torch 1997

Disclaimer: (insert disclaimer here) Well, I'm having trouble with Ghosts, because Mulder insists on being more interested in the case than in the Ratlad. So here's a little 'missing scene' PWP type thing, because I've always wondered how Krycek felt when Skinner told him to make sure that Mulder got home safely and just why he sounded so sweetly concerned when he asked Mulder how he'd slept, the next day. (Place the scene — you have ten seconds.) Besides, I wanna know what it's like to write a story set in the Golden Age of Two Arms. Do not archive this story without permission.

Safe and sound: an X-Files lullaby

"You don't have to take it so literally, Krycek."

"Yes, I do," he countered, pushing the door open and watching the way Mulder just about stumbled through it. For once the man was graceless, long limbs refusing to be synchronized into anything like his usual movements. "If you fall and break your neck on the way home, Skinner will blame it on me."

Mulder just gave him a dull look and he decided not to make any more jokes. A bit tasteless under the circumstances, too. By lengthening his steps he got to the car before Mulder did and got in the driver's seat; Mulder was muttering soft curses as he walked around the car but Alex figured that was good for him, he needed to let it out somehow.

Then Mulder was sitting there, fumbling with the seat belt, giving it up, leaning back and shutting his eyes. "Home, Jeeves."

I'll be damned, Alex thought to himself, and drove. Mulder didn't say a word more and Alex was just as grateful; he hoped his partner had fallen asleep. He drove slowly and excruciatingly legally, and didn't look at Mulder the whole way. Almost didn't look at him. Now and then he'd steal short glances, just to make sure that Mulder's eyes were still closed.

Perhaps it was exhaustion more than trust. He could have driven all over town, at this lazy pace, with Mulder sleeping at his side. If he was sleeping. Alex sighed; he knew the fastest way to the place Mulder called home and he took it.

"We're here," he said, and Mulder opened his eyes so quickly and easily, he must have been awake the whole time.

"I'll see you tomorrow," he said ungraciously and started to fumble with the door. Alex didn't bother saying anything, he just got out on his side, walked around, and held the car door open. Mulder stepped out and was already walking in when Alex had locked the doors and came to follow him. "You've seen me home now. Even Skinner would agree."

"Oh, yes," Alex said and held another door open for Mulder to wander through in that blind daze of his, wondering if the man would just try to walk straight through them if he were on his own. "I just like to do a thorough job."

And he did, getting Mulder undamaged all the way to his apartment, taking the keys from unresisting fingers and unlocking the door, and walking in behind Mulder as if he'd planned to all along. Part of his mind was reeling in surprise as the door shut behind him. What the hell was he doing here? Mulder turned around and scowled at him, equal parts annoyance and bone-deep tired grief, and something fell apart inside him, that fast, leaving him breathless.

"I don't want company."

"You should get some sleep," he said around the strange melting sensation of discovery that was taking him over, mind, body and soul. A wave rose inside him, crested, broke, and he clenched his jaws to make the words that went with it stay on the inside and crash harmlessly against his teeth.

"Later." Mulder moved like a zombie, walking deeper into the apartment, coming to a halt in the middle of the living room. Tension shot out of him, sparked around him, a force field that repelled and attracted at the same time.

Alex went after him and put a hand on his shoulder. It was like getting an electric shock. Muscles jerked under his touch. "Now," he said, and Mulder turned around angrily. "There's nothing you can do right now and you know it. If you get some rest, we can look into this tomorrow."

He saw it coming, but didn't move aside when Mulder grabbed his collar and shook him. Instead he raised his other hand as well, and held on to both shoulders, bringing them closer still. Mulder wasn't really going to strangle him, didn't even try; his grip loosened in seconds. Apology. Pain. "I'm sorry." Just the rough sound of his voice...

"It's all right." No other phrase could be so soothing in its inanity. He shifted his grip into comfort. "Mulder, it's all right." He found himself rubbing at the back of Mulder's neck, fingertips against skin trying to soothe the hurt deep at the core of the man, and this was comfort, wasn't it, shot through with guilt the way stars speckled the night sky. Comfort. Right. And he the one to offer it, too.

"I don't want company," Mulder repeated and his head fell forward, his forehead resting against Alex's shoulder. It was so easy to hold him, it seemed so necessary, Alex didn't know when he started to pull him closer and closer, hands moving across shoulders and back. That voice again, ragged and on the edge, "What the hell are you doing," not really asking.

"Nothing," he said softly, "nothing, it's all right, really." He curved his hand against the back of Mulder's head and stroked the short hair, shivering a little as it grazed his palm. "You're tired, you should sleep, come on." But he tightened his arms around Mulder instead, holding him so close.

"I don't need to sleep." Mulder straightened up slowly, lifting his head, and looked at Alex. A dark look, hard to interpret. Alex started to move his hand away from Mulder's neck, his fingertips already missing that warm skin. He thought about excusing this inappropriate behavior somehow, making light of it, making a goddamn male bonding thing out of it maybe, but then he thought, what the hell.

And Mulder placed both hands firmly in the small of Alex's back and pulled him close again. Alex looked into Mulder's eyes, where the darkness was hopelessly hidden by a brittle nervous energy, and nodded silently, accepting an agreement Mulder might not be aware of making. "It's all right," he said again, very very quietly.

It was surprisingly easy to lead Mulder into the bedroom, to pull off his coat and sit him down on the edge of the bed, take his shoes off. Alex kicked his own shoes off as well and sat down too, then pulled Mulder down with him, pulled him close again, held him. Mulder bunched his muscles, fought in silence, then started to relax. Alex ran his fingers through Mulder's hair again, played with it, rubbed the soft skin behind the ear. It occurred to him that lying here like this, fully clothed and holding an also fully clothed Fox Mulder in his arms, was the most sensual experience he'd had for as long as he could remember. The tiny trickle of laughter in his mind at that thought wasn't one that Mulder should hear, so he suppressed it.

Instead he went on touching, slowly and carefully, neck, shoulders, back. Slowly and carefully and safely. All he wanted was to soothe his partner. All he wanted was to touch him a little. There was no one here to see, no one would ever know; Mulder himself barely knew. Mulder shifted, but slowly, too, no pulling away, just a little movement to get more comfortable. Alex smiled. He found himself wishing Mulder would fall asleep. He wanted to see that.

Then Mulder shifted again, turning a little under Alex's stroking hand. Like a cat, Alex thought, still amused. Another movement, and he finally recognized the languid encouragement for what it was, and all thoughts froze in his mind. His hand, though, had no such problems and caressed the back of Mulder's neck again, then let fingertips wander across his throat, and those tiny movements were definitely getting quite suggestive.

Alex moved himself, then, carefully turning a little more towards his partner. He stroked down Mulder's chest, threw caution to the winds and ran his fingertips in circles until he found a puckering nipple and rubbed it through the cloth. Mulder sucked his breath in, squirmed, and the evidence of his arousal was pressing against Alex's thigh now in a very unmistakable way.

Stealing a quick glance at Mulder's face, Alex saw that the man had his eyes closed; he relaxed a little. When he teased the nipple he'd found again, he was encouraged by a soft moan. He slid his hand down chest and belly, and closed it around Mulder'e erection; Mulder pushed against him, unselfconsciously, hips bucking. This had turned so strange, so fast, Alex thought. He looked at Mulder's face and wondered what would happen if he finally gave in and kissed that tempting mouth. Perhaps he didn't really want to know.

He undid the belt buckle, argued with button and zipper and then with the stupid underwear, before he finally reached hard, hot flesh and Mulder made a sound again, a yes sound, a please sound. Alex knew about those. And he liked touching Mulder's cock; the strange feeling of power made him careful and gentle. He touched Mulder the way he himself liked to be touched, and wondered if he looked like that, too, eyes closed and mouth open, when he was aroused.

But something twisted deep inside and he found himself incapable of drawing it out and playing with Mulder for as long as he would have liked to. Instead he speeded up, relishing every sigh and whimper, feeling the gathering tension as though it was his own. It was like touching himself. Alex sucked in a long shuddering breath, as Mulder tossed his head back and forth, the heat coming off him in waves, heat and the smell of sex. He hadn't tried to touch Alex, he was offering his body in a silent challenge, his wonderfully responsive body, not just allowing but encouraging what was happening.

Slut, Alex thought fondly, and moved his hand faster, felt his own heart beat faster, as Mulder arched his back and came. What a sweet cry. He drew out a few final shudders before lifting his hand to his mouth and licking at his fingers. Mulder lay still and silent now, eyes still closed, but he was no longer sending out those about-to-explode signals.

Alex watched him for a while, taking in the details yet again of a face that was growing almost too familiar. Then as Mulder's breathing deepened, Alex managed to loosen the covers and pull them partly over him before slipping off the bed.

He got his shoes back on and crept out of the bedroom, scanning the apartment for anything he might have left behind or dropped before he left. It didn't feel right to leave the door unlocked, but then, he reflected, Mulder really was safe right now. Quite, quite safe.

Outside the building he stood for a moment and tried to get his bearings. His clothes were wrinkled, he had a raging hard-on and his right hand was sticky. He'd gotten Mulder home. Whether he'd done so safely or not was a matter for debate, he supposed.

Alex sighed, and went to make a phone call.

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