by Louise Wu

 

Chemistry Book 3: Defended (Chapters 10-14)

For previous parts: http://slashfactory.com/Chem/Chemistry.html



Chapter 10

** Mulder **

I read slowly, barely breathing.

--

Trevor Alan Wilkins
DOB 9/1/67
DOD 9/4/83
Caucasian male
5'6", 136 lbs, blonde hair, blue eyes

Case Summary:
Victim found in alley behind the Clean & Mend Dry Cleaners on Ninth Street by Alexander Richard Krycek (DOB 6/9/67, 118 Everett Lane, Mpls, 555-1823).

Victim was beaten, sexually assaulted and anally penetrated with a broken off broom handle (left in the body), throat cut. The word "faggot" spelled out in blood on the brick wall over the body.

The coroner reported no drugs or alcohol. Presence of three distinct semen types in rectum. Throat cut consistent with a Swiss Army Knife. Rust found in the wound. Broom handle has chipped yellow paint that could be matched with the rest of the broom, if recovered. Coroner ruled death a homicide. Time of death estimated between 5:30 and 7:30 P.M. on 9/4/83.

Suspect #1: Alexander Richard Krycek, reported to be the victim's homosexual lover.

Krycek's semen sample matched one of the three found in victim, but suspect claims he and victim had consensual intercourse earlier in the evening. Suspect has a limited alibi--he reported for work approximately 5 to 10 minutes before 6 P.M. at the St. Petersburg restaurant, as confirmed by four other employees. Insufficient evidence for prosecution.

As of 1/3/84 no further suspects have been identified.
No further suspects. 1/5/85.
No further suspects. 1/13/86.
No further suspects. 1/2/87.
Ceased active investigation. File transferred to cold cases. 2/7/87.

--

He didn't do it. I know he didn't harm this boy. He's been a killer but not like that.

As I had many times for many cases, I opened the photo envelope. After one glance at the innocent face of Trevor Wilkins, degraded by what had been done to him, I didn't want to see any more. It wasn't like the hundreds of other crime scene photos. This boy had been Alex's lover.

I'd seen plenty of heinous crimes in my life, but this one made my stomach clench. Once upon a time, the Wilkins boy had lain in the arms of a teenaged Alex. Then Alex found his sweet lover in an alley, dead, abused and insulted.

Alex did not kill Trevor. And I'm sure of one other thing. After the crime, he either killed the perps, or he was unable to determine who was responsible.

I had few facts to tell me how much Trevor meant to Alex, but I knew the truth. My chest tightened around my heart.

The past is over. At least it should be. Alex should be free of this, no longer hurt by it, but he still couldn't even discuss it. And if he couldn't even talk about it, it might keep him from allowing me, or anyone, to get close.

And what of my own past? I could talk about it, but had I recovered? From Samantha? No. Was it holding me back? Maybe. Keeping me from getting too close to my obvious sister substitutes? Scully? Talia? Probably.

A half hour later, I found Alex at the library. He looked askance at me. Expecting my judgment perhaps?

I sat next to him at a reading table. "I'm sorry."

His face tightened with old pain. "I didn't kill him."

"I know."

Alex's eyes were dark and faraway. I kissed his forehead. I wouldn't ask about any of it again. He deserved that.

I waited for him to run... to go off alone to deal with his feelings, but he didn't. He sat there next to me. Neither of us spoke, but I knew he was going to be okay.

At dinner that night, Alex, Talia and I sat around an old brick fireplace in a quaint inn. Alex was still brooding, but Talia seemed relaxed. After the waiter brought us the check, I took her hand.

Two pairs of curious green eyes rose from the table to look at me.

"Talia," I asked, "Since you're Alex's sister and he's my lover, does that mean you're my sister-in-law?"

Alex's face was puzzled, but Talia's reflected instant understanding. "If you'd like, Fox."

"I'd like that, Tal," I replied in unintentional sotto voce.

My moody lover gazed as me, something intense flaring in his emerald eyes. I wanted to ask, but I let him alone.

That night at the hotel, I waited until Alex was in the bathroom before I pressed the first preset on my cell phone.

"Scully."

"Hi. It's me."

"What's wrong, Mulder?"

Damn, she comes right to the point. "I was just thinking about things..."

"Uh-huh. What things?"

"Our friendship."

"Mulder, are you having a midlife crisis?"

"I don't know... maybe. I just wanted to say I really do love you, Sc- uh- Dana."

"Oh, brother."

"Yeah, kind of like that. Like you're my... sister."

"Well, that's a relief."

"We would have made a pretty couple, though."

"Sorry, Mulder, you're not my type."

"Oh, break a man's heart, why don't you?"

She chuckled into the phone.

"So what exactly is your type? Eddie Van Blundht?"

"Good night, Mulder."

"Bye."

When Alex came out of the bathroom, he eyed me suspiciously. "You look embarrassed, Fox."

I stood and wrapped my arms around his slender waist. "I just called Scully and told her I love her."

"Uh-huh." His lips found mine, and a warm wet tongue entered my mouth. After a lazy kiss, he asked, "How did that go over?"

"Her exact words were, 'Oh, brother.'"

"Why am I not surprised?" Alex kissed the side of my neck, teeth nipping lightly.

"Well, she didn't say it back to me, but I know she loves me."

Suddenly serious, he pulled away and examined my face. "Is this about me, Fox?"

"No. I know you love me, too."

He eyed me sadly, offering only a curt nod.

Suppressing a smile, I kissed the little crease between his eyes. "But not the same way I love Scully." My hand eased down from his waist to cup his cock.

"Good," he muttered in my ear as I began to stroke his burgeoning erection.

Alex unzipped his fly and opened his trousers. Reaching inside, I stroked his plump hard-on. Then, sliding to my knees, I applied my mouth to the shaft.

I ran my tongue around the rim of his cock head, and Alex responded with a low moan. When I swallowed him, his knees started to wobble. Supporting him with my hands on his hips, I urged him to fuck my face.

Alex did it very slowly and gently. His eyelids drooped, thick lashes quivering. His entire body began to shake. His hand gripped my hair tight enough to hurt. Struggling till the end not to thrust too hard, he finally threw his head back and yelled as he shot into my throat.

Before I could even catch my breath, he squatted down and kissed me. His kiss told me everything he couldn't talk about. Joy. Sorrow. Love. Hurt.

My eyes welled up with tears.

His hand found my cock and stroked me hard and fast. I came quickly, shooting my semen all over his fingers and pants.

I ached with the pain of what had happened to teenaged Alex, but I also felt good. Grounded. Safe. Loved.

** Krycek **

I woke in the middle of the night in the Minneapolis hotel room.

I had the dream again.

At first it was just like the memory. At McDonald's. Trevor and I sharing a Big Mac and laughing about a girl who wanted us both. He had a spot of sauce on his cheek. I reached over with my hand, intending to wipe it away. But as I got closer, my hand shifted. I held the back of his neck, while I pulled him to me. His mouth was sweet and soft. I kissed him feverishly, because I needed it. Needed him. And, for a moment, I didn't care what anyone else thought.

And then, the dream diverged from reality. Trevor started to fade away, until he was but a faint image. Helpless, I felt only sorrow as the shadowing figure disappeared completely.

I got up and went to the hotel window.

I killed Trevor... with a careless kiss.

No one ever found out who killed him. The painful mystery and my desperate need to destroy his unidentifiable attackers drove me to a career in law enforcement. And ultimately into the arms of Fox Mulder, though the route was rocky, to say the least.

Glancing at the bed, I watched Fox sleep, his hair flattened on one side.

Still surprised at myself for sending him to the police station, I wondered what he thought about it. Did it even begin to explain about his troublesome lover? Probably not. Even to a master profiler like him.

His eyes blinked open and he gave me a sleepy smile. "Come back to bed."

I took one step to the bed and froze. "It was my fault. I kissed him in public two days before he was killed." I didn't even know I was going to say it until I heard the words.

Fox held out his arms. "It wasn't your fault."

Shaking my head, I got into bed. He held my face to his chest.

I'm sorry, Trevor.

Fox fell asleep. I listened to his soft snores for a long time before sleep claimed me.

When we got back to D.C.--just when I'd barely recovered from the encounter with my own family--Fox called his mother.

Unfortunately, Teena Mulder relented and agreed to let us visit her. Fucking generous, that woman.

The second week in April, we flew to New York and rented a car to drive to Greenwich.

Mrs. Mulder lived in a perfect little Cape Cod house, with a perfect grassy lawn and a row of rosebushes. The house was painted white, with sunny yellow shutters. I hated her already, but I tried not to show it. Fox was going to get pissed off if I didn't attempt to act like an upstanding citizen.

But I have to say, it's situations like this that justify antisocial behavior.

She greeted us at the door, giving Fox a tepid hug.

"Mom, this is Alex Krycek."

"Mr. Krycek," she replied, looking me over as if I were a cockroach. And me in my best suit and tie. Her eyes flicked to the hand of my prosthetic and she made a moue of distaste, as if to note that the specimen was obviously inferior.

I gritted my teeth. "Mrs. Mulder." Only for Fox would I endure this.

She was wearing an old lady suit. An aqua polyester blend with a Liz Claiborne label. Frightening. Every inch of her was neat and immaculately made up. Not a smudge nor a hair out of place. She smelled like some putrid women's perfume. The kind that makes you get off an elevator before your floor.

Mrs. Mulder gestured toward the back of the house. "This way. I'll show you to your rooms."

Rooms. Oh, goody.

She led the way to a small study with a trundle bed. "This is your room, Mr. Krycek." My legs were going to hang off the end. I'll bet she knew it, too. Fox is the same height.

I put my overnight bag on the floor and tried to smile. "Thank you." I hate situations like this that disvalue honesty. Not that I'm a paragon of truthfulness, but lying to stay alive seems more justified than pretending to tolerate a hideous old lady in the name of courtesy.

Fox caught my eye, flashing an apologetic glance.

I followed as she led Fox upstairs to his room. The guest room. Right next to her bedroom. Not like I was going to fuck her precious son in her damned house anyway.

The guest room had a queen-sized bed. I'd be sneaking up here the minute her lamp went off.

Returning downstairs, we sat around the dining room table. The room was over decorated, with accent wallpaper in a tiny floral and leaf motif.

She patted Fox on the shoulder, but there didn't seem to be any genuine affection. She did it like it was rote. Pat your son.

I realized I'd have forgiven her if she'd demonstrated real love for Fox. But Mrs. Mulder was a thin shell of resentment and a desire to impress, with nothing at all inside.

It's a wonder my poor Fox turned out as well as he did with this and Bill Mulder as examples.

She smiled falsely at Fox. "I cooked dinner for you."

Too generous. She probably didn't want to be seen in public with her son's queer lover.

She fed us meatloaf and mashed potatoes that had to have come out of a box. Tasted like Tunguska gruel. The broccolini, a pricey hybrid vegetable, was overcooked and mushy.

Mrs. Mulder gabbed at great length about her local acquaintances. What a life! Mornings at the hairdresser. Shopping in the city. Charity fundraisers.

Fox nodded a lot and said, "Uh-huh," a few times. I trained my eyes on her face and spaced out, imagining wicked sex acts I could perform on her son.

"... Mr. Krycek?"

"Um, what was the question?"

"Where is your family from?"

Count on her to pick my favorite subject. "Russian and Irish stock. I grew up in Minneapolis."

"Oh, I see," she said blandly. "And what does your father do?"

"He's deceased."

"I'm sorry to hear that."

I nodded.

"And your mother?"

I gave her my fake kindly smile. "Recently deceased... after a lengthy mental illness."

Mrs. Mulder let a hint of genuine emotion slip out... a brief look of disgust that seemed to say, 'but, of course, no wonder you're buggering my son.' She covered it up quickly with a look of shallow pity. "I see."

You sanctimonious bitch.

She nodded at me dismissively and turned back to Fox. "So, how's your partner?"

"Scully's fine." I could see Fox thinking up a suitable factoid to offer her. "She's in California this weekend, visiting her family."

"That's nice, dear."

Fox's face was the worst part. Flat. Despairing.

The urge to rescue him from this ghastly woman was so strong I had to bite my lips to keep from verbally assaulting her.

I'm not the most patient man, but after about ten minutes of this, being in a coma was starting to sound good. When I finished eating, I was ready to bolt.

"Mr. Krycek, would you like more of anything?"

Not unless you have some edible food. "No, thank you." I nudged my chair back and stood. "Excuse me."

I bailed to the bathroom. Even before I got there, I was wondering how long I could stay. Politeness was not the point. How long before Fox got pissed off at me? Ten minutes? Twenty?

I peed, then washed my hand. Then I rinsed it three more times, trying to eradicate the smell of the pungent floral soap. Gag.

Next, I fidgeted around the room. The only artwork was a dreary painting of a little girl with flowers in her hair. I examined it closely. It appeared to be an original painting, in the process of being ruined by the damp air of the bathroom. I could see a little bit of black mold between the glass and the art. Right over the artist's name. Poor fucker. Hope he doesn't come to visit.

Eventually, I decided Fox needed me, and forced myself to leave the shelter of the bathroom. I was only half way down the hall when I heard her shrill voice.

"... Fox, you need help."

"I love him. We're happy together. Doesn't that matter?" His voice had a dead tone in it; it made my adrenalin spike.

"You just think you're happy. This is a disease. Even your Mr. Krycek said his mother was ill. It runs in the family, you know."

By the time I entered the room, Fox's eyes were closed. His face darkened by buried anger.

Torment my man, and I'm silent no more. "You don't give a damn about your son's happiness, do you, Mrs. Mulder?"

She gaped, looking very affronted. "Don't use such language in my house, young man."

"Oh, excuse me. 'Damn' isn't allowed, but being cruel to your son is?"

Fox's eyes opened wider than his mother's. He was paralyzed with shock.

She gave me a haughty sneer. "I only have Fox's best interests at heart. He couldn't possible be happy in some sort of sick relationship with you."

Still standing across the table from her, I could see where this argument was going. Nowhere of any benefit to Fox.

I put my hand on his shoulder and squeezed. "You okay?"

He nodded dumbly.

I bent over and kissed him, a very slurpy, open-mouthed kiss.

Teena Mulder gasped loudly. "Not in my house!"

I maintained the kiss just long enough so she'd know I was ignoring her directive. What was she going to do, hit me? Hit her son? That would be her last mistake. I whispered in Fox's ear. "Sorry."

He tried to smile and stood. "Mom, Alex and I are going for a walk."

As we exited the room, I wrapped my arm around his waist. "I'm sorry, Fox. I really tried."

"I know." He looked at me sadly, his eyes very pale gray. "She's not a compassionate person. I can't blame you for not liking her." On the sidewalk in front of her house, he pulled me into a hug. "I'm not sure I like her either."

I held him close. I wanted to tell him I loved him. He needed to hear it from me. But I was feeling so hostile. I was certain if I said it now, he'd be dumping me tomorrow for acting out in front of his mother.

We started walking. I kept my arm around him. And when we passed an elderly couple sitting on their porch swing, I dipped my head toward Fox and said, "Teena Mulder's son."

The elderly man looked embarrassed, but his wife just smiled as if to say, 'Oh, isn't that nice.'

No question I was, in part, venting my feelings about my own completely useless family. When Mother Nature decided human babies would be helpless, she did a piss-poor job of providing decent adults to take care of them.

We took a very long walk. Both of us were, no doubt, mentally calculating how far we had to walk so we didn't get back until bedtime.

Fox was quiet, which worried me, but finally he started to talk. "I guess coming here was a mistake."

I shrugged. "Maybe you had to know."

"My father would have been worse. He used to call me a faggot when I was a kid."

I wanted to say something ugly about Bill Mulder, but it seemed like a bad idea.

"I was never good enough for him. I guess it's the same with her."

Fuck, he really believed it. "Fox, they're fucking wrong. You're a good man. Even a heroic man. I admire you."

We stopped on the sidewalk. He cocked his head at me, like I had said something surprising.

I went on, "Even when I was an agent, I admired you. I... you... I believe in you. Don't let that callous woman make you feel bad about yourself." I kissed him on the forehead. "Just don't."

As we continued our walk, I could see the wheels turning in Fox's fabulous brain. When he spoke again, his voice was tight, almost forced. "My father blamed me for Samantha's abduction, but it was..." His voice dropped out almost completely. He was afraid to say it. "It was... his fault, wasn't it?"

I didn't want to hurt him. "You're asking me for Consortium information about your sister's abduction?"

His eyes were so sad. "Yes, Alex."

"I don't know where she is, Fox. If I did, I would have told you a long time ago."

"I appreciate that. Did my father give Samantha to them?"

I took a deep breath. "Bill Mulder..." I had to stop myself. It would hurt him to hear more than he wanted to know. "Yes, he was responsible for your sister's abduction."

Fox's eyes got wet. His mouth opened to say something, but then he stopped himself.

And Teena Mulder knew about it before it happened. She wanted to keep Samantha and send Fox. And they both blamed Fox for Samantha's loss. The height of parental cruelty... to blame their child for their own crimes.

After a time, Fox said, "Alex, you keep saying Bill Mulder." He hesitated, not sure if he wanted to ask. "Is... Isn't Bill Mulder my father?"

I'd been ready for that one for a long time. "I don't know the truth, Fox. Do you want to know what I do know?"

He nodded, steeling himself.

"Curtis Spender, who you call Cancerman, believes he's your father."

"Spender?" Fox looked nauseated. "Any relation to Jeffrey?"

"His father. Cassandra's ex-husband." He was hanging on my every word. "Many of the other old men believe Spender is deluded. That he just wants you to be his son, because he respects you."

Fox's eyes glazed over and he nodded again. "Give me the rest of it."

I gentled my voice. "There is evidence your mother had an affair with Spender, so it might be true. That's all I know."

His skin color was off, and he said nothing, just stared off into space.

After a long pause, I added, "If it's important to you, I'll steal a genetic sample from Spender and we can find out."

"It's too risky for you."

"No. I can do it without getting caught."

Fox shook his head. "I don't know which is worse, Alex," he said mournfully.

I felt his pain as if it were my own. I'd never felt like that before... so totally connected. Scary. "I'm sorry, Fox." There was nothing I could say that would help.

Fox had lived in a fantasy world about his family. One of his core fantasies was that his parents loved him. But I don't think they did. And I hated to play any role in shattering that fantasy.

Later in our walk, he said, out of the blue, "I'm glad I have you, Alex."

The words, 'I love you,' formed in my brain, but my lips wouldn't utter them. Instead I said, "I'm glad you have me, too, Fox."

It was nearly 11 when we got back to Mrs. Mulder's house. She was sitting in the living room. I gave Fox a supportive glance and went directly to 'my room.' I heard him mutter something to her behind me.

About an hour later, I crept into the guest room in my boxer shorts. Fox was propped against the headboard, a thoughtful expression on his face. He lay down when I crawled under the covers. I curled around him and stroked his back and shoulders until he fell asleep.

In the morning, I heard Mrs. Mulder go downstairs. I covered up with Fox's shirt and joined her in the kitchen.

She glared at me like I was the source of all her problems.

I got right to the point. "Is Bill Mulder his father? Or Curtis Spender? Or someone else entirely?"

Mrs. Mulder was nonplussed. She went to the stove and made a pot of coffee.

I stood watching her, not letting her off the hook.

After the coffee was made, she sat down and poured herself a cup, pointedly not offering me any. At least ten minutes after my question, she said in a dead tone. "It's none of your business who his father is."

I wasn't going to get anything out of her without torture. And I wouldn't do that to Fox. But I was tempted.

I helped myself to a cup of coffee and took it with me to the bathroom.

On the flight back to D.C., Fox leaned over to me and whispered, "You're my family, Alex. You and Scully and Talia."

I tried to smile, but I was feeling sad for his loss. My fingers closed around his hand.


Chapter 11

** Krycek **

The next Saturday, we decided to play basketball. We were on the front stairs of the apartment building, when I saw a sight that made me go rigid. A black sedan, idling at the curb about twenty feet away. And both of us unarmed.

Just as Fox's face registered curiosity, I stepped in front of him to block his body.

He put a hand on my shoulder. "It's probably nothing, Alex."

The windows were tinted, so I couldn't identify anyone inside. I tried to back Fox into the building, but he wouldn't budge. The rear door of the sedan opened.

Spender.

Fox forced his way around me, but I stuck to his side as if I was cuffed to him.

Spender approached, cigarette in hand.

"What do you want?" I asked in a voice that was almost a growl.

The old man looked at me dismissively. "I never thought to have you as a son-in-law, Krycek." Unblinking, Spender's eyes flicked to Fox. "I understand you've been asking questions about your family origins, Fox."

There's only one way the fucker could know that. I imagined the coldhearted bitch phoning up her ex-lover to chat about our visit. Fuck. I should have killed Teena Mulder, too. A long time ago.

The old man took a drag off his cigarette and blew the smoke at me.

Fox shook his head, angrily. "Just say what you've come to say."

Nothing could rush Cancerman. He'd drag it out as long as he wanted. "You want to know the truth about your father."

Fox eyed him haughtily. "If I wanted to know the truth about anything, you're the last person I'd consult."

"It must be painful for you not knowing." The next inhale was followed by a soft cough. "Bill Mulder or me? Who would you rather have as your father, Fox? The man who sent your sister away or the man you consider your enemy?"

I jumped in. "Get to the point, old man."

He gave me a bland sneer. "What do you think, Alex? Do we look alike?" The fucker held his face up next to Fox, waiting for me to compare them.

I shot him a disgusted glare.

Spender tossed his cigarette butt on the ground. "It's true, Fox. You're my son. That's why I've always protected you."

Fox exploded, "Protected me?!" He grabbed Spender's throat and started to shake.

I considered holding back my angry lover, but decided it was unlikely he'd kill the man. And anything less would probably go unpunished, so why not let him batter the son of a bitch?

His alleged father deftly slipped out of Fox's not very loving embrace and stood a couple of feet away. He cleared his throat before speaking again. "Is this how you thank me for keeping you alive?"

Fox's chest was heaving, but he didn't strike out again. "You've done a lot of things, but none of them count as favors to me." He deliberately unclenched his fists. "This conversation is over, Spender."

The old man seemed amused. He took a pack of Morley's from his pocket and tapped one out.

I wasn't budging until he departed. Fox's body language said the same thing.

Spender tucked the cigarette in his mouth and lit it. "You may need your father some day, Fox."

My lover growled quietly, but didn't say a word.

The smoking man shrugged, and walked to his car, apparently happy to have the last word.

Neither of us moved until the car turned at the end of the street.

"Fox, do you have an evidence bag in your car?"

"What?" His voice was flat... dazed.

I gestured to the butt Spender had left.

He nodded, his expression a bit numb. But he went to the car and retrieved a bag.

I took it from him and scooped up the butt. After sealing the bag, I met his gaze. "Now we have it. You don't have to run the tests, but if you decide you want to, you can."

He nodded glumly.

A few days after Spender's appearance, Fox asked me again about his father. "So what's your opinion? Do you think Cancerman is my father?"

I sat across from him in the easy chair, shaking my head. "It doesn't matter what my opinion is, Fox."

"I know, but... but I'm afraid to find out."

"You don't have to."

He frowned, obviously unhappy with both the prospect of knowing and not knowing. "Do I look like him?"

"Fuck. No. You don't look like either one of them. Thank god."

Fox rolled his eyes. "You know what I mean... is there a family resemblance?"

"Spender's tall and slender. Has a large nose." I shrugged. I didn't want to hurt him.

Fox got quiet again. He sat there staring into space for a long time.

"The bag with the cigarette butt is in the desk drawer. You can run the DNA if you decide you want to."

His face frozen, he nodded.

Twenty minutes later, he said, "I can't decide which would be worse."

I knew what he meant. I didn't think very much of Bill Mulder, but Spender was a truly evil man. What could I say?

"My fath... uh, Bill Mulder wasn't a nice man."

"I know, Fox."

"I mean, not even thinking about what he did to Samantha. He was a nasty drunk. Used to call both me and my mother ugly names. He was rarely kind to me, even when I was little."

"I'm sorry."

Sad greenish-gray eyes met mine. "I'm not angry any more that you killed him. It... I... I love you and... You're a better person than he was, Alex. He was cruel and you're loving. I'm not saying that killing him was the right thing to do, but I'm glad I'm with you now."

My voice trembled a little as I replied, "Me, too."

Two days later, Fox handed me the evidence bag. "Would you destroy it for me, Alex?"

"Are you sure?"

"Positive."

I pocketed the bag, tossing it in a dumpster on the way to work. During my lunch break, I went to the bank and retrieved the file on William Mulder. I shredded it at Peterson's office and burned the shreds under a bridge on my way home.

** Mulder **

Talia spent the next Saturday with us, running errands, going to a movie and shopping. The weather was warm, so we ended up getting sandwiches at an Italian deli, which we ate at the park.

One of the basketball courts was littered with gravel, so there was no one playing on it. After the meal, we kicked off the rocks. I got the ball out of the trunk of the car.

For some reason, Talia could not sink a shot. Even if Alex and I left her alone, she kept shooting near misses.

I couldn't resist teasing her. "Well, now we know why you're not going to school on a sports scholarship."

She smacked me on the upper arm. "Hey, I'm a fast runner. I can vault over the horse and do backflips. Just 'cause I can't get this dumb ball through that net doesn't mean I'm no good at sports."

"She plays like a girl, Alex."

He shook his head grimly as if to comment on the utter foolishness of insulting his sister.

I tossed the ball to Alex. "Let's play keep-away."

Lacking my enthusiasm, he nevertheless bounced the ball back to me.

Talia darted behind me and deftly captured it on the bounce. She shifted rapidly to a near perfect spot and sent the ball toward the hoop. It spun around the rim and fell off the side.

I laughed loudly and grabbed the ball.

She glared at me. "Anyone ever tell you you're an asshole, Fox?"

"All the time," I replied, taking my shot, which dropped neatly though the basket. Nothin' but net.

Talia and I both ran to retrieve it, reaching the same spot at the same time, smacking into each other. She had the disadvantage of weighing less. I wrapped my arm around her waist to keep her from falling. But something hit the back of my thigh, causing me to go sprawling toward the ground. When I realized it was her foot, I held on tight and pulled her down with me.

We wrestled on the ground until she was on top, ticking my armpits. I'm not very ticklish, so I managed to stay cool until the adorable vexed look on her face made me burst out laughing.

I caught Talia glancing at her brother across the court. He was watching us with a troubled expression. Something about the easy intimacy between Talia and I was bugging him.

Talia called out, "I need some support here, Xan."

Alex shook his head.

"Oh, come on and be a sport."

"I don't want to play," he replied sullenly and walked off the court.

We found him at a picnic table a couple minutes later.

Talia sat down next to him and put a hand on his shoulder. "What's wrong, Alexander?"

"Nothing," he replied with a sigh.

Talia smiled indulgently. "Either tell us what's bothering you or stop acting like a bratty child."

Alex's face tightened instantly. He stood up and stepped back. "What is it with you two? Always wanting to know what I'm thinking. Or feeling. Or doing!"

I took a step back, afraid of pissing him off more if I said anything. And I wanted to see how Talia would handle him.

She stood and faced her brother. "We love you, Xan. We care if something is bothering you."

"Yeah, well maybe you need to care a little less sometimes."

Talia narrowed her darkening eyes. "That would make it a lot easier for you, wouldn't it?"

I could see his chest expanding and contracting as he confronted her, a challenge in his eyes. But he didn't say a word. Just stood there looking like he was ready for a fistfight.

Unintimidated, Talia glanced away for a second, then looked back at him, assessing, as if deciding whether or not to say something. "You're so fucking scared, big brother. You're so scared that someone will love you."

Alex's green eyes flared.

"And what if we do? And what if you let us get close? You're scared shitless that we'll leave you." And then Talia's voice gentled. "Like Trevor?"

She had more balls than I did. I never would have said it to him, even though it was so obviously true. But she didn't know what had really happened to Alex's teenaged boyfriend. Or how deeply that would cut.

Alex held his hand rigidly behind his back, not moving, not blinking and not breathing. Suddenly, he did an about-face and marched off across the park.

I ran after him. "Alex!"

"Stay away from me, Mulder," he snarled in retreat. Something in the tone of his voice scared the crap out of me. It sounded... final. Over and done with.

I ran faster to keep up with him... even as I realized it would be a mistake. I couldn't calm him down by pressuring him. No matter how hard I tried.

** Krycek **

God dammit, I did not want to feel this way.

I had no idea where I was going or how I would get there, but I couldn't stand to be with them for another second.

She used Trevor against me. Dammit!

This was exactly why I couldn't allow myself to care for anyone. No one could piss me off like those two. What possible gain is worth being so out of control?

Care about no one and no one can touch you. Get beaten, even killed, but they can't do anything that really hurts.

I had eighteen dollars in my wallet, but it was enough to take a cab back to the apartment. Not that I was going home. Not to his place. I got in my truck and drove to the beach.

An hour later, I parked the car and started walking. Scowling at everyone I passed, I paced across the sand thinking about my life and trying not to think about my life.

I never had these problems before Fox. He made me weak. All my life, I'd had terrible things happen to me, but I always knew what to do or say, how to react. But since Fox, and now Talia, I never knew. Everything seemed conflicted, confused and unmanageable.

Every possible path open to me seemed wrong.

Christ, I'd been captured and tortured, but at least I knew what I had to do.

They made me feel so trapped. Wanted things from me that I couldn't give. Chop off my remaining arm. Take a leg! Would they be fucking happy then?

The sun was setting behind the hills. The beauty of it made me intensely uneasy. Scenic beauty. Like some sick promise of something wonderful you'll never have. A phony view of life and what it has to offer. A god damned romance novel. The road untaken... because it was a fucking joke.

The ocean smelled good and the sounds were serene. It just pissed me off even more.

I kicked a rock, but it didn't help.

I walked for a long time, until I was numb. Not pleasantly numb, just bone weary. A pain in what had once been my left elbow ached deeply. I didn't want to go back. It felt like I'd have to give up every single thing that was me to be with them. The price was too damned high.

New York. I'd go to New York. Take care of Ming's killer and then... What? Maybe I'd go to Europe. London or Berlin. I hate smug Parisians. Maybe Madrid... but my Spanish sucks.

** Mulder **

When we got back to our place, his truck was gone.

Talia came in and we each had a beer.

"He's going to leave me, Tal."

She met my eyes, but she didn't say anything to reassure me. Probably because she wasn't sure he'd come back either.

"There must be something I can do. I can't just let him..." Let him what? Leave? Hurt me? Hurt himself?

Her hand found my shoulder. "Don't be stupid. It's not your problem to solve."

"Yeah, but what if I don't like the way he's going to solve it?"

"You can't live it for him. He has to decide."

"I love him so much, Tal."

She leaned in and gave me a hug. "I know, Fox."

After I took her home, I drove back to our place, wondering what he'd say or do when he returned. I'd have to shut up for once and listen, so I could follow his lead on how to make it better.

Fuck! I hadn't even done anything I could apologize for. I couldn't think how I was going to deal with this.

But he wasn't there when I got back. And he didn't come home that night.

I sat in front of the TV all night, worrying. Was he okay? What could I do? Where was he? Did he have a safe place to sleep?

I didn't know what he'd do, but I was sure of one thing. He wouldn't come home and happily talk through the problem with me. He didn't want to let me in to help him. His elusiveness was a constant. Self protection.

The real problem was I belonged to him, but he never belonged to me. He put up with my difficult personality. Fuck, he even let me beat the crap out of him. But he'd never open up and let me see what he was really feeling.

Talia was right. I couldn't make him do it. He'd either come back to me or he wouldn't. There was nothing I could do.

It was the most frustrating possible answer. Only by having a plan of action could I ease my anxiety. I was about to lose the most important relationship of my life, and I couldn't do a damned thing about it.

When he hadn't come home by Sunday at dinnertime, I put a note on the door. "Call my cell. I love you. Fox." I went to Scully's and rehashed the entire situation at least fifteen times, while wearing a path in her carpet. She listened and offered a few words of comfort, but there wasn't anything she could say or do either.

Alex didn't come home Sunday night. The note was still there. I crumbled it into a ball and tossed it in the vicinity of the trashcan.

I couldn't concentrate on work Monday morning, so I called Peterson's office. They told me Alex was at the library. That meant he'd gone to work that morning. At least he was still alive, in the area and doing his job. I called again in an hour, but they told me he would be out all day.

Too irritable to work, I stomped around the halls of the Bureau trying to find something I could get myself to do. Filed a few files. Delivered some reports that needed signatures. I finally left work on the dot of five o'clock.

No Alex at home, but the closet door was open. Some of his clothing was missing. I kicked the door shut.

The bastard had snuck in while I was at work and packed his things. Fucker was just going to leave me and not even have the balls to say so to my face.

I went running, trying to work out some of my feelings. When I got home, the apartment was dark. No Alex.

I called in sick the next morning. Just sat at home, watching bad movies on AMC. I called Peterson's office. They told me Alex was in Durham at the sheriff's office. Phoning there, I was told he'd just departed.

Wednesday, I called in sick again. Scully came by at lunch to try to shake me out of my funk, but I was rude to her and sent her away. Peterson's office told me Alex was filing a motion at the Superior Court. He didn't come home Wednesday night.

Thursday, I went to work because I was going berserk with idleness and worry. Peterson's office told me Alex was at the library again. I used my lunch hour to drive over to the law office and make an ass of myself, but Alex really wasn't there. They didn't know which library he was at. There are seventeen libraries in the greater D.C. area, not counting the Library of Congress, which would take an entire day to search on its own.

I returned to the Bureau to shoot some pencils into the ceiling and rearrange a couple of files. Scully was at Quantico for the day, so I didn't even have her to annoy.

A.D. Skinner came by to ask me what was wrong. I told him it was a personal problem.

"Krycek?" he inquired, squinting uncomfortably.

"Yes," I said in a tone that dared him to start something.

Instead, he put a hand on my shoulder. "I'm sorry. Take the day off, if it helps." And he walked out. Fuck.

His kindness pissed me off. A boxing match with my boss might have taken my mind off things for a few minutes. Until he pounded the crap out of me.

Thursday night after work, I drove to a gay bar in Dupont Circle.

Happy Hour. I wasn't, but the noise was oddly soothing. I had a beer and when that didn't make me feel better, I had a shot of tequila. And then another. The salt and lime stung my lips in a very satisfying way.

"Hey, want some company?"

"Sure," I replied apathetically.

The man who sat down was blonde. Good looking in a bland way. "You look kind of bummed."

"Life sucks."

"You want to tell me about it?"

"Boy loves boy. Boy doesn't want to be loved, so boy leaves boy."

"Hey, that sounds grim. How about boy meets new boy?"

I looked him over, considering the idea. It appealed to my pissy need to communicate to Alex just how much he'd hurt me. Fuck another guy. Maybe even at our place. If I was really lucky, the guy would be there when Alex came home.

"Uh, no thanks." Picking up my glass, I swallowed the rest of the amber liquid and walked out of the bar.

Alex didn't come home Thursday night. The weekend was going to be hell.

I phoned Talia. "Have you heard from him?"

"No," she replied. "You haven't seen him all week?"

"Not since the park, but he seems to be working, although he's never there."

She sighed into the phone.

"Do you think..." I stopped myself, because I was afraid to say it. "Do you think he'd just leave me without even coming to tell me?"

"I don't know, Fox." Her attempt to use a soothing tone had the opposite effect. "That's how he left home. He was just gone."

"Fuck, I will kill him if he does that to me."

"You know he does love you, Fox."

"Of what possible value is that if he's going to dump me?"

"Whatever happens, I just want you to know that it's real. If it didn't matter to him, he wouldn't have been that upset. I'm sorry I can't offer anything else."


Chapter 12

** Mulder **

Friday, I just gave up. Didn't call Peterson's office. Scully and I drove to Philadelphia on a new case. I worked until after eight that night. Didn't even look for his car when I got home. Just opened a beer and settled in to watch TV.

Around 10:30, I heard a key in the door. I steeled myself for the worst: Alex coming for his things.

I was so fucking relieved to see his beautiful face, that in an instant, I forgot all my anger. He walked into the living room, stopping a few feet from me. The expression on his face was hurt, even vulnerable. Not at all what I expected to see.

The fear I felt was nothing like the fear of facing a ghoul or a serial killer. Alex was more vital to my well being than my liver or even my life. I pushed down my need and asked, "You come to get your things?"

He winced as if I'd hit him. "Are you telling me to go?" he replied, his voice a little shaky as his eyes fell to the floor.

I panicked. "No, I want you to stay, Alex. Don't ever doubt it." I shut my mouth before I could tell him I loved him. Afraid of his reaction. But I'd have said anything to make him stay. I just didn't know what would work.

Troubled green eyes met mine. It felt like he needed to say something.

"Do you want to talk?" I asked, trying to keep my tone gentle.

"No. Yes. Fuck..." He bit his lip. His frown made that crease between his eyes. "I want you to fuck me," he said in a harsh whisper.

What?! Sex didn't compute. It was the wrong answer. Something was very wrong. "You want to be punished?"

"No, I just..." Alex looked away, glanced back at me for a second, and looked away again. He walked over to stand by the fish tank. "No, I just want to give it to you."

Fuck.

I didn't expect that.

After a moment, I realized I was just gaping at him. Speaking seemed like a mental challenge, but I managed to utter, "I'd like that, Alex."

He stood watching the fish, not even looking at me, when it dawned on me that I needed to take the lead.

I went to him and wrapped my arms around his waist, kissing the side of his face. "I'm so glad you came home."

"I lo... love you, Fox."

My face broke into an astonished smile. He said it! "I know you do."

Needing a real kiss, I pressed my mouth to his and kissed him with all the feeling from the past week, with everything I had felt and feared.

He groaned into my mouth, his hips shifting forward to rub our erections together. I had no idea when I'd gotten hard.

** Krycek **

Damn. I needed him so badly. Even if I wanted to run, it was too damned late. Fox Mulder was in my blood and nothing short of self immolation would get me free of him.

I held him tighter, squeezing our bodies together. "Fuck me, Fox. Do it before I chicken out."

He kissed me again, his tongue furious and frantic, as if we'd been apart for years, not a week. Maybe we had in a way.

I finally broke the kiss and walked us to the bedroom. My hand shook as I took the bottle of lube out of the bedside drawer. My legs twitched with the desire to run, but I made myself face him.

He tore off his shirt and started working on his fly. I unbuttoned mine slowly, trying to keep calm. When my shirt was in a heap on the floor, a naked Fox dropped to his knees and started working on my shoes. I petted his supersoft hair. After stripping off my briefs, he took the head of my cock into his mouth.

"Fox..." It felt so damned good. My lover was touching me again. He deep throated me quickly and I had to pull away. "No, I can't. You have to do this. Now."

I passed him the lube and lay back on the bed. After a couple of labored breaths, I met his gaze, bent my knees and opened my legs. It felt like the hardest thing I'd ever done, like ripping my heart out and handing it to him, but I knew I needed to do it. Had to do it. Tonight or never.

He smiled at me reassuringly and sat down between my thighs. "So beautiful, Alex," he muttered.

I knew it wasn't my body he was talking about, and it almost broke me.

Fox stretched over me and kissed me again, gentle this time. So sweet it hurt. Showing me his love so easily. I was trying to do the same, and it felt like it would kill me. His bare chest rubbed against mine, increasing my lust, a lust full of needs that had little to do with sex.

But he didn't drag out the torment. He settled between my knees and gave my balls a light squeeze. Then, he opened the bottle and poured out some lube.

A cool finger stroked my anus. My hips rose to meet his touch, needing it. I remembered the first time he fucked me. I wouldn't allow him to prep me. But this fuck was his. He could do anything he wanted.

His finger slipped inside easily, opening me. I nearly bucked us both off the bed when he found my prostate. So damned good.

I never took my eyes off his. If I was going to give it up to him, I was going to be there with him.

"Ready for another finger?" he asked in a low velvety voice.

"Yes," I hissed.

He pushed two fingers inside and scissored them to loosen me. My cock bobbed happily. I didn't feel exactly patient, but he was doing precisely what I needed.

When he brushed my prostate again, I cried out.

Fox had a pained expression on his face, but I knew it was lust and need and love. "Three?"

"If you like."

He eased the fingers out of me and pushed back slowly with three. It hurt a little, but that wasn't important.

"Am I hurting you?"

"No. Please don't stop."

Fox fucked me gently, with a slow rhythm. His eyes were on my face, gazing at me with awe. Then he carefully extracted his fingers. And rolled on a condom.

He shifted his body over mine, placing the head of his cock at my entrance. His greenish gray eyes captured my eyes and seemed to melt as he pushed into me.

"Yes," I whispered, even as I shuddered. So emotionally intense it didn't even feel like sex. Like something else entirely.

** Mulder **

When my cock slid inside him, we both moaned. It was too good. Too perfect. Too real.

I was stunned by what I saw in his face. He was open, allowing his feelings to show. It was so damned beautiful, but I'd already said that, and there just wasn't another word for it. Somehow I knew we'd never be the same. Alex belonged to me now.

My face ached from some emotion I couldn't begin to name, as I pulled back and braced myself to fuck him. My body became weak with need. I fucked him clumsily and frantically. His ass was so tight and hot around my cock. His face dripping with feeling. His body shaking with need. I thrust into him hard, desperately needing everything he had to give.

** Krycek **

Fox took me forcefully, but it felt like it couldn't be too hard. I wanted it. Being fucked didn't seem unsafe any more. It seemed essential. My body was swimming in a current of sensation. Sensation no longer limited to one body part. My entire body was burning at his hands.

When his fingers sought out my hard-on, it seemed unnecessary, but perfect. More of him touching more of me.

My endorphin-laden brain started to fog, and I slipped easily into an orgasm that exploded in my entire being. More intense than any sensation could ever be again. I cried out animal sounds of pure pleasure, and his body tightened over mine.

Fox's cock twitched deep inside me as he shot his release. "Alex," he murmured breathlessly as we dissolved into the bed. Then the world was silent. I was aware of nothing except our sweaty bodies pressed together.

My legs were wrapped around his hips, gripping tightly to hold us close. The muscles of my thighs complained, but I didn't want to let go. I stroked his back lightly.

Then my brain started to function again and I shivered.

Fox looked at me. "You okay?"

"Yeah," I replied, not knowing if it was true.

Fox reached out with a finger and traced along my cheek.

My face was wet. I guess I cried. I curled into his shoulder, so he couldn't see it anymore, but it didn't matter. He knew.

I felt the fear again, but it was too late. It was done. I'd gone all the way, given him everything, and I couldn't make myself regret it.

I felt emotionally drained, a little scared, awed, tired, blissed out and inexplicably peaceful all at the same time.

He slipped off me, but stayed close, wrapping his arm around my waist. "That was incredible," he said.

"Yeah," I replied stupidly.

The semen smeared over our bodies seemed unimportant. We fell asleep. I woke up a few times, but Fox was always asleep. We kept touching each other all through the night, yet he never woke up.

The first time I woke in daylight, I felt his hand on my chest. I looked up to find him sitting against the headboard, smiling down at me.

His smile faded. "I can't tell you how much it hurt when you didn't come home."

"I'm sorry, Fox. It was the only way I knew how to cope."

He nodded. "I know. It's okay. I just needed to tell you how much it hurt. More than... more than when Samantha was taken."

No stronger statement of love had ever been spoken. I sat up and kissed him. "I'll try not to run out on you again. I can't promise it won't happen again, but I'll try."

I was still afraid, but it didn't feel like it would kill me anymore. It would hurt--agonizingly--to lose him, but I had to accept the risk in order to enjoy being with him. It was the right choice. I'd wasted enough of my life already.

Fox snuggled back under the covers and we slept more. He was still sleeping when I woke again. I crept out of bed, careful not to disturb him. After a much needed shower, I made my way to the kitchen. We'd need food to revive ourselves.

A half hour later, he lumbered into the kitchen looking adorably sleepy, hair sticking out in nine different directions. "Somethin' warm was missin' in bed." He wrapped an arm around me and pressed himself to my back, just holding me while his brain woke up.

I managed to cook with him hanging on me. His groggy and helpless act made me want to take him back to bed and take advantage of him.

After a few minutes, Fox spoke again, in a more alert tone. "Does this mean I'm your top now? You're going to be the one who has to beg for it?"

I turned in his arms and gave him a smug grin. "No way, Mulder."

He faked a pout, but it morphed into a smile. "Good." Then he nuzzled my armpit with his substantial nose. "I'm so glad you're home."

After we ate, he showered, and I phoned my sister. "Tal, it's Alex."

"Are you home?"

My shoulders tightened. I could only hope she'd go easy on me. "Yes."

"You okay?" Her tone was gentle.

"Yes."

"Fox okay?"

"Yes."

She cleared her throat conspicuously. "Did you call for a reason, Xan?"

Say it, Krycek. "You were right, Tal. About what you said... at the park."

"I know. I love you, Xan."

"I love you, too, Tal."

Talia had been painfully right. I was so fucking scared.

I'd been fighting my feelings for Fox since the day I met him. Surely things would get better if I stopped fighting.

I love you, Fox. And it doesn't matter how much I don't want to love you, I do love you.

Things calmed down quickly between Mulder and me. He was solicitous though a bit guarded around me. I struggled to find a comfortable, but different, way of being with him. Maybe I could do this.

A week later, Talia phoned. "Alex, the attorney called. Mother's will was processed. There's almost nothing left."

"What about the house?"

"Apparently, Aunt Betta had taken out a reverse mortgage to cover expenses."

Shit. I wanted Tal to have enough to quit her waitress job and go to summer school. "How much are you getting?"

"$621.37."

"Fuck."

"It's okay, Alex. I wasn't expecting her to make me wealthy."

"I'm sorry, Tal." I opened my mouth to make her an offer, but then closed it again.

Things had changed.

When Fox came home, I met him at the door. "I want to ask you something."

"What is it, Alex?"

I led him to the sofa and we sat side by side. My palm was sweating. I hated this, but I wanted to do it right. "I need to make a financial decision, but it will affect both of us."

"'Kay," he replied, eyes wide.

"Tal's getting $621 from the will."

"Ouch."

"Yeah. I'm going to... no, I want to... If she goes to summer school, she's only got one year left. I'd like to take some money out of my account in the Caymans to cover the difference, so she can quit her job at the cafe."

Fox opened his mouth, then shut it again. I could see the wheels turning in his mind... ready to suggest he give her the money, but holding back. Way to go, lover!

He gave a curious tilt of his head. "Why are you asking me this?"

"It's... Because... we live together." It means more than me paying half the rent. "My decisions affect you."

"But Alex you don't need to... I can-" He stopped himself again and examined me thoughtfully. "Okay, but may I pay half?"

Could this be my Fox?

I wanted to say no. I wanted to be the one to help my sister. But he cared about her, too.

Are you in or out, Alex? Is Fox your roommate or your lover?

It would be better to do it together. I nodded. "We'll each pay half."


Chapter 13

** Mulder **

Alex was trying so hard to make our relationship work. For a few weeks, I walked on eggs anticipating more problems, but he seemed freer and happier than before. Whatever he'd done or thought or felt during his absence, it had given us a fresh start.

Life was just life. But it was good.

The weather turned warm.

I wanted to barbecue for Memorial Day, but we didn't have a grill. So I asked Scully if we could do it at her place. She was not only willing, but she even invited the Gunmen. She must really love me to endure Frohike's crude flirting for an entire afternoon.

Alex made cookies with chocolate chips and pecans. He wouldn't let me eat any before the party, despite my pouting. I must have lost my touch.

We picked up Talia, who brought potato salad and a gift for Scully: a pot with tiny purple flowers.

Scully answered the door. I made the introductions. "Dana, this is Natalia Krycek. Talia, this is Dana Scully."

Talia took Scully's hand and squeezed. Scully blinked a few times, no doubt taking in the family resemblance.

When Talia handed her the flowerpot, she said, "It's lovely. Thank you."

As we entered the apartment, Langley nodded nervously at Alex. And then he saw Talia. His jaw fell open as his eyes flicked back and forth between the two, finally settling on her. A dreamy expression overtook his astonishment.

Talia noticed out of the corner of her eye, but she paid scant attention. Probably used to it. Poor thing, looking like she does. And single, too, as far as I could tell. I hoped she didn't have to spend the entire afternoon beating off the Gunmen. So to speak.

Frohike followed Langley's gaze, examined Talia for a moment, then shrugged. Seated on a chair in Scully's kitchen, his eyes returned to his beloved and hovered exactly at the level of her chest as she went to the refrigerator. Scully did look very busty in her blue sweater.

Her friend Marsha entered from the hall. "Hi, Mulder."

After greeting Marsha, I followed Scully into the kitchen and took my lover by the wrist. "Alex, you have to introduce your sister to everyone."

He shrugged. "Why don't you introduce her, Fox? She's your sister-in-law."

I made a face at him. Returning to the living room, I took Talia's hand. "Everyone, this is Alex's sister, Natalia."

Langley stood up, adjusted his posture, ran a few fingers through his hair--he'd have washed it this week, if he'd only known--and stepped toward Talia, extending a bony hand. "I'm Ringo Langley. Very nice to meet you, Natalia."

She shook his hand politely. "Ringo," she replied with a nod.

After enduring the complete introductions, Talia joined Alex in the kitchen. She chopped vegetables while Alex made salad dressing.

I enjoyed a lively conversation with Marsha and Langley about vampires. Next, I stepped onto the back patio to say hi to Byers.

He'd taken off his coat, which was laid carefully on a lawn chair. Sleeves rolled up, he turned watching the coals into a gentlemanly art. A platter of steaks and jumbo shrimp waited nearby.

"Hey, Byers."

"Mulder. So that woman is Krycek's sister?"

"Yeah, Natalia. I should introduce you." They'd make a cute couple. He was tall enough and she'd likely appreciate his intelligence. And he was a little more socially facile than the other two.

"Scully asked me to invite my brother, Teddy, and his lover, Jason. So you wouldn't be the only gay couple." He grinned sheepishly. "But I guess they couldn't make it."

I shrugged. "I'm not worried about the heterosexuality rubbing off or anything."

He rewarded my joke with a polite smile. "So how are things going with you and Alex?"

"Oh, you know. The constant five-star sex wears on you after a while."

"Oh, yeah. I'll bet."

"Seriously, I really like having him around."

With a large pair of tongs, Byers moved a couple of the coals. "He's not such a bad guy. Not at all what I expected."

I smiled beatifically at him and the conversation migrated. Byers did an imitation of Langley spouting his Princess-Di-was-assassinated spiel.

Fifteen minutes later, I caught sight of a familiar bald head through the living room window. Fuck. I was present when Scully invited Skinner, but I didn't expect him to actually attend. Consorting with the riffraff, huh?

Concerned about a potential conflict between him and Alex, I excused myself and stepped inside. Alex was in the dining room, setting out silverware and paper plates. But there was a hint of tension in his shoulders... he was keeping an eye on my boss, too.

The A.D. was standing at the bookcase talking to Talia. I couldn't hear what they were saying, but I'd never seen that expression on his face before. His lips were turned up in a gentle smile. He liked her. Something about his posture tweaked me, though. He was standing with his legs apart, one gesturing arm suggesting an embrace.

And Talia was standing close to him. Too close. Fuck! Not Skinner, Tal! Shit. Shit.

I gaped at Alex in horror.

Reading my mind, he gave me a lopsided shrug. "I'm not going to tell my sister who she can fuck, Fox."

"But, Alex... not Skinner." I started to step toward the flirting couple, but a strong arm pressed against my chest.

"It's her life, Fox. Butt out."

He released me, so I moved closer to hear what they were talking about. Fuck, there had to be at least a 20 year age difference. Talia lost her father young... yeah, I could see it. Attracted to a powerful older male... all that testosterone.

I could make out his baritone. "... but Faulkner isn't literature, it's torture using words. There ought to be something in the Geneva convention..."

Talia smiled coquettishly, and her hips shifted forward. Body language tells all. "I should know better than to say this to a military man, but I think Hemingway is almost as bad."

"I can only agree. Machismo and depression do not a good story make. And I thought even less of his insipid war adventures after Vietnam."

Her hand reached up and, with perfect grace, she wrapped her fingers around his sleeved upper arm. As far as they'd go anyhow. The man has biceps bigger than my thigh.

I couldn't take it any more, and strode rapidly to join them. "Sir, I didn't expect you to be here?"

A bit of darkness flashed through those brown eyes, but he smiled graciously. "Mulder, this is a party. Why don't you call me 'Walter?' Just for today."

I wrapped an arm around Talia's waist. Two can play at this game. "So, I see you've met my sister-in-law?"

Talia gave me a poisonous glance.

Walter looked at her as he spoke, obviously unruffled. "Yes, Talia's an exceptional woman. I'm enjoying her company."

Her eyes glittered with mischief as she caught my eye. "How many other single, handsome G-men have you been keeping from me, Fox?"

Kill me now. "He's my boss, Talia. And an incredible hard-ass."

His easy smile was back.

Her eyes flicked to Skinner's body. "I noticed."

Skinner's ears got red--I am not making this up--but he covered well with a low chuckle, and gave her a predatory gaze that made my own cock hard.

Fuck. This was only getting worse. "Well, Tal, Scully needs you in the kitchen. She needs advice on how to heat the dish you brought."

"You like your potato salad hot?" She shook her head at me in disgust. "I guess I'll find out if Scully really needs something. Later then, Walter." The smile she gave Skinner left little doubt as to what she wanted later. I tried not to imagine my boss slipping it to her in Scully's coat closet.

Talia followed me to the dining area. "What's wrong with you, Fox? You're acting like you're jealous, but I know you only have eyes for Xan."

"Skinner hates Alex."

"So what? I'm just flirting with him, not marrying him and having his babies."

"I just think it could get awkward."

"Is that what you were doing there?" She giggled. "Preventing awkwardness?"

I heard Alex's laugh behind me. "You're in rare form, Fox."

"I appreciate your support, Al-ex." I smacked him lightly on his own hard ass. "Don't either of you come crying when Talia's heart is broken because old Walter can't stand the sight of her brother."

"Catch a clue, Fox. Tal's the heartbreaker."

Talia gave us both a sly grin.

My brain quickly created an image of her on top of Skinner's buff, naked body, giving him the fucking of his life. Then dumping him for her next conquest. Could be...

"Watch that dirty mind, Fox," she said smugly as she sauntered into the kitchen.

Still in a bit of a snit, I met Alex's eyes. Those vivid green eyes began to smolder. "Don't worry about her, lover." His raspy voice was sparking a blaze in my nether regions. "I like your mind dirty."

Rapidly losing all cogent brainpower, I wrapped an arm around his waist and pulled his body to mine. As we brushed our groins against each other, I glanced over his shoulder and saw Skinner watching us. Something burned in those dark eyes, too.

When the doorbell rang, I was closest to the door, so I answered it. And encountered two young men I didn't know. A tall, ash blonde extended a hand. "Hi, I'm Teddy Byers."

"Oh, hey, John's brother." I escorted them in. Just as I was about to introduce myself, I saw Alex stiffen behind them.

The newcomers tracked my gaze, and Teddy's dark haired companion's face went from open to shut in an instant. He obviously knew Alex. I hated to even think how.

Oblivious, Teddy jumped in, holding out a hand to Alex. "I'm Teddy Byers, John's brother."

Alex took the hand. "Alex Krycek."

The dark-haired man held his hand out uneasily. "I'm Teddy's lover, Jason."

Alex refused the hand, but his face softened. "I appreciate the gesture, Jason, but it's not necessary." Turning to me, he continued, "Fox, this is my parole officer, Jason Holly."

I gaped at the man, who was obviously uncomfortable.

He turned to his lover. "Teddy, we should go."

Alex put his hand on Jason's shoulder. "Not on my account. Everyone here knows I'm an ex-con."

Jason lowered his voice. "Are you sure, Alex? I don't want to put you at risk."

"It's not a problem. I think I can avoid violating my parole this afternoon."

A concerned smile appeared on Jason's youthful face. "Okay. You let me know if you change your mind."

A curt nod was Alex's only response.

I extended a hand to the P.O. "Let's try this again. I'm Fox Mulder, Alex's lover."

"Pleased to meet you, Fox."

"Mulder, please."

"Mulder?"

"Yeah, everyone calls me Mulder."

"Okay, whatever."

John Byers stepped inside and called out, "The shrimps are ready and the steaks are medium rare."

Holding out an arm to encourage the newcomers to go first, I picked up a plate and headed to the back yard.

Once my plate was loaded with food, I took a seat on the couch next to Scully.

She leaned over conspiratorially and whispered. "Did you know John's brother was dating Alex's parole officer?"

"Uh, no," I replied around a mouthful of perfectly chilled potato salad. "I don't think anyone knew."

"Alex handled that really well."

"Yeah."

My lover chose just that moment to appear, his plate loaded with goodies, including a sizable steak and one token shrimp. Scully and I exchanged a glance as Alex settled himself on my other side.

He scooted deftly in my direction, so our thighs were touching. "Tal and Skinner are in the back yard. D'ya think they need a chaperone?"

I smirked at him, resisted the urge to go check on Talia, and gave his thigh a playful smack.

Alex ate his salad first, then calmly nudge his plate toward mine. "Would you cut my steak for me?"

"Sure," I replied, trying to be nonchalant. But I was stunned by the request.

I saw Scully was watching us out of the corner of her eye.

When I slid his plate back in front of him, Alex said, "Thanks," and proceeded to pretend nothing out of the ordinary had just happened.

It had to be love. The man trusted me enough to ask me to cut his meat. I watched him eat for a few minutes until he gave me a mocking glare.

When he carried his plate into the kitchen, Scully nudged me with an elbow. "A crack in the armor."

"Yeah."

Scully consulted with Talia, and they selected some CDs. 80s dance music. I observed Skinner declining Talia's dance offers three times. Good.

But when the first slow song came on, Take My Breath Away, he wrapped an arm around her waist and they began to move. Damn those two!

Scully asked Alex to dance. He placed her hand on his left shoulder, just as he had done with me so many years ago. God, I loved that man. God, I loved that woman. They were becoming friends because they both cared about me.

I loved Talia, too, but I'd love her more out of Skinner's embrace.

I watched for a while, then stood up and tapped my partner on the shoulder. "I think you have something that belongs to me, Scully."

They stopped dancing and she patted him on the butt. "All yours, Mulder."

Alex and I stared at each other wordlessly. Scully patted him on the ass? Gotta be an X-File. Demonic possession at the very least.

The second he reached for me, the song ended. The next song was some totally weird B-52s tune. I couldn't begin to think how to dance to that.

Alex snickered and wrapped his arm around me. "I think this one is beyond your abilities, lover." He escorted me to a safe corner, giving my earlobe a nibble. "It would just make me impossibly horny anyway."

That raspy, lust filled voice of his sure did it to me. I'll bet you never do get tired of five-star sex. I look forward to a lifetime of finding out.

We weren't going to make out in front of my boss and Alex's parole officer, so eventually we separated. I joined Marsha and Teddy, disappointed to find them exchanging recipes for pad Thai. Boring.

An hour later, Langley and Jason cleared off the coffee table and moved it into the middle of the room. Jason goaded the other man. "I beat you last time, Langley. I'll beat you again."

"No way, man. I've been lifting computer monitors."

The two sat on the floor on opposite sides of the heavy wooden table. Hands clasped, the arm-wrestling contest began. Langley had the edge for just a moment, before Jason pressed his arm to the table.

"I almost had you there, Jace."

"Give it up, dude." He smirked at the blonde gunman. "Any other takers?"

Frohike choked on his beer. "Don't look at me." He disappeared toward the bathroom.

Teddy stepped forward.

Marsha marched into the fray. "Hey, guys, if you're going to show off your muscles, you should really show them off." She tugged at Teddy's T-shirt.

He glanced nervously at his lover. Some nonverbal agreement was reached and they both removed their shirts. Marsha's eyes flicked over the two chests. "Thank you, gentlemen," she offered casually before moving out of the way.

Teddy beat Jason. Then John Byers beat Teddy. I peeled off my rugby shirt and flexed my biceps. "You're history, John."

He fought well, but I still won. Just as Byers stood up, Alex appeared next to him, with a competitive gleam in his eyes that made my dick twitch.

"Okay, Alex, but don't lose just to make me feel good."

"Trust me, I won't," he replied with a menacing edge in his voice. He slipped off his leather jacket, leaving only his T-shirt. Taking off the armor this time.

Scully and Talia watched from the loveseat in the far corner, shaking their heads... at our foolish male antics, no doubt.

Facing Alex, the contest started. Suddenly, I was perspiring. This incredible force was pushing my arm the way it did not want to go. Mentally, I put all my strength into my arm. And I still lost.

He kissed my hand as he freed it. I bent over the table and whispered in his ear. "I love you."

Alex grinned back at me. I don't believe I've ever seen him so happy. Just hanging out with me... but he was a part of it this time. Not on the outside.

I rose. "Looks like you're the undisputed champion."

A deep voice behind me said, "Not yet, he isn't."

I turned to find Walter Skinner gazing down at Alex, who was still seated on the floor.

Alex's face tightened defensively, then he let out a breath and nodded across the table.

Skinner took off his shirt, revealing his muscular, hairy chest. Marsha and Teddy both watched with heavy eyelids. Teddy dropped backward into a chair.

I complained snottily, "No one swooned when I took my shirt off."

The room erupted in laughter. Langley threw my shirt in my face. I looked to Alex for support, but his narrowed eyes were directed at his opponent.

Skinner sat, graceful as a panther.

Alex's eyes locked onto Skinner's. Skinner didn't shrink from the green gaze, but his face was relaxed.

Both men grunted at the start. Alex held his own, teeth gritted so hard I could see the distended muscles of his jaw. A bead of sweat ran down his cheek, but he didn't blink.

I almost felt sorry for my boss. Alex could, and would, win the psychological war. It was much to my relief that the man was my lover and not my enemy.

Skinner's body went rigid, his own jaw clamped shut. Still Alex held him back--making no headway in pinning the older man, but not giving more than an inch. Alex's face was red and sweating profusely.

Finally, a single drop of sweat slid down the bald head. Alex uttered a loud, short groan and his hand was slammed flat on the table.

My body tensed automatically. Now what? I was afraid one of them would start something. Across the room, Scully's concerned eyes met mine for a brief second.

The two men stood, still watching each other.

Alex feigned a relaxed posture and, with a nod to Skinner, said, "Champion."

Skinner returned a respectful nod. "Tough contest."

Alex gave a lopsided shrug to acknowledge the gesture.

The dignity of both competitors firmly assured, the tension level in the room dropped. Frohike made a plea for dessert.

Alex went to Tal and squatted in front of her. His sister appeared to be chiding him, but he took it gracefully. His bad-boy-rebuked smile made me fall in love with him all over again.

I joined Skinner in the kitchen. "Thank you, sir."

His face toughened up a bit. "For what?" He passed me a beer.

"Don't play innocent with me. You know very well."

Skinner shrugged and gave me the barest hint of a smile.

I stood in the living room. My family of choice was intact. All members accepted as part of the pack. Now, if I could just keep Skinner's hands off Talia, I could die a happy man.


Chapter 14

** Krycek **

On my birthday, a Friday, I woke to find a conspicuous 175 lb. lump slithering under the covers. "That had better be you, Fox."

"Mmph."

"What are you doing?"

"Ow!" My knee was bumped by something that might have been his ear. A muffled voice called out, "Giving you your birthday blowjob."

"Isn't that supposed to involve my cock?"

Suddenly, the blankets were yanked off the bed. Fox gave me a withering glare.

I chuckled at him for a moment. Best to keep my mouth shut if I wanted the blowjob.

His expression softened gradually. Then he bent over my groin and sucked my cock down all the way. My morning hard-on became a serious hard-on in about a millisecond.

Fox's tongue teased at the underside, sucking me slowly and gently. My idea of the perfect wake-up call...

I let him work my cock for a while, then got impatient. My hand found the back of his head, gripping his hair, and I fucked his mouth more vigorously than I ever had before. His eyes glazed over and his face seemed to melt. Then I stopped noticing, thrusting my hips hard and fast as I cried out my release.

When I became conscious again, his face lay on my hip and he was gently licking my shrinking cock. I'm sure it was clean already, but I couldn't bring myself to complain.

I lay there, feeling a contentment I'd never known. My fingers stroked the side of his head. "If you bring it up here, I'll suck yours."

He twisted his neck and gazed up at me. "No, I can wait."

I grinned at him. "Don't be silly, Fox. You have the patience of a mosquito."

Fox eyed me snidely. "It's your birthday, Alex. I want to do it right."

"And orgasm deprivation is part of the formula?"

"Don't you remember my birthday? Before you went to prison?"

"I remember." I tugged his face up and met his lips. We made out for a long time, until his cock was about to burst. Just when I thought he couldn't take any more, I wrapped my fingers around it.

Fox yelped and his cock exploded. He tried to frown at me, but he was feeling too blissed out.

Now, just why exactly was I going to get up and go to work after this?

That afternoon, when I got home, per my instructions, Fox was waiting for me. Working late was not allowed on my birthday.

"I wish you'd let me plan something, Alex."

"I didn't want anything like that."

Fox wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me to him, a wandering hand slipping down to my ass. "How about a birthday spanking?"

"Completely unnecessary." I grabbed his wrist and removed his hand from my butt.

Rubbing his groin against mine, he replied with a pout, "But it could be a lot of fun."

"Okay, Fox. For your birthday, then."

"Oooh, I can hardly wait." That hand found my ass again.

My erection responded with an optimistic surge of blood flow. Not yet. "Fox, let's change into jeans."

"Are you going to tell me where we're going?"

"No."

We ordered in pizza. Pepperoni and onions.

After dinner, Fox appeared from the bedroom carrying a couple of wrapped packages. "Presents!"

A little embarrassed, I found myself hoping he hadn't spent half his inheritance buying me an island or a solid-gold Egyptian sarcophagus.

Fox passed me a small elegantly-wrapped parcel. A tag read, "Happy Birthday, Alex. From Dana." I gaped at him, and he shrugged. It was a fancy garlic press. Wow. Sc... no, Dana bought me a gift. I was stunned.

"She likes you, Alex." I supposed she did.

Fox nudged me with a heavy package. "This one's from Tal. She's been teasing me about it for a week, so it must be something fun."

I ripped off the wrapping paper, revealing a huge book of color photos of elegantly tattooed naked men. Joining me on the sofa, we poured over the book, looking at every photo at least twice.

"I think you should get one, Alex. On your back. Did I ever mention that you have a sexy back?"

"Uh, no. What's sexy about my back?"

"The way your shoulders taper down to your narrow waist." He leered at me. "Take off your shirt and I'll show you."

"Later, lover."

"Why do you always make me wait?"

"Because you love it." I gave him a look that dared him to say otherwise. When his eyes flicked away with a hint of chagrin, I asked, "Do I have any more presents?"

"One."

Fox darted into the bedroom and came back with a black leather garment bag, decorated with a big red bow. He handed it to me. It was heavier than clothing. A tiny red envelope was attached. Inside, a note. He watched me, without breathing, as I read it. "Thank you for giving yourself to me. All my love, Fox."

My eyes burned a little, but I didn't embarrass myself further by actually crying.

Was this really my life?

I felt a weight next to me and a head on my shoulder. His arms wrapped around me. "Open it," he murmured in my ear.

It was a black leather jacket. My fingers caressed the soft leather. It was exquisite.

"Try it on."

I pried myself out of his arms and stood. The jacket was tailored and more stylish than my old one. It felt good going on.

Fox stood, eying me with blatant lust. "Did I ever tell you how sexy you are?"

"A few times..."

"Well, it bears repeating." He smiled almost shyly. "Do you like it? I know it's a lot different from your old one."

"Follow me." I entered the bedroom and stood in front of the mirror. I looked damned good. "It's beautiful. I love it."

I slid open the closet door and looked at my old one. So grungy. It made me think of Ming's letter.

I found someone to take care of me, Ming.

I made Fox wear my old jacket. Then I packed him in the truck and took him where I wanted to go on my birthday. Stingray Point. As we strolled on the beach, I told him this was where I came when I was upset. We walked for hours. I told him quite a few things about myself that I'd never told anyone.

Unbelievable that I'd opened up this much to him.

It all started with a pizza. And my brilliant seduction technique, which consisted of drooling on him until he noticed and then kissing him. Wasn't I clever? And lest I forget the coup de gras: not leaving when he told me to. Slick seduction it wasn't. But it was enough to get his dick in my mouth.

I couldn't have dreamed up any of what happened after that... not in a million years.

It was the middle of the night by the time we got home.

"Shower," I insisted.

Clothes in a heap on the bathroom floor, I stepped under the hot spray. Fox joined me, but I wouldn't let him have any water. After rinsing myself thoroughly, I stepped aside and soaped him down. Somehow, my soapy fingers found his crack.

"Oooh," he moaned, opening his legs wider.

"You like that, huh?"

"Mmm... I've been waiting all day, Alex."

I pushed the bar of soap at his anus and applied a little pressure.

"Fuck me. Please!"

Whispering in his ear, I replied, "Well, since it's my birthday, I'm going to make you do all the work."

"Hmm..." he muttered mindlessly.

I released him and leaned back against the cool tile of the shower wall, my hand on the built-in soap dish for support.

Fox gave me a curious look. "How's that going to work?"

I tilted my head and smiled salaciously. "Get yourself ready and I'll show you."

Frozen, he stared at the shampoo bottle.

"There's lube under the sink, Fox."

"Oh." He leaned out of the shower, precariously balanced by one hand on the counter, and managed to squirt the large pump bottle. The box of condoms caught his eye, and he retrieved one awkwardly with the lube hand, sticking the foil packet in his teeth. As I watched, expecting him to slip and fall, he gracefully eased his butt back into the shower.

With a sheepish grin, he stared at the lube in his hand. I thought I was going to have to do it myself. Finally, he spread his legs wide and turned so I could watch the show, as he began to ease his fingers into his ass. "You like watching me do this, don't you?"

"You know I do... Does it make you feel submissive, Fox?"

He gave me a slightly hurt look, but his deep groan gave away his true feelings.

I reached for him and sucked his full lower lip into my mouth. Our hard cocks rubbed together as groans filled the tiny room.

Then I pushed him away. "Turn around, lover."

Fox rotated. I hurriedly rolled on the condom.

"Now, spread your cheeks for me and push your ass backward."

Fox's long, elegant fingers pried his muscular, round ass open--possibly the sexiest thing I have ever seen--and he shimmied toward me. I met his anus with the tip of my cock and pushed it in. Immediately, he shoved his weight backward and took it all. And screamed, "Fuuuuh... uck."

I laughed breathlessly in his ear.

He began to move, his hips pushing his ass on and off my cock. His firm butt nudging my groin with every movement. It was beyond hot. "Aw, Christ, Fox, give it to me!"

"Oh, Alllll... ex." His hips began to work furiously. The sight of his muscular back straining. My cock sliding into his tight ass. The desperate sound of his labored breaths. The intense heat inside him. I was about to come.

I released my handhold and groped clumsily for his cock. I began to shoot before I got a good grip on him, but it didn't matter. His cock pulsed under my fingers, his hips slammed back on me hard enough to hurt--not that I cared--and his ass contracted intensely around my dick.

Oh, fuck.

Then our bodies were slipping. Limbs falling. I hit my head on the shower wall and landed with Fox's elbow in my ribs. I still didn't care.

We lay there, my legs bent awkwardly up the wall, laughing our asses off.

"Happy birthday, Alex," he mumbled.

"Yeah, thanks, lover."

** Mulder **

Talia called a week after Alex's birthday. I suggested we meet for dinner.

"That's why I called, actually." Her voice was oddly hesitant. "I'd like to bring someone."

"You mean like a date?" I asked, a shiver of dread crossing my spine.

"Yessss, Fox. A date."

"Another student?"

"Not exactly." Talia was usually a straight shooter, and she was being awfully vague here. Oh, god, Alex's sister was dating Skinner. My throat was suddenly dry.

"Fox, you there?"

"Uh, yeah."

"So why don't the four of us meet for dinner?"

"Do you really think that's a good idea?"

"I think it's a great idea," she replied confidently.

I hung up the phone and found Alex reading a book by the fish tank.

"Alex?"

"Yeah?"

"Talia's dating Skinner and she wants to go on a double date."

He smirked at me. "Okay, sure."

A week later, Alex and I were waiting at the restaurant, when Scully came over to our table.

"Hey, Scully."

"Mulder."

"I'd invite you to join us, but we're double dating with Talia tonight."

Alex gave me an odd glance, his shapely lips hinting at a smile.

"Are you here with someone, Scully?"

Scully was fighting a laugh, too. I was still trying to figure out the joke, and hating the unusual experience of being the last one to get it.

Talia appeared. Alone. She joined us eagerly and kissed Scully on the cheek. Scully smirked at me.

My eyes bugged open and my jaw dropped. I was still gaping in astonishment as the two women sat down. Talia was dating Scully? My strait-laced, religious partner?

I jabbed Alex with an elbow. "You knew!"

"I suspected." He shrugged. "Talia's very seductive."

"Runs in the family," I replied with a smirk. "But, Scully, you're not bisexual."

She gave me a patronizing smile. "How did you come to that conclusion, Sherlock?"

"You've always dated men. All those college stories you told me. You never mentioned..." Not liking the sound of my sputtering objections, I just trailed off.

"You never asked about high school, Mulder."

I gaped and blinked, trying to imagine a high-school-aged Scully making out with another girl under the bleachers during the big game. What kind of girl? Cheerleader? Math whiz? A big butch athlete? Delicate younger girl? Lipstick smeared. Tiny hands groping...

Scully interrupted my wild imaginings. "Mulder, I know what that look on your face means."

"I'm shocked, Scully. Honest to god, I thought we were going to be having dinner with Tal and Skinner."

Talia tilted her head at me and offered a bemused smile. "Well, he is an attractive man, but Dana is extraordinary. I'd have been all over her at the barbecue, but I didn't know how she'd feel about that with her partner and her boss in the room."

I rolled my eyes. "Things are complicated enough. I guess I should be relieved."

An overly cheerful waitress arrived and took our orders. I gestured to Alex and indicated I'd have the same thing he was having, without even having heard what he ordered.

My Scully bisexual? Talia, too? Fuck, all four of us are bisexual, more or less. Too weird. Maybe it's contagious. I know I caught it from Alex.

After the waitress left, I inquired, "So how did this happen?"

Talia and Scully exchanged glances. Some couple thing... deciding who would talk, I suppose. Talia answered. "I called her the day after the barbecue and asked her out to dinner."

I queried my diminutive partner. "Did you know it was a date?"

"I suspected," she replied with a demure smile.

Suddenly, my brain was invaded with images of Dana and Talia in bed together. I had this desperate need to know who did what to who. My cock started to respond.

Alex's fingers found my shoulder and he squeezed gently. "Down boy."

"Well, haven't you thought about it?"

"She's my sister, Fox."

"It's just... it's a pretty picture."

"I totally agree," Talia answered with a salacious grin, her hand reaching out to hold Scully's tiny fingers.

Scully frowned. "Mulder, don't even go there."

"Hey, I can't help it. Didn't you ever think about Alex and me together?"

In seven years of partnership I'd never seen Scully blush. Her eyes flicked to her salad plate and a beautiful rosy flush spread from her neck to her forehead.

Alex let loose with a rare, deep belly laugh, and the rest of us joined in. Except Scully, of course. As soon as she got her blushing under control, she gave me a testicle-shriveling glare.

Struggling to neutralize my grin, I asked, "So you've been keeping this from me for a month, eh?"

"Yes," Scully replied. "I didn't want to do this if it was just a one night stand."

Talia joined in. "It's definitely more than that."

Scully made a point of catching Alex's gaze. "I couldn't be sure until we had a long talk about you, Alex."

Alex's face tightened into a frown.

Talia nodded encouragement to her date, but Scully still hesitated before speaking again. "I'll never approve of some of the things you've done, Alex, but I've come to like you and accept you as a person."

This conversation was way too intimate for my skittish lover. His face went dark and his body tensed, as if he were trying to shrink back into his seat. But his eyes never left her face.

"You're a part of my life, because of Mulder, and now, Talia. I don't want the past to make things harder for any of us."

I don't think Alex was breathing.

"I've spent a long time thinking and praying about this. And I've chosen... to forgive you about Melissa."

"Melissa?" I blurted out, spewing my Coke.

Scully's face was suddenly still.

Alex grimaced, fingers clenched around his napkin.

But, Cardinal... Oh, god. Don't let my lover have killed Scully's sister. What does Scully know that I don't? Fuck. Fuck. Fuck!

"I'm sorry, Mulder. I thought you knew." Glancing nervously at Alex, Scully reached over to take my hand. "He was there, Mulder. Alex told me Cardinal shot her. And I believe him."

When I turned to look at Alex again, his face was dead blank.

My hand was clinging to Scully's, on the verge of breaking bones. "You were there?"

Talia's huge sad eyes fell on her brother.

"Yes," he said softly, his green eyes focused on the salt-and-pepper shakers.

"But Cardinal shot her?"

"Yes."

I let go of Scully and reached for his hand. "I believe you, too."

None of us spoke for a very long minute. Then Alex pulled his hand away and stood, looking down at me, shaking his head. "I've fucked up the lives of everyone I've ever cared about."

He turned and walked away. "I love you, Alex," I called out to him.

Scully gave me a concerned glance. "Should you go after him?"

"No," I replied, in spite of my extreme desire to follow my upset lover. "He needs time alone." I could only hope he'd return in less than a week this time.

Talia shook her head crossly and stood to follow her brother.

"I'm sorry, Mulder," Scully apologized. "You told me the two of you talked things out. I just assumed..."

"It's not your fault, Scully."

Damn. I knew if Alex was angry, he'd get over it quickly. But he wasn't pissed. He was hurt and scared. He'd come back guarded and uptight. It might take weeks to reassure him that he was wanted. I wish the past could just stay in the past.

Talia came back ten minutes later.

I met her eyes, but she gave me an exasperated look. He probably wouldn't talk to her either when he was like this.

We ate our dinner. Trying not to fret about him, I chatted mindlessly with Tal and my bisexual partner.

Much to my shock, Alex returned a few minutes later. His eyes on his untouched entree, he shook his head sadly. "I'm sorry... I didn't..." I could see the muscles of his jaw strain with the effort it took to make himself speak. "I don't ever want to interfere with your happiness... either of you."

I slipped a hand onto his thigh and squeezed.

He glanced up at Dana and then his sister.

Leaning over, I whispered, "Thanks for coming back."

"Talia threatened me with tar and feathers."

"No, Xan," his sister replied. "I just reminded you what was at stake."

Alex forced a smile. He didn't speak again while we finished the meal, but he stayed. I imagined him walking on the beach, trying to deal with his emotions. That would have been okay. He probably would have come home sooner this time. But I was happy to have him here with me, even if he was troubled. I squeezed his leg again.

While waiting for the check, Scully and Tal went to the ladies' room.

"You okay, Alex?"

He winced. "I have to get over it."

"Thank you." I really was grateful. I wanted to offer to help, but he knew already. He nuzzled against me.

When the women came back, they took in the sight. Talia smiled at her brother. Scully gave him a reassuring nod.

Alex's simple return to the table meant everything. He was mine now. He belonged to me. He would stick it out with me.

The next evening, Alex was reading and I was doing my expense report when the phone rang. "Yeah?" he answered. His face darkened. He passed me the phone. "Your mother."

Ugh. "Hi, mom."

"I'll be in New York next weekend. We could meet for lunch."

Even while dreading it, my mouth opened to agree. But I stopped myself.

"Fox, are you there?"

"Yes, mother. I think I'll pass on meeting you."

"Oh."

I didn't know what to say, so I said nothing.

Finally, she spoke again, her voice cold. "You can bring him if you have to."

"It's good of you to take Alex into account, but that's not the point. I don't want to fly or drive to the city to have lunch with you. I just don't want to."

Dead silence. I knew I was supposed to say something to make her feel better, but I didn't.

"Well, I guess if you're busy we can do it another time."

"Okay, mom. I'll talk to you later." I switched off the phone.

Alex's eyes were glued to my face. "You okay?"

"Yeah. Relieved, actually."

He wrapped an arm around my waist. I kissed the side of his face. I'd be with him next weekend. It made me smile.

The next week was a busy one. Alex and I made plans to meet for lunch on Thursday. Funny, I saw him every night when I was in town, but it was still a treat to spend more time with him. The little insanities of love...

I snagged a small table by the window at our favorite deli in Dupont Circle, and ordered for both of us. It was still early, so I scrounged a paper and read yesterday's news.

"Hi, mind if I join you?" The man gazing down at me had a broad smile. Handsome. With let's-fuck body language. He was tall and lean, with salt-and-pepper hair.

"Uh..."

Unfortunately, at that moment, Alex walked into the restaurant. He spotted me at the table, his gentle smile revealing a hint of white teeth. Suddenly, it was a scowl. His eyes darkened to almost black and his posture became rigid, making him look even taller.

He approached the stranger, invading his space, eyes narrowed, jaw tilted defiantly. The threat was clear. He looked lethal, even while wearing a suit.

I froze, never having seen Alex like this. Hoping against hope that he wasn't going to start a fight.

"He's mine," Alex said in the deepest, sexiest voice.

My cock became erect instantly. And the rest of my body wanted to pass into a liquid state.

The stranger swallowed awkwardly and stepped back. "Uh, sure. Sorry about that." In a moment, he was gone.

A rather tense, fidgety Alex joined me at the table. He gave me a dark look.

I struggled to speak with a dry mouth. "I di... um, didn't encourage him, Alex." Even my own defensiveness was turning me on at this point. He must have triggered some animal need in me... to be protected, or have my mating rights controlled by the alpha male. I felt almost stoned, like I was going to pass out on the floor.

He frowned, creating that adorable crease at the top of his nose. After a moment of contemplation, the tension in his face eased. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be so possessive."

I shook my head numbly, leaning forward to touch his hand and whisper in his ear. "I've, uh, never been so... so turned on in my life."

Alex's eyes opened wide. As he read my face, I watched his expression shift as understanding kicked in. He stopped breathing for a moment. Then said, in a low tone that vibrated in my groin, "Let's get out of here."

The waiter chose that moment to bring our sandwiches. I gaped up at him, as if to say 'what's wrong with you?' The kid just looked back at me, eyebrows raised in bafflement.

Alex managed to speak. "To go," he croaked, then cleared his throat. "Make that to go."

The waiter's eyes flicked between Alex and me a couple of times. But when he finally moved, he scurried. Two minutes later, Alex handed him $30 for a $12 meal and we bolted out of the restaurant.

"Where are we going?" I inquired as Alex opened the truck door for me.

"I'll think of something," he muttered.

Alex found a deserted residential street with an empty lot. Sandwiches abandoned to grow e-coli on the car seat, I followed him across the yard. In the back lay a row of tall trees. He ducked behind one of them, grabbing my arm and yanking me along.

He tugged my body to his and his tongue slid between my lips. I could feel his heart beating, as if it was pounding in both of our chests. I was already humping the front of his body, trying to get some relief for my aching cock.

"God, Fox."

My hand slid under his suit coat and feverishly explored the contours of his chest. "I belong to you, Alex. Only you."

A groan was torn from deep inside him. His eyelids collapsed under the weight of his lust, the thick lashes trembling. "Prove it, Fox." He looked down at the ground and I started to kneel, but he stopped me with his hand at my elbow. Fingers reached for the pocket of my jacket, retrieving my handkerchief.

I opened it, tossed it to the ground and landed so quickly on my knees that I felt the impact all the way up my spine. Didn't care.

Alex's fly was already open. I snatched his cock out of his knit boxers, and sucked the head into my mouth, giving it a quick massage with my tongue. His legs shook so badly, I released his cock.

He groaned and fell back against the tree. I scooted forward, making sure he was comfortable and that I'd be able to reach everything. My fingers wandered between his legs and stroked his balls. Then I wrapped my lips around the tip of his cock again.

At that moment I'd have done anything to please him. To prove I belonged to him. He was mine, too. That was just a fact. Not the point at all. I, Fox Mulder, was his. My mouth, my hand, my ass. I wanted him to have all of me. Anything he wanted. Whenever or however he wanted it. His desire for me was my greatest need.

Alex's hand found the side of my face, brushing lightly along the hairline.

After licking and gnawing on the head of his cock, I took him all the way down. Moaning my delight at the feel of his fat erection in my throat, I nudged his leg, hoping he'd take the hint.

Alex growled back at me as his hand found the nape of my neck, and he began to thrust into me. I lost all control over my own breathing, only able to take air when he pulled back. I was flying on the endorphins.

I could tell he was a millisecond away from coming... I was already anticipating... when he suddenly pried my face off of his cock.

I gazed up at him in agonizing disappointment. Surely we couldn't fuck here. That was the only good reason for taking away my prize. My own cock throbbed desperately in my pants.

Eyes shining with green fire, he grinned at me. "Wanna fuck."

I wanted to please him, but no lube, no condom, no furniture... "How?"

He took hold of my hand and levered me up. "Against the tree." His shapely cock was bobbing in the breeze.

Gulp.

I turned to face the tree, opened my fly and allowed the wool to slip to my ankles. Then I pushed my boxers down. Bracing myself on my forearms against the tree, I held my hips back to avoid smearing my gonads on the rough bark. I waited with fear and excitement. This was going to hurt without lube, but I wanted it.

Fingers appeared at my face and I sucked them into my mouth. After a moment, he took them away, and I felt a moist finger at my asshole. He pushed it inside me rapidly and found my prostate.

"Fuhhhhh-ck, Alex." Trembling, I angled my hips back at him encouraging him to do it harder. He promptly slid a second finger into my rectum. It was tight, burned a little, and wasn't the same as a well-lubed fuck, but when he assaulted my prostate again, I no longer cared. "Oh, god..."

He did me hard with those two fingers, until I was about ready to hump the rough surface of the tree trunk.

"Do it," I ordered. Or begged... whatever.

He moaned desperately and suddenly the fingers were gone. His body pressed against my back and he clumsily inserted only the head of his cock inside me. It burned more than his fingers, but I was too turned on to care. I was an animal in need.

His pause made my teeth hurt. I needed him to push it all the way in. "Take what belongs to you, Alex."

With a hiss, he filled me all at once. My brain exploded with the pure satisfaction of being taken.

His gasping breath at my ear and awkward thrusts told me he was not going to last. His hand found my navel and wandered down. At the exact second his fingers wrapped around my cock, he started to come.

The pulsing of his cock deep inside me made me cry out joyfully. It felt so right, like I was created for this moment.

He cried out, too, as if in pain, and slammed into me, jerking my cock. It took all my strength to keep from being plastered into the tree. Just as his orgasm subsided, the raw tension in my body detonated. My hips jerked furiously and my body shuddered as his fingers milked the semen out of me.

When I regained a little mental acuity, I was pressed against the tree, his weight on my back and his hand cupped around my cock, protecting it from the rough bark.

My eyes were wet. I knew in the deepest recesses of my being that I did belong to Alex. It gave me a sense of calm contentment, like my most basic need had been met.

"I love you, Fox," was mumbled from behind me.

"I love you, Alex," I whispered back.

When we finally pried our weary bodies from the tree, I turned to him. Alex's eyes met mine, his expression oddly serious. He seemed to see all the way inside me. He kissed me again, possessively. Somehow, he knew exactly what I felt. After a lengthy kiss that threatened to get us hot and bothered again, he finally broke away.

I mindlessly pulled my clothes back together. My jacket was covered in dirt, my pants covered in leaves, the knees moist from the ground and my belt had a beetle on it, which Alex flicked away with his fingers.

He gave me a head-to-toe glance, and offered me the sweetest lighthearted chuckle. It made him look like he was eight years old.

I smiled, beaming my delight right back at him. Mine.

**
END Chemistry Book 3

17 July 2001

Sorry, but there won't be a sequel. However, I'm working on other stories, so stay tuned.

Thank you for all the wonderful feedback! I've eagerly read every word of it many times. You made writing and publishing Chemistry so very worthwhile. Hugs to everyone!

For those of you who enjoyed Chemistry but haven't written me, I'd still love to hear from you.

Email Louise Wu

Web Site: http://slashfactory.com/Chem/Chemistry.html


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