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The Rat Before Christmas

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Mulder mindlessly surfed through the endless barrage of Christmas specials, unable to muster up an ounce of holiday cheer. Scully had flown out to her brother's a couple of days ago, and was probably in the middle of a picture perfect Christmas scene at this very moment. Letting out another self pitying sigh, Mulder tried to ignore the local news woman who had a Santa hat on her head. Even the news was tainted with Christmas.

"Bah humbug!"

The knock on the door signaled the arrival of Mulder's Christmas Eve pizza. Pulling some bills out of his wallet, he opened the door... no pizza. A tortured moan made him look down, and there, tied up with a big red bow and an over sized card that said "Merry Christmas" stuck on top of him, was Alex Krycek. Not dinner, but his enemy, who appeared to be hog-tied with a heavy duty red ribbon. Grabbing Krycek's legs, he pulled his Christmas present into his apartment and locked the door. Only then did Mulder let himself wonder at how, even on Christmas Eve, the X-Files seemed to rule his life.

Who the hell would dump Krycek on his doorstep, and why? Did the Cancerman actually have a sense of humor? For a paranoid moment, Mulder even considered that Krycek had figured out a way to do this to himself. Before he had a chance to ponder the surreal situation further, there was another knock on his door.

He dragged Krycek out of sight, and hollered, "Who is it?"

"Pizza!"

Quickly paying for his dinner, Mulder put it in the oven to keep warm until he figured out what the hell was going on. Walking over to Krycek, he picked the card up, looking for some clue as to who had done this, and why, but found nothing. Krycek was squirming at his feet, making grunting noises around the red ribbon gag. Who ever tied him up had done a good job; he was trussed up like a Christmas goose. The purple and blue bruises on Krycek's face made Mulder think of ornaments on a tree. Giving his head a quick shake in an attempt to make some sense of the situation, Mulder decided to remove the gag from his gift and see what it had to say for itself.

Oddly enough, Krycek didn't say anything when Mulder pulled the red ribbon from his mouth. He gasped for air and coughed a bit, but that was about it.

"What kind of twisted game is this, Krycek?" Mulder squatted down so he could get a better look at his "present". Glassy, sluggish eyes looked at him, and slowly Krycek raised his head from the floor.

"Not my game, Mulder." Krycek's voice was hoarse and gravelly, his speech slightly slurred. "I managed to piss off our smoking friend and this is his idea of revenge. Of course, his goons beat the crap out of me first. The cocktail they shot me up with before bringing me here is pretty nice, though."

Mulder stared in disbelief as he watched the beaten, drugged, and bound Krycek start to giggle. As always, when confronted with Alex Krycek, Mulder felt the axis of his world shift, and he scrambled to keep up with it. Three or four years ago, he would have shot Krycek on sight, never even asking for an explanation. Now? Now things were much more complicated. Krycek had been helping him lately, pointing him in the right directions and feeding him the right information. He found himself wondering more and more about Krycek's situation; who he was loyal to, how he had gotten into all this in the first place, and why the hell he had been helping Mulder. Having Krycek shift from villainous character to almost human being in his mind made Mulder uncomfortable, but it had happened, whether he liked it or not.

"What did you do? What pissed off Cancerman?"

"Botched some of his experiments, stole some information," Krycek smiled through his bruises. "The usual. Maybe I'm getting old, maybe I've just been distracted lately, I dunno. He found out it was me, and here I am. So go ahead and get it over with Mulder. Go ahead, I know you've been waiting years to kill me, to get your revenge. Merry Christmas, Mulder. I just hope you're good at disposing of bodies." This sent Krycek off into another fit of giggles.

This was too much. Mulder plopped down on the floor next to Alex. Is that what that chain smoking bastard wanted to happen? Mulder was supposed to kill Krycek? Just knowing that this was what the smoker had planned was enough to ensure Krycek's survival. No way was Mulder going to be a pawn for that motherfucker again. Besides, his desire to kill Krycek had faded, dissipated into a desire of an entirely different sort. Too much had gone on between them, too many times their fates had intertwined for Mulder to be able to really hate the man next to him.

"What did they give you? What did they drug you with?"

"Dunno. Feels good, though, real good." Krycek's smile was crazy, and Mulder wondered if he was even aware that he was hog-tied.

"If I untie you, will you behave?" He felt ridiculous the moment the words were out of his mouth. The thought of Krycek behaving himself was ludicrous in itself, but that Mulder had bothered to ask...

"Untie me?" Krycek asked the question as though Mulder had spoken in a foreign language.

"Yeah, untie you." He sighed as he went to the kitchen to get a knife to cut Krycek loose.

"You're not going to kill me?"

"The jury is still out on that one." Seemed like a good way to keep the upper hand. Sure, Krycek was drugged and beaten, but Mulder still didn't trust him as far as he could throw him.

"Oh." Was a very small sound, followed by the clunk of Krycek's head as it hit the floor. He wasn't looking at Mulder anymore, he was just laying there, limp and defeated. His giggles were forgotten, and Mulder was both relieved and disappointed.

Mulder went to him and started hacking away at the ribbon, which was much stronger than it looked. A few minutes later, Krycek's feet were free, but he barely made a move to get the blood flowing to his legs again. Once Mulder had cut his hand loose from the intricate knots that were made connecting it to his waist, all Krycek did was curl into a ball on Mulder's floor; a picture perfect fetal position in denim and leather.

This was very disturbing behavior, and Mulder wondered if Krycek was finally beaten. Startled by his own concern, he just sat and stared at the heap on the floor next to him. Shivering heap, he noticed. Well, if he wasn't going to kill Krycek, he should probably try to clean the man up a bit, get him off of his floor, at least.

"C'mon Krycek, get up." Mulder scooted around to offer Krycek a hand up, but he didn't move, didn't even pick up his head to look at Mulder. "Come on, Krycek get up off my floor."

"Fuck you, Mulder!" Krycek rolled on his back and shouted. "Just do it and get it over with, don't fuck with me. Show some fucking humanity on Christmas Eve. Make a quick, clean job of it, and throw my body in the Goddamn river!"

A rush of horror and adrenaline shot through Mulder as he realized that not only was Krycek begging to be killed, but he was sobbing, his face streaked with dirt and tears. What Mulder had thought was shivering, was actually the breakdown of one of the strongest men he knew. To have watched Alex bounce back from things that would have killed most people, or driven them mad, and to now see him hysterical and broken, begging to die... it twisted Mulder's reality, knocked the breath out of him, and sent his walls tumbling.

Shaking his head in denial, Mulder made himself start breathing again. He felt as though he was reassuring himself as much as Krycek when he spoke. "I'm not going to kill you Krycek. I promise, I'm not going to hurt you."

Krycek curled into a fetal ball again, muttering, "Doesn't matter. Nothing hurts anymore. Dead already. Doesn't matter."

He jerked when Mulder started to stroke his hair, trying to calm his hysteria. All the questions that were running through Mulder's head quieted, and his single minded goal became putting Krycek back together, to get him through this intact. Not ready to look at his own motivations, Mulder pulled Krycek into his lap, held on to him as if his life depended on it, and was stunned when Krycek not only allowed it, but reached up to wrap his arm around Mulder's neck. It was then that Mulder realized Krycek didn't have his prosthesis, only had an empty sleeve on his left side. Somehow, this triggered his mouth, and the words came spilling out.

"It's okay, Alex. I've got you. I promise, you're safe. I won't hurt you, I promise." He rocked them back and forth, one arm clutching Krycek's back, the other petting his hair. "I'm going to fix you. It's okay, it's okay."

On and on, Mulder crooned softly, and Alex let go. He sobbed, cried, howled, and moaned, never letting go of the iron grip he had on Mulder, his face shoved into the crook of Mulder's neck. By the time Alex quieted, Mulder's legs were asleep and his arms ached from holding Krycek so tightly. Still, he didn't let go. Finally, Krycek lifted his red, swollen, bruised face, and looked Mulder in the eye.

"Why?"

"I don't know." Mulder smiled, hoping Krycek would recognize the truth. "But I know I can't stand to see them do this to you, break you like this. How badly did they beat you? What did they do?"

Mulder started unzipping Krycek's leather, looking for damage. Krycek let go of him then, making a feeble attempt at pushing Mulder's hands away.

"Mulder. Mulder, what the hell do you care, anyway? I don't even fucking care anymore. You're on the right track, you can save the world, Mulder. It's been your job from the start. I don't know why the hell I thought I could do it, why I even bother. It's all shit, anyway, Mulder, it's all shit."

Whatever drugs they had given Krycek, they were taking their hold on him. He swayed as he rambled on, trying to fight Mulder's removal of his jacket, but failing miserably. The blood spattering the left sleeve of Krycek's grey henley scared the shit out of Mulder, but when he tried to take the shirt off, Krycek freaked. He jumped up, swaying and tripping over himself, but never actually falling until he had reached the couch. Mulder's first instinct was to chase, but he made himself stay where was, hoping that Krycek wouldn't completely freak on him. His neighbors were used to strange noises coming from his apartment, but at some point they would call the police.

"Alex, please, I just want to see how badly you're hurt." Slowly, and watching Krycek carefully, Mulder started to get up.

"Alex?" Krycek froze, a glimmer of hope in his crazy, drugged eyes. "You called me Alex. You haven't done that in years. Not since we were partners." His voice trailed off, almost wistfully.

Mulder had found the connection he needed. The way Krycek had said partners surprised Mulder. He had always thought of Krycek laughing about how he had duped Spooky Mulder, but he now thought that maybe he was wrong. Once he'd gotten used to him, Mulder had started to enjoy having Alex as a partner, but that seemed like a couple of lifetimes ago. Was is possible that Krycek regretted his deceptions? Mulder berated himself for the spark of hope that ignited in him.

"Honest, all I want to do is help. I'm sorry they did this to you, Alex, I am. Please, let me help." As Mulder made his way slowly across his living room, he had the sense of walking away from the past, it all crumbling behind him. When he reached the couch, he carefully sat down next to Alex, who was sprawled in the corner where he had fallen.

"It's okay." He put his hands on Alex's legs. "I won't hurt you." Scooting closer, Mulder started to pull the shirt off.

"No, please, Mulder." Alex didn't run, or fight, he just turned his head away and quietly resisted. "Don't, I don't want... please, Mulder. Leave me alone."

When Mulder pushed the shirt over his shoulders, Krycek leaned forward and let Mulder pull it off. He stopped talking, but his breathing was fast and erratic while Mulder looked at his stump. It looked liked the skin was broken open in a few spots, and there were quite a few bruises that looked very tender, almost raw. Mulder was very careful, making sure he was gentle, both with Alex's bruised flesh, and with his battered psyche.

"Okay, not too bad, a couple of cuts and bruises. How about your ribs?" He carefully felt each rib as Alex seemed to be trying to deny Mulder's existence. He kept up a running banter about Alex's injuries, none of which seemed to warrant a trip to the hospital, which was good, because Mulder had no idea how he could take Alex to a hospital without them both being killed.

Trying to give Alex a sense of control, he asked, "Will you let me clean you up, bandage those cuts?"

Alex looked at him then, and nodded, but didn't say a word. His face was blank, vacant. Mulder offered his hand, and Alex let Mulder pull him off the couch, and slung his arm over Mulder's shoulders, letting him slowly walk them to the bathroom. Mulder had to be careful, because if Alex swayed too far in one direction, he could topple them both over. Sitting him on the edge of the tub, Mulder started to clean Alex's face, wiping away the dirt and blood, avoiding the vibrant bruise on his cheek. After Mulder finished bandaging his stump, Alex seemed to relax, just a little. As Mulder ran a warm washcloth over Alex's back, he took his time, reluctant to stop touching.

"Mulder?"

"Yeah?"

"I know I'm fucked up, but what's your excuse?" Alex actually had humor in his voice.

Mulder smiled, and thought that maybe this had turned out to be a Christmas present after all.

"I'm crazy, Alex. Everyone knows that." Suddenly, he was seized by a reckless want. Ignoring the past and the future, Mulder let all his repressed desires take over. "Speaking of crazy ideas, how about we try being nice to each other for a change?"

Alex's head snapped up and those hypnotic green eyes locked onto Mulder's. "You won't kill me, and now you want to be nice to me? Either you're possessed by an alien, or I've fallen down a rabbit hole."

"Maybe we both fell down a rabbit hole." Mulder was encouraged when Alex let him help him to stand and let himself be guided out of the bathroom. "I've got a shirt you can have."

He walked them slowly down the hall and sat Alex on the couch. Loss of motor functions was obviously one of the side effects of whatever they had given him. He couldn't seem to keep his feet under him.

"Oh man. Mulder, you should do something about your walls, they're breathing."

He seemed content to sit on the couch and watch the walls breathe while Mulder went to get him a shirt. As bizarre as this evening had become, Mulder felt obscenely happy. He grabbed an old, soft sweatshirt for Alex and his stomach growled. When he got back to find Alex squatting down in front of the fish tank making faces at his fish, Mulder had to laugh. He went to stand next to Alex, and wasn't surprised when his presence seemed to go unnoticed.

"Alex."

"Hmm? Hey, what are their names?" He stood up slowly, reaching out for Mulder's hand to help him, as if it were a perfectly normal thing to expect.

Mulder happily helped him up, and started pulling the sweatshirt over Krycek's head. "They don't have names, they're fish."

Alex managed to struggle into the sweatshirt, with Mulder's help.

"Don't you think that bug-eyed one kinda looks like Skinner?"

The giggles were back, and Mulder found himself laughing again, and it felt incredible. He collapsed on the couch with Alex, both of them finally having to stop to breathe. That moment, Mulder caught a glimpse of the friend he might have had, if Alex hadn't been under the Cancerman's thumb, and it was bittersweet.

"Hungry?" He nudged Alex in the side with his elbow.

Alex smiled at him, shaking his head. "Nope. Do you ever wonder what could have been?"

"Yeah, but I always make myself stop as soon as I get started. I wanted to hate you, it was easier than dealing with everything else I was feeling."

Mulder found his hand in Alex's soft hair again, and let himself revel in it. Alex's eyes closed slowly, and he sighed as he relaxed against Mulder's side.

"That. Feels. Fantastic." Alex seemed to melt against Mulder. "I never wanted to do it. Honest, Mulder, I hated every minute of it. Lying to you, working against you... It sounds stupid, but I was rooting for you through it all. You're a good man, Mulder, and a brilliant one."

Mulder couldn't help it when his cynicism and paranoia made their way onto the scene. "Is that the drugs talking?"

Krycek sat up, and Mulder pulled his hand out of Alex's hair. He stared intently at Mulder, as if he were trying to focus. "Yes and no. Yes, because I'd never admit this kind of shit if I was wasn't under the influence of some heavy duty drugs, and no, because no matter how intoxicated I may be, I mean it."

It was the truth. Mulder didn't know how he knew, but he was sure Alex was telling him the truth. Immediately following this revelation, his stomach let out another demanding growl. Alex heard it, and looked at his stomach as if it were a creature unto itself.

"I'm going to eat that pizza now. You want something to drink?" He asked as he got up and headed for the kitchen.

"Water'd be good."

This time when Mulder returned, he found Alex watching tv. He set the pizza on the coffee table and handed Alex a bottle of water. He had a beer, thinking it might be a good thing if he could catch up with Alex a bit in the intoxication department. He ate pizza while Alex surfed the channels. Halfway through his second piece he noticed Alex staring at his slice of pizza.

"Want some?" he asked, holding the piece out in offering.

Alex leaned forward and bit into the piece of pizza so slowly and carefully that it looked as if he was putting great thought into the action. Then he sat back a little, closed his eyes, and slowly chewed. When he finished his mouthful he opened his eyes and looked at Mulder. It was fascinating to see Alex so unguarded and relaxed. He seemed to accept the concept of being nice to each other. He smiled at Mulder, and then licked the grease from his lips.

Mulder felt a rush of heat, and wanted to see the entire process again.

"More?" This time he brought the pizza to Alex's lips, which happily opened to accept another bite.

They ate three more pieces together; Mulder alternately taking bites, and feeding bites to Alex. They had been smiling at each other the whole time, and even though Mulder knew that it was probably the drugs that were making Alex smile, he liked to think that maybe just a few of those smiles were because of him. Mulder finished his third beer and set it on the coffee table. When he turned back, Alex's smile was replaced by an entirely different look, and it made his pulse jump.

"Come here, Mulder." Alex positively smoldered. His head was tilted down a bit and he was looking up from under his dark lashes.

"Alex," Mulder cautioned. "You're not exactly in control."

"I'm always in control." Alex's low, husky voice went straight to Mulder's groin.

"You've been drugged. I'm not going to take advantage of that." As much as Mulder's body disagreed, he couldn't use Alex like that.

"And I've always wanted you, so stop being noble and get your coveted ass over here." Alex reached out and pulled him back.

Mulder let himself be pulled, his arm going around the back of Alex's shoulder. He was careful not to press against the injured stump, leaning his weight against the couch instead of Alex. He was about to give another protest, but before he could, Alex leaned forward, his face only an inch from Mulder's.

"Give in, Mulder."

The words where currents of air across his lips, and then Alex's lips were against his, soft and warm and sweet. His head was spinning as Alex's tongue pushed past his lips and teased at his tongue. Mulder wrapped his hand around the back of Alex's neck and took control of the kiss. He plunged into Alex's hot mouth, and he felt Alex holding his jaw, his thumb stroking over Mulder's throbbing pulse point. Mulder had to come up for air, and they pulled apart, panting at each other.

"God, Mulder, you kiss like a demon." Krycek had a gleam in his eyes.

Mulder brought his other hand up to cup Alex's jaw, mirroring Alex's hold on him. Then ran his fingers lightly over the livid bruise, and Alex turned into his touch. The gentleness between them grabbed hold of him, and he never wanted it to let go.

"I want to make you feel good," he told Alex as he nuzzled Alex's good side.

"Please," Alex moaned. "Bed. You have one, right?"

As he led Alex to the bedroom, he noticed that he was walking better than he had before; maybe the drugs were starting to wear off. Mulder was surprised at his complete lack of nervousness. It had been years since he'd been intimate with anyone but his own hand. There was this overpowering sense of rightness, along with some giddy joy, and relief at no longer having to deny his feelings for this incomprehensible man.

When they got to the side of the bed, Alex stopped and turned Mulder to face him. He wrapped his arm around Mulder's back and started kissing, licking and biting Mulder's face and neck. Mulder felt him pull at the hem of his shirt, pushing it up his back, and helped. Once his shirt was off, he carefully peeled off Alex's. Then he wrapped both arms tightly around Alex and was surprised by how firmly one arm could hold him.

"Mmm, you taste fucking incredible." Alex's voice was thick with drugs and passion. Mulder wondered how much of this was real emotion and how much of it was the chemicals in Krycek's blood.

"You're feeling no pain, are you, Alex?"

Alex stopped his devouring of Mulder's flesh and stunned eyes captured Mulder's. "I always feel pain, Mulder. Sometimes I think I live on it. Make it part of you and it can only make you stronger. Except..." Alex's face fell. His mouth was one tight line, his eyes frowning.

Mulder reached up stroked Alex's cheek, trying to pull him back. "Except what?"

"This time I fucked up, and I let him get the best of me, let him get me where it hurts." He lifted his head and when he looked at Mulder, it was a face he'd never seen before; lost, afraid, and very young. "You were supposed to kill me Mulder. Now I don't know what the hell I'm going to do. As soon as Cancerman figures out I'm alive, he owns me. The fucker will find me, there's no doubt about that. I'd rather be dead than let him get his hands on me again, Mulder."

Mulder grabbed Alex's head with both his hands and kissed him to shut him up. Everything Alex was saying was making sense, but worse than that were the tremors of fear in Alex's usually silken voice. It was tearing Mulder apart to see Alex broken, see him afraid. Part of him wanted to smack Alex upside the head so hard his teeth would rattle and scream at him to snap out of it. Mulder knew that it was the Cancerman who he should be raging at, and not Alex, not this time. Or maybe it was the Fates themselves that were really to blame here. Whatever the case, he needed to get Alex back on track, and to set a few things right between them.

He kissed Alex with reverence, and newly found tenderness. His fingers carded through Alex's thick, soft hair as he memorized every taste bud on Alex's addictive tongue. Finally needing air, he pulled back, resting his forehead against Alex's, panting.

"I can't kill you. You know I can't. I won't." Mulder nuzzled Alex's cheek with his nose. "If I have to kill the bastard myself, we'll find a way to make this work, to get you free of him."

Alex was shaking his head. "I'm so tired, Mulder. So fucking sick and tired of living this life. I've lost my focus, gotten soft and sloppy. I'm so damn tired."

Mulder kissed Alex softly, then undid his jeans and pulled them off, sitting Alex on the side of the bed to remove his socks and boots. Then took off the rest of his clothes and pushed Alex under the covers, crawling in next to him.

He pulled Alex against him, and leaned down close to talk softly in Alex's ear. "You're down Alex, but you are not beaten. I've got enough conviction for both of us right now, and I'm going to put you back together."

Alex eyes were huge, he stared at Mulder, wonder and disbelief putting a smile on his face. "Are you my salvation, Mulder? Is that what you are to me?" He chuckled the last words, caressing Mulder's face with his hand as well as his voice.

"If you want." He shrugged, amazed at how willing he was to save the soul of someone who he had once thought of as his greatest enemy. "Maybe we need each other now."

"You need me like you need a hole in your head." Alex frowned.

"According to most people, I already have one." Mulder smiled, and marveled at Alex's straight, white teeth. He leaned down and kissed apart Alex's lips, so his tongue could get at those perfect teeth. He ran his tongue across the straight line of teeth, and then traced over the full lower lip. Alex moaned into him, his whole body responding to Mulder's kiss. Need ran through his blood as he turned Alex onto his back and straddled him. Sitting on Alex's hips, Mulder stared down at Alex's broad, scarred chest. The man was a patchwork of pain. There were dark ones, pale ones, round indents, straight lines, jagged lines, all scattered across Alex' perfect skin.

As his fingers explored every inch of available flesh, Mulder began kissing his way across Alex's face. His mouth eased over eyes, cheeks, and jaw as he felt every groove and dip in Alex's ribs. When Alex started to arch up into his touch and moan his encouragement, Mulder thought he would come right then and there.

"Jesus," Alex panted, his head thrashing from side to side.

"More, Mulder!" He shouted and a strange keening noise followed. Mulder looked up in fascination as Alex gasped for air, thrusting his hips and lifting Mulder off the bed.

As fast as he could, Mulder moved between Alex's legs. He pinned Alex's wild hips to the bed and nuzzled his face in Alex's groin. Alex froze, his ragged breath almost as loud as his shouts had been. As Mulder licked his way around Alex's balls and up his length, he felt as though he was the one who was drugged. His head spun, and he had to close his eyes. The feel of Alex's hot dick as he slowly swallowed it filled his entire being. Alex was whimpering, shaking and pounding his fist on the bed. Mulder tongued every impressive inch, his hands firmly holding Alex's thighs apart. He sucked and licked to the beat of Alex's fist pounding on the bed. Alex came, shaking and screaming. Mulder pulled back, licking his lips. Alex was shining with sweat, his face flushed and he was smiling like an idiot. Mulder watched as Alex slowly came back down to earth, smiling back when Alex looked at him.

"More. I need more of you, Mulder." His eyes were practically glowing as he reached out and grabbed Mulder by his hair, pulling him up Alex's body. "Fuck me, Mulder. Fuck me so hard I split apart and then put me back together again. Fix me, Mulder. Mark me, claim me, fucking resurrect me."

Mulder never looked away from Alex as he rummaged in his bedside table for lube. Alex's smile had turned feral, and he was rubbing his body against Mulder wherever he could. Mulder dropped the lube on the bed next to them, Alex's words spinning in his head. Still kneeling between Alex's legs, he leaned down and started to suck and bite Alex's chest. He left blazing red marks across his chest and ribs, marking and claiming, with every intent of making Alex his.

As he felt his own ferocity building, Mulder realized that Alex was calming down. His arm was above his head, his palm flat against the headboard. He arched into Mulder's mouth, but the rest of him was still, accepting, and waiting for more. As Mulder's teeth sank into the soft flesh below the hip bone, he reached out and found the lube. Still sucking on Alex, pulling the soft skin in his mouth, he coated two fingers with lube. Twisting his head and opening his eyes, Mulder slowly pushed into Alex's body as his teeth almost broke skin. Alex's cock jumped in response.

"Yes." Was hissed out as Alex pushed back onto Mulder's fingers.

Mulder let go of Alex's skin, sitting up on his knees, and pulled Alex's legs over his shoulders. He lined his cock up, and pushed in slowly. Alex still had his hand firmly planted against the headboard and used the leverage to push back, sinking Mulder deep into him. Surrounded by searing heat, Mulder shuddered. His body was in control, and he was just along for the ride. He pulled back and slammed into Alex, who braced himself, demanding more.

"Harder! Dammit Mulder, stop pussying around and fuck me!"

At that moment, Mulder's brain experienced a meltdown. He slammed into Alex with animal passion. Love and hate were one as his flesh pounded relentlessly into the body he was making his own. Alex's head was back, his shoulders braced against the bed.

"Yes. Yes. Yes."

Every time he rammed into Alex, another "yes" seemed to be pushed out of him. Finally, Mulder couldn't hold on any longer, and he scooped his arms around Alex as he sank into him, Alex's arm flying around Mulder's back and clinging to him. He felt Alex's hold on him tighten, and his body convulse with orgasm. Mulder came in shuddering waves, groaning, panting and sobbing into Alex's neck. He wanted to lock onto Alex and never let him go as his head spun with the waves of pleasure.

Slowly, the grip around his back lessened, and he lifted himself off of Alex, regretfully pulling out of his body. As Alex unfolded and they worked the kinds out of their muscles, Alex rolled them over and flung himself across Mulder's chest. He wrapped his arms around Alex's the limp body, wondering if Alex had already passed out.

"Mulder?"

"Yeah?" Mulder stroked Alex's back.

"You really want me? I mean, not just for sex, but the whole package?" In spite of his unsure words, Alex's voice was steady and strong.

"Yeah," Mulder laughed, hugging Alex to him. "I've got you. That's what all this was about, right? I believe your words were, 'Fix me, Mulder. Mark me, claim me, fucking resurrect me.' So, how'd I do?"

Alex laughed too, picking his head up to smile a Cheshire cat smile at Mulder. "Superb, Mulder. A stellar job. Whether I'll live past the new year remains to be seen, but right now I am more alive than I have been in months."

"Me too." Mulder impulsively kissed the top of Alex's head, and was very pleased when Alex just crinkled his nose, and then settled back down on Mulder's chest. It was only minutes before he was breathing evenly and slowly, fast asleep. Mulder fought sleep as long as he could, still not positive that all this was real. Real or not, it was the best Christmas eve he could remember.

The End