Admission VIII- The Best Laid Plans

by Aries

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rated NC-17 m/m sexual situations of the consensual and non-consensual
variety, bad language and violence

Web page: http://members.tripod.com/~ter_ma/aries/aries.htm

Summary: Another chapter from the world of Admission. The "asshole" at the
bar in A-V: Paradise Found, has a name...and a nasty plan. Angst, angst,
violence, schmoop, death of insignificant characters, schmoop, angst

Disclaimer: *Why* should they be CC's, huh? Answer me that! It's glaringly
obvious that he has no idea what to do with them! "*I* on the other hand...

Endless thanks to Nic, Orithain and Sue, for righteous beta and endless
squidge. As always, big hugs to the lovely Pat for not wanting to shoot me
everytime she finds another few pages in her mail. Love you all!

Dedicated to Laurissa for being so enthusiastic, not to mention wonderfully
sweet.

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

The snow is in the north
An icy wind is blowin'
He sees that I don't know
You're losin' me babe
My eyes are filled with cryin'
For seven days now
If you don't come back to me
I fear the flood is comin'
You're losin' me
You're losin' me
You're losin'...me

From deep into the night
He sees that I don't know
A hurricane is ragin' in my emotions
The mist against the rise
You're losin' me babe
My heart is ever changin'
For seven days now
If you don't come back to me
I say the flood is comin'
You're losin'...me
You're losin' me
You're losin'...me

Rain on my face is like a river
All I can do is let it run
Ice in my blood that makes me shiver
I need your smile to bring me back the sun

If you don't come back to me
I see the flood is comin'
You're losin' me
You're losin' me
You're losin' me
You're losin' me.....

You're Losing Me
Zucchero

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

The man moved smoothly through the crowd. The picture of serene elegance. He
nodded his greeting to several others as he passed them by, but never
stopped for conversation.

Attached to his side, arm wound through his, the young man scanned the room,
noting that there were several others like him. Pampered-looking and well
dressed. Alert and anxious. Ready to jump, with nothing more than a word or
a tiny crook of the finger of the men they were with.

He observed them, curious about their situations. Were they happy? Here by
choice, or were they like him? Prisoners, playing along with the game,
because it's all they *could* do...

One thing that he did notice that was different about most of them, was that
they were apparently able to talk and mingle with others. *He'd* never been
allowed.

A light tug brought his attention back to where it belonged.

Cold, gray eyes searched the room as the two men continued to move. A
delighted smile curved the older man's lips as he found who he'd been
looking for.

"Morgan!"

A short, snub-nosed, and altogether unpleasant looking man rose to his feet,
smiling.

"Justin, old man! How the hell are you?"

"Quite well. How was France?"

"Wonderful. Six months on the Riviera should be a requirement for everyone."

"Well," Justin chuckled, "Some of us *do* have businesses to run, you
know...did you uh...bring back anything *interesting*?"

"Sadly, no. I indulged in a couple of lovely dalliances, but none were
looking for anything beyond that." He eyed his friend's silent companion and
grinned. "I see *you* have a new one."

"Ah, yes. Matthew has been with me for about six months, now."

"Looks young."

"Twenty-four," Justin announced proudly.

The other man moved in for closer inspection. He cast a lascivious grin at
his friend. "May I?"

"Certainly."

The young man flinched as one pudgy hand rose to stroke his face.

"Soft."

Justin cocked one gray eyebrow. "Would you care to give him a try?"

The young man's head snapped around toward the sound of Justin's voice. He
stared in mute shock.

"That would be lovely. You really wouldn't mind?"

"Certainly not. Consider it my welcome home gift. Just remember my rules
about the face."

"I will." He leaned in and lightly nuzzled Matthew's ear. "You and I dear
boy, are going to have a marvelous time." He then turned his attention back
to the other man. "I really must run, now."

"Already? But the entertainment will be beginning soon."

"I know. I wish I could stay, but Malcolm Lang will have my head if I don't
get over to his place, tonight. I've been promising since I got back."

"All right then," Justin's voice oozed disappointment. "Call me this week
and we'll make arrangements for Matthew."

"Oh, I'll certainly do that. Goodnight, Justin."

"Goodnight."

The moment the other man was gone, Matthew turned wide, frightened eyes to
his companion.

"Justin...I don't...I don't want to...please..."

"I'm sorry, Matthew, did you say something?"

"I don't *want* to go with him. Please don't make me."

"Oh now darling," Justin cooed, stroking the younger man's hair, "Don't be
afraid. Just do what he says and everything will be fine. It's only for one
night."

"I can't, Justin. *Please*."

The older man curled his fingers in Matthew's hair, pulling to the point of
discomfort. His voice remained smooth and calm as ever. "You can and you
will. There will be no more discussion."

Matthew fell silent, letting the fear in his aqua eyes, do all the talking.

Justin changed the subject. "Now. It's time to prepare for the entertainment
portion of our evening."

"Pre..prepare?"

"Yes...oh, didn't I tell you?" The older man sighed. "Forgive me darling, it
would seem that old Justin is getting quite forgetful in his old age. *You*
are this evening's entertainment..."

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

Fox opened his eyes upon hearing the sound of the front door. Before he
could utter a word of greeting, he found himself pinned under ninety pounds
of whining, wagging, excited, German Shepherd.

"Christ! Clyde, you are *not* a Pomeranian!" he complained, making a
half-hearted attempt at pushing the thirteen month old *puppy* off of his
chest.

An amused voice came from somewhere above his head. "He's glad you're home."

"Yeah, well, his enthusiasm is going to collapse a lung!"

Alex clapped his hands. "Okay, Clyde. You've had him long enough. My turn."

The dog hopped down, and just as Fox was trying to draw some air back into
his lungs, Alex pounced on him.

"Shit!"

"I'm glad you're home, too," the smoky voice purred just before Alex covered
his mouth in a long, hungry kiss.

Fox growled up at his lover after he was finally released. "I'm glad that
*you're* glad."

Alex planted another quick kiss on his lips, then lowered his head to Fox's
chest. "How was Detroit?"

"Dirty...and a colossal waste of time. Scully was pissed."

"Well, you couldn't know that until you got there."

"She kept saying even before we left, that she had a feeling that it'd turn
out to be a waste. Now I owe her a dinner."

Alex shook with silent laughter, but said nothing.

"....A *home cooked* dinner..."

The dark head lifted. "Oh, *I* get it. You get yourself into trouble with
Scully, and *I* have to bail you out."

Fox grinned up at him.

"You know, I remember you telling me once that you were going to learn to
cook, or was that just bullshit?"

Fox shrugged. "That was just bullshit."

"Yeah? Well guess what? *You're* going to make her dinner. *You*. By
your*self*."

"Alex..."

"I don't care if it's grilled cheese..."

"Alexei..."

"On paper plates..."

"I love you..."

"Forget it. You're not going to get me with that, *this* time."

Fox slid one hand down his lover's back a brought it to rest on the curve of
his ass. Holding Alex steady, he pushed up with his hips, grinding their
hardening cocks together. "Baby..." he moaned into the other man's ear.

Alex groaned softly, writhing slowly against him. "Shit...is baked stuffed
shrimp, okay?"

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

The young man lay in a miserable heap on his bed. He'd only recently
returned from Morgan's house, and all he could think to do, was collapse
onto his bed and try to shut out the horrible memory of the man's touch, the
sickening smell of his aftershave...his hot, stale breath...

Matthew rolled over onto his back and winced. He immediately moved onto his
side, breathing deeply to try and quell the wave of nausea that accompanied
the rush of pain. His eyes welled with tears as he relived the whipping and
humiliation he'd been subjected to.

What was it with these men and beatings? Justin had him whipped on the odd
occasion as well, not so much for discipline, he'd learned long ago to
*behave*. It was more a reminder, Justin said. In *case* he'd ever
entertained any thoughts of rebellion.

The perverted bastard would sit there, stroking himself through his pants,
while the beating took place. Then, when it was over, he'd make Matthew get
down on his knees and suck him off, right then and there. Only after he'd
performed, was he allowed to clean up and have his wounds attended to.
Sometimes Justin himself, would bathe him and apply salve to the nasty red
welts on his back, all the while, cooing and purring at him, making the
agony ten times worse.

Morgan had him whipped last night, for the sheer pleasure of it. He made
Matthew get down on his hands and knees, and while he took him from behind,
another man kneeled in front of him, shoving his cock again and again down
his throat. Everytime he gagged, a third man would give him one lash with a
thick, leather belt. Eight lashes in all. Each one harder than the last. His
muffled screams only served to excite Morgan further. The man pounded
relentlessly into him, groaning heavily as he emptied himself into the young
man's trembling body. The man in front of him came seconds later, spurting
into his mouth and over part of his cheek and chin.

When they'd finished with him, Morgan ordered that he be cleaned up and
returned to Justin in the morning, along with a large fruit basket and a
note of thanks.

Matthew wept bitter tears of regret, wishing with all his heart that he had
not taken Justin up on his offer so many months ago. But the man was so
poised and elegant. And convincing. He'd wined and dined Matthew several
times. Bought him expensive gifts, promised travel and adventure...

Oh, it was an adventure, all right. One he'd never have wished on his worst
enemy. Now he was trapped, with no way that he could see, out of it.

He'd had opportunities. They were alone, plenty of times. He was young. At
least thirty years younger than Justin...he could probably easily overpower
the man...kill him if he needed to, but...he was weak. Not physically weak,
Justin saw to it that he was kept in shape. Made for a prettier picture,
when they went out together. His weakness lay in the mind. Justin had broken
him down so completely, it was impossible for him to even consider such
action.

So, this was it. This was his life. He was a toy. To be used and abused on
the whim of a rich man, who was apparently not unwilling to lend him out to
his friends. And when he was used up...when he'd served his purpose and was
no longer good looking and young...which at this rate, wouldn't be long at
all, he'd probably be disposed of and a new young, unsuspecting man would
take his place.

Matthew closed his eyes, wishing that he would never open them again.

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

"Alex, why do you let him get away with this stuff?" Scully asked between
mouthfuls of the succulent shrimp. "*He* dragged me down to Detroit," she
complained, jabbing her fork in Fox's direction, "after I *told* him that it
was going to be a waste of time, from the word *go*. *He* owed me the
dinner, not you. How does he do it?"

Alex looked from Scully to his lover, who was resting his head on one hand,
and doing one of those irresistible, pouty things with his mouth. He shook
his head and replied, voice filled with adoration, "He plays dirty."

Three hours later, Scully thanked Alex for a wonderful meal, gave Fox a
disgusted grunt, and left.

The two men watched her pull away from the house, then closed the door. Fox
immediately wound his arms around Alex.

"Thanks, baby."

Alex locked his arms around Fox's waist. "You really want to thank me?"

A slow smile curved his lover's full mouth. "What, saying it wasn't enough?"

Alex displayed a flash of white teeth. "Did you think it would be?"

Fox leaned forward, and gently ran his tongue along Alex's lower lip. He
stopped, and turned gold-splashed eyes up to deep green. The gold
disappeared behind heavily-fringed lids, as he tenderly covered Alex's lips
with his own. Their tongues mated, stroking and tasting the faint flavor of
shrimp and wine.

Fox swept the interior of Alex's mouth once more, then broke the kiss. He
gave the younger man a knowing smirk. "Thanks, enough?"

Alex brought his hands around to the front of Fox's shirt and began to undo
the buttons, and back him toward the sofa. "Oh no, lisa...I'll let you know
when it's enough..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Matthew! Darling, you're back." Justin swept into the young man's room and
seated himself at the edge of the bed. He reached out to stroke the light
brown head. "How was your evening?"

The young man shuddered at the question. Tormented, bloodshot eyes turned up
to look into he older man's face. "It hurts," he said in a small, unsteady
voice.

"Hmm? What hurts?"

"My...my back. He had...he had me...me..beaten."

Justin's expression turned faintly disapproving. "Did you misbehave,
Matthew?"

"No! No, I swear..I swear, I didn't. He just did it for...for fun. Please,
Justin. *Please* say you'll never make me go back there. He's terrible..."

"Now, now, Matthew. Calm yourself. It's all right. Morgan meant you no real
harm. He's just a bit frustrated, I think. He hasn't had a steady
relationship for quite some time." He leaned in to speak into the prone
man's ear. "You see...just between you and me, Morgan isn't the most
attractive of men in his older years. He can't even *buy* steady
companionship, and it's very upsetting for him. That story about his
encounters on the Riviera were just that. Stories. I happen to know that he
spent those six months very much alone. He's my friend, and I feel sorry for
him. That's why I sent you to him. To see if maybe you couldn't cheer him up
a bit. I *am* sorry that you didn't enjoy the evening." Justin eyed Matthew
intently. "It wasn't anything like you and I, was it?"

Matthew closed his eyes and fought to control the trembling of his lip.
"N-no."

"You love being in *my* bed, don't you, darling?"

"Yes...yes, Justin."

Justin smiled coldly and whispered, "Of course you do. I'd take you there
now, my love, but I have to be out of town for a few days."

"A few days?" Matthew didn't know whether to be relieved or hurt, that
Justin would leave him after what he'd been through.

"Yes, love. But don't worry, I shall leave explicit instructions with the
staff. As always, they will take excellent care of you in my absence. And
when I return, we'll have some time alone together. You would like that,
yes?"

Weary eyes flitted away. "Yes."

"Tres bien. Now, I must go." Justin planted a soft kiss on unresponsive
lips, then rose from the bed. He called over his shoulder, as he walked to
the door. "I'll bring back something nice for you." And then he was gone.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Have you got everything?"

"Yeah."

"You're sure?"

"Yes, Mother."

Alex gave his lover a playful swat on the ass. "One day, I'm just going to
let you leave without something important. *Then* you'll appreciate my
double checks."

"I managed just fine for *years*, Alex."

"Oh, okay. So you don't need *me*..."

"You know I didn't mean it that way."

Alex turned away and waited. Any second now...

He smiled as he felt Fox's arms come around his chest.

"You know I need you, baby..."

Unable to resist, Fox nuzzled the ear by his mouth, tickling the interior
with the tip of his tongue.

Alex giggled and shrugged away. "No, no. You're gonna be late if you start
that. If Scully's gotta wait for you one more time, she'll kill us both." He
picked up Fox's garment bag and headed for the door. "Let's go."

Fox followed the younger man out to the driveway, grumbling the entire time.
Alex popped the trunk, and he lifted his suitcase into the compartment.

As was their custom, they said their good-byes at home. Alex closed the
trunk and leaned against it, as Fox pressed into him.

"I'll call you when I get there," Fox promised, just before bestowing a
brief kiss on Alex's lips.

Alex nodded. "I'll miss you."

"I'll miss you too."

Mischievous smirk. "Even though you don't need me?"

Fox grasped a handful of dark hair and tilted Alex's head back, a bit. "What
did I tell you about that?"

"I don't know," Alex purred. "Remind me."

Fox's mouth came down hard on his, drinking in all the sweetness he could,
in the few seconds they had.

When they separated, Alex grinned at him, and rocked against his very
noticeable erection. "Better put your jacket on."

"Yeah, *thanks*."

"Any time."

Fox turned to Clyde, who had followed them out of the house, and was
standing at his feet. He scratched the dog's head. "Later, Clyde. Keep him
out of trouble, okay?"

The dog's tail swept back and forth in a wide, lazy arc, and he whined
softly.

"Okay, Clyde," Alex clapped his hands. "In the house. We gotta go."

The dog followed him to the house, and trotted inside. Alex closed the door
behind him, and when he returned to the car, Fox was waiting for him in the
passenger's seat. One more long kiss, and Alex pulled out of the driveway.

Scully was waiting outside of her building, when they arrived. She glanced
down at her watch, then gave Fox a scowl.

"What? Come on, Scully, we're not more than a few minutes late."

"It was *his* fault," Alex offered as he took Scully's bags from her and
laid them in the trunk.

"That's nice," Fox said, opening the rear door for Scully. "One little look
from her, and you just roll over on me..."

"As far as I'm concerned, one of you is just as guilty as the other," Scully
interrupted, as they all got into the car. "Let's just get going before we
miss our flight."

They arrived at the airport with time to spare. Alex stopped in front of the
terminal, and popped the trunk. As they removed the bags, Alex snuck a pinch
at his lover's ass, insuring that his flagging erection was revived. Fox
flinched and gave him a lustful glare. Alex smiled sweetly at him.

"Have a good trip. Be careful, both of you."

"I'll call you tonight," Fox said softly.

Alex nodded.

Scully tugged on Fox's arm and started to walk inside. "Thanks for the ride,
Alex. See you in a few days."

"Bye, Scully," Alex called, never taking his eyes off of his retreating
lover. Fox stopped at the doors, and glanced back once more. Alex puckered
his lips in a tiny trace of a kiss, and his lover smiled, before
disappearing inside the terminal.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The elegantly dressed man stood at the wall-length window of his hotel room,
looking out at the panoramic view of the city, but not really seeing a
thing. He held the phone to his ear, listening to the profuse apologies of
the man on the other end.

"Mr. Saint James, please. I beg you to reconsider. Don't pull your accounts.
It was an honest error. One I guarantee you, will never be repeated. The
team at fault has been fired. Every last one of them..."

"It will take more than that, Mr. Phillips. Much more than that, before I
would even consider resuming our association."

"Give me your conditions, Mr. Saint James. I'll do everything in my power to
accommodate you."

Justin smiled. "I'll have to think on that, Mr. Phillips. I'll be in touch."

Before the voice on the other end could reply, Justin disconnected and
called to his assistant. "Frank?"

A good looking, middle-aged man of medium height and build, appeared from
the other room. "Yes, sir?"

"Call the club and tell Jerome that I'm in town, and that I'd like to drop
in this evening."

"Very good, sir." The man retreated into the room from which he had come,
leaving Justin to turn back to the view. One side of his mouth turned
upward, as he anticipated an amusing evening.

New York City was one of his favorite places to be.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I'm sorry Mulder, I just don't see the correlation." Even at this slower
pace, Scully had to walk twice as fast to keep up with her partner's long
strides. "*What* have three eviscerated transients got to do with a
blackout? This is New York. Both, I would guess, are fairly common."

"*Three* blackouts, Scully, all occurring at the same time as each of the
deaths. You don't find that just a little bit suspect?"

"No! When *better* to commit a crime? It's *dark*. Less chance of being
seen..."

"June ninth, twelfth, seventeenth, and twenty-second, nineteen ninety. Same
thing happened in Chicago. No killer was ever found. M.E. never could
determine what kind of weapon was used, either."

"Well, let's just wait until all the reports come back, okay? *Then* you can
start speculating."

Fox smiled and changed the subject. "The restaurant was great, wasn't it?
I'd like to take Alex there, sometime. He'd love it."

Scully observed her partner's wistful expression and shook her head. "It's
only been a day, Mulder."

"I know. I miss him, what can I say?"

They walked up to the entrance to their hotel, and stepped inside.

"You're going to call him the second you get in your room, aren't you?"

"*No*..." Fox grinned. "I'm going to take my jacket off, first."

They boarded the elevator, and traveled in silence, up to the third floor.
They stopped at Scully's door, and said goodnight. Once she was safely
inside, Fox unlocked the door to his adjoining room, and entered.

He removed his jacket and tie, flinging them across the back of a chair,
then fell onto the bed, and picked up the phone. He punched in his home
number, and waited only two rings before hearing the soft hello.

"It's me," he said in an equally soft tone.

"Have a good day?"

"Depends on what you call good, I guess."

"Good, is you having cracked this case, and calling to tell me that your
pretty ass is on a plane back home, tomorrow."

"It sucked."

"Damn."

Fox sighed into the phone. "I miss you, baby."

Brief silence, then, "What are you doing?"

"Talking to you."

"Lonely?"

"Very. You?"

"You know I am. We are you?"

"On the bed. Where are *you*?"

"Couch."

"Going to bed, soon?"

"I guess. Nothing else to do."

"Why don't you go, right now?"

"You don't want to talk to me anymore?"

"Of course I do. I just want to talk to you while you're in bed."

Silence.

"Are you going?"

"On my way...okay, I'm here."

Fox unbuttoned and removed his shirt, then started to unbuckle his belt.
"Get undressed and lie down."

More silence, then, "Okay."

"All your clothes are off?"

"Uh-huh. What about you?"

"Just....yeah. You haven't changed the sheets, have you?"

"No."

"You want to be able to smell me..."

"Yeah..."

"I can smell you if I close my eyes and concentrate..." Fox sighed softly.
"I can taste you..."

"Mmmmm....."

"What are you doing?"

"Suffering like you wouldn't believe."

"Why?"

Hoarse moan. "I need you."

"Close your eyes."

"They're already closed."

"Good. Think of us together. I'm there with you, baby. Right beside you,
kissing those lips. Can you feel my tongue inside your mouth?

"Yes...."

"What does it taste like?"

"Spaghetti sauce...Mountain Dew...double chocolate brownies..."

Fox laughed softly. "All that?"

"You asked..."

Another chuckle. "Can you feel my hand on your chest?"

"Yeah."

"Touch your chest, Alex. Skim your fingertips over the skin." Fox continued
to speak while he touched himself in the same manner. "Brush them over your
nipples." Alex's soft moan hardened his already solid erection, even more.
"Do you like that?"

"Yes," Alex breathed into the phone.

"It's my hand baby. Those are my fingers teasing you." Fox grasped his own
nipple between his thumb and forefinger, and pulled gently. "Pinch your
nipple, Alex." The soft gasp told him that his instructions were being
followed. "A little harder...twist it...that's right. I can hear you
panting. Is it good?"

"So good," the voice on the other end whimpered.

"I know. Do you want me to touch your cock?"

"Yes."

"Tell me."

"Touch my cock."

"Beg me for it."

"Fox, *please*. Please touch me. I need it so much."

"All right, baby." Fox moved his hand down to his own cock. "I need you to
touch me too. Easy though, okay?"

"Okay."

Fox's fingers moved slowly and gently over the length of his erection.
"That's it. Oh yeah, Alex. That's it. Nice and slow." A long, low moan
reached his ear, triggering an almost identical reaction. He circled the
head, spreading over it, the bead of fluid at the tip. "Play with the
head...is it slick?"

"Yes..."

"Taste it, Alex." Fox raised his fingers to his own mouth, and sucked on
them. "What does it taste like?"

"You."

Fox smiled into the phone. "I don't know about you, but I'm about ready to
explode. Will you come with me?"

"Yes, lisa. Please..."

"Wrap your hand around your cock." Fox did the same to himself. "It's me
squeezing you. I'm stroking you baby, loving you. I love your cock, Alex.
It's so beautiful."

The breathing on the other end grew erratic. "Fox..."

"My beautiful baby..." Fox's hand moved faster, and his clipped grunts
prompted Alex to quicken his pace. "Faster, Alex. Faster. Are you with me?
Come with me..."

"I'm with you...oh God, I'm..."

Alex's harsh cries were almost immediately followed by those of his lover.
They faded away, and all that was left were soft whimpers and heavy, rasping
struggles for breath. Alex was the first to recover enough to speak.

"You ever think of becoming a one-nine hundred operator? You'd make a
fortune."

Fox laughed softly into the phone. "You wouldn't really appreciate that
much, would you?"

"Actually, no. I don't want you talking dirty to anyone but me."

"Didn't think so."

"What time is it?"

"Uh...ten fifteen."

"I've got an early day. I should probably get some sleep."

"Yeah, okay."

"Hey."

"What?"

"That was nice. *Very* nice, but..."

"But what?"

"I want to fall asleep with my arms around you."

"I know. Soon, lisa. Just hurry up and get the damn case solved, okay?"

"I'll move it along as fast as I can."

"Okay. Go to sleep, now."

"Night, Alex."

"Goodnight."

Alex dropped the cordless phone onto the nightstand, and rolled out of bed.
He walked to the bathroom, washed the semen from his hand and stomach, then
fell back into bed, pulling one of Fox's pillows to his chest. He buried his
face in the soft cotton, inhaling the faint scent of his lover. His eyes
drifted shut, and he fell asleep, soon afterward.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Those are the conditions, Mr. Phillips. Take them or leave them."

"Well...um..." Phillips looked over the four page document. "I'll um...I'll
see what I can do. I'll let you know tomorrow..."

"You'll let me know, today. By four o'clock."

"But that's only three hours from now."

"Not exactly the can-do attitude I expect, Mr. Phillips. Maybe your company
is not the place for my accounts, after all..."

Justin rose to leave, but Phillips' pleading tone stopped him.

"No. Please. I'll make it happen, Mr. Saint James, I promise you."

"Now, that's an attitude I can respect. Very well, Mr. Phillips. You have
until four. Now, let's finish our lunch. This trout is too good to waste."

As Phillips dug into his lunch, Justin's attention was suddenly distracted
by the tall man in the dark blue suit, who had just passed them. His eyes
flicked over to the petite red-head walking beside him.

So familiar.

The couple was seated only two tables away, and when the hostess moved from
his line of sight, his eyes narrowed.

//It couldn't be. But it is. I would never forget one so beautiful. Imagine,
after all this time, seeing him again.//

He watched the man and woman for a few seconds, before another man
approached their table.

"Agent Mulder!" The short, skinny man reached the table. "I'm sorry, I
almost forgot. Are you going back to the M.E.'s office?"

"Yeah. After lunch."

"All right, then. Chief Evans said he'd meet you there."

"Okay, Cassidy. We'll be there in an hour or so."

"I'll let the chief know. Enjoy your lunch."

The man in the cheap suit retreated, leaving the couple alone.

//Mulder, Mulder. *Agent* Mulder.//

"FBI?"

"I'm sorry?"

Justin looked to Phillips, realizing that he'd said that out loud.
"Nothing." His eyes refocused on their target. "I must cut our lunch short,
Phillips. I just remembered a prior engagement. I'll expect to hear from you
at four."

Before the other man could respond, Justin rose from the table and walked
toward the entrance.

Fox talked softly with Scully, all the while, casting glances around the
nearly deserted restaurant. The man who had just risen from the table a few
feet away, caught his eye, and he stopped conversation.

"Mulder? Mulder, what's up? Why'd you stop in mid-sentence?"

Fox ignored his partner's questions, as he watched the man speaking to the
hostess.

"Mulder!"

"Scully, look at that man."

"What man?" By the time Scully turned around, she could only see the
retreating back. "The man leaving?"

"Yeah."

"What about him?"

"Remember that jerk at the club on Andros?"

Scully shook her head. "I remember the encounter, but I couldn't say as I'd
remember what he looked like, exactly. That was a long time ago, Mulder."

"I know, but I remember well, and I think it's him. In fact, I'd stake my
life on it."

Scully shrugged. "Okay...some coincidence, huh?"

"Yeah."

The appearance of the waiter in front of them, brought the conversation to
an end.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Justin! How are you, old friend?"

"Fine, Paul. Thank you for making time for me."

"Hey, all you ever have to do is ask. What is it I can do for you?"

"I would like some information on someone. Unfortunately, all I have is a
last name. *But*, I believe I know what his line of work is."

Paul smirked. "New prospect?"

Justin merely smiled. "Just see what you can find out, all right?"

"All right. What is the name?"

"Mulder."

"Uh huh. And what is it you think he does?"

"I believe he may be an FBI agent."

Paul's head snapped up. "*Really*."

"Can you find out for sure?"

"Well...yes...."

"I'll make it worth your while."

The other man nodded and began to tap at his computer. A few moments later,
he hit paydirt.

"I've come up with a Fox William Mulder..."

Justin turned from the window he'd been looking out of.

"Born October thirteen, ninety sixty-one, six feet tall, brown hair, hazel
eyes...there's a picture."

Justin leaned over his friend and looked into the eyes of the man he'd seen
earlier at the restaurant.

"Very nice."

"The picture does him no justice, Paul, trust me. So he is a government
agent."

Paul hit a few more keys. "Oh, yeah. Look at this stuff. This guy's really
something."

Justin read the information. "Yes, it would appear that he is, indeed.
Brilliant *and* beautiful."

"I hate to say it my friend, but I think you may be wasting your time with
this one."

Justin cocked his head.

"Federal agent, Justin. Even if he *wasn't* straight as an arrow, he would
appear to be rather high profile."

Justin thought on the other man's words. "True, true..." A faint smile
touched his lips. "I wonder..."

"Wonder what?"

"Nothing, I just had a thought. Can you print this information for me?"

Minutes later, Justin was holding what he'd asked for.

"Thank you, Paul. I trust you'll be discreet about this meeting?"

"Of course."

"Very good. I'll see you soon."

"Enjoy your stay in New York."

"My friend, it just got a terrible lot more enjoyable."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The agents read the medical examiner's report together. When he was through,
Fox looked over at Scully and smiled.

"Now what?"

"Mulder, this is impossible."

"Just like Chicago..." Mulder sang under his breath.

"Come on, Mulder, there's something they overlooked. There's *got* to be a
discernable method..."

Fox leaned toward his partner and murmured in her ear, "Not if the method is
extra terrestrial."

"Oh, for the love of..."

"Hey, we've *got* nothing else, Scully."

Scully closed her eyes and let out a long sigh.

"I'd like to bring one of the bodies back to D.C."

"For?"

"Have another exam conducted."

"Mulder..."

"I'm going to talk to Chief Evans." Fox gathered up the reports and headed
for the door. He turned to his partner and tossed her a grin. "You coming?"

Scully groaned and turned to follow him. "Oh, yeah. Right behind you."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Justin Saint James stood at the window of his room, perusing the printout on
Fox Mulder for the fifth time. He closed his eyes and thought back to the
club on Andros. The exquisite man with the ever changing, green-gold eyes
and luscious mouth...his equally exquisite mate with the turbulent green
eyes, and a disposition that was downright feral. He recalled watching them
in their corner booth, Fox...unbelievably fitting name, Fox...pressed into
his lover's side, basking in the glow of his loving attention. The other,
Alex, he believed he heard Fox call him...fiercely protective...dangerously
so, yet infinitely tender with the man at his side. They were the most
beautiful thing to watch. Their devotion to each other fascinated Justin. It
still did.

He opened his eyes and released a long, silent breath.

He'd like to know what that felt like. That kind of unwavering adoration.

He laughed to himself.

Didn't exist.

In fact, he'd be willing to bet that the lovely Fox had already been through
another two or three men, since then. Justin had been far and seen much, and
he'd never seen it fail to happen.

Love. Dies.

The brighter it burned, the faster it faded.

Unless it was bought and paid for.

Unless it was...*taught*.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Hello?"

"What are you wearing?"

"I told you to stop calling me here. If my boyfriend finds out..."

"Fuck your boyfriend."

Alex uttered a needy moan. "I'd love to, but he isn't here."

Fox laughed softly. "How 'bout tomorrow?"

"Mmmm...you're not teasing me, are you?"

"No, we'll be home tomorrow. Bringing a body back with me."

"Interesting souvenir, Fox. A t-shirt would have been fine, really..."

"Gee, and I was trying so hard to be original...anyway, nobody here can
determine what killed these people. I want to have one of them checked out
by a friend of mine in Baltimore. I'll tell you all about it when I get
there."

"Okay...you got your flight information?"

"Yeah. Flight sixty-one, at seven-twenty."

"A.M.?"

"No, p.m."

Mildly irritated sigh. "Figures."

"Sorry, it's the earliest one we could get."

"I'll live till then, I guess."

Fox's tone turned smoky. "You gonna save it for me?"

"You gonna make it worth my while?"

"Don't I always?"

"Yes, you do."

Brief silence, then, "It's late. I have a lot of red tape to go through yet
tomorrow, before I take the body."

"Okay. Get some sleep and I'll see you tomorrow night."

"I'll call you before we leave."

"All right. Goodnight, lisa."

"Goodnight."

Fox set the phone in the cradle and leaned back into the pillows, smiling at
the thought that this time tomorrow, Alex would be next to him...or on top
of him...possibly under him...he might be behind him. Hell, *wherever* he'd
be, it'd feel damn good. Fox drifted into sleep with a smile on his face.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Is the jet ready to go?"

"Yes, sir."

"Very good...oh, and Frank?"

"Yes, sir?"

"Please send Lieutenant Cassidy my usual token of thanks and a note to read,
'Thank you for supplying me with the much needed information. I will not
forget your kindness. JSJ.'"

"Right away, sir."

"When you've taken care of that, you may arrange to have my bags brought
down."

The assistant executed a shallow bow, and exited the room.

Justin seated himself at the dining table, and read the information he had
on Fox Mulder for the eighth time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fox paced the sidewalk outside of the terminal.

"He's never late, Scully."

Scully sat on her bag, chin resting on her fist. "There's a first time for
everything, Mulder," she said blandly, suppressing a yawn.

Fox pulled out his cell phone and punched in Alex's number.

"How many times are you going to call him?"

"Until I..." Fox disconnected and shoved the phone back into his pocket. The
look of relief that washed over his face, brought Scully's attention to the
curb, where Alex was just pulling up.

Alex jumped out of the car and came toward them.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he began immediately. "I left in plenty of time, but
I got stuck in unbelievable traffic. There was a plane down on the
highway..."

Scully arched an eyebrow. "A *plane*?"

"Yeah. Two seater. Wasn't pretty." He looked to his anxious partner.
"Anyway, I forgot my damn phone at home, so I couldn't call you. I'm sorry,
lisa, I know you must've been worried..."

Alex was cut off in mid apology by his lover's arms clamping around him, and
his mouth, muffling the words.

Scully looked around nervously, but it didn't appear that anyone was
watching.

Fox broke the kiss when he was damn good and ready, but refused to let go of
the man in his arms. He buried his face in the side of Alex's neck, and
tightened his arms around him.

Alex stroked his back and whispered into his ear, "Fox...baby...this
isn't..."

Fox lifted his head and looked directly into his lover's eyes. "I don't
care," he murmured softly.

Alex searched the warm, golden depths of his Fox's eyes. "Let's go home."

Fox nodded, and Alex moved away to open the trunk. Fox lifted both bags and
stored them inside.

Scully dropped gratefully into the back seat, and the two men slid into
their seats in the front. Alex pulled away from the curb, and called back to
Scully.

"So, I hear you two brought a friend back with you."

"He's no friend of *mine*," came the salty voice from the back seat.

Fox reached over and stroked Alex's hair, saying nothing.

Alex glanced over to his lover, offering a tiny smile. Fox just continued to
pet him, staring intently.

"What is it?" Alex asked softly.

Fox shook his head slowly, comforting himself with the feel of dark silk,
beneath his fingers.

They rode most of the way in silence, with the exception of a few words
passed between Alex and Scully. As soon as Fox had seen her safely into her
apartment, he and Alex were on their way home. Alex chose to save the
questions until then.

Clyde greeted them enthusiastically, then Alex let him out into the yard.
When he came into the bedroom, Fox was unpacking. Alex came up behind him
and slipped his arms around his waist. Fox dropped the shirt he was holding,
and turned in the younger man's arms. He immediately sought Alex's mouth,
kissing him as though he never would again.

Alex pulled away after long seconds, gasping for breath.
"Fox....lisa....what is it? What's the matter?"

"I missed you," Fox replied, coming in for another kiss.

After a while, Alex pulled away again.. "That's not all there is to it.
You've been gone much longer than this, and haven't acted this way."

"What way?"

"I don't know, you seem almost...scared."

Fox's eyes lowered to the floor. "I...I don't know...I can't explain it,
Alex." He looked back up into concerned, green eyes. You weren't even that
late, but...for some reason, I was scared to death."

Alex shrugged. "I would have been worried too, if the situations were
reversed."

"No, Alex. Not worried. Scared out of my mind. I can't explain why. I don't
know..."

Alex pulled his lover into his arms. Fox rested his head on the shoulder in
front of him and let himself be stroked and comforted.

"It's all right, lisa. Whatever it is that had you so scared, you can see
now, that everything's okay."

Fox tightened his fingers in the back of Alex's shirt. "I need you," he
whispered into the curve of his shoulder. "Please."

Alex threaded his fingers through the golden-brown hair and lifted Fox's
head. He bestowed a tender kiss on the lips he so loved, then backed Fox to
the bed. They undressed each other quickly, then fell back together onto the
mattress.

Alex draped himself over Fox, taking a moment to enjoy the feel of the body
he never tired of. He writhed against Fox, pulling a low moan from him as
their cocks rubbed together. He stifled the sound with a soft kiss.

Fox melted into the sensation, stroking his palms up and down the muscles of
Alex's back. His tongue swept inside Alex's mouth, seeking its mate,
stroking and teasing, then retreating to its own home, waiting to be found
and coaxed into another duel.

Alex finally left Fox's mouth, noting the disappointed moan, and kissed and
nipped his way south, trailing down his chin, to the sensitive skin of his
throat. He opened his mouth wide, and closed his teeth on the flesh, just
above the base. Fox arched upward, submitting to the sensual attack. Alex
sucked lightly, growling deep in his throat. The urge to increase the
pressure was great, but he kept in mind, the fact that he was in much too
exposed an area to leave any marks. He released Fox's throat, and moved to
his chest. The man beneath him winced and emitted a low whine as Alex's
mouth covered his right nipple and a good bit of flesh surrounding it. As he
sucked, his tongue grazed the sensitive peak again and again, sending jolts
of electricity shooting through his Fox's body.

"Alex," Fox hummed, raking his fingers through the sable hair, leaving a
riot of spikes standing on end. His lips moved, but no more intelligible
sound came past them. Only soft sounds of desperation filled the air.

Alex moved from one nipple to other, inflicting the same kind of torture,
then continued on down, following the sparse line of fine hairs until they
began to thicken and curl. He stopped then, avoiding the rigid length of
muscle dancing so temptingly before his mouth. As much as Fox writhed and
moaned, he refused to touch his lover's cock.

"Come on, Alex..."

"Shhh." Alex nibbled on the inside of Fox's thigh, then let his tongue dance
over his balls. He smiled to himself as the man he was teasing, groaned
aloud and arched off the bed, twisting the sheets in his clenched hands.
"Take it easy, lisa." Alex kissed the base of his lover's cock. "Not just
yet, okay?"

"Suck me, Alex..." Fox wasn't listening. He was already too far gone for
reason. He bucked against Alex's mouth. "Please."

A gentle swipe of the tongue. "But I want you to come with me."

"Then fuck me. *Now*."

Alex couldn't tease Fox anymore, and he knew it. One wrong touch, and it'd
be all over.

"All right, baby, all right. Just relax." Alex lifted himself off of his
lover, prompting a disapproving growl. He leaned in the direction of the
nightstand, withdrew the tube of lubricant and kneeled, straddling Fox's
waist. He skimmed the tube across Fox's bottom lips and smiled. "Put it on
for me."

Fox snatched the tube from Alex's hand and unscrewed the cap. He squeezed
some of the contents into his hand, and reached for his lover's cock,
quickly stroking it on.

Alex breathed deeply, enduring Fox's touch in silence. When the task was
accomplished, he bent over and took his lover's mouth in a brief but intense
kiss, then stretched out over his body. Fox's legs automatically wrapped
around his waist, and he guided his cock between the tight muscles of his
lover's ass, to the small opening.

Difficult as it was, Fox lay still, waiting to feel the thrill of that
initial thrust. He loved the sensation of being opened and stretched, full
of his beautiful Alex.

Alex tucked one hand under the small of Fox's back, gripped his shoulder
with the other, and pushed slowly into him. He focused on the glazed amber
eyes in front of him, and began to rock gently. An almost inaudible gasp
tumbled from his lover's lips, and he swooped down to capture it before it
was gone.

Fox moaned into Alex's mouth, his fingers digging into his back.
Involuntarily, his muscles clenched, squeezing his lover's cock in a firm
grip, taking him perilously close to the edge.

"Lisa," Alex stopped moving, and rasped in his ear. "Easy, baby. Relax,
or..."

"No," Fox protested, "no, *no*..." He rocked against Alex. I can't...don't
stop, please don't."

"All right," Alex soothed him, kissing his cheek, then his mouth. "I won't
stop..." He started to rock again, this time also wrapping his hand around
Fox's cock. He began to milk it in time to his thrusts, driving his lover
and himself closer to completion.

Fox's harsh groans resonated in the growing darkness of the room, as the
tension coiled in the pit of his stomach, tighter and tighter, until it
broke, and he drowned in the explosive pleasure.

The tightening of his lover's body around him, and his desperate cries,
broke Alex's control. He let go, and came violently, pumping into his lover
until he was dry.

Soft purrs of contentment filled the air, as they lay locked together for
endless minutes. Finally, Alex disengaged himself, and draped himself back
down over Fox's chest. A gentle hand came up to stroke the dampened strands
of hair.

"Good to be home."

"Mmm-hmm." Alex kissed the curve of Fox's throat, and closed his eyes.

"I love you, Alex."

No answer.

Fox listened to the soft, steady breaths, and knew that Alex was asleep. He
kissed the top of his lover's head, and tightened his arms around him. He
lay there, staring into the darkness for a good long time, before finally
falling asleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Mercedes idled silently, a few yards away from Fox Mulder's home. Alert
gray eyes narrowed, as the front door opened and the man he'd seen in New
York, stepped out of it. The eyes widened in surprise, when the man was
immediately followed by another...the same one who had been his companion on
Andros.

Amazing.

How long had it been? And they were still together.

The other man. Alex. Every bit as handsome as he remembered. He recalled the
turbulent green eyes and dazzling white teeth...the low rumble of his voice,
as he warned Justin against getting anywhere near his lover.

He watched the two men move together to the car in the driveway, then
noticed the large dog that followed close behind.

Justin wasn't much on pets...the four-legged kind anyway, but he was pretty
sure that the animal was a German Shepherd. Not exactly the type breed that
would stand idly by and allow its master to be taken against his will.

//Mental note. Take dog into consideration and plan accordingly.//

His attention came back to the man kissing the other's jaw.

Alex.

As protective as that dog. And, he bet, every bit as vicious when provoked.

One silver eyebrow arched upward.

A challenge.

But the rewards for his patience would be infinite and sweeter than he could
ever imagine.

He glanced around, revising his plan in his head, when he spied a 'for sale'
sign staked on the front lawn of the house next door. He rubbed his chin
thoughtfully, then an idea came to him. A small grin curved his mouth. "Yes,
yes." He watched Fox Mulder get into his car and Alex jog off down the
street with the dog. "A most interesting challenge."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"So, John," Fox asked impatiently. "What do you think?"

"These incisions weren't made by any tool I recognize."

Fox nudged Scully and nodded. His partner just rolled her eyes.

John continued. "This residue I found in and around the wound...I've done
every test on it I can think of, and it's completely unrecognizable."

Scully held up a hand before Fox could say a word. "All these tests prove,
Mulder, is what *didn't* kill these people. The most we can get out of this
is an *unsolved*."

"Come on, Scully. If they weren't killed with anything known to our science,
what's left?"

"We can't exactly put that in our report."

The two lingered a while longer, speaking with Fox's friend, then left the
lab.

"What time is it?"

Fox looked at his watch. "Four-twenty eight."

"By the time we get back to the office, it'll be late. What do you say we
just head for home?"

"Sounds good to me."

Fox pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, and dialed his home number. It
rang four times, then the machine picked up. He frowned, waited for the
beep, then left a brief message.

"Alex, it's me. It's four-thirty and I'm on my way home. If you get this
message before I get there, call my cell."

He hung up and dropped the phone of the seat beside him.

"What's the matter?" Scully asked. "You look a little weird.

"Nothing. Just a little strange that he isn't answering at this time of
day."

"God, Mulder, I never noticed before. Do you always get so wacky if Alex
isn't where you think he should be?"

"No, of course not. I don't know, Scully, I can't explain this feeling I've
had since yesterday."

"Feeling?"

"Yeah. Just an uneasiness that won't go away. I'll feel better once I get
home."

Scully nodded, and said nothing more until Fox dropped her at her door.
"Don't forget you have to pick me up in the morning."

"I know. I'll see you later."

"Tell Alex I said hi."

Fox nodded impatiently.

Scully waved him on. "Go, go."

Her partner tossed her a quick smile, and headed for home.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Justin Saint James lounged in the luxury of his hotel room, considering his
newest acquisition. He smirked, recalling the look on the faces of the
middle-aged couple, when he knocked on their door this afternoon, and
offered them double what they were asking for their house. Cash.

The Andersons stood slack-jawed, staring at the impeccably dressed man,
standing in their kitchen.

"I imagine you think I'm a tad deranged," he told them.

"Well, yeah. Now that you mentioned it," Stanley Anderson agreed. He winced
as his wife elbowed him in the ribs.

Justin chuckled. "It's quite all right, Mrs. Anderson. If someone knocked on
my door and offered me a quarter of a million dollars for my modest little
home, I'd be suspicious, as well. But I assure you, I'm quite sane. You see,
I'm a businessman. My life is extremely hectic, and my doctor told me that
if I want to live to see my grandchildren grow up, I need to make a few
changes in my life. I thought I could start with a change in scenery. This
is a lovely little neighborhood. I think I could relax here."

Mrs. Anderson shrugged. "Well, it's not a noisy area, though there are some
children around. A few dogs..."

"Ah. Yes. I noticed a large dog...a German Shepherd, when I drove through
earlier. Not a nuisance, is he?"

"Oh, no. He's well behaved. And Alex is very meticulous with him. If it
wasn't because we see him and hear him once in a while, we.."

"Alex?"

"Oh. Yes. Alex Krycek. He's one of the guys who live next door."

"One of *the guys*..."

"Oh...uh, yeah. He and his partner, Fox. We've never known a male couple
before, but we actually like them quite a lot. They're good people. Quiet.
Immaculate...no wild parties or that kind of stuff..."

Justin held his hands up. "Oh, it's all right. I have no problem with that."
He smiled indulgently. "No problem whatsoever."

"So," Mr. Anderson prodded. "You're still interested?"

"Absolutely."

Justin promised the couple that they'd have the money by tomorrow, but in
turn, they needed to promise to be out of the house as soon as possible. To
insure that it happened, he offered a crew to help with the packing and
moving. Secondly, it was to be a transaction between the two parties. The
Andersons were to call the realtor and take the house off the market,
immediately. As a gesture of good faith, he handed them an envelope
containing ten thousand dollars. Stanley Anderson counted the money, and
immediately picked up the phone and made the call.

//Lovely, what a paltry few thousand can get you. By tomorrow they'll be
gone, and the game can begin.//

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fox pulled into the garage, next to Alex's Porsche. He unfolded himself from
the driver's seat, and felt the hood of the car. Cold. His brows drew down
into a frown, as he turned and exited the garage. He closed the door and
went into the house. After a quick search of the house and yard, he
determined that neither Alex nor Clyde was there. He walked out the front
door, down to the sidewalk and looked around. A young voice sounded behind
him, startling him a bit

"Hey, Mulder!"

He turned around and smiled down at ten year old Larry Mitchell. "Hey,
Mitchell. Any interesting cases, today?"

"Nah, nothin'. Been boring."

Mulder nodded. "Sometimes it happens that way, Mitchell."

Ever since the little boy found out that Fox was a federal agent, he'd been
fascinated with the FBI, reading everything he could about it, and often
pretending that he was 'on a case'. Fox and Alex had taken to calling him
'junior G-man', and with the permission of the parents, Fox had arranged a
tour of the Hoover Building for Larry and a group of his friends. As a
result, the boy was now, his pal for life.

"Hey Mitchell, you haven't seen Alex, have you?"

"Nope. Somethin' up?"

"No, I was just wondering."

"Want to put out an APB?"

Fox chuckled. "I don't think that's necessary just yet."

"Okay...I'll keep an eye out for him, though."

"Thanks, Mitchell. I'll..."

Before Fox could finish his sentence, Clyde came barreling in from his
right, and just about knocked him over. He greeted the dog, scratching
behind his ear. Looking up, he saw Alex coming down the street toward him.
He breathed a sigh of relief, and waited for his lover to reach him.

"Hi."

Alex smiled. "Hi." He looked down at the little boy. "Hey, Mitchell."

"Good thing you got back when you did. We were gonna put an APB out on you,
soon."

One dark eyebrow arched upward. "Oh, really?" Alex turned amused eyes to
Fox, who camouflaged a grin, and dismissed the boy.

"Okay, Mitchell. We gotta go now. See you later, okay?"

"Okay. Later, guys."

They watched the boy move off toward his house, then walked to their own
front door.

"Out for a walk?"

"Yeah. Clyde has been really wound up today for some reason. I thought a
long walk and a run in the park, would tire him out a little."

Fox nodded. "I tried calling to let you know I was on my way home from the
lab. I couldn't imagine where you'd be."

"Well, I figured since we'd decided to have Chinese tonight, I'd have time
to take him out...is something wrong?"

"No. Nothing. Why would you ask that?"

"I don't know. You just look kinds of funny."

Fox shrugged and said nothing.

"Are you still feeling like you did last night?"

"Yeah." Fox made an uncomfortable face. "I guess...a little."

They walked into the house and as soon as Fox had the door closed, Alex
moved forward and wrapped him in his arms.

"There must be something, lisa...something that happened to be making you
feel so uneasy."

Fox shrugged and shook his head.

"Is the feeling still there?"

"Yeah, but it's not so bad. It seems worse when I'm away from you and
especially if I don't know where you are, like yesterday, before you got to
the airport...and today, when I called home and got no answer."

"Well....you could quit the Bureau and follow me everywhere I go," Alex
smiled and kissed his lover's nose.

Fox bit into Alex's lower lip, and pulled. He released it, then ran his
tongue across it. "You're a funny guy. Let's order dinner. I'm starving."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Justin. It's Paul."

"Yes, Paul. Have you got anything for me?"

"A little. This Krycek guy is *not* an easy man to get information on."

"What does that mean?"

"I'm really not sure. I mean, I got the usual stuff. Height weight, place of
residence, blah, blah, blah...I couldn't find any place of employment
though, so I started thinking about how he and Fox Mulder may have met, and
I figured, where do most people meet? At work, right? So just for the hell
of it, I checked back with the FBI database, and found that Alex Krycek
*was* a fibbie."

"*Was*?"

"Yeah, *was*. As in, isn't any more."

"He quit?"

"I don't know. His service record is sealed. And Justin, before you say it,
I may be good, but I'm not *that* good. There's no way for me to *unseal*
it."

"Hmm. Interesting. Is that all you've got?"

"Yeah. I'm sorry I wasn't able to help you more. I'll fax over this
information, right away."

"No, that's fine, Paul. I thank you very much."

"You're welcome. Good night, Justin."

Justin terminated the connection, and waited for the fax. It came seconds
later. He ripped the single page from the machine and read the information
he'd just been given.

"Not only beautiful, but mysterious as well. Oh, this just gets better and
better."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Hey, babe." Fox kissed Alex and dropped onto the sofa.

Alex smiled up at the other man, from the computer. "Hi. How do you feel,
today?"

"Not bad." He changed the subject. "How was your day?"

"Okay...hey, guess what?"

"What?"

"The Andersons are gone."

"Huh?"

"Yep. A big moving truck came early this morning, and by noon, they were
gone."

"I didn't even know they'd sold the house."

"Me either. I saw Stanley outside, and asked him about it. He said that some
business man came yesterday and made them an offer they couldn't refuse."

Fox grinned. "Sounds like a Mafia movie."

Alex shrugged. "It's exactly what Stanley said, though. Anyway, the man
needed the house right away, and he paid for the movers and everything."

"Hmm."

"They told me to say goodbye to you."

"So, have you seen our new neighbor yet?"

"No, I haven't seen anyone over there, since noon."

Fox sat in silence for a few moments, then rose from the sofa. "I'm going to
go change."

"Okay, I'll finish paying these few bills, then we can have dinner?"

Fox dropped a kiss on his lover's head. "Sure."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Justin's assistant entered the room and waited patiently, while his employer
spoke on the telephone.

"Yes, Lester. I think twenty by twenty will do...yes, I know it's an odd
request, just do it..." Justin looked up, taking notice of the man hovering
just inside the doorway. "One moment, Lester. Yes, Frank?"

"The car is ready sir, anytime you want to leave."

"Thank you, Frank. I'll finish this call, then I'll be leaving."

Frank bowed his head an exited the room, leaving Justin to his call.

"All right, Lester. Yes. I want them on it as soon as possible. A week. In
less time would be splendid, but certainly no longer. Right. The room in the
northeast corner. I'll call you tomorrow morning. All right. Goodbye."

Justin dropped the phone into the cradle, and left the room, humming.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Really strange isn't it, how the Anderson's just picked up and left like
that?" Alex asked his lover, walking in from the bathroom, rubbing a towel
through his hair.

Fox looked up from the case file he'd been sitting by the windows, reading.
The light from the lamp beside the armless chair, glinted off of his
glasses, making his eyes nearly invisible to Alex.

"Hell, if some guy offered us double what this joint is worth, and one of
his stipulations was that we move a.s.a.p., *you* wouldn't be in a rush to
get the hell out?"

Alex displayed an almost hurt look. "You'd want to sell our house...just
like that?"

"No. I was just...it was just a general question..."

"I wouldn't want to sell this house. Not for *triple* what we paid for it.
It's *our* home."

Fox removed his glasses and set them down on the nearest windowsill. "I
know, babe. I'm sorry, I didn't mean it that way...ah, hell." He reached out
with one hand. "C'mere."

Alex hesitated, sulking.

Fox looked at him and smiled.

//Let the games begin.//

"Alexei..."

"*What*?"

"I didn't mean that I'd want to sell our house. It means as much to me as it
does to you."

Alex drew designs on the bedpost with one finger. "Didn't sound like it."

"I'm sorry, baby. Really, I am. Come over here. Please?"

Alex dropped the towel down at the foot of the bed and walked slowly over to
where Fox sat. The older man reached up and caressed his bare arm. "I love
you..."

Alex quirked one corner of his mouth and cast a sideways glance down at his
lover.

Fox's hand skimmed up and down the arm a couple of times, then moved
downward, to the cotton covered thigh. His hand slid down over Alex's
boxer-briefs, then back up, under the hem, stroking more bare skin. He
smiled at the soft intake of breath. "You're right," he said softly. "This
is our home." His hand moved higher, until it was parallel with Alex's
crotch. "No amount of money in the world could make me want to give it up."
The motion of his hand, combined with the seductive tone of his voice, put
Alex in an almost trance-like state. The younger man stood quietly, looking
down at Fox, through a thick veil of sable lashes. Fox smiled up at him, and
moved his hand over, a fraction to the left. Alex sucked in a shallow
breath, and let it out slowly.

Fox maintained eye contact, as his hand wandered over the slightly damp,
warmth of Alex's cock. He stroked it, over and over, feeling it come to
life, in his palm.

Alex emitted a long, stuttering sigh, and closed his eyes.

"Still upset with me?"

Slow shake of the sable head.

Alex heard the soft click, and the reddish-blackness that he saw before his
closed eye lids, went dark. The hand gently fondled him for a few seconds
more, then released him.

Fox shushed the soft groan of protest, then pulled Alex's shorts down and
off. He spread his legs, and directed Alex to stand between them. The
younger man's hands automatically went to his hair, as he leaned forward,
and kissed the tip of his now, full-blown erection...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Justin stood in the second story window of his empty house, playing with his
new night-vision binoculars. Amazing how they just turned pitch blackness to
day. His head pivoted this way and that, focusing in on Fox and Alex's
yard....the lawn furniture...the garden pond...the gas grill...

//How sweetly domestic.//

He raised his head, and stopped, dead still.

//What's this? Ohhhh, my. My, my, my, my.//

Justin watched, utterly entranced, the scene in the darkened room of the
house next door.

Fox Mulder. Sitting, with a very naked, very aroused Alex Krycek, standing
between his legs. The seated man leaned forward, kissed his lover's cock,
then ran the tip of his tongue up the length of it. The recipient of his
attention stood, eyes closed, head thrown back, completely enraptured.

Justin stood frozen, hands tightening on the binoculars.

//Too beautiful.//

He moaned softly, as Fox Mulder opened his mouth and swallowed his lover's
cock to the base. His attention quickly focused on the other man's face, not
wanting to miss the look of sheer bliss that washed over his dark features.
He was saying something. Some words were tumbling from his lips, between the
obvious pants and gasps. Justin wished he could hear. God, how he wished he
could hear. But unfortunately, he had to settle on using his imagination.

From the little bit he'd seen of Alex Krycek those two nights in that club,
he imagined that the man would be a very intense lover, and the words now
streaming from his lips, would be fairly harsh and demanding, and liberally
peppered with curses. Yes, Alex Krycek was definitely a top...

He smiled and waited. Waited for Alex to turn it around. When Fox pulled
away and rose to his feet, he held his breath, positive that Alex would now
take control. His hands shook in anticipation. When his lover moved behind
him and pushed him to his knees in front of the chair, Justin's brows drew
down into a confused frown. He continued to watch, as Fox made Alex rest his
upper body on the chair and wait while he undressed. When all of his clothes
lay in a pile, Fox got to his knees behind his motionless lover, and
caressed the length of his back with both hands. He lowered his head and
followed his hands with his mouth, kissing and licking. When he made it up
to Alex's neck, he rose to his feet and walked over to the nightstand beside
the bed. Within seconds, he was back, squeezing the contents of a small tube
into his hand.

Justin wet his bottom lip as he watched the man who was still standing,
grasp his cock, and slide his hand up and down, along its length. He once
again sank to his knees, and stroked the sides of Alex's thighs, up to his
hips, then over the taut muscles of his ass. His hands lovingly caressed his
lover's ass for a brief moment, then separated the cheeks, and lowered his
face between them. Justin's knuckles went white and a soft gasp escaped his
throat, as he saw Alex's body jerk violently, in response. It wasn't long at
all before Fox withdrew and moved closer, pressing his groin against his
lover's ass. He rocked slowly, obviously teasing Alex. The younger man
arched backward and his mouth fell open. Fox wrapped his arm around Alex's
heaving chest, and grasped his cock by the base, working it into the
trembling man's ass. He kissed Alex's shoulder, then pushed him back down to
the seat cushion. He grasped his lover's hips, and pushed forward, as far as
he could go. Justin saw his eyes close and his head tip at a slight backward
angle, as he established a moderate rhythm. He couldn't see Alex's face. It
was turned away from the windows, but his body communicated his excitement
as well as any facial expression could. It jerked backward every time Fox
surged forward, dictating the ever-quickening pace.

Justin's respiration increased as he sensed Fox's coming explosion. The
older man's hands tightened on Alex's hips, and he moved faster, now
slamming into him. His teeth gritted and his eyes squeezed shut as he
continued to plunge deeply into his lover's heat. Suddenly he began to
shudder uncontrollably. His head fell back, and his mouth opened on what
Justin felt sure, was a bone-jarring scream. When he finished, he slumped
forward, resting his upper body on top of Alex's back.

Justin continued to watch, hands shaking. This couldn't be all. Alex hadn't
come yet, and he didn't believe that there was any way in hell that
situation would remain unresolved. A number of seconds later, Fox Mulder
pulled himself up. His chest rose and fell as he took long, slow breaths.

Alex rose as well, and as Fox draped an arm across his chest, he reached
behind and plunged his fingers into the other man's hair. He held tightly,
and said something to Fox, past gritted teeth. His lover drew back, allowing
him to pull himself up. He grabbed some clothing from the floor, threw it
down on the chair, Justin assumed, so the seat would not be stained, then
dropped down onto the pile. He said something to Fox, who crept forward,
kissing and licking his thighs. The dark head pressed into the back of the
chair, and one hand went down to the golden-brown silk moving steadily up
toward his crotch. His fingers clenched in Fox's hair, and he pulled his
head up and over his cock. He said something else, and Fox's mouth opened,
allowing his tongue to slither over the blunt head of his cock. Alex's head
rolled back and forth, and his hips began to jerk upward, looking to bury
his cock deeper into the moist warmth of Fox's mouth.

"Make him take it, Alex," Justin whispered breathlessly. "Give it to him.
Look at the way he's squirming, even after he just finished coming inside
you. He wants it so much." He concentrated on the man who was now sucking
voraciously on Alex's cock. "You're insatiable, aren't you, lovely Fox? The
deeper he is down your throat, the better you like it, don't you? Oh yes,"
Justin hissed, "you do love it..."

Alex's hips lurched up off the chair in an erratic rhythm, pumping his cock
into his lover's eager mouth, until he erupted, looking as though he was
making every bit as much noise as Fox had.

The kneeling man remained as he was, sucking and swallowing, until Alex
slumped into a boneless heap in the chair. He then released his lover's
exhausted cock, and gently licked it clean.

Alex smiled weakly, as Fox lifted his head and said something to him. He
raised a hand to the other man's cheek, and rubbed at the corner of his
mouth with his thumb. Fox grasped the hand, pressing a kiss into the palm,
then rose to his feet, displaying a half-hard erection. He pulled Alex up
after him, and after embracing and nuzzling each other for a bit, Alex
wrapped his hand around his lover's cock, and led him into what looked like
the bathroom.

Justin lowered the glasses and breathed deeply.

These two.

How wonderfully entertaining they would both be.

But as sweet as that thought was, it was an impossibility. He would just
have to settle for the one.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The two men exited the bathroom, and fell into bed together. Fox snuggled up
against Alex, draping a leg and an arm over him. Alex dropped a number of
kisses in his hair, then both drifted into a deep sleep.

Hours later, Fox awoke, startled. The warmth of the body wrapped around him,
calmed the pounding of his heart, but the uneasiness remained. He turned to
face his lover, and pulled him into his arms. Alex stirred and moaned
softly.

"Hmm? What?"

"Nothing," Fox whispered into his hair. "Go back to sleep."

Alex lapsed back into unconsciousness, while his lover stroked his hair, and
stared into the darkness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Lester....Lester, I don't want to hear that....two weeks is
unacceptable....then get more men on it...I don't care how many, just get it
done. In fact Lester, I'm just a bit more impatient this morning than I was
last night. I want it done by Wednesday....there's that word again. I really
dislike that word.....that's better. I'll check in with you tomorrow.
Right."

Justin hung up, and reviewed his plan over breakfast. He smiled, thinking
months ahead, to the all the envious looks he was sure to encounter, when he
turned up at parties with his new companion on his arm. As young and
good-looking as Matthew was, he didn't radiate sensuality like this one did.

He breathed deeply, thinking about the time when he'd be tame enough to
bring into his bed. The idea of touching that young, strong body...the two
of them doing the things he'd seen him do with his soon-to-be former mate,
last night...

Justin shook off the thought.

//One thing at a time, old man. He's a long way from that. You're going to
have to call up patience you never dreamed you had, for this one. He will
not be easy by *any* means. Kindess combined with the right amount of
discipline, and someday, he'll come to realize that he was meant to be
yours.//

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Oh, shit."

Fox pulled three mint green undershirts out of the washer, then dug through
the rest of the formerly white laundry, and yanked one of their new forest
green bathtowels out of the bottom of the tub.

"Shit, shit."

"What are you doing?"

Fox dropped the towel back into the washer and his head jerked up.
"Uh...laundry...did you find the saw blade you wanted?"

"Yeah...four hardware stores later...did you remember to wash those new
towels by themselves?"

"Yeah, yeah, I did. But um...I guess I missed one when I took them out."

One dark eyebrow arched. "Oh? So what happened?"

"You like green, don't you?"

"Yeah, that's why I bought green towels."

"How about green underwear?"

"Only when it's already green when I *buy* it...did you turn my white stuff
green?"

"*Mine* too..."

"How much?"

"I'd say about half of all the whites we own."

Alex let out a long sigh. "Well, I guess I know what I'll be doing tomorrow
while you're at work."

Fox approached and laid a brief kiss on his lover's mouth. "You were looking
for something to do anyway, weren't you?"

"Oh, yeah." Alex came back with another quick kiss. "Why don't you get rid
of this stuff, and I'll go get the steaks on the grill."

"You mean you don't want to keep any of it?"

"Uh...no."

"Not even *one* t-shirt? It kinda goes nice with your eyes...hey!"

Alex started out of the room, then backed up. He brought his hand back up to
his lover's ass, rubbing gently, where he'd just inflicted a hard smack.
"That hurt?"

"It didn't tickle."

Alex bit at the skin just below Fox's ear, then licked it. "I'll kiss it
better for you, later."

Fox moaned under his breath. "Damn right, you will."

A little more than an hour later, they were sitting down to dinner in the
backyard. Clyde lay in the space between their chairs, looking hopefully
from one of his masters, to the other. The two men made conversation, trying
to ignore the dog's pathetic stares.

"So you're sending the body back tomorrow?"

"Yeah. I can't come up with conclusive evidence of extraterrestrial
involvement, so we've got to stamp it unsolved, just like Scully said we
would. Ticks me off. I mean, no one can figure out what made those
incisions. What *else* could it be?"

Alex shook his head while he popped a slice of his own steak into his
lover's mouth. "I don't know, babe. You know *I* believe you, but
unfortunately, that does you no good."

Fox chewed and swallowed. "I know. I just..." He stopped in mid sentence and
both men looked down at the dog, who had since risen to a sitting position,
and was sounding a low, whining growl.

"What the heck's the matter with him?" Fox asked, knowing that Alex was a
little more in tune to Clyde's moods than he was.

Alex shrugged. "Something's got his attention." He looked over in the
direction of the house they'd yet to see anyone move in to. "I don't see
anything, do you?"

Fox scanned what he could see of the property. "No...what's up, Clyde?"

The dog looked up, hearing his name, and took the opportunity to swipe at
Fox's face with his tongue. He settled down again between Fox and Alex, his
previous interest in whatever he'd seen next door, forgotten.

"Must've been a cat or a rabbit or something," Fox reasoned, still looking
around.

"Guess so." Alex drew his lover's attention back, with a hand on his arm.
"Hey."

"Hmm?"

"Your ass still hurt?"

Fox broke into laughter. "What made you think of that?"

"Doesn't happen very often that I'm *not* thinking about your ass."

Fox shook with silent giggles. "Okay, so that was a stupid question. Umm,
yeah. It's still a little sore. You gonna keep your promise?"

Alex gave him a devious grin. "As soon as it gets dark."

"Why when it...." Then he understood. "Nice warm night, isn't it?"

"Uh-huh."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Justin Saint James stood a safe distance from the window, watching the two
having dinner, below. He had been standing closer, but at one point he
accidentally dropped his binoculars, and the blasted dog heard, calling his
master's attention to the direction of the house. He stepped away quickly
and was not discovered, thankfully.

//No thanks to *you*, you hairy beast...//

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The dishes were cleared away and stacked in the dishwasher, and the dog was
inside. Alex grabbed a blanket and lead his Fox back into the yard. He
spread the blanket on the ground and sat, pulling his lover down with him.
Simultaneously, they lay on their backs, content, for a while anyway, with
looking up into the dusky sky.

Fox closed his eyes, listening to the fading twitter of the birds, as they
made their way home to settle in for the night. As the other day sounds
dissipated, the gurgle of the fountain in the garden pond became more
prevalent. A soft smile curved Fox's mouth.

"Talk to me Alex, or the sound of that water is going to put me right out."

Alex turned sideways, propped his head up in his hand, and stared down at
the man on his back. "What do you want me to talk to you about?"

"I don't know. Pick a topic."

"Okay." Alex nuzzled Fox's throat. "Let me tell you how completely gorgeous
you are right now, with all these night shadows falling across your face."

"Cut it out."

"You said to pick a topic, so I chose my favorite."

"I'm not a chick you know, you don't have to tell me this stuff."

"Yes my love, I'm very well aware of that. The fact of the matter *is*, I
love telling you how beautiful you are."

Fox opened his eyes and looked up in an ocean of sincerest green. Alex gazed
down at him, unsmiling. He traced a line down the side of Fox's face with
his knuckles, then across his mouth, with the tips of two fingers. "I never
get tired of looking at you. And I'm still amazed sometimes when I do, that
you're looking back at me...and loving me."

Fox's eyes sparkled in the little remaining light. "Do you realize it's been
almost three years?"

"Give me a couple of seconds, and I can tell you exactly how long, right
down to the minute."

Fox laughed softly. "In some respects, it doesn't seem that long, but in
others, it seems like a lifetime. Does that make sense?"

"Yeah, I think so."

"I mean...a lifetime in the sense that, I can hardly remember the animosity
and the violence." Fox reached up and raked the fingers of one hand through
Alex's hair. "It seems like I've always loved you."

Alex nodded. Their eyes met and held for a number of seconds, then he broke
contact, and looked up at the sky. "It's dark, now," he said softly.

"So it is," came the equally soft response.

Alex returned his attention to Fox, who was staring up at him, a mixture of
love and lust gleaming in his dark eyes. He brushed his lips back and forth
across his lover's with all deliberate tenderness, then raised his head far
enough to see his eyes. They'd grown darker still, appearing almost black in
the scarce light of the half moon.

Fox reached up, cupping the back of Alex's neck, and pulled him down for
another teasing kiss. His tongue danced across the soft surface of the
younger man's lower lip, then he drew it into his mouth, sucking gently.

Alex groaned softly, and opened his mouth, inviting his lover inside.

Fox's tongue slithered along the inside edge of Alex's top lip, then the
bottom, fluttering into the dark interior, only to quickly withdraw when
touched by its mate.

Alex played the game, allowing himself to be taunted...feeling his heart
beat a little faster with every unfulfilled promise. One of his hands that
had until now, been resting patiently on Fox's thigh, began to flex gently.
His increasingly unsteady breaths moved toward erratic, when Fox's free hand
joined the other at his head, and pulled him down into a full, passionate
kiss. His surprised moan vibrated inside of his lover's mouth, prompting a
soft, throaty answer.

The kiss continued with only fleeting intermissions, as one of Fox's hands
left Alex's head to shift down to the middle of his back. He gathered a
fistful of material and pulled, working it loose from the waistband of the
other man's jeans. Ever helpful, Alex wiggled free of the black cotton, and
watched it sail over his head. He had only enough time for a quick grin,
before he was pulled back to Fox's hungry mouth. The now bare skin of his
back and arms tingled and burned everywhere those beautifully skilled hands
touched him. Unable to wait for Fox to decide that the pants had to go, Alex
took the initiative, undoing the top button, then starting to work the
zipper down.

Fox broke the kiss, and looked down to see what his lover was up to. "Can't
wait for me to do it?" he teased, softly.

"No. And after I'm done, you're next."

Alex kicked his sneakers off, then peeled his jeans and underwear away. He
allowed Fox an appreciative glance, before going to work on him, efficiently
stripping off every scrap of clothing. Within seconds, the older man was
completely naked, squirming under the heated gaze of his lover.

"Much better," Alex whispered, then lifted his body, and settled it down on
top of Fox. "Mmmm..." He writhed against the hardness under him. "Much,
*much* better."

Fox hooked a long leg over Alex's hip, and pushed up against him, pressing
their cocks together.

Alex sucked in a hard breath. "Careful, now."

Fox gave him a purely evil smile, then repeated the action. "Why? Can't take
it?"

Strong, white teeth gritted. "I can take it..." He reached between them,
grasping Fox's nipple, and giving a not-so-gentle tug. He smiled at the gasp
it brought. "And you know I can dish it out."

"I know." Fox's throat arched, presenting a much too tempting target for his
lover's teeth. His mouth fell open on a long, whimpering moan.

Alex finished nipping and sucking at the sensitive skin, then moved on.
Fox's head rolled to one side, and his body relaxed, surrendering to the
sweet caress of his lover's mouth. Alex moved slowly, savoring the taste of
his Fox, traveling the same swells and hollows he'd traveled thousands of
times before, yet never grew weary of. Never wished for anything different
or new. This was his own private slice of heaven, and he'd be thankful every
day of his life for it.

Fox's body tensed just a bit, and he inhaled audibly, as Alex's tongue
flicked over the nipple he'd previously been tugging at. His lips covered
the hard peak and sucked gingerly, while he skimmed over the other nipple
again and again, with his palm.

"Mmmmmmph....Alex....." Fox's respiration grew heavy, and his hips rolled
upward, rubbing his rock-hard erection again Alex's stomach.

Alex lifted his head and shook it at his impatient Fox. "Don't do that."

"But..."

"Not yet, lisa. I'm not through with you."

The sable head dipped back down, this time switching to the other nipple.

"*Christ*..."

Alex's teeth closed around the tight bud and pulled gently, loving the sound
of Fox's desperate whimpers. Fox groaned through gritted teeth and arched
toward Alex's mouth, trying to relieve some of the tension, but Alex backed
away, nipple still between his teeth. He gave a little shake of his head,
sending a shiver of painful pleasure coursing through Fox's body. Satisfied
with the choked sobs that now broke from his lover's lips, Alex finally
released him and moved on, slowly licking his way over the flexing muscles
of Fox's abdomen.

The air rang out with Fox's frustrated groans as Alex made it down to his
swollen cock, and flicked at the glistening tip with his tongue.

"Take it..." he begged, arching up toward Alex's mouth. "Please, baby, don't
tease me."

"You like it when I tease you," Alex mumbled against the smooth shaft.

"Yeah but, I can't...I...shit!" Fox bucked against Alex's mouth, as the
younger man sucked him in halfway. His tongue fluttered against the velvety
underside as he drew up toward the head, then away. The cool night air hit
the moist surface, and Fox sucked in a sharp breath. "Alex," he whined,
reaching out for his lover. "For Christ's sake, I'm begging you..."

Alex nuzzled his lover's cock, lapping at the ridge just below the head. "It
drives me crazy when you beg. Go on," he demanded softly, "beg me."

"Please...please, Alex. I need you so much." Fox writhed against him. "Don't
make me wait any more. I can't wait..."

"Mmmm...so fucking pretty...all right, lisa." He reached for his discarded
pants, and pulled out the lube he'd placed in the pocket, earlier. "You want
to put it on for me?"

Fox nodded silently, and Alex crawled forward until he was straddling his
lover's chest.

Fox's respiration quickened, having Alex's cock so close. His tongue inched
out, absently licking his lower lip, as he watched it twitch and bob before
his eyes.

Alex noticed his expression and smiled. "What, baby? You want it?"

The older man nodded again, now gasping for breath.

Alex moved up a bit further. "Here you go, love." He supported Fox's head
and allowed him to take his cock into his mouth. His eyes slipped closed,
and he began to pant softly. "Ohhhh, yeah. God, baby, you're so good..."

Fox sucked hungrily at his lover's cock, working it just the way he knew
would drive Alex insane.

The younger man clenched his teeth, fighting to keep from crying out. He
needed to pull away, and do it now, or it would be too late...

"Lisa," he gasped, "let go. Stop, baby....stop..." He wrenched himself away,
falling back away from Fox's chest.

"No, Alex. Let me. Please, baby." Fox grasped at Alex's wrist, trying to
pull him back.

"No...no. I want to come in your ass..." He bent over Fox, handing him the
tube. "Then you can come in mine."

Fox's eyes dilated to near blackness as he considered the thought, then
snatched the tube from Alex's hand. He quickly squeezed out a measure of the
contents, and applied it. Alex breathed deeply, keeping himself under tight
control, until Fox completed his task. The moment he was done, Alex leapt on
him, pulling him into position. He guided his cock to the tight opening, and
then he surged forward, burying himself in his lover's heat with one hard
stroke. He covered Fox's mouth with his hand, to stifle the cries that he
knew would surely come.

"Shhh," was the only warning he could utter, as he immediately established a
driving rhythm.

Fox whimpered into the hand clamped over his mouth, the sound cut short,
every time Alex's body slammed up against his. His hands twisted in the
blanket, and his eyes squeezed shut, but it was impossible to block out the
devastating sensations of Alex's cock hitting his prostate, time and again.
That, combined with the slight pressure of his lover's body brushing his own
throbbing erection, was enough to take him over the edge.

He screamed into Alex's hand, arching violently off the blanket. His muscles
convulsed, squeezing Alex's cock, and taking him along into the darkness.

Alex buried his face in the curve of Fox's shoulder, to muffle his own
screams. His body shuddered deeply, then collapsed.

The two men lay together, severely weakened and too exhausted to move.

"Jesus Christ," Alex moaned into Fox's shoulder.

"Sorry," Fox panted into his hair.

"What for?"

"I couldn't hold it. I had to come."

Alex lifted his head and smiled weakly. "It's okay. You'll just owe me one."

"Just one?"

"We'll discuss it."

Alex pulled gently out of his lover, then dropped his head back to his
shoulder. Fox draped his arms around Alex's back, then closed his eyes.
Before either man knew it, they were both asleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Bravo." Justin lowered the binoculars to his chest and clapped softly.
"Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Oh, my darling. I cannot *wait* to get you
home..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Hey, Mulder."

"Hey, Mitchell."

"Going to work?"

"Yeah. You're up and out early, aren't ya?"

"Yeah, I'm on a stakeout."

Fox stifled a chuckle. "Stakeout, huh?"

"Yeah."

"What are you staking out?"

Mitchell motioned to the house next door, with a quick twitch of his head.
"I think your new neighbor is up to somethin'."

"What new neighbor? We haven't seen anybody yet."

The boy moved closer, speaking softly. "That cause he's only there at night.
Or at least I *think* he is."

Fox grinned. "Ohhh. And how do you know that?"

"I watch from my house," he whispered, nodding toward the white colonial
across the street. "My bedroom faces the street. He comes at night. Get's
dropped off down the street, and walks to the house, so nobody'll hear a
car."

"Hmm. So, uh....what d'you think he's up to?"

"Not sure. I'll keep up surveillance and let you know."

"Okay." Fox patted the boy on the shoulder. "You do that."

"I'll check in with you later."

"Good man. See ya, Mitchell."

Fox walked grinning to his car, and drove away.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"What do you mean it's not going as well as you'd hoped?"

"It's just not, sir. I'm sorry. We'd run into a few glitches with the
plumbing and..."

"Lester, are you trying to tell me that this project will not be finished by
Thursday?"

"It's looking more and more unlikely, sir."

"*Un*acceptable."

"I don't know what else to do, Mr. Saint James. The crew is working fifteen
hour days. They worked all weekend. They're exhausted..."

"Get a second crew. Work them in two twelve hour shifts."

"Mr. Saint James, do you realize what this little project of yours is going
to end up costing? The figures are already astronomical."

"Cost is the least of my concerns. Get on it. You have precious little time
left."

"Y-yes, sir."

"Are the other arrangements made?"

"Yes sir, they'll be there tonight."

"Very good. Now. Back to work. You're wasting valuable time."

Soft sigh. "Yes, sir."

Justin hung up and paced the considerable length of the room.

//This *will* happen. And it will happen *exactly* the way I've planned it.
Everything does...//

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Hi, babe."

"Hi."

"Want to go out for dinner, tonight with Scully?"

"Uh...sure. What are *you* going to be doing?"

"I meant you *me* and Scully."

"Oh."

"Don't sound so disappointed."

"I just thought I was finally going to get my big chance to make a move on
her."

"Kiss my ass."

Alex laughed into the phone. "Is that a request?"

"You want to, or not?"

"What time?"

"Six o'clock at Endicott's?"

"Okay, I'll meet you there...oh, by the way, I got your damn underwear."

"Thanks."

"Hope you like it..."

"What do you....Alex, what did you do?"

"Relax, I got the whites...I just picked up a few little extras, that's
all..."

"Extras?"

"Yeah, you'll like em."

"What if I don't?"

"Who gives a shit? *I* like em..."

"Good*bye*, Alex."

Alex grinned into the phone. "Bye." He hung up and pulled one of the
*extras* out of the bag. He held the black fishnet thong up, and chuckled.
"Oh, yeah. *I* like it..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Sir, the men are here."

Justin rose from the sofa and watched the three men enter the room.

"Come in gentlemen. Have a seat."

As soon as everyone was seated, he began. "You all know why you're here.
I've paid you very well to insure your utmost discretion in this matter.
You've been briefed already, but please indulge me while I go over the plan
once more. I need to stress to you how important timing is. You'll get one
chance at this, and you must be precise. The target must be taken by
complete surprise, or it will be infinitely more difficult to acquire him.
Naturally, we want as little disruption as possible, so if you can catch him
outside of but close to the home, it would be better. In fact, it's probably
necessary. They've got a large dog. You'll have to catch him when the dog
isn't around. If you find it impossible to do so, do what you must to get
the animal out of the way. Now..I've procured a house next door. You'll be
transported there tonight and will spend this evening, and all day and night
tomorrow, watching his comings and goings. Thursday, you will take him when
the time is right. Your cover is all set, and the house is stocked with
everything you'll need for a couple of days. Are there any questions?"

The men looked from one to another. One of them cleared his throat. "What if
on Thursday, we don't find a window of opportunity to take him?"

"You gentlemen are the experts. *Create* one. But do not fail. Failure is
not an option. Is that understood?"

The three men nodded.

"Very good. You're dismissed until nine o'clock."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"God, I'm starved."

"After all that stuff you had for lunch?"

"I didn't eat *that* much."

"Oh, *no*. A pastrami sandwich that *I'd* have a hard time getting my hands
around, a salad, two cups of coffee, and a brownie. Not too much..."

"Shut up, Mulder."

Scully's partner unlocked the car doors and frowned at the small package he
saw sitting on the front seat.

"Wait a second, Scully. Don't get in." He carefully opened the door, and
detached the card that was taped to the box.

"What the hell is it, Mulder?"

A wide grin spread across Fox's face, and he shook his head.

"I guess it's not a bomb or anything."

The two got into the car, and Fox opened the box, peeking inside. "Oh,
shit."

"Dare I ask?"

"Uh...you probably don't want to know."

"Must be something kinky."

Fox muttered to himself as he recovered the box. "You're killin' me, Alex.
Uh...I'll be right back, okay Scully?"

"Where the hell are you going?"

"Two minutes. I'll be back in two minutes." Fox took the box, and exited the
car, heading for the nearest bathroom.

Fortunately, the men's room on the first floor was virtually deserted,
except for one person who was just washing his hands as Fox came in. He
nodded politely to the other man, then walked into a stall. He opened the
box, pulling the black, extremely skimpy fishnet thong from the white paper.
"Where the hell did you find *this*?" he whispered to himself. He struggled
in the narrow stall, to get his pants and underwear off, once losing his
balance and thumping against the door. Luckily, the only other occupant of
the men's room had left a moment before. Fox regained his balance, and
pulled the thong on. He looked down at himself, his already hardening cock
and balls, very visible through the silky netting.

"Christ."

He threw his previously worn underwear into the box, then finished dressing.

Scully eyed her partner suspiciously as he got back into the car.

"Okay, let's go."

"Mulder, what did you go do?"

"You really don't want to know."

Fox started the car, and they headed off to the restaurant.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alex looked at his watch, then around the restaurant. It was only fifteen
minutes after six, but he found himself starting to wonder if he hadn't been
stood up. Just as his eyes were sweeping the room for a second time, he
caught sight of the beautiful man who had just entered the restaurant.
Golden-brown hair tousled by the early summer breeze, tie loosely hanging
from his neck...those lips...rosy pink, and twisted into one of those
magnificent, patented Mulder-pouts. A tiny smile touched Alex's lips.

//Mine, mine, mine, mine...//

The diminutive redhead who was with him, saw Alex first. She waved, and
tugged on her partner's arm, pointing toward the back of the restaurant.

Their eyes connected and held, as the two new arrivals made their way
through the maze of tables. Alex stood, waiting patiently for Fox to reach
him. When he did, they stood toe to toe, exchanging sly grins.

"Hi honey, how was your day?" Alex asked softly.

"Interesting."

"Oh?"

"Found a little package on the front seat of my car, just before I left
work."

Alex raised an eyebrow. "Really? What was in it?"

"I'll just say two things...first, you're one sick bastard."

Alex smirked at the compliment. "You said there were two things."

Fox nodded. "Number two....I'm wearing it."

Silent chuckle. "How's it feel?"

"I could get used to it."

"I knew it was you as soon as I saw it..."

"Uh....hello!"

Both men turned in the direction of the mildly irritated voice. Scully was
already sitting at the table, menu in her hands, glaring at them.

"Could you two finish teasing each other *after* we order? I'd like to eat
sometime tonight."

The two men seated themselves, and picked up their menus.

"What looks good?" Fox asked his lover, perusing the menu.

"Well..." Alex shielded his face with the menu, blatantly staring at his
lover's crotch, licking his lips."

Fox tossed his head back and closed his eyes for a brief moment, before
showing his menu to Alex, and tapping at it with one finger.

"Oh. Uh...I don't know. The stuffed manicotti, I guess."

"You didn't even *look* at the menu," Scully piped up.

"Sure, I did. I was here for about fifteen minutes before you two showed up.
I've got it memorized, front to back."

"Well, *we* don't, so leave Mulder alone, so he can order!"

"Jeez, Scully, you sure get cranky when you're hungry."

"And you just noticed this? You!" She snapped her head in the direction of
the soft snicker. "Read that menu! If you're not ready by the time the
server gets here, I'm ordering without you."

"You heard what she said, Alex," Fox repeated, feeling his lover's leg
pressing against his. "Leave me alone!"

"I'm not doing anything..."

"Yes, you are...yes he is," he mock-complained to Scully, who was already
about at the end of her rope with them.

"Am I going to have to separate you two? You know, I don't know why I do
this to myself."

"Do what?" her partner asked, a touch of indignance seeping into his tone.

"*This*. Go *out* with you two. You *never* behave yourselves."

"We're not doing anything," Alex objected, "...much..."

"Just....let's order dinner, okay?"

Scully turned to the server, who had just come to stand beside her. She
ordered her meal, followed by Alex, then Fox. While they waited, Alex and
Fox did their best to keep the taunts to a minimum, and actually settled
into a conversation with Scully.

"So, I heard that you and your mother are going to California next week,"
Alex said after a sip of water.

"Yeah. It's been a while since we've seen my brother. He's been asking for
us to come out for months, now."

"It'll be nice for you to get away for a while."

"Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. Mulder, don't forget you're taking me to
the airport on Monday morning."

"I know, I know, eight thirty-five."

Fox's eyes flicked to his left, feeling Alex's eyes on him. His brows drew
down into a frown and he nodded once at the younger man, as if to ask,
"What?"

Alex only continued to stare, a tiny smile twitching at the corner of his
mouth.

Fox felt his cock stir within the confines of the fishnet. He closed his
eyes and turned his head away. It did no good. The heat of Alex's stare
burned right past his closed lids. "Umm...s'cuse me for a second, I gotta go
wash my hands." Fox rose from the table, giving Alex a quick glare, then
went off toward the men's room.

Alex shook with restrained laughter.

"What the hell are you doing to him?"

"Nothing! Did you *see* me do anything?"

"No, but that doesn't mean you didn't."

Alex smiled and shook his head. "Listen, I'm going to go wash my hands, too.
I was petting Clyde just before I left the house, so..."

Scully turned a narrowed gaze on him. "Uh-huh."

Alex gave her a dazzling grin. "Be right back."

He left the table and wandered into the bathroom, where Fox was just drying
his hands.

"What are you doing in here?"

"I needed to wash my hands too."

"Right."

"*Really*! Why does everybody think I've always got some ulterior motive?"

"Because you usually do."

Alex snorted and turned on the tap. As Fox turned to leave, he asked, "Hey,
where are you going?"

"Back to the table."

"You can't wait for me?"

Fox sighed and leaned against the wall.

Alex smiled and squirted some liquid soap into his hands. "So...you like
your present?"

"Yeah, I've always wanted to walk around with a piece of string stuck up my
ass."

"Can I see it?"

"What? *Now*?"

"Yeah. Nobody's here."

"It's a public restroom, Alex. Somebody could walk in."

"So, lets go in the stall."

"Al-ex..."

"What?"

"Scully's waiting."

"It'll take two seconds."

Fox leaned his head back against the wall. "Why do I let you do this to me?"

Alex grinned, and grabbed Fox by the wrist. He pulled him into a stall and
locked the door.

"Alex, this is the handicapped stall."

"I know, it's bigger."

"We shouldn't be in here."

"Oh, for God's sake, shut up and drop your pants."

Fox mumbled soft, unintelligible words, as he unbuttoned, unzipped, then
dropped his pants. He watched the green in Alex's eyes all but disappear,
and he knew he was in trouble. "Okay. Seen enough?" He started to pull his
pants back up, but a hand on his arm, stopped him.

//Shit, shit, shit. I knew this was a bad idea...//

"Wait."

"Alex..."

Alex wasn't listening. He lowered himself to his knees, and stroked the
outside of Fox's thighs, while he studied his lover's black, fishnet bound
cock and balls. He leaned in slowly, and planted a soft kiss on the shaft.
"I like this." His tongue slithered out, stroking the hard length. Fox's
breathing automatically shallowed.

"Alex, don't..."

"Don't worry." He continued to caress Fox's thighs. "I won't do anything
else. I want to see this at home...without all these clothes." He rubbed his
lightly-stubbled cheek along the hard warmth, then pulled Fox's pants back
up.

"Great," Fox readjusted his clothing. "Now I gotta walk out there with a
raging hard-on."

"Your jacket'll cover most of it."

Fox's eyes flicked down to his lover's crotch. "What about you?"

"I'll walk close behind you until we sit down."

Fox moaned, and made for the door, but again, Alex's hand stopped him. It
clamped around his wrist, and pulled him in close.

"You look so fucking hot in that thing," the younger man rasped through his
teeth. "I can't wait to get you home."

"Well," Fox purred against his mouth, "it's your fault. If you had just
waited until I got home to give it to me, we wouldn't be going through this,
now, would we?"

"A little torture is good for the soul," Alex moaned, just before he covered
those sinfully beautiful lips in a deep kiss. He released Fox after a few
brief moments, then turned toward the door. "Let's go," he said softly,
"before Scully comes in after us..."

"About damn time, I was about to come in after you!"

Alex cast a knowing smirk in his lover's direction, as they returned to the
table and took their seats. "You wouldn't believe all the people in there,
wanting to wash their hands."

"Yeah. Right."

"Fine. Don't believe me." Alex turned toward Fox and tapped the table in
front of him. "Oh. I almost forgot. Langly called earlier this afternoon,
lisa. He says that Frohike broke their copy of the Montana and Wyoming UFO
sightings, and he wants to know if they can borrow yours to make another
copy."

"I'll uh..." Fox cleared his throat and started again. "I'll call him when
we get home." He tried to look away from the pools of turbulent green, but
found himself having great difficulty. His cock throbbed impatiently,
sending tiny tendrils of sensation curling through every nerve in his lower
body, as his eyes conversed with Alex's.

One corner of Alex's mouth slanted upward, as his eyes flicked between Fox's
face and his crotch.

The older man's eyes left his lover's, scanning the room. Seeing that the
angling and location of their table afforded him a good amount of shielding
from view, he engaged Scully in conversation, while his hand slid up his own
thigh, and came to rest on the bulge in his pants.

Alex's lashes drooped, and he sucked in a long breath. He held the breath,
waiting. Fox's hand began to move, lightly caressing himself, all the while
carrying on his conversation with his oblivious partner. Alex released the
breath slowly, then sucked it right back in through his nose, as his lover's
hand began to gently squeeze himself.

//God, baby, I love you, I...no...no, don't stop, dammit...//

Alex blinked and whipped his head around to his left. The server stood
beside him, smiling.

"And I believe you were the stuffed manicotti."

"Oh. Uh, yeah." Alex let the girl place the plate in front of him, then
glanced back at Fox. The older man's eyes left his for a brief instant to
thank the server, then fell directly back to him. He gave Alex a sweet,
seductive smile, then resumed his conversation with Scully.

Dinner went slowly, or at least it seemed that way to Alex, who was dying to
get the bloody hell out of the damned restaurant, and get his lover home.
When the server finally came over to clear the dishes away, she asked if
anyone was up for desert. Before anyone could answer, Alex practically
shouted, "No!" He looked over at his dinner companions, one of which wasn't
the least bit surprised, and shrugged. "Come on, you gotta be stuffed,
right?"

Scully rolled her eyes and turned to the server. "Actually, he's right. I
couldn't eat another bite."

The girl looked to Fox. "How about you, sir?"

"I don't know...you might be able to tempt me. What have you got?" He
glanced over into Alex's astonished eyes, and smirked.

The server ran down the list, and to Alex's absolute irritation, Fox ordered
a strawberry tallcake. While they waited, he again struck up a conversation
with Scully, while his hand dropped back into his lap. While Scully was
replying to a statement he'd made, he snuck a peek over at Alex, who looked
him directly in the eye, and mouthed "I hate you", at him. He nodded, and
returned his focus on the woman across from him.

When the desert came, Scully's eyes brightened. "Oh God, that looks good."

"Thought you didn't want any desert?"

"I didn't, but now I do."

"Well, grab a spoon. There's plenty here for all three of us," Fox answered,
viewing the layers of biscuit, strawberries and whipped cream, from all
angles.

Alex watched, head in his hand, drumming his fingers slowly on the table, as
the two enjoyed their desert. Fox looked over at him, sliced off a large
piece, and held it in front of him. "Have some, baby," he coaxed softly.
"It's really good."

"No thanks," he said flatly, his eyes never leaving his lover's face.

Fox put his fork down, finally deciding that they'd both had enough. "That's
it, I'm done. Scully, you can kill the rest if you want to."

"Nah." Scully took two more bites. "I've had it, too. Any more, and you two
will have to roll me up my front steps. Let's get the check before I fall
asleep."

The bill was paid, and the three walked out the door, and into the parking
lot. Fox was the first one to speak. "See you tomorrow, Scully."

"Goodnight, Mulder. See you later, Alex."

Alex stood behind Fox, their bodies touching. His hand brushed up and down
the older man's sleeve. "Bye, Scully."

They watched Scully get into her car, before either one spoke. Alex leaned
in close to his lover's ear, and whispered into it, "See you at home."

Fox closed his eyes, absorbing the vibration of Alex's words, and nodded.

As Alex walked to his car, the low utterance of his name reached his ears.
He turned to find Fox standing at the open door of his car, staring at him.
He groaned softly, as the other discreetly pulled the zipper of his pants
down, and slipped his hand inside. He gave Fox a long, smoldering look, and
ducked inside his car. His lover did the same, and both pulled out of the
parking lot, and headed west. Not more than a minute later, Alex's cell
phone rang. He pulled the phone out of his pocket and raised it to his ear.

"What?"

"Guess what I'm doing?"

"Do I have to?"

"No. I can just tell you that my pants are undone and that I'm playing with
myself..."

"No, you're not."

Soft moan. "Yes, I am." I've got the phone on hands free...and my *free
hand* is squeezing my cock."

"Christ. Don't you dare come, Fox."

Alex's only response was a loud gasp.

"Fox!"

"Yeah?"

"Knock it off."

"I can't, Alex. You did this to me. You started this when you left me this
damned thing."

"Thong."

"What?"

"It's not a thing, it's a thong. Get your descriptions straight."

"Whatever. *You* gave it to me, *you* teased me in bathroom...it's your
fault now, that I'm so horny...and hard." Fox's moans and whimpers echoed in
Alex's ear. "God, Alex, I'm *so* hard. I don't know if I can wait..."

"Dammit, Fox, stop it. Stop touching yourself, and zipper your pants."

"I can't. You know what little control I have...oh, *God*...."

"Fox..."

"Ohhhhh....mmmmm....."

Alex's cock screamed at him from within the confines of his jeans. The palms
of his hands were sweaty, and his head was beginning to pound.

"Baby....*please*. We're almost there."

"I *am* almost there, Alex..."

"No! No, baby, we're almost *home*. Please, stop. I promise you, I'll fuck
you into next week, if you'll just wait a few minutes."

"Mmmm, you promise?"

"Of course I do. Now please, stop...okay?"

Brief silence, then, "Okay."

"Alex?"

"What?"

Fox's car pulled farther ahead. "Step on it."

Less than five minutes later, both cars screeched into the garage. The
automatic doors closed, and they were out of their cars, and all over each
other, tearing at each other's clothing. Alex backed his lover into the
house, making it only as far as the living room, when the next to the last
item of clothing hit the floor. Alex pushed Fox away, taking a moment to
appreciate the sight of his lover, naked except for the bit of black
fishnet, stretched tight by his swollen cock and the heavy sac below.

"Goddamn, you're the fucking sexiest thing I've ever seen in my life."

Alex reached out, grabbing Fox's arm, and jerking him against his chest.
Their mouths came together in a brutal kiss, each man doing his utmost to
swallow the other, whole. Alex grasped the waistband of the thong, and
pulled up on it, wedging the vertical string of material tighter between the
muscles of Fox's ass. The older man grunted, scratching at Alex's back.

"Fuck me, Alex," Fox demanded against his lover's mouth. "You promised."

"So, I did," Alex breathed, yanking up on the band again.

"*Ah*...oh, *shit*! Alex, *please*..."

Alex dragged Fox down to the floor, pushing him onto his back. Without
warning, he attacked both nipples, sucking and biting one, while plucking at
the other with his fingers. The object of his passion writhed beneath him,
cursing, and pleading for mercy. Alex released his nipples, then quickly
worked his way down to his still scantily covered cock. Once there, he
pressed his face to the barely-contained bulge, drowning in the intoxicating
scent of his lover's desire. A low growl rumbled deep in his chest, and he
closed his teeth over solid muscle.

Fox hissed through gritted teeth, as Alex bit down on him and pulled. Fuck,
it felt good. That devastating pleasure tinged with just the right amount of
pain...it drove him insane.

"Alex..oh God, please...Alex, please, *please*!"

His lover's frantic pleas broke what was left of Alex's control. His teeth
clamped down on the flimsy bit of netting, and tore at it, until it was left
hanging from the band by a few threads. Fox's liberated cock sprang forward,
and Alex fell on it, immediately sucking the entire length of it down his
throat.

"Shit..oh, *fuck*!" Fox arched violently, trying in vain to get deeper into
Alex's mouth.

Alex pulled up slowly, maintaining a steady suction, while his tongue
fluttered along the underside of his tortured lover's cock. Fox tangled his
fingers in Alex's hair, trying to push him back down, but the younger man
would not be dissuaded. With one last hard suck on the head, he released Fox
from his mouth.

"*Noooo*, baby, please..." Fox panted, unmistakable desperation in his
cries.

Alex slithered up his body, stopping only when they were face to face. He
took Fox's mouth in another ferocious kiss, and ground their erections
together. He pulled out of the kiss and yanked what was left of the thong,
down and off. "Spread your legs," he snarled. Fox obeyed without delay, and
he kneeled between his parted thighs. He reached over, pulling a small tube
out of his pants pocket, and sneered down at Fox. "I've learned with you,
never to be unprepared."

"Have you, really?" Fox rasped. "Why's that?"

"Because..." Alex guided his cock to the ring of muscle, and pushed the head
in. "You're such a goddamn unpredictable..." he thrust in a bit more,
"...insatiable..." and a bit more, "...fucking *slut*." He emphasized the
word with one last vicious thrust.

A low mewling sound escaped Fox's throat, as his upper body arched and
twisted.

"Aren't you?" Alex grasped his lover's cock and settled into a quick, hard
rhythm. "Aren't you my beautiful, insatiable slut?"

"*Yes*," Fox gasped. He was right there. One more second. One more stroke...

And there it was.

The light exploded, shattering into a million pieces, leaving only dark and
the sounds of two men's screams of pleasure. Alex collapsed on top of Fox's
chest, and both men clung to each other, struggling to breathe. Long minutes
passed before either of them was able to move.

Alex lifted his head, and fixed a droopy-lidded, glassy-eyed stare on his
exhausted Fox.

Fox gave him a weary, half-smile. "What the hell do you mean, *slut*?"

Alex's head fell to his shoulder, and he issued a weak laugh. "Hey, it isn't
like you never *that* from me, before. Come on, ya slut, let's go take a
nice warm shower, what d'you say?"

"Sounds good."

Alex rose to his feet and pulled Fox up after him. The older man looked back
at the mangled bit of black fishnet on the floor.

"You liked that thing so much, you ripped it to shreds..."

Alex laughed, pulling his lover toward the bedroom. "Don't worry, you've got
more..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"There they are." Justin called the attention of the head of his team. The
man walked up beside him, and put the binoculars up to his eyes.

"Which one?"

"The one on the right." He stood silently, watching the naked, tired-looking
men walk into the bathroom. He closed his eyes momentarily, then reopened
them. "I want him, gentlemen. Do *not* fail me."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mulder lay back against the fluffy while pillows. He smiled, immediately
finding himself with an armful of warm, sleepy Alex. He kissed the
shower-dampened head, and gently shook the younger man's shoulder.

"Hey."

"Hmm?"

"What else did you buy me?"

"What?"

"What *else* did you buy me? I know you bought more of those thong
things...anything else?"

"Oh...uh-huh."

"What?"

"Mmm....flavored lube...studded cock ring..."

"Ooooh..."

"Ostrich feathers....a few butt plugs..."

Fox broke into laughter. "Are you shitting me?"

"Nope. Did I mention the studded collar to match the cock ring?"

"God, I'm sorry I asked."

"No, you're not."

"Oh yeah, I forgot. I'm a slut."

Alex chuckled softly, kissing Fox's chin. "*My* slut. And I wouldn't have
you any other way."

Fox tightened his arms around his lover, and nuzzled the top of his head.
"Go to sleep, dammit."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Yes, Mr. Saint James."

"We'll be home tomorrow evening, Lester. Tell me you'll be ready."

"Yes sir, I think we will be."

"You *think*."

"We'll be out of here by tonight."

"See that you are. Tell your men, I'll add a generous bonus to their pay, if
they come through."

"Yes, sir."

"I'll check back in with you in the morning."

Justin disconnected and sat down to breakfast. "Tomorrow, beautiful one," he
murmured as he spread orange marmalade on his muffin. "Tomorrow, you're
mine."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Guess who?"

Alex smiled into the phone. "Mel Gibson?"

"What a comedian. You really should have your own show, you know that?"

"What can I do for you?"

"Ask me that question again, when I get home."

"You got it."

"When*ever* I get home..."

"This doesn't sound good."

"Not really. Damn computer swallowed three reports."

"Didn't you back them up?"

"Yeah. Ask me where they are."

"Where are they?"

"Who the hell knows?"

"God."

"I'll be home as soon as I can, but you shouldn't wait up."

Alex sighed into the phone. "Guess I can put the toys away, huh?"

"I'm sorry." Fox's voice lowered to a soft, seductive purr. "We'll play all
weekend, okay?"

Alex brightened at the prospect of a marathon session. "Okay. Wake me up if
I'm asleep when you come in."

"If it isn't too late. See you later."

Alex disconnected, and looked over at Clyde, who was snoring by the patio
doors. "Can't even count on *you* for company, tonight." He stretched and
headed down the hall, toward the bedroom.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Alone tonight, Alex?" Justin watched the man crawl into bed and turn the
television on. "Where's the lovely Fox? Goodness, and I was so looking
forward to one last night of entertainment." Gray eyes continued to watch as
Alex drifted into sleep. "Too bad. Tonight would have been perfect, if only
I could have been sure of Fox's whereabouts. Oh well. We'll just stick to
the plan. It's only one more day."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fox crept silently into the bedroom. He moved toward the bed and looked down
at the sleeping figure. A gentle smile touched his lips, as he shed his
shirt and tie. Pants, shoes and underwear followed, then he was sliding
under the sheet, moving toward his slumbering lover. He wrapped an arm
around Alex's chest, and felt the younger man stir.

Aware of his lover's warmth, but not fully awake, Alex nestled back into the
heated cradle of Fox's body, and slipped back into unconsciousness. Fox
kissed the back of the sable head, then rested his cheek against Alex's
shoulder, and joined him in sleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fox's eyes opened at four forty-seven. His eyes darted about frantically,
and his heart pounded against his chest. The feel of the warm body tucked
against him, brought him to reality. He took several steadying breaths, and
secured his hold on the man in his arms. He dropped a few tender kisses in
the wild hair, and closed his eyes.

A few minutes later, the anxiety returned.

Dark eyelashes fluttered, then swept upward as Alex felt the tension in the
body behind him. Still enfolded in his lover's arms, he wiggled onto his
back and turned his head toward Fox's. His voice was soft and husky from
sleep.

"You okay?"

"Yeah..." Fox pulled Alex tighter against him and buried his face in the
younger man's throat. "...yeah."

"Then why is your heart racing? Were you dreaming?"

"No."

"Then, what?"

"I don't...I..." Fox raised his head, meeting Alex's eye. "I'm going to stay
home, today," he said impetuously.

"Huh? Are you sure you're all right?"

"Yeah."

"What time did you get home?"

"A little after twelve."

"Did you find the files?"

"Two of them. Got a few more places to look, but we were too tired."

"So, you've got work to do, but you've decided to stay home...for no
reason."

"Yeah."

"Fox, you never just take a day out of work for the hell of it."

"I am, today."

Alex studied him for a moment, then began to shake his head. "Talk to me,
lisa."

He wasn't going to let it drop and Fox knew it. Might as well just tell him.
"I just...I don't feel right. I'm not sick or anything, it's just this..this
*feeling* like I should be here."

"Is this anything like those other episodes you've had lately?"

"I guess so....yeah."

Alex smiled indulgently. "Close your eyes, Fox. I'll set the clock for
seven. If you go to sleep now, you can catch almost two more hours. When you
wake up, you'll feel better, and you'll go to work."

"You're trying to get rid of me?"

Alex stroked his lover's stubbled jaw. "Never. I don't know why you keep
getting these anxiety attacks, but everything is fine, and there's no need
for you to miss work. Tell you what. You can call home every hour to check
in, okay?"

No answering smile. Not even a trace.

Alex twisted free of Fox's grasp, and propped himself against the pillows.
"C'mere."

Fox slipped into his lover's arms, feeling them close securely around him.
He rested his head against Alex's chest, allowing himself to be soothed by
the strong, steady beat of his heart.

"Go back to sleep," Alex coaxed softly, all the while, smoothing his palm
over the tense muscles of Fox's back and shoulders. "You'll feel better in a
couple of hours."

Some twenty minutes later, both men were again, asleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"So...Lester."

"Yes, Mr. Saint James, we're getting ready to do the cleanup, now. We'll be
gone in a few hours."

"Thank you, Lester. I knew I could count on you. Convey my gratitude to the
crew, would you?"

"Yes, sir."

Justin tossed the phone onto the bed and chuckled into his tented hands.
"Oh, yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes." He spun around, shouting in the direction of
the door. "Frank!"

Seconds later, Frank appeared. "Yes, sir?"

"Are we all packed?"

"Yes, sir."

"The jet is ready?"

"It is."

"My special instructions have been followed?"

"They have."

"To the letter, Frank, this is precious cargo, we take back with us."

"To the letter, Mr. Saint James."

"Excellent. Now leave me."

The other man exited quietly, leaving Justin to enjoy his anticipated
victory.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Come on, Clyde, what the heck is wrong with you?"

The dog whined softly, following Alex around from room to room, bumping him
with his head, stopping only when Alex reached down to pet him.

"We've been for a run, a walk...what more do you want?"

The dog looked up at him with soulful brown eyes, cocking his head from side
to side.

"Why don't you go take a nap or something?"

The dog sat and continued to stare up at his master.

"Between you and Fox, I don't know which of you has been acting weirder
lately." Alex turned toward the kitchen with Clyde right on his heels. He
opened the back door, and just as the dog was about to follow him into the
yard, he turned, placing his knee between him and the partially open door.
"No, you don't. I love you buddy, but I need just a little breathing space,
okay? Fifteen minutes is all I ask." He closed the door, and went to fetch
the garden hose. The frantic barks of the dog made him turn in the direction
of the house, frowning. Clyde was now in the living room, pacing back and
forth in front of the glass doors, barking continuously. Alex figured it was
best to just ignore him, and set about watering the plants. A loud
scratching joined the barking, had regained his attention. "Shit! Clyde, cut
that out!"

The dog was now leaping at the glass, his claws banging sharply at the pane.
Alex threw the hose down and started toward the house, when something
clamped around him from behind. Before he had a split second to react, a
piece of material was forced over his mouth and nose, then the world went
dark.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fox stood in his office drumming impatiently on his desk, phone wedged
between his shoulder and ear, looking at his watch.

"Alex, it's me. I've been calling you for....well, when you get the first
message, you'll know how long I've been calling. Listen...I'm heading home.
I know it's a little early, but Scully and I found that last disk, and
there's really nothing here that's pressing, so, I'll see you soon. Don't
worry about dinner, we can order a pizza or something."

"Feel better?" Scully asked from her own desk.

"Not until I get home." Fox filed the folders from his desk, and plucked his
jacket from the back of his chair. "You going home, too?"

"Yeah, I guess. Actually, this is perfect. I can start on that new novel I
bought the other day."

"Well, let's go," Fox called as he passed through the door into the hall.

"Sheesh! Mulder, slow down, would you?" Scully practically ran to keep up
with her partner's long strides.

Fox ignored her request, and strode out into the parking garage. Only when
he reached his car, did he look up at her. "Night, Scully. See you
tomorrow."

Before she could respond, he was in the car, and pulling out of the space.

"Goodnight, Mulder," she called flatly after the departing car. A long,
exasperated sigh blew past Scully's lips, and she opened her own car door.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Yes?"

"Mission accomplished, Mr. Saint James."

Justin grinned. "Wonderful! Did you have any trouble? He wasn't injured, was
he?"

"No. We took him by surprise, just like you said. I gotta tell you though,
I'm glad we didn't have to tangle with that dog. He was going insane at the
glass doors. He looked like he wanted to tear us to ribbons."

Justin ignored the remark. "Are you on your way to the airport?"

"Yes, sir."

"I'm on my way."

Justin slammed the phone down and picked up his jacket. "Frank! It's time to
leave!" He moved out of the room, humming to himself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fox pulled into the garage beside Alex's car, and went directly into the
house. Clyde met him at the door, barking non stop.

"Clyde...Clyde! Quiet!"

He swept through the house calling Alex's name, but there was no answer. The
dog trotted beside him, barking and yapping.

"What the hell's the matter with you?"

Clyde ran to the patio doors, and leapt up at them. Fox followed him, and
looked out into the yard. Seeing nothing, he slid the door open, and walked
into the yard. Clyde bolted out ahead of him, and dashed back and forth
across the sprawling backyard, sniffing and barking.

Fox looked around. "Alex?"

Nothing.

He called again.

"Alex!"

Still, nothing.

Fox was about to call once more, when the sound of water stopped him. He
stooped and picked up the hose, then looked around again. Alex never left
the hose just lying around. Alex never left *anything* just lying around. He
was just too damned neat.

Fox walked over to the spicket and turned the water off.

//Okay. There's a reasonable explanation for this. There is.//

He took a few deep breaths, and went over to where Clyde was sniffing
around. He covered every inch of the area, and found nothing. Still, the dog
dashed back and forth, barking wildly. Something was wrong. He knew it.

"*Fuck*!"

//Why the hell did I let him talk me into going to work?//

He ran back into the house, and picked up the phone. Shaking hands punched
in his partner's number.

"Scully."

"It's me. I need help."

"What...Mulder, what's wrong?"

"He's gone, Scully..."

"Gone? Who's gone? What are you talking..."

"Alex! He's gone, he's not here, he's not..."

"Calm down, Mulder. *What* are you talking about?"

"He'd never leave the hose uncoiled on the ground and the water running...I
knew...I knew...I shouldn't have let him...I should have stayed..."

"The *what*? Mulder, I need you to pull yourself together. You're not making
any sense."

"Clyde...he's trying to tell me, but I can't...I don't..."

"Maybe he just went to the store."

"His car is here."

"Or a walk..."

"Not without Clyde. And he *wouldn't* leave the water running!"

"All right. Look, Mulder. Stay there. Don't you move. I'll be right over."

Fox dropped the phone, and went through room after room, double-checking. He
returned to the living room, and fell onto the sofa. Clyde had finally
stopped barking, and came to sit by his side. The dog rested his chin on
Fox's knee, whining softly.

"Where is he, Clyde? God, why the hell didn't I stay home like I wanted to?"
He dropped his head into his hands, and rocked back and forth. "Oh God...oh
God, oh God, oh God..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The jet lifted off, and Justin breathed a sigh of relief.

It all went off without a hitch. They'd be home in a few hours, and then he
could begin.

When it was permissible for him to do so, Justin moved to the back of the
plane. He squatted in front of the six and a half by two and a half, covered
object. Pulling the covering off, he observed the unconscious, shackled man.

Almost two years later, he was just as beautiful as he was when Justin first
saw him. He reached between the black iron bars of the cage, and gently ran
one manicured finger across the edge of the sable lashes. He withdrew his
hand, then inserted it between another two bars, stroking Alex's thigh.
"Very nice," he whispered. "You, my lovely, will be my crowning
achievement." He continued to caress Alex's leg for a few moments more.
"Sleep well, Alexei. When you wake, you'll be home."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Scully pulled up in the driveway, and Fox was there, practically ripping her
out of her car.

"I've looked everywhere I could think to look, Scully. I can't find him
anywhere..."

"Mulder, are you *sure* that he just hasn't walked to the store or
something?"

"I'm sure, Scully. Something happened to him, I'd stake my life on it.
*This* is why I've been feeling the way I have. *Dammit*, why did I let him
talk me into going to work?"

"You two haven't had an argument or anything?"

"What? No! He didn't leave here of his own free will, Scully, I *know* it."

"Okay. Look, I called the guys on my way over here. They're coming. Since we
don't want the Bureau involved in this, they're going to dust for prints and
all that, okay?"

"Yeah...yeah. I have to find him, Scully, I have to..."

"Hey, Mulder!" Young Larry Mitchell ran up. "Guess what surveillance turned
up?"

"A little later, okay, Mitchell? Have...have you seen Alex?"

"Nope. Not today."

"Not at all?"

"Uh-huh. Are you sure you don't want to hear about..."

"I'm sorry, Mitchell, but I'm in the middle of a really big problem, right
now. Later, okay buddy?"

Fox sprinted toward the van that had just pulled up into the driveway. The
three men piled out, and then all five went into the house. The little boy
watched them, then threw up his arms and walked away.

"Okay Mulder, where do you want us to start?"

"What?"

Frohike opened up a black leather bag. "Where do you want to start?"

"I don't...I don't know how much good this is going to do, Frohike. Nothing
was upset inside the house and...you can check the furniture and the
fence....I...don't know..."

"Okay buddy, just take it easy," Langly tried to reassure him. "We'll see
what we can turn up."

Fox turned to Scully. "We gotta go to the neighbors. Maybe one of them saw
something, or heard something..."

"Okay. But Mulder, you can't do this if you don't calm down."

"I'm okay."

"No, you're not. Your hands are shaking like crazy. You need to be focused,
Mulder. You need to be *here*, or you'll be no help to Alex. Okay?"

Fox closed his eyes an made an attempt at breathing normally. "All
right....all right." He opened his eyes. They looked just as desperate as
they did when he closed them, but Scully knew that there was no way in hell
he wasn't going to go with her to question the neighbors, so she placed a
steadying hand on his back, and walked with him to the door.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Carefully....easy...." Justin instructed the men who carried the cage into
the house. They brought it to the indicated room, and placed it inside of a
larger enclosure, constructed of iron bars. The men unlocked the cage,
removed the shackles, and placed the unconscious man on the bed at one end
of the larger cage.

Justin checked his watch, and leaned over Alex. "We still have about half an
hour before you wake, Alexei..." He stroked Alex's forehead, then his
cheeks. "Nice facial structure." He pulled the bow shaped lips back,
examining his teeth. "Very nice. Straight. Strong." His hand traveled lower,
undoing three buttons of the sage green shirt. "Not especially hairy. Good."
His eyes flicked down to the denim covered crotch. "Let's see *this*
treasure..."

"Justin!"

Justin paused, hand at Alex's zipper. "Morgan! Glad you could make it so
quickly. I'm sorry old man, but I just couldn't wait for you to see this."
The man on the bed sighed softly. "Hmm. Looks like I may have overestimated
on the time." Justin rose from the edge of the bed, and exited the
enclosure. He closed and locked the door behind him.

Morgan looked around, frowning. "Justin...what *is* all this?"

"Well, my newest companion is going to need some time to get used to his new
home, and I don't want him to be injured in the interim."

"Justin....you kidnapped this man?"

"I prefer to think of it as improving his life."

"Does he have a family?"

"Yes. I am his family."

"I mean *before*. "

"It's irrelevant."

Morgan cut his eyes from his friend, back to the man in the cage. He was
coming to.

"Look at him," Justin whispered. "He's magnificent, isn't he?"

"Yes, he certainly is. But Justin..."

The sound coming from the inside of the cage, held the attention of both
men. The man on the bed began to moan, and his body shifted and stretched.

"Shit. God, my..." Alex's eyes began to open, and he realized that something
was very wrong. "What the hell..." He struggled to sit up, wincing at the
throbbing headache and...God, his scalp was sore. He blinked, trying to
focus on his surroundings. This first thing that he noticed when the room
stopped spinning, were the bars.

"What the fuck?"

The second thing was a pair of gray eyes, studying him intently, from beyond
the bars.

Recognition hit him like a hammer.

"*You*."

"Hello, Alex."

"What..." Alex shook his head and refocused. "What the fuck is this?"

Justin looked around proudly. "This is your new home."

Alex's heart started to pound as painfully as his head. "The *fuck* it is!"

In an instant, he was off the bed, and at the bars. "Let me out of here!"

Morgan backed away, frightened by the infuriated gleam in the young man's
eyes.

Alex gripped the bars, shaking them with all his strength. "I'll kill you,
you motherfucker! Open the door!"

Justin virtually sparkled with admiration. "Exquisite."

"Justin." Morgan touched his friend's arm and led him away. "Justin, are you
sure you know what you're doing?"

Justin cocked his head, then looked over at Alex, who was pacing the length
of the cage, hurling curses and threats in their direction. "Yes, of course
I do."

"He's *furious*. "

"I know. Look at his eyes. Look at the glint. A beautiful, ferocious
animal."

"An animal you may not be able to tame."

"It'll take some time," Justin allowed, "but he *will* come around. Can you
see it, Morgan? Can you see the envy on our friends' faces when they see me
with *him* on my arm?"

Alex stopped railing long enough to hear some of what was being said.

//Oh, this has *got* to be a dream. Fox'll wake me up any second now...//

He closed his eyes and reopened them slowly. Nothing had changed. No
comfortable bed. No warm Fox beside him...

Fox.

//Oh, God, he must going crazy.//

Alex looked at his wrist for the time, and his blood pressure soared. His
watch had been taken. The watch that Fox had given him that Christmas on
Andros...

//Shit, shit, fuck, shit...oh, this guy is *so* dead...//

Alex raised his right hand to his temple in an attempt to massage away some
of the pain, when he noticed something else was missing. He looked down at
his hand. The silver band that Fox had given him not long after they'd
returned home from the Bahamas, was gone. He exploded into a blind rage,
throwing himself against the bars.

"You motherfucker! You sick, demented, son-of-a-bitch! Let me *out* of
here!"

"Justin," Morgan whispered nervously, "Justin, he's going to rip those bars
right off."

Justin sighed impatiently. "Don't be ridiculous, Morgan. Those bars are
solid steel. He's not going to break them, I don't care *how* upset he
gets." Justin approached the cage, taking care remain at a safe distance.
"You really should calm down, Alexei..."

The sound of the name that only Fox used, on this bastard's lips, made Alex
shudder with disgust.

"You're going to wear yourself out. And on this, your first day home..."

"This isn't my home," Alex spat out.

"It is, now. The sooner you learn and accept that, the easier your life will
become."

"Look, you sick fuck. I'm going to kill you anyway, but if you let me out of
here now, I promise you, I'll make it quick and painless."

"Darling," Justin began in his most condescending tone, " I understand
you're upset. You've been taken from familiar surroundings...you'll never
see your mate again...of course it's a bit disconcerting. I would have loved
to have you both here with me, really I would have. Fox is so very
beautiful, and seeing you two together was such a treat. I would have given
a fortune to have the two of you here to entertain me as you had for those
few days..."

Alex began to pace again. "What the fuck are you talking about?"

"I was your new neighbor."

"Oh...*Jesus.*

"I was at a perfect angle to see right into your bedroom. And your yard..."

"You *watched* us?"

"Oh, yes. And I must admit, I've never seen anything quite so erotic. You
actually made me blush, and that isn't an easy thing to do."

Alex turned his back and covered his eyes with his hands. "This isn't
happening. This is *not* happening..." He whirled back to face his jailer.
"Have you been planning this for almost two fucking years?"

"Oh, no. Truthfully, I'd really given up on you, that last night on Andros.
But as fate would have it, I was in New York on business recently, and saw
your lovely Fox in a restaurant with his little partner. I heard a policman
call him Agent Mulder, and my interest was piqued. So, I did a little poking
around, and discovered that he was a federal agent. A little more
investigation revealed his home office, and from there, it was easy to find
out where he lived. Imagine my surprise when I saw *you* step out of the
house with him, one day. I really thought that you two would have been long
separated. You were so intense, I thought your affair would have burned
itself out long ago."

Alex snorted. "Apparently, asshole, you've got a lot to learn."

"Quite so. Perhaps we could teach each other, yes?"

"Oh, I got your lesson, motherfucker."

One corner of Justin's mouth slanted upward.

"What did you do with my watch and ring?"

"Oh, don't worry about those."

"Where are they?" Alex ground from between clenched teeth.

"Now, it really wouldn't do for you to be wearing another man's gifts, would
it?"

"*Another* man?"

"Well...after all, you *are* mine..."

"What the fuck world do you live in?!? I'm not now, nor will I *ever* be
*yours*!"

Morgan watched the exchange from across the room, shaking his head in
disbelief.

"But you *are*, my beautiful one," Justin replied matter of factly. "In
time, you'll come to accept that fact. And the name Fox Mulder will come to
mean nothing to you."

Alex hurled himself at the bars again, reaching through them, trying in vain
to grab a sleeve, a collar, anything to drag Justin toward him...and kill
him.

"I'm going to rip your heart out and feed it to you, you goddamn, fucking
shit!"

Justin laughed in the face of Alex's rage, and turned toward his friend, who
was still cowering near the door.

"Isn't he wonderful?" he asked, as he reached Morgan.

"Wonderful? Justin, I don't know about you, but I believe he means every
word he said."

"I believe him, too. That's why he's in there, and we're out here."

"How can you not be afraid? If he ever gets out of there..."

"He won't. Not until the time is right."

"I don't think either of us will live long enough to see that time."

Justin grunted disdainfully. "Such negativity. Would you care to put a
little wager on it?"

Not being one to pass up a good bet, Morgan nodded. "All right. How much?"

"Ten grand?"

"You're on. There's got to be a time frame, now. How long do you say it'll
take?"

"Two months."

Morgan laughed. "You *are* confident. Two months it is."

"It's a sucker bet, Morgan," Alex rumbled from the other side of the room.

Justin turned amused eyes to his prisoner. "Oh?"

"Yeah." Alex fixed him with a cold stare. "He can't collect from a dead
man."

Justin flinched inwardly at the young man's tone. All the ranting and
screamed threats combined, didn't have the effect that these few words, so
quietly, so coldy uttered, delivered. He raised his chin a fraction, and
smiled at Alex. "You're overwrought. Why don't you try to get some rest?
I'll have some fresh clothes and some food brought in to you." He looked to
his portly companion. "Morgan? Let's leave him alone, shall we?"

The two men exited, leaving Alex alone. His hands gripped the bars so
tightly, his knuckles had gone past white and were on their way to blue. His
eyes closed, and his head dropped forward against the cold steel.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"The neighbors see anything?"

"Nothing," Scully answered Byers' question as she and her partner came
through the door. "Three hours and we turned up nothing. What about you
guys?"

"Not a clue. We picked up some prints here and there. If they don't match
Mulder's or Krycek's, we may be in business."

Mulder stumbled over to the sofa and fell onto it. He lowered his head into
his still-shaking hands.

"Alex..."

No one heard the whispered moan. No one saw the look of utter grief that
lined his features. No one needed to see it, to know the excruciating pain
he was suffering.

Scully sat beside him and placed an understanding hand on his shoulder.
"Mulder," she whispered, "We'll find him....Mulder?"

Fox raised his head suddenly, startling his partner. His eyes stared
vacantly. In the last few hours, he looked like he'd aged ten years.

"I can't sit around here, Scully. I gotta do something. I gotta..."

"What, Mulder? What are you going to do? Where do we start?"

Fox leapt to his feet and began to pace. "I don't know. I don't..." He
stopped in his tracks. "Cancerman."

"You think it was him? After all this time, why would he rock the boat?"

"I don't know. But it's the only place I can think of to start."

"But how do we find *him*?"

He began to pace again. "Alex knew where to find him, but he thought is was
safer for me if I didn't know..." Another thought came to him. "Skinner. He
knows."

"But Mulder...how are you going to..."

"I don't know. But I have to ask him."

"You're taking a chance, Mulder."

"I have no choice. I can't worry about what he *might* find out. Alex is
*all* I care about." He looked around. "Where are the guys?"

"They went back outside for another sweep of the property. If there's
anything out there, Mulder, they'll find it. I think they've brought every
piece of equipment with them that they own."

Fox nodded. "I'm going to Skinner's."

"I'll come with you."

"No, stay here and call me if anything comes up."

"Are you going to be all right?"

"I'll be fine."

"You need to be, Mulder. I don't want any calls from the hospital saying
that you've been in an accident."

"I'm all right."

"Okay. I'll be waiting."

Fox snatched his keys off of the table, and dashed out of the house. He
jumped into his car, and roared out of the garage, and down the driveway. As
he turned onto the street, he forced himself to concentrate on the drive and
not his missing lover, or what might be happening to him...or the fact that
there was no way in hell that he could go to sleep tonight, or any night, if
Alex wasn't there beside him...

Twenty minutes later, he pulled up in front of Skinner's building. He took a
deep breath and entered through the front doors. he spent the elevator ride
up reviewing in his head, what it was he was going to say once he got there,
but when he was standing at the door, ringing the bell, it all went right
out of his head.

The door opened and the AD appeared, clad in faded jeans and a t-shirt,
peering over his glasses at his frazzled agent.

"Agent Mulder. What can I do for you?"

"I need...I need your...your help, sir."

Skinner stepped aside and allowed him to enter. "What's going on? You look
like hell."

"I need a favor."

"What kind of favor?"

"I need to find Cancerman."

Skinner squinted. "What?"

"Please, sir. You know how to reach him."

"What's this about, Mulder?"

"I can't...I...it's personal, sir. Very personal."

Skinner cast a dubious stare in Fox's direction. "Is Scully all right?"

"She's fine. This has nothing to do with her."

"Then..."

Fox closed his eyes. "*Please*, sir. I don't have time."

Skinner studied his agent, noting the desperation in his tone and in his
eyes.

"All right, look. I'll see if I can get you a meeting, all right?"

Fox nodded. "*Now*....*please*."

"Go home, Mulder. Wait for a call."

"Thank you." Fox turned to leave, and was stopped by the rumbling baritone.

"After this...whatever it is, is over, will you be able to tell me about
it?"

Fox glanced over his shoulder. "I don't think...I don't know. Thanks again,
sir."

Then he was gone, leaving the AD deeply curious, and more than a little bit
worried.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Jesus *Christ*, would you look at this?"

"Oh man, we don't get paid enough to deal with *this* kind of shit."

Alex's two assigned 'chaperones' entered the room to find that their charge
had completely destroyed his 'room'. Everything that wasn't bolted down was
torn or smashed, and the food that had been brought to him, now decorated
the bars and floor on one side. The clothing he'd been supplied with, was
ripped to shreds and lay scattered all over the enclosure.

The two men eyed the one in the cage, who prowled restlessly from side to
side. He stopped, realizing that he was not alone, and stood staring at
them.

"You son of a bitch," the taller of them hissed. Don't you know he's going
to make *us* clean this up?"

The caged man stood quietly watching, making not a move, except for the
erratic rise and fall of his chest.

The taller man hit the other's arm. "Bobby, go get Paul and Tim."

The other man disappeared from the room, then returned minutes later, to
find his companion and the new arrival still staring at each other.

"What are we going to do, Rich?"

"What do you mean, what are we going to do? We're going to clean that mess
up."

"Shouldn't we ask Mr. Saint James before we go in there?"

"What the hell for? You think *he's* gonna clean it up?"

"No, but..."

"But what? Don't tell me you're *afraid* to go in there..."

"No..."

"Then, let's go."

Rich moved toward the door first, and pointed to a corner of the cage.
"Okay, pretty boy. Over there."

Alex didn't move.

"I *said*, over *there*.

Still, he didn't budge.

"Don't test me, pal. *Move*."

Rich missed the tiny glint in Alex's eye as he slowly moved to the
designated spot. He smiled, feeling a rush of superiority. "Tim, you stay
out here. Hold onto the key." He passed the key to the short, stalky man
with the sandy-brown hair, after he unlocked the door. "After we're in, lock
it."

Bobby's eyes widened. "*Lock* it? Are you nuts?"

"You want to be the one to tell Mr. Saint James that he escaped?"

Bobby let out a long sigh, then followed the other two men into the cage.

"Paul, you watch him while we start picking this shit up." Rich and Bobby
replaced the boxspring and mattress, then Rich shoved Alex down onto it.
"Don't move. Don't you even fucking breathe, do you hear me?" He couldn't
resist slapping the side of Alex's head before he started to walk away.

"You die first."

He turned around and glared at the seated man. "What the fuck did you say?"

Alex looked up at him silently.

Rich approached and leaned over him. "Did you say something to me, pretty
boy?"

"Rich...."

"Shut up, Bobby....what did you say to me, asshole?"

Alex gave him an acid stare. "I said," he repeated softly, "*you* die
first."

Before anyone knew what was going on, Alex was off the bed and on the
slightly larger man. There was a sickening crack, and Rich fell to the
floor, quite obviously dead.

"Oh, shit!" Paul screamed at the man on the other side of the cage. "Tim!
Open the door! Open the..."

He choked on his last words, as a strip of material wrapped around his
throat.

"Tim! Goddamn it, open the fucking door!" Bobby rattled the steel bars, as
the second man struggled and gasped his last breaths.

Tim fumbled with the keys, but finally got the door open just as Alex let
Paul drop to the floor. Bobby stumbled out and slammed the door behind him,
locking it just in time. The two survivors watched, horrified as Alex kicked
Paul's body to the side and spit on it. His eyes glittered with rage as he
address the men.

"You two are going to be next."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fox checked his watch for the millionth time.

Ten twenty-eight.

"Mulder, please sit down. You have to try to relax."

"Why hasn't he called? Come on," he pleaded with the phone, "*ring*."

As if on cue, the phone rang, nearly startling Scully off the edge of her
chair. Fox snatched it up before it could ring a second time.

"Hello?"

"I hear you'd like to see me, Mr. Mulder. It's been a while. Do you miss
me?"

Fox ignored the dig. "I need to talk to you."

"Goodness. So abrupt. How's Alex?"

Fox's patience snapped. "Where is he, you son of a bitch?"

"I'm sorry?"

"What did you do with him?"

"I beg your pardon, Fox, but if your lover is missing, it's not our doing.
Have you forgotten our arrangement? I can assure you that we have not."

Fox went silent, his head spinning.

"Mr. Mulder? Are you there?"

"Yeah.....yeah. You know *nothing* about this..."

"I realize my word may not be worth much to you, but you have it
nevertheless."

"If I find out that you're lying to me...if you've done something to him..."

"Yes?"

"It'd make me a man with nothing to lose. Remember that."

"That fact never leaves our minds...Mr. Mulder?"

"What?"

"Our resources are at your disposal should you need them."

Fox hesitated for a moment, then hung up.

"He claimed innocence, of course," Scully said to him.

Fox closed his eyes and covered them with his hands. "I think I believe him.
Leaving Alex alone was in their very best interest. He's too smart to risk
screwing with that."

"So now what?"

The phone rang again. Fox snatched it up.

"Yeah?"

"Mulder, it's Langly."

"You have anything?"

"Umm...yeah. Sort of."

"You either do or you don't, Langly."

"The prints we lifted are yours and Krycek's. But we picked up something
during that second sweep of the area. We didn't say anything to you, in case
it turned out to be nothing."

Fox's heart pounded in his ears. "What?"

"At the curb in front of your house, we found a piece of material...like a
handkerchief. Mulder, it had traces of chloroform on it."

Fox bent at waist, phone still to his ear, trying to catch his breath.
Scully approached and pulled the phone from his grip.

"It's Scully."

"Scully, is he okay?"

Scully led her devastated partner over to the sofa and made him sit.
"Langly, what did you tell him? Breathe, Mulder. Come on, relax....Langly?"

"I told him that we found a handkerchief with chloroform on it at the curb."

"Oh, my God. Is that all?"

"Yeah. I'm sorry, Scully."

"Thanks, Langly. I gotta go. I'll be in touch." Scully put the phone down
and sat beside Fox. "Mulder..."

"Who would do this, Scully? Why?"

"I don't know, Mulder, but we'll find him. Somehow, we'll get him back."

Fox buried his face in his hands and rocked back and forth. "Alex, where are
you? God...what if he's hurt, Scully? What if..."

"Come on, Mulder. You have to keep it together. Alex needs you in one piece,
okay?"

"I know." He continued to rock. "I know..."

Scully rubbed her partner's back slowly. "I know what your answer is going
to be, Mulder, but you really need to try to get some rest."

"I can't, Scully, I..."

"Mulder, you'll be no good to anyone if you drop from exhaustion."

"I can't spend time sleeping when I could be..."

"Could be what? We don't even know where to start. It's too late to question
those few neighbors who weren't home, so there's nothing you can do until
tomorrow. Please go into your bedroom and lie down. I'll be right out here
if anything happens."

Fox shook his head.

"Mulder, I know what this is doing to you. I understand. I promise you I'm
going to do everything I can to help you find him. But I need you to *rest*.
Now come on, I'm taking you to your room."

Fox allowed Scully to pull him into his bedroom. He looked down at the bed,
and his eyes glazed over. He lowered himself slowly to one knee, then
pivoted and lay on his side, pulling Alex's pillows to his chest. He inhaled
deeply, then rested his cheek against against the pillow closest to his
face. "They smell like him..." He closed his eyes and buried his face in the
soft cushion.

Scully sat at the edge of the bed and stroked her partner's shoulder. "He'll
be back," she whispered.

Fox nodded slowly, acknowledging his partner's assurance.

"I'll be in the living room, okay?"

Another barely discernible nod.

Scully left the room, leaving the door partially open.

Now alone, Fox squeezed the pillows tighter to himself, whispering his
absent lover's name. "Alex......Alex, Alex....Alex....I'm so scared,
I'm....please be all right...please, please....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Matthew...wake up, love."

The young man blinked slowly and moaned.

"Come on, Matthew. Justin is home."

Matthew opened his eyes and looked up at the man sitting at the edge of his
bed, smiling.

"I'm sorry I was away so long. I really hadn't intended to be, but something
came up. I've got a surprise for you..."

The prone man eyed him cautiously but said nothing.

"Get up and I'll show you..."

"Mr. Saint James!" Bobby burst into the room. "I'm sorry to bother you sir,
but..."

"Calm down, Bobby. What is the problem?"

"*He* is! He...oh my God, he..."

"Spit it out, Bob."

"Rich and Paul....they're dead, sir!"

Matthew lifted himself into a sitting position. What the hell was Bobby
talking about?

"What? How?"

"He *killed* them, sir! Like lightning! We couldn't do anything..."

"What were they doing in there?"

"I'll explain on the way, sir. Please, come. I don't know what to do.."

Justin turned disturbed eyes to Matthew. "I'm sorry, darling. Stay here. I
have to go see about this matter. I'll see you in the morning."

Matthew watched Justin hurry from the room and close the door behind him. He
propped his pillows against the headboard and settled back into them.

//Who is *he*? And did *he* really kill two men? What is going *on*, here?//

Matthew shrank into the protective covering of his blankets. He had a bad
feeling. A really, really bad feeling....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Justin burst into the room, followed by six men. He looked around at the
carnage, then over at the cause of it.

"Alexei....."

"Don't call me that."

"What have you done here?"

"A little redecorating."

"Alexei, I can't have you killing my men."

"You brought it down on yourself. If you don't let me the fuck out of here,
the body count *will* increase..."

"Darling, please understand that this is your home now. I'd love nothing
more than to have you released from your enclosure. But I can't do that
until I know I can trust you."

"And what if you thought you *could* trust me? Then what?"

Justin took two steps forward and whispered, "Then you become my treasured
companion. My number one. You move from this cage to my bed." Gray eyelashes
lowered to half-mast as he said those last words. "You'd be so pampered,
darling. Servants at your beck and call...expensive clothes..cars...anything
your heart desired would be yours."

The more Justin spoke, the more nauseated Alex became.

"Listen to me," he said to the older man in a tone that left no room for
misinterpretation. "There's only one thing I'll ever want in my life. And
you took it away from me. And for that, you need to pay." He cast a hard
glance down at the body at his feet, then around the room at the others
standing there. "All of you."

Justin shook his head and gave Alex a saccharine smile. "No, darling. You
*will* come to accept me as your lover. Ty budesh moyo."

"*Nikogda*" Alex spat back.

"We shall see about that." Justin turned to the group assembled behind him.
"Please pick that mess up."

Bobby stepped forward. "But, Mr. Saint James....you didn't see him...he's
extremely dangerous, sir."

"There are six of you, are there not?"

"Yes, sir."

"If you six men cannot contain *one*, I fear I'll have to have you all
replaced."

Bobby looked down at the floor. "But he said...he said Tim and I were
next..."

"Oh, for goodness sake. Of course, he'd say that." Justin turned to the
three largest men and motioned toward the cage. Do what you have to do to
restrain him, but do *not* harm him. The other three can pick up."

"What about the bodies, sir?"

"Dispose of them."

The door was unlocked, and the three men advanced toward Alex from different
angles, backing him into a corner. When they were close enough, he sprang.
In the mele' that followed, he managed to break one man's jaw with a
well-landed right cross, and ripped open another man's chest with a jagged
piece of plastic, he'd hidden in the cuff of his shirt. With two men
severely incapacitated, the other four had no choice but to jump in, finally
subduing and restraining him.

As Alex lay pinned to the floor by three of the four men, screaming with
rage, Justin approached.

"You know..." he pulled a small syringe from the breast pocket of his jacket
and squatted beside the pile of men. "I had truly hoped this wouldn't be
neccessary, but I cannot have you misbehaving like this."

Alex struggled for all he was worth, hurling threats at Justin and the men
who held him down, but exhaustion was beginning to get the better of him.

"Relax, darling. This won't hurt a bit..." Justin injected the fluid into
the still-struggling man, and waited. Seconds later, Alex's muscles gave out
on him. He lay softly whimpering curses beneath the hands that held him.

The world was closing in on Alex. His body was betraying him, shutting down
when he needed it most, and as the blackness came to claim him, all
thoughts, hazy though they were, turned inward to that one safe place. The
place where his love waited for him.

"What's he saying?" Bobby cautiously bent down to try and make out the
barely audible, sluggishly uttered word, repeated over and over.

Justin rose to his feet, looking down at the scarcely conscious man. His
eyes turned an icier shade of gray as he listened. He knew exactly what Alex
was saying.

"Fox.....Fox.........Fox.........."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fox sat up, staring wide-eyed into the darkness of the room.

It had been roughly two hours since Scully had made him come in to rest, and
now, he'd been startled awake by...what? A dream? If it was a dream, he
couldn't recall it. He only knew that he could hear Alex's voice. Pained and
pleading. Calling to him.

His body began to shake and he gulped in large quantities of air, as he
fought back the sobs that threatened to overtake him.

//You can't. You *can't*. Alex needs you. Come on, pull it together.//

He pulled himself into an upright position, clutching one of Alex's pillows
to his chest.

//Think. *Think*. Who would do this? Who would have anything to gain?//

Fox searched his memory, trying to come up with an answer. The sun came up,
and he was still sitting in the same position, driving himself crazy.
Finally, he could take no more. He leapt out of bed and went into the living
room.

Scully jumped at the sound of footsteps. She swiveled into a sitting
position and blinked up at her partner.

"Mulder...what..."

"I didn't mean to wake you. I just...I couldn't stay in there any longer."

"You look worse now than you did when you went to bed. Did you sleep at
all?"

"Couple of hours."

"A couple of hours is going to do it, Mulder."

"We need to question the other neighbors."

Scully looked at her watch. "A bit early for that."

"The neighbors inconvenience is the least of my worries right now, Scully.
I'll send them all gift baskets and a note of apology later."

"Mulder, it's only six-twenty. Go take a shower. Shave. Maybe you'll wake up
a little."

"I'm awake."

"Mulder..."

Fox closed his eyes and turned back in the direction of the hall. "All
right. If that phone rings..."

"I'll drag you out of the shower."

Twenty minutes, Fox reappeared, showered, changed, but unshaven. He just
couldn't work up the interest.

Scully looked him up and down, not at all happy with what she saw, but she
knew that under the circumstances, she couldn't ask for very much more.

"Okay, Mulder, look...I'm going to run home and change. You stay put until I
get back, okay?"

Fox emitted an impatient sigh.

"I'll be quick, I promise."

Fox nodded his agreement, then dropped onto the sofa, covering his eyes with
his hands.

Scully departed, leaving him alone again, with his thoughts.

//Eveybody I've ever put away is *still* away....scratch revenge....we've
made no enemies since moving here....I don't...."

A soft whining interrupted him.

"Clyde." Fox looked down at the dog who had come to sit at his feet. "God,
I'm sorry. I didn't feed you last night, did I? And I guess you need to go
out."

The dog perked up at the words. He knew the words very well. Alex had taught
him to retrieve his leash when he asked if he wanted to go out. He ran from
the room and returned seconds later, dragging the lead behind him. He
dropped the three foot strip of leather, and looked around.

//Jesus, dogs are smart.//

"Clyde, come here."

The dog walked slowly over to Fox, beginning to whine again.

"Alex can't take you for your walk this morning." He hugged the dog. "Maybe
tomorrow, huh?" He rose to his feet. "Come on, I'll take you around the
block, then give you some breakfast." He hooked the leash onto the dog's
collar and making sure he had his cell phone with him, walked him out the
front door.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Ah. Matthew. You're up."

"Yes. Justin?"

"Yes, darling?"

"What...what was Bobby talking about last night?"

"Nothing for you to be concerned with. Nothing at all." Justin clapped his
hands together. Well...since you're up, why don't you come have breakfast
with me, and I'll show you that surprise."

Not entirely sure that he wanted to see whatever it was that Justin wanted
to show him, but too afraid to refuse, Matthew let himself be led to the
other side of the house.

"Now", Justin stopped in front of the door, eyes sparkling, "are you ready?"

Matthew nodded warily.

With a grand sweep of his arm, Justin threw the door open and beckoned the
young man into the room.

Matthew looked wide-eyed, at the large steel cage that took up half the
room. His eyes got wider still, when they fell on the man shackled to the
bed inside the enclosure. He turned to Justin, a million questions swirling
through his mind.

"Come closer, love. He won't bite you." Justin smirked at his own comment.
"Come, now."

Matthew inched closer, to get a better look at the unconscious man. He'd
been stripped to his underwear, so Matthew was able to get a good look at
"his surprise"...

//*My* surprise?//

His eyes wandered over the body on the bed.

Long. Strong, graceful lines. Muscular. Well defined, but not overly so.

He studied the face.

Handsome. Very.

Perfectly bowed lips...nice nose...dark silky hair....long, thick eyelashes
that swept his cheeks. Matthew found himself wondering what color eyes those
thick fringes concealed.

"Isn't he exquisite?"

Matthew blinked and his gaze fell away from the man on the bed.

"Matthew? You don't think he's beautiful?"

Matthew shrugged, not knowing exactly what to say.

"I thought you'd like him. I'm away so much, and even when I'm here...I'm
not a stupid man, darling. We're very far apart in age. I thought someone
younger would be good company for you."

"For *me*?"

"Well...yes..." Justin grinned smugly. "And for me. You two will be so
lovely. One on each arm..."

Matthew hoped Justin didn't see the shudder. "Why is he chained and caged?"

"He's a bit of a wild one. Not to worry though, he'll be broken in soon
enough."

//Jesus Christ, he kidnapped this man.//

Justin broke in on his thoughts. "He's going to have his first lesson this
morning. Would you care to stay and watch?"

Matthew wasn't exactly sure what Justin meant by "lesson" but of this much
he *was* sure. He didn't want to be anywhere around to see it.

"I don't...I'd rather not, please."

The corner of the older man's mouth twitched. "Very well. Let's have some
breakfast, hmm?"

With one last look at the man in the cage, Matthew let Justin lead him from
the room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Mulder!"

Fox spun around at the sound of his name.

"Mitchell...what are you doing out so early?"

The little boy ran up. "Hi, Clyde." He scratched the dog's head, and looked
up. "Just woke up early. I thought I could see if anything else funny was
goin' on in that house."

"Mitchell, I..." Fox stopped in mid-sentence. He frowned, looking down at
the boy. "Mitchell, listen to me. This is important, okay? Is this a game?
Are you making all the stuff up that you've talked about?"

"No."

Fox's heart began to pound. "Mitchell, come with me." He walked the little
boy up to the house and seated him on the front steps. "Tell everything
funny that's been going on next door, okay?"

The child brightened. "Sure. You think something's fishy?"

Fox took a deep breath. "Remember when I asked you yesterday if you'd seen
Alex?"

"Yeah..."

"He's disappeared, Mitchell. He's been missing since yesterday."

The little boy's eyes widened.

"Maybe you can help me find him."

"Sure...sure, Mulder. Gee, I hope he's okay. I like Alex. He doesn' talk to
me like I'm a baby like a lot of people do."

"I know, Mitchell, I like him too. Now tell me what's been going on next
door."

"Well, like I told you before, there's this guy. He only comes at night.
Least, that's the only time *I* ever saw him. He comes in a big car. It
drops him off down there," the boy pointed down the street, "and he walks to
the house. The first day I saw him, he was carrying this big bag."

"Just the first day?"

"Yeah."

"How many times have you seen him, Mitchell?"

"I don't know...three or four."

"I know you said he comes at night, but do you think you can describe him?"

"Well....he wears a suit. He walks real straight...you know, like my mother
is always tellin' me to do...I don't think he's as tall as you, but he's not
real short, either. Not *real* skinny, but thin, I guess I'd say. I think he
had white or blonde hair. Hard to tell in the dark. Real neat."

Fox's squinted down at the boy. "When's the last time you saw him?"

The boy shook his head. "Not last night...Tuesday. And I thought I saw more
than one person go inside the house that night. But they were all wearing
dark clothes and they moved so fast, I couldn't really tell how many."

//Shit...shit, shit...what the hell is going on, here?//

"Is there anything else you can tell me? Have you seen anything else?
Anybody on the street that didn't look familiar...a face...a car..."

"The only people I saw around here all day, were the guys who came to get
your rug."

"My....what?"

"There was a carpet truck outside of your house yesterday, and they carried
a rolled-up carpet out from the back."

Fox's head started to pound. "Mitchell, I didn't have any carpets taken out.
Are you sure they were coming from *my* house?"

"Yeah. Positive. They didn't come from the front, though, " he insisted.
"They came from the back."

"God....oh, Jesus....Mitchell, think. Were there any words on the truck? A
company name?"

"I guess there was, but I don't remember what it said."

"*Please*, Mitchell. This is so important. Please, *think*."

The little boy closed his eyes, concentrating, then opened them. There was
deep frustration in his tone. "I don't know, I can't *remember*."

Fox buried his face in his hands. "God....God...."

"It was green, though! That I remember. A dark green."

Fox raised his head, hope sparkling in his eyes. "Okay, that's good. That's
great. Is there anything else? Anything at all?"

The boy shook his head. "No, sorry. If anything else comes to me, I'll let
you know right away."

Fox hugged the little boy to his side. "Thank you, Mitchell. You've been a
huge help."

Fox jumped to his feet, seeing Scully's car pull up into the driveway. He
sent the little boy on his way, and ran to meet her. He threw her door open
and pulled her from the car. "We may have just gotten the break we needed."

"What happened?"

Fox hurried her into the house, explaining what Mitchell had just told him.

"And you're sure he's not making this up? Little boys are notorious for
creating their own adventures."

"I know. But I explained it to him, Scully. He knows how important this is.
He isn't making it up." He didn't tell her what he was thinking. Not yet.

"Well, okay. First thing we have to do is compile a list of all the carpet
places in the area. Then see which of them has a green truck. I'll call the
guys. The more people on this, the better."

"All right, listen, while you're doing this, I'll go see the other
neighbors. Maybe there's something somebody can add."

Before Scully had a chance to respond, her partner was out the door. She
picked up the phone and dialed their friends.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alex blinked again and again, unable to totally clear his vision. His head
felt like it weighed a ton, and his mouth felt like it was lined in cotton.
A smooth voice loomed somewhere in the distance, curling around his nerves
and squeezing like a python.

"Have a restful night, Alexei?"

//Fuck you.//

He wanted to say it out loud; tried to, but his mouth would not form the
words. He heard the door unlock and the sound of footsteps. There was a
gentle depression of the mattress, then a hand...light...delicate...stroking
his cheek.

"Wes is dead," the soft voice stated. "I'm sorry, you don't know him by
name, do you? He's the man you cut open last night. He died early this
morning. The blood loss was just too great. So, that's three." Fingers
whispered across his lips, then down his chin. Alex's throat worked
convulsively as the fingers made their way down his neck, then to his chest.
"You are lovely, Alexei. Exquisitely beautiful, but we simply cannot have
this. You need to learn, darling. And there's no sense in putting off your
first lesson."

Alex gritted his teeth and forced himself to say the words.

"I'll kill you."

"You're in no position to be doing anything of the kind, love..."

"Then if...I don't...Fox will..."

"*Fox*. You think he's going to be able to find you? Oh yes, I know he's a
brilliant man, read all about him, but I was *very* careful. Believe me,
beautiful one, he has no idea what happened to you."

"He'll figure it out."

"How? I was nothing more than a minor annoyance to you two years ago. Do you
really think that he'll pull that up out of his memories and say, 'Oh yes,
that man. He's the one.' What do you think the odds are on that? Pretty
slim, I'll wager."

Alex's voice strengthened. "You have no...fucking idea who you're dealing
with."

"Hmm? Are you talking about the lovely Fox? He hardly seems the violent
type, despite his line of work. He seems very much more the thinking man.
And being a thinking man, he'll be smart enough to know that he can't rely
upon his FBI resouces to find you. Not without losing everything he's worked
for all these years."

"What makes you think our relationship is a secret?"

Justin brushed his fingertips lightly across one nipple, drawing a low snarl
from his captive. "Call it a hunch. No, my darling, I don't think he'll be
willing to risk his career...no matter how good you are in bed..."

"Fuck you and your mother."

Justin tweaked the nipple, then moved to the other. "And that's another
thing. One as beautiful as you should not speak in such a vulgar manner.
It's unbecoming." He pulled on the other nipple, encouraging yet more
curses. "No matter. We'll break you of that as well."

Alex looked up at the slightly fuzzy figure in front of him. "You'll have to
kill me."

"Well now, I'm certainly hoping that isn't necessary. It isn't at all why I
brought you here." Justin rose from the bed. "Gentlemen?"

A few pairs of hand grasped Alex tightly. The shackles were unlocked, and he
was flipped, not without a fierce struggle, onto his stomach. The shackles
were re-attached, and then he felt the cold, smooth caress of leather,
sliding across his bare back.

"Pull his underwear down."

Alex tensed as more hands wrestled his underwear down his legs.

"Oh, my. What a lovely rear you have, darling. So smooth. So muscular..."

There was a quick whistling sound, then pain, as the belt crossed his back.
Alex gritted his teeth, refusing to give Justin the satisfaction of hearing
him cry out.

Another. This one lower. Alex sank his teeth into his lip, making a small
hurt, to try and ease the bigger one.

One more, landing straight across his ass. His muscles seized at the searing
pain, but still he held it in.

The attack was quickly broken off after that third smack, and Justin
squatted beside the bed, running his fingers over the welts that had already
begun to form on Alex's skin. "You are a tough one, Alexei. Matthew begins
whimpering before I even touch him."

Alex tried to focus through the screaming pain.

//Matthew?//

"I'm going to go easy on you today. Give you a chance to think about
cooperating. If you choose more rebellion, the next lesson will seem
extremely mild by comparison, I promise you." The older man rose to his feet
and handed the belt to one of the men. He nodded in Alex's direction. "See
to his wounds. *And*...treat him gently." He redirected his conversation to
the man lying face down on the bed. "Alexei? I must leave you now. You will
be taken very good care of, then someone will see to your breakfast. Please
eat, darling, you haven't had anything since early yesterday, I would
assume."

Alex lay quietly dealing with the pain, as Justin waltzed out the door,
humming.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fox came back in after an hour of questioning the remaining neighbors and
checking out the house next door. No one had seen or heard anything
suspicious in the area, but turning up nothing, did not put a damper on his
energy.

"Got that list?"

"Yeah. God, Mulder, I didn't know how many carpet stores and cleaners there
were around here. The fellas are on their way. They should be here shortly.
I figure there are five of us, and...." she looked at the list, "thirty
places to check out..."

"Thirty?"

"Yeah. So, that's six apiece. We can break the city up into sections and
cover it that way."

Fox dug out a map of the city, and they plotted their course while waiting
for the Gunmen to arrive. They were set and ready to go, forty minutes
later.

"Okay, guys," Fox directed them. We're looking for a dark green van. As soon
as you find a store with a van fitting that description, call me."

"There's one small problem," Langly called, stopping Fox before he reached
the door.

"What?"

"We came in the two vehicles we have, but that still leaves us short one."

"Uh..." Fox ran his hand through his hair. He threw his keys at Byers. "Take
my car." He walked into the kitchen and came back with another set of keys.
"Okay, let's go."

The other four departed, leaving Fox at the garage. He opened the door and
walked in, running his hand over the gleaming black metal of Alex's Porsche.

Alex loved this car. Not long after they got back from Andros, he dragged
Fox car shopping with him. After three dealers and countless cars, he
finally found this one. They took it for a long test drive, and when Alex
pulled off the road and parked in a secluded spot, Fox looked at him
suspiciously.

"Alex, what are you doing?"

"Nothing," Alex purred, even while dragging him into the back seat.

Alex unceremoniously yanked his zipper down and sucked him off there in the
middle of nowhere. Fox came quickly and violently, his harsh groans of
pleasure vibrating through the small compartment. He collapsed against the
seat, trying to get his breathing under control, while his lover licked him
clean.

"Well," Alex giggled when he'd finished, "I guess we gotta get it now..."

Fox rested his forehead on the roof, taking a few deep breaths, then opened
the door and got inside. A turn of the key, and the car rumbled to life. He
backed out of the garage, and drove off toward his first destination.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Late afternoon.

Not that there was a clock in the room or a window to see out of, but Alex
knew. His internal clock never seemed to shut down.

He'd been held down after Justin left, whacked up again with whatever the
hell they had in those syringes, cleaned up, released from the shackles, and
left alone. Now, hours later, he awoke in a largely empty cage. Only the bed
remained. No sheets, no blankets. The tables, the lamp and everything else
he'd smashed, ripped, or crushed, were gone. He sat up slowly, fighting the
dizziness, then stood on shaky legs and moved toward the small enclosure
within the enclosure that housed the toilet and shower. The towels and
toiletries were all removed. Only a single roll of bathroom tissue remained.
Justin was taking not chances.

//Fucking sonofabitch.//

He stumbled back to the bed, fighting the wave of nausea that threatened to
overtake him.

"God....oh, God..."

Alex lay carefully back onto the mattress, face down, closing his eyes
against the crippling after effects of the shot. He wrapped his arms around
himself, and withdrew. It had been a long while since he'd had to do this,
but it didn't take him very long to transport himself away from this place.

//Fox...where are you? I need you so much, baby. Please...//

//Here I am, Alex.//

//Fox...take me out of here. I'm cold, and I miss you, and I hurt so much.//

//I know, baby. Hang tight. Don't let him win. I love you, sweetheart....I
love you...//

//Hold me, Fox. I'm so damn cold.//

Alex's mind brought his lover closer, until he could actually feel the
warmth of his Fox's arms around him.

//Go to sleep, love. I've got you. I won't let go. Sleep...//

Alex slipped into comforting darkness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Mulder."

"Yeah, Frohike, you got something for me?"

"Next to the last store. Small place on Mill."

"Dark green van?"

"Yep."

"Where on Mill?"

"Uh........six twenty-eight."

"I'll be there in fifteen."

The tires screeched as Fox made a fast right, and headed north. He punched
the number two on his speed dial, and connected with Scully on the first
ring.

"Scully."

"It's me. Frohike thinks they found the van."

"Thank God, because I just left the last store with absolutely nothing. I
was almost afraid to call you with the news. Where am I heading?"

"Six twenty-eight Mill."

"I'll meet you there."

Fox disconnected and sped up, all the while praying that this was what they
were looking for.

Five minutes sooner than he said he'd be there, he arrived in front of
Phil's Carpet Emporium. Not waiting for Scully, he tore into the building,
followed by his three friends.

"Hey, guys," a short, rotund man came from around the counter to greet them.
"What can I do you for?"

"I need to see Phil," Fox answered curtly.

The man held his arms out. "You got 'im."

"Phil, I need to ask you a few questions..."

"Sure," the man interrupted. "Any question you got about carpeting, I can
answer. You lookin' for indoor/outdoor, throw, wall to wall..."

"I'm not here to ask you about carpeting." Fox reached into his back pocket
and produced his badge and ID."

"FBI....shit." Phil backed off a few steps. "What do you want with me?"

"I told you. I want to ask you a few questions."

Phil shrugged nervously. "Okay..."

"Where was your van yesterday?"

"Uh...out on jobs...I don't...I don't understand..."

"There's reason to believe that your van was used in a kidnapping."

"Wh...what? I can't...that's not..." The man fell silent, glancing around
the shop. "I don't know what you're talkin' about."

Fox's eyes narrowed. "You won't mind if I search the van?"

"This is dumb. Listen, guy, I don't know what the hell...hey!" Phil followed
the agent outside. "Hey, you can't do that!"

Fox ignored the man, throwing the sliding door open, and hopping up into the
van. He opened the back door for more light, and proceeded to search the
vehicle top to bottom. He squatted , checking every inch of the floor.
Frohike watched his expression change when he reached down to pull out
something that was wedged in a raised piece of metal. He held the roughly
thirty-odd strands of sable hairs clenched tightly in his hand, and jumped
out of the van. He grabbed Phil by the collar, spinning and slamming him
into the side of the van.

"Where is he?"

"Who? I don't...I *swear*, I don't know who you're talking about!"

"Mulder!" Scully got out of her car and ran up to the group of men by the
van. "Mulder, what are you doing?"

Fox didn't answer. He was too intent on getting the truth out of the man he
was choking.

"Do you know what the penalty is for kidnapping, you fucking piece of..."

"Mulder!"

"You're nuts! I didn't kidnap *anybody*, I swear!"

"Mulder, let him go!"

"He knows something, Scully, I *know* he does!" Fox tightened his grip on
the man's collar. "Say goodbye to your life, Phil..."

"Shit! Wait! Wait..."

Fox paused, then loosened his grip. "Got something to tell me, Phil?"

"Yeah...listen...I didn't kidnap anybody, I swear to Christ, but...there was
this guy. He walked in to the store a few days ago, right at closing time,
and asked to rent my van. I told...I told him that I didn't rent my van out.
He dropped twenty-five grand on the counter and said it was mine if I let
him use it for an afternoon. He said all I had to do was keep my mouth shut
and forget I ever saw him..."

Fox stared at him in dismay. "Didn't it ever occur to you that he must have
been up to no good?"

"No! Well...yeah, but...twenty-five grand, man....I'm a small businessman. I
barely turn a profit. I got a wife and two kids. Do you know what I could do
with that kind of cash? So yeah, the thought crossed my mind, but I let it
slide right out."

"Your greed makes you an accessory..."

"Oh, shit, please. Please, sir. I'm sorry. I'm....please don't arrest me.
I've never even had a parking ticket..."

Fox ignored his plea. "Tell me what he looked like."

"Umm.....he was rich. It wasn't just the green on my counter that tipped me
off, it was also the way he moved. The way he talked. The way he was
dressed..."

Fox's mind raced. "Give me a physical description."

Five-ten, maybe....medium build. Thin lips. Soft spoken. Uh....gray
hair...his eyes...I wouldn't call them blue. They were sort of a grayish,
too..."

The description knocked Fox back a few steps.

The same man he was sure he'd seen in New York. The same description that
the boy gave him this morning.

The asshole at the bar on Andros.

Gray hair and eyes. Impeccably dressed. Cultured. Polite.

Devouring them both with his eyes....

"God."

Scully stepped forward. "What is it, Mulder? Do you know who he's talking
about?"

He turned toward his partner. "I think I do. Oh, God." His snapped back
around to Phil. "He didn't give you his name?"

"No. But...hey....I probably got him on tape!"

Fox cocked his head.

"Yeah! Oh shit, why didn't I think of it? I got a security camera inside.
This isn't the best neighborhood in the world, you know? So I had a camera
installed about six months ago. I haven't taken the tape out of it yet this
week, so it must still be in there."

Fox shoved him toward the door. "Let's go see."

The six people entered the store, and Phil set about retrieving the tape
from the camera. They went into the back room, and he set it up.

Fox chewed his lip impatiently, while Phil forwarded through yard after yard
of tape. Finally, he stopped it.

"Here. Here's Monday's footage."

They watched customer after customer enter and leave the store. Then Fox
walked toward the television and leaned in front of it.

"Jesus Christ. Freeze it there."

Scully moved in for a closer look. "That man looks familiar, Mulder. Where
do I know him from?"

"The club on Andros," Fox replied softly.

"Oh....oh, you're kidding."

"Oh my God, Scully. This bastard has Alex."

The Gunmen looked from one to the other, then finally at Fox. Byers spoke up
first.

"Do you know his name?"

Fox turned bloodshot eyes on his companions. "No."

"I know his last name, if it's any help."

Six sets of eyes turned toward the door.

"How do you know, Andy? Uh....this is Andy. He's one of my installers."

Fox strode over to the man. "How do you know?"

"As they were leaving, I was coming out the side door. I heard one of the
guys he was with call him Mr. Saint James."

Fox closed his eyes. "Thank you Andy, you just made this a lot easier." He
faced his friends. "You guys think you can track this asshole down on a
still from this camera and a last name?"

Frohike snorted. "What are we, amateurs?"

"Let's go."

"Hey!" Phil called to the retreating group. "Uh...am I off the hook?"

Fox stared vacantly for a moment. "Only if I get him back."

Phil watched, competely bewildered, as the door closed behind the last man
out.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Justin watched his captive pass from sleep to consciousness.

"Good morning, Alexei."

Alex shuddered as the soft voice shocked him into reality.

//Fox, don't leave me.....Fox?//

"Alexei....darling.....wakey wakey...."

"Go to hell, cocksucker," he managed softly, turning his back to Justin.

Justin shook his head. "Did you learn nothing, yesterday?"

"Did you expect I would?"

"I hoped." Justin looked at the untouched food from the previous evening.
"Alex, you must eat."

"I don't have to do a goddamn thing for you."

"Yes, my beautiful, rebellious Alexei...you do."

"*Fuck* you!"

Shit, that hurt. Alex gritted his teeth against the throbbing of his head.

"I'll have breakfast sent in. Now, if I have to have someone tie you down
and force feed you, I will."

"Bring em on, bitch."

Justin closed his eyes and reopened them slowly. "I'll be in later to check
on you."

Alex listened to the door open and close. A few minutes later, the door
opened again and he spun unsteadily to his feet, hearing multiple, heavy
footsteps.

"Have a seat, sweetie pie," one of the men sneered, "We're here to serve you
breakfast."

Alex shook the fog off, preparing himself.

Seven men entered the cage, leaving one outside. In the ensuing struggle,
Alex broke one man's nose, fractured another's arm, and knocked three teeth
from another's mouth. Those men fled the cage in search of medical
assistance, while the remaining four wrestled him to the bed and held him
there.

"Come on now, you bastard," the man closest to his face, grated. "Eat this
fucking oatmeal." He held Alex's nose, then forced the spoon into his mouth.
He kept the stuggling man's nose pinched, until he had no choice but to
swallow. "There, was that so bad?"

Another spoonful.

This one came back in his face.

"Shit! I swear to God, I'd beat the shit out of you, fucker, if Mr. Saint
James wouldn't bust my chops. Now eat this shit!"

The man tried again.

Alex found the grip on one of his arms slackening just a bit, as the man who
held it, laughed at the other with oatmeal on his face. He slackened his
body and let his mouth drop open just a little.

"That's better."

The idiot thought he'd won.

Alex allowed him to place the spoon in his mouth, then clamped his teeth
down on the metal, and twisted his head away, ripping the handle from the
surprised man's hand. He quickly wrenched his arm from the other's grasp,
and took the spoon. Before anyone could blink, the sharp handled end of the
spoon was in the man's throat.

Alex watched, cold satisfaction in his eyes, as the man fell off of him,
gurling and gasping.

The other men scrambled, two fighting to get Alex shackled while the other
one tried drag the dying man out of the cage. The last man who until now had
been on the outside of the cage, burst in to help the two struggling with
the man who fought wildly against them. Finally, they managed to get him
restrained and get themselves out of the cage.

"This is bullshit," one of them gasped, as the men hauled their wounded
friend out of the room. "I don't know about you guys, but there's no amount
of money in the world that'll make me go back in there..."

"Hey....hey!" Bob came running down the hall. He looked down at the man with
the spoon protruding from his throat, and jumped out of the way. He followed
the men into an east room, where they placed the other down on the floor.
"Shit! What the hell happened?"

"What the fuck do you *think* happened? That asshole that Mr. Saint James
brought here. He's insane....fuck! I think Gene's dead."

Bobby checked for vitals. Finding none, he lowered his head. "We gotta
convince Mr. Saint James to get rid of this guy," he said softly, "if we
don't, he's gonna go through us all until there's nobody left."

"Yeah, well, not *me*. I quit. Look how many of us he's killed in what? Two
days? Fuck this!"

Bob rose to his feet. "I gotta call him. Let him know what's happened."

"Yeah, you do that, so I can tell him to his face that I'm *out*."

"What about *him*?"

"What *about* him?"

"What did you do to him?"

"We restrained him and got the hell out of there."

"You didn't do anything else?"

"We didn't beat the shit out of him if that's what you want to know,
although I'm tempted as all hell to go back in there and do just that."

"Just don't, okay? It'll only make things worse."

"How? He's chained up."

"Listen, Alan, don't piss him off. Like you said, this guy is insane. Just
let Saint James decide how to deal with him." Bob went to the house phone
and called for their employer. He raked his fingers through his hair, trying
to decide how best to approach the man when the phone was answered. "Get Mr.
Saint James.............sir? It's Bob. Sir, we've got another situation down
here..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fox rubbed at his eyes and tried to blink away the stinging, sandy feel.

The search for this Saint James asshole proved to be a little tougher than
they'd hoped.

The man had money. That much was obvious.

Okay, so they had that much to go on, but where to look from there? Nothing
to do but start at the beginning and work their way through.

All night long, they hacked into DMV mainframes, checked into business
listings and social registers. Drawing on his eidetic memory, Fox could
recall no real discernible accent, so they started in their own backyard,
checking the northern states. And since Fox had seen him in New York, that
was the first state searched.

Five states later, it was six twenty-five a.m.

Langly and Scully had just awakened from a four hour nap, and attempted to
relieve Fox.

"Come on, buddy," Langly tapped his shoulder. "We'll take over. You guys get
some rest."

Frohike and Byers were exhausted and more than willing to finally get some
shuteye. But Fox refused.

"No. I can't. You two go ahead. I'm fine."

"Mulder, you're not fine. You can't keep this up, you're going to drop. Now,
come on. Langly and I will wake you the minute we find anything. *Please*."

Fox shook his head and refused to move.

"Mulder..."

"Nevermind, Byers." Scully looked at her intensely focused partner. "Nobody
but Alex has a shot at making him do what he doesn't want to do.

Fox's eyes dropped shut at the mention of his lover's name.

"Mulder?"

Heavy lids lifted. "Yeah."

"You okay?"

"Fine. We were just about to do Rhode Island..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Alexei..."

No answer from the man chained face down to the bed.

"What have you done, now?"

More silence.

"You've killed another of my staff. That's four in all. Not to mention those
you've incapacitated."

Finally, an answer. "Gee, I'm really sorry."

"I've also had three quit after this most recent encounter." Justin looked
around at the remaining men standing behind him. "I have a very large
property, which dictates that I have a very large security staff. In just a
few days, you've managed to single-handedly whittle that staff down from
twenty to nine. This must stop."

"Well hell, why didn't you just say so? Okay, bitch, I won't take away any
more of your staff. Scout's honor."

Justin sighed. "I so hoped that a more severe lesson would not be
necessary." He held his hand out, and accepted the leather belt. He
advanced, unlocking the door and stepping inside the enclosure.

Alex's eyes squeezed shut and he fought to control his body's reaction as it
absorbed the first blow.

"Say you're sorry, Alexei..."

Nothing.

Another blow.

"Apologize, and I'll stop."

"Fuck you."

Another.

Alex gritted his teeth against the searing pain. Still, he said nothing.

"The next one will be twice as hard, darling, if you don't say it now."

"All right. I'm sorry."

Justin smiled. "That's..."

"I'm sorry I didn't kill you two years ago, you sick, fucking hag."

Alex bit back a sob as the next strike drew blood.

Justin raised his arm, prepared to inflict another blow, then stopped. He
lowered the belt and let it hang at his side. "You are a puzzle, dear
Alexei. Another man would have crumbled by now. How did you become so hard?"

Alex didn't hear him. He'd made it to that place deep within himself where
his Fox held and stroked him and promised him that everything would be all
right.

Justin studied Alex, tapping the belt against the side of his leg.

//All right, let's try another approach...//

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Greenwich, Connecticut.

Blake Industries.

Name of C.E.O., Justin Saint James.

There was no picture or home address, but reading all the available
information, Fox felt sure that this was who they were looking for.

"Mulder," Scully raked her fingers through her hair, "are you sure?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I am. Look at all this stuff, Scully. Look at all he's
into...all the companies he's acquired. This is a hungry man. He wants it
all and he doesn't stop until he gets it." Fox closed his eyes and shook his
head. "Yeah, this is him. Let's go."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Do I have to, Justin?"

"Yes."

"But..."

"Don't worry, Matthew. He's restrained. He can't hurt you." Justin caressed
the young man's cheek. "I think you may do him some good. He's so terribly
upset. The presence of someone more his age may help."

Matthew bowed his head. "If....if he's so upset, maybe...m-maybe you could
just let him go..."

Justin chuckled softly. "After all the trouble I went through to bring him
here? Now darling, that just would not do. Alexei must learn...and he
will...that this is his home, now. But it may be eaier on him if he didn't
feel so alone. You've got a gentleness about you that may be soothing to
him." Justin draped an arm around Matthew's shoulders and walked him to the
door. "See to his wounds. Take care of him. Talk to him. See what you can do
to make him a little more comfortable."

"I don't know if I can."

"Of course you can. I have the utmost confidence in you." The two men walked
through the house, heading slowly toward the northeast room. "Just be your
sweet self and everything will be fine."

Matthew blanched when they entered the room and he saw the man in the cage.
"Justin..."

"Yes?"

"His back...there's blood..."

"I didn't want to, Matthew, but our Alexei is a most stubborn man. He must
be taught. Now, go on. I had Ron get the things you'll need to take care of
him."

Matthew looked from the motionless man back to Justin, who unlocked the door
and shooed him in. Seeing no other choice, he walked through the open door.
He flinched as he heard the bars clank shut.

"I'll check in with you later, darling."

"Y-you're not staying?"

Justin shook his head. "I don't think that would be such a good idea. My
presence upsets him, still. You'd do better, I believe, if I was not
present. Not to worry, though, Ron will be right outside the room should you
need him."

Matthew watched in terrified silence as Justin exited the room, followed by
the guard. He hesitated, then slowly turned and faced the still figure on
the bed. Silently, he crept around to the stand on the other side of the
bed, and without looking at Alex, took the small wash basin into the
bathroom and filled it with warm water. When he returned, he risked a glance
and almost jumped out of his skin when he found himself fixed with a watery
green stare. The eyes followed him as he composed himself and moved
tentatively toward the bed. He willed his knees to bend, and sank down to
the floor.

"I'm..." he cleared his throat and tried again, "I-I'm not here to hurt
y-you."

Alex finished with his assessment of the younger man, then spoke. "You're
Matthew," the soft, raspy voice said.

"How...how did you know?"

Alex gave no answer. He only continued to stare.

Matthew heaved a deep breath and dipped a fluffy terry cloth into the water.
"This might sting a little, but I have to clean you up, okay?"

The green eyes closed.

Matthew wrung out the cloth, and touched it to the blood-encrusted cut.

Alex's muscles tightened, but he didn't make a sound, while the frightened
man gently cleaned and treated his wounds. When he was finished, he took the
basin and other items into the bathroom, then returned. He squatted again by
the bed, and curiously studied the retrained man. Heavy sable lashes lifted,
and Matthew looked away.

"You know he's crazy," the pain-edged voice reached his ear.

"The cut on your back isn't as bad as it first seemed," Matthew looked
everywhere but into the other man's eyes. "It shouldn't leave too bad a
scar..."

"You don't want to be here any more than I do...do you?"

"Are you hungry? I could get you something."

Jesus, this kid was scared to death. Alex backed off a little. "No."

"But you haven't...you haven't eaten anything since you got here. It's going
to make you weak."

"The only thing I want from that asshole is his head on a plate."

Matthew flinched, then whispered, "you shouldn't say things like that."

"Why not?"

"He'll hear you. You don't want to be whipped again, do you?"

Alex observed the young man curiously. "He's really got you scared, hasn't
he?"

No answer.

"How long have you been here?"

"Almost seven months."

"Did that fucker take you from your family, like he did to me?"

"No...no, I came to Justin on my own."

"I don't believe you. He kidnapped you, didn't he?"

"*No*. No, really..."

Alex went quiet, thinking back to the first time he and Fox had encountered
Justin. He was smooth. Charming. Polite, even. He offered them everything
under the sun. Everything a young, impressionable, lonely young person could
want...

His gaze snapped back up to wary, aqua eyes. "He tricked you. And now you're
trapped."

Matthew looked down, watching the thumb of one hand, rhythmically rub back
and forth across the knuckles of the other.

"Matthew."

The young man stopped and looked up at Alex.

"I really gotta take a piss."

"Oh....uh....wait...wait a minute. I'll see..." Matthew rose to his feet and
went to the door. "Ron..Ron, you there?"

The door swung open and the guard poked his head in. "What?"

"Could you...can you unchain him so he can use to bathroom?"

The guard looked from Matthew to the man who still lay with his head turned
in the other direction. "I don't know. I'll call Mr. Saint James." He closed
the door, and a couple of minutes later, entered the room. "He said okay,
but I gotta watch him." The man unlocked the cage door, then released Alex
from the bed. He arranged the shackles so that Alex's hands were cuffed in
front of his body, and attached to a chain that ran up from the ankle
restaints. He walked him into the bathroom and stood in the doorway. "No
funny shit, now."

Alex jerked his hands back and forth only as far as the restraints allowed,
then reached into the fold of his underwear. "What do you think I'm gonna
do, beat you to death with my dick?"

The guard folded his arms across his chest and snorted. As soon as Alex was
finished, he took him back to the bed and pushed him down. "Get
comfortable."

Alex looked up at him, then searched for a good position. Finally, he
settled on his right side, and the guard attached a chain to one of the five
links between the ankle cuffs, then to the foot of the bed. When he was
satisfied Alex wasn't going anywhere, he left the cage and the room.

Matthew approached cautiously. "Feel better?"

"I don't feel like my bladder is going to explode, if that's what you want
to know."

"How about your back?"

"Still hurts, but I'll live."

Matthew nodded. "Would you like anything else? Some water, maybe?"

Alex eyed him doubtfully.

Matthew picked up the styrofoam cup Justin had provided along with the other
items. "I'll get it right out of the tap in the bathroom. I promise you, no
drugs."

Alex studied him for a moment, then nodded.

Matthew disappeared into the bathroom and reappeared seconds later, with a
half cup full of cold water. "Can you...can you sort of...lift yourself up
on your elbow?"

Alex struggled into the recommended postion, and accepted the contents of
the cup raised to his lips. When he drained the cup, Matthew moved it away.

"More?"

Alex shook his head, and lowered himself back to the mattress. Matthew sat
on the floor, a few feet from the bed.

"You...you mentioned family..."

"Yeah."

"Parents?"

Alex closed his eyes and shook his head slowly. He hadn't planned to answer,
but then had a thought. Justin was listening...probably watching as well,
and he figured nothing would irritate the bastard more, than to hear Fox's
name over and over. Far be it from him to pass up an oportunity to piss him
off. He opened his eyes and looked over at Matthew.

"No parents. Fox is my family."

"Fox?"

"My lover. For three years, he's been my family. We have a home together...a
dog...friends. I have a *life*, Matthew, do you understand that? And I want
it back. I want my Fox back. I love him so much. He's looking for me, I know
he is. And he won't rest until he finds me. And there's going to be hell to
pay."

Hope flashed in Matthews eyes for a brief second, then extinguished. "He
won't find you."

"You don't know my Fox," Alex rasped confidently. "Apparently, neither does
that asshole Justin."

"Justin leaves nothing to chance," Matthew replied sadly. "He covers all the
angles. You're here to stay."

"Not a chance in hell," Alex smiled, a bright gleam coating one eye. "Even
if I'm wrong about Fox being able to find me, which I'm *not*...I will *not*
stay here. I'll die first."

"You...you'd kill yourself?"

An exitstence without my Fox is the equivalent of a stay on death row. I
will *not* live with that." Alex turned his head and spoke into the air.
"You hear that, motherfucker? Any way you cut it, you *will* *not* have me."

Matthew watched the man, fascinated. His strength was was astounding. His
conviction...his obstinance...he could almost believe... His eyes fell away
from Alex, and closed.

Justin would break him.

He stayed with Alex the entire day, sometimes talking quietly, sometimes not
saying a word for more than an hour. When the door opened at seven o'clock,
he unfolded himself from the floor, and looked down at the man who he had
come to like, and even fear just a little bit less.

"Alex?"

Tired green eyes blinked up at him.

"Can't I bring you something to eat?"

Alex shook his head and turned away.

"You've had two glasses of water all day. You need food..."

Silence.

Matthew sighed and walked out the open door.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I can't believe we're in here, Mulder," Scully whispered. "What if this
isn't even the man we're looking for? We would have broken into a completely
innocent man's office *and* computer system."

"I'll just add him to the list of people I'm going to have to apologize to
after all this." He checked his watch as he pulled out the chair and
motioned for Langly to sit. "I hope Frohike remembers to let Clyde out."

Twenty minutes later, Langly was in.

"Yes! Okay baby, give daddy what he needs..."

Fox leaned over the desk, trembling with anticipation. "Come on, come on..."

"Look," Scully pointed to the screen. "Picture files."

Langly opened the first one, revealing a group of men that Fox didn't
recognize. The second, a smaller group of men. Again, none of them
recognizable.

A furious gasp fell from Fox's lips as Langly opened the third picture.

"That's him. That's *him*. I knew it." He whirled around and began to pace
in a short line. "Find his address, Langly."

"Mulder," Scully called, following her partner with her eyes. "Mulder, calm
down. We have no concrete proof that this man took Alex..."

Fox stopped in his tracks, giving the redhead an incredulous stare. "Are you
kidding? "He *bought* the house next door to us...*cash*...at *twice* the
price...he only came at night...he rented a carpeting van that just
*happened* to be outside of my house on the day that Alex disappeared."

"I know, Mulder. I know all of that, but the fact is, no one actually saw
him take Alex. We can't go storming into the man's house to look for him."

"The fuck we can't."

"Mulder..."

"Look, Scully...you don't want to come with me, you don't have to. But I
*am* going to his house. And I'm not leaving there until I find Alex.
Langly, you got that address?"

Langly threw up his hands momentarily, then went back to typing. "I'm
looking, but.....I can't....I don't see it anywhere."

"It *has* to be there." Fox turned and started throwing drawers open,
tearing through the contents of each.

"Mulder!" Scully's eyes darted between her increasingly unmanageable partner
and the mess he was making of the office. "Mulder, you can't do this..."

"I can't?" Fox pulled out another drawer and inverted it. "Whoops. Too
late."

"Oh, my God...God....." Scully threw up her hands and joined the man pawing
through the mountain of papers. "Ah hell, we can only be fired once, right?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"You see, Matthew?" Justin took a sip of his wine, then placed the glass
back on the table. "I told you that you'd be able to communicate with him."

Matthew picked at the food in his plate. "He's so..."

"So what?"

"He's so unhappy."

Justin remained silent.

Matthew glanced up at the benign expression on the older man's face, then
continued. "He won't eat. I got him to drink a little water, but he needs to
eat."

"He will."

"I don't know. He doesn't want to be here..."

Justin drummed his fingers on the table. "I heard."

"He wants to go home...to Fox."

The crash of the china frightened Matthew out of his chair. He shrank into a
corner of the room, watching wide-eyed as Justin stalked back and forth.

"You're on *my* side, Matthew, not his!"

"I...I'm not...I'm just...I'm..I'm just telling you..."

"You feel sorry for him. You are *such* a weakling, do you know that?"
Justin approached, stopping when they were face to face. "He's *mine*. As
are *you*. Remember your place Matthew, or I'll have to remind you." He
lifted a hand to the shaking man's face, and gently drew his fingertips down
his cheek. "And I promise you," he purred, "it will not be pleasant.
Understood?"

Matthew closed his eyes and drew a deep breath. "Yes...yes, Justin."

The older man gave him a dazzling smile. "That's my good Matthew. Now, come.
Let's finish dinner, shall we?"

Matthew followed Justin back to the table on wobbly legs. Justin slid the
chair in while he sat, then planted a light kiss in his hair, before
returning to his own seat.

"Now..." Justin picked up his napkin and smoothed it over his lap. "Let me
tell you about this little plan I've concocted to encourage our
Alexei's...acquiescence..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"What the hell took you so long?" Byers asked as the three piled into the
car he'd been waiting in." He looked to Fox, who rested his elbow against
the door and had his face buried in his hand. "Didn't find anything?"

"Yes," Scully answered, "we did find out that we're definitely on the right
track. "We found some pictures of him, but no address."

"You're kidding. That's impossible."

"Not neccessarily. If the man wants to insure the anonimity of his
residence, it wouldn't be so unusual for him to keep it out any office
records..."

"But *somebody* knows. Somebody who works there."

"But tomorrow is Saturday...correction," he said, looking at his watch,
"*today* is Saturday. Offices aren't generally open on Saturdays, so..."

"So we got a few addresses of the employees."

Byers shook his head. "What makes you think that any of them are going to
tell you where he lives?"

"Somebody's going to tell me," Fox vowed. "Let's find this first address."

"Mulder," Scully pleaded softly, knowing it would do her no good, "it's
after one o'clock. Why don't we go back to the motel and try to get a few
hours sleep? We'll start out early..."

"And waste another few hours?"

"You've had no sleep, Mulder."

"And I won't sleep until Alex is back home." If you three want to go back to
the motel, go. I'll do this alone."

"Mulder, listen to me," Scully leaned over the seat and drew her partner's
head back against hers. She spoke softly into his ear, while stroking her
thumb across the three-day growth of beard. "I love Alex. I do..." Fox
grunted and tried to twist away, but she wouldn't let him. "How could I not
love someone who makes my best friend so happy? You've got to know how much
I want to find him. But Mulder, you're operating on sheer adrenaline. I've
got to think for the both of us, and I really think that you need some rest.
You're starting to scare me."

"Not until I find him."

"Mulder..."

"*No*....I...I can't, Scully." The look in Fox's eyes almost brought his
partner to tears. He brought a hand up to his chest, clenching his fingers
in the material. "I've only felt an ache like this one other time in my
life. I hope...I hope you never find out first hand what it feels like."

Scully's eyes dropped shut, and she brought her lips to the side of Fox's
face. "Okay, Mulder. I'm with you to the end of this." She turned to the two
men who sat quietly watching. "We can drop you guys off at the motel..."

"No way," Langly spoke up. "I didn't come this far to crash in a motel
room."

"Me either," Byers agreed. He looked into the exhausted, red-rimmed eyes of
his friend. "We go together."

Byers started the car and pulled away from the curb. Seconds later, another
car quietly followed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Justin, *please*. It's not right, it's not...don't make me do this."

"Go on, Matthew. It's all right, he's been injected with a light sedative."

"It'll devastate him."

"You know this from one afternoon with the man, hmm?"

"I don't need a month with him to know that he's absolutely devoted to..."

"*Don't* say it." Justin caressed the back of Matthew's head. "Don't you
understand, darling, that our lovely Alexei needs to be taken down a few
pegs? And as he *is* so faithful to...*him*, this will be a very good way to
accomplish that. It's only been a few days, and while I have no doubt that
he *will* learn, I fear he may not do so within the two months time that
Morgan and I set for our bet."

"Bet?"

"Yes, darling, ten thousand dollars is not an outrageous amount of money,
but nonetheless, you know how I do hate to lose. So...in you go."

The tone in Justin's voice told Matthew that he meant business. He slowly
walked into the room and paused while Justin unlocked the barred entrance to
the cage. The door closed and locked behind him, and he turned to try one
more time, to change Justin's mind.

"Please, Justin. Isn't there any other way?"

Justin seated himself and turned on a single lamp, casting a faint glow
around the room. He smiled sweetly at the young man. "Make it good,
Matthew."

Matthew blinked back the sudden sting of tears as he moved to the bed and
looked down at the unconscious man. He'd been turned onto his back and his
wrists and ankles cuffed to the four points of the bed. Matthew hoped that
the sedative had taken effect quickly, or he feared Alex would have been in
a moderate amount of pain, lying on his wounds like this.

He kneeled beside the bed and bowed his head. "Please, forgive me," he
whispered too softly for Justin to hear. Then he did as he'd been commanded.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alex drifted in the silent blackness, aware of nothing.

But now...a gentle warmth seemed to be invading his body. Lovely little
tingles, radiating from the vicinity of his groin, spreading to his
extremities, growing slowly in intensity. He floated upward, toward
consciousness, but it seemed just beyond his grasp. The moist heat
enveloping his cock was now recognizable as a mouth, but he couldn't open
his eyes. Couldn't sigh or gasp...nothing to let his Fox know how good it
felt.

He struggled with the dark fog that gripped him, gaining a bit of ground
with every stroke of the tongue over his rigid length. And every little
piece of consciousness that came back to him brought with it a slice of
reality, until he had enough to realize.

Finally, a sound escaped his throat, but not one of pleasure.

"No...." He fought to open his eyes. "No....*no*! *S-stop*...no, *please*!"

Matthew paused, Alex's frantic pleas ripping into his gut.

"Don't stop, Matthew," the soft, slightly out of breath voice sounded from
outside the cage. "Remember, he's restrained.....*I* am not."

Matthew squeezed his eyes shut, and continued working Alex's cock with his
mouth, sucking and swallowing, trying desperately to block out the anguished
cries that sounded above his head.

Alex screamed his rage, knowing that he was too far gone to stop the
inevitable climax, but still, he tried. When he felt the familiar tightening
of his body, he gritted his teeth, pressing his lips together over them, and
came silently down Matthew's throat. When it was done, the tears came. They
rolled freely down his cheeks, leaving a scalding path of dampness in their
wake. Cool air replaced the warm mouth, and his emotions came crashing down
on him. His chest heaved as loud sobs wracked his body.

Matthew fell back against against the bars, crying quietly into his hands.

"Lovely." The voice came closer, and Alex choked back his cries. "How do you
feel, Alexei? Matthew isn't bad, is he? Oh, not as good as you've been used
to, I suppose...he doesn't throw his whole heart and soul into it, but I
believe you can teach him how, and he could be just as good as your...*Fox*.
Hmmm....Fox. Fox, Fox, Fox, Fox, Fox...do you think he'd enjoy a copy of
this?"

Alex suppressed another sob.

"I know you realize that I observe you. Surely you know I've got you
videotaped. I think the lovely Fox would so appreciate knowing that you were
all right. This would be a good way to let him know, don't you think?"

No answer.

"Oh, but where is my head? You must be tired, darling. Matthew and I will
leave you alone now. Matthew? Come, love. Let's allow Alexei to get some
rest."

The young man rose unsteadily to his feet and stumbled from the cage and out
of the room. Justin locked the door and pressed his face against the bars.
"I'll see about getting a copy of that tape off to Fox by Monday, all
right?"

An infuriated roar sounded from Alex's throat, and he thrashed wildly
against his restraints. "You fucking *bastard*! You're going to die, I swear
to *God*! You goddamn fucking *faggot*!"

Justin heaved a disbelieving sigh. If Alex continued to thrash like that,
those restraints would begin to cut into his wrists and ankles. He unlocked
the door an advanced toward the bed. He pulled a syringe from his pocket,
cooing softly to irritated man.

"Now now darling, keep still..." He managed to jab Alex with the needle,
then watched satisfied, as the younger man's wild movements slowed. "That's
better," he stroked the sweaty forehead. "You were going to wear yourself
out, and we can't have that."

Alex's head rolled back and forth across the flat pillow, as he began to
whimper and sob. Soon, all sounds faded, and he was alseep.

Justin inspected his wrists, then his ankles. Bruises were already starting
to form. If swelling occured, the restraints would become extremely painful.
He reached into his pocket for the key and unlocked the cuffs. Dropping the
key back into its place, he checked his watch. Almost three o'clock. He'd
have someone come in at eight and put them back on. By then, any swelling
would have happened already, and the restraints could be adjusted
accordingly.

Justin leaned over and drew his tongue along the line of Alex's jaw. "Sleep
well, darling. I hope you wake up with a better outlook on things." He
stifled a yawn as he moved out of the enclosure, and then the room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I still can't believe the look on that guy's face when you threw him
against his kitchen counter and drew your gun on him," Langly snickered at
Fox, as he drove toward Darien. A glare from Scully put him in check.

Fox glanced over at his partner, then back to the early morning sky. "I got
the answers I wanted, didn't I?"

Scully dropped her head into her hand and closed her eyes. "Yes, Mulder.
Yes, you did. God, I hope you're right about this."

Fox gave no answer. He sat with his eyes now closed, praying silently, and
trying to connect with Alex. He'd felt him so strongly on Thursday morning.
It was no dream. He *heard* him. He knew he did...

"We should be coming to the exit, soon."

Langly's comment startled him out of his thoughts. He nodded, then looked
back at Scully and Byers. Both gave him an encouraging smile. He turned back
to the front, and again closed his eyes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alex's eyes fluttered and he groaned softly.

Something wrapped around him.

Arms...his own.

Realizing that he was no longer restrained, he struggled to sit up, but
could not call up the strength. Instead, he pulled himself to the edge of
the bed and let himself drop to the floor. He made it about a foot and a
half from the bed, then again lapsed into unconsciousness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The car hadn't even rolled to a complete stop, and Fox was throwing the door
open. He ejected the clip from his gun, checked it, and slammed it back in,
as he approached the guardhouse. Scully ran after him, motioning for Langly
and Byers to keep back.

"Can I help you?" The rather large man asked, as he exited the structure.

Fox whipped his badge out, shoving it in the man's face. "Special Agent
Mulder. FBI. This is the residence of Justin Saint James." It was an
accusation, not a question.

"Yeah. So?"

"He's wanted on suspicion of kidnapping. Let us in."

"You got a warrant?"

"Yeah." Faster than anyone could blink, Fox hurled the man against the house
and pointed his Sig between his eyes. "Can you read that?"

"Hey...come on, man. You can't shoot me. You're a federal agent."

"And?" Fox rumbled close to his face.

The man drew a shaky breath and said nothing else.

"You got him, Scully?"

"Yeah." Scully fixed her weapon on the guard, while Fox spun him around and
dragged him over to the controls.

"Open the gate. One wrong move and I swear to God, I'll splatter your
fucking brains."

The gate slid open, and Langly drove the car in. Fox pulled the man over to
a section of the gate where he could reach nothing, and cuffed him to it.
"Are there any more obstacles between here and the house?"

"No...no. None."

"There'd better not be."

"No. I swear."

Fox nodded. "If I find him and he's all right, I'll think about not coming
back here to kill you." He tapped the guard's cheek twice...hard, then fell
in behind the wheel of the car. The other three were just about inside, when
the tires spun on the pavement, and the car sped forward, toward the house.

A minute later, the car was screeching to a stop in front of the doors. Fox
leapt from the car, encountering two unfortunate, early risers. They'd heard
the squeal of the tires, and came running from around the side of the house,
guns drawn. Fox took one, Scully, the other.

"FBI! Drop it!"

One man aimed to shoot, and Fox dropped him with a clean shot to the head.

With his companion dead, the other man quickly dropped his weapon. Fox
grabbed him and slammed him face first into the stone wall of the house.
"Where is he?"

"Who?"

"The man Saint James kidnapped and brought here!"

"Hey, man, I don't know what the fuck..." Fox pulled him back and slammed
him harder into the wall. *Shit*! Look...I'm...I'm not house help, okay? I
cover the grounds. I heard...I heard something about it, but I swear to
Christ, I never actually seen him, okay?"

"So, he *is* here."

"Yeah...yeah, that's what I heard."

"And it's just fine with you that your employer is a heartless bastard who
snatches people from their homes against their will..." Fox smashed the
man's head into the wall once more, and letting him drop into a senseless
heap on the ground. "Piece of shit."

"Mulder...Mulder, come on. You're losing it, here..."

Fox gave no indication that he'd heard his partner. He whirled around and
headed for the front door, jumping back in surprise, when the heavy wood
yielded to his push. He stormed into the house, gun drawn, and began to
shout Alex's name.

Scully cast a frightened look in the direction of their two companions.
"God, if no one was awake before, they soon will be."

The three followed Fox through the house, encountering no resistance until
the second floor.

"Hey. Hey! A man ran toward them, preparing to draw a gun from the waistband
of his pants. Fox turned and met him the rest of the way, inflicting on the
man, a fast and merciless beating. Scully shot the second man who'd appeared
from down the hall and had taken a wild shot at her partner. Fox merely
stepped over both men and resumed his search.

"Alex!"

"Mulder..."

"*Aleeeex*!"

"Mulder!" Scully caught up to him. "You're going to get yourself, and maybe
us, killed, doing it this way." She grabbed his arm, trying to bring him to
a halt. "Mulder, are you listening?"

He wasn't. He wrenched her hand away and continued on, searching room after
room, roaring Alex's name. Fifteen minutes and two more dead guards later,
they came to a locked door in the northeast corner of the third floor. Fox
backed off a couple of steps, then kicked the door in. He froze for a split
second, taking in the sight of the steel cage, then his gaze fell to the
motionless figure on the floor. The sight of the angry red marks on the
back, which was turned to him, hit him with the force of an oncoming train.

"Alex."

Half sobbed, half whispered.

Fox moved to the bars, calling to his unconscious lover. When Alex still
showed no sign of movement, he went wild, throwing himself against the door,
and shaking the bars with all his strength. When the steel did not give, he
began to pick up objects...anything he could lift, smashing them against the
bars while Scully, Byers and Langly turned the room upside down, looking for
a key.

Another presence in the room stopped them cold. Justin Saint James stood in
the doorway, shock registering on his face. By the time it occured to him to
turn and flee, Fox had him by the throat, against the door. "Open the door,"
he ground softly from between clenched teeth.

Justin coughed, then regained some of his composure. "Well...if it isn't the
lovely Fox. I suppose I should have taken Alexei's faith in you more to
heart. My mistake."

"One of many, you dirty, fucking son of a bitch. Open the goddamn door."

"I heard that there were intruders in the house. Naturally, I didn't quite
believe it, but just to be cautious, I left the key in a safe place."

"Where is it?"

"You think I'd tell you?" Justin began to laugh. "Not likely. You know, Fox,
you had your chance. Two years ago, remember? We could have all three been a
happy family by now."

"You're out of your mind."

"Well..." Justin coughed, "..be that as it may, Alexei is mine. And I will
not give him up."

Fox went berserk. He slammed his fist into the older man's face, landing a
crunching blow to his cheek. He drew his fist back and connected again and
again. Scully came up from behind and tried to pull him off of the man who
had now slumped to the floor, back against the doorframe. He spun around,
shoving his partner away, then turned his attention back to the severely
beaten man, punching him a few more times, then tearing at his clothing,
looking for the key. When nothing turned up, he released an enraged cry, and
attempted to resume his assault. Langly and Byers jumped into action, and
with Scully's help, dragged Fox away.

"He hasn't got the key," Scully screamed at him, trying to reason through
his fury. "Beating him to death is *not* going to help you find it!"

Fox wrenched himself away and made it back to the man, knocking his limp
body over onto its side with a vicious kick. A sickening crack could be
heard throughout the room with the second kick to the man's ribs.

"Mulder!" Scully placed herself between her crazed partner and the battered
body. "Mulder, *please*!"

The manic gleam faded a bit from his eyes, and he turned, staggering toward
the cage. Alex still lay in the same position they'd found him in, unmoving.

"Alex..."

No response.

"Baby...please....please wake up..."

Scully stooped to check on the man at her feet. She bowed her head, took a
deep breath, then rose up. "He's dead," she said softly, to no one in
particular. She turned her head just in time to watch her partner sink to
the floor, reaching as far as he could into the cage, trying in vain to
touch his lover. She turned to Langly and Byers, her eyes bright with unshed
tears. "We have to find that key, guys. I don't care..."

"Agent Mulder....Agent Scully?"

"Who the hell is that?"

Scully stalked out of the room and almost collided with two other agents.

"Walker! Ashcroft? What the hell are you doing here?"

"A.D. Skinner had us follow Agent Mulder out of D.C."

"Why?"

"I don't know. He didn't give us any explanations. We were just supposed to
follow Mulder and keep him apprised of whatever situation he thought might
be developing. We lost you on the exit, that's what took us so long to get
here." Ashcroft looked beyond Scully to the body in the doorway, and into
the room. "What the bloody hell is going on, here?"

"Look, I don't have time to explain. I need to get that cage door open. Get
some steel cutters up here...now."

Ashcroft nodded. "Will do."

As he went off to call for help, Scully came into the room and squatted
beside her partner.

"Mulder....Mulder, listen to me. The cavalry is here, okay? We're going to
get some cutters and get Alex out of there."

Fox sat quietly, his head leaning against the bars. His hand rested on the
floor inside the cage, just inches from Alex's shoulder. "I can't touch him,
Scully," he whispered hoarsely. "I need..." he inhaled a sob. "I need to
touch him..."

"You will, Mulder. Just hang on a few minutes more, okay?"

"He's so still. So quiet. I can't see..." he began to panic, "I can't see
him breathing..."

"Yes he is. I can see. Focus about mid point on his upper arm. You'll be
able to see it moving up and down...you see?" Scully rubbed his back. "He's
alive, Mulder. Talk to him. Keep talking to him. Let him know you're here."

The touch of a hand on her shoulder, snapped Scully's head around. Walker
stood behind her, casting confused glances from man to man.

"Can I uh...can I talk to you a minute?"

Scully nodded and spoke again to her partner. "I'll be right back, Mulder."
She stood up and moved away, leaving Byers and Langly to keep an eye on Fox.
"What is it, Walker?"

"There were three other men we found before we got up here. Two of them, I
believe are staff, but the third...he's...he's just a kid. Mid twenties at
the most. We found him hiding in a bedroom, scared to death. When we showed
him our badges, he started to cry. He kept saying he was sorry. That he
didn't want to do it, whatever the hell *it* was. He begged us to help
*Alex* and directed us up to this room." He threw a glance over in the
direction of the cage. "That Alex?"

Scully nodded.

Walker looked back at the man sitting on the other side of the cage,
murmuring and whispering to the unconscious figure. "What's the deal with
Mulder?"

Scully shook her head and opened her mouth to answer, but Ashcroft
interrupted her before she could form a word.

"We'll have help in ten minutes."

Scully acknowledged Walker, then went back to Fox. "Mulder...Mulder."

Fox turned his head a fraction to the left.

"Ten minutes, okay?"

He nodded once, and returned his attention to his lover. "Baby," he called
softly to Alex. "Just a few minutes more. Just a few...please, Alex...stay
with me...don't leave me. A few minutes more and I'll be there."

Fox stayed where he was, refusing to move away from Alex until the men came
with the steel cutters. Then, Scully coaxed him away from the bars while
they went to work. An eternity later, the door was opened and Fox flew into
the cage, falling to the floor beside Alex.

"I'm here," he whispered, peppering his lover's warm face with kisses, and
tenderly stroking his hair. "I'm here, baby. We're going to get you out of
here and into a hospital, okay?"

Scully kneeled beside the two men, checking Alex's vitals. "His pulse is
just a little weak, Mulder..." she gently lifted one eyelid, then the other.
"I think he may be sedated."

"But his back, Scully. The son of a bitch whipped him," Fox muttered against
Alex's forehead.

"I know," Scully answered, thinking to herself that the bastard got what he
deserved. She studied the marks, most of which were severe welts. "He'll be
okay. A few scars maybe, but none the worse for wear." She felt his arms and
legs, and ran her hands over his chest and back. "Nothing seems to be
broken. Of course, we'll know all this for sure when we get him checked into
a hospital."

Minutes later, the EMTs arrived, and Alex was taken out to the ambulance,
with Fox right by his side. Scully sent Byers and Langly on to the hospital,
while she stayed behind to help clear up the mess.

Fox sat quietly in the ambulance, Alex's hand enfolded in his, held gently
to his cheek. So focused on his lover was he, that he took no notice of the
looks passed between the EMTs.

As soon as they reached the hospital, Alex was wheeled into the emergency
room. Fox paced outside for over an hour and a half, clearly agitated at
having to be separarted from his lover for so long. Langly and Byers watched
him stalk back and forth, too afraid to utter a peep.

As soon as the doctor emerged, he cornered the man.

"Well? How is he?"

"He'll be all right. He was dehydrated, and running a slight temp. His blood
sugar is pretty low, and those wounds on his back are going to be a bit
uncomfortable for a while. We found traces of a sedative in his blood. He
should be coming out of it pretty soon. I don't anticipate any ill effects.
I would like to admit him for a couple of days. Get him back to normal, then
he can go home."

Fox closed his eyes and breathed deeply. "Okay. Thank you."

"He's being taken up to his room now. Fourth floor, room four twenty-eight."

Fox nodded. "Thank you."

The doctor gave him a smile. "You're very welcome."

Fox turned and started toward the signs pointing to the elevators. Langly
and Byers followed. The three men boarded the lift, and Fox turned to his
friends.

"Guys....thank you..."

"Not a problem, man," Langly patted his shoulder. "I'm just glad we got him
out of there before you turned on *us*."

Fox hung his head. "I'm...God, I'm sorry."

"It's okay," Byers reassured him. "If someone had done that to someone *I*
love, I might have reacted the same way. Well...you know....sort of."

The elevator door opened, and the three men swept down the hall, and toward
Alex's room. The nurse and orderly were just leaving as Fox came through the
door. She gave him a polite if unnoticed smile, then left him alone with his
still unconscious lover.

Langly and Byers stood by the door, watching as Fox pulled a chair up to the
bed and lowered himself into it. He looked at Alex for a moment, noting how
the nurse had him turned onto his side, then checked out the I.V. in his
left hand. He lifted the limp right hand to his lips, and placed a gentle
kiss into the palm.

"Baby." Another kiss. "Alexei, wake up. It's me. He's gone, he'll never hurt
you again." Fox waited. Seeing no reaction, he continued to speak. "Alex,
talk to me." He rubbed the hand he held between his own. "I'm here, baby.
Please open your eyes."

Still receiving no response, Fox lowered his head to the mattress alongside
Alex's, and closed his eyes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The damned fog was lifting again. Soon, his protection would be gone and
he'd have to face another day of God only knew what.

//No...don't want to. Sleep...just want to sleep...//

But he *was* waking, and as much as he wanted to, he couldn't stop it.

He rose a little closer to the surface and it was...different.

Warm. Safe.

Fox.

God, it even smelled like him.

He *wasn't* waking, just passing into a dream. But his eyes were
opening...unless he was dreaming this, too...

Fox heard the soft sigh and picked his head up.

Frightened, uncertain green eyes blinked sluggishly and found exhausted,
glittering hazel.

Alex still wasn't sure that he wasn't dreaming. Not until the eyes welled up
and spilled over, and he heard his Fox's hoarse voice, saying his name.

"Fox?"

"Yeah, baby. It's me. Everything's fine."

Alex raised a hand to Fox's cheek, sliding his knuckles through the dampness
there. "Where am I?"

"Hospital in Connecticut."

"You found me?"

Fox nodded. "With a little help."

"I knew you would...what about Saint James?"

"He's not a problem any more."

Alex searched his eyes, and knew. "I told him if I didn't get him, then you
would. He didn't believe me."

Fox gave no answer. He simply lowered his head and covered Alex's lips in a
long, tender kiss.

Alex threaded a hand through Fox's hair, losing himself in the comfort of
his lover's kiss. God, it felt so good. How did he know? How did he know
this was exactly what he needed right now...the reassurance...the reality...

The reality.

Alex pulled away, gasping and trembling.

"Alex?" Fox cupped his heavily-stubbled cheek. "Baby, what is it?"

"N-nothing. Nothing, I'm just...I'm just a little shaky."

Fox knew better than that. "What did he do to you?"

Alex shook his head.

"Alex?"

"I just...I want to forget about it right now...all of it. I don't want to
think about it, okay?"

"You'll tell me soon?"

"Yeah...yeah. Soon." Alex moved to the edge of the bed, trying to get closer
to Fox's warmth. Hoping it would act as a shield between him and the memory
that he knew would plague him still, when all the others faded.

Fox lifted his arm over Alex, resting it on the other side, effectively
tenting his lover's upper body. He rested his forehead lightly against
Alex's temple, and kissed his cheek. "Tired?"

Alex nodded, eyes already closed.

"Okay. Go to sleep."

Alex reached blindly for his hand, clasping it tightly when he did. "I
thought I was dreaming when I first woke up. I thought..." His eyes opened
and he glanced down at their entwined fingers, remembering.

Fox felt his body body go slack, and saw his eyes glaze over.

"What?"

"My watch..." he swallowed past the sudden lump in his throat, "...my ring.
He took them," he said, voice crackling with restrained anguish.

"Baby....I hadn't even noticed. God. I'll have the house turned upside
down."

"What if they're not there? He might have just gotten rid of them."

"Then I'll replace them."

"It isn't the same," Alex said barely above a whisper.

"I know." Fox kissed him gently. "But the love is."

Alex pressed their hands against his chest, and closed his eyes.

"You'll be here when I wake up?"

"Of course." Fox kissed the roughened cheek once more, then whispered softly
into Alex's ear, "I love you, baby." He lowered his his head to the bed, and
closed his eyes. The hand that was not enclosed in Alex's, moved
rhythmically along the length of the younger man's arm.

Minutes later, the movement slowed, then stopped. Both men were now, asleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

An agitated baritone startled Fox awake.

"What...what the *hell* is going on, here?"

Fox lifted his head, first checking on Alex, hoping that the commotion
wouldn't wake him. Unfortunately, he was beginning to stir. Fox looked up at
the red faced A.D.

"Mulder," Skinner growled through a clenched jaw, "would you care to tell me
what this is all about?"

Fox looked from his boss to his two friends.

"Sorry, Mulder," Byers said softly. "We couldn't stop him from coming in."

"S'okay."

"Fox?" Alex's sleepy voice immediately drew his attention.

"I'm here, baby."

Skinner's eyes widened in disbelief. "*This* is the 'personal matter'?"

Fox kissed the side of Alex's head and rose from his seat. "Yes."

Alex recognized the voice, and struggled onto his back, wincing. "Fox..."

"It's okay," Fox reassured him softly. I was going to tell him about us
anyway, after this was over."

"Are you out of your *mind*?"

"No, sir. For the first time in my life, I'm truly sane."

"You're a federal agent. And *this* son of a bitch is..."

"My lover. For the last three years."

"*What*?"

"Three years..." Fox's eyes flicked down to Alex, who still on his back,
looking up into his face. His expression softened immediately as he bent
over the younger man. "You're supposed to be on your side," he said gently,
helping his lover change position.

"But, Fox..."

"Stop. The only thing I want you worrying about is feeling better."

"Oh, he's going to worry about a lot more than that..."

"Why?"

"*Why*?"

"Yeah. There are no charges against him, of any kind. And you know as well
as I do, there's nothing you can charge him *with*."

Skinner grimaced. He was right. He had absolutely nothing on this man. Sheer
hatred was not grounds for arrest.

"I can't believe this. I *cannot* believe this. You're a federal *agent*."

"You already said that."

"Apparently, you need *reminding*...for all the difference it'll make,
*now*."

"Are you telling me that I'm in danger of losing my job?"

"Because of your involvement with this scum? Who happens to be a *man*? Yes,
yes I believe it would be, but that's not the only reason your ass is in a
sling."

"Well....I'll tell you what." Fox reached into his holster, removing gun.
"I'll save you the trouble of all that paperwork." He removed the clip, and
handed the weapon over.

Alex watched the proceedings, horrified. "Fox...Fox, don't..."

"And..." he pulled his badge out of its enclosure, and slammed it down on
the tray at the foot of the bed. "There you go."

Scully came through the door, just in time to catch the last part of the
exchange.

"Sir?" She placed a small overnight bag down by the door. "What are
you...Mulder..."

Fox stood straight and tall, red eyes staring defiantly at his superior.
"Take it. I quit."

"*What*? Mulder, what the hell are you doing?"

"I don't have the time or the inclination to go through a bunch of shit with
him. I've got much more important things to deal with." Fox reclaimed his
seat beside Alex.

"Fox...Fox, don't quit. You'll regret it. Don't do this because of me.."

"Shh, shh, shh." Fox petted the sable head. "I came much too damn close to
losing you. *You* are what's important in my life. None of the rest of it
means a goddamn thing if I don't have you. Baby, you know that."

"Sir...Sir?"

Skinner glanced from the shocking sight of his agent kissing Alex Krycek, to
his partner.

"Sir, can I talk to you in the hall, please?"

Skinner strode into the hall, followed by Scully.

"What is it?"

"Sir, are you really going to allow him to quit?"

The A.D turned his face away.

"Don't think he's bluffing, sir. I know he's not."

"How...why....how the hell did this get started?"

"It's really not important, sir. What matters here is that Mulder is
serious. He loves Alex with his whole heart and soul, and if you push him to
choose, he *will* quit."

"He *has* quit."

"You haven't accepted his badge." "If he wants out, who am I stop him?
Although, this may all be pointless. I heard the initial report on what went
down at that house. Agent Mulder could be in a world of shit if those
reports are true. And you're not exactly free and clear, either."

"Well, sir, that's another matter..."

Skinner's eyes narrowed. "What do you mean?"

"The bodies, sir...all the wounded guards...they're gone."

"What do you mean, *gone*?"

"That's why I'm so late getting here. "None of them ever made it to their
destinations."

"That's impossible."

"That's my response as well. But they've disappeared, sir, without a trace.
I've checked it out."

"Well," Skinner grated. "No bodies, no case." He shook his head. "You know,
when Agent Mulder is involved, nothing should surprise me."

"Besides Alex, only one person made it out of that house, and I think that's
only because he was with me."

"Who?"

A young man. He seems to have been another captive of sorts. They'd found
him hiding in a bedroom, scared to death. They tried to question him, but he
shut down. When I showed up and started to question him, he just kind of
took to me. He has healed marks on his back, very similar to Alex's..."

"Marks?"

"You didn't notice?"

"I guess not. I was concentrated on other matters."

"He's been beaten, sir. Both of them."

"Why? What did this man want with them?"

"That, sir, is a very long, very complicated story."

Skinner folded his arms across the expanse of his chest. "I've got plently
of time."

"All right...over coffee? I'm dying."

The A.D nodded.

"Just let me say hello to Alex..."

"Is this," he waved a hand back and forth at the door, "all part of the
explanation?"

"Yes, it is."

Scully pushed the door open and walked back inside. Skinner slipped in after
her, standing by the door, locking eyes with Fox.

"Hey! Sorry I didn't get to say something to you the first time I was in
here," Scully perched on the edge of Alex's bed, and planted a light kiss on
his jaw. "How do you feel?"

"Tired. Kinda weak."

"That's normal for the things that were wrong with you when you were brought
in, but you'll be fine. How about your back?"

At the sound of the question, Skinner's eyes left Fox's and dropped down to
Alex's back, and registering for the first time, what had been done to the
man.

Alex shrugged. "Hurts. Nothing I can't deal with. When can I go home?"

"The doctor wants to keep you a day or two. Get your fluids and blood sugar
back where they belong," Fox answered softly.

"Mulder? Can I see you outside for second?'

Fox nodded at his partner. He grasped Alex's hand, and brushed his lips
across the knuckles. "Be right back."

Before Scully left the room, she dropped another kiss on Alex's head. "I'll
see you a little later, okay?"

Alex nodded, glancing over at the man glaring at him from the corner.
"Thanks, Scully."

She gave him a reassuring pat, and preceeded Fox, then Skinner out of the
room.

Once in the hall, Fox glanced quickly at the A.D., then looked to Scully.
"What did you want to see me about?"

"A few things, actually."

"Yeah?"

"Every member of the Saint James household is gone...well...*almost* every
member..."

"What do you mean, *gone*?"

"I mean, gone. Disappeared. Dead, alive or otherwise...*all* of them."

"Except for one."

"Right."

"Scully, how can all those people just disappear?"

"I'm sure I have no idea."

Fox ran his fingers through his hair. "This doesn't make any sense, it
doesn't....who is the *one*?"

"A young man. Another unwilling *companion*

"Kidnapped?"

"No. Tempted. Lured. Once he had him, Saint James just broke him down to the
point where he *couldn't* leave. Mulder, this kid is a mess. It's going to
take some doing to de-program him."

"Family?"

"We did manage to get that information out of him. We're trying to contact
them, now. He uh...he's asked about Alex several times. He seems very
concerned about him. I've had him admitted so he can be checked out. If
you'd like to talk to him, he's on this floor. Room four-ten."

Fox nodded. "Thanks. Anything else?"

"Yep. One more thing." Scully reached into her purse and produced two silver
objects. "I believe these belong to Alex."

A wide smile spread over Fox's face as he took the watch and ring from her.
"Where were they?"

"The detectives found them in Saint James' desk drawer. I happened to be in
the room when they did."

"Thank you, Scully. He was so upset about it."

Skinner stared at the jewelry, concentrating on the simple silver band, and
suddenly realizing the significance of the gold band that Fox wore on his
right hand. He grimaced and turned away.

"Mulder...one more thing." Scully looked from her partner to her boss, then
back again. "Don't quit."

"It's not something I want to do, Scully. But if I can't have Alex *and* my
work..."

Scully threw Skinner an 'I told you so' look. He turned away and said
nothing.

Fox glanced from Skinner to Scully and shrugged. "I'm going back to Alex.
I'll see you later. Thanks again, Scully."

Scully nodded, then casting a long glare in the A.D's direction, walked off
toward the elevators.

Skinner rubbed his hand over the top of his head, then followed Scully.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fox re-entered the room, moving silently to the bed. He smiled softly,
watching his lover sleep.

Langly crept to his side and whispered in his ear.

"Listen, bud, Byers and I are going to head back to the motel. If you don't
need us anymore, we'll probably hop a flight back to D.C."

"Yeah, uh...good idea. Thanks, guys. If it weren't for you, I might not have
him back, now."

"No problem, man. You know we're always here for ya."

The two men left, leaving Fox alone with Alex for the first time since
they'd found him. He took his place by the bed and watched as the thick
fringe of sable lashes fluttered and rose. Alex's hand slid over the
mattress, seeking and finding his lover's.

"What woke you up?"

Small shrug.

"Well...since you're awake...guess what I've got?"

Sleepy green eyes blinked up at him. "What?"

Fox produced Alex's watch and ring from his pocket and held them in front of
his face. "You happen to know who these belong to?"

Alex's eyes lit up. "Where..."

"Scully. The detectives found them at the house and she brought them here."

Not waiting for a response, Fox pulled Alex's hand forward, and slipped the
ring back onto his finger. "There," he smiled into his lover's watery gaze.
"Right back where it belongs."

Alex looked down at his hand, now curled into a loose fist. His eyes dropped
shut and the fist tightened, as unwanted memories pushed their way to the
fore.

//No....stop....please, stop....*no*...//

"Alex...Alex!" Fox moved from the chair to the edge of the bed, stroking
Alex's forehead. "What is it? Come on, baby, talk to me."

Alex took a sudden, shuddering breath, held it, then let it out in the same
manner. He tried again, but the second attempt was worse than the first.

"Take it easy, babe. Easy. Relax..." Fox kept his voice low and even, for
Alex's sake, masking the panic that had risen in his own chest. "Breathe,
Alex...deep, slow breaths..." Fox reached for the call button and pressed it
several times. A nurse appeared quickly in the doorway.

"Can I get you something, honey?"

"He's having some kind of panic attack."

"I'm....all right," Alex said, between breaths.

"All right, huh? The nurse bustled into the room. "You're as white as a
sheet. Give me your arm, hon. Let's check your pressure." Seconds later, she
removed the cuff from his arm. "Well, darlin', you're definitely worked up
about something." She turned to Fox. "The doctor approved a mild sedative
for him, should he need it..."

"*No*!" Alex struggled into a sitting position. "No drugs!"

"Alex..." Fox cupped his cheek. "It's just to help you relax."

"No, Fox," Alex pleaded. "Don't let them knock me out."

"Okay, baby, okay. But you have to calm down, all right?"

Alex nodded, fighting to control his erratic breathing. A few minutes later,
he was calm enough that Fox was able to dismiss the nurse.

"Better, now?" Fox rubbed the hand he'd enclosed in his own.

"Yeah." Alex took a slow, deep breath, and released it. "I'm okay."

"Can you slide forward a little?"

Alex did as he was asked, and Fox moved behind him, leaning back against the
pillows, legs straddling his body. He held his arms out, and Alex pushed
back, turning sideways to lie against his chest.

Fox wrapped one arm around Alex's shoulders, and other came up to rest
gently on his hip. Alex lay rigidly against him for a few moments, then
slowly, he worked his arms around Fox's waist, and buried his face in his
chest.

Fox wanted desperately to ask Alex again to tell him about what had happened
to him, but he was afraid of bringing on another anxiety attack. So instead,
he sat gently caressing his hip, and scattering tiny kisses in the wild,
sable hair.

Alex clung silently to the man he loved more than life...sickened,
terrified, and completely at a loss as to how it was he was supposed to tell
him about what had happened. The beatings would be easy enough to talk
about. The physical wounds would heal and he'd get past it...it wasn't any
worse than anything he'd ever been through in his life, but...*this*. Saint
James, that bastard...he knew what he was doing. In another time and another
place, he could have almost admired the man's brilliantly warped mind,
but...

"I love you, sweetheart."

The four words, whispered so tenderly above his head, brought a sting of
tears to his eyes. He blinked rapidly, holding holding them back. His arms
tightened around Fox, as he tried to get closer.

"I love you...lisa..."

He was good.

No one would have noticed the grief in his voice...

No one but Fox.

//God. Oh, Jesus, Alex. What did he do to you?//

The prospect of Alex finally answering that question was beginning to scare
the hell out of him...more and more. The arm around Alex's shoulder, pulled
him in closer.

"Go to sleep, baby."

"Don't let me go, Fox."

"I won't. I promise, I won't let you go."

Close to half an hour later, Alex was asleep. And Fox sat wide awake,
terrified that if he closed his eyes, someone would come and tear his love
away. He was still sane enough to realize that the fear was completely
irrational, yet he couldn't help it.

A long while later, Scully slipped back into the room, smiling at the sight
of the two men wrapped in each other's arms. The smile faded a bit, as her
partner's eyelids lifted, and he turned bloodshot eyes to her.

"I thought maybe you were asleep."

Fox shook his head, and lay his cheek on the top of Alex's head.

"The nurse'll have a fit if she finds you in his bed," she warned as softly
as she could.

"She's already been in."

"And she didn't say anything?"

"Just checked his IV, smiled, and left."

"Wow."

"Anything else on the disappearances?"

"Nothing. It's like they never existed."

"Makes no sense."

"I know. But you know, in this case, it might not be such a bad thing. You
and I were in hot water up to our necks...you especially."

Another tiny nod. "Thank you, Scully, for your help."

"You'd have done the same for me...have you re-thought your decision to
quit?"

"I haven't really thought about anything but Alex."

"I talked to Skinner. Explained it to him from beginning to end."

"And?"

"He's not happy, Mulder. You knew he wouldn't be. But he's a fair man. I
think I was able to make him understand the extenuating circumstances here."

"You think?"

"He said he didn't want to see you leave the Bureau. I take that to mean
that anything he's learned today will be kept off the record." Scully took a
seat by the bed. "He went out to the scene to see what was going on. You'll
probably see him a little later."

"Can't wait. Scully...is that Matthew kid still here?"

"Yeah, he'll be here till tomorrow at least. You going to go see him?"

"I'd like to, yeah. What room was it? Four-ten?"

"Right."

"I'd like to go with you, if you don't mind."

"Actually, I'd appreciate it if you'd stay with Alex while I'm gone."

"Mulder...he's safe here."

"I know, I just...it'd make me feel better, okay?"

"Okay. When are you going to go see him?"

"After Alex wakes up."

Already awake, Alex listened to the conversation, trying hard to keep his
body from quaking.

He was here.

Matthew.

The spineless little son of a bitch who helped to ruin his life.

Room four-ten.

Fox shifted, ducking his head to look down at the open, glazed eyes of his
lover.

"Hey. I thought I heard a sound."

Alex's eyes darted up to his, then back down.

"Babe? You okay?"

"Yeah...yeah, fine. I uh...my arm is asleep, I gotta move." He pulled away
from the circle of Fox's arms, allowing the older man to move off of the
bed. Shifting onto his right side, he came face to face with Scully.

"Hi, Alex. Feeling any better?"

"Um...y-yeah, I guess." He turned his eyes up to Fox, who was still hovering
nearby. "I really am better, Fox. Why don't you go find a motel room and get
some sleep?"

"I'm not leaving this hospital, Alex. Not until you do."

"Then at least go get something to eat. Scully, take him to the cafeteria
and put some food in him."

"He's right, Mulder. You need to eat...*and* sleep."

Mulder looked from his lover to his partner. "How about this? Scully, you
stay here for a minute, and I'll go get us something and bring it back."

"God, Mulder you really are a pain in the ass. Listen, you stay here, and
*I'll* go down." Scully rose from her chair and had a quick look at Alex's
chart. "Alex, I can get you some soup or something light like that."

Alex shrugged. "Yeah, sure. Some soup would be fine."

"Okay. I'll be back in little bit."

Fox sat on the edge of the bed, watching Scully retreat from the room. When
she was gone, he reached over and took Alex's hand in his, bringing it to
his lips.

"Be back in a couple of minutes, okay? I gotta take some of this off. It's
driving me crazy," he said, rubbing the heavy stubble. "I'll shave you too
afterward, if you like." Receiving only a tiny smile as an answer, he rose
from the bed, picked up the small bag Scully had carried in for him earlier,
and disappeared into the bathroom.

The moment he was gone, Alex yanked the IV out of his arm, and slipped out
of bed. He held on to the nearby table, taking a few seconds to steady
himself, then donned the robe at the end of the bed, and quietly left the
room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Matthew lay awake in his bed...alone in the empty room, thinking. Wondering
if what he'd heard was true.

Was Justin really dead?

If it was true, he didn't know what to feel about that. Relief should have
been tops on the list, but he wasn't sure. Jesus, why should he be? He
should be relieved, and thrilled, and happy as hell that the sadistic
bastard was gone, and that's *all* he should be, but he wasn't.

His thoughts turned to the man in the cage.

Alex.

His closed his eyes and brought his hands up to them, as the man's anguished
screams filled his brain.

//God, I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry.//

He hoped that Alex would be okay. He hoped that if he hadn't been already,
he would soon be reunited with his lover, and he could forget the terrible
thing he'd done to him.

The quiet swish of the door startled him, and as he took his hands away from
his face, there in front of him was a pair of hard, glittering green eyes.

"Why?"

Matthew shrank back against the pillows. "I'm...I'm..."

Before he could say anything more, Alex was on him, hands wrapped around his
neck. "Why did you do that to me?" he screamed with rage. "You fucking son
of a *bitch*! I'll kill you, you goddamn shit!"

Matthew's arms swung wildly in the air, and he gasped for breath. Through
the high pitched ringing in his ears, he could hear more sound. A nurse had
heard the screaming, and came to see what the problem was. As soon as she
came through the door, she stared wide-eyed at the scene, then raced back
out, shouting for help.

Back in Alex's room, Fox turned the water off and listened.

//What the hell is that?//

He cleaned his face, and pushed the door open. "Alex, do you..." His eyes
fell on the empty bed. "*Shit*!" He ran out of the room, and out toward the
comotion at the end of the hall. He pushed his way through the small crowd
outside of room four-ten, and found two orderlies trying to pull Alex off of
the young man in the bed. "Alex!" He leapt between the men and his lover.
"Let go of him!"

"Are you nuts? He's gonna kill this kid!"

"I'll get him off of him, now back off!"

The two men backed away, and Fox came up behind Alex, wrapping his arms
around him. "Alex, stop! Let go of him! Come on, baby, you can't do this..."

Alex's grip loosened a bit as he began to sob. "You bastard...you little
fucking shit..."

Fox took the opportunity to pry Alex's hands away. "Let him go, baby.
Whatever he did to you, we'll work through it, okay? Let him go."

Matthew coughed and sputtered, trying to drag air back into his lungs, as
Fox pulled Alex away from him.

Alex collasped into Fox's arms, clinging tightly to him. "I'm sorry, Fox,
I'm...I didn't want...I didn't...God...oh, God..."

"Easy, Alex. It's okay." He looked to the young, terrified man. "Are you all
right?"

He nodded, coughing some more. "I'm so sorry," he whispered to Fox, then to
Alex. "Please believe me."

Fox studied him, wondering what the hell was going on. He rose from the bed,
pulling Alex up after him. "Come on, baby. Let's get you back to your room."

Alex's nurse and the two orderlies followed them back, and once Fox had Alex
settled into his bed, the nurse suggested restraining him.

Fox shook his head. "No. He'll be fine. He won't leave his room again."

"Mr. Mulder, we can't be sure of that."

"Yes we can," he snapped. "Whatever he's been through the last few days has
got him a little bent out of shape, but he doesn't need to be restrained."

"A *little* bent out of shape...he tried to strangle that boy."

"Something terrible was done to him, and that *boy* was a part of it."

Well, hon, I sympathize, I really do, but please understand that I've got to
report this episode to his doctor."

"I understand. Just get him up here, and I'll talk to him."

"All right. I'll find him and send him up as soon as possible."

When she had fixed Alex's IV and the room was cleared, Fox turned his full
attention back to Alex. "Baby," he whispered, stroking his lover's
perspiration dampened hair, "you gotta tell me what happened. Who is that
man and why did you want to hurt him?"

Alex grasped his hand and turned tormented eyes up to his. "I love you, Fox.
I didn't...I...I..." He squeezed his eyes shut and turned his head away.

"Alex...Alex, please."

Scully walked in, and placed the food down on the bed tray. "What's going
on?"

"I don't know," Fox answered flatly. "But I'm going to find out. Stay with
him." He gently pulled his hand out of Alex's grip. "Baby, I'll be back.
Scully is going to stay with you while I'm gone okay?"

No answer.

Fox kissed him once, and left the room.

All was quiet now, as he walked down the hall to room four-ten. He pushed
the door open and stood in the doorway looking at the still very shaken
young man in the bed. Remorseful aqua eyes gazed up at him as he approached.

"Is..." he swallowed painfully, "is he all right?"

Fox studied the beginning bruises on the man's throat. "No. No, he isn't all
right. That's why I'm here. I want to know what happened to him, and I want
to know what you had to do with it."

Matthew shook his head. His eyes filled with tears, and he tried to speak.
"I'm so, *so* sorry. You have to know that. I begged Justin. I pleaded with
him, but he wouldn't listen to me. His mind was made up. I was so
scared....he....is he dead?"

"Yes."

"Are you sure?"

"Positive."

"How?"

Fox paused for a moment, then answered simply, "I killed him."

Matthew closed his eyes and nodded. "Alex said you'd find him."

Fox moved closer to the bed. "Tell me what happened."

"J-Justin...he was a man who always had things his way. *Always*. He decided
he wanted Alex...so he took him. He said he knew it would be difficult, but
he was determined to break Alex down. But Alex," Matthew shook his head,
almost smiling, "he proved to be a much bigger challenge than Justin ever
expected. He killed and wounded a lot of Justin's men. He fought Justin at
every turn, and Justin could see that he was beginning to lose ground, so he
really decided to play dirty."

"What did he do?"

"Well...the beatings didn't work...Alex just became harder to handle. So
he...he..."

"He *what*?"

"He...he knew you were Alex's weakness as well as his strength. And he
thought of a way to use it against him..."

Fox took a deep breath and waited.

"He uh...he sedated Alex...had him shackled to the bed, and he made...oh,
God, you have to believe that I wanted no part of this..."

"*Tell* me."

"He made me go into the cage and I had to...he made me perform..." Matthew
buried his face in his hands. "...oral sex. I didn't want to, I swear I
didn't."

Fox pitched forward, grasping the edge of a nearby table for support, as the
room did an abrupt spin.

"I'm sorry," Matthew whined, "I'm sorry..."

Fox straightened up and inhaled deeply. "Finish, he hissed between gritted
teeth.

Matthew hesitated a few seconds, then continued. "Like I said, Alex had been
lightly sedated. It took a little while, but he started to...to respond. He
was still pretty much out of it, but I could...Jesus, I'm sorry. I could
feel him getting hard."

Fox's hands clenched into fists.

"He start..started to moan...he was out of it...I know he thought it was
you. I know that because as he woke up, he started to struggle. He screamed
and he threatened and he begged for it to stop, and I wanted to, I swear,
but Justin was right outside. And *he* threatened me and told me *not* to
stop. Please, *please* understand...I was *afraid*. The beatings were bad
enough when he *wasn't* angry. If I stopped, he probably would have killed
me."

Fox stood quietly, eyes closed, fighting to maintain a steady breath.

"Anyway...uh...by the time he'd come around, it had gone too far for him to
stop it, if you know what I mean. He....he....he came and then he....he
cried. God, he cried so hard. I cried too. Then Justin started to taunt him.
Told him he was going to take a copy of the video tape he'd made of it, and
send it to you. Alex went crazy. He thrashed and fought against the
restraints so much that Justin had to sedate him again. That was the
last...last time I saw him till today. I can't stop saying how sorry I
am...it sickened me to do that to him." Matthew turned watery eyes to the
man who stood over him, fighting against every instinct that screamed for
him to beat this man to death. "He loves you so much and Justin used it to
destroy him." Matthew suddenly found his anger. "He's dead, but if Alex
doesn't come through this...he still wins. Don't let the son of a bitch win.
*Please*."

Fox listened to the words spoken so sincerely.

"He won't win. Alex *will* get through this. I'll see to it."

"I know." Tears pooled, then flowed over. "Because you love him."

"That's right."

Fox turned and left the young man alone with his misery.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Scully looked up as her partner came through the door. His tortured
expression spoke volumes.

"Mulder?"

Fox walked by her, all his concentration focused on the man who lay almost
catatonic in the bed. He sat on the edge of the mattress, and leaned over
Alex's still body. He stroked his lover's hair gently, staring silently down
at him. Slowly, Alex's eyes shifted up to his.

"I talk...I talked to Matthew," Fox said softly. "Baby, I know what happened
to you."

Alex buried his face into the pillow.

"Alex..." Fox slipped a hand under his cheek and turned his face back up so
that their eyes met. "We'll get through it, okay? You and me."

Alex's lips moved, but no sound would come past them.

"What, Alex? What is it?"

"I...I didn't want it...I tried, I...tried....I wanted to kill him....I
wanted...I wanted to die..."

Fox lowered himself to the mattress, gathering Alex into his arms. "It's all
right. It'll be all right..."

Alex lay passively in Fox's arms, staring over his shoulder, up at the
ceiling. "I didn't want to," he whispered almost inaudibly.

"I know you didn't. I know..."

"I came....came in his m...mouth, Fox..."

"I know..."

"He wouldn't stop...but I wanted him to, I swear...swear to you I wanted him
to..."

"Alex...I know that. Come on, babe, stop this. Don't torture yourself. It
isn't worth it. When all of this is done, it'll still be just me and you."

"You could....could still touch me after..."

Fox drew away far enough to meet Alex's eyes. "Listen to me. What happened
to you changes nothing between us. I love you, Alexei..."

Alex shuddered and looked away. "He called me that. It sounded
so...obscene."

"Baby, look at me."

Weary green eyes turned up to Fox's face.

"He's gone. You never have to see his face, you never have to hear his voice
again. I know you won't ever forget what happened, and neither will I. If I
could kill him over and over again for what he did to you, I would. But
wanting and wishing won't change anything. As impossible as it sounds at
this precise moment, we *will* pick up and go on. In a day or two, we're
going to go home..." Fox cupped Alex's face, rubbing his thumb across the
stubbled cheekbone. "I'll take care of you...those wounds on your back will
heal. We'll have dinner in our dining room....we'll go for walks around the
neighborhood...Clyde misses you...we'll go to sleep in our bed..." He kissed
the outside curve of Alex's ear, then whispered into it, "I'll hold you all
night long....I'll do the laundry...I'll turn the whites a nice shade of
purple just for you..."

A tiny smile formed at the corner's of Alex's mouth. "God, no. That's all
right, I think I can manage to do the laundry, thank you."

Fox laughed softly, his tired eyes beginnng to shine. "There he is."

"There who is?"

"My Alex. I saw him for just a second, there."

Alex raised a slightly shaking hand to Fox's cheek. "I love you, lisa."

Fox lowered his head, taking Alex's mouth in a long, sweet kiss. When he
pulled away, he frowned, licking at the edges of his lips. "Oh man, we gotta
do something about this beard. How 'bout it? You ready for that shave?"

"Sure."

Fox gave him a heart melting smile. "Be right back."

Alex watched his lover retreat into the bathroom, then looked over at
Scully. "I don't know how it is this happened. I've never done anything good
enough in my life to deserve him."

Scully walked over to the bed, and sat down. She covered Alex's hand with
her own, squeezing it gently. "You fell in love with him, didn't you?"

"Yeah..."

She smiled, shaking her head. "You could never have done anything better
than that. Alex, your love has saved him a hundred times over."

A knock sounded at the door, and it inched open. "S'cuse me, four
twenty-eight, right?"

Scully answered. "That's what it says on the door..."

The door swung open and the man walked in, carrying in each arm, a vase
arrangement of two dozen Sterling Silver roses. Alex watched, surprised and
a bit confused, as the man set the vases down and started for the door.

"Uh...hey...you sure those are for me?"

"You Alex Krycek?"

"Yeah..."

"Then these are for you. Be right back."

The man disappeared for a moment, then returned, carrying two more
arrangements; mixed flowers, both in baskets. "You're one popular guy."

Alex looked from the man to Scully, then back again. He remained silent, not
knowing what to say.

"That ain't all, friend, you got one more..."

Fox walked out of the bathroom, carrying a basin of warm water and the
shaving equipment. His eyes met Alex's and saw the confusion. "Hey, he
grinned. They're not *all* from me..."

The man walked in with one more large mixed vase arrangement and cleared a
spot on a table in the corner for it. "Okay, that's it. You got it all."

Fox stopped him at the door and handed him a bill. He thanked the man, then
moved over to the bed, looking down into questioning green eyes. "I'm
telling you, I don't know *where* some of these flowers came from."

Scully rose from her chair. "Well, let's see...there's no card on one of
these rose arrangements, so I'll assume they're from the same sender." She
handed the card to Alex, who gingerly pulled the flap up on the envelope,
and read. His eyes closed for a moment, then rose to meet those of his
lover. He mouthed the words 'I love you', and Fox sent him a soft smile and
a wink.

Scully handed him the card from one of the baskets.

Alex's eyebrows rose into his hairline. "The Gunmen?"

Fox chuckled softly. "Told you they liked you."

Alex read the card from the next basket, and reached out to take Scully's
hand. "Thanks, Scully."

Scully rubbed the back of his hand. "It's such a relief to have you back."
She released his hand and moved to the the last arrangement. "Here you go."

Alex looked up to Fox. "I don't...there's nobody else."

Fox motioned to the envelope. "There's obviously somebody else....hey....you
don't think it's from Skinner, do you?"

Scully snorted. "Yeah, right, Mulder."

Fox shrugged, smiling, then waited for Alex to open the envelope.

The younger man's brows knitted into a distinct frown. He shook his head,
not knowing what to make of the cryptic message.

"What is it, babe?"

Alex handed the card up to Fox, who read it aloud.

"Feel better soon. No thanks necessary. From your friends."

Fox turned to his petite partner. "Scully..."

She shook her head in confusion for a moment, then understanding dawned.
"Oh, you don't think..."

"What else could it mean?"

Alex looked from one to the other. "What could what mean? Fox, do you
understand that?"

"Yeah, I uh....I think so. The night you went missing, I went to Skinner and
asked for contact with Cancerman. I thought he might know something. It was
a shot in the dark, but I didn't know what else to do. He promised me that
he had no idea and reminded me of your arrangement with him. Before I hung
up, he offered his assistance should I need it."

"And?"

"Alex..." Scully took over. "We racked up quite a body count on our way to
you. And those who weren't dead, Mulder did a pretty good number on. On
their way to their assorted destinations, they all disappeared. Every one of
them. There's no evidence. No witnesses. Nothing. It's all gone. We had no
idea why or how...till now."

"It makes sense," Fox added. "Who else has the resources to pull something
like that off?"

"But....why?"

"Because," Alex rasped, "keeping Fox and me alive and healthy and together,
is in their best interests." He looked up to his lover, and grasped his
hand. "I hate the idea of him being involved in our life, but in this case,
I have to say that I'm glad. Fox..." he squeezed the older man's hand.
"...you could have been in so much trouble..."

Fox kissed Alex's hand, and sat at the edge of the bed. "Forget about that.
Everything's okay. I don't want to think about how or who....come on, now.
You got a date here with Mr. Razor."

Carefully, Fox lathered and scraped away the thick whiskers, revealing the
soft skin that hid underneath. When he was through, Alex raised a hand to
his face, rubbing along his cheek and throat.

"Thank you....better?"

Fox cocked his head to one side. "Looks better. Now for the real test..." He
leaned across the short distance, and covered Alex's mouth with his own.

Alex pulled a fraction away from his lips, and mumbled against them, "Okay?"

"Can't decide." Fox wove his fingers through Alex's hair, and pulled him
back against his mouth.

Alex sighed into Fox's open mouth, for the first time in days, feeling
almost normal. His tongue inched forward, tangling with the other. His hands
came up to Fox's shoulders then around his back. He closed his fingers in
the material of Fox's shirt, clinging to him as they kissed with growing
passion.

"Oh, God," Scully grinned, checking her watch and speaking to no one in
particular, "didn't take them very long, did it?"

Fox shifted, trying to accomodate the growing bulge in his pants. God, it
felt so good to have Alex's mouth on his...

A day or two.

Shit, it was too long. He wanted to take him home now. He wanted to put him
into his own bed. Hold him close. Make love to him...

Alex tilted his head from side to side, sucking on Fox's lips. His tongue.
Voraciously feeding on him...drowning himself in his lover's taste and
texture, trying desperately to blot out the images and sounds that
continually danced in his mind.

But they were there.

Justin.

Smiling at him.

Touching him.

The unbearable pain of that belt.

The feel of Matthew's mouth around him, sucking and swallowing, even as he
begged him to stop...

The sound of his own anguished cries after he came...

"Alex? Hey...come on, breathe.."

Scully leapt from her chair, joining the men on the bed. "Alex? Listen to
me. Calm down, okay? Take a deep, slow breath....Mulder what happened?"

"I don't know. All of a sudden, he just started to hyperventilate. Alex,
it's all right. Easy, baby." Fox cupped Alex's face in his hands. "Look at
me. See? It's me. I'm here." He stroked his lover's cheeks with his thumbs.
"Breathe, baby..."

Alex's respiration slowed a bit, as he concentrated on the beautiful sea of
amber in front of him. The soft, soothing voice of his lover drifted through
the noise in his head.

"That's it. That's better." He moved a hand to the back to Alex's head,
massaging lightly. "Tell me what happened, Alex. What brought this on?"

"I'm...it won't...I'm sorry, Fox."

"Don't be sorry...lie back."

Alex shifted onto his side, against the pillows.

"Try to rest, okay?"

A deep, shuddering breath. "Okay....Fox?"

"Hmm?"

"You...you rest too."

"I will."

"Go."

"Where?"

"To a motel room or...wherever..."

"I told you, Alex, I'm not leaving here till you do."

Scully spoke up. "Mulder, you're exhausted. You need sleep as much as he
does."

"Who says I'm not going to sleep?"

"Where? In that chair?"

"A pillow and a blanket, and it'll be just fine."

"Fox, please...go sleep in a bed. I'll be all right."

"I'm not leaving."

"Forget it, Alex. He won't budge." She directed her next statement to her
partner. "I'll go see what I can do about making you a little more
comfortable...and while I'm gone, how about I get us some more food?" She
looked to the long-cold food on the tray. "That stuff must be long past
edible by now."

"Okay, Scully. Thanks."

When she was gone, Fox pulled a chair up to the bed, and sat, resting his
arms and chin on the bed. He and Alex stared at each other for a few moments
before he spoke.

"There was no way you could stop it," he murmured softly. "I know you would
have if you could."

Alex's eyes fell away from Fox's face. "When....when I was a kid...and those
guys raped me...it was bad, but...not like this. Not...I don't...as far as
actual, physical pain went, it was much worse, but..I'd rather go back and
live that night a dozen times over, than go through this again. I feel
so..." He broke off his words and closed his eyes.

"I know what you feel," Fox whispered. "There's no need for you to feel that
way. I know those aren't some magic words that'll take it all away, Alex,
but...you've done nothing *wrong*. Nothing that's happened has hurt *us*.
How could it?"

"I don't know, I...I tried so hard...I fought it, but..."

"Alex, Matthew told me that you were sedated when Saint James sent him in
there. You could feel long before you'd regained the ability to reason. You
were being stimulated and it was only natural for your body to respond. By
the time you'd become conscious, it had gone too far. Baby, you know that
there's a point that you reach where there's just no stopping it. It doesn't
mean you enjoyed it, and it in no way means that you've somehow betrayed me.
There's no reason for you to feel guilty."

Alex lay quietly, taking in what his lover had just said to him. Sometime
later, his hand inched across the sheet, the backs of his fingers
tentatively brushing Fox's.

Fox watched almost hypnotized, as Alex's fingers moved over his. Slowly he
responded, arching his fingers, letting them whisper over his lover's
knuckles, tracing disjointed little designs across the skin. His eyes rose
to Alex's face, and found himself the focus of a glassy green stare. His
hand lifted slightly, covering the other's, lacing their fingers together,
and bringing the hand to his lips for a gentle kiss. As he pulled their
hands away from his mouth, his head moved closer to Alex's, nuzzling first
his jaw, then his cheek.

Alex closed his eyes and breathed deeply. His head began to move fraction by
fraction, now imitating his lover's motions. He shifted toward Fox, seeking
greater contact; rubbing his freshly-shaven cheek against the one beside it.
The soft hiss of breath close to his ear, sent a hard shudder through his
body. All at once, raw need overpowered everything else he'd been feeling,
coursing through him so strongly, that his entire body ached with it. His
fingers untangled from the ones that had still held them, and plunged into
Fox's hair, holding his head still for an all-out assault on his mouth.

Alex's sudden aggression startled Fox at first, but he quickly gave himself
up to it, allowing the younger man free rein. He had no idea how long the
passion would last...if at all, but he'd be damned if he was going to do
anything to rock the boat.

Just as he was working up to a good solid erection, Alex pulled away.

"Fox..."

//Damn, damn, damn//

"Hmm?"

Alex's eyes opened and Fox knew this wasn't the beginning of any anxiety
attack.

"I need you."

Whispered softly, but plainly heard by the man for whom it was intended.

"Alex..." Fox licked at his lower lip. "We'll be home tomorrow...Tuesday at
the latest..."

Alex bit down gently on Fox's lower lip and tugged. He let it go, licking
the spot where his teeth had just been. "Don't make me wait until Tuesday."

"Baby, we're in a hospital."

Alex turned his head, rubbing the sable silk against Fox's face. "Please."

"God....listen..." Fox pulled Alex's head back up. "Scully'll be back soon.
When she leaves...I'll take care of you. Okay?"

Alex nodded silently as he moved in again for another kiss. That kiss led to
another. And another still, until the two were so completely immersed in
each other, that neither noticed Scully enter the room.

"A-hem.....I *said*, a-*hem*."

Fox tore himself away from his lover's mouth and looked up in the direction
of the door. "Oh....hi."

"Yeah. Hi." Scully glanced from Fox to Alex, who had turned partially onto
his back. "Feeling better, Alex?"

"A little."

"A little," Scully repeated, her voice dripping with good-natured sarcasm.
"Well, come on, I brought more food. What do you say we actually eat it this
time?"

Fox moved up to the bed, sitting side by side with Alex against the pillows,
and Scully took his chair. They stuck to light discussion while eating and
when they were through, Scully gathered up the empty containers and disposed
of them. While she did that, Alex wiggled closer to Fox, dropping his head
down onto his shoulder. Fox kissed his temple.

"Tired?"

Alex's hand slid up and down his thigh. "No."

If Scully was aware of the rise in temperature in the room, she gave no
indication. She walked back to the chair, standing beside it. "Well," she
said, looking at her watch, "I guess Skinner isn't coming back tonight.
Mulder, your pillow and blanket are over there," she n odded toward the
wooden chair in the corner. "Promise me you'll get some rest."

"I will, I promise," Fox answered, absently petting the head tucked against
his throat.

"Goodnight, Scully," Alex called softly. "Thanks again."

"No problem. See you tomorrow."

As soon as she was gone, Fox slipped a hand under Alex's chin, tilting his
face up. His thumb rasped over the swell of his lover's lips, stroking the
tip of his tongue as it inched out to meet him. He lowered his head, his own
tongue taking the place of his thumb, caressing, tasting...giving teasing
hints of the pleasure that was yet to come.

Alex moaned softly into his Fox's mouth, desperately grateful for the love
he hadn't been sure he'd ever know again; needing to drown himself in his
lover's touch and smell. He leaned into the kiss, wrapping an arm around
Fox's waist, then dragging one leg over his thighs. As he raised himself up,
preparing to straddle Fox's hips, the other man's hands came up to push him
back.

"Uh-uh."

"But you said..."

"I know what I said." Fox kissed the tip of his nose. "This is for you."

Fox slipped off of the bed and motioned to Alex to move closer. Just as he
was about to lean over him, the door swung open and the on-call doctor
walked in.

"Mr...." he looked at the chart, "..Krycek. I'm Dr. Harrison. I see here
that you're a kidnap and beating victim? Quite an ordeal I'm sure, yet I get
on the floor and hear that you've been roaming the halls, strangling other
patients. Not exactly what I'd expect from a man who'd just been through
what you supposedly have..."

"Is that how you greet all your patients, doctor?"

Alex and the doctor looked up at Fox, who stood beside the bed, jaw
clenching.

"When they may prove to be a danger to other patients and my staff, yes."

Fox slowly approached the man, stopping only inches away, forcing him to
look up. "Before you breeze into someone's room, giving off attitude all
over the place, do that person the courtesy of first getting all the
facts...Doctor..."

Alex's eyes glowed softly as he watched Fox let the man have it in his own
quiet, inimitable way.

"This man is a patient in your hospital. And as such, he should expect no
less courtesy than any other patient. Now if sarcasm and verbal abuse is
part of your standard practice, sir, I suggest you re-evaluate your bedside
manner."

The doctor shrank back from the sharp amber stare. "Who...who are you?"

"My name is Fox Mulder..."

"Is there a problem here, Agent Mulder?"

Three pairs of eyes followed the sound of the voice. Skinner stood in the
doorway, looking at the two who were standing by the foot of the bed.

Fox stared at the AD for a moment, then cut his eyes back to the man in
front of him. "Nothing that can't be remedied. Correct, Doctor?"

Harrison inhaled deeply, then moved around Fox and over to the bed. "Mr.
Krycek...I *am* sorry. My behavior may have been a bit harsh..."

Alex nodded his acknowledgment.

"But I uh..." he looked to Fox, then back again, "I do have to get to the
bottom of what went on. Did you...did you try to strangle Mr. Owens in room
four-ten?"

From the corner of his eye, Fox saw Skinner's head snap toward him.

"Yeah."

"May I ask why?"

"He..." Alex took a deep breath and closed his eyes. "He was part of...it.
He had nothing to do with the actual kidnapping, but he..."

Fox moved forward, taking his place by Alex's side. "He was an accessory to
the abuse that was inflicted on Mr. Krycek. Under the circumstances, I'm
sure you can understand how the stress he's endured over the last few days
could have manifested itself in such an act."

"Yes, I...I suppose. But if he's suffering from post-traumatic stress,
what's to say he won't act out again?"

"Doctor..." Skinner stepped forward. "I'm Assistant Director Skinner with
the FBI. This is Special Agent Mulder. You have my personal guarantee that
he will keep a close watch on Mr....Krycek, and no further problems will
arise."

"Well...all right. Mr. Owens *did* say that he had no intention to press
charges, so..." The doctor turned his attention to the examination, then
looked to Fox. "A nurse will be in soon to take a couple of samples.
Depending on how they turn out, he may be able to go home tomorrow."

"Thank you."

"You uh...you mentioned that Mr. Owens was an accessory..."

Alex spoke up. "He's no danger to anyone. He's a scared kid who was forced
into a very bad situation. He means no harm to anyone."

"That's very generous of you, considering what Agent Mulder just told
me..and taking into account the fact that not more than a few hours ago, you
tried to kill him."

"I can think a little more clearly now than I could this afternoon. All I
want is to go home and erase him and everything that's happened, from my
life."

Fox reached out, stroking his fingertips over the surface of Alex's hair.
Skinner grimaced, turning his face away, even as the doctor stared in
surprise.

"Well...uh....I'll see you in the morning before I go off duty. Again, I
apologize for my earlier abruptness. Goodnight."

And then there were three.

"Scully said you may be back, but I didn't think you would come at this
hour."

"I hadn't planned to, but I want this settled." Skinner threw a quick glance
in Alex's direction. "I don't accept your resignation." He reached behind
his back and pulled Fox's Sig out of the waistband of his pants. "Take your
weapon back."

Fox looked down at the offering, but his hand continued to pet Alex's hair.

"There's no room for bargaining. I stay with the Bureau on my terms or not
at all."

"Fox," Alex murmured, "listen to him before you close the door..."

Fox took a seat at the edge of the bed, and leaned forward, kissing Alex's
forehead. "Okay." He turned back to Skinner, who was standing quietly, with
his head down; the muscle in his jaw twitching a mile a minute. "All right,
what are your terms?"

"They're simple. I don't like this," he said plainly. "I don't like *him*. I
don't know that I ever will. But Scully gave me the rundown on what's gone
on between you, and I can't deny that it looks as though he may be sincere
in his feelings. Scully certainly is convinced. And as I have the utmost
respect for her opinion, and knowing that she'd never approve of anything
that she thought would hurt you, I don't see where I've got any choice in
this. Everything I know involving the two of you stays off the record." He
fell silent, and re-issued his offer of the gun.

Fox looked to Alex, who smiled and nodded, then took the gun back.

"Good. I never took your badge. Where is it?"

"Where I left it, I suppose." Fox left the bed and checked the tray. "Yeah,
it's here." He replaced the badge in its enclosure, and shoved it into his
back pocket.

Satisfied, Skinner headed for the door. Fox followed, stopping just inside
the doorway. Skinner studied him from the hall.

"What happened to him?"

"I thought Scully told you everything."

"She told me who the man was that took Krycek. She told me *why* he took
him. I know he was at least whipped while he was in the man's house, but is
that all that happened to him?"

"Does it matter to you?"

Skinner opened and closed his mouth. He composed his thoughts and started
again. "I just get the feeling that there's more." He observed the cold
glint in Fox's eyes as he whispered his answer.

"Let me just say that the sadistic son of a bitch got off too easy. He
needed to die slowly and painfully for what he did."

Skinner nodded, sure that somehow, he was better off not knowing the
details. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"Goodnight, sir....sir?"

"Yes?"

"Thank you."

Another curt nod, and Skinner was gone.

Fox closed the door and returned to Alex, who'd tuned onto his side, head
propped up in his hand.

"Are you as shocked as I am?"

"Yeah."

"Well..." he moved toward the bed, grinning, "where were we?"

"I believe you were just about..."

"Hi, hon."

Alex's head dropped into his pillow, and he groaned softly.

"I got orders to get some samples from you."

Fox stumbled over to the chair and sat heavily into it, while the nurse went
about her business. When she finally finished, he ushered her to the door.
"He's very tired," Fox explained as he opened the door. "All that
excitement...you know...uh....will anyone be bothering him again tonight?"

"Nope. He'll be able to sleep right through to about six-thirty."

"That's great. That's wonderful. Thank you."

He nearly shoved the woman into the hall, and closed the door.

"*Now*..."

Alex squirmed in anticipation as his lover slowly approached. Fox leaned
over, releasing a flurry of soft kisses all over his face. The kisses moved
lower, trailing down Alex's throat, and across the expanse of his bare
chest. He smiled, listening to the sharp intake of breath, as his tongue
flicked across one rapidly hardening nipple.

"Shhhh. You want them to kick me out of here?"

Alex gritted his teeth as Fox closed his lips around the nipple, sucking
lightly, while still teasing the tip with his tongue. Not wishing to ignore
its twin, he brushed his fingers lightly back and forth over it, sending
tiny ripples of pleasure through Alex's body.

Alex couldn't control the soft whimpers as they fell from his lips. It was
so good, so...sweet...

Not able to think of a better way to silence him, Fox slid his hand up to
Alex's mouth, slipping two fingers inside. The younger man closed his lips
around the welcome intruders, and began to suck hungrily on them. Satisfied,
Fox went back to work, licking and nipping ever so gently at the sensitive
peaks.


Fox's tactic had worked for a short while, but as soon as Alex felt his
teeth close around his nipple, the sounds started again. But this time they
were louder and more desperate. Fox pulled away, and moved up to face Alex.
He pulled his fingers out of the younger man's mouth, incurring a loud groan
of protest.

"Baby....shhh. You have to be quiet."

"You know...you know how hard that is for me."

Fox stroked his jaw. "I know. But unless you want to have the nurse in here,
you have to try, okay?"

Alex nodded impatiently, pushing Fox's head back to where it had been.

Fox teased for a bit longer, then moved on south, lapping and sucking,
leaving gentle little marks of ownership along the way. As Alex fought to
remain silent, Fox pulled the loose pajama bottoms down, and licked a path
down the inside of his thigh, then back up, stopping halfway, and inflicting
another small wound.

Alex shuddered, clenching his hands in his pillow. His cock throbbed in
anticipation of that first touch, that...outrageously beautiful mouth
surrounding him in wet heat...taking him to the place that only together,
they knew existed.

Fox moved higher, feeling the tremors increase, the closer he got to Alex's
cock. His tongue slithered along the fuzzy surface of the sac that hung
heavily beneath, then up to the base of his lover's engorged shaft.

Alex twisted and writhed, trying for all he was worth to remain silent, but
the feel of his Fox licking up and down the length of his cock was just too
much to take. Soft, unintelligible sounds squeezed past his contricted
throat, and his fingers tightened in the pillow, as if doing so would give
him the strength to keep from screaming.

Fox lapped his way up to the velvety smooth head, and flicked at the drop of
fluid at the tip. Before Alex could utter the plea that he knew would be
coming, Fox opened his mouth, and swallowed him to the root.

Alex's hips bucked off the bed, and a loud gasp pierced the air.

//Oh, thank you, God, thank you...//

//No...stop....*please*, stop....//

Fox felt Alex stiffen suddenly, and he pulled away, stroking his distressed
lover's hip.

"Alex...baby, open your eyes."

Alex took a number of steadying breaths, then did as he was asked. Fox had
moved higher, so that they were face to face.

"It's me," he said softly. "No one will ever touch you again. No one but
me." He kissed Alex tenderly. "It's my mouth." Another kiss. "Watch me.
Don't close your eyes. Watch, and see that it's me loving you..."

Fox descended again, gently taking Alex's cock back into his mouth. Alex
looked down at the golden brown head moving so slowly over him.

Fox.

It was his Fox...his lisa doing this to him. The pleasure, the unbearable
pleasure...it was good...it was wonderful, and so, so right.

Fox listened to the blissful moans, and knew that Alex understood. He
increased the pressure, sucking harder, and now bobbing his head up and down
on the long shaft.

Alex folded his pillow over his face, biting into it to keep from crying
out. He was ready. Oh God, was he ready.

Fox increased the pace, moving from quick to frenetic, driving Alex to the
brink in a matter of seconds. The younger man screamed into the pillow as he
came, emptying a seemingly endless river of fluid down his lover's throat.

Not until Alex had stopped thrashing, did Fox let him go. His body went
slack, and his eyes dropped shut, showing no signs of life, other than the
heavy rise and fall of his chest. Fox kissed and licked his spent cock, now
satisfied that his lover had been reclaimed. He moved up and onto the bed,
stretching out alongside Alex, resting his head against his chest, and
wrapping one arm around his waist. They lay quietly together for a time,
until Fox thought Alex was asleep. He kissed the damp chest, then carefully
attempted to move off of the bed. As he he did so, Alex's arms wound around
him, and held him in place.

"Don't," the soft, hoarse voice pleaded.

"Baby, this bed isn't big enough for the two of us to sleep in all night."

Alex held him tighter. "Yes it is." He shifted around, turning Fox onto his
back, then draped himself over the older man's chest. "Please stay here."

"I'll only be three feet away..."

Alex shook his head, giving Fox a most irresistable pout. "Too far."

"You know, whether you're ready or not, they're gonna kick us the hell out
of here tomorrow."

Alex snuggled against Fox's warmth. "Fine with me. I can't wait to get out
of here."

Fox pressed a kiss into his hair. "You okay?"

"Yeah...now."

"It's over, Alex. It's all over..."

"He said you wouldn't come looking for me."

"....What?"

"He didn't think you'd risk your career for me."

"Well, he was fucking idiot, wasn't he?"

Alex nodded. "I told him that if that's what he thought, he was crazy. I
knew you'd find me, and I told him when you did, he'd be in a world of shit.
He laughed it off."

"Yeah, well he's not laughing any more...I'd never have stopped, Alex. I'd
have found you or died looking."

"I know...what was your first lead?"

Fox smiled into Alex's hair. "Mitchell."

"Mitchell?"

"Yeah. We gotta buy him a bike or a Playstation or something."

"What did he know?"

"He saw some men carrying a carpet out of our yard. He didn't see that they
had you in it, he just thought that we were having a carpet removed or
something. He couldn't remember the name on the side of the van, but he told
me it was dark green. So, Scully, the Gunmen and I split up and checked
every carpet store in town. The guys found the right place, and I went over
there and uh...convinced the owner that he needed to give me all the
information he had. He said that some guy walked in a couple of days before,
threw down a wad of cash, and asked to rent the van for a few hours.
Fortunately, he had surveillance video of the guy and I recognized him right
away. I thought I'd seen him when Scully and I were in New York, but I
hadn't been sure up until that point. One of the employees at the carpet
place had heard someone call the asshole Mr. Saint James, the day he was
there. So we took the tape and the name, did a little deductive reasoning,
and started to search."

"Didn't take you too long."

"Didn't take too long? Are you kidding? Every second you were missing was an
eternity."

"I know...God knows it felt that way for me too, but you know, in reality,
you found me very quickly. You know how long some kidnappings can drag on
before the missing person is found...if ever..."

"I know. I couldn't think about that, though. It wasn't an option.....you
know....I thought I heard you. The next morning. I'd been up all night, and
Scully insisted I lie down until I could go to the neighbors. At one point
my eyes did close, but I heard you calling me, and I sat up. It was so
clear. Did you call my name?"

Alex kissed Fox's chin, then tucked his head under it. "So many times, I
lost count."

Fox heard the fatigue in his lover's tone. He kissed the top of Alex's head,
and lightly massaged his temple. "Go to sleep."

"Okay." Alex's arms tightened around Fox. "You too."

Fox nodded and closed his eyes. Moments later, both men were asleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Mr. Mulder."

Fox jumped, startling himself and Alex awake.

"I'm sorry," the nurse whispered. "I hated to wake you, but..."

"I know," Fox interrupted her. "It's okay."

"The doctor does rounds very early, so I have to take his temp, blood
pressure, and so forth."

Alex shifted, then lifted himself away from Fox's chest. He stretched,
grimaced, then smiled sleepily down at his lover. "Morning."

Fox moved off of the bed, and helped Alex sit back against the pillows. He
kissed the tip of the younger man's nose, then sat at the edge of the bed
beside him. "How do you feel?"

"Okay. A little sore. I want to go home."

The nurse stepped forward with the thermometer. "Well, love, let's get this
stuff out of the way then we'll see what the doctor has to say, hmm?" When
she was through, she smiled and patted Alex's hand. "So far, so good. The
doc should be in within a half hour or so, okay?"

"Okay."

After the door swished shut, Fox grasped Alex's hand, and brought it up to
his lips. "Sleep okay?"

"Yeah. You?"

"Mmm hmm. Felt good."

"It'll feel better in our own bed. I'm serious, Fox, I want to go home
*today*. If they don't release me, I'm going to sign myself out..."

Before Fox could answer, the door opened and Doctor Harrison walked in. "No
need for that. Your admitting doctor is on in a few minutes, and I'm going
recommend to him that you be released. Everything checks out fine, and I see
no reason to keep you."

"Good."

"Take care, Mr. Krycek, and again, I apologize for last night. I'm just
coming off of a double shift, and while I know it's no excuse, it is my
reason."

"It's okay."a

The doctor nodded to Fox, then exited the room.

Alex squeezed Fox's hand, and breathed deeply. He released the breath, and
grinned at his lover. "Home."

"Yep." Fox pulled his cell phone out and hit two. "........Scully.
Yeah...he's good. Yes, I slept. We both did. Listen, he's going to be
released today, so could you....yeah. Thanks. Okay, see you soon." Fox
disconnected and tucked the phone back into his pocket. "She's going to get
us a flight."

"Okay. God, I can't wait. I just want to get it all behind me."

Fox smiled softly. "Soon, baby."

'Soon' came a few hours later, when Alex was wheeled, griping and moaning,
out of his room.

"I don't *need* a wheelchair."

"Yes, you *do*," the orderly countered. "Hospital rules."

"I feel like an idiot!"

Fox leaned over, pressing a kiss into Alex's hair. "I know, babe. I've
ridden in plenty of these things, and I hate 'em too."

"Then tell them to let me walk out of here," Alex begged.

"I can't. It *is* the rule."

Scully smirked at her partner. "Now you know what *I* go through."

Fox smiled back. "Sorry, I'll never give you a hard time again."

"Oh, sure you won't."

Fox turned his attention back to Alex. "It's just down to the doors, babe.
Two minutes, and we'll be on our way."

"All right, all right." Alex looked up at the orderly. "Hurry the hell up,
would you?"

"Hey, man, what do you..."

"Al...Alex?"

Four heads turned in the direction of the frightened voice. Matthew sat in
an identical chair, not more than eight feet away. Two women stood beside
him, observing warily. The tiny shudder that passed through Alex's body,
vibrated against the hand that Fox had laid on his shoulder. He stared at
the young man, saying nothing.

"How...how are you?"

Alex's fingers tightened around the stems of the two roses that he'd pulled
from one of the vases before they left. The muscle flexed in his jaw, but he
said nothing.

"He's okay," Scully answered. "How about you? I see you're leaving too."

"Yeah...uh...this is my mother," he motioned to the older woman, then to the
younger, "and this is my sister."

Scully nodded to the two women. "Glad to see that you've got family to go
home to."

"Yeah. Well....um....Alex, I...I know you hate me and I don't blame you a
bit." He looked to Fox. "Either of you...but I swear, I didn't mean to hurt
you, Alex."

Alex glared at him, but remained in his chair. "Yeah...well...too little,
too late, wouldn't you say? If you'd had any kind of backbone, you little
wuss..."

"I know. I can't tell you how I wish I was like you. I really thought that
sooner or later he'd break you." Matthew shook his head. "It was stupid to
think that. You never wouldn't have given in. I admire you so much."

"Don't, okay? Don't admire me, don't think of me, just....don't."

"Listen, he just wants to apologize, for Christ's sake," the younger woman
finally spoke up in defense of her brother.

"Look, sister..."

"Okay, hold on." Fox held his hand up, stepping between his group and
Matthew's. "You've apologized. Whether or not Alex chooses to accept it, is
his call. Just go home now, and try to put your life back together, and
we'll do the same." He turned back to Alex who'd begun to brood again. "Come
on, baby. Let's go home." Fox motioned to the orderly with a flick of his
head and they moved on, leaving the next to the last tangible remnants of
Alex's ordeal behind.

The ride to the airport was a relatively quiet one. Alex sat close to Fox in
the back seat, head nestled against his lover's shoulder, allowing himself
to be stroked and comforted. Fox murmured softly to him, occasionally
receiving a one or two word response.

By the time they'd made it to the airport, things were pretty much the same.
Alex's mood remained pensive, and until Fox could get him home where he
could focus solely on him, it wasn't likely to change. All he could do was
stick close and keep up as much physical contact as possible.

As they waited for their flight, Scully spoke softly to Fox.

"I didn't have time to tell you earlier, Mulder, but Skinner is also booked
on this flight. He should be here any minute..."

"He's already here." The deep baritone turned two of the three heads to the
right. "I was getting a magazine." Skinner observed the two men sitting side
by side, one obviously in his own world. "He okay?"

Fox nodded, stroking the other's back. "Just a bit of a setback."

The corner of the AD's mouth crinkled, and he took a seat beside Scully. He
wasn't seated any longer than two minutes when the flight was called, and
the four boarded the plane.

Fox and Alex sat together, two rows up and across the aisle from Scully and
Skinner. Alex slumped into his seat and stared out the window, seemingly a
thousand miles away. A gentle hand at his cheek turned his face toward his
concerned lover's.

"We'll be home very soon."

Alex's eyes dropped to the space between them.

"Aren't you happy about that?"

The younger man nodded.

"Alex..." Fox caressed his cheek tenderly, waiting for a response. When none
was forthcoming, he eased Alex's head down onto his shoulder, and kissed he
top of his head. "Rest, baby."

Alex closed his eyes and relaxed against his lover.

Home.

God, he wished he was there right now, in bed, burrowed under the
covers...safe in Fox's arms...

Skinner's eyes kept wandering from his magazine to the couple in front. The
sound of Scully's voice startled him, bringing him back to himself.

"Inconceivable, isn't it?"

"Good word for it."

"It may be impossible to believe right now, but you will get used to it. I
never thought I would but now, it does my heart good to see them together."
Scully regarded the two men huddled together. "They truly love each other,
and really, sir, how can that be bad?"

"I don't know, Scully. This isn't just *any* man. This is Alex Krycek we're
talking about, here."

"Yes, I know that. The same Alex Krycek who took care of Mulder when he was
so sick...took him away for two months to recuperate...the same man who
faced Mulder's mother down when she beat him into the ground over the news
of their relationship...the man who makes him smile every day...turned him
into a real person...this is the same man who went out and got Mulder a
puppy, because he'd mentioned that he'd always wanted one as a boy.
Sir...you only know Alex as one person, but to a very, very large extent,
that man doesn't exist any more."

"What about the small extent?"

"Alex is fiercely protective of Mulder. He only reacts violently out of that
sense of protectiveness...or self defense. He's a thoughtful, loving man,
sir. And he's very good for Mulder. They're good for each *other*."

Skinner listened to her words, studying the men intently. "It's like a car
accident, you know? It's grisly, but you just can't look away."

"*Grisly*, sir?"

"Sorry, that may be a bit harsh, but it was the best comparison I could come
up with." He turned his face to her. "You're *really* sold on them, aren't
you?"

Bright blue eyes zeroed in on deep brown. "One hundred and ten percent
sold."

Skinner studied the sober face, then looked up ahead and said nothing more.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Langly stood at the terminal-length window, looking into the sky. "Plane
should be landing soon."

"Uh-huh."

"Man, Frohike, you should've seen Mulder. He was like...*crazed*. Even
Scully couldn't hold him back."

"Unfreakinbelievable. Three years later, man, I gotta say it still amazes me
how tight they are. After all this time, it's *gotta* be more than good
sex..."

The flight they'd been waiting for was called, and Frohike breathed a sigh
of relief. "Thank God. I was glad to help but you know, I really don't like
the way that dog looks at me..."

"Clyde? He's a great dog!"

Frohike shook his head. "Yeah...when there are other people around. When
we're alone, it's a different story. He just sits there at night...staring
at me. You ever see that movie...Devil Dog Hound of Hell? That's him."

"You're crazy."

"Think what you want. One night, *you* should watch him. I bet you'll say
the same thing."

"Yeah...okay, Frohike...whatever...hey." Langly tapped his companion's arm.
"Here they come."

Fox and Alex approached first, followed by Scully and Skinner.

"Hey, guys," Fox smiled at them. "Thanks for picking us up."

"No problem, man." Frohike eyed Alex cautiously. "Uh...hey, Krycek. How are
you?"

"Okay...thanks for the flowers, guys. It was nice of you."

"No problemo."

"And thanks for helping..."

Frohike shrugged. "We're glad you're safe."

Alex gave a slight nod of his head, and looked down at the floor.

"Come on, babe," Fox nuzzled the side of Alex's head. "Let's go home."

The group walked out to the parking lot, then split up.

"Scully, I'll give you a lift if you like," Skinner spoke up as they
approached Frohike's car. "I left my car here in the lot."

"Thank you, I'd appreciate that." Scully turned to her partner and his
lover. "You two get some rest, okay?"

"We will. Scully, thank you again. And I apologize if I got out of line..."

"*If*?" Scully laughed softly. "It's okay, Mulder. I understand completely."
She turned to the man who stood by his side. "Alex, I'll see you later,
okay?"

"Okay."

Scully stepped forward, wrapping her arms around him and planting a soft
kiss on the lightly stubbled jaw. "Welcome home," she whispered.

"Thank you," Alex croaked, returning her embrace.

Skinner stepped forward, quickly glancing at Alex, then away. "Agent Mulder,
I think a few days off would do you good."

"Yes, sir. I appreciate that."

"I don't want to see you until next Monday."

Fox nodded, then looked quickly to Scully. "Jeez, Scully, I just
remembered."

"What?"

"You're leaving tomorrow to go to your brother's. You're going to be
exhausted. One more reason for him to hate me...."

"I'm not going."

"Why not?"

"I just think I should hang out here..."

"Scully...I dont' want to be the cause of you missing yet another family get
together."

"*You're* not..." Scully gave him an affectionate scowl. "Alex is." The
other man gave her a quizzical stare. "I just wouldn't feel right, leaving
so soon after he got home."

"Scully," Alex argued softly. "Don't stay here because of me. I'm fine..."

"Forget it, Krycek. I'm staying, and I don't want to hear another word about
it."

Both men fell silent, knowing that once Dana Scully had her mind made up
about something, it was damn near impossible to change it.

"Now, don't worry, I don't intend to hang around your house, I just want to
be here in case you might need me. Now, go on. Get out of here."

The group split up, Scully leaving with the AD, and Fox and Alex with Langly
and Frohike.

The two men slid into the back seat of Frhike's car, sitting close together.
Fox kissed the side of his lover's head, and stroked his arm.

"How're you doing?"

"A little tired. Little sore."

"We'll be home in about twenty minutes."

Alex nodded, allowing himself to be pulled against Fox's chest. There he
stayed, not speaking, not moving, until the car pulled up into their
driveway.

"Baby...we're home."

Alex raised his head, staring silently up at the house. He moved slowly away
from Fox, opening the door, and exiting the car. The older man swung his
legs out onto the driveway, and levered himself up behind Alex.

"Sometimes," Alex began softly, "I was afraid..."

"Afraid of what?"

"Of never seeing this house again. Never seeing you pull up into the
driveway after work...never taking Clyde for another walk..."

Fox wrapped an arm around Alex's waist and pulled him back into his warmth.
"But you're here. You're home and it's all over. Come on. Let's go in."

"Alex! Hey, *Alex*!" The small boy ran up into the driveway. "I told my
mother it was you. You're back!"

Alex managed a smile for his neighbor. "Yeah, Mitchell. I'm back. Thanks to
you, I hear."

The boy looked hopefully up at Fox. "Really?"

"Really. If you hadn't seen that van, Mitchell, Alex might not be here right
now. We both owe you a really big thank you."

"Wow."

"Listen, buddy, Alex is really tired. I need to get him into the house right
now, so he can get some rest, okay?"

"Oh, yeah, sure! You go rest, Alex. I'm really glad you're back."

"Thanks, Mitchell. We'll see you later."

As soon as the boy was gone, Frohike tapped Fox's shoulder. "Listen, we're
gonna take off now."

"Thanks, guys. I'll be in touch."

Their friends left, and Fox slipped an arm around Alex's waist, leading him
up to the door. As he put the key in the lock, the sound of excited whines
could be heard on the other side of the door.

"He knows it's you," Fox smiled as he turned the knob and pushed the door
open.

Before Alex could take two steps inside, the dog was on him, washing his
face with sloppy kisses.

"Clyde..."

"It's okay, Fox." Alex pushed the dog off, then squatted before he could
leap up again. Clyde dropped to the floor in front of him, wiggling and
howling with joy. Alex scratched the dog's chest and head. "I missed you
too, pal. I promise, from now on I'll listen to anything you have to say."

Finally, he stood up and looked around. Fox watched as he began to drift
about, followed closely by Clyde, occasionally straightening this and
re-adjusting that. When he was satisfied that everything was again how he'd
left it, he stopped. Feeling Fox's gaze on him, he turned around. Their eyes
met and held for several seconds before Alex broke contact.

"I uh...I think I'll go take a shower...get out of these clothes.

Fox gave him an amused grin. "Don't care for Scully's choice of attire?"

Alex shrugged. "It's...they're not mine..."

Fox nodded, understanding that what Alex needed most right now was
familiarity.

"Don't say anything to Scully, okay? I really appreciate that she took the
time to go clothes shopping for me."

"She'd understand, but I won't tell her, okay?" Fox held his hand out to his
lover. "Come on."

Alex took the outstretched hand and let Fox lead him through the bedroom and
into the bathroom. "Want any help?" he asked, turning on the shower.

"No. Thanks, I'm okay."

"All right. Umm...I'll just...I'll leave you alone."

As Fox walked to the door, Alex's soft voice stopped him.

"Lisa..."

"Yeah?"

Alex walked to the older man and wrapped his arms around his waist, dropping
his head onto his shoulder. Fox hugged Alex to him, and brushed his lips
across the back of his neck.

"Go ahead. Go take your shower."

Alex pulled reluctantly from the warmth of his lover's arms, allowing him to
leave the bathroom. Once Fox was gone, he undressed, tossing every scrap of
clothing into a pile on the floor, then stepped under the spray, sighing as
the water pounded into his flesh. He turned around, gritting his teeth as
the spray stung his back. Enduring the discomfort, he washed as quickly as
he could, then stepped out of the tub. He pulled the bathtowel off of the
counter and began to dry himself. When he got to his back, he attempted to
dry himself in the usual manner, but the pain of the cotton rubbing back and
forth across the wounds stopped him. He finished drying the rest of his
body, then inched the door open.

"Fox?"

No answer.

He called a little louder.

"Fox?"

Seconds later, Fox appeared in the hall. "Yeah? You okay?"

"Yeah, but...can you help me for a second?"

Fox moved into the room, backing Alex into the middle of the floor. "Sure.
What do you need?"

"I can't dry my back right. The fricition of the towel..."

Fox moved closer, kissing the damp head. He took the towel from Alex's
hands, and began to gently pat his back dry. That accomplished, he gathered
up the clothes and the towel, and tossed them into the laundry basket.

"Thank you," Alex said quietly, wrapping another towel around his waist, and
moving to the sink.

Fox stood behind him while he brushed his teeth, making small talk.

"Mrs. Mitchell was here a few minutes ago. She just came over to say that
she was glad that you're back and you're okay."

Alex finished up, then turned to face his lover. "That was nice of her."

"Yeah, I thought so." Fox fell silent, observing the younger man. "What's
the matter, baby?"

"Nothing, I'm just...I don't know why I'm so tired all the time."

"I do. You've been under a tremendous amount of stress. You know how
exhausting that is."

"But it seems like all I've done lately is sleep."

"You can sleep, Alex, and not be at rest." Fox took his hand and led him
into the bedroom. He pulled the light blanket and sheet back, then turned to
face Alex. His hands rose to the towel, working it loose, then pulled the
cotton sheet away.

Alex stood silently, allowing himself to be stripped of his only covering.
He accepted a gentle kiss, then crawled into bed. He settled back against
the mound of pillows, emitting an audible sigh as Fox drew the sheet up over
his chest. The older man sat at the edge of the bed, tenderly caressing his
forehead.

"Go to sleep, baby."

Alex's eyes drifted shut, then opened again. "Fox?"

"Hmm?"

"S...nothing."

"What?"

Alex shook his head. "It's stupid."

"What is?"

No response.

"Alex...tell me."

"Stay with me a while?"

"Of course I'll stay with you. What's so stupid about that?"

"I'm a big boy. I should be able to go to sleep by myself."

"But you don't *have* to. I'm here, and I'll stay here for as long as you
want me to." Fox lifted Alex's hand to his lips. "You want me to be here
when you wake up? I won't move."

Alex curled his fingers around Fox's hand and squeezed. "No...unless you're
planning on taking a nap *with* me."

"That's sounds good, baby, but there are a few things that I need to take
care of."

Alex nodded. "Just stay then until I fall asleep?"

Fox dropped a kiss on his lover's mouth. "Okay. Now, come on. Close your
eyes."

Alex did as he was told, arching into his Fox's comforting
touch...luxuriating in loving warmth until sleep came to take him.

Fox watched Alex's respiration slow, and even out. Saw the periodic flutter
of his lashes cease, and knew he was finally asleep. He sat for long minutes
afterward, listening to the soft exchange of air, contenting himself with
the feel of his love's warm skin beneath his wandering fingertips.
Reluctantly, he withdrew his hand, and rose to his feet. A wave of emotion
crashed over him as he looked down at the man he so dearly loved.

So much pain in one brief lifetime.

Only over the last three years had Alex begun to feel like a real person
worthy of a normal life, and now this.

Stalked and trapped. Beaten and caged like an animal. Having things done to
his body so competely against his will...

It wasn't fair that the peace he'd finally found should be so cruelly torn
from him.

Fox shook as rage crept in, mingling with the hurt. He needed something more
to do. Someone to hurt as they'd hurt Alex, but that someone was dead.
Beaten to death by his own hand, yet it wasn't enough. The son of a bitch
died too easily. He needed to suffer. To be tortured...to have his heart
torn out the way he'd tried to tear away Alex's soul...

//Fucker got a hell of a surprise though, didn't he baby? He didn't know
what he was getting himself into when he decided to mess with us.//

Fox brushed his fingers through Alex's hair, needing to touch him one more
time, before quietly leaving the room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alex's eyes snapped open and darted around the room. His heart pounded in
his chest as confusion clouded his first waking moments. But reality began
to take hold, and the fear faded and fell away.

Home.

He turned his face into his pillow, inhaling the familiar scent.

"I'm home," he whispered to himself, needing to say the words. To make it
real. He shifted, pulling one of Fox's pillows to him, and lay his head on
it. His eyes closed, and he listened to the chatter of the sparrows that
always came around in the very late afternoon, looking for their last meal
of the evening...

//Damn.//

Alex sat up and threw the sheet off. At the sound, a pair of ears rose above
the mattress on the other side of the bed. Clyde pulled himself up on his
haunches and watched as his master got out of bed and pulled some clothing
out of his drawer and closet. Once dressed in his favorite faded jeans and a
soft, comfortable t-shirt, Alex whistled softly to the dog, and walked out
toward the kitchen.

As he got closer, the smell of something cooking reached his nose.

Couldn't be.

Best Fox could manage was scrambled eggs and the occasional steak.

Alex wondered for a brief moment if Fox might not have had something
delievered, but as he came through the door, the sights accompanying the
smells told him that he was bearing witness to some sort of miracle. There
Fox stood, amongst a plethora of pots and pans, cookbooks and mixing bowls,
and he was....cooking.

Food.

And it smelled *good*.

Okay, the kitchen looked like a bomb went off in it, but...

Fox turned, sensing Alex's presence. He smiled at the younger man, and
laughed softly, noting the look of confusion.

"Dinner'll be ready in about half an hour."

"You....you're cooking."

"Yeah..."

"You don't cook."

Fox shrugged. "No better time to learn. Sorry, but you're my guinea pig."

"Oh, boy."

"How'd you sleep?"

"Fine, I guess."

"I checked in on you a couple of times, and you seemed to be pretty well out
of it....shit!" He spun quickly back to the stove, turning the flame down on
a boiling kettle.

"Let me help you, lisa..." Alex moved toward the stove, but Fox caught him
by the shoulders and turned him around.

"No, you don't. Go do...something....I'll be fine."

"You sure?" Alex asked, eyebrows drawn together, prematurely mourning the
destruction of his kitchen.

"Positive. Now get out of here. You're distracting me." Fox kissed the back
of Alex's head and returned to work.

"Okay, well, I was going to go out and fill the feeders, anyway."

"Oh yeah, they must be wondering what the hell happened to the food."

Alex picked up the bucket he kept the seed mix in, and opened up the back
door. He allowed to Clyde to bound out ahead of him, then he turned, meeting
Fox's gaze. He offered a crooked smile, immediately receiving a similar
response. He closed the door behind him, and walked out into the yard.

The sun hung very low in the sky, painting the clouds with several different
shades of burgundy and pink. Alex stood at the door, drinking in the beauty
of the moment. He thought to call Fox out to see, but considered the
consequences of him leaving things cooking on the stove, and decided against
it.

When he'd seen enough, Alex set about the task of filling the four feeders.
Clyde wandered the span of the large yard sniffing under bushes, yapping at
the occasional low-flying bird, but always vigilant, watching Alex's every
move.

Alex filled the last feeder, then looked around the yard. He turned in a
slow arc, looking at the fences, searching...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Done.

Damn, and it looked good.

Unbelievable.

//Better get Alex before it gets cold...or hard...or something...//

Fox opened the door and looked out into the yard. He scanned the area,
becoming a bit worried when he didn't see Alex right away. But he remembered
that Clyde was with him, and relaxed. He stepped outside and began walking
to the far end of the yard.

"Alex....hey....Alex?"

Alex emerged from a large group of hydrangeas, violently shoving the
branches aside as he did.

"What the heck are you doing?" Fox's smiled faded when he saw the look in
Alex's eyes. "Baby...what is it? What's wrong?"

Alex's head snapped from left to right, then front, focusing on the other
man. "I don't...how did they get in here without me knowing? Where did they
come from?"

Before Fox could answer, Alex was striding toward the other end of the yard.
The older man followed at a safe distance, allowing his lover much headway.
Alex opened and closed the wooden gate, checking for squeaks.

"Why didn't I hear them? Yeah, I had the hose on, but *still*..."

"I don't know, Alex," Fox said calmly. "It doesn't matter any more. It's
over."

"It *does* matter. I let some fucking amateurs get the drop on me. How the
*hell* did that happen? What's happened to me?" He answered his own
question. "My instincts...my senses have gone to hell. This *never* would
have happened three years ago."

"No, probably not. But your life is much different now than it was then.
You've got no reason to be so defensive. Your guard has come down..."

"Yeah, and look what it got me. The rewards of soft living...beautiful..."

Fox's eyes fell away from Alex's face.

The anger was coming out. He knew it would. He didn't know how or what, he
only knew that it would happen, and that it wouldn't be pretty.

"...I was....*caged*, for Christ's sake..." He began to pace. "....and
restrained....he...*touched* me, that fucking son of a bitch...and his
words....the things he said made me sicker than his touch. And I couldn't do
anything, I couldn't....I killed a lot of them...I used every opportunity I
had, but it was him....it was him I wanted and I couldn't....he drugged me,
did you know that?"

"I know..."

"And all this shit happened, why? Because I've gone fucking soft."

"Alex...." Fox approached slowly. "You haven't gone soft. It's just
that...your lifestyle has changed...for the better, I thought..."

"Oh, yeah, better," Alex ranted blindly, "being beaten and shackled to a bed
for a few days is definitely better." He laughed harshly. "Well, hey...at
least I got my cock sucked, right? That's something. The kid wasn't great,
but apparently he was good enough to make me come down his throat, so it
wasn't a total loss, I guess..."

Fox flinched and closed his eyes.

Alex turned around and fell onto the ground. He sat with his back to his
lover, his fingers raking again and again through his hair. A few minutes
went by before his hand stopped and his body began to rock back and forth.

"Jesus...oh, Jesus.....Fox..."

No answer.

Alex pivoted, looking around the yard. Only Clyde remained, lying a few feet
away, looking anxiously from Alex to the kitchen door. Alex turned back,
burying his face in trembling hands. He sat that way until the sun had
completely disappeared, then rose and walked into the house.

All was quiet.

Alex walked through the kitchen, noting that all the pans and bowls were
covered and the room was semi-clean. He made his way through the house,
finally finding Fox sitting in the dining room, staring down into an empty
glass. He stood silently in the doorway, not knowing what to say. The table
had been completely set. Flowers, taper candles now burned to half their
original length. China...silver...wine...

Alex spoke Fox's name, barely above a hoarse whisper.

Fox rose from the table and walked toward the door. "Are you hungry now?
I'll reheat everything. I don't know how good it's going to be..."

"Lisa...I'm sorry."

"Don't be. You needed to get it out."

"I hurt you...I didn't mean to."

"It's all right, Alex. Don't worry about it." Fox tried to move past Alex,
but he wouldn't allow it.

"I love you, Fox, and I love our life. I wouldn't trade my life with you for
anything in the world. I was just...I was lashing out." His eyes glazed over
with unshed tears. "I owe you my life, and look what I'm doing to you..."

"You don't owe me anything," Fox said, eyes downcast.

"Lisa," Alex choked. "Please...I love you. I can't tell you how grateful I
am to be home. Every minute of every day, I prayed for this." He stepped
forward, wrapping his arms around his lover's neck, and burying his face in
his shoulder "Please believe me..."

Fox felt Alex struggling to hold himself together. The warm dampness
spreading down the front of his shirt told him that the distraut man had
quickly lost that battle. He wound his arms around Alex and cried with him.

When the quiet sobs had finished, they remained clinging to each other.

"I believe you," Fox whispered into Alex's hair. "It was a terrible thing
that happened to you, and no matter how I reacted a little while ago, I do
understand. Promise me you'll say and do whatever you feel, okay? You need
to get it all out. It's important that you do."

"I can't feel better if I hurt you."

"This isn't about me."

"It happened to you too. I know you, Fox, and I know how crazy this made
you. You're probably every bit as stressed as I am, even if it's in a little
different way. At least I've slept. You've had no real rest to speak of. Yet
here you are taking care of me, cooking for me...and look what I'm doing."

"Alex, it would have been far worse if you'd kept it inside and let it
fester. I should...I should have been better prepared. By turning away, I
made you feel that it was wrong for you to let it out, and I'm sorry. You
did exactly the right thing. Please don't feel bad about that. Let go of the
guilt. If you hold on to it, it's going to be much harder for you to heal."

"I can't not think about your feelings, lisa."

I know that. But I'll be all right. In my heart I knew that you didn't
really mean what you were saying. I knew you just needed to blow off some
steam. I shouldn't have let it get to me. Guess my emotions are still pretty
raw, too."

Alex rested his cheek against the other man's shoulder. "I know how wild I
would have been if our situations were reversed and it was you who were
missing. And I think I'd be pretty exhausted right now. Why don't you sit
down and relax, and let me go see if dinner can be saved..."

"No. No, no. Listen, baby. You said you couldn't not worry about my
feelings, right? Well right now, nothing would make me feel better than
taking care of you. As determined as I was to find you, and though I'd never
say it, the thought that I may never see you again was always in the back of
my mind, and it terrified me." Fox hugged the younger man gently,
ever-mindful of the sensitivity of his back. "I've got you back, and all I
want to do is touch you and kiss you and show you how much I love you."

Alex tightened his arms around Fox, pressing himself closer. Fox scattered a
number of tiny kisses in his hair.

"Let me baby you for just a little while, okay?"

Alex raised his head, meeting his lover's eye. Fox smiled softly at him,
brushing at the dampness on his cheek with the back of his hand. Alex
covered the hand with his own, holding it against his skin.

"I love you."

"Was that a yes?"

"Can I ever say no to you?"

Fox leaned in and kissed the side of Alex's mouth. He drew back slightly,
then moved in again, planting another soft kiss on his chin. Then his
cheek...

Alex's eyes drfted shut and he took in a deep breath. His lips parted
slightly to release it, and found Fox's tongue slipping between them. He
groaned softly, opening his mouth, allowing his lover further exploration.

Fox immediately took Alex up on his offer, stroking his tongue over the
smooth, hard surface of his teeth, and the soft walls of his mouth, before
making contact with it's mate.

Alex's hands wandered over Fox's back and shoulders as the older man's
fingers tangled in his hair, holding his head still, and their tongues
slithered and twisted around each other in blissful reunion. Alex's jeans
became more and more uncomfortable as his cock swelled within the denim,
begging for release. He writhed against Fox, whimpering into his mouth, but
the older man pulled away. Alex stood in silent frustration as Fox took both
of his hands and raised them to his lips.

"Sit down and relax," he said softly. "I'm going to go see what I can do
about salvaging our dinner."

//Relax? Is he fucking kidding?//

Alex kept his thoughts to himself, and sat at the table, shifting several
times before he found a not-so-uncomfortable position.

Fox smiled down at him. "Be back in a few."

When he was gone, Alex bowed his head.

"God."

He raised his head and looked over a the wine bottle. He pulled it out of
the ice bucket, wiped the water away, and held the icy coolness against his
crotch. A few minutes later, the cold had saturated through the worn
material enough to bring him some relief. He replaced the bottle, then
leaned his head back against the chair and closed his eyes. Sometime later,
a soft tickling sensation on his lips brought him to full consciousness. His
eyes opened to find Fox tracing the outline of his mouth with the tip of his
tongue. He moaned as his cock leapt to attention.

"Dinner is served."

Alex pulled himself upright, his frustration temporarily put aside as his
stomach rumbled in response to the aromas wafting up from the table.

"Smells as good as it did earlier." He smirked at his lover. "Of course, I'm
*starving* now..."

"Try it, wiseass." Fox took his place across from Alex and waited for him to
have the first taste. "Well?" The pleasantly surprised expression told him
what he wanted to know.

Alex swallowed the first bite and dug in for another. "You got no more
excuses, baby. This is great."

"Do you really think so? Or are you just saying that to make me feel good?"

"Would I lie to you and purposely open myself up to more culinary torture?
Of course, not. It really is good." Alex glanced down into his plate. "Sorry
we didn't get to eat it when it was hot the first time."

Fox shrugged. "Sometimes stuff tastes better reheated."

The two men ate in silence, genuinely enjoying the meal. When they were
finished, Fox slumped against the back of his chair, staring at Alex. The
younger man immediately felt that familiar warmth spread through his body,
and his gaze fell away from his lover's face.

"So....dessert?"

Alex shook his head. "I'm stuffed."

"Okay, well..." Fox pushed away from the table. "...I'll just clean this
up..."

Alex rose as well, beginning to gather the dishes.

"What are you doing?"

"Helping you clear the table?"

"Didn't we settle this?"

"Fox, come on..."

"Out."

"But it'll be done faster if I help you."

Fox suppressed a smirk. "What's the big rush?"

Alex approached, rubbing his head against Fox's cheek. "We haven't really
spent any time together since we got home."

"Oh. Well....be that as it may, I want you to turn around and take your
pretty ass into the living room..." he tapped the underside of Alex's chin
with one finger, "...or the bedroom....and I'll be with you soon."

Alex let out an audible sigh. "Just hurry up, okay?"

Fox pressed a hand to his ass and pulled him forward, then rocked their hips
back and forth. His mouth swept down for a long, thorough kiss. When he
pulled away, they were both breathing a little heavier. "I will. Now go on."

Alex trudged out of the dining room and into the bedroom where he flopped
down on the bed, reaching for the remote, and gathering a couple of pillows
under his chest. He turned the televison on, restlessly flipping through
channel after channel. Three times around, he gave up and settled on yet
another in an endless stream of 'buddy' comedies, laden with tired jokes,
sexual inudendo and canned laughter.

"Jesus, who keeps thinking this crap up?"

Fifteen minutes into the program, Alex's eyes began to close. He shook his
head, trying to ward off his body's attempt at shutting down, but to no
avail. Minutes later, he was sound asleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


"Hmm?"

"Shh."

Alex shifted, still more than half asleep. He lay limply while his t-shirt
was gently pulled from his body. He felt the pressure of the button on his
jeans being pulled at, then felt the soft grind of the zipper being pulled
down. From somewhere above his head, his love's soft montone sounded.

"Help me out here, baby."

He lifted his hips just far enough off the mattress so that Fox could work
them down and off. When he'd been stripped naked, he turned onto his side,
again drifting toward sleep. A brief time later, he felt the warmth of Fox's
body pressed against his back. Instinctively, he pushed back, wedging the
solid length of Fox's erection against his ass. The whispering moan that
came from behind encouraged a small, teasing wiggle, and then Fox's arms
were wrapping around him.

Gently, Fox caressed his lover's chest and arms, kissing the sensitive skin
at the back of his neck, and tickling the fine hairs there with the tip of
his tongue.

"Mmmmm." Alex's left hand rose to stroke the leg that had draped itself over
his hip, but it was stopped by Fox's hand and returned to its resting place
on the mattress in front of his chest. His head turned and his eyes began to
open. Before he could question or protest, Fox's lips grazed his ear, and he
whispered into it.

"Relax, baby. Just lie still, close your eyes, and let me take care of you."

The sable lashes swept downward again, and Alex turned his head back into
the pillow.

"That's good..." Fox's tongue passed once over his ear before he moved to
his shoulder, dropping tender kisses along the way. His hand crept up and
down Alex's chest, stopping to play for a moment in the light scattering of
dark hairs before moving to one already tight nipple. He circled it gently
with the tips of his fingers, and heard the soft gasp. He nuzzled the back
of Alex's head, then kissed his neck and shoulders while still teasing the
nipple.

Pretty well awake now, Alex whimpered into the pillow.

//Ohhhhhh, God....//

Maybe it was the joy of being back home. Maybe it was the fact that he
hadn't actually made love with Fox for almost five days. Could have been the
relief of Fox still wanting him like this after what had happened. He didn't
know. But Jesus, the sensations were incredible. The hospital was wonderful.
God knows he really needed that, but this was different. They were home.
Naked together in their own bed, Fox wrapped around him, loving him so
sweetly. Life was good again.

Alex twisted and groaned as Fox's tongue flattened against the skin on the
back of his neck, and he gently licked the entire area. He knew that patch
of skin was sensitive to his touch, and he milked it for all it was worth,
reveling in his lover's soft sounds of pleasure. His hand left Alex's nipple
and traveled downward, lightly skimming the heated surface of skin and
contracting muscle. As his hand approached the twitching cock, it veered
left, stroking down Alex's thigh, then back up. He felt the younger man's
body tighten, and he ceased movement.

"Are you okay?"

The concerned tone in Fox's voice filtered through the fog in Alex's brain,
and he responded, nodding slowly. "Okay...please, Fox," he sighed into the
pillow, "please...touch....touch me."

Fox moved his hand downward, covering and lightly caressing Alex's cock with
the palm of his hand. "Like this?"

"*Yes*. Oh God, Fox, like that." Alex tried to open his eyes. He wanted to
look at Fox...to get lost in his eyes, but it felt as though someone had
weighted his eyelids. "I love you so much. So....much...."

Fox wrapped his hand around Alex's cock, loving the feel of velvet-sheathed
steel in his palm. Alex's head fell back against his shoulder and a long
gasp tumbled from his lips. Fox merely held him, refusing to move his hand,
even as Alex begged him to proceed.

"Soon, baby, but not yet. Just relax and enjoy the feel of my hand around
you." Fox's thumb moved ever so slightly in an up and down motion. He teased
the interior of Alex's ear with the tip of his tongue. "Doesn't that feel
good?"

Alex whimpered and nodded his head.

"Yeah....who do you belong to, Alexei?"

A choked cry escaped Alex's throat, then he answered.

"You."

"That's right," Fox rasped into his ear, and gently squeezed his cock for
emphasis. "*All* of you." Fox released the throbbing shaft and wrapped his
arm around Alex's chest. "Mine. This body belongs to me...your mind...every
thought, every idea revolves around me..."

In another time and place, Alex would have given him a hard time about that
statement, citing an ego as big as all outdoors, but he was in no condition,
and besides, fuck it all, it was true.

"...your heart and your soul..."

"Yours."

Fox rolled away from Alex briefly, leaving the younger man drowning in
frustration until he returned only seconds later. He worked his arm under
Alex, wrapping it around his chest and pulling him securely against his
body. He then slipped the lubed fingers of his free hand between the muscles
of Alex's ass, stroking and gently probing the tightly clenched ring of
muscle.

"Don't you want me inside you, baby?"

"You know...know I do..."

Fox kissed his shoulder. "But you're so tight."

"I'm sorry. I can't...can't relax."

"Why not?"

"Your fault."

"Mine?"

Alex nodded. "You did...did this to...me..."

"What did I do?"

"Drove me crazy...can't stop...stop shaking..."

"But baby," Fox nipped at the skin on the side of Alex's neck, "don't you
want to feel my cock deep inside you?"

"Oh, God, *yes*. Please, Fox, please... right now."

"You're too tight. I don't want to hurt you."

"You won't hurt me. Please...*please*."

"Jesus Christ, Alex, you're so beautiful when you're desperate." Unable to
wait any more, Fox grasped his cock by the base and worked it slowly to the
contstricing opening. "Tell me if it hurts too much."

Inch by painstaking inch Fox thrust inside, pausing often to allow them both
a little time before continuing. When he was finally, completely buried
inside his lover, he stopped again, gasping for breath. "Don't move," he
whispered urgently, "don't...God, don't move."

Alex lay perfectly still, afraid to speak or even breathe. His mind and his
body were screaming for release, but at the same time, he wanted to...he
*needed* to feel his Fox thrusting into him; possessing him. He needed to be
shown that even after all the talking, all the assurances, Fox truly
*wanted* him.

Fox struggled to regulate his breathing, and calm the erratic pounding of
his heart. As he began to settle down, he nuzzled the back of Alex's head,
then slipped his hand under the younger man's cheek.

"Baby."

Alex fought to open his eyes as Fox turned his face away from the pillow.

Fox stroked the stubbled cheek, waiting. When the sea of glittering green
focused on his face, he moved in for a long, tender kiss. As his tongue
explored the dark recesses of Alex's mouth, his hand dropped down to his
lover's cock, stroking and teasing him back to that state of insanity he'd
just brought him down from. In response, Alex began to rock frantically
against him, but was immediately stopped by a simple 'no' mumbled against
his mouth.

"Fox..."

"Are you ready?" Fox circled the flared head with his thumb.

"*Yes.* Please, lisa."

"All right. Easy, now. Relax, and I'll do it all." His mouth covered Alex's
once more, and he began to move, using long, agonizingly slow strokes.

Alex lay still, moaning into Fox's mouth, allowing himself to be made love
to. The pressure mounted slowly, rising to an intolerable level, as Fox
picked up the pace just a bit. He refused to move any faster, though both
bodies begged him to bring them to a quick, and furious finish.

Not this time. Not tonight.

"My beautiful, beautiful baby," he moaned against Alex's mouth, "you feel so
good, so....let it go, Alexei. Come for me..."

An electrical surge shot through Alex. Fox's words always had as much of an
effect on him as what he was doing to him physically.

"God...oh, sh....*Fox*..."

"That's it," Fox panted, pumping Alex's cock in time to his thrusts. "I want
to hear you. Let me know how good it feels..."

The moment took Alex over, not in a blinding, violent crash of thunder and
lightning, but rather in a slow but very intense rumble that rolled through
him again and again, shaking his body to its very core. His body tightened
around Fox, forcing him to join him in the abyss.

Through his own blinding pleasure, Fox tried to give Alex every bit of
satisfaction he could. He worked the twitching man's cock steadily, even as
his body began to give out and, he collapsed against Alex's back.When the
cries of both men faded into soft whimpers, Fox ceased the movement of his
hand, and released his lover's now depleted cock. He started to move away,
but Alex's soft plea stopped him.

"Please don't," the younger man breathed softly. "Don't move. I want to fall
asleep with you inside me."

Fox wrapped both arms around him, and kissed his neck and face. He pressed
closer, pushing his softening cock deeper into his exhausted lover.

"So good," he whispered into Alex's ear.

The other man virtually purred with contentment and curled into Fox's
warmth. He murmured something into the pillow that sounded like it might
have been 'I love you', but Fox was too far gone to hear or respond. Minutes
later, the room was silent except for the soft sounds made by two deeply
satisfied men, asleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alex burrowed into the pillows, listening to the crash of the rain on the
roof and windows. He blinked sluggishly and opened his eyes.

Dark, but not nighttime dark.

Faint rumble of thunder.

He loved rainstorms. Nothing he enjoyed more than cuddling safe and warm in
bed with Fox, while the elements raged outside.

Fox.

Alex hadn't yet turned around, but he knew that his lover wasn't in bed with
him.

He pulled himself up, and glanced down at the clock, frowning.

Eleven-twelve.

Damn, he'd slept a long time. Fox should have been sleeping, too. Just as he
was about to go off in search of him, the door opened and Fox entered. He
gave Alex a brilliant smile.

"I was beginning to think you were going to sleep all afternoon, too."

"How long have you been up?"

"Little while."

"What's a little while?"

"Two hours, maybe."

Alex tossed a hurt pout his way. "Why didn't you stay in bed with me?"

"Because," Fox explained, approaching the bed and dropping down beside his
lover, "I thought it might be nice to have some breakfast when you got up.
And since I didn't know when that was..."

"I can't believe I slept so long."

"You needed it. How do you feel?"

Alex smiled in his direction. "Pretty good."

Fox inched closer, murmuring, "Can you still feel me?"

The thick eyelashes drooped at the question. "Yeah," he whispered.

"I woke up for a few minutes at around two, and we were still in the exact
same position."

Alex laughed softly. "Did you pull out?"

"Hell no. I just went back to sleep. We must have separated sometime after
that."

Alex's hand slid across the short distance, his index and middle fingers
skimming across Fox's lower lip. "You weren't uncomfortable after all that
time?"

With a flick of his head, Fox caught the fingers between his lips, stroking
his tongue over them. He released them, giving Alex one of those patented
smoldering stares that turned the younger man's insides to hot liquid. "How
could I be uncomfortable?" He crept closer, working a hand under the sheet.
"There's no more comfortable place in the world for me to be than in this
sweet ass." Fox stroked the firm muscle.

Alex squirmed under his touch. "Uh...didn't you say something about
breakfast?"

"Mmm hmm. I'm about to have mine..."

"What are you...oh, God...." Alex's hands clenched in the pillow, as Fox
slipped beneath the sheet and unceremoniously sucked his hardening cock into
his mouth. "Fox," his head rolled restlessly from side to side, "oh,
my....oh, *shit*."

Fox cupped Alex's ass gently, sucking and lapping at the rigid shaft, his
head moving forward and back, driving his lover quickly toward a violent
erruption.

Alex turned his face into the pillow then away, letting his hoarse cries
echo through the room ad he emptied himself into his lover's mouth.

When Fox had milked Alex of every last drop, he released his cock then slid
up to kiss him. "Best breakfast I've had in ages...uh...your French toast
not withstanding..."

Alex laughed weakly. "Gee, thanks."

"You getting up, now?"

"After what you just did to me? I know I've got some pretty amazing
recuperative powers, but..."

"I *meant*, are you getting out of *bed*?"

"Oh." Alex smirked at him. "I guess so." He moaned into Fox's mouth as the
older man kissed him again, and yet again.

Fox pulled away and looked down at the younger man, eyes sparkling. "Now.
About breakfast...if you want to stay here, I'll bring it to you."

"Ah. I'm still being pampered?"

"Yes, you are. Any objections?"

"No, but *you* might have some soon. Keep this up and you're liable to turn
me into a spoiled monster."

"I'll risk it."

Alex smiled at his lover. "That's sweet, but..." he sat up and stretched. "I
really gotta get up."

"Okay. Well, let me go get it going." Fox swung off the bed and headed for
the door. "Call when you want me to come dry your back."

Before Alex could answer, he was gone. The man left behind rolled to his
feet and wandered into the bathroom, wearing a soft, satisfied smile.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Hello?"

"Hey. How's the patient?"

Fox smiled into the phone. "Pretty good, I think. Last night was a little
rough but things are better now."

"What happened? Can you talk about it?"

"Yeah, he's in the shower. Mm...he was a little uneasy at first. Walked
around moving things. You know, stuff that was out of place, I guess..."

"Well, you know what *that's* all about..."

"I know. Anyway, he had a shower and I put him to bed, and he seemed to
relax a bit, though he didn't want me to leave him until he went to sleep. I
went and got ready to start dinner, and he came out a couple of hours later.
He smiled and joked with me about cooking, and he seemed in a much better
state of mind. He went outside to fill the bird feeders...I finished
cooking, and went out to call him. In that little bit of time, he'd done a
complete turn around. He was pacing around, checking the perimeter of the
yard, searching the bushes and the fences, looking for the way the men who
took him could have gotten into the yard. The fact that someone got in here
and nabbed him was really eating at him."

"He's feeling vulnerable."

"Yeah, and he had no idea what to do with the way he felt about it, so he
just...he lashed out."

"And since there was no one else around to bear the brunt of it..."

"You got it. I caught it full force."

"Aww, Mulder..."

"I'm so pissed with myself, Scully. I reacted all wrong."

"What'd you do, get into it with him?"

"No. In some respects, that may have been better. My guard was down. I let
myself get hurt..."

"Did he slug you?"

Fox emitted a short laugh. "No, not that kind of hurt."

"Oh."

"He said a bunch of stuff I *knew* he'd regret as soon as he calmed down,
but I let it get to me anyway. I left him out there in the yard and came
inside. I brooded in the dining room while he brooded outside. He came in a
while later, feeling just like I knew he would, apologizing, telling me he
didn't mean any of what he said. He was so upset. We talked it out, made up
and had dinner. The rest of the night went fine. This morning, no
problems...I'd be stupid to think that it'll be smooth from here on out, but
the worst of it *may* be over...I thought it might have taken him a little
longer to get the anger out, but...wait, hang on...okay, coming..." Fox
moved toward the bathroom, phone between his shoulder and ear. "You want to
say hi to him?"

"Thought he was in the shower?"

"He was. I'm on my way to dry his back. Those damn welts and that cut are
still a bit tender...here, talk to Scully."

Fox handed the phone to Alex, and took the towel from him.

"Hi, Scully."

"Hi! You sound a lot more chipper today."

"Yeah, well, amazing what a good....uh...night's sleep'll do for you." He
cut his eyes in the direction of the muffled snicker.

"I'm glad you're feeling better. Is there anything you guys need?"

"No, I don't....Fox, Scully wants to know if there's anything we need...he
said no, but thanks for asking. You know, Scully, you really should go to
your brother's."

"There'll be other visits, Alex. This was some serious stuff that went on
here. I wouldn't be comfortable the whole time I was away."

"What, do you think something's going to happen?"

"No," she answered too quickly, "not at all. It's just for my own peace of
mind, okay? Humor me."

"Yeah...uh...here's Fox. Thanks again, Scully."

Fox noted the troubled expression on his lover's face as he exchanged the
towel for the phone. He kissed the younger man's shoulder and moved toward
the door. "Breakfast in five minutes, okay?"

Alex nodded and went in to get dressed. The minute he was gone, Fox spun out
of the doorway and moved through the hall.

"He's got that look again, Scully. What'd I miss?"

"I'm sorry, Mulder. I think he thinks I'm staying because I'm afraid of
something happening."

"Are you?"

"He *could* go off the deep end. I just want to be around in case you need
some backup."

"Backup? Scully, this isn't a warehouse drug bust."

"I know that. Okay, maybe backup wasn't the right word. How about support?"

Fox sighed into the phone. "I appreciate your concern but I really think the
worst of it came yesterday."

"Sounds like you may be right, but I'm still going to pass on Bill's this
time."

"Did you tell him you weren't coming?"

"Yeah."

"What excuse did you give him?"

"I told him the truth...well, you know, as much of it as he needed to know."

"Just when he thought he couldn't loathe me any more..."

"Bill will get over it. And if he doesn't, it's his problem. You and Alex
are my extended family. I'll be here if you need me, just like I'd be there
if *he* needed me."

"What about your mother? Is she very upset?"

"She's disappointed, but she understands. She said to give you both her
best."

Silence.

"Now, are you sure there's nothing you need?"

"I don't think so."

"Well, think about it and give me a call if you think of something."

"Thank you, Scully."

"No problem. I'll talk to you later."

"Okay. Bye."

Fox hung up and pulled two dishes down from the cupboard. Minutes later,
Alex entered the kitchen and stood quietly by while Fox placed the full
plates on the table.

"She thinks I'm gonna flip out on you, doesn't she?"

Fox paused in the middle of pouring a glass of orange juice. "Why do you say
that?"

"Just the impression I got."

Fox motioned to Alex to sit. "She's just concerned."

"I feel much better," Alex protested mildly

"I told her that." Fox pulled out a chair and sat down. "What can I say?
Scully's Scully and she's not going to stop worrying just because you or I
tell her she should. Come on, let's eat before it gets cold."

The rain had stopped, and after breakfast, Alex suggested taking Clyde out
for a walk.

"Yeah?" Fox smiled his approval. "Sure, if you're up to it."

"Yeah, I need to get some excercise."

"Great. Let's go."

Alex called to the dog who was lying a short distance away. "Hey, Clyde.
Wanna go for a walk?"

Clyde's head lifted and tilted from side to side.

"Well?"

Clyde jumped up and bounded over to retrieve his leash, wiggling and
twisting while Alex tried to attach it to his collar.

"Dog, would you *please* stand still?"

Fox stood leaning against the doorframe, arms folded across his chest, an
amused grin on his face. "He'll calm down when he gets older," he mimicked
Alex's voice, throwing the words he'd said a thousand times, back at him.

"Come on, he's better than he used to be."

"Yeah. Right. Whatever you say. Let's go."

The excercise had begun to do its job. Alex was starting to relax.
Conversation picked up and an easy smile now curved his mouth. Being
approached with greetings and good wishes from at least four of the
neighbors helped.

"How do all these people know?" Alex asked when the last well wisher crossed
back over into her own yard.

"I questioned all of them," Fox answered. "I'm surprised they're all still
talking to me."

"Questioned or interrogated?"

"Let's just say I'm surprised that that they haven't come for me yet with
pitchforks and torches."

"God, Fox..."

Fox shrugged. "I may have been a little overzealous, but I was desperate."

"Well," Alex drew his knuckles down his lover's arm, "maybe they understand
that."

They finished their walk and spent the rest of the day, and in fact the next
couple of days, doing not much of anything at all. Alex seemed in good humor
most of the time, only occasionally falling into a pensive mood, but
snapping out of it quickly under Fox's loving attention.

Tonight, after Fox wore them both out, Alex propped himself against the
pillows, turning the t.v. on, and flipping idly through the channels. His
lover lay sprawled across his thighs, slowly and thoroughly licking his cock
clean. Alex lovingly combed his fingers through Fox's golden brown hair with
his free hand while he continued to search for something worth watching.
Finally, a prison riot caught his eye and he stopped, dropping the remote to
the mattress. His eyes shifted down to Fox, joyfully immersed in his task,
eyes closed, outrageously talented tongue executing long, gentle strokes
over his cock. The sight sent a twinge through his lower regions.

//Oh, God.//

"Hey."

Fox rested his cheek on top of his lover's cock. Golden brown lashes swept
upward and a soft green-gray gaze fell on Alex's face.

Alex opened his mouth to speak, but words failed him as he looked down at
his beautiful Fox.

The eyes stared intently for a while, then closed as Fox nuzzled him gently.
A single kiss bestowed on the tip of Alex's exhausted cock, and he slid up,
manuevering himself behind his lover, pulling him back against his chest and
wrapping his arms around him.

Alex rested his head back against Fox's shoulder, allowing the other man to
string a trail of kisses along his cheek and jaw.

"Have I told you today that I love you?"

Fox laughed softly in his ear. "You were just screaming it about twenty
minutes ago."

"Oh. Was I?"

"Yeah....what the hell are we watching?"

"Beats me. Something on one of the pay channels. I just stopped cause I saw
some action."

Both men turned their attention to the screen, watching as the revolt was
finally put down, and the ringleaders were dragged into the warden's office.
He had two of the men thrown into solitary, but the third, he kept in his
office. The two men stood glaring at each other, radiating hatred, then the
warden ordered the man stripped of his shirt, and cuffed to the barred
window to the right of his desk.

Fox felt Alex's body tighten then jump, as the first blow of a leather belt
was delivered. His eyes snapped shut and his head jerked to the side on the
second blow. Fox groped for the remote, found it, and quickly shut the
television off. He hugged Alex to him as the other man lay silently in his
arms, staring sightlessly toward the window.

"Do you want to talk?"

Alex shook his head and said nothing.

"Okay." Fox sat there for how long, he did not know, stroking Alex's back,
offering silent comfort. Finally, the younger man shifted, but did not meet
Fox's eye.

"Can we turn the lights out?"

"Yeah," Fox answered quickly, leaning over to turn off the lamp,
"sure....that better?"

Alex nodded and fell silent again.

Fox waited patiently, hoping that he would begin to speak, but he merely
burrowed into Fox's warmth and said nothing. Nearly half an hour later, he
was asleep. Fox emitted a long sigh, kissed the top of his head, and closed
his eyes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Whistle.

*Crack*.

//Fuck you.//

*Crack*.

//You belong to me, Alexei.//

//Never.//

*Crack*.

//I will *not* make a sound...I won't give you the satisfaction.//

*Crack*.

//God....Fox...//

//The lovely Fox can't help you.//

//*Fox*.//

*Crack*.

//I'm here, baby.//

//Fox, help me. Take me out of here.//

//He's not taking you anywhere.//

*Crack*

''It hurts, Fox...please....oh....oh, God, yes....thank you....oh, baby,
that feels so good, so.....no.....*no*.....don't touch
me....don't....*no*!//

"Alex.....*Alex*..." Fox shook Alex gently. "Baby, wake up. Come on..."

Alex's eyes snapped open and he stared up at the man hovering over him...

Something wasn't right. That look in his eyes. Pure, wild hatred.

"Fucking..."

Before Fox had a second to react, Alex was on him, spinning him onto his
back, pinning Fox's arms under his knees, hands around his throat.

Fox struggled under Alex's weight, trying to rasp his name, but there was no
air, and it wasn't long before he was too weak to fight anymore. He lay
beneath Alex, a deafening roar in his head, and his limbs going slack.

Alex tightened his grip, eyes still blazing.

Fox stared wide-eyed up at Alex, silently begging for intervention.

//Please...wake him up now....if I die, he won't be able to live with
it...//

The bedroom door swung open as Clyde pushed his way in. He'd heard the
commotion, and had come to investigate. He stood a few feet from the bed and
began to bark and yap incessantly.

The sound woke Alex, and he stared down at his hands squeezing the throat of
his almost unconscious lover. He cried out in horror, falling away from Fox.

The air came back to Fox in a rush, choking and gagging him. He turned onto
his side, overwhelmed by fits of coughing.

Alex stared, mortified. "Fox...oh, God, *Fox*?" The continuous hacking
frightened the younger man. He reached out to touch his distressed lover,
but drew away quickly. "What did I do?" he whispered, "What the hell did I
do?"

Every gasp for air brought a fresh round of coughing, and Alex inched
closer. He reached out, rubbing the older man's back. "I didn't....Fox, I
don't...."

Fox struggled for air while trying to speak. "Water..."

Alex stared confused for a moment, then slid off the bed and quickly
retrieved a glass of water. He kneeled next to Fox, trying to hold the glass
to his lips, but his hands were shaking too badly. Still coughing, Fox took
the water from him and managed three sips without choking on it.

"I'm..." more coughing, "I'm okay."

He handed the glass back to Alex, who placed it on the nightstand, then
retreated to the end of the bed, huddling there in a miserable heap.

Fox took a few deeper, though still unsteady breaths. "Alex...it.....was a
dream..."

Alex shook his head, staring wide-eyed into space. "I could've killed you."

"I'm all right."

The younger man's eyes welled up with tears. "I could....could've killed
you."

More coughing. "But...you didn't."

"Because of Clyde. What if....oh, God, what if he hadn't come in?"

"You wouldn't....have killed me, Alex..."

"I could have...I...didn't mean it, Fox, I don't...God...oh, God, I could've
killed you."

Fox gathered enough strength to move to the end of the bed and wrestle
Alex's arms away from his body. He spun him to the mattress, pinning his
wrists down beside his head. "Stop it. Listen to me...I'm all right. I'll
*be* all right," he wheezed. "It was just a dream. You would have come out
of it."

A few tears chased each other from the corner of Alex's eye, and down into
his ear. "How do you know that?"

"I just do." Fox stopped for a few breaths then said in his most convincing
tone, "You would never have killed me."

Alex's body began to tremble, and he started to sob. "I don't know...I
didn't..."

Fox released Alex's wrists and tucked his arms under his back. He rested his
head on the younger man's shoulder and hugged him tightly. "I know, baby. I
know you didn't mean it. You were dreaming....it's okay..."

Alex's arms wrapped around Fox and he cried harder. "I love you,
Fox....I....I love you..."

"I know. I *know*."

"I'm sorry..."

"Nothing to be sorry about. You didn't know." Fox kissed and stroked Alex
until his sobs abated. He raised his head and looked down at red-streaked
eyes. "Let's get some sleep. You wore yourself out."

Alex shook his head.

"Why not?"

"I'm afraid."

"Of what?"

"What if I dream again? I don't want to hurt you."

"So you're never going to sleep again?"

"No, I'll...I'll go sleep in the guestroom..."

Alex started to get up, but Fox pushed him back to the mattress. "Like hell,
you will."

"Please, Fox, I don't..."

"You're not going anywhere. There's no reason to believe that tonight will
be repeated."

"What if it is?"

"Then we'll deal with it when and if it happens."

"What if next time I succeed. I'd sooner die than hurt you."

"I will *not* be in the same house with you and sleep in different beds."
Fox stroked his lover's hair. "Baby, we were separated for almost a week,
and the thought that I might never sleep next to you again, was enough to
make me want to put a bullet through my head. I can't and I *won't* be
separated from you purposely." Fox pulled himself up against the pillows,
dragging Alex to his chest. "It's going to be okay, sweetheart. Just hang on
to me and go to sleep. It'll be all right, I promise."

Alex lay shaking against Fox's chest, cringing every time the older man
coughed. Fox held him tightly, croaking words of comfort.

"It's okay, baby. Just relax. I love you..."

Alex's eyes squeezed shut.

"Do you want to talk to me?"

Silence.

"Might help you to feel better..."

Alex took a long hard breath, then began to speak just above a whisper.
"....I couldn't see his face, but...his voice. I could....he was beating me.
The pain, it was..."

Fox listened, unsure whether or not he was hearing Alex's memory of the
dream or the actual event.

"It hurt so much...I'd die before I let him know that..."

Fox's eyes filled with tears at the thought of his love, restrained and
mentally and physically abused.

"But you were there..."

Fox closed his eyes, creating a stream of moisture down both cheeks.

"You came to me and held me. Protected me against the worst of the pain. You
helped me sleep." Alex took a deep, stuttering breath and continued. "You
were there tonight, too. In the dream. Comforting me. Making love to
me...but then....then all of a sudden, it wasn't you....it was...and I was
screaming for him to stop, but he wouldn't, and...and then Justin was in
front of me. And I was able to move. I wanted him dead, Fox. God, I wanted
him dead..."

"He *is* dead, Alex. I couldn't let him get away with what he did to you.
He'll never hurt you or anyone else again."

"But he has. Even now. Look what I just did to you because of him."

"He can't touch us anymore, baby. We're stronger than him. "*You're*
stronger."

"I thought I was. But I...I can't shake this."

"It's only been a few days. Don't be so hard on yourself. You need time. And
patience..." Fox smiled into Alex's hair, ignoring his own discomfort.
"...and love, which fortunately for you, I've got tons of."

Alex remained quiet for a while, then just when Fox thought he might be
falling asleep, he spoke, again whispering. "You killed him for me."

Fox tightened his hold on the man in his arms. "You're my whole life, Alex,
and I'll kill or die to protect you." He went quiet for a moment, then
continued. "When I walked into that room and saw you on the floor of that
cage...you were so still...I lost my mind. At that point I only wanted two
things. To get to you, and to kill that motherfucker..."

"You...did you think I was dead?"

"I didn't know. I couldn't see you breathing." He kissed the crown of his
lover's head. "I was so scared. I couldn't live the rest of my life without
you, baby. I wouldn't want to."

Alex raised his head, for the first time meeting Fox's eye. "I guess we're
in it for the long haul, then?"

"You ask me this after three years?"

Alex gave him a tiny smile.

"You sure you'll be able to stand me for the next forty or fifty years?"

Alex raised himself up, lips hovering close to Fox's. "Absolutely."

Fox's mouth descended, tenderly capturing his lover's in a long, sweet kiss.
When they parted, Fox stroked Alex's cheek and smiled down at him. "It's
late," he rasped, "go to sleep."

The light faded from Alex's eyes, and he looked away.

"It's all right," Fox reassured him. "Close your eyes." He kissed and petted
Alex's head. "No more dreams. I promise."

//How the hell can you make a promise like that?//

Alex believed him. He snuggled closer, closed his eyes, and in no time at
all was peacefully sleeping.

Fox listened to the slowing respiration; felt the loosening of Alex's
muscles, and closed his eyes, offering up a prayer for a peaceful remainder
of the night.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fox rolled onto his side, wincing at the soreness in his throat. He opened
his eyes to find himself alone in bed, though he could feel Alex's presence
nearby. He looked around, finding the other man standing by the windows,
staring out into the yard.

"Al..." he stopped to clear his throat, "Alex?"

Alex's eyes shifted in the direction of the uneven voice.

"You okay?"

The younger man hesitated, then walked over to the bed and sat down. "I need
to be asking *you* that."

Fox noted the look of misery on his lover's face. He smiled reassuringly,
and answered, "Throat's a little sore, but that's all."

"Your neck is all bruised," Alex said softly.

Fox's hand went to his throat. "It is?"

Slight nod.

"They'll go away. I'm fine, Alex, really."

Alex sat quietly, head bowed.

"Baby..."

The younger man looked up through the sweep of his lashes. Fox reached out
to skim the line of his jaw, and he leaned forward, resting his forehead
against his lover's shoulder.

"How did you sleep?"

"Okay," came the soft reply.

"No more dreams?"

Slow shake of the sable head.

//Shit, you were lucky.//

"Didn't I promise?"

"Yeah."

Fox kissed the side of his head. "It's early. Come back to bed."

"It's not that early."

"It is when you got nothing else to do all day..."

"You want to go back to work?"

"*No*. No, I didn't mean it like that. I love being home with you." He
reached out, tugging at the belt on Alex's robe. "I just want you to come
back to bed."

Alex let the older man pull the robe off and coax him back under the sheet.
He settled on his side and Fox moved closer, lying on his back, tucked
between Alex and the mattress. One arm snaked around Alex's back, and pulled
him down on top of him.

Alex shifted, immediately feeling the slow stiffening of his cock. For days
now, Fox had taken care of him, giving him all he had and more, and he'd
accepted the attention gratefully. Now Fox was looking up at him, his eyes
sparkling with need, and Alex didn't quite know what to do.

//What do you mean, you don't know what to do? Make love to him, stupid.
You've done it a thousand times.//

Alex lowered his head, covering Fox's mouth slowly and tenderly, letting his
lover's muffled moans seep into his senses, setting them all on edge. One
hand slid up through Fox's hair, holding his head still while he deepened
the kiss. His tongue slipped between Fox's parted lips, stroking over the
hard surface of his teeth, then the contrasting softness of the interior
walls of his cheeks.

So good.

Even first thing in the morning, Alex loved the taste of his lover's mouth.
His tongue searched every inch of the dark interior, finally finding its
counterpart and initiating a slow, easy seduction.

Fox clung to his shoulders, blissfully immersed in ever-growing passion. He
squirmed under his lover's weight, pressing upward against his thigh. He
broke from Alex's kiss, making eye contact, letting the turbulent mix of
green and gold speak for him..

Alex cupped Fox's cheek, thumb sliding back and forth across the morning
stubble. The other man's hands slid forward from his shoulders, flattening
on his upper chest. His head tilted back, arching and baring his throat to
Alex.

Fox could be an aggressive lover, as comfortable with controlling any sexual
situation as he was with their usual give and take, but when he was in the
mood to be submissive, *that's* what he was. Alex loved this chameleon-like
quality about him. And as Fox could so easily move from one personality to
the other, he supposed he possessed the ability as well.

This morning, Fox obviously wanted to be the bottom, and more than anything,
Alex wanted to give him what he was asking for. He slid one hand along Fox's
arm, grasping his wrist and pulling it away from his chest. He pinned that
hand beside Fox's head, then reached for the other, repeating the action. He
lowered his head to the exposed throat, closing his eyes to block out the
evidence of what he'd done the night before. But he couldn't close his mind
to it, and images of his Fox lying ashen and motionless, sent violent
shudders through his body, and stopped him cold.

Lustful anticipation turned to cold dread as Fox looked up at his frozen
lover. "Alex? What? What is it?"

The younger man gave no answer as he rolled off of Fox and sat up, head
resting on his bent knees. "I'm okay," he said, then took a deep breath.
"Just...gimme a minute..."

Fox sat up beside him. "You're not okay. Take a few deep breaths before you
hyperventilate." He waited as Alex did as he'd instructed. "Better?"

Alex nodded, head still on his knees.

"Alex....look at me."

Long seconds passed before Alex lifted his head and looked in Fox's
direction.

"What happened?"

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be sorry, just tell me what's got you upset."

Alex's gaze slid down to Fox's throat, then flitted away.

Fox sighed heavily, realizing what the problem was. He got out of bed and
walked over to the mirrored dresser to see what the big deal was. He
observed the moderate bruising around his throat, and moved calmly back to
the bed. "It isn't that bad, baby." He smirked at Alex, trying to lighten
the moment. "Want me to wear a scarf until they go away?"

"That's not funny."

"Come on, Alex. I'm the guy who almost didn't wake up this morning. If *I*
can smile about it..."

"You're *really* not making me feel any better, you know? "

The smile fell away from Fox's lips on hearing the miserable tone in his
lover's voice. "Okay, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make it worse." He reached
out to caress the younger man's shoulder. "I don't know what to say to you,
Alex, other than to repeat what I told you last night. It wasn't your fault.
I know that you would never knowingly hurt me."

"That's not the point. The point is I *did* hurt you. And I could easily
have killed you. Do you know how that makes me feel?"

"I know. But you can't hold onto it, you understand? You can't feel guilty
everytime you look at me."

"Yeah, well, maybe you can tell me how to stop it."

"Think about something else."

"Gee, that's easy, why didn't *I* think of that? What am I supposed to think
about?"

"I don't know..." Fox inched closer, fanning Alex's ear with his breath.
"Maybe you could think about how damn sexy I am..."

The beginnings of a smile teased the corners of Alex's mouth.

"...how the sound of my voice sends tingles through your body..." Fox
tickled the exterior of his lover's ear with the tip of his tongue. "...how
my touch makes you shiver..." He gently pushed Alex back against the pillows
and swung himself over the younger man's body, straddling him on his hands
and knees. "Maybe you could think about how good it'd feel to be inside
me..."

Alex's head fell to one side, and he groaned softly.

Fox studied him closely. "You want to be inside me, baby?"

Alex nodded, exhaling heavily.

"Close your eyes....good. Now keep them closed and just feel me, okay?"

The younger man let out a faint whimper, but complied with his lover's
request.

Fox brushed Alex's mouth with his own, letting his tongue whisper across his
lower lip. He moved downward, kissing and licking the warm flesh of Alex's
neck and chest, pausing at one nipple. He flicked at it gently, and Alex
arched off the bed.

"Fox," he panted, "oh, please..."

Fox moved to the other nipple, treating it to the same wonderful torment as
the first.

"I...Fox, I...I need you..."

The older man nipped at the sensitive peak, drawing a frustrated whine from
his lover, then moved on. He slid downward, enjoying the feel of Alex's
stomach muscles rippling beneath his lips. He reached Alex's aching cock,
grasping it at the base, and lapping delicately at the glistening tip.

Alex's head rolled back and forth on the pillow, and he gathered up fistfuls
of sheet. "Mmm....ah....please...oh, please..."

Fox sucked the entire length of Alex's cock down his throat, pulling a loud
gasp from the man under him. He sucked steadily, letting his tongue flutter
along the length of his lover's rock-hard erection. The stiffening of Alex's
body suggested that the younger man might be closer to the edge than he
thought. He pulled away, listening to the loud groans of protest.

"Hang on for just a second, baby..." Fox reached over into the nightstand
drawer, withdrawing the lube. He squeezed a generous amount into his palm,
and applied it quickly to Alex's cock. He inched forward, positioning
himself, letting his ass brush the bobbing shaft. "Hold it for me, baby."

Alex wrapped his hand around the base of his cock, holding it upright and
steady, while Fox lowered himself onto it. Both men whimpered impatiently as
Fox slowly impaled himself on his lover. When Alex was inside him as deep as
he could go, Fox began to move, rising up and sinking slowly back down. The
other man's head pressed back into the pillows and he let out a long sob as
Fox's muscles contracted on every upstroke.

"Fox...baby, I can't....I...."

Eyes still closed, Alex clutched at his lover's cock, jerking it
convulsively.

"It's all right, baby...neither can I...come on...take...take me with
you..."

Alex pumped Fox's erection harder as the man on top of him moved faster.
They reached the end almost simultaneously, Fox's frantic cries joining
Alex's, and they collapsed together, panting heavily.

The pounding in Fox's head subsided, and he felt Alex's hand tenderly
caressing his slick back. He picked his head up and kissed his lover softly.
"God, that was good."

"I'm sorry it wasn't what you had in mind."

"S'all right," Fox licked Alex's shoulder. "It was still hot."

Alex said nothing, silently appreciating his lover's attempt to reassure
him.

"Baby?"

"Yeah? Wait. Let me guess. You're hungry."

"Uh-huh." Fox lifted himself off of Alex's chest and bounded out of bed.
"I'm gonna go take a shower, then get breakfast started."

Alex squinted up at his face. "You pull me back into bed, now you want to
get up?"

Fox shrugged, grinning down at his lover. "I got what I wanted."

"So you were just using me. Well isn't that nice? I'm insulted, I'm....I'm
hurt..."

"You're full of shit." Amusement filled Fox's tone. He approached the bed
and placed a soft kiss on Alex's mouth. "But I love you." He grasped the
younger man's hand and pulled. "Come on. Let's do our part for water
conservation..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I got it," Fox called to Alex who was elsewhere in the house, as he went to
answer the doorbell. He swung the door open and smiled down at his partner.
"Hey."

"Hi." Scully walked past her partner and stopped halfway into the living
room. "Am I early?"

"A little. But you know how anal Alex is about punctuality. Dinner is almost
done."

"Yeah, I know. How is he...Mulder....what's that?"

"What?"

Scully moved closer, investigating the marks on his neck. "Are
those...bruises?"

Mulder closed his eyes momentarily, emitting a soft sigh. "Yeah," he
answered softly.

"What the hell happened? Looks like somebody tried to
strangle......you.....Mulder?" Scully asked, suspicion creeping into her
voice. Fox's silence said more to her than any words could. "What the hell
went on here?"

Fox opened his mouth to speak, stopped, and started again. "Alex had a
nightmare last night. He was asleep. He didn't know what he was doing..."

Scully's eyes widened in shock. "Alex did that to you? Mulder..."

"Please, Scully, don't make a big thing out of this. He was miserable
enough."

"Mulder, you don't get bruises like that unless someone was really trying to
choke the hell out of you. And you know, come to think of it, your voice
*is* a little raspy. Your larynx might be injured."

"I'm okay."

"If Alex is acting out his dreams like this, it could be a real problem.
Maybe he should see someone...a professional..."

Fox held his hands out a few inches from his sides, palms upturned, raising
his eyebrows.

"You're too close, Mulder. Your emotions are bound to get in the way. And
things could get worse."

"It'll be all right, Scully. I'll take care of him. We'll work through it."

"This isn't just any garden variety psychological problem. He tried to
*strangle* you."

"Not me. Saint James....anyway, I'm okay."

"*This* time. What if it happens again? Mulder, he could have..."

"Killed him."

Two heads turned in Alex's direction. He stood in the doorway, looking
utterly miserable.

"See, Fox? Even Scully thinks I could be a danger to you." Alex's eyes slid
away and he drifted quietly out of the room.

"Shit."

"Damn," Scully whispered. I didn't know he was there."

"I know. It's not your fault. If it hadn't been you, something else probably
would have set him back. I gotta go find him."

Fox went after Alex with Scully close behind. They found him in the kitchen,
sitting at the table, hands clasped loosely in his lap, head hanging. Fox
started to move toward him, but Scully stopped him with a hand on his chest.
She stepped forward and pulled a chair up facing Alex. Lowering herself into
the seat, she placed a hand gently on his knee.

"Alex? I'm sorry. I know how upset you must be about this. I didn't mean to
make it any worse. I'm just concerned...about both of you."

"It hurts so much to think about what I did to him...to see..."

"You didn't mean it."

"Of course I didn't mean it, but intention isn't worth shit when something
else is in control."

"Don't *let* anything else be in control. I've seen first hand the strength
of your love for Mulder. Just stop trying so hard to fight all the bad
stuff, and let your love take over. And...maybe you might want to consider
seeing someone..."

"You mean like a psychiatrist?"

"An analyst. Someone to help you with your problems if you feel you can't
handle them yourself."

Alex looked up to Fox. "Do you think I should?"

"It's up to you, Alex, but I was hoping that we could deal with this
ourselves. I know you wouldn't feel comfortable talking with anyone else
about it."

"I really don't want to, but more than that, I don't want to hurt you
again."

Fox squatted in front of the sitting man, laying his hand on the unoccupied
knee. "It'll be all right. Just trust me. More importantly, trust yourself."

Alex covered Fox's hand with his own. "I trust you with my life, Fox. You
know that. But..." He shook his head and lowered his eyes.

"Listen to me, baby. *I* trust *you*. Now if you believe in me the way you
say you do, you've got to know that I'm *right* to trust you."

Fox waited quietly while Alex considered his words. Finally his lashes
lifted and he looked into his lover's eyes. He leaned forward slowly, and
rested his forehead against Fox's shoulder. The other man's arms wound
around him, hand rubbing his back while he kissed the side of the sable
head.

Scully watched, always warmed by the affection between the two men, but
still a bit apprehensive about this latest develpment. She swallowed her
concerns, and patted Alex's knee and Fox's back. "Okay, break it up. I'm
hungry."

Alex pulled away from Fox, and kept his head downturned until Fox raised it
with two fingers under his chin.

"Okay?" the older man asked softly.

Alex nodded then sat motionless as his lover moved in for a long, gentle
kiss.

Scully shook her head, smiling, and rose from her chair to check on dinner.

Fox backed off just far enough to see Alex's eyes for a moment, then pitched
forward again, kissing him once more.

"Wow, this smells *great*," Scully said loudly, trying to get the attention
of at least one of the men. "Alex, you must have done the cooking."

Fox broke the second kiss, smiling at his lover. "I think she's trying to
tell us something."

Alex smiled back and looked over Fox's shoulder at the redhead drumming her
fingernails on the counter. "Actually, I just helped. Fox did ninety percent
of it."

"No way."

"Why don't you believe it?"

"This smells too good."

Alex rose from his chair, pulling Fox up with him. "He's been doing the
cooking since I got home. And it's *good*."

"Really? Well...you're still walking and talking, so I guess it must be
okay."

"It's better than okay, I'm *telling* you. You're gonna be shocked."

Fox turned to Alex, raising one eyebrow. "Shocked?"

"Oh...uh...well...."

"What's wrong with pleasantly surprised?"

"N-nothing...um...I didn't exactly mean it like...*shocked*...it's more
like..."

Fox nodded, waiting for Alex to explain himself out of this spot.

"Come on, lisa, you know I didn't mean it like that. I just meant that
she'll be amazed..."

Fox's eyes widened as he continued to stare at his floundering lover.

"*No*! Not amazed, uh...."

"You're sinking fast, Krycek."

Alex lowered his gaze, and siddled over to Fox, draping his arms around his
waist, and rubbing his head against his cheek. "I'm sorry, lisa...I love
you...."

"Yeah?"

"Mmm hmm."

"Well..." Fox petted Alex's hair. "You can prove it to me later, okay?"

"Hey, I got an idea," Scully interrupted, "Why doesn't somebody prove to me
how good this damn food is?"

Fox kissed his lover's head, then moved them both in Scully's direction.
"All right, all right. Don't work yourself into a state."

Three hours and half a dozen compliments later, Scully was on her way home,
and the men settled in for the night. They started off watching television
in bed, but soon ended up making love. At Fox's silent insistence, Alex took
the lead, though somewhat timidly. It was wonderful, and it was sweet, and
though it was often that way between them, there was a difference this time.
Alex wasn't holding back because he wanted tenderness. Something else was
tempering his actions. Something Fox would almost describe as fear. He had
to get Alex over this. He missed his aggressive, confident lover, and he was
willing to bet that Alex was missing him too. After all, it was part of him,
and he knew no one with a stronger sense of self than Alex.

The two men curled together, physically satisfied, and slipped into
unconsciousness.

Over the next few days, Alex had one more nightmare, but Fox was better
prepared, and lightly restrained him before he woke him...just in case. Alex
woke quickly though, and without incident. Fox gathered him into his arms,
stroking, and petting, and reassuring, as Alex clung to him, afraid to go
back to sleep. He did, finally, but not until very early in the morning.

Fox went back to work that morning, dragging into the office, looking just a
little bit rough around the edges.

"Hey, welcome back!" Scully greeted him as he walked into the office.
"Uh...damn, Mulder, you look like hell."

"Didn't sleep last night."

"Now what?"

"Alex had another nightmare."

"He didn't try to kill you again, did he?"

"No...but he didn't get back to sleep till around three-thirty."

"What about you?"

"I remember seeing five thirty-eight....about twenty minutes before the
alarm went off."

"God, Mulder. You should have taken one more day off and gotten some sleep."

"I'll be okay. I'll go to bed early tonight."

"You'd better. I ran into Skinner in the hall on the way down here. He wants
us in Tampa on Wednesday."

"What for?"

"Don't know yet. We have a nine-thirty meeting in his office though, to get
the details."

"Shit."

"What?"

Fox shook his head, looking more than a little disturbed.

"You're worried about Alex."

"Well....yeah."

"Mulder, you knew you'd have to come back to work sooner or later...how is
he aside from the nightmare?"

"Pretty good most of the time. There are some ways in which he's not quite
himself, but I've got a few ideas about how to deal with that...I just hate
to have to leave him alone. I think he's still too vulnerable. Of course,
he'll tell me to go and not worry about him."

"You have to get back into the swing of things sooner or later, Mulder."

"I know. It's just that this first time away from him is going to be hard on
us both."

"I'm sure it will. But if I know you, you'll check in with him fifteen times
a day. And Florida really isn't all that far..."

Fox nodded absently. "Yeah..yeah, I know. It'll be fine, I'm sure. We just
have to make it over this first hump."

"Right...so...what have you got planned to bring Alex back to himself?"
Scully cocked her head, noting the devious little smile that spread across
her partner's face. "Or shouldn't I ask?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fox's hand slid around his back of his neck, then back to the front, moving
down his chest, then away, distributing the fragrant, silvery liquid. He
watched his hands as they moved from one button to the next, slipping each
disk through its corresponding hole. He stopped at the third button from the
top, then looked up at himself in the mirror. Deciding to leave it undone,
he took his hands away, and studied himself.

Just the way Alex liked him.

Softly pleated black pants and black silk shirt. Day's growth of beard. Sexy
wisp of golden brown hair falling over one eyebrow. Mouth drawn into an
incredibly delicious pout.

Satisfied, Fox walked into the bathroom where Alex was preparing to slip his
silver hoop through the hole in his earlobe. He moved behind the younger
man, who when he caught sight of his lover in the mirror, froze, eyes
sliding over the vision in black. Fox reached for the object in Alex's hand.

"Let me."

Alex turned slowly, and Fox moved forward, letting their bodies touch as he
carefully inserted the post. He secured the earring and stepped back a few
inches, eyes raking over his lover's form. He was beautiful in a
dolphin-gray jacket and pants, and a dusty periwinkle blue-lavender shirt
that set off his magnificent eyes.

"Very nice," Fox, commented softly.

One corner of Alex's mouth tilted upward. "You too."

Fox nuzzled the younger man's throat. "Ready?"

"Yeah." Alex took his lover's hand and the two walked out to the garage.
"Yours or mine?" he asked as they moved between the two cars.

Fox glided over to Alex's Porsche, running his hand over the smooth black
hood. His eyes locked on his lover's. "You drive."

Fox's words sent a twinge of electricity shooting through Alex's body. He
paused, needing a moment to compose himself then stepped forward, opening
Fox's door and shutting it after he was tucked inside. He slid into the
driver's seat, and not daring to look again at the other man, started the
car and pulled out of the garage.

Fox watched Alex quietly, waiting a few minutes before sliding as far over
to the left as he could go, and laying his head on the younger man's
shoulder. "Been a long time since we've been out anyplace nice," he said,
tracing the tight muscles of his lover's thigh with his fingertips.

Alex blinked several times, trying to concentrate on the road rather than
the rapid swelling in his pants. A weak "Yeah," was all he could muster.

"Alex?"

"Hmm?"

"Do you like what I'm wearing?"

"Yeah. Of course...you..you know I love you in black."

"I wore something special for you..." Fox whispered.

Before Alex could ask, Fox grasped his hand and placed it down over his
crotch. The younger man groaned deeply as his fingers recognized the leather
strapping bound snuggly around Fox's rigid cock. He fought to keep his eyes
open as raging hunger crashed over him. It had been a good many months since
Fox had worn this for him. The last time he had, Alex had fucked him against
a filthy wall in an alley behind the club they'd been at, unable to wait
until they got home...

Fox squirmed, whimpering softly as his lover massaged his restrained cock.
"Baby..."

Alex's hand left Fox's lap, receiving a low groan of protest. He cupped the
side of the other man's head with his palm and pressed a few kisses into his
hair. "I love you," he murmured just above the sound of the motor.

Fox molded himself to Alex's side, happily drowning in the pleasure of the
other man's attention.

When they reached their destination, Alex covered Fox's mouth in a deep,
ravenous kiss, then exited the car. By the time he'd come around to the
passenger's side, Fox had already emerged and was standing, waiting for him.
As soon as Alex reached him, their fingers twined together and they kissed
briefly but thoroughly, then Fox let Alex lead him to the door of the dinner
club.

The host smiled as the two men entered. "Good evening, gentlemen.
Reservations?"

Alex released Fox's hand and slid his arm around the older man's waist.
"Krycek."

"Ah, yes. Here we are. You requested a corner booth?"

Alex glanced quickly at his lover who was looking innocently around the
establishment, then back at the host. "Yes."

They were led to a quiet corner of the club, Alex noting the position of the
booth and many plants along the sides.

Very private. Perfect for those who wanted to see but not be seen.

Alex thanked the host and moved aside, letting Fox sit first. He slid in
beside him, intently studying the devious glint in his eyes.

"What are you up to?"

"Nothing..." Fox slid closer, resting his head on Alex's shoulder. "What
makes you think I'm up to something?"

"You have a really hard time trying to look innocent when you're not."

Fox shook with silent laughter. "Really Alex, all I want to do is have a
nice night out with the man I love. Do you see anything underhanded in
that?"

"You're up to no good, I can feel it."

"You can? He covered Alex's hand with his own, and moved it into his lap.
"How about this? Can you feel that?"

Alex let out a small sigh, and gently carressed the solid column of flesh
and leather just beneath the lightweight black material. "Oh yeah, I can
feel that....God, you're so hard. Is it uncomfortable?"

He was starting to get into it.

Good.

"Yeah," Fox squirmed beside Alex.

Alex kissed his head, then murmured into his ear, "Would you do something
for me?"

Soft groan. "You know I'll do anything for you."

Alex gently pushed him away, putting a few inches distance between them. "I
want you to sit there, behave yourself, and talk to me."

Fox tilted his head to one side. "You...what do you want me to talk to you
about?"

Alex shrugged. "Tell me why you wanted to come out tonight, when I know you
couldn't have had more than couple hours sleep last night."

Fox looked directly into the smoldering green pools. "I felt like going out.
Is that a bad thing?"

"No..." Alex's gaze grew hotter and more intense. "...How was your day?"

"Long. I missed not being able to touch you or look at you whenever I
wanted."

Before Alex could respond, a waiter approached. Early to mid thirties.
Beautiful light mocha complexion, with dark wavy hair and the blackest eyes
framed by lashes almost as long as Alex's. He smiled, and their dark corner
lit up.

"Good evening gentlemen. My name is Mark, and I'll be your server tonight.
Would you like to hear the chef's specials?"

"Sure," Alex turned an equally dazzling smile on the man.

The waiter recited the specials, every so often smiling in Fox's direction.
When he finished, Alex turned his attention to his lover, stroking his jaw.
"Does any of that sound good to you, baby?"

The corner of Fox's mouth twitched upward. "The Cajun shrimp and tenderloin
sounds interesting. I think I'll have that. Medium well on the steak,
please."

"Very good." The waiter looked to Alex. "And you, sir?"

"I'll have the Pasta Primavera."

"Certainly. Would you like an appetizer?"

Alex's eyes flicked up and down his lover's body, turning the heat up a
couple of notches. "I'm...all set. How about you, lisa?"

Fox stared back, shaking his head.

"How about some wine?"

"Yeah, I'd like that."

Alex indicated his selection to the waiter, then dismissed him. He watched
the man walk away, and turned back to Fox. "He'd do you in a second, if he
could."

"What? The way he was smiling at *you*?"

"That was admiration...and envy. He was saying, 'Holy shit man, you're one
lucky dog. If you'd let me watch, I wouldn't say a word if you wanted to lay
that sweet thing down right here in this booth and fuck him raw."

Fox laughed softly. "You got all that from a few smiles, huh?"

"Yes, I did. *And* he was wondering if I might be willing to share."

"Uh huh. And what was your reply?"

"Number one, he'd never be able to handle you, and number two...no way in
hell." Alex's fingers swept across the swell of Fox's lower lip. "You're
mine."

Fox smiled, capturing one fingertip between his teeth.

"Ah ah ah...remember what I said about you behaving."

"You started it," Fox pouted, releasing the finger from his mouth.

"What where we talking about before he showed up?"

"I believe you were telling me how much fun it would be to let me unzip your
pants and play with your cock while we had dinner..."

Alex shook his head, grinning. "Noooo, no. I know. I was asking you how work
was."

Fox shrugged. "Nothing new, really. Followed up on a few cases, pissed some
people off...oh. Oh, oh...Skinner wanted to see us this morning. He wants us
in on a case...four women in Florida...on-line friends apparently, all found
dead in front of their computers. They all seemed to be involved in the same
fan fiction writing group."

"Fan fiction?"

"Yeah. They write their own stories revolving around the characters in their
favorite television shows. This one in particular happened to be about a
very unlikely sexual relationship between two characters. They were all
participating in the same story at the same time...like a round robin.

"Uh....okaaaay.....and how is this an x-file?"

"Well...don't you find it strange that four women are all dead at the same
time in front of their computers while writing the same story?"

"I guess...wait...um....Florida?"

"Yeah. I gotta go out there day after tomorrow."

The temperature plunged.

"Oh."

//Shit.//

"I'm sorry, baby. I .."

"What for?" Alex forced his tone to be light. "This is nothing new. It's
what you do."

"I know, but I hadn't expected to have to go away so soon after..."

"Don't worry about me, lisa. I'll be fine." Alex pressed his lips together
and looked down at the table.

//Way to fuck up an evening, Mulder.//

"Alex..."

Before he could finish, Mark was back with the wine. He poured for Alex,
waited for his approval, then with another flash of white teeth, disappeared
from sight.

Alex picked up the bottle, filled Fox's glass, and topped his off. He
returned the bottle to the bucket, and stared down into his glass, absorbed
in whatever emotions were rolling through him.

Fox slid along the seat until their thighs touched. "Alex?"

"Hmm?"

"I'm sorry."

"Cut it out, Fox. You have no reason to be sorry."

"I completely ruined the mood here..."

"*I* asked you about work, remember?" Alex lifted his own glass to Fox's
lips, letting him drink from it, then kissing him tenderly. I'm fine. I
promise."

Alex put on a damn good show. No one watching would ever have guessed that
there was another thought in his mind other than having a wonderful evening
with his lover, but Fox knew better. Though Alex was sweet and attentive,
the mood that had been set earlier, had never been recaptured after the
Florida talk.

In the middle of their meal, the band for the evening took the stage and
began to play. Almost an hour later, Alex took Fox by the hand and tugged
him up on the dance floor.

Fox looked around on the way to their destination. The floor was already
three-quarters full, and while some of the couples were female, and even
fewer male-female, the majority was male. They found a space, and Alex drew
Fox into his arms. They rocked slowly together, arms wound around each
other. Fox let his head drop, resting his cheek on Alex's shoulder as the
younger man slowly caressed his back. He slid a hand down to the small of
Alex's back, and rubbed himself against the younger man's crotch, feeling
the solid heat there. Alex held him tighter, moaning into his hair. Fox
raised his head and whispered into his lover's ear.

"Alexei..."

Alex shuddered at the warm tickle. "Yeah, baby?"

"I need you." Fox licked a path around the outside curve of his ear.
"Please...take me home."

"N-now?"

"Right now," Fox whimpered, squirming against him.

Alex was dying. His cock was pounding. His head was pounding. The palms of
his hands were moist from sweat. Images of him ripping Fox's clothes off and
taking him in the back seat of the car flashed through his mind...then
driving home while Fox still lay in the back seat, naked except for the
leather strapping, and insane with frustration...dragging him through the
house...throwing him down on the bed and fucking him again, while he
screamed for mercy...it's what Fox had been wanting...what he'd all but got
down on his knees and begged for. Alex wanted it too. God, he wanted it so
much.

Tonight.

Fox would still be feeling him all the way to Florida and back...

//Wonder how long he'll have to be gone. Maybe Clyde and I could go with
him. Couple of days away would be nice.//

//A couple of days away? Away from what? You were *dying* to be home. Now
you want to go away? Come on, it's got nothing to do with getting away.
You're scared to be alone. Oh, you gotta be kidding me, you goddamn puss.
Knock this shit off. Nobody's gonna sneak in, in the middle of the night and
abduct you.//

//What if I have the nightmare again and he isn't there?//

//Well then you can't kill him, can you?//

Fox felt the tension drain from Alex's body, and it wasn't a *good* thing.

//Damn. Damn, damn, damn. Now what?//

"Baby?"

Alex drew back, giving Fox a tiny smile. "Come on," he said softly, "let's
go home."

The ride home was a relatively silent one. Fox sat close to Alex, touching
and nuzzling him, but was unable to re-ignite the fire he'd started earlier.

Alex pulled into the garage and both men alighted from the car. Instead of
stumbling into the house, tearing each other's clothes off, they walked
slowly, holding hands all the way into the bedroom. Clyde followed close
behind, wagging and whining.

"He must need to go out." Fox turned and walked back toward the door. "I'll
be right back. Come on, Clyde."

Alex nodded, watched Fox disappear into the hall, then removed his jacket
and the rest of his clothing. He walked into the bathroom and turned the
shower on, waiting until the water was warm enough, then stepped inside. He
poured a generous amount of bath gel into the sponge, and began to wash. His
eyes closed as he rubbed the sponge across his chest, brushing the tight
nipples. His body was still sensitive from his earlier arousal, and the
sponge on his skin felt like...Fox's tongue. No....not true. *Nothing* felt
like his Fox's tongue...

Fox walked back into the bedroom, hearing the shower. He stood quietly
listening, not sure what he should do now. Seconds later, he sat heavily in
one of the two chairs by the window. He closed his eyes, focusing on the
throbbing of his cock beneath the black material of his pants.

//Jesus...well, this didn't exactly turn out the way you expected, did it?//

Alex turned the shower off and dried himself. He groaned softly as the towel
grazed his still rigid cock. He glanced toward the door, hoping that Fox
would have joined him in the shower, but wasn't exactly shocked when he
didn't. God, he hated himself. Fox had gone to so much trouble to make this
evening special, and he just fucked it all up. He had to fix it, he had to
make it better, somehow. He finished drying off and walked naked into the
bedroom. He looked around, frowning until he found what he was looking for.

Fox. Slouched in the chair by the window...asleep.

Alex crouched beside the chair, and his presence startled the other man
awake. He laid a hand on Fox's knee and rubbed it gently. "I'm sorry," he
whispered his apology.

Fox blinked down at him, not missing the fact that he was very much naked.
"*I'm* sorry. I didn't mean to fall asleep."

"You're tired."

"I'm okay." Fox stared at him hopefully.

Alex studied him, reading the expression in his eyes. He shifted to his
knees, leaned forward, and touched his fingers to the front of Fox's shirt.

Fox's eyes remained glued to his lover's face as he felt the first button
give. The breath escaped past his lips in a soft hiss as the second button
was undone, and his cock came back to rigid attention.

Alex saw Fox's eyes go smoky, and his hand slipped inside the partially
unbuttoned shirt, caressing his heated skin. His fingertips brushed over a
hardening nipple, sending a tiny shudder through Fox's body. His other hand
joined the first, now teasing both nipples simultaneously.

Fox's neck arched, pushing his head back into the chair's cushion, and he
was breathing heavily now, laboring for each breath. Unable to get any
intelligible sound from his throat, he mouthed Alex's name, making a silent
plea to his lover. But if only Alex would listen, he'd be able to hear his
cock screaming it loud and clear.

Alex's hands left Fox's chest, and slid down the open edges of his shirt.
When he'd reached the part where the material was still joined by buttons,
his eyes rose to meet those of his suffering lover. His fingers tightened in
the material and he wrenched the shirt open, popping the last few buttons,
and yanking the shirt out of the waistband of Fox's pants.

The older man's hands tightened on the arms of the chair, and he gasped
loudly, involuntarily arching up a few inches off of the seat.

Alex gripped Fox's hips, pushing him back down, then went to work on his
pants. Once he had the zipper down, he pulled the pants off, flinging them
over the other chair. He continued to remove each article of clothing until
Fox sat, sprawled naked before him with only the cock straps and chain in
place. "Beautiful," he murmured, bending to place a soft kiss at the swollen
tip. He unhooked the chain, and slid it through the ring on the first strap.
He wrapped the fine metal around his hand, then drew it down Fox's chest,
scraping it over his already sensitive nipples. The older man's body
convulsed, and an abbreviated groan rose into the air. His eyes rose to
Fox's face just in time to see that he was mouthing something else. "What?
What is it, lisa?" he whispered.

"H..hard...harder..."

Alex complied, pressing he chain-wrapped hand down on Fox's chest, and
dragging it slowly over and around both nipples. Fox twisted and moaned in
his chair, incredibly aroused by the simple action.

"You like that, baby?" Alex gasped, now rising to meet Fox's level of
excitement.

The older man nodded, still writhing from the continuous contact.

Alex loosened his grasp on the chain, letting it uncoil. He drew it up Fox's
chest, and around his neck, securing the clasp to one of the links,
effectively forming a collar. He rose to his feet, tugging on the chain. Fox
got up and Alex led him over to the bed. Just as he was about to give his
first verbal order, a muffled ringing pierced the air. It was Fox's phone,
meaning that it was business, and couldn't be ignored.

"No," Fox whimpered, "No, no, no, no..."

Alex tilted his head back, inhaling and exhaling deeply. He snatched Fox's
pants up off of the chair, pulled the phone out, and handed it to him. Fox
took the phone and jerked it to his ear.

"*What*?"

"Jeez, Mulder, what if it wasn't me?"

"Scully," he rasped through gritted teeth. "What is it?"

"Are you busy?"

"Very."

"God, Mulder, I'm sorry. Listen, don't kill the messenger, but Skinner
couldn't get in touch with you, so he called me a little while ago. There's
been an unexpected development on that case in Florida. He wants us out
there, asap."

"Scully..." Fox glanced quickly at Alex then away. "...tell me you're
kidding..."

Alex let the chain drop from his hand and he fell onto the bed, pulling
himself back against the pillows. He waited quietly for the bad news.

"I'm sorry, I wish I were. I've booked us a couple of tickets. Our flight
leaves in two hours."

"All right," he said softly. "I'll uh...I'll pick you up in an hour."

"Mulder, I really am sorry."

"Not your fault."

Fox disconnected, and let the phone drop from his limp hand, onto the bed.
The other hand unhooked the chain, and let that too, drop. "Alex..."

"I know," The subdued voice came from the head of the bed, "you have to go."

Fox nodded, gazing sightlessly at the window. "I'm..." He paused, attempting
to control his breathing. "I'm sorry."

"It's all right," the voice sounded again, this time closer. Fox turned into
it. Alex began to gently unbuckle the straps still secured around his cock.
"I'd repacked your bag after the last time. All you have to do is throw your
suits and shoes into the garment bag, and you're off."

Fox closed his eyes, battling the buildup of frustration, and at the same
time, losing himself in the sensation of Alex's fingers moving over his
swollen cock. "Takes twenty minutes to drive from here to Scully's. Five
minutes to pack the garment bag, ten minutes to shower and dress...." His
eyes opened and focused on Alex. "That still gives us twenty-five minutes."

Alex unbuckled the last strap, and removed it. He dropped the leather down
next to Fox's cell phone, and stared at the older man.

Fox wrapped an arm around his kneeling lover's waist, and pulled him
forward. His mouth clamped down on Alex's, and he lowered them both to the
mattress.

Alex clung desperately to his lover, never wanting to let him go, though he
knew he must. He opened his mouth to Fox, offering the warm interior.

Fox immediately accepted the overture plunged inside, scouring the moist
recesses, and provoking Alex's tongue into a sensuous duel. He manuevered
Alex over to the right, never releasing his mouth while he rumaged in the
nightstand drawer for the lube. He quickly produced the tube, slicked up his
cock, and pulled Alex's legs up and back. He positioned his cock and pushed
in gently, pulling a long moan from his lover. Once he was deeply embedded
in Alex's ass, he began to move, thrusting slowly as he wrapped his hand
around his cock.

"God, baby, you feel so good," Fox whispered as he continued to move. "I
don't...I..." His words faded into a harsh groan as Alex's muscles
contracted around him. He tightened his grip, pumping his lover's cock
harder and faster, his hips adhering to the same rhythm as Alex whimpered
and dug his fingers into his back.

//Harder...oh God, baby, make me feel it.//

Alex had no right to ask it out loud. This was supposed to be Fox's night...

"Ah...oh...*Fox*...." Alex bucked beneath his lover as he increased the
strength of his thrusts, now slamming steadily into him. He gritted his
teeth, growling deep in his throat as the friction on his cock also
increased.

"Come on, baby," Fox grated into his ear, "I can't hold it..."

And he couldn't.

Seconds later, Fox threw his head back and his harsh sobs echoed through the
room. Alex immediately followed, shaking violently with the effort it took
to choke back his screams of pleasure.

Fox fell onto Alex's heaving chest, feeling the slick evidence of his
lover's explosion now coat his own skin. He tucked his hands under Alex's
back, hugging the younger man to him. "I don't want to leave you," he
murmured into the shoulder beneath his cheek.

Alex stroked the damp skin, loving the feel of Fox's muscles contract and
relax under his touch. An apology was on the tip of his tongue, but he bit
it back, not wanting Fox to leave thinking that he was upset. He took a deep
breath, kissed the golden-brown head, and suggested that Fox get into the
shower before time ran out.

Fox nodded, gently disengaged himself, and pulled himself to his feet. Alex
shooed him off in the direction of the bathroom, then went to the closet to
pull out the suits and shoes. Less than ten minutes later, Fox emerged from
the shower, and changed into the clothes that Alex had laid out for him.

"Are you all right? Maybe I should drive you," Alex suggested, thinking
about the fact that Fox had had next to nothing for sleep the night before.

"I'm fine," Fox promised. "I'll let Scully drive to the airport, okay?"

"Okay."

The older man approached, threading his fingers through Alex's hair. "What
about you?"

"Me?"

"You gonna be okay?"

"Fine. Just go and do what you have to do."

Fox hesitated, massaging the back of his lover's head. "You don't know how I
hate this."

"This is no different than any other time you've had to go out of town. Just
kiss me, tell me you'll miss me, and go."

He was trying to make it easier. Fox knew he was unhappy, and though it
showed all over his face, he'd be damned if he'd admit to it.

"I love you."

Alex smiled and leaned forward for a kiss. "I love *you*, lisa. Call me as
soon as you get there, okay?"

"It'll be late..."

"I don't care. You call me."

"Okay."

"Now go on. You're all packed and ready."

Fox nodded and hesitated. His eyes searched his lover's, then pulled him in
for one more long kiss. When they finally parted, Fox picked up his two bags
and left he bedroom without looking back.

Alex stood motionless until he heard the door open and close, then Fox's car
start and drive up the street. When silence descended again, he glanced
warily around the room, then crawled into bed. He pulled the sheet up around
his chest, drew Fox's pillow under his head, and closed his eyes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Scully looked into the miserable face of her partner as he unlocked the
trunk for her bag.

"Maybe you should have taken some more time off, Mulder. You're apparently
not ready..."

"I'm okay."

"You sure as hell don't look okay. And I'm willing to bet that if you're not
okay, *Alex* isn't okay."

"Things are just a bit tense because this is my first time away after all
that shit. Things will get back to normal, soon."

"Give me the keys. I'll drive."

"I was going to ask you to, anyway. I promised Alex."

"Haven't you been sleeping?"

"Not much last night."

They got into the car, and headed for the airport. A few minutes into the
drive, Scully glanced over at her partner who was staring out the window,
instead of resting.

"So, what were you so agitated about when I called?"

Fox sighed heavily. "It was just a really bad time for interruptions."

Scully wrinkled her nose. "Oh. I gotcha. God, Mulder, I'm really sorry."

Fox nodded, still staring out the window, watching what should have been an
earthshattering night pass him by...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alex's eyes snapped open, and darted frantically around the dark room. His
breath rushed back into his lungs as he realized that he was home in his own
bed.

Alone.

//Stop it. The world isn't going to come to a screeching halt because
*you've* got a problem.//

Alex checked the clock, did some quick calculating, and figured it would be
at least another hour before Fox called him.

//Go to sleep.//

He closed his eyes, but opened them again, minutes later when he thought he
heard something. He sat up, peering into the darkness. Clyde's head came up
too, but only after his had. The dog looked at him for a few seconds, then
lowered his head again to the floor.

//Okay....Clyde didn't hear anything, so there's nothing there.//

But still, he got up.

He walked around the house, looking out windows, checking locks, and on his
way back to the bed, he stopped.

//Oh, come on. You're not.//

Sure he was.

Alex turned in the direction of the closet, and pulled a small metal box
down off the top shelf. He unlocked the box, and pulled his gun out. He
stared at the weapon for what seemed like an eternity, then, loaded in the
clip, took the gun back to bed with him, and shoved it under his pillow. He
closed his eyes and soon after, drifted into sleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fox trudged into his motel room and looked around.

Fuck.

"How much does *this* suck?"

He dropped his suitcase down beside the room's only chair, hung up his
garment bag, and flopped down across the bed. He picked up the phone and
dialed home. The phone rang only twice before it was picked up and a husky
voice said hello.

"Hi," Fox said softly.

"Hi."

"Sorry I woke you."

"S'okay. I wanted you to call, remember? What time is it?"

"Two-twelve."

"Mmm.....just get in?"

"Just this minute."

"You'd better get to sleep..."

"Alex."

"Yeah?"

"I'm...you okay?"

"...Yeah....I..."

"You what?"

"Nothing."

"Baby...tell me."

// Don't do this to him. Don't make him afraid to go out and do his job.//

"Nothing. I was just going to say that I was fine. Everything is fine."

"You don't sound fine. Are you sure?"

//Don't you fucking do it.//

"Positive. It's just that I've been asleep. Now go on. You need some rest."

"All right. I'll talk to you tomorrow, okay?"

"Yeah....love you."

"I love you, Alexei. Goodnight."

"...Goodnight."

Fox dropped the phone into the cradle, and rolled onto his back. "God," he
whispered into the still air, "please don't let this case drag on and on."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alex walked slowly, breathing in the fresh, summer air, turning his face up
to the sun every now and again. It felt good. Alex likened the sensation to
the warmth he felt when his Fox smiled at him.

Christ, he missed him.

Not even a full day yet, and...

"Hi, Alex!"

Alex jerked himself back from his musings. "Hi, Mitchell. How you been?"

"Good."

Clyde bounded up, and the boy scratched his head and under his chin. "Hi
Clyde." He turned his attention back to Alex. "How 'bout you? I haven't seen
you around. I was hopin' you weren't sick or anything."

"No, I'm fine. Just been hanging around the house a lot...resting..."

"Alex?"

"Hmm?"

"They didn't hurt you, did they? I heard my mother talkin' to Robbie's
mother on the phone. And she said that Mrs. Kilgore down the street said
that you were in the hospital."

Alex released a long sigh. "Umm...yeah, Mitchell. I was in he hospital...but
just for a very little while."

"S-so they *did* hurt you?"

"...Yeah." He held out his arms, turning around and around as they walked.
"But I'm fine. See?"

The little boy nodded, then jumped on to the next subject. "Mulder at work?"

"Yeah, he's working."

"You guys gonna be around later? I heard Mom say that she wanted to let a
week or so go by before she came to see you...let you rest, I guess, and she
was thinkin' about callin' you tonight."

"Well, I'll be home, but Mulder is working out of town."

The boy's eyes widened. "On a case?"

"Yeah."

"Cool. How long?"

"Don't know. I'm hoping he'll be able to tell me that when he calls
tonight."

"Tell him I said hi when you talk to him, okay?"

"Will do."

"'Kay, I gotta go. Mom told me to be home at four-thirty."

Alex checked his watch. "It's uh....four-fortyeight."

"Okay, I gotta go. I'll see you later!"

Alex waved to the boy as he ran off toward his house. He walked up to the
house, opened the door, and he and Clyde disappeared inside.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Hey, baby."

"Hi."

Fox stretched out on the bed, loosening his tie. "I've been thinking about
you all day."

"Makes two of us, cause I've been thinking about *you* all day. How's it
going?"

"Not as well as I'd like it to."

Soft sigh. "I know what *that* means."

"You know I'll be home just as soon as I can."

"I know."

"Are you all right?"

"Yeah, I'm good. Just missing you....uh... Anne Mitchell stopped by today."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah, she said she didn't want to come rushing right over here when I first
got home, but she wanted me to know that she was glad I was back and that I
was okay. And she heard I was alone for a few days, so she brought over some
food...actually, a lot of food. She didn't want me to have to cook for
myself."

"That was nice of her. We've got some good neighbors."

"We do."

A brief silence descended, then Fox asked what he'd been dreading to ask.
"How did you sleep last night?"

"Okay."

"No dreams or anything?"

"No. Took me a little while to get back to sleep after you called, but when
I did, I was out until eight this morning."

"Not that long."

"Longer than you."

"True."

"Are you in for the night?"

"Unless I get called out, yeah."

"Then get some sleep."

"You don't want to talk to me anymore?"

Alex closed his eyes and whispered into the phone, "Of course I do. But I
don't want you stumbling around, exhausted. Not in the field. Promise me
you'll go to sleep right now."

"Okay, I promise."

"All right. Love you."

"Love you, too."

"Goodnight, lisa."

"Goodnight, babe."

Alex hung up then toured the house, checking the windows and doors. After a
warm, relaxing shower, he dropped into bed, and fell asleep less than
fifteen minutes later.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

//Mmmmmm.....//

//That good, baby?//

//Yes, oh, yes, Fox...more...//

*Crack*

//Shit...no...//

//Yes.//

//Fox, he's here. Come back!//

*Crack*

//You're mine, Alexei.//

//Stop it. You're dead.//

//Am I? I'm here, aren't I?//

//*No*. It's just a dream.//

*Crack*

//Ah...stop..God, stop...//

//Hurts an awful lot for a dream, doesn't it?//

//I'll kill you, motherfucker.//

//Oh, please, darling. You tried and failed.//

//Not this time. I'll shoot you right between your eyes.//

//You can try...//

Alex sat bolt upright, gun pulled from beneath his pillow, poised for use.
He blinked, trying to focus in the darkness.

Nothing.

He was dreaming.

//Shit.//

He sat, head resting on bent knees for a brief time. When he was breathing
easier, he tucked his weapon back under the pillow, and lowered himself to
the mattress. He stared up at the ceiling for two hours before sleep
returned for him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"You figure out what it is, yet?"

Scully looked up at her partner who was just coming through the lab doors.
"I've just completed the second autopsy, Mulder, and I can't find anything
amiss so far. No wounds, no toxins in the blood...no evidence of trauma of
any kind. I'm baffled."

"Keep looking. There's got to be something."

"Yes, but what?"

"I don't know. *Something* killed these women. Call me if you come up with
anything."

"Where are you going?"

"Going to try and find out who or what...if anything, these four women had
in common...I'll see you later."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Hello?"

"Hey."

One corner of Alex's mouth slanted upward. "Didn't expect to hear from you
so early."

"Oh....sorry...am I interrupting something? Your boyfriend over?"

Alex grunted. "Yeah, I was just getting ready to lick the grape jelly off of
him when you rang."

Fox laughed softly. "Want me to let you get back to it?"

"Nah, that's okay, he can wait....so...how come you're calling me in the
middle of the day?"

"I'm on my way back to the lab to find Scully, and I thought I'd call. I
wanted to hear your voice."

Alex's jaw tightened. "Doesn't sound like you're coming home today..."

"No. I'm sorry, babe."

"You haven't found anything at all?"

"Not yet. I've visited their jobs, their families and friends...I can't find
anything in common."

"Aside from the fact that they all had the same hobby."

"Right."

"Autopsies show nothing?"

"Not that Scully can see, so far."

Alex sighed. "Nothing is ever easy, is it?"

"*I'm* easy..."

The younger man couldn't stifle the laugh. "*That*, I knew."

"Only for you, baby."

Alex groaned softly. "Always a good thing to hear."

"Listen, I gotta get going, but before I do...how are you? Did you sleep
okay?"

"I'm all right. I only woke up once."

"Nightmare?"

"No." Too quick.

"Alex..."

"What?"

Fox released a soft breath. "I'll...I'll talk to you tonight."

"Okay. I'll be waiting."

"Bye, babe." Fox hung up and headed back out to the lab. He drove the six
mile distance, willing himself to concentrate on the case at hand rather
than the beautiful, green-eyed bundle of confusion that he loved more than
life.

An impossible task.

He'd bet a week's pay that Alex *had* had another dream last night. He knew
that tone...had spent three years now, learning to decipher all the
different pitches, pauses and inflections, and he was damn good at it. Maybe
he'd be able to get him to talk about it, tonight.

And maybe Cancerman would become a Boy Scout troup leader.

If he was home, he'd be able to get him to talk, but not from this far away.
Alex wouldn't want to worry him, especially while he was on a case. Fox
resigned himself to that fact, and pulled into the parking lot.

Scully was in the middle of the last autopsy when he walked in.

"Any leads?"

"Nada."

"Well, I may have one...or maybe I'm grasping at straws...I don't know."

Fox stepped closer. "What is it?"

"It would seem that the endorphin levels in all three of the previous bodies
was higher than normal."

"Doesn't the body release endorphins in reponse to pain?"

"Yes."

"Yet you found no evidence of stress or trauma."

"None. But when I say higher than normal, Mulder, I'm talking off the scale.
I've never seen anything like it."

"So you're saying these women, what? OD'ed? Is that possible?"

"It would appear that way, wouldn't it?."

"Okay, assuming this is what happened...what caused such a massive chemical
release?"

"I don't know."

"Want to hear my idea?"

"God, not really, but I'm sure that won't stop you. Listen, I'm just about
done with this examination. Why don't we get out of here and get something
to eat? I need a break. You can entertain me while we eat."

"You're coming back?"

"Yeah, there are a few more tests I'd like to run."

"Oh....all right." Fox prowled around the room for a short while, then took
a seat and waited quietly for his partner to finish. Finally, she pulled her
gloves and cap off, and turned to him.

"No different than the rest."

Fox rolled his eyes up into his head and his lids dropped over them.

"Come on," Scully tapped his shoulder as she passed him. "Let eat. I'm
starved."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alex picked up the phone on the third ring. "Hello?"

"Me, again."

"Done for the day?"

"Yeah. Scully is back at the lab, running a few more tests before we throw
it in."

"You mean you'll be home tomorrow?"

"I don't see why not, unless these tests show us something new. I don't
think she expects to find anything more, though...just being thorough."

"So the case isn't solved?"

"For the record, no."

"What do *you* think?"

"They may all have been abducted at one time. Their systems manipulated
somehow...programmed to release an excess of endorphins at a certain
time..."

"An excess of endorphins killed them?"

"So it would appear. It's all we've got."

"For what purpose?"

"I don't know. Some type of experiment. One among the many these assholes
conduct." Fox stretched out on the twin bed. "Forget about that. It'll never
make it into any report, so....how are you today?"

"I'm all right. You?"

"Lonely. The bed is so cold..."

"You're in Florida."

"Work with me, Alex."

"Oh. Sorry. Yeah? My poor baby. It's lonely here, too. I miss feeling your
arms around me. And the taste of your mouth..."

Fox breathed audibly into the phone. "What else?"

"You know that sound you just made? It feels so good when you do that in my
ear. Sometimes I think that if you did it long enough, I could come from
that alone."

"Remind me to try it sometime."

"I'll do that....what are you doing?"

"Lying on the bed...talking to you...getting incredibly turned on."

There was a brief silence, then Alex's voice wafted over the line toward
Fox's ear, blanketing him like a fine summer mist.

"Get undressed, lisa."

Fox grinned lazily. "Why?"

"Because I want you to."

Fox reached for his tie, loosening the knot, and slipping it over his head.
He then went to work on his shirt, methodically undoing button after button.

"Are you undressing?"

"Yeah. Are you?"

"Already am."

"Oh?"

"Been in bed for about half an hour."

"Why so early?"

"I was waiting for you to call."

"Oh, so you *planned* to seduce me tonight."

"Is that all right?"

"You need to ask?"

"....Are all your clothes off, yet?"

"Yeah."

"Are you hard?"

"Oh, yeah."

"Good. Close your eyes."

"Way ahead of you."

"Kiss me, Fox....your mouth is so soft. And it's sweet, and beautiful, and
your tongue...oh, God, it's sliding in and out...like you're fucking my
mouth with it."

"I am. I'm showing you what I want to do to your ass...what I want you to do
to mine...do you want to fuck me, Alex?"

"More than I want to breathe."

"Put your hand on my chest. You feel that?"

"Your heart is pounding."

"Yeah. I want you so much, Alex. "

"Mmm...tilt your head, baby. I want to find the pulse in your throat..."
Alex fought to suppress the sudden image of seeing his hands wrapped around
his lover's neck. "It..." he took a deep breath and continued, "...it feels
so strong against my tongue. There's a faint taste of salt on your skin..."

Fox writhed on his bed, absently stroking his own chest. "Because you make
me sweat."

"I want to bite you, baby. I want to suck your skin into my mouth and mark
you."

"Do it."

"But it's hard to control myself sometimes. I'm afraid I'll hurt you...but
you just make me so crazy..."

"I don't want you in control, baby. I want to feel you everywhere. Come on,
hurt me..."

Alex growled into the phone. "Fox..."

Fox continued, intentionally working his lover into a frenzy. "Do it, Alex.
Bite me harder...leave bruises wherever you touch me. I'm yours, baby. Never
let me forget it..."

Alex arched and twisted, one hand clenched tightly in his hair. "Lisa...oh,
God, I wish you were here."

"Would you love me the way I'm asking you to?"

Soft hiss. "Yes..."

"Would you fuck me until I scream, and then fuck me some more?"

"Christ, baby, I'll fuck you right through the mattress," Alex gasped, "I'll
fuck you until you *can't* scream...until you can't *walk*..."

"Promise me."

"Promise...I promise. Oh God, Fox, I can't stand it."

"I feel the same way, but this is too good. Lick the sweat off my chest,
Alex...God, your tongue is so soft. I can...I can feel it moving down...so
slow...I'm waiting...please, baby..."

Alex took two deep breaths before he spoke. "Your nipples are conracting.
Every time my tongue passes a little closer, they tighten more..."

"Touch them, Alex..." Fox's fingers brushed the tip of one brown peak. "Oh,
that's good..."

"I love the feel of them on my tongue...so hard...I want to suck them..."

"Oh yeah, baby. Suck them....harder...m-mmm....bite them, Alex.." Fox
pinched his nipples, twisting and pulling them, crying out into the phone.

"That hurt, baby?"

"Yes," Fox gasped softly.

"Good. Now, if you want me to continue, you've got to earn it. Touch me,
baby...show me how much you want me."

Fox released his reddened nipples, stroking and soothing them, bringing his
excitement down a notch. "I'm...I'm lifting my head from the pillow...trying
to reach you...my tongue finds the hollow at the base of your throat. You
taste so good. I want to lick every inch of you..."

"I'll hold you to that when you get home. But for now, there's only about
seven inches of me I want you to lick...right now. And make it good, or this
is done."

Fox whimpered. "No....I...I'm rolling over...on top of you, now, kissing
you...kissing you...your mouth, it's so...but you're pulling away..."

"I told you where I want your mouth, Fox."

"I'm moving down...licking your throat, nipping at the skin. I can feel your
heart as I move over your chest. I feel it pounding before my mouth ever
touches the skin there. My tongue is sliding back and forth between your
nipples, licking them, first one, then the other. I'm nipping at them..."

Alex blew out an unsteady breath.

"Is that good?"

"You know I like that, baby. But my cock needs some attention, now."

"I'm moving again, down...I'm rubbing against your cock as I go. It feels so
hot against my skin. I'm sliding lower, kissing and licking...I can smell
you now, and it's making me so hard. I can feel the tip brushing against my
chin..."

"Kiss it, Fox."

"I'm wrapping my hand around the base to keep you steady, and kissing gently
along the shaft, up to the head. Your skin is like warm velvet on my
mouth..."

Alex lay sprawled on their bed, lazily stroking himself, catching the bead
of fluid at the tip of his cock with his finger, and spreading it over the
head. "I love the feel of your lips on me, lisa..I love...love to see your
face when you're sucking my cock. You enjoy it so much..."

"I do. I can't get enough of you. I'm licking the head. The tip...it's salty
and bitter...I want more."

"Yeah?"

"Oh, yeah...please..."

"Work for it, baby."

"I'm sucking your cock into my mouth. I can feel it hit the back of my
throat, just before I draw back and stop. Just the head is in my mouth now.
My tongue is sliding over it...searching the slit..."

Alex arched his back, continuing to caress his cock gently. "Come on, baby.
Suck me..."

Four states away, his lover did the same. "I'm...God, I'm sliding back down
over you...relaxing my throat...I want you in as deep as you can go...I'm
sucking...easy at first, then harder. You're moaning and twisting under me.
I can feel your fingers closing in my hair, holding me still, and you start
to move..."

"Oh Jesus, Fox, I don't...I'm...bucking into your mouth. Harder and faster,
and...shit...oh, *God*."

"You need...need to come, don't you?" Fox panted.

"*Yes*."

"Me too. Let's come, baby. Wrap your hand around your cock and think about
being in my ass."

Alex followed Fox's instructions, and gritted his teeth while he began to
work his cock, slowly at first, then with increased fervor. "I pull you off
of me by your hair and drag you up to my chest. My mouth finds yours and I'm
kissing you hard. I taste myself in your mouth. It's about all I can take.
Come on, baby, ride me. Oh, that's it. I can...can feel you, lisa...sliding
down over me until I'm buried so deep inside you. I need to feel you under
me...I'm...rolling you onto your back. I slip halfway out, but I push back
in as far as I can. Pull out, then right back in..."

"I'm squeezing you, Alex, every time you pull back. You feel so good...so
good inside me..."

"Oh, yeah, squeeze me...you're so warm and silky..."

Fox moved his fist rapidly, up and down his swollen shaft, unable to hold
back anymore. His desperately whispered words set the pace. "You're slamming
into me now, so hard that the bed is shaking. It hurts, baby...Jesus, it
hurts, and...and it feels so good, and I never..never want you to stop."

"My beautiful....Fox....look at me...want to see...see your eyes when
you...ah...*shit*...Fox, I'm..."

Alex's hoarse cries resonated in Fox's ear, and then Fox let go, emitting
loud, choking sobs as he came over his fist and stomach.

Aside from the double effort to control their insurgent breathing, the two
men were now silent.

Alex grimaced, removing his sticky hand from his spent cock. He let it drop
to his side on the mattress, and sighed into the phone. "Tomorrow's such a
long way off."

Fox's lips trembled into a partial smile. "You mean that won't hold you till
then? A very soft laugh was his only reply. His body wiggled slightly,
making itself more comfortable, and his fingers unwound from his shrinking
cock. "Alex?"

"Yeah?"

"That was good, baby."

"But?"

"But...when I get home, I need..." Fox broke off in mid-sentence, hating how
selfish he sounded. Alex was still recovering, and... "I'm sorry," he
murmured. "I shouldn't..."

"Shouldn't what? Tell me that you've got needs? You've been so good to me,
lisa. So patient. Come home to me and let me make you happy."

"I don't want repayment, Alex. I love you, and the only thing I want from
you is for you to be okay."

"I'm fine. And believe me, it's as much for me as it is for you." A smile
crept into his voice. "You can't possibly think I'm *that* unselfish."

Fox grinned. "Silly me. What *was* I thinking?"

"It's okay, baby, I understand. You're tired."

"Yeah. Listen, speaking of which, why don't you get some sleep, now? I'm
going to check in with Scully, then turn in, myself. Sooner we get to sleep,
the sooner tomorrow will come."

"All right. Call me as soon as you have your flight information."

"I will. See you soon."

"I love you, lisa."

"I love *you*. Goodnight, sweetheart."

"Goodnight."

Alex disconnected and dropped the phone onto the nightstand. He lay there
for a few minutes, then got up and went into the bathroom. When he'd
finished cleaning himself up, he got back into bed, and curled up with Fox's
pillows, smiling contentedly.

In his motel room, Fox had just completed the same ritual that Alex had
done.

He dropped onto his bed, and picked up the phone. Punching in Scully's
number, he waited for only two rings before she answered.

"Good timing, Mulder," his partner offered. "I was just on my way out the
door."

"Did those tests show anything?"

"Nothing. Which is really what I expected. Those four women were perfectly
fine...before they bought it, that is. We've gone as far as we can go with
this case. All that's left is to wrap it up with Chief Lopez, and I can do
that."

"What do you mean?"

"It's not that late, Mulder. Why don't you see if you can get a flight out.
Go home. Surprise Alex. I can finish this up."

The thought of surprising Alex in bed sent a little thrill through Fox's
body, and even though he'd borught himself to orgasm not more than twenty
minutes ago, his cock began to stir.

"Really?"

"Absolutely. Call me back and let me know if you're leaving."

"I will. Give me a few minutes, okay?"

"All right, well, I'll be there in about fifteen minutes, so actually, you
could just wait until then."

"Right. See you in a few. Scully?"

"Yeah?"

"Thanks."

"No problem. I just *know* you're dying to get back to him."

"You know me well."

Fox hung up and immediately called out to the airport.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

//No...no, stop. Let me go.//

//Why, Alexei? Don't you like it?//

//*No*!//

//Oh, darling, give Matthew a chance. He so wants to please you...//

//Noooo....Fox...I want my Fox...//

//Forget about your Fox. You'll never see him again.//

//He'll come for me...*no*! God, stop, please, stop...I'm going to kill you,
you dirty son of a bitch!//

//Now, now, darling. Am I going to have to give you yet another lesson?//

//Don't touch me with that thing...//

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fox pulled into the garage, smiling as he exited the car and walked into the
house. Clyde met him at the door, whining his usual greeting. He patted the
dog's head, and moved deftly through the dark house toward the bedroom. He
reached the door, and the smile fell from his face.

He heard Alex before he saw him...whimpering and crying out with rage,
struggling against a tormentor who no longer existed except in his dreams.
He dropped his bag by the door and rushed into the room, falling onto the
bed beside his stricken lover.

"Alex...baby...come on, wake up. You're dreaming..."

//I'll kill...kill you, motherfucker.//

//Take your best shot, Alexei...//

Fox froze as glassy dark eyes snapped open, and in an eyeblink, he was
staring down the barrel of a gun.

"Alex...wake up, baby..." He spoke slowly and softly, hoping to awake but
not agitate the sleeping man. "Justin Saint James is dead and gone. It's me
you're holding your gun on."

//Fox? Where are you?//

//Fox isn't here. It's just you and me. Now aren't you going to try to kill
me again? Or should I say...*him*...//

Fox searched Alex's eyes for some sign of recognition. Only blackness stared
back.

"Baby...it's me. It's Fox. I'm home. I came home because I missed you, and
I...and I love you. Please wake up and talk to me."

//No...he understands. He knows I didn't mean to hurt him.//

//Oh, darling, of course he does.//

//Shut up.//

//He'll never want you back anyway, you know. Not after he sees the
tape..not after he sees how you came in Matthew's mouth...//

//He knows...he knows I didn't want it to happen. He knows I didn't
mean...//

//Will he? I think not. But we shall see, shan't we? Unless of course, you
kill me first...//

"Sweetheart, please..."

//Fox?//

//I told you, he isn't here.//

//Fucking liar, I heard him. Fox? I'm s-sorry...I'm...I didn't mean it...//

"I love you, Alex."

//Forgive me, lisa. I love you so much.//

"Please wake up and put the gun down..."

//Come on, Alexei...kill me.//

//No.//

//No? And why not?//

//You're already dead. Fox killed you.//

//Haven't we already had a similar discussion?//

Fox issued another soft, shaky plea. "Alex. Please..."

//Do it, Alexei...//

//No.//

//After all I've done to you, you don't want revenge?//

//I've got my revenge. You're burning in hell, you sick bastard, and you
won't take me there with you.//

//Why not?//

//Because I love him more than I hate you.//

Fox watched Alex's eyes close, then open part way. His gun hand began to
tremble, and Fox gently covered it with his own. He took the gun away with
his other hand, then pressed a kiss into Alex's perspiration-coated palm.
"It's okay," he whispered. "It's all right."

"Fox? What..." Alex blinked slowly, looking at his surroundings. "You're
here."

"Yeah. I'm home."

"I..." he looked down at the gun. "God, what did I do. I almost shot you..."

"But you didn't." Fox stroked his damp brow. "Everything's fine."

"How...how can you say that? I almost killed you *twice*." Alex's chest
heaved as his respiration quickened to an alarming rate.

"Easy, baby." Fox moved over Alex, half covering the younger man's body with
his own. He pulled the sable head into his shoulder, and held Alex tightly.

Alex's hands clenched in his lover's shirt, gasping and shaking violently.
"You shouldn't...shouldn't be here."

"Scully suggested I catch a flight out tonight. She knew how much I missed
you..."

"No...you shouldn't...*be* here...."

"You're afraid you're going to hurt me."

Alex nodded. "I don't want to. I could've *shot* you, Fox. Oh, my God. Oh,
God..."

"Baby, stop. You're going to make yourself sick."

Alex attempted to push Fox away. "Get off me."

"Why?"

"If you won't go..."

"What? You're going to? Oh, hell no." Fox tightened his grip on the
tormented man. "Neither one of us is going anywhere. Just relax, okay? Then
we'll talk."

"How can you be so calm? I almost killed you...*again*."

"We'll talk about it when you're more rational. Now, breathe." Fox kissed
Alex's jaw, then his neck. He spoke in soft, soothing tones. "Slowly...in
and out...that's it, baby..."

Alex's body slumped, and his muscles began to unknot. His fingers again
closed in the front of Fox's shirt, gently this time, and he sighed into the
material. The trembling subsided, and his breathing began to return to
normal.

"What are we going to do?"

"I think you did it."

"What d'you mean?"

"I don't think I woke you up, Alex. I think you did it yourself. Can you
recall any of the dream?"

Alex shuddered. "Every word."

"Can you summarize it for me?"

"Do I have to?"

"Please?"

"He..he was taunting me again. Doing the same things he did when I was at
his house, but..."

"But, what?"

"He kept trying to provoke me into killing him, but....he knew..he knew it
was *you*..I can't explain it..."

"I think I understand." Fox drew back a bit, and looked down into
glistening, dark eyes. "You said he provoked you?"

Alex nodded. "He just...he came right out and *said* it. He *wanted* me to
kill him...you..."

"What stopped you?"

Alex blinked, then turned his eyes back up to meet his lover's. "You did."

"Me? *Did* you hear me talking to you?"

"I could hear your voice, faintly. He kept saying that it wasn't you...that
you'd never want me again after...after..."

"It's all right," Fox murmured. "You know that isn't true."

"I know. Umm....wh-when I say it was you, I don't mean because I heard your
voice. I just...I guess what Scully said to me the other day must have
registered on some level. I stopped fighting him and thought about how much
I love you. Next thing I knew, I was looking up at you."

Fox smiled down at him. "See that? You did it all yourself. I think it's
going to be okay, sweetheart."

Alex hesitated, then raised a still shaky hand to his lover's face. "You
really think so?"

"Yeah, I do."

The younger man displayed a weak smile. "Why didn't you just take the gun
from me?"

Fox laughed softly. "We were *this* close. I didn't really want to risk a
struggle, you know?"

Alex closed his eyes and nodded.

"Umm...one other thing...why did you have your gun in bed with you?"

Alex shrugged. "Just felt better. More secure."

Fox opened the nightstand drawer, and placed the weapon inside. He returned
his attention to Alex, tilted his head up and grinned when his eyes
reopened. "So....aside from all that, aren't you glad to see me?"

Alex wrapped his arms around Fox's back and pulled him down. "God, you know
I am. Hurry up and get undressed and get under the sheet. I need to feel you
against me."

Fox pulled away from his lover, quickly shedding his clothes, and slipping
under the sheet. He wrapped Alex in his arms, kissing him again and again.

"What, no complaints about me throwing my clothes on the floor?"

"Not this time. Don't think you're gonna get away with it tomorrow, though."

"Wouldn't dream of it." Fox nuzzled the sable head tucked under his chin.
"How about you try to go back to sleep, now?"

Alex would have liked nothing better than to stay up and make love with Fox
for the rest of the night, but the stress of that nightmare and all that
came afterward, really had taken a lot out of him. He snuggled against Fox,
stringing tender kisses across his chest and shoulder. Within a short time,
silence descended on the room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The feeling that he was being watched struck Fox long before he opened his
eyes. His lashes lifted, and the fuzzy visage of his lover appeared before
him.

Alex lifted a hand to Fox's head, stroking over the surface of his hair. His
eyes wandered over the sleep softened features, taking in the temporary
blue-green shade of the half closed eyes, the flushed complexion...those
exquisitely swollen lips...and he smiled, feeling *right* for the first time
in over two weeks.

Fox blinked up at Alex, giving him a sleepy grin. "I'm still alive?"

"Shut up."

The older man rolled onto his back, executing a lazy stretch, and issuing a
challenge. "Shut me up."

Alex pounced on him in an instant, growling as he took Fox's mouth in
ravenous kiss. Seconds later his lips gentled, now merely whispering across
his lover's, raising more than a few sighs. Fox arched up against him,
pressing his rapidly swelling erection into Alex's, and finding that his
partner was in the same condition.

"Alexei..."

Alex lifted his head, kissed the tip of Fox's nose, then rested his head in
his hand. "Don't kill me, okay?"

Fox's eyebrows drew down into a frown, but he said nothing, allowing Alex to
continue.

"Even though you're lounging around here like a man with nothing to do, I'm
willing to bet that you're going to be going in to the office at some point
today."

"Well, yeah, I should."

"Right. *But*...tomorrow's Saturday."

"Yeah..."

"That means today is Friday."

"Very good, Alex."

Alex shifted, gently smacking his lover's forehead with the tips of his
fingers. "Would you listen?"

"It's hard to concentrate on what you're saying when your cock is digging
into my stomach..."

"Fine, I'll just..." Alex attempted to lift himself off of Fox's chest, but
the other man held him in place.

"Come on, I'll behave. What were you going to say?"

"I was going to say, that I'd really like to wait until tonight...give me a
little time to plan something..." The left corner of his mouth twitched.
"...special."

Fox chewed on his lower lip. "Special?"

Alex rubbed the tips of their noses together. "Yeah."

"I uh..." he stopped to clear his throat, "I guess I could wait for that."

"You know, I sorta figured you could. Come on, let's get up."

"I'm about as *up* as I can get. What do you think about..." Fox's hand
slipped between their bodies, and stroked Alex's stony erection. "..taking a
little bit of that edge off..."

Alex reached down, grasping his wrist, and pulling it away. "Oh, no. I want
that edge."

Fox's eyes darkened, and a lascivious grin curved his lips. "All right," he
said softly, "it's your show."

Alex teased his lips once more before rising to his feet, and pulling him
along into the bathroom. He released Fox's hand to reach into the shower and
turn on the water. When it was warm enough, he stepped inside, pulling Fox
after him. He handed the loofah and the shower wash to the other man.

"Wash me."

As Fox moved to do as he asked, Alex flattened a hand on his chest,
momentarily stopping him. "No teasing."

Fox gave him his most tantalizing pout. "Not even a little?"

Alex shook his head slowly.

"Alex..."

"My show."

Grudgingly, Fox followed his instructions, and even though he kept his
touches as innocent as possible, he noticed Alex becoming more and more
aroused. When he'd finally washed everything he could, and could no longer
avoid the inevitable, his hand moved to Alex's groin. He carefully washed
the area, drawing his hand slowly down the shaft, gripping it at the base,
and gently pulling his fist up to the head, and away. His eyes rose to
Alex's face, observing look of rapture that had washed over it. He moved to
repeat the action, but the younger man's hand clamped around his, and
wrenched it away. The dark lashes lifted, and a forest green gaze was
leveled on him.

"Your turn."

Alex took the loofah from Fox, squeezing a generous amount of the thick,
silky liquid into it. The older man's eyes drifted shut as Alex worked the
sponge across his chest and shoulders, building a rich lather. When he'd
finished with the front upper half of Fox's body, Alex turned him around and
started on his back. His hand moved purposefully in smooth, firm strokes,
massaging and cleansing.

Fox's soft sigh was drowned out by the running water, but the tightening of
his body was not overlooked by his lover. Alex moved closer, pressing
himself into Fox's back, and caressing his lower body with the sponge.

"Baby," Fox grated, his hips jerking into Alex's hand, "please..."

Alex said nothing. He only took his hand away, sliding it around to Fox's
ass, sliding the sponge back and forth between the muscular cheeks.

"*Alex*..."

"Mmmm. There you go, lisa. Nice and clean." He ignored the older man's harsh
groan, turning him around. He met the glazed, hazel eyes, smiling sweetly.
"You rinse off now. I'll wait for you in the bedroom." Alex gave his ass a
quick squeeze, and stepped out of the tub.

"God," Fox moaned, turning the temperature control a bit to the left, making
the water a bit cooler. He rinsed off, dried himself, and entered the
bedroom where Alex was indeed waiting for him. The younger man was dressed
in his customary worn jeans, and a sage green shirt, and he wore a most
devious little grin.

"Got your suit all ready for you."

Fox eyed him suspicously. "Yeah....thanks."

Alex tucked his hand inside the towel that Fox had wrapped around his waist,
and pulled him toward the bed. "I'll dress you."

"That's...real sweet, but...I think I can handle that myself."

One dark eyebrow arched upward. "*My* show."

"Sorry...forgot. But baby, you're killing me..."

Alex leaned in close, brushing Fox's mouth with his own. "It'll be worth the
torture. I promise. Here," he reached down to the bed, picking up the white
undershirt and pulling it over Fox's head. Next, he held the gray shirt
while Fox slipped into it. "And..."

Fox's eyes narrowed.

//Oh, God. Here it comes...//

Alex pulled his favorite piece of attire out from under the perfectly
pressed trousers, letting it swing from his index finger.

"Alex...you don't expect me to wear that to *work*."

"I don't?"

"You *can't*! I can't walk around the Hoover Building with this thing on..."

"Who's going to know?"

"Me!"

"And this is a bad thing?"

"For *me*, yeah!"

Alex drew his tongue along the older man's jaw. "How bad?"

"Really bad. Alex, please. You can't do this to me."

Alex hesitated, pretending to be thinking about it. His eyes dropped back to
Fox's face, and the other man knew he was trouble.

"Yeah...yeah, I can." He pulled the towel from around Fox's waist, revealing
a very impressive hard-on. He offered his lover a cocky smirk. "Oooh. Nice."
He wrapped his hand around Fox's erection, holding him steady, while he
fastened on the leather strapping.

Fox twitched and moaned while Alex worked, and when he was done, pleaded
once more with the younger man for mercy.

"Baby, please. I'll do anything for you. *Anything*. Just please, don't make
me wear this to work."

Alex slipped the chain through the ring on the first strap, and secured it
around Fox's waist. "You *are* going to do anything I want. Starting with
this." He finished dressing Fox, then kissed him softly. "Now. Let's go have
some breakfast, then you can go to work."

Fifteen minutes later, Fox sat at the kitchen table, enduring more torture
as Alex teased him through breakfast. He crumbled his muffin to bits while
Alex sat across from him, jeans unzipped, stroking himself as he licked the
cream cheese from his cinnamon bagel. The younger man looked up at him and
smiled. He picked up the plastic cup containing the cream cheese, and walked
over to Fox.

"Want some?"

All Fox could do was look from Alex's face to his cock which was now bobbing
invitingly in front of his mouth, and nod.

Alex dipped two fingers into the container, scooping up some of the
contents, and smearing it over the length of his cock. He brought his
fingers up to his mouth, licking and sucking the residual cream cheese away.
That done, the same hand came around to the back of Fox's head, petting the
golden-brown silk. "Go ahead, lisa," he coaxed, "have a little taste."

Fox gasped as he leaned forward, touching his tongue to the solid length of
muscle. Slowly, he licked away the creamy substance, thoroughly cleaning his
lover's cock, while Alex stuggled to hold himself in check. When no trace of
the cream cheese remained, Alex pulled him away by his hair.

"Was..." The younger man drew in a deep breath and released it. "...was that
good?"

"Mmm, yeah. Alex...let me finish you..."

"No."

"You mean you're going to drive yourself crazy right along with me?"

Alex tucked himself back into his jeans and drew the zipper back up. He
leaned down, laying his cheek against his lover's and whispering in his ear.
"I want us both as close to the edge as we can get."

Fox met his gaze and gave him a shaky smile. "I think I should be scared."

"Maybe you should be." Alex looked down at his watch. "You should be getting
to work now." He backed away, allowing Fox to rise from his seat.

"Oh, God. How am I going to walk around like this all day?"

"I have faith in you. Come on." Alex led Fox out to the garage and pinned
him against the car, engaging in a fierce kiss before letting him go. "Think
of me today, baby."

Fox tilted his head up, closing his eyes. "How can I *not*? There's a little
reminder of you wrapped around my cock, remember?"

"And I know you're not going to take it off, right?"

"How do you know?"

Alex's knuckles skimmed down the front of Fox's pants. "Because I told you
not to."

Fox lowered his eyes knowing full well that he'd obey Alex, even though his
lover would have no way of knowing for sure if he had.

"Go to work."

Fox got into his car and with one last long look at Alex, pulled out of the
garage, and drove away. He squirmed in his seat as he drove, thinking about
the morning's events and whatever lay ahead. Whatever it was Alex had
planned, he was sure it was evil.

God, that was nice to say.

Alex seemed more himself this morning than he had in over two weeks, and for
that Fox was eternally grateful...even if he *was* presently dying a
thousand deaths, and his tormentor seemed to be enjoying every second of his
agony.

And oh God, he was in agony. His cock throbbed against the restraints,
begging to be freed, and though he couldn't ignore it, he did deny his
insistent organ's constant pleas.

He made it to work, but not his office, before he was stopped in the hall.

"Agent Mulder?"

//Shit, shit, shit...//

Fox inhaled deeply, and turned around. "Yes, sir?"

The AD eyed him briefly, then looked around the busy corridor. "Where's
Scully?"

"She's still in Florida."

The older man approached him, stopping about a foot away. "Why are *you*
here, then?"

"We arrived at a dead end...more or less."

"More or less?"

"Yeah, uh...she believes she's determined the cause of death of those women,
but was unable to compile enough evidence to support any one theory on *how*
it is they all died from the same thing. She just needed to speak to the
Tampa M.E. today, and we'd be out of it. There was no need for me to stay,
so I caught a flight back last night."

One dark eyebrow rose above the top edge of Skinner's eyeglasses. "Is there
a problem?"

"Sir?"

Skinner's eyes surveyed the hall. "At home..."

"Oh. Uh..n-no. Everything's okay."

"How is he doing?"

The question shocked him. "He'd hit a few rough patches," he answered
softly, "had me worried, but he's much better now."

The other man nodded, looking a bit uncomfortable with the conversation he'd
started. "All right, well...when Agent Scully gets back, I'll expect a full
report."

Fox nodded his acknowledgment, shifting from one foot to the other.

"Is something wrong, Agent Mulder?"

"Hmm? No. Nothing. I'm just...I...I have some work to do, so if you'll
excuse me..."

Skinner let his agent pass, watching him disappear down the hall and around
the corner. He rubbed a hand across his broad forehead. He'd tried to keep
the thoughts...the images out of his mind, but every time he saw Mulder,
they popped back into his head, and some of those images made him flush.

//Mulder and Alex *Krycek*...Jesus...//

Fox made it to his basement office, removing his jacket and throwing it
across the chair in front of his desk. His own chair creaked its complaint
as he dropped heavily into it. He tilted his head back, breathing deeply and
trying not to concentrate on the dull throb behind his zipper. But of
course, the more he tried not to think about it, the more he did.

Alex.

Goddamn beautiful, sadistic son of a bitch. Eyes blazing with carefully
checked hunger. Teasing mercilessly. So easily decimating his capacity for
rational thought. Radiating pure animal joy at his accomplishment.

Christ, and he loved him.

Fox closed his eyes and let the heat penetrate him to the core. His body
shuddered at the thought of what Alex would be doing to him just a few hours
from now.

//Why am I here being tortured when I can be home with him....being
tortured...//

The sound of his own frustrated whimpers and cries were pushed to the back
of his mind by the curious tone of his partner.

"Mulder? You in there?"

"Hmm? Yeah...uh...what are you doing here?"

"I came right in from the airport so we could get going on our report."

"Why didn't you call? I would have picked you up."

Scully shrugged. "It was quicker to just get a car at the airport. What have
you been doing?"

"Nothing, I just got in myself."

"From..."

"Home."

At twelve fifty-nine in the afternoon? Is everything okay?"

Fox smiled. "Yeah," he said softly. "Everything is fine."

Scully rolled her eyes up into her head and closed her lids over them.
"Okay, say no more. You get in here at almost one o'clock, I walk in to find
you on another planet, and you're smiling that goofy smile of yours. I think
that pretty much tells me all I need to know."

"So, everything all wrapped up in Tampa?" Fox crossed his legs and winced
slightly.

//Wrapped up...interesting choice of words...//

"Yeah, I...you okay, Mulder?"

"Fine. Why do you ask?"

"You just got this funny look on your face."

Fox uncrossed his legs and tried sitting on his hip. Not much better.

"No. I..I don't know what you mean..."

"Mulder..." Scully studied the expression on her partner's face, then held
up her hand. "You know what? Never mind. Umm....everything is as wrapped up
as it's going to be from our end. It's the Tampa P.D.'s show, now..."

//It's my show.//

Fox's eyes closed and a tiny, helpless whimper escaped past his lips. Scully
stopped speaking, watching the almost unnoticeable wiggle of his hips.

//What the hell...don't ask, Dana. Don't. Ask...//

"What the *hell* is your problem, Mulder?"

Fox ran a hand through his hair, and drew a shaky breath. He turned a
heavy-lidded gaze on her. "Nothing. Come on, we gotta get this report
straight. Skinner said he wanted to see us when you got in."

"Well, I suggest that you douse that flame, Mulder, before we walk into his
office."

He gave her a weak smile. "Flame?"

"What am I, stupid? Alex has apparently got you all fired up this
afternoon." She displayed a knowing smirk. "As glad as I am to see that he's
feeling more like himself, I'd really appreciate not being embarassed when
we go to see Skinner."

"Don't worry, Scully, I'll be..." The ringing cell phone interrupted his
sentence. "Mulder....what? You what?" He turned his chair around, murmuring
into the phone. "Don't...come on, cut it.....oh, shit.........baby,
please....baby..............hello?" He let the hand holding the phone drop,
dangling over the arm of the chair, while he attempted to drag some air into
his lungs.

Scully stifled a giggle, then spoke. "Mulder...Mulder?" She barely heard the
choked 'what?' that came from the direction of Fox's chair. "Why don't you
take a minute, then we can go see Skinner, and you can go home."

"Can't."

"Can't what?"

"Go home."

"Why not?"

"Not till at least five. Alex told me not to."

"And.....since when do you do what Alex tells you to?"

Fox swiveled his chair around to face her. He shook his head. "You
wouldn't...I...I promised..." He attempted another smile. "It's his show."

"Uh *huh*. Okay, look. I'm going to take care of a few things, and I'll be
back. Could you please cool yourself off enough to speak coherently to our
boss by then?"

Scully exited the room, leaving Fox alone to pull himself together. He
jerked himself out of his chair and prowled the length of the room, mumbling
to himself.

"Okay, come on. You can do this. You've got more self control than he
apparently gives you credit for..."

His cock was whispering something else.

//He's *got* you. The more you fight it, the harder you'll fall.//

Fox stopped pacing, and clasped his hands behind his head. "And he knows it,
and he knows *you* know it, and he knows you can't *do* anything about
it.....sadistic prick." He dropped back into his chair, letting his head
fall onto the desk. "God, I love him..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alex sat slouched on the sofa, one long leg hooked over the arm, and the
other stretched out before him. A lazy grin played at his lips as he
imagined his Fox, so goddamn pretty when he was turned on, trying to
maintain some semblance of composure, but not quite succeeding. His eyelids
drooped as he thought about his lover, going about his daily business,
speaking to this person and that...sitting in Skinner's office...packed into
the elevator...paranoid that everyone had suddenly developed x-ray vision
and could see through his gray Armani to what he wore beneath. He laughed
softly, hearing the curses and vows of revenge in his head. He moaned to
himself, thinking ahead a few hours to tonight. By then, Fox would be more
than ready...and willing...and desperate...like *he* already was. His eyes
closed and he absently stroked the bulge in his jeans.

"Gonna be a long night, Fox baby." He opened his eyes and lifted himself
from the couch. Time to start getting ready.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Scully sat on the sofa in Skinner's outside office, while Fox paced slowly,
from side to side.

"Mulder, sit down, would you? You're driving me crazy."

Fox glanced at his partner, but continued to pace.

"You know, if it makes you feel any better, it's three-forty eight. You can
go home in a little over an hour..."

Scully's words went straight to Fox's crotch, sending unbearable jolts of
painful pleasure directly to its center. He stopped in his tracks,
shuddering delicately.

"Mul-der....you promised..."

The door opened and Skinner filled the emptied space. He looked from the
diminutive red head to her restless partner. His eyes narrowed on the man,
then looked back to Scully. "Come in, agents." He retreated into the office
and sat down at his desk, waiting for the two to assume their usual seats.
He watched the male half of the pair sit stiffly, and frowned.

"Agent Mulder, are you all right?"

"Yes, sir."

"You look like you might in pain."

//Pain. That's a hot one. Try writhing agony.//

"No, sir, I'm fine."

"Well...then...shall we get on with this?"

Scully handed him the report and she sat quietly, glancing from time to time
at her partner who was rapidly descending back into his pit of lust. It
irritated her at this precise moment, but she had to admit to herself as she
always did, that she envied the two men. Three years later, their passion
had only grown. They never seemed to be able to get enough of each other,
and what made it even more wonderful was that fueling all that lust was a
deep, abiding love that no matter what happened, could never be
extinguished.

Fox shifted impatiently in his seat, unable to find a comfortable position.
The jostling drew Skinner's attention, who of course looked up just in time
to see his agent slouched in his seat, head thrown to the side, eyes closed,
and a pained frown wrinkling his brow. He cocked his head, studying the man.
Somehow, the expression still managed to have an erotic quality to it. Or
maybe that was just his imagination...Christ, he *hoped* his imagination
wasn't capable of conjuring up such ideas...

Fox sat gritting his teeth, very well aware that he needed to knock this
shit off, but thoughts of Alex naked, on his knees, in front of this very
chair, sucking him off while he tried to discuss the case with Skinner, had
suddenly popped into his head, and he couldn't rid himself of it.

Scully glanced from her partner to their boss, beginning to squirm a bit
herself.

//Damn, damn, damn...//

She couldn't kick him, she was too far away. There was no way to get his
attention without drawing Skinner's...which appeared to be glued on Mulder
at the moment....

Both men snapped out of their own private thoughts, and turned attention on
the woman who appeared to be trying to cough up a lung.

"Scully? You..."

"Are you all right, Agent Scully?"

"Yes," Scully said between coughs. "I umm...strange, it just...hit me all of
a sudden. I just need some water."

Before Fox could react, Skinner was out of his chair. "I'll get you some,"
he offered, already halfway to the door, grateful for the interruption.

Scully abruptly ceased her hacking and turned to her partner, whispering
urgently. "Would you knock it off? He's watching you, you know!"

"I'm sorry," Fox moaned. "God, I'm going to kill Alex..."

"What the hell did he..." She cut off her inquiry as the A.D. re-entered the
room, and handed her a small glass. "Thank you." She took a couple of sips,
and put the glass down. "It seems to have stopped." She shot a hard glance
at her partner, then drew Skinner into conversation.

Fox sat quietly, putting all his effort into pulling himself together, while
his partner summarized their trip for the A.D.

"So, what you're telling me is, four women are dead, presumably by a natural
occurence in the body that had run amok?"

"Yes, sir."

"No clue on what caused this phenomenon..."

"No, sir."

"Just a little curious, wouldn't you say, Agent Mulder?"

Fox nodded. "Yes...yes it is."

"And you have no opinions on this case?"

"Of course I have opinions, sir, but nothing, as Agent Scully has pointed
out to me, that can be supported by evidence."

//Hey! You got out a whole intelligent sentence! Mul-der, Mul-der,
Mul-der...//

"So you have nothing to add."

"No, sir."

The A.D. stared in amazement. "All right, then." All three occupants of the
room rose from their seats. One, slowly. "That'll be all. Have a good
weekend." Skinner's eyes fell involuntarily on Fox Mulder as he followed his
partner out of the office, and didn't leave him until he closed the door
quietly behind him. He walked back to his desk, and lowered himself into the
chair. The wire-framed glasses hit the desk with a dull clank, and one
square hand attempted to gently massage away the beginnings of a very large
headache.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alex lay sprawled on the bed, the light of dozens of flickering candles
illuminating his bare skin. He teased himself with a long strip of black
silk, stroking it over his thighs, lingering on his cock and balls, then
drawing it up his chest, over his face, and back down. He looked over at the
clock by the bed, lifted the phone, and dialed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I want to thank you again, Mulder, for the most uncomfortable fifteen
minutes of my life."

Fox sat at his desk, upper half of his body draped over the flat surface. "I
heard you the first five times, Scully...'

"Did you *see* Skinner? Mulder, the man was actually embarrassed. He didn't
know where to look!"

Fox's response was cut off by the ringing of his cell phone. His eyes
dropped shut as he pulled it out of his pocket and brought it up to his ear.

"Mulder."

"Hey, baby doll."

"Hi."

"Miss me?"

"Of course."

"How's your day going?"

"About the way you expected it to."

Soft chuckle.

"Scully wants your head."

"And you? What do you want?"

Fox glanced up at Scully who was glaring at him out of the corner of her
eye, and whispered into the phone. "I got some company here, Alex."

"Scully?"

"Yeah."

"So?"

"What do you mean, so?"

"Scully's far from innocent, lisa. She knows what's up. Tell me what you
want."

"Come on, Alex."

"Tell me."

Fox sighed, and lowered his voice even further. "I want your cock in my
mouth..."

Scully rattled the contents in one of her drawers, purposely making noise so
she wouldn't hear any of her partner's conversation.

"Is that the only place you want it?"

"No." Fox's eyes closed and he shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "I want it
in my ass. Hard and deep."

Alex growled softly into the phone. "Soon, baby. You'll be leaving in about
twenty minutes, right?"

"Can't I leave now?"

"Not five o'clock yet."

"Why can't I leave until five?"

"Because I said you can't. Okay?"

"Okay."

"Is your cock still hard?"

"Painfully so."

"You okay?"

"I'll be better after I get home."

"Well..." the amused voice purred, "I wouldn't be so sure about that..."

"Christ."

"I'll see you soon."

Fox disconnected and dropped the phone on the desk. His head followed with a
loud thud.

"Go home, Mulder."

"Can't yet."

"You two are nuts, you know it?" Receiving no answer, Scully went about the
business of filing forensics reports and returning her calls. At five
o'clock, she walked over to her partner and tapped the back of his head with
her knuckles. "Now. Get the hell out."

Fox lifted his head and looked at his watch. He took a few deep breaths and
rose from his seat.

"Are you going to make it through the weekend?"

Fox raised and lowered his eyebrows. "If I'm not in on Monday, you won't
need to ask any questions." He picked up his jacket and walked to the door.

"Have fun and tell Alex that I'm going to kill him."

"Right. You leaving?"

"Yeah. One more call to make, and I'm out of here."

"Okay. See ya."

Fox walked to his car, every footstep sending a vibration up his legs, and
ending at the tip of his cock. He reached his vehicle, threw his jacket
across the back seat, then slid in behind the wheel. He sat for a moment,
trying to quell the dizzying thud in his pants, then took a deep breath,
started the car, and headed for home.

Naturally, everone and his brother was on the Beltway at this time of day,
which was irrtating enough, but when the slow crawl turned into a dead stop,
he had to beat down the urge to climb out onto the roof of his car, and
start firing.

Ten minutes later, he was still sitting in the same spot.

"Shit." Somehow, the length of chain that hung down his back had become
wedged between his ass cheeks, and it was getting more uncomfortable by the
minute. "*Shit*." And the more uncomfortable it got, the harder his cock
throbbed.

And then the phone rang.

He considered not answering it, but...

"Mulder."

"You sound tense."

"You could say that."

"Are you on your way home?"

"Yes and no."

"What does that mean?"

"Stuck in traffic."

"Oh, it *is* rush hour, isn't it?"

"Yeah."

//Like you didn't know, you bastard.//

"Well...I guess you'll get here when you get here, huh?"

"Yeah, I guess."

"Want to talk to me for a while?"

"Alex..."

"What? I just want to occupy your mind for a little while. You know, help
the time go by faster..."

No response.

"So...get a lot done today?"

"Not really."

"Why not?"

"I was a bit distracted."

"Really? With what?"

"Some sadistic son of a bitch cinched up my cock and balls and made me walk
around at work like that all afternoon."

"What kind of a perverted sicko would do a thing like that? I mean, my
*God*, what is this world coming to? So, did you do it?"

"Yeah, I did it."

"Obedient....aren't you?"

"I can be...when I want to be..."

"And you want to be?"

"I really do..."

"You still at a stand still?"

"Yes."

"Where are your hands?"

"One is on the wheel and the other is holding the phone."

"You don't need to have your hand on the wheel if you're not moving. Drop it
down to your lap...did you do it?"

"Yes..."

"Play with yourself until traffic starts moving."

Fox's hand began to move over his crotch, teasing his bound cock. "Mmmmm.
God...what are *you* doing?"

"Waiting for you."

The click startled him. "Hello? Alex?"

Son of a bitch.

He got him going, then he hung up.

Fox sat there, cursing Alex to hell while he rubbed himself through his
pants, increasing his own torture with every caress.

By the time traffic had started moving again, beads of sweat were trickling
down Fox's back, and soaking his shirt straight through. By the time he
pulled into his driveway, he felt as though he'd gone swimming in his
clothes.

Fox pulled into the garage beside Alex's Porsche, not knowing whether to be
more afraid or grateful now that he was finally home. He grabbed his jacket
and exited the car, and just as he was walking around the front of it, he
was grabbed from behind and thrown forward over the hood. His immediate
reaction was to straighten up, but a hand on his back held him down.

"Don't move."

Fox trembled, his upper body still draped over the hood of his car, as his
pants were undone and yanked down around his ankles. There was more
activity, then he felt his ass cheeks being spread, and a hard,
velvet-sheathed object being pressed into the small opening. His screams
bounced off the walls of the garage as Alex slammed into him, forcing his
hips against the warm metal, again and again.

"*Jesus*! Alex, oh God...*please*..."

His only answer came in the form of a series of clipped grunts that seemed
to get louder with each thrust.

"Baby...oh...*shit*! Don't....don't....I need...please..."

His broken pleas were drowned out as Alex came, his choked cries filling the
enclosed space.

The younger man collapsed onto his lover's back, fighting to draw breath.
Seconds later, his spent cock slipped out of Fox's ass, and he stood up,
pulling the shaking man with him. He turned Fox around, kissing him sweetly.
"Thank you, lisa. I needed that."

Fox clung to the front of Alex's shirt, and whimpered frantically while
rubbing against him.

Alex pushed his lover away, then bent to pull his jeans up. Refastening the
zipper and button, he looked Fox up and down.

//Oh, yeah. He's dying.//

"Unbutton your shirt."

Fox did as he was asked without question.

Alex frowned, looking at the undershirt he wore beneath. He approached,
brushing the older man's lips with his own. "I always hated these things."
He grasped the neck with both hands, and ripped the undershirt down the
middle. He smiled, flicking his finger across one hard nipple. "That's
better." His hands went down to the chain around Fox's waist, and
unfastening it. "I believe," he said softly, pulling the chain through the
ring, then fastening it around Fox's neck, "that we were interrupted the
last time we tried this." He gave the chain a gentle tug. "Pull your pants
up so you don't break your neck."

Fox obeyed, then quietly followed as Alex led him into the house.

"You hungry, Fox?" Alex asked as they moved through the kitchen. "I cooked
us a nice dinner." Not waiting for the other man to answer, he continued.
"Let's get washed up, then we can eat."

The two men walked into the bathroom, where Alex turned the shower on, and
instructed Fox to undress. When the older man had taken everything off but
the cock restraints, he looked over at his lover.

"Probably shouldn't get this wet..."

"Yeah, it'll take forever to dry, and since we're not through with it for
the evening...*but*..." he pointed a warning finger, "you will *not* come.
Understand?"

Fox nodded meekly.

It took five minutes for Alex to remove the leather strapping. Fox writhed
and squirmed with the loosening of each strap, and he needed a little extra
time and care to insure that orgasm remained safely out of his reach.

Alex tossed the restraints aside and turned back to his long-suffering
lover. He stood quietly, eyeing the naked man, noting the full body flush,
and the solid length of flesh, straining toward him. He looked into Fox's
eyes, one corner of his mouth slanting upward. The expression gave the older
man all the instruction he needed.

Fox stepped tentatively forward, silding one hand up Alex's chest and around
his neck. He pressed himself into the younger man's body, resting his head
on the ivory cotton covered shoulder while his other hand went to work on
the buttons of the shirt.

Alex kissed the side of Fox's head and stroked his hand down the length of
his back, over the hard curve of his ass, then back up. He repeated the
action over and over again until Fox had his shirt finally, and completely
removed.

Fox's mouth wandered over Alex's bared chest, worshipping the bronzed flesh
in the way only he knew how. Alternating between teeth and tongue, he made
his way down and across, zig zagging between nipples, pulling gently on the
sparse, dark hairs, and following the downward path they created until the
waistband of Alex's jeans stopped him.

Alex's fingers plunged into the hair of the man who was now on his knees
before him. He'd only just come minutes ago, but seeing his Fox this way
sent a succession of tingles through his body, and he he knew that in no
time at all, he'd be ready again.

Fox's fingers crept up and down Alex's thighs, skimming along the sides and
back, then splaying over his denim covered ass, caressing and kneading while
he teased the younger man's navel. When he heard the deepening of Alex's
respiration, his hands moved around to the front, undoing the button and
drawing the zipper down.

Alex, thoughtful man that he was, had worn no underwear tonight, making his
lover's job that much easier. His jaw repeatedly tightened and relaxed as
Fox pulled his jeans off, then wrapped his hand around his not-so-flaccid
cock, and began to gently stroke it. Alex petted the golden-brown head
lovingly.

"Mmmm, that's nice. Very nice, but dinner's waiting. Come on, let's get
cleaned up."

Fox rose to his feet, accepting the hand that was held out to him, and
followed Alex into the shower. They washed each other slowly, Alex taking
every opportunity to tease Fox. By the time they finished, Fox was
completely wrecked, just barely making it over the edge of the tub and
stumbling into the middle of the bathroom where Alex wrapped a bath towel
around him, drying him thoroughly.

"You okay, lisa?" Alex whispered softly against his cheek as he finished
drying Fox's back.

"No," came the older man's shaky reply.

"You just need some rest. Why don't you get dressed while I dry off, then
we'll have a nice dinner?"

Fox began to move away, but a gentle hand on his arm stopped him.

"Don't forget this."

Fox turned slowly, spotting the leather strapping hanging from Alex's hand.
Chewing on his lower lip, he took the object from his lover.

"Put it on."

Fox obeyed the soft command, hands shaking as he refastened the straps
around his cock and balls, then moved toward Alex. He wrapped himself around
the younger man, rubbing his damp head along the line of his jaw.

Alex wound and arm around Fox, hugging him tightly. "Okay, baby," he
murmured, "go on, now. Get dressed." He released the other man, and watched
as he moved silently into the bedroom. Smiling broadly, he rubbed himself
dry, then entered the bedroom where Fox was just beginning to button his
shirt.

"Umm....no. No. Leave it unbuttoned."

Fox's hands fell away from the shirt and hung down by his sides.

"Yeah," Alex said looking him up and down. "Very nice. Give me two minutes,
okay?"

Fox shifted uneasily, while Alex pulled on a shirt and another pair of
jeans. When he was through, he held his arm out, coaxing his lover to his
side. He wrapped the extended arm around Fox's waist, and the two men moved
together out of the room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alex lifted his wine glass to his lips, watching his lover pick at his food.
He didn't need to ask what the problem was, he could see it all over Fox's
beautifully tortured face. He rose without a word from his chair, and took a
seat beside Fox. The older man's eyes focused on him, and he unconsciously
licked his lower lip. Alex leaned over and kissed him gently, then lifted
his fork to Fox's lips. Fox took the offered food, his eyes never leaving
Alex's. They ate their entire meal that way, Alex jumping back and forth
from his plate to Fox's, feeding them both.

When the last bite was eaten, Alex put his fork down and threaded his hand
through Fox's hair. The older man leaned into the touch, rumbling softly as
Alex massaged the side of his head.

"How about some dessert?"

Heavy, golden-brown eyelashes lifted, and a golden-flecked stare was leveled
on Alex. The younger man grinned.

"I'm going to clear the table. I want you to go into the bedroom, get
undressed, and wait for me. I'll be in soon."

Before Fox rose from his seat, Alex pulled him in for a long, teasing kiss.
When he was released, he moved quietly from the table and into the bedroom,
where he removed all of his clothing. He left the restraints in place,
knowing that Alex had inteded for him to keep it on.

He settled onto his side, drawing his knees up a bit, and hugging a pillow
against his chest. His eyes drifted shut as he tried to shift his
concentration off of his aching cock and onto something else.

Like his aching balls.

And his aching jaw...it had been clenched in frustration for most of the
day.

Hell, when he really thought about it, most of his body ached. Every muscle
was like a watchspring being wound tighter than was really bearable. And if
he'd read that gleam in Alex's eyes correctly, the torment wasn't over yet.
Not by a long shot.

Fox groaned softly and flipped onto his back. The next thing he knew, his
eyes were opening...

Opening?

When had he closed them?

And Alex was kneeling over him, awash in candlelight. Smiling that smile.

"Time for dessert."

He stretched out on the bed beside Fox, propping himself against two
pillows, and reached over to the nightstand, producing a glass bowl full of
chocolate covered strawberries. Fox moved to his side, molding himself
against the fully-clothed body. Alex wrapped one arm around his lover as he
plucked a strawberry from the bowl.

Fox watched the liquid ooze from the fruit as strong white teeth sank into
it. The juice left Alex's lips glistening with moisture, and he stretched up
to lick it away.

Alex moaned softly, allowing his lover to lap gently at his mouth. When Fox
was through, he took another bite, but instead of chewing, he lowered his
head, transferring the piece from his mouth to Fox's. He ate the remaining
portion, and again allowed Fox to lick away any remaining moisture from his
lips.

"Sweet, aren't they?"

Fox nodded, busily nuzzling and kissing Alex's throat.

Alex lifted another strawberry and inspected it. "I picked them up at
George's Farm down on Slocum Road. Who the hell knew these things got this
big?"

Fox stopped kissing his neck and looked up at him. Alex turned his attention
back in his lover's direction. He held the strawberry to Fox's lips and
smiled when he refused it. He bit into the fruit and brought his mouth down
on Fox's, letting the older man feed from him. When the strawberry was gone,
they kissed madly, Alex allowing Fox to scour the sweet interior of his
mouth, and suck hungrily on his tongue.

They went through six strawberries that way, and by the time Alex set the
bowl on the nightstand, Fox was in a near state of delirium, fidgeting and
rubbing himself against his lover's thigh.

"I got something else for you," Alex whispered against Fox's mouth as he
caressed the bare hip and upper thigh. His hand slipped away from Fox's body
and dropped to the waistband of his jeans.

Fox whimpered in anticipation as he felt movement, then heard the faint
grind of the zipper being drawn down. Alex's fingers clenched in his hair
and gently pulled his head back until their eyes met.

"All yours."

Fox slid down Alex's body, stopping when his head was parallel to his
lover's crotch. He parted the material, allowing Alex's cock to rise toward
his mouth. He lowered his head and flicked delicately at the flared head
with the tip of his tongue.

Alex inhaled deeply and tried to relax as Fox paid loving attention to his
cock. One hand came up to his shirt, slowly undoing the buttons, cueing Fox
to pull his jeans down and off. When he was completely stripped of his
clothing, Fox returned to his cock, licking and lightly sucking the tip.

Fox hooked one leg around Alex's thigh and rested his head on his hip as he
continued to worship his lover's swollen cock. One hand cupped the heavy sac
that hung below, caressing and squeezing gently.

Alex's back arched, and a deep moan rolled past his lips.

"Mmmm....oh God, baby...God, I could die happy in that mouth..."

Alex's words felt like that first swallow of Coke, fizzing and burning down
the throat, past the chest, and into the stomach. Only, it didn't stop
there. It worked its way lower, pooling in Fox's groin, causing further
agony to his already tortured cock. He released a hard breath and swallowed
Alex's entire length in one fluid movement.

"Aww, *fuck*! Jesus, baby...ah...oh, yeah..." Alex's head rolled back and
forth on the pillows, and his hands twisted in the sheets as Fox's greedy
mouth worked him continuously.

//It's now or never, Alex. Pull him away or come down his throat and
continue the torture until you're hard again...//

Alex's cock made the decision for him.

Fox felt that first rush of hot fluid hit the back of his throat, and he
swallowed that and more as he bucked in vain into the mattress.

When harsh cries faded to soft purrs, Alex's eyes blinked open to find those
of his distressed lover looking back at him. "Alex," Fox whimpered,
"please..."

Alex pulled Fox up onto his chest, kissing him soundly, and tasting himself
in his lover's mouth. "I'm sorry, lisa," he panted, "not quite yet."

"Alex," Fox pleaded, squirming against him, "I don't think...I can't take
it..."

Alex brushed the hair away from Fox's forehead. "Yes you can, baby," he
encouraged softly. I know you can."

And he did. He always knew unerringly, the precise moment that Fox had
reached his limit, and in typical Alex fashion, would always push him just a
hair beyond it.

"No..."

"Fox." Alex grasped a handful of hair at the back of the older man's head.
"Do you love me?"

Fox grimaced and squeezed his eyes shut, but opened them quickly as he felt
the grip tighten.

"Do you love me?"

Glazed hazel eyes met sober green, and Fox nodded as much as the tension on
his hair would allow.

Alex unclenched his fingers. He smiled softly at Fox, stroking and smoothing
the golden-brown strands. "And you'll give me what I want?"

Fox nodded again, hypnotized by the unblinking pools of deep green.
"Any...anything you want."

The thing was, he wasn't just saying it in the hopes of getting laid
quicker. He meant those words.

Anything Alex wanted.

Always.

His precious love had been returned to him, and he could never be grateful
enough.

Alex had been forever changed by the events of the past few weeks. To be
utterly unfazed was an impossibility, even for him. But despite his captor's
best efforts, he emerged from the eternal hell intended for him, his
strength and his will, fully intact.

And he chose today to excercise both.

Fox grunted softly as Alex propelled him onto his back and devoured his
mouth. He wound his arms around the younger man's neck, only to have them
pulled away and pinned above his head.

"Don't move."

Alex rose from the bed and disappeared into the closet, leaving Fox to
contemplate his fate. He writhed and moaned softly to himself as he
considered the possibilities.

"Come on, now, quit squirming so I can..." Alex had returned and straddling
Fox's chest, attempted to get his wrists cuffed to the headboard. Mission
finally accomplished, he blindfolded his lover with the strip of black silk
that he'd been teasing himself with earlier. "So, *so* pretty..." Alex
covered Fox's mouth with his own, muffling the frantic whimpers. His tongue
plunged inside, invading the darkness, still tasting remnants of his most
recent orgasm.

Fox strained against the fleece-lined cuffs, arching against Alex's body as
he sucked voraciously on the tongue probing his mouth.

Alex pulled away suddenly, kissing the tip of Fox's nose. "Want me to fuck
you?"

"Yes..."

"You want to come?"

"*Yes*...*please*!"

"You gotta get me hard again, first. Can you do that?"

"How? You've got me cuffed..."

"I'll show you how, baby."

Silence descended but there was movement, and Fox felt an object of medium
width and length being slowly inserted into his ass. He gritted his teeth,
taking the entire length of the vibrator, and shuddering deeply as it was
turned on.

"Oh, God," he whined. "Aleeeex...."

"You like that, baby?"

"Please...help...help me..."

More movement. "I am helping you..." A hand at Fox's head turned it to the
side, there was more shifting, and then his mouth was teased open by the
velvety head of his lover's semi-erect cock. "I'm helping us both," Alex
sighed softly from somewhere in the vicinity of the older man's bound cock.
He grasped the end of the vibrator, and rotated it gently as he worked it in
and out of Fox's ass.

Fox screamed in agony, letting Alex's cock drop from his mouth. He bucked
against the vibrator, feeling the explosion rolling in so close, but never
close enough to actually detonate.

"Please," he sobbed, a single tear of frustration forming in the corner of
his eye.

Alex slid the vibrator out, almost to the end, then plunged it back in as he
lapped at the head of Fox's throbbing erection.

"*No*!" the older man shrieked, thrashing wildly. "I can't...can't....Alex,
please, *stop*!"

Aside from turning him on incredibly, 'stop' meant nothing to Alex. Unless
Fox used the safe word they'd agreed on long ago...and he never did...Alex
would continue.

He released the darkly flushed head from his mouth, and lovingly kissed the
tip. "I'll fuck you, baby, when I'm hard. I'm almost there. Come on, lisa.
Suck me."

Fox's head shifted around, his mouth searching for and finding his lover's
nicely thickening cock. He sucked it into his mouth, growling as he
furiously worked Alex into a similar frenzy.

Alex resumed thrusting the vibrator into Fox's ass, maintaining an erratic
rhythm, while his teeth lightly scraped over the head of his cock.

A heavy sweat broke out on both men as each fought their separate battles.
As Alex began to lose his, he pulled out of Fox's mouth and withdrew the
vibrator. He lay panting heavily for a few moments while beside him, Fox
twisted and begged for release.

"Fox" he panted. "...*Fox*...listen to me. I'm going to take the straps
off..."

Fox whimpered his approval.

"...take a few deep breaths. Relax as much as you can. Do *not* come. If you
do, I won't fuck you again for a month, do you understand?"

Fox nodded, doing his best to draw deep, steady breaths.

The removal of each strap was greeted by a long, guttural moan, and plenty
of squirming, but the thought of Alex's promise helped Fox hold himself in
check until the device was completely removed.

"That's my good baby," Alex whispered, dropping a number of tiny kisses
along the quivering length of his lover's cock. He kissed and nibbled his
way upward, settling his body on top of Fox's, and issuing a clipped grunt
when their erections pressed together.

Fox's jaw clenched until he thought his teeth would crack. Suffering like
this had only existed in a world long ago and far away, and then, as now, it
was Alex who had finally pulled him through, and rescued him from the
unbearable agony. So, okay, this time around Alex was enjoying the hell out
of his torment, but...

Alex groped around in the tangle of sheets for the lube. His fingers finally
wrapped around the tube, and he placed it down within his line of sight.

"Baby, I'm going to uncuff you, okay? I want to feel you wrapped around me
while I fuck you."

Fox lay still while Alex inserted the key into the lock and freed his hands.
As soon as he could move, he wound his arms around his lover's back. He
blinked up at Alex, trying to focus his fuzzy amber gaze as the blindfold
was also removed. "Alex," he rasped, clenching his fingers in the taut
muscles of his lover's back, "I need you. Please...I've been good....don't
make me wait anymore."

Alex stroked Fox's cheek as his mouth trembled into a smile. "Yes, you have
been good, baby. You've done everything I've asked you to."

Fox nodded, spreading his legs and winding them around Alex's hips. He
pushed upward, whimpering wildly.

Alex pulled away, forcing himself from Fox's strong grip. "Wait,
lisa...wait..." He grabbed the tube that he'd dropped down beside Fox's leg,
and flipped the top up.

Fox's eyes dilated until only slivers of green and gold could be seen, as he
watched his lover carefully apply a generous coating of lube to his cock.
"Hurry, baby," he whispered breathlessly. "I need you so much."

Alex completed his task, then once again lowered himself to Fox's overheated
body. Immediately, he again found himself wrapped in the strong circle of
Fox's arms and legs. He grasped his cock at the base and guided it to his
lover's ass. "You gonna come good and hard for me, baby?"

Fox nodded, unable to get any intelligible words past his lips.

Alex pushed forward, teasing the clenching anal muscles with the slick head
of his cock. He watched through slitted eyes as Fox's mouth dropped open,
and a hard, stuttering breath tumbled from it. The head disappeared inside
the tight opening, and Fox's teeth gritted on the inhale, creating a loud,
hissing sound. "You promise?" Alex asked, inching in a tiny bit more.

"Promise," Fox croaked, finding his voice. "I promise...*please*, Alexei..."

The breath died in Fox's throat as he felt himself filled with his lover's
heat. It returned as Alex withdrew, only to be forced out again by a hard
thrust.

He could feel it. The storm. It was coming, and this time nothing would stop
it. An entire day of torture...wonderful, agonizing torture at the hands of
his deliciously sadistic, amazingly beautiful Alex, and it all came down to
this. Seconds of indescribable bliss. Screaming, clutching, sweating
rapture.

Seconds. A matter of seconds, and it would be over. After *hours* of
suffering.

Worth it?

Fuck, yeah.

Would he allow Alex to do it to him again?

Damn skippy.

Alex thrust a hand under Fox's head and grabbed a handful of hair, holding
his head still as his mouth came down hard on the lush, full lips. His free
hand wrapped around his lover's cock, and matched the rhythm of his
thrusting hips.

Fox wrenched himself away from Alex's mouth, wailing obscenities into the
air. His fingers dug into the younger man's back, his short nails still
managing to leave red marks that criss-crossed the healed wounds of only a
few weeks ago.

Alex winced, the small pain feeding his excitement. He firmed his grip on
his lover's cock, and began to pump it mercilessly as he drove deeper.

The wailing turned to all out screams, and Fox thrashed beneath Alex as the
world shattered into tiny shards of light.

"Oh, yeah..." Alex gasped, pounding furiously into Fox's ass as his lover
shot slick, opaque fluid over his chest and Alex's fist. "Let it...let it
go, baby..."

The screams switched to frantic, choking sobs as Alex continued without
abatement, ramming again and again into Fox. He kept working his lover's
cock, refusing to let go...unable to.

As Alex proceeded to drive his body into the mattress, mini waves of escatsy
continued to wash over Fox, and he lay limply beneath the younger man,
shuddering with each vibration.

Alex finally felt his own orgasm approaching...slower due to the fact that
he'd already come twice this evening, but no less powerful. When it hit, his
body tensed, then began a series of erratic spasms as he emptied himself
into his lover.

Fox's fingers closed weakly in Alex's hair as the younger man shuddered and
groaned harshly, falling onto his chest. They lay together, whimpering
almost inaudibly as the blood once again flowed freely through their veins.
When he was able to, Alex lifted his head a fraction, and smiled down at
Fox. Exhausted, amber eyes glowed softly as the older man stared back, and
full, rosy lips curled slightly upward, too weak to give Alex a full smile.
His eyes closed and he attempted to concentrate on speaking a few words, but
no sound would come forth.

Alex brushed his knuckles down the side of Fox's face, and across the swell
of his lower lip. "What do you want to say, lisa?"

The golden-brown eyelashes fluttered once then ceased, and Fox's respiration
evened out and deepened. Alex studied him for a moment, and smiled. He was
asleep. He dropped a tender kiss on Fox's mouth, then moved lower on his
chest, gently cleaning away all traces of residual semen with his tongue.
The action roused Fox, and his eyes opened a sliver.

"Mmmmm....."

"Shhhhh." Alex kissed the spot he'd just finished bathing. "Go back to
sleep."

"No....sorry, didn't mean to..." Fox blinked sluggishly, struggling to wake
up. "Don't want to sleep yet."

"No?"

The other man shook his head.

"Why not?"

"Just...want to be with you..." Fox combed his fingers through Alex's hair.
"...kiss...talk..."

The younger man rested his cheek on Fox's chest and grinned up at him. "You
still want to talk to me?"

"Shouldn't." Fox attempted a pout but didn't quite pull it off. "After what
you did to me...."

"Awww. I'm sorry, baby."

"No you're not."

Alex slid up Fox's chest, stopping when they were eye to eye. "Neither are
you."

More awake now, Fox grinned up at his lover. "You're an evil, evil man."

"And you love it."

"I shouldn't make it so easy for you."

A michievous glint came to Alex's eyes. "That could be fun, too."

The humor faded from Fox's eyes and was immediately replaced by boundless
adoration. He brought a hand up to Alex's mouth, tracing the line of his
lower lip. "I love you."

In answer, Alex lowered his head and took Fox's mouth in a soft kiss, gently
coaxing his lips apart. His tongue slipped in past the row of teeth, finding
and engaging his lover's tongue in a playful duel.

Fox sighed into Alex's mouth, his tongue stroking and teasing its mate. His
hands slid up his lover's back, traveling over the weeks-old scars, and
encountering the fresh welts he'd inflicted. He pulled away from the kiss
and pressed Alex's head down onto his shoulder so he could look at the
younger man's back. His fingers traced the new marks, then his arms
encircled Alex gently.

"I'm sorry, baby. I didn't...I didn't realize I'd..."

Alex kissed Fox's collarbone. "It's all right, lisa. It doesn't hurt."

"I didn't mean to..."

Alex lifted his head and met Fox's eye. "Come on, it's okay. It's not the
first time one of us has scratched the other up, and..." he inclined his
head and nipped gently at Fox's nipple, "considering how rough we play
sometimes, I'm sure it won't be the last."

"Yeah, but..."

"I'm fine," Alex interrupted. "He didn't screw me up so much that I can't
make the distinction between his twisted actions and my baby's passion."

Fox lay silently, his fingertips whispering over Alex's back.

"Hey," Alex nuzzled his jaw. "You okay?"

"Yeah. I j...I just ...I keep thinking about what it must have been like for
you, not knowing where you were...being beaten and..." he couldn't finish
the sentence. "...and I can't...I can't stand it. I want to kill him over
and..." he gritted his teeth "...*over*..."

Alex kissed his chin, then his mouth. "Lisa..."

"I shouldn't have left you. I'd been feeling uneasy for days, and yet,
against every instinct, I let you talk me into going to work."

"You can't shoulder the blame for that, Fox. It isn't right. You know, if it
weren't for your persistence, I might still be there...and God knows how
much worse things would have been. You saved me from a whole lot more shit,
baby."

Fox raised his eyes to Alex's face.

Alex rested his forehead against his lover's, and grinned down at him. "My
hero." When his only response was the same somber expression, he growled
softly, capturing Fox's bottom lip between his teeth, and giving a little
shake of his head. Receiving a smile and a soft laugh from the older man, he
released his lip, then passed his tongue across the tiny indentations that
his teeth had left.

"That tickles."

"Yeah?" Alex swiped at Fox's mouth again.

"Come on, cut it out..."

"You weren't saying that half an hour ago."

"That was then, this is now."

"I could have you begging to be fucked in less than twenty minutes."

"You think so, huh?"

"I know so."

"What makes you so damn sure?"

"Cause I'm *good*."

"Conceited prick."

The rich, satiny sound of Alex's chuckle filled the room. "You say the
sweetest things."

Fox's hand traveled down Alex's back to the curve of his ass. He lightly
caressed the smooth muscles, occasionally giving a gentle squeeze.
"Question."

"What?"

"If I hadn't been able to hold it...would you really not fuck me for a whole
month?"

Alex closed one eye and grimaced. "I don't know. I'd try real hard..."

Fox gave him that patented heart-melting, cock-hardening pout. "You would?"

"I said I wouldn't *fuck* you. I said nothing about jerking..."

Fox smiled.

"And sucking..."

"Mmmm..."

"And then I could always sit back and watch you get *yourself* off. That's
always big fun."

Fox gave his ass a hard smack.

"Shit! What was that for?"

"Because I felt like it."

"Fresh."

"I'd give you three days and then you'd be all over me."

"Oh, really? Are you trying to say I have no self-control?"

"That's what I'm sayin'."

"I have plenty of self-control, thank you. Just...not with *you*, ya slut."

"Wait...gimme a minute, and I'll try to look sorry."

"Ah, don't bother."

Fox smirked and pulled Alex down for a long kiss. He released the younger
man's mouth, and hugged him to his chest.

Ales sprawled comfortably over Fox's body, tucking his head under the
lightly stubbled chin. "Know what?"

"Hmm?"

"I'm tired all of a sudden."

"I know," Fox murmured, idly combing his fingers through the fringe of sable
hair at the base of Alex's neck. "Me too."

Alex kissed the warm skin beneath his mouth, tasting the faint flavor of
sweat and the remnants of his lover's recent climax. "I love you, baby," he
whispered as he gave himself up to the lethargy that had come to claim him.

"I love *you*. Goodnight, sweetheart."

In the fuzzy remains of consciousness, Alex heard the comforting tone of his
lover's voice. Felt the warmth of his embrace, and sank contentedly into
sleep, knowing that when he woke in the morning, he'd do so in the loving
circle of his Fox's arms. He'd open his eyes and he'd be home.

END