The calm before the storm

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by Imp

Author's Notes

Something drags me out of a deep sleep. Discomfort. Pain.

My initial awareness expands in slow stages.

I'm all cramped up, and someone is poking me with a heavy, blunt instrument.

I'm on an unfamiliar couch, and someone is jabbing their elbows into me, at least three elbows at any given time.

I'm on Alex's couch, and he's trying to climb over me, not with the best results.

I open my eyes. It hurts to open my eyes. I haven't slept enough.

Dark green eyes meet mine from an inch away. "Sorry," says a raspy voice. "Gotta pee."

The discomfort has been made comprehensible. I grunt an answer, close my eyes again, and fall back to sleep.

Someone is pulling me out of a deep sleep. Tugging at my clothes, shaking my shoulder. "Mulder."

The voice reaches me after a moment, and recognition drags me the rest of the way to unwilling consciousness.

Alex stands beside me, gazing down. "Come to bed," he says. "You'll be so much more comfortable."

The implication is of movement, and that would be too much trouble. I grunt at him, close my eyes again, and reach for sleep again.

After a moment, the shaking begins again. "Mulder."

Damn it, that boy never would let me get any rest.

I open my eyes. It hurts to open my eyes. But there he is, inches away - kneeling beside the couch, all tousled hair and sleepy eyes and rumpled sex appeal. "Mulder," he says, pronouncing my name like a kiss. "C'mon. Get up."

I groan, because I know he's never going to give up until I do.

It takes awhile for me to work my way to verticality. Sitting up makes my head spin. Standing is even worse. I shuffle along beside him, letting him lead the way, until we pass a familiar-looking room. "Now I gotta pee," I grumble, and he laughs and indicates the door I should enter when I'm done.

So I relieve myself, and then some cold water splashed on my face to get my eyes to stop aching, and then I'm thirsty, and by the time I'm done with all that, I'm actually awake. Blinking at my reflection in Alex's mirror, wondering what rabbit-hole I fell down to get here. The thought of him waiting for me in the bedroom warms me straight through, and I stare at the unfamiliar sight of a smile on my face.

Dismissing my confusion as irrelevant, I leave the bathroom behind and go to him.

It's a big bed, king-sized, covered with the same quilt I remember from Alex's last place, and he's sitting on the edge of the mattress waiting for me. As I enter, he comes to meet me, invading my personal space with casual familiarity, reaching up clumsily with his plaster- encased hand toward my chest. "You're not going to sleep in that, are you?" he says, touching the collar of the jacket I'm still wearing.

"Wouldn't be the first time," comes out of my mouth before my mind can censor it. So now he knows. Embarrassing.

But the shy little pleased smile on his face makes it all right. "You've got me now," he murmurs, his voice softly intimate.

He can kiss me with words, and I have no idea how he does it, only that it makes me feel so loving and so hot that I have to crush his body against me and cover his mouth with my own.

Afterwards, Alex pulls back, flushed and breathless. So sexy. He plucks at my t-shirt with the fingers that protrude from the end of the cast. "I can't undress you," he says regretfully. "You're going to have to do it for me."

So I slip off the jacket, place it carefully over the back of a chair. I sit down on the chair long enough to undo and remove my boots and socks. I stand up again and pull my t-shirt over my head, unfasten my jeans and remove them. All of this while Alex watches, eyes gleaming, hand cradling the swelling flesh under his green satin pajama trousers, and by the time I've finished undressing, I'm as hard as he is.

"Well," Alex says, his voice almost purring. "You want to go back to sleep now?"

"Oh," I reply, "yeah, sure. Right."

He laughs, and moves very close to me.

His body melts against mine. Skin against skin. Oh god, it's been years. He nibbles and kisses a path along my shoulder and up my neck, managing to hit every single nerve along the way, so that by the time he's worked his way across my cheek to my mouth I'm completely on fire. It hits home all over again, as he's kissing me: this is Alex I'm kissing, Alex who I thought was lost to me. Alex, the man hidden behind the 'Krycek' I've been using as a curse word for so many years. Alex, who I've loved forever.

I feel myself moan, as my knees go weak, and for a second I feel like I'm going to come right then and there.

Alex steadies me, managing to put just enough distance between our bodies for the urgency inside me to relax a little. "Come on," he says, takes my hand, leads me to the bed.

He pushes me down on the bed, and I stretch out, waiting for him - he tugs at a drawstring and gets rid of the pajama pants, follows me down - but end for end, which tells me right away what he wants. Years since we last did this, but we settle into position as if it were yesterday. He makes himself comfortable, using my thigh as a pillow, and sucks me deep down his throat. After a timeless moment in which I can't do anything but moan, I return the favor.

I'd forgotten what this felt like. His cock in my mouth, the shape and texture and taste of him, and the sweet pulsing delight of his mouth wrapped around mine. Falling into the rhythm, steady and inexorable as our heartbeats. Creating a circle of pleasure, a circuit of electric ecstasy flowing through us. It's poetry in motion, it's a manifestation of purest romantic love, it's, it's, it's the hottest sex I've ever experienced in my life. I don't want it to end, but I can't stop myself, and neither can he - years, it's been years, but I can still recognize the signs. Maybe the sweetest thing of all is the way we both reflexively pick up the pace, effortlessly synchronizing things so that it begins for both of us at once, maintaining the perfect rhythm so that I'm coming and swallowing at once, even the waves of orgasm happening to both of us in exact time.

It's a calm climax. Not earth-shaking, not soul-shattering, just warm and engulfing. Loving. It's a loving climax, made sweeter by the familiarity of his body, his aroma, his taste. I know this man, and I love him, and nothing has ever been better than this feels.

After the pleasure ebbs away, my fatigue returns. A wave of lassitude spreads through me, luring me down into delicious sleep. But Alex nudges me, sharply. "Move," he says firmly.

I'm perfectly happy right where I am, nuzzling his spent genitalia, surrounded by the scent of his sex. The last thing I want to do is move, and I'm vaguely hurt that he would suggest it.

"Move," Alex insists. "You always kick me in the head, Mulder."

The words and his plaintive tone take me back years, to a time when making love with him was a daily occurrence, and falling asleep nestled close to him was a matter of routine - and his complaint about being kicked in the head was something I heard every other morning. I can't help laughing at the memory, which once I would have found bitter, but which is now so very sweet.

"You move," I tell him. "C'mere."

In the end, we both move, so that we can slide beneath the covers together. The sheets are smooth against my skin, the blankets heavy and warm. Alex moves into my arms as if he belongs there, as if he's always belonged there, and I feel complete.

He whispers something into my neck. I can barely hear him. I don't need to hear him. I know what he's said.

"I love you," Alex murmurs inaudibly.

My arms tighten around him instinctively.

"I love you," I tell him in return.

Alex's lips curve against my neck, I can feel him smile.

His breathing slows. My eyes close. We sleep.

I wake up slow and easy this time, coming out of the darkness of oblivion into a world of warmth. There's an electric blanket making the bed into a cozy cocoon, but the part that warms me inside is Alex, fast asleep and securely nestled into my arms.

Years back, I used to love to watch him sleep. He always looked so innocent, so vulnerable. On the road to Tunguska, I watched him sleep, and was struck by the tension in him even then, the defensive posture, the lines of worry etched into his face. Now ... now is different from both. Maturity has brought concern to his face, in echoes of that defensive tension, but now his sleeping face is smooth, unworn, very slightly smiling. Relaxed. Content.

It seems arrogant of me to think I'm at least partially responsible for this change. Logical, but arrogant.

Alex is using my right arm for a pillow, and consequently it is numb from the shoulder down.

But I can't bring myself to move, to deliberately wake him. Accidentally is another matter, because I also can't resist the urge to place tiny soft kisses on his sleeping face. The tip of his nose is an inviting target. There's a spot just below his eyebrow that's just as enticing. I devote myself to finding the most kissable spots available to me.

Somewhere in the middle of my explorations, he wakes. Nuzzles me briefly, and then his lips find mine.

I have discovered an interesting phenomenon, previously unknown to the laws of physics: Kissing Alex makes time stop. Or at least slow down to a ridiculous degree. At any rate, I cannot estimate how long we spend kissing each other - it could be a few minutes, or an hour, or several weeks. Nor does it matter. Kissing Alex is not a means to an end, but an end in itself.

I'm distantly aware that I'm getting hard, conscious of his erection pressing against my thigh, but that doesn't deter me from kissing him. Only when he pushes me away do I become aware of how deeply aroused I am, as my body shudders from the unwilling separation. But Alex has something else in mind: he rolls over and rummages through the drawer of the bedside table, and the gesture is so familiar I'm not at all surprised when he comes up with supplies.

Alex presses me back against the mattress and straddles my thighs, eyes sparkling down at me as he tears open the foil packet with his teeth and rolls the latex onto me.

Old memories come flooding back, and I remember this position, and how he likes it best ... Alex finishes the preparations as I bend my knees and dig my heels into the bed. Braces himself against my legs and lowers himself onto me as I guide my hard-on to the right spot - unyielding muscle, relaxing against the head of my cock as I position myself, opening to accept me - and then Alex swallows hard and pushes down, impaling himself in one quick movement, crying out as he does, and the tight velvet heat of his body brings me instantly to the verge of coming.

For long moments, he stays stock-still, frozen - swaying just a little, breathing ragged and fierce as he adjusts to the sensation of penetration - which is good, because one tiny bit of friction and I'll go right over the edge in a second. His cock juts out toward me, dark and swollen and visibly throbbing, and I ache to wrap my hand around him, feel him tremble and moan, but I know that'll do it for him as quickly as one hard stroke would end it for me. Instead, I match his stillness, forcing myself to calm, trying to distance myself from the awareness that I'm buried deep inside the only lover who's ever made me scream from this very act ...

When the hair-trigger urgency has dulled down to simple desperation, Alex begins to move. Raises himself up just a little, before slamming back down onto me. Again: slow rise, maybe a centimeter, followed by a sharp downthrust. Again, and again, in a maddening rhythm - not fast enough, not long enough, not enough of anything except torment. A low growl takes up residence in his throat, rising and ebbing with each tiny motion, matching my own groans.

I can't help it: I try to thrust up into him, increase the friction and the pace, but Alex thwarts my efforts by moving with me, denying me the stimulation I need. He does begin to move a little faster, though, and a little harder, as his own body begins to make demands. Head thrown back, sweat glistening on his skin, he is a perfect picture of frantic desire - and this is the moment I pick to reach for his cock, graze my fingertips oh so gently along the underside and up over the head.

Alex's reaction to that is immediate and sharp, and a lovely jolt of friction as he bucks against me. When he finds the rhythm again, he's moving much faster, deeper, and not struggling against the movements of my hips as I drive up into him. Whining with every thrust, yelping as I grasp his cock more firmly and begin to stroke in earnest, and still keeping the rhythm just slow enough to hold us both back. Drawing it out, prolonging the time he can keep me inside him, keep the delicious pleasure going.

Yeah, I remember this - Alex riding me for ages, until his leg muscles were quivering from the strain and the rest of him was shaking with need, until my balls were so full I thought they'd burst. Sometimes on the floor in front of the TV, timing it - drawing it out through a half-hour sitcom, sometimes an hour-long drama, so that by the time the last of the credits rolled I was begging him for relief. Once, just once, he made it last through a full TV movie ... that was the time he made me scream, with a climax so powerful I ended up with bruises from convulsing against the hard floor. Not that I was the only one to sustain lasting damage; watching Alex try to sit down the next day was a whole new form of entertainment. Even through the years of pain and hurt and bitterness, when every memory of those days caused a stab of agony, the faintest strains of music from Back to the Future could still give me an instant hard-on.

This time won't last nearly that long. We're both too anxious, still feeling the effects of the years apart - still harboring a fierce need that can only be blunted, never quite sated. It'll take a while, I think, before I can touch him without becoming aroused. Before I can make love to him just once, or for an extended period of time. Before I have the willpower to resist that incredible intense urgency that seizes me every time I realize Alex, this is Alex as his cries echo in my ears ...

It's almost a cry of pain, as his back arches with the first spasm, as his muscles tighten around me, and I drive frantically up into him, harder harder harder until I hit that magic point where the world explodes.

When I regain awareness, his semen is drying sticky on my skin, and his fingers are clumsily divesting me of the condom. The next moment I feel his weight settle on me, spreading the stickiness between our bodies as he licks the remnants from my neck. "Mmmm," a lazy sound hummed into my ear, "mmmmMulder," and his lips seal themselves over my earlobe. Tongue and teeth graze the skin as he sucks briefly before moving back down my neck, nibbling and sucking a trail to my collarbone.

Abruptly he pauses, distracted. Pulls back, stares down at me almost challengingly. "You meant what you said before?" he says.

"What?" It takes me a minute to reach back into memory and figure out what he's talking about. "You mean about loving you?"

"I mean," Alex says, in a low voice, "when you said you wouldn't let go of me."

Involuntarily, my arms react to the words by tightening around him, pulling him down and crushing him close. "I meant it," I tell him firmly.

Alex nods, seeming to relax. "Good," he murmurs. "Losing you the one time was hard enough, I don't ever want to go through that again."

My hand smooths a path along his back. "You mean, when you knocked me out and left me in your apartment."

Utter stillness. "I mean," Alex says, very softly, "when I gave you my car keys and walked away."

It takes a moment for me to figure that one out. "But then why ..." and I force my mouth closed before I can find a way to shove my foot into it.

"Because I'm stupid," Alex says, a small rueful smile quirking at his lips. "Because I'm a fucking idiot." He shrugs readily. "That's what Caroline says, and she should know."

This would be the perfect opportunity to ask him what he and Caroline are to each other, if it weren't the absolute wrong time for the question. I keep quiet, let him talk.

"You meant as much to me then as you do now," Alex continues, in a voice barely above a whisper. "It was never just a job to me, even though it should have been. When I left ... I know that hurt you. But it hurt me too, Mulder, just as much. Maybe more."

It's something I'd wondered about, perhaps a hundred thousand times since then, and something I never could have asked. Knowing it now means the world to me - and yet I don't want to talk about it anymore. "Alex," I murmur, "it's over. It's the past. All the hurt, all the pain, all the ... the horrible things we did to each other, I just ... I just want to let it go. Let it be over, Alex. Let the past end," his lips are just slightly parted, I can't resist claiming them with a kiss, "let the future begin."

His expression - wistful, hungry, desperate to believe. "Do you think we can make that happen?" he asks me, his voice low and intense.

The same question I've been asking myself. "We will make that happen," I tell him firmly. "I'm not sure how we're going to handle some of the details, but Alex ... I love you," and I can't say anything more because suddenly his lips are claiming mine and his tongue is working its way down my throat.

I'm gasping for air by the time he lets me up. "I love you too," I hear him say, "and if you're convinced that we can make this work, I ... I'll believe it. I'll believe in you."

There isn't much he could have said to touch me as deeply as that.

Again, we kiss, and this time it's gentle and soft and tender.

Alex draws away, finally, with a regretful sigh. "Do you feel like helping me take a shower?" he asks me.

Do I feel like it? Try to stop me ... I smile up at him. "Sure."

On the top of the toilet tank is a box of trash bags, a bag of large rubber bands, a roll of wide tape. Earlier, I had wondered at this assortment of materials. Now, as I help Alex prepare for the shower, it all makes sense.

Bag over cast, to cover the plaster. Rubber band over bag, holding the plastic firmly in place. Tape wrapped around the line where bag meets skin, to make the whole thing as waterproof as possible.

In this plastic encasement, Alex's remaining hand is all but useless, and I watch him grow increasingly nervous as I progress through the procedure. I can't help but flash back on my own nightmares of being armless, helpless, and know that this must be terrible for him. It seems a cruelty to emphasize his disability, but I can't help sliding my arms around him and kissing him gently. "It's all right," I tell him, "it'll be over soon, and I'm here," and Alex gazes at me with a look of pure love as his tension dissolves.

With the obstacle of fear stripped away, the rest of it becomes pleasant for us both. I set the water temperature to a shade of warmth just past comfortable, help him carefully into the shower, and as the hot water cascades over us both I pull him into my arms. Alex melts into me, and we kiss.

Between kisses and lazy caresses, I reach for the soap. There is no soap. Only a bottle of Chamomile/Aloe Extract Rehydrating Body Shampoo/Moisturizer (pH Balanced). I look at it, then look at Alex, who is rapidly turning bright red.

"Caroline says I have dry skin," he mutters, and hides his face in my shoulder.

I try not to laugh. I try really, really hard. I succeed - just barely.

"Do you have a washcloth?" I ask him, once I'm reasonably certain that I've got myself under control.

Alex winces, and his eyes flicker involuntarily sideways toward an object hanging from a hook on the shower caddy. It's a perfectly useful device for a one-armed man: sponge on one side, scrubbing- thing on the other, with a convenient long handle. Perfectly useful. And bubble-gum pink.

"All right," Alex says crossly, after a moment, "don't strangle yourself on my account," and the laughter I've been choking back comes tumbling out.

"I'm sorry," I gasp, as soon as I've regained speech. "I'm sorry, Alex, I'm really sorry," averting my eyes from the bottle of glorified liquid soap and the ridiculous pink whatchamacallit in a strenuous attempt to regain my composure.

"It's not my fault," he says plaintively. "It was a catalogue order, and it was on sale, and they chose colors at random, and I guess they figured that since Caroline's name was on the order form, that pink was okay ..."

"I'm sorry," I repeat. "It's not funny at all, I don't know what came over me," managing to force my face to sober stillness.

Alex laughs a little himself, then. "You should be flattered," he points out. "Obviously, I haven't slept with anyone else recently enough to have to worry about embarrassing myself this way."

"Obviously," I agree. "Alex, I really am sorry ..."

"Don't worry about it," he murmurs into my ear, kissing me right where my ear meets the side of my face. "Just use your hands instead. I know you're good at that," voice dropping to a sultry purr.

So I squeeze out some of the Chamomile/Aloe stuff into my hand, lather it up into a rich foam, and begin smoothing it over Alex's skin. The smell is familiar, and after a moment I realize that it's part of the aroma I associate with him, blending with his own scent perfectly. The texture as well is silky smooth, and I suddenly become aware that the Body Shampoo I'd been so ready to scoff at is probably a major contributing factor in how good his skin feels against mine. Now I feel even worse for laughing at him, and I make a big show of sniffing the lather in my hands, testing it on my own skin. "This stuff isn't half bad," I say, with careful nonchalance.

Alex just looks at me knowingly, smiling a little at my effort.

I wash him all over, careful not to neglect any small crease of skin, and he stretches catlike at every touch, making a low sound like a purr deep inside his throat. Of course he can't reciprocate, but his responses are so expressive, they're as aphrodisiacal as his touch would be. When I finish and begin soaping myself, his gaze devours me, arousing me ... Alex presses close, and the feel of his slippery body rubbing up against me is incredibly intense. Being with him is making me feel like I'm sixteen again: one climax no sooner completed than the next bout of sexual tension takes hold, making me want more and more and more. It's all I can do to set aside my arousal and complete the task of bathing us both, knowing that his lack of mobility and the slickness of wet tile make playtime in the shower an unwise prospect at best.

When the time comes to think about shampoo, I very carefully avoid noticing the labels on the bottle that announce the presence of fifteen herbs and vitamins guaranteed to replenish and rejuvenate and repair split ends, leaving hair silky and manageable even after heat-styling. But shaving almost leads me into another faux pas - I nearly pick up the pink Daisy razor before noticing the manly-man Gillette in the shower caddy. I manage to shave his face without mishap, even though his green eyes riveted on mine is a hell of a distraction. Shaving myself is harder, even with the aid of the little mirror mounted on the tile. Distraction or no, I can't quite bring myself to tell him to stop kissing my shoulder.

As we rinse off the soap, I turn the water temperature colder, and the temperature makes it easier for me to think clearly. Especially when Alex melts against me again, seemingly unable to be near me without nuzzling, kissing ... well, I feel the same way, but I've been hard for so long now that it's starting to hurt. I've missed him so much for so long, how can I get enough of him now?

The bath towels are fluffy enough to dry us thoroughly, big enough to provide both concealment and warmth against the sudden chill of air once we emerge from the shower. As soon as I've toweled off the worst of the moisture, I tear the plastic bag off his arm, which I can tell relieves Alex greatly. We dry each other off, drawing out the task, stopping every so often to kiss or fondle each other, and by the time we're done all I can think about is going back to bed.

Caroline is in the bedroom, having just finished making the bed. "Next time, you change your own sheets," she says without looking up at the sound of our footsteps. "Breakfast?"

Alex looks at the clock. "More like dinner," he answers, reaching out to touch her arm as she bundles up the old bed-linens.

"True." She thinks for a moment. "Grilled cheese," she suggests.

"Bacon?" Alex says hopefully.

A quick, apologetic shake of her head. "Tomato," Caroline offers.

He shrugs. "All right," he says. Glances at me. "All right?"

"Sounds fine," I answer.

Alex smiles at me, then at her. "Thanks," he says softly.

Caroline smiles back. "Next time, you make your own dinner, too," she says in an affectionate tone. "Tray in bed, or kitchen table?"

Alex looks at me, and his expression sends desire coursing through me to my groin. "Tray," he says, "in bed," in that sultry purr.

Lost in his eyes, I barely hear Caroline's gentle laughter. "Ten minutes," she says. "Try not to lose yourselves in each other before then."

It's not easy to follow her advice. We slip into bed together, under the covers, between cool clean sheets, into each other's arms. At first it's enough to simply snuggle close, exchange soft kisses. Soon, though, our hands and lips are straying, seeking more ...

Then Caroline brings us our meal, scolding us away from each other in an amused tone as she sets up the oversized tray across our laps. Sandwiches cut in triangles and arranged in a neat stack on a plate, melted American cheese on toast with slices of grilled tomato and a dusting of garlic powder. Spears of pickle on the side. Dishes of cole slaw and German potato salad and red jello with canned fruit embedded in it like my mom used to make when I was a kid. Hot cocoa with marshmallows. All of it is delicious, and the old line about the way to a man's heart must be true, because with every bite I become fonder and fonder of Caroline.

Alex and I feed each other. The experience takes on a vague dreamlike cast. This can't be happening. I'm entirely too happy for this to be real. The feel of his fingers as they brush my lips, the taste of his mouth as I kiss him. The incredible surge of excitement as the last scrap of food disappears and the tray is set aside, knowing that nothing is keeping us apart. All of it is pure pleasure, transcending mere sexual desire, and steadily rising.

When he flows into my arms, warm and silky and delicious and perfect, I feel tears sting my eyes.

Dreamlike is exactly the right word for my state of mind. I've dreamed of this too many nights to count, often waking up and hating myself for wanting the man I had every right to despise. Part of me, I guess, still can't accept that the nightmare of unrelieved desire is over. That part keeps all of this at a hazy distance, refusing the reality of it. All the nights I slept with his jacket to remind myself that it wasn't just my fantasies anymore, and now after almost twenty-four hours of sleeping with him and making love to him, it still feels like a fantasy. On the other hand, a million years ago when we were partners at the Bureau and in bed at night afterwards, that felt almost as unreal. How could it not? He's just so beautiful. So gorgeous to look at, to touch, so unbelievable to imagine this man could be mine.

He pulls back between kisses, gazes at me as if I am beautiful, and my sense of astonished wonder deepens.

Then he's all over me again, sucking on my neck - marking me, I realize suddenly. Leaving his brand on me as surely as if with hot steel. No doubt the reddened flesh will show even above shirt collar and tie. But this is just a fleeting thought - no chance whatsoever that I'll tell him to stop and push him away. Push him away? An impossibility. An obscenity.

His skin seems to taste different from inch to inch, each part of him with a distinct flavor. I guess that means I'll have to taste all of him, from head to toe.

I realize how hard I am when a stray movement of bedsheet across my loins makes me shudder violently. It amazes me to realize how deeply aroused I am, and how little the feeling has to do with my cock and balls. I always thought it was just the nature of male sexuality, that desire should center in the groin and touch very little else. This is an entirely different feeling. This is all through me like a fever, burning cold, shivery hot, on my skin and in my bones and muscles, all of me crying out for him: Alex, Alex, Alex. And all of this in time with my heart, which with every beat is bursting with a love so fierce and so tender that my eyes ache with tears. But even though I'm consumed with longing, even though I'm so frantic with wanting him that I could crawl inside him and still not be close enough - even though I'm harder than I've ever been in my life - I can't move to take him, to fulfill that need and bring it to culmination.

I can only kiss him. Stroke and caress him, fondle and taste him, whimpering a little at how sweet this all is.

"Mulder," Alex gasps, sobbing my name. I nuzzle him, kiss him, taste salt on his face, tears mixed with sweat. He's shaking in my arms, which are shaking along with him, and I need ... I have to bury myself inside him, feel his bulk inside me, everything, oh god, anything ... yet all I do is pull him close, rub my hard-on against him just enough to keep myself from jumping out of my skin as I feel his hardness press into me, and nuzzle him and kiss him some more.

I think I must be imagining it when I hear a breathy whisper in my ear - then he says it again, a little more strongly. "I love you," and I feel the words sink into my heart and my soul and my balls. Somehow I force my incoherent self to say the words back to him, knowing he needs to hear them as much as I do.

It's becoming too much to bear. I have to come. But I can't bring myself to release him for the time it'll take to grab skins and lube, or even scramble around so we can suck each other. I'm not sure I can last long enough for that anyway, and I can't let go of him, I can't. He's moaning into my ear, little harsh cries as his hips push against me, and suddenly I know this is how it's going to happen. Kissing him deeply, hungrily, pulling him tightly against me and feeling the pressure and friction of our joined bodies taking me closer, closer. His cries are hypnotic, erotic: sobbing, anguished whimpers of need and lust, growing more intense with every thrust as we rock against each other in time. No fancy technique, no choreographed moves, just him, it's all him, and oh god yes I'm going to come from this, I'm going to, oh god, oh Alex, yes, yes, and the first jolting wave is so sharply intense it's a shock beyond any other. I'm moaning his name as the spasms rip through me, clinging to him as he hangs on to me with desperate ferocity, both of us shuddering in long waves and shooting semen as hot as the tears rolling down both of our faces.

Afterwards, there isn't much to be said - even if either of us were capable of speech, which isn't even remotely true. We snuggle close, trembling and crying and still kissing. Kisses say more than words could. Kisses, and the way his fingertips move over my face, so incredibly gentle despite the bulk of his cast, so reverent as they rest against the tracks of my tears.

My mind is mush, as soft and formless as my spent cock curled sleepily between my legs, and rendered just as useless by the intensity of our lovemaking, but there's one piece of knowledge so basic and elemental that I don't have to think about it to understand its truth. "I love you," I whisper hoarsely.

"I love you." Sleepily, as his eyes flutter closed, as he nestles into me. "Love you." Soft murmur resonating against my skin.

I'm so happy. I've never been so happy.

Sweaty, sticky, still crying slow sweet tears, I settle against him and fall asleep again.

I awaken to the feel of our dried secretions caked against my stomach and chest, less romantic now than itchy.

I awaken to sheets uncomfortably tangled around me, the electric blanket uncomfortably hot.

I awaken alone, and that is the most disquieting sensation of all.

My first impulse is to dash out into the main rooms of the apartment and search for him - but as soon as I fling back the covers the chill informs me that finding something to wear is a paramount concern, and as soon as I stand up I know that I have to visit the bathroom as quickly as possible. There's a blue terrycloth bathrobe waiting for me on the chair where I've left my clothes, and I enfold myself in it and make a beeline for the facilities. Relieving that urgency only increases my unease at my solitude, and I perform the most cursory sanitary routines possible before heading out toward the living room.

It's solidly dark outside, though what time of night is a mystery. The living room is deserted, silent, but from the kitchen beyond comes a thin sliver of light through the gap in the louver doors, and a very faint sound of voices. I go to the door, consider eavesdropping only briefly, finally pushing the door swiftly aside.

Caroline and Alex are sitting at a round table, a map of some kind spread out on the table between them. At my entrance, they both look up, and I'm struck by the resemblance - not a physical similarity of facial features, but a likeness of gestures, mannerisms, expressions, that surpasses the superficial sameness of their clothing.

He's showered, dressed in jeans and t-shirt and prosthesis, impeccably neat. Something's happening, something which excludes me - and suddenly I feel a pang of loss.

"What's going on?" I say, a bit too loudly, and more sharply than I'd intended.

Caroline looks at Alex, who is staring at me anxiously. "Mulder ..." He rises to his feet, approaches me uncertainly. "Mulder," he says again, placing his hand on my upper arms as if afraid to draw me close.

I stare back. The tension in his emerald eyes is electric, and deeply frightening. "Alex?" I wonder aloud.

His eyes slide away from mine, flickering downward. "I, um ... I have some work to be done," he murmurs. "Mulder, I, I ..." and his eyes rise to meet mine again, "I need for you to leave."

For long seconds I can't absorb the fear in his gaze or in his voice. All I can process is his rejection. "You want me to go," I hear myself say, unbelieving.

Alex says my name again, but I barely hear him. The enormity of his previous statement is still spreading through me. "Can I shower, or dress, or, or, should I just leave like this?" comes out of my mouth, in an incredulous tone.

"Mulder, please," Alex moans, and suddenly I hear his pain.

Pain. His eyes are huge dark pools of pain, his voice is lined with pain, his arm is trembling as if it's all he can do not to pull me to him and hold me there. It's hurting him to send me away. And he must send me away, I know it instinctively. It's the same as if I needed to work - which I will, tomorrow? later today? time has ceased to matter - but shortly I will have to walk into the Hoover Building with at least nominal outward composure, and that means separation. Is it really so different if he needs to initiate it?

But logic doesn't make it hurt any less. Not for either of us. Alex is trembling - afraid that I'll curse him, hate him, be unable to forgive him? Maybe even missing me already.

I reach out and pull him close. He collapses against me, shaking. "I love you," he whimpers into my ear, and I feel hot dampness against my skin, "Mulder, please," and his pain is a knife in my gut: I hold him even tighter.

"I love you," I murmur, "I love you," repeating it over and over so that he'll come to understand that I'm not angry, not really, just hurting as badly as he is at the thought of leaving - and gradually he begins to relax in my arms.

"It's just for a little while," he whispers, "isn't it?" and the hesitancy in the last two words makes me ache.

"Just for a little while," I confirm. Hoping beyond hope that it's true.

A little more of the tension eases away from him. "We can shower together," he offers, even though he's obviously freshly cleansed.

"No," comes out of my mouth involuntarily, "no, I ... " and bury my face in his neck as I realize why, in a hot flush of embarrassment. "I don't want to wash you off me," I whisper into his ear, feeling unaccountably ashamed of this latest perversion.

But Alex seems to like it. The last of the tautness leaves his body, and his arm tightens around me.

My leavetaking isn't immediate. Caroline makes me a cup of coffee, and I sit and drink it at a table from which the map and secret plans have been hastily cleared away, Alex sitting beside me with his hand on my thigh. When I go back to the bedroom to dress, he comes with me, kneels in front of me before I can sheathe myself in my jeans, takes me into his mouth and sucks me quickly and hungrily to a knee- weakening orgasm. Cradles my cock in his mouth as it softens, eyes closed, the look on his face raptly intent as if memorizing the taste, or forming a silent prayer.

I don't know how I can possibly leave him. Or how he can possibly let me leave.

But all too soon I'm striding down the path in the chill night air, feeling the pressure of our last embrace, our last kiss, lingering on my lips and chest and stomach and thighs. Aware of his eyes riveted on me, electric tingle of his gaze centering at the small of my back, as Caroline stands beside the driver's door and jingles her keys impatiently.

My neck twists until it aches, so that I can watch the retreating oval of his face in the darkness as Caroline drives me away.

"Don't come back to the apartment," she warns me, as we approach the construction site where I first met her - a few days and a lifetime ago. "If you're followed, you'll compromise his safety and your own."

"Yeah, yeah," I say irritably, annoyed and depressed and missing him already.

Caroline glances sideways at me. "He'll be in touch soon," she says, "I know he will. As soon as he can be."

The sympathy in her voice is even more irritating, somehow, which doesn't reduce my own desire to seize her hand and beg pathetically, 'do you really think so?' Perhaps that's why it's so irritating ...

"It's going to be all right," she says, very softly, and suddenly it's all I can do to not cry.

Perversely, that fact makes me snap at her: "How the hell do you know?" I demand.

Her answering smile is sad. "Because it has to be," she says.

Then we're at my car, and I'm getting out of Caroline's and slamming the door shut, watching her pull away in a squeal of tires and engine growl, and all at once the night is unbearably cold.

The moon is nowhere to be seen. The faint stars that usually manage to fight their way through city light are nowhere to be found. Midnight blue has been replaced by dull grey-black. There's a storm brewing.

I shiver. Pull Alex's jacket tighter around myself, seeking shelter in its warmth. Fumble my car door open and fall inside, seeing his pain-stricken eyes haunting my vision, feeling his dried semen itchy and comforting against my skin.

Soon ... just can't be soon enough, for me.

Fighting loneliness with memories of loving and love, I drive away.


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A dark and stormy night
A gray and misty morning
A shadow in sunshine
The calm before the storm
Imp: Author's Notes

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The X-Files, Fox Mulder, Alex Krycek, 2000 by 20th Century Fox, 1013 Productions, Chris Carter. Website design, graphics & content 2000 by Imp & Mik/chelle. All rights reserved.