Choiceless Now
by Ursula

Choiceless now:

Peter Viereck:
It was my cruel hour. Choice is now.
And neither way will lead to loveliest again.
I want to stop. Stop here where the petals fall.
Suspend me in the choiceless Now.

Sharonís last words thudded in Walterís ears. "Making love to you is like acting in a play. I wonder whom you are really thinking about when youíre in me. I canít seem to give you what you want and you canít give me what I want."

A week had passed and Walter had rented an apartment. It was in Crystal City, high above the city. He had even taken a momentary pleasure in decorating the apartment in a way that would have appalled Sharon. It was dark, chrome, leather, and all male. He had filled the place with bookcases, set his chess table up in the most prominent spot, and looked about at the first place that really felt like him since college.

Walter had indulged one more whim. Hell, Spender already had the one video. Walter had located a discreet club and joined. He had spent three nights in a row there, enjoying a different boy each night. Despite Sharonís implications, Walter had denied that part of his nature since Spender had caught him with a male whore soon after he made AD. Now, he felt both self-destructive and self-indulgent enough to overdose on slickly greased holes and a mouth full of bitter, addictive male juices.

However, it wasnít exactly right. The men had each been beautiful, young; he liked them young and pretty. They made all the right noises, said the right things, but Walter knew that he was paying for it, paying the club for these male houri. He used the credit card Spender had sent. The one with the sky high limit that he never would be expected to pay. He didnít care if Spender knew what he was doing. It didnít seem to Walter that life could be more fucked than it was now.

Oh, yes, it could. Mandatory training, that was the gist of the memo he read on his desk. Some congresspersonís niece had been kidnapped and raped. Some idiot agent had made an unholy hash out of the interview, traumatizing the poor woman even more. End result, every agent in the FBI was ordered to undergo rape and sexual assault sensitivity training. Walter and two agents from his office were supposed to attend the session in Baltimore. Why the hell Baltimore? Who knew?

Walter had closed his eyes, blindly stabbed for an agent to attend. Great, Mulder. Mulder was a pain in the ass, but he could recite the chapter and verse no doubt on how to make things least traumatic for a rape victim. Oh, well, get the most difficult out of the way, unless a conference was about the most esoteric of subjects, Mulder never went to training. This time Walter was not going to let him wiggle out of it. He smiled; besides, he would enjoy a little time with Mulder. He always suspected that Mulder went both ways.

The question of whom else to victimize was answered when Walter entered the research library. Mulder was pressed so close to his new partner, Alex Krycek, that it looked as if someone had welded them together. Walter snorted. A week ago, Mulder had done nothing but bitch about the young man. Now, Mulderís voice was teasing and honeyed both as he drawled out his partnerís name. "Allllexx, what are the statistics about traffic fatalities in New Jersey? I mean, if we have to go there, we should know that, right?"

Krycek turned slightly. His nose, a turned up piece of minute cuteness if Walter had ever seen one, was just about touching MulderÖHe angled to the side to get closer as he said, "Mulder, no one goes to Jersey so the only statistics are the fatalities of people desperate to escape it."

Damn, Mulder was licking his lips, parting them; Krycekís expression was one Walter had last seen when he had bought his three-year-old nephew his favorite ice cream. He swore that, if some sixth sense hadnít alerted them, they might have kissed. He would have liked to watch that. His cock twitched unreasonably in his pants.

"Skinner." Mulder voice was accusatory. Mulder complained, "AD Skinner, did you really come in here just to stare at us?"

Walter was tempted to tell the men that he had and that there was a line of people outside who had bought tickets to do the same. Well, Walter had a reputation for being humorless and it would be a shame to ruin that now. He plunked down the print out and said, "Next week-end. Iíll call for the reservations now. You and Krycek share a room."

Bitch, grumble, moan from Mulder. Krycek was trying to convince him that it was going to be interesting. About the only positive reaction was to the thought that Krycek ventured about "A chance to get to know each other."

Walter should have expected it. Alex Krycek was there in a blue suit that he thought he had seen on a JC Penney catalog cover as he carried it from the mailbox to the recycling. No Mulder. Just a sweet-faced rookie with an expression that said he expected to be beaten. Sighing, Walter asked, "Whereís your partner?"

Alex turned his eyes down; his lashes fluttered beautifully. You just wanted to grab an easel and start painting him, no matter how untalented you were. Alex said, "Mulderís said he was sick. Throwing up. Ate something from his fridge that had been there too long."

Walter rated that a six on the hard to disprove list of excuses. It was easy enough to come down with a mild case of food poisoning. Not everyone would go to the doctor. God knows Mulder was absent minded enough to eat something that had been in his refrigerator long enough to have a pet name. Absentminded though? Walter frowned and decided that wasnít exactly so. Mulder was so focused at times that the rest of the world could explode and he would be so fascinated with some obscure fact or strange happening that he would just keep right on with his fixation.

Alex said, "He really didnít sound well, sir."

Walter shook his head. He shrugged. It was too late to draft another agent. It was Krycek and he for this round of training. He said, "Well, I am glad that you didnít share that meal, Agent Krycek."

Krycek smiled. God he was prettyÖAt Walterís scrutiny, a gentle blush colored the high cheekbones. He looked down and then back, if that wasnít a deliberate flirt the man should have been locked up for his own protection. Walterís voice took on a shockingly sultry airÖhe didnít know his voice would sound so intimate until it was too late. He said, "Now what were you saying to Mulder? A chance to get to know one another? Now weíll have to be the ones to get to know each other."

Was he insane? Hmm, well, Krycek smiled at that and replied, "Sir, I think that I would enjoy that." His green eyes sparkled with amusement for just a moment before he looked away again. Walter cautioned his errant libido that this was 'look and don't touch' and don't let them catch you looking.

Walter had brought reports to review on the plane. However, a crying baby in the seat right in front of him was distracting. He removed his glasses, pinched his nose to relieve the pressure that seemed to be building behind them.

The young mother was ineptly offering baby talk, a pacifier, and toys. They were becoming as frustrated as the red-faced infant. Alex leaned forward and said, "Give him his bottle. Iím sure itís the air pressure."

The mother who looked hardly old enough to be a parent hurriedly summoned hot water and made the bottle. She was so upset by this time that all her movements were on the edge of rough. The baby turned his little face away and squalled louder. Krycek stood up and took the vacant seat. "May I?" he inquired.

The mother looked, at this point, as if she would have handed the baby over to the big bad wolf. Krycek was hardly that. He seemed very comfortable with the child, adjusting the blanket to swaddle the child tightly and then rocking with an up and down motion. The child peered at him, cry stopped in mid process. Krycek hummed something. He had an outstanding voice by this hint of it. The baby opened his mouth and Krycek aimed the bottle into the bird-like gape. A blessed silence fell over the plane. Walter noted the mimed applause from the nearby passengers and smiled broadly. He had to find out where Krycek picked up these skills. His jacket said that he was an only child and unmarried. However, no one handles a baby that easily without having lived with one. Walter was reasonably sure of that, having plenty of nephews and nieces whom he had observed with their parents, his prolific sisters and brothers.

Krycek had a spot of baby drool on his jacket. Walter handed over his handkerchief and pointed to the milky splotch. Krycek said, "Damn, I hope the hotel has a dry cleaner. I didnít pack much."

Walter said, "Iím sure that they do. So, Agent Krycek? Where did you learn the Mary Poppins stuff?"

Krycek said wistfully, "I lived with a woman who had a baby. I really liked the baby."

Skinner chalked up a mental note. Signals aside, Krycek had just chalked up a heterosexual note on the scoreboard. Krycek settled next to Skinner with a soft, satisfied sigh. He said, "What about you, sir? Do you have children?" A gentle blush colored the fair skin and Krycek added, "If itís not prying?"

Walter said, "Itís not, Krycek. I'm married. Separated, but not yet divorced. We didn't have children."

"Oh, I'm sorry," Krycek said.

OooOooO

Holding that baby, Alex could not keep his mind off Nicky. God, when Nicky was a baby, he'd loved to hold him. He used to sing to him, promise to keep him safe. Well, he was safe as long as Alex obeyed his orders.

Darkly, Alex thought that it wasn't as if he felt too guilty. Life hadn't exactly been handed to him on a platter. He had tried to run. He had tried to make a life apart from the bastards. All he had done was to get Katrina, his wife, killed and to have a son that was in mortal danger because of him.

One breath was all he'd had of real life. He remembered Katrina on their wedding day, flowers in her hair, her simple white dress from a thrift store draping her slender curves and her smile so radiant. Her love was the only unconditional love he had known in his life. She had understood him and still returned his love completely. Katrina knew he was gay and it didn't bother her. She understood how he was raised. She knew his parents had run from the Consortium and finally died for their defiance. Mostly, she understood that Alex was living on borrowed time. Given leave to finish his education in relative peace, Alex had a new name, a new identity.

In retrospect, Alex realized that the span of time was a test. He knew they were watching, but he'd thought he could beat them. What had done it for him was holding his son in his arms. The birth had been hard. Despite the things he had already seen as part of his training, Alex had nearly passed out watching. He couldn't believe women go through that and are ever willing to have another baby. It was horrible.

Katrina looked worn out, but she was smiling as she watched her husband and child. Alex had looked into blue eyes and fell in love. His finger was grabbed with surprising strength. The red faced infant had wailed until he guided Alex's finger to his mouth then he had quieted, sucking the digit and gazing with that seeing all, seeing nothing look that newborns have.

At that moment, Alex understood why his mother and father had risked all to hide with both of their children. How could they choose between Kolia and he? How could they decide who would go to the tests and who would grow up to be twisted and tormented into a tool of the project?

The baby was an accident. Katrina had been on the pill and they didn't even have sex all that often. Alex had wanted to ask her to abort the fetus, but when he wanted to discuss this, Katrina had been sitting with quiet joy on her face, her hand draped on her belly, just then showing a faint telltale mound.

"He's moving, Alex," Katrina said. She grabbed his hand and placed it on her stomach.

Very faintly, he felt the movement like the fluttering of a butterfly. Alex couldn't ask her to do it. He had knelt and kissed her stomach, embraced her, and looked up with a smile despite his fear. He remembered asking her how she knew it was a boy. Her expression had been radiant and she had said, "I just know."

Nicky had been two when Alex was forced to spend his summer in training. His stomach and will struggled against what he was being taught. Most of all, he didn't like the way Spender visited his apartment and would stand over the crib like he was inspecting a fine crop.

"A beautiful child," Spender had said, "You should certainly have more children with Katrina. It is so sad to be an only child and, after all, not all children survive."

Alex knew what Spender meant. He had stood between the crib and the bastard that took such personal interest in him. He didn't say anything, but he started to make preparations from that day. He had a relative in Russia. His Aunt Sophia had an isolated Dacha. Her husband was high enough up in Russian secret service to require constant protection. It was as safe as Alex could negotiate for the little boy and for Katie.

No place was safe from cancer. Katie took ill not long after they fled to Russia. None of the specialists seemed able to delay the spread of the disease. Alex remembered things he had overheard. He knew there was some type of cancer that was caused by the experiments that the project did on people. They had access to Katie and the baby.

It took all of Alex's nerve to go to Spender only to hear that it was too late for Katrina. In the end, he had traded his freedom to protect his son. He had returned to college, still using the name that Spender had given him. It was as good as any after all. Alex hardly remembered the one that he had been given at birth.

Walling his feelings away, Alex had thrown himself into both college and training. In his junior year, he had attended a FBI recruitment meeting. He presented his high grade point average, his clean record, and an intense, eager gawky persona that screamed 'recruit me'.

It was almost a given that Alex would go to the academy. Summers spent working in New York for the police department cemented his acceptance. He might not have graduated at the top of his class, but he was in the upper fifteenth percentile. Oh, he could have done better, but the ranking was exactly calculated to make him a reasonable choice without calling attention to himself. Either that or, as Alex half-suspected, Spender didn't want him to excel. Spender liked to humiliate Alex. He insisted on watching Alex's sex education classes. Oh, Alex wasn't learning about the birds and the bees. He was learning how to please men, women, or the combination. The old bastard got off on the more humiliating lessons, Alex could tell. He would try not to look at Spender when he was being whipped or spanked or when someone was indulging their kinky side on Alex, but sometimes, his eyes would fly open and he would see Spender smirking and smoking. All Alex could figure out was that Spender still bore his parents a grudge and had added Alex's defiance to the pot.

Playing sex kitten wasn't as difficult as some of the other chores. Alex wasn't trusted enough for wet work yet, but to get him used to the process, Spender had him witness assassinations and clean up the bodies afterwards unless, of course, they were being left about as a warning. Spender was big on leaving the dead or dying around for lessons, but sometimes the deceased was someone who they couldn't afford to reveal they had killed or as evidence. The last victims destroyed Alex. He couldn't figure out how come perfectly ordinary men, women, and even kids had to be murdered. However, there was so much Alex didn't understand. He lay awake moving the pieces of what he saw and heard around in his mind. He couldn't decide what it was about.

After Alex went to the academy, Spender started to have a different focus with him. He told Alex that they were standing between a chaos and order. Mulder was a danger, Spender said, to the project.

'What the hell was the project?' Alex wondered.

Spender was always talking about sacrifices. They were the thin line between forces which would destroy the world and humankind. That was why Alex's parents had been wrong to resist the necessity of yielding a child. Spender said, "I gave two children to the project and my wife. My third son will also serve. Alex, you must understand that there is a higher cause.

Bullshit, Alex thought. He pretended to believe, but his anger increased by the day. Life pretty well sucked.

Flinching back, Alex caught his breath as he realized that Walter Skinner had gently touched his shoulder. Skinner said, "The baby is asleep. Perhaps you should give him back, Agent Krycek"

Alex's arms ached to hold the baby for longer. It was silly, as Nicky wasn't a baby anymore, but sometimes he remembered him best as an infant. It was not that Nicky was a perfect baby. He had cried as much as any of them did, but then he would smile and Alex's heart would melt.

Realizing that the mother was looking at him, Alex stood up and handed the baby back. He said, "He's a beautiful boy. You should be proud."

As if seeing the baby with new eyes, the woman said, "He is beautiful, isn't he?"

"Yes, he is," Alex assured. "You know they always cry on planes because the air pressure hurts their ears. If you use a nipple on the bottle with a smaller opening, the baby sucks harder and clears his ears."

"Really? That's great, I'll remember that," the woman said.

As Alex sat back down, Skinner looked at him and said, "There's more to that story than you told me. Did something happen to the baby?"

"Are you profiling me, AD Skinner?" Alex asked.

"Maybe, Agent Krycek, I wasn't born an AD, you know. I had my share of cases to solve, suspects to read."

"Nothing happened to the baby. The woman...left me and I seldom am allowed to see the baby. It happens. No big deal," Alex said.

"I'm sorry," Skinner said.

"Yeah, it was a long time ago," Alex said.

"You and Mulder seem to be doing well as a team," Skinner said. "A bad start but now it seems to be going well."

"We seem to have hit our stride," Alex replied. He thought about it with amusement. He went back and forth on his instructions. Keep Mulder under control by any and all means. He didn't need to be told that part of that was sexual. He assumed that the pretty doctor with red hair and Mulder were doing the wild thing, but after seeing them together, he decided it wasn't resolved. For that matter, Mulder gave out more sparks for him than he did for the doctor. Meanwhile, it was driving Alex up the wall.

This assignment bothered Alex. He liked being a FBI agent, but he hated that he had no idea how long he would be allowed to be Alex Krycek, Special Agent. He did his best to hide his pleasure in the role when Spender was around. The old bastard wouldn't want him to be happy. Alex also hated being asked if he had slept with Mulder yet. Creepy old fuckers probably wanted to film it.

Mulder...Alex wanted him, but damn, he hated to play into their hands like that. He wasn't sure if the idea was to blackmail the agent or just siphon off some of that frustrated energy from the man. Besides, the slow courtship felt good. Even when they finally made the final pas de deux, Alex knew he wouldn't feel like a whore. That was, he wouldn't until Mulder found out who Alex really was. Fuck!

There hadn't been any directions about Walter Skinner. Alex had noticed the man looking and he had looked back. His tastes were broad; strong and surly was definitely on his menu. Alex took another look at the man. Maybe, he could just take a break from spying, worrying, and the pursuit of Mulder.

A guy like Walter wouldn't want a long-term relationship. Alex could get a little sexual relief and go back to the slow dance with Mulder when he was back at the Hoover. It was a very good idea. The way Skinner looked at him, it wouldn't be much of a challenge getting him into bed.

OooOooO

Walter walked into the hotel room and looked around. The gold patterned bedspread looked, to him, like someone puked in paisley. He tested the bed. Well, it was comfortable enough. Now if AD BJ Harrison was a considerate roommate then this might be almost a vacation.

Since it was evening, Walter decided to switch to the sweater and jeans he had brought. He was down to his skivvies when a stern faced woman entered the room. Grabbing the sweater he had been about to put on, Walter said, "Excuse me, this is my room."

"Oh crap, not again," the woman said. "I'm BJ Harrison also known as Bernice Jane Harrison although only on my birth certificate. You don't know how often this happens to me."

Happened to her? Walter was the one who ended up flashing the toughest broad he had ever seen outside of the Army. He did the right thing and yielded the room to her, marching downstairs to ask for a new assignment. The hotel was booked. This was a small hotel and a large conference. He supposed he would have to pay for a room at another hotel and hope he would be reimbursed.

Walter slammed the phone down on the third, 'I'm sorry, sir, we're all booked'

Looking up, Walter saw Krycek looking at him with an inquiring expression. The man was carrying a small paper bag. "Hi," Krycek said, "What's wrong?"

"BJ Harrison is what is wrong. I was supposed to share a room with him, but BJ is a her," Walter complained. "And now, I can't find a vacancy anywhere nearby."

"There's Mulder's bed in my room," Krycek suggested. "They didn't have anyone to put in there."

Propriety be dammed. Better a male subordinate than a female equal, Walter thought. He said, "Sharp thinking like that will get you far or at least an invitation to dinner."

Walter liked the young man. It was not only that Krycek was a pleasure to see and that his low rolling laugh was like a cock tease whether he meant it that way or not, it was his sharp wit and his ability to discuss nearly anything with credible knowledge and grace.

Mentally going over Krycek's jacket, Walter didn't think that his behavior quite fit with a middle class upbringing in upper New York State, which is what the man's file said. Walter had called for the personnel file as soon as the memo had crossed his desk, which assigned Krycek to Saul Grissom's murder. He hadn't seen anything suspicious at the time, but had reserved his judgment. Walter knew that the upper echelon seemed to have an ambivalent attitude toward Mulder. On one hand, Mulder got away with violations in decorum as well as outright flaunting of the rules that would have canned most agents. On the other hand, the powers that be were none too kind to Mulder.

Still, it was an unexpected pleasure to find such pleasant company. The two of them spent the evening with a travel chess set instead of exhibiting social behavior. It suited Walter just fine. He didn't feel like drinking and he didn't find any of the activities recommended on the calendar of interest.

It was natural to go to breakfast with Krycek and then it appeared that they were booked into most of the same workshops. Walter was glad that the subject of sexual harassment was not on the agenda. On the other hand, Krycek seemed interested so it wouldn't have been covered anyway.

All those pretty boys couldn't hold a candle to Alex Krycek. Maybe this was the silver lining to the dark cloud of the separation from Sharon. Walter knew he was thinking about a major indiscretion, but he knew what he wanted and after all, how could anything be worse than the blackmail already hanging over his head?

OooOooO

Alex stuck close to Skinner during the seminar. Mostly he wanted to remind the man that he was around and on some level, Alex felt better near him. Most of the workshops were bullshit, but one instructor seemed to have a knack for using words like a scalpel. Alex felt flayed right open. The woman's lecture covered the entire gamut of sexual abuse.

It felt like Alex was burning, as he remembered the old men watching his sexual performances. Bill Mulder and Spender were not his parents, but both had fostered him for years after his parents had been killed. It bothered Alex the most that Bill Mulder watched what they made him do. The older Mulder hadn't been kind to him exactly, but the absence of cruelty seemed kindness in his impoverished emotional life. Alex had believed that somewhere beneath the boozy indifference that Bill cared about him. If the man had, it hadn't stopped him from turning Alex over for advanced training.

The lockdown that Alex had kept on his emotions unraveled as he listened to the woman describe exactly how he had rationalized the sexual acts he had been made to perform. He wasn't a victim! He was in control. He had chosen to cooperate with the men who ran his life, biding his time to get revenge later. He stared at his hands, blushing fiercely.

Perhaps Alex could just wall it away. He tried to paint an attentive look on his face while he played a porn movie, starring at first Mulder then Walter Skinner in his head. When that didn't quite work, he added both men to his daydream.

It took a few moments to realize that the instructor was pairing them off for some sort of role-play. Thank God, Walter Skinner took him by the elbow and led him aside to be his partner for the exercise.

"You're the rape victim," Skinner said.

"Iím not," Alex said.

Oh shit, his slow brain finally processed the truth of the matter. It was a training exercise. Alex shuddered and set his jaw, reminding himself that he had chosen what he had done. If you made a conscious choice, you were not a victim.

"Take your time, Mr. Krycek," Skinner said, checking his notes. "I'm sorry for what happened to you and I'm going to do my best to find and lock up the man who did it."

When Alex glanced at Walter Skinner as he said those words, he believed for a span of seconds that somehow the AD knew about the project and really could help him. His heart leaped until he processed again what they were doing. He felt as if he was going out of his head. What the fuck was wrong with him? He was tough. Other of the Project's children had died going through what he had. Kolia had died. At least, Spender said that she was dead.

Softly, Skinner said, "Mr. Krycek, by giving me as many characteristics as possible of the man who attacked you, you can save additional young men from being victimized."

The same dialog was being repeated around the room but Alex was focused on Walter's voice. He had always thought that Skinner was a tough son of a bitch. Alex knew that Spender had a hold on the guy. Apparently, Walter Skinner wanted to stay in the closet badly enough to pretend that he believed Spender was just an important observer from the department of defense. However, it was a different Walter Skinner attending this conference. He had a gentle side and even a sense of humor.

Now, as Walter walked through the exercise, it seemed as if the gentle sure voice was completely focused on Alex. He said, "Mr. Krycek, I have to ask you some personal questions. These are standard questions to help me find the man who hurt you. It may seem that some of the questions might seem to question your report, but they are only meant to provide information for the investigation."

"You can't help me," Alex said bitterly. "I don't want to talk about what happened. Besides, it was my choice. I'm not a victim because I let them do it to me."

"It's not your fault, Mr. Krycek. You did what you had to do to survive. Now you can strike back. This is your chance to take control and make sure that we stop these men from doing this to other young men," Walter said.

Looking into the warm brown eyes, Alex saw his past reflected. He remembered his body shaking with pain and shame as he obeyed the obscene demands placed on him. Suddenly, the conference lunch was forcing itself out of his guts.

Running from the room blindly, Alex didn't know what instinct led to the room that he and Skinner had been assigned. He stripped off as he crossed the room and plunged into the shower, turning it up as high as he could. It hadn't been rape, but Alex couldn't stand the memories that came pouring back.

"The bastards, the bastards," Alex mumbled, his arms braced on the walls of the shower as too hot water failed to make him feel clean. He didn't cry. The sounds that ripped from him were more like cries of rage. He hated them. Oh, how he hated them.

There was a blank period and then Alex was aware that he was on a bed, with voice repeating, "It's okay, Alex, I'm here. I'm going to take care of you."

Without opening his eyes, Alex found the broad chest beneath the starched shirt and pulled himself toward the strong body using a handful of shirt. He nuzzled against the cloth and then, finding that not enough, he managed to unbutton the shirt to rub his face against the bulwark of flesh. "Love me," Alex plead, "make love to me. I need...I need you."

A big hand stroked his hair. Alex responded to the comfort by tugging the hand lower, trying to guide it to his nipples, his mouth, lower to his cock that blindly responded to the intimate touch.

"No, Alex, not like this," Walter said.

"Then how?" Alex asked.

"Perhaps, later, when it isn't whatever this is. Reaction, post traumatic stress," Walter said.

"Fuck," Alex muttered. He burrowed into the solid warmth, clung to the sturdy neck, and let Walter Skinner rock him.

Finally, his hard on subsided and Alex felt exhausted. He wanted to go to sleep, but not alone. "I want to sleep with you," he said.

"Alex," Walter said.

"Just sleep if that's all you are willing to do. I don't want to be alone," Alex said.

"All right, do you want to brush your teeth?" Walter asked.

Crap, Alex had forgotten he had thrown up. He let Walter lead him to the bathroom and find his toothbrush for him. When Walter would have left him, Alex leaned back against him and said, "I'm still shaky."

"Oh," said Walter and held him tighter.

Alex wiggled backwards and felt an answering nudge before Walter said, "Alex...I said later."

"It's not trauma or reaction, Walter Skinner. I was thinking about you before we got on that airplane together," Alex said.

"Am I that easy to read?" Walter asked, but he didn't seem angry or concerned.

"Maybe it was more hope than knowing you might," Alex said. He rinsed his mouth thoroughly and then brushed his teeth carefully.

Moments later, Alex was tucked into bed, naked as the day he was born, but a hell of a lot more frustrated. He watched Walter pick up his clothes and walk to the bathroom. He could hear the water running and then listened to room service being called.

Finally, weight settled on the bed. Alex moved back until he was cradled in the curve of Walter's body. He dragged one hairy forearm over him and sighed. All right, he could live with this if he couldn't get Walter to make love to him right away.

OooOooO

Alex was moaning in his sleep. He turned around to face Walter and scrabbled to get closer yet. Walter froze as the hand strayed along his chest. Alex muttered something and moved closer. He opened his eyes and smiled. "Kiss meÖplease kiss meÖ"

Walter thought Alex was awake and he couldnít resist anyway. Alex opened his lips, a gentle moan fluttering, teasing Walterís mouth.

Hungry for the sweetness he sensed, Walter pulled Alex closer and plundered the mouth with kisses, one after the other. He only stopped to switch on the bedside lamp. He didn't want to miss one flicker of expression. If you're going to take a risk, savor every moment. Pinning Alex down as if he was prey, Walter explored him with all his senses. His lips gently traced the angles of the impossibly beautiful face. His cheek brushed the roughness of beard along the clean line of jaw. When their faces touched, lashes gave him butterfly kisses. One of Walter's hands eased its grip to explore from collarbone down the long, lean side.

Arching his neck, Alex exposed his throat. Walter responded to the unspoken plea and kissed his way down the tender column of flesh. He paused in the hollow beneath the jaw, feeling the wild beat of the pulse. They rolled over until Alex sprawled over Walter, looking down at him with tender fiery gaze. He licked his lips and laughed softly, saying, "You are beautiful, my beautiful strong man."

Walter was tempted to argue that, but he felt as if any dross had dropped away from his flesh, burned away by Alex's kisses. They tumbled over and over each other, both so powerful and eager to touch each other everywhere.

Walter's cock was so hard. He asked, "What do you want to do?"

Laughing, Alex said, "Make love, I think." Having mercy, Alex added, "I want you in me. There's some stuff in the paper bag."

"Razor, huh?" Walter remarked as he reached over for the sack.

Putting his arms behind his back, Alex was posing. His feet were flat on the bed and his legs spread, flashing Walter his ass and assets. He arched to preen his muscles as his quick heavy breaths rippled his well-developed chest. Wasn't he just as sexy as hell and didn't he just know it? Walter was amused and further aroused. Damn he liked this. He liked knowing where he stood and that his lover was ready for him...almost too eager by the impatient sigh.

Kneeling between the arched legs, Walter paused to kiss the inside of the thighs, running his hands in delicious possession over the soft silk of skin over the hard definition of the legs. This contrast was what he loved about his own gender, that and the ease of the language of love. There was no way to fake arousal and, ah, Alex was on fire.

Walter's fingers penetrated the soft valley between the round ass cheeks. Alex shuddered and closed his eyes. Any doubts were relieved by the lack of tension in the muscle. He wasn't slack, but he was relaxed. "That's good, I like you touching me inside," Alex said.

"I like it too," Walter said. He was trying to hold back, but he felt like pushing in now. His fingers shook as continued to probe and stretch.

"Walter, I'm ready now," Alex said.

All right now, Walter just about crossed his eyes sliding the condom over his eager cock. Fingers holding Alex apart and open, he carefully inserted himself. He could feel the weight of Alex's legs on his shoulders. His lover's eyes were open, wondering and soft. Another groan quivered from Alex's throat as Walter pushed inside him.

Rocking back on his heels, Walter paused, fighting the rich sensation of being enclosed, squeezed. Damn, he hated condoms sometimes. He wanted to feel Alex with his bare skin but on the other hand, he was so excited that he probably would have come prematurely without the layer of latex.

They were rocking together, Alex's body thrusting back at him, Legs pulling him down, deeper. Their breaths had found some central connection. All too often even with Sharon, Walter found that he locked down into his own pleasure, not aware enough of his partner. With Alex, eyes were locked to each other, devouring each other, promising things that the real world couldn't possibly deliver. This must be what a junkie feels his first time. The first time he feels the rush of his drug, his deadly obsession. Walter bit back the words; 'I love you.' His heart sang it out silently. It wasn't supposed to be like this. It wasn't supposed to be so intimate, so complicated.

Faster, like falling, like each nerve singing a bliss note, Walter's hand urged Alex along with him. It was sweet and deadly. He knew he had to come soon, but he didn't want it to end, not yet, not ever.

When Walter came, it was like the world vanishing, a grip of sensation that took him beyond conscious pleasure. Afterwards, it was as if his body had to rebuild cell by cell. Alex lay sprawled like a sacrifice on the bed. They were still joined, still panting in rhythm. Slowly, Walter pulled out. He staggered up to dispose of the condom and get a washcloth to clean them. Alex's eyes followed him.

Silently, Walter completed the task, pulled Alex toward him, face to face, fingertips tracing the elfin features. Another kiss promised more, promised forever if he could just figure out how to deliver up this desire. Walter was not conscious of falling asleep. One moment they were memorizing each other's face and the next, sore and stiff from exertion, Walter woke with Alex's head pushed into the curve of neck and shoulder. Alex's arm fell over him and tightened when he moved. A long leg pinned him in what would felt like a trap except that Walter was a willing captive.

"Good morning," Walter said as the green eyes opened to his.

"Hi," said Alex. He didn't move away although he did move his arm to stroke Walter's back. "That was like 'wow'."

A happy smile crossed Walter's face at the semi articulate compliment. "Yes, it was, Alex. It's been a long time since I felt like that."

"Like how?" Alex teased.

"Like I could have gone on forever and like I didn't want to stop," Walter said. He sighed and rolled onto his back, bringing Alex to lay almost on him. "I should be feeling guilty for taking advantage of a subordinate at a vulnerable moment."

"I'm not that subordinate," Alex said. "And I told you last night, I made a conscious decision that I wanted you and was going to have you unless I was very wrong and you were very straight. Even then, I might have tried. Never know when you might get lucky."

Kissing the long fingers one at a time, Walter reflected, "Very, very lucky."

Hair feathered across his chest. It was lovely without the goop. Walter stroked it, revealing in the satin locks. "You are so beautiful."

"I usually hate it when people say that," Alex said. "Makes me feel like meat on the hoof, but the way you say it, it's like a kiss. Walter..."

Words were buried in a kiss. This time it was taste, no rubbers, Alex's cock in his mouth and his in Alex's. They were the working parts of one organism, like pistons powering something unique and wonderful. It was good, better than it should have been for a first time like this. It was if there was a map of each other written on their genes. Coming was almost not as good as building, but it was enough to send them shuddering into collapse.

"I wish we could stay here all day," Alex said from the ravaged bed.

"I do too," Walter said. "But people will notice."

"I feel so stupid about yesterday," Alex said. "What am I supposed to say?"

"I told them you mentioned feeling sick after breakfast. I said I thought it was minor food poisoning," Walter said.

"Thank you," Alex replied, eyes peering at him from beneath a shield of lashes. He sat on the bed as lovely as a statue, but infinitely more enticing.

"Alex, if you want to talk about what really was going on yesterday," Walter offered.

"Not yet, some day," Alex said. He stood up and said, "Come on, shower with me."

A blinding smile floored Walter as Alex added, "We have three more days. I'm going to make you walk like a train ran you over."

The playful swat sounded in the room and Alex threw his head back and laughed at the same time as he rubbed at the mark. Walter followed him into the shower and he believed. He believed at that moment that they were in love. He believed that whatever ghosts haunted Alex, he could vanquish them.

It was that perfect moment. Choiceless now...