One Night Only
by Aries

Series: Part II of Private Dancer

Rated NC-17 language and m/m sexual situations

Archive: Allslash, Archive X, RatB, All Things Rat, Den of Sin, Slashville.Anywhere else, please ask me first.

Web pages: http://www.squidge.org/terma/aries/aries.htm,
http://joy_hs.tripod.com/Aries/Ariestitle.html

Summary: Howard's club is in trouble and he needs Alex to help him save it. But at the end of Private Dancer, Alex had hung up his g-string and rode off into the sunset with Fox. So, will he or won't he?

Disclaimer: The boys belong to CC. All other characters are my own...not that they're worth much... As always, large thanks to Ori for stupendous beta and daily uh....encouragement. Yeah, encouragement. That's was it is... Big smoochies to Nic. Hang in there, kiddo, the madness is almost over! Dedicated to jj who just had to have a sequel! Well, here it is , darlin'. Hope you like it!\ Feedback goooooooood.
You can reach me at MMCUSN@aol.com

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

One Night Only
by Aries

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

"Two-fifty, two-eighty, three...three thirty-five."

"Three thousand and thirty-five?"

"No, Howard, three *hundred* and thirty-five."

"You gotta be shittin' me."

"There were less than thirty people in the place. How much did you *think* we were gonna bring in?"

Howard Amos dropped his head into his hands, groaning softly. "I can't believe it, I can't...it's Saturday *night*, for Christ's sake." He got up, kicking his chair away and faced the deserted stage. "Remember, Jimmy? You remember when we had to turn them away at the door? Remember when they'd pay through the nose just to get in here?"

Jimmy stood behind the bar, chin resting in his hand. "Of course I remember, Howard," he said blandly. "It was only a year ago."

"Ten months," Howard corrected. "Ten horrific months."

"I figured business would drop off," the other man's voice followed him as he walked between the empty tables. "But this is...it *sucks*."

"That's an understatement." Howard came back to the bar and sat down. "I don't know what the hell to do. We've lowered the cover...had fourteen different feature dancers...the crowd...what there is *left* of the crowd, chews 'em up and spits 'em out. We've done the amateur night bit...we've tried raffling off private dances...I'm...I'm at a fucking loss here." He slumped over the bar, banging his head on the edge. "Why did he have to quit? I *told* him it would kill me." His head snapped up, and he fixed a glazed stare on the man behind the bar. "I gotta get him back."

"Howard."

"I'll give him anything he wants."

"Howard..."

"I'll make him a partner. Sixty-forty."

"Howard..."

"Okay, fifty-one forty-nine. I gotta maintain *some* control."

"Jesus Christ. *Howard*..."

"What?" the other man moaned, falling back against his chair.

"He's not gonna come back. He made it clear when he left..."

"But he didn't know that *this* was going to happen. Maybe he wouldn't have been so quick to leave me if he had."

"Well, we'll never know, will we? Come on, Howard. Forget about Alex. Those days are over. You got a big problem here, and you gotta figure out a way to solve it, or we're gonna be dead inside of six months...Howard....Howard, are you listening?"

"Huh? Yeah. Yeah, I'm listening. I know, Jimmy, I know."

The other man gave Howard a curious stare. "What are you thinking about? You've got this look on your face."

Howard spun his chair around and stared out at the darkened stage. "Have I?"

"Yeah. Now, how about you let me in on it?"

Howard shrugged. "Nothing earthshaking, Jimmy." Howard smiled out of the other man's line of sight. "Just thinking."

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

Perspiration ran in rivulets down the man's back and face as he plunged once again into his lover's body. The cry that rose up from the man pinned to the mattress vibrated with increasingly frantic need, driving him to thrust harder and deeper. His hand tightened around the other man's cock, pumping faster as he growled disjointed words of encouragement against the back of his neck. The other man's body began an uncontrollable series of spasms, and he lifted his head from the pillows, howling as he came, spewing a long stream of hot fluid over his lover's hand and the sheets below. He collapsed onto the bed, his lover following, still inside, pumping relentlessly. Seconds later, the other came, his hoarse cries filling the room. Near-silence descended long seconds later, leaving only the soft, ragged sounds of air being dragged into their lungs.

First to regain the strength required for movement, the man on top started to disengage, but the other's voice, soft and breathless, stopped him before he could complete his effort.

"No. Don't move."

The other relaxed again, draping himself over his lover's body. He pushed down, insuring that his softening erection remained nestled inside its warm, slick home. "I'm not too heavy?" he asked, gently kissing the edge of his lover's ear.

"No," the other man purred into the pillows. "I love to feel you on top of me." He tightened his muscles, squeezing his lover's flaccid cock. "Love to feel you inside me."

A contented smile curled the other man's lips, and he kissed the sable head, then whispered into the dampened strands, "If you insist." He fully relaxed, letting his body melt, molding it to the one beneath him, and minutes later, both men slipped into unconsciousness.

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

"Howard, have you lost your *mind*?" Jimmy asked, staring in shock. "*Why*, with all your money trouble, would you make a loan this size? How the hell are you going to pay it back?"

"Don't worry, Jimmy; I'm going to make back *twenty* times this amount."

"*How*?"

Howard removed a rolled-up sheet of paper from the bag he'd placed beside him on the floor. He smoothed it out over the top of the bar, and the other man frowned down at the sketched model of an ad.

"Howard...can I ask you a stupid question?"

"Sure."

"Have you talked to him?"

No answer.

The other man spun around, presenting his back to his friend and employer. "*Shit*. You haven't even *seen* him, have you?"

"No, but..."

"No, *but*? No, but *what*? He's *retired*, Howard! Hell, we don't even know if he's still around! How do you know that he didn't take his man and get the hell out of town? They may have wanted to get a fresh start somewhere else, you know."

"He's here. In the same apartment he lived in before he quit...at least part of the time."

Jimmy shot him a questioning look.

"I checked up on him. His squeeze works in the Washington area...don't know where, but he wears suits and he's there whenever Alex is, so..."

"You've been sitting outside his building, watching their comings and goings?"

"Oh, like *you* would've done it?"

The other man rolled his eyes.

"So, *anyway*, I slipped a lunch invitation under his door this morning after Fox baby left."

"*And*?"

"I worded the invitation in such a way that his curiosity would be piqued. I think he'll meet me. Then I'll spring my plan on him."

Jimmy shook his head in disbelief. "You're a fuckin' lunatic."

"I don't care *what* you think I am, Jimmy. I don't care if he thinks so too, as long as I can get him to agree to my plan."

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

"Mulder."

"Hey."

The voice on the other end immediately softened. "Hey. What's up?"

"Got a lunch invitation today after you left."

"Yeah?" Fox asked then waited.

"From Howard."

"Howard...the owner of the club you worked at?"

"Yeah." Alex turned the folded note over again and again in his fingers. "Sounds pretty desperate. He was probably on his knees when he slid it under the door."

"What do you mean, desperate?"

Alex sighed. "I don't know...Howard was always one for high drama, so I can't really be sure, but he says that he's hit the skids since I left. The club is going to hell in a handbasket, and he needs to see me."

"What does he think you can do?"

"Three guesses."

Fox paused for a moment, chewing on his lower lip. Tossing away every response he thought to give, he settled for one question. "Are you going to meet him?"

"I should at least give him the courtesy of turning him down in person."

Fox smiled into the phone, relieved. "I suppose."

"Okay, well, I should go get dressed. The invitation is for twelve-thirty, and it's almost that now. I'll tell you all about it when you get here."

"Okay. I gotta stop by my place and feed the fish before they start drawing lots. I'll see you around six."

"All right. Bye, babe."

"See you."

Alex hung up and, dropping the note onto the coffee table, walked into the bathroom for a shower.

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

"Sir, are you sure your other party is coming?" the waiter asked patiently as Howard glanced again at his watch.

"*Yes*. Just...bring me another mineral water, would you?"

The waiter shrugged and moved away, leaving Howard drumming on the table and again looking at his watch.

//*Shit*. Twelve forty-two. Come on, Alex, don't let me down...//

Almost as soon as he'd completed his thought, Howard caught sight of the tall, dark figure slithering through the maze of tables toward him.

//Thank you, God, thank you.//

He stood, beaming as the man reached him. "Alex," he breathed, reaching out to shake the young man's hand. "God, you look *great*."

Alex gave the man an amused grin. "You expected me to look like shit?"

They sat, and the other man shook his head adamantly. "No. No, of course not. It's just that, you know...you look exactly the same as you did. Shit, you look better. What're you doing to stay in shape since you're not dancing..."

Alex's expression turned from amused to smoky in the bat of an eyelash. "Fox keeps me in shape."

"Yeah. Y-yeah, I guess he would." Howard nodded, looking down at his folded hands. "So, how're you doing, Alex? You happy? You sure look happy."

"I am. I've got everything I could ever want in my life."

"That's good." Howard tapped the table top lightly. "That's...that's really great; I'm happy for you."

"I"m sorry about the club, Howard. I know how much it means to you."

The older man sighed heavily. "It does. It's my baby, you know?"

Alex cocked his head, studying the other man. "Is it really as bad as your note implied?"

Howard buried his head in his hands. "God, Alex, it's worse. You know how much we made last weekend? Three hundred and thirty-five dollars. It gets worse every week. I can't tell you how many feature dancers I've been through. The customers...they won't give any of 'em a chance. You fucked 'em up, Alex. They're spoiled now."

A twinge of satisfaction rippled through Alex at hearing the confession. As bad as he felt about Howard's bad luck, it was kind of nice to know that he'd made that much of an impression.

"So, why, after almost a year, have you invited me to lunch, Howard?"

The other man removed his hands from his face and clasped them together in front of him on the table. "I need your help, Alex. I need it bad."

"With what?"

"You can put me back on top..."

Alex shook his head slowly.

"Please, Alex, oh God, I'm begging you. Name your price."

"Howard..."

"Any amount. I'll give it to you. I'll sell my own blood to get the money."

"Howard, I'm sorry..."

"No, *please*. Don't...just hear me out, okay? I'll make you a partner. How 'bout that, huh? I'll get you assistants. You won't have to lift a finger. Everything'll be brought to you. You'll have the best dressing room I can build you. All I'm asking for is one night a month. That's twelve a year. No biggie..."

Alex dropped his head. "I can't, Howard."

"*Can't*? What's with this *can't*? The Alex I knew never said can't." Howard looked into space. "He said *won't* a lot, but never *can't*..."

"Well, I'm sorry, but I can't."

"*Why*? Is it that guy you're with? That...that *Fox*? He doesn't want you to dance anymore?"

"I don't think he'd be thrilled about it, no. But I can't for more reasons than Fox."

"*What* reasons? You loved it, Alex. You loved the attention."

"I did it, Howard, because I was bored. I was frustrated, and I missed *him*. I've got him back, and I just don't have the desire for it any more. All my desire...all my attention...it all belongs to him, you know? The crowds wouldn't be nearly so wrapped up in my performance anymore. So much of what made it hot was the need. Not their need, *mine*. I never dreamed I'd have him, but God, I needed him so much. That's what gave the performance so much intensity. Very little of it was an *act*. It was real, desperate, raw, *need*."

"You wanna see *need*, Alex? I'll get down on my knees and show you *need*." Before Alex could respond, the older man slid to his knees, ignoring the curious looks of the other customers. "Please...I'm begging you. I understand what you just said. I do. But they *love* you..."

"Howard, get up; you're embarrassing yourself."

"I don't care, Alex. I have no money, and I have no pride. All I have left is you. Please don't let me drown. I've always been good to you, haven't I? When you danced for me, you got *paid*, did you not?"

Alex said nothing. He merely stared down at the desperate man.

"I mean, God knows you were worth the money. I'm just *sayin'*...other clubs wouldn't have paid you so well. They would have pocketed all that loot and paid you just like the other dancers."

"I know that, Howard."

"Then, *please* won't you reconsider? Come on, Alex, do an old friend a good turn. I can't...I need you."

"You don't need me. Somewhere out there, there's a dancer better than me just waiting to be discovered. You just have to find him."

"Nobody dances better than you, Alex. Nobody even comes close."

Alex snorted. "There are plenty of people. Hell, my..." He stopped in mid-sentence, his mind suddenly turning thoughts over and over.

Howard lifted himself back into his chair, staring intently. "Your what?"

Alex drew a deep, slow breath, and a tiny bit of a grin twitched at the corner of his mouth. "Nothing."

"No, you were going to say something. What was it?"

"Look, Howard..."

Before Alex could continue, the waiter appeared. Quickly, they gave their lunch orders, and Howard dismissed the man. He turned his full attention to Alex, who, since giving his order, had been sitting quietly, tracing the designs on the tablecloth.

"What were you going to say, Alex?"

The younger man opened his mouth as if to speak, then went silent. He thought for another moment, then sighed softly. "I have a thought...Howard...but it's...it's just a thought."

The other man pitched forward in his seat, buoyed by the tone in Alex's voice. "What? What thought?"

"Don't get all bent out of shape; it's a real long shot."

"*What*?"

"I'll help you out..."

"Oh God, oh God, *thank* you!"

"*If*."

"If? If what? You name it, Alex. Anything you want."

"I already told you, Howard, my performance wouldn't be the same without that desire that once drove me...it can't be. And I couldn't live with knowing that I didn't do my best for you. But I think I know a way...I've got an idea that'd set your place on fire, but like I said, it's a real long shot."

"You tell me what it is. Tell what you need, and I'll make it happen."

"You can't. What I need, you can't give me."

The older man shook his head in confusion. "What do you need?"

"Fox."

"Huh?"

"I'll give you one performance." Alex grinned and shifted to accommodate his growing erection. "One last all-out performance that'll have people talking about your club for years to come..."

Howard bowed his head, saying a fervent prayer of thanks.

"But only if Fox dances with me."

The older man lifted his head and stared. "What?"

Alex sat back, lifting his water glass to his lips. He focused on the other man as he took a small sip then rested the glass on his knee. "Fox has to agree to perform with me. I won't do it unless he does."

Howard sat blinking as he tried to compose his thoughts. Finally he looked up into sparkling, green eyes. "Can he move?"

A low chuckle preceded Alex's answer. "Makes *my* mouth water..."

The older man tapped his fingers rapidly on the table as he thought. "God...this could be big." He grinned up at Alex. "I mean, this could be *really* big. Fucking *huge* with careful promotion. You think he'd do it?"

Alex tilted his head to the side, raising his eyebrows. "That's the long shot. I don't know how open he'd be to getting up in front of a crowd."

"You can convince him."

"I don't know that I can. He was a little leery about my meeting you today until I told him that if you asked me to come back, I'd say no. I could hear the relief in his voice."

"What is he, jealous?"

Alex shrugged. "I guess if our situations were reversed, *I* wouldn't be happy about him taking off his clothes in front of a drooling mob." Alex smirked. "But if we were taking each *other's* clothes off..."

"Oh, fuck, Alex. An act like that could blow the roof off the place. I remember how gorgeous he is. Jesus, please convince him to do it."

"I'll see what I can do. But you have to know, Howard, I won't push him. I'll tell him what my idea is, tell him the reasons I'd like to do it, and that's it. The rest is up to him. If he wants no part of it, then that's the way it'll be."

The older man whimpered. "You mean if he says no the first time, you won't even *try* to persuade him?"

"No. I'll lay it all out for him in one conversation. If he says no after that, it's no, and I won't bring it up again."

"Come on, Alex, what are the odds that he *won't* say no on first thought? Can't you prod him just a little bit?"

Alex shook his head. "I retired to be with him, Howard. We're happy. I won't fuck that up by pushing him into doing something he doesn't want to do."

"Christ, Alex, when did the word morality become part of *your* vocabulary?"

Alex gave the man a half smile and said nothing.

Howard slumped down in his seat, covering his face with one hand. "God, I'm fucked. Built up just to be torn down..."

"We don't know what his answer will be yet."

"Yes, we do," Howard lamented. "He'll never go along with it. I might as well just go back and start boarding up the windows right now..."

"Jeez, Howard, cut the histrionics, would you? Just sit tight until you hear from me, okay?"

"All right, fine. For all the good it'll do me, I'll wait. What the hell's another few days of torture, right?"

During lunch Howard laid out his grand plans for Alex's return, making changes now to include Fox. Alex gave his input, making a few of his own changes, which Howard gladly allowed, though he kept spewing dire predictions about what Fox would decide.

After lunch, the two parted company with a promise from Alex to contact Howard soon. Alex headed for home and spent the rest of the day preparing a nice dinner for Fox and planning how he was going to make the suggestion that they dance together at Howard's club.

He thought about it...saw them together in his mind's eye, moving in perfect rhythm, peeling each other's clothing off, and the image teased his cock to extreme levels of hardness.

God, they'd be so hot together. Not that they weren't hot in the privacy of their own bedroom, but the thought of ripping Fox's clothes off in front of hundreds of salivating men who would never touch either of them drove him nuts.

Alex put down the knife he held and leaned back against the counter, taking deep, steadying breaths.

//Damn, what a kick.//

All right, maybe it was a little kinky, but Fox was just as much a freak as he was, and if he could just approach it the right way...

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

"We've got a chance, Jimmy. A tiny, slim chance."

The bartender cocked one eyebrow. "You're kidding."

"No." Howard paced back and forth, rubbing his hands together. "He refused at first, then...then he had this idea." He spun to meet the other man's eye. "It's a fucking brilliant idea, if he can just get his man to cooperate."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean the biggest show of all time. *Both* of them. *Together*."

Jimmy stared for a good thirty seconds before he answered. "Both of them."

"That's what I said."

"And this was Alex's idea?"

"Yeah. He won't do it without Fox."

"Howard...can the man even dance? I mean, didn't you tell me he was some sort of professional?"

"Yeah. I asked Alex that. According to him, the man can move."

Jimmy shrugged. "I remember him well. He's gorgeous. Yeah, it'd be one unbelievable show."

"If he agrees. Which I can't believe he will."

"No? Why do you think that?"

"Just a feeling I have. It's too good to be true, you know? Something that big couldn't happen to me."

"So, when will you know?"

"Not sure, exactly. He promised me he'd contact me soon. Until then, I just gotta sit tight and wait...and pray...and sweat."

Jimmy gave his employer a grin. "You want I should light a few candles?"

Howard lifted his head and stared at the other man. "You wouldn't even know where to *find* a church, Jimmy; who're you kidding?"

"*Church*?" Jimmy broke into chuckles and pulled a few candles out from under the bar. "Who the hell said anything about church?"

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

"Candles?"

"What, you don't like candles?"

Fox looked down at the beautifully set table then over at his smiling lover. "No...I mean, yeah, it's just...did I forget some important date or something?"

"No. I just wanted to have a nice dinner with you."

Fox smiled and sat down in the chair that Alex had pulled out. The younger man kissed the side of his head and turned toward the kitchen.

"Be right back."

Minutes later, Alex returned and served dinner, waiting for Fox's opinion on the meal before beginning to eat himself.

"This is good."

The younger man smiled. "Yeah? I just opened up the cookbook and found something that looked different."

"It's great," Fox replied around another mouthful. "These don't quite taste like peanuts..."

"Chopped cashews."

"Mmm. Really good."

Halfway through the meal, Fox remembered Alex's meeting with Howard and started asking questions.

"So, how was lunch?"

Alex took a sip of wine and replaced the glass on the table. "Good."

"How's Howard?"

"Distraught. He named some figures for me, and...Fox, the club really is going to hell."

"Really? Poor guy. Did he ask you to come back?"

"Yeah."

"How'd he take in when you turned him down?"

"In typical Howard fashion. He's a nut, but I really feel bad for him." Alex watched Fox as he dug into his plate. "S...so I had an idea..."

Alex's tone stopped Fox in mid-chew. "*What* idea?"

"To help him."

Fox put his fork down and rested his chin on top of his folded hands. "Do I want to hear this?"

Alex shrugged, giving his lover a sheepish grin. "I don't know."

"Oh, God..."

"Just do me a favor, okay? Listen to everything I have to say before you give me any response."

"Alex, you said you were going to tell him no."

"And I *did*," the younger man interjected. "And then this idea got stuck in my head. It's a great idea..."

"What is it?"

"It'll put Howard back on top..."

"What is it?"

"He'll make money hand over fist..."

"What's the idea, Alex?"

"It's *so* unbelievably hot..."

"What's the damn *idea*, Alex?"

Alex let out a short, hard breath, then jumped in. "You and me."

Fox stared for a moment before responding. "You and me..."

"Yeah." Green eyes twinkled with enthusiasm.

"You and me, what?"

"Dancing together."

"Togeth....on *stage*?"

"Imagine it, baby," Alex whispered. "You and me together, spotlighted in a dark room, dancing ...pulling off each other's clothes..."

Although he fought it every step of the way, Alex's words set a flutter in Fox's chest and a definite hardening in his pants.

"...We can't see them, but hundreds of pairs of eyes are glued on us. We can smell the lust and feel the pounding of their pulses. They want us bad, baby." Alex rose from his seat and came to squat in front of his lover. He rested his hand on Fox's thigh, rubbing gently. "Tell me the thought of that doesn't turn you on."

Fox stared down into passion-glazed eyes and cleared his throat. "Alex, I..."

"It'd be so much fun," Alex purred, his hand moving higher. "And we'd be helping poor Howard."

Fox closed his eyes but not his mind to the images that were now taking shape. "N-no, Alex, I can't. *We* can't."

"Why not?"

Fox opened his eyes and looked down into a disappointed green gaze. "Because I...I don't want to, okay?"

Alex cocked his head to one side. "Stage fright? Is that it? Believe me, the anticipation is the worst part. Once you're up there performing, it's fine."

Fox shook his head, looking away. "No. It's got nothing to do with that."

"Then, what?"

"I just don't *want* to," Fox replied, a slight whine in his voice.

Alex lowered his head, remembering his vow not to push. "Okay," he said, softly. "If you don't want to, that's all right. I gotta call Howard, though, in the morning and let him know. I promised him I'd tell him what happened either way."

Fox reached out, stroking his lover's chin. "I'm sorry, babe. I know Howard is a friend. If you can think of any other way to save his club, I'll help."

Alex nodded, giving Fox a soft but mildly disappointed smile. "'Kay."

Alex returned to his seat, and they finished their dinner in relative silence. Cleanup went pretty much the same way, and when Alex led Fox into the living room and served him dessert, the older man pulled him down onto his lap and hugged him gently.

"You're not upset about me not wanting to..."

"No," Alex interrupted. "I told Howard that it was an extreme long shot. And I told him that I would accept whatever decision you made." He kissed Fox's forehead. "It's fine, baby. It was just a thought."

They ate dessert and later sat wrapped around each other, listening to music. Fox rested his cheek on the head that lay on his shoulder as he slowly caressed his lover's back. Eyes closed, he saw them writhing half naked together in a smoky haze, avidly watched by hundreds of starving men. The erection that had since subsided began to grow again...not without notice.

Alex wiggled his ass over the bulge and smiled. "What's that about?"

"Nothing," Fox rumbled softly, pushing Alex off of his lap. He rose to his feet, pulling the other man up after him, then drew him into his arms. He began to sway gently, coaxing Alex into a matching rhythm.

"Nothing, huh?" Alex smiled against the older man's shoulder. "That's a pretty big nothing."

Fox gave no response to the statement, instead choosing to ask a question.

"How many of these shows had you thought about putting on?"

Alex paused for a moment, curious as to why Fox was resurrecting the subject. Finally, he answered.

"I was just thinking of a one night only thing."

"What good would that do him, though? Yeah, he'd probably rake in the cash that night, but a few weeks later he'd be in the same situation, wouldn't he?"

"Yeah," Alex sighed. "I suppose. But I was hoping that in that time he could find someone else. He's been through over a dozen feature dancers so far, and none of them could cut it. There's gotta be somebody out there that his customers would accept."

"After you?" Fox laughed softly. "Not likely."

"There's always someone better," Alex reasoned. "Howard has just got to find him. I hope he can hang on till then."

Fox stroked Alex's back, loving the way his muscles rippled beneath the thin silk. "Did..." He paused then went on. "Did you have something worked out?"

"Worked out?"

"Yeah. An act."

"Oh. I...I just had a few thoughts. Why?"

Fox pulled Alex's shirt from the waistband of his pants and let his hand slide over the warm, satiny skin underneath. "Just curious," he whispered against the younger man's ear, making him shudder. His tongue slipped past his lips, tickling the sensitive interior as his hands moved around front to stroke Alex's chest. "Why don't you show me what you had in mind?"

Alex's eyes dropped shut, and he emitted a hard breath as his mouth found his lover's. He fed hungrily for long seconds before breaking away, breathless and trembling. "Okay," he rasped softly, grinding his hips against Fox's. "It starts like this..."

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

"Hello."

"Howard, it's Alex."

Howard closed his eyes and slumped into the closest chair.

This was it. The bomb was about to drop.

"Hey, Alex. What's the word?"

There was silence for the first few seconds, and Howard sank deeper in his seat.

"He said yes."

"That's okay, Alex, thank you for trying. I'll just close the place up after this weekend. Try my hand at something else. I hear the McDonald's up the street is hiring..."

Alex laughed into the phone. "You're not listening, Howard, just like always. I *said*, he said yes."

The older man fell into a stunned silence.

"Howard....Howard? You there?"

"Yes?"

"Yes."

"He...he said...*yes*?"

"How many more ways can I say it to you?"

"Oh, God. Oh, my God. I can't...I can't believe it. What the hell did you do to him to get him to agree?"

"Just what I said. I left it up to him. He said no at first, and I just let it go at that. *He* started thinking about it, and before the night was out, he decided that ripping my clothes off in front of a hungry mob might be kinda fun."

"I can't believe this. Oh, God, I can't...Alex, I don't know how to thank you...either of you."

"Don't worry about it. But, Howard..."

"No...oh, no, a but. I hate buts. Buts are bad."

"God, Howard, chill out, would you? All I wanted to say was, this isn't going to set you for life. You need to find someone else. You gotta do *something*..."

"Yeah, but Alex, I *told* you how many feature dancers I've been through. I *told* you about all the gimmicks and gadgets..."

"If you want to keep the club, Howard, you've got to keep trying. Fox and I are a one night only deal."

There was a brief silence, then, "I know, but...won't you even *consider* maybe making it a semi-permanent thing? You know, like...once every two months. That'd keep everybody happy, and me in business."

"No, Howard."

A soft whine sounded on the other end. "Once every three months? The money you two would bring in could keep me up and running for that long..."

"You're pushing, Howard."

"I know. I know, and I'm sorry. But what am I going to do, Alex? I've tried everything I can think of. You're my last hope. Please, at least think about it. Four times a year, that's all I'm asking for."

"No," Alex answered firmly. "You're damn lucky Fox agreed to this *one* time. You've got from now until however long you think the money's going to run out from this show to figure something else out. That's a few months by your own calculations."

"Okay," the other man sighed. "Okay, you're right. It's more than I expected to have, and I really do appreciate your willingness to give me this much. I'll keep working on a plan. But right now, we got other things to talk about. Promotion, compensation, props, music..."

"Whoa, whoooa. Down, Howard, down," Alex laughed into the phone. We can't get into all that right now. Let's set up a meeting between the three of us, okay?"

"Okay. I'm free anytime. How about you?"

"Let me check with Fox about tomorrow night."

"Okay, great. It's Friday night, but the club has been so dead, there should be no problem me getting away...hey. Hey, I had a thought."

"Yeah?"

"Instead of us meeting somewhere else, why don't you and your Foxy come to the club? Just let yourselves be seen walking into the office with me. People are bound to notice you, and we can get an early buzz generated."

Alex shifted position on his sofa, draping one long leg over the arm. "Okay, Howard, first of all, nix the Foxy stuff. His name is Fox, and actually, you'll be lucky if he lets you call him *that*. Second, I'll talk to him about your idea when he gets home. It's okay with me to meet at the club, but I want to check with Fox to make sure it's cool with him."

"Okay. Great. Just contact me as soon as you talk to him, and we can get it set up."

"Sure. Now, go have yourself a drink or two, calm down, and I'll talk to you soon."

"Right. Calm. Okay. I can do calm. Talk to you soon. And thank you again, Alex. You and your man are pulling my ass out of the fire...for a little while at least, and I really couldn't be more grateful."

"S'okay. G'night, Howard."

"Night." Howard disconnected and sat smiling for a number of seconds before leaping from his chair and raising his arms heavenward. "Thank you, God!" he shouted, loud enough to bring Jimmy running into the office.

"What the hell's going on in here?" The bartender asked as he burst through the door.

"They're going to do it, Jimmy!" Howard roared as he pitched forward, wrapping his arms around the younger man. "We're still alive!"

"That's great!"

Howard whirled away, rubbing his hands together. "So much to do, such much to do. We're gonna try to set up a meeting between the three of us tomorrow." Brown eyes sparkled. "Right *here*."

Jimmy smiled. "Smart. Let a few people see him...get em worked up. Free advertising is the best kind."

"You got it. Okay. I gotta sit down and outline some ideas, here. I want to be able to show them something when we meet."

"Okay, well, don't worry about anything. There are only about two dozen people out there. I can handle things while you work."

"Thanks, Jimmy."

The other man left, and Howard dropped down into his chair and powered up the computer, cackling madly.

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

The two men moved together in flawless precision, pressed front to back, their bodies flowing with the music. Quickly, Fox spun Alex to face him and hooked a hand under the younger man's knee, lifting his thigh against his hip. His free hand tangled in Alex's hair as they rocked together, the bulges in their jeans becoming painfully hard. With their faces mere millimeters apart, tremendous restraint kept their lips from touching.

Alex's eyes dropped shut as his lover's hand traveled up the underside of his thigh and over the curve of his ass, cupping and squeezing the hard muscle. When he forced his eyes to open again, they glittered an intense shade of green, and he slid one hand over Fox's chest. "What d'you think," he whispered, just loud enough to be heard over the music. "Should I unbutton it or rip it open?"

"Rip it," Fox breathed over his lover's mouth, "but not while we're rehearsing, or I'll have to buy all new shirts before we're done."

"Okay, okay," Alex purred, brushing his fingers over the cotton-covered nipples before winding his arms around Fox's neck. They fell into a slower rhythm, and Alex strung a line of kisses along his lover's jaw. "So, I talked to Howard today. Can we meet with him tomorrow night?"

Fox moaned as Alex finally reached his ear, and his fingers clenched in the younger man's ass. "Okay with me."

"At the club all right? He thinks it might be a good idea to let us be seen there. You know, whip up a little speculation."

Fox moaned again as the younger man's tongue probed his ear. "Yeah. Sure, I guess so."

"I'll go call him now."

Alex started to move away but found himself quickly yanked back into the circle of Fox's arms.

"You'll call him later."

He stared, mesmerized, into the scorching, gilded gaze.

Fox fitted a hand to Alex's ass, pressing them tightly together. Easily, they picked up the pounding beat of the music and began to move together. "Right now, we're going to finish rehearsing..."

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

Alex's car pulled into the largely deserted lot, and the two men looked around then at each other.

"He wasn't kidding," Fox said, unlocking his seatbelt.

"Yeah. I kinda feel responsible," Alex responded as they both exited the car and headed toward the back entrance.

"This isn't your fault, babe." Fox rubbed his lover's back as they entered the club. "You can't take responsibility for what amounts to lack of interest."

"Yeah, but why aren't they interested anymore? Howard told me this would happen, and I blew him off."

"You can't hold yourself accountable. It isn't your fault that his customers haven't taken to anyone else."

The few dozen patrons sat scattered around the large room, boredom showing on most of their faces as the man on stage sleep-walked through a routine. Alex watched for a moment, shaking his head. "I can't believe this," he whispered to his lover. "No wonder this place is going to hell."

"Alex!"

Both heads turned in the direction of the cheerful voice that drifted from behind the bar. Three other heads snapped around, and the men who sat nursing drinks at the bar stared in disbelief at the object of Jimmy's attention.

"Hey, Jimmy." Alex reached out and shook the other man's hand then moved against the man beside him. "You remember Fox."

Jimmy nodded to the man who was now hugging Alex to his side. "I sure do. Thank you so much, man. You really saved our asses."

Fox nodded and gave the other man a trace of a smile. "Hope it helps."

"There you are!" Howard barreled out of the office, making a grand show of hugging Alex and shaking his partner's hand. "God, I'm glad to see you," he beamed, sneaking a peek around to see if anyone was watching. Satisfied that a few people had indeed noticed, he swept the two men into his office and closed the door.

"The buzz'll be starting any second now," he chuckled, clapping his hands together. Motioning to two chairs situated in front of a long, low table, he walked over to his portable bar. "Sit down, sit down, I'll get you a drink. What'll you have?"

"Nothing for me, thanks," Fox answered.

"I'm fine, Howard," Alex followed.

Howard turned around with his own drink in his hand, noticing that the two men had ignored the chairs and had instead claimed the sofa on the other side of the table. They sat as closely as possible without one being in the other's lap, and Alex gently stroked the inside of Fox's thigh while one of Fox's hands found its way into Alex's hair. Howard smiled, cleared his throat, then took a seat in one of the ignored chairs.

"First of all, I gotta thank you again, Alex." He looked to the other. "And especially you, Fox...uh is it okay if I call you Fox? Alex said you might have a problem with it."

Fox shrugged. "It just doesn't sound right coming from anyone other than Alex and my mother. Call me Mulder."

"Okay," Howard agreed giving Alex a quick glance. "Mulder...is it okay to use Fox in the promos, though? It *does* have a certain ring to it."

"Well, actually," Alex began, "we talked about that. I, of course, wanted Fox to have equal billing, but he had a couple of objections."

Howard looked to Fox. "Oh? Like what?"

"First of all," Fox started, "you'd just be wasting money and ad space on me. My name isn't going to draw any bigger an audience than Alex's name alone."

"Which I still disagree with," Alex interjected.

Fox kissed the side of the younger man's head and continued. "Second, it'll screw up what we've got planned."

"*That*, I agree with."

Fox grinned at the younger man. "Thank you."

Howard studied the two curiously. "What've you got planned?"

Alex gave Howard a brief outline of what they intended to do, and the other man cackled with devious glee.

"Oh, God, that's *priceless*. Okay, I see why you don't want your name in the billing. Speaking of which, I think we should keep it simple. Nothing really splashy." Howard thought a minute, then looked up at the other men. "How about...a black poster that reads simply, 'Alex is back' then below it, 'One Night Only', and the date and time. Uh...'Reserved seating available'..." He grinned. "...which we'll soak the shit out of them for."

Alex shrugged. "Works for me." He looked to his lover. "Babe?"

Fox nodded. "I think it works. All you need is his name, and they be falling over themselves trying to get in here."

Alex snorted and looked away.

"I saw you up there, Alex, remember? I saw a lot of dancers, and none of them can hold a candle to you."

Alex rested his cheek against Fox's shoulder. "You're prejudiced."

"Yeah," Fox murmured, stroking the younger man's hair, "but I'm right. Howard has discovered that this past year if he didn't already know it, and his customers sure as hell know. You know, I was thinking, I hope they don't resent *my* presence. I'd hate to think that I ruined what could have been a hell of a money-making night."

"Are you insane?" Alex lifted his head and looked at the other man. "They're gonna *love* this. They're gonna eat you up, baby."

"He's right," Howard interjected. "This is gonna be one hell of a night...speaking of which...what do you think? How long should we let the anticipation build?"

Alex shrugged. "A month? Long enough, but not *too* long. And it'll give Fox and me time to make sure it's perfect."

Howard gave them a leering grin. "You just enjoy the rehearsals."

"Well..." Fox pulled the younger man against him. "...that's true..."

Alex licked a long, leisurely trail up the side of Fox's neck, drawing a soft moan from him.

"So," Howard continued, not entirely sure that the two men were listening. "How's....the fifteenth of next month?"

"Good," Fox sighed, tilting his head into the caress of his lover's wandering tongue.

Howard rolled his eyes, unable to control the grin that lit his face. "Uh, guys, I'll give you a room upstairs if you feel you can't make it home, but can we finish this at least?"

Alex sighed and backed away from Fox. "Yeah, yeah. What else?"

"Money. I've got a figure in mind, but if you've got a problem with it, we can definitely talk."

Alex and Fox looked at other, smiling.

"I was thinking..."

"Nothing."

Howard stopped in mid-sentence, gaping at Fox. "What do you mean, nothing?"

"Nothing." He tore his gaze away from Alex's and looked to Howard. "We won't take a cent."

"What...are you nuts?"

"No," Alex laughed, shaking his head. "We're completely sane. But we don't need the money, Howard. You need as much as you can get to keep this place up and running for as long as you can until you find what you're looking for."

The older man shook his head in disbelief. "I'm going to wake up, I know I am." He turned grateful eyes to the men sitting across from him. "I don't know what to do...I don't know what to say. How do I thank you?"

Alex looked over at Fox, grinning. "Just keep that room warm. When we start rehearsing on stage, I have a feeling we're gonna be needing it."

"Any time you want, fellas. It's not like they're in constant use, anyway."

Forty-five minutes later, business concluded, and Alex and Fox exited the office to find that word of Alex's presence had reached the ears of everyone in the place. All eyes turned to them as they walked to the back door, though no one made a move to approach them.

The moment the two men were out the door, a small furor arose. Alex's name fell from the lips of every man, accompanied by frantic speculation as to why, after almost a year's absence he would come back to the club. And the fact that he'd slipped quietly in and out of Howard's office only added fuel to the already raging fire.

"Okay, Jimmy," one man in the small group around the bar pressed, "what's going on?"

The bartender shrugged and smiled. "What makes you think *I* know?"

"Because you know every damn thing that goes on around here. Now, what's the deal? Alex hasn't been around here since he quit last year."

"So? He can't come visit? It isn't like he and Howard didn't part on good terms."

"Jimmy, he snuck in and out through the back door. If he was here for just a visit, why didn't he come in, have a drink...dance a little with his man..."

"Maybe he didn't want to be the center of attention."

"We wouldn't have bothered him..."

Jimmy let out a loud chuckle. "Yeah. You might not have been flocking around him asking all kinds of questions, but you clowns would have been gawking at them until they left. Maybe he just didn't want to deal with that, you know?"

The man grunted. "Whatever. I still think something's up."

"Yeah," another man added. "My dick. Damn, he looks good."

"Did he ever look bad?"

A ripple of moans and sighs sounded as the group shook their heads collectively.

"His babe is damn fine, too," the first man murmured to the agreement of all present.

"That's the same guy, right? The one he left with that night?" The short man at the end of the bar rested his face in his hand, sighing wistfully. "He so...long..."

Jimmy grinned, shaking his head. "Yeah, that was him. Fox."

"Yeah, Fox," the first man repeated. "Mmm, mm, mm." He glared at the bartender. "What were they *doing* here, Jimmy?"

"I told you, I don't *know*."

"You're a rotten liar," the first man shot back then picked up his drink. "Okay, fine. Be that way. But I *know* something's up..."

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

Alex cried out again, alternating between English and Russian, shrieking both endearments and curses at the man who teased him mercilessly.

"What was that?" Fox purred with unconcealed amusement after a particularly raw diatribe. "Was that something about my mother, Alex?"

Handcuffed to the headboard of the bed, Alex spat another stream of curses at Fox, only half of which he understood. He ignored the fresh rant and continued to slide the unreasonably large dildo in and out of Alex's ass as his tongue lashed at the head of his lover's tortured cock.

"Fuck...fucking bastard," Alex sobbed as the dildo slid over his prostate. "You've been torturing me for...God, oh, *shit*....fucking *hours*."

Fox let his teeth drag over the surface of Alex's cock then firmly gripped the head. Eyes almost as green as Alex's looked up through the golden-brown sweep of lashes, watching the younger man pant through gritted teeth. Fox smiled, gave the glistening head one last nip, then pulled his head away.

Alex arched high off the bed, whining loudly.

"*Nooooo*."

"*No*? I thought you wanted me stop. You know, since I've been torturing you for *hours*..."

"Fox, please.." Alex stopped in mid-sentence, groaning as the older man pulled the dildo out to the tip and wiggled it back in. "...baby...you're killin' me..."

Fox grinned then slid up to brush his lips over Alex's. "Are you suffering that much?"

Alex gave the older man his best wounded expression and nodded as he whimpered softly.

"Well, I suppose the nipple clamps are out of the question then, huh?" Fox murmured against Alex's mouth.

"Oh, *God*, please..."

Fox perked up. "Please? I can go get them?"

"*No*. That's...that's not what I meant."

Fox displayed a disappointed pout. "It isn't?"

"I can't," Alex whined. "Please don't..."

Why didn't he just say, please do?

With a flourish, Fox pulled open the nightstand drawer and produced the tiny, silver clamps connected by a fine, metal chain.

"No...no..."

Alex twisted and moaned, but to no avail. Fox attached both clamps, smirking at the tormented wails from his victim.

"I'm gonna...get you," the younger man sobbed, only increasing Fox's pleasure. "Gonna fucking tear you apart..."

"Ooooh, promise?"

"Fuck me, you goddamn fucking prick!" Alex screamed, bucking against the cuffs.

"*Sheesh*. Okay, okay..." Fox once more took hold of the dildo and began to ram it into the younger man.

Alex arched off the bed, a ferocious roar ripping from his throat.

"You wanted to be fucked, didn't you?" Fox asked sweetly, even as he increased the speed and strength of his hand movements. "So, I'm fucking you. Like it?"

Two large veins protruded from either side of Alex's forehead, and he ground his teeth together as he forced himself down on the dildo with every upstroke of Fox's hand. His cock, flushed to a deep reddish-purple, throbbed as it jerked upward, searching for the wet warmth it needed.

"Guess you do," Fox whispered into Alex's ear as he ceased all movement.

The younger man thrashed wildly, reverting back to Russian and some desperation-induced gibberish which Fox felt sure even Alex himself didn't understand.

"Shhh," he hissed softly, attempting to soothe the beast he'd created. As he removed the dildo, Alex's roars grew louder. "Easy, baby. No more torture, I promise." Fox swung himself over the younger man, pulling him into position, then pushed tentatively at the prepared entrance with the head of his cock. Before Alex had time to complete one whimper, he was inside, fully engulfed in slick heat.

Alex's mouth fell open, and a long, relieved moan rolled out. "Fuck me," he pleaded. "Make me come..."

His own body wound tight with need, Fox decided to give in to the younger man's supplication. He wrapped his hand around Alex's cock and began to pump it in time to his thrusts, effectively wiping all rational thought from both their minds. For a brief time, they moved together in perfect rhythm, but soon the promise of a devastating conclusion spun them both out of control. They writhed and bucked against each other, the sheer brutality of their actions sending them screaming over the edge.

Alex came first, immediately followed by Fox, their frantic cries fading to sobbing whimpers, and then finally to soft, purring moans. When he'd regained the strength to move, Fox released Alex from the cuffs, removed the nipple clamps, then made himself comfortable, sprawled over the younger man's body.

A weary smile graced Alex's lips, and he wrapped one arm around Fox's slick back while petting the damp, golden-brown head with the other. "God, you're an animal," he whispered without a hint of accusation or anger in his tone.

"Yeah," Fox moaned in agreement, lapping at the few beads of sweat. "Wonder where I learned it from?"

Alex chuckled softly and pressed a tender kiss into Fox's hair.

"So..." Fox lifted his head, his eyes twinkling with amber light. "Since you're all happy, does that mean you're not gonna tear me apart?"

"Oh, no, I'm still gonna do that," Alex promised. "Just not tonight. Right now, I don't have the strength to tear a sheet of paper apart."

Fox smiled, happily nuzzling the younger man's chest. "That's good."

"You think so, huh?"

"Yeah." Fox sighed softly, closing his eyes. "I like knowing that I have that much of an effect on you."

"That's nice," Alex said sarcastically. "You like knowing that you can *torture* me."

"Mmm hmm." Fox's fatigued voice drifted up to Alex's ears. "Only do it 'cause you love it..."

Alex yawned, feeling sleepy now himself, and smiled, drawing his hand up and down the perspiration-slick back. "Shut up and go to sleep. We got a lot of rehearsing ahead of us, and we can't be falling-down tired while we're doing it."

Receiving no answer, Alex couldn't be sure whether his last statement was heard or not. He tightened his hold on the man in his arms and closed his eyes, soon falling into a deep sleep.

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

In the days to follow, every free, waking moment was occupied with rehearsals and meetings. Fox and Alex worked out all of the choreography then took it to the stage for polishing.

In the meantime, the club had gone from practically deserted to full to capacity every night. Once Howard had begun advertising Alex's return, men flocked to the club hoping to catch a glimpse of him, but he stayed out of sight, fanning the fires of anticipation to outrageous proportions. He and Fox rehearsed in the few hours between the time Fox got out of work and the club opened. Security was tight during those hours, and absolutely no one with the exception of Howard and Jimmy was present.

The first day they ran through the act with full dress and props, they ended up getting a bit carried away, and Howard and Jimmy left them alone to finish what they had begun. When they lay exhausted and tangled together in the green silk sheets on the brass bed, Howard stepped up onto the stage, grinning.

"Not gonna get much rehearsing done if you keep doing *that*."

The curtain of thick, sable lashes lifted halfway, and Alex gave Howard a weary smile. "I know." He lifted his head and lightly smacked Fox's forehead with his fingertips. "Cut it out, would you?"

The older man opened his eyes and frowned up at his lover. "What the hell did *I* do?"

"You let me fuck you."

"Oh, and you couldn't have stopped yourself?"

"You're supposed to be the level-headed one."

"Since *when*?"

Alex propped his head up in his palm. "I don't know." He looked up at Howard. "Sorry Howie, I'm shot. I promise tomorrow, Fox'll show a little more restraint, and we'll be able to get at least two rehearsals in before nine o'clock."

Fox gave the younger man a hard swat on the ass, satisfied at the yelp it produced.

Howard burst into laughter. "It's okay, guys. I really think these rehearsals are just a formality, anyway. You've got it *down*. Jesus, the customers aren't gonna know what hit 'em. Now get the hell outta here so I can have these sheets stripped and cleaned." He rolled his eyes, walking away. "Good thing I was smart enough to buy a few sets..."

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

"Babe?"

"Hmm?"

"What's up? You look like you're a million miles away."

Fox gave Alex a bit of a smile and rested his cheek against his lover's shoulder. "Guess I am."

"What are you thinking about?"

Fox shrugged and rubbed a hand gently over Alex's bare chest. "Hoping I don't screw this up."

"Screw...Fox..."

"They love *you*, Alex. You're the one they're coming to see. They might not take too kindly to someone else sharing your spotlight."

Alex rolled his eyes, laughing softly.

"I can see it now," Fox continued. "They'll be booing and hissing and demanding their money back..."

"You loon." Alex rolled over on top of Fox, pinning the older man to the bed. "The only thing they're going to be demanding is more of *you*."

Fox shook his head. "Don't count on it."

"How can such a brilliant man be so dumb sometimes?" Alex tugged lightly at a few hairs on Fox's chest. "Those men are going to be falling at your feet."

"Alex, for almost a year they've been chewing up and spitting out *professionals*."

"What's your point?"

"My *point*? My point is, this could really backfire..."

Alex laughed again, earning himself an annoyed glare. "Babe, you're just getting nervous. It's perfectly natural. *Trust* me, once you hit the stage, all the fear will disappear." He smiled down into doubtful, hazel eyes and skimmed the bridge of Fox's nose with his knuckles. "All we gotta do is stay focused on each other. Not hard to do, right?"

The glare melted into a submissive smile, and Fox let his eyes drop shut. "No, I guess I can manage that."

Alex moved in for a long, possessive kiss, tucking one hand under Fox's ass while the other threaded itself through his hair. "We're gonna tear the roof off the joint," he growled against the other man's mouth as he began to gently rock against him.

"Speaking of tearing," Fox threw back, his hips pressing upward to increase the pressure.

The younger man's lips curled into a wicked grin. "Don't worry, I haven't forgotten. You're gonna get what's coming to you. But *I'll* decide when. Now, go to sleep. It's late."

"Not tired," Fox argued softly, raising one long leg and draping it over the younger man's ass.

Green eyes sparkled down at him in amusement. "Oh, no? What can I do to *make* you tired?"

Fox shrugged innocently, even as he worked a hand between them and began to gently stroke both cocks. "I don't know. I'm sure if you think long enough, you'll come up with something..."

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

"...Are you kidding? Reserved seating was filled up on the first day...no....*no*, I'm *sorry*. All that's left is standing room, and there ain't a whole hell of a lot of that either. Hey, as far as *I* knew, you weren't even going to *be* here. Why didn't you call and tell me you were coming...I know...I *know*. What do you want for me to say? He'll only do *one* show. I didn't dare push it, or maybe he wouldn't do that either. Yeah, me too, believe me....yeah, okay. Three? Right...right...see you then."

Howard hung up and banged his head on the top of his desk. When he looked up, he found himself gazing up into the curious face of his bartender.

"My brother."

Jimmy smirked. "I take it he isn't too happy with you."

"Not very. What the hell does he want from me? I got nothin' *left*. As it is, we're gonna be packing them in like sardines. It isn't *my* fault he came home from Phoenix almost two weeks early and didn't bother to let me know."

Jimmy shook his head. "Family. What are ya gonna do?"

Howard rolled his chair out from the desk and got to his feet. "He'll get over it." He walked to the open door and looked out at the rapidly filling club. "Amazing." He glanced back at Jimmy. "Just like it used to be...and they haven't even *seen* him."

"They're hoping," Jimmy answered. "That's why they're out there."

Howard blew out a soft, snorting laugh. "Since the announcement, we've made more money than we have in the last ten months. Goddamn...the difference one man can make..."

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

"I got an idea."

Fox looked up from his breakfast into the smiling face of his lover. "Yeah? What idea?"

"You're not going to like it, but it'll add an extra little something to our performance."

Fox squinted suspiciously. "What?"

"We don't touch each other till the night of the show."

"S'cuse me?"

"No sex." Alex smirked. "That should make for some good tension, don'tcha think?"

Fox leaned back in his chair, staring at the younger man. "You're serious?"

Alex shrugged, giving Fox an innocent look. "It was just a thought. If you think you can't last two days..."

"Can *you*?"

"I've got willpower."

Hazel eyes narrowed. "So, you're telling me you'd have no problem keeping your hands off me?"

"I didn't say I wouldn't have a problem," Alex explained, "but I think I have enough willpower to be able to handle it."

Fox studied his lover, drumming his fingers on the table top. "Well, if you do, so do I."

"So, we agree? No nookie till showtime?"

"You got it." An evil grin twitched at the corners of Fox's mouth. "In fact, why don't we take it a step further?"

Alex shot him a curious glance.

"No kissing. No petting, no stroking, no licking or biting..."

"Okay, you're getting a little carried away."

"What'sa matter, Alex? Can't take it?"

"I didn't say that."

"Well, if you think about it, it only makes sense. Since when can we do any of those things without ending up naked? My way, all temptation is removed."

Alex drew himself up in his chair, lifting his chin a fraction. "Fine. No problem."

Hazel eyes twinkled with amusement. "Good. Well..." Fox looked down at his watch. "Gotta get to work." He rose from his seat and moved to the door, Alex three steps behind. Fox turned as he opened the door and smiled at his lover. "See you tonight." Instead of the usual kiss, he merely lifted his hand and patted the younger man's shoulder lightly, then moved into the hall and headed toward the elevator.

Alex shut the door and leaned up against it, eyes closed.

"What the hell did I just do? I'll never make two days."

//Two stinkin' days? For Christ's sake, are you really that weak?//

//Yes. When it comes to him, *yes*.//

//But it's not just a matter of getting your wick dipped now. Now, it's a matter of pride. It's a matter of self control...or lack thereof.//

Alex banged the back of his head against the door, moaning.

//No, I'm pretty sure it's a matter of sanity. *Mine*.//

//Come on, Alex, you can't give in. You know how long he'll harass you about it if you do?//

//Forever....but...//

A tiny, evil little grin began to form on his lips.

//...but what if he gives in first?//

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

Fox approached the apartment, smiling at the low thump of bass coming from inside. He cradled the two large bags of Chinese food in one arm as he unlocked the door and walked in. Two steps into the apartment, his arm went slack then tightened around the bags, just barely keeping them from hitting the floor. His heart began to pound in time to the music, and his cock hardened so rapidly he winced at the pain it caused.

There was no illumination except for that which was provided by the two dozen or so candles scattered around the room. The erotic beat of the music filled his ears, and his gaze fell and remained glued on Alex...in front of the large windows that made up most of the south wall...watching himself as he writhed in time to the music, peeling off his shirt.

Fox couldn't be sure in the spare light, but he thought that Alex's eyes met his in the reflection. If they had, the younger man gave no indication that he knew Fox was in the room. He simply continued with the slow removal of his shirt, and when that was finally done, he let it slip to the floor. Fox's erection pressed insistently at his pants as Alex's hands began to wander over his own upper body, caressing the flushed skin as he moved. One hand moved to his crotch, stroking the bulge that was visible even through the black material of his pants, and Fox emitted a soft gasp.

//Easy, boy. You know what he's doing, don't you? He's trying to tease you. He's trying to get you to give in. Don't do it. Don't weaken.//

Fox moistened his lips with the tip of his tongue, his eyes watching every twitch and sway of that magnificent ass.

//Jesus, how can I *not*? I'm never going to make it to show time. Not with him doing shit like *this*...//

//Exactly what he wants. You give in now, and you'll never live it down. Just...// He paused for a moment as a thought popped into his head. //...Hey, if he's doing this...if he's trying this hard to turn you on, it's gotta be because...//

Alex eyes flicked up to the window, able to make out the grin on his lover's face.

"You look good," Fox murmured, moving until they could face each other.

Alex stopped dancing and shrugged, leveling a smoky gaze on the other man. "Thought I'd get a little practice in."

Fox nodded, eyes slowly scanning the length of Alex's body. "You must be hungry. Let's eat before the food gets cold."

Alex studied him for a long moment then nodded his agreement. He watched, eyes gleaming with anticipation as Fox picked up the towel he'd placed on the back of a chair and approached him. Slowly, the other man raised the towel and pressed it to his chest.

"Why don't you dry off, and I'll get the food on the table."

Alex caught the towel as Fox released it and strolled away, taking the bags with him. He watched for a number of seconds, shocked that Fox hadn't responded the way he'd anticipated, then a glance at his lover's profile diffused his surprise. The very visible bulge in Fox's pants brought a knowing smile to his face, and he sauntered off in the direction of the dining table.

Sliding into his seat, he looked up just in time to catch Fox's sidelong glance at his still-bare torso. He gave the older man a barely concealed smirk. "You're right, I *am* hungry." He attempted to replace the smirk with an innocent stare. "You want me to go put a shirt on?"

Lust-glazed eyes blinked then looked up to Alex's face. "Hmm? N-no, why do you ask?"

The younger man shrugged. "I don't know, I just...you looked a little uncomfortable."

"Uncomfortable?" Fox asked nonchalantly as he took his own seat. "Why should I be uncomfortable?"

"I don't know. It's just an impression that I got. Never mind." Alex speared a tiny shrimp and changed the subject. "How was work?"

"I've had better days," Fox sighed, poking at the ice in his water glass with his finger, warming Alex with sudden images of himself drawing designs on his lover's quivering ass with one of the cubes.

The younger man cleared his throat and forced himself to abandon his fantasy. "Yeah? What happened?"

"Christ, what *didn't* happen? My computer went crazy for starters. The tech was working on it all day and still didn't get it fixed. I think my hard drive is fried..."

Alex wrinkled his nose in silent response.

"Scully was particularly bitchy today...she's pissed because Skinner jumped all over us this morning about our expense report for that trip to Chicago early last month. She's sure that somehow it's my fault that we got double billed for the rental car." Fox sighed once more. "There are other things...small stuff, but it isn't worth the repeated stress." He fixed a steady gaze on Alex and fell silent.

Unable to tear himself away from the hypnotic amber stare, Alex nodded. "You need to relax and unwind," he suggested softly.

"Mmm hmm," Fox breathed, drinking in the sight of his lover sitting across from him still a bit damp and flushed from exercise. "That's what I need." He shrugged out of the suit jacket he still wore then loosened his tie and undid the first two buttons of his shirt. He stopped there and picked up his fork, digging into his food.

Disappointed but not terribly surprised, Alex turned his attention back to his plate. Minutes later, they'd eaten all they were going to, and Fox rose from the table, insisting on taking care of the cleanup while Alex went in for a shower.

Giving up quickly on arguing with the man, Alex retreated to the bathroom and a warm shower. Fighting the temptation to jerk off, he washed quickly and changed into jeans and a t-shirt, then walked out into the bedroom where he found Fox stripped to his boxer-briefs, stretched out over the bed, watching television. The older man turned his head in Alex's direction and gave him a sleepy smile.

"I should get up and get into the shower myself before I fall asleep."

"Tired?"

"I didn't think I was till a few minutes ago. Guess I was more wound up than I thought."

Alex gave Fox an apologetic smile. "I'd give you one of my special massages, but..." He shrugged. "...that would constitute 'touching', I suppose."

Fox's mouth twisted into a sinfully delicious pout. "Yeah, I...I suppose it would." He swung himself off of the bed and took a few steps in the direction of the bathroom. "Warm shower'll work the kinks out."

Alex was dying to make a typically lewd comment about working Fox's kinks out, but he summoned up enough self-restraint to keep it to himself. He propped himself up against a stack of pillows and picked up the remote, barreling around from channel to channel until his lover emerged damp and draped only in a towel from the bathroom. His eyes followed the outline of Fox's cotton-sheathed ass as it moved through the room.

Fox glided across to his dresser and pulled the bottom drawer open, withdrawing a tight, flimsy pair of white underwear that Alex had bought for him quite a few months ago. He let the towel drop, giving Alex an exceptional view of his cock, standing so proudly at attention, then stepped into the underwear, pulling it up over his erection.

Alex dug his fingers into the mattress to keep from pouncing on the other man, and he forced his expression to appear unruffled as Fox tossed the towel into the clothes hamper and approached the bed, flopping down beside him. "Feel better?" he asked, trying to keep the croak out of his tone.

Fox lifted one shoulder and let it drop. "Okay. Still tired. I think I'll be falling asleep soon, here." He turned a wide-eyed gaze up to the younger man. "It's early, though. You don't have to sit in here with me if you don't want to."

Alex smiled down at him then rose from the bed, unzipping his jeans. "Now, what else would I have to do?" He discarded the pants, giving Fox a glimpse at his own silk-covered erection, then he removed the t-shirt and dropped back down onto the bed.

Fox's eyes dropped shut for a moment as he tried to compose himself, then he looked back over at Alex with all the blandness he could muster.

"Heard from Howard today?"

"Of course," Alex sighed, slouching down into a more comfortable position. "Three times." The younger man smiled. "I think he just wants to make sure that he isn't dreaming and that we're really going to do this. Oh, and to tell me that he held another audition today, and he's got someone who looks promising. Of course, he had to add that the guy is no me."

"That goes without saying," Fox replied. "But Howard and especially his customers have got to realize that they can't have you anymore. You're mine," he added, a note of possessiveness in his tone.

A hint of a smile slanted the right corner of Alex's mouth.

//Then take me, dammit. Stop being so fucking stubborn.//

Fox stared up at the younger man, silently demanding the same of him. When he finally wearied of the nerve-wracking stalemate, he closed his eyes and emitted a long sigh.

"G'night, baby."

"'Night," Alex replied softly, groaning inwardly as Fox turned onto his side and draped one leg over the king-size pillow he held to his chest. He watched Fox for a while longer, his cock begging to feel the familiar, clutching heat surrounding it, but Alex refused, silently insisting that he only needed enough strength to get through two nights. And for Christ's sake, if he wasn't strong enough to last two nights...or at least longer than Fox, then...

"Alex?"

Alex looked down as Fox rolled onto his back and gazed up at him, a look of longing shimmering in his eyes. This time Alex couldn't keep the crackle from his voice.

"Y...yeah, babe?"

"Could you turn the volume down a little bit? I can't sleep with it that loud."

Alex stared in amazement then reached for the remote and lowered the sound. "Better?" he asked as sweetly as he could through his gritted teeth.

"Yeah. Thanks." Fox again turned onto his side, making sure to wiggle sufficiently against the pillow pressed to his groin.

//You can't kill him....you *can't* kill him...//

//Okay, I can't kill him...how 'bout if I just rough him up a little?//

//This was *your* stupid idea, remember? A little tension'll be good for your performance, that's what you said.//

//A little tension. A *little* tension. Not...not...*this*.//

//Serves you right, doing what you did to him when he came home.//

//I was just trying to get him to give in first.//

//Which is exactly what he's doing. Now, the question is, which one of you is going to?//

Alex ignored the throbbing erection pressing insistently against his underwear.

//Not *me*.//

//Couple of sick bastards, the both of you.//

Alex set the sleep timer on the television and settled as comfortably as he could, watching Star Trek until his eyes finally closed.

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

Morning.

Thank God.

One more day.

Actually, two more days.

One more night.

Which was worse than a *month* of days.

The evening passed with agonizing slowness. Both men were just about at the end of their ropes but refused to crack. And to make things just that much more unbearable, Fox suggested one more practice session before the next night's show.

"But, that's *touching*," Alex said in a sneering tone.

"You sound a little cranky, babe," Fox taunted, incurring an answering glare from the younger man. "Yeah, I know it's *touching*, but I'd feel better if we were sure we had it down...wouldn't you?"

Soft snort.

"Besides," Fox said cheerfully, "we're both strong men. We've both proven that we've got the power...you don't think that one rehearsal is going to screw you up, do you?"

If he had been close enough, Fox would have heard the low growl rumbling in his lover's chest.

"No, one rehearsal won't screw *me* up. How about you?"

Fox shrugged. "No sweat."

"Fine." Alex stalked over to the C.D. player and loaded it. "Let's do it."

Before they could begin, the phone rang.

"*Hello*...oh, Howard, it's you....no...no, of course not. Why would you think I was mad about something? No, everything's fine, Fox and I were just getting ready to...what? What do you mean, it's gone? How could it....you do? For Christ's sake. Yeah, yeah, we'll be there. Yeah. Half an hour."

Alex slammed the phone down and let out a loud, frustrated growl.

"Something wrong?"

"Howard needs us to come down to the club. Somebody stole part of the set."

"*What*? Why the hell would someone steal a set?"

"Not a clue, but that's what he said. Parts of the bed, curtains, stuff like that. He hustled up some replacements, and he needs us to go down and make our choices."

Fox rested his hands low on his hips and blew out a long sigh. "Great. Well, I guess we'd better get down there, then."

Alex shut the C.D. player off, and the two left the apartment. Four hours later they returned, exhausted but satisfied with their selections of the new props. They supervised the placements, talked with Howard for a while, then headed for home. Now, at eleven-fifteen, they agreed to forget about rehearsal and get a good night's sleep.

Alex settled into bed next to Fox, and though he still felt the frustration of his need, his weariness had taken some of the edge off of his anger.

Fox watched Alex lie down, the distance between them a scant few inches, though at this point, it seemed like miles. He heard the soft, resigned sigh, and his cock twitched in desperate response.

//God, how bad must it be if something as small as a sigh can get you up?//

He looked over at his lover, taking in the impossibly thick sweep of lashes as they dropped shut, and he whimpered softly. The lashes rose immediately, and Alex turned his head to the right.

"What's the matter?"

"Nothing."

"What was that sound, then?"

"Sound? I didn't make any sound."

Alex stared up at the other man for a number of seconds then again shut his eyes. "Okay," he said flatly. "'Night, Fox."

Fox's eyes rolled up into his head as he pulled the sheet up to his chin. "'Night....Alex?"

"...Yeah?"

Feeling the sudden and inexplicable need to say something reassuring, Fox murmured, "Can't wait till tomorrow."

"Not nervous about it any more?"

"Well, yeah, a little, but like you said, we just gotta stay focused on each other." Fox paused then continued. "After the last couple of days, I foresee absolutely no problem with that at all."

"I didn't think it bothered you that much."

Hearing the soft words, Fox's eyebrows drew down into a distinct frown. He opened his eyes and turned onto his side, facing the shadowed form of his lover. "You *really* think that?"

Alex shrugged, eyes still closed. "I saw you get frustrated a couple of times, but on the whole, no. I really didn't think you were too bothered by it."

"Oh, God. You know, Alex, I made a pretty good show of being indifferent, but I never imagined that you really believed it."

Alex's eyes drifted open, and he turned to look at Fox.

The older man continued. "I was just playing along with a game that *you* initiated. If I knew that you were going to start taking me seriously..."

"You're right, I *did* start it," Alex interrupted. "And it was just a game. I don't...I don't know when I started to feel differently about it. I was pissed tonight. I mean, really pissed, and I don't know why."

Fox studied the other man for a moment then spoke up. "You're frustrated. So am I. *Really* frustrated. It just so happens that I haven't got as short a fuse as you do." Fox reached out and stroked the underside of Alex's chin. "Don't you think for half a second that I don't want to fuck you blind. Don't think that it doesn't matter to me that I haven't." He leaned closer until he could feel the nearness of Alex's mouth. "Believe me, it matters."

Alex closed his eyes and shuddered as his lover's words vibrated over his lips. He lay motionless, waiting to feel the brush of flesh over flesh, but it never came. He opened his eyes and stared up into a glittering, dark gaze.

"Say the word, baby," Fox whispered. "Tell me you want to end this right now, and I'll have you screaming inside of five minutes."

//Say it. *Say* it!//

Alex's tongue flicked over too-dry lips. His mouth opened then closed again, having said nothing.

Fox moved closer still, letting his body brush against Alex's. One hand wandered over the younger man's ass, gently squeezing the taut muscles. "Talk to me, baby."

Alex looked up at the older man through his lashes, and a slow smile spread across his face. "I feel better."

Fox gave him a suspicious glare. "Meaning?"

The younger man shrugged. "You made me feel better. I think I can wait till tomorrow, now."

The words were hard, but the tone in which they were spoken was filled with loving admiration. "You fucking cock tease. I swear, after tomorrow night you're not going to be able to sit down for a fucking week."

Alex's grin grew wider, and he flipped onto his stomach. "Night, baby."

Fox covered his face with both hands and groaned into them. "You're a dead man, Krycek."

Still smiling, Alex snuggled into his pillow. "You should go to sleep so you can be well rested for tomorrow."

"Oh yeah," Fox growled. "I'm gonna have to be well rested so I can kill you."

No answer.

Heaving a harsh sigh, Fox jerked himself onto his back and closed his eyes. Not long afterward, he heard the soft, steady sounds of Alex's breathing, and he cursed silently at the younger man's ability to nod off so quickly. Over an hour later, his erection finally subsided enough to ease his discomfort, and he joined Alex in sleep.

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

Saturday night.

The club was jammed to overflowing, and the buzz of expectation had grown to a deafening pitch.

Waiters carefully navigated the narrow paths, delivering an endless stream of food and drink to the throng as a handsome young man in leather pants and vest danced his heart out on stage. His efforts went largely unappreciated as the crowd concentrated all its energy on the anticipation of the main attraction...

Alex watched as Fox paced around the dressing room, behaving much like a caged leopard.

"You're going to expend all your energy, and then what'll you have left for me?" he teased softly.

"I got plenty for you," Fox assured, continuing to pace.

Alex reached up, snatching Fox's arm as he made his hundredth pass. Pulling the older man down to the sofa next to him, he picked up the bottle of body lotion and squeezed some into his palm.

"Take your robe off."

Fox gave him a perplexed look. "Huh?"

"Take your robe off," Alex insisted then sat waiting as Fox obeyed. "Now lie down," he instructed softly, sliding to the floor.

Fox stretched out on the sofa, face down and moaned softly as warm, slick hands glided over his back and shoulders.

"Not nice to tease me an hour before show time."

"I'm not teasing," Alex murmured as he worked his lover's knotted muscles. "Just trying to relax you." He grinned. "...and keep your skin nice and soft..."

"I practically bathed in this stuff earlier," Fox sighed as Alex drizzled more lotion across his lower back and began to work it in.

"And your point would be what?"

Fox's muscles tightened then relaxed as Alex's hands glided over his rear and upper thighs. "I don't...did I have a point?"

A soft, throaty chuckle was his only answer.

"Feels so good," Fox groaned as Alex covered every inch of skin on his backside then gently turned him over.

"I guess it does," Alex chuckled, eyeing his lover's twitching cock.

Fox smirked and curled his fingers in Alex's robe, jerking it away from his chest. The thick terrycloth fell open, revealing a matching erection. "Apparently, I'm not the only one enjoying it."

Alex leaned forward, brushing the tip of Fox's nose with his own. "You know I love touching you."

"Mmm hmm." Fox groped for the bottle of lotion and, finding what he was looking for, squeezed a generous amount into Alex's hand, and then his own. As Alex began rubbing the lotion over his chest, he reciprocated, hearing the deepening of the younger man's respiration and watching his eyes go from green to almost black.

"God, Fox, I don't know how the hell I lasted for two days without feeling your hands on me," Alex breathed as the older man thoroughly massaged his chest, taking special care to tease his hardened nipples.

"You're a stubborn bastard."

"Says the stubborn bastard," Alex shot back, grinning down at his lover.

Fox laughed softly then groaned as Alex's hands drifted over his thighs. "I don't know if this better or worse."

"What do you mean?"

"I *mean*, I want to pull you down on top of me and bury my cock so deep in your ass you'll feel me till next month."

Alex's cock jumped at the coarse admission. "Soon, baby," he whispered. "And you'll have hundreds of men watching you do it."

Fox took a stuttering breath, and his eyelids drooped until only tiny bits of gleaming hazel could be seen.

"That turn you on?" Alex's voice took on a soft, taunting quality. "Does the idea of making me scream in front of all those men do it for you?"

"Yeah," Fox gasped, squeezing the younger man's nipples. "'Cause it's my name you'll be screaming."

Alex nodded and drew closer, open mouth poised to cover Fox's when a soft knock sounded at the door.

"*Fuck*."

"Ah, *shit*," Alex cursed under his breath and lifted his head. "*What*?" he called harshly as he crossed his robe over his body, and Fox sat up, pulling his own robe on.

"It's me. Can I come in?"

"Yeah, Howard, *sure*, come on in."

The door inched open, and the club owner peeked in. He cast an eighty watt grin at the two men and entered, shutting the door behind him. "Forty minutes to show time," he sang, taking a seat in a chair across from the sofa.

"Yes, Howard, we know."

"God, Alex, you should see it out there. It's just like the good old days. The place is packed to the rafters."

Alex said nothing; he simply rolled his eyes and looked to Fox.

"How are the openers doing?" Fox asked, slowly combing his fingers through Alex's hair.

Howard shook his head. "I feel sorry for the poor guys. I mean, some men are watching, but for the most part, they're so focused on ten o'clock, they're not really taking any notice of who's up there, which actually sucks big time, 'cause I thought they'd really like the last one."

"The one from the last audition?"

"Yeah. Damon. He's really good. He doesn't have quite the same animal quality that you do, Alex, but he's the closest thing I've seen yet. Damn, if only they'd give him a chance." Howard fixed a hopeful stare on Alex. "Do you think you could talk to them?"

"Talk to the customers, you mean?"

"Yeah. Later."

"What for?"

"Nobody's got as big an influence on them as you do. If you talked to them...asked them to give this guy a fighting chance...maybe they'd listen to you."

"Howard....I don't think so. I'm not much on public speaking."

"What public? These are a bunch of horny men who would follow you off a cliff if you wanted them to."

Alex looked to Fox for help, but none was forthcoming.

"He may be right, babe. You've gone *this* far to help him. What can a little speech to the troops hurt?"

Alex glared at the older man. "Thanks for your help."

Fox flashed him a brilliant grin. "Any time."

"I'll see what I can do." Alex said to Howard then looked at the clock. "Now leave us alone, okay? We gotta get dressed."

"Yeah. Yeah, okay." Howard pushed himself out of the chair and turned once more to face the two men before he left. "Guys, I can't thank you enough for this. I don't have the words..."

Alex sent Howard a grin. "Then shut up and get the hell out of here, would you?"

The older man left, and Alex turned, looking up at Fox from his spot on the floor. "We really do have to get dressed."

"I know." Fox leaned down and planted a soft kiss in his lover's hair. He rose to his feet and held a hand out to the younger man. Alex grasped it, and Fox hauled him up and against his chest. He clamped an arm around Alex's waist, pressing them tightly together. "Let's tear the roof off this joint," he purred, repeating the words that Alex had said to him just a couple of days earlier.

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

Ten o'clock.

An impatient murmur began as the last act ran a few minutes over.

The dancer finished his set to a burst of cheers, not for his performance, but for vacating the stage and making way for the *real* talent.

The stage went completely dark, and a thick fog poured across the expanse, and though the soft sound of scuffling could be heard, nothing could be seen.

Drinks were hastily purchased, and those customers lucky enough to have seats took them, staring transfixed at the swirling gray haze, waiting for the moment when Alex would surely emerge from it.

A good fifteen minutes passed before the lights dimmed and the faint throb of an unbearably erotic song began to play.

The mob held its collective breath as a low voice sounded, announcing the night's very special attraction.

"Good evening, gentlemen...Howard's is very proud to bring back for one night only...Alex."

The club exploded into thunderous applause, as the light came up the slightest bit on stage, and the smoke slowly dissipated to allow the large outline of a bed to be seen. As visibility increased, another eruption took place.

There, at the head of the enormous, wrought iron bed, lay the stuffed fox that had become as well known as the man who owned it.

The applause died and was replaced by a round of gasps and excited whispers as another form appeared, moving through the doorway of the carefully crafted set. Mesmerized by the slow, feral gait of the man in black, the crowd watched as he stepped into the middle of the room and stopped. His eyes rose to the bed, and he stared for a long moment, then his eyes fell away. Both hands came up, raking through the shimmering, dark hair. His fingers clenched in the strands at the back of his head, and he arched his neck, turning his face up and closing his eyes. Ever so slowly, he began to sway, his body finding the rhythm of the music.

Those who sat close enough to the stage could see the pained expression on the man's face as one hand left his hair and glided down over the front of his leather jacket. Reaching his waist, the hand came back up, now traveling over the black shirt. He slowly undid one button as he rocked in time to the music, and just as he was reaching for the second, he stilled, and his eyes opened. He focused a desolate gaze on the bed, and his hand dropped from his shirt, hanging loosely at his side.

Except for the music, not another sound could be heard as Alex approached the bed and sank to the mattress. He stared for what seemed like forever at the fox, then touched it gently. He leaned forward, lowering his head until his face pressed into the soft fur. His other hand curled into a tight fist, crushing a handful of green satin in his grip, and his body visibly shook.

More than half of the crowd jumped as Alex suddenly lifted his head. He shoved himself away from the fox and spun to his feet. He stalked over to the window, gathering up handfuls of the flowing curtain and stared out at the thick fog that swirled on the other side. His eyes closed and he began to move again, establishing a seductive rhythm. He lifted the light silk of the curtain to his face with one hand while the other rubbed the material over his chest and crotch. His movements became more and more desperate until he suddenly spun around, ripping the curtains from the rods. He threw the material to the floor, and his mouth curled into a snarl as he turned again, smashing his elbow through the pane.

Three hundred plus pairs of eyes remained glued on Alex as he turned from the broken window, his body convulsing wildly, becoming one with the increased tempo of the music. Beads of sweat broke out over his face as he thrashed around, driving himself and Howard's customers into a frenzy.

Thick, gray haze floated gently in through the broken window as Alex danced beside the bed, dedicating every last ounce of his energy to the bundle of tawny-red fur that lay motionless on the pillows.

Chest heaving, Alex ripped his jacket off and flung it to the floor. He picked up the rhythm again, but only momentarily. He came to a stop several feet in front of the bed, looking around as if in a daze, then lowered himself to the floor. His head dropped into his hands, and he sat quietly as the music continued, perplexing the audience.

As the smoke continued to insinuate itself into the room, obscuring all but the spotlighted man who remained crouched in front of the bed, Alex slowly rose to his feet, and, head still bowed, he wrapped his arms around himself and swayed gently. He caressed his own upper arms then moved one hand over his shoulder and up the side of his neck, skimming his cheek and jaw. The hand slid down his throat then swept over his chest while the liquid movements of his body hypnotized the audience.

So enthralled were they that it took a while for them to notice, one by one, that the thick smoke had begun to recede as slowly as it had rolled in.

The startled gasps of the few more observant men caught the attention of others, and soon the sound grew and mutated into exclamations of utter amazement, and then roars of approval as the dissipating smoke revealed that the stuffed fox had vanished from the bed. In its place, draped over the pillows lay a man in dressed in ivory silk.

He watched intently as the dark man, seemingly oblivious to his presence, continued to dance alone, touching himself as a lover would.

The uproar died, and the audience split its attention, glancing from one man to the other, anxious for the moment when the man in black would turn around and see the object of his deepest desires. A murmur of delight arose as the man on the bed got to his feet and walked to the iron footboard, grasping the top rail.

Glittering eyes followed Alex's actions, visually caressing the body that slithered so enticingly before them. The other advanced slowly, coming to stand directly behind Alex, his body mimicking the dancer's movements. Drinks went untouched, mouths hung open, and men forgot how to breathe as the two moved in flawless unison.

Alex's neck arched, and his mouth fell open as the other man's hands slowly grazed his thighs and hips. A mixture of desire and agony showed in his face as he immersed himself in his fantasy. It wasn't until the other raised a hand to his cheek, turning him into a sweet whisper of a kiss that his eyes opened, and he looked into the face of the dream made real. Quickly, he spun around facing the man behind him, and the music stopped. His chest rose and fell in time to the a cappella gasps that poured from the surrounding speakers, and the two stood motionless, staring at each other.

The man in ivory drifted toward Alex, closing the distance between them. He lifted a hand, letting his fingertips dance across Alex's lips, then he moved in cautiously, allowing his mouth to do the same. The music began again, and he broke the teasing kiss, sweeping his mesmerized lover into a slow, seductive rhythm, their bodies fitting together perfectly.

Alex wrapped his arms around Fox's neck, their eyes riveted on each other as they moved to the increasing tempo of the music. The other man hooked a hand under his knee and lifted his leg, holding his thigh against the ivory draped hip, and pulling Alex more tightly to him.

As they rocked and ground against each other, their mouths met in a desperate kiss, and the temperature in the room soared from hot to scorching in an instant. Abruptly, Fox released Alex's mouth and spun him around. He bent at the knee, sinking a few inches then rose, dragging his body against the other man's. When Alex's rear was again cradled against his groin, Fox began to rock, coaxing the younger man into identical movement as his hands roamed freely over his lover's body.

Alex's head fell back against the other's shoulder, an expression of pure ecstasy on his face as they melted together...

This act, this thing they'd fabricated for the entertainment of hundreds had evolved into something far more personal, as both men had known it would. 'Personal' is what created the whole Alex phenomenon in the first place. It gave him his heat. It was why Howard's customers were so obsessed with him, and though the circumstances were vastly different this time, his motivating force was and always would be the same. The man behind him, pressed so intimately to his back, aroused desires in him that no one ever had or would again, and the scores of men benefiting from those desires watched entranced as they so eloquently conveyed their passion.

Fox clutched at Alex's shirt, pulling it from the waistband of his jeans as his mouth wandered over his lover's jaw. His task accomplished, he slid one hand up under the younger man's shirt while the other turned Alex's face far enough to the side to claim his mouth in a long, sweet kiss. Returning both hands to the younger man's body, Fox caressed the length of his torso several times before closing his fingers around the bit of material that was already unfastened and pulled, ripping the shirt open and sending a shower of buttons flying across the stage.

The appreciative roar of applause echoed in Fox's ears, and he took the seduction scene a step further. He pushed Alex away from him, pulling the shirt down and off his shoulders and arms, tossing it behind him. Quickly, he spun the younger man to face him and pulled him back, falling into an increasingly frenzied motion as Alex tore at his shirt.

Now, both stripped from the waist up, the two men went at each other, hands and mouths moving over heated flesh.

Bending at the knee, Fox moved to his lover's chest, dragging his tongue over one aroused nipple, drawing a long moan from Alex and half the audience. He moved to the other nipple, suckling gently, then closed his teeth over it and tugged.

Alex's head fell back and his mouth dropped open as his eyes closed. His own gasp was drowned out by those of the spectators, and when Fox released his nipple and quickly flicked his tongue back and forth over the tip, small pockets of the congregation began to give voice to Alex's obvious need, begging Fox to love him.

Fox rose to his full height and wrapped one arm around the younger man's waist, kissing him as they danced, Fox backing him slowly to the bed. Stopping beside the mattress, he began to undo the fastenings on Alex's jeans, and the other man imitated his actions, working on the button and zipper of the ivory pants.

Forest-green eyes locked on shining hazel as Alex slowly sank to his knees, nuzzling the opening in his lover's pants. The man who stood above him raked a hand through his hair, cupping the back of his head, while the other stroked his cheek. Alex stared up at the other man for a number of seconds then moved in, first tentatively licking and kissing the solid length of his cock, then swallowing him whole, wrenching a deep moan from his throat.

Fox held Alex's head gently, his hips beginning to thrust and rotate in time to the music. The encouraging shouts and applause from the audience drove him on, and he continued long past the moment when good sense had intervened, suggesting that he stop. Now approaching the now or never point, he made himself push away, leaving Alex still on his knees, panting and looking up at him with pleading eyes. He composed himself and reached out, taking the younger man's hand and helped him to his feet.

Alex wrapped himself around Fox, his mouth fastened to the other man's flesh, refusing to let go, dragging Fox down on top of him as he was lowered to the bed.

Gray, misty tendrils wound around the objects on stage and the bodies writhing together on the bed as the smoke slowly thickened, softening edges and vaguely blurring the view of the audience.

Almost simultaneously, everyone leaned forward, watching intently as Fox rose up on his knees, pulling himself away from Alex's persistent grasp. The prone man's hands wandered over Fox's thighs as he slid his pants to his knees then began to sway, his hips undulating in a slow, hypnotic fashion.

Another round of gasps sounded at the exquisite if slightly obscured sight of Alex's lover's body making him silent promises of shattering joy.

"Give it to him," one man in the front row whispered, completely immersed in the fantasy. "He's wanted you for so long..."

Fox shifted, removing his remaining clothing and went to work on Alex, stripping him as well. When he was finished, he straddled the younger man on his hands and knees, licking a long trail up the hard muscles of his abdomen, working his way to Alex's chest. The younger man lay beneath him, stretching his arms straight out to his sides, gathering up fistfuls of sheet as he arched under the warm, moist pressure.

Fox continued upward, his tongue stroking over the contracting muscles of Alex's throat. Reaching the area just below his lover's jaw, he sucked the flesh into his mouth, leaving a large, reddish-purple mark of possession there before he moved on, muffling Alex's gasps with his mouth.

Several customers squirmed in their seats, moving in time to Alex's upward thrusts, and when Fox sank down, draping himself over the younger man's body, several more men unconsciously dropped their hands into their laps, rubbing the bulges in their pants.

Alex released the green satin and slid his hands up toward the other man's back as one leg slid over his waist, but he was abruptly stopped. Fox grasped his wrists and held them to the mattress beside his head as he raised himself up, separating their chests, pushing down with his hips, grinding their cocks together.

Until now, every sound Alex made had gone unheard by the population, but the sobbing groan he now emitted cut through the throb of the music, cueing his lover to move them to the next part of the performance.

Alex freed his hands from Fox's purposely loosened grip, and he rolled them until Fox lay beneath him, squirming as he had, his throbbing cock silently begging for attention. Alex leaned down, his mouth worshipping his lover's body as he rocked against him, pulling a number of harsh moans from his throat. Fox bucked against him, the dim light shimmering in his hair as his head rolled impatiently from side to side.

When he'd had as much as he could stand, Fox took over once more, spinning Alex beneath him, playing to the encouraging whistles and applause of the audience. For reasons known only to this crowd, they were more partial to seeing Alex in the submissive position. The more aggressive Fox became, the more frenzied their response, and when he finally raised himself up and almost magically produced a small tube of lubricant, the crowd went wild.

Fox ran the tube down the bridge of Alex's nose and over his lips, smirking as his lover licked at the smooth plastic, then squeezed the contents of the tube into Alex's hand and pulled himself up on his knees. In perfect time to the music, Alex stroked the lube onto his lover's cock as Fox gyrated above him, caressing himself. The crowd strained to see every detail through the smoky haze as Alex completed his task and Fox coaxed him onto his belly then pulled him up on his hand and knees. The younger man visibly trembled as his lover caressed his back and rear, his mouth following the trail his hands were taking. Fox moved back over him, wrapping one arm around his chest as the other hand guided his cock between the quivering cheeks of his ass.

Almost on cue, the spectators fell silent, not wanting to miss a single action or sound as Fox pushed forward, working his way, inch by excruciating inch, into his lover.

Alex rocked back against him, matching each thrust until they were completely joined. Then, grasping at the iron bars of the headboard, he pulled himself up and held tightly as Fox moved slowly inside of him.

Completely enraptured, the audience watched as, for the first time in *their* minds, the object of Alex's consuming desire put an end to his torment. So incredibly focused, many felt the tingle of each thrust and whimpered along with Alex as, at last, he became one with his fantasy.

Keeping in perfect time with the music, Fox drove into his lover, winding one arm around his middle and the other around his neck, effectively tilting his head back and making his mouth more accessible. As he fed on the younger man's lips, the hand at his torso moved downward, lightly grazing the rigid length of his cock.

Alex's body jerked in response to the caress, and he tore himself away from Fox's kiss. The sound of his voice, desperate and thick with need rang out above the blare of the music, crying out his lover's name.

Fox released Alex's cock and pulled his hands away from the headboard. Wrapping the younger man in a secure embrace, he continued to thrust into him for a few seconds more before spinning Alex onto his back and falling on top of him.

Alex clamped his legs around Fox's waist and arched upward as the other man plunged into him. The tension quickly spiraled out of control, building as the music did to the inevitable crescendo. Alex thrashed wildly beneath Fox, clawing at his back. The words he sobbed, even if they hadn't been drowned out by the increasingly loud music would not have been understood by anyone, including the man whose perspiration-dotted cheek pressed against his own.

Faster and deeper Fox pushed, gritting his teeth as he wrapped his fingers around Alex's cock and began to jerk it in precise rhythm. He threw his head back as his lover's muscles contracted, squeezing him in a vice-like grip. Unable to hold on a second longer, he let go, his roars of pleasure almost immediately joined by Alex's as the other man trembled violently beneath him.

Fox collapsed onto Alex's chest in an exhausted heap, finding himself wrapped in a weak embrace. He tucked his head under his lover's chin, delicately nuzzling his throat as they floated somewhere near unconsciousness. Exactly *when* the pounding of the music had been replaced with thunderous applause and howls of appreciation, neither man could recall, but when Fox forced himself to open his eyes, they were enveloped by total darkness, and he realized that it was over. The curtains had been drawn, and he and Alex were left alone to recover at their leisure.

The furor continued for what seemed like forever, and after long seconds, Alex took a deep, shuddering breath and came to life, hugging Fox to him and smiling.

"You hear that?"

Fox kissed the slick chest then licked a few beads of moisture away. "I've been listening to it for the past ten minutes, where've *you* been?"

"Out cold, I think." Alex kissed the top of Fox's head. "Oh, God, that was..." He hesitated, petting the golden-brown hair. "...I don't even have a word for what that was."

Fox smiled contentedly, tightening his hold on Alex. "From the sound of that, I'd say they enjoyed it."

"Told you they would," Alex mumbled. "Bet'cha after seeing you, they won't even remember my name."

"Yeah....uh huh...right."

"I'm not kidding, Fox. You were spectacular."

"I wouldn't go that far."

"I would," Alex argued. "We'll watch the tape later, and you'll see..."

Fox's head snapped up, and he focused a sharp, questioning stare on the younger man. "Tape?"

"Oh." Alex grinned up at his lover. "Didn't I tell you? I had Howard tape it."

"You *didn't*."

Alex gave Fox an enticing pout. "Just for *us*. I thought it might be nice to have. Don't worry, Howard is completely trustworthy. I told him one tape, and the one tape is all he'll make."

Fox lowered his lids as his eyes rolled up into his head. "He'd *better*, Alex."

"He *will*. He's not a stupid man. He knows me, and he knows that it isn't a good idea to make me unhappy."

"All right, all right."

Alex pulled Fox down into a tender kiss before pulling them both up into a sitting position. "Now...let's get dressed and put in an appearance before those people go hoarse and their hands fall off."

Fox shook his head. "Oh, no. *You* put in an appearance. Howard asked *you* to talk to them. It's you they want."

"Fox..."

"What?"

"They want you too."

Fox laughed and shook his head again. "Baby, anybody could have been out there with you doing what I did, and they'd have reacted the same. It's *you* they were here to see."

Alex emitted a long, exasperated sigh. "Yeah. Right. Okay. Come on, let's get dressed so *I* can greet my public."

Both men rose from the bed and descended the stairs at the back of the stage, Alex grinning as he followed his lover to the dressing room.

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

The two men had just emerged from their shower when a frantic knocking began at the door.

"Who is it?" Alex called, figuring it would probably be Howard, but taking no chances.

"It's me! Can I come in?"

"Can we get dressed first, Howard?"

"Oh. Yeah. Sure. I'll be right outside the door here..."

Alex rolled his eyes and shook his head. "And he'll stand there all night, waiting."

Fox laughed as he pulled his clothes out of the closet. "Well, let's not torture the man."

Once dressed, Alex opened the door, and the stout man blew in, cackling fiendishly. "It's been almost an hour, and they're *still* wound up. *God*, what a show! Do you know the money we could..."

Alex stopped him cold. "No more, Howard. I told you that, and I meant it."

"I know, I know. But you can't blame a guy for trying...you're going to go talk to them now, right? 'Cause I already mentioned it to them."

Alex lifted his head, looking from Howard to Fox and back again. "You did?"

Fox snickered softly. "No wonder they're still all bent out of shape."

"Great," Alex muttered, stalking over to the dressing table and snatching up his watch.

"What're you mad about?" Howard whined. "You *said* you'd talk to them..."

"Yeah, but if I know you, Howard, you've hyped a few words almost as much as you did the show, and these people are all worked up, wondering what I'm going to talk to them about, and I gotta go out there and tell them that they've seen me for the absolute last time. *Not* what they're expecting, I'm sure."

Fox moved to Alex's side and planted a light kiss on the side of his head. "Well, maybe you should get out there. They've already had too much time to sit and speculate."

The three men left the dressing room, Alex handing his stuffed fox to his lover as he and Howard separated from Fox and headed backstage. As they walked, Alex spoke.

"You made my tape?"

"Yep. Took it and locked it up in my safe as soon as the show was over. I'll get it for you before you leave."

"'Kay, thanks."

"No problem."

They reached their destination, and Howard gave Alex a sad smile. "Guess I'll go settle 'em down for you, now. God, I hope this helps."

Alex nodded and patted the older man on the back. "I'll do my best for you."

"I appreciate that. You've done so much already." Howard ascended the steps and walked out onto the now empty stage. The noise faded to a low, expectant hum as he turned his mike on and smiled out at the crowd.

"So...everybody enjoy themselves?"

A burst of applause and whistles shook the room then died away as he spoke again.

"Now, I told you all a little while ago that Alex was gonna come out and have a word with you..."

More applause and shouting.

"He's got something important to say, and I'm asking you...I'm begging you guys to listen. *Please*."

A sea of curious faces looked up at him, and a frantic buzz rippled through the crowd.

"Uh...I guess that's all I have to say. I'll let Alex do the rest." Howard turned to the blackened back of the stage. "Alex?"

A tall, dark figure moved out of the shadows, and the room again erupted into frantic applause. Alex joined Howard, who handed the mike to him and backed out of sight. As the mob continued their ovation, Alex stood quietly, head tilted at a slightly downward angle, one hand in the pocket of his jeans, the other loosely gripping the mike and hanging at his side. He couldn't believe how uncomfortable he felt, especially after what he'd just spent half an hour up here doing.

Ages passed it seemed, before the clamor died down, and Alex looked up, searching hundreds of faces for the one he most needed to see. He found Fox at the back of the club, behind the bar with Jimmy and now Howard. Fox's reassuring wink and smile warmed him, and he cleared his throat as he lifted the microphone.

"Hey, how's it goin'?"

More noise.

Alex removed his hand from his pocket and clamped it around the back of his neck. "Uh...you know Howard asked me to say a few words to you, so..." He shrugged. "I don't know exactly where to start, so if you'll just bear with me..." He began to pace slowly. "Most if not all of you know that I used to dance here. I left about a year ago with absolutely no intention of coming back. But Howard was in trouble. His club was going to hell, and in some way I felt a little responsible since it started to happen right after I left. But the thing is, it's not so much my fault as it is yours." Alex looked up at the attentive crowd. "This club is going down the toilet, and it's because *you* won't give these other dancers a chance. I saw some of the new guys he auditioned, and they're *good*. They're good looking, they're talented, so what's the problem?"

"They're not you!" someone yelled from the back, and the rest of the mob concurred with loud applause.

"Of *course* they're not me. Nobody can be me but me. I'm an individual just like everybody else. You guys gotta knock this off, or you're gonna put Howard out of business. Is that what you want?"

Silence.

"This is a nice place. Nicer than most of the dives I'm sure we've all been in at one time or another. If you want to lose it, keep up this stupid boycott. He'll be bankrupt inside of six months." Alex studied the sea of faces, wondering if he was getting through to any of them. "How many of you paid any attention to the guy who was on just before me?"

Blank stares.

"His name is Damon. He's scheduled to dance again tomorrow night at nine. *Watch* him. Give the man a fighting chance, and a few weeks from now you'll probably be wondering what the hell you ever saw in *me*."

Howard hid his face in his hands as shouts and grunts to the negative filled every corner of the room. "I'm so screwed," he moaned. "I might as well just put a for sale sign on the front door after we close tonight."

"Hang on," Fox murmured, not taking his eyes off of his lover. "It's not over yet."

Alex blew out a long breath and took a seat on the steps at the front of the stage. "Jesus Christ, you people are almost as thick as Howard. Okay, look. Try and understand this..." He rested his chin in his hand and inhaled deeply. He exhaled and began to chew on his lower lip, drawing more than a few lustful moans from his audience.

Fox scanned the crowd, reading the single thought that flitted through every mind. His eyes fell back onto Alex, and he waited for him to compose his thoughts.

"...Howard hired me a couple of years ago on a whim. He saw me in here a couple of times, liked my look and offered me a job. I..I had never done this before, but I figured, you know, what the hell? I didn't need the money, but I needed some distraction right about then, so I said yeah. I never thought it would turn into what it did..."

Alex averted his eyes and occupied his hands, picking at the black foam covering on the head of the mike.

The same brave soul who had spoken up just a while ago voiced another comment. "What it turned into was something amazing. You put on a show like I've never seen, Alex. Like none of us have ever seen."

"There's a reason for that," Alex replied softly, still not looking into the audience. "A reason that doesn't exist anymore." He finally picked his head up and glanced out at the crowd. "That's what I'm trying to tell you."

"What?"

Alex found the man belonging to the voice and looked at him. "This was the last time. I already told you that, but I have to repeat it. No. More. The reason I quit is the same reason I started in the first place."

Scores of heads shook in utter confusion.

Alex dropped his head between his knees, muttering off-mike.

"God, I can't believe I'm sitting up here telling this stuff to a horde of strangers..."

He lifted his head a fraction, eyes closed, and again directed his conversation to the crowd.

"I was...I was restless and more unhappy than I could ever remember being. Dancing provided me with something to do, but...it wasn't what I wanted. There was only one thing in the world I wanted, and I was sure I'd never have it..."

Fox watched quietly from the back of the room, wishing he was close enough to touch his lover.

"I guess it..." Alex shrugged. "...I guess all the stuff I was feeling somehow seeped into my performances..."

"It *worked* for you," the man in the third row replied, smiling. "Every performance, you burned hotter than the one before. And tonight...*tonight*, man...I didn't think it could get any hotter, but..."

The group murmured its agreement.

"All that heat," Alex answered, "then and now, comes from the same source." Alex paused, lifting his eyes to meet the gold-flecked gaze at the other end of the room. "What did you guys think of my Fox?"

The room exploded into raucous applause.

For the first time since he took the stage, a tiny smile curved Alex's mouth. "Wanna say hello to him?"

Howls and whistles thundered through club.

Howard grinned at Fox, who stood staring wide-eyed at the man on stage. "Go ahead, Mulder. They're not gonna stop till you go up there."

"I'm gonna kill him," Fox muttered, glaring down at Howard. "Two minutes ago, all I wanted to do was put my arms around him, and now I want to kill him."

"You gonna make me come get you?"

Fox's head snapped around, and he fixed a narrow stare on the younger man.

"C'mon, baby," Alex coaxed. "Your public is waiting."

Now knowing where to find him, the crowd rose to its feet and turned in the direction of the bar, giving Fox a wild ovation.

Deeply embarrassed but not knowing what else to do, Fox stepped slowly around the bar and moved toward the stage, clutching Alex's stuffed fox to his chest, staring daggers at his grinning lover the entire way. As he got closer, he saw that he had easier access to the side steps than those which Alex sat upon, and he detoured, ascending the five rungs, then walked across the stage. When he finally reached Alex, the younger man held out his hand, smiling. Fox took the hand and sat on the step above him, positioning himself so that Alex was comfortably nestled between his legs. He wrapped an arm around Alex's neck, just a bit more tightly than was necessary, and leaned in, kissing his lover's ear. "You're dead meat," he whispered, kissed the ear again, then the side of Alex's neck.

Alex arched his throat, providing a tempting target, but Fox held himself in check.

"This is it," Alex spoke into the mike, turning adoring eyes up to Fox. "All that heat you talked about. It's right here." Alex reached up and stroked the underside of Fox's chin. "My fire...my heart..."

The irritation flowed out of Fox in that very instant and was replaced by sweet, tingling warmth. He wound his other arm around Alex's chest and hugged the younger man to him, peppering his cheek with soft kisses.

"It was coincidence that brought us back together a year ago," Alex continued. "One I'll always be grateful for. We decided that night that we weren't going to let each other go again." He stroked the other man's thigh and rubbed their cheeks together. "And all that emptiness I felt went away. I knew that night that I couldn't dance anymore. I didn't want to. I was happy, and my performance would never be like it was."

"But you did it tonight," the man pointed out. "And you were just as good."

"I agreed to dance one more time to help Howard out, but only if Fox would perform with me. There's no way I'd be able to give Howard or you a hundred percent without him." He turned his face to the crowd. "Do you get it? I'm not the god you've made me out to be. I'm a guy like all the rest of you." Alex paused, looking around the room. "Okay, maybe not like *all* of you, but you get the picture."

A ripple of laughter moved across the room.

"All I want to do now is live my life out of the spotlight with the man I love."

Alex felt Fox's body tighten, and he immediately realized what it was he'd just said. Warily, he turned his eyes up to meet his lover's shocked gaze.

When Fox continued to stare, giving no verbal response, Alex attempted to lower his head, but a gentle hand under his chin stopped its descent. Alex looked back up, noting that shock had been replaced by a soft glow, and Fox moved in slowly, covering the younger man's lips in the tenderest of kisses.

When they finally parted, Alex took a deep, steadying breath and turned back to the crowd. "I'm done. You'll never see me on this stage again. Do yourselves and Howard a favor. Give Damon and the other guys a chance." Alex searched the hundreds of faces. "Okay, speech over. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to maybe have a drink and a dance with my man before we go home."

Alex rose and turned to Fox. He held out his hand, and the other man took it, letting Alex pull him to his feet. Nodding to the deejay, Alex turned and led Fox out to the middle of the dance floor where he drew his lover into his arms and began to move in time to the music that had started to play.

Lost to all but each other, the two men swayed gently together. Fox pressed his cheek to Alex's, his skin tingling at the faint scratch of stubble, and even though they had made love not so very long ago, he could feel his cock reacting to the warm press of their bodies. He planted a string of tiny kisses across Alex's cheek and up to his ear.

Alex moaned softly at the feel of Fox's warm breath fanning his ear, and he waited for the words that he knew were forming on his lover's lips.

"Did you really mean what you said?"

Alex pulled back far enough to see the hopeful shimmer in those magnificent green and gold eyes. Not taking his gaze from Fox's, he nodded his answer.

A relieved smile graced Fox's mouth and he tightened his arms around Alex, laying his head on the younger man's shoulder. "I thought it was just me."

Alex let one hand travel up and down Fox's back as the other remained wrapped firmly around his waist. "Just you?"

Fox nodded and lifted his head. "I can't remember when I *didn't* love you."

It was Alex's turn to smile. "You never told me."

"I didn't think," Fox stammered, "I...I didn't know if..."

"You really couldn't tell?"

"I was afraid to jump to the wrong conclusion," Fox answered. "I thought that maybe I was just seeing what I wanted to see. It would've hurt too much if it turned out not to be true, so I tried not to let myself think about it."

"I thought it was so obvious," Alex murmured. "But when you looked at me the way you did a few minutes ago, I suddenly realized that it might not have been, and for a few seconds there, I was scared to death that you didn't feel the same way."

"I got that impression," Fox whispered into his lover's ear. "I guess just like you thought you were so transparent, I thought I was, too."

Alex laughed softly. "We communicate so well..."

Fox let one hand slip down to Alex's ass, squeezing the rounded muscle while he pressed against him, letting the younger man feel his steadily growing erection. "How's *that* for communication?"

"Mmmm." Alex captured his lover's fleshy lower lip between his teeth and pulled as they rocked against each other. "I'm reading you loud and clear. Wanna skip the drink and go home?"

An amused grin lit Fox's face. "You mean if we can make it through this mob?"

Alex looked around, noticing for the first time that they were surrounded by scores of couples, linked together, watching them as they all moved in time to the music.

"Shit."

Fox suppressed a chuckle. "Can't you just like...wave your hand and part them like the Red Sea?"

Alex gave his lover a mock glare. "Oh, yeah, you're real funny."

Fox smiled then lowered his head to Alex's shoulder, moaning as he rubbed lewdly against the younger man. "Baby..."

Alex's fingers tightened in Fox's jacket as his cock jerked in reaction. "What?"

"Let's go home."

Alex growled into Fox's ear as his tongue flicked in and out of the interior. "Why?"

"Wanna feel that big cock inside me," Fox whimpered in his most needy voice, sending a sharp jab of electricity straight through the middle of Alex's body.

"Yeah?" Alex whispered unsteadily.

Fox nodded and moaned, wrapping himself as tightly around the younger man as he could. "Please..."

"I don't know," Alex sighed, falling comfortably into the game and prompting a frustrated whine from his lover. "I really would like a drink."

"No, come on..."

Alex untangled them and took Fox's hand, leading him through the maze of bodies and over to the bar.

"Hell of a show, guys," Jimmy grinned as Alex approached.

"Thanks. Fox deserves most of the credit."

Fox stood behind his lover, draping himself over the younger man's back and groaning into the curve of his shoulder. "I don't want credit. Don't want thanks or money. Just take me home and fuck me."

Jimmy broke into soft laugher. "You heard the man, Alex."

"Yeah, I heard him," Alex replied, giving the bartender a wicked grin. "Gimme a Corona, okay?" He turned from the surprised face to the man who was currently engaged in gnawing on his neck. "Want something, babe?"

Fox teeth sank deeper into the younger man's neck, drawing a sharp gasp and a wince from him. "How many times do I have to tell you?"

"I meant something to drink."

Fox balanced his chin on the younger man's shoulder and, heaving an exaggerated sigh, shook his head.

"Come on, babe," Alex purred, reaching back to stroke his lover's hair. "Don't pout. Have a drink with me, and then we can go home."

"*One* drink?"

Alex smiled and winked at Jimmy. "Yeah. Just one."

"Fine." Fox looked up at the bartender. "Just gimme the same thing he's having."

"You got it." Jimmy moved away to grab a couple of bottles of Corona, and Alex turned around to face Fox.

"Wanna sit down?"

"Nope." Fox pitched forward, leaning into Alex's embrace and pressing the stuffed animal between them.

"Why not?"

"Don't want to get too comfortable..." He looked Alex directly in the eyes. "...since we're not staying..."

Alex chuckled softly, letting his hand glide up under Fox's jacket, stroking the length of his back. "Such impatience."

Fox turned one of his irresistible, wounded looks on him. "You don't want me..."

"You know I do," Alex threw back, rubbing his crotch against Fox's for emphasis.

"Then, why are you stalling?"

Alex threaded his fingers through the golden-brown strands at the back of Fox's head and pulled him in close. "Because," he whispered, brushing their lips together, "I love to drive you crazy."

"That's not very nice," Fox whispered back, letting his tongue slide over the younger man's mouth.

"I suppose not. But you love it, don't you?"

Another swipe across Alex's mouth. "I love *you*."

Alex moaned softly, letting Fox's words wrap him in sweet warmth, and he pulled the older man in for a long, heated kiss.

A persistent knocking sound drew their attention away from each other, and both men looked toward the bar where Jimmy stood, gently hitting the bottom of one beer bottle on the wooden surface.

"*Finally*," Jimmy grinned, handing a bottle to each man.

Alex reached into his back pocket for his wallet, and Howard's voice stopped him.

"Your money's no good here."

"Howard, you can't afford to be handing out free drinks," Alex argued.

"You wouldn't take any payment for tonight; I think it's the very *least* I can do. Besides, I've been here and there talking to the customers, and I think your talk with them may have done some good. The guys I talked to promised to be more willing to give someone else a try." The older man beamed. "I may survive after all."

"That's great," Fox offered. "We're really glad for you, Howard."

"I don't know how to thank you guys," Howard gushed. "If it weren't for you, I..."

"Excuse me."

Four pairs of eyes turned in the direction of the strange voice, and immediately Alex's eyes narrowed on the tall, construction worker type who approached from his and Fox's right. His body stiffened imperceptibly, and his arm tightened a bit around Fox as he watched hungry, blue eyes travel the length of his lover's body.

The man's eyes rose to Alex's ever so briefly then danced away and came to rest on Howard. "Do you still arrange private dances?"

Howard's smile grew wider. "Yes! Of course!" He threw his head back and issued a soft, yet enthusiastic thank you to whomever may have been listening, then brought his attention back to the man. "Are you looking to set something up tonight?"

The man smiled. "Yeah."

"Great! Are you partial to any one particular dancer, or would you like us to surprise you?"

"No, I got one in mind." His gaze slid back over to Fox, and his tongue crept out to lick the corner of his mouth. "Him."

Fox stared blankly, too dumbstruck to respond.

Alex, on the other hand...

He'd seen it coming. He'd known what was on the man's mind the moment he'd approached, but he'd just never dreamed that the idiot would be brave enough to actually say it.

Body wound tight as a spring but maintaining his casual slouch against the bar, Alex cast an icy, green stare on the man. "No."

"Oh, I'm sorry," the man said with exaggerated politeness, "I didn't mean you." He looked pointedly at the man in Alex's arms. "I meant *him*."

"I know who you meant," Alex replied, his tone deceptively smooth.

Howard backed away slowly, moving behind the bar and praying that this man was smart enough to know when to back down. "I'm s-sorry, sir," he stuttered, trying to head off trouble and keep a paying customer. "But if you'd like to consider another of the dancers..."

The man ignored Howard and looked at Fox. "How 'bout it, gorgeous? You wanna show me some of those moves up close and personal?"

Quickly, Fox spun around, placing his hands against Alex's chest as the younger man pushed away from the bar. "No, I don't," he answered softly, then turned his attention to Alex. "Come on, baby, let's go home."

"I think you want to," the man shot back before Alex could respond to Fox. "I think he won't *let* you. What's up with that, Alex? You bring this pretty thing in here, tease us with him, get us all hot and bothered, and then take him away? That's not right. Come on." He reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet, removing several hundred dollar bills, then smirked at Alex. "You know the money he could be making you?" He reached out, and before Fox could move away, briefly caressed the underside of his chin. "Come on, Alex, name your price. I'll be a steady customer..."

Fox, Jimmy and Howard together couldn't have stopped Alex after that. Before Fox could react, Alex had shot around him and floored the trouble maker with a hard right to his jaw.

During his time at Howard's, Alex had become famous for more than his dancing. His temper had gained as much notoriety as his talent, and no one...from Howard to the staff, to Howard's customers had ever dared to purposely anger him. And here was this man, this...insane asshole with an apparent death wish, committing the most egregious of trespasses.

A crowd swarmed around the bar instantly, wondering what the man on the floor had done to piss Alex off. Word from those who had been close enough to know spread quickly, and the mob stared in disbelief.

"Is he out of his fucking *mind*?"

"He must be drunk..."

"Jesus, Alex is gonna murder him..."

Fox held tightly onto his lover, trying to keep him from reaching the crumpled form on the floor, but Alex got close enough to clench his hands in the denim shirt and hauled the dazed man up to his feet.

"Alex...Alex, don't..."

Alex held the man up by his collar, their faces inches apart, and hissed softly at him.

"I should've beat your ass the second you came over here..."

"Alex...baby, come on..."

"You got balls, asshole, I'll give you that. Too bad you'll be leaving here tonight without them."

The man emitted a choked wheeze, staring wide-eyed into an infuriated, green gaze.

Fox moved to Alex's side, shifting but not relinquishing his hold on the younger man. "Alex, the man is a shithead. He's not worth our time..."

Alex heard Fox's words, but blinding anger would not allow them to make sense. "You...*touched* him." He trembled with rage. "No one touches my Fox..."

"Alex," Fox begged. "I barely felt it. Come on, baby, let him go." He nuzzled the other man's face, hoping that physical contact would succeed where words had failed.

Sable lashes fluttered slightly, and there was a hitch in Alex's breathing so minute that no one but his lover would have noticed. Fox recognized the change and took advantage of it.

"Alex," he whispered into the younger man's ear. "Don't waste all your energy killing this idiot. You got me so turned on, I can't stand it..."

Alex's eyes closed briefly then opened again, and he turned his head into the soft, seductive vibration of his lover's voice.

"I want to go home," Fox moaned. "Please, take me home and fuck me."

Alex's grip loosened and fell away, and the man stumbled backward, falling into two men who promptly shoved him away from them. He regained his footing and looked around at the less than friendly faces that surrounded him.

"You've been spared," the vocal member in the crowd said to the man. "I'd get the hell out of here if I were you."

Having had a bit of sense knocked into him, the man slunk away, and the crowd slowly dissipated, leaving the two men to each other.

Alex turned to Fox and wound his arms around him. "So. What exactly was it about that, that turned you on?"

Fox molded himself against his lover, feeling the tension in every muscle. He kissed and nipped at Alex's jaw. "I've never seen you jealous before."

"He *touched* you," Alex rasped, his voice still full of disbelief. "He...he had the fucking *nerve* to suggest that I turn you out. I should've killed him...*twice*."

"You can't go around killing people just because they're stupid," Fox reasoned softly, moving to Alex's mouth, his tongue teasing the younger man's lower lip.

"Anybody *that* stupid deserves to die," Alex answered emphatically.

"Forget about him," Fox coaxed, letting his hand slide down to Alex's crotch. "Think about how hot you've got me."

Alex's eyes drifted shut, and he released something that sounded like a cross between a moan and a sigh as the older man gently caressed his denim-covered cock. "Let's go get our tape and get the hell out of here." He took Fox's hand and, keeping him very close, led him through the crowd of grinning men to Howard's office.

Howard followed as quickly as his still-shaking legs would carry him, and as soon as they reached the office, he fell into a chair by the door.

"Oh, God," he whimpered, pressing two fingers to his wrist. "My blood pressure. My heart..." He removed his hand from his wrist and clutched it to the front of his shirt. "I think I'm having chest pains..."

"For Christ's sake, Howard," Alex droned as he leaned against the older man's desk, pulling Fox to him. "It's not like I killed the guy."

"Only because *he* stopped you." Howard indicated Fox before he tilted his head back, resting it against the wall. "I went through three months of this, you know, Mulder. Just about every weekend somebody would do something to piss him off, and I'd have to jump through all sorts of hoops to smooth things over. I don't know how you live with him. Are you on blood pressure medication and tranquilizers and stuff?"

"Nope," Fox answered as he curved his arms around Alex's neck and initiated a leisurely bump and grind. "Just a shitload of vitamins."

"Get my tape, Howard," Alex instructed, never taking his eyes from Fox's.

Howard lifted himself from the chair with a theatrical grunt and unlocked the safe. He pulled the tape out and walked over to the two men. "Here you go. Watch it in good health."

"We will." Alex took the tape and smirked at Fox. "Let's go home, babe. We can watch you fuck me while I fuck *you*."

Fox moaned his approval, and the two pushed away from the desk.

"All right, Howard, you're on your own."

Howard took a deep breath and nodded. "I know. Thanks to you guys, I might be okay this time."

Fox gave the older man a smile. "We hope so."

Howard threw his hands up. "Well! Listen, just because you're never gonna take the stage again, that doesn't mean that you can't come in for a visit once in a while, does it? Hell, just your presence gets everybody's blood up, and I sure would hate to lose touch with you altogether."

"Yeah," Alex shrugged. "We'll drop in every now and again. That okay with you, baby?"

"Fine," Fox answered, wrapping his arms around Alex's waist and clamping his teeth on the younger man's earlobe.

Alex winced and chuckled as Fox pulled insistently. "That's my cue. Gotta go."

"Thanks for everything," Howard said one more time, walking the men to the door. "I owe you my life."

Alex tossed an evil grin over his shoulder as they walked away. "And when the time is right, I just might come and collect."

Howard laughed nervously as Alex's words drifted back to him, then he pulled out a handkerchief and mopped his perspiration-dotted brow as they moved through the crowd.

"Oh, for Pete's sake," Jimmy said as he walked up to Howard and nudged the other man's arm, "he was just kidding. He's not the devil, you know."

"You sure about that?" Howard asked in a hushed voice watching conversations stop and heads turn as the two men passed. "*I'm* not."

It took fifteen minutes for Fox and Alex to reach the exit. Every step they took brought a fresh deluge of good bye's and thank you's, and they simply couldn't leave without acknowledging the well wishers.

Finally making it to the parking lot, they made a break for Alex's car and fell inside before they could be ambushed by any more fans.

Relaxing into the driver's seat, Alex grinned over at his lover and handed him the tape. "Still hot for me, babe?"

Fox stared for a moment then put the tape and the fox down on the seat beside him and slid over to his left. He dropped his hand onto Alex's knee and let it drift slowly up the younger man's thigh. "Hot?" he asked, gently squeezing the taut muscles. "I'm way past hot."

Alex started the car and pulled out of the lot. As soon as he hit the street, his hand covered Fox's and guided it up over his cock. Slowly, both hands stroked the restrained bulge as Alex drove.

"Mmmm." Sable eyelashes fluttered as Alex's cock pushed against the material of his jeans and the hands caressing it. "God, I can't wait to get home....what...what are you doing?"

Fox removed his hand from Alex's crotch and reached into his lover's jacket pocket, withdrawing the tube of lubricant.

"What do you think you're gonna....oh....oh, Christ..."

Alex's eyes repeatedly flicked from Fox to the road as the older man undid his jeans and pulled them down to his thighs. Squeezing some lube onto his fingers, he turned, resting on his right hip and reached back, stroking his fingers between his ass cheeks.

"Don't want to waste any time, huh babe?" Alex breathed, reaching over to stroke Fox's naked hip as the older man worked both fingers into himself.

Fox shook his head and breathed deeply as he began to slowly slide his fingers in and out.

Alex snatched up the tube, and, without taking his left hand off the wheel, managed to apply some gel to two fingers of his right hand. Gently, he pushed Fox's hand away, and just as the other man was about to voice his protest, his lover's warm, slick fingers began to tease at his entrance.

Fox whimpered softly and pushed back, encouraging Alex's fingers to enter.

"That good?" Alex asked, shoving both fingers in up to the last knuckles and fluttering them over his lover's prostate. Fox's strangled scream gave him his answer.

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

Alex watched Fox's hand disappear in front of him, and he issued a soft warning.

"Don't you touch your cock, baby. You'll come when I tell you to and not before." He pulled his fingers out more than halfway and drove them back in, pulling a loud grunt from the other man. "Do you understand?"

Fox lowered his head, letting his chin come to rest on his chest, whining in answer.

Alex teased him for all of the ten minutes it took them to reach home, and by the time they got out of the car, Fox could just about stand.

Winding an arm around his lover's waist, Alex helped him up to the apartment and into the bedroom. He lowered Fox to the bed, and the older man assumed a boneless sprawl, casting a needy, amber stare on him.

"Alex," Fox practically sobbed as the younger man walked away. "Please..."

"Shhhh," Alex instructed softly as he placed the stuffed fox on a nearby chair then moved toward the television and popped the tape into the VCR. He returned to the bed, eyes fixed on Fox's as he slowly removed his clothing. "No spotlights," he purred as his jacket and shirt dropped to the floor. "No stage..." He sat down on the bed and removed his boots and socks then stood again. "No audience." Alex undid his pants and pulled them down and off then reached down and pulled Fox into a sitting position. "Just you and me..."

Fox shrugged out of his jacket while Alex went to work on the buttons of his shirt, and when the younger man had successfully bared his chest, Alex reached for the remote and turned the television on then started the tape.

"...and you and me."

He removed the rest of Fox's clothing and kneeled over the older man, hands wandering at their leisure over his body. "Watch us, baby," he whispered, letting his fingers flutter over Fox's nipples and drawing a low groan from the other man.

Fox blinked sluggishly and turned his head in the direction of the t.v. He twitched at the feel of a light pinch and looked back up to Alex. The younger man shook his head and directed Fox back to the screen.

"Don't take your eyes from the t.v.," he murmured, now raking the tips of his fingers over Fox's chest and down over the clenching muscles of his abdomen.

Fox whimpered softly but obeyed Alex's instructions, watching his lover's movements mesmerize the hundreds that surrounded the stage. He inhaled sharply, and his eyes dropped shut for just a moment before they opened again and tried to focus on the screen as Alex's fingers now lightly grazed his cock.

"Listen to them, Fox. They loved you," Alex said, cupping his lover's balls in one hand while the other continued to stroke his cock. "God, you were beautiful." He leaned in, his tongue swiping over the rosy, full lips. "You *are* beautiful." He swallowed Fox's moan, his mouth feeding hungrily, driving the older man closer and closer to the edge of insanity.

Fox clutched at Alex's hair, attempting to hold him where he was, but the younger man pulled his hands away and pinned them to the mattress beside his head.

"No...n-no...Alex, please."

"Please, what?" Alex asked, rocking slowly against his lover.

"Don't tease me. I can't..."

"You can." Alex glanced at the television then back down at Fox. "Look at us, baby. Look at the way we move together."

Fox sobbed his frustration but allowed Alex to coax his attention back to the screen.

"Jesus, we're incredible," Alex whispered, watching Fox rip his shirt off. "You know, I almost came right then and there when you did that. I don't know how I lasted as long as I did." He leaned down again, licking a warm, moist line up the older man's jaw to his ear. "Watch and see what you did to me..."

Fox arched, hissing through gritted teeth as Alex moved down his body, licking and nipping at patches of heated flesh. A loud gasp broke past his lips as the younger man flicked once at the head of his cock then gently pushed his legs apart and sucked at the sensitive inside of his thigh.

"Please," he choked, feeling his orgasm so close but still just out of reach. "Don't...if you love me...don't tease..."

Alex released the reddening flesh from his mouth and abruptly sucked his frustrated lover's cock into his mouth, even as he watched his video taped image do the same.

Fox bucked, crying out Alex's name as the tension built. He teetered at the edge, ready to fall over, pleading with Alex to let him, but the delicious pressure on his cock was taken away and replaced with teasing lashes of Alex's tongue.

Alex smiled at the loud, frustrated growls, and he pulled away, lifting himself and sliding up over his lover's flushed body.

"Look, baby. We're on the bed. You got some pretty moves..." He lifted Fox's hips, pulling the older man to him. "So smooth," he moaned, pushing his cock to the prepared opening. "So damn, fucking sexy."

Fox threw his head back and sobbed Alex's name as the younger man sank into him then lay heavy and motionless on top of him.

"Fuck *meee*," the agitated man wailed, rocking against Alex, trying to get him to move.

"Stop."

Fox whimpered frantically but obeyed the heavily breathed word.

"Don't move," Alex whispered, his face a mask of concentration.

Fox pressed his lips together and waited, trying to keep the tremors from vibrating through his body. One sudden move, and this would be done.

"You want this to last more than ten seconds, don't you?"

The older man nodded weakly.

Alex kissed Fox's chin then his mouth. "Then just lie here with me for a minute."

Trying to remain calm, Fox looked away from the blazing green of Alex's eyes and turned his attention to the television. He inhaled deeply as he saw himself position Alex on his hands and knees and take him from behind.

"Amazing."

Fox heard the unsteady whisper and glanced up at Alex, who was now watching the screen through passion-glazed eyes. His own gaze swept away from his lover's face and went back to the two of them locked together.

"I love that position," Alex spoke again. "I never thought I would, but...I love it when you're aggressive." He turned a scorching gaze down to the quiescent man. "And I love you like this." A sanguine smile graced his lips. "Hell, I just love you."

Even before Alex realized it himself, Fox noted with a soft sigh that the younger man had begun to move. It was a slow, tantalizing motion, and Fox could feel every inch of his lover as he withdrew then glided back in.

On screen, Fox had turned Alex onto his back and had initiated a hard, driving tempo, taking them both closer and closer to their shattering climax, a moment that was not lost on the men watching.

Alex began to move at a steadier pace, coming to within a hair of hitting the rhythm that would put him over the edge. "So beautiful," he panted, "so...I see...can see what they saw. Look at us, baby..."

Splitting his focus between the lust that threatened to consume him and the mesmerizing image of the two of them writhing together on the television screen, Fox shuddered...a violent, bone-deep shudder that drew Alex's full attention.

Forest-green eyes met their virtual twins, and Alex emitted a hard sigh as he took Fox's mouth in a voracious kiss. He increased the speed of his movements, drawing a grateful sob from the man beneath him, and grasped his lover's engorged cock.

Fox tightened his hold on the man laboring above him, pleading incoherently for release even as he heard the familiar cries of satisfaction emanating from the television, rising above the erotic throb of the music. Instinctively, his muscles tightened and released again and again, milking Alex's cock, bringing the younger man to an explosive conclusion.

As wave after wave of violent satisfaction rocked Alex's body, he released a strangled cry, and his hand tightened around his lover's cock, jerking him relentlessly until Fox's screams picked up where his left off. Not until a flood of warm, slick fluid coated his hand did Alex stop, and when he finally dropped exhausted onto Fox's chest, the only sounds left in the room where the wild applause and whistles coming from the t.v.

Fox lay pinned to the mattress by his lover's weight, struggling to drag air into his lungs as the sound faded away. A weary grin curled his lips, and he brought a hand up to Alex's head, feebly stroking the sable strands. "Gee," he whispered, amusement lacing his tone, "I can't imagine why those people enjoyed watching us do that."

Alex chuckled softly and lifted his head just far enough to smirk down at the older man. "Yeah, it's not like we're *good* at it or anything."

Fox's grin faded into a soft, loving, half-smile. "I'm glad we did it."

"Yeah, I think we really might have saved Howard's."

Fox let his legs drop to the bed, allowing Alex to disengage and move off of him. The younger man curled against his side, draping an arm and a leg over his body. He turned his head, scattering a few kisses into Alex's hair.

"Yeah, I'm glad we could help, but that wasn't what I was talking about."

"No?"

Fox shook his head, pulling Alex's into his arms. "Every minute of tonight'll stay burned in my memory for the rest of my life, but those few seconds after you asked me to join you on stage...I think it'll be impossible for either of us to ever forget the first time we said I love you to each other."

Alex grinned. "True."

"Most people pick a romantic dinner...moonlit walks...a deserted beach..." Fox smirked down at the younger man. "*My* beautiful, unpredictable baby decides that in the middle of a strip club, in front of a throng of horny men would be the perfect place to declare his love."

"I didn't actually *decide* it," Alex argued weakly. "It just sorta came *out*."

Fox laughed, hugging the younger man to his chest. "I'm just giving you a hard time. I love the way you told me. It was very sincere, and that counts for a lot."

Alex dropped a kiss on the older man's chest then rested his cheek on the spot. "My feelings aren't unrequited. That counts for a *hell* of a lot."

Fox nodded and lay silently for long minutes. "I didn't know...I had no clue what it felt like. I mean, I know what it felt like to love...I've loved *you* for so long, but...to know that I'm loved back, it's just...it's incredible."

"I know. I can't tell you how I felt when you admitted that you loved me, too."

A soft rumble vibrated in Fox's chest as he caressed the man in his arms. "We've come a long way from where we were a year ago. Never in a million years did I think we'd end up here. I mean, I'd *hoped*, but..." Fox broke off his chain of thought and jumped to another subject. "You *really* wouldn't have performed without me, tonight?"

"I really wouldn't have. What I said was the truth. It's you, baby. You're my motivation. My whole world revolves around you, and performing without you was *not* an option." Alex smiled, rubbing his cheek against his lover's chest. "Did you really enjoy it?"

"More than I thought I would. It was so damn kinky," Fox chuckled, "but beautiful at the same time. You take me higher than I ever dreamed I could go, Alex, and tonight it was so intense I wasn't entirely sure that I'd live through it. I still keep thinking that I'm going to wake up soon and find out that it was just a really long, erotic dream."

Alex laughed softly, flicking his tongue over the nipple closest to his mouth. "No dream, baby. And we've got video taped proof."

Fox moaned into the still air then kissed the top of Alex's head. "I'm glad you had Howard make it. I enjoyed watching us...as much as I was able to concentrate on, anyway."

Alex lifted his head and smirked. "Wanna watch it again? Now that we're drained, we'll be able to actually watch the whole thing."

"Now?"

"Yeah." Green eyes glowed softly at the older man. "I'll never get tired of watching it. You were sheer poetry, sweetheart."

"You like to lay it on thick, don't you?"

"I'm not exaggerating even the slightest bit," Alex answered. "You should know that from the reaction of the crowd tonight. And *don't* say it was all for me. They lost their minds when the smoke cleared, and it was you on that bed. And later, when I asked you to join me on stage, weren't you listening? That uproar was for *you*."

Fox bowed his head in grudging capitulation. "Okay, whatever."

"Unbelievable." Alex picked up the remote and rewound the tape. "*Watch* this. And at the end of it, I dare you to tell me that you weren't sizzling."

The tape played through, both men watching entranced, not taking their eyes from the screen for a moment, and when it was through, Alex took a steadying breath and turned to Fox.

"Go ahead. Tell me."

Fox's eyes closed, and a light flush tinted his skin. "Okay, I was good."

"Fox..."

"What?"

"Your humility can really be annoying sometimes."

"Thought that was one of the things you loved about me."

"Yeah. Usually. But it's just you and me here. Admit it. You're not blind or deaf. You've got to see what you did to me...you have to know what you *always* do to me."

Fox emitted a soft sigh. "All right, all right. I was great."

"That's right..."

The older man shifted position, pinning Alex beneath him. "Amazing...fabulous..."

Alex arched beneath his lover. "Don't stop, baby..."

Fox dragged his tongue across Alex's mouth. "Sizzling hot. I owned that audience...*and* you."

The younger man squirmed beneath his lover's weight, moaning softly. "Oh, yeah, baby. I'm yours..."

Fox chuckled down at the writhing man, noting his aroused condition. "You ready to go, again?"

Alex nodded, letting his hands wander over Fox's chest and shoulders. "More than ready. Come on, lover. Show me those moves again."

Fox clamped his teeth on the curve between Alex's neck and shoulder, biting until the younger man gasped. "Gee, I don't know if I can without the applause of an adoring audience."

"I'll be your audience," Alex promised breathlessly winding his legs around Fox's waist. "And believe me, I'll make more noise than all three hundred of those men put together if you hit the right spot."

"*If*?" Fox asked, pulling back to roll Alex over onto his stomach and jerk him to his hands and knees. "No, baby."

Alex's head snapped back and a sharp howl escaped his throat as, unprepared, Fox drove into him at just the right angle.

"See?" the older man leaned over Alex's back and growled into his ear. "I *own* you." He reared back and slammed again into the trembling man, drawing another scream from him. "Say it."

"You own me," Alex gasped obediently. "Fuck me hard, Fox," he added. "I need...need it."

A triumphant groan ripped from the older man's throat, and he grasped a handful of sable hair as his other hand wrapped itself around his lover's throbbing cock, and he went to work.

All at once, the air became saturated with the low, feral groans and desperate sobs of both men as Fox plunged mercilessly into Alex. His hand flew over the younger man's cock, and as the imminent rush of orgasm approached, he tipped his head back, letting a deep, victorious snarl rip from his throat.

Violent tremors rocked Alex's body as a blast of warmth flowed through his lower regions, and his own orgasm hit, taking him screaming to the edges of unconsciousness. When he came to, he was lying face down on the bed, the weight of Fox's exhausted body pressing him into the mattress.

"Ohhh, God..."

Fox lifted his head and kissed a path across the younger man's sweat-slick shoulders. "My sentiments exactly."

"Jesus," Alex panted into the pillow under his face. "You're gonna kill me one day." He turned awkwardly onto his back then pulled Fox down to his chest. "But, I'll die a happy man."

Fox chuckled into the curve of the younger man's throat then gently bit the tender flesh. "Yeah, but then *I'd* be unhappy."

Alex grinned into his lover's hair. "There are hundreds of men out there, Fox, who would kill or die to be *owned* by you."

"Don't want hundreds of men," Fox answered softly then lifted his head. "I only want you."

Alex met Fox's steady gaze and read in those exquisite, gold-flecked eyes everything he needed to know. "You have me," he whispered, claiming Fox's mouth in a tender kiss. "I'm yours. And you're mine," he added possessively.

Fox again rested his head on Alex's chest and closed his eyes, purring contentedly. "I never want to belong to anyone else."

"Good. Now...I can just about keep my eyes open, so might I request that we get some sleep?"

"I was just about to suggest the same thing." Fox stretched up for a long, sweet kiss before turning onto his side and settling comfortably in the warm cradle of his lover's body. "Unless you wanna make good on that threat."

"Threat?"

"To tear me apart."

"I haven't forgotten. But as long as you're expecting it, it ain't gonna happen."

Fox chuckled softly. "Okay, I promise I won't be expecting it tomorrow."

A returned chuckle was his only answer.

"'Night, Alex."

"G'night, baby."

Alex wrapped himself around the man in his arms, both drifting off quickly, drowning in the joy of newly discovered love, and dreaming dreams of hazy rooms, roaring crowds, and endless, unquenchable passion.

 

END