Please do not read this story if character death upsets you. This story is of a prior lifetime and karma has to start somewhere. Death is the one constant and few people decide how it will come about. If you think Mulder walks on water you will not like this story. So don't read it and then bitch at me.

Title: Regression (New York 1800)
Author: Peach
Email address:
Fandom: X-Files
Pairings: Skinner/Krycek
Warnings: This story contains explicit m/m sex. If these things bother you *GO AWAY NOW* I have been asked to do a few stories about those regression tapes I mentioned in His Master's Voice. This is the fourth. Contains character death.
Rating: NC17
Date: 12/15/01
Archive: Just ask first please.
Disclaimer: The characters of Skinner, Krycek, Scully, Mulder, Doggett and the X-Files belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and the Fox Network. No copyright Infringement is intended no money is being made.
Summary: Memories of past lives
NOTES: Thanks to Josan as always. The menu I gave them for their first dinner together was found at the following link:

He woke disoriented and cold. It didn't take long for him to realize he was bound and naked. He lay still, trying to remember what had happened and how he came to be here. His last memory was of his lover walking next to him as they had left the play they had gone to see.

His head was pounding and he was finding it difficult to think. He tried to curl into a tight ball to conserve body heat. His heart cried out his lover's name as he slipped back into the blackness.


They met in the spring. He was from a rich family and they had come into New York for a family wedding. He caught sight of the beautiful man lounging across the library where the men had retired for whiskey and cigars after dinner.

He had never thought of other men as beautiful, but he could think of no other way to describe the sable haired, green-eyed man. He was lean and tall, his every movement graceful. When the man looked up and caught him staring, a slow sexy smile spread over his face.

"Who is the man standing over by the globe?" he asked his cousin.

"He's related to the bride. A distant cousin I believe I heard someone say. Has a strange name. Kryska or Krytin or something like that. I understand he came here from Russia just a few years ago. I also hear he is very bright. Made a fortune his first year here."

It was a warm evening and he wandered out onto the terrace to get away from the cloud of smoke hanging in the library. He could never quite grasp the reason behind the custom of retiring to cigars and drinks while leaving the woman to gossip. Truth be told, he was much more comfortable at the shipyards working with his men than playing the gentleman.

He was startled when a deep whiskey voice spoke to him from the shadows.

"It's difficult to breathe with all that smoke, isn't it?"

He turned to watch the beautiful man materialize from the shadows. The moonlight fell across the man turning his skin to alabaster. Walter sucked in a deep breath, shocked by the reaction of his body to the nearness of the man.

He turned quickly toward the railing around the terrace hoping to conceal that reaction from the man who was moving closer to him. Mentally he cursed the dandified clothing he wore, the cut away coat doing nothing to conceal the erection straining for freedom. The high collar suddenly seemed to be cutting off his air supply.

The man came to stand beside him at the rail, looking out toward the garden.

"This is a very beautiful home. My cousin is very excited to be joining your family."

"Katya is your cousin?"

"Yes. My uncle is the reason I left Russia to come here. He wrote me of the great opportunities in this country. He failed to mention the many beauties to be found here."

"Oh, you find our women to be beautiful."

"I wasn't referring to the...women."

Walter's head turned to look at the man standing next to him, wondering when he had moved so close. One step by either of them and they would be touching. His breath hitched as his groin tightened. The smile of the other man revealed even white teeth before a pink tongue peeked out between them to lick equally pink lips.

Alexei had seen the big man come in before dinner was served that evening. He had been standing in a quiet corner with his uncle as they watched his cousin, Katya, become the center of attention. He had asked his uncle quietly who the big balding man was, to be told he was the groom's uncle. The groom's father was Walter's much older brother, Walter being the baby of the family.

Alexei was a little surprised to hear this since the future father-in-law still had all his hair albeit white as snow. He had watched the man during dinner and when the gentlemen retired to the library after dinner, he had placed himself in a position to see the entire room.

He had been distracted by some conversation but felt the eyes watching him. Looking up and seeing it was the big man; he had given him what he thought of as his come hither smile. He was quite pleased with the slight flush rising on the man's face before he turned to speak to the man next to him.

Alexei had gone out onto the terrace to get some fresh air since he was not a smoker and the air was rapidly bluing with pipe and cigar smoke. He was leaning against the wall in the shadows when the big man came out the door. Deciding quickly that he wanted this man in his bed, the sooner the better, he moved forward and spoke.

He made inane conversation then dropped his innuendo and waited for the ripples. Standing close to the man, he could feel the heat coming from the powerful body. He knew without being able to see his erection that the man was aroused. He knew by the tempo of his breathing, by the way his hands flexed on the rail.

Normally Alexei would take a long time feeling someone out before he made such obvious statements, Americans not being as liberal about sex as Russians. But this man was somehow different. From the moment he had seen him come into the house, Alexei had wanted him.

He waited and the silence drew out until he thought he had made an error in judgement.

"I have found my own idea of beauty changed recently. It's an odd feeling to see beauty where you never expected to see it."

"And where did you see this beauty?"

"Tonight, in my brother's library, through a cloud of cigar smoke."

The warm chuckle told Walter that the man had understood him, perfectly. Walter was impressed with how quickly this man had read him through the social veneer men of his class wore. Most people – women especially – either didn’t bother or didn’t succeed.

"Well, it seems your brother's house is filled with beauty this spring night. Since you seem to care for smoking as little as I, perhaps you would care to retire to my home with me for a nightcap and further conversation on beauty found in unexpected places."

"Aren't you staying with your uncle?"

"No, I have my own home. I could have my carriage bring you back later if you like. I noticed you refused the whiskey. Maybe cognac would suit your palate better. Or if you prefer to try something different, I do have something from home that might suit your taste."

"Well, if we are going to retire to your home for cognac, perhaps I should introduce myself. I'm Walter Skinner."

Walter turned to hold out his hand. It was taken in a surprisingly strong grip and held just a moment longer than normal custom decreed. He noted the smoothness of the man's skin compared to the rough calluses on his from his work at the shipyard.

"Alexei Krycek. It's a *pleasure* to meet you, Mr. Skinner."

The smile that accompanied his words went straight to Walter's crotch. 'Damn' thought Walter 'What's happening to me? Men have never appealed to me. Why this man?'

Out loud he said, "We can reach the drive without going back through the house. Unless you wish to say goodnight to your uncle or cousin."

Walter's suggestion was for two reasons. One, he didn't really want to advertise that he was leaving with the Russian. Two, the darkness was helping conceal his erection. Entering the house would expose him to the possibility of others noticing his condition, his breeches, in the style of the time, being well fitted. They wouldn't hide his erection, which was larger than that of most men. He figured by the time they arrived at Alexei's home he would have it under control.

Alexei had other plans.

"They will not look for me. They know I usually leave soon after dinner. The conversations after dinner are not generally to my liking."

Walter gestured toward the stairs that led down from the terrace. The two men moved side by side down the stairs and around the house. Once they arrived at the drive Alexei pointed out his carriage. When they reached his carriage, he called out softly to his driver who appeared to be dozing on his seat.

The driver jumped down to open the door. Alexei waved Walter inside then climbed in after giving instructions to the driver in what Walter thought must be Russian. Walter was startled when Alexei sat on the seat next to him. He had expected the other man to sit across from him. He moved toward the side of the carriage, but the space did not allow him to go far.

Walter's teeth clenched as the other man's leg brushed against his. It was then that he realized how good the man smelled. Not of the heavy perfumes designed to hide the smell of unwashed bodies, but a spicy musk that added to the desire his body was trying desperately to make him acknowledge.

The jolting of the carriage over the cobblestones seemed to be conspiring against him as well. Each lurch of the conveyance rocked the two men, causing their thighs to rub together. One unseen hole so deep the violent movement tossed Alexei's lighter weight into the air and he landed partly in Walter's lap.

Walter knew his face was flaming. There was no way the other man could be oblivious to his condition. Not after Alexei's hand ended up on the erection that had suddenly developed a mind of its own. So much for thinking he would get it under control before they arrived at the Russian's home.

Alexei was quite pleased with the evidence of the other man's arousal. He refrained from commenting on it and instead yelled at his driver to be careful. He was pleased that the big man was so easy to arouse.

Walter was wondering what had possessed him to agree to go home with the man. He knew there were men who enjoyed other men. He knew some of the captains he worked with made use of their cabin boys while at sea. Of course, once in port, they returned to their wives or visited female whores so he had always thought it was just the long voyages that were responsible.

He had no real experience with men who loved other men, or men who had no desire for women. He was still trying to figure out how to explain his reaction if asked when they arrived at Alexei's home. Hell, there was no way he could explain it to another when he himself didn't understand.

Alexei was out of the carriage almost before it stopped. He turned, the moonlight bathed him as he held out his hand, and Walter stepped down from the carriage to join him.

He ignored his brain screaming that he should stop before it was too late. Instead he allowed his little head to lead him inside.

Later he would realize that he had never been able to say "No" to this man in any of his lifetimes.

Alexei kept his eyes above Walter's waist as he led him into his parlor. Once Walter was seated, Alexei moved over to the bar in the corner.

"Would you like to try some vodka, Mr. Skinner?"

"Think I’ll stick to something I know for the moment. I'll have the cognac. And please call me Walter."

"Then you must call me Alexei."

He poured them both a healthy portion of cognac and handed the glass to Walter. This time Walter was not surprised when Alexei joined him on the sofa. He swirled his cognac in the glass and avoided looking at the man next to him.

The silence stretched out as they savored the cognac. Walter's silence was due to his attempt to get his body under control. Alexei was quiet as he waited for the other man to relax.

"My uncle tells me you are the younger brother. So you are not much older than your nephew?"

"Only three years. I'm actually the baby of the family. I run the family shipyard business. I have rooms near the shipyard but normally stay at my brother's for family events or holidays."

Walter snapped his mouth shut, realizing he was blabbering like a schoolboy. Alexei smiled into his snifter at the man's nervousness. Maybe he should offer another drink and give Walter more time. He reached to take the empty glass, turning the gesture into a caress by trailing his fingers over the back of the strong hand. Alexei was immensely pleased with the way Walter's hand followed his slightly before he jerked it back as if singed.

The look in Walter's eyes when he came back with the glass seemed to be a mixture of puzzlement and lust. Alexei settled next to him after handing him the glass.

"It's my understanding that the elder son inherits and younger sons must make their own way."

"In most families that is true. But my mother had monies of her own and left them to me. I work to help keep the family holdings prosperous, as well as to keep away boredom. I can't imagine lying around, living off one's money with nothing to keep the mind alert."

"From your hands it would seem that you have no aversion to physical labor."

"I enjoy using my hands. It's a pleasure to take a piece of wood and make something useful from it. I've made most of my own furnishings. My brother finds me very eccentric."

"And do you enjoy doing other less taxing things with your hands?"

"I'm not sure I understand what you are asking."

"I personally, derive great pleasure from using my hands for lovemaking. I enjoy making my lover purr with delight. I've been told that I am quite talented."

Walter squirmed as the long fingered hand ran along his inner thigh. Pulling in a deep breath, he decided to ask the question outright. "My brother is the diplomat of the family, I tend to speak more plainly."

"Please do."

"Are you implying that you make love with other men?"

"I am not implying, Walter. I will speak plainly as well. I want you."

"You want me? Why me? Do I look like a man who enjoys other men?"

"Do I? We aren't branded at birth. Most of us stay very discreet. Men of my leaning have been tortured, mutilated, burned alive."

"Why do you want me?"

"Why are you hard?"

"I don't know."

"You've never...?"

"I've only been with women."

"I apologize, Sir. I meant no offence. Please forgive me."

Alexei was up and ringing the bell for the servant. He kept his back to Walter and when the servant arrived, he gave hurried instructions in Russian. Without turning, he spoke.

"My carriage will be brought around to take you home. My servant will see you out."

He walked past the servant and Walter got up to follow but the servant blocked his way. Alexei disappeared up the stairs. The servant made it clear he was to leave by guiding him toward the door. He allowed himself to be pushed toward the door and out to the waiting carriage. Part of his mind told him this was right. That he should never have come.

The ride home gave him time to go back over every word, every gesture, and every smile. Remembering the look in Alexei's eyes when he said he had only been with women. A flash of fear followed by regret. When he arrived at his brother's home, he quickly sought his rooms, avoiding the people still lingering in the house.

He undressed and climbed into the cold bed, lying there trying to ignore that part of his anatomy that had been hard for hours. Finally he took himself in hand and tried to remember his last encounter with the woman who had been receiving his favors of late.

But a vision of white teeth flashing below sparkling green eyes kept interfering. Finally he gave up trying to visualize a woman and pictured Alexei instead. He quickly reached climax with Alexei's name whispered as the eruption began.

Not so very far away, Alexei was taking a less direct route. He had gone to his room and spent several long minutes mentally kicking himself for being so rash. His concern was for his cousin as well as himself. He knew that if Walter told his brother what had happened, the man would probably call off the wedding at the very least. He could take whatever might befall him as long as she was not harmed by his actions.

He paced back and forth, berating himself until finally he could take no more. One of the servants followed him as he left the house, his destination the part of town where men with his desires met when seeking companionship.

He was very drunk when the boy sat next to him. So drunk he would have been robbed by the boy if his manservant had not been watching. He was kissing the boy in the alley behind the bar when the silent manservant relieved the boy of the knife he had been about to use on Alexei.

The manservant hurried to get his master home. As he got him into his bed, he shook his head sadly as his master talked about his yearning for the big man who had been there earlier. He had known his master since childhood and had never seen him drunk. Never seen him care one way or another if a man turned him down.

The next evening and another party was being held to celebrate the coming wedding. Alexei attended it with dread. The entire day had been spent in trepidation. Every knock on the door sending a stab through him. He fully expected to have his cousin, at his doorstep, in tears before the day ended.

He searched the room when he entered but Walter was nowhere in sight. He wasn't sure if that made it better or worse. Somehow he got through the evening and hurried home, glad nothing had been said. Hoping that Walter was willing to let it drop.

Walter had spent the next day trying to figure out this obsession, which seemed to have taken over his life. He had never been drawn to anyone this way. He knew that his family would not approve. Knew his brother would disown him if such a relationship ever became public knowledge.

Knew if he even told his brother about the man's advances toward him that the wedding would be called off. And he couldn't let that happen. His nephew was very much in love with Katya and she with him. Even a blind man would see that.

He had made an excuse to miss the party that night. Not because he was afraid of what Alexei might do but because he didn't know yet what he wanted to do. He stayed away until the day of the wedding, much to his brother's displeasure. In times of public celebration, his family expected him to participate in the approved norm.

Alexei dressed for his cousin's wedding having reached a calm state of mind. He had cautiously asked questions of the bridegroom about his uncle and come to certain conclusions. From the things he had learned, he felt that Walter would not do anything to hurt his nephew. Daniel told him that his uncle was a man of action, a man who met problems head on and took care of things.

So even though he was not looking forward to dealing with this blazing desire he could not tamp down, he at least was not dreading the day. He arrived early to find his cousin still dressing and his uncle pacing. When she was finally ready, he gasped at her beauty.

Alexei spotted Walter already seated on the groom's side of the church when he arrived. He took his place in the row where his uncle would join him after giving the bride away. He kept his eyes front until he couldn't stand the feeling of being watched any longer.

Turning slightly, trying for a casual look, he glanced toward the other side of the aisle. The brown eyes stared at him intently and a quick nod was directed at him before the man looked away. Alexei released a breath he hadn't realized he had been holding. Everything was fine. Walter had no intention of stopping the wedding.

Walter had spent the intervening time fighting his own internal battle. His days had been spent working, his nights in his carpentry shop. His excuse, he was building a wardrobe for his nephew and his new bride. When in reality he was trying to tire himself to the point of dreamless sleep.

He woke mornings, working himself to climax with the Russian's name on his lips. He had even tried a visit to the woman he had been seeing and had been extremely embarrassed when he could not perform with her.

The day of the wedding dawned with Walter determined to speak with Alexei and end the torment one way or another. After all, they were about to become family and he would be forced to be in the company of the other man on a regular basis.

He was surprised at how his heart raced when the dark-haired man entered the row across from him. The look of apprehension was easy to read in the green eyes when they finally turned his way. He nodded once in reassurance to the man, adding one more item to his list of things to discuss with him.

Neither of them heard much of the ceremony. They responded when those around them did. Somehow they ended up walking out of the church together. Later each would admit to himself, but not to the other, that it *felt* right to be walking side by side.

Walter indulged more than normal at the reception. Each time he looked at Alexei and caught his eye, he would down another drink. By the time the newlyweds left, he was quite in his cups. His brother had noticed this with surprise, drinking too much had never been a habit of his normally level headed younger brother.

Alexei, on the other hand, had taken not a drop other than a sip of the wedding toast. He didn't want his judgement impaired in any way, having made the only mistake he ever intended to make with this family. He was in the foyer preparing to leave when Walter came out of the ballroom followed by his older brother, Arthur.

"Walter, you are too drunk to sit a horse. If you insist on leaving, I'll have a carriage brought around to take you home."

"You have too many guests for me to stay here. I'm fine, I tell you. Leave me alone." His slurred speech and crooked gait giving away his intoxication.

Against his better judgement Alexei felt he had to offer his assistance. After all, he was now part of the family and family took care of their own.

"My carriage is waiting. Perhaps Walter would allow me to see that he gets home."

Walter staggered toward the line of Kryceks, grinning at what his alcohol sodden mind thought was an invitation. His brother trailed behind him, ready to catch him if he started to fall. As fate decreed, he traversed the floor fine until within touching distance of Alexei.

About two feet from the chorus line only he could see, Walter tripped over his own feet, pitching headlong into the arms of the one true Alexei. Alexei staggered backward while keeping Walter semi upright. Arthur had moved forward but stopped when he saw that Alexei could handle it.

"See, Walter, you're drunk. You can't ride. Since Mr. Krycek has graciously offered to see you home, I suggest you allow it." Arthur's tone managed to convey both embarrassment and exasperation.

Brown eyes looked into green as Walter hoped his meaning would be understood. "Take me home."

Green eyes asked for confirmation. "Let me get you home to bed."

Arthur followed them to the carriage in case his brother should prove too much for Alexei to handle. He was surprised at the ease with which the smaller man manipulated his bear of a brother. It did, however, take them both to push the drunken man up into the carriage but Walter did not resist the help.

Alexei turned to bid Arthur goodbye. He waited until the older man had gone back inside to lean into the carriage to confirm that he had understood the man waiting there. After the last time they had been together, he wanted to make no further missteps.

"Walter, tell me your address so I can instruct the driver."

"No! Your home. Need to talk."

"All right, Walter."

Alexei gave his driver instructions and, for the first time had them questioned. Pavel remembered the last time he had driven Walter to Alexei's home. He also remembered the aftermath. The anger of the houseman at the way his master had been hurt. Anger that Alexei could have been killed when he sought solace with another.

Alexei's anger at being questioned was offset by his knowledge that this man cared for him and just wanted to protect him. So he was curt but not cruel as he told the man to mind his business. Alexei climbed into the carriage but this time sat across from Walter.

"Why are you over there? Come sit next to me, like last time." Walter's leer might have been charming but it was offset by the slurred speech that clearly showed his drunken condition.

"I think it's better if I stay here." Alexei grinned ruefully.

"Fine, I'll come over there."

Walter lurched out of his seat at the exact moment the carriage hit a bump and ended up sprawled face down in Alexei's lap. Alexei moaned as the touch of the man along with his fantasies of having Walter in just that very position combined to give him an instant erection. His body didn't care that it wasn't real and that the face down man was drunk.

Alexei reached to grab Walter and get him upright. The light from the passing street lamps showed him the grin on the big man's face as he wrestled Walter up onto the seat. Even drunk, his senses weren't so dull that he hadn't felt the erection brushing against his face.

Walter was just drunk enough to have lost his inhibitions. He had mentally kicked himself many times in the last few weeks. His mind had wondered what it would be like to 'purr with delight' for the man seated next to him. His drink-addled mind was forming witty conversation that his tongue could not produce.

The rest of the ride was spent with Walter trying to get his thoughts together and Alexei telling his anatomy that nothing was coming its way.

The driver helped Alexei get Walter out of the carriage and into the house.

Walter tried to turn toward the parlor, "Want to taste that vodka you offered me last time."

Firmly, Alexei guided him to the stairs. "I don't think so, Walter. You've had plenty to drink tonight. Now, up we go."

Instructing his houseman to light the guestroom, he followed slowly with Walter.

"I don't want to go to bed. Want to talk."

"You need to sleep. We can talk in the morning."

They had made it up four steps before Walter missed his footing and went down on one knee. Alexei bent to grab his arm, helping him back to his feet.

"Oops." Alexei grinned at the giggle from the big man. He wouldn't have thought that voice could make a sound like that.

"Yes, Walter. Oops. Easy, just a little further."

Once in the guestroom, he dismissed the servant who had just finished lighting the lamp by the bed.

"You should get undressed and go to bed, Walter. I'll make sure everyone knows to be quiet in the morning."

He watched as Walter tried to undress himself. Finally he sighed and moved forward to help him. He soon had him naked. His eyes firmly fixed over a shoulder so he saw very little of the man. He led Walter to the bed, pulled the covers back and waited for him to crawl into the bed.

As he pulled the covers up over the prone man, a strong hand grabbed his wrist and he was pulled down to land on his back on top of Walter. He gasped when another big hand slithered over his chest and closed over his crotch. Alexei's cock was very happy with that turn of events and expressed its pleasure by springing to attention.

Alexei moaned deep in his throat as he tried to pull the big man's hand away. Much as he would like to give Walter free rein, he didn't want to chance waking up to rejection the next day.

"Walter, stop!"

The command in the voice was unmistakable. Walter let go, looking at the man who had barked at him as Alexei scrambled off the bed.

"I thought you wanted me? Guess I missed the chance?" Walter's voice low, sounding almost like a boy who had been told he couldn't go out to play.

Alexei moved so he was sitting next to Walter on the bed. He smoothed the covers over the man as he looked deeply into the brown eyes.

"I do want you. But not like this. Not when you are too drunk to make reasonable decisions. If I ever have you, it will be because you want it one hundred percent."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that I don't want just one night with you. I've had men that way. It's empty and I don't want it to be that with you. I've done a lot of thinking over the last few weeks. I felt something the first time I saw you that I've never felt before."

"I don't understand."

"I'm not sure how to explain."

"Try, please."

"It's what the French call deja vu. Recognition, as if I have always known you. So it can't just be a fling. It means more than that to me."

Walter stared at him for a long moment then seemed to come to a conclusion. Later he would tell Alexei that he had felt entranced when they met.

"Will you kiss me goodnight?" He asked plaintively.

Alexei nodded and bent forward. His lips were soft as they moved over Walter's. A big hand reached up and tentatively held the back of his head. Walter sighed, opening his mouth and Alexei accepted the invitation to slip inside.

When Alexei pulled back, Walter immediately let go. The two men stared into each other's eyes, knowing deep inside that there was no going back now.

"Sleep, Walter. I'll see you in the morning."

"I'll still want this in the light of day and cold sober."

Alexei smiled softly, "Well then, if that is so, you shall have it."

"You'll teach me to purr?" Walter's voice questioned hesitantly.

"I'll teach you to purr...for starters." Alexei's deep voice lascivious as he answered.

Alexei rose gracefully and walked over to the washstand. Opening the cabinet underneath, he retrieved a chamber pot and placed it next to the bed.

"Just in case the wine doesn't want to stay down. Goodnight." The wicked grin teasing.

He turned the lamp down very low and left the other man to sleep. In his own bed, he dared to hope and dream while bringing himself relief before he found his own rest.

The next morning, Walter woke with a head pounding and the momentary lack of memory as to where he was. He squinted in the too bright room as memory began returning. His mind replayed the conversation of the night before and a slow smile spread across his face.

He rose carefully and dressed before making his way downstairs, following his nose toward the smells of coffee and tea. He found Alexei sitting in the parlor with a tray on the small table in front of him.

"Good morning, Walter. How's your head?"

"Still attached, I think." Alexei watched Walter wince as he moved forward slowly.

"Good. I had cook make tea and coffee since I wasn't sure which you would prefer."

"Coffee in the mornings, tea in the afternoon."

Alexei reached for a cup and poured the strong brew. He handed it to Walter as the man settled next to him on the sofa. He moved the sugar and cream within easy reach of his guest and then picked his own cup up to take a sip.

Alexei thought 'So far so good. He's up, he hasn't run screaming from the house. And he's sitting next to me.'

They sat in silence as the coffee worked its magic on Walter. The pounding of his head had begun receding by the time he held out his cup for a refill. He was acutely aware of the clean scent of the man next to him and felt foul in comparison.

"Would you mind having your driver take me home? I'd like to bathe and change."

"Of course, Walter. I'll have the carriage brought around. Would you like some breakfast first or more coffee?"

"No, thank you. But if you offer me dinner, my stomach should have settled by then."

"Dinner it is then. I'll have cook make something Russian for you."

"I'd like that."

Alexei summoned the houseman and gave instructions. When the carriage arrived, he walked Walter to the door. As he reached for the door handle, Walter's hand closed over his. He turned and Walter's free hand cupped his face before his lips covered Alexei's.

The kiss was unhurried and gentle and, by the time it was finished, both men were aroused. Walter stepped back and surveyed the face of the man he had just kissed for the second time. He was highly satisfied with the deep green the eyes had turned. He traced the bottom lip with his thumb and moved farther back, releasing the hand on the doorknob.

"What time shall I be here tonight?"

"At seven. See you then."

"I'll be here."

Before the carriage was out of sight, Alexei was in the kitchen issuing orders for dinner that night. The menu would consist of cold borsch, potato pie, chakhokhbili, vegetables golubtsy, and lemon tvorozhnik for dessert. He planned to give Walter a taste for all things Russian, not just himself.

Promptly at seven, Walter arrived. He had spent most of the day with butterflies in his stomach. His practical side worried that he would mess it up somehow. In the weeks since that first touch, he had made his peace with the fact that he wanted a man. Had examined all the problems that might arise and decided to face them as he had always faced life. Head on and head high.

Alexei had fussed until the cook had run him out of the kitchen, waving her rolling pin at him. He had made sure the vodka was iced so it would be cold, the way he favored it. His best linens adorned the table along with his finest china and silver.

He paced in his entry hall from six-thirty until he heard the horse stop out in front. He yanked the bell pull so hard in his haste to have someone come to see to Walter's horse it almost came loose.

Dinner consisted of conversation that went nowhere. Both men thinking about where the night was going to end, but neither of them talked about it. Walter had asked to compliment the cook and Alexei had sent for her, knowing she would be pleased with his praise.

Walter listened to Alexei translate his words to the cook and, when they were alone again, commented that he would need to learn Russian and the servants should learn some English. Alexei took that as a sign that he intended to be around awhile.

After dinner, they were seated in the parlor as they had been on the first night. Both men were suddenly tongue tied as they sipped the cognac Alexei had poured for them. Finally, the glasses were empty, both men leaning forward to place the glasses down at the same time.

Two hands brushed against each other and a soft moan came from the bigger man. He turned his hand and entwined Alexei's fingers with his. Eyes met in a long moment of silent communication and they rose without a word. Alexei leading the way to his bedroom.

Once there, he made quick work of Walter's clothing, kissing every inch of skin as it was laid bare for him. Walter stood very still, watching the man's nimble fingers as they stripped him and aroused him. He lay upon the bed when the covers were pulled back and watched as Alexei divested himself of his own clothes.

He moved to the center of the big bed, making room for Alexei as the man he had chosen to be his only male lover lay next to him. Walter was soon lost in sensations as Alexei did indeed show him how talented his fingers could be. Walter was kissed as the fingers found his nipples in the fur on his chest and brought them erect. Pinching almost painfully as the kiss deepened.

The indrawn hiss of air told Alexei that the nipple he had begun sucking enjoyed being played that way. Walter's head went back and his back arched up into the sensation, a hand worked one nipple as the mouth sucked and bit the other.

When Alexei's hand moved down to slip between his legs, he opened gladly. The fingers rolling his heavy balls made him purr as he had been told he would. His cock was standing tall, his hips thrusting against the air seeking contact.

Alexei pushed up on his elbow to look down at the writhing man, his fingers continuing the assault on the balls and the tender area behind them. Much better than his fantasies. As if he knew he was being watched, Walter opened his eyes and his hips stilled. The need in those eyes caused Alexei to growl possessively.

"No one was ever more beautiful than you are at this moment, Walter."

"No, I'm not. You are."

"You must learn never to argue with me."

Alexei grinned wickedly before he twisted and pulled Walter's cock into his mouth. Walter suddenly learned to speak in tongues as well as levitate. His hands tangled in the hair fanned over his stomach as he experienced his first blowjob.

The whimpers turned into a high keening, Walter trying not to let go.

"Please...I'm going to...have to..."

Walter tried to pull Alexei up and away but the other man was too strong and too intent on his need to give pleasure. With a loud shout, Walter lost his battle for control. His hips jerked against the hands holding him in place as his seed flowed into the hot, wet mouth of his lover.

Alexei rode the climax out with him, swallowing every drop, savoring this first taste of his lover. When Walter went limp, he gave the softening cock a long sensuous lick from base to crown and crawled back up next to Walter, watching him as he came back to earth.

When Walter's eyes opened, he looked at Alexei with awe. He had never come so hard in his life. His hand moved to pull Alexei close as he tried to put his feelings into the kiss. Their tongues warred for dominance, Alexei winning. When he released Walter's mouth, he reveled in the sigh the other man could not contain.

"No wonder you said I would purr. No one's ever done that to me. I still can't believe you let me come in your mouth."

"Why not? You taste good."

Walter's happy laugh rang out in the room and he pulled the smaller man to him. His eyes widened when he felt Alexei's erection pressing against his thigh. He slipped a hand between them, closed it tentatively over the thickness of the other man and squeezed gently.

"I'm sure I can't do that as well as you but I'm willing to try."

"We'll have plenty of time for you to learn. But I'd rather do something else if you will let me."


"I want to come inside you. I'll go very slowly and see that the passage is well oiled and opened first. I have no desire to take my pleasure at the expense of your pain."

The look of hope in Alexei's eyes would have swayed Walter if nothing else had. He believed in fair play and he had just received the most erotic experience of his life. He wanted to please the man who had given that to him.

He swallowed hard and nodded, words again fleeing from the strangeness of the evening. Alexei's smile a reward all on its own. Walter watched as Alexei moved into a kneeling position between his legs.

"Could you pass me that small vial on the table, please, Walter?"

Walter turned, spotted the small bottle, picked it up and handed it to Alexei. He watched as some of the sweet smelling oil was poured onto those elegant fingers. He tensed as the fingers found his puckered hole and rubbed over it slowly, making no move to enter. Alexei took his time just stroking over the hole again and again until he felt the body relax.

"Raise your legs for me, lover."

Walter pulled them up and Alexei directed them into the position he wanted. Taking the bottle once more, he poured a small amount directly onto Walter, just behind his balls, and let it run downward on its own. A slight smile graced his lips as the big man squirmed when the oil tickled the sensitized flesh.

The fingers rubbed the hole again in the way Walter was finding pleasurable. His gasp when one dipped inside showed surprise not pain. Alexei stayed still with just the one finger pressed inside until he felt the muscles relax. Then he began to fuck Walter with firm but lazy strokes.

When Walter's body began to rock toward the invasion, he slipped a second finger inside. Brown eyes flew open and, for just the barest second, fear showed. The crooking of the fingers inside sent a jolt of fire through him and all fear was forgotten.

"You all right, Walter?"

"Yessss. What did you just do?"

"Feel good?"

"Really good."

Alexei's eyes sparkled as he crooked his fingers again, rubbing the spot harder. Walter's moan making music in the room. Alexei pulled his fingers out as the hips rose to try and keep them. He applied more oil and this time entered with three fingers.

Walter hissed as the intrusion burned slightly and Alexei kept his fingers still but bent forward to capture a nipple in his mouth. Walter forgot the burn as his focus shifted to the nipple being lightly bitten. Walter hands closed around Alexei's face and he was pulled him up to ravage his mouth.

By the time the kiss was over, Alexei's cock was screaming at him with need.

"Walter, please, I need to..."

"Do it. I want to give you the pleasure you gave me."

Walter raised up as he watched Alexei slick his cock for entry. When the head pressed against him, he tensed for a breath and Alexei went still, waiting. When Walter nodded, he pushed forward and the head breached the ring of muscle. Again Walter tensed and, again, Alexei waited.

Alexei was surprised when two hands grabbed his hips and pulled him in. Both men froze. Walter with the sudden pain of the forced entry, Alexei with fear that Walter would never want to do this again with this introduction.

Walter panted as the burn and pain eased. Alexei's eyes watching, waiting for rejection. Walter pulled him down for another kiss, then guided his head back toward a nipple. Alexei smiled as he sucked the nub into his mouth.

He spent several long minutes keeping his lower body still as he worked on first one nipple then the other. When he felt Walter's cock beginning to harden against his stomach, he pulled out part way and eased back inside. Walter responded by pulling his head up to kiss him again.

Alexei began to pump into his lover, taking it slow and only pulling out partially. When he felt the other man was completely hard again, he pushed up with his arms to look at Walter's face.

"Is this all right? I'm not hurting you, am I?"

"No. I feel full but it doesn't hurt."

Alexei nodded and rose up on his knees, lifting Walter's legs to rest on his shoulders. He pumped into the tight passage several times, changing his angle slightly each time until the other man whimpered. Pulling out all but the head, he slammed back inside at the same angle. He was very pleased when the eyes he had been watching darkened and he felt the muscles tighten on him.


"Yes! Do it!"

Alexei threw his head back and proceeded to pound into Walter with all his might. The only sounds in the room were Alexei's loud panting and the whimpers of pleasure coming from the man he was riding.

When Alexei knew he was close, he reached to stroke Walter, bringing him quickly to his second climax of the night. The ass tightened almost painfully around Alexei as Walter's come shot into the air. Alexei came deep inside with a loud shout of triumph. Then fell forward to lie on the broad chest of the only man he would ever truly love.

They dozed for a short while. Alexei roused himself sometime later to ring for warm water. He cleaned his new lover with languid gentle strokes of a soft cloth. Enjoying the way the brown eyes sparkled at him. When he finished cleaning himself, he walked back to the bed wondering if Walter would stay the night or want to leave.

He got his answer when he was pulled down into the bed and the covers arranged over them before two strong arms pulled him close. He snuggled his head onto a shoulder with a contented sigh, then smiled when he felt the lips press briefly against his hairline.

Over the next few months, the two men spent their days much as they had before they met: Walter at the shipyard and Alexei caring for his business. The nights were filled with Alexei teaching Walter not only the best way to purr but also to beg, whimper, and scream.

Walter learned to give excellent head long before he learned any Russian other than the words of lovemaking. All things considered, that was just fine with Alexei. Each day found him more in love with the big rowdy man who shared his bed. The servants were known to smile often as the relationship grew, the happiness of the two men making their lives smooth.

Then Alexei made the only mistake of their relationship. He took Walter out to a private club for dinner. A club that was for members only.

"Walter, it's been six months since we became lovers. I want to celebrate. There's a club I know where we can go for a nice dinner. A place where no one will care if I decide I must touch you during the meal. I can show you off, make the others jealous that I have such a handsome lover to warm my bed."

Walter laughed, "Handsome? Well, not ugly, but handsome? I think, they'll be jealous of me for having you."

He laughed again as Alexei playfully swatted at his naked ass leaving a red handprint. Walter had become quickly used to the fact that his lover liked seeing him marked. The clothing of the time was perfect for hiding the marks his lover left on his body.

The high collars hid the purple marks that always adorned his neck. His other clothing hiding the marks from fingers that gripped tightly as Alexei flooded him with his come. His breeches hiding bruises from having his ass spanked when his lover was in that kind of mood.

Walter knew himself to be deeply in love with Alexei. Many times he thanked the fates that he was the younger brother and therefore would not be nagged about getting married. The family assumed that he and Alexei had become friends since all family gatherings were attended together.

This made the events both easier and harder. Easier because they had each other for companionship if the guests were boring. Harder because they could not touch and touching had become important to them. So the idea of being around others where touching would be possible had its appeal.

"When did you want to go? And what shall I wear since you are showing me off?"

"We'll go on Friday. Your new coat should be finished by then."

Walter was pulled back toward the rumpled bed to be given more lessons in purring.

Friday, the weather was warmer than normal, which meant that the place was crowded. The table they were given placed them in view of most of the other diners. Walter was amused by the way Alexei kept touching him when he saw anyone look their way.

They were on waiting for dessert to be served when the tall hazel-eyed man came in. He saw Alexei and made a beeline for the table.

"Alexei, I haven't seen you in ages. How are you?"

"I'm well."

The irritation in Alexei's voice caused Walter's head to jerk around to look at his lover. The man pulled a chair from the table next to them and sat without being asked.

"Aren't you going to introduce me to this gorgeous man? Is he the reason you've dropped out of sight lately?"

Alexei frowned, but still showed his good manners even though his voice was frigid.

"Fox Mulder, this is Walter Skinner."

"Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Skinner. Seems Alexei has been holding out on us. Where did he find you?"

Walter was annoyed at the brass of the man asking questions he considered none of the man's business, plus the way the man was staring at him was making him uncomfortable. The tensing of Alexei's body telling him that Alexei was displeased as well. He decided to make his answer short and give minimal information.

"We met at an engagement party."

"Ah, I see and you've been together ever since, right?"

"Yes, Fox, that's pretty much the way of it." There was a warning tone to the voice that Walter picked up on even if the other man did not.

"Alexei, you've found the love of your life, at last. And you, Mr. Skinner? You feel the same?"

"Most definitely."

"What a pity. I was hoping to invite you to go out for a drink with me sometime. My party has arrived. Enjoy your evening, gentlemen."

The chair was replaced and Mulder went to join the two men who had just come through the door. Alexei called the waiter over, cancelled the dessert, paid the bill and then led his thoughtful lover from the dining room.

Walter waited until they were in the carriage to speak.

"Alexei, how do you know that man?"

"I don't wish to talk about him, Walter. Just steer clear of him if you see him again. Under no circumstances are you to go out with him."

The vehemence in Alexei's voice startled Walter. It was very true that he was the bottom in the relationship, but Alexei had never issued commands of this nature to him before. A part of him rebelled at the idea of being ordered about, but his logical side intervened. After all, he was in love and had no desire to seek his pleasure elsewhere. Therefore it was a small concession to make, especially considering he had not liked the man.

Still, he was concerned at the intensity of his lover on the subject. He made up his mind to try and discover the reasons at a later time. He reached to pull the smaller man into his lap and proceeded to kiss away the frown. By the time they reached home, there was no mention of a nightcap, it was straight to bed.

The matter was pretty much forgotten until a few weeks later when Walter ran into Mulder at a social function he had been forced to attend to represent his brother who was too ill to go. He hadn't seen the other man at dinner but then it was a large gathering.

He had found a spot as far from the smoke as possible after dinner and was listening to the conversation with a false attentive look on his face when he was bumped rudely from the side. Turning, he found himself looking into hazel eyes.

"Excuse me, Mr. Skinner. I didn't mean to bump you that way. How are you?"

"I'm fine, Sir. How are you?"

"Oh, excellent. How is Alexei?"

Walter shot him a warning look, to which Mulder replied by grinning mischievously.

"I assume he is fine. I'll give him your regards the next time I see him."

"That would be kind of you. May I get you a drink?"

"No, thank you. I seldom drink. It isn't a habit I'm fond of."

"Nor is smoking it seems. Must make this part of the evening most tedious for you. Especially when the conversation isn't scintillating."

"I'm here to represent my family tonight, not to be stimulated by the conversation."

"Really? And here I was hoping you would be so bored I could entice you to leave with me."

"I'm afraid not. It wouldn't do for me to be rude to my host."

"Perhaps you would allow me to take you to lunch later in the week. I know a place that serves delicious French cuisine. It would be my treat of course."

"Sorry, no. That is quite out of the question. I work days in the family business."

"Ah, yes. The shipyards I believe someone told me. You see, I've made it a point to find out about you."

"Sir, may I just say that my business is none of yours. I'm flattered that you wanted to know about me. But I think the circumstances of our first meeting would have told you I'm permanently engaged."

"Possessive, is he?"


"Can't say that I blame him for that. He has a tendency to lose things, find them."

"He won't lose this one."

"Yes. Well, the days are long...much can happen. I'll bid you goodbye, for now."

Walter watched as the man made his way out of the room. He wasn't pleased with the way the man had looked at him. It took him several moments to realize he had seen eyes with that expression before. A shiver ran through him when he finally remembered where. A friend of the family had that same look when he had been carted off to the asylum.

Fox Mulder was insane.

When he arrived at what he now considered to be his home, he found Alexei snuggled in bed, reading as he waited for him.

"How was the dinner?"

"Dinner was fine but the after dinner part wasn't."

"What happened?"

Walter began to undress as he answered.

"Fox Mulder was there."

"Did you talk to him?"

"Kind of hard to avoid when someone deliberately bumps into you."

"What did the bastard have to say?"

"He asked how I was, how you are, offered to get me a drink."

"You turned him down, right?"

"Of course, I did. Alexei, what happened between you two? I can tell there is bad blood so tell me."

"It doesn't matter, just stay away from him as I told you."

Walter had shucked the last of his clothes and he walked to the bed, reaching over to take the book from Alexei. He marked the place with a ribbon then set the book on the table by the bed. Alexei had moved over to make room for him. As soon as Walter was under the covers, Alexei kissed him possessively.

"Alexei, you *know* that I love you, don't you?"


"You also know that I want no one but *you* in my bed and my body, right?"

"Yes, Walter."

"Then trust me and tell me what happened between you two. He made insinuations tonight. I could tell he was trying to cause problems between us. The best way to stop his meddling is if I know what went on."

Walter had left the lamp turned up so he could see Alexei as they talked. He watched the play of emotions before his lover spoke. Anger, pain, a little fear.

"What did he say?"

"He said you tend to lose things, he to find them."

The bitterness was easy to hear in the deep voice of the man holding him in a suddenly tight grip.

"Promise me you will never accept food or drink from him, or allow yourself to be alone with him."

"A promise I give gladly. The man holds no appeal for me. Now tell me why."

"I did not come to America alone. I had a lover who came with me. I thought I loved him until you came into my life and I found out what love truly means."

"Go on, tell me all of it and take as long as you need."

"His name was Nikolai. He was a pretty boy when I first met him. Young but already sure of what he wanted. His family was poor and, looking back, I should have known he was using me. Even then I wanted a stable relationship with just one man."

Walter stroked Alexei's ribs as he waited for him to continue.

"So when my uncle settled here, he wrote to me of the wealth to be had. I packed us up and brought him here with me. For the first few months, we struggled but then things started to come together. I expected us to be happy then."

Walter kissed his partner's throat softly in silent support as he heard more than the words.

"I met Mulder through business acquaintances. He is quite charming when he wants to be. Before I knew it, I had agreed to have dinner with him. That dinner was a little strained because he made his desires plain. I of course told him I was with someone. I'm not sure how or why but he convinced me to bring Nikolai for dinner the next night."

Walter curved his body around Alexei, already fairly sure where the story was going. His mind was angry that someone would do this to the man he knew to be gentle and loving. But his heart was glad the other man had left so he could have Alexei.

"He looked at Nikolai the same way he was looking at you the night he met you. I didn't see it with Nikolai, maybe because I didn't truly love him as I do you. They were seeing each other for a month before I found out."

"How did you learn about them?"

"Nikolai brought him into my bed. I came home early one day. I could hear him as soon as I opened the door. I moved quietly toward the bedroom, thinking he was pleasuring himself. When I heard slap of a hand on flesh and Mulder's voice ordering him to come, I died a little."

"How horrible for you. What did you do?"

"You've never seen my temper, pray you never do. I threw him out, his nose dripping blood and Mulder gloating that he now had what he wanted. Nikolai seemed smug. And why not? Mulder has more money than I. He could give him the things he wanted."

"Then why was Mulder out alone when we met? And why would he make such obvious advances to me?"

"Mulder always wants what he can not have. Once he gets it, he no longer wants it."

"But what about Nikolai?"

"The next time I saw him he was on some drug, laudanum, I think. Mulder was treating him like a slave and he was accepting it in order to get the drugs. I can't prove it but I think Mulder killed him when he tired of him. The doctor said it was an overdose and assumed he just took too much. But I saw the bruises from the abuse he had suffered before he died."

"How? If he was with Mulder?"

"He came to me, begging me to help him the day before he died. He told me Mulder was beating him, giving him to other men to use for money. He showed me his wasted body. He was covered in welts, had bruises in the shape of fingers on his thighs and buttocks. He had been used so violently he was torn and bleeding."

"What did you do?"

"I had the doctor care for his injuries, fed him a decent meal, bathed him and put him to bed. Mulder showed up looking for him about the time the shakes set in. I tried to get him to stay with me but when Mulder issued his command, Nikolai followed him docilely to his carriage. The next day he was dead."

"No wonder you don't want me near him. Alexei, you don't need to worry. I want no one but you. I have money so he can't offer me that. Drugs don't appeal. After hearing this, I won't trust anything he offers me."

"Promise, me?"

"An easy promise to make, Alexei."

"I love you as I have loved no one else, Walter. I will kill anyone who tries to come between us."

Walter wasn't surprised when Alexei pushed him onto his back and covered his body. His hands were pulled up over his head and held with one hand as the other pinched his nipple. He moaned into the demanding kiss of the man above him.

Alexei ground their crotches together, bringing them both quickly erect. Walter raised his legs to wrap around his lover, pulling him closer and increasing the stimulation as their cocks rubbed happily together. His body arched at what looked to be an uncomfortable angle as the hot mouth covered the free nipple.

Alexei's tongue danced over Walter's nipple before his teeth bit down. Walter's hiss encouraging him to continue. He had learned early on that Walter's nipples loved to be tortured. Once aroused, he would normally demand to be bitten harder.

Alexei let go of both nipples, pulled back and smiled as Walter's body tried to follow him.

"Lie still."

His order was immediately obeyed. Seeing the two men together, people who knew the ins and outs of such relationships would have assumed Walter to be in control. But Alexei had controlled the relationship from the beginning. A control Walter joyfully gave over to him. Why not? Alexei took him to heights he had never known were possible.

"Keep your hands where they are."

A slight nod the only response.

"Open your legs wide for me."

The legs spread wide. Alexei knelt between them and began to torture his lover's cock. One hand stroking as the other rolled the heavy balls in their sac. Walter's hands closed over the top of the headboard. He knew it would be a while before Alexei let him come and he needed an anchor to help him hold on.

Alexei played with his lover, watching as he squirmed and moaned under his hands. He never had anyone respond to him as Walter did. It was such a pleasure to watch. Alexei allowed his fingers to slip further back, to rub at the sensitive skin behind the balls.

"Please, Alexei!"

"Not yet. Not until I say."

The knuckles of the hands gripping the bed whitened with the effort to hold on. More than his own pleasure, Walter wanted Alexei's and he knew it pleased his lover to draw it out. The teeth biting into the lower lip drew blood. Alexei leaned down to kiss him, licking the blood from the lip, eliciting another moan from his lover.

"Stop doing that. If I want you to bleed, I'll make you bleed." The grin took all threat from the words; the one time he had made Walter bleed, he had been so upset they hadn't had anal sex for almost a week. Even when Walter had asked, he had refused out of fear of re-injuring him.

The hands working on him had slowed the assault, giving Walter's body a chance to calm. When Alexei was sure the orgasm was averted, he resumed his former level of play. The fluid that gathered at the slit to begin running down the head was too much temptation for the Russian.

Bending down, he cleaned the head with his tongue before pulling it into his mouth to suck oh, so gently. Walter's hips bucked upward trying to push more of him inside his tormentor's mouth. Alexei was having none of that. He let his toys go to hold the hips in place. Sucking at just the tip, drawing more of the salty fluid into his mouth.

Walter was very close to losing it when the hot mouth let him go, making a loud slurping sound. He gasped with the suddenness of the cooler air hitting his wet cock. Then wailed with frustration.


The slap of a hand on his thigh all the reminder he needed as to who was in charge.

Walter closed his eyes, whimpering as he waited. Seeing Alexei kneeling between his legs, his rampant cock twitching slightly with his breathing was adding too much stimuli to Walter's already overloaded senses.

"Soon, beloved, soon."

Walter raised his legs willingly as Alexei's hands slipped under his knees. The slick fingers welcomed and almost sucked inside when they began to probe. The cock arched up against to facilitate the impaling. The harsh whimpers becoming an almost crying sound as Alexei rammed into him hard and fast.

Walter's legs wrapping tightly around the slender hips, pulling him in as deeply as possible. Alexei's hands underneath, gripping the firm ass of his lover, pulling him up to meet his thrusts and keeping him spread wide to penetrate with every inch he had to offer.

Walter was hanging by a thread, sweat beading his face and body. Alexei watched his face as he took his pleasure in the body. The small Mona Lisa smile betraying his joy in taking Walter so far out of himself. The smile widened when the pleases started flowing.

"Please, please, please, Alexei, please let me come!"

"Hold on, for me. Just a little longer. Almost there."

Alexei bent down, the angle making for less power to his thrusts but putting him where he could suck a nipple into his mouth. When he felt the spasms of the ass his cock was buried inside, he said one word.


The teeth latched onto one nipple as fingers twisted the other. Walter's scream loud enough to rouse the house if they hadn't been used to hearing Alexei make the big man scream. Alexei felt Walter's cock twitching against him and the hot sperm flowing between their bodies.

Alexei bit down harder, pumped into the tight ass a few more times, then his come shot high inside his man. Walter forgot he was supposed to keep his hands above his head and gripped Alexei's ass as if to pull him farther inside his body.

Both men gripped each other harder for several long minutes as they rode out the aftershocks. When Alexei went boneless on Walter's chest, he wrapped his arms around his sated lover and held him gently.


The next time he woke, he could focus a little better. He was lying on a rough blanket and the floor looked like packed dirt. Twisting his head caused a sharp pain to shoot through it, his vision blurred, and he retched weakly but nothing came up. He realized that at some point he had lost control, the blanket he was lying on was wet and he could smell his feces.

He groaned, his pain aggravated by his lack of knowledge as to where he was and how long it had been. Fear kicked in as well, fear for his lover. Was he in a similar state or had he been killed? That thought brought tears to his face. Whatever happened to him would not matter if the man he loved were gone. And what if he were still alive but not imprisoned? If that were the case, he would be frantic with worry.

One more pain to add to all the others. He retched again as the tears flowed down his face. The blackness was welcomed when it came since it stopped all his pains and thoughts for a while.


By the time Alexei and Walter had known each other for a year, the relationship had settled into the closest thing to a marriage two men could have. Walter had given up his rooms near the shipyard since he never used them anyway, moving into Alexei's home.

Walter's family accepted his explanation that Alexei's home was just as convenient to his work and much more comfortable. Since the two men were so very discreet in public and Walter didn't need to provide heirs, they saw no reason to look deeper at the relationship. Both men managed their businesses as before and even made a greater success of them.

Alexei's family had always known of his preferences, and since he didn't draw unwanted attention to them, they ignored them. Besides, he provided their income and they didn't want to do anything to lose that. His cousin was the most accepting because he had been a brother to her and she saw how happy he was with his new life in America.

After the second time Walter had run into Mulder and Alexei's temper had shown itself to him, he had stopped telling him about the seemingly 'chance' meetings. Not a week went by that Mulder wasn't somewhere he was. He did his best to ignore the man but it was very difficult.

The innuendoes were bad enough, but when no one was close enough to hear he made plain his intentions. Asking Walter out for dinner or drinks or plays. Walter's refusals to go out with him seemed no deterrent at all. As the months progressed, he became more and more aggressive in his suggestions. Even telling Walter what he wanted to do to him. Walter told him on every occasion that he was not interested.

They were both very surprised to see Mulder's face at the one-year anniversary party for Daniel and Katya. His presence discomforting to Walter, who feared he would say the wrong thing and set Alexei off. For Alexei's part, he was furious to see the hated man at a family celebration.

After dinner, the guests split up, some retiring to the library, some to dance in the ballroom. Walter was standing near the terrace doors, watching the dancers as he waited for Alexei to finish the dance with his cousin. He loved watching the man dance, the fluid movements so graceful. Watching him move that way made Walter long for the evening to be over so he could enjoy those movements in their bed.

Mulder's voice made the hair at the back of his neck stand on end.

"Hello, Walter, nice to see you again. Alexei and his cousin dance well together, don't they?"

Walter had no intention of causing a scene in his brother's home so he answered far more politely than usual.

"They learned to dance together as children."

"Does he move that well when he rides you?"

Walter's temper was being sorely tested. He ground his teeth together before spitting out his answer to the man beside him.

"I have told you before my relationship with Alexei is none of your business. I would be most appreciative if you would stay away from me."

Walter found his arm gripped by a strong hand and he was pulled through the door onto the terrace. At that point he still felt he could control the situation. It didn't occur to him that the madman might be stronger than he was.

He found himself pushed past the doors and into a corner behind the planter. The only light penetrating was the moonlight. Alexei did not witness this as Mulder had timed it to the dance steps, waiting for Alexei's back to be turned.

When Mulder's mouth came down on his, Walter tried to push the other man away. The strength of the man surprised him as his arm was twisted painfully behind his back. The mouth moved against his, tongue pressing for an entrance, which Walter firmly denied it.

When the hand closed over his cock, Walter bucked trying to push the man away with his body. Mulder seemed to take this, not as the bid for release it was but as response. He squeezed down almost painfully on Walter's cock before moving his hand farther down to fondle the balls. Releasing Walter's mouth, he spoke quietly.

"I can give you everything he can and more. Nikolai told me I have *much* more to offer than Alexei."

As if to offer proof, he let go of Walter's balls and ground his crotch against him. Walter could feel the erection and could tell that Mulder was indeed longer than Alexei, although he didn't feel as wide. If he were the kind of man only looking for sex, he might have been tempted.

But Walter was in love and very pleased with his love life with Alexei. Even if he hadn't made a commitment to the green-eyed beauty, he wouldn't want this crazy man.

"Mulder, stop this. I'm very much in love and want no one else. I will never want anyone but Alexei. Now let me go before he comes looking for us."

"Are you afraid of him? Don't want him to see you in another man's arms?"

"I have no reason to be afraid *with him*. Now let go. I want no trouble on Daniel and Katya's night."

"You heard him, Fox. Let him go."

Mulder stepped back and turned to face the furious Russian. Walter moved quickly around him to stand at Alexei's side.

"What's the matter, Alexei? Afraid you'll lose another lover to me?"

Alexei moved so quickly, Walter had no chance to try and stop him. The fist connected and Mulder went down. Alexei followed, intent on bashing the man's brains out against the stone of the terrace. Walter reached him before he could carry out his intended action. Holding tightly to him, Walter pulled him down from the terrace and around the house, praying that no one would see him dragging his struggling lover away from the man he wished to kill.

They reached the drive. Alexei's driver, seeing the men struggling ran forward, a question on his lips. Walter knew enough Russian by then to answer the man. His response was accepted without question. The driver ran forward to help Walter get the still enraged Alexei into the carriage.

Once inside, Walter kept him there by literally sitting on him. The carriage pulled out of the drive heading toward home as Mulder ran to catch them. Walter's concerns would have been focused in another direction if he had seen the mad gleam in the eyes as the trickle of blood was lapped from a lip by a pink tongue.

All the way home Walter talked to his lover in low soothing tones. Bringing him out of the red anger. Then telling him again that he loved him, would never leave him, not for anyone but especially not for Fox Mulder.

By the time they arrived at their home, Alexei had calmed but his mood had changed. As if he needed to mark his territory, he took Walter with a violence that ripped Walter's soul from his body. He broke him into tiny pieces then put them back together. The orgasm roaring through Walter's body the most intense he had ever had. The aftershocks leaving him trembling.

In the aftermath, Walter held Alexei as he cried and repeated over and over how sorry he was. When Alexei fell into an exhausted sleep, Walter eased out of the bed. He washed his body in the guestroom, inspecting the bite marks and bruises. There was no blood; a year of having Alexei in his body almost daily had taught it to accept his use.

Once he was cleaned up and sure Alexei would find no blood in their bed in the morning, he went back to their room. He stood watching the man who owned his heart sleep until he began to twist and whimper. Walter hurried to crawl into bed next to him and pull him close. The nightmare averted as soon as Walter touched him.

Walter woke alone the next morning and when he went downstairs, he found Alexei sitting with a distant look on his face. He turned his head when Walter tried to kiss him so that it landed on his cheek.

"If you want to leave, I'll understand. I won't try to stop you. What I did last night was unforgivable."

"What you did last night was take me someplace I never knew existed."

Alexei's head rose to look at Walter in shock.

"Alexei, I will *never* leave you. You own me as surely as if I were a slave. Last night, you were angry. Someone who has stolen from you before tried to do it again. I stopped you from doing what your mind and heart wanted to do. When we got home, you took what is *yours* to take."

"I hurt you. I heard the pain in your voice and I didn't stop."

"Had I asked, you would have."

"You don't know that."

"Yes, Alexei, I do." The answer firm and sure.

"How can you?" The question whispered brokenly.

"Because you love me as you have loved no other."

"How can you say that? After what I did."

"Because I know it to be true."

Alexei's hand rose slowly and he traced the lip he had bitten until it had bled the night before. His words harsh with his fear.

"I made you bleed. I promised I'd never do that again."

"That's the only place I bled. And it wouldn't have happened if my body hadn't picked that moment to explode. Didn't you look at the sheets before you left me this morning? There's no blood on them."

He didn't add that he would have figured out some way to change them if there had been.

"Yes, I looked. I also saw all the marks I left on you."

"You often leave marks on me. It pleases me to wear your marks. I thought it pleased you as well."

Walter's tone and look that of someone about to lose something important. Walter had never told Alexei he liked the marks on his body. Alexei had sometimes found him rubbing at the darker ones with a smile on his lips, so he had assumed that Walter didn't mind.

The cold that had settled on Alexei when he had opened his eyes that morning was suddenly gone. For the first time he was at a loss for words so he pulled the big man down next to him and locating an unblemished spot on his neck began to suck. Walter's big hands closed gently around his lover's head holding him close as he was marked once more.

After that, the two men had a new understanding of each other. Alexei came to relish the nights when Walter's voice would encourage him to be rough. Walter's pleasure in being so thoroughly used was beyond his ability to express, although his complete surrender to Alexei spoke volumes.

As the days and weeks passed, Walter began to think Mulder had finally gotten the point.

Though the chance meetings had stopped, Walter didn't even notice that he was being watched almost constantly.

Mulder, in his insanity, had fixated on having Walter. In his twisted mind, Alexei had stolen Walter and he was going to get him back. All he needed was to get him alone, he reasoned, and he could win him back. So he arranged to have Walter spied upon. A man with money could hire people for almost any plan he had in mind.

He also arranged for a house he could hold him prisoner in once he had lured him away. But that had proven hard to do. He had sent a messenger with the news that Walter was urgently needed at his brother's. Alexei had gone with him, which averted the plan to take him.

After that attempt backfired, Walter seemed to become more cautious, or else Alexei did. It didn't much matter, the result was the same. A big Russian recent émigré named Ivan began to accompany Walter everywhere. The only times Ivan wasn't at Walter's side Alexei was.


The next time he woke, he was on a different blanket and he had been cleaned up. There was water in a bowl next to him and he lapped it up eagerly to soothe his dry throat. This time his mind stayed clear longer. He still couldn't remember exactly what had happened but he had no doubt that Mulder was behind it. There was no one else who would want to harm them.

He wondered again where his lover was and prayed he was safe. But somehow he doubted that he was.


They had been together for over a year when Alex suggested the play. It was a revival of She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith. It was several years old and had been considered quite risqué when originally produced. Just the kind of thing he knew his lover would enjoy.

They had gone out to dinner first, enjoying each other's company over the fine meal. Alexei had told the driver he could go home. The distance home not far, the weather pleasant and he and Walter enjoyed going for walks together.

They were a few blocks from home, still laughing over the play, when Alexei was hit from behind. He went down and Walter immediately turned to help him only to be hit hard across the temple.

He woke disoriented and cold. It didn't take long for him to realize he was bound and naked. He lay still, trying to remember what had happened and how he came to be here. His last memory was of his lover walking next to him as they had left the play they had gone to see.

His head was pounding and he was finding it difficult to think. He tried to curl into a tight ball to conserve body heat. His heart cried out his lover's name as he slipped back into the blackness.

The next time he woke, he could focus a little better. He was lying on a rough blanket and the floor looked like packed dirt. Twisting his head caused a sharp pain to shoot through it, his vision blurred, and he retched weakly but nothing came up. He realized that at some point he had lost control, the blanket he was lying on was wet and he could smell his feces.

He groaned, his pain aggravated by his lack of knowledge as to where he was and how long it had been. Fear kicked in as well, fear for his lover. Was he in a similar state or had he been killed? That thought brought tears to his face. Whatever happened to him would not matter if the man he loved were gone. And what if he was still alive but not imprisoned? If that were the case, he would be frantic with worry.

One more pain to add to all the others. He retched again as the tears flowed down his face. The blackness was welcomed when it came since it stopped all his pains and thoughts for a while.

Once more he woke to find he was on a different blanket and he had been cleaned up. There was water in a bowl next to him and he lapped it up eagerly to soothe his dry throat. This time his mind stayed clear longer. He still couldn't remember exactly what had happened but he had no doubt that Mulder was behind it. There was no one else who would want to harm them.

He wondered again where his lover was and prayed he was safe. But somehow he doubted that he was.

He opened his eyes sometime later to see Fox Mulder sitting on the steps of the cellar. Fox looked at him closely, waiting to see signs of comprehension.

"Ah… Welcome back, Walter."

"Alexei will kill you for this."

"He will have to find us first. That is, if he isn't dead. But if so, by the time he finds us, you will be mine and you'll tell him to go away."

"Never! I would rather die than belong to you."

Mulder was up and across the floor so quickly Walter had no time to brace himself. The backhanded blow rocked his head back into the wall. His chin was gripped hard as Mulder spit into his face.

"Be careful, Walter. I *will* make you hurt if you anger me again."

His chin was released and Mulder stalked across the floor to disappear up the steps. The ill treatment brought back the blurred vision and the sick stomach. Walter retched feebly as tears leaked from his eyes. He prayed then as never before. Prayers for his lover to be alive, for the strength to endure until Alexei would find him.

Most of all he prayed that Alexei would still want him when Mulder was through with what he was sure would happen.

The world grayed out again. He woke to the feel of rough hands turning him. He bit down hard on his lip to stop the scream as he was roughly entered. He tried to escape into his mind as the man rutted and panted above him. The pain so far beyond expectation. After all, he had been in Alexei's bed for over a year.

It never occurred to him that Alexei made sure he suffered no pain. Alexei wanted only pleasure for Walter in his bed. Mulder wanted to dominate him, to own him. Mulder cared only for his own pleasure. His madness had taken over.

Walter groaned as Mulder pulled out of him.

"You're bleeding. Guess Nikolai was telling the truth about me being more man than Alexei."

Walter kept quiet although his mind wanted to scream at Mulder that he would never be the man Alexei was. He lay still as Mulder cleaned him. Thankful that he would not be lying in a pool of Mulder's come mixed with his blood.

Mulder left him alone. And he prayed again.


Alexei had spent a week in a near coma. His driver had found him near dawn of the next morning. Shivering, wet, and rambling. They had no idea where Walter was but knew he would not have left Alexei in that state had he been in control.

Walter's brother and nephew searched for him. Arthur came to the house every day to check on Alexei, hoping he was aware enough to give them some information.

Katya and Daniel had moved into the guestroom temporarily so that she could watch over her cousin during the day. Daniel made no comment about the fact that his uncle's clothing was not in the guestroom but in the master bedroom next to Alexei's. It merely confirmed what he had suspected.

Daniel loved his uncle. Walter had been the one to play games with him. Had taken him fishing and hunting. All things his father was too wrapped up in business to do. If Alexei made his uncle happy and they continued to be discreet, he would not interfere.

The morning Alexei woke and knew it was Katya beside his bed, they all sighed with relief. Alexei however felt no relief.

"Where is Walter?"

"We don't know, Alexei. Arthur and Daniel have been hoping you would have some idea."

Alexei threw the covers back and tried to struggle to his feet. He was unmindful of the fact that he was stark naked. His cousin had seen him before and he needed to look for Walter.

Daniel entered the room to find Katya trying to get Alexei to lie back down.

"Alexei, please. You aren't well. You must rest."

Daniel moved quickly to push the still weak man back down.

"Katya is right, Alexei. You must regain your strength."

Alexei was too weak to push Daniel away. He moaned as he dropped back to the bed. Katya covered him before ringing for the servants.

"How long?"

"A week. Do you have any idea where he could be? My father is frantic. We all are. It's not like Uncle Walter to make us worry. Unless…"


"I can not pretend I haven't figured out that you are more than my uncle's friend. His clothes are in the wardrobe next to yours. His possessions lie next to yours on the dresser. Did you quarrel? Fight? Has he left you?"

"No! We were coming home from the play. We were even laughing at the dialogue from the play when I was hit from behind. That's the last thing I remember until waking to see Katya's worried face."

"I believe you. Do you know where he might be? We thought possibly he was kidnapped but no ransom has been demanded."

"He has been kidnapped, I have no doubt. But not for ransom."

"What do you mean?"

"I think if you check, you will find that Fox Mulder dropped out of sight the night we were attacked."

"What are you saying?"

Katya spoke suddenly.

"Alexei, he…God, no." the last was an anguished whisper.

"What? Tell me." Daniel looked from one to the other, seeing fear in two sets of green eyes.

"Alexei brought a lover here with him from Russia. Mulder seduced him away. Gave him drugs. We think he killed him when he tired of him."

Daniel had enough of his uncle in him not to waste time asking questions he didn't need the answers for.

"Alexei, you rest and let Katya get some food into you. If Mulder has taken Uncle Walter, you'll need your strength. I'll go see if I can find Mulder. If he is indeed missing, then we'll assume he is connected to this."

Daniel looked at Alexei, seeing the rage there. He made plans of another sort as he strode out of the house. The rage in Alexei's eyes told him that if Mulder had indeed taken his uncle, once he was found, Mulder would die.

By the end of the day, Daniel had arranged for one of their ships to be outfitted for a journey. Mulder was a powerful man and he knew Alexei and his uncle would have to leave the country once he had been killed. He had no doubt Alexei would kill him. Hell, Daniel would help him do it if necessary.

A trial would be out of the question. Alexei and Walter's relationship could not become public knowledge. Since that would be the only hope for an acquittal, Daniel made other plans.

When he reached the house, he went straight to Alexei's room.

"You were right. Mulder hasn't been seen since the day of your attack. I have people searching for him. I offered to pay for information so I hope we will hear something soon."

Again Alexei tried to leave his bed and again Daniel pushed him back.

"Alexei, listen to me. You can't just run out into the night looking for him. You need to get healthy. Let me find him. Then we will go after my uncle."

"You don't understand!"

"I understand that if you go off and waste energy, when the time comes, you won't be able to take care of my uncle. He's strong, Alexei. He will survive."

"Physically, but…"

"Mentally, as well. Have faith in him. I made arrangements as soon as I found out Mulder was missing. A ship will be ready to take you both away from here after it's done."


"After you kill Mulder."

Alexei looked into Daniel's eyes and saw no distaste, just knowledge. Alexei slowly nodded.

"Pray that we find him soon."

"We will. Bribes are wonderful things."


By that time, Mulder had raped Walter so many times he had lost count. Mulder had begun putting laudanum in the wine he gave him. Walter knew he was being drugged but it was the only drink he was given. Besides, it helped the pain of being so roughly used on the hard packed floor. It also made him sleep between the rapes.

His knees and elbows were bruised so deeply it would take months for the discoloration to go away. His wrists were rubbed raw from the ropes, which bound them. His anus was swollen and raw looking but Mulder neither cared nor seemed to notice. The rest of his body was beginning to show the effects of his enforced fasting.

He kept as quiet as possible during the rapes. He didn't want to give Mulder anything, not even his pain. The drugs helped him hide in his head. He could slip into a sleep populated only with the happy times with his lover.

Now and then, Mulder talked to him, but he paid no attention except when hit. He would pay attention only long enough to give a response. Since the first time he had told Mulder that Alexei would kill him, he had not mentioned Alexei again.

He did not want to anger Mulder. He had to keep things as calm as possible. He had to give Alexei time to find him. He refused to believe Alexei was dead. Refused to allow himself to think that. Somehow he just *knew* that Alexei would come for him.


Alexei had regained enough of his strength to start looking for Walter himself. Nights, he along with Arthur and Daniel would gather at his house to compare any sliver of knowledge they had received during the day. Other than Daniel making plans for them to leave the country and his assumption that Alexei would kill Mulder, he had made no further reference to the relationship. Arthur, too was quiet on the subject.

They were still at the dinner table when the servant came to tell them that a man was there with news of Mulder. Alexei rose so quickly he overturned his chair. He was in the entry hall with the man before Arthur, Daniel, and Katya even made it out of the dinning room.

"What do you know, man. Tell me!"

"Wait, I heard there was a reward for news. I want to see the money first."

Alexei grabbed the man and shook him hard. "Tell me where he is, damn you!"

Daniel grabbed Alexei, pulling him back as he temporally lost his English and began cursing in Russian. Arthur moved toward the man with a calmer air than he felt. Due to their age difference, he had not been as close to his brother as some but he was family and dearly loved and respected.

"I'm Arthur Skinner. I assure you I will give you the reward we have promised. For now, all I can give you are the coins I have on me."

Arthur reached into his coat coming out with a purse and emptied it in the man's hands. The man hurriedly counted it, finding it to be a goodly sum.

"I was there the night Mulder took your brother. He promised me a larger purse for helping him. He was to meet me last night but he never showed up."

"Where does he have my brother?"

"I'll take you as soon as you get me the rest of the reward."

Alexei screamed, "Ni khuya, Svoloch."

It was all Daniel could do to keep him away from the man. Katya called her cousin's name, begging him in Russian to calm down before he scared the man away.

"Wait here."

Arthur turned to help drag Alexei into the sitting room.

"Alexei, I would have to be blind not to know that you care for my brother. But you need to calm down. If you drive this man away, we may never find Walter."

Alexei looked at Arthur and finally nodded. Arthur returned to the entry and led the man into the small parlor on the other side of the entry. Serving him a glass of brandy, he went back to write a message for Daniel to take to his banker.

Alexei paced as they waited for Daniel to return with the money. Katya stayed with him in the sitting room and Arthur kept an eye on the informant. By the time Daniel returned from his hasty trip around half the city, it was near to midnight.

The trip to the cabin took most of the night. At the informant's insistence, they had given him a horse and as soon as they were in sight of the cabin, he wheeled around and left them.

"Daniel, I want you to wait here. I will call you when it's done."

"I'll go with you, Alexei. He's my uncle. I want to help."

"Daniel, it's better if you aren't there. What you do not see will never haunt you."

"You mean I can't witness against you."

"You would not do that. Not when you feel the man deserves to die, as well. Now please wait until I call."

Alexei approached the cabin carefully. He wanted Mulder to have as little warning as possible. When he slammed into the cabin, he found Mulder sleeping. He was on him in a flash with the knife at his throat.

"Where is he?"

"Who? My new lover?"

"He'll never be yours. Tell me where he is."

"He doesn't want you anymore. Just like Nikolai, he has learned what I have to offer. More than you could give him."

The knife flashed and Mulder's ear landed with a plop on the floor beside the bed. The scream was more rage than pain as Mulder reared up, dislodging Alexei from his chest. The two men rolled together on the floor, struggling for the knife and dominance.

Alexei was still recovering but he had the rage of a lover fighting for his mate. Mulder sustained as many bruises as he gave but in the end, Alexei was kneeling, holding Mulder's arms down with his knees as he once more placed the knife to a throat.

"I ask for the last time. Where is Walter?"

"He's in the cellar. But he won't go with you. He's mine now. Just as Nikolai was."

"You will steal from no one else in this life."

The knife caught the early morning sun coming through the open door. Mulder's throat opened like an overripe melon. His blood poured out as he gurgled his last breath. Alexei rose to look down at him watching as the light left the eyes.

When he knew Mulder was dead, he walked to the door and whistled for his carriage. By the time Daniel and the driver arrived, he was at the bottom of the cellar steps, his eyes seeking his lover in the near darkness.

Walter had been in the cellar for almost two weeks when he heard the voice he loved so well. He swam up through the most recent dose of drugs to see Alexei's worried face over him. To Daniel's voice asking if he were still alive.

"Walter! Walter, talk to me. Look at me!"

"Is it really you?"

His voice sounded rusty even to him. But then he had not used it much in the last few days.

"Yes, it is. We're going to get you out of here. Daniel, help me."

The knife Alexei had used on Mulder was still wet with his blood as Alexei used it to cut through the ropes on Walter's wrists. Walter barely registered the bundle of clothing on the cabin floor, a wet red pooling around it as Alexei and Daniel carried him through to the outside.

"Goddamn you, Mulder! Had I seen him first, you would have suffered before you died."

The sunlight blinded Walter after so many days in almost complete darkness. The carriage ride swift and painful. Alexei held him wrapped in a blanket and Daniel looked on with concern. Walter roused enough to realize they were taking him onto a ship. But he was asleep again before his body was arranged on the bunk.

Katya was waiting for them. She gasped when she saw Walter's condition. Daniel's hand touched Alexei's arm.

"I'll go for a doctor. Why don't you get him cleaned up a little? Let Katya help you. I'll hurry."

Alexei and Katya washed Walter's frail-looking body. Katya had tears running down her face to see this strong man so ill-used. Alexei looked grim as he saw each new mark, each new wound. Turning him onto his stomach the marks from the cane were revealed. Katya swayed and Alexei gripped her quickly and made her sit in a chair.

Alexei's ministrations were as gentle as possible but Walter still moaned in spite of the drugs in his system. The bruising was so deep that Alexei knew it would be a long time before Walter healed. When he parted Walter's ass cheeks to clean him, his voice broke as he cursed in Russian.

He had been sure that Mulder had raped Walter but the extent of the damage was still difficult to see. Walter's anus was bright red with bruising all around. There was still blood, some looking recently dried, some dark and flaking off.

There were fingerprint marks on Walter's hips as well as his buttocks. There was even a small infected tear where the crack of his buttocks began. Alexei could only assume that Mulder had inflicted that injury by pulling Walter open violently. Walter roused enough to whimper while Alexei thoroughly cleaned the tear.

By the time Daniel returned with the doctor, Walter was clean and covered with a blanket to keep him warm. Katya had gone home in the carriage at Alexei's insistence. He did not like exposing her to such horrors and knew the doctor's examination would be difficult enough without worrying about her. She had just found out that she was with child and he wanted to risk no problems for her.

The doctor asked that they wait outside but Alexei refused. Finally, with a shake of his head, the doctor pulled back the blanket and began his examination of the patient. Walter roused enough to cry out when the doctor probed at his anus.

Had Daniel not been present, the doctor would have needed a doctor. Daniel hustled him out and left Alexei to soothe his uncle. The report he brought back was not encouraging.

"The doctor fears he may not survive, Alexei. He says that the bruising may have caused damage internally that will not heal. And if he heals, he may never have normal function again."

"*He*...*Will*… *Survive*. I will not lose him. I will care for him. He *will* get well."

The steel in Alexei's voice left no room for doubt. Daniel looked into the flashing green eyes, and knowing his uncle as he did, was sure that they would get past this.

"I believe you. I need to go, tell my father he is here. The doctor suggested that you keep him on the drugs until his body has healed somewhat. The withdrawal will be difficult. He said it will take about three days. He'll be nauseated, have chills, and sweats."

"I know. I've seen it before. Will you bring more drugs when you come back with your father? Also he will need broth. We need to get some food into him."

"I'll see to it. I'll have one of the men go and get broth now."

Daniel turned to leave but turned back at the last minute to see Alexei tenderly wiping sweat from his uncle's face.

"Alexei, Mulder got what he deserved."

"No, Daniel, he deserved far more than he got. But it's too late now."

After Daniel left, Alexei eased down beside Walter. He held him close and allowed the tears he could not shed in front of the others to flow down his face. He had spoken brave words but he had seen the damage done to his lover and he feared the worse.

If Walter died, Katya would become wealthy because Alexei would follow his lover and she was his heir. But that was not the only fear in his heart. He was afraid that Walter would never be himself again and the idea of that was even harder to bear.

Walter's eyes fluttered open and he croaked quietly.

"Alexei, is it really you? Or am I just dreaming again?"

"Not a dream, love. I'm here and you're safe. Mulder is dead. He can never hurt you again."

"I told him you would kill him. He really thought he could make me stop loving you."

"Try to rest until your broth comes, Walter. I will watch over you."

Walter nodded and Alexei thought he had gone back to sleep.

"Love you, Alexei, only you. I'm sorry I'm dirty now."

"Hush, love. That isn't true. What was done against your will does not make you dirty – it makes him dirty. Now, rest."

Walter dropped back into the darkness, reassured that Alexei was with him and didn't blame him. When the broth was brought, he managed to get about half of it down before sleep overcame him again. He didn't even rouse when Daniel and Arthur came by later.

Arthur had looked stricken at Walter's appearance. He had softly touched his brother's arm before muttering a gruff "Thank you" to Alexei.

Alexei held Walter through the night, dozing fitfully. With the morning came pain. The drugs had worn off enough for Walter to feel and he lay groaning.

Alexei struggled up from sleep, stumbling to get to the bottle Daniel had brought back the night before. He filled a cup with water and brought the two items to the bed.

"No, Alexei. I don't want that. I want to be clear headed. I need to know you still love me."

"I will never stop loving you, Walter. Nothing that was done to you changes how I feel about you. Now, please, take the laudanum. It will help your pain. Your body needs to heal before you wean from it. I promise when your body is better, we'll get rid of the drug."

"Only a little. I want to know I'm with you and not in a dream."

"I understand. Drink and I'll get you some broth. I hope you can eat more than last night."

Over the next few days they fell into a routine. Walter refusing the drugs until the pain was unbearable. Eating as much as he could every time Alexei offered him food. Alexei spent long hours bathing Walter to clean the sweat from his body.

At the end of the first week, Walter insisted he needed to try and walk, even if it was just to the door of the cabin. Alexei had just settled him back on the bunk and was cleaning the sweat even that small exertion had brought when there was a knock at the door. Alexei opened it to find Daniel, Arthur and Katya in the passageway.

"They're looking for me, aren't they?"

"Yes. We've told the Captain that the ship must leave on the next tide. He's sent for the men who are off duty."

It was the first time Walter had been awake when his brother and nephew had been there. He looked at his brother expecting rejection but saw none. Arthur perched on the side of the narrow bunk.

"Walter, I've arranged for you to have access to money when you need it. Alexei has the letters of credit plus whatever arrangements he made on his own. I wish you didn't have to go but we see no other way. Short of letting Alexei be hanged for what he did."

"I know, Arthur. It would ruin the family if what I am came out. Do you hate me?"

"You're my brother, Walter. I could never hate my blood. In my eyes, Alexei put down a rabid animal. No human does to another what he did to you. But the law will not see it that way. I wish you a safe journey and a happy life. I know you'll have love."

Arthur leaned forward and did something he had not done since Walter had been a small boy: he kissed his cheek. He rose hurriedly and headed to the door without looking back. Katya moved forward and kissed Walter as well then, turning, hugged her cousin as the tears rolled down both their cheeks. Daniel managed to keep his face straight as he hugged his uncle.

Then he pulled Katya from Alexei and toward the door. Katya looked back one last time. Her last sight of them Alexei being held tightly by Walter. When they reached the deck, the ropes were being loosened and as soon as Daniel and Katya reached the dock the gangplank was pulled in.

The days at sea were good for Walter. They gave him time to heal with no distractions. Alexei watched over him and waited. One morning when Walter awoke, he refused the drug.

"I need to stop taking that, Alexei. It's time for me to get it out of my system. Besides, I think it is slowing my recovery. I need to get out of this bed before my muscles waste away."

"Walter, I'm not sure if you're ready."

"How much is left?"

Alexei opened the trunk and pulled out the two full bottles that were left and the bottle he had opened two days before. Walter pulled himself up from the bed and opened the porthole.

"Walter, what if…?"

"I'll just have to get through it. You'll help me. Please, Alexei. It's the right thing to do and I won't be strong enough if it is here on the ship. We need to do it before we reach land or I may never break free of it. I don't want to be another Nikolai."

The last words had more effect than any others.

"I'll help you, Walter. I want you well."

Alexei passed the bottles to Walter and he pitched them out into the sea.

"Now did the doctor tell you how my body will react without the drug?"

"Nausea, sweating, chills, and the pain will be back."

"Guess you better feed me now before it starts. It's for the best, Alexei. Your love will get me through it."

Alexei nodded and left the cabin to go get food for Walter. A crewman followed him back carrying two buckets. One empty, one filled with water. Walter ate as much as he could hold and then Alexei took the tray away. He didn't want the sight or smells from the food to upset Walter.

When he returned, Walter was curled into a ball on the bunk.

"Walter, the pain?"

"Yes. Come and hold me. Talk to me about our future."

"Whatever you need, Walter."

Alexei eased onto the narrow bunk, wrapping his arms around his lover. He began to spin a tale of the life they would have when they reached the Caribbean. Arthur had been seeking to get a toehold into the spice trade there and now his brother could do that for the family. The letters of credit Arthur had given them would help get them started. Alexei had brought enough of his own money to get them set up in a home.

He told Walter of the other arrangements that Arthur and Daniel had been working on before they sailed. Daniel and Katya would be moving into Alexei's house. Any servants who wished would be given passage on the next southbound ship to join Alexei and Walter. Those wishing to stay would have employment with Daniel and Katya. Daniel would be taking over Alexei's business and a cousin was being brought in to learn Walter's old responsibilities.

Alexei stopped talking when he thought Walter had gone to sleep.

"Sounds like you and my brother thought of everything. Think they might come visit us someday?"

"Who knows? Maybe someday. I thought you had gone to sleep."

"Hurts too much. I hate him."

"I know. But he can never hurt us again."

"If you need to find someone else to take care of your needs, I'll understand."

"What? Where did that come from? Right now all that matters is that you are alive and you will get better."

"But you are a virile man, Alexei. You have needs. I don't know when or if I will ever be able to take care of them for you."

"Walter, I know we have exchanged no vows. But I thought you understood that I would make marriage vows to you if it were possible. *If* it should happen that you can never be with me that way again, I will adjust. I'm not with you for sex alone. I'm with you because I love you. Because you make me laugh. You keep me warm when the weather is cold."

"I know you love me but sex is a strong drive for a man. You should not do without because I can not function."

"I believe you will again someday. But even if you never can, I won't stop loving you and I won't take another to my bed. I've had the ultimate pleasure in you. No one could compete with that. So why should I waste my time?"

"If you change your mind, I won't complain."

Alexei sighed against the head resting on his chest. He wished Mulder had never laid eyes on Walter. He knew that only time would show Walter the truth. After all, they had only been together for just over a year, not long enough for Walter to have learned just how deep his loyalties went.

"I won't change my mind. Try and rest, love."

Alexei dredged up an old Russian lullaby and sang as Walter finally dropped into a fitful sleep. Alexei eventually slept as well.

Sometime later, he woke to the sounds of Walter's pain. They were both drenched with sweat. Walter was moaning as his body shook. It had started – the withdrawal.

Since Walter was shaking, Alexei pulled the blanket close wrapping it around them both. He was sweltering but Walter's teeth were almost chattering. He held him until Walter pushed him away fighting to get out of the nest of blankets.

"Hot! It hurts, Alexei. Everything hurts."

"I know, Walter."

Alexei scrambled out of the bed landing badly on one knee. He pulled himself up and wet a cloth. Walter winced as Alexei worked to cool his body. He had barely gotten Walter cooled down when the nausea racked his body. Thankfully he had little to come up and the retching didn't last long.

Alexei was grateful when Walter passed out. He used the time to get himself clean and replace the buckets. He asked a crewman to sit with Walter so he could eat. He didn't want to bring food into the cabin and maybe set off another round of dry heaves.

Part of him felt guilty for leaving Walter but he knew he had to eat to have the strength his lover would need from him. When he returned, the crewman had wrapped the blankets back around the shivering man.

The next three days were the longest of their lives. Walter at times cursed and screamed with his pain and his need. Alexei dodged the fists that flew in his direction when something he did made Walter angry. He knew the anger wasn't for him but for the body that was betraying his lover.

On the third day, when Walter dropped into a near normal sleep, Alexei left him with a crewman and went up on deck. He stood at the rail and offered up his thanks to god that Walter still lived and had come out on the other side. He didn't even realize that he was weeping until the wind picked up, turning his shirt into a cold covering.

He hurried back to the cabin and found the first real rest he had managed since the ordeal began. He woke the next morning to brown eyes watching him.

"How do you feel, Walter?"


"Praise the lord. I'll go get you some food."

"Wait! Could we wash first and air the room? We've both smelled much better and this blanket is rank."

Alexei laughed with delight.

"What ever you want, my love. Do you want to go on deck? Do you think you can make it that far if I get someone to help us?"

"I don't think I'm ready for that but the chair would be a good change."

"Of course, how stupid of me."

Alexei pulled a clean blanket out of the chest and lined the chair with it. He soon had Walter on the chair wrapped up in the blanket while he stripped the bunk. He opened the porthole to allow fresh air to get into the cabin. And carried the linens up to the deck.

He came back, followed by a crewman with water. He made quick work of getting them both as clean as possible while confined to a basin and a bucket for a water supply. He then made the bed with clean linens and helped Walter back onto it.

Walter was obviously tired but he managed to stay awake while Alexei got them food. He ate more than Alexei had hoped for. And when he went back to sleep, Alexei sat watching him for a long time.

That day was the day Alexei knew without a doubt that his Walter would get well.

They both slept most of that day, eating each time they woke. The next morning found Walter determined to start moving around. The first day, he only made it to the door and back several times before each meal.

The second day, he made it up on deck and they settled him in a chair, wrapped in a blanket, to enjoy the fresh air. The third day, he managed to walk half the length of the ship. True, he had to rest before he could walk back but he felt a sense of triumph that Alexei shared with him.

Each day brought them closer to their new home and improvements in Walter's health. They had been favored with good weather so the journey was made in record time. Both men were pleased that the trip was going so well because they were both anxious to be on land and have a bed that was comfortable again.

None of the crew had commented on the fact that the two men shared a cabin. Walter just assumed that everyone thought it was so Alexei could help him if he relapsed. They knew he had been kidnapped and beaten. Daniel had told them that Alexei had helped find Walter and, in his Russian rage at seeing a family member abused in such a way, had killed the man responsible.

It was a story everyone was willing to accept because they all knew and liked Walter. He had always treated them fairly. The Skinner ships were the cleanest, best equipped sailing from New York and the men were paid a fair wage.

Walter and Alexei were on deck as they reached what was to be their new home. Both men were struck immediately with the beauty of the place. There were flowers everywhere and seagulls calling out. The dock populated by people of every race and creed.

Montego Bay was a bustling port. The smells of new spice and vanilla were in the air. There were stalks of bananas everywhere you turned. It was noisy, busy and Walter fell in love with it right away. For Alexei, it would take a little longer. Having been reared near St Petersburg, he found the tropical climate a little intense.

"Mr. Skinner, I've sent one of the crew ahead to the inn to arrange a room for you. If you would like to wait, I'll get a carriage as well."

"Is it far?"

"No, sir but in light of your recent injury I thought you might not want to tire yourself out walking."

"Alexei will get us a carriage if I can not make it. Give us directions, please."

They listened carefully to the directions before leaving the ship. Walter was smiling as he took in the sights. He looked at Alexei and noticed him wilting in the heat.

"Looks like we need new clothes for the climate down here. We should ask at the inn where to purchase them."

"It's so muggy, Walter. You don't suppose it is this way all the time, do you?"

"I'm sure it isn't. I'm sorry I caused this."

"You didn't cause it, Mulder did."

"But I should have paid more attention to what you said to me. Avoided him more. Maybe I could have done something to stop his obsession with me."

"Such as what, exactly? The man was insane, Walter. There is no reasoning with the insane."

"I should have done something to prevent you being in this situation."

"Walter, you must let this go. It's over. Now we need to get on with our lives. I will be happy under any conditions as long as you are at my side."

"Then you will live a happy life, my love."

"Look, Walter, there's the inn."

The inn was a blinding white in the sunlight. A deep veranda wrapped around the two sides that they could see. There were people sitting in wicker chairs fanning themselves as they whiled away the hot afternoon.

The two men would soon learn that not much transpired in the tropics during the heat of the afternoon. Only the slaves and servants worked during that part of the day. The crewman was waiting on the veranda for them. Walter realized it was the same crewman who had stayed with him the few times Alexei had left the cabin while they were on the ship.

"Mr. Skinner, the room is being made ready. The manager is having refreshments prepared for you and suggests that you have a seat out here."

"Thank you. Robert?"

"Yes, Sir, it's Robert."

"Robert, do you have a wife to go back to?"

"No, Sir. Why do you ask?"

"Alexei and I could use some help until we hire servants or any of his come to join us. I feel sure his coachman and cook at least will follow us. Would you be interested in taking a position with us? Staying until our next ship returns to New York?"

"I think I would like that, Mr. Skinner. Don't know if I'd want to stay permanent but a few months would be nice."

"Good, it's settled. Ask the Captain to please join us for dinner tonight and I'll arrange it with him."

A black servant appeared at their elbows, "Sirs, I have a cool drink for you. If there is anything else you desire, I will bring it for you."

Robert excused himself and headed back to the ship as the two men relaxed in rockers on the veranda. They were greeted briefly by the people nearest them but the heat seemed to have robbed everyone of the need to converse. By the time a servant came to say their room was ready, Walter was dozing. Alexei was sitting watching him with a soft smile on his face when he wasn't watching the activity of the slaves caring for the lush gardens and lawn in front of the inn.

The corner room was airy, with two sets of double doors that opened onto two private balconies. Yards of mosquito netting were gathered at either end of the bed. The room was not overly large but the wardrobe was big enough to house the clothing they had brought with them. A small washstand was in the corner beside the wardrobe holding a large basin and pitcher, a chamber pot concealed underneath.

The bed was placed so that any breeze coming through the doors would blow across it. The sheets were a brilliant white, which Alexei was beginning to realize, was the colour of choice here. But the bedspread was multicolored.

The hardwood floors were also bleached and he knew he would find them cool to the touch if he were barefoot. The ceilings high to allow for air circulation.

The luggage had been brought from the ship and was in their room. They unpacked then went back downstairs to await the evening meal.

The Captain showed up in time to have a drink with them before dinner. They were given a table in a corner of the dinning room. Walter waited until they were seated to begin the conversation.

"Captain, did Robert tell you why we wanted to see you?'

"He did say you had asked for him to stay here to lend a hand until you've found servants."

"Yes, Captain. As you know, I'm still recovering and that limits my ability to do the things we need to do to get established here."

"Mr. Skinner, I'm in complete agreement with you and Mr. Krycek getting established. You brother has promised me a nice share of the profits from this venture. I would like to see my sons given a better start in the world than I received."

"Really? I did not know that."

"Arthur and I discussed it, Walter. He felt that you would have offered this yourself, had you been able."

Walter smiled at Alexei, "He was right, Alexei, I would have. So, Captain, it's settled. Robert will stay until your next visit."

"I trust you will see that he stays out of trouble."

"Will I need to?"

"Well, he is of an age, Mr. Skinner. But he's a good boy. He's my sister's youngest. She hovered over the boy to the point that I insisted he come with me on this voyage to give him a chance to be a man. A few of the crew are taking him out on the town tonight. I told them to deliver him here afterwards. I'm sure he'll be quite drunk but he'll have become a man."

Walter looked at the Captain and roared with laughter. Then he beckoned over one of the serving girls.

"Please ask if there's a place available in the servants' dormitory. If so, tell the manager we'll need it for a crewmember who will be arriving later tonight."

The girl curtseyed and left to do as bidden. The conversation moved on then to the plans for getting set up in the spice trade. And discussions of whether or not rum might make a profitable cargo as well.

After dinner, the girl returned with the news that a bed was available and had been made ready for the boy when he arrived. She also placed a drink in front of each of the men.

"We did not order a drink." Alexei told her.

"It's for the fever, Sir."


The Captain spoke then, "Another thing you gentlemen will need to get used to. The drink is made with gin. There are several different things they add to it or you may take it straight. It helps prevent malaria. You don't want to take a chance on getting that. Mr. Skinner, you especially should avoid the fever."

"Well, in that case, cheers, gentleman."

The three men downed the gin. The Captain excused himself when his drink was finished. Walter still tired easily so they also retired shortly after the Captain's departure.

Alexei tried not to watch Walter undress. Now that Walter was beginning to look more like his old self, Alexei was becoming aware of his body's needs again. It had been so long since they had made love. He hated that anyone else had touched Walter but he did not blame him for it. It did nothing to diminish Alexei's desire for the big man.

Alexei turned down the lantern to the lowest setting so that it gave just enough light for them to move about the room should they have need during the night. Walter was already in bed with the netting arranged on his side. Alexei loosened the netting on his side of the bed, before sitting down and then pulling the netting closed.

He lay back, staying as far to his side of the bed as possible.

"Alexei, why are you so far away?"

"I thought that now that we have more room, you would want to spread out a little."

"Alexei, for over a year now, I have slept with you either curled around me or still inside me, or me curled around you. Why would I suddenly want you way over there? You heard the Captain say the nights get cool. Do you want me to catch a chill?"

"Walter, I don't want you chilled."


"I want you, Walter. I know you aren't ready for that and…"

"Alexei, I'm not ready to have you inside me but we could touch each other. If we can't make love properly, I can at least give you release."

"It isn't fair of me to ask that of you."

"You didn't ask, I offered. Please, come over here. Let's see how well my body thinks it is."

Alexei groaned deep in his throat as he rolled toward his lover. Walter was on his side, his arms open to receive Alexei. For several long moments, they did nothing but kiss while holding each other.

Walter could feel Alexei's erection against him and felt no fear. Mulder drugging him may have been a blessing in disguise. Had he remembered more of what happened to him, or had he not known such joy with Alexei prior, he might have tensed up.

Alexei made no move to do more than hold and kiss Walter. When Walter's hand wrapped around him, he sighed against the lips he was kissing. Walter stroked his lover in the familiar pattern he had learned early in their relationship.

In a few minutes, Alexei cried out softly into Walter's mouth as his cock jerked and painted them both with his come. Walter smiled against the cheek of the panting man, happy that he had given his lover something back for all the care Alexei had given him. It didn't matter in the least to Walter that he hadn't even become erect.

Alexei slipped from the bed, cleaned himself quickly and came over with a cloth to clean Walter. When he got back into the bed, he pulled Walter close to him and kissed him a tender goodnight with a whispered "Thank you".

Walter was soon asleep and Alexei lay awake wondering if Walter would ever feel pleasure of his own again. And he wondered if Walter would stay with him if the relationship only provided Alexei with sex.

The next morning, they dressed in their lightest weight clothing before going down to breakfast. They asked where they might purchase clothing more suitable to the climate and went shopping after breakfast. The afternoon brought a nap for Walter on the veranda as Alexei tried to read.

When young Robert put in an appearance late in the afternoon, Walter gently teased about drinking and carousing. The boy blushed causing Walter to smile. But even with the blush, there was something a little different in his manner.

They talked and made plans for the next day. Alexei insisted that Robert be with Walter whenever he could not. So, it was planned that when Walter went to see Arthur's contacts Robert would go with him. In the meantime Alexei would see about finding them a house.

Later, Alexei would privately instruct Robert to stay at Walter's side at all time. He impressed upon the boy that Walter was still very weak and he did not want Walter to overdo.

By the end of the first week in Jamaica Walter was entertaining plantation owners and making deals for their next crops of new spice. Alexei had found them a house outside of town that he was having cleaned to make it ready for them.

Walter had sent Robert to the ship with a pouch for the Captain to deliver to the family. It contained a contract and a letter to his brother.



Dear Arthur,

We have arrived safely in Montego Bay. The island is truly beautiful, if somewhat warm. The heat sent us out to purchase new clothing our second day here. You would not recognize me decked out in cottons and linens. Our wardrobes consist of mostly white with tans and dress black that is only worn at night.

My health was greatly improved by the voyage as we hoped. I still tire easily but I feel sure that will pass with time. Each day it seems I manage to stay awake for longer periods of time. I have also regained a good bit of the flesh I lost during my ordeal.

Alexei has secured a house for us. It is built in the style most favored here, with wide verandas on all four sides to offer plenty of shade. The rooms are big and airy, designed to allow for plenty of air to circulate. All in white as that is the style as well. Alexei muttered in Russian about how boring that was but I find it to be clean looking. The locals tell me it helps with the heat.

He is keeping busy with having it cleaned and furnished for us. I hope once we are settled and I feel my old self to make a few pieces of our furnishing as I did there. Alexei is, of course, hoping that his cook will choose to join us here as he misses her cooking. And I must confess to missing it as well.

Robert Stephens, the Captain's nephew, will be staying with us to help out until the next ship arrives. The boy seems quite intelligent so when he returns I hope you will see to it that he has a good position with the family.

In the pouch you will find a copy of the contract I have secured for us since my arrival. I confess I did not expect to have this type of news for you this quickly.

The contract is with another transplanted Russian who has a plantation a days journey from the town. He and his wife were in town for a week of shopping when they heard Alexei speak to me in Russian. Turns out they came here from a town where Alexei spent summers with a maiden aunt.

I have made positive contacts with other plantation owners as well. It appears we arrived at the time of year when they normally bring their wives into town for shopping. I hope to have even more good news to send you with the next ship.

The Captain and I managed to secure additional cargo for you this trip. I paid a little more than we will pay under the contract but I feel that it was a good investment. The good will it brought should help me secure more contracts for us.

Please tell Daniel and Katya that we send our love. Alexei promises he will include a letter next time. He is spending long hours at the house. Neither of us wishes to stay at the inn any longer than necessary. We both feel a need to start building our new life here and that is better done in a home.

He has not allowed me to go near the place since we first went out see it. He says he doesn't want to tire me with the long drive but I feel sure he just wants it to be a welcoming home when I see it next.

I will close now so that Robert can take the pouch to the ship.

As ever your brother,



Walter left out that he really felt Alexei was working so diligently on the house because he wanted Walter to have a more comfortable place to recover. And he wanted more privacy for them.

Walter still had not attained an erection as he lay next to his lover at night. But they had shared many long hours holding and kissing each other. And though Alexei felt as though he were using him, Alexei allowed Walter to bring him release but only with his hands. His reasoning was that he was being selfish enough allowing that.

Walter had made several offers to pleasure his lover orally but had been rebuffed. Walter worried that in spite of Alexei's willingness to kiss and hold him, he now thought of Walter as soiled and that was why he would not allow it. The issue of anal penetration had not been raised, as they both knew Walter was not ready for that.

It took Alexei a month to get the house ready for them to move in. They had hired a girl to cook for them until Ludmilla would arrive. Alexei told Walter that she had followed him from Russia, he knew she would follow him again.

When the carriage pulled to a stop in front of the house, the new coat of paint covering it immediately drew Walter's attention.

"Alexei, it looks wonderful. What made you decide on pale yellow?"

"I wanted some colour but didn't want to use a dark one that would draw the heat. So, do you really like it?"

Alexei sounded anxious. Walter turned to him with a smile.

"It was an inspired decision. It gets us away from the white but still looks cool. I can hardly wait to see what you've done with the inside."

Alexei jumped down from the carriage and reached up to assist his lover. While Walter was getting around quite well for most activities moving into and out of the carriage was still difficult for him. There were areas of his body that still appeared bruised. Alexei didn't think Walter's skin would ever clear completely. Every time he saw the marks he wished he had made Mulder suffer before he died.

Walter chafed at needing the help but could not deny that it was needed. He had not told Alexei just how much pain he was still experiencing. He had faith that he would one day be pain free. And he had no intention of using drugs again.

Walter walked slowly to the house, the trip having made his muscles tense up. Alexei noticed but made no comment. As they walked, the tension slowly eased.

The veranda had been equipped with chairs and small tables. Netting was rolled up to the ceiling. Alexei had insisted on it being added so that they could enjoy sitting on the veranda for longer periods of time without being devoured by the bugs. Walter smiled at his lover's foresight in having that added.

Alexei watched Walter carefully as they entered the foyer of the house. Here too Alexei had added colour. A pale blue wallpaper had been added to the walls giving the foyer an open almost underwater look. A rather large table was sitting in the middle of the area, holding a vase filled with the bright tropic flowers from the garden outside.

"The flowers look nice, Alexei. I noticed the garden had been cleaned up. Katya would love the garden, don't you think?"

"Yes, she would. Maybe someday she and Daniel will visit. Come and see what I did with the library."

Walter followed Alexei to the room to the left of the foyer. When they had looked at the house before Alexei bought it they had agreed that the larger room would be the library. Only one box of books had been transported with them but another box would be sent with each ship. Alexei and Walter both being fond of reading as a pastime, there had been complete agreement on the need to have books.

"I thought this the best place to set up a table for our chess games. The light is good here quite late in the day."

Walter admired the smile on his lover's face as he pointed out the amenities of the room. He noticed as well the pots of ferns and other green plants in the corners of the room. The pale blue had been extended to this room as well.

"I can see we'll be spending many hours in this room. I had no idea you had such talent. I guess I just assumed that Katya had helped decorate your home in New York."

"Why, Walter, your lover has many talents. I'm glad you are pleased. It is so different from our home there. I wanted our life to be fresh, clean."

"Unlike me."

Walter's voice held a trace of bitterness he couldn't quell. Alexei jerked as if shot and looked at Walter with surprise.

"Do you believe I blame you? That I feel you are dirty?"

Alexei moved to stand within touching distance of the man he loved so desperately.

"I don't think you blame me but…"

Alexei reached to take Walter's hand and drew him over to sit on the sofa.

"But, what? Tell me."

"You won't let me pleasure you except with my hands. You hold me and kiss me but is it only for comfort? Do you not want me anymore?"

"God! Walter, how can you think I don't want you? If I did not want you, would I be hard when we lie together in our bed at night? I've never stopped wanting you from the moment I first saw you."

"I always thought you took a certain pride in being the only man I had been with. That's no longer true. And he's left me incapable of giving you what you need. What if I can never accept you into my body again? Will you still want me if that’s the case?"

"Walter, I may no longer be the only man to be in your body but I'm still the first, still the only one you have welcomed. What he did doesn't change that. Can never change that. So I still have something to be proud of, proud that you wanted me. As for being incapable of giving me what I need – you do that every day. You give me you. Understand this – even if you can never welcome me inside you again, I *won't* stop loving you."

"Then why won't you let me please you with my mouth?"

"I feel badly enough to be receiving gratification when you are not, without involving you so intimately in the act."

"But I want to do that for you. I've always enjoyed the feel and taste of you in my mouth. I want you to touch me even if I don't become hard. I need to know in my gut that you still want me."

Alexei pulled Walter into a deep kiss that came to an abrupt halt when they heard a sharp gasp from the doorway. The two men turned to see Robert standing there with a look of total shock on his face. He spun on his heel and ran from the room.

"I think we may have lost our helper. I'll go talk to him. That is, if he isn't half way back to town."

"Maybe I should, Walter. I can tell him it's my fault…"

"No, Alexei, you aren't going to take the blame for something that we both began together. I don't want anyone ever thinking that you forced me in any way. If he's going to be here with us, he had to find out sooner or later and it's best that he knows the truth. I don't want to be skulking in our own home. We didn't have to do that in New York and I certainly don't want to do it here. This is our new life, Alexei, and I want us to live it as honestly as possible."

"I'll wait for you here then. I love you, Walter."

"And I love you. I won't be long."

Walter went out and found the boy in the carriage house. He was cleaning the dust from the journey off the side of the carriage.

"Robert, I guess we need to talk."

"No, Sir. You owe me no explanation. I merely work for you."

"Robert, you have been my right hand this last month. You are more than a servant. I had hoped you understood that."

"You have both been very generous with me."

"Robert, will you look at me?"

Robert turned slowly and looked up. Instead of disgust Walter saw puzzlement in his eyes.

"Do you want to ask me any questions?"

"I don't have any right to question you, Sir."

"You walked in on something you obviously didn't expect to see. From your reaction I assume you had no idea Alexei and I were lovers."

"I…my mother has kept me very secluded. My uncle brought me on this trip because he said it was time for me to grow up. Until I heard the men talking on the ship, I didn't know that men…"

"Make love to each other. Alexei and I make love to each other. We don't just rut. We would be married if one of us were female. Does it bother you enough that you wish to leave? If so, I will see that you have a place to stay until the next ship arrives."

"I'm not sure how I feel about it. I guess when I heard the men talking about it – I expected – well I didn't expect it from a man like you, or Mr. Krycek either."


"Because you are both so *male*. I guess. I'm just really confused. Would you just give me some time to think about it?"

"If that's what you need. I'll answer any questions, as long as they aren't too personal. But you should know now that Alexei often touches me, kisses me. I give you my word that unless you open a closed door, you won't see more than that. But we won't hide our relationship in our own house so if you decide you can't be comfortable then you should leave."

Walter walked slowly back to the house. He found Alex sitting on the porch waiting.

"Well, is he leaving?"

"He wants some time to think about it. He's been pretty sheltered. He has only recently heard about men like us. He wasn't expecting to find us in that situation. We're too male."

"Looking for that sign on our foreheads, huh?"

"Yes, I guess. Want to show me the rest of our home now?"

"Are you sure you feel up to it? It was a long ride out here and now this emotional ride."

"I want to see our home. I'm anxious to see what else you have changed. What colour you picked for our bedroom."

"Green to match my eyes, because you tell me often that you love my eyes."

Walter smiled as Alexei stood to lead him inside. They bypassed the rest of the downstairs and went instead up to see the master bedroom. Since all the bedrooms were of a similar size, Alexei had decided to use the one on the east side of the house for their bedroom.

As Alexei had said the room was done in shades of green. Walter thought it made a beautiful background for his beautiful lover. The bed had been specially made for them, big enough to be comfortable but not so big that they would lose each other in it. The obligatory netting gathered at each post. Walter grinned as he thought about the possibility of the tiebacks being used for other purposes.

"Want to take a nap, Walter?"

"Only if you are napping with me and napping isn't all that we do."

"Are you sure?"

"Very sure."

Alexei turned to close the door, he even flipped the latch, a modification he had added that caused the workman to scratch their heads in wonder. When he turned back, he found Walter already half-naked. He watched as the rest of the beloved body appeared. Watched the painful way Walter moved onto the bed.

"Are you joining me?"

"Be right there, my love."

Alexei undressed and joined his lover on the bed. They held each other, sharing several long, loving kisses. Alexei made no protest as Walter pushed him onto his back and moved the kisses lower. He arched up with pleasure when Walter's hot mouth enveloped him.

Alexei gave himself up to the sensations, doing nothing to hold back his climax. Walter's talents were such that in a very short time his lover was shooting down his throat with a loud cry of pleasure. Walter kissed his way back up to lie holding Alexei as he calmed.

Alexei pushed Walter down and began the same type of oral attention he had received earlier. Walter reacted to the mouth on his nipples by grasping his lover closer. Alexei trailed his kisses lower only to find that Walter was flaccid.

Alexei spent several long minutes courting the column of flesh, only to find it did not harden. Alexei's heart broke a little as Walter reached to pull him back up next to him.

"It's all right, Alexei. I enjoy the feel of you kissing me, touching me. I guess my body is just not well enough yet."

"Rest, Walter."

Walter sighed as Alexei snuggled in close to him. As soon as Walter drifted off to sleep, Alexei rose, dressed and made his way downstairs to speak to the girl they had hired to cook for them. He was surprised to find Robert sitting at the table watching the girl as she went about her duties.

Alexei hid the smile that wanted to creep onto his lips. He wanted to keep things as low key as possible until Robert made his decision on staying with them. And he could understand the boy's attraction; Hester was a pretty little thing.

"Hester, when do you plan on having dinner ready?"

"I thought I would serve at the same time we normally did at the inn. Will that be all right?"

"Yes, Hester, that should allow Walter a nice long nap. I'm afraid the trip out was quite tiring for him."

"Mr. Krycek, I could bring dinner up to you and Mr. Skinner if you would like. That way he won't have to come down and then climb the stairs again." Robert volunteered from his seat at the table.

"That would be very kind of you, Robert. I'll be on the veranda. Could you come and let me know when Hester is ready to fix the tray? That will give me time to see that Walter is awake and set up a table in our room for dinner."

"Yes, Sir, I'll do that."

Alexei went out to the veranda with a book and let down the netting to keep the bugs away. He hoped Robert's offer meant that he was coming to accept their relationship and would be staying with them. The boy had been such a help to Walter and he knew Walter had come to view him much as he did Daniel.

Alexei was dozing when Robert came to tell him that dinner was ready. He hastily rubbed the sleep from his eyes and hurried up the stairs to wake Walter. Only to find him awake.

"You're awake."

"Yes, isn't it about dinner time? I'm starved."

"Hester is making us a tray and Robert will bring it up so put something on so you don't embarrass the boy."

"Robert? Has he made a decision to stay."

"I didn't ask but I think Hester may help him make that decision."

Walter had his pants up over his hips and turned to look at Alexei who was moving chairs to the table he had pulled toward the center of the room.


"Yes, I found him sitting in the kitchen with her earlier, watching her every move."

"Well, she is a pretty girl. And about his age."

Before the conversation could continue there was a light tap at the door. Walter hurried to pull his shirt on before Alexei opened the door.

"Good evening, Robert."

"Evening, Mr. Skinner. Did you have a good rest?" Robert asked as he placed the tray on the table Alexei had set up for them.

"Yes, Robert, I did. What has Hester made us for dinner?"

"Roast chicken with potatoes and a dessert made with bananas. Should I bring up coffee or tea later?"

"Yes, tea, thank you."

Robert stopped at the door, turned to look at the two men, seeing Alexei fussing over Walter as he placed a small pillow behind Walter's back. The gentle smile Walter turned to Alexei as he adjusted the pillow enough to push Robert into his decision.

"Mr. Skinner."

"Yes, Robert?"

"I'll be staying, if you still want me to."

Alexei answered for them both.

"Of course, we want you to stay, Robert. You have been Walter's right hand these last weeks. Did Hester have anything to do with the decision?"

Alexei grinned as he watched the blush spread on Robert's cheeks.

"Pay him no mind, Robert. Your reasons aren't important. I'm glad you've decided to stay with us. Don't forget the gin when you bring up the tea."

The door closed gently behind Robert and Walter grinned at Alexei.

"You shouldn't tease him, Alexei."

"Why not? You tease him often enough."

"He's such an easy target. I'm glad he's staying. The place is too big for Hester to care for alone."


In the months that followed Walter slowly regained all the weight he had lost. Most of his days were now pain free and the days with pain could be blamed to his overdoing. He had returned to his hobby of making furniture.

The nights were a time of holding and kissing. Walter would bring his lover to the brink of ecstasy then push him over into rapture. Alexei fretted that Walter was still not capable of attaining a complete erection although he had begun to harden part way and he insisted that he enjoyed Alexei's attentions to him even though he did not climax.

The day Robert's uncle's ship returned to port the two men had been in town with Robert, arranging for Robert and Hester to be married. Seems Hester had been looking at Robert as often as he looked at her. And looking was not all that had been happening. Robert would be a father before the year was over.

They were on their way to the inn for lunch when they saw the Captain coming their way. Walter called out to him and watched as the smile spread over his face.

"Captain Keller, come join us at the inn for lunch."

"Mr. Skinner, Mr. Krycek, I was just going to see about getting a horse to come out to the house."

"Well, let's have lunch first and you can come out in the carriage afterward with us. Why don't you stay at the house while in port that'll give you more time with Robert."

"How is the lad?"

"He has some big news for you. He's coming to the inn later to pick us up so you can talk to him then."

"Seems I don't need to ask if you are well, Mr. Skinner. You both look as though you have adjusted quite well to the islands. Your brother will be glad to hear you are looking so fit. And, Mr. Krycek, I was told to tell you first thing that Katya had a boy."

"A boy? Walter, we must celebrate."

"Yes, we'll raise a toast to my great-nephew and your second cousin. Tell us, Captain, what did they name him?"

"Alexei Walter."

"What!" The two men spoke as one and the Captain smiled at the surprise on their faces.

"Mrs. Skinner said I was to make sure and tell you that it was Daniel's idea, but one she supported wholeheartedly."

"Walter, you must complete the chest and send it to him."

"There's not much left to do. I'll add his name and have it ready before the Captain sails back."

Lunch brought much talk of how Arthur had reacted to the Captain coming back with a contract. Arthur said he knew his brother must be on the road to recovery if he had obtained a contract so quickly after arriving. The real conversation began when Robert arrived with his bride to be.

Captain Keller saw them coming before Walter or Alexei did.

"Mr. Skinner, who is the pretty girl with Robert?"

"Ah...I think he should tell you."

Robert saw his uncle and hurried Hester along.

"Uncle Samuel, when did you arrive?"

"This morning. I was on the way to hire a horse to ride out to the house when I saw Mr. Skinner and Mr. Krycek. They invited me to lunch and suggested that I stay at the house. Now, tell me who is this pretty girl?"

"Sorry. Uncle Samuel, this is Hester, my fiancée. We came into town to make the wedding arrangements."

"Your mother will have a fit," but Samuel was ginning from ear to ear as he spoke. "Hester, welcome to the family."

"Thank you, Sir."

"You don't need to be so formal. Call me Uncle Samuel."

"We were afraid you might get angry that he will be staying here." Walter told the Captain.

"No, not at all. He's a man after all, and time he made his own decisions."

"Robert, everything taken care of with Hester's parents?"

"Yes, they'll be at the house for dinner tonight. Thank you again, Mr. Krycek, for suggesting we have the wedding there. Hester's mother was very pleased, also with the offer of flowers from the garden."

"Walter and I both want the day to be wonderful for you. Now, I think you should get the carriage and we should head for home."

During the trip home Walter opened the pouch the Captain had brought from Arthur. He handed the letter from Katya to Alexei as he pulled out one from Arthur.

"Walter, why don't we wait and read them after dinner when we go up. I'm sure the Captain would like some time to get to know Hester and her family."

"Good idea."

The dinner went smoothly, Hester's parents had arrived early so her mother and sisters could help prepare. Walter and Alex excused themselves right after dinner and retired to their room.

"Want me to go first, since Arthur's letter will probably be mostly business."

"That's fine. We already know the most important thing that will be in Katya's."

Walter opened the letter and settled against the headboard to read it to his lover.



Dear Walter and Alexei,

They shared a look of surprise at that.


I imagine you will already know that I am a grandfather. The boy is as beautiful as his mother. I fear for all the young girls when he comes of age. Katya came through the birth quite well. The doctor says she was made for child bearing.

I myself have been well, as is the rest of the family. I hope that you, my brother, are in even better health than your last letter told me. I'm sure Alexei is looking after you properly.

As for him, the authorities have stopped looking for him but I have no doubt that should he ever come back to New York, he would be arrested forthwith. The Mulder family will not admit that the man was insane. They keep yelling about justice and although I would like to tell them the condition you were in, I don't dare. Daniel and Katya have enough to deal with as is.

Please do not take that to be a condemnation of either of you. It is just the reality of the world we live in. Alexei did what he had to do and it was the right thing to do, no matter what others think.

I look forward to hearing from you when next the ship reaches port. I'm sure in your usual competent way you have secured more business for us.

I pray this letter finds you both well and happy.

Your Brother



"Alexei, my brother just welcomed you to the family. I know it may not seem that way but it is there between the lines."

"He loves you very much, doesn't he?"

"Yes, he does. Now read me Katya's letter."


Dearest Cousin,


By now I'm sure you know I have a beautiful son whom we named for the two of you. I'm afraid Daniel will just have to accept my word that the boy is his because he looks just like you. The same dark hair and our green eyes. I fear he will be quite vain when he grows up. The birth was far easier than I expected and I'm sure he will have bothers and sister to grow up with.

We miss you both horribly but that can not be helped. Arthur read us Walter's letter and Daniel and I were pleased to hear that he is recovering. I will tell you now that neither of us expected that to be the case. We both feared the damage too severe to survive.

Ludmilla did not travel to join you this time because she has a child of her own on the way. She and Pavel and the child will join you after the babe is born. I know we had all begun to think her barren but it seems that is not the case after all. The babe will probably be born before this letter even reaches you.

Daniel is doing quite well in the business. He says you gave him a good job to walk into but I know he is skilled as well. He had a good example to follow.

Father is well and courting a nice widow he met when he transferred to a new church so I may have a stepmother soon.

I will close for now. We all send our love and hope that you are both thriving in your new home.


Yours ever,



"So, your cousin thinks you're vain?"

"She didn't say that. Although she does think that."

Alexei smiled as Walter pulled him close.

"I'm glad we'll have more good news to send them. Ludmilla with a baby. How wonderful for her and Pavel. Have they always wanted a child?"

"Yes. I'm so happy for her, she will make a good mother. I guess this means Hester keeps cooking for us as long as she can. Walter, our home will be filled with children this time next year."

"Maybe we should build them their own cottages. I love children but I love our privacy as well."

"I think that's a good idea."


The wedding had been beautiful and everyone had departed. Walter and Alexei sat on the veranda late into the evening making plans for where the cottages would be located and what Walter would make for each couple as a housewarming gift.

They had been sitting side by side holding hands as they talked. Walter squeezed Alexei's hand gently.

"Bedtime, love. Do you realize that we are totally alone for the first time ever?"

"And what do you want to do now that we are?" Alexei smiled at the bad little boy look on Walter's face.

"I want you to make me purr with pleasure."

Walter had risen from his chair and pulled Alexei up to stand in the circle of his arms. The kiss started slow and gentle but soon became rough with passion. Alexei's hand moved down Walter's body to confirm what he thought he was feeling against him.

Walter was totally erect for the first time since before his kidnapping. Walter's hand covered Alexei's and he applied gentle pressure.

They broke from the kiss and Walter touched his forehead to Alexei's.

"I want you inside me, Alexei. I want you to make love to me."

Alexei sucked in a ragged breath.

"Are you sure, Walter? Because I don't know if I can stop once we start. I've missed being inside you more than I know how to tell you. But I'd rather do without than ever hurt you."

"I know. I've missed it, too. And I know you don't want to hurt me. I didn't think we should try it until I was able to get hard for you. You kept telling me how you felt like you were using me with what we were doing. I didn't want to add to that feeling."

Alexei squeezed the erection in his lover's pants before kissing him once more.

"Let's go to bed." Alexei's voice was a soft caress holding a promise of pleasure.

Walter turned and pulling Alexei by the hand led the way into the house and up to their room. The two men undressed hurriedly and, after letting down the netting, met in the center of their bed.

For several long minutes, they held each other, just kissing. When Walter pulled Alexei's hand to cover his hard cock, Alexei sighed against his lips.

"Please, Alexei, don't make me wait any longer. I need you. It's been too long."

Alexei kissed his way down to a nipple and bit gently at it. Walter's hand held him there as he hissed, "Harder!"

Alexei did as asked and bit Walter in the way that made them both happy. The answering purr from the big man's throat went straight to Alexei's heart.

He pulled away from Walter long enough to get the oil that he had been using the night before to massage tired muscles. Kneeling between his lover's legs, he rubbed an oil slick finger over and around the hole he wished to be inside soon.

Walter became impatient with the delicate slow strokes of his lover. Reaching down, he grasped Alexei's hand and guided his lover's finger inside him. He made a little grunt.

"That's better."

Alexei grinned and began to slip his finger in and out waiting to feel the muscle relax. When Walter made a harump sound, Alexei reached for more oil and added another finger. Walter's hips rose to facilitate the entrance and Alexei's mind eased.

He had begun to think he would never feel such joy again. That his Walter would never be whole again. He felt the tears threaten and willed them away. Bending down, he kissed Walter deeply as he slid another finger inside the virginally tight passage. Walter's sigh in his mouth told him that it was going to be fine.

Alexei trailed his kisses down Walter's chest, stopping to bite each nipple and enjoy the way Walter arched up against him.

"Alexei, if you don’t get inside me right now, I'm going to throw you down on the bed and take what I want."

Walter smiled at the happy laugh he received in reply. His smile growing as the fingers were removed and something much bigger and harder pressed against him. Walter's hands reached to grab his lover's ass. When the head breached his muscle ring, Walter pulled Alexei forward forcefully.

Both men gasped and went still as Walter was fully impaled.


"Do it, Alexei. Make me fly again."

Alexei nodded at his lover and began to move, slowly at first but picking up speed as Walter clung to him and whispered encouragement. He moved strongly inside his lover while working one hand on Walter's cock. Alexei heard the sounds that meant Walter was close. He shifted position slightly to make every stroke count.

"I love you. Come for me, Walter."

Walter let lose a loud scream as his cock exploded in Alexei's hand. Both men were soon covered with Walter's hot sperm. His muscle contractions on Alexei brought a whimper from the man straining toward his own climax. A few more hard thrusts and Alexei emptied into his lover's body.

Alexei collapsed, lying on Walter's chest as they worked to refill their lungs with air. Finally, he rose to get a cloth to clean them. He then crawled into bed and allowed Walter to pull him close.

"I didn't think we were ever going to be able to do that again. I didn't hurt you, did I?"

"No, love. You've never hurt me. It felt so good to have you inside me again."

"It felt better than good being there. And knowing I gave you pleasure was another thing I had begun to think would never happen again."

"Alexei, how could you think you didn't give me pleasure? Sex isn't the only thing about our life that pleases me. But I have to say I'm very glad we have that back. You certainly haven't lost your touch."

"So, does that mean I can wake you the way I used to in the morning?"

"You'd better or who knows what I might do."

"I love you, so very much, Walter."

"As I love you, Alexei."



Walter turned to look at Alex sitting tensed in the corner of the sofa.

"This is the reason you've never trusted Mulder around me, isn't it?"

"That's only part of it. Guess you think I'm an idiot, huh?"

Walter reached to pull Alex into his arms before he answered.

"Only 'cause you keep loving me after so many lifetimes of fuck-ups. You said that is only part of the reason. What else is there?"

"Why is it you are always so blind to the looks you get? In all our lives together you've never realized how fucking hot you are! Not just to me but to men and women alike. You wander down the halls and have both sexes stare at you, their chins hanging, drool running out of the corners of their mouths, and you never notice. Mulder looks at you as if you were a buffet lunch and he hasn't eaten in days. Even the Ice Queen looks now and again, mostly when you wear that gunmetal gray Boss."

"You're joking, right? Scully looks?"

"I'm not joking. If either of them would admit it to the other, they'd probably try to make a sandwich out of you."

Walter grinned his most wicked grin against the head resting on his shoulder.

"Sandwich, huh? That might be fun."

Alex jerked back from him, green eyes flashing, "You want a session with my bull whip?"

"I love it when my Master is so possessive. If you feel I need a session, Master, I will go prepare myself."

The eyes toned down as Alex realized Walter was teasing.

"The only sandwich making you will be doing, slave, is for my lunch."

"Lunch first? Then the session?" The smile on Walter's face was anything but submissive.

"Of course, I want my lunch first. Afterwards you won't be in any condition to be making lunch. Plus by then it'll be closer to dinner time."

Alex kissed Walter gently then pushed him to get him up. With a grin, Walter headed toward the kitchen. Walter turned in the doorway.

"You want roast beef or chicken salad?"

"Roast beef. I need something to fortify me for beating an unruly slave."

Walter nodded and hurried out of the room. Alex sat with a small smile on his face while he planned how he would make his slave fly for the rest of the afternoon.


There's another 'epilogue' (sort of) to this regression here: The Wardrobe.

New York 1800

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