TITLE: 'The Arrangement'
AUTHOR: phyre
RATING: R (no actual sex)
ARCHIVE: All Things Rat, Ratfic Library, The Basement and Slashville.
DISCLAIMER: Not mine. CC & Co., and the boys at 1013 are the proud parents.
Absolutely no profit is being made from this.
FEEDBACK: Indulge me. phyre@prodigy.net
HOMEPAGE: http://www.squidge.org/~phyre/phyre.html
SUMMARY: Am I the only one who thought there was something *odd* about the
relationship between Mulder and Senator Matheson? Don't fret, Krycek makes
an appearance as well.
AUTHOR NOTES: Huge thanks go out to Dr. Ruthless and Karen-Leigh for the
fast and dirty read-throughs. I can always count on you guys.

"The Arrangement" by phyre
~~~~~~~~~

The door had barely shut before the barrage began.

"Where have you been?"

Mulder considered the question, acknowledging to himself that he might be inclined to answer, to end the charade here and now, had the words not been spoken with such an undertone of anger and mistrust. Not that the inquisitor was without reason, Mulder simply didn't appreciate the tone, so he remained silent, allowing the empty air to speak instead.

The question was posed once again, this time a little louder and a bit more frenetic.

"Mulder, where have you been?"

Mulder regarded the older man with an air of indifference.

"Out."

"Out? Out where?"

"Wrong question. Try 'out with *whom*'," Mulder responded with a hard smile on his lips and a sharp glint in his eyes. He knew the man before him, the one he had shared a bed with on and off for over five years, was about to understand. After all of the subtle innuendoes and angry accusations of infidelity, truth was at hand.

"So, you're finally admitting you're a whore, Fox?"

"What I'm finally admitting is that I am not now, nor have I ever been, in love with you." A small lie. He was sure whatever God was on duty would forgive him.

"Really? How odd. That's certainly not how I would have interpreted your actions the other night. You behaved as a man possessed; writhing, begging, making promises of illicit, not to mention illegal, acts. That pretty mouth kissed and sucked on me as if I were mother's milk. No Fox, our lovemaking was exquisite, better than it had been in weeks, no small feat, I might add. And yet here you stand, telling me you never loved me. What exactly was it you loved, then? My bed, my home, my food ... or my power? Do you really fancy yourself *that* good an actor. That was passion Fox, in its highest form."

"And during the night in question, did I ever once call out your name? Think back and try to recall the last time I screamed your name while I was coming, the last time I looked into your eyes while you were kissing me, the last time *I* initiated the contact."

Mulder watched how the words hit their target and how the self- assured man before him whithered and aged. For a moment he felt a pang of remorse. I respected you, Richard. I may even have loved you a few years ago, but you've used me for so long and I didn't know how badly until I found you playing both sides of the fence. Not that Alex doesn't, but at least he's honest about it. And about us.

"And you say you're not a whore?"

"Yes, and with a clear conscience I might add, because while your sorry excuse for a cock was pushing into me night after interminable night, it wasn't you I was thinking of, it wasn't you I was begging, it wasn't you I wanted and, most importantly, it wasn't you I loved. It was you I *used*, just as you used me."

The hard backhanded slap drew blood from Mulder's lip and he felt the hot stinging imprint it left on his cheek. He gratefully acknowledged the pain as a life affirming sensation.

"This ... *us* ... turned into a business arrangement. You had control over what I wanted. Now you don't and you won't, not ever again. Steps have been taken to ensure that fact. I was your trophy of sorts, someone you could show off in select, private circles. No more, Richard. It ends now." Mulder turned toward the bedroom.

A strangled shout. "You owe me the decency of telling me his name."

Mulder looked back. Quietly, he asked, "Are you that far out of the loop that you really have to ask? Alex Krycek ...ring a bell?"

He waited and watched as the man before him drew in a sharp breath then looked away before saying, "I'm glad I insisted on condoms."

Mulder smiled. "So was Alex."

Flat eyes returned to stare into his.

"I'll ruin you, Mulder. I still have that power."

"Richard, with more respect than you deserve, you have *nothing*."

Mulder went to the bedroom closet and from the back pulled out a suitcase. Over his shoulder, after careful deliberation, he spoke. "If you try to hurt me or 'ruin' me as you threaten, he'll kill you. You already know he's more than capable of that action."

"I gather you're going to him now?"

"Yes."

"You're still a whore, Mulder ..."

"The only difference is, I'm not yours? Is that what you were going to say?"

"Get out of my home."

"With pleasure."

~~~~~~

It was a short elevator ride to the front door and a shorter walk to the waiting car. The trunk opened automatically, Mulder dropped his bag inside. Opening the passenger side door he slid in and looked at Krycek.

"Tough?"

Mulder sighed, "No more than I expected. He's angry and maybe more than a little hurt."

"He's dangerous when he's angry, Mulder. Don't underestimate him."

"So are you, Alex. Does that mean I shouldn't underestimate you?"

Their eyes locked and under the harsh glare of the building lights, Krycek pulled Mulder into his arms and kissed him, twining his fingers through the thick brown hair.

Moments later he eased the car from the curb and said, "Never underestimate me, Mulder."

~finis~