Fandom: X Files
Pairing: Mulder/Krycek/Skinner
Rating: NC-17
Slash Status: New For the May RatB Challenge
E-mail address for feedback: or
Series/Sequel: (Just A Taste: S/K First time M/K first time (in outline only)) A Warm Place Out Of The Rain, A Comedy Of Errors, (A Garden Of Earthly Delights: Sk/Ricky Caruso story title and idea mostly at this point) Shade and Knight, Inextricable Relationships, Wonderful World, The Little Prince,
Disclaimers: I do not own the characters I abuse and soothe in this story. This was written as fan fiction only and is not intended to infringe on the rights of Chris Carter or Fox TV.
Notes: Nikolai first appears in Orpheus Descending and is Krycek's son from a college romance. Orpheus Descending doesn't really fit with this story line, but Nicky is a bright and energetic kid who doesn't like to just sit around in an archive. He likes to play in new stories.
PS, if you read an article on transplant rejection therapy (Thinking of a story where Alex gets a new arm) watch Dr. Moreau for the fifth time, and have your mind on the May challenge for RAT B, what do you get?
WARNINGS: Schmoopy angst: Walter rape. Clone sex. Sentimental Krycek. Caring, loving Mulder stuff...

Inextricable Relationships

by Ursula


Stroke, stroke down the oiled, quivering flesh of his cock. Mind blank, face blank, sitting in the chair into which Alex had once angrily thrust him before giving into his desires and kissing him. The TV flickered, but not with any of his professional videos. Alex writhed under him in the video. It had taken See's dark chocolate assortment and six hand made truffles from the most expensive candy confectioner in town to convince Alex to allow Mulder to film their lovemaking.

Alex's dialog was not like the porn flicks. His words were "I love you. I love you. Don't ever stop. Don't ever stop loving me."

Mulder came as the last plea was buried in the fuzz at the end of the film. He looked at his semen-covered hand and smeared it down his chest. He sobbed, a wet, juvenile sound that echoed in the dark room to taunt him. Shit, he was so fucked. No, he was so unfucked.

Mulder heard the phone ring. Last time he picked it up was to hear Rodney apologetically saying, "Mulder, I'd love to see you, but I met someone. You would not believe how much he looks like you. He's a doctor... well he used to be one. Now, he's doing substance abuse counseling like I am."

Rodney didn't sound like the scarred prostitute he had been when Mulder had met him. He sounded young, happy, in love. Great. Rodney's voice caught Alex's husky tones exactly. "Mulder, I'm sorry. I could have loved you, but I know it was never just me that you saw."

Mulder had stammered out, "No, that's great. I'm happy for you. I want to meet him someday."

Right, Mulder devoted the next ten minutes after he hung up to reciting the word 'fuck', in as many languages as he could muster. No Rodney, No Alex, not even sad and sick Lloyd Hilliard. Yeah, he had been desperate enough to look for the man, desperate enough to offer him the pain and punishment just to be allowed to gaze down at Alex's face as he fucked a substitute. No luck, didn't find the man. Maybe, Lloyd found the right guy and now lay dead in some unmarked grave, punished enough at last.

The phone rang. Mulder reached for it. He scowled as he realized that his hand was still sticky with come. Shit, better remind himself to clean it before Scully decided to visit. These little housekeeping details bugged her.

"What the hell do you want?" Mulder snarled into the phone.

Alex's voice... Mulder grinned. God had granted his wish. Skinner was in Chicago, ordered to some weeklong seminar on personnel relationships. Obviously, they hadn't noticed that Skinner had covered those thoroughly in the brief weeks that Alex Krycek had been an FBI agent, Mulder thought bitterly. Of course, he forget the essential one, if you are going to have an office affair with a double agent, don't jilt him.

Mulder thought, 'Yeah, Skinner was out of town and Alex hated to be alone now. He wanted Mulder to visit and hold him in his arms, lying naked in Skinner's massive bed. Mulder already had a plan. No demands, just cuddling unless Alex started it on his own. He would prove to everyone that he wasn't self centered and...

Alex wailed, "They took him. Mulder, you have to help me. Right now."

Jesus, took whom? Mulder felt a stab of anxious guilt. With Skinner off on his own, it would have been the perfect opportunity to strike at the team. Mulder said, "Alex, we'll get Walter back."

Cold venomous voice... hell of a long time since Mulder had heard that from Alex. Alex enunciated, "Not Walter, they took Nicky. They shot my aunt Sophia. They don't even know if she's going to live. Mulder, you have to help me. Right now!"

Mulder's heart really skipped a beat. He cried out, "No, oh shit, Alex, calm down. You wait for me. Did you call Walter yet?"

Alex said in a dead voice, "I'll page him now."

Mulder felt a guilty pleasure that Alex had called him first. He threw it aside and said, "Good, I'll get Scully and the Lone Gunmen. One for all and all for one, Alex. This is about all of us."



There was yet more guilt as Alex folded into his arms, trembling with rage and terror. Alex said, "It's my fault. Because I wanted to be a hero. Now, they're going to do to Nicky what they did to me. Mulder, I want them all dead. All dead. No more threats to Nicky."

Mulder was suddenly looking into emerald green fires of hell. Over the past two years, he had allowed himself to forget Krycek. There had been sweet, loving Alex, the shaking reed who needed him so desperately. He had been stupid and careless; allowing Skinner to take what Mulder had thought would always be his. Still, Skinner's Alex was, if anything, softer and more honeyed than the one Mulder had abused. The face that confronted Mulder was one he had seldom seen turned on him. This Alex would kill, torture, maim, betray, and commit every crime that Mulder had ever accused him of doing. And you know, Mulder didn't blame him a bit. He grabbed Alex's hand and said, "I'll help you. No one stands in our way."

Scully and the gunmen arrived. The techno-geeks went straight to Alex's command center to see if any of the known consortium hiding places had seen any increase in activity. Scully tried to coax Alex into taking a tranquilizer. He was pacing like a tiger, fear, grief, hatred and frustration keeping him dancing on the edge of madness. He turned on Scully, eyes wide and crazed.

Alex's voice was rough as if from screaming. He said, "Scully, do you know what they did to me? They could be raping Nicky right now. They could be selling him to filthy old perverts. Oh shit, oh shit, I can't just stay here and wait." Alex looked around, grabbed Mulder and said, "Go with me. Let's go see if we can find Spender. I bet he has Nicky. Please, Mulder!"

Scully actually chased them down the road in her car, but they had grabbed the Harley that Alex seldom rode anymore. She lost them the first time Mulder drove the fast, fierce beast down a paved walkway, flying over the curb and maneuvering down a narrow walkway between two buildings.

It was almost fun; Alex was clinging to him. Mulder was used to the feel of the prosthesis. It hardly bothered him anymore. If he couldn't feel Alex shaking in rage, he might have regarded this as a moment stolen from Walter. Anyway, any time he spent with Alex was good. Maybe this was his chance to show Alex that he could be all the things that Alex needed him to be.

Alex and he rented a car in Baltimore. Spender had a cottage that he thought Alex didn't know about. Alex commented, "He's stupid on the rare occasions that you can get him to come... falls asleep right away. I hacked into his computer a few times. This place was supposed to be one of his hideaways like that cabin up in Canada was."

Mulder tightened his lips and managed to say nothing about Spender and Alex although the thought of that man's hands on Alex made him crazy.

Mulder understood now that none of that had been Alex's fault. They had talked about since Alex move in with Walter. They had talked a lot since then. Mulder finally understood that Spender was a sick, pathetic rapist who got off on manipulating people's lives. Alex never had a choice about being fucked by him.

Alex looked at him, wincing slightly. As he saw that Mulder wasn't angry with him, he expressed his gratitude in a fondling touch on Mulder's thigh. Mulder hated that he had taught Alex to anticipated punishment for confessing to the atrocities that Spender had committed upon him. He just regretted that he came to his senses too late. Walter had been the better man; the best man for Alex.

Mulder sadly reflected that he could understand that, but his heart wouldn't listen. He still loved Alex; he loved him more then ever.

Mulder said, "Someday, Spender's going to pay for what he did to you."

Alex said, "I hope so. Mulder, thanks. Thanks for coming with me. Thanks for showing me that you still care."

Mulder replied, "What makes you think I care about you, Alex?" At the hurt look, Mulder continued, "That isn't the word. Love, Alex, love, need, obsess upon, and adore,. Those are the right words for the way I feel. I know I screwed up all my chances, but I want you to hear it once more. In case."

Alex said, "I know, Mulder. It didn't change for me either. I'm not saying that I don't love Walter because I always will. I never meant to hurt either of you. If I had my way... "

"Rub a dub dub, three men in a ... what kind of bed is that?" Mulder asked.

"Custom made king with a sleigh frame. Big enough for a football team." Alex said.

Mulder tried to imagine sharing Alex and he could. Only with Walter because, despite the jealousy, he still felt something stronger than friendship for Skinner.

A few miles from the estate, Mulder had this brilliant insight. Call for backup. He stopped the car at a rest area and made the call to Skinner. Somehow, he knew they would gather there. Walter's voice answered, shaken, angry. "Mulder, where are you?"

Mulder said, "The George Washington rest stop on the Baltimore turn pike. Alex and I are going in to one of Spender's hideouts. Alex thinks that Spender isn't on to him knowing about this one."

Walter asked, "Can you slow him down? Wait for the rest of us?"

Alex had returned from the restroom and he pointed at the car. Mulder said, "Alex, Walter wants you to wait."

Alex took the phone and said, "I love you, but I can't wait. That's my kid. Every minute Spender has him worse things could be happening to Nicky. Get here quickly, Walter. I love you."

Mulder nodded and walked toward the car. Just this time, he felt he had did everything right. They drove the few hours to Spender's cottage. Mulder had that feeling he had sometimes. They were flying head first into danger. There were no guards visible. Mulder put his hand on Alex's back and said, "Alex, love, I think we are about to walk into a trap. Are we going to do it anyway?"

Alex turned moss green eyes on Mulder. Sadly, he said, "Yeah, I agree. Maybe ---Spender always thinks ahead. Maybe he knew he would want me to remember this place. I still have to do it. I'm Nicky's father."

Mulder managed as laugh and said, "Okay, well, I'm not willing to be his mother so the kid will have to make do with tw-three dads and Scully. Let's go then, partner."

The cottage was walled and secured with multiple surveillance devices, none of which seemed to even vaguely challenge Alex. He opened his bag of tricks and set to work overriding commands, zapping through codes, quick, calm, and professional now that there was work to be done. Alex growled to himself as one sequence gave him a momentary hitch, but he quickly defeated it. "Too easy." Alex remarked.

Mulder said, "But we go in anyway, don't we?"

Alex nodded and then said, "He's my kid. I have to do this. Mulder... you don't have to take the chance. You could wait out here until Walter and the others get here. But that helicopter... I can't let them leave with Nicky. I don't know all of the places Spender could hide my son."

Mulder said, "As far as I am concerned, Nicky is as close to a son as I ever would want to have. So let's shut up and go."

Alex's smile, sweet beyond belief and his eyes lightening in that way that made Mulder want to be a hero... made him feel the way he had when Alex was mostly just pretending to look up to him. Now they were as near the truth in their relationship as two such masters of subterfuge could be.

Nicky was in a small bedroom toward the back. He looked uninjured, but was chained to the bed. He was watching TV, but when Spender entered the room, the small boy eyed him like a tiger cub.

Mulder noted that Spender looked like a days old corpse, skin hanging yellow and loose on his face. He was in a wheel chair and his claw like hands shook constantly. He harangued at the boy, probably trying to frighten him. Nicky shook his head, eyes bright with unshed tears, but his head held proudly despite that. Mulder felt ridiculously proud of the child as if Nicky were his kid too.

Spender left, but the burly guard remained. Mulder nodded and Alex slipped away to use some of the plastic explosive they had bought to create a major distraction.

When the fourth of July arrived early, Mulder used the speed glasscutter to bore a hole in the window. Alarms rang out. He could hear them over the chaos. One of Spender's men came running in. Mulder aimed his gun straight on and blasted the man in an academy perfect shot right to the chest. Nicky asked, "Where's my papa?"

Mulder could hear a chopper. He hoped it was Skinner. He said to Nicky, "Alex is waiting outside." He found the key to the handcuffs and freed the boy. Nicky was steady on. He didn't scream at the sight of the bloody corpse or tantrum because he didn't see his father right away. Mulder picked him up and shoved him through the window. He caught sight of Skinner and grinned. He yelled to Nicky, "Run to Uncle Walter. Go now, Nicky!"

The kid was fast. Walter sprinted toward the boy, scooping Nicky up, not hesitating a moment. He turned and ran with Nicky. Mulder was about to follow when darkness arrived in the form of a red-hot explosion of pain to his head. His last thought as he plummeted to the floor was of Alex.

Mulder woke up feeling very ill. His wrist hurt and he was lying atop some one. He knew whom. He knew Alex by the scent of him, by some fricative sense of his skin. Other people, knew hot, cold, soft, hard, smooth, rough. Mulder knew Alex texture. Alex weight. Things couldn't be too bad if he was lying here with Alex.

Mulder felt the floor vibrating under him. He heard the beat of helicopter blades and the throb of powerful engines. He corrected his first thought. Things could be terrible despite being with Alex. Oh, fuck, where in hell were they being taken?"

Mulder fully awoke and opened his eyes. He was handcuffed to his lover. They lay on the floor of the copter. A few feet away, Spender sat in a passenger seat. He was coughing and spitting into a metal bowl held by a white costumed woman, as he sat not far from where Mulder sprawled on the floor. The distinct noise of a helicopter surrounded Mulder and then he was more concerned with Alex's moans. "Are you all right, baby?" he asked.

Alex snarled, "Right! Someone hit me with a two by four. I can't feel my hand. Your knee is right on my bladder and I shouldn't have grabbed that coffee at the rest stop. I am just grand. The good news is that I heard them talking before I passed out. Walter has Nicky and they didn't get any of the team except us."

Mulder moved his knee and they wiggled around to relieve the pinch of the handcuffs. Alex found as comfortable position as he could find with the cuffs and used Mulder's chest for a pillow. Spender had turned when he heard their voices. Mulder spared a moment to observe the mad hatred on Spender's face before retreating to sleep as Alex had.

Mulder woke as the copter landed. He and Alex were tossed out on a sandy beach where they wallowed several minutes. They were handcuffed... Alex's one wrist bound to a belt at Mulder's waist. Mulder's left hand also tethered tightly to the band. With one free hand between them and bound so closely with each other, they didn't have a chance in the world to run. As pissed as Mulder was, he bit his tongue about the situation. He hoped that he could pull the daddy shit with Spender and perhaps keep the crazed man from abusing Alex.

Mulder didn't have an immediate chance to talk with Spender. They were marched to a jeep from the small landing pad. The road was paved although the tarmac had buckled and split to a level that made it a dubious excuse for a road. The setting looked tropical. Mulder tried to recognize some distinct vegetation that would tell him their location, but the drive jounced along the rough road at light speed.

A walled compound, topped by patrolling guards was not far away. As they entered the gate, Mulder could hear monkeys screaming in the background. Unfortunately, the human voices drowned them out with a chorus of different languages, all speaking the same message of pain.

There were several outbuildings, but they were brought to the main building. It was a well-kept antebellum looking mansion. The air inside was cool and refreshing after the sodden weight of climate outside. The nurse immediately wheeled off Spender, who was wheezing as if it was his last breath.

Alex and Mulder were forced to stand in what appeared to be a lobby. It glistened with marble, a lush pink mottled stuff. The place was well furnished, but the guard herded them to an open spot in from of a throne like chair and glowered at them from under his thickly browed and Neanderthal bulging forehead.

Mulder whispered, "Alex? Any idea where you are?"

"No talking!" the two ton Teutonic monster who guarded them thundered. He reinforced his command by hitting them both with the butt of his rifle. Mulder grabbed his aching stomach and grimaced. Alex, handless, just leaned on him and tried to shake the pain away with that characteristic toss of his head.

Spender reappeared in a wheel chair. He looked frostily at Mulder and remarked, "I thought you were over it at last. Walter Skinner had never been more than a puppet. It didn't surprise me when he became the whore's lover. You... I had aspirations for you. I am very disappointed in you, my boy. You should have left Alex alone."

Spender's gaze traveled over to Alex. His expression was one of possession. Alex lowered his eyelashes for a moment then seemed to force himself to look his former master in the eye.

Spender said, "Did he tell you I fucked him before you had him? I used to lay him out on a table to entertain my guests. How does it feel to fuck a whore, Mulder? Does that thrill you? Of course, I know it doesn't bother Skinner. It's probably the main attraction for him. He does have a thing about prostitutes."

Spender commanded, "Remove the chain from Alex. Alex, on your knees."

Alex knelt. It killed Mulder to see it. Alex said, "Spender, if it's me that you want to punish, here I am. I'll do whatever you want. Let Mulder go. You told everyone that he's your son. Act like a father. Let him go."

Spender cackled and coughed. He said, "I don't have to let either of you go. Getting you was my whole plan. Did you think I wanted Nicky? Why? I have a purebred Alex of my own. Spender hit a button and said, "Alexi, come."

In walked beauty. This clone was no more than twenty. He was ethereal, dreamy eyed, looking even sweeter and prettier than Alex the first time that Mulder saw him. Mulder couldn't tell by looking if this was a real clone or one of the alien hybrids. Which ever, it smiled and sidled up to Spender to say, "Papa, you're back."

Spender's liver spotted hand fondled the clone. Reached between the legs and masturbated it. It braced itself and thrust his hip forward, cooing with pleasure. Spender asked, "Were you a good boy while I was gone? You didn't touch this except to pee."

"No, papa, I was very good. I know that it's yours. Yours not mine. Only papa makes Alexi feel good."

Alex muttered, "Hand me a barf bag. This is the worst clone I've seen."

Spender continued to play with the clone until it came. It giggled and kissed Spender before staring out from Alex lashes at Mulder and Alex. The clone asked, "This is the bad boy that betrayed papa? And that is the bad man who cut off the bad boy's arm?"

Spender said, "Yes, Alexi. That is they."

Alexi said, "But papa won't let that happen to me?"

Spender replied, "As long as Alexi is my good boy."

Alexi crept closer to Mulder and said, "You do look like Foxy-Baby except you're old." The pretty pink mouth trembled a little and he said, "Foxy-Baby and Sasha were very bad and now they just lie there. They don't play any more."

Mulder looked from this dewy fresh creature to his lover. God, now he had some inkling as to how Alex felt to find version after version of himself. But Alex was beautiful. It made him ill to think that Spender enslaved even a flawed copy of his beloved.

Spender had a coughing fit and needed a shot plus more oxygen. The clone didn't seem to react. Mulder wondered if it was stupid or perhaps just uneducated. Give an Alex an inch and he'd take a mile. It was hard to believe that even a manipulated copy could be so passive.

Spender recovered enough to say, "Alexi, let's take the bad men to see what papa is going to look like when his doctors make him well."

Alexi took the handles of the chair and wiggled along out of the room. Alex whispered, "I know Spender's plan now. He is trying to kill me with humiliation. God, what is this creature stuck at, age five or six?"

Alexi stopped pushing and stomped his feet. He said, "Papa, the bad men are saying I'm stupid. Punish them."

Spender assured, "They will be punished. My Alexi isn't stupid. He is just as papa wants him to be."

Distracted by a caress on his naked groin, Alexi went back to pushing the wheelchair. They entered a locked room. Mulder wasn't surprised at what he saw, but he was appalled. A Mulder clone and an Alex clone slept in glass beds. Alexi touched the box that held his slightly older double. He looked grieved and said, "Sasha will love you when you look like Foxy-Baby. I'm sure he's very sorry."

Spender gloated, "Soon, the doctors will try the new medicine on the bad men and if they don't die, papa will be next." He used his electric controls to push near the vat to caress the clone's genitals. "When papa is in this body, he won't just have to watch pretty Alexi." A finger slipped between the Alex clone's buttocks. Papa will put his cock right in you and it will feel so good. Even better than this feels, my beauty. Maybe I will give Sasha another chance... I may be able to make two of you happy."

Alexi had braced himself and he was moaning as Spender finger fucked him. Mulder glanced at his lover's face, seeing the rage and the agony. He understood now, a little, what it had been like for Alex, growing up in Spender's "Loving" care.

Alex said, "Spender, I always knew you were insane, but now you are so far around the bend, you should be able to fuck your own wizened ass. You know, eventually Alexi will grow up no matter what you do to keep him ignorant. And when he does, it will be the same thing all over again."

Spender's anger showed in a rough jab of his finger. Alex promptly protested, "Papa, that hurts."

Spender withdrew his hand and took a small whip out of the side of his chair. He said, "Alexi, that was bad. Grab your legs and bend."

"No, papa, no, please papa." The frightened clone cried. Spender couldn't put much into the blows, but the clone was not used to pain apparently. He cried profusely. Spender's face lit with pleasure and he turned the job over to one of his men so he could watch.

Mulder almost smiled. Alexi curled up in a ball on the floor when the guard stopped, but Mulder caught one evil eyed look at Spender. The old men had just made his first mistake with the clone. An Alex treated with loving kindness by Spender might cause no trouble, but apparently there was a streak of vengeance right in the genetic pattern. The pretty clone was very, very angry.

Spender had a coughing fit and the nurse fussed with his oxygen tank. He hit her with the crop repeatedly as soon as he was strong enough. That wore him out, but he slumped gray faced in his chair, watching as his men beat Alex. No matter how much Mulder screamed for them to stop, to take him instead, every blow, every fall of the whip went to Alex. Soon Alex was a limp heap on the floor. When the blows didn't even make Alex twitch, they finally stopped and put him in Mulder's arms. Mulder buried his face in Alex's chestnut hair, smelling the fear and despair in his lover's sweat as he never had wanted to do again.

Spender ordered them chained, Alex's one arm bound to a belt at Mulder's waist. Mulder's left arm locked to the belt as well. Spender perused the picture and said, "Get used to it. This is the way that it's going to be. You want Alex to be part of you? He says he can't live without you? So be it." Spender explained, "When my doctors are finished, you will have three legs. We'll fuse the middle two into one large one. As for the arms, Alex already has part of the job done, but we'll remove the remainder and fuse it with your shoulder. We'll unzip your skin and sew the entire side together. Of course, you won't be able to fuck that way, but you'll be together and this time, even Skinner won't be able to part you."

A cool alcohol pad cleaned a spot on Mulder's stomach. Alex was just waking from his faint when they rammed the needles home. Spender uttered a mad laugh and said, "By tomorrow this time, you two will be joined together, the subject of horror and laughter. Mulder, as much as you love the grotesque, maybe I will donate you to a freak show. I can't wait to see Skinner's face when he sees what I've done to you both."

Laugher and coughs wafted out of the room. Mulder felt woozy. The injection must be causing some biochemical changes already. It was divine justice, he thought. It was his fault that Alex lost an arm and now he was going to lose one too. Not that he believed they would survive. He couldn't imagine the operation would work. Dr. Morrell who had developed the formula had lost his medical license and had to flee Peru when the authorities found out about his human experimentation. He might have sold Spender on his abilities, but Mulder had read that the man suffered from a major personality disorder. Which was perhaps a neat way of saying he was devoid of human values and incapable of moral judgment.

The room to which they were dragged was no cell although the windows were barred. It held an enormous bed, which looked soft, clean, and incredibly inviting after the past few hours. The guards dumped Alex and Mulder on the bed and left. Mulder slept for a while; he couldn't help it. He was exhausted and aching. He woke with Alex softly groaning beside him. Mulder turned as far as the chains would allow and asked, "How are you, baby?"

Alex moaned, "Don't call me 'baby' right now. Makes me think of Spender and that awful clone."

Mulder sighed and said, "Yeah, I know. But hey, did you catch the expression on the boy's face when Spender had that guard beat him? Spender might think he has a tame Alex, but I think it's in the blood, love. He's just holding trouble by the silken balls."

Alex dryly commented, "Somehow, I don't think we'll be around to enjoy that comeuppance. Or if we are, we'll be clapping with one set of hands."

Mulder knew Alex could quickly plummet into depression or near hysteria in captivity. It was a relic of the silo that he could not lose. He moved around, trying to find a way to hug his lover, but the position in which they were chained made that a true Chinese puzzle. The chains clinked as Mulder squirmed to Alex's side.

"Oh, these chains of love." Mulder chanted. Alex didn't respond to the feeble joke. He adjusted his weight so his remaining hand wasn't crumpled underneath both their weights. Mulder tried again, "Well, this is a fine mess that you've gotten us into this time, Ollie."

Now Alex, a bit more comfortable, forced a smile. He replied, "but Stanley... " He couldn't sustain the joke. "I'm sorry. Not for me. Walter and Scully have Nicky. They'll take good care of him; love him almost as much as I do. I'm sorry that I dragged you into this. I just didn't think. Walter wasn't there and besides, I know he would have told me to do something sensible. You never do that."

Mulder lost it at the last sentence. Damn right, HE would never force Alex to do anything sensible. As he laughed, he felt Alex start to laugh with him. When he could talk again, he said, "Love, I am so glad that you knew that I would go with you. That shows that I didn't screw everything up before. You know something? There's nothing more that Spender can do to us."

Alex looked at him. His hand jerked, unable to move from the position at his waist to which it was chained. Mulder made a guess and hoped he was right. He had one hand free and he used it to caress his beloved. Alex sighed and said, "Kiss me."

Mulder warned, "Spender's watching."

Alex returned, "Fuck him. No, Mulder, fuck me. Show him what it's like to have someone who loves you."

Mulder said, "We don't have anything to make it comfortable, baby."

Alex said, "We have spit and I know I want you in me so badly that I won't tense."

Mulder made one last heroic effort. "Alex, we don't want to hurt Walter."

Alex sighed and said, "I never promised him that I wouldn't make love to you. He never asked that of me. He knows. I love him. I adore him. He takes care of me and makes me feel so safe. I never feel safe with you, Mulder, but I crave you. If there was one quivering cell left on me on one of Spender's slides, it would know you."

Oh god, Mulder knew what Alex meant. First time that they had kissed, it was like light and warmth fire balling into a deep, dark, empty void. Whatever the dance they danced, it was lock step with each other, never able to break free. Mulder looked down into Alex's eyes before kissing him. Never wanted to be free of him...

It was damn near impossible. Mulder kept falling on Alex. Alex would almost get his legs in place and they would get tangled. The up side was that they were sweating enough to not need much else as lubricant. Mulder finally managed to get his fingers inside to open Alex. Alex braced him with his incredibly strong legs so Mulder could use his one free hand without collapsing.

Alex said, as if praying, "Mulder, want you. Wanted you for the longest time. I'm such a slut. Want him. Want you. Want you both."

Mulder said, "Shush, you're not a slut, Alex. You're not a whore. You're just so precious that one man shouldn't have you all. I promise. When we get out of this, it will all be different. We'll explain to Walter and make it right. Hell, he can fuck me too if he wants."

Alex giggled. "Might hold you to that. I never told you this, but you are both lousy on the bottom. I can just hear you both thinking. /Aren't I just so nice? Now as soon as Alex gets his treat, I'm going to climb on top and reassure myself that I'm in control of everything. /"

Mulder was pushing in at that moment so he didn't spare a complaint. He'd just show Alex later that he could lose control and enjoy it better than the next guy, especially if that was Walter.

Mulder's sigh as his entire length was encased in his lover was not only pleasure. It felt like breathing again to be with Alex this way. /Don't ever mess it up/, he threatened himself. Never again.

The slide of their flesh was all that mattered. The slap of flesh against flesh, old entrancing rhythms reestablishing. His scent, the way Alex's eyes would start to close then open as if he could not bear to lose sight of his Mulder. Mulder was in Alex, the gates of paradise were open to him and he was in a vortex of desire, pleasure, completion and joy. He knew he had to come, but didn't want that release, good as he knew it would be. He couldn't stand to fall apart again, to be alone. Spender in his twisted, but insightful way planned to mock that by desecrating their bodies. Yet, Mulder vowed even if it happened, no matter what happened, he had to remember that he had another chance to be with the man he loved. No many were granted so many second chances.

At last, Mulder couldn't hold back. Ah, grief, to feel his flesh slide from Alex, to be parted. Ignoring the chains, Mulder wiggled until he could embrace Alex. It wasn't comfortable, but neither complained.

A voice that sounded like an oiled version of Alex thoughtfully remarked, "Eva said I could come here and play until she figures out how to wake Fox-baby and Sasha."

Alex let out a heavy sigh and grimaced as he tried and failed to wipe the come off his stomach. He said, "Hey, Alexi, I thought you were angry with us?"

Mulder peered at Alexi. The clone sidled over and sat on the bed. He said, "Eva said that I am not stupid, just uneducated."

Alex said, "That's right, Alexi. Spender thinks he can keep you in the dark and always have a slave. Alexi, Papa Spender is not nice and he's lied to you about lots of things."

Alexi hardly listened to his original. He moved closer to Mulder and reached to caress between his legs. Alex said, "But I saw one thing that was true. It feels better to have this in you than to just have someone play with yours. Sasha didn't like it when Papa did it to him, but he liked it a lot when Fox-Baby did it."

Mulder blushed as he realized he was reacting. He sternly told his interested cock, /not now! You single headed thing, that's not Alex and if you keep doing that, you're not getting any more from Alex. Alex said, "Alexi, let us loose and Mulder and I will show you really nice games."

Alexi might be a child in intellectual development, but he was bright in potential. He shook his head and said, "No, first, Mulder shows me how nice that game can be and then I'll help you."

Alex said, "I think I like him better already. He has some sharp instincts."

Mulder shook his head and said, "Alex, I can't make love to him."

Alex said irritably, "Like hell, what's that standing up? A traffic marker? Just do it, Mulder. Hell, close your eyes and think of Russia."

Mulder wished his embarrassment would cause his cock to shrink in shame. No such luck! Alexi buried his head between Mulder's legs and teased him to full erection.

Nuzzling him, Alexi said, "Your thing is pretty like mine is. Papa's is ugly and it doesn't work. I think that's why he's so mean."

Alexi lifted his head and smiled happily. He said, "Now, I get to really play." He blithely climbed on top; ready to mount Mulder's now fully engaged interest.

Alex quickly said, "Mulder, he's a virgin. Don't hurt him."

There was a story in Alex's voice. Alex had never said who taught him the tricks in his repertoire. He just said that it wasn't enjoyable. Mulder said, "Alexi, you need to go and find some...something to make you slick inside. Does Spender ever put anything on his fingers when he plays with you?"

Alexi nodded and said, "Uh huh, I have it in my room. Because I lied. I didn't save the fun thing just for papa."

Alex added, "The keys to the handcuffs would be nice too, Alexi."

Alexi said, "Papa has them. If I try to get them, he'll wake up."

Alex sighed and said, "Just get the lube."

After Alexi sped off, Alex said, "That's my boy. Sees you and instantly wants to fuck. Mulder, if we get out of here, we have to make sure Spender doesn't have those clones to use as vehicles and we have to take Alexi with us." Alex subsided and then added, "Got to let those people loose too. Whoever Spender is experimenting on... that will give us cover to escape."

Mulder smiled tenderly at Alex. He said, "You don't want to admit that you care, do you?"

Alex muttered, "Don't fool yourself, Mulder. I'm still a rat."

Mulder said, "My rat... " He guiltily added, "but Walter still gets his share."

Alexi returned waving a tube of lubricant in his hand. Mulder tried to tell himself that this was a duty. And poor Alex having to lie next to him while he screwed this pretty mirror image of him. It wasn't like when they took Ricky Caruso to bed. Hell, they had still been in denial at that point most of the time. They had tried to pretend it was all sex between them, but it never had been. Mulder adored Alex's body, but he could have had Rodney if he wanted only the flesh. It was the big one with Alex, the love word.

Mulder dragged his attention back to Alexi. He said, "Alexi, are you sure you can't find the keys to these chains."

Alexi said, "Papa has them. And I'm afraid of him. Sasha was bad with Fox-Pretty Baby. Papa made him scream and scream. Then he put Sasha in that box and the Fox-Baby too. I miss them even though Sasha wouldn't share the Fox-Baby..."

Mulder almost totally lost his erection. His clone in that glass coffin suddenly seemed to be a person... a man in love with his version of Alex. They had to save them. Alexi looked wistful then went back to kissing Mulder's cock back to life. He had an impressively one-track mind. Mulder could feel Alex's hand nestle in his bound one reassuring him.

Alex said, "Mulder... Muhhlder. Make it nice for him. I want to see what it would have been like to be able to choose who took your cherry."

Alexi had to hold himself open for Mulder to prepare him, but he seemed to still be on top of the experience. He was really cute, a bundle of wiggles and totally unembarrassed about any aspect of sex. His face was thoughtful as between his efforts and Mulder's, Mulder's cock slid home.

Alexi said, "Well, it's not fun yet. It just feels like having to poop."

Alex said, "It gets better, Alexi. Just slide up and down, maybe a little faster then that, love."

Alexi obeyed and as he wiggled, he must have hit the right spot. He exclaimed, "Oh, oh, I do like this."

Mulder stroked Alexi's cock in time to his downward thrusts. The clone was off in his own world, pearl teeth, bared, pink lips stretched in a snarl of pleasure. He glowed with the effort and with the ruby hue of his arousal. His hands gripped Mulder's waist hard enough so Mulder knew he was going to be marked. Alexi jounced faster and Mulder felt the all over quiver start. He was tightly strung, bow arched upward and then the world dissolved to nothing but the pleasure exploding. Mulder fell back, erection fading and sliding from the sweet young body. Alexi slumped forward; he was slighter than Alex was in his maturity, but it still wasn't comfortable.

Alex's voice easy and calm said, "Alexi, baby, you need to move aside and let Mulder breath."

Alexi obeyed, curling up, oddly enough on Alex's side of the bed. For a few minutes, there was nothing but the strong smell of sex and the labored breaths as Mulder and Alexi recovered...


Alex closed his eyes. He was incredibly turned on and also incredibly jealous. What the hell was wrong with him? How could he expect Mulder to accept his relationship with Skinner and not give him equal freedom to roam?

But with his clone... his mirror image, whole, young, and innocent. That killed Alex. He thought that he could lose Mulder for real this time. The clone could be anything Mulder wanted him to be. An Alex without the taint of the past clinging to him.

Alexi drew Alex from his bitter contemplation. He said, "Alex? Are you mad at me for doing that with Fox? You can do it with me too. Would that make it all right?'

Alex managed a smile. He couldn't hate the clone, not really. Alexi was just a kid as Alex had been once. He didn't know any better and, hell, he deserved to have someone besides a sick old pervert screw him. Alex took a deep breath and said, "No, thank you, Alexi. Maybe later. Now, who is this Eva?"

On cue, a woman entered. She had reddish-brown hair, prominent teeth and a somewhat recessive chin. Her eyes were blue, powered by an intense fanatical light. Alex recognized her as an Eve, one of the first clone experiments. Most of her line was insane. He wondered if this one was. She held bundles of equipment and was followed by the two former sleeping beauties.

The Mulder clone and the Alex clone held hands tightly. Alex understood and wondered if it was something in the genes. Now if Spender had made a Skinner that would have been interesting. Alex would find out it his passion for the two men was something deep in his chromosomes. Sometimes he thought it must be. After all, his love for Mulder and Skinner had broken his heart, led him into pain and danger, and complicated his life to incredible degrees. If love were a choice, wouldn't he have chosen lesser men who he could have manipulated? It seemed beyond all rational thought for him to choose the two out of all the less complicated lovers he could have embraced. No, it had to be fate.

Alex's clone seemed to have no doubts. He was whole, complete with an arm and a Mulder who loved him without reservation.

Alexi jumped out of bed with a delighted squeal. He ran to his slightly older double and hugged him fervently. He murmured, "My Sasha, my Sasha, I missed you so much."

A few moments later, Alexi was saluting the Mulder clone almost as happily. The younger version of Fox grinned and said, "God, Alexi, you've really grown up!"

Eva snapped, "Boys, get ready to go. Alexi, put those clothes on, baby."

The tired looking women seemed to be in her mid to late forties. Her appearance was haggard, but she had an air of command. She turned to Alex and said, "I couldn't find the keys, He must have them and he sleeps surrounded by clones programmed for complete loyalty. There are tools on the yacht if we can make it that far. Spender also keeps all the vehicle keys with him when he sleeps."

"Fucking great!" Alex grumbled. Now that there was a chance, his body was jumping with adrenalin. That was just the fucking way it was... every time he started to give up, another escaped route presented. And he always went for it... rat in a maze.



The afterglow of sex was quickly dispelled by the reality of the situation. They were in tremendous danger. Mulder saw the hot gleam in Alex's eyes and thought that he was in deep shit for more then one reason. Alex's expression softened and he cast a wry smile at Mulder as he coaxed his clone for information.

Mulder was cleaning the sticky residue of his pleasure off himself with a fold of the sheet when a woman rushed in. He recognized her in a moment. An Eve! His eyes were riveted on the two young men who followed. His clone looked exactly like Mulder had when he was at Oxford. The difference was the lack of shadows and the lack of doubt. This Mulder clung to an Alex clone devotedly. Lucky Mulder to have an Alex all to himself!

The female clone snapped, "Well, get moving. I want my boys out of here. Come on, before Spender finds out what I've done."

Eva had brought their clothes, but the best Mulder and Alex could do was to wear pants and shoes. They tied their shirts around their necks to give them some protection from the voracious insects. The clones helped them eagerly, pulling them along and bracing them as they ran through the ornate house. Mulder was frightened and very tired, but he couldn't help observe the young version of himself. Such constant jittering energy! How could anyone have ever stood him?

Out of the house... . as they passed through the foreboding walls, Eva turned and hit a remote several times. A tight lipped smile creased her face and she said, "Lions, and tigers and bears, oh my! I already let the people go, poor things. The wild creatures are mostly drugged, but I think they will add their piece."

Alex spared a bitter laugh and remarked, "as long as they don't eat Spender. We'd be in trouble with the humane society for poisoning them."

Mulder saw naked people running everywhere. Some of them, even at a distance, looked odd and others were obviously hurt. He wanted to help them. But Alex... he had to get Alex back to Nicky.



Nicky had finally settled down to bed after Walter consented to lie down with him. The heavy hard warmth of the head against his chest reminded him of Alex. There was nothing better than waking up... . arm and shoulder going numb from the sweet burden of his lover. Walter softly brushed back Nicky's hair. The kid was due for a hair cut. Walter should do something about it before Nicky went back to Russia. Still, Walter mused, Nicky had the same lustrous glow in his variegated hair as his father did. It always seemed a shame to cut those lovely strands.

Walter steeled his thoughts away from the image Alex's shining hair clutched in his hands as he pressed the suckling, teasing mouth to his cock. Would he ever have that again? He reminded himself that Alex was a survivor. Still, as Scully always said, if you had Mulder and Krycek together, you could predict nothing except that dangerous and interesting times would follow.

Walter wasn't sure if he believed in God, but he calculated a bargain anyway. /"Bring Alex back safely and I will never be jealous. I'll share him. I'll even give him up if I have to do that to make you happy./

Walter carefully slid away from Nicky. The boy stirred, but then settled. Walter had never been comfortable with children, but Nicky was different. First of all, the boy looked exactly like his father. He was the most beautiful child that Walter had ever seen. Secondly, he was bright, observant, and endearing. If Alex didn't come back, Nicky would not lack for a father. But Alex had to come back.

In Walter's mind, his life had four major chapters, childhood, idyllic, crowded with younger siblings... Vietnam, two years that represented shrapnel in his life. He had gone there a big, goofy kid so naïve that he was nicknamed, Walt-boy by one of the unit wags. Two years later, the play and humor had drained from him.

Next, there was his wife... . Hope for a normal life, happiness, kids, growing old together as his parents did. All ending in a dismal failure that neither of them understood.

The chapter he hoped had not ended was now. Alex... a chimera of changing personas held together by an underlying sweetness that had survived hell and back. This last year with Alex hadn't been easy, but every moment was precious. Walter knew that Alex had never stopped loving Mulder, but he had the joy of knowing that Alex loved him too. He drove away the nightmares and made Alex feel safe. He thought that Alex never made any unfavorable comparisons in bed either. Walter was proud of his imagination and stamina as a lover. And Alex brought out the best in him. Walter shook his head. Maybe it had all been just too good to be true. Maybe this was to be his punishment for being happy... to live on without Alex. Not much of a life...

Walter stopped by the bathroom, pissed, and took a quick shower. He was tired, but he couldn't sleep. His mind conjured the horrors that might be happening to Mulder and Alex. Hopefully, they, at least, had each other. They would take care of each other as best as they could. Walter felt an unwarranted tightening in his throat. Shit, at his age, he should have outgrown wasting energy on tears. He leaned against the wall for a moment before he forced his grief away by thinking about inventive ways to kill Spender. The man Mulder called Cancer-man had twisted and strung their lives into barbs of wire that had wounded them all. Alex had suffered the worst of all and some day, Walter would make him pay. Someday...

Scully sat in the kitchen, attended like Snow White by her cartoon-like companions. Frohike was, as usual, as close as she would allow. Byers had found Alex's tea, which he was drinking out of antique china. Walter childishly could not stand to see Alex's cup in someone else's hand. He walked over and said, "John, let me get you another cup. That's Alex's."

The dapper man met his eyes soulfully and replied, "Of course, I should have remembered. You bought that one for him when we were in Idaho. He was bitching about having to drink his tea from a Styrofoam cup."

Walter nodded, remembering Alex's confusion when he handed him the wrapped package. Alex was so programmed to believe that he could have nothing, keep nothing in life without stealing it and savaging to protect it. Kindness floored him and thus it was Walter's delight to watch for every small occasion to prove to him that the world could be different. The small gift had earned a smile and later a through kiss. The teacup was added to Alex's horde of treasured objects. Walter carefully washed it and put it back in place. He hoped he would see Alex drinking out of it soon again.

Frohike grunted and stood up, pressing a hand to his back and rubbing it with a strained expression. He said, "I finally got into some of Alex's private files on the computer. He has a list of consortium property. I'm running a tracking program to see if any on them show private flights in or any increase in activity. It'll take a while. I mean, that's supposing Spender didn't just dump them in the ocean." Frohike guiltily ducked away from Walter's glare. He said, "Hey, man, not that I think he did that or anything."

Scully said, "He wouldn't. Spender's obsessed with us, you, Walter, Mulder, Krycek, and myself. If he wanted us dead, we'd be dead. He just likes to toy with us and play us as his pawns when we're stupid enough to let him."

Scully stood and walked over to Walter, stroking his arm lightly. She asked, "Did you get Nicky to sleep?"

Walter said, "Yes. God, poor kid was exhausted, but hoping we could just pull his dad out of a hat or something. He's trying to be brave, but he is a very frightened and sad little guy."

Scully touched her abdomen and remarked, "I've spent so much time railing about my inability to have children. Now that I have seen how they use Nicky against Alex, I think they may have inadvertently done me a favor." Her fair skin showed the puffy, darkness under her eyes. She yawned.

Walter said, "Dana, why don't you join Nicky on the bed. He'll sleep better that way."

Dana nodded and said, "Walter, you know staying up isn't doing them any good. I could give you something."

Walter leaned down and kissed her forehead. He said, "Dana, the one thing I want... you can't give me."

Walter decided to go find the low life that Spender used to send to fetch Walter to see him. If the man knew anything about this situation, Walter would find out if he had drag the man's brain out his asshole to get the information ...



You never knew how much you use your hands for balance until you don't have one. Mulder bit back his complaints. Alex lived this way permanently. Right now, his lover had no usable hands. Mulder tried to keep the creepers and tree branches out of both of their faces, but the path was heavily overgrown. Mosquitoes were feasting on their mostly uncovered chests although they didn't like Alex as much as they liked him. However bees were attracted to Alex enough to make the difference. Mulder waved a particularly big and persistent one away. He missed an exposed root and the two of them fell; Mulder on top. Alex uttered a sharp cry and Mulder struggled to get his weight off Alex's sole surviving arm.

The clones grabbed them to their feet and Alexi said, "I'll help you. One for all and all for one... like Foxy and Sasha and me."

Alex looked gray faced. He said, "I won't turn any help away, Alexi." He turned his face to Mulder and said "I think I tore a muscle in my arm. It hurts like hell."

"Shit," Mulder summarized.

Eva turned toward them, a leaf caught in her gray tinged blond hair. She said, "Hurry up. Spender is paranoid. It won't take him long to remember the yacht. One of the lower level men bought it for him, but Spender has been too sick to use it for months. I got to take Alexi for a ride and made a copy of the keys."

Mulder forced himself to forge along the rough path, pushing to the edge of his endurance. He could tell that Alex was running on the last of his reserve energy. The stress of having his son kidnapped, the beating, and the drugs had all served to challenge his admirable stamina. Alexi had glued himself to his original's side, serving as an extra pair of limbs whenever he could. Despite the support, Mulder and Alex were staggering, leaning on each other for support. The only blessing was that over the time they spent chained together; their bodies had found a meshed synchronicity that would have been a marvel to behold if they were not both so exhausted.

Eva called out, "Almost there... "

Mulder growled, "Better be."

Alex smiled faintly; his sphinx smile instead of the sunnier expression he showed his lovers. "Mulder, there's no use bitching. You just take it."

Mulder teased, "Krycek Philosophy 101. Hmm, I may have liked it better when you recited DOT stats."

Alex now smiled wanly, but with a flash of real humor. He said, "Muhhlder, I bet I could make you come from reading DOT stats if I wanted to do it."

Mulder kissed Alex quickly on his grimy forehead and said, "You're on, love."

The two older clones had removed a disguise of underbrush, revealing a narrow gap in the rock face. Eva checked her gun and handed weapons to the clones, even to child-like Alexi. The Mulder clone kissed his Sasha fervently and said, "What ever happens, don't let Spender have me."

Sasha hugged his lover with a sweet youthful passion that was devastating for Mulder to see and said, "If you die, I want to die too."

Mulder saw the look in Alex's eyes. Was that what could have been for them without Spender's interference? Would they have met and loved in such innocence, free of the agony of their lives?

Alex read his mind and said, "Can't change the past, love. Just make sure that we have a future."

Eva allowed Fox to lead the way. Sasha followed his lover and Eva was next. The path was steep. Treacherous. It was going to be hell for the clumsy organism that Mulder and Alex had become. Alexi opted for last, saying he could help them navigate the narrow trail. The others used both hands to hold onto the cliff when the trail narrowed to a mere shadow of a foothold.

Between the two of them, Alex and Mulder only had use of one hand. Mulder edged along in advance trying to develop suction on his fingers. One misstep and they would have plunged down onto the jagged rocks. Alexi steadied them at intervals, his strong grip anchoring them. Mulder took back his slight resentment. The clone was a good kid.

Mulder paused, tried not to look down. Alex leaned on him and panted. Sweat dripping from their insect bitten bodies, filth from the jungle covering them yet they were more in harmony then they had ever been in their troubled lives. Alex edged along, following him as if he always had belonged there. Mulder concentrated, but at least he had done everything right with Alex up to this point. So even if they fell...

But they didn't fall. They reached the bottom and everyone sank to their haunches for a few moments, looking back at the hairpin turns of the steep trail in disbelief that they had all succeeded in climbing down it.

Eva hugged each of her surrogate children in her arms. It hurt Mulder to see it. It would be an open wound for his whole life that his parents had not loved he and Samantha enough to protect them. Eva was risking all for these young men she had raised but with whom she had no biological connection. He kissed Alex again and said, "Everything is going to be fine. You know how I know?"

Alex eyes were violet smudged beneath with weariness and his usually clear complexion was yellow as if bruised. He leaned on Mulder; the way he did with Walter and agreeably asked, "How do you know?"

"Because Walter will kill me if we don't make it out of here alive." Mulder asserted.

Alex smiled at that. Mulder took the gun that Eva offered. But unlike Fox, he didn't plan to do the fate worse then death alternative. Even if Spender managed to complete his experiment, he would be himself and alive with Alex.

Eva said, "Let's go. Foxy, don't do anything stupid, baby. Think of Sasha."

Mulder's clone nodded and they edged forward, pushing cautiously out to a clearing. Eva walked toward the guard with Alexi. She cheerfully said, "Hi, Henri, Mr. Spender wants me to take the boy out on the water again."

Henri scowled. He was a large man with a small head, his face looking as if some giant had squeezed it into this distorted form. He stroked his scruffy dun colored mustache and said, "I'll check."

Eva allowed him to turn and then shot him. He fell to the ground and she kicked the rifle away from him. With a growling emphasis, she yelled, "Get aboard now!"

Eva thrust the keys in Mulder's hand and said, "Get it started."

Mulder had just helped Alex on to the deck when gunfire caused them all to duck for cover. Mulder decided to stay down, given that he and Alex were handicapped by the chains that bound them to each other. The clones were firing steadily. Alexi yelled, "Eva!"

Sasha dashed back to the dock before Mulder could say anything. Mulder watched as Sasha ran like a gazelle toward Eva. As the clone reached his surrogate mother, Mulder yelled, "Alexi, you are going to have to help me run this boat. Come on."

The small cabin was crowded with the three of them in it. Mulder uttered commands, getting Alexi to follow them with minimal confusion. The clone was correct. He was far from stupid. The engine roared to life and shuddered on the water. Mulder wanted to get as far away from that museum of horrors instantly, but Eva had risked her life to free them. They had to wait to see if she was alive.

Fox ran in and said, "Eva's aboard. She's hurt, but Sasha said that it's not too bad."

Mulder asked, "Do you or Sasha know how to run this?"

Foxy shook his head. He replied, "Spender never trusted us." Mulder's own smile glinted from the baby face. The clone added, "Smart man."

Mulder said, "Okay, find something to get these chains off."

Foxy nodded and ran. Mulder left the sounds of pursuit behind, mostly using Alexi's hands to steer, his own only fine-tuning the wheel. The water was choppy and Mulder was glad that he was island bred. Yachting was a mandatory skill for people of his class and geographic origin. He needed every iota of his training to keep the small yacht on an even keel.

Alexi drew out the charts and Mulder said, "Shit, we're in the Bermuda triangle."

Alex said, "Figures. But it's not so bad... we're near the Florida coastline. We should be able to get to land."

Mulder expected a helicopter in pursuit, but none followed. Foxy returned with a tool kit. Mulder and Alex sat on a bench as the clone struggled with the tools. The diamond edged saw was a lifesaver. After the links were weakened with a few blows of a mallet, the saw took care of the rest. Alex grunted with pain as his arm was jarred, but otherwise made no complaint. As the cuffs fell away, Alex remarked, "Shoddy shit... someone's sex toys not the real thing."

Mulder answered, "That was a blessing. Here let me see if I can find something to immobilize your arm."

The first aid kit was industrial. Mulder selected two ace bandages and the canvas sling, trying to be gentle as he could, but there was not doubt that Alex was in pain. He was drenched with acrid sweat by the time Mulder had tied the knot to hold the sling. Mulder kissed Alex's forehead and then his lips. He said, "I'm going to have Alexi take you to the cabin to lie down."

Alex nodded. He commented. "I have to be nuts to feel safe adrift in a small boat in the Bermuda Triangle with Fox Mulder, but I do."

Alexi promised, "I'll take care of him, Fox."

Mulder corrected, "Mulder. My name is Mulder."

Alexi stared at him and said, "But we're friends. Friends use first names."

Alex said, "Mulder's the exception to a lot of rules, moi brat. Don't worry about it. He likes you."

Alexi smiled widely and helped Alex out of the room. Mulder sighed. He was so tired that his eyelids felt glued together. He showed Fox, his clone, how to steer and went to see if he could reach the Coast Guard. The radio appeared in working order, but all that came out of it was static. Mulder groaned and looked at the spinning compass. He supposed he would have to take lead from Captain Kirk and just sail straight on into midnight. He glanced at his clone and asked, "Do you know how to make coffee."

His clone frowned at him and replied, "I can do almost anything you can do, Mulder. Maybe better."

Mulder replied, "I'm sure you can."

His clone nodded and went to find the galley. When he returned, his Sasha shadowed him. Mulder could already tell the difference readily between the two Alex clones. Sasha was slightly older, but the real difference was that Sasha had the familiar sadness in his green eyes. And for the same reason... that bastard Spender.

Fox gave him a cup of coffee, taking over the steering. Sasha wrapped himself around his lover, swaying slightly with the motion of the yacht. Two arms. Mulder choked on it. His god dammed fault that Alex would never be really able to embrace him like that again. Why did it have to happen? So much pain and history between them... could they really learn just to love again?

Mulder wanted to go check on his lover, but the weather was not fit for amateurs to navigate. He finished his coffee and took the wheel back. Fox asked, "Do you need me here right now?"

Mulder shrugged and said, "Not really."

Fox nodded and said, "Then we're going to find some place to be alone. Spender kept us apart, locked up for a long time. He raped my Sasha, you know."

Mulder looked into his double's eyes and replied "My Alex too. And worse. Yeah, go catch up with each other. I wish I could be with my Alex. Do you think Alexi is responsible enough to take care of Alex and Eva?"

Sasha said, "He 's really sweet. Spender told Eva if she taught Alexi to think independently that he would torture us to death. I'm different. I am as much like Alex in every way as I could be made. Spender even implanted false memories. I really believed it was all my childhood before my teens until I hacked into his computer. The only thing different was that he tried to make me love him. But I couldn't. I just couldn't. I could only love Fox."

Mulder smiled at that and he said, "That's because Spender didn't make a Walter clone. I have to share."

Fox pulled impatiently at his lover and said, "Stop talking, Sasha. Let's go."

Mulder resisted the urge to bestow some sort of blessing on the pair. He smiled wistfully as he heard the slap of flesh. Fox must have not been able to keep his hands off his Sasha long enough to even fully close the door. He heard Sasha's laugh, struck by the realization that both Sasha and Alexi had lighter toned voices than Alex's. Alex's voice held a permanent rasp from screaming.

Mulder could hear Fox's voice imploring and demanding at the same time. It amused him. Foxy had it bad; maybe worse then he did. Mulder turned his attention to the wheel; the instruments still didn't work. He was steering as straight a course as he could, hoping that he was following some homeward instinct.



Hours later, Mulder's back hurt from exertion and from standing so long. He smelled like a ripe garbage heap and his eyes burned from staring into the mist that cloaked them. Alexi brought him coffee and a sandwich. He was totally naked again, unashamed.

Mulder pretended not to notice and asked, "How is Alex doing and Eva?"

Alexi replied, "Eva is good. She says it was just shock. The bullet just grazed her arm..." Alexi pointed at his upper left shoulder and said, "Right here." Alexi smiled and said, "Alex is fine too. I gave him a bath. It was fun, but he wouldn't let me make him feel good for some reason."

Mulder said, "I think Alex only wants Walter and me to do that for him, Alexi."

Alexi frowned and sulkily stated, "That's not fair. Sasha had Fox. Alex has you and Walter. I think I should have you or Walter. Alex should give me one of you."

Mulder laughed at that and said, "Somehow, I don't think he will. Don't worry, Alexi. Grow up a little and someday you'll find someone."

Alexi sucked in his lower lip a fraction and it emerged pink and gleaming. He looked so much like the Alex with whom Mulder had fallen in love that it hurt. He leaned against Mulder and said, "I do want to grow up. Even when Papa hurt Fox and Sasha, I still thought that he was always right. But I think now that what he did with me wasn't right. Even if I am a copy of Alex, I feel like a person and people shouldn't be owned."

Mulder said, "You're right. Spender had no right to created human beings and use them as toys. But you'll be fine. You have Alex's intelligence. You just have to learn to use it."

Alexi nodded and said, "I will." His nose crinkled. Every time Alex did that, Mulder wanted to kiss the frown line that formed at the bridge of the nose. Alexi said, "Mulder, you really smell bad. Do you want me to give you a bath like I did for Alex? I could just bring a basin right here."

Mulder said, "That's tempting. But I can wait. I don't want to be distracted."

Alexi looked sulky, but he stayed in the cabin anyway, rummaging around the various storage niches. He was as curious as a monkey and Mulder had a difficult time keeping him from playing with the instruments. Finally, Mulder said, "Alexi, love, go check on Alex for me."

The clone didn't return so Alex must have realized that Alexi had been up to mischief. Mulder's vision blurred with weariness. Maybe if he tried to think like a Cuban refuge, the coast guard would show up and rescue them. Mulder gripped the wheel feeling like the pilot of the Lost Dutchmen. Of course, it was unlikely that he could grow frost in his beard in the Bermuda triangle, but he certainly felt as if they had been lost in this mist forever...



An indefinite time later, Mulder startled at a touch on his arm. Eva smiled at him. She wore a neat bandage on her shoulder, seemed a bit pale, but otherwise seemed in good shape. She said, "I'm done with laying abed. Let me take a turn here. You go get some rest."

Mulder asked, "You're sure? The arm isn't going to bother you?"

Eva said, "The farther we get from Spender; the better I feel. I'm fine. Go get some rest and see your Alex. He's playing with the boys."

Mulder flexed his hands in relief as he walked toward the passenger cabin. Eva did seem well enough to take a turn at the wheel. Mulder didn't think it would ever strike him as fun again to go boating after this. As soon as he opened the door, he heard his name. "Muuhllldher... ."

Alex needed him! Mulder's heart gave a leap. He was eager to take care of Alex. Show him that Walter wasn't the only one that could be kind and nurturing! However, like as chorus of ducklings learning to quack, he heard... "Maahdllder"

And a voice near identical, "Muhllder"

Finally, his own voice at a slightly more rapid clip and higher pitch, "Muhlder"

Alex was sprawled on the bed, nude and surrounded by all three clones. Alexi was massaging Alex's feet. Fox---Mulder refused to call his clone "Foxy-Baby" was rubbing Alex's temples and Sasha was working on Alex's shoulders. Mulder had to stop to appreciate the scene. Minus his own clone, he would love to re do the scene with himself as a naked pasha in the middle. With a blush, Mulder decided, nah, go for kinks, include Fox in the scene. His baby faced self was cute.

Alex said sternly, "No one got it right. Alexi, you were closest, but make an uh sound and pull it out just a tad longer. Sasha, you just have to get that little rumble in your voice and stretch the vowel a tad."

Fox asked, "What about me?"

Alex replied, "Baby, you sounded very nice, but I don't think you can do it with that accent. How did you get Mulder accent anyway?"

"I listened to tapes of him from the time I can remember. Spender didn't check them all to make sure I only learned what he wanted me to know. That's how come I knew I was supposed to love Sasha not Spender."

Sasha commented, "Ha, I didn't have to know it from the tapes. I knew it in my heart even when we were little. I used to kiss Foxy on the swings when I was just a small boy. And later, every time, Spender fucked me, I had to wash it away by doing it with my Fox."

Mulder cleared his throat and asked, "Alex, exactly what kind of school are you conducting here?"

Alex chuckled and said, "I'm teaching my clones how to say your name my way."

Mulder calculated and decided he could just fit on the bed. As soon as he sat, Alexi insinuated his body as close as he could manage. His rosy ass, Mulder hated to admit it, was even prettier at Alexi's age then it was at Alex's thirty three years. He couldn't help looking. Alexi lay inches away and as one foot kicked the air, the beautiful ass flexed.

Alex observed, "Mulder, stop looking at my ass unless it's on me."

Mulder chuckled at that and asked, "So are you jealous? I'd love it to be your turn."

Alex flopped back and said, "Yeah, well, you have a point. I supposed I don't leave myself any grounds for that."

Mulder said, "Don't look like that, Alex. I don't want a younger you. If I did I could have pursued Rodney or even Ricky. I love Alex, for better or for worse."

Alex made a sound, almost a sob. "Mulder, don't say things like that to me."

Mulder elbowed Alexi aside and wiggled up close to his lover. He twisted to straddle Alex, hoping the man didn't mind his still raunchy odor. "I'm going say things like that because they're all true and I'm more afraid of losing you now then of telling you that I love you. I love you."

Alex caught his breath. His lashes shaded down until only a remote green glint showed beneath their glory. Mulder tenderly kissed each eyelid, felt the vibration beneath and he was lost. It felt like being incredibly drunk, as if he had a blast of pure oxygen. It felt like Alex. It made Mulder want to sing and shout, but instead he carefully lifted his weight away and said, "I have to shower. You dismiss your court, love. You need to rest."

"Yes, Mulder." Oh God, the throaty sound of it... that sweetly submissive voice he hadn't heard since Alex was his lamb-white partner so many years ago. Mulder paused to slap Alexi lightly on his bottom before going to wash the jungle off his exhausted body. When he returned, the clones had disappeared as instructed, but Alex was still awake. Mulder slid in beside him, choosing the damaged side of his lover.

Alex breathily complained, "Mulder, don't do that. I want to touch you with my hand. I want to know that you're with me."

Sighing, Mulder got up and lay back down, pressing close so Alex could trace his flank with the trembling touch of his remaining hand. Mulder pulled Alex a little closer, ignoring the sticky heat. Despite his weariness, his cock stirred lazily at his lover's touch. He didn't do anything with that though. He just secured Alex to him with a possessive grip and let sleep enfold him, taking him deep as Alex so often had.

Mulder woke to his shoulder being shaken. His clone peered at him and said, "Hey, Eva needs a break. You have to take the helm. I'm learning to run the boat so I can help you. Mulder noted Alexi and Sasha cuddled around each other in a nest made out of a rubber raft and a grip of blankets. He smiled at that sight, but Alex was lovelier to his eyes. He stooped to kiss Alex and his lover woke to smile at him. Mulder ran a finger down Alex's tilted little nose. He brushed Alex's lips and felt the lips form a kiss. He said, "Love you."

Alex smiled, glowing with happiness. "I love you, Mulder."

Fox was smiling at him. As they walked toward the smaller pilots cabin, Fox said, "Mulder, why did your Alex go and stay with Walter Skinner?"

Baldly, Mulder answered, "Because I fucked up... Spender raped Alex and set him up for a gang bang. I couldn't handle it. I was angry that I could not protect him and I treated him like shit. He went to Walter for comfort and he got it."

Fox shuddered and said, "I'd die if I lost Sasha. I don't understand. Spender used to make us both have sex with him all the time before he became so ill. Why would I blame Sasha for it?"

Mulder twitched his lips into an approximate of a smile. "You shouldn't, Fox. I did because I'm a sick puppy. If you studied our lives, you must have seen what Alex and I have done to each other. You and Sasha are very lucky not to have that baggage in your lives. Not that Walter is a burden on Alex. Far from it. He gives Alex things I can't or won't give him. But I'm working on it." Mulder grinned and said, "I'm going to ask for lessons."

Fox solemnly nodded and said, "You should. I know the world is a lot bigger than that island, but I still think there's nothing better in it then my Sasha."

Mulder said, "You're probably right."

Eva looked weary. She relinquished the controls gladly. Mulder took over, still steering the same straight course. Either they would see Florida soon or be wide adrift on the ocean.



It took several calls to track down Clarke. Most of the numbers that Walter had been given to contact Spender were no longer in service. Clarke however was his main contact. It had been a while since Walter had even pretended to bow to Spender's wishes, but he knew Clarke was around. Knew Clarke watched him for Spender.

One of the numbers finally rang through. Clarke answered and Walter said, "You know who this is. Spender contacted me. He has Mulder and said he would trade him for some information. He said that I should give the information to you."

Clarke laughed and said, "I know about Mulder and I know about Krycek too. So don't try to snow me, Walter."

Walter said, "Spender really wants this information. Why do you think he took the boy? Why do you think that he kidnapped Mulder and Krycek?"

Clarke laughed and said, "The old man has a thing for Krycek... Mulder too."

Walter said, "Don't be stupid. Even Spender wouldn't tie up your resources at this critical stage just to play games with Alex Krycek and Fox Mulder. Meet me at the Store and More on Fifth Street. I still have the key Spender gave me."

Clarke was silent for a moment and then said, "Sure, Walter. Sure. Meet you there in an hour."

Walter slammed the phone down and stood, rage searing his veins and inveigling him to madness. If he ever had the chance to get Spender without all those gadgets and guards... Walter growled, "Fucking Spender, why can't you just leave us alone?"

Suddenly aware of Nicky's presence, Walter regretted his language and said, "Nicky, you're supposed to be asleep. Go lie down with Dana. Your papa won't like it if you're sick from not sleeping when we get him back."

Nicky disobeyed, coming over and crawling into Walter's lap. He laid his head against Walter's chest and clung. Walter rocked the child silently, feeling the soft vibration of the muffled sobs. "Shh, shh," Walter soothed, not meaning to quiet the boy, just wanting to let him know that he wasn't alone. "We will get your papa back, Nicky."

Walter held the boy until the sobs stopped and then carried him back to the master bedroom where Dana slept, a petite diamond against the plush jade of Alex's favorite silk comforter. Dana stirred faintly when Walter set Nicky down. She murmured, "Walter, you should sleep too. This bed is huge. Lie down."

Walter said, "In a while."

He couldn't bring himself to risk any of them. He silently prepared for the meeting. Kevlar vest. Back up guns. Cuffs. Walter wrote a note to Dana and looked around his home. Place was empty without Alex even with Dana, Nicky, and the gunmen sleeping here. Walter sighed. If he had the nanobytes, he'd use them on Spender's delivery boy. He' d do anything to get Alex and Mulder back.

The meeting place was at a storage facility. Walter looked around and didn't see Clarke anywhere. He wondered if the man had checked with Spender and knew that Walter had nothing to give him. Walter caught a shadowy movement and aimed at it. Something hit his arm, a red-hot pain that quickly changed to numbness. The gun clattered to the floor.

Clarke grinned. He was a thin, pale man with a rodent like cast to his face. He wore an expensive suit badly as usual. On this occasion he had accessorized with a big thug from Thugs Are Us. The guy was ox like, massive, stupidity veiling his gaze. Walter jerked his chin at the brute in an Alex-like gesture and said, "I see you brought the brains of the operation."

Clarke giggled. He had a high-pitched voice sounding like an inane comedian Walter had once been forced to view with one of his less discriminating nephews. Bobcat something or other. He said, "Spender says we don't need you any more. He says dispose of you. But I can take my time, can't I?"

Abruptly the man gestured with his gun... "Take it off, AD Skinner. Take it all off. You're not my type, but I just want to see what that bitch Krycek thinks when I say I fucked his lover just before killing him."

Oh god... Walter had told Alex that it wasn't his fault when it happened to his beautiful love, but this... No back up. After all the times he had warned Mulder about NEVER going into a situation like this without telling someone...

Walter thought about it. Clarke said, "Hurry up... because if I shoot I'm going to aim for someplace where it really hurts. Come on, now... show me."

Mulder might have defied. Alex would comply. Survive, Alex would say. Survive and revenge another day. Walter toed off his shoes. His black socks hit the floor. Clarke giggled and remarked to the bodyguard. "Look at that big macho guy and he lets that wuzz Krycek fuck him... not often I guess, but he does." Pointing his gun at Walter's pelvis, Clarke sneered and said, "Hurry up. I want see that missile launcher they say you have."

Walter dropped his jacket, pulled his sweater off. Clarke said, "Nice chest. You work out a lot, I hear. Does Alex go for all that hair?"

Walter said, "I haven't heard any complaints." He unbuckled his belt and shucked his trousers. In his hurry, he had grabbed a torn pair of briefs. The fly sported a rip that was a reminder of an impatient Alex moment. His testicles drew up shyly against his crotch as he dropped his underwear. He stood proudly, refusing to give Clarke the satisfaction of showing any shame. He had nothing to be embarrassed about.



Clarke grunted and unzipped his fly. He swaggered over and pulled out his long skinny dong. He said, "On your knees. I want some good head... I'm on the list you know. Spender's going make me a sweet assed Alex-clone. Course I got the real thing already. I was a good boy. There he was tied to a table, ass in the air. Just had to walk up and put it in and he couldn't do anything, but take it. Yeah, I did him twice."

The memory stiffened the man and he said, "Take this, bitch."

Walter hesitated. He was about to refuse, but Clarke grinned at him and said, "Too good for what I gave your lover?"

Walter opened his mouth, a savage thought crossing his mind. He didn't know if it would work, but Alex would have tried it. As Alex always said, men were stupid when they were aroused. Walter's nostrils were overwhelmed by the sour, yeasty odor of Clarke's groin. Didn't the man ever wash? Walter took the filthy cock deep. His tongue explored the foul tasting flesh. Walter refused to gag at it. He could have been noble and heroic, but he needed to stay alive and he thought he knew exactly how.

Clarke rocked back, squealing, "Oh baby, do that some more and I might be convinced to keep you. Come on, Skinner, just take it."

Clarke grabbed Walter's head, holding his ears like handles. Walter gave it his best, trying to replace the foul taste of the man in his mind with Alex's clean salty flavor. Clarke started a mindless rutting, pushing deep in a way that would have choked a less experienced man. Walter didn't waste time on shame. And he was far from inexperienced. He worked his tongue, meaning to overwhelm the man. Make him unable to think with the head on his shoulders. Clarke was jerking, his body arched back and trembling with the force of his thrusts.

Walter bit hard, not quite breaking the flesh. He barreled up to his feet, charging at the distracted guard. He almost had it. Almost reached the man when Clarke tackled him from behind. Moments later he lay on the ground helplessly, the muscleman's foot on his throat as Clarke kicked him, cursing him in a steady shrill tirade.

Tiring, Clarke drew out his gun. Walter met the man's eyes. He was more angry then afraid. Who was going to save Alex and Mulder now?

"Get on your knees again, Walter. This time you get to eat something a little harder then my cock." Clarke said gloatingly. The muscleman was grinning. Walter pushed up from the floor, meaning to get to his feet. Meaning to die on his feet not on his knees.

As he rose unsteadily, Clarke moved to push him back down. Walter saw something moving just beyond the shadows. The dizziness left him as he recognized Nicky. Oh shit, now what was he going to do?

Nicky had acquired a baseball bat from some place in the storage facility. He moved steadily and quietly toward the consortium goons. Walter pretended to fall, sagging ground-ward with a realistic groan. Clarke stepped forward; the gun aimed straight at Walter's head.

Nicky's determined little face grimaced as he swung the bat with all of his might. The muscle man must have had a weak spot in his knees. He plummeted down with a yelp. Walter's fists slammed home into Clarke's soft belly as the man half turned to see what was going on. Walter grabbed the gun from Clarke's startled hand. He didn't think, just fired at the roaring brute before he could hurt Nicky. Walter watched him fall before he grabbed the cuffs and secured Clarke. Checked the bodyguard. The gray eyes were clouding over as he drooled and gagged on his own blood. Walter disarmed him anyway.

Nicky stood with his hands crammed in his mouth. Walter disregarded his nudity and knelt to embrace the child. Nicky let out a whimper then held him so tightly it was hard to breath. He rocked Nicky and said, "I'm sorry, Nicky. I'm so sorry. What were you thinking? Why did you follow me? How did you follow me?"

Nicky pulled in some deep, shuddering breaths. He said, "Back-up. I heard you yelling at Uncle Mulder. Never go in without backup. And papa said you were right. So I was your backup. I just hid in the car until you went in the building. I was very quiet just as papa taught me to do if there are bad men around. But I heard what they said and I knew I had to do something."

Nicky calmed down quickly. He had been around his father enough to understand danger and violence despite Alex's best efforts to keep it away from his son. Nicky drew a hiccup of a swallowed sob then his eyes widened. He pointed out, "Uncle Walter, you don't have any clothes on."

Walter groaned and cursed himself. He let Nicky go and grabbed on his clothes. As soon as he was dressed, Walter took Nicky to the car. He said, "Lock the doors and stay put."

Back in the storage facility, Clarke had a look in his eyes. It was an expression of total abandonment to fear. He said, "Give me your word that you won't shoot me and I'll tell you. I know where Spender has them and I know that they're alive."

Walter's body and mind screamed to revenge itself. He felt filthy, used; a part of him would never be the same. But Alex and Mulder... he was violated, but he could live with that. He couldn't live without Alex and, surprisingly, he felt the same about Mulder.

Walter said softly, "This time... I give my word. But your ass is going to the biggest cesspool of a prison that I can find. And I hope you get a roomy that makes what you did to me seem like a valentine. Now, tell me before I forget how much I want your information."



It took time to arrange for agents to pick up the dead goon and the living creep. Walter didn't suppose the man would want to explain how his balls were injured. Walter had twisted them into a knot to the best of his ability before leaving the screaming man on the floor, tidily cuffed. Walter sat in the car and tried to collect his thoughts. Nicky sat silently next to him, wearing his papa's truculent expression. That one that Alex had when Walter caught him doing something his own way, a way that Walter would never have approved if he had known ahead of time.

Nicky had saved his life, but Walter felt that he couldn't thank him. And he knew his other impulse was definitely out. Alex had once remarked that the first one who laid a hand on his son was going to have it rammed back down his throat... severed. So a spanking was out of the questions.

Walter's mind whirled. He had vomited in the storage facility. He was fighting the urge to do it again. He hoped Nicky had entered the facility after Clarke was done with him, but he wasn't sure. He asked, "Nicky, how long were you hiding in that place? What did you see?"

Nicky said, "I saw the man take your gun and I knew I had to do something. So I went to look for something to hit the big man with. I was thinking that a rock would be good, but I couldn't find one that was big enough even though I looked all over outside. Then I saw the baseball bat in the trash. Uncle Mulder's been teaching me how to play baseball. He said I swing the bat good enough to knock the skin right off the ball so I grabbed the bat to hit the man. When I got back, the man was kicking you and the big man was watching him. I thought if I hit the big man hard, you could get away from the little man. I was right too. I know that was a bad thing to follow you, but it's my fault that papa and Uncle Mulder got caught. I had to help somehow. I thought that I could help you."

Nicky looked at him tragically, big green eyes glistening with tears and lip quivering. Walter couldn't yell at him. But he had to let the boy know that he couldn't do anything like this again.

Walter said, "Nicky, it's not your fault that they took your papa. They could have used me or aunt Dana and it would have been the same. Let me tell you this one thing. Your papa has had all kinds of bad things happen to him, but the very worst thing, worse then losing his arm would be for anything to happen to you. So you have to promise me that you will never do any thing like that again."

Nicky pursed his lips and hesitated. "My papa says that it's not a deal unless you both get something."

Walter grimaced. Nicky's eyelashes swept down and he gazed out from under the fronds. That must be right on the chromosomes, Walter decided. He said, "What do you want then, Nicky." He expected a childish request for some new toy.

Nicky said, "Don't go any place without back up again."

One smart kid. Walter put out his hand and said, "Deal."


Scully know something was wrong. She had put an a hand on his arm and said, "Something happened, Walter. What was it?"

Walter moved her hand, patted it. He said, "Nothing I can't handle. Don't worry. Come on. Let's get to the airport."

Telling the truth would have gotten them nowhere. However promising the Narcotics and Firearms people a vast cache of both was effective. A judge was eager to sign after Walter produced the lone gunmen's slightly altered surveillance pictures. Walter couldn't and didn't want to include the gunmen in this raid. Instead, he left them in Jackson with Nicky and instructions to watch the boy closely.



Walter's blood was pounding in his temples. He was boiling hot in the body armor. The helicopter's noise made him feel crazy. He closed his eyes, trying to blank out his mind, trying to find the reflex driven automation that he had to become to survive in 'nam.

Scully sat beside him, checking her equipment, her pale complexion even paler above the black of their uniforms. The helmet crushed her hair, making her look severe and serene, a sort of SWAT nun.

Walter took a deep breath as they dipped toward the earth. The landing pad was deserted. The compound they had watched appeared lifeless. The gates hung open. Furniture, clothing, and bloody meat lay scattered at random over the grounds. Scully moved from shredded corpse to shredded corpse. She said, "It's going to take DNA matches to figure out who any of these people were. They look as if they were torn apart by wild animals."

Walter grunted. He had hoped. He had blotted out any thought that they would not be here. Funny thing was he had given the Narcotics and Firearms people what they wanted. Spender was raising money here the old-fashioned way, drugs and illegal arms. However, the honchos were gone. The only staff members they found were a terrified houseboy and a woman in a nurse's uniform. The two were hiding in a large closet in the mansion that occupied the central position in the compound.

Walter made the agents check every possible place where two men might hide or be hidden. Nothing, It was as if Mulder and Alex had never been here. Had Clarke lied? Walter couldn't bear it if that was the case. He could only endure what had happened if it resulted in Alex and Mulder being saved. And the stray thought... the one about those anonymous shredded corpses... that couldn't be. It just couldn't be.



It was evening before Walter had his chance to question the prisoners. Everyone wanted a chance to grill them about the situation here.

Scully and he went into the room that was being used for interrogation. This place was the opposite of Spender's usual digs. He usually lived in dismal apartments. Skinner wondered what all this luxury meant? It wasn't new. It was as if Spender had kept a part of him secret... a split personality?

Scully folded her arms. Her blue eyes were flashing. She looked ready to add to the mangled corpses. Scully said to the massive, but fit nurse, "The one armed man and the other one... the house boy already said they were here. What happened to them? Where are they?"

The tall blond nurse with the massive forearms replied, "Yes, I remember them. They were the originals."

Scully asked, "What do you mean? Originals."

Sounding impatient, the nurse said, "Spender has clones of them. Human ones, I mean, not those other things. He has- had two of the one who has only one arm. He had a clone of the one with the mouth too."

Walter winced. That fit what Clarke had said. Fucking bastard had made copies of his lover and his friend to use as toys. Walter said, "Where are they now? Did Spender take them?"

The woman said, "No, the bitch took them, I guess. All I know is that Spender was in a terrible mood. He hit me. He even hit the idiot clone. He never did that before. It was something about Alex Krycek. He has a mania about the man."

Walter asked, "What bitch took them? Where did they go?"

The nurse said, "Her name is Eva. She is about forty or fifty. She is a sort of a nanny for Alexi."

"Who is Alexi?" Walter asked.

The nurse said, "A clone, very pretty, but Spender made sure he doesn't know anything. Spender had two more that he kept in some sort of suspended animation. He said he was going to have his brain put in one of the bodies. He's crazy. I guess Eva woke them up and they all ran off in Spender's yacht. They let all the crazy people and animals go that Dr. Morrell had in his laboratory. Next thing I knew... Spender was hauling out of here in a helicopter, leaving me behind. Pablo and I hid in a closet until your men pulled us out. Everyone else who didn't get on the helicopter is dead."

Walter groaned and looked at Scully. He said, "It looks like we were a day or two too long. They escaped on their own. I'm going to notify the Coast Guard. Hopefully, they're just lost out there... "



Back in Jacksonville, it felt like a wake. Nicky was increasingly silent. Even the Gunmen were growing too quiet, not even indulging in the ceaseless squabbling and one up-man-ship that marked their affection for each other. The Coast Guard had been looking for two days. They found nothing. No yacht. No wreckage. Perhaps it was a fitting way for Mulder to die... lost in the Bermuda triangle.

As for Alex, Walter sighed. Was it hubris to believe that he met Alex's needs? There was something about Mulder and Krycek that was meant to be. Walter thought that his part was just as fated, but maybe it was indulgence...

As Walter slowly rocked Nicky, trying to get the boy to sleep. Dana Scully walked into the room at the time-share house that the Gunmen had "Borrowed" for them. Her face was shining with tears. Walter felt his heart burst. Oh god, no! They must have been found, dead.

Dana's voice shook. She said, "They found them. Wind burned. Thirsty. Hungry. And Alex, as usual, is banged up, but they are alive. We can go meet them at the coast guard headquarters."

Cramming into the Gunmen's van, they got in each other's way, laughed, cursed, and finally achieved one person per seat. Walter held hands with Nicky and Dana, all three of them trembling with emotion. Nicky asked, "How long now? Soon?" at every traffic stop.

Walter felt the same way. "Soon" he said.

Finally soon was here. The Coast Guard installation was a big white building full of chrome and glass, but it looked like paradise to Walter. The rescued group was housed in the migrant detention center, but only for convenience. Walter pushed Nicky ahead of everyone as they came to the door.

Alex let out a wild cry and knelt. His one arm was bound in a sling, but he hugged his son with it anyway. The two held on to each other, lost in a soul deep communication that had no room for even a lover. Walter smiled although his arms ached for Alex. He glanced at the four people in the back.

A pair of dewy eyed, two-armed Alex clones stood in the company of an extra Mulder, a thick haired smooth faced one that was younger than Mulder had been the day they had met. A middle-aged woman stood with them. Walter recognized her face from one of Mulder's mysterious cases. Was she another of the clones? Or, by her age, perhaps this was the original, hopefully saner then the others.

Mulder and Scully were hugging. Walter smiled at them. Yin and Yang, female and male, logic and intuition, science and magic. That was the two of them. Mulder let go and approached.

Walter said, "Welcome back."

Mulder said, "Yeah, Walter?"

His arms full of Mulder... Startled, it took a minute before Walter hugged back. Mulder leaned into him, so close. He reached up and pulled Walter's face to his. He angled his face and Walter was pulled into a kiss that rivaled even Alex's. Mulder looked at him with bright eyes and said, "It is all going to be different. No more jealousy. No more idiocy. I promised him and I promised myself. We'll share and if you want... if I haven't pissed you off too much, well, I want you."

Walter pretended to kiss Mulder's forehead, actually checking for sunstroke or the clamminess of heat exhaustion's shock stage. Mulder's skin felt warm, but not overly so.

Mulder ducked back and said, "I'm fine and I'm serious." Mulder was seldom diffident, but that was his expression now. He said, "Not rushing you or anything, but I had to get it out before I lost my nerve."

Alex had finally rediscovered the lover, as always second to the needs of his child. He moved Mulder aside with an impatient nudge. He leaned into Walter and said, "Kiss me." He reached up with his bandaged arm. Winced, but managed to hold on.

Kissing Alex... an infinity of kissing Alex. Running an exploring tongue over the slight crease on his lower lips. Memorizing the curve of his teeth, sucking in his tongue. Feeling his sweet weight leaning fervently against him.

Words only when they had caught their breath after a second kiss. Walter's head was swimming, drunk on his beloved's breath, bedazzled by him all over again. Walter said, "I thought I had lost you forever."

Alex said, "Never... never... God, I have so much I need to say to you."

Walter explored the curve of Alex's cheek. Gently stroked the side of his mouth, that sweet cupid's bow of a mouth and then cupped his cheek. He gazed into the mossy depths of the eyes and said, "You and Mulder... "

Alex's eyes hid beneath his lashes and then he said, "Yeah, us. Walter? Things haven't changed. You're the stone that I can stand upon. Mulder is the fire that warms me and burns me. But I have an idea now. Build a hearth. You put rock and fire together and that's what you get. That's what I want. What do you want?"

Walter answered, voice breaking, "You always. And," he reached out his hand. "I want what ever it takes to make you happy."

Mulder entered his embrace. Walter said, "I'm going to take care of you both. That bastard isn't ever going to get his hands on you again."



Riding back in the van was interesting. The chatter filled the walls and the car jounced as Langley attempted to drive and enter the various conversations. Walter was wedged into the backbench. He sat between the constantly kissing Mulder and Alex clone with his right side occupied by a wiggling sexy twenty-year-old Alex. The boy was batting his eyelashes and kept... accidentally... brushing against Walter. Walter found his relieved exhaustion did not make him immune to the creature's sexual appeal.

Alex had fallen asleep, innocent appearing as a child, head pillowed on Mulder who was equally asleep although not as angelic in appearance. Nicky cuddled against his father, face pressed hard to Alex's chest. Walter leaned back. He was exhausted, but fought sleep off longer to look at them. All safe. Thank God, they had survived again against all odds. Just maybe, Walter could believe.

Walter closed his eyes for a moment. Closed them until he felt an inquisitive touch.

Walter removed Alexi's hand from his crotch and said, "Um, Alexi, I know the island was different, but you really don't touch strangers like that. It gives the wrong impression."

Alexi looked puzzled and replied, "But I'm just like Alex and you belong to him so we can't be strangers."

Sasha, older brother of sorts, corrected, "Alexi, you're not just like Alex. You have to learn to be yourself."

Alexi snapped, "Huh, you say that because you have Foxy. I don't have anyone and I want someone."

Walter said, "Alexi, that someone isn't me. I have my hands full already."

As if that was a real complaint. Alex back with him. Mulder in his bed. Walter caught his breath. It was an old dream. One he had let go long ago. Would it work? Who knew... but the thought of the two of them in his bed made him feel an unbearable hunger. It was worth what Clarke had done to him, but he needed to wash Clarke away in Alex's cleansing fire.

Walter wanted to go home. He had tried so hard to understand, to comfort when it happened to Alex. He said all the right things and did all the right things. Got the Prize too; didn't he? Well, now he had paid.

Part of him compared the torment that Alex had been through and wanted to dismiss his own lesser trauma. But it didn't feel lesser. Walter brushed his mouth, wanting to spit again. He closed his eyes, willing the pain to leave him.



"Walter, wake up, love." Walter tried to crawl deeper in slumber, safe in a dreamland where Alex had been found. Alex's voice persisted. "Walter, you're going to have such a stiff neck if you don't wake up and go to bed inside."

Jounce! Nicky's weight hit him, small knee painfully making contact with his groin. He had better wake up. He needed a restroom now! Nicky said, "Give me a piggyback, Uncle Walter."

Walter cautiously opened his eyes. Either he was really good at dreaming that he was awake or the rescue had actually happened. Nicky bounced on his lap until Mulder, somehow sensing his predicament, lifted the boy off. Mulder said, "Nicky, your horse can't get up with you on his lap." Mulder grinned and announced, "Nicky and I are going to do some male bonding, tomorrow with the Gunmen. Scully is going to take the clones and Eva shopping."

Walter cautiously asked, "What are Alex and I doing?"

Mulder quirked a tilt onto his grin and said, "I'm sure you'll think of something."

Walter indulged Nicky and swung him high. God, the kid trusted him. It felt incredible. He just wished he could make things really good. What the hell were they going to do? Even Russia wasn't safe for the boy. Walter walked in the door, feeling Nicky lean low to clear the doorway. He sat Nicky down and the boy ran to hug his papa again, sparing some affection for Mulder on the way.

Nicky announced, "Now we need to have a party... pizza, Chinese food, McDonalds! Chocolate cake and ice cream."

Walter shrugged. Well, he had totally lost control of the situation. As Alex would say, live with it. The gunmen sped away to collect the food for the little prince.



Morning... sun falling across his face from between the blinds; slats of light illuminating the wreck of Alex's arm, trustfully thrown across the expanse of Walter's chest. Mulder hiding from the light, face down, lanky leg falling out of bed and one hand holding onto to Alex as if to anchor him to earth. Walter reached out, traced Alex's nose, saw it wrinkle, and then Alex rubbed against his hand in response to the tickle. Walter repeated his gesture. Alex mumbled, "If you don't quit that, I'm going to kill you and I'll be very, very sorry, but my nose won't itch."

Walter stopped and Alex wiggled away from Mulder to sit up. Alex sat cross-legged on the bed. He had a certain expression that did not bode well. Walter reached over and flipped the sheet away from Alex. Alex, distracted, asked, "What do you mean by that?"

Walter replied, "If I am going to have my ass chewed, I want to look at all my motivations for taking it like a gentleman. And I can tell by the look in your eyes that something is bothering you."

Alex tossed his head. He must have been in the sun. The red highlights were out in his hair. Walter reached out and petted the smooth pelt that neatly defined Alex's groin. There was no tan line. Alex had been sunbathing nude. Walter asked, "Would it help if I said that you were the most beautiful, fascinating sexy creature I have ever met?"

"Maybe." Alex replied, giving the word his stylish purr. He clipped his next words though. "Nicky had a nightmare last night. Something about you, a white headed man, a baseball bat... and the man made you take your clothes off. "

Walter guiltily blurted, "Nicky didn't see it happen."

Alex's face drained of color. His voice flat and emotionless, he asked, "What didn't Nicky see happen?"

Walter didn't want to tell Alex, but he was sure to find out. Clarke was singing like a bird in jail, desperate to be moved to a safe house to be protected from his own kind. Walter said, "I met with Ogden Clarke to see if he knew where you were. He was my contact when Spender was blackmailing me. I know that Spender finds him useful and I thought that Clarke might have heard something."

Alex stared at the bedding, traced a wrinkle in the blanket with a quivering finger. He met Walter's eyes after a moment. He said, "I know Clarke. I know what kind of man he is. Walter, why did he make you take off your clothing?" Alex let out a harsh sound meant to be a laugh. He said, "As if I have to ask. He's a rapist. Did he rape you, Walter? Walter? Don't leave me in the dark. Let me in."

Mulder stirred on the bed. He said very quietly, "Guys, I'm awake."

Shit, Walter looked at his lover's face and at the man who he loved the most next to Alex. Neither one of them could leave well enough alone. If they thought he was holding back something, they would prod and probe until it was all out. Walter surrendered. He would tell them. Best give them the truth before they imagined worse. Walter told the story in as few words as possible. The pain he had not let himself feel was reflected in both of their faces.

Alex grabbed him, clutching him to his warm, smooth skinned chest, and rocked him, moaning, "The bastards... the fucking bastards! They got to mess up anything good. Oh, God, Walter, you have to let me kill Clarke."

Walter wasn't sure about this role reversal. He was Alex's rock. He was the one that took care of Alex and Mulder too. Walter shook his head and said, "Leave him alone. Let him suffer in that prison. Why let it be over in a few moments?"

Alex rebelliously said, "I could make it last longer. A very long time."

Walter said, "No. If you want to help me, then let me... let me forget it happened. Let me wash it away in your love, Alex. That's what I need."

Walter reached out to rub the almost invisible scattering of hair on Alex's well-defined thigh. He nudged Alex's legs open a little so he could just hold his cock in his hand. He felt it's quivering interest and stroked its length. That was the comfort he could accept right now.

Alex asked, "We are going to talk about this, Walter. It's no use trying to distract me."

Walter replied, "Listen, if you want to help me, do this now. I promise you ... later I'll talk to you. I know what I need, Alex. I'm not fooling myself. I need this and I need this now." Walter pulled no punches. He said, "Alex, if you still love me... if you don't think less of me." And there was a truth there. He had done it for Alex. To stay alive to help his lover. Now he was afraid that he had lost Alex anyway.

Alex said, "Walter, you know that I love you. And you know that I want you. If you're sure... "

Walter said, "I know what I need. I need you, Alex. I need you now."

Alex nodded, lying back, soft eyed, beautiful, every thing Walter had dreamed about every moment that he was gone. His...

Mulder asked, with disappointment clearly in his voice, "Suppose you want me to make my self scarce now?"

"Mmm," Walter replied, more interested in Alex's rippling movement as he stretched out on the bed. He said, "Watch, but no color commentary, Mulder." Walter eyed Mulder's face, still sleep blurred, but very beautiful anyway. Had to start this new relationship some time. May as well start now when all the feelings of relief and love were still very strong.

Turning his attention back to Alex, Walter said, "Have I told you what a pretty cock you have? I love the shape of it. I love the way it curls toward your belly when I pet it."

Walter grabbed Alex's ankles suddenly, sending Alex sprawling with open thighs. He spread Alex's legs wantonly, rubbing his thumbs down the inner thighs. He traced the hard ridge that he always believed pointed nicely to Alex's delightful hole. His thumbs massaged and Alex lay on his back, pushing up with his feet to give Walter access to wherever. Walter watched the wink of Alex's anus as he rubbed circles around the firm rounds of his ass.

Walter straddled his lover and leaned down to kiss, his eyes, the side of his cheek, taste the little pointed nose and nip it. The lobes of his pixie ears needed to be sucked and then there was that spot right at the base of his neck that always made Alex writhe uncontrollably. Alex tasted as he always did. He was salty, sweet like a perfect chocolate truffle. Walter sighed with relief. He knew this was right for him. Knew that Alex would cure him of the miasma Clarke had left on his soul.

Alex's nipples were pinkish brown, like little roses. They bloomed under his sucking. Alex was already starting to hump upwards. His legs were powerful enough to lift Walter momentarily. Walter said, "Slow down, love. This isn't a race."

Enraptured, Walter finished laving each nipple to peeked perfection. He nuzzled under Alex's right arm and then carefully, cautiously checking to see if Alex would permit, he did the same with Alex's truncated left. He briefly kissed Alex's scars, just above the stump. It wasn't that he was perverse enough to enjoy the ruined limb. It was that Alex hated for people to look at it, much less touch it. For Alex to permit him, to kiss him there was more intimate then any other act. He swiftly moved down, mocking penetration with his tongue as he reached the depression of naval. He found the guideline of hair and traveled it. Alex's cock was curved up, pointing to his belly.

Alex said, gritting his teeth. "Exactly how long do you expect to torture me?"

Walter laughed at him and went back to play, nibbling the inward curve of Alex's legs. Alex suddenly captured him. The legs were like steel girders. Alex said, "Fuck me now or I won't let you go."

Walter answered in a strangled voice. "Alex, that isn't fair."

Alex replied, "I am ... an invertebrate scum-sucker whose moral dipstick is about two drops short of bone dry." A teasing glance at Mulder identified the origin of that comment. Alex snarled, "Fuck me. Now! Or I'll prove how depraved I can be."

Mulder pressed a tube of lubrication in Walter's hand. "Here use this. It's purple."

It was very purple. Walter hoped the dye wouldn't do anything horrible to them. Mulder reached over and held one of Alex's legs for him. He turned away, capturing Alex's mouth with his own. His runner's ass was flexing steadily, rubbing against Alex and the bedding in a frantic rhythm. Walter couldn't resist the impulse to slap Mulder's trim butt. Mulder yelped, "Hey, ow! What was that for?"

Walter said, "Because it was there, Mulder."

Mulder blinked at him then said, "Walter... come on. I can't just watch."

Walter rumbled deep in his chest and then said, "All right."

Alex's asshole was already pulsating in time with the bobbing of his swollen cock. Walter pierced it with his tongue, played around the edges then thrust deep. Alex let out a hoarse wordless imploring sound before Mulder silenced him with a kiss. Walter obsessed on his movements, knowing it was perfectly possible to make his lover come just from doing this. However a yelp of pain from Mulder interrupted him.

Mulder complained, "Walter, he bit me. He bit my lip."

Walter said, "I'll kiss it better later."

Alex said, "I bit him because you are driving me crazy! Fuck me now or Mulder's lower lip goes before you ever feel it stroking your beautiful, big cock. And it would be a shame, Walter, because I know how good that feels. I know he really wants that."

Walter was ready now and he had teased Alex more then enough. But he just had to look a while longer at Alex laid out on the bed, legs askew, ass lifted to receive him, face dewed with the sweat of his arousal. Then, Alex made a demanding sound and Walter gave in willingly. He pressed against the opening, holding it apart with his fingers until the head of his cock was inside. He panted, his ass twitching with the desire to just pound into his love. He caught his breath, reached for Alex's cock, which bobbed skyward.

Alex said, "Ah, wait... I don't want to come yet and I'm too close."

They held there connected until Walter felt ready to push slowly in. He closed his eyes, focused on the slide of his cock deeper and deeper into Alex until his balls lay pressed against Alex's ass. When he started to move, he opened his eyes again, needing to see Alex's face. Loving the way his head was flung back, long white throat arched as if for sacrifice. He sped his movements, hearing Alex's muffled grunts and groans. His perceptions narrowed to the heat enclosing him, the press of his legs encasing Alex's ass, the smell of them together so familiar, so perfect. Couldn't last another minute. "Alex... "he cried, his body white hot, consumed with pleasure.

There was always the reluctance to part. Walter leaned down as Alex arched up. One last kiss while they were still joined. Mulder was still stroking his erection, eyes closed, fluttering eyelashes almost as pretty as Alex's were. Walter caught his breath, rolled away and pulled Mulder back against him. He replaced Mulder's hand with his own, finding a fast hard stroke that had Mulder biting his lips to keep quiet. Walter whispered, "Do you want to come for me, Mulder. Is that what you want?"

Mulder pressed back. He shuddered and said, "Yes... "

Walter teased, stopping his stroking. "Are you sure? Sure you don't want to be in charge?"

Mulder complained, "Walter! Please! Do something!"

Walter even sated as he felt could be interested in Mulder's ass pressed against his cock. It felt different. Not so round as Alex's. Not quite as silken. But nice. Very nice... He kissed Mulder's neck, glanced at Alex who was watching, slit eyed and greedy; a tip of pink tongue just showing as if he wanted to taste the scene. Alex slid over so they held Mulder between them, the three of them exchanging kisses, the two of them hands on the third, coaxing him until he convulsed and came hard. Mulder sprawled in abandonment when they let him go.

Dolefully, Mulder remarked, "I think this kind of male bonding is more fun then what I committed to yesterday. Do I have to go?"

"Yes!" Alex and Walter answered together. They grinned at each other as Mulder dragged sulkily out of bed.

Alex said, "I have to be nuts, letting my kid go someplace with Mulder and the gunmen."

Walter brushed Alex's hair, which was till sodden with sweat. He said, "Come on. Let's take a shower."

Alex played statue at Walter's request, allowing Walter to turn him, run the sponge over him, reasserting his territory. He leaned back against the wall; eyes only open a slit. It was still too soon after their vigorous lovemaking for more then play. Walter found all the new bruises and marks. Someday Spender would pay for every mark. Someday... He tenderly kissed all the injuries. Alex gazing at him with that expression, so open, so needy until Walter felt like he was sinking into the green depths, drunk on Alex and addicted, hopelessly addicted to him all over again.

"Mine." Walter said greedily.

"Yours" Alex agreed.

Satisfied, Walter drew his lover out of the shower and enfolded him in an enormous white bath sheet. He lifted Alex's chin, looked in the luminous eyes. "Can we make this work? Do I have to share you?"

Alex turned away slightly. His lip trembled. Quickly, Walter said, "No, pretend I didn't say that. It will work. It has to work."

Alex said, "Walter, I know I'm being selfish, but I can't choose. And Mulder loves you in his way. I know you feel the same." Voice dropping to velvet, Alex added, "and I want to watch you make love. I want to watch my lover's taste each other. I want to see you in him... "

Oh god, what had Walter thought about not being up to more? His mind might have doubts about adding Mulder to his bed, but his cock seemed to think it was a very good idea. Alex sank down, took him fast and furious before Walter was even sure what was happening. A few minutes later, Walter complained, "I might have been saving that for later."

Alex purred, "I can find you another one... after the guys are gone on their errands. And, after, we talk."


The house was deserted after the two groups forayed off to explore the area. Walter knew that Alex expected him to talk. He paced instead after trying to turn the conversation in every direction, but the intended. Finally, Walter said, "All right, Alex. It happened. That's what you said. I can live with it. I have to live with it. Besides, you've had worse."

Alex said, "I know, but, I'm used to it. Spender's made me his fuck toy since I was only a few years older then my son."

Walter said, "But that doesn't change the fact that you are human. And I am human. So, yes, it does hurt that it happened. And, no, it's not something I want to talk about anymore."

Alex said, "You will ask if you need me? You will give that to me?"

Walter smiled. "I can do that."

Alex said, "Good. Because I want to take care of you too, Walter. I love how you are with me, so gentle, and trying to wrap me up and keep the world from tossing any more shit at me. Still, Mulder and I found out something. The two of us chained together. If you both try to lead, it doesn't work. Same thing if you both wait for the other to make the first move. You move together; you support each other and it really works."

Alex looked at him with shining eyes. He said, "The three of us can make it work. It doesn't have to hurt anymore."

Walter nodded and said, "All right. That's the way it will be."


The next day, they all piled back in the van; crammed in so tightly that if you took a breath someone had to exhale. Destination, Fernandina Beach.

Scully directed the gunmen in unloading the picnic supplies. This was an enterprise as Alex and his clones had hearty appetites. The three of them wore black very skimpy swimming suits that Dana had picked out. Hmm, maybe Dana's friendship with Alex had some hidden depths. Alex had added a long sleeved shirt, but then, pursing his lips, he had shed it. Walter was pleased. Alex was still beautiful and it was a shame to hide the smooth, sleekly muscled lines of his chest because of the ravaged arm.

Eyes turned as Alex and his clones sashayed, perhaps oblivious to the impact of three such beautiful and near identical men or perhaps not by the gleam in the matching sets of green eyes. The Fernandina Beach front would probably never recover from such a stunning parade. Nicky ran ahead, whirled back. Alexi followed at times, having adopted Nicky as a baby brother.

Tomorrow the clones would be leaving to a new life. Alex and Frohike had made an unauthorized visit to a large computer manufacturing company. The resulting hack gave the clones and Eva secure new names and background. In the meantime, Alex appeared to have accepted his copies as an extraordinary kind of family.

Alexi wanted to stay, but he also wanted to go. Walter voted for go. The clone had no boundaries. Between gently dissuading him from sitting on his lap to chewing Frohike out for groping Alexi, Walter thought the clone was a package of adorable trouble. Better to let Eva, Sasha, and Fox deal with him.

Alexi saw the water and ran down the beach. He danced in the waves. He was free. Walter smiled. Extremely adorable trouble...

Alex shared an ice cream cone with Nicky, chocolate dribbling down the tilt of the delicate chins. Walter didn't bother to look around to see if anyone was watching. He kissed a drop away from Alex's nose before wiping Nicky's face. Mulder strolled ahead. He was deep in conversation with his younger self, walking with Sasha between them. Walter smiled at the scene. They were arguing companionably about some esoteric belief of Mulder. Sasha seemed to follow the argument with wide-eyed innocence, the picture of Alex the first day they had met him. Walter sighed. No regrets, no rehashing of the past. That was the rule.

Walter had allowed Mulder to buy him a loud beach shirt, but he had enough of it. He tied it around his waist as they reached a bare patch of beach. Almost instantly, Alex produced suntan lotion. His one hand slid over Walter's torso, pretending that it was just necessary to rub a little harder when he reached Walter's pectorals. Another set of hands joined Alex's. Walter sighed and craned back to look, expecting Alexi to be imitating his original. Mulder smiled at him and said, "Nice, Walter. I never really let myself look before."

Alex slid his hand up, pretending that the graze against Walter's nipple was an accident. And the second lingering touch was one too, of course. Like hell.

Mulder gripped it and together the hands massaged Walter's shoulder. Walter reached for a beach towel and draped it across his crotch for good reason. He noted that the clones and Nicky were now tossing a Frisbee around, someone's Australian Shepherd gleefully joining in the game. Dana was fending off suitors as she sat, protecting her fair skin under a rented beach umbrella.

"Nice." Mulder mused. His fingers worked over Walter's muscles enticingly. "Very, very nice."

Alex purred, "Mine." Sloe eyed blink, and then a sultry voiced, "But I'll share." A laugh, incredibly sexy laugh. "Enough here for two of us." His hand delved lower beneath the towel.

Sighing, Walter stood in oiled splendor and walked toward the water. The sacrifices he must make... he winced as the cold water relieved his other discomfort. Mulder and Alex were going to pay for that game... Walter walked deeper as the thought of how he could exact revenge managed to dispel the effect of the cold currents.


Shadows... their life was full of them. Watching Nicky leave with Alex's aunt, Sophia tore out Walter's heart. He kept an arm around Alex, watching the plane lift away. Sophia would take Nicky deep into Russia this time. Take him where any stranger would stand out instantly. She had an estate deep in the Urals where time had hardly touched the locals. She said they were fiercely loyal and would die to protect them.

Spender needed to pay for this too. Nicky in Alex's arms as they hugged until the last moment. The child turning as his grandaunt and he walked toward the tunnel that would take them to the plane, one final look back.

Someday, someday they would be a family. Walter glanced at Alex, who turned to face him, leaning into him for comfort. Mulder put his long arms around them both, digging his sharp chin into Walter's shoulder as one hand circled Alex's back. An odd sort of family... but a family all the same. Walter gripped Mulder's hand and Alex's in silent promise.

Mulder looked at him, squeezed his fingers. It wasn't quite right yet, but someday soon. Alex walked between them back to the car. Walter caught a glimpse in the gleaming metal surface of a modern art piece. The wavy distortion blended the three of them into one... they could do this. They really could.

The End



Continued in "The Little Prince"