Walter Skinner was feeling good. The Consortium had finally fallen months before and Spender had taken the brunt of it.
More importantly, he'd had those damned nanocytes neutralized, which for him meant no more looking over his shoulder. No more waiting for Krycek to appear, forcing him to do something he didn't want to do.
He felt he'd been given a new lease on life, and he intended to make the most of it. He had made a regular habit of working twelve and fourteen hour days, but now he cut back considerably. He'd started doing things he wanted to do. Working out at the gym and boxing, things he hadn't done a lot of since he'd been infected with the nanocytes, or hadn't been able to do.
He had even taken a cooking class. He thought about how Sharon would have laughed at that. After years of being able to cook only the most basic "single guy" foods, Walter Skinner was making things like gazpacho and creme broule.
The only thing still suffering was his personal life. His love life. Now there was a laugh. The last time he'd slept with anyone had been a couple of years ago, some woman he'd met at a bar. It had turned out to a one-night stand.
Before, his only serious relationships had been with a man, Joseph Blake, from his platoon in 'Nam, Sharon, and Alex Krycek. Joey had been a good friend at first, then their relationship had turned into something more. Skinner could still see him, smiling that sunny smile of his, not knowing what would happen seconds later that ended their love so tragically. Just like that, a sniper's bullet had taken the first man he'd ever loved.
Heartbroken, he'd gone on, and eventually fell in love with Sharon. They'd had some good years. He still missed her, the easy companionship they'd had.
He and Krycek had a brief affair, leading up to when Krycek's deception had been uncovered. Most of it was just hurried encounters in motel rooms. The sex was great, but the more time Skinner had spent with Krycek, the more he'd wanted. He was hoping Krycek might be ready for a closer relationship. Skinner had been on the verge of bringing it up to him, and just like that, he was gone. To Skinner it had been more than casual sex, but to Krycek, apparently just another part of the deception.
The one other time they'd been together was the night Mulder had brought Krycek to his apartment, asking for protection for the man. After hitting him, then handcuffing him on that freezing balcony, Skinner had come back later and dragged him inside. Krycek, strangely passive, had endured Skinner's use of his body, without even a murmur of protest. Skinner had felt a twinge of guilt, looking into Krycek's worn, tired face. But before he was done, Krycek was moaning, pushing back on Skinner's punishing cock, before coming in a garble of English and Russian obscenities.
Skinner had thought to take revenge for Krycek's betrayal. But like so many things, the attempt came back to bite him in the ass. Even after the torture of the nanocytes, Skinner's mind kept going back to Krycek. Those green eyes, so full of pain, and the feeling of being buried deep in Krycek's ass, Krycek sucking him off like a pro.
Not that he'd ever do anything about it. Besides, no one had seen Krycek in some time. Most likely, he'd pissed off the wrong person and had finally gotten himself killed.
But today wasn't the day to think about the past. Today was Thanksgiving and Skinner was expected at dinner. He'd volunteered at a homeless shelter, helping to feed the less fortunate. Another thing he probably wouldn't have done before he'd "died". It wasn't as if he had plans for the day anyway. When Skinner first decided to volunteer some of his time, and was checking out various charities and programs, he was struck by the statistics about the homeless. He had seen them all over the city, of course, but like everyone else, he'd learned to block them out. Then one day, he'd encountered a homeless Vietnam vet begging on the street. The man was dirty and gaunt, but what really struck Skinner were the man's eyes. They were so lifeless. All at once it hit Skinner how easily that could've been him.
As he walked into the shelter with the other volunteers, he was amazed by how many people were there. He took his assigned place serving mashed potatoes and gravy.
The people shuffled by, almost as if they were in prison. It made Skinner appreciate again how much he had. Even if he didn't have anyone to spend the day with, he had food and a place to live. Skinner looked at the people coming by, a few whom met his eyes, even said "thank you" to him, but most kept their heads down.
Skinner had just scooped up a spoonful of potatoes for the next plate when he happened to look up. He was surprised to see someone who looked familiar. The man was unkempt, his clothes dirty and his head down, but something about the body itself... the leather jacket. Then the man looked up and Skinner dropped his spoon.
Krycek? Because it was unmistakably Krycek. Certainly leaner than Skinner had ever seen him, but still with a gracefulness that couldn't be hidden despite his ragged appearance.
Skinner recovered and dished out potatoes, waiting for the man to come by. When the man finally reached Skinner's station, Skinner said "Krycek?" and looked into Krycek's green eyes.
Krycek clearly had not expected to see Skinner there. Skinner was still asking, "What are you doing here?" when Krycek dropped the plate and ran. Skinner almost went after him, but the man, who'd been behind Krycek said, "Wouldn't do any good. He's good at hiding."
No doubt, thought Skinner. Rats usually were.
"If you come back about dark, he'll probably be here."
Skinner thanked the man. He didn't care, though. Why should he want to see Krycek?
After they were done with the serving, Skinner was taking a break when he noticed the guy who'd talked to him. Skinner headed over with his cup of coffee. The man was in his late thirties, balding, and had been talking to a couple of people at his table. The people were leaving when Skinner walked up.
"May I sit down for a minute?" Skinner asked.
"Sure, go ahead," the man answered.
"I'm Walter Skinner. Could we talk?"
"I'm Jack. Jack Rivers. Sure, we can talk."
"Jack, do you know Krycek well?"
"Alex? As well as anyone, I guess. He's sort of... he keeps mostly to himself."
That wasn't surprising news either.
"Do you know how long he's been here?"
"Off and on for a month, maybe. He's not here every night. Sometimes he gets...Sometimes he has a place to stay. Did you know him from before?"
"Before he got down on his luck."
"Yeah. I guess you could say that. Jack, has he told you how he ended up here?"
"Same way as everyone else, I guess. Lost his job and couldn't find another one."
Skinner thanked Jack and went to help with cleanup.
How could Krycek be homeless? Without a job? Krycek always had an angle, always landed on his feet. And there was always dirty work to be done, even with the Consortium gone. So what scam could Krycek be running from a homeless shelter? It didn't make sense.
At the end of the day, Skinner was tired, but kept finding excuses not to go home. In the end, he sat in his car across the street and waited for Krycek. He could almost pretend it was surveillance.
Skinner again had the advantage of seeing Krycek before Krycek saw him. Skinner quickly got out of his car and hid in a doorway near the shelter. When Krycek walked by, Skinner merely reached out and grabbed him, yanking him back into the doorway.
Krycek came up fighting, but was no match for Skinner in his weakened state. Skinner just held him until he stopped fighting. But as soon as he let up, Krycek was struggling again.
"Krycek, be still, dammit!"
"Fuck, Skinner! What do you want? Did you come to gloat? Couldn't resist?"
"I want to know what you were doing there at lunch."
"Fuck you! I was going to get something to eat until you messed that up."
Krycek had a pouty look on his face now; one Skinner usually associated with Mulder. And Krycek looked bad. He obviously hadn't shaved or showered in a while. His clothing was dirty and his hair longer than usual. The Krycek that Skinner had known was always fastidious about his appearance.
"Look, Krycek -" Skinner paused as a couple walked by. The man stopped and stared at Skinner, who was still holding on to Krycek's upper arms.
"Is everything all right?" the man asked.
"Fine," Skinner said and relaxed his death grip on Krycek.
The man's companion grabbed his arm. "Come on, Wayne. It's one of those homeless people. He was probably trying to rob the guy or something. They should lock those people up."
They hurried away. Skinner turned back to Krycek. Krycek was looking at the couple as they walked away, a mixture of anger and shame on his reddened face.
Something softened inside Skinner.
"Come on, Krycek."
"Where?" Krycek asked warily.
"To my place. I owe you dinner."
"The hell with you, Skinner. I don't need your pity. Go adopt an abandoned pet if you want to do a good deed."
"Come on, Krycek. I feel bad about messing up your lunch. Anyway, you'd be doing me a favor. If you don't come I'll be eating Thanksgiving dinner by myself."
Skinner watched Krycek search his face for signs of pity, and then Krycek said evenly, "All right, I'll come. You do owe me dinner."
The ride back to Skinner's condo was quiet, and a little awkward. After all, what kind of small talk could he and Krycek make?
When they got to Skinner's place, he let them in and headed for the kitchen.
"Make yourself at home. I need to get this started."
Skinner prepared the main course for the oven. It was a menu from his cooking class and he hoped it would turn out to be edible. Krycek looked doubtfully at it.
"Skinner, what is that?"
"Cornish Game Hens with Mushroom-Spinach Stuffing."
"And you know how to cook it?"
"Yes. We're also having Green Beans with Shallot Butter and Corn Pudding."
Krycek looked amazed. After Skinner got it in the oven, he stopped to get a beer from the refrigerator. "Krycek? Would you like a beer, or something else? There's tea, Coke..."
"Tea would be fine."
Skinner grabbed a bottle from the fridge as Krycek looked around.
"You have a nice place here."
"Thanks. I like it. Truthfully, I've never really spent a lot of time in the kitchen until recently. I took a cooking class."
"I thought it would be good to know how to fix something other than steak or burgers."
"When did you find time for a cooking class?"
"Well," Skinner said, wondering if he should say this at all, "after I died" - a wince came from Krycek -"I developed a new appreciation for life. Or rather, I did after I finally had the nanocytes deactivated. I cut back my working hours.
"That's good. You always did work too hard."
"Krycek, I didn't know you cared."
"I was just agreeing with you."
They sat at the table for a while, sipping their drinks.
Then Skinner got up to check the food and start the side dishes. He noticed Krycek looking down at himself, a look of disgust on his face. Skinner imagined how the suggestion he was about to make would be received, but he tried anyway.
"Krycek, it'll be a while before we eat. If you'd like to take a shower, get cleaned up, I'm sure I could find some old sweats to fit you."
Skinner saw him start to refuse, to say something smart, but all he did was say softly, "Thank you. That would be good."
Skinner showed him where the towels were, and went to find some old sweats he didn't think would be too big. He took them back to Krycek, who asked, almost shyly, "Skinner... would it be all right if I shave?"
"Sure. There should be a new razor in the top drawer. I'm going back to work on dinner. Take your time."
Skinner realized it must be hurting Krycek's pride to do this. He knew that he'd have a hard time doing it himself. He'd always been independent, like Krycek, and he found it hard to accept help, too. He couldn't believe he was feeling this way about Krycek. By all rights, he should have left him on the street. Skinner chose to ignore the little voice that asked, "So why didn't you?"
Krycek came downstairs about thirty minutes later, still looking tired, but looking like a young boy with his water-slicked hair and too-big clothes.
"Dinner should be ready soon. It's not very traditional, but it's something I wanted to try."
"What do I know about tradition? Although... pumpkin pie would've been nice."
"Well, actually..." Skinner smiled, and went to the refrigerator and pulled out a pie plate.
"Skinner, you made pumpkin pie, too?"
"I figured a little tradition wouldn't hurt."
That got the first real smile from Krycek all day.
"You really like pumpkin pie, huh? "
"Yeah. Even in diners, if the rest of the Thanksgiving dinner sucks, the pie's usually good. And then there's Mrs Smith's."
Skinner laughed and went to check the food.
"Skinner, is there something I can do?"
He debated saying no, but then thought that maybe Krycek might want to contribute something to the meal.
"You could set the table. There are plates in the cabinet beside the fridge, and the silverware is in the drawer under it."
Skinner almost reconsidered, thinking of Krycek's prosthetic arm, but Krycek seemed to manage pretty well.
He put the plates down and went back for the silverware, then just stood there with it.
"Is there something wrong, Krycek?"
"Skinner, I don't know what goes on which side."
"Neither do I. Just put it where it looks best to you."
Imagine, Alex Krycek obsessing over table etiquette.
Skinner set the food on the table and he and Krycek sat down. Skinner reached for the basket of rolls and then paused.
"Skinner? Something wrong?"
"Krycek... Would you mind if I say grace before we eat?"
Krycek looked puzzled, but said, "Oh. All right."
Skinner bowed his head and started the blessing.
"Lord, thank you for this food you have provided, and for someone to share it with. And please look after those not as fortunate. Amen."
Skinner looked up, a little embarrassed.
"It's just, when I was growing up, my mom made sure we always said a blessing. I got away from all that when I left home, and 'Nam really made me lose faith. Until... last year, I didn't really have a lot to be thankful for."
"It's okay, Skinner. I just never pictured you... doing that."
"I went to church every Sunday until I left home." Krycek snorted. "I've never been to church. God isn't really an issue for me. I mostly depend on myself."
"Your parents weren't religious?"
"Could we talk about something else?"
Skinner caught a flash of pain in Krycek's eyes before he looked away.
"Yeah, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to pry."
"Look, it's okay. It's just that my father was a real bastard. My mother didn't have a whole lot of reason to believe. He'd never have let her go to church anyway."
"I'm sorry, Krycek."
"It's not your fault. Tell me about your childhood."
"I grew up on a farm in Iowa."
"Like with cows and stuff?"
"Yes, like with cows and stuff. Cows, chickens, some horses. We grew most of our own food. We never had a lot of other stuff, but we always had food. It was hard work, though. My dad did it because his dad and granddad did it. But I knew it wasn't for me. I joined the Marines right out of high school."
" I never would've figured you for a farm boy."
"I was. I was so green- didn't know a thing when I left home."
"I just can't picture you that way. The only way I've known you is self-assured. In control."
"That took a long time. So, how's the food?"
"It's really good. You're just full of surprises, huh?"
Skinner grunted. He was actually enjoying this, just having a conversation with another person. He and Krycek hadn't had much time to talk when they were together before. Their encounters were always so hurried. If only he could bring Krycek more into the conversation. But everything he brought up seemed to have bad associations for Krycek. So, he tried again.
"So, Krycek, what kind of music do you like?"
"I like different things, Motown, some rock, stuff like that."
"What did you think I listened to? Heavy metal?"
"I guess I never considered it."
"Yeah. I like some blues, too, John Lee Hooker. And jazz. I love Miles Davis."
Skinner grinned, then got up and walked to the stereo. Soon, the sounds of the "Kind of Blue" album by Miles Davis filled the room. Krycek was smiling again. Skinner was thinking he could get used to that smile. Then, 'What the hell am I thinking? '
He busied himself with the pie. He set it on the table, and then asked Krycek if he'd like coffee.
"How do you take it?"
"Lots of cream, a little sugar."
Skinner set their coffee on the table, then said, "Oh yeah. Almost forgot," and went back to the refrigerator.
"Would you like whipped cream for your pie?"
Krycek licked his lips.
"Would you like to go to the living room with this, Krycek?"
Skinner put it all on a tray then asked Krycek to grab a couple of forks for them. They sat on the couch. Skinner turned the TV to a football game, then turned the sound down.
They ate their pie and enjoyed Miles Davis, until Krycek interrupted to say, "This is good. Best I've ever had."
"You don't have to say that, but thanks."
"It's true, Skinner."
After Krycek finished eating, he started to nod off. Skinner got up and quietly took their dishes to the kitchen, then went to a hallway closet and took out a blanket and pillow. He touched Krycek on the arm and Krycek sat straight up, a wild look in his eyes.
"What...? Oh. You want me to get out now, right?"
Skinner felt something move within him at the resigned tone in Krycek's voice. He held up the pillow and blanket.
"It's late, Krycek. Lie down."
Krycek looked very surprised, but lay down obediently. Skinner spread the blanket over him.
"Why are you being nice to me? Me, of all people, you know I don't deserve it."
"It's Thanksgiving, Krycek. Maybe some day you can pay me back. Now go to sleep."
Skinner went upstairs, feeling better than he had in a long time. When he got to the bathroom, he saw Krycek's clothes, dirty, but neatly folded, his battered leather jacket on top. He laid the jacket to the side and took the clothes, just jeans, a t-shirt and socks, to the laundry room. As he put them and a few of his own things in the wash, he wondered absurdly if Krycek was wearing underwear. Not a safe thought, he decided.
Skinner read until the clothes were washed, then put them in the dryer. He went back downstairs for a drink, and stopped at the couch. He watched Krycek, who appeared to be sleeping peacefully. He looked so innocent, lying there with his hair falling in his face. Like an angel.
Skinner took his drink and walked over to the balcony door. For some reason, he was even more ashamed now of what he'd done the last time Krycek had been here. And how ironic, he was dressed the same as he had been then, in only pants. Funny how he could feel this remorse, considering what Krycek had done to him, both before and after. Skinner felt a need awakening in him, even as he regretted what he'd done. He remembered how it had been before, when they were lovers. Even then, he'd sensed an apartness, a feeling of distance in Krycek, of not wanting to give his whole heart.
Skinner sensed, rather than heard Krycek behind him.
"Want a drink, Krycek?"
"No," Krycek said in a rough whisper.
"Did I wake you?"
"No. I don't sleep very soundly. Safer that way."
"That's a bad way to live."
"Maybe, but it does keep me alive."
"You thinking about the last time I was here, Skinner?"
Skinner grimaced. Was he that transparent?
"That was wrong, doing that to you, Krycek. I should apologize to you."
"You felt like I deserved it. I probably did. Although I don't want to think about what I might deserve now, after all the other stuff I've done to you."
Skinner couldn't help but think; did Alex Krycek really say that?
"I'm through with that, Krycek. I don't want any more revenge."
Krycek suddenly knelt in front of Skinner and reached for his zipper.
"Don't. Let me do this, Skinner."
As Krycek opened Skinner's pants and took him out, Skinner could feel himself getting harder, just from Krycek's gentle touch. He wanted this, wanted it badly, but still, it didn't feel right. He pushed Krycek's hand away.
"Take it easy, Skinner. I owe you. You fed me; you're letting me spend the night. It's nothing I haven't done-"
"No!" Skinner shoved Krycek to the floor.
"What's wrong, Skinner? I know you expect payment."
"Sure," Krycek got back to his knees. "Like I said, you fed me, I'm staying the night. Why else would you do that unless you expected to fuck me as payment? I don't mind. You look a lot better than some of the guys I've-"
Skinner slapped Krycek, hard. He fell to the floor, hand at his mouth.
"I didn't know you liked it that way, Skinner."
Skinner was on him so fast, Krycek didn't have time to back up. He pulled Krycek up by his shoulders.
"Don't," Skinner said with deadly calm, "Don't you ever say that to me again, or presume to know what I want."
"Okay, Skinner, let go." Krycek stood there, not even bothering to wipe the blood from his split lip. "I don't understand."
Skinner buttoned his pants. "That's obvious."
"I mean it, Skinner. If it isn't sex, what do you want?"
"That's just it. I don't want anything." Skinner ignored the little voice in his head saying "Not true".
"No way. Nothing's for free."
"Yes, in this case, it is."
"But I thought..."
"No, you didn't. If you mean what I said about paying me back, I meant just that. And if you mean you thought I was like everyone else, please, don't."
"I see. I'll leave now."
Skinner sighed. "Krycek, you don't have to leave. Just don't assume everything has a price."
"Hard habit to break."
"Try. I'm going to bed."
When Skinner got up, Krycek was gone. He found the sweats he'd loaned Krycek on the washer, and his own clothes, the ones he'd washed along with Krycek's, folded neatly on top of the dryer.
Skinner felt strangely disappointed, but shrugged it off and got dressed. He had a little work to do at the office, then planned to take it easy for the rest of the day.
On his way home, he stopped by a clothing store, to pick up some socks and a few shirts. He'd been putting it off, but today, he was reluctant to get back to his empty apartment. As he started in, a jacket in the window caught his eye. It was leather, just like Krycek's. He thought of how bad Krycek's had looked the night before.
"Could I help you, sir?" a clerk asked, jolting Skinner from his thoughts.
"Ah, no, just looking, thanks." Skinner went on to get what he'd come for.
Back at home, he did some cleaning, stripped the bed and washed the linens, and just puttered around. But, everywhere he looked, something would bring his mind back to Krycek. He fixed a light supper, then settled on the couch with a glass of scotch and turned on the TV. He must have dozed off, because the next thing he knew it was after 11pm. What had awoken him? The phone? The door. He heard the faint knocking. He got up and went to the door.
"Who is it?"
"Skinner, it's me, Krycek."
Krycek's voice was faint, and when. Skinner opened the door, he saw why. Krycek practically fell into his arms. He was very pale, a spot of blood on his temple, and Skinner saw more on his shirt. He helped Krycek to the couch.
"Krycek, what the hell happened to you?"
"I think I was stabbed."
Skinner helped Krycek off with his jacket, then pulled up his shirt. Sure enough, there was a gash in his side. It didn't appear to be to deep, but was bleeding profusely.
"Krycek, you should be in a hospital." Skinner reached for the phone.
Krycek grabbed his arm with an iron grip.
"No hospital, Skinner," Krycek said in a remarkably strong voice.
"You need stitches."
"No hospital." Then, in a softer voice, "I-I had to kill him, Skinner. Please."
"Take off your shirt and hold it against the wound. I'll be right back."
Krycek sank back down, relieved.
Skinner came back with a first aid kit and some scotch for the younger man.
Krycek did, and then Skinner told him, "I can bandage it, but you really need stitches."
Krycek was already shaking his head. "No. Unless you want to sew me up yourself."
"We'll try this first. What happened?"
"I was asleep in an alley. I got back to the shelter too late for a bed. I was so tired, I didn't wake up until this guy was on me. He hit me in the head with something, and the next thing I knew, he was coming at me with my own knife. I blocked him at the last minute, but he still got me."
"And you killed him."
"I panicked, Skinner. He'd already cut me."
"I'm not criticizing. I realize you could've been killed. I'm going to clean this now. It'll probably hurt."
"Go ahead." Krycek winced, but didn't cry out, as Skinner cleaned the cut. He bandaged it carefully.
"All right, lie back and let me check your head."
Krycek obediently leaned back. Skinner cleaned the small cut and put a band-aid on it. He checked Krycek's eyes, but saw no sign of concussion.
"It's not too bad. No concussion. Krycek, have you eaten?"
"Not since this morning."
"Stay still, I'll be right back." Skinner came back in a few minutes with a sandwich, a glass of milk and some Tylenol.
"Milk, Skinner? I hate milk."
"It's good for you. With the things you get into, you need strong bones."
Krycek looked down.
"I'm sorry, Skinner. You didn't have to do that, any of this. I have no right to complain."
"It's all right," Skinner said gruffly. "Eat."
Skinner went and found another t-shirt for Krycek, who slipped into it before he began to eat. Skinner sat beside Krycek while he ate, watching TV. Then Krycek started nodding again. He slid down against Skinner's shoulder, but Skinner made no effort to move him. After a while, he moved his arm around Krycek, who snuggled closer and murmured something Skinner didn't catch.
Krycek looked like such a different person asleep. All the worry and wariness was gone from his face. You could almost forget he was a liar and a murderer and God only knew what else, Skinner thought. But to be perfectly honest, if Krycek hadn't said what he had last night, they would've had sex. He'd wanted it badly. Not just sex, he realized, but sex with Krycek. Already, he could feel his body responding to being this close to the man. Skinner sat still, just enjoying the closeness, eventually nodding off. What woke him up was Krycek yelling. A nightmare.
"Krycek! Wake up!"
Krycek sat up quickly and immediately winced.
"Calm down, Alex. You'll start bleeding again."
Skinner pulled Krycek down, back against him.
"It's okay. Just hush. It was a nightmare."
Krycek was quiet and still for a few minutes, then said in a muffled voice, "Skinner?"
"I still don't understand why you're being so nice to me."
"Because I can." Krycek started to get up. "Alex, where are you going?"
"Not far. Hush, Skinner."
Krycek got on his knees in front of Skinner, and reached for his pants.
"Hush, Walter. I messed up last night, don't you do it tonight."
Skinner gasped as Krycek took him in his mouth. He was rock hard in seconds. Krycek kept sucking his cock, licking at his balls, until Skinner felt he'd come at any time.
"Alex," he managed, "if you keep doing that, I'm going to come."
Krycek let go immediately.
"No," he said, his eyes dark with arousal, "not until you're inside me. Do you have lube? Condoms?"
"Alex, are you sure about this?"
"Yes. Do you not want this?"
"Oh yes, I want it."
"Good. Condoms? Lube?"
"Middle drawer in the bathroom."
Krycek made a quick trip upstairs.
"Here, Alex, let me do that."
Skinner had taken his own shirt off, and while he took the stuff, Krycek started to strip. Skinner stopped to watch. Krycek took off his boots, socks and jeans. Skinner smiled. He wasn't wearing underwear. Krycek stopped at that and went to him. Skinner put the condoms and lube down and turned back to the younger man. He quickly got out of his pants and briefs and went to help Krycek with his shirt. Alex pulled away.
"Come on, Alex." Skinner kissed him, then rained kisses down his neck. "Alex, I want to see all of you." He reached down to put his hand around Krycek's throbbing cock. "Please, Alex, do it for me."
Krycek fought to relax himself, then nodded. Skinner took his shirt off, then reached and unbuckled the straps of the prosthesis.
"Alex," Skinner said softly. "Do you think that makes you ugly?"
Krycek, his head down, whispered savagely, "It is ugly!"
"Alex, look at me."
He looked up reluctantly.
"Look in my eyes, Alex. You're beautiful. This," he touched the stump of Krycek's arm and he flinched, "This doesn't take away from that. Can't you see what you do to me?"
Skinner took Krycek's hand and moved it to his erection.
"See? Do you feel how much I want your beautiful body? What I don't know is why you would want an old bald guy like me."
"Ah, Walter," Krycek groaned. "You have no idea how sexy you are. You never notice all the stares you get at the office, how women, and men, watch you as you walk down the street?"
Skinner was shaking his head.
"You are so dense, Walter. You exude this alpha male, sex god thing. This," Krycek said in a husky voice, taking Skinner's hand and putting it on himself, "This is what you do to me. Now, come on and fuck me. Hard."
Now Skinner groaned. Krycek leaned over the arm of the couch, ass high in the air.
"I could come just from seeing you like that," Skinner said, playfully slapping Krycek's ass.
"Oww! You're not kinky are you, Walter?"
"Wouldn't you like to know? We'll talk about *that * later."
Skinner picked up the lube, then paused.
"Wait a minute. Alex, let's go upstairs."
"As good as you look lying there, I'm worried you'll hurt your side. That I'll hurt you."
"Walter, I'll be fine."
"I mean it, Alex. Let's go." Skinner said sternly.
"You sound like such an AD. All right, let's go."
Once in the bedroom, Skinner directed Krycek to kneel on the bed, then placed pillows under him for support.
"Alex, how's that?"
"It's fine. Come on, Walter, please. I've waited so long for this."
Skinner busied himself with the lube, putting some on his finger and easing it into Krycek, who moaned and then arched his back when Skinner slipped the next finger inside.
"Alex, you okay, your side? Does it hurt?"
"I'm fine. Don't stop."
Skinner took his time, loosening Krycek up. When Skinner touched his prostate, Krycek shrieked and his hand clutched at the sheets.
"Alex, did you like that?"
"Skinner! You're killing me. Fuck me!"
Skinner laughed as he rolled the condom on and put lube on it. He slowly started to enter Krycek. As soon as he did, Krycek abruptly pushed back, impaling himself on Skinner's cock. The feeling of sinking all the way into Krycek's hot ass made Skinner shake all over.
"Oh God, Alex . . . You feel so good. So hot inside."
"Fuck me harder, Walter, please, I need this, I've waited so long..." Krycek moaned, then started to yell as Skinner gave him what he wanted.
"Alex, I can't hold out much longer. This feels too good."
Skinner reached under Krycek to stroke him. It only took seconds for Krycek to erupt all over himself and Skinner's hand and the bed, yelling in English and Russian. Skinner followed a second later, slamming into him a final time and coming with a yell. He rested for a minute against Krycek, then stood up with a jolt as he realized the warmness he felt against his arm was blood.
"Alex! Get up, you're bleeding."
"Your side! I knew this was too much."
"It was just enough. I'll live, Walter."
"Here, sit, let me look at it."
"Okay. Ah, shit, I'm in the wet spot."
Skinner laughed in spite of his worry and went to get towels. He used one to clean himself and Alex, and the bed. Then he removed the blood-soaked bandage.
"Alex, it's torn open again." Skinner pressed the other towel to the wound.
"Hold this. You need stitches."
"No. You do it."
"Alex, I don't want to hurt you."
Krycek smiled. "Never thought I'd hear you say that."
"Alex, I'm serious."
"You could do it."
"No. But I know who can. The sweats you wore last night are on the washer. Get them while I make a call, then I'll help you get dressed. Keep pressure on your side."
"Who are you calling?"
"Ah, Walter. She hates me, you know."
"But she'll do this for me."
It took Skinner quite a bit of convincing before Scully would agree, first to do it, then to keep quiet about it.
When Scully arrived, Skinner took her to Krycek, who had already been cautioned against antagonizing her. Despite her cool, professional demeanor, Scully was obviously having a hard time hiding her distaste for Krycek.
"How did this happen?"
"He was attacked," Skinner told her evenly.
"And the attacker? Is he in custody?"
"Scully, I asked you here to treat Alex," Scully's eyebrow raised at the use of the name," not to investigate the attack."
"Scully, if you don't feel comfortable doing this, you should go." Skinner told her implacably.
"All right, let me have a look." Scully busied herself checking the wound.
"Well, it does need stitches. And I'll leave a prescription for antibiotics and painkillers."
Through all this, Krycek hadn't said a word.
"Krycek, I can give you a local anesthetic. Can you handle this?"
"I'll be fine."
Skinner stayed close to Krycek, actually getting in Scully's way.
"Walter, come and sit down. Scully can't work with you hovering."
Skinner grinned and went to sit by Krycek. He watched Krycek carefully while Scully stitched him up. Krycek stared straight ahead while Scully worked, and soon it was over. Scully wrote out the prescriptions and got ready to leave. Skinner walked her to the door. Once there, she quietly asked, "Sir, are you sure about this?"
"Yes, I'm sure. And I appreciate your help and your discretion."
Scully sighed as she walked out.
"Scully does not approve," Krycek said as Skinner came back in.
"Yes, I know. I'm tired, Alex. Let's go to bed." Skinner reached out to take Krycek's hand.
Upstairs, Skinner got Krycek undressed and into bed. "Alex, do you need anything for pain tonight? We'll get your prescriptions in the morning."
"I'm fine, Walter."
Skinner undressed and got in bed, being careful of Krycek's side. They both fell quickly into an exhausted sleep.
When Skinner woke up, Krycek was staring at him.
"Good morning. How long have you been awake?"
"A little while. Couldn't sleep."
"Is it your side?" Skinner sat up, immediately concerned. "Does it hurt? I'll go and get your prescriptions."
Krycek grabbed his arm. "Walter. I had my arm cut off without anesthesia. This is nothing. I couldn't sleep because... I don't know the rules here."
"Why are you doing this? Why do you care?"
"Alex, I just do. I don't think I ever really stopped."
"After what I did? I'd hate me."
"For awhile, I guess I did. But there was always this... I don't know, this feeling for you, this yearning. I'm no good at this stuff. Stop analyzing. Not everyone wants something from you."
"Yeah, Walter, most of the time they do."
"Well, this isn't like that."
"I'm sorry, Walter. This is just- different."
"Alex, this is what I wanted the first time we were together."
"Really? Is that true? Way back then?"
"Way back then. Even with your awful suits and that hair, I could see how beautiful you were. And when I got to know you better, I realized I wanted you in my life. But then you were gone."
Krycek blushed. "I wish things could've been different. By the time we met, Spender pretty much owned me. I wasn't supposed to fall for you. That part was real. It would never have worked out."
"It can now. We can start over."
Alex looked unconvinced, and frankly amazed.
"You would do that? You'd trust me? You want me, Walter?"
"God, Alex, of course I want you. And yes, I want to be able to trust you."
"I don't mean, do you want me just for sex. Because I realize what I am. But Walter, I don't have a place to live, I don't have a job, and I've done some awful things."
"Okay, Alex. First of all, it was never about just sex. I want all of you. Second, you do have a place to live, here with me. And as for a job, don't tell me you're not intelligent enough to do anything you want. You just need a chance. And you will have to get a legitimate job for this to work. And your past? It's just that."
Krycek lay there with tears streaming down his face. "Alex, you okay?"
"Ah, Walter, it's been so long since anyone believed in me. That there's good in me."
"It's always been there, Alex. You just hid it really well."
Skinner leaned over and wiped Krycek's tears away, then kissed him slowly and passionately.
"So, you want to get up and have breakfast?" Skinner asked, getting up.
"Actually, I was thinking of staying here and doing something else."
"Alex, I don't think you're well enough for all that."
"I'm sure we can find something... non-strenuous to do, " Krycek said, reaching for Skinner.
Skinner laughed and got back in bed. Breakfast could wait.