A Boy And His Rat -- Part Four

by C.M. Decarnin

4.

"I don't believe you're doing this." The handcuff clicked shut. "That you even brought chains."

"Be glad. Otherwise you'd be sleeping on your stomach."

The shackle cuffs gave enough length to fasten one end on Krycek's wrist and the other to the frame of the bed, still allowing him to lie down.

"Why can't we just take a plane?" Mulder ignored him, rooting through his suitcase to see if the Russian had packed any pajamas. He'd watched him pack, but he couldn't remember. His gaze had been fastened on Krycek's face. "You can't seriously mean to drive all the way back East. What's the point?"

Mulder found the deep red silk pajamas, sneered, and jammed them at Krycek's chest. He leaned in. "Quality time." He watched Krycek's eyes. Payback, Alex.

He took his own overnight case -- with his gun in it -- and pajamas into the bathroom and locked the door. Showered leisurely.

Let him think about it. See if he has a lockpick concealed in a false tooth, a hacksaw built into the prosthetic Mulder had made him put on for the trip. It was conspicuous enough the way he'd had to pretend to help Krycek to and from the restroom at pit-stops; he didn't want people remembering a one-armed man. Slowly Krycek had recovered from whatever had seemed to so shatter him about Mulder's reappearance in his life. By the end of the day he was almost back to his old high standard of bitchiness. As if he hadn't just hours before knelt on the floor and taken Mulder's dick into his mouth like a sacrament.

He'd watched and listened fascinated as the interior rpm's revved higher and higher, till Krycek had recovered much of the hyper posture, the attack mode Mulder expected in him. He realized Krycek must have been seriously off his feed or he would never have taken him so easily. It was the first time he'd ever located a place where Krycek was living, let alone got inside it. That was why he hadn't been able to take his eyes off the once-familiar face, made new by a play of actual emotions across it. Unless Krycek was the greatest actor the world had ever known, he was seeing inside him, for the first time. In where the perfect, arrogant, lethal beast became, incredibly, a man, stricken, shaken, robbed of confidence, empty of vision. His face reminded Mulder of refugees, whose eyes no longer pled for mercy. It didn't mean they were beaten, it meant their world had turned them out. They had nothing left even to fight.

But one slender thing he realized Krycek still battled against: letting Mulder see how hard the simple things now were, as he opened his suitcase and pulled out obstreperous dresser drawers one-handed, folded things that came unfolded, held trousers up and ribboned them down into folded stacks before taking them off the coathangers. He saw how Krycek tried to move smoothly, unhurriedly, to avoid making any mistakes.

Mulder paid him the compliment of keeping the gun trained on him the whole time.

But he didn't think he really had to. He couldn't forget that one little moan, hardly a sound at all, as Krycek first touched Mulder's cock. Nor the sensation of Krycek's mouth sucking him in farewell as he pulled out after cataclysming in the pure blaze of sadistic joy of knowing he was hurting the man, feeling the little jerks of pain in the throat around his cock, and seeing Krycek submit to it, arch to it, beg for it with the hand on his ass.

Mulder was hard.

He wanted it again and Krycek was right out there. Cuffed down. One-armed.

Helpless.

Yeah right. Like a black mamba. And of course he, Special Agent Mulder, was not a rapist.

Alex Krycek wanted Mulder bad. Showing in his eyes, his hard prick, his body arching under Mulder's into orgasm.

So why did it feel like what he was about to do was rape?

He dried himself, ruffled his hair in the towel, looked in the mirror... Did he recognize that face? Those dead, emotionless eyes that somehow showed exactly what he was going to do? Hard dark desire... He unlocked the bathroom door.

Krycek looked over at him.

Mulder let him look.

Let him see.

Let him understand.

Then he started toward the bed.

And saw Krycek tense, one knee rising defensively. Helplessly.

His wide eyes were mesmerized on Mulder's. His mouth opening. Showing the tips of his teeth.

And Mulder stopped at the edge of the bed.

Staring into eyes that were filling with dread.

And he'd fully intended to flip Alex Krycek's mutilated body over, so his arm was pinned under him, slide the clothing down off his round ass and take him deep, tight around his hard-on. He wanted to feel Krycek under him, the hardness of him in bone and muscle objecting, unable to defend the soft, cool, smooth cheeks under his thrusting and inward, the hot, soft, helpless dark. Penetrated, ruined, taken by him, filled and ramrodded, owned -- to Krycek's outcries as he leisurely pleasured his length within the traitor's flesh. Ending it ramming it as hard as his ecstatic soul needed to start to recoup every searing pain Krycek had dealt him, start to stab into Krycek's body the invisible brand of his revenge.

Stopped, he saw how the raised knees were tilted together and the bare feet digging, bracing, uselessly against the bed, toes turned in; and in the shrinking posture he saw with absolute clarity a tiny child about to be hurt to the heart.

He stared into Krycek's eyes.

His vengeance had been taken long ago.

But it wasn't only anger pulling him to Krycek.

It was his cock.

His naked, rudely pointing, blood-gorged cock, hardly able to lift its own weight.

He stroked fingertips down it from tip to root.

He whispered hoarsely, "Did you think this was for you?"

He saw the eyes, brilliant with fear, look down. Back up. Down.

"You always were an arrogant little fuck." His cock wept and yearned. "I'll tell you what. I'll let you watch. But that's all. You can't touch yourself. And don't say anything. I don't even want to know you're there."

Mulder stood naked, looking at him, his gaze playing over the worn jeans and t-shirt, the bare feet and ankles, the tense hand pulled tight at the end of its chain. He could feel Krycek's eyes on him, where he caressed and handled the enormous erection, but he refused to look at Krycek's face. To meet those long-lashed eyes. Probably the beautiful traitor still feared Mulder would lurch onto the bed and assault him. Last, he let his eyes linger across the chest, to the left shoulder, and where out of the short sleeve of the t-shirt showed the scarred, pocked, but smoothed and somewhat hardened skin of the end of Krycek's stump.

There was vengeance for you. How many men had it taken to hold his body down... while they sliced into his muscle and split the strong bone, hearing him scream uncontrolled. Agony... horror... the arm separated from your body irrevocably, the terrible mutilation cauterized in some wild flame, the blood in lakes -- it was incredible he hadn't died of shock then and there, instead of rebounding into Mulder's life full of warnings and prophecies, revivifying his faith in the worst of all possible truths.

The images of Alex's suffering, his body writhing and held down, had hardened Mulder's cock to iron. His fingers still teased along it. Not yet... He might not have perfected any other form of sex, but at this he was a master. Drawing out his pleasure into whole lonely evenings made lush and meaningful by his own hand, his own mind. Alex...

Let Alex sweat, let him wonder if Mulder's control would break, if he would kneel onto the bed and crawl toward Alex's helpless body, if his hands instead of his eyes would be caressing -- there, across the belly -- there -- thighs, inside, up, under to touch the butt, over the t-shirt to the nipples he could just barely see there, to touch... trail lightly to the throat, swallowing under his fingers, down to the armpit making Krycek shiver, down over that arm so strong, all that muscle, the veins, the sinew to his circle of stronger steel holding Krycek for him, for his pleasure, for his body and mind to use as he pleased, and he did please... He felt himself sway forward, hypnotized with lust, and he realized his cock could be master here, it was fast out-arguing his conscience and Alex wasn't helping by lying there, alluring, tense and frightened, shamed... what was going through his mind right now? He would be able to tell, able to know, if he touched him, took him, overpowered and violated him, all the answers to all the questions lay in that body, helpless to his touch, that would lie sobbing at his sovereignty, bleeding all his secrets to my tongue...

He gasped, and saw Krycek jerk. That long body so responsive to him here...

Can't stand this... can't stand, period, his hips trying to bend him.

He had extra shackles... He could shackle those strong, naked ankles... apart... tight... safe then to lick those bare male insteps, his tongue broad on them, and then the tip, just slipping under... the wrinkly edge there -- touch the sole... poke wet between Krycek's toes and listen to him... cry out... Was Krycek hard? Would it be a mercy to him, if Mulder lay with him, opened and entered him, forced him to climax, come, cry out, admit everything... Krycek...

He realized Krycek was keeping very still, not to incite him.

It excited him. Krycek's fear was like a sweet syrup, pulling to be licked and tasted off him...

Was this the scariest thing to Krycek? Helplessness? How many times had he been held down... had things... done to him...

And Mulder knew he had lost, had lost, he was going to be the next, to hold Alex down, impose his will and his huge hardness into the soft part in all that tough boy, find it and hurt into it, make Alex scream again, make Alex cry -- again -- make -- Alex -- give it up -- make -- Alex --

He could see in the shake at the end of each breath under Alex's t-shirt that he knew, he knew the shudder all over Mulder's naked skin meant in a second, in an instant, the attack would give him his single chance, to kick, fight or fling himself to the floor, and then he would lose, lose everything to Mulder's hot width ripping him --

Mulder put one knee up on the bed and Krycek did cry out, his hand clutching the bed and -- the stump of his other arm reaching convulsively toward nothing. Mulder caught his hot, aching cock in both hands and closed on it, his head going back, eyes sliding closed, mouth open, his nakedness the most erotic thing he had ever known, under Krycek's eyes, as he jacked exquisitely on the ripplingly grateful taut cockflesh with his warm, clutching hands. The cock stretched through his grip, yearned, oh god -- oh god -- Alex -- and shot onto Alex's stretched frightened body, stippling his crotch, his t-shirt, the stump arm -- He looked at last deep into Krycek's eyes, shuddered and shot his last to the fright that caressed him there in those depths, mingling with relief now, releasing Krycek like an orgasm-- anger -- oh god that's good so good so good Alex yeah -- show me. Show me how you hate me...

Breathing hard, Mulder came back to himself leaning forward on the bed on both hands. He looked up at Krycek who apparently hadn't taken his eyes off him for a second. He crawled toward him, collapsing slowly onto his stomach. He put his hand, and then his mouth, on Krycek's stump, and stroked and licked the tight, shiny skin at the end, looking straight into Krycek's eyes. He sucked and kissed the whole surface, holding it when Krycek tried to pull away. He took it in both hands and put the whole end of it into his mouth, washing his tongue over it and biting down gently. The look in Krycek's eyes was enough to make him erect again, and he knew that this time nothing could keep him off of that body, and he let Alex see it in his eyes. There was sweat on Krycek's face. He looked away desperately, jaws clenched.

Mulder spoke softly as he engulfed the stump in one warm palm. "Maybe not even you deserved the way they did this. It must have been hell."

"Bite me."

Fox did, gently, across the stump, and heard a sound of frustration from between Krycek's teeth.

"I thought you were Mister I'll-Fuck-Anything-Twice. What's the big deal?"

Krycek disdained to notice him.

Mulder bit hard, Krycek went to hit him and had his arm bent back sharply by the limits of the shackle. Seething, teeth showing, he lunged at Mulder with Russian curses on his tongue, and when he could not get close enough to bite, spat.

"Wo." Mulder had ducked back, but only just out of reach. "Yeah... That's what I like to see. Plenty of spunk in my sex slaves."

"Get fucked!"

"Definitely part of my five-year plan here. Krycek, have you ever been diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder?"

A bitter look.

"I bet you have," Mulder said quietly. "I bet you were a regular ICD-9 poster child. And I bet you laughed all the way to the couch. Because you were smarter than them and you knew it. How long did it take to realize you'd played them into a corner you couldn't get out of? That your fucked-up chart and your fucked-up meds were going to follow you everywhere?" Half-lidded eyes slid a glance of contempt at him. "Until you could go back and disappear your records, that is. How old were you when you were recruited, Alex? Fourteen? Fifteen? You were supposedly thirteen when you got here, but I've seen the photos and you don't look thirteen to me. You hit the ground running, in two years you spoke mid-American English only an expert could have heard a foreign accent in, you were in college in the town where you could do the most harm, and I'm sure you did. Did it ever occur to you maybe your real job was to alter the HIV status of a few Congressmen, Alex?

"And now here you are giving me this Virgin Sacrifice on Satan's Altar shtick, and I'm curious. What happened to Beat-Me-Whip-Me Alex, Catch-Me-And-Knock-The-Crap-Out-Of-Me Alex, Go-On-And-Finish-It-Here-Take-My-Gun Alex -- cause I kind of miss that boy and I'm not sure Malibu Alex here is really gonna do it for me."

Krycek lashed out viciously. "You don't know anything about me!"

"Are you trying to tell me if I slapped you across the face your cock wouldn't stand up? You don't like it when I take it out on you?"

There was a silence. Mulder didn't break it, and finally Krycek said, "No. I don't like it."

"You sure kept coming back for seconds."

Another silence.

"I wanted you to notice me."

Silence, this time from Mulder. "You have my undivided attention, Krycek, but you still don't seem satisfied. What is it that doesn't meet your specs?"

"I hate bondage!" It came back fast, passionate. "I hate it!" His voice sounded full of hatred, indeed, and Mulder marvelled that Superspy would put such a piece of information into his eager hands. Krycek seemed beyond caring for consequences.

After some moments Krycek looked back at him and Mulder could see him realize what he had done, but he only looked stubborn, and met Mulder's eyes defiantly.

"If it's any comfort, this isn't bondage, Krycek, this is common fucking sense. I have to sleep in this room." Krycek stared him into admitting, "Not that it isn't hot. Not that I don't like the idea of you helpless. Not that I wouldn't get off on pushing you way past your limits, breaking you, and making you cry like a girl." A purring texture entered his voice. "And not that I don't plan on doing just that."

"It's been tried, Mulder. By experts."

Mulder smiled.

Krycek shifted warily.

Carefully, watching closely, Mulder eased his hand up under Krycek's t-shirt, onto his tense belly. He let it lie there, riding up and down with the breathing, a little faster, a little unsteady as he continued to do nothing but observe. At length he said, "What's your pleasure, Alex?" Krycek's eyes flicked to him and away, as if he too were focusing on the place their skin touched. "You want to be my dog for real? Down on your hands and knees, my arms around your belly, your legs spread and me between them, screwed so far into you it makes your eyes cross? Or on your face, squirming under me, pretending you couldn't stop me, screaming "No! -- Please! -- No!" Or on your back like the whore you are, with your legs in the air and your mouth open begging for it --"

Krycek turned his gaze on Mulder witheringly. "All these years I've been wrong. There really is a fate worse than death."

Mulder slid his hand down under Krycek's pants and onto the warm genitals, finding the flesh cylinder, somewhat to his surprise, soft and tender in its nest of fur. He glanced down and back up. Making his voice gentle, he asked, "Then why don't you tell me your fantasies, Alex." He paused and watched Krycek's averted face. His voice was a caress. "Tell me how you wanted me to notice you." And only then did he feel movement under his hand, like a wobbling cub nuzzling in its first search for its mother. The slight sensation drenched him with icy fire. He held his hand over the little moving animal, sheltering. Krycek was taking short gasping breaths, with long pauses in between. He was losing it, he was giving it up, he was about to --

Mulder lay down over Krycek's body and felt the trembling that had taken the rangy frame flinch into rigidity. "Don't --" the Russian gasped. "Don't." Mulder gripped him gently at arm and opposite flank and surged along his body slowly, rockingly, and Krycek hissed again, "Don't!" and when Mulder moved his hand down to the tight hip, Krycek gasped, "I'll tell Scully!"

And Mulder rolled off him, landing on his back, laughing weakly. "Oh, god." The best the assassin could come up with was to tattle?

Then again...

It had worked.

Once past the immediate reflex of laughter, he realized he could not imagine Scully condoning rape. Not even on Krycek.

It would be Krycek's word against his.

He tried to imagine himself lying to Scully.

He rolled over. He regarded Krycek, trying to read the stare that met his.

"This morning you wanted my cock in you more than you wanted to live. Now I'm outraging your virtue. What makes the difference?"

Krycek yanked up his hand, stopped hard at the end of its chain. His gaze never wavered. Mulder looked back mutely. Krycek said low and unsteady, "You came into the room meaning to rape me."

"The Amazing Krycek, Psychic to the F.B.I."

"I know that look." Krycek took a breath.

"What's it like?"

After a time Krycek did slowly look away. He seemed to be gazing at a thousand answers, wondering which one to bring out for Mulder. Then he seemed a step removed, and further away. "I had to have surgery. It was worse than rape, for pain." He was far back. "The doctors... looked at me like..." He dragged his eyes back to Mulder. "Since then I've always been with people who knew. I was the boy who had sex for money. I was the boy who had sex with his own father. I was the boy who got raped." Krycek held his eyes, against his will Mulder felt himself drawn in, to a dimness where only the two awarenesses were, where they spoke more deeply together than he dared to be with this man. He couldn't look away.

"All day I've been back there, back before I came to America. Like everyone else I listened to rock and roll and wore black-market jeans, and then I was trained, but when I actually got here it was such a strange feeling. Like it was where I belonged. I felt as if I had been born to come to this place. The language, the habits, it all came to me so easily. Yet everything I was here to do meant I was an enemy...

"It was like I was supposed to be... someone like you. I tried. I tried to be that kid. For a while.

"But I wasn't.

"So I just let it all out. All the craziness, meanness, badness, all the things I'd been shown and told and forced into, all the things I'd felt and never had the guts to say and it was so good." Krycek's eyes closed a moment. "At first.

"Later... You can't go back. There's no atonement, for some things, no way to see yourself, after that, as anything else... You shake. You run. So you never have to look back, and see yourself in the mirror of your own past."

"Krycek..." Intuition slid down through him like an icy cross-section and his voice made the word multi-tonal with dawning astonishment. His head tilted slightly. "You're not worried about your virtue... you're worried about mine."

"I'm not going to be the reason you change from what you are to something... less. I'm not going to be what you can't look back at."

Anger and humiliation flushed Mulder's cheeks. "Oh trust me, Krycek, I'm not going to be racked with guilt over anything I do to you! You seriously think I care what you want or don't want? You think you deserve any choice? You forfeited all that with me, so long ago. You're not a person, Krycek, you're just a dead body that can still scream."

For a split second he thought he saw pain in Krycek's eyes. He tore open Krycek's jeans and got onto his knees to pull them down. He looked at Krycek's cock, which was soft again in its dark surround. His own cock throbbed. But he found Krycek was incredibly strong and he couldn't get him turned over. He kept flinging himself back. He got his legs up and lashed at Mulder with his feet together, barely missing. Mulder caught the bare ankles, split them wide and threw himself between. Impassed, then, unable to let him go and unable to take him. Krycek grated, "Haven't you heard, Fox? The bottom controls the scene. I'm controlling this one and I'm telling you no. Get your hands off me unless you're ready to kill me."

Kill him. Get up and manage to tie his feet down, take him, over and over if he wanted, and when he was done...

He wouldn't even have to kill him fast. He could make it last. And watch his eyes... Then fuck him with his gun and when he came...

Cleanup would be a bitch. The Bureau knew where he was. The motel clerk had seen them. No matter how he hid the body, when it was found he'd be a suspect. And hiding a whole body was so much harder in real life than on tv... The alternative was to claim Krycek left him no choice... But Forensics would take a jaundiced view of wrist and ankle marks and the state of the corpse's ass, even if he didn't leave DNA. Shooting Krycek up the ass in self-defense might not convince OPR instantly either.

The paperwork alone...

If he didn't kill him the son of a bitch would tell Scully.

His cock told him he didn't care what Scully thought.

He wanted to believe.

He didn't have any goddam condoms.

His cock told him he wouldn't get AIDS from Krycek -- there was some evidence the Black Oil killed off any competing infection in a body. Permanently.

Get your arm under one thigh. Pin the other with your weight. Fuck him! Fuck him, raw, till he screams, fuck him, bloody, till he cries, fuck him crazy till he vomits his illusions about you... and has nothing... nothing, again... Like before you came for him.

His cock was so hard he had to move it. Rub it against Krycek, he had to. And that taste of flesh against it -- That was it. His heat engulfed all resistance. His body tensed, and undulated just once. He raised his head and met Krycek's eyes.

And they were full of desire. Krycek said, "I want you. Do it, Mulder. I want you in me. Fuck me." His voice was gentle and breathy. "Fuck me, baby. I want it inside me. It's so big, it makes me so hot --" And though Krycek did it better than anyone he'd ever heard, that was a line he knew so well from a hundred videos that it stopped him, cock in his hand positioning to push in. Eyes glazed he looked at Krycek's face again -- "Yeah, baby," and Krycek smiled at him pleadingly -- and down at Krycek's soft, utterly flaccid cock.

Painfully, he hauled himself further up Krycek's body, caught the perfect oval jaw in one hand and looked directly down into Krycek's eyes.

And what he saw was not desire nor a whore's imitation of lust.

He had seen it that morning in Krycek's kitchen but hadn't believed it. Krycek's hormones as adrenaline-spiked as his own, Krycek's masochism, Krycek's psycho turbulence -- anything but what it had looked like, in Krycek's eyes, in Krycek's little smile, in the softening of Krycek's whole body as he'd offered himself to Mulder for both work and sex.

Mulder heaved himself up off Krycek and off the bed. It was all he could do to hobble bent over into the bathroom and shut the door. He didn't want Krycek seeing this one. Among the dozen things thrashing for supremacy in him was a terrible shame at how he had spent the last half hour frightening Krycek with the threat of rape, displaying his capability contemptuously, and molesting a tied-up cripple. Who in return tried to protect him from guilt...

Everything else tumbled away in the deep single imperative Must... Fuck... NOW. He turned on the shower so Krycek wouldn't even hear him, he hoped, and lay down in the tub with the hard spray joining his hands on his imperially prepotent cock. He kneaded, moaned, and writhed, and jacked brutally, his cock so hard and hot it didn't matter if it hurt as long as it moved -- squeezed -- fast -- hard. It seemed he had waited past the peak and it took him minutes to get through a sort of overstimulated numbness that had set in. He thought of Krycek -- spread for him -- tied down and this time gagged -- the touch of the soft skin of his ass -- the tensed rounds parted -- his cock between them, a push, Krycek's scream into the gag as he thrust in, "Take it, Alex -- take it -- hurt -- oh, god, yeah --"

Reflected spray got in his mouth and the slight threat of drowning, the need to hold his breath, brought him to the point of sparklers and charcoal snakes igniting and then the whole Fourth of July went off in his cock and his loins and back and buttcheeks and thighs and he wasn't there anymore, just the fireworks, going up, up, into beautiful umbrellas of pleasure, at last showering down benedictions in his whole body --

Beautiful -- so beautiful --

Not anything a rapist deserved, especially when they were still thinking about it --

He lay there dissolved and released and getting his breath before he struggled up, let the hot water soothe his back a moment, and turned off the shower. Which meant he now had to go out and face Krycek and he didn't know how he could do it.

But it turned out he didn't have to. As he stood with lowered head and one hand on the washcloth rack he became aware that the shower curtain was being moved back slightly and he looked up straight at Krycek. His jeans were pulled up but not fastened, and his hand went back from the shower curtain to hold them up. The hand had blood on it. It looked scraped in places.

Then it reached out for him and without knowing why at all, he moved into its reach and was pulled in against Krycek's clothing on Krycek's warm hard body. It felt good. It felt real.

"I'm not sure I want a dog," Mulder mumbled into the warm neck. "The S.P.C.A. would get me for sure."

He could feel Krycek's heartbeat, against his chest. "How about a pet rat? Nobody cares what you do to them."

"Oh, I'm sure there's a group out there. Rodents of the world, unite, you have nothing to lose but your --" Mulder pulled away slowly, and examined Krycek's raw hand. "You only have one of these."

"I had to pee. Keeps me in practice."

"Alex Houdini. I guess there's not much point in cuffing you for the night."

"Not really. Not if you plan to sleep for more than five minutes."

Mulder realized his eyelids had closed, and he didn't want to open them, to meet Krycek's eyes.

He felt Krycek's hand on his shoulder, at the back of his neck. He heard the strong voice urge, "Nothing you could do to me would even accounts for the things I've done."

"I'm not sure it's my place to separate the sheep from the goats," Mulder answered bitterly. The fingers stroked his neck and pain trickled all through him. He forced his eyes to open, and met the passionate gaze.

"Mulder... Listen to what I'm going to say, because I won't say it again.

"What you want; what you need; go on and take it. Whatever, however. Take me down, take me hard, take anything you want. I won't let you cross over the line so don't even worry about it. Just do what you want. I was born to be your whipping-boy and if there was a God I'd get down on my knees and thank Him for that every hour on the hour."

"But you said --" Krycek stopped his mouth with a vicious kiss, ending in a bite that drew blood on Mulder's lower lip. "Ow!"

"Shut up and listen!" Anger and amazement focussed him on Krycek's passion, the gluttonous expression on the Russian's face transfixed him, the words ate into him like acid. "I know how you need to touch me and that's how I want you to touch me. I know what you need to be to me and what you need to do to me and I want to be under your hand so bad I can taste it. The need is what does it for me, Mulder, the more you need it the more I want it, and nobody needs it like you do. If you need to wale on me, trust me, I need it even more, and I'll do anything to get it from you. Anything. I'm yours. If you need me in bondage..." A couple of deep breaths. "Go ahead. Do it." He leaned in carefully and kissed Fox's mouth. "Use me." He kissed again, and the sore spot on Mulder's lip ached, sending a yearning down through his gut. "I'm sorry I bit you." Krycek's tongue was in his mouth, soft, sweet, eery, with a taste of blood, then it was gone. "One thing. Only one thing I want more than I want you. That's for you to be alive. You might need to know that someday."

Mulder was too dazed with brilliant information to even try to work that out. Krycek pulled away, turning for the door.

"I thought you had to pee?"

Krycek smiled dazzlingly. "I already did."

How long was he in here? Mulder thought with a thrill of horror.

He was pretty sure it was horror.

He caught Krycek's arm. The Russian whose body he had touched more intimately than he had touched any other man's looked back at him, in his eyes a waiting, expectant, open look that consented to things Mulder had never thought of asking. Would never have dreamed of asking.

"Why me?" he asked quietly.

Krycek's eyes searched his, his body easing an inch closer as if drawn by magnetism. "Freud might say it's the symbolism -- you keep hittin' on me enough, it becomes a double entendre."

Mulder realized he had never seen Krycek without that desperate eroticism in his eyes. "That would make it my idea."

Krycek looked back steadily. "Yeah. It would."

After a minute he turned and went out.

Krycek woke to the sounds of Mulder brushing his teeth in the bathroom. His heart jerked into high speed, and even after he remembered where he was, he lay in shock at the fact that he had slept through someone moving around in the same room he was in. Cold swept over his skin. Lose your edge and that's it. Dead. Dead. Dead, his heart thudded. He knew so well how easy it was, how fast, to go from living to dead. Just like that. The barrier hardly even existed.

He moved and felt the dark red silk of his pajamas around his limbs.

No handcuff.

It was all coming back to him.

I'm in love with Fox Mulder.

And at that apex of its roller-coaster ride his heart simply ...took off. On wings.

Soaring, with no support at all, over more danger than he had ever dreamed existed. Into... happiness.

The strangest and most breathtaking... fearlessness... he had ever known. Mulder loved -- liked -- no -- Mulder was becoming tamed to his presence. Hadn't actually hit him in almost a whole day together. The taste and feel of his cock against his tongue, the pain of his cock in his throat -- Mulder's hands on him -- everywhere --Mulder's mouth -- French-kissing where his arm had been cut off.

Mulder, damp against him from the shower.

Mulder had come into his embrace and he had told Mulder everything he was feeling. Logically a dangerous way to live. Or, more logically, die. He had never put his faith in intuition. But the magical interchange had kept on, balanced, with its own momentum. The truth, the whole truth, and Mulder had not pushed him away. Had let him kiss his mouth.

The truth will set you free. He got up off the bed and felt as if he were floating, weightless.

Happy.

Mulder came out of the bathroom and he turned toward him, like a compass turning toward the north.

Mulder smiled at him.

Glancing down his silk pajamas.

Which were, he realized -- and a part of him tucked away among useful information -- nonthreatening and even, yes, silly articles of clothing, on an assassin, but then he understood Mulder had also smiled because he had smiled, first, at Mulder.

Evoked that sunshine by his own uncensored impulse.

Honesty.

Truth.

Mulder clad only in little dark blue briefs.

Intoxication. Mulder walking toward him, hands touching the silk on him. Mulder moving in for the kiss.

No harsh bright peppermint, only a fresher taste than last night. A light kiss first. Then Mulder's mouth melted into his and he felt like something grabbed him by the gonads.

Mulder's cell phone rang.

Mulder left him to answer it.

Krycek stood bereft of breath. Still feeling Mulder's lips on his mouth. Mulder's hands on his back and waist. Mulder's breath, Mulder's thigh.

He hadn't expected that.

He can't have forgotten... So much between them... Maybe Mulder was horny in the morning. Even so... Krycek caught a whiff of his own unwashed body. Pheromones... Fear... He followed Mulder with his eyes, where he wandered over toward the window with the cell phone at his ear.

Shower.

Krycek made it quick, his mind still unable to grip the fact that Mulder had walked up to him and kissed him. He dried off as well as he could and walked out naked.

Mulder was dressed and packed and had Krycek's clean clothes laid out.

"If we get our booties in gear we can make St. Louis in time for a one o'clock flight to Dulles," he tossed over his shoulder at Krycek.

Disappointment soaked through him. "What happened to quality time?"

Mulder looked shamed, hesitant. But, "Scully's got a lead on an X-file," was all he said, and picked up the suitcases. He went out.

Krycek sat down on the bed to put his pants on.

What was Mulder going to do with him?

Another night on Skinner's balcony was not in the cards. A night at Mulder's place? Suicidal.

Oh no.

No, Mulder wouldn't try to park him at Geek HQ. It would move his friends abruptly out of the harmless crank category into a target classification.

The only sensible thing Mulder could really do with him would be to let him go. D.C. was his home swamp, he knew all the depths and bogs and endless smelly shallows there.

Persuade Mulder of that on the drive. Spend the flight figuring out where to go, who to do, what to steal...

He stood up and zipped his pants, climbed into his prosthetic and tied his shoelaces.

He stopped, holding his t-shirt.

Was giving Mulder what he wanted really a good idea?

Did Mulder know even remotely what they were up against?

Getting the vaccine out there could stop colonization of human bodies.

It couldn't stop their destruction.

Oh not bombs, fire from heaven, radiation that would leave the planet a cheerfully glowing wreck. After all, the idea was to live here. And they were into selectivity: their implants, their immolation weapons. Aimed at individuals. The way they went after hybrids hand-to-hand with that stiletto thing. They had an antipersonnel device that homed in on the last person who touched it, left everything else intact but tore that one person to ribbons within a containment field. Surely they had to have some kind of toxin or disease that would snuff out a single species and leave everything else unharmed. If they couldn't inhabit humans, why keep them around?

Mulder came back, looking questioning.

Krycek put the sleeve over the end of the prosthetic, pulled the shirt up, got his head and arm in and tugged it down over himself.

Mulder was looking at him.

His mouth, so sensitive, his eyes, troubled.

Krycek let him look. It was part of what he did, letting people look at him. He put on his jacket.

Mulder still stood there.

Krycek looked back. "What," he prompted finally.

Mulder shifted. "I'm just having a little trouble with my self-image. Integrating "sadistic homosexual rapist" in between the Oxford degree and the law enforcement career."

"What's so hard about that? It's classic." Krycek reined in the bitterness. "You didn't rape me, Mulder."

"I was this far from it. And in some states, what I did do is already rape."

"Trust me." The bitterness was back, rusty and resentful in his voice. "It isn't." He looked at Mulder again, and hauled himself up out of past pain into this moment and Mulder.

He said carefully, "I gave you permission. Retroactively."

Mulder just shook his head.

Krycek said roughly, "You were out of control and it felt great. I told you, I know. You want to know how the KGB controlled me? What they held over me? They said they'd send me back to my father. I didn't figure out till later they never would have done it. I'd never have been let out of there alive, with what I knew. When I realized that -- that was when I started to let it out. Go nuts on it. Enjoy my work.

"That's what I'll never forgive, Mulder. That he made me into something I can't take back. That fear of him was the only thing that could keep me from being like him. I'm outside of humanity, that can never change, and I know that." He looked at Mulder longingly, letting the sad face and FBI-clad body soak into his being. "You're different. You are the essence of what humanity is about. The knight without fear and beyond reproach." He smiled a little. "The rebel without a clue. Last night... There are just some things you need to know, about yourself and people like you, and you'll be fine. You'll be fine, Mulder."

"I wanted to rape you and kill you and bury you in the desert."

"We all have those feelings sometimes."

Mulder finally cracked a smile.

"You'd never have been able to kill me after coming in me. You might have thought you could, when you were all hot and wanting, but you never would have been able to do it."

Mulder's eyes were still sad. But he only said, "And what did the Consortium have over you?"

Krycek hesitated. "They said... the aliens wanted someone with my genotype. That they were hunting for it. I would have worked for them anyway, they were at the center of things, but... that kept me in line." He licked his lower lip. "The ones who knew are dead. I don't know what kind of records they kept on me, maybe none. The Rebels will burn me anyway, if they know I worked for the hybridization project."

"What's so special about your genes?"

Krycek shrugged. "I took samples to a couple of labs, but both times they said the samples had been contaminated and they couldn't give me a reasonable result. I figured somebody really didn't want me to know, and I laid off. It scared the piss out of me -- that somebody was watching that closely." He felt sweat break on his skin. He'd been careful. "I don't know that much about genetics anyway. I wouldn't have been able to tell what they were looking for."

"Will you be able to survive?"

Krycek searched Mulder's face. All he could see was the steel-like perception looking back at him.

"I can do what you need done."

After a moment Mulder half-nodded, and turned and went out.

Krycek followed him.

Mulder drove west, stealing a sidelong glance at Krycek. Sipping drive-through coffee to wake from what seemed like a strange trance.

Why did I kiss him?

Last night... Last night was sex, and not very friendly sex at that.

This morning...

Krycek had smiled at him.

Krycek had turned toward him at once with a smile of such happiness and welcome that it illuminated him from the inside out. He had been moving before he'd known what he was doing, taking Krycek's body between his hands, greeting him like a lover, lips touching lips...

A reflex.

Unguarded response to unguarded joy.

Simple as that.

Until it splintered into a thousand conflicting emotions. Especially at the sound of Scully's voice on the phone.

Krycek his sexual pet?

His enemy in his bed?

What in the hell was he doing?

No one was there to answer that question, and he drove east into the sun, wondering what Krycek was thinking.

End of Part 4, A Boy and His Rat

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