Title: Sleep & Tackle
Authors: Zoe Takashi & Loren Q,  Email Us
Website: http://slashfactory.com/
Fandom: X-Files
Pairing: M/K
Rating: NC-17 for male/male sex.
Status: New, complete.
Archive: Basement, RatB, Slashville, CKoS, SlashingMulder, all others please ask.
Spoilers: Canon through 'The Beginning'
Summary: An offer, a road trip, a file. Peppered with lots of neurotic behavior.
Warning: None. Oh, except for a few dead bodies and some general testiness.
               This is not a typical Loren Q story. No need to fear... Mulder won't be debased.
Beta Thanks: Louise Wu, Alex, Lyrical Soul, Ness and Becca
Disclaimer: Chris Carter and 1013 Productions own the X-Files series characters. The rest are ours. Depeche Mode and Sire Records own the song Strangelove. No infringement of rights is intended.

Comment: This story was written using a technique we call method writing, which is based on method acting. Each author became a character and controlled that character's words and actions. The plot was derived completely from the starting situation and the characters reactions to it, rather than planned in advance. For more information on this writing technique see: http://slashfactory.com/Docs/Method.html

Starring:
Zoe Takashi as Alex Krycek.
Loren Q as Fox Mulder.

  for Best Angst and Best Novel Length Story


FBI Headquarters
Washington, D.C.
Thursday 4:45 P.M.

"Agent Mulder. Is the Potero background check done?"

I peer up at A.D. Kersh, trying not to look bored or disdainful. "Yeah, it's on your desk with the 27 other background checks."

He drops a pile of file folders on my desk. "Good, you'll have time for these." Turning crisply on his heel, he adds, "I'll need them by 8:00 A.M."

Disgusted, I throw my pen on my desk. Well, I don't have much to go home to anyway.


Mulder's Apartment
Alexandria, VA
9:30 P.M.

I juggle the bag of take out, a couple of videos and a newspaper while unlocking my door. I enter, hands too full to turn on the light.

Kicking the door closed, I drop the paper. As I bend over to pick it up, I feel a hand grab my collar, pull me up and run me forward.

I land squarely against the wall, smashing the container of Pad Thai. The tapes scatter on either side of me. I'm roughly turned around and someone's body slams into mine.

Oh no, not again.

The weight of Krycek's body pins me to the wall as he shoves his gun under my chin, banging my head back. "Miss me, Mulder?" His voice is a hiss near my ear.

"Yeah, like I miss jock itch."

"Hmm... you might not want to give me ideas." He quickly backs away from me, keeping the gun pointed at my chest. He glances down briefly, a look of exasperation crossing his face as he sees the noodles hanging from his leather jacket. "Slowly set your gun on the floor and slide it over to me. And don't get any heroic ideas... it would be a shame to have to kill you before we've had a chance to, uh, chat."

Keeping my eyes on him, I pull my weapon. I squat down to place it on the floor. With any luck, I'll be able to get to my ankle hol--

"Don't even try it Mulder. Drop both guns, stand and kick them over."

I comply. Shit. I hate it when he's got the upper hand. I feel my fists clench with the desire to smash into him, to wipe that smirk off his face.

"There are handcuffs on the table. Cuff yourself to the bookcase. I don't want you getting out of hand too quickly."

I snap myself to the bookcase. This is cruel. One wrong move will bring the bookcase down, killing my fish.

"What do you want now, you amoral, scum sucking, oxygen waster?"

He holsters his weapon, retrieves and pockets my guns. He shakes his head, reading the titles of the videos I've picked up. I just don't need this...

"Jesus, Mulder. This shit cannot possibly turn you on, so why bother? Are you that desperate for anything that even resembles sex?" He strides over to me, grabbing my free arm and twisting it behind my back. His body presses into mine, his voice is a whisper in my ear. "I'm really hurt that you don't feel you can call on me when you have... needs." He steps back, releasing my arm and slapping me across the face.

I lunge at him but he's out of reach. "Ooo.... Testy, testy. Careful of the fish, Mulder. They are, after all, your longest lasting relationship."

I look away from him. Where the fuck does he get off? I will ignore his ridiculous comments on my sex life. What did he mean anyway? Calling him, yeah, right. Like I need anything he has.

Krycek, an old enemy, an even older partner. Our last meeting gave me information. Data sealed with a kiss. I stop myself when I realize I'm touching where he kissed me.

"What the hell is this, Krycek? What heinous thing are you up to now?"

Krycek lies back on the sofa, making himself comfortable, drawing his gun and resting it on his abdomen. He runs his fingers idly over the weapon as he replies, his voice even and emotionless. "Heinous, love? I'm not doing anything heinous. Well, I am tempted to cite you a limerick featuring heinous and a part of your...well, never mind. That would be nasty and you just might forget yourself and kill the fish." He's starting to sound amused.

"Ah, Mulder, you've never understood me. I'm here to do you a favor. In fact, I'm feeling very magnanimous today. I'll give you the answer to one question, and only one. But, use your power wisely--this genie will appear only once. So, do you want your answer now or after I tell you a story? Tick-tock, Fox. We don't have much time."

I tear my eyes away from his gun and stare him down. Even in the darkness his eyes glitter, green-glass cold. The rat-bastard is trying to flirt with me. He wants something, something I have or can do for him.

We don't have much time, he said. Good, that means he'll be leaving soon.

"Tick-tock my ass. Tell me a story, Krycek."

His white teeth flash in the dim room as he smiles. "Good boy. Things haven't been going well since the X-Files meltdown eh, Mulder? That bit of arson really set you back. You know, I've worried about you. I asked myself, Alex, what can you do to help poor Fox Mulder? And then it occurred to me! I could give you back an X-File. Perhaps your most important X-File. Care to hazard a guess?"

My eyes widen--this son of a bitch knows about Samantha! "Tell me what you know about Sa--"

"Fox, are you yelling at me? I'm offering you information--some of your precious truth--and you yell at me?"

I close my eyes and breathe deeply. My head is spinning. He knows. I know he knows. "My most important X-file is my sister Samantha." I open my eyes and look at him. "Do you know where she is? What happened to my sister?"

"I'll count that as a single question." He holsters his gun, walks over to me and sits down on the arm of the sofa, a few inches away. "Since you've decided to rub the lamp, I'll answer, but if you yell again, kick out or in any way touch me, the information stops. Understood?"

Glaring at him, I nod. // I'm gonna kill him. Get what I need, then kill him. //

"No, I don't know where your sister is at this exact moment in time. I haven't seen her in, well, I think it's been about a year. She was fine then, presumably still is. As for the specifics, well, Fox, those can be answered too. You see, someone has been working your X-File. Wonder who that could be? Possibly me? If you want the file, you're going to have to go on a little journey with me. And, don't kid yourself, there's a price... and you pay in advance. The only thing you have to do now is make a decision. Yes or no?"

I force myself to weigh my decision. Which is stupid. I know what I'll do. I feel my shoulders slump. I rub my face with my free hand and sigh deeply. I'm about to sell my soul to the devil.

Looking him straight in the eye, I accept his offer. "Don't call me Fox again."

"Shut up, Fox. Ground rules: You do what I say. Not that I don't like wrestling around with you, but we're short on time, so no hitting. You attack me, I'll dump you in a ditch and burn the fucking file. Bring your cell but no contact with anyone. Are we clear?"

"Crystal," I respond, grinding my teeth so hard I can hear it.

He tosses me the key to the cuffs. "Now, we really are running out of time. Get whatever shit you need for a few days and let's go." He crouches on the floor by the dining room table and fiddles with some equipment in a small case. "Uh, no talking until we're out of the building." He flips some switches, grabs the case and moves to the door.

I unlock myself, entertaining thoughts of shoving the cuffs eight inches up his ass when it dawns on me. Shit, bugged again.

I start packing, throwing things into my duffel. Hard. I hear something crack and smile thinking how much that sounds like his nose breaking. I zip the bag and carry it out.

Catching his eye with my glare, I nod toward the door and mouth, "After you."

**

I shake my head but precede Mulder out of the apartment, leading him to the street by way of the stairs. I hear him behind me but don't bother keeping an eye on him. He'll either behave, or not. There's not much else I can do to influence him at this point.

Stopping as we exit the building, I take a careful look around. Mulder's body brushes mine as he tries to avoid running into me. I look back over my shoulder and hand him a piece of paper that has an address on the west side of D.C. "You're driving. No talking in the car either."

"Do I have permission to breathe? Play the radio? Beat you to a pulp?" Mulder's voice drips sarcasm. "I know. Krycek, you can sing me Russian folk songs. I'm sure you picked up a few from the peasants in Tunguska."

I slam him into the wall. He's going to pay for that comment with his ass. My rational brain starts to function and I release him. "God dammit, Mulder. I'm not in the mood to die tonight. Save your tantrum until after we change cars. Now, move." I shove him in front of me.

Mulder stumbles a little, then rights himself. He turns and looks at me, a look I've seen before. Hong Kong. I always shudder remembering Hong Kong--and where it led. The stuff of my nightmares. I grit my teeth. Mulder may have had the upper hand then, but those days are well behind us.

"Give me the damned keys then," he says, holding out his hand.

God, nobody can be surly quite the way Mulder can. I roll my eyes, pull the keys out of my front pocket and toss them to him. He snags them out of the air, and I gesture to a rental car half a block down the street.

Mulder starts to put stuff in the trunk but I gesture to the back seat. He stows his bag and climbs in. I shake my head in bemusement. He really has no idea how much danger he's in on a daily basis. Lying on the ground, I check the underside of the car. He looks a little startled. I flash him one of my 'you're such an idiot' looks before getting in the car.

The ride is long and uncomfortable. I turn on the radio. He makes a grand show out of changing the station. Whatever. I occupy myself with checking behind and around us as we drive. He does not know how much danger we're in and I'm not inclined to spell it out.

We arrive at an empty parking lot and I point him to a black sedan. I hop out and start transferring my gear from the trunk to the new car, carefully checking to make sure there is no one around. Mulder follows my lead but looks antsy. I wonder how long before he can't help but talk.

I perform the same check on the underside of the car before I gesture to the driver's seat and hand him the keys. "West. Out of the city."

Once we're moving I give him a measured look. "All right, Mulder. I don't want you to spontaneously combust. Talk."

**

He says I can talk like he's giving me a command, 'speak doggie, speak.' If I didn't have so many damned questions I'd stay quiet, just to annoy him.

"Thank you, oh kind sir. Now, where the hell are we going?" I fire off question after question. But they all boil down to: 'Where is Samantha?'

He ignores some questions, fends others off with noncommittal comments and shrugs, occasionally telling me where to turn.

I look at him out of the corner of my eye. Even in the darkness I can make out how long his lashes are. I expect his eyes to glow in the dark. Some demon summoned to make my life miserable... And a fine job he does at that.

When he finally decides to really speak, it's something of a surprise. "You know, Mulder, the tenor of your questions indicates that we're not clear on a couple of salient points." His head is leaning against the head-rest and his eyes are closed. "I do not know where Samantha is. The information I'm offering is just that. Information. Not answers. It's going to take a few days to get where we're going and I'm starting to get bored."

He sits up straight and looks at me. "I'll be fucking annoyed if I have to keep you bound and gagged in the back seat."

Taking my eyes off the road for a moment, I look at him. "Oooh, Krycek. I'm scared. Okay, how about a question you can answer? Where the hell are we going?"

Krycek starts laughing. I have absolutely no idea what he finds so fucking amusing. When he finally manages to calm himself enough to speak, he turns to me. "Jeez, Mulder. You don't really think I'm going to tell you that, do you? Just keep driving. We'll be at the motel in a couple of hours and I'll put your tired, testy, little butt to bed."

Testy? If he thinks this is testy, he's in for a surprise.

"I like knowing where I'm driving. I can't stand the 'turn left here,' 'take the next off ramp' crap."

"You never were good at following directions."

"Oh, fuck off. Can you at least turn on the radio? I'd rather hear Rush Limbaugh than you."

He sniggers as he turns on the radio. Playing with the dial, he finds a pretty decent rock station.

We drive for a couple more hours. The radio fading in and out. Our silence broken by an occasional direction change.

I pull into a motel parking lot. Krycek directs me to the darkest part of the lot, away from the front desk. Before I'm aware of his intentions, he cuffs me to the steering wheel and takes the keys. He sticks his hand out. "Cell phone, Mulder. Hand it over."

I yank at the cuff. "What the hell is this for? Payback?"

He sighs. "Payback? Not yet. Maybe later. Give me your cell phone and I'll check us in. Unless of course, you want to sit here all night."

"It's in my duffel bag."

He gets out of the car and opens the trunk. I can't see him, but I know he's pawing through my stuff. I fight the urge to yell, "Underwear sniffer!" I can be adult when I need to be.

After check-in, Krycek releases me and directs me to drive around to the back of the hotel. In the room he points me to the queen size bed near the wall. He throws his stuff on the bed by the windows. I turn around to ask him why he rates the window, but my jaw snaps shut when I see his gun pointing at the center of my chest. "Clothes off."

"You are fucking insane if you think I'm going to --"

"Mulder. I am not giving you a choice. You're miles from home and no one knows where you are. Now strip."

"No! I've had it!"

His eyes widen at my sudden outburst.

I reach my breaking point. Ranting and pointing my finger at him, I yell, "First, you break into my place, destroy my dinner and peace of mind. Then we drive off to wherever the hell we're heading, subjecting me to the abuse that is you. And let's not forget about all the other crap you've brought into my life."

My breathing is reaching the hyperventilation stage. I take a step toward him. "Go ahead and shoot me, you sorry son-of-a-bitch. I don't care anymore. You. Are. Not. Going. To. Make. Me. Strip."

Krycek's expression hardens and he actually looks like he's going to shoot me. After a few breathless moments, he relaxes and leans back against the door, looking thoughtful. "Why, Mulder? I wouldn't have expected an excess of modesty from you. Are you worried about something?"

"Fuck modesty. I've had it with your incessant bullshit. With your stupid head games. All you're trying to do is keep me off-balance. You dragged me out here for a reason. You need me for something."

I step closer to him, my frustration overpowering any common sense. "Whoever you're working for needs me. Alive. So cut the crap."

I turn away from him disgustedly, waving my hand to show my disdain.

Krycek's voice is somewhere between a whisper and a hiss. "Oh, Mulder, you are wrong. On so many points. I'm not working for anyone right now and I don't need you for anything."

I wheel around fast. "Then why am I here? You're not noted for doing things out of the goodness of your heart."

As if for the first time, I examine him. His face is dispassionate, but there's something in his eyes. Something sad. He leans against the door in a casual posture, no longer pointing the gun at me. I know he could raise it and shoot me before I could take a couple of steps.

"Well, Krycek? Why am I here? Give me a reason to stay or I'm going right through you. Gun or no gun."

In all my encounters with Krycek, I don't think I've ever seen him look so baffled. "Give you a reason to stay? Mulder, have you lost your mind? Why in the world would I need to remind you that you chose to come with me? If you didn't think you had a reason to be here, why the hell did you walk out of your apartment?"

He sighs and shakes his head. "If you don't have a reason for being here, then I'll leave--and burn your sister's file. This was a one time shot, Fox and my patience is thin. The gun, the cuffs, keeping you in the dark... those are for my safety."

"You know the reason. You're dangling it in front of me, threatening to destroy it. I don't even know if it's for real. But what has been real is you treating me like a dog."

I take a step closer to him. "Your safety. Right. Like you're not getting your rocks off just dreaming up more ways to torment me."

I rub my eyes and shake my head. "I can't believe I was so stupid to think that you... traitor, betrayer, spy, mercenary, could even come close to some semblance of truth."

Am I willing to risk Samantha for this? How can I possibly believe he has any information? And what's in it for him? He did give me the Wiekamp Airbase information. I stop myself from reaching to rub my cheek.

I'm suddenly tired to the bone. I don't know if it's lack of sleep or the extreme tension I feel anytime he crosses my path. Add to that, he's been a real prick to me for the last several hours. I walk back to the bed and sit down heavily.

Looking up at him. "Krycek, you wear me out. If I promise not to harm you while we're in this, will you lose the gun and cuffs? Is it possible for you to stop giving me a hard time?"

"You have lost your mind, haven't you? Either that or you're the most narcissistic bastard to ever walk the earth. Are you seriously bitching about the way I treat you ?" His tone is incredulous. "I can understand you questioning the actual existence of the information. I was shocked you didn't ask for proof before you agreed to leave the apartment but..." He trails off and moves over to his bag. He holsters his gun but keeps an eye on me.

After a few moments, he places three pieces of paper on the corner of the bed and backs up to the door.

I pick up the pages. They're copies of my X-File on Samantha with my most recent notes. How did he get this? With newfound energy, I read on.

There's someone else's neat block printing in the margins. A notation catches my eye. My father halted the original missing persons case. Most of the other comments are cryptic, but there's an address, what looks like an NSA casefile ID and the initials CGBS.

"Why would I take your word for anything, Mulder? You promise not to harm me? That's nice. Very reassuring. You've been so trustworthy in the past."

I look up, startled. I was so engrossed in the pages, I forgot where I was. And who I was dealing with. "More trustworthy than you. But that's beside the point."

Krycek gives a disbelieving snort.

I stand up excitedly waving the pages at him. "Don't take my word. This is your insurance! If keeping you alive is what it takes, then that's what I'll do. You don't need anything more than that. No gun, no cuffs."

Thrusting the pages toward him. "Just this."

Krycek's indifferent mask slips and he gapes at me. "Mulder, you seem to forget our history. I know you. When you say 'alive' that's all you mean. After a session of you keeping me safe and alive I'm usually lucky if I can walk. Oh fuck it." His normal closed expression returns and he holsters his gun.

Sliding his jacket off, he throws it over a chair and grabs something out of his bag--two protein bars. He tosses one on my bed. He removes his gun and holster, placing both on the table. Leaving him in jeans and a black T-shirt.

Krycek walks over to stand right in front of me. "Let's see... if you beat me up quickly you can still eat and probably be sleeping like a baby within 15 minutes."

I hold up my hands, a slow grin forming on my face. "That's tempting. But I said I wouldn't hurt you." I look at the protein bar on my bed. Ugh, tropical fruit. "And I won't, if you give me the chocolate one."

Krycek closes his eyes and runs his hand over his face. A gesture that reminds me of one of Skinner's god-give-me-patience moments. He tosses the chocolate bar on my bed, grabs his shaving kit, then heads to the bathroom.

I watch Krycek's back as he washes up. I wonder if washing up is a luxury for him. I'm intrigued with how he moves. He's pretty adept with the prosthetic arm. I guess he would have to be.

His T-shirt is tight enough that I can see the muscles in his back. I'm relieved there wasn't a fight. Even without an arm, he looks strong enough to take me.

Moving next to him, I unwrap a plastic glass. "Uh, I need some water. That sawdust bar's sticking in my throat."

Krycek looks at my reflection in the mirror. He stares at me for several seconds, his expression blank. Grabbing his stuff, he returns to the room. Shrugging, I fill my glass. Wonder what's bugging him now? Another glass--God, that bar was disgusting, but at least it wasn't tropical fruit.

I find Krycek sitting on the edge of his bed, bare-chested, pulling off shoes and socks. A couple of scars on his chest are a deep pink--must be fairly recent. I find myself staring at his left arm... or what's left of it. I almost feel sorry for him.

"There's a problem with our little arrangement, Mulder." I glance at him questioningly.

"I'm obviously not prepared to shoot you. Yet." He lets that hang in the air for a second. "But I need to be able to sleep."

I don't understand what he's driving at. My confusion must show on my face because he sighs and continues. "Despite your, uh, earnest assurances, you can't really believe that I trust you to not try to communicate with Scully or Skinner, or whomever. I need to know that when I wake up, you're still going to be where I put you. My intention was to keep you away from doors and phones, make your clothes inaccessible and keep you cuffed when I can't watch you--like when I sleep.

"And you can reassure me and make promises 'til you're blue. I haven't stayed alive by making stupid mistakes. So, we've reached an impasse. I'm not prepared to stay awake all night to get you this information. Your righteous indignation got us in this situation, so I'm going to let you figure out how to fix it."

Short of my dignity, what do I have to lose by indulging him? I think for a few moments while moving my shaving kit to the bathroom.

When I return, I sit on my bed. "'Kay. How about this?" He turns to look at me. "I'll strip down to my briefs and pack my clothes. You can cuff me to the bed, after I've wrapped something around my wrist. Then you take my bag back to the car and you sleep with your keys in your pocket.

"Does that satisfy you?"

He looks at me expressionlessly for several moments, nods and settles in the vacant chair.

Krycek remains in the chair, staring off into space, while I wash up and undress. I put my clothes in my bag and drop it in front of him. He doesn't respond for several moments, seemingly lost in thought. When he looks up at me, I realize that he was not thinking but, rather, completely exhausted.

He gestures to the handcuffs sitting on top of his bag. I wrap a washcloth around my wrist and cuff myself to the headboard.

"Uhh, Krycek. Can I have the key? I did this too high."

He shakes his head then tosses me the key. If he wasn't so fatigued, I think he would have laughed.

"'Kay, better. There, all done." I toss the key back. For as tired as he looks, his reflexes are fine.

Krycek unplugs the room phone between the beds and sets it on the table by the window. Pulling on his jacket, he leaves the room with my bag. He's gone for longer than I would expect, but eventually returns, bolting the door, then placing the keys under one of his pillows.

He removes his jeans, tosses them onto the chair, slides into bed and flicks off the light. Hmm, no underwear. Figures. Doesn't that get uncomfortable?

**

Something is insistently pulling me from sleep. I groan. It feels like I haven't slept in years. God, what is that racket?

"God dammit, Krycek. Wake up." Something bounces off my butt.

I roll over. Mulder has turned on the light and is glaring at me. I can't think of the last time I slept so soundly that someone turning on a light did not wake me.

"It's about fucking time."

"What the hell do you want, Mulder?"

"Bathroom, Krycek. Bathroom. The price you have to pay for locking people up. Now, uncuff me."

I groan again, reach under my pillow and toss him the key. I hear a click and then the key lands on my chest. While he's in the bathroom, I check the clock--4:30. Ugh. I feel like I could sleep for 24 hours. The last time I slept was Monday night. I should have waited to grab Mulder but I'm running out of time. Fatigue definitely affected my judgment... I did a shitty job of controlling last night's confrontation.

Mulder emerges from the bathroom, glaring at me. Tough shit. I need sleep and I don't think he realizes how close I was to leaving him here last night and forgetting this whole stupid escapade.

He retrieves the pillow he threw at me and reaches for the light. "Uh uh, Mulder. Cuffs first." He rolls his eyes but settles on the bed and secures himself to the headboard. A moment later the light flicks off.

Watching him climb into bed, I realize that last night's fatigue had other consequences. I was too fucking tired to appreciate the sight of Mulder disrobing. Shit.

I roll over in disgust and immediately find oblivion.

I aggressively pull Mulder's unresisting naked body into mine. Rubbing his butt against my crotch. He makes appreciative sounds and wiggles against me. My hands find his nipples, pinching until I hear whimpers bordering on pain. I slide my hands down his body until I have his balls in my hand. I squeeze. Enough to feel good and then enough to hurt. He gasps and throws his head back against my shoulder. I smile and then bite the side of his neck. He writhes in my arms and I release him, taking a quick nip at his earlobe before nudging him forward.

I step behind him and shove him over the arm of the sofa, his butt pushed up in the air. I open the fly of my jeans and take out my cock. It's hard and anxious to experience Mulder's tight ass. I apply some lube to my fingers, giving him two at once. His muscles clench around my probing fingers as he gasps and arches his back up. My fingers begin a rhythm while I push him back down.

My fingers withdraw and his ass tries to follow. Applying more lube to my dick, I position myself at his opening and push in--all at once. A cry is ripped out of him and he tries to arch up. I shove him down again and begin pounding my hips against his ass.

A movement catches my eye and I stop thrusting, buried to the hilt in Mulder's ass. Oh shit. Dana Scully. She looks at the scene blankly for several moments and then moves to sit in a chair on the other side of Mulder's coffee table. She waits until Mulder looks up at her. He groans and drops his head back down. She arches one eyebrow at me and then holds up a large, white card. "6.5"

"What? Jesus, woman, what does it take with you?" How fucking annoying. I resume thrusting. She looks contemplative and replies, "Well, if you'd spanked him first, I'd have given you a '9.' He really needs it."

I just scowl at her. Another movement catches my eye and I still. Walter Skinner. What the fuck? Does anyone else want to join the party?

"Let go of him, Krycek. He's mine."

"I don't think so, Walt old pal. He bent over for me . You'll just have to wait until I'm done."

Scully pipes up. "Sit down and grab a card, sir. I'm thinking about upgrading this to a '7.'"

I try to ignore the two of them and get back to business. The business of Mulder's hot ass. Mulder is looking at something. I glance up and see Cancerman leaning against Mulder's bookcase, idly tapping the fishtank. The tip of his cigarette glows as he inhales. He exhales the smoke into the air, addressing Mulder. "Enjoying yourself, Fox? You should--I taught him everything he knows."

Homicidal rage clouds my brain.

My eyes fly open and I find myself staring at drapes in a motel room. My brain works for a few seconds and I groan. Leave it to my subconscious to fuck up a perfectly good wet dream.

I'm on my stomach, with my arm underneath me. Warm air caresses my ass. As usual, I kicked my blankets off during the night. I take a few deep breaths and try to recapture the erotic part of the dream. What a mind fuck.

I roll over on my back and stretch lazily, enjoying the feel of my body rubbing against the sheets. My cock is painfully hard. My brain may have disengaged but my body still wants to play. I feel like I'm back to normal. Sleep... a very necessary evil and so hard to come by these days.

Sighing, I run my hand over my abdomen and idly begin stroking my cock. I push the three dream intruders out of my head and focus on Mulder. The remnants of the dream are worthless so I think about the man in the bed next to me. That kiss the last time I saw him. Something I had wanted to do for a long time. My eventual inability to control that impulse started me down the path that has led to this motel room.

My brain rapidly replays all the interactions--tussles, fights, beatings, standing too close, his hard-on against my leg in Hong Kong--while my hand begins the practiced rhythm.

Breath catches in my throat as my balls tighten. My back arches off the bed as I come on my stomach, my moan filling the room.

I stretch for a few seconds, absentmindedly running my hand through the semen on my abdomen. A nearly perfect wakeup. Sighing, I swing myself into an upright position. Mulder is awake. The look on his face is a cross of embarrassment, distaste and... interest. I smile at him as I stand and find myself laughing. Mulder doesn't know me well enough to know that I have absolutely no sense of modesty. Before he can come to his senses, I head for the shower.

**

I can't believe he just rolled over and jacked off. This guy has no shame. // Yeah. You were watching. And your hand is still on your dick . //

I hear the water running. Pushing down my briefs, I begin to pump myself faster. Christ, I hope he takes long showers.

With my eyes closed, I see him lying there. On his back, stroking himself, his ass pumping into the bed. Suddenly I'm there, spreading his legs, entering him. Feeling his tight ass circle my dick. Squeezing me, milking me until...

Damn, where's the Kleenex? I panic a little when I hear the water shut off. I clean myself off on the sheet.

The door to the bathroom opens as I feign boredom.

I wriggle my handcuff. "Ahem, can you open these. I'd like to shower too."

He crosses the room, naked as a newborn. Retrieves the key and, standing by me, starts to unlock the cuffs. It seems to take an inordinate amount of time. Which I spend staring at his cock.

Cuff's off and I head for the shower. Before getting there, I ask him over my shoulder, "Sleep well?"

"Mmm."

I can't believe I'm staring at him. Thank god I just came.

**

Well, either Mulder doesn't have the classic male problem of a morning erection or... hmm... I'll resist the urge to explore that train of thought but cannot stop myself from grinning. And I can tell it's an evil grin. Mulder's been shaking his ass at me since I met him. I'm pretty sure he's not aware of it, but payback can be such fun.

I yank on my jeans, leaving them unbuttoned, attach my prosthetic and start on my socks and shoes. I'm reaching for a clean T-shirt when he emerges from the bathroom, shrouded in steam, with a towel around his waist.

His eyes immediately find the fly of my jeans before he quickly glances away. I hide my grin under cover of pulling on my shirt.

"Clothes, Krycek?" His tone is testy. Apparently only one of us gets to be in a good mood at any given time. Interesting phenomenon.

I toss him the cuffs and he looks annoyed. I need to make sure we have the ground rules clear before we set off. "I'll dispense with the gun, Mulder, but if I'm not with you, you're cuffed to something. Part of the price for the information I'm giving you."

He gives me a blank look before shaking his head and muttering, "And they think I'm paranoid."

Paranoid? I find it interesting that Mulder is being so deliberately obtuse on this issue. I tuck in my shirt and button up my jeans while he cuffs himself to the bed. I step outside to retrieve his clothes.

Back inside the room, I toss his clothes on the bed and unlock the cuffs. I start tossing stuff in my bag. "I'm starving, Mulder. Expediency would be appreciated."

"There's still that tropical fruit sawdust bar," he tells me while picking up his clothes. Yuck. I think not. I picked those out specially for Mulder but was too tired to argue with him about it. "For crying out loud, Krycek. You didn't bring clean underwear."

I suppress a smile as I reach for my gun, holster and jacket.

**

At least he brought me socks. I'm about to pull off my towel when I notice he's sitting there looking at me.

"Don't you have any decency?" I mutter as I take my clothes to the bathroom. // Of course he doesn't. //

The lingering steam from the shower makes pulling on the jeans difficult. I sit on the toilet frustrated. No one can get to me like he does.

Putting on my shirt is easier than struggling with my jeans. But I end up standing in a puddle left from the shower. Great, damp socks. That improves my mood.

I exit the bathroom. "Well, you just going to sit there?"

He stands, picks up his bag and motions his head toward the door.

We stow his bag in the car, then go to this pancake house-type place adjacent to the motel.

I order the $2.99 special and stare at Krycek while he eats three eggs, a stack of pancakes, link sausage and bacon. "I would have pictured you as a ham sort-of-guy."

He points to his full mouth, then makes a stop motion with his hand. He's actually going to do that 'don't talk with your mouth full' thing. Add reading 'Miss Manners' to his list of ... accomplishments.

He swallows. "Can't cut it with a fork," he says flatly.

Ouch.

Breakfast passes mostly in silence. Krycek seems to be in an obnoxiously good mood. He drops a $20 for breakfast and is at the door in a blink, waiting for me. We check out and he directs me to head southwest.

The time passes slowly, the monotony of driving interrupted for food stops and fuel. Krycek seems to have a faintly amused expression on his face every time I say something, otherwise, he completely ignores me.

I turn this into a game--seeing if I can get a reaction out of him. So far it's Krycek 38, Mulder 19.

I glanced at him one time and would swear I caught a look of intense lust on his face, but it was so quickly replaced by his normal expressionless mask, that I must have imagined it.

Late afternoon, at a re-fueling stop, Krycek suddenly cuffs me to the steering wheel and gets out of the car. "Krycek!" He ignores me and walks to a payphone. He's only gone a few minutes but when he returns his tension level is high and any evidence of a good mood is gone.

Uncuffing me, he directs me to drive due east.

"Krycek, what the fuck is going on?"

"Not now, Mulder."

"I can pull over until you answer me."

"And I'll shoot you where you sit." Ice in his voice.

He completely ignores anything else I say. About 90 minutes later, Krycek directs me to exit the highway and guides me to a vacant warehouse parking lot near a highway on-ramp. The cuffs are out and on.

"Krycek, what the hell--"

His hand clamps over my mouth. "We're on dangerous ground, Mulder. Do not draw attention."

He retrieves a small backpack from the trunk, straps on an ankle holster and secures a knife to his waist. He slides a .22 under his seat, puts the car keys in the glove compartment and grabs the backpack.

Krycek moves around to my side of the car and opens the door, squatting down beside me. He extends his open palm, something like a handcuff key resting in the middle. "That is a single use key. It breaks off after you turn it in the lock. With the cuffs off you can get to the car keys and the .22. If those," he gestures to the handcuffs, "are off when I get back, I don't care what the reason, we go our separate ways right then."

He shuts the car door and is sprinting across the parking lot before I can say a word.

I put the key on the dashboard and drum my fingers on the steering wheel. That keeps me occupied for about seven seconds.

I start examining my situation. Right hand cuffed to the steering wheel. Hmm, scoot over so I'm sitting/squatting over the console. Move my right leg in front of me to straddle--careful now, mustn't impale myself on the gear shift.

I reach across my chest with my left hand and hit the glove compartment button. The keys are just out of my reach. Damn.

There's an envelope that's closer. I grab it then maneuver myself back into the driver's seat.

The only thing in the envelope is car registration, showing the vehicle owner as Arnold Rimmer. What the hell kind of name is that?

Okay, now what? Wait and hope the rat-bastard returns? Chuck it all and head back to DC? Stay here but unlock myself and see if Krycek really calls it quits? Strike that last one. He's a gifted liar, but I don't think he's bluffing on this one.

Shit. I've come too far to back out now.

I replay the events of the last two hours. He makes a phone call, then has a significant attitude change. New driving direction, ending in this lot. Giving me an escape method. Then running like a bat-out-of-hell.

I close my eyes, seeing him run in the lot. There was something funny about his gait as though he was favoring his right leg.

I'll give it another couple of hours. I've done longer stake outs.

But if he's not back with some sort of explanation, I'll leave. // No you won't. //

**

I survey the three bodies on the floor. Consortium assassins. Sent to find me. The element of surprise is such a powerful one. They thought they had it but it was truly mine. I remove the silencer and holster my gun. The body that barrels into me from the side is a complete surprise.

I land hard, the wind knocked out of me. God, that's going to hurt tomorrow. The blade of a knife is coming at my throat and I deflect it off my prosthetic arm. I feel a sting on my abdomen but already have the gun from my ankle holster in my hand. The bullet takes him in the chest.

Why did this one opt for a bodily assault? Something is wrong with this whole situation. It feels like a setup.

The back door suddenly rolls up, illuminating three figures with... guns? They move closer, slowly and I take aim on the one in the middle. I might be able to take out two but I'm dead if this turns into a shoot-out.

When they are close enough for me to see their faces, I'm so shocked I nearly drop my gun. Rebel aliens. Oh fuck.

"That was very quick work, Mr. Krycek." Who the hell said that?

A short, lean man steps through the doorway and approaches me. I train my gun on him and one of the alien thugs takes a menacing step in my direction. "You don't stand a chance, Mr. Krycek. Why don't you put the gun down."

I glance at the small man. "I am not prepared to give up that easily." I realize I've seen him before. A member of the consortium but, having only seen him once, I don't know his role.

He gives a short, ironic laugh. "Yes, that's why I chose you."

"What? Did you set this up?"

"Yes, I needed to see how truly aligned against the consortium you were. I must say, I'm not disappointed. Now let's chat. I have a job for you."

Half an hour later I'm technically working for the consortium again.

I grab my stuff and turn to leave the building. I've been gone nearly two hours and it's a half-mile run back to the car. And the old bullet wound in my right thigh is killing me.

"I need you in Virginia day after tomorrow, Mr. Krycek."

"I'm not available. Personal business." I know this is a risky tactic but I'm not prepared to throw away all that work.

He looks thoughtful. "This wouldn't have anything to do with the disappearance of Fox Mulder?"

I raise an eyebrow but say nothing.

"Ah, will Mr. Mulder make it back home alive?"

I shrug.

"Well, then, call me within a week. I'll let you know where to report at that time."

As I exit the building, the four bodies burst into flames. Well, Cancerman is not going to think I did that. Misdirection. Hmm.

The small man gives me a nod of acknowledgement as I leave.

I pull on the backpack and run back to the car. My stomach burns. I know that fourth guy cut me, but I don't have time to deal with it--and it doesn't feel severe. The pain in my leg is much worse.

I'm half surprised to find that Mulder is still in the car. Sliding inside, I toss the bag in the backseat and retrieve the handcuff keys from my pocket. Not glancing at Mulder, I uncuff him and retrieve the car keys from the glove compartment.

"Krycek, what the? Where the hell have you be--"

"Not now, Mulder, I may have been followed. Get back on the freeway, heading west."

While he maneuvers onto the freeway, I train my eyes on the rear window, my hand close to my gun. I can feel the sweat dripping down my neck.

After what seems like an eternity of watching, I turn around in my seat and feel some of the tension ebb.

"Did I just assist you in fleeing the scene of a crime?" I glance at Mulder. He's gripping the wheel hard and his face is stony.

"What? No. Not a crime. Set your mind to rest, Fox. You're not aiding and abetting a felon. Just accompanying."

"Then what the hell was that about?" Mulder is almost yelling.

"I was heading off an assassination attempt."

"Whose assassination?"

"Mine."

Mulder suddenly swerves to the shoulder and slams on the brake. I grab on to the dash trying to prevent my body from flying around. My prosthetic slams into the glove compartment, sending a shock of pain through my shoulder. "Fuck, Mulder. What the hell is wrong with you?"

"Wear your fucking seat belt next time. We're not movin--"

Before I can think rationally, I lunge across the seat and grab him by the throat, slamming him against the door. One knee stymied by the gear shift, the other presses into his body, trapping his hand. His other hand grapples with my hand at his throat.

Our eyes clash. I'm enraged and there's too much flying through my brain for coherent speech. He looks angry... and confused. "Oh, fuck!" I jerk back and press against my door. One foot is still on the seat, my bent leg a barrier between us. I drop my head and rub my forehead. "Mulder, drive the fucking car or get out."

I don't bother looking at him but, after several moments, he pulls the car back on the road.

"No more fucking games, Krycek." His voice is quiet. "What the hell is going on?"

"I can assure you, Mulder, this is no game."

"Who's trying to assass... kill you?"

I finally glance at him. What the hell... it's not like there's anything he can do with the information.

"In general, the Consortium. Specifically, Cancerman."

He flashes me a look of confusion. "Don't you work for..." His voice trails off.

"Not since my patron was blown up in a car bomb ." Until today. Except now I'm to the Consortium what I once was to the FBI. But that's information Mulder does not get. I still have to wonder how the little man is going to clear things with that black-lunged bastard.

Mulder is silent for several long moments. "Did you kill someone?"

I stare at him silently.

He glances at me. "Was it self defense?"

I stare at him silently.

He sighs and shakes his head. "Whose blood, Krycek?"

That surprises me. "Huh?"

"Your jeans. Whose blood?"

I flip on the overhead light, looking down at my jeans. There's blood on the front down to the top of my right thigh. The T-shirt is also wet with blood but the dark color renders it invisible. "Oh, that's mine." I flip off the light.

"Losing your touch, Krycek?"

"Fuck off."

Blessed silence reigns for several moments before Mulder feels compelled to start talking again. "Need a doctor?"

"No. Drop it, Mulder." Silence again and then I hear him take a deep breath I've learned to associate with a bout of talking. I decide to stop his flow of words before my head hurts any worse.

"It's about 110 miles to our stop. There's a McDonald's at the exit. Go through the drive-thru and we'll eat in the room." I continue on, telling him the town name, which exit and which motel.

I reach over to flip on the radio before Mulder can get chatty again. I find a classical station. Chopin. Lovely. I lean my head back and close my eyes.

Mulder's been quiet for too long. I hear him say, "Don't you find Chopin a little sweet? Almost saccharine? Although not as bad as Debussy. I bet you're a Tchaikovsky or Stravinsky fan. Or how about the softer but equally powerful Saint-Saens?"

"Mulder, shut up."

"Actually, I'm pretty floored that you like classical at all. I would have thought you more the Metallica/Quiet Riot type. Or one of those 80's big-hair ba--"

"Please, Mulder. Shut up before I kill you." There's no malice in my voice, just fatigue.

He looks at me for a moment, a flicker of concern in his eyes. He nods and turns his eyes back to the road.

Periodically, I check behind us. It doesn't appear as if anyone is following. I was careful to make sure no one was on my tail as I ran back to the car, but you can never be too careful.

We finally arrive at our motel, food bags on the seat between us. As we pull in Mulder points out something obvious. "You can't check in looking like that." Oh fuck, fuck, fuck. I stop to think for a few moments.

"I'm not letting you loose on your own. You'll have to walk in front of me and do the check in." I hand him my wallet. "Use that name and ID." Another identity down the drain.

We finally get settled in the room. God, this day has been long. I rub my hand over my face. Mulder is staring at me. "Eat, Mulder." I wave him toward the food.

"Uh, don't you think you should take care of that." He gestures toward my abdomen.

"Just eat. I'll take care of it." I shuck my jacket and guns, then retrieve a first aid kit from my bag. I yank off my shirt.

"Shit, Krycek, that needs stitches."

"Not hardly." I move to the bathroom to clean it up. The cut is about 4 inches long, running from my navel across the top of my jeans but it's not very deep. I unbutton my jeans and clean the gash. I will have to use butterfly closures. Need Mulder's help to unwrap the fucking things.

Mulder glances up when I enter. "I need you to open these." I toss a strip of them on the bed.

He grabs them and moves to stand in front of me. "Here, I'll put them on."

"I don't need your help, Mulder."

"Quit being a baby and sit down." He suddenly shoves me down on the edge of the bed.

I'm not sure I like Mulder getting pushy with me.

He drops to his knees in front of me.

Well, I like that.

I lean back and watch his face.

**

I examine the cut. Krycek did a decent job cleaning it, but there's still some soap in the wound.

Standing up, I tell him, "Hang tight, I need to wash my hands and get a damp cloth."

As I'm washing my hands, I look at his reflection in the mirror. He's sitting there, calmly. Shirt off, jeans open. If it weren't for the cut I could almost... What the hell am I thinking!

I shake my head, trying to clear my thoughts.

"Hey, Mulder, I appreciate your compulsive desire to be sanitary but you've been washing your hands longer than Lady Macbeth."

Turning around, wet washcloth in my hand, I move back to the room. "Yeah, yeah. You would rather I get secret sauce in the wound." I dab at the cut, gently wiping off the soap.

I space several of the butterfly closures across the wound. Being this close to him, I catch a whiff of his scent. It's musky, not bad, and almost primal. Kind of spicy.

Realizing what I'm thinking, I jump quickly to my feet. "There. All done. Looks like it may not scar."

He doesn't reply. I glance at him to find him watching me with a thoughtful expression. What? I flash him a questioning look. He shakes his head and finishes covering the cut with a bandage and tape.

Krycek joins me at the table and half-heartedly works on his dinner. He seems very pre-occupied. Or maybe just tired. I wish he'd button his jeans.

"You know, classical and heavy metal are not mutually exclusive tastes."

Is Krycek making small talk? "I didn't say they were. In fact, I always follow Puccini with a little Judas Priest. I just pictured you more interested in hard rock. Who are your favorites?"

He looks amused. "Metallica and Paganini. I only listen to metal when I need to concentrate or during yoga."

Yoga? Laughing so hard, I almost spit my fries out at him. Suddenly, I start coughing, hard. Krycek jumps up, ready to help me, but I motion him back down. Slowly, the coughing subsides. I take a couple of shaky breaths.

"Krycek," I croak. "Do you really do yoga?" I fall into a giggle fit. I'm completely embarrassed by my lack of control, but the vision of Krycek, Uzi in hand, doing yoga is just so fucking funny.

Each time I try to regain control, I look at Krycek and start laughing. I know this is due to tension release, but it needs to stop. Now.

Krycek watches me impassively, with a tolerant expression on his face. "Are you done?"

"Pppfttt." I wipe tears from my eyes. I start taking deep, steady breaths. "Whooo. Okay. I think I'm alright now."

I start eating again, assessing my control by staring openly at him. So far, so good. No giggles. Now for the big test.

"Krycek, tell me about the yoga."

He raises one eyebrow and I start to wonder if he's going to answer. "Judging by your response, you know what it is, Mulder. What else could you possibly want to know?"

Dickhead. "I was trying to... forget it." I return to my dinner, picking up my shake and slurping the last of it.

"Krycek, can you spell your name?"

"Yes, Mulder, can you?"

"I knew it! You will not completely answer any question, no matter how trivial or important. Easy or hard." I make my way to my bed, pick up the remote and surf the limited channels on the motel television.

Krycek remains at the table, ripping his French fries into little pieces. "You should be careful about throwing down that gauntlet, Fox. You might get more than you want--or can handle."

He abandons his mutilated fries and leans against the wall at the end of the bed. Why won't he button those fucking jeans? "What's your question?"

"What's your question?" I mimic snottily, bobbing my head left and right.

He looks faintly disgusted but the expression is gone in an instant.

Why does he get to me this way? Why do I let him? These are questions all right, but not any I'll ever ask him. "What happened this afternoon? How did you know someone was trying to kill you? Oh, sorry, that was more than one question."

He looks at me with his usual lack of expression. How does he maintain that demeanor all the time? "Hmm... well, I have informants. Some misinformation I let out made it through the Consortium and back to me through another source.

"The Consortium has been hunting me since our mutual friend was terminated. The misinformation was actually a bit of misdirection so I knew where to go. Anything else?"

"A lot else, but I'll settle for: How do this afternoon's... events affect getting the information on Samantha?"

"It's only a problem if we were followed. I don't think that happened but..." He shrugs his shoulders. "I would say there is a higher probability of you blowing it. Next?"

Me blowing it? What is it with him? I calm myself down before asking the next question, "Are we back on track or do you still have some self preservation, uhhh, activities to do?

He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes, as if praying for patience. "Enough, Mulder. I have a question for you now. What's with all the fucking attitude? I knew you were narcissistic and neurotic, but childish has been a little surprising. You are only in a good mood when you've managed to annoy or anger me and you seem to be constantly at the edge of a tantrum. Are you really trying to push me into calling this off?"

Childish! Narcissistic and neurotic, okay, I buy that, but childish? "I, uhh, I don't know. You just set me off."

I start pacing the room. "I don't know what we're doing, where we're going. I feel out of control and I can't stand that." I stop in front of him, and say the most honest thing I've ever said to him. "I hate that I've put my faith in the man who killed my father."

Krycek leans his head against the wall and sighs. "Faith, Mulder? I think that's a bit of an exaggeration." He pauses like he's having an internal conversation, then shrugs. "It won't really answer anything for you, but I also have the Consortium's file on your father. I don't have any use for it. But, Mulder, we have to get through the next few days without this constant emotional see-sawing. You may be used to it but it just makes me tired."

"Are you bartering my father's file for my... what? Maturity? Acquiescence? Okay, deal." I sit on my bed, and then lie back, arms to either side. "I'm tired too. I don't like not knowing where I am, let alone not knowing where I'm going. That tends to make me testy."

I sit up again. Krycek's head is back against the wall, his eyes closed. "It also gets me that you're so damned good-looking, I almost forget who you are."

Krycek's eyes fly open and his expression freezes.

When he speaks, it's slow as if he is measuring every word. "I'm not bartering your father's file, I'm offering it. I am asking for the maturity. There's nothing I can do about the rest. Except..." He moves away from the wall and stands in front of me, crouching down 'til he's at eye-level. "It certainly wouldn't pay for you to forget who I am." But the soft tone of his voice belies the threat in the words.

He reaches out and cups my jaw, his thumb running along my lower lip. It's my turn to freeze. His voice is barely above a whisper. "Is this tension making you cranky, Mulder?"

I gulp, "I wouldn't call it cranky." I reach toward him, cup the back of his head and bring it toward mine.

As I devour his lips, images explode in my head. The bad-suited, too-much-hair-gel young agent looking at me in my Speedos. The same agent apparently needing comfort after shooting Augustus Cole. The assassin/traitor I pressed up against in Hong Kong. The man who kissed my cheek after giving me information.

Four years of sexual sublimation--gone in those first few seconds that his lips are locked to mine.

Without breaking the contact of our mouths, Krycek moves up to kneel on the bed. One knee between my legs. He rises up on his knees, forcing my head back to maintain the kiss, as his arm winds around my body, pulling me into closer contact. I hear a growl from one of us, but don't know who, as he increases the pressure against my lips and his tongue begins to explore the inside of my mouth.

My head thrown back, I wrap my arms around his neck. I break away to catch my breath and nuzzle the side of his throat. I nip and suck at the tender skin and feel a shudder pass through him // or was that me? //

There's a hiss of breath and Krycek's mouth finds mine again with punishing force. His arm releases me even as his mouth stays locked to mine. His body presses me backwards and the contact of our mouths is broken as I fall back on the bed.

Krycek's eyes lock on mine as he looms above me. He braces his weight on his arms and slides his body up mine until our groins are rubbing together. The full weight of his body slowly descends as his eyes bore into mine. He ducks his head and his teeth find my earlobe, biting gently then sucking it into his mouth. This time I know it's my body that shudders. His mouth travels down the side of my neck, kissing and biting while his hand travels up my T-shirt. The pad of his thumb rasps across my nipple over and over. I moan, offering more of my neck to him. He takes advantage and sucks hard at my exposed throat.

He presses his legs between mine, rubbing his hips against my crotch. His mouth finds mine again, his tongue insistently pressing into my mouth and caressing my teeth and tongue. He suddenly pulls his knees up, separating our mouths as my legs are forced open. My shirt is yanked up as his lips reach my abdomen, biting and sucking his way to my navel. My body spasms with the feeling of his kisses, a cross between a tickle and an electric shock.

Krycek keeps his knees wide apart as he pushes his body up mine, his mouth trailing sucking kisses up my chest. As he travels up my body, my knees are forced up by the pressure of his legs. His groin rubs mine again as his mouth returns for another searing kiss. I arch into him.

He pulls back and stills. My eyes go to his. His gaze is locked on mine as he begins that subtle rotation against my crotch. "Is this what you want, Mulder? Tell me now if you're not prepared to go through with this."

"What do I say if I am prepared?"

"Fuck me..." His thumb returns to my mouth, rubbing my lower lip. "...Alex."

Somewhere in the back of my mind I hear an indignant // who fucks who? // But it's not loud enough to drown out my own voice. "Fuck me, Alex."

His grin is feral as his mouth descends on mine. The kiss is bruising in intensity. He continues the maddening rotation against my crotch, while his tongue explores the recesses of my mouth.

Alex pulls back until he's resting on his knees. He pushes my legs far apart, his hand tracing the outline of my dick. "I want you to do something for me... something I was too tired to appreciate last night." I manage to muster a look of inquiry despite the lust addling my senses. His hand molds to my crotch. "I want you to strip for me." His voice is low and sensual. He moves away and sits on the other bed.

I panic. "Strip, like in striptease?"

He laughs at my reaction. "No, you don't have to prance around. Just undress. Although a little ass wiggle would be nice."

Standing up, I pull off my shirt and toe off my shoes. I've never felt this clumsy and gawky. Please god, don't let me fall flat on my face while taking off my pants. Finally, down to my briefs. My hard-on looks ridiculous pushing against the fabric, so I pull those off as fast as I can.

I feel a blush rise up my cheeks when I look at him. "Is this what you wanted?" What am I going to do if he says no?

He crooks his finger at me, staring at me from under his lashes. I walk over to him slowly. He reaches out and grabs my ass, pulling me until our knees bump. His hand slides between my legs, nudging my knees apart, then pulling me forward. I straddle his lap and his hand wanders to the crack of my ass, brushing across my anus. "Yeah. I just wanted to see your body... I wasn't asking for a show."

Alex's hand is at the back of my neck pulling me down for a kiss. I feel his thighs moving under my butt. Hearing a thump, I realize he's toeing off his shoes. His mouth is at my throat, sucking hard then licking along my collarbone.

He breaks the contact and lies back on the bed. With a few deft movements he detaches the prosthetic, reaching above him to gently drop it off the side of the bed. He gives me an intense look and runs his hand down my body, stroking my dick a few times. "Take off my jeans, Mulder."

I almost tell him to take off his own damn jeans, when my dick reminds me I haven't had sex with another human being in... way too long. Standing over him, I reach inside his jeans and free his cock. His jeans are sticky with blood, but that doesn't stop me from pulling them off.

He's lying there, looking at me, expectantly. I don't know what he wants, but I know what I want to do.

I lay down on him and start nipping his Adam's apple. He tilts his head back and chuckles deep in his throat. The sound sends shivers down my spine.

I continue, licking and biting a little trail down to his nipples. I catch his stiff nubs between my teeth. He yanks me away by my hair. His abdominal muscles flex as he slowly levers himself up while pulling my head back to meet his gaze. He stares at me for several moments, his eyes glittering. I try to move my head but he holds it firmly, slowly pulling it toward his. He consumes my mouth, biting at my lips and wrestling with my tongue. His mouth moves to my throat and, leaving a hard, sucking kiss on the side of my neck, he releases my head and lies back.

I straighten my arms to raise myself up from him. I drink in the sight, Krycek beneath me, his eyes heavy lidded with... desire? I watch his chest rise with smooth easy breaths. He's so firm, muscular without that overdone look. Sleek, like a jungle cat.

Pursing my lips, I blow on the saliva trail I left earlier and watch the hair rise on his arm. I lower myself, my lips on that gorgeous chest and pick up where I left off.

Making my way down his body, I feel his erection, silky and hard, slide against my abdomen then chest.

Almost too soon, I'm off the bed, on my knees on the floor, brushing my face on his cock. It's much larger up close. I wet my lips, then start a slow lick from the base of his cock, up to the head. I circle the corona with my tongue then work down again, nipping the underside. Krycek grunts under my ministrations.

I've never forgotten the feel of an erect cock. Rigid and hard, yet smooth and silky. I shift my attention to his balls, so easy to take into my mouth. Gently sucking, feeling them in my mouth, rolling them with my tongue.

He jumps a little beneath me. "Suck me, Mulder."

I release his balls and lick my way back up to the head. Arching over him, I take as much of him in as I can.

His hand runs through my hair as I pump my mouth up and down. He suddenly makes a fist in my hair, holding my head still. He's taking over--thrusting his hips, fucking my face.

I reach down and start jacking off. A few more moments and it feels like we're both close. Krycek sits up suddenly, pulling my face off his cock. He reaches down and grabs my hand. "Uh uh. You'd better save that for me or I might get upset." Releasing my hand, he pulls me up for a hard kiss. He stands and moves to the other side of the bed, leaving me kneeling on the floor.

Alex rummages around in his bag, returning with a bottle of lube and a condom. He sits on the bed, gesturing me forward until I'm kneeling between his legs. He reaches out to stroke my face. His fingers trace my features, finally settling on my lips. I catch two of his fingers and suck them into my mouth.

Leaving his fingers in my mouth, he leans forward to run his tongue along my ear. His voice is a whisper. "Such a pretty boy... and such a willing mouth."

"I uhhhh. I'm, nuh, not pretty." I gasp back.

His fingers pull out of my mouth and his lips capture mine for a searing kiss. Wet fingers find my nipple and pinch lightly. Then harder. I bite back a moan.

He breaks off the kiss and leans back, handing me the condom.

I stare at it for a moment // has it been that long? // before tearing it open. I put a dollop of lube in the condom and start to roll it onto his cock. He stops me. "Did you hear what I just said?"

I sit back on my heels, dumbfounded // ... such a willing mouth. // My eyes widen in delight and I arch over him again.

Using pressure from my lips, I slowly roll the condom down. I have to stop and start frequently and almost gag trying to push down to the base. All the time I'm doing this, he's languidly running his fingers through my hair.

Krycek pulls my head back again. His mouth finds mine for a light kiss, nibbling my lips. He scoots forward, sitting at the edge of the bed, wrapping his arm around me, pulling me close. His mouth travels down the side of my neck. "You surprise me, Mulder." His voice is a murmur against my skin. "So sexy... so willing." Hand caressing along the crack of my ass. "I've thought about you, like this, for years... skin flushed, eyes glazed..." I don't really hear what he's saying, I don't care what he's saying--his voice sends electric jolts directly to my dick.

He bends down and sucks my nipple hard. I feel his whisper against my skin. "But you are better than I imagined." The other nipple is caught in the suction of his mouth and a finger slowly slides into me.

I jump at the minimal breaching of my ass. The friction burning a bit. He pushes deeper, I bite my lip and stifle a moan. "Alex, please... lube."

I feel a smile against my chest as the suction eases. His tongue swipes across my sensitive nipple as the finger is withdrawn. "You don't know how much I like it when you say please." Straightening his body, his hand clamps on the back of my head and he pulls my mouth to his for another hard kiss.

He removes his hand from the back of my head, but his lips continue to devour mine. A bottle is pressed into my palm and he pulls his mouth away.

He arches an eyebrow. "There's your lube."

My head's still swimming from the last kiss as I look blankly at the bottle. I pop the cap then reach for his hand.

I squeeze lube on his index and middle finger. Someone else must be occupying my brain 'cause I add lube to cover his ring finger.

I drop the bottle and look back at him. His mouth clamps on my throat, sucking hard as his fingers begin probing at my opening. One finger slides easily into my body. My gasp is captured by his mouth.

I press down trying to get more of the probing finger and it slips out of me. I whimper at the loss. "Alex..." My voice is a plea.

His arm is against my back, pulling me up, voice husky in my ear. "My arm is only so long, Mulder. Be still." His tongue glides up the side of my neck as two fingers penetrate my ass. I moan as I fight the urge to press into those tormenting fingers.

Krycek's mouth plays my neck and ear while he pumps his fingers in my ass. His mouth settles on mine again as he scissors his fingers open. Fingers glide across my prostate and I cry out into his mouth. I can barely keep still.

"Oh yeah, Mulder, give me that again." His fingers rub against my prostate again.

I start bucking back into his fingers. Pushing forward, my cock brushes his and I shudder at the sensation. I'm getting it from all sides--his fingers dancing on my prostate, my cock crossing his.

His fingers still, pressing hard into me. "You want three?"

"YES!" I can barely control my voice.

I stop pumping when I feel the third finger start to press at my ass.

"Ask me."

"Alex, give me three fingers." God, I hope he doesn't ask me to beg // I just might. //

The smile he gives me tells me he's fully aware that it was not a request. Keeping the two fingers pressed into me, he gives me a short hard kiss. His mouth settles by my ear. "Get on your hands and knees." He withdraws his fingers and leans back.

// What is he doing? // I assume the position.

Krycek drops down between my legs, pushing my knees further apart. One finger enters my ass, quickly followed by two and, suddenly, three. "This what you want, Mulder?"

Pushing back against his hand. "Uhhhnnnn."

His chuckle sounds almost evil. Those fingers open, stretching me. He begins thrusting his fingers again, rubbing against my prostate. When I think I'm a breath from coming, he withdraws his fingers. I gasp. "Alex..." My voice is somewhere between a complaint and a plea.

Alex reaches around and the lube appears on the floor in front of me. "I promise you'll want more lube before I fuck you."

I pick up the bottle and turn around so I'm sitting, facing him. He's on his knees, sitting back. His cock jutting upward, condom still in place. I squirt a generous amount of lube in my hand, and start stroking him.

He drops his head and gives a quiet, low moan. His breathing becomes uneven and he catches my wrist. "Turn around."

I resume my position on hands and knees and feel him move behind me, nudging my knees further apart. His cock presses at my opening. The head slowly slips past the tight ring of anal muscle. I try to thrust myself back but his hand on my lower back stops me. "God, you've got a sweet ass, Mulder." My dick twitches hearing him.

Alex reaches around and pulls me upright, the head of his cock still tenuously in my ass. In a swift move, he pulls me back--hard--impaling me on his cock as he rocks backwards.

I gasp then hiss through my teeth, "Christ!"

We both stop, gasping to catch our breath. His hand closes around my cock, stroking a few times. I can't stop myself from coming, I feel my entire body constricting. "Jesus Fuck!" Then I explode.

"Oh fucking hell." Krycek grunts out as my ass constricts around his cock. His hips begin pumping in an erratic rhythm as his hand milks the last of the cum out of my dick. With a growl he thrusts hard, clamping his arm around my hips and his teeth on my neck, and he shoots deep in my ass.

**

I can still feel the micro-spasms in Mulder's ass clenching on my cock as I slowly return to reality. Groaning, I rock back on my heels, pulling him with me, my softening cock still nestled in his ass.

Mulder's head rests on my shoulder, his breathing uneven. There's a livid bite mark on his neck where it meets his shoulder. I don't even remember doing that. I run my tongue over it and he whimpers. Oh god... so much better than the fantasy. And so sweetly submissive--I wasn't expecting that. I think he'd have let me stick my entire hand up his ass. I suck the mark into my mouth and he groans, rolling his head.

Post-orgasmic bliss tells me just how tired I am--and the cut on my abdomen is throbbing. I slowly disengage from his body. He makes a sound likes a gasp and braces himself on his hands. Disposing of the condom, I struggle to rise and yank back the covers.

Sliding between the sheets, I glance at Mulder. He's still on the floor looking unfocused and tired. Ugh. I don't want to deal with cuffing him. Guess he'll have to sleep with me. "Get up here, Mulder." He stares at me, uncomprehending.

I reach down and tug at his arm. "Come on." He makes it to his feet and has the foresight to flip off the room light before sliding into bed next to me. I angle his body away from mine and throw one leg over his, wrapping my arm around his waist.


Saturday A.M.

Mulder's insistent squirming brings me slowly awake. As usual, I've managed to roll over on my stomach but one leg is tangled with his and my arm is clamped onto some part of his body. Waist... chest... hip... can't tell. Don't care. I feel him plucking at my hand and trying to extricate his legs. I finally manage to focus my eyes as he practically falls out of bed.

He's an uncoordinated mess of limbs as he struggles to his feet and fishes around for his shaving kit. He disappears into the bathroom and I hear the shower. I'd love to go back to sleep but if Mulder's up, I'm up.

I move as if to roll over. Oh fuck, fuck, fuck. I hurt. No point in torturing myself, so I stay still. What did I do to make myself so sore? Oh, yeah. That tackle in the warehouse.

The stump of my arm is killing me... that must be the result of Mulder's sudden road-side stop. It's a good thing he offered up his sweet ass last night or I might have to kick it this morning.

And speaking of Mulder's sweet ass... I didn't expect to have it quite so soon. What a surprise he's turned into. I continue to lie still, absentmindedly replaying the events of the previous night. The shower cuts off and a few minutes later the bathroom door opens.

I wrestle my body into a sitting position and find Mulder digging through his bag in search of clean clothes. He refuses to look my direction and his expression is unusually blank. I can only imagine how he must be beating himself up this morning. If I didn't ache so badly, I'd have to smile.

I drop my head down and rub my hand over my face. I need a shower to clear my mind so I can decide how to deal with this situation.

"Uh, what happened to your back?" He sounds unnaturally subdued.

My back must look as bad as it feels. "Wannabe linebacker for the 'Bills decided to use me as a tackling dummy." I look up at him. "Cuffed to the bed or sit in the bathroom while I shower. Your choice."

He stares at me, blankly at first then his eyes harden. "You can put your dick in my mouth but don't trust me enough to take a shower without...?" He shakes his head. "No. Enough. I'm not gonna sit in the bathroom like some fucking pet. You want me cuffed, you come get me."

Suddenly there's enough adrenaline in my system to propel a Sherman tank. Before I make a conscious decision to move, my body is colliding with Mulder's, taking him to the floor. In the next breath, my arm is at his throat, his hand at mine and he's pushing at my arm with the other hand.

The constriction of his hand at my throat is making it difficult to breathe. And judging by the color of his face, he's not faring any better. We both know I can crush his throat before he can strangle me.

Mulder abruptly releases his grip from my throat and, open palmed, smacks the bottom of my jaw. My head snaps back at the same time he slams up his knee. My inner thigh receives most of the brunt, but he still connects with my balls.

He's got the element of surprise and uses it to flip me off him. He rolls on top, pinning my arm under his knee. "Okay, you sorry son of a bitch. You want to shower? Fine. Just leave me alone."

I will kill him if anything happens to that arm. I suppress my homicidal instinct and opt for a surprise tactic. I carefully make my voice soft and neutral. "What's this really about, Mulder?"

"It's about your bullshit. I'm tired of playing your 'safety' games--cuff me for this and that. I'm tired of you treating me like a... I don't know what, like a dog that needs to be tied up. I didn't abandon you at the parking lot. I didn't bite off your dick. I know you won't believe it, but I can be trusted."

He rolls off and sits with his back against the foot of the bed. "I just want to be treated like a real person. I want you to treat me like a real person." He shakes his heads and waves his hand dismissively. "Ahhh, who am I trying to kid. I know you don't give a shit about who you fuck, or who you kill."

Well, this is an interesting development. I sit up and face him. Continuing in the same soft voice, I slowly reply, "I don't think you know me well enough to know what I give a shit about, so do not try and guess. And they're not games, Mulder. It's about staying alive. Sex with you was incredible but do you really think that it's a basis for trust? I think the rational side of you knows that it would be foolish for either of us to really trust the other." I pause and rub my hand over my face, trying to decide where we go from here. I think we're missing some fundamental understanding. "We operate in different realities, Mulder. You're going to have to explain to me how I don't treat you like a real person."

He drops his head forward, resting it on his knees. "You're right. One night of sex doesn't make you any less a traitor or assassin. But I would have thought by now you wouldn't have to cuff me just to take a damn shower." Raising his head, he looks at me with tired eyes. "About being treated like a real person... Are there any real people in your world?"

"Answer a question with a question?" I sigh and rub the bridge of my nose. "It's obvious that my concern is about you trying to communicate with someone and, intentionally or not, giving away our location. Why is it so difficult to understand that I have to take precautions? And, Mulder, I don't understand your question about real people. If you don't like the way I'm treating you, you're going to have to explain what the problem is."

"You know something? What you think is obvious, is only obvious to you. What you think is communication is cryptic to me. No, I don't like the way you're treating me and I can't explain it in any way you'll ever understand. So you're gonna have to kill me or beat me senseless every time you need to shower or shit. Or you might consider treating me like an equal--but I'd have to explain that."

Empathy Mode: Off. "Fuck you, Mulder." I struggle to stand, the soreness in my body returning as my adrenaline rush recedes. Sharp pain draws my eyes to my abdomen. Our little wrestling match has opened the cut again and the blood is seeping onto the bandages. I look back at him. "You want the files but barely manage to cooperate most of the time, and then take every opportunity to bitch about how I treat you." I turn away from him and move to retrieve my bag and first aid kit.

"Krycek, I may bitch and moan, but you tell me to drive, and I drive. You tell me to wait in a parking lot, I wait. You tell me to suck your cock, I do. You tell me don't call, speak or look at anyone until we're done, and I won't. You think I barely manage to cooperate? You treat me like a five year old and I damn well will act like one."

He gets up and lies back on the bed, hands behind his head, staring at the ceiling. "You won't trust me. Okay. I'm still trying to figure out why I trust you enough to believe you'll actually give me the files. How's this for an option: You go shower, and just leave me to watch TV. I won't pick up the phone, leave the room, shout or otherwise call attention to myself." He sits up and faces me. "If that doesn't work for you, which of us gets the car keys? Or do you want to drop me off at the local bus station?"

I should leave. I should grab my bag and leave him here. So why am I still standing in this room? One taste and I'm suddenly powerless? I think not. I stare into the eyes of the man I've lusted after for years, but have never understood, and feel my frustration level reach critical mass. I drop my head in my hand and try some deep breathing. I'm right at the edge and feel my control start to fragment.

I know what he's doing. I know the game he's playing, and truth be told, if I hadn't fucked him last night I'd be miles away from him by now. Mulder's trying to assert some control over this situation and acquiescing to his demand begins to level the power dynamic. The first step down a path that could get me killed. So, leave, Krycek, get the fuck out of here.

But I want to fuck him again. Is it possible to assuage four years of lust in one night? Maybe... if it hadn't been so sweet. But I want it again. And I want him to want it. And I'm fucking pissed.

I wasn't even aware that I had started venting my frustration on my surroundings until I feel the butterfly closures start to pop loose. I quickly survey the room. One of the chairs is completely broken and the other one, well, I wouldn't sit on it. The table is tipped over and there's debris all over this half of the room. With a frustrated growl I heave whatever's in my hand--a lamp--at the wall. I feel the blood from my stomach start to run down my leg, weaving a slow path toward the floor.

Mulder's staring at me, a look of disbelief on his face, but no fear. I think he's surprised at the speed in which I can do damage.

I need to get away from him so I can think clearly. I was only out of control for about 20 seconds but I'm sure it was noisy. The motel was fairly empty last night. If I'm lucky, there's no one in the room next to us. I don't think I can handle dealing with the police and Mulder in the same day.

Without looking at Mulder, I grab my bag and head for the bathroom. Not quite prepared to leave him to his own devices, I leave the door open. Still wrestling with my own frustration, I throw the bag on the floor with unnecessary force and then rip the bandage off. "Fuck!" That hurt. In the shower I carefully peel away the butterfly closures. It galls me but I'm going to have to get Mulder's help with this again. I drop my head against the wall and force myself to think of nothing.

By the end of the shower, I feel enveloped by a comfortable blanket of apathy. The towel around my waist has started to discolor with blood. A nice surprise for the housekeeping staff. Grabbing the supplies, I move back into the room. Mulder is sitting in bed watching television, remote control in hand.

"Krycek, this guy on Sally Jessy Raphael believes that the plate in his head is allowing the Pleidian-controlled government to send neural signals telling him to not pay his taxes." He shakes his head in disbelief. "And they think I'm spooky."

I set the bandages on the bed. "I need your help with this."

He turns the TV off and gets up to wash his hands. "You gonna lie down or stand up?"

"I'll stand."

Mulder returns and sits at the edge of the bed. "Take off the towel so I can put these things on."

I look down at him as he applies the closures. He's focused on what he's doing, methodical and sure of his actions. When he finishes, he kisses his finger and touches it gently to my wound. Mulder's startled look is replaced by sheepishness as he mumbles, "There, all better."

The man is crazy. Certifiably insane. Is this some sort of bizarre Mulder way of saying we're done fighting? Just when I thought I couldn't understand him less...

He jumps up off the bed, rubs his hands together and asks, "So what's up for today?"

I grab the back of his head and pull him to me for a hard kiss, my tongue slipping along his lower lip. Releasing him before he has a chance to react, I move over to the destroyed half of the room and start to pick out my stuff. "Files. We should be there in about ten hours."

"Huh, what?"

I turn to him. He's standing there, eyes glazed, fingers touching his lips.

Very slowly, and with a smile, I repeat myself. "We are going to get the files now." I pause to see if this sinks in. "We should be there in ten hours."

Mulder nods his head with each word and acknowledges me. "'Kay."

I don't understand what's going on with him but I kind of like the glazed and dazed Mulder.

I toss Mulder the keys on the way to the car. When we get there, he stands around, shuffling from foot to foot.

"Mulder?"

"Uhh, aren't you going to check the car? I don't mean this sarcastically, but we're gonna watch out for your safety." A quick grin, followed with, "I can't believe I just said that."

Okay. Now I'm suspicious. What is he up to? "I can't believe you said it either." But I lie on the ground and check under the car. "All clear." I stand up and peer at him over the roof of the car. His expression is neutral and he seems relaxed. This is too fucking weird. "Fast food place for breakfast before we hit the road?" He nods and climbs into the car.

We go through the drive-thru and hit the highway. About fifteen minutes into the drive, Mulder turns on the radio and finds a rock station, playing Metallica. I glance over at him but his eyes are on the road.

"Krycek?" Apparently he's hungry since his breakfast is already gone. I have over half mine left and it's likely to remain uneaten.

"Yes, Mulder?" I hold a piece of my hashbrowns up to his mouth and he eats it absently before continuing.

"How long have you been doing yoga?"

Boy, he's stuck on that yoga thing. It's not that weird. "Since I lost the arm."

He nods then shakes his head. "Why? Was it to help you find your balance again?"

I'm about to pop off at him when I see he's sincere. Does he really want to know? "Mulder, what is so important about my doing yoga?"

"I dunno. It's just so incongruous it's stuck in my head." He turns and grins at me. "And I'll keep asking 'til you answer."

God, it's like traveling with a five-year old. I lean over and suck his earlobe into my mouth. He jerks the wheel a bit and I settle back on my side of the car. "It was mostly balance driven. I fell a lot after the, uh, accident. I couldn't seem to get my bearings, so I tried yoga. It had other benefits as well."

"Tantric?" he asks raising his eyebrows.

Laughing, I tell him, "Well, I've tried it, but that's not the reason. You are sex-obsessed, Mulder."

His eyebrows furrow. I ready myself for a verbal onslaught.

"Only when I've had sex. But let's get back to the other benefits." Well, that certainly begs for me to ask questions.

"Flexibility, dexterity, strength, focus. And I need all the physical advantages I can get."

He nods in understanding.

"So, Mulder, what do you mean by 'only when I've had sex'?"

Mulder blanches for a moment, then clears his throat. "You know how it is--you have great sex and it stays with you for a while. That's all. I mean, you keep kissing on me and stuff, so my mind kind of stays on the sex track. Nothing more." I can't help but smile as I watch him uncomfortably stop himself.

Uh huh. I can tell there's more to it than that but I'll let it slide for now. I lean back over the console and nibble at his neck, tracing my tongue around his ear. I really don't want to cause an accident, but this is too much fun. I stop the motion of my tongue and whisper in his ear. "So, do you want me to stop kissing on you 'and stuff?'"

"Nuh, no. I was just answering your question. Hey, watch it with that stuff while I'm driving. Need to keep you safe, y'know."

I chuckle against his neck, licking and nipping his ear once more before settling in my seat. His breathing is a little rapid and uneven. "Before last night, how many men, Mulder?"

He shrugs, trying to look nonchalant. "Enough. Quite a few women too. And there was the succubus in Seattle, but I don't really count that."

"How evasive of you. I wasn't questioning your prowess. It was a very nice blow job... certainly not your first. And you have a very, very tight ass. I am capable of making some reasoned guesses but I find the truth to be more interesting."

"You find the truth interesting? You never cease to amaze me. But what the hell, I don't keep count. How many men? I'd say low double digits would be about right. As for my ass..." He grows quiet, thoughtful. "There's only been a couple of times I've let someone fuck me." His eyes take on a sad, faraway look.

I keep my voice soft. "We do tend to talk at cross purposes, don't we, Mulder? Why don't you let more of those men fuck you?"

"Let's drop it. Now."

Continuing to keep my voice neutral and unthreatening, I change my position so I can look at him without craning my neck. "Why, Mulder? You don't like me evading your questions."

"No, I don't. But that doesn't stop you from evading them. I'm just taking the same liberty."

"Pish tosh, Mulder. I started answering your questions. Now stop evading."

"And I started answering yours. We're even. And what exactly is 'pish tosh?'"

"Something my mother used to say. Means something like 'bullshit.' Have you been counting questions, Mulder? I think I'm still a few up on you."

"Are you trying to start us down the aggressive path again? I don't want to be the one to take us there but I'm not going to answer any more questions about my sex life. Just because we fucked doesn't mean you get dibs on my private life. The only stinking thing I've asked you that wasn't related to this damned mission was about yoga." His voice remains calm and steady, but his hands are white knuckled from gripping the steering wheel.

I start laughing. I can't help myself. "You're right. I'm sorry." I lean over to kiss him on the cheek, but he pulls away before I touch him. I chuckle again as I sit back. "I wasn't trying to 'get dibs' on your personal life, Mulder. You're a great lay... and incredibly passionate. It's really a crying fucking shame if you let the X-Files keep you from having a really busy, raunchy sex life."

"Hey, the X-Files are vitally important. Besides, I didn't say I didn't have a busy sex life. I just... aww shit." He's just figured out that he's too honest to lie outright and starts to blush. "Could we talk about something else now? Like maybe your sex life?"

I barely manage to contain my laughter but compose myself enough to reply, "Sure."

"Okay. Remember back when I didn't know you were a consortium thug?" I'm somewhat taken aback, but I nod. Mulder goes on, "You had to pick me up at the FBI pool." He pauses until I motion for him to continue. "Were you checking out my dick then?"

"Every chance I got, Mulder."

He blushes, but smiles in an 'I thought so' fashion. I don't particularly care if he knows I think he's sexy. "Krycek, do you switch hit? Or gay?"

"Whatever turns me on. I go through cycles preferring men or women. Since the arm, it's only been men." That last was an afterthought. Wonder why I said it.

Mulder slows down, pulls off the road and stops the car. Turning to face me, he reaches out and puts his hand on my shoulder, my left shoulder. Before I stiffen, he moves his hand up and cups my cheek. The look I thought might have been pity is actually compassion.

"When you gave me the Weikamp information, you called me 'tovarisch.' I looked it up, it means 'friend.'" Then he leans in to kiss me.

One half of my brain is frantically trying to figure out what he's up to but the other half is happy about physical contact with Mulder. I pull him as close as possible with the console between us, and open my mouth. His tongue immediately slips inside and our tongues tangle for several long moments.

We break away at the same time, both gasping a little. Mulder, Mulder, Mulder... what's going on with you? I can't keep up with your quicksilver moods.

I press my back against the car door and stare at him for a few seconds.

"Mulder, I do not understand. Will you explain what's happening here? I cannot keep pace with this."

**

I rest my head on the steering wheel. "Krycek, you're not alone, I don't know what's happening either." I turn my head to look at him. "And what little I am self aware of, I'm not sure I'm willing to share."

How do I begin to explain that he's the antithesis of everything I want to be, of what I believe in... but simultaneously the object of my desire? That for four years I jacked off, thinking of him, then hate myself afterward. That every person I've fucked since he first betrayed me, has been a desperate effort to rid myself of him.

With everything he's done--betrayal, my father's murder, Scully's abduction--I can't stop wanting him. I sublimate my lust with violence, but it only makes me want him more.

How do I tell him we're not that different? And I despise him // myself // for that.

His mouth opens as if to say something, but then snaps shut. I can almost see the frantic thoughts tumbling in his head. He finally nods as if he understands, but it's clear, from the expression on his face, that he doesn't understand at all.

"Let's go, Mulder." He twists around in his seat, facing forward.

Quiet reigns for several minutes once we're back on the freeway. Krycek's voice finally cuts through the heavy silence. "I don't know what's waiting for us. Possibly nothing. Maybe..." He shrugs. "It would only be prudent to give you back your guns, but I have to trust that you're not going to try and shoot me or arrest me. And I think we've firmly established that trust is difficult for both of us." He looks at me intently, the question on his face.

"You know I never try any of that without beating you up first." I look at him, a smile on my face to show I'm kidding // I am kidding, aren't I? // "Besides, if I beat you up, you'll stop kissing on me."

He gives me that look, the one that says 'What planet are you from?'

I shrug and reply. "As long as you don't double cross me, or pull on me first, I have no intention of shooting or arresting you... at least not during this."

"And once it's over?"

"We go our separate ways. I won't stop you." We both turn and look at each other. "But I can't say anything past that."

He nods an acknowledgement and turns to face forward, his expression shuttered.

Miles pass in silence. I'm tired and raw-feeling. Worried about what might pop out of my mouth, I turn on the radio. Country western--no way; talk radio--ugh, G. Gordon Liddy; finally a station that plays "Rock from the 80's."

They play some Thomas Dolby then, wouldn't you know it? Depeche Mode's 'Strangelove' comes on.

Krycek starts singing quietly.

...I give in, to sin because you have to make this life livable...

His voice is a husky baritone, a little gravelly. I'm surprised at how well he sings. He seems lost in the music, staring out the window, and I continue to listen to him.

...Strangelove strange highs and strange lows...
...Strangelove that's how my love goes...
...Strangelove will you give it to me...
...Will you take the pain...
...I will give to you again and again, and will you return it...

Well, that's appropriate.

Krycek gazes out the window through the next several songs. Eventually he sighs and reaches into a bag at his feet, extracting a small, white bottle. He removes a pill and swallows it. I reach out to turn down the music.

"What was that?"

He looks uncomfortable but replies, "An analgesic."

Alex Krycek, a man without modesty, conscience or moral character, who will say and do anything, doesn't want me to know he took a painkiller? Does he think I'll find him weak?

So wrapped up in my own thoughts, his voice startles me. He's quiet and I have to turn the radio off to catch everything he says. "I want you to know what to expect when we arrive. After we settle into the motel, I need to go have a look around to see if there's an obvious presence of consortium hit-men in the area. We can play this two ways. One: You stay at the motel but I need to know that you're not going to try to contact anyone. Two: You go with me. On this one, I'll let you choose but be careful. I have a major concern about leaving you at the motel alone, but consider what it could mean if you go hit-men hunting with me."

After some thought, I reply, "I'll go with you. Don't take this the wrong way but I know you're not in top form. You'll need all the help you can get."

I glance at him and see the muscles in his jaw working. Finally, he nods.

"Krycek, how will you know who's a hit-man and who's not? I mean, what'll give them away? If I know then I can keep an eye out, too."

"Some faces I'll know. It's a sense, Mulder. I can't list a set of characteristics. In any case, they should stick out like a sore thumb where we're going."

I digest this. I'm not comfortable with the situation. He could say 'that guy' and I end up killing an NSA agent. Well, in for the penny, in for the pound. "'Kay. Then what?"

"I will retrieve the files tomorrow morning. Alone. That's not negotiable." He looks at me to emphasize this point. After receiving my nod, he continues, "Once I get you the information, I would advise you to secure a copy somewhere safe. Do not tell anyone about the information or how you obtained it."

"When and how do we split up?"

"I have several contingency plans and it will depend upon how much, if any, trouble we encounter. We can go over it tomorrow morning before I leave."

He leans forward and turns up the radio. I guess that's his signal that we're done with this conversation. I didn't have anything more to say anyway.

After some time, I see a billboard advertising different fast food places 'just 36 miles ahead.'

"Krycek, you hungry?"

"Huh? Oh, um, yeah. Food would be good." He seems a little unfocused.

"We're about a half hour away from food. If you call Micky D's food. At least there's a Hardee's too." I look over to see how he's responding to my food repartee when I notice he's still fuzzy. "Hey, you okay?"

"Fine." He rubs his hand over his face as if trying to clear his head.

Yeah, right. I'll badger him later on that.

I slow down to exit the highway and Krycek jumps. Startled he pulls out his gun "Wha, what's going on?" He turns to me, his eyes glittering.

"Whoa, slow down. I'm getting off the highway for food." I notice I'm speaking slowly, pacing my words. "We need to each lunch. Okay?"

He stares at me for a second and holsters his gun. "Yeah." He's non-responsive about what to eat so I pick something for him.

While we wait in the drive-thru, I decide to start badgering. "Christ, Krycek, what did you take?"

Another blank stare followed by a sigh. "Something that's not legal in the U.S." He rubs his hand on his forehead and his speech is slow, almost a little slurred. "Since it's not regulated, I've found that the ratio of active to inert ingredients is not always consistent. It's usually okay, but every once in a while there's one that does almost nothing or one that drops me on my ass."

Judging by the way he's acting, he must have got one from the latter category. Once we're back on the freeway, he manages three bites before setting the food down. "Fuck. I can't stay awake."

I look over at him; he looks like he's ready to keel over any second. "Krycek, you had better tell me where we're going, before you zone out."

"It's a few hours away, but if you start seeing signs for highway 71, you need to wake me." Before I can respond, he's asleep, his back to the door, cheek resting on the head rest. He sleeps with his hand in his jacket, presumably resting on his gun. I hope the fucking safety is on.

I continue driving, finishing my burger and his. I pass the time by humming softly to the radio and occasionally glancing at him.

Sleep robs his face of that carefully crafted exterior, leaving him looking young and vulnerable. God, he is a gorgeous man. His lips are pursed, ready to be kissed hard. His eyelashes so thick they look painted on.

Damn, I shouldn't have drunk his soda. I pull into a rest stop but can't rouse him. I drive to a secluded part and stand outside the driver door to relieve myself.

Getting back in the car, I try to wake him again by kissing him. He responds sluggishly, but I think it's an instinctive reaction. I reach out and squeeze his cock. He is getting erect. I kiss him harder for a moment, then pull back. His mouth is still open, lips full and ripe. But he's in no way conscious. Although his cock appears to be wide awake.

I sit back in my seat. This would be so easy. I bang my head on the headrest. Crap--being a good guy sucks sometimes. I look at him again then lean in and kiss him gently and pat his cock bye.

Time to get back on the road.

The sign says highway 71 in six miles. I put my hand out to shake Krycek awake. Nothing. "HEY, KRYCEK!" I yell, but not a move from him.

Three miles later, I pull off the road, worried now. He's breathing evenly. I lift an eyelid, his eyes snap open and he growls, "What the fuck are you doing?"

"Hey, you weren't responding and... I... well, we're three miles from the highway."

He looks surprised then worried. "Fuck. I conked out for over three hours?" He starts moving but is sluggish. He shakes his head as if trying to wake up. "Umm. Take 71 north. About eight miles you'll see a self storage place on the right side of the highway. Take the next exit and follow the access road back to the storage unit."

We're in a pretty rural area right now, so there must be some kind of small town coming up.

"Krycek, are you alert enough for this? Based on your directions, we're not far from the storage facility. Do you want to stay here until you wake up?"

"I'm fine. Let's just go." He closes his eyes for a second. "Shit. No. Don't go anywhere yet." After a few minutes, he slowly gets out of the car. I get out, too, propping my arm on the roof. I watch him as he walks beside the car, rolling his shoulders, all the while looking around cautiously. Several minutes later he steps in the ditch to take a piss.

Back at the car, Krycek's head disappears from view and I step around the car to find him standing up but folded in half. His torso is flush against his legs, his head pressed to his shins and his arm wrapped around his knees. His back is moving in the rhythm of deep breathing. He can't possibly see me but I hear him mutter, "Go away, Mulder."

I step back not wanting to disturb him, but I can't help it. "Do you want me to try and find Metallica? Or Paganini?" I turn to leave before my snickering disturbs him further, but not before he flips me off.

We're back on the road, almost at the storage unit. Krycek is alert, poised. I can see that he's ready to jump into action. I just hope he let's me know what that action is before it starts.

At the facility, he jumps out, looks around cautiously and enters a code for the gate. He directs me to drive to a large unit and park a little ways from the door. We both get out of the car and Krycek opens the trunk. Reaching into one of his bags, he hands me my guns and holsters before finding a new set of keys. "Keep an eye out. I'm not expecting problems here, but if you see anyone, let me know."

I tuck my Glock in the pancake holster and slip it in the small of my back. The Beretta goes in the ankle holster, then in my bag.

Still keeping a cautious eye out, he inspects the edges of the rollup door. Apparently satisfied with what he sees, he keys open the lock and yanks the door up. Inside there's nothing but an old, dark green and rust pickup truck.

There's a large, metal, locking storage container secured at the front of the truck bed. Jumping into the bed of the pickup, Krycek unlocks it and pulls out a duffel bag. He joins me at the tailgate. "We need to transfer everything to the truck."

Leaving the duffel bag on the tailgate, he moves to the trunk and removes a long, black vinyl bag I haven't seen before from the very back of the trunk. He carefully stows it in the storage locker while I grab the other bags. Grabbing one of his own bags from inside the car, he tosses it in the front seat and then lies on the ground, inspecting the underside of the truck.

Back on his feet, he turns to me. "Mulder, I'm going to back out the truck. I need you to pull the sedan in." He gets behind the wheel of the truck.

After we've done the switch, he grabs the duffel and ushers me inside the storage unit. Once inside, he starts stripping off his clothes. "Krycek, what the fuck?"

"Camouflage, Mulder. We need to blend in. Start undressing." He pulls out a pile of clothes and sets them on the roof of the car. Old jeans, work boots, flannel shirt, ratty baseball hat and a worn jacket.

Once I finish changing, he comes over and inspects me. He is similarly attired but a bit more ratty looking. I spit on the ground and in my best shitkicker accent say, "Vern? Whatchu lookin' at?"

He starts to smile and I chuck him under the chin. "Boy, you gotta purty mouth."

Unable to stop himself from laughing, he reaches out for my discarded clothes. "Mulder, you are a complete lunatic." After throwing the duffel in the storage container, he tosses me the keys. As I circle around to the driver's side, I notice fishing poles along one side of the pickup bed.

Krycek secures the storage unit door, fiddling around the edge of the door for a moment, and joins me in the truck. "Head back north. In about 15 miles, you will see a Dairy Queen. Exit and turn right. About two miles down the road is a motel called the Sleep & Tackle--"

"The what?!"

"I know it's absurd. These people take their fishing very seriously, so don't make any wisecracks about it. Anyway, that's where we're staying. We'll check in and then go have a look around."

"Fishing? Who can be sincere about sitting in a boat, playing with earthworms while fish make fun of you?" I move just out of reach of Krycek's swipe. "Okay, I'll try and be Mr. Rod 'n Reel. Oh, can I stop at the Dairy Queen for a banana boat?"

"I don't care. As for you pretending... can you just keep quiet?"

"Okay, okay, don't be such a grouch," I mumble as I start the truck.

I pull into the Dairy Queen parking lot. "Krycek, you want anything? You didn't eat much." I remind him. He nods absently. "Yeah, a cheeseburger." I pull on the jacket and start to head out. "Hey, Mulder. Get me a Butterfinger blizzard too."

At the order window. "To go order. I'll have a double cheeseburger, Butterfinger blizzard and a banana boat--heavy on the sprinkles."

"That'll be $7.58. You here for the fly fishing competition?"

"Uh, yeah, I mean, no. Just some recreation."

"There's lottsa stripers on the north shore. Good eatin' those stripers."

What the fuck are stripers? "Yeah, yeah. Stripers. Wouldn't be eating cheeseburgers if I had a striper or two." Where's the damned food?

"Here y'ar. Good luck."

Back at the truck, I hand Krycek his food and drawl, "Sheeit, tomorrow night we cud be eatin' stripers. Good grub them stripers."

He just stares at me... speechless.

Krycek munches his cheeseburger while I dig into my banana boat. He keeps an intense watch on everything. Right now I don't think a squirrel could take a shit without him noticing.

To my surprise, I find that I like watching him. His vigilance carves interesting lines on his face. The way he uses his prosthetic arm to hold his burger. I know he knows I'm watching him, but he won't react to it.

"Krycek, do you know a lot about fishing?"

"Some... I've gone fishing a few times. River, lake and deep sea. But I wouldn't say I'm anywhere near expert. Why?"

"I was hoping you could tell me what a 'striper' was."

He throws his spoon in his cup, indicating he's finished with his dinner. I dump our trash on the way out.

I pull up to the Sleep & Tackle Lodge. "Do you want me to wait in the truck?"

He shrugs and gets out of the truck. I hop out and follow him. When he hears me, he looks back. "Don't talk to anyone, Mulder. Especially if you're going to use that silly accent."

For the first time, we unload everything and take it into the room. Including the mysterious long bag. Inside the room, Krycek unzips the bag and removes several rifles. Two of them look like hunting rifles and the third a sleek, black rifle with a slot for a scope. He gestures to the two hunting rifles and a box of ammo. "Load those."

Removing a small case from the bag, he pulls out the scope, secures it to the rifle and begins loading the ammunition.

My giddiness vanishes while loading the rifles. This is it. This is serious. I don't know what's in store, but if we make it back, and Krycek keeps his word, I'll have Samantha's file tomorrow... and my father's.

**

Mulder is starting to look subdued. Reality will do that, I suppose. I finish loading the scope rifle and slip it between the mattresses. I toss Mulder the black bag. "Those two go with us."

He gives a barely perceptible nod and zips them into the bag. Stashing a couple things I need in a small black bag, I turn back to Mulder. "Okay, let's go."

"Wait a second." He opens his bag, pulls out his ankle holster and straps it on.

I'd really like to just forget this whole thing, throw him on the bed and fuck him senseless. His lightning fast mood changes today have been alternately annoying, troubling and fucking arousing. Have to save that for later... back to business.

Once outside the door I take a small tube out and squirt a gooey substance along approximately twelve inches of the door seal.

Mulder peers over my shoulder. "What's that?"

"It dries in about thirty seconds. It will crack and break apart if someone opens the door." He nods at me, his look saying 'smart.'

At the truck, I direct him to put the rifles in the storage container and lock it. "We're heading to a town about twelve miles southwest. Go back past the DQ and get on the highway heading south. Take the next exit and head west. You've seen what kind of cars and trucks people around here drive?"

"Yeah."

"Keep an eye out for anything that doesn't look like it fits. Also, try to not identify yourself as an outsider."

"Got it." He says as he pulls on to the road.

The drive is short and silent and I stay focused on watching for any unusual cars or people. The sun has begun to set by the time we see evidence of the small town. I direct Mulder to park in front of a diner with no name. Just a sign that says 'Food.'

Making a quick sweep of the area, I usher Mulder into the diner. A tall, round woman in her 60's comes out from behind the register and grabs me in a big hug. "Alex-sweetie, whatchya doin 'round here this time a year?" I can barely suppress my grin at Mulder's look of shock.

"Hiya, Maybrid." I give her a peck on the cheek. "My friend here needed a vacation from his busy city life." Mulder looks twice as surprised by my perfect hick accent.

She releases me and turns to Mulder. "And who's your friend?"

"This is David Lister. But we all call him Dave. 'Tho, did hear his mama once call him Davey. Don't think he likes it much."

Maybrid grabs Mulder in an enveloping hug, giving him a big buss on the cheek. "Well, welcome, Dave."

"Uhhhh, yeah. Thank you." He doesn't know what to do for a moment, then cautiously pats her back.

"You boys sit on down and tell me whatcha want to eat."

"We didn't get 'round to lunch 'til late, Maybrid. Just some coffee will do us fine."

"Nonsense! You ain't leavin' my diner 'til you have some pecan pie, Alex."

"Uh, yes, ma'am." I push Mulder toward a booth and select the side the places my prosthetic arm toward the window.

"Krycek." Mulder whispers urgently. "What the fuck is going on? And since when did you become a redneck?"

"Later, Mulder," I hiss back.

"Well." Mulder says looking around the diner. "This is good camouflage. I've pictured you as a lot of things... but a bubba? Never."

Maybrid returns with two giant mugs of coffee and two slabs of pecan pie. Setting them down, she turns to me. "Haven't seen you much of late, hon. You been keepin' outta trouble?"

"Yes, ma'am." Mulder nearly chokes on his coffee. I give him a kick under the table.

"You can't fool me, boy." Her tone is affectionate and she turns to Mulder. "I agree with you, Dave, this one's got trouble written all over him."

"All over." Mulder agrees, grinning into his mug. I knew this was a bad idea.

"Where you boys stayin'?" She's addressing Mulder.

"At the--"

I cut him off. "We've got a little spot near the lake, Maybrid. Crowded right now. Fly fishin' contest?"

"Yep. Good for business even if most of 'em keep to Fayetteville. You boys not entered?"

"Naw. You know I fish for fun." I give her my most charming grin. "Dave here doesn't fish and has been bugging me to teach him." I nudge Mulder with my boot.

"Uhh, yeah. Alex keeps talking about these 'striper' things."

I nod my head. "Hey, speaking of Fayetteville, I hear y'all had a bit o' trouble with a bank robbery and hostage situation couple weeks back."

"More than a bit, son. Sheriff Marshall's son took a bullet in the shoulder on that one. We even had the FBI here." Out of the corner of my eye, I watch Mulder try to control his facial expression. "We had city suits in an' out o' here for two days. Asking for all manner o' strange things. What is a c-zer salad?" She shakes her head in disgust and I nod sympathetically.

"Any of them suits hang 'round to bother you?" I keep my tone conversational and barely curious.

"Naw, son, they all headed back to their big cities. Let me get you boys some more coffee." She bustles off to the counter and Mulder takes the opportunity to hiss at me.

"Do you think you could have told me our cover story in advance?"

"You're an FBI agent. Improvise." He rolls his eyes and picks at his pecan pie.

Maybrid reappears with more coffee. "You like that pie, Dave?" Mulder doesn't respond. "Something wrong with the food, David?" Mulder takes an absentminded bite. I kick him under the table.

"Huh, what?" He glances at Maybrid.

"Dontcha know your own name, son?"

"Oh, yes, of course. Alex here snores loud enough to shake the squirrels from the trees and I didn't get much sleep last night." I take the opportunity to glare at him while Maybrid pats him sympathetically on the shoulder.

"Well, sorry to hear you didn't get much sleep. You not enjoying the pie?"

"Oh, it's great. Just want to be awake to enjoy it." He holds out his coffee cup, raises his eyebrows and gives her a flirtatious grin.

As she turns to fill my cup, I continue my questioning. "Contest bringing lots of tourists to town?"

"Nah. This contest is mostly for the local boys. Had a couple of strangers in here yesterday, tho'."

There's a subtle tensing of Mulder's posture and I know he's paying attention.

"Here for the contest?"

"Didn't 'ppear to be. Seemed to be lookin' for somethin'. Stopped in for lunch. Can't think of what they'd be lookin' for here."

"Well, don't let 'em push you around. I don't want to see any city food on the menu next time I come in!" She laughs, pats me on the cheek and moves to another table.

Mulder leans forward and speaks in an undertone. "Are those guys here for you?"

"Possibly. They could have just been passing through." But I doubt it. Shit. I was really hoping we wouldn't run into these problems. "Eat your pie and let's get going."

"I'm not really hungry. Let's just leave."

"You're insane if you think Maybrid is going to let you out of here without eating that."

He sighs heavily but finishes the pie.

After paying and stopping to say goodbye to Maybrid, we step out on the street. I walk slowly down the sidewalk, looking around. I know it's the last time I'll ever see Maybrid... I'm actually rather fond of her.

"So, come here often, Krycek?" Mulder's tone is facetious.

"Used to."

"Used to?" His tone more inquisitive this time.

"Well, I just brought you here. What do you think the odds are that I'll be back?"

He nods, knowing that I can't risk returning to any place I've shown him. "Hey, sorry you've lost this place." The compassion in his voice catches me off guard.

Before I can respond, Mulder yanks my arm hard, pulling me around to face a store window displaying fishing poles. "What the--"

"Shh!"

I'm on alert and whisper at him. "Where?"

He's standing next to me, both of us looking for all the world as if we're window shopping fishing poles. "Behind us. Other side of the street. They just stepped out of that barbeque place."

I can see a faint reflection in the window but it's too dark to make out anything significant.

"Scoot back a little." He takes a step backward and I drop to my knees and mimic tying my shoes, looking at the other side of the street. Dark haired man in jeans and a denim jacket. The other in a dark suit. The suit is on a cellular phone. Denim is looking bored and annoyed. I know them both.

I stand back up. "Fuck."

He gives me a sideways glance. "Consortium?"

"Yep. Hold on a sec." After a few moments, the faint images in the window start walking up the street. Toward our truck. "Let's go."

Turning in the same direction, we begin to pace them. Mulder shoves me behind him, away from the street. "Get serious, Mulder. You think they won't recognize you?" He starts to say something, but instead pulls his cap low and zips up his jacket, turning to continue up the street. Stubborn bastard. We stand casually at the truck, surreptitiously watching the other two men. After a moment they stop and appear to argue, before getting in a black SUV with black tinted windows, half hidden behind the town's only Mom & Pop pharmacy.

I don't even need to tell Mulder we're following these two. He's already in the truck, starting the engine.

It's easy to tail the SUV; we're on the only road in town. Mulder drives past them as they turn in to the Sleep and Tackle. "Shit," he mutters under his breath.

"Mulder, pull around and head back close to our room. Cut the lights when you can." I already have a glove on the prosthetic hand and grab the other one out of my jacket pocket.

Mulder drives past the lobby as the two thugs jump out of the SUV and head inside to talk to the desk clerk. As we exit the truck, I motion Mulder toward the shrubbery next to the stairs. Crouched over, he moves to the bushes then ducks behind them. Krycek, this is not the time to watch how well his ass wiggles when he's in motion.

I squat down between our truck and a station wagon. After a few minutes I hear tires on gravel. The SUV pulls up and the two men get out.

Pulling down the brim of my cap, I stand and walk toward them. In my best good ol' boy accent, "Hey, hey. You guys got a light?"

They turn suddenly, weapons drawn. "Hold on now fellas, I just wanted--" Mulder comes up behind them, bringing a pistol in each hand down on their heads.

I watch as they crumple to the ground. Mulder looks at me, a smile just touching his lips. "What do we do with these guys?"

I open the truck's storage container and pull out a roll of duct-tape. "Mulder, catch." He snatches the duct-tape and starts on the prone figures.

He looks up at me when done trussing them up. "Krycek, help me load 'em in the SUV. We need to get them away from here."

"Mulder, you know we can't just leave them someplace."

He looks at me, his eyes glittering. "I didn't say that." His voice is cold, monotone. "I know they're breathing corpses. We need to get them away from here. We can't leave forensic evidence where we're staying."

"You surprise me."

He nods tersely.

I'm going to drive the SUV out of town with Mulder following me. "Mulder, whenever I park the SUV, keep the truck about 100 yards away and wait for me."

He opens his mouth then snaps his jaw shut, nodding his acceptance.

After placing the unconscious bodies in the back of the SUV, I guide Mulder back to the freeway and head toward the river where the fly-fishing contest is staged. Pulling into a clearing littered with trucks, a few vans and old SUV's, I park near the edge of the woods. I watch in the rear view mirror as Mulder pulls the truck to the other side of the clearing.

There are only the front two seats in the SUV. The others having been removed to make room for gear and, presumably, a body. My body. The best laid plans...

I climb in the back. Denim is still out, but Suit is starting to stir. Take care of him first. I crouch down and haul him up against me, bracing my prosthetic against his shoulders. I quickly rotate his head unnaturally far until I hear the bones in his neck crunch. Then repeat the same procedure with Denim.

Among the supplies in the SUV are some large sheets of black plastic. I don't think anyone can see through the car windows but better safe than sorry. I stay in the SUV long enough to cover them and make sure neither has a pulse.

From the front seat, I ensure that there's no one in the area. It's unlikely, since everyone would be down by the river getting ripped and eating today's catch.

Hopping out of the SUV, I toss the keys in the back and lock the door. Rather than cross the clearing directly, I move into the woods. It'll take me about ten minutes to reach the truck but it's a safer route.

I've given up trying to predict what Mulder will do, but I'm not surprised to find him sitting in the truck waiting for me. He's not expecting me to emerge from the woods, and reaches for his gun when I appear. He relaxes quickly and starts the truck. Sliding in, I mutter to him. "Okay. Let's go."

He waits until we are back on the freeway before saying anything. "Why that location?"

"Contest will be over in two days. It will be at least that long before the vehicle becomes suspicious."

"But what about the smell?"

"Mulder, this is a fishing contest. Two things happen during a fishing contest. Fish are caught and gutted. People get drunk."

"Oh. You know a lot about this shit don't you?"

"Which? Fishing or killing?"

He yanks off his cap and smacks me in the shoulder with it before securing it back on his head.

Back at the lodge, Mulder grabs the bag with the rifles and we return to our room. I inspect the door seal. It is intact. I open the door, making sure Mulder can see what happens to the stuff when it's disturbed. The sounds of the door opening covers any sound the seal makes when breaking. It crumbles into small clear pieces, disappearing as it hits the ground.

In the room, Mulder stows the rifles under the edge of the bed. I drop my bag and stare at his ass while pulling off my gloves. He stands and turns around, opening his mouth as if to say something. I grab him, slamming his back into the door and capturing his mouth. My tongue begins pressing past his lips.

Mulder opens his mouth hungrily. His hands move down my sides, then to my back. Sliding his palms over my ass, he starts grinding against me. He's already fully hard.

I hear him growl deep in his throat as he starts sucking my tongue. The feel of his lips and tongue and body make me wonder how I've managed to wait all these years. He can be so insufferably irritating and, in the next breath, the most desirable man I've ever seen.

He breaks the kiss to catch his breath. He's looking at me from under half closed lids, his head back against the door. He licks his lips and I watch the muscles in his neck move as he swallows. His desire turns me on, giving me a crushing need to imprint myself on his soul.

My mouth locks on to his vulnerable throat, sucking, biting and licking a path to his ear. He gasps and turns his head to give me easy access. The act of submission makes the blood pound in my dick. My tongue plays with the edge of his ear as I start pushing his jacket off. I move my mouth back to his throat, sucking harder... leaving my mark.

Yanking his shirt out of his jeans, I rip it open and buttons scatter in all directions.

My lips and teeth move to his nipples as he pushes away from the door, allowing the shirt and jacket to fall to the floor. I suck one nipple hard into my mouth as I open the fastening of his jeans.

Releasing the nipple and reaching into the back of his jeans, I cup his ass and pull his body against mine as I claim his mouth again. I revel in the feel of his firm ass in my hands and his soft lips against mine.

His hands start wandering over my body. Keeping his lips pressed to mine, he pulls his hips away to rip open my fly. His hand reaches in to pull out my cock. After all the tension of today, I could easily lose it at the feel of his hand on my dick. I groan when he starts stroking me. I feel him rub his thumb on the head, spreading pre-cum. He presses his body to mine, his hand between us, pushing my cock against him.

He turns our bodies so I'm against the door. In the next second, he breaks the kiss and is on his knees. He pulls my jeans down and starts on my cock. His tongue laves the underside, then comes up to suck the head. The feel of his hot, wet mouth on me rips involuntary sounds from my throat. He wraps his arms around my thighs and deep throats me. Oh, fuck.

My god, what a sight. I'm looking down at Fox Mulder, on his knees, face buried in my crotch. I must be dreaming. I've wanted this for so long. The sensations coming from my groin are so much sweeter because it's his mouth.

I wind my fingers in his hair and control the rhythm of his mouth. One of his hands grips my ass and begins to knead the muscles. The pressure of his tongue on the underside of my cock, and the suction of his heavenly mouth, have me a breath away from coming.

I groan and yank his head off my cock, supporting myself against the door while I try to regain some composure. Tightening my hand in his hair, I pull him up. He hisses through his teeth as he staggers to his feet. He opens his mouth to say something and I fill it with my tongue. He melts against my body as I devour his mouth. The feel of him yielding makes me dizzy with pleasure.

Nipping at his lips, I let go of his head and plunge my hand into his jeans, grasping his cock. He whimpers in my mouth. I release him and yank him around so his denim clad butt is pressing against my groin. Pulling his cock out of his jeans, I begin stroking him firmly.

He groans as his head drops back on my shoulder. I take advantage of the opportunity to suck and bite at the back of his neck. I realize we are both too jacked up for this to go on much longer. I nudge him forward, continuing to stroke his cock in an erratic rhythm. I'm a little hobbled by my jeans, but manage to walk him the few feet to the table, continuing to grind our bodies together.

I let go of his cock and shove him forward, across the table, rotating my hips against his butt. He catches his weight on his forearms. Clumsily, I reach for my bag, on the chair next to the table, and fumble for lube and condoms. I rip the condom open with my teeth and quickly roll it on my cock. Reaching back for the lube, I set it in front of him.

He fumbles with the bottle as I yank his jeans and knit boxers down to his knees. I need him too badly to be gentle. He moans and pushes his ass toward me and I know he needs it as badly as I do. Stroking the soft skin of his butt, I kick his legs apart until the jeans prevent any further movement.

I reach my hand out to him and he generously applies lube to my fingers. Quickly covering my cock with the lubricant, I hold my hand out for more.

I smoothly slide one lube-slicked finger into him, followed quickly by a second. He gasps and bucks back against my hand as the fingers find his prostate. I want to take more time but I've just been too hard for him--all day. I thrust my fingers a few times to distribute the lube, then replace the fingers with my cock, pressing against his opening.

Gripping his hip, I plunge into him, feeling his tight anal passage surround my dick. His cry fills the room and pounds in my ears making my cock, if possible, even harder. I pause, fully inside him, trying to catch my breath and prevent my orgasm from starting immediately.

I begin to slowly thrust in his ass, savoring every whimper and moan he gives me.

Picking up speed, I begin to fuck him hard. His hand reaches for his cock and I knock it away. "Don't even think about it." His hand bangs the table in frustration. I savor his acquiescence... wanting to fully experience his orgasm when I'm ready.

I know I can't take much more. The friction of his wonderfully too-tight ass is destroying my control. I feel my balls start to tighten and manage one last coherent sentence. "Don't you dare come yet, Mulder." My brain registers his whimper of complaint before I thrust hard into his ass and feel the orgasm boil out of me.

My knees feel like they're going to collapse. As soon as I'm capable of rational thought, I pull out of him. He makes a sound somewhere between a gasp and a groan. Tossing the condom in the trash can, I sit heavily on the edge of the nearest bed. Mulder looks at me with a confused expression. "Alex?"

"Get your ass over here." I snarl at him. He looks startled, but rights himself and hobbles the few feet to reach me. As soon as he's within touching distance, I grab him by the ass, pull him between my legs and swallow his cock. I hear his yelp of surprise and his hands grip my shoulders.

In less than a second, he comes. I keep my arms firmly around him, committing every last tremor to memory.

**

Krycek's mouth, so hot and wet rips the orgasm from me. I feel blood pounding in every part of my body.

My hands continue to grip his shoulders as I feel my knees begin to buckle. Suddenly, he's standing, holding me up with his arm around my waist. "Easy, Mulder." He whispers and moves me so I can fall back on the bed.

I open my eyes to look at him. He smiles at me and moves down, wiping the semen run-off on my shirt. He moves lower and unlaces my boots, pulling off the rest of my clothes.

He slides up next to me, leaving a lazy kiss on my lips. "Hey, Mulder. Say something."

"Whaaa?"

He laughs. "At least you're still alive. Let's get ready for bed. I have to get an early start tomorrow." He stands up and heads to the restroom.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow he hands me the files and we go our separate ways. Today. Today I aided and abetted a known felon in the commission of a double murder.

What the fuck am I doing? I am an officer of the law // and a horny bastard who finally got what he wanted from who he wanted. //

I sit up and put my head in my hands. I don't give a damn about the two guys today. It was them or us. But how can I be sure they were consortium lackeys? How can I be sure of anything he's telling me? What happens tomorrow? And what is he getting out of this?

How do I know he's really going to give me Samantha's file? I just have his word // and for now, that's enough. //

And what about after? What do I tell Scully? 'Scully, he's really not that bad. He killed those guys quickly, they didn't suffer. Besides, he's got this gorgeous cock that makes me want to own kneepads.'

Fuck, what about me? How do I deal with only memories? How can I...

His hand gently shaking my shoulder pulls me out of my thoughts. I look at him, concern in his face and voice as he asks, "Mulder, are you all right?"

I give him a feeble smile. "Yeah. No. I'm not sure. I think I'm having some trouble wrapping my brain around some of this."

He hunkers down so we're eye to eye. He has incredible eyes. "Mul--" I stop him by putting my fingers gently on his lips and shaking my head. "No Alex. No words, no thoughts, no reason or logic. Let's just be tonight."

He purses his lips against my fingers and nods. "Mulder, get ready for bed."

When I emerge from the bathroom, he's in bed, sitting up reading a magazine. // Fly Fishing Monthly? Good night. //

"There room there for me?"

He pats the bed, not looking up from the magazine. What the hell could be so engrossing in Fly Fishing Monthly? At least he puts it down when I crawl in next to him.

He reaches over me to turn off the light, then snuggles down. He throws his arm and leg over me. I don't know if that's to keep me pinned or 'cause he likes it. What the hell, I like it.

I thought Alex's intention was to fall asleep but he begins lazily caressing my body. Chest, hip, thigh, shoulder, neck. He tugs me around so we're face to face and his tongue languidly explores my mouth. I feel a breath of desire shoot through my body.

His leg insinuates itself between mine as his hand moves around to tease the crack of my ass. I feel his mouth move slowly down the side of my neck, his tongue leaving a wet trail to my collarbone. "Thought you wanted to sleep?" I murmur to him.

Lips settle on mine again. "Shh," he whispers in my mouth, catching my lip between his teeth. Minutes, fuck, maybe hours, pass in slow, leisurely caresses. His tongue tracing my ear. My lips playing with his nipples. Eventually we're both hard again and my caresses become more frantic.

For a time, we settle into a rhythm of me writhing and trying to move things along, and Alex holding me still, whispering in my ear for me to let him touch me. When I don't think I can stand any more, Alex pushes me on my back, positioning my hands above my head. "Keep them there." His voice is barely above a whisper.

I hear him fumbling for something beside the bed and then feel his mouth on my cock. I gasp and arch up into him but he pushes me down. "Be still, Mulder, or I'll stop." I try to keep my body still and I feel Alex's mouth push a condom on my dick. I can't quite grasp his intention. A few moments later I feel his hand sliding up and down my shaft before he straddles my hips.

I feel his hand on my dick again and then the sensation of his tight ass settling around me. I groan and try to buck into him. He drops his weight on me and presses his hand on my chest. "Be still, Mulder." I gasp for air and struggle to be still.

Alex begins a slow rhythm that drives me insane. Every time I try to move, he presses his hips down and won't do anything until I stop. Then he begins the maddeningly slow fuck that is frying my brain. I feel so hard I could explode but the torturously languid motion on my dick isn't enough to let me come.

I reach out for him and he hisses. "Put them back, Mulder." I grit my teeth and put my hands above my head, not willing to push him into ending this exquisite torture.

An eternity passes before he picks up the pace a little. His breathing becomes erratic and a few moments later I feel his ass begin to spasm around my cock and his come splatters on my chest. The clenching of his ass is more than I can stand and I find myself crying out. "Alex... I can't stop..." I buck my hips up and he does not try to stop me. A few seconds and the orgasm takes me. It feels as if my whole body disintegrates.

I'm vaguely aware of Alex slipping off me, but by the time I'm back to reality, he's disposed of the condom and has wiped the semen off my chest. Sliding down next to me, he shifts my body so my back is to his chest, pulling me into tight contact. His arm around my waist and his leg over mine. My brain is barely functioning. I feel his lips on the back of my neck and slip into sleep.

It's about 2 A.M. when I get up to go piss. As I leave the bathroom, I catch Alex's reflection in the mirror. I turn around to look at him, bathed in the light from the bathroom. He's on his back, right arm above his head. I watch his chest rise and fall with easy breaths. In my minds eye, I catalog the scars on his torso. Looking at him again, I picture Saint Sebastian, taken down and healed.

I flick off the light and make my way back to bed. Curling up next to my fallen saint, I fall asleep.

A scraping sound and I jerk up, wide awake. Krycek is sitting on one of the chairs, putting on his boots. "Sorry, didn't mean to wake you."

"Were you just going to leave?"

"Mulder, we discussed this. I'm leaving to get the files, alone."

"No, I know that. I don't like it, but I agreed. I wanted to know if you were you going to wake me before you left."

"Yes."

"How long will you be gone?"

"I hope to be back in about three hours. Could take a little longer." He's slowly lacing and tying the first boot.

"And if you're not back in five hours?"

He sighs. "Wait six and then leave." I sit up in bed and watch him finish dressing and gathering a few things to take with him, including the scope rifle previously nestled between the mattresses.

Dropping his stuff by the door, he moves over to sit next to me on the bed. "There's a small coffee shop on the other side of the registration office for breakfast. It would be best if you remain out of sight in case there are more consortium goons in the area. They will recognize you. I'm leaving the other rifles and you have your hand guns. Keep an eye out. There's a sheriff's station a mile east of the lodge." He pauses. "We may have to leave in a hurry, be ready." He stands and starts to move away.

"Hey, Krycek. No kiss goodbye?"

He's back at the bed in an instant, hand on the back of my head and his mouth descends on mine. Our tongues tangle for a moment before he breaks away. "I'm not saying goodbye yet, Mulder."

Back at the door, he grabs his stuff and leaves the room.

Two hours down. Everything's packed and ready to go. I picked up breakfast and ate in the room. I didn't see anything out of place on my trip to the coffee shop.

I don't want this much time alone with my brain. It keeps asking me these questions I want to ignore. Like 'What if he doesn't come back?' Or worse. 'What if he does come back?'

I still don't know how to reconcile what's happening. I can no longer kid myself with the 'it's just my body that wants him' bullshit. He's a traitor, an assassin, a thug. But in some twisted way, he's honorable. His allegiance is only to himself and what he knows to be true. How different is that from me? From Scully?

Shit. I don't want to think about it anymore. I turn on the T.V. only to find two local stations and the cable fishing channel. Crap.

I keep looking at my cell phone. I won't call anyone. I gave him my word. I could check my messages. Ahh shit. I bury the cell deep in my carryall. If he doesn't come back in four hours then I'll call... someone.

Three hours down. Read Fly Fishing Monthly cover to cover. I now know more that I ever wanted to about green wigglers.

Why am I here? Not the metaphysical 'what is the purpose of my existence,' but why am I in some hick town waiting for Alex Krycek to show up with my sister's and father's files?

What did he find out about Samantha? What does he know about my father? We've spent the last three days together and I don't know any more than I did before this started. The only difference is I've been pretty well laid.

I close my eyes and picture him. I pull my dick out and start jacking off. God, what a slut I've become. I just imagine him and I'm hard as a rock.

In this fantasy he's leaning against a wall, pants around his ankles as he watches me beat off. He wraps his hand around his cock matching me stroke for stroke. Then I'm on my knees sucking him off.

I feel his legs tremble and I stop. I stand up and grind into him, then pull away. I turn him around to face the wall. His feet planted about a foot from the wall, his forehead resting against his arm. I push my cock up his ass and I feel him flinch a bit then hear his low gravelly voice tell me to go on.

I ram into him as deep as I can. I fuck him as hard as I've ever beaten him.

The fantasy dissolves and I'm facing the wall, Krycek's cock in my ass, my voice begging him to go on. I feel my orgasm building and I shoot my load into a Kleenex.

Tidy up, Mulder, he could be back any second.

He's been gone for over four hours now. I've paced off the room, re-read Fly Fishing Monthly and done my damnedest to not think about him. But my brain just wants to go there. What is it about him? Why do I want to bend over for him?

I didn't lie to him; I've had about 15-20 men but I've only let a couple of men fuck me. Couple. That means two. And Alex is one of them.

I'm not sure I should even count the first. I mean, we were both drunk and we've never talked about it. Shit, I don't even know if he remembers. And if he did, I wouldn't know how to broach the subject. 'Excuse me, Assistant Director Skinner, but do you recall that time you fucked me? At A.D. Drennen's retirement party? Yes, I was the one with the tight ass, and you... you were the one with the donkey dick. The one that had me speaking the nine thousand names of god.'

I never wanted anyone else to fuck me. I didn't think anyone else could match that night and I don't have sex often enough to risk being disappointed. But now...

I'm startled by the sound of a key turning in the door.

Krycek erupts through the door looking a little wild, eyes glittering. He grabs whatever's nearest him. "Let's go."

I grab my bag and anything I can lay my hands on and follow him out. The truck is still running and Krycek is already behind the wheel. I toss the stuff in the back and jump in. We're moving before I can get the door closed.

Despite his obvious rush, Krycek leaves at a moderate pace, as if not wanting to draw attention to us. He is tense, watching the road, seemingly from every direction as he drives past the highway and the road we took to town yesterday. After about 15 minutes he pulls off onto a dirt road. We bump along for a few minutes before he stops the truck in a sheltered clearing off the side of the road. He turns off the engine and takes a deep breath. "Mulder, grab my bag out of the back."

I have about a million questions but hop out and grab it, returning to set it on the seat between us. He digs through it, producing the first aid kit. "Come around to my side."

Oh, shit. Not the fucking first aid kit again. He's shrugging out of his jacket and wincing as I open the drivers door. His gun is next to his leg and he's keeping a constant watch. Then I see the blood. "Fuck, Alex. What happened?"

"It's trivial. Bullet went all the way through but need to get it bandaged." I help him out of the blood stained T-shirt. He's right. The bullet went all the way through the very upper part of his left arm. Good thing it wasn't the right and too bad it didn't hit lower. Would have gotten the prosthesis rather than Krycek.

He hands me latex gloves and I begin cleaning and bandaging the best I can. Where's Scully when you need her? On second thought, no. When I'm finished, he pulls out a clean shirt and struggles to put it on. I help him and he grits his teeth, obviously not liking it, but accepting.

"All right, let's go."

"Do you want me to drive?"

"No."

"Can I start asking questions?"

"As soon as we're moving." I get back in the truck and Krycek pulls onto the dirt road, heading back the way we came.

"We're moving. Can I start asking?"

He nods.

"Did you get the files?"

"Under your seat."

I start to move for them but sit up instead. I'll get them later. He glances at me with one eyebrow raised. "Krycek, what's in this for you?"

"Pardon?"

"You get cut. You get shot. And you give me two files. Unless you enjoy risking your life, what's in it for you?"

He's quiet for a minute. "Does it really matter?"

"It does now."

"I changed my mind, Mulder. I'm not asking for anything."

"I find that hard to believe. You said there was a price. So, unless you received it, I still owe you."

"I decided I didn't want it. Let it go."

Let it go? He expects me to let this go? All right, for now.

"Krycek, will you be safe now?"

"Huh?" He sounds surprised.

"I mean, do you have a way out. A safe place to go?"

He glances at me, looking confused. "I'll manage."

Several minutes pass in silence before I ask my next question. "What happens next?"

"I'm going to take you back to the sedan and you'll drive back. Or you can leave it somewhere and catch a plane."

"And between here and there?"

He tenses for a second. "What's going on, Mulder? You've got the files and you haven't even looked at them."

"I've got a long time to look at the files. I only have now to be with you."

"Fuck. It's about forty-five minutes to the car. What do you want?" Except for the initial expletive, his voice is neutral but his expression is frozen.

"I don't know what I want. But I know this is it. Maybe I want to know what this was for you."

I want him to tell me that this was just sex for him. That he was bored and I was here. I don't want it to be more. I don't want it to be reciprocal.

"Christ, Mulder, what do you want from me? Do you want to know that I've been lusting after you for years and set this whole thing up so I could have a piece of your ass? That I planned to take it whether you liked it or not? Is that really what you want to hear? That I wanted you to bend over to get your sister's file? Or do you want to hear the addendum? That I decided I wanted you to want me more than I wanted to fuck you. And I only wanted what you were willing to give. Will it satisfy you to hear that I changed my mind and would have given you the files no matter what? That you've actually been in control since I realized I wasn't going to walk away from this? I mean, fuck, what do you want to hear?"

I feel as though I've had the wind knocked out of me. Alex Krycek is as fucked up over this as I am. I don't know if I should laugh or cry. Aren't we a pair? "I... I, uh. Damn. I don't... Alex, I don't know what to say. I should be glad this is over, but I'm not. I am grateful that you gave me the files without exacting a price that would break me to pay. But I don't want this to stop."

What the hell am I saying? Krycek throws me a look that asks the same question. I can't seem to control my mouth. "What this is... I wanted this to be just sex. An exchange. A transaction. You get my ass, I get the files. Well, I have the files now, but I still want you to have my ass."

Rubbing my forehead, I whisper under my breath, "I think I always wanted you to have me." I must stop now. "I think I'd better shut up. I'm not making this any easier."

"Mulder, making things easy is not your forte."

I just nod and look out the window. I can't want this. I need to get back to my life. I need to get back to the insanity that I do control.

We turned onto the highway a few minutes ago. Krycek's gripping the wheel hard enough to turn his knuckles white. "But you're right. We need to stop this. I need to think. Take a quick look at the files, Mulder. If you have questions, you need to ask now. I can't give you a way to contact me."

I reach down and pull out the files, grateful for the diversion. The top file is one I recognize. It's my original file on Samantha. It should have burned in the fire. "How did you get this?" I can barely keep myself from yelling.

He looks startled. "I told you I had your X-File. What are you surprised about?"

"I thought it was a copy. All of my files burned. When did you get this?"

"Recently. All of your files burned except the ones stolen by the arsonist."

"Who's the arsonist?"

He flashes me a half amused, half disgusted look. "Who do you think?"

"You son of a bitch. It was you." I'm ready to beat the shit out him again.

He slams on the brakes and pulls off the road. "No." He may not be the arsonist, but he's no innocent and he ended up with the files.

"Cancerman?"

"Well, that's who I took it from. I wasn't there for the burning of the X-Files, but I'd say it was a safe bet."

"How did you end up with the file?"

"I just told you. I took it from him."

"You don't just take things from Cancerman."

He takes a deep breath. "No shit." And gestures to his recently wounded arm.

Oh shit. What is this? What am I doing? Even if he had a hand in this, I've got the file now. I reach out and put my hand on his shoulder. "Hey, I'm sorry. I'm an asshole. I get stupid sometimes. That happens when you're an obsessive-compulsive paranoid."

He shakes his head and sighs. "Mulder, I wasn't trying to be noble. I took several things from Cancerman. This was just the one that I could use to get you."

I nod. Think, Mulder. Don't turn him into a choirboy just 'cause you like him.

I leaf through Samantha's file. The additional notes are legible and clear. Dates, times, places, file numbers all neatly referenced.

I pick up my father's file, weigh it in my hand. This is my only chance to find out. "I know you killed him." I wait for some acknowledgement. He turns to look at me. "But why? Was it an assignment? Did you have any personal stake in it?"

"I only ever have a personal stake in a killing if they are after me."

"He was old, sick. He couldn't have been after you. Was it an assignment?"

"Well, in point of fact, your father did order my termination, but that's not why."

"Then why?"

"It was something between your father and Cancerman. I've never fully understood it." He nods his head toward the file in my hands. "Maybe you'll be able to answer some of your own questions."

I can't look at his file. I know he was affiliated with the consortium, I know they took Samantha on his order. But he was my father // your cold unfeeling father. The man you could never do right by. //

My thoughts are interrupted by Krycek's voice. "I can tell you one thing. Your father could have given you back your sister, or at least let you see her, years ago but he let you spin your wheels with this quest knowing he created your obsession and had the power to end it."

That son-of-a-bitch. I almost tear the file in my hands; instead I punch the car window.

We sit in silence for a few minutes before Krycek pulls back onto the road.

The miles pass quietly as I flip through Samantha's file. Krycek is content to leave me to my thoughts.

I glance up surprised as the truck slows down. We're at the storage unit. Krycek stops the truck and exits, I follow. He opens the doors to the unit then turns and tosses me a set of keys. Then he retrieves my bag from the back of the truck. He tosses the bag in the backseat, then leans his hip against the wall, watching me.

I look at him. "This is it then."

He nods his head and walks over to me. "Now I'm saying goodbye." He pulls me to him and his mouth covers mine. I feel his tongue wrap around mine. I wind my arms around his waist, pulling him closer, not wanting to let go. Not wanting to return to my reality. I could never have anything with this man. But it kills me to think this is the last time I'll ever kiss him.

He breaks the kiss, releasing me and stepping out of my arms, turning toward the truck.

I call softly after him. "Oodachi tybie, tovarisch."

He pauses but doesn't turn. In a few moments, he's gone.

**
END
31 August 2000
Website: http://slashfactory.com/

Russian:
Oodachi tybie, tovarisch. Good luck to you, my friend.

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We know this is an extreme departure from Loren's usual fic. It's amazing how nice she can be, when she's Mulder. But don't get use to it.


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