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Dana Scully moved around the room, scanning the crowd, a cold, sweating glass of mostly melted ice and water-diluted vodka gripped in her fingers. It was her third. Or fifth. She wasn't sure. It didn't really matter, since the alcohol gave her neither the clarity nor the oblivion she wanted. It only added wobbliness to the vacuum that enveloped her.

The bar was so mediocre it was almost chic. Hidden in the bowels of a broken down warehouse in a bad area of town, it had no windows, no ventilation, walls of concrete block, painted black, covered over with arty rock posters. It was smoky, dark, noisy in that way bars are, an anonymous hum of voices and clinking glasses and loud music that muffled sound into one big roar. It reeked of expensive perfume and sweaty bodies and lost souls, searching for someone to stave off the night. Exactly the sort of place she wanted to be.

She moved along the outer edge of the complex of rooms, finding no discernible pattern to the way the rickety tables dotted the edge of the dance floor. She downed over half of her watery drink, feeling another layer of haze trickle down over her, like thick, transparent cotton draped over her eyes, her skin, her ears.

The roar of the crowd and the music and the scents of cigarettes and perfume and too many bodies crowded into too small a space were smothered. Coming from far away. Second hand. Even her eyes seemed filmed over, leaving everything blurred at the edges, grainy and coppery like an old photograph. The smooth lining of her skirt brushed her bare legs, but her skin was anesthetized, more numbed to sensation than if she'd still been wearing her pantyhose.

But she could still think. That was the only problem. While she saw only jigsaw-like flashes of the other bodies crowding the bar, heard only nonsensical pieces of conversation, she could still think. She could still feel. Not the cold slick glass as she rubbed it against her cheek, but a cold/hot ache that was much deeper. Trapped behind her breasts, pressing against her ribs.

So she circled the room, staying in the shadows, looking for someone to flip her inside out. Who could bring the world back into sharp focus, but without its sharp edges. Here and there, she picked out a likely prospect--a face or torso or tight ass--that came suddenly into focus, then seeped away into fuzziness again. Nothing so far had set her blood to humming. And she wanted it to hum. She wanted her heart to pound, her pulse to race. She wanted fear, or anger, or arousal. She wanted to feel alive.


A man, probably her age, with soft blonde hair and hard brown eyes blocked her slow progress. He was taller than she, muscular, and very, very good looking. Smooth, chiseled jaw, like a model's. Broad shoulders, slim hips encased in very, very tight jeans. Soft, pouty mouth, like Mulder's.

The thought of Mulder gave her a little twinge of something. Conscience? Anger? Mulder was annoyed with her. Mired in his pain and fear. Not understanding why she was so distant, why she was holding him away. Why she needed him so desperately to break down the walls.

"Looking for someone...?"

He had Mulder's boyish grin, too. Her pulse speeded, just a bit. Not enough, but maybe it was a start. "Maybe I've found him," she said, her voice alcohol lazy.

His grin widened, no longer boyish. "Been here before?"

She shook her head. The movement made her dizzy. Her gaze traveled slowly across the span of his chest. She could see his nipples, hard little buds, beneath the stretch of Grateful Dead t-shirt. That, too, made her dizzy.

He took her watery drink and set it on a nearby ledge, enfolded her cold fingers in his. His grip was warm, slightly sweaty. "This way. I'll show you where the real action is."

A little wobbly on her feet, she pulled back on his hand, slowing his pace but allowing him to lead her. They traversed the length of the front bar, across the crowded dance floor, into the dim, smoke laden area at the back of the warehouse.

He grinned back at her as he tugged her into a hallway lit by only a garish, red neon arrow. On the wall overhead, it pointed into the darkness, proclaiming 'restrooms' and 'phone'. The bodies of couples, so tightly clutched together in pairs that she could barely distinguish male from female, lined the hallway, washed in red light. Kissing. Groping. Rocking to a primal, private rhythm that she recognized. That made her feel the pressure of her bare legs, brushing against each other as she twisted sideways to follow her guide into the semi-darkness.

The air was filled with the too sweet scent of controlled substance, and that, rather than the mating couples, made her hesitate. Pull back on the hand leading her.

"Down here," he coaxed when she hesitated. "We can do whatever you want. No one can see."

She tossed her head, trying to shake away the warning alarm whistling in her brain. The ends of her hair tickled her jaw. For just a moment, her nerve endings danced. Wasn't this what she'd come for? Her pulse skipped just a little bit faster.

She pushed between two couples, heard a soft moan. It spurred her on, further quickened her pulse, and she concentrated on the adrenaline rush. Her partner pulled her deeper into the darkness, past a couple just coming out of a tiny alcove that had once housed a telephone booth. It was now only a dark niche with peeling paint, smelling of sex and dust.

He pushed her up against the wall, half in/half out of the alcove. The edge of the corner where the walls intersected was sharp against her spine. The scent of sweat crusted over with rich perfume and richer whiskey was sharp in her nostrils.

"We'll have all the privacy we want in here," he purred. His knee edged between her legs, urging her to step back into the recess. His fingers slid up her ribs, rasping across her silk blouse.

She side-stepped around the corner until solid wall was behind her back. She reached blindly for him, guiding his hands back to her ribs, tense, waiting for his touch. For the rush of crystalline arousal that would follow. His fingers found the soft undercurve of her breast, played higher and teased her nipples. They swelled, tightened, becoming taut and sensitive under the dancing touch, and she sighed softly.

He shoved his knee between her legs, urging them apart, his groin up against her hip. She could feel his cock, swollen and eager, through the layers of skirt and denim. His right hand dropped away from her breast, reappeared on her bare thighs like magic. Girlishly soft fingers, dancing up, pushing her skirt ahead of them. Baring her to anyone in the hallway who cared to look.

She felt the first rush of pulse as her heart rate increased. The first jitters of pleasure, dancing along in front of his fingers, her skin responding to the promise of being stroked. Something low in her belly throbbed, pulsed, awakened sluggishly. "Yes-s-s-s..." she hissed. Long, sibilant sigh of pleasure. Beguiling herself towards arousal. Towards something honed to a hard edge.

She tugged at the dark t-shirt, yanking it free of his jeans. Thrust one hand up underneath it the moment the hem was free. His skin was warm and smooth, so smooth he felt like someone had just bathed him and patted him dry and silked his slender torso with baby powder. Her fingers found his ribs, counted each one, the other hand found his cock, curved around it. His fingers found the vee at the juncture of her thighs.

She sighed again. Her eyes fluttered closed...then jolted open as he was jerked away from her. As another body pushed rudely between them, shoving the man away from her. Slamming her back into the wall. Her head thumped off the plaster.

She whimpered a soft 'no' as the pleasure she'd been feeling whooshed away like something blown by a gust of wind. Her left hand was still beneath his t-shirt, twisted in the material. He yanked her hand loose, pushed at the man who was crushed up against her, protesting eloquently, "Hey-y-y...!"

Scully pushed from the other side, but the interloper was big. Bigger than the man who'd been holding her. Bigger body, with a brute strength he displayed arrogantly, casually. He reached out, caught her date by the throat. "I think you've made a mistake. This lady's with me."

Scully gasped. In semi-darkness, with him pushed so close, with her vision clouded over, she hadn't recognized the body, the incredibly broad shoulders. But she knew the voice immediately, the strength of it, the command in it.

Walter Skinner. Her Bureau supervisor.

A quick succession of emotions looped through her. Relief that he wasn't some crazy, pushing in to rape her. Shame that he was there. Angry that he was there. All three rippled the haze; the relief and the shame quickly swallowed up in the anger; the anger dulled by the murk.

She had to do something other than stand there with her hands hanging down by her sides while her superior choked the man, but before she could protest Skinner's presence, or his presumption, her nameless date surrendered.

Whether it was the voice or the hand around his throat, the blonde man seemed to suddenly change his mind about his interest in her. With a shrug and just the slightest show of bravado, he backed away from Skinner, twisting his head to slip out of his grasp. He disappeared back into the smoky neon glow of the hallway, and she shifted to follow.

Skinner stepped back, allowing her room to breath, to move, but not enough room to slip past him. He leaned in, just the top part of his body curving over her. "Haven't you ever seen 'Looking for Mr. Goodbar', Agent Scully? I thought your last outing would have taught you the dangers of picking up strange men."

She knew she should be mortified, or just plain angry. She could manage neither. She turned, looking for something, anything, that would blot out the vague sounds of his indignance. Looking for escape.

He slammed one palm to the wall, just inches from her nose, blocking her escape out of the niche. The only way out was around him on the other side. He leaned in, proximity making his voice louder, grimmer. "What would you do if you didn't know me? I could be a rapist. Or someone who collects body parts from ladies who pick up strangers in bars."

She edged back, away from his hand. The edges where his fingers were pressed against the wall were blurred, zooming into and out of focus like the lens of a video camera. She shook off the trange vertigo, covering it with vodka induced bravado. "I would have kicked your ass, Sir."

"You think so? You're not even carrying your weapon." He shoved her, slapping the heel of his hand into her shoulder. Controlled anger.

The push was hard enough that she thunked in the wall. Hard enough that, had her pistol been tucked into the waistband of her skirt as it normally was, it would have jabbed into her spine. Hard enough to make his point. Hard enough to make her mind caroom from point to point like some crazy rollercoaster. Whirling and whirling towards a crazy succession of thoughts, screeching past each so fast she couldn't bring them into focus. How did he know she wasn't carrying? Did he know what else she'd left behind? How dare he touch her? He'd never touched her before. Why had he stopped her, just when she was feeling something? Why didn't he move out of her way?

She shifted, swaying with the weight of too many questions whirling in her mind, to move deeper into the alcove. Fastening on the one thing that did make sense. If she had to go around him, she'd go around him.

He didn't give any indication that there *was* a way around him. He clapped his other hand to the wall, bracing it just to the side of and above her head. His face was grim, the normally curving line of his upper lip tightened into a straight, disapproving slash. Impossible to look at. He seemed to swoop and zoom back and forth, too close, then very far away. One moment, Skinner. The next, some giant creature, the folds of his coat sweeping out to crush her like big black wings.

"How are you going to kick my ass? You can't even get out of here." His voice was mocking, so deceptively low it was threatening.

As she squeezed her eyes closed against it, he stepped back. Just enough so she was no longer pressed into the wall, but not enough that she could take a deep breath without touching him. Not enough that she could turn away.

Her face was barely an inch from his chest. The scent of outside, of clean, cold fall air still clung to his coat. Underneath that scent, she could smell his starched cotton shirt, the musk of soap, the warmth of his skin.

"Answer me."

She didn't even remember the question. The scent of him was sucking up all the oxygen. She reached out to push him away and it was like the unyielding pressure of the wall against her spine. Solid and unmoving muscle under cloth. She stepped sideways, ducked to slip from between the wall of Skinner and the wall of plaster behind her, but his hand slid down, still gripping the wall, trapping her.

She reached again to push him away, but at the last moment, she let both hands drop down by her sides. There was no point in proving his point, in further shredding her already tattered dignity by straining against an immovable object. But if he thought he could intimidate her with his size, he was in for a shock. She sighed. She squared her shoulders as best she could without touching him and stared at the white, blurred field that was his shirt. "It's none of your business, Sir."

Her flat tone seemed to infuriate him. His voice went down an octave. "None of my business?"

His breath moved her hair. His voice vibrated her bones.

"No, Sir, it's none of your business, and I'd appreciate it if you'd get out of my way."

He grabbed her. One moment, his hand was on the wall beside her shoulder, the next, holding the back of her head in a painful grip, his fingers tangled in her hair. The movement was so quick, so rough, she cried out.

She wavered, dizzy with the speed of his movement, the roughness of his hand, the unexpectedness of it.

Until tonight, she didn't think he'd ever touched her. Maybe a gentlemanly brush on her elbow, or a hand hovering at her back, guiding but not quite touching. Now he'd shoved her into the wall. Now she could feel every finger, his thumb, the heel of his hand, the flat palm, cradling her skull. Her skin prickled and stung where he was pulling her hair.

She'd been looking for fear. Now she'd found it. His anger was no longer controlled. And he was no sweetly smooth, soft fingered boy.

A tingle of fear radiated down the back of her neck. Twinged in her throat, sharp soft little pain.

"I'm making it my business." He used his grip to yank her head back, trying to force her to meet his gaze, but she closed her eyes. Refused to maintain a gaze into eyes so dark and angry they looked like black fire.

"Are you looking for danger, Agent Scully? Does it turn you on? Make you feel alive?" Each sentence was punctuated with an angry tug at her hair.

She cringed from his questions, from how close they were to the truth. From the sharp jab into her equilibrium.

She twisted her head, trying to get away from his fingers, his honesty. His breath was hot across her face, a scent she could have identified blindfolded as Skinner.

"No!" she hissed, jabbing back the only way she knew how. "Yes! I'm looking for someone to make me feel alive. Is that what you want to hear?"

His fingers tightened on her scalp, and he moved that scant inch back against her, forcing her to straighten her spine, to tilt her head further back. To force her to open her eyes. "Look at me! Look at me." Livid. Raw. Angry, red voice, breathing fire. So filled with pain it was as if he was the one threatened.

His pain did what his roughness hadn't, couldn't.

She opened her eyes, met his gaze and gasped. Gasped at what she saw on his grim face. At how clearly she saw him. Technicolor anger. Sharp edged passion. Brightly focused desire. Even in the barely lit hallway, he was clear and she was clear and all the fuzziness was gone. Bright. He was so bright.

"You want danger?" His face came down. Hard, cruel mouth rushing toward her. He was against her, hard and hot and unyielding. Crushing her. Burning her up. "You can quit looking."

He was going to kill her. She knew it. He was going to kiss her and make her feel his brightness, and it would kill her. She loathed it and she craved it, as surely as any addict craved his next fix. 'No.' Formed the words with her lips though no sound came out. "I can't."

His mouth hovered, so close, but not touching. "Why not? You want danger? Isn't fucking your boss in a crowded bar dangerous enough?"

"No-o-o..." Finally the word did come, a long wail, but how much did it mean when she could hear the blood humming in her ears, feel it pulsing between her legs? When she had twisted her hands into the lapels of his jacket and was holding on as if she would never let him go?

"No." She whispered it again as she strained upward, yanked viciously down on his coat, and took his mouth. She pushed her tongue into him, feeling the smoothness of his lips, the warm slickness of his mouth, sharp edges of teeth. She tasted the sweetness of his hiss, his surprise, his instant response.

His tongue dueled with hers, chased back into her mouth, took her breath away with how thoroughly it explored her, ravaged her, claimed her. He was so hungry he was going to swallow her up.

She disentangled her hands from his jacket, reached greedily lower. He was erect, hard, pressing against his pants. His cock demanding to be freed. He hissed and dragged her further back into the alcove.

With his free hand, he reached down to his zipper, helped her fumbling fingers draw it open. The metallic whisper was loud against the background of bar music, against the movement and voices in the hallway behind them.

She slipped her hands inside, spread her palms flat against heat that burned through layers of shirt and shorts, and he groaned.

His eyes were glazed over, as if by lifting the haze from her, he'd taken it into himself.

His hand left her hair, descended to her shoulder with a weight she couldn't mistake.

'No' was instantly on her tongue again. "No. Not here." Too dangerous, this game. This risk. Not even her insanity was that insane.

"You wanted danger." His voice was stripped, sinister, dazzling. It offered no choice. It sent a shiver down her spine.

She backed into the darkest corner of the alcove, turning so his back was to the hallway, went to her knees. The floor was gritty and cold. Then his hands were pushing hers away, rearranging layers of clothing. Pulling his cock free.

In the corner, shielded by the heavy folds of his coat, she was in complete darkness. Vision impaired again. But it wasn't like before. She couldn't see him, but she could feel him with all the clarity of vision. Radiating heat, burning her face. Burning her hands as she grasped him, guided him.

He murmured something, his voice coming from very far away, muffled.

She didn't understand the words, but she understood the demand. She did what he wanted. What she wanted. Tasted him, first with tiny licks, then longer sweeps with her tongue curled around him, then with one great gulp. He tasted like the musk of peaches, of sweet salt and slick passion. Hard and silky soft, all at the same time.

He sighed with pleasure, his fingers twining in her hair again. He guided her roughly, showing her how he wanted her mouth to move on him. His breathing was as harsh as his hands, as his lust gruff voice. "That's good," he whispered. "So good."

She clutched his thighs, braced and rock hard with tension. Her eyes fluttered closed. Pleasure fluttered along her spine, like eyelashes caressing her nerves. She gave herself over to the pressure of him against the back of her mouth. The taste of his cock. She circled her tongue around the thick head, along the underside. Every caress was translated into quivering in his muscles, into throbbing between her legs. She moaned around his cock, felt the shiver that ran through him.

Good. He tasted so good. He felt so good. Filling her mouth. Moving. Filling her with an ache she could allow herself to feel.

He shuddered and pulled away, taking away the thick hardness. With a wordless sound of protest, she reached for him. He stopped her, his hands slipping from her hands to her elbows to her armpits, lifting her to her feet with easy strength. His fingers slid down, pausing as he flicked his thumbs back and forth across her nipples. They were standing up, as hard as his cock, almost raw against the soft lace of her bra.

His fingers were sweet torture, sliding against the silk of her blouse until he was cupping the whole fullness of her breasts in his big hands. She wished desperately that she was naked against him. Beneath him. "Please," she breathed, knowing that what she was pleading for was nothing she could have here, or now.

He kissed her, licking the taste of himself from her tongue. "How dangerous do you want to be?" he whispered in her ear, his big body pressing her into the corner, against the wall. His cock, still wet from her mouth, was against her stomach. She could feel the heat through her skirt.

She moved against him, rubbing, rocking, imagining him in her. Dragging across her flesh.

"How dangerous do you want to be?" he repeated. He caught her chin, tilted it back until she was looking at his face.

He held up the little square foil packet, just inches from her eyes, and this time, she understood. She stared at it. At his crazed, bright black eyes. Back at the condom.

"If you want it, you do it," he breathed. "Put it on me."

She wanted his velvet skin against her, in her. Only him, but after a moment, sanity prevailed. She took the condom from fingers shaking as badly as her own. The small packet crackled in her hand as she tore it open. She fitted the latex circle to the thick head of his cock, smoothed it down, taking much longer than was necessary, her fingers gentle, greedy, caressing. Feeling the power of her hands as he trembled.

He was watching her. She could feel that, too, his unfocused gaze on her fingers and his cock. Watching the movement of her pale hands as she stroked and caressed. She looked up, wanting to see hunger on his face, and was rewarded with famine. Need so luminous it was blinding. Eyes clouded over with the same desire that had cleared hers.

He moved in her fingers, rocking his hips slowly. His gaze locked on himself, enclosed in her hands. Enclosed in the protection she'd smoothed onto him. And she knew how she'd betrayed herself. How he'd betrayed her, lighting a path beyond the murk that was drugging her brain, her emotions. And he hadn't even known what he was doing.

Making her use the condom to cover him, protect them. Protecting her when there was no safety left for her in the world.

The emotions hiding behind the haze rumbled and twisted, threatening. But she didn't want to look. Better to live out her days cocooned in cotton. He could burn her up, but he couldn't light up the darkness and make her look at it. Feel it.

She gripped him, tight in her hands, stroked him roughly, expertly. Punishing. Cruel. Slipped her fingers inside his zipper. His balls were drawn up tight against his body, and she squeezed. Hard. Punishing. Cruel. Payback for the cruelty he'd done to her.

He groaned, swayed, a huge oak moved from limbs to roots by the power of her hands.

He grabbed her hips, hands sliding down. "Is this what you want? Is this dangerous enough? I want to hear you say it."

She felt the power of his voice. It followed the path of his hands, touched her breasts, her spine, her thighs. As hot and demanding as his hands gathering her skirt up, finding her bare skin. Touch and voice eating into her anger.

He growled, animalistic, aroused, stretching his fingers wide, cupping her whole ass.

She thought about him, as he must have been, in the depths of the garage, hidden in the shadows, watching her leave her gun in the trunk of her car. Take off her hose. Her panties. Watching her face as she slid her bare ass across the cold seat in the taxi. Watching her stroll through the bar. Thinking about her bare skin beneath the business suit. The muscles low in her abdomen tightened another turn.

His fingers slipped lower, searching for the wetness beginning to seep from her. "Nasty." The way he rasped the word, as if it was the sweetest compliment, belied its meaning. Told her that her nude, desire slickened skin was delicious and forbidden.

"Have you done this before?" His big hands cupped her ass tighter. "Sitting across from me, in my office, have you been naked like this?"

She surged up against him, and he lifted her. Up, up, bracing her with the weight of his body. She was imprisoned between him and the wall, supported by the strength of his arms, his hands gripping her ass. Spreading her legs. His fingers slipping deeper into her.

She cried out as he lifted her higher, then settled her back down, with virtuoso aim, onto his cock.

He filled her, and she threw her arms around his neck, clutched him, closed her eyes to a rainbow of pleasure. Rockets and spangles of delight, exploding in her mind. No longer caring whether she was safe or in danger or whether she felt bright spearing emotion or was numbed or how much of herself would be left when he'd burned her up. Only that she was filled and that he was moving. Thrusting up into her with quick, powerful jabs. Crushing her into the wall.

"Tell me," he gasped. "Tell me. Do you come to me like this? Do you sit across from me like this?"

"Yes," she ground out, barely able to breath, much less to tell the truth. That she'd never, before tonight, done such a thing. That the image was so incredible it seemed real. Sitting in his office, looking into his darker than death eyes, nothing between her bare ass and the soft leather chair. "Yes. I think about having you in me."

And he came. It was more incredible than any fantasy. The power, the strength of him, beneath her hands, between her thighs.

He went absolutely still, unable to move.

She knew, had he not muffled his face in her shoulder, he would have shouted. Had he not been supporting her weight with his arms, his body, he would have lunged against her in frenzy.

Then his cock jerked in her. His whole body shuddered. He sucked so desperately for air that she was sure he was marking her skin through her blouse. It was incredible. And too soon.

Even as she listened with her entire body, straining to memorize every quiver, every gasp and groan--his labored breathing, the rhythmic flexing of his fingers on her ass, the thick pulse of his cock--she whimpered 'no!' Not yet. Not yet. Too soon. She wasn't ready. She arched against him, wanting him to move hard and fast again. Wanting...

He stilled inside her, allowed her weight to drag her slowly down the wall. Off of him. He slipped out of her, left her empty and bereft and aching. She clung to his shoulders. "No. Please."

He looked at her face, at her flushed skin, feverishly bright eyes. His own were still glazed over, unfocused. He leaned into her, breathing hard. His cock was still hard. "It's okay." His fingers slipped between her legs, moved easily in the slick wetness. "I'm not finished with you." Still so much hunger, twisting his voice.

She moaned, rose up on tiptoe.

He shifted, slipped his fingers deeper. Caressing, squeezing, manipulating her as expertly as if he could feel her orgasm building along his own nerves.

Just as she shifted her feet further apart, as he found the rhythm she wanted, he pressed his mouth to her ear. "Is this enough? I want to hear you say it. I want to know what you're feeling."

"No." She writhed against his hand, trying to ignore his insistence, her own fear. To feel only the lust.

"Say it."

"Don't!" she cried. "Please."

Ignoring her protest, he pulled his hand away. Covered her torso with his larger one so that she couldn't use her own hands to finish what he wouldn't.


"Not until you tell me what I want to hear." He tilted her face back again. Smeared his forefinger across her bottom lip, slicking it with her own juices.

She couldn't help herself. Her tongue snaked out, licked the taste of herself off her lips.

He lifted his hand to his mouth, sucked the taste of her off his fingers as if it was the sweetest nectar. She followed the movement of his fingers, his lips, his tongue, mesmerized. Throbbing. Completely blinded by the glare of his power, his desire, his focus.

"Tell me." He slid his finger across her lip again, leaving behind the taste of her arousal mixed with the sweetness of his mouth. "Talk to me."

"I'm afraid. I don't want to die." The words burst out, on air held too long in her lungs, emotion trapped too long in her heart. Tears stung the backs of her eyelids. The sobs that had been trapped in her body pushed against her chest, at her ribs. There was more, so much more. Words aching to get out. Needing to get out.

He froze, chest caught halfway to expanding with a breath, trapping a gasp. Visibly shocked. It was not what he was expecting. What he was wanting. He blinked. Blinked again. Lost some of the wanton heat that had looked so beautiful on his face. It was replaced with a narrow-eyed scrutiny that wandered over every inch of her face. Almost, like his passion, too intense to bear.

For a moment, reality and realization wavered in his eyes. Shock. Pain. Regret.

She shrank back away from him. His heat hadn't burned her up, but his pity would. His regret would. That she could not bear. Not now.

As if he could see through her skin, penetrate her bones, see into her soul, he shook his head. Shook away whatever had been etched in his dark eyes. He drew in a deep ragged breath. Came back to her. "It's okay." He touched her face tenderly. "I won't let you die."

She drew in a breath, half sob/half laughter, mirroring the uneven rise and fall of his chest. Looked up into his dark eyes, and knew he understood. About walls built up too high, about pain held too long inside. About the strength of silence become weakness. About being stripped of everything, even defenses, even disbelief.

Her head lolled back against the wall. She drank in the power of his conviction, like pale skin soaking up the bright, summer sun. Needing to believe him, just for a little while. And knew that if he touched her, just touched her, she would explode.

He knew it, too. He backed away, just barely away from her, braced his hands on the wall on either side of her head. Waiting, the way it had begun. Waiting.

If she sighed, her breasts would caress the clean white of his shirt. She brushed her fingers across his erection. He was still hard, so hot. Still hungry.

A shiver passed over his shoulders. "Tell me what you want. Talk to me."

So many words, aching to get out. Perhaps he was not the man to hear them. But his was the fire that had burned away the haze. Could perhaps keep it at bay, for just a little while. Tomorrow, she would face reality. His regrets. Her own. Tonight... Tonight she would burn.

She smiled at him for the first time. "Why don't you take me home? With you."

She held her breath. Waiting for his regret to push through. The 'Oh, my god, what have I done I've got to get out of here.'

Instead, he smiled back. Unusual, unexpected expression, almost like something that didn't belong to him, some other man's smile just visiting there on his face.

Her heart did a slow, lazy roll. Her whole body throbbed. One gigantic palpitation.

She shifted, pressing her thigh to the inside of his, rested her hand, not on his cock but behind it, on his abdomen. "I'm not finished with you." Mimicking his words, capturing exactly his tones of hunger and promise.

The muscles beneath her fingers quivered. "What? Tell me." Breathless. The wanting in him was something alive. Vivid. Afire. His eyes were bright. So dangerous.

And she didn't have a clue what he wanted her to say. She turned her hand, caught the edge of the condom, stripped it off him. Tossed it toward a box of trash without watching her aim because she was watching his wince, juxtaposed against the thrust of his hips toward her fingers. Wanting the pain. Wanting her touch.

"I should wash," he said gruffly, but without much conviction, his eyes never leaving hers.

She dipped her finger into the wetness coating the head of his cock. Brought her index finger up to her lips, hesitated.

His eyes were glittering like coals, as mesmerized as she had been when he did it to her.

"I want you dirty," she told him, then smeared his semen on the inside of her bottom lip, across her tongue. Salt and bittersweet sex and some flavor/scent that was so him it glowed against her tongue. "I want you naked against me."

He made a strangled half sound, somewhere between pain and pleasure. Stuffed his cock back inside his pants. Grabbed her wrist and twirled her, like a dancer, back out into the hallway, past the crowded dance floor, out into the cold night air. Like there was no one there. No one in the world but her. No one to see him, dragging her through a crowded bar. No one to see the wildness in his face.

Outside, he turned automatically down the street, leading her to his car. But, of course, if he'd followed her, he knew her car wasn't there.

When he leaned over to unlock the door, she slid her hand inside the loose folds of his coat, around his lean waist, down over his hard ass.

He jumped, straightened as if she'd poked him.

Her hand slipped lower, trying to slip in between his legs, the way he'd slipped his fingers between hers.

Instead of pulling away from her, he braced his hands on the car, shifted. Scrape of shoe soles on concrete, and his feet were wide apart, granting her access.

She pushed her fingers forward, stretching his pants tight against his ass, massaging that secret, hidden space behind his balls.

He pushed out softly with his lungs, puffing a frosty breath into the air, pushed back with his hips.

Her fingers slipped forward, covering his balls, and she understood how he'd been able to stroke her so masterfully. It was as if she could feel the caress with her own nerves.

"Nasty," she whispered, watching the frost of her breath spread across his face.

The lock of his knees broke, as if he was going to sink down, and he pulled away abruptly. Pushing off the car, pushing away from her hand. Leaning back into her in that threatening, dangerous way he had. "If you don't stop..." Gruff warning that wasn't a warning at all, but a wanting.

She laughed, enjoying the sound, the feel of it mixing with the cold air in her lungs. "I'll stop."

She opened the door for herself, slid onto the seat, flashing a lot more leg than was necessary, then tucking her skirt demurely around her knees.

He shook himself, like a sleeper waking from a dream, went quickly around and climbed into the car, starting it with jerky movements.

The heater started, blasting cold air around her ankles, her knees.

He turned towards her, tugged her closer. "Not like that." He caught her hips and lifted slightly, gathering the cloth of her skirt in his fingers, sliding it up. Not so much in the front, just in the back. "Like this." He gave one final tug and let her bare ass come back down on the seat.

The coldness took her breath away. His eyes took her breath away.

She shifted on the seat, rubbing against it as she would have rubbed against his hand. Never taking her gaze from his. She twisted her skirt to neatness, her skin still naked on the seat of his car. She liked that idea as much as he did.

Quick flash of his office, sitting across from him, bright sunlight reflecting off his broad shoulders, off the pristine white dress shirt, throwing his face into shadow so that all she could see was the scowl lines around his mouth. Supervisor's scowl, pissed, intended to intimidate. But she was smiling, because the leather seat of the chair across from his desk was soft, warmed by the bare skin of her ass. And she was getting wet, thinking about leaving her scent on his chair.

Her fingers, demurely holding the hem of her skirt midway down her thighs, flexed. Curled under so that her knuckles were caressing her skin.

His eyes narrowed, went darker, gaze drawn like a magnet to the slow movement of her fingers along the hem of her skirt. Shifted to her face. Looked into her, through her.

He grabbed her, dragged her the few inches across the seat until she was plastered against him. "What? Tell me what you're thinking."

She told him. Every word of it. The images so real it was like she was there, in the summer sun of his office instead the cold night of his car. The words so clear they pierced even though she spoke them in a voice thicker than any alcohol slurred syllable she'd uttered all evening.

He covered her mouth with his, smothering the fantasy, as if the words were more than he could stand. Sucking the words out of her throat. Plundering them away with the rasp of his tongue. His fingers shoved hers aside, shoved her legs apart. Changed abruptly from ravaging animal to sweetest caress and pushed up inside her.

She gasped, arched up. So hungry she was going to swallow him up.

He twisted, turning in the seat, turning his fingers inside her. She shifted with him. He was going to take his cock out and brand her with it. Press it up inside her.

She shifted, clinging to his shoulders, trying to bring one leg up, to open herself to him. She was right on the edge, riding his moving fingers, closer than she had been on his cock. She threw her head back, throat working to bring in more air.

And bright lights flashed across her eyes. Illuminated the whole interior of the car.

For a moment, with the light searing her brain, it seemed as if he really was burning her up. Lighting the world until she was blind. Then she realized the lights were from a car, pulling into the parking space in front of them. The proverbial bucket of cold water thrown on her passion. On his.

He jerked away from her.

Despite the sudden shock, the ache between her legs didn't sputter and die. She hissed. Dug her fingers into his arm to bring him back to her.

The car lights went out. A couple climbed out of the car, laughing and pushing playfully at each other as they whisked past the car.

She was aware of them peripherally, automatically on guard even though her attention was riveted on him. The light had gone out of him, too. That brilliant, burning heat. Extinguished as neatly as the car lights had been. He was holding onto the wheel, fingers, shoulders, jaw, all clenched too tightly.

He'd just had sex with her in a crowded hallway. How could two people and car lights have so much effect? She could see regret and remorse seeping in, filling him as the shock of all that light cleared his vision.

She moved toward him. Her driver's license, credit card and keys, the only things she was carrying, twisted in her jacket pocket, dug into her hip. Her skirt shifted, smoothing out until the hem was lying, ladylike, across her knees.

He pushed the car into gear. "I'll take you home." His face was as grim with control as it had been with anger. Warning her that he was gone. Hidden behind some dark wall she hadn't the strength or light to penetrate.

She forced herself to lean back against the seat, stiff, cold, burning up, incapable of relaxing. The back of her skirt had slid down and she left it, a buffer between her flesh and the leather seat. She was so swollen, so tender, she couldn't bear the thought of it touching her. She shivered, in darkness once again. Feeling the cold. His cold.

The car heater was still blowing cold air. While he had been against her, she had thought it was warm, but now she knew it was only him. Radiating a bubble of heat that encompassed whoever passed into it.

He reached over and turned it off without looking at her, without touching her. Several blocks later, he reached over and turned it on again. Warm air filled the space around her, but it was a poor substitute, warmth without warmth.

She looked at him. He watched the road. He didn't say a word, offer her a glance. Not even when he eased the car to a stop outside her apartment building. Not when he came around and opened the door for her and followed her up the dark sidewalk. Not when they approached her door.

He took her keys as she tugged them out of her pocket. Silent. Careful not to touch her fingers. Squinting in the dim lighting as he tried to find the keyhole.

Watching his fingers move, she wished for the haze back again. For the protective cocoon. He'd stripped that away, without even meaning to, and given her barbed truth in return. Shined his bright light past walls he wasn't prepared to scrutinize.

She stood to his left, slightly behind him. Watching the forbidding tension in his jaw. Began to doubt her own memory of his hunger. How could he have gone so cold when she was barely able to stand? When she felt open and swollen and wet and vulnerable. Maybe this wasn't the same man who'd been whispering 'Tell me what you want' and putting his hot, greedy hands all over her. In her. 'Talk to me...'

And suddenly it clicked. She hadn't been paying attention. Maybe it didn't matter what she said, so long as she said something. She leaned close, brushing his elbow, jostling the key away from the lock, breathed on him. "Put your hand under my skirt."

He jerked as if she'd slapped him. Missed the doorknob and jabbed the key into the soft wood of the door. "Don't..." he warned gruffly.

She jabbed through the movement, reaching straight for his groin. "Put your fingers in me." Grasped him. He was so hard he felt as if he'd break if she handled him roughly. She was so surprised she gasped. So amazed and angered she dug her nails into him. How dare he present that cold, controlled wall to her when he was as much on fire as she was?!

He rounded on her, coat swinging, and his face was like something brittle. A flash fire, barely contained. His eyes were black/red, long past smoldering. He reached for her, thrusting his hand beneath her hair. His fingers were hot, spanning the back of her neck, fingers rough on the delicate skin, keys digging into her flesh. A little spangle of fear shot through her as he pushed her back against the door facing. As his other hand closed around her throat. He could snap her neck with one quick movement if he wanted. Close his fingers and squeeze the breath out of her while she beat against him uselessly. If he wanted. But he didn't.

His thumb pushed at her jaw, tipping her head back. His mouth descended on hers, and his hand slipped away from her throat, down inside the neck of her blouse. His tongue found hers as his fingers found her nipple.

Lightning shot out from her breast. At last, she understood women who said they could orgasm from touching their breasts. She wanted to tear away his clothes and take him right there. On the floor of the hallway. She was burning up, heated to boiling on the inside and singed by his heat from the outside. And when the two met, she was going to go up in smoke. Oblivion beyond imagining.

He released her abruptly and turned back to the door. Jabbed the key at the doorknob. Groaned as he missed. Groaned as she tugged at his zipper. He caught her hand, held it away from his body, warned her with an expression as mad and consuming as any heat she'd ever felt. "I will take you right here... Is that what you want?"

"Yes." She drew the s out. Snake sound. Dark and evil. Slithered her voice up against him, her body up against him.

And the key snicked home. the door fell open under their weight. Tumbling them into her apartment. His weight slammed her into the wall, and she thought for a moment he was going to lift her up again. Take her, right there, without finesse, pressed up against the wall in her apartment as he'd taken her in the bar. With the door open.

"The door," she gasped. "The door."

"To hell with the door!" He yanked her jacket off her shoulders, trapping her arms against her sides. He bent his head to her neck, fastened his teeth on the tendon. Hot hands pulled at the buttons on her blouse.


"I thought you wanted danger," he murmured against her neck. Then he wheeled away, leaving her clinging to the wall. Jerked the keys out of the lock. Slammed the door so hard the wall behind her back vibrated.

Then he flung the keys away. They hit the floor with a loud jangle. He stripped off his raincoat and sent it after them. His jacket, his tie. Yanked open his shirt, buttons flying. The strong, rounded muscles in his chest rippled in the light of the one tiny lamp as he leaned into her. "I thought you wanted to be naked," he growled. He bore her body to the floor, hands tearing at her clothes, at his own.

They struggled, tangling arms and legs, shirt and blouse, skirt and pants. Each piece of clothing that was opened, pushed off, tossed away, meant another patch of hot, bare flesh pressed up against hers. And still she wasn't prepared for the feel of him against her, when everything had been pushed away. Hot bare skin. Bunched, taut muscles. Hot, questing, knowing hands.

He dragged her up under him. Skin scraping across on carpet. His fingers digging into her hips. Hot hardness sliding down, trailing slick wetness across her stomach, slipping between her legs.

She dug her fingers into his ribs, even harder than he was gripping her. "Now. Right now."

Felt him shudder, but resist. "Wait. I need to get--"

She knew what he needed, and she had no time for it. Wanted that sharp, forbidden danger. "No. Right now. I want you just like this. Just you. Right now." She arched back and up to meet him. Held there, trembling, for just a fraction of a second afraid. Brittle, sharp fear that he would say no. That he would somehow think her not clean. Contagious. Carrying death.

He hung there, over her, gaze locked with hers. Then he shoved forward. "Dangerous." Pushed up inside of her. One smooth, all encompassing movement. "Is this dangerous enough for you? What does this make you feel?"

Her body responded, arching higher to meet him, relief sending a huge, buffeting signal of pleasure from her nerve endings, dragging her brain along. She squeezed her eyes shut to shut out her thoughts. Without sight, she would feel only him. Coming down to her, naked against her, naked inside her, just the way she'd wanted him. Big hands under her shoulders, weight braced mostly on his elbows, but still there. Pressing into her. Crushing her into the rough carpet.

He pulled out, stroked back into her. Again. Again. Breath hot and ragged in her ear. Finding a rhythm, a perfect rhythm that he somehow knew without being told. As if he was connected to her by more than just his cock. Feeling her flashes of pleasure. The ragged dance of ecstasy into her brain. The blissful deafness to thought.

He shifted, changing the rhythm, the smooth, piston stroking to something more erratic. More side to side. Plundering.

She whimpered, fingers digging into his ribs because she was afraid it wouldn't be as good. Then digging into his ribs because it was more than good.

Hot breath. Lips on her shoulder. Her neck. Tongue rasping along her jaw. "Like this?" he whispered. "Is this good?"


"And this?" Shifting again. Slow, lazy circles.

"Yes. Yes." She arched the column of her neck, exposing her throat to him. Less frantic because she was beginning to trust him. Trust his body. To know there was nothing he could do to her with his cock that was not perfect.

"This?" Changing the rhythm again. Something smoother and deeper. Lifting her bottom up off the floor. Touching something high and fine and deep that made her want to scream.

"Yes-s-s." She could barely speak. "Just like that." Her breath was caught, somewhere just below her breastbone. "Just--"

His teeth grazed the pulse at her throat, then pulled away. Raising up. Looming over her so he could see her face.

She opened her eyes. Let him see what he was doing to her. Saw an answering frenzy, the answering loss of control in his face.

Then he froze. The change was so abrupt that for a moment she didn't believe it. Her body continued to send messages of impending orgasm to her brain. Then choked them off.

"No-o-o!" She wailed it. She dug her fingernails into him. "Not again. You'll kill me."

But he wasn't playing a game, and it showed on his face. Concern building towards panic. He twisted, trying to get one of his hands from under her shoulders. "Let me-- I've hurt you. You're bleeding."

Reality slammed into her. Plowed into her chest as if he'd drawn back and slammed his fist into her breastbone. Her hands flew to her face, locking over his biceps, effectively tying him down. Her fingers found the blood trickling from her nose.

He tried to extricate his arm from hers. "I've hurt you."

"No. No." She covered her face with her fingers, trying to shield herself from his gaze. "You didn't do it. I'm not hurt. It's the-- It's the..." She steeled herself and stared into his eyes. Unable to say more. Surely if he could feel the effects of his cock moving in her, he could feel her pain. Her mortality.

He stared at her, face stricken for just a moment, then carefully blank. Like some child's toy with a switch. High. Low. Off. Horror, disgust, neutrality. Control like the coldness that could hide arousal so hot it consumed. Control beyond anything she could manage.

Beside this man, she was an amateur with her carefully erected walls. Outweighed and outclassed.

He shifted, hips lifting away from her. Hardness slipping away from her.

She tightened down with her forearms. Almost lifting herself with the pressure of her grip on his arms. With the grip of her thighs on his hips. She didn't care how carefully controlled he was. How cold. She didn't want to be alone. Empty.

He stilled, right to the brink of leaving her. Read something in her eyes, in her fingers. Something that made him ease back down.

His cock slid high up into her, pushing her aside to make space for itself. Her hips lifted to meet him, her body not so dead as she had thought it to be. Not dead at all.

He came back down on her, but giving her less of his weight than before. He held her, very gently. Hands spread so wide they seemed to encompass the whole expanse of her shoulders. "Is it--? Do you need--? Don't you want me to stop?"

She felt a tiny spark reignite. She wasn't dead, and he wasn't cold. Not at all. Just afraid. And unsure. And concerned.

She shook her head, not trusting her voice. He should be able to hear, in the song of her muscles. Her bones. The swollen wetness clutching him.

What he hadn't been able to do when he was scared, he managed now. He slipped his hand from under her back, extricated it from the tangle of her arm. Pushed her hands away from her face.

The bleeding had stopped, as it always did. She never shed more than just a few drops of blood. Just enough to show her own death. To remind her of her mortality.

With his thumb, he wiped the last smears of blood from her face. Trembling and so gentle, touching delicately, but not hesitantly. He brought his thumb to his mouth, closed his lips and his tongue around it, the way she would have sucked on the delicate tip of his cock. Eyes never leaving hers. Taking her blood, her death, into himself.

Something turned loose inside her. Something let go. Like a muscle relaxing, a tendon tearing loose from the bone.

She started to cry. Not crying with tears and anger. Crying from deep in her chest. Not really crying at all. Just huge gasping sobs. Something rending. From the place where the words were trapped. Letting go. Letting something loose that had been curled inside her. Killing her. Freeing her with its death.

"Sh-h-h. Sh-h-h." He came down on her. The full brunt of his weight. Crushing and glorious.

He stroked her face, tucked it into the safe crook of his shoulder and neck. "Sh-h-h."

He was still so hard. Moving in her, but not really moving. Rocking. As if his cock was breathing within her. Giving her heat and light and life.

"I feel like I should stop. Tell me not to."

"No." She clung to him. Holding him as if she had the strength to keep him in her. "Don't stop."

He surging forward, gasping. "Please tell me. I want to hear... I want you to tell me what you feel."

The request again that she didn't understand. And she was suddenly, abruptly right back where she had been. On the brink of orgasm.

She clamped down on him. Hard. "Move. Just move. Right now. I can't stop."

She saw realization hit him as he felt her orgasm begin. Wildness, like that blossoming deep in her belly, washed across his face. Dilating his pupils until his eyes were bottomless, fathomless black. Like something she could drown in. Something bright with life. So dangerous.

And suddenly she understood. She knew what it was he wanted her to say. As her orgasm took her, as everything that was hard and brittle and unfocused let go, as he cried out in pleasure, she ground out the words. Sex voice, twisted with passion and challenge and light so bright it bleached and life so sharp it cut.

"Alive. You make me feel alive."