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Charade I
by Cerulean Blue

7:PM Flight Phoenix-DC

When Mulder and Scully boarded their flight back to DC, it was without incident. However, as soon as Mulder sat down, he fell fast asleep. He was still sound asleep when the plane left the airport and even when the Fasten Seatbelt sign went off. Scully looked at A.D. Skinner and rolled her eyes.

"Do you think that he's really asleep or this is just a ploy to keep from talking to us?" she whispered.

A.D. Skinner fixed Mulder with his most penetrating gaze. He frowned. "He's asleep, Agent Scully. Dead tired, in my estimation. I suppose we should give him a break, the man disappears for over a week, and we're lucky to get him back at all."

Scully shrugged. "You're right of course, sir, but I just don't know why he won't tell us what really happened to him! I mean, his story of going through a vortex into some sort of alternate reality or other universe... it's just too hard to believe!"

A.D. Skinner looked Mulder over once more. He agreed with Scully, he didn't believe Mulder's crazy story of being sent into an alternate universe, but on the other hand, where had he gone? Perhaps Mulder was afraid to tell them the actual truth. Perhaps he had been doing something that Skinner would really disapprove of. Whatever the reason, Skinner was determined to find out. He had to know what had happened to the agent he was hopelessly infatuated with over the last week. He had spent too many sleepless nights worrying about whether Mulder was dead or never coming back to them to be put off that easily.

Once the plane gained altitude, Mulder started stirring. He started to whimper, and the A.D. met Scully's gaze in surprise as Mulder started talking, almost as if he were pleading, in his sleep.

"Please, don't, no more, I can't, Skinner! No more, I swear! Don't touch me there, uhnnn! Help, someone help me, I just want to go home! I can't! Skinner, stop it already! Uhhhnnnnn! UHHHHNNNN!" Mulder was writhing desperately and tossing from side to side. There was a telltale bulge at the front of his trousers.

"MULDER!" Skinner shouted, jostling the agent awake. People around them were starting to stare, and Scully was covering her mouth in shock.

"Huh? Wha?" Mulder bolted upright, opening his dazed hazel eyes wide. He took a minute to focus and jumped when he recognized Skinner. "You-"

"Yes, it's me, Agent Mulder! Who were you expecting, Hilary Clinton?" Skinner growled, ready to explode. "Are you with us, Mulder? It appears that you were having a dream about me, and it wasn't entirely pleasant!"

Mulder blushed to the roots of his hair. It took him a minute to choke his words out. "It was nothing, sir, I swear! Just-just some strange dream...the human mind can churn out some bizarre scenarios when we dream-" He stopped when he saw Skinner frown.

Skinner turned to Scully. "Agent Scully, would you kindly leave us alone for a few minutes?"

Scully looked pensively from Mulder to her boss. "Of course, sir." She grabbed a magazine, got up and made her way down the aisle towards a vacant seat.

Skinner turned to Mulder. "Now, Mulder, I want the truth. For once and for all, what happened to you in Sedona?"

Mulder avoided eye contact with his boss. "I would rather not discuss it, sir."

Skinner gritted his teeth hard to keep from yelling at his infuriating but utterly bewitching agent. The man had been through a lot, and Skinner didn't want to upset him further. However, the A.D. was determined to find out the reason for Mulder's bizarre behavior.

He tried a different tactic. "Mulder, we have been through a lot together. I know that it may not always seem that way, but I support you in everything you've tried to do with the X-files. I would think that with all we've been through, and especially now, with the reassignment of the X-files back under my supervision, that you'd feel you can trust me. However, perhaps I was mistaken."

Mulder stared wide-eyed at his boss. Skinner looked back at him stone-faced. To Mulder's mind, his boss was incredibly hurt by Mulder's acute lack of trust in him and was too stoic to let it show.

Mulder was always primed for a guilt trip, no matter who was doing it and whatever the reason was, and unfortunately for him, Skinner wasn't above using this vulnerability to his advantage.

Mulder swallowed hard. It was time to face the music. "Er, it's going to be hard for you to understand, sir-"

"Try me."

"Okay. Well, okay." Mulder gulped. "Um, I was transported into some sort of alternate universe-"

"I know, Scully told me."

"She did?" Mulder was startled. He didn't think that Scully even believed him. Now there was the problem of not knowing how much she had told Skinner.

Skinner frowned impatiently. "Continue, Agent Mulder!"

"Sir, I need your word that you won't take any action against me for my story, no matter how outrageous it sounds."

Skinner was taken aback. He recalled the Pinkus incident but Mulder was unaware that Skinner had been under pressure from the bureau to commit Mulder to the psychiatric hospital for that outrageous accusation against Pinkus. "Mulder, I swear that I won't have you committed. Everything you say to me will be completely confidential."

Mulder took a deep breath and then spoke in a rush. "I was transported into an alternative universe that was like some sort of medieval land. Jackson was there, running from these slave traders, and then, we were captured by them. We were sold on the Lord Skinner and his apprentice Master Krycek the following morning! All these people were there who resembled people from our world. Even cigarette man, he was some sort of wizard named Draco, and then there was Scully-"

He noticed that Skinner was gazing at him intently. It made him nervous. "Sir, you recall that you said I wouldn't suffer for telling you the truth?"

Skinner cleared his throat. The idea of Mulder as his slave had sent a white-hot bolt of pure desire straight to his groin. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat and folded his newspaper strategically over his lap. Mulder couldn't know that was the reason he had remained silent. "Mulder, I said that you wouldn't bear any consequences for what you told me, and I meant it, but that is the most unbelievable story that I have ever heard!"

"It's true! I swear it!" Mulder said in a pathetic, whining tone.

"I'm sure there is some sort of explanation for this-this- hallucination! The heat of the desert, a blow to the head, there are many probable causes, what did Scully say about it?"

Mulder slumped in his seat. "She didn't believe me either! You both probably think I'm crazy!"

Skinner sighed. This wasn't turning out the way he'd hoped. "Mulder, I just don't know what to say. It does sound crazy, you have to admit that!"

Suddenly Mulder had an idea. "Sir, don't you remember how Jackson thought he knew you when he first woke up?"

Skinner recalled the incident. He had thought the boy was suffering from a hallucination then as well.

"Well, how do you explain that he knew your last name, and addressed you as 'Lord Skinner'?"

Skinner gazed at Mulder in shock. "I can't explain it. Perhaps some sort of joint psychosis-"

"Oh, thanks a lot, sir!" Mulder slumped in his seat.

Skinner could have bitten his tongue off. "Mulder, I'm sorry! It just slipped out! Look, on second thought, maybe we should discuss this when we get back to DC. I know you're tired, and I think you should rest during the flight home. Exhaustion can do strange things to a man's mind. Believe me, I know!"

Mulder didn't need any more persuasion. He was dead tired, and his conversation with his boss was going nowhere fast. He quickly turned off his overhead light and rolled over on his side, spreading his flight blanket around him.

Suddenly he thought of something. Hesitantly he turned around and faced the A.D. "Um, sir, you'll wake me again if I say anything...uh, unusual?"

Skinner rolled his eyes. "You can count on that, Agent Mulder!"

The plane soared through the darkening sky as Mulder once again nodded off into a deep sleep.

Ronald Reagan National Airport
Washington, DC
11:35 PM

Mulder watched the baggage carousel impatiently. He was eager to get out of the airport and make his way back to his apartment. It had been the week from hell. He couldn't even believe that it was only a week since he had made that ill-fated trip to Arizona, it felt like years.

Scully suddenly tapped him on the shoulder. "Mulder, I need to go see my mother, so unfortunately I can't give you a lift home. She has a doctor's appointment in Alexandria tomorrow morning and wants me to go with her," she said to him as she reached for her garment bag and swung it off the belt.

"Nothing serious, I hope?" Mulder queried, feeling concerned for Mrs. Scully.

"Probably not. She's been having some pain in her knee and can't decide if she should have surgery. She has a hard time understanding what she calls all that 'medical mumbo jumbo' and seems to think my opinion in these matters is invaluable. I have to say, it isn't every day a mother listens to her daughter so assiduously," Scully chuckled.

Mulder smiled in response. He enjoyed the close relationship Scully had with her mother and often felt more than a little wistful.

Suddenly Skinner's booming voice startled him. "Don't worry about Mulder, Scully, I'll take him home."

Mulder looked at Skinner with dread as Scully beamed in gratitude. "That's great, sir! I really appreciate it. So I guess I'll see you both tomorrow...back in the basement at last, Mulder!" she sang cheerily as she marched off to the parking deck.

There was an awkward silence until Mulder suddenly spotted his bag. As he lifted it off the carousel, he turned to Skinner.

"You really don't need to inconvenience yourself, sir. I'm happy to take a cab," he said.

"It's not an inconvenience."


Skinner frowned. "I said it's not an inconvenience, Agent Mulder. I'll drive you home...unless you have some objection to being around me...?"

Mulder gulped. He had nearly forgotten about his boss's blunt style of personal interaction. "No, that's not it at all," he lied.

"In that case, let's go," Skinner responded brusquely, lifting his luggage and bounding off in the direction of the parking deck. Mulder had no choice but to scurry off after him.

As they drove to Mulder's apartment in Skinner's Lexus, Mulder gazed dolefully out the window. He found it impossible to read Skinner. He had no idea if the news of his enslavement in the alternate universe by Skinner's double had convinced him of Mulder's insanity or if his boss believed him. As always, the A.D.'s face was an inscrutable mask.

Mulder regretted telling him the truth. Skinner often backed him up in his tangles with various X-files cases but he could push the A.D.'s belief system only so far. He was sure that Skinner thought he was nuts. He expected any moment for Skinner to demand that he agree to see an FBI-appointed psychiatrist to discuss these delusions (fantasies?) of being owned by his boss.

The whole situation was mortifying beyond belief. He would have given anything to have stayed at that forensics conference in Phoenix, snoozing through lectures delivered mostly by windbags whose only talent seemed to be obfuscating their subject just enough to make it seem like they did real work, rather than existing as the hapless know- nothings they really were. They always crumpled under his persistent questioning like so much used tissue.

However, if that had been the case, Jackson Thomas would still have been stranded in Ondolee. Mulder sighed inwardly. However big a nuisance Jackson had been to him, he couldn't wish that sort of existence on anyone. Though from the looks of it, the sex-crazed college student might have loved it.

Remembering his travails with Jackson and the alternates made Mulder nervous. He didn't want to be dwelling on his experience with Lord Skinner and Master Krycek, especially not now, sitting alone with Skinner in his car.

His own reactions to the alternates had been both intense and frightening to him. His body didn't seem to mind that he was being enslaved and violated over and over by alternates of his boss and his enemy; on the contrary, it seemed to love it. He remembered alternate Krycek's smug expression as he told Mulder that his body craved the attention it received, that Mulder deserved to be a slave. This outrageous and obviously manipulative observation made him furious, but it also made him afraid.

Skinner pulled his car over to the curb. They had reached Mulder's apartment already. As Mulder was getting out of the car, Skinner turned to him and said, "It has been a rather long flight, Mulder, and I do have a bit of a drive back to my house. Do you think I could trouble you for some coffee?"

The last thing on earth that Mulder wanted was to have Skinner up to his apartment. "Of course, sir. No problem at all," he said politely.

Skinner followed Mulder out of the car and into his apartment building. As he followed the agent, he tried to control his breathing to calm himself. He was very excited to be alone with Mulder in his apartment right now. He wanted to toss Mulder onto a bed and quickly strip him naked...take those long legs and toss them back up over his shoulders, plunge his cock into Mulder's hot, silky depths...make those luscious, full lips cry out with pleasure!

It would take great restraint to keep himself from mauling the object of his obsessive fantasies, especially given Mulder's confession of his "experience" in the alternate universe. All his pent-up yearning for the stunning agent threatened to come charging to the surface once he had heard Mulder's revelation.

Skinner didn't know what to make of that. Any other person would probably be convinced that Mulder was insane. At this point, Skinner didn't much care. However, he was eager to hear all about what had happened to Mulder, whether it was real or imagined.

Skinner secretly hoped that it was imagined. Any fantasies Mulder had as Skinner's slave were fantasies he could certainly live with.

12:05 AM
Route 179
Sedona, Arizona

Lord Skinner and Alex walked quickly along the dusty highway. It was late but neither man was tired. On the contrary, both of them marched along energetically, musing on how each step took them closer to the object of their desire. The opening of the Cristalu Vortex always took a bit of an effort, but Lord Skinner was an experienced wizard, so he hardly felt the worse for wear.

Alex peered off into the distance. His fledging powers didn't indicate that there were any human lifesigns nearby, and he was starting to get a bit edgy. He would trust Lord Skinner with his life, but he was impatient to get to an inn so they could set themselves down for the night and start planning on how they were going to ambush Mulder and take him back to Ondolee.

He looked at his master. "My lord, do you see any dwellings that we might soon come upon, where we can settle for the night?"

Lord Skinner ignored the apprentice, turning his head to stare back down the road. Alex sighed in resignation, but then he saw what Lord Skinner had been looking at.

His breath caught in amazement. The creature was huge! It ran on four wheels like a cart but was not pulled by an animal, it moved by itself. It seemed to be entirely made of steel and painted with colors, displaying wording on its side that made no sense.

It was the most fascinating thing he had ever seen. It rumbled softly but as it moved over to the side of the road, Alex stood protectively in front of Lord Skinner, prepared to defend him if the thing attacked.

"Stay, Alex," Lord Skinner frowned. "It isn't a creature, but a vehicle, something called a truck. It is a means of carrying goods in this society, from one destination to another. This man wants to help us, so behave yourself."

A man poked his head out the window. "Say, did you two guys have a car accident or something? It's pretty late to be wandering around on Rte. 179!"

Lord Skinner spoke up. "We are fine, my good man! However, we do need to get to an inn for the night. Could you possibly take us to one?"

The truckdriver thought for a minute. The bald man seemed like a businessman of some sort and was obviously of good breeding. He was a bit concerned about the scowling young man carrying the leather jacket but decided he would take the risk. He wasn't a distrustful person by nature, and he had no desire to leave the two men to fend for themselves late at night on the highway.

He spoke. "I can only take one of you in the cab. The other one has to ride in the back, in the truck. Sorry about that, but it can't be helped. I was just taking the truck back to the plant for the night."

Lord Skinner gave Alex an amused look as they watched the man go to the back of the truck and slide open the door. Alex peered into the cavernous dark space and sighed. Hardly luxurious accommodations but he couldn't complain, knowing that this was the only way they were going to get anywhere. He hopped in the back, resolving to use whatever holding spell he could to keep from being thrown about like a rat in a barrel.

As Lord Skinner got into the cab with the truckdriver, he smiled warmly at their benefactor. "To whom do I give thanks, my good man, for such noble generosity?"

"Gregory Hicks, and it's no problem, I like to help people out when I can," responded the truckdriver, wondering at his hitchhiker's near- English accent and old-fashioned, stilted manner of speaking. He didn't seem like anyone Hicks had ever met before, in Arizona or anywhere else for that matter.

"Is there an inn nearby where we can reside for the night?" Lord Skinner asked.

"There's a motel about fifteen miles up the road, the Kachina Motor Lodge," Hicks responded.

"Excellent!" Lord Skinner was pleased. He reflected that they should be there in no time at all, especially with this rapid mode of modern transportation.

Hicks considered what sort of reception these two men would receive there. They weren't your run of the mill Sedona tourists. "And what name do you go by?" Hicks continued affably.

"Walter Skinner, my good man. You won't regret your kindness," said Lord Skinner, resolving to cast a good luck spell on the man once he and Alex were settled.

As they drove towards the motel, Gregory Hicks shook his head. He couldn't figure out why that name sounded familiar.

12:15 AM
Washington, DC
Mulder's Apartment

Mulder unlocked the door to his apartment. He was gratified to finally be home.

He dumped his bag in the foyer, as did Skinner. He then turned to his boss, "Why don't you have a seat. I'll see what caffeine products I can dig up for you, sir."

As Skinner sunk into the couch, he surveyed Mulder's apartment. It wasn't the usual disordered mess, but it was hardly a well-furnished and homey abode either. Peering into the half-open door of the bedroom, he was amazed and gratified to see the enormous waterbed. It appeared that his delectable agent wasn't living an entirely Spartan existence after all.

Mulder stuck his head out from the kitchen. "I have some Maxwell House left, and it's guaranteed to be under a month old. I happen to live on the stuff."

Skinner smiled. "That'll be fine, Mulder."

After Mulder had brewed the coffee, he came back into the living room with two cups, handing one to Skinner.

"So what's going to be on the agenda for the X-files, now that we're all back on it?"

Skinner snorted. "There are a few cases that are just waiting for you to peruse, Mulder. However, the biggest X-file right now, as far as I'm concerned, is you."

Mulder gulped. "What are you talking about?"

"You know what I mean. This whole alternate universe thing. What happened to you in Arizona? I'd really like to know."

"I don't-"

"Mulder, there are also plenty of routine, non-X-files related cases that are just begging for an agent as skilled as yourself to be assigned to. It makes no difference to me what you're working on for the next six months, even if the X-files are under my jurisdiction, but I'd think you'd be plenty tired of investigating farm manure," Skinner admonished him firmly.

Mulder cursed himself for being an idiot, for now he didn't see any way out of telling Skinner what had happened to him in Sedona. "How much do you need to know?" he asked, his face bright red.

Skinner ignored his embarrassed reaction. "Why don't we start from the beginning?"

Mulder sighed resignedly. After a moment of contemplating his total lack of options, he began. "When we went out to Bell Rock to investigate Jackson's disappearance, to see if we could come up with any clues, I thought I'd have Scully stand right where Gregory Hicks had been standing when he saw Jackson disappear."

"You were trying for a reenactment of the crime," Skinner interjected dryly.

"I suppose so," Mulder responded nervously. "I was 99% sure that this wasn't a crime, that it really was an X-file, but you never know. Hicks seemed innocent enough but I wanted to cover all the bases. I also wanted to see what Scully could see from that distance as well."

"Go on."

"When I got up to Bell Rock, there was a swirling gust of wind while all the air around it remained still. I turned and yelled at Scully to come and take a look at it, when it got stronger and stronger, and soon it was all around me.

I started spinning. I've never felt a force like that, it was incredible! It lifted me off my feet and then I blacked out.

When I came to, I was on the ground of what looked like a forest, huge, deciduous trees and lush, green overgrowth. I was pretty surprised, since I'd just been in the arid, red rock desert region of Sedona, Arizona! Then, only seconds later, I ran into Jackson Thomas, or more accurately, he ran into me. He knocked me down, and then we were captured by-" Mulder choked in his delivery, "by slave traders, who immediately took us to some sort of slave stable to sell on the block the next day."

He paused. Skinner was gazing at him intently again. What was the man thinking?

Skinner realized that Mulder stopped talking. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat and then said, "Continue with your story, Agent Mulder."

Story. Mulder sighed to himself. He knew Skinner wouldn't believe him, why did he ever agree to tell him anything?

"They put us on the block the next morning. I couldn't see with the crowd that was there, but all of a sudden, Jackson and I were sold, to your look-alike, a man called Lord Walter Skinner," Mulder said, not meeting Skinner's eyes.

"He was a wizard of some sorts, and he had an apprentice wizard with him named Alex Krycek. Jackson and I generally had a tough time with them, and at one point I was kidnapped by a creature sent by the C.G.B. Spender look-alike wizard, isn't that rich? But eventually we escaped with the help of a red-haired enchantress named Lady Dana Katherine, after some uh...effort on our parts to convince her! And so here we are." Mulder concluded, hoping that Skinner wouldn't ask any more questions.

Skinner stood up and approached Mulder, standing so close to the agent that he could feel Skinner's breath on his cheek. "And so here we are, indeed." Skinner said softly, touching his arm gently.

There was an electric silence in which Mulder could hear the pounding of his own heart. Skinner looked at him with an amused expression and then turned and sat back down.

As Mulder took a gulp of coffee to fortify himself, Skinner asked, "Is that really all, Agent Mulder? What did this Lord Skinner and Krycek-duplicate want you two for? What were your duties?"

Mulder started choking, his face turning purple. Skinner leaped to his feet in alarm.

"Mulder, are you all right?" he said, leaning forward and starting to pound the agent on the back. Mulder surprised him by immediately jumping away.

"I-I-I'm okay, sir!" he sputtered. "It just went down the wrong way."

Mulder still wouldn't meet his eyes. Skinner started to get concerned. "Mulder, what is it? What did they do to you?"

Finally Mulder met his gaze. "We were sex slaves, okay? I was Lord Skinner's personal pleasure slave and so was Jackson, though he didn't get the same frequency of attention I did, from him or Krycek either!" Mulder turned red. "At first they used him to get me to cooperate, but when it was apparent that Jackson was hardly the unblemished little flower they made him out to be, things changed barely at all. I don't know what it was, really, they wouldn't leave me alone. They were at me all the time, I was in a terminal state of exhaustion!"

The image of Mulder being used that way again and again made Skinner feel incredibly aroused and at the same time guilty for feeling that way. It was obvious that Mulder was ashamed and mortified by his experience, as much as it appealed to Skinner...and it greatly appealed to Skinner. Even now, his cock was a hard bulge against the front of his pants. An image of a naked and chained Mulder kneeling before him was setting him on fire.

He couldn't stand it any longer. He grabbed Mulder's cup out of his hand and set it on the coffee table. Leaning forward, he wrapped his brawny arms around the agent, who gave a squawk of surprise and started backwards.

"Sir? Sir?" Mulder squeaked, almost beyond speech as Skinner didn't release him. Was Skinner trying to comfort him, or-Mulder was almost dreading the answer. The atmosphere in the apartment had suddenly turned surreal, as if it were an extension of his bizarre experience in Ondolee.

"Now Mulder, calm down. There's something I have to tell you," Skinner said softly, looking tenderly into his agent's eyes.

He continued. "And that's that I care very much for you. I always have! I went nuts last week when you disappeared! I couldn't sleep, couldn't eat...I was miserable! I resolved to tell you how I feel if you turned out to be okay. So here I am. Life is too short to mess around, Fox," he hugged Mulder strongly, "I'm just so glad you came back to me!"

Mulder couldn't believe what he was hearing. His ex-boss, now his boss, was in love with him! He could hear Lord Skinner snickering in his brain. So the master wizard had been right when he had informed him that Skinner probably felt the same way about Mulder that Lord S. did!

He tried to pull away but Skinner tightened his embrace. "I know that this must be a shock to you, Mulder, but I want you to please consider what I have to say before you react. It sounds like you've been through a lot in the past week, so-"

"So you believe me?" Mulder asked him hopefully. This was a welcome turn of events.

Skinner hesitated. He actually didn't believe a word of it, but now wasn't the time to convey his disbelief. "Er, it sounds awful for anyone."

Mulder suddenly felt annoyed. "Yes?"

Skinner sighed. "Well, I'm sure if it'd happened, you'd be very upset about it," he said, unable to lie to this beautiful man.

"I knew it! I knew it!" Mulder yelled, pushing Skinner away.


"That's Mulder! Mulder! You goddamn don't believe me, even after you worm the truth out of me with your threats! I've had it!"

Skinner tried to repair the damage. "Mulder, I didn't say that I did not believe you-"

"But you didn't say you believed me, either!" Mulder was incensed.


"Why does this always happen? I go through some admittedly bizarre experience, but it happens, and then I get the hairy eyeball when I try to tell you and Scully! Can't you two just believe me for once? Can't you two just support me? Christ, what does a guy have to do to gain some trust around here? If you don't believe me, then you must think I'm some sort of fruitcake, and how can you 'care very much' for a fruitcake?" Mulder fumed.

Skinner was at a loss at how to respond to the seething, fiery agent. Mulder was right, the two of them never did seem to believe Mulder. Scully especially was always trying to explain away Mulder's experiences with her store of scientific facts and formulas.

He sighed. "I'm sorry, Mulder, I guess you're right. We haven't given you much support, have we? I can't speak for Scully, but as for myself, that'll definitely change."

Hearing his boss apologize for his past behavior was too much for Mulder. He had been through a lot in the past week, both mentally and physically, and these words of consolation when he'd expected to hear only scorn had a tremendous effect on him. He collapsed on the couch and put his hands over his face.

Skinner sat down on the sofa next to Mulder and hesitantly put his arm around the agent's shoulders. To his utter astonishment, Mulder leaned into his embrace. He turned his face up against Skinner's chest and sighed loudly.

As Skinner held him closer, Mulder sighed. "I just feel kind of lost, you know, Skinner?"

"We all do once in awhile, Mulder. I'm here to support you now."

"You have no idea what it's like to have gone through what I went through and have no one believe me."

"You're tough," Skinner tried to reassure him, "You've been through worse!"

Mulder groaned. "Yeah, lucky me." He sat up and dabbed at his eyes. "Sorry for the unmanly display of emotion there, boss!"

Skinner chuckled. He was pleased to see Mulder returning to his old self.

He started to stroke Mulder's cheek, who started and looked at him with wide-eyed surprise. Then, Mulder surprised Skinner even further by shutting his eyes and moaning softly.

Mulder was barely aware of what he was doing but he was at the end of his tether. He was tired, tired of fighting his attraction to Skinner and tired of hiding the truth of what happened to him beyond the vortex. After he got over the initial shock of his boss making a pass at him, he was stunned to realize how right it felt.

He had spent the afternoon and most of the flight back to DC in a high state of tension worrying about whether his boss would find out what happened to him at the alternate Skinner's hands. Now that it was out, Mulder was surprised at Skinner's reaction, and how accepting and reassuring he was. It still made him furious that his boss didn't believe him but Mulder also came to the realization of how much he had missed Skinner's Rock of Gibraltar-like presence.

Skinner took Mulder's silence as his cue to turn the agent's face towards his. He devoured his luscious mouth with a deep, probing kiss. He had been holding himself back in Mulder's presence for years, there were many times when he felt like jumping the man but had exercised almost super-human-like restraint. Now he could control himself no longer.

Mulder responded to Skinner's ardor with a passion of his own. Everything about Skinner felt right...perhaps his treatment at the hands of Lord Skinner made him susceptible to A.D. Skinner's advances. He suddenly felt a compelling lust that overwhelmed him, he had always respected Skinner and his experience with Lord Skinner had finally forced him to acknowledge his subconscious yearning for the older man.

Skinner finally broke away from the kiss. "Bedroom, Mulder. Now!"

Mulder flinched. It reminded him a bit too much of Lord Skinner.

Skinner saw Mulder's reaction and was worried. "Is it okay?"

Mulder looked into the A.D.'s compassionate brown eyes and made his decision. "Yes. Most definitely."

He wanted Skinner. That was all there was to it. He felt guilty at all the pleasure he'd felt at Lord Skinner's hands even if he was forced into it. For years he'd admired and respected this man, and somewhere along the way this respect and admiration had deepened into something else without him realizing it. It took his encounters with Lord Skinner to make him aware of that.

Gradually they made their way into the bedroom, shedding their clothes. Mulder was glad to see Lord Skinner's strong physique mirrored in Skinner's. He was like the master wizard in every way, though Mulder knew that there was one thing that they didn't have in common.

Mulder knew in his heart that he could trust Skinner, that he would never try to dominate Mulder the way Lord Skinner did. It was the most important difference between a kind, civilized man of the twentieth century and a medieval wizard warlord. Mulder was sure Skinner was completely repelled by the idea of owning and claiming another human being in that way.

They tumbled onto the bed kissing and caressing each other. Skinner was almost beside himself with joy; he'd wanted Fox for so long and now here he was in bed with him. He licked a trail down Mulder's chest and then across his stomach. He then swirled his tongue in Mulder's navel and continued downwards. Finally he took Mulder's half-hard cock into his mouth and started to suck him.

"Uhhhnnn," Mulder moaned softly. Skinner tended him with his mouth in a similar fashion to Lord Skinner, but there was also a tenderness that didn't exist with the master wizard. He reached down and stroked Skinner's head, urging him on. Finally Mulder came with a loud cry, shooting into Skinner's mouth, who promptly swallowed every drop.

Skinner stood back and surveyed the luscious agent eagerly. He longed to fuck Mulder. He had imagined the feel of Mulder's tight anus swallowing his cock for years as he thrust hard and fast against those gorgeous globes. He reached under the agent and grabbed one of his buttocks, causing Mulder to start and back away.

"What is it, Fox?" Skinner asked him, concerned.

Mulder looked up at him dolefully. Skinner had already told him that he didn't believe him about his venture into the alternate universe. He figured that if he told Skinner that he was still sore from his various encounters with Lord Skinner and company, Skinner would probably still not believe him and might even consider sending him for a psychiatric evaluation. He didn't want to push the A.D.'s faith in him any farther than he had already.

He couldn't think of a good excuse other than, "I think we need to take things slowly. I mean, I've had a rough week, Walter, I just need some time to regroup."

Skinner's deadpan expression betrayed none of the intense disappointment he felt. He wondered what was holding Mulder back. Could it be that he was a virgin with anal sex? The A.D. was surprised to consider this possibility, as Mulder certainly seemed to be gung ho about everything else! However, stranger things had happened.

"Okay, Fox, we can take it slow," he said gruffly. "I know you've had a rough time. I'm here to support you, in whatever way you want. Should I go?"

Mulder was surprised. "Hey, no! At least let me return the favor, boss!"

Skinner was amused. "That's Walter, you brat! At least, out of the office, it is! Boss indeed, maybe I should have you call me Master!"

Mulder winced but quickly recovered. Now that he had told Skinner what happened, he wanted to get it behind him as fast as possible and return to his life in DC...and maybe a fledging relationship with the A.D.

Skinner's erection was as huge and inviting as Lord Skinner's. Mulder tongued the head, realizing it had the same musky flavor as Lord Skinner's. He took the entire organ into his mouth with difficulty and sucked hard and fast to a chorus of groans from the A.D. It wasn't long before Skinner came, gushing full force down Mulder's throat.

Skinner was amazed at how fantastic Mulder was at oral sex. He seriously doubted that Mulder was inexperienced but he couldn't imagine why else Mulder would be skittish about anal sex. At any rate, the blow job surpassed even his sexual fantasies of Mulder, which had been quite lurid to say the least.

"Fox?" Skinner asked him softly.

"Yes, Walter?"

"Does this mean that you want me to stay?"

Mulder laughed. "As long as you don't start playing the doubting thomas on me again!"

Skinner chuckled. He lay back on the bed and gestured for Mulder to join him, who did so without hesitation.

Mulder was utterly exhausted. He hadn't slept properly for hours, and he was looking forward to a long night's sleep in the comforting arms of the A.D.

12:35 AM
Kachina Motor Lodge
Sedona, Arizona

Alex switched the radio on and off with fascination. Music filled the air at whim. He still couldn't get over these modern conveniences. He resolved to study all the apparatus he encountered in this strange land so he could construct such items when they returned to Ondolee.

"Alex, are you finished playing with that?" Lord Skinner asked him.

"Why, do you have something better for me to play with, my lord?" Alex leered.

"Indeed I do. I also have something to show you!" Lord S. beamed.

He held up a gleaming coin of the realm. He inserted it into a slot to the side of the bed and suddenly the bed started to shake. Alex jumped off in amazement.

"The bed vibrates! What will these strange folk think of next?" he exclaimed.

"Get back on it, my love. You'll soon see what a lovely experience it is!" Skinner growled lecherously.

He stripped off his clothes quickly. Watching his darling boy's ingenuous fascination with all the mechanical wonders they'd encountered stimulated him in the usual way. He adored Alex, and it had been awhile since they had been alone together in this way once Fox Mulder had come into their lives.

They had checked into the Kachina Motor Lodge with little inconvenience. The reception clerk had hesitated a moment when they requested to share a room but one had been available. She demanded a deposit, which hadn't been difficult for Lord S. to conjure, as he was able to see some bills when she opened the cash register. He created the amount she needed and more for later.

Alex had looked with wide-eyed wonder at all he saw. The plush motel room had conveniences he'd never before experienced, just the hot and cold running water alone was amazing, and now he lay nude on a bed that moved! For a moment he had to admit the attraction such a world would have for Fox Mulder, even if the lush slave still belonged back in Ondolee with his proper masters.

Lord Skinner turned Alex on his stomach, after laying a pillow down under him. He was now afforded his favorite view of his apprentice: the muscular back, the firm, luscious buttocks, the large, erect cock. Holding onto Alex's hips, Lord S. thrust himself in to the hilt, causing Alex to cry out in his own particular blend of pleasure and pain.

The feel of Alex's tight anus gripping his cock made Lord Skinner crazy with lust, and he thrust in harder and deeper. He reached around to the front to grab Alex's erection and pump it roughly. It didn't take long for Alex to give several ecstatic cries and come in great spurts onto the sheets. The clenching of Alex's sphincter as he came was too much for Lord S., and he came with a roar, spurting deep into his apprentice.

Lord Skinner covered his apprentice's body with his, luxuriating in the silky sensation. "That was lovely, my sweet. This new world agrees with you," he murmured in his ear.

Alex's gorgeous body gleamed with sweat as he turned and smiled slyly at the master wizard. "It is not so agreeable that I am forgetting our mission, my lord!"

"Of course not!" Lord S. beamed as he disengaged himself. "I suppose that it a none-too-subtle hint that we should start making our plans. I have conjured enough currency for us to travel to DC. Once we are there, we must proceed very carefully, for Fox Mulder must not have any inkling that we have followed him until we have him safely in our possession. Our first step is to observe him in his habitat, and then once he is caught unawares, we will pounce!"

"And shall we impersonate our alternates, then?"

"Yes, if it comes to that. We must first find and familiarize ourselves with his dwelling and place of work, the F.B.I. Then we will see if it is necessary to pretend to be our doubles."

Lord Skinner put on a silk dressing gown and took out a long, thick object covered in brown paper that he proceeded to light with his powers. Alex jumped when he saw the flame. "What is that, my lord? It smolders like ash!"

"It is an item called a cigar," Lord Skinner told him as he puffed on it. "A man in the lobby was smoking one and gave me one to try. It is quite nice, would you care to try it?"

Alex wrinkled up his nose at the strong smell the strange object gave off. "No, my lord, I think I prefer other things in my mouth!"

Lord Skinner laughed with gusto at his apprentice's wry humor. He was greatly enjoying their pursuit of Fox Mulder into his world and the only thing that would make it even better was having his delicious little Fox back in his paws once again.

Soon, Lord Skinner promised himself. All good things come to those who wait...and watch!

2:15 AM
Washington, DC
Outside Mulder's Apartment

Alex Krycek looked up at Mulder's apartment window feeling very disgruntled indeed. He had been lurking periodically outside the building for days, planning to surprise his favorite FBI agent, when tonight he saw Skinner drive up in his Lexus with Mulder in tow. He had hidden and watched them from the bushes, waiting for the A.D. to depart. However, he then saw the lights go out around a half hour after the two men entered the place, with Skinner's Lexus still parked outside.

Skinner was still up there. The apartment was dark, and A.D. Skinner was still up there! His hand trembled with rage as he gripped the palm pilot in his hand. He was dying to use it, to turn it on full blast and ruin their little party. Mulder was his, dammit, not Skinner's, and he longed to drive that point home once and for all!

He had wanted Mulder for years. He never denied himself anything but the situation had been all wrong for him to initiate that kind of relationship with Mulder. Now with the power shifts in the Consortium, he was at last free to pursue his desire. Having denied himself for so long had transformed his attraction for the stunning agent into an overwhelming obsession. He wanted Mulder with the galvanizing force of a volcano and was furious to find that wishy- washy bureaucrat Skinner spending the night with the object of his lust.

Once again, he fingered the palm pilot. He snickered to himself. If he killed Skinner now, Mulder would be caught with the A.D. in his bed! Such a prospect, though extremely inviting, probably wouldn't endear him to the feisty agent and could earn him his undying enmity if Mulder ever found out. No, it would have to wait. And then again, perhaps his use of the nanobots could convince Mulder to be cooperative in case his first inclination was to be otherwise.

Krycek glared up at the window one more time before leaving. He had plans, plans for the both of them...and he would be damned if he let anyone or anything stand in his way.

"He's got problems. Needs a man's hand on his shoulder."

—Joe Orton

E-mail address: [email removed]
Rating: NC-17
Keywords: M/SK M/K UST
Disclaimer: The X-Files characters are the property of Chris Carter, 1013 productions and Fox Broadcasting.
Summary: This is an Alternative Universe Story. You may want to read the original series, "Beyond the Vortex," for this series to make any sense.
In this chapter, Mulder returns to DC, facing a very curious A.D.
Author's Notes:
I would like to thank Jo B., Di Ann, Peta Caldwell, Xanthe, Kiyoko, and Nicole for all their support.
Constructive feedback is always welcome. This is my first attempt at slash, so please pull your punches.
WARNING! SLASH. This story contains sexual interaction between two men, turn back now, if the subject matter offends you.