There is a lovely Theban Band cover for this story. Thank you, Ned&Leny!


This story was beta-ed by Arii, Celeste, Cynthia, Laurie, Rowanne, and Sue. Shoshanna was honest and deserves no blame. All of them helped me very much! Thank you!

Disclaimer: Not mine, if you want to get technical. Slash. Language. Weirdness.

Note: My betas have warned me that the concept this story is built on is not necessarily easy to grasp. I considered adding an explanatory postscript, but decided against it in the end - I believe a story should be able to stand on its own. I did some fiddling instead and hope things are clearer now. If you find that you don't know which way is up after you've read the thing, drop me a line cursing me and I'll apologize and explain.


Walking Shadow

by Sylvia



Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more.

        William Shakespeare


If there is one thing I hate, it is being forced to clean up someone else's mess. Unfortunately, this is a situation I have been in so often over the years that it kind of feels like my normal state of being. Other people start out their day by brushing their teeth and popping their back; I try to convince myself that I feel optimistic and tell myself in as hearty and bracing a manner as possible, "Well now, Alex old boy, let's go and see how bad it is this time, shall we?"

This particular time started out fairly harmless as such things go. I woke up alone, without any notable bruises or other unpleasant reminders of an ill-spent recent past, and in a bed. This may sound like a banal fact to be happy about, but believe me, when you've woken up in the kind of places I have, you learn to appreciate the banal amenities when you have them. Once, I woke up beneath the seat of a very dirty subway car. And that was the good news.

But I digress. This time it was a bed - *my* bed, as a brief orientation in the room and apartment surrounding the bed in question showed. Sometimes I don't even have to open my eyes to find out if I'm at home or not. It's an instinct, I guess. A feeling, anyway - it just either feels comfortable or not. This place felt comfortable right away. Except that I'd slept in my clothes, not the most comfortable thing, sure, but what the hell. I'd survive.

Next point on the list - check very thoroughly to make absolutely certain I am alone.

I was. Check.

Things were looking up.

I spent a few minutes looking through the pile of unopened mail stacked on the small table next to the door in the living room, decided nothing looked particularly urgent, and left it for later. A huge, blocky headline printed in aggressively blood-red letters jumped at me when I shifted the last of the envelopes in the small stack, and I skimmed the first page of the rag tucked beneath the mail almost in self-defense.

Aliens Kidnap Triplets. UFO Sighted Over Sierra Nevada. The Truth Revealed: Top-Secret Government Experiments With Alien Spacecraft.

It's amazing what kind of crap some people will buy - like this was Intergalactic Grand Station Central or something. Aliens, my ass. And even if there was anyone else out there, they wouldn't be very likely to stand in line for the priviledge of taking over this polluted old lump of dirt, would they?

There was a real newspaper propped on top of the phone book, but I only glanced at it. It would keep a bit longer - I'd get to it before the mail, but after breakfast.

The thought of food in mind, I crossed into the kitchen with something approaching good cheer and took a look at the breakfast options. Even better! Some very appetizing possibilities there. Fresh fruit, eggs, sausages, bacon, yoghurt, muesli and milk, orange juice…

With such a perk to look forward to, the contents of the closet were hardly more than a slight damper. Godawful threads. Some people have no taste, I swear to God. The things I've been forced to wear by circumstances… Oh well.

I grabbed underwear and socks from the drawer and dug a pair of jeans and a plain black T-shirt out of the closet, ignoring the unmentionable suits.

And you know, I really wasn't expecting such a fucking bummer of a bad ending now that everything else had checked out so well. I was cheerful, humming some tune along under my breath, sauntering happily into the bathroom with hardly a care in the world. And next thing I know I'm gagging and strangling a scream and going oh my fucking *God* what in the hell have the bastards done to my *hair*?

Because Christ, last time I checked I had this neat, shortish brushed-forward style that made me look perky and fresh and a little daring and sexy as all get out, and now - Jesus, now this! It looked like something had nested on my head while I wasn't paying attention. And it looked like whatever it was had taken a crap, as well!

Fuck. FUCK! I was a handsome bastard, and damn it but I liked it that way!

"This really sucks!" I yelled and started a little at the sound of my voice. I was hoarse, too. Great. Fucking wonderful. Must have been some party - I just wished I remembered it. Then again, on second thought I should probably be devoutly grateful that I didn't.

Damage containment measures were definitely called for here. I found a comb and started untangling the gluey strands of the mess on my hand. The sight of the maxi-sized tube of gel in front of the mirror made me grimace, and I grabbed the thing and tossed it in the trash. First thing after breakfast, I'd find myself a hairdresser. This was no way for a boy as sexy as me to run around - people wouldn't even notice how great I looked this way.

By the time I'd gotten the snarls out and was ready for a shower, I'd gotten over the shock and calmed down. I pushed the matted stuff on my head back and surveyed my physique with satisfaction. Hmmm. Looking good. No blubber at all, nice firm pecs and abs… Firmer than ever, truth be told, almost like a milder kind of body-builder's. Seriously sexy. Really, the hair wasn't that bad - or at least it was nothing that couldn't be taken care of easily.

Feeling reconciled with the world, I surveyed my legs admiringly. Man, and what legs they were. I've always had great legs. Great butt, too - with a pair of tight jeans and maybe a strategically placed tear or two, I'd knock out half a city block just walking across a street. Yep, I was one hot package and no mistake.

And then I looked at the face - really *looked* for the first time - and almost swallowed my own tongue.

Holy, freaking shit. I was at least twenty-five years old. At *least*. Last time I looked at the exterior varnish I'd been what, seventeen - maybe eighteen, max. This really sucked. There were no words in the English language to express *how much this sucked!*

"You fucking scumbags!" I screamed. And Jesus, I wasn't hoarse either, was I! That was my real voice now. Say goodbye to the virginal innocence, no *way* would I be able to pull it off with that kind of voice. Sounded like I'd been screaming my head off all night.

Shit! What the fuck had those losers been thinking they were about anyway, those fucking *bastards* - "I'm gonna get you for this!" My voice kind of twisted up into a hoarse kind of hysterical screech and I realized that I was probably providing entertainment for the whole block.

I was getting new clothes, a new apartment, I was getting fired, I was getting rid of the lovers, I was getting rid of every damn fucking thing! By the time I was through the fuckers wouldn't have a thing left in the world. This was war. This was not the kind of stunt they could pull on me and expect to get away with.

"I'm gonna get a record in every town from here to the North Pole!" I yelled at my nerd-haired reflection. "You're gonna get arrested everywhere you show your ugly mugs! Which one of you fuckers did this to me?"

Okay, now. Calm, Alex. Think calm.

I'd been planning to take a shower, so that's what I did. I didn't feel like it anymore - in fact, what I felt like was to smash the mirror and the glass shower stall and every other fucking thing in these bastards' damned bathroom, and to scream a lot while I was doing it. I'd learned the hard way about giving in to temper, though.

I was stewing silently all the while I lathered up and shampooed out the gunk in my hair. This was against the rules. This was so illegal that there were no freaking concepts for it. We'd had an *agreement* for God's sake, we'd worked it all out - time up front for everyone and no messing up the others' lives. So what the hell did they think they were doing! What the fuck were they trying to pull -

The doorbell rang when I'd just jammed myself into the clothes I'd picked out earlier and had towelled the hair until it hung in damp strands to my cheekbones. The damned jeans were baggy in all the wrong places and the T-shirt might as well have been a trenchcoat the way it hung on me. The fucking nerve! Make me look like a geek. Make me look like a total asshole! Steal years of my life from me -

I was in a mood worse than anything I could easily remember when I yanked open the door.

Oh my.

Well well well. Things were definitely looking up again. Someone had taste in lovers, at least.

"How're you doing?" The oldish, but incredible fuckable guy on my doorstep asked, looking faintly curious, but mostly bored.

"Much better now," I said honestly. "Come on in. Hungry?"

A good fuck would go a long way towards restoring my spirits. I checked out the guy's ass as he came in. Oh yeah. Hell, so what if he was a couple years older than I usually liked them. I was pushing the upper envelope of my age range for recreational sex *myself* now - I was going to have to raise my average age of fuck-buddy or I'd end up a pedophile. No thanks. I sure don't want to see that gig from the inside again, even if it would be from the other side this time.

"What've you got?" He stood in the middle of the room a little uncertainly, stuffing his hands in the back pockets of his jeans to cover it. The slight awkwardness indicated we'd fought at some point in the not too recent past, which just went to show what idiots some people were.

This kind of guy, you didn't fight with. He looked like he'd just go all silent and sullen and bitter on you if you tried that. No, with this kind of guy, you cried and were deeply remorseful and said you hadn't been able to help it and you'd never loved anyone the way you loved him and wouldn't be able to bear it if you lost him. If that didn't work you got on your knees and sucked him off a couple times. Never failed me yet. Could actually be kind of fun, too.

I showed him the contents of the fridge, making sure to bend over a lot and even spreading my legs slightly, fairly begging to be groped. No such luck. I'd gotten myself a gentleman. Either that or he was still sulking.

"You want to talk about it, Krycek?"

"No," I said quickly, flashing him an apologetic smile. "And call me Alex, okay?"

He blinked and didn't smile back. "You're going to have to talk about it anyway. I thought you might like to do it in front of me first, before you do it in front of the board. *Alex*."

The name was an afterthought and carried a definite sarcastic tinge. Interesting, but not nearly as interesting as the mention of the ominous board I was going to have to explain something to.

So this was it. Those fuckers had done it to me again - landed me in the middle of their shit and expected me to pull them out. After years of nothing. Not even an evening on the town now and then. Not even a damn pizza, a frigging movie, not a single fuck, nothing! All of those years were gone forever and now here I was, up to my nostrils in other people's crap.

Life sucked.

"You think I'm in trouble?" My voice sounded so subdued it could almost have been termed meek. I was really down here.

"Shouldn't be a problem," the sexy old guy said with a shrug, coming a little closer and leaning on the counter. "Our reports match. You thought he had a gun. It was dark, he'd just killed someone, he was evidently in a very precarious state of mind, and he was pointing something at me - you did what you thought you had to do in order to save my life. It doesn't have to be more complex than that on paper. It's best to save the more unusual aspects of what happened for later. You did the right thing, Krycek."

"Oh," I said. I'd tried to sound reassured, but I didn't. In fact, I sounded kind of speechless, which might have been because I was.

I'd killed someone. I'd *killed* someone - or rather one of the others had, which wasn't actually the same but amounted to much the same in the end. I had never killed anyone before. None of us had, I was sure of it. But now… now the others had killed someone, and as if that wasn't bad enough they'd gone and dumped the mess on me to deal with, and the worst thing was that I'd never be able to be certain of anything again. Never again. If they could *kill*, then they could do anything.

Any. Fucking. Thing.

"It happens," the pretty man went on, his apparently habitual seemingly-bored drawl dipping lower into an almost soothing register. "Unless you ask to be transferred, it will almost certainly happen again. It's impossible to understand what killing another human being means until you're confronted with the reality, and you shouldn't try to pass over it lightly. Want to tell me how you feel about Cole's death, Krycek?"

"I'm hungry," I said dully. Cole. I'd killed someone named Cole, and it had been an attempt to protect this lovely creature… who talked about the likelihood I'd murder other people in the future with all the calm, everyday blandness of someone discussing the likelihood of snow in April.

My mind was working too sluggishly for comfort, but I forced it to latch onto the reference for being transferred. Killing was part of what I did, unless I asked for a transfer.

Freaking Christ. Was I a cop or something? And that might even be the best interpretation of what the guy had said, because if I wasn't, and still had a job that meant I'd probably have to kill from time to time, where ending another's life was no more and no less than part of the daily routine… Oh good God. No. No, that was just too much. No way in hell.

I shoved the sickening suspicion that was beginning to rise in me down again, breaking my strict doctrine of complete and brutal honesty to myself - the first rule of survival - for the first time in longer than I could recall off-hand.

I was a cop, then. Me, a cop. It should have been funny. Hell, it should have been fucking hilarious, except that it really wasn't. I might possibly be a cop, and I was definitely a killer, and I was too old too fast and they were seriously screwing me over here. And I didn't know a damn thing I could do about it.


What was he talking about? I stared at him in incomprehension and after a moment, he gestured towards the pat of butter I'd put on the griddle. His eyebrows were slightly elevated and one corner of his mouth curved into a mocking non-smile.

"Don't let me stop you - gotta keep your strength up, after all. Growing boy like you."

I looked down at the bacon I'd unwrapped, preparing to throw it onto the griddle with some eggs, and suddenly felt sick at the thought of food.

"I really killed him," I muttered incredulously. "I killed someone. I never thought I was a - I thought I didn't… But then, of course in this - job - of course I - it happens, right. Part of the job. Bound to happen sooner or later. I knew that before."

He didn't move - didn't really seem to want to comfort me all that much - but damn it, he was here, wasn't he, that had to mean something, and I really didn't care if he was angry with me for screwing around or whatever the hell it was. What I wanted most in this moment was to be fucked to within an inch of my life, until I forgot everything except the powerful feeling of being desired and the delicious rush of pain and pleasure from being fucked too hard, too fast, too long -

He flinched away when I reached for him, looking incredulous and aloof and mocking all at once. Fuck it, I'd forgotten the others were all awkward and shy and took about fifty hours to get to the point - it was a wonder any of them ever got any sex at all, if they did, which was something I wasn't completely sure about. But then, some of them had lovers, didn't they, so I guessed they must...

He tried to pull back, but I followed, trapping him against the kitchen counter. Our bodies weren't really touching, but I could feel the subtle warmth of his body heat against me and I could feel his body coming to attention at my nearness. The signs were extremely subtle, but if there's one thing I know, it's when another guy's dying to jump my bones, and in his own laid-back, coldly reserved kind of way, this guy was slavering down my tee.

Too bad that while his body screamed its enthusiasm at my closeness, the rest of him was still trying to pull the wounded-wronged-lover bit. The get-your-dirty paws-off-me-you-double-crossing-little-whore thing, to be precise. I didn't have my dirty paws anywhere near him yet, but we both knew they'd be there in a couple seconds time, and we both knew his body was yearning for my touch... and he hated how much his body loved the idea of pinning me down and fucking me on the kitchen counter only a little bit less than he hated the fact that I knew it.

Man, some people have no clue of how to keep this kind of guy happy, I swear. A little discretion and this type is putty in your hands, but some assholes will not make the slightest effort and just leave the wrong underwear lying around or come home without showering first or whatever.

He wore some kind of subtle, vaguely musky, unmistakably expensive aftershave. He was in pretty good shape, too, and his jeans and T-shirt were faded but had designer grunge-look written all over them. This was the kind of guy I'd never really had a shot at before - not for anything more than a casual fuck after an anonymous pick-up, that was. I'd always had a soft spot for the classy ones. They tended to lead to a gratifying amount of ready cash and sometimes, if I played the lost innocence card well enough, even a lavish breakfast in a comfy hotel suite.

And what a classy find this one was, and man, he smelled nice, and he looked good, and he probably wouldn't even hit me unless I got real careless -


And fuck me but the old bastard nearly tore my arm off when I reached to slip it around his waist, tossing me across the kitchen just as though there weren't a couple thousand guys running around just outside of the door who'd be happy to pay plenty for what I was trying to give away for free to this asshole.

"Ow! That hurt!" I sounded whiny and I didn't think he was the kind who'd like that, but right now what he would and wouldn't like wasn't my main concern.

Maybe *he* was the problem and not this board thing at all. Maybe they'd found themselves another nasty one - even if it *was* a classy nasty one for a change, which only meant it would be harder to get anyone else to lend me a hand - and now it was up to good old Alex to take care of the problem.

And I guess I would, somehow I'd always managed to get out of these situations more or less in one piece, but it really sucked because it seemed they never gave me a chance to do anything I wanted to anymore, and now the best years of my life were gone and I was practically a toothless old geezer and my hair was ugly and my clothes were baggy and my stud was tossing me around and I'd killed someone and Christ I was really, really in a lot of shit here and I just wished - fuck, I didn't even know what I wished, except I wished this would all just go away and -

I squeezed my eyes shut and screamed at them as loud as I could, but it didn't help. They were playing deaf, the bastards. *You fuckers, I'm not doing this anymore! Clean up your own crap you damn assholes, this isn't what we agreed on, what did you do to me you bastards -*


I ignored him, rolling into a ball and trying to disappear and force one of the others to handle this. No such luck, of course. Why was I not surprised. It never had worked for me. Fuck them. It really sucks being this low down on the food chain.

"Krycek, you idiot. Stop making a fool of yourself and -"

And the voice was so close that I opened my eyes in spite of myself and discovered he was standing right in front of me. Right in front of me and bending down, his hand swinging forward.

I flinched back so hard that the back of my skull crashed into the door of a cupboard behind me with a deafening bang. The guy froze and just stared at me, hand still stretched out. He'd been trying to help me up. Good - he wasn't that angry yet. I could still pull this off.

"Sorry," I offered penitently, looking down and then up to show off my lashes. I have great lashes, and I do mean great. It's wonderful what you can do with the right kind of lashes if you know how. "I guess - I'm kind of nervous. Didn't mean to - I guess, you know, I guess I kind of freaked. Sorry. You know how it goes." Which was a lot more than I knew myself, but it was a great phrase. It always fit in some way or another.

He blinked at me and the confusion in his expression cleared away to be replaced by something very hard and very cold. Shit.

Not the right tack, it seemed. Okay, then, change of tactics - independent and strong might go over better. If that didn't work out either, I'd have to turn to my solution of last resort, and I really didn't like that one. Still, when both ruefully apologetic and briskly confident fail, abject grovelling - with an option of either heart-broken tears or frozen fear, depending on the situation - does tend to be the best bet.

I stood up and gave him a confident grin, brushing off my butt negligently. "Not my week. So, you want some pancakes, maybe?"

He said nothing. I shrugged and flipped on the griddle to make some breakfast. I probably wouldn't be able to eat it, but at least it gave me something to do.

"Krycek." I didn't react, and after a noticeable hesitation, my guy added my real name. "Alex."

He didn't sound angry, so I flashed him a quick smile. Confidence was plainly the way to go here. "What?"

"You're in pretty terrible shape."

I stared at him, my smile fading. Was he trying to insult me? Didn't the guy have eyes in his head? I looked great. Okay, so the hair was awful, but Jesus, it was nothing an hour and a couple of bucks wouldn't take care of. "No I'm not."

He snorted. "I'm not even going to argue that point. You need counselling, Krycek. Who used to beat you?"

"No one," I shot back immediately, trying for bewildered and a little amused.

No go. He was a pretty sharp one. Not just another pretty face, huh? Pick a smart one for a lover, jeesh. Some people were too stupid for words. No wonder they kept getting me into these situations.

"Alex. Give me some credit. I used to be VC's pride and joy, you know."

No way, no how. He didn't look anything like a hustler, and it wasn't the age, which would just have meant he'd passed his sell-by date some time ago. No, it was everything - he had the wrong kind of arrogance and none of the right kind of swagger, he had that impatient and derisive look, he had the wrong kind of attitude. The way he'd reacted when I came on too strong for his delicate sensibilities, above all. No fucking way.

Okay, think, Alex. VC could be short for an organization instead of a person. Okay, that made a kind of sense, he might be a cop too, seeing how comfortable he was with the notion of killing as part of my job… Or VC could be some kind of private security agency, Vigilant Coppers or whatever. Holy Christ, the kind of scrapes these stupid assholes kept getting me into. You'd think the greatest idiot would know enough not to give it away to cops, not even if they were paying. And you never, but *never* fucked these private security guys. They thought they were Rambo or something. Worse than the Vice guys, even.

"Yeah?" I said neutrally, busying myself breaking eggs onto the sizzling bacon.

"Yeah. I wasn't always Spooky Mulder. You know that already."

"Sure," I mumbled noncommittally. "I'm gonna go ahead and make some breakfast for you while I'm at it… You can just leave it if you really don't want anything. Bet you haven't eaten anything yet, though."

Spooky Mulder. Christ. That was a pretty damn ominous kind of nickname. What the fuck had these assholes gotten me into now?


Time to discover the ground rules.

I turned and raised my chin, looking him squarely in the eye. He just stood there and watched me, kind of like he was watching a pretty interesting basketball game. "It's none of your business," I said challengingly.

Several moments passed. His mouth thinned in impatience or annoyance or something in between. He looked slightly disgusted.

"You know," he said at last, "That line will probably work better if you try not to look as though you expect to be smacked for your impertinence when you feed it to someone."

Well now. Not one of the violent ones, after all.

I didn't let on how relieved I was and said nothing, turning back to the eggs when it looked as though it was going to turn into a staring match.

Didn't hit me. Smelled good, nice ass and lovely eyes, kind of greenish-blue-grey. Beautiful. I was really looking forward to the making-up sex. Couldn't be all that long now. He wasn't angry anymore. Now, he felt sorry for me because he'd figured out I was a poor abused kid. Except I wasn't a kid anymore, of course.

That sort of thing tended to suck but good, but with him it would probably be okay. This kind of guy would be likely to feel especially obligated to be nice to me now. With a little encouragement he might be brought to cuddle me a little and then maybe take me out and buy me something. I could use a leather jacket. With a new haircut and a leather jacket, I'd be hell on wheels, even if I was a little long in the tooth.

I busied myself heaping the slightly scorched bacon and eggs on two plates and arranging some sausages on the unburned spots of the griddle.

"Krycek, you want to insult me or something? Do I look stupid enough to deck a Fibbie, even an annoying one like you? Come on, you can't think I'd get myself canned for something so rational and understandable when there's so many more interesting reasons they could fire me."

Fibbie. Whatever that was, I was one - a Fibbie, doing a job that included killing people.

When inspiration finally hit, it almost made me drop the plates in shock. I would probably have caught on sooner except that the concept was so completely insane.

I was a freaking FBI agent. Sweet Mary Mother of God.

It was kind of funny. Well, no, not really, but it was definitely weird in a major fucking way.

Someone must have been brushing up his talents in conning big time, because last time I looked, you needed to actually finish school and probably get yourself some type of further education to get into a plush official job like that. Now, I could probably have faked the education bit pretty well myself, considering I wasn't as stupid as I liked to pretend sometimes and I'd learned pretty early to think on my feet. I supposed it was possible one of the others might have done it, if they'd somehow gotten hold of the money for the faked documentation. But to be honest, I never would have suspected any of them of having either the brains or the nerve for something like this.

Things were really piling up, weren't they... Murder. Check. Forgery. Check. I'd killed someone, I'd forged my way into a goddamn official job, I'd seriously stacked the deck here. I was afraid to discover what other little surprises those idiots had left for me. This went down, I was looking at major time. Not just the usual slap on the fingers and stern "dontcha do that again and now blow me afore I let you go".

It really sucks to find out that the assholes that have spent the last couple of years running around wearing your face in public are in reality about ten times as stupid as you had previously given them credit for.

Fuck it. I could really use a good reaming here and my sulky stud was still showing no signs of succumbing to my aged but still very present charms anytime in the near future.

Okay, then. I knew how to do this, too, though it wasn't my preferred method. But hell, I'd tried the direct method already, and considering he'd been one of the other's fuck-buddy first, it really shouldn't have surprised me that it hadn't worked. He'd be used to a different procedure. Something slow and fumbling, a little clumsy, a little shy, shit like that.

I sighed.

Oh hell. Well, time to improvise. Dig out the virginal innocence again in spite of the slightly faded glory of your youth, Alex old boy. Add in a little clumsy lust and a lot of contrition, stir well and serve with a dash of insecurity and desperation…

It's almost funny the things I do to get laid sometimes, considering I know perfectly well that all the effort I really have to expend is to lean against a wall and look sulky. In the dark I probably wouldn't look that much older than the last time I remembered doing it. Well, okay, maybe a little. Not enough to matter, though. There's more birds of prey out there than just the chickenhawks - some of em like their game a little stringy. Fact was, you actually got around some of the creepier types by default if you were too old. On the down side, of course, you got around some of the really well-to-do and prepared-to-dish-out-major-cash types, too…

But no matter. I'd worry about that later.

"You, uh - want to watch a movie or something?"

To get the full effect, I ducked my chin a little as though my own forwardness had caught me off guard, looking up at my reluctant stud shyly to give him the full benefit of the lashes. I also turned just a little bit to the side to show him a partial profile of my still pretty damn attractive mug, especially the nose. My nose is small and straight and slightly tiptilted, and it really comes in handy, particularly with the "not-too-bright, devoted and cute" number.

"Krycek, are you coming on to me?"

Well, screw me. Looked like he was immune to the nose. Maybe this stunt had been pulled on him once too often already – I couldn't really imagine any of the others knowing how to do a seduction worth a damn, but stranger things have happened. Like waking up as an FBI agent, for example.

Where the hell had they picked up the sulky brain with the ominous moniker, anyway? Jeeze, if ever anyone needed to buy a clue on how the game was played... Here I was, being insecure and uncertain of where I stood and shyly asking to be allowed to resume the relationship on whatever terms he chose to set - practically begging to be exploited - and what did the guy do? Ask me if I was coming on to him. Well, *yeah*, now that you mention it, so how about we just cut the crap and get to the part where you screw my brains out?

"I just thought we could… You know, I - I think we should talk, don't you?"

In other words, spill the beans about just what this oh-so-terrible thing I did was, already. Looks like we're not going to get anywhere before you have a chance to rail at me and tell me what a slut I am and I have a chance to repent tearfully and look up at you with appealingly moist and imploring eyes. Man, the fuss the guy was making you'd think I'd fucked his mother or his sister or something.

"Talk," he drawled sarcastically, raking a slow, mocking gaze over my body from eyes to crotch and up again. "Now *there's* a thought, Krycek... Somehow, I get the feeling you were sick the day they did the psychological evaluation."

And inspiration finally battered its way through my thick skull.

This one didn't want pliant, timid and shy. I'd been going about this in entirely the wrong way. Part of it was that I just wasn't used to being so old, I guessed. People were going to react differently to me now, were going to expect *me* to react differently.

He was looking for a good fight... a challenge. Hell, I could do that. Could I ever. I had his number now.

"You know what they say about people in glass houses, don't you, *Spooky* Mulder?"

Yeah, I was on the scent alright. That smile was the first real one I'd seen him crack so far. I barely caught it at all, it vanished again so quickly, but for just a fraction of a second, it was there.

"So the puppy has teeth," he said, giving me a barbed little grin that would have made me nervous if he'd held it for just a fraction of a second longer. As it was, his gaze slipped away after a brief stare and he shrugged, affecting a bored and indifferent air. " Score one for the home team. You got any good videos?"

The sardonic tilt of his eyebrows announced that he estimated the likelihood of a bimbo like me owning a single video worth watching was not much better than my chances of winning the next Miss America Election.

I had to fight hard to keep the smirk off my face. Hook, line and sinker.

During my initial exploration of the apartment, I'd made a mental note of the video recorder tucked away on the shelf beneath the TV set. Reasoning the tapes wouldn't be far off, I opened the cabinet to the left and discovered glasses of varying sizes and a pretty impressive collection of booze.

"Want something to drink?" I grabbed a bottle at random and took a look. Vodka. Ugh.

"How about a coke?"

"In the fridge. Get me one, too, would you?" I'd seen a collection of diet sodas there earlier. I was watching my weight these days, it seemed... At least when I wasn't guzzling down vodka and the rest of this shit.

He moved off to oblige. I hastily checked out the cabinet to the right of the TV and got lucky. Neat rows of videos, each one bearing a type-written little label with the name of the movie and a number. Just as I suspected, the leather-bound little book standing in the top-most row turned out to be an index. Talk about anal.

My stud returned with two cokes and I tossed the index to him, almost making him drop the cans and earning a dirty look. I grinned unrepentantly and was rewarded by a very small gleam of something like approval in his eyes.

"Gremlins," he read, opening the book at random. When he looked up, there was an almost wicked gleam in his eye. "You like that movie?"

It sounded like a challenge, so I met it head-on, raising an eyebrow at him. "I wouldn't have it on video if I didn't, now would I?"

"Figures, Krycek. You know what that says about you?"

"Enlighten me, oh wise one."

"It means you want there to be rules you can follow so bad things don't happen. They don't have to make sense, they don't have to be *good*, just as long as they're simple and easy to follow. Keep them away from water, don't feed them after midnight... and be able to rest in the knowledge that as long as you stick to directives and do what you were told, there won't be any gremlins in your life."

I had no idea what he was talking about. It must have showed.

He grinned. "How about we watch it and I explain it to you in simple words of one syllable?"

"How about I kill you and –"

And that was it. My throat closed right in the middle of my snappy comeback and there went everything I'd been thinking, everything I'd been planning – all the alternate words and reactions I had lined up neatly in my mind, waiting for their cue. No sound would escape my throat around the constriction choking me. No thought would batter its way through the white haze of shock and anguished terror.

How about I kill you. Jesus. *Jesus.*

"Easy, Krycek. Sit down. Breathe. There, you're fine."

Blood rushed through my ears like a flood-tide, and the booming drumbeat of my heart was deafening. I didn't understand what he was saying to me, but I heard the sound of his voice, the steady, low calm and the undercurrent of what might almost have been concern... caring. And then suddenly he was right in front of me and I clutched at him mindlessly, grabbing an armful of solid, breathing male and two handfuls of T-shirt, and even though it was not in my plans, even though I was probably messing up everything and losing all the ground I had gained so far, I couldn't make myself let go. He was so *real*. As long as I held on to him, if I held on really tight -

But it was just an illusion of stability. I was falling, and there was nothing at all to break my fall. Nothing to hold on to in the unstable, inconstant and crazily shifting world, nothing now to hold on to inside with *them*, not even the most basic of assumptions, not when they did not follow the rules anymore, when they...

*How about I kill you.* I might. There was no telling what I might do. I was a killer and I might do anything. I could not hope to stand against the world *and* the others...

"It was just a phrase, Alex, just words. Words that don't mean anything. You know that."

"I *can't* know that," I protested. "I can't know anything anymore! I killed someone. I can't be sure. I can't be sure! You don't understand - I might – I might –"

"Don't be an idiot, Alex." His voice snapped with authority like a whip; I couldn't help but listen. "You know that's not true. You acted responsibly and after you had exhausted every other alternative. You did not want to kill him – you wanted to save me. Isn't that true?"

"I –" The word stuck in my throat, threatening to choke me. He wanted to help, but he was asking questions that I had no answers for. I didn't know - I had no way of knowing. Maybe it wouldn't even have made a difference if I had known.

"It's the truth, and you know it, Alex. *I* know it. You're still a little wet behind the ears, but you will make a damn fine agent one day. You didn't just shoot. You didn't want to shoot. And believe it or not, it's good that you're taking it hard – it means you won't just shoot in the future. You'll never have to be afraid of yourself."

I laughed then, and the sound of it was thin and strangled and desperate and more than a little hysterical. What a fucking joke.

He shifted away from me and I clutched at him desperately, refusing to let go, sickened at the prospective loss of even the illusionary comfort I'd found in his closeness. After a moment, he made an irritated grumbling noise and tugged at me. Something hit the back of my knees and I collapsed backwards, having time for only a startled yelp before my butt impacted with sofa cushions.

"So much for all the spit-and-polish," my stud muttered beneath his breath. "Stupid act anyway."

He was on the sofa, too, and I was still clutching him, and the T-shirt beneath my cheek was wet and smelled of detergent and Spooky Mulder. It took me a while to realize that the dark splotches on the fabric had been left by my tears. I was actually *crying* - I was curled into a ball with my face pressed into my guy's chest and my hands clutching at his shirt and fuck me if I wasn't actually, unbelievably, idiotically *crying*.

Good God, what the hell did I think I was doing? This was embarrassing - and worse, it was *dangerous*, I didn't even know him, I couldn't know what he might do, what he could and would do -

"You're a good kid, Alex," he said, his voice sounding slightly rumbly and darker than before from this close. His chest lifted beneath my cheek as he took a deep breath. "You're a nice guy. A little green, but that will pass. More than a little irritating, but hey, no-one's perfect. You're okay. You did well and you're going to be fine."

I lifted my face from his wet T-shirt and found myself staring into autumn-colored eyes from the closest of ranges. The air was cool on my cheeks and I felt the blush rising even as I drew a deep, damnedly unsteady breath.

"You don't know me," I whispered, and all of a sudden I wished like hell that he did, that he really *knew*, knew everything about me just so he could tell me this and be sure. "You can't know."

He caught my chin in a grip so firm it hurt, holding my gaze when I would have turned away. "I am a profiler, Krycek. I am the best damn profiler they ever had. Listen to me. You are one screwed up puppy, you have some serious problems, and in order to save my life, you shot and killed a man. All that is true. What you are not is a killer. You are a nice kid. Screwed up, but a nice kid all the same."

"You really think so?" I sounded so hopeful that I all but made myself gag. He didn't know me, he couldn't know... Still, a profiler, I'd seen enough cop thrillers to know what that meant, and he was no fool, this one, and I wanted to believe so bad... "You think I'm nice?"

A strange expression flickered across his face too briefly to be read. There was no answer.

He didn't. He'd just been saying that to get me to stop blubbering. No wonder, really. This was a pretty fucking stupid way to behave, he was probably pretty disgusted, thinking what a fucking joke it was an old, stringy chicken like me was trying to pull that tired old save-me-I'm-helpless-and-afraid act - even if it wasn't that much of an act this time -

"Alex." His voice was soft, his eyes locked on mine with an intensity that made me think he could see straight through all my disguises, straight through to who I really was. I would have looked away pretty damn quick if I could have broken away from his gaze. "If you'd asked me yesterday, I would have laughed in your face, but... Today? Yeah. I think you're nice."

Oh my God. He *was* talking to me. He was seeing *me*, not any of the others. *Me*.

"'Rabbit in the spotlight' really doesn't suit you, you know." The crooked grin didn't diminish the seriousness in his eyes. "It's okay, Alex, you just have some old issues to deal with that are making this harder. Give it time. Now that some of it's out in the open... You're going to have to trust me, Alex. We can deal with this. And you're still *you* - the same you, a nice kid, a little too eager, a damn sight more intelligent than you let on..."

*...and pretty damn hot.*

He didn't have to say it. I could see it in his arrested expression, in the way his gaze wouldn't leave my face. This was it – he was about to crumble. I had no idea why he'd picked this particular moment, surely one of the more appallingly unalluring moments of my existence, but hey, I certainly wasn't about to complain.

He looked at me almost quizzically as I leaned in, his steady grey-green gaze compelling and slightly disquieting. I found myself wondering whether any of the others had ever bothered to tell him his eyes changed color with his moods. When I could feel the warmth of his breath against my cheeks, I stopped, waiting.

It took him so long that I almost thought he'd back off again, but at long last, he shifted and moved forward to close the last distance between us.

For a long moment, our lips brushed against each other chastely. His mouth was warm and velvet-soft against mine and I found myself sighing, leaning into the arm that came up around me to draw me closer. Neither of us seemed to be in a particular hurry to move the kiss along, and there was something so peculiar about this that it sent a small shiver of confused wrongness through me... but not enough to drown out the strange contentment engendered by Spooky Mulder's lips moving gently over mine. It felt good, having him this close, holding him like this... He felt good. He felt safe.

It was a while before he deepened the kiss, his lips slanting and opening against mine, just the tip of his tongue slipping into my mouth. He shifted a little and drew my lower lip into his mouth, nibbling it gently before finally opening my lips beneath his and stroking inside. Hot and silky and melting and I never caught the exact moment when the kiss changed, turned demanding, turned into an unmistakably carnal exploration that caused slow heat to pool in my groin and the breath to quicken in my throat.

Even now, though, there was still something off - and whatever it was, it was interfering with my reactions. I kept waiting for signals that did not come, and those that *did* come were odd and unfamiliar. It was hard to isolate them, but it was things like that first, gentle touch of lips against lips, the strangely gentle caress of his tongue against mine, the careful touch of the hand smoothing back the hair that was falling into my face...

The moan that escaped me when his fingertips began to caress the nape of my neck in counterpoint with the increasingly ardent strokes of his tongue was unexpected, and it was enough to tip the balance in favor of the disquiet growing in the pit of my stomach.

He let me go with noticeable reluctance when I drew back. My face had grown warm, and I could see a kind of gentle amusement in my stud's eyes that made it worse. I was acting as though I'd never been kissed before. If I'd been a little more *there* I'd have been taking notes to benefit my "shy virgin" act. What the fuck was wrong with me?

"Maybe we should watch that film now," he said in a low voice, his eyes still locked on my face with unerring concentration. His hand left my neck, lingering a little to deliver a last caressing brush of fingers against still-tingling skin.

I fought down another inexplicable surge of confused foreboding and sternly told myself that I was being ridiculous. Did I really want to ruin it now that I finally had him right where I wanted him? This was what I'd been angling for ever since the man walked in the door, cool and sarcastic and eminently fuckable. So just what was my goddamned problem?

Dipping my chin shyly, I looked up at him in the time-honored "discreetly showing off my lashes" method. I wasn't going to fuck this up. No way in hell.

"I don't want to," I confessed huskily. My voice wobbled a little, catching me by surprise. I hadn't meant to add that particular embellishment.

The second kiss was purposeful from the start, and I ignored the element of wrongness that was still there underneath the more obvious, rapidly building desire. Slow, deep strokes of his tongue, his breath loud in my ears when he drew back briefly to nuzzle an ear or a curve of cheekbone before delving back into my mouth. Gentle kneading of fingertips against the nape of my neck – he liked doing that, it seemed, and I leaned into the touch because it sent sparks of liquid delight shivering down my back. His eyes were a deep, murky grey now, dark with arousal; when his lips parted briefly from mine before returning to devour me, they were reddened and slightly swollen from my teeth... irresistibly tempting. He really was lovely, and his touch seared me like an open flame; his kiss alone would have been enough to make me burn for him, more than enough -

When his free hand found my thigh, the unexpected heat of his touch seared me and made me gasp into his mouth. When it slid across my denim-clad leg to stroke over the curve of my hip to the small of my back, I trembled and even arched my spine a little. Ridiculous, but I didn't care, and I couldn't have stopped myself even if I'd had advance warning of how my body was going to announce its pleasure at the almost innocent caress.

"Alex." A whisper against my lips. The warm pressure at my back and the butterfly stroking at my neck stopped at the same time; firm hands settled at my waist, pulling me closer. I'd been crouched on the couch rather unsteadily and lost my balance completely, falling forward and knocking him back against the armrest. I ended up draped across his chest with my legs sprawled either side of his thighs.

He smiled at me and laid an arm across my lower back, trapping me against him. The hard swelling of his erection pushed into me with delicious insistence, and I moaned into the kiss as he reclaimed my mouth, twining his tongue more insistently around mine, delving deeper. He was in it for the long haul now; I could read it in the involuntary movement of his hips when I shifted on top of him, taste it in the unconcealed hunger of the kiss. There would no backing out at the last minute. I had him. He was too far gone to reconsider.

The thought sparked an electric burst of pure, anticipatory lust that centered in my groin, making me push against him provocatively. He reacted beautifully, his body rising beneath me in an abbreviated but unmistakable thrust while his teeth closed on my lower lip. I strained into the too-gentle touch as he skimmed both hands up my sides, his mouth never leaving mine; he obliged by sliding the caressing hands around to my shoulders and down my back, smoothing my body against his. Gasping into his mouth helplessly, I thrust forward again to rub myself against the answering hardness in Spooky Mulder's jeans. The sensation that blazed through me at the pressure against my trapped erection rode the harsh edge of pain.

That was the moment that I realized that this alone would be enough. I was so turned on by making out with my stud on the couch that I could come just from this, just as though we were a couple of horny junior-high-kids losing their virginity to each other.


He was nibbling down my neck now, lingering over the pulse beating frantically in my throat. It took me a while to realize that it had to have been me who'd spoken - he was occupied with licking and biting the sensitive skin of my throat, working his way up the side of my neck to the spot just behind and below the ear...

My entire body bucked; I nearly fell off the couch. I couldn't help it. It was mortifying. It was terrible, unbearable, soul-consuming...

His eyes burned almost steel-grey when he looked up at me now, his face flushed with passion. When he turned me to lie beneath him, I arched my head back and closed my eyes, abandoning myself to the kisses and bites moving down my jaw and neck, to the palms smoothing over my still T-shirt clad chest and stomach.

Some part of me still knew that this was wrong, that this had been subtly wrong from the beginning and had only gotten worse since. My body burned for this man with a strange, wild and entirely unfamiliar kind of fire; I couldn't understand it, and this alone should have been more than enough reason for me to be worried. I was in no condition to object to anything he wanted to do to me, though, and nothing in me wanted to resist this. It might not have felt *right*, but it felt beyond incredible – oh God, the way it felt -

His hands were slow and sure; when he moved up to kiss me again, his mouth was hot and ravenous and yet strangely generous even now. When he rose above me his eyes were dark with desire, but it suddenly hit me that there was no real lust in his expression. It made no sense.

The first touch of his hand between my legs made me cry out and twist on the couch like a mad thing, flinging my head back, almost sobbing with the sensation of his palm pressing gently against the pulsing ache between my thighs. This couldn't be happening, I was still fully clothed, he had hardly done a thing, he wasn't even particularly skilled, nothing like some of the boys I'd slept with to pass the time, not even remotely –

"Alex," he said, and now he was hoarse, as though he'd been screaming. I wanted to hear him scream. Wanted to make him scream. "My God, Alex."

He pressed his palm against me and I arched into the touch, lifting into his hand, yearning for a firmer touch, a rhythm...

"I think it's time to move." Even though his voice was darker, it was still just as calm and controlled as before. The monotonous intonation was still there, though the mocking undertone that I'd taken to be permanent had disappeared entirely.

I was lucky that I remembered which door led to the bedroom. I was even luckier that I could still summon up enough self-control to stop touching him for the seconds we needed to relocate from the sofa to the bed. Definitely not one of my brighter moments – of course, I'd have been absolutely appalled at the amateurish way I was blundering my way through this entire encounter if I'd been in a state to think. As it was, I simply let myself fall onto the bed, intending to pull my stud down on top of me and continue right where we left off.

When I reached for him, he caught my wrists and pressed them down on the mattress gently. For a very brief moment, I thought that he was about to get kinky on me; I had time for only a very brief stab of bitter disappointment - and God only knew where that came from - before he made his true intentions clear.

The soft brush of his hands against the bare skin of my sides as he tugged off my T-shirt made me cry out, the sound of my own voice unfamiliar and harsh in my ears. I had no control left at all; it would have frightened me if my head had been just a little bit clearer. It had never happened before. Sex was just sex. It could be bad, it could be business or it could be good, and sometimes it was great, but even then it was just sex – nothing remotely this consuming or desperate.

My body could have cared less for my dazed attempts at taming the too-intense sensations. When my lover tugged down my zipper, I almost came from the brush of his fingers against my erection and the sudden release of pressure. Spooky Mulder ran a warm, caressing palm down the inside of my thigh as he worked the jeans and briefs down my legs and the sensation tore through me like lightning, making me arch off the bed and spread my legs in a wordless plea for more.

He backed off a little while he tugged my pants off completely and tossed them off the bed. I closed my eyes and swallowed, trying to find something familiar to focus on.

Rustle of Spooky Mulder's clothes being removed. I was lying on a bed, naked, waiting while a man who wanted to fuck me was undressing. Been there a thousand times. Nothing unusual about it. Hell, it wasn't even as though anything unprecedented *could* happen... Been there, done that, and sex was always just sex. Everything was under control - there was no reason whatsoever for me to be so agitated.

A grating laugh had me opening my eyes to the sight of a self-mocking grin twisting Spooky Mulder's generous mouth. "Alex, I can't believe I'm - if I were a practising psychologist they'd have my license for this. You're not -"

No! He wasn't going to back out now – he *couldn't*, I couldn't – I needed -

I lunged for him and snagged him by the waist, pulling him forward and tumbling him down on the bed with me. Somewhat to my own surprise, I found that I was stronger than him; I rolled him over and trapped him against the sheets with complete ease.

In all truth, he didn't struggle very hard.

A sparse scattering of dark hair spread over my Spooky stud's chest and arrowed down to his navel, broadening again towards his groin. I stroked a hand down to follow the path of the silken hair, strangely fascinated by the way firm muscle trembled beneath my touch. His cock was fully erect and strained away from his body, twitching beneath my gaze.

My hand shook as I veered off to trace a light, tantalizing touch across his hip, but some of my expertise and even a smidgen of control was finally coming back to me under the threat of losing out on this after all.

Whoever had landed this one had had more luck than they deserved. He was even more sexy naked than clothed – pale skin, sleek muscles, lean and elegantly muscular, not as bulky as my own body had become, but definitely no slouch. His shoulders were of a very respectable width; his hips were slim, his legs long and muscled. A runner, some part of me noted with detached observation. I slammed the door hard on the remote inner voice, locking it away quickly and completely before it could grow stronger. I wanted to see this through. This was for *me*. I deserved it after all the shit they'd handed me.

I leaned down to nuzzle his neck and inhale his scent. He smelled familiar already, warm and safe and welcoming. My lover. Only mine at this moment.

He groaned as I bit his earlobe, tugging gently before releasing it to trace the whorls of his ear with my tongue. His gasp did strange things to my insides. He muttered an indistinct string of words, and somewhere in there, I could make out my name.

The contented growl he gave rumbled in his chest, and he fairly purred into my ear as I nibbled along the line of his jaw. The skin of his neck was silky and very warm and I could feel the pulse jumping under my tongue, the breath against the top of my head growing increasingly ragged.

I shifted against him and he lifted his bare thigh, sliding it up between mine. Firm muscle pressed against my genitals.

Oh God... I froze and closed my eyes; the pressure of warm skin and hard muscle between my legs robbed me of the last vestiges of rational thought, obliterating everything but the need for rhythm, heat, the hard and satisfying pressure of flesh against flesh to send this raging blaze spiralling into the self-consuming inferno it yearned to become. My hips were thrusting against Spooky Mulder of their own volition as he rocked his leg gently, pressing against my balls as I pressed back hard.

He made a strange sound and I opened my eyes to find him staring up at me with the murky blue-grey of his eyes swallowed up by wanting, his face flushed and slack with pleasure. He looked almost feverish. I watched the delirious glow of his eyes as he ran them over my body and electric awareness danced through me, following the path of his gaze. I must have made quite a picture, crouching over him with my legs wide-spread and my back arched, head straining back in ecstasy and cock dripping onto his stomach from where it lay almost painfully erect against my own.

I waited for the smug satisfaction to rise into his eyes, but it never came.

I knew the look on his face, had seen it a thousand times – the dazed glow of lust now unmistakable in his heavy-lidded eyes, the slack mouth drawing in rasping breaths, the flushed skin and flaring nostrils. But something was still missing in his expression, something that I had not known was optional, and something else was there in its stead.

When he smiled at me, the expression was not even close to being a leer.

"Come here, Alex," he rasped, his voice husky and heavily laced with liquid desire. And yet, even through the lust so plain in his body, his voice, it was an invitation, not a demand.

I lowered myself onto his body, groaning helplessly as his heated length came to rest next to my erection. I pressed down and his eyes widened, his mouth falling open a little wider as he pushed into my thrust involuntarily, his expression completely open. Spooky Mulder, strange and aggressive, yet unexpectedly quick to comfort me and surprisingly gentle with his touch...

"Make love to me?" he whispered.

It actually took me a moment to understand what he meant.

"Please, Alex," he murmured, and suddenly his thigh was there again, pressing against me. I gasped and arched my back, thrusting against his leg with no more control than a cat in heat.

To be inside this gorgeous man, to lose myself inside of his body - to have his legs wrapped around my waist while I was buried deep inside him, his mouth open beneath mine, slender body arching up to press into mine with each thrust, oh God yes... How real that would feel, how infinitely real...

But even in this state, I wasn't so far gone I would fuck any guy without protection, and I couldn't face running around searching drawers and cupboards in the hopes that one of the others would have laid in a store of supplies somewhere I could find it... It might even give the game away if he knew where the stuff was and I didn't. A profiler, wasn't he? Who knew? Maybe he'd be able to tell, and that would really be all I needed...

He untwined an arm from around my waist and wriggled a little, making me groan even while he squirmed closer to the edge of the bed. Dipping down, he came up with his jeans. The wallet was in the back pocket, and in the wallet –

"Hope is a wonderful thing," he said, holding out a condom and a small packet of lube just like the ones I always carried around with me.

Surprise cleared the fog in my head slightly. Had he come here already knowing he'd let himself be talked around? Sure hadn't looked that way at the time – and the foil-wrapped condom looked as though it had been in that wallet for quite a while. The matter-of-fact way he tore open the packet of lube sent another small shiver of surprise through me. I'd really thought he'd be a top. Usually I have a pretty good feel for that kind of thing. Strange -

Every thought dropped away when he bit me in the neck and swept his free hand down my body in a too-slow caress that settled into a light, unbearably provocative touch just below the curve of my buttock. Fire burned through me in a liquid arch, pooling and pulsing in my groin, making me gasp for breath.

He shifted beneath me and spread his legs wider, setting his feet to the mattress and lifting himself up in utterly unself-conscious invitation; before I knew it, I'd knelt and pulled him onto my thighs, opening him to me. He twisted up as though he could feel my desire burning on his skin when I ran a heated gaze from his exposed groin to his face, sweeping the long, elegant lines of his body with a feeling of mingled lust and a strange trepidation.

I caressed the sensitive skin of his anus for a moment, slicking him up before pushing a finger inside of him. His mouth opened, but no sound emerged; he was panting rapidly now, breathing in short, harsh gasps. I wondered whether I was hurting him. He was very tight; maybe we hadn't done it this way before? I tried to think, to pick out the signs –

His knees closed around my torso and he surged forward, pushing himself into the penetration. I obeyed the wordless demand automatically, beginning to loosen the tight muscle and finally easing a second finger inside. He gasped a little and I could see a flash of pain reflected in his expression, but his arousal never wavered.

He tore open the wrapper of the condom, too, and when he reached for me, I took it as a wordless signal that now was the time.

It was not the first time I had done this. I reminded myself of the fact again as the long, elegant legs lifted and slid over my shoulders and he lifted himself in wordless demand. It was not even the first time I had done this with this man, at least not if you were talking about my body. There was no reason for it to feel so new, so amazing, so strange...

I gasped helplessly when the tip of my cock breached his body's reflexive resistance, trembling with the force of my desire just as though it were the first time. It felt like the first time - as though I had never felt anything remotely like his body opening for me and allowing me to slide inside him as far as I would go, sheathing myself balls-deep in excruciating tightness. The pleasure of his hot body gripping me was almost more than I could bear.

"Alex," he moaned. It sounded like a plea.

I discovered that I had closed my eyes. I opened them, disoriented for a second and frightened out of my distraction by the bolt of sheer terror that followed on the heels of the realization that I was slipping – my hold on the present was disintegrating. And I wanted to hold on to this moment, this moment was mine, I wanted to stay and live it out and – and cherish it –

The heat of his silky skin against the palm of my hand grounded me, the groan of sheer lust reminded me of his reality. I stroked his shaft slowly; he was slick with his own juices, and when I fluttered my fingers along his erection teasingly, he tossed his head and devoured me with fever-bright eyes, his body arching into my hand, pushing against my hips to take my cock as deeply as possible.

I thought I would die from the pleasure of pulling out of his body. I couldn't breathe as I pushed back in; the bright burn of rapture overwhelmed everything. I could still see his face, his eyes locked on mine.

And the truth of it was that it *was* somehow the first time. It was new. It was different. It hadn't been like this before. I felt... safe. I felt – but this was not right, something was not right, and some part of me was screaming a wordless warning that I could not understand...

It was so difficult to remember – he felt so good beneath my hands and I moved into a steady rhythm, swivelling my hips just so as I thrust in, pulling out with a little twist. Pleasure pulsed through me in blinding waves, pooling and gathering and burning me up, drowning out the sound of my increasingly ragged breathing, drowning out everything but the feel of him around me, the feel of heat and pressure, heated skin beneath my hands, throbbing, silky hardness and slick tightness and the burning intensity of pure, wild craving in his eyes.

Forward, to be engulfed by tight heat, to see the flush rise higher on my lover's face, the inarticulate moan escape as his body arched off the sheet, announcing that I had found the right angle to bring him the most pleasure. Pull out, his legs clenching around my head briefly before he recalled himself and let them fall open. In with more force, and the rush of sensation forced a cry from my lips, expelled all the breath from my lungs.

It was not enough, it was too slow, and we were both possessed of the same thought, the same need – to get more of each other. His legs slipped from my shoulders and I shifted, surged upwards, freeing my arms to fall forward over him, bracing myself on either side of his shoulders. His legs came up around my waist and I seated myself deeper inside him with a thrust that shoved him deep into the mattress and tore rough cries from both our throats.

Fingers dug into my buttocks as I found a new, driving rhythm. His thighs closed around me with breath-taking force, flexing against my sides with the power of my thrusts, his calves locked around my back to draw me deeper, faster, harder.

A sharp ecstasy stabbed through my neck; he was biting me, his entire body glued to mine, hot and sheened with sweat, his and mine. The hoarse voice that was chanting something unintelligible was mine, the ragged panting in my ears, the naked need in fevered eyes were his. The rhythm was ours, as was the blaze that rose between the shared movement of our bodies, driving me ever deeper, demanding an ever more punishing pace from both our bodies.

It felt like an eternity, but climax still rose on me too soon. I'd been gasping and panting and burning for it with mindless ecstasy, and yet it took me by surprise when the abyss was suddenly there, the threshold reached, the sensations reaching flashpoint and igniting my body into a single inferno of unbearable rapture.

Warm, sweat-slick skin beneath my cheek, heat surrounding me, and when I opened my eyes I was staring into naked need and I was still seated deep inside his body. I assayed another thrust and found I was still hard enough; the sensation was closer to pain than to pleasure now, but he gasped and arched and twisted in reaction. I thrust again, thrust once more, and my hand closed around the base of his erection and pulled. He bucked into my hand wildly, his entire body rising off the bed, and screamed, full-throated and hoarse. The sight of his orgasm was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen.

It was my name he shouted when he came.

My name.


"Alex," he whispered into my hair some time later. I had thought he'd fallen asleep where he'd molded himself against my back, tucking his face against the back of my neck, laying an arm over my waist and pushing a leg between my thighs, just brushing my lax genitals. The only way he could come any closer to me would be if he fucked me. And he probably would, in a while.


Nothing more. But I knew then, finally, what I should have realized much earlier. We hadn't done this before – he hadn't ever done this with any of the others. He sounded stunned, amazed... and happy. Oh God, *happy*.

All of the wrongness that had been accumulating from the first time his lips touched mine was churning in my stomach, turning my breath ragged and leaving the sour taste of fear in my mouth. It wasn't supposed to be like this. There had been nothing quick or easy about this.

He shouldn't be acting like I'd handed him the keys to the bloody national vault.

Happy... deliriously happy, that's how he was acting. Even now he was nuzzling my neck and drawing me in tighter against him, sighing contentedly as he breathed my name once more into my ear.

My stomach dropped and for a moment I thought that I was going to be sick. A second later my heart slammed against the inside of my ribcage and I realized that what I really felt was terror.

His palm flattened against my stomach and patted me once, almost soothingly. He was just holding me. He was done for now, but he was cuddling and the name he had called when he came and the name on his lips now was mine, and he sounded happy.

Oh Jesus...

"I think I'm in love with you," I blurted. I don't know where it came from. I hadn't felt it build, I never said things I hadn't thought over and calculated for probable effect first, and most of all, I couldn't even really feel the emotion. I didn't know what it was supposed to feel like, so how the hell could I know what it was? How would I have known even if I could have felt it - and I couldn't, it was too much to take in even in the smallest of doses. It just kind of hung in my chest and squeezed my guts and made me gasp for breath against the grip of the ice-cold horror of it.

I had really done it now. Like a fucking amateur. Like a goddamn fucking amateur without the sense God gave a sparrow.

He heard me and woke up and pulled me in even closer, and I could feel that he wasn't hard because his groin was pressed to my backside so tightly water couldn't have dribbled through between us. He wasn't hard and he wasn't stupid and he wasn't drunk but I could hear his breathing hitch and he almost cracked my ribs and I couldn't bring myself to mind.

"You're gonna regret saying that," he said after a long moment. He was right. I already did. "You don't know what you're getting yourself into, kiddo. But you're a nice kid, and a cute one too, even if you are annoying as hell. And you fuck like a dream. I think I'll keep you - for a while at least."

Even before he rubbed his face against my neck and whispered something all but unintelligible that might have been the echo of my earlier words… roughly, hesitantly, as though it hurt him, as though he were just as terrified as I was, but God, he sounded so *happy*… even before that, I knew what he was really saying.

It wasn't the words. The words were unimportant. I didn't know what it was, I just knew that I *knew* it. I knew it because I had never heard it before in anyone's voice, and it didn't matter what he said - he could have said anything at all, he could have read me his grocery list or the phone book or something, and I still would have *known*.

In all my life, nothing had ever so terrified me. I squeezed my eyes shut so tight that it hurt and wailed with everything I was and begged, prayed, commanded myself with the entire strength of my soul not to be here.

And, for the first time ever that I could remember, it worked.


When I woke up he was gone, and I was not in my former bedroom anymore. I permitted myself a brief moment of relief before gathering my resolve for facing the next crisis.

I wasn't home this time, and it was one of those times I could tell right away. I felt edgy even before I opened my eyes.

Jeesh, it was dark in here, wherever here was… and fucking cold, too. At least I was wearing clothes. That was a definite perk. Waking up on a stone floor in the dark, in a cold, echoing cavern of a room, is not my favorite way to greet the new day, but it *really* sucks if you have to do it in your birthday suit. It's not the cold so much as the implications - and yes, I have been there before. Not my scene. *Definitely* not my scene.

Well, I was away from *him*. Someone else had had to deal with that mess for once. Okay - with *my* mess. I admitted it to myself - I had fucked up, and fucked up royally. It wasn't something I'd had control over, though. I mean, how was I supposed to know that would happen? I'd never really believed in the existence of the emotion they called love. It belonged in the same world with fairy-tale princesses and sparkly magic wands and all that shit.

I was pretty sure they would have dumped him pretty damn quick. They weren't *that* stupid, and as far as I could tell they'd never been into sex all that much. And to tell the truth, he wasn't anything unprecedented in that department - good, yes, but not mind-blowing. Not really.

It hadn't been how he'd touched me. It had been something in the *way* he'd touched me. Fuck. It made no sense.

And it didn't matter anyway. It was over, and it was time to face the new challenge ahead of me. It didn't look good, I'd need all of my will-power and concentration.

I gathered myself and forced myself to ignore the fact that the icy horror in my chest had now been replaced with a not much more pleasant, hollow and aching emptiness.

Okay now, Alex old boy. Let's see how bad it is this time, shall we?

Physically, it wasn't great, but it wasn't that bad, either. No major pains, everything still in working order. Some twinges, a very tender spot in the stomach, some nasty burning in the eyes and nose, but nothing that felt truly dangerous. Wicked sore throat, though, and muscle aches all over.

At first I automatically catalogued the throat and the various twinges as the result of keeping company with someone who was hung like a horse and had no self-control to speak of. I quickly realized that that explanation didn't really fit, though. For one thing, it was damn unlikely that the soreness of my throat would have been the first thing to catch my notice if that assessment of the situation had been correct. For another, my sinuses burned something fierce and the stench was almost as bad as the pain, and the taste in my mouth was like nothing I'd ever even imagined in my worst nightmares. And just what the hell was wrong with my eyes, anyway?

There was something wrong with my breathing, too. It took me a while to catch on to the fact that I was trembling - shivering, kind of, only from the inside. Shit. So it was drugs again now, was it? Fuck those assholes, they never learned.

My hand trembled when I flexed it experimentally, and even though I stopped and gathered myself, breathing as evenly and deeply as I could manage, I couldn't prevent my arm from quivering uncontrollably as I lifted it, bringing it to my hair.

It was short, thank God. A little *too* short, actually. And there was *still* that disgusting glop in it.

I tried to wipe my hand off on my jeans and found that my jeans were covered in hair gel.

And so was my hand, and my arm, and my T-shirt, and my face. And it was the horrible taste in my mouth and the burning stench in my nose.

And it was not hair gel at all.

That was the moment that I realized that maybe, just maybe, falling in love with Spooky Mulder had not been the most absolutely stupid and potentially lethal thing I'd ever done, after all.



The End

Feedback of all kinds appreciated!