Disclaimer: These beautiful pouty-lipped boys do notbelong to me. If they were, doubtless they'd be so tired they'd never beable to get out of bed. <g>

Description: What if Mulder and Krycek met while Mulder was still at Oxford?Obviously, this is AU. Vague spoilers for the episode "Fire,"first season in general, and just about any episode that mentioned Samantha.

Archive: Nowhere without my permission.

This is an older story, revised for reposting. Enjoy!

Feedback may be addressed to: dnivling@redshift.com

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DEMON POETRY by Sugar Rush

"Fire's got a certain genius, y'know, a certain demon poetry... it'slike it's got a mind of its own..."

-- "Fire" by Chris Carter, 1st Season

London, 1982

The pub had grown dark, shadows painting elongated fingers over the wallsand floor as twilight deepened, bathing the back tables in murky relief.

Mulder didn't mind the darkness; in fact, he was grateful for it. It feltcomforting in a odd sort of way, blanketing, shielding him in its thickvelvety-black cocoon, complementing his mood -- restless, withdrawn, notsure why the hell he was even here, not much caring either. All he wantednow was to sit here staring at nothing and drink himself into a numb bottomlessstupor and maybe even blot out the past week he'd spent wallowing in hell.

He'd done it. He couldn't believe he'd actually gone through with it, buthe had. He'd broken it off with Phoebe, ended it after nearly two years.Two years of great sex and clever conversation.

Two years of joy and pain and bitter recriminations and telling himselfa thousand times to just end it, cut himself loose from this fucking messhe'd made of his life, but he hadn't. He'd kept coming back for more torture,more punishment, more of her twisted little mind games.

In the beginning, he'd found her fascinating, brilliant, intriguing, thecurves and squiggles in her psyche weirdly stimulating, both in bed andout. It hadn't taken long for the fascination to pall, but by then he'dbeen caught, snared in her brain-bending trap of screaming matches, followedby long days of stony silence, never failing to end with him caving andcalling her, or turning up on her doorstep, begging to start the whole hellaciouscircle all over again.

Not this time. This time he'd told her, told her to her face, then hoppedthe first train down to London. He'd miss lectures for the next couple days,but he didn't care. He'd stay here, riding out the worst of it alone, stayingdrunk if he had to until the urge to backslide finally passed. When he couldsit five seats down from her in lecture or pass her in the hallway or seeher across a crowded room and not feel fire tearing through him, that'swhen he'd go back.

He took his last gulp, gazing at the bottom of his pint glass as if it hadsome secret to tell him. His second glass in a little over an hour, andhe wasn't feeling the least bit buzzed. He hauled himself out of his seatwith a groan, shuffled over to the bar, calling to the barman for another,rubbing a hand over his face as his glass was refilled.

"You're an American."

It took him a minute to register that somebody was talking to him. Lookingup and over a few barstools, squinting into the light, he finally saw whoit was, a tall, slender, dark-haired guy dressed in jeans, battered blackleather jacket and Georgetown University t-shirt. "Last I heard, thatwasn't a crime," Mulder replied.

"Hey, I didn't mean anything by it," the guy put in quickly. "GuessI've just been traveling so long it's kinda strange hearing a familiar accent.New England?"

Mulder took a long pull on his beer, pondering whether to answer. Last thinghe wanted right now was to get involved in a conversation with a stranger."Yeah," he said finally, nodding at the guy's shirt. "Yougo to Georgetown?"

"For awhile. Dropped out last semester."

"Flunking?"

"No. Just tired of all the bullshit."

Mulder couldn't help chuckling a little at that. "I know what you mean."He tried taking another sip, but somebody jostled his elbow at that exactsame moment, spilling his beer down the front of his shirt and all overthe bar. "Shit!" he sputtered, grabbing a napkin and shootingthe guy responsible a sour look, but the big burly oaf had already sidledaway to the far end of the bar, joining a throng cheering at a soccer matchblaring on the TV.

He ducked into the bathroom and managed to mop most of it off him beforeit'd had a chance to soak in, but he'd still smell like a fucking breweryuntil he changed his shirt, but he'd left his backpack outside, tucked underhis table, along with most of his money.

He'd half-expected to find it gone by the time he got back, but he definitelyhadn't expected to find the dark-haired guy sitting in the other chair,a fresh pint waiting at his own place. His gaze flicked from the guy tothe glass and back again, then he just shrugged and sat down.

"Thanks," he said with a grin, "but you didn't have to comeover and guard the table."

"Yeah, I did. I got half my cash stolen in Rome last month, and itwasn't much fun."

He fumbled under the table just to make sure, finding his bag right wherehe'd left it. He almost hauled it up onto the table to check and see ifhis wallet was still in it, but stopped himself. If this guy was planningto rip him off, he'd have done it and gone by now.

Hesitation must have flickered across his face, for the corners of the otherman's mouth quirked up in response. "If it'll ease your mind, I'd behappy to let you frisk me," he said.

Mulder'd just started to take a sip of his beer, but that comment came closeto making him choke on it. "That...um, won't be necessary--"

"My name's Alex, by the way," the other man said, holding outhis hand.

Mulder stared at it, then took it, his own fingers trembling slightly forno reason he could fathom, a molten chill snaking up his spine at Alex'shand closing around his for a brief, fleeting moment, the other man's touchfirm and strong without exerting undue pressure, skin warm, soft, smoothfor a man's.

"What's yours?" Alex's voice cut in.

"Huh?"

"Your *name*?"

Jolted, he let Alex's hand drop, his mouth suddenly feeling like it waslined with cotton. "I, um...Fox. My name's Fox."

Alex grinned. "Guess your mother was prescient, huh?"

The warm flush creeping up his cheeks nearly strangled his reply. "B-buteverybody calls me Mulder. In fact, I, um...kinda insist on it."

"Mulder? That's your last name, I take it?"

This time all he could manage was a nod, taking a grateful mouthful of beer,his gaze locking on Alex's over the rim of his glass. The other man's eyeswere green, clear jade green with silvery highlights, though for some reasonhe'd thought they were dark brown or black when he'd first seen him overat the bar; must've been the pub's dim lighting that had thrown him off.They were gentle eyes, beautiful eyes, friendly, inviting.

Maybe a little *too* inviting. The guy'd been coming on to him like crazyever since he'd gotten back from the men's room. For a second or two heconsidered making a flimsy excuse and a quick exit.

But he didn't. He was tired, tired of running, from Phoebe, from himself,so tired just thinking about moving made his muscles moan in protest. Thiswasn't the first time another guy'd ever made a pass at him; as long asthey stayed out in public, he could handle it. And he had to admit, it'dbe relaxing to talk to someone about the States, about home.

"So what're you studying at Oxford?" Alex prompted.

That gave him another start. "How'd you know I was--"

"The insignia's on your backpack."

"Oh. Um, psychology."

Green eyes widened. "*You're* gonna be a shrink?"

"Why's that so surprising?"

"I dunno, you just don't...look the type, I guess."

"What type do I look?"

Alex lifted his glass to his lips, half-smiling. "That's a loaded question."

He could feel his face growing hotter. Jesus, he'd walked right into thatone. "So what were you studying at Georgetown? Political science? Economics?"he asked, downing another gulp of beer.

"Little of everything. Never got around to declaring a major,"Alex replied. "I was only there a year anyway."

"Sounds like you've got a low tolerance for bullshit."

He shrugged. "That and boredom, I guess. My sister's always tellingme I'm too damn impatient."

Mulder stiffened. He couldn't help it.

Alex's gaze flicked over him, wary, questioning. "What'd I say?"

"N-nothing, you just...reminded me of someone..."

"You got a sister?"

"Had," he murmured, looking away, off into the corner, into theshadows, not sure why he was telling Alex this, something he'd never eventold Phoebe. "She's, um...gone... been gone a long time."

He closed his eyes then, letting the darkness enfold him, bracing himselffor a trite "I'm sorry" that never came, half-hoping the chairacross from him would be empty when he finally opened them again.

//But it wasn't Alex was still there still looking at him with those intenseinscrutable green eyes saying something to him sounded like he was askinghim if he wanted another beer but he wasn't sure the sound was all screwedup thick garbled like they were both under water--

//And the room swam tilted blurred colors light and dark and red and blackand blue all running together crashing inside his brain and suddenly hecouldn't do it couldn't keep his eyes open--//

"Let's get out of here," Alex said, speaking slowly, distinctly,mouth close to Mulder's ear, "looks like you've had more than enough."

"N-no, tha-that's s'okay," he slurred, "I-I'll be fine--"

"Jesus, Mulder, you're passing out here at the table. C'mon, I've gota hotel room around the corner. You can sleep it off there."

Somehow Alex shouldered his backpack, looped his arm under Mulder's armand around his back and hauled him out the door, the chill night air stingingMulder's skin, shocking him to semi-awareness, clearing his head a little.

"D-didn't have that m-much to d-drink," he mumbled, his free handscrabbling at the side of the building, trying without much luck to wriggleout of Alex's grasp, somehow get his legs to work on their own.

"Take it easy, Mulder, a few more steps and we're there."

"B-but I-I only h-had two beers..."

"Sometimes that's all it takes. Just hold onto me, okay? I won't letyou fall."

And then he was floating, blanking out again, only the sharp click of footstepson hard wood or marble telling him they'd entered another building, thenthe sick sensation of his stomach plummeting as the elevator rose.

His vision didn't stabilize again until they were inside a room, Alex'shotel room, Alex shutting the door, stooping to lock it as best he couldwith Mulder still slung over his shoulder, hobbling them both over to thebed. He heard his backpack thumping to the floor, felt the solid warmthof Alex's arm across his back suddenly gone, then his jacket sliding off--

Felt his own fingers fumbling with his t-shirt, trying to pull it from thewaistband of his jeans, but he couldn't do it, both hands had gone numb,limp as overcooked spaghetti, though for some really strange reason he seemedto be standing on his own with no problem...

Then again, maybe not. One foot dissolved under him, and he wobbled, swayed--

And didn't fall. There were hands on him, two hands holding him at the waist,steadying him, a body behind his, letting him lean back, taking the burdenof his weight. Alex's hands. Alex's body.

Alex's fingers working his t-shirt up and over his head, lingering on hisshoulders, softly brushing the hair from the nape of his neck, then somethingelse, something warm and moist and gentle following the path already traced,whispering in its wake, shattered quicksilver fragments spiraling throughhis veins, crawling down his spine, pooling its warm, sweet ache right therein his groin.

He buckled, crumpled, landing flat on his back on the bed, Alex beside him,green eyes gazing down at him for an endless moment, hand cupping, caressingMulder's cheek, mouth turning up at the corners, smiling, moving closer,making contact, tentative and curious, whisper-light, the barest touch ofliving silk, trembling, heated from within.

Mulder's lips parted, opened of their own accord, wanting more, shuddersshaking him as their tongues brushed, entwined, slow and languid and thickas honey, but bitter too, bitter and tart, just like the beer they'd bothdrunk--

//Oh, Jesus...the *beer*...//

Somehow he got his hand to work, pushing Alex abruptly up and off. "Y-youput s-something in my drink, d-didn't you?"

Alex started, momentary bewilderment fading as Mulder's words sank in, lookingaway, but saying nothing.

"W-was that your plan, Alex? Knock me out, d-drag me back here andrape me, was that it?"

"Doesn't look like I need to rape you," Alex shot back, leaningdown, expression gentling, brushing a stray lock of hair from Mulder's foreheadwith two fingers. "You didn't tell me to take a hike when I approachedyou in the pub, and you weren't exactly fighting me off a minute ago."

"Why me?"

"What?"

"There were plenty of other guys in that pub. Why'd you pick me?"

Something flickered in his deep green eyes for a second, something cold,hard, almost angry, then in the next second, it was gone. "I was onthe same train with you coming down from Oxford. I saw you. I wanted you."

"So you just...decided to seduce me? Just like that?"

"More or less," Alex replied softly, coming closer, mouth hoveringbare millimeters from Mulder's, grinning at Mulder's sharp, sudden intakeof breath. "Look, all I was trying to do was relax you a little bit.You seemed kinda uptight back at the pub...I just wanted you in a more,um...receptive mood."

Jesus, he could barely see or hear or think through the blood thrummingin his temples, pounding in his cock, but he forced himself to close hiseyes, hoping, praying that not looking at him would give him back some smallmeasure of sanity. "I'm not gay, Alex."

"Oh, yeah?" Alex laughed. "Guess that's why you've got ahard-on the size of the Eiffel Tower, huh?"

Mulder's hand moved on reflex, darting straight to his crotch, but Alex'shand beat him to it, closing over the hard bulge straining there againsthis fly, squeezing just enough to make him whimper, eyes finally opening,staring up into glinting, fathomless jade.

"Is this for me?" Alex whispered, dipping down, touching his lipsto Mulder's, taking Mulder's hand at the same time, intertwining their fingers,pressing both hands to Mulder's erection. "I'm not gonna rape you,Mulder. If you really don't want this, just say the word and I'll sleepover there on the couch."

A choice. Alex was giving him a choice, to either end it now or go on, itwas all up to him.

Oh, who the hell was he kidding? It was already decided, had been from thatfirst moment down in the pub, the first time they'd made eye contact acrossthat table. He wanted this, craved it more than air or sunlight or water,more than he'd wanted anything in as long as he could remember, more thanhe'd ever wanted Phoebe, more than even wanting to be free of her.

He'd once thought of Phoebe as fire, but she wasn't, she was acid, devouringhim all the way to the bone, consuming him body and soul, taking everythingfor herself, giving him nothing back.

This was different. This was fire, real fire, blinding-bright as dawn inJuly, a white-hot knife blade thrust between his ribs, searing, rippinghim open, burning him, but without pain, without the paralyzing fear heusually felt. He was safe in this fire, safe here in this hotel room, safewith Alex, with this stranger whose name he hadn't even known two hoursago. This was what he wanted, what he needed -- no curves, no squiggles,everything made plain between them from the start.

No mind-games, just simple, uncomplicated sex.

"Get up," Mulder rasped.

"Huh?"

"Stand up and take your clothes off. I want to watch you do it."

Alex couldn't scramble off the foot of the bed fast enough, toeing off hissneakers as he went, grinning as he undid his fly button, pulling his t-shirtfree, yanking it up and over his head, dark hair spilling over his cheeksand forehead.

Black hair, Mulder realized, breath catching as his gaze swept the otherman from forehead to waist; black and shiny as polished onyx, though forsome reason he'd thought it was dark brown before. He'd looked differentback at the pub, a lot different, tougher, older, but he'd appeared to haveshed much of that along with the leather jacket.

Not to mention the t-shirt. God, he was gorgeous, beautiful, taut ivoryskin kissed golden by the sun, accenting the subtle play of tendon and sinewbeneath, muscular without being overly defined, solid shoulders and smoothchest tapering downward into slender, almost boyish hips.

And a rising bulge at his crotch that matched Mulder's own.

Mulder sat up, swinging his legs over the side of the bed before it evenoccurred to him to think it strange that he'd suddenly regained his abilityto move, eyes locking on Alex's, Alex coming closer, stopping right in frontof him, Alex's fingers brushing, softly, gently tangling in his hair.

His arms went around Alex's waist, his lips touching the warm skin justabove Alex's fly button, tongue darting, stabbing playfully at his navel,fingers searching, finding his zipper, easing it down, thumbs hooking inthe waistband of Alex's jeans, sliding them over his hips, down long, straight,athletic legs.

Jeans, but no underwear, Mulder realized with a sudden, ridiculous pang,seeing none pooled there on the floor with the heap of denim Alex was steppingout of, kicking aside.

He looked up, into Alex's eyes, dark now, dark like forest moss, then downagain, straight ahead, reaching out with one shaky, tentative finger, tracingthe length of him, a rosy arrow jutting from that crisp, springy thicketthere between his thighs, long and slender and beautiful, just like therest of him.

He'd never touched another man before, not like this, he didn't even knowif he was doing it right, but that didn't stop his fingers from closingaround Alex's erection, thumb barely brushing the pulsating blue vein thatran along the underside, making Alex jump, gasp. Leaning forward, he lethis lips brush the very tip of Alex's cock, amazed at how warm, satiny-smoothhe felt, like peach-skin, tasting the essence of him, musky and sweet, pearlydroplets leaking from his tiny slit.

Engulfing the tip, he sucked it into his mouth, gently at first, then withgreater insistence, Alex's moans and gasps urging him on, fingers windingdeeper in his hair as he slid down, taking as much as he could without gagging.He glanced up at that precise moment, right at Alex, right into his eyes--

And in the next second found himself lifted up and off, pushed back ontothe bed again, Alex landing next to him, mouths melding, devouring.

"Wh-why'd you d-do that?" Mulder demanded when they finally brokeapart, gasping, gulping in air. "I-I wasn't finished."

"Yeah, you were. A few more seconds of that, and it would've been allover."

"B-but I wanted to...wanted to taste you," he murmured, runninga thumb along the soft, sensual line of Alex's lower lip, breath hitchingat the feel of Alex's teeth faintly scraping at the soft pad of flesh. "Idon't mind if you--"

"I mind. Jesus, you've got no idea what you do to me, do you? One lookat you with your lips wrapped around my cock almost sent me straight overthe edge." As if for emphasis, he dipped for another kiss, slow andsweet and drugging. "Not yet. When I go, you go with me."

"Oh, Jesus, Alex..."

"Think you can stand up?"

"I, um...dunno..."

"Try."

"Why?"

"Trust me."

To Mulder's surprise, he got up with no problem, only slightly wobbly now,head spinning a little at first, forcing him to take Alex's proffered arm,leaning on him as they moved to the bathroom together.

The sudden glare of the overhead light flicking on stung his eyes, makinghim blink, finally realizing where he was. "What're we doing in here?"

Alex was right in front of him, eyeball to eyeball, hand cupping his throat,thumb splayed over his cheek. "I thought you trusted me?"

"I didn't say that."

"No, but you're here. And you know what they say about actions speakinglouder than words."

Alex's closeness, the soft taste of his breath was making his own legs gorubbery again, threatening to dissolve under him any second. "Whatd'you want me to do?"

Alex's only answer was to yank back the shower door, twisting on the wateruntil steam rose, hazing the air. "Take 'em off," he said, turningback with a smile, nodding at Mulder's jeans. "I want to watch youthis time."

Dizziness nearly overcame him, but he grabbed the edge of the sink withone hand, steadying himself, his free hand popping loose his fly button,slowly, carefully working the zipper down, the sensation of fingers andcloth and metal raking over his own hard cock a delicious agony, his breathcatching, hissing out in a rush as he finally sprang free of the confiningdenim.

He kicked off his shoes, skinning jeans and underwear down and off in onejerky movement, shoving the whole discarded heap aside with his foot, lookingup at Alex, the other man's gaze sweeping him from forehead to ankle andback again, lips parting in a little half-smile, eyes sparkling now, notgreen like moss, green like the color of the sea on a warm summer day.

"C'mon," Alex murmured, so quietly the soft patter of water onthe shower tiles almost drowned out his voice, stepping under the spray.

Mulder followed, getting in, ducking his head, water sluicing him, a longhot shock smashing into him like a concrete wall, legs finally buckling.But Alex was right there, arm sliding beneath his own arm, across his back,easing him up and over, out of the spray's direct path, until Mulder feltthe slick, vaguely chill solidity of tile against his back. Alex pressedagainst the front of him, one hand at his waist, the other tracing a slow,feather-light fingertip trail up his wrist to his shoulder, lingering athis collarbone, up the slope of his throat.

Tilting his head back, he let Alex's wet, sweet mouth finish its journey,tongue darting, licking, teasing the soft hollow, flicking along the lineof his jaw, shivers dancing a deranged tango along every nerve ending--

And suddenly it stopped, Mulder groaning in bereft protest, eyes snappingopen just in time to see Alex moving back, leaning over to grab a bar ofwhite soap from the nearby soapdish, turning back, grinning, rolling thesoap between both hands, working up a lather, then reaching down, graspinghis own erection in one soap-slicked fist, Mulder's mouth suddenly tastinglike he'd swallowed a fistful of dust, his entire body flushed with freshheat watching Alex stroking himself, watching his slim rose-colored shaftgliding, disappearing between slippery fingers.

The air felt like it'd turned into soup, too thick to breathe, clogginghis nose, his throat, every breath a gulp of flame--

Flame that went out of his lungs in a searing rush as he saw, then feltAlex reaching for him, fingertips slipping between his legs, cupping, rollingthe soft sac there, squeezing it, soaping it, then stroking upward, engulfingMulder's twitching, straining cock, still caressing himself with his otherhand. Mulder thought for sure he'd fall this time, but he didn't, fingertipsscrabbling on the wet tile behind him, somehow gaining purchase.

//God this is not happening can't be happening I can't be standing herein a goddamned shower sweating like I'm running a marathon getting readyto come in his fucking *hand* for Chrissakes--//

Then Alex's hand was gone, both hands gone, but only for a second, slappingthe tile on either side of his head, Alex's face right there in front ofhim, smiling, Alex's mouth swooping in, dusting the corners of Mulder'smouth with tiny butterfly kisses, biting the tender, bruised flesh of hislower lip, teasing him open, bringing his own hips closer, two hard cocksfinally brushing, making contact, dazzling white light shooting throughMulder's brain, overload looming...

"This is your, um...first time, right?"

It took a few moments before Alex's low, husky words sank in, but even whenit did all he could manage was a shaky nod.

"S'okay, Mulder, I'll take good care of you," he murmured, kissinghim again, deeply, wetly, thoroughly. "Rub against me, and we can bringourselves off together."

"B-but...don't you w-want to--"

"Not this time."

"Alex, I don't mind--"

Alex's mouth stopped his, descending with brutal, crushing intensity, tonguepushing inside, rough, insistent, all spicy-musk, hips rolling, pushinginto his belly, pushing their cocks together, moving, sliding on slippery,heated skin.

Mulder moved too, thrusting back, giving as good as Alex gave him, a battleof strength and will he wasn't sure he could win, breath and hips jerkingwith greater urgency, plowing Alex's belly. He could feel Alex's fingerstwining in his hair, grabbing a wet handful, dragging his head back, baringhis throat, nipping at the pulse roaring there, roaring through his headlike a freight train at full steam, roaring and pounding--

Pounding in his groin, rippling all the way down the length of his cock,Alex's breath coming rapid, humid on his throat and shoulder, one hand snakingdown to Mulder's waist, holding him there, holding him still--

And they thrust once more, twice, and again, Alex gasping, groaning intoMulder's shoulder, warm silkiness spurting between them, splashing boththeir bellies. Alex slumped against him, mouth pressed to the hollow ofhis throat, finally catching his breath, hands on the tile again, pushinghimself up and away. His eyes met Mulder's, lips parting as Mulder whimpered,his own still-unrelieved hard-on prodding Alex's belly.

Alex moved back, just far enough to let the water hit both of them, rinsingaway milky, sticky streaks of soap and semen, barely lukewarm now, but eventhat couldn't ease the bonfire blazing, unfurling in Mulder's spine, burningup his brain. He'd been hard so long he couldn't remember any other stateof being, feeling like he was going to die and at the same time afraid hewouldn't. Jesus, being stretched on a rack had to be better than this, atleast it'd be over with sooner...

"S'okay, Mulder..." Alex whispered, giving him a slow, sweet kiss,hand gliding down, fingers gently wrapping around Mulder's cock, "Isaid I'd take care of you, didn't I?"

"Alex..."

"You trust me?"

"Yeah, anything you want, just do it, Alex...please..."

Alex sank to his knees with a triumphant grin, Mulder gasping, hissing atthe first hot, moist flick of tongue curling around the tip of him, headthrown back as Alex plunged, swallowed, taking half of him in one long stroke.Fingers tangling, twisting in slick black silk, he thrust hard and deep,hitting the back of Alex's throat, dimly realizing he had to be chokinghim, not caring, nothing else mattered now, nothing but fucking, rapingthis wet velvet mouth, teeth scraping, working him like a freshly-sharpenedstraight razor--

And it was happening, God, it was happening, boiling, ripping from the baseof his spine, coming so hard he knew this was it, the end, he was dying,screaming, shattering, dissolving--

And suddenly it was gone, the mouth, the heat. Eyes drifting open, he sawAlex sliding open the shower door, cool air whooshing in, a welcome shockwafting over him, finally letting him breathe again. Alex grinned, comingback, leaning in for a kiss, deep and thorough, tongues delving, sweepinghis mouth with their mingled flavors, sticky-sweet, sharp and spicy allat once.

Smooth like honey, stinging like fire.

* * *

Somehow they stumbled back to the bedroom, collapsed onto the bed and fellpromptly asleep, spooned together.

The clock on the bedside table read a glowing green 2:05 a.m. when Alexstole a bleary glance at it, sighing, gently rolling away from Mulder, ontohis back, staring up at the ceiling. Anything to keep his mind off havingto walk out that door in a few hours.

He should never have let it happen. Getting on that train coming down fromOxford, following Mulder to that pub -- yes, he'd had to do that, it waspart of his assignment, to watch, to observe, but never to speak to him,or let Mulder see him or speak to him. Never to make direct contact.

And he'd obeyed that edict, playing the hand dealt him, following all therules like a good little soldier for almost a year. Eleven months, fifteendays, God only knew how many hours and minutes...

Eleven and a half months of watching him, always from a safe distance, watchinghim go to lectures, watching him alone in his room. Watching him with *her,*that red-haired bitch, watching them make love, watching them arguing, screaming.

Watching Mulder go back to her every single time, slinking back to her likea beaten dog.

So when he'd seen him heading for the train station this morning, he'd gonetoo, telling himself he was only following his assignment, knowing all alongwhat he really intended to do. He'd been carrying that sedative around inhis pocket for weeks now.

He'd jeopardized the assignment, and the old man would probably have hisballs on a string for it, but he didn't care. It had been worth it, worthswallowing his anger and pride every time the old man told him he had norights, only orders to be carried out.

Yeah, it'd been worth it, every mind-shattering second of it. He'd beenhaving sex since he was fifteen, he'd had men and women, but he'd neverexperienced anything half that intense before.

And they hadn't even gone all the way yet.

He'd wanted to. God, how he'd wanted to turn Mulder around, bend him overand ream that tight virgin ass, but he hadn't; he'd been too damn scaredof the whole scene getting too rough, scared of freaking him out so badhe'd bolt.

Mulder stirred, mumbling something in his sleep, rolling over next to Alex,snuggling close, one arm flung over his midriff, finally lying still. Shifting,Alex tried to nudge him, move him off gently, but when the hint failed totake he relaxed, giving in to the inevitable, tangling a hand in silky chocolate-brownhair, lips barely dusting his forehead.

He wasn't sure when it had happened, but it had. He'd lost his heart tothis beautiful young man, to full, sensual lips that begged to be kisseduntil both their mouths ached, to those incredible eyes, deep, rich hazel,pupils softly ringed with amber...

Deep, rich hazel eyes that fluttered open at that exact same moment, blinking."Wh-what time's it?" Mulder asked groggily.

"Still early. Go back to sleep."

"Why're you awake?"

"Dunno, just am. Go back to sleep," Alex repeated.

Neither of them said anything for so long he assumed Mulder was asleep,and Alex was starting to drift again himself when he felt a warm, moistpath being kissed across his chest.

"Mulder...c'mon, lay off awhile, okay? You wore me out in there."

Mulder's disappointed sigh gave his ego a welcome boost, but relief stillswept him as Mulder finally settled back down, cheek warm and smooth againsthis own skin.

"Thanks," Mulder mumbled.

"For what?"

"Banishing the shadows."

Silence.

"Alex..."

"What?"

"How long're you staying in London?"

He shrugged.

"What day's it?"

Alex twisted, looking at the clock again, doing a quick mental calculation."Um, it's a little after two in the morning, so that makes it... Friday."

"Hmmm. Well, not much point in heading back up to Oxford, the train'lltake a big chunk out of the day anyway. Might as well stay the weekend."

That floored him. "Y-you want to spend the weekend *here*? *Together*?"

"Something wrong with that?"

"I dunno, I guess I just...assumed this was gonna be a one-night thing."

"Alex..."

"What?"

"Shut up and get some sleep," Mulder replied, glancing up at himwith a drowsy-little-boy grin. "I guarantee you're gonna need it."

-- END --