It was dirty and dark in the room. The only light that entered, for the poor incarcerated bastards, was a thin beam of the intense sun through the small barred windows high up near the ceiling. As the sun filtered in, the sand did also. In the air, clouds of fine dust whirled, the dirt sticking to sweaty skin. The days were hot, hot as hell, and the nights freezing cold. First the coolness lay like balm on heated skin, and then gooseflesh came, and shivers.
There was a cacaphony of noise, voices screaming in hard languages, people banging on things, behaving like madmen. And maybe they were, being locked in here truly increased the risk for that.
And the odors...the smell of dirt, sweat and other less pleasant body fluids. First the stench was unbearable, and then you came to smell as bad yourself, the stench sticking to your skin and clothes, as the dirt did. Knowing that the chance for a shower was as big as the chance of an ice cube out there in the frying sand, the future didn't look good. As small wounds became infected and the stomach turned upside down after yet another disgusting meal that you had to fight hard for.
It was the law of the jungle in here. There were no gangs, like in western prisons; everybody guarded their own interests with their life, regardless of whether it was for a good sleeping space, a rag of clothes or a moldy piece of bread
He had been tested when he first entered the hellhole. As a foreigner, unable to speak the language and also having just one arm, he was at first considered weak prey. Someone you could take the clothes, food and space from. They soon discovered that the newly arrived prisoner wasn't prey, but rather a predator. And he was now, most of the time, left alone; avoided by the weaker and ignored by the equals.
How the hell did he get here? This was crazy, yet another twisted prank in his otherwise already fucked up life.
Sitting in one of the quieter corners of the big room, feeling lousy, he still tried to keep a tough exterior. He shivered despite the hot nauseating air. Dehydration from the illness he had suffered the last few days, made him light headed.
Unable to recall how long he had been here, how many escape plans he had attempted and how many fights he had fought, he still tried to keep his head cool. He intended to survive this. There was in his genes to never ever fully give up, to grasp at even the smallest possibilities of positive.
He had to admit that it didn't look good this time though. But what the hell, he hadn't quite thought of a bright future in the silo either.
Suddenly the already intense noise and activity in the room increased significantly. What was going on? It wasn't time for food and the arrival of newcomers didn't warrant such attention.
Despite feeling weak, curiosity took over; he had to see what was going on. People seemed to crowd at the barred side of the room. Pushing himself through the mass he finally saw the reason of the commotion, and couldn't quite believe his eyes.
Mulder stood there, looking clean and proper as ever. So beautiful in all the ugliness, so cool, and nice as a mirage to a thirsty man in the desert.
He had a troubled look on his face, biting his lower lip, looking around the faces of the crowd on the other side of the bars. Suddenly their eyes met, their gazes instantly locking to each other. Mulder walked closer to the bars where he stood.
Mulder couldn't miss that man's eyes. He had such an intense gaze, and still enigmatic. Even in the surrounding filth, the look was so alive, so amazingly full of spirit. He had always been hypnotized by those green eyes.
"Krycek", he almost whispered, as if afraid to scare him away shouting out too loud. Krycek pushed aside a man standing in his way, studying Mulder, too confused to say anything.
The feeling of water gushing over him was so wonderful that he couldn't help moaning out loud. He couldn't recall how long it had been since he last enjoyed such luxury, and he turned his face to the running water. Letting it rinse away the dirt, the stench, and all of the disgusting things he had experienced in the prison. When Mulder passed him a bar of soap, he thought he was in heaven, enjoying the sweet scent and the cleansing lather.
"Who sent you?" Krycek asked, feeling Mulder's stare without opening his eyes where he stood under the water, rinsing the lather from the hair.
"No one sent me. I found you myself". Krycek rubbed the water from his eyes and looked in surprise at Mulder.
"I needed to find you", Mulder said cryptically. Krycek contemplated that for a while, but decided to push it aside for the moment. He was too tired for any games, and would accept that evasive answer for now. He really wanted to stay under the water a while longer, but he started to get the chills again and felt rather weak.
He shivered like a little boy, who had been bathing too long, putting on the clothes Mulder had brought, enjoying the softness of the fabric against his sore skin.
Mulder took him out of the terrible prison, and the sun outside hit his eyes painfully. Seeing his discomfort, Mulder gave him his sunglasses without a word. Krycek accepted them gratefully, and then they walked to a jeep waiting on the dry desert road outside.
After sitting in the backseat of the jeep looking out the window at nothing in particular, Krycek felt so relaxed that he fell asleep.
Mulder looked at the man in the backseat, content to see the relaxed features of the man. It hadn't been easy tracking him down to Tunisia. Alex must have pissed someone off really badly to be sent to such a terrible place. Realizing the obstacles still in front of him when he arrived in Tunisia, he had been afraid that he wouldn't be able to find Krycek.
Bribing the prisoner guards was quite easy, but finding the right person wasn't. The conditions in the prison were horrible, and the guards didn't really know whether any particular person was alive or not. When a prisoner was incarcerated, his identity was lost. There was no reason for keeping track of prisoners, since the chances for leaving the place alive were very small, and a human life wasn't worth much here.
If Krycek was to be released, he had to find the man himself...and looking into the big room with bars on one side, crawling with screaming people, Mulder had at first lost some of his hopes. Then he had met the familiar green eyes.
Releasing the man and taking him to the primitive shower rigged up in the prison, Mulder had watched the man feeling horrified. He was painfully thin and sickly pale under the loose fitting clothes and dirt. And his left arm! There was no arm! The sleeve was clumsily tied up, and the remainder of the arm shivered slightly when he walked in front of him. The horrors of Tunguska hit Mulder hard in the face. The cynical words of "beating him with one hand" that Krycek had said at their last encounter, the one that had ended so strangely, made things fall to place. Krycek hadn't abandoned him willingly, in the forests of Tunguska; he had been captured, unable to reach him.
Anyway, that was the past, this was now, and he had found him. Even if not he was not in one piece, Alex was now sitting slumped back against the window in the backseat of the truck. Sleeping soundly even if the bumpy road made his head hit the glass occasionally. That was what's counted, that he had found his rat.
It was so quiet and comfortable. No sound from other prisoners, no cold concrete floors with itching straw. And no bad smells. I must be dreaming Krycek thought. The distinct humming from a fan was the only thing he could hear, and he was lying on something soft with a light blanket over him. The sound of a metal spoon against glass broke the silence, and a spicy smell reached him, as a familiar monotone voice spoke.
"I know you're awake Krycek, sit up and have something to drink".
Krycek experienced a moment of disorientation, and then everything fell into place, and he remembered being released by Mulder. But, everything else, from the moment of stepping into the jeep, was a blur. He opened his eyes, blinked twice to focus, looked around the room and stopped as his gaze fell on Mulder. He sat on a straw chair beside the bed and held a tall glass with steaming amber colored liquid.
"Got your bearings back?" Mulder looked amused at the other mans face. Krycek blinked again and made a faint grimace hard to interpret.
"How..." Kryceks rusty voice broke and he cleared his throat. Mulder handed the glass to him.
"Here drink this. It's herb tea that, according to the natives, should be kind to your stomach". Krycek struggled up into sitting position and reached for the glass. His hand was shaking so much that Mulder at first kept his grip at the glass. Smelling the spicy fluid, Krycek carefully sipped some. It was tepid, sweet, and tasty and made his taste buds jump for joy. He gulped a quarter of the contents, but then suddenly put the glass down. Mulder caught the expression of his face and took the glass. A wave of nausea hit Krycek, during which he swallowed repeatedly, cold sweat pearling on his brow.
"You have to take it easy I guess", Mulder said. "You're dehydrated and need to drink, but your stomach has been badly abused".
"Tell me something I don't know!" Krycek spat back with eyes sparkling with anger, suddenly feeling the urge to give something back of all the horrible things he'd experienced. The one it hit though was Mulder, and Krycek instantly regret his irritated response as he saw the other man's expression. This wasn't Mulder's fault. He was the innocent and exploited in this bad game, and he had also been the one saving him.
Krycek lowered his eyes, ashamed and sad. He glanced at Mulder from under his eyelashes and cleared his throat again.
"I'm sorry, forgive my temper, I have no reason to take anything out on you...I'm not quite myself I guess". They looked at each other again. Hazel meeting green, and to Krycek's surprise, he could see forgiveness and something remotely like trust and...love in the other man's eyes.
It isn't possible Krycek thought...then again; everything could be possible in his twisted world, couldn't it? Could it really be true that he meant something to Mulder, something not including beatings, hate and revenge?
"It's okay. If I'd been through what you have, I'd probably bite the first hand stretching out at me". To Krycek's relief the pained expression had vanished from Mulder's face, and he looked himself again, almost smug.
"You must have pissed someone off really bad", Mulder said.
"It's an acquired skill of mine" Krycek said cynically, but with a smile. "How long have I been passed out?"
"About a day or so, you were in a pretty bad shape. I had a doctor look at you, he wanted to take you to the hospital, but considering the standards here, I thought that you'd be better off where you were". Mulder passed him the glass again and Krycek sipped the fluid more carefully.
"Thanks, I hate hospitals you know".
"And I kind of guessed that" Mulder smiled. "Nevertheless, you have to submit yourself to antibiotics, plenty of fluids and rest".
The singing shouts of a prayer from one of the plentiful call-out towers could be heard. Krycek grimaced.
"I can do that, but I'd give a fortune to leave this horrible country at once".
"I know your first impression of the country isn't the best, but I'm afraid you're in no condition to leave yet either".
"I'm rather sure I could manage to move my ass to a plane".
"Sure you could, but that wouldn't do you any good. I'm sorry but I won't allow that, you have to stay put".
Krycek took a breath to argue, but then thought better of it and satisfied himself with a deep sigh, telling more than any words. Mulder patted his right leg cheering up, and Krycek flinched at the somehow electric touch. Studying the color rising in the other man's pale cheeks, Mulder smiled.
"You'll be okay. We'll be out of here before you know it. On the other hand, you might learn to enjoy the other side of this country".
"I doubt that, but anything's better than the hellhole I just came from".
Even if this country was hot, dirty and at some points chaotic, the market place was an extraordinary experience. So many new impressions, different merchandise and spicy exotic smells together with a very lively atmosphere, made it something very special.
Mulder walked the dry street back to the hotel, carrying bread, fresh fruits, tea, bottled water and marmalade. There was a small restaurant at the hotel, but Krycek wasn't strong enough to leave the room.
So, why was he here on the other side of the world, saving Krycek's ass? Mulder didn't have a straight answer to that. Since their last encounter at his apartment, he hadn't been able to stop thinking of the man. Krycek's peck on his cheek had woken certain feelings slumbering deep in his subconscious mind. That, together with his words, had made Mulder spend this long investigation finding and rescuing him.
Closer to the room he had rented, a sudden concern of not finding the man inside, struck Mulder. He hurried and unlocked the door.
The bed was empty. Mulder almost dropped the stuff he was carrying to the floor, but then he heard sounds from the bathroom. Relieved Mulder put the groceries on the table and went over to the bathroom door and knocked. There was no answer.
"Hey, are you okay in there?" Mulder waited a few seconds then pushed the door open. The room was moist and dim from the shower, and Krycek sat on the floor, dressed only in boxers, with his head on his knees.
"What's the matter?" Mulder asked, kneeling down to the man. Krycek looked up, eyes red as if he had been crying.
"I took a shower, then I got sick - throwing my guts up...now I just feel exhausted".
Mulder looked tenderly at the man. He looked like a boy with his pale face and wet tousled hair. Another look at the broad shoulders and long muscular legs told him otherwise though. The stomach was hard and well trained, and Mulder couldn't help following the soft hair that ran from the navel and down under the elastic of the boxers. The crotch bulged and Mulder forced himself to look away, feeling the blood rush to his own groin. Fortunately, Krycek was too occupied with his own misery to notice Mulders indiscreet examinations. Mulder swallowed loudly and tried to think of an ice bucket, a cold shower, whatever chill he could visualize.
"You shouldn't have strained yourself, you're not strong enough for any demanding exercises yet you know". Krycek didn't answer that; he just looked at Mulder and then struggled to rise. Mulder reached to help him, but Krycek twitched at his touch.
"I'll manage", he mumbled and walked out the bathroom on wobbly legs, sinking tiredly down at the bed. Mulder looked after the man, feeling sad that he hadn't been allowed to help him. On the other hand, why should he? Nevertheless he wanted to take care of Krycek, to kiss his pained face, his battered body...his body...
Mulder shook his head, what was the matter with him? He walked out of the bathroom and to the groceries he'd left on the table.
"I bought some food, thought you might try some", he said.
Krycek shook his head. "No, I can't eat yet...sorry". Did he really say sorry? Mulder looked at him, and then walked over with the bottled water.
"Okay, but you have to drink". Krycek took the bottle and carefully drank the water.
This was torture, Mulder thought, studying the movements of Krycek's throat as he swallowed. He watched a trickle of water run down Krycek's chin, down that long neck to rest in the hollow of his throat.
The flat stomach, the long legs, the...Mulder closed his eyes. Damned it! He opened his eyes again, and they fell on Alex's left arm. A sudden spark of anger hit him. Who were those bastards who had desecrated this beautiful body? Then he felt sad. The arm was brutally carved off right above the non-existent elbow. The scar tissue was prominently colored, and it would take a long time for it to fade, Mulder thought.
Then he realized that Krycek was watching him, he had an embarrassed expression on his face. Krycek turned a little, as if to hide his left side, put the bottle on the nightstand and settled down under the light blankets. Mulder felt almost relieved that he wasn't able to see Krycek's bare body any longer taking the temptation away. Nevertheless he was very much aware of what was under the thin soft fabric, and could follow the outline of every contour of it.
He swallowed hard and went back to the food he'd bought, thinking that he would have a snack. Then he thought that a shower would be a better idea, a cold one.
Mulder looked drowsily round the room; something had woken him, but he wasn't sure what it was. The room was quiet and still, and the only light was from the full moon coming through the windows.
Then he heard it, a soft whimpering from the other bed. He sat up and walked over the cold marble floor to the man lying in it. Krycek appeared to be asleep, but twisted restlessly and mumbled something in his sleep.
He stood there watching the man for a while, not sure if he should wake him, or just leave him. Not really aware of what he did, he laid down beside Krycek stroked his shoulder and mumbled something soothing. The response was immediate; Krycek relaxed markedly, moved closer to him in sleep, sighed and snuggled content in his arms.
Mulder was amazed by his own feelings...he felt so comfortable with this. It was as if in a dream, it felt so unreal, but yet so good. A tingling sensation of happiness and other feelings he wasn't able to interpret filled him, and he embraced the man hard, and after a while, fell asleep again.
The sensation of comfort was complete. Krycek felt better than he had been for weeks, and he enjoyed the feeling lying still with closed eyes. It felt so good and...a slight movement to his left made him tense.
He suddenly realized that he was lying close to another person. He could feel the heaviness of an arm over his hip and the warmth of a body next to him. Carefully turning, his eyes fell on Mulder, peacefully sleeping.
Confused Krycek studied the sleeping man. What had happened last night? What was Mulder doing in his bed? He couldn't quite remember anything from yesterday other than Mulder stepping into the shower. Then he must have fallen asleep, or...?
Curiously looking at Mulder, he realized that he had never had the chance to look at him this close, this thoroughly and this long before. He found that he thought Mulder was beautiful. Even the nose, that he knew Mulder himself considered too big, was so very special...beautiful, because it belonged to Mulder. He could see the fine laugh lines around Mulder's eyes and mouth, and wanted so desperately to touch the face. Not wanting to wake the man, Krycek pleased himself with just looking at him, feeling his closeness. Hearing the steady breathing and smelling the clean Mulder scent.
After a while Krycek could hear the slight difference in breathing that indicated that Mulder was waking up. Amazed, Krycek saw the beautiful smile on Mulder's lush lips, before he opened his eyes. The hazel eyes met his with surprise, and Krycek smiled back.
"Do you always start the day with a smile?" Krycek asked. Mulder recovered his smile again.
"Only when I've been dreaming something pleasant" They looked intensely at each other.
"I'd give a fortune to know what that was," Krycek said, persistently looking at Mulder's chest.
"How much did you say you were you willing to give?" Mulder said, looking almost seductive. Krycek wasn't slow picking up the expression, willing to play the game, and got something wicked in his own eyes.
"So what do you want?"
"Do I have to say it out loud?" Krycek studied Mulder for a while, and then carefully touched Mulder's face. His hand trembled as he caressed the other man's face, and his eyes never left Mulder's for a second while he did that. As he reached the lips, Mulder opened his mouth, turned his face and sucked the fingers, closing his eyes.
Krycek tensed for a split second, but then relaxed, moving closer to Mulder. This was so unbelievable crazy...but what the fuck!
He leaned forward till their lips met. It was a sensational feeling, almost electric at the first touch, sending a tingling sensation down Krycek's spine. They kissed deeper and deeper, rubbing their bodies together.
Krycek felt the tingling reach his groin and his cock rose. He reached his hand down to Mulder's crotch, and found the cock hard and erect. Grabbing it gently and stroking faster and faster he made Mulder moan, then scream, his pelvis thrusting spasmodically.
God! It felt so amazingly good Krycek was able to think, before Mulder clutched him tightly, kissing him so hard that he had to gasp.
Mulder thought he would explode. Fireworks flashed in front of his eyes as the orgasm rushed through his body, and he knew that he wouldn't be able to hold himself much longer.
He grabbed for Krycek, braced him, kissed him, and almost cried with joy. He heard Krycek's hard breathing. Oh how he wanted to please this man, but God, he thought he would explode, implode. Krycek was giving him an orgasm like he hadn't experienced in years, if ever.
"Let it go Mulder, come for me...come for me now!" Krycek's voice was thick with lust, and Mulder thrust a few more times and then came, spraying like a geyser.
Panting they lay in each other's arms. It was Mulder who first moved, brushing Krycek's sweat damp hair from his brow, kissing him. Mulder wanted to do the same thing for Krycek. To send him out in the seventh heaven, flying high, just as he had done for Mulder. Krycek looked at him, not saying a word, but Mulder could see that he actually was as content as he was.
He looked tired though, and Mulder let it go with just a few kisses. They would have plenty of time wouldn't they? They would do this over and over again, and thinking about it made Mulder almost high with happiness. Nothing could cloud his happy mood right now he wouldn't allow it.
"What have we done?" Krycek suddenly wondered out aloud.
"Are you having second thoughts?"
"No, I don't regret a thing" Krycek said seriously.
"Good, me neither" Mulder said matter of factly, stretching his body, looking fully content "...and I hope you won't in the future either. I'd like to think this will become a habit".
"So you mean that we should just not give a fuck about the past, what has happened? Could you do that, or will you in the future continue stabbing me with the past when it's convenient?"
"Did you say fuck?"
"Shit Mulder! I'm serious damn it!"
"Such language" Mulder said amused.
"You'd prefer it in Russian?"
"Yeah, why not?" Krycek opened his mouth, but didn't say anything.
"No, sorry. I'll stop teasing you" Mulder said, suddenly serious. "The only thing I know, is that this felt more right than anything I've done for a long time. I'm not quite sure why I looked you up in the first place, but I guess I've always wanted something more between us"
Krycek was quiet still, looking amazed at Mulder, who rubbed his chin with his hand and continued.
"About the past. We have both done stupid things, and we have both been under the influence of very powerful, convincing men...and I hope we will be able to start anew. I want to get to know you, not just physically, which I also intend, but I want to know you, Alex Krycek"
"Do you really mean that?"
"Yes...the rational part of me has a hard time believing it...but yes I really mean that" They studied each other a while in silence, and then they both smiled.
"You know something?" Krycek said. Mulder looked questioningly at him.
"No? What?" He sort of braced himself for the answer, didn't want Krycek to say something that would hurt him. God, he looked so sly.
"...I'm really hungry. Do you have some of the food from yesterday left, or did you munch everything?" Mulder blew out the breath he had held, laughing in relief.
"You crook! I thought...I don't know what I thought..." Krycek looked back at him, and laughed too.
"But I meant it...I'm starving" He smiled, eyes shining bright. Mulder smiled and took a grip on Krycek's chin, stroking his lips with his thumb.
"Then we're most definitely going to eat, I have most of it left. You stay put, and I'll prepare a meal for us to eat in bed".
"Breakfast in bed...I must really be dreaming"
"Our lives are going to be a dream from now on"
"I'd love that" Krycek smiled. He yawned and curled down under the blankets again while Mulder got up.
Breaking the bread, slicing and peeling the fresh fruits, Mulder smiled, he was so insanely happy. Looking towards the bed, Krycek lay there quietly studying him, green eyes shining. Mulder took the immersion heater from the pot and poured the hot water through the tea strainer. Loading it all together with the marmalade and brown sugar on a tray.
<This is something I could get used to> Mulder thought, carrying the stuff to the bed. Looking at the beautiful young man, with eyes full of lust and love, he carefully placed the tray on the bed, reaching for the waiting kiss.