Hardened Criminal IV
Correspondence

Nicole S. & Orithain

July 1999

DISCLAIMER: Mulder and Krycek belong to CC, 1013 and Fox, and we'll return them a little tired but a lot happier when we're done.

Alex sat back down on his bunk after mail call, surprised to have gotten a letter. His parents faithfully sent him one every week, but he'd already gotten that one this week. Besides, he didn't recognize the writing.

He tore the envelope open, curious to see who would be writing to him. As soon as he saw the opening, his breath grew short, and he glanced around to make sure Frohike was nowhere nearby. He wanted privacy to read this.

June 27

Baby,

I miss you so much. It seems like forever since I saw you, since I touched and tasted you. I don't know how I'm going to survive until you get out and I can hold you again. Letters aren't enough, but they're going to have to keep us going until we can see each other again. You can write me at the PO box in the return address.

I fall asleep at night remembering how you feel and taste, and I wake up wanting you. God, Alex, how did you worm your way into my heart? I feel like something's missing every minute I'm not with you. I love you so much, and I can't imagine my life without you in it now.

I told my sister about you last weekend, everything, even the stuff about what I did to you at first. I hope you don't mind, baby, but I had to. She and I have always been open with each other, and I wanted her to understand. You'll be happy to know that once I explained to her, she took your side. She basically tore strips off me for what I did, and she thinks you're pretty amazing to put up with me at all, never mind getting past all that. I won't lie to you; she's not real happy about what you did to end up in prison, but when I said I loved you, she said that you had to be pretty special. We'll work it all out, baby. We have to. She's all the family I have, and I need you too.

Did I mention that I've been dreaming about you? I have to change my sheets every morning. God, I wish you were here with me. I want to fall asleep in your arms and wake up with you still holding me. I want to see your beautiful face on my pillow and be able to kiss you awake. That's all I want for the rest of my life. I want to be able to love you, to walk down a street holding your hand, to complain about basketball scores and plan vacations, all the things that other couples do. Couples. God, that sounds so weird. I expected to spend my life alone. I never expected to find you. And I sure as hell never expected to find love the way we met. I swear I'll spend the rest of my life making that up to you.

I gotta go now, baby; it's time for work. Think of me and write soon. I need to know that you haven't changed your mind.

I love you.

Alex clutched the letter tightly, reading and rereading it. Mulder had said he cared, but this was more than he ever expected. For him to say he wanted to make it up to him about the rapes, he must really mean it when he said he loved him. And he told his sister? Alex had to blink back tears of joy.

Fox Mulder loves me. He liked the sound of it.

He carefully folded up the letter and slid it back into the envelope before putting it away with his few personal possessions. He got out some paper and a pen and sat down to write his reply.

July 1

Lover:

Your letter came as quite a surprise to me today. I never expected to speak to you again. I thought that once you had been transferred, that would be the end of it, you would forget about me and move on. I'm glad you didn't forget about me, baby, I can't forget about you. You're constantly in my thoughts, in my dreams, sticky sheets are a constant problem as well.

I'm shocked that you decided to tell your sister about us. That must have been a hard thing to do. I'm anxious to meet her when...this is hard...when I get out of here.

Did you mean it when you said you loved me? Did you mean it when you said we are going to be together forever? Because if you're not I need to be in here for the rest of my life. I couldn't leave here and know that I couldn't be with you.

I saw you the other day, just for a second. You were delivering an envelope to another guard on my cell-block then left right away. I was coming back from my shift in the kitchen. You didn't see me, but that brief time that I saw you made me want you more than I wanted anything in my life. I don't know how long I can stand to be apart from you, from kissing your sweet lips and caressing your body.

I went into our place yesterday and just sat there. I don't know how long it was, but Tagarelli started yelling at me to get back to work, so it must have been a long time. I could see you there, lying on your back while I rode you, your neck arched back in ecstasy. God, this is hard, I want you right now.

I should go, my cell-mate is due back any minute from his shift in the factory. I want to post this today so you get this as soon as possible.

I love you.

Alex looked down at the piece of paper that he had just written on. Tears were still fresh in his eyes as he reread the document. He chewed on the top of the pen, wishing he were chewing on Mulder's lower lip. He frowned, he couldn't send this; it had information in there that would certainly fuck up Mulder's career if the hacks got hold of it. No, he would have to take the paragraph that said he saw him out of there.

Alex sighed as he tore up the first letter into tiny pieces and flushed it down the toilet. No one said this was going to be easy, and keeping their names and specific details of their life out of their correspondence was not going to make it any easier.

July 6

Babe,

God, I hated this fucking holiday for making me wait to get your letter. I was so afraid that you wouldn't write back.

I can't believe you thought I wouldn't still want you now. I thought we settled that the last time we saw each other. I love you, Alex, nothing's ever going to change that. I know it's hard after the things I've done to you, but please trust me.

My sister came up to visit me for the 4th, and I had a hell of a time talking her out of going to visit you. She wants to meet you so badly, but I told her that you wouldn't want to meet her for the first time in prison. God, I wish you could have been here with us. Most of my life holidays have just been me and her, but this time it felt like something was missing. And it was, you were.

I wake up every morning reaching for you. Which is strange when you think that we've never spent an entire night together, but I know you should be there beside me. I don't even have anything that smells like you, and I keep trying to find you. I sometimes can't believe how much I love you. And I really can't believe you love me.

I was wondering, what are you going to tell your parents about us when you get out? Or are you going to tell them? I'll understand if you don't want to. I know you never expected to get involved with another man. But yes, to answer your question, I love you and I intend to spend the rest of my life with you. How could I not? I feel incredibly lucky to have found you.

You're so beautiful, baby, I could just look at you for hours. Well, okay, maybe I couldn't just look without touching (picture me grinning here). You taste so damn good too. I could get drunk on you. Whoa, that did it. I have to take care of things before I get ready for work. Think about me, hot and hard and ready for you.

Yours.

Alex sat at his tiny desk and reread the last paragraph again. God, how could he get so hard just from reading a letter? It's so easy when I think of him. Alex sat back on the little stool and closed his eyes. He didn't have time to take care of himself right now; Frohike would be back soon. Lights out wasn't that far off; he'd have to wait until then. Thank god Frohike slept like the dead and didn't hear him at night as he jerked off.

Alex got off the stool, put the letter in his pocket and went to lie on his bunk. He tried to quell the raging hard on in his chinos, but it was not an easy task. He couldn't be standing in front of his cell, ready for count, in this condition; he really did need to calm down. He closed his eyes, but all he could see was Fox, looking down at him as he made love to him. Beads of sweat were on his lower lip, and his eyes were half closed as he thrust into him. Alex swore he could hear and smell him...if he moved his head up, he could just lick the sweat off of his neck...

Alex opened his eyes; this was not helping at all. He dug the letter out of his pocket. He was happy that Fox was so close to his sister. A twinge of jealousy ran through Alex; he was an only child, and a lonely one at that. What he wouldn't have given for a brother or a sister when he was growing up.

He read the letter over and over, the throbbing starting to subside in his pants. The one thing that bothered him was the paragraph about his parents. Alex was such a great hope for his parents, the best schools, the most expensive clothes, as many toys as he wanted. When he had gotten arrested, his father had hired the best lawyers to defend him. His parents were still in denial that he was in prison. He suspected they thought he was away at some Country Club for a few years. His mother especially didn't want to admit her son was in prison. Every letter she asked him how the weather was and if he needed any spending money.

His father wasn't blocking Alex's situation as much as his mother was. He had told him that when he got out, he could come work for him, or work for one of his friends. Don't worry, Alex. I'll take care of everything. That's what his father was good at, taking care of things. That was a constant problem for Alex; he had tried to remain independent under his father, but it wasn't easy.

Now Alex had another problem on his hands. How the hell was he going to tell his parents that he was in a homosexual relationship after what he had done to get in here? Alex sighed; they'd probably just give him a pile of money and hope it would all go away. That was another thing they were good at, throwing money at a problem until it was no longer a problem.

When Alex was in high school, he had started a few fights, which had led to his expulsion from a Swiss Boarding School. His parents, the sensitive type that they were, had decided to send him to an even more expensive, exclusive school. That had not been any better; he had instigated a few more fights there. Finally, after three attempts, they had sent him off to Military School. That had just made him more angry. When it had come time to go into college, he had been like a taut rope, threatening to break at any second.

What Alex didn't realize at the time was that he needed some affection. He needed some love. Only Fox had made him see what he had been missing in his life, the one thing that calmed him down. Didn't they realize that they couldn't just spend money and give me things to make me happy? Didn't they realize that having a kid meant spending time with him, not just ensuring the family lineage would live on?

Alex snorted. Well, that's not going to happen now, is it?

How was he going to tell his parents? They wouldn't understand. His father was always calling in favors with his business friends for Alex; he was always trying to do things for Alex, always trying to control Alex.

Not anymore.

Alex hopped down from his bunk and got out his pad of paper and pen, then sat down at his desk and began writing.

July 10

Dear Mother and Father:

Thank you for your last letter. The pictures of your Alaskan Cruise were very nice. I'm glad you both had a wonderful time.

I have been thinking about my future, and I have decided that when I get out in couple of years, I'm going to move to Boston. I have the condo there, and I'm sure I can find a job in a warehouse or at the docks. I'm also going to be moving in with someone as I am in love.

Alex ripped the sheet of paper off of the pad, wadded it up and threw it in the waste bag taped to the desk. No, he couldn't tell them, not now. His mother would probably hop on a plane in a hysterical fit, come here and confront him in the visitor's room. That was something he didn't need. No, he would have to wait and tell them in person.

September 12

Hey, Lover,

I dreamt of you last night. You came to see me and we made love on the floor. I could feel you sucking on my cock and playing with my balls. You moved your hand down and started rubbing your finger across my hole, teasing me, making me moan out loud. You then pushed your finger inside, rough and probing for that pleasure spot. When you found it, you stroked it until I came in your mouth, shouting your name.

God, baby, I'm so hard for you right now just from writing this, I can barely sit in my chair. I'm finding it hard to wait until lights out to take care of myself. I sometimes go to a private place, lock the door and fantasize about you and your sexy mouth, your perfect ass, your large cock as I jerk myself off. If I concentrate real hard, I can see your face before mine as you come.

I want to see you, to touch you, to smell you. I miss you so much I can't stand it. Time goes so slow in here, a day seems like a week. I've stopped keeping count of the days until my parole hearing, it's just too painful to see all those many months ahead of us.

Thank you for the leaf from the tree in your front yard. It's nice to get some sort of sense that the seasons are changing outside, as nothing tells you they're changing inside here. I can't wait to see your house, to make love to you in your bed.

I should go, I want to get this in the post as quick as possible so you can press this to your chest as you take care of yourself and think of me.

Love you.

It was Thanksgiving and Mulder had gone down to spend the holiday with Sam in Boston. He met her partner, Dana Scully, who seemed nice enough if a little intense and overly analytical for his taste, and Sam's boyfriend, Jason Prestwick. The day had been pleasant, but Mulder found it hard to get into a celebratory mood. Fortunately, Sam had noticed and diverted the others' attention from him. She had a good idea of what was bothering him, and she hoped he wasn't setting himself up to get hurt. She still found it difficult to believe that he'd fallen in love with the man who'd gone to jail for causing Jamie's death. She had even more difficulty believing that her big brother had raped the man and that Krycek had forgiven him and fallen in love with him too, but she couldn't see any reason for him to lie about it.

As soon as Dana left, Mulder sat down to write to Alex, needing to feel some connection with him today.

November 25

Babe,

I think I'm going to have to stop spending holidays with my sister until you can be here with me. Much as I miss her and look forward to seeing her, every time we spend a holiday together, I'm just reminded that you're not here, that my family isn't complete.

It was a good day though. I met her boyfriend, the one she's serious about, Jason. He's from old money here in Boston, but we talked a while today and he seems okay. I think he'll make her happy. I watched them together, and they both looked the way I feel when I'm with you. They're good together.

Had to take a quick break, babe, she and Jason just left to go spend the evening at his place. I think she was trying to give me some time alone to write to you. I think you two are going to get along great when you finally meet. I'm just wondering if Western civilization will survive it. I think having you around will let me get back to having fun with her and being her brother instead of almost being her father.

I never told you about that, did I? Our parents died when I was eighteen and she was thirteen. Somehow, don't ask me how, I managed to convince social services that I could take care of her, and I became her legal guardian. I'd just finished high school a couple months earlier, and instead of going to college in the fall, I already had a full time job. I kept the little bit of money left after Mom and Dad died for her to go to college, and I managed to save some more the next few years till she graduated. Did I tell you my sister's a genius? She got into medical school, and I worked a lot of overtime, but we did it. She's a doctor, and a damn good one.

Fuck, I sound like a proud dad or something, don't I? What the hell do you see in a boring old guy like me?

Anyhow, since she was kind enough to give me some time alone, I shouldn't waste it. I'm already hard just thinking about you. God, I think I spend most of my time hard lately. I need you so much, I miss you. I'm thinking about kissing you now, baby, about tasting you, sucking on your tongue and hearing that sexy little moan you make. I can feel you against me, your nipples hard and your cock even harder where it's pressed against mine.

Touch yourself, baby, make yourself come like I'm doing. It makes me feel a little closer to you to come while I'm writing to you.

Can you feel my fingers sliding down between your ass cheeks, teasing you by lightly stroking over your opening? You're so hot and tight, you feel so good on my finger. I can hardly wait to get my cock inside you, to feel you gripping me. But first I have to get you ready, my fingers inside you, stretching you, rubbing over your prostate to make you crazy. You're so sexy, so beautiful when you squirm like that and I know that you want me.

I'd keep twisting my fingers inside you while I sucked on your nipples. My other hand would be on your balls, rolling them together, petting you until you scream for me. I want to hear you so bad, baby. I want you to hear me.

Thinking about you like this makes me horny as hell. I'm jerking myself off thinking about you right now, babe.

God, I come harder just thinking about you than I ever did in bed with anyone else. When you get out, I'm dragging you home and to bed and not letting you up for a week. Maybe a month. I'm counting the days, lover.

I love you.

Mulder sat back, panting for a few minutes before he forced himself to get cleaned up in case Sam got back early. He glanced at the letter again, then grinned wickedly and smeared the come-covered tissue over the back of it before folding it up and sealing it into an envelope. He knew Alex would smell it and know what he'd done.

Alex was in his cell, resting after his shift when the mail came. He had been working the early morning shift for the past two weeks during the breakfast rush. He was tired; he wasn't really a morning person. He preferred working the evening shift, but everyone was rotated every couple of months, and he had to take what he could get.

Alex watched as the mail delivery person dropped a few envelopes on Frohike's bunk. "There's a letter for you, Krycek," he said as he pushed his cart down the tier to the other cells. Alex leaned his head over his bunk so he could see what was there. His heart skipped a beat as he recognized the writing on the envelope resting on the top of the pile. He jumped down off his bunk, snatched up the letter, then hopped back up. He tore the envelope open and started to read the letter. His fingers stroked the back of the piece of paper; it felt strange.

He kept reading, his cock hardened and his pulse quickened at the descriptions written on the page. By the time he got to the end of his letter, his hand was down stroking his now aching cock. He moved over to his side so anyone walking by would just see his back and read the letter again, his fly open, his hand quickly moving over his erection. He brought the hand holding the letter up to his face to wipe the sweat that had formed on his brow... Wait a minute. He smelled his hand.... It couldn't be... He then brought the letter up to his face and sniffed it. That's why it felt so funny. Alex turned the piece of paper over and licked it, tasting his lover for the first time in months.

This turned him on even more, knowing that his lover had come on the letter. He moved his hand faster, the letter pressed to his face, his tongue making it soggy. It didn't take Alex long to come into his hand with a quiet grunt. He lay there for a minute, wishing he could have someone to kiss, wishing he could have Fox holding him right now. He brought his hand up to his face and licked his hand clean, his eyes closed, pretending it was Fox's come that he was licking. When he was done, he did up his pants and lay back and dozed for awhile.

About an hour later, Alex was awoken by the familiar scuffling sound of his cell mate. Alex yawned then turned over onto his side and stared at the strange man who was pulling a wire out of the wall.

"What are you doing?"

Frohike flinched at the question but continued pulling on the wire. "I've done it, Krycek."

"What?"

"I've got enough wire to connect with the phone line."

"Uh-huh?"

"I'm going to be connected to the net sooner than you think."

"Why don't you just use the computers in the library?"

Frohike shook his head but didn't look up "They're all monitored. This way, I can cover my tracks as I hack in and give myself early release."

"Yeah, whatever."

This time Frohike did look up. "Don't doubt me, Krycek. I can do it." He finished pulling on the wire, showing a larger wire connected to the other end. He then secured it with a piece of gum to the wall and replaced the piece of brick that he had so very carefully chipped out of the wall. He stood and smiled at his handiwork. "There." He turned and beamed at Krycek.

"I got to hand it to you, Frohike, you are one focused guy."

"Just wait until I get my palmtop, then I'll show you some magic." He then turned and began gathering his laundry.

Alex rolled over onto his back and laughed quietly. If nothing else, this Frohike character was very amusing.

"Going to do laundry," Alex heard as his cell mate left and went down the hall.

Alex got off his bunk, dug out his pad of paper and went over to the small desk to write Fox back.

November 30

Lover,

Your letter made me feel so good, baby. I can't believe you came on it for me. I could smell you and I could taste you as I thought of your hard cock in my mouth. I did as you asked and made myself come then licked my hand clean, imagining it was you.

I can't wait to see you in person, to taste you, to make love to you. You're all I think about; you're all I dream about. I can see your face when I sleep, over me, your eyes half closed as you fuck me slow and deep. I swear I've come more just from dreaming about you than when I was with you.

I'd better stop or I'm going to be coming again, and it's not a good time right now.

Being inside, I don't miss the holidays that much, as we don't see all the happy people around us. The only indication that we had to tell us that it was Thanksgiving was turkey for dinner. There were a lot of guys who had visits that day, but other than that, nothing. I wish we could arrange for a conjugal, but somehow, I don't think it would be approved.

The more I learn about you, the more I love you. You are something special, baby, giving up college for your baby sister. I can't say I've done anything that unselfish. I can't wait to meet her, she sounds like a great person. You should be proud of her; if she were my sister, I would be. I would have done anything for a brother or a sister. I come from one of those "old money" families like Jason. To my parents, love meant private schools and expensive clothing. I wish I had someone like your sister, someone to talk to when I was a kid. Someone to play with.

My parents want to come up for a visit at Christmas. I told them I didn't think that was a very good idea. This isn't the sort of place that my mother would be comfortable in. I can't see her waiting with the gangster's wives and girlfriends for hours to talk on a phone through a thick piece of glass for five minutes. My father may come up by himself.

I tried to tell them about us, but I couldn't do it in a letter. I am going to have to wait until I am out and see them in person. I hope you understand. My parents are used to having things a certain way...you'll see when you meet them. I'm sorry, lover, I want to share my love with the world and I can't right now. There's only another year until my parole hearing and hopefully then we can start our new life together. We can then tell everyone that we're together and in love.

It's dinner time, lover, and I have to go. I miss you. I love you.

A

Mulder carefully folded Alex's latest letter after reading it and put it away with all the others. He felt like an idiot, or at least some teenager in the throes of his first crush, keeping them, but they were all he had of Alex. He couldn't throw them away. He sat back down to write his reply.

December 20

Merry Christmas, Alex!

I think I miss you even more than usual now. I decorated the tree today, and I wished so much you could be here with me, drinking eggnog, singing silly Christmas carols, arguing over where to put the balls -- get your mind out of the gutter! -- whether the angel's on straight. All the little stuff that you do with the people you love. Decorating the tree alone's not the same. I know, I could have, should have, waited for S-my sister, but this is our tree, even if you won't ever see it. Maybe next year. Please God!

Anyhow, I decorated it, and I imagined you under it, tied up with shiny red ribbon and wearing a big red velvet bow. Never knew winter could be so hot! I may never take that tree down. Come to think of it though, I should wrap you in green ribbon to match your eyes. Mmmm, I'll bet you look great at St. Paddy's Day. Oh hell, I got sidetracked again, didn't I? See what you do to me?

What I was trying to tell you was that I figured out what to get you for Christmas, baby. Something really special. I think, I hope you'll like it. You'll have to let me know.

Do you like winter sports? I hope so. I love to go skiing. I like to skate too, but my sister insists I look like some kind of clumsy stork or something. I'm counting on you to protect me from her when you get here. I want to go away somewhere with you, somewhere wintry where we can ski all day, maybe snowshoe, have a snowball fight, make out in the snow, go inside our cabin, strip off all our wet clothes and make love in front of a roaring fire. Corny, huh? A friend and I used to go skiing together. We had a lot of fun, but we were just friends, you know? I don't think I've ever really had a lover before, just friends I sometimes had sex with.

Shit, here I go again. You must be getting sick of me. I'd like just once to get through a letter without sounding all sappy and needy. I know I could just rip this up and start over, but that feels like a cheat. If you were here for me to say this to, I wouldn't be able to erase things I'd already said, so I won't do it just because I'm talking to you on paper instead.

Oh, time for work again. Gotta go, baby. I'm really looking forward to hearing how you like your Christmas present.

I love you.

Fox grinned as he dropped the letter in the mail on his way to work. Alex should get it on the 23rd or 24th, time enough to drive him nuts wondering what his Christmas present was. God, am I ever looking forward to hearing how he likes it.

Alex was in his cell, lying on his bunk, hands tucked behind his head. It was late, and he had just gotten off his shift in the kitchen. He hadn't been due to rotate back to evenings for another month, but some guy got released, and Tagarelli wanted Alex back. He didn't mind; he liked evenings. When Alex got back to his bunk after his shifts, it was quiet; Frohike was usually sleeping, snoring lightly to himself...it was almost peaceful.

He climbed onto his bunk and noticed an envelope waiting for him. He knew exactly who it was from, and his heart started pounding as he ripped it open. There was just enough light in his cell from the tier that he could read and write late at night.

He got comfortable and started reading the letter. Present? Alex smirked. I wonder what he got me. His smile quickly turned to a frown. What the hell am I going to get him, plastic spoons? He shrugged; surely Fox didn't expect an actual present from him. He'd make it up to him when he got out of here. He'd buy him whatever he wanted.

Alex hopped off his bunk to retrieve his pad of paper, then climbed back up.

Lover,

I got your letter today. I wish I could have been there to help you decorate your tree; it sounds beautiful. Next year it will be our tree. I'd do anything to be naked with you in front of a roaring fire. God, I'm hard just thinking about it. I tell you, it's incentive to either act real good for early parole, or break out of here somehow.

As for winter sports, I ski. But roaring down a hill on an inner tube is fun as well. Mmmmm, that sounds so good, stripping off your wet clothes, licking the moisture from your body. You're getting me hard again. I'm not going to forget about the ribbon, either. The only thing is that I'm going to surprise you with where I tie it!

I miss you, lover. I need to see you, to see your face. When I dream of you, your face is losing its features. God, it's been so long. If I could just see you for a few seconds, to make love to you again...I'd like to say I'd suffer the rest of my sentence in silence if it could happen, but that wouldn't be true.

I can't give you anything for Christmas except my love. I can also give you a promise that when I get out of here, I'm going to make love to you in front of a roaring fire then in a big, soft bed for hours and hours. I'm not even going to let you get up to eat; I'm going to have people bring in food and feed you myself. I won't let you out of my sight for days.

God, I'm so turned on just by thinking about it, I'd better go before I come all over this letter and have to start again. Then again, you'd like that, wouldn't you?

I love you. I miss you. Have a great Christmas.

A.

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, everyone was stirring, especially us poor kitchen slobs. Alex snorted to himself as he started another shift. Since food services were considered essential, he was working, but he'd get another day off later. He could have had today off, but since a lot of the guys had family coming to visit and he was alone, he'd said he'd work. Thank god I talked Mom and Dad out of coming to visit. What a lovely visit that would have been.

He turned around to hand a pile of trays to one of the other workers, and he dropped them out of suddenly nerveless fingers. Standing against the opposite wall, watching him with a mischievous glint in his eyes, was Fox. Alex just stared, praying he wasn't dreaming again, that he wasn't about to wake up alone in his cell again, clutching his pillow.

Alex's mouth felt dry, his knees felt weak, and his stomach flip-flopped from excitement. Oh my god, it's really him. He swallowed, but his mouth was still dry. Fox had his arms crossed in front of him in the familiar hack stance, but that look in his eye sent shivers down Alex's spine. Fox's tongue snuck out for a second to moisten his lower lip. That action sent a jolt of electricity down to Alex's cock, making him almost melt to the floor. Alex just stood there, looking at the man he had been fantasizing about for months. He couldn't move, hell he could barely breathe, he could just see Fox's face...

"Fuck, Krycek, watch what the hell ya doin'! Shit, now we gotta wash all the fuckin' trays again, and it's nearly mealtime. Well, whatchya waiting for? Pick 'em up!"

Alex jumped, startled out of his fixation by Tagarelli's bellow in his ear. He hastily picked up the trays and carried them back to be washed again, aware of Fox's eyes following his every move. His face burned as he went through the motions, knowing Fox was watching him like that, undressing him with his eyes. He couldn't ignore him. Turning to the guy beside him, he hissed, "Hey, what's with Mulder? I thought he got promoted to D Block?"

"Yeah, but he was scheduled off, and a lot of the regular hacks in here have families, so he swapped with someone."

Alex just nodded like it was no big deal, but he wanted to yell, show how happy he was. Fuck, it'll be hours till we can be alone! This is torture, to have him this close after so long and not to be able to touch him. He dared a quick glance at Fox and gasped at the heat in his eyes.

"What's up?"

"Nothing, I just banged my funnybone. Come on, we better get this finished before Tagarelli comes back over here." And I better figure out how to get rid of this fucking hard on, or I'll be in deep shit before this shift is over. He carefully avoided looking at Mulder again, despite feeling his eyes watching him. They managed to make it through the next several hours of serving dinner and cleaning up until the others were gone, leaving Krycek to finish up the recycling and Mulder to watch him.

"Seems like old times, doesn't it?" Mulder observed from his position leaning against the closed door.

"You're not going to start quoting corny lines at me, are you?" Alex joked, his eyes running over Fox hungrily.

"Nah, I have other things in mind. Merry Christmas, Alex."

"I love my present."

"Ah, but you haven't had me yet."

"I will. God, I've been waiting so long for this. It seems like forever."

Fox stepped forward, straight into Alex's waiting arms, and then it seemed like they were trying to devour each other. Mouths clung together desperately, tasting one another for the first time in months, and their hands moved frantically, stripping away the impediment of their clothing.

Soon they were naked, their warm bodies pressed up against each other in the coolness of the cement-floored room. Mulder reached down to cup Alex's ass but felt him pull away. Mulder stepped back and looked at his lover, who had a look of admiration on his face.

"What are you doing?" Mulder asked.

"I'm looking at you. I'm remembering you. I want to be able to think of you like this for a long, long time."

Alex walked over to touch Mulder, who reached out to him. "No. Stay still, Fox. I want to touch you and look at you all over. I never want to not remember this."

Mulder found it hard, but he stood still as Alex ran his hands all over his body. He could not keep silent, however. "You know, we haven't seen each other in months..."

"Shhh." Alex swatted him on the ass lightly. "I know, baby. We haven't seen each other in months, and after this we're not going to see each other for a few more. Please let me do this." Alex pressed himself up against Mulder's back as his hands roamed over his lover's front. He kissed his shoulders lightly as he whispered in his ear, "Let me do this, baby, let me remember every inch of your body."

Alex noticed Mulder didn't argue as he ran his tongue down his back until he was kneeling on the floor. He nuzzled the small of Mulder's back with his chin, the stubble grating along the smooth skin. Mulder jumped at the sensation, then sighed as Alex ran his hands up and down his legs. Alex was kissing and licking Mulder's ass cheeks while his fingers played with his balls. He moved his hands around to spread Mulder's ass while his tongue flicked over the puckered opening. Alex could hear a muffled cry as he teased his asshole, pressing his tongue against it and the skin around it until he moved on.

Alex ran his tongue down one leg, around an ankle, then moved around so it could travel up the other leg to Mulder's groin. He lingered there, nipping at the sensitive skin where leg met thigh, sucking on the flesh, marking him as his own. He pressed his face into the tawny patch of curls, drinking in his scent, filing the smell away in his memory forever.

He moved up Mulder's front, licking the fine hair covering his belly, avoiding the rosy-headed penis that jutted out from Mulder's body. He moved up to his chest, stopping at the copper nipples, alternating between sucking one and plucking the other with his fingers until Mulder was whimpering for him to finish him off.

"Please, Alex...god, I need you."

Alex moved up to his lover's mouth again and kissed him, his tongue exploring his mouth, memorizing the terrain inside. He felt Mulder's arms come around him, and he leaned into his embrace, sighing with contentment. Small moans began to form in his throat as their cocks rubbed together and swiped each other's bellies, leaving sticky trails of pre-come. Suddenly, Alex dropped to his knees and swallowed Mulder's cock, the unexpected action almost making the prison guard scream.

Alex didn't linger; he just needed to taste his lover one more time, to put that sensation in his memory banks for later use. He wished he could bottle Mulder's smell, his taste, and open it up when he needed him. But for now he had the real thing, and he wasn't going to waste a second. He swirled his tongue over the head, collecting and swallowing Mulder's essence. He then pulled off and looked up at his lover, who was looking down at him with that heavy lidded stare that was in so many of his dreams.

"Make love to me, Fox."

Mulder reached down and brought Alex up for a tender kiss before he lay them both down on the bed of cardboard. Mulder kissed Alex's neck and down to his chest, careful not to leave any marks. He bit his nipples, smirking when Alex moaned and broke out into a sweat. He reached over to his uniform, which lay crumpled on the floor, and brought out the tube of hand lotion he had in his pocket. He didn't want to be caught with a tube of lube in his pocket, and this worked just as well.

He reached down between Alex's open legs, caressing his balls, stroking his hard cock, making Alex shiver. He coated his fingers with the hand lotion and moved them down to the puckered opening. With the first finger, Alex was bucking his hips, forcing it deeper inside.

"I want you now. I have to have you now. Please, baby, please just do me."

Mulder removed his lone finger from Alex's ass and coated his erection liberally before moving between Alex's legs. "Have I ever told you how beautiful you look like this?"

"I dream of you on top of me," Alex said as Mulder started to push inside the tight entrance. Alex arched his back and dug his shoulders into the ground, his arms out from his body, fingernails scratching at the cardboard.

Mulder pushed in to the hilt, then waited; Alex was so tight and he hadn't done this in so long that he was very sensitive. He looked down at his lover, his eyes half closed, panting, sweat coating his body. This was just how he remembered him, full of lust and ready to go.

He moved over Alex's body, caressing his sweaty face with his hand, kissing his lips, tasting the salt on them. He pulled his hips back and thrust into Alex, watching as his lover's eyes fluttered. He waited a few seconds then did it again; this time Alex bit his lower lip and whimpered. Mulder smiled then kissed him. As much as he would like to prolong this session all night, they had better get a move on. Mulder wrapped his arms around Alex and began moving his hips back and forth, adjusting the angle until he felt Alex shudder beneath him; then he knew he had hit that spot.

Alex moved his hands down from Mulder's back and used them to keep his legs open and wide. Mulder pounded into him, letting out a moan with every stroke. Alex arched his neck back, his head digging into the cardboard. God, this feels so good; please don't let me wake up from this dream. Soon, Mulder reached down and took Alex's cock into his hand and pulled, stroking him to perfection. Alex saw stars when he came, and he swore his heart almost stopped. Mulder thrust a couple more times then moaned into Alex's ear as he shot his load, the aftershocks making his body quiver until he collapsed.

Alex relished the warmth and weight of Mulder's body on his own; he wished they could stay like this forever. Unfortunately, they only had a few minutes until Mulder rolled off to the side and stroked his face.

"I love you."

Alex felt tears spring to his eyes, something that had never happened before. He had always remained stone-faced, always kept his emotions in check. With Fox, however, he couldn't do that. Fox brought out something in him that made him not only feel good, but for the first time in his life, wanted. He held them back, though, determined not to let his emotions get the better of him.

"I love you, too." Mulder kissed him for a long time before he pulled away. "We should go."

Alex breathed in and out quickly. "I don't know if I can let you go."

Mulder laughed, "We'll see each other again." His eyes glittered. "I'm working here for two weeks." Alex couldn't contain his smile. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"You never gave me a chance."

Alex groaned as he got up and got the wipes from the corner where they had remained hidden all this time. He cleaned Mulder and himself up then got dressed. Soon they were left standing before each other.

"Merry Christmas, Baby. I hoped you liked your present."

"Merry Christmas, Lover. I got you the same thing."

Both men laughed then kissed one last time before leaving the recycle room. They were trying very hard to wipe the smiles off of their faces, succeeding only when they turned the corner from the dining hall where another guard was positioned. Mulder walked Alex back to his cell, both men having the urge to grab each other's hand.

Alex watched as Mulder left him in his cell without a backward glance and went back down the tier. He watched the bars slam shut in front of his face before he turned around and got ready for bed. Frohike was sleeping already, a makeshift stocking hung above his head. Alex smirked; he had to hand it to Frohike, he always tried to make the best of things.

He started to get undressed, removing his pants and his button up shirt then socks. He stopped when he got to the t-shirt though...something wasn't right. He brought the shirt up to his nose and sniffed. It wasn't his shirt; it was Fox's. A smile crossed his face as he climbed up onto his bunk and lay down.

"Merry Christmas, Fox," Alex whispered as he rolled over and went to sleep, his lover's smell enveloping him like a warm blanket.

Mulder smiled when he woke up the next morning and pulled Alex's T-shirt out of his night table drawer. He buried his face in it, able to smell his lover first thing in the morning for the first time. It wasn't as good as having him there, but it was something. He carefully put it away again, wanting to preserve the scent as long as possible. He got up to get ready for work, really looking forward to going in.

Who'd have thought I'd be anxious to go to a prison? There's something very odd about that idea. Then again, I think I'd happily go to hell if I was sure Alex would be waiting for me. God, I'm getting sappy again. This better stop when I finally get him home.

Once dressed, he slid a picture of Sam into his pocket, wanting to show it to Alex. He reminded himself to ask Alex to have a picture of himself taken by the prison photographer and to mail it to him. He wanted to show him off to Sam. He also wanted one for himself. He glanced at the clock as he left, grimacing when he thought about how many hours it would be before they could be alone. They only had these two weeks, and he resented having to waste even a single second.

Shit, I better make sure that my days off are the same as his somehow. I refuse to lose four days because we're on different schedules.

The day seemed to drag on forever. He loved watching Alex, but he had to be careful not to be obvious. Alex teased him as much as possible, occasionally brushing past him whenever he could without drawing attention. Both men looked at the clock frequently, growing more frustrated as each minute felt like an hour. Once their eyes met, and without a word they promised themselves that some day, they'd be able to be together whenever they wanted.

Fox was ready to scream with frustration by the time everyone was done, leaving Alex to finish up the garbage and recycling. He'd swear they were moving in slow motion today, but eventually they left, and Alex grinned at him as he shrugged on a parka, grabbed the garbage, and took it out to the dumpster.

Fox pulled on a coat for himself and followed close behind, pressing against Alex's back, trapping him beside the dumpster. Alex laughed huskily, leaning back into him.

"What is with you and this dumpster? I'm telling you right now, when I get out of here, you are gonna be in charge of taking out the garbage. I don't trust you behind me around it."

Fox chuckled. "You mean you want to trust me? Not to grab you and fuck you through the wall, I mean."

"Hell no!" Alex was quick to deny. "Please, feel free."

Fox suddenly bit the side of his throat, and Alex moaned faintly. Fox reluctantly let go, knowing he had to before he marked his lover. That was something else he'd do when he got Alex home. Meanwhile, there were plenty of other things he could do. And judging by the way Alex was squirming against him, he agreed. And had some ideas about what to do, too.

"Anxious, babe?"

Alex twisted around to glare over his shoulder. "Why should I be anxious? Just because you've been staring at me like I was a rare steak all day! Stop teasing, damnit, and do something!"

Mulder pulled Alex even more tightly against him, his hard cock nestled between his cheeks, and he slid his hands inside Alex's pants, finding the matching erection and stroking it while Alex writhed in his arms. He leaned his chin on Alex's shoulder, looking down to watch his hand moving and seeing how Alex arched into his touch. He loved how responsive the younger man was. He just had to look at Alex and he got hard. He made a mental note to buy vitamins before Alex got paroled, and he chuckled.

"Fox?" Alex's voice was very calm and quiet.

"Yes, Alex?" Mulder made sure that he continued stroking Alex's cock to distract him.

"Stop laughing and fuck me!" He grabbed Mulder's other hand and pulled it to his mouth, biting down hard. He heard Fox's yelp with satisfaction and had to bite his lip to hold back a grin when Mulder yanked his pants down and unfastened his own. He wanted them naked together, but it was just too cold out. And he wasn't willing to wait till they got back inside; he wanted Alex now. Both men groaned in frustration at the delay as Mulder grabbed the lotion out of his pocket and squeezed some directly onto his cock, scooping a bit up with a finger to swipe it over Alex's ass. Neither of them had the patience for long preparation, so Mulder simply positioned himself and pushed forward slowly. Alex was less patient and bucked back, taking Mulder deep inside himself, then freezing with a hiss of indrawn breath at the burning sensation.

Mulder continued stroking his cock, gritting his teeth as he remained still, waiting for Alex to grow accustomed to him. It wasn't long before Alex relaxed slightly and started to move, pulling away slightly, then pushing back, working himself on Mulder's cock. He reached back, placing a hand on Fox's hip, holding him tightly, trying to pull him even closer. Mulder cooperated by starting to pump his hips, matching Alex's rhythm, then speeding up, keeping the motion of his hand in sync, his free arm wrapped around Alex to hold him close.

Alex turned his head so he could reach Fox's mouth, licking at his lips, memorizing his flavor. Then Fox shifted slightly, now striking his prostate on every thrust, and Alex let his head fall back against his lover's shoulder with a groan. His fingers dug into Fox's hip with bruising force while his other hand remained braced against the side of the dumpster, holding them both steady. After the hours of buildup, of watching and wanting Alex, it didn't take long for Fox's thrusts to grow erratic and for him to cry out as the pleasure raced through him. He thrust hard into Alex, his hand moving strongly on Alex's erection until he felt the younger man shudder and the hot fluid cover his hand. They stood motionless, still joined, panting, for long moments until Mulder reluctantly withdrew and rearranged his clothing, both men shivering from the cold now that they weren't distracted by other sensations.

Once Alex was fully dressed again, they went back inside to take care of the recycling. It didn't take long, so they sat down for a few minutes just to talk. Alex shifted over so that he was sitting in front of Mulder, leaning against his chest, while Mulder wrapped his arms around him. Much as he'd like to look at Fox, feeling him, being close to him, was more necessary just then. He could feel Fox moving behind him and looked up and over his shoulder to find out what he was doing.

Mulder smiled back at him and handed him the picture he'd taken out of his pocket. "Here, I wanted you to see what Sam looks like."

Alex took the picture eagerly, inspecting it, seeing the happy smiles on Fox's and Sam's faces. He could see the resemblance between them. They had the same hair and eyes and smile. Fortunately for her, she did not have the same nose, and Alex told Fox so.

"Hey, what's wrong with my nose?" Fox demanded.

"Nothing. On you. On your poor sister, it would be another matter entirely. Feminine it's not."

Mulder had to laugh. Then he remembered to ask Alex to have a picture taken and send it to him, and Alex promised he would. They talked for a little while, holding each other and sharing details of their lives, ever aware of the short time they had ticking past. The eight months until Alex would be eligible for parole stretched before them, and they doubted they'd be able to see each other again after these two weeks were over until he was paroled. Far sooner than they wanted, Mulder had to take Alex back to his cell and leave him again.

Alex was in bliss. For the past two weeks, he got to see his lover every day and ended each evening in Fox's arms. Alex hated his time off and longed for his shifts in the kitchen in the evenings. He spent most of his time that he wasn't working asleep, not only so the time would pass more quickly, but to rest up from all the mindblowing sex.

He smiled to himself as he lay on his bunk, thinking of his lover, pressing Fox's shirt to his nose. He had managed to get another one of Fox's undershirts and slept with it under his pillow. His cock stiffened as he thought of Fox and smelled Fox...God how was he going to wait until tonight? He reached down and stroked himself through the cotton twill of his chinos, moaning softly to himself.

Suddenly, Frohike appeared in the doorway, and Alex scrambled to lie on his stomach, hiding his erection from his cell-mate. He groaned as he dug his hardness into the mattress, using all his will not to fuck it in front of the other man. He noticed Frohike was carrying a package. He didn't want to get into what the other man was up to, but he needed a distraction.

"Whatcha got there, Fro?" he asked.

Frohike looked over his shoulder then went to the door of the cell and looked down the tier. He then came back and stood on tiptoe to reach Alex's ear. "I got my palmtop. I'm going to hack into the Justice Department's database and set myself free. I'm going to be out of here by the end of next month."

Alex cleared his throat to keep from laughing. "You got it, good. Don't forget to send me a postcard."

Frohike pulled out a slim, black object from the package he was carrying, "I had to pay a lot of money to get this baby in here. I have a connection..." he drifted off and chose his words carefully. "Somewhere I can plug in the battery to recharge." He bent down and moved the loose brick out of the way to reveal a phone jack. He plugged the palmtop into the jack and turned the machine on. It started with a whir and a loud ping that sent him scrambling to turn the volume down. He tapped a few keys, and a large smile crossed his face.

He turned back to face Alex. "See that, that's the fucking internet. I told you I'd do it!" He turned back to his little toy and tapped away some more.

Alex was impressed; he hadn't believed the little guy could do it, but he did. "Congratulations," Alex said as he rolled over on his back, his erection having gone down enough to let him do so. He didn't care if his cell mate was planning to overthrow the government; all he could think of was Fox.

Alex was drifting off into a hazy dream about him and Fox in the middle of a rainstorm of all things. They were walking along enjoying a warm summer day when clouds suddenly gathered and they found themselves in the middle of a rainstorm. They ran under a bridge to stay dry, but the rain kept falling harder and harder. Both men were soaking wet and started laughing at each other. Alex doubled over and howled at the image of Fox's clothes stuck to his body and his hair plastered to his head.

Fox was laughing at him as well and reached out to Alex to steady himself. Suddenly, they were kissing and ripping the clothes off of each other's bodies. Alex had just started sucking in the cold, damp skin of Mulder's neck into his mouth when he was awoken by the alarm.

"Lockdown"

His heart pounded as he sat up in his bunk and the cell door slammed beside him. Frohike let out a squeak and hurriedly packed his palmtop and phone cord behind the loose bricks in the wall. A minute later the SORT team ran down the tier to some unknown destination. Alex held his mirror out the bars but couldn't see what was going on. Whatever had happened was not on this tier.

A few hours later, Alex was getting frustrated. He groaned and flopped back onto his bunk. The longer this incident took, the longer he would be away from Fox. He looked at his watch; he was due to start his shift in half an hour. Frohike wasn't taking any chances either and decided not to risk taking out his palmtop Finally, three hours later, Alex was let out to do his job, and Frohike happily got out his palmtop and tapped away until his battery died.

Everyone was talking in the kitchen, wondering what had happened, but no one knew. Finally, Tagarelli approached one of the hacks who'd sometimes talk to him and asked what caused the lockdown. After a moment, he came back, stopping beside Alex.

"Some dumb fuck over in D Block got himself killed. You knew him, Krycek, that Spender asshole who killed that Smoking Man. He was a snitch for the hacks, and somebody didn't like it. They found him with his belly cut open, hamstrung, and his fuckin' tongue cut out."

Krycek made a face at the description. Even for someone who had killed his own father, it sounded like a horrible way to die. He glanced over at Mulder, wondering how this place would have changed him if he hadn't met Fox, didn't know that he had a life to start with him when he got out of here. He was glad he'd never have to find out. He looked away quickly, not wanting Tagarelli or the others to see him staring at a guard.

Everything ran late that night because of the lockdown, so Alex knew he wouldn't have much time with Fox. His shift would end very soon, so they wouldn't have time to make love like they usually did. He wished Spender were still alive so he could kill him for screwing up his time with Fox. This was Fox's last day in the kitchen before going back to his regular job, and now they'd be lucky to have even a few minutes together.

Alex glanced at Fox again and saw that his lover was as aware as he of how little time they had. They exchanged an unhappy look, both praying that the others would finish up and get out before Fox was relieved. By the time everyone did leave, there was less than half an hour left till Fox had to go.

Alex whipped through the recycling, knowing that they only had a few more minutes. The moment he was done, he grabbed Fox, yanking his pants down and swallowing his cock. Mulder gasped and clutched at his head, staggering back a step against the wall.

"Alex, what...God!"

Alex just held him, going down on him, determined to taste him one more time before he left again. He sucked hard, one hand busily caressing Mulder's balls and one finger of the other probing at his anus and sliding inside. Mulder groaned and came hard, his fingers tangled in Alex's hair. Alex licked him clean, then tucked him back into his pants, standing up to kiss him.

When Alex finally released his mouth, Mulder gasped, "What was that about?"

"I wasn't going to let you leave without tasting you one more time."

"Hell, I wanted to have time to be with you tonight, something to remember for the next few months till I can take you home."

"I know, babe, I did too, but we couldn't help this. I'll remember you regardless."

They shared another kiss, then had to leave, knowing that Mulder's replacement would be showing up soon.

The walk back to Alex's cell seemed like the longest walk ever. Mulder grabbed Alex's bicep half way there to guide him along, although it was totally unnecessarily. He needed to touch him again, and this was the only way he could. He could feel Alex's pulse race beneath his fingertips, Mulder's heart was also beating fast in anticipation of saying goodbye. It's so hard to leave him. I wonder if it would have just been easier to not have traded with MacPherson and not seen Alex at all... Mulder cleared that last thought from his mind. The past two weeks had been wonderful; he'd be reliving their activities in his mind for months to come.

They came to a shuffling stop; they were now at the door to Alex's cell. Mulder removed his hand from Alex's arm, his fingers slightly caressing it as they pulled away. He saw Alex's shoulders drop, and he fought the very strong urge to grab the man, kiss him and hold him tight. They hesitated a long instant at the cell door until Mulder finally reached up and spoke softly into his radio. "Open A224."

"Opening A224" came the reply from the small speaker at Mulder's shoulder. The bars slid open, and Alex stepped inside but didn't turn around. "Close A224," Mulder said in his soft voice again. "Closing A224."

The bars slid shut between them, a brutal reminder of where they were and that time still had to be served before they could be together. Again, Mulder wished he could say something or touch Alex, but he knew he couldn't. Finally, he turned away silently and left, feeling like he was leaving a piece of himself behind.

Alex turned and clutched the bars of his cell tightly as he caught the barest glimpse of Mulder walking away. He told himself he wouldn't look; he told himself he was going to be strong, but he couldn't help the wave of emotion that overcame him at that moment. He wanted to call out to Mulder, to tell him to stop and come back, to tell him that he loved him. He opened his mouth but snapped it shut again. It was foolish thinking in a place like this, and actions like that would get him killed. He sighed and leaned his forehead against the cold metal for a minute, the silence of the tier strangely soothing.

After a few minutes, he pulled away and got ready for bed. Frohike was snoring happily to himself, obviously pleased with his developments of the day. Alex stripped down to his boxers and climbed onto his bunk, lying on his side, facing the wall.

I just wanted one more time with you. He reached under his pillow and brought out one of Mulder's undershirts. He held it to his face and inhaled the musky smell that was Mulder's alone. I miss you already. Alex could feel his cock stiffen as he closed his eyes and thought of his lover.

The last time they were together, last night, had been incredible. Mulder had straddled Alex's chest and brushed his cock against Alex's lips. Alex had opened his mouth hungrily while Mulder pushed the tip inside. Alex had wanted more and reached his hands behind to pull Mulder's ass forward, but he hadn't moved. A wicked smile had crossed Mulder's face as if to say "that's all you're getting, now what are you going to do with it?" Alex had nibbled around the succulent head and teased the slit with his tongue. Mulder had reached one hand behind him and was stroking Alex's cock and balls, keeping him on the edge. Alex had run the smooth back of his tongue over the head again and again, making his lover moan and sigh. Mulder had waited until the last second before he climbed off of Alex and hauled his legs over his shoulders. He had rammed into Alex hard, making his body jump with every thrust until he came over Mulder's hand and his own belly. Alex must have passed out, because the next thing he remembered was Mulder licking him clean and sharing it with him.

Alex stroked himself and squeezed his balls, remembering the past two weeks and the highs that had come of it. He could smell Mulder; he could taste Mulder on his tongue. He came as quietly as he could, biting his lip so it bled to keep from moaning. He wiped up the come with Mulder's t-shirt, mingling their scents forever.

He wanted tears to come; he wanted a visible sign of his sadness at Mulder leaving. Instead, he rolled over onto his other side and tried to get some sleep, clutching the soggy t-shirt to his chest.

The days turned to weeks, then months on the inside without any indication that anything at all was changing. The same things happened every day; each inmate had his routine and kept to it, like some mouse in a maze trying to find the cheese. In this case, the cheese was parole. Alex had been looking forward to his parole hearing since he first got to this place. His lawyer had contacted him to tell him that a date had been set for six months from now. Alex had started thinking about what would happen if they didn't grant him parole. He spent nights awake so worried about whether he'd be paroled or not that he didn't think about Fox anymore. He hardly got horny anymore, which he thought was probably a good thing. At least he didn't have to keep quiet while he jerked off or have to creatively hide an erection when he stood outside his cell for count.

February 20

Lover,

I'm glad your sister dragged you away last weekend, it's good for you to get out and do things instead of moping around your house. I didn't know she was a Bruins fan; I think I'm really going to like her.

I got my parole hearing date, it's August 19th. I was happy when I first got the news, but now I'm scared. What if they don't grant me parole? What about that fight I had when I first got in here, will they use that against me? I've been good and have kept my nose clean, but it might not be enough.

At night, I can't sleep, I just worry about me not getting out and you and us. I want so much for us to be together, and it kills me when I realize that I may be in here longer. God, I can't spend another six months in this place away from you. I miss you so much as it is, I think I'll go crazy if I'm not paroled.

I don't know how these other guys do it. Guys who are in here for 10, 20 years, for life, how the hell do they do it? How can they live day after day knowing they're going to be in a cage for that long? No wonder why so many of them keep with their own gangs, it makes them feel like it's really living in here.

I should go, I'm starting my shift in 15 minutes. I love you, babe.

A

Mulder nearly cried when he got that letter from Alex. He could tell how depressed and scared he was getting, and there was nothing he could do for him. He wanted to hold him, comfort him, at the very least tell him that he would get out, but he knew that there were no guarantees. It was by no means sure that Alex would be paroled, although his chances were very good. He looked over at the framed picture of Alex that he kept beside his bed and wished it was really him.

"Hang on, babe, you'll be here soon," he murmured, then turned back to his desk to write back to Alex.

February 24

Alex,

I know it's hard for you, but you have to keep thinking positive. Your attitude can make a difference at your parole hearing. If you're upbeat and seem ready to get along in society, they'll be more likely to let you out. Thank god you're wealthy enough that even without having a job waiting for you, they know you can support yourself. I wish we could say that you would be with me, but if by some horrible chance you don't get out, I don't want to lose my job and any chance of seeing you.

Shit, I can't imagine not being able to at least see you from a distance sometimes. I'm really pathetic you know. I take my breaks at the times you're likely to be outside so I can catch a glimpse of you. Pretty dumb huh?

I am so fucked up. I want to be with you constantly, but then I see Mike again like last weekend and I feel so guilty. He's my best friend and I can't tell him about you or even that I'm in love finally. How the hell can I tell him that I fell in love with you after what happened to Jamie? It would be like saying that he had to lose Jamie so I could find you. Hell, that IS what happened!

Shit, Alex, I'm sorry. I just read back over what I wrote, and it's the last thing you need to hear when you're already nervous and upset. I almost ripped this up and started over this once, but somehow, I think you'd know and be more tense wondering what I'd said. Please believe me, I do love you. It's just hard with some people. Especially Mike, but I'll find a way to tell him. I won't lose you, Alex. I'd give up my friendship with him first.

I bought a new set of sheets today. I'm keeping them for when you get out. I wanted something that would be OURS. I can't believe the sappy stuff I do, but it just feels right, you know? I have the date circled in red on my calendar - "the day Alex comes home". I hope you don't mind takeout. I can't cook worth a damn. Sam used to say that she thought I was trying to poison her when she was younger. That's why she took over the cooking. Actually I can cook a little, but I hate doing it, so I never told her.

Do you have a favorite meal? I'm willing to learn. I have a few months to perfect it before you get here.

I'm so excited about you being here, Alex. You have no idea how much I want to see you in my bed. I want to fall asleep and wake up with you in my arms, and I want to make love to you till neither of us can walk. I'll bet that's one plan you won't argue with! I'm really looking forward to having a real life together. You know, one where we spend enough time together that we actually act like real people and argue and make up and all that shit instead of grabbing at every second because it's all we've got.

Isn't that the craziest thing? I'm looking forward to fighting with you. I told Sam that the other day, and she just looked at me like I was nuts. Of course, that's nothing new. She wanted to know if she could just give me away to you or if she's going to have to pay you to take me. I should have drowned her when she was a kid. Can I sell her to you? One kid sister, slightly used.

Oh shit! I just realized how much I've said in this letter. Stuff that's obviously about my life to anyone who knows me even slightly. But I want to be honest with you, want you to know what I'm thinking and feeling. I'm going to find a way to give this to you. Hey, added bonus - I'll get to see you for a few minutes. I'll figure something out.

I've got to go now. I love you, Fox

Mulder sealed the letter and slid it into his pocket. When he got to the prison, he remembered that it was time for the annual TB shots, so he headed over to the infirmary on his break. He checked the schedule and saw that Alex's unit was supposed to come in the next day. A slow grin appeared on his face, and he walked over to Brian.

When Pendrell saw him come in, he decided to take a break too, leaving his assistant to continue. He and Mulder went outside despite the cold to have a quick cigarette.

"How are you, Fox? It's been a while since I saw you."

"It's been less than a week. Mike and I had dinner with your family and whipped your ass at poker, Bri. What are you trying to pull?" He eyed his friend suspiciously.

"Fox, you never visit me here. What do you want?"

Mulder could feel the tide of red creeping over his cheeks.

"Uh huh. I thought so. Let me guess. This involves Krycek somehow."

Shamefaced but determined, Mulder nodded. "He's due to come in tomorrow for his shot, Bri. Could you schedule him for last so no one else will still be here? Please?"

Pendrell sighed. "I hope you know what the hell you're doing, Fox. This is weird, even for you." He saw the impatient expression on his friend's face and gave in. "Okay, he'll be here tomorrow evening at 6:45. Just don't do anything that'll get me in trouble, okay?"

Fox nodded. "Thanks, Brian. You're a real friend."

"Yeah, right. I'm an idiot is what I am." He tossed his butt into the receptacle nearby and turned to go back in. "I'll see you tomorrow, Fox."

The next evening Alex headed over the infirmary, grumbling because he was scheduled so late. He was hungry, but he didn't know when he'd get a chance to eat since he was supposed to be at work. He'd have to go straight there when he got out of here. He knew he was supposed to stop to eat first, but he didn't want to make Tagarelli wait and get him pissed off.

He walked in, noticing that there was only one guy ahead of him waiting his turn. Soon he was up to the doctor and the others were gone, leaving him alone with Pendrell and the guard. The guard stood impatiently waiting for Pendrell to finish up with Krycek so he could go get his own dinner. The doctor had been really slow that day, and they were running behind.

Jeez, you'd think the doc would want to get done so he could go home. He gets to leave this shithole and go have dinner with his family. Move it already, doc!

Krycek could see that the guard was getting impatient, and he agreed with him. He couldn't imagine what was taking so long. Then he heard a voice behind him.

"Hey, Brian, you ready for dinner?"

It was Mulder! He barely restrained himself from whirling around to stare at the lover he hadn't seen in nearly two months.

"Sorry, Fox, I'm running behind today. It'll just be a few more minutes."

"Okay, no problem, I'm done for the day anyway." Mulder looked around. "Hell, Finch, are you still waiting to go for dinner? Hey, I'm here and there's only one prisoner. Go ahead, and I'll make sure Dr. Pendrell gets out okay."

"You sure, Mulder? Thanks!" The other guard got out before Mulder could change his mind.

As soon as he was gone, Mulder caught Alex in his arms, burying his face in his lover's hair, just inhaling his scent. Alex's arms wrapped tightly around him, and they clung together. Finally Brian cleared his throat.

"Look, I'm sorry, but if we're in here too long, people are going to get suspicious. Even as much as I drew everything out today, it only takes so long to give a shot."

Mulder and Krycek both looked at him in surprise.

"Thanks, Bri," Mulder said, "I never expected you to do that."

Pendrell shrugged. "If you're going to risk your career, the least I could do is give you a couple extra minutes."

"You can be godfather to our first child," Mulder vowed.

Both other men just looked at him.

"Fine, but you can bear it," Alex replied dryly.

"Okay, change of plan. You can have Sam instead."

"Fox, you're nuts." Brian shook his head sadly.

"Not to mention that her fiance would probably object," Alex pointed out.

"Well, if you two are going to be logical...." Fox pouted.

Alex laughed and kissed him. "Fox, much as I'm thrilled to see you, Dr. Pendrell's right. You're risking a lot to do this. Why?"

Mulder rubbed his cheek against Alex's, nearly purring with pleasure to be holding him again. "Because I really wanted to see you again. But I wouldn't have taken the chance if I hadn't needed to give you this." He handed the letter to Alex.

Alex took the envelope and turned it over a few times, staring in bewilderment. "A letter? Why didn't you just mail it to me?"

"I couldn't. Not this time. I said too many things in it that were too obviously about me, but I wanted to give it to you. Like I said before, I feel like I'm cheating us both if I change my mind about saying something to you after I write it. We have enough going against us without not being honest with each other."

Alex blinked a few times as he tried to untangle that last sentence.

Pendrell watched them quietly, seeing with some surprise how they touched each other lovingly and teased each other. He hadn't believed it, but they really did seem to love each other. He hoped so because he was pretty sure Fox was going to lose Michael's friendship over this. He wondered how Sam would react, then remembered the familiar way Alex mentioned her and her fiance. Knowing Fox, he'd told Sam about Alex. There was no way Fox would be able to keep on working here once it got out though. He was basically giving up his whole life for Krycek. He didn't seem worth it.

As he reached that point in his musings, he looked back at the other men just as Krycek reached out to Fox, one hand curving along his jaw. He saw amazing tenderness and caring in the gesture, and he realized that this relationship wasn't one-sided. If this didn't work out, they were both going to get badly hurt. But he somehow thought they'd find a way to make it work, and since he didn't want to lose a good friend, he'd get used to Krycek.

With a final kiss, Mulder and Krycek reluctantly separated, moving apart painfully.

"Only six more months," Alex breathed prayerfully.

Mulder smiled crookedly, staring at him wistfully. He took a deep breath and started toward the door. "Go on, you'd better get to work before someone comes looking for you." He looked away for a moment. "Just remember, I'll be waiting for you, Alex."

Alex nodded and left without another word. He couldn't have spoken past the lump in his throat if he'd tried.

"Come on, Fox, you're having dinner at my house tonight," Brian said, hustling his friend toward the door and locking up behind them. He wasn't going to leave Fox alone to brood as he clearly intended to. Six months. Please, God, let Krycek get paroled as soon as he's eligible. A brooding, depressed Fox Mulder is more than any man should have to deal with. He steered Mulder over to his car, telling him that he would give him ride home later and drive him into work the next day. Mulder gave in and went home with Brian to relax with his family.

Alex got back to his cell, happier than he'd been in months. Frohike was there, tapping madly at his little machine, sitting at the desk. Alex couldn't resist and came up behind his cell mate and hugged him for an instant. Frohike was totally spooked. He jumped up and pressed himself back against the wall.

"Hey, Krycek, I told you I'm not into that shit."

Alex laughed and sat down on Frohike's bunk, "Relax, I'm just happy."

The little man looked at him strangely, "Yeah, well keep your happy to yourself." He twitched for a second before he looked at his watch, "Aren't you supposed to be working?"

Alex's face fell; in all his excitement at seeing Mulder, he had forgotten he still had a shift to work. "Oh shit!" he exclaimed as he scrambled up and out the door and hurried as fast as he could without getting stopped on his way to the kitchen. Tagarelli screamed at him for a good ten minutes, then screamed about Dr. Pendrell, then just screamed for the hell of it, it seemed. Alex didn't care; he was on too much of a high, and nothing was going to ruin his mood tonight.

As the temperature outside rose with springtime, it grew even hotter inside the prison. By the time June rolled around, it was stifling, especially on the top tier where Alex was housed. Big fans tried to cool the air, but it just moved the hot air around, not providing much relief. Fights broke out among the inmates more frequently in the summer heat, setting everyone's nerves on edge.

Alex was especially grumpy and nervous with his parole hearing just over two months away. He had met with his lawyer Dad's lawyer, and it looked like he had a good case for early release. The psychologist's report that had been completed a few months ago stated that Alex was truly sorry for his crime. His record showed that he hadn't been in any fights since the first day he had been in prison. Alex had also done an exemplary job in the kitchen.

Alex was still nervous though. He was convinced he wasn't going to get paroled. He was sinking into a depression, fast. The more he didn't see Mulder, the more he thought he would never see him. Mulder's letters didn't cheer him up, and when he wrote Mulder, it was barely five sentences strung together.

No matter how explicit Mulder's letters were, Alex failed to get aroused. That's what hurt the most. What would have sent him into a frenzy before now didn't merit a raised eyebrow. Every night he slept hugging one of Mulder's undershirts even though he was convinced he couldn't smell him anymore.

When he wasn't working, Alex lay on his bunk and stared up at the ceiling; he wasn't eating and barely worked out anymore. He was dropping weight and starting to look gaunt. He felt like crying and hitting someone at the same time but could do neither. Instead, he remained stone faced and kept his emotions locked up inside.

Mulder must have sensed something was wrong because his latest letter emphatically stated that he loved him forever and nothing would keep them apart. He pleaded with Alex to keep his faith and to think positive. Mulder was sure that they would be together in a few months.

Alex doubted what Mulder was saying and folded the letter back up without finishing it. He had convinced himself that he was in here forever, so why should he bother trying?

A week later, Alex was lying on his bunk waiting to go to work, when Frohike came into the cell.

"You know you've got mail down here," he said as he tossed two envelopes up to him. "You used to hound the mail guy every day for your stuff, now you don't even care. Why not?"

Alex looked at the two envelopes resting on his chest and slowly picked them up, "Dunno, got less interesting." One was from his parents, the other from an address he didn't recognize in Boston. He tore the envelope open and opened it, revealing a typed letter on a few sheets of heavy, white paper. He thought it might be from his lawyer, but after skimming down a few lines, he realized it wasn't.

June 3

Dear Alex,

We've never met, but I feel like I know you already. My brother has told me all about you. I can't tell you my name, but I can give you a hint as to who I am when I say that I can't wait to welcome you into my family with open arms.

I'm writing you without my brother's consent or knowledge. I'd like this to remain between us, okay? If he found out I sent this, he'd probably freak out. (He likes to think he's still in charge of me). So this is our secret.

Actually, he's the reason I'm writing. He is so happy when he talks about you, his face lights up and he gets all flushed and flustered. If he wasn't my big old brother, I'd think it was kind of cute. Actually, it is cute.

My brother hasn't had much in the way of a love life (our secret, remember?). He has had a few relationships, but they weren't very serious. But now he has you, and you're all that matters to him. It's so good to see him in love, to see him focusing his energy on someone. He loves you very, very much. I can't tell you how much I like seeing him like this, so happy and full of life.

My brother wasn't one to wear his heart on his sleeve; he liked to keep things inside, but now he actually talks to me about his dreams and hopes for the two of you. He's been going crazy buying new things for the house, cleaning, painting, refinishing furniture.

He's not the same person I've known for my whole life, not the same man who raised me. He's much happier and doesn't take everything so seriously. You did that, you made him this new, better person, and I'd like to thank you for that. Without you, he'd still be doing his same routine day in, day out and not getting any joy out of life. You're his joy. You are his life.

I have to tell you, I know how he feels. I've also found someone I'm very happy with and we're getting married. We are waiting to set our wedding date until you two can be there together to share in our joy.

Oh, listen to me, I'm being sappy, but it's true. When you're in love, that's all that matters, right? Who cares if the world is against you, or you're having a bad day? You have someone who loves you, who makes you happy and makes you laugh (no matter how bad his jokes are), and that's all that counts.

I should keep this short, even if I have babbled for almost two pages. I'd like to thank you for taking the time to read this, Alex. You may reply to me at the address on the back of the envelope. There is no need to put a name on your letter or the envelope.

I can't wait to meet you and see you in person. I don't know if I can wait six weeks.

Hugs

Alex sat up on his bunk and stared at the letter in disbelief. Samantha. He had never imagined that she would write him. He slid to the floor and shoved the letter into his back pocket as he left to go to work.

All during his shift, he thought of Samantha's letter and what she had said. Tagarelli had yelled at him a few times for pissing around as he called it. He couldn't help it; he was in a daze, stunned by the fact that she had taken time out of her busy schedule to write to him. Why would a successful doctor even care? When it was time to do the recycling, he shut the door behind him, dug the letter out and read it again. This time he paid more attention to the words.

You are his joy...

He read it one more time.

I can't wait to meet you...

He loves you very, very much...

We are waiting to set our wedding date...

Six weeks...

Alex sank to the ground as he read the letter over and over again, feeling like he just got hit by a ton of bricks. He had been feeling sorry for himself and worrying over his parole and his own feelings when he should have been thinking about Fox.

Fox. The man who was fixing up his house so they could live in it together. The man who was obviously gushing to his sister about him. The man who loved him. The man who obviously had faith and wasn't giving up on him. The man who was determined that Alex was getting paroled.

He loves you, you idiot! Why the hell are you moping around for? You should be strong for him!

"I'm so fucking stupid."

Alex stood and put the letter back into his pocket. He began pacing, angry at himself for being so stupid, so selfish. His anger got stronger and stronger until he punched the bin for the cardboard. It let out a loud bang until he punched it again and again. He didn't realize that he was screaming until Tagarelli and the hacks came in to see what the hell was going on.

They subdued Alex and cuffed him so he wouldn't lash out anymore.

"What the hell you doin', Krycek? Jesus Christ, look at your fucking hand, it's all mangled up. Fuck, Krycek, you ain't getting out of this fuckin' job! I don't care if you gotta put that shit away with your fuckin' teeth!"

Tagarelli looked at the guards. "Well what the fuck you waiting for? Take him to see the doc!"

The guards looked at each other warily, then dragged Alex up to his feet and led him out of the recycle room. Everyone was staring at him as he was led, cuffed, out through the kitchen and down to the hospital.

"Got one more for you, Doc." One of the guards said as they led him through the door to the infirmary. Dr. Pendrell had his back to them and was putting charts and papers away.

"Well, he's going to have to wait for Barnes; I'm going home..." He stopped talking as he turned around and saw who it was. He gave Alex a weak smile and looked at his watch. "Okay, one more, but that's it." Brian led them over to an examination table behind a screen.

The guards uncuffed Alex, allowing him to hop up onto the table. Pendrell looked up at the guards, "You can go. I've got Hutchinson on the floor if I need help."

"You sure? He just beat up a waste container, you know?" The other guard started giggling.

"Yeah, you should lock up your garbage can in case he tries anything." The first guard now started laughing.

Pendrell sighed, "I'll make sure he's a good boy. Go, let me work."

The first guard looked over at Hutchinson, who had come over to see what was up, and nodded. "Okay, Doc, whatever you say." The three guards left together, laughing and talking. "I'll be at the end of the ward if you need me, Doc," Hutchinson called out.

"Yeah, okay." Pendrell gently held Alex's hand, which was raw and bloody. "Can you move your fingers for me?" Alex moved his fingers. "Does it hurt?"

"Yes."

"I don't think it's broken, but I'm going to give you an x-ray just in case." He finished examining Alex's hand, then looked him in the eye. "What happened, Alex?"

"It's nothing, I had an accident."

Pendrell snorted, "Yeah, right. That's what they all say."

Alex didn't know if he could trust Pendrell, although Mulder seemed to completely. He didn't know this man. He wanted to tell him how scared he was, how much he loved Mulder and didn't want to lose him, how he had to get paroled or he'd go nuts. "It was just an accident," he said softly.

Brian frowned but realized he wasn't going to get anywhere. One thing about working in a prison, no one wanted to snitch on anyone or admit to any fault. "Okay, accidental it is. C'mon, let's get you that x-ray."

The x-ray revealed a hairline fracture in one of the bones of his hands. Pendrell recommended a cast for a few weeks, and "no handball." He grinned at Alex, who just shook his head.

"You need better material, Doc, that was pretty bad."

"He's got all kinds of bad jokes; give him time, he'll tell you all of them."

Alex's head whipped around at the sound of the voice. His heart leapt as he saw Mulder standing beside the screen to the examination area.

Pendrell looked down at Alex. "I hope you don't mind."

"No, not at all..." Alex was stunned. God, Mulder looked good. Well, except for his hair, it looked like a weed-whacker had trimmed it off. "What the hell happened to your hair?"

Mulder's hand came up to touch it. "What, you don't like it? It's supposed to be very in right now."

Pendrell rolled his eyes. "It's my fault. My kids were playing barber shop, and they traded the play scissors for real ones."

Alex opened his mouth and laughed. He hadn't laughed in months; it felt good. They made small talk as Pendrell wound the fiberglass strips around his hand and wrist. They all agreed that Mulder's hair would grow back eventually, but until then, he should go see an actual barber to get it trimmed evenly. Finally, Pendrell was done, and he left them alone for ten minutes. "I can't give you any more time than that, I'm sorry."

"Any time is good, Bri. Thank you."

"No problem. Don't touch the cast until it dries." Pendrell said as he left. "Hey, Hutchinson, you watch that Sox game last night?"

Alex and Mulder stared at each other for a minute before they embraced. "I've missed you so much, baby." Mulder said as he kissed up Alex's neck. "I've been worried about you; I've been trying to find any excuse to look at you, but you don't go out into the yard anymore." Mulder pulled away and looked at Alex. "You're so skinny, I can feel your ribs."

Alex reached up with his good hand and caressed Mulder's cheek. "I know. I haven't been feeling all that good lately. I haven't been eating...I..." he drifted off and looked down.

Mulder didn't push him; instead he caressed Alex's back and waited for him to continue.

Alex took a deep breath, "I've been feeling sorry for myself. I was convinced I wouldn't see you again. I told myself so many stupid things..." Tears formed in his eyes, but he didn't look up at Mulder.

Mulder tilted Alex's face up to meet his own gaze. He saw his eyes swimming with tears and smiled. He knew Alex had emotions; it just took him a little time to show them. He moved in and kissed him tenderly, probing into his mouth with his tongue, pressing his hips into the examination table as he started to harden.

Suddenly, Pendrell was back. "I'm sorry, guys, but, Mulder, you have to go."

"I know, break only lasts so long." He caressed Alex's face before kissing him one more time. "I love you. We only have a few more weeks, and then we can be together."

"I love you too." Alex said as Mulder squeezed his knee before he left the examination area. He looked up at Pendrell, "Thank you very much. I owe you big time."

"Yeah, well, I may hold you to that one day."

Alex hopped off the examination table with renewed hope in his heart. The world wasn't against him; hell, people were trying to help him. He held his head up high as the guard escorted him back to his cell. He wasn't going to let this place get to him any longer; he was going to take things one step at a time. The first thing he had to do was get his attitude adjusted to the positive. The next was get paroled and get out of here. Then he could concentrate on making Fox Mulder the happiest man alive.

Finally, the day of Alex's parole hearing arrived, and he walked in, nearly shaking with nervousness but trying to appear confident. He kept repeating to himself Fox believes in me, like a mantra. He had to get out of here. He couldn't expect Fox to wait forever. He sat down and answered all their questions fully and honestly. Well, except for leaving out the detail of how he would be living with Fox Mulder. There was no way he was going to destroy Fox's career that way.

When the board returned their decision that he was ready for parole, for long moments, he could only sit and stare at them in stupefied amazement. No matter how much he'd told himself that he could do this, deep down he hadn't believed that he would get what he so desperately wanted. Finally a huge smile broke across his face, and he barely restrained himself from leaping to his feet and hugging the board members. He was glad that Michael had opted not to attend, wanting to move on with his life. Not only might his silently accusing presence have affected the decision, it would have hurt him to see Alex getting released. Alex didn't want to hurt him anymore.

He walked back to his cell in a daze, looking around for the last time, barely noticing Frohike who was asking him how the hearing went. He eyed his few clothes and personal possessions and couldn't imagine wanting to ever see any of them again. All he wanted were the letters Fox had sent him. He gathered them up from the box where he kept them in his locker and ignored everything else.

He finally noticed Frohike and grinned at him, hugging the little man, who yelped and squirmed away.

"Cool it with that shit, Krycek! I told you I don't swing that way!"

Alex only laughed. "You're looking at a free man, Fro! I am out of here! Take anything you want that won't put you over your limits. I don't ever want to see any of this stuff again. Have a good life, and try to stay out of trouble."

With that Alex turned back to the waiting guard and indicated that he was ready to leave.

As soon as Mulder heard that Alex had been paroled, he headed directly for Skinner's office. The lieutenant regarded him curiously, wondering what brought Mulder to his office, saying that he had to see him immediately.

Mulder walked in and handed him an envelope. "Lt. Skinner, I am tendering my resignation with two weeks notice, starting today. I have already been approved for vacation for that period, so I won't be back after I leave today."

"This is rather sudden, Mr. Mulder, although you seem to have planned it for a while."

"I'm sorry for that, sir. I have been thinking about it, but I only just reached a decision."

"And may I ask what brought you to this decision?"

Mulder hesitated, then remembered a conversation he'd had with Alex at Christmas. He'd told Alex how he'd fallen into being a guard because it was the best-paying job he could get while trying to raise Sam and how he'd had other dreams. Alex had told him that he wanted him to go for his dreams. When he'd objected, pointing out that college cost a lot of money and he would have to support himself somehow, Alex had replied that he had enough money to take care of them forever even if neither of them ever worked another day in their lives. Mulder didn't want to sponge off Alex, but when he'd said that, Alex had looked incredibly hurt. It had taken Mulder a while to find out why, but finally Alex had admitted that he'd thought they were partners, which to him meant that each provided what the other needed. It wasn't a matter of sponging; it was only common sense to use what they had. Put like that, Mulder had seen his point and apologized. Remembering the form his apology had taken, he hastily thought about something else. Quitting or not, he didn't need to be sporting a hard-on in Skinner's office.

"I never really wanted to be a CO, sir, and now I have the opportunity to try something else. I want to take it."

Skinner frowned slightly. He'd hate to lose Mulder, who was a damned good CO, but if the man was unhappy in his career, he should make a change.

"May I ask what changed?"

Mulder took a deep breath, then burned his bridges behind him. "I've fallen in love, and I don't think our relationship would be favorably viewed if I were to continue working here. He's offered to help me manage going back to school, and I want to do it."

"He?" Skinner questioned.

"Yes," Mulder replied defiantly.

"Mulder, despite what you may have heard, it is not the policy of this institution to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation."

Mulder laughed. "That may be true on paper, sir, but you and I both know that it would never be accepted. That's why I've been very careful to keep it secret all these years. But even if that weren't true, it still would cause problems. You see, sir, the man I'm involved with is Alex Krycek."

Skinner's jaw dropped. He was shocked speechless, gaping at Mulder. "K-k-kry-krycek?" he eventually stammered.

"Yes, sir. Now that he's been paroled, I just want to take him home and be with him. Working here would make that impossible, even if he didn't want me to try what I've always dreamed of. I'm not going to let anything interfere with us being together."

Skinner had managed to regain some semblance of calm. "All right, Mr. Mulder, given these details, I have to agree that it is for the best for you to resign. In fact, you may leave now. You needn't bother to finish your shift."

"Sir?" Mulder was surprised and hurt that Skinner would throw him out immediately because of what he'd said.

Skinner saw Mulder's reaction and smiled. "I'm not throwing you out in disgust, Mulder. But Krycek is on his way out right now, and I'd imagine you'd like to leave with him."

Mulder smiled back and held his hand out. "Thank you, sir. I'd like to say that it has been a pleasure working with you."

Skinner shook his hand. "Likewise, Mulder. And good luck to you both." You're going to need it.

Mulder hurried out of the prison for the last time, hoping he hadn't missed Alex. He didn't think Alex had told his parents that he was scheduled to be paroled that day or asked them to pick him up. He hoped not; he wanted to take Alex home and be alone with him. He was in luck. Only a couple of minutes after he pulled his car up outside the main gate, he saw Alex walk out, wearing the suit he'd worn for his trial and carrying a cardboard box.

Mulder grinned and climbed out of the car, leaning against it and waiting as Alex walked toward him, both of them ignoring the perimeter guards who stared at them. Alex walked straight into Mulder's waiting arms, dropping the box to wrap his own arms around his lover. They stood like that for long moments before Alex raised his head from Mulder's shoulder, and their lips met in a long, sweet kiss.

Eventually, Mulder raised his head again and cupped Alex's face in his hands. "I love you."

The smile that spread across Alex's face was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. "I love you too, Fox. And I'm never going to let you go."

"Good, because I don't intend to let you go either. Now let's go home."

Alex nodded eagerly, picking up his box of letters and placing them in the back seat before sliding into the passenger seat beside Fox. He could hardly wait to see Fox's, their, home.

All the way home, Alex gripped Mulder's hand, caressing the back with his thumb. He didn't look back as they sped away from the prison to the town where Mulder lived. He looked through the window at the blue sky, the green grass and small farms that were along the highway. He was grateful for this, for the freedom he now had. Business went on as usual as they approached the small town. Kids played in the street; people sat on their porches and drank lemonade. There were small shops along the way, selling their wares from peat moss to ice cream. It seemed strange to him that a mere few miles away, there were people who would never get to do all this again.

He stuck his hand out of the open window, letting the air pass over it. He sighed and sat back in his seat; it was wonderful having the sun shine on his face as he smelled fresh cut grass. All this was made even better by having his lover beside him. He knew he had a huge smile on his face, but he couldn't help himself.

"Is it how you remember it?" Mulder asked. "Outside, I mean."

Alex opened his eyes and squeezed Mulder's hand, "It's all that and more."

Finally, they pulled up to a modest two-story house in an older, yet well-kept neighborhood. They got Alex's box out of the trunk and went inside. Alex noticed Mulder didn't use a key.

"Don't you lock your door?"

Mulder laughed, "Why? All the bad guys are in the jail."

Alex shook his head but laughed anyway, "I guess you're right."

"Everyone in this town either works at the prison or is related to someone who is. No one's going to rob anybody here."

Mulder led them inside, and Alex could smell fresh paint and that clean smell that you got after all dust was obliterated. They walked forward and were now in a living room modestly furnished, yet tastefully decorated. The hardwood floor gleamed; the wood of the furniture shone. Alex was afraid to move.

"Put your box down, and I'll give you the five cent tour," Mulder said.

Alex just stood there, biting his lip. "Where?"

"I dunno, anywhere." Mulder took the box from Alex and placed it on the couch. He must have sensed Alex's apprehension because he went over to Alex and hugged him. "I figure if we don't sit down and we eat in the bathtub, we can keep this place clean." He laughed, "Hey, c'mon, it was a joke."

"You didn't have to go to any trouble for me." He stopped short; he couldn't let Mulder know about Sam's letter.

"Ah, it was time, anyway. Sam's been nagging at me to get rid of some junk and fix the place up. It does look nice, though, with everything refinished. I'm glad you could tell."

Alex smiled and gave him a kiss. "It's a beautiful place. Thank you."

"You're welcome, baby, anything for you. This is your house, too. Don't be afraid to touch things, to use things." Mulder pulled away. "But I'm not finished my tour yet." He turned and waved his hand, "This is the living room. Give me a day and I'll have the coffee table covered in newspapers and glasses."

Alex laughed. He followed Mulder through the living room to the back of the house where he found himself in a large kitchen.

"This is the kitchen, obviously. There used to be a pantry off to the side, but I took it out to make it bigger. I never used it, anyway. A couple of years ago, both the fridge and stove crapped out at the same time, so they are both new. I also added the sliding doors and deck." Mulder opened a set of vertical blinds that revealed a large set of sliding doors facing onto a deck and a spacious back yard. A propane-fueled barbecue was on the deck. He motioned to a door leading off of the kitchen, "There's a washroom there, and this door leads to the basement."

Alex nodded, taking it all in. Mulder was certainly handy, that was for sure. He followed him through to the living room again and up the stairs. They creaked in places, and the banister was worn from many people using it over the years. Mulder went down the hallway to the opposite end and started with the room there.

"Here's Sam's room. I'm still not allowed to touch anything in there."

Alex looked in and saw a bed and a dresser, and pink walls. A collection of antique dolls sat in the corner.

"Whatever you do, don't touch the dolls. She nearly poked my eye out one day when I messed with them." He shut the door and went to the next room, "This is the office if you can call it that." A computer was on a desk against the far wall, facing the window. There were bookshelves along another wall, almost bending from the amount of books piled on them. A small ghetto blaster was on the side of the desk, and an assortment of CDs was lying beside it. There was a reading lamp and a folded up futon in the corner.

"Sam bought me the computer and makes me e-mail her every day. I use it to look up a few things, but I'm not on it all that much. The futon came in handy when she brought her college friends home to stay."

Mulder brushed past Alex and pointed out the linen closet and the large bathroom at the other end of the hall. "Now, remember to close the blinds when you're having a shower. For some reason, the McTaggarts next door put a window facing this way when they renovated last year. Mrs. McTaggart got an eyeful one day when I was getting ready for work, and I think I scared the shit out of her."

Alex laughed; he loved this Fox Mulder. He was fun and sexy and relaxed. When they had been alone together in their room in the prison, Mulder had let his guard down somewhat but not completely. This was the man he could love for the rest of his life.

The gold flecks in Mulder's eyes glittered as they reached the last door. "This is our room."

Alex felt a surge of warmth run through him at the sound of that. Our room.

There was an antique bed made of walnut, that had belonged to Mulder's great grandmother, pushed back against one wall. There were two matching dressers side by side and bedside tables on either side of the bed. A large chest with a padded top stood at the foot of the bed.

Alex was speechless as he saw the large bed and warm furnishings. The walls were painted a dark green, textured bits of light green highlighting the dark color, making it a cozy escape. The sheets and comforter were also green, alternated with white and cream. He couldn't wait to sleep in such a luxurious bed. Sleep beside my lover.

"I wanted to match the color of your eyes," Mulder said, "but the woman at the hardware store said this was the closest she could come to sparkling like emeralds floating on the sea.".

Alex took Mulder's hand in his and kissed it.

"I don't really have anywhere else to put the dressers." Mulder said, "The closet takes up most of this one wall." He went over to one of the dressers and opened a drawer. "I...uh...I bought you a few things. Jeans, a few shirts, underwear, socks. Things I thought you would need. I also bought you a toothbrush and a new razor..." Mulder's face flushed. "But if you don't like them, we can..."

Alex stopped what Mulder was saying by covering his mouth with his own. He pulled away, reluctantly and looked into Mulder's eyes. "Thank you. That was very thoughtful. Have I told you how much I love you?"

"Yes, you have, and I love you just as much." Mulder reached out and brought Alex toward him, kissing him softly on his lips, lingering as long as he liked. His hands wandered up and undid Alex's tie, removing it slowly before he pushed his jacket over his shoulders and laid it on the chest at the foot of the bed. Mulder started unbuttoning the shirt, kissing his way down as the skin was exposed.

Alex arched into Mulder's touch as the lips moved down to his chest. It had been so long, and he wanted this so much. His hands clenched into fists as Mulder moved down to suck on his nipple, as he was finding it hard to keep his emotions in check. He was shaking; he couldn't believe the love that was pouring out of Mulder.

He decided to get it together and help out a little bit to keep from shivering so much. He reached forward and realized that Mulder was still wearing his uniform. He undid the heavy, black belt that still held handcuffs and an empty holster and slid it over Mulder's hips. It fell to the floor with a thud. He tried to work on the fastenings to Mulder's pants, but his fingers were shaking too much.

"Relax, Alex. Let me do this. Let me make love to you the way I've been dreaming about for months."

Alex moaned encouragement as Mulder swiftly stripped him of his remaining clothing and lay him gently onto the bed. It was so soft, the softest thing he'd ever felt. He watched as Mulder removed the rest of his clothing and stood there, running his fingers up and down Alex's body, making him quiver even more.

"I need you, Fox."

"I know you do, baby. I need you, too." Mulder lay down beside Alex and kissed him, his hands moving all over his torso, tweaking a nipple, and back down to the curls at his groin.

Alex gasped as Mulder's mouth moved off of his and began moving down his body leaving a wet trail behind. His nipples were hard, tight buds; his cock was aching. Mulder moved down to dip his tongue in and out of his bellybutton while his fingers drew lazy circles on his thigh. Alex gripped the sheets in his hand as Mulder's mouth went lower and lower until it descended on his cock.

He sucked in his breath as Mulder moved his tongue over and around his cock, pausing to suck the cream off of the top. He closed his eyes, savoring the tenderness of Mulder's actions. Mulder sucked and nibbled on his hardness as one of his hands cupped his balls and caressed the fragile skin. Suddenly the mouth was gone, and Alex opened his eyes to see Mulder coating his fingers with lube.

A whimper of pleasure left his mouth as Mulder moved the slick digits into his ass. He felt as Mulder's lips kissed his thighs, nipping lightly at the skin. The fingers in his ass were stretching him, making him wider. He opened his legs and arched his hips, wanting them deeper, wanting them more. He shuddered as a third finger joined the first two and dragged across his prostate.

"I want you," he whimpered.

"I want you too, babe. Just give me a minute." Alex watched as Mulder slicked up his large cock before he dragged his legs up over his shoulders. Mulder entered him in one slow glide, bliss showing on his face. "God, you're beautiful, Alex. I wish I could take a picture of you right now."

Alex moaned, "Fuck me, Fox."

Mulder laughed, "You're starting to get demanding already? You've been here less than an hour."

"Please... please... I need you, Fox." Alex was practically sobbing.

Mulder moved his hips back and forth. "You like that, baby."

Alex arched his back and thrust his hips up for more. "Yeah, I like that. Please...."

Alex met Mulder's mouth as he was kissed. Mulder started to move his hips again, setting a pounding rhythm. Alex held onto Mulder's shoulders, his fingers digging in. This felt so good; he'd never imagined this feeling so good. He wasn't going to last long; it was coming; he could feel the tingle in the base of his balls, fanning out up his spine. He bit his lip and stifled the moan coming from his throat.

"Don't hold back. No one can hear you. Let it out. I told you that when I got you home I was going to make you scream with pleasure."

Alex let out a loud cry, more than making up for the silence of the past years. He felt himself come and come, shooting his thick cream over his chest. Mulder also let out a loud moan, saying Alex's name over and over again. Alex then felt something strange; he was shaking and his face felt wet.

"Baby, you okay?"

Alex tried to answer, but the only thing that came out of his mouth was a sob. He felt Mulder wipe him clean, then come to lie down beside him, holding him and rocking him gently.

"Shhhh, it's okay, babe. You're with me, it's okay."

Alex turned his head to Mulder's chest and cried like he'd never cried before. All that pent up frustration and agony over the past two years had finally been let loose. Alex always kept his feelings bottled up, but today, now, he had to let them out.

Mulder held him until he finished, dropping kisses on his forehead, not questioning or accusing, only soothing, kissing his tears away. When he was done, Alex kissed the wet chest beneath him. Finally spent, he allowed himself to relax and drift off to sleep.

He woke up a few hours later, feeling much better for the rest and discovered that he was alone in the bed. He got up and dressed in a pair of black jeans and t-shirt that Mulder had bought for him and went looking for his missing lover. He found Mulder in the kitchen, muttering under his breath and lightly dusted with flour.

Alex leaned back against the door jamb, enjoying the chance to watch Fox and also amused by his grumbles. "What's the matter, babe?"

Mulder nearly jumped out of his skin when Alex spoke unexpectedly. He turned around, a pouty expression on his face. "I wanted to make Chicken Florentine for you since you said it was your favorite meal," Alex wondered why he had flour out in that case but didn't dare ask, "but it's a total disaster. I'm hopeless in a kitchen!"

"Fox, I don't expect you to cook for me," he laughed. "You already told me that you can't. We can order out, or I can cook. My mother insisted on gourmet cooking lessons when I was younger. I make a mean Boeuf Bourgignon, let me tell you. And you haven't lived till you've tasted my Key Lime Pie. But I'm just as happy with a pizza and a beer." As soon as he said that, his eyes lit up. "Do you have any beer?"

Mulder handed one to him. He'd stocked up, knowing that had to have been one of the things Alex had missed in prison. "Maybe you should sit down and drink it now," he suggested.

"Why?" Alex eyed him suspiciously, wondering what Mulder was up to.

"We're not going to be alone for long. While you were asleep, I called Sam to let her know the good news. She'd never have forgiven me if I hadn't let her know that you were here with me. Anyhow, she's coming tomorrow. She says she wants to meet her new brother."

Alex blinked in surprise. "'Brother'?"

"I suppose technically it should be brother-in-law, but let's not quibble."

"Your sister thinks of me as a brother?"

Mulder suddenly understood that Alex was nearly overwhelmed by Sam's acceptance. He'd been an only child, so this meant a lot to him. "You are her brother now, Alex. Even the law will say so after we've lived together for a couple of years. You're part of the family now."

Alex smiled tearfully. "Thank you. Thank you for giving me my life back and making it so much better than it's ever been."

Mulder smiled. "We're gonna make a new life together, babe."

Alex frowned. "What about... Michael?"

"I'll have to talk to him," Mulder said, an uneasy expression crossing his face, "but if I have to make a choice, I'll never give you up."

Alex stepped into Fox's arms, praying that Mulder wouldn't lose a friendship that meant so much to him over him. He made an effort to break the somber mood. "So, where's my pizza?"

Mulder laughed at him and pulled out the phonebook to order something edible. While they waited, they cleaned up the aftermath of Mulder's attempt to cook, and Alex truly felt like he'd come home.

END 

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