Rating: NC-17
Thank you: to phyre, Ayanna and Bonita for their tireless attempt to make this a better story. Their beta is greatly appreciated. Thank you to Frankie for the "Sleepless" dialogue.
sashworth@home.com

 

 

Musings of a One Armed Man

by Dr Ruthless

 

Location: Washington DC

I don't remember how old I was when I first realized I was different. When I say different, you have no idea what I mean. How could you? You probably think I mean physically different, but that's not it. I look much the same as you.

You could sit beside me and never know that I was not as you are. You could sit beside me and never know it was the time of your death.

Until you died.

I suppose that's the ultimate difference between us, right there. I'm a killer, and you're not.

It sounds simple, and horrifying when put bluntly. I don't kill indiscriminately. I don't lure innocents to my room and torment them.

I only kill monsters.

I only kill the evil. If I kill them, they deserve to be killed. It's my whole purpose.

Don't think I've got a God complex either; nothing could be further from the truth. I don't believe I'm God...because I know there is no God.

Let me tell you more, and then maybe you'll understand.

I am as I was made. I'm a weapon, a finely crafted weapon. A blade, honed for just one purpose. I'm the protector, the defender if you like, of all that's human.

I'm the only one there is, and in order to be true to my purpose, they've dehumanized me. My life has been carefully constructed by men who denied me my humanity. Humanity had nothing to do with my upbringing, although in some ways I believe I'm more than human.

You had parents. I'll bet you went to summer camp and toasted marshmallows around the fire. I bet you attended kindergarten and played in a sandpit and that when you fell down and grazed your knees, your mother comforted you.

I don't recall my parents. I must have had at least one of each sex but they are a mystery now, mere numbers on a genetic chart. I like to imagine that they loved each other, and that I was created out of passion that couldn't be denied, but I know the truth.

I'm much more likely to have been made in a test tube, and planted into a brood mare who bore me for money, and gave me up for more of the same, to be grown. I was merely a poor little scrap of DNA, destined never to belong, always to crave belonging, but never, never to actually find a place. I was a tool, a brilliant tool, and nothing more.

I remember when they started their program. It must have begun at my birth, or maybe even before that, but my first real memory of it is when they sat me down at a little table and showed me what they wanted me to learn that day. The rules were simple. They would show me how, and then it would be my turn. I would complete the task in the time allotted me, or I would be hurt.

The task was difficult for my baby fingers. I assembled the gun as my teacher had shown me, but the seconds clicked by inexorably and it was not loaded properly when the buzzer sounded and the electric current passed through my small body. I cried because it hurt, and my teacher shook his head at me and smiled.

"Now, Alexei, you will stop crying and try again. This time you will not dawdle." And he dismantled my hard work, spreading the pieces over the table again.

Three times that day the excruciating electricity passed through me. Once, and only once, I cried. Then, I succeeded and my teacher smiled at me warmly. He told me I was clever and would be rewarded. Then a nurse came at his summons to give me a drink of juice and read me a story.

I was three years old.

Throughout my childhood I was set tasks such as this, and the price of my failure was always pain. What human contact I had came from my successes, and I learned to crave success. I learned to run faster, jump higher, and be more informed than any should ever have to be. I learned to gauge my companion's responses and judge what he would most want to hear. I learned to provide it, so that the pain would stop.

All this had happened before I even reached the age of 12. By the time I reached puberty, I'd learned to drop my eyes and smile. I knew how to give just the right kind of touch and lingering look to someone who might respond to one.

I'd learned about the way that men and women are made, and how they are put together. I learned their differences. I became familiar with their similarities, and began to know by instinct how to become whatever they wanted of me until they had become mine.

It seemed I always understood sex. I'd been shown various caresses from when I was quite tiny, and learned to deliver them with skill and apparent sincerity. My lips and tongue, my hands and fingertips were programmed along with the rest of me, and I became an expert at the arousal of my subject. I loved the power it gave me to have someone beg me for release. I grew increasingly fascinated with the degrees of desperation to which I could drive another human being.

The first time I experienced orgasm was at once terrifying and exhilarating. It was a nocturnal emission, and I'd dreamed a vague, shadowy dream about another boy, the boy whose face was in the photograph that sat on my teacher's desk. He and I were together, fighting, I think, or wrestling, and I felt friction against my suddenly hard penis that suddenly turned into a flash of wonderful, sticky-sweet bliss as the feelings shook me awake. I lay in terror as the thought came to me that all of a sudden I too was susceptible to this kind of manipulation. I was cold and afraid. I'd thought myself immune and now I was vulnerable. I resolved that despite this new vulnerability I wouldn't become dependent on my senses. I would remain in control.

It had felt so good, so wonderful I could now understand completely what before had been merely an exercise in control. I wanted to feel it again. I wanted someone to place their hands on me, to touch me with their lips, and make me beg. I was afraid that it was going to happen to me, that they would make me lose control the way I had learned to do to others.

I was terrified that they would not.

I needn't have worried. My teacher brought in more people to instruct me, and my training continued along ever more esoteric lines. I began a series of exercises that were designed to teach me the ultimate in control over my own body. I learned how to stay in command, both of myself, and of anyone with whom I was paired.

I became invulnerable.

I learned, painfully, to delay ejaculation. I learned to get it up, keep it up, and use it to the fullest. I learned not to care who I was fucking, or who might be fucking me. I learned to make them want me, and then want me more.

On my own I learned to keep myself isolated in a little capsule of consciousness while my body was invaded.

I learned to detect vulnerability, and then strike.

Physically, mentally, sexually, I was programmed and honed, a blade made sharp.

The day I killed my first man I was 14 years old. I had been shown film footage of the man. He was a gross pig of a man with small, endlessly moving pink hands and cold eyes. My teacher told me what he had done. They showed me pictures that sickened me until I walled myself off from the horror, as I entered that private space where nothing could reach me. It fortified me as I studied an array of photographs of young men who had been ripped open from groin to chest, their insides strewn like so much litter for me to see.

My teacher put his hand on my shoulder and told me I had been selected to rid the world of this monster. I remember that I asked him why the police would not do it, and he pinched my earlobe, hard.

"Alexei, you're questioning. This isn't a good thing. However, because you're a good pupil on the whole, I'll tell you what you want to know. This man is the head of the local police force. Because of that, he has free rein to do whatever he wishes without let or hindrance. You will be justice, my Alexei. You will make the world safe for all the young men who may come after you." I nodded. It all seemed so simple. I would kill this monster and save the boys. Maybe then some of them would be permitted to keep me company. I asked my teacher, and he smiled grimly.

"Alexei, you need nobody. It's dangerous and wrong for you to want companionship. Where have I failed?" This was a bad thing. I hung my head, numbly. There would be pain shortly. I knew I would be punished for my failure. Electrodes would be attached to my testicles and I would suffer, sweating and grim in my isolation.

Then strangely, my teacher said something to me that raised my hopes and made me almost love him.

"Alexei, you're a good boy at heart. You have a task to perform now," He indicated the photograph of the pig that lay on the table beside me. "And you should prepare yourself for it. Once you have completed it successfully, we'll have time enough to talk about your reward."

He wasn't going to punish me. I unclenched my muscles.

This would be fine. I would kill this bastard who tormented boys like me, and then I would have my reward. It all sounds so simplistic when I tell it now, but back then it felt like a truth so profound that it made me breathless. My mind flashed images of the boy in the picture frame on teacher's desk. Maybe I would be allowed to meet him. Maybe we could become... I didn't know the word, and the concept scared me. I felt a flood of cold in my stomach, and my penis swelled as I tried to think what he and I could become.

Maybe we could become important to each other.

I nodded quietly, and began to sharpen my stiletto.

They told me how to handle the monster I had been sent to kill. I dressed myself in tight jeans and T-shirt, and took a package to deliver to the devil in the hotel room where he was staying.

I knocked on the door of his room and he opened it to me. His piggy eyes gleamed as he saw me. I had used kohl to darken my lashes still more and my hair was clean and shiny. It fell over one eye as I shook my head.

At the age of 14, I had reached the height of 6 feet, but was still very slender, and thanks to the gymnastic and dance training I was still receiving, I was not a gawky, teenaged boy. I was graceful, and my body was becoming muscular. The animal licked his lips when he saw me standing on his very threshold. I smiled at him through veiled lashes, and heard him grunt a little. My voice was breaking, but I knew that if I pitched it low it would remain sultry as I announced the package I was carrying. As he surveyed me, I affected nervousness, screwing my foot into the floor in feigned embarrassment while he eyed me up and down.

He invited me in on the pretext of rewarding me, and closed the door behind me as I sauntered into the bedroom. Close to, the pig smelled of sweat and sour milk. I hadn't experienced this before, this stench of corruption I could sense from him, and my stomach clenched as he approached me, putting out a hand to grab the ass I had wagged so provocatively at him. When he held the hand out, it contained a 5-dollar bill, and though I had no use for the money I allowed my face to flush and my eyes to sparkle as I glanced up at him.

He smiled, telling me I was a good boy or some such nonsense, and leaned in towards me.

I slashed his throat with my knife right then, and cursed because he had sprayed blood over my shiny hair and my nice new jeans. As the life drained out of him along with the blood, I watched, and tried to decide what exactly it was that I had done.

The animal would certainly never harm children again. This was my contribution.

Calmly, I showered, and left him lying in a pool of coppery blood.

When I returned to my teacher, he asked me what I had learned, and smiled as I told him earnestly of my desire to keep the blood off myself in the future. He praised me then, telling me how well I'd done. I wondered then if I'd have the reward he'd promised. The teacher placed an arm around my shoulders then, and walked beside me into his office, where he invited me to sit in the chair beside his desk. Then he took the photograph I'd stared at so often, and handed it to me.

"Alexei, this is my son. His name is Fox. One day, you and he together will rescue the world. You are both special children, and we've been preparing you throughout your whole lives for the day when we will need you to save us. Once the two of you are ready, you'll be unbeatable together." He leaned forward, trying to enthuse me about the idea of saving humanity, but truth to tell it was the photo that excited me.

The subject of the picture was tall and slim like me. The photo showed him stepping from a swimming pool, naked save for his small, black swimsuit. He was sleek as a seal, and beautiful in a dark, brooding way, with full lips that almost smiled, promising secrets I longed to share.

"Just as you're learning to carry out your part in the war we are fighting, so too is Fox. While you're learning to act, Alexei, Fox is being taught to plan. When finally the two of you are ready to work together, you'll become the weapon we need to ensure our race's survival."

"When will I meet him, teacher?" I had never been told his name, and at that time I hadn't learned how to access the data banks that held the information I needed. How much easier it is now to hack into a computer system than it was then to break into a strongroom. These days any 14-year-old worth his salt would be able to succeed, but not I, then.

"Alexei, you're not ready yet. You're progressing well, and are learning fast, but your education is not yet complete.

So my training continued. I was fed careful proteins that nourished my growing body, though they afforded me no pleasure. A regime of weight training was added to the exercises I was put through each day. I began to gain muscle, layer upon layer, filling out my chest, shoulders, thighs and calves.

By the time I was 17 they were showing me films of Fox on a regular basis. I learned to look forward to the interludes. They became a reward I craved. I asked my teacher many times when I would meet him, and was told I was not yet ready.

They sent me out to kill several times after that, and I was good at it. I felt proud that I was ridding the world of evil, and making it a safe place for Fox.

At the age of 18, I was sent away from the center where I had grown up for the very first time. I was dumped into a training camp with a number of faceless nonentities of my own age. We were all solitary, suspicious, and completely unable to bond. They worked us hard, allowing us little or no sleep as they force marched us, put us through endless drills and exercises, and fed us on slops. They told me it was to teach me teamwork, but I felt that it was merely to humiliate me.

They made me wear a uniform of coarse wool, and they cut off my hair. They turned me into a nonentity. I hated them for that.

I believe that was the first time I really hated what they were doing to me. I had been special, and suddenly I was a nothing, and all for a whim, it seemed. That was the day that I vowed I would one day be free of them all.

After 6 months at the camp, I was collected by a man I had never met before. He was old, and smoked continuously, making me cough and gag. At that time I had never really been exposed to the smell of cigarettes and it disgusted me, as did the man. I was taken to a place I hadn't seen before, and wondered why I'd been brought there until the familiar figure of my teacher entered and greeted the smoking man. He nodded to me, unsmiling, and began to talk to the smoking man in quiet tones. I waited, and sure enough, the instructions came. Uneasy as I felt, I was special once again, and prepared to shine at whatever task I was bidden to perform.

They had me strip for him and show off my strength and grace. They made me demonstrate my ability with weapons and my aptitude for languages. They had me speak to him in Russian and German. Throughout the entire performance, he smoked one cigarette after another.

Finally, it became clear that I was to seduce him, and I moved to him, sincerity shining from me, to begin my task, the core of me safe within the dark place inside my head.

I was spared. After a few minutes he placed a hand on my chest and pushed me away, very gently.

"Good." He smiled then and I felt a chill. Then he put out a single finger, which he drew down the length of my face, over my lips, to pause on my chin, and stood there, considering. "Very good."

He turned to my teacher and I overheard him. "You're to be commended, Bill. He's perfect."

Bill. His name was Bill, and he suddenly lost stature. I hugged this illicit knowledge to me as I went through my days. I had determined to break loose. I wanted to become my own master. It didn't seem as though that would ever happen if I stayed there, in that place, but I'd so rarely been permitted outside. I was all set to break free, make a run for it, when the teacher - Bill, came to tell me that I was finally going to be sent out on my own into the real world. He used the words, 'the real world'.

I was thrilled. All my planning had become unnecessary. I was to be released. The things they had planned for me excited me. They were going to send me to a university and I would start in the next few weeks. Tests, some of the many I had taken through my life, had been entrance exams for admission to Harvard. I was to obtain a degree at Harvard. I knew what Harvard was from my reading, and my classes. I was aware that this was indeed a testament to my abilities, and though I was afraid, I was also proud, and ready.

I would of course be supervised. Their investment must never be left to chance. They had me practice socializing. I was taught to interact until I could follow the scripts they gave me so well it appeared that I was spontaneous.

When the day finally came for me to register for my courses, I found myself for the first time in the midst of a pushing, shoving, cursing, frankly ill-smelling mass of people, ugly people who were uncaring as they elbowed, and smoked, and yelled. Even the military training camp I'd been in recently didn't match up to this abundance of undisciplined, screeching louts. Nothing in my training had prepared me for this reality, and I found myself retreating to my safe place, there to wonder whether, if this was humanity, did I want to be its savior?

Did I want this? I finally decided I did. They hadn't bargained for my delicate perceptions to be on overload, but I'd get used to it. I slipped into the relaxed breathing pattern I'd been taught by the martial artist who had trained me.

It took me many months to learn how to handle the sensory overload that the crowd induced in me. I have never become used to crowds. The hive mind scares me. Do you know how easy it is to make a crowd do something? Do you know how impossible it is to stop them once you've set them in motion?

If I'm afraid of one thing in the world, it's getting caught up in a crowd of people.

I don't go to ball games.

The couple of years in school taught me more than just the academics. I learned I was essentially different. I learned too, how to pass myself off as the same, and thus became a sleeping wolf amid the herd of sheep.

I killed for them several more times, and during the Christmas break of that first year I was given a crash course in the aliens and their invasion. They showed me film footage and then sent me out to dispose of an alien. When the green fluid bubbled out of it and it began to disintegrate, slumping into a featureless puddle, I knew that I was indeed the savior of humanity. This would be my life.

From Harvard, I moved on to Quantico. They told me that they intended me to become an FBI agent, and began again to show me movie footage of the boy named Fox, now a man, but just as interesting to me as he ever had been. I'd dreamed of Fox for more years than I could remember, and of course, now I understand why. Back then I had no idea how I was being programmed to bond with Fox.

All I knew was that he and I were destined to become a weapon, and be together.

"He'll aim you, Alexei. He'll fire you, and you'll destroy them. Together you will be unbeatable."

They told me his name at last. Fox Mulder. Fox Mulder and his father, Bill. Fox Mulder, like me, but unlike. We were partners in pain. I wondered if he too had lived in seclusion, waiting for the day when he would be set in motion and sent out to change the world.

Fox William Mulder. I repeated it to myself like a mantra, saying it a dozen times a day as I raced through the Quantico training, knowing that at the other end of it would be Fox.

Finally the day came. The man who smoked was in my room when I returned from a run, and he lay at his ease on my bed, smoking his inevitable cigarette, and smiling his detestable smile.

"Hello, Alex. You are transferring to Washington on Monday, and you are now to have your final briefing. I'm pleased with you. You've done well." Words are inadequate to describe the thrill that shot through me at that. I asked him where my teacher was, and he considered me for several minutes before responding.

"You don't need a teacher any more, my boy. Your education is complete. Now you're ready to take your place." I knew better than to argue, so I veiled my eyes and acquiesced. He gave me another of his slow smiles and removed himself from my bed.

"On Monday you'll be given a case file. You'll take the file to Fox Mulder, and it'll serve as your introduction to him. You'll become his partner and work alongside him. I'll have further tasks for you at a later date. Make sure you're available when I require you." I nodded, praying that he would go away and leave me to my bubbling, seething excitement.

Fox! I'm coming! We'll be together at last.

The smoking man left at last and I was alone. I was still sweat soaked and dripping form my run, but happy, incredibly happy, and so aroused I thought I might burst.

As I showered, I took hold of my hard-on, pumping it with my soapy hands until it shot white pearls against the tiles within the shower. The picture in my mind was Fox, smiling to me, and only me, as he emerged from the waters of the swimming pool. I knew that he was smiling for me, and that he would fall to his knees and suck me into that full, voluptuous mouth.

The orgasm that ripped through me drove me to my own knees. I was in complete meltdown, as it came home to me that he was mine. He'd always been mine, and I was about to claim him at last.

My erection barely diminished. For the rest of that weekend I remained in a state of barely controlled lust, unable to think of anything but the fact that I was to have Fox at last.

There was no doubt in my mind. We'd been made to be together. I would have him. He would know me as I knew him, and he would have been waiting for me as long as I had waited for him.

I dreamed about him that night, coming in a shuddering haze of desire. Sex had been something that was mine to use, but now it was my master and I was constantly half-entranced, and half sick with horror that I should be ruled like this by someone I didn't know.

They came to drive me, along with my small store of belongings down to Washington on the Sunday morning, and I said goodbye to Quantico. They'd taken an apartment for me. They showed me my clothes and put me through all the little details of items like bank account, identity and lifestyle.

I was to dress badly and appear gauche for my meeting with Fox. They wanted an ingenue who would become the foil for Mulder's cutting brilliance. They told me that he would not respond to anyone who appeared to be too smart, too cynical. I thought about the forthcoming meeting, and worried about how he would perceive me, but I knew he would recognize me. I couldn't sleep on the Sunday night, and the thoughts that ran through my mind were muddy, lust-clouded and yearning.

***

Dressed in a suit that was too large for me, I stood before my mirror, slicking back my hair. It was 5:30am, and I was ready for him.

I was uncomfortable in the suit and tie, but my skin fizzed and tingled anyway at the thought of meeting Fox at last. I couldn't eat, couldn't even swallow, and the protein drink I was supposed to be consuming to assist my muscle development lay in my stomach like lead, making me nauseous.

Finally, I could wait no longer, and by 7:30 I was in the Hoover building, collecting my badge, my gun and my assignment from the man who smoked. He summoned a secretary to hustle me down the hallway to where my assignment would begin, and then I saw him.

My mouth went dry. My autonomic nervous system went into overdrive, and I thought, I really thought I was going to faint. He was sitting at a desk, transcribing a phone call, and as I approached him I wondered how I was ever going to utter the words I had been given. I approached him, and drew in a deep breath. He didn't look up. It took me more than one try to open my mouth, but finally, the words came.

"Agent Mulder?" I was tentative, gentle. I wanted him to be surprised.

"That's right." He was apparently engrossed in his transcription and didn't look up. I held out the folder.

"It's your 302. Assistant Director Skinner just approved it." I willed him to look at me, see me, realize that I was here at last, worthy of him.

"There's a mistake here. Another agent's been attached to the case." I frowned a little, unsure what he meant. Surely he was waiting for me. Surely he... apparently not. He didn't know I was coming. It took a minute to sink in. He didn't know me, and that thought rocked me to my core. Too shocked to give myself away, I shrugged and changed my strategy. I had to react, and fast. If this were how it was, I would give him an introduction.

"That would be me. Krycek, Alex Krycek." I opened my eyes wide, licked my lips, and held out my hand to him, waiting for him to meet my gaze and recognize me for his missing half. I stood as my hand remained untaken, and my smile withered and died.

I was confused. I didn't understand why this was happening. Didn't he care who I was? I would make him care.

He looked up at me then. The scorn and disinterest on his face enough were to make my balls shrivel. "Skinner didn't say anything about taking on a partner." Well, I thought, fuck you too. I retracted my hand, feeling a little foolish. The bastard had ignored it totally, leaving me standing foolishly.

"It wasn't Skinner. Actually, I opened the file two hours before your request - so technically, it's my case." I relished the words as they came from my mouth. Ignore me as a nonentity would you, you shit? I'll be where I want to be, whatever you think. I don't believe I'd ever felt this irritated by anyone in my life before. I was astonished at the depths of my own annoyance. It had to be the feelings he was arousing in me. This man was going to be my lover, otherwise the world would end, and I with it.

"Then you've already spoken to the police?" I could see the gleam in his eye. Distrust was written all over his face. I knew what he was trying to do, and I dove in to try and disabuse him of the idea that he would be able to just take my case and run.

"I just hung up on the officer in charge a few minutes ago." I felt in my pocket and found a notebook, leafing through it with great conviction as I spoke. "Detective named Horton. Turns out Grissom called 911 to report a fire--" Good thing I'd glanced through the file on my way to this meeting. He would not, could not dislodge me from his side. He was mine.

"I heard the tape." He was half way interested now, but there was still that dreadful disinterest to overcome.

"Did you hear that forensics found a spent fire extinguisher on the floor? Grissom's prints were all over it." I opened the file and scattered photos onto his desk, pointing to the item under question. "The walls and floor just outside his bedroom were covered with ammonium phosphate."

"But no trace of fire." He was interested then, I knew he was. My whole body ached for him.

"Not even a burnt match." I searched his face for signs of sarcasm, but there didn't seem to be any.

"That's all you know?"

"So far. What do you think it means?" I invited complicity, lowering my lashes and leaning in to him. How could he resist me? He was mine.

"Listen," He stood up. "I appreciate the show and tell, and I don't want you to take it personally...but I work alone." He grabbed the file from me and began to turn away. "I'll straighten things out with Skinner." I was damned if he was going to take himself out of my life like this. I had never failed. Failure meant pain, and to lose Fox in this way would mean pain far beyond the physical for me. I couldn't bear that. I cleared my throat.

"It's my case, Agent Mulder." I was tentative, deferential. I had met his kind many times, and always I had brought them to my will. This man would be mine. I would have him. He was mine.

"I may be green...but I had the case first. And I'm not giving it away so quickly." He turned to look at me, really look at me. My stomach fluttered and I wanted to take his face between my hands and kiss him breathless.

"Tell you what. I need to finish up here. So why don't you go requisition a car for us...and I'll meet you down at the motor pool?" He smiled then, just a little, and I began to relax. I would be able to win him over, paranoid as he seemed.

"That's all? I mean, you don't have a problem with us working together?" The words were barely spoken before I regretted them, but he didn't seem to register my neediness. He smiled, a little condescendingly I thought.

"Hey, it's your party."

"Great. I'll just..." My belly did its flip-flops again. We were going to work together. It was all going to be as my teacher had promised. We would work together, and soon, he would love me. How could he not? "I'll get the car."

I turned and headed for the vehicle-requisitioning department. Booking out the car took a good half-hour, a half-hour that I spent inwardly chafing as I waited for Fox to come to me. When the keys were at last in my hand, I drove round to pick Fox up, musing about how he had made it under my defenses in so short a time, and thrilling at the thought that we were together at last. I pulled up expecting to find him waiting, knowing that I would charm him.

The bastard had gone.

***

I'm sure you all know how I caught up with Fox. You have heard how he and I found Augustus Cole, and how I ended up shooting him dead. I swear to you that I saw a gun in Cole's hand. I couldn't let him shoot my Fox. His death would have ended my life. I had no choice. When the man fell dead, Fox told me that I'd done the right thing. I know I seemed bemused, but at that time all I could think of was how close he had come to death, and how life without him would be nothing. For a moment I was overcome.

The plus side of that was that he became convinced that I hadn't ever killed a man before, and began to offer me comfort. I was so happy I almost broke my character, but instinct took over, and I gave myself up to the act of innocence.

There was a brief period of milling and confusion as police and railway officials trampled evidence underfoot. We each made our statements to the cop du jour, and finally were free to go. I sat, huddled in on myself and allowed him to sit beside me, feed me coffee, and murmur comfort as I shuddered.

He finally rose, and told me that he would take me home. I went, walking quietly beside him, head hanging, my posture defensive and forlorn. He was unused to offering sympathy, I could tell it didn't come easy to him, but he was trying, and I melted as he spoke his soft words of encouragement.

Reaching the car, he assisted me in as if I were a precious thing, and drove me home with a care and attention to the road that made me want to ask who he was, and what had he done with the real Agent Mulder. Outwardly I appeared shattered by the death I had caused. Inside I was triumphant. Fox cared. He was with me now, and I was inside those defenses of his at last.

On reaching my apartment, he stopped the car and moved round to the door to help me out. By this time I was enjoying all his solicitude far too much to want him to stop, so I murmured my thanks, and permitted the assistance. Once inside the apartment, I threw off my charcoal suit jacket - detestable thing - and sank down theatrically onto my couch. I closed my eyes in a brief attempt at mind over matter. He would sit down beside me. He must.

He did. He lowered himself carefully next to me and put a hand on my shoulder. I could feel the heat of it drawing my skin into gooseflesh through the thin cotton of the white shirt I wore. I realized that this was the first time I had really felt his touch, and as the thought flashed through me, I felt sick and dizzy with anticipation and lust. Now! It had to be now. I couldn't wait any longer.

Have you ever contemplated the act of kissing? A kiss can mean so many things. A mother can kiss her baby, and the touch of lips becomes a benison that the child can take with him through life. Judas betrayed the Christ with his kiss, and sent ripples down the corridors of time that echo to this day. Rodin sculpted a kiss, and I like to think of those two lovers fused together in perfect joy until time finally shatters them and turns them to dust.

I sat on my nondescript, uncomfortable couch with my senses full of Fox Mulder, willing, longing, desperate... I turned my face up to his, lips moist, I made sure of that, and blinked a little. He had to know that we were meant to be together. I peeped at him from below my eyelashes, and sent out thoughts to compel him.

//Mine! You are mine!//

The realization, when it came, that it was going to happen, that he was mine at long last, made me feel faint.

I gazed up at him, drowning in his eyes as he moved closer to me, a look on his face that was almost, but not quite comforting. My eyes were fixed on his, sinking into the space that seemed only to exist for as long as I would be there. He came nearer, and I was drawn to his lips, full and tempting. They drew me. I was lost, incoherent as I drank him in through parched eyes.

When he moved, it was sudden and decisive. Plan A had been for me slowly to lean forwards and invite his lips onto mine. What actually happened was that he slid his hand up from my shoulder to the back of my head without warning, and pulled me to him just enough so that those lips of his, moist and warm, suddenly made contact with mine.

It was so sudden that I was astonished. Frozen into immobility, terrified that I was merely imagining this and that in an instant I would awake to find it all as real as Cole's gun, I froze, and after a second, he pulled away, his eyes inquiring down at me.

For a moment, a moment that I can still place myself into even now after all this time, I was unsure what would be the way forward and sat very still.

I saw the tortuous trail of my life leading me here, to Fox.

In my vision was a boy in a black swimsuit, who shook water from his eyes as he smiled artlessly. In my mouth was dry cotton. In my heart was sick desire.

As his lips touched mine at last, my heart surged and then sank, obliterated by the need for the man beside me. He was mine. I would have him. It began now.

NOW.

His lips were soft and warm and... all the other platitudes. A cliché is only a cliché because it's a truth repeated ad nauseam. When his lips touched mine, my belly flooded with sudden heat and I knew beyond a doubt that my life had meaning. My life's meaning held me in his arms. I moaned.

I'd kissed before, and avoided it when I could. The intimacy of it all seemed obscene to me. I'd never wanted another's tongue in my mouth... that was, until now. It came as a surprise to me that those lips on mine were subtly demanding my response, and that I could do nothing but give it. Of their own accord my lips parted, and as he turned his head to lock his mouth more firmly to mine, my own tongue probed tentatively. Within my chest a melting began that gathered everything of me, heated it and sent it trickling down through my belly to swell my cock.

My heart pounded. Maybe you think that's a cliché as well, but I'm here to tell you that it's never a cliché when it happens to you. It was the first time it had ever happened to anyone. I was the first, and Fox was my lover at last. All I could hear was my own heart as it thud-thudded and beneath it, my own ragged breathing as he kissed my soul from my body.

I was home. He was mine, and this was how the world must be.

His mouth brought with it a velvet heat and his tongue against mine was liquid fire. He was strong, and his arms moved around me, holding me steadily against his chest. I shuddered.

He moved back at last, just far enough for him to gaze down on me through heavy lidded eyes.

"This is a very bad idea, Krycek." I opened and closed my mouth helplessly, until finally I found my voice.

"It's the way it has to be. The only way it could be."

The words were surprised out of me, and I bit my lip as his brow furrowed. Don't think, Fox, just be. I parted my lips again, tongue tip flicking over them in invitation. He smiled a little wryly, and his mouth descended on mine again while I moaned.

As he leant over me, I learned at last the omnipotent power of love.

He was everything I ever wanted, and I couldn't think of anything but him, couldn't see anything but him. He was there, in my arms, and I needed more. I needed to feel him naked against me. I needed to feel his breath on my neck as he lost his own ability to stay in control. I needed to hear his voice crack with passion as he called my name, and all I could do was hang on tight to him as I poured my entire soul into the kiss I was sharing with him.

My fingers burrowed under his shirt, pulling insistently at the fabric until it was no longer tucked into his trousers, and I could slide my hands over smooth flesh. I could feel him shudder as my hands roamed over the satin skin of his sides, and then I made a decision, moving to unbutton the offending shirt so that I could access more of him.

My mouth was so greedy, I couldn't let go of him. I leaned forward, my lips avid against his as my fingers began to pluck and tickle at his nipples. I heard him whimper, and froze.

Was this love, this bright and cutting blade that was separating me from my survival instincts? I needed to go softly. I was a neophyte for him, and he mustn't know the need I had right then, only the faintest ghost of that need could escape, or it would all be for nothing.

Still, he was mine now, he had to be, and I clumsily rolled onto the top of him, moving in such a way that the pair of us fell from the couch. We landed with me beneath him, breath huffing from my body as he took me over, kissing and holding and fondling, and oh!

Control was a word I'd only heard spoken as I tore loose from his mouth to beg him please... His response was a short laugh, and an urgent fumbling as the pair of us attempted to find the skin beneath restrictive clothing, and got in each other's way as often as not.

Laughter took us both, and as clothing flew we found ourselves howling with amusement, until at last I saw him naked for me.

The laughter died, and I could no longer find my breath. He was tall and straight, and the glow of health shone like a lamp beneath his skin. He was slim, and his muscles stood firm below the gold of his tan. A light scattering of crisp hair covered his chest, and curled over the center of his body, trailing down to surround the proud flesh that jutted from between his thighs.

I gasped as I looked at him, and gasped again as he knelt to kiss my neck, my throat, my chin. I threw my head back, baring my throat to him as I held myself remorselessly in check. Enough that he should make love to me. I couldn't do what I really wanted to do, which was throw him down and devour him. I had to let him seduce me. It wouldn't be a hardship, but I had to keep tight rein on myself. I couldn't permit him to see me as I really was, so I moaned, and closed my eyes, and pulled him down to press against my skin as I murmured broken pleas for him to touch me, hold me, love me. If Fox thought me innocent, then for him I would become innocent. I was in bliss.

He had pulled a cushion from the couch and placed it beneath my head, smiling down at me as he did so. I lost myself in that smile, belly fluttering as I reached to trace it with a fingertip. I wasn't prepared for the growl he gave, or the force with which he dove down to cover my mouth with his lips, seeking to taste, as he drew my tongue with his.

I lost myself inside a darkness made from red velvet, as he sucked on my lips, teasing and slippery. All I could do is cling and whimper, holding him as I arched to his touch. He's mine. He's mine now forever, and I ran my hand down his sleek back to cup taut buttocks, pulling him close and writhing as I whimpered out my need.

He shushed me, mouth busy against mine in a caress that demanded my compliance. I gave it. I was drunk with him, drowning in the lap of his tongue. Fighting free of his lips for a minute all I could do was whisper.

"If you don't hurry up and touch me I'm going to explode." My hand had found the sweet, hard length of his cock, and was stroking it, long, squeezing strokes that made his eyes darken and the muscles around his mouth slacken until he looked like a little boy. He moved to reciprocate, and for a minute I permitted it, feeling the lurch and throb of my balls as he slid his hand over my dick. It was too much. I couldn't concentrate and I wanted to see him come for me. This was the first time, and because of that, it had to be perfect. It had to be the way I pictured it down the long years. I smacked his hand away, and breathed his name.

"Let me." I was holding him, stroking him with maddening precision as I watched his face lose form. I could tell when he approached the point of no return. I saw the flush creep over his skin and watched the whiteness of teeth biting into his lip as pleasure grew in him. Truth to tell it was almost too much for me to take. I felt my own prick tingling even though I made sure that nothing was touching it, and I was scared that it was going to go off half cocked. It took all the energy I possessed to ensure that I fought off my own orgasm. I was concentrating now, watching him lose his own identity as he got closer and closer to climax.

God, but he's beautiful. I drank him down, fixing this moment in my mind for review at a later date, when the sun didn't shine as warmly and life was less easy to live. His eyes were closed now, and the finely carved lips were apart and gasping as he panted out his pleasure. I felt the telltale bubbling of pre-ejaculate as it wormed its way along his cock, and I wanted to engulf him.

"I have to." I whispered, and squirmed down to his groin, inhaling the smell of fresh musk as I went, and feeling it hit home in the pit of my stomach. Then I was there, and eye to eye with his cock. First I licked it, and he choked. Then I opened my willing lips to taste it. I can hear him now, as he chanted a litany of "Please, please, please."

Looking up at him, I laughed gently, seeing how completely he was mine at that moment. I needed to have him, needed to make him give it all up for me, and when I opened my mouth to suck him down, I knew that he was mine for that moment. I heard his voice, and somewhere in the back of my mind I catalogued the fact that he was swearing gently. I loved the sound of his voice.

He was close, so close. Pulling off for a minute I reared back to look at him. He was lying flat, his knees up and spread for me like a wanton, and his head was thrown back. I spread saliva over my forefinger and sent it to slide into his rectum, circling it around to nudge the little node of nerve endings I know lurk inside. As he moaned out his pleasure, I drew him back into my mouth, sucking hard, swallowing against him until I heard his cry and feel the spurt and splash of his essence as he spilled it.

Mine. He was mine. My forgotten erection was bobbing loosely, but my mind was in ecstasy because I'd made him mine. He lay groaning and I moved up his body to lie against his shoulder, my arm trailing across his chest.

"Did the earth move?" I quipped, and he opened one eye peering down at me in a sardonic manner.

"It's still moving. Wanna nail me to the floor?" My heart stuttered, and then stopped. I mentally replayed his words. Did I want to? Oh God!

I rolled to cover him, pressing him down into the carpet, and devouring his mouth as I slid my finger in and out of his ass. He spread his legs a little wider if that were possible, and raised that butt of his. Once again I felt the imminent approach of orgasm, and bit the inside of my cheek to try and hold it back.

I needed lube, and didn't know what I can use. I needed him, but I didn't want to hurt him. I lay, my face buried in his neck, and panted. He writhed until I was lying squarely over him and then fixed soft, fine lips against my mouth. I couldn't fight back. Fuck, why would I want to?

I groped for the cushion on the couch, fumbling until I found the small bottle of Astroglide that I kept for moments of high fantasy.

Have you ever found your hands shaking so much that you couldn't co-ordinate?

In the whole of my sorry life, I'd never felt the way I did at that moment. He was mine, and I knew it. He'd always been mine, and yet...

The air around me shimmered, and his skin sang need beneath my lips. The word in my blissful brain was hungry. I was hungry, and this man in my arms was food for me. He was food for my fantasies, here at last to make them all real for me.

I bit the inside of my cheek sharply to try and keep control as I looked at him laid out for me, all heavy lidded eyes and wanton pout. Mine! He was mine.

Hot and shuddery, the head of my cock nudged the entrance to his body and he bucked, winced, a sharp intake of breath showing his discomfort as I popped through the sphincter and inside.

Crying out and thrusting deeper in, deeper in I went. He was hot and delicious and I pushed, couldn't hold back, no control left, and then I was home.

Home was warmth and snug suction, the tight enclosure of slick satin that clung and drew me as I moved. It was the tension in my inner thighs as I burrowed into him, knowing that this was my place, and that it had been destined since I was born.

It was a slippery, creeping tide of pleasure that suffused me, beginning as a dull sweetness at the base of my spine as I pushed and relaxed then pushed in again. The pleasure sprang through me, putting out tendrils to snake through my belly, winding me higher each time I moved, each time he moved with me.

Drowning, I looked down at him and gasped. His head was flung back and his eyes were closed as sensation took hold of him. He held his cock, yanking it hard and fast as we fucked, and his teeth were biting into his lower lip, his face drawn and stunning.

The sight of him made me weak. I held onto his thighs and pounded in and out of him, feeling everything build until I couldn't move harder, couldn't get deeper, needed to pour myself out.

Supernova sunburst and I was carried along helpless by a tidal rip that tore words from me, words I shouldn't say.

"I love you. You're mine, Fox. You've always been mine."

I filled him, straining with the molten heat of my ejaculate, and pushed into him while the aftershocks rocked me.

He was groaning, and looking down at him, I saw him lying limp and panting, the sticky evidence of his orgasm spattered over his belly and chest.

Wrecked, I fell forward to lie against his chest, feeling his warmth seep through as I covered him. If this wasn't heaven, it was somewhere very close.

***

Strange thing, as I tell you about this now, I can still feel him against my skin. I can remember how it felt when he circled me with his arms and let me know that I was safe.

Safety, What is that? It was all an illusion of course, and I should have known that everything would change. I should have expected that the Smoker would find some way to come between us. I was told to deliver him, my Fox to the ones up on the mountain that night when they took Scully.

I held him back, and for that I was cast out, damned.

I knew that the time had come the moment that he asked for my car keys. There was nowhere left for me to go. He would know, and he would hate me. Still, I fantasized that I maybe could go to him and tell him everything, then maybe he would come with me, somewhere safe. Maybe he would even love me still. Even as I thought it, I realized that I was fooling myself. Fox was devoted to Scully, and Fox would never forgive.

It wasn't to be. They were waiting for me when I got home.

Re-education is what they called it. It was agony.

Pretty soon I had learned to keep the memory of my sweet lover buried deep in order to stop the pain.

They didn't win. I never stopped loving him. Instead, I finally felt myself harden. I felt the tempering of my bladeself and knew that I had resolved to free myself. Fox would be mine again somehow. I'd make it happen.

***

I've grown up with pain. I understand pain. I am pain.

Pain is not the way to go when you're trying to bind me to your will. The old man missed a trick there. Instead of homing in on the one thing that could have contained me, and using its promise to hold me, he attempted to take my memory of Fox away. That was foolish. They might just as well have tried to rip away my own identity, for he and I are one.

There was only one thing that could have made me obey them, and they didn't use it. Even then I wondered if they ever realized what Bill Mulder had done to me. It certainly didn't seem that they were aware that he had imprinted me on Fox. Now, when I look back, I can see that they had no idea how he had programmed me. I wonder why he did it. I've never understood.

I wanted Fox because he belonged to me. He and I had finally been together. We'd made love and I knew with a certainty that came from beyond me that it had been perfect. Nobody takes what's mine.

Throughout weeks of painful 're-direction' I held close to me the image of Fox - my Fox - lying in my arms as I gave him my soul to take and use, his for all time. I could believe myself immune to the pain just so long as Fox remained in my mental vision and smiled at me with his eyes half-closed in bliss the way he had. I hugged his memory to me in secret and at the times when I was permitted to sleep, his face, rapt with concentration born of lost control would float before me. Fox was my lifeline throughout the ordeal. He was a path of shining silver that would guide me back towards the light.

I suffered, and slowly gave them the responses that they desired from me as I waited for them to allow me freedom once again. Eventually the foul-smelling Spender came to see me and I knew that things were going to change for me at last.

He chose to come on a day when I was being conditioned. I had been permitted to sleep, and even given a shot of some drug that had ensured my continued unconsciousness during the time they had needed to set things up.

I'd awoken to find myself naked and prone over a padded vaulting horse, my ankles and wrists tethered to the ground by unforgiving links of chain. I was held in that position so that I could not straighten up, and my ass was high in the air for all to see if they came my way. I was experiencing a lassitude that was pleasant, even though my position was humiliating. I knew that I was suffering from the drug they had pumped into my veins, but I couldn't bring myself to care.

There was a collar around my neck, and the leash that attached to it trailed along the floor. I don't know how long I'd been there like that. Time had ceased to mean anything to me, and I had retreated to the secret life that I lived inside my head, a life where Fox was mine again and we could hold each other with tenderness as well as with passion.

I had been replaying the first kiss he ever gave me, when I became aware that I was no longer alone.

I couldn't see him, but I knew who it was of course. I could smell the tobacco smoke, and my belly jolted, folding in on itself in anticipation as I waited for whatever he might choose to inflict on me. My senses were at once heightened and distorted by the stuff they'd given me, and I felt sensuous and full of desire even though the thought of the old fuck disgusted me.

He laid his foul old hands on me, squeezing my buttocks in a filthy parody of playfulness, and there was nowhere I could move that would discourage him. I suffered quietly in the hope that he would lose interest. He pried my ass cheeks apart, and I felt fingers invade me, probing and fondling me while I lay captive, repeating to myself that this would not change who I was. I was Alex, and Alex would remain after the torture was done.

It was my only defense.

I could feel my cock fill and lengthen, and I told myself that it meant nothing at all. I had not had sex since Fox had loved me last, and they made sure that I was never permitted to touch myself. That might have given me comfort so it was denied me. At any time when I was left alone my hands had been fastened into cuffs behind my back, and my cock had left to fend for itself. It had been excruciating to grow erect and yet remain unable to give myself release.

Small wonder that I quickened for this man now who was touching me as intimately as I had ever been touched. My cock grew hard in moments, and I could feel the trickle of moisture as it oozed and dripped from the slit in the crown of it. My balls were full, and I could feel them crawl up to sit below the shaft of my cock, tight and ripe, flash-flickers of pleasure throbbing through them, through me, along my cock and through my ass.

He began to talk then, and as he groped me, he told me how much he wanted me. I didn't want to hear it. He told me that he wanted to possess me, make me scream for him, make me love him. It was almost funny.

All I had to do was outlast this. I wouldn't lose.

When his hand reached to take hold of my heavy cock I almost screamed it felt so disgustingly good. I closed my eyes and imagined Fox slipping his hands into my ass to glide over my prostate, and Fox with his fingers curled around the shaft of my penis, stroking and squeezing as he whispered words of love to me. I moaned.

Held spread and pinned down like a hide on a drying rack there was nothing that I could do to prevent his attentions, so I merely waited, feeling the sickening approach of an orgasm that I didn't want.

He stopped at one point, took his hand away from my cock, although his fingers continued to stroke in and out of my ass, and at each inward thrust he found the little node of nerve endings that made me gasp. He began to tell me how beautiful I was, and to tell me how much he wanted to fuck me. I started to wonder if he was going to do it. It would have been a worse torture for me at that point to leave me the way I was. I was rapidly arriving at a state where I would have begged to be fucked. Whatever the drug in my system was, it seemed to be enhancing the sensations that were being drawn from me, and amplifying them.

I found myself starting to sob 'Please... ' as the fingers slid to and fro. When the other hand, slick and cunning, returned to grasp my penis, I cried out. He knew just how to drag me almost to the brink and then pause while I thrashed and howled.

He did this again and again, stopping each time I felt the upsurge of jism begin to boil. I was sweating and writhing now as I tried to get off, tried so hard to tip myself over the brink, that he laughed at me. I was completely at his mercy, and I hated him so much I felt sick. I needed to come, but he kept me from it. I was beginning to panic at the thought that I might be left in that state, balls and cock full and no release in sight. The bastard strapped something onto me to keep me hard and then hit me with more drugs, jabbing the needle into my ass with vindictive joviality. Then he went away, leaving me alone for an hour or so, hard and desperate, until I was hoarse from screaming and crying, and in pain from cramped muscles and delayed ejaculation. When he returned, it was as much as I could do to keep from spitting into his face. Pathetic, I bowed my head, and allowed him to denigrate me.

"See how I can control you, Alex? You're nothing more than a pretty toy. You're flawed. I may keep you if you please me sexually, but there's no other possible use for you." I heard the words, and called up Fox one last time, whimpering as I saw him in my mind's eye.

At some stage the old man must have tired of the game, or maybe he wanted to see if I was capable of coming, because he gripped my cock hard and began to work it firmly at last, tugging and squeezing as he bent to lick my balls. His finger pressed home hard and found my prostate again, circling over it as he told me again how useless I was. Then at last, he released the constriction around my cock.

I came, screaming for a mother I had never known as he berated me, and the orgasm was almost enough to turn me inside out it was so intense. I felt as though I was burning, and the delicious sensations that shot through me were so strong that I could hear my joints crack as everything locked solid. Couldn't stop as my body went into meltdown, and all that I was poured out of my cock in scalding pulses, sending wild pleasure through me.

After it, I could only hang there and sob.

He said nothing more then, merely left the room, but not before he told me that we would be leaving together the following day.

***

The day after Spender had humiliated me, I found myself, drugged and heavy. I'd been washed, shaved, dressed in plain dark clothing, and made to sit on a couch in a room that gave away nothing. It was as though I were a doll.

I'm not sure what it was that they'd injected me with, but I was numb, void of any will to run, although I could see that the door was standing open. Vaguely I wondered what was going to happen to me now. I didn't care any more. The realization that I would never escape, and that even my body would betray me whenever they required it, was a horror that snapped and giggled behind the paper-thin walls of my sanity. I had believed I was special, and that was a lie. I was owned, and could be made to do things despite my prized 'free will.' What use was it to fight? I was alone and it seemed that I was destined to remain that way forever more. I didn't belong to myself. I was merely a thing. I would have cried, but I couldn't.

I merely sat and waited, feeling hollow, and wondering if I would ever be filled again.

After a while, the smoke-pickled old bastard appeared, and stood looking at me, his lip curled in derision as he surveyed me. What he saw I have no way of knowing, but he obviously felt it worth his time because he nodded, pursing his mouth judiciously, and told me coldly to follow him.

I did, of course.

I went, outwardly all compliance. I admit to feeling some trepidation, but inside, my heart was beating arhythmically, and Fox was there, as ever, smiling to me behind my eyes, and calling out 'soon, Alex, soon'. It seemed that all I had was this fantasy, and I would never get free. I couldn't fight the chemicals. I could only withdraw to the perfect inner room where my dream Fox waited for me.

Smokey had me sit with him in the back of the car as we drove away from the low concrete building in which I'd been housed. I was mildly curious to see where it was, and what it looked like, but somehow my neck wouldn't obey me and my head wouldn't turn to look.

I was no longer my own master. This seemed very sad and hot prickles stabbed the back of my eyes as I considered the implications. The old man at my side missed nothing. He was quick to take advantage of my weakness.

"Really, Alex, you were reared to be a weapon of the finest caliber, and here you are, weeping like a little girl. What a pity you're flawed, my dear. I don't know what's to be done with you now." I shivered. I was flawed indeed, but there was no way I would permit them to find out how badly. I vowed mentally that one day I would see him dead at my feet, although physically I was unable to do anything but comply with whatever instructions I was given..

As we began to hit the suburbs once more, I recognized the outskirts of DC and within my chest I felt a fluttering. My heart pounded, I was coming back home, back to Fox. Maybe I would see him again. My mind began to clear.

I would see Fox again. Soon... It would be soon.

In the days that followed, the old fucker teamed me up with a Hispanic asshole. What can I tell you about Cardinale? He was stupid, very, very stupid, and worse, he was self indulgent, emotionally sloppy in his viciousness. He had bad skin, a worse attitude, and his breath stank. All in all, it wasn't the most fortunate of pairings.

I bore it even though I wanted to kill him. I put up with it because I needed to stay close to Spender. I knew that old Spender had plans for Fox, and Fox was mine.

Yes, I could have killed him, wanted to in fact, but if I had, who would have countered the alien threat? I wasn't ready. I didn't have the information I would need. Maddening though it was, I just had to wait. Any premature act on my part would have put Fox in danger, and that was just not an option. To save Fox, I waited. To save Fox, I endured.

Spender took every opportunity to humiliate me. I'd always hated him, but now my hatred was a living thing coiled in the pit of my stomach, and I knew that one day it would be stronger than I. For now I could resist it when it gibbered. I could put up with the cigarette smoke and the abuse. I wasn't allowed outside, and at night I was still held in cuffs, strapped securely to a bed in which I could find little rest, and Cardinale had been given the keys to my cuffs.

I gritted my teeth and sublimated a lot, and was able to tolerate Cardinale holding the keys to my freedom. Gradually, after weeks of overt vigilance, they began to relax their guard a little, giving me jobs to do on my own, though I knew that they never stopped watching me for a moment.

The day came when Cardinale was out on a job and I had remained behind to study a target that was being readied for sterilization. I'd been playing and replaying video footage of the exterior, and was beginning to formulate our method of entry, when I smelled the telltale scent that told me Spender was in the vicinity.

Turning away from the screen of the monitor, I lifted my head to see the old man, cigarette in hand as usual, surveying me with what seemed to be a good humored smile, although with him, it was always an act unless he was squashing someone under his heel.

"Ah, Alex. As industrious as ever? Good, good... I have a job for you. Come." I followed him back to his office, good little slave that I was.

It was a simple task, and I wondered why he was sending me of all people to do it. All it involved was the connection into the water supply of a certain canister of substance. He explained that it was a hallucinogenic, and that it was important that the entire building get the effects.

He passed me the information, arranged for me to collect tools and a van, and bade me go. I was soon ready to leave, engine ticking over, and reveling the solitude. Finally I was to do something without Cardinale riding herd on me. It was only when I was in the van, that I checked the address where I was bound.

With a flash of excitement I realized that I'd been there many times. It was Mulder's apartment block.

The job was embarrassing in its simplicity. Grinning to myself, I patched into the drinking water supply. The thought of Mulder as he began to hallucinate was deliciously funny. Would he see naked Kryceks? I made a note to ask for the surveillance tapes. I screwed the cylinder that contained the hallucinogen into the water supply and turned on the small pump that would infuse tiny quantities of the drug into it with each pressure change.

The temptation, being in the building, to slip up the stairs and pay him a visit, or at least to share the same air, was overwhelming. I felt reckless and crazy. My stomach appeared to be home to a million fluttering creatures, and somewhere along the line, a metal band had tightened around my chest, constricting my breathing.

Pulling my cap down as far as possible, to cast a shade over my face, in case I was spotted, and taking up my toolbox, I stumbled to the elevator and pushed the button for the fourth floor.

Standing outside apartment 42 I paused to get my breath back under control.

In my mind I could see myself in my boxy suit, shaking in my eagerness as my beloved Fox kissed me breathless against this very door. I'd known then that we'd be together, naked within the next few minutes, and trying to control the spurt of precome as it stained the front of my pants had been impossible. In the end I'd put a hand against myself to conceal it in the unlikely event of there suddenly being passers by while Fox fumbled with the key.

I stole towards the door, slipped my skeleton key into the lock, and paused while the door opened softly. I paused for a moment, listening for signs that the apartment's occupant might be in residence.

All was silent save for the faint bubbling of the fishtank oxygenation system, and I slipped into the gloom with desperate satisfaction. The air smelled of him. The disarray and clutter was a sharp reminder of times we had spent together. I ghosted through the rooms, touching things that I remembered; examining things that were new.

In the bedroom his bed was unmade of course, the covers littered with magazines and books. On the floor lay discarded clothing, evidence that he had been exercising. I picked up the T-shirt and buried my nose in it, inhaling the scent of Fox.

Too much! I rolled it into a ball and stuffed it into one of my pockets, then turned and left as silently and quickly as I had arrived.

***

That T-shirt became my focus over the next few days. I wore it at night, imagining him wrapped around me, thrilling when the scent of him mingled with my own arousal. Now more than ever, he was all I could think about.

Twice more that week I was dispatched to change the canister that was releasing its contents into his water supply, and each time I stole up to visit him, the phantom of circumstance, caught pressed between two worlds and without any world of my own. I became bolder, switching the T-shirt I'd purloined for another, one that was still faintly damp when first I found it.

Sitting on his couch I thumbed his remote and watched the videos he'd been watching. The last time, there were crumpled tissues on the coffee table and I knew what he'd been doing.

I started the video, rewinding it through so I could see what had got him off. The video was poorly made, and began with an intimate examination of two large, suspiciously firm breasted women to the tune of grunts and groans that were ludicrously unsexy and insincere, but the part just before it had stopped showed a pair of men tangled together fucking hard. The younger man was facing the camera as he jerked himself off, coming for the audience in an amazing spray of white.

I watched it over and over again, imagining... remembering. I loved him so much. In my mind it was the two of us. It was me that made him come. It was me he gave it up for. Me.

***

The axe fell on a Thursday

This particular day I was irritable. Cardinale had spent the last several days being as annoying as he dared, brushing dirty hands over my crotch, leering at me and making off color jokes. When I had finally snapped, and moved to break his wrist, the rage as bitter as bile against my tongue, the Smoker himself had snarled at me through the intercom, and I was furiously reminded that I was still under constant observation.

Miserably I'd returned to my computer terminal to punch in data, when what I really wanted to punch was the smug grin on the face of that pockmarked son of a bitch Cardinale. Moments later, the Smoker had come into the room in the company of the Englishman I'd seen around from time to time. Cardinale had been dispatched to perform some act of nastiness, and then the two men had proceeded to argue. Either they had forgotten my existence, or I was of too little consequence for them to care.

Listening hard, betraying nothing, hoping against hope that I wouldn't be noticed, I heard them begin to discuss my Fox. He, like me, had been led by the nose for years, pushed and pulled into a shape that was someone else's concept of how he should be, but now it was deemed that his usefulness was at an end. What I heard them discussing, these two evil old men who felt that they should rule the world, was my beloved Fox's death at the hands of Bill Mulder. So arrogant they were that it never occurred to them that I would rise against them and defy them. It didn't cross their minds that I might be loyal to Fox and not to them and their cause. It didn't occur to them that torture wouldn't deter me.

Fox was to be steered to his own murder by his own father. I was horrified. I'd been assisting in the murder of my only love. Not only that, I'd been reveling in the job. I didn't know what I could do. They would have stopped me if I had leapt to my feet and raced off to his side. I continued to plug away on my data entry until finally they took themselves off, and left me alone.

An hour later I was detailed off by the returning Cardinale to change the cylinder at Hegel Place again, and I took my chance.

I carried out the assignment I'd been given. Then I headed out towards Martha's Vineyard, and Bill Mulder's place, my whole body shaking with the hope that I'd be in time.

Arriving, I breathed a sigh of relief. Fox wasn't here, yet. His car was nowhere to be seen. I circled the building rapidly, wondering how I would enter it when I needed to. I found a couple of windows that looked accessible, and when I tried the back door, it opened smoothly. This would be easy.

I was about to return to the van to wait when his car drew up. Watching him walk to that door was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I wanted to leap out and stop him. I wanted to hold him in my arms and let him know that he was loved. Instead, I sighed, returned to the back of the house and opened the back door, stepping into Bill Mulder's house with the full intention of killing anyone who would harm my Fox.

He would pay tonight for all of the pain he had caused me. He'd regret making me what I was now that I was no longer in his power to control. I was going to kill him, and save Fox. It was too late for me, but it wasn't too late for the man I loved. He could break free. He would never need to know the extent to which he'd been enslaved.

This was the gift I could and would give to my love.

Moving through the house, I could hear the muffled chatter of voices; his voice, so dear to me, and then the one that I hated beyond everything else in the world. It still had the power to conjure images of electrodes and pain, interspersed with nursery rhymes. It cause me to break into a sick sweat.

// Now, Alexei, you haven't been good at all. Let's see if you can do better this time. Perhaps the pain will help you focus, hmmmm? //

Oh, but I had been good. I'd been great, and my reward for that good behavior was right here, right now.

Bill Mulder was going to die.

I stepped into the bathroom to wait. It gave me a great vantagepoint. The door was ajar and I could clearly hear what was being said out in the living room. My brain kept screaming at me to do it now, or it would be too late, but I didn't want Fox to see me. I didn't want him to know. If I gave my Fox the gift of life it would be something I wouldn't take the credit for.

I'd never been nervous before, but now my palms were damp and slippery. I was afraid.

I tried the Hatha Yoga breathing but my mind wouldn't stop racing. Fox's life was in pawn here, and my creator was close to him. Facing my terror, I realized that though I knew that I had been taught things that Bill Mulder had never mastered, psychologically he was still my superior. He'd dominated me all through my life, and setting that aside wasn't easy.

I took a deep breath and made up my mind. I was going to burst into the room and shoot him down without further thought, Fox or no Fox. It would be final, and though it wouldn't put me out of my misery, it would save my lover's life. I took my gun and cocked it, and was about to move when the bathroom door pushed open.

He came to me.

The swinging mirror of the medicine cabinet revealed me to him. I was a devil from the ninth pit with my tortured eyes, and all the hate that ever there was set out like a death mask on my white face, and I was there for him.

He froze. His hour had come and he knew it. He bowed his head to me and stood, waiting. He knew he couldn't escape me. He'd made me too well.

We were alone, Bill Mulder and I, and my hard, cold malice. // Look, teacher, no shaking, no hesitation, Alex the killing machine is making the perfect kill. //

With pleasure I saw the bright blood blossom on his face, and then I was away, squirming up through the window and out, trusting that Fox wouldn't see me.

***

Once back in my own room I showered, and then took Fox's T-shirt, wrapped it around my cock and masturbated, each stroke bringing me closer to the knowledge that I was truly alone forever more, and that Fox would never forgive me now.

Bill Mulder, my creator, had been as much of a father to me as anyone. I'd just killed him. Fox was safe for now, he still lived, but I...

I was not sure if I would ever be free from nightmares again.

I lay, trying to sleep, but sleep eluded me. My brain still buzzed with hatred, and death, and lies, and desperate, needy love.

Pulling on my clothes again, I returned to the van and drove the couple of miles back to Hegel Place.

I had keys to the building of course, but I had to check whether or not Fox's car was in the lot before I could risk going inside. I kept in the shadows as I hugged the building close and moved around to the front. The shock that followed when Mulder and his poison dwarf came face to face with me as we rounded the corner was enough to shorten my life by 10 years, indeed it almost curtailed it right then and there.

He was furious. I knew that the drug he'd been ingesting was partly to blame, but that wouldn't bring me back to life once he'd blown my brains out, and I couldn't hurt him. If this was the way I was meant to die, then so be it. I'd let Fox kill me before I'd hurt him.

No one was more surprised than I to hear the shot. I was lying over the hood of a car looking down the barrel of my own gun. I could feel Fox pressed up against me, taut and real as he strained to hold me. When the shot burst on my ears I was stunned for a second, trying to decide whether I lived or died. Then his weight left me suddenly and I realized what had happened. She had shot him.

The bitch had shot my Fox.

Quick as a thought, I turned and ran.

Out of sight again, swallowed by the comforting darkness, I stopped, leant against the wall of the building, and allowed myself to give in to a moment's horrified panic. My head swam.

She'd shot him. He was hurt. He could be dead. Oh, God, Fox, I'm so sorry.

Now, what the hell could I do? I turned to climb into the van and start the engine, but it was no use. There wasn't a hope in hell that I could leave, knowing that he was hurt. I stumbled back out of the van and moved silently back around to the front of the building, just in time to see them drive away.

She must be taking him to the hospital. I had two choices. I could follow, or I could wait. I followed, even though they were long gone by the time I pulled the van around to face the direction that they had left in. Somehow there was a skein of silver connecting the two of us, and I knew in which direction he'd gone. I knew that should he ever die, I'd feel his death as a physical blow. He was mine and if he needed me, I'd be there.

Scully's car was nowhere in sight, but I didn't falter as I sped to the George Washington University Hospital and the Accident and Emergency ward there. Pulling into the parking garage a couple of blocks away, I nodded, grinning with relief as I ranged the van in the same row as Scully's little car. I knew he was here, my body could feel his proximity.

I made my way cautiously into the waiting area. There were very few people waiting. An old man who looked a little the worse for alcohol slumped over several of the seats. The inevitable young woman with screaming baby fidgeted and fussed, and a couple holding a sleepy looking child with a bandage on its hand sat in the corner.

Of Scully or Fox there was no sign.

Making straight for the reception desk, and assuming a confidence I was far from feeling, I sauntered over to the woman behind the counter. She looked up, unsmiling, and I smiled at her, radiating confusion and helpless maleness.

"I got here as soon as I could. How... how is he?" I allowed my desperation to shine out from my eyes as I spoke and she looked at me for a minute before returning my tremulous smile.

"I'm sorry, who are you looking for?" I gazed at her, willing her to see me as I wanted her to, and not as I was.

"My... my brother. They shot him... I know she brought him here. She called me and told me. His name is Fox... Fox Mulder. I'm his brother, Sam." I fixed her with an anguished stare.

She leaned forward, patting my hand as she succumbed to my charm.

"It's okay, Mr. Mulder. He's not seriously hurt. He's gone into surgery to have a bullet removed from his shoulder but he's not in mortal danger." I flashed her a look that spoke of relief along with a subtext of sensuality. She licked her lips and then pulled a scrap of paper to her and began to draw me a little map that described where I needed to go to find Fox.

"Here. If he isn't there already he'll be along in no time at all. If you go along now you'll be able to see him as soon as they bring him out of surgery." She gave me a smile that was worth at least a hundred watts, and I grabbed her hand, placing heartfelt kiss on the back of it before heading off in the direction I'd been shown.

It was rash. I know it. The only mitigating circumstance I can offer in my defense is that I was half-crazy with grief, rage and hatred. I was on a killing high, adrenaline coursing through me still as I stumbled along. I knew that Scully would still be around, and that the next bullet she fired would likely have my name on it, but even so, how could I keep away?

I couldn't.

When I'd reached the ward that the receptionist had designated, I snagged a white coat and a stethoscope that were lying handy, leaving my leather jacket hanging on a hook in one of the side rooms.

Once I was garbed in white I strode purposefully, zeroing in on the nursing station at the center of the ward. The nurse there barely glanced at me, and didn't look up any further, preferring to concentrate on her report. I peered at the sheaf hanging on the hook behind her that read "Admissions."

"Have they brought the new patient back from surgery, Nurse Wallace?" I asked, grateful for the button she wore on her lapel.

"He's still in recovery, Doctor. They just rang to say that he was on his way down. He'll be here shortly." She handed me a clipboard on which Fox's admission information was neatly typed. She still hadn't looked at me.

Studying the paperwork intently, I nodded thanks to the busily writing nurse and then moved away to the room where the nurse had indicated he would be brought. The ward was long and narrow with a number of rooms for individual patients each opening onto the corridor. The person at the nursing station could monitor people entering and laving the ward, but wouldn't be able to see what was happening in the individual rooms without getting up to go and investigate. Perfect!

I waited in the room opposite. Fifteen minutes dripped slowly into the bucket of time, and are gone without ripples. I began to chafe under the silence. Where was he? Had there been complications?

The clack of the fire door at the end of the corridor swinging back, followed by the tap and patter of quickly moving feet, reassured me. I was behind the door of the darkened room I'd been waiting in, and as the stretcher that bore my lover was wheeled past me I could have reached out and touched him. He was being wheeled along by a couple of nurses in white, and following behind, hot on his tail as ever was Scully. I wondered if she'd settle him down and then leave, or whether she'd want to stay with him. I hoped against hope that she'd go home. I didn't want to repay the saving of my life by killing her.

I waited, and I believe I prayed. Prayer had always seemed so pointless to me, and yet I did it, not understanding why. It must have been at least an hour later when Scully emerged from the room and tap-tapped her way down the corridor, finally leaving the ward and earning my undying gratitude.

I waited, and slowly the hospital settled down to quiescence, a sleeping behemoth that rested uneasily. Somewhere close by, someone coughed, a staccato bark in the semi-silence. I checked my watch. It was one am, and it was time. I emerged from my room and approached the nursing station yet again.

Nurse Wallace wasn't there. I looked around for her, and then made my way quickly to the room where my Fox was lying hurt.

He lay on his back, his shoulder swathed in bandages, a waxy pallor to his face, and I stood for long moments just drinking him in. I could feel my proximity to him surging like honey through my veins, and finally I approached him, unable to hold off any longer. I bent and took his face between the palms of my hands and kissed him, allowing my lips to part his and tasting once again the sweetness of his mouth. My head began to swim with the intoxicating proximity of him. My heart beat a sharp tattoo against my chest.

He moaned, and I jumped back a little, stroking his cheek with my thumbs. He was going to be okay. Sense dictated that I leave there and then, fade back into the woodwork and leave him to heal. That's what anybody with a modicum of sense would have done, but I'd fully reached that place I feared so long ago. I was in thrall to this man, he was my real owner.

I'm intelligent. I know that, but I lack common sense, that's obvious. I couldn't go. I couldn't just leave him when I wanted to fill myself with his scent, hold him and kiss away all of his pain. I didn't understand how to stop this feeling I had for him. I didn't know how I could turn and walk away from him, when he was here, beneath my hands, and my heart was beating so hard. It hurt to look at him, and the thought of leaving him cut and stabbed at me.

So it was that I was still leaning over him, still touching him, still cradling his face and dusting his features with kisses. I was murmuring endearments that I would never had uttered to the conscious man, but which I had held inside myself for what seemed like the whole of my life. He didn't move or otherwise signal his consciousness, but suddenly I became aware that he had opened his eyes and looked at me.

There was no way I could resist him, once he fixed his gaze on me. My will to resist him was gone, and my heart with it. I found myself shaking all over again, prepared to give myself up to him if that was his will. His eyes were glazed and feverish. His face was set in a cold, despising rage as he looked me up and down.

I shivered.

"Fox, please listen to me." I spoke rapidly, trying to express my feelings fast, before he screamed for assistance. "He was going to kill you. I saved your life... . " He made an angry, impatient sound, licking at lips that were dry and cracked.

"Why don't you run back to your disgusting employer, you contemptible little lackey? Scully should have let me shoot you. The world would be a cleaner place if she had." Venom dripped from his words and shook me, rocked me back with the force of his loathing. I moaned. His words sliced at me like razor wire.

"Fox, my heart, I love you. You have no idea how much I love you. The things I've done are for you. There's no way you could ever know just how much I've done for you." He shook his head in a furious negation of my words. I touched his cheek.

"Do you really think that I would leave you to that... that bastard? One day I'll tell you the things I've done for you, prove what I've suffered for you." I fumbled, taking off my white coat, peeling off the T-shirt beneath it to stand exposed to his angry eyes.

My skin's always been white, and the angry red welts I wore from the Smoker's most recent games showed stark on my torso, products of the electrodes and clamps that he had used on me during my most recent "redirection." Some of the scars were fading now, but others glowed angry red or gleamed white on white as I showed him.

"Look at me. I've suffered for you. It's always been for you. Don't turn away from me now." I yanked his face around towards me as he attempted to do just that. When his eyelids drooped closed immediately after, I slapped him once, hard.

"Look at me." I hissed again. "You aren't the only one who is on intimate terms with pain."

He did. He looked, his face an expression compounded of distaste and boredom. Had I not been preternaturally tuned in to him, I might have missed the imperceptible widening of his eyes as he took in the half healed burn marks around my nipples. His expression was fleeting, a ripple on still water, but his pupils had dilated with shock, and he was no longer wearing the mask of disinterest that had made them pinpoints a moment ago.

"What are you trying to tell me, Krycek?" His voice was a thread.

"I'm trying to show you a tiny portion of what they've done to me because of you. It's all for the love of you, Fox. Do you know why I'm here? I exist only to keep you safe, I breathe only to love you. You're my life. I've been tortured for loving you, but I couldn't stop. I've always loved you. I'm trying to make you realize that I killed William Mulder to save you, not to spite you. I need you to know how much I love you even though they'll kill me for saving you." I spoke rapidly, trying to make my emotions flesh, trying to win his heart with my desperately uttered words and knowing that no matter how eloquent I was, whatever I said would never be enough.

I loved him. That was the only message that I had to give, and once given, I was merely a husk, waiting for him to burn me or fill me.

His facial expression had altered from one of disgust to bland impassivity. I couldn't tell if I was making any impression on him. I had to make him see. I needed his... Approval? His understanding? No matter what one called it, I needed something from his lips that would absolve me, and make me whole again.

I received nothing.

"We're pawns, Fox. Free will is an illusion for us both. We were programmed from birth to aim and fire wherever they point us, and if they think we've outlived our usefulness, they'll kill us and have no compassion for us. He was going to kill you tonight, Fox. I heard the order given, and couldn't let it happen."

Nothing.

The shrewd eyes glittered like marbles and his face was clamped into stony indifference.

I turned away, replacing my shirt as I did so. I'd come to save him. I'd never expected to reclaim his love and it was time for me to leave.

"Fox, I came to see you because I needed you to know that I did it for you, all of it. I killed him for you." My voice dragged at me and I knew as I spoke that the sweet, drowned days of paradise I'd known with him were all I would ever get. Too late now, I knew. I could see the immutable certainty in his eyes. There was nothing more I could give him except...

I swallowed. My tongue felt thick in my mouth and I tried to speak, tried again, and finally heard my voice, a strange, harsh croak that seemed fitting to bid farewell to my dreams once and for all.

"There's one last thing I can do for you, Mulder." I used the patronymic purposefully, and was rewarded by the glimmer of some emotion, deeply felt, and painfully suppressed, as it flickered in the depths of my love's eyes. "I can give myself to you, to do as you see fit. I belong to you anyway, so it's fitting you should decide my fate."

He gave a brief sneer, and I nodded to myself. Why should he believe me?

"Here's the deal. When we meet again, you may kill me. You will, won't you, Mulder? You'll do it and give us both peace at last?" My eyes bored into his, willing him to believe, willing him to accept what I offered, and finally he looked away, licking his lips.

"I trusted you." Low and desolate.

"Trust me now?" All of my soul was in those three words.

There was a pause, and then he nodded, unsmiling.

I died in that moment, or at least it seemed as though I no longer lived. I existed, but I'd forever lost all I'd ever wanted. The only reason I continued breathing was because he lived on. Someday, he might need me to save him again, and after I had, he would kill me. Such is life.

Eyes glistening, I bent and caught his lips with mine. One last touch and then done. I turned away, and as I left him, knowing that I'd never see him again, I murmured my benediction, softly wishing him all the good fortune in the world.

"Otashi tebya, tovarisch."