"I'd like it to read, ëMy heart's deepest secret. I love you.Lisa'."

They reviewed the spelling and type of script. When it was exactly how Mulderwanted it, he pulled his credit card out and handed it to the salesman.

"Will that be all now, sir?"

Mulder was about to say yes, when something else caught his eye. "Uh,hang on." He walked over to another case and chose a small pair ofsilver, wide-band hoop earrings. "I'll take those."

When he'd completed his business, he left the shop and started off downthe street. A few yards away, a voice brought him to a halt.

"So...did you get it?"

His skin began to crawl.

"What is it that you want?"

"Just looking for a friend."

Mulder twisted his lip and looked away. Before he could give one of hispattented Mulder responses, he was knocked off balance.

"You've got a very nice mouth."

Mulder stared, shaken.

"It's sexy."

//What the fuck?//

"Have lunch with me."

Mulder gave himself a shake.

Jesus Christ, the man was *hitting* on him.

Completely at a loss for words, he just stood and continued to stare. Heblinked as the man waved a hand in front of his face.

"You in there?"

Mulder found his voice. "Look...I don't know what you think..."

"I think you're a very handsome man and that I'd like to get to knowyou. Nothing menacing in that..."

Sure there was. Plenty.


Alex stepped out of a small shop and scanned the street. Catching sightof Fox not more than ten yards away, he began to smile but it soon fadedas he observed the expression on his face. Something wasn't right. His eyesflicked to Fox's immediate left and narrowed on the man who was talkingto him. Average height. Decent build. Brown hair. Tanned. Lascivious grinplastered to his face. The muscle in Alex's jaw clenched.


Mulder shook his head almost imperceptibly as the man continued his attempt.

"Come on, just a little bite to eat." He moved closer and rana finger lightly down Mulder's arm. "And then...a little bite to eat..."

Mulder flinched and pulled away.

The man's smile grew wider. "Come on now, handsome. I wouldn't hurta hair on that pretty head..."

"Touch him again and I'll hurt yours...bad."

Alex walked up behind the man and passed him on his right. He came to standnext to Mulder and fixed an icy stare on the man in front of them.

The man looked him up and down and smiled. "I didn't mean any harm.I'm here alone and I'd just like to make some friends. I was inviting yourfriend here to have lunch with me, not realizing that he wasn't alone. Nomatter. How about all three of us get together?"

"Let's not and say we did." He looked to Mulder, who stood quietly,looking rather pale. He placed a hand at the small of his back. "Youokay?"

Mulder nodded.

"Let's go," he said softly. He shot the man a warning look andturned Mulder away.

"Get used to it," the man's voice trailed after them.

As they walked toward the restaurant that they'd decided earlier to havelunch at, Alex broke the silence. "Where'd he come from?"

"I don't know. I...I felt like I was being watched earlier, and whenI was in a store, he was there behind me and tried to strike up a conversation.I managed to get rid of him, but when I left the store, he was there again...Alex,I've never been hit on by a man in my *life*. Why now? Is there some kindof sign on me now, that only gay men can see?"

"Would you believe me if I said yes?"

Mulder cast a sideways glance at him.

"It's a phenomenon. I wish I could explain it. I think it comes withtime and experience. I could look into this crowd and pick out every gayman here."

"But what is it? Is it a look? The way a person moves? And if it is,have I changed in any of those ways?"

"You're the same man you've always been. You don't look or act anydifferently than you did a year ago."

"Then...how?"

Alex shrugged. "I don't know. But I do know about people like thatguy. He's a predator. He spends his time in places like this, trolling forinnocent, unsuspecting young men. And he'll find one. Maybe two. He'll useem. He'll ruin em...then he'll move on to the next." He shrugged. "Nodifferent than the men who prey on women or kids."

"I'm not a kid, Alex. Yet I was completely stunned. I didn't know whatthe hell to do."

"You don't have to be a kid to be innocent. And you are. In as faras this life goes. Creeps like him can smell that a mile away."

They arrived at the restaurant and were seated at an outdoor table. Alextook the seat right beside Mulder, sensing the other man's remaining insecurity.Their knees touched lightly and he covered Mulder's hand with his own.

"You're still pretty shook up, aren't you?"

"I feel stupid."

"Why?"

"It's just that...I'd never been attracted to a man before in my *life*.Never gave it a thought till I met you. And even now...I can't even saythat since we've been together, I've looked at a man and thought that hewas attractive. It's just you, Alex. The thought of another man touchingme makes me cringe."

Alex smiled and squeezed his hand. "I can't say that I'm sorry to hearthat."

"But...what does that make me? I mean, if you're gay, you're attractedto men in general, right?"

"Yeah..."

"So were does that leave *me*?"

"I don't know. Is it really so important for you to categorize yourself?"

"No...I guess not. It's just got me curious."

Alex smirked at him. "You always *have* been in a class by yourself...nosense in changing things now."

Mulder looked down and smiled. A loosely closed fist came up under his chinand tapped gently. "Feel any better?"

He looked up. "Yeah." He started to chuckle. "You were prettyupset."

"When?"

"When you were walking toward us and that guy touched my arm."

Alex raised an eyebrow. "Damn straight. Nobody paws you but me."

Mulder gave him a smoky grin. "That sounds just a little possessive."

Alex leaned forward until their lips were almost touching. "Yup. Youuh, got a problem with that?"

The tip of Mulder's tongue crept out and slid along Alex's bottom lip. "Nope."

"Good." He pressed forward, joining their mouths for a brief butthorough kiss.


They spent over an hour, having a leisurely lunch and talking about nothingin particular. On the way back to the car, Mulder looked down at all thebags Alex was carrying.

"What's all that?"

"Nevermind."

"Come on..."

"You'll find out."

"That's an evil grin."

"You think?"

"Alex..."

"What?"

"What did you do?"

"Only one bag contains your Christmas present. The rest of this stuffis for us and that's all I'm going to say."

"Fine. I can wait."

"You're going to *have* to."

When they reached the car, Alex put the bags into the trunk and they wereon their way.

Halfway back to the house, Mulder turned to him and began to stare. He glancedover and smiled.

"What are you doing?"

"How come I've never seen you with an earring?"

Alex smiled and frowned at the same time. "Where'd *that* come from?"

"Your ears are pierced. How come you don't wear any earrings?"

"God, I had that done ages ago. I'd wear one, sometimes both when Iwent out but it's been a while."

"How come?"

He shrugged. "No reason. I just don't think about it, I guess."

"The holes still look open."

"Yeah...what's this fascination with my ears all of a sudden?"

Mulder smiled and reached into the small bag he'd kept with him. He openedthe small black velvet box and pulled out one of the two silver earringsand held it up on the tip of his finger. Alex grinned.

"That for me?"

"Uh huh. Do you mind?"

"No. Whatever turns you on."

As Alex drove, Mulder worked one silver hoop into the hole in his ear thenleaned back and looked at him. The corner of Alex's mouth tilted upwardas he glanced at himself in the rearview. He reached across the seat andstroked his partner's cheek.

"Thank you...so...do you like it?"

Mulder nodded slowly. "It's sexy." He moved in and whispered againstAlex's ear. "Cause you know, you weren't sexy *enough*." The tipof his tongue tickled the sensitive interior.

Alex tipped his head into the caress. "Come on, now. Behave yourself."

Mulder pulled away and sat heavily in his seat. "All right..."

"Just till we get back to the house. Then you can be as bad as youwant."

"I don't think I'll feel like it by then."

Alex shot him an amused look. "Oh, who do you think you're kidding?"

Mulder changed the subject. "Did you have anything planned for tomorrowafternoon?"

"No..."

"I've got to go back into town for a little bit."

"Okay."

"Alone."

"Oh?"

"Yeah."

"Got a hot date with that guy?"

"You're a real comedian."

"Well, why do you have to go alone?"

"To pick up your Christmas present if you must know."

Alex smiled. "Oh. What'd you get?"

Mulder quirked an eyebrow.

"What? I won't tell anyone..."

"Alex?"

"Yeah?"

Mulder ran a hand lightly up and down Alex's thigh. "Shut up and drive.">>
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3:36 p.m.

Once their purchases were all put away, Mulder suggested a walk.

"But," Alex protested, winding his arms around his lover's neck,"I thought you wanted to..."

Mulder silenced him with a kiss. "I do."

Alex drew back and studied him. A slow smile curved his lips. "Okay....let'sgo."


4:14 p.m.

They walked along silently through the stretch of trees behind the property.Only the distant sound of the ocean and the occasional cry of a bird followedthem. Every few feet, the sunlight broke through the canopy of green, glintingoff of the silver of Alex's new earring. Mulder inhaled deeply, imaginingthe combined feel of soft flesh and smooth metal in his mouth. The soundcarried to Alex's ear.

"You tired?"

"No...uh...yeah. Let's stop for a minute?"

Mulder sat down on a nearby rock while Alex leaned back against a tree andlooked around.

"I'm going to miss this place."

"We've got another month."

"I know but look how fast the last month has gone."

"True." Mulder's gaze swept over the long frame draped casuallyagainst the tree. A small, thoroughly evil smile crossed his lips. "Alex."

Green eyes turned back to him. "Hmm?"

"Unbutton your shirt."

Alex cocked his head. "I'm sorry, what did you say?"

Mulder's eyes darkened. "I said...unbutton your shirt."

"That's what I thought you said."

"Do it."

Alex's hands rose slowly to his shirt and began to undo the buttons, hiseyes never leaving his lover's face. When that was done, his hands fellaway and he waited for further instruction.

"Your pants."

He looked down. "Yeah, they're my pants. Or they could be yours....no,no, I'm pretty sure they're mine..."

"Take them *off*, wise ass."

"Oh." He popped the button and worked the zipper down. He watchedMulder draw a deep breath and let it out slowly. He smiled and pulled thepants down past his knees then let them drop the rest of the way to theground. He straightened his posture and stared at Mulder.

"Underwear too."

When the white boxer-briefs were also discarded, he leaned back again, againstthe tree, giving Mulder an enticing, unobstructed view of his most impressiveerection.

Mulder chewed the inside corner of his lip. "Do something for me."

Alex waited quietly for him to voice his request.

"I want to watch you."

"Watch me what?"

"I want to watch you get yourself off."

"You do?"

Mulder nodded. "Go ahead, Alex. Touch yourself."

Alex's eyes grew heavy as he brought his hand to his mouth. Slowly he lickedhis palm, then slid it down his chest, over his lean stomach and down tohis twitching cock.

Mulder watched entranced, as Alex just barely skimmed the shaft again andagain. His eyes were closed now, his head rolling forward then arching backagainst the trunk of the tree. His left hand flattened out beside his hip,his fingers flexing occasionally against the trunk. Mulder's voice driftedto him.

"Does it feel good?"

Alex swallowed hard. "Yes."

"Is it exciting for you to know that I'm watching you?"

The barest hint of green became visible through the dark veil of eyelashes."Very."

Mulder licked the corner of his mouth. "You're ready to come already,aren't you?"

"Oh, yeah."

"Go ahead."

Alex's hand closed around his cock and began to stroke slowly. His thumbcircled the head, spreading the slick fluid that had leaked from the tip.

Mulder rose and stalked toward him. His hand stilled.

"Don't stop," Mulder whispered, moving past him and around thetree.

Alex resumed, now using long, steady strokes.

"That's it," his lover encouaged softly as he moved around toAlex's left side. "Do it, baby."

A small, unintelligible sound left Alex's throat and his hand moved faster.

"Come on. I'm waiting. Come for me."

Alex gritted his teeth as he pumped his cock harder.

"Now, Alex."

Alex's hoarse cries were absorbed into the dense expanse of trees. His bodytightened and arched as a warm geyser flowed from it and on to the ground.

"Beautiful." The breathless groan rumbled into his ear, then hewas spinning, being turned around to face the tree. His upper body was pressedagainst the trunk and the hands at his hips pulled, forcing him to spreadhis legs for balance. There was a small flurry of activity behind him, thenhe felt the urgent press of solid muscle against his ass. His arms wentaround the tree in an extra measure of support. Gentle hands spread hischeeks and that hardness pushed into him.

"Nnnnhhh...uhh...Fox..."

Once Mulder was completely embedded in his lover, he leaned forward, drapinghimself over the damp, shirt covered back. He reached around and lovinglystroked Alex's sticky, not altogether limp cock. He murmured against thedamp material. "Squeeze me, Alex." He stood motionless as Alexobediently began to tighten his muscles, effectively milking his cock. Mulderclenched his teeth and endured the exquisite torture in silence. Not longafter it began, he started to feel that familiar tightening in his lowerbody. Soft whimpers pushed past his lips.

Alex knew those sounds all too well. Fox was ready. He squeezed harder andfaster, drawing louder, harsher moans from his lover. All at once, Mulder'smuscles tensed up and his fingers dug into Alex's skin.

Alex continued, draining the older man of every drop. Only when he felthis partner's body go slack and heard the cries change to soft purrs, didhe relax his grip.

Mulder slipped out of him and slid to the ground. Alex dropped down besidehim, kissing the perspiration drenched face and hair. "I really amgoing to miss this place," he whispered against his Fox's cheek. Hetucked an arm around his lover's heaving chest and closed his eyes.


7:23 p.m.

Mulder sat at one end of the long table, finishing his dinner. Alex satto his immediate right, having long abandoned the whole "look but don'ttouch, stay as far away from each other as possible while you're eating,"romanticthing.

"Want to go out, tonight?"

Mulder set his fork down and picked up his wine glass. "Where?"

Alex shrugged innocently. "While we were in town, I'd spoken to somepeople. They told me that there was a nice club not all that far from there.I thought we could go. Listen to a little music, have a drink or two..."

Mulder paused a moment, then replied. "Yeah. Sure, why not?"

"Great." Alex's eyes sparkled. "Why don't we go get readyin a little while?"

Mulder's eyes narrowed. "Okay..."


8:34 p.m.

Both men walked naked from the bathroom, freshly showered and more thana little aroused from the merciless teasing each inflicted on each other.

"You know," Mulder informed, "this is *not* a good thing.How are we going to walk into a public place in this condition?"

Alex grinned. "Believe me when I tell you, we probably won't be theonly ones."

"Alex, where the hell are we going?"

"I told you."

"I have a feeling there's more to it than you're letting on."

Alex flashed him a tiny smile before going to the closet and pulling outa grey suit and shirt. "Why don't you wear this?"

Mulder's eyes darted down to the clothing just placed on the bed, then backup to Alex who had already retreated to the other closet.

"Alex..."

Alex had pulled out his own clothes and was now rummaging in the bottomof the closet. "Hmm?"

Mulder sighed heavily. "Nevermind." He reached for his underwearbut Alex's voice stopped him.

"Uh...hold on."

Mulder turned to face him. He stood a feet away, clad only in a pair offorest green silk shorts. He held his hands behind his back.

"What?"

"Got something for ya."

"This wouldn't be something out of those mysterious bags from thisafternoon..."

Faint smirk. "It would." He sauntered toward Mulder and held upa leather object. "Wear this for me."

Mulder tilted his head from side to side. "Okay, call me stupid, butI have no idea what the hell that is."

"Allow me to demonstrate."

Alex grasped Mulder's cock and wrapped the three connected leather strapsaround it, buckling and adjusting each one. Each of the two remaining strapswent around the testicles, separating them. Mulder winced as he securedeach one snuggly.

"Shit, Alex..."

"Like that?"

Mulder drew a deep breath and let it out. "It's so...kinky. You don'tuh...you don't want me to wear this *out*, do you?"

"That was the idea. You don't have to if you don't want to..."

Mulder hesitated. Then a tiny smile slanted across his lips. He turned toget a pair of underwear.

"You don't need those."

"Alex...I need *some* kind of support."

Alex held up one finger and returned to the closet.

"More goodies from your bag of tricks?"

He returned with what looked like a ...

"Alex...is that a *leash*?"

Alex swung the fine gold chain around in his hand. The metal whistled throughthe air, creating a tiny breeze as it spun.

"Don't you wonder what that little ring is there on the last strap?"

Mulder looked down. "Okay, yeah. Now that you mention it..."

Alex hooked the clasp at the end of the chain on the ring and tugged.

Mulder grimaced. "Oh, you shouldn't do that...I'm just about readyto..."

"Don't worry," Alex replied matter of factly. "You won't."

He unhooked the clasp and drew the end of the chain through the ring, bringingboth ends around Mulder's waist, then securing it snugly so that his cocklay virtually immobile against his belly. A few inches of the chain dangleddown the back, tickling his ass as it swung freely.

Alex couldn't resist. He bent over and lashed the head of Mulder's cockwith his tongue.

"Ah, *shit*. Alex, don't..."

Alex straightened up and kissed him on the mouth. "God, you *are* beautiful.I just want to jump you where you stand."

Mulder gave him a cocky smirk. "That'd just sort of blow your plansall to hell though, wouldn't it?"

Alex snorted. "Yeah, so get dressed, would you?"

An hour later, they arrived at the club.

"This is nice," Mulder observed as they walked in. "Who toldyou about it?"

"Just some people I met in town. It's supposed to have a nice mix ofpeople."

"Not very crowded."

"It's still early. Plus, how many people could there *be* on this island,anyway?"

They tucked themselves away in a comfortable corner booth where they couldsit virtually unnoticed, but still had an unrestricted view of the restof the club.

"Want a drink?" Alex asked, running the back of two fingers downthe sleeve of Mulder's jacket.

"Yeah, I think I could use one about now."

Alex nuzzled his cheek. "Why do you say that?"

"I'm still trying to get behind the fact that I'm sitting in a publicplace, wearing this thing."

"Is it uncomfortable?"

"Well, not in a *bad* way..." He released a soft hiss as Alex'shand dropped down to his crotch and the back of it brushed lightly backand forth. "*Alex*..."

"That feel good?"

"Too...*too* good. Do you plan on torturing me like this, all night?"

"Aww, lisa. Don't think of it as torture. Think of it as a promise."

"Yeah, well your *promises* are going to kill me."

Alex chuckled into his shoulder. "What do you want to drink?"

"Beer is fine."

"Be right back." He gave Mulder's bound cock a gentle but unexpectedsqueeze, then slipped away, leaving his lover squirming in the agonizingaftermath of his touch.

"Shit, shit, shit," he muttered, throwing his head back againsthis seat and closing his eyes. He inhaled deeply, concentrating on the sensationsgenerated by even his slightest movement. He smiled, remembering the rideover in the car. He thought he'd come in his pants at least half a dozentimes, but snug leather held him in check.

//Ohhh, Alexei. Payback is a bitch...//


A sobbing laugh tumbled from Alex's lips as he approached the corner booth.

//Why the fuck don't I have a camera?//

Fox sat sprawled over the burgundy leather seat, arms draped loosely acrossthe back, eyes closed.

Alex watched him, transfixed, until the hazel eyes opened just a crack.

Like this morning, Mulder had the sudden feeling that he was being watched.Only this time, he knew who's eyes were on him. His chin tilted down a fractionand his eyelids lifted just a bit more.

Had Alex's grip tightened any more around the bottles, they would have shattered.The golden-brown head tipped seductively to the side and those lush lipsparted and began to move. Alex had to concentrate to decipher the soundsthat came out of them.

"What are you doing?"

The slitted amber-flecked eyes watched his trembling hand place the bottlesdown on the table. They slid back up to his face and remained concentratedon it as Alex moved forward and sat beside him.

"I'm trying to figure out a way to do you right here without anybodynoticing."

Mulder studied him through the veil of his lashes. "You'd do it too,if you could...wouldn't you?"

Alex lowered his head until their lips were almost touching. "In aheartbeat." He sucked in a breath as the older man's tongue featheredhis lips. "Christ, I want you."

Mulder gave him a lazy grin. "Yeah?" His hand left the back ofthe seat and landed in Alex's lap, stroking the solid bulge beneath theblack material of his pants. Alex's eyes closed and his respiration deepened.

As Mulder continued to rub the lover's cock, he whispered softly againsthis cheek.

"You know what I want to do?"

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"Tell me."

"I want to get down on my knees under this table and suck you tillyou explode."

Alex's cock jumped beneath Mulder's fingers. He swallowed hard then spoke."Putting aside the fact that there are about two dozen other peoplein this place, don't you think that would be kind of messy? I mean, I don'twant to walk around with a big old wet spot on my pants..."

"There wouldn't be one."

"Oh, no? And how would you manage that?"

"Same way you did that day in my kitchen. Remember?"

Alex's lips twitched in the hint of a smile. "Vaguely."

The tip of Mulder's tongue tickled the inside of his ear. "Only vaguely?"

Long shuddering sigh. "Okay, so I remember it down to every last drop."

"I thought so."

"Of course, I washed you with a warm cloth afterward..."

"I'll wash you with my warm tongue."

"Mmmmm.......as much as I'd love to, we can't."

"But it's so dark and secluded here...please, Alex."

Alex chuckled. "I can't believe Fox Mulder is asking me to let himgive me a blow job in the middle of a club, surrounded by dozens of people."

Mulder began to knead him gently. "We're not in the *middle* of theclub and we're not *surrounded* by people. No one will see..."

"That may be true, but I'm goddamn sure that they'll hear. There'sno way in *hell*, I'd be able to keep quiet." He grasped Mulder's hand."And if you don't stop doing that..."

"What?"

"You *know* what."

Mulder removed his hand. "Okay, fine. I'll be good."

Alex groaned softly. "Don't do that."

"Do what?"

"*That*. That..that *thing* you're doing with your lip."

"I'm not doing anything with my lip..."

"Oh yes you are, and you *know* it drives me insane which is exactlywhy you're doing it."

Mulder reached for his beer. "I don't know what you're talking about."He raised the bottle to his lips and took a long swallow. He pulled it awayfrom his mouth only long enough to run his tongue around the smooth brownlip. His eyes drifted shut and he opened his mouth, taking in a few inchesof the neck.

Alex forgot to breathe.

Mulder pulled back almost to the end of the bottle, licking the undersideof it, then descended again. His head moved almost imperceptibly, from sideto side, then pulled all the way up and away from the bottle. He cut hisgaze up and to the right, looking at Alex from the corners of his eyes.

Alex's voice came out in a weak croak. "Fucking cock tease."

Mulder skimmed Alex's lips with the rim of the bottle. "I love it whenyou talk dirty to me."

Alex sighed in mock exasperation. "What the hell am I going to do withyou?"

"You *know* what to do with me." Mulder set the bottle down onthe table then cupped the back of Alex's head and pulled him down for along kiss. When they separated, Alex snatched up his beer and drained halfthe bottle.

"Yeah." He put the bottle down then tangled his fingers in Mulderhair. "I know what to do." His mouth came down again on his lover's,drinking in the soft moan. His tongue swept inside, slowly caressing it'smate, teasing and tempting. He broke the kiss suddenly and brought the bottleback to his mouth. He finished off the remaining contents then looked backdown at his Fox, who had again rested his head against the back of the seatand closed his eyes. Alex brushed the bottle against his cheek. "Ineed something a little stronger than beer if I'm going to endure an entireevening here with you."

Eyes still closed, Mulder smiled. "That almost sounds insulting."

"You know what I mean." He started to move out of the booth. "Wantsomething else?"

Mulder's eyes opened half-way. "I'll just stick with the beer."

"Okay." He paused before standing. "I'm almost afraid toleave you alone."

Mulder gave him an amused look. "Why?"

"I'll probably come back and find a hoard of men buzzing around you."

"What?"

"The vibes you're radiating can be felt all over this building, I'llbet. Every man in this joint is probably sniffing the air. If they findyou alone, they'll be on you like flies."

Mulder's lips twisted into some semblance of a grimace. "Stop."

"I'm not kidding."

"Okay, thanks for the warning."

Alex winked. "Be back in a few."

Mulder picked up his beer and waved him off.


10:04 p.m.

A man watched Alex approach the bar. He stood quietly at a distance, studyingthe young man as he ordered an Absolut and another Corona. When Alex wasfinished, he spoke up.

"Excuse me, please."

Alex turned in the direction of the soft, polite voice. He looked the manup and down making a snap assessment. Average height and build. Expensivelydressed. Perfectly coiffed silver gray hair and eyes that matched almostexactly.

The man smiled, revealing even white teeth. He waved a hand between Alexand the direction from which he had just come. "I couldn't help noticingyou and your companion. I do hope you don't mind me saying so but..."He glanced briefly toward the booth. "..he is exquisite." No onebut Fox would have recognized the slight change in Alex's expression. Theman continued. "As are you. You compliment each other beautifully."

"Yeah, thanks."

"You know, I do a terrible lot of traveling and it would be so muchmore enjoyable if I had a companion...or two."

"Good luck with your search."

"A tiny trace of a smile curved the man's thin lips. "I'm a verywealthy man."

"Congratulations."

"You would never want for anything..."

"Look man, I'm not interested in being your boy toy."

Gray eyes slid across the room. "Maybe your friend..."

"No."

"Are you sure? Perhaps I should ask him."

Alex's expression turned glacial. "Stay away from him."

One silver-gray eyebrow arched. "Are you afraid of what his answermight be? Or are you simply very protective of him? I wonder..."

"Wonder all you want. But leave him alone."

The man executed a shallow bow. "Have a lovely evening."

Alex paid the bartender, picked up his drinks and with one last icy glareat the man, started back toward his table.

"See?" Mulder smirked as Alex sat down. "No hoard of men."

"I'm shocked."

"I guess you're the only one in tune to my *vibes*."

"That's just great with me."

Mulder cocked his head and frowned at the younger man. "Alex, whatis it? You look a little ticked off."

The hard set of Alex's mouth softened. He cupped Fox's cheek and scattereda few light kisses across his face. "Nothing."

"Don't hand me that...did something happen at the bar?"

"Just some asshole. I took care of it."

"You took care of it, *how*?"

Alex laughed softly. "I didn't kill anybody, don't worry."

"You sure?"

"Did you hear any commotion?"

"No, but that doesn't mean anything. Can't you kill a person at closerange, in a crowd of people without anyone noticing?"

"I suppose I could if I had to...nevermind about that." He kissedhis lover's mouth tenderly. "How are you doing?"

"Okay." Mulder turned his head a bit, listening to the sensuousthrum of the music. He turned back to Alex, eyes glowing softly. "Wantto dance?"

"Really?"

"Really."

Alex shook his head. "You never cease to amaze me." He took Mulderby the hand and led him out to an open space on the floor. The older manslipped into his arms and they began to move, swaying gently among the othercouples.

Mulder rested his cheek against Alex's and closed his eyes. He whisperedinto his lover's ear.

"This feels so good."

Alex's right hand glided down to Mulder's lower back and he pressed theirhips together.

"How does *that* feel?"

His only answer came in the form of a long low sigh.

His hand slipped under the gray jacket and through the gray silk of theshirt, pulled at the chain around Fox's waist, drawing his cock up a littletighter. The older man's fingers clenched in Alex's shirt and his head droppeddown to his shoulder.

"Christ, Alex. What are you doing?" He gasped as Alex alternatelyslackened and increased the tension.

"Making you crazy."

"Yes, you *are*."

Alex's hand stilled but did not let go of the chain.

Fox rubbed his face into the hollow between Alex's shoulder and neck. "Don'tstop."

"I have to. All that whimpering is starting to draw attention."

"I'm not making any noise."

"Yeah, you really are."

Mulder nuzzled his neck as they continued to move. "Please..."

"You know I can't resist you when you ask me so nicely..." Alexgave the chain one more firm tug. Mulder's body jerked against him.

"God..."

"Okay," Alex released the chain. "That's enough for now."

Hopeful eyes turned to him. "More, later?"

"If you're good."

Mulder drew a deep breath and lowered his head to to the other man's shoulder.His body moved with Alex's as though they were one, flowing together withthe languid rhythm of the music.

When the song ended, they returned to their table. Alex slid into the boothfirst, Mulder right behind him, curling himself into his lover's side. Alexpetted the soft golden-brown head as it came to rest against his shoulder.

"I love you, lisa."

His murmured statment garnered an affectionate nuzzle from the man pressedagainst him.

They sat that way for long moments, each content in the role they'd slippedinto. Without discussion, Alex took charge for the remainder of the evening,rewarding his lover's joyful submission with soft words and loving touches.Mulder virtually purred with happiness, surrendering himself completelyto Alex's every whim. Responding to every touch, every look as though itwas the most intimate of caresses.

Two hours and half a dozen dances later, Alex made the announcement.

"I think we've both had about all we can take for one night. What doyou say we get out of here?"

"Okay. Let me just hit the men's room before we go." He startedto slide out of the booth when Alex grabbed his arm, stopping him.

"I want to find that leather back just the way I had it."

Mulder's skin tingled at the soft warning. "Be back in a minute."

Alex released his arm and watched him disappear into the crowd. He smiledto himself and lifted his glass to his lips.


Sunday, 12:53 a.m.

Mulder entered the large, spotless bathroom and went into a stall. He chuckledto himself as he looked down at his leather-manacled cock. Cerainly didn'twant anybody coming in and seeing *this*.

//God.//

His hypersensitvity made it almost impossible to get the straps undone buthe managed.

//All this trauma just to take a piss. Baby, you *are* going to pay...//

When he was through, he strapped himself back up, taking care to insurethat he'd done so exactly the way Alex had done it. He left the stall andas he was washing his hands, suddenly felt eyes on him. He looked into themirror and met the steady gray gaze of an older man, standing a few feetbehind him.

"Good evening."

Mulder hesitated, then nodded his greeting.

"Very nice club, isn't it?"

"Yeah."

"I had a brief conversation with your companion earlier."

Mulder turned to face him.

"Didn't he tell you?"

"He mentioned something about some asshole at the bar...was that you?"

The man chuckled. "Judging from his reaction to me, I would say thatyes, it was. What did he tell you?"

"He didn't."

"I thought not. I had informed him that I was in search of a travelingcompanion and he informed *me*, under no uncertain terms, that neither ofyou was interested."

"And?"

"He answered for you. Is that your feeling on the matter?"

"Yes."

"I also informed him that I am a very wealthy man. I can offer youa very comfortable life."

Mulder folded his arms across his chest and leaned against the sink. "Inreturn for?"

"Companionship."

"And?"

"You're a very handsome young man. And very intelligent, I'll wager.I'm sure you know what a man of my wealth and age would want with a beautifulyoung man such as yourself."

"Forget it."

"You would live a very pampered life. I can give you everything youcould ever want."

"I *have* everything I could ever want."

"Ah. Your friend out there? He seems a rather angry young man. Andterribly jealous." His eyes slid over Mulder. "Not that I canblame him for that. If you were mine, I probably wouldn't be especiallyfond of sharing you, either. As I said, I originally made the offer forthe both of you. It would be lovely having *two* handsome young men around.Now, if your worry is about leaving him, I would be more than agreeableto reiterate that offer. If you think you could talk him into it..."

Mulder chewed the inside corner of his lip. "You're nuts, you knowthat?"

"Oh, I've been called eccentric, but never *nuts*." He took astep forward. "What do you say?"

"I say no."

"I can't change your mind about that?"

"No."

The man smiled again. "Such loyalty in one so beautiful. I hope herealizes how fortunate he is."

Mulder pushed away from the sink and brushed by the man as he exited thebathroom.


1:20 a.m.

"I was about to go in after you," Alex joked. "Have troublewith the straps?"

"No. I was just talking to your friend."

Alex's brow crinkled. "My..."

"Yeah, you know. The asshole at the bar."

"Where?"

"Men's room. He bopped on in there while I was washing my hands. Ithink he followed me."

Alex was up and moving toward the men's room in a instant. Mulder caughthim by his arm and spun him around.

"Whoa. Where are you going?"

"I told him to leave you alone."

"I'm okay, Alex."

"What did he say?"

"He just offered to make me his pampered pet."

"I'll fucking kill him..."

"No, you're not. I handled it."

"Fox.."

"I know, you're worried about me after what happened yesterday morning,but that guy threw me because it was the first time and I was completelyunprepared. That didn't happen this time. I *handled* it, okay?"

"Yeah, but I can't believe he went after you after I warned him notto."

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Mulder wound his arms around Alex's neck. "Don't worry about it. Whenhe realized he wasn't getting anywhere, he gave up. Now, come on. You'vegiven him far too much attention. I'm feeling a little neglected."

Alex pulled him close. "You are?"

Mulder nodded, treating his lover to that little pout that always turnedhim to jelly.

"Well, we can't have that, can we?" His mouth closed over Mulder's,coaxing a soft moan from him. He broke the kiss and the older man inclinedhis head slightly, burying his face in Alex's neck. Alex stroked his backslowly. "Are you ready?"

"I've been ready for hours."

"I know you have. Let's go home so I can..." Alex looked up, feelinga presence. His body tensed and his arms unsconsciously tightened aroundMulder.

"Alex, what's..." Mulder shifted his head and saw the man he'djust left in the bathroom not more than five minutes before.

"What the fuck do you want?" Alex rumbled.

Mulder smiled to himself in spite of the nastiness that could so quicklydevelop from the confrontation. He snuggled closer to Alex, winding hisright arm around his lover's waist and running his left hand up and downhis chest. He looked up at the man through the fringe of his lashes.

The man observed him for a second then his eyes flicked up to Alex's face."I simply wanted to concede my loss. It's the gentlemanly thing todo."

"Your use of the word *loss*, implies that there was something foryou to lose in the first place."

"I suppose you could see it that way."

"There's no other way *to* see it."

Mulder tipped his head and strung a trail of kisses along Alex's jaw. "Comeon, baby. Let's go. Forget about this guy."

Alex closed his eyes and leaned into Mulder's kisses. His eyes reopenedslowly, to find the man still standing before them. Before he could sayanything, the stranger spoke.

"Not many young men would pass up what I have to offer. Consider yourselfa fortunate man." Gray eyes flicked appreciatively over Mulder, thencame back to meet Alex's granite gaze. "You're well-loved." Heglided away, leaving them alone.

Alex watched him for a few brief seconds, then turned his attention backto the man wrapped tightly in his arms. He brought a hand under Mulder'schin, holding it steady and covered his lips with his own. He explored thewarm interior of the older man's mouth while his other hand crept underhis jacket. He found the chain and pulled gently. Mulder groaned into hismouth.

"Have you any idea how hard I am right now?" he asked after pullingaway from the kiss. "Arousing is much too mild a word to describe thefeeling I got from you doing what you did right in front of that guy. You,my love, are a very bad boy...*God*, I love you."

Mulder rubbed his crotch against Alex's. "Let's get out of here."

They linked hands and walked out to the car. Mulder got in and sat as closeto Alex as he could, laying a hand on his thigh. He rested his head on Alex'sshoulder and closed his eyes. Alex kissed the top of his head and pulledout of the parking lot.

As they drove along in silence, Mulder's hand began to travel, moving upand down from Alex's knee to the top of his thigh.

"I thought you were asleep."

"Are you kidding? How can I sleep when all I can think about is gettingfucked?" He could hear the smile in Alex's voice.

"Slut."

"Whatever."

Mulder's hand wandered farther, skimming the diamond-hard bulge in his lover'spants.

"Mmmmmm......"

"Alex."

"Hmm?"

He reached for the zipper and began to pull it down. Next, he undid Alex'sbelt and button.

"Fox, what are you....aww, *shit*."

Mulder reached inside and pulled Alex's cock out from behind the slittedfold of his underwear. He stroked it gently, while his head lowered.

Alex grabbed a handful of hair. "Baby, as much as I'd love to, I reallydon't think..."

Mulder untangled Alex's fingers from his hair and buried his face in theyounger man's crotch.

Alex gritted his teeth and groaned harshly. "Jesus Christ..."

Mulder rubbed his face against the velvety shaft, swiping at it with histongue with every pass.

"Fox....cut it out..."

No response.

Alex winced. "Come on now, I'm serious. If you don't stop, and I meanright *now*, I'm going to..."

Mulder lifted his head. "You're going to what?"

Alex sighed and stroked his hair. "I'm going to come and I don't wantto do that. Not yet. First of all, I'll lose complete control and I reallydon't want to kill us both. And second...I want to be deep inside that prettyass of yours when I do."

"You have such a way with words." Mulder grinned, then again loweredhis head.

"Hey!"

"Relax." Mulder brushed his lips lightly along the shaft thenrested his cheek against it. He stroked Alex's thigh. "I'm not goingto make you come. I just want to be close to you."

"Well, that's sweet, but you're killing me."

"Just concentrate on the road. I promise, no teasing." He closedhis eyes, enjoying the heat pressed to his face and inhaled the clean, muskyscent that he'd come to know so well.

Alex's hand came down on the golden-brown head cradled in his lap. He combedhis fingers through the strands slowly. "I didn't think I could everbe this happy, you know?"

"I know. Me either...I love you, Alex." Mulder smiled, feelingAlex's cock twitch beneath his cheek. "ëI love you', has a sexualeffect on you?"

Alex laughed softly. "Almost anything you do or say has a sexual effecton me."

"That's good information to have..."

Alex tugged on his hair. "Oh, like you didn't know that already."

Mulder kissed Alex's cock and tucked a hand under his thigh. "I hadno idea..."

"Liar."

Silence fell between them for the rest of the drive. The only sound now,was the hum of the motor and Alex's soft singing.


2:32 a.m.

Alex pulled into the garage and killed the engine. He sat quietly, caressingthe head of the sleeping man. He almost hated to wake him, but...

"Baby..." He rubbed Mulder's shoulder.

"Hmm..."

"Wake up. We're here."

"Here?"

"Uh huh. Come on, you and I got some things to take care of."

"What things?" The sleepy voice mumbled from his lap.

Before he could respond, a warm, moist tongue began to lick his still veryhard cock from base to tip.

Alex's head fell back against the seat.

"You keep that up and we won't make it into the house."

Mulder ignored the warning until Alex pulled his shirt from the waistbandof his pants and gave the chain around his waist a good firm tug. He releaseda sharp groan and raised his head.

"Get out of the car," Alex instructed softly.

Both men got out simultaneously, Alex zipping his pants as he did. He motionedto Mulder with a small toss of his head. The older man obediently movedaround the car and came to stand before him. Alex pushed him back againstthe car and trailed his fingers slowly, up and down his chest. He leanedin as close as he could get and let his lips hover near Mulder's.

Mulder mouthed his name and tried to touch lips, but Alex would not allowany contact. His hands slipped downward, undoing the gray pants. He reachedaround Mulder's waist and unhooked the chain. He slid it out of the ring,then clamped the end onto the small gold circle. He backed away and pulledgently.

"Let's go."

Mulder hesitated for a moment, unable to help himself. He smirked and said,"So when Scully inevitably tells me that you're leading me around bymy dick, I...*aah*!" He gritted his teeth as Alex pulled once more,this time a little more insistently. He moved away from the car and followedAlex's lead. They walked through the back entrance of the garage into thehouse and up the steps to the second floor.

Once they reached the bedroom, Alex dropped onto the sofa and, still holdingon to the chain, started giving orders.

"Take off your jacket."

Mulder shrugged out of the jacket and let it fall to the floor.

"Now your shirt."

He looked down as he began to unbutton the shirt.

Gentle tug. "Look at me. You know," Alex observed Mulder as hiseyes rose, "your eyes are almost blue right now." He shook hishead. "I never met anyone who's eyes changed color before." Heshook his head. "You do amaze me in so many ways."

Keeping his eyes on Alex's, Mulder finished unbuttoning his shirt and shedit. He stood silently, waiting for further instruction. It came withoutdelay.

Alex's eyes dropped down to Fox's pants then back up to his eyes. He steppedout of his shoes then hooked his thumbs in his pants and slowly began topull them down. When the pants joined the other items on the floor, Alexsmiled. He swung the chain in a half circle and rose from the sofa. "Comehere." He walked over to the bed, pulling a naked, very much arousedman along behind him. He wrapped the chain twice around the bedpost andstroked the side of his Fox's stubbled face with the back of his hand. "Stayput, now."

Alex strolled over to the closet and reached into the bags at the bottom.Mulder watched warily as he approached, swinging a pair of fleece linedhandcuffs in one hand. In the other, he held a long piece of black silkymaterial. A flick of his wrist, and the silk floated up around Mulder'sneck. Alex drew his hand downward, allowing the material to slide over hislover's shoulder and down his chest.

"What's..."

"Shh."

Mulder closed his mouth and waited.

"Hands behind your back."

Mulder chewed the inside of his lip and did as he was asked. The cuffs weresnapped on snuggly, but not so tight as to be uncomfortable. Next, Alexbrought the black silk up to his face. He paused, meeting Mulder's eye."Do you trust me, Fox?"

Mulder stared back. "With my life."

Alex brought the material up to his eyes and secured it behind his head.He unwrapped the chain from around the bedpost and gently pushed Mulder,trembling, to his knees.

Deprived of sight, Mulder listened attentively to every small sound. Heheard a zipper being undone, then the swish of material, as Alex's pantshit the floor. He felt the approach then the warmth of a hand sliding alonghis face. Fingers threading through his hair and...something else. Hovering.Fractions of an inch in front of his face. Instinctively, his mouth openedand he began to search.

Alex held his cock by the base and teased the blindfolded man, skimmingthe tip lightly across his questing lips. Mulder began to moan impatiently.Fingertips caressed his jaw and a voice, soft and low taunted him.

"What is it, lisa? What do you want?" He lay the head of his cockjust inside the open mouth but quickly withdrew, pulling a frustrated whimperfrom Mulder. "Is that what you want?"

Mulder nodded.

"Well, far be it from me to deprive you." Alex thrust forward,filling the kneeling man's mouth. "There you go, baby." He rockedslowly, in and out. "That good?"

The vibration of Mulder's moan was his answer. He clenched both hands inthe golden-brown hair and continued to move. "God....suck me, baby."He grimaced as Mulder obeyed, applying a steady, rhythmic pressure to him."Mmm...yeah.....damn, you're good...."

A muffled whimper escaped Mulder's lips as he began to suck harder.

"No...baby, slow down..."

He couldn't. The desire to feel this man erupt in his mouth was overwhelming.It excited him beyond reason. His cock throbbed within the confines of theleather strapping, screaming for release.

Alex's fingers wove through his hair and forced his head back.

"*No*...."

"I told..." Alex paused, panting heavily. "I told you toslow...slow down...no more for you..."

"No...please, Alex. Please..."

"Sorry. Maybe next time you'll do what I tell you."

Mulder doubled over, wincing as if in pain.

"Please..."

"Please, what?"

"Please let me suck you. *Please*..."

Alex placed two fingers under Mulder's chin and lifted him into a straighterposition. He stroked his lover's cheek tenderly. "You really want itthat badly?"

Mulder nodded.

He felt movement and the sound of the chain being wrapped again, aroundthe bedpost. The warmth of Alex's presence was removed briefly but soonreturned.

"Open your mouth."

Mulder obeyed without hesitation. A smooth, blunt object was placed insidehis mouth and he knew immediately that although it *felt* real, this wasn'this Alex.

"Suck it."

Mulder closed his mouth around the dildo. If this is what Alex wanted, he'dgive him a show he wouldn't soon forget.

His head slid forward, slowly taking the latex shaft into his mouth, inchby inch. When he took it in as far as it would comfortably go, he beganto withdraw, moving his head from side to side. When he reached the tip,his tongue inched out, lapping quickly at the head.

Alex held the object tightly in his hand, watching hungrily as his lover'smouth, that...that lush, succulent mouth did to the dildo what it wantedso badly to do his cock.

Mulder's tongue swirled around the head again and again, then sucked theshaft halfway in, applying hard pressure and tugging at it. His chest heavedwith the effort it took to force the breath from his nostrils. Whether ornot he was conscious of it, Alex wasn't sure, but Mulder's hips began tomove slowly, thrusting into nothing.

Alex took hold of the chain once again and held it taut. Mulder releaseda small grunt and continued to move, pulling against the chain with everybackward thrust. His mouth worked the latex, still sliding over it in aslow, sinuous rhythm. Alex's eyes struggled to stay open. His lips partedand released tiny, labored breaths. He couldn't take another second of this,he couldn't...

A loud sob escaped Fox's throat as the tension on his cock was slackenedand the dildo was pulled from his mouth. Alex's hand came through his hairand jerked his head back.

"You drive me fucking insane, you know that?" A short, harsh laughburst past his lips. "Of course you know." His mouth slanted acrossthe trembling, swollen lips. "Every sound. Every goddamn little moveyou make, every flash of those eyes....they're all designed to drive meout of my fucking mind, aren't they?"

No answer.

"And the thing is, you don't even know you're doing it, half the time...whichonly makes it worse...get up." He hooked one hand under Mulder's arm,helping him to his feet, then pushed him back onto the bed. His hands wentto the leather strapping, undoing one snap at a time. Finally, Mulder wasfreed of his restraints. His cock throbbed in gratitude and anticipation.

Alex tucked a hand behind his shoulder and turned him onto his stomach.

//Ohhhh, shit.//

Mulder's hips jerked into the mattress once...and only once. A firm smackon his ass brought him to a halt.

"No, you don't." The soft voice loomed somewhere just above hishead. Then all at once, it was closer. On him. In him. "You don't comeuntil I tell you to. Understand?"

Mulder nodded and flinched as he felt the hand approach again. But it touchedhim gently, lovingly caressing the patch of skin that still stung mildlyfrom his slap. His hand left the slightly pink skin and the next thing Mulderfelt was that blunt latex cock, lightly grazing the cleft of his ass. Hetensed up automatically, drawing a chuckle from the man above him.

"Don't worry, lisa. When I finally decide to fuck you, it's going tobe with the real thing." He stroked the shaft over the rounded flesh,giving rise to tiny goosebumps. "So..." he dropped the dildo ontothe mattress by Mulder's hip, then stretched out beside him. Dark eyes traveledthe length of the magnificent body and his cock twitched uncontrollably.He wished again for the damned camera he hadn't thought to bring. What apicture this was. His Fox. His beautiful, beautiful Fox, blindfolded, handscuffed behind his back, lying helpless before him...completely at his mercy."...did you have a good time teasing me tonight? Hmm?"

No answer.

"That stunt with the beer bottle almost sent me over the edge. I wantedto throw you up on the table and...well, just use your imagination."He petted the golden-brown head affectionately. "And the whole scenewith that guy...did you see the look on his face? Did you notice the hungerin his eyes when he looked at you? Of course you did. It was me you werewrapped around, but I wasn't the only one being turned on and you knew it.Did you like that? Turning another man on right in front of me? *I* sortof enjoyed it, you know. But only because I know that you're *mine* andthat no other man will *ever* touch you." He licked a path from Mulder'squivering jaw to his ear. "You'll never let another man touch you...willyou, Fox?" >>
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"Never," Mulder gasped into the sheet.

"*Never*," Alex repeated, whispering harshly. He continued tostroke Fox's hair. "Are you tired, baby? Would you like to go to sleep?It's very late, you know."

Mulder shook his head frantically. "No...n-no..."

"You don't have to tell me no just to please me, Fox. You can go tosleep, it's okay..."

Mulder writhed against the mattress. "*Nooo*...don't leave me likethis Alex, please..."

"Okay, shhh baby, okay. Hang on..."

Mulder felt the mattress rise as Alex got up. He waited, shaking visibly,until his lover returned. The cuffs were unlocked, but only long enoughfor his hands to be pulled in front of him. Alex locked them again, thenpulled his hands over his head, slipping something between the cuffs andsecuring it to the horizontal post of the headboard. He turned Mulder ontohis side, rose briefly to remove the shirt he still wore, then dropped backdown onto the bed, pulling the older man back against him. His mouth unerringlyfound the erratic pulse, pounding in the slender throat, while one handidly stroked his chest.

"It's time, love." He brushed his fingers over one hard nipple."Are you ready?"

Mulder nodded, afraid to trust his voice.

"Now *remember*," he warned silkily, "you don't come untilI say you can. Understand?"

Another hasty nod.

Alex kissed his neck. "Good boy." His hand dipped down to Mulder'scock, two fingers scraping away the slick fluid that appeared at the tip.

Mulder turned his face into the pillows and groaned into them.

Alex ignored the sound. He concentrated on combining the fluid with hisown, preparing his cock. That done, he guided the shaft into the clutchingring of muscle, pushing forward slowly but steadily, forcing a long sobbingmoan past his lover's lips.

"Baby," he whispered. "Moy lisa. This is where I've wantedto be all night..." He shuddered as he withdrew, then slipped backin. "So warm. So tight..."

Mulder whimpered softly and pushed back with his hips. Alex grasped a nippleand twisted none too gently. Mulder's mouth dropped open but no sound wasemitted.

"Don't. Move." Alex observed his partner and smiled. He graspedthe dildo that was still beside Mulder's hip and brought it up to his lips."Your mouth is open, Fox. Is this what you're looking for?"

Mulder's mouth closed around the long shaft and began to lick and suck greedily.

"That's it, baby." Alex held the dildo while he pumped slowlyinto his Fox. "God, you're so gorgeous..." He nuzzled the backof his head. "Do you want to come, now?"

Mulder nodded, never letting go of the object in his mouth.

"Soon, love. Very, very soon." Alex increased the strength ofhis thrusts slightly. He positioned the free end of the dildo against thepillow so that it remained taut in Fox's mouth. His hand then slipped downto his lover's aching cock and grasped it at the base. A muffled sob soundeddeep in Fox's throat but he did not move for fear that Alex would stop andhe couldn't....he couldn't.

Alex worked the stony erection as he continued to thrust into the quiveringmuscle. "It's right there...isn't it?"

Mulder whimpered.

"You can...feel it. It's coming but...you won't let it...let it go....until...Itell you...to..." Alex thrust harder, driving into the older man now,with all his strength. His fist pumped quickly, drawing loud, anguishedmoans from his tortured Fox.

"Okay, baby...let it go...come...with me...."

Wild screaming sobs rose into the air, lasting for what seemed like an eternity.When all became quiet, they lay together, breathing heavily, far too drainedto move. Both men dozed off and on for at least half an hour before Alexfinally gained enough strength to release Fox from the cuffs. He untiedthe black silk and slid it away from his eyes.

Mulder blinked slowly, then focused on the face above him. Deep green eyesstared intently into his. A slow, lazy smile came to his lips.

"Next time," he croaked, unable to get his voice to work properly,"*your* turn."

Alex laughed softly and kissed his mouth. "Yes, *sir*." He woundan arm around his lover's waist and tucked his head under his chin.

Fox's arms encircled him and the two fell into a deep, satisfied sleep.


Monday, 11:45 a.m.

Mulder bit into the warm croissant, smeared with raspberry sauce.

"Hey, save some of that."

He looked up at Alex, sitting across from him at small the table on theveranda.

"Some of what?"

Wicked grin. "That raspberry sauce."

He closed his eyes and smiled, remembering their conversation from a coupleof nights before. "Ohhh, yeah. After last night...you still have theenergy for such lascivious thoughts..."

"Sure do." Alex raised an eyebrow. "You're going to tellme that you don't?"

Mulder tried to hide a grin. "I wouldn't say that."

"I thought not."

"What time is it?"

"Eleven forty eight. Got an appointment?"

"No, I just wanted to know what time it was...that okay with you?"

Mulder shrugged, popping the last of the croissant into his mouth. "Iguess."

"Thanks."

"What do you want to do today?"

Alex's head dropped back against the chair. "*Nothing*. I'm zonked."

"Yet, you're having thoughts of raspberry sauce..."

"Well....I don't have to move. You can lick it off of *me*..."

Mulder grinned, dipping his finger into the small bowl and dragging it acrossAlex's cheek. He pulled his chair alongside the other and delicately lappedup every last bit of the gooey sweetness.

Alex's eyes closed and soft sigh rose from his throat. "Bad Fox...bad,*bad*.

"You think so?" Wait till later..."

"Mmmmm, do I have to?"

"Yes. Let's go be beach bums for the day, what do you say?"

Alex opened his eyes. "Yeah, I guess I can handle that."

"Good. Finish your breakfast and let's go."


2:12 p.m.

Mulder rolled onto his stomach and rested his chin on his fist. He watchedfrom the shady shelter of the rocks that surrounded them, as the surf poundedagainst the shoreline. The man beside him slept peacefully. Had been forthe last half hour, now. He glanced at Alex and smiled soflty.

Pure heaven packed into a six foot, hundred and eighty pound, green eyedframe. What the hell else could he ask for? He flattened his hands and restedhis cheek on them, watching Alex's chest rise and fall. Watching the occasionalflutter of those impossibly thick eyelashes. Listening to the soft soundsof sleep he'd grown so accustomed to...

Alex moaned and shifted slightly. His eyes drifted open and focused on theman to his left. A sleepy smile curved his lips. "What are you doing?"

Mulder shook his head slowly. He lifted himself up onto his elbows, thenleaned in and planted a kiss on Alex's shoulder. "You know," hespoke in hushed tones, "there are still times when I look at you andfind it so amazing that we could go from practically killing each other,to this.

Alex looked up at him with a thoroughly solemn expression. "I know.I thank God every day for the second chance we've been given." He grazedMulder's cheek with the back of his hand. Mulder caught the hand and broughtit to his lips.

"I love you, Alexei."

Alex reached over and pulled Mulder down on top of him. "Even afterwhat I did to you last night?"

Mulder laughed softly. "*Especially* after what you did to me lastnight."

"So now you're my loyal sex slave?"

Mulder licked the side of his mouth. "Have been since the first dayyou touched me."

"Oh, so you're *easy*..."

"Only for you."

Alex looked up at him, eyes sparkling. "You mean I could have tiedyou up and tortured you way back in *June*? Shit."

Mulder nestled his head against Alex's shoulder. "Don't be too upset.You know, you never find out everything there is know about each other inthe first day..."

"Yeah, yeah....hey, what time is it?"

Mulder lifted his head. "What is it with you and the time?"

Alex shrugged innocently.

"And where's your watch?"

"Damn band broke yesterday. I guess I could just carry it around inmy pocket...so?"

"So, what?"

"Time?"

"Two twenty-two. Why is the time so important?"

"It's not! You know what it's like when you're not wearing a watch..."

Mulder squinted down at him.

Alex looked up, wide-eyed. "*What*?"

"I don't know..."

He grasped the back of Mulder's neck and dragged him down into a sizzlingkiss, obliterating all thought from his mind. "Don't know what?"

Mulder's fingers tangled in Alex's hair and he brought his head down formore. "I don't know...."


4:10 p.m.

Mulder pulled his sunglasses down to the tip of his nose and watched thelimousine as it drove away from the house. "Wonder where Anthony isgoing."

Alex shrugged. "Taking the car for servicing? Sneaking out to meeta woman?"

"In the middle of the afternoon?"

Alex shrugged again. "Who'd be suspicious?" He tugged at Mulder'shand, pulling him along through the sand as they headed back to the house.


5:46 p.m.

"Lanugo."

"What? Get the hell outta here! That's not even a word!"

Mulder reached down beside his leg and picked up the dictionary. He heldit out to Alex, who snatched it from him.

"I'm calling your bluff."

"Go ahead." He laced his fingers behind his head and waited patiently,while Alex thumbed through the book. He smiled when he heard it slam shut.Alex tossed it back onto the floor.

"How the bloody hell do you know all these obscure words?"

"Oh Alex, I should have warned you about playing Scrabble with thisguy."

Mulder's head snapped around in the direction of the feminine voice.

"Scully!"

He leapt to his feet and threw his arms around her, lifting her about afoot off the floor. "What are you doing here?"

"Alex called me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I'd like to comeand spend Christmas with you guys."

Mulder turned to look at Alex, who had since risen to his feet and was standingquietly by the sofa. He stepped forward and moving past Mulder, embracedScully briefly.

"How was your flight?"

"Very smooth, thanks." She took a step back and studied both men."Well, you both look tanned and rested." She grinned, noting theirslightly longer hair. "And shaggy. And *you*..." She turned herfull attention back to Mulder. "You've put on weight!"

Mulder smiled and nodded in the direction of the woman who had entered theroom with Scully. "Marie stuffs me full of every fattening food shecan get her hands on."

"That's right, boy. One month ago you came here lookin' like a sneezecould topple you. And look at you now."

Scully laughed at Marie's response. "She's right, Mulder. You lookso much more like yourself." She looked to Alex and nodded her approval."Good job."

Before Alex could respond, Marie broke in.

"Let me show you to your room, darlin. Dinner will be ready in aboutan hour."

Scully turned bright cerulean eyes to Marie. "Okay, thank you. Be rightback, guys."

As Scully ascended the stairs, Mulder turned to the other man, his eyesglowing with a soft light. "You're very sneaky."

"I know you missed her."

Mulder closed the short distance between them and wound his arms aroundAlex's neck. His fingers combed the fringe of hair at the base of his neck.

"Thank you."

Alex raised a hand to his cheek. "Anything for you, lisa."

The older man pitched forward slowly, brushing Alex's mouth with his own.As he moved away, Alex caught his head and pulled him back, covering hismouth with his own. Mulder groaned softly into his lover's mouth, meltinginto the kiss, so easily giving himself up to the moment. Long seconds later,Alex's lips left his, touching the tip of his nose then his forehead, beforehe lay his head against the younger man's shoulder.


Scully descended the stairs, a tiny smile touching her lips as she observedthe scene in the living room. Her partner, wrapped tightly in his lover'sarms, being stroked and kissed and luxuriating in every second of it.

"Okay you two, break it up."

Mulder pulled himself reluctantly from Alex's embrace and the two men turnedin the direction of the stairs. Alex cleared his throat and spoke first.

"Like your room?"

"It's gorgeous." She looked around. "This *house* is gorgeous."

"Isn't it?" Mulder agreed. "I'm going to hate to leave it."

Scully joined the men and Mulder ushered her to the sofa where he took aseat beside her. Alex dropped into the chair across from them.

"So how's the office?"

"Fine but you're going to have your hands full when you get back, I'mafraid. I've handled as much as I can, but there are some people who won'tdeal with me alone."

"Sorry to leave you with all that."

"No! Don't worry about it. I'm handling it. By the way, I told Skinnerthat I was going to see you over the holidays and he said to send his regards.The Gunmen said hey, too."

Mulder nodded. "So how long are you here for?"

"I leave the twenty-seventh. I told my mother that I'd be home in timefor New Years."

"She uh, didn't mind you not being with her for Christmas?"

"No, she understood. Besides, I spent Thanksgiving with her and mybrothers. They both flew in with their families, so it was more importantthat I be there, then."

"But she's not alone for Christmas..."

"No, no. She went to Bill's house." Scully looked to Alex. "So,what have you guys been up to, the last month?"

"Relaxing, mostly," Alex answered. "We've gone into towna few times for dinner and whatnot, but mostly we just hang close to thehouse. Walking, swimming..."

"Well, this life of leisure sure seems to agree with you." Sheturned back to Mulder. "I can't remember the last time I saw you lookingso content."

He lowered his head and smiled. A little boy gesture. He raised his eyesto Alex's and the little boy faded away.

Scully quietly watched the sultry exchange of glances, wondering if in thatsecond they'd even remembered she was there. Marie's voice broke the silence.

"Dinner, children."

Hazel eyes flicked away from green, setting the flame down on simmer. Thetwo men stood, allowing Scully to precede them into the dining room. Whenshe was a few steps in front of them, Mulder placed his hand at the smallof Alex's back and kissed the side of his neck as they walked together,behind the petite redhead.


7:59 p.m.

"I've got to be crazy Mulder, to let you talk me into this," Scullysaid, placing her letter tiles in front of her.

"*You*," Alex snorted. "He just kicked my butt three timestoday and here I am, back for more..."

"Babies." Mulder lounged on the sofa, behind Alex, who sat onthe floor. He clasped his fingers in the dark hair and tugged gently.

"Uh, hey. If we're gonna play, you gotta move," Alex complained."You can see all my letters."

"I don't want to look at your stupid letters. Besides, I'm comfortable."

"Fine." Alex put his tiles in his lap, satisfied that Mulder couldn'tsee them there.

Scully looked from one man to the other. "Are you two finished?"

"I'm done," Mulder shrugged. "You can go first, Scully..."

A game and a half and at least six challenges later, Scully finally madeher big move.

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<<
"Yes! Fifty-two points for that word. Mulder, I've got you..."She cocked her head, observing the man stretched out on the sofa. "He'sasleep."

"Huh?" Alex turned carefully, taking care not to disturb the manwho's head was nestled against the back of his neck. He turned back to Scullyand nodded. "Yep."

"I can't believe it. This is the closest I've ever gotten to catchingup to his score and he zones out on me." She shook her head. "It'sjust like him."

Alex grinned. "You want to finish?"

"No, it's no fun if he doesn't know how close I am."

Alex moved slowly away from the sofa and got up. Scully helped him put thegame away, then he turned to her. "Are you tired?"

"No, actually, I'm not. I slept a lot on the plane, so..."

"Want to go out for a walk?"

"Umm...sure."

Alex bent over Mulder and touched his head gently. He dropped a light kisson the golden-brown surface, then turned and left with Scully.


9:16 p.m.

"I saw some of this on the drive in," Scully began as they madetheir way down the path to the beach. "Can't wait to really see ittomorrow."

Alex displayed a wistful smile. "It really is paradise."

"And it really does agree with Mulder. He looks wonderful, Alex. Howis he doing, really?"

They approached a group of rocks and Alex stopped, leaning against them.

"It was touch and go for a while. I was afraid that it was all over.He'd retreated so far into himself that I wasn't sure he'd ever come out."

"What happened...when?"

"Actually, all in the span of the last few days. He was doing well,I thought...till a few days ago. He was eating well, we got lots of excercise,his humor was returning." He pressed his lips together. "And then,uh...s-something happened. My fault. And he shut down. And I found out thathe really hadn't been as happy and relaxed as he had seemed to be."

"Did he have any more of those episodes?"

Alex nodded. "Three, in all. The last one happened on the night he'dshut down on me..." He bowed his head.

Scully touched his arm. "Alex...what happened?"

He started to speak, then fell silent.

"I understand it may be rather uh...*sensitive* information. If it'stoo personal and you'd rather not say, I understand. But if you want totell me, you don't need to worry about embarrassing me."

Alex drew a deep breath. His eyes cut up to Scully, then away. "Wehadn't...slept together since we arrived here. Well, I mean we *slept* together,we just didn't...you know. Seemed like first *I* was afraid, then *he* wasafraid, then....umm...he was killing me. I..." He risked a glance atScully. "I wanted him so much. And it seemed like everything he didand everything he said drove me insane. There are times when a man's justgotta get some relief, you understand?"

"I think so."

"Well, one afternoon, a few days ago, we went swimming. He was in thebest mood he'd been in since we got here. He was so relaxed and playfuland...happy....and in a horribly teasing mood. When we got back to the house,I went in to take a shower, kind of thinking that he'd offer to join me,but he didn't. I was going nuts. So, while I was in the shower, I...youknow..."

"I gotcha."

"What I didn't know was that he was planning on surprising me. He snuckinto the bathroom and saw and got very upset. He left the bathroom and whenI came out a while later, the wall was up and I had no idea why. We haddinner plans in town. We went, he was virtually silent the whole time, wecame back, he went up to bed alone, I fell asleep downstairs on the couch,only to be awakened in the middle of the night by sounds coming from upstairs.He was dreaming again. I ran up to the bedroom and woke him. He didn't wantme to touch him. He said things I didn't understand at the time. I refusedto leave, though. I held him in my arms and told him that if he wanted meto go, he'd have to make me. He just went quiet and after a while, he fellasleep. The next morning, he didn't seem quiet as bad but still was verydistant. I asked him to tell me what was wrong. He wouldn't. I pushed theissue, he got upset and I let it drop. We spent the rest of the day avoidingeach other. Later that night, I came down here by myself to think. I musthave been out here for a couple of hours, when he showed up..."

Scully sat down on a flat rock. "He came looking for you?"

"Yeah. We...sort of had it out. I made him admit to his fears...thenI got upset when he did. Stupid. I pushed him into telling me what had gottenhim so upset the day before. He said that he was trying to deal with iton his own, but he felt useless and unnecessary. I apologized and told himthat he should never feel that way and I pleaded with him to work with meand help me save our relationship. I don't know what it was exactly thatgot through to him, but from that point on, things turned around. We uh..."he glanced briefly at Scully. "We ended up making love that night,here on the beach...I was afraid to at first...I couldn't stand the thoughtof the pain he'd suffer but...he *needed* to, and I wish I could explainit to you better than that, because I can see where you might think thatI'm just rationalizing, to cover up for my own weakness, but I'm not. Umm...hebrought me to a mind-blowing orgasm and though I really did expect to beeaten up with guilt, and comforting him half the night, it didn't happenthat way. It took a little time, but he came, too. And it was explosive."He smiled, eyes glistening as he recounted the story. "We held on toeach other and cried for the longest time...and things have been great eversince."

"I can see it in his face. Yours too." She drew a deep breathand released it. "I'm so glad it's over. I know it sounds cliche but,he would be completely lost without you."

Alex turned to her. "That's the way I feel about him. Scully, I wantyou to know. I mean, I want you to really know...he means everything inthe world to me and I'm with him for as long as he wants me to be."

Scully gave him a brilliant smile. "Then you guys are going to growold and gray together...or bald."

Alex wrinkled his nose. "Bald? Bite your tongue." He motionedwith his head in the direction of the house. "I want to get back beforehe wakes up and wonders where we are."

Scully's voice stopped him as he turned to leave.

"Hard to believe that less than a year ago, I was positive that youwere the dirty rat I'd always thought you to be and that you were usingmy partner to some devious end."

Alex smiled in the darkness. "Thank you for accepting me. I know howhard it must have been. I couldn't blame you if you never trusted me."

They began to walk toward the house.

"I'm hard to convince Alex, but when I've got hard proof right in frontof me, I can't ignore it. I'd have to be seriously blind not to see thatyou love him."

They reached the house and Alex headed straight for the sofa and his stillsleeping Fox. Scully stood at a distance, smiling uncontrollably, as shewatched Alex kneel beside the sofa. He scattered several small kisses acrossMulder's face then leaned back and watched as a flash of hazel...no...tonightit was green...became visible under the heavy lids.

"Come on, lisa." He petted the soft hair. "Let's get youup to bed."

Mulder shifted and struggled to open his eyes. "How long have I beenasleep?"

"I don't know, about an hour or so."

"Where's Scully?"

She stepped forward. "I'm here."

He grinned sleepily. "Sorry. You fly all this way and I fall asleepon you."

"Shut up Mulder, and go to bed."

"Mmm hmm." His eyes drifted shut again.

"Fox." Alex shook his arm gently, then leaned over and brushedthe tip of Mulder's nose with his own. "Baby..."

"Hmm?"

"Bed."

"Getting up..."

"Sure, you are." Alex brought a hand under his back and pulledhim into a sitting position. Once Alex had gotten him sufficiently roused,they headed for the stairs with Scully a few steps behind. They reachedthe landing and she turned toward the first door on the left.

"Goodnight, guys." She ruffled Mulder's hair affectionately andsmiled at Alex. "Get him into bed before he falls over."

Alex flashed her a grin and nodded.

"Night, Scully," Mulder mumbled before Alex steered him down thehall.

Once in their room, Alex gently but efficiently got Mulder undressed andput him to bed. He stripped his own clothes off and slid in under the sheet,pulling his nearly unconscious lover against his body. Mulder sighed softlyand snuggled into Alex's embrace.

"Want to fool around?" The barely audible voice came from somewhereunder Alex's chin. The rumble of his laughter vibrated against Mulder'scheek.

"Go to sleep."


Monday 9:02 a.m.
Christmas Eve

Alex opened his eyes and blinked in the bright morning light. He didn'thave to look to his left to know that he was alone in the big bed. He stretchedand lay there for a few seconds more, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Hestared up at the ceiling, listening for sound, but there was none, savefor the swish of the ocean and the distant call of sea birds. Alex rolledout of bed and headed for the bathroom.


9:47 a.m.

The front door swung open and Scully entered, followed closely by Mulder.

"This is some place, Mulder. It's so cool, having a beach to yourself..."She looked up at the figure descending the stairs. "Well, look whofinally decided to wake up."

Alex reached the bottom of the stairs and approached. He touched Scully'sarm lightly. "Morning." Then he turned to the man standing a coupleof feet away and cupped his chin. Their lips met briefly. "How longhave you been up?"

"Since about seven-thirty."

"Did you have breakfast?"

"No, we were waiting for you."

"What if I didn't get up until noon?"

"Oh, I was only giving you until ten-thirty, then I was going up toget you."

"Ah." Alex looked to Scully. "So what do you feel like?"

"Oh gee, I don't know. Whatever."

"Okay, how about you?" He turned to face Mulder.

Wicked grin. "Where did we leave off with the bet?"

"Hey, you screwed that up. That bet is now null and void..."

"What bet?"

"Wait a minute, wait a minute. Who *says* it's null and void?"

Scully looked from one man to the other. "*What* bet?"

Mulder placed a hand at her back and directed her toward the kitchen. "Wewent for a swim a few days ago and *somebody* bet me that he could beatme in a race..."

"Who wanted to race in the *first* place?"

Mulder looked from Alex to Scully. "*Anyway*...he lost. So, he owesme breakfast in bed."

"And that kind of got interrupted, didn't it?"

"Okay, okay, I'll tell you what. Wait till we get home. When we'reback on a time schedule, you can resume."

"Oh, *can* I? Let me tell you..."

"If you two don't mind..." Both men turned toward Scully. "Argueabout it later, okay? I'm starving, so *somebody* make a decision!"

Mulder moved toward the refrigerator. pushing Alex out of his way as hewent. "I'll make something."

Alex stared blankly. "*You*."

Mulder rested his hands low on his hips. "Yeah."

Alex raised both hands and seated himself at the table.

Scully looked from one man to the other. "Uh... Mulder? I'll help you..."

Mulder grabbed a pitcher of orange juice and set it down on the table. "You'vegot about as much faith in me, Scully, as *he* does. That hurts."

"No...Mulder, I didn't mean..."

"I know what you meant," he said softly, making the most of themoment. He retrieved the eggs and milk and turned his back to them, heavinga long sigh. Scully glanced at Alex, who sat with an amused smirk gluedto his lips. No help there.

"*Really*, Mulder. I just thought...uh..." she tried to peer overhis shoulder. "What are you making?"

"French toast."

"That's ambitious," came a soft comment from the table.

"I'm ignoring you, Krycek."

"Mulder, have you ever made french toast before?"

"You know, just because you people have never seen me cook, doesn'tmean that I can't. It's not *all* take-out and restaurants, you know."

Alex spoke up. "Okay, in his defense, he *does* make some decent scrambledeggs."

"Yeah?"

"Thank you."

"Of course,there aren't *too* many ways you can screw up scrambledeggs..."

"Get out, the both of you and don't come back until I call you."

"Mulder..."

"*Out*."

Alex rose to follow Scully to the door. "You sure you don't want myhelp?"

Mulder kept his back to them. "I don't need your help, thank you."

"Great," Scully whispered as they left the room. "Now evenif he *does* need help, he won't ask for it and *we're* going to have toeat that, *however* it turns out."

Alex pressed his lips together and looked toward the door. "No, we'renot."

"Oh, no?"

"No, but..." he looked back toward Scully. "You may wantto just stay out here." Slowly, he stalked back into the kitchen. Whenhe reached Mulder, he slid his hands up the other man's back.

Scully opened the door carefully and watched as the younger man seducedher partner.

"Lisa..." Alex trailed his palms across Mulder's shoulders anddown his arms.

Mulder answered without turning around. "What?"

"Let me help."

"No. Go find Scully, Alex. I can do this myself."

Alex rubbed his cheek against the curve of Mulder's shoulder. "I knowyou can." He kissed the side of Mulder's neck. "But Scully's hungryand besides..." He threaded his hands through Mulder's hair and massagedhis scalp. "I don't want to be out there. It's too far away from you."Mulder's neck arched slightly and his head rolled against his lover's palm.The wisk he'd held, clattered to the counter. "I want to be here whereI can see you." His hand continued to travel through the golden-brownsilk. His lips pressed close to Mulder's ear. "I want to be where Ican touch you." His other hand grasped Mulder's shoulder and turnedhim so that their bodies were touching. His lips covered those in frontof him.

Scully watched fascinated, as her partner fell completely and totally underAlex's spell.

//Shit. If he ever *wanted* to use that talent for evil...//

Alex broke the kiss then dragged his mouth across the line of Mulder's jaw."Okay?"

Soft groan. "Okay."

As Alex started to move away, Mulder's hand clenched in the front of hisshirt, pulling him back for one more long kiss.

Once released, Alex straightened his shirt and cleared his throat. "Let'sget cooking," he breathed only inches from Fox's lips.

"Just what I was thinking."

Alex displayed a flash of white teeth. "Uh, we've got a starving womanout there. Get your mind out of the gutter."

Muder grinned back, rubbing the pad of his thumb across his lover's bottomlip. "But then yours will be so lonely..."

Scully rolled her eyes and slipped quietly back into the living room.

//God, I'm never going to eat.//


11:08 a.m.

The kitchen door swung open and Alex smiled at Scully. "Breakfast infive minutes."

She studied him from the sofa, shaking her head. "You're good, youknow that?"

He let the door swing shut and walked toward her. "What do you mean?"

"I caught some of that, between you and Mulder." She gave hima thin smile. "The way you play him...I wish I had you with us on someof the cases that I wanted to drag him away from."

Alex hitched his hands low on his hips and looked toward the floor. "Yourealize don't you, that it's not at all one-sided." He looked backover at her. "He can and does do the same thing to me."

"Oh Alex, I hope you didn't think I was being judgmental. I'm justamazed, that's all. I've never seen Mulder so easily...tamed."

"Believe me Scully, when he *wants* to be stubborn about something,*no* amount of coaxing is going to change his mind. He's still the samepigheaded pain in the ass that you've always known. I haven't changed him.I wouldn't want to."

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"But you've definitely brought a side out of him I've never seen. Ican see it whenever he looks at you. Soft. Open and completely unguarded.He's so vulnerable."

"That's not concern I hear in your voice, is it Scully?"

Scully smiled and lowered her head. "No...I'm just making an observation."

Mulder's voice bellowed from the kitchen. "Let's *go*, before thisgets cold!"

Alex laughed and motioned to Scully. "We'd better get in there beforethe chef throws a tantrum."

Scully rose and as she passed Alex, he caught her gently by her arm. Helooked down at her with earnest eyes. "I love him with my whole heartand soul and I'll protect him to my dying breath."

Bright blue eyes met his. "I know."


Breakfast was a jovial event. Laughing and teasing. Light conversation.Talk of work and family kept to a bare minimum. When they were finishedand the kitchen was again restored to it's original pristine condition,the three set out for town. They returned hours later, both men exhaustedand loaded down with bags containing Scully's purchases.

"God, Scully." Mulder dropped the bags down onto the sofa. "Remindme to *never* go shopping with you, again."

Alex sank down, bags and all, to the floor and closed his eyes. Mulder peeredat him from the sofa. "Look what you did to him, Scully. Alex? Youokay?"

No answer.

"Alex?" Mulder burrowed from under the bags and dropped to thefloor. He crawled over and dug Alex out of the pile and cradled his headin his lap. "You killed him, Scully. Are you happy?"

Scully started to gather up her bags from the sofa. "Oh, you two aresuch wusses. I'll take this stuff upstairs myself. Wouldn't want eitherof you to get a hangnail or something."

As Mulder watched her ascend the stairs, a hand came up around his neckand pulled him down for a long kiss. Alex released him after a few secondsand he gasped in mock surprise.

"He's alive! Thank you, God!"

Alex laughed softly. "Barely. Jesus, Fox. How does she move so fast?She's so....*little*."

"Don't let *her* hear you say that. What do you say we help her getthe rest of this stuff upstairs? She's already called us a couple of wusses,God knows what else she'll say if we let her take all these bags up by herself."

Alex rolled his eyes then raised himself off the floor and the comfortablecushion of Mulder's lap. He held out his hand and helped the other man up.They gathered up the last of the bags and headed for the stairs.


11:45 p.m.

Mulder sat quietly with his back to the sofa. Alex lay on his back, by hislover's hip, facing him, legs draped over the seat cushions. Their fingersintertwined. Alex pulled Mulder's arm toward him and looked at his watch.

"Fifteen minutes."

Mulder gave a hint of a smile but said nothing.

"Scully had a good time today, huh?"

"Yeah. It's no wonder she dropped off at ten. She didn't stop movingfor a minute, did she?"

Alex shook his head. "I don't *think* so...most of the day was a blur."He stared intently. "I'm glad she went to bed early. I wanted to bealone with you at midnight." Mulder met his warm gaze and kissed hishand. Alex went on. "Our first Christmas together."

"Yeah."

"Nine minutes."

Mulder closed one eye. "You were the type of kid who drove your parentscrazy at Christmas, weren't you?"

"What do you mean?"

"Looking in closets, under beds...begging them to let you open *one*gift on Christmas Eve... up at the crack of dawn on Christmas Day..."

Alex looked away and suppressed a grin. "And what if I was? You meanyou weren't?"

"Nope."

"You never got excited about Christmas?"

"I wouldn't say that, it was just sort of a quiet excitement. And thatwas only till I was eleven. After that..." His voice trailed off andhis eyes dropped to the floor.

"Hey."

He looked back at Alex.

"Good Christmases from now on."

The smile came back to Mulder's eyes. He nodded and brought Alex's handto his cheek.


Tuesday, 12:00 a.m.
Christmas

"Guess what?"

"What?"

Alex drew himself up and came face to face with Mulder.

"It's midnight." He touched the lightly stubbled chin with twofingers. "Merry Christmas, lisa."

A slow smile graced Fox's lips as Alex moved in for a lingering kiss. Theyparted long enough for Alex to hear his lover's whispered, "I loveyou." They kissed again. And once more, before Alex produced a smallpackage from seemingly nowhere. Wrapped in a flat, rich gold paper and adornedwith shimmering gold ribbons, it was so beautiful, Mulder almost hated thethought of opening it. He wanted to preserve this moment, this precise moment,forever. Freeze it. Suspend it in time and never let it go. Alex's voicejerked him back into the here and now. "Before you open this, can Iexplain it to you?"

Mulder regarded his vaguely nervous expression. "Sure."

"I uh..." he twisted the little box around in his fingers repeatedlyas he spoke. "I changed my mind about half a dozen times before I decidedto go with my first instinct and get this. It's not what it first lookslike. Not actually, though it *is* a symbol of my love and commitment toyou."

Mulder's brow wrinkled in mild confusion.

"You know, it's funny. I'd conviced myself that this was the thingto do and I was fine with it...right up until the second I pulled it frommy pocket. Now all of a sudden, I don't know." He looked up at Fox,then averted his eyes. "Maybe I should just shut up and let you openit...maybe I should take it back without you ever having seen it and getsomething else..."

"Alex. This is a gift from your heart. How can I not love it?"

Alex hesiated, then held the package out in the palm of his hand and letMulder take it. His hand closed into a fist and dropped slowly to the floor.

Mulder carefully unwrapped the black velvet box and set the paper aside.He looked up at Alex, who sat looking more nervous than he'd ever seen him.He studied Alex for a moment, then smiled and opened the box. The smilefell slowly from his face and Alex's heart sank.

"I'm sorry, Fox. I didn't...I..."

Mulder looked up sharply. "Why would you be sorry?" he whispered."Alex, it's beautiful. I only wish *I'd* thought of it."

"You really wouldn't mind wearing it?"

"I'd love to wear it."

Alex took the simple gold band from it's resting place.

"It doesn't, you know, go on your left hand. You wear it on the right."

Mulder nodded. "Well, that'll save a lot of questions and odd looks..."

"Oh, and there's one more thing." He tipped the ring to the lightand directed Mulder to the inside of the band.

Mulder read the inscription silently at first, then closed his eyes andrepeated it. "Only you. All my love, Alex." He opened his eyesand met those of his lover. He started to laugh softly.

Alex smiled. "What?"

Mulder lowered his head. "You'll see...I love it, Alex. And I loveyou and it would make me happier than I can say to wear this."

"Really? I mean, *really*? I thought it might seem a little too possessive.I thought it might seem like I'm putting my brand on you."

"I don't think there's any doubt that it's possessive." He strokedAlex's chin. "But I *am* yours. And perfectly content to be so."He leaned forward and rested his forehead against the younger man's. AndI like the idea of being *branded*."

Alex smiled his relief. "God, I love you." He placed the bandon Mulder's right ring finger and kissed him deeply. "I wish I couldfind a way to express to you how much."

"You do, Alex. Every day." Mulder pulled a flat, silver wrappedbox out from under the sofa and held it out. "Your turn."

Alex gingerly took the package from Mulder's hand and tore the wrappingoff. Mulder watched his hands as they opened the lid, then looked up tohis face which had lit up with joy. Bright green eyes turned up to him.

"Is this what all that concern about my watch was?"

"I just found it sort of ironic."

Alex lifted the watch out of the box. "It's beautiful!"

"And practical. You don't have to save it just for dress occasions.It's an everyday watch."

"Thank you, baby. I love it."

Mulder smirked. "And like you..." He turned the watch over inAlex's palm.

Alex read the inscription, his voice catching halfway through. He turnedglistening eyes up to Fox. His mouth opened then closed. He looked quicklyback down to the watch, blinking rapidly. Mulder's fingers brushed his cheekbone.That brief caress was enough to release the tears that Alex had fought sohard to suppress.

"Alex?"

Alex met his gaze momentarily, then leaned forward into his chest. Mulderwrapped him in his arms and rocked him gently, kissing the top of his headand brushing the tears away as they silently fell.

"Sorry," Alex croaked when he'd composed himself, finally. "Hearingthings like that is one thing, but I guess *seeing* it, really drove ithome."

Mulder smiled and kissed one tear-stained cheek. "Gee, I don't knowif I should show you the rest, now."

"The...the rest?"

Mulder shrugged one shoulder. "That morning after the beach...whileI was watching you sleep...these words started running through my head.I wrote them down later."

"I don't think I understand."

"It's kind of a...a poem." He touched his finger to the back ofthe watch. "That's where this line came from."

"Really? There's more?"

"Yeah."

"I want to see it."

Mulder studied him for a moment, then picked up the box. He pulled the bedout and removed a piece of paper, folded in four. He handed it to Alex,who unfolded the paper and began to read.

"For my Alexei..." The glint returned to his eyes. He read thewhole poem silently and when he was done, lowered his hand slowly to hislap and closed his eyes. Mulder strained to hear his words.

"This is for me?" Sparkling green eyes focused on purest amber.

Mulder nodded. "I used to write in college. The stuff was corny then...Idon't know. Probably still is."

"Are you kidding? This is exquisite, Fox. And you wrote it for *me*?"

"You really like it?"

Alex hesitated, trying to find the words. He lifted the watch to Mulder'seyes. "I love this, lisa. I'll treasure it always." Mulder tookthe watch from his hand and fastened it around his wrist as he spoke. "Butwould you understand if I told you that this," he held up the sheetof paper, "means more to me than any material gift you could give me?"

Mulder held on to Alex's hand, rubbing his palm across his knuckles. A softsmile curved his lips. "Why?"

"Because...it's....*you*. Your feelings..your love.You've given meyour soul in this."

Mulder skimmed Alex's lips with his fingertips. "I gave you my soula long time ago, Alexei." Alex stared in silence. The older man graspedhis upper arm and pulled, motioning at the same time with a flick of hishead. "Come here."

Alex shifted and ended up on his knees, straddling Mulder's thighs. Mulderslouched down, resting his head back against the seat cushions of the sofa.He reached up and caressed the length of his lover's arms. Once his handsreached Alex's shoulders, they stopped. His thumbs brushed back and forthagainst the light material of his shirt. Alex touched a fingertip to hischeek then drew it down and across his lower lip. Mulder fought againstthe desire that threatened to close his eyes. He wanted to lose himselfin that incredible sea of green. He needed to.

Alex lowered himself onto Fox's thighs, his legs folded under him. The long,slender fingers left his shoulders and reverently skimmed the planes andcontours of his face. Traced the outline of his jaw. Slid down the columnof his throat, until they reached the first button of his shirt.


12:40 a.m.

Scully rolled onto her back for the fourth time. As lovely as this placewas and as comfortable as this bed was, it wasn't her own. Happened everytime they were away on a case, too. She'd wake up several times during thenight and usually need at least three cups of coffee in the morning beforeshe started to feel alive, again.

She sat up.

But there was a difference. In those cheap motels, she couldn't just goon downstairs and get herself a glass of warm milk. For her, a sure-fireinsomnia cure.

She slipped out of bed and padded quietly out of the room. As she approachedthe top of the stairs, she could see that it wasn't entirely dark on thefirst floor. She listened for sound but could detect none. She advancedslowly down the stairs and stopped, frozen before she got halfway down.Quickly retreating up one step, she paused, waiting and wondering if they'dseen her.

No response from the living room.

Of course not.

Feeling deeply ashamed but unable to stop herself, she sat carefully onthe stairs and peeked down at the two men below her.


The fifth button on Alex's shirt gave and Fox's hands slipped inside tostroke the heated skin. The younger man's head tipped back slightly anda soft hiss escaped his parted lips. Knowing fingers found his nipples andgently teased them into tight buds.

Alex's head rolled forward and he looked down at the man he loved more thanlife. Luminescent eyes stared up at him. Absurdly beautiful lips partedonly enough to give him a small hint of gleaming white behind them. He neededthat mouth on him. More than he needed to breathe. He slipped his hand underhis lover's head and leaned forward until their lips met. Softly. Tenderly.For tonight at least, each man leashed his feral instinct and gave himselfup to the sweetness of loving and being loved.

Alex's mouth moved against the other man's at an excruciatingly slow pace.His tongue dipped into the warmth inside, tasting and teasing, drawing thesoftest of whimpers from the constricted throat. As he continued the sensualassault on his Fox's mouth, his hands traveled down to the front of theolder man's shirt and undid the buttons. Having accomplished that, he slidthe shirt from Fox's shoulders. Reluctantly, he broke the kiss to finishremoving the garment and his lover took the opportunity to reciprocate.When both shirts lay together on the floor, Alex returned to his previousactivity.


Scully watched, frozen in the shadows. She knew she should leave. Turn quietlyand go back the way she came, but try as she might, she could not get herlegs to cooperate. Nor her eyes. They remained glued on the two below. Theway they touched each other. The soft sounds they made. The graceful movementof their bodies. Beautiful. She couldn't believe she was thinking it, butshe was. They were...beautiful. And she was entranced.


Hot.

Alex's skin seared Mulder's fingertips as they traveled over the youngerman's back

Hard.

The muscles rippled under his hands with each caress. His hands strokeddownward, passing over the various scars along the way. He'd never askedAlex about them. He guessed he was afraid to. It wasn't like him, but hedidn't feel that he was strong enough to handle the painful explanationsthat would have accompanied each one. Maybe someday.

His hands reached the waistband of the olive-colored pants and he'd decidedthat there was just too damn much material between them. His hands movedto the front and with Alex's mouth still teasing his, he undid the buttonand wrestled the zipper down. His palms slid up under the younger man'sribs and pushed upward, silently instructing him to stand. Mulder rose tohis knees in front of him.


The woman hidden away on the stairs, held her breath. Again, she willedherself to leave, but to no avail. She watched transfixed, as her partnerslowly pulled his lover's pants and underwear down and off.

//Whoa. Very nice. Oh God, what the hell are you saying? Come on Dana, thisisn't right and you know it. Go!//

She remained motionless, hand raised to her mouth as Mulder's hands skimmedup the back of Alex's legs and came to rest on the curved muscle of hisbuttocks. He moved forward slowly. Scully stifled a gasp as she saw histongue inch out and graze the underside of the other man's cock.

Alex's hands clasped gently in Fox's hair and his eyelids fluttered thenclosed. Mulder reached the head and lapped gingerly at the glistening tip,sending shudders through the grateful recipient of his attentions. His handsbegan to move, caressing and gently kneading the tight flesh beneath them,even as his mouth opened to receive the full length of Alex's cock.

Scully felt a surge of electricity shoot through her body, riccochetingoff every major organ and pooling low in her belly as she watched Mulderswallow what looked from her vantage point to be a pretty damned impressiveerection.

//Damn. Get a lot of practice, Mulder?//

She heard the soft hiss of air as Alex inhaled sharply. Saw his face contortinto a mask of pleasure as Mulder's mouth slid back and forth along hisglistening shaft. *Felt* the tingles increase in her own body.

Tingles?

Oh God, tingles of what?

Excitement?

Admittedly...yes. God.

Longing?

Okay, yeah. That too.

...Jealousy?

No...he was her best friend. Closer to her than either of her brothers,for goodness sake. She was happy for him. He'd finally found what he'd beenneeding for a very long time and...shit. Yes, she was jealous. Not the ëheshould be mine, not yours' kind of jealous. It was more the ëOh God,why can't *I* find a man who'll worship me like that' kind of jealous.

Movement from down below, refocused her attention.

Mulder's mouth had left Alex's cock and he was being gently pushed backto the floor, against the sofa. Alex kneeled beside him and stripped himof the rest of his clothing. He stretched out in front of Mulder, betweenhis parted thighs and unceremoniously sucked the rigid cock down his throat.

Mulder's hips bucked up off the floor, pushing more of himself into theyounger man's mouth. Alex moaned soflty and encouraged him to repeat theaction. Soon, he was thrusting upward in a slow rhythm, making love to Alex'smouth. His head rolled slowly, from side to side on the cushion and hisfingers curled in the soft dark hair. There was no sound, but the womanwatching from above was sure that he'd mouthed the word ëbaby' at leasttwice in his obvious delirium. He began to thrust a little faster and Alexhad to make the decision to pull away.

Fox lifted his head a fraction off the cushion as Alex pulled himself backinto a sitting position, straddling his thighs. Alex looked down into hislover's face. Desire burned in the dark depths of his eyes. His mouth, swollenand moist, begged to be kissed. Alex lowered his head and took his Fox'slips gently, feasting on their sweetness and reveling in the soft moansthat filled his mouth.

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Fox's hands skimmed his lover's back as they kissed endlessly. He was drowningin pleasure and the thought that this night would sooner or later have tocome to an end, as mind-shattering as that ending might be, slowed his movements.

Alex pulled away and looked down at him in mild confusion. Now green eyes,dilated to near blackness, stared back, asking for understanding. His handrose to the younger man's face, stroking the stubbled cheek, slowly. Alextook hold of the hand and pressed a kiss into the palm. His tongue inchedout, tickling the sensitive skin. He carefully licked the underside of eachfinger, then took two of them into his mouth. Fox's eyes slid closed anda soft sigh tumbled from his lips.

The undetected guest at the top of the stairs, bit down gently on the tipof her baby finger. She pushed it into her mouth and ran her tongue overthe surface of it. Nothing. What was so damn erotic about that? Had to besomething, because Mulder looked like he was *gone*.

//Probably feels a lot better if someone else is doing it to you...and you'renaked...//

Alex released Fox's fingers and again looked down at him. Fox's eyelidsfluttered and opened. He reached up and, wrapping his arms around the otherman's neck, pulled him down into a tender embrace. They stayed quietly entwinedin each other's arms for a few moments, then Mulder began to move, nuzzlingAlex's face, kissing and licking the roughened skin. He moved up to hisear, nipping gently at the lobe, delighting in the clink of the earringagainst his teeth.

Alex massaged Mulder's back slowly, thoroughly enjoying the way the musclesbunched and relaxed under his touch. He smiled into the golden-brown hair.He couldn't ever be thankful enough, he thought, for being allowed anotherchance at hapiness with his beautiful Fox. He'd always...

He froze for a moment, prompting Mulder to release his ear and whisper intoit.

"Sweetheart? What is it?"

He narrowed his eyes, squinting at the stairs. He could have sworn he sawmovement, but now he wasn't so sure.

"Nothing," he whispered back.

Mulder pulled back to look at him. "You tensed up."

"I know. I just..I thought I heard something."

"I didn't hear anything."

"Yeah. Must've been my imagination."

Mulder nodded and and planted a string of light kisses across his chest.

"M-mmmmmm."

Mulder's lips latched onto a nipple and sucked gently. Alex's eyes closed.

"God, that's good....so good, baby..."


Scully was trapped. She couldn't leave now, Alex would be more alert now,to sound and/or movement. All she could do was stay there and wait for herchance to escape. And hell, while she was waiting...she lowered her heada fraction and once more observed the men below.

I can't believe I'm doing this, I can *not* believe I'm doing this...


Mulder flicked at the hard brown peak with his tongue, bringing a low moanfrom the man in his arms.

"Lisa," Alex whimpered. "Please..."

Mulder closed his teeth around the nipple and pulled gently.

"I'm begging you..."

"Aw, Alex. You know I can't resist it when you beg," Fox whisperedsoftly, as he lifted Alex a bit. He grasped his cock by the base and directedit between his lover's rounded cheeks. Alex took it from there, loweringhimself onto the hard shaft. When Fox was fully embedded in him, he placeda hand at either side of Alex's hips and held him motionless. Alex understoodand remained absolutely still. After a few seconds, Fox reached up and caressedhis cheek.

"It's an incredible feeling."

Alex nodded slowly. "Can I move?"

"Yeah. Easy, though."

Ever so carefully, Alex's hips began to rock. His contracting muscles squeezedand caressed the presence inside him.

Fox threw his head back and moaned softly. "*Easy*, baby..."

Alex stopped, allowing Fox to regain some of his composure before continuingon. "Is that okay?" he asked, moving at a snail's pace.

"Yeah," Mulder breathed. "Mmmmmmmm...perfect. Just like that,Alex. Just like...that."

Alex's lips claimed Fox's in a long, stunning kiss as he continued to moveagainst him. The feel of his lover's lips devouring his own, took Mulderright to the edge. He twisted away from Alex's mouth, panting and grimacing.

"I know, lisa. I can't wait any more, either. Please say it's okay."

Fox closed and opened his eyes. Fixing a heavy-lidded stare on Alex, hedropped his hand to the younger man's cock.

Alex swallowed a gasp and began to move faster, even as Fox's hand establishedan identical rhythm.

A small squeak came from the direction of the stairs, but neither man heardit. The island could have slipped into the ocean and they never would haveknown. All that existed for them was this moment and each other.

Alex glided up and down on his lover's cock, tightening his muscles on everyupstroke. Mulder worked Alex's straining erection, pulling moan after anguishedmoan from his partner.

"F-Fox...I'm..."

"I know, baby...I know...let it go." His hand moved faster andhis hips thrust upward, burying himself in Alex's heat, time and again.

Their climax hit with hurricane force, pushing both men into that familiarrealm of madness. Choking sobs emitted from both throats as they held tightlyto each other, shivering with each aftershock, then finally settling intoa sweet, purring silence.

Scully should have gone during all the noise, but she was glued to the spotin which she sat, witnessing the most profoundly erotic thing she'd everseen. Still in a daze, she made her way slowly back up the steps and toher room.

Alex's eyes drifted open. Just in time, as it turned out, to see that movingshadow again on the stairs. He stayed, draped over his lover's shoulder,watching until it disappeared. He smiled softly and closed his eyes.


10:43 a.m.

"Thought you would have been up long before us." Mulder stoodand gave Scully a bear hug. "Merry Christmas, Scully."

Scully's lips trembled into a smile. She glanced away from Mulder's face,rested her gaze briefly on Alex's, then flitted away. "Merry Christmas,guys."

Alex sent her a secretive smile and nodded his acknowledgment.

Fox and Alex chattered all through breakfast, arguing about when and howthey should prepare Christmas dinner. Having insisted on Marie taking afew days off, they had left themselves to deal with the cooking, which wasfine, but with Mulder wanting to help, Alex had found himself wishing thehousekeeper had insisted on staying.

Scully remained quiet, smiling occasionally at this remark or that, butcontributed little or nothing overall, to the conversation. Alex observedher closely, more and more sure that she had been on the stairs this morning,watching them. He wouldn't say anything, she was obviously embarrassed enoughwithout ever having known that she'd been discovered. He guessed it wasup to him somehow, to make her feel better without clueing her in.

They finished breakfast, then exchanged gifts. Scully brightened considerablywhen she'd opened her bracelet, then the earrings. After thanking Mulderprofusely, she turned to Alex.

"These are beautiful," she said, trying to keep her eyes fromfalling away from his. "And such a surprise."

"We've come a long way, don't you think?"

Scully nodded. "I'm glad we were able to become friends."

Mulder watched happily as the two people he loved most in the world, sharedan embrace. Scully pulled away and cleared her throat.

"Well. Now. I've got something for you two." She moved away fromAlex and produced a single package. "This is only one piece of a set.No sense in lugging it all here, just for you to have to lug it all back.Who wants to open it?"

Mulder nodded to Alex. "Go ahead. You're closer."

Alex unwrapped the box containing the heavy stainless steel frying pan.He looked up at Scully and Mulder and laughed. "This is great! Andit's part of a set?"

"Yeah. Pans, cutlery, yadda yadda. I know that this guy has only gotthe bare minimum and now that there are the two of you, I figured you coulduse it."

"Yeah, we sure could. It's not easy to cook with the stuff he's got.Thanks, Scully."

Mulder stepped forward and gave her a hug. "Yeah, thank you. Hey, maybenow I'll even take an interest in cooking."

Alex and Scully shot each other a look.

"Don't look at each other like that. I can learn to cook. Wasn't myfrench toast good?"

"Yeah Mulder, it was. But it was *french toast*...and Alex was thereto keep it from turning into a disaster."

"Okay. Fine. "I'll *bet* you that by Easter, I'll have masteredat least ten different dishes."

Scully laughed. "Oh, I'll have to take that bet."

Alex raised an eyebrow. "How are you going to learn ten dishes in thenext three months?"

"You're going to help me," Mulder said matter of factly.

"Ohhhh no I'm not."

"Oh yes you are."

"Oh no, I'm *not*."

Mulder smiled and nodded as he sidled over to Alex.

"No," Alex insisted as he approached. "No, no, n...m-mmmm....."

Mulder draped his arms around the younger man's shoulders and nuzzled hisneck. "Alexei," he moaned into Alex's ear.

"Don't..."

A twinge of guilt ran through Scully as she watched her partner coax andtease his lover.

"Please..."

"Fox...come on, stop that...we'll...we'll end up wanting to k...killeach other..."

"No we won't." Mulder closed his teeth on the silver hoop andpulled.

Scully drew a quick breath and backed into the sofa. She dropped onto itwith a soft thud.

"Okay...*ah*...okay. I'll help you. Now..." He grabbed a handfulof hair and pulled Mulder away from his ear. "Behave yourself."He glanced pointedly over at Scully.

Mulder looked over at his partner whose face was almost as red as her hair."Uh...sorry, Scully."

Scully waved at them. "No! Listen, it's okay. You don't have to worryabout me. You guys have been through so much. It's only natural I guess,that you can't keep your hands off of each other. I'll get used to it."She fidgeted under Alex's intent stare, then looked away. "Well! Iguess we'd better get this stuff picked up and start thinking about preparingdinner, huh?"

Mulder gave Alex a curious look. Receiving only a patient smile in return,he moved to help Scully clear the wrappings and boxes away.

"I'll go and start getting things set up in the kitchen," Alexstated, then moved off in that direction.

When the two remaining had finished picking up the living room, Mulder cameto stand in front of Scully.

"Can I ask you a question, Scully?"

"Hmm? Oh, sure."

"You made mention of Alex and me not being able to keep our hands offeach other..."

She gave him an uneasy smile. "Yeah."

"You and I haven't really discussed my condition. How did you know..."

"Oh! The first night I was here, Alex and I went out for a walk afteryou'd fallen asleep on the couch. We talked."

"I didn't know that."

"You were dead to the world. We went for a walk down on the beach andI asked him to update me on your progress."

"Did he tell you what a miserable pain in the ass I'd been?"

Scully lowered her lashes and said nothing.

"It's okay if he told you....I almost blew it completely, Scully."

"But you didn't. And everything worked out for the best. And he lovesyou, you dummy. He'd never see you as a pain in the ass."

Mulder laughed softly. "Are you kidding? He'll tell me right to myface."

Scully scowled at him.

"It's okay, he means it affectionately. Scully, I hope that..."he flicked his hand back and forth in front of him, "what happeneda little while ago, didn't make you too uncomfortable. It's just that...Ihave such a hard time being near him and not touching him."

"It's okay, really. Don't hold back on my account. He's part of yourlife and I just have to get used to him being there. You can't tip toe aroundme all the time. I wouldn't want you to."

Mulder nodded. "Thanks, Scully."

"Come on, let's go see what we can do to help him with dinner."


7:23 p.m.

Scully lounged in an oversized chaise on the first floor veranda. Mulderdropped into one a few feet away.

"I'm stuffed," she complained good-naturedly. "I couldn'tmove if I wanted to." She looked up to the man who'd just appearedin the doorway with a bottle of wine and glasses. "Alex, that was delicious."

Alex shrugged and set the items down on a nearby table. "You guys helped."

"Yeah, we shagged for you and mixed and chopped, but *you* did allthe real cooking."

Alex said nothing as he opened the bottle and poured, handing Scully thefirst glass. He picked up the last two glasses, handed one to Mulder, thenmoved to take a seat on the third of the four lounge chairs, but found hiswrist shackled by Mulder's hand. The older man spread his legs, plantingone foot on the tiled floor and tugged gently, drawing Alex down onto hischaise. He pulled his lover back against his chest and wrapped one arm aroundhim. Alex reclined, stiffly at first, but Fox's caressing hand and gentlelips in his hair, soon relaxed him.

A tiny smile crossed Scully's lips and she glanced hastily out to the water."I've always found the sound of the ocean to be very soothing."

A dark glint became visible beneath Alex's eyelashes. "Mmm hmm. Toobad we missed the sunset. It's spectacular, huh lisa?"

Mulder rubbed his cheek into the soft hair beneath him. "Yeah."

Scully looked back over to the men and did a double-take. "Hey. Isthat your new watch?"

Alex shifted his head in Scully's direction and raised his eyebrows.

"He called me and told me about it."

"Ah." Alex set his glass down on the table between them and stretchedhis arm across the short distance so Scully could inspect the watch.

"*Very* nice...and since I ëm being nosy," she directed herconversation to Mulder. "What'd you get?"

Alex twined the fingers of his right hand with Mulder's and pulled it towardher. Scully's eyes grew wide then her composure was quickly back in place.

"Oh...uh...so what does...I mean...does it mean..." She didn'tknow how to ask.

Mulder smiled indulgently and let Alex answer.

"It simply means that I love him madly," he raised Mulder's handto his lips, "I'm completely committed to him, and this a symbol ofthat."

She breathed a visible sigh of relief then laughed nervously. "ThankGod. I thought for a minute there, you guys were going to want to take meshopping for a bridesmaid's dress or something."

Alex threw his head back against Mulder's chest and let out a loud barkof laughter.

Mulder turned to her. His tone never rose above that usual Mulder monotonebut his eyes glinted with restrained humor. "Hey, do you think thatSkinner would give me away?"

Alex nearly spit out his wine. Scully's eyes widened in horror.

"Oh *God*, Mulder! Don't even *joke* about that!"

Mulder smiled and shrugged then changed the subject. "Well. Who thinksI've beaten around the bush long enough?

Scully gave him a confused look. "Huh?"

"My mother. I haven't called her yet today."

Alex tilted his head back so that their eyes met. "Well, if you'regoing to, you'd better hurry up before it gets too late."

Mulder drew a deep breath and let it out. "Yeah..where's the phone?"

"Inside. I'll get it."

Scully watched Alex disappear into the house, then turned to Mulder. "Youwant a little privacy?"

"No. I expect it'll be a very short conversation."

"Maybe not." Alex reappeared and handed the phone to Mulder. Heperched on the edge of the chaise and rubbed Mulder's shin.

Mulder looked at the phone for a full minute at least, before dialing. Afew seconds later, he spoke into the mouthpiece.

"Mom? It's me. Merry Christmas..........did...did you have a good day?.........that's good.....how have you been? Good......y-yeah. I'll...huh?Oh. Okay. Sorry, I didn't mean to disturb you. Tell Aunt Greta I said hi.Okay, bye...." He flinched every so slightly at the soft click. "..Mom."

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Alex and Scully glanced at each other, then Alex spoke.

"So, she's got company."

Mulder stared down at the phone. "Yeah. S...so, she couldn't talk.Didn't want to be rude to my aunt." He raised and lowered his eyebrowsand set the phone down on the table.

"Sorry, Mulder."

"I really didn't expect much more." He looked at Scully, thenglanced away and said softly, "She didn't even ask how I was."

Alex lowered his head and his leg bounced up and down. Scully watched himclosely. Mulder had been hurt and he was pissed.

It was easy with the guy who'd shot Mulder. Alex simply hunted the fuckerdown and killed him. But this was his *mother*. She'd coldly dismissed heronly remaining child and there was nothing Alex could do..and Scully couldsee that it was eating the shit out of him.

Alex took a deep breath, pushed all his anger to one side, and looked upat Fox. "You okay?"

His eyes remained focused on the space between them. "Yeah...yeah.Fine."

"Fox..."

Green eyes flecked with gold, rose. Mulder pitched forward, and closinghis fingers around Alex's forearm, he pulled until the younger man was onceagain resting against him, wrapped in his arms. He buried his face in Alex'shair and closed his eyes. Alex tugged on the sleeve of Mulder's shirt.

"Baby..."

Mulder didn't answer. He merely turned his face to the side and rested hischeek on Alex's head.

Scully wondered if Alex knew that right now, Mulder needed him there, neededhis presence and his comfort, but was in no frame of mind to talk. She'dlearned from her years with the man, that there was a time to talk and atime to just shut up and be there.

Alex knew. He turned onto his side and burrowed his face in Mulder's shirt,letting the other man hold him tightly.

Mulder sat quietly, stroking Alex's back, drawing on his warmth. Long minuteslater, he turned his eyes to Scully. She felt his gaze on her and turnedto meet it. He was coming back. The cloud was clearing from his eyes. Hetreated her to a tiny smile. She smiled back.

Amazing.

She'd never seen him snap out of a brooding session so quickly, especiallyif his mother had been the cause. All this time, it had been as simple asthat. Too bad they'd both spent the last few years wanting to kill Alex.He could have made her life so much simpler.

Her smile turned into a wide grin and she lowered her head.

Alex opened his eyes and looked up when Fox decided to speak.

"How about we take you out tomorrow night, Scully?"

"Where?"

Mulder tapped Alex's back. "Want to take her to that club we went tothe other night?"

"Sure." He directed his conversation at Scully. "Do you mindloud music?"

"Not if it's good."

"Depends on what you call *good*."

"Just about anything except for country and heavy metal."

"You'll like it, then."

"Okay, then. You got a date."

Two hours and the entire bottle of wine later, Scully stifled a yawn. "Wellguys, I think it's time I turned in." She rose from the chaise andlooked down at the two still snuggled together. "You going to bed?"

Fox looked down, reading Alex's eyes. "No, not just yet."

Scully felt a tingle go through her. She had a pretty good idea what thatlook meant. "O..okay, then. Goodnight."

Alex tried to disguise the smirk. "Goodnight, Scully."

When she was gone, Fox slipped a hand under Alex's chin and lifted untilhe could see green. "What was that?"

"What was what?"

"That look."

Alex stretched up for a kiss. "I think she saw us."

Mulder's brow wrinkled in confusion. "What are you talking about?"

"This morning," he whispered.

"This....nooo. Why do you say that?"

"Remember when you asked me what was wrong and I told you I thoughtI'd heard something?"

"Yeah. If you thought Scully had..."

Alex interrupted him. "What would you have done if I told you thatScully was watching us from the stairs?"

Mulder opened and closed his mouth without having answered.

"Right. That would have been the end of it. And there was no way inhell, I was going to let you stop."

"But Alex....if she was *watching* us..."

"She'd been there for a *while*, Fox. I'd bet money on it."

Mulder shook his head. "I can't believe that Scully would..."

"Why not?" He licked the underside of Mulder's jaw. "I betwe're real pretty to watch."

Soft moan. "Jesus, Alex."

White teeth clamped down gently on his lower lip then released. "Didn'tyou notice that she was a little on edge this morning? She was feeling guiltyas hell."

"I don't know..."

"Face it, Fox. Your prim and proper little partner is a voyeur at heart."

Mulder fell silent.

"Does it bother you very much, knowing that we may have been watched?"

"I don't...I..."

"Think about it," Alex coaxed. "Scully obviously got a thrillout of it, or she wouldn't have stayed there and watched."

"I guess, but..."

Alex grinned, nuzzling Fox's neck. "I know it's probably a bit of asurprise. It's something you never would have expected of your partner but,she could certainly say the same of you, about a lot of things."

Mulder laughed softly. "You're right about that." He cupped theback of Alex's head and swooped down for a hard kiss.

Alex could feel the familiar coiling in his stomach. The heaviness in hiseyelids and limbs came immediately. Mulder pulled away and gave him a smokystare.

"How about a walk?"

"On the beach?"

"Yeah."

Alex ran a hand down his chest and skimmed lightly over the bulge at thefront of his pants.

"Let's go."


Wednesday, 7:34 p.m.

Alex stepped out of the shower and into the fluffy bathtowel that was heldout to him. Mulder kissed the back of his neck and began to rub the towelover his body.

"I can do this myself, you know," Alex said without much conviction.

"Humor me."

When he was dry, he was led to the sink where Mulder lathered his face andpicked up a razor. He leaned back against the sink and let Mulder straddlehis legs. He held perfectly still as the other man carefully shaved him.

Mulder smiled, feeling Alex's cock hardening against his crotch.

"I'm just *shaving* you..."

"I know," the younger man moaned, "but it's so damn erotic."

"Is there anything that you *don't* find erotic?"

"If you're even remotely involved? No."

Mulder grinned a particularly evil grin and drew the razor slowly down theright side of Alex's cheek, along his jaw, then moved away to rinse. Hishand came back, this time to to the base of the younger man's throat. Therazor glided upward, followed by Mulder's flicking tongue. Alex's eyes closedand he moaned deep in his throat.

"Shhh. You gotta be still and quiet You want me to cut you?"

Alex grasped his wrist and pulled his hand away. "How do you expectme to be quiet when you do things like that?"

"Have you *no* self control?"

"Not where you're concerned, no."

Mulder's other hand trailed up the towel-wrapped thigh. "Wish I couldsay that I was sorry...now hold still, would you?"

"Get your hand off my cock and I'll think about it."

"Huh? Oh, sorry. Just has a mind of it's own, sometimes."

"Yeah. Now move it."

"*You* move it."

"Fox..."

Mulder resumed his task. "What?"

Alex spoke through gritted teeth. "Your *hand*."

"Don't be such a wuss." His hand stroked the bulge in the towel,gently as he drew the razor up Alex's throat.

Alex's eyes squeezed shut and he held his breath. His cock seemed to growharder with every feathery touch.

"Relax...this'll be a lot eaier if you're not so tense."

"This'll be a lot easier if you'd just *shave* me."

"I *am* shaving you."

"*Without* the extras.

Mulder removed his hand from Alex's crotch. "Can't take the heat, huhKrycek?"

Alex gave him a mock glare. "I got your *heat*."

Mulder gave him a rather odd little smile, then resumed the shave.

"Head back."

Alex's head tipped, responding to the light touch of fingers under his chin.Mulder continued to shave him slowly, stopping to tease him every so often.

Mission finally accomplished, they moved into the bedroom. As Alex pulledsome clothes from the closet, Mulder's hand appeared in front of his face.An all-too familiar object dangled from his fingers.

"Uh. What's that?"

"You mean you don't remember?"

Alex's voice came out in a tiny squeak. "Remember what?"

Mulder swung the leather strapping in front of his eyes. "That it's*your* turn."

"Oh. Uh. Well...you know, I...I *would*, but ummm....Scully! Uh, Scully'scoming with us and, you know..."

"No, I don't know. So what, if she's coming with us? It's not likeit's something she's going to see."

"Yeah, but she'll know something's up. I mean, look at what happenedto *you*."

"What *happened* to me?"

"You got all....*goofy*."

Mulder quirked an eyebrow. "Goofy?"

"Well okay, that was a bad choice of words, but you know what I mean."

"Not a clue."

"You were all *over* me, Fox. The way you looked, the way you moved.Everything about you screamed, ëfuck me.'"

He wouldn't argue with that statement.

"So what makes you think you'll be the same?"

"Because you and I are alike in as many ways as we are different. Thesame things excite me that do you, and wearing this thing all night....havingyou touch me and thinking about what you're going to do to me when we getback here, will drive me out of my mind. Tell me that isn't what happenedwith you."

Fox smiled. "Can't."

"Right."

He wrapped his fingers around Alex's half erect cock and pulled gently,bringing the still naked man closer. He began fastening the leather bindinginto place, securing it snuggly.

Alex winced and moaned. "I guess your mind is pretty much made up..."

"Yup."

When Mulder had him bound in exactly the same way he had been just a fewnights before, he allowed Alex to get dressed.

"Umm..." Alex squeezed his eyes shut and opened them. "Ithink I'm going to need a little help here. My brain seems to have turnedto mush."

Mulder laughed. "Okay, so maybe you *are* going to react the same wayI did."

He helped Alex get dressed with a minimum of teasing. He was saving *that*for later.

"Okay, handsome." Mulder finished buttoning Alex's shirt and rana hand lightly down the front of his pants. "Let's not keep Scullywaiting."

"Oh God," Alex sighed softly as he followed closely behind Mulder."I've got this feeling..."


8:53 p.m.

"You look very nice." Mulder approached Scully, who was waitingfor them downstairs.

"Thanks. I'm glad I packed something decent." She eyed the twomen. "You two look very handsome."

Mulder smiled and held his hand out to Alex, who stepped forward to takeit. Mulder pulled him tightly to his side and kissed his slightly downturnedhead. He turned to Scully. "Ready?"

She glanced from one man to the other. "Yeah, I'm ready..." Shefollowed them out the door, whispering to herself. "...I *think*."


9:48 p.m.

The limo ride to the club was an interesting event. Scully sat in the seatacross from the two men, conversing with Mulder, who seemed very much atease, while Alex gave a her distinctly different impression. Outwardly,he was very quiet, but the tension radiated from his body. She didn't believethey'd argued, it wasn't that kind of tension. When Mulder drew Alex closerto him, stroking and soothing the younger man, never missing a word of theirconversation, Scully narrowed her eyes, wondering what exactly it was, thatshe was missing.

Upon arrival at the club, Mulder scanned the room and pointed to the corner."Look Alex, our table is empty." With one hand positioned highon Scully's back and the other very low on Alex's, he steered them throughthe maze of tables and people, toward their destination.

Scully slid in first, followed by Fox, then Alex. Once settled, Scully surveyedthe large, multi-level room. "This is beautiful. And the music isn'tvery loud."

For the first time since they'd left the house, Alex strung more than twowords together. "It gets louder as the place fills up." His eyelidsdropped suddenly and the muscle in his jaw flexed as Mulder's hand loweredunseen, to his thigh and slowly stroked the length of it. He managed tocompose himself, then opened his eyes and turned them to Scully. "Wanta drink?"

"Sure. Uh, I don't know...something tropical, I guess?"

Alex nodded. "Fox?" Softly, through gritted teeth.

Mulder shrugged, squeezing Alex's thigh. "Mmmm...I think, somethinghard..." his hand rose higher but not high enough, "strong....Russian..."Alex's head began to pound. "....Absolut."

Alex drew a deep, raspy breath. "Be right back."

As he started to slide out of the booth, Mulder's hand around his arm, stoppedhim. "Hey."

He turned to look into smoky gold eyes.

Mulder repeatedly curled and uncurled his index finger. Alex slid back towardhim and into a sizzling kiss.

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Scully watched, deeply embarrassed but unable to tear her eyes away, asher partner nearly devoured his lover's mouth. She heard Alex's involuntarymoan. Saw his tongue inch out to lap at Fox's mouth when it withdrew. Frownedwhen Fox pulled away, allowing no more contact. Inwardly screamed in sympathyfor Alex as he quietly removed his trembling body from the booth and walkedtoward the bar.

When the younger man was out of earshot, she turned on Mulder.

"What the hell was that?"

"What the hell was what?"

"What did you do to him?"

"What did I do to him?" he repeated, all wide-eyed innocence.

"Yes!

The pretense vanished. "Nothing he didn't want me to do."

"You're telling me he *wants* to be tormented like that?"

Mulder glanced down at the table drumming his fingers on the warm wood surface."This might not be a conversation you want to get into, Scully."

"Well, I don't want to pry, Mulder. Your personal life is your own."

"I don't mind, Scully. I *want* you to understand Alex and me. As longas *you* don't mind..."

"I find the two of you fascinating. Not in a detached, clinical sortof way...I mean from a human standpoint. It's amazing how two people whocould so easily have killed each other less than a year ago, could end upso completely devoted to each other."

Mulder nodded.

"*And*," she added, "I find it *astounding* that you, a manwho'd only ever been with women and who claims to have never had a homosexualthought in his life, could be capable of what I've seen you do to Alex,tonight. *What* is the deal with that?"

Mulder smirked. "He did it to *me*, the other night. You know whatthey say about payback..."

"So this is like, a game?"

"I guess you could say that. He got me incredibly turned on, then tookme out where there wasn't a whole hell of a lot I could do about it. Thenhe *really* drove me up the walls. I warned him...tonight, it's his turn."

"So...it's all a big act?"

"It may be a game, but it's no act." He gave her a silky smile."He's suffering."

"And you're enjoying it?"

"Like you wouldn't believe."

"Doesn't it seem just a bit cruel?"

"It'll be worth the cruelty...and he knows it."

Scully started to smile, feeling much more relaxed about having this conversation."Was it worth it for *you*?"

Mulder lowered his head and closed his eyes. "Oh, yeah. He did thingsto me..."

"Well...good evening."

Mulder's head snapped up. His expression turned icy as he stared up at theman in front of them.

"Playing on the other side of the fence, are we?" he asked, tossinga careless glance in Scully's direction.

"I thought I'd made it clear to you the other night that I was *not*interested."

"Oh, you did...then. But I see that you're not with your handsome,albeit hot-tempered companion. I thought you may have had a falling outand were possibly more open to my suggestion."

Scully looked from one man to the other with interest.

Mulder smiled and replied smoothly. "Apparently, you've only just arrived."

"Oh, he's here?"

"Yeah, he's here. And I suggest you leave quickly before he comes back.You remember how upset he was the last time."

"Indeed, I do." He turned ice-blue eyes back to Scully. "Younglady, you're very beautiful. I'm surprised that he's allowed you to sitwithin a half mile of him." He nodded toward Mulder.

"Ignore him and he'll go away." Mulder looked past the man andbolted from his seat. Scully peered around the man who stood partially blockingher view and saw Mulder, about eight feet away, palms flattened againstan obviously infuriated Alex's chest. He was talking to the younger man,trying to calm him. Scully's eyes slid back up to the stranger, who waswatching the proceedings with a satisfied smile on his face.

"Are you happy?"

He turned to face the seated woman.

"Happy?" he answered evenly. "I'm *always* happy."

"I don't think you fully appreciate the seriousness of the situationyou're creating. That is *not* a man you really want to tick off."

He studied Scully for a moment. The angle of her head, the expression inher eyes. He decided to take her at her word. He bowed deeply and withoutanother word, moved on. Scully watched him walk off, then turned her attentionback to the two men who were now moving toward her. Mulder held tightlyonto Alex's hand as he bent over the table. Alex scanned the room with angryglittering eyes, paying no attention to what Mulder was saying to theirfemale companion.

"Scully, will you be okay for about ten minutes? I gotta try and calmhim down."

"Sure! Absolutely, don't worry about me."

Mulder grabbed a passing waitress and ordered the drinks that Alex had leftthe bar without. He smiled at Scully. "Be back in a few, okay?"

"Good luck."

"Alex..." Mulder tugged at his hand. "Come on...come withme." He led his still fuming lover through the growing crowd and ontothe dance floor. He pulled Alex into his arms and began to move slowly."Relax, baby." He massaged the base of the younger man's neck."Look at me."

Alex's eyes stopped darting around the room and came to rest on the tranquilhazel in front of him.

"Forget about it. The guy's annoying but that's all he is. He can'ttouch us."

"Yeah, but..."

"But nothing. He's a manipulative jerk who thinks that money can buyhim everything he wants. You should feel sorry for him. He can surroundhimself with all the good-looking young men he wants and he'll still belonely. They won't love him, they'll only love his money. *I*..." hebrushed Alex's lips with his own, "love *you*."

Alex studied him for a moment, then dropped his head into the curve of hisshoulder. Mulder rested his cheek against the dark head and closed his eyesas they continued to sway in time to the music.

"Now," Mulder said softly, his hand sweeping up and down Alex'sback, "can we get back to business?"

"Business?"

"Yeah." His tongue teased his lover's ear. "Business."

Alex felt his cock leap back to life, straining against it's bindings. Foxfelt him too, hardening against his own erection. He slipped both handsinside Alex's jacket, around his waist and down to his ass. He caressedthe tight muscle and moaned against Alex's cheek.

"That's better."

Alex's fingers curled into Mulder's shirt and he rubbed against him.

"*Much* better." One hand inched up and began to toy with thechain beneath Alex's shirt. "You know how I'd moan and squirm everytime you pulled on this?"

Soft yes.

"I think it's time you found out just what that felt like."

Alex's body convulsed as Mulder pulled up on the chain and released it.

"*God*, Fox..."

"You want to come, don't you?"

"Yes..."

"You *need* to..."

Another pull.

Alex's arms tightened around his tormentor's neck and a harsh groan fellfrom his lips.

"But you can't..."

He shook his head.

A gentle hand caressed his back.

"My poor baby. It's torture, isn't it?"

Another nod.

"Good."

Alex lifted his head.

Shit, he was dizzy.

He tried to focus on Fox's eyes. "I'm really in for it, aren't I?"

"Oh yeah, you are."

"But...Scully..."

"Scully's presence isn't going to save you. She and I started to havea little talk while you were at the bar. She understands. In fact, I thinkshe was enjoying the conversation...till our friend showed up. I think you'reright, Alex. I think she *was* watching us." He leaned in and ran thetip of his tongue across Alex's lower lip. "I think she's watchingus, now." He undid a button on Alex's shirt and licked the exposedskin as they went on dancing. Another button.

"Fox...mmph...Fox..."

"Hmm?"

"You're undressing me..."

"Don't overreact. It was only two buttons." He slipped a handinside the shirt and teased an already rigid nipple.

Alex sucked in a breath. "Fox," he whispered, "*please*."

"Please what, baby?" Mulder ground their hips together. "Pleaseundo another button? Please lick this nipple I'm playing with?"

Alex gasped.

"Please.....take you into the men's room and let you suck me dry?"

The younger man shuddered against him.

"Would you?"

"Would I..."

"Let me take you into the men's room..." Both hands were now backat his ass, pulling him into a rythmic grind. "..so you can get downon your knees, and suck my cock."

"My God...Fox..."

"Would you?"

"It...it's a public restroom."

"There are stalls with locks. Would you?"

His legs were starting to shake. "You know I would."

"Do you want to?"

"*Yes*."

"Then, come with me."

Mulder led him slowly through the crowd and off the dance floor. But whenhe should have turned left, he turned right and headed in the directionof their booth.

"What...where are you going?"

Mulder turned to him and smiled and they walked. "I changed my mind."

Fortunately, by the time what he'd just done sank in, they were at the table.Alex practically fell onto the seat, sprawling bonelessly. His head droppedback against the cushion and he fought to control his respiration.

"You okay?"

Deep shudders ran through Alex's body. "No."

Scully stared at Alex for a moment, then looked to Mulder.

"What did you do to him?" she mouthed at him.

Mulder smirked at her and turned his attention back to Alex. "Scullythinks I'm torturing you." He brushed the back of his hand up and downthe younger man's crotch.

Alex's body tightened. "He is," he ground out between clenchedteeth.

"Mul-der! You're terrible! Look at him!"

"I *am* looking at him." His hand left Alex's crotch, travelingup to his face to tilt it in his direction. "He's beautiful, isn'the?"

Alex opened his eyes, meeting Mulder's smoky gaze. Their mouths met in asearing kiss, electrifying both men and the woman who watched them.

Mulder broke the kiss off abruptly and reached for his drink. "Wannadance, Scully?"

Alex groaned and rolled his head back to the right.

Scully shaded her eyes with one hand. "Mulder..."

"What? You don't want to dance?"

"What about Alex?" she asked under her breath.

"Oh..well..." he nudged the tormented man to his right. "Baby,you want to dance with Scully?"

"That's not what I meant!"

"Oh. Sorry. What did you mean?"

"You're going to leave him here like this?"

"He's okay. You okay, Alex?"

No answer.

"See, he's okay. Come on."

He shooed Scully out of the booth and slid out behind her. Before they walkedout to the dance floor, he leaned over Alex and brushed lips.

"I love you..."

Alex's head lifted from the seat cushion and he stretched up in search ofsomething more. Mulder obliged, bringing his mouth down on the younger man's,inflicting a punishing kiss on him and forcing his head back against thecushion. Alex reached up, cupping the back of Mulder's neck, trying to holdhim there but when the older man had decided that enough was enough, heabruptly broke off the assault and stood up.

"Be back in a few." He gave Alex a dazzling smile. "Behaveyourself."

Alex moaned softly and fell over sideways onto the seat with a soft thud.

"Amazing," Scully shouted above the music as Mulder pulled herout onto the dance floor.

"What is?"

"That you can torture him horribly and he practically begs for more."

"Told you, he likes it." He drew Scully into his arms and beganto move slowly.

"Unbelievable...who was that guy?"

Mulder shrugged nonchalantly. "Just some rich jerk who hit on me inthe men's room, the last time we were here."

"How do you know he's rich?"

"He made it a *point* of letting us know. He was looking for a youngplaymate who would look good on his arm at parties and whatnot."

"And he wanted you?"

"Actually, he wanted us both. He hit on Alex first, at the bar. Whenhe didn't get anywhere with him, he came after me in the men's room. I madethe mistake of telling Alex about it. He lost his mind but I managed toget him out of here without any loss of life."

"And you think leaving him alone is a good idea, since you know thatman is here again, tonight?"

"He won't approach Alex again."

"And you don't think that Alex will go after him if he sees him acrossthe room or something?"

"I..." He opened and closed his mouth. "I don't think so..."

Scully raised her eyebrows. "But you're not sure."

"Well...no...but I can...I can see him from here."

"I don't see him, Mulder."

Mulder laughed and peered over Scully's head. "He's still laying down.I see his foot hanging over the edge of the seat."

"Is it your intention to torture him like this all night long?"

A small twitch of his mouth was all the answer Scully got.

"I actually feel sorry for him."

"Just keep in mind that he put me through a similar hell a couple ofnights ago and this is my retribution."

"I'd never have pegged you for the sadistic type, Mulder."

"You'd never have pegged me for the type who'd fall in love with anotherman, either."

"Very true."

They finished the dance and returned to the booth, where Alex was stillstretched out on the seat. Mulder ran a hand back and forth from his kneeto his hip.

"I'm baaaaack......"

Alex whimpered. "Scully, take him back for another dance."

Mulder grinned and patted his rear. "Forget it."

"Come on, Fox," Alex murmured so Scully wouldn't hear. "Thethrobbing is just starting to subside."

"What? Oh, no no no. We can't have that. Sit up."

"Noooo...."

Mulder supported his weight, placing one hand on the table and the otheron the seat beside Alex's head and bent over him. "Yes," he moanedagainst the flushed lips before covering them in a long, sensuous kiss.Using no contact other than that of his mouth, he pulled up slowly, bringingAlex with him and shooting whatever little progress the younger man hadmade, straight to hell. He broke the kiss and motioned for Alex to stand,sitting on the edge of the seat, when he did. He spread his thighs and pulledAlex between them. His eyes flicked down to Alex's crotch, only a few inchesin front of his face, then back up at the glassy eyes that watched him intently.

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<<
Alex's body twitched and jerked involuntarily toward Mulder when his partner'sall-too tempting lips parted slightly and his tongue made a single upwardlicking motion, then disappeared back into his mouth.

Unable to see what was happening from where she was sitting, Scully couldonly guess at what new torture Mulder was inflicting on his lover.

Mulder gave Alex's ass a hard squeeze then slid over, allowing him to sit.With the younger man now seated next to him, Mulder raised a hand to hisface. His fingers moved in small circles over Alex's cheek. Hazel eyes lockedon purest green, promising, seducing. Blinding Alex to all but what wasright in front of him.

"When we get back to the house," he began softly, "I wantyou to go straight upstairs and wait for me. Don't undress. Lay down onthe bed..." Alex closed his eyes, and swallowed hard. "Don't touchyourself. Just lay there and wait...and wonder."

"W..where will you be?"

Mulder smiled a thoroughly evil smile and removed his hand from Alex's face.He picked his glass up and drained the remaining contents. "Think I'llhave another...you?" Alex shook his head absently. Mulder turned towardScully who had been watching them with an amused fascination. "Wantanother, Scully?"

"Yeah," she lifted her glass and took another sip. "Thisone is getting warm."

"Okay, be right back. Come on, Alex. You look like you could use awalk."

The two men moved off toward the bar, Mulder's arm slung low around Alex'swaist. They reached the bar and stood at the far end. Mulder pulled Alexback against his chest, wrapping an arm across his shoulders. His mouthpressed against the rapidly pounding pulse in the younger man's neck.

"Mmmm..." Alex's hips thrust back, pressing intimately againsthis lover's crotch. Mulder pushed forward, rocking gently against his loverand whispered into his ear.

"You know, Scully thinks I'm being terrible to you."

No answer.

"Turn around."

Alex did a slow spin and stopped when they were face to face. His fingersclosed around the material at the front of Mulder's sage green shirt andhe blinked up at him through a veil of dark lashes. Mulder leaned forwardand nuzzled that sensitive patch of skin, just beyond his chin.

"Do you?"

"Do I what?"

"Think I'm being terrible."

"Yes."

Mulder pulled away and met his eye.

"Don't stop."

Mulder grinned and slid his hands down to Alex's ass, pulling him tightlyinto the cradle of his hips. "Feel that?" He pressed his raginghard-on against his lover's, feeling it strain against the strapping.

His name tumbled from Alex's lips on a stuttering gasp.

A soft, moist mouth trailed the length of his throat. Stopped at the base.Nipped gently before moving down to kiss the exposed skin of his chest.Alex's eyes rolled up into his head, lids drooping over them as his lover'shand teased the chain hidden beneath his clothing.

"Lisa...please..."

His body jerked in response to the firm tug.

"Again?"

"Yes."

Again. Harder.

Alex clasped his arms around Fox's neck and groaned into his shoulder. "Fox...Ineed...I...I need to..."

"How bad do you need it?"

"I'll do any...anything. Anything, baby...please..."

Fox lifted Alex's head off of his shoulder. "You *will* do anything..."he stroked the underside of the younger man's chin. "..and everythingI tell you to do. And I promise you...I'll make you scream."

"Now, okay? Please? Can't we just leave now?"

Mulder shook his head slowly.

"But..."

"No, sweetheart," Fox cooed. "We promised Scully a nightout, remember? We haven't been here all that long. It wouldn't be very fairto her, would it?"

"No..."

"She'll be gone tomorrow and we'll be alone again...we'll stay justa couple more hours, okay?"

"Okay..."

"I'm going to make you feel so good, baby. You're going to come harderthan you ever thought you could."

Alex trembled at the thought. He lowered his head to Fox's shoulder, andclung silently to him. The older man kept Alex pressed tightly to his body,continuously petting the soft hair, while he waited to place the drink order.Some minutes later, the two drinks were placed on the bar in front of him.The bartender smiled at the two men as she accepted payment.

"Enjoy the rest of your evenin', gentlemen."

Mulder gave her a sincere smile as he released Alex to pick up the glasses.He motioned with a flick of his head, in the direction of their table. Alexfollowed closely, sliding into the booth right behind Mulder and moldinghimself to the older man's side. He grasped the back of Mulder's shirt andagain rested his head against his shoulder.

"Here's your drink, Scully." Mulder slid the glass toward her.

"Thanks. You were at the bar an awful long time," she said suspiciously.

"Yeah. There was a ton of people up there. They must be short on waitresses."He dipped two fingers into his drink, stirring slowly and turned his headslightly in Alex's direction. "If you change your mind about the drinkAlex, you can have some of mine."

Alex watched him through lowered lashes. He heaved a long, unsteady sigh.

Mulder raised his fingers to his own lips, sucking the liquid away. Thefingers went back down to the drink. "Want some?"

By now, Alex's mouth was practically watering. Mulder felt the nod againsthis shoulder. He lifted his fingers to Alex's mouth. His tongue inched out,tentatively at first, lapping the heavy drops away, then bolder, lickingat the underside of the two fingers. Then finally, his mouth opened widerand took the offering, desperately pulling and sucking. Mulder nuzzled thetop of his head.

"Bet I know what you *wish* this was..."

Alex groaned and swirled his tongue around the fingers before drawing themdeeper into his mouth.

Fox watched, heavy-lidded, and smiled. "Show me, baby," he whispered."Show me what you'd do if this was my cock."

Alex obeyed the soft command, sliding up and down on Fox's two fingers,his head bobbing slowly, in time to the music that flooded the club. Heopened his mouth a bit and his tongue danced around the tips, tickling andteasing.

Mulder drew a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I love it when youdo that." He pulled his fingers away and immersed them in the glass,then again held them up. Alex took them, suckling voraciously. "Justlike that," Mulder breathed into Alex's hair. "I want it justlike that, later." He turned his attention back to Scully while stillallowing Alex to feed on his fingers.

"So. What time is your plane leaving tomorrow?"

"Uh..." Scully forced herself to tear her eyes away from the mansucking on her partner's fingers with such uninhibited lust. "Fivethirty. I'm all packed and..." her eyes flitted back to Alex, thenaway. "ready to go. You guys still have about, what? Three weeks?"

"Yeah, about that."

"Bet it's going to be rough to go back."

Mulder gently pulled his fingers away from Alex's mouth, drawing a low moanfrom the younger man. "Yeah. I'm going to hate leaving here."He replaced his fingers with his mouth, kissing his lover deeply then withdrew."This island is where I found something that I was scared to death,I'd lost forever." His eyes locked on Alex's and held them for severalseconds before the younger man curved an arm around his throat and snuggledagainst him.

An hour later, Scully made the suggestion that they call it a night. Alexcould have kissed her.

Mulder called for the car and when it arrived, all three got in, Scullyin the same seat she'd occupied earlier and the men in theirs. Mulder gotin first, sitting sideways, back against the body of the car. He stretchedhis right leg out along the seat and motioned to Alex, who came to sit inthe space between his legs and leaned into his embrace. They rode back tothe house that way, Mulder and Scully chatting amiably and Alex quietlycontemplating what his lover had in store for him, his cock swelling almostpainfully, in reaction to the thoughts running through his head.

The car pulled up to the house, dropping it's passengers at the door. Scullyentered first, followed by Fox, then Alex.

"I could use some coffee, Scully. How about you?"

Both of his companions shot him a surprised look. Scully spoke up.

"Mulder, you never drink coffee after morning."

He shrugged. "I just feel like some coffee. Want some?"

"Yeah. Sure."

Alex closed his eyes and lowered his head. He opened his eyes, feeling Fox'shand close around his. Raised them to his lover's face. Read the intention.Allowed himself to be led to the foot of the stairs.

Fox raised Alex's hand to his lips and planted a soft kiss in the palm thenreleased. Alex looked from him to Scully, who was trying, unsuccessfully,to look nonchalant.

"Goodnight Scully," he said barely above a whisper.

"Goodnight Alex," she called, much too brightly. "See youin the morning."

Alex glanced once more at Fox, then ascended the stairs. The older man watchedhim until he was out of sight, then headed toward the kitchen. Scully followedclose on his heels.

"Mulder, I know what you said about Alex enjoying this as much as you,but don't you think enough is enough?"

Mulder pulled out the items he needed to brew the coffee.

"Not yet."

"Did you see the look on his face when you sent him upstairs alone?"

"He knew he was going up alone. I told him that at the club."

"Maybe he was hoping that you'd change your mind from there to here."

"I think he knows better than that."

Scully rolled her eyes and reached for two mugs.

"Just one."

"Huh? But you said..."

"Scully," he gave her a devious grin. "You know I never drinkcoffee at night..."


Thursday
1:33 a.m.

Alex entered the bedroom and closed the door softly behind him. He movedto the bed and lay down, actually grateful for the chance to relax his tightenedmuscles.

//Come on, Alex. Chill. If you don't, this'll be over in nothing flat. He'llwalk in, unstrap this fucking torture device that *you* bought, stroke yourcock *once*, and you'll be all done. You don't want it to happen like that.You've been waiting *hours* for this. You want it to last...//

He took long, deep breaths in through his nose and let them out of his mouth.

//That's it...calm...cool...breathe deep....deep....long, deep strokes...inand out of your ass...warm hand up and down on your cock....oh, yeah.....oh....shit!No! //

He gritted his teeth as the throbbing resumed.

//Aw, fuck! You can't go five fucking minutes without thinking of that?Well shit, how do you expect to when he's driven you as insane as he hastonight?//

He checked his watch and rolled onto his side. He drew his knees up andcrossed his arms over his chest.

//Please, baby. Please, please, please...//


2:28 a.m.



Alex heard the door open softly and his heart began to pound double-time.He lay curled up on the bed, back to the door, trying to stop the tremorsthat coursed through his body. The carpeting absorbed the sound of the footstepsbut he could feel Fox's presence drawing nearer. The bed dipped slightlyand the soft monotone drifted down to him.

"You're not asleep, are you?"

He answered without turning around. "No."

"What have you been doing?"

"Nothing."

Mulder ran a hand down his arm. "Nothing at all?"

"You told me not to do anything."

The hand left his arm and stroked his hair. "Good boy."

Alex felt him rise from the bed and while he was wondering where Fox was,he heard the CD player go on.

"Alex."

The voice came from across the room.

"Yeah?"

"Get up."

Alex unfolded himself and stood on the other side of the bed. He staredat the man who leaned against the wall, watching him.

"Strip for me."

Alex's hands went to his shirt and started to undo the buttons.

"No."

He looked up.

"Not like that."

He cocked his head, not entirely sure he understood. Fox displayed a lascivioussmirk.

"*Strip* for me."

Alex's knees almost gave out on him. Jesus fucking Christ, he wanted himto do a striptease!

"Fox...come on..."

Mulder tilted his head, listening to the CD player. "Wrong kind ofmusic?"

"No...it's just that...you don't really want me to, do you?"

"Yeah, I really do."

Eyes that at the moment, were as green as his own, held him entranced. Willedhim to obey.

Keeping the visual connection, Alex moved around the bed and stopped onthe other side, now about six feet away from his one-man audience. Becomingone with the music, his body began to sway. He removed the jacket slowly,slithering out of it and letting it fall to the floor. Next, he undid thecuffs of his shirt, then moved to the buttons at the front. When he hadfour buttons undone, he slipped his hands inside, stroking his own chest,teasing his nipples as his hips rocked seductively. His back arched as hepinched one nipple and his gasp reached Fox's ear.

The older man closed his eyes but only briefly. He didn't want to miss asecond of this.

The one hand continued to tease the painfully hard peak and the other ranthrough his hair, down the back of his neck and back to the front of hisshirt. He finished with the buttons and turned his back to his lover. Heshrugged out of the shirt, rolling one shoulder, then the other, until thatgarment too, fell to the floor.

Mulder watched, mesmerized, as the muscles of the younger man's back rippledwith every movement. The gold chain also became visible, reminding him,as if he needed reminding, of what was beneath the pants.

Alex spun back to face him. His hand dropped to his pants, unbuckling thebelt and letting it hang free. His eyes closed and his hips made subtlegrinding motions as he undid the button and drew the zipper down.

Mulder forced himself to remain where he stood. He ached to go to Alex andrip the remainder of his clothing off, but he refused to rush this. A musclein his cheek jumped as his lover slid the pants down and off. He slippedhis hands into his pockets and tightened them into fists as Alex stalkedslowly toward him and draped one arm over his shoulder. He continued tomove in time to the music, his body lightly brushing Fox's as he slowlydescended to his knees and looked up at his lover.

Eyes dilated to near-blackness, stared down at the kneeling man. Hands longedto reach out and touch but remained clenched, deeply entrenched in pockets.

Interpreting his lover's silence as permission, he continued, rubbing hisface gently against the rigid bulge, still hidden by black material. Hesmiled, feeling some small return of power with the jerking movements ofthe older man's cock against his cheek. He rose slowly and began a seductivebump and grind against the clothed body. His eyes drifted shut as he immersedhimself in his performance.

Enough was enough.

Scully's words.

They rose suddenly to Fox's mind and echoed.

Alex emitted a soft gasp of surprise as he was roughly jerked against hislover's body. Feverish lips assaulted his throat while restless hand roamedthe length of his back.

"God, Fox." His hand went to the older man's shirt but beforehe could get one button undone, Fox's hands left his back and clamped aroundhis wrists.

"Fox...no..." Alex struggled half-heartedly. "Let me undressyou."

Fox watched him silently.

"Come on..." He fought a little harder. "Fox, *please*."

No response. Quick...change of tactic.

"I need you, baby..." He writhed against Fox. "And I knowyou need me..." He licked the underside of the stubbled jaw. "Ican feel how hard you are. I know you've been having fun torturing me, butyou can't stand there and tell me that you're not torturing yourself aswell..."

Almost unreadable eyes studied him. Still, the other said nothing.

"Come on," he whispered against the pouting lips. "Baby..."

Enough was definitely enough.

In a display of strength that neither man thought he'd yet possessed, Muldersuddenly bent and pushed his shoulder into Alex's mid-section, forcing himto double over. He lifted and carried his lover on his shoulder to the bedand unceremoniously dumped him onto the mattress. Shocked green eyes staredup at him.

Fox practically ripped the clothes from his own body and fell onto Alex.The younger man's arms immediately wound around his back.

"Get this thing off me," he pleaded.

Fox gave no indication that he'd heard. His mouth came down hard on Alex's,pulling many a whimper from him before he withdrew. >> ------------------------------------------------------------------------Free Web-based e-mail groups -- http://www.eGroups.comSee Disclaimer inPart I



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"Fox," Alex panted. "Please..."

"Not yet."

So he *had* heard. And he'd...refused? No. Alex arched against his lover.

"Please."

"No."

Okay, so he *had* heard right.

"Fox, I'm *dying*..."

"Remember what I told you at the club?"

"What?"

"Remember when you were sucking on my fingers?"

Alex closed his eyes and drew a shaky breath.

"Sure, you remember. Suck me, Alex. And if you make it real good, I'llthink about unstrapping you."

He made Alex lay sideways and kneeled in front of his face. The youngerman needed no prompting. He immediately dove for the solid erection thatbobbed in front of him.

Fox's eyes rolled up into his head as Alex sucked his entire length downhis throat. That all-too familiar tightening in his stomach began almostinstantly. This was going to be quick. Much too quick. Fox tried to relax.Tried to forget how incredibly wonderful it felt to have this man's lipsaround him. Tried to breathe deeply and slow it down but Alex had been right,earlier. He'd tortured not only his lover, but himself and now, he was morethan ready.

//No. Ohhh, no. Not like this.//

He pulled out of Alex's mouth, eliciting a groan of protest from the abandonedlips.

"Shhh." He moved Alex back under his body and pulled the tubeof lubricant out of the dresser drawer. Coating two fingers, he pulled hispartner's legs back and up and worked them both inside the tight opening.

Alex's back arched and his head pressed into the pillows. His cock was readyto explode but the bindings held him in check. The thought that this iswhat it must have been like for Fox all those months, crossed his mind justbefore his lover's fingers fluttered across that magic spot, obliteratingany and all thoughts from his mind.

Fox smiled at the scream that tore from Alex's throat.

"*Fox*! Jesus...oh, *shit*!" Alex sobbed into Fox's shoulder."Now...please, I can't...I...can't..."

"It's okay, baby." Fox withdrew his fingers and positioned himself.

"Yeah...yeah..." Alex panted. "Do me, Fox."

Mulder paused to quickly lube his cock, taking care not to prolong contactwith his hand. Alex squirmed beneath him.

"Hurry...baby, hurry....*ahhh*!"

The head of his lover's cock stretched him, bringing brief discomfort thenunimaginable pleasure. He twisted and dug his fingers into taut muscle,silently pleading with his Fox to complete their connection and crying outin relief when he did.

Now buried inside of his lover, Fox stopped to compose himself. As he closedhis eyes and breathed deeply, Alex's voice reached his ears.

"Fox...*Fox*...please...take this thing off of me..."

Alex's hands went to the leather binding and began to work on the firstbuckle. Mulder opened his eyes and caught Alex's hands before he could getit completely undone.

"No, you don't," he rasped. *I'll* take it off."

"So, *do* it!"

"I'll do it when I'm ready to do it."

"You're ready *now*!"

Mulder pulled his cock out almost to the tip, then pushed quickly back in.Alex gritted his teeth and choked back a groan.

"Last time I checked, this was still *my* party. I'll tell *you* whenI'm ready."

Sufficiently chastised, Alex abandoned his fleeting attempt at control.Mulder felt his body go slack and smiled, stroking his chest.

"That's better."

He began to move slowly and steadily, grunting softly with each thrust.The man beneath him whimpered frantically as the pressure became unbearable.

"Fox," Alex whined, "please, I'm *begging* you..."

Mulder thrust harder. "Begging won't...help you. Not tonight. Not..."The words died in his throat as he felt the unstoppable approach of hisclimax. He began to move faster and harder, slamming into his lover withall the strength he could muster. Seconds later, his hoarse cries filledthe room.

He slumped in an exhausted heap and lay motionless on top of his yet unsatisfiedlover. Alex's mind raced frantically as he felt Fox begin to relax.

//No. Oh, *hell* no. He's not going to fall *asleep* on me. He *wouldn't*...oh,God...oh, God..."//

The world began to return in fuzzy blues and grays. Fox blinked sluggishlyand finally opened his eyes. He picked his head up and looked down intoa pair of dark, tormented eyes. He placed a tender kiss on Alex's mouthand carefully stroked his hair.

"Your turn."

A breathless sob.

Slowly and oh so carefully, Fox began to remove the cock restraints, pausinga countless number of times to allow Alex to calm down. Finally, it wasoff and tossed to the floor.

"Thank you," Alex gasped. "Thank you..."

"Okay," Mulder crooned while finger-combing his hair. "Takeit easy. Easy, love."

He was almost hyperventilating. "I can't wait, Fox. I thought I could...Ithought...I..."

"Listen to me, Alex....Alex, come on." Alex tried to focus onhis lover's reassuring smile. "You've waited so long. You don't wantit to be over in the blink of an eye, do you?"

"No, but I can't wait anymore. I'm so close..."

"I know you are. But just try to relax. Take a few deep breaths. Iwant to make you feel good, baby. If I touch you right now, it'll be over.Won't it?"

Alex nodded, whimpering softly.

"All right, then. Just relax and trust me."

He stroked Alex's face, massaged his shoulders. Whispered soothing, nonsensicalwords in his ear. Minutes later, the younger man's respiration began toslow.

"There now," Fox nuzzled his jaw. "That's much better."

Alex gazed dreamily up at him. "Mmmmm...."

Fox cupped his face and moved in toward his mouth. "I love you, Alex..."

Alex's eyes slid shut as Fox's lips slanted across his. He opened his mouth,willingly surrendering his moist heat to the man above him. His hands crawledup to his lover's shoulders then wove through the golden brown hair, luxuriatingin it's silky softness. Fox twisted away from his lips and kissed a leisurelytrail over his chin and down his neck. Alex's pulse began to race almostimmediately.

"Easy baby," Mulder warned softly, against his throat. He movedlower, now teasing the heated skin of Alex's chest, purposely avoiding thesensitive nipples. For now. His tongue stroked through the light scatteringof hair, flattening against the flesh, trying to gather as much of the man'staste as he could in one swipe. He murmured against the moistened skin."Have I ever told you how much I love the way you taste?"

"Tell me later."

He smiled faintly and returned to giving Alex his tongue bath. He finallymoved to one side, licking heavily at one of the erect nipples.

Alex arched into his mouth, crying out sharply. Fuck, that *hurt* and it...felt...*good*and he wanted more. And more.

More came in the form of a tiny nip at the same nipple, sending a wave ofpain through his body. But goddamn it, by the time that wave reached hiscock it had somehow translated into shattering pleasure.

Fox released the reddened peak and worked his way down Alex's chest, pausingto lavish equal attention on his stomach. He delighted in the way the musclesrippled under his slightest touch and the way Alex's low moans vibratedthrough his body. Jesus, anyone would kill for a lover as responsive ashis...

His. Beautiful, smart, loving and sexy as all get out. All his.

Alex twisted and turned, trying to get closer. He could feel Fox's chinhovering just above the head of his throbbing cock. And if his *chin* wasthat close, his mouth couldn't be too far behind...

No more waiting.

The flat surface of Fox's tongue grazed the very tip of Alex's cock, sendinghim into a thrashing fit. He grasped Alex's hips to hold to him still, whilehe continued. His tongue swirled around the head and probed the small, weepingopening at the tip. The deliciously bitter flavor teased his palate withthe promise of more. He felt his own cock rising for a second time, somewhataltering his plans. He swallowed the shaft to it's base, lifting Alex'sbody off the bed and pulling a long growl from his throat. One hard suckingpull and he released his prisoner.

"No!"

Fox slid up Alex's chest and kissed him briefly. "Slight change ofplan."

"Fox..."

"Hear me out, okay?"

Alex fell into an impatient silence.

"I want you to come in my mouth...and I want to come again in yours...atthe same time."

Alex managed a pained grin. "I'd love that."

One long kiss and Fox positioned Alex lower on the bed, on his side, thenturned himself in the opposite direction so that Alex's engorged shaft laytemptingly in front of his face. He lay one hand on his lover's hip slippingover and curving into the rounded flesh. Pulled him forward and enclosedthe solid heat in his mouth.

Alex felt the world begin to crumble. So much sensation at once, he didn'tknow what to concentrate on. Fox's hand clenching in his ass, his mouth,*damn*, those lips were made for this...enveloping his cock. His own mouth,surrounding Fox's velvety, hard length, sucking lightly as Fox thrust inand out, encouraging him to do the same...

Red. No, black. No...sort of a hazy red-blackness colored the void behindhis closed eyelids. The haze brightened to a blinding shade as Fox workeda finger inside his ass. Up until that point, he'd been holding on to sanityby a fingernail. No more. He formed a painful grip on Fox's ass, forcingthe other man to thrust harder and faster, as he did the same.

The initial surprise of Alex's action caught Fox off guard, choking him.He quickly regained control, directing his lover's frantic movements, forcingthem into a more fluid, steady rhythm. He added a second finger to the first,squeezing a strangled scream from Alex's lips.

What a way to go.

Alex thrust himself back and forth between Fox's mouth and his fingers.He'd had himself convinced that when he came, the force of it would killhim. He always thought a bullet or a bomb or some other violent, messy vehiclewould figure prominently in his demise. *Never* did he think that he'd befucked to death. And certainly not by *this* man. Goddamn, somebody up therereally *did* like him. He never even thought they knew his name...

Fox felt Alex's body tighten. Knew what it signaled. His own body gave himthe same message. *Screamed* it, actually. There was no choice but to heedit. His pace quickened, prompting Alex to follow.

Satisfaction came an eyeblink later. Each man held tightly to the other,refusing to let go until it was done. Their muffled cries filled the roomthen faded as peace descended. Long minutes passed as they lay, fightingfor every breath.

Fox was the first to recover. A serene smile curved his lips as he nuzzledhis lover and began to gently lick him clean. A soft moan sounded from thehead of the bed and the favor was returned. For a long while they lay thatway, cleaning each other with the lazy thoroughness of a couple of housecatslounging on a sunny windowsill.

Finally, Fox turned himself around and came up to meet the satisfied glowin his lover's eyes. Alex kissed him, mingling their tastes.

"If you ever do that to me again, I'll..."

Exhausted grin. "You'll what?"

Alex moved closer and tucked his head under the heavily stubbled chin. Foxcould hear the smile in his tone. "Become your sex slave for life."

"Thought you already were."

"Yeah okay, but it's all I could come up with on such short notice."

Fox kissed the top of his head. "Did you enjoy tonight?"

"More than I can say...I know *you* did."

"Damn straight. I think Scully was even having a little fun."

"Jesus, how am I going to face her?"

"Why?"

"I was so...so...."

"Slutty?"

"Yeah...*thanks*."

"Don't mention it."

Heavy sigh.

"If it'll make you feel any better, she took your side in it. Saidshe felt sorry for you."

Alex snorted. "Oh, that's nice. I just feel *so* much better now."

"You should. I remember her telling me once that she'd be civil toyou for my sake, but she'd *never* makes friends with you. The fact thatshe actually took pity on you..."

"Okay, okay, I get the picture." Alex raised his head to lookover Fox's chest. "God, it's late."

"Or early. Depends on how you look at it."

"If we'd slept, I'd call it early. But since we haven't, it's *late*.Good thing Scully doesn't leave till afternoon."

Fox kissed Alex's forehead while gently massaging his scalp. "Yeah,I know. We'd better get some sleep."

Alex nodded and stretched up toward Fox's mouth. His lover met him halfway,sharing with him a long, tender kiss before both drifted into sleep.


12:31 p.m.

"Thanks for breakfast, Marie. Sorry I got up so late."

"That's all right, darlin'. I haven't seen our boys around yet. Theystill sleepin'?"

"I guess so."

"Late night?"

"Yeah."

//Later for them.//

Scully finished her juice and thought back to early this morning. The soundscoming from just down the hall. They drove her insane. She could only imaginewhat was going on behind that door. God, and the things she was imagining.The urge to masturbate didn't often hit her, but it did this morning. Howcould it not? She'd never really viewed her partner as a sexual entity before,but that had all changed in the last few months and most especially in thelast few days. It was beyond amazing and one incredible turn-on. Not thatshe *wanted* him, it was just that...ah, shit. They were just so eroticto watch and hear. A person would have to be made of stone, not to be affectedand contrary to popular belief, *she* was not.

She fell asleep as satisfied as she could be under the circumstances, andawoke at eleven this morning. Their door was still closed and she assumedthat they were still asleep after the workout they'd surely gotten.

So now, here she sat, breakfast finished and still no Mulder or Alex. They'dhave to wake up soon...

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1:02 p.m.

Scully listened at the door belonging to the last room on the right. Nota sound came from inside. Maybe they weren't in there, at all. Maybe they'drisen earlier than *she* did and went out for a walk until she awoke. Theycould've gone out without Marie knowing it...

She knocked softly at the door and called Mulder's name. No answer.

//Check outside.//

//Yeah, but I might as well check here first, right? I mean I'm *standing*here.//

She turned the knob carefully and inched the door open.

The bright afternoon sun flooded the room and fell across the rumpled bed,bathing the occupants in white light.

Scully froze, gaping at the beauty of the two who still slept peacefully,curled around each other. The tanned skin of their completely naked bodieswas a stunning contrast to the pale ivory of the sheets. Mulder lay on hisback, propped against a stack of pillows, arms wrapped around Alex, onelong leg draped over his hip. Alex's head rested on his lover's chest, armtucked around his waist, lower body half covering the other's. She flinched,ready for flight as Mulder stirred. He sighed softly and tightened an armaround Alex, who never moved an inch. She relaxed as Mulder went still again.She watched, unable to help herself from wondering if they'd awakened sincethat early hour of the morning when their passionate cries finally wentsilent. Wondered if they'd made love again. Or if they'd been soundly asleep,since.

She smiled, taking one last long look before closing the door.

They had one more hour, then she was coming in to get them...


1:23 p.m.

Dark lashes lifted and fell. His mind, still sluggish, pieced together fuzzyfragments of the night before. His lips flushed from sleep, curved intoa half-smile and turned against the warm chest beneath his cheek.

"Fox."

No movement.

"Lisa..."

"Hmm?"

"Time to get up."

Fox reinforced his grip on the man in his arms and mumbled almost incoherently,"Don't want to get up..."

"I know, but it's almost one-thirty. Don't you want to spend a littletime with Scully before we take her to the airport?"

"All right, all right."

Alex kissed the underside of his chin and attempted to free himself fromhis lover's embrace. "Fox...you're not cooperating."

Fox's eyes opened and smiled up at Alex. "Don't wanna let you go."

"That's very sweet, but it's the only way that we're gonna get showeredand dressed."

He sighed and reluctantly loosened his grasp. Alex ducked out from underthe circle of his arms and drew himself up into a sitting position. "I'mgoing to go get in the shower. Don't you go back to sleep."

"You want to make sure I don't go back to sleep?"

Alex lifted one dark eyebrow waiting for him to finish.

"We could shower together."

"Bad idea."

Fox gave him an exaggerated hurt look. "Why?"

"You *know* why."

The older man cut his eyes away. "Fine."

"Fox..."

"Go on, take your shower. I'll just wait right here...alone...and lonely..."

"Jesus, Fox..."

"Don't worry about me. You go on." He slung one arm over his headand brushed the fingertips of his other hand across his chest. "I'llentertain myself somehow..."

"Fox...stop it..."

His fingers moved to a nipple and his eyes fluttered closed. "Stopwhat?"

"*That*."

He tugged gently on the nipple and arched his back. "This?" Hishand drifted down to his harderning cock, skimming his palm over it's surface."Or this?"

The corner of Alex's mouth twitched as he watched his lover. "You'rekillin' me."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah."

Fox sat up and nuzzled Alex's throat. "I don't want to kill you, baby."His tongue inched out, tracing a moist line to up the younger man's chin.I just want to shower with you. I'll wash your back..."

"Really." Alex brushed a knuckle across his lips. "What elsewill you do for me?"

Fox licked his finger. "What do you *want* me to do for you?"

Alex grabbed his wrist and hauled him off the bed and toward the bathroom."Oh, lisa...so *many* things..."


2:10 p.m.

"Well, no kidding." Scully smirked at the two who'd just appearedon the veranda. "I was beginning to think that I'd just have to leavea note."

"Sorry," was Mulder's only offering as he dropped into a chairat the table. Alex took up the slack.

"Guess we kinda overslept, huh?"

In a burst of boldness, Scully folded her arms across her chest and slouchedin her seat, grinning slyly. "Well, if you'd gone right to *sleep*,you *wouldn't* have."

Alex glared out of the corner of his eye at Mulder, who sat smirking downat his folded hands. Scully rolled her eyes.

"You two gonna have some breakfast? God *knows* you must be starving..."

The three sat together while Alex and Mulder wolfed down everything Marieset in front of them. Scully sipped at a third cup of coffee, watching them.Watched the croissant drop from Alex's hand when she said, "I had areally good time last night. You two are certainly entertaining." Shetook it a step further. "Alex, I didn't think you had a submissivebone in your body."

Alex tried to sound casual as Mulder snickered into his orange juice. "Uh...yeah...well..."he nodded in the other man's direction and spoke confidentially to Scully,"it was for him... makes him feel good."

Mulder set his glass down. "What was that?"

"Nothing."

"Uh huh."

Alex attempted to change the subject. "So, have you got someone pickingyou up in Washington?"

"Yeah. My mom."

"Be sure to tell her I said hi and happy holidays," Mulder instructed.

"I will. She was so happy to hear that you were much better. She worriesabout you."

Mulder's lips twisted into a wry smile. "More than my *own* mother...uh,Scully? Does she..."

"I didn't say a word to her. I'd never betray your confidence, Mulder."

Mulder looked over at Alex who was staring down into his juice. "It'sokay, Scully. You can tell her."

Alex's head snapped up.

"Fox, what are you..."

"There's no need to keep it from Mrs. Scully. She's always been verygood to me. I think..." he looked to Scully, "I think she'd understand."

Scully gave him a tiny smile. "I think she would."

Mulder turned back to a doubtful Alex. He grazed the length of the youngerman's arm. "There are certain people who for obvious reasons can'tknow but...I don't want to keep you a secret, Alex. No more than necessary."

Alex covered Fox's hand with his own. "That's admirable lisa, but..."

"It'll be okay." He flashed his lover a wide grin. "Don'tworry."

Alex couldn't help but return the smile. "If you say so."

"I do."

He leaned in and planted a soft kiss on Alex's mouth. That kiss led to another.And yet another. Scully cleared her throat to get their attention.

"Uh," She checked her watch. "There's still a couple of hoursbefore we have to leave. You boys wanna take advantage of it?"

Mulder's mouth reluctantly left his lover's. "No..."

"You sure? I can go for a long walk on the beach or something."

"All right Scully, all right," Mulder chuckled. "We get thepicture. How ëbout we go for that walk together?" He turned hiseyes back to Alex, letting the question hang in the air.

"Sure," Alex agreed. "I'm up for it."

Mulder gave him that miniscule Mulder-smirk and raised one eyebrow. Alexpointed at him and warned softly. "*Don't* say it."


5:15 p.m.

"Well guys, it's been fun. And an education." Scully wrapped herarms around Mulder's neck. "See you in a few weeks."

"Safe trip, Scully. Call when you get in."

"I will." She backed away from her partner and moved to Alex."Thank you. It was great to get away for a few days. I really enjoyedmyself."

"I'm glad. Have a good flight." He held his arms out to her andshe leaned into them, patting his back.

She stretched up on her toes and whispered into his ear. "I can't everthank you enough for that sparkle in his eyes."

Alex treated her to a full, beautiful smile. "Your friendship and acceptanceare all the thanks I want."

"You got it."

Mulder moved toward Alex and slipped an arm around his waist as they watchedScully board the plane. They stood together in silence until the plane wasin the air, then turned toward the waiting limo.

"So," Alex began as he slid into the seat beside Fox. "Whatdo you want for dinner?"

"Don't know. Hadn't thought about it." He reached out and wovehis fingers through Alex's hair, drawing him close. "But whatever itis, let's have it in our room."

Alex displayed a wide grin. "Why?"

Fox kissed him and murmured against his lips. "Can't eat naked in thedining room..."


Monday, 9:12 p.m.
New Years Eve

The second rainfall in nearly six weeks. Plans for an outdoor dinner ruinedbut the two quickly adapted and overcame.

Again insisting that Marie take New Years Eve and Day off, they prepareddinner on their own. Alex lit the last candle just as Fox brought out theplatter of vegetables. He set the platter down and perused the table.

"Not too shabby."

Alex blew out the match and smiled at him. So beautiful with that yellowishglow and thin wisps of smoke swirling around him. Fox's heart stopped andstarted.

"Is that the last of it?"

"Yeah."

They sat close together and shared a quiet dinner, mindful of the importanceof the night. Each wrapped up in his own memories of the year soon to passand thoughts of the one to come.

When dinner ended, they adjourned to their bedroom, taking a bottle of champaignand two glasses with them.

"Stopped raining," Fox called as he opened the double doors andlooked out at the black sky.

"Figures," Alex said absently as he turned the CD player on.

"Still overcast, though."

"Oh well."

Fox turned quickly, the voice right behind his right ear, startling him.Alex ran his knuckles down his lover's cheek. "A beautiful night wouldhave been nice but it makes no diffence, really. All I can see is you."

Fox spoke softly, never taking his eyes off Alex's. "You sure knowhow to get to me."

"I'm not trying to *get* to you. I'm just telling you what I feel."

Fox froze, barely breathing, lost in the heat of Alex's stare. His intoxicatingsmell.

Alex spoke again. Directly. In a tone that could never be mistaken or misinterpreted.

"I love you, Fox."

He'd heard Alex say it a hundred times. Two hundred. And it was always awonderful feeling. But this time was...a surge shot through him, hot andhard and electrifying as the most intimate touch. If Alex had wanted himright now, right on this spot, he'd strip without a second thought and dropto the floor.

Alex had other plans. He pulled his Fox tightly against his body, clueinghim in to the advanced stage of his arousal and learning that his loverwas in the exact same position. They moved slowly, letting the music carrythem into an easy rhythm. They danced endlessly it seemed, totally immersedin the feel of their bodies moving together in perfect unison. Alex's handswept firmly, slowly, up and down his lover's silk-covered back. He rubbedhis lightly-stubbled cheek against the one pressed to it, coaxing a shakysigh past the lips that many would kill or die to possess but belonged tohim alone.

"What time is it?" Alex asked, breaking the wordless silence.

Fox shook off the lethargy that had settled into his body and lifted hisarm. "Eleven forty-eight."

Alex stopped their rocking motion and led him to the bed. Fox sat at hisquiet urging and Alex moved to the table and plucked the bottle out of thebucket of ice and picked up the glasses. He handed the flutes to his loverand popped the bottle open. "Tell me what you wish for this comingyear, lisa." He poured the champaign and set the bottle down. Fox handedhim his glass and he stood in front of the seated man, leaning against thebed post.

"What I wish for?"

"Yeah."

"I think I've already got everything I could ever wish for."

"There's got to be *something*."

Fox stared at the carpet between them for a second, then raised his head."I don't know, I guess for starters, I'd wish for an end to what wouldseem to be a futile search for the truth about what happened to my sister..."

"No matter what that end would be?"

"Yeah. I just want to know," he said without much of the emotionAlex expected.

"Fox...I don't know about your sister...I mean, that's not includedin the information I have, but...but maybe if I tell you what I *do* know...maybesomehow it'll help lead to her."

Fox shook his head. "You can't do that."

"But it could help you. What if she really *is* alive and she's outthere somewhere? Think what it would mean to your mother if you were tobring her home. Maybe you could piece your family back together..."

Fox stared up at him for long seconds before answering. "Listen tome, Alex. Nothing, do you hear me, *nothing* is worth you risking your life.My mother will always be my mother and because she *is* my mother, I'llalways love her. But family is in here." He thumped a hand over hisheart. *You're* my family. You and Scully. I can't lose you. I *won't*."

Alex reached down and ran a hand through Fox's hair. His voice came outin a soft croak. "What else do you wish for?"

Fox grinned up at him. "A dog."

"What?"

"A *dog*. I never had one. My mother was allergic to pet hair. Andnow, I live in an apartment that doesn't allow animals. Did you ever havea dog?"

"One. When I was pretty young. It was a small, shaggy mutt that followedmy father home one day and he just kinda stayed. After a few weeks, my fathersaid I could name him." Alex lowered his head and laughed softly.

"So?" Fox prodded. "What did you name him?"

Alex looked up, amusement sparkling in his eyes. "Rat."

Fox doubled over with laughter. "Are you kidding me?"

Alex held up his free hand. "Swear to God."

Trying to shake off a few residual giggles, Fox raised his arm to checkthe time. "Hey, it's eleven fifty-nine."

Alex looked at his own watch. "And forty-eight seconds."

They began the countdown at ten and at exactly midnight, touched glasses.

"Happy New Year, Alex."

"Happy New Year, lisa."

Each man took an obligatory sip then Alex quickly discarded the glasses.He leaned over Fox who still sat on the bed and rubbed the tips of theirnoses together before covering his mouth in a tender kiss. "Let's kickthis new year off right," he murmured against the older man's lips.

"And how would we do that?"

Alex drew back just far enough to focus on the amber flecked eyes. "Iwant to make love to my beautiful Fox."

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Golden-brown lashes drooped heavily at the whispered words. Fox pushed backand up against the pillows as Alex crawled over him, straddling the lengthof his body on hands and knees.

Open mouth met open mouth, tongues stroking, sharing the faint flavor ofchampaign. Hands impatient but gentle, tugged at clothing, efficiently discardingevery item.

Alex lowered himself, resting the full length of his body along that ofhis lover. He caught Fox's sigh in his mouth as his hands roamed freelyover the heated skin.

"You're so warm, lisa."

Fox's closed eyes flew open as he felt Alex's weight lift from him.

"What are you doing?"

He watched the younger man move gracefully toward the bottle of champaign.Alex lifted it from the table and carried it back to the bed. He stretchedout alongside Fox and tipped the bottle carefully.

"Alex, what are you..."

Fox's body jumped and he released a low growl as a small amount of icy liquiddribbled out over his chest.

"Just trying to cool you off, love." Alex's head dipped and hebegan lapping at the champaign before it could roll off.

Fox's head tipped back into the pillows, exposing the elegant line of histhroat. It was too much to resist. Alex finished licking up the last ofthe champaign, then moved to cover the throbbing pulse, thinly camouflagedby the layer of sensitive skin.

Fox sucked in a sharp breath. Cold transferred from his chest to his neck.Delivered there by Alex's talented mouth. His hands began to travel, wanderingthe expanse of the younger man's back, squeezing and stroking in all theright places. His hips arched upward, pressing harder into the erectionthat rested so intimately against his own.

Alex winced as he bore down on his lover. "That what you want?"

Fox's mouth dropped open on a loud gasp.

Never one to waste an opportunity, Alex closed in, plunging his tongue intothe welcoming heat, stroking over smooth teeth and and soft walls. Fox moanedinto his lover's mouth and returned the soft caresses with his own tongue.

Alex pulled away and again reached for the bottle. Eyes glued to Fox's,he raised the bottle to his lips, taking a small drink. He bent over hisreclining lover and brought their mouths together. Fox sucked the champaignfrom Alex's mouth, the chilled liquid soothing his parched throat. Alexdrew back, allowing the other man to lick the remnants of the liquid fromhis lips.

"More," Fox demanded impatiently.

Alex shot him a grin. Devious. Arrogant. So typically *Alex*. He drapeda leg across Fox's thighs and pressed his cock against the slim hip. "Ithought you wanted *this*.

"I want both."

"Oh," he whispered, bringing the bottle to his mouth.

Fox stretched up, anxiously anticipating his lover's mouth. The moment itcame down on his, he began to drink, moaning softly with every swallow.

Alex thrust slowly against Fox's thigh as the older man drank from him.

"I may never use another glass," Fox gasped after swallowing thelast drop.

Alex smiled but said nothing. He set the bottle down on the nightstand andreturned for another kiss. Fox threaded his fingers through the dark hair,holding Alex's head where it was. He pressed his thigh against his lover'srigid cock and murmured against his lips, "Now, this."

Alex released a long sigh into Fox's mouth. "How do you want it?"

Fox licked his partner's lips. "First in my mouth." He pulledback and looked into a turbulent ocean of green. "Then deep in my ass."

A fresh surge of desire shot through Alex, hardening him to impossible levelsof discomfort. He propped a few pillows against the headboard of the bed,then directed Fox to them. He kneeled before the partially reclining man,straddling his torso. He stroked the golden-brown hair away from his lover'sface, watching the glazed hazel eyes follow the intermittent jerk of hiscock.

"Take it."

No more needed to be said. Fox slipped his mouth over the flared head, flickinghis tongue over the tip. Alex's hands clenched in his hair but made no attemptto force more into his mouth. He kept a tight rein on his control, lettingFox lead.

He looked down through the dark veil of his lashes at his Fox, so gorgeous,eyes closed, drenched in ecstasy as he teased and tormented his lover'saching cock. The sight of it nearly drove him out of his mind. He closedhis eyes and tipped his head back, trying to rid his mind of the image.An impossibility, when he could still feel the wet warmth of Fox's moutharound him.

Suddenly, the movement ceased and he looked down just as the other was lookingup. It was almost frightening that they could read and understand each otherwith nothing more than a touch or a glance. Alex gripped the headboard withone hand, placing the other one at the back of the golden-brown head andbegan to pump slowly, in and out of Fox's mouth.

Fox sucked him gently, making it that much more difficult for Alex to stopwhen he knew he should. He tightened his grip on the headboard and thrustfaster. A fine sheen of sweat appeared on his face and chest as he movedand a low rumble broke from his lips. Fox grasped his hips to stop him,eliciting a groan of protest, then gently pushed him away. Never breakingeye contact, the older man slid down until he was lying flat. He openedhimself to Alex, issuing a silent invitation.

Alex slid over him, licking and biting at his nipples, before claiming hismouth for a deep, wet kiss. Fox pulled away, rattled and out of breath.

"Now, Alex."

Alex positioned his lover beneath him and began to work one finger intohis ass. Fox twisted and bucked away from his hand.

"No. I want your cock. Give it to me." His eyes blazed a brightgreen. "Give it to me, Alex."

Alex struggled to control his breathing as he grasped his cock by the baseand pushed the head slowly inside, past the clenching ring of muscle. Foxarched his back and pushed down, trying to impale himself further. Alexgave him what he wanted, quickly establishing a smooth rhythm.

"Ohhhhh, yeahhhhh. Oh God, Alex...Jesus, you're incredible." Hereached up and pulled at both of his partner's hardened nipples, sendinga deep shudder rippling through his body.

Alex moaned through gritted teeth and wrapped a hand around his lover'scock. Fox jerked up into the closed fist, whimpering hysterically.

"Harder. Please, baby. Harder..."

Alex obeyed the sobbing command and doubled the strength of his thrusts,pushing Fox into the pillows again and again. His hand worked faster, keepingtime with his hips, bringing them both closer and closer to that mind-shatteringrapture that they never failed to achieve.

Fox's eyes squeezed shut and a loud, choking cry escaped his lips. Alexwas right behind him. He threw his head back and let out a long, harsh growl.Unable to hold himself up any longer, he collapsed on top of his exhaustedlover and moaned softly as he slipped out of of him.

They lay together, too weak to move, for neither knew how long. Finally,Alex lifted his head and kissed Fox's chin. "You alive?"

"Mmmm."

He started to lift himself from the warm cushion of his lover's body butFox's arms encircled him and pulled him back down.

"Don't. Stay here."

"I'm too heavy, lisa."

"No you're not. I love the feel of you on top of me." He heldAlex's head to his chest, petting the soft, damp hair. "Close youreyes."

"I'll fall asleep if I do that," he protested even as his eyeswafted shut.

"I know...Alex?"

"Hmm?"

"You didn't tell me what *you* wish for this year." He could feelthe smile against his skin.

"Stamina."

"Funny. Come on, really. What do you wish for."

"Same thing I'll wish for every New Year...hell, every *day* for therest of my life."

"What?"

"To wake up every morning and go to sleep every night, next to you."

Fox hugged him close. No need to elaborate, that said it all.

He closed his eyes and followed Alex into sleep.


Wednesday, 10:13 a.m.
Three weeks later

They walked slowly, in silence, to the river they'd frequented during thelast two months. As much as they loved the beach for walking and that intoxicatingfeeling of freedom, this place was their favorite. With it's lush overgrowngreenery and small waterfall, it was their own little slice of heaven. Paradisewithin a paradise.

Alex spoke first.

"We uh...we gotta keep track of the time."

"I know," Fox said softly.

"Two months felt like two days, didn't it?"

"Yeah."

"God, I'm going to miss this place. Not just because it's beautifuland peaceful. I'll miss it because here, you were all mine." Fox turnedto face him. "I didn't have to share you with anyone. I didn't haveto hide how I feel about you. Is that selfish?"

"I don't know if it is. But I *do* know that I feel the same. The thoughtof going back to work...to the shit, isn't nearly as appealing as I thoughtit would be after eight weeks off."

Alex released a heavy sigh. "How about it? One last swim?"

"I didn't think we'd be swimming. I didn't wear my..."

Alex smirked at him. "And your point would be what?"

Fox peeled off his shirt and reached for the button of his pants. "Ihad a point?"


10:45 a.m.

Alex looked at his watch. "We should probably think about getting back,soon."

Fox stroked through the water toward Alex, stopping when their bodies touched.He wrapped his arms around his lover's neck and planted a thorough kisson his lips.

"In a while, okay? There's one more thing I want to do."

"What's that?"

Fox lowered his head, almost timidly. "I've wanted to do it since thefirst time we came here..."

"What is it?"

"You won't laugh at me?"

"Fox, would you just tell me?"

He spit the words out before he changed his mind.

"I want to make love under the waterfall."

Alex stared silently.

"I know, corny, right? Nevermind..."

Alex slid a curled finger under his chin and lifted. "Not corny."He moved backward in the water, pulling Fox along with him, until he feltthe water begin to beat against his back. He stopped, caressing his lover'swet face. "It's your fantasy, baby. How do you want me?"

Fox hesitated for a moment, searching Alex's eyes, then he backed him againstthe rocks. The water pounded them both as he found his lover's waiting mouth.The roar of the falls drowned out the moans as he lowered his head to theyounger man's chest, licking and sucking at the nipples already made hardby the cool, splashing water. His hand dropped between them and graspedthe solid erection, still hot through the surface chill. He used long, firmstrokes, bringing his lover along quickly. When Alex began to pant and writhe,he removed his hand and, grasping the younger man by the shoulders, spunhim around and pressed him into the rocks.

Alex clung as tightly as he could to the unyielding surface of the stone,as Fox's hands wandered over his skin, tracing lines of muscle and bone,dancing through the curves and hollows. He groaned ineffectually as hislover's mouth took the place of the pounding water against the sensitiveback of his neck. Winced at the hot sting of teeth...melted into the lovingcaress of a soft tongue.

Fox moved lower, licking and nipping down Alex's back, sinking slowly towardthe smooth, hard muscles of his ass. His teeth clenched delicately in theright cheek, feeling more than hearing the low moan. He coaxed Alex's legsapart, at the same time spreading his ass with his hands.

Alex jerked against the rocks at the first feel of his lover's tongue movinggently up the crevice between his cheeks. His loud cry cut through the roarof the falling water as he felt the soft probe at the opening. The secondthrust gained access and Alex's body trembled violently in response.

Fox reached around and gently closed his fingers on Alex's cock while hecontinued to tongue his ass. The younger man's desperate cry rose abovethe sound of the water, the word "please," bouncing off the rocksand disappearing into the surrounding bushes and trees. Fox unwrapped hisfingers, withdrew his tongue and licked his way back up to Alex's neck.

"Please..."

Whispered...or spoken clearly. No matter, it could not be heard. But Foxread it plainly on his trembling lips.

"Okay baby," he mouthed into Alex's neck and guided his cock tothe place his lover begged for it to be.

Alex's head dropped forward. His lips stretched into a grimace, baring grittedteeth, as his lover's cock penetrated the small opening. He pushed back,wanting it all. Wanted it hard...deep. And he wanted it, right now.

Fox gave it to him. He curved one hand on Alex's hip and the other aroundhis cock and began a driving rhythm that dragged a ragged scream from hislover's throat.

Harder.

Alex bounced between Fox's hand and hips.

Faster.

Fox buried his head into his lover's back as the first wave hit.

The sudden, piercing screams startled a small group of birds into flight.The two men thrashed wildly against each other until every ounce of strengthwas gone. Both fell forward onto the rocks, panting heavily, strugglingagainst the pounding water, to remain standing.

Slowly, they made it to the shore and collapsed in a wet, satisfied heap,next to their clothing.

"My God," Alex whispered breathlessly. "Are you ever goingto stop surprising me?"

Fox's answer came in the form of an exhausted smile. He wearily raised ahand to Alex's face and stroked his cheek.

Alex's eyes widened and he grabbed the other man's wrist. "Fox...yourhand."

"Yeah, it's my hand..."

"It's bleeding."

"Huh?" He inspected the hand and found that indeed, it *was* bleeding."Guess I scraped it against the rocks while I was jerking you off,"he said matter of factly.

"Looks like more than a scrape. Looks like the skin came right off."

"It'll be fine. It was well worth a little skin, to hear you screamlike that."

Alex smiled and kissed the wound. His eyes lifted to his lover's, then backdown to his hand. His tongue inched out and began to lap daintily at theblood.

Fox watched him, competely entranced.

Alex's mouth covered the area and gently sucked away the remaining blood.He looked up and gave Fox a sweet smile.

"It's time to go."

"I don't want to."

"I know, lisa. God, I know. But it really is time." He kissedthe hand again. "Besides, we gotta go get this cleaned up. Come on."

They dressed and, taking one more look around, walked back up to the house.


3:23 p.m.

Alex stared out the window, as the plane carried them away from their islandparadise, his expression so pensive, that Fox hesitated to speak to him.Finally, he'd had enough of the silence.

"Alex?"

No response. He touched the other man's arm lightly.

"Alex."

Alex snapped out of his trance with a start. "Huh? What?"

Fox leaned in, resting his chin on his lover's shoulder. "Talk to me."

Alex gave him a half smile and kissed his forehead. "I'm sorry. GuessI was kinda deep in thought."

"Can you tell me what you were thinking about?"

"Just....stuff. You know..."

"Like?"

Another kiss. "Like how much I love you. How sorry I am that we'releaving..." His expression grew distant. "How sorry I am aboutwhat brought us here in the first place."

"Alex..."

"You asked."

"Yeah, I did."

"I'm not going to get morose about it, don't worry...I was just reviewing."

Fox shifted the balance from his chin to his cheek. "What else?"

"Change."

"What about it?"

"How much it's going to affect us...mostly you. *My* life has changedfor the better and I was wondering if you could say the same."

Fox lifted his head quickly and stared at him. "Alex, I can't believeyou just said that..."

Alex cupped his cheek. "I just...I just meant it...in the sense that,you've added a full time relationship to your already very busy life. Idon't want to distract you from what you need to do."

"Alex, lots and lots of people balance careers and full time relationships.I see no reason why *I* can't."

"Yeah. People like accountants, doctors, bank managers....not peoplelike you. You don't have a career, you have a mission. Twenty four hoursa day, seven days a week...the phone rings and you're gone. Off halfwayacross the world on an hour's notice. Can you be sure that having me aroundwon't hamper that?"

"I'm still going to do what I need to do, Alex." He stroked theyounger man's arm. "But now, when I drag home in the middle of thenight after a horrific nine hour flight, it won't be to a cold, lonely apartment.You'll be there...unless you get tired of me being gone so much and decideyou can't deal with it."

Alex shook his head. "*Never* worry about me leaving, Fox."

"You won't get bored?"

"I've done and seen so much shit in the last few years...awful, ugly...believeme, *bored* would be blessed relief. But I hardly think I'd have time tobe bored. As long as you're in the field, you'll be in danger. And whileyou're protected under the deal I made with our *friends*, there'll alwaysbe new threats. And with the chances that *you* take, watching that beautifulbackside of yours is a full time job in itself."

"No, it's not."

"I bet Scully would disagree with you."

Fox smirked at him. "Oh, I didn't mean that it wasn't tough keepingup with me. I meant no, my backside isn't *beautiful*."

Soft laughter. "You haven't seen it from all the angles that *I* have,my love."

"Very true. And listen, I'll make a promise to you. I won't take dangerouschances any more."

"Really? And why should now be different than before?"

"I had no reason to care before, whether I lived or died. Now I do."

"Thank you, lisa."

Brief flash of white teeth. "So...what else?"

"We never talked about living arrangements. You know, like...you'remuch more settled in your apartment than I was in mine, so..."

Fox nodded.

Alex continued. "But...and speak up if you don't agree, but...it'sso dark and small and..."

"You want to find a bigger place?"

"What do you think?"

Fox smiled. "Someplace airy and sunny...a house maybe, rather thanan apartment?"

Alex brightened. "I was thinking that, but I didn't know if you'd gofor it."

"I'd love to live in a house. Something that was mine." He liftedhis head from Alex's shoulder. "Ours."

Excitement prickled the back of Alex's neck. "I want a yard. A bigone. With lots of trees for privacy...and a gourmet kitchen...you know...forall those meals you say you're going to learn to make..."

Fox laughed. "I'm gonna, I'm gonna. I'll show you *and* Scully. We'llhave a big dinner, invite her and the Gunmen over and I'll cook it *all*myself..."

Alex's smile faded. His gazed dropped to his lap. Fox's smile disappearedas well.

"Hey. What is it?"

"Listen to us."

"I *am* listening. It sounds great."

"It does. But is it reality?"

"Why not?"

"I don't...I don't know, it's..." he struggled for the words,"..we're going *back*. Back to real life. The fantasy is over."

Fox stared at him for a moment. "So are you saying that you think wecan't be the same people we were for the last two months, once we get home?"

"How can we be? Back there, we were carefree. We could relax and enjoyeach other. We had nothing to worry about. Nothing to do but exactly whatwe wanted to do. We opened ourselves to each other completely. We learnedto trust and love without reservation. We *found* each other. That placewas magic for us."

"The magic was *us*, Alex. It *is* us. We didn't leave any of it behind.We packed it up and we're taking it home with us. Being there simply gaveus the time and privacy to do those things. But it wouldn't have happenedif it wasn't in us to begin with." He grasped Alex's hands and squeezedthem together in his. "We'll go home. I'll go back to work..."he grinned, "you and Scully will keep me out of trouble, we'll findthe perfect house, pack up, fight about how much of my stuff is moving withus and how much is going into the trash, move in, and grow old and graytogether."

Alex's eyes glowed with renewed hope. "You make it sound so easy. Likeit just might be possible."

"It's more than possible." He melted Alex with his smile. It'sreality. And it'll all happen just the way I said."

"And what makes you so sure?"

Fox's eyes sparkled a brilliant amber. "It's *my* world, remember?"


END

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