Title: Desires Unshadowed
Author: Polly Bywater
E-mail address: Pollyabywater@yahoo.com
Fandom: X-Files
Pairing: Skinner/Mulder/Krycek
Warning: Depicted m/m/m sexual situations. You should also be aware it's kind of schmoopy. Okay, maybe a lot schmoopy. What can I say, I was in the mood.
Rating: NC-17
Archive: Just tell me where
Website: http://gondor.adsl.dk/leone/polly_bywater.htm for my Star Trek Voyager Chakotay/Paris stories.
Disclaimer: The characters of Skinner, Mulder, and Krycek are owned by Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and the Fox Network, however undeservedly so. Like any fanfic writer, I make no profit, however deservedly so. Sigh.
Spoilers: Assume most of the Krycek eps, just to be on the safe side. Since I pretty much quit watching the X-Files after 'Existence', anything that's happened since then is a mystery to me.
Summary: Sometimes you gotta go in through the out door to get anywhere, and Fox points out the way for Alex and Walter.
Notes: Been reading, been lurking. Peach's story 'The Other Man' put the idea in my head to twist things around a bit. Thank you Peach! I wish I had half your talent, because writing threesome sex is unbelievably difficult. I hope you'll all take pity on my first attempt at it.


'Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained; and the restrainer or reason usurps its place and governs the unwilling.

And being restrained it becomes by degrees passive till it is only the shadow of desire.'

-William Blake, 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell'


Walter let himself into his lover's apartment with a smile that turned into a huffed sigh of disappointment when he realized Mulder wasn't home. The apartment was quiet and dimly lit, the only available illumination coming from the light over the large fish tank.

He looked around, noticing idly that everything was fairly tidy, for Mulder, and shoved down the ever-present pang he felt when he remembered the discussion they'd had when Mulder had decided to move into a new place. Walter had tried to talk Mulder into moving in with him. It was a suggestion Mulder had gently but firmly deflected; first, by pointing out it would do Walter's career no good to be living openly with a male former subordinate, and then when that argument had gone no where, Mulder had admitted he really needed some space of his own. Still, he'd given Walter a key, and when one or the other of them wasn't out of town they spent the nights together more often than not, alternating locations.

Walter liked Mulder's new place. It was light, airy, and certainly larger than that tiny dump the younger man had lived in for so many years. The kitchen was set off from the living/dining area by a breakfast bar and a set of overmounted cabinets, creating a convenient opening through which one could supervise the cook; always a good idea where Mulder was concerned.

Controlling the impulse to yawn, Walter stashed his overnight bag in the bedroom without bothering to turn on any lights. The seminar he'd been attending in Austin had lost whatever slim appeal it held several days ago, and Walter had decided rather abruptly there was no good reason to hang around for the last day of banquets and glad-handing when he could be home. So he'd flown back to D.C. and gone to his own place just long enough to shed his luggage, shower off the airplane smell, and change into casual clothes before heading over to Mulder's. He'd been hoping to surprise his lover, but the surprise was on him since Mulder was out.

//Oh, well. Might as well see if he's got anything edible in the kitchen.//

He was shaking his head at Mulder's amazingly well stocked refrigerator and debating on whether or not to fry some eggs when he heard a key rattling at the entry. He closed the fridge and froze in the resultant darkness when he heard the sounds of the door opening and something else- a husky chuckle he'd never thought to hear again in this life. Astonishment kept him motionless in the shadows as he listened.

"What's the matter, baby, you having trouble with your coordination?"

//Jesus Christ, it *couldn't* be- *Baby*?//

"Fuck you, Alex. Like you don't know what's wrong with my coordination." Mulder was laughing. "Here, give me your coat."

Walter ignored the sounds of the foyer closet being opened and the rattling of hangers, too stunned by what he'd heard seconds earlier.

//*Alex*? Oh my God, Alex is *alive*?//

Walter covered his mouth and shuddered at the force of an impossible surge of joy before his mind caught up and tried to supply all the other emotions he *should* be feeling. Anger, hatred, resentment, betrayal, confusion, grief, pain... but over and under everything else his heart sang with the knowledge that Alex Krycek was here, living and breathing. In the year since Walter had pumped three bullets into Alex's body, not a day had gone by that he didn't mourn the loss of his former lover, despite his relationship with Mulder. Actually, in a lot of ways, he'd been mourning Alex for years before the man's death.

//God, Oh, God, Alex is *alive*!//

He soundlessly slid to his knees, one hand still over his mouth to muffle any involuntary evidence of his shaken relief, and realized he had a direct line of sight over the top of the breakfast bar. He watched Mulder and Krycek sit down on the sofa together and feasted on the vision of a gorgeously healthy, smiling Alex. It took Walter a minute to notice the two men were holding hands. Even in the faint light he could clearly see their expressions; both so happy, seemingly captivated with each other. He stared in silence as Alex leaned forward and laid a brief but exquisitely tender kiss on Mulder's lips. It was enough to splinter his thoughts along several different tracks.

//Mulder. Mulder knew. How long has he known- Why didn't he tell me?//

//Mulder and Alex are *lovers*! How long has this been going on?//

//Jesus, Alex looks good, no more of that half-starved life-on-the-run desperation.//

//Wonder where they've been, dressed like that?//

Alex Krycek, for once not dressed in black denim and leather, but wearing-

//and wearing it *well*//

-olive colored trousers and a long-sleeved silk shirt in a pale wheat shade that made his skin glow.

//And look at Mulder.//

Navy slacks and a slate blue shirt that Walter knew would reflect in those variable hazel eyes.

//So pretty. So fucking pretty, the two of them.//

Walter forced aside his shocked reactions so he could focus on what they were saying.

"Do you want something to drink? Eat?" Mulder was saying, and Walter braced himself until he saw Alex shake his head.

"No, baby. I've got everything I want right here," Alex replied, lifting Mulder's hand to his mouth.

"Are you sure? You brought all that stuff—"

"I brought that stuff for *you*. I knew you wouldn't have anything in there but leftover Chinese takeout and mold, and I was right. Doesn't Walter take care of you?" Alex asked seriously, and Walter felt himself pale.

//Alex *knows* about Mulder and me!//

He wasn't sure whether he should be relieved that Mulder had been honest about their relationship, or angry that Alex obviously knew and hadn't let it stop him.

"Walter tries, Alex. I'm not very good at letting *anyone* take care of me," Mulder admitted with a wry grin that faded all too quickly in the face of Alex's suddenly somber gaze.

"Fox—"

//*Fox*?//

"-Walter loves you, and I know you love him. What's the problem?"

"Goddamn it, Alex, how can you ask me that? I don't understand you! Any normal person would be screaming with jealousy! What the fuck is *your* problem?" That quick Mulder temper, whirling up like a summer storm, all lightning and thunder. Mulder made to stand up, and Alex simply grinned and yanked Mulder against his chest, wrapping him up tight with both his right arm and the prosthetic. Mulder tried to move away, but Alex grabbed a thick handful of hair and pulled Mulder's head back.

"*You're* my problem, Fox, you always have been, you always will be," Alex promised huskily, taking Mulder's mouth in a hungrily possessive kiss that made Walter want to groan out loud with the memories of what that felt like. From both sides. It wasn't long before Mulder stopped his efforts at squirming away and started squirming to get closer.

//Beautiful together. Jesus, they're beautiful.//

Alex finally lifted his head, and Walter had to stifle another groan when Mulder whimpered a protest.

"That kissed-stupid look really works for you, moy lyubov, but I want you to look at me," Alex rasped, waiting for Mulder to open his eyes before he went on. "You'd better believe if it was *anybody* besides Walter they'd be floating in the Potomac by now."

"Oh, stop, you're making me horny," Mulder said dryly, and they laughed at each other with an easy familiarity that was apparent to their silent watcher.

"Now tell me what's wrong? What's going on with you and Walter?" Alex urged eventually, his hand on Mulder's head gently drawing it down to rest on his shoulder. Mulder settled against him with an audible sigh but said nothing when Alex started running his fingers through that golden-brown hair.

"Come on, Fox. We've put this discussion off all week. I have to leave tomorrow and I want to know that you're okay. You *and* Walter."

//All *week*?//

//He has to leave *tomorrow*? Nooo.//

//He wants *me* to be okay?//

"God, Alex, I hate the thought of you leaving."

"I know, baby. So do I, but there's still a few labs to clean out before it's really over."

"I know I'd be wasting my time trying to convince you to let me help."

"Yes, you would, and stop avoiding the subject," Alex replied firmly, and Mulder pulled away far enough to see his face. They regarded each other with equally serious expressions for a moment, then Mulder pouted, deliberately, and Alex offered his own exasperated sigh.

"What?"

"Tell me why you won't tell Walter you're alive. Why you won't tell him how you feel about him," Mulder demanded in a 'don't give me any crap, Krycek' tone of voice. Walter stared, amazed when tears sprang into the eyes of a man he would have thought had every reason to hate him.

//How *does* Alex feel about me?//

"Shit, Fox! You *know* why!" This time it was Alex who tried to get away, but Mulder wouldn't allow it. He tackled Alex and stretched out on top of him, pinning his upper body to the sofa; and Alex, who could have easily thrown Mulder to the floor, chose instead to lie there and stare at the ceiling. Sorrow reflected in a glittering path along the one temple Walter could see.

"Fox—"

"Tell me, Alex. Make me understand it, because I think you're wrong."

"I *killed* him, Fox! I hurt him and I killed him and he's never going to forgive me for it, and God damn you for making me say it," Alex snarled. Mulder levered himself up on his elbows and dried Alex's face with his thumbs. Walter found himself rubbing his own burning eyes.

"Alex, he killed *you* and you've forgiven him."

"It wasn't me."

"He doesn't know that, and neither did I for the worst week of my life," Mulder almost whispered. "I just can't get past that, as much as I love Walter. I keep seeing his face—"

"Baby. That clone was threatening to kill *you*. What else could Walter do?"

"It's not that he did it, it's the *way* he did it. Like he didn't even care. You didn't see him, Alex. His eyes were so empty."

//My God. That's why Mulder keeps part of himself so distant. I knew there was something-//

"And I think you're being unfair, Fox. Maybe he had to make himself behave like that because he *did* care... I know he did once. Maybe he just went tripwire, isn't that the term the vets use?" Alex cradled Mulder against his chest, dropping kisses on Mulder's hair. "Did you ever read 'Watership Down'?"

"You think Walter was afraid of going 'tharn' and freezing, so he put himself in a place where he was operating on autopilot?"

//Alex. I *did* care. I still do, God help me. So much shit happened all at once- I *had* to shut it all down, or I couldn't have functioned. I'm so sorry. Mulder, I'm so sorry. We should have talked about this. I didn't know it was affecting you like this. I wish I'd known. I wish I'd told you how it affected *me*. I see that scene over and over again in my nightmares.//

"Maybe. I hurt him so bad with those fucking nanocytes, Fox. Not just physically. I messed with his mind, made him feel less of a man—"

"He deserves to know *why* you did that, Alex. He would understand that you picked him to save Scully and me, and that you had to make it look good for Spender."

"How can I ask him to understand that when I don't understand it myself? Yeah, you and Scully were the initial targets, and yeah, I thought Walter was strong enough to live through it, but that's all a justification, Fox. I should have handled it differently. I should have just killed that bastard Spender then and there instead of giving him Walter. How the fuck can I explain any of it? And what, I'm supposed to top it off by saying 'oh, by the way, Walt, I've been in love with you for years'. Shit, he'd shoot me for real, and I'd let him."

//He *loves* me? Alex loves me? Jesus fucking Christ!//

//Scully or Mulder? That's who Spender wanted infected? Alex, why didn't you *tell* me?//

"Alex. We've been over this. Stop, now. You did what you had to do, and we won. We're fine, the planet's fine. I don't want you going back out in the field feeling this guilt. It makes you reckless— well, more reckless than usual," Fox added, trying to coax a smile. Alex made a visible effort and quirked his lips.

"I'm never reckless."

"Oh, excuse me. Must be some other Alex Krycek who behaves like that."

"Hmm. You think some other Alex Krycek would know about this?"

Walter couldn't see what Alex did, but Mulder suddenly moaned and rubbed himself against the body beneath his, making Alex growl.

//Oh, shit, that's got to be the sexiest sound I've ever heard. I've missed it. Missed *him*. Alex.//

"Wouldn't know without empirical evidence," Mulder managed to mutter, twisting his head around to lick at Alex's neck.

"I've got your... ah, yes... empirical evidence," Alex said, gasping when Mulder's teeth fastened on his jaw.

"God. Show me again," Mulder ordered, his breath hissing out on a soft groan when Alex repeated whatever it was he'd done.

"Bed or here, baby?"

"Bed," Mulder replied, raising up again to look in Alex's eyes. "I want to sleep beside you tonight, and in the morning I don't want you to leave without saying goodbye, Alex. I mean it. Promise me."

"I promise. I won't leave without saying goodbye."

"Come on," Mulder said, getting to his feet and pulling Alex up by his right hand.

Walter watched them vanish into the bedroom, spent a frantic moment wondering if they'd see his overnight bag, then figured since he'd stuck it in the corner by the dresser it would probably go unnoticed. He sank back onto his butt, leaned against the refrigerator and grimaced at the pain in his knees while he scrubbed his face with his hands.

//God in heaven, Alex is alive, and he loves me.//

His mind took him back to when he and Alex had been lovers. His marriage was already teetering on the brink of destruction, only to be shoved whole-heartedly over the edge with the arrival of Agent Alex Krycek. The man had been too beautiful for Walter's sanity with that sweet smile and innocent face. Irresistible Alex had seduced him in his own damned office one lazy Saturday morning, and the memories of their brief affair still had the power to make him shiver.

Some weeks later he'd discovered Alex was a Consortium plant.

//So angry. I was so fucking angry. I never thought he really cared. Not like *I* did. I didn't know he really *loved* me... but I should have guessed, when Spender never used it against me. Alex never told him... I should have realized then. Shit, why the hell would Alex love me? I treated him worse than a rentboy the night before Mulder dragged him off to Tunguska. Jesus, I know I was rough. I had to have hurt him, especially after hitting him like that, and he never complained, never once protested the way I used him.//

Noise from the bedroom distracted him, and Walter gasped with his own sudden arousal at the half-muffled words. Alex Krycek in extremis, begging. Walter remembered it well; could visualize how Alex's face would look, eyes gone night-dark with arousal and skin flushed pink.

"Fox, *please*. Don't- don't tease... Now, baby. *Please* Fox, fuck me now! *Need* you!" He heard before Alex's English failed him altogether, like it always used to do, turning into an incoherent stream of Russian that sent a wave of heat through Walter's lower body. He couldn't make out what Mulder was saying, could barely hear the low-voiced tones his lover was using with his former lover—

//Does it have to be 'former' lover? Could I get up right now and go in there and be welcomed? By them both? Would they want me like that? Do *I* want them both, together, like that?//

//Hell yeah, I do... but walking in on Alex Krycek might get *me* shot. Better to wait, and talk to them first. If it doesn't kill me to listen to them.//

Because Mulder was vocalizing now, wordless cries that mingled with Alex's broken Russian, a symphonic expression of ecstasy that was rapidly approaching crescendo.

"Alex! God, Alex!" And Alex literally screamed, a high thin wail that almost made Walter come just from hearing that agonized pleasure.

Walter waited a few minutes before he reached into his jeans and adjusted himself, thinking he was a little old to be so close to creaming his pants.

//Might not be a fucking teenager, but it was a near thing all the same.//

He sat there and listened to raspy murmurs of reassurance, imagining the two of them cuddling together, sharing soft kisses and love words. It occurred to him he was remarkably *not* jealous of Mulder. Maybe because he himself still wanted Alex, or maybe because in a sense, Alex had *always* been there between Mulder and him. Walter wasn't sure, and wasn't sure it mattered, anyway.

He was still sitting there, eyes closed against the dark, when some time later he heard a slight scuffling sound. He opened his eyes to find Mulder crouched naked before him, inspecting him gravely, and Walter startled them both when he grinned.

"Walter? Are you all right?"

"I'm fine. I don't have to ask how *you* are, do I."

"You heard."

"Everything, yeah. I was in here when you came home." Walter reached out and took Mulder's hand. "I'm really glad he's alive, you know. I didn't realize how much I missed him until I heard his voice."

Mulder tilted his head and regarded Walter with a rather cockeyed expression.

"Walter, Alex and I— the first time was in the gulag. We were so cold and so scared, but you need to know... He didn't... it wasn't his idea. It didn't happen again until after he gave me that tip about Weikamp. I started to realize how deep he was in the resistance, and things changed. When I stopped hating him, I found out how much I really-"

Mulder hesitated and ran a hand through his hair.

"I— when I found out what happened to his arm, I made us both a promise that I would never hurt him again. He's asleep, so this is my chance to ask. *Can* you forgive him for the nanocytes? He's convinced you can't. If he's right, if you *can't* forgive him, I want you to leave now so he doesn't have to know."

//Christ on a crutch, did I ever think I'd see the day when Fox Mulder would be protecting Alex Krycek's feelings?//

"Alex was right about a lot of things, Mulder, but he's wrong about that. Of course I can forgive him now that I know his reasons. He was right to infect me instead of you or Scully, and I'll tell him so. Can *you* forgive *me* for the way I behaved when I thought I was killing him? I heard what he said about why I acted that way, and he's right about that, too, Mulder. I really lost it, and I'm sorry," Walter said sincerely and held open his arms.

Mulder blinked, his eyes very bright even in the darkness.

"I love you, Walter. Of course I forgive you, but Alex is going to want to see the color of your blood when you tell him *that*," Mulder noted with a heartstopping, beautiful smile as he eased into Walter's embrace. Walter closed his arms around the younger man and kissed him gently.

//God, he tastes like Alex, too. Incredible.//

"Walter, are *we* okay? Do you understand why I didn't tell you—"

"I understand better than you think. I can't say I ever thought of Alex as someone who needed protection, but given the fact that as far as you both knew, I thought I shot him to death, I do understand. He told you what happened between him and me, I take it?"

"Yeah. Alex can be brutally honest about *some* things, believe it or not."

"I suppose. What about that scene at the Hoover, when he was there with Covarrubias? Was all that just an act?"

"Not all of it, Walt. Alex and I are pretty volatile," Mulder admitted with a wry grin.

//That's probably the *least* unbelievable thing that I've heard tonight.//

"I can't very well blame you for wanting him, Mulder. I always have, even when I thought I hated him. I'm okay with you, if you're okay with me," Walter said, pulling Mulder onto his lap and off the chill of the kitchen tiles.

"What about you and Alex?"

"Is there a 'me and Alex'?"

"He'd like there to be. You heard what he said. He still loves you, Walter. You're easy to love, you know," Mulder informed him, snuggling into Walter's arms.

//Can't say I ever thought that, either, but it's nice to hear.//

"And Alex is as hard *not* to love as you are," Walter confessed to Mulder's quiet sigh of agreement. "How would *you* want things to work out?"

"Your decision. What do you want?"

//What do I want? Mulder's always seeking the truth, so let's see how he deals with it.//

"I'd really like to hold Alex and listen to his heart beat for the rest of the night, then in the morning I'd like to fuck him through the mattress. If that's all right with you and him."

"I don't think you'll get an argument from Alex, and it sounds like a great idea to me. Do I get to watch?"

"I was hoping you'd help, Mulder."

"You've got a deal. You know, maybe it's time you started calling me Fox, Walter."

//Whoa. I guess we're better than okay.//

"I'd like that. Thank you, Fox. Now, do you think I can sneak into the bed without waking him up?" Walter asked, stifling a chuckle when Mulder //*Fox*// winked at him.

"You'll never get a better opportunity than half an hour after a screaming orgasm, Walt."

+++++++++

And so it was that Alex Krycek awakened that morning to find himself firmly sandwiched between the only two men he loved and had ever loved. Fox was on his right, sharing his pillow, one arm curled over his diaphragm and one leg across his thighs pinning him securely to the mattress. A heartbreakingly familiar balding head rested on his left upper chest, and another set of limbs wrapped around his belly and tangled with his legs.

"Bozhe moy," Alex whispered to himself, wondering if he was really awake at all, and if he was sleeping, what had he done to deserve such a beautiful dream?

"Alex?"

That wasn't Fox Mulder's voice.

//Oh, shit. I *am* awake.//

Alex went perfectly still and squeezed his eyes shut, not even aware his lips were moving.

"Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, amen."

"*Alex*? Are you *praying*?" Now, *that* was Fox, and he certainly sounded shocked, Alex thought.

//That's only fair since I'm shocked, too.//

"Sorry, I must have been channeling my grandmother. I think there's something wrong with me, Fox. I seem to be having a hallucination," Alex explained in an extraordinarily level tone. He didn't open his eyes. "It's the only logical explanation."

"I believe there's a flaw in your logic, Spock. What makes you think you're hallucinating?" Mulder asked with an audible smile.

"If I'm not hallucinating, I have to accept that I'm lying in your bed between you and Walter Skinner, and that can't be right."

"Why can't it? Can't you accept that Walter Skinner is so damned glad to see you alive that he listened to your heart beat all night?"

//Well, that does sound like Walter, but there's just no way he'd ever say that to me, so it can't possibly be him. Can it?//

Alex shuddered, a full-body tremor that apparently dislodged both his real and imaginary bedmates because there was much jostling of the mattress and shifting of positions going on. A pair of warm hands came to rest on either side of his face, and somebody was breathing on him.

//That's not Fox. Smells like Walter.//

"Alex. Open your eyes."

//Still sounds like Walter.//

"Nooo, I don't think so."

//I'm enjoying this hallucination.//

//Not so sure it *is* a hallucination.//

//What did he say? He's glad I'm alive? That can't possibly be real. You're out of the blue and into the black, Alexei.//

"Hmm. Time to pull out the big guns, Walter."

"Fox Mulder!"

//Oh, now my hallucinatory Walter sounds shocked, too.//

"That's Fox Tactless Mulder to you," Mulder said in a repentant tone, and Alex found himself giggling.

//'Pull out the big guns', huh. If this *is* Walter, that's pretty funny, in a sick kind of way. *My* kind of way.//

"Alex?"

"Alex?"

//Aw, two-point harmony. That's sweet. Apparently they think I'm losing my mind. Glad we're all in agreement.//

"S'okay. It's assassin humor. Like, 'stop, you're killing me'," Alex assured grandly between giggles, feeling a puff of air on his face delivered by a low relieved chuckle.

//*Walter*. Sounds like him. Smells like him. Feels like him.//

//I need to see him.//

"Fox, if I open my eyes, will Walter really be here?"

"I promise, Alex."

//Well that's all right then. The only promise Fox ever made to me and then broke was when he promised to kill me, and I can't hold that one against him, can I.//

Alex peered out from underneath his eyelashes, and sure enough, that did appear to be Walter. Right in front of him. Those beautiful brown eyes were soft with some emotion Alex couldn't remember ever having seen in them before, though.

He looked over at Fox, who was sitting cross-legged next to his right hip and wearing nothing but an amazingly self-satisfied smile.

//So what is Walter wearing? Oh. Same thing.//

//Wow.//

"You're naked," he pointed out, and his make-believe Walter felt his forehead with a frown.

"You're starting to worry me, pretty Alex. Do you still think I'm a hallucination?"

//*Pretty Alex*? Man, I haven't been called *that* since the first few times Walter and I slept together... and I'm not exactly pretty now, anyway. That settles it, this is not real, it's *surreal*. Obviously I *am* still asleep.//

"No, I've decided it's just a lucid dream."

Walter's eyebrows sought to hide under a nonexistent hairline, and Fox, damn him, was snickering.

"I said that out loud, didn't I. Sorry. I was trying for quiet insanity," Alex informed them and promptly closed his eyes again.

"Maybe Alex needs some empirical evidence, Walt."

//If Walter gets *that* reference, that would mean he was here last night and heard— Oh. Oh, yesss.//

He was being kissed, a warm sweet mouth gentle on his, tongue teasing his lips apart and tasting deep.

//So good, so good, so *Walter*.//

Alex had never forgotten that particular flavor. His arm came up involuntarily to wrap around the strong body that was carefully settling on top of him, a pair of hands sliding under his shoulders to cradle him tight. A shared groan as two erections brushed against each other. The safest feeling in the world, the freedom to fly apart in Walter Skinner's arms.

//Perfect. Wonderful. Too good to be true.//

"What a fucking turn-on."

Alex opened one eye and inspected his Fox, who was watching them and stroking himself with one hand while his other played over Walter's fine ass. Not an activity Alex cared to argue, when it resulted in Walter wiggling against him quite enticingly.

"Alex, you have to know you aren't crazy, and this isn't a dream. It's real," Walter whispered against his mouth, and Alex smiled, even more convinced that it wasn't. Couldn't possibly be. Here he had his dearest wish, Walter and Fox *both* in bed with *him*. It was a fantasy he'd held onto during his darkest times, when there'd been no hope at all. He let his eyelid fall shut and gave himself up to the illusion.

Shifting his legs to encircle Walter's hard thighs, Alex was unable to resist the opportunity to roll his hips upward, sighing happily at the increased pressure against his groin. All that skin like hot silk against his, accented by the prickly rub of morning bristles across his face.

"Doesn't matter... it's a lovely dream, Walter... always loved you. Missed you so much," Alex murmured between kisses. "Love my Fox, but missed you."

"I know, Alex. I missed you too. Please, Alex, open your eyes."

A bit surprised by the agitated strain in Walter's low voice, Alex made an effort to focus his gaze on Walter's face and was shaken to find those brown eyes unexpectedly, unbelievably moist.

"I know you, Alex. I know how it feels to hold you in my arms when you're really *with* me, and you're out there. What can I say to you to make you believe this is real? I need you *here*."

"You... you need me?"

//Oh, Alexei, your hallucination is right about one thing. You are *sooo* far out there you're orbiting Pluto.//

"Of course I need you, Alex. I love you. I've loved you for years."

"Nooo."

//No, what? He's going to ask.//

//No, the real Walter doesn't love me, he hates me. No, there is no possible way he could love me after what I did to him. No, I must have been right to begin with and this *is* some weird hallucination. Maybe somebody's messing with Fox's water supply again. That would explain this whole thing, actually.//

//God damn, you *are* nuts, Alexei. There's nobody left alive who'd do that to Fox. You made sure of that.//

//What's more nuts, my water tampering theory or the idea of Walter Skinner telling me he loves me, needs me, and missed me?//

//Fox promised you that Walter's really here. Does that make Fox a hallucination, too? You'd better cash a reality check, dolboy'eb.//

//Oh, yeah, he *did* say that, didn't he. Wait, maybe Fox is having hallucinations too.//

Perfectly satisfied that he'd hit on a reasonable explanation, and having stifled the internal skeptic who kept trying to argue in favor of his continued sanity, Alex silenced his mind and drifted.

++++++++++

"No, what, Alex?"

Walter was beginning to be afraid that Alex really *was* close to unhinged- he showed no sign of his usual sharp intelligence or bright energy, behaving instead like he was drugged or dazed. Walter knew he'd have to sit down some day and consider the fact that Alex Krycek, survivor, tireless soldier in an undeclared war, should be so near the edge because of *him*.

"Walter?" Mulder questioned in a worried monotone, finally realizing there was an actual problem. He and Walter exchanged a concerned frown over their oblivious bed partner, and fortunately for Mulder, he had no idea how hard Walter was working on not biting his head off.

It never ceased to amaze Walter that Mulder could be such a perceptive, intuitive investigator and still be so inattentive to the emotional health of the people closest to him... while Alex, on the other hand, was capable of a frightening degree of empathy. It was one of the things that made Alex such a brilliant manipulator. He had an innate understanding of precisely which buttons to push.

"Mulder— Fox. How much did you and Alex have to drink last night?" Walter asked when Alex didn't answer him.

"Just a couple of beers."

"Alex isn't... using anything, is he?"

"God, no!" Mulder assured in a shocked tone. "Let me talk to him."

Walter untangled himself and slid off to Alex's left, ignoring the grumbled protest his efforts produced. Mulder stretched out along Alex's right side, one long-fingered hand coming to rest on the side of that stubbled, closed-in face and turning it his way.

"Alexei. Look at me," Mulder urged gently.

Clouded green eyes opened to catch on anxious hazel ones.

"Do you trust me?" Mulder asked, half-afraid to hear how Alex would answer that.

"As much as I can trust anybody. You know that, Fox."

"Do you trust me not to hurt you?" Mulder asked next, still keeping his voice calm and quiet.

"Y- Yeah. Mostly," Alex added uncertainly. Walter watched Mulder's eyes close for a moment and started to understand what Mulder meant about Alex's 'brutal' honesty.

"Do you trust me to tell you the truth?"

"Yeah." No hesitation there, and Mulder smiled, relieved.

"Good. Thank you. I want you to listen to me, Alex. Walter was in the kitchen when we got back last night. He heard everything we said. He's here now because he *wants* to be here. He wants to be with you, with *both* of us."

"But, Fox-"

"No buts, Alex," Walter said with equal gentleness, drawing that stare, as deep and murky green as lake water in Texas. He was finally able to see some spirit moving there, though. "I forgive you. Can you forgive me?"

Walter was treated to an up-close-and-personal view of those impossible tears, realizing why Alex Krycek so often pretended to have no emotions at all... he felt them too deeply. They were visible now, apprehension and disbelief and a painful, hopeless longing all laid bare to Walter's sight. It made Walter even more determined to replace the unhappy feelings with pleasure, joy, and satisfaction. The knowledge that he could do that- he could bring all those things to this damaged man, if he could just convince the man in question to accept it –made his heart pound with anticipation.

Walter smiled into that wary wet gaze and waited.

"You- you *forgive* me?"

"Yes, I do, Alex. Will you forgive me?"

"For *what*?" Asked in a tone of confused astonishment that dimmed Walter's expectancy a bit. He let his face reflect the serious need he felt for Alex's understanding, and steeled himself to explain what he meant. Never an easy task for Walter Skinner, who was accustomed to keeping his own counsel in most everything, but this was too important to leave unclarified.

"For being so unapproachable you couldn't tell me the truth about the nanocytes. I'd like to think I would have understood. For the way I behaved when I shot you- shot your clone. For making you so sure I hated you that you couldn't tell me you were still alive, and most of all, for the way I treated you the night before Mulder took you to Russia."

Alex frowned, making Walter want to smooth that tiny wrinkle above his nose.

"Walter, I don’t blame you for any of those things. Shit, as far as that night goes, I got what I deserved-"

Walter ended that little delusion by the simple expedient of putting his hand over Alex's mouth.

"I've only just started to understand that you've *never* gotten what you deserved from me, pretty Alex, and I really want to make that up to you, if you'll let me."

Alex shook his head, his eyes suddenly miserable. Walter took his hand down to let Alex speak; sparing a quick glance at Mulder, who subtly indicated his own left arm. Walter got the message, and was prepared for what Alex said next.

"I can't be your 'pretty Alex' any more, Walter."

"You mean because of this?"

Walter tenderly feathered his palm over Alex's stump, allowing himself to examine it for the first time. Inwardly he cringed at the thought of the horrible pain Alex must have gone through, but he let none of what he was thinking reach his face as he turned to press his lips against that scarred skin.

"You're right," he said, ignoring the way Alex– and Mulder -stiffened in response. "You're not just my pretty Alex any more, you've grown beyond that. You're beautiful, my Alexei. Scars and all. You humble me."

"Oh, God, Walter."

That remaining arm was flung around his neck and Walter found himself yanked into a hard kiss, one for which Alex was indisputably, one-hundred percent *present*. The difference threatened to blow off the top of Walter's head, instantly reminding his cock to wake back up and take an interest in the proceedings.

He groaned into that furnace-hot mouth and vaguely heard Mulder laughing with what sounded like perfect glee before Alex drew back far enough to look at him. There was a faintly stunned joy simmering in that bright gaze and Walter had to chuckle, even as aroused as he was, when Alex spoke. He would have sounded like a businessman reiterating the major points of a deal, had his voice not held such a husky, seductive rasp.

"I'm not dreaming or hallucinating. You forgive me. You missed me. You need me. You love me."

"I do love you, Alex. I always have," Walter admitted, thrilled to see the gorgeous, open smile that answered his words.

"I love you, too, Walter. I always have. Now, what are you going to do about it?" Alex challenged teasingly, so Walter reached down and wrapped one big hand around Alex's erection, delighting in the moan and wiggle that earned him.

"I am going to do exactly what I told Fox I wanted to do. I'm going to fuck you through this mattress, Alexei, and he's going to help."

"Finally!" Mulder commented loudly, and Alex reached out and cupped a hand around the back of Mulder's head, pulling him in for an unhurried kiss. Walter watched, increasingly hungry for them both, still amazed by how unbelievably beautiful they were together.

Walter Skinner figured he was a very lucky man, and suspected he was about to get luckier.

"Spasibo, moy lisa. Ya tebya lyublyu," Alex whispered to Fox, who smiled against his mouth.

"You're welcome, Alexei. I love you too, you know."

"Yeah, I get that. I really do." They grinned at each other for a moment before Alex turned that smile back on Walter. "Well? What are you waiting for, an engraved invitation?"

Walter huffed out a laugh. Alex was definitely with the program now, green eyes sparkling with happiness and mischief. Still Walter's pretty Alex, at that.

"Fox, will you shut him up while I do some engraving?"

"Oh, with pleasure, Sir!" Mulder said, pausing to kiss Walter thoroughly with his own muttered 'thank you' before he returned to Alex and sealed their lips together.

Walter put his tingling mouth to the side of Alex's long throat and started nibbling, marking love bites onto the warm pale skin. He jacked the younger man's rigid length with slow, irregular strokes, intensely gratified by the muffled whimpers his actions produced. It took Walter some time to work his way down to Alex's chest, and he couldn't resist the urge to lay his head down and listen to that heart beating. It was a sound he knew he'd never get tired of hearing.

Alex's hand came to rest against his cheek, petting him briefly, then that hand vanished to do something that made Mulder yelp for God and Alex to do it again. Walter chuckled to himself, turned his attentions to Alex's sweet little nipples, and was quickly rewarded with that low, demanding growl he'd missed so much. He didn't stop suckling and biting until Alex's body was writhing beneath him, and Mulder was nearly as wild from Alex's busy hand, although slightly less vocal.

"Walter, please! It's been... shit! Too long, don't... God!"

"Now, Alex, I happen to know," Walter began a bit unsteadily as he moved to kneel between Alex's legs, reaching to fish the lube out from under a pillow. "You were well fucked just last night," and that being the case, Walter slicked two fingers and slid them both inside that silky, clinging flesh, pleased when Alex howled and arched high against his hand.

"That better?" He asked, taking his time stretching and lubing and enjoying the moment, snickering at the stream of Russian invective that ensued when he deliberately slowed things down some. Walter felt like he'd waited too long for this, himself, and he didn't want it to be over too quickly, which made him glad the two younger men were more focused on each other than on him... although next time- and he was already thinking in terms of 'next time' –he was determined to be in the middle.

Mulder, who'd learned a lot of Russian over the past few years, would have been impressed if he weren't suffering a similar torment at Alex's hand. As good as those sly fingers felt, they just weren't enough, and fortunately for Mulder, Alex was rapidly developing sympathy for that position.

"Come here, moy lyubov. Straddle me. I want to taste you," Alex begged in a rather breathless voice, pulling Mulder towards him.

Mulder was quick to comply, folding a pillow to give Alex a more comfortable angle, and all of Walter's good intentions went up in a haze of desire as he looked over Mulder's shoulder and saw Mulder's long cock sliding into Alex's mouth. The younger man looked blissfully content, cheeks hollowed out to suck.

"Jesus H. Christ!"

"Ah, A- Alex," Mulder was practically sobbing, slowly pumping in and out of that wet heat while a wicked tongue teased along his length.

"Don't you dare make him come yet, Alex!" Walter ordered, getting a pinch on one thigh that was apparently a confirmation, because Mulder groaned with frustration at about the same time.

Unable to wait another moment, Walter shoved a pillow under Alex's butt and encouraged those strong legs to drape over his thighs. He gingerly slicked his own rampant erection and centered himself at Alex's small hole, sinking into that rippling passage as fast as he dared. When he was balls deep he stilled, gasping at the sensation, so long yearned for, so long missed.

"Oh, fucking God, feels... just like I remember... so tight, Alex. So good." Walter heard Alex's agreement hummed around a mouthful of Fox, and felt it in the convulsive squeeze of muscles against his cock. "Shit, Alex, don't- wait-"

But Alex had been abruptly presented with his favorite fantasy, in all its glorious flesh. His hand at Mulder's ass pulled Fox forward, and his legs wrapped around Walter's waist until he was fucking himself on the older man's hard cock. Alex was flying high and in no mood to wait for a single damned second. The only thing he could hear above the rising tide of pleasure was his own mind chanting MORE MORE MORE.

It didn't take him long to convince his lovers they didn't want to wait either. Not when he sucked Mulder in deep and clamped down on Walter simultaneously.

Walter let out a hoarse shout that Mulder echoed, Mulder bowing his back so far his head fell on Walter's shoulder, which gave Walter an unobstructed view of Alex swallowing Mulder whole. Between the visual and physical stimulation, Walter's hips jumped involuntarily to piston his cock rhythmically into Alex's hot channel.

"Fuck! So good, Alex... you feel..."

Alex was moaning continuously, the vibrations of his voice sending Mulder through the stratosphere into that totally mindless realm of feeling. Mulder was beyond coherent speech, making little repetitive 'oh oh oh' noises that went straight to Walter's balls.

Walter put one arm around Mulder's lean body, balancing them both. He pinched an available nipple and used his other hand to pump Alex's erection. Alex responded enthusiastically, busy tongue working the sensitive underside of Mulder's cock, which prompted Mulder to turn his head into Walter's upper arm and bite, not gently. Walter reciprocated, fastening his teeth to the tender join of Mulder's neck and shoulder, starting the inevitable chain reaction.

Mulder stiffened and came, shrieking into Walter's skin while it felt like everything between his toenails and the top of his head poured out through his dick. Alex drank his offering down like water in the desert, the sight alone almost tipping Walter over. Mulder virtually collapsed afterwards, giving Walter something else to focus on for the necessary few moments it took for him to fight back his own urge to climax. As determined as Alex was to drive them both insane, Walter was equally determined to drive Alex there first.

Walter maneuvered Mulder's sweaty, limp form off to Alex's side, amused into a chuckle when Alex winked at him. At what point had he forgotten it was okay to have humor along with passion in bed? Once Mulder was comfortably settled and apparently comatose, Walter moved until he was covering Alex completely once again. Near enough to kiss, which he did, savoring the combined flavors of Mulder on Alex's tongue.

"Mmm. I think, beautiful Alexei, that I'm going to want you to do that to me next time," he murmured into that talented mouth, and felt it smile.

"Whatever you want, love," Alex promised, wrapping himself around Walter. As close as he could get, and it was never going to be close enough, he thought, restlessly arching into Walter's strong body.

"And what if I tell you that I don't want you to leave today? That I want more time with you before you have to go?" Walter asked as he fucked Alex with agonizing slowness. He wasn't above a little blackmail, if that's what it took to get Alex completely out of the game. Alex had served his tour, as far as Walter was concerned. Hell, he had friends who'd love a chance to shoot up a few buildings.

"How much time?" Alex managed to gasp, held captive to the speed Walter wanted. It was making him crazy. That hot iron length leisurely stroked him from the inside, while Walter's mouth played over his face and neck, nibbling and sucking. Alex would have agreed to almost anything if Walter would only pick up the pace.

Which was just where Walter wanted him.

"I think the rest of your life ought to be long enough," Walter said in a contemplative tone and kissed Alex again, with the same meticulous attention to detail that made him the best AD in the Hoover building. When he had Alex panting and trembling beneath him, he adjusted his angle of penetration to rub over his lover's prostate, pleased to have remembered so clearly how to push Alex's buttons. Even if that meant he was pushing his own.

"Well?" Walter bit out on a groan, working one hand between them to squeeze the base of Alex's cock in a clear warning.

"Yes! God! Fine! What- whatever you want! Walter, *please*! I- I need- need-"

"Whatever you need, my Alexei," Walter promised in turn, catching Mulder's laughing eyes for an instant before he changed his grip and worked Alex hard. Alex erupted; screaming his name, the fierce contractions of those inner muscles taking Walter over the edge with him into a firestorm of shuddering bliss... and the only thing Walter remembered roaring was "Mine!"

++++++++++++

Fox Mulder was reclining against the headboard, smiling as he watched his beautiful, exhausted lovers sleeping. The mid-morning sun streamed bright light through the bedroom windows, highlighting red glints in Alex's dark hair and lending his skin a golden glow that contrasted nicely with Walter's pinker skin tones. Scattered love bites offered darker accents here and there, a visual accompaniment to the heavy aroma of sexual musk that hung in the warm, still air.

//Perfect. It was- it *is* perfect.//

They slept with their bodies twined around each other, Walter's head inevitably resting on Alex's chest. The expressions on both their faces were relaxed and sated.

Mulder knew just how they felt.

//This couldn't have worked out better if I'd handed both of them a script.//

//Wonder how many years I should let go by before I confess that I planned this whole thing?//

Mulder had known Walter would blow off the last day of his seminar, which was why he'd made Alex promise to spend the night.

It hadn't taken a profiler to determine how much Walter and Alex needed each other. As much as they each loved him -and Mulder was confidently secure in how deep their love for him went- he'd been aware for a long time that there were holes in his lovers' hearts he couldn't fill.

Alex had never made any secret of how he felt about Walter, and after many nights of sleeping with Walter, and hearing what Walter cried out during his nightmares, Mulder had decided to intervene.

Granted, he'd been a little thrown by Alex's initial reaction.

//Hell of a survival mechanism there, Krycek. Deny everything, including reality. I think between Walter and me, though, we can work on that... along with Alex's trust issues.//

Because Fox Mulder fully intended to make sure that reality, for Alex Krycek, Walter Skinner, and himself, included so much love and joy there wouldn't be room for anything else.

//Who deserves it more than we do?//

And on that self-satisfied thought, Mulder scooted down to wrap himself around both of his lovers, soon joining them in dreamless sleep.


The End

2 June 2002


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