Actions

Work Header

Life From The Ashes: Book 3 (1/3)

Work Text:

 

Life from the Ashes - Book 3: Chapter 1 by Jo B.

Life from the Ashes Book 3
SBS
by Jo B.

http://www.slashingmulder.com/JoB/

Rating: NC-17
M/Sk/K Slash
Disclaimer: The X-Files characters Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, Alex Krycek, Walter Skinner, Jeffrey Spender, CSM, WMM, the Lone Gunmen, Kimberly Cook, Senator Matheson, Bill Scully, Tom Colton, the morph etc. are the property Chris Carter, 1013 productions and Fox Broadcasting. All other characters in the series are mine.
Summary: This is an Alternative Universe Story. It takes place after an alien virus has killed off most of the world's females and caused mutations in forty-five percent of the remaining males.
Authors Notes: This is the third book in my AU series "Life from the Ashes - SBS." You might want to read the prequel and first two books of the series to understand this one.
I would like to thank my beta-readers Laurie, BRS, and Kiyoko for all their hard work and patience in editing this story and plot suggestions.
Feedback is always welcome. Any constructive suggestions are appreciated.
WARNING! This story contains explicit Sex/Romance between two or more men. Turn back now, if the subject matter offends you.
WARNING! This story contains a violent rape scene.
Okay to Archive: please ask first.


***

Chapter 1
Miami

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Thursday, January 6
9:30 p.m.

The flames dancing in the fireplace illuminated the two men coupling in front of it, casting their long entwined shadows onto the walls and ceiling. Bathed in golden firelight Walter Skinner's body glistened with sweat, he grunted loudly each time that his lover slammed into him. Having Mulder's cock buried deeply inside him made him feel blissfully full. It was exquisite. He couldn't believe that he had denied himself this pleasure for so long. His legs slid off Mulder's shoulders, and wrapped around the younger man's waist, pulling him in deeper with each thrust.

"That's it, Walter, come for me," Mulder murmured, his hand flying smoothly over Skinner's swollen organ, squeezing and caressing it.

Skinner arched his back, slamming up harder on the stiff rod impaling him, crying out as his seed shot out of him. "Damn! Oh god, oh god," he gasped breathlessly.

Mulder continued thrusting against the constricting sphincter muscle as Skinner's damp heat spread between their bodies. One final thrust and he was joining his lover in ecstasy, collapsing on the larger man's chest, still buried deeply within him. Mulder rested his head against Skinner's chest, smiling softly as his lover's hand rubbed soothing circles on his back. With a sigh, he slipped out and crawled up the larger man's body. Capturing Skinner's face between his hands, he stared lovingly down into his warm brown eyes, which were filled with love for him alone.

"Sometimes I miss having you all to myself, Walter," he purred, kissing pliant, enthusiastic lips, caressing Skinner's scalp, thumbs stroking around each ear.

Skinner sucked Mulder's tongue into his mouth; he couldn't get enough of how Mulder tasted or of having his warm, pleasant smelling body wrapped tightly around his own. He squeezed his younger lover tighter against his chest, nuzzling against his neck, licking and tasting the salty sweat. "Are you proposing going back to two bedrooms?" Skinner asked, his hands caressing down Mulder's long back then cupping and caressing his ass.

"Never," Mulder chuckled, stealing a quick kiss. "I like being sandwiched between both of your bodies, but it does make the few times that we're all by ourselves even more pleasurable."

Skinner gazed up into his beautiful hazel eyes, seeing the emotional pain that his lover was trying to conceal from him. "Fox, how are you feeling?"

"Anxious and scared," he replied honestly, rolling off the larger man and snuggling against his chest, he relished the warmth coming from the fireplace on his back.

"Don't worry, Fox, I won't touch you until you're ready. I have the sedatives, just tell me when you need them," Skinner murmured, kissing the top of the silky head that was tucked under his chin.

"I know you wouldn't, Walter, it's my own self-control that worries me," he sighed. "Justin and the others seem to be taking their pregnancies in stride, except that incident over the beer . . . I was sure Justin was going to deck you," Mulder snickered.

"I'm just trying to look out for his unborn child, he should have known better than to try to sneak a beer in his condition," the older man grumbled.

"Walter Skinner, defender of innocent life everywhere," Mulder quipped, feeling Skinner stiffen against him. "Sorry, Walter, I didn't mean to make light of the situation. You're welcome to your concerns, but Justin is a grown man and it's not your place to force him to comply with your rules or morals."

"Fox, what about the rights of his unborn child? I really hate seeing such thoughtless disregard for life. The sheer stupidity of the man surprised me! I thought he had more sense than that," Skinner complained.

"Walter, this isn't easy for Justin. Try putting yourself in his shoes for a change. He was a Texas Ranger for Gods sake! To go from that to being cloistered here, then evolving finally into a hermaphrodite, and to top it all off by becoming pregnant. That is just one too many changes for any one man to have to deal with!"

"That's no excuse for drinking during pregnancy," Skinner growled.

"Walter, you know I love you, but sometimes you can be so pigheaded," Mulder muttered against his chest, playfully nipping the large man's nipple.

"Takes one to know one," the larger man chuckled, swatting Mulder on the ass then massaging the cheek.

"Fox, do you think it would be okay if I made love to you through your navel? You still have a day before your cycle begins," he asked softly as his cock swelled at the thought.

"No way, Walter, I don't want to chance going nine months without a beer, that would be too hard," Mulder smiled.

"Brat," Skinner grumbled, hugging him closer.

"Love you," Mulder mumbled tiredly, closing his eyes he snuggled deeper into Skinner's arms.

"Love you, too, babe," Skinner whispered, listening to his lover's breathing even out as he fell asleep.

***

Miami
Saturday, January 8
10:30 a.m.

"Walter, how's Fox doing?" Krycek asked, pacing around the waiting room in a Miami hospital.

"Fox has opted to be sedated again. Alex, how's the case going?" Skinner asked.

"We're making slow progress. I just wish Fox were here, I really could use his intuitive leaps right about now," he murmured.

"Alex, when Fox is through with this cycle he'll be heading down to join the investigation. He felt really bad that he couldn't go with you when you left, but he has been keeping up with all of the reports and evidence you've gathered down there. How's everything else going?"

"Walter, I've stumbled upon something interesting while I've been down here, which I'm checking out as we speak. It seems that a large number of sorcerers living in the area have started falling into comas over the last four days. The doctors have no idea why," Krycek informed him.

"What's your feeling, Alex? Do you think a rival sorcerer could be responsible?" Skinner inquired, his curiosity piqued.

"I don't think so; all the men's backgrounds are completely different. Besides, it would take someone with tremendous power to strike down this many sorcerers and keep them in a coma." Krycek glanced over at the emergency room doors as a gurney was wheeled out with a still figure on it. "Gotta go, Walter, kiss the girls and Fox for me," he said, disconnecting and pocketing the cell-phone. He chased after the doctor who was accompanying the gurney down the hallway.

"Doctor Peterson, how is he?" Krycek asked, catching up, he looked down at the handsome man lying unconscious on the gurney.

Doctor Peterson's brother was the city's coroner and he was the one who had steered Krycek toward this mysterious case.

"Agent Krycek, he's comatose, exactly like the other twenty-five men brought in here. His companion stated that he was fine one minute then he just seemed to fall asleep, when he couldn't wake him he called for an ambulance," the doctor replied. "I sent a complete medical workup on each of the stricken men to the CDC, I think we may have a new epidemic on our hands."

"Doctor, do you think it might spread beyond this area?" Krycek asked, nervously.

"Agent Krycek, we first have to determine just what we're dealing with here," the doctor replied. "I'm hoping to get the results back from the CDC immediately. Is Agent Mulder going to be coming down to Miami?" the doctor asked.

"Why do you want to know?" Krycek asked hesitantly.

"I was wondering if he could attempt to heal one of the men," Peterson replied. The large room he led Krycek into had ten beds, each bed had a man sleeping in it, next to each bed were monitors recording their vitals. The men were all very good looking and totally still, the only movement was the rise and fall of their chests. They appeared to be sleeping.

"You'll have to ask him when he gets here, but it won't be for at least three days," Krycek replied gruffly. He hated it every time Mulder was asked to perform a healing; it always left his lover bedridden afterward, anywhere from hours to days depending on the severity of the patient.

The immortals' ability to heal had become public knowledge a month earlier much to the displeasure of the residents of Foxfire Glenn Estate. They received daily pleas from people desperate for cures to theirs or their family's illnesses. As much as Mulder and the others wanted to help they couldn't physically handle the sheer volume of the requests, and they finally agreed to each heal one person a month. To remove any guilt from the selection process the government had set up a lottery and only the most terminally ill patients were placed in it.

"Doctor, did you find any type of injury on them? Maybe a bite mark or needle mark?" Krycek inquired.

"No, nothing. We did a thorough search of their bodies and a complete toxicology on each victim. Since each man is a mutant it's hard for me to make a proper diagnosis, I'm depending on the CDC's experts to do that."

"Doctor, can you keep me updated?" Krycek asked, handing the doctor his business card.

"Sure, Agent Krycek," Peterson replied, pocketing the card and watching the agent as he left the room.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Wednesday, January 12
11:50 a.m.

Rory MacIver carried a tray down through the dimly lit hallway on the lowest level of the mansion. The floor and walls were stone; it reminded the Scotsman of an ancient castle. The hallway was just past the wine cellar, the rooms that were off it were primarily used for storage, but Mulder and Shinji had turned one of the rooms into a laboratory.

"Shin, I brought you your lunch," MacIver replied. As he entered the lab, he carried the tray over to Takeda's small desk that was up against the far wall, well away from the lab table with its beakers, test tubes, Bunsen burners, and chemicals.

"Thanks," Takeda mumbled quietly, not looking up from what he was doing. He was wearing goggles and gloves, bending over the lab table as he adjusted the valve on a tube that was tripping into a beaker.

"How's it going, Shin?" the Scotsman asked, as he transferred the items from the tray onto the desk.

"Fine," he murmured still not looking up.

"Food's going to get cold."

"Mm."

"Shin, come and eat," MacIver commanded forcefully.

"Rory." Takeda looked up startled. "Sorry," he murmured, setting aside what he was working on he peeled off his gloves and removed his goggles.

"I'm going to have a drug ready to test on Duffy by this afternoon, we can drive to his home tomorrow and test it," Takeda said. Stepping over to his desk he kissed his lover on the cheek then sat at the desk and hungrily dug into the soup and sandwich his lover had made him.

"You are not going anywhere, my love," MacIver informed him. "I'll take Jeff with me, he's an attractive man, if your drug works Duffy shouldn't be sexually aroused by him."

"I'm the scientist, I need to be there to monitor the results of the test," Takeda huffed.

"Shin, not when you're pregnant with our son, I'll allow you to go as long as he stays safely here," the Scottish sorcerer offered.

Takeda glared up at him. "God, Rory, you're as bad as Walter!" the Japanese immortal grumbled.

"I'm not that bad! Haven't I allowed you to have an occasional ale?" he replied, kneeling down next to the desk he placed a hand over his lover's belly.

"Poor Mulder, I can only imagine what a hard time he'll have if he ever does decide to have Walter's child," Takeda sighed, resting a hand over MacIver's on his belly.

"Shin, when do you suppose you're going to start showing?" the Scotsman asked, gently massaging the younger man's stomach.

"It's only been five weeks, Rory, give it time," he admonished. "What time are we leaving tomorrow?"

"I'm leaving with Jeff at nine o'clock, and I expect you to sleep in. Shin, you've been working too many long hours over the past week, it's not healthy," MacIver complained.

"Okay, old man, let's compromise. If I stay here, then I want you to take Kyle Pendrell with you. He'll be able to monitor how Duffy reacts to the drug, and if anything goes wrong he can render emergency medical aid."

"Okay, deal. Can you call him, and have him out to the estate by 8:30 tomorrow morning?"

"Sure, I'll call him now," Takeda said, looking wistfully at his empty plate, he glanced over at his lover. "Rory, do you suppose you could fix me another sandwich?"

"You're still hungry?"

"Yeah, but this time can you make me a peanut butter, potato chip, and banana sandwich?"

"Mm . . . that sounds interesting, I think I'll fix myself one, too," MacIver said, standing and heading for the door.

Takeda smiled softly at his retreating back and reached for the telephone on the desk to call Doctor Pendrell.

***

Miami Airport
Wednesday, January 12
6:30 p.m.

Krycek smiled broadly as Mulder stepped through the gate surrounded by Agents Johnson, Austin, and Jones. The sorcerers and clairvoyant had become Mulder's personal security detail anytime he went out into the field.

"Fox, how are you feeling?" Krycek asked, warmly hugging his partner and lover, they exchanged a lingering kiss that promised more for later.

"I'm fine, Alex," he replied as they headed down to the baggage claim area. "I've compiled a profile, which narrows your list of possible suspects down by eighty-five percent. The man is definitely a clairvoyant; he's between the ages thirty-five and forty-five with peppered brown hair, and he owns an auto body repair shop. He's been playing off people's hatred and fear of n'thrals by trying to shift the blame solely on them. While an n'thral is physically strong enough to rip a man's head off, there would tend to be some variation to the wound. All ten victims had identical wounds right down to their collarbones being broken, which was a clear indication that something mechanical had been used to remove their heads. Also the heads were pulled straight off, not twisted, most n'thrals aren't strong enough to accomplish that." Mulder brushed off his lover's attempts to take his suitcases as they made their way out of the airport.

"Fox, what about the semen and the damage done to their rectums and bowels. The semen was from three n'thrals not a clairvoyant. In addition, how do you determine the man is a clairvoyant and not a human? You're right about the perp's connection to an auto body shop, but I fail to see how you came by the assumption that he was the owner. The analysis we've done showed traces of metal shavings, paint chips, and motor-oil found on each victim, the paint chips were from a Ford, Toyota, and Chrysler we haven't pinpointed the exact model or year of each vehicle, yet."

"Alex, it's my gut instinct that tells me the man is a clairvoyant. N'thrals are involved, but they aren't directly responsible for the victims' deaths, although three of the victims would have died eventually from the damage done to their bowels if they hadn't been decapitated first. I think the perp gets off sexually by watching as n'thrals rape his victims. After the victim is damaged, the thrill is gone, so the perp kills his victim making it look like it was done by an n'thral did it. All of the victims are held, molested, and killed at the perp's auto body shop, he'd have to be the owner to do that. We need to check all of the auto body shops in the area and look for ones that only employee n'thrals," Mulder replied, climbing into the backseat of the rental between Krycek and Johnson.

"So, you think the owner is abducting these men for his employees to rape?" Krycek asked.

"Yeah, it gives a whole new meaning to an employee benefits package," Mulder quipped. He leaned over Krycek so he could see out the car window as they rode toward their hotel. The sandy beaches looked so inviting, it'd been years since he had gone swimming in the ocean or sunbathed on a public beach. "It's pretty here, it sure beats D.C. in January," he sighed wistfully.

"Did you bring your swimsuit?" Krycek asked, noticing his lover's wistful look.

"No, it wouldn't be smart," Mulder replied, sitting back against the car seat.

"You've been around Walter too long, Fox, he's starting to rub off on you. C'mon, let's live dangerously. I'll swing by a clothing store tomorrow and pick you up a Speedo. As soon as we wrap this case up, we'll spend a day on the beach. I'm sure the guys wouldn't mind. Would you, guys?" Krycek asked the other agents.

Dakota Jones turned around in the front seat looking back at Lars Johnson. "I don't know . . . what do you think, Lars, Jared, a day of sun and fun on the beach or flying straight back to D.C.?" he asked.

"Tough choice, we'd have to spend the day looking at Mulder in a Speedo. Oh, the sacrifices we have to make for the job," Austin quipped.

"Hey, if you want to live really dangerously, we could skip the swimsuits and go to a nude beach," Johnson offered.

Mulder level him with a cold stare. "I don't think so. Alex, I don't want a Speedo, instead pick me up a pair of swim trunks. On second thought, I'll go with you and pick out my own swimsuit," he replied as they pulled into the hotel's parking lot.

Krycek gave him a sly look as he climbed out of the car. "Fox, whatever you want is fine with me. C'mon, let's get your bags up to the room, I have a surprise for you."

"What?" Mulder asked, following Krycek into the lobby they stopped at the front desk so the other agents could pick up their passkeys.

"You'll see. Guys, Fox and I are going to be eating in our room tonight, we'll meet you down here for breakfast at 7:30 tomorrow morning before we head out to the field office." Krycek took the carry-on and laptop, grabbed Mulder's hand and pulled him toward the elevator.

A man was just leaving their hotel room as Mulder and Krycek reached it.

"Is everything all set?" Krycek asked, handing the man a ten-dollar tip.

"Everything is just as you requested," the man replied, staring appreciatively at Mulder.

Mulder stepped by him and entered the room. There was a table covered in white linen with a short bouquet of flowers and two lit candlesticks in the center. Two silver lids covered the plates at each place setting, and a breadbasket was off to the side. Soft music was playing on the radio. He glanced around the rest of the suite, looking into the bedroom a grin lit up his face upon seeing the heart-shaped bed. "Alex, the honeymoon suite? I thought we settled on Las Vegas."

Krycek walked over to the table and took the opened bottle of wine out of the ice bucket. "Consider this a practice honeymoon," he replied, filling the two wineglasses on the table.

Mulder came over and lifted the lid off the plate. "Mm, seafood stew," he murmured, breathing in deeply he could easily make out the aromas of garlic and white wine that were part of the broth.

"I thought something light tonight would be best, we can have a large breakfast tomorrow," Krycek replied, handing Mulder a glass of wine.

"Because you want us to be wide awake to make love all night," Mulder said, smiling saucily at him.

"Am I that transparent?"

"Yes."

"Fox, it's been almost five days, and you know how much I miss you when we're apart," Krycek answered, leaning across the table he kissed Mulder. "Let's eat; I'm dying to move on to dessert."

"Alex, I missed you, too." Mulder sat and picked up his spoon, digging a mussel out of its shell, he savored its flavor. He then reached for a chunk of crusty bread to sop up the broth.

"What?" Krycek asked, noticing a smile spreading across Mulder's face.

"I was just thinking. Walter is becoming less controlling, last night he was so romantic he even asked me to top him twice. I think our sessions with Doctor Vettelman have really helped."

"Yeah, we're both beginning to realize how we've been treating you, and we're sorry. Mostly we did it out of fear for your safety, but I'll admit that some of it was due to us being physically stronger to you."

"Alex, at least you and I have always been equals in bed, Walter had always wanted to be in control," Mulder sighed.

Krycek chuckled. "Fox, you've always been in control during sex even when Walter was topping you, he was always at your mercy. You *permitted* him in your bed, and you *allowed* him to receive pleasure from your body. We're both helpless where you're concerned, with just one word *no* you can crush both of our hearts."

"Alex, you could do the same to me," Mulder countered.

"No, I sure as hell couldn't! It's impossible for me to ever turn you down during sex and you know it, Fox," Krycek grumbled.

Mulder glanced up at him through thick lashes with minx of a smile on his full lips. "So you're saying I'm in control?"

"Always, Fox," Krycek sighed.

Mulder put his napkin down, stood, and walked around to Krycek's side of the table, he leaned down and passionately kissed his lover. "No, we both are. Alex, I love you with all of my heart and I could never tell you *no*, ever." A reflective look crossed Mulder's features. "That is, of course, unless it involves me ending up pregnant."

"You've already promised Walter that he'd get to be first if you ever changed your mind," Krycek replied bitterly, holding Mulder's hand.

"I'm sorry, Alex, we should have discussed it first, but it was Christmas. Walter wanted a son so badly, I just wanted to make him happy," Mulder murmured, squeezing the younger man's hand.

Krycek pulled his hand free and wrapped both arms around Mulder's waist, resting his head on his lover's stomach. "Fox, sometimes I think that you love him more. It's not that I'm jealous of Walter . . . I love him too, but I would like to be first in your thoughts for once."

Alex's response shocked Mulder. "Alex, you know I love you, how can you say that? I admit that after you took me away, told me he was dead, and I found out he wasn't I wanted to return to him. Nevertheless, I wouldn't be with you now if I didn't love you so incredibly. Your brother is needier than you, he needs constant reminders of my love, but that doesn't mean that I don't love you equally!"

"I know that, Fox. It's just that sometimes I feel a little insecure, too."

"I'm sorry, Alex, I didn't realize that. I promise in the future that I'll stop and think first," Mulder soothed, raking his fingers through Krycek's thick hair.

Krycek leaned back and smiled up at him. "Thanks . . . c'mon, let's finish eating, I have another surprise for you in the bathroom."

"More surprises, you're spoiling me," Mulder purred, kissing him hotly before returning to his seat.

"How's Faith doing?" Krycek asked.

"She's getting into everything . . . I allowed her to crawl around the kitchen and the second I wasn't watching she's racing for the back staircase. We're going to our hands full when she starts walking. Well, at least Hope is easy to take care of."

"Faith's not that difficult she's just curious and inquisitive."

"Like I said, we're going to have our hands full! I bet when she's older that she'll figure out how much faster sliding down the banister is to get downstairs," Mulder replied.

"Nah, she'll figure out that it's even faster to tie a rope from the balcony and rappel down," Krycek chuckled. "Fox, stop worrying everything is going to be fine."

"I can't help myself. What if she gets seriously hurt or killed because I wasn't watching her closely enough?" Mulder sighed, taking a sip of wine.

Krycek figured out what the real issue was. "Fox, you have to let go of the past, Samantha wasn't your fault, she was your father and mother's responsibility. Nothing you could have done would have prevented her from being abducted. You need to focus on the future. Faith isn't Samantha and you're not your father. Our family is going to be fine, we won't allow anything to happen to our children," he soothed.

Mulder gave him a weak smile. "Am I really that transparent?"

"Yeah, but it's one of the things I love about you. C'mon, I want to ravish you in the bathroom." Krycek stood offering Mulder his hand, and the two men walked arm-in-arm into the large bathroom.

Mulder started chuckling. "God, they even have a heart-shaped Jacuzzi bathtub."

The bathtub was already filled with fragrant hot water; lit candles were around it, and a bowl of strawberries soaking in champagne sat on the ledge.

"I'll admit it's tacky, but it's big enough for two, that's all that matters," Krycek replied, undoing Mulder's tie he let it drop to the floor.

Mulder started removing Krycek's clothing, kissing and licking the younger man's skin as he exposed it. He spent a couple minutes on each of his lover's nipples until they were hard little nubs and Krycek was squirming. They each quickly shed the rest of their clothing, pressing their bodies together in a long passionate kiss that left both men breathless.

Mulder ended the kiss first. "We'd better get in the tub before the water is too cold," he murmured.

"Don't worry, Fox, I'm using my powers to keep the water hot and the strawberries cold," he grinned.

"Have I ever mentioned how much I love being married to a sorcerer?" Mulder said, dragging his lover over to the bathtub. They stepped in and sank slowly into the almost too hot water. Mulder leaned up against the side and pulled Krycek into his lap.

"Nope, never. Why don't you show me," Krycek purred, turning so he was sitting sideways on Mulder's lap.

"I'd love to," Mulder replied, pulling the younger man's head down for another kiss. His tongue explored every nook and cranny, he moaned as Krycek sucked him in deeper. He pulled free and gazed longingly into his lover's green eyes.

"I really do miss you a lot when we're apart," he purred, kissing the top of Krycek's nose. He moved lower and sucked the sensitive skin at the nape of Krycek's neck. His hand found and stroked the younger man's cock until it was fully erect. "Turn around, I want you in me," he moaned.

Krycek quickly positioned himself until he was straddling Mulder's lap with his cock positioned against his lover's navel. "Are you sure, Fox? Your cycle only ended a day ago," he asked, looking into Mulder's aroused face for any doubt or hesitation.

"I'm sure. Let's live dangerously for a change," he said, repeating Krycek's earlier statement.

"Good." Krycek pushed in quickly with one powerful stroke; he had learned that if he wanted to get his entire length in, he couldn't go slowly. Mulder's internal muscles clenched too tightly around any object penetrating him, and getting any deeper was almost impossible once they started to constrict. He had made that mistake the second time he had sex with him and much to their disappointment he was only able to get half his cock in.

Krycek wrapped his arms around Mulder's body and held him close as his lover's internal muscles squeezed and jerked his cock in the most exquisite way.

Mulder again found himself back in the land of crystals and flowers.

"Xofox, my love, you have come back to me again," King Xowolfe said. He floated down to him, his large wings spread behind him as he landed. The King wanted to make love to this beautiful human, but he discovered the third time he had met the young man that Fox wasn't physically there, his hand passed through him when he attempted to hug him. Fox was solid enough that he could touch him as long as he didn't apply too much pressure.

"Why do you call me that?" Mulder asked, bewildered. He was beginning to think that this wasn't just a mere hallucination brought on by having sex through his new orifice. However, he wasn't really sure what it was or who this beautiful winged being was, so he hadn't told his lovers about it.

"It is your name when you become my life mate, which you are destined to be," Xowolfe replied lovingly.

Before Mulder could ask him what he meant, he was crashing back into his body as an earth shattering orgasm claimed him. He arched up crying out his nails digging into Krycek's back as his come shot beneath his lover's ass. He felt the warm heat of his lover's orgasm spurting into his body, causing a physical reaction of total peace and euphoria to spread through him. As final shudders passed through Krycek's muscular body and he slipped out collapsing into his lover's embrace, Mulder's hands smoothed over Krycek's back healing the wounds caused by his nails.

"God, Fox, I'll never get enough of you," he purred, cuddling closer he turned his head and kissed the smooth, wet shoulder he was resting on. He smiled as Mulder's hand combed through his hair and he felt the softness of his lips kissing the top of his head. He had never felt so happy or loved, only Mulder could bring those feelings out in him.

Mulder reached over and pulled a strawberry out of the bowl, licking off the champagne before popping it into his mouth. "Mm, here, you have to try one," he murmured, holding a berry to Krycek's lips as the younger man opened his mouth for it.

Krycek turned sideways and slipped off his lover's lap so only their legs overlapped. He munched happily on the berry while leaning up against Mulder. "This is the life," he sighed.

They stayed luxuriating in the hot swirling water until all of the chilled strawberries were gone.

"Let's go try out the bed, it has silk sheets on it," Krycek informed his lover. Standing, he helped Mulder to his feet.

"It's been awhile since we've slept on silk sheets. I think the last time was in St. Petersburg," Mulder smiled dreamily, reminiscing about the feel of silk on his skin as they dried each other's bodies. He paused as he knelt drying his lover's legs; his eyes were even with the angel tattoo beside Krycek's groin.

"Alex, you never told me why you and Walter got angel tattoos? I would have thought you'd get something more masculine," he asked softly, wondering if his lover's tattoos had anything to do with the strange hallucinations he was having during sex.

"Fox, you know it's weird, but when we were both looking at that tattoo book, nothing appealed to us until we turned to the page that had the angels on it. There was something about those images that felt so right," Krycek replied. "I know it's not much of a reason." He took Mulder's hand and led him into the bedroom.

"No, it a good enough reason for me. I've been having some pretty vivid hallucinations whenever we have sex through my navel. I think your tattoos might have something to do with them, since they have always involved winged beings," Mulder replied, pulling the covers down on the bed.

"Those must be pretty wild hallucinations, do you want to tell me about them?" Krycek asked, pulling the other man into his arms.

"There's not much to tell. They don't last long -- usually less than a minute. It's just that they've seemed so real," he murmured.

"Fox, are you sure they're only hallucinations?"

"Yeah, I'm sure, especially now that I've made the connection with yours and Walter's tattoos."

After they slipped under the covers they cuddled closer, each too exhausted to do more than hold one another. "Alex, tell me about this other case you're checking into?"

"You mean SBS?" Krycek asked.

"SBS? What does that stand for?"

"It stands for 'Sleeping Beauty Syndrome' because the primary symptom of the disease is that the victims fall into deep comas. The CDC hasn't found anything else physically wrong with them, and haven't been able to determine what is causing the comas," Krycek replied. His hand stroked Mulder's soft skin, feeling the delicate shape of ribs underneath.

"Walter said that it was only affecting the area's sorcerers, has the CDC determined why some sorcerers are not affected?" Mulder asked, he felt a gnawing sense of worry.

"Not yet. Fox, Doctor Peterson would like for you to try to heal one of the men," Krycek informed him. He was not particularly fond of his lover encountering another sorcerer, or the effect the healing would have on him.

"Good, I was going to suggest that I be allowed to try. I'll admit that I'm concerned for your safety, Alex. You may have been exposed to whatever is infecting these men."

"I've had my own concerns, but I think that I would already be in a coma if it were contagious. Fox, before you try to heal one of those men, I want us to wrap up our case first." Krycek yawned; snuggling closer, he closed his eyes.

"With the new profile it shouldn't take long for a team of clairvoyants to locate the perp. They should be easily able to scan the n'thrals thoughts. I think it would be better if I spent my time helping Doctor Peterson," Mulder replied, waiting for his lover to protest, instead he heard soft snores coming from him. Raising himself on his elbow he looked down at Krycek's peacefully sleeping face, his lover had a little grin on his lips. Mulder bent down and gently kissed his lips, wrapped his arms around his lover's warm body, and soon joined him in sleep.

***

Jason Duffy's Cave
Thursday, January 13
1:30 p.m.

Jeffrey Spender and Doctor Kyle Pendrell stood nervously behind Rory MacIver for protection as the Scotsman gave Jason Duffy the drug to take. The nine-foot tall n'thral swallowed the liquid in the vial, and the feelings of arousal he had when the two young men came into his home immediately started to subside.

"Rory, my friend, I think it's working!" he exclaimed.

Doctor Pendrell tentatively stepped forward. "Mr. Duffy, can you describe what you're feeling?" he asked, placing his doctor's bag on the large wooden table. He pulled out a syringe to collect a sample of the giant's blood.

"It's what I'm not feeling that you should be asking me about; I no longer feel the urge to fuck any of you. This is remarkable, Rory, tell your immortal that I really appreciate his help. Maybe soon I'll be able to meet him in person without being afraid of assaulting him," Duffy blurted out excitedly.

"I'm sure Shinji will welcome the opportunity to meet you, Duffy," MacIver stated.

Spender had spent the time scanning the n'thrals thoughts for any deception; he was relieved to find that the giant was telling the truth. "Rory, did Shinji say how long the drug was suppose to last?" he asked, still keeping his distance from the n'thral.

"No, he didn't. I think Shinji was more interested in whether it would work or not," the Scottish sorcerer replied, watching as Pendrell took a blood sample from Duffy, then recorded his blood pressure and heart rate.

"I want to take a blood sample every hour in addition to recording your blood pressure and heart rate, Mr. Duffy. If you start to feel aroused by our presence at any point, please tell us immediately." Pendrell put his notebook aside and looked around the cave with interest for the first time since they arrived.

"I will, Doctor, and thank you for coming out here with Rory. Do not be afraid, I have more self-control than most n'thrals," Duffy replied, staring down at the much smaller man.

"Mr. Duffy, Rory couldn't have kept me away. The new drug Shinji has developed will have a great benefit on our whole society," Pendrell stated, hopping up on the three-foot high bench to sit.

"Ah, Doctor, how long are you planning for us to be here?" Spender asked, stepping cautiously up to his side.

"I thought we'd stay until the drug wears off. Don't worry, Jeff, I checked the weather forecast before we left and there's no chance of us getting snowed in up here for at least another three days," Pendrell replied, straight-faced.

"Three days! You're not suggesting that we're going to stay up here for *three* days?" Spender stammered.

Pendrell hid his grin. "I could only hope that the drug would last that long, but we'll be lucky if it lasts a few hours," he sighed, turning to the n'thral who was listening sadly to their conversation. "Mr. Duffy, now that we know it works, we'll have to make arrangements to move you closer to the lab so we can work on making the dosage stronger."

"Do you think that would be wise, Doctor?" He didn't want to take the chance of sexually assaulting any of these nice people when the drug wore off.

"You said yourself that you have more self-control than most n'thrals, I'm sure with Rory's help we should be able to prevent you from injuring anyone."

MacIver walked over and placed a comforting hand on the giant's arm. "Don't worry, Duffy, my friend, I'll see to it that you don't hurt anyone. Just think of everything you have to gain. I'll talk to Walter; we might be able to put you in the room next door to Shinji's lab. It's more than large enough to handle your size, and with the drug we shouldn't have to worry about you becoming sexually aroused. Besides, down there the female babies' scent wouldn't bother you."

"Rory, you'd allow me to move onto the estate, and in such a close proximity to your lover?" Duffy sniveled, overcome by his friend's trust in him.

"Yes, but the ultimate decision rests with Walter, Mulder, and Alex," the Scotsman said softly. He didn't know how he'd be able to convince the three men that there would be no danger from having Duffy at the mansion, but he was going to give it his best shot.

"Thank you, Rory. I'm going to fix us something to eat while we wait for this drug to wear off." Duffy rose and lumbered off in the direction of his larder.

Spender held his tongue as he watched the immense n'thral leave. He couldn't see Skinner agreeing to have that creature under his roof. He climbed up on the tall bench next to Pendrell and settled in to wait.

***

Miami
Thursday, January 13
4:30 p.m.

Police cars surrounded the auto body shop. A swat team had been called in after the shop's owner and his sons had taken an FBI clairvoyant hostage.

"What's the situation?" Krycek asked after leaping out of his car and running over to Special Agent Hank Carlton, who had a large bruise on his cheek and a split lip.

"Those bastards have Colton, we didn't sense anything when we went into the shop then one of those large n'thrals grabbed him. It was wearing one of those anti-telepathy helmets on its head. I barely made it out of there to call for backup," Carlton replied, shuddering.

Tom Colton and Hank Carlton were both FBI clairvoyants assigned to the Sorcerer and Clairvoyant Division under the supervision of A.D. Skinner. The division consisted of twenty-five sorcerers and one hundred and sixty clairvoyants.

"Are you able to make telepathic contact with anyone in the shop?" Krycek asked after trying himself and failing.

"No, I can't even reach Tom. I should be able to sense his presence even if he were unconscious unless they've put one of those fucking helmets on him!" Carlton replied, frustrated.

"Damn! Then we won't be able to raid the place without putting Colton's life at risk," Krycek growled.

The commander of the swat team rushed over to fill them in on the current situation. "Agent Krycek, we're bringing in a helicopter equipped with a heat sensitive infrared scanner. We'll then be able to determine how many people are in the building, and where they're located."

"Very good, Douglas, keep me appraised. If you can get a fix on Colton's position I should be able to teleport him out of there," Krycek replied.

"That would be a really neat trick if you could do that," Douglas commented thoughtfully. He had never met a sorcerer with the ability to teleport a human being before, and the potential use in future hostage situations were mind blowing.

"You locate him and I'll get him out," Krycek promised.

Inside the building in a small windowless room in the buildings center were five men. One man was naked and tied draped over a steel rod that hung suspended from the ceiling by two chains attached to each end of the rod. The man's arms were stretched out and cuffed to each end of the chains holding the rod; his feet were spread and chained to sturdy steel bolts in the concrete floor. Below the man's spread legs were rust-colored stains, from his bent position Colton had a clear view of the stains and knew exactly where they had come from, he shivered in fear.

There was a rapping on the helmet covering his head. Colton glanced up at the small man standing in front of him.

"It's a pity that you found me, I was having so much fun, but at least you should give me some additional entertainment before I surrender. It's only too bad you won't live to see my trial," Grossman commented.

"You're guaranteeing yourself a death sentence if you kill me," Colton argued anxiously as a cold sweat broke out on his body. He felt his ass cheeks being spread and a nozzle being inserted into his anus.

"Maybe so, but I do plan on enjoying myself while I'm in jail. Me and my boys will have so much fun ruling over the other prisoners," Grossman mused, watching the FBI man's body stiffen as axle grease was pumped into his rectum. "The grease isn't for your comfort, FBI, but for my boys', it isn't very pleasant for them when their cocks get stuck in a too tight hole, and they do so love getting their whole cock inside."

Colton gasped in pain as the grease was pumped deep inside his bowels until it overflowed leaking back out his anus. He sighed when the nozzle was removed from his anus, and he tried to force the grease out of his painfully cramping bowels.

"They also love making sure their toys are properly lubed," the perp joked at the look of pain on the other man's face. He frowned as he noticed the grease running down the FBI man's legs. "Now look what you done! They are going to have to refill you until you stay properly lubed!" the little man shrieked, slapping Colton across the face.

Colton felt the nozzle being forced back up his anus and more thick grease pumped back inside his body. He hung his head as pain gripped him. Two pairs of naked legs came into view, he cautiously raised his head and looked. The two n'thrals were standing in front of him stroking their immense cocks excitedly, as the one behind him continued to fill him with grease until he thought his bowels would rupture. The nozzle was pulled back out and a large blunt object was quickly inserted between his ass cheeks before he had the opportunity to force the grease out of his body. The FBI man screamed as the n'thral forced the tip of his cock into him; it felt as wide as two baseball bats and he felt the burning pain as his anal muscles tore. The n'thral's fingers tug into his hips as it strained to get more of its length inside the smaller man.

Grossman pulled Colton's head up and smiled into his pain filled eyes. "That's just ten inches of my boy; he has another seven to get up into you yet. You should see how beautiful your ass looks skewered on my boy's magnificent shaft. It's too bad I'm forced to keep this helmet on you, I'd love to read your thoughts right now."

The n'thral managed to slide another three inches in, before he ran up against an obstruction. He strained, pushing forward with his cock while pulling back on the smaller man's hips, but was unable to force his way in any deeper. The FBI man clenched his teeth against the pain as the n'thral pulled out slightly and slammed back in, attempting to get pass the barrier that was obstructing his entry. Finally after several attempts there was a popping sound and the giant slid in the final four inches.

Colton bellowed in pain then passed out; coming to a few minutes later as the shop's owner waved smelling salts under his nose. The perp's pants were undone and his puny three-inch cock peaked out. "You're going to miss all of the fun; you wouldn't want to sleep through my boys fucking you, now would you?" the small man said, patting the side of the helmet.

The FBI man was in extreme pain; the enormous shaft up his ass had entered his bowels. The grease filling his intestines had him feeling like his guts were going to burst. He gasped as the n'thral pulled out and rammed back into him, it seemed to go on forever until he felt the organ inside him grow even thicker and the creature's hot release was pumped into him.

When the n'thral pulled his seventeen-inch cock out, grease, semen, shit, and blood ran down Colton's quivering legs. Grossman watched with an evil smile on his face and his pants stained by his own come. "Don't worry about the grease, FBI, my boy opened you up really nicely there's not a chance that my other boys' cocks will get stuck in your hole now."

Outside Krycek paced anxiously, he was getting to the point where he was tempted to charge the building despite not knowing what was going on inside.

"Agent Krycek, charging the place wouldn't be wise, they may have something other than anti-telepathy helmets inside," Carlton warned reading his intentions.

A car pulled up next to them, Agent Mulder and his security detail climbed out. "Alex, what's the situation?"

"Fox, we're waiting for the heli . . . " His voice trailed off as the helicopter with the advanced infrared heat scanning equipment flew into view heading for their location.

"About time," he hissed, running over to the swat team's truck, he climbed in and rushed over to the monitors that showed what the infrared scanner was picking up inside the building. "There! Have them get a close up of this area," Krycek ordered, pointing the shapes moving on the screen.

The agent at the monitoring equipment relayed Krycek's request to the helicopter pilot and he zoomed in closer. It was clear by the image that one shape was bound and the other four shapes were assaulting him.

"I'm going to teleport him out," Krycek replied, concentrating on the bound shape on the monitor, it soon vanished off the screen. There was a startled cry outside the truck as Tom Colton's unconscious battered body appeared on the pavement.

Agent Hank Carlton rushed over to him and gently removed the helmet from his partner's head. Krycek stepped out of the truck and joined the assault team as they charged the building. He glanced briefly down at Tom Colton's body, and anger filled him, someone was going to pay.

Mulder ran over to help Colton, when he touched the naked man's body, he felt how critically injured Colton was, and he quickly flagged over his security detail. "Guys, he's not going to make it unless I heal him," Mulder informed them.

"Don't worry, Mulder, we'll take care of you afterwards, just don't let him die," Jones replied, kneeling next to Mulder, he felt nauseated when he got a good look at Colton's injuries.

Mulder placed both hands on Colton's body and felt the energy flow through them and a golden glow spread slowly covering both of their bodies. Dakota Jones felt himself leaning into the light illuminating Mulder's body, and discovered a serenity and peace as the light touched him. He watched in utter fascination as the bruises on Colton's body disappeared.

The immortal sighed and leaned exhausted against Jones as the light vanished. Tom Colton opened his eyes and stared questioningly up at Mulder, he hadn't been this close to the agent since the Tooms case. A look of horror crossed Colton's features as he remembered being raped by the n'thrals. His face crumpled and he started crying, to his surprise Mulder pulled him into his arms.

"Ssh, don't worry, Tom, it is going to all right," Mulder soothed tiredly, mindless of the mess covering the other man's body. "The paramedics are here to take you to the hospital," he murmured, allowing the paramedics to take Colton from him.

"Mulder, thanks." Colton smiled weakly as he was transferred onto a gurney. He wasn't in any pain and briefly wondered about that as he was placed into the ambulance, and Hank Carlton climbed in next to him.

"Mulder, c'mon let's get you back to the hotel," Jones said, helping the agent up. Mulder sagged against him too exhausted to stand on his own. Jones on the other hand was feeling invigorated, and he effortlessly scooped Mulder into his arms as the agent lost his battle to stay awake.

Lars Johnson held the back door to the car open as he eased Mulder's sleeping body inside. The younger man raised his eyebrows in surprise as he got a good look at Jones' face. "Ah, Dakota, remember the pockmarks you had on your face?"

"Yeah, what do you mean had?" Jones asked, bending to look into the rearview mirror. "Damn, they're gone! What happened?" he asked in amazement. He had had the pockmarks since he was a child after suffering smallpox. They had been a source of low self-esteem and ridicule for him as a boy, and later as an adult.

"I think you got too close to Mulder when he was healing Colton," Austin grinned.

Their conversation was interrupted as the FBI led their prisoners out of the auto body repair shop. The three n'thrals were still naked and covered with slime; their father was cursing at the FBI men and bragging about how good it felt to fuck one of them.

"Are all FBI men virgins?" he asked, chuckling sadistically.

Krycek quickly put an end to his fun. "Mr. Grossman, I know you think that you'll be sent to the same prison that your three sons are going to, but let me assure you that is not about to happen." Then Krycek leveled him with a broad grin. "Being a virgin yourself, you'll soon learn how much fun it really is being raped."

"You can't do that! I have rights! I'm an American, I demand to speak to an attorney!" the deranged little man shrieked.

"Take them away," Krycek ordered, then hurried over to the car where Mulder lay sleeping.

"I take it that Tom Colton is physically okay now?" Krycek asked, easing in beside his lover, he pulled Mulder's body into his arms and tossed Jones the keys to his rental car. Jones smiled and headed over to Krycek's car.

"Yeah, physically he's fine," Austin replied, starting the car he drove them back to their hotel.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Thursday, January 13
7:30 p.m.

"Alex, when are you and Fox planning on coming home?" Skinner asked. Placing an animal cracker on Hope's highchair tray, he held Faith balanced on his hip as he spoke to her father on the telephone.

"In a few days, Fox is sleeping off a healing right now, and I want to find out more about this SBS disease. Walter, I'm afraid it may be spreading. Reports out of Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and Houston state that sorcerers in those areas have been falling into comas. The CDC still hasn't been able to find a cause," he sighed, sitting next to Mulder on the bed.

Skinner shivered looking at his daughter and niece, he felt a sense of dread, what would happen to his family if this disease struck them? "Alex, has Fox attempted to heal one of the sorcerers? Is that why he is sleeping?" he asked anxiously.

"Yes, and no. I haven't talked to Fox, yet. We were at the hospital together and Fox was going to attempt to heal one of the sorcerers when I got a call from Hank Carlton that Tom Colton had been taken hostage by our perp. I left Fox at the hospital with his security detail as I went to oversee the hostage situation at the auto body shop. Fox showed up forty-five minutes later, and he healed Tom Colton who had been critically injured by the perp's n'thral sons. Walter, Lars Johnson said he wasn't able to heal the sorcerer at the hospital, but Fox didn't tell them why. This scares me shitless, what happens if we're affected by this disease?" Krycek's hand massaged Mulder's back while he talked on the telephone.

"Alex, I don't know, it scares me, too. I'm going to explain the situation to the others here after we find out what happened at the hospital from Fox. I don't want to worry them prematurely if Fox has a logical explanation." Skinner sighed, hugging Faith closer against his body.

She looked up at him and held out her hands toward the telephone. "Dada."

"Yes, cutie, its your daddy. Do you want to talk to him?" Skinner smiled, putting the telephone up against her ear.

"Faith, how's my precious little girl doing?" Krycek cooed gently.

Faith squealed with delight as she heard her daddy's voice. "Gee!"

Skinner smiled, pulling the telephone away. "She misses you, Alex. Fox taped your photograph inside her crib before he left, and she does seem to sleep better."

"I miss her and the mouse, too. Believe me, I sleep better with both their photos nearby, too," the young man replied, looking longingly at his daughter and niece's photograph on the night stand.

"Alex, call me as soon as Fox wakes up. I'm gong to see if Melvin knows anything about what is happening involving SBS," Skinner replied saying his farewells.

Krycek placed the phone back on the hook and climbed into bed next to his lover, wrapping his body around Mulder's, he held him tightly.

***

 


 

Life from the Ashes Book 3 - SBS
Chapter 2
Duffy

by Jo B.


***

Miami
Friday, January 14
9:30 a.m.

Mulder opened his eyes and peered at the empty space beside him in bed, he rolled on his side and stared across the room at his lover who stood motionless in front of the hotel window.

"Alex."

"Fox, you're awake, thank god." Krycek turned around relief showing in his eyes. "How do you feel?" he asked, strolling over to the bed and sitting next to his lover.

"Fine. How long?"

"Sixteen hours." Krycek lovingly brushed the hair off Mulder's forehead.

"How's Colton?"

"Physically he's in better condition than he's been in years, mentally he's going to require a lot of counseling," Krycek replied, lovingly stroking Mulder's arm. "I talked to Walter last night and told him we're going to stay and check into SBS."

"Damn! Alex, I'm sorry, I wanted to tell you what happened at the hospital with that sorcerer," Mulder exclaimed sitting up abruptly, he swung his feet onto the floor.

"Fox, what's wrong?"

"I couldn't heal him, Alex, the only injuries or illnesses that I can't heal involve the alien virus. We need to check the local sorcerers that haven't been stricken and find out if they were living in Miami a year ago," Mulder said, standing he headed into the bathroom.

Krycek followed him and leaned against the door as his lover used the toilet. "I think I know where you're going with this, Fox. The anti-ghoul virus was released in Miami a year ago on January 4th and the first victims of SBS were reported around January 4th."

"Yes, exactly. We should check the cities where the anti-ghoul virus was next used to see if there are any cases of SBS," Mulder replied, standing, he flushed and went to wash his hands.

"Fox, you wouldn't happen to remember which cities were after Miami?" Krycek asked nervously, feeling a tightening in his stomach.

"Yeah, Atlanta, Nashville, Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Houston, it was released on January 11th."

"Damn. Fox, I think you just found the connection. Cases of SBS have already been reported in five of those cities. I'm going to call the CDC with the information."

Mulder followed Krycek back into the bedroom and waited for him to finish his telephone call. He hugged himself while staring sadly out the window toward the beach; the sunlight sparkled off the pristine blue waters. Krycek's arms wrapped around him hugging him from behind, the younger man rested his chin on Mulder's shoulder.

"A penny for your thoughts?" he purred into his lover's ear.

"Alex, the virus was released in D.C. on January 22nd, if it is the anti-ghoul virus that's causing this disease that leaves only eight days before you and Walter are affected."

"Fox, once the CDC knows for sure what's causing the outbreak, they should be able to develop a cure. I'm sure they'll have one before either of us is affected. C'mon, it's a beautiful day out, let's round up the guys and spend it on the beach like we planned," Krycek soothed. Deep down he was afraid of what was going to happen if the CDC didn't have a cure in eight days. The thought of leaving Fox and his daughter and niece unprotected scared the shit out of him.

"Okay, but first I'm going to take a shower, and remember, Alex, we still need to get me a swimsuit," Mulder replied softly, pulling out of his lover's arms not wanting Alex to know how truly scared he was.

"I'm going to call Walter and tell him your theory on SBS," Krycek informed him, sitting on the bed he picked up the telephone again.

***

St. Petersburg
Friday, January 14
10:30 a.m.

Nikolai Slava stood before his daughters' growth cylinders they were less then six weeks away from being born. He smiled contentedly. He had his workers putting the final touches on the nursery, and he had selected seven nannies from the Russian female survivors. All of the nannies were young, pretty, and intelligent. Marat Fyodorov was instructing the women on the protocol of the palace their duties.

Slava had one problem with bringing the seven female nannies into the winter palace. The n'thrals that guard the palace all became physically ill upon smelling and seeing the women. He realized that his security force would be affected similarly with his daughters when they were born so he had his scientists working on a way around the problem. The only solution that they had developed so far was suppressing the n'thrals' sense of smell, but it wasn't totally effective. The scientists discovered that besides being repulsed by the females' scent the n'thrals were also repulsed by their appearance. However, suppressing the n'thrals' sense a smell did alleviate them becoming physically sick.

"Moi Tsar." Marat Fyodorov interrupted the larger man's meditation.

"Yes, Fyodorov."

"The workmen have finished yours and master Fox's bedroom. Would you like to approve their work?" the shorter man asked.

"Yes. Did they install everything I asked for?" Slava inquired, heading toward the door.

"Yes, moi Tsar. All of the sexual pleasure devices have been installed, your lover will be most pleased with them," the clairvoyant stated. He was personally looking forward to the arrival of the Tsar's lover almost as much as the Tsar, he intended to spy on the couple as they made love. The mere thought of seeing the beautiful immortal in the throes of passion caused his cock to swell.

"Moi Fox will be here in four weeks, and I want everything to be perfect for his arrival. Warn the staff, Fyodorov, no one is to tell him about our daughters. I want the babies to be a surprise for him on the day of their birth."

"Yes, moi Tsar," the smaller man replied as they headed off down the hallway.

***

Miami
Friday, January 14
2:30 p.m.

The hot sun bore down on them; Mulder sighed contently as his lover massaged suntan oil into his skin. He was lying on his stomach on a beach towel with Alex Krycek straddling his legs as the younger man applied the oil onto his long back. The looming crisis was currently far from his mind, all that mattered was spending some quality time with Alex. They were far removed from the FBI, their family, and the demands the government had placed on their lives.

The other three agents lay on beach towels next to them and appeared to be totally relaxed, but Mulder knew that the three men were alert and watchful. Earlier, they had run off half a dozen n'thrals that had gotten too close, and their current method of discouraging others from approaching was novel. The sand surrounding the area where they lay was hot as charcoals, preventing anyone from getting near them. The five men inside its confines could not feel the heat from the red, glowing sand, but outside it was like approaching a blast furnace.

"Fox, get up and do me," Krycek purred, handing Mulder the oil as he eased himself off his lover's body and back onto his own beach towel.

"Do you, babe?" Mulder leered seductively, taking the oil from him then glancing over at his security team.

"Don't let us stop you, Mulder," Jones replied, grinning up from his beach towel.

Mulder smiled back amazed at how handsome the other man was without the deep pockmarks that had scarred his face and body. "Dream on, Jones," he chuckled and started rubbing oil onto Krycek's back, his lover was sitting cross-legged on his towel.

Krycek laughed. "Really, Fox, don't you want to give them something to dream about?"

"I'd also be giving our other audience a show, which I'm not prepared to do," Mulder replied, indicating the over two hundred n'thrals that had set up camp a good distance outside the burning sand.

"You're right, love, that would not be smart. They might end up overlooking how hot the sand was between us and them."

"Alex, what time do you want to leave tomorrow?"

"I have us booked on the morning flight at nine o'clock. Fox, I can't wait to get back home to Faith, I've been gone over a week since . . . I wonder if she'll still recognize me," he grumbled.

"Alex, you're her father, of course she'll still recognize you," Mulder scolded as he rubbed the oil down Krycek's arms, enjoying the swell of his lover's hard muscles beneath his fingertips.

"Maybe, but I've never been away from her for this long before."

Mulder pulled the younger man up against his chest, kissing the side of his throat. "I'll bet that she crawls to you first," he soothed.

"Fox, the babies always go to you first," he sighed, leaning back into his lover's warm embrace. "What do you want to bet?" Krycek asked, knowing a sure thing when he heard one.

"Breakfast in bed Sunday morning, let's say Swedish pancakes with lingonberries," Mulder replied, licking his lips.

"Fox, do they even have lingonberries in D.C?" Krycek asked.

"You're the sorcerer, wiggle that cute nose of yours and whip us up some," he replied saucily.

"Brat," Krycek chuckled, extracting himself from Mulder's arms he laid flat on his stomach, he couldn't hide the happy smile that spread across his lips.

Mulder smiled at the look of contentment on his lover's face then joined him in sunbathing.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Friday, January 14
8:30 p.m.

"Walter, if what you're saying is true we'll have to double our security here," Major Kazuo Sawada stated.

"It is true Kazuo, and I agree we need to tighten our security, I want to be prepared for the worse. If this new virus continues on its current course Alex, Tony, and I could be affected in about week," Skinner replied, pacing around the kitchen.

Rory MacIver swirled around on the tall kitchen stool, watching him. "So, let me see if I got this straight, after being exposed to the virus it takes a year for it to gestate before producing these debilitating symptoms?" he asked.

"That appears to be the case, but the CDC hasn't issued a public statement yet. The government is trying to conceal the extent of the disease for as long as possible," Skinner informed them. He knew that once word got out that this disease was striking down American sorcerers it would open the nation up to attack by foreign governments.

"That's a wise move, hopefully it will give them enough time to find a cure," Gabriel Hunter replied, reading his thoughts. He was leaning up against the counter next to Justin Blaise. "I personally shouldn't be affected until May, I was in Hawaii when the anti-ghoul virus was released on the mainland. What about you, Kazuo?"

"I was exposed in May, too. That was when I came to this country to be interviewed as Shin's lover," he replied solemnly. "The anti-ghoul virus was released in Japan last July." Sawada shivered as the ramifications to his country sunk in; ruthless warlords surrounded Japan, if anything happened to Japan's sorcerers nothing would stand in the way of their armies. The rest of Asia hadn't used the anti-ghoul virus so their sorcerers would be unaffected.

"I would have been exposed April 1st," MacIver replied. "Walter, we could probably defend the estate against any threat from n'thrals or humans, but if we are attacked by other sorcerers we'll be in trouble without you, Tony, and Alex."

Skinner stopped his pacing; he looked into the family room at his daughter and niece playing in the playpen. "That's what concerns me, Rory. Five immortals would be too tempting of a target for foreign governments, not to mention the children. We've been lucky so far that word hasn't gotten out about Justin's, Joe's, Hans', and Shin's pregnancies."

"Tell me about it! The last thing I want is to have my picture plastered on the cover of Time magazine with the headline 'Pregnant!' that would be too embarrassing," Blaise grumbled.

"I think you're being a little egotistical there, Justin, the cover will probably have all of our faces on it," Hawk replied.

"Walter, what about bringing Duffy here? He'll offer some protection until a cure is found," Rory replied. He had discussed the issue with Skinner already, but the larger man had wanted to discuss it with his lovers first. However, this was before they found out about SBS.

"It might be something to consider. Jason Duffy was in Special Forces in Vietnam he'd be able to provide considerable protection for the family, but I would like more evidence that the drug is really controlling his sex drive effectively," Skinner replied.

Hans Schatz looked at them shocked. "You're not seriously thinking about bringing a n'thral onto the estate are you?"

"Hans, Duffy isn't like most n'thrals. He's kind and gentle, with the drug he won't pose any threat to you or the other immortals," MacIver assured the frightened younger man.

"Rory, he's a n'thral! All n'thrals are alike, *sex* is the only thing on their minds!" Schatz shouted, dismayed at the prospect of being anywhere near a n'thral. "Melvin, do something!"

Frohike had been sitting quietly listening to the men's discussion. He had his own concerns and fears, which he couldn't voice without adding more worry for Skinner. "Hans, I know you're afraid, but we're going to need Duffy here for protection. He may be the only thing that stands in the way of other n'thrals raiding the estate."

"Melvin, how can you agree with them? I thought you loved me," he snapped, turning, he fled the kitchen for his bedroom.

Frohike sprang out of his chair and ran after his distraught lover.

Hunter sadly watched the beautiful blond immortal leave. "Fox isn't going to like the idea anymore than Hans. We need to seriously address their fears before we move that creature under our roof and into our family," he warned. He wasn't particular happy with the idea of having a n'thral on the estate, he'd witnessed too many atrocities committed by their kind.

Skinner removed his glasses and massaged the bridge of his nose, feeling a headache coming on. "Of course you're right, Gabriel. Fox has been attacked three times in the past by n'thrals; he has a severe fear of them. How do you propose we handle this?" he asked.

Shinji Takeda spoke up. "They both need to meet and talk to Duffy. I'm afraid of n'thrals too, but I'm no longer afraid of Duffy, not since I met him today at the Center. He has warm gentle eyes . . . the drug has removed any wanton lust from their depths. I felt absolutely safe around him."

"Okay, Shin, good suggestion. I'll arrange for Doctor Pendrell to bring Duffy here for Sunday dinner then both Fox and Hans can get to know him," Skinner replied. "Does anyone have a problem with this?"

"N'thrals can't stand the smell of females, what about the babies won't they cause him a problem?" Joseph Shadow Hawk asked.

Skinner looked at him thoughtfully. "Joe, we'll see how he responds to them on Sunday. If need be we'll suppress his sense of smell like I had to do around Fox before the anti-pheromone drug was invented. I'm going to request that the government assign the National Guard to patrol the outside perimeter around the estate until a cure can be found for the virus. I'll insist that all n'thrals in the unit be given Shinji's drug."

Takeda swiftly rose and went into the family room when he heard his daughter Ayako crying. He scooped her up and carried her back into the kitchen. "Kazuo, I'm going to feed her and put her to bed," he said, heading for their living quarters.

"I better do the same with my daughter and niece, it's way past their bedtime and I don't want them getting in the habit of staying up late," Skinner replied.

"I'll help you, Walter," Blaise offered, following the older man into the family room he picked up Faith from the playpen. She started crying and struggling to get down. "You don't want to go to bed, do you, cutie?"

"She's starting to be a night owl like her fathers," Skinner said as they entered his bedroom, he laid Hope on the bed and started removing her romper.

"Walter, you know they're not going to find a cure before you and Alex are stricken. Do you really think the others can protect this place without you?" Blaise asked, bouncing Faith on his hip to get her to stop crying.

"I'm not too worried, Gabriel is a better sorcerer than I am, and Rory and Kazuo function as the perfect team now that they've buried the hatchet. What I'm concerned about is Fox, he's going to start going through withdrawal pains, and I don't want to have him suffering. I thought I'd talk to Rory and ask if he can service Fox until we're cured," Skinner sighed. He scooped up his daughter, and carried her to the changing table.

Blaise laid a much calmer baby on the bed and proceeded to remove her outfit. "Walter, wouldn't it be better if Mulder went the three weeks to become withdrawal free? I mean, we don't know how long it will be before a cure against the virus is found."

"No. Fox can't be incapacitated for that length of time; he's needed to protect our daughters and the household. Fox has connections in high places and he'll be able to garner their support if needed," Skinner told him as he slipped Hope's legs into her one-piece sleeper.

"What happens after April 1st if there's still no cure and Rory falls into a coma, too?" Blaise asked, balancing the diaper-clad baby on his hip as he rummaged through the dresser for her sleeper.

"I pray that there is a cure before April 1st," he murmured quietly, hugging his daughter as fear tied his stomach in knots.

"I do, too," Blaise murmured, placing Faith in her crib.

***

Dana Scully's Resident
Friday, January 14
8:30 p.m.

"Mulder, I'll contact the CDC in the morning and get samples from them. No, I don't mind helping," Dana Scully replied.

"Are you going to be coming back tomorrow?" she asked, smiling up at her husband who place a cup of tea in front of her. "Good, I'll see you soon."

"Dana, is there a problem?" Jonathan Carter asked.

"Yeah. There seems to be a new virus spreading through the country that's affecting only sorcerers. Mulder thinks it's connected to that anti-ghoul virus the government released a year ago. The disease causes the victims to fall into comas. Currently there are one hundred and sixty sorcerers afflicted with it in Miami, and it has spread to seven other cities. Jonathan, there's an estimated one million sorcerers living in the U.S., we could have a major health crisis on our hands."

"Dana, is Mulder afraid that Walter and Alex are going get the virus?"

"He didn't say as much, but yeah, I think he is. Dear, I'm worried for him. Mulder will be an easy target without Walter and Alex there to protect him," Scully sighed.

"If this virus only affects U.S. sorcerers this whole country could be in for trouble," Carter replied, reaching across the table to take his wife's hand in his.

"The n'thrals are bound to take advantage of the situation, we could have a civil war on our hands," Scully replied.

"Dana, we could have a world war on our hands."

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Saturday, January 15
Noon

Krycek parked the SUV in front of the garage door. It felt good to be back home again, he turned and smiled over at Mulder. "I'll get the bags," he said, concentrating briefly on their luggage, it vanished and reappeared in their bedroom.

They climbed out of the truck and walked toward their home, Mulder shivered against the cold. "I want a hot chocolate and a hot bath."

"Good idea, I'll join you," Krycek replied, his teeth clattering as a gust of wind blew through the fabric of his dress pants. His shoes made crunching sounds on the frozen ground.

They entered through the front door of the mansion and were somewhat surprised that no one was around to greet them, they heard voices coming from the direction of the family room.

The whole family was there with their eyes glued on the television set. Skinner glanced up with a displeased expression on his handsome face and he forced a smile when he saw them. He was holding Hope on his lap; the baby was playing contentedly with a set of plastic keys.

Faith was playing quietly on the rug at Skinner's feet. She smiled up at her fathers upon seeing them then crawled quickly over to greet them. She paused briefly; glancing up at Mulder Faith gave him a wide grin then veered toward Krycek grabbing his pants cuff she tried to pull herself up. "Dababbadadd," she cooed happily.

"Hey, cutie, how's my sweetheart," Krycek murmured lovingly, scooping her into his arms, he hugged and kissed her small warm body.

Faith squealed with delight and concentrated her full attention on her father's face, sticking her fingers in his mouth she giggled when he pretended to eat them.

"See, lover, I told you she'd go to you first," Mulder stated smugly, wrapping his arms around Krycek's waist he kissed his daughter on the cheek. Mulder enjoyed the look of utter joy on his lover's face.

"I'll have to learn never to doubt you, but I'm still amazed she came to me first." He smiled happily, then focused his attention on the gloomy expressions on the faces of the other men in the room.

"What's going on, guys?" Krycek asked cautiously.

"CNN has been reporting the latest news concerning immortals all morning. It appears that Cory Greene and immortals from Uganda and Greece are pregnant. Alex, the world now knows that we're hermaphrodites, it's only a matter of time before they discover that we're pregnant, too," Hawk grumbled, he cuddled closer to Blaise for comfort.

"God, this is so embarrassing!" Blaise moaned. "I can just picture the looks on the faces of my Texas Ranger buddies when they hear the news," he sighed, burying his face against Hawk's shoulder.

Takeda looked up from where his head rested on MacIver's lap. The older man was soothingly combing his fingers through his lover's hair. "Mulder, it's more embarrassing than that! They had a panel of experts speculating on us all morning. Somehow they managed to get their hands on Doctor Harris' medical data, including x-rays, chemical analysis about our monthly cycles, and they've been showing detailed diagrams of our new organ and orifice," Takeda complained.

Mulder's face went completely white, the room started to spin, he clung tighter to Krycek to keep himself from falling. "God."

Skinner quickly handed Hope to Hans. He rushed over to help his lover. He gently eased Mulder's hands away from Krycek's coat and pulled him over to the sofa. "Fox, sit. It's going to be okay," he murmured gently.

"No, it's not! God, this is so *humiliating* now everyone in the FBI knows. What happens when they discover that clairvoyants can impregnate us, too? There are six times as many clairvoyants as there are sorcerers!" Mulder griped.

"Ah, Fox, they already know. One of Cory Greene's lovers is a clairvoyant, and one of the babies he's pregnant with belongs to him," Skinner informed him softly, kneeling at his feet.

"One of? Walter, what do you mean? *ONE* of?"

"Fox, it appears that Greene is pregnant with two babies, one belongs to this clairvoyant lover and the other belongs to Stuart Holt."

"Oh, that's just *fucking* great! Wasn't it bad enough that we could become pregnant! Whose fucking idea was it that could become pregnant with *more* than one baby by *more* than one man, God!" Mulder shuddered. "If I ever get my hands on those fucking aliens, I will tear their little gray bodies apart limb by limb!"

"Being pregnant with two babies can't be that much worse than one," Skinner replied, trying to comfort his lover.

"Walter, you're not helping here." Mulder glared, swatting his hands away.

"Sorry, Fox," Skinner sighed, then decided to change the subject to something safer before he further put his foot in his mouth. "I was just going to start lunch, why don't you and Alex take your coats off and relax, I'll call you when it's ready."

Mulder noticed the sadness in Walter's eyes and realized this latest intrusion in their lives was grating on all their nerves. It was bound to come out in the news eventually, and this new information really didn't matter, what mattered was his lovers' continued good health. "That's okay, Walter, I missed you," he sighed. Leaning forward he kissed Skinner softly then hugged him.

"I missed you too, Fox. You and Alex go on and change, lunch will be ready in a half hour," Skinner said, pulling away he stood and headed into the kitchen.

Before leaving, Mulder took Hope from Schatz. "Hi, princess, did you miss me?"

"Dade box," Hope babbled, smiling.

"Hey, I think she said my name," Mulder grinned.

"Fox, that was only baby babble," Krycek corrected as the two men headed toward their bedroom.

"Nope, it was clearly *Daddy Fox* isn't that right, princess," Mulder murmured, hugging his little daughter. "Besides, Alex, she's just two weeks away from how old I was when I said my first word."

"Whatever, Fox."

They carried the babies into the bathroom and set them gently on the tiled floor to play while they stripped out of their overcoats and suits.

"Fox, I'm scared," Krycek murmured, buttoning up his jeans while watching the babies crawl around the bathroom investigating every nook and cranny.

"Alex, everything is going to be okay, the CDC will find a cure." Mulder stood next to him watching his daughters play.

"They're not going to find one in a week, Fox. I can't stand the thought of leaving you and the girls unprotected."

"They won't be unprotected Gabriel, Rory, and Kazuo will never allow any harm to come to our children, and I'm quite capable of looking after myself, Alex."

"Fox, you're capable of protecting yourself against clairvoyants and humans, but you don't stand a chance against sorcerers or n'thrals. What happens if they don't find a cure before Rory, Kazuo, and Gabriel get it?" Krycek sighed, wrapping his arms around Mulder's body.

"They'll find a cure. If they don't I'll see that our family is safely hidden until a cure can be found," Mulder promised, returning the hug.

Krycek shivered. "Fox, promise me that you won't take any foolish chances with your life after Walter and I get SBS? That you'll be there for our daughters?"

"Alex, I can't, I won't promise you that. I will take whatever chances necessary to protect you, Walter, and our munchkins."

"Fox, please, at least promise that you'll never leave the babies unprotected and that you'll be careful?"

"I promise, Alex, you have nothing to worry about. C'mon let's go eat lunch," he soothed, kissing the younger man softly then went to pluck Faith off the floor.

"Fox, I have everything to worry about and too much to lose," Krycek replied, picking his niece up.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Sunday, January 16
5:00 p.m.

"Walter, I can't believe you invited a n'thral to dinner," Mulder complained.

"Fox, you have nothing to be afraid of. The drug Shinji invented works. Besides Jason Duffy is an old friend of mine, he would never dream of harming you," Skinner replied, cleaning the seeds from an acorn squash.

"I beg to differ, Walter! That thing would have *raped* me last spring if you hadn't been there to prevent it! I'm willing to thank *it* for saving Shinji's life last fall, but I still don't want *it* under my roof!" Mulder snapped, slamming the refrigerator after removing a carton of orange juice.

Krycek took the carton from Mulder. "Walter, I agree with Fox. N'thrals are not to be trusted! They have no redeeming characteristics. We definitely cannot allow one of those creatures under our roof or anywhere near our children."

"Fox, Alex, he's coming to dinner! However, if you still have your doubts about his character afterwards, I promise this will be the last time I allow him onto the estate. All that I ask is that you both keep an open mind, and look beyond his outward appearance," Skinner pleaded.

"Okay, Walter, but the whole family gets to vote on whether to allow him to stay at the estate. If one of us votes no then he goes and there will be no further discussion," Mulder replied, squeezing Hans Schatz's hand reassuringly, the younger immortal smiled appreciatively at him.

"Okay, fine, Fox. I can accept yours and Hans' discomfort with n'thrals, you've both been violated by them in the past. Just keep in mind that Duffy isn't like other n'thrals," Skinner grumbled, sliding a cookie sheet full of quartered acorn squash into the oven.

MacIver watched silently as the men argued, his lover had had his own hatred of n'thrals, but Takeda was able to overcome them to help Duffy. "Lads, I'm sure you'll like Duffy once you get to know him," the Scotsman assured them.

Krycek was about to respond when he frowned angrily. "Fuck, its here already with Doctor Pendrell. I'll go show them in, Walter."

"Alex, be nice," Skinner ordered.

"Aren't I always?" he snipped, heading out of the kitchen.

"No, you're not," MacIver shouted, jumping up he hurriedly followed Krycek out of the room.

As Krycek and MacIver left to escort Jason Duffy and Doctor Pendrell into the mansion, Schatz crept closer to Mulder for protection. Frohike wasn't present he was working at the Lone Gunmen headquarters this weekend.

Mulder went into the family room to check on his daughters who were playing in their playpen. "Don't worry, Hans, there is no way anything will be allowed to happen to you here." The agent bent and checked the babies' diapers.

"Mulder, were you serious that I'd get a say in whether that n'thral is allowed to stay here?" Schatz asked, kneeling down next to the older man.

"Hans, this is your home and you have just as much right to feel safe and secure here as anyone else. If having Duffy here is going to make you uncomfortable then he shouldn't be allowed to stay."

Both men glanced up as the sound of heavy footsteps made their way toward the family room. Mulder shuddered as he stared up at Jason Duffy. It was one thing to see the giant outside, but another to see him framed in the columns leading into their family room, dwarfing the other three men standing next to him. It was a lucky thing for the giant that all the ceilings in the mansion were fifteen to twenty feet high. Duffy still had to bend to make it through the mansions doorways.

The large n'thral's clothes were obviously handmade and ill fitting. Mulder almost felt sorry for the man as he stood nervously shuffling his feet. He didn't see any lust in Duffy's eyes as the giant looked at him and Schatz; he resembled a frightened child.

"Agent Mulder, thank you for inviting me into your home," Duffy rumbled shyly. He awkwardly held out a wrapped package toward the smaller man.

Mulder steeled himself and stepped forward accepting the package. "You really didn't have to bring anything, Duffy."

"It's for the babies," he replied simply, staring down at the two little baby girls who looked back at him with wide eyes.

"You're not bothered by their smell, are you?" Mulder asked.

"No, I don't find them offensive at all, but then the drug I'm on seems to allow me to tolerate the scent of adult females, too," Duffy replied. Glancing around the large room his eyes grazed briefly over Hans Schatz, sensing the immortal's discomfort he quickly focused his attention on other parts of the room. "You have a lovely home."

"Thank you," Mulder replied, unwrapping the gift. He pulled out an exquisitely carved mobile with delicate birds hanging from it at different levels. The detailing and artistry were remarkable, the birds were all in flight, and brightly painted.

"Duffy, this is beautiful where did you find it?" Mulder smiled, showing the mobile to Krycek who had stepped forward to admire the artistry.

"Yes, it is truly remarkable," Krycek replied.

"Thank you, I'm glad you both like it, I carved it myself," Duffy replied, relaxing somewhat.

"Duffy, can I get you a beer?" MacIver asked jovially.

"Sure, Rory," Duffy murmured softly. He smiled broadly when Walter Skinner stepped out of the kitchen drying his hands on a towel.

"Duffy, it's nice to see you again," Skinner greeted, shaking the giant's hand.

"Walt, thanks for inviting me to dinner, you have a lovely family." The large man was feeling less nervous now that his longtime friend was present, and he graciously accepted a beer from MacIver.

Skinner took the mobile from Mulder, holding it up he examined it closely. "Duffy, you're still the finest wood carver that I've ever seen, but I can't say much for your skill as a seamstress though," Skinner joked, referring to his friend's pieced together outfit.

The giant chuckled. "I think that I could eventually get the hang of it, but it would help if I had a sewing machine," he grumbled.

"Fox, why don't you and Hans give Duffy a tour of the estate while Rory and I finish dinner, Alex and Kyle will watch the girls," Skinner ordered sweetly. He did not leave space for either of his lovers to back out without appearing to be rude. Krycek glared at him, not wanting to leave Mulder alone with the immense n'thral. Skinner realized he was being cruel, but he knew Duffy wouldn't hurt either man, and he knew this was the only way that they would realize, too.

"Sure, Walter, we'd love to," Mulder replied tightly. "C'mon, this way, Duffy." Mulder snagged Schatz's arm and the young man reluctantly followed him.

*Walter, we'll talk later,* Mulder informed Skinner telepathically.

*Fox, you have nothing to worry about, I'll be monitoring you at all times,* Skinner replied.

*If Hans has a nervous breakdown, I'm holding you personally responsible.*

Mulder showed Duffy into the library first.

"Wow, this is truly magnificent, even I feel small in this room," Duffy exclaimed.

The library was two stories high its center was open to the other level that had a wrap-around balcony, over the top was a curved ceiling. Duffy went happily over to one fifteen-foot tall bookshelf; and selected a book, and started flipping through it.

Schatz stood stunned, the only n'thrals he knew showed no interest in books, he even doubted they knew how to read. "Mr. Duffy, you like to read?" he asked hesitantly.

"Please, its just Duffy," he smiled. "Reading was one of my favorite pleasures before the virus changed me. Now with Shinji's drug, I'm finding myself able to enjoy it again. It's like a fog has been lifted from my eyes and mind allowing me to focus on other things besides sex."

"Duffy, would you be perfectly honest with us? Are you sexually aroused by us at all?" Mulder asked.

"I find you both extremely sexually appealing, but I have no desire to throw you over the table and fuck you. I'm in complete *control* of my body now, not the other way around," Duffy replied proudly.

Mulder smiled softly studying the giant, he knew the large man was telling them the truth. "Duffy, please feel free to select as many books as you like."

"Really, Mulder? Thank you." Duffy wandered around the room his eyes were lit up like a child in a candy store as he selected three more books.

"We'll take the main staircase upstairs," Mulder replied, noticing that there was no way that the n'thral would be able to fit up the library's spiral staircase.

The steps creaked under the sheer weight of the nine-foot giant as they ascended to the second floor.

"Upstairs there are mostly bedrooms, an upstairs laundry room, a game room, my office, and of course the second level of the library," he said, showing Duffy into the game room where the rest of the household was playing darts.

"Hello, Duffy," Major Sawada greeted.

"Kazuo, it's nice to see you again. Congratulations on your daughter," Duffy murmured, pulling another wrapped present out of the large pouch that hung from his belt he handed it to the major then slid the books he was carrying into the now empty pouch.

Shinji Takeda walked over cradling Ayako in his arms, he watched as his lover opened the gift. It contained a pair of beautifully carved bookends. The carvings depicted rabbits dressed like people. "This is so cool, Duffy. Its Peter Rabbit, Kazuo, Walter has a storybook with the fairytale in it. I'll show you it later," Takeda replied, taking one of the bookends from Sawada and studying it.

The other four people in the room hung back watching cautiously. Spender didn't feel as uncomfortable around Duffy as when he first met him, but the giant still was intimidating.

Mulder introduced the other men. "Duffy, these are other residents of the estate. You know Jeff, next to him is Tristan Woods he's our family's in-home nurse. "

"In-home nurse, I thought immortals could heal? Why would you need a nurse?" Duffy asked.

"There are some things that we cannot heal. Tristan is here for one of those," Mulder answered tactfully. "The other two men are Joseph Shadow Hawk and Justin Cody Blaise."

"It's a pleasure to meet you all," Duffy stated, trying not to look at Blaise. Even with the drug he was on, he found himself getting aroused by the beautiful red-haired immortal. He always had a thing for redheads.

"Duffy, we'll take the staircase in the west wing down to the bottom level, I doubt that you'll fit in the elevator," Mulder replied. The mansion had only two staircases that led to the lowest level, one next to the elevator off the kitchen, and the other in the west wing that exited into the hallway by the storage area and Takeda's lab. There was a third staircase, but that was only accessible through a secret passageway in the library.

"Most of the rooms in the west wing are empty, the only rooms that are occupied are Jeff's and Tristan's bedrooms," Mulder told him as the three men walked down the long hallway toward the stairs.

At the landing on the first floor Duffy looked around, it was cold in this part of the wing. The lights were off in the long hallway giving the wing a deserted look, only the staircase light was lit. "How do you get to the rest of the mansion here?" he asked.

"There's a door at the end of the hallway, we keep it closed to conserve on heat. This way," Mulder said as he and Schatz started down the staircase, Duffy followed obediently behind the two smaller men.

When they arrived at the bottom Duffy immediately noticed the difference in temperature. This level was warmer and slightly humid, he could smell chlorine from an indoor swimming pool. Duffy looked around at the walls, floor, and ceiling they were all heavy stone, the ceilings were all twenty feet high, he felt comfortable down here, it reminded him of his cave. He smiled, Rory had mentioned him staying down here, his friend knew him well, -- this place was perfect for him.

"This part of the lower level is completely underground, we use these rooms primarily for storage and Shinji's laboratory is in this section." Mulder opened a heavy oak door revealing a large cavernous space, there were two-foot thick columns every twenty feet supporting the ceiling.

Duffy ducked under the doorway and squeezed his large frame into the room. He roamed around the immense space, estimating the dimensions to be at least one hundred feet by eighty feet. He noted where the water pipes were against the far wall, also several ceiling lights. There were a few boxes stacked near the door, he read the labels on them -- Christmas and Halloween decorations, otherwise the space was completely empty. It was perfect for him. He reluctantly left the room to follow Mulder down the hallway.

Mulder opened a door across the hallway -- it was a similar storage area only smaller -- it was half-filled with lawn furniture, folding chairs, and tables, he closed the door then went down to another door and pushed it open. "This is Shinji's lab," he replied.

The fully equipped of laboratory appeared small compared to the other rooms; it measured only about twenty feet by sixty feet.

"It looks like a scene out of Frankenstein," Duffy commented chuckling.

Mulder laughed. "It does, I thought that when we were building the lab down here. Somehow I can't picture Shinji as the mad scientist though."

"Shinji Van Frankenstein," Schatz chuckled, he startled suddenly as it occurred to him that during the past ten minutes he was no longer thinking of Duffy as a n'thral.

"Shall we continue." Mulder smiled leading them to the last room off the hallway before it opened into a brightly lit atrium.

"This is my favorite room down here." Mulder pushed opened the molded wrought iron gates revealing a large, dimly lit wine cellar. The room was chilly. "The room is climate controlled, Walter insists on keeping it at forty degrees," he informed the giant.

"This is impressive, Mulder." Duffy stayed outside the cellar, he was afraid his large form might accidentally break some of the bottles.

They ended the tour at the atrium that led to the indoor pool, exercise room, and spa. The atrium was filled with plants, it had large windows and French doors that opened onto the outdoor patio.

"Truly a magnificent home you have here, Mulder, Hans," Duffy stated looking out across the patio.

"Thank you, Duffy," Schatz replied happily. No longer feeling any fear of the giant.

"C'mon, let's get back upstairs, Walter should have dinner ready by now," Mulder replied, leading them over to the staircase next to the elevator.

As they entered the dining room, Mulder raised his eyebrows in awe. At one end of the dining room table, the floor had been recessed in the shape of an oversized chair allowing the nine-foot tall n'thral to comfortably sit at the table. Krycek was finishing carving the pork tenderloin as Skinner strapped the two babies into their highchairs. All the other men were present, including Gabriel who had been over visiting Tony and Kimberly earlier. Doctor Pendrell was talking to Tristan; they stopped speaking when they saw Duffy. Only the members of the household were allowed to know about the immortals' pregnancies.

Mulder wrapped his arms around Skinner hugging and kissing him. "You're too wise," he murmured softly.

"I see you've had a change of heart regarding our guest," Skinner whispered into his ear and affectionately squeezed Mulder's ass.

"Most definitely, Walter."

Skinner grinned; he sat on Mulder's right then proceeded to prepare a small plate of food for their daughter. On her plate he scooped a small tablespoon of peas, cinnamon apples, and buttered a slice of bread that he broke into bite size pieces. Hope was at the stage of feeding herself with her fingers, but she hadn't quite mastered the use of a spoon, yet.

Faith watched her sister eating the grownup food; she frowned at her daddy who was opening a jar of baby food.

Krycek set the jar of Gerber's pureed beef on Faith's highchair tray then scooped up a teaspoon to feed her. Faith refused to open her mouth; she stuck out her lower lip in a clear pout.

"Yummy, yummy. C'mon, cutie, open up this is really good," Krycek coaxed. Pushing the spoon against Faith's tightly closed mouth. The baby turned her head away; swung her hand out and knocked the full jar of baby food off her tray. Unfortunately, it landed in the middle of Mulder's lap.

The other men at the table tried not to laugh at the look of disgust on Mulder's face as the gray mush seeped through his pants, but they lost the battle and snickers sounded around the dining room table.

Krycek sheepishly took the jar from his lover, making it and the mess in Mulder's lap disappear. "Sorry, Fox, for some reason she doesn't want to eat. Maybe I should try something other than pureed beef. How about pureed peas." Another jar appeared in his hand, he popped open the lid and offered her another teaspoon full.

Faith turned her head again, her little hand struck out knocking the spoon away. "No!"

Everyone at the table froze, looking at the unhappy baby.

"No? Alex, she just said her first word, and don't tell me that was baby babble," Mulder replied.

"No, she clearly said no."

MacIver chuckled. "Why am I not surprised that your daughter's first word would be no."

"Seven and a half months old and already talking. Fox, our daughter is a genius," Krycek beamed.

"She only said one word, Alex. Let's hold off with the genius bit until she says her first sentence," Mulder replied.

Faith was looking more, and more distressed, her sister was happily munching on grownup food and she had nothing to eat. She did the only thing left and started crying.

"C'mon, cutie, do you want to sit at the big table? Is that the problem?" Krycek cooed, unstrapping her from the highchair, she swatted his hand kicking and crying even harder.

"Alex, I think your little girl wants to eat what her sister is eating," Duffy advised.

Krycek looked at him, then over to where his niece was happily eating. He looked at his shrieking daughter then at her highchair and a small plate of food magically appeared on the tray. Krycek showed Faith the food and she immediately stopped crying, so he strapped her back into the highchair.

Faith grinned up at him through red rimmed eyes as she picked up a bite-sized piece of buttered bread and licked the sweet cream off it.

"Another crisis averted," Skinner smiled.

The rest of the meal passed without incident. They retired into the upstairs game room for cocktails and conversation. When the evening ended Skinner showed Duffy and Doctor Pendrell out. "Duffy, I know you've won Fox over, but I'm not too sure about Hans yet. I'll let you know in a few days what the family decides."

"Walt, thank you, I appreciate that you're even considering allowing me to live here," Duffy replied.

"Duffy, you're my friend. However, you should know that one of the reasons I want you here is to help protect my family. I realize that it's a purely selfish reason on my part, but Fox and the babies come first," Skinner replied.

"Walt, we've been friends for almost thirty years, I will be here to protect your family even if I'm not living within your home," Duffy replied softly.

"Thanks, Duff." Skinner watched the giant climb awkwardly into the back of Doctor Pendrell's full size van.

***

FBI Hoover Building
Monday, January 17
1:00 p.m.

Agents Mulder and Krycek strolled into the FBI's lab. The FBI was lending their assistance in trying to find a cure to SBS.

"Hey, Andy, any luck?" Krycek asked.

Agent Andrew Nelson looked up at them from his microscope. "No, nothing yet. Is it true that Agent Scully is also looking for a cure to the virus on her own?"

"Yes, she's doing it as a favor to me," Mulder replied.

"It would help if we could pool our resources and work on it together," Nelson suggested.

"Scully is working with Shinji Takeda at our estate. They would be glad to share any information they have with you, Nelson," Mulder stated.

"You allowed a foreigner access to this information?" Nelson asked annoyed.

"Shinji is hardly a foreigner he's a member of our family. Besides Japan is similarly threatened by this virus and in need of a cure as well," Krycek responded tersely.

"He's not a U.S. citizen so that makes him a security risk. This has to be reported to the government immediately," Nelson huffed.

"The Director already knows as does the CDC," Mulder replied calmly.

"The Director knows?" Nelson stammered. He should have figured the Director would know; Mulder had that man wrapped around his little finger.

"The Director understands how important it is to find a cure quickly, Shinji Takeda has detailed knowledge about the alien virus, together with Dana Scully they stand the best chance of finding a cure. Andy, many lives depend on a cure being found for this, including A.D. Skinner's and Agent Krycek's lives! Is petty politics worth their lives?" Mulder asked.

"Of course not, A.D. Skinner's life comes first. I'm sorry for my outburst, Agent Mulder. I'll prepare a report of my findings to date for Agent Scully," Nelson replied, embarrassed that he almost put the A.D.'s life in jeopardy.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Wednesday, January 19
6:00 p.m.

Walter Skinner looked around at men and women gathered in the family room. He had just finished explaining the situation to them. They needed Jason Duffy here badly to booster their security.

Dana Scully and her husband Jonathan Carter sat listening to the arguments. Skinner had invited them to stay since having Duffy here would indirectly affect Scully who was working with Takeda in his laboratory.

"Walter, what about Dana's and my effect on Duffy? He isn't going to be able to tolerate being around us," Kimberly said.

"The drug he's on to control his sex drive has also modified his sense of smell, he's able to tolerate the female scent to a point," Skinner replied. "I would like to put allowing him to move in to a vote, if there is anyone present that does not want Jason Duffy living here please make your reasons known."

Everyone looked around at each other waiting for someone to object. Jeffrey Spender would have objected if it weren't for a vague vision he had earlier, showing Duffy protecting Hans Schatz.

"Since no one objects I'll give Duffy the good news, we can move him into one of the bedrooms in the west wing," Skinner said.

"No, Walter, I think he would feel more comfortable living in the large storage room downstairs. We just need to fix it up to accommodate a nine foot n'thral," Mulder replied.

"Are you sure, Fox? That room is pretty dreary, there are no windows."

"Positive, Walter. Why don't you, Tony, and Alex use your powers and whip up a bathroom, fireplace, and kitchenette, you can oversize one of the mansion bedroom sets. We can surprise him with it when you bring him back here," Mulder advised.

"Fox, that's going to require a lot of power to do all of that," Krycek stated.

"Rory, Kazuo, and Gabriel can help you," Mulder countered.

Justin Blaise stretched out on the sofa. "Yeah, what's the use of having sorcerers living here if we can't depend on them for some minor home improvement projects," he quipped.

"Yeah, guys, quit whining," Takeda replied, smiling sweetly.

"Hey, Alex was the one whining not us," MacIver corrected.

"I wasn't whining, just letting Fox know that it was going to require a lot of power," Krycek grumbled.

"Sounded like whining to me," Frohike stated. "What do you think Hans?"

"Melvin, Alex is just concerned about the amount of energy they will be expending. It isn't wise to waste too much power, what would happen if we're attacked?" Schatz admonished.

"Thanks, Hans," Krycek replied.

"Yeah, Hans is right, Fox. I think we have to scale down your home improvement project to include only the bare necessities. A bathroom would be a necessity and to conserve our powers, we'll purchase the fixtures then use our powers to enlarge them," Skinner advised.

"Oh pleeease, there are six of you. You'd hardly be expending that much power, nothing that you wouldn't be able to replenish in a couple of days at most," Mulder argued.

"Fox, these aren't normal times. We may only have a few more days together, and I don't want to spend them exhausted," Skinner blurted out, showing his feelings of anxiety for the first time.

Mulder blushed and went over to Skinner, wrapping his arms affectionately around the larger man. "Maybe you and Alex won't be affected," he murmured sadly.

"Fox, it hasn't spared anyone yet."

"Yeah, I know. I really don't want to face not having you here with me," Mulder sighed.

"Don't worry, Fox, we have the best people working on a cure. We won't be apart for long," Skinner soothed. "So, do you have a design in mind for Duffy's bathroom?"

"Besides large. No. Why don't you just duplicate of the suite bathrooms," Mulder replied no longer enthusiastic.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Friday, January 20
3:00 p.m.

Walter Skinner had taken the day off work to finish some modifications on Duffy's new apartment in the bottom level of the mansion. His friend was moving in this afternoon and he wanted everything to be perfect for him. He had to admit that the large storage area once fixed up was ideal for the giant. Tony had suggested installing a new doorway that replaced the single six-foot door, so the room now had a pair of ten-foot tall, heavy oak doors.

Skinner was fastening a switch plate over a new electrical outlet; he spun around upon hearing voices coming from the doorway. Duffy stood framed in the doorway with a stunned look on his deformed face. MacIver stood beside him with a satisfied smirk on his handsome face.

"Wow! Walter, this is . . . remarkable," the giant sputtered.

"Duff, don't just stand there come in." Skinner grinned. "Welcome to your new home."

Duffy walked across the space to a large fireplace with a huge mantle. Beside it were an oversized sofa, a wingback chair, and a colorful throw rug on the stone floor before the fireplace. He ran his hand along the empty mantle; it felt strange because it was proportioned to his size. "Walter, even a kitchenette? This is truly amazing . . . but how . . . why?" Duffy questioned as he walked into the kitchen even the appliances were proportioned to his size.

"Fox suggested that we use our powers to make this old storage area livable for you. We were only going to install the bathroom and resize the bedroom furniture, but we got carried away once we started," Skinner admitted.

"You didn't have to go to all this trouble," the giant replied deeply touched, putting his canvas bags on the bed.

MacIver walked over to stand next to Skinner. "There's still plenty to do, we figured you'd want to do your own decorating, and there's plenty of room on the far side of the room for your woodworking equipment," he grinned.

"We'll let you get settled in, Duffy. It's Rory's turn to cook dinner, I'm sure he'll want to get started," Skinner replied.

"No need to hurry, Walter, macaroni and cheese doesn't take that long to prepare," MacIver drawled, following the larger man out of the room.

"Rory," Skinner grumbled, shaking his head in dismay.

"Hey, Hope and Faith both love it," he commented.

"You've made it for them the last two days," Skinner growled.

"See, and the lassies still love it even after two days," the Scotsman replied jovially.

"Rory, you don't have to change their diapers. Just try something different, maybe yogurt with fruit." Skinner yawned tiredly as they entered the family room.

"How about pizza? If we cut the pieces small enough they should be able to handle that," MacIver replied.

"Rory, you can't feed babies pizza. You can order pizza for us, but order a side of spaghetti for the babies," Skinner sighed tiredly.

"Walter, are you feeling okay?" the Scotsman asked.

"I'm just tired, Rory." Skinner sunk down exhaustedly on the sofa.

"Okay," MacIver said hesitantly looking at Skinner with concern. He started for the telephone in the kitchen. "I'm going to call Alex and have him pickup five large pizzas on their way home. Hey, how many pizzas do you suppose Duffy could pack away?" He turned back to Skinner when the larger man didn't answer him.

"Shit, Walter!"

Skinner was slumped unconscious on the sofa; MacIver rushed over to his side and tried to revive him. *DANA! I NEED YOU IN FAMILY ROOM!*

*Rory, what's wrong?* Scully asked, setting down the glass slide she was preparing in the laboratory.

*It's Walter, I can't wake him . . . I think it's the virus.*

*I'll be right up,* she responded rushing for the door.

***

 


 

Life from the Ashes Book 3 - SBS
Chapter 3
Sleeping Beauties

by Jo B.


***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Friday, January 20
5:00 p.m.

Mulder frantically rushed into the mansion, bumping into Shinji Takeda in the foyer. "Shin, where's Walter?"

"Mulder, I'm sorry. He's upstairs, Tristan and Dana are with him," Takeda said softly, meeting Krycek's stunned eyes over Mulder's shoulder, he stood frozen in the doorway holding Hope and Faith bundled protectively within his arms. The babies were dressed snugly in one piece snowsuits.

Mulder took the steps two at a time, his long overcoat flapping behind him as he sprinted across the hallway into Sawada's former bedroom. They had removed all of the furniture to use in Duffy's new apartment, and replaced it with three hospital beds and medical equipment. Skinner was lying still in the bed closest to the bathroom and veranda. Mulder swallowed back tears as he walked up to the bed and grasped his lover's hand in his.

He looked over at Dana Scully. "Scully, I knew this was going to happen, but it's still a shock," Mulder grieved. "My god, I thought we had at least two more days to be together."

"Mulder, he'll be fine . . . Walter at least had the foresight to have this room outfitted with the appropriate medical equipment, and Tristan will be able to attend to his daily needs until we can find a cure," she assured.

"Are you making progress?" Mulder asked as his fingers gently caressed Skinner's face.

"It's going slow, we haven't been able to isolate the virus that is causing these symptoms."

Krycek walked into the room and over to the bed. "Justin and Joe are watching the girls. How is he?"

"Alex, he's in the same condition as the other sorcerers. Don't worry he's not in any pain," Scully replied.

Krycek smiled sadly at her. "Well I see he took the bed with the best view and left the other for me," he quipped sorrowfully.

Scully gave him a weak smile. "I doubt that he's even aware of our presence here."

Walter Skinner stood unseen beside Krycek, he tried to reach out to the younger man, but his hand went straight through him. He tried to communicate with his lovers by telepathy, but he was unable to access the required energy needed to accomplish that feat. It was as if he was in a state of limbo.

"We don't know that, Scully," Mulder replied. "For all we know he could be standing in this room with us."

//That's my Fox.// Skinner murmured hopefully.

"Fox, we'd, *I'd* be able to sense him if he were," Krycek protested.

Mulder frowned glumly. "Yeah, you're right, Alex."

//Fox, don't listen to him! Use your intuition! I'm here, damnit!// Skinner growled.

"Can you communicate with his mind telepathically?" Mulder asked.

"No," Krycek sighed. He placed a hand on Skinner's chest and brushed his fingers through the larger man's chest hairs, he felt the rise and fall of Skinner's breathing and the faint beating of his heart beneath his fingertips.

"Fox, I'll sit up with him. Why don't you go and fix the babies something to eat, I don't think it's wise to have them eat Rory's cooking three nights in a row," Krycek murmured halfheartedly.

//Well, at least you have good sense about some things, Alex,// Skinner muttered.

"Yeah, his cooking is giving both girls gas, but they do seem to like what he's been making them." Mulder bent down and gently kissed Skinner's lips then headed for the door.

"That's because of the extra brown sugar he's added to the baked apple slices, and what kid doesn't like macaroni and cheese," Krycek complained, he looked over at Scully and Tristan Woods who were both finding his complaints humorous and were trying not to show it. "Why don't you both take a break, too."

"Sure, Alex, I want to get back to the lab," Scully replied, following Mulder out.

"Alex, I'll be back in an hour," Woods said.

Mulder headed for the kitchen; he smiled when he saw Frohike who was helping MacIver prepare dinner and there wasn't a single macaroni in sight.

"Don't worry, Mulder, I have everything under control," Frohike assured, he was well aware of his friend's fragile emotional state.

"What are you making?" Mulder asked, walking over to a large kettle he lifted the lid.

"Chicken and dumpling soup, I made double the normal recipe to include Duffy," Frohike said.

"Oh, that's right, he was moving in today. How did it go?"

"Fine, he's all settled, and he was very impressed with the apartment," MacIver answered.

"What are you doing, Rory?"

"Since, Melvin has banned me from cooking dinner . . . I'm making dessert," MacIver replied, pouring rice in a two quart saucepan.

"What type of dessert?"

"Rice pudding."

"Rory, that sounds . . . perfectly healthy."

Skinner leaned against the counter between his lover and MacIver. //Well, wonders never cease.//

"It's an old family recipe," MacIver replied. "The babies should be able to eat it, without any ill effects."

"Thanks, Rory," Mulder said, suddenly looking sad.

"He's going to be all right, Mulder. Dana and Shinji will find a cure for him and the others," the Scotsman soothed.

"I know he will be, but I miss him already. I can't imagine going days or weeks without him by my side," Mulder replied, smiling weakly. He looked over at the doorway as Duffy ducked underneath coming into the kitchen.

"Mulder, I'm sorry about Walter," the giant murmured.

"Thank you, Duffy. Have you had time to get settled, yet?"

"Yes. The apartment is more than I expected, thank you," Duffy replied. "Mulder, I had time to look over the estate's security systems, and found a few areas that could use improvements. When you have time I would like to go over them with you."

Mulder smiled softly at the immense giant. The estate's security was one area his lovers had excluded him from participating in. When he tried to get involved, they tended to take his contributions lightly and argued among themselves as if he weren't present. It touched him that Duffy had come to him instead of Alex or one of the other sorcerers for his opinion on security issues. After all, he knew quite a bit about security regardless of what his lovers believed; he'd sneaked onto military bases and broken into enough high security facilities in the past.

Skinner frowned. //Duffy, Fox is an FBI agent he doesn't know anything about security, you should be talking to Kazuo or Alex they both have military backgrounds..//

"We can talk tomorrow afternoon, Duffy," Mulder replied.

"Good, it will give me time to walk around the estate's perimeter in the morning and check for any other flaws." Duffy was determined to repay the residents here for their kindness and friendship. He would see to it that this estate was defensible against any outside aggression.

"Hey, Melvin, how's chow coming?" Blaise asked, walking into the kitchen carrying Hope who was sucking contentedly on her pacifier. The baby appeared to be freshly bathed and was dressed in a warm sleeper.

"It will be ready in half an hour," Frohike muttered.

"Have you chopped all of the ingredients small enough for the babies?" the Texan questioned.

"No, I left them all large enough so they'd choke on it," Frohike growled sarcastically. "Of course, I chopped everything small!"

"Hey, no need to get bent out of shape, Melvin," Blaise smirked, kissing the top of Hope's head, her thick, wavy, black hair was still slightly damp from being washed. "Uncle Melvin is grumpy, isn't he angel?" he teased.

Duffy stepped over. "Can I hold her?"

Hope looked up at Duffy; her green eyes widened as Blaise passed her over to the giant. She looked around frantically for her father and was surprised to see the top of his bald head from such a great height. She looked down at him and giggled delightedly, her pacifier falling from her mouth.

Skinner stared up at her, he could swear that his daughter was looking right at him.

"You like it up here, little one?" Duffy cooed deeply.

Hope looked at him and kicked her feet excitedly. She looked down at the tops of the all the men's heads, spotting her other father way across the kitchen. Hope looked back down at daddy Walter; she giggled and held out her arms to him.

//You can see me, angel!// Skinner gasped, reaching out to her.

Duffy turned around so she could see the rest of the room, blocking her view of Skinner.

Mulder walked over. "Duffy, you must have a knack with kids, Hope doesn't let just anyone hold her."

Duffy smiled happily down at him. "I thought she was going to cry there for a second, but she seems to have calmed down. I think she enjoys the view."

"If you don't mind watching her for a little bit, I want to run back upstairs to check on Walter."

"Mulder, I don't mind watching her, you go ahead," Duffy murmured.

All the men turned and watched Mulder speculatively as he left.

"He seems to be taking Walter's illness in stride," Blaise commented.

"No, he's not. It's tearing him apart inside," Spender replied, standing in the doorway.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Saturday, January 21
3:00 a.m.

Mulder threw his leg over Krycek's hip and nuzzled in closer to his lover's warm slumbering body, the younger man had his head tucked underneath his lover's chin and an arm draped over his waist.

Walter Skinner stood sadly beside the bed watching his lovers sleep. He longed to touch them, to tell them how much he loved them, to let them know he was here with them. Sighing dejectedly Skinner wandered into the nursery; he smiled lovingly down at his sleeping daughter and niece. He drifted back into the bedroom when he heard Fox's voice.

"Alex, wake up."

"What, Fox?"

"Sorry, just checking," Mulder sighed.

"Fox, this is the fourth time you've woken me tonight. If I get it, it won't really matter if you aren't able to wake me now or in the morning," Krycek muttered.

"It does matter. You're awake talking to me so I know you're okay," he argued. "Alex, I think we need to make adjustments in what you're permitted to do," Mulder murmured.

Krycek pulled away and glanced up at his lover. "What do you mean *permitted* to do?

"Alex, this disease comes on suddenly, I don't want you doing anything that could injure you or the babies if you fell asleep suddenly. Like driving, carrying the babies, swimming, bathing alone, or going anywhere alone for that matter, and I don't think you should go into work next week."

Skinner snickered at the look of disgust on Krycek's face. //He has you there, Alex, you might as will give in now.//

"Fox, I'll agree with *most* of your restrictions except for not going to work, but I'll make a deal with you -- I'll stay home if you do, too."

//Good thinking, Alex.// Skinner chuckled.

"Blackmail? Alex, you're falling back on your old habits," Mulder grumbled, he saw no other choice but to agree. "Okay, you win."

"Good. Now spread em," Krycek purred, rolling Mulder roughly onto his back he climbed between his lover's legs. He leaned down for a long delicious kiss, licking his way into Mulder's mouth. "Mm, scrumptious. Fox, promise me that when I get sick you'll kiss me good morning and goodnight every day."

//Hey, no fair, I never had time to extract any promises from Fox.// Skinner complained.

"Whatever you want, baby, but don't forget good afternoon." Mulder wrapped his long legs around Krycek's legs and brought their groins together. "So, are you going to continue extracting promises from me or fuck me?"

"Fuck you, definitely fuck you," Krycek murmured as his hand sought and found Mulder's anus, he pushed a tentative finger inside to test its preparedness. Mulder was still nicely lubed from earlier and his sphincter muscle was still relaxed.

Mulder smiled at him as he eased his legs over the other man's shoulders. "I'm glad to see you're getting your priorities right." He gasped as Krycek sunk into him.

"There nothing wrong with my priorities. My number one priority right now is making you so tired that you sleep through the rest of the night," he quipped, pulling out and pushing swiftly back in.

Mulder moaned, and pushed up to meet Krycek's downward thrust, their flesh slapped loudly together. "Oh, fuck me, harder, Alex."

"Your wish, lover," Krycek grinned, increasing the force of his entry. He spent the next fifteen minutes pounding into Mulder, watching with satisfaction as his lover writhed and squirmed on his cock with undisguised pleasure. He grasped Mulder's cock and stroked in time with his thrusts, the organ swelled as his lover finally came spurting semen over his belly and chest. Krycek gasped as his own orgasm hit, pushing in deeper he filled the other man with his love.

Krycek pulled out reluctantly, he bent down, and licked his way up Mulder's belly and chest, getting every last bit of come from his lover's body.

Skinner stood by the bed licking his lips, wishing he could share in Fox's come.

Mulder giggled as Krycek's tongue tickled under his chin. "God, you must have been a cat in your previous life."

"Yeah, a horny *gay* tomcat, and you were my boyfriend," Krycek snickered.

"Cats can't be gay," Mulder smirked.

"Sure they can," Krycek argued, capturing Mulder's mouth and stopping his protest.

Mulder panted heavily coming up for air. "Okay, if we were both cats in a previous life then what was Walter?" He chuckled over the ridiculousness of their conversation.

"A hound dog," he replied straight faced.

//A hound dog? Alex, just wait until I'm better, I'll show you a hound dog.// Skinner growled.

"Yeah, a big cuddly hound dog with big, warm, brown eyes," Mulder sighed. "God, I miss him," he sniffed, wiping a tear away.

//Oh, Fox, I'm here. Damn, why can't you see me? Our daughter can see me, why can't you?// Skinner grumbled.

Krycek pulled Mulder into a tight embrace. "C'mon, lover, everything is going to be okay. Let's try to get some sleep."

Mulder yawned. "S'kay, night," he murmured tiredly, cuddling against his lover's chest he allowed the blackness to pull him back under.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Sunday, January 22
11:00 a.m.

Kimberly sat next to her boyfriend's bed, Tony had been moved into the room with Skinner. She had reluctantly agreed to move into the mansion with their children until a cure could be found. Schatz and Hunter were currently watching the couple's two daughters.

"Kim, I'm going down to the kitchen to fix a cup of tea would you like me to bring you back a cup?" Scully asked.

"Thanks, Dana, that would be nice."

Krycek walked in as Scully left. "Kim, we've moved your stuff into the room around the corner next door to Justin and Joe."

"Thanks, Alex. How are you feeling?" she asked looking at him closely.

"Fine, still wide awake," he replied.

"How's Mulder doing?"

Krycek frowned. "He's worried. This isn't easy for him, Kim."

"No, I can't imagine it would be."

Krycek went over to Skinner's bedside, and caressed his smooth cheek. Tristan shaved him earlier. His fingers traced the line of the IV bag, knowing this was going to be him in a few days if a cure wasn't found. He was scared to death of leaving Mulder alone, knowing how his lover was prone to taking careless risks. Krycek's only hope was that Mulder would put their daughters' welfare ahead of Walter and himself.

*Alex?*

Krycek smiled, hearing Mulder's telepathic inquiry. *Fox, I'm okay.*

*Just checking. Come down to the family room your daughter wants to see you,* Mulder replied.

*I'll be right down.* Krycek bent and lightly kissed Skinner on the lips.

Tony, who was standing in the doorway next to Skinner, started when Krycek walked through him. //Yikes, now that was weird.//

//You'll get used to it. Especially in the kitchen when half the family is present, it's almost impossible to avoid being walked through,// Skinner replied.

//How come we can't get back into our bodies?// Tony asked, walking over to stand next to Kimberly.

//I think it is one of the symptoms of the virus, and probably the reason behind our comatose state.// Skinner wandered over to the window looking out. //The worst thing is no one can see or hear us, with the exception of the babies, and we can't sleep, we're perpetually awake,// he sighed.

//Why do you suppose that the babies can see us?//

//I don't know, if Fox were here I'd bet he'd have some way out theory.//

***

Krycek passed Scully as she carried a tray out of the kitchen; he smiled at her, then walked into the family and stood still for a few minutes watching Mulder play with the babies. He was sitting cross-legged on the floor rolling a small, colorful, rubber ball to them. Faith would roll it back laughing, while Hope slapped the ball with her hands giggling at the sound it made.

"Hi, can I play, too?" Krycek eased down between Mulder and Faith she instantly scrambled up on his lap. "Hey, cutie," he murmured, hugging and kissing her.

Hope abandoned the rubber ball and crawled over to him, too. Krycek lifted her up on his lap next to her sister hugging both babies. A tear ran down his cheek at the thought of losing all of this soon. He buried his face between the two babies, memorizing their scent and the feel of their warm bodies. Hoping he could take those memories with him when he was afflicted with SBS. He smiled sadly at Mulder when the other man's arms wrapped around them.

"Alex, I'll find a cure . . . I promise, no matter what it takes, you won't be out of their lives for long," he soothed.

"Fox, please, don't do anything reckless. I won't want to wake up if you're not here," he pleaded, raw fear gripping him.

"Ssh, Alex, don't worry, everything will come out okay," Mulder reassured, kissing the younger man softly on the cheek.

Spender and Frohike stood watching them from the kitchen counter.

"Melvin, shouldn't we do or say something? We both know Mulder is going to sacrifice himself for a cure for SBS," Spender asked despondently; he had come to respect and care for Mulder these past couple of months.

"Jeff, we only had glimpses of what is going to happen, neither of us know the exact chain of events. Look at what we do know, Mulder goes to Slava for a cure and the next thing we know is that Walter, Alex, and Tony are cured. We have no evidence that they will ever be cured if Mulder doesn't go to Slava, if we interfere they may never recover from their comas," Frohike reasoned.

"But, Melvin, we also know that Mulder is forced to share Slava's bed and held captive by him. Why would Slava send a cure for Walter and Alex when he has Mulder in his clutches? Wouldn't he be worried that Walter and Alex would try to rescue Mulder?"

Skinner stood next to the two clairvoyants, his face red with rage. He couldn't believe the two men were discussing this without intervening and preventing Fox from going to Slava. Skinner clearly remembered the conversation he had had with Frohike many months ago about the smaller man's vision of seeing Fox with Slava, while Fox sat on the floor reading to many beautiful little girls. He was going to lose Fox, and his friends were going to nothing to help.

"Jeff, I've had other visions about Mulder and Slava, also visions of Mulder, Walter, and Alex living happily together. It's driving me nuts, I'm afraid that if we interfere it would change any possibility for our friends to be together and happy again. What about the other members of this household? We could be jeopardizing their safety and wellbeing, too. We know that Mulder goes to Slava for a cure and shortly after they are cured." Frohike paced fretfully back and forth.

"But, you don't know when Mulder comes back, it could be years from now for all you know!" Spender growled lowly, glancing across the great space into the family room where Mulder and Krycek were playing with the babies.

//Listen to him, Melvin, please stop Fox from turning himself over to Slava.// Skinner pleaded to unhearing ears.

"Jeff, if we prevent Mulder from going to Slava, Walter, Alex, and Tony may never wake up. Eventually Rory, Kazuo, and Gabriel will fall victim to the virus putting all the immortals in danger, including Mulder and the babies. With Walter and Alex cured, they can take steps to rescue Mulder from Slava," he reasoned quietly.

"You're right, Melvin, I don't like it, but we don't really have any choice, do we?" Spender sighed glumly.

Skinner shook his head miserably; Frohike's arguments made sense, but he didn't believe Slava had a cure. He hated that Mulder would be gullible enough to fall for that man's lies.

"C'mon, help me with lunch," Frohike said, turning his thoughts away from future worries.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Monday, January 23
7:00 a.m.

Something was wrong. Mulder awoke suddenly. He was lying curled sideways on the bed with his head resting on Alex's belly. The constant hum inside his head was missing; it was his telepathic link to Alex. Shakily, Mulder crawled up the bed to his lover. "Alex, please wake up. Please, don't do this to me," he cried, combing his fingers lovingly through Krycek's hair; he was unable to wake him up. He enfolded his body around the younger man's and gave himself up to his grief, crying his despair against his lover's shoulder.

//Fox, I'm here, please, don't cry,// Krycek murmured.

//He can't hear you, Alex.// Skinner said, startling the younger man.

//Walter! What's going on?// he asked, tearing his eyes away from Mulder's sobbing form.

//Welcome to limbo land, and by the way, Alex, we *are* able to hear and see everything that is happening around us,// Skinner growled.

//Oh? Ooh, so when I convinced Fox that you wouldn't be able to hear him that must have really pissed you off,// Krycek retorted.

//Alex, let's just say, I wasn't particularly thrilled.//

//So, Walter, what have you been doing for the last few days?//

//Wandering around and listening to our friends conversations, you know, it's amazing how much we are not privy to around here.//

//Spying, Walter, I'm shocked,// Krycek quipped, staring at Skinner's naked semitransparent body.

Skinner drifted over to the bed, gazing lovingly down on Mulder. //Did you know that Fox comes to see me every morning before anyone else is up and cries at my bedside?//

//Yeah, this is really tearing him apart, he's been trying to hide how he's feeling from the others, and me, but we all know.// Krycek replied, he attempted to touch Mulder, but his hand passed straight through his body.

//Damn. Walter, just what the fuck are we able to do in limbo land?//

//Not a damn thing. We can pass through solid objects, but we can't pick up or move anything. No one can see or hear us except for the babies.//

//Hope and Faith can see us?//

//Yeah, it's a little comforting, but we can't communicate through them, which is frustrating.//

Mulder had stopped crying he pulled away from Krycek's body and rearranged his lover's limbs into a more comfortable position before leaving the bed. He stared sadly down at his younger lover. "God, Alex, how can I live without you and Walter here to protect me. I'm so afraid that I won't be able to protect our daughters, that they'll be taken away from me just like Samantha. Why couldn't it be me that got this disease instead of you and Walter?" He turned and walked over to the nursery, stopping in the doorway he looked in on the babies. Hope was up playing with her toes, but Faith was still soundly asleep. "C'mon, princess, you can share a shower with daddy Fox this morning," he murmured, picking the baby up he peeled off her soiled diaper.

Hearing a knock, Mulder turned toward and saw Gabriel and Rory standing there.

"Mulder, we'll take care of Alex for you."

"Thanks, guys." Mulder didn't have to question how they knew Alex had succumbed to the virus, he was aware that they had been keeping a close watch on Alex and himself.

"Baffaafaafa," Hope cooed, slapping Mulder's bare chest.

"Okay, princess," he murmured, kissing her brow he carried Hope into the bathroom with him.

He stepped back into the bedroom fifteen minutes later carrying Hope lovingly in his arms, they were freshly showered. Mulder was wearing a pair of button fly jeans and a sweater. He smiled weakly at Shinji and Hans who were sitting on his freshly made bed playing with Faith and Ayako.

"Hi," Mulder greeted, grabbing a fresh diaper from the changing table and an outfit for the baby from the dresser.

"Hi, Mulder, we wanted to see how you were doing," Takeda replied.

"I'm fine. I was just going to fix the munchkins breakfast, then do the laundry. It's really starting to pile up," he answered, detached.

"I'll help you with the munchkins," Schatz replied, picking up Faith he carried her over to the changing table.

"That's not necessary, Hans. They're my responsibility," Mulder said halfheartedly, fastening the snaps on Hope's romper.

"Mulder, you can't look after them all by yourself, they're the family's responsibility, too," Schatz scolded as he taped on Faith's diaper.

Mulder picked up Hope and hugged her against his chest, sitting forlornly on the bed. "Thanks, Hans, I never expected to have such good friends in my life."

Takeda reached over and squeezed Mulder's shoulder. "Let's go eat breakfast." He stood with his daughter cradled in his arms.

Skinner and Krycek followed them out of the bedroom and into the kitchen, where Kimberly had both of her daughters strapped into the highchairs and was feeding them rice cereal. Gabriel Hunter was helping her with them.

//Hi, Tony, how's it hanging?// Krycek joked, looking at the younger man's naked body.

//Stick it, Alex,// Tony snapped, blushing.

Sawada turned around at the stove. "Good morning, Mulder. Do you think your babies could handle pancakes?"

"Yeah," he replied softly, sitting at the counter with Hope on his lap.

"Daaddawa," Hope babbled when she spotted Walter standing next to the counter.

//Hi, angel, how's daddy's precious little girl?// Skinner cooed, he wanted more than anything to pick her up and cuddle her in his arms.

Hope grinned happily holding her arms out to him. "Daddewawa."

"Ssh, Hope," Mulder murmured as he cut a pancake into small bit size pieces and poured a little maple syrup on it. "You're really going to like this," he said, scooping a piece on a spoon he offered it to her. Her pink tongue darted out as she tentatively tasted the pancake, upon tasting the sweet syrup she opened her mouth for it, all of her attention was now focused on the food.

Sawada set a cup of coffee and Hope's covered drinking cup filled with apple juice in front of Mulder. "Thanks, Kazuo," Mulder murmured, shoveling another piece of pancake into the baby's mouth.

Schatz was sitting next to Mulder with Faith on his lap trying to spoon feed her the pancake, but she kept pushing his hand away. Faith picked the sticky food up with her fingers and ate it, smearing syrup all over her face and romper.

//Give it up, Hans, once my kid makes up her mind there is nothing you can do,// Krycek said, chuckling at the look of frustration on the young Argentinean's face.

//Faith is going to have to learn some manners eventually, Alex,// Skinner replied.

//She will, right now she's testing us. Remember how hard it was to get her to go to bed? She stopped fussing once she realized she wasn't going to get her way. It's the same here, we'll just have to be firm with her,// Krycek acknowledged, proudly watching his daughter.

//Right, Alex, she has your number and you know it. It was Fox who put his foot down about her bedtime, you wanted to let her stay up and watch television with us,// Skinner chuckled.

//Well, she is still too young anyway to enforce a firm schedule on her, even Fox has a difficult time keeping her in bed.// Krycek shrugged his shoulders as they continued to watch their family interact over breakfast.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Saturday, January 28
1:00 p.m.

Mulder covered the babies with a blanket; they had fallen asleep in their playpen, which he had assembled in the upstairs suite where his lovers lay comatose. He spent all of his free time up there, meditating. Mulder clenched his teeth as the first withdrawal pain coursed through his body. It had been five days since Alex had been afflicted and he'd last had sex.

*Rory,* he called telepathically.

*Mulder, I'll be right up. Are you sure you want to go through with this?* the Scotsman asked.

*Yes, I can't be incapacitated,* Mulder sighed.

A few minutes later MacIver and Takeda entered the bedroom.

"I'll watch the babies for you, Mulder, while you and Rory take care of business," Takeda said understandingly.

"Thanks, Shin," Mulder murmured, blushing.

"Do you want to go down to your bedroom?" MacIver asked.

"No, we can just go into the bathroom." Mulder did not want to have sex with any other man in his and his lovers' bedroom. They walked in the bathroom and closed the door.

//Alex, where do you think you're going?// Skinner growled as Krycek attempted to follow them.

//Ah, to watch. I want to make sure Rory doesn't take too many liberties.//

//He's going to fuck our lover how many more liberties are there?//

//I'm going to watch, Walter, and you really don't have any say in the matter,// Krycek snapped, going into the bathroom through the closed door, Skinner followed him through the wooden barrier.

Mulder had already pulled down his sweatpants and boxers; he was leaning over the counter as MacIver stood behind him preparing the younger man's opening. "Mulder, remember what an idiot I was in Mexico?"

"Yeah, you were going to wear a condom," Mulder chuckled.

//Fox still hasn't talked to us about all of his experiences in Mexico,// Skinner grumbled.

//Walter, he's embarrassed by them.//

"How about when we went skinny-dipping together?" MacIver asked lightly.

"That was fun. Rory, thanks for being there for me then and now," he replied somberly.

"Always, Mulder." MacIver lubed his cock, placing it against Mulder's anus he slowly pushed in.

//Fox doesn't sound too embarrassed to me,// Skinner griped, watching jealously as the Scottish sorcerer fucked his lover.

//Remind me to ask him about skinny-dipping in Mexico,// Krycek grumbled.

They closely studied their lover for the next ten minutes for any signs that he might be enjoying himself. They finally calmed down, noticing that Mulder wasn't getting too hard or making his normal sounds of pleasure.

Mulder relaxed when he felt MacIver's orgasm and his hot release spurting into his body. MacIver slipped out of him and grabbed a washcloth he cleaned Mulder off, then helped him pulled up his boxers and sweatpants.

"Rory, I'm worried," he whispered, meeting the older man's sated eyes in the mirror.

"What about, Mulder?" MacIver tucked himself into his pants.

"They're no closer to finding a cure for SBS, and they've never been able to find a cure for my withdrawal symptoms or for preventing the virus from killing females. I'm afraid they may not find a cure or find one in time, and time is something we don't have!"

"Mulder, what do you mean?"

"Rory, I talked to my source in the military yesterday, he said seven countries are forming an alliance to invade the U.S. once the virus disables a majority of our sorcerers. This estate is their primary target, my source figures we have until March before they launch their attack," Mulder stated with frustration.

"Shit, that doesn't give us much time! I thought the U.S. government would have been able to keep SBS a secret longer than it did. We'll just have to readjust our plans and go into hiding earlier," MacIver swore.

Skinner and Krycek stood there stunned. They knew that if a cure wasn't found by May that Fox and their friends would be in danger, but they hadn't counted on a seven country force attacking the U.S. in March for the main purpose of capturing the seven immortals living here. Those countries must be willing to sacrifice many men to get their hands on Fox and the others.

"Rory, I don't want to scare the other men, particularly Hans and Shinji, but Hector Cardoso and Kong Woo Long are part of the seven nation coalition. The seven countries have each staked a claim on one of our immortals, Cardoso gets Hans and Kong gets Shinji."

"Those insolent dogs!" MacIver growled, pacing anxiously around the bathroom he turned angrily back to Mulder. "Don't tell let me, let me guess, Nikolai Slava is the head of this coalition."

"No, he's not. My source told me Slava was approached, but he told them to go to hell."

"God, at least that is good news. C'mon, Mulder, Shinji is probably starting to wonder what we're doing in here for so long. Please don't tell him about Kong."

"Don't worry, Rory, he won't hear it from me."

Takeda looked up at them when they exited the bathroom, making a show of looking at his watch. "Thirty minutes, old man? It usually only takes you two minutes with me," he quipped.

MacIver growled and playfully wrestled Takeda onto the floor on his back, pinning him beneath his body. "I'll give you two minutes, beautiful," he growled huskily, kissing the younger man into submission.

"Make that thirty minutes, stud," Takeda purred, rubbing his rapidly growing erection against his lover's.

"Guys, do you mind taking it back to your room, I don't want my daughters getting an eyeful," Mulder admonished.

MacIver looked over at the playpen; both babies were awake and watching them intensely. "Sorry, Mulder," he gulped. "C'mon, lad, an hour of pleasure awaits you." The Scotsman stood and pulled his lover up with him, they quickly left the room.

//Do you want to go watch?// Krycek asked.

//Alex, didn't you get your fill last night watching Justin and Joe?// Skinner scolded.

//I'm studying their techniques. By the way, did you have any idea that Frohike was such a proficient lover or that he was hung like a horse? He makes Fox look small.// Krycek walked over to Mulder and positioned his body so they shared the same space.

//Alex, stop that. You don't know what effect you might be having on him!// Skinner glared at him until the younger man stepped out of their lover's body.

//But, Walter, I can smell and taste him when I merge with him.//

//We have other more important concerns, Alex. We have to find a way of preventing Fox from going to Slava!//

//How? We can't do a damn thing! I've never felt so helpless before in my life.//

//I don't know, Alex,// Skinner sighed.

***

St. Petersburg
Monday, January 30
1:00 p.m.

Nikolai Slava stormed down the long, wide hallways of the Winter Palace. He stopped in front of his clairvoyant's bedchamber and barged into the room. "Fyodorov!"

The little man startled awake from a sound sleep falling out of bed onto the hard, cold, wooden floor. He quickly scrambled to his feet, pulling his white nightshirt down over his erection.

Slava glared angrily at him. "Have you been fantasizing about my daughters' nannies again, when you should be concentrating your full attention on bringing Fox to me?"

"Moi Tsar, Master Fox has my undivided attention and I promise you that he'll be here within a week. Everything is going as planned," the little man reassured.

"No! Everything is not going as planned! You never even saw this seven nation invasion force in your visions. They pose a serious threat to my Fox and his daughters!" Slava bellowed.

"Moi Tsar, they pose no threat to your Fox, otherwise I would have seen them in a vision. Master Fox should have received your email by now, he will be replying shortly. I'll get dressed and help you compose your reply to him, it's important that he believes that you have a cure for this American-made virus," Fyodorov reasoned.

"Tell me, Fyodorov. Have you seen if my scientists are going to be successful in finding a cure?"

"Moi Tsar, my visions do not see everything."

"I expect you and your apprentices to find answers for me. I will need the cure to permanently bind Fox to me," Slava growled.

"Moi Tsar, please, it would be wiser not to cure these men; Skinner and Krycek will do anything in their powers to get Master Fox back," Fyodorov argued.

"Fox will never love me as long as his former lovers are left suffering. Marat, I want his love as much as I want his mind, body, and soul," Slava admitted, as he paced around the tiny bedchamber, his face turned thoughtful. "Alexei will be welcomed here, I will tolerate his presence if it makes Fox happy. I will make a monetary settlement with this Walter Skinner and I'll even allow him to keep their daughter Hope," he replied reasonably. He thought that Krycek was young enough that he'd be able to bend him to his will.

"You would share Master Fox with Alexei Krycek?" Fyodorov asked, shocked.

"No, he would be my protege and Fox's pet, I would allow Fox to have sex with him, but only under my direct supervision," Slava stated. He was realizing the need to have other sorcerers under his command. Clairvoyants and n'thrals didn't offer the protection his country required to stem off foreign aggressors. He would make a point of training the thousands of sorcerers in Russia and elevating them to positions of power in his military and government. They would be greatly rewarded for their loyalties, and like him, become the new royalty in Russia.

Fyodorov looked worriedly at his employer, he had heard from others how Fox Mulder had changed Slava's personality, but this was too strange. "Moi Tsar, I heard that Alexei Krycek is a dangerous sorcerer, wouldn't it be wiser to make a monetary settlement with him, too?"

"Are you questioning my judgment?" Slava snapped, glaring down angrily at the little man.

"No, never, but as your adviser it is my duty to state my concerns if I think something might be harmful to you and your family," Fyodorov groveled.

"Hmm, very well, Fyodorov. Get dressed I expect you in the throne room in twenty minutes," Slava said abruptly, he left the room.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Monday, January 30
3:00 p.m.

Fox Mulder reread the email message for a fourth time before typing his reply. He needed more information; if Nikolai Slava really did have a cure for SBS he'd sell his soul to get it. The lives of his lovers, daughters, and friends depended upon a cure. Mulder kissed the top of Faith's head, the little girl was sitting on his lap watching him type on the keyboard. He glanced over his shoulder at Hope; she was playing on the carpet next to the coffee table. Mulder thought that like her sister, Hope was behaving strangely lately. She picked up her toy and held it out as if she was trying to hand it to someone. Sighing, he glanced back at his monitor and quickly erased the text Faith had added while his back was turned. He finished writing Slava, as he hit the send button he was telepathically contacted by Hunter.

*Fox, there is a Major Murphy Walker to see, he says it's urgent.*

*Thanks, Gabriel. Have him wait in the living room, I'll be right down.* Mulder quickly logged off the computer. Balancing Faith on one hip he scooped Hope up with his other arm. He left the office and took the main staircase down to the living room.

The handsome, young major stood as Mulder entered the room, his blue woolen overcoat was draped over the back of the sofa.

"Agent Mulder, thank you for seeing me," Walker said. Looking appreciatively at the beautiful young immortal and the two prettiest baby girls he'd ever seen.

"Major Walker, please have a seat. You said it was urgent?" Mulder smiled appreciatively at Hunter as he took Hope. Mulder sat across from the major holding Faith protectively in his arms.

"She looks like you," the major murmured, losing himself in two sets of hazel eyes.

Mulder had become so used to men falling into a daze and forgetting all else while in his presence that he just sat calmly and waited for the major to come to his senses. After five long minutes, Mulder sighed. "Major, why are you here?"

"What? Oh, sorry." The young man blushed. "The army has established a twenty-four hour patrol around the perimeter of the estate. The unit consists of twenty clairvoyants, fifteen humans, and ten n'thrals. The reason I'm here is to get dosages of the drug Shinji Takeda invented for controlling an n'thral's sex drive. The CDC hasn't released the drug to the public, yet. However, A.D. Skinner had specified that any n'thral assigned to the estate's security detail must be given the drug," Walker informed him.

"Fox, I'll notify Shinji that the major needs dosages for ten n'thrals," Hunter said, then telepathically communicated with Takeda.

"Agent Mulder, does it really work?" Major Walker asked anxiously.

"Yes." Mulder took in the major's handsome features and realized the young man must be constantly on the guard against n'thrals. He could just imagine how tough it must be for Walker to have ten n'thrals under his command.

Frowning, Walker sighed, "I'll wait to see it for myself. I can't imagine any n'thral being cured of their sex drive. It would be too good to be true."

Mulder watched the major's face with amusement as he heard Duffy's heavy footfalls heading toward their location. The major's eyebrows rose in shock as the largest n'thral he had ever seen entered the living room.

"My god."

"Don't worry, Major. Mr. Duffy is on the sexual suppressant," Mulder smiled reassuringly.

"Mulder, Shin asked me to bring up dosages of the drug for you," Duffy said, holding a medium sized box.

"Thank you. Duffy, this is Major Murphy Walker. The major is in charge of the security force that is going to be patrolling the outside perimeter of the estate. I would like you to accompany him and explain the drug to the n'thrals in his unit," Mulder replied, he held Duffy's eyes for a moment longer.

Duffy nodded knowingly, he knew Mulder wanted him to check out the troops that were going to be patrolling the perimeter.

"Agent Mulder, I don't think Mr. Duffy is going to be able to fit inside my jeep," Walker said, relieved. He was nervous about being alone with the immense n'thral.

"No problem, Major, Duffy will follow you in his customized humvee." Mulder smiled sweetly.

//Fox, you can be so gruel. God, I love you.// Krycek grinned, watching the handsome major's face fall.

A few minutes after the major and Duffy left Dana Scully walked into the living room. She watched her ex-partner holding his daughter securely on his lap. "Faith still won't let you put her down?" Scully asked, kneeling down beside the chair she smoothed a loving hand over the baby's back.

"No. It's such strange behavior for her; she usually likes crawling around on her own. But after that tantrum she threw two days ago she won't let me put her down. I think she misses Alex and Walter and doesn't understand why they aren't able to hold her. I thought she'd be happy to just be near Alex so I took her up to see him this morning. I laid her on the bed next to him, but she shrieked and kicked until I picked her back up," Mulder sighed.

Krycek sadly knelt on the other side of the chair next to Mulder and his daughter. Faith looked at him accusingly; she couldn't understand why her daddy wouldn't pick her up. She had even tried crying, which had always worked for her in the past, but still he wouldn't even touch her.

//Cutie, please, daddy loves you. I want to hold you so badly, please, don't be angry with me,// he soothed. His heart was breaking, he knew Faith was clinging to Fox because he was not able to hold her. Faith whimpered and buried her face into Mulder's sweatshirt.

//Alex, she'll get over it once we're cured,// Skinner tried to reason with his half-brother.

//Walter, something like this is going to scar her for life, she's never going to trust me again!// Krycek sobbed.

//Alex, she won't even remember this in a few months,// Skinner soothed, pulling Krycek into an embrace, their ability to touch each other comforted both men.

//Walter, I don't understand. Why was Slava able to touch Fox when he was out of his body?// Krycek murmured, wrapping his arms around Skinner's body.

//I think it was because he was still physically linked to his body, and was able to go back and reenergize himself,// Skinner replied, rubbing soothing circles on the other man's back.

"Mulder, she really seems distressed. How do you get anything done if she won't let you put her down?" Scully asked.

"I've been using the Snugly to strap her to my chest. I've even given into allowing her and Hope to sleep with me. Faith won't sleep in the nursery and Hope won't sleep in there without her," Mulder sighed. He didn't know how he was going to be able to leave his daughters behind when he went to Nikolai Slava for a cure for Walter and Alex. He knew he couldn't take them with him; Slava wanted him to agree to live with him for a year as payment for the cure. Alex and Walter would never understand him agreeing to that, let alone taking their daughters with him. No, Hope and Faith had to stay here; Walter and Alex were going to need them.

"Scully, can I ask a favor of you?"

"What Mulder?"

"If anything happens to me before Walter and Alex are cured, would you look after Hope and Faith?" Mulder looked at her pleadingly.

"Mulder, nothing is going to happen to you, but if it puts your mind at ease I'll be happy to look after them," Scully replied.

"Thanks, Scully." Mulder felt somewhat relieved at least his daughters would be protected until the cure from Slava arrived. Now he just had to wait to get through his next cycle that would begin in two days. In the meantime he would arrange with Slava to smuggle him out of the country. One week and he would no longer be part of this loving household, but at least his lovers would be cured and his extended family would be safe and secure.

***

 


 

Life from the Ashes Book 3 - SBS
Chapter 4
The Winter Palace

by Jo B.


***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Monday, February 7
1:00 a.m.

**Mulder nervously climbed out of the taxicab in front of the mansion. He looked around the estate grounds. It hadn't changed at all since he'd been gone. He sighed contentedly, happy to finally be home after a year away from his family. As he entered the foyer he ran into Walter who was coming down the staircase. Mulder smiled happily up at the larger man who walked down the remaining steps stopping in front of him.

"So, you came back," the larger man said gruffly. He stood there with his hands on his hips scowling angrily.

The smile on Mulder's face faded. "Walter, I didn't want to leave you, but there was no other way. I'm sorry," he apologized.

He heard children's squeals and small feet running, as his two little daughters came racing through the foyer being chased closely by Alex. The toddlers stopped instantly upon seeing him with fear in their eyes, they quickly hid behind Walter's legs and peered out at Mulder.

Krycek looked angrily at him. "What are you doing here? Wasn't your new lover able to fulfill your needs?"

"Alex, I don't love Slava. I only agreed to stay with him a year for the cure. Please, try to understand," Mulder begged.

"You should have stayed in Russia, Mulder. We've learned to get along just fine without you in our lives," Krycek replied coldly.

Mulder looked between the two men and saw hate and resentment in their eyes; gone was the love and adoration that had always been there for him. He knelt on the floor. "Hope, Faith, daddy's home. Come to me," he coaxed, holding out his arms toward the two little girls who buried their faces against Walter's legs too afraid to go near him.

Skinner bent down and picked up Hope as Krycek retrieved Faith. They glared angrily at their ex-lover. "What did you expect, Mulder? You abandoned them! You left them unprotected! Now you have the fucking nerve to come back into their lives? Our lives? As if nothing had happened?" the older man growled.

"Walter, Alex, please. I didn't want to leave you! Can't you understand? I love you and our daughters so much it hurts," Mulder cried, tears running down his cheeks.

"Mulder, go back to Slava. You're not wanted in our lives any longer," Krycek said. They left the room, leaving Mulder standing dejectedly in the mansion's foyer.

Mulder awoke in a cold sweat with Faith's little body curled asleep in his arms. "God, oh god, it was only a dream," he moaned breathlessly. He kissed the top of Faith's head as he lay there trembling in the pitch-black bedroom, tears of guilt and desolation running down his cheeks. How was he ever going to be able to live with himself for abandoning his daughters? He was a lousy father; he wouldn't blame his daughters and lovers for hating him, and not wanting him back.

Mulder spent the rest of the night grieving for what he was about to give up. He didn't even know when sleep finally reclaimed him.

//What do you think he was dreaming about?// Krycek asked.

Skinner looked at Alex and sadly shook his head. //I don't know, Alex.// They spent the remaining night watching over their lover.

***

Fox Mulder fastened his tie; his hands shook as he tied the knot. He had only an hour left to be with his family before leaving them to go to the Hoover Building, then from there to Slava. He would not see his daughters or lovers again for at least a year, if ever. Mulder knew he couldn't trust Slava to keep his word to return him to his family after the agreed upon year was up, but he had no other choice.

Mulder felt a tug at his pants cuff; he looked down and smiled at his daughters who were playing on the floor at his feet. He took his suit coat off the hook where it was hanging and pulled it on before bending to pick up his children. "God, I don't want to leave you, munchkins, but it's for the best. Daddy Walter and Daddy Alex will be better able to protect and care for you than I am," he explained sadly, still trying to convince himself that he was doing the right thing.

//Fox, you know that's a load of crap!// Skinner growled next to his ear. He wanted to reach out and shake some sense into his foolish lover. Skinner followed them back into the bedroom watching as Mulder sat on the bed with the babies on his lap.

Krycek stood next to Skinner. //Damnit, Walter, I've never felt so helpless! There has to be some fucking way we can keep him from going to that heartless Cossack!// he swore, frowning sadly when he noticed Faith looking at him. //Sorry, cutie, daddy didn't mean to shout, it's just that Daddy Fox is going to do something really stupid.//

//Alex, she's too young to understand. Hopefully, our daughters won't remember any of this.//

Mulder hugged and kissed his daughters, he had cried himself to sleep last night at the thought of leaving them, and didn't think he had any tears left in him. He looked up sadly as Jeffrey Spender entered the bedroom.

"Hi, Mulder."

"Jeff."

The younger man strolled over to the bed and took Faith from Mulder. He was the only one in the household that the baby would allow to hold her other than her father. "How are my nieces this morning?" he cooed.

"They're fine. Jeff, thanks for watching them for me while I go in to the Hoover Building," Mulder murmured guiltily not meeting Spender's eyes.

"Mulder, are you sure it's safe for you to go into D.C.?" Spender questioned, knowing the real reason behind Mulder's trip into the city.

"Don't worry, I'll be okay. Major Murphy Walker is escorting me personally. Jeff, I want to spend some time upstairs with Walter and Alex before he gets here can you watch the babies for me?"

"Sure, Mulder." Spender took Hope from Mulder and easily balanced both babies on his hips. He paused in the doorway, looking back at Mulder who was opening the secret wall-safe. Spender wanted to tell Mulder to stay here, that he shouldn't trust Slava, but he was unable to get the words out, instead he only uttered two words. "Be careful."

Mulder met his eyes and knew instantly that Spender was aware of his intentions. "I will be. Jeff, thanks," he murmured softly. He pulled the lock box out of the wall-safe and retrieved his guns. Slipping one into his hip holster, he knelt, pulled up his pant cuff and fastened on the ankle holster, he had stopped wearing that gun once the babies started crawling. It felt strangely comforting having the added bit of protection.

He went over to the nightstand, picked up the framed photograph of his daughters from Christmas, and deposited it in his briefcase. Mulder was traveling light only taking the clothes on his back. He didn't even take a photograph of Walter and Alex, knowing that Slava would destroy it on sight. He had concealed the anti-pheromone drug in a secret compartment in his briefcase, hoping Slava wouldn't find it. Mulder was planning to appeal to Slava to have the anti-pheromone drug altered using his DNA as Doctor Harris had done with Walter and Alex. He was afraid of spending a full year with the man knowing his cycles would drive Slava into a sexual frenzy.

He glanced around their bedroom one final time, walking over to the mantle to memorize all of their family photographs. Walter had a deep sentimental streak in him; he saved and cherished every aspect of their lives. Mulder picked up a frame that had Hope's footprints and handprints, along with her first baby picture in it. Walter had done the same with Faith's photo and prints. Mulder wiped at the tears running down his face, it was killing him to give this up. He replaced the frame on the mantle; picking up his briefcase and heavy overcoat he left the bedroom.

Mulder made his way up to their makeshift hospital room. He laid his briefcase and coat on a chair and walked over to Krycek's bed first, staring lovingly down at his lover's beautiful, serene face. He caressed the side of Alex's face feeling the roughness of stubble --Tristan hadn't been in to shave them, yet. Keeping the promise he had made to Alex, he bent and tenderly kissed him on the lips. "Alex, I'm so sorry, but this is the last time I'll be able to uphold my promise. I know that you'll be extremely pissed at me when you wake up, but please try to understand I'm doing it out of my love for you and Walter. Don't worry about the munchkins, they're in good hands. Jeff and Scully will be looking after them until Slava's cure arrives." Mulder kissed him one final time before he turned and stepped up to Skinner's bed.

"Walter, I hope someday you'll be able to forgive me for what I'm about to do. I know how much this is going to hurt you." Mulder touched his own face where Walter had slapped him when he had believed that Mulder had been unfaithful. Now he was willingly going into the arms of another man, Mulder wouldn't blame Walter if he beat the crap out of him next time they were together. Mulder climbed into bed next to Skinner and wrapped his body around his lover's still frame. He bent down and kissed Skinner gently on the lips then rested his head on the larger man's chest, he laid there several minutes listening to the gentle beating of Walter's heart. "I love you, Walter. I'm so sorry." He slowly backed away and slid off the bed. Pulling on his overcoat he picked up his briefcase and left the room not looking back.

Skinner cringed visibly when Mulder had touched the side of his face, knowing his lover was recalling the time he had slapped him. He looked guiltily over at Alex. They were powerless to prevent their lover from leaving them.

//Fox, I love you. Alex and I will bring you back home once we're cured. No way are we going to let that bastard keep you from us,// Skinner growled as they followed Mulder downstairs into the foyer.

Spender was waiting there with the babies. "They wanted to say goodbye to you, Mulder."

Mulder took Hope from Spender, hugged, and kissed her one final time before passing her back and repeating the good byes with Faith. "Jeff, you'll have to watch this little munchkin closely, she likes to make a break for it the minute your back is turned." He smiled forlornly.

"Don't worry, Mulder. I'll watch them both closely, just come back to them . . . to us soon," Spender murmured sadly.

A car horn sounded from outside. "I better get going." Mulder leaned forward and kissed his daughters again, picking up his briefcase he headed out the door, and out of their lives.

***

FBI Hoover Building
Monday, February 7
11:00 a.m.

Fox Mulder hung up the telephone. Everything was set. All that was left was for him to do was to send a farewell note to his family explaining his actions. He didn't want to have them worrying about him, and he didn't want to put Spender on the spot of having to explain why he didn't try to stop him.

Mulder took extra time on the email he was writing to Scully. He went into detail on what Hope and Faith liked and didn't like. He wrote down their bedtime schedules and their favorite toys. He mentioned that he left his old Oxford sweatshirt in Hope's crib because she sometimes slept better with it. Faith was no longer comforted by anything of his or Alex's, so he explained to Scully that both Hope and Faith had been sleeping with him in the big bed. After rereading the email to make sure he included everything he could think of, he clicked on preferences and set the send options on the emails. They wouldn't be delivered for three hours, which would give him ample time to get out of the country.

He picked up the folder with the medical data and lab analysis on the virus that he'd received from Slava. Although it didn't give the information needed for the cure, his contact over at the CDC said the data was far more advanced than the CDC's data was to date. He left a note on the folder that it was to be delivered to Dana Scully over at Foxfire Glenn Estate.

Now he only had to leave the Hoover Building unseen. Slava had arranged for a car to pick him up two blocks from here to take him to a private airstrip where Slava's personal jet was waiting. Mulder grabbed his briefcase and coat then headed for the back staircase. He made it down to the emergency fire exit unseen where he quickly disconnected the fire alarm and left.

As promised an inconspicuous sedan was waiting for him. "Master Fox, it is a pleasure to see you again," Fyodorov greeted, holding the back door open for the agent.

Mulder recognized the man instantly; he had met him at Slava's Halloween party. The man bore a remarkable resemblance to Frohike. "Mr. Fyodorov, isn't it?"

"Yes. You remembered me," the clairvoyant replied, surprised.

Mulder met the driver's eyes through the rearview mirror. He was surprised that it wasn't a n'thral driving. There was another man sitting in the passenger seat. "I had expected Slava to send his n'thral guards to pick me up."

"No. The Tsar would not trust them in your presence without him here. But don't worry you are safe, Foteev and Talikov are sorcerers," Fyodorov responded, referring to the two men in the front seat. He was sitting next to Mulder in the backseat as the car drove toward the airfield.

Mulder set his briefcase on the seat between them. "Slava trusts you and these other two men with me?"

"No. But he knows that we fear the consequences if we should touch you inappropriately."

"What are the consequences?" Mulder asked.

"A slow and agonizing death. Tsar Nikolai loves you, he would kill anyone that harms or touches you. You hold his heart in your hands, Master Fox, he would do anything to make you happy."

"I don't love him, Fyodorov. What would make me happy is a cure for my partners, and being returned to them," Mulder grumbled sadly.

"You can learn to love him, I know, I've seen the future," Fyodorov assured the young man.

"You're a clairvoyant?" Mulder glanced out the window as the sedan drove through the gate at the airfield.

"Yes, you seem surprised," the little man commented.

"No, I should have figured, your double is a clairvoyant, too. Frohike told me the visions are mostly unreliable because there is never enough of the future shown to get an accurate reading, they are subject to interpretation," Mulder replied as the car parked next to a jet plane.

"I've found a way to channel my visions, which is a lot more reliable, but it still isn't perfect."

"Obviously not, if you actually think I could ever learn to love Slava," Mulder mumbled.

Fyodorov slid out of the car and followed Mulder toward the plane. Mulder hesitated at the bottom of the steps; he closed his eyes briefly and took a deep breath before walking up the steps to his new life.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Monday, February 7
3:30 p.m.

"Hi, Gabriel," Scully said, stepping into the kitchen. She grabbed the teakettle off the stove and filled it with fresh water.

"Hello, Dana." Hunter was busy at the kitchen counter cleaning and seasoning five chickens.

Scully leaned against the counter and watched Hunter for a few minutes. "It's quiet around here. Where is everyone?" she asked.

"Upstairs in the game room racing the babies."

Scully raised a delicate eyebrow at that remark. "What do you mean racing the babies? It sounds like something that should be illegal."

"Hey, it was Rory's idea. He thought it would be good exercise for the munchkins, and the babies seem to like the attention. He set up a small track across the game room and the first baby that crosses the finish line wins. Kim is up there with her two girls why don't you go and join them?"

"I wish that I could, but I have to be heading home in an hour and I still have some tests to run down in the lab. Has Mulder come home from the Hoover Building yet?" Scully asked, pouring the hot water into her teacup.

"No. Sullivan, Austin, and Pipino are suppose to be driving him home at four o'clock," Hunter informed her.

"Shoot, I wanted to see how he was doing before I left," Scully sighed. She left kitchen and headed back down to the lab.

Upstairs in the game room Walter and Tony knelt down on the carpet calling to their daughters.

//C'mon, Hope,// Skinner coaxed, trying to appear happy for his daughter's benefit, although his heart was breaking over losing Fox. Hope smiled at her father and crawled quickly across the room toward him, with Gracie Mari close behind followed by Emi Mercy. Faith sat at the starting line refusing to move. Her lower lip puffed out sullenly, beginning to quiver. As she looked dejectedly up at Alex, she started to cry.

Krycek felt miserable, not only did he lose Fox today, but also his own daughter hated him. He couldn't bear to see her unhappy.

Spender walked over and scooped her up in his arms. "It's okay, cutie, you don't have to play. C'mon, Uncle Jeff will take you downstairs and get you something to eat." Faith buried her face in Spender's shirt; her crying slowly petered off as her uncle carried her downstairs to the kitchen.

The telephone rang just as Spender entered the kitchen. Hunter wiped his hands on a towel and answered it. "Hunter."

"Gabriel, its Sullivan. We have a major problem here . . . we can't find Mulder . . . he's not in the building," Sullivan informed him anxiously.

"Damn it, Jack, how could he be snatched from under the noses of the FBI without anyone noticing?" Hunter snarled, thinking the worse.

"I don't know, but we're checking the video tapes from the security cameras now to see if we can find out what happened."

"I'll be down there in an hour to help in the search," Hunter replied, hanging up the telephone.

"Mulder isn't in the country any longer," Spender replied quietly, hugging Faith against his chest.

"What? What the *hell* do you know about this? If you've done something to Fox..., I'll . . . " Hunter stopped yelling when Faith started shrieking fearfully.

"Ssh, cutie, it's going to be okay," Spender soothed, looking up at Hunter. "Gabriel, I haven't done anything to Mulder. I would never harm him. I think you should talk to Frohike. I wanted to stop Mulder from going to Slava, but he wouldn't let me," he assured the older man softly as he rocked the baby back and forth in his arms trying to calm her.

Scully came racing back into the kitchen with Takeda hot on her heals. "Gabriel, its Mulder! He's gone . . . he turned himself over to Nikolai Slava for a cure to SBS," she blurted out frantically as she passed the emails that she had printed off Takeda's laser printer to Hunter.

Hunter scanned the letters, glowering angrily he called Sullivan back. After he had explained the situation to the FBI agent he hung up the telephone and turned to Scully and Takeda. "I think we need to have a family meeting and explain the situation to everyone. Is Melvin around? Because he has a lot of explaining to do."

"Frohike is at The Lone Gunman headquarters, maybe we should wait until he gets back," Spender suggested nervously, he didn't want to face the brunt of the family's anger alone. He shifted Faith in his arms so she could drink grape juice from the covered baby cup as Hunter considered his comment.

"Okay, Melvin should be here at dinnertime; we'll fill everyone in after dinner," Hunter replied.

***

St. Petersburg
Monday, February 7
11:30 p.m.

It was nighttime when Slava's private jet landed in St. Petersburg. The plane taxied over to a well-lit reception area, parking so its door was adjacent to the limousine sent to take Fox Mulder to the Winter Palace. The agent stared out the window in amazement at the sheer number of people waiting outside the gates to catch a glimpse of him.

After Slava's jet had left D.C. with Fox Mulder on board, word spread quickly throughout Russia of his pending arrival. The excitement of having an immortal married to their Tsar and the prospect of them producing baby girls together had energized the populace who had turned out in heavy numbers just to catch a glimpse of Mulder. They braved the ghoul-infested night for the opportunity to greet the man that would bring female children back to their country.

A large number of armed military personnel spanned out around the crowd to keep them at bay. Fyodorov and his two sorcerer escorts preceded Mulder off the plane, when Mulder appeared the crowd erupted in cheers.

Mulder was shocked; he had never experienced anything like it before. There were bands playing, men were screaming their love for him, and dancing and hugging each other in the freezing nighttime streets of St. Petersburg. He pulled his overcoat more protectively around him as he hurriedly made his way to the waiting limousine.

"I'm surprised that Slava would announce that I was coming here, let alone when I was arriving! Wasn't he at all concerned about my safety?" Mulder grumbled as he climbed into the limousine.

"The Tsar would never make such an announcement. It must have been spread through palace gossip. The Winter Palace has hundreds of employees working in it, and a rumor of this magnitude could be easily spread across Russia within mere hours," Fyodorov replied.

Mulder stared nervously out the window at the cheering crowd as the limousine as it drove past them. Fire blazed in steel trashcans keeping the enthusiastic crowd warm and safe. "Why are they so happy?" he asked.

Fyodorov sat up straight, his chest puffed out with pride at being seen sitting next to the beautiful immortal. "Master Fox, Russia has no immortals of her own, we have watched enviously as other countries have had female babies being born to them. Now with you here our people have hope for a brighter future."

"Fyodorov, I prefer to be called Mulder. The deal I made with Slava did not include my having children with him," he informed the little man.

"The official protocol book specifies that you are to be addressed as Master Fox. If you would like that changed you'll have to take it up with Tsar Nikolai, and the same goes for having children together, that is between you and the Tsar," Fyodorov stated as the limousine drove slowly around Palace Square.

"God," Mulder said breathlessly, staring at the massive cheering crowd that packed the square. The area was awash in light as fireworks shot up and explored over head adding to the noise.

"There is your new home, Master Fox." The little man pointed toward a large structure.

Mulder gaped at the immense three-story palace, which spanned several city blocks. He shuddered as they drove by dozens of tall steel spikes with the heads of humans and n'thrals adorning their tops.

"The Tsar rules our country with a firm but fair hand, he does not tolerate disobedience or traitors. The Russian people love the Tsar for it, he has restored order and law to this land. You will discover that Russia is one of the safest places on earth to live if you are a law abiding citizen," Fyodorov said.

"Does that mean that Slava has given up his slave trade and crime empire?" Mulder asked as the limousine pulled up in front of a red carpet that led to the arched entrance of the Winter Palace. Slava stood waiting at the top of the steps, behind him was Captain Mikhin his n'thral head of security.

"Master Fox, you'll have to ask him yourself," Fyodorov replied diplomatically.

Large n'thrals in fancy dress uniforms lined the both sides of the walkway leading up to the palace entrance, while the Russian military kept the crowd behind the roped off barrier on the other side of the street.

Mulder took a shaky breath as the car door was held open for him. Fyodorov took the briefcase from Mulder's hand, which was visibly shaking. The immortal smiled weakly at the little man then slowly climbed the steps toward Slava; his heart was pounding so loudly it drowned out the crowd, he felt like he was underwater and was finding it difficult to breath. The whole world seemed to zero in to only him and Slava as his eyes locked with the Tsar's hungry black pools, he watched as the larger man's tongue moistened his lips in anticipation. Mulder took the final step and stood passively before the handsome Cossack, he swallowed nervously and hoped he wouldn't pass out.

Slava stepped forward, pulled Mulder into his arms, and kissed him soundly in front of thousands of men who cheered their approval. Light bulbs flashed from cameras scattered throughout the square capturing the moment for posterity.

Mulder didn't know what he'd gotten himself into or how he'd ever get back to his lovers with all of Russia wanting him here. It had seemed so simple before he left, spending the agreed upon year with Slava then returning to Walter and Alex. Mulder chided himself; it was still worth it for the cure Slava offered. To have Walter and Alex healthy was all that mattered to him.

Slava broke the kiss, hugging the smaller man affectionately against his broad chest; he buried his face into the side of Mulder's throat breathing in his erotic spicy scent. "Moi Fox, finally you are here with me . . . I can't tell you how long I've been looking forward to this day."

Mulder knew he had to play this right from the beginning. He didn't want Slava to restrict his freedom by thinking he'd take the cure and flee. "Nikolai, I intend to uphold my end of our agreement --I'm *yours* for a year in exchange for the cure for SBS," he replied, looking into the larger man's aroused face.

"And such a year it will be, moi krasivy Fox," Slava purred, leading him inside the opulent palace. Once inside he stopped and unbuttoned the agent's long, woolen coat and helped him out of it, passing it over to a servant waiting nearby.

The man bowed respectfully and rushed off with the coat.

Slava looked back at Fyodorov and his two sorcerers. "Fox, where are your daughters? I thought you were bringing them," he asked worriedly.

"No, I couldn't take Walter's and Alex's daughters away from them," Mulder replied.

"They are your daughters too, Fox," Slava said, recovering Mulder's briefcase from Fyodorov.

"Walter and Alex might accept losing me for a year, but they'd never tolerate losing their daughters, too."

Slava sighed, he would have to have his men rescue Fox's little girls if his scientists were not able to find a cure in time. "Fyodorov, Fox is tired so we are going to turn in for the evening, please advise the kitchen staff that we will be down for brunch at eleven o'clock."

"Yes, moi Tsar," the little man said bowing.

"Sla . . . Nikolai, I really would like to have the SBS drug sent to the U.S. before we turn in for the evening," Mulder said sweetly.

"Ssh, Fox, we will handle it tomorrow. Tonight is our first night together in over a year, I want to make love to you," Slava purred, taking Mulder's hands into his, he brought them to his lips and kissing his fingers.

Mulder bit back a sharp retort; it was the hardest thing he had ever done. He knew controlling his temper was not one of his strong points. With his lovers' lives hanging in the balance, it was all that he could do not to pull his gun on Slava and demand he get the fucking drug now. However, he had to play the part of a submissive, willing lover if he was going to be allowed free movement around the palace.

"Of course, Nikolai, tomorrow will be soon enough. It was selfish of me not to consider your needs first." Mulder looped an arm affectionately around the larger man's waist.

Slava felt his heart melting as he looked into Mulder's lovely, hazel eyes, and saw love within their depths. "You will be so happy here, Fox, I will give you the world! Anything that your heart desires all you have to do is ask." They walked arm in arm down the long corridors on the third floor of the palace until they came to a pair of large gilded doors with n'thrals standing guard before them. The guards snapped to attention and pulled the doors open for the two men.

"This is the royal apartment, it will be your home for the next year," Slava informed him. They stepped into an elegantly decorated foyer -- off to the right was an entertainment room, on the left was a wide hallway, and an elegant living room was straight ahead. "I had my workmen modernizing these quarters for us over the past six months."

Mulder looked at him in surprise. "For us? How did you know that I would be coming here?"

"Fyodorov saw you here in a vision, he really is a remarkable clairvoyant." Slava guided his lover down the long hallway. Mulder glanced into the rooms on both side of the hall as they passed -- all the rooms were decorated as children's bedrooms.

Slava stopped and noticed Mulder looking into one of their future daughter's bedrooms. He wanted to save the existence of their daughters as a surprise for him on the day of their birth. "The bedrooms are for our future daughters, Fox. I want to have a large family with you."

"I'm only going to be here a year, and I do not intend to have children with you," Mulder stated firmly.

"A lot can happen within a year, Fox." Slava caressed down his body his hand coming to rest over Mulder's flat stomach, the agent jumped away from him. Slava smiled innocently, as he shifted Mulder's briefcase to his other hand and pushed open the doors at the end of the hallway to enter their bedroom.

Mulder swallowed nervously as he entered the room; it felt like walking into a different world. The room resembled something out of a science fiction novel sleek and futuristic. It didn't fit in with the elegant, Old World decor in the rest of the palace.

Slava walked over to a small table and placed Mulder's briefcase on it, picking up a remote control he went back over to Mulder's side and handed it to him, pointing out each button and what it controlled. "This is for the lights, television, fireplace, music, bar, massage table, restraints..."

"Restraints?" Mulder squeaked.

Slava pushed the button and a metal frame descended from ceiling, two sturdy rods on each side of the rectangle frame supported it. Inside the frame at each corner were leather wrist and ankle cuffs, and a leather harness that fastened around the waist and straps strung crosswise to hold a body immobile. Mulder noted that the frame was designed to support at least a six-foot body spread eagle above the ground.

When the frame was four feet above the ground, Slava swung the frame on its center pivots so it was vertical then lowered it the rest of the way to the floor. "I had it designed especially for you. Your wrists go into these cuffs, notice the fur lining, they're for your comfort. Once you're strapped in I fasten these straps over your body front and back, then when you're in the horizontal position it will be like floating on air," he said, swinging the frame back to its horizontal position.

"I really am not into B&D or S&M," Mulder announced backing away toward the door.

"Fox, have you ever tried bondage and domination games?" Slava questioned, pressing the buttoning and making the frame rise back up into the ceiling.

"No. And I have no desire to try them," Mulder hastened, disgust clearly showing on his face.

"Nonsense, Fox, you won't know if you'll like it until you give it a try. We'll play together later in the week." Slava went back over to Mulder's briefcase and opened it. He pulled out a framed photograph of Hope and Faith and studied it contently with the knowledge that his and Fox's genes would also produce many beautiful daughters together in the coming decades.

Slava carried the photograph over to a small counter that jutted out of the wall next to the bed, he placed it on the polished surface and faced it toward the bed. "Now, you'll be able to see your beautiful daughters every morning when you wake up."

The handsome Cossack smiled over at Mulder who was standing frozen by the doorway. He walked over to him and tenderly took his hand, leading Mulder across the room. "Come, Fox, I want to bathe and prepare your body for our love making."

"I'm tired, couldn't we just go to bed now?" the agent whined.

Slava gave him a tolerant smile. "Fox, I guarantee that you will feel invigorated when we're through."

The bathroom walls and floor were limestone and a fifteen-foot by ten-foot recessed tub took up half of the room. It resembled a pool more than a bathtub, it had a ledge inside for sitting, and the center was at least four feet deep. Slava started filling the tub while Mulder wandered around the room.

Mulder shivered when he got a good look at the shower, it was in a separate room off the main bath. The room was nine-feet by nine-feet, with a retractable showerhead hanging down from the center of the ceiling. What made him nervous, though, were the four coiled hoses that were attached to the wall, each one with an aluminum nozzle. Mulder recognized their intended function immediately; Alex had purchased a similar flared plug nozzle designed for giving enemas on one of his trips to California.

Mulder stepped into the room for a closer look. The floor in the shower was smooth stainless steel with one-inch, two-inch, and three-inch circular holes scattered randomly across its surface, but far enough apart to make walking on the surface comfortable. Beneath the steel grating was a six-inch circular drain in the center of a concrete floor. Along the wall an inch above and below the grating were water jets, Mulder knew the purpose of the jets was to wash any waste products off the surface and flush it down the drain.

"Efficient looking isn't it?" Slava purred into his ear, making the agent jump. "Each of the hoses are attached to separate tanks, each tank contains a different fluid. Have you ever had a coffee enema before, Fox?"

"Ah, no, only barium." Mulder trembled as Slava led him out of the shower and started to undress him.

"Mm, then you're in for a treat. I have a new age healer that prepares the various enema solutions for me; he is really an expert at his craft. He prepares bath and massage oils for me, too." Slava opened a chute next to the door and tossed each article of clothing down it, including Mulder's guns, badge, wallet, and finally his shoes, socks, and boxers. Then Slava proceeded to strip off his own clothes until he was equally as naked as his lover was.

"Come, moi love, I'll clean you out first then we'll share a bath," the larger man murmured pulling Mulder into the shower.

"Look, Nick, I'm not really big on enemas. What do you say we skip it, and go share that bath." Mulder rubbed up against the larger man and stroked Slava's immense cock causing it to swell even thicker under his fingertips in an attempt to dissuade the Cossack from giving him an enema.

"Fox, my name is Nikolai, don't bastardize it with your American abbreviation!" Slava pulled him forcefully into his arms and kissed him soundly, rubbing his hard groin against Mulder's belly. His knee insinuated itself between Mulder's legs spreading them apart as he deepened the kiss. Slava's hand sought out and found the bowl of lubricant that was on a ledge over the enema hoses, he dunked his fingers inside coating them. He then brought his hand down between Mulder's buttocks to his puckered opening; he eased an oiled finger inside, stretching him gently.

Mulder gasped into Slava's mouth and tried to pull away, knowing what the larger man had planned. He was no match for the large Cossack who tightened the hold on his body.

When Slava felt the ring of muscles relax around his finger; he pulled it out and dunked his fingers back into the oil then proceeded to lubricate one of the nozzles. He pulled the hose away from the wall, using one hand to spread Mulder's ass checks apart he positioned the nozzle against the agent's anus and pushed it slowly in until all six inches of nozzle were held firmly inside.

"Please, don't." Mulder wiggled frantically against Slava's chest as he felt the narrow end of the nozzle enter him. As it was forced deeper inside him, it widened stretching him further, it then became smaller where his opening closed around the rubber seal holding it inside.

"Ssh, love," Slava soothed, not loosening his steel grip on the smaller man's lithe body. His finger flipped the valve open and he watched the dial beside the hose measuring the amount of fluid he was pumping into his lover's bowels.

Mulder groaned and rested his head on Slava's shoulder as the cool liquid flooded into him. He felt his intestines and colon being filled and stretched uncomfortably, but Slava continued to fill him until he thought he would explode.

The larger man finally closed the valve. "We'll need to keep the fluid in for at least ten minutes. Fox, you can hold onto me if the cramping becomes too intense," Slava soothed, rubbing Mulder's back. His other hand stroked over Mulder's belly feeling the hard bulge from the amount of liquid he had pumped into him.

Mulder moaned, shifting his feet apart as the cramping began, and he heard a low rumbling coming from his belly as the liquid sloshed around his colon. He turned his head resting it on Slava's shoulder, catching a glimpse of himself in the full-length mirror on the wall outside the shower. He looked almost comical with the hose jutting out of his ass like a tail on some animal. He quickly turned his face away from his reflection, he broke out into a cold sweat. God, what had he gotten himself into? He tried to focus his mind on happy memories, without any success. His fingers dug into Slava's back as a severe cramp nearly doubled him over, it felt like he was being ripped apart inside.

"Ssh, Fox, it's going to be okay, just six more minutes to go."

"It's only been four minutes?" Mulder groaned; it felt like he'd been standing here for an hour already. Shit, he had a full year to put up with this abuse! He was going to go insane.

Slava chuckled. "Fox, you're not going to go insane . . . I promise that you'll get use to it, and even enjoy it after awhile. The last thing I ever want to do is cause you pain."

Mulder startled, under his duress he had forgotten to protect his thoughts from being read. He could not allow that to happen again. "Nikolai, believe me I will never come to like having a hose forced up my ass and a gallon of liquid pumped into me," Mulder hissed, through tightly clenched teeth.

"Fox, silly boy, it wasn't a gallon," Slava replied lightly, kissing the side of Mulder's face.

"God, has it been ten minutes yet!" Mulder groaned as his bowels cramped and rumbled painfully, he had to hold tighter to Slava to keep from sliding to the floor.

"Just about." Slava gently rubbed Mulder's back, turning him around so his ass faced the center of the room toward the drain. He then eased the nozzle out, pulling it away just as the younger man's bowels erupted spewing out their contents.

Mulder felt totally humiliated, he hung his head in embarrassment. The few enemas that he had given himself were done in private without either of his lovers present. Alex and Walter had requested several times to be allowed to give him one, but he was too embarrassed to allow them to.

Slava turned on the jets and the water sprayed over their legs and feet. The waste was washed off the metal surface and down to the surface below their feet, the jets from below soon washed all the waste down the drain. Slava pulled down the retractable showerhead and washed his lover's ass and legs.

"Fox, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. You are the most beautiful and sensuous man I have ever seen. Tomorrow I'll shave your body and you'll feel much better. Come, lover, our bath awaits."

Mulder glared angrily at him, but allowed Slava to lead him toward the bathtub. "I suppose it will do me no good to ask you not to shave my body?"

"Fox, you know how I feel about body hair, but I am happy that you have kept your groin smoothly shaved."

The bathtub was filled to six inches below the rim. The water had shut off automatically when the level had reached the overflow valve. Slava picked up a bottle of fragrant bath oil and poured its contents into the steaming water.

Mulder wondered how his family was handling his disappearance, as he stepped down into the bathtub. He wondered if Slava would allow him to contact them as he sat gingerly down on the ledge sinking into the hot water.

Slava sat across from him the water was up to his nipples. "Fox, you can call your family anytime you feel like it. I would never deny you contact with them, your happiness is important to me. All that I want is for you to uphold your end of our agreement."

"If you want to make me happy, please stay out of my thoughts," Mulder grumbled. He couldn't believe he'd allowed the shields guarding his thoughts to slip twice in less than fifteen minutes.

"Why? Fox, we have no secrets between us," Slava replied, sliding over to sit beside him.

"We all have thoughts that we would like to keep private. Even you, Nikolai, must have secrets that you don't want me to know," Mulder reasoned quietly.

Slava frowned. Did Fox know about his deception? He hoped that his scientists would find a cure for SBS before Fox found out that he had been lied to. For some reason, it was important to him to have Fox's respect. Slava would keep his lover here against his will if he had to, but he didn't want to do that. He wanted Fox to stay here of his own freewill, he was sure that after their agreed upon year was up that Fox would return his love. Moreover, Fox would never be able to leave his seven daughters.

"Yes, you're right, moi love, there are certain things about me that I wouldn't want you to know. So, I will try to refrain from invading your thoughts." Slava leaned forward and kissed Mulder affectionately on the cheek, grasping his lover's hand he leaned back in the steamy water and relaxed contentedly.

Mulder sighed and sunk lower into the water, he had won two concessions from the Cossack, maybe he should try for three. "Nikolai, I need you to do something for me," he asked hesitantly.

"Anything, krasivy," Slava purred, running a soapy hand over Mulder's chest.

"I have a physical condition that you're probably aware of," Mulder replied cautiously, hoping the larger man was aware of the recent news involving immortals because he really didn't want to go into detail explaining his condition.

Slava rested a hand over Mulder's bellybutton. "That you're able to become pregnant?"

"Ah, yes. You mentioned that you didn't want to hurt me, I thought, you should be aware of a side-effect of my . . . condition. If I don't take an anti-pheromone drug that is keyed to my lovers' DNA they will go into a sexual frenzy the nearer I get to my cycle."

"Fox, you're afraid that I will lose control and injure you?"

"I know you will."

"Very well, Fox, I will have my agents in D.C. retrieve the process for making this anti-pheromone drug from your doctor. Then my scientist can replicate the drug using my DNA. Moi love, I meant it when I said that I didn't want to hurt you." He pulled the agent onto his lap and leaned back into the hot water content just to hold his lover again.

Mulder sighed, relaxing against Slava's chest, another worry had been resolved, and not for the life of him could he figure out the handsome Cossack.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Monday, February 7
8:30 p.m.

It was still evening back in the U.S. when Frohike nervously stepped into the family room. The whole family was present as were Dana Scully and her husband, Doctor Jonathan Carter. The family, including Scully, were lost in their own thoughts and looked up imploringly at Frohike as he entered the room.

"Melvin, what happened to Mulder? Why did he leave us?" Schatz asked sorrowfully, breaking the silence. Mulder was his best friend and confidante, he told the agent everything. Schatz couldn't believe he was gone.

They all knew that Mulder had gone to Slava, but the reason behind him abandoning his lovers and daughters was still unclear to some of them. Moreover, why Frohike and Spender didn't try to stop Mulder from going had them all baffled and angry.

"Slava offered Mulder a cure for SBS if he agreed to live with him. Mulder sacrificed himself for his lovers' health, and the wellbeing of everyone in this household. He didn't want to leave us, but he had no choice," Frohike said.

"Melvin, you had a choice! You could have stopped him from going to Slava!" Hunter growled.

"No! I couldn't do that! Don't you understand that if Mulder didn't go to Slava it would have changed the future? A future where we are all happy and healthy," Frohike assured.

"What about Fox? Is he happy in this future of yours?" Hunter questioned bitterly.

"I know that he'll be back with Walter and Alex at some point, but then he'll return to Slava again. I can't see enough of the future to know for sure what's going on or how long Mulder is with Slava each time," Frohike sighed, sinking down on the sofa next to his lover. "Gabriel, what's important is that everyone in this household is saved by his actions. Slava will send a cure for SBS now."

Scully looked disdainfully at the little man. "Damn it, Frohike, Nikolai Slava is a sadist! The man deals in human flesh, he's going to seriously hurt Mulder!"

"Scully, you don't know that for sure, we need the cure that Slava offers," Frohike argued.

"Frohike, have you even considered that Slava might not have a cure? Maybe Shin and I develop the cure. We are making great progress, hopefully we'll find a cure without Slava's help," Scully snapped.

//If Slava doesn't have a cure, I'm going to wring that little troll's neck,// Krycek growled.

//Alex, Melvin's heart was in the right place. He really believed all the evidence that he had pointed to Slava being responsible for our recovery and for all we know he could be right,// Skinner sighed. //After we're cured, we'll bring Fox back home, until then there is nothing we can do but watch and wait.//

//Walter, this is driving me insane! I can't take much more of this! And what did Frohike mean that Mulder goes back to Slava again?// Krycek exclaimed.

//Melvin had a vision that showed Fox on the floor reading to several beautiful little girls and Slava was there. Alex, this isn't easy on me either. We just have to make do and find ways to pass the time,// Skinner replied.

//If only we could be in Russia with Fox!// Krycek snarled. They had discovered that they could not get any further than five hundred yards from their bodies. When they had tried, they hit an invisible barrier preventing them from going any further.

//I'm sort of glad we aren't. I couldn't bare to see Slava touching him. Alex, it's better that we're here with our daughters.//

//Well, at least the mouse still loves you. I can't take the accusatory looks Faith keeps giving me.// Krycek looked over at his daughter who was curled up sleeping on Spender's lap.

//She'll get over it, Alex,// Skinner assured and went back to listening in on their friends' conversation.

Duffy, who had been standing quietly in the corner holding Hope, spoke for the first time. "I think you're all underestimating Mulder, he is a smart and resourceful man, he knows what he's doing."

"Duffy, you don't know Mulder like I do, he often leaps into the fire without thinking about the consequences first. I had to save his butt from getting burned on a number of occasions when he rushed off foolishly on his own," Scully replied, hotly.

"With all due respect, Dana. Mulder doesn't strike me as a fool. His willingness to put friends and lovers before his own welfare is a sign of an honorable and brave man," Duffy grumbled.

"I'm sorry, I didn't phrase that right. I didn't mean to imply that Mulder was a fool because he isn't, but he is reckless with his own safety and wellbeing," Scully replied firmly.

"I haven't known Mulder long enough to comment on his being reckless with his own life. I do believe this family does tend to underestimated him," Duffy replied gruffly.

Gabriel Hunter sighed. "Can we please stop the squabbling, Fox is gone and we have to figure out a way to get him back. Does anyone here speak Russian or have any knowledge of the country? Rory, what about you? Do you have any contacts over there?"

"Sorry, Gabriel, I've never been to Russia. We could contact Walter's relatives, they might be able to help. Anton Danko used to work for the FSB, he may still have contacts over there," MacIver offered.

"That's a good idea, Rory," Hunter replied. "Does anyone else have any suggestions?"

Duffy looked thoughtful. "I can't see our government allowing Nikolai Slava to keep Mulder without trying to get him back by force if necessary."

"I'm sure our government will lodge a severe protest with the Russian government. Let's face it, though, with a majority of our sorcerers incapacitated by SBS there is nothing we can do militarily to get him back without losing a lot of men in the process," Hunter replied.

"So we're on are own then," Blaise sighed tiredly. "Maybe we should wait and see if Slava really does have a cure."

"The chances of that man actually having a cure are zero to none," Scully grumbled. "And even if he had one, he'd never turn it over to us, let alone the U.S. government."

"I'll contact Anton in the morning. Until then why don't we sleep on it, maybe things will look brighter in the morning," Hunter said, standing he headed out of the room.

The Scotsman stood up. "Things will look brighter after a pint of ale. Kazuo, can I bring you back one?" MacIver asked, heading for the butler's pantry.

"Sure, Rory."

"Hey, old man, bring me one, too," Takeda shouted.

"Sorry, love, not in your condition. Doctor Carter has made it perfectly clear to me that you should not be drinking," MacIver shouted from the other room.

Takeda glared at the young, black doctor, who was holding his wife's hand.

Doctor Carter smiled back at him. "Hey, it was your idea to have a baby, Shin, you do want it to be perfect, now, don't you?"

"Yeah, I suppose."

Scully stood and retrieved Hope from Duffy. "Jonathan, are you sure that you're all right with me staying here?"

"Yes, Dana, you did promised Mulder that you'd help look after his daughters if anything happened to him," he replied gently. "Scott and I will come out tomorrow to see how you're doing." He kissed her softly, then said goodnight to the others and left.

Scully cuddled the baby in her arms, kissing Hope's forehead. "Jeff, can you help me put them to bed?"

"Sure, Dana. I'd better anyway, Faith isn't allowing anyone to hold her but me," he said, following Scully out of the room.

The other men all departed for their own rooms. Duffy wandered around the mansion making sure it was secure for the night. He shut off all of the lights as he made his way downstairs to his room.

***

St. Petersburg
Tuesday, February 8
4:00 a.m.

Slava savored every inch of Mulder's body, which laid exhaustedly underneath him. He couldn't get enough of him as he slowly sucked on the younger man's nipple until it was a taut, hard pebble. Mulder's back arched off the bed as he moaned with arousal, his body again betraying him.

Mulder never felt so spent, he was sore all over, and Slava was again teasing his painfully abused nipples for the umpteenth time this evening. He shifted slightly, trying to get off the wet spot under his ass. Mulder couldn't take another fucking from the larger man; his anus was on fire from the relentless pounding it had taken. He had never been filled so fully by another man's come, even Walter and Alex together didn't fill him this much. It seemed that Slava had been saving himself for months. "Nikolai, please, no more . . . hurts. Please, let me sleep . . . need sleep," he begged pitifully.

Slava pressed his bulging organ against his lover's hip. "Mm, Fox, moi krasivy little Fox, just once more then I'll let you sleep," he purred, reaching down he caressed Mulder's ass lovingly.

Mulder cringed in pain. "No, not there," he yelped then reluctantly placed Slava's hand over his navel. "Here if you must."

Slava beamed down at him and captured his lover's kiss-swollen lips in another deep possessive kiss. He broke the kiss and moved up Mulder's body placing the tip of his cock against the younger man's navel. Slava had wanted to have sex through this new orifice since Fox's birthday, but he didn't want to do it without his young lover's permission -- such was his love for him.

He slammed quickly in and screamed as the agent's internal muscles tightly clenched and squeezed his cock. Never had he experienced such intense pleasure, the fluids from Fox's body caused his organ to harden even more. Slava couldn't remember being happier in his whole life. *Mine.* Fox was finally his and no one was ever going to take him away from him.

Mulder again found himself in the land of crystals and flowers. King Xowolfe smiled happily when he saw his beloved. It had been weeks since his beautiful mate's last visit. "Fox, you have returned to me," he said, flying down to the young man's side.

"Xowolfe, I'm beginning to think this is more than just a mere hallucination," Mulder replied, looking into the beautiful Seraphim's bright emerald green eyes.

Both Mulder and Xowolfe jumped at the gruff angry voice behind them. "This isn't a hallucination, Fox," Slava snarled, pulling Mulder protectively into his arms.

King Xowolfe's eyes flashed with anger and he went into a rage seeing the strange man who was touching his beloved. "How dare you! Take your filthy hands off my life mate!" he snapped and tried to attack the human, but his hands passed right through the sorcerer.

"You're wrong, Fox is mine! I will never allow you to lay a finger on him," Slava growled. He pushed out with his mind, throwing the being into the nearby pond. Slava was about to strike out again when both he and Fox were pulled back into their bodies.

Both men lay shaking and quivering. After they had calmed down from their subsequent orgasms, Mulder trembled against Slava's chest. "God, that was real . . . I thought it was some weird dream."

"Don't worry, Fox, I'll never allow that creature to touch you," Slava soothed, kissing the top of Mulder's head then hugging the trembling body in his arms tighter.

Mulder's heart was racing a mile a minute; his mind was whirling with the implications of his new discovery. "Nikolai, I always believed that the gray aliens released the virus on our planet, I think I was wrong."

"Fox, you think that creature was behind killing all of the females on this planet?"

"Yeah, I do." Mulder relaxed into the comfort and protection of the larger man's warm embrace. "Every time that I was transported to that world Xowolfe would refer to me as his life mate. I think that I would have belonged to him, had their invasion had gone as planned," he replied tiredly, hardly able to keep his eyes open any longer.

"Well, their invasion failed and you're my lover now. We'll have to figure out a way to prevent you from coming into contact with this creature again." Slava looked down lovingly at the young man cuddled in his arms. Mulder had fallen asleep.

***

Deep Space
Planet Empyrean

King Xowolfe stood slowly. He was furious. He was also dripping wet -- no one had ever laid a hand on him before. He angrily trudged out of the shallow pond, wanting revenge against that insolent human for both his bruised dignity and for touching his property. How had that human been able to touch him? His hand only passed straight through that being's body.

Several Minotaur soldiers came rushing over to his side as he stepped out of the pond. They had the heads of a bulls coupled with human-like, massive, muscular bodies. They had witnessed their king being thrown into the pond by some unseen force.

"My lord, what happened?" the soldier asked.

"Get me General Xobonoa at once!" the king shouted.

"Yes, my lord," the soldier bowed then hurried off to find the king's general.

Several minutes passed before the Seraphim general came rushing to the king's side, followed closely by the Minotaur.

"My King, what is wrong?" Xobonoa asked.

"General Xobonoa, how is our campaign against Earth going?" Xowolfe snapped.

"My King, the Earth's defenses have been reinforced since our last failed attack. They are using this new race of sorcerers to shore up their defenses, consequently the Earth is virtually impregnable now," the general told him nervously.

"Xobonoa, it is vital that I get my life mate off that planet! I expect you to focus your full attention on accomplishing that feat!"

"My King, I need more information about your life mate. Where on the Earth can he be found?" the general asked. Only the king had seen the immortal that he claimed to be his mate.

"We still have servants upon the earth, acquire my mate's location from them. My mate goes by the name Fox Mulder. Don't fail me, Xobonoa."

"Never, my King." The seraphim bowed low then rushed off to attend to his king's orders.

***

 


 

Life from the Ashes Book 3 - SBS
Chapter 5
A Long Cold February

by Jo B.


***

St. Petersburg
Tuesday, February 8
10:00 a.m.

Golden sunlight streamed in through the sheer fabric covering the tall windows casting a warm glow across the bedroom as Slava lovingly watched Mulder sleep. He had pulled down the bedcovers so he could admire his young lover's perfect body; he was feeling extremely giddy that his Fox was finally home. He gazed over long, toned limbs, an elegant throat, and dark, dusty nipples standing pert in the chilly bedroom. His eyes wandered lower to Fox's navel. It held a pleasant fascination for him; he saw no outward sign that it was anything but a navel. The little swelling and redness that had affected the area after they had had sex had long since disappeared. He studied the smooth, flat planes of his lover's belly, wondering what it would look like ripened with his child inside. Oh yes, his Fox was going to have his baby -- that would be the ultimate bond between them, sealing his beautiful lover to him for all of eternity. He had been keeping up with the world news involving the pregnant immortals, all the while worrying about his Fox being impregnated by another man's seed.

Mulder stirred rolling over on his side, his hand absently fumbled for the blankets. Not finding them, he sighed, and peered through heavy lids at Slava who was sitting smugly propped up against the headboard. Mulder's stomach growled. "Timesit," he mumbled.

"Time to get up and dressed for brunch, sleepy head," Slava purred affectionately.

"God, I'm hungry," Mulder said, sitting up slowly, relieved that most of the soreness was gone.

"How are you feeling, moi love?" Slava asked, slipping out of bed. He walked around to Mulder's side and helped him to his feet.

"Fine, but I could use a hot shower and *only* a shower," Mulder replied firmly.

"Don't worry, moi love, your virtue is safe for now. I don't want you smelling of sex outside of these rooms, it would drive my n'thral guards crazy," Slava said. Following Mulder into the shower he turned on the overhead spray, grabbed a washcloth and a bar of soap, and started washing his lover's sleek body.

"You should have them take the drug my friend invented, it eliminates their sex drive, and even dampens their revulsion to females," Mulder blurted out without thinking.

"Really, Fox? That would solve a lot of my problems, and I wouldn't even have to worry about making love to you around the palace. I'll have my agents retrieve it at the same time they get the formula for your anti-pheromone drug." He smiled dreamily. "I really would like to reenact that netsuke I sent you for your Thanksgiving celebration," he purred, kissing the side of Mulder's throat and trailing the washcloth down to the agent's groin.

Mulder silently cursed himself as he stood passively allowing the large Russian to wash his most private areas. "Speaking of drugs, Nikolai, when are you planning to send the SBS cure to my government?"

"Tomorrow, moi love, I need to have my scientists transcribe their notes into English," he lied.

Mulder shoved him away, glaring angrily at the larger man. "You told me you'd send it today! Are you reneging on the deal we made?" he snapped.

Slava fumed inwardly; he wasn't used to being talked to that way. "No, moi love, I am not reneging. My scientists require additional time to transcribe their notes. You wouldn't want them to mess up, now would you?" he asked through clenched teeth, pulling the angry young man back against his chest.

"Can I meet your scientists and see this drug?"

"Of course, Fox, but it will have to wait until tomorrow we have a busy schedule today."

Mulder held his tongue. He sensed that Slava was lying, but he wasn't sure if he was lying about having the drug or hedging on his promise to send the drug to the U.S. Mulder didn't dare call him on it just yet because he wanted to get the routine of the large palace down first. He already had the palace's floor plan memorized from a book he found in their library back home, it showed 'The Winter Palace' when it was still a museum. If he found out Slava was lying, then he'd be in a better position to escape and return to his family. He had to keep a tight grip on his temper, and convince Slava that there was no reason to worry about him escaping.

Slava sighed inwardly when Fox didn't press the issue. His Fox seemed tamer since the last time they were together. He wondered if Walter Skinner was the reason why. Had the man managed to teach Fox some obedience and patience? If so, he would add a couple of million onto the monetary settlement he was going to send Skinner in exchange for Fox. To cover the additional cost of training, he chuckled. He would have to test Fox to see how well he'd been trained.

"Now you can wash me, Fox," Slava said, handing Mulder the washcloth.

Mulder stared at Slava's handsome face as he ran the soapy cloth over his muscular biceps. Something had struck the Russian as funny. Mulder frowned and quickly ran the washcloth over Slava's hairless muscular body, wanting to get it over with as fast as possible. He swore inwardly when the Tsar's cock thickened and lengthened to its full twelve inches. However, it offered him the perfect opportunity to show Slava just what a devoted and passive lover he was. Smiling up at the large Cossack from his knees, Mulder gently kissed the head of the leaking cock guiltily savoring the mild tasting pre-cum. He peered up at Slava through thick lashes as if seeking approval, he used the washcloth to stroke and jerk the large organ while his mouth sucked and licked its head.

The Tsar's fingers laced through Mulder's damp hair holding him in place, while his other finger traced around Mulder's full lips, stretched apart by his cock. "Oh, moi beloved, you are truly a priceless treasure," he moaned, melting into the immortal's worshipping, hazel eyes.

With his other hand Mulder rolled and squeezed Slava's heavy balls as his tongue teased open his urethra. He applied just enough pressure and suction on the small slit, to cause the larger man to come hard. Mulder couldn't keep up with the flow of semen. He tilted his head back after Slava had stopped coming and allowed the shower spray to wash the milky fluid off his chin and chest.

Slava hauled him to his feet and into a passionate kiss, mashing him tightly against his broad chest. "Mine. You're all mine," he sighed into the younger man's mouth.

They finished their shower and slowly dried each another. The Tsar paying extra attention to the younger man's thick, chestnut hair, using his powers to dry it quickly. He ran his fingers through it fascinated by its wispy silkiness. They finished by shaving and brushing their teeth.

Slava then guided Mulder across the bedroom to the far wall and pressed a button. The wall opened to reveal an enormous walk-in closet.

Mulder cautiously followed the larger man inside. The closet was twice the size of his bedroom back home.

"This is your side of the closet, Fox," Slava informed Mulder, guiding him over to row upon row of elegant clothing and shoes. He pulled open several drawers, showing the younger man where his socks and underwear were stored. "My tailor custom-made all your outfits using only the finest fabrics."

Mulder didn't see any jeans or casual attire among the clothing. "Do you have anything a little less formal that I can wear?" He asked, rummaging through the underwear drawer until he located a pair of silk boxers underneath the countless thongs.

Slava snatched the boxers away and selected a leather thong instead, and he knelt down raising Mulder's feet one at a time, slipping the thong on him and up his long, toned legs. The larger man tenderly adjusted his lover's cock and balls in the leather sling, then made sure the string was nestled comfortably between the younger man's smooth butt cheeks.

"Fox, you have a status to maintain now. It wouldn't be appropriate for you to dress like a commoner. You are my prince, my lover, and hopefully soon, my husband." Slava spent some time caressing his lover's bare buttocks, before selecting an elegant black suit, silk dress shirt, and a silk tie for Mulder to wear.

"Nikolai, I already have two husbands, three would be a little bit of an overkill," Mulder quipped, trying to make light of the larger man's remarks.

"Of course, you'd need to get divorced from them first, which as the Tsar I can easily arrange."

"You seem to keep forgetting that I'm only going to be with you a year! At the end of that time I *will* be returning home to my family!" Mulder snapped. He pulled on the clothing Slava had handed him.

"Moi Fox, if you still wish to leave me after our year is up, so be it, I won't stop you. However, I believe that by the end of that time you will love me as much as I love you." Slava caressed the side of Mulder's face, staring deeply into his beautiful hazel eyes as his thumb traced circles around the immortal's pouty lower lip.

Mulder blushed; he was embarrassed that Slava's gentle touch was sending bolts of arousal straight to his groin. It distressed him the number of times that the Cossack had made him come last night; he did not want to feel pleasure from anyone but Alex and Walter.

Slava reluctantly pulled away and went to get dress. "Come, Fox, finish dressing. Our guests are waiting to meet you."

"Nikolai, you mentioned that I could call my family. I would like to do that before we go down to eat."

"Moi love, we are seven hours ahead of D.C. it would only be four o'clock in the morning there. Maybe it would be better if you waited until after brunch," Slava advised softly.

"Yeah, I forgot about the time difference. I wouldn't want to wake them too early. If you'll allow me to call them after we eat that should be soon enough," Mulder sighed.

"Fox, you don't have to ask my permission to call them. You can use any telephone in this apartment, if you want privacy there's a phone in the entertainment room."

"Thank you, Nikolai."

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Tuesday, February 8
4:00 a.m.

Scully tiredly laid her head on the pillow; she was finally able to close her eyes and willed herself to sleep. Faith had just fallen asleep nestled in her arms after spending most of the night crying despondently. Hope had been a problem earlier, but she quieted down once Mulder's old Oxford sweatshirt was spread on the bottom of her crib. She breathed in the baby's scent as she held her. Scully's hand wandered down to her own belly and wondered what her child would be like. Her hand fell away as sleep finally claimed her.

//I thought she'd never get Faith to sleep,// Krycek grumbled, staring at the two small figures sleeping in the middle of their large king-sized bed.

//Ssh, Alex, keep your voice down, you'll wake her,// Skinner scolded.

//Sorry, that would not be good,// Krycek replied sadly.

//No, it wouldn't be, Alyosha. Her crying is loud enough to wake the dead, literally.//

Both men turned toward the sound of the lilting female voice.

//Mother?//

//Yes, Alyosha,// Aleksandra replied, watching both of her sons lovingly.

Skinner stood frozen in place. It had been over forty years since he had last seen his mother.

//Why are you here, Mother?// Krycek asked.

//My granddaughters needed me, so I came,// the beautiful ghost replied.

//What do you mean?// Skinner asked, finally finding his tongue.

//My dear, they need your touch as well as your love. I'm here to show you how to touch them,// Aleksandra said.

//Mother, they needed that for over a week, why have you waited until now to come?// Krycek questioned.

//Alyosha, it is difficult for me to enter your world. I come now because Fox is gone and the others cannot give your children the love they crave. Only you and Vladimir can give them that.//

//Mother, please show me how to touch my daughter so she stops hating me,// Krycek begged.

//Precious, Faith doesn't hate you. She's only hurt that you won't pick her up and love her.//

//Show me how, Mother, please.//

//It is really very simple. Push out with your heart, instead of trying to pull in the energy around you. The energy already exists deep inside of both of you.//

//Is that all?// Skinner asked, flabbergasted; it seemed so simple. They had been trying unsuccessfully to harness the energy around them so they could use their sorcerer powers when the power already inside of them.

Faith stirred on the bed and started whimpering softly. Alex went over to her side and tried what his mother suggested, this time, instead of his hand passing through his daughter it made physical contact. //Ssh, cutie, daddy's here, we don't want to wake Auntie Dana,// Alex soothed as he lovingly brushed the hair away from his daughter's eyes.

The baby rolled away from Scully's body, and held up her little arms wanting to be picked up. She grinned happily when her daddy finally held her lovingly in his arms. "Dadda alek," she cooed.

Alex kissed the top of her head hugging her securely against his chest. //Thanks, Mother.// He grinned happily as Aleksandra smiled gently, then vanished.

//Walter, what?// Krycek asked, noticing the perplexed look on the older man's face.

//I've waited forty years to see her again . . . I just wished she would have stayed longer.// Skinner sighed and headed toward the nursery to see Hope.

***

St. Petersburg
Tuesday, February 8
11:00 a.m.

The Winter Palace was bustling with activity as Slava led Mulder toward the dining hall. Servants prostrated themselves as they passed then scurried about on their daily tasks. Two n'thral guards opened the doors to the dining hall for them, inside was assembled Slava's upper echelon.

All the men present immediately rose from their seats and bowed respectfully toward their Tsar. Slava wrapped an arm around Mulder's waist. "Gentlemen, I'd like to introduce Fox Mulder. He is to be shown the same respect and loyalty as am I."

Mulder gazed over the faces of the assembled men; most were wearing stylish uniforms heavily decorated or elegant suits. Fyodorov was there, looking nervous and out of place, there was a Japanese man standing next to him, who also looked out of place among the fancy dressed Russians, but appeared calm and at ease.

Slava guided him around the room making introductions. Mulder soon discovered that all of the men were sorcerers, and that they were being trained as part of Slava's elite guard. They finally made their way over to Fyodorov and the Japanese man.

"Fox, I'd like you to meet Masataka Izumi. He's the palace's resident artist," Slava said proudly.

"Master Fox, it is a pleasure to finally meet you," Izumi replied, shaking the proffered hand.

"You're the artist who does the netsuke carving, aren't you?" Mulder asked.

"Yes. The Tsar has promised that you'd be able to model for the next one. It would make it easier to get the details right."

Mulder frowned. "Sorry, but I'm not really comfortable with the idea of posing for one of your carvings, Mr. Izumi." Something about the man was ringing a bell in his head. He had heard the name before.

"Nonsense, Fox. Izumi is a professional. There's nothing to be embarrassed about. Besides, I'll be posing with you," Slava replied.

Fyodorov frowned, noticing Mulder visibly cringe over Slava's callousness. He had discovered last night that it wasn't any fun spying on the two men. He had come away feeling dirty and saddened by the Tsar's treatment of the beautiful immortal. It didn't even occur to Slava that he was being abusive, and treating the younger man as a possession, not as the loving partner that the Tsar professed him to be. Unless Slava changed his ways, this relationship was doomed to fail.

"Moi Tsar, maybe it would be advisable to allow Master Fox to become comfortable with his new life here and with Mr. Izumi, before subjecting him to posing nude in front of him," Fyodorov suggested cautiously.

Mulder smiled appreciatively at the little man, which didn't go by Slava unnoticed. It angered the Tsar that his lover would waste a smile on the little insignificant troll. Fox hadn't even smiled at him like that, yet.

He leveled the little man was a cold stare. "Fyodorov, it would do you good to remember your place. You are a clairvoyant and nothing more! Remember, there are still several empty shafts in front of the palace, one of which is just waiting for your head to adorn it," the large man growled.

"Moi Tsar, please accept my humble apologies. I never meant to be disrespectful," Fyodorov groveled, wringing his hands nervously together.

"I'll overlook your insubordination this one time, Fyodorov. I suggest that you take yourself out of my sight immediately," Slava replied hotly.

"Yes, moi Tsar." The little man bowed respectfully then quickly scurried away.

Mulder felt sorry for Fyodorov, he seemed to want Slava's approval so badly. "Nikolai, he didn't mean anything by it, and he's right, I would like to become more familiar with my new home first," Mulder stated, watching Fyodorov's retreating back.

"My love, you need to become acquainted with the world's new social order," Slava replied as he guided Mulder over to a seat at the large banquet table. With a nod of his head, the other men took their assigned places at the table. "Immortals are on the top of the earth's social structure because of your rarity, beauty, and ability to provide the world with healthy female offspring. Next are sorcerers. We are both physically and mentally superior to any other race that has ever existed on earth. Clairvoyants, humans, and n'thrals are all subservient to us and need to be taught their proper places; we are the new leaders of this world," Slava said, signaling the servants to start serving.

"I don't agree, Nikolai. We are all part of the human race and should be accorded the same respect and dignity," Mulder argued. His attention wavered as a servant dished a couple of seafood filled crepes onto his plate and another dribbled a white sauce over it.

"That is utter nonsense, Fox, we have evolved above them. Humans are no more our equals than apes are to them," Slava replied, signaling the servant over with the champagne.

"You aren't seriously comparing humans to apes, are you? Nikolai, that is a little farfetched! A great percentage of humans are far more intelligent than your average sorcerer," Mulder scoffed, cutting into the crepe.

Slava realized that he wasn't going to win this argument, and he didn't like having his opinions challenged, even by his lover. "Fox, if you would like to put your assertions to a test that humans are our equals I'll be happy to oblige you. Pick out five of my human servants and one sorcerer at this table. If the sorcerer doesn't succeed in killing all five humans in under a minute then I will concede that you are right. If he does kill all five than you will admit that I am right, that is of course, unless you want to concede that point right now?"

Mulder's face drained of color, he had forgotten how ruthless Slava could be. "No, I'll admit that you are right that sorcerers are superior to humans," he replied weakly.

"I thought you'd see things my way, Fox," Slava smiled, patting Mulder's arm affectionately.

Izumi had been following their conversation and sympathized with Mulder, he had long ago realized his place in Slava's palace. As a human, he had quickly learned never to question the Tsar or to talk without being spoken to first. It didn't matter that Slava cherished his artwork or held him in high regard; he was still a human in the Cossack's eyes.

Mulder spent several minutes quietly eating, he muttered his thanks to each of the servants that added some new delicacy to his plate. His eyes looked over at Izumi; he was trying to figure out why the man seemed so familiar to him when it finally occurred to him. "Mr. Izumi, do you have any relatives?" he asked.

"Yes, Master Fox, I have a nephew, my sister's son. I haven't seen him in over two years, since the virus was released, I just wish I knew if he was okay," Izumi sighed.

"What does your nephew do?" Mulder asked, although he already knew the answer.

"He's a major in the Japanese army. I've been worried about him with the current skirmishes going on between Japan and Asia," Izumi replied solemnly.

Mulder smiled softly. "Your nephew's name wouldn't happen to be Kazuo Sawada, would it?"

"Yes, it is. How did you know?" Izumi asked, amazed. How could the American immortal have heard of his nephew?

"He's a very close friend of mine, and he's been worried about you, too," Mulder replied.

"Please, can you tell me more? I haven't talked to him since I've been here," Izumi asked anxiously. Although, they hadn't seen each other since the virus, they had kept in contact by telephone.

Slava silently listened to their conversation. He knew all about Major Sawada, but he hadn't known the man was related to his artist. He wondered if there would be a way that he could use the information to his advantage.

"Did you know that he is a sorcerer?" Mulder asked.

"No, I didn't. Is he very good?" Izumi was surprised by this news.

"He's one of the best. Kazuo lives in the United States with his immortal lover Shinji Takeda, they have a beautiful baby girl named Ayako," Mulder informed him.

Izumi's mouth hung open in shock, he couldn't picture his straight as an arrow nephew involved sexually with another man, let alone an immortal. His heart was racing with excitement; he took a deep breath and got his emotions under control. "Ayako was my sister's name. Master Fox, please, tell me about Shinji Takeda?"

"He's a remarkable young man, you would like him. Shin's highly intelligent, compassionate, and fun loving. We live together on a large country estate an hour drive from Washington D.C. Kazuo and Shinji have forty-nine other daughters that were placed with families back in Japan. The Japanese government would like them to have more babies," Mulder said.

"I'm having a very hard time picturing my nephew with this man. Kazuo is a very old fashioned and regimented young man; he's not very open to new ideas or alternative life styles. I could never tell him that I was gay; it would have been too hard for him to accept. So you see, the whole concept that my nephew could be living with another man, much less an immortal, is just hard for me to grasp," Izumi replied. He would give anything to see his nephew and his nephew's new family.

"Maybe someday you'll be able to visit them," Mulder replied.

Izumi looked sadly down at his plate. He was still Slava's slave. A highly pampered slave, but still a slave. "I don't think that would be possible."

Mulder studied the man's sad face, and he no longer had to wonder if Slava still dealt illegally in slaves. He now knew that he did. It was apparent that he was holding Izumi against his will, and Mulder was determined to secure the older man's freedom.

Slava rightly guessed the look outrage on his lover's face. "Fox, Izumi belongs to me. His work here is far more important than his previous life of a vagabond," he stated arrogantly.

"Nikolai, he's a Bohemian artist! There's a big difference between that and calling him a tramp," Mulder growled angrily.

"Regardless, Fox, he is my slave, and I take good care of him, he's well fed, clothed, and has a comfortable place to sleep. All that I expect in return is for him to continue to make his beautiful carvings and paintings for me."

"Are the servants here your slaves, too?"

"No, of course not. Fox, they're Russian citizens only foreigners can become slaves in this country, it has been written into law," Slava replied indifferently.

"So, you're still dealing in slaves?"

"Fox, my pet, I no longer have time to deal in slaves. However, slavery is no longer illegal here or in most countries throughout the world. Slaves are becoming a major part of the world's workforce. Unlike the U.S., most countries need to purchase men because they don't have them streaming into their countries voluntarily like the U.S. does."

"If those countries weren't run by dictators, thugs, and monsters, they wouldn't have men fleeing from them in the first place," Mulder countered.

"Fox, in spite of how much I enjoy debating this issue with you. I don't think it's an appropriate subject to discuss at the dinner table," Slava replied, ending their conversation.

Sighs of relief from the other guests could be heard as normal conversation resumed around the table. Mulder returned his attention to the plate of food in front of him, picking tentatively at an omelet. After ten minutes had passed, Mulder glanced thoughtfully over at the Tsar, and asked softly, "Nikolai, can I ask you one question?"

Slava sighed. He looked earnestly at his young lover, then put down his fork and leaned back in his chair. "Fox, of course."

"Why didn't you become a member of that seven-nation coalition?"

"There were many reasons. My main one was you. Fox, I could never join a group that's final aim would have caused you pain. If they are successful in invading the United States their first order of business would be to kill all the sorcerers, including your former lovers," Slava replied solemnly.

Mulder took a sip of his coffee in contemplative silence before he said carefully, "That won't happen as long as you keep your word and send my country the cure for SBS." He studied Slava's face for any emotion that might convey whether Slava did or didn't have the cure, finding none, he asked, "You said there were many reasons . . . what were the others?"

"If you really must know, I'm not very fond of several of the other members. The only members I can tolerate are King Gullbrand and King Raschan. I'm not familiar with the Australian Warlord Havock, and the others, particularly Emperor Kong Woo Long I'd much rather disembowel than speak to. Not to mention they have a n'thral as part of their coalition! I have little respect for fellow sorcerers that would treat one of those mindless brutes as an equal," Slava growled.

"These countries, they allow slavery, too?"

"Fox, I thought we agreed not to discuss this subject while eating," Slava snapped.

"I never agreed to anything! Besides, it's a valid question, I need to know what might happen to my countrymen if these nations are successful in invading it." Mulder looked at him pleadingly. "Please, Nikolai, tell me."

"Okay, moi love. Yes, all of the countries allow slavery, with the exception of the eastern half of Australia. However, the western half allows it under the rule of Warlord Beiran Havock. A council of sorcerers that still view humans as equals rules the eastern half. It does surprise me though, that this Havock has decided to join the coalition. I thought he had enough problems fighting an ongoing war with the east, let alone extending his resources to include the United States." Slava smirked as he remembered a message he had received from his foreign agents.

"What?" Mulder asked sadly, he was now even more worried for his country and family.

"That Aussie is going to be fit to be tied," Slava replied happily.

"Why?"

"Fox, you were supposed to be his spoils of war. There is no way that man will be able to get you now."

Mulder cringed. "I really hope not because I have a past history with Beiran Havock. But what's to prevent this coalition from attacking you someday?"

"I'm taking measures to strengthen my defenses, Fox. The men at this table with us are part of that defense. I'm training them, and in turn, they will train others. No foreign force will ever invade Russia; I give you my word on that. Now tell me how you know this Australian."

"I arrested him eleven years ago in a serial murder case. Beiran Havock was an extremely brilliant man, but he was also a complete psychopath. He was in the states giving a series of lectures at U.S. campuses on his books 'Surviving the Apocalypse' and 'The Spoils of War.' Havock would befriend a young man at his lecture, and the young man's body would later turn up with signs of being sexually tortured to death." Mulder frowned, and said sadly, "Havock had received multiple life sentences, but he must have escaped in the confusion following the virus."

"So this man wants you for revenge?"

"Yes, I suppose that would be his reason. He did threaten me during the trial."

Slava's eyes burned with rage. "I will kill him myself if ever our paths should cross!"

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Tuesday, February 8
9:00 a.m.

The whole family was together in the kitchen eating breakfast and ignoring the persistent ringing telephone.

"Let's not all rush to answer it at once," Gabriel Hunter grumbled, he quickly dried his hands on a kitchen towel as he went to answer the telephone.

"We're eating, Gabriel. Whoever it is will call back," Blaise insisted.

Hunter shot him a smoldering look and answered the telephone. "Foxfire Glenn Estate, Agent Hunter speaking."

"Gabriel, its Fox," Mulder replied.

"Fox, are you okay?"

All the family immediately forgot about breakfast and gathered around the telephone. Hunter switched the phone over to the speaker.

"I'm fine. I wanted to check on my daughters, and Walter and Alex," he replied guiltily.

Scully stepped up to the speaker. "Mulder, the babies are fine. They're behaving like perfect angels this morning, last night was another story, I had a hard time getting them to bed, especially Faith. Now she's all smiles and giggles for some reason. Mulder, where are you? Did you get away from Slava?" she asked, assuming Slava would never allow Mulder to call his family.

"No, I'm at the Winter Palace. I'm working at getting Slava to send the cure to United States," he replied quietly.

"Then he does have a cure?" Scully asked excitedly.

"I . . . ah, I think so, but I haven't actually seen it yet." Mulder leaned back on the plush sofa, looking up as Slava entered the room.

"Mulder, how could you put yourself in that man's hands when you weren't absolutely *positive* that he had a cure?" Scully scolded.

"Scully, the United States doesn't have much time left. If we don't have a cure by March, millions of Americans will be slaughtered or enslaved. I had to chance it don't you see?" Mulder argued, taking a glass of cognac from Slava, while the larger man sat down on the sofa next to him.

The immortals and Kimberly exchanged confused looks, wondering what Mulder had meant. Takeda looked over at his lovers and realized instantly from their guilty expressions that they both knew exactly what Mulder had meant. "Rory, Kazuo, we are all going to have a long family discussion after breakfast," he hissed.

Scully shot the young man a look to keep his voice down, then continued with her conversation. "Mulder, Shin and I are so close to finding a cure . . . I really wished you would have waited."

//You tell him, Dana,// Skinner growled. He was standing next to Hope's highchair, holding his daughter's hand as she spooned cereal into her mouth. If anyone had been paying attention, they would have been amazed at how good the nine-month-old was at handling a spoon.

"Scully, you couldn't guarantee a cure before March. Don't you see I had no choice," Mulder explained.

"Mulder, what are you going to do if he doesn't have a cure?"

"I don't know, Scully," he replied sadly, looking at Slava who was listening in on his call. He was beginning to feel like a complete fool. He knew deep down that if Slava had a cure he would have shown it to him today, and not made up that weak excuse about his scientists needing time to transcribe their notes to English.

Slava thought about his lover's dilemma. He wanted to offer Fox's family protection here in Russia, but his defenses weren't strong enough to stand up against the seven-nation coalition, and he knew that they would attack him to get the immortals. He decided that he could easily take in the baby girls, the women, and if it would make Fox happy, his two former lovers. After they were cured, he'd offer them a choice of sanctuary in return for their loyalty. Of course, they would never be permitted to touch Fox again.

"Mulder, we love you, please be careful. When Walter and Alex are cured we'll come and bring you home," Scully replied.

"No, Scully, under no circumstances do I want them or anyone else coming to Russia for me. I can, and will take care of myself," Mulder growled.

"Damn it, Mulder, you know they will never allow Slava to keep you! And don't go playing the martyr, they will rescue you with or without your approval," Scully snapped.

"Scully, I've made a deal with him, and I intend to uphold my end. If he has the cure, I'll be home in a year, and not before then. I'll tell Walter and Alex that myself." Mulder took a long sip of the cognac to calm his nerves. He would never have to tell his lovers anything because he wasn't going to be here much longer, and he certainly didn't want them to put their lives in danger trying to rescue him.

"It won't matter to them, Mulder. You should have thought of their feelings before you abandoned them for Slava."

"Scully, I have to go now. Kiss my babies for me," Mulder said softly, his hand shook as he placed the receiver back on its cradle. He couldn't handle the guilt that was gnawing at his guts, he was wrong to have come here. He had abandoned his lovers and daughters when they needed him most.

Slava pulled him into a soothing embrace. "Fox, it's going to be all right."

Mulder pushed him away angrily and stood. "No, it's not. You don't have a *fucking* cure do you? This whole thing was your way of tricking me into coming to you!"

"Fox, moi pet, you are overly tired. This day has been too hectic for you, come I will draw you a nice hot bath and give you a massage," Slava replied.

"I don't want a *fucking* bath! I want the goddamn truth!" Mulder snarled.

Slava sighed, he knew that he'd eventually have to tell his Fox that he did not have a cure, but he had wanted to hold off for as long as possible. "Okay, Fox, you're right. I lied to get you to come here. However, I did it for your own good. I wanted to protect you, and I knew you would never come willingly."

"FUCK YOU! YOU GODDAMN BASTARD!" Mulder hurled the glass of cognac at Slava.

The glass and the liquid froze in midair a few inches in front of the Tsar's face. Slava's face reddened with rage as he waved his hand and the glass and beverage disappeared. "No, Fox, I'm always the top. You on the other hand are the perfect bottom, so lusciously fuckable."

"You fucking arrogant bastard! I'm leaving!" Mulder started for the door.

"You need to be taught to curb that tongue of yours." Slava waved his hand again and all of over Mulder's clothes vanished from his body.

Mulder stopped dead in his tracks; spinning around he glared at Slava. "GO TO HEL ... " and he instantly found himself bound spread eagle in the steel frame back in their bedroom, causing him to panic. He went into a frenzy, twisting and yanking violently at the restraints. The soft leather straps had been designed for comfort, but they still bit into Mulder's flesh causing his blood to run down his arms.

"Damn it, Fox, hold still!" Slava growled, appearing in the room beside him.

Mulder's body froze when the Tsar took control of his mind. Slava rested a calming hand on Mulder's chest as he ran a finger through the blood on Mulder's arm. Frowning he went into the bathroom for a wet washcloth.

Slava came back into the room and started to gently cleaning the blood off his lover's arms. The flow had already stopped as the cuts healed. "I really wish you wouldn't force me to discipline you. Fox, I love you, and don't want to hurt you, but I can't allow you to question my authority. I really wanted our relationship to be based solely on love and respect," he sighed regrettably. Looking into his lover's frightened hazel eyes, he asked, huskily, "Fox, if I loosen my control over your mind, will you promise me that you won't do yourself any more harm?"

Mulder was in hell; he hated mind control more than the physical restraints. He cursed himself for letting his temper get the upper hand. It only made it harder now for him to escape back to his family, he needed to use his head and try to reason with Slava. He breathed a sigh of relief when Slava gave him back his free will.

"I will never love you. You broke our agreement, let me go," Mulder grumbled.

"You already do love me, moi Fox," Slava's finger traced down Mulder's ribcage to his groin sending goose bumps dancing across his flesh. "Every time you come when we've made love is proof of that love."

"That doesn't mean I love you," Mulder sighed, trying to pull away from the other man's persistent touch. He blushed as the feathery light touch of the large man's finger tickled down his penis, causing it to thicken and lengthen.

"I beg to differ, moi love." Slava smiled triumphantly, he held up his hand and a cock ring appeared in it, which he slipped onto Mulder's growing erection. "This, moi lovely Fox, is a magical cock ring it will prevent you from coming until I take it off. I think that I'll shave you now, moi love." He kissed Mulder's lips lightly then headed back into the bathroom.

Mulder glared angrily over his shoulder toward the bathroom, shouting, "It's *not* love! I'm an immortal, dammit! Our bodies are specifically designed for sex. We're overly sensitized to it! Damn you! Are you even listening?"

Slava came back out of the bathroom and placed the items he was carrying on a small table. "Fox, you can rationalize your feelings for me all you want, but deep down we both know its love." He smeared foam over his lover's chest and under his armpits, then picked up a straight edged razor.

"Bullshit! You don't really love me, my body's chemistry has altered yours making you want me. I'm affecting you like a drug, don't you understand?"

Slava scraped the razor down Mulder's chest removing the light dusting of hair. "Fox, it doesn't matter. You are the most important person in my life; whether it's caused by your body's pheromones or some weird chemical make up I don't really care. I love you, that is all that matters to me."

"I hate you for doing this to me, *Nick*. How could you claim to love me after betraying me? I hate your lies, I hate your deception, and I hate you! I hate you as much as I hate the man who tricked and deceived me on my birthday, there is no difference between you and him because rape is still rape!"

"Don't call me Nick," Slava said absently. His heart was bleeding inwardly, each time Fox had said that he hated him it felt like a knife had been plunged into it. He silently continued to shave his lover's body as he thought over his words. It was not rape. Fox had enjoyed their love making. Fox would never have had an orgasm if it were rape. He was sure that his Fox did love him, and would love him even more after their daughters were born. He couldn't wait to see the look of surprise on his beautiful Fox's face when he surprises him with them on the day of their birth. "I love you, Fox," he replied quietly.

"Please, Nikolai. If you love me, set me free. Allow me to return to my family," he begged.

"Fox, it is too dangerous back in the States for you. The only reason I lied to you was to protect you and your daughters because I knew you wouldn't come to me willingly. I will have your baby girls brought over here for you, and I want you to know that I still have my scientists working on a cure for SBS. If they find one, I will not hesitate to send it to the American government."

Mulder closed his eyes as Slava started shaving his legs, he realized that he would never convince the man to let him go. "My daughters belong with their other fathers, it would kill Walter and Alex to lose them. You have no idea what a father's love for his children is like. Nikolai, I will stay here with you forever, if you protect both my lovers and daughters." For some reason Mulder felt guilty for knowingly lying to the man, but he knew it was justified.

Slava bit his tongue; he wanted to tell his lover that he did know what it was like to be a father. How his and Fox's unborn daughters were already the joys of his life. Instead he looked up at Mulder and said, "All right, Fox, I'll arrange for my men to bring your daughters and lovers over to Russia."

"No, not yet. I want to give my friends time to develop a cure, if no cure is discovered by the beginning of March then you can bring them over. God," Mulder moaned involuntarily, the razor had caused his skin to become overly sensitive. The hot air from the fireplace caressed his right hand side, competing with the cool air drifting though the drafty palace on his left.

Slava smiled up at his beautiful lover, standing he set down the razor, and used a washcloth to clean off the foam and hair from the young man's body. "Very well, Fox, I'll wait for three weeks." He leaned down and took Mulder's nipple into his mouth, sucking on it hard as his hands squeezed the younger man's buttocks. He pulled them apart and his fingers delved into the crack, teasing his lover's anus.

The Cossack's mouth locked onto the side of his throat sucking and licking the salty flesh until a red mark appeared. He pushed a dry finger into Mulder's tight hole, twisting it to rub back and forth over his prostate. Slava's mouth next followed a path down the younger man's smooth chest, and past the leather belt fastened around his waist. The Tsar nudged the belt up so he could explore Mulder's navel with his tongue and breathe in its incredibly arousing scent. He was overcome by the exotic flavor as his tongue delved into the orifice.

Mulder groaned and tried to pull away from the double stimulation, it was becoming too much. He wished Slava would just use a whip or a paddle to punish him, that he could consciously back away from, but sex was his and every other immortal's downfall. His cock swelled painfully, and it strained against the cock ring. He tugged uselessly on the restraints, wanting desperately to remove the ring, so he could come.

Slava worked his way back up the younger man's body, stopping again at his nipples to tease them, then moved on to mark the other side of Mulder's throat. "You want to come, lover?" Slava whispered into his ear. He nibbled on the lobe as he pushed a second finger into Mulder's ass.

"Yes, please," Mulder whined breathlessly.

"Not yet. I told you that I was going to punish you. This . . ." Slava said, grasping Mulder's impossibly hard cock. "Is part of your punishment. I want you to admit it to yourself that you love me," he purred lustfully. Then he went back to teasing the younger man's nipples, until they were red and swollen; a pair of nipple clamps appeared in his hand and he attached them to Mulder's sore nipples.

Mulder shrieked from the pain, he panted heavily as the larger man knelt in front of him taking his cock into his mouth, sucking him down his throat. Mulder immediately forgot the pain on his chest, as a new ache developed in his balls. Slava worked his cock for over twenty minutes as he inserted three fingers into his lover's tight ass and two into his navel, twisting and scissoring them, until the younger man was begging him for release.

Mulder writhed in the restraints as his body pushed back on the fingers up his ass then forward into Slava's mouth. He tried desperately to make those large fingers scrape against his prostate. He moaned with pleasure when Slava slipped a fourth finger into him.

Slava grinned wickedly up at his lover as he removed his fingers from the younger man's navel and a feather appeared in his hand. He used the tip of the feather to trace around Mulder's overly stimulated cock head, paying special attention to the small slit until his lover was thrashing around uncontrollably in his restraints, his anus was pulsating pleasurably around Slava's fingers.

Mulder had never felt anything more agonizing as the feather light tickle on his sensitive cock. It left him screaming at the top of his lungs. He couldn't take anymore as he whimpered pathetically.

"I'm going to fuck you now, Fox, if you apologize nicely enough for your earlier behavior I might allow you to come," Slava murmured breathlessly. He could no longer hold back, he pulled his painfully throbbing cock from his slacks and coated it with lubricant. He spun the frame around until it was horizontal with Mulder facing the floor. The leather belt around younger man's waist attached to the frame and supported his weight. Slava stepped between his widely spread legs, gazing lovingly at the tightly puckered hole. His hands spread the firm ass cheeks further apart as he positioned his thick cock then slowly pushed inside the hot, delicious body.

Mulder moaned as he was being slowly opened and exquisitely filled with the large organ. It moved deeper and deeper inside, totally stuffing him until he thought he couldn't take another inch within him then Slava shoved the final three inches in hard, making him cry out in pain and pleasure. He felt his ass throbbing around the immense cock buried deep within him as the Tsar stood perfectly still. Mulder thought his cock was going to implode if he didn't get any outward release soon, and when Slava started thrusting in and out of his body, he couldn't take it any longer.

"Nikolai, oh god, please, I'm sorry, please . . . let me come," he begged pitifully.

"What are you sorry for, moi Fox?" Slava taunted, slapping his firm buttocks causing Mulder's sphincter muscle to clench pleasurably around his cock as the young man tensed. He wanted Mulder to give himself up totally.

"Oh god, for mouthing off to you . . . for . . . for throwing that glass at you," he gasped out breathlessly.

"And?" Slava asked, twisting his hips he thrust back in hard.

"FUCK? AND? . . . and it won't happen again. Oh jeez, I'm SORRY!" Mulder cried out, tears were streaming down his cheeks.

"Very good, moi love, now that wasn't so bad. We'll work on exploring your true feeling for me some other time," Slava said, reaching under his lover's hip he removed the cock ring. He plunged all the way into Mulder's body as the younger man tensed then came hard. Slava rode out his lover's orgasm as his anus clenched pleasurably around his cock, squeezing it painfully tight. Oh, the joys of having an immortal for a lover, Fox would never lose that exquisite tightness.

After Mulder had finished coming, he hung limply in the restraints as Slava proceeded to fuck the daylights out of him. Slava's fingers dug into his hips, holding him steady as he pulled his cock all the way out and slammed back in. Until Mulder's body once more responded to the stimulation and he came again painfully. He felt Slava's hot release fill him moments later as the large man shot his seed deep within him. At that moment, all that Mulder wanted to do was to go to sleep in a nice soft, warm bed.

Slava breathed heavily, totally sated, he lovingly stroked Mulder's back. "You did really well, moi love. I'll clean you off first then put you to bed," he said, gently pulling out of the younger man's body. He snatched a washcloth out of thin air then righted the frame to its vertical position and gently washed the sweat and semen from Mulder's exhausted body. When he was clean Slava waved his hand and Mulder vanished, reappearing under the blankets in the large bed. Slava pressed a button and watched as the frame rose back into the ceiling. He was satisfied that he had taught his lover an important lesson, and didn't expect him to be disobedient any time soon.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Tuesday, February 8
10:30 a.m.

"You've been keeping this from us for how long?" Blaise snarled angrily. Like Mulder, he was fed up with being protected for his own good.

MacIver hedged guiltily, "Justin, I thought, we thought, it was best not to tell you or the others because of your current delicate condition. I didn't want to put too much stress on Shin, you, Joe, and Hans."

"Don't fucking coddle me! Something of this magnitude we need to know!" Blaise shouted.

Hawk placed a soothing hand on his lover's arm. "Justin, calm down, I think you've made the point for all of us," he said. Hawk was still reeling from the news about the invasion force headed toward the United States, and the information that he was to be the prize for Pharaoh Menes II. He had been following the world news closely, and had read 'The Magic Bullet' issue on the New World leaders published by the Lone Gunmen. Pharaoh Menes II was one of the most cruel and sadistic leaders that had surfaced in the last two years. It frightened him that he might fall into that man's hands, but he guessed the reason he was chosen by him, was that his great grandmother had been an Egyptian.

"Sorry, Joe, it just pisses me off," Blaise replied, looking into his lover's warm brown eyes, he kissed him gently on the lips. "So, what are we going to do?" he asked in a calmer voice.

Sawada spoke up. "We've been moving provisions out to Duffy's cave in the mountains, if worse comes to worse we will move there until Dana and Shinji can develop the cure. It's pretty isolated we should be relatively safe. It will take them months to track us down."

Hans Schatz clung to Frohike's arm and buried his face against the older man's shoulder. He was scared to death at the thought of his former captor getting his hands on him again. He was worried about the baby girl he was carrying. He was certain that Hector Cardoso would kill her instantly upon her birth, or sell her.

"It's going to be okay, Hans. I won't let that monster touch you again," Frohike murmured soothingly.

"I'm so scared, Melvin. I had finally started to forget about him. God, I wish he were dead!" Schatz exclaimed.

Hunter looked tenderly over at Schatz. "If he comes anywhere near you, Hans, he will be," the older man promised.

Schatz's eyes were filled with appreciation as he looked up at the handsome blonde sorcerer. "Thanks, Gabriel."

***

Five Days Later
Cairo
Sunday, February 13
3:00 p.m.

Pharaoh Menes II studied the map in his council chambers. His armies had been successful in capturing new territories increasing the size of Egypt to include most of Libya and half of Sudan. He walked outside onto the balcony overlooking his land; in the distance, he could see his n'thral slaves erecting a new palace in his honor. He was going to be greater than Egypt's first Pharaoh from whom he had taken his name.

He felt the powerful presence of the other sorcerers entering his chambers. They were necessary for him to expand his empire, but in time, his armies would invade even their lands.

King Raschan stepped out onto the balcony. "Congratulations, Menes, I heard about your recent victories."

"And yourself, Raschan. Turkey has finally reclaimed all the lands she had lost over the centuries," Menes replied.

"Yes, the Ottoman Empire has reclaimed her past glory, soon we will begin our campaign against Romania and Hungary," King Raschan announced. "Come, the others await inside."

Pharaoh Menes II gazed over the men assembled around his council chambers. A foul smell of body odor permeated the room; he glared at China's nomadic Emperor. The man lived on his horse; he found no need for the social graces such as regular baths. The immense n'thral Warlord Hector Cardoso was no better, his hair was greasy and his clothes unwashed. The two men sat across from each other with their feet propped up on his polished maple conference table.

Across the room and well away from the other two men, was the handsome Nordic King Gullbrand, his long blonde hair was worn in braids, giving him the look of his Viking ancestors. Next to him was Sultan Kahlid Casmiri of Persia, the sultan was the youngest member of the coalition at only twenty-six years of age. Warlord Beiran Havock was leaning against the door. The Australian was a ruggedly handsome man; he wore several knives and guns openly displayed on his body. As a sorcerer the weapons were more for show, than for actual use. He was having a heated discussion with the other two men.

"Gentlemen, shall we begin the meeting?" the Pharaoh asked, interrupting them.

The others took their places at the table, choosing the chairs the furthest away from Kong and Cardoso.

When all the men were seated, Menes II began the meeting. "The Americans are aware of our plans to invade their country. They have appealed to England, Japan, and Germany for assistance. Those country's governments have yet to respond to their request for protection."

"I would be surprised if they send a single sorcerer, it would leave their countries open for invasion by us," King Gullbrand replied. He had seized control over Norway and Sweden, then his forces conquered Finland, and he would just love the opportunity to expand down through Denmark and into Germany.

"We are closely monitoring the situation, if word comes back that they will be supplying the Americans with sorcerers, then we will have to speed up our invasion to this month," Menes II replied.

"What about Nikolai Slava?" Havock asked angrily.

"What about him, Aussie?" Cardoso smirked mockingly, knowing the Australian was angry over losing Fox Mulder to him.

"I agreed to become part of this coalition because you promised me Fox Mulder. What's in this for me now that that Cossack bastard has him?" Havock growled.

"Havock, there are fifteen other immortals scattered throughout the world, pick one of them," King Raschan suggested.

"I wanted Fox Mulder!" he snarled. He had wanted to take his revenge upon Special Agent Fox Mulder who had arrested him for the sexual murders of thirteen male collage students. He would still be locked up in that American prison if it wasn't for the chaos that ensued after the alien virus had left many prisons understaffed. When he discovered his new sorcerer powers, he easily managed to escape. Nine long years in prison had left him a bitter angry man and he passed the time thinking of ways to torture one GQ FBI agent. "Very well, I will settle for another immortal," Havock replied, deciding to pursue Fox Mulder on his own, but not wanting to pass up the opportunity to get his own immortal.

The n'thral warlord jumped to his feet. "No way am I risking my troops so he can get his hands on an immortal. Besides, there are already two immortals living in Australia, let him capture one of them," he growled.

"I share Cardoso's concerns. We formed this alliance to invade the Americans, there were no plans to go up against countries where their sorcerers are healthy and quite capable of fighting back," Sultan Casmiri replied.

"We shall put it to a vote. The majority rules. All those in favor of expanding our campaign show your hands," Menes requested.

King Gullbrand, Warlord Havock, and King Raschan all raised their hands.

"Opposed."

The other four men raised their hands.

"The opposed have it. Warlord Havock, are you going to be all right with this or do you want to back out of the alliance?" Pharaoh Menes asked.

Havock glared openly at the Egyptian. "I'll have to be. My men are looking forward to plundering America," he replied bitterly. He had decided he would find a way of getting Fox Mulder on his own, but he had liked the idea of having another immortal to play with. His eyes briefly met King Gullbrand's, and the king sent him a telepathic message wanting to meet him in private later.

After the meeting adjourned, Havock followed Gullbrand back to his room. "What do you want, Thor?" he asked. The two men had become friends over the two weeks they'd spent planning the invasion. They shared many of the same likes and dislikes.

"Beiran, I have an offer to make you," Gullbrand replied with a wicked gleam in his eyes.

"And what would that be?"

"What do you think of Justin Blaise?"

"He's not Fox Mulder, but I do have a thing for law enforcement officers, and Blaise was a Texas Ranger. He would have been my second choice. Why? You've chosen him to be your immortal," Havock asked, confused at where this was going.

"He was my second choice, too. As beautiful as he is, I would have preferred Hans Schatz, he's closer to the blood of my people," the king replied.

"So, Thor, what are you suggesting?" Havock was starting to like where this conversation was heading.

"After we seize control of the immortals and America, Hector Cardoso will have an unfortunate accident, leaving Hans Schatz yours," King Gullbrand said.

"And you'll trade me Justin Blaise for him." Havock smiled broadly, sitting down on the bed. "What about the sorcerers and clairvoyants Cardoso has surrounding him. They aren't going to be too happy with their ruler's untimely death," he questioned.

Gullbrand sat next to the dashing Australian and pushed him back on the bed as he started nibbling at his neck. "Any sorcerer or clairvoyant that would follow an n'thral deserves death."

Havock moaned turning his head, he captured the Scandinavian's mouth in a brutal kiss, firmly sealing their agreement. The two men quickly shed their garments and fell onto each other violently in search for sexual release.

Pharaoh Menes II spied on the two men, chuckling to himself. He hated the n'thral warlord and would just as soon be rid of him after his usefulness was over. He would do very well to watch his back with this group, each of the leaders had gotten to his current position by ruthlessly killing all opposition. He returned his attention to the plans for his new capital city. He would surround it with monuments for each of his daughters. He pulled out a photograph of Joseph Shadow Hawk and laid it on the plans, the young man's resemblance to an Egyptian was remarkable. He wondered if at some point if his bloodline crossed with his people.

***

The Winter Palace
Friday, February 18
10:00 a.m.

Mulder stood in front of the tall bedroom windows, staring out at the bleak frozen landscape. He was barefoot and bundled in a long plush robe. His body ached over every single inch; Slava had just left him, after spending the morning taking pleasure from his body. He had not been allowed to leave the apartment, since their altercation ten days earlier when he found out that Slava had lied to him.

He turned when he heard a knock on the door. "Come in," he said.

A servant entered, bowing respectfully. "Master Fox, your breakfast is ready." The young man held the door open for another servant who wheeled in a serving cart loaded with covered dishes.

Mulder walked over to the table as the two men arranged the plates on it. One of the servants intentionally brushed against him and he felt a note slipped into his hand. Mulder closed his fist tightly around it and waited for the two men to leave. He sat at the breakfast table and unfolded the note. [Be ready to leave March 1. P.] After reading the brief note, Mulder destroyed it.

Twelve more days and hopefully he'd be back home with his family, and still they had not discovered a cure.

***

 


 

Life from the Ashes Book 3 - SBS
Chapter 6
Escape

by Jo B.


***

The Winter Palace
Thursday, February 24
1:00 p.m.

Muffled moans and the sounds of flesh slapping against flesh resounded within the walls of Slava's private office. Mulder rested his forehead on top of his bare arms that were folded over a soft satin pillow, which had been placed on top of a three an a half foot high counter top for his comfort. He bit down on his lower lip to stifle another moan of pleasure from escaping and encouraging his abuser further. Earlier, the older man had removed Mulder's suit coat and silk shirt, but had left the leather thong in place, pulling the thin leather strip aside as he entered the younger man. He stood with his long, toned legs spread apart and his trousers pooled around his ankles as Slava thrust forcefully into him from behind, pushing his hips forward into the wooden counter. A groan of blissful agony escaped his lips as his groin was pressed firmly against the wood -- his cock and balls were painfully hard and trapped within the tight confines of the leather thong. Slava was using his powers to prevent him from coming.

"That's it, moi pet, take it all," Slava said, slamming into his lover again, and again. He leaned back and watched the younger man's taut anus griping his cock as he pulled out; it was nestled between the lovely mounds of Mulder's firm buttocks. Slava's finger toyed with the thin, black leather strip that lent a sharp contrast against the younger man's smooth ivory skin. "You're so beautiful like this, moi Fox, spread wide open for me to take my pleasures from. I knew you would come to return my love." He thrust back in hard, rocking the younger man's body with the sheer force of his entry.

"Oh god! Yes, Nikolai, I *do* love you," Mulder gritted out through clenched teeth, the lie now coming effortlessly to him.

Slava paused and looked down lovingly at his lover's bowed, submissive body. His hand gently caressed the warm flesh of Mulder's long back, feeling the taut muscles under sinfully smooth skin as it traveled down to where their bodies were joined. "I know you do, moi love. Russia shall be forever united through our love for each other." He pressed a soft kiss between the younger man's shoulder blades.

Slava couldn't see Mulder's face, so he didn't see the younger man as he rolled his eyes sarcastically and bit his tongue to keep a snide comment from slipping out.

The Tsar buried his face into the side of Mulder's throat and breathed in the erotic musky scent, causing his already hard organ to expand even more in its tight confines.

Mulder wiggled uncomfortably. "Nikolai, do you think you could let me come this time?" he asked huskily.

"You know the rules, Fox, no coming until we are back in our chambers. I do so love the looks of envy and adoration on all of my subjects faces when they see you looking like this, so beautifully flushed with arousal," Slava replied, stroking Mulder's firm buttocks.

Mulder grumbled. "Ha, you just like controlling me, and hearing me beg you for release."

"Hmm, true, but you left out how much I love sucking you off. You taste so delicious, moi pet, it is the perfect end to my hectic day," Slava replied, resuming, in earnest, the hot fuck he was taking from his frustrated lover.

After another ten minutes of relentless fucking, the older man's body stiffened and he came deep within his lover. Slava reluctantly slipped out and a plug appeared in his hand, which he quickly inserted into his lover's tight anus then adjusted the leather strip over it. Mulder hated the plug more than he hated not being allowed to come. Slava had told him in the past that he didn't want him leaking into his expensive trousers, but Mulder knew that the Cossack got a perverted pleasure out of knowing that he still had his essence inside of him.

Slava squeezed the hard organ trapped inside the leather sling, making Mulder moan and thrust into his hand.

"Very nice, and all for me. Later." He smiled happily. He washed himself off with a warm cloth, staring at the succulent flesh still splayed for his pleasure. He tucked himself back into his trousers first, before attending to the task of helping his lover back into his clothing. He finished by fastening an expensive, emerald pin over the top button on the younger man's silk shirt. He pulled Mulder into his arms and ravished his mouth, deeply enjoying his lover's exotic taste. No past lover had ever come close to tasting as good as his Fox.

Mulder cringed as the plug shifted and rubbed against his prostate, keeping him painfully erect. "Nikolai, couldn't you allow me to go back to our room to clean up? Do you have any idea how uncomfortable it is to sit with this thing up my ass?"

"Yes, but it makes you squirm so prettily. Fox, you wouldn't deny the Russian people the joy of seeing you so in love with their ruler that merely being in my presence arouses you to the point of discomfort?" Slava queried, caressing Mulder's erection through his tight trousers. "It's such a pretty sight."

Mulder glared at him and replied sarcastically, "Of course not, *Nick*, I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to be leered at and drooled over by hundreds of Russian men."

"That's the spirit, moi beautiful pet," he purred, kissing Mulder gently on the cheek. "And don't call me, Nick. Come, our subjects await us." Slava looped an arm around his lover's waist and guided him out of the office and into the throne room.

Two immense n'thral guards were stationed in front of two closed golden doors. Although the n'thrals were now on the sexual suppressants, they were still deeply aroused by the smell coming off the immortal, and they stood uncomfortably rigid as their ruler guided his lover over to the dual thrones. They watched lustfully as the immortal sat gingerly and squirmed around until he found a comfortable position. The Tsar adjusted Mulder's clothing and brushed his fingers through the silky chestnut hair, until his lover looked the way he wanted him to, sexy and alluring. He ran a finger over those pouty, kiss-swollen lips, then took his place upon the throne next to Mulder. Taking his lover's hand in his, Slava nodded to his guards to open the doors.

As the first men were shown into the throne room, Mulder stared passed them into the wide corridor where a long endless line of men waited. The men craned their heads to get a look inside the throne room and at the immortal seated next to their Tsar. Mulder sighed, shifting nervously, he dug his nails into Slava's palm as the plug shifted unbearably. Mulder gasped, closing his eyes against the swift wave of pleasure that washed over his body.

"Patience, moi love," Slava murmured softly, squeezing Mulder's hand affectionately.

"That's easy for you to say; you don't have a *fucking* missile shoved up your ass," Mulder growled angrily, which only served to annoy Slava.

"Grin and bear it, moi love, or I'll replace it with one twice the size," the Tsar scolded through clenched teeth as he tried to listen to the case being presented to him.

The case was a property dispute that had turned violent and couldn't be resolved in normal court. The two families had agreed to abide by the Tsar's decision. The men were nervous and their attention kept drifting over to the Tsar's companion. When the Tsar finally made his ruling neither man seemed to care about their dispute any longer and had to be physically jostled out of the room by two n'thral guards. Not all of the men waiting had cases they wanted the Tsar to decide, some were there to greet the Tsar's companion and present him with gifts. Mulder's attention was grabbed briefly when a troop of Cossack dancers and musicians performed for him, which particularly pleased the Tsar. However, the rest afternoon progressed slowly and Mulder sulked silently. His mind drifted from his physical discomfort to his family, wondering how his daughters and his lovers were doing. Slava had decided that he didn't like him calling home after all, since it left Mulder depressed and agitated.

Mulder couldn't take much more of this abuse, he had to get away from Slava. It was killing him to rein in his temper and pretend that he loved this man. He thought he was teetering on the brink of insanity. Slava was stealing so much from him that should have only belonged to Walter and Alex, just thinking about his two lovers brought tears to his eyes. He was a fool to have left them, would they even want him back when they found out that he had willingly gone into Slava's bed? He did it for them, but he doubted they would see it that way, and he really couldn't blame them.

Slava signaled for Captain Mikhin to approach the throne. "Captain, that will be all for today. Please, inform my subjects to return next Thursday, and make a note of their order in line, we will proceed from there."

"Yes, moi Tsar," Mikhin replied bowing. He had been floating on a cloud since taking the drug to control his sexual urges; it had cleared his mind and allowed him to think unhindered. He shot Fyodorov a menacing look. The clairvoyant was in his usual place beside the throne. He would make the little man pay dearly for usurping his place with the Tsar.

Slava looked lovingly at Mulder who had a faraway look on his face. "Come, Fox, we will dine first then retire for the evening," he said, standing and offering the younger man his hand.

Mulder stirred from his thoughts, pouting miserably, he grumbled, "I need to use the toilet."

"I'm sorry, baby, I didn't mean for us to be here this long. You're not too uncomfortable are you?" Slava asked gently, massaging Mulder's ass, he felt the hard knob of the butt plug nestled between the younger man's cheeks.

Mulder shoved him away, exploding angrily, "Of course I'm uncomfortable! I just sat here for five *fucking* hours with this *goddamned* torture device shoved up my ass and all the while needing desperately to take a dump!"

Slava frowned at his lover's foul language, but decided to let it pass this one time. He was, after all, partially to blame. "Okay, moi love, I'll remove it for you in the washroom," he said solicitously. Taking his angry lover's hand, he guided him back to his office and into his private washroom.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Thursday, February 24
Noon

"Dana, Shin, lunch is ready," MacIver said as he stepped into the lab.

"Just put it down on the desk, Rory," Scully replied not looking up from the microscope.

"There's nothing to set down. You are both going to take a break and come upstairs to eat," MacIver replied firmly.

"Rory, there really isn't time for this, just bring us the usual sandwiches, and we'll eat them when we have the time," Takeda stated while he entered data into the computer.

"No! You both cannot continue working non-stop without a break; it isn't healthy for you or the babies you're carrying! Now this isn't open for negotiation, you are both going upstairs to eat in the kitchen with the rest of the family," MacIver snapped.

Scully gazed at him angrily; she couldn't believe his audacity ordering her to do anything. "Rory, I can take care of myself and I am going to continue working down here," she replied hotly and slipped a new slide under the microscope.

"Dana, I don't like resorting to threats, but if you don't get that pretty little behind of yours upstairs *now* I will teleport you up there."

"You wouldn't dare!" Scully glared.

"Just try me, Red."

Scully studied the Scotsman's face and decided that he wasn't bluffing. "Sure, fine, whatever!" she grumbled, hopping off the stool. She stormed for the door with Takeda timidly following behind her.

The young man stopped in front of his lover and waited for Scully to get out of earshot before asking, "Rory, you wouldn't have actually teleported Dana to the kitchen, would you?"

"No, of course not, Shin. I would never jeopardize her or her baby that way, but what the lovely Dana doesn't know won't hurt her."

"Then you're lucky she didn't call your bluff, old man," Takeda said. Quickly kissing MacIver on the cheek he rushed after Scully.

Upstairs in the kitchen, Schatz and Hunter were busy feeding Hope and Faith, while Frohike dished up stew and crusty bread for the other men and Kimberly. Kimberly glanced into the family room at her two daughters who were both down for their nap.

Duffy walked into the room carrying a large gift basket. "This has just arrived for you, Justin," he said, placing the cellophane wrapped basket in the center of the breakfast table.

Blaise set down his spoon and reached for the card attached to the basket. "It's from my ranger buddies." He sighed glumly, "They're congratulating me on having a bun in the oven."

Hawk took the card from him and scanned the note. "Well, at least they're not offering to make an honest man out of you because that's my job," he quipped, giving his lover's hand a reassuring squeeze.

Since, Doctor Pendrell had made the announcement two days ago that all four immortals at Foxfire Glenn were pregnant they had been receiving cards and presents hourly. Pendrell only made the announcement after determining it was not healthy for the babies they were carrying if the immortals continued to perform the agreed upon monthly healings. They couldn't stop doing the healings without a valid reason, so he opted for the truth, since it would have come out eventually anyway, once the immortal's started showing. They were only a few months along and it would still be another two or three months until they were noticeably pregnant. It had already come out a week ago that the two immortals living in San Francisco were pregnant, too.

A look of horror passed across Frohike's face. "God, I hope Mulder doesn't become pregnant by Slava."

"Why, Melvin, did you see something to suggest that he might?" Hunter asked, picking up Hope and cuddling her against his chest.

"I just had a glimpse of him pregnant. God, he was huge." Frohike shuddered, making a circle with his hands to show just how big, then he said, "But I didn't see anything that would indicate where he was at the time."

"Oh god, Melvin. Not while we're eating," Blaise complained, shoving his food away. He did not want to be reminded just how big they were all going to become.

"It would kill Walter and Alex if Mulder comes home pregnant with that bastard's baby. When is his next cycle?" Scully asked, ignoring Blaise's outcry.

"From March 3 to March 5," Takeda replied.

//Damn, damn, damn,// Skinner muttered.

//Dammit, Walter, Fox had better be back here in nine days. You know his willpower is just about zip! And I doubt Slava would agree to sedate him during his cycle.//

//We'll just have to pray that either he's back with us before then, or that he continues to fight his body's compulsion for a child,// Skinner sighed.

***

The Winter Palace
Thursday, February 24
7:00 p.m.

The dining hall was aglow in candlelight as the Tsar and members of his elite guard dined on pheasant. Soothing music from a string quartet resounded around the massive hall.

Mulder quietly ate his meal ignoring the happy banter that was going on around him. Only when one of Slava's sorcerers addressed him personally did he raise his eyes from his plate.

"Master Fox," the young man repeated. When he was sure that he had the immortal's attention he went on. "Today I read a story in the newspaper about the pregnant immortals in America. Is it true that you are predisposed to having babies?"

"No."

"But, all the immortals in the world are now pregnant with the exception of yourself and two others that are enslaved by n'thrals. How do explain so many pregnancies, without the immortals being predisposed to become pregnant?" The young sorcerer challenged.

Mulder face drained of color and he quickly looked back down at his plate. He hadn't even been aware that all immortals were pregnant, except for him and two others, and what he found really distressing was that he was actually embarrassed that he wasn't pregnant. He didn't know how to respond to the young man's question; he found the whole topic completely humiliating. It made him feel unmanly. He squirmed uncomfortably in his chair, chewing nervously on his lower lip. Shit, he only had nine days before his next cycle and already the compulsion to have a baby was affecting him.

Slava reached over and squeezed Mulder's hand reassuringly. "Talikov, moi Fox finds the discussion too personal, and he does not want to discuss it further."

"Sorry, Tsar Nikolai, I didn't mean to offend Master Fox. It is just that it is such an interesting and important subject that I couldn't help but be curious."

Slava looked affectionately at his young inquisitive apprentice and noted that all the men at the table were quiet and listening intently to their conversation. "Okay, Talikov, I'll answer your questions for Fox. He does not want to become pregnant, but his body is demanding that he does. So, yes, you're right, immortals are predisposed to having babies."

"Will you and Master Fox have a baby together?"

Slava tenderly caressed Mulder's face with his long fingers, enjoying the red flush of embarrassment that spread across it, and he turned his lover's face so he could look into his hazel eyes. "It will be totally up to Fox to decide whether he wants to becomes pregnant with my child." The Tsar knew that his lover was fighting a losing battle and would eventually be begging to be impregnated.

Mulder swallowed hard, turning his head quickly away from the Tsar's piercing black pools, his hand unconsciously went down to cover his belly protectively. He was no longer hungry. It sickened him to realize that he would have Slava's child if he remained here through his next cycle. It made it all the more important to escape as soon as possible -- March 1 seemed impossibly far off.

***

Marat Fyodorov quickly made his way through the Winter Palace corridors heading for the dining hall. He had important information to tell the Tsar that would get him back in his leader's good graces. A little while ago, as he was spying on the elite guard he had discovered Master Fox's plans for escape, and the names of the conspirators who were helping him. Fyodorov was in such a hurry to reach the Tsar that he wasn't watching where he was going and he rounded a corner and ran straight into Captain Mikhin. He had spent most of his time lately trying to avoid the vindictive giant.

The large n'thral swatted him away like an insect, sending the little man flying against a wall. Fyodorov stared up fearfully at the menacing n'thral as he shakily reclaimed his feet.

"The Tsar will not be happy when he finds out you have struck his chief clairvoyant, Captain," Fyodorov threatened feebly. He felt a large bruise forming on the side of his face.

"The Tsar has gotten what he wanted from you troll and could care less if I take you outside and jam a pole up your ass and mount you next to his other trophies!" Mikhin growled.

Fyodorov had no doubt that the large n'thral would do just that. The man hated him for having Slava's ear all these months. He cringed as he read the n'thral's thoughts and discovered that the creature was going to kill him whether the Tsar approved or not. Fyodorov quickly decided that getting back in the Tsar's good graces no longer mattered, what mattered now was saving his own pathetic hide. "Captain, couldn't we talk about this," Fyodorov begged, backing away from the stalking giant.

"I will use a nice long and thick pole say three inches in diameter by fifteen feet long. That way people throughout the square can enjoy watching your naked body twitch as it slowly impales itself on the pole. You see, maggot, I intend to have the end rounded to a nice blunt tip. It will take all day for your weight to slowly sink down on it, forcing it deeper, and deeper, into your bowels. It will be an extremely painful way to die, you will welcome the end when the tip finally pierces your heart," Mikhin growled as he advanced on the little man.

A soft voice sounded from behind the menacing n'thral. "Captain Mikhin."

The captain turned toward the person speaking to him. It was Masataka Izumi, the Tsar's artist. "Yes, Mr. Izumi?"

"Captain, I need a hand at moving a large canvas into my studio, if you could be so kind."

"Of course, Mr. Izumi. I have another matter to attend to first then I'll be right with you." Mikhin turned back to Fyodorov, but the little man had vanished. Realizing his fun would have to wait for another day, he reluctantly went to help the Tsar's artist.

Izumi breathed a sigh of relief when he watched Fyodorov flee. He had heard the n'thral's threats and didn't want to see anyone come to such a painful end, even the Tsar's personal spy. Fyodorov hadn't made too many friends within the palace; the little man had put his duty to the Tsar ahead of other people's lives and was constantly trying to win the Tsar's approval by snitching on his fellow servants.

***

Deep Space
Planet Empyrean

Sunlight glistened off the garden pool as King Xowolfe sat listening to Xoric describe his home world. He found Xoric's tales about angels fascinating, and he wondered if it was a flight of fancy or if some of his people had actually made it to Earth. Of all the beings whose worlds that they had conquered, these humans were the closest in appearance to them.

The human's Seraphim mate walked up to them. "My King, Xoric is tired I think it would be best that I take him inside for his nap," Xochipilli said, standing protectively close to his lover.

Ricardo Montoya looked up lovingly at this being who he had grown to love with all of his heart. He had never felt more loved and cherished in his whole life. It didn't hurt that they had mind blowing sex daily. He was about to get up and follow his Seraphim lover back inside when the King's voice stopped him.

"How is his pregnancy progressing, Xochipilli?" the King asked, forestalling their departure. He placed an exploratory hand over the young immortal's belly and felt the slight bulge.

"It goes well, my King. Although, he is still in the early stages, his body is already showing outward signs of our baby's growth within."

Montoya sat quietly allowing the beautiful and regal Seraphim King to caress his belly, listening intently to the conversation between the two beings. He had made tremendous progress learning the Seraphim's language -- his photographic memory had come in handy for memorizing the words, and he hardly needed the translator device any longer. He was, however, still having a hard time adjusting to the fact that there was a baby growing inside of him.

"Yes, I can feel it. Xochipilli, all of Empyrean awaits the birth of your child," Xowolfe said, wondering if this child would hold the key to revitalizing their dying race. He removed his hand and allowed his brother to take the young human back inside.

Xowolfe rose and went inside his heavily guarded citadel, heading toward the heart of the structure to where the portal room was located. The portal was in the shape of a large metal ring that stood on its base in the center of the large room. It was sixty feet in diameter, and in its non-activated state, the other side of the room could be seen through it. From it he could reach all of the planets they had conquered over the millenniums. He entered the room and walked over to the control console, selecting a crystal he inserted it into the machine. The portal opened displaying a lush forested world with winged beings fluttering around. This was the first planet they had conquered, but even after two thousand years of crossbreeding with its indigenous species, they were still a long ways away from producing a pure Seraphim from them. He removed the crystal and placed it back in its proper spot.

His thoughts turned back to the humans. If they could get at least one ship through the Earth's defenses, they would be able to erect a direct portal to it. He should have had the Grays set up one when they first started studying the Earth and its inhabitants for conquest. However, they had always erected the portal after taking over a planet, and this was the first time they had ever been defeated. There had to be another way of getting through the Earthlings' defenses. He sat contemplating all of his options when there was a disturbance in the portal.

A being he recognized instantly as a human appeared within its center, and surrounding the human were several hooded figures chanting in the Seraphim's own tongue. The picture wasn't clear, which suggested the portal was only being used as a vehicle for verbal and visual communication, and not as a means for two-way dimensional travel. King Xowolfe stepped up on the platform in front of the portal, the chanting stopped and gasps were heard from the hooded figures. All the figures except the human fell to the ground prostrating themselves before the Seraphim King.

Reverend Xsavior gazed in awe upon the beautiful winged figure that suddenly appeared in the middle of their ritual circle, he hadn't expected the incantation to work. The ancient book it had come from was only a copy, of a copy, of a copy, being transcribed by a secret order of monks over a thousand years ago. The original documents making up the book were believed to have been close to three thousand years old. The book was written in the ancient Etruscan language.

"My lord, I am your humble servant Xsavior," the reverend said in fractured Etruscan, bowing before the regal creature in the circle.

"What is the purpose of your contacting me?" the King replied cautiously. He would allow the human to explain himself first before seeking answers to his own questions.

"My lord, we seek your assistance in ridding the Earth of your dark brother's children and freeing God's wingless angels from their evil clutches," Xsavior stated, studying the proud, tall figure of the Seraphim. It's wings and hair were the color expensive sable, it had full lips, a high brow, long straight nose, and luminous green eyes. He had never seen anything more beautiful, *no* he corrected silently, Fox Mulder could hold his own against this archangel he was, in fact, surprisingly very similar in appearance as the angel. Xsavior pulled his gaze away from the being's hypnotic eyes and continued with his demands. "My lord, we would also like our females returned to us."

Strange, Xowolfe thought, the man was assuming that he was a deity of some sort. He recalled the myth Xoric had told him about archangels and God, so it was true, his people had visited the Earth at one time, how else would the human know how to speak their language or use their magic. He would use this fool to his meet own ends.

"My loyal servant, I can help you, but it will require you to build a gateway that will allow me to pass from heaven onto your world."

The reverend was thrilled, God's own archangel was going to slay his enemies and bring back their females. "My lord, show me how to build this gate."

Xowolfe started to describe the process for building the portal and Xsavior wrote down what the King said. Their exchange lasted well over twenty-four earth hours. Xsavior's hand was cramping from writing the precise mathematical equations and formulas required for constructing the gate. This went far beyond his capabilities, it would require him to get professional help to build this gateway to heaven.

"That should be enough to get you started, Xsavior. Summon me again when you have the gate built." Xowolfe stepped off the platform ending their contact.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Monday, February 28

Gabriel Hunter inspected the four new sorcerers sent by the U.S. government to help protect the immortals during the invasion. All of the sorcerers were foreigners who had only recently immigrated here from their war torn homelands. General Thomas, the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had handpicked the men, after personally reviewing their documents and interviewing each man. Hunter didn't like the idea of these strangers having access to the immortals, but he could do nothing to prevent their being stationed here.

"I will show you to your rooms first then explain your duties to you," Hunter said in a clipped tone of voice.

//I don't like this, Alex. What was General Thomas thinking sending those men here?// Skinner asked as they followed Hunter to the west wing.

//Maybe, we should try to contact Gabriel through the babies and let him know we are here and aware of what is going on,// Krycek suggested. They had only been able to touch their daughters, all attempts to contact other members of the household had failed.

//How do you suggest we do that?// Skinner asked.

//We could guide the baby's hand and write a message to him.//

//Alex, write with what? They aren't even old enough to use the crayons you bought them for Christmas.//

//We could use their building blocks.//

//They only have ten blocks, which is hardly enough to spell more than one word.//

//One word should be enough, Walter.//

Skinner quickly understood what Krycek meant. //Okay, we'll give it a try.//

***

The Winter Palace
Tuesday, March 1
6:00 a.m.

Mulder tried to pull gently away from the larger man's body, which was entwined around his. Slava was softly snoring and his hot breath caressed Mulder's cheek. He sighed and forlornly staring up at the ceiling, he was afraid of waking Slava and could already feel the heavy press of the larger man's morning erection against his hip. At least this would be the last day he would have to awaken in this man's bed because today was the day he was going to escape, he only hoped everything was in place.

Before leaving D.C. he had contacted Krycek's two friends Boris Gudenko and Major Pyetr Yermolov and asked for their assistance in helping him escape if Slava didn't have a cure for SBS. Major Yermolov was one of Slava's new apprentices, and he was stationed inside the palace. Mulder had been worried about the young major's ability to conceal his thoughts, but it seemed he had been successful.

Pyetr was supposed to contact Izumi this morning and explain their escape plans to the Japanese artist. Mulder wanted to take Izumi with him, but hadn't wanted him to know anything about their plans to escape until the last minute. He couldn't chance that the Tsar might read Izumi's mind.

Now everything rested on Boris' ability to cause a large enough disturbance so that the Tsar would leave St. Petersburg for the day.

Mulder stilled his thoughts as he felt Slava stir. The large man's hand roamed down between his legs forcing them apart as he caressed Mulder's thigh, and his long fingers explored upward until they probed the younger man's anus, first one, then two entered him. Slava was completely awake and staring into Mulder's eyes as he pushed a third finger into his lover's tight opening. He seemed to have second thoughts as he removed his fingers then shifted into a kneeling position on the bed and straddled Mulder's naked body.

"Fox, I'm going to fuck you here," he purred lustfully into Mulder's ear as his hand stroked over the younger man's navel.

"No, please, don't. What about . . ."

"Nonsense, Fox, I'll protect you. I will not allow some filthy alien to interfere with my . . . our pleasures."

"Please, Nikolai, I don't want . . . "

"Ssh." Slava leaned down and tenderly kissed his lips.

Mulder struggled uselessly under the larger man's body. He was scared to death of seeing Xowolfe again, now that he knew just what the alien wanted. Slava's tongue explored every inch of his lover's wet delicious mouth until Mulder was getting dizzy from lack of oxygen reaching his lungs. By the time Slava pulled away and positioned his cock over its intended target it was too late for the younger man to fight him off.

The next thing Mulder was aware of was being back in the Seraphim's presence. The large being stood naked under a waterfall in an outdoor lush pool. The air was sweetly fragrant, and the sound of music could be heard coming from a nearby structure. Brightly colored birds and butterflies flew about landing on trees and flowers. Xowolfe must have sensed Mulder's presence because he turned to face him and stepped out of the pool. Water glistened on the Seraphim's muscular body as beads of water droplets sparkled in the sunlight on the being's wings. Mulder couldn't keep his eyes from dropping down to the Seraphim's sex or stop the involuntary gasp that escaped his lips. The thing was long and thick with barb like bristles covering its length, and the head was flared and smooth. Mulder watched in dread as the organ thickened and lengthened and the bristles seemed to move on their own.

Xowolfe was aroused by the presence of his mate; it had been weeks since he had last seen his beautiful human. "Xofox, you have returned to me at last," the King murmured.

"Believe me it is not by choice! I now know that you are the creature behind murdering my planet's females!" Mulder snapped angrily and backed away.

"Their deaths were necessary for the Seraphim race to continue to exist. We do not kill for the pleasure of it, Xofox," the Seraphim responded reasonably.

"Why was it necessary to *murder* the females on my planet?"

Xowolfe stalked closer to Mulder, ignoring the human's question. He wished that the young man was physically here so he could touch his beautiful body. "Tell me, Xofox, how are you able to come here?"

Mulder backed away feeling exposed and helpless, under the Seraphim piercing emerald gaze. "I . . . I don't really know. I only find myself here when . . . when I'm being penetrated by my lover's sex through my navel," he stammered, jumping when strong arms wrapped around his body from behind.

The look of utter outrage and hatred flashed across the regal Seraphim's beautiful face as he stared into Slava's mocking black eyes over Mulder's shoulder.

"That's right, Fox and I are enjoying the most delicious sex right now. His body is so perfect, don't you agree?" Slava taunted, licking the side of Mulder's throat, purposely teasing the being with something he knew it wanted. He glanced up at the Seraphim and saw that the creature was turning red with rage.

Slava continued playing with Mulder's body in front of the Seraphim. He stroked the younger man's nipples, hearing a satisfying moan issue from Mulder's lush lips. "Mm, yes, Fox is so very responsive, he loves having his nipples teased and there's a spot just below his ear that drives him wild when it's nipped just right. He has so many erogenous zones that they are too numerous to list. You should hear the erotic noises he makes when I bury my cock deep inside his ass and fuck him with long deep strokes."

"How *dare* you touch my mate, worm! I will flay you alive when I get my hands on you, human!" The King growled.

"Don't call me human, monster. I am a sorcerer and you will not find me easy to kill," Slava snarled. Then both him and Mulder disappeared as suddenly as they had appeared. The King stared helplessly into the empty space where their bodies once stood.

Mulder was shaking uncontrollably when Slava finally pulled out of his body. "Fuck you, you *sadistic* bastard! Are you happy now that you got to show him what a nice piece of ass I am!" he shouted, slapping the larger man across his face. "God, I hate you!"

Slava grabbed his wrists and held them trapped against the mattress over his head as he straddled the smaller man's body. "Fox, yes, I am happy. You're my piece of ass, and I wanted that fucking alien to know it! It's about time you admit it to yourself -- you love me, and you want me just as much as I want you!"

"Never!"

"Maybe, I should lock you up inside our bedroom again, until you come to your senses," Slava growled.

That got Mulder's attention immediately and he stopped struggling, he couldn't escape today if he was locked inside this room. "No. Please don't, Nikolai, I didn't mean it. It's just that I'm so afraid of that creature and I lost my head for a moment. Please, don't lock me up again."

"Tell me that you love me and I'll consider your request."

"I love you, Nikolai." Mulder leaned up and gently kissed his mouth.

"We shall discuss this further, Fox, after breakfast."

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Tuesday, March 1
8:00 a.m.

In the family room Spender sat watching the babies, he frowned when he noticed Hope's jerky movements as she played with her toy blocks. He hoped there wasn't anything neurological wrong with the baby. He stood and walked over to pick her up, when he noticed she had spelled out a word with the blocks.

"Hey, Gabriel, take a look at this," Spender called to the older man in the kitchen.

"What?" Hunter asked, stepping into the family room.

"What do you make of that?" Spender pointed to the blocks that spelled out *crayon*.

"I think we should get her a crayon and sheet of paper," Hunter said, holding out his hand, in it appeared a crayon and a large sheet of paper. He laid the paper in front of Hope and handed her the crayon.

Hope immediately tried to put the crayon in her mouth.

Skinner knelt down next to her and pulled the crayon away from her mouth. //No, angel, we do not eat crayons. See the nice sheet of paper; watch as daddy shows you how to write on it.//

Skinner guided her hand to the paper and wrote his first sentence. [Gabriel, its Walter.]

Hunter watched as Hope's hand froze in front of her mouth and moved down to write on the paper. "Walter, where are you? Are you in this room with us?"

[Yes.]

"What about Alex and Tony are they with you?" Hunter asked, excitedly.

Skinner looked up at Alex and Tony who were watching him guide Hope's hand. [Yes.]

"How long have you been here?"

[Since the beginning.]

Hunter looked puzzled. "Why have you waited until now to communicate with us?"

[Didn't know how.] Skinner kissed the top of Hope's head to calm her; she was getting tired of him guiding her hand.

"Walter, do you know what's been going on around here? I mean . . . ah . . . Fox going to Slava?"

[Yes.]

"We've been trying to get him back diplomatically, the U.S. government has lodged several complaints with Slava."

[We know. Gabriel, we don't want those new sorcerers within the mansion -- can you rid of them?]

"Sorry, Walter, but with you and Alex suffering from SBS, and Fox not here, the Director has taken over all security decisions at the estate, and there is nothing I can do."

[Understood. Don't turn your back on them, we don't trust them.] Hope started whimpering. //Sorry, angel, daddy is all done now,// Skinner murmured, picking her up and hugging her against his chest.

"Wow," Spender said, amazed by the baby floating in midair.

Skinner smiled and kissed her one final time then passed the baby over to Spender. //Go see your Uncle Jeff, angel.//

***

The Winter Palace
Tuesday, March 1
Noon

Slava answered the telephone in his office, and his face quickly clouded over with rage. "You're sure, General? Okay, I'll fly down immediately," he slammed the phone back in its cradle.

"CAPTAIN MIKHIN!" he bellowed.

The n'thral captain quickly entered his office. "Yes, moi Tsar?"

"Have my plane ready for me at the airport, and call my limousine driver, I need to be in Moscow immediately." Slava stood and rushed out of his office, heading for his apartment.

Mulder impatiently stood in front of the giant aquarium in Slava's entertainment room, hoping that watching the fish would calm his nerves as he waited for Boris' plan to get the Tsar out of St. Petersburg for the day to work. He jumped when he heard the front door slam open and Slava's footsteps pounding across the marble floor.

"FOX!"

"Yes, Nikolai?" Mulder said softly worried that his plans for escape had been discovered.

Slava pulled him into a tight embrace, crushing his lover's body against his broad chest. "Oh, my love, I have to leave you for the day. Some rebels are rioting and looting in Moscow, they've set several city blocks on fire."

Mulder sighed inwardly. "Do you have to go personally, Nikolai, couldn't you send someone else?" he asked, pretending to be worried about Slava's welfare.

"Yes, my regime is too new, it requires me to reinforce my rule over those that would challenge me. Don't worry, moi love, I should be back by tomorrow then we can spend the day in bed making love," he murmured, kissing Mulder's lips.

"Nikolai, am I free to visit Masataka while you're away?"

"Of course, my love, I'll inform Captain Mikhin to see to your needs until I return," Slava replied.

"Nikolai, couldn't you have Fyodorov attend to my needs, I'm not comfortable with your n'thral captain."

"Captain Mikhin can protect you, Fox, the sexual suppressant has him totally under control, so there is nothing for you to worry about," Slava said reassuringly.

Mulder looked at him sadly. "If you insist."

"Yes, I do. I'll see you tomorrow, moi love." Slava kissed him one final time then headed out of their apartment.

Mulder spent the next two hours pacing anxiously around the apartment. He was passing through the foyer for the twentieth time when Captain Mikhin entered.

"Master Fox, the Tsar asked that I escort you to see Mr. Izumi, and he's given me charge over your protection while he is away," Mikhin said proudly. "So if you require anything just ask me."

"Thank you, Captain Mikhin." Mulder followed the large n'thral to Izumi's studio. The Japanese artist stopped painting when they entered.

"Master Fox, it is good to see you again," Izumi said, bowing politely.

"Masataka, how is your latest project coming?" Mulder asked walking up to the smaller man and shaking his hand, and he leaned in and whispered. "Are you ready to leave?"

"*Yes* it's coming along wonderfully," Izumi responded.

Major Pyetr Yermolov stepped out from behind one of canvases that were scattered throughout the large workspace. "Captain Mikhin, if you don't want to get hurt I suggest you lay flat on your stomach and lace your fingers together behind your head."

"What is the meaning of this, Major?" Mikhin growled, approaching the smaller man.

Major Yermolov attempted to use his sorcerer powers to stop the large menacing giant. However, blue energy bolt he shot at him only made the n'thral angrier. Mikhin grabbed the young major by the throat and hoisted him off his feet into the air.

Mulder grabbed a chair and crashed it over the n'thral's back. Mikhin spun around still holding Yermolov by the throat with one hand, he grabbed Mulder's wrist with the other and pulled the immortal against his body. "So you planned to deceive my Tsar again, pretty one?"

"Let him go! You're going to kill him," Mulder growled, struggling uselessly.

"He's going to die all right, but it will be long and painful," Mikhin hissed, loosening his hold on the major's throat enough for him to breathe. The n'thral dragged them to the open door, turning to look back at Izumi. "I'll be back for you later, you can spend the evening in the dungeon and the . . . " Mikhin gasped as blood appeared on his lips.

Izumi watched, puzzled as the n'thral dropped Yermolov and let go of Mulder and staggered back into the room. When Mikhin turned to face the doorway Izumi saw the hilt of a knife sticking out of his back, it was imbedded between the Captain's shoulder blades. Izumi's eyes followed those of Mikhin's to the doorway where Fyodorov stood. Mikhin gurgled once in an attempt to speak then fell to his knees, his face twisted in rage as he tried to crawl to his attacker, making it only a couple of feet before losing the battle and his life. The little man stepped into the room and closed the door, he was wearing his heavy winter coat and fur hat.

"We must hurry, I know a secret tunnel that leads out of the palace, but we must be out before the sun sets because the tunnels will be crawling with ghouls," Fyodorov said.

Major Yermolov rubbed his bruised throat, accepting a helping hand up from Mulder. "Are you okay, Pyetr?" Mulder asked.

"Y... yes," Yermolov whispered. "What about him . . . do you trust him?" the major asked, looking worriedly at the Tsar's clairvoyant.

"No, but he did just save our lives so I think we should give him a chance to explain himself. Fyodorov, why are you helping us?" Mulder asked as he pulled on the heavy winter clothing that was stashed for him in Izumi's studio.

"I will be honest with you, Master Fox. I don't wish to die, and my life would have ended very painfully if I had remained here any longer. Escaping with you will at least allow me to see many more sunrises before my life comes to a relatively peaceful end," the little man answered sincerely.

Mulder pulled the heavy fur-lined hood over his head, which concealed his features within its depth. "Well then, Fyodorov, lead on," he said, noting that the other two men were ready to leave, too.

They followed the clairvoyant to an unused staircase that led down to the bottom level of the palace. Fyodorov guided them through several musty corridors then through a very old narrow corridor that looked like it hadn't been used in decades, at the very end was a heavy wooden door. The little man tried to open it, but it appeared to be stuck, Yermolov squeezed by him and placed his palm on the door and using his powers --the door flew open.

The four men cautiously stepped into the tunnel. Fyodorov found two torches on the wall and lit them handing one to Yermolov while he took the other. "This way. Don't worry about the ghouls they are all sleeping and shouldn't bother us until the sun sets," he said as the light from his torch fell on several ghouls sleeping in recesses within the tunnel walls.

Mulder shivered with fear, it had been well over a year since he had to worry about ghouls. He followed closely behind Fyodorov, with Izumi behind him, and Yermolov protecting their rear. The tunnel was dank and smelled of death and decay. If he could survive this, hopefully it would be only a few more days before they are all safely in the United States. He prayed that his lovers and daughters were safe and that he could get to them in time before his country was invaded.

***

 


 

Life from the Ashes Book 3 - SBS
Chapter 7
The Cure

by Jo B.


***

St. Petersburg
Tuesday, March 2
6:20 p.m.

The small group made their way cautiously through the dark tunnels; they had been down there for a little more than an hour. Stagnant water had hindered their progress as they had to detour around impassible tunnels. Mulder averted his eyes from a human arm floating in the water below his feet. He had a handkerchief over his nose and mouth as he breathed, trying to block out the putrid smell of decaying flesh, which had earlier cost him all of the contents of his stomach. His eyes focused across the tunnel's expanse on a large crevice where two more ghouls laid sleeping.

Mulder glanced carefully behind him at Major Pyetr Yermolov who was closely watching the dormant ghouls for any movement as they passed them. There was less than an hour before it would be dusk and they had to be out of these tunnels by then. The tunnel floor was flooded with foul smelling sewage water and human remains, they were currently walking single file along a narrow ledge two feet above the flooded floor. The tunnels were a few degrees above freezing, unlike the frigid surface temperature which hovered at a frigid five degrees.

Mulder broke the silence as he asked, "Why hasn't Slava sent troops down here to eliminate ghouls?"

Fyodorov answered him in a low voice. "He thinks of them as guard dogs. Most men aren't foolish enough to come into the tunnels day or night and during the night the ghouls keep the city streets free of bandits and rebels. The law abiding citizens have learned to stay inside."

Yermolov snorted contemptuously, "Us sorcerers can easily defend ourselves against ghouls unlike humans. The Tsar doesn't seem to care how many innocent humans are killed by the ghouls every month."

Fyodorov glared back angrily at him, but bit back his retort as he came upon the tunnel he had been searching for. "It's through here," he informed them as he raised the torch to illuminate the side tunnel.

"How far is the airport from the exit?" the major asked.

"What does it matter? We cannot show our faces in such a crowded place. Major, a just received a telepathic message from my team of clairvoyants, Captain Mikhin's body was discovered moments ago by a palace guard and are they already searching the palace for Master Fox. I will conceal his presence from any that may such further, but we need to be as far away from St. Petersburg as possible before the Tsar returns from Moscow," Fyodorov advised, pushing open the heavy metal grating that led out of the tunnel. It opened onto an overhang that looked out over one of the city's many canals.

"I have a helicopter waiting for us at the airport. We don't have to go through the main terminal to get to it, we can use the service entrance," Yermolov responded, following the others as they edged their way along the narrow overhang to a set of stone steps leading to the street above.

"Very well, Major, we're about seven miles from the airport. Do you have a plan on how to get there? Or do we walk?" the small man grumbled as they climbed up the steps to the street.

Mulder listened to the two men bicker as he pulled his coat more closely around him. He lowered his head to prevent the few pedestrians that were bustling by from seeing his face that was hidden within the fur-lined hood. Mulder kept his eyes focused on Yermolov's coat so he didn't get separated from the man as they made their way down the cobblestone street.

As they walked Yermolov glanced around until he noticed a delivery truck parked next to a bakery. He watched as the baker hastily closed up his shop for the day. The man was hurrying home before the setting sun brought out the nightly ghouls.

Once the baker was out of sight around the corner Yermolov started over toward the truck. He glanced over his shoulder at the little man and said smugly, "We'll drive there, Fyodorov."

The three men hurried after him. The major opened the back doors of the truck, allowing Mulder and Izumi to climb in before he went around to the driver's side.

Fyodorov quickly scrambled into the passenger seat and looked over at the trucks ignition. "There's no key, Major, I hope you know how to hotwire a truck," he interjected smartly.

Yermolov glared at the little man who was starting to grate on his nerves. "Don't worry about it," he snapped. He used his sorcerer powers and the truck roared to life, he threw it into gear and headed toward the airport.

Mulder relaxed once the truck started moving. He glanced around the interior taking in the metal bread racks, feeling hungry he wished the baker had left some bread in the truck. He looked over at Izumi, but couldn't see the older man's face which was hidden by a hood similar to the one he was wearing. "Masataka, it shouldn't be too much longer before you're back with your nephew," he said reassuringly.

"Master Fox, I would first like to get out of Russia and as far away from Tsar Nikolai as possible before I even allow myself to dream about being reunited with my nephew and his family," Izumi replied anxiously.

"Please, call me Mulder," he said. "Masataka, I dream every waking moment about returning to my lovers and daughters, they were the only things that allowed me to keep my sanity these past few weeks," Mulder replied sadly. He grabbed on to the metal shelves to keep his balance as the truck bounced around a corner over the frozen ground.

"We all have different methods of coping, Mulder. With me I have my artwork," Izumi said. "Why don't you tell me about these men that you love," he asked, sensing the younger man needed something to focus his attention on.

Mulder smiled bitterly, several minutes passed before he answered. "They're not going to be too happy with me when they find out that I went to Slava for help. I really wouldn't blame them if they withdrew their love from me," he said miserably.

"Why would they do that? You thought the Tsar had a cure for their disease and you sacrificed yourself for them," Izumi said. He quickly grabbed the side of a shelf as the truck squealed to a sudden stop.

They heard the doors to the truck open and slam shut and feet crunching on snow covered pavement. The back doors were jerked open and Yermolov stuck his head in. "C'mon, we must hurry, before they think to shut down the airport," he said breathlessly as he helped Izumi out of the truck. Mulder brushed off his helping hand and smoothly jumped onto the pavement.

The young major led them across the runway to a helicopter. After all three men were safely buckled in he started the rotors then called for clearance from the tower. They waited several long nerve racking minutes before they received the okay to take off.

Once they were safely in the air and heading southwest out of St. Petersburg, Fyodorov asked, "So, Major, do you have any idea where you are going?"

"No, Fyodorov, I thought we'd just fly around in circles until we were out of fuel," Yermolov replied sarcastically.

Mulder rolled his eyes in disgust and intervened before their arguing got out of hand. "Fyodorov, Pyetr has planned this escape to the last detail, so please, stop trying to egg him on," he ordered.

"I apologize, Master Fox, but I wasn't trying to annoy him. I really only wanted to know where we are going, and besides it didn't look like he had your escape from the palace planned out very well," the little man said, bluntly.

"It's Mulder, Fyodorov, we're no longer at the palace so there is no need to follow protocol. Now is there?" Mulder retorted, annoyed.

"Okay, but then call me Marat. Now can you please enlighten me as to where we are going? Or do I have to read your minds?" Fyodorov grumbled.

"We're going to the U.S. Embassy in Germany, and from there we'll board a plane to the United States," Mulder informed him. "And, Marat, don't ever attempt to read my mind."

They sat quietly for almost an hour watching the landscape change below them. Mulder pulled down his hood and opened the heavy coat, his hands trembled as he unfastened the buttons; he was feeling relieved and anxious at the same time. It was an extremely uncomfortable feeling. He was worried about his lovers' health and afraid of their reactions after they found out about him and Slava. The pending threat of the invasion didn't even figure into his current worries.

"Do you want to talk about it, Mulder?" Izumi asked.

Mulder thought for a moment, he was feeling weighed down and agitated and needed to find some release for these feelings. Usually he would go running to relieve his stress, but that was not an option. He looked into the older Japanese man's eyes and saw genuine concern within their depths. "Yes, it might help. Masataka, you asked why I thought my lover's would withdraw their love from me. Deep down I don't believe they will, but I'm afraid that it will change from what it had been. We had finally established an equal relationship, built on love and trust, and I have single handedly destroyed that trust. You see, Walter and Alex had been very possessive and protective of me because of my mutation. It took me a long time to convince them that I could take care of myself, and that I never wanted anyone other than them. Now I have Slava's scent all over me, they will never forgive me for going to him or trust me again," Mulder said quietly.

Yermolov glanced in the mirror at the beautiful man sitting behind him. He couldn't blame any man for being possessive where Fox was concerned. If Fox were his, he'd never let him out of his sight. He thought it was a good thing that this disease had left Alexei comatose and unaware of what his lover was doing, otherwise he would be frantic with worry by now.

"So, you're afraid they will start treating you like a possession and only use you for their own sexual gratification just like the Tsar was using you," Izumi said.

"Sort of. They would never treat me as badly as Slava had. However, I've dealt with their possessiveness before so I know what they're capable of." Mulder leaned back and closed his eyes against the deep anguish and guilt he was feeling. "God, it is all my fault! I just don't know if I'll be able to tolerate them treating me like that," he replied, disheartened.

"Mulder, why don't you wait until you talk to them first before borrowing guilt ahead of time. They just might surprise you and understand," Izumi reassured him.

Fyodorov sadly looked out the window, and said, "The Tsar couldn't help the way he treated you, Mulder. He never was taught how to show his love any other way. However, he really does love you, and your leaving is going to hurt him a lot."

"Why do you care, Marat?" Mulder asked.

"Mulder, you forget that I can see the future. In time Tsar Nikolai will become one of this world's greatest rulers, he will learn how to love and eventually come to respect human life," Fyodorov said. "If it weren't for him, Russia would lay in ruins and its people enslaved."

"But, I don't have to be here for this future to come about, and my leaving him won't keep him from learning how to respect human life, or does it?" Mulder questioned.

"No, Mulder, the role you played is over, but the two of you will never be totally free of each other," Fyodorov sighed, thinking about the seven baby girls whose existence Mulder didn't even know about. His eyes met Izumi's over Mulder's shoulder.

The artist knew instinctively what the clairvoyant was thinking. "Tell him, Marat. He has the right to know," Izumi said.

Fyodorov didn't want to be the one to tell the beautiful immortal about the babies because he felt partially responsible. However, he knew that he had to, and he sadly said, "Mulder, it was the Tsar that had sex with you on your birthday, and he used mind-control to steal your semen on Halloween. He did it as a way to bind you to him forever, he thought that you would never leave him if you had children together."

Mulder's face drained of color. "What do you mean? Are you saying that we have . . . I have . . . "

"They haven't been born yet, but you and the Tsar have seven beautiful baby girls," Fyodorov informed him gently.

"God. We have to go back! I can't leave them in Slava's hands!"

Yermolov looked back menacingly at Fyodorov. "Mulder, it's too late! The Tsar will be back in St. Petersburg before we can return for them, and even if we could get there before him, we have no way of transporting them and their growth cylinders," he replied.

"Oh god, I'm going to be sick," Mulder moaned, bending over he buried his face in his hand and silently wept.

Izumi soothingly rubbed his back. "Ssh, Mulder, they'll be okay. Tsar Nikolai loves them, he will take good care of them."

"Slava doesn't know how to love, they will just be expensive pieces of property to him," Mulder whispered. "Why couldn't you have told me about them before now?"

Fyodorov looked at him guiltily. "The Tsar wanted to save them as a surprise for you on the day of their birth. No one in the palace would have dared mention them for fear of death. Don't worry, Mulder, the Tsar has hired seven nannies, one for each girl, your daughters will be given everything that they could ever want."

"When are they scheduled to be born?" Mulder asked with a catch in his voice.

"March 3rd," Fyodorov said.

"Two days. I've missed seeing them by two days," Mulder sighed. The heartache he was feeling was too great and he retreated inside himself for the rest of the flight.

***

The Winter Palace
Tuesday, March 2
1:00 a.m.

Slava stood silently on the steps of the Winter Palace looking sorrowfully out over the square. Torchlight could be seen in all directions as his army and the Russian people searched for his missing lover. He could not sense Fox's presence and knew his lover was no longer in St. Petersburg, but the search gave his people something to do and brought them closer together.

He had been a fool for leaving Fox behind when he should have taken him to Moscow with him. There was no one at the palace that matched his lover's quick wits and intelligence. It must have been easy for Fox to fool them and escape. What had ever possessed him to leave Fox under the protection of Mikhin? He felt a sadness over his old friend's death. They had once been as close as brothers, but that was before the virus had altered them. However, he realized he had no one but himself to blame. *Fox why did you leave me?*

Slava was pulled out of his self-loathing by one of his many scientists. The man stood nervously waiting for the Tsar to notice him.

"Yes?"

"Moi Tsar, we have developed the cure for SBS," the small man replied. He was startled as the large Cossack flung back his head and started laughing.

Slava wiped the tears from his eyes as his chuckling subsided. The irony of the situation was too much for him. "Of course you have, Antonov," he said. His eyes became distant as he gazed back out over his city.

The scientist waited for several anxious minutes for the Tsar to speak again. He knew that his life was over for failing him.

"Antonov, send the cure to Dana Scully in America at Foxfire Glenn Estate. I do not want her to know where it comes from, so send it through our consulate in London and have them send the email to her through a untraceable address," Slava said.

Antonov was speechless, he wasn't certain that he had heard the Tsar right. He stood waiting for the yelling, the anger, and the destruction that had always been the Tsar's way of dealing with defeat.

Slava looked at the smaller man whose mouth was hanging open. "Is there something else, Antonov?" he asked softly.

"No, moi Tsar, it will take a couple of hours to get all of our notes entered into the computer. I'll get started right away," Antonov said, bowing he quickly rushed away.

Slava sighed and looked up at the star speckled nighttime sky. "Fox, wherever you are, know that my love is with you always." He turned and walked back inside his palace.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Tuesday, March 2
3:00 a.m.

Hans Schatz awoke disoriented and trembling with his heart frantically pounding. He was panting from a shortness of breath and his body was bathed in sweat. The fleeting images of a larger body crushing him under its weight were rapidly fading as his conscious mind pushed them away and Frohike's concerned face came into focus. He was being held protectively in his lover's arms and Melvin was gently rocking him and whispering soothingly into his ear.

"Ssh, Hans, it was only a dream," Frohike murmured, kissing his brow.

"God, Melvin, it seemed so real. I was back with Hector and... " No. He didn't want to remember. He buried his face into the safety of his lover's shoulder, breathing in Frohike's familiar comforting scent. The stubble of the little man's chin was pressed against his forehead as he nestled closer. What would he ever do without Melvin in his life? Melvin was his shield, his knight, his confidant, and his love. Hans had never met anyone who had made him feel more cherished and respected, Gabriel's face flashed briefly before his closed eyes and he pushed it away not wanting to admit his attraction to the handsome blond sorcerer.

They lay quietly for several minutes. Frohike allowed him to get his emotions under control, and made no other attempts to touch Hans other than to hold him. He knew exactly what his lover needed after coming up from one of his frequent nightmares -- being held protectively and nothing more.

After his terrors subsided Schatz eased away from Frohike's sturdy body and gazed down into his lover's gentle eyes. Frohike smiled tenderly up at him, waiting for Schatz to make the first move. Hans combed his hand through the thick mat of hair on Frohike's chest as he leaned down and captured the older man's lips in a kiss. His other hand moved up to Frohike's head and he twined his fingers through the older man's hair holding his head immobile, so he could do a thorough exploration of his mouth. When he finally pulled away both men were breathing heavily.

A shiver raced up his spine as Frohike's hand caressed up his thigh and between his legs. The older man fondled his balls then traced a finger from his perineum to his anus and back to his balls then stroked back over his perineum and traced circles around his anus, then back again. Frohike did that until Schatz was pushing back on his finger, his body willingly opened to allow him in.

"Tell me what you need, gorgeous?" Frohike purred, twisting his finger within his lover's body, staring into his lover's beautiful sapphire blue eyes.

"You, Melvin. God, I want you buried to the hilt inside me," Schatz moaned lustfully as he brushed his long, silky blond hair out of his eyes. He was straddling Frohike's hips and could feel the older man's erection pressing against his thigh just beneath where his hand was skillfully preparing him.

Frohike pulled his hand away and Schatz squatted on his knees straddling his body. Hans gazed lovingly into Melvin's totally aroused face as he reached behind him for his lover's thick cock. He positioned it against his opening and bore down, the wide head easily popped into his relaxed anus with only the slightest burning sensation. Hans waited for his body to adjust before he sank further down on Frohike's long shaft.

"Oh god, sweetheart, you are too good for me," Frohike moaned as his lover sank all the way down -- his ass was resting flush against the older man's heavy balls.

Hans' cock was erect and brushed against his flat stomach, there were still no outward signs of the baby that was growing within. He threw back his head. God! It felt so good to be filled by his lover's thick cock and he could feel Melvin's pulse rate from its throbbing inside him. "Melvin, I love you," Schatz murmured, leaning down to kiss his lips.

"Not as much as I love you, gorgeous," Frohike replied, holding the back of his lover's head so he could deepen the kiss. He still had a hard time accepting that someone as beautiful as Hans could really be in love with him.

Hans pull away slightly, and replied simply, "Much more, Melvin, you are my whole life." He saw a smile spread across his lover's scruffy face. He knew his lover was not considered handsome, but to him Melvin was the most beautiful man on the planet.

Hans smiled back as he started rocking up and down on Frohike's cock, the little man's eyes turned glassy from the stimulation. Frohike tossed his head back and forth with his mouth gaping open as he moaned loudly. Hans pulled up then sank back down; his lover's cock expanded even larger inside of him. Hans set an up and down rhythm angling for his own prostate with each downward motion, sending bolts of sheer pleasure coursing throughout his body. The mattress springs were squeaking noisily and the headboard pounded against the wall from his up and down movements. Hans was not even aware of the loud sounds of pleasure he was making as he rode his lover's cock to simultaneous orgasms.

The young immortal sank fully sated into his lover's arms and Frohike held him tightly peppering his face with feathery kisses. Hans sighed as the older man's softening penis slipped out of his body. They were both sticky and sweaty; their chests stuck together as Hans pulled away. "Do you want to share a shower, lover?" he asked.

"Yeah, just give me a little more time to recover," Frohike sighed.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Tuesday, March 2
5:00 a.m.

Hunter quickly woke the household; the United States was under attack and the attacking armies were focusing their main forces on Washington D.C.

"What do you suggest, Gabriel?" Sawada asked. "Should we start evacuating for the cave?"

"No, not yet. The line of sorcerers protecting Washington is still holding, we should be able to hold our own here even if some of the attacking forces get through their lines," Hunter replied.

"Gabriel, maybe it would be wiser to send some of the family to the cave," MacIver drawled.

"I agree with Rory, Gabriel. We should at least send Kimberly, Justin, Joe, Hans and the babies now. Shinji and I still have work to do in the lab," Scully said.

Hunter weighed their arguments for several minutes. He looked over at the new sorcerers some of whom he still didn't trust. "I don't like the idea of splitting up, so we'll all leave together at noon."

Scully objected. "I'm going to remain here."

Hunter met her china blue eyes, and knew better than to challenge her. "Okay, Dana, but Rory stays here with you."

"Fine," Scully said. "I'll be down in the lab if anyone wants me." She needed to call her husband and son, then check on her brothers and nephews.

***

U.S. Embassy Germany
Tuesday, March 2
10:00 a.m.

Mulder anxiously paced around the small office while arguing with Ambassador Cox, they had been going at it for two hours. He had been looking forward to leaving for the U.S. this morning, but the Ambassador refused to allow him to go. Mulder was feeling tired and irritable; he hadn't been able to sleep last night, and to make matters worse his cycle was starting tomorrow, and already he was stressed out over his body's extreme desire to become pregnant. He did not want to spend his three-day cycle stuck here.

"Agent Mulder, the United States is under attack! We cannot allow you to go there," the Ambassador repeated, exasperated.

"Dammit! I have to get back to my family! I haven't been able to get through to them by telephone. Please, I need to know if they are all right."

"Agent Mulder, I can't allow you to fly into danger."

"Fine, I want to go to London then," Mulder said, deciding on a new approach. After all, London was further away from Slava and closer to the U.S., he'd figure out how to get home from there.

"Okay, fine, your helicopter has already been refueled, and I will inform Ambassador Redding that you will be landing there," Cox said, relieved to be getting rid of the troublesome agent. He had been worried that they would be attacked if anyone found out that Mulder was here, and he was more than happy to let Redding deal with him.

Mulder left the office to find Yermolov and Izumi to tell them the news, but instead he ran into Fyodorov who was waiting for him outside of Cox's office.

"So, we are going to London?" the little man asked.

Mulder had been hoping to leave the annoying little man here in Germany. "Wouldn't you rather stay here, Marat?"

"No, I'd rather tag along with you. You need me, Mulder. Pyetr is not very good at reading people's minds. I can be of great service to you in that area. You really need a clairvoyant along for your protection," Fyodorov reasoned.

Mulder was about to argue, but instead he shifted uncomfortably; there was something about the little man that was starting to arouse him sexually. At that moment Yermolov and Izumi walked up to them. Mulder's eyes met those of the handsome sorcerer and a wave of desire hit him. "Oh fuck," he muttered as it occurred to him what was happening. His body was targeting the two men present that could get him pregnant, and he knew these feelings were only going to get worse -- much worse.

Yermolov and Fyodorov knew from reading Mulder's panicked and unguarded thoughts what was happening. They watched Mulder's face flush beautifully with desire for them and felt their bodies responding in kind.

Izumi looked on questioningly. He didn't understand what was going on among the three men. He noticed Mulder's look of arousal for both Yermolov and Fyodorov and their bodies responding to it. All three men were sporting obvious erections and shifting from foot to foot uncomfortably.

Mulder swallowed hard and nervously licked his lips, he said, "Pyetr, I need you to fly us to the U.S. Embassy in London. Once there I need to be sedated for three days . . . will you do that for me?"

Yermolov chastised himself for his body's response. This man was Alexei's lover and he could never betray his friend's trust. "Of course, Mulder. Don't worry I won't touch you or allow anyone else to touch you." He glanced menacingly at Fyodorov. He had been present at the Tsar's dinner the night the conversation was brought up about immortals being predisposed to becoming pregnant, so he knew what Mulder was going through.

"Thank you, Pyetr," Mulder sighed, relieved. "Can I ask another favor of you?"

"Yes."

"If I ever ask you to . . . ah, have sex with me *don't* listen to me. I'm not sure if I have the willpower to resist my body's demands," Mulder replied pleadingly.

"Mulder, I promise that I will try to resist you, but I may not have the willpower myself if you throw yourself at me," Yermolov answered honestly.

Izumi thought that this was the strangest conversation that he had ever heard. What was going on with these men? He thought Mulder was worried about his lovers' reaction when they found out about Slava, now here he was almost throwing himself at both Yermolov and Fyodorov.

Mulder met Izumi's questioning eyes. God, the man must think he was some sort of a sexual deviant. "Masataka, do you know anything about immortals?" he asked. He desperately needed Izumi's help to protect him from himself.

"I only know what I've heard about through palace gossip, and what I've found out since meeting you. I know you can become pregnant by sorcerers or clairvoyants."

"Yes, that is true, but it goes deeper than that. Once a month immortals go through a three day cycle where we experience an uncontrollable compulsion to become pregnant. There are only three immortals on this planet who aren't pregnant yet," Mulder replied as he led the three men back to their rooms so he could collect his coat.

"You are one of them, Mulder? What about Shinji Takeda?" Izumi asked.

"Shinji is three months pregnant," Mulder answered, shrugging on his winter coat. Fyodorov and Yermolov left to retrieve their coats.

"That is wonderful news. Kazuo and Shinji are going to have another child together." Izumi was thrilled with the news.

Mulder paled when he realized that he had never told Izumi about MacIver. "Ah . . . not exactly. Masataka, there is something else you should know about immortals. It is pretty common for us to have two or more lovers. Shinji has another lover and the baby belongs to him." Mulder had learned through the research that Justin Blaise was doing on immortals that fifty percent of them already had more than one lover. Particularly the ones that had sorcerers for their first lover. Mulder wasn't sure if this was a physical need on the part of the immortal or just a coincidence. Having both Walter and Alex as lovers seemed natural to him, and he didn't see anything odd or morally wrong with it. Although, he knew that he would hate it if either Walter or Alex brought home another lover. He did not want to share them with anyone else.

"Oh my, is Kazuo okay with this other man?" Izumi frowned.

"He wasn't at first, but now they are best friends." Mulder waited for Izumi to pull on his coat. Then they walked out into the hallway and met the other two men.

They headed outside to the helicopter pad. Mulder tried to distract himself from his body's cravings by focusing his mind on other things, but every direction his thoughts took him only brought him sadness and worry. He would be sedated over the next three days while his lovers' and daughters' lives were in danger, and he could do nothing about it. If anything happened to them he could not go on living, at least he was comforted by the knowledge that there was at least one way for him to end his life.

***

Tunisia
Tuesday, March 2
11:00 a.m.

An elderly man stood taking long drags on his cigarette while staring into a long glass cylinder. Inside the cylinder was a body. It was mainly skeletal with some partial organs inside its chest cavity and flesh clinging to portions of its bones. Next to the cylinder was another cylinder with an almost identical body inside.

"They are looking a lot better since the last time I was here," the smoker finally said.

"Yes, the cell regeneration started to speed up once their skeletal structure was fully regenerated," a man in a white lab coat said. "It's hard to believe that these two bodies were only ashes a little over a year ago."

"How much longer until they are fully regenerated?" the smoker inquired.

"At their current rate of regeneration, I'd say only a few more months," the scientist replied.

"How's our other research project going?"

"Remarkably well. We've been retrieving data from the Americans who are doing research into a cure for the SBS virus. They've advanced our knowledge of the sorcerer mutation by decades. If they can find a cure for the disease it might be the key we need to unlock the secrets to genetically changing humans into sorcerers."

"Very good, Doctor. I want to be notified at once when you develop the process for mutating a normal human into a sorcerer," the smoker said with a slight smile on his lips.

"Of course, sir. Do you plan on trying the process on yourself?"

"Yes. Doctor, becoming a sorcerer would afford me protection from my enemies and help to advance our research," the smoker replied. However, he would first get revenge against his wayward sons.

He gazed back at the regenerating bodies of the two immortals who they had inadvertently killed through incineration over a year ago, or so they had thought. These two men would become his lovers once he was turned into sorcerer, and in time Fox and Jeffrey would have some new brothers and sisters.

What he was looking forward to the most was killing Fox's lovers. How dare they even think they were good enough for his son! Only he would decide who Fox marries. There were several world leaders he could trade his son's hand in marriage to for a nice settlement. Yes, Fox was going to make him a rich and powerful man. He dropped his cigarette on the lab floor and ground it out beneath his foot. Then he left the lab to make plans for the future.

***

Foxfire Glenn Estate
Tuesday, March 2
11:45 a.m.

"It works!" Scully exclaimed, staring through the scope of the labs microscope at the sample of Skinner's blood as the infected cells were systematically destroyed by the mysterious miracle drug they had made from the formula that had been sent to her through an anonymous email.

"Let me see." Takeda anxiously took Scully's position in front of the microscope.

"We're going to need to prepare a larger dosage to test on one of our patients, but we'll need to get more nightshade first," Scully said, still amazed that Takeda had the deadly herb in the first place.

Hunter was leaning against the wall next to MacIver. Both men were staying out of the way of Takeda and Scully as they listened intently to their conversation, which was the most promising news they'd heard in weeks. Hunter knew it was too dangerous to go into D.C., some of the foreign troops had broken through their lines of defense, and there was hand-to-hand combat occurring throughout the city. However, they needed to retrieve the herb.

"Dana, I can run into D.C. and pick up the herb if you can tell me where to find it," Hunter said.

"I'm not sure, Gabriel, its not the type of herb that you're likely to find at a herbalist or a pharmacy," Scully said. "Shin, do you remember where you got the nightshade in the first place?"

"Yes, it was through a friend of Langly's who has a small occult shop somewhere downtown," Takeda answered.

Scully looked thoughtful. They had no way to contact Langly; the invading army's clairvoyants and sorcerers were interfering with all communications going into and out of D.C. and the surrounding area. It was only sheer luck that the anonymous email had made it through with the cure. "Frohike should know where the shop is, Gabriel. Do you think the two of you can manage to get into D.C. and retrieve the herb and get back safely?" she asked.

"It shouldn't be a problem." Hunter looked perplexed for a moment. "We need to start evacuating the mansion first, I don't want the family trapped here while we're gone." He didn't like the idea of leaving his friends without his personal protection, but he saw no other way.

"Okay, but before you do that, I need you to give a copy of the formula to Major Murphy Walker, he needs to get it over to the CDC immediately. He also needs to get a sample to the CDC's office in Chicago. It may be the only chance we have to stop the invasion," Scully said. She prepared two packages that each included copies the printouts, floppy diskettes with the copies of the email, and a small sample of the drug they had just made.

Takeda looked firmly at his lover. "Rory, I'm going to stay here with Dana. She's going to need my help preparing dosages of the drug," he said. "We're going to need to prepare enough dosages for the FBI sorcerers at Viva Tower and the others hidden throughout D.C."

MacIver looked like he was about to object, but decided it would be better to have Shinji safely under his protection. "Okay, Shin. I'll tell Kazuo."

Twenty-minutes later the family was packed into three separate vehicles. The first vehicle had the sorcerer from Greece driving with Blaise in the passenger seat. Sawada was in the back with his daughter, and Hope and Faith. Skinner and Krycek watched sadly as the SUV drove off with their daughters.

Duffy was driving a customized Humvee with Kimberly and her two daughters, Hawk, and the sorcerer from Mexico. Kimberly wasn't happy about leaving Tony behind, but Scully had assured her that if Hunter and Frohike didn't get back from D.C. in time they'd pack Walter, Alex, and Tony into the remaining truck and meet them at the cave.

Schatz sat nervously next to Spender in the back seat of the third and final vehicle. The sorcerer from Argentina was driving and next to him was the sorcerer from Korea. Hans didn't feel comfortable being separated from Melvin or Gabriel, and he particularly didn't like being in the same vehicle as the two strange sorcerers. He wished he had thought to switch places with Blaise.

After the trucks were thirty miles from the estate. Carlos Ramirez glanced through the rearview mirror at the two men sitting in the back seat. The beautiful blond immortal was staring nervously out the window licking his full lush lips and Spender seemed to be deep in thought. Ramirez slowly let up on the accelerator and watched Humvee in front of them pull further away. He glanced over at Hong-Woo Lee, and noticed a frown appeared on the Korean's face. However, before Lee could open his mouth to speak Ramirez killed him.

Spender shot upright. "What the hell . . ." was all he got out before he was thrown over the front seat as Ramirez slammed on the breaks to the SUV. Spender hit his head on the windshield and was knocked unconscious, collapsing on top of Lee's body.

"NO!" Schatz screamed as the SUV came to a stop and a large custom panel truck pulled out of a side road and stopped along side them.

Hans unfastened his seatbelt and leapt out of the SUV, he only made it a few steps before an arm shot out from behind the panel truck and pulled him struggling against a powerful chest. He didn't even need to see the immense creature that was holding him, he could tell who it was by the foul smelling body odor.

"Doll, you're not going anywhere, but home with me," Hector Cardoso purred into his wayward lover's ear as swept him up into his powerful arms and carefully placed him into the back of the panel truck and eased his larger frame in beside him, closing the doors behind them.

Hans stared at him speechless. He was scared out of his mind. It was like something from one of his worst nightmares. As he tried to edge away he realized that he was on a soft mattress that took up the whole back of the truck. He looked down at it in shock. It left no question what his former tormenter planned to do.

"Like it, Doll? I didn't want to wait to have you," Cardoso growled lustfully. Pulling Schatz over to him, he proceeded to devour his mouth while ripping off his clothing.

Ramirez quickly climbed into passenger seat as he noticed Duffy's humvee had stopped and was turning around. "We better get the fuck out here!" he shouted at the driver.

The human driver hurriedly threw the panel truck into gear and sped away.

Duffy skidded to a stop along side the abandoned SUV and leapt out, he watched angrily as the panel truck raced off. "Everyone get out of the truck," he ordered hurriedly. He needed to keep up with the panel truck, but he couldn't put the family in danger, and he wouldn't fit into the abandoned SUV.

Hawk and Kimberly quickly unhooked the babies' car seats and carried them safely out of the Humvee. The Mexican sorcerer rushed over to the SUV and helped Spender as he stumbled out of it holding his bleeding head. The first SUV with the Greek sorcerer driving slid to a stop next to the Humvee and Sawada jumped out followed by Blaise.

Before they could protest his actions Duffy shouted, "Take care of them, Kazuo." He jumped back into the Humvee and took off in pursuit of the panel truck.

***

Washington D.C.
Tuesday, March 2
1:45 p.m.

"C'mon, let's get the damn *weed* and get back! I don't feel comfortable leaving Hans in the protection of those foreign sorcerers! I can't even fucking read the minds of three of them. For all we know one of them could be a fucking psychopath!" Frohike growled agitatedly. He had not wanted to accompany Hunter, but knew the man would have had a hard time finding the small shop without him. The shop was hidden deep within the old dilapidated warehouse district.

They stood inside the deserted occult shop as Hunter searched the shelves for the nightshade. "If you could give me a hand searching, Melvin, we'll be out of here quicker."

"Oh, right. Sorry," Frohike said and started to search the other side of the shop.

It took them a half-hour to find a large container of the plant hidden behind hundreds of other jars. "We should deliver some to the CDC before we head back," Hunter said. He was sure Scully had overlooked the possibility that the CDC might not have ready access to the deadly herb.

Frohike shot him a look of contempt. "Okay, Boy Scout, you take half of the weed over to the CDC and I'll head back to the estate with the rest."

"No, Melvin. We stick together, it will only take us twenty minutes to get to the CDC from here," Hunter growled.

"Damn it, Gabriel! Every fucking second counts!" Frohike argued.

"Then stop wasting them and get your ass in gear," Hunter shot back as he ducked out of the shop. He scanned to deserted streets for danger then darted over to his car.

Frohike quickly followed him. He climbed into the passenger seat and took the jar of nightshade from Hunter. Several blocks away from the shop they ran into a minor firefight between the U.S. marines and several of the coalition troops. All the men on both sides appeared to be either human or n'thral. Hunter used his powers to quickly dispatch the foreign troops; he received an appreciative thumbs up from the marine commander. He eased his Porsche along side the marine.

"Colonel, I need to get a portion of this plant over to the CDC. They need it for preparing a drug that will hopefully cure our sorcerers of SBS. Do you think you could spare a few men to deliver it to them?" Hunter asked.

"Son, I'll deliver it myself if it has even the slightest chance of working," the Colonel drawled.

"That will be great, Colonel," Hunter said. He dug through the glove compartment and pulled out a plastic bag and transferred part of the plant into it. "Tell whoever is in charge that this is nightshade, and it's to be used with the formula Dana Scully sent to them." After Hunter passed the bag to the colonel he shifted his Porsche into gear and sped out of D.C. toward the estate.

They arrived at the estate forty minutes later. Hunter was relieved to see that no foreign troops were in the vicinity, yet. When they reached the lab, Scully grabbed the nightshade from them and started measuring out a portion of it which she placed it into a copper vacuum-sealed vat to cook. There was a curved tube from the vat to a beaker, and after twenty minutes, a purple fluid started to drip into the beaker.

Skinner, Krycek, and Tony all stood in the lab and watched Scully and Takeda work hastily to prepare a large container of the drug.

//I hope this works,// Krycek muttered.

//Yeah, I don't like being separated from Kim and my daughters,// Tony replied.

//Scully knows what she's doing. If anyone can cure us, she can,// Skinner answered.

When it was finished Scully tested it on another sample of Skinner's infected blood then looked at it under the microscope. She sighed with relief when it killed off the infected cells and left the other ones alone.

"Let's go test it on Walter," Scully said.

Takeda, in the meantime, had filled several bottles with the liquid and was quickly sealing each of them as Scully retrieved three syringes and filled them with the remainder of the drug. "If it works on Walter with no ill effects, then we'll give it to Alex and Tony," she said, taking the syringes and heading upstairs to bedroom.

The other four men hastily followed her out of the lab. They only made it halfway upstairs when they heard gunfire coming from outside, it sounded like it was just outside the main gates.

Hunter got a far away look in his eyes. "Damn, they have six sorcerers with them. Dana, test the drug on Walter! Rory and I will try to hold them off for as long as possible," he said, racing back downstairs and out the front door with MacIver right on his heels.

Scully, Frohike, and Takeda ran up the remaining steps and into the bedroom. Scully rushed over to Skinner's bedside. Tristan Woods had been keeping watch over the three men's bedsides and jumped to assist her. He swabbed Skinner's arm with antiseptic and watched as Scully plunged the needle into a vein.

//God, I hope this wor . . .// Skinner started to say. Then he simply vanished leaving Krycek and Tony standing there alone.

Skinner opened his eyes after a couple of minutes, and squinting against the harsh light. He looked up at Scully and smiled. "Thanks, Dana," he wheezed out, his voice rough from lack of use.

"How do you feel?" she asked softly, while Woods checked his heart rate and blood pressure.

"Fine, a little stiff, but I'm sure that's from not being able to move for over a month," Skinner said.

"Good, I would have liked to run a few more tests before I give Tony and Alex the drug, but we're under attack so there won't be time. We're just going to have to chance it," Scully replied.

Skinner groaned as he attempted to ease his body off the bed, every muscle protesting he collapsed back down on the pillow.

Takeda stepped forward and laid a hand on Skinner's chest. Using his healing powers, he healed the muscle and joint pain the older man was feeling. Scully and Woods, in the meantime, had moved over to Krycek's bedside and were repeating the process on him.

"Thanks, Shin," Skinner said as he climbed out of bed feeling a hundred percent better. He quickly dressed in the clothes that Woods had draped over a chair next to his bed. He made telepathic contact with Hunter and MacIver.

*Gabriel, we'll be right down!*

*Take your time, Walter, these sorcerers didn't prove to be much of a match for Rory and myself,* Hunter replied, relieved to hear Skinner's voice. He wanted to get to the cave to be with the rest of the family, but particularly Hans, for some reason he was feeling anxious about the younger man's welfare.

***

U.S. Embassy London
Tuesday, March 3
9:00 a.m.

Mulder slammed down the receiver, he was more stressed out than he had ever been before in his life. He needed to get through to his family to at least let them know where he was, and that he was trying to get home to them. He glanced over at Yermolov who was watching him. Mulder stopped his frantic pacing and studied the handsome man, he took in the younger man's fine bone structure, piercing black eyes -- they could produce such a beautiful baby together. Would it really be wrong? It would feel so good.

Yermolov met Izumi's worried eyes before turning back to Mulder. The two men had been watching Mulder stalk restlessly around the bedroom suite. The young Russian major's heart leapt into his throat at the lustful look Mulder was now giving him, and his cock throbbed its desire to take the beautiful immortal. Think of Alexei! Yermolov silently scolded as he dragged his eyes reluctantly away from Mulder's beautiful face. "Mulder, we will continue to try to reach your family, but I think it would be best if we sedated you now."

"Oh, shit," Mulder said as he realized that he had totally forgotten about his family as his body focused on the handsome sorcerer. "Yes, I think that would be best, too," he murmured softly, closing his eyes to block out Yermolov's handsome face.

Izumi went into the bathroom and came back with the bottle of tranquilizers and a glass of water. "Mulder, how does this usually work?"

"After I take the tranquilizers I usually sleep in five hour increments. My body tends to throw off the effects of the tranquilizer faster than normal humans. Whenever I wake up, I take two more pills. After ten hours I usually get up and use the bathroom, and Tristan always has something for me to eat and drink before I take more pills until I get through the three days," he replied sadly.

"Okay, Mulder, I'll see that a meal is prepared for you when you wake up the second time, and no one but myself will be allowed into the bedroom," Izumi said. He opened to door and signaled that Yermolov should leave.

"Thanks, Masataka," Mulder replied. After Yermolov had left the bedroom he shrugged out of his clothes and climbed into bed, taking the pills Izumi held out to him. He then laid back and waited for the drug to take affect.

***

 


 

Life from the Ashes Book 3 - SBS
Chapter 8
The Invasion

by Jo B.


***

Viva Towers
Tuesday, March 3
9:00 a.m.

Scully, Skinner, Krycek, and Woods headed into D.C. with the SBS serum while Tony, Hunter, Frohike, MacIver, and Takeda went to join the rest of the family at the cave.

Once in D.C., they split into two teams: Skinner and Scully, and Krycek and Woods. They spent the next seventeen hours going through the city and surrounding areas giving shots to as many sorcerers as they could locate while hiding from the coalition's invading armies. Unfortunately, the invaders had already killed all the sorcerers at the Georgetown Hospital and several other medical facilities throughout the city, only those who had been hidden and protected by clairvoyants had survived. What disturbed Skinner were the stories by survivors that the doctors at the hospital had all been taken away by the invading troops who had also ransacked the hospital of all its medical supplies and equipment.

As the American sorcerers began to recover from the SBS shot, they joined with U.S. troops defending their city. They already knew what had been happening around them, and were anxious to take on the invaders.

Skinner had saved going to Viva Towers for last because it was the best protected, and would keep, where too many others were exposed and vulnerable to the invaders. At Viva Towers, the clairvoyants had formed a protective shield around the entire complex, and the foreign troops passed by the building without even realizing it was there.

They currently were inside Agent Lars Johnson and Agent Marty Smith's apartment, both men were FBI sorcerers. Agent Sullivan was attending to Johnson who had just woken up after four weeks of being in a coma. Dana Scully was in Agents Smith's bedroom injecting him with the serum. Scully yawned as she closed up her medical kit then smiled at Skinner. "Sir, Agent Smith was the last sorcerer, shall we move on?"

"No, Dana, I think that you should get a few hours of rest first," Skinner said gently.

"Sir, we don't have time!" Scully argued loudly. Then lowered her tone as Agent Smith opened his eyes and groaned. "Here drink this, Marty," she said, holding a glass of water to his lips.

Skinner watched Scully attend to her patient, then said quietly, "Dana, we were able to revive close to three hundred sorcerers. They should be able to hold D.C. until the CDC can distribute the cure to the rest of the country." He continued talking to her as he helped Agent Smith to his feet and across the room into the bathroom. "We both could use some rest, and I want to try to contact Gabriel again to find out how Hope and Faith are doing. We might just be able to get through the block the invaders have on our communication lines by now."

Scully could see the worry in Skinner's eyes as she followed the two men into the small bathroom and she said tiredly, "Okay, sir, we'll take a three hour break. I want to try to call Jonathan too, him and Scott went with my brothers and nephews to St. Louis to get away from the fighting." Scully noticed the look of embarrassment on Smith's face who standing in his briefs next to the toilet, and she hurriedly left the bathroom to give the younger agent his privacy.

Ten minutes later Skinner stepped into the living room after making sure that Smith was able to function on his own. He pulled his cell-phone from his pocket, frowning, when he heard the static come from it. *Alex!* He called out telepathically. The younger man should be close enough to make telepathic contact.

*Walter, what?* Krycek answered tired and grumpy.

*Are you and Tristan free to meet us at Viva Towers?*

*Give us an hour. We're just finishing up in Alexandria. God, it's been almost impossible finding anyone; they've been too well hidden,* Krycek complained.

*Yeah, but at least it's kept them alive,* Skinner replied.

*There is that. Why do you want us at Viva Towers? Did you run into some trouble?* Krycek asked much more alert.

*No. I need you to stay with Dana while I head out to the cave. Alex, I haven't been able to make contact with them yet, and that has me worried,* Skinner replied honestly.

*Walter, I'm coming with you. Dana will be fine at Viva Towers. Just place her in Agents Lars Johnson and Dakota Jones care.*

Scully walked over to Skinner, she could tell by his expression that he was telepathically talking with someone, she guessed it was Alex.

Skinner glanced at her guiltily, and replied to Krycek, *Alex, the invaders are taking prisoners throughout the city. Dana would be too tempting a target for them. I don't like the idea of just leaving her in anyone else's care -- you know she is not going to want to stay put as long as there are more sorcerers that need her help.*

*Walter, there are thirty FBI sorcerers living at Viva Towers, assign ten to help Dana distribute the cure, she's a trained agent after all,* Krycek growled agitated, he wanted to be with his daughter.

Skinner sighed, he knew Krycek was right, but he just didn't feel comfortable leaving Scully without his personal protection. If it weren't for her, they would still be in a coma back at Foxfire Glenn.

*Okay, Alex. Let me talk to Dana first.*

*I'll see you in an hour, Walter.*

After he ended his telepathic link with Krycek, Skinner turned to Scully. "Dana, Alex and I are going to be heading out to the cave to check on our family. You are welcome to come along with us or I could assign a team of FBI sorcerers to help you distribute what remains of the SBS cure."

"Walter, I'm needed here. We have enough serum left for at least ten sorcerers. Then I want to go to the CDC to see if they have a fresh batch that we can use. Major Walker should have gotten the formula to the CDC office in Chicago by now, so hopefully its being electronically distributed to all of the medical labs throughout the country," Scully replied, yawning tiredly.

"Dana, do you think it will be difficult for them to find the nightshade to use in the drug?" Skinner asked.

"The plant is indigenous to parts of the country. A botanist should be able to help locate it," Scully replied.

Skinner thought for a second. "Alex might be able to use matter manipulation to duplicate the plant. I've never seen anyone as good as he is at it."

"I'm not sure if I want to chance it just yet. What if his copy is missing some genetic material that is key for the cure?" Scully argued. She had finally come to grips with their sorcerer abilities, but Alex's ability to form objects out of thin air still had her at a loss. She didn't know if the objects he had whipped up were real or not.

"Alex can create some when he gets here then you can drop it off to be analyzed at the CDC," Skinner reasoned.

"Okay, Walter, I'll do that. I'm going to go lie down for a while. Wake me when he gets here," she said, heading for the sofa.

Skinner went into the kitchen to join Johnson and Sullivan. Sullivan was fixing them breakfast. He took a seat at the counter to wait for Alex, and to have a much-needed cup of coffee.

"Don't worry, sir, we won't let anything happen to Agent Scully," Sullivan said, placing a plate of food in front of Johnson. Sullivan and his boyfriend Noah Logan had been caring for most of the sorcerers that were living at Viva Towers.

"Thanks, Jack. Scully is going to need all the protection she can get while she distributes the serum. We estimate that there are close to six hundred sorcerers still hidden around D.C. and the surrounding area," Skinner replied.

"We'll locate as many of them as we can, sir. Now that our sorcerers are well, we can start taking the offensive against those bastards," Sullivan growled.

Johnson was moving slowly; it was an effort to get the fork full of eggs up to his mouth -- all of his muscles were protesting from their lack of use over the past weeks. "Yeah, just give us a couple hours to recover and we'll teach those bastards what a major mistake they've made by attacking this country."

Skinner smiled into his coffee cup at the bravado in his young agent's voice. The A.D. had personally been involved in the training all of the FBI sorcerers and he wanted to command them when they took the fight to the invaders. However, he needed to see that his daughter, niece, and friends were all right first. "Johnson, save a few of them for me. I'm going to check on my family; I'll try to get back here as quickly as possible."

"Sir, we'll gift wrap one of 'em especially for you," Johnson smiled broadly, feeling better with every passing minute.

Skinner chuckled, then sat back to wait for Krycek.

***

Aircraft Carrier
Tuesday, March 3
10:00 a.m.

"What in the *hell* happened to that fucking n'thral?" King Gullbrand bellowed as he glanced at the map in the war room in dismay. It marked their armies' progress and was being continually updated by a team of clairvoyants. What should have been a simple campaign was turning into a disaster, and it was all Warlord Hector Cardoso's fault. The n'thral and his troops were not where they were supposed to be. Consequently, the tight circle they had formed around the city had a gaping hole in the center, which had given the Americans room to breathe and time to regroup.

King Gullbrand, Pharaoh Menes II, and Warlord Cardoso made up the team that was attacking the American capital. Warlord Havock and Emperor Kong Woo Long were concentrating their forces on the West Coast primarily San Francisco, while King Raschan and Sultan Casmiri attacked New York City. They weren't worried about the U.S. military; their sorcerers could easily neutralize any missiles or aircraft that the Americans launched at them.

"We have other problems, Gullbrand," Pharaoh Menes II said.

"What other problems?" the King growled.

"I've been receiving reports that the Americans have more healthy sorcerers in D.C. than we had otherwise suspected. They must have been laying low until we had committed the bulk of our forces to the ground campaign against their city. They are now picking us off like we were sitting ducks," Menes II replied.

"Dammit, man! Why didn't you know this ahead of time? It was *your* job to gather the information on the America's defenses!" Gullbrand swore, running his fingers nervously through his thick blond hair.

"Don't blame this on me, I did my job! My reconnaissance showed only a couple of hundred sorcerers protecting the American Capital. They must have moved in more healthy sorcerers from other parts of their country since then. No war ever goes perfectly, Gullbrand," the Pharaoh huffed angrily. He did not like to being blamed for their failures, even if he was at fault.

"Be that as it may, that still doesn't explain where that fucking n'thral is!" the King snapped back.

"Yes, we might still have had the advantage if Cardoso hadn't vanished on us and taken his troops and ships with him!" Pharaoh Menes II reasoned. He would see the blame for their present circumstances was placed squarely on the shoulders of the missing n'thral.

Gullbrand looked back at the map that was being updated frantically by their clairvoyants. The Americans had reclaimed even more sections of the city. "We will deal with that overgrown ape later. Right now, we need to get reinforcements here if we are going to capture this city. I'm going to order King Raschan and Sultan Casmiri to stop their attack on New York and help us down here," he growled. At the same time, he thought of all sorts of things he would do to Hector Cardoso when he got his hands on him.

***

The cold ocean wind blew through the loose clothing Hector Cardoso wore, it flapped like a flag against his body as he stared out across the shimmering ocean from the ship's bow. He could see one of his twenty warships off to their starboard side. He snickered to himself thinking about the look that would be on that arrogant Norwegian's face when he noticed their absence. The coalition's war meant nothing to him now. He had gotten what he had come for. He wrapped the leather leash more firmly around his hand. The leash was attached to a thick, white, leather collar that was fastened securely around his beautiful immortal lover's long, graceful neck. Cardoso would never allow Hans Schatz out of his sight again. He would always keep him on a short leash at his side, to be available for his pleasure at a moment's notice.

Hans Schatz tugged uselessly at the collar, trying to get it away from his throat. It was pressing uncomfortably against his Adam's apple and making it difficult for him to breathe. His other hand held the white, leather loincloth in place as the wind tried to blow it away from his body.

"Don't play with it, Doll. In time you'll get accustomed to having it there," Cardoso said, tugging firmly on the leash he pulled Hans closer.

"Never!" Schatz hissed. He flinched with revulsion as his naked flesh contacted the n'thral's hard body. Besides being leashed like a dog, his captor had further humiliated him by dressing him in a skimpy garment. It consisted of two white leather triangles tied together by leather strips that formed a loincloth covering his ass and groin; it tapered down to a point just level with his knees. He wore white leather sandals as well, but nothing else. The cold wind from the ocean caused goose pimples to breakout across his flesh, and his teeth clattered together uncontrollably as he stood shivering. It almost made him stand closer to Cardoso for warmth, which he figured was one of the points behind the outfit.

"We will be home soon, Doll. But first, we will deal with this parasite you are carrying," the n'thral said, wrapping his arm around the smaller man's chest and pulling his back against his stomach. His other large hand splayed across the immortal's belly, and he pressed down feeling the small lump inside.

"Don't," Schatz whimpered, afraid for his child.

"You are an immortal, my dear. Nothing can hurt you for long," Cardoso purred and continued to probe.

"Please, Hector . . . don't injure my baby. I'll do anything . . . just please don't hurt her," he sobbed, tears streaming down his face.

"Anything?" Cardoso chuckled. "Doll, you'll do anything regardless of what I do to this parasite that is infecting your perfect body. I think it would be best if we take care of it now. It would be less painful for you than if I were to wait and kill it later."

Schatz struggled madly against the giant's body as he felt Cardoso's fingers squeeze his belly and knew the immense giant intended to crush his baby to death. "No! Ppplease, Hector, it's a girl. Yyyou can sell her for lots of money," he sobbed miserably, his words barely understandable.

Cardoso stopped squeezing. He was only a fraction away from snuffing out the life growing inside his beautiful slave's body. "How much money?" he asked.

"Mmmmillions," Schatz stuttered.

The n'thral warlord weighed that in his mind. Millions of dollars or watching his doll's perfect body bloat as that thing got larger inside of him. "How long until it is born?"

"Sssix mmonths."

"Very well, Doll, I'll allow you six months. However, if that thing isn't out of your body by then I will cut it out!" he growled, removing his hand.

Hans shook uncontrollably thinking how close he had come to losing his baby to the monster holding him. *Oh, Melvin, where are you? Please, oh please, save our daughter from this mad man,* he cried out telepathically.

The heads of several of the ship's clairvoyants and sorcerers turned to stare in sympathy at the beauty standing within the confines of their leader's arms. There was nothing they could do or dared to do to help the pretty thing. It distressed them that their leader would even think about killing the priceless female fetus that the immortal was carrying.

Cardoso stroked and petted the younger man's body while around them the warship bustled with activity as men and n'thrals scurried by performing their appointed tasks. Whenever anyone passed close, they would slow and gaze appreciatively upon the beautiful erotic creature their leader had tethered to his arm. One small man walked nervously up to the pair.

"Sir, we have the prisoners lined up below and ready for your inspection," he said nervously.

Cardoso's hand shot out as he backhanded the man across his face for rudely interrupting him. The force of the blow threw the unfortunate man against the ship's steel guardrail.

"Diaz, never interrupt me unless it is something important!" the giant barked.

"I apologize, sir, it won't happen again," Diaz slurred as he regained his feet and backed away wiping blood away with his sleeve.

"Where do you think you're going, Diaz?" Cardoso asked as he played with Schatz's nipples.

"To see to the prisoners, sir," Diaz answered nervously.

Cardoso purred into his slave's ear. "Doll, would you like to see my latest slaves? Maybe we can find one for the arena. It's been awhile since you've enjoyed one of my death matches."

Schatz cringed in dread. He had tried to forget the bloody sport that his abuser enjoyed so much. He closed his eyes to blot out the bloody images and screams of pain that Cardoso's casual question conjured up.

Cardoso took his silence as acceptance. "Show us these new slaves, Daiz," he said as he turned back to the small man.

They followed him down to the bowels of the ship, to a hold next to the boiler room, which was extremely hot and smelled of body odor. Lined up in the middle of the sweltering room were ten humans and twenty n'thrals wearing leg irons. The chains were attached to eyebolts in the ship's flooring, limiting the men's movement to only two feet. Sweat poured off the captives' bodies, plastering their shirts to their chests. They all had a difficult time breathing in the hot dry air of the hold.

Cardoso's eyes immediately fell upon the largest n'thral he had ever seen. The creature was so big that he stood hunched over. He was too tall for the eight-foot ceilings. Cardoso was the tallest n'thral in his country standing close to eight feet tall, he estimated this n'thral to be at least a foot taller. He was so engrossed in studying the creature that he missed Schatz's slight gasp of surprise.

Schatz quickly hid his thoughts and stilled his emotions as he met Duffy's kind eyes. Somehow, he knew that everything would be all right now that this gentle giant was here. He knew regardless of the chains holding him that Duffy would find a way to rescue him. He gave a silent prayer of thanks that Melvin had taught them each how to conceal their thoughts. He now had a glimmer of hope to help him get through this ordeal, and back to Melvin.

Duffy was relieved to see that Hans looked no worse for wear. He knew the risk he took by allowing himself to be captured. If Ramirez was on board this ship, his life would be finished. However, he couldn't allow them to abduct Hans without trying to rescue him.

"Slave, what is your name?" Cardoso asked Duffy.

"Jason, sir," Duffy answered honestly, knowing that the clairvoyant standing next to Cardoso would know if he lied. It didn't matter how well he was able to hide his thoughts; a direct lie could easily be detected. He only hoped that Ramirez didn't know his first name, everyone at the estate only referred to him as Duffy.

"Jason. A name of a warrior. Do you know how to fight, Jason?" Cardoso asked, picturing this giant armed only with a club as he went up against several humans armed with swords in his arena.

"I am a humble farmer, sir," Duffy said, trying to avoid answering the question directly. It was true that he was a farmer or at least had been one at one time in his life. He did not want to reveal his vast experience as a soldier.

"Sir, he is telling the truth. He is not a fighter," Diaz replied. He didn't even try to probe Duffy deeper, he thought that n'thrals weren't smart enough to hide their thoughts from clairvoyants.

"Well, we cannot let such a magnificent creature go to waste. See that he is given training for the arena. You have two months to make a fighter out of him," Cardoso replied. He then resumed studying the rest of his slaves, pulling Schatz along on his leash as he roamed down the line of men and n'thrals.

The prisoners couldn't keep their growing desire for the beautiful immortal from showing on their bodies. Because of Shatz's pregnancy, he was no longer taking the anti-pheromone drug. Although his body wasn't producing as many pheromones as it normally would, it was still producing more than if he were taking the drug. With the exception of Duffy who was still on the sexual suppressant that lasted for three month per dosage, all of the other prisoners and guards were now sporting large erections, and only the chains were keeping the n'thral prisoners from attacking Schatz. Cardoso was getting hard again after only fucking Hans an hour earlier.

"Do any of these slaves have any special skills or training?" Cardoso asked, ignoring his arousal and the lustful stares the prisoners were giving his immortal lover.

"No, sir. They are all common laborers," Diaz answered cautiously. He knew that the large n'thral wasn't going to like that.

"What about the slaves on the rest of my ships?"

"No, sir. King Gullbrand's and Pharaoh Menes' troops took all of the doctors, engineers, and scientists. They even took the three women we captured, but they did leave us the lawyers and politicians," the smaller man replied. As a lawyer himself, he was confident that last part would at least placate his leader.

"Those *fucking* ingrates! We were to split the prisoners equally! I'm surprised they didn't take my prized n'thral," Cardoso growled, looking pointedly at Duffy.

"Ah, sir, we captured him on our way out of the city, not during the joint ground campaign."

Cardoso's face turned purple with rage when he realized that he had been played for a fool. Then his eyes rested on Hans, and he grinned maliciously, he would have the final laugh after all on those bastards.

"Come, Doll, I need a fuck," he growled, tugging on the leash he drew Hans against his chest. The young immortal's blond head only came as high as Cardoso's nipples. The n'thral's fingers laced through the young man's thick, silky hair and pulled his head back, bending he kissed Hans roughly before dragging him out of the ship's hold and up to his cabin.

Duffy's eyes bore holes into Cardoso's broad back as he dragged Hans struggling out of the room. He would tear that bastard apart with his bare hands.

***

Virginia
Tuesday, March 3
Noon

Skinner anxiously glanced at his watch as they drove toward the mountains. They were still too far to make telepathic contact with the others. He looked over at Krycek who had a faraway look on his beautiful face. It still amazed Skinner how much Alex resembled their lovely mother. "He'll be okay, Alex. We'll go to Russia and get him back as soon as this war is over."

"How could Fox have been so stupid and irresponsible as to trust Slava and abandon our daughters. They needed him, Walter. He should have put them above all else," Krycek grumbled.

"You know him, Alex, for someone who's been betrayed as often as Fox, he is still too trusting. He wants to believe so badly that he leaps into situations without thinking them all the way through. However, you have to cut Fox some slack this time, he was so scared for our lives and our daughters that Slava's claim of having a cure offered him hope," Skinner said.

"Walter, admit it, it was a stupid thing to do! Faith and Hope needed him and he wasn't there for them. When we get Fox back I'll make sure he thinks things through before he ever does anything so stupid again!" Krycek snapped.

Skinner looked at his half-brother astounded; he had never seen the younger man so mad before. He wondered what Alex had planned for their wayward lover. "Alex, go easy on him. He's probably feeling bad enough already."

"That the problem, Walter! We've been too easy on him and look where it's gotten us! We started to treat him like he was the same man that he was before the virus, but he's not, and we have to accept it and see that he accepts it, too," Krycek complained bitterly.

"Alex, what are you suggesting? That we go back to how it was before Doctor Vettelman? Fox was about to leave us because of the way we were treating him," Skinner argued.

"Walter, Fox would have never have left us, and if he tried we would never have allowed him to go. You know it and I know it, deep down Fox knows it, too. Our marriage licenses say until death and I intend to hold him to that." Krycek rolled down the window to let some cool air into the car.

"This isn't only about Fox is it, Alex?" Skinner knew that Alex had a deep hatred for Slava and he wondered if more had happened between them than Alex had told him.

Krycek scowled at him before answering. "Fox went willingly to Slava even after that man had raped him twice! They're probably having sex right now and you know Fox is enjoying it. Walter, Slava is a wealthy, handsome man . . . I'm worried that Fox may not want to come back to us. You know how easily immortals can fall in love."

Skinner frowned, there was still so much they didn't know about immortals. Shinji had recently discovered that immortals could fall deeply in love with a man because of some genetic bond that already existed between them, and they didn't even have to have sex with him first. Shinji had been researching why so many immortals were taking more than one lover. He had received blood samples from the immortals and their lovers and had discovered some genetic link within their DNA. Skinner didn't have a chance to discuss Shinji's theories with Fox and they hadn't given Shinji samples to test, but he was certain that was why Fox had fallen in love with him and Alex. He didn't even know if Shinji had told Fox his theories, his lover had been too involved in a case at that time. "I doubt Fox will fall in love with Slava. If he was going to, he would have done so a long time ago. He'll return with us, Alex, I can promise you that. What worries me is what happens if Fox meets someone that he is genetically bonded with? Will he be able to resist him?"

Skinner had been so engrossed in their conversation that he hadn't even realized that they had made it to their destination and he almost missed the turn leading up the mountain road. "Shit!" he said as he slammed on the brakes and swung the SUV around.

"I say we lock him up and throw away the key," Krycek muttered sullenly, holding onto the door as the SUV spun around and bounced up the bumpy winding road.

Skinner nodded his head in agreement, as he drove the SUV off the road and parked it behind his cabin out of sight. He pulled in next to the other three SUVs. He was climbing out when it occurred to him that Duffy's Humvee was missing. Then he noticed the cracked windshield on one of the SUVs. *GABRIEL!*

*Walter, thank God, you're finally here. I don't think I could have kept Melvin here much longer, and I won't let him go alone,* Hunter said exasperated.

Frohike's frantic voice resounded inside of Skinner's head. *Walter, someone's abducted Hans!*

Krycek and Skinner started running in the direction of the cave. *Gabriel, has anyone been hurt?*

*Carlos Ramirez killed Hong-Woo Lee, and Jeff was injured, but he's already been taken care of by Blaise and Hawk. Don't worry, Walter, all of the babies are fine,* Hunter replied.

They made their way through a tunnel and into a cave. They crossed the cave to a side tunnel that led to Duffy's underground chambers. The door was standing open and they entered the noisy, humid cavern. Krycek made a beeline straight for his daughter, picking her up he hugged her tightly and rained kisses over her. She giggled with delight, "Dadda Alik."

"Oh, cutie, I've missed being able to hold you so much. Daddy Alex will never leave you this long again," he cooed, oblivious to the commotion going on around them.

Hunter and Frohike were already pulling on their coats. Skinner had taken the time to pick up his daughter while he was questioning them about how they planned to find Hans.

"Ramirez was from South America. We believe that he was working for Hector Cardoso, and that Cardoso has Hans. We'll find out if he is holding Hans somewhere in D.C. or has taken him onboard a ship off the coast. They should still be in the area as long as the coalition is attacking this country. I would doubt that Cardoso would leave in a middle of a war," Hunter replied hastily, double checking the rounds in his gun. "Hopefully, Duffy was able to track them and can alert us as to where they are."

"Gabriel, Melvin, be careful," MacIver said, he was holding Ayako in his arms. He wanted to go with them, but the family needed his protection here. Shinji and Kazuo walked up, and put their arms around MacIver's waist, and watched sadly as their friends prepared to leave.

"Keep in contact with us if you can. We'll try to help you if it's at all possible," Skinner said.

"Thanks, Walter. We'll keep in touch," Hunter said and rushed after Frohike who was already jogging back toward the cabin.

"Walter, can you fill us in on what's happening in the city?" Sawada asked as the others gathered around. They had no way of finding out what was going on in D.C. with the war.

Skinner filled them in as best he could, all the while cuddling his daughter. He had missed her more than anything, but he had to leave her again to go back to D.C. to help defend it.

***

High Seas
Tuesday, March 3
3:00 p.m.

Hans Schatz tried to distract himself from the enormous cock opening his body. He couldn't do it no matter how hard he tried his body would always betray him. Even the foul smell of the monster fucking him and the stinky, soiled mattress his nose was pressed against weren't enough to stop his body's responses. Although the smell made him gag and his stomach lurch threatening to empty its contents, he was still painfully erect and wanted to come badly.

Schatz hated Cardoso more than he hated anyone on this planet or beyond. He hated him even more than he hated the little gray aliens that had killed Earth's females. Hans had seen the n'thral kill his father and uncles, crushing the life out of their bodies with his bare hands like the monster had tried to do with his unborn baby.

Now he lay naked and exposed on top of a filthy mattress that took up most of the floor inside captain's cabin while his body was being used to provide pleasure to his most hated enemy. Oh God, he needed to come so badly that tears of shame were streaming out of his eyes and soaking into the mattress. The force of Cardoso's giant organ pumping in and out of his body was wrenching unwanted pleasure from him with each hard thrust, which humiliated him tremendously. Schatz felt like he was betraying Melvin as his cock jutted out stiffly against his semen-covered belly in response to the fucking he was receiving. He wanted to keep the pain that he experienced the first few times the giant plunged his eighteen-inch cock into his body. However, his body had adjusted to the large organ, and now he only felt the initial pain of penetration then it would change over to pleasure. Try as he might he couldn't go into his mind to hide, his body wouldn't let him -- it was the curse of being an immortal. Hans had thought he had better control over his body's desires than other immortals. He had stayed faithful to Melvin no matter how much his body and soul desired Gabriel, too.

Cardoso was careful not to rest too much of his weight on the smaller man. He did not want to crush him as he had already done twice before, causing Hans to lose consciousness. It was not fun to fuck an unconscious body; he enjoyed feeling his lover squirm beneath him, and the sounds of pleasure and pain Hans made during their fucking drove him wild. Cardoso's fingers bruised the immortal's smooth, ivory flesh as he held onto the his slim hips to keep Hans from being dragged backwards as he pulled his firmly held cock out. He slammed it back in, causing the mattress to slide a couple of inches over the floor. The hot tightness of the sheath around his cock amazed him, and the smell of his lover intoxicated him making him giddy. He had been fucking Hans over the pass four hours and he was still as tight as when they had first started. Cardoso had used other men for sex while he searched for his missing lover. The men that lived past the first fucking had soon become too loose and unresponsive to satisfy Cardoso's rampant hunger.

Cardoso pulled all the way out and chuckled with delight at the sound of frustration that his wayward lover made. His hand engulfed the smaller man's stiff penis and squeezed it firmly. "You want to come, Doll, then you have to do some of the work. I want you to turn around and fuck yourself on my pole," he purred, sitting back on his knees with his thighs spread and his hard shaft jutting out from his lap.

Schatz pushed wantonly into the n'thral's hand then turned around and stare hatefully at Cardoso's smug face when the hand was withdrawn. He looked longingly at the massive cock that had been deeply inside him a few moments ago. His whole body ached for relief as he crawled blindly toward it. Hans was on his feet positioning himself over the thick head when he came to his senses, staring in horror at his own fingers laced through Cardoso's thick, long chest hair, and he tried to pull away, but the giant thrust up impaling him. Pleasure retook his mind and body as the cock filled and stretched him to the breaking point. Hans' eyes glazed over as he started working himself up and down angling for his prostate. The n'thral squeezed his ass cheeks and forced him to go faster up and down on the enormous organ. Hans moaned and whimpered as his cock finally exploded adding more splashes of milky come onto his belly and chest.

"Very good, Doll. Now let me show you how a real man fucks," Cardoso growled as pulled Hans off him and forcefully turned his body so he was back kneeling on the floor with his ass in the air. In one quick thrust Cardoso remounted the young man and relentlessly started to fuck him, his heavy low hanging balls slapped against the young man's ass and thighs adding bruises to the other marks already covering the milky white flesh. Hans mind focused on the depth that Cardoso was driving his cock into his body. He didn't know how he was able to take it so deeply; it felt like it would come out through his throat. Finally after ten more minutes the giant was spurting into his body then pulling out with a wet plopping sound.

Hans lay still on his hands and knees too exhausted and sore to move, his anus felt like it was stretched wide open as the cool air hit it. The n'thral's sticky come streamed down his thighs, then he felt the giant's tongue licking him clean and probing deep into his anus. Cardoso sucked out his own juices then licked along his lover's crack, gobbling both the younger man's balls into his large, hot mouth and rolling them around until his tongue had them spotlessly clean. Cardoso then gently rolled him onto his back and straightened out his stiff limbs before licking clean his cock and belly. "Doll, you taste unbelievably good," Cardoso purred between swipes of his tongue.

Schatz shuddered with disgust, feeling the drying saliva on his naked flesh. It was Cardoso's preferred method of bathing him. In the many long months when he was held captive by the n'thral before, he was only given the luxury of a shower six times. He knew that was only because the monster had been away invading and pillaging surrounding cities and villages.

"Come, Doll, let's get something to eat. Then we can take a romantic stroll around the deck," the n'thral said, pulling Hans to his feet he ignored the sharp cry of pain that issued from the young man's perfect lips. Cardoso fastened the loincloth back around his slave's trembling hips then he clipped the leash back onto the collar and attached the end to a hook in the wall while he dressed.

Hans' eyes avoided looking at the n'thral's large hairy body, he shifted painfully his anus was inflamed from the hours of fucking it endured. His eyes focused on the stained mattress; swallowing hard at the blood, semen, and other unmentionable body fluids over its surface, he quickly shifted his eyes to the wall. If he got through this experience with his sanity in check, he'd consider himself extremely lucky. He concentrated hard and projected an imaginary image of Melvin's gentle face onto the wall and smiled softly, he'd get through this for Melvin and their baby. He would not allow Cardoso to take that away from him.

***

Aircraft Carrier
Tuesday, March 3
4:30 p.m.

"Cardoso has taken his entire fleet back to Argentina," Pharaoh Menes II stated.

"Did you find out why he decided to up and leave in the middle of our war? He is not a coward, he must have had a good reason," Gullbrand growled. Their reinforcements had arrived and they were recovering some of the ground that they had previously lost.

"It appears our sneaky n'thral associate was able to pull a fast one on us. He has gotten his hands on Hans Schatz and is taking him back to Argentina with him," Menes replied as he studied Gullbrand's handsome face closely.

King Gullbrand's face darkened with rage. He had wanted the beautiful blond-haired immortal for himself, and the thought of that monstrosity touching the pretty, young man drove him insane with jealousy. "When we are finished here we will take our forces down to Argentina and teach that n'thral a lesson," the King said quietly.

"Gullbrand, don't think that the pretty blond immortal will be yours. After we kill Cardoso we will decide who gets him fairly," Menes replied.

"Menes, when we capture the other immortals then Hans Schatz will belong by default to Warlord Havock," Gullbrand replied reasonably.

"Maybe, maybe not. Havock was to get Fox Mulder, and I've been informed that the sly little Fox has slipped away from his Russian Bear, and he's on his way back to America," Menes chuckled.

Gullbrand snarled at him, "Let's win the war first! We shall discuss the spoils afterwards!"

The Pharaoh walked away chuckling, he knew he had hit a sore spot with the Scandinavian. The King's desire to own the tall, leggy, blond-haired immortal was so blatantly obvious he couldn't help challenging him.

***

St. Petersburg
Tuesday, March 3
5:00 p.m.

Slava sat in the nursery holding his newborn daughter tenderly in his arms. He was singing softly to her in Russian as he gazed lovingly upon her beautiful face while she suckled from a bottle, her little fingers opened and closed in time with her suckling. She was perfect, just like the rest of his daughters, each of whom he had held. Tears of joy warred with tears of sorrow running silently down his cheeks. He finally had his daughter in his arms, but Fox was not here to share in this moment with him.

Fox should have been here. He wanted his lover not only as a part of his life, but also as part of their daughters' lives. It was important to him that his baby girls get to know their immortal father as well as himself.

One of his daughters' young nannies stepped forward and took the empty bottle from him. She then held out her hands for the infant, which she placed over her shoulder to burp. The other young and pretty nannies were cooing happily over their appointed charges. His daughters would not spoil for attention with these attentive, loving women watching over them.

All the women were young, only in their early-twenties, and they had a youthful enthusiasm that he enjoyed.

"Natasha, I must attend to some matters of state. Please, don't hesitate to interrupt me if there is even the slightest problem with the czarinas," Slava said, standing and smoothing out the creases in his pants.

"Yes, moi Tsar," she murmured and curtsied.

After he had left the room, all the nannies turned to each other giggling.

"He is so hot!"

"Did you see how gently he held his czarinas? I wouldn't mind him holding me that way," Nina sighed breathlessly.

"Dream on, Nina. He only has eyes for his Fox, and what a Fox. I sneaked a peek at him while he was here," Anna bragged.

"Oh, Anna, you were lucky that you weren't caught! The Tsar would have been so angry," Nina replied. Slava had banned them to the eastside of the palace because he didn't want his lover to find out about the babies. "So, tell us is he as beautiful as they all say he is?"

"Much more so, he had the prettiest eyes that I have ever seen. They changed colors as he was talking, and he had the thickest lashes. His hair was different shades of brown; it looked so thick and silky. I just itched to run my fingers through it. Oh, you should have seen his lips *wow* talk about luxurious, and he had the cutest little mole on his cheek. God, I wish he hadn't been kidnapped. I would have loved to meet him. The poor Tsar is so broken hearted," Anna sighed.

"He will get his Fox back, you cannot keep true love apart," Irina said, looking up from where she knelt beside one of the cradles.

The other women all murmured their agreement then went back to chatting and caring for the infants.

***

London
Tuesday, March 4
4:00 a.m.

Mulder staggered back to bed. The effects of the last sedative had left him feeling listless and sad. However, it did have a positive effect it dampened his compulsion for a baby to a bearable level. He swore as he stubbed his toe on the foot of the bed.

"Mulder, are you okay?" Masataka Izumi asked, coming into the bedroom from the connecting room.

"Masa, go back to bed. You don't have to lose sleep over me. I'll be fine," he sighed. Limping the last few steps to the bed, he sat shakily on the mattress.

"Shut up, Mulder. Now answer my question," the older man said forcefully as he poured a glass of water from a pitcher on the nightstand and handed it to Mulder.

Mulder hid a smile upon hearing the tone in Izumi's voice; it reminded him of Scully. He took a deep sip of water then became solemn as he answered the older man's question. "My toe hurts, I'm tired, and I just had a dream about my new daughters," he murmured, bowing his head to hide his eyes as they welled up with tears.

Izumi sat next to him and gently rubbed his back. "Tell me about it? It is not good to keep it in, it will only become more painful," he said soothingly.

Mulder's body trembled, turning he buried his face against Izumi's shoulder and wrapped his arms around the older man's body. Izumi returned the embrace and held the young man tightly as Mulder broke down sobbing in his arms.

When he got himself back under control, Mulder murmured, "It wasn't a bad dream, I have so many of those that I've learned how to deal with them." He relaxed in the Izumi's comforting embrace and murmured against his shoulder. "Masa, you should have seen them, they were all so beautiful. I wanted more than anything to hold each of them, but to know that I will never have the opportunity hurts so much. I want to go back to see them and be with them. They are my daughters, I have that right!"

"Fox, you have to let them go. I know it hurts not to be part of their lives, but with them comes Tsar Nikolai. You have to focus on your other daughters and husbands. I think the choice you have to make is pretty clear," Izumi said gently as he eased the younger man away and reached for the bottle of sedatives.

"I will never be able to let them go. They are a part of me and will always be in my heart. However, I will take your advice and try to focus on Walter, Alex, and our daughters. Masa, when we get back to America, please promise me that you won't tell anyone about Slava's and my daughters. I want to tell them myself, but only when I'm ready," Mulder said, taking the two tablets that the older man handed him.

"I promise, Mulder. Now get under the covers you have two more days to get through," he scolded.

Mulder allowed Izumi to tuck him in and smiled softly at him. "Thanks, Masa, for everything."

"You're welcome, Mulder. Now sleep," he said, turning out the lights.

***

 


 

Life from the Ashes Book 3 - SBS
Chapter 9
The Victory

by Jo B.


***

London
Monday, March 6
1:00 p.m.

The severe pain caught Mulder completely by surprise as he crumpled to the hardwood floor in agony. He had been so worried about reaching his lovers since awakening from his self-imposed sedation that he didn't even notice the first minor withdrawal pains when they started earlier. It didn't even occur to him that it had been over five days since he had last had sex.

The other four men in the room all rushed to his side. They had no idea what had just happened to him. One minute Mulder was frantically talking on the telephone to someone in America, the next, he was on the floor writhing in pain.

"What's wrong with him?" Ambassador Redding asked.

"Mulder, what's wrong?" Izumi asked, kneeling next to Mulder and placing his hand on the suffering man's forehead. "He's burning up! Quick, Pyetr, carry him into the bedroom."

"Oh my," Marat Fyodorov muttered when he suddenly realized what the problem was.

"What is it, Marat?" Yermolov growled as he scooped Mulder's trembling body up in his arms. The agent wrapped his arms around the major's neck and clenched his teeth against the pain.

"You're going to have to fuck him, Pyetr," Fyodorov stated bluntly.

"WHAT!" Pyetr gasped, almost dropping Mulder as he followed Izumi and the Ambassador down the hallway.

"NO!" Mulder hissed.

Fyodorov went on ignoring both men. "Mulder's going through sexual withdrawal and only a sorcerer can relieve his pain by having anal intercourse with him," the little man informed them.

"That is preposterous!" Izumi growled while pulling down the blankets on the bed and watching Yermolov gently set Mulder down.

"No. He's right, I've heard that it's common in immortals who have sorcerer lovers," Redding said.

Mulder took in a deep painful breath and said slowly, "I don't want to have sex with anyone other than Walter and Alex." He stopped, closing his eyes briefly against the pain, "Pyetr, promise me, that no matter how bad I get you won't touch me."

"You have my word, Mulder," Yermolov said.

"Mulder, you mean Marat is telling the truth?" Izumi asked still not believing that could possibly be the problem.

Mulder gave a weak, depressed chuckle, "Yeah, fucking unbelievable isn't it? Masa, I'm going to have to take some more sedatives to get through this," he hissed through clenched teeth.

Izumi quickly filled a glass with water and handed him two tablets. "How long will this last, Mulder? Another three days?"

"No, three weeks," Mulder sighed, tears of frustration and despair coming to his eyes. For all he knew Walter and Alex were dead or dying and he couldn't do a thing to help them. He thought briefly about allowing Pyetr to fuck him, but he couldn't betray his lovers any further. He deserved this pain; it was retribution for his sins and past betrayals.

"Mulder, who were you talking to in America?" Yermolov asked, sitting at the foot of the bed. They still hadn't been able to get through to Washington D.C. or anywhere on the East Coast by telephone.

"Agent Moe Bocks in the Minneapolis field office. He's going to drive to Foxfire Glenn Estate and find out if Walter and Alex are all right." Mulder lay back on the bed, and ran a hand over his face. "He said that the invaders are blocking all communications on the East and West Coasts. However, the middle of the country is wide open, that's how I was able to get through to him." An excited smile crossed Mulder's face for a brief second. "Pyetr, someone in the Chicago office of the CDC has discovered a cure for SBS . . . Bocks is going to get his hands on it and take it with him," Mulder said hurriedly as the sedative started to work.

"Then maybe there is still a chance for your country, Mulder," Yermolov murmured, studying Mulder's face as the agent slowly drifted into a drug-induced sleep. Even in sleep the pain was still clearly etched across the beautiful face as he shifted uneasily, moaning softly.

***

Two Days Later
Foxfire Glenn Estate
Wednesday, March 8
3:00 p.m.

Agent Moe Bocks and his partner walked carefully through the debris scattered throughout the mansion. The place had been ransacked and vandalized. There didn't seem to be an inch untouched, even the walls had holes through them. The floors were littered with empty wine and beer bottles.

"Talk about a major party," Bocks quipped, kicking an empty Budweiser bottle across the room.

His partner gave him a disapproving look. "There doesn't seem to be anyone here, Moe," Agent Skip Anderson said.

"Skip, I think the invaders must have gotten to A.D. Skinner and Agent Krycek. Poor Agent Mulder, he is not going to be very happy," Bocks sighed, toeing a shattered vase with his shoe.

"We don't know that, Moe, they might have escaped," Anderson replied, righting a stool in the kitchen. He glanced sadly around at the broken windows and the bullet holes in the walls. It looked as if a major battle had happened inside the mansion.

Bocks bent down and picked up a baby's pacifier. "You think? Maybe we can make it to the Hoover Building they might know something about what happened here."

"That sounds like a plan to me, Moe. If we don't get ourselves killed in the process."

The two agents walked outside and looked in the direction of D.C., even at this distance they could see the smoke from the burning buildings.

"Skip, at least we will be able to find out what is happening in D.C.," Bocks said. Climbing into the driver's seat of his Caravan, and the two men reluctantly headed for D.C.

***