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To the Hilt I thru VI

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To the Hilt by Nonie Rider

To the Hilt
by Nonie Rider ()
Summary: An empty parking garage, a pair of handcuffs, and Krycek's own knife in Mulder's hands.
With thanks to Katja, Palinurus, and Spike, beta dominatrices.


To the Hilt
by Nonie Rider

"Krycek. You ratfuck traitor--" Mulder's voice was a chill hiss in his ear. "Hands on the roof of the car, or I get to shoot you. Do it!"

How could he have been so stupid? Out of options, Krycek obeyed, feeling his legs kicked apart and off balance in the traditional search position he'd learned during his own FBI days. Shit. Shit, shit, shit! The icy muzzle against the base of his skull never wavered as Mulder's other hand performed a quick and ruthless search that found his gun, his backup, his knife, his strangling wire hidden in the collar of the leather jacket, the throwing darts in his prosthetic forearm.... Shit!

He had to think of something fast. He didn't know which would be worse, a quick bullet through the head in this abandoned parking garage, or letting himself be taken into custody where They could find him. //Black humor's the only weapon you've still got, Alex. Use it!//

"Mulder, if you just wanted to cop a feel--"

"Shut. Up." The quiet voice behind him was deadly. "Don't make me hit you, Krycek, or I'm never going to stop. What you did to Scully, to my father-- I want an excuse to kill you, Krycek. I want it very much."

Fuck, he meant it. Krycek swallowed and was silent.

"We need to have a little talk, you fucking traitor. Over there. Move!"

Krycek allowed himself to be shoved toward a narrow concrete pillar, and made no move to escape as Mulder threw a pair of handcuffs at him hard enough to draw blood. "Back up against the column, Krycek. Lock your arms around it behind you."

The gun barrel glared at him like a third eye, as if all Mulder's rage was focused through it. Despite his better judgment, Krycek obeyed. The position was awkward, his arms strained back to their limit, and his prosthetic was so well attached with a long strap across his chest that he could not get free.

Mulder circled around behind him, and an unyielding hand checked the cuffs. Then Mulder came back into sight.

"Damn it, Krycek, why couldn't you give me an excuse to shoot you?" Mulder's voice was furious, and then that crazy grin tore at the corners of his mouth and Krycek was deeply afraid.

Mulder's grin widened into a shark's bared teeth, and softly he set down his gun and Krycek's weapons well away from Krycek's reach. But the knife he kept, and drew it for inspection.

"Nice knife, Krycek." It was not a compliment. "What is this, a Sykes-Fairbairn? Double-edged blade... How many partners have you killed with it? How many people who trusted you?"

He was too close, and getting closer. Shit! Krycek had faced assassins and felt only professional caution, but Mulder had never been entirely sane and in his current mood he was far more dangerous than any hired gun. How could Krycek ever have taunted this man with an insulting kiss?

The blade was blacked, but the edge glittered coldly at the edge of his sight. Oh God it was touching his throat, it was moving, it was ice-sharp and hot blood spilled down his fear-taut skin--

Then the blade pulled away and traced the line of his jaw, and he could not stop himself from shaking. Salt sweat burned and stung in the shallow cuts, and he could barely breathe.

The knife-point prowled upwards and came to rest just below his left eye. //Bozhe moi, my God, nyet! Nyet--! // He did not dare close his eyes, but the pain made them sting with tears, and he cursed himself for that sign of weakness. He could feel the oppressive heat of Mulder's nearness, so different from the ice of his hatred.

He had wanted this nearness once; had fantasized about it. But now--//Fuck, let me out of here! I don't want to die like this--! //

"You killed my father, Krycek." The very name was an epithet in that chill voice. And it was not done speaking.

"You sold me out." And the sharp point slid just a fraction forward, and Krycek felt the tears of pain spill down his cheek in horrible self-betrayal.

"You sold them *Scully*." The voice was a breath, a whisper sharp as the whetted blade. "Do you know what they did to her? Do you?"

And the blade and those cold hazel eyes both dropped from his face and Oh God below his belt--

Even if Mulder killed him, he had to fight. Dropping his head into butting range, he slammed a knee upwards towards Mulder's groin--and missed.

Mulder laughed, one short slap of sound. "I don't think so, you rat bastard. Getting slow, aren't you." And then the cold tip of the blade forced Krycek's chin up and back as Mulder closed his other hand over Krycek's belt.

"Looks like I'd better restrain your legs as well. Kick your shoes off--carefully!--so I can remove your jeans."

//Do it, you idiot, you know he means it!// Krycek tried not to struggle. //Fuck, remember this is Mulder. The more helpless you are, the *less* likely he is to kill you, even if it goes against all your instincts.//

Feeling the blade sting when he couldn't keep himself from swallowing, Krycek pushed his boots off with the opposite foot and slid them in the approximate direction of the guns. The cold concrete beneath his feet was unyielding as death.

And then all thought left him as Mulder freed his belt with one hand and yanked his jeans down without ever moving the knife from his throat. //Christ, how can I be hard!// Utter humiliation flooded him as he realized that Mulder could not miss his arousal even through his boxers, nor the blush that now burned his face like a wave of fire.

Mulder scowled down at him for a moment, then raised those ice-sharp eyes to his. //No, nyet--Oh God, please just let me die now! God--//Krycek could not make himself look away, locked in that ruthless gaze like a beast in a steel-jawed trap.

Then Mulder shook his head, lip curled in disgust. He stepped away to pull the jeans free and walked around him out of sight, and Krycek jerked in unwilling reaction as those strong hot hands caught his ankles, one and then the other, and tied them with the legs of his jeans which were now wrapped behind the pillar.

In sudden panic, he lost control and tried to fight, but his legs were now as pinned as his arms, and he could do nothing. He yelled--in Russian or English, he couldn't even tell--but then Mulder was standing again, and that sharp, sharp blade was pressing against his lips. Tasting his own blood, he stammered into silence again.

"Krycek. Be quiet." That still voice was sharper than the knife. "Do not. Provoke. Me." And those glittering eyes watched him from too close, seeing every drop of sweat and blood and furious tears.

When Krycek stopped trying to speak, the knife moved away, and he could not keep from catching his breath in something very like a sob as Mulder set it down. Then those taut hands came up to slide the jacket off his shoulders in a horrible parody of intimacy. "I think you've been spying on me long enough." Mulder's voice was flat. "My turn."

And the jacket was wedged in the small of his back, his arms still caught in the sleeves and trapped even more firmly against the pillar. And then the knife came up again to rest at the hollow of his neck.

This time he closed his eyes as he felt the blade begin to move. Shit, at least he was wearing a buttoned shirt today so Mulder could open it like the jacket without using that kn-- And then he felt the sharp kiss of steel as Mulder cut the first button free.

Oh fuck oh fuck-- With each button, he felt the knife against his skin, shallow cuts that burned like ice. His chest, his stomach-- And worst of all, the tug of cloth against his fear-sensitive ribs each time only made him harder. Every sensation was so sharp, so immediate--

The shirt was soaked in sweat before the final button parted. And then the shock of those hot dry hands as Mulder pushed it back over his shoulders to join the jacket. Against his now-bared back, the rough concrete made his spine ache with cold.

Another touch made him jump as Mulder's hand closed on the stump of his arm, and a merciless intrusive thumb scraped under the straps. He tried to force himself to open his eyes, but something in him knew that Mulder's madness would eat him whole if he met that lethal gaze again.

And then a moment of stillness, and nothing moved but Krycek's shivering breath.

He felt the stinging pain in the hollow of his throat before he felt the pressure of the blade. Uncontrollably, he cried out, and heard his own cry as small and voiceless as if in some passion other than fear.

A chuckle.

Krycek's eyes flew open as he felt the knife dart down to his hip, and Mulder, too close, slit his boxers with hardly a tug against the skin. Oh shit, oh shit-- He was totally exposed and defenseless now, not even cloth between him and the hate-cold eyes and the sharp, sharp knife. And even now, the danger and something else made him harder, until he thought he'd die of that alone.

Mulder stepped away and looked him up and down--not only his betraying cock, but every scar, every blemish and flaw, every joint and hollow and unprotected target. His narrowed eyes echoed the shark's grin of his bared teeth.

Even Krycek's voice was raw and defenseless. "Just finish it, Mulder!" //Finish it, Christ, just let this be over, whatever happens-- Just let this be over--//

Mulder's words were so low he barely heard them. "You betrayed me, Krycek." Oh God, he was moving closer again, unbearably slow. "You shot my father." The blade floated up in timeless suspension like a nightmare rising. "You helped them hurt Scully."

And the glittering tip neared his eye again and Krycek flinched away, his eyes squeezed shut as if the fragile lids could somehow protect him.

"Don't. Move." Almost a whisper, and the nearness sent a whipcrack of heat down his spine.

Utterly terrified, he made himself be still and waited for the first explosion of agony to blossom in the socket.

The cold point traced the shape of his lid, a feather touch of pain and fear, so light-- A moment of blessed freedom, and then he shuddered uncontrollably as the knife made contact on the other side. Another almost gentle tracing across his spasming eyelid.

Any moment now--

But the blade traveled down to rest at the corner of his mouth. And with the same lethal delicacy, it mapped the outline of his lips and slid across between them without breaking the skin, although the drying blood from the earlier cut snagged at the blade.

Then a slow, precise line down his neck to the hollows below, and the blade shaped his collarbones like a sculptor's tool. And still the cuts were shallow and little blood spilled.

//Christ, Mulder, please finish it. I'd beg you if I dared. Just one fast strike under the rib and it would be over. Please, before this hideous tension unmans me and I foul myself in terror. Please--//

But the careful point glided along a rib with the inevitability of the tide, and oh Christ his nipple, no, nyet, God no, please stop!-- any pain would be easier to bear than this sudden wash of stinging heat. No!

And then the point reached the nipple's core and pressed delicately inward, barely parting the skin and waking not pain but fire, and he was screaming wordlessly "Ah, ah!" over and over with his breath torn and ragged. Mulder smiled.

A moment of relief and he was nearly sick, but now the blade moved across to his other nipple.

"Uhn--" A sound torn from his gut now, and the knife's light touch seared through him and his knees gave way, only his bound arms holding him upright as the fire from the tiny cut stole all his strength.

Mulder's smile was dark and secret, and Krycek knew then that he would not stop.

An endless moment and then the blade moved lower. Down along the breastbone, and then lightly across his stomach to circle his navel. Explosive tremors shook through Krycek's body, and he felt his own movement part his skin against the point.

The edge of the blade then, delicately shaping the curves and hollows of his hip, waking only a shallow thread of blood and pain where it had been. Krycek wished very fervently to be dead, but it did not stop.

Sharp feather-touch down the sensitive crease where the torso meets the thigh, and it would almost have tickled if his body weren't cramped with the unbearable fear.

And then it moved towards his center, his cock--"Christ no please don't please don't Oh God please--!" Krycek cried out. And Mulder casually smashed him across the mouth with the butt of the knife and lowered it again to the task.

With that same deliberate lightness, the tip traced the line of a swollen vein up the arc of his cock and then lingered near the tip. Krycek nearly came in terror as the point teased the folds of his retracted foreskin, delicately circling just below the head of his cock.

And then the head itself, the knife-point playing with his slit, and the warm drop spilling like blood--

The cold concrete pillar scraped his back raw as he fought to pull away, but he was too tightly bound. And Mulder, his eyes dark and narrowed, took his panic as reason to linger. Oh God, the cold sharp point stretching the slit of his cock almost to cutting--

When the steel tip finally retreated, Krycek sagged further, sobbing uncontrollably now and waiting for the final blow.

But Mulder wasn't finished. The knife followed the line of his cock down to the root, then slid around his balls as if to shave him clean. Oh God, Mulder, please--Please just finish it; don't make me wait for the end any longer. Oh God, please--!

But the vicious cut he expected never came. The knife continued back to the secret hollow behind his sac, the valley of flesh that had one center.

Mulder shifted his grip, and then without warning drove the knife in, hilt-first and knobbed with steel. Screaming, Krycek came and came and came, all his fear made blood-hot and exploding from him with the force of a car bomb. Every spasm clenched him tighter on the merciless steel, and every bruising pain racked the pleasure higher and higher, until the unending agonized joy hurled him finally into darkness.

***

He woke slumped on his knees at the pillar's base, his back flayed from the rough concrete and his body utterly limp. A strong hand closed almost casually in his hair, and Mulder pulled his head back until their eyes met.

Krycek had no strength left even for fear. "Are you going to kill me now?" he asked, almost uncaring.

Mulder's eyes were dark with satisfaction. "No," he answered at last. "Not unless you give me further reason. But this--" he tapped the blade insultingly against Krycek's raw nipple. "If you don't have a ring through this by the next time I see it, I'm going to cut it off."

And before Krycek could react, Mulder unlocked the cuffs and walked away.

===============

The End

 


 

Hilt II: Double-Edged Blade
by Nonie Rider ()
Summary: Krycek ambushes Mulder in his apartment to avenge the knifework in "To the Hilt." But some knives have two edges.
With thanks to Spike for beta revisions, and to Te for what squicked her. These poor damaged boys have a long way to go.


Hilt II: Double-Edged Blade
by Nonie Rider

Krycek watched from cover as Mulder picked up the unmarked envelope from the floor, tossed his jacket over the nearest chair, and dropped onto the couch. Those long, clever fingers tore the envelope open--clearly, he had no expectation of useful fingerprints--and withdrew the credit receipt. Krycek could almost see his eyes move from line to line: a Visa statement from last week. Sandoro's Body Art. One gold ring, engraved, with piercing included. And Mulder's name and card number, and a good facsimile of his signature if Krycek did say so himself.

He saw Mulder's face suddenly tighten in realization, and as the FBI agent reached for his holster, Krycek stepped fully into sight.

"Hello, Mulder." Krycek smiled, holding his face and his automatic steady under Mulder's gaze. "So nice to see you again."

"Asshole," said Mulder.

"And you should know, eh? Come on, Foxfire, hand off the gun. Freud would be ashamed of you."

Mulder just smiled. "I see those cuts have almost healed up. Back for some more?"

Krycek let his smile go taut. "I don't think so, Mulder." Moving in, he towered over the seated agent and let his gun rest against Mulder's forehead. "You son of a bitch, you raped me. You raped me with the hilt of my own fucking knife."

"Come on, Ratboy, this is Washington. I can neither confirm nor deny having inappropriate sexual contact on the date in question, yadda yadda. But if you think that was rape--"

"What the hell would you call it?"

"The answer to your prayers, apparently." Mulder continued to lounge, as if there was only polite conversation between them and not a gun to his head.

"You motherfucker!"

"Why, Krycek, I'm offended. I might almost think you didn't like me."

"Gavno'-- Ebitskaya sila!" Krycek nearly tore a ligament trying to keep his finger from tightening on the trigger.

"What's the matter, Krycek, bear got your tongue?"

Krycek grasped for the shattered remains of his English. "I am going to kill you!"

Mulder's smile grew broader. "Bullshit."

Furious, Krycek realized he was gaping. Didn't this idiot realize--

And then Mulder's long fingers came up to close firmly around his wrist. "You're not going to kill me because you're fucking stupid and you want me."

"What--" But despite himself, Krycek found his arm moved lightly aside, and somehow he couldn't prevent Mulder from taking the gun from his strengthless fingers.

"I'm no rapist, Krycek. Last week, I was only going to threaten you with the knife, see whether I could finally get you to tell the truth. But no, you got hard just from being manhandled.

"Is it me, Ratboy, or do you stretch your shorts every time somebody hits you?"

"You motherfucker!" Rage hurled him at his smiling tormentor at last, but Mulder blocked him easily and slammed him back into the wall with a forearm against his throat.

But Mulder's voice was still casually amused. "You wanted me. You wanted me to hurt you. You wanted me to make you come. Shit, Krycek, all you had to do was wilt and I'd have stopped. *I'm* not desperate enough to grope boys on the street.

"So if it helps to tell yourself that was rape, fine. Be my guest. But don't forget; I'm not the one who made it a sexual act. And I'm not the one who came."

"You--" //No, swearing doesn't help. If you're going to keep any control here, you've got to hit him where it hurts.//

"Mulder, listen to yourself, you fucking son of a bitch! You're the one who studied psych. Can you really say '*You made me do it. It wasn't really rape because you enjoyed it*' and not hear the voice of every fucking abuser you ever studied?"

"And you deserve better, Krycek?"

//NO.// "I--"

"You know, Krycek, I always liked you. Until you betrayed me, and sold Scully, and shot my father. I liked you, but I would never have thought of doing anything about it. But now that I hate you--"

His breath caught suddenly, and Mulder smiled.

"Oh, yes. Now that I hate you, you've done everything but rub yourself against my gun and yowl. Well, I finally got the idea, cocksucker. I hope you're happy. You *look* happy. And I'm going to make you even happier."

That smile grew darker and more cruel. "I'm going to hit you now, Alex. And you're going to let me."

And there was no air, he couldn't make himself breathe as Mulder clicked the safety on with one hand and drew the cold barrel lightly down Krycek's cheek

In sudden panic, he tried to claw his way free, but Mulder loosed his throat only to grip his wrist and pin it to the wall above him. And the long, trim body leaned in, heat against heat, trapping the prosthetic between them.

"All you have to do is ask me to stop, Alex," Mulder's voice was ruthlessly intimate, and Krycek was still trying to find the words when the gun hand lashed in. Dizziness blinded him as his head slammed back into the wall, jaw numb and aching with the kiss of cold steel. Heat tickled his neck, and he realized the skin had split under the blow.

And he was hard, so hard, and he wanted to die--

"Is that what you wanted, Alex?" The smile was razored, the voice almost gentle.

He fought to stay on his feet and not slide down the wall in utter surrender.

"Answer me, Alex." Soft words, but the muzzle that came up under his jaw was cold and hard. "Do you want me to stop?" The intruding metal pressed up and in, half choking him, but it was the quiet voice that he could not bear.

Then the gun was gone from his aching throat. "I'm going to hit you again, Alex. Because you're going to let me, and because I want to. And maybe I want to hit you until you're dead."

And he wanted to cry out, wanted to protest or submit or beg for a bullet, but he choked on tears, and then there was lightning and darkness and something had driven his head sideways against the wall and his ear wasn't working right.

"Do you want me to stop, Alex? I'll stop if you ask me to."

Something was wrong, he realized with sudden clarity, something terrible was happening and he had to stop it. But it wasn't the pain, though he felt the gunsight tear his cheek to the bone as the next blow fell.

Oh God, it hurt, something hurt inside and it was wrong and he had to stop it, had to fight against the aching surrender that tried to pull him down. He had to find words and drag them out of the well of blood and pain that was his heart. God--

"Do you want me to stop, Alex?"

Another shock and numbness, and the wrong was getting worse. He had to do something--

"Do you want me to stop?"

Only the greatest need could make him speak. "Sst--" His mouth didn't seem to be working right, and for a moment he was afraid he had not been heard.

"Alex?"

"Sst--opph," he forced the word out, and oh thank God the world held still for a moment while he tried to pull his mind together.

"Do you really want me to, Alex?" said the soft dark voice, and suddenly something hard and cold stroked him there and God he was so hard but that didn't matter, and the pain didn't matter, if he could only--

"Mhldrr--" he managed through lips that felt too thick and sticky to speak.

He heard nothing over the roaring in his ears, the crashing echo of his own breathing. Was he alone?

Need drove his eyes open, though they didn't want to move, and he saw with relief that Mulder was still there. "Le'h go," he said, and felt the grip on his wrist loosen and fall away.

But the voice was still cruel. "Well, Alex, I guess you don't want me so much after all."

"Nn--" God, how could he find the words to stop this horror? Helplessly, he reached out half blind and caught Mulder's wrist in turn. "Hi'h me if y' wann--" he drew the hand back and brought it sharply against his own cheek in illustration. "B-buh no gun, no' with y'r gun--"

"Not with my gun?" Mulder sounded incredulous.

Thank God, the man was listening. "Hann-zz. Hi'h me with y'r hanns. If y' wann. Buh, buh I wann y' t' feel."

"What?"

"I wann... I wann you to feel me when you hi'h me. This, this's wrong, wha' you're doing."

"Wrong!" Mulder's voice was scornful. "You fucking traitor, you murderer, you're telling me what's wrong!"

Oh God how could he find the words with his head like this? "'S wrong f'r YOU, Mhldrr. You don' wann do this."

Mulder laughed sharply, and he knew he hadn't understood. Desperately, he caught Mulder's hand against his cheek and held it there, ignoring the ache of battered flesh. The hand was warm.

"Mhldrr, you're hi'h--hih'ing me with your gun becau' you don' dare toush me. You wann to toush me, so you hi'h me. An I leh you, becau' I wann you to toush me. Buh--buh you hur' yourselh, you don' geh wha' you nee' when you hi'h me with a gun. You nee', I nee' you, to feel me."

And he could find no more words, so he moved their joined hands along his cheek and brushed the taut palm with his lips, offering even the blood from his mouth to him. His heart knew the words in the language of his childhood: //Oh, Mulder, can't you see it's wrong to starve yourself, cut yourself off from touching? These bruises don't matter, but you must not hurt your hands with emptiness. Hit me if you want to, kill me if you need to, but let yourself feel it as you do.//

The hand in his jerked and tried to pull away, but he held it tightly to his lips and drew it upward to feed it his tears. Warm against warm, life to life, he held it, and then knowing he was now the stronger one he slid their joined hands down to spread Mulder's fingers on his aching throat.

//My pulse is yours, my life. Feel it. I'm not afraid of death at your hands, Mulder. I'm afraid of how deeply you cut yourself when you cut me with cold steel between us. Feel me, and let go of the double-edged blade that hurts us both. Let go and feel.//

And then the hand on his throat moved inexorably away and he was terribly afraid, but those fingers drew his in turn to rest against a cheek as warm and wet as his own. And everything was going to be all right.

============================

The end, for now

 


 

Hilt III: Crossguard
by Nonie Rider ()
Summary: How can two men fighting themselves find a way not to fight each other? Or men running from themselves learn not to run away?


Hilt III: Crossguard
by Nonie Rider

Something was hurting, somewhere in this drifting darkness, but something deeper told him it was all right. His breath caught in a long, contented sigh, and he smelled a laundry-soft scent that matched the gentle feel of sheets around him. Home. He was home, wherever that was. Home was where he could hear that voice speaking.

But something was wrong. The voice, Mulder's voice, was harsh and ragged, and the soft smell of the sheets was overlaid with a copper tang. Something was wrong.

He made himself let go of the comforting darkness and fought his way up to where his uncooperating eyes could be forced open and he could see.

And hear. A fist drew back from the wall beside the bed and slammed into it again, and those knuckles were torn and bloody. No! Oh God no, this was horrible. He had to stop it. He had to--

His arm didn't seem to be working very well, but he managed to reach out and catch at that moving fist. Please-- God, what was the word? "Pazhal'sta--P-please, no--"

The fist stopped, opened, but the face that looked down at him was racked and wet with tears. //Yes, Mulder, it's all right, you can hate me,// but that snarl was not aimed at him. Oh, this was so wrong.

"M-Mhll'rrr, lyubmoy--" English. He only speaks English, you idiot. "Mhldrr, no. Don' hurr' yourselh." But those swollen eyes stared at him blindly, uncomprehending. Try again. This time the words came clearer, though he felt his lip split and bleed again. "Mulder, stop it."

"Are you all right?" that voice asked stupidly, and he smiled up at Mulder as brilliantly as he could. Yes, he was all right; everything was all right.

Then there was no one beside him, and miles away only the coughing spatter of someone being very sick.

//Oh, Mulder, no--// and he tried to pull himself upright to go after him. As always when waking, he forgot his truncated arm, and this time he didn't have the coordination to stop himself from skewing to the floor. The fall jolted his head, and for a moment darkness dragged him under. //Oh God, don't make a sound; you don't want Mulder to worry--//

But there were arms around him, tense but gentle, and then the pillow was soft against his cheek.

"Krycek?"

//Alex,// he wanted to correct him, but this time there really were no words, so he caught that bloody hand before it drew away, and brought it to his lips. //It's all right, Mulder,// he tried to say as he kissed the blood from those poor knuckles. //It's all right that you hurt me.//

And then that beloved face contorted and broke, and Mulder was choking on sobs that shook him like the blows of a fist. //Oh, Mulder--// and somewhere there was strength to raise his one arm and draw the shuddering dear body down to his own. Wet heat spilled onto his shoulder, and those lips said broken wordless things against his neck, and everything was going to be all right.

*****

Sometime later, he surfaced again as Mulder began to roll away. //No, don't let him go; he'll hurt himself again!//

Murmuring endearments he could only say in Russian, he found Mulder's hand again and drew it across his body to rest under his cheek. Then, reassured, he fell back into sleep.

*****

Somewhere there was a sound, a beeping that might be a phone, but he held tighter to Mulder's hand and let the words drift over him. Another darkness, and a sharp voice that didn't belong there, angry. Scully?

It didn't matter. All that mattered was Mulder. But Mulder's voice was hurting, bitter and ugly with the same wrong sound as the fist hitting the wall. //No!//

"Nyet--Nyet, lyubmoy," he tried to say, and reached up with his free arm to comfort him. But there was no arm to reach with, and all he could do was turn and press his lips against the captive hand.

A sharp breath, and more words, meaningless noise, and then a stinging smell and something cool was touching his cheek. He ignored it, even when he felt the needle tugging against the torn flesh of his cheekbone, the gentle fingers probing his scalp. He'd been stitched up before; one of the perils of his trade. It was just pain, and not important.

But when those slim gloved fingers tried to pull Mulder's hand away so she could work on the other side of his face, he fought her desperately, heartbroken, until he felt Mulder take his hand with equal gentleness and hold it between his own.

And then everything was all right again, and he drifted there in the shallows of the dark, barely hearing the voices above him.

"Scully, please--"

"--How can you expect me not to report--"

"--You know they'd kill--"

//Kill who? Not Mulder, please God--//

"--totally unconscionable, Mulder! Your behavior--"

//She was yelling at Mulder. Don't hurt Mulder; he's already in pain. Got to make her stop. English words, I need English words--//

"Lea' him alone!" he managed, and heard a sharp breath. Then there was another darkness, and the slamming of a door.

But the hands that held his were warm and gentle, and he was not alone.

*****

Later, her voice was back again, and the smell of food, and more meaningless words.

"Scully, why isn't he--"

"--Not concussion, but--"

"--Why should he come around, Mulder? He probably feels safer--"

"--Scully--"

"--Call him. Maybe your voice--"

And the door closed again, but did not slam, and he was glad because she had stopped yelling at his Mulder.

*****

That voice pulled him from the depths, as it would have pulled him from the grave. "Krycek--Alex?"

//I'm coming, Mulder--//

"Alex?"

//What?//

"Alex, come back. I need you to come back."

Needed, he let himself surface entirely, though the light was harsh and reminded him of too many things. "M-Mulder?"

"Alex, can you swallow? I need you to drink some soup."

He felt himself grinning. "...Swallow for you anytime, Mulder," and thank God he saw that mouth quirk into something besides bitterness at last.

"Glad you're back," Mulder said dryly. //Yes, this was right, this game of catch and throw. This was the only language they had ever shared.//

"'S the soup," he said. "I came back for the soup."

And Mulder actually laughed as he brought the spoon to Alex's mouth.

*****

//What the hell am I going to do?// Mulder wondered in furious despair. //Bastard seems--whole, somehow, as if he finally found God or something. But I--//

It was simpler when Krycek was sleeping. That young face, bruised and torn, had such an innocent vulnerability that Mulder could pity him. Last night's fury seemed distant and unreal, like a drunken brawl or a cruelty remembered from childhood. And he could hate himself cleanly for what he had done.

But now, watching the traitor return to himself--hearing the voice regain its cockiness, watching those eyes slowly harden into their usual one-way glass, and the hand on the cup find again the steadiness with which he must have pulled the trigger and watched Mulder's father fall--Mulder knew it wasn't over. God, he hated this man, hated him even more because he wanted him, and he needed so badly to hit him that it made him sick.

Christ, all these years and he'd never known this about himself, never wanted to know that he could feel like this. That he could find such intense pleasure in the crunch of bone as he made red ruin out of a man's face. That spilling another man's tears and blood could make him harder than he'd ever been.

That--that if it was just hate, he wouldn't feel this need to tear him open and spend himself in the man's slashed throat, his stuttering bloody heart.

God damn it, why hadn't he just shot them both before he involved Scully?

Now she was in it too; he'd dragged her into his own destruction and even if he ended this quick and clean with a bullet, two bullets, he'd ruined her. '*Agent Scully, would you like to explain why you performed unlicensed surgery on a known felon... did not report his presence... your partner's actions... why you permitted this sick behavior to continue?*'

//Maybe I should just ask Krycek to set us up a car bomb,// he thought, and a wave of deeper sickness passed over him as he realized the younger man probably would. Smiling.

//Oh, Christ, what have I done? What AM I?//

*****

Mulder had to get out of the room before... before he couldn't cope at all. Taking the empty soup cup from Krycek's hands, careful not to touch even his fingers, he turned away. "I'll be back," he said.

But somehow Krycek's hand closed on his other wrist before he could get out of range. "No, you won't," that infuriating voice said from behind him..

"What?" Mulder snapped, fighting the impulse to turn and backhand the rat bastard in the face.

"You won't be back," Krycek's voice was bland. "Not if you walk out now. You'll come up with some excuse not to come back and deal with this. Probably take off running 'to clear your head' and then brood for hours about whether to shoot me or yourself, or turn one or both of us in, and maybe even manage to get yourself mugged to prevent having to think about it."

Mulder ground his teeth, but tried to keep his voice level. "So?"

One of those long fingers traced the vein on his wrist, radiating a maddening warmth. "There's no way out of this except forward."

Goaded, Mulder turned on him with a snarl. "Bullshit! The only way out of this is to walk away from it. I don't know what kind of sick game you're playing, but I don't want any part of it."

Krycek said nothing, but in the space between that green gaze and his own, Mulder could see the unspoken response. It involved a knife in Mulder's hands, and the cold barrel of a bloody gun rubbed down the length of a man's erection. And it was unanswerable.

With a curse, Mulder lashed out with the empty cup, trying to smash that knowledge out of those watching eyes.

But he had gotten too used to Krycek's immobility, and forgotten how the man had survived. Down suddenly on one knee, staring at his unvacuumed carpet, he found that he wanted very much not to have his fingers bent any farther. And then Krycek kicked his leg out from under him and his mouth was full of dust.

"Mulder, you asshole. Have you always been such a fucking coward?"

Even now, trying not to scream from the sickening pressure on his hand, he wanted to silence that hated voice any way he could. "Like you're one to talk, rat bastard. How many sinking ships you run from?"

The hiss of his own breath startled him as the grip on his fingers tightened, but then he could swear he heard the bastard laughing. "We sound like a couple of schoolboys. Give it up, Mulder, we're gonna talk if I have to find you a straitjacket."

God, the son of a bitch was right; Mulder was just making a fool of himself. "So," he said, with a deliberate return to his usual manner. "I gather your offer to die at my hands was a little premature?"

The abrasive chuckle was almost regretful. "Shoulda taken me up on it, Mulder. A good night's sleep, a cup of soup, and I get reminded I'm needed on the job. You never know, though; you could probably get me in the mood again."

"I'll pass," said Mulder dryly.

"Will you?"

"Look, can we lay off the arm wrestling? I've taken a religious vow to stop snorting dust-bunnies."

A worn leather boot shifted into his line of sight. "Mulder, you're gonna laugh yourself sick when I say this, but we have to talk. This is not a truth we can afford to play our usual games with."

"YOUR usual games, you mean." God, his voice sounded bitter.

"Yours too, Mulder. How much of the time we actually worked together did you spend bullshitting me or just plain lying? Or like the black rock business, hitting me when I tried to ask questions?"

"What the hell do you want, Krycek?"

A weary chuckle. "I refuse to answer that on the grounds that it might incriminate me. But right now, I want to talk without you either stalking out or hitting me."

"Even if you beg?" //God, Mulder, where did that vicious tone come from?//

Krycek refused to take offense. "Well, it would be a little distracting."

***

Mulder was not happy with Krycek's solution. Sitting cross-legged on the floor with his arms cuffed behind him was not his idea of fun. But Krycek was right; it certainly did lower his ability to move quickly.

"Well, Krycek, you happier now?"

"It'll do."

"Like fuck it will. *I'm* not into being handcuffed."

"Oh, Mulder, would you just shut up. I said WE need to talk; that'll be a little hard if I have to tape your mouth shut."

Tossing the handcuff key absent-mindedly in the air and catching it again, Krycek lowered himself stiffly to sit on Mulder's couch. Just looking at his cocky face, even through the bruising and stitches, made Mulder ache to smash something again.

The dark, puffy sockets only made those eyes greener. Christ.

"Krycek--"

"You called me Alex last night," the roughened voice teased.

"SHUT THE FUCK UP!" //God, Mulder, don't let him get to you.// "Listen to me, you son of a bitch. Okay, you want to talk, let's get a couple of things straight."

"Like what?"

"Like you can damned well stop baiting me for a little while, you suicidal little fuck."

"Mm." Krycek was noncommittal, but Mulder thought he'd scored.

"And second--" //Christ, I don't believe I'm going to say this.//"Don't look at me."

"What?"

"Look, every time you meet my eyes I want to smash your face in. Could you just fucking look at the wall or something, get a little distance here? It might help."

Krycek said nothing, but his turning head was response enough.

"Okay, so what did you want to talk about?"

"Us."

"There's no us, Krycek. There's me, and there's you, and you're the fucking traitor who killed my father. Got that?"

"Yeah, asshole, I got that. I just don't believe it."

"Well, you can--"

"Mulder, shut up." Krycek shifted position on the couch, rolling his neck around to loosen sore muscles. "Look, we both know there's something here. You could have killed me, let's see, about seven times now? But you didn't. You could have had me arrested. But you didn't. You just beat on me, strangle me, cuff me, wrestle around with me, and now you rape me."

"That wasn't rape, Krycek."

"Are you really lying to yourself, Mulder, or just to me?"

"Rape suggests I got something out of it, Krycek. But you're the one who gets a hard-on when we go hand-to-hand."

"Mulder, I can guarantee I'm not the only one."

"Bullshit." //Keep it cool, Mulder.//

"Mulder, I'd ask you how you felt when you shoved that fucking knife-hilt up my ass, but you'd just lie to me again. Hitting me gets you hard. Or maybe getting hard makes you want to hit me. Hell if I know."

Krycek turned towards him again, although he was careful not to meet his eyes. "Mulder, look at my face."

Involuntarily, Mulder did, seeing the purpling mass of cuts and bruises, abrasions and welts that he himself had made. He said nothing.

"And now, look at my arm." Casually, as if it were nothing, he pulled his shirt over his head with his right arm and draped it over the end of the couch. Mulder looked away.

"Damn it, Mulder, I said LOOK AT MY ARM!" The harsh ice of the younger man's voice surprised him, and he looked without meaning to. The truncated arm was a hideous mass of scars, some fading to white with time, others still livid against his pale skin. The unspeakable marks of the hot knife; the re-mutilations of a surgeon's corrective work; the chafed sores where the straps of the prosthetic galled him.

"This is your work, Mulder. You did this to me. No, look at it. You did this to me, and it hurt more than you'll ever know in your fucking life, and you don't want to look because it makes you cream your boxers to know that you did this."

Oh, God, it was true. He hated himself for it, he wanted to be sick, but the sight of that battered face, that mutilated stump, went through him like a live round and burned so hot that he thought the cloth over his dick would smoulder into flame. He couldn't tell which was clenched more tightly, his cuffed fists or his aching balls. "No--" he heard himself protest.

"Oh, yes, Mulder. You're as sick a piece of shit as I am."

Light glinted off the gold ring he'd ordered Krycek to get, and he could see the nipple was swollen and dark where the piercing was slow to heal. Oh, shit, why did that have to make him hotter?

He was just too tired to keep his head up any longer.

"You asked me last night whether it was just you, Mulder, or whether I just got off on being hit. It's you. If other people hurt me, I just hurt 'em back, or kill 'em if I can. Hell, I don't get much of a charge out of them in bed, either. I mean, I can perform, it's part of my job, but it's a long time since it meant much more than sneezing. You, I can get hard just watching your fucking car go by, okay? It's a stupid fucking weakness and it's gonna get me killed, but that's how it is.

"But now it's my turn to ask the question. Is it just me, or do you get off on hitting just anyone?"

Mulder couldn't dredge up anything to say. He wished his hands were free so that he could block out some of the light beyond his tired eyelids.

"Mulder? Answer me."

//Just go away, Krycek. I don't want to be here.//

"Mulder, if you don't answer me, I'm going to answer for you. I don't think you get off on hitting anyone else, except maybe for that desperate rush we all get when someone who tried to kill us is down and and we're still breathing. But I don't think you've ever wanted to hit someone the way you want to hit me. I think you've never felt this way before, and it scares the shit out of you.

"That right, Mulder? Speak up, or I'll continue. No? Okay, I don't think you get much of a thrill out of sex either. If you have any, aside from your famous videos. I mean, you're working with a kickass redhead and you haven't made a move on her in over five years. And your boss is the studliest piece of muscle a man's seen in a long time, and it doesn't tent your shorts.

"I think I'm the only person you-- the only person who fires your blood anymore. I don't think you even know whether you want to kill me or fuck me, or maybe get fucked by me. But I don't think you can even think straight when I'm around."

//Bullshit.// Mulder tried to shut out the sound of that voice, those endless words. //Just go away, Krycek.//

"Mulder, I know you, remember? We were partners. And you're a good guy; a boy scout; a knight in somewhat dented armor. You burn yourself out on endless quests, trying to forget you have a body or a fucking heart, and you can tell yourself that your hands are clean.

"But now, what the hell are you going to do? You can't torture and rape a man and walk away from it without staining your monk's robe."

"God, Krycek, would you just. Shut. Up." He was too tired to even be angry.

"Mulder, if I walked away right now, you wouldn't live a week. You don't deal with this and it's going to eat you alive. And I haven't spend half my life trying to keep you alive just to watch you eat your own gun."

"Krycek--" The light was harsh on his opening eyes. "I'm not going to kill myself over you, you rat bastard. You deserve everything I did to you and more."

"Sure, Mulder, I know. But what I am isn't the question; the question is whether you can live with yourself."

"So, what, you offering to shoot me? Thanks, Krycek, but I'll pass."

"No, asshole, I'm saying we're stuck with each other. Okay? It's a stupid fucking thing, and we'd both rather it wasn't true, believe me. I wish I could just shoot you and be done with it. But it'd just be worse if you were dead."

//That's just you, Krycek. I could shoot you and walk away. And then I'd--I'd--then I'd be happy and free of you and--and my father would still be dead, and I'm just so fucking tired.//

"Mulder, I don't see any way out of this."

"Unless?"

"Unless we just screw and hope it goes away, all right? Hell, I don't know; maybe if you jam my ass you'll get it out of your system. Maybe if I, I don't know, blow you or hose *your* ass I can walk away. But we've got to do something."

Mulder shook his head to dispel the images this called up. It wasn't working. "Krycek, no fucking way do I want to have sex with you. You're crazy."

"Hell, Mulder, of course I am. Like you're the model of sanity?"

"Famous for it." There. Try joking; anything to deflect this stupid business before-- before-- Oh, hell.

"Look, Krycek, forget it. So I've got some wires crossed. But sex with you? No way."

Krycek only chuckled indulgently, and Mulder wished he had his hands free to break the asshole's nose. "Okay, Mulder, have it your own way. Tell me that in five minutes and I'll believe you."

"Five minutes, five years, whatever. No."

"Five minutes. Don't move."

"What--"

But Krycek didn't move towards him, as he half feared. Instead, the traitor just leaned back and stretched, working his shoulders back and forth and rolling his neck, wincing. The light gleamed on the sparse dark fur under his arms and the flexing muscles of his chest, and sparked brightly off the gold ring embedded in his swollen flesh. Mulder hated himself for noticing the dark rose of his other nipple, the tracing of shadow down his stomach.

Krycek opened his hand briefly like a bird's wing, and then reached up to trace the line of sutures down his cheek. //Oh, God.// Then, lightly, he touched the swollen ruin of his lips, and licked the blood almost absently off his fingertips.

//So fucking obvious, Krycek. Why don't you just take up strip-dancing and be done with it?// It must be disgust that made his stomach roil like this. Disgust, and the memory of that hand warm against his cheek.

Krycek stared at his hand for a moment, as if it were strange to him too. Then he cupped the end of his stump and kneaded it as if it were cold, and Mulder was somehow having trouble breathing.

Still obedient to Mulder's earlier request, he didn't meet his eyes; those long dark lashes drifted against the bruised flesh as if to paint it with a darker stain. Mulder waited with something like scorn for him to start playing showily with his nipples, but instead Krycek trailed his hand upwards and up the long column of his throat. Those long fingers felt for the pulse, closed lightly around the windpipe and tightened for just a speculative moment. Mulder felt himself tighten too.

Then Krycek let the hand drift downwards to his chest. One finger trailed across his unpierced nipple, but his thumb and his main attention were on a white dime-sized dimple where a bullet wound must have healed a long time ago. Mulder's breath came shorter.

With a sharp sigh, Krycek broke off, his hand curling convulsively into a fist against his breastbone. "Oh, fuck this, Mulder. Walk if you want to; I don't feel like putting on a show." God, were those tears that glittered against that bruised cheek?

Mulder clamped his teeth shut too late to keep from speaking. "What *do* you feel like?"

The younger man ran his hand angrily through his hair. "Do you care?"

//Jesus, the man was mercury between the fingers: elusive, maddening, and ultimately lethal.// "Krycek, you just spent ten minutes telling me I did. Make up your fucking mind."

Krycek's surprised laugh was bitter. "Jesus, that's the problem, isn't it? Neither of us can make up our mind; we want so many different things. What do I want? I want to swallow your gun and feel you pull the trigger. I want to pound your ass apart while I tighten the wire around your throat and feel your last convulsions around me. I want to hold you and just cry like a baby. I want you to carve your name into me with that knife. I want-- Oh, hell, Mulder, I want everything."

Fuck this. "Krycek, come over here. Now." His voice was harsh.

That torn and swollen mouth was locked in a snarl, but Krycek spat out a Russian curse and got to his feet. "Yeah?" It was a challenge.

Mulder stopped trying to be rational and just let go. "Come over here, get down on your fucking knees, and give me your arm. No, you asshole, the one with my name on it."

Krycek's fist was clenched so tightly that the knuckles looked like an anatomy model, but he presented Mulder with his stump as if at gunpoint.

Silently cursing the handcuffs, Mulder leaned forward and bit down hard.

Krycek's convulsive moan made his heart pound, but the shaking flesh did not withdraw. Slowly, knowing he was insane, Mulder licked the swelling blood away and then ran his tongue over the clotted mass of scars. Oh, God, this was sweet and sick and so hot he didn't think he could wait much longer. His starving mouth moved, his lips read every fissure and swelling and puckered line, and the taste of the man's sweat and fear was more than he could stand.

"Okay, Krycek, this is what we're going to do. You're going to take these fucking handcuffs off me, and I am going to fuck your mouth so hard you'll wish I WAS using a gun. You hear me?"

Krycek heard him. He expected the younger man to get up and walk around him, but instead he dragged the handcuff key out of his pocket and pulled Mulder up into his arms, pressing against him as he reached around to open the cuffs. Mulder felt one cuff click open, and then he had had enough.

Still trailing the metal bracelet from his left hand, he grabbed Krycek roughly by the back of the neck and held him close as he explored those pulped lips with his tongue. "Okay, you rat bastard, open up for me."

He'd planned to stand up; he'd planned to pull on that nipple-ring until the traitor screamed; but somehow he was still holding too tightly as he felt Krycek's hand claw his fly open, and all his own strength was in his hands and in his cock as he fell back and forced the traitor's mouth down to draw the poison from his blood. Oh, God, the feel of him, that wet heat around him and moving, and Mulder knew how much he must be hurting him but that just made him harder and he couldn't stop pounding upwards, slamming that vise-clamped head down against him again and again... "Alex!" he screamed in rage and something else, and shot into him so hard that he knew his own bones were breaking. Burning, exploding into that bloody mouth and gone. Gone.

Oh, God.

Then there was nothing but the feel of that head in his boneless hands, and their breaths slowing together. Jesus, wherever he had gone, Krycek had gone with him all the way.

With him.

Together.

===============================

 


 

Hilt IV: Tang
by Nonie Rider ()
Summary: Scully brings backup, but the more the world tries to interfere, the more they find true steel at the heart of the blade.
(Several people have asked for a definition of "tang": it's the part of a knife-blade that extends into the hilt, often for its full length. It's the core of a knife's strength, since without it, any lateral pressure would snap the blade off at its base.)


Hilt IV: Tang
by Nonie Rider

Scully had never been so grateful for the bulk of Skinner behind her. Gun out, she knocked at the door. "Mulder, it's me," she said, and heard someone moving inside, and then the click of the lock.

"Scully," Mulder said as he started to open the door, and then his eyes widened as he saw her fully.

"Federal agent," she said quietly. "I'm armed." Feeling the black armored vest stiff around her sides, she stepped into the room to clear Skinner's line of fire and looked for Krycek.

Except for Mulder, the room was empty, but the bloody washcloth in one hand made it clear that he was not alone. Mulder was in a t-shirt and there was no sign of his gun, and Scully felt ice down her spine when she heard the muted click in the next room.

Skinner didn't raise his voice, but he had always been able to make himself heard. "Krycek, we have this place surrounded. Don't bother with the window, and don't do anything stupid."

"I think it's too late for that," said Mulder ruefully, and Scully's stomach twisted at the affection in his voice. "Stupid seems to be the order of the day."

"So Agent Scully tells me."

She didn't know whether to cover Mulder or move past him into the hall. Dear God, she'd never had to worry which side he was on before.

Skinner was aimed at the inner doorway, but keeping Mulder clearly in his line of sight. "Krycek, get your sorry ass out here."

Oh, Lord, it was Mulder's gun that slid around the edge of the doorway. But the gunbarrel scared her less than the cold dark eye behind it, and both were aimed at her.

And then she couldn't see them because Mulder stepped into the way.

Empty hands out, he blocked their line of sight and closed his eyes for a moment as if he were very tired. "Please," he said, and nothing more.

She couldn't. Insane, unnatural, whatever this was, she couldn't fire at him. "Move, Mulder," she said in what started as an order but ended up a plea. "You know we've got to take him in."

"I can't let you," he said quietly, even as Skinner stepped in and closed the door behind him.

"Agent Mulder, you will move or I will have to move you." Skinner's voice too was almost gentle. Without exchanging any signal, she found herself shifting to the right as the AD stepped left so that Mulder could not face them both.

"Sir-- Scully, no."

"No," said a hoarse voice behind him, and Scully's heart froze as she saw that barrel shift. "I can't let you take me in.

"If I'm lucky, they'll just kill me. If I'm not, they'll have some questions to ask first. Fuck, you guys have never kept anyone alive they wanted to kill, and I'd be a prime target."

"Alex," Mulder said without moving, "You know I'll kill you if you shoot either of them."

//Thank God he hasn't been turned,// Scully thought, but the pain in those hazel eyes wrenched at her. "Krycek, put the gun down."

"I can't," Krycek said almost regretfully, and then Scully saw where he was now aiming.

At himself.

Not Mulder, even for a hostage. Not herself or Skinner, because Mulder told him not to. Himself.

"Sir," she said, and drew her gun out of line even before she clicked the safety on.

"Agent Scully?"

"Sir, I think we should all put the guns away for a minute and just talk."

"I think that's a very bad idea, Agent Scully." His aim did not waver.

"Sir, there's too many people in the line of fire, and innocent neighbors behind those walls. Put up your gun for a minute and let's try to talk this through." And keeping her knees steady, she walked towards the inner doorway and held her hand out to Krycek for the gun. His hand was shaking now, and she was afraid the tremor alone would put them all at risk.

"Alex," Mulder said quietly, and with something like a sob Krycek stepped out into the doorway and let his gun hand fall.

To her surprise, she heard Skinner shift behind her and the sound of his safety going on. Then his hand moved again, and before she could panic she heard the hiss of his radio. "This is Skinner. The situation appears to be under control. Stand down and await further orders. I repeat, stand down."

And she could breathe again.

***

"Sir," said Mulder with quiet intensity, as Scully tended to the torn sutures down Krycek's cheek. "Sir, I can't let you take him in. I-- He came to me for help."

Scully felt Krycek start, but Mulder just looked back at him and nodded.

Mulder continued. "I mean-- Sir, I know you can bring a team in here and I can't stop you. But you'd have to arrest me too."

"That would not be uncalled for," Skinner bit off. "Do you know how many laws you've broken? Not to mention Bureau regulations?"

Mulder spread his hands helplessly. "There's my gun. I'll get you my badge in a minute."

"No!"

It took Scully a moment to realize that the objection came from Krycek.

"Mulder, you can't. I'm not worth it. Fuck, Mulder, you *can't* stop now; you can't begin to know how badly you're needed."

Skinner raised one eyebrow. "For what, Krycek? More of your plots and games?"

"No! He's the only one who can-- Oh, hell." Krycek's voice went dead. "Look, Mulder, I can't tell you. I'm sorry. Not won't but can't. But a lot of lives depend on your doing your job, and there's nobody else who can. So forget me, and let's get this the fuck over with."

"Sweet," Skinner ground out in a voice harsh enough to strip paint. "The martyred Saint Alex. So now we're supposed to forgive you and live happily ever after. I don't think so, boy."

Taking a deep breath, Scully tried to focus on the practicalities and not let herself get drawn into the hostility around her. Having checked Krycek's jaw, she moved down to examine the pierced nipple. "You've got a mild infection here. Did they give you anything to use for it?" She was sure her blush was visible enough to light the room, but Krycek's own color was high and he only shook his head. "I've got my limits, Krycek. If you want this cleaned out, do it yourself."

Then, straightening her shoulders, she looked around at the others. Someone had to drop the posing and get them all to talk sensibly. Maybe it was the testosterone. "All right, let me get this straight. Krycek, are you planning to turn informant? Are you willing to tell Mulder everything he needs to know?"

Breath shuddered out of him in a long sigh. "I can't. I'm sorry."

"Or just get out of the business and disappear?"

His eyes met Mulder's desperately as if they were alone in the room. "No. I can't. There's things I need to do."

"But surely you're not expecting Mulder to join you? Your--side, whatever that may be?"

"No!" Krycek looked horrified.

Scully nodded, relieved. "But that means we don't have a lot of choices here."

"Agent Scully, I was not aware that there was any choice involved." Skinner's growl was dangerously soft.

"Sir," she took a deep breath and turned to him, "why did you come along on this mission?"

"Because you asked for my help, Agent Scully." But Mulder had caught her thought, and stared back at her with the beginning of hope.

"Sir, I think you came in person and left the team outside because you thought this might require unusual--policies. Methods. Decisions."

"State your point, Agent Scully."

"I think you set this up so you could have choices, sir. And I'm asking you to think about this one. From--from what I saw here earlier, Mulder is not going to be able to function unless he can resolve certain... problems. And whatever you may think of his usual methods, sir, you know he's the best man you've got."

Mulder was staring at her as if she were the one who'd gone insane.

"So despite everything-- Despite all Krycek's done, if we can't arrest him without losing Mulder-- Well, sir, I'm not willing to pay that price."

Now all three of them were staring at her. "Look," she said in exasperation, and then found she had nothing else to say.

Skinner's jaw shifted and he shook his head. "Agent Scully, I think you've been around Mulder too long. The Bureau does not decide randomly which laws to enforce and which to set aside."

"Then why did you come up here in person, sir?"

And that massive hand came up and kneaded the bridge of his nose. "Because I've been around Mulder too long as well."

***

Scully finished working on Krycek's injuries as Skinner talked on the radio. "Yes, it appears to have been a false alarm. No, Jenkins, I am not under duress--" His growl suggested that such a thing was impossible. "Yes, you can come up here to check it out personally if you insist," he shook his head reassuringly at Mulder, "But Agent Mulder's had a rough enough time with what appears to have been a highly ill-advised prank, and I suggest we leave him to watch television in peace. Yes, I'll be down in a minute. Skinner out."

He looked at Krycek for a long moment. "I'm not going to bother with threats. If anything happens to Mulder--"

"Take a number, Skinner," but Krycek's voice was more resigned than anything else.

"Agent Mulder," and now that spearpoint gaze was directed at the huddled figure in the computer chair. "Your request for leave has just been approved, and I don't want to see you back on the job until you're fit for it. I know you feel the need to flout orders, but this is not negotiable: you need to get help."

"I know," and Scully hurt to hear how tired her partner sounded. "I just-- "

"Agent Mulder, that's an order."

Again, Scully knew someone had to break off this male head-butting and keep things sensible. "Mulder, I can call around to some friends tomorrow and find a good confidential therapist. And--" she tried to keep her voice level, "maybe a good couples counselor."

Skinner's face was stone. "I think the last might be a bit rough on the counselor, Agent Scully. A personal therapist is obligatory, but I think as a--couple--they need less orthodox methods."

"Sir?" Mulder sounded utterly bewildered, and so was she.

"I understand that there are ... responsible practitioners of sexual deviance in this town, including ritualized violence, Agent Mulder. I strongly suggest that the two of you find someone to teach you some level of self-restraint."

***

Mulder finally stopped staring at the door long after the footsteps had faded. Turning, he saw Alex looking equally stunned.

He opened his mouth and closed it again. Shook his head. Tried to laugh.

And finally gave up. "Beer? I think MonsterVision's on."

***

But neither the wry drawl of Joe-Bob Briggs nor the scanty fur bikini of a cavewoman being pursued by a rubber dinosaur could keep his attention when he was so constantly aware of Krycek's presence that he even found himself breathing in the same rhythm.

Krycek seemed both aware of him in turn, his body shifting when Mulder moved as if to track Mulder by radar, and yet so inturned he seemed almost blind.

And he was angry. Mulder, whose own rage was quiet for the moment, nonetheless found himself tensing up as Krycek's muscles tensed, his own jaw aching when Krycek's clenched. Then, without warning, Krycek flung his beer bottle across the room to smash against the wall. "Ebat'--" he almost spat. "*Bless you, my children; go find yourselves a matched pair of whips.* What the fuck business is it of his?"

"Christ, Krycek, would you rather he'd shot you?"

Krycek launched himself upright and stalked over to scowl at the broken glass. "Son of a bitch thinks he's got a right to *approve* me. Us. This from the asshole who handcuffed me to his balcony."

Mulder laughed. "Hey, it could have been worse; he could have recommended some "practitioner of sexual deviance" that he knew personally."

"Whatever." Krycek was not amused. He dropped to sit on his heels and poke at the foamy shards. "He's not my fucking father, all right?" His voice was tight.

And then Mulder saw the large piece of brown glass in his hand, the speculative focus with which Krycek brushed it against one thigh and left a thin line of parted denim slowly darkening where it had been.

"Shit!" And Mulder grabbed him by the collar and yanked him to his feet, startling him so that he dropped the sharp fragment back on the carpet. "Alex, *stop* that!"

"And you're not my fucking father either, okay? Christ--"

Feeling something dark well up in him, Mulder shoved him sprawling back onto the couch. "No, I'm not your father, asshole. And you're not mine. But I bet they had too fucking much in common."

Krycek stared back at him, and lost what little color he had. "Shit. *Fuck* this! I'm out of here."

"What?"

"Let me out of here, fucker! I don't have to-- I can't-- You--"

Mulder stood over him. "I'm not stopping you. Leave." But he made no move to give Krycek even room to stand. "Who were you calling a coward, Krycek?"

"What the fuck are you talking about?"

Mulder heard himself snort. "You want me to talk. You want me to fuck you and fuck you over. But you? Oh, no, *you* aren't going to talk, or act, or think about anything. That why you wanted me, Krycek? So you don't have to do anything? I don't *want* a dog, asshole."

And Krycek drove upwards to his feet, rocking Mulder back with the force of it. "Is that what you think I want? Is that what you think I *am*?" There was no room between them; Mulder felt the heat of his breath, the taut frame shaking against him.

Mulder blocked the swing that would probably have broken his jaw, and catching Krycek by the wrist and the back of the neck, he held him pinned for a moment. "I think you're a liar--" He pulled Krycek's head closer. "A traitor--" Those jungle eyes clenched shut. "A murderer--" He brushed his lips against the tattered mouth beneath his. "And a coward as afraid as I am of lo-- of lo--" Kissing those soft eyelids, those velvet lashes, he tasted the salt they could not hide.

He didn't know he was crying himself until he felt the sting, and then Alex's mouth opened against his jaw and moved blindly up to drink his tears in turn. And they were holding each other so tightly it was another kind of pain, and sobs racked them like passion. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he tried to say into the mouth that was saying the same thing to him, lips and tongue a word together, a mirror, the heart's braille.

And it hurt, O God it hurt, knife-edge of grief and loss cutting them both like a blade lancing a wound. Mulder tried to comfort the lean, shaking body in his arms even as he clung desperately for comfort of his own. "I'm so sorry--" but now the mouth on his was speaking other words, words he was too afraid to hear, to say. Words his whole body was saying despite himself.

So brave, this fragile creature he held. So brave. So honest, body and mind, even through the pain. So faithful once he knew his heart. And offering Mulder both his life and Mulder's own. O God, so brave--

I love you too, Mulder said soundlessly into that mouth, giving him back truth for truth. But words were not enough, so he put all his love and awe into a kiss and told him that way. Gently, careful of the bruised lips. This was too strong for force. No more apologies; they were an insult to this man who had welcomed his hate and endured it with utmost courage as an act of love.

"Love," Mulder said out loud and kissed him again. "I love you. I need you. Don't ever leave me, Alex. Oh, I love you." And when he was answered with Russian, he knew it was an honor, an act of grace beyond anything he could earn.

The rage, the darkness, were still waiting. He could feel them in himself and in the taut frame in his arms. But if this lay at the heart of it, somehow they would find a way home.

=============

 


 

Hilt V: Point First
by Nonie Rider ()
Summary: Mulder questions Krycek's reasons and indulges in his oral fixation. But can he stop Krycek from hurting himself without doing him more damage?


Hilt V: Point First
by Nonie Rider

Drifting into waking, Mulder felt the warmth of a body curled in his arms, its breathing and heartbeat matched to his own. He tried to remember the night and brushed his lips over the head beneath his shoulder, but the unexpected feel of a man's short hair woke him completely.

Krycek. Alex. Fully dressed, as Mulder was, and even through the painkillers Scully had left him, the younger man was trying to surface from sleep as he felt Mulder's arms tighten.

Stupid-ass haircut, he said silently into the shock of silk as if it were an endearment. Cradling the head against him with a gentle hand, he relaxed back into sleep.

***

Later, dreaming of vampires, he woke again with Alex in his arms and his whole body aching. Shifting to lean over the younger man, he waited until those green eyes opened and then dropped his head like a striking snake to bite into the side of his neck.

With a broken cry, Alex convulsed under him and then went limp in surrender. Only the heart pounding against Mulder's ribs told him Alex was still conscious. He shifted his grip and drew hard against that sweet salt flesh as if his blunt teeth could indeed draw blood, and Alex's desperate moan went down with him into sleep again and echoed through his dreams.

***

Krycek was heading for the shower when Mulder got back from his morning run. He watched the asymmetrical pale body walk away, and some perverse impulse made him say "Stop."

"What?" Alex looked back at him.

"Don't shower. I want to smell myself on you for a while yet."

Alex's eyes darkened, and he stood unmoving for a moment. Then, chin raised, he stalked back to Mulder with the edged and secret smile of a Greek statue. "Hello, Mulder," he said, and with deliberate grace licked his own fingers and drew them down the side of his own cheek and breast, offering them to Mulder streaked with dried blood and their mingled sweat and tears.

Mulder felt his nostrils flare with the rich scent, but he did not move. With a smile half rueful, half angry, Alex lowered his hand to cup his own balls and rising cock and then offered his fingers to Mulder again. The sharp male musk of him brought Mulder to instant hardness, but he was not going to play this game by the traitor's rules.

"Good," Mulder said. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I do need to shower." And closing the bathroom door behind him felt like grabbing a rescuer's rope when he was drowning.

Krycek had clearly been wrong when he said they might escape this attraction by acting on it. The more Mulder saw, smelled, tasted him, and the more he heard that low roughened voice, the more he needed. And there was still nothing but violence between them, violence and one blowjob not far removed from it. This cruelty too was addictive; he could no longer live without tasting Alex's blood again and watching his eyes flinch closed in painful pleasure. And those helpless, smothered cries...

//I've never been with a man. I've never wanted to. But if even this much contact is addictive, how will--//

Half-forgotten shampoo stung his eyes then, and he set himself to the business of getting clean.

***

Walking into the kitchen, he found that Krycek had located his collection of frozen bagels and was toasting them as he cut the moldy layer off an old block of cream cheese. Krycek passed the cream cheese to him without comment, but for himself he pulled a cup of beef bouillon out of the microwave and dunked his bagel thoroughly before each bite. For a moment, Mulder was puzzled, but then he saw how that bruised jaw winced even at the softened bread and understood.

They ate in wary silence broken only by Krycek's incredulous snort as he watched Mulder top his bagel off with peanut butter and mustard. Mulder wordlessly offered him the same, but Krycek waved him off with horror, and he saw no reason to insist.

After breakfast, Mulder found himself still wanting quiet, so he sat at his desk and read e-mail. After a while, a faint half-rhythmic sound caught his attention, and he followed quietly to see Krycek in his hallway practicing kicks. It was clearly a formal pattern like a karate kata, but seemed to fit perfectly into the limited space available. A flick of eyelash told Mulder he'd been noticed, but Alex continued without pausing.

Mulder didn't notice how Alex's balance was shifted to compensate for the missing arm until the younger man strapped on the prosthetic and began the pattern again, this time with a subtly different stance and poise. Since he had not dressed since Mulder stopped him on the way to the shower, the straps and cup of the artificial arm showed in stark contrast to his pale skin, but somehow Alex wore it with an odd grace like a musician with his instrument. Fresh heat and sweat warmed his scent to fill the hallway's air, and the gold of his nipple ring caught the light.

Turning quickly away, Mulder dropped to the couch and tried to think, or maybe not to think. The blank, black face of the television was easier to stare at than the inside of his mind.

Ten minutes later, he realized that the steady sounds had ceased, and a faint creak was probably Alex removing the prosthetic. "Krycek--"

"Yes?" The voice behind him was wary, but Mulder didn't turn to look.

"Come over here and sit down." It was almost an invitation this time, not an order, but he was still half surprised when Alex came over without protest or smartass remark. The younger man hesitated beside the open side of the couch, but settled instead to sit on the floor beside Mulder's feet.

Still staring blankly ahead, Mulder realized from the incredible softness against his hand that he had reached out to touch Krycek's sweat-dampened hair. "Why?" he heard himself ask.

"Why what, Mulder?" There, that was the voice he knew. "The meaning of life? The sky being blue? To get to the other side?"

"Why are you letting me do this?"

Alex tensed under his hand for a moment, and then let his breath out with a long sigh. "Letting you? Mulder, I--I think you're the one letting me. I need this. 'S new to me too, but ... it's like breathing. Hell, maybe it IS the meaning of life."

"Don't be so fucking philosophical, Krycek! How can you-- I mean, goddamn it, I crammed a fucking knife-hilt up your ass, I beat the crap out of you and almost broke your jaw. Why are you doing everything I tell you?"

Krycek shook his head, but couldn't seem to find the words.

"*Would* you do anything I tell you?" Mulder was half afraid to hear the answer, but he'd never been able to stop picking at scabs.

"Anything? Mm. No, probably not. Only things you need. I wouldn't paint my toenails pink or take up tapdancing, Mulder; that'd just be you trying to make a point, or to get some distance by humiliating us both."

"Hey, maybe I *like* tap."

Krycek snorted, but refused to be distracted. "But when I hear that sound in your voice, that hard need--I think I'd do just about anything you wanted."

"Even if it hurts?"

"Jesus, Mulder, I-- Maybe especially if it hurts."

"You like being hurt."

"No! I mean, I never have. Fuck, you're the profiler, maybe this all makes sense to you, but I'm completely lost."

Mulder shook his head.

"How about you, Mulder? I wasn't just being snarky yesterday when I asked how you could-- could do this and still live with yourself, with those white-knight morals of yours." Despite the words, Krycek's tone was low and open.

"You killed--hell, Krycek, you know all that. You're the only person I don't owe any human courtesy or restraint. You've forfeited any basic human rights, even those I'd give a mugger or a serial rapist. I could throw you in chunks in the sewer and you'd deserve it." Mulder, who hadn't thought about it, was surprised by his own words.

"So I'm a fair target," Krycek said consideringly.

"Yeah, something like that."

"And I'm your only fair target. Most of the world you would never treat like this; the other ones who do deserve it, the old men, you can't get your hands on, and maybe you wouldn't feel right even if you could. So it's me or nothing, and you've got a lot of rage built up."

"Could be."

"Yeah, I can see that. Okay, Mulder, maybe-- Look, you're the only one I can lose to."

"What?"

"Mulder, who the hell do you think I can trust in this world? I have to stay on top, I have to win or work my way around or I won't survive."

"So?" His fingers were still combing through that dark, silken hair.

"So I can never really let go, never relax. And Mulder, I've had to do--I've done some pretty bad things. If there were a hell, I'd burn in it, and there are these dreams.... And I've got nowhere to take it, nobody I can confess my sins to and ask for penance, or whatever. No time for feeding orphans or helping old ladies cross the street. I mean, I don't regret-- I had to do the things I've done, and maybe it'll all come out right and I'll have saved a lot more people than I hurt. But Jesus, Mulder, I can't..." the spate of words ran dry, and the head beneath Mulder's hand was trembling.

Taking a deep breath, Alex tried again. "It's not atonement; there's no atoning to the dead. I mean, there was this kid, this young man, in Kazakhstan-- Hell, I'm not going to fuck you up with the details. But I can't stop seeing them all, and I can't let go. When you hurt me, it's like everything is all right because I can trust you to punish me, and because it's giving you something you need. You-- Mulder, you're everything I've had to give up to be who I am. And maybe I see you as my conscience."

"Wonderful." Mulder heard the dry tone in his own voice. "Fox Mulder, flagellum. Or maybe I should change my name to Hairshirt."

"Mulder, you asked. And that's the only sense I can make of it."

"But it's not about sense, is it, Krycek?" The words came to him suddenly. "It's about--it's about that dark wave of heat that smashes over your head and drags you under. It's about fire."

"Yess..." Alex whispered, and Mulder clenched his hand in the short dark hair.

"Yes," Mulder replied, and it was both confirmation and promise.

And then they had been talking long enough, and Mulder pulled that battered head back and kissed his eyelids as if he were saying farewell to the dead. The tiny shivers beneath his lips were unbearably sweet and dark, and he ran a gentle hand down the line of sutures and tried to breathe.

//Jesus, I never wanted this. I never wanted to cross the line, to become the kind of crazy sadist I've hunted all my life. Is that what this is? Have I fallen over the edge? But--he wants this. Needs this. And so do I.//

Drowning, overwhelmed, he took one salt-sweet eybrow ridge between his teeth and claimed it all, combing the dark lashes with his tongue like a cat. //Mine. God, he's mine. I don't have to be embarrassed or unsure with him; he wants all of this. And if I tried to throw him out of here for his own good, he'd probably shoot me.// This was wrong, unconscionably wrong, but nothing could have stopped him from tasting the other eyebrow too and shaping it with his tongue.

Hesitantly, Alex reached up and brushed his cheek with his fingertips, and it was hard to breathe. Mulder moved down to that inverted mouth and sculpted it with lips and tongue, tasting the ghost of the bouillon and something behind it that was purely Alex. For a moment they rested there like a mystical symbol, dark and light reversed and intertwined.

//But which of us is dark, and which is light?//

And then, raising his head, he saw the red line of the cut along Krycek's thigh.

Something snapped inside him as he remembered that fragment of broken bottle, that half-tranced hand tracing a red line down parting jeans, and suddenly in a tangle of motion they were on the floor, Krycek pinned gasping on his back while Mulder sat astride his gut, trapping real and plastic arms helplessly against Krycek's body with his knees. His jaw hurt, and he realized he was snarling. He could barely recognize his own voice.

"You hurt yourself last night." The growl tore low in his throat.

Alex inhaled sharply, fighting to fill his weighted lungs.

"You cut yourself. With that glass." Somehow the words fought their way through his clenched teeth.

"Mulder--"

"You will not. Hurt. Yourself. Again." His face was now inches away from Krycek's, and he saw those pinedark eyes widen in shock. For a raging moment, Mulder could not leash himself, could not find a way to stop himself from killing the man beneath him in this blinding fury.

And then Krycek went limp beneath him, his head falling back to expose the long bare column of his throat to Mulder's attack, eyes closed in the totality of his surrender.

Mulder felt the fragile windpipe between his jaws, the pulse beating hard against him, and only Krycek's complete lack of resistance gave him pause enough to draw breath and hold himself still. "You," he said, and felt the long body shudder beneath him.

"Are."

"MINE."

"...yes..." Alex whispered.

Slowly, Mulder found himself again, becoming aware of his bruised knees, his fists clenched damagingly on Krycek's shoulders, his fingers cramped. Filling his lungs, he sat back and made himself set the beast aside and become again the trained profiler, the analyst who could see another way. And the man beneath him was still as beautiful to that sight, still as elusive and maddening and utterly needed.

"Alex. Listen to me." He waited until Krycek met his eyes. "Don't hurt yourself again. Do you understand me? If--If you ever hurt yourself again--" and now was the time to gamble all he had guessed. "I'll make you hurt me too."

"What?"

"If you cut yourself again, you have to cut me the same way. Just as bloody, just as painful, just as deep."

"No! Mulder, don't-- I can't--" His voice broke, and Mulder could see desperate panic flare in those bottomless eyes. "Mulder, I don't ever want to hurt you. You--" And with dizzying relief Mulder knew he'd guessed right. Alex was stammering. "O God, d-don't make me hurt you."

"Promise me." This was no time for gentleness.

"I promise! God, Mulder, please, pazhal'sta, nyet-- I promise. Never. I'll never do it again. Just don't--"

And now he could relent and take that shaking body into his arms. "It's all right, Alex," he murmured as he brushed hot tears from that poor bruised cheek. "It's all right. I know. I know you can't make yourself hurt me. I know-- Just as you're the only person I can hurt, you need me to be the person you'll never hurt, the one you'll never harm or torture or kill. I know you need to be able to hold onto that."

He kissed away the tears that still spilled from the corners of those beautiful eyes. "It's all right, Alex. I know you'll never do it again. If you need--if you need to be hurt again, you'll come to me, and I'll take care of you. It's all right."

And Alex curled up against him, fighting hopelessly against his own sobs. Mulder held him tenderly, feeling as if he had brought a child to birth, and remembered all the times he'd known him--the lies, the betrayal, the rage and pain, all culminating in the absolute rightness of this moment. Somehow even the darkness of Mulder's own damaged mind was a gift now, a bridge without which he could not have reached this man to draw him back from an abyss Mulder could barely imagine.

It wasn't going to be easy. Give Krycek an hour to think about it and he'd panic, flaring out in anger and self-hatred against his own dependence, his own need. But somehow Mulder would find a way to be strong enough to hold him steady when that time came.

For now, though, it was time to make this thing real. Slowly, not wanting to startle him, he ran his hands down the long bare shaking back, feeling the heat burn his palms as he learned the muscle and bone against his fingertips, line for line like a poem. So many scars, cuneiform records of ancient pain. Such strong silk beauty beneath his palms, each touch making his hands hungrier for more.

Women had always felt compellingly unlike him, their bodies delightfully strange, their differences drawing him in with endless fascination. This enemy, this man, felt like both a part of himself and something so alien it had no name.

He knew the casual feel of men's bodies from the offhand contact of daily business and the impersonal hostilities of the gymn. But there was nothing casual about this touch.

Beneath the hot velvet of the skin, he could feel the hidden things, bone and muscle true under the surface. Ribs and collarbone, shoulder and hollow, and a heartbeat that was not his own. The unshaven jaw rasped at his lips and tongue, and the salt richness of the taste left him drugged and aching.

Against his thigh, he felt the salmon-leap of Krycek's pulsing hardness, and then there was nothing left but need.

His hands shaped hips out of the fire, their fragile and sturdy curve his home, his rest. And the tight hot muscles of a man's ass, so unlike the diffuse generosity of a woman's softer form. They spasmed beneath his hands and he felt Alex's arousal thrust helplessly against him.

An unexpected spot of hardness rubbed against his chest, and without conscious thought he slid down to take Alex's pierced nipple between his teeth. The swollen flesh tightened as Alex arched back, breath rough and uneven as he offered himself without defense. Mulder felt the frantic drive of Krycek's erection against his belly, and his starving hands slid down to take the offered prize.

O God, the feel of Krycek's cock in his hands--

So soft, unbearably soft over the living steel within-- Heavy and moving in his hands, rich velvet-- Mulder felt the fire close over his head and there were no more thoughts, just the need and rightness that moved him down until his aching lips came home. Salt and musk and the life straining against his mouth, shaping Mulder out of nothingness into a tongue that could taste this, lips that could part and a hollow that could take it within. Too much to bear, this gift, this man-heart, and yet too much to live without. His mouth ached with fullness and his throat with joy.

Starving for this, he tried to draw it deeper and make it his own, and with a flurry of meaningless sound it swelled and thrust and battered at him until he choked on its surrender. The taste-- O God it was more his own than heart's blood, it was his soul that flooded his mouth and spilled over his face like laughter. And even lost to himself he knew it was Alex he held, Alex he loved and tasted and took within him.

He shook as Alex shook, slowed as Alex slowed, until he rested his head in the sweaty cradle of Alex's hip. The thing in his mouth softened and slipped away, but he knew it was part of him now, never to be lost again.

Softly, he turned his head enough to brush a sticky kiss against the tender flesh of Alex's belly.

It was Alex's hand that shaped him again from nothing, sculpting Mulder's head with its gentle touch so that he knew himself real again, solid and separate and alive.

And it was enough to lie there together, Alex spent and Mulder at last at peace.

***

"Y'know," Krycek said drowsily, and then cleared his throat and tried again. "You know, you've got some pretty severe mood swings there, stranger."

"Yup." Mulder burrowed more tightly against him.

"Okay."

==================================

To be continued...

 


 

Hilt VI: The Pommel, or Butt-End
by Nonie Rider ()
Summary: Was Mulder and Krycek's love a briefly shared delusion, or can it survive a week's separation in the outside world?


Hilt VI: The Pommel, or Butt-End
by Nonie Rider

Scully saw Mulder waiting at the gate as she disembarked, and was amazed to see that he looked relaxed and healthy.

"Hey, Scully!"

"Mulder, you didn't have to come pick me up." It was impossible not to smile back at him.

"What, and trust you to a DC airport limo? Someone might have mistaken you for a White House intern and abducted you for a prolonged debriefing. " As he often did when he was glad to see her, he rested his hand in the small of her back and matched his walk to hers.

"So how's your sister-in-law?"

She shook her head cheerfully. "She's fine; little Billy is fine; it's Chris who's a wreck."

"Aha!" His returning grin held no sign of strain. "Mother Gives Birth, But Father Feels Pangs. Face of Elvis (or is it Jesus?) Appears in Spilled Formula."

"Opening a casefile already, Mulder?" God, it was good to see him like this again, as if the darkness and agony of their past years had left no mark on him. Last week she'd left a broken man alone with his worst enemy despite her better judgment. And now look at him. "So what's this I hear about VICAP and Omaha?"

"Yup," he said, and tipped an invisible hat to her. "We got the Northside Mangler. Anderssen, Tors Anderssen. Got him clean. So if you're planning to retire there, put on twenty pounds, and dye your hair blonde, you'd no longer be at risk."

"Mulder, that's wonderful! Are you-- I know profiling serial killers can be pretty hard on you," she probed delicately.

"Well, this went pretty well for once. No shoot-out, no last-minute victim, just a straightforward collar and solid evidence to back it up."

"How did you get onto him?"

"Those choke-chains. VICAP was looking for someone associated with dogs or hardware stories, but I figured it was more a fascination with hangings. So we hit the public library and got a list of people who'd checked out books on executions..." He spotted her luggage before she did, and scooped it off the carrell over her protests. Dear God, he was actually whistling.

She had to ask. "Mulder, is he-- Did you--"

He didn't pretent not to understand. "Gone since Monday. Took off when I was out running--I thought he might--but I'm not worried. He left me a note. Well, sort of a note."

She raised one eyebrow in query.

"He stacked all my Schwartzenegger movies on the couch. The way I look at it, that means either he's left me for a European bodybuilder, or, like Arnie says--"

Shaking her head, she couldn't stop herself from joining in: "'I'll be baahck.'"

***

Mulder was still whistling when he let himself into his apartment that evening, so he didn't even hear movement before the arm was around his neck and a cold muzzle stirred the hairs at the base of his skull.

He knew who it had to be, even before he fully registered the inhuman hardness of the forearm across his throat. A flood of emotions paralyzed him--fear, lust, anger, relief, hope... He made himself relax and speak casually. "Hi, honey, I'm home. I hope the Beaver's been a good boy."

He tried not to look too smug when he heard Alex snerk. But the plastic arm and the steel gunbarrel didn't yield. "So, Mulder."

"So, Krycek."

"Second thoughts? Now that you've had a week of what passes for real life, and time to think about it?" Alex's voice was smooth and faintly mocking, and Mulder couldn't hear the faintest trace of real emotion in it.

Fuck! What if the man had come to his senses and was laughing at him? What if the whole thing had been a horrible set-up? No, the hell with it. Better to look like a fool than risk losing-- losing--

"Alex, I'm hurt." He tried to match Krycek's tone. "You think I'm the slam-bam-thank-you-ram kinda guy? Cuff and tell? No, I haven't changed my mind. Have you? I'd have gotten you a card, but Hallmark doesn't seem to have the right category."

"Mmm." Krycek sounded thoughtful. "Would that be a variant of Get Well? *Love you like/Stars, sun and moon;/Hope those bruises/Fade real soon*?"

"You know, Alex, might be some money in that. Belated Birthday Beatings; So Glad to Hear You're in Bondage; Missing You (Because I'm Still Learning to Use This Whip)."

"Happy Birthday, Bottom. You're Invited to a Golden Shower. Thank You for Coming."

"You got it. So, could you either let go of me or put on some waltz music?"

"I don't think so, Mulder." The regret in Krycek's voice chilled him, until the younger man spoke again. "Don't worry, I wouldn't shoot you at this range; this jacket's a bitch to clean. And I'm not selling you to the Samoans or my secret cadre of deaf albino Basque separatists. I just want us to talk elsewhere, and I don't feel like arguing. So let's ditch your guns and cellphone, shall we?"

Suppressing his first impulses towards violence, Mulder decided to comply. "So you're the one with second thoughts?"

"Maybe. But not the kind you're thinking. Okay, let's see... Handcuff yourself--no, in front--and hand me the key. Careful! Good."

//Not serious restraint, then, or he'd have my arms cuffed behind me.//Baffled, feeling both anger and affection twisting in him, Mulder went where Krycek directed: to the elevator, down to the basement, past the cramped laundry room and through an unmarked door beyond it that Krycek unlocked without effort.

The water heater; water-softener units; fuses. A faint smell of mold and dust, and a trace of cobwebs in the corners.

Krycek closed the door behind them, placed his gloved right hand on Mulder's chest, and pushed him sharply back against the wall. "Stay there."

"Krycek, what the fuck is this about?"

"Mulder, I meant what I said last week. All of it. But we need to get a few things straight." Pacing, Krycek still watched him with a predator's eye.

"Like what?" God, the traitor's abrasive tone was getting to him, as it always had.

"Ownership, for one. Which is mutual, or it's nothing. You nearly killed me for cutting myself, you know that? Fucking stupid solution, isn't it."

"And cutting yourself isn't, asshole?"

Krycek leaned back against the closed door, but Mulder could see the vibrating tension behind his casual mask and hear the iron control in his voice. "You nearly killed me. And you know, I couldn't tell whether that was because you l-loved me and didn't want me to be hurt, or because you felt like you owned me and I'd fucked up your property. Well, guess what, Mulder? You don't own a fucking thing that I don't give you. I'm not your slave. I'm not your dog. Either I'm your lover, or I'm out of here."

"So what do you want, Krycek?"

"I told you that, remember? I want everything. And that includes the pain. But it's not something you take; it's something I give you. And something you give me. If there's ownership, we own each other. Mutual or nothing. No, you're fucking right I don't want to hurt you, and you know that sometimes I want you to h-hurt me. But I'm not your property."

"Fuck, Krycek! Did I treat you like it? I-- I... Oh, hell, maybe you're right. Maybe that was part of it. That old testosterone crap, wanting to claim my territory and roar. But mostly it was because I couldn't stand to see you hurt."

Mulder heard his own words even before Alex snorted. "Damn it, Krycek, you know what I mean. I-- When you want pain and I give it to you, that's a bond, you know? A--a sharing, an act of love. But to cut yourself like that, that's just self-hatred, and I'm damned if I'm going to let you do that."

Krycek was still shaking his head, his teeth just showing in a half-bared grin. "Yeah, Mulder, I know what you mean. But I dare you to explain it to anyone else."

"As if I'd want to. Okay, so what else?"

"Well, for another thing, this," and Mulder hadn't even seen him moving up, but suddenly he was almost too close, close enough that Mulder could smell the leather and musk, the faint beer-and-smoke scent of a bar lingering stale from another night, the slightest tang of gun oil and the smell of Alex under it all. So close that Mulder could feel Alex's heat against his skin, the warmth of his breath as those lips found him and came home. Ah, God, the feel of him, the unbearable rightness of their mouths together...

Krycek pulled away with obvious reluctance, and Mulder forced himself not to stop him. "Mulder--" the voice was gentle, strangely sad, and he felt the chill of fear again.

"Mulder, look around. Did Scully tell you about seeing me here?"

"What?"

"No, you probably weren't very coherent. Scully saw me deliver an altered water-softener unit, back when... after you had gone crazy in the hall and attacked Skinner. After your father's death."

Something coiled cold and sick in Mulder's belly. "She did tell me. She said I'd been drugged."

"That's right." Krycek spoke with the distant kindness of a surgeon with bad news. "I saw the report afterwards too. It didn't just affect you; one of your neighbors shot her husband, another tried to kill himself..."

"Why?" The word hurt his throat. "Why did you do it?"

"That's what we have to get straight. You see, Mulder, I'm not going to justify myself to you. Not ever. Not for that, not for your father's death or Scully's abduction or any of the other things you've hated me for. There's no point in my giving you reasons. I did those things. I did other things. Some of them turned out to be worse than useless; others saved more people than you'll ever know.

"But that's who I am, Mulder. I'm the man who did all those things. And you knew it when you hit me; you knew it when you raped me with a knife-hilt. But I'm not sure you're remembering it very well any more."

"Oh, I remember it, you son of a bitch."

Krycek shook his head with something like pity. "Do you? You just kissed the lips that betrayed your partner. I told them how dangerous she was, how dangerous she made you, and they decided it was time to do something about her."

"Damn it, Alex! Why are you doing this?"

Alex's eyes closed for a moment, as if he were very tired. "Because you're going to remember it eventually. Because some time when my hand touches you, you're going to remember that it pulled the trigger. Because the last time we were together, you sucked the cock of your father's killer. And if you hide from that truth, it'll destroy us."

"STOP IT!" Mulder's raw scream startled them both. "God damn you, Krycek, do you really think I could forget? Do you think I didn't know that? Yes, I want to know your reasons; yes, of course I wish you did it all for something noble and heroic. Because I love you. But no reason in the world could change the fact that you killed my father. And I can't forget or forgive that. Ever.

"So I can either hate you or love you. We're stuck with each other.

"And God help me, I love you."

And then he was shaking too hard to talk, and Krycek bowed his head briefly before reaching out that gloved hand to brush away his furious tears. "I'm sorry, Mulder."

Mulder could only nod. //Me too.//

And then, seeing Alex's eyes still masked against the fear of loss, he reached out slowly with his cuffed hands and spread them to frame the half-healed face and bring it gently to his own. //God, Alex, how could you have betrayed Scully to them? And how can I betray her now by loving you?// But if he could not forgive, then what was this nameless tenderness he gave him now, this need to put some kind of healing in his kiss?

Alex made a small noise and pulled Mulder to him as he traded him kiss for kiss, soft and light like rain falling. Mulder tried to hold him tighter, but growled in frustration as the cuffs intervened. The younger man shuddered at the sound and leaned into him, pinning him back against the wall as his kisses deepened. One leg slid warm and solid between Mulder's thighs, and he thought the lightning would burn him alive.

Finally Alex pulled away, and Mulder caught a ragged breath. "So, Krycek, is that all? Can we go upstairs now and do something about this?"

Krycek's eyes glittered under their long-lashed veil. "Mulder, I want you to fuck me. I want you crammed all the way up my ass and pounding so hard I can't find breath to scream."

Mulder felt his lips pull away from his bared teeth. "Yes. Let's do it." He was so hard it hurt and he'd never done that but he'd figure it out somehow and God upstairs was too far away and he wanted it right now--

"But--" Krycek added with a sidelong smile.

"But what, you fucking asshole!" Christ, was the man just playing with him again?

"But there's one more thing."

"Then get it the fuck over with and let's GO, damn it!" He was going to strangle Alex, he was sure of it. This was no time for playing games--

And that leather-gloved palm slid firehot down the line of his arousal. "When you fuck me, I want you to know what you're doing to me."

"What?" God, were his hormones completely fogging his brain?

"When you're inside me. When you do me. I want you to know what it feels like, so you know exactly how you're making me feel." And his hand slid further down between Mulder's legs.

"Uh--" Mulder was sure his brain had shorted out.

"So I'm going to fuck you first. Now. Unless you stop me."

One part of Mulder flared into rage; was the traitor changing the terms now, expecting Mulder to roll over and take it? But those eyes glittered warm, not cold, and in them Mulder could see the hope and fear, the heat and the desperate plea.

And knowing that he was indeed being offered a gift and not a vengeance, Mulder chose consent. Raising his cuffed hands to rest behind his head, he offered his undefended body, throat and belly and groin, to the man who had betrayed him more than once and might again.

Those green eyes masked themselves in shock or something else, and Mulder heard his breath catch.

And then that hand fisted itself on his belt buckle and pulled him in for another kiss, body hot against body all down their near-matched length. Stretched this way, Mulder could feel the hard metal at Krycek's breast grinding against him, and the raised lines of the arm-straps beneath his shirt. And below, welcome madness, the hidden shaft that rubbed against his own and made him drunk with fire.

He could have stood there burning forever, lost in the frictioned rightness of this embrace, but Krycek's hand moved to open his belt and free him from his all-confining clothes.

He surrendered to the traitor's touch and closed his eyes, the better to feel the brush of fabric against sensitized skin as Krycek stripped him. Finally, the younger man unlocked one cuff so he could work the sleeves free. A soft warmth moved against his freed wrist, and he opened his eyes again to see those lips pull away and smile.

"Here, Mulder," and Krycek pulled his right glove off with his teeth and wrapped it around Mulder's wrist before he closed the cuff again. Then he peeled the other glove off the prosthetic and padded Mulder's other wrist. "I'm leaving the cuffs on in case you want something to, you know, struggle against, but despite all the kinky stories they can be pretty hard on the wrists."

Mulder, remembering the terrible bruising of Krycek's wrist after the night on Skinner's balcony, was grateful and surprised at the courtesy.

Krycek turned half away to strip, and Mulder saw that even after all they had done the younger man was blushing faintly as he exposed himself, fair and flawed together, to Mulder's view. Most of the bruises had faded, shadows of purple and green staining the pale skin as if an artist had done him in watercolors, highlighted with one small curving gleam of gold.

And he was beautiful, so beautiful in form and movement that it hurt to watch him but hurt more to look away.

Mulder had never cared about other men's looks before, never even admired, much less ached as he did now. But O God the lines of him were so clean and sharp, so right. The long, strong legs; the lean and powerful torso; the arms whose imbalance seemed a fitting match for the traitor's mind.

And then Mulder let himself look fully at the straining shaft that speared out from Krycek's groin, dark and heavy with blood.

And sheer terror washed over him.

//That's a man's dick, a *dick,* and he's going to shove that thing up my ass and I'm going to just take it like any little faggot whore or prison bitch and I'll never be able to call myself a real man again and Jesus Christ that's big and it'll hurt like hell and why did I ever even think about letting him do this my God this is *Krycek* traitor enemy and he's getting back at me for that arm and he'll laugh at me while he makes me take it up the ass Jesus I've got to get out of here fight back stop him *stop*--//

The face in front of him was moving, saying something, and he stared at it without understanding as his eyes blurred and stung with sudden sweat and his heart tried to crowd all air out of his lungs.

"...der, Mulder, can you hear me? It's all right, Mulder."

Words. Voice. Alex. What...?

"Mulder?"

Alex. Talk. "A...lex." God, he was shaking so hard--

"Mulder, it's all right."

The words were meaningless, just empty sounds. His hands hurt; he only realized that they were cramped into claws against Alex's chest when that pale right hand came up to raise them to the bared throat.

"It's all right, Mulder. See? I'm not going to hurt you. It's all right." Alex's face was sheened with sweat but his voice stayed level and calm. "You're in control here. Okay? You can kill me at any time, but you don't need to because everything's all right." Under Mulder's aching fingers, the still-bruised throat swallowed convulsively.

"Al-ex?"

"That's right. It's Alex. It's all right, Mulder."

All right. Mulder blinked the stinging sweat out of his eyes and tried to focus. Alex. Alex Krycek. At his mercy, the neck vulnerable under his hands. No threat.

Mulder made himself let go and leaned back against the rough cold concrete before his knees could give way. //Jesus!//

Krycek stood unmoving and wide-eyed, and waited for him to sort himself out.

//A panic attack. I haven't had one of those since that hotel fire. And for what? The sight of another guy's dick? Jesus, Mulder, get a grip. You know he isn't going to do anything you don't let him. You know that by now. And you've seen the damned thing before, idiot. You sucked it off and even fucking swallowed and it sure didn't make you less of a man. Hell, you threatened it with a *knife,* for God's sake, and he didn't pass out like you almost did just now.//

//Look at him; he's terrified of you. Or for you. Say something!//

"Sorry, Krycek," he managed to croak out. "Just realized I forgot to pay my cable bill. Now, where were we?"

And by God the son of a bitch laughed. Laughed! Mulder found that he could smile himself after all, and even breathe.

Alex visibly made himself relax, and ran his fingers through his own hair. "Mulder... Do you really want to try this?"

//Deep breath, Mulder. Okay, another one. There you go.//

"Krycek, will it spoil my reputation as a world-famous stud if I admit I'm scared shitless?"

A flash of white teeth in that boyish grin he'd always wanted to smash or kiss away.

"Krycek-- Alex--"

"Hush..." Alex laid one long fingertip on Mulder's lips. "Don't distract yourself with words. Just feel."

And he leaned into him again. They had never touched this way, fully bare; Mulder felt dizzy with the whole of Alex against him, soft and hard together, the warm silk of his skin and the textures of his body hair. Hesitantly, Mulder raised his cuffed arms and dropped them over Alex's head and shoulders to bind them together, feeling the knobbed perfection of his spine and the hollow of his back. He buried his face where Alex's neck met his shoulder, inhaling deeply, trying to drown his fear in the intoxicating scent of his lover's skin.

Krycek moved against him subtly and let his hand slide down Mulder's hip and thigh, and Mulder felt his shrunken groin stir again. Then Alex dipped his head and ran a warm, soft tongue flat across his nipples in wide strokes that started a deep ache within him, like a hook catching in his gut with a tug half pain, half pleasure, and he felt his penis bloom and swell in the secret heat of Krycek's cupping hand.

Against his inner thigh the hard pressure of the other man's cock burned red-hot and he knew himself marked for life, branded with this touch.

Shaking, he waited for a sudden move, a nip or squeeze that would give some punctuation to this slow torment. But Alex's inexorable tongue continued its gentle strokes and the hand on him moved soft and slow, the palm drifting warm down his length. The long fingers never even touched his skin, only brushing the hair of his testes like moving air.

The hook in his gut twisted, wanting more and now. Tightening his arms around his captive lover, Mulder bent his head to kiss his hair and tug one dark strand between his teeth, hoping the sting would drive Krycek to action.

But the younger man only hummed and licked him again, the vibration maddening against his aching nipples. Then Krycek's mouth pulled away and he twisted in Mulder's arms to grin up at him, his lips wet and his long-lashed eyes gleaming bright and wicked. With lithe grace, he slid downward along Mulder's protesting body like water pouring through fingers and knelt at his feet.

//Now, oh now please--//

But Krycek's open mouth came no closer than to breathe warm air over his burning cock.

"Damn it, Krycek!"

A chuckle.

And then the velvet heat of that wet mouth at last, sliding down his aching flesh and taking him in, until he was fully sheathed in Alex's throat. Around his shaft and head, he felt the muscles shift gloriously to swallow and seat him into position.

And no more.

Frictionless, unmoving, the fire held him and would not give him relief.

Teeth grinding, he snapped his hips and tried to rub himself against that infuriating mouth, but Alex rode the movement and refused to yield. Only a quiet chuckle shivered against him and stopped.

Mulder dug his cuffed hands into Krycek's hair and tried to force him to move, but Alex would not give.

Finally, almost sobbing in frustration, Mulder surrendered, letting his hands rest soft on the dark hair like a benediction as he yielded to the waiting. In reward, he felt the tongue move minutely against his length, its subtle friction a promise, a kiss.

Then Alex ran his hand up Mulder's belly and chest, brushing smoothly over one nipple and along his throat to come to rest on his lips. He could smell himself on those long fingers, a rich musk both like and unlike his lover's, and without conscious thought he opened his lips and the fingers slipped in.

Sweat-salted, they tasted of sex and hidden pleasures and he claimed them with lips and teeth and greedy tongue, sucking and biting as he wanted Alex to do. And the fingers stroked the inside of his mouth in a lingering caress and slipped free.

And as silent laughter moved against his cock, he felt the wet finger slide up the crack of his ass and touch him there.

Convulsing, he hit his head against the wall behind him, but not even that jarring pain could blot out the feel of that touch.

It was wrong, it was maddeningly wrong and alien and not sexual at all, like being tickled or poked in the armpit, and yet the sheer wrongness of it almost made him come. Just the feel of that fingertip resting against his anus shot fire through him and he was burning and cold with sudden sweat.

//When had he closed his eyes?// But he hid in panic in the darkness behind his eyelids and fought to make it stop, to brace himself and feel nothing as the finger touched him and began to move in slow circles on his skin.

He couldn't stop feeling it. Even that delicate motion cramped his gut with lust and terror, and he could have sworn he felt Krycek's heartbeat through the flesh that held his cock in unbearable stillness.

And then the tongue moved fractionally on him again, and even as he cried out the finger slipped inside him. Just the tip, but the invasion burned with rough fire and his body tried desperately to expel the intruder. For a merciful second, the finger held still, but then it began to touch him inside, using every cramp and spasm to slide deeper and move against him, opening him to its touch.

//O God stop it! Stop it I can't--I can't--O God this is too much I can't survive this stop no Jesus no I can't please make it STOP--//

A slow friction along his cock at last, tongue and throat caressing him as a second finger forced him open and split him wide. O God, the burning agony of the invasion, and yet the mouth moved on him, the doubled hook in his gut twisting as he screamed with inseparable pleasure and pain.

If his muscles had been his own, he would have beaten Alex around the head with his clenched fists, killing them both if he had to to make this stop. But all his body was weak and shaking, all his strength gone to the muscles that fought to drive the invader out, and in the mindless fire that drove him into Krycek's mouth.

He was sobbing openly now, unable to control himself as the fingers probed him in unspeakable intimacy and the mouth on his cock soothed and maddened him beyond bearing.

Pinioned between heaven and hell, he convulsed helplessly in painful pleasure and wanted most desperately to be dead; anything to make this stop, to free him from this battering flood of sensation that drowned and choked him with fire.

But there was no escape, no hope of rescue, until his racked and spasming body could take no more and slammed all its rejection into Krycek's throat, screaming and coming and coming until the explosions drove all else away in the blinding flare of release and he could let himself fall into the welcome darkness beyond.

***

The room was cold, but a warm body held him close and he was wrapped in something that smelled like leather.

"Mulder, you wuss," the voice was quietly affectionate. "You're not supposed to faint until I bring out the studded zucchini."

"i didn't faint, i swooned in your arms," Mulder managed to whisper past a throat that felt like torn parchment.

"Arm," Alex corrected him. "Well, you're not supposed to do *that* until I sweep you off your feet and ask for your hand in marriage."

"on your knees, with a ring"

"Um. Well, yes..."

"you did that"

"Oh."

"I do," whispered Mulder decisively and settled back against him.

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Archived: June 21, 2001