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Phantom Pain
by Cody Nelson


The man known as Alex Krycek shifted on the hard mattress, groaned softly, then rolled over, pushing the wool blankets aside, and slipped quietly out of bed. Stretching his shoulder, rubbing the hated indentation where his left arm used to be, he walked over to the window and stared out at the quiet street.
Strange how late-night streets all looked alike, whether you were in Washington, D.C., or Hong Kong, or Moscow. But he didn't feel the same. He felt old and tired and his arm that wasn't there ached. Uncomfortably, he twisted his shoulder, trying to rub away the little stabbing pains in muscles that no longer existed. It was just his poor tired brain, he told himself, that hadn't quite figured out that certain nerves no longer connected to anything. So perhaps he should be rubbing his brain.
He leaned forward, resting his remaining arm against the window. A sigh gathered in his throat, but he refused to let it out. He was a man, and he'd done his duty, and now he was home, and it was no good fretting over lost limbs, lost countries, lost partners....
A cool, long-fingered hand rested on his shoulder, thumb stroking the back of his neck. The man straightened up, carefully forming his features into a gentle smile, then turned to his companion.
The boy was tall and lanky, thin-faced, with a generous mouth and nose and sad eyes. The resemblance was only superficial, however, and sometimes more of a torment than a comfort. The man would have liked to send him away, but it was late and one couldn't send a young man out into the street at this hour, not even a young prostitute. Anyway, the boy meant well, and his feelings would be hurt if Alexei sent him from his bed. Alexei no longer had the stomach to hurt anyone's feelings, especially pretty boys who offered him occasional release from his pain.
"Are you all right?" the boy asked softly. The voice was all wrong, sweet and clear and completely without irony.
"I'm fine," the man replied. He turned back to the window. "I have trouble sleeping."
Hands stroked his back through the thin cotton of his undershirt. It was foolish of him, he knew, and vain, but he couldn't bear to have anyone see the bare flesh of his disfigurement. The short, empty sleeve was poor protection, but he clung to it.
"Does the arm give you trouble?"
"It does. But there's nothing to be done. Eventually, the body will learn to accept its loss." And the mind? Well, that remained to be seen.
Soft lips kissed the back of his neck. Full, round lips, bowed like an angel's. The lips were right. His skin warmed where they touched his neck. Of course, he'd never actually felt Mulder's lips on him, so he had no business to say that the lips were right. But he'd stared at those lips for countless infinite moments, memorizing every tiny curve and crease, watched them purse and flex around sunflower seeds, watched them form the words of outrageous theories, heard tirades of hate shouted through them, felt the heat of Mulder's breath on his face, been close enough to reach out and taste those obsessed lips, precious objects of his own obsession, and endlessly imagined them on his own, so often that he felt that he knew their taste and feel as intimately as he knew their every appearance. And the boy's lips were right. At least, they matched his fantasy, and that was good enough, since he would never know the reality.
Hands encircled his waist, rubbing his stomach. Too many potatoes, too much vodka, and no one in Russia ever exercised. Gently, he pushed the hands aside. "Go back to bed, Andrushka."
The boy stepped back. "Are you sure?" Alexei felt the boy's fingers drift tentatively down his spine. "Won't you let me help you get back to sleep?"
Oddly enough, the boy seemed to have a genuine affection for him. Alexei didn't understand why. Misplaced hero worship, he supposed, although he hadn't really done anything, except to follow his orders as best he could, despite the personal difficulties, and stupidly lose his arm to a band of misguided country rebels. It certainly couldn't be the result of the way the boy's hero treated him. Alexei was grim and moody and drank too much, and he knew it. Still, the boy remained generous and eager to please, and far kinder than he deserved.
So, although he really would rather have sent the boy to bed alone and gone to sit in the kitchen with a bottle of vodka, he turned once again, and held out his arm, and let the boy slide into his embrace, pressing his face into Alexei's neck.

###

Fox Mulder lay on his couch, remote in his hand, rewinding again through the tape. The scene he wanted was ten brief yet endless minutes near the end of the movie. The doorbell would ring. The well-fucked but insatiable blonde would rise from her tangled sheets, don a flowered robe that covered nothing, and stroll langorously to the door. A neighbor boy, in striped polo shirt and rumpled chinos, would thrust out his hand and introduce himself. His face was open and eager. His huge, wide-set eyes could have been green or hazel or blue. His nose was narrow and his jawline smooth. His lips weren't quite right—not round enough, not the right shade of pink—nor were his ears quite as small and neat as they should be. But there was something about the loose-limbed way the boy moved (as the blonde invited him in and not-so-subtly led him to the bedroom), and the wide-eyed innocence in his face (as he committed acts that were far from innocent) that was just right; right enough to tear at Mulder's heart, and lead him helplessly back to this tape, time after painful time.
He hit the play button and settled back, one arm curled around his head, the other resting across his chest. His cock was beginning to stir, half-erect, becoming sensitized to the nappy fleece of his sweat pants. But he didn't touch himself yet. The tape had become an unvarying ritual, a dark path with steps that must be followed precisely, in order to avoid the pitfalls. Fucking Alex Krycek was a dangerous game, even when it was happening only in his own mind, and without the proper attention to the rites, he'd wind up stalking through the apartment looking for something to break, or sobbing in the floor, rather than curled up in a boneless puddle of steamy satisfaction.
First, he had to watch the tape all the way through, then rewind and replay the scene with the boy, emptying his mind of all thought, staring at the sweating, throbbing, thrusting, moaning expanses of uncovered flesh, until he had sunk into a blank, hypnotic haze. Then he could begin to build the scene in his mind, himself the insatiable blonde, whom no man could resist, and Alex Krycek the innocent (or not so innocent) boy next door, succumbing to her need.
The blonde laughed, and began to pull the boy's shirt off. "You're blushing," she teased. But of course he wasn't really.
Look, I may be green, but I had the case first....
Mulder felt the sharp throb in his cock, almost painful. The image bloomed in his mind: himself at his desk in Urban Fraud, reel-to-reel tape deck before him, headphones around his neck, looking up to see a fresh-faced young agent in a bad suit, holding out his hand. Mulder closed his eyes and clenched his teeth for a moment. He didn't shy away from it; the pain was good and necessary and he welcomed it. But it couldn't be allowed to take over. It had to be damped down to a simmer, to spark and prick and jab around the edges, while on the surface an irresistible blonde seduced a green-eyed boy, who might or might not be innocent.
Mulder hit the rewind button, and settled back on the couch again.

###

Alexei let the boy lead him back to the bed, stood patiently while the boy straightened the blankets and plumped the pillows, then, moving slowly and precisely, settled himself onto his stomach, arm curled around his head. He always moved carefully these days, afraid of forgetting the new asymmetry of his body and trying to reach out with an arm that wasn't there, missing his balance, making himself look clumsy or foolish. Another petty vanity, here in the dark with no one but the boy to see him, but this he allowed himself.
The mattress creaked as the boy move over him, and he felt the boy's hips settle onto his thighs, and strong hands begin to rub Alexei's back through the thin cotton of his undershirt. It still troubled the boy a little, to be expected to penetrate his hero. But Alexei insisted on it. He would not thrash around, grapple awkwardly, risk rolling onto a shoulder that still ached. He had explained that it was easier for him this way, lying passively on his stomach, receiving the boy's attentions. Easier to pretend that his body was still whole. Also easier to pretend that it was Mulder's body covering his, although this he hadn't explained. No, it wasn't fair, using the boy this way, but neither of them was foolish enough to expect life to be fair.
Lips touched the back of his neck. Alexei allowed a small sigh and shifted a little, the first spark of warmth kindling in his groin. He liked this—just being touched, and some evenings this was all he wanted. He'd missed this, all those years in America: Russian warmth, Russian friendship, simple affectionate hugs and kisses. Americans, with all their freedom, seemed never to want to touch. He'd missed it, but by the time he came home, with his wrecked body and his grief, he wanted only to be left alone, to hide in his work and his vodka and his small, spare apartment. There was only the boy, the only one he allowed to touch him, and sometimes even this was more than he could bear.
The boy pulled the neckband of Alexei's undershirt down, exposing more of the sensitive skin along his nape, covering it with soft, damp kisses. Thumbs massaged the kisses in, stroking up into Alexei's military-short hair, then down along his shoulders, over his shoulder blades, along his spine. He was careful to avoid the area around the ruined shoulder, having learned early that this was one place, the only place, on Alexei's body that was not to be touched. His hands were fine and strong and long-fingered.
The hands were right too, and these Alexei knew: fingers laid on a forearm, grasping an elbow, patting a shoulder. Long, sensitive fingers. Did Mulder have any idea how those casual touches had affected his hungry partner? The abrupt confusion, lapses in composure, the explosion of heat beneath the skin, the throat suddenly gone dry? He never seemed to. Self-absorbed Mulder, who could conjure aliens out of the most obscure and inscrutable shreds of evidence, but who couldn't see the desire in a foolish young agent suffering right under his nose. It was just as well he could not. Alexei didn't know how he'd have resisted, if Mulder had recognized Alex Krycek's attraction and decided to make use of it. And his job had been difficult enough as it was.
He'd felt those hands on him in anger and hatred, too. Slamming him against a wall, throwing him across the hood of a car, hitting him in the face, gripping him by the collar, forearm pressed into his throat, handcuffing him, punching him.... He'd felt Mulder's rage, as hot as sexual heat, bright and burning, and it had held him as helpless as any touch of affection or companionship. Sometimes he felt his skin still tingle, where Mulder's hands had touched.
The boy's hands slid under his shirt, stroking his lower back, sliding over his flanks, moving lower, kneading more firmly. Alexei closed his eyes, and let the image form in his mind: the man kneeling over him, luscious lips pursed, deep hazel eyes shiny and heavy-lidded, slight smile of concentration on his angular face. The familiar expression of a man on a quest, searching, needing, wanting—wanting what Alexei could never give, except in his fantasies. In his fantasies, this was what Mulder wanted: Alexei's body, freely offered. And in his fantasies, Alexei was glad to offer it.
Hands touched his thighs, worked between his buttocks. His body arched, reaching eagerly for the contact. The image held; tonight, the fantasy would work. He was desperately grateful for it. Mulder.... His mouth formed the name, but he didn't say it out loud. He spread his legs, as the boy moved his knees between them, and it was Mulder reaching for the jar of lubricant, Mulder pushing his thighs apart with his knees, Mulder resting one hand on the small of his back while the other probed his anus, the long fingers invading him, careful yet demanding, leaving him no quarter and no grace. Alexei could see the expression on Mulder's face, deep and determined. He could see the muscles move in his long, elegant throat. He could see the lean swimmer's body poised, like an arrow in its quiver. And when the shaft entered him, it was Mulder's, and he melted at its touch.
He no longer knew the words he was crying out. Mulder thrust into him (the boy thrust into him), and he was willing to let go of the rest. His hand formed a fist, and dug into the mattress. Hot, bitter tears dripped from his eyes. The words became pleas, and the boy answered them with fierce, hard thrusts and teeth digging into the back of his neck. The heat built in his groin, until he thought the mattress would burn, until he thought his body would burst into flame, until his orgasm took him and smashed him to pieces.
He lay panting while the boy finished, then buried his face in the pillow and waited while the boy withdrew, found a towel and cleaned them up, then settled back at his side. His body was spent, and would slide into sleep, if only he could manage to keep his mind quiet long enough. So he banished the image of Mulder, the shimmering haze of days in Washington, D.C., the memory of a young man, dashing and dangerous in black leather and blue jeans, and the heady excitement of a tightrope from which he'd finally fallen. And all that was left was this: a one-armed man, in bed with a boy who looked like someone he once knew, waiting patiently for the pain to go away.

###

Mulder pushed the rewind button, and watched the blonde zoom backwards out of the bedroom with the neighbor boy, and close the front door on him. Then he pushed "play," settled back on the couch and closed his eyes. He didn't need to watch—the images were seared into his mind. And now he must begin to build on them, to reform them into what he needed.

Mulder stood at the door in his robe. He was tall and gorgeous. He oozed sexual heat, a succubus no man could resist. He smiled to himself. He was self-assured and confident in his power. It didn't matter who was at the door—whoever it was, Mulder would conquer him.
He reached for the doorknob along with the video blonde in the background of his mind. He heard the door opening, and smiled at what he saw there: a fresh-faced young man with huge green eyes, hair slicked back carelessly, smiling and thrusting out his hand.
"Hi. I'm your new neighbor, Andy. I hope I'm not bothering you."
That would be me. Krycek. Alex Krycek.
"Not at all. Come on in, Andy. Why don't you come along with me while I get into something more comfortable?"
Why don't you go requisition us a car, and I'll meet you down there?
His smile was wide-eyed and delighted, like a kid in a candy store, who can't believe his good fortune. He stammered a little as he replied.
"While you...? Some—something more comfortable? Sure!"
That's it? You don't—you don't have a problem with us working together?
He and the blonde smiled knowingly. "Let's have a little party."
Hey, it's your party.
He took the boy by the hand. The answering grip was strong and so hot it made Mulder shiver. The long fingers were comfortable in his hand. Krycek had beautiful hands, elegant and agile, and surprisingly delicate for such a solid man. It had been a pleasant surprise to notice those hands for the first time. He still remembered the moment: during their first case, at the train station, when he had fallen, temporary victim of one of his quarry's phantom bullets. Krycek had run to him, asking if he was all right, pulling him to his feet with the strong grip of his hands on Mulder's arms. Perhaps it was just dizziness from being knocked to the ground by the force of someone else's mind, but a strange thrill had run through him as Krycek had lifted him up. Krycek's hands had felt...good. They had felt as though they belonged there, as though they had been designed and shaped precisely to mold around Mulder's arms, to provide that exact pressure, from palm to fingertip, to support and guide and hold.
And after that, it had been only a short journey from noticing the hands to noticing the large eyes, the curve of the throat, the ripe lips, and the many other subtle secret beauties Alex Krycek's body held, disguised by a badly-cut suit and out-of-date haircut, but there to be discovered by a discerning eye. It was unfortunate that Krycek's other secrets hadn't been so easy to root out. But if the eye had been able to see them, Mulder would have found them long ago.

They reached the bedroom. Silver satin sheets and a thick black coverlet spilled in hedonistic disarray over the sides of the king-size bed. Massage oils and vibrators and other supplies clustered on the nightstand. The boy let out a low, moaning gasp, and his hand tightened on Mulder's.
Mulder, the gorgeous blonde, smiled to himself. Everything was proceeding according to plan—and how could it not? He let the robe slip to the floor. The boy's wide eyes widened further, and he licked his full lips. He reached out to take Mulder in his arms, those long, strong hands kneading the bare flesh of Mulder's back.
Krycek's hands touching him: he'd wanted this so badly, even after the betrayal, even after Krycek's bitterest secrets had been revealed and the partnership had turned to hate. All the times they'd met again—outside his apartment building the horrible night after his father's murder, in a dark office in Hong Kong, at the arrest of the militia group with which Krycek had been involved—and he had attacked Krycek in rage, hitting and beating, still he'd been thinking of those hands on him, and in the back of his mind had been the hope that the blows would make Krycek fight back, and he would feel those hands curled into fists, returning blow for blow, thick, hot pain exploding from their impact, filling him with horrible sick pleasure. But Krycek would never fight back. He would only stand there with blood on his face, urging Mulder to go on, or growling, Don't touch me again, in his low, throaty voice, leaving Mulder burning with a terrible need he couldn't acknowledge or fulfill, but neither could he deny it.
He pulled the boy down onto the bed. The satin sheets were slippery and cool on his skin. Krycek smiled and kissed him, deep and wet and long. He tasted warm and faintly spicy. Mulder began to pull Krycek's shirt off, and they fell over onto the bed together, laughing and struggling with the boy's clothes, covering each other's faces with kisses.
The boy's clothing fell into the floor, and Mulder beheld him naked, a smiling boy with a smooth, nearly hairless body and creamy pale skin. The body was formed from extrapolation and wild guess, of course, as Mulder had never seen Krycek in anything less than shirtsleeves and trousers. The hair on his forearms was sparse, soft chestnut brown, and the skin was velvety over firm muscle, pleasant under the occasional touch of Mulder's fingers. He'd be solid, if not rock-hard, under those cheap suits. A fine sprinkle of body hair. He'd look...like an angel, slightly rumpled from his fall to Earth, sweet and finely formed, with his delicate bones and warm pink skin. His body couldn't be anything but beautiful.
He turned the boy onto his back and sat astride his hips. He felt Krycek's cock beneath him, hard and eager, throbbing between his legs, pressing into his balls. He lifted himself slightly up onto his knees, and rubbed his cock against Krycek's, watching Krycek's face grow slack, and his eyes glaze over, as he responded helplessly to the caresses of the insatiable blonde.
Mulder would have him now. Take him inside and consume him, a hungry succubus draining him of will and reason. Purge all the evil from him, all the betrayal, leaving only the angel, pure and sweet.
"I'm going to show you something special. Something you've only dreamed of."
I want to believe.
"I'll take you right over the edge."
Go on, Mulder, do it. Finish it.
Krycek's face was sweaty (like Hong Kong). His breath came in short gasps (a gulag cell in Tunguska). He moaned, a sound that could mean either passion or pain (Mulder twisting a sorely strained wrist to get the handcuff off). Mulder lifted up, settled himself over Krycek's cock, then plunged down, taking it within him, filling him. He screamed, and there was pain in his cry, but there was also fulfillment of a need so harsh that even this pain was a relief. He moved up and down on the shaft, and tears streamed from his eyes, and he growled like a wild thing as he drove himself to his release. Beneath him, Krycek arched and thrust, a beast caged by Mulder's passion.
Then they screamed together, and erupted together, and fell to a heap in the tangled satin sheets together.

Mulder groaned and opened his eyes, fumbling at his side for the remote. On the TV screen, the boy had already gone, and the insatiable blonde was planning her next conquest, a rugged repairman with heavy tools swinging from his belt. Mulder hit the button to stop the tape, and then to rewind it. He tossed the remote onto the coffee table, and lifted his other hand, sticky and wet. He found the towel, half under his hip, and began to clean himself off.
He'd left Krycek in Russia, in the woods of Tunguska. Was he still there? Was he still alive? Who was he, really? Had any of it ever been real? Not that it mattered—Mulder would never see him again. Didn't want to see him again. He'd only have to beat him, and shout questions that had no answers, and stare at the body he couldn't have, and the hands he wanted on him, that refused even to hit him. He'd only have to lose him again, to betrayal or prison or death. It was better this way, to keep him an image superimposed on the image of a boy in a porn movie, always available at the flick of a remote, always willing, always under Mulder's control.
But the hands. He'd never know the touch of those hands on his naked skin, or those lips on his mouth, or hear that throaty voice moaning in passion.

Mulder tossed the towel over the back of the couch, then tucked his arms around his chest and closed his eyes, and banished the thoughts of Krycek from his mind.

end...

###

Cody's Fanfiction

Rated NC17 for explicit m/m sex.
Krycek is in Russia thinking about Mulder, while Mulder in DC is thinking about Krycek. Follows "Tunguska"/"Terma."
X-Files characters belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and Fox Broadcasting. No infringement is intended.
Feedback: codyne@netwizards.net

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