Title: Regression: Sea Captive
Author: Peach
Email address: Peach1250@hotmail.com
Fandom: X-Files
Pairings: Skinner/Krycek
Warnings: None
Rating: NC17
Date: 04/06/02
Archive: No
Website: http://us.reocities.com/peach1250/index.html
Disclaimer: The characters of 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. This is the fifth regression.
NOTES: Thanks to Bill. Blame this one on Ursula, Bertie, Ned and Leny. Thanks Tosca for the food info. For the Ned and Leny picture that helped inspire this go here
http://squidge.org/~praxisters/fantasy.html

 

 

"Pretty, isn't he, Captain? Should warm your bed nicely. Shall I put him in your cabin?"

I glanced at the boy Mulder was holding. He was chained and had been beaten. The marks crisscrossing his chest were red, and in spots caked with blood.

I was irritated by Mulder's remarks. It seemed he was forever implying that I used catamites for my sexual pleasure, in spite of never having seen me with a boy. Why, I didn't even have a cabin boy, due to my fear of his being used badly by my men. I had no illusions about my crew.

The boy twisted as if trying to get away, even though he was hobbled by the chains and would not get far. I looked closer and barked at him.

"Be still, you fool. Even if you get loose, you still have the chains to prevent your freedom. What is your name?"

He looked up then and I found myself drowning in a sea of green, his eyes a colour I had never seen before. Chained and beaten, he still had a dignity about him, a strength that had nothing to do with size and everything to do with intelligence.

"My name is Alexei. I demand my freedom. The merchant lies when he says I have not completed my indentured service. My time was completed over a year ago. He sent me to you as a way of cheating you of the money he owes you."

"Mulder, did he tell you this before you brought him on board?"

"Yes, Captain, but you know how servants lie."

"Come with me, Alexei. You will stay in my cabin while I go and talk to the merchant."

Mulder let go of the boy and headed back ashore to complete his in-port duties. The boy followed me to my cabin without further conversation. Once inside, he looked around carefully before sitting on the floor.

"You may use a chair, boy. That's what they are here for."

"He never allowed me to sit on the furniture. The only time I was ever on furniture in his house was when his guests wanted their beds warmed."

"How old are you, boy?"

"Twenty."

"You were indentured at twelve?"

"Yes. My parents sent me from Russia, thinking I'd have a better life once the servitude was over. But the merchant had no intention of letting me go. At least not as long as his guests still wanted me."

"Did Mulder ask for you?"

It was a question I wasn't totally sure I wanted an answer to.

"No. He asked for one of the girls. Her name is Dana. I heard him asking the merchant to sell her to him this morning."

Considering Mulder's repeated remarks to me, I was surprised that he had asked for a female. I looked at the boy, seeing the layers of filth on his body, knowing if I got closer he would reek. Guess the merchant's guests weren't too picky about odor.

I walked to the door and called for one of my men.

"Bring down water. A couple of buckets of cold and a kettle of hot."

Walking over to the boy, I used the keys Mulder had given me to release the chains.

"There's no point in trying to run. You'd never make it off the ship. When the water gets here, you will wash. I have a sensitive nose and you smell."

"I've been locked in the merchant's cellar for three weeks. He seldom bathes, so he saw no reason to give me extra water for such a frivolous reason."

"Then this is not your normal state?"

His lip curled with distaste, "No, I prefer to be as clean as possible."

A knock on the door ended the conversation temporarily. The cold water was placed in the basin to await the arrival of the hot. I went over to my trunk, digging through it, searching for anything that might be suitable for the boy to wear. Finally, I pulled out a robe and threw it on the bed.

When the hot water arrived, I handed the boy the soap and some toweling.

"Make sure you get clean. You may use the robe until I can get you something more suitable to wear."

Alexei dropped the ragged breeches he was wearing, totally unconcerned to be naked in front of me. I suppose I did not appear to be like the men who had used his body. But, in any case, it did not matter he was here and could do nothing to stop me if I wanted to use him.

I was amazed at my reaction to seeing the boy naked. For a moment, I wondered how the cock lying along a lean thigh would look erect. Would it darken much? Would it grow as much as my own?

Boy was a poor description for the bondsman. True, he was slender, his body looking younger than his actual years. That was probably the result of poor rations. Knowing the merchant, I was sure he didn't feed his servants very well.

I watched as Alexei dipped his head in the basin. He scrubbed at his hair then rinsed it as best he could. Reaching for a cup, I moved to the boy and motioned for him to lean forward. I used the cup to see that all the soap was rinsed from what would become silky black hair when dry.

The smile of thanks the boy gave me went right to the pit of my stomach. I nodded curtly and moved quickly away, my fingers still wet from combing through the boy's hair.

As I watched clean skin emerge from under the grime, I saw the signs of abuse on a body that was still beautiful in spite of the scars. The boy flinched as he cleaned the new whip marks, but he cleaned them thoroughly.

Again, I moved forward and took the cloth to wash the strong back. The thank you smile this time lodged in my cock, bringing it erect.

"I'm going ashore. I'll have some bread and cheese brought. You will stay here. Understand? If you try to leave, my crew will stop you."

"Yes, Captain. I understand. I thank you for giving me water to bathe and for feeding me. I haven't eaten since yesterday."

I stopped on the way off the ship, ordered bread and cheese to be given to the boy adding ale for him to drink. I stated that the boy was not to leave the ship and no one was to molest him in any way, the latter order given because I knew a few of my men would use any hole available, but I also knew that my instructions would be obeyed.

My mind kept reminding me of the body I had helped to wash. And while I was not completely erect, there was a definite tightening. By the time I reached the merchant's, I was determined to get the truth.

"Captain, nice to see you. What can I do for you?"

"For starters, Spender, you can show me the boy's contract. He claims to have completed his service a year ago."

"He lies. They all lie. You aren't going to take the word of an indentured servant over mine, are you?"

"You have his contract, do you not? If you wish me to take him as partial payment then I have the right to his contract."

"Of course, Captain. Give me a moment to locate it."

I paced the shop impatiently as he went into the back. Several minutes had passed when he returned holding out the contract to me. I unrolled it carefully and knew instantly that he was lying to me. The parchment could not have been signed years ago. The ink was too fresh.

I raised my eyes to look at him, my knowledge making them darken I'm sure. Spender flinched back from me slightly. My temper being well known all up and down the coast, I'm sure he was expecting the back of my hand.

"We will be honest with each other here. This parchment is a lie."

"I swear…"

"Do not swear to me!"

My voice roared through the small shop, making the other patrons jump. His face flamed. I controlled my temper with no small effort.

"I will offer you a deal of another type. I will forgive your debt to me. In exchange you will give me the proper parchment and give Mulder a fair price on the girl he desires to purchase from you."

I could see the wheels turning in Spender's brain as he contemplated my offer. I knew the exact moment he decided to accept. The man's greed would someday be his downfall. We both knew his debt to me to be greater than the price he had paid for the boy's contract new. And he would still make money from Mulder on the girl.

"You strike a hard bargain, Captain. I accept."

He held out his hand and I shook to seal the deal.

"Well, let me just get you the parchment you desire."

He disappeared in the back and came out this time with a parchment of a proper age, having a date just over eight years past. I nodded my acceptance and tucked both parchments under my arm.

"I'll send Mulder around to make his payment for the girl. See that she is ready to leave with him."

"Aye, Captain. I'll see to it."

My next stop was a clothier to get proper clothing for the boy. I suppose I could have asked if Alexei had any clothing left at the merchant's but I wanted nothing he wore to remind him of that place. I hurriedly picked clothing I thought would suit him.

I suddenly realized that I had not looked at his feet so I had no clue as to the size of them. I decided he would just have to wear a pair of my boots until we could get him properly shod.

I hurried back to the ship, ignoring the crowds around me, including the whores and their bawdy invitations. Most days I wanted nothing to do with them and today even less. It never occurred to me to wonder at my urge to get back to him, my desire to be with him, to see him in the green shirt that I had purchased for him.

Most days I would have lingered on the docks, enjoying the sights of so many different types of people, the rich mixing with the poor, people from many places, the air smelling of salt, the languages of trade and barter, but not that day. I did stop long enough to buy crabs for our dinner. The boy needed some meat on his bones.

Mulder was on deck when I reached the ship. He was directing the loading of some cargo for our home port. I motioned for him to come over to me.

"Mulder, how close are we to being loaded?"

"We should have everything on board this time tomorrow, Captain."

"Spender will expect to see you tonight. He will have the girl you wanted ready for you. Should he try to charge you too much, remind him that we have a deal."

"How did you know about the girl?"

"Alexei told me. You still want her, do you not?"

"Yes, Captain."

"I suggest that you bring her on board under cover of darkness. 'Tis best if the men do not know a woman is on board. I trust you can impress on her the importance of staying in your cabin until we reach port?"

"Be assured, Captain, I will make it clear to her. Does this mean you settled the ownership issue with him?"

"Aye. We came to an understanding."

"The boy was lying, then?"

"No, he was not."

"Then he is free?"

"Yes. But I think he will go with us anyway."

Mulder grinned in a way that boded ill for my temper.

"A cabin boy at last, Captain?"

"He shall make his own place eventually. I think, for now 'tis best to get him out of Spender's reach. Would you ask the cook to steam these for our dinner?"

"Certainly, Captain. Need anything else? Some oil, perhaps?"

"Mulder, should I ever decide to take a boy to my bed, I'll be sure to inform you."

I turned on my heel and walked away from him, ignoring the startled look on his face. I reached my cabin to find Alexei watching the activity on the docks through the porthole. He turned to face me as I entered.

"Here, boy, I've brought you something to wear."

He moved toward me, taking the bundle of clothing and opening it carefully on the bed. His eyes looked at me with wonder as he touched the clothing as if it would vanish.

******

I had been standing watching the swell of humanity on the dock as I waited for the Captain to return. I had spent the time wondering what my fate would be when that happened. At least, if Spender convinced him I was still property, I would now belong to someone who would feed me and let me wash.

My life would be better than before in that regard at least. I did wonder if he would want to use me, not that it mattered. What's one more man among many? At least this one would be clean.

When the door opened, I turned to see him standing there with a bundle under his arm, parchments clutched in his hand. He must have come from the opposite end of the dock; I had not seen him returning. He smiled at me before he spoke.

"Here, boy, I've brought you something to wear."

I took the bundle, placed it on the bed, and opened it carefully. The clothing was of good quality, far better than any I had ever owned. I touched it carefully; afraid I was being teased. I turned to look at him but he just had a small smile on his lips.

"These are for me? These things are too fine for a bondsman to wear."

"They're not too fine for a free man to wear."

"Free?"

"Yes, Alexei, free."

He handed me the parchments and I rolled open the oldest looking one, seeing my name, the only words I knew how to read at that time, on it.

"How? He admitted he lied to you?"

"Not at first. But he needs me and he knows that. Get dressed, boy. I want to see if I judged your size correctly."

"If I'm truly a free man, will you stop calling me boy?"

"It was not meant as an insult; you are quite a bit younger than I am. I shall endeavor to call you Alexei."

"Thank you, Captain."

"Walter, in private only. In front of the crew, you must be formal."

"Thank you, Walter, for everything."

"There is one thing, Alexei."

I steeled myself waiting to hear the price for my freedom and the clothing. He looked at me puzzled before he continued.

"I don't think it would be safe for you to stay here. Spender might try to enslave you again. I offer you passage to my homeport. A job with my family's company."

"That's it? You don't want me to…"

"Want you to what? Ye gads, not you, too! No, you do not have to give me your body."

I heard his words but I had also seen his eyes when he watched me earlier. His mind might not admit his desires, but his body knew them. I had been used for too many years to miss the telltale signs. Maybe I had been mistaken...one-way to find out.

I dropped the robe.

He looked away, but before I had picked up the breeches to pull them on, his eyes were back. It was not my face he stared at as I pulled them up over my hips. I covered my smile by pulling on the shirt, noting that the green was an almost exact match for my eyes.

Turning back toward him and catching the hunger in his eyes, I almost hoped he would want me. I knew right then I wanted him, and I had never wanted any of the men who used me. My only pleasure had come from my own hand.

I finished dressing, then looked down at my bare feet and wiggled my toes. He laughed briefly.

"It's easier to guess about clothes than shoes. You'll have to make do with a pair of mine until we can get you shod properly."

He walked to a trunk and opened it. The boots he handed me were old, but still clean and sturdy. Stockings he handed to me as well. I sat and pulled them on and found the boots to be a passable fit, just a little wide.

******

Damn but the boy cleaned up well. No wonder Spender's guests wanted him in their beds. For the first time in my life I wondered what it would be like to have a boy in my bed. Suddenly, the idea of sleeping in close quarters with the boy in my cabin that night, did not seem like a good idea.

"Come, Alexei, I have some things to do in town. We'll have dinner there. We'll pick you up a change of clothing as well as see about boots."

He nodded and I led him up on deck. I called out to Mulder and he hurried to my side.

"Mulder, I've decided to do a few things ashore. Alexei and I will eat there and probably stay at an inn tonight. You may have the crabs for your dinner. Put Moore in charge when you go to the merchant's."

I watched Mulder's eyes track past me to the boy and saw his surprise. Yes, the boy did clean up well. I gave him no time for comments, just headed to the gangplank with the boy close on my heels.

I kept a close eye on Alexei as we made our way through the crowds on the docks. I had to shove my hand in my mouth when he blushed at the advances of the whores. With one so pretty, they made so bold as to brush against him. Finally, I took pity on him and shooed them away.

I took him to a different clothier and watched his eyes light up when presented with all the choices. He had so much difficulty making a decision that I stepped in.

"We'll take them all. Send them to my ship and instruct my crew to place them in my cabin for the time being. Also, he will need a sea chest. Do you have a sturdy one?"

"Of course, Captain. Would you like to choose one?"

"Let the boy…Alexei see them."

I watched as he looked at the chests being offered. He tested the lids carefully, then turned to me.

"Captain, this one seems to be the best quality of the lot."

I moved forward and tested the chest myself and found his judgement to be accurate.

"Pack your things in it and it will be sent to the ship."

I saw his eyes widen when the shopkeeper gave me the total and I paid without a murmur. The price was fair, but I think again he was waiting for the ultimate price he would be forced to pay. For a moment I was sad that life had taught him to see it that way, until I realized that if his life had been different, he would not be standing here with me. And I knew in that clarity of time that I wanted him by my side.

We didn't have good fortune at the boot makers. He had nothing ready that would fit, and could not have any made in time before we sailed.

"Captain, it doesn't matter. These will do fine unless you will need them."

"No, Alexei, I do not need them. If they are comfortable then consider them yours. At the next port we'll have time to get you some made."

We ate a decent dinner at the inn I had been staying in while in port. I left him for a brief time to use the privy, and returned to find Spender smiling an evil smile as he talked to the boy.

******

It had been the most extraordinary day of my life. First, I had been taken to a ship where I expected to be used cruelly, only to find the Captain a reasonable man. He had seen me clean and clothed, had gone to Spender to check on my claim and come back to announce me a free man, had offered me a job.

I was sitting in the common room waiting for him to come back from the privy when I heard a hated voice.

"Well, well, what is this? The bondsman cleaned up and looking like a dandy."

"I'm a free man. The Captain has been kind enough to give me clothing to wear. He has made the offer of a job as well."

"Job? Is that what it's called now. Do you really think he wants you for anything other than that ass of yours? Face it, boy, that's all you have to offer."

"He's made no move to use me as your guests did."

"Make no mistake, boy, with what he paid for you, he will get around to it."

My heart pounded at these words. Was the Captain lying to me? Did he plan to recoup his money in the room he had rented for the night?

"He's not like you, Spender. He has shown nothing but kindness."

"Kindness too, has a price."

We both jumped as Walter's voice came from behind.

"Maybe with you, Spender. I, however, do what I feel is right. The boy will pay me back by the labor he will give to my company. He will not have a lot in the first year, but what he has will be his. As for the boy's ass…that is his to give or withhold as *he* sees fit. I have not asked and he has not offered."

"You expect me to believe that you forgave my debt to you so he could be free? And you don't want payment from him?"

"Believe what you wish, Spender. The boy has my actions to speak to him. Now, shouldn't you be meeting with Mulder?"

"You're right. I'll go complete my transaction with him. I'll see you the next time you are in port."

"I think you will be dealing with Mulder the next time our ship sails this way. He has proven his abilities, and I promised him his own ship. He will be having a woman to care for and no doubt she will produce heirs for him. He'll need the extra income."

"Well, then, I best make a good impression in my dealings with him this night. Safe journey, Captain."

"Goodbye, Spender."

I watched until Spender was out of sight then turned to look at the Captain.

"Walter, did you mean the things you said?"

"Of course, Alexei. You will find me to be a man of my word."

"Including the part about my…"

"Most especially that part, Alexei. Men have no control over many things in this world but they should at least control that."

"Thank you, Walter."

There was more I wanted to say but wasn't sure enough of the situation to say it. When he offered me a drink, I accepted. He asked me of my home and family as we drank. I had never had wine before and it quickly went to my head. I suddenly found the world to be a funny place...until she came over to us.

When the whore draped herself on his lap, he laughed and patted her ass but sent her on her way with a coin that made her smile. I smiled as well since he wasn't going off with her and leaving me alone. He seemed to realize that I was drunk when I dropped the mug while holding it out to be filled.

"Come on, boy. You need to sleep. I can see it now; you'll still be hanging over the rail when we sail tomorrow."

He hauled me to my feet, and when I couldn't walk, he laughed again and threw me over his shoulder like a bag of feed. In the room, he laid me out on the bed. His hands stripped me efficiently, and for a moment I thought Spender was right. But he just rolled me under the covers and told me to sleep.

But I didn't want to sleep. I wanted to show him my appreciation for all he had done for me that day. So I smiled what I thought would be a seductive smile and pulled him down into a kiss.

******

I knew the boy was drunk but never expected him to grab me as he did. His lips were soft under mine and he opened to accept me. For a moment I was drunk on him, so I drank of the sweet nectar he offered me. When I pulled back, he looked at me with his emotions running the gamut from fear to desire. His hand slipped along my body to find the evidence of my arousal.

Damn! I would be no better than Spender if I used this boy while he was drunk. Besides, I knew he had no great desire for an old man like me. He just let Spender's words get to him. I pulled away from him violently and saw the fear take over in his eyes.

"I have something to take care of. I'll be back. Stay here."

The fear became terror, and I knew I had to reassure him. I sat down on the edge of the bed and smoothed the covers over him.

"Alexei, I won't be long, I promise. I'm not angry with you. Sleep. The voyage starts tomorrow and it will be a hard first day for you. I shouldn't have let you drink that way. Trust me, and do not leave this room while I'm away. Do I have your word?"

"You would believe my word?"

"I believed it enough to go to Spender, did I not?"

"Walter, I give my word I will stay here until you bid me leave."

"Thank you, Alexei. Now sleep."

I rose and left him there. My body raging with the desire he had kindled in me, I went in search of someone to ease my needs. The whore who had approached me earlier was still in the common room. I waved to her and she smiled as she threaded her way across the room to me.

I took her quickly in the alley behind the inn. Paid her extra when she complained of my size. I think I was her first customer of the night, otherwise she probably wouldn't have noticed. But the woman only banked the fire, so I moved through the night seeking another body to spend myself in.

I found myself in an area of the docks I did not normally frequent. The boy who approached me looked younger than Alexei but he had dark hair. In the dark, if he didn't speak, I could pretend.

"Captain, need some company?"

"Silent company."

"No problem, Captain. I have a room."

I nodded and followed him to the 'room' in the corner of a stable near by. I watched as he undressed and positioned his body. He handed me a vial of oil and waited for me to begin. I had never been with a boy before but it didn't take genius to figure out what to do with the oil.

I removed my clothing, not wishing to stain it, and then slicked my cock. I moved between the boy's legs and entered him awkwardly, his hiss of breath telling me I had hurt him. I pulled back and watched as the tension in his body eased.

"I don't want to hurt you, but I've never done this before."

He looked over his shoulder at me in surprise, but said nothing. Then I remembered I had told him I wanted silence.

"It's all right to talk to me now, just be silent once I'm going."

"Well, Sir, a man endowed as you are should take it slowly. My hole needs to adjust. I don't have many men as big as you. I don't think I've ever had a man big as you."

"Go slowly. Anything else?"

"Don't try and put it all in at once. Rock in and pull out, each time going a little deeper. I actually enjoy it when it's done that way."

I nodded and the boy turned back to his former position. I did as he had suggested and soon was buried to the hilt in him with no further tensing of his body.

I closed my eyes and imagined myself buried in Alexei's body. Holding his hips, I picked up speed but the boy was rocking back to receive me and the faint noises he was making were far from pain. I felt a shift in him and opened my eyes long enough to realize he had shifted so he could work his own cock.

I closed my eyes again and lost myself in the fantasy of Alexei on his knees for me that way. But suddenly the fantasy shifted and I was on my knees receiving Alexei deep into my body. I felt my body tighten as I wished I were with him, giving him the pleasure others had taken from him.

My climax rippled through my body. I felt the boy spasm around me and moaned low with the pleasure of it. I had never felt like this with a woman. I guess Mulder was right; I did want a boy. I clutched the boy tighter to me, pressing full against him, the two of us bent over on the pallet.

When I could breathe again, I pulled out of him. I dressed hurriedly, my mind in turmoil. He watched me without a word. I pulled a gold coin out of my purse. It was ten times the amount he had asked for.

"Thank you."

His eyes revealed his surprise, both at the size of the coin and my words.

"Sir, I thank you but if I flash a coin like this, someone is bound to think I stole it."

I looked at him and knew he was telling the truth. So I emptied my purse and counted out smaller coins to equal the gold coin. When I handed them to him, he kissed my hand.

It was getting late, so I hurried back to the inn and the boy waiting there. He was sleeping, so I undressed quietly and slipped into bed next to him. He rolled toward me and I followed my inclination, letting him nestle against me. His warm body felt comforting after the chill of the fog outside.

******

I roused enough to know he had returned. I turned toward him and let my warm body rest against his. When he didn't push me away, I went back to sleep.

I woke the next morning with my head pounding and my bladder complaining. A large hairy leg was resting between my legs. My head was on his shoulder, his arm holding me close, a big hand held my ass firmly.

I told my bladder to shut up and stayed still, not wanting to leave his warmth. I slowly became aware of the odors on him, the aftermath of sex. So that was where he had gone. Part of me raged at the idea he had left my offer to seek his comfort elsewhere. But the more logical part of my mind reminded me that I owed him everything and he owed me nothing.

I snuggled in closer to him, rubbing my morning erection against his hairy thigh. He made a little snorting snuffle as his hand squeezed my ass, pulling me closer. The covers began to rise as his body climbed toward wakefulness.

Since my arm was already wrapped around him, I slid my hand down to assist with the process his body had started. I bit down hard on my lip to stop the gasp as I found him to be much larger than any man who had ever used me.

He turned toward me, pulling his leg from between mine, his other arm wrapping round me, his other leg lifting over my hip. That put our cocks rubbing against each other. By that point I was feeling a lust I had never felt before. When he began to rut against me, I responded in kind.

The pressure low in my groin told me I would not last long. I had never felt such pleasure before. His big hands were kneading my ass as he thrust against me. His mouth had found my nipple somehow and the sensation was a sharp jolt that hissed along my nerves to center in my crotch.

When he bit me, I moaned and shot my seed between us. He was not far behind me. I felt each jerk as his seed joined mine.

His head raised, his eyes opened and I saw the puzzlement, the shock. What had been a turning point in my life was little more than a wet dream to him.

******

I had been dreaming, or at least I thought I had. I opened my eyes to see smoky green eyes watching me. I could feel the stickiness between out bodies. I realized I had a handful of his naked ass. Examining him, I could see the mark my 'dream' biting had made on his chest.

What had I done? After all my promises to him, here he lay in my arms, covered with the evidence of my completion. How would he ever trust me again?

I pulled back from him hurriedly and saw…was that pain? Had I hurt him? I had obviously taken idiocy to a new level.

"Alexei, I'm sorry. I was dreaming. Please forgive me."

"There is nothing to forgive, Walter. It isn't just your seed covering us."

I touched the bite mark gently.

"I bit you."

"It didn't hurt."

"Still, you did not offer yourself to me. I have broken my word to you."

"I offered last night."

"But last night you were drunk. Men often do things when they are drunk that they regret the next morn. That did not give me the right."

"You did not force me. I would have made my offer with or without the wine. I owe you for your kindness."

"No, boy. You do not owe me that. Your debt will be repaid with your labor when we arrive at my home."

I rose from the bed, walked over to the washstand and poured some water into the basin. I washed the evidence of my stupidity from my belly, then rinsed the rag and took it back to him. He had turned his back to me, hugging his body as if cold.

"Boy, are you all right?"

"I asked you not to call me boy."

His voice sounded ragged.

"I'm sorry. Seems I can't do anything right with you."

"You've given me my freedom, clothing to wear, filled my belly and gave me pleasure. That's far more than any other man ever did for me."

Pleasure? Did he mean that? It didn't matter. He was only feeling grateful. Once he truly felt free, he would find someone younger, better looking, to share his bed.

"Here, Alexei, clean up: we need to get a move on. Today is going to be busy."

He took the cloth and wiped at his stomach. We dressed in silence before heading to the ship.

******

I walked beside him to the ship, lost in my thoughts. He didn't want me. Was I that hideous? Or was it just the fact that he knew I had been so well used and he didn't want a whore in his bed?

Years later, he would tell me his thoughts on that day. I was amazed that he did not understand that I loved him from the moment he said he would go and talk to Spender. Everything he gave me after that was just bonus.

My head throbbed, the sunlight hurt, and the moment we stepped on board the ship the rocking sent me running for the rail. I heard the laughter behind me as I heaved over the side. I felt a warm hand on my back, rubbing gently as I continued to try and empty an already empty stomach.

When the heaving stopped, he spoke.

"Why don't you go to my cabin and lie down. Keep your eyes closed and do not look out the porthole. That will only make it worse. Try to sleep."

"Aye, captain."

I walked unsteadily across the deck and down to his cabin. Since I didn't want to wrinkle the clothing he'd bought me, I undressed before crawling into the bunk. I didn't expect to sleep, but the next thing I knew he was opening the door and talking softly to Mulder before he entered the cabin.

"So, it went well with Spender? He didn't try to cheat you?"

"No, he gave her to me for a fair price. He hinted that we would be doing business in the future."

"Aye. I told him you had earned your own ship. I want to settle down. I'm getting too old to spend all my life at sea."

"Going to find a wife and have children?"

"I haven't really given that any thought. My brothers have already seen to it that the family name will be passed on. I just want to try something new."

"I'm sure the boy would help you try something new."

"Mulder, will you let it go? Why do you keep harping on this subject?"

"You didn't see the way the boy looked at you when you left the ship with him yesterday. You've attained the status of a god with him."

"He will get over thinking I'm a god before the voyage is over. Mulder, the boy has been ill-used. Once he has had some time as a free man, I'm sure he will find someone to love. He's a beautiful boy. Anyone would be lucky to have him in their bed."

"Captain, somehow I think you're mistaken. I think you should ask yourself why you forgave such a debt. Was it just to free the boy? Or did he touch your heart? I think if you gave him the option, it would be your bed he'd want to warm. I must go check on Dana. Thank you for your help with Spender and for deciding I'm ready for my own ship."

"You're welcome, Mulder. I'll see you in the morning."

He closed the door and placed the candle he was carrying on the table. I pretended to be asleep, not wanting him to know I had heard his conversation. I watched as he undressed. When he crowded into the bunk with me, I allowed him to move me as he wanted. His bunk was larger than on most ships but we still had to spoon together to fit.

I fell back to sleep with the sound of his breathing in my ear and one of his hands wrapped securely around my waist. When I woke the next morning, he was gone, but there was warm water waiting and I blessed him for that. I washed, then got dressed and went to find Walter.

When I reached the deck, it took me a while to spot him. He was dressed less formally than I had seen him in the preceding two days. But if anything, the lack of a fancy wig and formal coat only heightened my desire for him.

He was climbing through the rigging and I held my breath as I watched. Having only been on a ship once before, and then only as part of steerage, I knew very little of how they ran. But I admit to surprise, since I always thought of Captains as the men who gave orders but did no real work. Before the voyage was over, I would learn that Walter was indeed very different from most Captains.

He climbed back down to the deck and exchanged some words with one of his men. Seeing me standing across the deck, he made his way to me.

"You look much better this morning. How are you feeling?"

"I'm fine, Captain. I slept well. Thank you for seeing that I had water to wash."

He smiled and my heart sped up.

"Well, my men know to bring hot water in the morning. Good thing you didn't sleep much later or it would have been cold. Now, then what shall we give you to do?"

"Do, Captain?"

"Yes, do. Might as well start working off your debt now. Have you been on a ship other than your trip here from the old country?"

"No, Captain. But I'm willing to learn anything to help out."

He turned then and called out to Mulder.

"Mulder, what do you think we can teach our young friend here to do? Don't want to keep him in the sun too long. His hide needs to toughen up first."

"Not sure, Captain. Do you know what he did for Spender?"

They both turned to look at me then, waiting for an answer. My face flamed, since my main value to Spender had consisted of spreading my legs for his guests. But I had helped in the kitchen on occasion as well as with the laundry.

"I mostly helped cook and wash laundry, Captain."

"Don't think we need you at either of those tasks. Although I will let you see to my laundry when you do your own. Ever use a needle?"

"Yes, Captain. Not frequently as Spender thought my work too sloppy."

"Mulder, introduce him to Paddy and let him learn to repair a sail. That way he won't have to be in the direct sun and Paddy will be pleased to have the company."

"Aye, Captain. Come with me, Alexei. Paddy will be glad of the help."

"Mulder, remind the crew that he is off limits."

"Aye, Captain, I'll do that."

I wondered what he meant by that but didn't ask. Mulder led me to a toothless old man who was sitting in the shade of some crates stacked on the deck.

"Paddy, this is Alexei. Captain wants the boy to have something to keep him busy so he thought he might give you a hand."

"This the boy you brought back from Spender's?"

"Aye, 'tis he."

"Cleans up good, don't he? You had any 'perience with sails?"

"No, but I learn fast."

"Have a seat, I'll show you what to do."

I sat and Mulder wandered off. For the next couple of hours, I began learning what I would one day consider my first real man's job. Paddy seemed to be pleased with my skill with a needle.

When Paddy suggested a break and some food, I followed to the galley. We were eating and discussing the work for the afternoon when a hand grabbed my arm.

"When did the pretty boy come aboard? Captain finally decide to take on a cabin boy?"

"Let me go!"

"Ah, come on, pretty boy, you can give me a few minutes. The Captain doesn't have to know."

"This one's off limits, Granger. Did ya not hear? He's the Captain's private piece." Another man was tugging at Granger's arm, trying to pull him away from me.

"I'm no one's *piece*! Now, let me go." I tried to snatch my arm away from him but his grip tightened.

"Why else would the Captain bring a pretty boy like you aboard? I heard he gave Spender the full price of your contract for you. Stitching sails with Paddy won't pay him back for that. I wondered when the Captain would find someone to warm his bed. Come on, be sociable, the Captain will never miss what I take."

"You're wrong about that." The voice cut through the galley like a whip. I saw Granger flinch as he dropped my arm like it was molten lead.

"Captain, I was just pulling the boy's leg. Didn't mean anything by it."

"Understand this, Granger, and the rest of you as well. The boy is off limits. Anyone molesting him in any way will answer to me. Is that understood?"

"Aye, Captain." Granger grabbed a piece of bread and hurriedly left the galley. Walter came over to where Paddy and I were sitting.

"Steer clear of that one, Alexei. I don't think he will defy my order now that I've told him directly but I'm not sure. Paddy, how did the young one do today?"

"He has a talented hand, Cap'n. We got most of the repair done."

"Good! I think he's had enough sun for today. Alexei, would you tidy the cabin after you finish eating?"

"But, Captain, I was in the shade."

"You get more light than you realize even in the shade on a ship. Trust me on this, Alexei, and do as I ask."

"Aye, Captain."

I watched as he took his own crust of bread and a slice of cheese before leaving the galley. I wanted to ask about his arrangements with Spender but knew that was best asked in private. I turned to look at Paddy.

"Does the whole crew think I'm here as the Captain's bed warmer?"

"Aye, some are thinking that, but not all. I've known him since he was a lad younger than you. He's never had a cabin boy. I've heard him say 'twas cause he didn't want a boy abused on his ship. Course, you are older than most cabin boys."

"I heard Mulder ask if the Captain was going to find a wife in home port. Has he never been married, then?"

"No, never. Came close once, but she ran off with someone with more money."

Money? Was the woman insane? If he wanted me, I wouldn't even look at anyone else. Paddy and I ate the rest of our meal in silence. I followed Paddy back on deck to retrieve my shirt, it was a warm day and I had left it on deck. I bid him goodbye and made my way back toward the Captain's cabin.

I saw Granger watching as I crossed the deck. I wasn't surprised when he made a comment behind my back.

"Captain doesn't want to share his boy. Time will come, boy. I get what I want."

My back stiffened and I almost turned but decided it would be best to let Walter handle it. I entered the Captain's cabin and looked around, wondering what needed to be tidied. I straightened the bedding that I had left bunched up earlier that day. I noticed his dirty clothing where he had left it and added my own to it for washing as soon as I found out how that was done on board ship.

******

I sent the boy to my cabin after the incident in the galley. It bothered me how territorial I had felt when I saw Granger holding his arm. He wasn't mine and never would be. But at the same time he didn't want Granger's attentions and I would not let him be abused on my ship.

I told myself the only reason I let him stay in my bunk the night before was that I didn't want to wake him. I had planned to let him bunk in with the men for the rest of the journey, but after that incident, I knew that was not possible. I would just have to find some way to cope with him lying next to me at night. I was determined not to repeat my actions of the night at the inn.

I arranged for enough dinner to be brought to my cabin for us both that night, thinking to keep him out of sight for a while. Little did I know I was just setting myself up to fall hopelessly in love with the boy. I opened the door of the cabin to find him sitting in the chair holding the two parchments in his hand

"Alexei, our dinner will be brought in a short while."

He jumped slightly, and I could tell he had been so deep in thought that he hadn't heard me come in. He rolled the parchments up hastily and put them back on my chest.

"Alexei, those are yours to do with as you please. You may put them in your chest if you wish."

"I'd rather burn them."

"You want to put it out of your mind? I can understand that. But think about it a while. They represent a part of your history. There is no shame in an indentured service period."

"Not if you spend it in the fields or at honest labor. But when you spend it warming beds…"

"You are not to blame for the duties your master gave you."

"Duties?"

Alexei's mouth twisted in a sneer that was like a physical blow to me. Before I knew what I was doing, my hand was cupping his face and my thumb rubbing over his lip to smooth it out. Our eyes met and locked and I saw what Mulder meant about the boy's feeling for me. But I still believed at that point that he would forget me once he had a taste of freedom.

"Do not frown so. You did what was forced upon you. You were a boy and had no control. But now you are a free man and you can make your life what you wish."

"Who would want me after I've been a whore? You've made it clear that I'm not good enough to service you."

"Alexei, I would be no better than Spender if I used you. You feel gratitude toward me. That is all. Had you been free all this time, you would not have looked twice at me."

"But you eased your needs with another when I was in your bed, had offered myself to you." I could hear the puzzlement in the voice and see it in the eyes.

"Alexei, I would not use you as Spender's 'guests' did. It has never been my way to use one who has no choice. You are here on my ship and that puts you in a position that may make you feel beholden. I tell you again, you owe me nothing except your labor to cover your upkeep. That is all you owe me or any man, now."

"You're wrong, Walter. I would have certainly looked at you more than twice. And what I feel for you has nothing to do with gratitude and everything to do with how you make me feel when you are near."

I was about to answer when there was a knock at the door. I realized that I had continued to rub Alexei's lip as we talked and dropped my hand quickly. We were both silent as we ate our dinner. Once the dishes were taken away, I spoke to him again.

"You should go to bed, Alexei. I must make my last round for the night. I'll try to be quiet when I return so that I don't wake you."

"Shouldn't I go sleep with the rest of the crew?"

"Considering Granger's behavior today, I don't think that is a good idea."

"They all think I'm here to warm your bed."

"Some think that, not all."

"Mulder thinks it."

"Mulder has strange fixations. But he's good at his job. Does it bother you overly much for them to think what we know is untrue?"

"Since they all know about me, I guess I can't really expect them to think anything different. Will you tell your family what I am?"

I scowled at him then and saw the shadow pass over his eyes. Spender should be shot for having treated the boy so badly. Good thing we had sailed or I'd have been tempted to do just that.

"What you are is a free man, Alexei. I see no reason to tell them anything other than you needed a change and I offered you work. The past cannot be undone, nor does it need to be hidden, but I see no reason to announce your past. Many people would judge you based on that. I want you to have a fresh start."

"But what of the men on the ship?"

"The crew and my family do not socialize. Mulder is the only one who could possibly give them that information, but I do not think that likely."

"Why is that?"

"Because he will not wish for Dana's past to be known by them since that would mean his family knowing. His mother is very devout and would never accept a daughter-in-law who had that type of past."

"Thank you."

"You're welcome. Go to bed."

******

I watched him close the door behind him, not sure what twist of fate had brought me to him, but I was pleased all the same. I undressed and slid into the bunk.

My thoughts on the new life I was headed toward were filled with hope. If anything, his generosity made me more determined to be the kind of man he believed I could be. I drifted to sleep in the warmth of his bunk. The next morning I woke to the feel of his hardness nestled between my cheeks.

I smiled and stayed very still. I knew he must still be asleep and didn't want to disturb his dream. If that dream ended with him inside me I wouldn't protest. Part of me hoped it would. My smile grew as he mumbled something, while tightening his hold on me.

His cock poked against me, the tip pushing part way inside me. I held my breath, waiting. What might have happened next was not to be.

A shout brought us both upright in his bunk. I looked at him confused.

"A ship's been spotted, could be pirates. Get dressed."

He was already out of the bed, pulling his breeches over his hips. I scrambled out of the bunk, grabbing for my own clothes. He was out the door before I even found my boots. Racing onto the deck, I spotted him with the spyglass in his hands.

As I watched, he lowered the glass and turned to speak to Mulder. I couldn't hear the words but saw the urgency in both faces. Mulder nodded and turned to run from the fore deck. As he pounded past me, Walter motioned to me.

I climbed to where he was standing. He looked at me with worry in his eyes.

"I suppose it's too much to hope that you have any knowledge of weapons?"

"My father taught me a little before they sent me away."

"Go to my quarters; in the big sea chest you'll find my cutlasses; bring them quickly."

He thrust a key into my hand then turned and began issuing orders. I wasted no time in doing as he had instructed. Again I passed Mulder as he came back armed to the teeth. I hurried below; slamming the door open, I went to my knees by the chest.

When it was open, I moved the clothing to find two fine weapons in their own case. Grabbing them, I left the chest open, dashing back up to where Walter was still standing, barking out orders. I saw right away that all the sails were opened to catch the wind. He grabbed one of the swords from me.

"We're going to try to outrun them, but I have little hope of success, we're heavy with cargo. If we are boarded stay close."

I nodded. I stood close, but tried to stay out of his way as well. He watched as we drew away from the other ship, but our spurt of speed was short-lived. All too soon the other ship was overtaking us. I saw the look of determination that came over his features. I knew he would fight for his ship and all that was on it.

The first cannon shot missed, if hitting a sail can be called missing. The second took out part of the bow. I readied myself as best I could as Walter pulled a long knife from his belt, holding it in his left hand as he readied his cutlass in his right.

I prayed that I'd remember the things my father had taught me. And, if not, that my death would be quick. He glanced over to me once, giving me a quick grin. That alone bolstered my sprits. All too soon men were pouring over the side and the battle was on.

Either the men who came at me were not good fighters, or I remembered more than I thought. I kept as close to Walter's back as I could. I had several cuts but was managing to stay on my feet when I heard a roar near by and Walter dropped behind me.

I turned to see how badly he was injured and felt a hard blow to my head. My last memory was falling toward him and never making contact.

When I woke, it was dark; I could tell I was still on board a ship, as the rocking added to the queasiness in my stomach. I heard a low moan and crawled toward the sound.

"Who's here?"

"Mulder. Is that you, Alexei?"

"Yes. I just woke. Is there anyone else here with us?"

"The Captain was but they took him out a while ago. I think most of the crew is dead."

"What of your Dana?"

"I don't know. If they've discovered her…"

His voice trailed off. We both knew what her fate was likely to be at the hands of the men who had boarded the ship.

"Could you tell how badly the Captain was hurt? He was down when I was knocked out but I couldn't tell how seriously he was injured."

"I don't think it was that bad. They'll try and keep him alive for ransom. We may not be that lucky. As a matter of fact, I'm surprised they didn't slit your throat."

Before I could respond, the grating above us was thrown open, and a much-hated voice called down to us.

"Looks like the Captain's piece is awake. That's good. Time for me to collect my due."

I cringed at the images the words brought to mind. I'd thought never to be in that position again. Closing my hands into fists, I resolved to deny him the pleasure of my begging or screaming. He would be the latest in a long line, I had survived many others, and I would survive him.

Mulder was not inclined to be quiet.

"Leave him be, Granger. How could you turn on the Captain this way? He gave you work when others wouldn't."

"Work! I shoulda had your place next to him. And then the way he threatened me in front of half the crew. They won't let me do nothing to him cause they want to ransom him but they don't care what I do to his whore."

I didn't fight as he pulled me from the hold. Mulder tried to rise up to fight him but his leg was too badly injured for him to do much. The man with Granger pushed him aside as if he were a child.

I was dizzy and having trouble standing, so they pushed me along. Finally, I was thrown down against a stack of burlap bags. My fine new breeches, no longer clean or so new, were yanked down and he was on me. I walled off my mind as my body was used. I'd managed quite well until I heard Walter's voice.

"Granger, it's me you hate. Do it to me, leave the boy alone."

His pain was harder to bear than the rape, but I wouldn't let Granger see that. I turned my head so I could see Walter standing where they were holding him, struggling to get to me. I tried to tell him with my eyes that I would be all right but he didn't seem to understand.

When Granger finished with me, several others took a turn. Walter's struggles stopped when he had exhausted his strength. But his eyes stayed on mine and that helped me more than he could ever know.

I lay there torn and bleeding when they were through. Another voice I hadn't heard before rang out then.

"Let the Captain see to his boy. Put them in one of the cabins."

Walter was released and he stumbled over to me. His hands shook as he helped me rise; he pulled the remains of my breeches up over my hips. I'm not sure who leaned harder on whom as we made our way to the cabin and were locked inside.

He got me onto the bunk and then searched for something to clean me with. There was a noise in the passageway and I heard a familiar voice.

"Your Cap'n said I could bring them some water." The door was opened and Paddy entered the cabin.

"Sorry I couldn't bring you warm water, Cap'n."

"Doesn't matter. Cool might be better for him."

Paddy put the bucket down next to the bunk. The man at the door grunted, then motioned for Paddy to leave. Paddy looked at me with sad eyes before he left the room and I knew he'd seen what they did to me. The door was re-locked.

Walter perched on the edge of the bunk.

"Alexei, I'm sorry, I couldn't stop them."

"Doesn't matter. They weren't the first and now they probably won't be the last. If you give me the cloth I'll clean myself up."

"Let me help you."

"There's no need. I've done it before."

"Please, Alexei. I need to see to you."

His eyes looked into mine, and I saw no disgust, no pity, just anger at what had been done to me. I let him help me out of the breeches and turned my back as he began to clean my body. The cool water did feel good as he washed away the evidence of my rape.

He didn't stop with just that. After he threw out the basin of bloody water, he got a new cloth and carefully cleaned my entire body. Digging through the sea chest in the corner, he found me a clean pair of breeches, some instinct telling him I wouldn't want to be totally naked right then.

"Try to sleep, Alexei. I'll be here if you need me."

I moved so that my back was pressed against the bulkhead, and pulled the blanket around me. Before my mind allowed me to escape into sleep, I spoke to him.

"Thank you for offering to take my place."

He made a strangled sounding groan, but said nothing in return.

******

I sat and watched him sleep. I was amazed that he had dropped off so quickly. Years later I would realize that the whole thing bothered me more than him. He'd become so accustomed to being used that way that mentally he still felt it was all he was good for.

As for me, I was in some pain. I had a lump on the back of my head; the blood had dried and matted the little hair I had left, and my vision was blurry. I was slumped against the wall dozing when I heard his voice.

"Walter, you should get up."

Opening my eyes, I looked up to see him standing next to me. I wondered if I'd ever get a chance to see him when he wasn't sporting bruises and cuts.

"You should be sleeping."

"You snore when you sleep slumped over that way. Come get on the bunk."

"No, you need the comfort of the bed more than I. I'll try to find a position so I don't snore."

"We've slept together before, no reason not to now. We'll just have to be careful of each other's injuries."

I raised my hand to touch the back of my head carefully. His eyes tracked my movement.

"Is your head injured? Let me look at it."

"You probably won't be able to see much with just the moonlight."

"Let me try."

I stood and swayed slightly and he reached out to steady me. I turned in the small space to allow the moonlight to bathe my back. He touched me carefully, and there was little additional pain. I smiled as he cursed while searching for a bit of cloth to dip into the water he poured into the basin.

He washed the blood away gently. And I jumped a little when he kissed the area above the wound.

"My mother used to do that when I was hurt."

"Mine, too."

"If it's all right, I want to be closest to the bulkhead."

"That's fine."

He crawled into the bunk, pressed against the hull and waited for me to join him. Spooned together, he wrapped his arm around my waist.

"Alexei, I'll get my family to ransom you as well."

"I'm not worth that. Best try and free Mulder. That is if he lives. His wounds looked severe. I don't think being in that dank hold will help any."

"We'll all get out of here, Alexei. One way or another."

"I just wish…"

"Wish what, Alexei?"

"That you'd taken what I offered at the inn. At least I'd have a good memory to take with me."

"I couldn't use you that way."

"Was that whore better than me? Is it because of Spender?"

I pulled away and turned carefully to face him. There was enough moonlight coming in the porthole for us to see each other.

"Alexei, I know you do not believe me now, but one day you'll know I speak true. You are far too beautiful to be used as a whore. Spender was stupid and mean to treat you as he did. When your life is better and you've lived as you wish for a while, you'll know all you feel for me is gratitude."

"You're a good man, Walter. Remember me."

Before I could think of a reply he'd turned his back to me, his body trembling. I could think of nothing that wouldn't sound like platitudes or outright impossibilities, so I wrapped my arm around him. He sighed softly and relaxed into me.

I don't even know when we went to sleep.

For two days we saw only Paddy and the man who opened the door. We spent our time resting, not knowing what was coming but we both needed to heal. When we talked we did so quietly, so the guard wouldn't overhear. At night we slept close together, he in my arms or me in his.

One time we heard Granger's voice. I pushed Alexei behind me, determined to try and protect him if Granger came into the room.

"Open up, I want another piece of the boy."

"Captain gave orders they be left alone."

"He don't have to know. Hell, you can have some too, I ain't greedy."

"Maybe you're stupid enough to cross the Captain, but I ain't. Now get on your way."

"You know he let me have him on deck."

"I don't care what you did under the Captain's eyes. That's his business but he gave me orders and unless he changes them I'm not letting you in."

"Hey, pretty boy! You be safe for now but my turn'll come."

I turned to Alexei when I realized Granger wasn't getting in. Alexei was shaking, and at first I thought it was fear, but he raised his head and I saw the look in his eyes. His hands were clenched, his eyes shooting sparks, he was furious.

I silently thanked god for giving him that. To me it was a sign he was starting to believe my words.

"I guess the Captain is smarter than I thought. Maybe I should ask to speak with him."

"You should try and find out about Mulder and Dana."

"If they've found Dana she's probably been raped and murdered."

"Unless the Captain decided to keep her for himself."

"Is she pretty, then?" I had never seen her and did not know Mulder's preferences in bed partners.

"Quite pretty, a redhead with blue eyes. If I had been inclined that way I would have tried to bed her."

I nodded at him and went over to pound on the door. When the guard opened it, I used my most authoritative voice.

"Tell your Captain I wish to speak with him."

He nodded and closed the door. I heard a rumble of speech before I crossed back to sit next to Alexei on the bunk. It didn't take long for the Captain to come to the door. I was a little surprised that he had come below rather than sending for me.

"I understand you wish to talk to me?"

"Yes, my second in command was injured in the battle. Alexei told me that he is in the hold. I am thinking that you intend to ransom us since we were not killed outright. If so, you should get him out before his wounds taint and he dies."

"Someone would pay a ransom for him then?"

"Yes, his family has money. He sailed with me because he is a younger son."

I didn't ask why Alexei had been placed in the cabin with me, not wanting to send his mind down that path, but he brought it up.

"One of your men thinks this one would make a good catamite."

"He is no whore. My family will pay his ransom."

"That's not what Granger is saying. He claims this one was given to you as payment for a debt. That he has spent his nights with you. That's why I put the two of you here together."

"I kept him with me to protect him from Granger and his like. I'll have no one forced into something he doesn't want on my ship, if I can prevent it."

"All right, Captain Skinner, I'll have your second brought here so that the two of you can care for him. I will be off loading the cargo in a couple of days. I'll ask for ransom for the three of you."

"There is one other thing I need to know."

"What is that, Captain?"

"Did you just happen upon us?"

"Actually, Granger came to me with the information on your cargo."

"Son-of-a-bitch!" Alexei swore behind me.

******

I was furious for Walter. Betrayal by one of his crewmen, leading to the loss of a cargo and ransom being asked from his family. I wasn't even concerned with my rape at the time; I was concerned for him and for Mulder. I had known him such a short time, but his honorable behavior to me and to others led me to believe that Granger could have no real reason to betray him that way.

Walter turned to look at me as the pirate captain chuckled. "He seems to be very loyal for someone you claim doesn't warm your bed."

I bit down on my tongue; this was Walter's show and I had no right to interfere. I stepped back, making myself as small as possible. Walter studied me for a long minute and then turned back to the captain.

"I assume Granger will become a valuable member of your crew."

"Captain Skinner, what would you do with someone you knew to be disloyal to his former employer?"

"I definitely wouldn't give him the keys to the silver cabinet."

"Mr. Granger will get his just desserts, Sir, of that you may be assured. Now I must get back to my business. I'll have Mulder brought to you. "

He left us then and I looked at Walter, expecting him to scold me. Instead he touched my arm, "Thank you for your loyalty, Alexei."

"Do you trust this man, Walter?"

"No, he stood by and let you be raped. For that alone I'd see him strung up. Once Mulder is here we can try to make some plans."

"If Mulder is able."

"I guess we'll find out."

It wasn't long until the door was opened and Paddy entered, holding Mulder up. One look, and I knew they hadn't done anything for him. He was flushed with fever and there was an odor of unwashed flesh mixed with decay.

Walter gripped him on the free side and together he and Paddy got Mulder on the bunk. I turned to the guard. "Please ask your captain for water, bandaging, and we will need to cauterize his wound."

"I'll send word to the captain." He closed the door, leaving the four of us in the cabin.

I moved back to the bunk and pushed Walter aside, "Let me see it, Walter."

"Yes, Doctor Alexei."

I unwrapped his leg, wincing with him when the cloth stuck to the wound. That increased the stench in the room. It looked bad, the infection causing stripes to run up his leg.

"How bad is it, Alexei?"

"We're going to take care of it, Mulder. I need to get it cleaned up and we'll have to cauterize it."

"Does it need to come off?"

"I hope not, Mulder. These aren't good conditions for that."

"Alexei, how do you know about this?" Walter asked behind me.

"Spender had a doctor friend who liked…I asked him a lot of questions when he…I just seem to have a knack for knowing things about ailments and such."

He nodded but didn't ask me any other questions about what I'd learned. "How can we help?"

"See if there's anything in the chest we can use for rags. Paddy is there any water left in the bucket?"

"Aye, Alexei. Want me to wet down some of the rags?"

"That would be good. We can start trying to cool his fever."

By the time someone came with additional water and a pail of coals, we'd managed to clean him up some and he looked a little more comfortable.

"I need something I can heat to cauterize the wound."

Walter opened the nearest chest and came up with a silver hairbrush. "Best I can find, Alexei, unless you think you can get the guard to loan you his knife."

"At least it's flat. Mulder, this is going to hurt like hell. Walter, can you and Paddy hold him down?"

I put the brush into the coals. When it was hot, I nodded to them. They moved into position and firmly gripped Mulder. Using the dry rags, I grabbed the edge of the brush and put it to his leg. That added the smell of burning flesh to the other smells in the room. Mulder's scream echoed off the walls as he writhed against Walter and Paddy. I held it in place until I was relatively sure the infection was burned out, then I dropped it onto the wet cloth lying on the floor.

Mulder fell into an exhausted sleep as I bound his leg. The guard opened the door and ordered Paddy out. Walter dropped into a chair and I sat on the floor near him. When his hand tangled in my hair, it seemed natural to lean against his leg. I was sleeping that way when they brought us food.

Mulder was restless during the night, so Walter and I took turns bathing him to try and break the fever. Near dawn the fever broke and we curled up together to sleep on the floor. It was Mulder's hoarse voice that woke me.

"What does a man have to do to get fed around here?"

I looked up to see him hanging partially over the bunk. His eyes roamed down my body and I realized Walter was spooned behind me and his big hand was cupping my cock. I felt a blush move up my cheeks. Walter mumbled and nuzzled against the back of my neck. Mulder's grin got wider. I pulled Walter's hand up before my cock decided to respond.

"Walter, time to wake up."

His hand tightened on mine for a moment and then he sat up. He looked at Mulder grinning at us and then down at me. "Don't say a word, Mulder."

"Not even thank you?"

"Alexei is the one you should thank; he probably saved your leg."

"I know. I thank you, Alexei."

"You're welcome, Mulder."

The sound of Granger's voice echoed in the companionway. "Captain wants you."

"Go away, Granger. I don't believe you."

Walter and Mulder had both moved to get between the door and me. Mulder could barely stand but he was determined to try and defend me. But once more Granger was not granted entrance. We settled Mulder back on the bunk and then Walter knocked on the door to ask if we could get something to eat. As we waited they talked quietly.

"Captain, do you know what has happened to Dana?"

"I haven't heard anything. I didn’t want to ask; if she has managed to stay out of sight in some way I don't want them looking for her."

"Much as I hate it, you're probably right."

"The captain told me that they are going to be off-loading the cargo soon. Granger gave us to him."

"Damn! I'll string him up by his balls."

"After I'm finished with him. He's going to pay for what he did to Alexei."

Mulder looked at me but I refused to meet his eyes. He was bound to have heard the noises from the deck, the catcalls and Granger's taunts, the sounds of my abuse.

"The captain is going to ask for ransom for the three of us. I'll need to convince him to let me include a message so that the family will know why ransom is being asked for Alexei."

"We're not far from shore, Captain."

"You spotted something?" Walter's voice rose slightly.

"Yes, Sir. We're just north of Jamestown. I think they are probably going to store the cargo on one of the small islands."

I watched as the wheels turned in Walter's head. "There are only two places he can pull in close enough to unload. If he'll let me write a note to my brother…"

"What are you thinking, Walter." He didn't even notice that I hadn't called him Captain.

"My brother and I are close. As babes we had our own language that our family never figured out. I may be able to direct him to the correct location. Or close in any case."

"Would he have time to get there before they get the ship emptied, Captain?"

"If the winds are favorable. We need to try and figure out exactly which island if we can."

"Maybe Paddy can help, Walter."

"Paddy's a good man but navigation is not his strong suit."

"I can tell him what to look for, Captain."

"Walter, I'll do whatever you need as well."

Walter's hand gripped my shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze. "I hope all you'll need to do is join the fight when the time comes."

The door opened then and Paddy entered with a meal for us. Walter tried to steer Paddy closer to the bunk so that Mulder could talk to him. The guard barked, "Leave the grub and come out of there."

I glanced quickly at Walter, then moved to the doorway, putting on what I hoped was a seductive look, I spoke to our guard.

"We need some extra water and bandaging for Mulder's leg."

I moved in close to him, blocking the others from view and hoped that they could get said what needed to be said in the time I could buy them. He looked at me and I smiled. His hand dropped onto my shoulder as he smiled back.

"Guess Granger is right about you. Ain't the captain man enough for you? Need a younger cock to make you happy?"

I heard the growl behind me and ignored it. "Captain is one fine man, but a fellow likes a little variety. 'Sides he doesn't own me."

The hand moved down to my waist. I was resigned to offering him a kiss if need be when Walter's voice called out behind me.

"I own you until you pay me back, boy. Now get your ass over here."

I shrugged and smiled at the man before turning back as Paddy pushed past me to the door. The door closed and I turned to look at Mulder and Walter. Mulder was grinning and Walter was frowning.

"Alexei, I appreciate your helping us, but I don't want it going any farther. I don't want you whoring yourself. We'll find another way."

"I wasn't planning to actually do anything."

"Captain, we needed the distraction. He worked with what he has, there's no shame in that."

"I didn't say there was, Mulder. I just don't like him taking the chance. He's been hurt enough."

"Walter, I wasn't in danger. You were here and he is supposed to be guarding us. I don't think he'd cross his captain that way. He's kept Granger out of here."

******

I looked at the determination in his eyes and knew he was offended that I might think he couldn't do his part to help us. As Mulder said, he dealt from his strength and at that time, playing the whore was what he could do for distraction.

I wanted to pull him close and keep him safe. He wasn't mine to do that for, and he was a man, not some fainting woman who needed protection. I reached out and put my hand on his shoulder for a moment. He smiled at me in return.

We ate and talked quietly. Mulder had managed to tell Paddy what to look for to help us mark our location. We'd also asked him to keep an eye out for Mulder's Dana. He still hoped that she had managed to hide in some way. For his sake I hoped that to be true.

The day passed slowly, and when Paddy came with the evening meal, Alexei again distracted the guard so that we could get information. I was intent on Paddy's words so when I looked up I saw that the guard had a hand on Alexei's ass and was sucking on his throat.

I was furious. I had no rights but I still saw red. Only Mulder's firm grip on my arm kept me from ripping them apart. Paddy pushed past me and loudly declared that he needed to get back to his duties.

Alexei pulled away from our guard with a sheepish grin and a shrug of his shoulders. He actually wiggled his hips as he moved back across the small space. When the door was closed I growled at him, "I don't want you doing that again."

His eyes looked wounded, "I'm trying to help, Walter. This is the only way I know how."

The pain in his voice jerked me up short. He turned his back and walked as far from me as he could in the confined space. Mulder glared at me and pushed me toward Alexei. I moved up to him and placed a hand on his shoulder.

"I'm sorry, Alexei. I know you're trying to help us. I just don't like seeing him touch you." I whispered against his ear.

"Why?" he whispered back as he twisted to look at me.

"I'm not sure."

"I wish you would touch me the way he did."

I was acutely aware that Mulder was in the room with us. Had we been alone, I might have kissed him. I settled for squeezing his shoulder. That was when I admitted that I wanted him. Seeing someone else touch him had brought that fact home to me.

"When we are free, if you still feel that way…"

He pressed back against me and I bit back a moan as his hips touched my crotch. My hand tightened on his shoulder and he grinned at me. "I will."

I stepped back quickly, before my body betrayed me further. As I turned I saw Mulder lying on the bunk turned away from us and I knew that he was offering us as much privacy as he could. So I took advantage and pulled Alexei into my arms.

I kissed him, a soft awkward kiss that I didn't linger over. Then I stepped back again. He smiled and his eyes sparkled at me. He didn't push and I didn't offer. Now all I needed to do was make sure that we got out of the situation with our skins intact.

I motioned to him and we sat down side by side on the floor. He leaned against me and I allowed it as I began to formulate the message I would send to my brother. The next morning parchment, pen and ink were given to me and I wrote out my message.

Paddy had spotted enough during the day to give Mulder an idea of where we were and where we might be headed. By the time I finished the letter I knew Joshua would read between the lines. Now we just needed to keep our heads.

From the porthole, I watched as the small boat rowed ashore and the letter I'd written was handed off to a rider who had been waiting. I had to admit that the captain was a well-organized man.

When Paddy brought the evening meal, he also brought news for Mulder. Dana had managed to hide out below decks. He'd found her while helping shift part of the cargo. He'd helped her slip past the pirates guarding them and she was now hidden in the compartment that only Mulder, Paddy and I knew existed.

"Did you get her food and water?"

"Sure did. She oughta be safe there 'till we get rescued."

"Good job, Paddy. I'll see that you get a bonus for all your help."

"Hell, Captain, you be like family to me. I still can't believe that damn Granger, you never did him no disservice."

"I have the feeling Granger is going to get what he deserves. Have you found out anything else?"

I looked over to see Alexei pressing against the guard and wanted to finish the conversation as quickly as possible. Now that we had come to an accord, I disliked seeing him play the whore even more. I understood the need for him to distract the guard, he was the only one who could, but I hated seeing another man touching him.

"I heard one of the men saying we'd be docking soon, early as noon tomorrow."

"Then you were right, Mulder, Joshua will be headed in the right direction."

I heard a groan and turned to see the guard pushing his hand down into Alex's pants. Before I could react, Paddy shot by me.

"Hey now, didn't your cap'n say he was not to be touched?"

"Didn't say anything about turning the boy down if he offered." But he pulled his hand out and backed up.

Paddy left and the door was closed. I looked at Alexei and he bit his lip as he looked back at me.

*******

I waited nervously for Walter's reaction. When he reached out and put his hand on my shoulder I relaxed, a little. We moved away from the door and I asked softly what they'd learned.

"Did Paddy have news?"

"Yes, I was right about where we're headed so the captain's brother will be looking in the right place. And Dana is safe."

"That great news, Mulder. Do you think your brother will get here in time, Walter?"

"Maybe, in any case he'll be closer to us and we'll have a better chance of getting all of the loyal crew off this ship and save the ransom." Walter's voice was grim.

We had nothing to do then except wait. When we settled down to sleep that night, he spooned around me and I felt safer than I ever had, contradictory as that may sound. When soft snores came from Mulder, his hand moved down and gripped me.

"Alexei, I want…"

We had nothing to facilitate actual entry, but we could do other things to enjoy each other. I turned in his arms and we kissed, our first true lover's kiss. I reached down to grip him and we worked each other as we shared more kisses.

There were quiet moans and soft sighs. When I came in his hand, he pulled back and whispered my name. Then he was jerking as he filled my hand. We used a corner of the blanket for clean up, then he pulled me in closer, pressing our bodies together. We slept then.

I woke to the sound of shouts and gunfire. We scrambled to get dressed and Mulder raised an eyebrow at our nakedness. I peered out the porthole, but there wasn't much to be seen. Walter broke a chair, giving us each a leg to use as a weapon.

When our door was thrown open, I wasn't really surprised to see Granger leading the way. Walter pushed me behind him. Mulder hobbled forward as well. In the small space there was no room to fight but then Granger raised a pistol and I screamed as he fired at Walter.

The jostling of someone behind him affected his aim and the bullet lodged in the hull. That allowed Walter to swing at him before another bullet from behind hit Walter. A well-thrown peg took down Mulder and then I was beaten unconscious.

I woke as Granger rutted on top of me. My arms were bound painfully behind my back and he pressed down on them as he pounded into me. The whimper that escaped me seemed to excite him and he rammed in, nearly breaking my kneecaps against the large stone he'd spread me over.

The pain brought me blessed oblivion. In my dreams Walter was calling out to me, searching for me. I tried to tell him where I was, but he couldn't hear me. I sank deeper into the blackness.

******

We were cast adrift in a small boat as the ship sailed away. Paddy bathed Mulder in cool water, trying to revive him, the pirate captain cursed as the ship he'd thought was now his sailed away. I pressed a palm to the wound in my shoulder as the blood flow slowed.

The pirate turned to me.

"Well, Captain, it seems that I should have taken care of Mr. Granger sooner."

"I won't argue with that. We'll just hope my brother gets here soon."

"The letter contained information that will lead him here?"

"Yes. We just have to hang on."

"Under the circumstances I'm glad you out flanked me, even if I go to prison for it."

"You just help me get to Granger and I'll forget that you took my ship."

"You have yourself a deal, Captain."

It was two days before Joshua showed up. Mulder had woken, so we knew he was going to be all right. We'd begun to worry that we wouldn't be found.

I, of course, had the separate worry of Alexei and what his fate was. My last sight of him had been his collapse as he was hit in the head. I tried to keep visions of him being raped again from my mind. I was less than successful.

After I was pulled aboard the ship Joshua hugged me. "Thank god you're safe. Who is that with Paddy?"

I glanced over at Mulder as the ship's doctor moved to check on him. Turning back to Joshua, "That's the captain of the pirate ship."

"What? How did he end up in a lifeboat with the three of you?"

"Granger managed to get his crew to turn against him. They've taken the ship and two people we need to get back."

"Do you know where they've gone?"

"We think they've pulled in at the cove where the captain was planning on selling the cargo. Granger thinks he left us to die. He has no clue that I'd sent you a message to help you find us."

"Mulder, are you up to helping with the navigation?"

"Aye, Sir. I'll make it."

Joshua turned to his second, "Give Mulder a hand. I need to talk to my brother. And lock up that pirate."

I followed Joshua to his cabin, as his men got busy. I knew he'd picked up on something. I entered the cabin and waited as he poured a drink for me.

"Tell me."

"Where should I start?"

"Start with who you need to rescue. Whoever she is, I hope she knows what she has in you."

"Joshua, Mulder's bride is in the hidden compartment of the ship. That is, if they haven't found her."

"That cloud that crossed your face when you spoke wasn't for Mulder's bride. Are you ashamed of her?"

I turned to the side and he stepped toward me. "What is it, little brother?"

I couldn't stop the smile. I'd been bigger than Joshua from the time I had a growth spurt at three, but he still called me little brother. Then the memory of Alexei's face as he lay crumpled on the floor came back to me.

"Joshua, you may not be pleased with my answer."

"Just give it."

"I took aboard a recently released indentured man, promised him a job, he saved Mulder's leg with his knowledge of remedies. They took him. Granger wanted him for his bed and the rape the pirate allowed didn't satisfy Granger. I fear he may have died from the beating they gave him as he fought to defend me. If not, he may be wishing he'd been killed by now."

"There is more to the story."

"Yes, but I'd rather not discuss it now. If he lives, we'll talk about it."

I could see the knowledge bloom in his face. We'd never kept anything from each other; we'd never worked out how to do that. As I waited to be judged, he reached to put his hand on my shoulder.

"Walter, we'll find them."

"I pray you are right."

It took us a day with the ship at full sail to come close to the cove. The lookout announced that he saw a mast in the cove. We dropped anchor and then gathered to make our plans. Mulder and I rowed ashore with a few of the hands to gather information. Captain Black had told us that his contact wasn't expected until the end of the week.

So we moved around toward where the ship was berthed in the cove. Granger and his cohorts were sloppy. There was no one set to watch. That made the planning easier. I sent one of the men back to take word to Joshua. The rest of us spread out to handle the ones on the ground.

Slowly we managed to pick off members of the crew as they wandered too far from the others. I took particular pleasure in opening the throat of one of the men who'd raped Alexei, and I felt no remorse over any of the men I executed that day.

We were in place to take out the others who were on shore when Joshua's ship came into view. Granger ran from the small hut I was crouched beside and I swung the belaying pin. He went down, and I left him as I turned to another man running toward me.

Within a couple of hours the fight was over. Granger was tied and left to one side as I finally entered the hut. Alexei was lying on his stomach, tied up, unconscious. There was dried blood on his thighs; his face was a mass of bruises. I could see Granger's fingerprints on his body.

Granger survived only because I was more concerned with Alexei. I untied him and used the meager blanket that was under him to wrap his body. I carried him from the hut to find Joshua issuing orders and seeing to any of ours who were hurt.

"Walter, is he..."

"Alive at least. I want to get him on the ship. When he wakes I want him in familiar surroundings."

"Go on, I'll take care of things here."

"Keep Granger alive. I want Alexei to see him hang."

"Aye, Walter, I want to watch him swing as well."

When I arrived at the ship, I found Paddy helping guard the captives. Mulder was coming up from the hold half carrying a slight framed figure, the cap fell away and a spill of red hair showed it to be his Dana. She was uninjured just weak from her time spent in hiding with almost no food and water.

I hurried to my cabin and placed Alexei on the bunk. Tossing the dirty blanket aside I inspected his body for other injuries. There was a tap on the door and Paddy entered with buckets of hot and cold water.

"Thought you'd wanna get him cleaned up, Cap'n."

"Thank you, Paddy."

"Is he hurt bad?"

"Pretty bad. I just hope he survives. Ask the doctor to come see to him when he's through with the wounded."

"Aye, Cap'n."

I took my time bathing him, getting him as clean as possible. The torn tissues of his anus made me wince. Why some men find so much pleasure in damaging others is beyond me. At least there was no fresh blood as I cleaned him.

******

I woke to find a strange face above me and couldn't stop the scream that erupted from my throat. The man was pushed aside and Walter bent over me.

"Alexei, you're safe. This is the doctor that my brother brought with him. Shh, I'm here."

I grabbed him, clinging to him as I shook with fear. I didn't remember a lot of what had happened to me but I had the pain in my body to tell me it was pretty bad. He rocked me back and forth, his voice low and soothing in my ear.

Once I calmed, he let me lie back and he watched as the doctor examined me. I gasped as sore places were probed and treated. Walter watched with serious eyes. When the doctor finished, Walter stepped into the passageway and they exchanged a few hushed words.

I let my eyes close, knowing I was safe; I drifted into a deep sleep. The next time I woke he was slumped against the side of the bunk, snoring. I tried to get up without disturbing him, but he jumped up.

"Alexei, what is it?"

"I need to piss."

"Here, let me help you."

He helped me up and after I finished he led me back to the bunk. "You should try to sleep some more. The doctor said you will be fine in a couple of weeks if you rest."

"Are we heading for home?"

"Yes, Joshua's ship is flanking us and we have the pirates who survived in custody."

"What about Granger?"

"He's in chains and will stay that way until he is hanged."

I wouldn't feel completely safe until that happened. I curled onto my side, pulling up the covers.

"Sleep next to me."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'll feel safer if you are near."

I slept most of the way back to Jamestown, in spite of the nightmares that woke me often. I'd wake gasping or screaming and he would hold me until I slept again. I never pulled away from him, although I flinched away from the doctor every time he came to check on me. Finally, Walter told him that I didn't need him anymore. I admit that it was a relief.

The day we pulled into port was the day I met Joshua for the first time. He was waiting on the dock as we disembarked. Walter was holding on to me because walking was still difficult. My legs had been wrenched so violently during the rapes that it was going to take some time to heal.

Joshua stepped forward. "Welcome to Jamestown."

"Thank you."

"Walter, I sent one of the boys ahead to tell the servants to get the blue room in the carriage house ready for Alexei."

I looked at them, trying to figure out how much Joshua knew, but his face gave nothing away. There was a carriage nearby that Walter led me to and as I settled on the seat he leaned in.

"I'll be back in just a minute."

I watched as he crossed back to Joshua and they had a heated conversation. Joshua looked toward the carriage several times as he spoke and finally shook his head. Walter frowned and said something else, before turning back toward the carriage. Joshua reached out to grasp Walter's arm, but he was shaken off.

I was causing him problems already and we'd barely gotten to his hometown. He entered the carriage and called out to the driver. When we left the docks behind I turned to him. "Walter, I'm sorry."

"You have nothing to be sorry about."

"Are you telling me that you weren't arguing with your brother because of me?"

He reached to take my hand before he spoke. "He wants us to behave properly. Granger was on his ship on the way back."

"He told him about me."

"Yes. And he claims that I bought you because I wanted you to warm my bed. So Joshua is concerned about how much he is going to spout off at his trial. I should have killed the bastard when I had the chance. I wanted you to see him punished for his crimes."

"I understand, Walter. It will be better for me to stay in the carriage house. If we aren't under the same roof and you only treat me as a friend, his claims will be discounted."

"But you're still having the nightmares."

"I'll cope with them. I never wanted to cause you problems. You have been so kind to me. I couldn't stand it if I caused you to lose your family."

"I promised you that you would be treated fairly here."

"I'm not being sent to sleep with the livestock or in a damp basement, Walter. I will be fine."

He held on to my hand all the way to his home. The carriage house was actually better than any place I'd lived since coming to the Americas. He helped me get settled, leaving only when I insisted.

For the next two days I saw him only at meals. When I woke alone at night, I missed him dreadfully, but I didn't let him know that. I dined at the family table at mealtime. I kept my own council as I watched the family.

Meals seemed to be the times when they talked about the farm and the shipping company. The table was made up of several generations. Their parents had passed but Walter's oldest brother had a couple of grandchildren. They were loud but not rude. There was a lot of love that anyone could see. Walter was well respected and I began to fear that I would damage that.

I determined that as soon as I was physically able, I should leave. I would find my way in a world without him, without love, since my heart would stay with him. I felt a pang at leaving when I'd not paid my debt, but it was the best way to protect him.

Granger's trial was held swiftly. Walter insisted that I be there. We entered the room and his accusations began.

"There's the whore. I didn't do the things they are claiming. Skinner is trying to protect his whore. Skinner's jealous because he liked me better. It's not my fault that his bought and paid for bed warmer liked me better."

"Silence! I will have silence in the courtroom. If you are not silent I'll have you bound and gagged."

Granger seemed to get the point and he stopped talking. Of course his point had been made and now I would be suspect among the people gathered. Walter was called to the stand first and gave his testimony. He did not mention the rapes or anything about me.

But then the defense questioned him. He never wavered, never looked away and never really lied.

"Captain Skinner, isn't it true that you purchased the contract for the indentured servant Krycek?"

"No."

Granger pulled on the lawyer's sleeve and hissed in his ear.

"You were given the contract in trade?"

"Alexei Krycek had completed his contract before I met him, so how could I have accepted a contract as trade."

"If you took him on as crew, why did he sleep in your quarters instead of with the crew?"

"When he came on board he had been injured. I wished to see that he healed before placing him in a position that would aggravate the injuries."

"So you deny that you had a sexual relationship with Krycek."

"I do not believe in having sex with someone who has no choice."

"That isn't an answer."

"Alexei Krycek was at my mercy. He was injured; leaving an untenable position of slavery that should have ended over a year ago. Had I used him, it would have been rape. I do not acquire my bed partners that way."

The defense gave up at that point and then Mulder was called to the stand. I tightened my fists in my lap, waiting for him to tell them what he knew. Mulder's testimony was much the same as Walter's, but then the defense rose to ask his questions

"First Officer Mulder, is it true that you brought Alexei Krycek on board the ship with the understanding that his contract was payment of Spender's debt?"

"Yes."

"Did you believe that Captain Skinner was sleeping with Krycek?"

"Sleeping? Yes. Having relations with? No. Captain Skinner favors women."

"Do you still believe that after all that has happened? The Captain's behavior would tend to indicate a fierce loyalty to someone he claims was just a part of the crew."

"Captain Skinner is an honorable man. He would not leave a member of his crew. Had I been taken by Granger, he would have come for me as well."

"Have you ever shared the Captain's bed?"

"That has nothing to do with this trial, but the answer is no, I have not."

I breathed deeply when Mulder was released from the stand. The prosecutor then called Paddy and things went on. Again the defense tried to get Paddy to say that Walter and I were lovers but Paddy didn't give him what he wanted either.

The rest of the witnesses didn't have any knowledge about me other than the little they had learned since I was rescued. I'd begun to think that things were going to be smooth then the defense lawyer called me to the stand.

"Mr. Krycek," he managed to make my name sound like a curse. "I understand that your duties for Mr. Spender included warming the beds of his guests. When you were brought aboard the Captain's ship did you expect to continue performing for him?"

"I had no expectations."

"Really? Are we supposed to believe that you shared a bed with him for weeks and nothing ever happened?"

"Your beliefs are your own, I will not tell you what you must believe."

"Mr. Barrett, I believe this topic has been exhausted. Do you have any questions to ask the witness that covers new territory?" the judge asked at that point.

"Is it true that you had a run in with my client on board ship? And isn't it also true that you would do anything to smear his name for revenge?"

"We had a misunderstanding that the Captain ended. I have yet to say anything about your client."

At that point Granger got in on the act again. "Dirty whore claims I raped him. He wanted it and he let the Captain think I hurt him. Didn't want the Captain kicking him down with the rest of the crew."

"Mr. Barrett, I suggest that you get your client under control."

"Yes, your honor."

I waited as Barrett spoke in hushed tones to Granger and I almost smiled when the idiot whined at him, "But it ain't right."

"Mr. Barrett, are you finished with the witness?"

"Yes, your honor."

I was allowed to step down then, and I waited as Barrett tried to make Granger out to be innocent. I watched the faces of the jury as they filed out; I knew then that he would hang. They were back with a verdict in less than an hour. I have to admit it was quite gratifying to watch him fall apart as they took him from the courtroom.

I took no real pleasure from seeing him hang. He had broken the law, hurt me, and abused Walter's trust. But hanging would not undo those things. I was glad that he would never be able to hurt anyone else.

Walter stood stoically next to me as Granger dropped and I heard him whisper, "Hanging's too good for you, you bastard."

That Sunday, while the family was at church, I packed my few belongings and left. I couldn't leave him a message because I couldn't write and neither did I leave a message with any of the servants.

******

I stopped at the carriage house as we got back from church on Sunday, to find him gone. He had taken a few items of his clothing with him. The new boots were still there; my old pair that he'd worn until we got home was gone.

I tore around the farm asking the field hands if they'd seen him. I finally found someone who'd seen him leave, and at least got a direction. But even though I set out right away, I didn't locate him.

I went back home late in the day, tired, disheartened and angry. I had hoped to talk of a future with him. I couldn't figure out why he'd left. Joshua didn't help the situation any.

"Walter, he's a free man. You shouldn't expect a man who was treated the way he was to stay here after everyone found out what he is. It's better for him to go away where he can start fresh."

"What he is? Joshua, I never thought you were that narrow minded. He was a child when he was indentured. He did what he was forced to do."

"He's obviously convinced you that he was innocent. If he is so put upon why did he seduce you?"

"He didn't do that."

"Really? You can hide from others, but not from me."

"I'll have my things out of here by the end of the week."

"What are you talking about?"

"I intend to find him. I want to spend the rest of my life with him. Since he is not welcome here, then I should not stay here any longer."

"Walter, you can't mean that. It's one thing to be with a man when you have to be at sea for long periods of time, but there are half a dozen respectable women in town who would marry you tomorrow."

"I don't want a woman. I spent a lot of time spilling myself in women and never felt the pleasure he gives me with just a smile."

I turned and left him, ignoring his shouts. Our father's will had been very specific; there was nothing either of my brothers could do to cut off my income or to prevent me from spending my money to find Alexei.

It was actually Mulder who offered a suggestion on how to start my search. All of our ships carried one of the men from my ship with orders to search for him at each stop. I began searching farther inland.

It had been a year and I was sinking into despair. I had managed to have a house built on the section of land I'd inherited. Paddy was stationed there in case Alexei returned of his own accord.

When I came home from the latest foray into the surrounding area, I saw the warm glow of lights inside. I stabled my horse and entered the house. Paddy was sitting in the parlor talking to Mulder when I entered the room.

"Mulder, how are you? I didn't expect to find you here."

"I'm fine, Captain. We just got in today and I had something for you."

"Information?" my heart leapt with hope.

"No, not information. I put it in your bedroom since I didn't know when you'd get home."

"Thank you, Mulder. I don't wish to be rude but it's been a long day and I'm very tired."

"I understand completely, Sir."

Paddy stood up and smiled at me, "Go on to bed, Cap'n, I'll see Mulder out and lock up."

I nodded and accepted the lamp he offered me. Trudging slowly up the stairs, I entered my bedroom and stopped when the light revealed what Mulder had brought for me.

Lying, sound asleep in my bed, was a form I'd know anywhere. With shaking hands, I placed the lamp on the dresser, and walked quickly to sit next to him. Reaching out, I touched him carefully, afraid he'd evaporate like the morning mist.

He turned toward me, his eyes fluttered open and he looked at me. He was thin; obviously he hadn't been getting enough to eat. His eyes were wary, as though he was waiting to be punished.

"I didn't want to come. Mulder shanghaied me. He said you had been searching for me."

"Yes, I have. Why did you leave me?"

"I didn't want to ruin your life. Your brother was displeased. I'd embarrassed you in front of the town. I thought you would be happier if I weren't here to remind you of the mistake we made in the cabin that night."

"Mistake?"

"When we…" his face flushed and then I knew what he meant.

"I don't ever want to forget that night. The town can go to hell for all I care. My brother knows that I want you and that won't change. I thought you wanted me as well."

"I did, I do. I thought you were just being kind."

"I'm too selfish to be that kind."

"No, you aren't."

I bent to kiss him and he slipped his hands up around my neck. His lips parted for me and I deepened the kiss. When I pulled back we were breathless. I grinned at him and received his beautiful smile in return.

******

I smiled up at him as we calmed from the kiss. That's when I saw the circles under his eyes and realized he'd lost weight. Neither of us looked our best. I was tired from the lost sleep on the trip, in spite of Mulder's reassurances; I'd expected to be rejected. Instead I was welcomed.

I touched his face, feeling the beard, remembering that Paddy had told us he'd been out checking on another rumor for the last week. I didn't think either of us was in any condition to do much. I would if he wanted, I'd have stood on my head if he asked. But he didn't.

"Think there's room for me under those blankets?"

"Definitely."

I moved over on the bed and I watched as he undressed. Then the room was plunged into darkness as he extinguished the lamp. He soon joined me and pulled me into his arms. I was asleep almost before his body spooned around me.

I woke to something I'd never experienced before. I mean Walter was wrapped around me, but he'd done that most of the nights we'd shared a bed. There had also been a small amount of nuzzling, but this went beyond that.

His hand wrapped around my cock, his lips sucking a bruise on my neck, his hardness pressed against me, the biggest difference was the words, words that flowed between sucking and nipping at my throat.

"Never going to let you go, Alexei. You feel so good, smell good and taste good. I want you."

"You have me."

I pushed back against him in encouragement, feeling his hardness slide between my cheeks. He moaned, I smiled and moved my leg up to rest over his hip. He pushed forward and a bit of him entered me. I gasped at the slight burn.

No one had touched me since the last rape by Granger. My body was tight. I was suddenly nervous. He picked up on that and stayed still.

"Am I hurting you?"

"A little, we need something to make it easier."

"I don't have anything here. We don't need to do it that way right now. Turn over, we can do it the way we did the other time."

He pulled back from me to give me room to turn. My fear left me then. This was Walter; he would never hurt me. I turned toward him, smiling as he reached to pull me closer. One of his big hands gripped my ass cheek, his leg thrown up and over my hip. Our cocks rubbed and bumped together, his lips pressing against mine.

We moaned, rutted, kissed and the pressure began to build. I heard this low keening noise and realized it was I. The guttural pants in my ear were alternated with, "Yes, that's it, almost there." Then as he shuddered and spilled between us, calling my name. "Alexei!"

The pleasure in his voice was enough to push me over the edge. I jerked against him as I came, adding to the sticky mess on us both. Still he kept kissing me, stealing my breath, filling my mouth with his tongue, clutching me tightly to him.

Finally, the urgency slowed and he just held me as we both slipped back into sleep. We woke some time later to find that we were stuck together. He chuckled at my moan, as we pulled apart with a ripping sound.

We cleaned up and went down to have breakfast. Paddy was in the kitchen and gave me a big grin as I entered the room.

"Sure is good to have you back, Alexei. Now maybe the Cap'n can get some work done."

I looked over at Walter as he flushed. "He's been slacking off has he?"

"Moping around like he lost his last friend."

"If the two of you are through discussing me, could we have breakfast?"

Paddy grinned and nodded. We soon had tea and I watched as Paddy worked on getting us fed. We were lingering over our meal when Walter raised his head, "Company coming."

I heard the sound then, of a carriage and wondered who was coming to visit. Walter rose and headed toward the door and I followed. The carriage came to a stop and Joshua stepped down.

"Walter, I heard that Mulder…I see the information was accurate. Hello, Mr. Krycek. Walter, I'd like to talk to you alone."

"Joshua, we've gone through all that. I'll keep as low a profile as possible but I won't…"

"In private, Walter."

"Very well."

Walter turned and strode into the house and Joshua followed. I turned to look at Paddy.

"Have they been fighting about me?"

"You ought to ask the Cap'n."

"Tell me, Paddy. I don't want to drive a wedge between him and his family."

"Alexei, I ain't never seen the Cap'n look as happy as he did at the table just a little while ago. So don't you even think about trying to run off again. I'll track you myself if'n you do."

Before I could press him more, shouting came from the house. I couldn't make out the words. I headed that way. I entered the parlor to find them standing a few feet apart as Walter finished his sentence.

"…I accepted the woman you chose to be your wife, you can accept him or leave and don't come back."

"This isn't the same thing, Walter. The rumors are flying in town already and he's barely off the boat."

"Walter."

They both turned toward me. Walter's eyes widened, he crossed the space quickly; stopping in front of me, he reached out to me.

"Don't worry, Alexei, we will be together. Nothing will change the way I feel about you."

I was very aware of Joshua watching us. I was shocked when Walter followed though on the gesture and pulled me close to him. Joshua watched as Walter hugged me and pressed a kiss to my forehead. Holding me, he looked at his brother.

"Joshua, I won't ask for a seat at your table. I won't ask you to visit. The only thing I will do is demand that you never speak of this to me again. This is the man I love, the man I will spend my life with. You don't have to like it; you merely have to accept it."

"Have you no feeling for the family?"

"I love you all."

"Walter, you should let me leave."

"No, Alexei. This is your home now."

"I can see that I'm wasting my breath, so I'll take my leave."

Joshua swept past us and out of the house. I looked at Walter but he just kissed away my fears.

******

I tried to put his fears to rest with my kisses. He accepted my words, but I could see the worry still in his eyes. I wasn't sure how to ease him. I knew my own mind, always had. I wanted him, loved him, knew we were meant to be together.

If I had had any doubts, the year I'd spent looking for him had stamped them out. The day Mulder had brought him to me was the best of my life.

We spent our day showing him around the farm and house. That evening Paddy went into town after dinner, leaving us alone. We shared the clean up and then Alexei shooed me off to bed with a promise to join me soon.

I was naked on our bed when he entered the room. He placed a small vial on the bedside table. Lowering the lamp, he undressed and crawled into bed next to me. I pulled him close and we spent several long minutes kissing and touching. After a while he pulled from me and reached for the small vial he'd brought with him.

I sat up, took it from his hand. He gasped as I covered him with the oil. "Walter, what are you doing?"

"All these years you have been used. I don't choose for that to be the way of it in my bed. Here in this house you are an equal. I want this first time that we do this to be you inside me."

He smiled at me with wonder. Grabbing me he pulled me down to kiss me. "It might be a little easier for your first time if…well if you're on your stomach."

"I'd like to be able to see you."

"I know but it would probably not hurt as much."

"I'm not worried about you hurting me." I rolled onto my back and smiled my encouragement at him. He rose over me hesitantly. I pulled my legs up to give him access to me. He locked eyes with me as he entered me slowly.

I sucked in a deep breath as the slight burn started. He froze above me. I reached up to touch his face as I smiled at him. With my other hand I gripped his hip and pulled him down as I pushed up.

He slid inside me and we both gasped. "Walter?"

"I'm fine, Alexei." He bent to kiss me and I opened to receive him. Then he pulled back and pulled out part way before pushing back inside me. It took a couple of minutes before I could match his rhythm, but then we rocked the bed with it.

His thrusts became more powerful, going deeper and suddenly he hit a spot that brought a scream of pleasure from deep inside me. "Alexei!"

He grinned at me and pounded into me. I was making one continuous wailing sound and my cock jerked painting us both with my milky fluid.

His smile grew bigger as he crowed. "That's it, Walter. Yes, so good."

Then he pushed in deep, bruising my thighs as he clutched them tightly and I felt the warmth of him in me. For a long minute we were frozen in time, my climax still warming my body as he panted with his own. Then he let my legs fall to the side and slowly dropped to lie full length on my body.

I clutched him tightly to me as we panted together. When our breathing evened out, he lifted his head to look at me. "Was it…I mean…"

"Alexei, do not worry. Could you not tell how happy you made me?"

"I love you, Walter. I never dared to dream that I'd have a love like this. I just don't want to ruin it."

"You don't need to worry that isn't going to happen."

We kissed and then he rolled to the side. I used the edge of the sheet to wipe at the mess before pulling the covers over us and pulling him into my arms.

******

Over the next few weeks, we settled into a routine. I took over the garden and we soon had bounties of fresh vegetables. Walter commented on the way my body was filling out. I would have worried that he didn't like it if our bed didn't end up walking across the floor most nights.

He had started to go into town most days and I knew he was helping with the family businesses. I was content in my exile at the farm. I was well fed for the first time in my life, I had a productive way to spend the time he was away and Paddy was around most days for company.

It was a good life, a happy life. Then things changed again.

I was in the garden, sitting in the dirt as I pulled weeds. I heard the wagon and looked up. Getting to my feet, I walked to the edge of the garden and waited. The wagon pulled to a stop and a woman I'd never seen climbed down. She crossed the space between us and just stood looking at me.

"Hello, ma'am, may I help you?"

"Are you, Alexei?"

"Yes."

"Hello, I'm Sarah. I'm Walter's sister, in case you haven't heard about me."

"Walter has spoken of you many times. Would you like to come inside? I could make some tea."

"That would be nice."

I reached to retrieve my shirt from the fence post, slipping into it as I led her toward the house. I wasn't sure what was going on but I was determined she would have nothing bad to say to Walter about me.

I checked the kettle to find it still warm. I got the china pot and measured in the tea then poured the warm water into the pot. She took a seat at the table as I moved around getting out the cups. I placed one in front of her and reached into the cupboard to get out the biscuits Walter had brought home the day before.

As I sat, she reached for the pot and poured for us both. No words were spoken as we fussed with sugar and such. I opened the biscuits and offered one to her. She took it.

"So, Alexei, do you love my brother?"

I looked across at her, wondering why she was asking me this. It never occurred that she would believe me but I answered truthfully anyway.

"More than life. He is the finest man I have ever known."

Her eyes pierced me. I found myself glad that I had no reason to doubt my feelings in the matter. After what seemed an eternity she nodded.

"He said the same about you. Joshua worries about the family standing. Walter sees only his love for you. Women are more practical. Love is a rare thing in this world. When you find it, you need to hold on tight."

"I intend to hold on."

"No more running off, making him worry?"

"Never again."

"Now that that is settled, get cleaned up."

"What?"

"It's Joshua's birthday. I've made his favorite dessert and the whole family is having dinner together."

"I'm not welcome at his table."

"It isn't really his decision. The house is actually mine. He knows better than to cross me. Now get ready. Wear your best."

I didn't expect it to go well but something told me to do as she said. Having his sister approve of me wouldn't be a bad thing. I bathed as quickly as possible. Getting out my best breeches and the green shirt that Walter had given me a week before, I dressed then pulled out the embroidered waistcoat and my good coat.

When I stepped back into the kitchen, she smiled at me.

"My but you clean up nice. Can you handle the team?"

"Yes, I can."

"Then you may drive."

At the wagon, I gave her a helping hand and she thanked me. She chatted with me on the trip over about how she'd recently been widowed and had come home to live out the rest of her life. I knew her husband had died, but not that she was moving back home.

When we pulled up in front of the house, a servant came out to take care of the wagon. She gave a short order to him. "Send someone to tell my brothers that dinner will be served soon. Make sure that Walter knows I expect him as well."

"Yes, ma'am."

She hooked her arm through mine and led me into the house. The look on Joshua's wife's face was priceless. She obviously hadn't expected to see me.

Sarah smiled at her. "Vera, I've convinced Alexei to leave his garden and come have dinner with us. I sent one of the boys to get Joshua and Walter. Alexei, would you like some lemonade while we wait for the Skinner men?"

"Thank you, Sarah, that would be nice."

"Why don't you have a seat in the parlor while we take care of that?"

I nodded and turned to enter the parlor. I heard a hiss from Vera and the steel tones of Sarah in reply. I settled on the settee and waited. When the ladies entered a short time later, Vera was flushed but Sarah winked at me. I suddenly had the feeling that Sarah's word was law in this family. I gave her a grateful smile in reply.

The three of us were sitting, Vera sullen, Sarah talkative and I was enjoying the conversation when Walter and Joshua entered the house.

Joshua called out. "Vera, Sarah?"

"We're in the parlor, Joshua."

He came into the room and headed straight to his wife. Walter followed and his eyes widened when he saw me sitting next to Sarah on the settee. Vera whispered something to Joshua and he turned, seeing me for the first time.

Walter raise an eyebrow at me, I smiled at him. "Now that you are here we can have our dinner." Sarah rose and pulled the bell cord. When a servant entered the room, she spoke. "We're ready for dinner, let Nanny know please. Alexei, will you escort me to the table?"

"Of course, Sarah."

I stood and offered my arm. Walter stepped aside and followed us to the dinning room. I could hear Joshua and Vera talking, but didn't bother to try to hear the actual words. In the dinning room, I seated Sarah and watched as Walter bent to whisper in her ear. She laughed. He kissed her cheek.

"Alexei, sit here next to me. Walter you sit on my other hand."

"Sarah, may I talk to you, please?"

"We can talk over dinner, Joshua. I'm hungry and I'm sure Alexei is as well. He had been working quite a while on the garden if the size of the pile of weeds he'd pulled was any indication. Alexei, you really must tell me the secret of your green thumb. The flower gardens here need help."

"Alexei uses fish heads for fertilizer, Sarah. I thought he was insane when he asked me for them, but you saw the results."

"I wonder if that would help the roses?"

"I've seen it work quite well on roses."

"Do you grind them up? Put them on the top of the dirt or maybe bury them?"

"I do grind them, stinks to high heaven, but the results are worth it."

The children started to enter the room and Sarah rose to help get them settled. Joshua and Vera took seats and sent multiple glares our way. I concentrated on my conversation with Sarah and Walter.

Sarah presided over dinner as a queen at court. After the first few minutes, Joshua joined in on the conversation. Vera kept stubbornly silent through the entire meal. After dessert was finished, the children were excused and that seemed to be the signal Vera was waiting for.

"Sarah, I don't think it's right that you have forced us to have that man at the table in our own home."

"Vera, hush."

"No, Joshua, I won't hush."

"Sarah, I think Alexei and I should go."

"No, Walter, I want you both to stay. Vera, there is something here that you seem to have lost track of. In father's will, this house was left to me. When I married, I moved to live where my husband wanted. But the house is still mine. You live here at my discretion. That means that who sits at this table is my decision to make."

"This is cruel of you, Sarah."

"I don't think wanting my brother and his, what do you consider him to be, Walter?"

"My partner, my lover."

"Oh God!"

"Vera, you have an option here. Make your peace with this or find another place to live."

"Sarah, I can't believe you mean that."

"Joshua, you used to be a man. The man you used to be would never turn his back on his brother. She is your wife and that is a consecrated union. True, Walter and Alexei can never have that type of union but that doesn't make the love they share less real than yours."

"I'm not telling him how to live his life."

"No, you are just letting your wife's prejudices deprive him of his family. Now you can keep him from your children, but you will not shut him out of the home he was born in, nor tell me who sits at my table."

Vera fled from the room, her sobs echoing back. Joshua looked at his sister and knew she wouldn't back down. He followed after his wife.

"Sarah, I…"

"Walter, he needs to remember that he wears the pants in the house."

"Like Andre did?"

She laughed and patted his hand. "Father always did say I should have been a man."

I reached out to her and she took my hand. "Alexei, do not worry so. Some times people just need a kick in the rear."

"I don't want to cause problems."

"Families are all about problems and how you work them out. Now you two get home. I'll come over in the morning and you can show me how you make the fertilizer."

Walter stood and held her chair. She walked with us to the door. Walter kissed her cheek and then she tilted her head to me and tapped her cheek. I kissed her and whispered, "Thank you."

She waved as we rode toward home. That was the turning point. Vera never did really like me but she learned to tolerate me, be civil. Sarah's children grew up calling me Uncle Alexei.

And Walter – well Walter and I made that big bed rock right up until the last day of our lives.

 

Epilogue:

"That was one of our better lifetimes, Alex." I told him as the tape ended.

"You know, you were awful sexy standing on board that ship with the sails flapping and your shirt blowing in the wind."

"You just liked those damn tight breeches."

"Well they did show off the merchandise quite well. There's a costume shop at the mall. We could deck you out like that for Halloween."

"Will you peel them off me and give me a good reaming?"

"You can count on that, slave."

"Would Master like to give me a preview?"

"You've got ten minutes, that ass better be high and ready."

"Yes, Master."

He pulled me close gave me a wet kiss and then slapped my ass. I took my cue and headed for our bedroom. I was in position when he came into the room. He rammed into me, I moaned in ecstasy as he took me hard.

All the countless years and it was still fantastic every time. We still made the bed rock.

The end.


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