Fandom: XF (M/K)

Rated NC-17 m/m sexual situations, bad words, violence, blah, blah, blah...

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

Summary: After A-VIII, the lovely Pat was pining for some good old
Muldertorture, and asked if in my next story, I could have Alex rescuing a
hurting Mulder from danger. Not sure if I hurt him enough for ya, hon, but I
hope you did get some satisfaction from it. Anyway, Mulder gets himself
involved in a hostage situation, and just when it looks as though things
could get *really* ugly, Alex steps in and saves him. Atta boy, Alex. And
now Mulder has gone from the frying pan and into the fire...so to speak.

Disclaimer: Mulder, Krycek, Scully, Skinner, and the Consortium belong to
CC...not that he deserves them. The rest are mine.

Props to Nic, Orithain and Sue for assorted squeaks, squeals and squidges.
And of course, the occasional threat. Big hugs to the lovely Pat for helping
me kick off yet another series...cause you know, that's *just* what I
needed...

Mmmmmm....feeedback....you can feed me at MMCUSN@aol.com

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

Not On My Watch

by Aries

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

Dana Scully turned over and burrowed deeper into the pile of blankets over
her body. That wasn't her doorbell she just heard. Couldn't be. It was still
dark for goodness sake, and who'd be at her door anyway, on a Saturday
morning besides...

The ringing sounded again.

...Mulder.

She opened one eye and attempted to focus it on the glowing red numbers on
her clock.

Five-twenty.

"Shit."

Scully dragged herself out of bed and trudged into the living room. She
peered through the peephole and groaned. This couldn't be good. She opened
the door and stepped aside, allowing her partner to enter.

"Mulder, I thought you were going to spend the weekend in bed and try o get
rid of that cold. And I assume that the reason you're here so early....on a
Saturday...has something if not everything to do with that folder you're
carrying."

"Sorry, Scully." Mulder walked over to the sofa and dropped down into the
right-hand corner of it. He opened up the folder and splayed its contents
out on the coffee table. He checked his watch, then proceeded to explain
himself. "Do you recall a case we investigated three years ago in Washington
State, where a man by the name of Roger Beals had convinced a large group of
inmates at a local Washington state hospital that he was an alien visitor
who had come to save a select few people before the whole world was
atomized?"

"Yeah. He was a guard at the hospital, right?"

Mulder nodded. "He helped them escape and got them to commit a number of
thefts before they were all rounded up and brought back."

"Right. He dodged local law enforcement for a while afterward. Killed a
deputy and a seventy-year-old woman, then disappeared. You figured out where
to find him, but none of the weapons or money that the inmates had stolen
were ever recovered."

"Well, guess what?"

"Do I want to know?"

"He escaped from prison three days ago, taking four buddies with him, and
six hostages they picked up along the way, and the police have tracked them
into the Olympic Mountain range."

"What's this got to do with us?"

"They've surrounded him in an abandoned vacation lodge. Apparently *that* is
where he had the weapons and money hidden all this time. They've taken
enough supplies with them to last a good long while, and their hostages
consist of three women, one man, an eleven-year-old boy, and a
three-year-old girl."

"Ohhh..."

"Yeah."

"What does he want?"

"Me."

"What?"

"*I* found him. *I* made him miss his *ship*..."

"You...you mean he really thinks he's an alien?"

"Apparently. And he's pissed."

"And dangerous. Mulder, I hope you don't think you're going to..."

"There's not a whole lot of choice, Scully. Do you want to hear what he's
threatening to do to those people and the children *before* he kills them?"

Scully gave no answer.

"Come on, get dressed. Our flight leaves in two hours."

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

"Beals....*Beals*."

"What?"

"When are we gonna get outta here, man? These chicks are really starting to
get on my nerves with all their whimpering and whining. And all that baby
does is cry..."

"Patience, Leon. They'll come for us when I give the signal."

"Well, give it already!"

"Not yet. I have to settle my account with that fibbie who put me away,
first."

"Aww, how the hell do you even know he'll come?"

"He will."

"Maybe they're just stalling, you ever think of that? Trying to keep us
quiet until they can storm this joint..."

"Would you shut *up*? I know what I'm doing. You think they're gonna risk
the lives of these women and kids?"

"Who the fuck knows what's on their minds? What if they call your bluff?"

Beals gave him an unsettling, blank stare. "Who said I was bluffing?"

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

The Ford Explorer made its way slowly up the steep path, the deep treads of
the tires kicking out fresh snow as they turned. The three people inside
rode in silence, keeping all eyes on the road, or what could be seen of it
through the heavily falling blanket of white.

The radio crackled, startling the agents and drawing their attention.

"Base to Burton, where are ya, Mike?"

"Hey, Wes. We're about a half mile from you...at least I think we are.
Between the dark and the snow, it's kinda hard to tell."

"Well, ain't nothin' changed up here, so take it slow and we'll see you in a
few."

"Okay, Wes. Out." The deputy turned to the woman who sat beside him. "This
jerk picked a hell of a time of year to act up. Winter up here is no joke."

Scully nodded and looked back at her partner who had settled against the
back seat and closed his eyes. She cursed him silently, noting the paleness
to his skin. He should be home, taking care of himself. He'd been fighting
this cold for almost a week now, and it wasn't getting any better.

She shifted her attention away from her irritation and back to his face. His
eyes were still closed, but she knew better than to think he was resting.
She could hear that mind of his clicking away, analyzing and re-analyzing
the information he had on Roger Beals..reviewing his plan of action. And
though he gave nothing away, Scully knew trouble loomed. The scent of it
clung to him and she wished with all her heart that it would go away. Every
foot they gained toward the base, increased her anxiety.

The Explorer skidded, drawing Scully as well as Mulder out of their
thoughts.

"Sorry 'bout that," Burton winced, getting control of the wheel. "Hang on,
we'll be there in a minute. Those are the lights up ahead."

Mulder pulled himself up with a soft groan, and pitched forward. His eyes
scanned his surroundings, seeing nothing more than snow-covered darkness,
and a few pinpoints of light in the distance. "What's the terrain like
around here?"

"Runs the gamut. Rocky...dense forests...water...tough going for the
experienced, next to impossible if you're not familiar with the area.
Naturally, this weather only makes it worse. If we hadn't tracked Beals out
here, he'd have been able to hide out for as long as his supplies held out.
We gotta get him inside the lodge. He apparently knows his way around these
mountains, and if he flees..."

Mulder fell back into silence as they slowly approached the base camp.

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

Wes Lawson stepped out of the command cabin and hitched his collar up a
little higher. He blinked and shielded his face against the driving snow,
searching for Mike Burton's vehicle. The headlights became visible, cutting
through the storm and bringing to the man watching them, a sense of
irrational relief that there *was* life out there...that he and the small
group of men inside the cabin *weren't* the only people out here on what
seemed like the edge of the earth.

The Explorer pulled up in front of the cabin, and idled to a stop. Burton
cut the engine, and he and his two companions climbed down out of the
vehicle, joining Wes Lawson in his slow trek back to the small wooden
structure. Once inside, the deputy did introductions.

Sheriff Wes Lawson, this Special Agent Mulder and Agent Scully." He pointed
at the other men in the room, one by one. "And these yahoos are Deputies
Jackson, Blumenthal, Smith, Ganon and Silva."

The agents nodded at the other men, and turned back to the sheriff. Mulder
jumped right in.

"What's the last contact you had with Beals?"

"About three hours ago. He wanted to know when you were coming. Said the
next voice he wanted to hear was yours, and if *we* tried to contact him,
one of the hostages was going to be a very unhappy camper."

"How did he sound?"

The sheriff cocked his head.

"His tone. Did he sound nervous? Agitated?"

"Umm...no. No, he was actually very calm. Soft spoken, even."

"Did he ask for anything?"

"Just you."

Scully turned away.

"Has he mentioned the hostages?"

"I tried asking, but he said that he wouldn't discuss anything with us until
you were here."

"Well," Mulder began, brushing some melting snow out of his hair, "I'm here.
Let's see what he's got to say."

Lawson nodded and turned to the radio. He switched bands, and raised the
handset to his mouth. "Beals? You out there?"

Silence.

He tried again. "Beals, this is Lawson, come on."

Nothing.

Mulder took the handset from the sheriff and held the button down. "Beals.
This is Agent Mulder. You wanted me, I'm here." Mulder sniffed and cleared
his throat, waiting almost a full minute before an answer crackled back at
him.

"You know, I had a dog once that would *never* come when I called for him. I
tried and I tried to teach him, but he just wouldn't learn. *You*, on the
other hand, came the first time I called. What a good boy."

"They got dogs up on your planet, Beals?"

Silence.

"Look, you've got some people up there who would really rather be in the
warmth of their own homes. Why don't you let them go? If you do, this'll go
a lot easier for you."

"Me? Thanks, Mulder, but this is going just fine for me. But it won't be
going too well for these nice people if you don't do what I say."

"What do you want, Beals?"

Scully's eyes widened. "Mulder," she whispered, "don't."

"You."

"You've got me. I flew across the country and drove up this damn mountain in
the middle of a blizzard because you wanted me here. Now let those people go
and we'll talk."

"No. No, no, no. I want to see you. You have to come up here. Then I'll
think about letting them go."

"Mulder," Scully grasped her partner's arm. "We cannot give this man what he
wants. You said it yourself. He's pissed at you. You walk in there, and I
can almost guarantee that we'll be carrying you out. And you *know* that he
isn't likely to let any of those people go. Let's please for once, do this
by the book."

Mulder listened to his partner, then again raised the handset. "Beals. Let
the two kids go now. We'll send two..."

"You want em? Come on up. I'll cut em loose as soon as you get here. You can
bring your partner up with you and she can take em back."

"I'll come up with one of the deputies."

"No. If I see even one of them, it's all off. I'll kill these little
monsters, then I'll go through the others one by...after we have a little
fun with them, of course. Now, I know you got that pretty partner with you.
You two always seemed to be joined at the hip. You know, if I had more time,
I'd tell you to bring her on up into the lodge with you and we could party.
Oh, well."

Mulder glanced at Scully, who was staring back at him, shaking her head
imploringly.

"I'm coming, Beals. But I don't set foot inside until you send the two kids
out and you allow Agent Scully to take them away."

"Hey, that's cool. No tricks, now. I don't want to tell you in mixed company
what one of my friends has been dying to do. See, the guy we got up here
ain't half bad looking, and poor J.T. is missing his bitch back home..."

A shudder ran through Scully, and she moaned softly. "Mulder....I'm not
kidding. You can't go up there. I've got a very bad feeling..."

Mulder held a hand up, attempting to shush his partner. "Look, you guys are
in enough trouble. Don't add any more charges to all the ones you've already
racked up." His only answer was a static-laden chuckle.

"You comin' or what?"

"Yeah. It's going to take a little while though. The snow is really coming
down out there."

"You have an hour."

The air went dead.

"Beals....Beals?" Mulder signed off and turned to his agitated partner.
"Scully, this guy *will* kill those people."

"Yes, I believe that too. But he's going to do it whether you go up there or
not. The only hope is to take him by surprise, and dammit, Mulder, if you're
up there, it'll just make things harder."

"Scully, if I don't go, he won't let the kids go."

"What makes you think..."

"He will. He knows I won't go into the lodge unless he does. If I can save
the children, I have to."

Scully closed her eyes and bowed her head.

"Agent Mulder, if you don't mind me saying so, I don't think you should give
in to him, either."

"I appreciate all the concern, Sheriff. Believe me, if I thought this could
be resolved from the warmth of this cabin, I wouldn't be going. Now, who's
going to take us up?"

All the men looked at their boss. Seeing that no objections were
forthcoming, Luis Silva stepped forward.

"I'll do it."

Mulder nodded, and turned to Lawson. "I need two vehicles."

"Two?"

"Yeah, you heard Beals. He doesn't want to see any deputies, but I don't
want Scully to have to drive back in this weather alone with two kids. Silva
can lead us up there and wait at a safe distance for her to come back down."

"Mulder," Scully tried again. "I *cannot* drive you up to that lodge and
just leave you there. We need a plan, we need..."

"And I'm counting on you to come up with one. I'll do my best to keep him
talking while you do that."

"But we've got no way to keep in touch. How will I know what's going on up
there? How will *you* know when we're coming in?"

Mulder smiled. "Turn on your E.S.P."

"Dammit, Mulder..."

Mulder laid a hand on Scully's goose down-covered shoulder. "I trust you to
get us all out of there in one piece. Now, let's go. Those kids are
waiting."

Scully followed her partner out, knowing that there was no way in hell that
she could change his mind once it was made up.

Lawson directed them to a tan Chevy Blazer and handed Mulder the keys. "It's
not far. Only about two miles straight up and to the right. You'll have to
walk in from the road about fifty yards. The front entrance faces the road."

"What about other entrances?"

"There's one on the north side of the building and two on the east. It's
three floors high, and there's a basement with an east exit. Used to be a
tunnel, but I heard it was cemented over years and years ago." Lawson
squinted up the road, then his gaze fell back on the man whose eyes he met
almost on a level. "Good luck, Agent Mulder. Don't take any unnecessary
chances."

"A little too late for that," Scully muttered, not looking at either man.

Mulder motioned to Scully, and walked around to the driver's side of the
vehicle. Both doors slammed shut, and Scully tried once more.

"Explain to me again, Mulder, why we have to rush headlong into this. The
man is unstable. He's a kidnapper, a killer, and God knows what else. He's
fixated on the notion that *you* prevented him from leaving the first time
and relegated him to three years in prison, and he'd like to make you pay
for that. So tell me why the hell you're walking right into his hands."

"How many times are you going to ask me this, Scully?"

"Well, since we'll be at the lodge soon, this'll probably be the last time.
I wish to hell you would give me an answer I could understand and agree
with."

"You mean to tell me that if it was you some nut was asking for, and he was
going to kill innocent children if you didn't go to him, you'd let it
happen?"

Scully bit her lower lip and looked out the passenger's side window at the
snow which seemed to have slowed a bit.

"I didn't think so. It'll be okay, Scully. Just get the kids to safety, then
work on the rest of us."

The vehicle in front of the Blazer began to slow down from it's near-crawl,
then stopped. An arm thrust itself out the window and waved them ahead.
Mulder pulled up beside Silva, and Scully rolled her window down. The deputy
pointed up the road. "A quarter mile straight ahead. Then look to the right
and you'll see the lodge. I'll wait here for Agent Scully."

Mulder nodded to the man. "Thanks. If she isn't back with the kids in a
reasonable amount of time, notify Lawson to take the place."

"Will do."

Mulder proceeded up the road, and just as Silva had instructed, stopped a
quarter of a mile up. He and Scully found the glowing lights of the lodge
off to the right, and he unfastened his seatbelt. He exited the vehicle, and
waited for his partner to hop down from the passenger's side. He handed
Scully his weapon, and she blanched.

"Mulder..."

"You know they're going to check me for it as soon as I come through the
door. Why make it harder on myself?"

Scully tucked the Sig Sauer into her jacket, and the two trudged toward the
lodge.

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

"Come on, Leon, you don't really think he's an alien, do you?"

"Shit, no. But letting him think I believed him got me out of the joint."

"Yeah, but now look where we are. You think they're gonna let us walk out of
here and go on our merry way?"

"The man's a flake, Ronnie, but he's smart. And he's determined. We'll get
out of here. And as soon as we're in the clear, we break."

Ronnie peered out the window. "I think Skeez and J.T. believe him."

"Yeah, think about that for a sec. Skeez says he talks to people at night in
his cell who aren't there, and J.T...I'm just glad that we nabbed a guy
along with those bitches. You know I found him licking the guy's face a
little while ago when I went to check on them? If he wasn't tied up, the man
would've dug through the wall to get away from him."

"Shit."

"Yeah."

"I....hey....I think I see something. Yep. It's them."

Leon rose from his seat by the window. "I'll go tell Beals. Keep an eye on
them." The man slipped quickly out of the room and went off to find Beals.

Beals lay on the floor in the middle of the main dining room, stretched flat
out on his back, hands behind his head, and eyes closed. The slight shift in
air current alerted him to the fact that he was no longer alone. His eyes
remained closed as he spoke. "What is it, Leon?"

"How'd you know it was me?"

"Have you got something to tell me?"

"Yeah. They're coming."

A slow smile spread across the prone man's face. "Goodie. Get the brats."

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

The door to the lodge opened, and Scully's heart attempted to climb up out
of her throat. She wanted desperately to hold on to her partner and not
allow this to happen, but it was beyond her now. The faces of the children
as they were led out of the lodge...the twelve year old boy, and more so,
the wide, frightened eyes of the three year old girl, clutched at her heart.
If Mulder didn't go through with this, these innocent babies would be
dragged back inside, and more than likely killed. She fought to maintain her
composure as Mulder took another step forward and spoke to the man in the
doorway.

"Okay, Beals. Let them go."

"Come closer, Agent Mulder."

Mulder took two steps and stopped. "Now. Let Agent Scully take them."

Beals smirked at Mulder, skimming the boy's cheek with his gun. He paused,
then released his hold. "Well, children, it's been lovely, but now you must
be going. The nice lady over there will take you with her." Before he
allowed the children to leave, he bent and gave the little girl a brief kiss
on her cheek. "You behave for Miss Scully, now."

The children were finally released, and Scully gathered both into her arms
as soon as they got close enough.

"All right now, Agent Scully. You've got what you came for. Shoo shoo. Agent
Mulder and I have some business to attend to."

Scully looked desperately to her partner. "Mulder..."

"It's all right, Scully. Get those kids back to their parents."

Beals grinned and stepped to the side of the door, motioning Mulder in with
a grand sweep of his arm.

Scully moved away slowly, watching her partner until he disappeared into the
lodge, and the door slammed shut. She now picked up the three year old, and
holding onto the boy's hand, made for the Blazer as quickly as she could
move.

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

Roger Beals approached Mulder and stood smiling at him. "So. How ya been?"

Mulder shrugged as Leon searched him. "Ah, you know. Same old shit. Go to
work. Come home from work. Eat. Sleep."

"Yeah, well, the same old shit can be a comforting thing when you're home. I
could've been home three years ago, but noooo."

"Where *is* home?"

Beals planted one fist on his hip. "Would you tell me where *you* lived if I
asked you?"

"Well, I'm curious, you know? You say you're not of this...world. That
fascinates me. I'd like to hear more about it."

Beals raised an eyebrow. "Oh, you'll hear more, Agent Mulder." He motioned
Leon away, and in one blinding movement, struck Mulder across the jaw with
his weapon.

Mulder hit the floor with a loud thud. Blackness enveloped him for a moment,
then red, and finally shooting light, as consciousness fought to take hold.
A wavy figure squatted beside him, and he struggled to hear the slightly
slurred words.

"But you're going to hear what I *want* you to hear. Did you know that I was
pistol whipped quite often in prison? Oh, yeah, they *say* that the inmates
are treated fairly, but that's bullshit, in case you didn't know it." He
grazed the line of Mulder's nose with the barrel of the gun, then tapped his
cheek with it. "Get up."

Mulder lay still, trying to get his body to work in conjunction with his
head. When he was thinking clearly enough to register pain, he pulled
himself up and staggered to his feet.

Leon watched from a distance, wincing. He remained quiet as Beals circled
the wounded man.

"You want to hear about the other things they do in jail, Mulder? Huh? Sure
you do. Let's play show and tell..."

"Beals."

The circling man looked up at the man who had just entered the room. "Yeah,
Ronnie, what do you want?"

"It...it's J.T., man. He's all over the guy, and he's scaring the shit out
of the women. I tried to get him to leave him alone, but he won't."

Beals shook his head. "J.T., J.T...." He looked up at Mulder and smiled.
"Would you like to meet J.T., Agent Mulder? I'm sure he'd love to meet you."
Beals spun the teetering man around and pulled a pair of handcuffs from his
back pocket. "Hands behind your back." He attached the cuffs, then pushed
Mulder toward the hall. They climbed one flight of steps, then proceeded
halfway down the hall. Beals pulled Mulder to a stop in front of the doors
of a middle room, and listened to the frightened sobs within. He flung the
doors open, and pushed the cuffed man inside.

The three women sobbed hysterically and tried to huddle together as the man
called J.T. sprawled over the male hostage, biting and licking his shoulder
while grinding his hips into his thigh.

"C'mon baby, give it up. You know you like it..."

The man squirmed underneath J.T., struggling to get away. "Get *off* me!"
His voice crackled with fear. "*Please*..."

"J.T., get the hell off of him. Come on now, I got somebody for you to
meet."

J.T. ceased movement, and licked the side of the hostage's face before
slithering down and off of his body, leaving the man shaking and pale.
J.T.'s eyes lit up as they scoured the length of the body that swayed before
them. "Well, now. What have we here?"

"J.T., this is my friend Agent Mulder. Agent Mulder, this is J.T."

The man moved in for closer inspection. "Very pretty. What's your first
name, gorgeous?"

Beals snickered. "Fox."

"You're kidding."

"I kid you not."

J.T. observed the darkening bruise that ran along Mulder's jaw. "What
happened to your face, pretty Fox?"

Mulder lifted his chin a little and closed hs eyes. "Ask your buddy here."

"Agent Mulder and I were just starting a round of show and tell when I had
to come up here and see what you were doing to our hostages."

"I didn't touch any of the chicks, but damn, Beals, I miss my Trevor. We
should have brought him with us."

"Trevor was a wuss, J.T. He'd never have made it this far."

J.T.'s eyes slipped from Beals to the floor. "G-Dog is probably all over him
by now....I need to get me some, man."

Beals pushed against the back of Mulder's head with the tips of his fingers.
"See...in prison, this is what a lot of the men resort to. When I decide to
continue with our game, I'll let J.T. take you on a typical cell block
*date*. Oh, you ought to love that."

"Yeah," J.T. breathed against Mulder's cheek. "Mmm...damn, Beals, he smells
good. I want him soon, okay?"

"When I give the word."

"Give the word soon. If you do, I'll promise to leave that one alone." He
motioned with his head in the direction of the hostage.

"When I'm done with him, you can have him."

"Hey, uh...guys? Don't I get a say?" Mulder pitched forward, groaning as he
absorbed a blow to the ribs. He fell to his knees, hearing the renewed
whimpers of the frightened women as he felt something inside him crack.

"No, Agent Mulder, you do not. Just like you left me without a choice, now
it's your turn. Now, get up and come with me."

Mulder remained on his knees, gasping softly, and trying to manage the pain.
The kick just delivered to his ribs did nothing to help him. He doubled
over, groaning.

Beals grasped his newest hostage by the back of his collar, and yanked him
up. "I said, get up. He peered down at Mulder, studying the ashen face,
dotted with beads of perspiration. "What's wrong, Agent Mulder? Did that
hurt? Hurt like hell when the guards did it to me, I'll tell ya. But I gotta
give you credit. You're a better man than I am. I cried like a baby. Yeah,
that's right, I'm not ashamed to admit it. I cannot *stand* pain. I whimper
and whine like..." Beals pointed to the man curled up on the floor, "..like
that guy. Kind of embarrassing, really." He approached Mulder and rubbed the
barrel of his gun under the agent's chin. "See, I have to make you
understand that. You have to know first hand, the indignities I suffered
because of you. I was respected in my world. No one would have dared do to
me what those guards did. And I could have been back there if it wasn't for
you, you son of a bitch!"

Mulder spoke softly, measuring every labored breath. "I didn't tell you to
bust a bunch of psych patients out of a state hospital, make them commit a
bunch of crimes, then kill two people. You did that on your own. And that's
why you went to jail."

Beals smiled, then backhanded Mulder, amplifying the throbbing in his face.
"When I want your opinion, bitch, I'll give it to you."

J.T. watched the scene, squirming where he stood. "God, Rog, you can't do
this to me. Let me fuck him real quick, then you can have him back. I just
need to take the edge off...."

"No. Agent Mulder and I got more to *discuss* first. Then I promise, you can
have him."

Mulder stood, legs spread slightly, doing everything he could to keep his
balance. His jaw ached with a dull, relentless throb, and he was pretty sure
that he had cracked a rib or two. As welcoming as unconsciousness seemed to
him at the moment, he knew he had to stay alert. Scully would be working on
a plan to get them all out, and he had to keep his eyes and ears open.
Besides, the thought of J.T. doing the things to him that he was dying to
do, was more unpleasant than the intermittent beatings that Beals had been
dishing out. He moved as soon as Beals had placed a hand behind his back and
pushed him toward the door. The men split up in the hall, Beals, Mulder and
Leon going one way, and J.T. and Ronnie going in the other. J.T. called to
him as they disappeared from sight.

"I'll see you soon, pretty Fox. Then we're have gonna have us a party. Just
you and me..."

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

The children slept soundly, safe and warm on two cots in the corner of the
cabin. Scully watched them, her mind wandering to her partner.

//My God, Mulder, I understand your reasons, but...// She inhaled deeply,
holding the breath for a long while before letting it out. //What's going on
up there? Just...hang on, okay? The cavalry is coming.//

Part of "the cavalry" arrived a couple of hours later. Agents from the state
office descended on the cabin, pushing the locals out of the way, and began
to set up their own equipment. Scully found the senior agent and introduced
herself.

"I'm Special Agent Scully. Thank you for getting up here so quickly."

The short, thin man in the rumpled suit shook her hand. "Agent Scully, I'm
Agent Miller. What have we got?"

"My partner is up in that lodge, being held with four civilians, by five
men. The leader, Roger Beals, is an unstable man who claims to be an alien.
He's a charismatic man who somehow manages to convince others of this as
well. Three years ago, he sprung a group of inmates from the state hospital
where he worked as a guard. He talked these people into committing a number
of crimes, mostly robberies. Money and arms were what he targeted. He killed
two people before Agent Mulder tracked him down. Prison information on the
other four are as follows..."

The other agents in the room gathered around to hear the information and
look at pictures of the targets.

"...Leon Glassman. Two bank robberies and aggravated assault. For the most
part, he's kept his nose clean while in prison until now. Umm...Ronnie
Wilson. Dealing. Possession...assault....Bill Roberts a.k.a. 'Skeez'. Second
degree murder. Psychotic. Holds lengthy conversation with no one. And John
'J.T.' Thomas. Aggravated assault, three rapes on young men, possession of
illegal firearms. These aren't boyscouts up there, guys, and they've got my
partner. No mistakes, all right?"

Miller laid a hand on her arm. "Don't worry, Agent Scully. We'll get your
partner and the others out alive. Has anyone tried contacting Beals since
Agent Mulder went up?"

"I tried once, but he wouldn't answer."

The other agent looked at the children in the corner. "What about them?"

"Their parents are on their way up. They should be here soon."

"Good. The fewer people in the way, the better."

"Well, we've got at least one more coming to the party."

"Who?"

"My boss. A.D. Skinner from D.C. I called to notify him of the latest
developments, and he insisted on coming."

Miller raised his eyebrows. "You know, I've heard a little about your
partner. He's supposed to be a brilliant profiler, if just a little bit
cracked..." he held up his hands. "No offense. I'm just repeating what I
heard."

"Agent Mulder is very good at what he does."

"Yeah, well he's gotta be something special to rate the personal attention
of the A.D. I could disappear up here and my boss'd never miss a beat."

Scully shifted from one foot to the other. She just couldn't shift her
attention enough to show the man any sympathy. "Yeah...well, uh...let's get
to work, shall we?"

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

Mulder sat quietly in the corner of the dining room. His hands were still
cuffed behind his back, but he had now been divested of his jacket and two
outer shirts, leaving him in his jeans and undershirt. He shivered in the
chilled air of the large room, and let his head drop to his chest.

Sleep. All he wanted to do was sleep the pain away, but the little voice in
the back of his mind kept rousing him, telling him that he had to stay
awake.

He opened his eyes and looked around the room. All was quiet and the room
was empty except for himself and Ronnie. The other man must have felt
Mulder's eyes on him, because he spun from his post at the window and peered
into the dark corner.

"You awake, now?"

"Wasn't sleeping. Listen..." He paused to cough. "..Ronnie? That's your
name, right? You guys are in a lot of trouble, here. Kidnapping is no petty
crime. And if your friend J.T. there, touches that man, things'll be even
worse for you."

Ronnie approached. "What about you?"

"What about me?"

"He wants you bad."

Mulder turned his head to the side and closed his eyes. "Beals has already
put you in deeper. Assault on a federal officer isn't a good thing. You let
J.T. r-rape...me, and I can pretty much guarantee that none of you will ever
see the light of day again..."

"Ronnie!"

Ronnie spun to his feet, meeting the angry gaze of the man who had just
entered the room. "Rog..."

"What are you doing?"

"I was just...just checking on him. He seems to be cold."

Beals leaned over the man propped up in the corner. "Is that right, Agent
Mulder? Are you cold?"

"It *is* a bit drafty in here."

"It was cold in the joint. Or hotter than hell...never a happy medium, you
know? Hey...let me tell you about the time some of the prisoners started
fires in their cells. The warden decided that rather than initiate a
lock-down, he'd turn us all out into the courtyard. It was cold that day,
man, and we had to hustle outside wearing nothing but whatever we happened
to have on at the time. We lay face down on the ground for an hour, while
they secured the inside. Can't tell you how many guys got sick."

"That's unfortunate."

"Yeah. For you, it is." Beals hauled Mulder to his feet, ignoring the soft
grunts, and pushed him out of the room. Ronnie followed close behind.

"Rog...hey, Rog, what are you going to do?"

"I'm going to let my friend here experience what it was like that day, so he
can fully appreciate what we've been through." Beals dragged the back door
open, and pushed Mulder outside. The snow had slowed considerably, but the
wind had picked up, making it feel twenty degrees colder than it actually
was. The wind had drifted the snow away from the area around the door, and
Beals made Mulder lie face-down there on the bricked patio. "Now, isn't this
fun?" he asked, patting Mulder on the back. "Nice and cold, isn't it? Now,
we're gonna stay out here for an hour, Mulder. And then we'll..."

"Rog..."

"What?"

"When they did that to us, it wasn't nearly this cold. You can't leave him
out here that long. The man is obviously sick already. He'll *die*."

Beals considered the other man's words. "Well, I guess you're right about
that, Ronnie. I wouldn't want to kill him too soon. Still way too much fun
ahead of us. Okay, Mulder. Fifteen minutes. That should be long enough for
you to get the picture."

Ronnie covered his face with his hands, then began to massage his temples.
"Rog," he began evenly, "Rog, have you really thought this out? I know
you're pissed with the guy, but Jesus Christ, the trouble that we're gonna
be in if we're caught..."

"Don't sweat it, Ronnie. We will *not* be caught. We only need to hold out
for two more days, all right? Then we'll be outta here."

"They're...they're gonna come for us?"

"Yeah. So we gotta be ready."

//Jesus Christ, this guy's a fucking fruitcake.// "What about the hostages?"

Beals gave him an odd look. "They won't be coming with us."

Mulder lay shivering, listening to the conversation.

Ronnie.

Ronnie was the weak link. He had to keep at him. He had to talk to him as
often as he could. He needed someone else. Not that it would exactly even up
the sides, but it would be a start. He shifted slightly, feeling the
numbness begin in the parts of his body that touched the ground. Well, at
least it dulled the pain...

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

Daylight.

Scully stepped outside and stretched. God, she was exhausted. They'd gone
all night without a word from Beals, and she was scared to death of what he
might be doing to her partner.

Partial relief came in the imposing form of A.D. Skinner, just stepping down
out of the Blazer that had carried Mulder into that maniac's clutches.

"Agent Scully," Skinner called as he approached, with two agents following
behind. His eyes narrowed on his agent's drained face. "Any more word?"

"No, sir. Agent Mulder said he would make every effort to contact me. That
he hasn't done so, has really got me worried."

"Agent Scully!"

Scully whirled in the direction of Mike Burton's voice.

"Beals is calling."

Scully and Skinner took off toward the cabin at a fast trot, plowing through
the knee-deep snow. They burst through the door, and Scully snatched up the
handset. "Beals?"

"Good morning, Agent Scully. How was your night?"

"Beals...I want to speak to Agent Mulder."

"Can't do that."

"Why not?"

"He's uh...asleep. You wouldn't want in interrupt pretty boy's beauty sleep,
would you?"

Scully released the button and spoke to Skinner. "If Mulder is asleep,
there's something wrong..."

"Agent Scully..."

"I'm here."

"Your partner easily susceptible to fevers?"

"*Dammit*!" She pressed the button. "Has he got a fever?"

"Mmmm, well, we spent a little time outside last night, and he wasn't
properly dressed, and I'm afraid that he does feel a little warm this
morning."

Scully heard the man stifle a snicker. "Listen, you son of a bitch..."

"Ah, ah, ah. Such language is quite unbecoming for a woman as lovely as
yourself."

"I need to see him, Beals. I'm a doctor. I can take care of him."

"Take care of him? Why would I want you to do that?"

"Because if he dies, so will you. I'll see to it myself!"

Skinner grasped Scully's arm, attempting to calm her down. "Agent
Scully...easy..."

"Tell them to clear the way, Agent Scully. I must be leaving here soon. If
you promise me safe passage, I'll leave him here for you."

Scully looked to Skinner. Gaining a nod of approval, she spoke into the
handset. "*Alive*, Beals. You leave him and all the others *alive*, and
we'll let you come through."

"Yes, yes, alive. I'll be in touch. I'm off now, to check in on my special
guest."

The air went dead, and Scully threw the handset down on the table. "I don't
trust him as far as I can throw him, sir."

"Neither do I, Scully. We need to get the upper hand on him, somehow. We
need an edge."

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

"Word has just come down that the hostage situation in which Agent Mulder is
involved, has escalated. Agent Mulder is apparently not being treated well,
and if help doesn't reach him soon, he may die."

Smoke swirled through the room inhabited by roughly fifteen men. They looked
from one to the other in silence. Finally another voice sounded.

"Agent Mulder was once an asset to us. We all know that now, due to recent
events, he has turned into a liability. If this had happened two months ago,
I would elect to influence the outcome of this standoff. Now, I believe that
it would be best to let things travel along their natural course."

"This Beals person has been investigated. I don't believe that he will allow
Agent Mulder or any of the other hostages to walk out of there alive."

"So be it, then. If Agent Mulder dies, it will be to our benefit."

A tiny hiss sounded from the shadows, not loud enough for anyone to hear.
The hiss turned into a soft growl, then faded away, as did the undetected
presence.

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

Beads of sweat rolled down Mulder's face, and he shivered violently. God, he
felt like shit. Between the ache in his jaw, his ribs, and now what felt
like an internal heat to rival the flames of hell, he just wanted to close
his eyes and go to sleep. The thought that he might not wake up again was
the only thing that prevented him from doing so.

Leon entered the room, followed by Skeez, laughing and talking to no one in
particular. Leon squatted, and pulled Mulder up into a sitting position.
"Got some water for you." He held a small plastic cup up to the shivering
man's lips. Very thirsty, Mulder took a bigger sip than he should have, and
began to choke. Skeez giggled uncontrollably, and snatched the cup from
Leon's grip.

"Skeez, gimme that."

The other man teetered in front of Mulder, keeping the cup out of Leon's
grasp. "You want more? Huh, Foxy?" He giggled louder. "They said you don't
like that...Foxy...you know, as soon as I was old enough to pull it off, I
woulda killed my parents for stickin' me with a name like that..."

"Skeez..."

"So...more?"

Glazed hazel eyes peeked up at the man through a curtain of thick,
golden-brown lashes. Mulder said nothing.

"Aww, I'll give it to you anyway." With a flick of his wrist, the man
emptied the contents of the cup, and laughed hysterically as it dripped down
Mulder's face.

"You're such an asshole, you know that, Skeez? Now I gotta go get him some
more."

"What the hell for? Beals is gonna kill 'im anyway..."

"No he isn't. This fibbie is our ticket outta here. If he dies, they won't
give a fuck about us. We gotta keep him alive at least until we're free and
clear."

"Yeah? That what you're gonna tell Beals when he's ready to kill 'im?"

"Beals is as fruity as you are."

Skeez cackled, obviously amused.

"Now, you can go with him to wherever it is he thinks he's going, or you can
come with Ronnie and me."

"You mean you don't wanna leave this planet with us?"

Leon shook his head. "Uh...no. No, I kinda like it here."

"Suit yourself."

"Right. Now, come on. Gotta go get him some more water."

Skeez hopped up from his position on the floor, and bent over Mulder. "Be
back in a little while, Foxy. Don't go nowhere."

Mulder heard the door close, then open again almost immediately. Had he
dozed off between the time the two men had left and come back, or was this
someone else?"

"Morning, pretty Fox."

J.T.

//Shit.//

"I saw those other two losers leaving, so I thought I'd come in and see how
you were doing..." J.T. squatted in front of him, and traced the larger than
normal swell of his lips. "You're warm." He inhaled and exhaled audibly.
"Wonder how warm you are on the inside..."

Mulder turned his head, trying to escape the other man's touch.

"I bet you're *real* tight....or not. Pretty as you are, I can't imagine
that you wouldn't get lots of play from both sides of the fence." J.T. drew
his fingers down Mulder's chin, then the long column of his throat.
"Mmm....sweaty...slick..." He withdrew his hand and raised his fingers to
his lips. "Salty..."

"J.T., leave him alone."

The squatting man winked at Mulder, then rose to his feet. "What's your
problem, Leon?"

"You heard what Beals said. You're not to touch him until he says you can."

"I'm not doing anything. We're just getting acquainted, aren't we, pretty
Fox? I figured we could dispense with the conversation and foreplay now, so
we can just go straight to fucking, later."

"You're a sick motherfucker, you know that?"

"No, I believe *he's* sick. Tell Beals I want a piece of him before he up
and dies on me." J.T. nudged Mulder's crotch with the tip of his shoe. "I'll
be back, babe. Hang in there, okay?"

Leon watched the other man leave the room, then bent over, righting Mulder.
"Let's see if we can't get more of this in you than *on* you, now. Skeez
followed J.T. off, so we shouldn't have a problem."

Mulder managed to finish the water, then leaned back against the wall and
closed his eyes.

Leon studied him for a brief moment, then got up and walked silently away.

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

Scully sipped at a cup of coffee that easily resembled sludge. But it was
hot and it was strong, and that's exactly what she needed at the moment. She
walked up behind Skinner, who was looking out the window. "Sir?"

The A.D. turned and accepted the second cup she held. "What's he waiting
for?"

"I don't know. But Mulder's sick, and we have to get him out of there."

Skinner nodded, turning his attention back to the window. "We're going to
have to find a way to sneak someone in."

"There are five of them. It'll take more than just one person to handle all
of them."

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

The lone figure picked its way through the woods. Covered in white, he
almost disappeared into the snowy background. The small bag he carried
swished softly against the nylon of his jacket, creating the only sound in
the gathering darkness. He stopped momentarily, checking his bearings, then
continued on.

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

"Okay, let's go over this again." Agent Scully paced as she briefed the team
of three that they were about to send up to the lodge. "Stay low, stay in
contact, and keep your eyes peeled. The minute you think you've got a
window, take it."

The team leader nodded curtly. "Yes, ma'am. Try not to worry. We've never
missed a target."

"Well, let's just keep that perfect record intact, all right? Four civilians
and an ill federal agent are counting on you."

The men waited for night to fall completely, before advancing up the
mountain. Scully, Skinner, and Sheriff Lawson watched them until they could
no longer see. As they returned to the cabin, Skinner laid a reassuring hand
on Scully's shoulder. "They're the best we've got, Scully. They'll get him
out."

"I know, sir. But will they get him out alive?"

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

Beals' laughter echoed around the empty room. "You are a real tough guy, you
know that, Agent Mulder? I love it." He lifted Mulder's head, studying the
rapidly blackening eye. "Well....not too pretty any more, but at this point,
I don't think that J.T.'ll much care. He's about ready to climb the
walls....hey! J.T., I was just talking about you."

"Yeah? What about?"

"I was just telling our friend here, that I'm through with him. He's all
yours."

J.T. was practically salivating. "Ohhhh, yes. Come on, baby. You and me are
gonna have some fun..."

"Listen, you don't have to move him. I'll go. You can have the dining room."

"Uh uh. I want him upstairs. Want that other bitch to see what he's
missing."

Beals laughed softly. "You really are a sick bastard. Okay, take him."

J.T. hauled the barely conscious man to his feet, bearing almost all of his
weight. "I think I'm gonna need some help getting him upstairs, Rog."

"Okay, okay, let's hurry up, though. I got some last minute prepping to do
before we leave tomorrow."

The two men lifted Mulder and dragged him out into the hall, where Ronnie
was just passing into.

"Hey...what are you guys doing with him?"

J.T. have him a demonic grin. "My turn."

"C'mon, guys. Do you have to? The guy's so sick and in so much pain, he
can't even stand up."

"Shut up, Ronnie, and get back to your post."

Ronnie gave the limp man a sympathetic look, and deciding that it was better
Mulder than him, obeyed Beals' order, and went back down to the first floor.

The two men carried Mulder up to the room where the other hostages were
kept, and laid him out on the floor.

"Okay, bitch," J.T. sneered at the male hostage, "let me show you what you
*could* have had..."

The women began to cry, and the man closed his eyes and turned his head away
as J.T. stretched out on the floor beside Mulder, and began to gently stroke
his damp hair, then his stubbled cheek. "Come on, pretty Fox. Wake up.
This'll be a lot more fun if you're conscious."

For the first time, one of the women made her presence known.

"Why don't you leave him alone, you animal? Can't you see the man is sick?"

Beals raised his hand, sending the three women scurrying against each other.
They huddled tightly, crying and whimpering.

"Shut up, bitch. Nobody asked your opinion. J.T., have a good time. I got
some stuff I need to do. When you're done with him, let me know."

J.T. winked at the retreating man. "That may be a while, pal." He turned
back to the man beside him, unbuttoning his shirt. "A long, long time..."

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

The man quickly and quietly popped out a basement window. He stuffed his
tools back into his bag, and slipped into the lodge. The basement was dark,
but dry. He turned on his flashlight and searched the room. Empty, except
for a few pieces of covered furniture. No exits other than the steps leading
up to the main floor and the bulkhead on the opposite wall.

Wall...wall...the wall.

He approached the west wall and studied it. He touched the cement, and found
that the blocks were loose.

Hmm.

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

J.T. pulled the edges of Mulder's shirt away from his body, then ran a hand
over his chest. He paused on each cotton-covered nipple, teasing them with
the tips of his fingers. The unconscious man's body responded, puckering and
tightening the small brown nubs.

"Well, I guess we can do this with or without your full participation." He
leaned down, and brushed the swollen lips with his own. "It'll still be
good."

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

The team of three approached the lodge. They took up position, and trained
their night vision glasses on the structure.

"Two to team leader. I got one on the first floor...he's...he's moving
around erratically. Like he's on something. I don't see anyone else,
though."

"Okay, two. I've got two here on the east side. They seem to be talking to
each other. No sign of hostages. How about you, three?"

"Sorry, I got nothing. Every room that I can see is empty."

"Okay, so that's two unaccounted for. I'll call it in to base, and see what
they want us to do. Just sit tight."

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

The man crept through the darkened halls, all but invisible. His finely
tuned hearing detected nothing on the first floor. He was about to find the
stairs, when a sound did catch his ear.

Five doors down, and to the left.

He drifted to the door, and listened. Someone was inside. He determined that
it had to have been one of the kidnappers, and with a quick breath, he
opened the door.

The man dancing around, singing to himself, didn't notice at first that he
was no longer alone. When he whirled around, he caught sight of the man in
the doorway. He peered into the darkness, and by the time he realized that
it wasn't one of his friends standing there, he was hitting the floor with
two silenced bullets in his chest. The blood gurgled up in his throat, and
seconds later, he was dead.

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

"What the...team leader, this is three. The man I've had in my sights has
just dropped to the floor. There was another...I think, I can't be sure. I
was too busy watching the other guy...Peter, I think he's dead."

The team leader listened, frowning. "Shit, two. Are you sure?"

"Pretty sure. Pete, something weird is going on, here."

"Okay, just sit tight a minute." The leader changed channels, and radioed
the base.

Scully dove for the radio, answering the excited call.

"What do you mean, one of the kidnappers is dead?"

"That's the report, Ma'am.'

"Who the hell killed him?"

"Don't know. One of the others, maybe? Wait...hold on....shit! The two I've
had my eye on have just gone down. There was a series of flashes, and they
hit the deck. They aren't getting up, either."

Skinner snatched the handset from Scully. "Get in there! Now!"

"Yes, sir!"

The air went dead, and Scully turned to the A.D. "What hell could be going
on? Mulder, maybe?"

"I don't know. But it's time to find out."

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

Leon Glassman and Ronnie Wilson lay in a pool of their own blood, their
bodies full of holes. Without so much as a backward glance, the man slipped
out of the room, in search of his last two targets.

Before he found Roger Beals, the man happened upon a room where frantic
whimpering could be heard.

Females.

He supposed he'd found the hostages.

What to do, what to do...ah, shit, he guessed he'd have to go in. He
couldn't leave them there, and besides, maybe one or both of the other two
were in here. Maybe Mulder was here.

He took a few quick breaths and opened the door. The sight that greeted him
made his blood run cold, then caused it to boil up in his veins.

J.T. Thomas looked up and over to the door. He pulled his hand out of the
unconscious agent's unzipped jeans, and snarled as he began to stand. "Who
the fuck are you?"

The other man snarled back. "Someone you *never* wanted to meet."

"How'd you get in here?"

"Makes no difference. Step away from him."

J.T. squinted, appraising the man who stood before him. "You ain't law."

"No. And that's unfortunate for you. Now, step...away."

"Why should I?"

"Because I don't want to splatter him or any of these people with your
blood."

J.T. laughed. "I'm gonna rip your fuckin' head off, asshole, then I'm gonna
come back over here and fuck this man to death."

A low, menacing growl reverberated throughout the room. "Yeah? Well, come
on, then."

J.T. lunged at the man who stepped quickly aside and cuffed him on the back
of his head with the butt of his weapon. He hit the floor with a heavy thud,
and as he was attempting to get back up, the other man was on him, holding
him face down on the floor.

"What did you do to him? Did you rape him, you fucking dirtbag?"

J.T. struggled against the weight that held him down. "What's...what's it to
you, prick? Why do you need to know?"

Alex Krycek lowered his head to whisper in the other man's ear. "Because
he's mine."

A loud snap drew the attention of the others in the room, and J.T. Thomas'
head hit the floor. The women began to scream as his lifeless eyes stared
out at them.

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

Beals' head snapped up. "Aww, shit." The bloodcurdling screams sent him
running up to the second floor. As he burst through the door, the cock of a
gun behind him, got his attention.

"Turn around, motherfucker."

Beals turned slowly, meeting the fierce green gaze of a man he did not
recognize. "Who the hell are you?"

Alex answered his question with a question. "Did you do that to him?" He
motioned in the direction of the wounded and feverish Mulder. "*Did you*?"

"Who the fuck are you that I should answer your questions?"

"I'm the guy who's gonna kill you. Now, would you like to cleanse your
conscience before I shoot your head full of holes?"

Beals smiled. "Okay, sure. I did it. I did it all. He deserved it, the
fucker. He put me away. I could've gone home. They were waiting for me,
before the feds caught me, and it's *his* fault. ..I could've gone home..."

"Well, tell you what. I'm gonna send you home."

Beals cocked his head, momentarily confused. Studying the look in the other
man's eyes, he suddenly understood.

"Cover your ears, ladies..."

Two shots rang out, and the women began to scream again. They watched the
dark figure stand over the man who lay dead on the floor, and pump three
more shots into his body.

"Bon voyage, motherfucker." Alex turned to the four people hunched against
the wall. The man squeezed his eyes shut, and the women began to cry
frantically. "Shh. Shh, shh. Quiet. Listen, I'm not gonna hurt any of you.
The feds should be here, soon, and you can all go home."

One of the women found the courage to speak up. "What...what about him?" She
motioned toward the unconscious man.

Alex squatted beside Mulder, touching the palm of his hand to the
perspiration-covered forehead. "I'm going to take care of him." He stroked
Mulder's face gently. "Mulder....Mulder, can you hear me?"

A tiny sound left Mulder's lips, but he did not open his eyes.

"Mulder, come on. I've got to get you out of here."

"Wouldn't it be best to leave him here and wait for help?"

The shadowed face looked up in the man's direction. "I'm his help." Those
were the last words he said. He looked around the room, and finding a
blanket draped across a chair by the window, snatched it up and wrapped
Mulder in it. He then hoisted the man in his arms, grunting with the effort
it took, and slowly carried him out of the room.

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

Scully, the A.D., and a dozen more officers plowed toward the lodge,
following in the tracks left by the team. They made it inside, and found
that the team had already breached the structure. The team leader found them
on the first floor, and he approached to give his report.

"The hostages are fine, sir. A little battered, but all right. All five
kidnappers are dead. Four shot to death, one has had his neck broken."

Scully's eyes widened. "Agent Mulder...where is he?"

"We don't...we don't know, ma'am." His head snapped around in response to
the booming baritone that came from Scully's side.

"What the hell do you mean, you don't know?"

"We can't find him, sir."

Scully blew past the men. "He's *got* to be here! What about the shooter?"

"No sign of anyone, ma'am."

"This is ridiculous. How could someone get in here, kill five men, then
disappear? Have you spoken to the hostages?"

"No, ma'am. I..."

"Where are they?"

The leader turned back to Skinner. "Second floor, sir."

Skinner hurried to catch up to Scully, who had already started for the
stairs. They reached the second floor and went directly to the room that
three officers were already outside of. Inside they found three women and a
man, clinging together, sipping coffee from styrofoam cups. They approached
cautiously, and showed their badges to the group.

"Is everyone all right?"

The man nodded. "Yeah. We could be worse."

"Tell us about the federal agent that was here. We can't find him. Do you
know what they did with him?"

One of the women spoke up. "He...he was here until a little while ago."

"What happened to him?"

"A man...a man came. He saved Mr. Mulder's life. He saved all of us. He
killed them. And he carried Mr. Mulder out."

Scully shook her head, completely confused. "Carried him where?"

"Don't know. He said he'd take care of him and took him."

"You said he carried him out..."

"Yeah."

"Agent Mulder was injured?"

The woman nodded. "They beat him up...well, Beals did. He kept favoring his
right side. I think he might have some broken ribs. And his face was all
bruised on one side. He was running a temp, and was in and out of
consciousness. The other one...J.T....he was about to....to..." The woman
stopped, visibly shaken.

"What was he about to do, ma'am?" Skinner asked gently.

"He was going to...rape him."

Scully closed her eyes and turned away.

"But that man...he came in just in time. I couldn't see his face really,
none of us could...it was pretty dark, but his voice...he was very angry
when he saw what they'd done to Mr. Mulder. He killed J.T. Just snapped his
neck. We started to scream, I guess, and Beals came in a little while after.
He hid, and caught Beals by surprise. They exchanged a few words, then the
man killed him. Fired a couple of shots, dropped him, then shot him a few
more times. He told us not to worry, then he covered Mr. Mulder with a
blanket, and carried him out."

"And you can't tell us...you can't give us any description at all?"

All three women shook their heads.

"He was tall," the man spoke up. "Maybe a little taller than you," he nodded
at Skinner. "Hard to tell from the clothes, but I don't think he was as
heavily built. I think his hair was dark. His voice...it was low. Gravelly,
almost. That's all I can tell you."

"Thank you." Skinner turned away from the group and aimed an intense stare
at Scully. "Doesn't help much, does it?" he asked in a confidential tone.

"No." Scully stared at a point just beyond the A.D.

"I'm going to put out an A.P.B....have roadblocks set up. Whoever it is that
took Mulder, he won't get very far."

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

The white Range Rover made its way down the almost deserted highway. The
driver said a prayer of thanks that the roads were clear, as he drove on
through the darkness. He looked down at the man reclining in the seat beside
him. Pale, and lapsing in and out of consciousness, Mulder had no idea of
where he was or who he was with. Alex took one hand off of the wheel, and
felt the other man's forehead. Still very warm. He felt the chill keenly,
but kept the vehicle cool, for the sake of his passenger. His hand slid down
the side of Mulder's face, then rested gently on his cheek. He allowed his
thumb to sweep back and forth, feeling the rasp of stubble underneath. He
risked a glance at his silent companion. "You're gonna be fine, Mulder. I
won't let anything happen to you, I promise."

Alex turned his attention to the road, reviewing the events of the past few
hours.

God, they'd just about made it out of there before the feds came in. Mulder
was too heavy to carry the whole way, and fortunately, Alex didn't have to
try. All the jostling had roused Mulder sufficiently enough to get him
moving under his own power. Granted, the going was a lot slower than Alex
would have liked, but at least he didn't have to throw his back out, getting
the agent to his vehicle. Only yards away from the Range Rover, the terrain
had become a bit rough, and Mulder fell, groaning in pain as he held on to
his right side. At that point, Alex lifted him again in his arms, and
carried him the rest of the way, making a mental note to check for possible
trauma to Mulder's torso.

Once he was securely in the passenger's seat, Mulder again lapsed into
unconsciousness, and Alex reclined the seat to make him a bit more
comfortable. He picked his way through the woods, constantly checking for
company. As he finally made his way out onto the highway, there was still no
one around. Not one to question good luck, he moved quickly along, making
his way toward Oregon.

And now they were moving along at a decent pace, seemingly alone in the
cold, dark world.

Alex listened to the scanner he'd brought along, trying to pick up any news.
From what he could hear, he was way past the danger zone, and he allowed
himself to relax a bit. He pulled over onto the side of the road for a
minute, and pulled out a squeeze bottle full of water. He turned in his
seat, and slipped an arm under Mulder's neck.

"Mulder....Mulder?"

Mulder moaned softly.

"Time for some water. Come on." He held the bottle to the flushed lips and
watched as they began to move, suckling clumsily at the tip. He pulled the
bottle away, and comforted Mulder softly as he moaned his protest. "Just a
little at a time. I don't want you to choke." He again placed the bottle at
Mulder's lips, and watched the older man's mouth...that outrageously
beautiful mouth, wrap around the bottle and pull at the tip. He closed his
eyes and inhaled deeply, trying to head off the massive erection he felt
begin in his jeans.

//Sick bastard. Come on, the man's completely out of it. Christ, he's gotta
be, or he'd never be lying here so passively letting *you* take care of
him.//

Alex allowed Mulder a little more water, then settled him back into a
comfortable position. He brushed the older man's hair back off of his face,
then forced himself to pull back onto the road.

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

"Nothing?"

"No, not yet. With the snow picking up again, it's covered any tracks that
may have been made."

"But, my *God*. How can a man...*two* men just disappear like that?"

"He may be hiding in the area. It would explain how he vanished so quickly
with a sick man." Skinner heaved a long breath. "So, the search is
concentrated on the mountains and surrounding areas, though a state to state
A.P.B. has been put out."

"Going to be hard, not knowing what kind of vehicle this person was
driving...if any."

"I know it isn't going to be easy, but we'll find him, Scully. We won't give
up until we do."

"Yes, sir. I just hope we find him alive."

"Look, Scully, whoever this person is who took him, killed five men to do
so, and risked being caught by us. Anyone who would go to that much trouble,
is not a person who is looking to hurt Agent Mulder or let him die."

"I'd like to believe that sir, but if they meant him no harm, then why
didn't they just leave him there so we could find and take care of him?
Agent Mulder and I have run across some real nut cases in our time together,
any one of whom might have it in their warped minds to finish what Beals and
his friends started."

Skinner fell silent, considering Scully's words. He tilted his head back,
staring up at the ceiling of the cabin. "Well. Let's just hope that isn't
the case."

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

Alex pulled around to the back of the cabin, and killed the motor. He exited
the driver's side, and quickly moved to the other door, yanking it open and
pulling Mulder from his seat. He half-walked, half-carried the older man to
the door. He held Mulder to his body as he fumbled for the keys, then
unlocked the door. "Okay, Mulder," he panted as he moved the softly
complaining agent to the sofa that sat in the corner of the large room, "no
more moving around, okay?" He settled Mulder into a reclining position, then
straightened his back. "I have to go out to the car to get the stuff." He
leaned over the perspiring man, and caressed his warm forehead. "You rest,
and I'll be back in a few."

True to his word, Alex reappeared minutes later, having emptied the vehicle
of all its contents. He sat at the edge of the sofa, and carefully unwrapped
Mulder from the blanket. "Okay, let's see what we've got here." He gently
lifted the t-shirt, and grimaced at the black and blue marks on the skin
that stretched over Mulder's ribs. He gingerly pressed on the area, gauging
Mulder's responses, and determining that the injury wasn't as bad as it
could have been. "All right, Mulder, look...I'm going to have to bandage you
up. It'll hurt at first, but when it's done, you'll feel a lot better."

Alex retrieved the necessary supplies from his first aid bag, and began the
arduous process of bandaging Mulder's ribs. He winced through most of it,
apologizing with every gasp from the other man. Finally, it was done. He
breathed a sigh of relief as Mulder settled down and drifted back into
sleep, then tended to his facial wounds. His job complete, Alex sat back and
studied him. Anger bubbled up in his chest as he allowed the reality of what
had been done, to finally sink in. "Motherfuckin' bastards," he whispered.
"Wish I'd had the time to kill them right." He reached out, stroking the
golden-brown hair, then reluctantly pulled the hand away, curling it into a
fist, and dropping it into his lap.

//This is the most insane thing you've ever done, you know that, Alex? What
the hell makes you think that you're going to be able to make him see you
the way the you want him to?//

"Well," he sighed softly, "nothing ventured, nothing gained."

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

"This can't be, it can't..." Scully paced the floor of the sheriff's office.
"He can't have just disappeared."

Sheriff Lawson followed her with his eyes. "Agent Scully, there are men all
up and down that range. If he's there, we'll find him. The road blocks have
turned up nothing..."

"What if the person who took him got through *before* the road blocks went
up?"

"It's possible, I suppose, but the Assistant Director put the A.P.B. out
quickly."

"Yes, quickly, but we'd already been in the lodge a little while before we
realized what had happened. Whoever it was had time enough to get Mulder out
of there and be on his way. They could be anywhere."

"I'm sorry, Agent Scully. All I can do is tell you that we'll keep looking."

"I know everyone is doing their best, Sheriff. I appreciate all your
efforts."

"Will you be going back to D.C.?"

"I can't. I have to stay here and help search."

"A.D. Skinner returned?"

"Yes, he flew out this morning. He dropped everything to come out here, but
there were matters that he couldn't continue to neglect He'll keep in
touch."

"Look, it's getting late. You've been in and out of here all day. Have you
eaten?"

Scully thought about the question, honestly unsure of whether or not she'd
had anything. "I don't...I don't think so."

"Well, come on. Let me buy you some dinner."

"Thank you, sheriff, but I'm really not hungry."

"You've got to eat. You'll be of no use to your partner if you don't keep
your strength up."

Scully stared at Lawson's desk, saying nothing.

"Can I take your silence as a 'maybe', at least?"

Scully looked up and tried to give the man a friendly smile. "Don't you have
a family you should be getting home to?"

"Just my cat. And she doesn't care what time I come in, so long as there's
food in her dish. Now, come on."

"All right, I guess I should put something in my stomach," Scully admitted.
She followed the man out of his office and out to his vehicle.

The first half of the drive was a relatively silent one, until Lawson
decided that he could stand the quiet no more.

"How um...how long have you and Agent Mulder been partners?"

"Six years, give or take a few months."

Lawson nodded. "You're close...well, of course you would be. You can't help
but be, working together day after day. Are either of you married or in a
steady relationship?"

Scully shot the sheriff a curious glance, but decided to answer the
question. "No."

Lawson gave her an apologetic grin. "Sorry, but I tend to be kinda nosy.
Relationships within a law enforcement partnership interest me. Blame it on
the psych courses I've been taking. The department offered them last year,
and I figured what the hell? I thought it was just gonna be criminal
psychology, but when I got into the class, I found out that they were also
going to be delving into the partner dynamic. Interesting stuff."

"Yes, it can be."

"Your partner must be fascinating to work with. I heard from some of the
agents that he's supposed to be some kind of profiling genius or something?"

Scully hesitated, watching the trees and houses pass by. Then she spoke up.
"He's amazing. I've never known him to be wrong. It's eerie, almost."

"Wow."

"Yeah. Fox Mulder in full profiling mode is a thing to behold."

"You admire him."

"Very much."

//I should tell him that sometime...if I ever get the chance. God, Mulder,
where are you?//

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

Alex sat on the floor, his back to the arm of the sofa, reading. An almost
inaudible sound drew his attention away from his book. He twisted his body
so that he could get a better look at the sleeping man. He raised his hand
to Mulder's face, smiling when he felt that the skin beneath his fingers was
not as hot as it had been throughout the day.

He'd pumped Mulder full of fluids every chance he got, and administered
fever reducers, and now it seemed as though his work might be paying off.
Mulder slept through most of the day, but even when he seemed to be
conscious, he remained pretty well out of it, not knowing where he was, or
recognizing the man who was caring for him.

Alex's fingers slipped into the golden-brown strands on the left side of
Mulder's head, combing gently through them. The sleeping man sighed softly,
and turned his face ever so slightly into the touch.

//God, if he opened his eyes right now, what the hell would you do?//

Alex moved his hand away, letting it first slip over Mulder's cheekbone,
then down his jaw. He licked his lower lip absently as the older man turned
his face further to the left, groaning in protest to the loss of warmth.
Unable to help himself, he returned his hand to Mulder's face, tenderly
caressing his cheek. The action seemed to pacify the other man, and he
settled back into a peaceful sleep.

If he tried really hard...if he blocked out the fact that Mulder despised
him and would want to kill him dead when he finally realized what was going
on, he could lose himself in this moment. He could touch Mulder and imagine
that the touch was welcome...even needed. He could see those incredible eyes
open and look on him, radiating an emotion other than hate.

Telling himself he really, *really* shouldn't, he lay his head down on the
sofa beside Mulder's, and closed his eyes.

//Ohhh, yes...//

He'd imagined this...wanted it for so long....just to be close to him. Smell
him. Listen to him breathing...

//Suck it up, Alex, because once he's fully awake, it's all done. And so are
you.//

//Maybe not. He might just surprise you.//

//Oh, ya think? Come down off of that cloud, you jerk.//

//Well, why'd you go through all this if you're gonna be so damn negative?
Why didn't you just leave him there for Scully?"

//How could I? How could I look at him lying there like that and just walk
away?//

//If you were smart, you would have.//

//Tired of always doing the *smart* thing. I want to just follow my feelings
for once.//

//No matter how much trouble they get you into?//

Alex opened his eyes and studied the face so close to his...admiring the
sweep of golden-brown eyelashes. His gaze dropped down to that mouth
scrunched into an irresistible pout, and he answered himself.

//Just this once, yeah.//

He brushed Mulder's chin with his fingertips, then rose from the floor and
went off to the kitchen for something to eat.

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

Scully waved to Sheriff Lawson, then disappeared inside her motel room. She
discarded her outer clothing, withdrew her cell phone from her jacket
pocket, and plugged it into the recharger. Just now realizing the extent of
her exhaustion, she dropped down onto the bed, massaging her temples.

Sheriff Lawson was a very nice man, and she appreciated the fact that he was
concerned enough about her to take her out and make her eat, but there was
no way he could fully appreciate this situation, despite what he'd learned
in his psych classes. She and Mulder shared a closeness that she doubted
many other partners did. He was her very best friend...her
confidante...family. And if anything had happened to him, she honestly
didn't know how she could handle it.

She fought to suppress the rush of emotion, telling herself that falling
apart would get her exactly nowhere. Snatching up the motel phone, she
quickly punched in a group of numbers, then waited for an answer.

"Hi, Mom. It's me....hmm? Yeah, uh...yeah, I'm in Washington state. Yeah, a
case. No, it isn't...it isn't going well at all.....God, Mom, everything is
wrong....it's Mulder..."

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

Alex opened his eyes and noticed that it was no longer dark. The sun wasn't
exactly shining brightly, but it was obviously no longer night time. He
lifted his wrist, focusing on his watch.

//Seven thirty-six.//

He stretched within the confines of the sleeping bag that he was wrapped in.
He unzipped the bag, and lifted himself to check on the man on the bed.

Still asleep. At least he looked more comfortable here in bed than he did on
the couch.

Alex had carried Mulder into the bedroom at about ten last night,
encountering only a small amount of complaints from the other man as he
moved him. As soon as he was comfortable, Alex laid the sleeping bag out on
the floor beside the bed, and crawled into it. More exhausted than he
thought he was, he fell asleep almost immediately. He woke twice during the
night to check Mulder's temperature and make sure that he was comfortable,
but drifted off again, directly after.

He stood by the bed, noticing that the other man's color had improved,
though his respiration still seemed a bit harsh and uneven.

Alex watched warily as Mulder shifted. The older man winced and groaned
softly, then his eyes began to flutter.

"Oww...oh, shit..." Mulder inhaled and grimaced. His hand went to his side,
feeling the bandage. The next thing he noticed was that he was lying in a
bed.

//Oh, thank God.//

"Scully?"

Alex took a deep breath and released it. "Not exactly."

Mulder's brow wrinkled into a frown. His head turned to the right, stopping
when a pair of bright green eyes came into view. He closed his eyes again,
just knowing that he was dreaming. When his eyes fluttered open, the eyes
were still there...set in the face he knew so well.

Alex saw the angry glitter in Mulder's eyes, and immediately took on a
defensive posture. "How do you feel?" He said tonelessly, backing off a
step.

Mulder struggled to sit up, but a wave of pain and nausea stopped him.
"What...where am I? Where's Scully?"

"Scully's fine, and you're safe."

"Safe?" he would have laughed if it wouldn't have hurt so much. "With
*you*?"

Alex gave no answer.

"Where am I? What is this place?"

"It's mine. And it's safe. Are you hungry?"

Glassy eyes stared up at the other man. "How did I get out of the lodge?"

"I took you out."

"You did."

Alex nodded.

"What about the others?"

"The other hostages are fine."

"The kidnappers?"

A long silence preceded Alex's answer. "Dead."

"All of them?"

"...Yeah."

Mulder didn't even ask. He knew from Alex's tone and posture, exactly how
the five men ended up that way.

"What do you want from me?"

"What makes you think I want anything?"

"You don't..." A series of coughs interrupted his sentence. "Ah, shit..."

"I'll get you some water."

"To hell....hell with the water, Alex." More coughing. "You didn't bring me
here...wherever here is, out of the goodness of your heart. You...want
something...shit..."

Alex watched the color begin to drain again from Mulder's face. "Yeah,
Mulder," he said softly. "You know what I want? I want you to shut up and
relax."

"You expect me to just lie back and accept that I'm God knows where with
*you*? You expect to me relax and let you feed me, and bring me liquids,
and..."

"Take your temperature."

"What?"

"It's time to take your temperature."

Mulder looked at him, dumbfounded. "You're fucking nuts."

"Because I want to take your temperature?"

Mulder continued to stare, unable to believe what was happening. "Where am
I?"

"I told you. You're in my cabin."

"*Where*?"

Alex cocked his head, studying the older man, but saying nothing.

"Goddamn it, you son of a bitch, tell me where I am!" Mulder tried to get
out of bed, but was knocked back by pain and a tidal wave of nausea. "God,
oh..."

Quickly, Alex reached down beside the bed and brought a pail up under
Mulder's chin, as the older man began to retch.

Having eaten nothing in over twenty-four hours, Mulder brought up mostly
liquid. He groaned with each spasm, pressing a hand to his side to attempt
to stop the pain there. Alex held the pail with one hand, and gently stroked
his hair with the other, all the while, murmuring soothing words to him.
When the spasms finally stopped, Alex took the pail away, and helped him lie
back. He sat at the edge of the bed, and caressed a flushed cheek.

"You're sick, Mulder. You can't go getting all worked up. Just try to relax,
okay?"

Too weak at the moment to argue, Mulder closed his eyes. Every breath
brought a soft moan, and Alex knew that he was in pain. He cupped Mulder's
cheek in his palm, and called softly to him. "Mulder? Listen. I'm going to
go heat up a little soup for you." He shushed the soft grunt of protest, and
continued. "You've got nothing in your stomach. I can give you something for
the pain, but you have to eat first. Just try a little soup, please?"

Mulder's eyes opened to glassy hazel slits, and he looked up at Alex.

This was fucking unreal. He *had* to be dreaming. Alex Krycek? Taking care
of him? Wanting to feed him soup? Tenderly stroking his face and hair...

"Why?"

"What'd you say?"

"Why?" he asked again, croaking the word a little louder.

Alex chewed on his lower lip for a moment, staring down at the other man.
"Let's just concentrate on getting you well, okay? We can talk later."

Mulder watched Alex pick the pail up and walk out of the room, then realized
that the younger man had just left him alone. Maybe he could poke around a
little...search for a phone, or try to determine where he was...

He tried to sit up, and immediately let himself slip back against the
pillows as the room began to spin by at breakneck speed.

"God...oh, God...."

The nausea returned, and he clutched his side as he attempted to take a few
deep, cleansing breaths.

"Krycek..."

//Who the hell just called Krycek? Was that you?//

//Yeah. Don't worry, it was too soft for him to hear. Just lie here and
suffer in silence. Keep telling yourself you'd rather die than ask for his
help.//

//Christ, and you just may do that, the way you're feeling...//

Even thinking hurt. Mulder tried to shut off his thoughts and disconnect the
pain, but it was an extremely difficult task, given the number of places he
hurt. He felt his stomach begin to convulse again.

"No....oh.....no...."

He leaned as far over the side of the bed as he could, and then the spasms
started again. Seconds later, Alex appeared in the doorway.

"Shit." He hurried to the bed, placing the clean pail under Mulder. "I
thought I heard you." He positioned himself behind Mulder, wrapping an arm
around his middle for support as the older man dry-heaved. When it was over,
Mulder was completely wrung out. Alex pulled him back against the pillows,
then disappeared momentarily. He came back with a cool, damp cloth, and
began stroking it over Mulder's face and neck. "It's okay," he cooed softly.
"I know you must feel like dying right now, but you'll be all right, I
promise."

Only about half of Alex's words were making it through to Mulder's frazzled
brain, and even those were making no sense to him. His eyelids fluttered
slowly, and finally closed, and his shallow respiration deepened a bit. He
was falling asleep. Alex continued to smooth the cloth across his face until
it got warm. He placed the cloth on the small table beside the bed, then
felt Mulder's face and neck. They were cooler, but that may have just been a
temporary thing, due to the coolness of the cloth. His hand slid downward,
skimming slowly over the t-shirt, then underneath, checking the temperature
of the flesh there.

Warm. Alex's tongue flicked across his lips.

Hard.

His hand traveled upward, brushing across the hair that dusted the area
between his...

//Don't...//

He sighed softly as the tips of his fingers came in contact with one nipple,
and he gently brushed them across the soft peak. One corner of his mouth
twitched up into a smile as he felt it harden beneath his touch, and he
imagined a soft moan slipping past Mulder's lips.

God, what he wouldn't give to hear this man moan and whimper for him.

//Come on, cut it out. Leave him alone. He's so sick.//

He pulled his hand away, and smoothed the shirt down. His hand went back up
to Mulder's face, determining that he was probably still running a low grade
fever. He pulled the thermometer out of the drawer by the bed, and slipped
it between Mulder's lips. A couple of minutes later, he withdrew it and read
softly to himself. "A hundred point six. Better, but not great." He looked
down at the sleeping man, and let his thumb whisper across his bottom lip.
"Sleep well." He rose from the bed, and walked quietly out of the room.

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

"No luck?"

Scully looked as though she hadn't slept for a week. She felt even worse.
She raked a hand through her hair and shook her head. "We covered every
house, lodge, and business in the area. No one has seen Mulder or anyone
going by the description of the man that one of the hostages gave. I take it
you've turned nothing up."

"I'm sorry."

"Me too."

"No one's giving up, though, Agent Scully. I'm gonna keep every available
man on it."

"Thank you."

"How about you?"

"A.D. Skinner has promised to keep as many people on it as possible."

"We'll find him. And he'll be fine."

Scully took a deep breath, and gave the sheriff and tight smile. "I know we
will."

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

Mulder's eyes opened slowly, and for a moment, he couldn't remember where he
was. Then as the misery returned, so did his memory.

//Holy shit. What the hell is going on? What does he want?//

Alex cautiously entered the room for the third time since Mulder had fallen
asleep some four hours ago. Finding Mulder awake, he walked over to the bed
and looked down at him.

"How do you feel?"

"Like I'm in the Twilight Zone," Mulder answered weakly. "I want to know why
I'm here."

"We have time to talk about that, Mulder..."

"So..." Mulder winced as he tried to pull himself up. "..I've gone from one
kidnapping situation to another?"

"I'm not going to hurt you."

"How did you know?"

"About your situation?"

"Yeah."

"I make it my business to know."

"Why?"

Alex smiled. "To keep you out of trouble."

"Why?"

The younger man licked his lower lip. "You're important."

"To whom?"

Alex opened his mouth, then decided against a reply. "Let's try some soup,
now." He disappeared from the room and returned minutes later, carrying a
small bowl containing an opaque liquid. "Okay," he said, placing the bowl on
the small table. Temperature check, first."

Mulder opened his mouth without a fuss, confusion and weakness tempering his
reactions.

Alex pulled the thermometer out of his patient's mouth, and gave an
encouraging smile. "Ninety nine point eight. How's your stomach?"

"Not great. Better, though."

"Good." Alex reached for the bowl, and balancing it in one hand, he spooned
out some liquid with the other, and brought it to Mulder's lips. "Let's see
if you can't keep some of this down."

Mulder accepted the other's man's offering, all the while telling himself
that he shouldn't. But as much as it killed him to admit it, Krycek was
right. He *had* to eat something. So, okay, he'd eat, he'd drink, he'd rest,
then when he was stronger, he'd kill the bastard and get the hell out of
here.

When the second spoonful went down and didn't come back up, Alex grinned at
him. "I'm probably jumping the gun, but so far, so good."

Mulder stared at him as he accepted a third spoonful. "You know, I'm
wondering."

"Wondering what?"

"Why the hell I'm letting you feed me."

Alex gave him a crooked grin. "Couldn't be because deep down you're enjoying
the attention, could it? Everybody needs a little TLC once in a while."

"Yeah. From their mother. Or their spouse. Not from scum-sucking assassins."

"Well, Mulder," Alex said, suddenly cool, "since you seem to be sorely
lacking on both counts, I should think you'd take it where you could get
it."

"Well, think again." He reached for the spoon and bowl. "Give them to me. I
can feed myself."

Alex hesitated, then shrugged and handed him the bowl. He watched Mulder
bring the spoon to his mouth, then he rose to his feet. "You're *welcome*."

Mulder glared at him from over the rim of the bowl. "Thank you...thank you
for kidnapping me and holding me prisoner where, I'm sure, no one knows I
am."

"Anybody ever tell you, you've got a one-track mind?"

"Anybody ever tell *you*, you're a low-life, conniving, back-stabbing
prick?"

"Besides you, every chance you get?"

"Yeah."

Alex raised one shoulder and let it drop. "A few people, actually..."

"Surprise, surprise."

"But none of them lived to say it a second time."

The two men stared at each other, neither one willing to break eye-contact
first. In the end, it was Alex who backed down, finally weary of the contest
of wills. He saw the little smile of triumph curve Mulder's lips as he
headed toward the door. Before he left the room, he paused, and without
looking back, said, "Don't think they're all going to be that easy." He then
disappeared into the next room, leaving Mulder to finish his dinner, alone.

Mulder sat brooding for a long while, slowly stirring the broth, wondering
what the hell had just happened here.

//Who gives a *shit* about what just happened here? Get. The. Fuck. Out.//

//Okay, food...you need food. You're too weak, right now.//

He proceeded to swallow the soup down, one spoonful after another,
congratulating himself on keeping it all down...a bit prematurely, as it
turned out. With just a little bit more to go, that queasy feeling came over
him again. "No," he took two deep breaths, trying to stamp the sensation
down. "No, you won't. Not...God, not again..."

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

Alex stood in the small kitchen, pouring the soup from the pan into a
tupperware bowl. He tossed the pan into the sink, taking pleasure in the
loud clatter. It was all the anger he'd allowed himself thus far, and it
felt good.

Goddamn.

Even sick, he was a smug pain in the ass.

He braced himself against the counter, on both hands, and tilted his head
back, closing his eyes.

//But hasn't he got a right to be pissed? I mean, in essence, you *did*
kidnap him. And you've got no intention to let anyone know where he is, any
time soon...//

//Yeah, but you're taking care of him. You bandaged his cracked ribs, you
cleaned up his face...you're bringing his fever down...feeding him...you
think the ungrateful shit would appreciate it, right?//

"Cut your losses," he whispered to himself. "If he's gotten on your nerves
this much in the short time he's been conscious, what's it going to be like
after a few days?"

//Since when do you give up so easily?//

//Since...//

Alex was jostled out of his thoughts by a sound that had become all too
familiar over the last few hours.

"Shit."

He fled the kitchen, and headed straight for the bedroom, where he found
Mulder with his arms wrapped around himself, half-sobbing, half-choking, as
he vomited over the side of the bed, and into the pail....mostly.

Alex hurried into the room and picked the pail up, holding it in front of
Mulder with one hand as he moved to kneel behind him. He wound his arm
around Mulder, just above the other man's own arm, and held him firmly.

Mulder continued to heave, bringing up every last drop of the soup. Between
the pain of his cracked ribs and the throbbing in his face, he was miserable
enough. But now, from this frequent vomiting, his stomach muscles had begun
to ache, and there was a stabbing pain within.

When Mulder was finally through, Alex placed his other hand on his head, and
tenderly stroked the golden-brown hair. "Okay," he murmured against the side
of Mulder's perspiration-dotted face. "It's okay, now..." He lowered himself
slowly, sitting on the backs of his calves.

Unaware of what he was doing, Mulder slumped back against Alex's chest,
completely sapped of strength. His arms fell away from his body, leaving
only Alex's arm around him. His head fell back against the younger man's
shoulder, and he turned his face to the side, burying it in the warm curve
of his throat.

Before he knew what he was doing, Alex was brushing his lips across the
surface of Mulder's hair, then dropping several small kisses on his head.

//Oh, God, this isn't good.//

//What do you mean, this isn't good? This is...fuck....it's incredible.//

//The man is virtually *unconscious*. He's got no fucking idea what the hell
is going on right now. *Good* is having him awake, coherent, and *begging*
for your touch.//

Alex gently shifted Mulder around, and lay him back against the pillows.
When he moved away, Mulder groaned softly. He leaned close, resting his
weight on his hands. "What is it, Mulder? Do you need something?"

Mulder grimaced, licking at his lips.

"Lousy taste in your mouth?"

A soft sigh was his only answer.

"I'll be right back." Alex went into the bathroom, and ran some water into a
glass. He carried it back into the bedroom, where he sat at the edge of the
bed, and slipped a hand under Mulder's head. "Okay. Don't swallow it, now.
Just rinse."

Mulder took a mouthful of water and slowly swished it around before spitting
it into the provided bucket.

"Again?"

The older man nodded weakly.

The process was repeated, then Alex guided him back to the pillows.

Mulder opened his eyes as he felt Alex's weight lift from the mattress. Alex
looked down into the pale face, reading things into Mulder's expression that
were more than likely just in his imagination.

"Be back in a sec," Alex assured Mulder, then exited the room. He was back
shortly afterward, carrying basin half-full of cool water, and a cloth. He
set the items down on the table, and seated himself by Mulder's hip. "You're
all sweaty," he explained. "Let's see if we can make you a little more
comfortable. Can you move forward just a little bit so I can take your shirt
off?"

In no condition to argue, Mulder let Alex gently pull him forward and work
his arms out of the t-shirt, then pull it over his head. Alex discarded the
shirt, then helped Mulder lie back.

"All right, just relax and try to breathe easy."

Golden-brown lashes drifted downward, and a low moan vibrated in Mulder's
throat as Alex gently bathed his face and chest. He took a number of slow,
deep breaths, then opened his mouth, barely whispering Alex's name.

"Shut up, Mulder," Alex said softly. He drew the cloth down Mulder's throat,
and over the curve of one shoulder, then dipped it back into the basin. He
wrung out the excess water, and resumed his task. "That feel better?"
Receiving a low, throaty grunt, he continued on. "Listen, Mulder, what do
you say we call a truce?"

One hazel eye opened halfway and stared up at him.

"I mean it. You're hurt, and you're sick. Just let me take care of you, then
when you're better, we can talk...argue...fight...whatever. Deal?"

The eye closed, and Mulder said nothing.

"Okay." Alex smoothed down Mulder's chest hair with the cloth, watching as
they crept back up, twisting and curling of their own accord. "Fine. Don't
tell me. I'll just interpret your silence the way I want to." Again he
flattened the hairs, and again they sprung back up. "And I've decided to
take it as a 'yes'."

The air moved between Mulder's teeth in a long hiss as he exhaled. Alex's
touch...light enough so it didn't upset his stomach further, but not so
light that it didn't relax and soothe him.

Alex's touch...*Alex*. Alex. Fucking. Krycek.

//God, stop this.//

//Why? Feels good, doesn't it?//

//Exactly the point, idiot.//

//But I feel like shit. It's good to get a little relief.//

//Even when the man you hate most is the one providing it?//

Alex frowned as Mulder suddenly stiffened. "You okay? You feeling sick
again?"

Mulder opened his eyes and met a genuinely concerned gaze. He tucked the
expression and the sensation it stirred within him, away, not wanting feel
anything but resentment and anger toward this man. "S...stop."

Alex's hand froze, and his eyes locked with and held the other man's. He
watched emotion after tortured emotion flash in the hazel depths, and backed
away, giving Mulder some room. "You uh...you tired? You want to try to get
some more sleep?"

Mulder nodded, closing his eyes.

"All right. But listen...when you wake up, we have to try some soup again,
okay? And you gotta drink something. You *need* fluids."

The older man turned his head to the side, wincing at the ache in his jaw,
then turned to the other side. He'd given no answer, but Alex knew that he'd
heard and understood.

Alex sat for a long while, watching Mulder until he was certain that he was
asleep. He cocked his head, looking at the sleeping man sideways, admiring
the way his mouth relaxed into an enticing pout. The heavy stubble only
emphasized the appearance, and Alex had to clasp his hands together to keep
from sliding his fingers across the swollen lower lip.

//Jesus. Ho-ly shit. How the fuck are you going to handle this? You can want
him till hell freezes over. That's not going to make him want *you*.//

//No, genius, if sheer want could get you what you were after, he would have
been yours, years ago. Just take good care of him. Be patient. Talk to
him...he's not stupid. He'll begin to understand. Hell, I'm not entirely
sure that he isn't beginning to, already.//

//He'll never admit that. Never. The impossible could happen, and he could
end up wanting you as much as you want him, and he'd *never* admit it.//

His eyes wandered from Mulder's face to his chest, now rising and falling at
a smooth, even rate. The fingers that he wouldn't allow to touch Mulder's
lips, now broke from his mental control, which was tenuous at best, and slid
through the slightly-damp hair. A tiny smile twitched at the corners of his
lips.

//Never say never.//

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

//By the book. Isn't what I told you, Mulder? Just. Once.//

//You know I couldn't. The kids...//

//Well, now look what you've gotten yourself into.//

//I know, Scully, I know. I think...I think he broke my ribs.//

//I told you, by the book.//

//All *right*, already. Next time...//

//*Next* time? There's not going to be a next time. You're going to die
here.//

Mulder moaned, briefly drawing the attention of the man who sat reading in a
chair at the foot of the bed. He quieted, and Alex returned to his book.

//She's right.//

//How do you know, Beals?//

//Because I'm going to kill you...after J.T. has a little fun with you.//

He found himself on his back, ineffectively fighting the man sprawled over
him, shuddering at the feel of the thick tongue probing his ear.

//No...don't...oh, God, just kill me...//

//Easy, pretty Fox. You're gonna like this.//

He was rendered immobile as a hand crept down the front of his pants and
began to roughly squeeze his cock.

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

Alex looked up again from his book as a soft whimper reached his ears.
Mulder was becoming restless, his body twitching and writhing
intermittently. He dropped the book down beside the chair, and moved to the
bed settling on the edge. "Mulder," he called softly, afraid he'd startle
the other man.

//Don't touch me. Don't...//

//Shh. It's all right.//

The touch gentled, and suddenly it felt good.

//He's gone. They're all gone. I'll take care of you...//

Alex frowned as Mulder's distress turned into something else.

//Krycek...//

//Alex.//

//W-what?//

//I'm Alex...// The hand continued to soothe and arouse him. //..and I'm
going to make it all better. Does that feel good?//

"Yes..."

"Yes, what, Mulder?" Alex asked softly. He chewed at the inside corner of
his lip as he reached out to caress the sleeping man's arm.

Mulder's hips rose slightly off the mattress, then lowered. "Alex..."

Alex froze, his mind racing, attempting to process the single word he'd just
heard.

//No. Oh, no, no. It's too...don't even think it. Just because he said your
name...//

Mulder's mouth dropped open and a brief, stuttering gasp escaped into the
air.

Unable to stop himself, Alex carefully lifted the sheet. His eyes widened at
the sight of the impressive bulge in Mulder's underwear. He closed his eyes
and lowered the sheet, suddenly finding himself sporting his own erection.

"Shit. Ah, damn."

Before he knew what he was doing, he was leaning over the sleeping man,
bringing his lips closer to that utterly, irresistibly sexy mouth.

Before his target could be acquired, Mulder's eyes opened and blinked
dazedly up at him. Alex ceased his advance and waited.

Now fully cognizant of his surroundings and the disquieting proximity of the
other man, Mulder turned his head to the side, and looked away.

"I uh...you...you were dreaming," Alex began, by way of explanation, "and I
didn't...I didn't know if I should wake you or not."

Mulder closed his eyes and said nothing.

"You wanna tell me about it?" Alex watched the convulsive movements of the
older man's throat.

"No."

"Okay. Since you're awake, maybe we should try a little more soup?"

Mulder nodded. "I gotta use the bathroom first."

"Yeah...okay...come on, I'll help you."

Mulder shoved the hand away that had just tucked itself under his shoulder.
"I can do it myself."

"Mulder, you're weak. Let me just..."

"*No*." He worked himself into a sitting position. "Why don't
you...go...heat up the soup or...or something."

One corner of Alex's mouth twitched impatiently, but he held his tongue.
"Fine. Call if you need me."

//Yeah, like *that's* gonna happen.//

Not wanting him to see his very visible erection, Mulder sat and waited
until Alex was gone before he pulled himself out of the bed and got to his
feet. Well, at least the room waited to start spinning *after* he was
standing, this time. He held on to the headboard, breathing deeply, and
waited for it to stop before he attempted to make the trek to the bathroom.
Every step was a massive effort, and when he finally made it to the doorway,
he held on to the frame, congratulating himself on his accomplishment. He
rested for a bit, then closed the door behind him.

In the kitchen, Alex was also congratulating himself on the remarkable
restraint he'd shown thus far. He was a patient man usually, subscribing to
the old adage that all good things come to those who wait. But where Fox
Mulder was concerned, all of his fortitude and good sense went straight to
hell. He'd concluded long ago, after a particularly close call involving
himself and three men who would have most assuredly killed Mulder *and*
Scully had he not been there to prevent it, that this man alone would be the
cause of his death. Either unknowingly or by his own hand, Fox Mulder would
be the one to lay him low.

Alex heaved a long sigh. He'd really just prefer for Mulder to *lay* him,
but, well...

He ladled a small amount of soup into a bowl, and carried it into the
bedroom. Not finding Mulder in the room, his eyes shifted to the closed
bathroom door. Placing the bowl down on the table by the bed, he walked over
to the door and knocked softly. "You okay in there?"

No answer.

He knocked again. "Mulder?"

Hearing nothing, his heart began to pound.

//Shit, oh shit.//

He threw the door open and found a damp, towel-draped Mulder, holding on to
the bathroom sink with one hand and rummaging through the medicine cabinet
with the other. His heart rate slowed, then quickened as anger took over.

"Why the hell didn't you answer me?"

Mulder ignored the question, behaving as though he was the only one in the
room.

Alex came to stand directly beside him and asked again. "Mulder, why didn't
you answer me? I called you twice."

Mulder turned his head in Alex's direction. "There are no razors."

Alex's hands curled into fists at his side. "*What*?"

"Razors. I need to shave."

"You know," the younger man responded, letting his irritation show, "I'd pay
good money right now for a straight edge so I could slit your throat."

Now supporting himself with both hands, Mulder gave the other man his best
deadpan expression under the circumstances. "Kitchen knife would work just
as well."

Alex glared back. "Don't fucking tempt me." His eyes roved over Mulder's
body, noticing that the bandages were gone. "You took a shower?"

"Yeah. Don't tell me you didn't notice that I needed one."

Alex raked a hand through his hair. "I gotta re-bandage you, now."

"Gotta shave first."

"Look...sit down before you fall down, and I'll go get a razor." Alex guided
Mulder down onto the toilet lid, and went to retrieve his shaving kit. When
he returned, Mulder was still sitting where he'd left him, but now he was
turned toward the sink, slumped over onto the porcelain bowl, and holding
his side. "Mulder, let me get you back to bed. I can shave you there."

Mulder lifted his head, and turned pain-glazed eyes to the younger man.
"You're not shaving me there, or anywhere. I'll do it myself."

"For the love of Christ, why don't you *stop* being such a goddamn fucking
pain in the ass, and let me help you!" Alex emphasized his words by slamming
the kit down on the counter. When Mulder issued no comeback, he raised a
hand to the back of his neck, massaging the tight muscles. "Look...your soup
was piping hot when I brought it in. It should be just about ready to eat
right now. You wait any longer, and it's going to start getting cold.
Now....*please*...let's go into the bedroom, eat, then you can shave, okay?"

Mulder hesitated, considering the idea, then pushed to his feet, wincing as
he did. He slowly made his way back to the bed with Alex just two steps
behind.

"Wait...hold on," Alex instructed, going to the bag he'd brought in earlier.
He pulled a fresh pair of underwear out and brought them to Mulder. "You
don't want to get into bed with that damp towel on, do you?"

Mulder snatched the underwear from Alex's hands, and sat on the bed. He
groaned softly as he tried to lean over far enough to put them on. He'd get
just so far before the pain became too much for him to take. Finally on the
third try, Alex lost patience, and snatched the shorts back. He held them
near the floor so that Mulder could slip his feet through the holes, then
worked them quickly up his legs. When he got to the knees, Mulder took over,
pulling them up the rest of the way. He worked them up under the towel, then
unwrapped it and let it fall onto the bed. Alex took the towel away, then
pulled the blanket up around the older man's waist. He carried the towel to
the bathroom, and by the time he'd returned, Mulder's head was lolling
against the pillows, his eyes beginning to close.

"Oh, no you don't. Mulder, come on, you gotta try to eat."

Exhausted hazel eyes opened and only half-focused on the man before them.
"Hmm."

Alex picked the bowl up, and brought the spoon to Mulder's lips. "Here you
go."

Mulder opened his mouth, accepting the soup without a fight. It took a
while, but Alex got him to swallow every drop. When he was finished, Alex
set the bowl down and waited. Fifteen minutes went by, and Mulder showed no
signs of nausea, so the other man decided that before he nodded off again,
it was time for him to take a painkiller. He got Mulder to swallow the pill
with some water, then smiled, surprised that Mulder drank all of the
contents of the cup before settling back against the pillows and closing his
eyes.

"I hate to bother you, Mulder, but we got one more thing to do before you go
to sleep. Come on, now, wake up."

"Leave me alone..."

"I can't. The shave can wait till later, but I gotta wrap you back up."

Mulder grumbled and moaned while Alex re-bandaged his ribs, then promptly
fell asleep when it was done.

Alex watched him from the side of the bed, marveling at how from one minute
to the next he could go from wanting to bleed this man dry, to simply
*wanting* him. He reached out, running his fingers gently through the damp
hair.

"Maybe I was wrong," he whispered. "Maybe you're *not* going to kill me.
Maybe you're going to drive me insane...would serve me right, you know. I
did it to myself the minute I decided to do this." He sighed deeply. "Ah,
shit. Goodnight, Fox."

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

"But...Sir...I understand that, but this is Agent Mulder we're talking
about. How can they just...no, sir...yes. But I can't just..."

On his end, A.D. Skinner rubbed his hand across his broad forehead. He
understood completely, his agent's reluctance to leave the place where she
last saw her partner, and he hated to finally have to tell her that the
Director had decided that he could no longer spare the massive amount of
manpower that he had allowed them thus far. But tell her he did, and he was
now listening to every argument, rational and otherwise from her, on why
they should remain.

"Scully...Agent...Agent Scully...I'm sorry. I did everything I could. I have
to bring them in. And you should come back as well."

"Sir, I can't..."

"It's been five days, Agent Scully. I know you, and I know that you've gone
over that area with a fine tooth comb. If Agent Mulder was there, you would
have found him. I'm *sorry*. I have to call you back."

Scully squeezed her eyes shut, gripping the back of the chair so tightly,
her fingers were beginning to turn blue. "Yes, sir," she said quietly.

"We won't give up," Skinner reassured her. "But we *do* have to scale down
our search." His words were met with silence. "Scully..." he paused,
searching for something meaningful to say, but in the end, stated simply,
"We'll find him."

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

Mulder sat by the window, watching the snow fall. Today was the first day
he'd felt well enough to actually venture out of the bedroom, and the slight
change in scenery made him feel a bit better...and restless...and angry.

Alex walked in from the kitchen, carrying a tray on top of which sat a bowl
of stew, a couple of slices of bread, and a cup of tea. Mulder's first real
meal.

"Lunch," the younger man called cheerfully as he entered.

Mulder turned toward the voice. He watched as the tray was set on the table
in front of him, and Alex took a seat opposite the sofa.

"When are you going to get tired of playing this game?"

Alex blinked, taken slightly aback by the question. "I'm not playing any
game with you."

"No? I've been here...how the hell long *have* I been here, anyway?"

"Five days."

"Five days. Five fucking days I've been here. You won't tell me why. You
haven't at least let Scully know that I'm *alive*...if this isn't a game,
what the fuck is it? What do you *want* with me?"

Alex studied him quietly before speaking. "You were dreaming again last
night."

Mulder's head snapped back toward the window.

"You called my name."

Silence.

"Twice."

"Did you hear the word 'die' before your name?"

"No. What I *did* hear was a whole lot of moaning..."

Alex's voice drifted toward him like a silken cloud, permeating his skin,
and raising gooseflesh everywhere it touched.

"...and don't tell me I was torturing you, because it wasn't that kind of
moaning."

Mulder closed his eyes and took a deep, shuddering breath. When he opened
them, a pair of luminescent green eyes were only inches from his.

"Tell me what I want from you, Mulder."

"How...how the fuck should I know?"

"Because you're not stupid. You're smug, you're stubborn, you're an
infuriating pain in my ass, but you're *not* stupid. Tell me what I want."

Mulder continued to stare, mesmerized by the unblinking sea of green. He
shook his head, commanding his brain to work. "Fuck you."

Alex raised his eyebrows. "I might not have put it so crudely, but..."

Mulder shuddered.

//Don't. Don't let him do this to you.//

"No," he rasped. "Fuck. You."

A tiny smile tugged at one corner of Alex's mouth and before Mulder could
react, he leaned forward, tangling his fingers in the golden-brown hair, and
covering the other man's mouth with his own. His arm came around Mulder's
waist, pulling him closer.

Mulder struggled, but only half-heartedly. Alex's grip on him was firm, but
not so tight that he couldn't have escaped had he really wanted to. The
other man's kiss stunned him at first, then it began. That pulse-quickening,
cock-hardening flood of lust. It hit him like an anvil and he fell under its
power, helpless to pull himself up. He moaned into Alex's mouth, willing his
hands to stay at his side, but they seemed to have ideas of their own.

Alex felt Mulder's arms slide around his body, his hands wandering slowly
along the length of his spine, and his mind shouted victory. He pulled away
for a split second, cocked his head in the opposite direction, and took
those exquisite lips again, this time slipping his tongue between them,
exploring the hard surface of his teeth and soft walls of his cheeks before
finding his tongue.

Mulder's tongue willingly met the intruder, stroking and tasting. Memorizing
the distinct flavor of not the first, but definitely the last man he'd ever
want.

The last man he'd ever...*want*? Alex *Krycek*?"

//No. Oh, no.//

//Yes.//

//This is...its' *wrong*. Christ, it's *so* wrong.//

//Is that why it feels so good?//

//You can't do this. He's a liar and a murderer. And now he wants your soul.
*Don't*.//

Mulder summoned all the strength his weakened body possessed, and shoved
Alex away. "Motherfucker," he panted raggedly. "Stay away from me."

"Why?" Alex's voice glided over his jagged nerves. "For God's sake, Mulder,
let it go. Forget about what you *should* do and what you *should* feel.
It's just you and me here. Let it all go. Stop being Special Agent Mulder
for a minute and just feel. Do what your heart tells you to do." Alex
reached out and skimmed his fingers along the line of Mulder's jaw. "Do what
your body tells you to do."

Mulder's eyelids drooped and his respiration deepened. His body shook with
the effort it took not to fall forward into this man's arms and offer
himself up to whatever Alex had in mind for him.

//No...//

"No."

Mulder held onto his side, and pushed himself up off of the couch. Unwilling
to give up, Alex followed him to the window.

"Let me show you the other side of me, Fox..."

The utterance of his first name, sent a shiver through Mulder's body.

Alex ran his fingertips across the older man's shoulder. "You might find
that you like me...quite a lot."

Mulder bowed his head and whispered. "I hate you. You killed my father..."

"You know how all that happened...you're just using it now...for an excuse.
It doesn't fly anymore, and you know it."

"You're scum."

"Okay, I'm scum. Great. Fine. But you're dying to fall into bed with this
scum. Admit it."

Mulder shook his head. "I'm tired."

"Okay, Mulder. We'll drop this for now. But it's not over. Now....you really
should try to eat some lunch before you have your nap."

"Whatever."

Alex picked up the tray. "This is cold. I'll go get you some more." He went
into the kitchen, leaving Mulder looking out at nothing but snow as far as
the eye could see.

When he no longer felt the other man's presence, Mulder turned around.

//Can't do this. Can't stay here. If he touches you again, it'll be all
over. You'll be his, and...//

You'll be his.

The idea of that...belonging to Alex Krycek, sent a rush of excitement
through him, and he hated himself for it.

Mulder's fingers clenched in his hair and he began to pace. "I can't," he
whispered softly. "I can't, I can't, I can't..."

Back in the kitchen, Alex dumped the stew into the pan on the stove. "God,
I've done more re-heating the past few days..." As he waited for the stew,
he reviewed what had transpired between he and Mulder just moments ago.

The feel of his mouth. Soft and inviting, just the way he knew it would be.
Immediately addictive. He could happily have gone on kissing Mulder all
afternoon, and would have if he weren't such a stubborn bastard. A gorgeous,
irresistibly sexy, infuriatingly stubborn son of a bitch. And Alex couldn't
get enough of him.

He closed his eyes and imagined them naked and twined together before a
crackling fire, kissing endlessly while their hands roamed each other's
bodies. He tilted his head back and emitted a long sigh.

//Soon, baby. You're starting to melt. All the insults and curses can't mask
that look in your eyes. By tomorrow night the sleeping bag'll be history,
and I'll be next to you in bed.//

Alex spooned the warmed stew into another bowl, and prepared another tray,
all the while smiling triumphantly. "God, it's gonna be so good." He
attempted to wipe the grin off of his face, not wanting to antagonize the
man, and swept back into the living room. He was met by a distinct chill in
the air, and he made a mental note to throw another log on the fire as soon
as he'd gotten Mulder settled down with his lunch. "Mulder," he called in
the direction of the bedroom when he found that the other man had left the
room, "Mulder, come on, I can't re-heat this again..."

Silence answered him.

"Mulder..." He set the tray down and walked into the bedroom. "Mulder?" He
looked around the room, and finding nothing, decided to check the bathroom.
His heart was already starting to skip beats by the time he reached the
doorway, and when he poked his head into the small space and found no one,
it started to thud painfully. "Shit. Shit, shit, shit, *shit*!" He whirled
around and headed back into the main room. "Mulder!" Still receiving no
answer, he suddenly realized why it felt so cold when he'd first entered the
room. He dashed to the window and peered out into the moderately falling
snow. "He wouldn't. He..." The anger shot to the surface and spewed out.
"You *fucking* asshole!" he screamed at the window, then began to pace,
brutally raking his fingers through his hair. "Je-sus *Christ*, I can't
believe you did this! Well...you know what? *Stay* out there! That's right,
go ahead and walk around in circles in two and a half fucking feet of snow!
See if I give a rat's ass! By nightfall you'll be dead! If that's what you
want, well, fine! I don't know what the fuck ever possessed me to think I
could make this work! He slapped his forehead with the palm of his hand,
emphasizing every word. "I. Had. To. Be. Fucking. Insane!

//And you're about to get crazier.//

Alex stopped pacing and drew a number of deep breaths.

//You know there's no way in hell you're gonna leave him out there. Go find
him.//

"Why? So he can fucking irritate your ass some more? So he can get you all
hot and bothered, then throw cold water over you again?"

//This stopped being all about sex a while ago, and you know it. Go get him
before it's too late.//

"Ah, shit..." Alex snatched up his gear and threw the door open. The minute
the frigid air hit him, his pulse began to race. Thinking of Mulder out
here, not completely well, without the proper attire, scared the hell of
him. Forget nightfall. He'd be dead in a matter of hours.

"*Mulder*!" Alex bellowed, his voice being picked up by the stinging wind,
and thrown back at him. He picked up the other man's tracks, which were
being steadily filled by the blowing and drifting snow, and followed them as
quickly as he could. "Mulder, answer me!"

Alex followed the tracks into the woods, amazed at how quickly the partially
incapacitated man could move. The going became rougher, and the trail got
more difficult to follow as he trudged deeper into the copse of towering
evergreens, but he plunged on, roaring Mulder's name, trying to be heard
above the howling wind.

"*Mul-der*! Answer me, dammit! Come on, this is stupid! You can't survive
out here for long. *Mulder*!" The tracks faded into nothing, and panic began
to take hold. "Mulder, *please* answer me!" Born of desperation, an idea hit
him. "I'll let you go, Mulder! I promise. Just please, answer me. We'll go
back to the cabin and I'll see that you get home, okay? But you have to let
me know where you are!" He stopped, listening, praying for a word...a
sound..something that let him know that the object of his search was near.
Hearing nothing, he pressed on, desperately shouting Mulder's name every few
seconds.

Mulder huddled in the shelter of a group of large rocks, shivering non-stop.
Looking back, it might not have been such a bad idea to at least have
grabbed Alex's jacket on the way out. Too late now for regrets, he wrapped
his arms around his knees and buried his head in the circle they formed.

He'd been shocked and amazed to find that the front door was easily
unlocked, and before he could really think it through, he'd left the warmth
of the cabin and headed for...where? There was nothing but snow and trees
for as far as he could see. How far had he really expected to get
unprepared? Was being found frozen to death in this position really better
than what he would have faced with Alex?

Not by a long shot.

It wasn't the fact that he didn't want Alex that made him escape. It was
that he *did*. And he *couldn't*. And now, sitting out here, the feeling
slowly draining from his limbs, and his mind beginning to shut down, his
last fractured thoughts were filled with images of the two of them.
Fighting, arguing...kissing...tangled together in the sheets of Alex's
bed...

A sound pierced the fog that had muddled his brain. A voice, cutting through
the screaming wind. Calling his name. He'd answer if he could have, but he
was frozen in this position, too weak to even lift his head. His mind called
out in answer, and it was all he could do. Soon, even that had become an
impossibility. He closed his eyes and slipped peacefully into
unconsciousness.

Alex continued to call out, the last syllable of Mulder's name now ending on
a hoarse cry. He'd been screaming for hour now, and his voice was beginning
to give out. He stopped, leaning against a rock, panting. "Mulder," he
whispered, "God, please..." He caught his breath, and pushed away from the
rock. Twenty steps away, he stopped and turned in a circle, shouting up into
the falling snow. As the rock he'd been leaning against came back into view,
he stopped. The rock was one of a group, formed in a crude type of circle. A
shelter maybe.

He headed back, and climbed over the lowest rock to peer into the middle of
the circle. His heart stopped then started again, pounding double-time when
he found Mulder curled up in the deepest corner of the formation. He hopped
down and dropped to his knees in the snow beside the immobile man.

"Mulder. Mulder, come on, answer me."

No response.

"Jesus..." Alex quickly shed his jacket and wrapped it around the frozen
body. He removed his gloves, and touched his fingers to Mulder's throat.
"Thank you." He took the older man's hands in his, holding them within the
warmth. "You gotta wake up, baby." He let go of Mulder's hands, and lightly
tapped his face "We need to get out of here, now. Come on, wake up and we'll
go back to the cabin. I'll get you nice and warm, then you can go home, all
right? I'm sorry. I'm sorry..."

Mulder moaned softly, and his eyes began to open. He barely felt hands grasp
and lift his face, and then he was looking into a pair of unnaturally bright
green eyes. The mouth was moving, but he couldn't make sense of the words.
Then Alex was standing, tugging him up as well.

"Come on, Fox. Work with me, here."

Once both men were on their feet, Alex worked Mulder's arms through the
sleeves of the jacket, then zipped it up to his chin. He pulled his gloves
onto the other man's hands, and began to lead him out of the shelter, and
back toward the cabin. Four times Mulder's legs gave out on him, and each
time, Alex managed to get him going again. The last time, they were not more
than fifteen feet from the front door, when Mulder stumbled out of Alex's
grip, and plowed face-down into the snow.

"Shit! Fox, please. Come on," Alex tugged at him. "The cabin is right there.
Just a few more feet, then I won't ask you to walk another step."

No answer. Mulder was out for the count.

"Son of a bitch," the younger man whispered harshly, turning the older man
over, then shoving his arms under his back and knees. Growls echoing in the
driving wind, he struggled to lift the dead weight. The first effort failed,
and he wound up sprawled across Mulder's chest. He lay panting for a few
seconds, then positioned himself to try again. "I'm.....*not* going
to...to...leave you out...here, Mulder. One more time...now...ready...."
Enraged at his predicament, he issued a bone-rattling groan and heaved the
unconscious man into his arms, and staggered toward the house. Without
dropping Mulder, he somehow managed to turn the knob, and he practically
fell into the living room, letting himself and Mulder tumble onto the sofa.

Exhausted, but knowing what must be done, Alex heaved himself off of the
sofa, and began to undress Mulder. As he'd assumed, there was some
frostbite, though it didn't look extremely severe. He snatched a blanket off
of the back of the nearest chair, and tucked it around the freezing cold
body, then stumbled off toward the bathroom. He shoved the plug into the
drain of the tub, and began to run warm water. As the tub filled, he
discarded his own wet, cold clothing, and changed into a dry pair of jeans
and a sweater. He returned to the living room, where Mulder lay silently.

"Mulder."

No response.

"Fox...baby, I gotta get you into the tub." He watched for some sign of
acknowledgment, but Mulder offered up none. His lips trembled into a smile.
"You know what I think? I think you just like for me to carry you. I'd throw
you over my back and do like, the caveman thing, but you know...your
ribs...come on, Mulder, are you gonna let me get away with that?"

Mulder sighed, giving Alex the only encouraging sign since they'd made it
back to the cabin.

Alex removed the blanket, noting that Mulder's color was just the slightest
bit better. He heaved the older man once more into his arms, and took him
into the bathroom. He lowered Mulder into the tub, and let him soak in the
warm water while he sat at the edge of the tub, combing his fingers through
the wet hair.

When the water had turned cool, he drained the tub, and was about to lift
Mulder out, when a small, weak voice stopped him

"Didn't think..."

Alex pulled back, his eyes glittering with relief. "Didn't think what?"

"You heard me."

"Heard you?"

Mulder nodded

"Did you call me?"

"Heard you...I tried...was in my mind, but...didn't think I was....actually
saying it."

Alex studied him for a moment, then asked softly, "Can you help me? I want
to get you up and into bed."

Mulder nodded again, and with all the strength he could muster, helped Alex
to help him get up. He leaned quietly on the younger man as he was gently
dried off, then they made their way slowly into the bedroom. Alex lowered
him to the mattress, then tucked the blanket up around his chin.

"How's that?"

"Cold."

Alex draped a second blanket over him, then stood back. "How about some
tea?"

Mulder nodded, shivering slightly.

"Okay. Be right back." Alex left the room, thanking the powers that be for
finding Mulder in time, and vowing to make good on his promise. As soon as
Mulder was back on his feet, he'd bring this to an end. He'd fucked up
royally, and the only way to fix it now, was to let Mulder go home. A
terrible melancholy washed over him as he made the tea and carried it into
the bedroom. He pulled the tray out of the corner of the room, and over to
the side of the bed. He set the cup down, and with his eyes skipping around
the room, asked Mulder how he was feeling.

Sleepy eyes turned up to the younger man's face, and Mulder frowned at the
expression he found there. "Still..still cold. My hands...some of my
fingertips hurt. My mouth..."

"Frostbite. It isn't too bad. You'll be fine. Why um...why don't you drink
your tea, and then get some rest?" He hesitated, then backed toward the
door.

Mulder sank lower against the pillows, and brought the blankets up to his
nose. His slightly muffled voice reached Alex's ears before he could leave.
"Where are you going?"

"I'm..." Alex pointed toward the main room. "Out there. Call if you need
anything."

Mulder's eyes lowered to the pool of fleece in his lap. "I can't..."

Alex waited for a few seconds, then asked, "You can't what?"

Mulder trembled under the blankets. "Can't get warm enough."

"I can..." Alex shook his head, looking around. "..can get another
blanket..."

Mulder began to chew on the corner of his lower lip, but stopped when he
realized that it hurt to do so. "Don't think it's gonna help."

"I'm sorry, I don't know what else..what...want to move to the living room?
Maybe the warmth from the fireplace..."

Mulder shook his head and gave the younger man his best puppy dog look.
"Maybe if you just came and sat next to me."

Alex lingered in the doorway, more than a little unsure about honoring such
a request. But, Christ, how could he say no? *Why* would he say no? He moved
slowly to the bed, and sat cautiously beside Mulder, leaning back against
the headboard. All was quiet for a moment, then he lifted the teacup from
the tray. "Here," he said softly. "Drink some of this." Mulder reached for
the cup with trembling hands, and Alex decided that maybe it'd be best if he
held it for him. About halfway through the tea, Mulder decided that he
didn't want any more, and Alex set the cup and tray aside. He settled back
into his previous position on the bed, sitting quietly as Mulder inched
closer, and turned onto his side, facing him.

"What time is it?" the soft voice drifted up from the pillows.

Alex looked down at his watch. "Seven."

"What's wrong with your voice?"

The younger man cast him a gentle smile. "An hour of yelling for you."

Mulder curled tighter into the pillows. "Sorry. That was a stupid thing to
do."

"I pushed you into it. I'm the one who's sorry." Alex looked down, watching
the older man's eyelids repeatedly slip closed, then snap back up. "Go to
sleep, Mulder. You're exhausted."

"Aren't you?"

"I'm okay. I'm not the guy who's been sick for almost a week."

Mulder needed no more coaxing. He closed his eyes and dropped off to sleep
minutes later.

Alex sat watching him for almost half an hour. When he was sure that the
other man was soundly asleep, he slipped off of the bed, and left the room.

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

Mulder blinked in total darkness, shivering and drawing the blankets up
around his neck. His eyes searched the darkness, trying to find the man who
when last he'd seen him, was sitting stiffly by his side. He debated with
himself for a moment, then sat up a bit and called out.

"Krycek?"

No response. He cleared his throat and tried once more. "Alex?"

It wasn't until he felt the bed sink under the younger man's weight, that he
realized Alex had come into the room.

"What's wrong?"

Mulder looked in the direction of the barely visible outline. "I...it's
freezing."

Alex could feel the intermittent shudders of the other man's body, shaking
the bed. "It's not cold in here at all, Mulder, it's just you." He reached
out and found Mulder's neck, then pressed his hand to it. "You feel fine."

"I'm cold. Where were you?"

"On the couch."

"Oh. Were you asleep?"

"Yeah."

"Sorry, I didn't...." Mulder's voice faded into silence.

"Didn't what?"

".....I don't know."

Alex could feel the vibration of his shudders. "I'm sorry, Mulder, other
than more blankets, I don't know what to do for you."

//Yes, you do.//

//Leave him alone. You've fucked with him enough.//

The darkness gave Mulder more nerve than he might have had in the light.
"Stay, okay Alex? I felt warmer before when you were here."

There was a long silence, then a soft sigh. "Mulder..."

Mulder pulled the blankets up higher. "Nevermind. I don't know why I said
that. I'll be okay. Go back to sleep."

Alex stared at the dark form. "Mulder, I just..."

The older man turned his back, facing away from him. "I'm okay now. Go on."

Alex hesitated for a moment, then rose from the bed, and walked slowly to
the door.

Mulder lay on his side for a short time, allowing the tremors to return. He
flipped onto his back, wrapping himself in the blankets, but was unable to
find the warmth he needed. The shivers increased and he groaned in misery,
not only at his discomfort, but with longing for the one thing he knew could
bring him the relief he craved.

Alex stood quietly in the doorway, watching Mulder. He'd only turned around
to take one last look before he went back to the sofa, but when he saw how
violently the older man was shaking, his heart wouldn't allow him to leave.
He came slowly back into the room and stood at Mulder's bedside.

Sensing Alex's presence when he was halfway into the room, Mulder peered up
into the darkness at the silhouetted figure.

"Move over," the younger man said softly.

Mulder hesitated, then pushed over, allowing room for Alex. The other man
sat then pulled himself back, leaning against the pillows, and crossing one
long leg over the other. He folded his arms across his chest and closed his
eyes.

His eyes becoming a little more accustomed to the dark, Mulder watched Alex
lie stiffly beside him. "Alex...I don't...I...aren't you uncomfortable?"

"I'm okay. You?"

"I'm still cold. Would..."

//You're *not* going to ask him...//

"...would you get under the covers? Actual body warmth is supposed to be
best."

//You *did*.//

Alex let his eyes drop shut.

//Oh, God, just...kill me now.//

"Yeah...uh....sure."

He lifted himself from the bed, and drew the covers back, then slipped under
them. He lay on his back only inches from the man he wanted more than
anything in his life, staring up into the darkness. If he'd been chained in
the middle of the desert with scorpions crawling over his naked body, and
had his eyes gouged out with a dull spoon, it couldn't have been a worse
punishment than the one he was suffering right now.

Apparently satisfied, Mulder sighed softly, and snuggled into his pillows.
Minutes later, the trembling had diminished, and he was asleep. And as sure
as Alex was that he would get no rest this night, soon afterward, he was
himself, soundly asleep.

Three hours later, he was awakened by movement. He opened his eyes
sluggishly, then came fully awake as he found himself on his side, with
Mulder wiggling backward until the warmth of his body against the older
man's back comforted him again into unconsciousness.

//Oh, God.//

The feel of Mulder's tight ass against his crotch was just too much too
bear. His cock rose to immediate attention, poking obscenely against the
other man's rear.

//Jesus Christ, can this get any worse?//

Someday he'd learn that he should never ask that question.

Mulder moaned softly and pressed against him, tilting his head back until it
rested against Alex's shoulder.

Unable to stop himself, Alex wound his arm around Mulder's chest and kissed
the back of his head.

//It's just for tonight. Then he'll be gone. I j...I just need to hold him
tonight. I won't do anything more. Then tomorrow, I'll do what I promised.
I'll let him go...//

Alex buried his face into the golden-brown silk, ignoring the pleas of his
straining erection, and closed his eyes.

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

Mulder blinked in the daylight, and sat up. He felt worlds better than he
did last night. He looked down at the rumpled sheets beside him, and the
memory of Alex lying beside him returned. His eyebrows drew downward as he
considered the fact that in spite of being only inches away from each other,
the younger man made not one move on him.

While in the tub last night, he'd done some thinking, and decided that this
whole thing was ridiculous. Denying that he wanted Alex was fooling exactly
no one. After spending that hour or so in the snow, certain that he was
about to die, he wondered why he was letting life pass him by...why the hell
he was running away from what he really wanted. If he could have something
good in his life, some kind of joy, even if it was just sex, why shouldn't
he take it? If he'd have let himself admit the truth, he would have known
long ago that he was attracted to the man. But he couldn't. Not even just to
himself. Stupid.

He rose stiffly from the bed, and lifted the robe from the post at the end
of it. Quietly, he padded out into the living room. Finding no one there, he
proceeded to the kitchen where he found Alex sitting at the small table,
staring down into a coffee cup. The sable head jerked up quickly, and the
two men stared at each other for long minutes before Alex finally spoke.

"How do you feel?"

"Better. A little sore."

Alex nodded, again looking down. "Yeah, well, I guess that's to be
expected."

"You?"

"I'm fine. Uh...how about some breakfast?"

Mulder shrugged. "Yeah...yeah, I guess. I'll go get cleaned up and be back
in a few."

Alex watched the retreating man, noting how his half-closed eyes,
sleep-swollen lips and wild hair went straight to his heart. His hands
tightened around the mug, as if to hold his resolve together. "Okay," he
told himself, "right after breakfast, you cut him loose." He let go of the
cup and brought his hands up to his face, pressing his forefingers into the
bridge of his nose. "After breakfast," he whispered again.

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

Mulder lay on the sofa with his back against the overstuffed arm. His head
rested against the back cushion, and he gazed silently out the window.

"Oregon."

The voice, soft as it was, startled him back to himself. He turned his head
and met Alex's sad gaze.

"That's where we are."

Mulder nodded. "You said that this cabin was yours."

"Yeah. My parents left it to me." He looked around. "I used to come here as
a kid. Always loved it, but after they died, I couldn't bring myself to set
foot in it until about a year ago."

"Why then?"

"I'd better not tell you."

"Why?"

"Probably just piss you off."

Mulder shifted so that he faced Alex head on. "Tell me."

"The plan to bring you here was hatched in my warped mind long before this
incident in the Olympics. It's just that it arose as the perfect
opportunity, and I jumped on it."

Mulder's voice remained soft and even. "You've been planning to kidnap me
for a year?"

"Not to hurt you," Alex answered quickly. "Never to hurt you....which is
exactly what I ended up doing. I uh...I've come here off and on for the last
year, cleaning the place up...doing repairs...trying to make it comfortable
and homey..." A soft, short chuckle pushed out of his throat.

Mulder's eyes dropped to the thick throw rug between them.
"Krycek....Alex....I think we should..." He stopped, then attempted to start
again, only to be interrupted.

"It's two o'clock. How about some lunch?"

"Oh. Uh...I am a little hungry, I guess."

Alex gave him a tiny smile, then turned and disappeared into the kitchen.
Once there, he leaned on the counter, taking long, slow breaths.

//You gotta do this. Stop stalling. You said after breakfast, and breakfast
is long gone. Let. Him. Go.//

"I will," he promised himself. "Right after he's had some lunch..."

Lunch came and went, and the two men sat together in the living room in
companionable silence. Mulder watched dusk approach, as Alex stared
longingly into the fire.

"Wow."

Alex's head turned in the direction of the soft monotone. "What?"

Mulder looked at him, his eyes gleaming a brilliant amber in the light of
the flames. "Two eagles," he whispered simply, and turned his attention back
toward the window.

Alex approached, dropping down onto the sofa, and looked up into the sky. He
watched the birds circle and dip, gliding in wide arcs around each other,
performing a beautiful arial ballet. His gaze slipped away from the window
for a moment to watch the man beside him. Mulder watched the sky, completely
enraptured, a beautiful, innocent smile gracing his lips. Alex's heart
thudded painfully in his chest, and he tore his eyes away from the other man
to once again focus on the eagles, but when he looked back, one was gone,
leaving the second to hover alone. The shrill cry from the lone bird brought
a sudden sting to his eyes, and he quickly removed himself from the sofa and
the room.

Mulder's eyes followed him as he disappeared into the bedroom and closed the
door behind him. He stared for a while in confusion, then slowly returned
his attention to the window.

Long minutes later, he felt Alex's presence beside him. He looked up, then
followed the younger man's hand as it placed a cell phone and a piece of
folded paper in his lap. Without a word, Alex drifted back to the bedroom
and again closed the door.

Mulder looked from the closed door to the items in his lap, then back again.
He blinked rapidly, and picked up the piece of paper. He smoothed out the
folds, and found written directions on how to find the cabin. He stared down
at the paper for a while, trying to work himself up to be happy that he
could now call Scully and get the hell out of here, but that didn't seem to
be happening.

//Oh, come on, Mulder. It's time to go home. Just be glad he's finally come
to his senses and has realized it. Dial the damn numbers and make the
call.//

He looked again to the bedroom.

//Call. Her.//

He took a deep breath and began to punch in Scully's number.

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

Alex threw down the jeans that he'd been folding and unfolding for the past
ten minutes. He bowed his head, and covered his face with his hands.

//It was the right thing to do. For once in your fucking miserable life,
you've done the right thing.//

//Yeah? Then how come I feel like somebody just scraped out my insides with
an ice cream scoop?//

//It'll hurt for a little while, then you'll be fine. You're *always*
fine.//

//This is different. It's...//

The sound of the opening door broke into his thoughts. He remained facing
the bed, head kept low, as he felt a warm presence at his back. A hand came
around to his front, and dropped the cell phone and re-folded paper onto the
bed. He stared at the two items for a moment, then picked up the jeans and
began to fold them again. "Scully on a plane, yet?" He tried to keep his
tone light, but wasn't exactly sure that he was succeeding.

Mulder answered his question with a question. "What's all this?" he asked,
looking down at the clothing scattered over the surface of the bed.

"I'm going. You'll be fine until Scully can reach you." He dropped the jeans
back onto the mattress, and picked up a sweater. The soft voice delivered
its message, stopping him in mid-fold.

"I didn't call Scully."

Alex blinked and expelled a ragged breath. "Skinner?"

"No."

"..........Your mother?"

"I didn't call anybody."

Alex's heart stopped as Mulder's palms slid up his back, then gently gripped
his shoulders, turning him around. He lowered his head and closed his eyes,
but Mulder didn't allow it for long.

"Alex..." Mulder slipped a hand under the younger man's chin and lifted.
"Did you hear me?"

Alex attempted to swallow past the lump that had suddenly formed in his
throat. "Why...Mulder, what are you doing?"

Earnest hazel eyes stared into confused green. "I don't want to go."

"What?"

Mulder moved closer, winding one arm around Alex's neck, and resting the
other on his chest. "I want to stay with you."

"But...but you..."

Mulder drew closer, scrambling Alex's thoughts as their bodies pressed
lightly together. He threaded a hand through the younger man's hair, and
pulled him into a brief, albeit tender kiss. He pulled back only slightly,
brushing their lips together as he whispered, "Don't you want me to?"

Alex raised a hesitant hand to the other man's cheek. "You really want to
stay with me?"

Mulder nodded, holding Alex's eyes with his own.

"I...I don't know what to say."

The older man leaned forward, tracing the outline of Alex's lower lip with
his tongue. "Is it really necessary that we do any talking?"

Alex's respiration deepened, and his eyes turned dark as he shook his head.

They came together, each electrifying the other with a deep, desperate kiss.
Alex anchored his fingers in Mulder's hair, and emitting a throaty growl,
devoured his mouth with unrestrained hunger.

The force of Alex's kiss made Mulder wince and issue a clipped grunt, and
the younger man pulled away, immediately repentant.

"I'm sorry. I forgot."

"It's okay," Mulder reassured him.

"Does it hurt a lot?"

"No. Just a little uncomfortable."

"Mmmm," Alex moaned, gently brushing the other man's lips. "My poor Fox..."
His tongue inched out and delicately lapped at the swollen flesh. "I'm so
sorry..."

Mulder sighed, enjoying Alex's tender ministrations. His hands stroked the
younger man's back and hair, moving at a slow, seductive pace.

Alex withdrew his tongue and replaced it with his mouth. Gently, this time,
in the barest whisper of a kiss.

"Alex..." Fox whimpered between kisses, "I'm ready to fall over..."

Alex backed into the bed and lowered them both to the mattress. He lay
amongst the scattered clothing with Mulder sprawled over him, scattering
kisses over his face and shoulders. His body tingled everywhere Mulder's
lips touched him, and he shuddered as the older man writhed against him.

"Jesus," he whispered. "This is nothing like anything I could have
imagined..."

Mulder lifted his head, and stared down at his lover. "Is that a bad
thing...or a good thing?"

"Oh, God, baby. It's a damn good thing."

"What?"

Alex stroked the hair out of his eyes. "Hmm?"

"What did you say?"

"I said it's a damn good thing."

"Before that."

Alex shook his head, unsure of what it was that he'd said exactly.

Mulder lowered his head, pressing their foreheads together, and smiled
almost shyly. "You called me 'baby'."

"Oh." Alex tightened his hold on the man in his arms. "It isn't the first
time."

"No?"

"No. But you were always asleep." He smirked. "Or unconscious."

"Why? Afraid I'd slug you?"

"Nah, you were in no condition. But it was...how do I explain this? Um...it
was a personal thing. You couldn't reject it if you didn't know about it,
you know? Everytime you didn't cringe, I could pretend that it was okay." He
stroked Mulder's back and kissed the side of his head. "I could pretend that
you were mine."

Mulder cocked his head and smiled down at the man beneath him. "You're a
tough man to figure out."

Alex shook his head and smiled. He pushed up with his hips, making his
rock-hard erection known. "Can you figure *that* out?"

"Uh, yeah. I think I can."

"See? I'm not so tough."

Mulder pushed down, grinding himself against his lover. "But you're damn
hard."

"So are you....Fox?"

"Yeah?"

Alex looked up at him, his expression suddenly uncertain. "Are you really
sure?"

Mulder gazed down into forest green eyes. Without a word of response, he
tugged at Alex's sweater, and worked it up his body and over his head. He
tossed the garment onto the floor, then his hands went to the button on
Alex's jeans, and popped it out of the hole. His hand stroked his lover's
cock through the denim, and he listened to the sharp intake of breath. He
grasped the zipper and pulled it down, then carefully parted the denim,
revealing a snowy-white cotton-covered bulge.

Alex arched into the other man's touch, quickly overcome by one simple
gesture.

A trace of a smile touched Mulder's lips as he watched his lover's eyes grow
darker still, and felt his body's reaction to his hand.

Alex sucked in a harsh breath as fingertips as gentle as dandelion fluff
danced up and down the surface.

"Fox..."

His next words were sucked away as the older man's mouth came down on his.
His fingers tangled in the golden-brown fringe at the base of Mulder's neck,
and he thrust his tongue past the succulent lips, and into his waiting
mouth. He explored the sweet interior, taking inventory of every ridge,
every filling. The man he'd wanted for so long...the man he'd always thought
was the most unattainable of goals, was about to become his in the deepest
sense of the word, and he wanted to know every inch of him.

Mulder pulled away from the kiss and looked down into the younger man's
face. He'd always known Alex Krycek was a handsome man, but he'd never seen
him like *this* before. Skin flushed with arousal, the barest hint of
glimmering green beneath drooping sable lashes, and his mouth...that
exquisite, perfectly bowed mouth, slightly parted, and begging to be taken.
Mulder kissed him once more, and ran his tongue across his lower lip. "I
could kiss you all night," he whispered against Alex's mouth. "Your lips are
so soft..."

The man beneath Mulder whimpered softly, licking at his lips, asking with
his mouth and body, for his lover to take things to the next level.

As though they'd been lovers for years, Mulder understood the younger man's
body language, and responded to it. He backed away, rising slowly to his
feet, and began to tug at Alex's jeans. He worked them down the younger
man's long legs, kneeling to remove his shoes and socks before pulling them
off the rest of the way. Instead of standing, he leaned forward, kissing
first the inside of one knee, then the other, nibbling on what he found to
be sensitive territory. Alex's leg spasmed and he gasped softly.

"Ticklish?"

"N-no..."

"I think you are..." Mulder's tongue inched out, fluttering along the
slightly-reddened skin, drawing a sobbing giggle from the recipient of his
touch.

"Cut it out..."

"Admit it." Another nip.

"Shit...admit what?"

"You're ticklish."

"Am not."

Mulder chuckled deep in his throat, and slid up and over his lover's chest,
kissing and nipping along the way. "Alex Krycek has got a weakness," he
taunted seductively. "Got any more you wanna tell me about? Or should I just
find them myself?"

Alex writhed against him, rubbing his freed cock against the material of
Mulder's jeans. "All my weaknesses can be summed up in two words." He pulled
Mulder's head down to his, and licked a line from his chin to his ear, then
whispered into it, "Fox. Mulder."

"That might not have been such a good thing to tell me," Mulder drawled,
enjoying the teasing. "I just may use it against you."

Alex bit on the soft lobe and pulled. "One can hope. Now answer me a
question."

"Hmm?"

"Why are you still dressed?"

"Because you haven't undressed me."

"Good reason."

Ever mindful of his lover's wounded ribs, he gently rolled Mulder beneath
him. Unable to resist, he took the older man's mouth in a searing kiss even
as he began to unbutton the heavy cotton shirt. Pushing the material aside,
he dragged himself away from Mulder's mouth and worked his way down, licking
and nipping at his chin, enjoying the rough feel of the light stubble on his
tongue.

Mulder lay sprawled beneath the man who had until very recently, been his
nemesis, purring and moaning, pleading for more and more of his touch. He
felt, in some tiny, dark corner of his mind, that this had to be wrong. That
somehow Alex must be using him for some clandestine purpose, but then he
remembered the look he saw on the younger man's face when he first came
around after Alex had brought him back in out of the storm. He recalled the
sadness he'd seen in his eyes on more than one occasion...most recently,
when he'd handed him the cell phone and his freedom. He supposed that Alex
could have been acting. God knows he could have won an Oscar with that
wide-eyed Junior G-man bit. But not now. Now, his heart told him that this
was for real...or maybe it was his cock. He wasn't certain. All he knew for
sure was that he wanted this. More than he'd ever wanted anything in his
life. More than he wanted that nineteen seventy-two Knicks championship
jersey. More than he wanted to impress the hell out of his father by kicking
ass at Oxford...more than he wanted to find Samantha...

Alex kissed a path down the long column of his lover's throat and across his
collarbone, lingering to sink his teeth into the muscled padding of his
shoulder. Hearing Mulder's guttural moan only served to arouse him more, and
he began to suck on the flesh, leaving his mark.

Mulder's head pressed back into the pillows and his mouth fell open on a
short gasp. The pressure built, and he winced, digging his fingers into the
younger man's back.

Alex released Mulder's shoulder, looking down to admire the reddened patch
of skin. Reason told him that the temporary bruising meant nothing, but in
some primitive sense, it indicated to him that this man was his. The
thought, and his lover's reaction sent a warm flush through his body and
incited him to further action. He moved downward, placing another mark on
the more sensitive skin of Mulder's chest. Receiving a harsh grunt, he moved
on to the nearest nipple, flicking over the hard nub with the tip of his
tongue.

"Alex," Mulder grated, his patience suddenly taking a nosedive,
"please...finish undressing me. I need you."

Alex's cock swelled to painful proportions.

Fox Mulder needed him.

God, it was better than *wanting* him. Having this man beneath him, panting
and twisting...moaning *his* name. It was too much to wrap his mind around.
So he shut it down. No more thinking, no more...from here on out, he was on
autopilot, acting strictly on instinct. He moved lower, following the
delicate line of golden fluff, until he came to Mulder's jeans. He undid the
button and pulled the zipper down, kissing each inch of the newly exposed
area.

Mulder gritted his teeth as his lover's mouth wandered over the concealed
surface of his cock. He managed to force his eyes open, and looked down at
what was going on just south of his waist. Sable hair glistened in the pale
light streaming in from the next room, as Alex nuzzled him gently. He
watched as the younger man's fingers hooked in both jeans and underwear, and
began to work them down. He lifted his hips, not wanting to impede progress,
and when he was completely stripped of all clothing, he lay whimpering,
agonizing in the absence of his lover's touch.

Needing no words to make him understand, Alex lowered his head to Mulder's
cock, and kissed it gently, from base to tip. His tongue slithered past his
lips, sliding over the velvety head, and withdrawing slightly as it
encountered the bitter pearl of moisture that had formed at the tip. It had
been a long, long time since he'd experienced any remotely similar taste,
and it took him a moment to accustom himself to it. His tongue ventured back
out, lapping gingerly at the bead, learning his lover's unique flavor.

Mulder's head rolled from side to side as he fought to keep from thrusting
into the wet warmth of the mouth hovering over his cock.

//Come on, baby, take it. God, please, take it...//

Alex opened his mouth and let his lover slip inside, prompting a long moan
from both men. He wrapped his fingers gently around the base of Mulder's
considerable length, and began to suck lightly, while letting his tongue
flutter along the large vein on the underside.

Mulder's eyes rolled up into his head and his lids dropped over them.
"Ohhhhh, God...." His hands left the other man's back and tangled in his
hair as he slowly lifted his hips.

Alex breathed deeply as he felt Mulder's cock slide farther inside, inching
toward his throat. He relaxed his muscles and took all that his lover had to
give. He uncurled his fingers from the base, and lowered his head until
every last inch was sheathed inside his mouth.

"Baby..." Mulder whimpered, "...oh my God, oh...." His jaw tensed as he felt
the muscles in his stomach coil. He was going to come any second, and
nothing short of Alex pulling away at that precise moment would...

Alex withdrew, leaving his lover teetering on the very edge of insanity. He
licked the inside of Mulder's thigh and began to move up, but a hand on his
head stopped him.

"No. There."

The younger man looked up at him, confused.

"Mark me there."

Alex stared up at the face that was almost shrouded in shadow. He smiled and
ducked back down, tenderly kissing the inside of Mulder's right thigh.
Higher and higher he traveled, teasing his lover, arousing him beyond all
reason, then took him by surprise, sucking the sensitive flesh into his
mouth, applying a firm pressure.

Mulder's fingers tightened in Alex's hair, and he groaned through gritted
teeth. "Oh, yeah...oh..oww..oh, Christ...harder, Alex...*shit*....that's
it...God, baby, make it hurt..."

Alex sucked harder, drawing crazed whimpers from the man beneath him. His
hips involuntarily rolled against the mattress, in time to his lover's
cries. His cock was now throbbing...aching for release, and his body made
the sudden decision that enough was enough. His tongue lovingly soothed the
wound on the inside of his lover's thigh, then he stretched up, draping
himself over Mulder's body. "Right now," he rasped, and his lover nodded
frantically.

Mulder complained loudly as Alex's weight lifted, but the younger man
shushed him, promising to return quickly. He leaned over the edge of the
bed, rooting through his bag. Quickly finding the tube of lubricant, he
squeezed some out onto his fingers.

Mulder opened himself to his lover, rumbling deep in his throat as the
younger man stroked two cool, slick fingers down the cleft of his ass,
twisting and burrowing to the tight opening.

"How long has it been?" Alex panted.

"I don't...don't know. Four...maybe five..."

He didn't need to ask. He knew that by four or five, Mulder meant 'years'.
He'd kept a close eye on him for at least that long, and had never seen him
with a man.

Alex teased the older man, pressing forward, then pulling back. Each time,
his fingers slid a little deeper inside, and Mulder writhed feverishly,
crying out, pleading for more.

"Hold still," Alex instructed softly as he progressed past the second
knuckles.

"Can't," Mulder wailed brokenly, thrashing against Alex's hand. "Deeper,
Alex...please...more..."

"Easy, baby." Alex twisted his fingers and plunged deeper into his lover's
tight heat.

Mulder arched, sobbing curses into the air as the younger man sank his
fingers in as far as they could go. "Oh, *shit*...fuck me, Alex. I need you
to..."

Alex withdrew his fingers three-quarters of the way then inched back in,
prompting more obscenities.

"I know," he breathed, withdrawing his fingers and moving over the older
man. "...I know you do, but it might hurt..."

"I don't care," Mulder growled, wrapping his arms and legs around the
younger man. "Hurt me."

Alex guided his aching cock between his lover's clenching muscles. "I don't
want to hurt you, baby," he moaned against Mulder's ear. "I wanna make it
good for you...I wanna make you want to come back for more...make you want
only me."

Mulder strained against the other man, begging to be taken. "You've done
that already. Now fuck me."

Alex smiled at his lover's impatience. He stroked the outsides of Mulder's
thighs, then tucked his hands under his ass, and pushed gently.

Mulder's hoarse groans turned to frenzied whimpers of frustration as Alex
pressed forward, burying the head of his cock in his smooth warmth, then
backing out almost to the tip.

"Alex...I...come on..."

"Tell me, Fox," Alex rumbled against his throat. "Tell me you're mine."

"Jesus Christ, Alex," Mulder choked, "I'm....oh, God, please....I'm yours."
He squirmed against the younger man. "Do me..."

Alex's tongue flattened against Mulder's throat, and ran up over the curve
of his chin, the dip above it, and finally slanted across his lips before
covered them in a hungry kiss. His fingers tightened in the muscles of the
older man's ass, and he drove into him, pushing a frantic sob out of his
throat.

The cry vibrated in Alex's mouth, and he sent one up to join it. His hips
lifted slightly then fell back against Mulder's ass, again and again until
they were both whimpering uncontrollably. He pulled his tongue out of his
lover's mouth and whispered desperately into it, "You're
so...sweet...baby...so beautiful..." He wrapped Mulder's tortured cock in
his fist and began to milk it, matching the rhythm of his hips. "Come
for...for me, now. I want....to...watch you."

Alex's words, paired with the sensations he was experiencing, were enough to
take Mulder over the edge. "*Alex*," he cried as his body tightened, "I feel
it...don't...harder...*fuck*! God...harder..."

Alex gritted his teeth and slammed into his lover, mercilessly pumping his
cock until they both tumbled, screaming over the edge. His body and hand
continued to spasm, emptying every last drop of fluid from each of them.

Mulder lay twitching beneath his lover, overcome by the force of his orgasm.
He wanted to open his eyes...tried to, but at this precise moment in time,
it was damn near impossible. He gave up trying, and lay there limply, chest
heaving.

Alex remained sprawled over the older man, his head nestled snugly under his
chin. A long while passed before he stirred, his tongue swiping at the fine
beads of sweat that coated Mulder's chest.

"Mmmm..." The first signs of life. "What are you doing?"

Alex licked another path through the perspiration. "Tasting you."

"I'm all sweaty..."

"I want to know you inside out." The sable head rose and forest-green eyes
stared at Mulder.

"What?"

"Was waiting for you to laugh at me."

Mulder kissed his damp head. "Why would I?"

"I don't know. Not so sure *I* wouldn't laugh at me..."

Mulder pulled him up so that they were face to face. "Why?" he asked,
searching the other man's eyes. "Because it was sweet?"

Alex shrugged.

The older man smirked and began to tease. "Alex Krycek is a sweet,
sensitive, romantic sap."

"I am not."

"Yes you are..."

"I. Am. Not."

The grin faded from Mulder's lips, and he reached up to caress his lover's
face. "You looked so sad before."

Alex's gaze slowly slid from Mulder's, and he fell silent.

"Didn't you think I'd noticed?"

Solemn green eyes rose again. "Did you mean it?"

"Mean what?"

"When you said that you were mine."

"What, you think it might have been just my dick talking?"

"I don't know. People say all sorts of things they don't mean in the heat of
the moment."

Mulder traced the line of the younger man's shoulder with his fingertips.
"True. But I'm completely wiped out right now. I don't think I could get it
up with a crane. And still I can look you in the eye and say it. I'm all
yours, Alex...for as long as you want me to be." He watched entranced, as
Alex's eyes turned a sparkling shade of emerald. "Happy?"

The younger man nodded.

"Know why that makes you happy?"

He was walking into a trap and he didn't even know it. "Why?"

"Because you're really a sweet, sensitive..."

"I am not!"

"..sappy, romantic..."

"Shut up, Fox..."

"..lovable, gentle..."

"You and me are gonna fight, Mulder..."

Mulder's voice changed to a syrupy sweet tone. "..cute, adorable, wittle
fuzzy wuzzy..."

"I'm gonna throw you back out into the snow..."

His voice changed again. "..gorgeous, sexy as all get out..."

Alex's head dipped down to Mulder's shoulder, not so gently nipping at the
muscled flesh. Satisfied with the soft groan, he released his lover, and
soothed the small irritation with his tongue. "You just saved your ass."

Mulder hooked a leg over his lover's hip and pushed up against him. "Begs
the question."

Alex tilted his head, waiting.

"What did I just save my ass *for*?"

Alex chuckled softly, grinding his hips into the other man's. "Hey...uh, I
thought you were wasted."

"You know, so did I."

"Well," the younger man purred, thrusting gently against his lover, "I'd say
this means one of two things."

Mulder raised his eyebrows. "And what would that be?"

"One...you're insatiable. Or *b*...I'm just too damn good." Could be a
little of both."

"I think it could be a *lot* of both..." Mulder began to smile, then
suddenly burst into laughter.

Alex gave him an amused but mildly bewildered smile. "What?"

"I just had an image of Scully walking in on us right now..."

"And you're *laughing*? She'd shoot me in the head and have you committed."

"Speaking of Scully...I was thinking...why'd you give me the directions to
this place? If I'd called and given them to her, you'd never be able to come
back here."

Alex shrugged. "If I couldn't have you, I'd never want to."

Mulder fell into a thoughtful silence, the smile not quite fading from his
face.

"Now what you thinking about?"

"Scully again. I suddenly feel guilty lying here, feeling so good, knowing
that she's got to be worried out of her mind."

"I'm sorry, Fox. Why don't you call her? Let her know you're okay."

"What...what am I gonna tell her? I mean, besides, 'Hey, Scully, how ya
doin', guess what, I'm alive'? She'll want to know where I am, why I'm just
calling her now...how I got out of the lodge..."

Alex lowered his head to Mulder's shoulder, sighing softly as the older
man's hand rose to pet his hair. "I know. Do you feel well enough to make
the trip home?"

"Yeah, I suppose, but..."

"But what?"

Mulder wrapped his free arm around the younger man's back, and held him
tightly. "I don't want to leave."

Alex's eyes closed and he inhaled deeply. He let the breath out slowly
before answering. "You shouldn't say that."

"Why not?"

"Because...it'll just make it that much harder for me to let you go."

Mulder smiled into his lover's hair. "Maybe you should cuff me to the bed.
That way, I won't be lying when I tell her that I was held prisoner."

Alex rubbed his head against Mulder's jaw, but said nothing.

"I don't want to go, Alex," he said softly. "How can I leave you?"

"We'll get together again," Alex promised. "There's no way I could stay away
from you, now."

"So..." Mulder said listlessly, "that's it. We'll get together every now and
then...when business brings you into town..."

"Fox...baby, don't...I don't know what to say. I told you, I don't want to
let you go."

"Come back with me," Fox begged impetuously, not giving a damn how needy
that sounded. "Please, Alex."

"And then what? There's that little matter, you know, of your partner...your
boss..."

"You managed to slip into that lodge, nab me, and slip back out right under
all of those noses. Shouldn't be too hard to stay out of Scully's and
Skinner's sight."

"Fox..." Alex lifted his head and kissed the tip of his lover's nose. He
looked down into despondent, amber eyes, and his heart melted into his
stomach.

//This is *your* doing, Alex. Now, how are you gonna fix it?//

He lowered his head, touching his lips to the other man's. "I'll be with you
as much as I can. I promise. But I can't stop doing my job any more than you
can stop doing yours."

"*Job*?"

"We're on the same side, Fox," he said, a bit of hurt tingeing his tone.
"I'm just working it from a different angle."

"Sorry."

"I just want you to understand that I didn't bring you here to fuck you and
then toss you aside. I want more from you than that."

"Like?"

"Anything and everything you're willing to give me."

"What about you?"

"Me?"

Mulder nodded. "What are you willing to give me?"

"All that I'm able to."

"Okay, what are you *able* to give me?"

"Everything but the complete freedom to always be with you. If I had that to
give you, I would."

"So, is it always going to be this way?"

"I don't....no. No, it isn't. I'm working hard to make sure of that, baby. I
probably shouldn't ask this, but...please trust me."

Mulder stared up into his lover's eyes, losing himself in the warm ocean of
green. "I trust you," he whispered.

Alex planted a long, tender kiss on his mouth, then lifted himself away, and
found the phone. He lay beside his lover, kissing his arm, then his
shoulder. He hesitated for a moment, then handed him the phone.

Mulder chewed on his lower lip, then took the phone. Alex gave him a
reassuring smile and a soft kiss, and he began to punch in Scully's number.
The soft hello on the other end froze him for a moment, and he realized that
it was three hours later there, and that she was probably asleep.

"Scully? It's me."

"*Mulder*? Mulder, oh my God. Where are you? What..."

"Scully, listen. I'm all right."

Alex closed his eyes, telling himself that this was the right thing to do.
As much as he hated the idea of Mulder leaving here, he knew it was
impossible for him to stay. He comforted himself in his lover's warmth,
nuzzling against the side of his neck. The scent of Mulder's skin permeated
his senses and dulled the pain. He tilted his chin, bringing his lips
closer, touching them to the pulse point.

Mulder leaned his head to the side, resting his cheek upon the sable head on
his shoulder, encouraging the younger man to continue.

"Where have you *been*?"

"It's...it's a long story, Scully. One I'd really rather try to explain to
you in person."

"Where are you? I'll come to you...Mulder? What was that? Are you sure
you're okay?"

Mulder bit down on his lip to stifle another gasp as Alex slid downward,
licking and nipping, then began to suck on a nipple. His fingers clenched in
his lover's hair, and he practically ripped the strands out of his head as
Alex bit down on the hard nub and pulled gently.

"Ahh, *shit*..."

"*Mulder*. Tell me where you are, dammit!"

"I'll tell...tell you about it when...I get back."

"Mulder, are you in any danger?"

"No. No, Scully. No danger. I'll..." His words faded and were lost as Alex
continued his downward journey, reaching his solid erection, and flicking
his tongue across the tip as he stroked the shaft slowly.
"I'm....um....I..."

"*Mulder*!"

Mulder attempted to compose himself enough to answer. He should have pulled
Alex away, but he had neither the strength nor the inclination. "Scully," he
measured each word, "I'm okay..." He thrust up into the welcoming heat of
Alex's mouth, then let his hips sink back onto the bed.

Alex remained still, caressing his lover's hips, swirling his tongue around
the head of his cock...waiting.

Mulder pushed upward again, then dropped back down to the mattress,
repeating the action again and again. "I don't..don't know where I am"

"Don't know where you *are*? Then how are you calling me?"

Mulder's hips lifted again as he proceeded to slowly fuck his lover's mouth.
"Sc...Scully, listen...the man who...who helped me is very protective..."
His words were cut off for a moment as Alex slid a finger into his ass.

"Mulder?"

"I'm here...uh...he's protective of his..privacy. We're snowed in, but...as
soon...soon as..." He stopped again, gritting his teeth as Alex added a
second finger. "As soon *as* we're able to get...out...I'll...call...you..."

"Mulder...*Mulder*...I don't understand. How did this man find you? There
were shots. We came in and found all the kidnappers dead. Did this man kill
them? How the hell did he get you out of there when that place was crawling
with law enforcement?"

"Don't know, Scully...I was...unconscious. Gotta...go...I'm okay. I'll
call."

"Mulder....Mulder, don't hang up. There are so many things..."

"Later...don't...worry, okay?" he practically sobbed, overcome by the dual
stimulation. "Couple of days..." He was already letting the phone drop from
his ear as he said those last words. He managed to press the 'end' button,
and the phone fell from his hand. He rocked back and forth between Alex's
mouth and his fingers, his blood reaching the boiling point. It bubbled up
and flowed over when the younger man reached up with his other hand and
began to pinch and twist one of his nipples. Mulder began to thrash wildly,
his screams of pleasure bouncing off the walls. He erupted into his lover's
mouth, sending a long stream of hot fluid down his throat. As he came down,
the screams diminished, turning into faint whimpers, then finally to soft
purrs of contentment.

Alex lay half-draped over Mulder's legs, lazily licking his cock, removing
all traces of his explosion. When he was done, he slid up the length of the
older man's body, kissing and licking the warm, salty flesh, finally ending
at the flushed lips. He covered them in a brief kiss, then pulled away and
waited for Mulder's eyes to open.

Seconds later, the golden-brown lashes began to flutter. "Ohhhh, God...."

Alex grinned. "He lives."

"Barely." Mulder took a few deep breaths, then blinked up at his lover.
"What are you smirking at?"

"You're beautiful when you come."

Mulder moaned softly and again closed his eyes.

Alex stroked his forehead idly, tracing the line of his eyebrows. "You lied
to Scully."

"Mmm."

"Why'd you do it?"

"To buy us a couple more days." Mulder opened his eyes. "I didn't...I
couldn't leave yet."

"Do you think she bought it?"

"I don't know. I guess I'll find out when I get back." His eyes snapped
open. "You...you don't mind, do you?"

"*Mind*? Are you kidding? I just don't want you to run into any trouble with
Red on my account."

Mulder's hand stroked over the curve of his ass. "Hey, this isn't just for
your benefit, you know." He pulled Alex's head down for a sizzling kiss, and
rolled the younger man beneath him.

Alex didn't object, though he knew he should. He should stop this now and
send Mulder home immediately, but how could he when Mulder was stretched
naked over him, dragging his tongue across the expanse of his chest?

//God, fuck it. Worry about it later.//

Mulder worked his way over to one of his lover's nipples and caught it
between his teeth, tugging and pulling, ever-so-gently.

Alex's head pressed back into the pillows and he groaned through gritted
teeth as Mulder's tongue flicked mercilessly over the sensitive tip. His
fingers plowed restlessly through his lover's golden-brown hair, and his
hips jerked upward.

Mulder shifted position to keep Alex's cock from jabbing into his tender
ribs, as he began to sink lower, letting his mouth glide over the warm,
satiny skin. As he approached the younger man's hip, he slowed and lingered
there, kissing and licking the area. He then opened his mouth and began to
suck on the moistened skin, marking his lover as he'd been marked.

Alex's nose wrinkled and his teeth clenched as Mulder continued to apply a
hard suction to the flesh. His fingers closed in the silky strands of hair,
and he held the other man's head there. "Yeah," he whispered breathlessly,
"yeah, oh, baby..."

Mulder finally released then began to soothe the angry, red mark. He looked
up into glittering, dark eyes and again licked the skin. "Mine?"

Alex stared down at Mulder, nodding mutely.

The older man smiled and licked his way across to the nest of dark curls
surrounding the thick length of muscle that protruded from them. His tongue
cut a path through the short hair, and reached the base of Alex's cock. It
snaked around the shaft, stroking and caressing the distended vein on the
underside, tracing it up to the flared head, and fluttering around the
prominent ridge.

Alex grunted loudly, doing his utmost to keep it together and let Mulder's
tongue work its magic. His hands left the older man's head, and while the
fingers of one hand dug into his shoulder muscles, the other twisted in the
sheets.

Mulder lapped at the head for a moment, glorying in the sounds and smell of
the man writhing beneath him. He picked his head up and waited for Alex to
open his eyes and look down at him. The sable lashes lifted and he smiled up
at his lover. "Mine too?"

"God, yes. All yours, baby."

Without another word, Mulder's mouth closed over the head and his tongue
began to probe the slick opening. He moaned softly, tasting his lover for
the first time, and the sound vibrated all up and down Alex's throbbing
erection, drawing long, tortured whimpers from him. Slowly, Mulder slid
lower, giving every inch of rigid flesh, his undivided attention. He began
to feel a slight discomfort three-quarters of the way down, but he breathed
deeply through his nose, relaxed his throat, and took his lover all the way
in.

Alex growled softly as he struggled to keep his hips from leaping off the
mattress. Just as he was about to lose that struggle, he felt the sting of
cool air, as Mulder pulled up and off of him.

"No...baby, please...don't tease..."

Mulder shushed the younger man, and placed a tiny kiss on the tip of his
cock before he reached for the lube. "Just returning the favor," he
whispered in his soft, smoky monotone. He slicked his fingers and gently
inserted the tip of one into Alex's anus. The younger man did leap off of
the mattress this time, hissing sharply. "Am I hurting you?" Mulder asked,
concerned.

"No...no. It just...it feels like..." Alex moistened his dry lips and
continued. "..like electricity. Please, don't stop. Fuck me."

Mulder pushed his finger a little farther, smiling at the ever-increasing
amount of noise coming from above his head. When he finally had the one
finger completely buried, he withdrew it and added a second, twisting and
wiggling them both back inside.

Alex's mouth dropped open and a long, rumbling sob escaped his throat as his
lover's fingers stroked over his prostate and his mouth came back down to
claim his cock. His head rocked back and forth on the pillow, and his hips
bucked in wild anticipation.

Mulder now sucked voraciously at the younger man's cock, knowing that he
could hold him back no longer. His fingers thrust deeper, pulling thunderous
howls from Alex as his orgasm hit, and he pumped warm, bitter fluid into his
mouth.

Alex's screams died away and he collapsed, completely wrung out. He lay
motionless, too spent to even draw a breath. Only when he felt Mulder's lips
covering his, did he inhale. He let the breath out through his nose, sending
with it a satisfied sigh, which Mulder joyfully drank in.

The older man pulled away, planting another quick kiss on his mouth, before
settling on top of his chest. He lay his head against Alex's shoulder, and
closed his eyes. "I'm going to assume that all that noise meant that you
enjoyed it."

Alex wrapped one arm around Mulder's back and petted his head gently with
his other hand. "Enjoyed?" He laughed weakly. "Jesus Christ, Fox, I thought
my head was going to explode." He dropped a soft kiss in his lover's hair.
"You know, I knew you'd be good."

"Spend time thinking about it, did you?"

"Lots of time. Probably more than was actually healthy."

"You telling me you were obsessed?"

"Does that freak you out?"

"You think 'Spooky' Mulder is that easily freaked? You should know better
than that. I don't think anyone's ever obsessed over me before. Not in a
sexual sense, anyway." He nipped playfully at the younger man's shoulder. "I
think I like it."

Alex tightened his arm around Mulder's back. "And I think I like this...very
much."

"*This*," Mulder murmured, rubbing his head against the other man's
shoulder, "is yours anytime you want it. And I hope you want it often."

"I'll always want you, baby. Even when I'm not with you."

Mulder nodded after a brief hesitation, and started to pull away, but Alex
held him in place.

"What are you doing?"

"I was just going to lie beside you. I must be getting heavy."

"Are you comfortable?"

"Yeah..."

Alex pushed the golden-brown head back to his shoulder. "Then stay here. It
feels so good." He stroked the older man's hair and whispered into his ear,
"Close your eyes."

Mulder did what he was told and lay purring contentedly in the warmth of his
lover's arms, allowing himself to be stroked and kissed. "You keep that up,"
he moaned softly, "and you're going to put me to sleep."

"Is there a problem with that?"

"Not if you don't mind being slowly crushed to death..."

Alex kissed the side of his head. "Shut up, Mulder, and go to sleep."

Minutes later, Mulder was softly snoring, his head still pillowed against
his lover's shoulder.

"Fox?"

No answer.

"Babe, you sleeping?"

Still nothing.

His fingers curled in his lover's hair, and he buried his face in the silky
strands. He wasn't sure what he'd done to deserve this night, but he was
grateful for it. Only in his dreams had he dared to imagine that Mulder
would react this way to him. He'd hoped...he'd *always* had
hope...obviously, or he never would have brought Mulder here, but he thought
that hope was always terribly unreasonable. Now here they were, naked,
wrapped in each other's arms, safe and warm, and completely content. He
pushed thoughts of Mulder's inevitable departure away, and closed his eyes,
joining his lover in oblivion.

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

"Ouch! Shit!" Alex touched his hand to the back of his head, bringing away
bits of crushed snow. He spun around, looking for the culprit. He found
Mulder about twelve yards away, his hand cradling another snowball, and an
impish grin plastered across his face. He pointed to the ball of white in
the other man's hand. "Don't you throw that."

Why didn't he just say, 'Go ahead, Fox, throw the snowball directly at my
head.'?

He ducked as the object whizzed past him, just grazing the top of his head.
"Damn!"

"I shot expert in the academy, you know," Mulder's amused voice sounded in
the quiet morning air.

Alex swiped again at his head, knocking the snow from his hair.
"Congratulations. Now get your ass back inside. It's cold out here."

"I just wanted some air."

"There's air inside...*warm* air. Now get in there!"

"You coming?"

"As soon as I get this firewood." He flicked his hand loosely at the other
man, shooing him back into the cabin. When Mulder was gone, he allowed a
grin to curve his lips. God, he loved this. It felt so *normal*. For so many
years his world only consisted of wheeling and dealing...betrayal...mayhem
and killing...

He thought back to this morning, he'd awakened on his side with Mulder
behind him, curled around his body, cheek resting against the back of his
head. It felt so good. So damn perfect.

He couldn't recall making any sounds, but he felt Mulder begin to stir, and
he wiggled back against him, prompting a sleepy moan. He felt the other
man's cock swell and harden against his ass, and his own cock stiffened in
response. The arm that was already draped around his waist, pulled him
closer. He heard a small grunt as the man behind him shifted, twisting his
torso, then turned back. There was some movement he couldn't quite
recognize, then more definite motions. Mulder was stroking his own cock, but
only very briefly, and Alex realized that he must have been applying lube.
His cock twitched in anticipation, and then he felt Mulder guiding his
erection between his ass cheeks. He pushed back eagerly, wanting to help his
lover as much as he could, and then the head of Mulder's cock entered him,
and they both gasped at the sensation. Mulder kissed and nibbled on the back
of his neck as he inched his way inside, never completely stopping until he
was buried right to the base.

Alex lay squirming, pushing back against his lover until he began to move,
establishing a slow, teasing rhythm. His head fell back against Mulder's
shoulder, and he clasped a hand in the golden-brown hair, pulling gently.
The older man immediately took advantage of his position, cupping his chin
and twisting his head until their lips met. As they kissed, Alex rocked back
against Mulder, grinding his ass into the older man's hips, and whimpered
softly into his mouth. His fingers uncurled from his lover's hair, and slid
down his head, along his jaw, and down his own face and neck, traveling to
his chest, where he began to play with his own nipples. The sensation of his
lover slowly fucking him while he touched himself, brought him to extreme
levels of hardness. He brushed his fingers over his nipple a few more times,
then allowed them to creep down toward his aching cock. He only had the
chance to stroke himself a couple of times before Mulder's hand clamped
around his wrist and pull his hand away.

"Mine."

There was no question in his tone this time. It was a simple statement,
spoken to let Alex know that he had every intention of taking complete
control of this situation. His hand replaced Alex's, stroking and pulling
his cock gently, as he bit into the sensitive flesh at the back of his neck.

Alex recalled crying out into the still morning air as his lover stimulated
him well beyond the point of madness. The eruption overtook him in one
blinding instant, and his mouth screamed Mulder's name even as his mind
begged the older man not to stop fucking him until he'd passed out.

Mulder's hand left Alex's spent cock to slip over and around his chest,
holding his lover securely, and giving him the leverage he needed to
increase the strength of his thrusts. He forced an exhausted grunt for Alex
with every push, and soon he was groaning into the younger man's hair as he
emptied himself into the limp body.

They lay there, drained but satisfied, kissing and nuzzling each other while
enough of their strength returned for them to get up. They showered
together, teasing and laughing, then ate a large breakfast, and while Mulder
insisted on doing the dishes, Alex went out for more firewood.

And here he stood, a light snow beginning to fall again, showing a stark
white against the darkness of his hair...holding an armful of
wood....smiling like an idiot.

//Come on, what are you doing daydreaming out here while the fucking sexiest
thing to ever walk the earth is inside waiting for you? Get inside, get the
wood stacked, and then rip his clothes off.//

Alex smiled, hoisting the wood higher against his chest, and started back
toward the cabin.

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

"And he wouldn't tell you where he was?"

"It's not that he *wouldn't*, sir. He *couldn't*. He said he didn't know. He
said that he'd be back, hopefully in a couple of days. They were snowed in
at the moment."

"So he *could* still be in that area."

"Yes sir, he could. But I checked the weather reports for that region, and
it's snowing all over Washington, Montana, and parts of Oregon, Idaho, and
Canada. I don't know what to do, other than to just wait to hear from him
again. I mean, if he's snowed in, we'll be snowed *out*."

Skinner rose from his seat and stared down at the lone agent. "Do you think
he's all right?"

"I...I think so. He sounded a little funny, but he insisted that he was fine
and he'd call me again soon."

"I don't understand, Agent Scully. The man who took him from the lodge is in
all probability the killer of the kidnappers. Agent Mulder could himself, be
in danger."

"I get the feeling he didn't feel that way."

Skinner shook his head slowly. "Your suggestion?"

"I suggest we do the only thing we *can* do at the moment. Sit and
wait...and pray that he's all right.

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

Alex lifted the thick strands of golden-brown hair, and let them fall back
to their owner's head, watching, fascinated as they absorbed the amber glow
from the fire. His eyes wandered from his hair, to the sweep of golden
lashes, to Mulder's lips, so soft and pliant...slightly more swollen than
normal from hours of kissing and...

His cock twitched as he thought about Mulder lying between his parted thighs
while he reclined against the pillows he'd thrown on the floor. Those
sinfully beautiful lips wrapped around his shaft...amber-splashed eyes, hazy
with lust as they fixed on the deep green above him. He moved slowly and
deliberately, licking and sucking...teasing his victim mercilessly. The man
was an incredible slut, and Alex couldn't have been happier.

He smiled down at the sleeping man, so angelic in repose. So utterly feral
when aroused.

His.

After years of wanting and wishing, plotting and planning, Fox Mulder was
his. Willingly...joyfully. And he'd do everything he could...anything he had
to, to insure that he always wanted to be.

Mulder rose from the warm silence, feeling his lover's presence beside him.
He snuggled into the warm, fleece blanket that cocooned him, and opened his
eyes. He then turned onto his back, and looked up into an intense green
gaze. Stretching lazily, he gave his lover a heart-melting smile. "Every
time I wake up, I think I'm going to find out that I've been dreaming."

Alex smiled back, and came in for a long, sweet kiss. He pulled away, and
stroked the tip of one finger down his lover's jaw. "I'm going to go back
with you."

Mulder's mouth opened, and for a moment, no sound would come from it. He
cleared his throat and tried again. "You...what changed your mind?"

"I want to be with you," Alex answered softly.

"You said that yesterday...but you still refused to come with me."

"I just...I changed my mind. Is that okay?"

Mulder studied him for a moment, then spoke. "I would love for you to come
home with me. I've made that very clear." He focused on his lover's eyes,
reading his emotions. "There's more to your decision, though, than just a
change of heart. Alex....you won't lose me. I'm not yours just for the time
that I'm here."

Alex lowered his eyes and stared at the fleece gathered between them.

"Alex?" Mulder called softly, drawing the younger man's attention back to
his face. "Did you hear me?"

"Yeah."

"I mean it. If you show up six months from now at my apartment, in the
middle of the night, I'll be alone...waiting for you." Receiving no
response, he went on. "You go on doing whatever you have to do. I'll be
fine. Just watch your ass, call me often, and come to see me whenever you
can."

Alex stared down at him mutely. Finally, he lowered his head, kissing Mulder
softly, then rested his cheek on his lover's bare shoulder. "Funny," he
croaked, "it sounded reasonable when I said it, but hearing it from you...I
think I know how you felt yesterday."

Mulder wrapped his arms around his lover, planting several small kisses in
his hair. "Good."

"Good?"

"Yeah. You wouldn't feel like that if you didn't really care."

Alex lifted his head. "Is my sincerity still a question in your mind?"

"As much as I tell myself that it shouldn't, it has popped in and out of my
head a couple of times."

Alex shifted, propping his head up in his hand. "I...I understand. It's not
the easiest thing in the world to completely trust the biggest rat bastard
you've ever known in your life. Even if you *have* spent the last two days
fucking him senseless."

"Alex..."

"No. It's all right, really. You'd have to be insane to just swallow
everything that comes out of my mouth."

Mulder grinned up at him, attempting to lighten the mood. "Why not? If I can
swallow what comes out of your dick..."

He tried to hold it back, but the laughter bubbled up and spilled over.
"You're a sick bastard."

Mulder clasped his hand around the back of the younger man's neck, and
pulled him down to his chest. "Because I did it, or because I said it?"

Alex nipped at the older man's collarbone, then kissed the same spot. "Don't
get me wrong, now. Your depravity is one of the things I love about you."

"Yeah?" Mulder draped a leg over Alex's hip, grinning. "What else do you
love about me?"

The younger man swept down, taking his lover's mouth in a sudden,
breath-stealing kiss. When he released him, they were both hard again.

"You up for another round already?" Mulder purred into Alex's ear, rocking
his hips, and rubbing their erections together.

"So it would appear. But uh..."

Mulder squinted up at him. "Should than grin make me nervous?"

"Nooo. I just...." Alex moistened his lips with the tip of his tongue.
"..would you do something for me?"

"Maybe. What?"

Alex brought his hand up to the base of Mulder's throat, and swept it
downward, taking with it, the fleece blanket. His eyes darkened as he
surveyed the body it seemed he'd never get tired of looking at.

Mulder writhed slowly, enjoying the play of the fireplace heat over his
skin. "What do you want me to do?"

"I want you to jerk off for me."

The older man displayed a shock of white teeth. "You what?"

"Please?"

"Come on, Alex..."

The younger man pushed a couple of strands of hair away from his face. "You
know you want to," he whispered. "The thought of me watching you, turns you
on. Come on. Do it for me." He took Mulder's hand in his own, kissed the
palm, and then placed it at the base of the older man's throat. "You do this
at home, don't you? When you're alone?"

The golden-brown eyelashes began to flutter and slip closed, and Mulder
sighed softly.

"No."

The single word opened Mulder's eyes, and he looked to his lover.

"Look at me." Alex held Mulder's attention as he moved their hands together
over his chest. "Watch and see what you do to me."

Mulder's hand continued to move along with his lover's, across the expanse
of his chest, and over both nipples. He watched the forest-green eyes
glitter with desire as his hand broke from Alex's and began to move on its
own, stroking and lightly pinching his own nipples.

Alex's lips parted and his respiration grew uneven as he watched his lover's
other hand join the first. He removed his hand from Mulder's chest, and
allowed him complete control. As the other man now pulled and twisted both
of his nipples, Alex spoke again to him, murmuring words of encouragement.

"That feel good, gorgeous?"

Mulder struggled to keep his eyes focused on his lover's as he nodded and
continued to tease himself. One hand remained on a nipple, brushing and
pinching, while the other wandered south, and gently brushed the length of
his cock.

The younger man lowered his head, and nuzzled Mulder's ear. "Yeah...of
course it does." Alex pulled away, and sat back to watch his lover. "Come
on, baby. Do it for me."

Mulder focused a heavy-lidded stare on his lover, and he arched his back
slightly while his fingertips feathered the velvety surface of his cock.

"Do you do this at home, Fox?" Alex asked again, fascinated. "Do you like to
tease yourself? Or this special for me?"

The other man gave no answer. He merely circled his fingers around the head,
skimming away the bead of moisture that had formed at the tip, then brought
his fingers up to his lips. Eyes glued to his lover's, he slowly parted his
lips, and allowed his tongue to inch out and lick the fluid away.

Alex watched Mulder, mesmerized, as he began to absently stroke his own
cock. "Will you think of me from now on, Fox? When you're home, in your
bed...will you touch yourself and wish it was my hand on you?"

Mulder nodded. "Wouldn't be anything new."

One sable eyebrow arched upward. "What?"

The corners of Mulder's mouth curled up into an enticing smile as he wrapped
his hand around his cock and began to slide it up and down the hard shaft.

"Fox?"

Mulder's eyes closed and he sighed, softly. His lids lifted again to find
his lover gaping at him, trying to process the information he was just hit
with. His hand motions quickened as did his breaths, and Alex's attention
was immediately drawn back to where he wanted it. He writhed and whimpered,
stroking himself harder and faster, and when he felt himself getting
uncomfortably close, he slowed it down. "Baby," he whispered in a pleading
voice.

"Yeah?"

"Come with me."

Alex studied his lover for a moment, grinning, then turned onto his right
side, and moved closer. Mulder turned to face him, and each man began to
stroke himself, attempting to maintain a similar rhythm. They watched each
other intently, aroused every bit as much by what they were seeing as what
they were feeling. Quickly, they approached the finish, panting and moaning
until they erupted, Mulder first, then Alex soon after. Each man shot warm,
slick fluid onto the other, and when it was done, Mulder slid down his
lover's body, and began to lick him clean. When he was through, Alex did the
same for him, then they cuddled together in front of the fire, wrapped in
each other's arms.

"So," Alex began, when they were both breathing a little easier, "you wanna
run that by me again, about you thinking about me when you jerk off?"

"I never said that."

"Oh, yes you did. Not in so many words, but let's not get caught up in
technicalities."

Mulder licked a path up his throat. "Okay, okay."

"You admit it?"

"*Yes*, I admit it."

"What did you think about? What was your favorite fantasy?"

Mulder propped himself up on one elbow and smirked down at the other man.
"You're enjoying this, aren't you?"

"What?" Alex asked sweetly.

"Cut the wide-eyed innocent bullshit, Alex. It doesn't work for you."

The younger man laughed, pulling his lover down for a kiss. "If you mean
that I'm enjoying being the object of your dirty little sexual fantasies,
yeah. I really am. Tell me about the best one."

"I don't know that I've got a favorite."

"Yes, you do..."

Mulder smirked down at him. "Well....you're usually cuffed...or restrained
in some way..."

The corner of Alex's mouth twitched.

"You're usually naked..."

"Usually?"

"Yeah. Sometimes I've only ripped half your clothes off."

"Too anxious to undress me properly?"

"Uh-huh."

"Wait, wait. Start from the beginning. *Why* am I restrained?"

"Umm....we're someplace where there are people around. Someplace public, but
we're alone. I'm investigating a case, and I've found you there. I've taken
you by surprise and restrained you. You taunt me, I get pissed, slap you
around a bit...in other words, we fall into the same old comedy routine that
we always fell into when we came together...except this time, for some
reason, you really, really tick me off, and I start to tear at your clothes.
And you get this look in your eye and start giving off these vibes that only
someone who was deaf, dumb and blind could miss. We stare each other for a
long time, I mean...a *long* time...."

"Why so long?"

"You're luring me in...tempting me, and I'm fighting it. I always give in,
though, and we end up on a dirty floor, or draped over a piece of furniture,
fucking like there's no tomorrow."

"So...in this little fantasy of yours, I'm a shameless slut," Alex teased.

"I guess you could say that. You got a problem with it?"

"No...no, I just wanted to make sure I understood."

Mulder laughed softly. "So you don't mind being a slut?"

Alex licked the corner of his lover's mouth. "For you? Any time."

Mulder turned his head, bringing their lips together. After a long kiss, he
pulled the younger man into his arms, and they lay quietly together, each
man immersed in his own contemplation. As darkness began to fall, Mulder
shifted and called softly to his lover.

"Alex?"

"Hmm?"

"Thought you might have been asleep."

"No."

"What are you doing?"

"Same thing you're doing."

Mulder went quiet for a moment, then asked, "How did you know where I was?"

"Heard em talking."

"Who?"

"The old men. I'd been away for a while, and when I came back, I decided to
sneak in and see if anything interesting was going on. They were talking
about you. Their man inside had told them about your situation, and they
decided not to interfere. They'd apparently come to the decision that you'd
become too much for them to handle, and the best thing to do was to just let
it play out. If you'd died, well, good for them. They'd have you out of the
way, and they wouldn't have to risk any problems to do it." He shook his
head. "I wasn't going to let that happen. No way. Not on my watch."

"Could've happened while you *weren't* watching."

Alex pressed two kisses into Mulder's chest. "I'm always watching you."

"Watching, watching or spying, watching."

"Awww, spying is such a harsh word. I was simply keeping an eye on you."

"Well..." Mulder stroked the younger man's hair. "I'm glad you were keeping
an eye on me...Alex?"

"Yeah?"

"You said, 'the man inside'. Do you know who that is?"

"Sorry, I have no idea. They're very tight-lipped about that kind of stuff.
I've tried to find out. Never had any luck."

Mulder nodded his acknowledgment. Then, "Alex?"

"Yeees?"

"They know by now what happened. If they find out it was you, will you be in
danger?"

"Nah. They'll be pissed, but that's all. They kill me, and they'll have more
trouble than they can handle, and they know it."

"You sure?"

"Yeah, I'm sure. Why? You worried about me?"

Mulder tightened his arms around his lover. "Yeah."

Alex smiled and said nothing.

"Alex?"

The younger man rolled his eyes up into his head, and dropped his lids over
them. "Yes, lamb chop, what is it *now*?"

"First of all, you call me lamb chop again, and I'll shoot you."

Alex broke into laughter.

"Second...I don't want to, but...I...I guess I should get going tomorrow."

The smile faded from Alex's face. "I know."

"I was thinking that I should go back to Washington. You can leave me at a
motel or something, and I can call Scully from there."

"Have you figured out what you're going to tell her?"

"Yeah, I think so. I'm just going to tell her that I was left on the side of
the road, semi-conscious, by the man who took me from the lodge, and that I
was picked up by the man I told her about. That'll keep her from asking me a
million questions about the man who would have been their prime suspect in
the deaths of the kidnappers."

"You'll lie like that for me?"

"You saved my life, Alex...at great risk to your own."

"And then I kidnapped you."

"Yeah, but not to hurt me."

"If you were conscious, it would have been against your will."

"Are you looking for reasons for me to be pissed at you?"

"No. I just want you to be sure that you want to do this."

Mulder cupped the younger man's cheek in his palm, skimming his thumb back
and forth across his lips. "I'm sure....now...how about some dinner? I'm
starving."

The remainder of the evening was spent on a quiet dinner, then at Mulder's
request, a brief walk through the snow. Five minutes away from the cabin,
Alex slipped his arm around Mulder's waist, and kissed the side of his head.

"You okay?"

"Yeah. Fine."

"Just checking. You *have* been frostbitten. We shouldn't be out here for
too long."

"I'm okay, Alex. I'll let you know if I get too cold."

"All right." Alex let his arm slide away from his lover's waist, and drop
between them. They linked gloved fingers, and trudged on.

Twenty minutes later, they returned, had a long, leisurely shower together,
then fell into bed. Apparently more than a bit worn out, Mulder fell asleep
almost immediately, tucked against the warmth of his lover. Alex held him,
gently stroking his back, as he stared up at the ceiling, thinking that if
he didn't go to sleep, daylight wouldn't come so soon, and he could hold on
to the man in his arms just a bit longer.

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

Seven thirty-three.

Alex blinked in the unwelcome light of day. When the hell had he fallen
asleep?

He turned his head to the left and found Mulder, wide awake, and staring
down at him.

"Morning."

Alex reached up to brush his fingers across the sleep-swollen lips. "Good
morning."

They stared into each other's eyes, both men experiencing the same emotions,
but neither knowing quite how to put them to words. Finally, Mulder leaned
down, and brushed his lips across the younger man's.

"I don't want to wake up tomorrow morning in an empty bed."

"I know, baby," Alex answered softly.

"How the hell did we come to this in just a few days time?"

The other man shrugged. "We've both admitted that we've been attracted to
each other for a long time..."

"Yeah, but...to feel like *this*..."

Alex studied his lover with interest. "Like what?"

Mulder averted his eyes, suddenly wondering if maybe he should have kept his
mouth shut.

"Fox?"

Still looking away. "Yeah?"

"Tell me."

"I just...I don't...thinking about being away from you depresses me. After
only a few days, I'm feeling more emotionally dependent on you,
than...than....*Scully*, and it's just...weird, for lack of a better word."

Alex lowered his eyes and nodded. "Then maybe it's a good thing that you're
going today."

Mulder cocked his head, momentarily confused by his lover's reaction.
"Alex....oh...jeez, no, Alex. I'm sorry, I didn't mean that it upset me. I
don't regret a second of the time we've spent together. I just need you to
promise that you'll come to me as often as you can." He lowered his head
again, and brushed his nose against Alex's. "Okay?"

Alex smiled up at him. "For a minute, I really did think that maybe you were
reconsidering this."

Mulder shook his head, returning the smile. "Not a chance. Now, promise."

"I *promise*, baby...every chance I get, I'll be there with you. I'll
*create* opportunities." His eyes burned into his lover's. "I'm addicted to
you now, and I won't...I *can't* go for long without getting a fix."

Mulder smiled down at his lover. "I'll hold you to that."

"Go right ahead."

"And uh...speaking of fixes..." the older man purred, nipping at Alex's ear,
"..isn't it time for one? It's been, what? Eight hours or so?"

"Has it been that long?" Alex asked in an amused tone, even as he reached
up, spinning his lover underneath him. "Shit. No wonder I'm beginning to
twitch."

They made love with an urgency that bordered on violence, tearing at each
other like animals, desperately wanting each to feel the other for however
long their coming separation lasted. More than an hour passed, and finally,
they collapsed, exhausted and spent, Mulder draped limply over Alex's back.
They slept that way for almost two hours, and when they woke, showered and
dressed, had breakfast, then set about preparing to leave. When they were
set to go, they walked to the door, and Alex leaned against it. He and
Mulder stared at each for a time, before he reached out, and stroked the
underside of the older man's chin.

"You really don't regret any of this?"

Mulder shook his head. "None of it."

"God....make me open the door, Fox. I don't think I can."

Mulder stepped forward, leaning into his lover, and placed a long, tender
kiss on his lips. As he did so, he reached behind him, grasping the knob. He
turned it, and pulled, as he wrapped his free arm around Alex's waist, and
dragged him forward. They passed through the door and out of the place where
they'd become lovers, each reluctant step carrying them closer to the world
in which neither man wanted any longer to belong.

Both doors of Alex's vehicle slammed shut, and the younger man sat, staring
down at the key he held. Mulder waited quietly, neither touching nor looking
at him. Soon enough, he gathered the strength to put the key in the
ignition, and start the engine. He took a deep breath, and pulled away from
the cabin.

Twenty minutes later, silence still hung like a thick fog between them.
Ultimately, it was Mulder who broke the stillness. He leaned forward,
turning the radio on, and searching the stations for some music. Finally, he
found an alternative music station, and relaxed against the seat, tapping
his fingers on his knee. Alex looked from his face, to the radio, and back.

"What the hell is that?"

"What do you mean?"

"I *mean*," Alex said grimacing, "what the hell is that shit you're
listening to?"

Mulder looked at him as if he had two heads. "Nine Inch Nails."

"Is that the name of the song or the group?"

"The group. Actually, the name of the song is, "The Perfect
Drug"...seriously, you have no idea who these guys are?"

"Should I?"

Mulder opened his mouth, closed it, then started again. "I'm just...I guess
I just assumed that this'd be your kind of music."

"*God*, no."

"Well, what *do* you listen to?"

"You'd laugh if I told you."

"No, I won't."

Alex shook his head, keeping his eyes on the road.

"C'mon, Alex. I won't laugh, I promise."

The younger man's eyes flicked over to his lover's face, then back to the
road. "I like seventies music."

Mulder stared blankly at him. "Umm...when you say seventies music, what
exactly do you..."

"I mean like the Chi-Lites..."

"Who?"

"The Doobie Brothers..."

Mulder's nose wrinkled.

"The Isley Brothers..."

"Okay..."

"K.C. and The Sunshine Band..."

"Oh, God. All right, Alex, I get the picture..."

"The Bee Gees...."

"Oh. That's it. Stop this car right now. I'll walk the rest of the way."

Alex scowled at him. "Why?"

"I can't ride in the same car as a guy who likes the freakin' Bee Gees."

"And what exactly is *wrong* with the Bee Gees?"

"They're...they're.....dammit, Alex, they're the *Bee Gees*. What else needs
to be said?"

"I guess you were one of those 'disco sucks' people, huh?"

"White, polyester suits were never my thing, no."

"You didn't have to wear the clothes to enjoy the music, you know."

"I just...I never would have dreamed..."

"*What would you never have dreamed?"

"That *you'd* like that kind of music. It just doesn't seem like you."

"What does?"

"I thought you'd be into alternative, too. And if you were gonna be into
retro, I'd have pegged you for stuff like Pink Floyd, The Stones, Led
Zeppelin..."

Alex wrinkled his nose. "Uh...nope."

Mulder stared blankly at him. "You've shocked me. You really have."

"Not the biggest shock you've received over the last few days, I'm sure."

Mulder smiled, reaching over to skim the backs of his knuckles down his
lover's cheek. "You can say that again."

Alex nuzzled, then kissed the hand. "So. You wanna call the whole thing
off?"

Mulder had busied himself, tracing the outside edge of the younger man's
mouth with the tip of one finger. "Hmm?"

"We're obviously in total disagreement about music. Probably a lot of other
things, too..."

Mulder grinned, letting his hand drop to Alex's upper thigh. He squeezed
gently, drawing a soft sigh from the mouth he'd just been touching.
"Probably. I think we can work around them, though, if we really want to."
His hand crept higher. "*I* really want to...do you?"

Alex placed his hand over his lover's and moved it over the solid bulge in
his jeans. "Yeah, I do."

The older man studied him for a moment, then began to pet the denim-covered
hardness. He listened to the soft rumbles of pleasure for a few moments,
then popped the top button, and began to work the zipper down. "State
troopers aren't going to find us down an embankment, wrapped around a tree,
in a mass of twisted metal, with my hand down your pants, are they?"

Alex moaned as the older man's hand made contact with his cock. "I can think
of worse ways to go..."

"That wasn't exactly the reassuring answer I was hoping for."

"Don't worry. I'll tend to my business, and you tend to yours."

They drove along, Alex carefully keeping the vehicle on the road, while
Mulder stroked and squeezed the aching muscle beneath his hand. Only the
deepening of the younger man's respiration told Mulder that his excitement
was building. He inched over to the left edge of his seat, and leaning over,
lay his head on Alex's shoulder. "Are you sure you wouldn't rather pull off
to the side of the road?" he teased.

"Not a good idea," Alex replied shakily. "If I stop driving, I won't want to
continue...not in the same direction, anyway."

"You know, I was thinking," Mulder purred as his hand released Alex's cock
to slide deeper into his pants, "I've got loads of vacation time saved
up..." He cupped and gently squeezed his lover's balls. "If you want, I
could come back."

"When?"

"A few weeks, maybe...give everything a chance to cool down. I could get all
my work cleaned up, tell Scully I need to get away for a while, then meet
you back here...that is, if you're free."

The warm tingles radiating from his lover's hand made it difficult to
concentrate, but Alex forced himself to focus. "You name the date and the
time. I'll be there."

Mulder shifted his head and kissed his way up Alex's jaw to his ear. "I
should be home by tomorrow night. Call me then, and we can talk about it."

"I got a better idea," Alex murmured, fighting to keep his eyes open as
Mulder teased the interior of his ear. "I'll give...give you my private
number. You call *me* as soon as you get in."

"Oooh, I get the secret phone number? I feel so special."

Alex took one hand off of the wheel, and wound his arm around Mulder's chin,
laying his hand on his lover's head. "Oh, yeah, baby. You're damn special."

"Aww. You're just saying that because I'm jerking you off."

"That's not true."

"Sure, it is," Mulder whispered sweetly in Alex's ear. "I could probably get
you to say almost anything right now."

"Well, maybe, but just remember, nothing you get out of me would be
admissible in court."

The low rumble of laughter traveled through Alex's inner ear and straight
down to his cock. It jumped against his hand, and the older man wrapped his
fingers around it once more. The soft groan prompted him to again, begin to
stroke his lover.

Those fuzzy little sensations began once again, and Alex's fingers clenched,
entrapping strands of golden-brown hair between them.

"Mmmm."

Mulder's hand moved a bit faster, and he rubbed his head against Alex's
shoulder. "You feel so good in my hand, baby. But you'd feel so much better
in my ass."

"Shit." Alex squirmed in his seat. "Jesus, Fox, don't do that."

"Don't do what?"

"Don't say things like that."

"Why not?" The older man complained softly. "It's true." He tightened his
grip on the younger man's cock a bit more. "I love the way you fill me up.
You fucked me two days ago, and I can still feel you... so deep inside..."

Alex's hips involuntarily jerked. "God. I'm so...close..."

"Are you?"

"Yeah."

Mulder's movements slowed to a near-stop. Alex raised his hips, seeking the
lost contact.

"Don't tease me, Fox." His hand left Mulder's head and came down to cover
the one inside his pants. "Come on, baby. Please make me come."

Mulder's voice vibrated against the sensitive skin just below Alex's ear.
"All right, all right. So damn impatient..." His fingers wrapped around the
warm, velvety shaft, and began to slide up and down, faster and faster until
Alex came, his hoarse sobs filling the compartment of the vehicle. Mulder
watched closely, ready to take the wheel if Alex started to lose control,
but amazingly, the younger man kept the vehicle on course, even as he came
all over his lover's fist.

"Ohhhhh, shit," Alex moaned, when he was finished. "God, that was good."

"So glad you approve," Mulder's amused voice tickled the inside of his ear.

Alex began to squirm and grimace. "Come on, don't do that."

"Don't do what?"

"*That*."

Mulder's hand slid up and down the slick, flaccid shaft. "You don't like it
when I whisper in your ear?"

"Yeah, but I'm *driving*...and you've already weakened me considerably."

"Okay, fine," Mulder pouted, removing his sticky hand from Alex's cock. "You
got some napkins or something around here?"

"Glove compartment."

Mulder opened the small door, and pulled out three napkins. He proceeded to
clean his hand, then stuff the soiled napkins in the small trash bag that
was stuck with velcro, under the dash.

"Uh..." Alex glanced from the road to the man beside him. "what about me?"

Mulder looked blandly at the younger man. "What *about* you?"

"You gonna leave me all sticky and wet?"

"I don't want to stimulate you any more than you already have been," the
other man said matter-of-factly. He tossed a few clean napkins into Alex's
lap. "Here. You can do it yourself."

"Fox..."

"What?"

Alex smirked and reached across the short distance, petting his lover's
head. "Please clean me up?"

Mulder cut his eyes at Alex. "You're not gonna make a fuss?"

"No."

"Promise?"

"I promise. I'll....think about the shooting stats of the Pistons or
something."

"The *Pistons*?"

"Oh, God..."

"The Bees Gees were bad enough, Alex, but the *Pistons*?"

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I don't know what I was thinking. Of course, I meant
to say..." He glanced at Mulder for his assistance.

"The Knicks."

"*Yes*. The Knicks. That's what I meant to say. The Knicks. I'm so sorry, I
was just a little fuzzy there for a while."

"All right, then." Mulder grinned. "Now, where were we?"

"You were going to clean up the mess you made, I believe."

"*I* made?"

"Hey, *you* started it."

"You weren't exactly fighting me, if I recall."

Alex's eyes sparkled with amusement. "What am I, stupid?"

"No, you're not. You're a whole lot of things, Alex, but stupid definitely
isn't one of them."

"I don't know if I like..." Alex sucked in his breath, then forced himself
to relax, as Mulder's head dipped down and he began to lick him clean.
"...those...implications...what hell are you doing?"

Mulder lifted his head a bit, and smiled sweetly up at his lover. "What does
it *look* like I'm doing?" He again lowered his head, but stopped, noticing
the slight twitch of Alex's cock. "Aren't you supposed to be thinking of the
Knicks' shooting stats?"

"You're going to kill us both," the younger man sighed, stroking Mulder's
hair. "But, *damn*, what a way to go."

Mulder brought him to a second climax, this one much slower than the first,
and when he finally raised his head, Alex pulled off to the side of the
road.

"I can't drive," the younger man announced. "I'm completely wasted. "You
gotta take over."

They switched places, and were back on the road in minutes. As Mulder
adjusted quickly to the feel of the accelerator and the brakes, he glanced
over at the man who was always meant to be his lover.

Eyes closed, thick, dark lashes sweeping the curve of his cheek.
Outrageously skilled, exquisitely-shaped mouth, relaxed into an exhausted
pout. The very picture of untroubled innocence. No stranger observing him
would ever guess what lay beneath.

Unable to help himself, Mulder reached out and caressed the side of his
lover's face. Alex moaned softly, nuzzling his hand. Mulder smiled, and
drove on.

With nothing but the sound of the radio now for company, Mulder's thoughts
began to wander. From the events at the lodge in the Olympics, to his time
spent at the cabin, he skimmed over every detail, marveling at the change
these events had brought to his life. He glanced over at the resting man.

Alex.

Not Krycek. Alex.

The biggest, most mind-boggling change. He laughed to himself.

//Change? He hasn't *changed* your life, he's turned it upside down and
inside out. God, Scully's going to...//

The soft moan caught his attention, and he looked over to the passenger's
seat. Deep green eyes, half hidden by sleepy lids stared back, and a soft
smile curved the perfect lips, and all thoughts of Scully and the relentless
interrogation that he was certain to suffer at her tiny hands, were swept
away. All he could think about at this precise moment in time, was stripping
off Alex's clothing, and making love to him one last time before they were
separated.

As if Alex heard his thoughts, the younger man shifted onto his hip, drawing
one hand up and down Mulder's thigh. As Alex had done earlier, Mulder
grasped his hand, and placed it over the solid bulge in his pants. Alex
gently caressed his lover as he looked around. "There's a motel up the road
about three miles. You'll be comfortable there until they come for you."

Mulder covered Alex's hand and squeezed. "You'll come in with me? You can
wait until I check in, then come to the room."

Alex stared at him for an uncomfortable length of time, then spoke softly.
"You know, I shouldn't. I should drop you off at the door and just leave."

"What kind of a goodbye is that?"

"The kind of goodbye we should say, if you're ever gonna make it back to
D.C."

Mulder lifted his hips against the younger man's hand. "I gotta fuck you
now, Alex. I won't go back until I do."

Alex's pupils dilated until only a tiny sliver of green was visible around
them.

//Don't. Don't go with him. You'll only make it harder. Jerk him off now,
and leave. You'll be together again in a few weeks...//

While Alex was arguing with himself, Mulder unzipped his own jeans, and
grasped Alex's hand, pressing it into the opening. "You feel that?" the
older man croaked. "That's for you."

Alex's eyes closed, and he fought to maintain a steady respiration.

"You want it," Mulder breathed, squeezing Alex's fingers around the smooth
shaft. "You know you do. Let me give it to you one more time." Before Alex
could answer, Mulder pulled into the parking lot of the motel, and turned to
face him. His hand stroked over the one inside his jeans. "Tell me you want
me, baby."

//Don't. Do. It.//

Alex gave him a shaky nod, then followed it with, "I...I want you, Fox.
Please fuck me."

//Very nice. You're paying attention, right? You're seeing what he does to
you...how fucking easily he can break you down...//

Mulder gently removed the younger man's hand, and zipped himself up. "I'll
go check in and be right back."

Alex watched him get out of the car, and head toward the office. His eyes
raked over the lean form, hidden by layers of clothing, as the older man
moved smoothly along. He silently answered his previous question.

//I know it's probably not such a good thing, but what the hell am I going
to do? I've wanted him for so damn long, and now he's mine.//

//Uh-huh. And you're *his*.//

Alex watched Mulder return. He grabbed the small bag that Alex had packed
for him, and gave the younger man a smoky look. "Room thirty-four. Come and
get it, baby." With that, he shut the door, and walked off toward the end of
the lot.

Alex licked the corner of his mouth as he opened the car door and followed
in his lover's wake.

//Yep. *All* his.//

He found room thirty-four, and pushed the door open. He looked around the
medium-sized, tidy room and found Mulder, leaning against the wall behind
the door. He had already removed his jacket and sweater, and was standing
quietly, undoing the buttons on his shirt. Their eyes met, and Alex moved
toward him, beginning to shed his own jacket. He dropped it across a chair,
and yanked his sweater off in one fluid motion, and he was there, pressing
their bodies together, lips just millimeters apart. His hands wandered up
and down the older man's chest, catching in the remaining buttons, and
working them apart. He pushed the shirt away from his lover's body, and
immediately began to lick the warm skin.

Mulder's fingers wove into the sable hair, and his head rolled back and
forth against the wall. "Oh, yeah, baby. Show me..."

Alex bent his knees, and rested his hands on Mulder's hips as he latched
onto a nipple and began to suck at the hard peak. His lover's impatient
groans sent a jolt down to his cock, and he released the pressure on the
nipple, quickly flicking at it with the tip of his tongue while he pulled at
the other nipple with his fingers.

Mulder grunted loudly, his hips jerking forward into the air. "Alex...oh,
God...I gotta....gotta have you..."

Alex heard, and dropped to his knees, deftly undoing the button and zipper
on Mulder's jeans, and wrapped his fingers around the base of his cock. He
licked away the bead of fluid glistening at the tip, then let his tongue
dance around the head, sending the older man into a frenzy.

Mulder's fingers tightened in Alex's hair, and his hips began to buck
frantically as he whimpered his lover's name.

Alex allowed Mulder to fuck his mouth for a few moments, then pulled away.
Ignoring the groan of protest, he stripped the older man, then himself. He
stood a couple of inches away from Mulder, and captured both cocks, one in
each hand, and stroked them idly. His head inched forward until his tongue
made contact with the other man's chin. He licked a path upward, teasing the
dip under Mulder's lower lip, then slanted across his mouth, and finally
worked his way inside, tasting the sweet interior. Mulder's tongue crept out
and the two danced together, stroking and twining around each other, until
sheer breathlessness forced Alex to pull away. "Fuck me, Fox," he panted
between gritted teeth. "Fuck me so hard, they'll hear us screaming down in
the parking lot."

Mulder snarled in answer, shoving Alex back toward the bed. The younger man
fell onto his back, and lay waiting, writhing in anticipation as Mulder
found the lube, and approached the bed. "You wanna scream, baby?"

Alex looked up at him through half-closed eyes, rhythmically arching off the
bed. His deliberate, feline movements, enticing his lover to come closer.
"Yesss," he hissed through clenched teeth.

Mulder knelt on the bed, squeezing some lube onto his fingers. Slowly, he
worked one finger in past the ring of muscle, and when he was in as far as
he could go, he pulled out just as slowly, then slid back in.

Alex whined softly, rocking his hips against the finger.

"What is it, sweet baby? Isn't that what you want?"

Alex's answer came in a long, mewling sound. He thrashed against Mulder's
finger, forcing it harder into himself.

Mulder steadied him with a hand on his chest. "Whoa. Easy, love. I'll take
care of you." Another finger joined the first, stretching Alex further. The
younger man cried out, twisting his hands in the blanket and biting on his
lower lip, trying to keep from bucking against Mulder's hand. Mulder stroked
his chest soothingly as he pressed harder. "That's good. Breathe easy. "

"Fox, please," Alex begged. "Please..." His head snapped back and he yelped
as his lover withdrew his fingers then rammed them back in

"How about that?" Mulder whispered, pulling out and plunging back in, harder
than the first time. "That good?"

Alex arched off the mattress, howling wildly. "*Yes*! So good...God, it's
so...fuck me, Fox. I want your cock. *Please*..."

Mulder smiled, slowly withdrawing his fingers. He stared down at his lover,
uttering not a sound...waiting.

It took Alex a moment to realize what it was he wanted, then he turned over
raising himself up on his knees, and lowering his shoulders to the bed.

A jolt of electricity shot through Mulder's body as he looked down at his
lover.

Alex Krycek...hired assassin...the man he'd only seen as ruthless and
cold-hearted for so long, submitting to him...offering himself so
completely...begging for his touch...

He quickly slicked his cock and gently pushed into his lover before the
dream faded and he found himself alone at home on his sofa, or worse, back
at the lodge, beaten and feverish with J.T.'s stale breath on his neck. The
clench of Alex's muscles around him, and the sound of his desperate whimpers
told him that this was no dream. He stroked the younger man's back, then
moved his hands down to the tight ass, spreading his cheeks to thrust as
deeply as he could. Once completely embedded in Alex's heat, he slowly
ground his pelvis against his lover's ass, drawing loud, sobbing growls from
him.

"God...oh, jeez..." Alex thrust backward again and again, needing to feel
Mulder deeper inside him. "More...I...baby, please..."

Mulder withdrew almost to the tip, then rammed back in, pulling a loud
scream from them both.

"Harder," Alex cried, bucking wildly. "Harder, *please*..."

Mulder gripped his lover's hips, and repeatedly slammed into him. It wasn't
long at all before he felt the thunder rolling through him. He threw his
head back and screamed as he came long and hard, emptying himself into
Alex's ass. He allowed himself only seconds of recovery before he flipped
the still-unsatisfied man onto his back, and hoisted his hips up and into
position. Before he could go soft, he drove back in and resumed the
relentless rhythm he had earlier established.

Alex went wild, screaming and cursing, pleading for release.

"Come on, baby," Mulder commanded harshly, wrapping his fingers around
Alex's cock, and pumping it in time to his brutal thrusts. "Scream for me."

Alex's eyes rolled back in his head as the overwhelming sensations came
crashing down on him. His mouth fell open and for a brief moment, no sound
left it. Then it came. The wrenching, ear-splitting screams that signaled
his explosion. A geyser of warm, slick fluid shot from the tip of his cock,
coating his belly and Mulder's hand. The screams dissipated, and diminished
to fulfilled, exhausted whimpers. He felt the weight of his lover's body
settle on top of his, and he wrapped his arms around the sweat-slicked back,
holding him as tightly as his weakened muscles would allow. They lay quietly
together, basking in the glow of contentment, kissing and touching until
Alex noticed that it was very late in the afternoon.

"Look at the time." He kissed Mulder's forehead, and pulled himself into a
sitting position. "You should have called Scully long ago. And I should be
leaving. I've got a long way to drive." He started to rise, but a hand on
his arm stopped him.

"Wait. Let me talk to Scully, first. She probably won't be able to fly out
until morning. If she does, you can sleep here and start back in the
morning."

Alex chewed his lower lip thoughtfully. He should leave, he knew he should,
but the temptation of spending another night in his lover's embrace was just
too great to pass up. He reached out, stroking the underside of Mulder's
chin. "Okay," he whispered. "Call her."

Mulder picked up the phone and dialed his partner's number. The phone rang
only twice before an anxious voice answered.

"Scully. It's me."

"Mulder, thank God. Are you all right?"

"I'm fine. I told you that the first time I called."

"You didn't sound fine, Mulder."

"Well, how do I sound, now?"

"Much better. Where are you?"

"I'm back in Washington. My host dropped me off at a nice motel, and paid
for my room for the night."

"I'm coming out. Tell me exactly where you are."

"You don't have to, Scully. You can wire me some cash and a plane ticket,
and I'll leave in the morning."

"Like hell. I'll be on the next flight. Where are you?"

//God, she can be so...//

"Scully, listen. Take a morning flight, okay? I'm exhausted from the drive,
and I'd really just like to have a warm shower, and get some sleep."

"Are you sure?"

"Positive. Don't worry about me, I'm absolutely fine." He looked over at the
man beside him, giving him a trace of a smile.

Alex returned the smile, and planted a soft kiss on Mulder's shoulder.

"All right, Mulder. I'll call you from the airport in the morning. Tell me
where you are, and give me the number."

Mulder gave her the information, then hung up. He turned to the other man
who lay silently, waiting.

"She's going to fly out in the morning." He leaned in and kissed Alex's
mouth. "You'll stay?"

Alex drew Mulder into his arms and kissed the side of his head. "Try and get
rid of me."

Mulder growled happily, nipping at the curve of Alex's throat. He nestled
against his lover's chest and closed his eyes.

"Hey, uh..." Alex looked again at the time. "Aren't you hungry?"

"Not if it means letting you out of this bed."

Alex craned his neck, looking around, then with a triumphant grunt, reached
for the phone book on the nightstand by the bed. "Okay, how about having
something delivered?"

Mulder mumbled some unintelligible answer which Alex took as a 'yes', and he
began going through the yellow pages.

"Uhhhhhhhh. Pizza?"

He watched his lover's nose wrinkle.

"Cantonese?"

"Blech."

Alex heaved a long sigh, and continued his search.

"Greek."

"Uh-uh."

"Come on, Fox, make up your mind. There aren't that many places left that
deliver. How about Italian?"

"Didn't you just ask me if I wanted pizza?"

"The ad says that this place has a full menu."

Mulder thought a moment, then nodded. "Okay. Antipasto sounds good."

Finally agreed on dinner, Alex placed the call, and they settled down again
to wait. Mulder picked up the remote and switched the television on. He
positioned himself sideways, his head cradled in Alex's lap, facing the set.
Alex lay back on the pillows he'd stacked against the headboard, and sank
his fingers into Mulder's hair, combing and petting the rich, golden-brown
silk. After long moments, Mulder's soft monotone drifted up to Alex's ears.

"You okay?"

"Okay?"

"Yeah...I was pretty rough on you a little while ago."

Alex smiled and tugged playfully at the strands between his fingers. "*Now*,
you ask?"

"Sorry."

"Don't be. I asked for it, and oh God, I got it. I'm gonna be feeling you
for days. And before you ask, that's a *good* thing."

Mulder kissed his thigh. "I can't ever remember wanting someone this much,
*this* often."

"I know what you mean. Probably a good thing we'll be getting some time off.
Otherwise, neither of us would ever be able to sit comfortably again."

Mulder laughed softly.

Alex untangled his fingers, and smoothed Mulder's hair back down. Can I tell
you something?"

"Sure."

"I've never been a sub for anyone before."

Mulder lifted his head and met Alex's eyes. "No?"

Alex shook his head. "Never been with anyone I wanted to give up control
to."

"And you want to do that for me?"

"Yeah...yeah, I do."

"Do you regret it?"

Alex again shook his head. "Feels good to be able to trust someone that
much."

"What made you decide to take the plunge with me?"

Alex gave him a soft smile. "Well, like I said before, you're damn special.
It feels right with you."

Mulder gave silent consideration to his next words, then threw caution to
the wind. "You think it'll ever feel right with anyone else?"

Alex laid a hand on his arm, stroking it gently. "Would it bother you if I
said no?"

"No. Did you think it would?"

Alex shrugged. "Then...would it bother you to hear me say that...I don't
think I'll be wanting anyone else..."

Mulder smiled and began shaking his head.

"...ever?"

The smile faded a bit. "You mean that?"

"I really do. Fox, you're gorgeous. Brilliant...you're a magnificent
lover...and though it is a bit skewed, you've got a sense of humor. What
more could I want? So...I guess with all that said, the question is, do you
want me the way I want you?"

Mulder paused for a moment, his eyes never leaving Alex's. Then he moved,
sliding up onto his lover's chest, and bringing his head down for a long,
tender kiss. He pulled out of the kiss, then leaned his forehead against
Alex's. "I want you," he whispered. "I want you in so many ways, it scares
me."

Alex raised a hand to his lover's cheek. "I know what you mean. This is
pretty intense, isn't it?"

Mulder nodded.

"But you *do* want it?"

"More than I've ever wanted anything."

Alex smiled, and began to laugh, bringing a confused frown to the other
man's face.

"That funny?"

"No. It's something else." Forest green eyes sparkled up at Mulder. "This is
going to be damn interesting. How do you plan to keep it from Scully?"

"I don't know, I ..I haven't thought about it...I don't know that I want
to..."

Alex blinked once, then stared at Mulder. "You...you're not thinking of
*telling* her."

"I'm considering it, I guess."

"Fox, she'll go nuts. Why would you want to do that to yourself?"

"I know there'll probably be hell to pay, but I just don't feel that I
should keep it from her. It doesn't seem right."

"That's very honorable of you, babe, but...you're not telling her that you
ran into some woman with your shopping cart at the supper market and
immediately hit it off. You're telling her that in the course of a few days,
you've plunged head-long into a steamy, sexual relationship with..." He
emitted a short laugh. "..*me*. Now, tell me you don't think that she's
going to smile, hug us both, and wish us well."

"I know she's going to be upset..."

"*Upset*? Baby, you're the master of understatement."

"She's my partner, Alex, and my best friend. She's going to find out sooner
or later. She's going to notice something...some change in me. I think I'd
rather just be straightforward with her about it."

Alex shrugged. "Well, it's your call, of course, but..."

"But what?"

"How am I going to find out which government-run facility to bust you out
of?"

Mulder burst into laughter. "What, you think you're gonna be alive long
enough to find me?"

Alex laughed with him. "Good point." The laughter faded, and he spoke again.
"Seriously, though, I think you should give it some consideration."

"I will, but I really think I'll end up telling her."

Before Alex could respond, there was a knock at the door. He looked at his
watch, gently pushing Mulder aside, and rising from the bed. "That was
fast."

Mulder rose as well, grabbing for his pants. "I'll get it. Don't want anyone
to be able to say that they saw you here."

"But if you tell Scully..."

"I wouldn't tell her that it began here. It'd cause a whole lot of trouble
we don't need."

Alex smiled, understanding that it was him that Mulder was protecting. He
watched the older man zip up his jeans, throw on his sweater, and move to
the door. Five minutes later, they were on the bed, Mulder again undressed
and leaning back against Alex's chest. The younger man alternated between
feeding and teasing him, and by the time they were through eating, both men
were ready to go again. They fell exhausted into each other's arms, nearly
an hour and a half later, wrapped in satisfied silence.

Alex listened as his lover's breathing slowed and his body relaxed,
signaling that he had now drifted into sleep. He lay stroking Mulder's back,
grateful for another night together, but more depressed now than he was
before about having to let him go. Every moment he spent with this man added
another layer to the already head-spinning mountain of emotion he felt. He
kissed the top of the golden-brown head, then rested his cheek upon it.

//Maybe a little distance will bring things back into focus.//

//Yeah. Uh-huh. And maybe it'll just make you miss him desperately. What
d'you think? Number one or number two?//

Alex shifted slightly, to look at the man so peacefully sleeping in his
arms.

//Ah, fuck. Number two. Face it, Alex, you're cooked.//

He kissed Mulder once more before closing his eyes and sinking into
unconsciousness.

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

The ringing phone startled Mulder out of a deep sleep. His eyes snapped open
and his arm immediately stretched out, feeling nothing but an empty bed. He
sat up, eyes darting around the room as he reached for the phone.

"Hello?"

"Mulder, it's me."

Mulder ran a hand through his hair, still looking around. "Scully."

"You were expecting someone else?"

"N-no. I was just asleep. The phone scared me. Where are you?"

"Airport. I just got off the plane."

"Got...you're at the airport here in Washington?"

"Yeah. I couldn't sleep after you called, so I decided to see if I could get
a flight." She paused for effect, then continued. "I know you must be dying
to get home..."

Alex walked through the door, carrying two white bags, smiling until he saw
the expression on Mulder's face. He set the bags down on the small table and
walked over to the bed. He sat cautiously at the edge of the mattress,
reaching out to caress his lover's hair.

Somber hazel eyes turned up to meet concerned green.

"Umm...yeah. Yeah, Scully, I am."

"That's what I figured. So I knew you'd be glad that I was able to get here
sooner."

"Uh-huh. H-how long till you get here?"

"Well, from the looks of the line at the car rental place, it's gonna be at
least an hour and a half before I can reach you."

"Oh. Okay, well, I'm fine, so just take your time and drive carefully, and
I'll see you I guess in about an hour and a half."

A distinct frown wrinkled Alex's brow as he stared at the older man.

Mulder dropped the phone back into the cradle, and rested his head on his
bent knees.

"An hour and a half?"

"Yeah," the soft voice sounded from the inclined head. "She said she knew
I'd be anxious to get back home."

//You can't kill her, Alex, you can't kill her...//

"So...we've got an hour or so."

Mulder lifted his head and looked at Alex, sadness dulling his eyes. "Yeah."

Alex nodded. "We knew that sooner or later we were going to have to do
this." He touched his lover's face. "Hey...we had last night...that was an
unexpected bonus, huh?"

Mulder eyes dropped away and he nodded.

Alex leaned forward, kissing Mulder's forehead. "Okay. The way I see it,
we've got time for breakfast," he nodded toward the bags, then looked back,
a devilish gleam in his eyes, "or we've got time for a nice morning fuck,
which I'm personally partial to, but I don't know how hungry you might be."

A smirk formed at the corners of Mulder's lips. "Scully'll be bound to want
to take me to breakfast, and she'll be suspicious if I'm not hungry."

"Well, I guess that makes our decision for us, doesn't it?" Alex asked
softly, already beginning to remove his jacket, and clothing.

He was naked in seconds, and sprawling over his lover's body, his kiss
taking them from aroused to desperate in an eyeblink.

Mulder squirmed under Alex as the younger man assaulted his mouth, robbing
him of breath. His head spun as his tongue was taken prisoner; sucked into
the wet heat of Alex's mouth, released only when he was left panting and
whimpering for more.

Alex dragged his tongue across his lover's mouth, then captured the fleshy
lower lip between his teeth and pulled.

Mulder groaned softly, his cock hardening to an almost painful degree as
Alex's teeth sank deeper into his lip. Disappointment seeped in when the
pressure was relieved, and Alex kissed him gently.

"What's the matter, baby?" Alex teased softly. "Did you want me to draw
blood?"

Mulder gave no verbal answer, but his eyes told Alex plenty. The younger man
grinned.

"Freak."

"You complaining?"

"Nooo, no. Simply making an observation." He brushed the older man's mouth
with his own. "Maybe next time. Scully'll wonder how you got the fresh
wound."

"Yeah, yeah," Mulder grumbled, "I know." He drew his fingertips up and down
Alex's back, then lower, over his ass. "I love the way your muscles tense
when I touch you."

"You just like touching my ass."

"Damn right." Mulder tightened his fingers, squeezing the hard flesh. "And
the rest of you, too."

Alex laughed softly and covered his lover's mouth again as he rocked his
hips, pressing their erections together.

Mulder broke away from the kiss, wrapping his legs around Alex's waist.
"Fuck me, baby."

"Don't be so impatient," Alex purred. We have a little time..."

"I want it *now*. Give it to me."

"Demanding, aren't you?"

"Yeah. So?"

"So last I checked, *I'm* on top now. *I'll decide when you get it."

Mulder arched beneath the younger man, whining plaintively. "Come on..."

Alex smiled, shaking his head and moving down to lap at Mulder's nipples.

Mulder's impatience grew as his desire did. His hands clenched in the soft,
sable strands as he writhed under the younger man's ardent attention. After
making love with Alex countless times over the past few days, he was no less
sensitive to his lover's touch this morning than he was the very first time
they were together.

Alex listened to the soft, restless sounds escaping Mulder's throat, and
smiled to himself. The older man's passionate reaction to his caresses was
more than he could have ever hoped for. That first encouraging sigh from
Mulder...the first returned kiss...all of it...would remain ingrained in his
memory forever. And if something were to happen to keep them apart...

//No. *Nothing* will keep me away from him. Not a goddamn fucking thing.//

He tormented his lover's nipples for a while longer, then moved on, skimming
the quivering abdominal muscles with hands and mouth, stopping when the
blunt, satiny-smooth head of Mulder's cock brushed the underside of his jaw.
His own cock swelled painfully in response to the contact, and his hips
jerked involuntarily into the mattress.

The vibration of Alex's moan against his skin, provoked Mulder to push
upward, pressing his cock against the younger man's throat.

Alex slid the slightest bit lower, rubbing his cheek against the rigid
shaft, every so often shifting to let his tongue pass over the length of it.

Mulder, now of the verge of complete madness, thrust against Alex's mouth
whenever it came within reach, whimpering wildly, begging incoherently to
feel his lover's lips closing around him.

Well aware of the time restrictions, Alex complied, taking the older man's
cock into his mouth, sliding down over the entire length. He applied a light
suction as he drew upward, then released a quick flurry of tongue lashes
around the head, pulling a harsh groan from his lover. The groan ended on a
soft cry as he let Mulder's cock fall out of his mouth. He gently kissed the
tip, then slid up along the warm, aroused length of the other man's body.
When they were face to face, he kissed Mulder, allowing him to taste the
faint flavor of himself. "Now," he breathed into his lover's mouth, "I'll
fuck you."

Eagerly, Mulder spread his legs, and clamped them around Alex's waist.
"Hurry," he practically sobbed into the other man's throat. "*Please*..."

"Wait, wait," Alex said, pushing up to break Mulder's vice-grip on him. "You
gotta do something, first."

"What?"

"Where's the lube?"

"I don't know," Mulder whined impatiently. "Alex, just..."

"Gotta find it." He rolled off of the older man and lay smirking over at
him. "Go on. I promise I'll be here when you get back."

"Dammit, Alex..."

Alex merely cocked one eyebrow and waved Mulder away, prompting a stream of
muttered curses from him as he spun to his feet and headed toward the bags
by the chair.

As he pawed through the bags, still swearing, Mulder thought he heard the
subtle creak of bedsprings, but he was much too engrossed in finding the
damn lube to give it much thought. His fingers closed around the tube, and
just as he straightened up to return to the bed, he felt a presence at his
back. Before he could turn around, he was being shoved against the wall and
held there by Alex's body pressing into his. "What are you doing?" he asked,
genuinely surprised to suddenly find himself in this position.

"Decided it might be fun to fuck you against the wall," Alex rumbled into
his ear.

"Fun for who? Walls are kinda hard, you know."

"Yeah. It'll make more noise when I slam you into it..."

"I'm sorry?"

"You heard me. Now squeeze some of that onto your fingers."

Mulder obeyed quietly, chewing on his lower lip.

"Good. Now get yourself ready for me."

The older man took a long, deep breath and reached back, running his fingers
down the crevice of his ass, and working them in toward the puckered
opening. He pressed his cheek against the cool wall, and his eyes dropped
shut as he gently pushed one, then two fingers into himself. He bit off a
hard moan, and slowly buried his fingers as far as they would go while Alex
watched.

"Very nice," the younger man purred encouragingly. "That feel good?"

Mulder nodded, unable to get any intelligible sound past the lump that had
formed in his throat. He pulled his fingers out to the first knuckle, then
plunged back in, breathing harder with every thrust.

"Okay, that's enough. Turn around."

Mulder withdrew his fingers, wincing as he did so, and turned to face Alex.
He looked into glittering, dark eyes, and awaited his next instructions.

"Now, get me ready."

Mulder squeezed more lube into his hand, and grasped his lover's cock. His
eyes never left Alex's as he slowly stroked on the lube, and when he was
done, he let his hand drop to his side. He stood waiting, trying to control
the tremors that passed through his body, until Alex spoke again, but the
man younger man simply stared, seemingly mesmerized the sea of intense amber
before him.

"Alex..." Mulder whispered softly, "...please..."

Alex stared for a moment longer, then raised a hand to Mulder's face, and
gently caressed his cheek. He moved in, brushing their lips together, then
took his lover's mouth in an achingly tender kiss. When they separated, he
looked at Mulder with an expression that was a cross between extreme arousal
and melancholy.

"Tell me I'm not dreaming all of this. Tell me you really want me."

Mulder studied the younger man for a moment, then wrapped his arms around
him. He thrust forward, pressing their erections together. "Does this feel
like a dream?"

"I don't know," Alex shuddered and closed his eyes as he answered softly,
"I've had some pretty damn vivid dreams of you."

Mulder licked the corner of his lover's mouth. "It's real, Alex. And I want
you. God, I swear I've never wanted anyone like this. Please, baby..."

Alex kissed him once more, but this time there wasn't a trace of tenderness
in it. All he conveyed was a fierce possessiveness that shook Mulder to his
core. He broke the kiss, grasped the other man by his shoulders and spun him
around, pushing him against the wall and holding him there with one hand on
his back. With the other, he guided his cock between the clenching cheeks,
and drove hard into the prepared ring of muscle.

Mulder's head snapped back and a constricted cry pierced the air. The hand
on his back slid around to his chest, and the one that had been gripping
Alex's cock, now grasped his own. His lover's voice sounded in his ear,
breathless and sandpaper-rough.

"We belong to each other, Fox. There's nobody else...neither of us would
ever be satisfied with anyone else, now...you know that, don't you?" He
emphasized his point with another hard thrust.

"I know," Mulder whimpered, flattening his hands against the wall "Nobody
else. Don't want...anybody...else..."

Alex withdrew almost to the tip, pulling Mulder slightly away from the wall,
then plunged in again, slamming him forward as he began to work his cock in
the same aggressive manner. "That's right, baby." He picked up speed,
rhythmically pounding his lover against the wall. "You're mine..."

Mulder felt his climax approaching, unstoppable as an ocean storm. It
thundered deep within his body, rolling outward, and coursing quickly
through him, until he began to shake violently. A wild, sobbing, roar broke
from his lips as he came, erupting all over his lover's hand and the wall in
front of him. His legs wanted nothing more at that moment than to just give
out, but somehow he willed them to hold him up while Alex thrust desperately
into him.

"Oh, God," Alex cried into the back of Mulder's perspiration-drenched neck
as he thrust twice more, then released a flood of hot fluid into his ass. He
groaned Mulder's name, and something else so garbled, that Mulder had no
idea what he'd said. He collapsed against the older man's back, sandwiching
Mulder between his body and the wall.

Mulder stood quietly, regaining his breath and enough strength to push them
both away from the wall. He turned around, wrapping Alex in his arms, and
dropping a kiss into his hair as the sable head lowered to his shoulder. He
glanced at the clock by the bed, silently cursed the shortage of time, then
gently roused Alex.

"Alex. Babe. Come on, you gotta be out of here within half an hour at least.
Let's go have a shower."

Alex lifted his head and focused on his lover. He nodded wearily and allowed
Mulder to lead him into the bathroom.

Once under the warm spray, the strength seeped back into Alex's body. There
was a vague soreness in his limbs from days of frequent activity, but he
welcomed the discomfort. It, as well as the marks Mulder had left on him,
were a tangible reminder of the time they'd spent together. He groaned as
the older man washed him gently but thoroughly, then he returned the favor.
There was no teasing, as neither man wanted to part in a state of
unfulfilled arousal.

When they'd finished, Mulder turned the water off, and they stepped out of
the tub, each grabbing towel, and drying the other. They dressed, and walked
out into the room, arms around each other's waists. Alex broke from Mulder's
grasp, and picked up his bag. He looked around, making sure that he forgot
nothing.

Mulder plucked the two paper bags that Alex had come in with earlier, and
handed them to him. He gave his lover a sad smile. "Enjoy your breakfast."

Alex took the bags and attempted to return the smile. "Thanks. Listen, I put
a card with my number on it, in the front right pocket of your jeans, okay?"

Mulder nodded.

"You'll call me as soon as you get home?"

"I won't even take my coat off, first."

The two men walked to the door, and Alex reached for the knob, then let his
hand slip away. He dropped the bags to the floor, and turned around, finding
himself immediately wrapped in Mulder's arms. He returned the embrace, and
they clung to each other as if they'd never let go. Alex was the first to
pull away, reluctantly putting distance between them.

"Better go. I don't want to pass Scully on the road."

"Right." Mulder directed his response to the floor.

Alex picked up the bags, inched the door open and looked out into the quiet
lot. He turned once more to the man he could now call his, and tapped the
underside of his chin, bringing his head up. Emotion-laden hazel eyes met
deepest green, and they kissed again, making silent promises, and saying so
much more than rationality would allow words to say. They parted, and with
only a final look, Alex walked away.

Mulder watched, a numbness invading his body as his former enemy climbed up
into his Range Rover, and shut the door. He didn't know how much time had
passed before he heard the engine start, and the vehicle pull out of the lot
and onto the road. He merely stood watching as the man who had in such an
unnervingly brief span of time, become the center of his world, disappeared
from it. Even after he could no longer see the vehicle, he stood shivering
in the doorway, staring at the deserted stretch of road. Good sense finally
stepped in, tapping at his brain, and told him to shut the door. He leaned
against the painted metal, wanting very much to allow depression to take
over, but thoughts of the drilling he was soon to endure, could not allow
it. If Scully saw him moping like this, it would only drag the torment out
longer.

He pushed himself away from the door, and remembering that he'd never
cleaned the wall, went to the nightstand, pulled some tissue out of the box
there, and wiped away the evidence of his and Alex's last union. He took the
tissue into the bathroom and flushed it, then walked over to the bed, and
sat heavily on the edge of the mattress. He glanced down at the rumpled
pillows, and a trace of a smile curved his mouth as his mind conjured up
images of Alex, so sweetly innocent in sleep, hair sticking up this way and
that, lips drawn into an irresistible pout...

He picked up the pillow that Alex had slept on, and held it against his
chest, burying his face into it, and inhaling the faint scent of his
lover...

...and waited for Scully.

End?

Not so much
------------------------------------------------------------------------

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