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Author's Notes: The poem used in this story is one of my own. I have never given a public reading of my work (outside of a few class assignments), and am not well acquainted with Alex Krycek (dammit). But that is me reading it in the story.Paula Poundstone is a very funny comedienne who performs sitting on a stool. Very relaxed.

Song of the Seducer
By Scribe


No one understands you, now,
do they, babe?
No one sees the you that's real,
way down deep inside.
You could have the love you need
so easily
if you'd just give up your foolish pride
and let me in.

Because I know you...
I know your pain.
I know your hopes and your dreams.
I know the deep and the dark
of your soul.
I know you're not what your seem
and I want you...

People gonna tell you
what you want is wrong,
try to make and mold you
into what they think they need.
Cut you with their scorn
if you dare to break away.
Beat you with their guilt
till your soul is
bruised and bleeding, but...

I know your pain.
I know your needs and desires,
they're like mine.
Walk with me now
through the fire
to a place
where love can be free.
Let go the world and
give in to me...
You know you want to
give in to me.
You're gonna have to
give in to me...

Song of the Seducer

AD Skinner regarded Mulder with the sour irritation that seemed to characterize most of his encounters with this particular field agent lately. "Close the case Mulder."

"Skinner, I can't. Look, give me one more week on it, all right? All I have to do is get one person to talk, just one. That'll crack it wide open."

The tall FBI agent leaned forward in his chair, his face earnest. "I'm telling you that these mutilation killings were not the work of a simple serial killer."

Scully frowned. "Mulder, I'd hardly call Beswick simple. The man had an elaborate psychotic delusion, bordering on the baroque."

"I know that, Scully. But it wasn't all garden variety psychosis."

Skinner passed a hand over his face. "You're not still promoting that shape shifting theory, are you?"

"All the signs are there!" Mulder insisted. "The timing of the attacks, the eyewitness reports... They haven't had a mountain lion sighting in that area of the country for over 120 years."

"So they were driven into the deep wilds, and one became more active when the construction crew started on the chemical plant."

"But don't you think it's significant that no locals were harmed? People who've been in that area all their lives? Only construction and company employees were attacked or killed."

"I'd say that indicates a lot of city folks getting out in the woods where they don't know what the hell they're doing, disturbing the natural order of things, and paying the consequences," Skinner growled.

"Or disturbing the unnatural order of things." Mulder argued. "There are Indian legends in that area of a guardian spirit that can take the form of many animal. The most favored one is believed to be a mountain lion, and the spirit lives to protect the land and the people. That's just what happened, don't you see?"

Scully sighed. "Mulder, a half dozen people are dead, including the mayor of that little mountain town you find so picturesque. You forgot him when you said no natives were hurt."

"No, Scully, you don't understand. That comes under the protection part. It was the mayor who ramrodded through the agreement to allow the chemical plant to build. It wouldn't have happened without him, and I'm sure he got a kick-back on it."

Skinner's voice was sharp now. "You'd better be damn careful, making accusations like that, Mulder! There's no evidence to indicate that theory beyond the fact that he was friendly with a few of the company big-wigs. Physical evidence was found linking Beswick to the murders, he attacked you, Scully shot him, case closed."

"But something was happening when he attacked me, Walter, I swear it! His eyes weren't right, his voice..."


Mulder flinched, and his shoulders slumped in defeat. Skinner was normally surly, but when he raised his voice like that, it was time to listen. The case would be officially closed, he wouldn't be allowed to devote any more working hours to it, and anything done on his own time would be a hazard to his career.

As they left the office, Scully said, "You keep pushing him, Mulder. You knew how this was going to end when you went in there. Why do you do it?"

He stared at her. She was his partner, probably the person he was closest to in the world, who was supposed to understand him best, and she still didn't get it. "Because I have to, Scully."

Her fair brows drew together. "That's a child's explanation, Mulder."

He was stung. "Well, forgive me." His voice was brittle. "It's the only one I have."

They had just entered their office. He grabbed his trench coat, shrugging into it. "Where are you going?"

"I'm leaving early. I've put in enough damn overtime to justify it."

"Hell, Mulder, don't go off and pout somewhere."

"I'm not going to pout."

"All right, sulk, then."

"And I'm not going to sulk, either. I'm going to brood. There's a difference." He walked out without saying good-bye.

Mulder fumed, stabbing at the buttons in the elevator and almost bouncing off the walls in frustration while he waited for it to rise to ground level. He swept out of the J. Edgar Hoover building in high dudgeon, but once out of the actual building, he hesitated.

There wasn't anywhere he wanted to GO. His apartment was so empty, the Lone Gunmen were off at some sort of conspiracy convention, and the clubs...

Well, even with their crowds of strangers, they somehow seemed more empty than his apartment. But he couldn't go back in, and he couldn't stay still, so he just stalked back and forth across the front of the building at the top of the steps, trying to decide what to do.

He didn't know how long he did that, how many passes he made. Finally he heard a voice call, "Do you intend to wear a groove in the stone, Mulder?" He looked around. There was only one person in sight. Why hadn't he noticed him before?

There was a bench at the bus stop in front of the building, and it held a single occupant. He was sitting with his back to Mulder, seemingly completely at ease. His arms were stretched out along the back on either side, hands dangling loosely. He was wearing a leather jacket, and a baseball cap. He didn't turn to look at Mulder, but somehow the FBI agent felt that he was aware of him, very aware.

After a moment's hesitation, Mulder started down the steps cautiously. "Do I know you?"

"Not as well as you might think you do, but that can be changed." As he came up around the bench, the man tipped his head up, and grinned at Mulder.

"Shit! Krycek!"

"Miss me?"

Mulder scowled. "The last time I took a shot, yeah."

"I love you, too."

"Stop it. What are you doing here? What kind of shit are you up to?"

"Nothing really. I have some free time, and I just thought I'd like to spend it with my fella."

"I said stop it!"

"You're so cute when you're fooling yourself."

Mulder turned and angrily stalked away. "I'm not going to stay here and listen to your bull shit."

"Okay, we'll walk." Krycek hopped up and hurried after him. Catching up, he matched his pace to Mulder's. "Where are we going?"

Mulder stopped, and Krycek halted with him. "I can't believe you. After what you did to me, you show up here like nothing happened?"

Krycek smiled, but his green eyes were almost glowing. "What did happen, Mulder?"

Fox stared at him. "Don't play with me."

Alex cocked his head. "But it's just so much fun, Mulder. You react so beautifully."

"You know what you did."

"Refresh my memory."

Mulder looked away. "Texas. In... in the van."

"Ah, yes--I fucked you."

Mulder's head snapped back around, hazel eyes blazing with fury. "You raped me!"

"Really? We seem to have two different interpretations of the event. So, tell me... If it was rape, did you report it?"

Mulder was silent. No, he hadn't reported it, hadn't told anyone. Not even Scully. "I didn't think so," Krycek said smugly. "I've been trolling the official records, and there aren't any fresh arrest warrants out for me."

Mulder scowled and resumed walking. "Wouldn't have done any good. By the time I came to, the physical evidence was screwed."

Alex followed, nodding. "Yeah, that's as good an excuse as any. How's your ass, by the way? Besides fine, I mean. Didn't hurt for too long, did it?"

"I'm not discussing this with you."

"It'll be easier the next time." Fox jerked away from him with a horrified stare. "Gah, Mulder, you've got more fits and starts tonight than I did the first time I tried to drive a standard shift."

"What the fuck do you mean, next time? That was a fucking aberration!"

"Mulder, aberration just means a departure from the normal or typical. Most people think it's a good thing when they get shaken out of their rut."

"It also means a deviation from the proper or expected course."

Alex shrugged, smiling easily. "I cop to that: I'm very improper, and I shoot for unexpected. Have you eaten yet?"

Fox blinked at the abrupt shift in the tone of the conversation. "Like you care."

"Sure, I care. Gotta keep your strength up, babe. Can't have you getting all involved with aliens and conspiracies, forgetting to eat, and falling away on me." He reached over and patted Mulder's flat belly lightly. "You'd lose tone in that fabulous ass of yours."

Mulder swung at him, but Alex was expecting it. He had a good idea of just how far he could go before Mulder snapped, and he'd been pushing the envelope. Alex caught the thrown fist, grabbing his wrist. He jerked, spinning, and Mulder found himself with his arm wrenched up behind his back, and Krycek's other arm around his throat, tight. "Simmer down, Sweetcheeks. There's no need to be all hostile here. I just want to take you to dinner."

Mulder struggled, but the forearm across his windpipe tightened till he was starting to see spots in front of his eyes. When he quit fighting, it loosened. He panted, "Let me get this straight. You're asking me on a fucking date?"

"Yeah. Nothing big. We've never really dated, ya know, not even in my brief stint as your official partner. You hang out with Scully and those computer geeks all the time, and even have dinner with Skinhead occasionally. I want that."

"I spend time with people I LIKE, Krycek."

"Why not spend some time with someone who understands you, Mulder?"

Fox became even quieter. "You don't know me."

Krycek's lips were so close to his ear that he could feel the warm brush of silken skin. "Then come with me and let me learn."

More silence. "Where?"

Krycek let go, but was careful to wipe the triumphant grin off his face before Mulder could turn around and see it. "Not far. There's a little coffee bar I think you'll like. It has good sandwiches."

"Who pays?"

"I asked, didn't I? What kind of a guy do you think I am, Mulder?" He got a stare. "Okay, don't answer that. Anyway, I don't make my dates go Dutch treat. I pay."

Mulder made a show of considering, and Alex waited confidently. He wasn't wrong. "Okay."

"Great. It's this direction."

They started walking again, not touching, but close. After a half a block, Mulder said warningly. "Just don't try any shit. I still have my gun."

"Mhm. Any particular reason why you didn't go for it back there?" No answer. Alex rubbed his chin to camouflage his smirk.

The place Krycek took him to wasn't bad, but it wasn't much, either. Small, dark, but surprisingly clean for such a seedy area. There were a fair number of people in it for the middle of the week. Either the food was really good, it had remarkably loyal clientele, or there was something going on.

They were greeted at the door by a thin, intense looking young girl wearing all black, pale lipstick, and as much mascara and eye shadow as any 1920's movie vamp. When she smiled, the femme fatale image was spoiled by a stunning set of braces. "Cindy, I see you finally sprung for the grillwork."

"Yah, Lexi. You were right, the dentist decided to let me do it on payments. Thanks for talking to him."

"No problem. Got a table for me and my friend?"

"Always. C'mon."

As they wove their way through the small tables, Fox hissed. "Krycek, exactly what kind of talk did you have with her dentist?"

"A non-fatal one." As they sat, Krycek said, "We won't need menus. Just bring us two of the French dips and a couple of beers." She nodded, leaving, and Krycek noticed Mulder's stare. "What?"

"I usually order for myself?"

"You have a problem with the French dip? I could tell her to make it a club instead, but you'd really be missing something. The kitchen uses best grade sirloin. I made an arrangement with their supplier."

"Another non-fatal talk?"

"Oh, I didn't say that." Mulder stiffened. "Christ, Mulder, relax. I'm joking. I traded favors." *It wasn't fatal for the supplier, anyway,* Krycek thought.

Cindy brought the beers, and Krycek said, "Is Scribe in yet?"

"Not yet. Soon."

"But there is a gig tonight, right?"

"Oh, yeah. You think we'd have this kind of a crowd on a Wednesday if there wasn't? You want fries with those dips?"

Krycek, the considerate date, looked at Mulder. "My friend likes to order for himself. I'd recommend the onion rings."

"Yeah, fries would be good." Fox mumbled.

"You still using those big, sweet Texas 1015s for the rings?" Alex inquired.

"Yup. As long as the season lasts."

"I'll have the rings, then." As she bustled away, he said. "You're going to be jealous of the rings."

"I wish you'd quit acting so... casual."

"Why? Mulder, everything doesn't have to be life-or-death angst, you know. You need a little downtime in your life, or you're going to flame out. Just drink your beer and enjoy the evening. You will, if you let yourself."

Mulder drank some of the beer, which was better than he had expected. They must have a good brand on tap. Belatedly he considered the fact that there might be something in it other than hops, and Krycek said, "It's just beer, Mulder."

"What makes you think I was worried about anything else?"

"I know you. Despite what you claim, I know you, Mulder."

The sandwiches came. They were as good as Krycek had promised: thick with wafer thin slices of tender, rare beef, with au jus for dipping. Eating a French dip is a messy proposition, and Mulder's fingers were soon smeared liberally with juice and grease. The tiny paper napkin was totally inadequate, and he was licking his fingers before he thought about it.

He glanced up to find Krycek watching him, eyes riveted, and froze. Krycek wiggled his own smeared fingers, then slipped one into his mouth and sucked it, watching Mulder all the while. Fox felt a stir of heat, seeing the lean cheeks hollowing slightly, as he slowly slid the finger in and out of his mouth before pulling it free with a voluptuous sigh. When the waitress came to remove the plates, he said, "Cindy, give us a few more napkins, huh? My friend is a rather fastidious person."

"Your friend is a babe," she twinkled, pulling a pad of napkins from an apron pocket. She handed them to Fox, saying, "He must really like you. He doesn't bring anyone else here."

Fox wiped his hands. "Huh. So I'm privileged."

Alex reached over and snagged a napkin, beginning to clean himself. "I haven't been with anyone else since I partnered with you, Mulder. Well, not unless it was strictly business."

"You expect me to believe that?"

"You might ask yourself why you bothered to wonder about it at all."

While Fox was trying to think of a suitable reply, a plump woman with a mop of dark, curly hair bustled over to the table. "Lexi! My biggest fan!"

"Hey, Scribe!" He stood up and they hugged. Fox noticed that he gave her butt a quick squeeze.

She pulled away, slapping at him in amusement. "Stop that. You'll give an old broad a heart attack. Besides, you don't really mean it, you rat." She turned bright blue eyes and an even brighter smile on Mulder. "So, this is Fox?"

Fox stood, a little stiffly, and shook hands. "Special Agent Mulder."

She cast a look at Krycek. "You weren't exaggerating, were you, dear? Wound tighter than a three day clock, but cute as hell." She turned her attention back to Mulder. "Don't worry, honey. Lexi will work those kinks out of you. Or..." she slid a mischievous glance at Krycek. "...he might work a few more into you."

Krycek laughed. "Evil woman. Can you do what we talked about before?"

"Of course. When have I ever turned down an opportunity to show off? Besides, you know that it's one of my favorite pieces. I think it will be very appropriate, though you've heard it so often YOU could probably recite it by heart. Why don't you?"

"No, not tonight. I'm just here to enjoy."

"Suit yourself, hon. You always do." She eyed Mulder again, then looked at Krycek. "If you want to join in at any point, you know I encourage it."

"I know. I might."

As she went up on the small dias that was nearby, Mulder said, "What the hell is this? Kareoke?"

"Please. Nothing so plebeian. No, I just remembered one of your pet obsessions."

"Good evening, friends and strangers." The murmur of voices in the room lowered as she spoke. Remarkably fast response, Fox thought. It usually took a speaker longer to get that sort of co-operation. She must be well respected here. "As most of you know, we usually don't do a recitation or reading on Wednesday's, but I had a special request from someone I'm fond of, and I see that somehow the grapevine got hold of it. I'm going to do one of my pieces, then I'm opening up the mike to anyone who has something prepared, or just has something to get off their chest."

She pulled a tall stool up to the mike and perched on it, adjusting the level as she said, "Quick Paula Poundstone impression." That got a few titters. The lights dimmed, except for a small spot just over her head. Mulder could see an occasional silver glint among the curls that hadn't been evident before. She was older than she looked.

Scribe closed her eyes for a moment, and you could see her centering herself, moving into whatever mood she felt was right. Mulder had finally realized that he was about to hear a poetry reading, or recitation, in this case, because she had no notes.

When she opened her eyes again, her gaze had gone smoky. Her voice, when she spoke, was still warm, but no longer cheerful. There was a husky sensuality to it, and it made Mulder look at her more closely. "This is entitled Song of the Seducer."

The room got completely quiet. Even the staff stopped what they were doing to watch and listen. After a moment's pause, she started.

"No one understands you, now, do they babe? No one sees the you that's real, way down deep inside."

With the first lines, Mulder dropped back in his seat. He looked quickly at Krycek. *How did he know? How the fuck did he know exactly what I was feeling?*

"You could have the love you need so easily if you'd just give up your foolish pride and let me in. Because I know you..." Krycek wasn't watching the woman. His eyes were locked on Mulder, searching. She continued. "I know your pain. I know your hopes and your dreams. I know the deep and the dark of your soul. I know you're not what your seem and I want you..."

Mulder wanted to look away, but he couldn't. Krycek had him pinned as effectively as if he was physically holding his head in a vice grip, forcing him to lock gazes.

"People gonna tell you what you want is wrong, try to make and mold you into what they think they need." God, that was so true. His father, the Bureau, the world in general... Even his friends. They all seemed to have some preconceived notion of what he should be, and he was continually falling short of that.

"Cut you with their scorn if you dare to break away. Beat you with their guilt till your soul is bruised and bleeding, but..." That was exactly how he felt sometimes: battered. Never enough trust, never enough faith, never quite good enough. Always something he should have done instead or in addition. He never seemed to be enough to satisfy anyone, just being himself.

Alex Krycek whispered the next words with the poet. "I know your pain. I know your needs and desires. They're like mine. Walk with me now through the fire to a place where love can be free."

Mulder could feel himself starting to tremble. *No, don't listen. Can't listen. Remember the title of the damn poem. The seducer, right? He'll say anything, do anything to get what he wants. He'll offer whatever it takes. Understanding and acceptance, this time. But there's a price. There's always a price. There has to be.*

"Let go the world and give in to me. You know you want to give in to me." The woman's voice fell away quietly, and Krycek's voice was a bare brush of sound. "You're gonna have to give in to me."

There was a moment's silence, then a burst of applause that was obviously heartfelt. The woman bowed her head, smiling in acknowledgment, and gave up her seat to a boy dressed in a T-shirt that advertised a deathmetal band, who began to recite a poem about, shockingly enough, how the world in general just didn't understand him.

Mulder finally managed to drop his eyes, tearing himself away from that knowing, intense gaze. "She's good."

"She is. She's got one called Song of the Dom I want you to hear sometime, but not tonight. It's a little early for that one, I think."

"I've got to get home." He pushed his chair back, standing up.

"Sure." Krycek pulled some bills from his pocket, and handed them to a passing Cindy. "Keep the change, Cin. Put it toward your first payment." She giggled. Mulder was making his way toward the door. Krycek hopped up and followed him. "Hey! Wait for baby."

Out on the street, Mulder started back for the J. Edgar Hoover Building with Krycek once again by his side. "Kind of early for you to be turning in Mulder, what with your insomnia."

"I didn't say I was going to sleep, I just said I need to get home."

"Silly Alex, reading more into things than is there. Can I have a ride?"

"Oh, yeah, sure. I'm going to get in a car with you."

"C'mon, Mulder. I bought dinner. I just need a ride home."

Mulder considered. He doubted the triple agent would actually direct him to where he was holed up, but if he could get some general idea of where Krycek was staying, it might prove useful. "All right. Where?"

"You know better than that. I'll give you directions."

In the car, he indicated where to turn when it was appropriate. Mulder started to feel apprehensive as they moved into a more deserted part of the city. But then, it would be typical of Krycek to choose someplace totally obscure. At last he said, "Pull over here."

Fox stopped in front of an ancient, crumbling brick building that had rubble strewn lots on either side. He bent to peer past Krycek at the dark, lightless building. "It looks abandoned."

Krycek reached past him and turned the key, shutting off the car's engine. "It is." He scooted toward Mulder, hand drifting up to settle against his cheek.

Fox jerked his head back. "I should have known."

"What? I just want a little cuddling, Mulder, that's all. A little necking, it doesn't have to be anything extreme." He had his arms around Mulder, and pulled him over into the center of the seat.

"I've told you before, I'm not gay."

"Neither am I. The term is 'bi' Mulder, you know that, with all your psychological studies. And I'm not attracted to you because you're a man. I'm attracted to you because you're Fox Mulder. Isn't that how it's supposed to be?"

He leaned forward, and Mulder turned his face away. Alex settled for brushing his lips against the hinge of Mulder's jaw. He licked the little hollow. When Mulder shivered, he made his way slowly down the FBI agent's neck, trailing his tongue, and started to suck a small patch of skin just above his collar.

"I don't want this." Mulder's voice was thick.

"Then fight me," Krycek whispered. "Go on, Mulder, slap the shit out of me. Make me bleed. You've done it before."

Fox could remember that vividly: the feel of his fist driving into Krycek's gut, his face. The warm wetness of blood. The way Krycek had licked the blood from his split lip, and smiled up at him through the rapidly darkening bruises that marked his handsome face... Something in his gut clenched as he compared his violence to the gentleness he was experiencing now.

*No, it's just some sort of mind fuck. He's lulling me, trying to get me to drop my guard. Then he'll rip me open again.*

Mulder thought this, but when Krycek took hold of his chin, he let his face be turned. Krycek's mouth came down on his this time, firm and hungry. His lips were pushed apart, and a questing tongue stroked over his teeth.

He felt Krycek's hand in his lap, kneading the growing swell of his awakening prick. *I've got to stop this now. Right now.* Krycek was pulling down his zipper, reaching into the gap. "It doesn't mean anything."

"It means as much or as little as you want it to mean, Mulder." Krycek pulled Mulder's hard on out into the open, and began to stroke him gently, slowly. "You need this right now, I can tell. Let me give it to you. I can take good care of you, if you just let me."

"I don't need you." His head had fallen back on the seat. *God, it's been a long time since anyone touched me like that. Feels so good.*

"We all need someone. Even me, and I used to think I was the most self-sufficient bastard on the face of the earth, but here I am: jerking off a man who's told me over and over that he hates me. What do you suppose that means, Mulder? You're the profiler."

"It means you're nuts."

A chuckle. "Thank you for your professional opinion." Mulder groaned as Krycek found the dribble of precome that had oozed from his slit and used it to slick his hand, making it slide more easily on Mulder's engorged flesh. "You need me, Mulder. You're just hanging on to everything else so damn hard that you can't see it, and I can't understand why. What has the rest of the world done for you except sneer at you and kick you in the teeth?"

His hand was moving faster. Mulder found himself pushing up into Krycek's grip, lifting his ass off the car seat with little grunts. "That's right, Mulder, that's right. Just forget about all the rest for right now. Just you and me, and how good this feels, how right this feels."

Krycek kissed him again. This time Mulder's teeth parted, and Krycek's tongue swept deep, licking and stroking over Mulder's. As he pumped more strongly, squeezing, Mulder began to suck on his tongue. He soon had to stop, though, putting his head back and gasping. He was too close to orgasm, bucking up wildly into Krycek's fist. He heard Krycek whispering again. "Yes, Mulder. Give it to me, come on. I'm the one. I know your pain. I know your needs and desires, they're like mine."

His hand moved furiously. "Let go the world and give in to me. You know you want to give in to me. You're gonna have to give in to me."

Fox cried out desperately, grabbing Krycek by the back of the neck, holding him as the first spasm of his climax struck. He was looking into Krycek's eyes when he came, his sperm bathing the rapidly moving hand.

Krycek's movements slowed, but did not stop immediately. He continued to stroke and squeeze Mulder's softening prick for a few moments, almost as if he were petting the trembling man, trying to soothe him. Mulder hadn't removed his hand from the back of Krycek's neck, but his grip was loose now. Krycek pulled a bandana out of his jacket and used it to wipe Mulder off, then cleaned his hand. He grinned at Fox, holding the bandana to his nose for a deep sniff before he tucked it back in his pocket. "I think I'll keep this."

Feeling heavy and dreamy, Mulder murmured, "DNA sample?"

"Souvenir." Krycek kissed him again lightly, then got out of the car. He bent back down to look through the open passenger window. "Sorry I can't see you to your door properly, Mulder, but it just wouldn't be wise. Besides, I think you can use a little time alone to think about things. Just remember, I'm the one who wants you just exactly like you are."

He moved away quickly, melting into the shadows with the ease of long practice. Mulder tucked himself back into his pants, zipping up, then started the car. But for a moment he just sat there, staring after Krycek.

*It's a mind fuck, Mulder. That's all it is. The man is a genius at finding the right buttons to push.*

As he started back to his apartment, the words of the poet echoed in his mind. The memory of her voice faded to be replaced by Krycek's husky tones. "I know the deep and the dark of your soul. I know you're not what you seem, and I want you..."