Disclaimer - Dana Scully, Fox Mulder, Alex Krycek and all other X-Files regulars belong to TenThirteen Productions. No copyright infringement intended. Jessica Leahs and any other characters you haven't heard of before, are copyrighted to me. The quote in the header of this story is also used without permission. No copyright infringements or disrespect intended. I just felt that it was appropriate.

 

Synopsis - Jessica Leahs returns to help Mulder and Scully investigate a series of murders, and ends up in a relationship that is *really* complicated. Nonshippers beware. NC-17 for some language, one graphic consentual sex scene and one breif non-graphic non-consentual sex scene.

 

Feedback is always appreciated, and in fact encouraged.

 

ThanX to Allegra, Katherine, Donnalee (aka Mom), and Wendy-bird for reading this and saying, "I love it! Don't change a thing," and then telling me everything I did wrong. :)

 

* * * * *

 

Loup Garou - The Kindred

 

by wolfcatxf@imadethis.org (Shael)

http://www.parkers-place.net/ratlover/wolfcatxf/loupgarou

 

completed Oct.13, 1996

 

"And what I wouldn't give to find a soul mate,

someone else to catch this drift.

And what I wouldn't give to meet a kindred."

- Alanis Morissette, "All I Really Want"

 

* * * * *

 

It was dark and cold in front of the Reflection Pool. The man in black watched the two FBI agents dispassionately. He was not interested in them, but who would be looking for them.

 

Snatches of their conversation floated through the air to him.

 

"If I... what I could trust?"

 

"... trust me, Scully."

 

"Mulder... trust... than anyone. It's just..."

 

The sound of the twig breaking cut off the conversation. The objects of the man's quest had stepped out of the shadows. He reached for the camera outfitted with the infra red lens.

 

* * * * *

 

Two Years Later -

 

The woman stepped into her apartment. "Hello, Chloe. Did you miss me?" she cooed as her black and white cat rubbed against her legs. She picked up the fluffy cat and scratched behind its ears as she went to her computer. She logged on to her internet server and requested her mail.

 

The e-mail on her system was short.

 

"Jess - Need your help on a case. Contact me ASAP. - Mulder."

 

Jessica Leahs leaned back with a sigh. <Why me?> she thought, drumming her fingers against the wrist rest. <The only reason Mulder would ask for my help was if... .>

 

She was afraid and excited at the same time. <Don't get your hopes up, girl.> She reached for the phone.

 

* * * * *

 

"She's coming."

 

Scully nodded. "Are you sure you want her to be involved in this?" She sounded unsure.

 

"No," Mulder smiled. "But she is, after all, an expert in this area. But then, you don't believe in what she is."

 

Scully shot Mulder an annoyed look. "I believe she knows what she's talking about. But I don't believe she's a werewolf."

 

"But she does. That's what's important."

 

"Mulder, you don't have to defend her to me," Scully said sharply.

 

"I'm not." Mulder backed off. "I'm just stating her belief." <She's been snappy for the last couple of days. Must be PMS.>

 

* * * * *

 

"Hello, Scully. Lindy says 'hi'," Jess said as she stepped through the door. She fixed Mulder with a glare. "This had better be good," she growled. "I gave up front row San Jose Sharks tickets for this."

 

"With the way that hockey team plays," Mulder snorted, "I'm sure you won't be missing much."

 

"Go to hell, Mulder."

 

"And it's good to see you too, Jess."

 

"So why did you tear me away from Lindy and my cat, who won't forgive me for three months when I get home?"

 

"Here's what we know for sure. There was an attempted murder. I'm sure you'll recognize the pattern - looks like a dog savaged him."

 

Jess blinked. "And this concerns me because... ."

 

"It occurred on the night of a full moon. And saliva samples taken from bite wounds reveal a strange enzyme that we are unable to identify."

 

One of the cell phones rang. Scully answered hers.

 

Jess leant towards Mulder. "Let me guess. You've reached a dead end." She pointed at Mulder. "You think it's a werewolf, and she," she nodded her head at Scully, "think it's a psycho with a dog." Her eyebrows raised as she looked at Mulder. "And you want to use me to find out which it really is. Am I right?"

 

Mulder looked nonplused. "I just thought with your talents and abilities you would be a help."

 

"In other words, send a werewolf to catch a werewolf." Jess leaned back and looked reflective. "I doubt that it is a werewolf, Mulder. I've been searching for so long, and Lindy is the only one I've ever found."

 

Scully hung up the phone. "That was the hospital. Our John Doe has been reclassified from serious to critical. He's not expected to last the night."

 

"The victim survived the attack?" Jess shook her head. "Damn. That would have made things a little easier."

 

"I'm sorry?" Scully wasn't following.

 

"Mulder, I'm surprised you didn't think of this." Jess turned to Scully.

"The full moon will be in under a week. If he survives, get him into an isolation chamber. Keep him under observation. If he transforms, then we're dealing with a werewolf. If not," she shrugged her shoulders, "we're dealing with someone who is using some kind of dog as a murder weapon."

 

Mulder asked the question that was on everyone's mind at some level. "And if we are dealing with a werewolf?"

 

Jess shrugged her shoulders again. "I'll jump off that bridge when I get to it." She stood up. "C'mon, I want to see the victim."

 

* * * * *

 

They decided to drive to the hospital together. They also used the time to catch up.

 

"How's Lindy doing?" Scully asked from the driver's seat.

 

"Great," Jess replied from the back seat. "She's in a private school, where the teachers understand what she's gone through. Getting good grades, and being a perfect angel for the most part."

 

"And any little devils in your life?" Mulder asked.

 

"No boyfriends, just cats." Jess snorted. "I've been a little too busy taking care of Lindy to worry about that. That, and I just haven't had the inclination to date."

 

Mulder nodded. "So when did you last go out with someone?"

 

"Mulder," Jess snorted, "you're as bad as my brother. He keeps trying to pair me off with various friends and clients. Hasn't worked yet."

 

Mulder laughed a little. "Sounds just like our old friend Robert." He turned to Scully. "Robert was the guy who first introduced us, what, a little over a decade ago."

 

"Yeah, that sounds about right." Jess leaned her head against the window.

 

Scully was curious about how deep Jess's feelings for Mulder still went. She had said that they were nothing more than good friends. "If you were interested, would you be dating?" she asked.

 

"Probably." Jess looked out the window. "The right guy hasn't come along yet. But I'm patient. I've learned how to wait."

 

* * * * *

 

"God dammit! Can't things go are way just once?" Mulder growled. He, Scully, and Jess had just arrived at the hospital, only to find out that John Doe had died.

 

"Never have before, so why should they now?" Scully shook her head. "I'll start reviewing the chart and the paperwork for the autopsy." They started walking towards the morgue.

 

Jess looked disappointed. "Would it be possible to observe the procedure? It might give me some insight into..." she trailed off, looking puzzled. "That's odd. I smell smoke."

 

Scully inhaled deeply. "I don't smell anything."

 

"Me neither," Mulder said. "Fire?"

 

"No," Jess replied after a moment. "Cigarette smoke. Pretty faint. Doubt either of you could smell it." She shook her head. "Probably some orderly sneaking a tobacco hit."

 

* * * * *

 

The three of them stood in front of the autopsy table. Mulder was looking slightly queasy. Jess was watching Scully prepare with a detached fascination.

 

"Here's our John Doe." Scully pulled the sheet back from the corpse's face.

 

"Cute," Jess snorted. The man's face was a rictus of pain and horror.

A parallel lines of teeth marks encircled the neck. "I see the bite wound, but something that shallow shouldn't have killed him."

 

"The theory about the actual cause of death was blood loss due to the fact that he was shot in the heart. One odd thing - there are no defense wounds on the hands or arms." Scully was putting on a pair of latex gloves.

 

"That *is* odd about the lack of defense wounds, especially if there was a dog involved in the attack." Jess was staring at the slash pattern. She turned to Scully. "May I examine the body before you open it?"

 

Scully nodded and passed Jess a pair of gloves and glasses. Jess put them on and leaned down, eyes level with the throat. She stared at them intently, fingers tracing the gashes.

 

"I can tell you a one thing about these marks - they weren't made by any dog I know of."

 

"What makes you say that?" Mulder asked weakly. He was making a macho attempt to keep his breakfast in his stomach.

 

"I see a set of dog canines, dog incisors, and molars. *Human* molars."

 

Scully looked a little closer. "She's right, Mulder. They do look like human molars. Could a man have bitten and then the dog bit over the same spot?"

 

Jess shook her head. "Not with that degree of accuracy. Maybe the attacker had a set of skeleton canine jaws and used that to make an impression. Symbolic lycanthropy?"

 

One of the cell phones rang. "Mulder... you have the results? We'll be there as soon as we finish the autopsy." He powered down the phone. "That was Pendrell. He has the test results on one of the collars we found."

 

"Collars?" Standing up, Jess shot an irritated glance at Mulder. "Mind explaining?"

 

"We found what appear to be two tracking collars with the victim. One's being examined through official channels, the other unofficial. In fact," Mulder started towards the door, "I'm going to check with the Gunmen to see if they've turned anything up."

 

"Fine, go ahead." <Ditch me like always.> Scully reached for a scalpel. As Mulder stepped out the door, the last thing he heard was Scully asking a question. "Has he always been so tight lipped when it comes to sharing information?"

 

"Ohhh yeah. Would you believe that once he..."

 

Mulder sighed to himself. <I'm gonna regret introducing the two of them.>

 

* * * * *

 

"So what's the rundown on the collars?" Jess asked.

 

The autopsy had been completed. Back at Mulder's apartment, they were waiting for the results of some tissue sample analysis. To Mulder's frustration, nothing unusual had been found except for the odd enzyme that was deposited in the bite wound.

 

"The collars are similar to the radio tracking collars used in wildlife management, with one unusual modification." Mulder paused, looking straight at Jess. "Each collar had been outfitted with a stun device that has substantial discharge."

 

"Why would you put a Taser in a dog's collar?" Scully mused.

 

"Maybe it was one *bad* dog." Jess said. "Doesn't prove anything."

 

"Jess, I expected Scully not to believe me, but you of all people..."

 

"Mulder, I'm not saying I don't have an open mind to your werewolf theory. However, I don't keep my mind so open that my brain falls out on the floor."

 

Scully decided to step in before things got out of hand. "Right now, there isn't enough evidence to make any conclusions."

 

"You're right, Scully." Jess yawned. "Anyway, I gotta go take a nap if I'm gonna go nosing around tonight."

 

"Um, Jess, I wanted to talk to you about that," Mulder said. "I don't think you should go out alone at night."

 

"I beg your pardon." Jess's voice took on an edge.

 

"You heard me." Mulder's voice also had an edge to it.

 

"I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself."

 

"I don't doubt that. I just don't want you to get hurt or mistaken for our suspect."

 

<Uh oh!> Scully thought. Jess had stiffened and was looking more and more pissed by the moment. "Mulder, Jess will be careful. I don't think house arrest is the best way to... ."

 

"No, Scully, don't bother." Jess had spun on her heel and was leaving. "I won't so much as step outside the hotel without your permission, Fox." She hissed the last word, knowing how much he hated to be called by his first name. She stormed out, slamming the door behind her.

 

"The stubborn little..." Mulder's voice trailed off.

 

Scully shook her head. "Don't you hate it when someone you care about doesn't listen to you or see that your advice is for their own good?"

 

"Yeah, it is frustrat... Damn. You just described me."

 

Scully grinned. "Gotcha," she said, kissing his nose.

 

* * * * *

 

<Damn him!> Jess mentally screamed. <The sheer unmitigated arrogance...>

 

Jess sat fuming in her hotel room. <How did I let him get me into this?>

 

<I can't believe Mulder had the gall to ask, no tell, me not to go out at night alone, human or wolf. Period.> He had backed her into a corner and made her promise not to leave the hotel. And because of a strong sense of personal honor, Jess felt obligated to keep that promise.

 

But she didn't have to like it.

 

<It's not like it's a full moon.> Jess groused. <I can understand the fact that he doesn't want me hunting. But, the fact that I can't go out outside as a human without a *chaperone*... .> She gritted her teeth

 

Jess could see some sense in it. If it really were a werewolf, and someone tried to frame her, it would be good to have an alibi. And she probably would have agreed with it eventually if Mulder hadn't then made a tactical error.

 

He checked up on her. Worse, he tried to cover up the fact that he was checking up on her.

 

<I don't believe it. A doctorate in psychology and he goes and does a bone headed thing like that.> Jess shook her head.

 

<So here I am, Friday night, and I said that I wouldn't leave the hotel.>

 

She snorted. And then smiled.

 

<...But I never said anything about leaving my room...>

 

* * * * *

 

The human part of him, what little of it that was left, was lonely. But loneliness had been his lifelong companion. He didn't have many friends at school, bright enough to get good grades but not to be the star student. Always wanting to be the center of attention, but never quite making it. Maybe that was why he jumped at the promise of power so quickly. They had flattered, flirted, coaxed, seduced, and compelled him until he had been in too deep to escape.

 

<Damn Cancerman! And damn me for listening to him!> Alexander Krycek thought as he walked back to the hotel. Recruited straight out of Quantico, he had served the powers-that-be to the best of his abilities, no matter how distasteful he found his mission. His reward for obeying without question, a death, no, make that a*life* sentence. First came Fox Mulder almost shooting him, then the botched car bombing, then Mulder beating the crap out of him in Hong Kong, and then being left in the silo to die. <If only I were that lucky.> And then...

 

Krycek shivered at the memory, pulling his leather jacket tighter around him. The last thing he remembered was cleaning up in the bathroom in Hong Kong. He couldn't remember how he got into the silo. He could remember screaming himself hoarse for someone to let him out. And eventually someone answering his cries.

 

Two days <or was it three> after his voice gave out, too weak from thirst and hunger to struggle, they came for him. They strapped him <not too gently> to a gurney and took him to one of their labs on the outskirts of D.C. Kept him sedated until he had regained his health somewhat.

 

And then they began the experiment.

 

<At least they didn't use any of that "alien" DNA.> He had seen some of the poor bastards they had done that to. <At least I still look human... most of the time.>

 

He stopped in front of the hotel bar. It wasn't one of the smoky dives that he had been haunting as of late. Maybe it would throw the Cigarette Smoking Man off his trail.

 

<Yeah, right.> Krycek had the feeling that if Cancerman *really* wanted him, nothing would be able to save his hide. He had thought that when he was almost captured by one of the enforcers. If he hadn't attacked the man sent after him, he probably would be back at the lab, alive or dead. And amazingly enough, the credit cards in the wallet he had taken hadn't been signed, so it was easy enough to forge a signature. Almost like someone wanted him on the outside. So he was Alex Kowalski for the moment, until Cancerman decided that it wouldn't do to have him on the loose.

 

He stepped into the bar and surveyed the crowd. It was the usual assortment of business people and tourists trying to unwind. <Hello! Who's she?> The short haired brunette in the black t-shirt and jeans was bending over to align the shot. Dark eyes glanced up, connected briefly with his, and cooly returned to the cue ball. She completed the shot without hesitation.

 

Something about her was damn attractive. Despite his situation, he wanted to get to know her, even if only for one night. He turned to the bartender. "Send the woman at the pool table one of whatever she's been drinking."

 

"Good luck, buddy. She's turned down five drinks so far."

 

* * * * *

 

Jess was downstairs in the bar, shooting pool. And playing a damn fine game too. <It would be better if I could get the drunks to stop hitting on me.> It was throwing off her concentration.

 

Getting hit on was one reason Jess didn't go to bars too often. It annoyed her. Ever since she had become a werewolf, most human males did nothing to excite her anymore. The only exception she had dated had been Mulder, but the Change had only been in effect for about a day when she met him. Now she doubted that if she met him now, she'd be attracted to him. On the other hand, it was all she could do to keep men from hitting on her. <Must be pheromonal or something...> she mused.

 

She looked up from a particular difficult shot - the two was behind the eight with just a few inches in between. Hit it wrong and either she would scratch or knock the eight ball into the pocket. <Hmmm, look what just walked in...> The young man wearing the leather jacket and tight jeans had a lean, hungry look about him that appealed strongly to her. <Concentrate on the pool balls, girl, not his.> She refocused and completed her shot.

 

<Perfect!> The cue ball kissed the eight ball and hit the two ball into the corner pocket, *just* missing scratching. She looked back up, to see the man admiring the shot, and her chest.

 

Jess straightened back up and nonchalantly began to rack the balls for another game. She glanced over at the bar. <Yup, he's still watching.> She started to chalk the cue.

 

"Hate to bother you, miss, but another guy has sent you a drink." The waitress sounded bemused.

 

"Again?" Jess raised her eyebrows. "Okay, which one this time?"

 

"Black jacket at the bar."

 

Jess casually glanced in that direction. It was the young stud. His eyebrow slightly raised when he caught her looking at him.

 

<Nothing ventured...,> Jess thought. <And since I so rarely have these impulses, why not?> "Can I use a page off your bill pad?"

 

* * * * *

 

Krycek watched the woman scribble something down and give it to the waitress. Keeping the beer, she then set the waitress on her way.

 

The waitress headed back to the bar. She gave him the note before picking up her next order.

 

Krycek opened it. "I don't accept drinks from strangers, so get your cute butt over here and introduce yourself."

 

He looked back to where the woman was standing. She smiled, placed a second cue stick on the table, and gestured him over with her head.

 

He smiled in return and to himself. <It's gonna be one interesting night.>

 

* * * * *

 

After a few beers and several games of pool with Alex, as he called himself, Jess decided to call it a night. And, coincidentally, he was staying on the floor below her. So they took the elevator together.

 

They stood in front of the door to his room. "So I guess I can't convince you to come in for some coffee?" he asked.

 

Jess gave him a devilish grin. "What you really mean is 'So I guess I can't convince you to come in so we can screw each other for the rest of the night?' I don't think so. Besides," she said, leaning in close, "we have to save something to do for one of our later dates."

 

Krycek drew in his breath sharply. Jess closed her eyes and parted her lips slightly as he leaned in close. His tongue slid over hers and traced the ridges of the roof of her mouth. She grabbed his hips, slamming her body against him. Moaning, she returned his passion with equal enthusiasm.

 

The kiss broke as suddenly as it started. They both stood there panting, wondering what would happen next.

 

Krycek turned slightly and opened the door. "So, did I manage to change your mind about coming in?"

 

"You make a *very* persuasive argument," Jess purred. She paused, a playful sparkle in her eyes. "Maybe... hmmm... no." She shoved him into his room. "But call me tomorrow," she said with a laugh, pulling the door shut.

 

All Krycek had been wanting when he first saw her was a one night stand. However, not sleeping with her right away and seeing her again did have a certain appeal. <I think I just might do that,> he thought.

 

But for the moment, he wanted to take care of a pressing problem. And right now, that problem was pressing his boxers. It had been so long since he had been with a woman, and he had gotten hot and bothered very quickly. <Maybe a cold shower...>

 

Krycek started to strip and headed for the bathroom. He had gotten as far as the bed when he caught sight of himself in the full length mirror. Completely naked, he took a long hard look at himself. He had healed well from his experience in the silo, the mistreatment at the labs and the training, leaving only solid muscle on his thin frame. Only an odd bruise on his groin was left. His fingers brushed against it and the hair at the base of his half hard cock.

 

<Ooooooh. That was a mistake,> he thought, closing his eyes, shocked by the power of his reaction. Longings that he was forced to deny for the moment swelled, demanding attention. <Forget a *cold* shower.>

 

<It's as close as you'll ever get to having her,> another male voice whispered in his head, chuckling evily. <Especially if she finds out what I did to you.>

 

Krycek spun around panicked, thinking that the voice had been in the room with him. It had only been his imagination and memory. But it was all too real. The speaker did exist, and in real life would be saying the exact same things to him. <She'd turn away in disgust if she knew that you enjoyed what I made you do.>

 

<I didn't enjoy it,> he thought. He walked into the bathroom and started the water running.

 

<Okay, maybe you didn't,> the voice conceded. <But if she knew who you *really* are, and what you've done, she wouldn't let you kiss her shoe, let alone her lips.>

 

The thought of kissing Jess again drove away the mocking voice torrmenting him. She was a wonderful kisser, all heat and tongue and pressure. He knew she would be the moment he had seen them, pursed as she aligned her shot on the pool table. And then he had been proven right just a few minutes ago.

 

<But I'm just kidding myself,> he thought despondently. <With everything I've done, she wouldn't be interested in any kind of relationship with me.> It would be too dangerous for someone he even slightly cared about, and he had caused enough pain in his life. He sighed trying to forget the sensations that Jess had awakened in him.

 

* * * * *

 

Scully wasn't looking forward to this. Neither she nor Mulder had heard from Jess last night. And Mulder and Jess had one hell of a fight. They could both be so stubborn.

 

And she wasn't that happy with Mulder to begin with. He could be so self-absorbed at times, pratically ignoring her. And although Jess had made it clear that she could easily take care of herself, he went out of his way to protect her. However he couldn't see that Scully was upset and wanted, needed the attention more than Jess did.

 

Scully stepped down to the hallway to Jess's hotel suite. Jess had insisted on having her own place and acting independently of the two of them.

 

Scully stopped in front of a door. She knocked on it. "It's Scully."

 

"Come in, it's open." Scully entered. "So tell me," Jess looked up from the newspaper she was reading. "Did you come over here on your own, or did Mulder put you up to this?"

 

Scully decided to be direct. "I'm here on my own. What did you do last night?"

 

"Murder, mayhem, ya know, the usual." Jess grinned. "I was downstairs in the bar shooting pool for several hours. The bartender and the guy I was playing with can vouch for me."

 

"So basically, you were trying to teach Mulder a lesson about trying to control you."

 

"Yup. Did it work?"

 

"Hasn't worked when I've tried. Why should it for you?"

 

"True," Jess agreed. "Actually, something about the way he said it rubbed me the wrong way. I've had a problem with male authority figures ever since I broke up with an abusive boyfriend. So I'm as much to blame for my attitude."

 

"I also thought you'd want to see a copy of the autopsy and the ballistics report." She handed a stack of papers to Jess. "Basically, the reason he died is due to the trauma induced when he shot himself."

 

"Suicide? I thought this was a murder." Jess started to leaf through the papers.

 

"So did we, but ballistics came back as being from the gun found in John Doe's possession. And his prints are the only ones on the gun. One other thing, the bullet was coated with pure silver."

 

* * * * *

 

It had been a long day at the Bureau. Mulder was tired. Having made up with Jess had helped. But it had been another day of working with people who thought that "Spooky" had another one of his weird ideas. Only Scully and Skinner would defend him somewhat, although not believing his theories anymore than his detractors.

 

Now they were at Scully's. <Finally alone together,> Mulder thought. He stepped up behind Scully and pressed his body against hers.

 

She moved away from him. <What is up with her? She usually can't stand not touching when we have a chance.> "Scully, what's wrong?"

 

"Nothing's wrong, Mulder," Scully snapped.

 

"Well, something's bothering you. You've been edgy since Jess arrived. Don't tell me you're jealous of her."

 

"No, I'm not jealous of Jess."

 

"Then what is it? Please, don't shut me out."

 

"Look who's talking," Scully growled. "Every time I've had a problem, or needed some reassurance, you've been stone cold. It's time you've been on the receiving end for once."

 

"Scully, I've always had a hard..."

 

"No!" Scully interrupted. "I don't want to hear your excuses. I'm tired of you blaming everything on your rotten childhood. Just get out."

 

"Please, I didn't mean to..."

 

"Go!" Scully wasn't backing down. Mulder realized she was *really* pissed off and would toss his ass out the door if he didn't leave.

 

"Okay, I'm going." He backed out the door.

 

Scully burst out into tears as soon as the door closed. Part of her wanted to chase him down and take back everything she said. However, pride won out and she went to bed.

 

* * * * *

 

Jess sat in her room, watching a TV infomercial. She had spent a great evening watching a really bad sci fi movie with Alex. They both had ended up mocking their way through it. That and making out like a horny teen with him had been a lot of fun too. Now alone, she was too wound up to go to sleep, even though it was 2 am.

 

There was a knock at her door. <Who the hell could that be at this time of night? Alex, I thought I wore you out.> She got up and said "Who is it?" as she spied through the peephole.

 

"Iz me," slurred Mulder's voice. "Le' me in? Please?"

 

Yes, it was Mulder standing out there, staggering about in an alcoholic haze. Jess opened the door. "Mulder, what are you doing over here? Don't tell me you drove over here like this."

 

Mulder staggered through the door. "Went to see Jess, stopped at the bar in the hotel lobby. Dana, I'm sorry."

 

"Mulder, it's me, Jess," she said softly. <Whoa! He's *really* plowed. I don't remember ever seeing him *this* drunk.> "Scully's at her place, I think. Do you want me to take you there?"

 

"No, Dana, le' me finish. Sorry for not talking. Can' talk 'bout problems, makes 'em too real. Don' send me away 'gain. Woan push you t' talk" Mulder put his arms around Jess and pulled her in before she could break the embrace. "Forgiv' me?" Mulder clamped his mouth over Jess's.

 

Jess almost retched from the smell of beer on his breath. She pushed hard against Mulder, shoving him off balance. He fell backwards onto the couch. "Mulder, you're drunk. I'm not the one you should be talking to. And you shouldn't be talking to anyone while you're like this. Let me take you back to your place and get you sobered up."

 

"Don' wanna leave."

 

She sighed. "Okay, at least let me make you some coffee." Jess turned away and started the complimentary coffee pot brewing. "So, talk to me. What's the problem?"

 

A snore was her answer. Jess turned and looked at the couch. Mulder had passed out. <How do I let myself end up in situations like this?> she thought, shaking her head and rolling her eyes.

 

* * * * *

 

Mulder finally woke up. He was in his bed. How he got there he wasn't quite sure. Or why he had just kicked off his shoes before he went to bed instead of stripping to his shorts like he usually did.

 

His head pounded in tempo with his heartbeat, which made it almost impossible to think. <What a weird dream.> In it, he remembered apologizing to Scully, but for some reason, she looked like Jess. <I'll have to analyze that one later.> He rolled out of bed, staggered into the bathroom, and emptied out his stomach. That accomplished, he stumbled to the kitchen, determined to get some coffee. <Hell, I can smell it already.>

 

"Morning, Mulder."

 

"Morning, Jess. *Jess?!?* What the hell are you doing here?"

 

"I brought you home last night. You were in no condition to drive, and I didn't want you ralphing in my room. And from the sounds I heard a few minutes ago, I think I made the right choice."

 

Mulder felt at his front pocket. The keys were still in there. "How did you get me in here?" Mulder accepted the cup of coffee Jess offered and sat.

 

"How does anyone get into your apartment? I picked the lock," Jess grinned. "Now, do you want to tell my why you showed up at my hotel room plastered?"

 

"I, uh, don't remember much about last night." Mulder winced at the light as Jess cracked open a curtain to look outside.

 

"Well, does calling me Dana, incoherently apologizing for not talking, and trying to ram your tongue down my throat sound familiar?"

 

Mulder grimaced. "Hell! Then it wasn't a dream." He looked at her sidelong. "And you didn't try to take advantage of me?"

 

"Let's just say I figured you wouldn't be 'up' to the occasion." There was a knock at the door. "That'll be Scully. I'm outta here."

 

"Jess, can't you stay and..."

 

"Referee? I don't think so." Jess got up to answer the door. "Besides, you're a big boy, and you two have to learn to talk to each other. That, and I gotta catch up on some lost sleep." Jess grabbed her purse as she opened the door. She nodded a greeting to Scully and left.

 

An awkward silence filled the room. Mulder finally broke it. "So, how much did Jess tell you?"

 

"Just that you showed up at her place drunk and made a pass at her thinking that it was me." Scully shook her head. "Even when you try to cheat on me, you end up with me."

 

"Well, at least I'm faithful in a bizarre way."

 

"Bizarre is right. Maybe that's the problem."

 

"Say again, Scully?"

 

Scully looked out the window. "All this weirdness is starting to get to me. I don't think we've actually ever had any time to ourselves."

 

"What about last weekend at your place?"

 

Scully shook her head. "That's not what I mean, Mulder. Every time we go somewhere together, it's because of work. We're being sent to investigate some odd murder or disappearance. It's always as Special Agents Scully and Mulder, never Dana and Fox."

 

The light went on in Mulder's brain. "Are you saying that you want to go somewhere on vacation with me?"

 

"I hadn't thought of it that way, but yes."

 

"Then that settles it." Mulder lurched up and crossed the room to hold her. "As soon as we get this case solved, we take a leave of absence together."

 

"But, Mulder, that would be stupid for us both to take one at the same time. How would we explain to Skinner... ."

 

"Shhhh." He put a finger to her lips, silencing her. "This is something you need and I want to do for you. Let me think about the details, we'll come up with something."

 

* * * * *

 

It was 10 am. Jess crashed onto her bed. She was curling into a ball, drifting off to sleep when there was a knock at the door.

 

<If it's Mulder again, I am going to kill him.> She got up with a sigh and answered the door.

 

There stood Alex. "Hey, Jess. How are you d... whoa!" He looked her up and down appreciatively. "I thought you were joking about screwing each other on one of our later dates."

 

Jess looked down horrified. She was wearing what she usually wore to bed - panties and a satin sleep shirt that barely covered them. "Oh God! I forgot you were coming over," blushing furiously. "Let me get dressed," she said, retreating to the bedroom.

 

"No, don't bother on my account," he said trailing after. "Mind if I watch?" A pillow slammed into his face, followed by the door. "I guess that's a 'no'."

 

Jess reappeared wearing jeans and a t-shirt. "Make that a 'not-just-this-moment'." She sat down on the couch, patting the spot beside her. "Anyway, I'm too tired to appreciate sex fully."

 

"Rough night? I thought I left you feeling good. You sure felt good against me," Alex said, sitting beside her. His hand slid across the small of her back to wrap around her waist.

 

Jess relaxed back into his embrace. "Remember the friend I was telling you about?"

 

"The one that you slept with?"

 

"Yeah, that's the one. He and his girlfriend had a fight, and he showed up here wasted. So I had to get him back to his place - don't ask how, the details are a little fuzzy due to the lack of sleep."

 

"What, afraid I'd walk in on the two of you and fly into a jealous rage?"

 

"Nah, I didn't want my room stinking like vomit when he sobered up."

 

"Good point." His hand was circling lightly around her hipbone. "So what do you want to do today?"

 

"Sleep," Jess said, placing her head against his shoulder.

 

"Together? Right now? Sure."

 

"You have a one track mind, a dirt track." Jess laughed. "I think that's why I keep you around." She put a hand on his thigh, stroking it lightly.

 

<God! What is it about her? I should be thinking about getting the hell out of town, not falling for this beautiful woman.> Krycek pulled her in for a heart stopping kiss.

 

<I'm here to help Mulder and Scully solve... Ohhhh, he is *so* good.> Alex's tongue was slowly exploring her mouth. She moaned and laced her fingers in his hair. He leaned back, pulling her onto him. <I shouldn't be doing this, but I sure as hell don't want to stop. There are worse things I could be doing than falling in love.>

 

* * * * *

 

Jess sat opposite the Hoover Building, sketch pad in hand. Her pencil danced over the paper, catching the feel of her surroundings. <It's been too long since I've drawn for the fun of it.> She was so absorbed in shadowing the stairway she had drawn, she didn't notice the FBI agent standing behind her.

 

"Not bad."

 

Jess jumped in surprise. "Uh, thanks." She brushed her bangs back from here eyes.

 

"Of course, if you've put any government secrets into that drawing, I'll have to arrest you." He flashed a FBI badge. "In fact I'll start the interrogation right now. What's your name and will you have dinner with me tonight?"

 

Jess thought about it. <I'm not attracted to him, but why not.> "I plead the fiftieth. I refuse to answer on the grounds that I don't know your name."

 

"It's Tom Colton. And you are?"

 

"Jess Leahs. And yes, I'd love to go to dinner."

 

They traded polite nothings and phone numbers. Colton excused himself, saying he had to get to work. As he was about to enter the building, he took one last look. He saw Jess chatting with... Mulder?

 

Then he remembered the rumor that was going around - Spooky's ex was in town and helping him pick up the killers vibes, or something like that. <So much for that date.> He stopped in the lobby to make a call.

 

* * * * *

 

Jess had returned to the hotel to get ready for her date. There were three messages waiting for her, Alex saying that he was too tired to do anything tonight and he'd call in the morning, Mulder inviting her to dinner with Scully, and Colton saying his mother had arrived in town unexpectedly and he had to cancel tonight.

 

<Well, at least I still have something to do tonight.> She phoned back Mulder. "Hey there. It's Jess."

 

"Hey there yourself. Do you want to go out to dinner with my boss and his wife? "

 

"Afraid to face them alone?" Jess couldn't resist teasing.

 

"No, feeling sorry for you. Thought you'd like to get out of that hotel room. And I want you to run interference if he starts asking Scully and I questions."

 

"Oh, I see. I'm a diversion. I should be insulted." Jess paused for a beat. "But you know me, free food and I'm there. What time and where?"

 

* * * * *

 

After they joined the Skinners at the table, Jess had switched gears admirably. She went from baiting Mulder endlessly to a polite dinner guest in the blink of an eye. Both she and Sharon Skinner had grown up in California, and were discussing the merits of the Bay Area versus San Diego. Scully could not hide her amusement as Mulder kept looking at Jess in shock. <She does love keeping him on his toes,> she thought.

 

"Mulder, have I grown a second head or something?" Jess had finally noticed the odd looks she was getting.

 

Before Mulder could respond, Scully jumped in. "He's in shock that you haven't tried to take him down a notch for the last ten minutes."

 

Mulder shot an annoyed look at his partner as Jess took up the challenge. "I was *supposed* to be making fun of you in front of your boss and his wife?" Jess hit her forehead in mock frustration. "Mulder, you've got to tell me these things *ahead* of time."

 

The sound of laughter filled the air. "Remind me to tell the most embarrassing story about you I can come up with later, Jess. And if you're really bad I'll... oh no." Mulder's voice faded out.

 

"Something wrong, Mulder?" Skinner had been enjoying watching Jess and Mulder go at it. There was a relaxed familiarness between the two of them that put Mulder more at ease than Skinner had ever seen. Scully was very calm also. <Odd, that,> he thought. If a woman with a past with Mulder, or one who was thinking about a future with him, was around, Scully got possessive very quickly.

 

Mulder leaned towards Jess. "Don't look now, but Colton just walked in with someone."

 

"Well, he broke the date with me because his mom was in town." Jess turned to look. "Although if *she's* his mother, my hat's off to her plastic surgeon."

 

Skinner turned in his chair. Agent Colton was being sat at a table on the other side of the room. His "mother" was a twenty something leggy blonde with a low cut blouse and a high cut skirt.

 

Mulder, who never like Colton to begin with, looked irate. Scully looked embarrassed by her former partner's actions. She also looked concerned for Jess and worried about Mulder. "Don't even think about going over there, Mulder."

 

Jess sat drumming her fingers, contemplating something. "Yeah, don't go. I want first crack at him. Besides Mulder," an impish look was glowing in her eyes, "sometimes the best revenge doesn't involve direct physical violence. Watch and learn." Reaching up to dishevel her hair, she turned to Mrs. Skinner. "May I borrow your wedding ring?"

 

* * * * *

 

Colton sat at the table with his date, Laura. Things were going very well. <Much better than if I had gone out with Spooky's ex.> She wasn't as witty as Jessica seemed, hell, she wasn't as bright as Jessica. But it looked like he could get Laura to say 'yes' much easier than he could have Jess.

 

"So, Tom, what would you like to do after dinner? Maybe stop back at my place for a drink?" Laura leaned forward, showing off more of her cleavage.

 

Colton, eyes glued to her chest, licked his lips and was about to respond when another voice interrupted. "Honey, what are you doing here? It's been three days this time, Tom. I've been *so* worried."

 

The blood drained from Colton's face, and other body parts as well. He turned to see Jess staring at him, tears in her eyes. The light glinted off the wedding band on her hand as she wrung them nervously.

 

"Who is this? You didn't tell me you were married." His date sounded put out.

 

Colton stared darkly at Jess. "I'm not."

 

"Tom, don't say that, sweetheart!" Jess cried out. "We can work it out. And little Tommy and Amy keep asking when daddy will be back."

 

"Kids? You have *kids*?" Laura had heard enough. "I'm leaving, you creep!"

 

"Laura, wait!" Colton stood up trying to stop Laura. No luck. She stormed out.

 

Jess, meantime, had covered her face with her hands. She was shaking with what looked like sobs of sorrow, but was actually hysterical laughter. Colton spun around to face her. "Just what the hell do you think you're doing?" he ground out through clenched teeth.

 

"No, just what the hell do you think *you're* doing?" Mulder, having decided to get into the act, was now stepping up beside Jess, putting an arm around her comfortingly. "Here you have a beautiful wife, a loving family, and you are running around with some bimbo who's IQ is smaller than her bra size." Jess was leaning into Mulder for support. Now she was really losing control. "C'mon, let's sit you down and dry your eyes away from that jerk." He was leading her off. "You could do *much* better than him." He was sitting her down at a table where... <Oh shit! Scully and AD Skinner were watching the whole thing.> Colton turned bright red and left the restaurant.

 

"Jessica, that was very immature of you," Scully scolded.

 

She passed the ring back to Mrs. Skinner. "I know, but it was fun. Besides, don't worry about it. I'm used to rotten luck when it comes to men."

 

Mulder got a closed off look. "Are you implying something?"

 

It took Jess a moment to register what he said. "Oh no. No, no, no," she said shaking her head. "I was referring to the first guy I kissed. He gave me mononucleosis." She ran her fingers through her short hair. "And then there was Jake, of course. But you, nah."

 

That clinched Skinner's suspicions. "I take it that the rumors about the two of you are true."

 

Jess didn't miss a beat. "Which ones? I started three myself."

 

"The ones about you and Mulder having an affair."

 

"Had an affair," Mulder corrected. "And that was over ten years ago."

 

"Try twelve." Jess snorted. "We were young and stupid. Things have changed a lot since then."

 

Mulder took the opening she left. "Yeah, you're older."

 

"Mulder, bite me."

 

* * * * *

 

"And then you told him what?" Krycek was laughing uncontrollably.

 

"Something about 'our kids' asking for daddy. His date flounced out." Jess was still snickering from the memory. "Then my friend came over and read him the riot act for 'walking out on me'."

 

"That's too funny." He reached out to stroke Jess's hair. "How could someone be so stupid as to walk out on you?"

 

"Seems like there are a lot of stupid men out there."

 

"I'm not one of them." Krycek lifted her wrist to his lips.

 

Jess shuddered in pleasure. <I want you *sooooo* badly.> "I hope not." She pulled his head to hers, kissing his forehead.

 

<I've got to have her.> Krycek flipped around so he was kneeling in front of Jess. He eased in between her legs, spreading them, but not touching any higher than her knees.

 

Jess slid forward, kissing him feverently. She wrapped her arms around him, resting her weight against him.

 

That was too much for Krycek to bear. He leaned backwards to the floor, taking him her with him. He pushed her back so that she was straddling his hips instead of his waist. He looked up at her.

 

She was looking down at him, lips parted, eyes full of dark fire. She leant down to brush his cheek with hers. Krycek moaned softly. She brushed against his other cheek. She then settled her weight back onto her hips, and his. She sighed at the feel of the hardness beneath her.

 

"So beautiful. Oh God, so beautiful," he whispered. He slowly started to press upwards with his hips. His hands clamped onto her waist, holding her firmly against him.

 

He needn't have worried. Instead of pulling away, Jess ground into him. She lowered her chest against him, kissing his throat. Her hands started to wander over his sides, slipping underneath to caress the small of his back.

 

"Jessica," he breathed. He started pulling her shirt out from under her jeans.

 

A ringing sound filled the air. <Shit! Not now!> Jess thought desperately. She lifted up, a disappointed look in her eyes. "I'm sorry."

 

"Not your fault." Krycek cupped her cheek. "Go on, get it."

 

Jess kissed him lightly. She eased off him, prolonging contact as long as she could.

 

As she moved off to answer the phone, Krycek picked himself up off the floor. <Hell, what were you about to do?> Sex was not a problem, but a relationship would be. And this time, he didn't think he'd be able to separate the two. <And I really don't care. I want to be with her more than anything I've ever wanted before.>

 

"Sorry about that." Jess returned. She put her arms around his waist. "Just my friend, calling to ask about going to lunch tomorrow." She hesitated. "Um, Alex, I'm not sure we should pick up where we left off." <But I want to. Oh God, do I *want* to.>

 

<No! Please! I don't care if it's the wrong thing to do.> "I think you may be right." He pulled her head against his chest, cradling it.

 

"Then you better go." The regret in her voice was real. <But I don't want you to leave. Stay, please!>

 

Krycek nodded. He kissed her softly and then crossed the room. At the door, he looked back hesitating. "Talk to you tomorrow?" Jess was standing there, biting her lip, trying to keep from crying. She nodded slightly. He looked down, and then let himself out.

 

<What have I just done?> Jess despaired. She shut off the lamp and went into the bedroom. Not bothering to undress, she threw herself on the bed and cried herself to sleep.

 

* * * * *

 

Jess sat in her hotel room alone the next morning. <God, Scully and Mulder are damn lucky to have each other.> She had spent most of her life alone. She had never thought about having a long term intimate relationship with a human. For that fact, she hadn't thought of having a short term relationship either. <Hell, what am I doing?> Jess thought miserably. <I shouldn't be involved with Alex. He's either going to think I'm crazy, or freak out. Hell, *Mulder* couldn't handle it, how could I expect him to? What was I thinking?>

 

There was a knock on the door. "Jess, it's Mulder, and I'm sober."

 

Jess answered the door. "That's a shocker. What are you doing here? New info?"

 

"No, just wanted to talk." Mulder sat on one end of the couch. "It's been a while since it's been just us. So, how are you doing?"

 

<Why the hell not talk to him about it?> "I'm struggling with something. I've started dating someone, casually I thought."

 

Mulder leaned back, a little surprised. "You, dating? There must be a God."

 

"Stop that!" Jess threw a pillow at him in annoyance. "I'm serious here."

 

"Okay, I'll behave."

 

"Promises, promises." Jess shook her head. "When I started, I said that it was just for fun. But I'm developing strong feelings for this guy."

 

"Have you acted on those feelings?" Mulder was curious. Jess had learned to keep a tight rein on her emotions, and she wasn't impulsive. But she sounded truly rattled.

 

"No, but came too damn close last night. If you hadn't called... ." Jess shook her head. "I really don't know what to do. I can't tell him what I am."

 

"Are you sure about that, blood thirsty hell beast?" Mulder ducked another pillow flying in his direction. "No, I'm serious. Jess, you don't have to tell him. I mean you've been here what, a week? Things can't be that far along. How much does he know about you?"

 

"That I'm in town helping you, that I was abused by Jake, and some stuff about my family. Aside from that, nothing much."

 

"So why are you panicking? It's not like the two of you are engaged or have made any type of serious commitment."

 

"Mulder, you don't understand." Jess sighed. "I haven't been attracted slightly to any men since you. And I am *strongly* attracted to him."

 

Mulder raised his eyebrows. "Are you trying to tell me you're a lesbian or did I spoil it for you being with other men?"

 

"No, I'm not gay and don't flatter yourself." Jess laced her fingers and rested her chin on them. "I think it has something more to do with being a werewolf than having been abused."

 

Mulder thought about that for a moment. "Jess, let me get this straight. You haven't been interested in dating. You arrive here, where we think there is a werewolf roaming, and you start getting urges you haven't had since before your transformation. You don't think that this guy is the person we're looking for?"

 

"I don't know, Mulder."

 

"So, do a mind probe."

 

"It's not that simple," Jess growled through clenched teeth. "I can't probe for information. I just pick up on what the person is thinking about. Unless he happens to be thinking that he's a werewolf, I can't tell. And I'm not going to run a twenty four hour mind scan for the three seconds that he might be thinking about lycanthropy. And besides," she bowed her head. "If I do scan him and learn something, I might accidentally let it slip. How do I explain that?"

 

"That's a hard one, Jess." Mulder sounded sympathetic.

 

"Anyway, I'm unsettled to begin with. Full moon's tonight, and I'm always antsy until I go out for a run."

 

"In that case, I'll leave you alone." Mulder got up to leave. "Just be careful."

 

Jess gave him a toothy grin. "I will be."

 

* * * * *

 

<Shit! I did it again.> The full moon had been too much to resist. Out causing mayhem as a wolf, back in the room as a remorseful human.

 

Vague remembrances of bloody violence danced in his mind. He put his hands to his head to try to shut out the screams of his victims past and present. <Damn it to hell, I thought I could control this!>

 

<And what happens if you're with *her* one full moon night?> He couldn't shake the image. Him on top, and deep inside, of his lover. The sudden pain of transformation ripping to shreds the pure pleasure he was feeling. Her cries of ecstasy changing to screams of horror in a heartbeat. The look of pure terror in her beautiful brown eyes as his fangs closed on Jess's ivory throat.

 

<Oh God! No!> Krycek thought. <That does it. I can't let that happen to her. I'd never forgive myself.> He was going to call off the relationship, no matter how much it hurt. He couldn't risk killing, or even wounding, the first person who loved him unconditionally. True, Jess hadn't said it aloud, but her actions spoke loud enough for him.

 

<Gotta stop thinking about this.> He grabbed the bottle of vodka he had bought earlier in the day, just for this occasion. Getting drunk and passing out was the only way he knew to shut out the images and the voices.

 

<It's gonna be lonely without Jess,> he thought as he popped open the long neck bottle. A lone tear, first of many, slid down his cheek as he threw his head back and took his first swallow.

 

* * * * *

 

The creature had shadowed Jess back to the hotel. <For someone with exceptional mind powers, she sure is dense. But then she hasn't had any training.>

 

<And I'd enjoy training her in several things.> The male grinned wolfishly. When he first caught her scent, it drove him wild. Here was a strong, and strong willed, bitch. The others at the lab had become too submissive. He wanted a challenge. He wanted her.

 

The thought of her under him almost distracted him from his mission - to hunt down Krycek. The damned traitor had killed a guard and disabled his implant and escaped. Exactly how it wasn't known. The tracking devices were supposed to be foolproof.

 

<That would be a trick worth knowing. Be nice to slip out whenever I want to. But first I'll have to find him.> He looked at the woman stepping through the doorway. <Soon, my dear. Soon.> But for the moment, he needed to find another target to vent his urges on.

 

* * * * *

 

Jess was returning from a midnight run as a wolf. The full moon had been impossible to resist. She hadn't killed, just stretched her four legs and gloried in the senses of the predator she could become at will.

 

She walked into her room and checked for messages. Nothing. <That's odd. I should have heard something from Alex by now unless I'm getting the brush off.> Jess decided to walk by his room and see if he was awake.

 

There was a light coming from under the door to his room. Jess knocked at the door. "Alex? You in there?"

 

She heard someone moving clumsily around inside. She pushed at the unlocked door and stepped through it.

 

Krycek sat on the couch. "Jess? Whacha doin' h're?" He looked at her through unfocused eyes, red from crying.

 

Jess surveyed the scene. A bottle of vodka, half empty, sat on the table. That was more than enough to clue her into what had happened.

 

"I haven't heard from you at all today. I was worried," She paused, trying to judge exactly how drunk he was. "Alex, what's wrong?"

 

"Done awf'l th'ngs. Doan't deserv' forg'v'n'ss. Luv you, but doan't deserv' to be luved.."

 

"Oh Alex," Jess whispered, stunned. <To hell with it. I don't care anymore.> She dropped onto the couch beside him, wrapping her arms around him. "I love you too. I don't care what you've done."

 

"Wha?" Krycek blinked. <Did I just hear right?>

 

She took his head in her hands. "I love you. But we can't talk about this while you're like this." She stood back up, tugging him with her. "C'mon, let's get you into bed so you can sleep it off."

 

* * * * *

 

Krycek woke up, abruptly alert. His time on the run had turned him into a light sleeper. <God, what a headache!> He recognized that he was in his bed. <How the hell did I end up here? I thought I was on the couch... oh shit!> He remembered Jess showing up and thought he remembered saying he loved her. <Stupid, stupid, *stupid*. She could *never* return those feelings. Musta hallucinated her reaction.> He tried to get up, but was hampered by a weight around his midriff.

 

He rolled over gently, hoping against hope. The lovely arm that was thrown around him did belong to Jess. Still dressed, like himself, she was stretched out beside him asleep. <Then last night did happen.> He softly traced his fingers over her cheek and lips.

 

Jess stirred lightly under his touch. Those luminous dark eyes opened. "Morning, Alex," she said, kissing his fingers lightly.

 

"Morning, Jess," he said shyly. "Still here?"

 

"I didn't think it would be good for you to wake up alone. And I couldn't make myself leave. So technically, we've slept together." She rolled onto her back. "Do you want to talk about last night?" Jess's voice wasn't demanding, just offering.

 

"I don't know where to start." He reached for her hand. His fingers interlaced with hers.

 

"How about with 'I love you'? Unless it was the booze talking and not your heart."

 

He heard the uncertainty in her voice. "It wasn't the booze." He shifted, laying half on, half off her. "I love you with all the heart I thought I didn't have." <I won't hurt her. I won't let anyone hurt her. I won't allow it to happen.>

 

"Alex, I don't know what you did," she said, looking deep into his eyes. "And I don't really care. I've done some awful things too. All I care about is the fact that you love me and I love you." She pulled his head to hers and kissed him slowly.

 

This kiss was different from their previous ones. It was bonding them closer emotionally and hinting at the delicate passion and pleasure awaiting them.

 

Jess smiled at him when the kiss ended. She started to lightly massage his shoulders. "So, how's your hangover?"

 

"I'm not nauseous, thank God for small favors. But I do have a horrible headache," Krycek winced, playing for sympathy.

 

Jess nodded. "You know," she said, drawing her fingers down his spine. "I heard somewhere that sex is supposed to be a cure for headaches. Interested in testing that theory?"

 

He grinned. "You know, I always hated doing research in school. But in this case...." He pressed himself down on her, kissing her feverishly.

 

"Alex," Jess growled low.

 

He ripped off their shirts. Krycek, straddling one thigh, was kissing and nipping her exposed flesh. Panting, he fumbled with the catch on her bra.

 

Jess pushed him back so she could look in his eyes, fear and desire spilling from hers. "I have scars, Alex."

 

Krycek responded by leaning down and capturing her mouth. He closed his eyes and slid his tongue between her lips. While he was pleasuring her, his hands moved to Jess's back, undoing her bra. He slid the lace and elastic away from her body. The scars she had told him about had faded with age and weren't that noticeable. Slicking her skin with the tip of his tongue, Krycek moved from her lips down her chin and neck to stop her left breast.

 

Jess's hands traced his chest, caressing each nipple before sliding down his abdomen. They stopped at his fly to tease it open. She stroked him lightly through his cotton briefs, swirling her finger just below the damp spot that appeared.

 

He moaned at the gentle contact. "Jessica," he breathed. Before she could start any serious touching, he pulled her arms above her head, pinning her there. Bending low over her, Krycek slowly started thrusting against her hips.

 

The pager in Jess's pocket, set to vibrate, went off.

 

So did Krycek. "Oh shit!" he yelled, collapsing onto Jess, breathing hard. Then he rolled off of her and onto his side, refusing to face her.

 

"What's wro... oh." Jess said as she reset her pager. "It's okay, not your fault. You were just a little... overstimulated." She put an arm over his chest, spooning into him. "Please, don't pull away from me."

 

<Did I just hear right?> Krycek rolled over to face her. "You don't blame me?" he croaked. The last time he had been with a woman, he came prematurely then also. His partner's complaints and insults had been loud and long.

 

"No, I don't," Jess reassured. She gently stroked his cheek. "We were excited, it's been a while for both of us, and," she shrugged her shoulders, "these things happen. And if it's a regular problem, we'll work through it." She kissed him lightly on the lips. "Why don't you go clean up while I see who paged."

 

Krycek returned the kiss gently. "What did I do to deserve you?"

 

"Funny, I'm asking myself the same thing," Jess said as she got out of the bed. "Mind if I use the phone?"

 

"Go ahead. I think I need a shower. Feel free to join me, but I'm not certain anything will happen." Krycek was still waiting for Jess to belittle him.

 

"Would you stop being so hard on yourself?"

 

Krycek winced again. This time it wasn't a play for sympathy.

 

<Did I just say 'hard on'? Open mouth, insert foot,> Jess sighed. She crossed the room and placed her hands on his shoulders. "Sorry, poor choice of words." She leaned against him. "I don't know who hurt you, but I'm not like that. So stop setting yourself up. I'm not gonna intentionally cause you pain."

 

Krycek rested his head against her bare shoulder. Jess wrapped her arms his neck. He started to tremble. She gently rocked side to side. "I wish you could trust me more," Jess whispered.

 

His arms wrapped desperately around her waist. "Jess, if I told you some of the things I've done, you'd hate me afterwards." Krycek's voice broke in a sob. "I can't risk losing you."

 

Jess's pager, now set to audio, went off again.

 

"Damn electronic leash," she murmured. One hand slid from his neck down and around his back and side to her waist and shut off the intruding noise. "Listen, go take your shower. I'll check my voice mail and then we'll get some breakfast and talk."

 

Krycek slowly disentangled himself from Jess's embrace. <If things were only that easy.> "Okay. Give me about ten minutes." He stepped into the bathroom.

 

Jess sighed as she pulled her clothes back on. <Whoever called me, I'm going to kill them.> She picked up the phone.

 

"Jess, it's Mulder," came the recorded message. "There was another murder last night. Call back and we'll get you into the crime scene."

 

<Damn! Of all the rotten luck.> Jess slammed the receiver down. She'd have to go, because it would be another month before she could possibly pick up the killers scent if she didn't. "Alex?" she called stepping into the humidity of the bathroom.

 

Krycek poked his head out of the shower. "Something wrong, Jess?"

 

"I'm sorry, hon, but I've got to go." Jess sounded apologetic. "It's an emergency."

 

"Okay..." <Yeah, right. You've changed your mind about sleeping with me.> "Whatever you say." The hurt in his voice was unmistakable.

 

<God! He doesn't believe me. What am I supposed to do now? Tell him the whole truth?> "Alex, we will talk about what's happening later. The reason I have to go now is that there's been a murder. I have certain, um, talents that my friend wants me to use, but I have to see the corpse where it was found in order to get the best results." <That sounds really lame. Why didn't you say 'I have to smell the ground and see if I can catch the other werewolf's scent.' That sounds more believable.>

 

"Right." The one word came out with a harder edge than he intended. His head withdrew back into the shower.

 

Jess's shoulders slumped. "I'll call when I get back." She left the bathroom. A few moments later he heard the soft click of the outer door closing.

 

<Hell! What did I just do?> Krycek hit his head against the slick tile. <She tried to explain why, and I just drove her away like a spoiled brat. Idiot!> he berated himself. "Come back, Jess," he whispered. "I'm sorry and I will make it up."

 

* * * * *

 

Scully watched Jess out of the corner of her eye as she drove. Jess had been very quiet and introspective since she got into the car. No cracks about Mulder, no comments about her interrupted sleep. Scully's curiousity finally got the better of her. "Jess, what's wrong?"

 

"Huh?" Jess said. She turned her head from the window it had been resting against as she absently watched the scenery scroll by.

 

"I said 'What's wrong?' You've been too quiet since I picked you up from the hotel."

 

Jess smiled ruefully. "Is it that obvious?"

 

"Yes."

 

"Okay, I'll spill my guts. But you'll probably wish I hadn't when you here about this."

 

Scully grinned. "If I can handle Mulder's psychoses, I'm sure I can handle someone's who is under the delusion that she's a werewolf."

 

Jess chuckled a little. "Still don't believe me?"

 

"Not one bit."

 

"Okay, fair enough." Jess paused, putting her thoughts in order. "Shortly after I came here, I met someone. We've spent a lot of time together the last few days."

 

Scully nodded. "Mulder mentioned that you were seeing someone."

 

"Well, things took a serious turn last night. While he was drunk, he told me that he loved me."

 

"So what happened?"

 

"Basically the same thing that happened the night Mulder showed up at my place drunk. I put him to bed. However, I fell asleep beside him."

 

"And when he woke up you were still there."

 

"Yup. This is where things get complicated." Jess stopped for a moment. "When we both woke up, we started to talk about what he said last night. And I also had realized during the night that I loved him too, and told him."

 

"And so you two took the next step."

 

"Tried to." Jess sounded faintly embarrassed. "This is one of those things that, if we end up together, we'll probably howl over. Mulder paged me about this murder. I usually keep my pager, which was in my pocket, set to vibrate and... ." She trailed off. And started to giggle.

 

Scully started to giggle too. "You don't mean... ."

 

"Exactly. And he feels that it was his fault. So I tried to explain to him that I understood."

 

"But he didn't understand why you had to leave."

 

"That's it in a nutshell." Jess sighed again. "Dana, what am I going to do?"

 

"First of all, Jess, keep calling me Dana instead of Scully. Most of my friends do."

 

"Sorry, I, uh, didn't want to presume anything."

 

"That's okay. And second, I don't think there is anything you can do about, what *is* his name?"

 

"Alex."

 

"Alex's attitude. If he really loves you, he'll come around."

 

* * * * *

 

Mulder surveyed the scene dispassionately. <If this doesn't convince Jess, nothing will.>

 

The blue sedan pulled up. Scully and Jess got out. Scully flashed her id to the police guarding the scene and ushered Jess past the barrier.

Scully had slipped into her cool clinical mode. "What do we have, Mulder?"

 

"Caucasian female, early 20's. Was out jogging and... ." They all looked at the corpse with its throat torn out.

 

Jess, on the other hand, was anything but cool. She was scanning the ground, the bushes, the corpse, her eyes restlessly devouring the crime scene. A scent hit her as the breeze shifted. <Yes. We have werewolf.> She was edgily shifting her weight, trying to decide which direction to move. "Now *this* definitely feels familiar. Any animal tracks?"

 

Mulder pointed to the other side of the body. Jess skittered around to get a better view. He couldn't keep some vindication out of his voice. "This indicates that there is a werewolf involved."

 

"Try a pit bull. Here's the collar." Scully pointed out the broken leather strap with the id tag still attached. "The dog turned on his master."

 

"Yeah," Jess called back to her. She was standing on top of the embankment. "But usually a dog doesn't snap its neck out of remorse."

 

Scully and Mulder moved over to where Jess was standing. Hidden by the embankment was the corpse of a large dog. Its head was turned in an unnatural angle. In addition to the throat wound, three of its legs had been broken and deep gashes covered its side and shoulders. And a second pair of even larger animal tracks lead away from the body. "Exactly what I did to Rex," Jess muttered. "Wait a minute... ." She squinted at the corpse's hindquarters. "Mulder, is there any signs of sexual assault on the jogger?"

 

"No." Mulder wasn't sure where she was going with this.

 

"Well there was an assault committed, just not on the expected victim. Is that what I think it is, Dana?" Her nose wrinkled.

 

Scully had moved in to get a better look. "It does look like semen."

 

"Ten to one it's canine," Mulder said. He looked disgusted also.

 

"Five to one it's human," Jess retorted. <I hope.>

 

Scully interrupted their argument. "We'll know when we get a sample."

 

Mulder and Jess both looked up. "We?" they said simultaneously.

 

* * * * *

 

Jess returned to the hotel. She asked at the desk if she had any messages. Nothing.

 

<Okay.> Jess didn't want to go back to her room. After all the emotional roller coaster she had been on, she didn't want to lock herself away. <Maybe I'll walk to the bookstore. Get something sci-fi to distract me and go read in a park.> She walked out of the lobby.

 

The black man put down the newspaper he was reading. He looked over to the clerk behind the check-in counter. At the clerk's nod, he got up and followed Jess down the street. He quickly caught up to her. "Miss Jessica Leahs." A statement, not a question.

 

Jess immediately stiffened, but kept walking. "Who wants to know?" Jess glanced sidelong at the man in the trenchcoat walking beside her.

 

"You should choose your associates more carefully." Again a statement, not a threat.

 

Jess stopped and looked darkly at him. <Caution, girl. Step lightly.> "I'm not use to total strangers coming up to me on the street telling me who I can and cannot see."

 

"That wasn't an order, Miss Leahs. Just a suggestion, for your safety." The man brushed past her.

 

Jess stood there and watched the man disappear into the crowd waiting at the corner for the bus. <So much for going to the bookstore.> She switched directions and headed to the nearest pay phone.

 

* * * * *

 

"And then what did he say?" Mulder leaned forward, intent on Jess's story.

 

"Nothing, just walked off and got lost in the crowd." Jess leaned against the edge of his messy desk. "Then I called you."

 

Scully, standing in the doorway to Mulder's apartment, watched Jess and Mulder talking. Neither of them had noticed her yet. <They act more like brother and sister than ex-lovers.> The only time Jess had asked Mulder to act on the past that they shared was to save her, and her little girl's, life. Otherwise, she never brought it up, unless it was to gently tease him when it was just the three of them around. Maybe that's why she never felt threatened by Jess's existence in his, no make that their, life.

 

Mulder broke into a smile when he saw her standing there. "Hello, beautiful." Despite Jess's presence, he kissed her long and deep.

 

Jess watched Scully's reaction turn from annoyance to arousal as Mulder kissed her. <They really do love each other. I want that for me and Alex.> "Ahem, ahem, ahem, third person in the room," she coughed.

 

The kiss broke, but not the embrace. "You obviously don't know about his video collection, Jess," Scully laughed. "That's more likely to turn him on more than discourage him."

 

Jess laughed as Mulder turned red. "I'm going to get you later for that," he murmured to Scully.

 

"I'm looking forward to it," Scully countered.

 

"Yo, we've got some business to attend to." Jess didn't want anymore information about their sex life than she already had. "I was warned by a stranger to 'choose your associates more carefully.'"

 

That caught Scully's attention. "Any idea who?"

 

Jess shook her head. Mulder started to speak. "The only thing I can come up with is that we're getting too close to whoever is causing these murders and they are trying to scare you off, Jess."

 

"Mulder, that doesn't make any sense." Scully's voice of reason found the obvious hole in Mulder's idea. "We don't even have a motive yet, let alone a suspect."

 

"There is a way to find out," Mulder said. He picked up a roll of masking tape and placed an 'X' prominently in the window. "Jess, you might as well go back to your place. It may be a while before we have an answer."

 

"I do have one answer." Scully looked serious. "The DNA analysis came back on the semen samples found at the scene. It's not human. The closest thing it resembles is a dog... or a wolf."

 

* * * * *

 

Jessica returned to her suite, not in a good mood. Krycek's attitude at her leaving, and the following silence really hurt deep. Mulder being right didn't make things easier for Jess's peace of mind. And the stranger's warning didn't help any either. <Too many things happening at once.> All she wanted to do was grab some leftover takeout, let Alex know she was back <if he's speaking to me>, and get some sleep.

 

There was a flickering light under her door. Jess stiffened and pushed the door open cautiously. She then relaxed when the scent of her "intruder" hit her. <How did he... damn. I forgot I gave him the extra key.>

 

Soft candle light filled the room. A dozen long stem roses graced the coffee table. And Krycek stood in the doorway to the bedroom, smiling shyly. "It's about time you got back. The lasagna is getting cold."

 

Jess stood there with her mouth open. "Wha..., what is all this?" She gestured around the room.

 

Krycek crossed over to hold her. "It's my way of saying I'm sorry about this morning."

 

<Here we go again.> "I thought I told you that wasn't your fault."

 

"No, I'm not talking about my 'accident'." Krycek tilted her head back, looking into her eyes. "I'm talking about my attitude. You were trying to help, and I was being a brat."

 

She melted against him. "Alex, it's okay."

 

"No it's not. And I want to make up for it. Tonight, if you'll let me."

 

Jess leaned her head against his chest. She could feel the pounding of his heart, as well as her own. "Of course, I'll let you. I just wasn't expecting anything so romantic." She looked up at him. "I love you, Alex."

 

He brushed his nose against her hair. <God! What was I thinking this morning when I pushed her away?> "I love you, Jessica. Now, let's eat before the lasagna gets colder."

 

* * * * *

 

Four beings waited in the parked car. Three of them, one in the front seat, two in the back, were human. The fourth one in the front passenger seat could easily pass for human.

 

"He's late," the not-quite-human one growled softly.

 

"Patience," the man in the driver's seat. "You must learn better control."

 

The man sitting in the back besides the bodyguard lit a cigarette.

 

"I can control the Change the best of any of us at the lab. And do you have to smoke that in here?" Arrogance and annoyance crept into the deeply snarled words. He glared back into the rear of the car.

 

The bodyguard pulled a gun loaded with silver tipped bullets. He pointed it at the head of the thing sitting in front of him.

 

Cancerman's response was a grim smile. Looking into the werewolf's eyes, he deliberately took a deep drag off the cigarette. He exhaled.

 

The werewolf coughed and backed down. The bodyguard lowered the gun. "That is exactly what I'm talking about," the driver/trainer said. "You forget your place too easily. Just because you are the alpha male does not mean you can throw your weight..."

 

He fell silent as the rear passenger door opened. Mr. X got into the car. "She's been warned."

 

"Excellent," Cancerman said. "Has he been located as of yet?"

 

"Yes. He is staying in the same building she is. They appear to be involved, but do not know about each other's ability."

 

"That could be a complication."

 

"Give me the word, and I'll drag them both here by the scruff of their necks" The werewolf leered into the back seat. "But give me fifteen minutes alone with the bitch, first. She'll have forgotten him by the time I finish with her."

 

"Not yet." Cancerman paused, considering the options. "She has made certain allies and it would be unwise to move against her." He put out the smoldering stub in the ashtray.

 

"And Krycek?" The werewolf had an unholy gleam in his eyes. "What about him?"

 

Cancerman lit another cigarette. "He will be dealt with shortly."

 

* * * * *

 

After dinner, Krycek gently led Jess to the bedroom. It was also softly lit by candles. On the bed lay a red silken gown. "Why don't you go and change?" he asked softly, kissing her neck.

 

"Of course," Jess said quietly. In contrast to her eagerness this morning, she seemed strangely reluctant. "Although it's a waste of time. You'll have me undressed in about five minutes."

 

"Who said that I'll be that quick?" His hands slid up and down her sides. "Go on, I want to see how it fits."

 

"Um, Alex, I... ah, haven't done anything like this before." Jess's quiet voice was full of uncertainly.

 

"Exactly what do you mean?" Krycek sounded confused. "I know you're not a virgin."

 

"How to put this... ." Jess looked at him shyly. "I've never been, ah, romantically seduced. It was either the rough sex with the abusive boyfriend, or it was the swept away emotionally, impulsive sex."

 

Krycek held her close. "I think I understand." His lips brushed her ear. <She's more fragile than she lets on.>

 

"No you don't." Jess looked scared. "There are things about me that you don't know. Things that could change how you feel about me in a heartbeat."

 

Krycek stroked her hair. <She's just as terrified of this as I am.> "Jess, what did you say this morning? 'I don't know what you did, and I don't really care.' That is how I feel about you. We can talk about it in the morning. But tonight I want to spend in your arms. I love you, and I want to take you, but only if you want me."

 

"I do want you, desperately. Just give me a few moments to work up my courage," Jess trembled in his arms.

 

"It's okay. I didn't think this would freak you out so much. You were so confident this morning."

 

Jess laughed weakly. "I'm used to dealing with spur of the moment things. However this... ." She gestured weakly at the whole setup.

 

"We don't have to, if this is too much... ."

 

"No," Jess whispered softly. "I want to. Give me five minutes." Jess kissed him lightly.

 

"Take your time." Krycek returned the kiss gently.

 

Gown in hand, Jess slowly walked to the bathroom. She looked back at him. The love and acceptance in his eyes almost broke her heart. She slipped out of sight.

 

<Oh God. We're actually going to do it.> His heart pounded in his ears as he stripped down to the matching silk boxers he had purchased at the same time. Making sure that a handful of condoms were in easy reach, he lay down on the bed, waiting. He was getting stiff just thinking about what was going to happen.

 

Jess meantime was also changing. She slipped the gown on, which fell to mid thigh. <He did make a good choice.> The deep red did compliment her pale skin and dark hair beautifully. <Am I ready for this?> she thought. <I haven't been with anyone since Mulder, and I've known Alex for less than a month.>

 

Her heart gave a twinge at the thought of stopping. <I may not be ready for this, but I sure as hell want it. But I'm not going to make the same mistake. I'm going to tell him. Tomorrow.> "Ready, Alex?" She couldn't keep the tremor out of her voice.

 

"Ready," came the soft reply. Jess took a deep breath and stepped into the bedroom.

 

"Oh. My. God," Krycek breathed. She had been beautiful dressed in her usual jeans and t-shirt. Now she looked truly devastating. The shimmering fabric clung and draped to reveal the curvaceous figure she had but didn't flaunt.

 

Jess couldn't tear her eyes from his form. Her breath quickened as she eyed his hardened nipples, his heaving chest, and the bulge in his boxers. She took a hesitant step forward.

 

Krycek got up and went to her. He pulled her back to the bed, caressing her through the thin fabric. "I love you. I want you. I *need* you, Jess," he panted into her ear, and then sucked on her lobe. His hands slid up to her breasts.

 

She didn't need to be encouraged. "I love and want and need you too, Alex," she whispered as she rubbed her body against his. Her hands wandered down his stomach and under the boxers.

 

"Not yet, beautiful." Krycek gently pulled her hands away. "I don't want a repeat of this morning." His lips brushed against her ear. "Unless I'm inside of you."

 

His words sent a shiver throughout her body. She pulled him tight against her and fell sideways onto the bed. Krycek immediatley rolled on top, and pressed his lips to hers. Her lips immediately parted, and he found his tongue plunging into her steamy interior.

 

Jess's arm wrapped tighter around his waist. She tugged at Krycek until he rested his full weight on her body. Then her hand slipped to his bottom to squeeze and massage the muscle.

 

"Oh Jess," Krycek gasped. His lips moved from her mouth to her neck to kiss and nip at her neck. As Jess continued her massage, he slipped the straps of her gown off her shoulders. His exploring lips moved to her shoulders and parted to taste her skin.

 

Jess couldn't stand waiting anymore. She shoved with all her weight, rolling Krycek onto his back. She followed through, landing on top of him. <I can't believe I'm about to do this.> She sat up, straddling his thighs, and pulled the gown over her head. <He was hung over and couldn't see clearly this morning,> a snide little voice inside said. <Be prepared to be shoved off the bed and watch him run away.>

 

Krycek sucked in his breath sharply. He couldn't tear his eyes away from her. His hands started to reverently touch the body above him, brushing up her thighs and around to her back. Up to her shoulders and around front to cup her breasts. She shifted underneath his touch, self-concious of her scars. He sat up and brushed his lips against her hollow of her throat.

 

Jess moaned. She took his head in her hands and gently guided him to her breast. Krycek took the erect nipple into his mouth eagerly, tugging gently. Jess gasped and pressed hard against his groin, amazed that he saw past her scars to the beauty within. He switched sides and began to suckle her other breast even harder. He laid back down, pulling her down with him. He urged onto her back with his hands. She made a desperate mewling sound as Krycek pulled away from her. It was almost torture for him not to be touching her. He slipped out of the silk boxers, springing to full length.

 

Jess started to pant at the sight of his erection. <God! He's *huge!*> She reached out to fondle him. This time Krycek allowed her to touch him. He moaned as she probed the smooth head and the long shaft with her fingers. She then pulled him forward until his tip just brushed her lips. Hearing his gasp, she grew a bit bolder, and ran her tongue along the underside of his cock.

 

Krycek pulled back from her touch, not wanting to come in her mouth this time. Breathing in ragged gasps, he grabbed a condom. Jess shivered as she heard the rip of the foil. Now sheathed in latex, he laid back down on her, letting his lips start at hers and roam downwards.

 

Jess ran her hands up and down his spine. Again he was at her breasts, but now he decided to go lower. He ran his tongue side to side over her stomach, not going any further than her navel. He played with the dimpled depression, thrusting his tongue in and out, teasing her and himself.

 

Jess took his head in her hands. She lifted his head to gaze into his eyes. He nodded at the unspoken question in her fiery eyes. Just because he didn't want oral sex their first time meant that she had to do without. She lowered his lips back to her skin and slowly eased his head further along her body.

 

He slowly slid a hand along the inside of her thigh to slowly part her. She gasped and lifted up against the gentle contact. Her fingers clawed at his hair as she positioned his head between her legs.

 

Krycek took that as permission granted. His tongue slowly began to lick the soft skin of her thighs. She moaned. Spreading her further, he began to explore her folds. His reward was a scream of pleasure. He found the center of her delight. He ran his tongue first over the sensitive knot of nerves and then into the source of her dampness. One hand reached up to rythmicly and gently squeeze her left breast. His tongue flicked between the two sensitive spots. Jess sobbed and shoved against the pressure he applied. Her rythmic thrusts got him even more excited. Unable to hold back, he pulled his head away and positioned his erection at her entrance.

 

Jess spread her legs wider and pushed against him. He ever so slowly breached her body, trying to memorize the moment when he first felt his true love ensheath him. He gave a breathy moan once he was fully engulfed by her hot, tight wetness. "Jessicaaaaaa... ."

 

Jess stared up at the handsome man above her. His back was arched forward, pressing himself as deeply into her as possible. His mouth had fallen open in a smile of pleasure/pain. He looked down at her, the dark fire blazing in his eyes mirrored in her own. "Oh God, Alex," she said, tears falling from her eyes. "I've forgotten how good it feels... ."

 

He lowered himself against her. She clutched at him desperately and pressed upwards. Her moan of longing was echoed by his. He slowly started to thrust.

 

Jess's hands were grasping at him. He could feel her body underneath him pressing upwards against his. Her lips were still exploring his face and neck. Jess pressed her mouth to his, kissing him frantically, fingers lacing into his hair. Krycek started to thrust faster and harder, unable to hold back anymore. His hands moved to her breasts, grabbing and releasing in time to his strokes. Jess came with a shuddering cry, almost convulsing against him, savoring the sensation.

 

She was still shivering in the aftermath when Krycek came with a cry of his own. He sagged against her as he erupted into her. "Jess," he whispered as he kissed her neck lightly. He slowly, regretfully withdrew.

 

"Alex," she breathed. She pulled him close after he disposed of the condom. She buried her forehead against his shoulder. "I love you," she whispered. "No matter what happens, no matter what you've done, I will always love you." Her eyes shut in drowsy contentment.

 

Krycek gently nuzzled her ear. "I love you, too, Jessica. Nothing else matters but that." His eyes also shut. <I'll worry about tomorrow tomorrow.>

 

Within minutes, they were both asleep, still holding to each other tightly.

 

* * * * *

 

Mulder was curled around Scully's form. She was asleep in his arms, nestled against his chest. Normally, her presence was enough to settle him, but tonight he just couldn't get to sleep.

 

<Who warned Jess? And about what?> Mulder mused. <Scully's right, we're no where near solving this case. It just doesn't make any sense.>

 

He was just starting to drift off when there was a quiet knock on the door. Mulder disentangled himself from Scully.

 

She stirred and opened her eyes. "What's happening?" she murmured sleepily.

 

"Someone's at the door. Stay here." He got out of bed and reached for his gun.

 

"Be careful," Scully whispered as he left their bedroom. She reached for her robe and her gun, in case she needed to back him up.

 

The quiet knocking came again. Mulder edged to one side of the door. "Who is it?" He cocked the gun.

 

"Mr. Mulder, I don't have times for these games." Mr. X sounded impatient.

 

Mulder opened the door. He just wanted to get the info and then get X the hell away from here. "I want to know who threatened my friend, and why."

 

"Mr. Mulder, no one threatened Miss Leahs. An unwise alliance she has made was pointed to her. And I think you'll find more interesting another bit of information I have."

 

Mulder lost his temper. "I'm tired of being jerked around and fed scraps of information that suit your twisted game. Either tell me what I want to know or leave." He moved to slam the door.

 

X didn't look impressed. "Alexander Krycek is back in town."

 

Mulder froze mid movement. His eyes hardened. "Where do I find the son of a bitch?"

 

"You know all you need to know for the moment." X turned and walked away. Knowing he wouldn't get anymore information, Mulder shut the door.

 

Scully stepped out of the bedroom. "I heard every word, Mulder."

 

Mulder clenched his jaw. She wanted to find Krycek badly, to punish him for being present when Melissa was killed. Almost as badly as he wanted to slit Krycek's throat for killing his father. "We don't need this now."

 

"Do we ever need it?" Scully sounded tired. "Let's get back to sleep." She padded back into the bedroom.

 

Mulder followed. "Why did he tell me about Krycek instead of Jess?" he wondered aloud.

 

Scully yawned. "We'll worry about that in the morning. I'm to tired to think straight right now." She curled up and pulled the blankets back over her.

 

Mulder felt himself slipping off as his head hit the pillow. <There has to be a connection... .> But the need for sleep overwhelmed him. He was unconscious before he completed the thought.

 

* * * * *

 

Jess could feel herself pressed against someone's chest. It took her a few moments to remember exactly who. One eye slid open to drink in Krycek's form. She felt a shiver of delight as she watched his muscles ripple as he stretched, and yawned.

 

"Morning, gorgeous." His hands stroked her back and bottom. He kissed her long and hard.

 

"Morning, handsome," she managed to gasp when the kiss broke. She pulled his head back down and picked up where he left off.

 

Krycek rolled Jess onto her back. He threw a leg over her midsection, straddling her, and started to massage her shoulders. His hands moved lower and he started to massage other parts of her body.

 

Jess began to moan softly. She reached up to entangle her fingers in his hair and pull him down against her. Her tongue insistently probed his mouth.

 

Their timing was horrible. Jess's pager, on the bedside table, started to beep, interrupting their foreplay.

 

Krycek rolled his eyes and backed off. Jess sighed. "I'll get rid of them quickly."

 

"I'm going to take a shower. Join me when you're done." He rolled out of the bed.

 

Jess gave him a wicked smile. "And if I don't 'join' you in the shower, I'll be certain to the moment you get out."

 

Krycek's inhaled sharply at the thought. "I'm going to hold you to that, Jess. You know that, don't you?"

 

"And 'hold' me to something else, I hope." She reached for the pager as he went to the bathroom.

 

Jess reached for the phone and dialed the number on her pager.

 

"Scully," came the voice on the other end.

 

"Hey Dana, this is Jess. You buzzed?"

 

"Jess we have a new problem. Mulder and I need to talk to you right away, at the FBI office."

 

"Okay. When do you want me there? I just woke up."

 

"Let me pick you up around 10:30. That enough time?"

 

Jess glanced at the clock. Nine fifty six. "Uh, okay. See you in a bit."

 

* * * * *

 

"Jess," Krycek called. "I'm out, now. What to you want to eat?" He finished drying off.

 

No answer. He padded out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist. "Jess?"

 

He saw the piece of paper laying across the pillows. <Oh shit! She didn't have the guts to say 'goodbye and have a good life' to my face.> With a trembling hand, he picked up the paper.

 

"Dearest Alex - No, this isn't a 'Dear John' letter. Sorry to run off like this, but it's an emergency. Meeting a friend downstairs at 10:30. Details when I get back, not sure when that will be. Will call if it gets too late. I love you. Jessica."

 

His body slumped in relief. <Thank you, whoever's up there... Wait. I don't want her to think I'm mad at her about this.> He looked at the clock. It was ten thirteen. If he hurried, he might be able to catch her.

 

Krycek threw on his clothes and hurried downstairs. He had just stepped out of the elevator and into the crowded lobby when he spotted Jess talking to...

 

Dana Scully?!?!

 

<Oh god! Oh god! Oh god! Oh God! Oh God! Oh God! Oh GOD! Oh GOD! OH GOD!> He backpedaled into the elevator. Neither Jess nor Scully had spotted him.

 

The doors slid shut. Alone, he slumped against the wall for support. He put a hand to his forehead in an attempt to clear his mind. <Okay. She knows Scully. That means that she must know... oh shit! Mulder *must* be the ex-boyfriend she's here to help.>

 

<But she doesn't have a clue as to who I am.> The thought brought a wave of relief over him. Her actions had been so open, so honest, that he felt certain that it wasn't a ploy by either the Cigarette Smoking Man or Mulder and Scully to entrap him. <I can't leave her. I love her, and I've got to protect her. If I play this carefully, she won't get hurt.>

 

The door to the elevator opened on his floor. All he wanted to do was to get to his room so he could change clothes and think over this new complication. <How am I going to tell her?> He wasn't paying much attention to his surroundings.

 

He walked into the right hook. His head snapped back and it slammed against the closed doors. As he slid to the floor, fading into darkness, he heard one of the voices he never wanted to hear again.

 

"Mr. Krycek, did you really think you could escape us so easily?" The smell of cigarette smoke assaulted his nostrils. He coughed weakly and lost the last grasp on consciousness.

 

* * * * *

 

Jess sat in the basement office, waiting to find out why she was here. Scully had gone off in search of Mulder. <It's a day too late for the werewolf to have attacked again.> So she idly amused herself looking at the oddities Scully and Mulder had collected over the course of their cases.

 

She looked up as Mulder and Scully entered the room. She changed her mind about the smart remark she was about to make when she saw the serious expressions on their faces. "What's wrong?"

 

"Jess, we have a new problem. I want you to go after someone."

 

She had never heard Mulder sound so serious or so hell bent on revenge. "Who is it and what has he done?"

 

Scully stepped forward, also angry. "His name is Krycek. He killed Mulder's father and my sister Melissa."

 

Jess's jaw clenched. "That makes it personal. Where do I find him?"

 

"We don't know." Mulder's fist closed. "All we know is that he is in town, which can't be good news."

 

"So I'll put our other hunt on hold. Do you have a picture?"

 

"Yes." Scully leafed through the file she was carrying. "Here it is." She handed the eight by ten glossy to Jess.

 

Jess glanced at the picture. She started and stared. Her eyes grew wide. "Oh shit. No!" The blood drained from her face. Tears started to fall.

 

Mulder was surprised by her reaction. "You know him?"

 

Jess bowed her head. "You could say that... ."

 

* * * * *

 

Jess led Mulder and Scully into the hotel. "He's going to be in one of two places, his room or mine."

 

Mulder nodded. "Let's check his first." They didn't have any FBI backup. As Jess had said earlier, this one was personal.

 

They got into the room with the key Krycek had given Jess. However, someone had gotten there first. Everything had been turned inside out. "Damn." Mulder muttered.

 

"Looks like someone else wants him just as bad." Jess hadn't said much since she had been told the whole story. She had just told Mulder that she and Krycek had been 'involved.' Scully had a guess as to how involved, but Mulder, as usual, didn't have a clue. "I guess my room is next."

 

They went up to the next floor. Jess pulled out her key. "I can't do this." She handed the key to Mulder.

 

Her room hadn't been touched. The half melted candles still sat in their holders scattered around the room. Jess sat on the couch as Scully and Mulder searched the room.

 

Mulder stuck his head in the bedroom. He pulled it back out and looked at Jess. "You didn't. Tell me you didn't."

 

Jess blushed and wouldn't look at him. She nodded once slightly.

 

"Jessica." He sounded disappointed. "I can't believe you slept with him."

 

"That is not important at the moment, Mr. Mulder." Mr. X stepped into the room.

 

Jess stiffened. "You're the one who warned me, but you were warning me about Krycek, not Scully and Mulder."

 

"And you chose to disregard that warning, Miss Leahs." X stepped further into the room.

 

"Only because I didn't know." Jess stood up. "Where can I find him?" Jess paced forward. "If you know about me and Krycek, then you know what I am, and what I'm willing to do to get that information."

 

"I'm well aware of your condition, Miss Leahs."

 

"Where do we find Krycek?" Mulder repeated Jess's question.

 

"That I cannot tell you. However I can suggest you search this location." He handed a slip of paper to Scully.

 

Scully glanced at it. "I don't think we'll be interested in touring a genetic pharmaceutical company."

 

"Things that go on in that lab shouldn't happen to a dog."

 

Mulder caught the hint. "Or a wolf."

 

"Exactly."

 

* * * * *

 

Krycek could feel the steel handcuffs cutting off his circulation. He was sitting on a chair, but which direction was up was a mystery.

 

"Wake up!" a voice hissed. Cold water splashed into his face, soaking his hair. He sputtered, coughed and managed to open his eyes. In front of him stood Cancerman, Alpha Wolf, and the Trainer. Scraps of their conversation floated towards him.

 

"Are the others secured?"

 

"Yes sir, with the exception of the Alpha Wolf and Krycek. We were waiting for the final decision."

 

"Excellent. Now we just have one last piece of business to attend to." Cancerman lit another cigarette.

 

A shrill siren filled the air. Alpha ran to the window. "They are sitting in a car outside," he said as he peered out. "Wait a moment, she's with them." The pure lust in his voice was evident.

 

Krycek stared darkly at Alpha. "Oh I forget," Alpha looked back at Krycek, leering. "I have competition for the bitch's affection. Don't worry, when I take her, you can watch."

 

"There is no time for that." Trainer sounded irritated. He turned to Cancerman. "Sir, I respectfully suggest that you let myself handle this situation."

 

"Agreed. Do nothing to our 'guests.' However, Krycek must be terminated." Cancerman left the room.

 

"Wait a moment." Alpha sounded worried. "I see a fourth person."

 

Trainer moved to the window, shoving Alpha out of the way. "I don't see any... ."

 

Alpha's arms moved almost too fast to track. He grabbed Trainer's neck and twisted. There was a quiet crack as the cervical vertebrae snapped.

 

Alpha cast the body to one side. "You're next. But first," his voice grated against Krycek's ears, "I'm gonna have some fun with your girlfriend." He left the room, grinning lustfully.

 

Krycek took a deep breath. With a slight effort, he broke the cuffs. <I must be stronger than they realize.> He searched the corpse for the keys to remove the bracelets. He also left the room.

 

* * * * *

 

They sat parked in front of the building. The lab had a storage facility attached to it. Jess was all for searching it first. However Mulder and Scully overrode her.

 

Getting into the lab itself wasn't as hard as it should have been. For it being a high security lab, it was ridiculously easy to override security. "Almost as if someone wants us to get in," Scully murmured ominously.

 

They slowly explored the building. There were many cages for large animals, but all suspiciously empty. "Someone cleaned house," Mulder whispered.

 

Jess had moved into the next room. "Check this out," her voiced echoed.

 

Scully and Mulder stepped into a room filled with file cabinets. Jess was standing on tiptoe, rifling through one. "This one is the L's." She pulled out a bulky stack of papers and put them inside her shirt. "Mine," she said by way of explanation. She walked towards a stairway at the back of the room.

 

Mulder and Scully checked the K's. There was a slim file marked "Krycek, A." followed by a recent date. "So that's how he got out of the silo," Scully whispered.

 

Mulder nodded. "Makes sense. He's out of sight already, so why not use him for a test subject. Jess, what date is on your file? Jess?" Mulder turned around, only to see her disappear at the top of the stairs into a doorway.

 

Mulder followed her up the stairs. He stopped at the top. A catwalk encircled the room. Inside were piles and piles of cardboard boxes. <The perfect place for an ambush.> He couldn't see Jess from his position. He started to circle the room.

 

Jess meantime had descended from the catwalk. She moved through the maze of boxes slowly. She was dreading finding Alex. <No. Think of him as Krycek, the monster who murdered Mulder's father and Scully's sister.>

 

Jess was having a difficult time. She wanted desperately to forget the emotions of past weeks and focus on the task at hand. She wanted to hate him for what he had done to her friends.

 

It wasn't working. Every time she tried to visualize him hurting Mulder or Scully, instead she saw him with her. Talking. Smiling. Laughing. Kissing. Making love.

 

<Stop it! You won't be able to go through with it.> Jess put her balled fists to her temples in an attempt to clear her mind. <Concentrate on finding him. Worry about what happens next after it happens.>

 

She heard, or was allowed to hear, the soft scrape against the cement floor. <Oh hell. There he is. It's come down to this.> The sound had come from the other side of the boxes. She slowly started to edge around the cardboard mountain.

 

The boxes exploded down onto her. Jess was knocked to the ground. Trying to bat the boxes aside, she rolled over and scrambled forward on all fours.

 

A hand grabbed her ankle, yanking her backwards. "Oh no, bitch," a strange male voice said. "You're not going anywhere. Not until we've had some fun." A second hand clamped down on her inside thigh. The pressure on her ankle suddenly released, but before she could take advantage of it, a fist slammed into the side of her head.

 

Jess collapsed onto the cement floor, hitting her head a second time. Stunned and in pain, she didn't resist as he flipped her over. One large hand pinned both her arms over her head. The other slid an iron bar underneath her wrists. With a casual strength, he bent the bar around, shackling her in place. One hand then moved to his pocket, pulling out a bandana. He gagged her with it.

 

He leered at her. "So, here we are, just the two of us." His hand stroked her face. Jess shuddered in revulsion. "I'm not so bad. You weren't so fussy when it came to sleeping with Krycek." His hand wandered down to a breast and squeezed. "I know what you are," he whispered into her ear. "And I think you'll find sex with an alpha male much more satisfying than what you've had so far with that reject from the lab."

 

Her eyes widened and she convulsed under him in a vain attempt to throw him off. Alpha grinned. "I'm not that easy to get rid of. And yes, he is a werewolf, just like me. I also know that you are too. I've been watching and wanting you for a *loooong* time." Grasping her breast tighter, his free hand moved to her fly, unzipping her slowly.

 

Jess's scream was muffled by the gag.

 

But it was still loud enough to summon help. "Get the hell away from her, bastard!" Krycek's scream of outrage echoed in Jess's ears. She saw a blur above her head and felt Alpha's weight disappear. She curled upright and shook her head, managing to clear it.

 

The sight that met her eyes surprised her. Krycek, face twisted in rage, was bent over Alpha, repeatedly slamming his fist into the face of her attacker. Alpha sprawled, apparently unconscious from the beating. She tried to say his name, "Mmffhh?"

 

Krycek turned to her, his expression softening. "Oh God, Jess. I didn't want you to get hurt." He knelt down beside her, tears falling from his eyes. Using his werewolf strength, he bent the bar back from her wrists, pulled the gag from her mouth, and put a hand gently to her bruised cheek. "Can you forgive me?"

 

Mulder watched from his vantage point on the catwalk, gun drawn, trained on Krycek. He stiffened as Krycek moved towards Jess. <If he so much as looks at her wrong, I'm going to blow his head off.> Much to Mulder's disgust, Jess wrapped her arms around his neck, burying her head in his shoulder. Neither of them were paying attention to... . "Jess! Look out!"

 

Alpha, with a roar of outrage, pulled the two of them apart. "You, I'll deal with later," he growled, shoving Jess backwards. She landed on her side a few feet away. "And as for you," he said, turning to Krycek. A fist slammed into his face, knocking him unconscious. Alpha dropped him to the ground.

 

Jess, still on the ground, wasn't about to give up without a fight. "Let him go, you son of a bitch!" she ground out through clenched teeth as she kicked with all her strength, connecting with the back of his knee.

 

Alpha staggered forward, almost tripping over Krycek. "How *dare* you attack me, you little whore!" He kicked her viciously in the abdomen. Jess grunted, clutching at her stomach. He picked up Jess by the loose fabric of her shirt, jerking her off her feet.

 

Mulder took aim. When Alpha moved towards Jess, he found he had the perfect clear shot at Krycek. All he had to do was pull the trigger... .

 

And then Jess's words from earlier echoed in his head. "Besides Mulder, sometimes the best revenge doesn't involve direct physical violence." His eyes narrowed.

 

He fired.

 

Scully ran through the catwalk doorway only to see the brute holding Jess collapse, blood fountaining from a shoulder would. Jess picked herself up and staggered to an unconscious Krycek, sobbing hysterically. Mulder moved woodenly down the stairway towards them.

 

"Mulder," she called. <There's no telling what he'll do. Krycek has answers we need. And if he kills Krycek now, Jess will never forgive him.> She followed him to the ground floor. Kneeling by a semi-concious Alpha, she cuffed him and then started to administer first aid.

 

Krycek slowly regained his senses. He was aware of Jess crying near him. Her hands on his arm tightened. He shook his head and managed to open his eyes.

 

<Shit! This is it. Pucker up and kiss your ass goodbye.> Mulder was standing over him, glaring. He was holding his gun loosely in one hand.

 

"You've earned yourself a forty-eight hour head start. I suggest you use it before I change my mind."

 

Jess's body slumped in relief. "Thank you, Mulder," she whispered.

 

The realization that he wasn't going to die slowly dawned on Krycek. Mulder wasn't going to kill him, at least not at this moment. He looked to Jess.

 

Tears were spilling from her eyes. "Go. Run," she whispered. "I love you." She closed her eyes, unable to watch him leave.

 

Jess felt his breath tickle her ear. "I love you. I always will. Remember that." She felt the soft warmth of his lips brush hers. She heard the receding footsteps.

 

She opened her eyes. No sign of Krycek. Just Mulder and Scully looking at her. She rolled onto her knees and cried into her hands.

 

* * * * *

 

Two Days Later

 

Jess sat on the bed packing the rest of her stuff. She mentally checked off her list. <Clothes out of the closet, shampoo and makeup out of the bathroom. That just leaves the chest of drawers.> She got up and slid the top drawer open.

 

<Damn! I thought I got rid of these.> Her eyes teared up as she pulled out the red gown and boxers. She sat back down on the bed, still holding the clothing. <I am not going to cry. I am not going to cry. I am not going to cry,> Jess mentally chanted as the tears slipped through her tightly closed eyes.

 

There was a knock on the door.

 

Jess got up and stuffed the lingerie into her suitcase. Wiping her eyes, she answered the door. "Hi Dana, Mulder," she said dully.

 

They stepped into the room. "Ready to go?" Mulder asked.

 

"Yeah, let me shut my suitcase." Jess moved into the back room. Scully, followed by Mulder, went in after her.

 

Scully caught a glimpse of red silk as Jess zipped the suitcase shut. "Keeping those?"

 

"Yeah," a glimmer of her old sense of humor reappeared. "I'm planning to make a voodoo doll."

 

Mulder smiled. "You're gonna be okay, hell beast. It will just take a while."

 

"Sure don't feel like it now."

 

"Give it time," Scully counseled. "You can't shut off your emotions at a moment's notice."

 

"Sure wish I could," Jess said.

 

"Don't we all," Mulder replied. "Jess, I'm going to ask you to do something. I'm not going to hold you to it, but I need to ask you to do it."

 

Jess swallowed. "What?" <I think I know what he wants me to do.>

 

"If Krycek contacts you, let me know."

 

<Shit!> "I can't promise you that."

 

Mulder looked disappointedly at her. "Okay," he said softly.

 

<Great Mulder. Make her feel worse.> Scully stepped between them, shielding Jess. "Let's get you to the airport."

 

"Okay," Jess sighed. "All I want to do is go home and forget."

 

* * * * *

 

Krycek stood outside the airport terminal beside the chain link fence. <Sometimes the best place to hide is right under your nose.> He hadn't left Washington D.C. after saving Jess, just left his things at the hotel.

 

The thought of Jess was painful. <Oh God. I want to be with you so badly.> But it was too soon. He wasn't certain that he was being watched and didn't want to endanger her anymore. <Why did I have to fall in love with her?> He had considering ending his life the first day after their separation. The only thing that gave him the strength to go on was her final whispered, "I love you."

 

Krycek watched as the airplane took off, bound westward. <She's on her way.> He had followed her from a safe distance, not allowing himself to be seen, but close enough to protect her if she needed it.

 

He grasped the fence, the mesh cutting painfully into his fingers Right now he had other pressing matters. He had to get some information, any information, that he could use to bribe Cancerman into protecting himself, and eventually his love. <I will be with you soon, Jessica. I promise. But it will just take a while.>