Disclaimer: Not mine, and after the things I've done to them, they are really glad. The boys all belong to Chris Carter and 1013 Productions. If you sue me, I'll send you my debts and then you'll feel sorry for me. I don't make money from this, in fact, I'm not actually sure why I do it. Tell me, somebody. Why?

Plot: It's the last part of the Booze Brothers. I think you probably need to have read the rest to know and understand exactly why this is all happening. Jeffy is nuts.

Spoilers: Terma, 2 Fathers/1 Son.

Thank you: To so many people who have made it a far better story than it might have been. Here they all are:

Frankie: who is a great beta reader, even though she doesn't believe it. Her questions always go straight to the point.

Ayanna: who is a fount of knowledge about the geography of DC and environs, and who made great suggestions.

Phyre: for punctuating, and telling me that Mulder wouldn't say that.

Aries: for chanting, and telling me I'm not going over the top.

Tirinar: for demanding pool sex and giving me the ending and finally, but most especially

Bonita: who was there with me from the start, cajoling, snarling, encouraging and demanding. This is for her.

Feedback? For sure. Now I remember why I do this. It's for the feedback. sashworth@home.com

WARNING: This story is rated NC17 for M/M sex, and contains every squick you can possibly think of, except cannibalism and pedophilia. There is rape, torture, coercion and horror in here. Be very sure you want to read it before you start, and don't blame me. ps, there's a little something in there that could be construed as cannibalism too.

 

 

Booze Brothers 7: Last Call

by Dr Ruthless

 

 

"You pale to Fox Mulder."

Funny how five words can make such difference, isn't it? Everywhere I turn, there he is. He has me hemmed in. I'm in a box so small I can't move, can't breathe, can't see.

My mother wouldn't talk to me. She wanted him. She got him too, and much good it did her. All that misplaced enthusiasm, all that wide-eyed ingenuousness, burned to char. I could have saved you Mom, I could. My father..."You pale..." Better not to go there. There's nothing in there that I want to think about. Just let me say I'm a disappointment and move on, because Fox Mulder is somehow better than I am.

The man I love has no time for me now. Can you guess why? I guess I don't need to spell it out, do I? It's Mulder again, and I hate him. Hate doesn't really do it. The word has been overused and lost its impact.

There must be a better word for it, but if there is, I don't know it. Suffice it to say that my feelings for Fox Mulder are less than kind. If I told you some of the things that I would like to do to Fox Mulder, you would back away from me. He has no idea, the arrogant fuck.

It's really not good for me to dwell on him this way, so let me just say that I hate him and move on. There are far more exciting things to talk about. Let me tell you about the man I love, the man who would be mine if not for... Fuck it! Every train of thought leads back to Alex, my love, and to Mulder, the man who's defiling him.

He will be mine though, and soon. Mulder had better take his pleasure now.

Alex is going to be mine.

I sucked him off once. Did you know that? The two of them came to my apartment in the middle of the night, and Alex wanted it. Alex wanted me to suck Mulder, and I did, for Alex.

If he wanted me to, I would do far worse than that.

Alex Krycek is his name. He came into my life one dark night like a wild animal, and he chose me. He picked me out from the herd and mesmerized m with those green eyes of his. He strolled into my life like a panther, dark and sleek and sinuous. He marked me as his and I remain his even now.

He had me down on my knees with his cock down my throat before ever I heard his voice. Then he hurt me and taught me that pain was good if it comes from the one you love.

He prowls through my life like the wild cat that he resembles. He is all dark desire, from the glide of his hips to the arrogant tilt of his chin. He is sleek and muscled, his skin golden silk covered with soft leather. He is wild and wicked, not to be denied. I would do anything for him. Anything.

I expect you are going to tell me to get a life, to get real, wise up, but it's not that simple. He's got his sticky fingers twined in my heart and he won't let me go.

Let me tell you about him. He looks like an angel, he really does.

He's tall, but the way he carries himself makes him seem taller. He's broad of chest and strong, with powerful shoulders and muscles that slide easy under his skin.

He's slim of hip with long, long legs that have a slight bow to them.

It's a flaw that makes him even more dear to me. When he prowls with those long, bowed legs he places one foot in front of another, leaving inhuman tracks. Alex doesn't walk like a man. How could he, he isn't human. His hips roll and his tight ass moves with such supple strength that I'm always surprised he leaves any tracks at all. He looks like he walks over the earth without touching it.

His skin is smooth, satin over the hardness of muscle. I love to run my hand over his skin when he allows me to touch him. His face? Oh God, his face. When he's stern and unsmiling he makes me melt although I'm afraid of what he might do, but when he smiles, when he laughs, it's like the day dawning clear and bright over the sea, dark and restless and beautiful. When his face lights up, as it does all too infrequently, I feel it like a punch to my gut. All the breath rushes from my lungs and I'm helpless with wanting him, craving him, needing him to cut me and remind me who I am.

The pain he inflicts on me is all I ever wanted. It's for me, his smile. One day I will own all of his smiles.

He has this gift of looking inside one and seeing the things you would like to remain hidden. He knows me whether I would have it or not. Sometimes he's kind to me, but mostly he isn't. He understands how words can be used like blades to slice at flesh. He's cut me to the core, peeled me skin from bone, and left me naked, ungainly and defenseless. Off balance I topple, and when I look up he's gone as if he were never there, gone back to his lover without looking back.

He laughed at me, sneered in my face before he turned away. I won't forget that.

And yet, he saved my life for me when I was ready to let it go. He killed for me, and I saw his face, avenging angel. I would have given him everything at that moment, but he didn't want it. All he did was place the barbs of his words beneath my skin again and left me to bleed alone. He doesn't want me now. He doesn't love me. I know that.

I do know that he will one day. I'll make him. I have a plan. I've been watching him, watching them. I crave the sight of him the way a junkie craves the needle. There's nothing they can do that I don't see. I absorb the sight of him as he goes through the day. I'm watching now, watching as Fox Mulder sits at his desk, using his computer and Alex, my wild Alex stands behind him, reading over his shoulder and stroking the man's neck.

Mulder believes him tamed, but I know the truth. No one has yet managed to bring him to heel. One day he'll stand behind me and touch me with love.

He'll want to. He'll beg to.

He has no choice. Neither do I. Fate means us to be together. The times I like best are when Mulder leaves the apartment, and Alex wanders around, naked and gorgeous, setting the place to rights for his lover. Once he became aroused, and I watched him as he brought himself to orgasm, stroking and teasing himself, every line in his beautiful body taut and straining as he worked himself. I could have sworn that he called out my name when he came, and I wanted to phone him right then and let him know that I was with him, watching him and that he wasn't alone, but I didn't dare.

I long for the day when I have him. He will come to me at last, and he'll kiss me the way he kisses Mulder now. His mouth will be hot on mine, and he'll surround me, cover me, and give me all his passion and his love. I'll make sure of that.

Fox Mulder will pale. He'll pale beside me and I will shine in the light from Alex's green eyes.

The day is coming. The day is coming when he will be mine. I have it all ready now. Everything is planned. When it's time to take him, I will know.

Keeping a panther in captivity isn't something you do without careful planning, and I am really good at the detail work. The terror I feel when I contemplate taking him is a good thing. He would kill me, given half a chance.

I have a place for him. Nobody will find him. I can subdue him, tame him, and bring him to my hand. I've got it all here for you, Alex. I've got everything. Got the hard and the soft, the angry, and the tender.

I'll help you redeem yourself at last.

I can see Mulder turn off the monitor and stand now. Alex is putting a hand to his chin, and I can almost feel those long, slender fingers slide over my skin. My lips tingle in sympathy as their mouths meet and their bodies close in on one another.

He's holding Alex against him, and Alex permits the kiss he gives because I am not there. I can see Mulder's hands on him, kneading his buttocks, feeling under his T-shirt for the smooth expanse of his back, and I am hard, so hard that I have to take hold of myself, relieve myself even though I know from experience that it will do me no good. A fire burns in me and only he can extinguish it.

There's no cure for me except through him, and I imagine his soft lips around my cock. I grit my teeth then as the image of him biting through my penis rises up as it so often does. Down in the room below me, Mulder has stripped Alex of his shirt. His jeans are pushed down around his thighs as Mulder fondles him, and still they are kissing.

If it were me, I would be so good to him. Once I have him, he will know true happiness. He'll forget his freedom in the joy of finding real love.

They part for a minute, and I fear that maybe they will move to the bedroom. I need to repair the camera in the bedroom. It went off today while Mulder was at work and I haven't had a chance to repair it yet. I exhale my relief when I see Mulder slide down the front of my panther-boy and I know that they will stay where I can see them.

I record his violation. It's so obvious that he's there under duress, and I know that the time has come to set him free. It may take a while before he understands that he is mine, but that will change.

I can re-educate him. I can break Mulder's hold on him. I'm coming, my angel, I'm coming.

So is Alex, plunging frenzied into Mulder as that sinful, pouting mouth sucks on the length of him. Mulder's fingers are buried in the crease between his buttocks. I let go and jet white, sticky evidence of my love for him onto my hands to drip between my fingers until I taste it and imagine that it comes from Alex.

I see him buck, and then his head goes back. I watch the tendons stand out on his neck as his face contorts into sheer, blind ecstasy, and I shake as I picture him giving it up for me as I worship him with my mouth.

I watch as Mulder takes him in his arms again, claiming his mouth, and I feel a shriek welling up inside me as I continue to observe. It rips me in two to see them there, and know that he has it all. I want to sink my nails into his flesh and scratch it until it bleeds. I want to cut out the tongue that is lapping at the neck of my beloved.

I want him to die for desecrating my forest god, my panther boy. Instead, I see Alex crouch to accept his swollen prick, kneeling with buttocks raised. I see Mulder drive into him hard and fast as he fucks him, and already I am stiff again, my own penis bulging and solid as I watch. I scream, scream, scream again in the pain of wanting.

There's no more time. It has gone on too long and I can't wait any more. By tomorrow night he will be mine, or we will both be dead.

***

It's time now. I've set the scene. It was done so simply. All I did was give Mulder back his precious X-Files. That was all it took to get him out of the way.

I gave him the X-Files and took his lover.

Handing over the X-Files was simple. I didn't want them anyway. I never really wanted them. When the time came to hand them back, I was sincere, and boyish, and somehow touchingly noble as I gave him back his treasured obsession and left him nothing but the cold, dead-faced redhead he calls his partner.

When I left the room, I knew that he would be busy for a while and there would be no interruptions. I drove back to my hideout in the building opposite to Mulder's apartment block.

Phoning Mulder's home number and waiting for Alex to pick up the phone, I imitate my father. I'm good at that. I wonder if he knows. How would he though? When did the vicious old man ever spend time with me? When Alex answers the phone, I'm ready.

"Alex, my boy, it's been a while since we've spoken. I hope you've recovered from the unfortunate episode of drug use?" My plummy tones are perfect. I pause to suck on a pencil as if I'm smoking and watch Alex down below me, clad only in a pair of blue jeans, still open at the fly. The open zipper reveals a scattering of dark, silky hairs trailing down from his navel to vanish into the mysterious region of his groin, beneath the fabric. He has been in the shower and he is toweling his hair dry. I watch as he frowns and then winces when I allude to his recent lapse into heroin addiction. Heroin isn't the drug you need, my Alex.

"What do you want? I don't work for you any more." I smile at that. He's playing into my hands now. He believes that I am the Smoker. "Just a social call, that's all. I like to keep in touch with my acquaintances, and you have been...shall we say, helpful, at times." I'm smiling, and I watch him shake his head as if to clear it before he responds.

"I'm fine. Thank you for your concern. Goodbye." He speaks with scorn, and I'm elated. He hates my father. That's good. My father is unworthy of him.

He doesn't deserve Alex's love.

"Before you go, Alex, there's something I wanted to warn you about."That gives him pause. He looks at the phone with irritation but he doesn't hang up. He waits, drumming his fingers on the wall beside the phone. "Were you aware that there's an ongoing observation of Fox Mulder's apartment?

Do you know that there is probably someone watching you right now? How do you feel about that, Alex?"

I see him snarl, drawing back his lips over his teeth like the panther I call him, and wonder if he will rush to the window to scan the rows of balconies on this side of the street. Of course he is too canny for that, although I see him steal a subtle peep across towards where I am waiting.

His voice is a silky purr now as he quizzes me. "Why would they be doing that? I don't work for you any more, and Fox spends his days chasing down fertilizer. What could they possibly want?"

He's good, my Alex, wild as he is he has subsumed the fury he feels, and his voice reaches me, breathless and innocent, a tempter of lecherous old men like my father.

Smiling, I confirm for him what he guesses already. "Perhaps they like you. Maybe they just want to watch the two of you together. You are certainly both attractive. Maybe they are making a movie of the two of you having sex. I'm sure there would be a ready market for such a tape." I pause and relish his fisted hand and flashing eyes. I can cause this emotion. I could make him love me or loathe me at will. I choose love.

"Where are they? Do you know?" He's gentle as he questions me, but I see the tension of his knuckles, white on the phone. "I'm sure you can find them. You should look up, not down, Alex!" I hang up then, and watch him as he throws caution to the wind and stands, anxiously scanning the rows of blank windows one by one. I have already placed the telescope where he cannot fail to see it. My camera and video equipment are already dismantled and packed into the back of my van, ready. The telescope is a decoy, one that I know will bring him here, to me.

Quietly, I replace the telephone and prepare for my beloved to visit me.

The first thing I do is place the photograph. What photograph? I'm sorry, I know you haven't seen it. It's a picture of a pretty girl and a little boy. I don't know why it moves him, but it does. It could be Alex and his mother. I don't know, but I know that he carried it everywhere with him at one time. For some reason he tore it up and crumpled it, but being his, I saved it. It has been painstakingly smoothed and taped, and I lay it on the floor where he will see it plainly. The door to the apartment is standing open. When he arrives, he will see the telescope, and the rest of the evidence of surveillance. The door to the bedroom will conceal me, and I know that his curiosity will bring him unwittingly to my side at last.

I watch, entranced as he dresses himself. He dons his prosthetic arm, making a moue of distaste as he fastens it on, and fidgets with the controls that turn it from inert plastic to a technological marvel. I wonder briefly how a man like Alex came to possess such a thing. Fascinated by him, I watch as he finds himself a T-shirt, black as usual.

He slides it over the prosthesis first before attempting to thrust his head into it. Then, he fastens his jeans, and I bid farewell, for now at any rate, to the sweet intimacy of that fuzzy trail that leads down to his groin like the invitation to pleasure that it is.

He takes his gun as he is slipping his feet into boots that zip to the ankle. Shrugging on his leather jacket he stands, complete and perfect, my assassin, my nature god, my love.

I watch his smooth, graceful lope as he heads for the door. Good, he is coming. I move into position.

Time passes by, dripping slowly as molasses from a spoon, a Daliesque slide of second over second as the symbolism of the clock becomes distorted.

I reach a state akin to meditation as I wait for him. My nerve endings are supercharged and I feel each separate hair prickle as I wait. Finally my vigilance is rewarded as I hear the soft snick of the fire door at the end of the passageway.

Here, he's coming. Soon, beloved, soon.

The faintest shadow occludes the doorway and then I see him, slicing through the room like a scalpel through flesh, barely disturbing the air as he prowls. Stooping warily, he picks up the photo I left for him, and I see him start. He's wondering how on earth it could have come here, when he had thought it destroyed.

Nothing of you will be destroyed, my Alex. Nothing. You will be distilled, made finer, more beautiful, more holy. I will not throw away your memories.

I watch him smooth his hand over the photo, and then carefully place it in his pocket before standing to listen for an impossibly long time. He has his gun in his hand, and a faint noise from out in the corridor makes him whirl like a cobra, falling into a crouch as he does so. I thrill at this evidence of his animal-self taking control. I love him so much, so very, very much.

There follows a silence so intense that I believe I hear the dust motes falling. The beating of his heart is an aphrodisiac as it's sturdy pulse forces life through his veins. He has moved back against the wall, and appears to be ready to wait all night if he needs to. I wonder what he is awaiting.

Maybe he's waiting for me to break and show myself. Maybe he believes that the occupants of this room will return. I have no idea what passes through his mind, but one day I will understand him so completely, he will be forced to acknowledge that I am his love.

I wait.

I hear the tiniest creak of his leather, as he moves at last to the door behind which I am concealed. My gun is ready, has been for hours, and I am so aroused that I can barely think straight.

This is living. This manhunt is the reason for which I was born. The uncertainty of its outcome is a powerful turn-on, though in my heart I know already that he will be mine.

At last he steps through the door and I have a full view of him, sleek and deadly, an absence of light in the shadows. I fire my gun and see the dart strike true, lodging itself in the flesh of his neck. I watch him start, hear him growl, and then he falls, first to his knees, one hand raised to his neck, then onto his face, as the drug takes hold and his consciousness fades.

Stepping forward, I flick on the light and begin my preparations for transporting him to his new home. It's so tempting to stop a while and just play, to kiss his lips and run my hand over the smooth solidity of him, but I resist. Any time now I could be discovered. If I am successful he will be mine forever.

Nodding to myself I bind him, secure him, and take him home. Loading him inside the van ready to take him away to his new life, I pause for just a minute to admire him. I have never seen him sleeping from this close before, and for a moment I give in to the need to study him, to explore him while he is at rest. I check his breathing, but all seems well.

His dark lashes fan over his cheeks, and his lips are parted, showing the hint of pearly teeth. His skin is fine-grained. He has just shaved, and there is as yet no vestige of bristle on his jaw. He looks almost childlike in his sleep although I know that he must be in his thirties. Stooping, I touch my lips to his, tasting the sweetness of his mouth with a rapid flick of my tongue and feeling the heavy fullness of my desperate cock, beating like a counterpoint to the hammering of my heart. At my light caress a tiny crease appears between his eyes, across his nose, and I stroke gently to erase it. Even so I am mindful of the fact that he will soon waken, and I can't allow that, not yet. I take the hypodermic I have prepared. I bare his arm and expel the air from the shot he will receive. Wrapping a piece of rope around his arm to raise the vein in the crook of his elbow, I slide the needle home with its gift of oblivion. He frowns again, and I see a tiny tonic flexing of muscles before the drug takes hold.

I know that he will need me now. I know that I have the power now to make him want even as he has made me want. He'll want, and he'll hurt, and finally he'll come to me.

Knowing that the dose I have given him will hold him for many hours I let in the clutch and pull away from the parking lot bearing my prize.

***

My house is quiet as we pull up outside the front door. While my mother lived it was often full of her noisy, stupid friends, babbling of alien visitors and the benevolent watch they are keeping over us. Now she is dead, and the house is mine. I prefer quiet and solitude, though outwardly it is still Cassandra's house with its frilled ruffles in the window and geraniums trailing at the door.

Nobody would expect the incarceration of a nature god behind geraniums and ruffled curtains, so I will be safe from prying eyes. I slide the wheeled gurney to which I have bound my Alex out from the back of the van, and together we enter the house. He's still out, far-gone in a narcotic dream that makes his pulse flutter and his lips dry. Using a complicated rig of ropes and pulleys I have installed ready for this day, I descend with him into the basement where I have made his new home ready for him. No ruffled curtains for him yet, and no possible chance that he will be able to escape me until he has become mine. I'm sad because there are so many things of which I must deprive him, but I know that it won't be long before he will be able to take his true place beside me at last.

I release the bands that tie him to the trolley and pause for a few minutes before swiftly rolling him onto the bed that I've prepared for him. He has soft pillows and fine linen sheets, a soft down duvet, and I know that he will be comfortable. I've made very sure of that. Swiftly, I take his jacket and his boots. I think for just a second, about leaving him with his jeans and T-shirt, but the desire is far too strong for me to resist and I give in. With trembling fingers, I unfasten first the belt, and then the jeans. I'm waiting now, for the lighting to strike me down, but it doesn't. He permits this, so I pull down his jeans, holding them at the ankles. They slide down, revealing his unadorned beauty.

My mouth is dry as I gaze at him. White flesh, the silky trail of dark fur crawling down the concavity of his stomach to curl around his genitalia as they lie quiescent and somehow innocent at the juncture of his thighs.

Strong thighs, they are, covered in a gold-brown fuzz. I resist the urge to touch him yet, and turn my attention to his torso. He has on a T-shirt, and I'm unsure how best to remove it without his active co-operation. I fail at first. In the end, I rip it apart and toss it into the corner of the room. He deserves better anyway. Looking down on him, as he sleeps his drugged sleep, I feel small and humble. He has given himself to me at last and now my life's work will be keeping him content.

I check my watch. There are at least another three hours of narcotic bliss for my captive before he comes to. I was very generous with the mix I gave him. His pulse is still thready, his breathing shallow and I see his dry lips. Peeling back a single, soot-fringed eyelid, I observe the pupil, huge and unseeing. It had to be done, Alex. It had to be done. I can't resist any longer and I shimmy out of my clothing, stretching myself out beside him on the bed. Taking him into my arms at last, I feel for the first time the intoxicating press of my flesh to his. I'm hard. How could you doubt it? I'm hard, but I can press myself up against him now, and I do.

Groaning, I kiss his soft lips and writhe against him, feeling my body catch fire as it warms on his. I drive hard against the meaty firmness of his groin and come hard, shuddering against him and whispering his name.

Alex, now that you love me too, it will be so perfect. Trust me.

You'll see.

I lie holding him in my arms, kissing his slack mouth, and feeling him warm and vital and naked, silken against my skin,. I know that this little interlude is just a way station on the long road to my desire and that he must not wake and find me. At last I shrug my shoulders clear of him and stand up, putting on my clothing rapidly once more. His face is moving a little more, The little furrow over his nose appears as he frowns, indicating that his stupor is lessening and I have very little time.

I roll him over until he is lying face down, and bind his wrists with manacles made of soft leather. I tie the real to the artificial in perfect symmetry. A silken chain that is around eight inches long links the leather of the wrist cuff. His ankles are joined by similar leather cuffs, and then I heave his weight until I have him kneeling. His delicious behind points upward into the air as he rests on his knees in the position I have achieved for him. I pass my hands over the smooth curves of his buttocks and spread them apart to reveal the pink-brown crinkled rosette of his asshole.

For a minute, I hold my cock, wondering if I dare, but then I shudder and apply myself to the task in hand. I coat the plug I have made ready for him in Vaseline, and then push it against that little pucker until it slides in, and in, and then finally gone. I place a kiss gently on him then and hold myself until my trembling subsides.

I link the chain at his wrists to the chain at his ankles, and then roll him back until he lies face up once more. Finally, now that I have him captive and hobbled, it's time for my insurance policy. I place a collar around his neck and buckle it up. There are D rings that attach to it, and to these I snap lengths of steel chain that clip onto eyelets on the head of the bed. Similar eyelets at the foot receive the fastenings from the chain that I pass between his ankles. The arm is an intrusive thing.

I wonder about removing it. It grates against my sense of what is right. In the end, I decide to retain it. It's so much easier to restrain him while he has it on.

I adore him, but I'm not mad. I know he would kill me if he could. I know that it's only because he doesn't yet understand, but until I've taught him the truth about the two of us, I can't just leave him free. I want to touch him. God, how I want to run my hands all over his satin skin until I discover every last crease and fold, but I don't. There's time enough for me now. When he awakens it will be so much more exciting.

I kiss him again, a long, sweet kiss that leaves me yearning, and then I leave him to sleep, locking the door behind me even though I know he can't escape.

My life is changing. I'm about to realize my fondest dream.

Alex is mine, and Fox Mulder will pale.

***

I have the X-Files back once again. I can't believe it. Spender handed them over to me and left. I neither know nor do I care where he went, but I have my life back. It's about time. Scully and I head down into the basement at a brisk trot that almost becomes a run as we get into the basement corridor and leave the elevator behind. Once inside the door we turn to each other and she flings her arms around me in a spontaneous gesture of happiness, a huge grin on her face. "I never thought that we'd ever see this place again. We need to celebrate." Her small face is beaming, and I grin back at her. "I'll get the coffee then." She gives a muffled snort of laughter. The place has been cleaned and repainted. All traces of the former décor have been eradicated. A portrait of J. Edgar Hoover (for crying out loud) hangs behind the desk. I reach up and lift it down. Either we'll repaint him wearing a tutu, or he'll have to go.

I turn my attention to the filing cabinet. Much of the previous content has been destroyed in the blaze, but I have a good memory. What is it that they used to say in that silly, seventies TV show? "We have the technology. We can rebuild..." Evening draws in and Scully begins to make hungry noises at me before my thoughts surface. Then I remembered that Alex still doesn't know about this new development. He'll be wondering where I've gone. Reaching for the phone, I call home. It is home now that he's joined me there. The phone rings, unanswered, and then my voice cuts in, flat and disinterested. 'We're not here right now, or maybe we just don't want to talk to you. To find out which, leave a message after the tone and see if we call you back.'

'Alex? Are you there? Pick up, love. I've got news." There was still no response, so I dump the receiver back into its cradle and think for a minute. Scully is packing up her glasses and her pen, and I can see her cell... Cell phone! He carries a cell. How could I forget? Ever since we had that argument about vanishing without a trace for days at a time he has carried it with him. I phone his number and hear the ringing. "The Alltel customer you have dialed is not available at present.

Please try your call later." I frown. Damn, but I want us to go out tonight and celebrate. I wonder where he is, and when I'll be able to share my news with him.

Lacking Alex, I turn to Scully.

"Guess we should call it a night. You want to pick up a pizza or something and come over?" She smiles back at me, shaking her head. "You think I want to spend my evening watching you two play footsie? I'd love to, but I've got a date." At that I cave in, and watch as she takes her purse, bids me goodnight and departs.

Leaning back, I reach for the pencils, plonk my feet on the desk, and begin tossing them at the ceiling one by one as my thoughts drift towards my absent... temporarily absent lover.

Alex. I picture him the way he was when I last saw him this morning, lying rumpled and sated in the midst of our tangled, sweat soaked bedding, his limbs tumbled in all directions as he watched me gather my clothing together for the day. His usually guarded expression was soft and his eyes were shining as he recovered from his recent orgasm. I feel my stomach lurch from the weird feelings that spring to life whenever I see him. They serve to remind me that from the top of his dark head down to the smallest toes on his feet, he is mine.

Once he's in my thoughts, he won't go away. He never does. I can picture his spent penis lying glossy against his thigh amidst the dark surround of curls. He had the backs of his fingers pressed against his lips as he watched me, and just the tiniest quirk of a smile as his eyes tracked my movements. I begin to get hard all over again as I remember, the memories flashing by. I wonder then how I could ever have believed that I didn't love him, didn't want him.

We'd been making love, our hands and mouths seeking each other out with blind instinct as passion mounted. He had knelt over me, pulling me into his lap to join with me, his slippery cock nuzzling, then pressing, and finally sliding home deep inside me before at last he had begun to move.

Each stroke of his prick nudged and stretched me, inducing sweet fire to radiate out from the place where our bodies joined as he tried to get deeper, ever deeper inside me.

Gazing up at him, lost in the regard of his huge, unfocused eyes, I could see his deep chest heaving with the strain, and as the sheen of effort broke over his shoulders, he took hold of my hip to steady himself and I heard again his husky voice.

"Come on, Fox, do it for me. I can't hold it," he gritted through clenched teeth, and I took hold of my cock to pull on it, feeling the orgasm snake through me, tickling at my balls, stretching every tendon in my body tight.

At last, I gave it up for him, telling him all the while over and over again how much I loved him.

He had lasted a very few minutes after that and I had reveled in that look of concentration on his face, the glazed expression as pleasure became almost too much for him to bear. With bated breath I waited for that soft little grunt he always makes when his body finally finds release and he comes for me.

As he came, head thrown back and fingers tight on my hip, so tight that I have bruises still that prove I am his, I could feel his love for me like a living creature, connecting us, making the two of us into more than our separate parts.

I love Alex. I love this man, and I know, with my whole heart I know that he won't ever leave me, won't ever give himself to anyone else but me. He's mine.

Reaching for the phone once more, I call home and leave a message for him.

I'm coming home now, love, and I'm bringing dinner. No need to dress.

I love you.

Then I lock up my office... MY office and leave to go in search of take out.

***

I get home with his favorite, Szechwan cuisine stashed in cartons in a brown paper bag. I call out to him as I come in the door. There's silence. He's not here. I don't know where he is, but that's okay. He'll come home, he always does, and I can wait. I take a shower and change into my casual uniform of jeans and T-shirt before sitting down to eat. I notice that the answering machine is flashing with a message, but I know that it's from me, so I eat while the food is still warm and leave the phone until later. The food is good, but I don't really want it. He's not here and I'm antsy and nervous without him. Funny how I'm unable to settle to anything until he's here with me. Sighing, I leave dinner spread on the coffee table, pull on my running gear, and leave for a run, hoping that it will help settle me and kill the time 'til he returns.

Running through the gathering darkness at the tail end of the day I find a peace that comes with the stretch of sinew and the easy play of loose-limbed joints.

Nothing exists for me except the wind on my face and the ground beneath my feet as I run through the evening towards a time when I can return home and find my Alex once again.

The darkness is soothing. Each patch of yellow lamplight is a stepping stone, a pool of light through which I can trace a pathway back home to my lover. I increase my pace as I get within a mile or so of home and kick hard against the concrete as I race toward my reunion with Alex. The world seems to fly by me as I hurl myself headlong. When I finally reach my destination, I am sweaty, gasping, tired and exhilarated by the exercise.

Panting, I lean against the wall as I wait for the elevator to arrive. The door opens, welcoming me into the quiet of the building. I step in and push the button for the fourth floor.

I feel good, really good. My energy levels fizz and crackle within me.

I feel charged. As I approach my front door, I am already longing to see him.

Hopefully, I open the door and call out. There is only silence to greet me, and I slump a little. Maybe he'll be out all night. It happens sometimes, but I hate it. I don't sleep well without him beside me.

I dump my clothes on the floor and head for the shower again, but then I change my mind. Alex hates the mess I make. I pick them up and go into the bedroom to find the laundry basket.

As I turn to leave again, my eye is drawn to the bed, where I can see a pile of black components lying in an untidy clutter. If I were to make an educated guess at their nature, I'd say that they were parts of a video camera. I check around and find a hole in the side of the closet. It's half concealed, but he's pulled away part of the paneling. This is odd, very odd. My shower is temporarily forgotten as I search around to try and make sense of what's happening. It's becoming obvious that Alex hasn't just taken a whim and gone out on the town. I see nothing further in the bedroom, but on my return to the living room I'm drawn to the irritating blink and flash of the answering machine. It makes me wonder, and I step over to the table beneath the window to set it in motion. I rewind the tape and then settle down to play back the messages. Straight away, Alex's voice brushes over my senses, and I experience a cocktail of emotions as I listen to him. "Fox, I got a call from our mutual acquaintance, the Smoker. There seems to be someone watching us. He suggested I look around, and I found a camera. The videotape is in the player if you want to see what they've been filming. I'm going to find out who's involved, and beat them 'til I find out why. I'll see you later, baby. Love ya!" A cold feeling radiates out from my belly. Now, I'm worried. Where is he? What the fuck is happening?

I turn to the VCR and turn on the TV. The remote, as usual, is nowhere to be seen, and eventually I find it under the couch. Sitting down, edgy and anxious, I hit the play button. Of course he didn't rewind it, the snow on the screen tells me that straight away. I do so now, feeling fidgety. What is this all about?

The double click of the rewound tape finally settling cues me, and I press play. The screen flickers and comes to life. My heart skips and beats a tattoo. It's Alex I see there, crouched over me, tonguing my cock while I arch back into the pillow. There is sound, a little muffled, it's true, but clear enough to hear my cry of pleasure as he takes the head of it between his lips for a nibbling kiss, and the grunt and slurp that follows as he sucks me in deep.

He's so beautiful. The birds-eye-view of him as he drives me insane is wonderful. I can see clearly the long back, the tightness of his ass, and his eyes, those eyes are gorgeous. I'm harder than hell as I watch him bring me to the brink again and again, and then leave me, first cursing, then pleading, and finally begging for him to bring me off. He laughs softly, the very vibrations around my cock as he does so drive me clean out of my mind.

I can see how turned on he is by his self appointed task. His own hips are jerking while the moisture drips in strands from the eye of his prick. He's mine. That thought makes my cock leap even now, and I put my hand down, stroking it absently while Alex tortures me on the screen. Pleasure, hot and pointed, licks up my balls and along my cock as I continue to watch, and remember how Alex worked on me. On the screen I have spread my legs wide, and I'm wantonly spreading myself as I beg him to do it to me, to put me out of my misery. He's still chuckling, but the sound of his laughter is a little harsh and desperate, and I know that he can't hold off for much longer. Finally, he reaches for the KY and strokes it onto himself, and then onto me. I see myself writhe on his hand as I watch his fingers delve into my asshole. My cock leaps in my hand, and I jerk myself faster and faster, imagining, remembering, wanting him there with me now.

I watch as he pulls down on my balls, squeezing to stop me from coming yet again. My head is thrashing from side to side, and I'm no longer saying anything coherent. Finally, he lies down beside me, kisses me, long, and slow, and messy, and pulls me until my body lies over his. As his cock slides home inside me, I can hear him laugh again, and then his hand takes hold of my prick and then he's fucking me, stroking me, kissing my neck and gasping out my name.

"Come for me, Fox. Show me how much you love me. Come on." Words that are forced out like gravel in honey. I can hear myself screaming his name as I babble out love words. His hand slides over the head of my cock to capture the eruption of sticky white jism that spurts out between his fingers.

He raises his hand to his mouth, licking delicately at the whiteness on his fingers with a pointed tongue, and then I see him plunge and stiffen, gasping as he comes.

Watching, remembering, I feel the crawling, tickling rush along my own cock as I watch my lover in the throes of his climax. The release leaves me breathless and panting, half ashamed as I watch my earlier self kissing and fondling my lovely Alex.

Too soon, I come back to earth with a bump. Someone has been filming us making love. I verify this by winding on fast forward through a series of other encounters between us, spread out like a feast on the screen. The camera appears to have started and stopped on cue, showing us in each other's arms over and over again. Standing, I go to the window and try to decide whether or not I'm being observed right now. I'm unsure of what to do. I pop the videotape out of the machine and place it into a ziploc bag. The remains of the camera I poke together with a pencil, and delicately maneuver into another. Finally, I reach for the phone to call Scully.

Too late, I recall that she had a date and change my plan, dialing up AD Skinner instead. When he answers the phone, it sounds almost as if he's on a date too. I hear voices and laughter in the background as I detail what has occurred. He questions me briskly, abruptly, and then there's a short pause where sound is muted.

"Stay there, Agent Mulder. We'll be over there in around 20 minutes."

I acquiesce and decide to take my shower while there's still time.

I'm in the shower, briskly washing away the traces of my most recent orgasm when all of a sudden it dawns on me.

He said "We".

***

Alex came round a little while ago, and I watched him with the aid of the camera I have mounted over the door. It was fascinating, watching him wake up like that. One minute he was asleep, his face relaxed in slumber as his drugged dream held him close, and the next he was rigid just for one second as he tested his bonds.

He didn't thrash or scream. He didn't do anything except for that one single, fierce exertion of strength against the ties that bound him. I watched with fascination as he permitted his eyelashes to raise, just a fraction. If I hadn't been watching him closely, I would never have known that he was alert, focused, and deadly.

I'm going to reveal myself to him now. He must be thirsty. I'll take him a drink. He will tell me how well I've done. He'll see me in a new light.

He'll see me at last as his equal and we'll both be happy. I pour water for him from a jug in my refrigerator and find him a straw.

Later I'll feed him, but for now all I want to do is reveal myself to him.

Opening the door to the room where he lies is an experience both wonderful and terrifying. I've wanted this for so long, but I'm afraid. I've taken pains to dress myself for him in the way he prefers, in tight jeans and a soft chambray workshirt. I won't wear his collar unless he asks it, but if he does, it's in my pocket, ready. I step inside and up to the bed where he lies, waiting for his smile. For a minute, he does nothing at all, and I wonder if he has fallen back to sleep. Then, without warning, I am subjected to the full, baleful glare of his hard, green eyes. I see them widen momentarily. I'm about to tell how much I love him, and to welcome him to my home, our home, when he speaks.

"Spender? Oh, good grief!" And he starts to laugh. I have no defense against his laughter. It bites with sharp teeth. He really must learn to be kind. I will teach him.

"I brought you water." I hold the straw to his lips, and he gulps the liquid down in great, thirsty swallows. Only when the glass is empty does he lean back into the pillows again, and stretch voluptuously. A frown crosses his face, and he wriggles a little, then he grins to himself and circles his hips in a motion that tells me he has discovered what I have pushed inside him.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing, Jeffy? Why don't you just untie me and let me go?" His voice is carefully calm and expressionless.

Good, he's insecure.

"I don't think so, Alex. This is your new home. You'll like it here once you're used to it." His face remains still and watchful. This is one of the reasons that I love him so much. He's so careful, so... premeditated.

"Jeff, how can I get used to it, tied up like this? I'm sure it's a very nice home, but I'm a little cramped here." The soft, intimately breathy whisper strokes my ears, strokes between my legs as surely as if he has touched me. I look at his form, lying still beneath the cover, and know what he's trying to do to me.

I sit down on the bed beside him, gazing at him, willing him to be kind.

"Alex, I love you. I've brought you home. It's all going to be wonderful now that you're here. All I need is for you to love me too." He veils his eyes again, and gives a little snort, quickly over, then the harsh, hateful stare is back.

"Love you? Get real, Spender. Let me go. If there was only the two of us left alive I would prefer my own right hand." Closing his eyes, he shuts me out, and I sit, stunned while I try to understand what he's said to me.

He can't mean it. I look for the joke, but don't find it. Slowly, I grow angry.

"You're here, and you'll learn. Nobody knows where you are, and nobody'll ever find you." I take hold of the edge of the duvet that covers him and tear it off, laying him bare.

His eyes open again and he's smiling, smiling as if he knows what I'm going to do. He doesn't though. There's no way he will guess. I reach forward, deliberately stroking my forefinger from his sternum to his groin, and the smile fades. Suddenly I'm looking through twin portals into hell as his glare scalds me.

"Don't touch me, you piece of shit." The voice is grating. I start momentarily, but then suddenly realize that there's nothing he can do. He isn't a god after all. He's a man, and he's mine. With my eyes fixed on his, and a tingling in my groin akin to ecstasy, I lower my head into his groin and take his cock into my mouth. He fights his bonds at that point, but he can't break free, and I feel his prick stirring under my careful, loving administrations. He quits his writhing as soon as he realizes that he has no chance of getting free and begins to talk, telling me the things he will do to me when he gets loose, as if that will change my outlook.

I have my doubts as to whether he is capable of beating me if I don't wish him to. I do after all have two arms and ten years on him. I doubt, but don't tell him so. He looks so beautiful lying bound and aroused in my bed as I alternately kiss and suck on his cock. His anger only makes him more gorgeous, and I relish it.

For a while I toy with him, flicking my tongue along the ridge that runs around his penis, lapping at the eye of it, and sucking hard on it before returning to my teasing. He bucks with his hips, trying to get himself off sooner and stop the game, but I am ready for that. I hold him still, while he curses me, a litany of praise in Russian.

I love this. My power over him grows with his arousal, and I know that he will come very soon. The thought excites me, and I need to feel him deep inside me.

Swiftly I shuck my pants and climb to kneel above him, knowing that he's going to fuck me for the first time. I have lube, the kind that radiates heat when there's friction, and I coat him with it, watching him strain desperately to come quickly and taking great pleasure in denying him.

I crouch in position and sink down on him. The sound of his voice as he moans is music. I can hardly tell what he's saying as I feel him inside me where he has belonged all this time.

"Alex, you've come home at last."

He draws his lips back in a snarl, but he's coming, and so am I, coming hard, coming over his belly as he thrusts hard and deep into me.

I fall forward onto him and for a second I can't move, don't even want to as my head is pillowed on his chest. At last, I raise my head to see him watching, apparently stunned.

"Alex, you came for me. I knew you loved me." I'm smiling tenderly. He says nothing, only closing his eyes momentarily. I move down to brush his lips with mine, and this is my mistake. He strikes like a cobra. His teeth sink into my chin, and he bites hard.

I scream, it hurts so badly, and force my fingers into his jaws until finally he has to release me. Now there's blood around his mouth and the look in his eyes is pure evil. He needs to be tamed. I will do it. Now more than ever, I know I will tame him. First, I have to find out what damage he's done to my face, and so I leave to go and doctor the hurt.

He's bitten me almost to the bone. The flesh is swelling already and I will no doubt bear his scars forever. Returning to his side, I shoot him full of heroin and watch as it takes hold, relaxing him until he's totally gone.

Fair is fair. I bear his mark upon me and now he will bear mine. Leaving him to dream his opiate dreams, I go in search of medical help.

***

Waiting for AD Skinner to arrive I climb from the shower, towel dry quickly, and then resume my jeans and T-shirt. I don't think that the world is ready for my full frontal yet; at least, AD Skinner isn't. The buzzer sounds, and Walter Skinner's voice rumbles through the intercom.

I press the door release mechanism to allow him entry and unlock my door.

Then I turn off the TV and drop the tape in its protective bag into my jacket pocket. The jacket hangs beside the door, and I hope it's going to be safe.

I yell 'Come in' when I hear the tap on the door, and then my eyes pop as I see my partner, clad in what can only be described as a slinky dress. She looks sensational. The AD, following her in, is looking very different from his office persona. He's smiling for a start, and looking relaxed in his casual suede and skintight denims. I watch them come in and sit down with a small smile on my face. They are a hot couple. I wonder why I've never imagined them together before.

"I was trying not to bug you on your date, Scully. You really should let me put a tag on you." She grins at me and nudges Skinner in the ribs. Things sober very rapidly when I start to relate the details of Alex's disappearance. Skinner's questions are few, but pertinent. I'm permitted to deliver my report and assessment before the real questions start. "What makes you think he's not just gone out on the town?" This from Scully, who knows Alex the least well of us all. "He didn't take his cell phone or his wallet. He did take his gun though.

I think he expected some kind of trouble. That's why he left me the answering machine message." I play it for them, and Skinner picks up on the one thing I didn't want to discuss.

"What's on this tape he mentions, Agent Mulder?" I stare at him, wondering if he's naive, or malicious. Either way, he presses me for an answer.

"Umm... " I blush. "Actually, it's Alex and I, sir." He raises one eyebrow at me, and I look at him, aghast. No, no help there, he's going to insist.

"In bed, sir. Someone recorded us making love." He looks for a moment as if he's been stuffed, and Scully rolls her eyes.

There is an uncomfortable pause, and then Skinner swallows, visibly nervous.

"Have you watched it?" His face is a picture of discomfort as he waits for my reply.

"Yes, sir. There's no indication of who set the thing in action. No 'hot intro' or 'and now a word from our sponsors'. The content is... just what it is. We'd do better to try for prints of something from the camera and the tape." I'm trying to be dispassionate here, and Skinner has his poker face on but Scully dissolves into giggles that just don't seem to want to go away. Skinner looks at her, appalled, and she bites her lip in an attempt to stifle them. They just don't seem to get the message. A further look at Skinner's face causes her to collapse all over again. Skinner makes a vaguely irritated noise in his chest.

"Dana, cut it out. You know as well as I what's going to happen to that tape if it's handed in as evidence. Let's just concentrate on the camera shall we? You say that Krycek found the camera. Have you checked to make sure that it's the only one? There might be others." He's ignoring Scully, who seems to settle down by degrees. "No, sir, do you suppose I should?" but already he's on his phone, summoning people to tear my home apart.

I take out the larger ziploc bag containing the camera pieces, and Scully takes it, turning it this way and that while the two of them examine it minutely.

Just then, the reinforcements arrive and the place begins to resemble a zoo as men rush all over the place with loud voices and electronic things that blink busily.

I'm alone in the crowd. Nobody needs me or wants me. I watch them as they unscrew the light fitting from over my computer, and fish out a small machine that is obviously a high tech recording machine. I can't see any space for videotape and pray that there are no more. The bathroom is next. There are two cameras in there. Again I can see no evidence of videotape and utter thanks that Alex and I won't be held up to public ridicule. I can't bear this any longer. Checking my watch I see that it's around 10:30 p.m. A thought suddenly occurs to me and I fade away. Nobody's going to miss me and I'll be better off alone. Leaving the building, like Elvis, only far more grateful, I head for my car. I've been forgotten as they gleefully and methodically ransack my life. I don't give a shit. There's nothing for me there if Alex is gone.

I pat my pocket. The video of our lovemaking is safe there from the prying eyes of my colleagues.

Pulling away from my parking space, I go in search of answers.

***

Returning from the hospital with a bunch of stitches in my chin I am not impressed with my wild boy. My love needs to learn manners, and quickly.

My face looks like hell, and burns like fire. Swiftly, I lock the door and carry my purchases down to where he still lies.

He's awake now, but hazy. The drug still has him in its thrall, and he will be easy to contain if I deal with him now. I take the water bottle and let him drink. He gulps water down thirstily, but when I smile and pat his face he snarls and spits at me. A gob of saliva plops wetly against my cheek and begins its slide down the side of my face. That's it. There will be no more insults, no more abuse. He will learn to obey me, and then he may live. I take the things I have bought for him and lay them out along the dresser. Watching his face I swiftly tune into the shadows that flit behind his eyes, and I know that he's furious. I gag him first. It had to be done, and I don't hold back from my duty, however unpleasant. I have a sturdy ball gag, and once applied his teeth are no longer a danger. He's grinning at me, daring me to do it to him, to lay my hands on him, but it doesn't work. I know that I will win. I fondle and stroke him then and watch as his eyes turn wild and vicious. I take the complicated tangle of leather that he sent to me at the start of our relationship. He laughed at me once, but now I have learned how to apply it, and, sitting astride his thighs, I begin to do so. It fits tightly over his cock and around his balls to separate and raise them tightly so that he will not be able to come. He'll beg for me to make him come in the end. I'll drink him down while he screams for release.

A strap passes down between his legs, and up behind, along the crease of his ass, to his waist. From there it buckles like a belt. The harness around his cock has a loop at the end through which the belt passes, and a strap passes over the tip of his cock to ensure that whenever he moves, it will stimulate him.

He will need to come. He'll beg to come, but he won't be able to, until I permit him. He'll be harder than rock, but he won't be able to do anything unless I give him permission.

It takes time, this horizontal tango that we do, but eventually he's trussed to my satisfaction. His eyes, his beautiful eyes are speaking to me, promising me things. He likes this, I can see. I'm talking to him now, telling him my intentions, and at one point I hear him growl faintly.

Stroked and teased to hardness, he's restrained, but perfect in the bed I've prepared for him. I want to play now. I want to show him how well he has taught me, to stimulate him, give him the clean beauty of pain, but he's still cushioned from sensation by the drug, and I need to wait. Bending, I kiss him and leave him to come down from his high. As I retreat, I see his expression change from complacency to frustration.

"Not yet, darling, but soon. I'll love you soon." His head tosses from side to side as the realization that he is helpless strikes him once again. I leave the room to silence, and go to observe him from my monitor.

***

It's a chilly, clammy evening with ice crystals hazing around a cold moon.

Looking up at it, I wonder if it's shining down on Alex too, or if it's too late. For the first time it occurs to me that he could be dead. There are no guarantees, though I tend to think of him as having nine lives. Suddenly I feel as if there's a hollow in my belly that has been filled with ice.

Alex, please wait for me. If you are dead, I will avenge you before I follow you.

Shivering slightly, I turn my car towards the Georgetown district, and M Street. I remember coming here once before, and at that time I got what I needed. I wonder if this time it will be as easy. I pick the lock and open the door, revealing the flight of stairs I recall from the last time I was here. I know he's upstairs, because I can hear music coming softly from the floor above. I mount the stairs, gun out and ready.

When I enter the room he looks up and smirks at me, the tip of his ever present cigarette glowing at me in the semi darkness afforded by the glowing of his computer monitor and the lights of his stereo. Truly this man is a creature of the darkness. I wonder why he never actually emerges into the light.

"Ah, Mr. Mulder, come in. This is a pleasant surprise." His ugly puss splits into a grimace that I'm sure is meant to be a smile. "To what do I owe the pleasure of your company."

"I want to know what you know about the people who were keeping my apartment under surveillance." I'm curt. I have no reason to love this man.

"I'd be very happy to tell you, my boy, if only I knew what you were talking about." He turns his gaze to his monitor, taking a drag from his cigarette as he does so. I stand before him, shifting from foot to foot.

I need his good wishes if I am to learn anything, so I can't do what I'd really like to do, which is choke the shit out of his foul-smelling body.

"Don't lie to me. I heard the message on the answering machine. I know what you told Alex." I feel the chill all over again as he looks blankly at me. "He said it was your voice. Don't give me bullshit, tell me what you told Alex."

"I can assure you that I have had no contact with you or with your associate in the recent past. Whoever it was, it surely was not me. Why don't you take a seat and tell me what the problem is?" Numbly, I nod, and sink into a chair. It's a dead end, a dead end and I won't find him after all. Alex, where are you. I need you.

Taking a deep breath, I begin to lay out all the details that I know of my lover's disappearance.

***

The darkness is close around me. I've been working, trying to get rid of the edgy, unsettled feelings I have. I know that he is down there, and I want him. I want him. I tell myself that Rome wasn't built in a day and all the other platitudes, but I want him. From time to time I look up at the monitor that shows me the room where he's held. He was angry, but now seems content to wait for whatever comes. I can tell by the occasional short, twitchy movement of his head that he is furious. His anger fuels me. I can tell when he begins to come out of the heroin haze. He thrashes and writhes, and I become mesmerized. Finally, I know that I can't look away from him. My research will wait.

He should have recovered from the drug now, the pain setting into his limbs. He had a bad time getting that monkey off his back before, and it will be worse this time. He'll hurt, and I'll be there to help him, to soothe his pain, and then give him the oblivion he craves until the next time.

I head into the basement again, locking up before I descend the stairs, hands full of the things he'll need. I have a couple of granola bars for him. He hasn't eaten today, I know, and though I want him weakened, I don't intend to starve him. I've got water for him, and ice cubes.

I'm so ready to play.

When I get into his room, I can hear him whimpering again, but as I approach he stiffens and becomes silent. I sit and gaze at him again, drinking in the sight of him. I drop down to lick around his navel, and fondle his balls. I can feel myself growing rigid. My pants are tight, and I'm uncomfortable but I can't take my eyes off the incandescent creature I have captured. Absently I unfasten them, allowing my erection to spring free from the faded denim.

I stroke him, gazing into his eyes, and crooning little love words at him.

God, I love you, Alex Krycek, my panther boy. I love you to death. He's not as pretty as he was this morning. His hair is standing in little tufts, and he has my blood caked on his face. His belly is covered in the traces of our last bout of lovemaking, and he is shivering a little. My cock salutes his despair. He is so sexy that my breath catches in my throat.. This is mine now, all mine. Nobody else will see him but me. Fox Mulder can eat his heart out now.

I move to remove the gag, just for a minute or two while he eats. "Come on, Jeff,. I need the bathroom." I look at him, but I know it's a ploy to get free. I shake my head regretfully. "You can't go to the bathroom. You'll have to let me help you if you need anything." I take the urine bottle I have prepared, and remove the strapping around his cock. There is a pause, and then suddenly there is a splashing as his bladder releases its contents. He must really have wanted to go, because the stream continues for such a long time that I wonder if the bottle will prove sufficient. At last it stops and he sighs. I set the bottle down for later disposal, and pass my hands over his groin and his inner thighs. He groans and flinches, and I feel myself grow angry. I test him.

"Alex, love, will you let me love you? Please?" He fixes me with a sardonic look.

"Jeff, I'm so thirsty." I remember that I've brought him something to drink, and offer him the water. Once again he drains the container, and feeling a little elated at the sight of him slaking his thirst, I peel the foil off a granola bar and offer him a bite.

He grimaces. I know they are a bit sweet, but he eats it, and then sighs.

"I fuck better when I get steak." His voice drips sarcasm, and I'm tempted to hit him, and a cloud passes over his face as he realizes that he is helpless. It's a start. I feel empowered.

"Can I love you, Alex? Please let me love you." He gives me a scornful look.

"You won't listen, will you? I don't want you. You've got nothing that I want. Why don't you go fuck that father of yours. He takes it up the ass.

Leave me alone. I'm not yours and I never will be." He closes his eyes again. I know that he's lying. I take hold of his cock and feel it filling up in steady little spurts.

"I know you want me, Alex." I'm still trying for softness, and maybe he assumes that I'm weak because I'm attempting to be gentle. I squeeze his cock savagely, and he cries out, but it's hard now, fully hard, because of me. I know that he wants me. His voice is raised, but I tune it out. The things that he says are meaningless to me. The only reality is here in my hand. This is mine, and mine alone. I rub the heated tip and feel moisture gather. He does want me. He does. He's helpless, and that knowledge alone makes me feel about ready to burst.

I bury my head in his groin, smelling the scent of his musky sweat. He writhes then, but there is nothing he can do, nowhere he can go to escape.

I jerk his knees apart and probe for the butt plug I'd inserted, removing it and tossing it to one side. Hauling up on his hips I slide a pillow under them, canting his pelvis upwards and giving me better access. I'm hard and dripping. It's making me crazy, this need. I'm going to have him at last.

Grabbing lube and slicking up my shaking hand, I try to prepare him for my cock. One finger slips into the channel that has been loosened by the presence of the plug. I feel him tighten and slap him playfully across the balls. He yells then, calls me a motherfucker, and I smile again. "I never fucked her. I never even wanted to fuck her. No, baby, I'm an Alexfucker. What do you say?"

Two fingers inside him now and my balls are drawn up tight and hard in anticipation. I add slick and bend to take the head of his dick into my mouth, sucking gently as I probe. Finally, he feels ready. His cheeks are

flushed as he tosses his head hectically from side to side. I hear 'no, no, no' and stroke his neck.

"Fox, oh, Fox, I love you."

I pause for a second, and red rage envelops me. I grab hold of his face, pressing into the rough cheeks hard as I hold him steady and think to bite him, hard. I can't do it. I can't mar his pretty face, so I duck to his nipple and bite there, sinking my teeth into the flesh with a vengeance.

He grunts, and then gasps, and then screams. When I raise my head, I taste his blood. He snaps at me again, and the knowledge of the damage those teeth can cause makes me pause. With little regret, I replace the gag, and then return to my position between his legs. He can't call me Fox now. He's mine.

His eyes are closed, and there is a gleam of moisture on his lashes.

He's moaning. I take hold of my cock in my right hand and place it against his ass, then I slowly work it inside him.

My God, I love him.

I'm finally deep inside him, and I fight against the tickling, creeping pleasure that threatens to take me too soon. I bite my lip and watch him shudder and gasp as I invade his body. I can tell that he doesn't want me, but he's still pushing with his hips. He can't stop himself. His cock is red and throbbing and he's making a guttural groaning sound in his throat.

I have him.

I'm fucking him so hard now that his head bangs on the headboard. I can feel my heart pounding and my eyes bug out. His eyes are closed and he's turned his head away. His hand is clenched on his thigh and I watch as blood begins to well up around the fingernails he is pressing into his own flesh. He's angry, so angry.

Sinking into my hot, moist, clinging refuge, I try to bury myself, to become one with him. I feel the shivery flutters of imminent release playing along my spine, flashing through to my navel, each thrust of my hips bringing in a new layer of tickling bliss until I can't hold back. Stiffening, muscles locking solidly, I jam my whole self into him and feel the flood as it pours through me, another libation to my nature god. He still hasn't come, and I open my lips to suck him down into my throat.

At that, he screams, and I pull off to look at him.

There are tears in his eyes, and he's clawing himself raw with fury. I'm angry with him. I know it's wrong to be angry, but I feel so annoyed.

I want nothing better than to curl up beside him in the afterglow and kiss, love, hold him, but I make myself stern. He must learn. I assume my dignity along with my clothing, and look down on him. "You don't want to come for me?" My voice is as gentle and soothing as I can make it. He shakes his head.

"Alex, love, you'll wish you had." I reach for the cock restraint once again and strap it onto him. He struggles as he begins to realize that I mean the things I say to him. Helpless, he still fights, but there's little he can do. A huge plug goes into his ass this time and I fit the bindings snugly over his inflamed cock. As I buckle it up to pull his balls savagely tight, he growls and tries to scream at me around the gag. I smile at him.

"Tomorrow, beloved. I'll let you speak tomorrow. For today, you really need to learn your lesson. I know you can learn to obey me, and then we're going to be so happy." I kiss his forehead and run my tongue over his neck. He flinches angrily, and tries hard to butt me with his forehead, but I am ready for that, and he has no chance. "I'll never hurt you, love.

I'll keep you safe from him forever."

A tear appears in the corner of his eye at that, and my heart swells. He's sorry. I know that he's sorry, and he'll be good, but I can't let him off too lightly. He must learn that he has to obey. I release the chains that are holding his feet stretched out and swiftly pass a rope through to link feet to wrists until they are tightly bound together. Once done, I unfasten the chains that clip to his collar. I don't want him to strangle himself.

He's blinking at me from tear-studded lashes, the hectic spots on his cheek are from rage or passion. I choose passion and fight the urge to cradle him and tell him I'll never hurt him again.

He has to learn.

Kneeling above him now, I take his face between my two hands and bid him look at me. For just a second, his eyes fly to mine and then, deliberately, he closes them, shutting me out, and jerks his head away from my hands, raising his chin in defiance in that gesture I know well.

At this final disobedience, I grow furious. How does he dare defy me?

I hit him, striking his face a glancing blow that makes him grunt, and then I slap him over and over again as I try to make him see just what he's doing to himself.

"You wouldn't see me. You'll wish you had. You wouldn't come for me. Oh, love, you'll beg to come before I'm through." I take one of the little capsules in its mesh from the twist of paper that holds them, snap off the top and hold it under his nose. "Now, come if you can." His eyes open wide then, as the amyl nitrate takes hold of his system. Then, I sit back out of his way and watch as he goes ballistic. He can't bring his hand to himself, but he needs to, oh, yes, he needs to, and I watch him writhe and jerk until finally he falls off the bed, hitting the floor with his damaged shoulder.

Shortly after that, he begins to scream loud and heart-wrenching screams as he tries desperately for the orgasm he needs.

Watching himself move and thrash in his need, I feel myself growing hard again, and my hand goes to the weeping fullness at my groin, to tug it absently as I watch him. It doesn't take long before I'm locked into an orgasm so intense that my screams join his.

He's lying now, arched on his shoulder blades and his knees, and his voice is almost gone, but still he keens, and his chest, slick with sweat, heaves so rapidly it's as if he's a wounded bird.

I move to touch him, running my fingers along his inner thigh to massage his perineum and he bows up into my touch, offering himself. At last, I take pity and begin to unfasten the straps that bind him, first around his cock, and then, as I take him into my mouth, the ones that constrain his balls.

I suck him gently, tasting his despair as his abused system gathers itself sharply and spurts. He's still hard, and I continue to use my mouth in this most intimate caress as he comes again and again. Finally he seems to subside a little and his muscles relax. I sit on my heels beside him, considering. He's not as pretty as he was this morning.

The blood and bruises, snot and tears are a link between us. It breaks my heart when he begins to sob, and I lay down beside him, take him in my arms, and cry with him.

"I'm sorry, Alex, my lover, so very sorry."

His sobs finally quiet themselves to a mere hitching of his breath, and he lies, quiet and placid in my arms. I kiss him then, his face, his neck, his nipples, remove his gag and then rise to go and fetch the needle that will relax him once more.

***

Sitting with the Smoker, I recount everything that I know, and strangely, when he requests the tape I reach into my pocket and extract it. For the thousandth time I wonder what this man has been to Alex, and what his standing with him might be now. He knows my thoughts, because a smile curls the corner of his mouth and he murmurs:

"Alex has always held a very special place in my affections." Rather than playing the thing, he carefully prepares it, and then lifts a set of fingerprints from it.

"How did you handle the tape, Agent Mulder? Are these likely to be yours?" I shake my head, no, I've only touched it through the plastic of the bag, but I suppose they could possibly belong to Alex.

He moves to his computer, his face seamed with deep concentration, and

presses keys. Prints appear at the behest of his fingertips, and I realize that I'm looking at Alex's file here. I resist the urge to overpower the old snake and take the data he has on my love, and simply bring the prints

to compare them.

No, they don't belong to Alex.

He takes the card with the prints from me and runs it though a scanner. Then he picks up the phone. I wait, confused, and listen to him as he gives orders to identify the prints as quickly as possible. Replacing the phone carefully, he turns to me.

"Agent Mulder, just what would you give to have your lover back?" The insinuating voice maddens me, and I swear, half rising from my seat before realizing that to harm him will seriously jeopardize my chances of finding Alex. His smile is as smug as ever, and inwardly I curse him. He's a perverted old man.

"What do you want from me?" The question comes out harsh and spiteful, but he doesn't seem to notice. He takes hold of my precious videotape, and presses it into the slot in his VCR, turning on the screen as he steps away.

There we are, on his TV, bodies twining and voices hoarse and panting, loving each other for his enjoyment.

"Ah, yes, he's a delicious treat, isn't he? There are times that I miss him, although he's no longer quite... perfect, is he?" I look with disgust at the smoker, who seems lost in contemplation of the action on the screen as he puffs his ever-present cigarette. I ask once again:

"What do you want from me?"

At that an evil smile slowly spreads itself over his features. His hand creeps down to cup his crotch suggestively before he returns his gaze to the screen, licking his lips.

"No! Alex is finished with you. He's mine now. I won't promise him to you."

My voice catches, and he looks absently at me, shaking his head. "Not Alex. I told you, he's no longer perfect. You." And that does finally make me gasp.

"Me? Oh, no, no, no... " I'm half out of my chair again, prior to running for the door, and he moves back to allow me free passage. "No? That's a shame, Fox. I'm sure we would have found him for you."

The phone rings at that moment, and he pauses to answer its shrilling.

He runs his filmy eyes up and down my body as he listens.. His smile broadens as he thanks the person at the other end of the line with grave courtesy. I feel a thrill course the length of my spine as he replaces the receiver and raises his head to look at me, vile good humor apparent in his eyes.

"Such a shame. I'm sure we could have done business, but if your mind is made up... " My gorge rises as I look at him, and I turn abruptly and run for the stairs.

Behind me, I hear his mocking laugh.

***

The books all say that a captive needs to be softened up for a few days before re-education can begin. I've seen that he isn't going to be tough though. He wants this almost as much as I do although I know he won't ever admit it, and I spend a long time deciding what will happen. Finally, as dawn breaks, I decide that I must begin the program. The thought of what I am going to do to him thrills me even as it makes me tremble with fear. When I enter the room where he lies, still hog-tied on the floor, I see that he is awake, although the size of his pupils shows that he's not really with me.

I give him his shot. He isn't really out of it yet, but it's okay. It will slow him down and make it that much harder to resist me. I'm ready with my pepper spray and my taser, set on the very lowest setting. I have no wish to kill him. I merely want to tame him, but when you deal with wild animals, you need to have insurance. I begin to release him from his bonds. At first, he is unable to do anything but moan in pain as he tries to regain feeling in limbs that have been cramped for hours. I place a choke chain around his neck and stand ready to discourage him from any attempt to break free.

His voice is hoarse as I prod him to stand. He moans, and then says a single word, a forbidden word- "Fox" regretfully. I slap him as hard as I can, knocking his head around smartly and scream that he is not to say the name again. His lips, chapped and dry from dehydration, split in several places, and red flowers on his chin, dribbling down his neck. He grunts, and sinks down to his knees.

"Fox is bad for you, beloved. Fox will hurt you. There's nothing but pain for you there." Scolding him like a child, I strip the cuffs from his ankles. He is choking and retching as the blood flows thickly, but I don't want to wait any more. I drag him up once again and lead him to the bathroom, reddened and swollen as he is.

The heroin helps, but it's obvious that his cramped limbs are hurting him, and are hard for him to command. It's a while before his limbs begin to obey him enough to take the few tottering steps he needs into the bathroom.

I've run a bath for him. The steamy water is fragrant with patchouli and covered with bubbles. I've even placed a mat on the floor of the tub so that he won't slip while he's climbing in and out. He moans and staggers to the toilet, slumping down on it. Removing the chain from around his neck I stand back, alert and watchful as he uses the facilities, then I bid him lie down on the floor. He protests, but feebly and when I threaten him with the taser he lays himself out on the floor. I push up his knees, insert a length of tubing into his ass, and begin to decant warm, soapy water into his rectum. He gasps, writhes a little, and I think he's going to make a fuss, but he submits to my administrations, and I relax a little. He makes a few small, distressed sounds and I soothe him.

"It's okay, darling. I want you clean, that's all. I'd never hurt you."

Trembling now, he allows me to assist him back onto the toilet, and from there into the tub. Feeling very daring I unfasten the manacles that hold his wrists. If the leather gets wet it may be spoiled. I check my watch, wondering for how much longer he'll be tractable. It's a sweet luxury to allow him liberty in this way, but I do know that I'm courting death if I miscalculate. That makes it all the more exciting. How many of you can say that you've tamed a panther? He's wild, and would disembowel me for pleasure if he had his way, but I have him in charge, and he will walk to heel for me.

A thought occurs to me, and I loosen the prosthesis, laying it down on the floor by the door. His arm is looking sore, red and puffy, with blisters starting to form.

Almost as if he's read my thoughts his hand whips up out of the water, clenches in my hair, and he tries to force my head into the water. A burst from the pepper spray puts a stop to it, and he thrashes in spastic spasm, gasping and choking as his eyes stream. Finally, he plunges under the water. When he emerges, dripping and spluttering, I wash him rapidly and pull the plug to drain the tub. While the water swirls away, I place a choke chain around his neck and tug on it insistently until finally he rises out of the now empty tub and stumbles along at my prompting.

When we arrive back in the bedroom, I see the bunching of muscles in his back, and realize that he's planning to jump me. I shove him forward towards the bed, and apply the taser. His body stiffens, and he screams then, a sharp, curiously high pitched shriek as he jerks wildly, and then drops, half on and half off the bed. Quickly I drag him onto it to lie face down, then remove the pillows so that he has no chance of suffocating. He's quivering, and I loosen the chain around his neck as his face begins to turn livid.

As he begins to come to, I have him stretched, spread-eagled on the bed, chained at wrist and ankles. It's only a precaution, of course. He's too far-gone to put up much of a fight as the pain caused by the taser disrupts his system. It's not the easiest thing in the world to tether a one armed man, but I do what I can with the three limbs that are whole. His long, lovely back is a treasure I gaze on, slabs of muscle that point in a v to the hollow that ends in the shadowed, mysterious crevice around which his buttocks swell. Here and there are scars, but they enhance rather than detracting from the lush beauty of him. I need to touch him.

I undress, and take a bottle of almond oil. Then I climb astride him and begin a deep and sensuous massage of his sweet body. Working away at the tension in his shoulders and upper back, my balls slide delightfully over his oil-slick skin. I find the motion soothing. I feel as though I could spend the rest of my life pleasuring this love of mine.

Loving him this way is all I ever wanted or needed. I see his eyes close, and his breathing becomes slow and regular. I can't permit him to sleep just yet, so I shake him, and at his feebly muttered protest, I stand up and take my cane. It was my mother's cane when first she began to lose the strength in her legs, and is a long, slender bamboo cane with a silver tip. I flex it a couple of times, wondering if Cassandra ever imagined such a use for it. When I slash it through the air, it whistles, and I shiver in anticipation.

I've waited for this, to mark him as mine. I strike gently at first and hear a surprised yelp, followed by a groan, but it's not enough, not even close to what I need from him. I close my eyes in anticipation, and raise my arm. The cane whistles through the air, and when it lands, the sound is ecstasy. He utters a coughing grunt and jerks up from his prone position. I admire my artistry. A single red weal lies across his shoulders, marking him as mine.

"Jeff, you don't...don't need to do this." His voice is torn out of him, and hangs like rags in the air.

"You were sleeping. I didn't tell you that you could." There's no answer then, and I think that maybe he's defying me. I study his back and decide where the next strip is to be placed. I am just about to deliver it when he raises his head to search for me.

"What do you want from me! You know I despise you, I have nothing to give you". He sounds furious.

"Alex, you can accept my love. Give me yourself, that's all I ever wanted."

His eyes, pupils huge as he fights the drug in his body, are flickering around the room as if searching for help. He moans softly. "I'm all the help you need, Alex, just give yourself to me."

"Fox will find me. You'll see." I scream at him, and raise the rod in my hand, lashing into him again and again until the blood springs from the welts I have made and begins to trickle down. At first he's silent, save for the gasping sounds he makes as I connect, but at last, he loses it. At last, I hear him cry out for mercy as I lash him again and again, then screaming, and screaming in anger and hurt, howling like a beaten animal, and yes..... I'm screaming with him. I'm screaming "I love you. I love you." As if it's a weapon as the mist clears from my eyes. Finally, I sink down, panting. He's sobbing gently, and I pet his hair, stroke him, and kiss the back of his neck.

Somewhere in the far distance the doorbell chimes. I wonder vaguely whether or not I should answer, but I can't leave him at the moment; he needs me. I let the door go unanswered. It was probably someone selling something and I have everything here that I've ever wanted.

He's thrashing about. His back is a bloody mess, tracked and seeded with bright blood and I stoop then to taste it. Somehow it feels like a communion to me. I am in communion with my beautiful panther god. The thought makes me harden, and I pull up on his hips, hastily stuffing a pillow under hip to raise

him. Then, I slick him hastily.

Driving home into him is a fierce pleasure. I hear him crying out through a long, dark tunnel, and I must, must...

There is a sound behind me.

Lost inside him, I push deeper. It's too late for anything to stop me, and I come, pushing hard into the sucking moisture of him. I hear a low laugh at that point, and whirl around, only to come face to face with my father. "I suspected you might be at the bottom of this, Jeffrey." He eyes the place where Alex and I are joined. "How very gratifying it is to be right."

He reaches into the pack of cigarettes and there's a studied pause as he lights up. I'm willing him to go away, but instead he steps to the head of the bed, to where Alex has bitten his lip bloody in an unsuccessful effort to stifle the moans that tear from him. I withdraw from him, and finding my pants, I pull them on swiftly. My father gazes, transfixed at Alex, and as I watch, he scratches across the bloody length of his back with one sharp fingernail, and Alex cries out, cringing into himself.

"Leave him, father. He's mine now. Fox Mulder gave him to me." The smile broadens over his ugly face, and he puffs on the ever-present cigarette.

"Oh, really? I thought that he and Fox Mulder had become.... intimate."There's a hint of sarcasm in his voice, and I fix my father with a look that pleads with him to go along with me.

"Mulder has never forgiven him for his betrayal. You know how much he hates Krycek for what he did. Getting together with him in the first place was merely an elaborate ploy to gain revenge on him in the most ironic way possible. Mulder never loved him. He loves that bitch red-head of his."

As I finish speaking, I can feel Alex tense beneath my hand and I know that I've found the way into his soul at last. "Mulder gave him to me to do what I want with. He's hurt, but I'll help him over it." At that, there's a howl of such anguish, that both my father and I pause. He thrashes his head from side to side, and I place my hand on it to force it down. My father smiles broadly again and takes him by the hair, forcing his head up to look him in the eye.

"Well then, it's a good job that Mulder is mine now, isn't it. I've avenged you, Alex. I finally allowed him into my bed last night. We laughed at your gullibility, my fine Russian. Have a pleasant day, won't you." With that, he turns and leaves the room.

I am left staring after him, wondering why and how Mulder did this thing, until a low sound from Alex brings me back to reality. He's crying at last.

***

I'm coming to the end of my options. No trace of prints has been found on the cameras, and a search of the building opposite has proven negative.

I go to his apartment to look for any sign that might be there, but he has hardly set foot in it for months, and towards the end of the day I creep back home to sit on my couch and brood. I'm all too painfully aware of the one option that's still open to me.

The disgusting old sadist wants me in his bed. He told me so, and much as the thought makes me shudder, I'm beginning to think that it's the only way I will ever find my Alex again.

Sitting in the light from the fishtank, staring unseeing into the gloom, Alex's face rises up in front of me.

"Fox, darling, you know I'd do it for you. I'd do it in a heartbeat if I had to." I jump. He's right, I know he is. He would stop at nothing to rescue me if I were in danger. How can I do less?

Finally, I make my decision. For Alex, I will do this, and not cry. I can give myself. It won't change me.

Losing Alex will change me.

I head for the bedroom and get myself ready for a gruesome seduction. Torn jeans, tight T-shirt and a leather jacket transform me into the rough trade he seems to enjoy. Condoms and KY go into my pocket and I'm a whore now, on the way to buy my lover's release. I'm a whore, but at least I'm doing something to help him.

I put my favorite photo of him in my inside pocket, and I'm ready. No point in holding off any longer. I can do this. I can, for Alex. My mind roams over the thought of our reunion. He'll be bruised and more than a little pissed off. He'll say some smart aleck thing like "What took you so long?" and I'll say "Is that all the thanks I get?" and then, I'll kiss him. I'll drink up that tender mouth as I claim him as mine all over again.

There's just this one small thing that I have to do first. This time, I ring the doorbell and wait until he comes to the door. As ever, he's immaculately groomed. His eyes widen momentarily as he sees me, but he recovers swiftly and invites me inside. Wordlessly courteous, he stands aside to permit me to enter, then closes the door behind me, locking and bolting it before following me into the room. Standing before him, I cut through the bullshit. If I'm going to do this, I have to do it now.

"What are your terms?" My voice is harsh but his eyes gleam satisfaction.

"I'll tell you who has him in exchange for your favors." I nod, waiting.

"You will remain in my bed, co-operative and responsive, for 8 hours, and in the morning I will furnish you with the information you will need to find him."

I nod again and allow my leather jacket to fall.

"It's ten now. Tomorrow, at six, you'll tell me?" He nods agreement.

What would Alex do now? I think madly to myself, and then, as clearly as if he were there with me, I hear him tell me. I drop to my knees and wait for the nightmare to begin.

***

At 5:45 AM I'm waiting for the clock to creep around to the hour of my release. I had expected the bastard to abuse me, and in a way, I suppose he has, but not physically. His very gentleness with me is somehow worse than if he had set out to hurt me.

He was surprisingly gentle, though nonetheless invasive. I shudder at the thought of the past few hours, and the litany runs through my brain, pounding "For Alex. I can do this for him. Only for him," as I review the night I have just spent. He's sleeping now, but at six, I'll wake him and be done with this. I'm nearly there.

At the turn of six AM, I shake him, his flesh hot under the thin silk of his pajamas. He snuffles briefly, and opens sleepy eyes in a face that looks almost innocent. I resist the urge to drive my fist into it and repeat my mantra, "For Alex. Only for my love." I'm sitting up in his bed, waiting grimly. He raises his hand to touch my lips, and I grit my teeth, my patience going rapidly. I stifle the urge I have to beat him bloody, and wait.

"Very enjoyable, Fox. You have a great second career ahead of you." His voice oozes, insinuating, and I draw in my breath in preparation to strike.

"You'll find an envelope beside my computer. Inside it, you'll see the name that you need. I suspect that you'd better hurry."

I'm out of that bed, pulling on my clothes and praying that I have time enough. I don't stop for good-byes. Once in the living room, I grab the envelope with shaking hands and rip it open, my pent up violence going into the shredding of paper. There's a card inside and on it is a name, written in neat, old-fashioned calligraphy.

Jeffrey Spender.

The name stands out on the white card, and I feel my fury like a living creature rising within me. Turning, I head back into the bedroom and stand over him as he smokes his first cigarette of the day. He smirks at me and raises an eyebrow.

"You bastard! Where is he?" He pauses, drawing on the tube of nicotine that dangles from his lips.

"That's not what you asked me for. You've got what you asked for. Do you want to make another agreement? I enjoyed last night. I'm willing to indulge you." Turning abruptly, I run from the apartment. Heading to the office, just a stone's throw away from the CSM's residence, I make for my computer. I was once at Spender's place, but Alex was driving, and on the night concerned, I was so crazy with lust, we could have gone anywhere and I would have seen only Alex. I pull up the file on Jeffrey Spender and punch the keys that will tell me his address. He was once a promising agent, but he seemed to me to be old before his time, withered by too much bitterness. Three days ago, he resigned without any warning. True, he has been upset by the death of his mother, but he has been strange for a long while now, and it can't all be attributed to the death of Cassandra Spender, no matter how dreadful that was. It all fits. I know that he wanted Alex. I bear a scar on my belly that is testament to his misplaced lust, and I realize that I'm as much to blame as anyone for his state of mind. Alex and I taunted him, and now we're reaping what we've sown.

Rapidly I find his address and race back down to my car, turning to head out to the suburbs of Alexandria, where he lives. By the time I arrive, I'm almost beside myself with rage and anxiety. I recall this place from the time once before, when, clad in leather and dazed by love, Alex had driven me though the midnight streets to find and torment Jeff Spender. Now, as then, I hammer on the door. When there's no answer, I crash through the door.

Inside there's nothing. No furniture, no personal effects, no sign that Spender ever lived here. Moaning, I sink to the floor. I was so sure I would find him again. My head sinks into my hands as I try to decide where to go next.

He's moved, but where would he have gone?

I sit for what seems to me an eternity, thinking things through, trying to quell the terrible anger that threatens to send me spinning out of control.

Now isn't the time for the luxury of anger. I must put it aside. I have to find Alex.

What makes up Spender? He's estranged from his father, and there were no signs in the old man's home that he had a son. I could feel it in me to feel sorry for Jeff, lonely as he must have been, but not now. It was obvious that his father had not known of Jeffrey's kidnapping until after he has lifted the prints from my tape.

Spender has spent his entire life without a father, and when his mother

died...

His mother.

I groan, and reach for my phone.

***

I've had to give Alex more of the drug. He's taking a heavy dose each time, and I hope his heart can stand it. I had to place padding around the head of the bed as well. He became self-injurious, and his head is already covered in bruises. While I was out of the room he began to thrash and pound himself on the mattress. Somehow from his prone position he managed to reach the heavy oak of the headboard, and smashed his head against it repeatedly, whether in rage or despair I don't know. Now, as I look at the bruise that covers his face and the split skin of his forehead, I don't want him to hurt himself any more. He's destroying his beautiful face.

He has to stop.

After I had placed the padding where it would protect him from further harm he seemed to go wild. Throughout the evening, he screamed and howled, thrashing and tearing at his bonds. Twice I offered him water, the second time it contained a sedative, but each time he refused it, his glazed eyes staring dully at something only he could see.

I love him. I can't leave him in despair like this, but I don't know how to help him throw off the yoke that Fox Mulder has placed on him. I tell him over and over that Mulder never loved him; that Mulder must hate him or he wouldn't be with my father. Mulder has betrayed him. His heart needs to learn to beat without him.

His color is poor, and I force some water, laced with a little, calming something into him while he chokes and splutters. Finally, with some idea of getting him some exercise, I haul him off the bed with the choke chain and half drag him, staggering and stumbling, to a chair in my study. I chain him at wrist and ankle and take a bowl of porridge, which I attempt to spoon into him. He resists. It's fairly obvious that he doesn't want it, and after a while I give up. He is wearing most of it and I am not sure that he has actually ingested any. I take a bottle of water, and tilt his head back, trickling the liquid into his mouth and waiting each time for his swallow. It takes forever, but eventually the bottle is empty, and there isn't too much on the floor. I kiss his mouth, unresisting as he is.

It's getting late and I'm tired, but I can hold on for a while, just because I have his company.

I turn to my monitors and switch them on. I want Alex to see how clever I am, and how carefully I have prepared. I want him to be impressed at the masterly way I have engineered his capture. I want him to see how much I love him, and how worthy I am to have him now. The monitors all spring to life except the one that is hooked into the camera system in Fox Mulder's apartment. That one appears to be broken, and I turn to the next. The camera in Dana Scully's apartment reveals no sign of life, but I think she's gone to visit her mother this weekend so I'm not expecting to see her.

Moving on to the next in line, the one that looks into Assistant Director Skinner's home, I'm amazed. He is not only there, but he has Dana Scully with him and they appear to be more than friendly. I'm interested but hardly excited at the prospect of the two of them getting it on. A flick of the switch and the screen darkens. I move on to the rest. There, I pause. There isn't often anything exciting happening in my father's apartment, but tonight is different. I can see that he's in bed with someone. With a thrill, I see that the man currently sucking on his penis to his evident enjoyment is Fox Mulder. My father told the truth!

I shake Alex, forcing him to look at the screen where Mulder is working hard to get my father off, and though he tries not to, I know that he sees.

Recognition flickers across the dull eyes, and he lets out a single, soul-wrenching howl. Clarice Starling would be proud. Here is a lamb that still screams. Tears begin leaking sluggishly from the corners of his eyes as he watches, seemingly glued to the action on the screen. I put my arms around him, feeling him flinch as I touch his raw back. I apologize, laying kisses on his neck and shoulders. I wouldn't hurt him for the world.

It's a further hour before my father achieves his climax, rutting on the long, lean body of the man I hate most. By that time Alex is moaning as his tears continue to flow. I know that at last I have won. I hold him tightly as he breaks down in earnest, stroking his hair and telling him over and over again how much I love him.

He's bruised, filthy with spilled oatmeal and slick with blood and sweat.

His eyes are swollen red from crying and his nose is running. It's 2 am and it's time for him to sleep a little. He's earned it. Somehow, I know that my danger is past. I know that he won't hurt me now. I fetch a towel and a bowl of warm, soapy water, then I begin to sponge him clean of the food and the dirt. Gently, I wash the wounds on his back with antiseptic, and apply a salve to the stripes. His stump is red and blistered too, and I doctor it tenderly. He's mine to take care of now.

Once the worst of his injuries are cared for, I wash his face, bathing the sore eyes, kissing his mouth softly even though I'm poised to take action if he lashes out.

He doesn't.

I untie him and lead him back to his room. He slumps on the edge of the bed, obediently awaiting instruction from me. I clip his one wrist to the headboard, and lie him down. He draws himself up into the fetal position and lies motionless.

I lie down behind him, slide my arm around him, and lie holding him. At the edge of sleep, in that place where the world becomes rushing water, carrying one out into the sea where dreams live, I feel him snuggle back against me, as if he is seeking warmth. He's as hot as a furnace, and shivering. I nuzzle him gently and whisper a gentle word or two, and then, with my wish at last reality, I fall asleep.

***

The house is a 50-minute drive from Spender's apartment. As I approach Great Falls my anxiety level begins to rise. The house itself appears to be closed off and there's an air of despair about it. A once carefully tended yard is already sprouting weeds and the whole place looks neglected and down at heel. The morning sun is pitiless, revealing the weeds and the dirt. I don't see any signs of life, but I know that he must be here, he must...

The thought of what must happen if he isn't almost makes me vomit. I'm not going to let it get to me. I drive up to the front door and am scrambling out almost before the car comes to a halt.

Standing in front of the door, I contemplate crashing straight through it.

I decide that this would merely alert the crazy man who has my Alex in his power and give him time to endanger his life. A moments thought suffices, and I set about finding a way in that won't alert him. Prowling around the property I find no other way at first, but then as I look upwards, I spy an open window on the upper floor. Grinning, I go to retrieve the ladder that is laid up behind the wooden shed in the back yard.

It's old wood, rotten and spongy in places and initially I wonder if it's going to bear my weight. Sighing, I decide that it will just have to.

I tote the damned thing over to the wall with the window, and lay it up against the stucco.

The ladder creaks and groans. I bypass one rung completely because it looks so very treacherous. Finally I'm level with the window, and it's a simple matter to climb through it.

When I finally stand in the room looking around, I gasp. Pictures of Alex are everywhere. They are taped to the walls, look at me from frames on the furniture, and a series of 8x10s are strewn across the sour and rumpled bed. All depict my Alex. He's naked, clothed, laughing, angry and wild.

He's sleeping in one shot, the curling lashes drooping innocently over smooth cheeks. Clothing and notebooks are strewn over the floor. A stack of videotapes litters the space beside the TV in the corner. The tapes are meticulously labeled with dates and times, and the one word 'Alex'. He's here. He has to be.

This complete invasion of Alex's life is laid out as if for some outrageous meal. I feel at once disgusted and excited. I move to pick up the photos that lie on the bed, and a thrill of horror flashes through my heart. The back of each photo contains a meticulously detailed list of how this monster intends to deal with him. Photos of my darling masturbating stab at my eyes. How could he get these? He's obsessed. He'll kill him before he breaks him the way he's suggested. I swallow, my tongue suddenly too large and dry in my mouth to cope.

Frantic now, it takes me several minutes to bring myself back to a state where I can achieve anything, but at last I open the door stealthily, and pad down the stairs after checking the rooms on this level. All seems deserted.

The ground floor is quiet, the drawn drapes making it seem gloomy, as though it has somehow lost the life that once was here. One room proves to be a living room with shabby, chintz covered furniture. The kitchen is, surprisingly enough, fairly clean and tidy save for a bowl of oatmeal that sits half empty on the worktop. The last room on the floor is the largest of them, and has been fitted out as an office of sorts. There are rows of monitors, banks of equipment, and three computers. One of the computer screens is on, and a photo of Alex, his head back and laughing, captures my attention. All the signs point to him being here, but where?

I wander the ground floor, growing increasingly agitated. He's not here... Not here, but he must be! Finally, I sit down at the desk and turn on the monitors arrayed beside the desk.

The first one shows a bedroom I recognize only too well. The old spider that inhabits it is not there at the moment, but I know that room. I left it only a matter of a couple of hours ago. Nothing is moving there, and I turn my attention to the next one.

It's another bedroom, with another surprise. There are two people in the bed, and I recognize them instantly as they writhe and turn. Assistant Director Skinner is showing his good side to the camera as his buttocks flex and rise. I see only the legs that are wrapped around his waist, but I know that it's my partner he's fucking. Those legs are well known to me.

Any other time I would be fascinated, and indeed I can feel stirrings down in the undergrowth, but I ignore my stupid cock. It has no sense of timing, and Alex needs me now.

The next monitor shows Scully's empty bedroom. I'm bemused. How did this weasel manage to place all these cameras, and why? The fourth monitor isn't working. Only static fills the screen. Turning now to the fifth I switch it on, and gasp. They are there together, and Spender has him in his arms. The two figures lie together. Alex is still, obviously sleeping, while Spender is up on his elbow, leaning over him as he gloats. He leans in to dust my lover's face with kisses, and then strokes his face.

I can see that it's Spender, but where? Where? There must be a basement somewhere. I breathe deeply, trying to remain calm, cudgeling my brain in an effort to think how I could possibly have missed the damned entrance to the basement. I resume my search of the downstairs, opening cupboards and pulling back rugs in an effort to find it. At last I strike lucky. A cupboard swings away from the wall to reveal a set of stairs that descend. A dull light from below permits me to see my way.

Half of the basement is typical. Here the furnace, there the piles of junk and clutter accumulated by families everywhere over the slow crawl of time sit in mute agreement that this house is an average dwelling. Advancing through the shoulder high piles of forgotten treasures, I come upon a small area that has been cleared. It holds an armchair, placed alongside another monitor. There have got to be thousands of dollars worth of surveillance equipment involved in this system. I wonder who paid for it. It occurs to me that the vile man I spent the night with has probably financed it, encouraging his own son in his psychoses in order to destroy us.

I wonder what it is that Alex and I know that makes him desire our destruction so badly. We'll find it out sooner or later, Alex and I, and then, finally we'll beat him forever.

A quick check of the screen reveals that Alex is still in the bed although I can't immediately see Spender, who is no longer lying with him.. I head for the door at the back of the cleared space. It seems like the logical place to search. I'm tense and ready. Today, my love comes home.

I try the door handle. It turns easily enough, and I'm through, gun in hand and ready to save him, take him home. Spender has come out of nowhere, and is standing over Alex with a syringe in his hand. I yell at him to freeze.

He turns to me and laughs.

"Well, Alex, look who it is. He just doesn't seem to want to stop hurting you, does he? How was daddy last night? We watched you sucking him off.

Alex saw you spread your legs for him, didn't you, Alex? Was it good?" His voice drips sarcasm, and I'm suddenly cold. He made my Alex watch... that?

He turns back to Alex, who is still lying, shivering on the bed, and deliberately slides the needle into the vein in the crook of his elbow.

I note the tourniquet he has put on to raise the vein, and blood drums in my ears as a tide of red veils my thoughts.

"What are you giving him? Stop!" I scream at the smug, complacent buffoon who is slowly killing my lover. He looks over his shoulder at me and sniggers, and that's it. It's too late for him.

My bullet takes him in the throat, and he falls forward onto the bed, blood spurting bright and final, to redden my lover and drench the sheets. Alex screams, hoarse and pained, and I move forward to soothe him, reaching for the bindings that keep him from rising and rushing to my side. It seems at first that he's screaming at the dead thing that lies twitching on him, still pumping blood, but it's not.

He's feral, wild, there's no humanity left anywhere in his gaze.

He's screaming at me.

***

I phone Skinner. I can't think what else to do. When at last he and Scully arrive, Alex is still strapped to the bed, fighting, thrashing wildly when I try to go anywhere near him.

I've removed the needle from his arm and loosened the rubber tubing that was tied around it. I put the damned thing to one side for Scully to take for testing, but I know only too well what it is. I feel tears clogging my sinuses and pinch the bridge of my nose to force them back. I can't spare tears right now, not 'til he's safe and well.

They take a statement from me, and an ambulance is called. Scully tries valiantly to make me go home and take a sedative, but I know that I can't, won't do that. He needs me. He'll never find his way back without me.

I know it.

At the hospital they examine him and begin a catalogue of the injuries he has suffered. Many are superficial, but some are not. His back has been flayed, and is scabbed and suppurating. His scars are real, physical reminders to me of the way I've let him down. The stump of his arm is in a bad way too. The dehydration and the urinary tract infection are easily treatable, and the terrible bruising all over him will heal. The lacerations and burn marks will fade, and the concussion is going to leave him soon. Even his anus, torn and bleeding from repeated rapes will heal.

In some ways, it's a miracle that he has survived the onslaught on his being. I reflect on his strength. Only Alex could have undergone that and not given up.

Harder by far to cope with is the fact that hates me. He fights to get at me, and cowers when he can't. Worst of all, he is once more addicted to heroin.

He has survived, and yet, he seems to have given up now. After all he's been through, he's giving up.

I'm forced to conclude that there are worse things in the world than the rape of the body. He is somewhere else, the bright flame that is his spirit has begun to flicker and fail. When I look at him, mindless and vacant, the drool bright on his chin, I wonder whether I should just give him an overdose and set him free, but I know that I can't. I love him too much to let him go without a fight. If he dies I will take the guilt of it to the grave. I could have stopped this. I could have protested. I could have given Spender over to justice when he attacked me, and I didn't. My guilt is a solid lump, hard and aching within my chest, but it serves no useful purpose. It won't help my lover now. That thought is possibly the hardest thing I have to bear.

Alex slumps quietly in the corner while they examine him, permitting whatever intrusion they visit on him. I step forward, meaning to offer him the comfort of my arms while he undergoes the indignities of an examination. As I approach, a wild look overtakes his features, and from blank vacancy, he is sudden transformed to wild killer as he goes for me, hands around my neck ready to choke or snap. The growl that emanates from deep in his chest is animal, inhuman.

The orderlies subdue him, but not before he has placed his bruises like a necklace about my throat. Shortly after that they place him in five point restraints, as he is caught attempting to end his own life by thrusting his head through the glass of the window. I don't believe that they were expecting his lightning movements, and he slips out of their grasp. I shriek, trapped as I am behind the glass from which I'm observing, and I know that he hears and recognizes my voice. A look of sheer misery slides across his features, and he breaks free again. They catch him just as he's turning to cut his own throat on the glass.

***

For the first day or two, he sleeps, save for the times he wakes up screaming, shivering and sweating. He vomits constantly, and has to be watched carefully to ensure that he doesn't choke on it. He won't, or can't feed himself, and eventually I take over the task of trying to get nourishment into him. My success level is tempered by the fury on his face when he sees me. I don't know what the fucker did to him to make him see me in this way, but I hope he's dancing in hell now. Alex doesn't respond, no matter what I do, save for the look of sheer animal rage that occasionally crosses the blankness of his face when he sees me.

Where are you, baby? Will you ever find your way back to me? You made me a promise that you would follow me if I died. I can do no less. I don't know where we are headed, but wherever you go, I will go too. Day follows day. His bruises fade, and the cramps aren't so frequent. He'll eat a little now if he's fed, but only things that take no effort.

He's wasting away in front of me, and I'm powerless to stop it from happening.

They released him from the restraints a couple of times, but each time they've had to return him. He attacks himself, and I know that he wants to die. Once, when they allowed him freedom, he merely lay inert, and my heart rose. I had to go to him, and I left my vantagepoint to enter the room. He didn't appear to look at me, but somehow he sensed my presence, and with a snarl he was on me, faster than thought, his hand around my throat as he attempted to crush my larynx. I would have died right there if we had been alone.

I watch him battling the sweats and agonizing stomach pains, and wish I could hold him while he fights. He hallucinates for a while, and I hear him screaming and crying as a parade of who knows what dark images pass before his unseeing eyes, until at last he's reduced to sobbing. I hear my name now and again, mixed with the babble of English and Russian. I can't help him.

He won't let me.

Still, I sit beside him day after day while the drug tears his system apart, talking to him quietly of the life we had, and my hopes for the future, while he lies dull-eyed, or screams incomprehensible Russian. Days creep on into weeks, and he's almost free of the drug but showing no signs of becoming my wild, fit, healthy lover once more. I try and try in vain to find something that will turn him around.

On the day that I decide to wear the leather outfit he bought for me, his eyes widen momentarily as I enter the room. He looks as if he's about to say something, but then the shadows fall over his face and his gaze clouds over as he refuses once again to focus on my presence.

In my head, I hear a voice from long ago. "You mean so much to me that I don't want to live any more if I have to do it alone." I remember sitting, bracketed by his sweet body, sensing the heat under the black silk while he laid his soul bare to me for that first time on Christmas Day. I remember his kisses, silk-soft mouth promising me everything in the slide and flick of tongue on tongue.

I have to find a way to bring him back to me.

I look down on his spread-eagled form. He's pale, and growing increasingly thin, but the beauty of him is undeniable. His huge eyes dream, and the long black lashes flutter to rest on his cheek until I move towards him.

He can't hide the erection he has. I know that he still loves me, still wants me. There's the whole problem. He wants me as much as he ever did, but he believes I betrayed him. Spender's words come back to haunt me.

I know what's killing Alex now.

He believes I betrayed him. That much is clear. I tackle him about it but he doesn't reply, doesn't look at me. I realize that I have to do something now, or lose him forever. He's just waiting impatiently to die.

My thorough lover has turned all the energy and focus he possesses on giving up.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I can't let him go. He's mine, and without him I will be adrift forever. The lump in my throat is such that I can't speak. I try, but the words won't come. We had love that was a safe place for him after the pain of his life. It was given to him and then ripped away and shredded by Jeffrey Spender and his father. I think of the things that Alex has lost, and I burn with fury. I gaze at him for a long, long time, and then I take his face between the palms of my hands, leaning down to kiss his eyes.

Finally I turn and go.

***

I head back to M Street, but this time, I take my gun with me, knowing that I'm going to use it.

He opens the door to me with eyebrows raised in polite inquiry. His eyes widen as he takes in my unaccustomed apparel. Well they might. I wear skintight black leather, laced up the sides of the pants on each side from ankle to waist. There is a two inch section on each side that reveals my bare flesh, criss crossed by the black lacing that holds them together. The shirt is the same, with a collar that stands up around my neck. Over it, I have a black leather jacket that belongs to Alex. The smell of it comforts me even as it lends me courage. I won't fail him. Somehow I know what he would do if he were me, and that knowledge sustains me. "For me, Fox? You shouldn't have." I'm tempted to shoot him there and then, but I restrain myself with an effort, and ask him, politely, to come with me.

His sneer is instant, but vanishes just as quickly when I bring out my gun.

"You don't imagine that I'm intimidated by you, do you?" You've held me at gunpoint before and I'm still standing." He reaches for a cigarette, and quick as a flash, my hand lashes out to grab his left wrist, squeezing it painfully.

His cigarettes drop to the floor forgotten, and his mouth and eyes are all round 'O's of surprise.

I force his hand down onto the desk with my own, and dropping my gun into Alex's jacket pocket, I take one of Alex's knives, and hack off the little finger of the hand I have captured.

I lean forward to clean Alex's knife on the wool of his suit jacket, then, snarling, I raise the gun again.

"Alex wasn't dying then. You ought to know by now that to me, things affecting Alex are different. The next time, it'll be your whole arm that goes. That would be poetic, don't you think? It's a case of familiarity breeding contempt, wouldn't you say?" To my amazement, he smiles, and reaches for a cloth to wrap his maimed hand, then, without further comment, we head on down to my car.

***

Standing over Alex, the two of us wait. He appears to be sleeping, and I touch him softly, taking this opportunity while he is unknowing, aware that if he wakes up he will turn the full beam of his loathing on me once more.

I'm still holding my gun steadily on the elder Spender. He's in obvious pain and more than a little shocked as he nurses his injury. He's still ramrod straight though, and I have to hand it to the old fuck, he's very dignified.

"Fox, oh, Fox, love." The voice is soft, and for a moment I believe I'm imagining it, but then the voice starts again, louder, yelling something in Russian, followed by a quieter "Oh, Fox, No." I can't help myself. I lean in and kiss his lips. For just a second, his mouth opens under mine, making my head swim, then he's awake, spitting like a cat and turning his head away. I can hear him grind his teeth and back off swiftly as he lunges forward to bite.

"Your son did this to him, you bastard. How will you fix it?" My gun arm extends, and I know that in just a second more I'll obliterate that smug smile of his forever. For a minute, I know that it would be a good thing.

Then, with careful poise, despite his white face and bleeding hand, he takes a seat beside Alex on the bed, carefully tugging the knee of his pants up to avoid tightness, and crosses his legs neatly. It occurs to me that if Alex is a raging jungle cat, then the old man is a finicky domestic tabby. Like the tabby, he seems plumply complacent, but still menacing at heart, so carefully and primly does he settle. As for me, dog-like in my love, I don't stand a chance of understanding them. I can follow. That's my lot in life. For him, I'll accept it, and learn to love it.

"Krycek, what's bothering you?" The old man speaks, and his voice is calm, even kindly. Alex stares woodenly at him, loathing curling the perfect lips. For a minute, it seems as if he will speak at last, and I hold my breath tight, but then he closes his eyes in rejection, and I choke back a sob.

The old man suddenly flashes out a hand to grab at Alex's hair, forcing his head back and thrusting his face in until Alex finally glares back at him.

"I didn't give you permission to leave." The words lash at him, and I see uncertainty in the cloudy, shuttered eyes that suddenly focus sharply on the face of the puppet master who has him in his grip.

The growl he utters makes me shiver. For just a second at least, he's here with me. My heart pounds.

"You really are a sorry piece of work. Fox Mulder did what needed to be done, for you. Would you discard it?" As Alex listens, shadows come and go on his face while the small crease on the bridge of his nose deepens.

After an impossibly long time, his lips part.

"Fuck you! What are you talking about?" Rusty, dragged from the depths of his soul, his voice falls on my ears like welcome warmth after cold. "Do you know what he gave to find you? I'm the only person who could have helped him, and my price was high. To be honest, I don't think that you're worth the cost, but he obviously does." The voice drips sarcasm, and I take a short step forward, meaning to shut him up. The old man tightens his grip on Alex's hair, yanking his head back painfully. "You're damaged goods, my dear, a bargain basement offering. He paid far too much." And with that he lets Alex's head fall back to the pillow. "I don't know what you mean. I saw you. The two of you..." Deliberately, the old man unwraps his wounded hand, trailing the bloody mess across Alex's cheek.

"Do you imagine for a minute that he and I are lovers? I thought you had more intelligence than that. See what he did to me just to make me come here tonight." He's still speaking calmly, and the scene is surreal, the drip and ooze of his blood painting a dark swathe over Alex's lips, and his dispassionate voice berating my lover, while the old bastard's face whitens and whitens until he seems like a paper man.

"Why did you come? What will you do now?" Alex speaks quietly, his words slurring out in a rush, almost as if they are escaping without his leave.

Spender draws himself up to sit erect, and begins to relate, blow by blow, the things that he made me do. Hearing it from his lips makes me shudder and it's with an effort that I stop myself from hiding my face. I can see Alex looking at me as each new atrocity from the old man's mouth lays bare my prostitution. I'm ashamed. It brings it all home again, and at last I know why Alex no longer wants me. I wouldn't want me either, not after hearing that account. I raise my gun again, this time to my own head. The Cancerman finally stops talking. There's nothing left for me now except to give in, say my good-byes, and leave it all behind. In a way, I'm glad. It's a kind of relief to me now.

Alex and the old man are talking rapidly now; their voices buzz and hiss in my ears as I breathe. I can focus only on the smooth cylinder that will finally release me from my ordeal.

I recall my time with Alex, so short and breathtakingly sweet. My mind keeps returning again to the hope and love I found that Christmas day.

I wonder if we could have continued forever, realistically. I'm sure we would have self-combusted sooner or later. Better this way. I part my lips to the kiss of the gun.

One last look at my lover, and then I'm ready. The world is swimming in and out of focus. There is a scream, and Alex is trying to get up. I pause dreamily to consider the implications of this from my vantagepoint somewhere outside of time. The old man is still there, but he seems unimportant. As I stand and watch, it becomes apparent to me that the evil old man has set Alex's hand and his chest free from the restraints. My wild love is now tearing his feet free.

It dawns on me. Of course, it's fitting that I should die at his hands.

How could I have thought otherwise? He's the one whose heart I've broken.

He should be the one who metes out my punishment. I lower the gun and wait, arms loose at my sides, and head bowed in acceptance. Free now, the short hospital robe making him look a little comical despite his deadly purpose, he steps towards me, his gait shaky but determined. The buzzing fills my ears and my vision flashes red and black. Too many corpses, far too many innocent dead have paid for my obsessions. I'm sorry, so sorry.

I lift my head to expose my throat for him, and say again, out loud this time "I'm sorry, sorry for everything except loving you."

He reaches up then, his hand at the nape of my neck, pulling me forward to meet my death

His lips. Soft and pliant, and then clashing hard as the barrier of strong white teeth comes down on me, mashing tissue against them, mine and his.

My lips are forced apart then and the lick and slide of his tongue becomes a desperate pleasure as he possesses my mouth, my heart, my soul. The gun falls from my fingers and I lean against him, shaking with a peculiar mixture of relief, adoration and desolation. A minute ago everything had fallen into place for me. It had all seemed so sure, so perfectly laid out and now I'm lost. I no longer understand. The room tilts crazily sideways, and the world fades away. Unknowing, I sag, and then fall.

***

Faint sounds disturb me. I want to sleep, and yet the noises don't permit it. I moan gently and the sounds fade. There's wetness on my face, as though it's raining. When I open my eyes, I find myself lying on the hard floor, and my head is cradled in Alex's lap. Tears tremble on his lashes, roll fatly down his cheeks, and splash onto my face. Wondering, I gaze up at him, drinking in the sight of him. He strokes my hair and weeps, and I want to lick the tears from his sweet face. He's shaking his head as I struggle up onto my elbow. Clumsily, I struggle to my feet and hold out my hand to him, wanting to pull him to his feet. He makes an effort, but then plumps down again. "You'll have to help me... I can't..." I look at him sitting there, desolate, and realize just how close to death he actually has come. "I'll help you, love. I'll carry you if I have to. You're mine. I won't let you down." He smiles, a glorious sunburst smile that lets me know he has understood the meaning behind my words. I move behind him and help to raise him to standing, his weakened muscles trembling with their first use in weeks.

I know that at last he wants to live, and that now it won't take long for him to return to optimum fitness. Once he is determined, nothing will ever stop him.

Holding him tightly to prevent him from falling, I help him to bed and sit him on the edge of the mattress. His eyes are shining, twin beacons that light the way to his soul. I can't hold back, though I know how fragile he is. I kiss him, a soft, gentle welcome home that becomes a desperate re-acquainting as his mouth opens between mine and tongue curls against tongue, swirling silk against warm, wet velvet.

My hand slides from the back of his head down to his nipple as our kiss continues, and the urge to push him backwards and claim him as mine is almost too much to bear. In the end I break the kiss, shuddering, and content myself with holding him tightly, kissing his hair as he burrows in against my shoulder.

As I hold him tightly, my heart fills with emotion, bursting within my chest. I know that I have won my lover back.

We look, a little later, of course we do, but of CSM, there is no sign.

***

It's difficult to describe the horrors he has endured, but now he has decided to live, and we sit, hour after long hour while I listen to him.

He's never shared his pain easily, but now he seems to want to talk, and I am so happy that even the descriptions of the pain he has suffered can't make me anything less than contented.

He is so strong, and yet he nearly gave in.

The ordeal has stripped him of his strength, his health and his dignity.

It almost claimed his life, and I am forced to admit to myself that he loves me. He loves me more than I deserve. I've been blind, blaming him as he went through life. God help me. I've caused him so much pain. He's eating now, and beginning to respond to the exercise regime the therapists have set him. He's sleeping a lot of course, but we have time to talk, time to reconfirm our love for each other, and rediscover our ability to laugh.

He begins to try and teach me Russian, although I have no ear for languages. Time and again I practice the words he feeds me, much to his amusement. I try hard but I can't get the pronunciation right. He laughs at me and calls me propezdoloch. When I press him, he tells me that it means a 'foxy' person.

I begin to call him comrade, and after a while, he ceases to giggle when he hears me say it. Weak as he is, his face shines when I'm there. Eventually I stop even pretending to leave his side, sleeping in the chair beside his bed, afraid to lose even a minute of the time we have together, so afraid I am to miss a second.

I've become aware of the fragility of time, and I'm careful now. Who knows how long we have left. We kiss rarely, sharing tenderness rather than passion. I'm careful to let him set the pace. He's been through so much he needs time to be loved again before we can go back, if ever we do. I'm content to hold his hand, to laugh with him and to be with him. I didn't know what I had to lose, until I almost lost him.

***

Three days later, wearing clothes that hang from his over- slender frame, he walks out of the hospital. I am to take him home. The doctors have told me that there's nothing more they can do. He has to exercise, and he has to eat. His body is wasted, and his movements are clumsy, but I have him back, and my love will support him until he's strong again. His burning will shines through and I know we can't fail. 'Til then I'll care for him. He won't take long.

Did I ever have any doubt? I adore this man. Without him, I might just as well lie down and let the wind blow me away.

They want him to sit in a wheelchair and in truth he's really too weak to walk the distance to where my car is waiting, but Alex is determined. After he has negotiated the length of the corridor I see him falter a little, and slide my arm around his waist. Together we make our way along the final expanse until we reach my car.

As we reach the vehicle, just as I'm opening the door for him, a familiar figure looms, crow-like, before us and almost instinctively I try to move between Alex and the smoker.

Surely it's only my imagination that makes me think he's smiling paternally. His left hand is swathed in bandages but otherwise he seems the same as ever. He and Alex look intently at each other, and then the old man utters one word.

"Remember." Before he walks away. Alex nods and the old man departs without a backward glance.

I climb in behind the wheel and set the car in motion, glad to be leaving the hospital behind. Alex seems lost in thought for a minute or two, and then he turns to me.

"Da ya ego na khu'yu vertel.... He's right, you know?" Soft and breathy, the idea behind his words plucks delicately at my consciousness. "Right how, baby?" I'm a little abstracted. I concentrate fiercely on my driving. I don't want to think about Cancerman being right about anything.

"He said that Jeffy was my fault. If I hadn't fucked him around it never would have happened. He told me I don't deserve you." Small and rough, his voice relates the old man's latest poisoned barbs and I'm tempted to go searching for him purely so I can put a bullet in his brain and end his dominion over us once and for all. I turn to him. "Darling, I'm only going to say this once. You're mine, mine forever. If you think I'm gonna help you feel guilty about something that was done to you by a lunatic, you're totally nuts. I wish it hadn't happened, but it did, and in a way we'll be stronger because of that. I learned to stop blaming you for flaws in my own character. All through it, the only thing I could think of to keep me going was 'what would Alex do now'?" He's silent, and I have to keep on watching the road. I don't know how he's taking what I've said, but I don't know how to stop him feeling guilty. If ever there was someone with credentials for feeling guilty, it's me, but my Alex doesn't deserve to suffer. I've lived with guilt long enough to know what a liar it is.

After a long, long pause, there's a low laugh from him. "So you got in touch with your inner psychopath then?" And as I nod, he starts to giggle... we both do. It feels as if the load I have been carrying has been lifted from my shoulders. The rest of the journey is passed in the kind of trivialities that lovers enjoy.

***

Reaching home, he looks around as if he never saw it before. "Fox, would you mind if we moved? I know it's stupid, but I'll never be here again without thinking of him, knowing that he was up there watching me day after day." He shudders and I move to draw the curtains across, then turn and take him in my arms.

I slide a hand up to thread into his hair and drop kisses, as soft as whispers over his eyes, his cheeks, and finally his lips. His needy fingers fumble for the edge of my T-shirt and a questing hand slides under the fabric, slipping over the smooth skin of my back. I kiss him deeper and deeper hearing his breathing change and feeling him lengthen against me as his pelvis pushes forward against mine in little jerks and twitches. I'm harder than stone, and I can't stop kissing him, sucking in his breath in huge gulps and drinking the essence of him from his mouth. I taste him in a way that I never expected I would be able to do again. The thought makes me sob and he clutches at me convulsively, trying to become one with me as I hold him tight and kiss him breathless. He's been healing physically, but I know that the mental scars will never fade. I know that it's up to me now to make things right for him once more.

A long, long time later, trembling so hard that I can barely keep standing, I draw back to look at him. He's shaking too, and it feels good to know that he wants me. His eyes are dark and his face is flushed as he seeks my mouth again.

"Got to...got to lie down, comrade." I murmur into the warm fold of his neck, just below the angle of his jaw. He laughs at that and presses close to me again, a delicious rolling motion that sets the beast inside of me coiling and uncoiling around my spine. Delicate tendrils of sweet passion draw together at the base of my cock as we kiss again. Slowly, gasping together now and still reluctant to release each other, we edge into our bedroom and there at last I release him, strangely shy as I recall the last time that this body of mine was touched. He senses my hesitation and begins to pull up my shirt, lips following fingers in a kind of crazy Mulder-worship while I arch my back and open my body to his caresses.

Naked at last, naked and wanting, my body desperate for the feel of him, I watch as he slowly peels away his clothing to reveal his new scars, some only partly healed.

Lubing up my fingers, I part my thighs and get myself ready for him, stroking in slick as he watches me, his face rapt. At last he's down beside me on the bed, in my arms, and we're kissing again as the reflection of our urgent caresses hangs overhead, shining from the mirror above. The faint scratch and burn of his whisker-stained chin strokes counterpoint to the slip and glide of soft lips and wet tongue as his mouth travels over my body. His breath flutters over my sensitized skin, and I realize that this won't be slow, won't be gentle when he growls suddenly and bites into my shoulder, the stinging pain made erotic by the motion of his tongue on my skin.

Uttering soft little grunts that betray his need, he rolls to cover me, his slippery, twitching cock butting up against the crease between my leg and my thigh. Wordlessly I pull my legs up and guide him into me, so happy that he is mine again. He works his way carefully into me until he is finally back where he should be, buried to the hilt inside my body while I watch the clench and thrust of his buttocks in the mirror above.

Mouth to mouth once more, the whole of my body seems filled with the crackle and singe of summer lightning. I feel the build up like a storm, tension piling on tension as my balls tighten and rise. My heart thumps and sensation builds deep inside, tighter and tighter until I can't stop, can't hold back, can't do anything any more except scream his name, and scream I love him... and again... and more... and harder.

Flash flood. I'm a conduit and a wave of light pours through me, rippling along my cock to spurt out between us as he plunges into me, then stiffens, then cries out.

I hear sobbing.

I hear myself sobbing, too full of love and need and gratitude for anything except cleansing tears.

He licks at them, lapping at the moisture welling from my eyes to track down my cheeks. Then he smiles a little, and dropping his head onto my chest he sleeps, while I hold him, thanking whatever god might be listening that I have him in my arms once more.

Sleep comes easily then for the first time in weeks. He and I are together, alone, and happy in our love.

***

Awakening later in the day I find him watching me. His face is aglow in the gold of the late afternoon sunlight. When he sees that I've woken up he smiles lazily and reaches to kiss me. I hold him tightly again, and the closeness warms my soul.

"How are you feeling, baby?" I study his eyes. They still look tired and haunted although I can read happiness there too. "Weak as a fucking kitten, that's how!" He grins at me apologetically and my belly performs aerobatics without the aid of a safety net. "We've gotta get you back up to speed, love." I climb out of bed, reluctantly leaving the warmth of him behind me, and go to make him dinner, broiling steaks I've bought ready for him and put into the marinade that Scully thoughtfully provided. I lay out the green salad, the crusty bread, the butter and the pasta primavera. By the time he joins me, clad once more in his denims, dinner is well on the way. After we've eaten, we curl up together on the couch. I make sure he stays close enough to me to touch, so that I can reassure myself of his continuing presence. We watch a couple of silly movies while we digest the steak.

Trying to recapture what we've lost leads to a pleasant evening that is over too soon. He drops to sleep in my arms, a pallor of exhaustion causing dark smudges to appear beneath those long lashes of his, echoed in the whiteness around his mouth.

He's never looked more beautiful to me. I sense that inside he is more at peace than he has ever been. Not wanting to disturb his rest, I tuck a blanket around the two of us and spend the night loving him, holding him, keeping the terrors at bay though the hours that the darkness presses close.

***

Sunday morning comes, bright and sunny again. We linger over toast and coffee, not wanting to eat too much before exercise. Alex is still bemoaning his physical condition and I have an idea, but refuse to tell him what it is. Laughing, I lead him down to my car after packing a few things that I refuse to let him see.

There aren't too many people in the Hoover Building at 8am on a Sunday morning, and together we head down echoing corridors to the fitness facility. His eyes widen in comprehension at last when I push open the door to the pool.

We have a history with this pool, Alex and I.

"I was thinking about exercise for you, baby, and came up with the idea of swimming to strengthen you and get you started." He looks me up and down, a long, slow appraising look, his lashes all but veiling his eyes as a knowing smile spreads over his face.

"I don't have a swimsuit," he murmurs, throatily, and smiles again in a way that tugs on my groin causing a wave of excitement to radiate through me.

I ruffle his hair and lead him through to the changing room.

Opening my bag, I reveal my Speedo, and further, a black one for Alex. He grins again, almost shy this time, and together we strip, changing into the suits.

I watch him as he removes his prosthetic arm. I wonder for a second how this will work for him, whether he'll be able to swim. I'm not sure how he'll cope now that he only has one arm. I've planned for that however.

I've brought an inflatable band that will fit around his stump and help balance him, should he need it.

With no further ado, we wander out to the pool, shoulder to shoulder.

I watch as he sits on the edge, making the decision whether to go in piecemeal or all in a rush. He finally opts to launch himself in with a splash and disappears under the water for a second, emerging gasping and laughing a moment later. While he's under, I steal across and lock the door. Nobody will disturb us today.

When I return and slide into the water he's lying back, floating deamily, the muted light gleaming off his long limbs, painting sparkles on the hollows and curves of his body. I'm still, watching him give himself to the bob and ripple of the water, astonished all over again at the marble translucence of him, and the fineness of his construction. There is nothing of him that is coarse. He's all delicacy and strength, combined in one perfectly molded figure.

I turn to begin my lengths, and he rolls, otter-like and does likewise. He's slower, but his legs are powerful, and I soon see that swimming is possible for him, and even with his clipped wing he is able to find grace in his movements.

He swims deliberately, allowing the water to support him, not fighting it, graceful and efficient, and for a while we find peace in the physical exertion.

After a while, I cease to churn up and down, pausing to watch my lover, seeking him out to find that he has fetched up to the side of the pool. He's floating once again, holding the safety bar as he lays back, eyes closed, in the water's embrace. I vow solemnly to myself that he will never again be harmed, as long as I live.

Grinning then, I kick off my Speedo, and toss it over the edge to lie on the pool surround, then I duck beneath the water and slice through it to come up beneath him. I snake my arms around his gently floating form, and unfasten the tie of his swimsuit. My sudden appearance makes him start, destroying his equilibrium and leaving him thrashing in the water until I can steady him once more. My hands worm him gently out of his Speedo as I hold him still.

As I toss it over the edge of the pool to lie forgotten on the tiles, he lowers his legs, allowing himself to stand chest deep in the water, and grins at me, obviously pleased by some obscure thought. Wet as he is, and with his short hair plastered down against his head, he looks like a seal man, a silkie. I have an absurd vision of him stealing in from the shore in the night to steal children. I tell him that he's seal-like, and his grin widens with a saturnine flash of white teeth. "Hey, Fox, I like you too." He takes a step away from me. "Hey, that's a seal of approval." He chortles, and splashes me, skimming his hand over the surface of the water that drenches me.

Groaning at the pun I can't allow to remain unpunished, I pounce, and battle is joined. I wade through the spray to seize him, laughing, and move in close as if for a kiss. I'm intending to duck him, but wet and slippery as he is, he throws me off balance, and it's me that shrieks, flails, and slips under the water.

When I emerge, spluttering from the mouthful of chlorinated liquid I've swallowed, I look around for him, intent on revenge. He's nowhere to be seen. I'm still searching when he rises like Jaws behind me and his arm encircles my neck, then his warm lips are pressed against my neck and he's pulling me back against him.

I've never made love in a swimming pool before, but I'm anxious to add the skill to my repertoire. I lean against him, feeling the heat of his skin in contrast with the cool lap and slap of the water. I turn to snuggle against him, settling my arms around him and leaning forward to trace his features with my mouth.

Between us, our cocks stiffen and nudge as we press in hard against each other. I want to devour him. I want to engulf him in the flame of my feelings for him. Taking a deep, deep breath, I loose him and sink down until the water closes over my head. I take his jutting hardness into my mouth, rolling my tongue around the head and then sucking him in deep. Beneath the water, sounds are muted and strange. The bubble of the purification system tingles through me and strange gurgles dislocate me from time. The only heat I know radiates from my lover's cock. Frozen in the sensuous caress of water and buoyancy, I taste him, spicy and hot against my tongue until I have to breathe again. Reluctantly, I let him go and stand, gasping for a minute before catching hold of him and laying him flat in the water so that his prick bobs like a periscope above the surface of the water...

"I want... let me..." I know I'm babbling, but I need him so much. I hear his answering groan as I steady him, then I lower my head to apply my mouth once more to the head of his cock.

Licking around the ridge of it, I pull back his foreskin to expose the purple, gleaming bulb that lies beneath, and chuckle at the gasp he makes when I lap at it.

I intensify my efforts, sucking him hard, harder, then hardest, pulling him into my mouth and releasing him again in long, satisfyingly slow, sucking movements that cause him to writhe in my grip, sending wavelets splashing into my face as I stand between his legs. He's caught hold of the bar once again, and lies back as he offers himself for my mouth to worship.

Worship is the slick and slide of his velvet skin into my mouth, and the desire to have him deeper and deeper in my mouth. Worship is the need to feel him throb and strain against my tongue, and the feeling of exaltation when finally he explodes, his outpouring of acrid fluid biting my tongue and flooding my mouth, overflowing to trickle from the corner of my lips.

Loving him, I bury my face in his groin and inhale all the beloved, well-remembered scent of him.

He straightens, moving in to place his mouth on mine, his tongue driving in, dirty-sweet, to taste his own arousal, sucking my tongue and pulling me to him while he grinds his hips against me. I'm lost, gasping and panting as he drags me to the edge of the pool.

"Come on, Fox. Fuck me, please." I shudder. He presses back against me, catching my cock in the crevice between the cheeks of his ass and making me buck and groan as he leans forward to brace himself on the rail.

Knowing just how hurt he was, I hesitate.

"Baby, are you sure? You were pretty torn up." He leans back over his shoulder to nip my ear, and then my lower lip, breathing 'please' as he licks at my mouth.

I kiss him hungrily and nudge up against his buttocks as he spreads his legs wide for me. A little nudge, and the head of my cock is seated against his anus and he's pressing into me, moaning as he sinks himself onto me. I moan too. The sudden heat of him surrounding my dick makes me crazy, and I drive myself flush against him, then pause. Waiting, chest heaving as I try to get myself under control, hoping against hope that I won't lose control too soon, I hear him grate out a plea. "Please baby, make me yours again. I need... " And his words hit home like a punch in the gut. I understand him. My love can erase the bad things that have happened to him, if only I allow it. We are making each other new again.

"It's all over now, comrade. It's gone. Let it go. You're mine, now and for the rest of your life. Count on it." I push in slow and relentless, pull out again, beginning an easy, gentle rock and glide that strikes sparks against my cock. Thrust and repeat, the sparks igniting a flame that swiftly rages out of control as I travel within the pulsing silk sheath of his ass and listen to his soft voice begging me to 'fuck... fuck... fuck.'

Maddening prickling tickle as I drive in snug against him, feeling the smooth cool skin if his shoulder against my mouth. I hold his hip with one hand and slam into him, the other reaching around now to hold his penis, pumping it until he howls.

"Oh, God, Fox, I can't... " He arches, rigid, and I feel the clutch and suck of him bearing down on my tingling cock. That does it for me. A line of molten gold surges and foams through me and helpless I empty myself into him. I can hear him sobbing gently as he slumps back into my arms, and there we stay for just another minute or two. He lolls back against my shoulder, and I find his mouth again with mine, kissing him as though he is food and drink to me.

At last I get myself together enough to turn him gently, and pull him in to me, kissing his mouth and sucking gently on it as I hold him close to feel the soft, sweet length of him pressed to me.

"I love you, comrade." I'm grinning now, grinning like an idiot. I don't seem to be able to find the off button for my stupid grin. It feels as though my heart will burst out of my chest. His eyes are closed again, and the long, long lashes curl on his cheeks, but his whole face is glowing, suffused with hungry joy that radiates from him, transcending the purely physical as he lies quiet against my chest.

Taking his hand, I raise it to my lips, kissing each separate finger and then the palm of his hand.

"I love you, Alex. You've taught me so much. I've learned how to accept responsibility for my own actions through you. Thank you for being mine.

He raises his eyes then and looks at me.

"Fox, I love you, truly I do, but I'm getting all wrinkled." I giggle, and together we move to climb out of the pool, find our Speedos and head off for the lockers.

We shower and dress, then head out into the advancing morning to look for breakfast. Fall is coming and there's a sharp feel to the breeze that makes me glad of my jacket even though the sun is bright.

Hand in hand, we kick through the scattering of newly fallen leaves, crunching them under our feet and laughing like schoolkids. We pause under one large old oak tree and kiss, despite the fact that we are in public, outside the FBI headquarters. Then, we step forward, hand in hand into our future.

Together.

Sue aka Dr. Ruthless