I've always been a good guy. That's my problem.
You know. The sort of guy nobody looks at twice because the first look tells them he's harmless. I look like Opie, Richie Cunningham, Doogie Howser. And I'm too young to remember Opie and almost too young to remember Richie. I'm not much older than Steve Urkel. In fact, I think he and I went to school together.
I'm young, I've got red hair and freckles, and I was born with a pocket protector. I speak several languages and can do calculations in my head for which most people would need a slide rule. Computers roll over and show me their bellies, and I can play almost anything on the piano if I hear it two or three times. I'm a redheaded dweeb, a carrot-topped nerd, a doof, a geek, and so on and so on.
And boy, can I carry a torch.
Have you ever noticed that redheads tend to stick together? Redheads like other redheads. We're the few, the proud, the ones who stand out--out in left field, usually. So it should be no surprise that the woman who is the most beautiful in the world, to me, is a fair-skinned, blue-eyed redhead, someone very likely to bear blue-eyed, red-haired children if she chooses a blue-eyed, red-haired man as the father.
Dana Katherine Scully.
I know her name, her middle name. I'd be willing to bet she doesn't know my first name. And it's not Labboy, either.
James Robert Brendan Pendrell, pleased to make your acquaintance. My friends call me Jamie.
But this isn't about Dana--Agent Scully. This isn't about my hopeless crush on her, all the times I asked her out, the cool, indifferent looks she's given me, or the many times she's nearly died because she's partnered with that rule-breaking, Armani-wearing, smugly smirking hybrid of Rudolf Nureyev and Chevy Chase, Fox William Mulder, better known in the Bureau as Spooky.
No, I'm not jealous. Not much. Even now, I can't help but grind my teeth when he comes around. For a number of reasons.
No, as I said, this isn't about Dana Scully. It's about someone who distracted me from her in a big way. Someone who did something for me that no one else ever did, who gave me experiences I'd never had before. Somebody who actually cared about and paid attention to me--not the labgeek extraordinaire--but me. Jamie Pendrell.
You see, that someone is Alex Krycek.
Every good guy needs a bad guy. Every skywalking hero needs a cynical, wisecracking partner. Every Richie needs his Fonzie, and strange as it may seem, every Fonzie needs his Richie, too.
Jamie Pendrell needs Alex Krycek.
I guess I should back up a little and say, yes, I had a crush on Dana Scully. I thought I was in love with her. So, yes, I'm interested in women. But I've known for a while that I was interested in men, too. Not a whole lot. Not enough that it couldn't be ignored, most of the time. Not enough to make it worth my while to take the risk of stepping outside the box, across the border, into that unknown territory where cute smart good-guys like me don't marry nice smart good-girls like Dana Scully and have 2.5 children in a cute house in the suburbs, but fall for leather-wearing gun-toting green-eyed rogue agents of their own gender.
Hey, I already have a cute house in the suburbs. And some nieces and nephews who adore me. The feeling's mutual. But Alex Krycek took me by the hand and hauled my ass across that border.
It all started the night he broke into the lab. It was between Christmas and New Year's, and he must have been sure nobody would be there. Everybody would have flown home for the holidays and be safely ensconced on the couch with a cup of egg nog, in the company of their loved ones. Not me. My family lives in Suitland, just outside DC, and they know me well enough not to mind if I sneak off to the lab on the fourth day of Christmas, when the egg nog starts to taste a little cloying.
So I was in the lab, close to midnight, on December 27th. I'd wanted another look at some evidence pertaining to a serial killer case; I won't describe exactly what it was, but it was... decayed, and at first, we'd thought it would be no use to us. On second thought, however, I wanted to see if I could salvage it.
So I was puttering around, peering into my microscope, doing my labgeek thing, when I hear a skittering noise. I turned around just in time to see a tall man with spiky dark hair, wearing a beautiful black leather jacket, pull a gun on me.
Smart little non-special-agent that I am, I raised my hands and looked helpless. "Please don't shoot," I said.
The man lowered the gun a couple of inches. "Polite little thing, aren't you," he observed.
I swallowed hard and said, "I'm Agent James Pendrell. Who are you and what are you doing here?"
He started laughing, and the gun came down a few inches more. I'm used to being laughed at, but the funny thing was, I didn't really feel he was laughing at *me*. It was more like, somehow, he was laughing at himself.
"Don't they ever let you out, Mr. Science? You must be the only person in this entire building who wouldn't know who I am and shoot me on sight." He walked over until he was standing right in front of me, the gun almost dangling from his hand.
I swallowed again. He had really incredible green eyes, like limeade on ice. "I don't carry a gun. I'm not a special agent."
The man smiled. It was not a nice smile, but it was an awfully attractive one, just the same.
"Hey, I used to work for the Bureau myself, so I know you're armed. At least, you should be, if you're on Bureau business in any way. Now, I don't really want to have to kill somebody like you, so just hand me your weapon and let me tie you up so I can get what I need and get out of here."
That's when I grabbed for the gun.
Okay, I'm an FBI agent, I was trained to shoot a gun, but I'm not very good at it. I took a six-hour test in sixty minutes and got one of the highest scores on record, but I *barely* passed my fireams exam. I was, however, a wrestler in high school and college, and I still work out. I got a good grip on the wrist of the hand with the gun in it, and I forced it away from me with enough strength to make the other man's eyes shoot open with surprise.
Gotcha, I thought. He was taller, but I was heavier, and in some things, it's good to be short and have your center of gravity low to the ground--
I hooked my leg around his and yanked him off-balance. He fell, the gun flying out of his hand, and I fell right on top of him, nose to nose with my fingers still wrapped around his wrist.
I pinned him good, just like I used to when I wrestled, and got my weight settled over him. I would have had him, surely, if the bastard hadn't raised his head and kissed me.
I guess he did it just to startle me, just because it might be the only thing that would shake me up and make me let go. His head darted up like a snake's, and his lips clamped on mine as if he were going to sink in his fangs. My eyes flapped open like windowshades and then slammed shut when his tongue slid into my mouth.
Boy, could he kiss.
That tongue roved over every nerve in my mouth. I think he counted my taste buds. I'm sure he found my two fillings. Alarm bells and flashing lights were going off in my head, and something else was threatening to go off, too. And it wasn't the gun that was lying six feet away from us.
I realized I was as hard as a rock inside my pants and grinding myself against something just as hard inside his pants. Dear Jesus. There was no way this was happening. Not to me. I do not get this lucky, not even at Christmas.
And then I was on my back with him on top of me, smiling sweetly. "Tell you what, Agent Pendrell," he purred, "I'll just come back and steal what I need another night, when you're not here."
He got up with one supple movement that reminded me, again, of a snake, and disappeared into the shadows, taking his gun with him. And mine, too.
Here is where I stopped being a good boy. I didn't tell anyone what had happened, not that night, not later. I had to fib about the loss of my gun. I packed up everything I'd been working on and went home. I may even have exceeded the speed limit. Then I got into the FBI network from home and found out who my assailant was.
Holy shit. Alex Krycek.
After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I masturbated not once but twice, and I wasn't thinking about red hair and blue eyes and perfect bee-stung lips on a five-foot-two frame. No, I was thinking about spiky black hair and lime snowball eyes and the smell of black leather. The smell of danger.
I masturbated compulsively for three or four nights, and then, just after New Year's, I did the thing that really got me in trouble. I went to this gay bar.
A very nice gay bar. A very *safe* gay bar. Oh, I was careful. I did my research. No leather, no disco--I can waltz, but that's about it--just nice well-groomed guys eating Chex mix with their margaritas and listening to show tunes. The perfect place for a clueless Richie Cunningham to come out of his closet.
Only Arthur Fonzarelli was there already, waiting for me.
I was sitting in a corner, trying to get up my nerve to go play some songs on the jukebox, when I hear this all too familiar voice saying, "So, Mr. Science, they let you out of the lab tonight?"
Alex Krycek sat down across from me, smiling like he knew I wasn't going to try to apprehend him or even call the local cops. He had a drink in one hand and a bowl of snack mix in the other.
"That's Dr. Science to you, Mr. Double Agent," I said haughtily, and then cursed myself for talking like an idiot.
Alex just kept smiling. "Oh, now you know who I am." He glanced around the room as if looking for someone and then focused those implausibly green eyes on my eyes. "Come here often?"
"No," I heard myself say, "it's my first time." Shit, Pendrell! Why don't you just tell him you're a virgin right now so he can laugh in your face and still get home early?
Alex tilted his head and looked at me. Not a snake now, but a bird. A bird with a spiky black crest. "So," he said after staring at me for a minute, "what brings you here tonight, Jim?"
"Jamie." I gulped my beer. "My friends call me Jamie."
I don't remember what we talked about. It was just the sort of thing you talk about with someone you're just getting to know. Sports, books, music, tv, whatever. I just remember fumbling to get my key into the lock with Alex Krycek looking over my shoulder.
He's a traitor, I kept thinking. He's probably, no, don't kid yourself, definitely a murderer. He helped whoever kidnapped Dana. And you want to have sex with him? You want scum like him to be the first person you have sex with?
Yes. Because he talked *and* he listened, and when was the last time a non-relative *listened* to me talk about something that wasn't lab results?
I managed to get the door open, and I stepped aside to let Alex go in first. As soon as I had the door closed, my back was against it and Alex's mouth was pressed against mine. I heard myself groan, felt my knees go weak, and realized what I'd been craving since that crazy night in the lab, what had sent me to a gay bar with condoms in my coat pocket--not to have to always be brave, not to have to always make the first move, not to have to pretend to experience I didn't have because, after all, that's the guy's job. Just to stand there, or lie there, and let somebody else show the way.
Now before visions of bondage toys start dancing in your head, that is *not* what I'm talking about, okay? Yes, I've heard about that kind of sex, and no, I don't mean I want to be a slave in an Anne Rice novel. It's just that, even now, on the eve of the twenty-first century, it's the man who's expected to be in charge, to be suave and debonaire or at least horny and demanding. I can't be like that all the time, not even out of bed. I mean, male or female, a person deserves to be treated like an equal.
Anyway, Alex was doing that thing with his tongue, and both of us were doing that thing with our hips, and suddenly it occurred to me that maybe he wouldn't want me if he knew I was a virgin. Yeah, right, like he wouldn't have guessed.
So I yanked my mouth away--he had my face between his hands--and said, "Uh, Alex--"
"I know," he said, and bit me on the throat. "I promise I'll be gentle."
At which point he dropped to his knees in front of me and started undoing my pants.
"Uh, Alex--Alex--oh, God, *Alex*!"
There is pretty much no point to feeling inhibited about having sex with someone once you've come in their mouth.
The next thing I remember for sure, we were in the bedroom trying to peel each other's clothes off like the layers of an onion. I think we may have tripped over the cat on our way there. She was really mad at me the next day. We couldn't stop kissing each other, and clothes were flying all over the bedroom. Yes, I *am* the neat freak everybody seems to think I am, but right at that particular moment, I didn't care. I yanked down the bedcovers with one hand while the other was busy in Alex's hair, and backed onto the bed so that he was lying on top of me, sort of.
Alex stopped kissing me, which was not what I had in mind, and gave me another thoughtful birdlike look. "So what do you want to do?" he asked. "Aside from what we've already done?"
I shrugged and then smiled. "Let's just do whatever feels good. For once in my life, Alex, I don't want to plan ahead."
He gave me a big grin and then another big kiss. For a while there, I thought I was going to come again just from rubbing up against him while his tongue was in my mouth. Alex had other plans, however; that incredibly skillful, incredibly shameless mouth worked its way down from my mouth to my groin, counting every freckle as it went. I had no idea my nipples were even interested in sex; I suppose that explains why human males, at least, still have them.
I was pretty shameless, too. Somebody was making an awful lot of noise in that room, and it couldn't have been Alex because his mouth never left my skin. I couldn't keep from moaning and groaning and gasping and panting and so forth, and I couldn't keep still, either. I'm not the most limber person in the world--I think that award goes to Alex--but I would have to say I was writhing. It just felt so--*good*. Nothing I could say would be adequate to describe what it was like to be in the hands of a very practiced lover--I can tell practice when I see it--who was completely focused on me. And that was the joy of it. He was paying attention to *me*. He had *noticed* me. Nobody ever notices me. Nobody pays me any attention. Not if their last name isn't the same as mine.
He was sucking on me again when he tried to put his finger inside me. I wasn't really comfortable with that, so I said, "No--Alex--not yet, please--"
"Okay." The finger went away, and then I kind of missed it, but I still wasn't sure if I wanted to--go there. So instead I said, "Alex, I want to touch *you*--"
He rolled away from me and spread out his arms. God! I don't really think I'm going to hell for this, but I'd do it anyway if I did think so. Alex is everything I've always wanted to be--tall and thin and dark, dangerous and mysterious, able to move fast and gracefully, able to intimidate people if he has to. That black hair and those green eyes, long slim muscles like a runner, and not much body hair, not as much as I have--dark tufts under his arms and a thin line growing from his navel down into more hair in his crotch. And he was going to let me touch him, like he actually thought it might feel good. Thank you, Lord. At least I won't die a virgin.
Well, I was proud of myself. I touched him and I kissed him and I even got up my nerve to taste him a little, and Alex reacted pretty much the same way I had. It was the biggest turn-on to hear somebody with a deep voice, I mean, not a woman's voice, groaning because I'd touched him. We wound up in a tight clinch, arms around each other, legs around each other, tongues working like crazy. Finally Alex settled down and started sucking on me again, torturing me, making it last, and though I didn't have the nerve, yet, to take him in my mouth, I got a good grip on him--his skin there feels like velvet--and managed to get him to come about the same time I did.
I know we both fell asleep together in the messed up, sticky bed. When I got up in the morning, he was gone, but there was a note on the bathroom mirror--I keep post-its right there on the back of the toilet--
"Keep your eyes open, Jamie. I'll be back. Alex."
I didn't see him for almost three weeks. I cried myself to sleep a couple of nights. Then I came home after a late-night run to the grocery store and there he was, in my bed, naked and touching himself. It was Friday night, and the next morning he stuck around till almost lunchtime, and we talked, catching up on what I'd been doing.
We didn't talk about what he'd been doing.
I got used to his coming and going, showing up without warning, leaving the same way. He was like a cat we had when I was a kid that used to disappear for weeks at a time, yet always show up again, sometimes needing a trip to the vet, or just ready to be fed and petted and loved. Only I felt petted and loved, fed by his desire to make love with me and to listen to what I had to say.
I never forgot who and what he was, why he had a perfectly good reason not to be around all the time. But I know that it was making love, not just having sex. He's not a bad person. I mean, no one is completely bad. And no one is completely good, either. I've had him inside me, I've been inside him, and I know that bodies don't lie; Alex Krycek cares about me as much as he is able, and I care about him.
And Dana? The ache went away, the one I had because she never noticed me, no matter what I did, she never listened. The jealousy of Mulder went away, mostly. At least I learned that you don't have to look good in an expensive suit in order to be desirable. I don't have to pretend to be something I'm not in order to get Alex to listen.
Just as I've never pretended he's something he's not. Really.
I've always been a good guy. That's my problem. But nobody is completely good, I think, and nobody is completely bad.
Like me and Alex.