Alex Krycek almost had the car started when he heard the gun click and looked up to see a bald man in a suit, gun pointed at him.
"Out of the car, hands up," the man ordered.
Krycek cursed his bad luck, wondering how the cop had found him. He got out of the car, his arms raised. The man forced him against the car and searched him, finding only a knife. Krycek waited to be read his rights, and to be handcuffed. The last thing he knew was a pain in his head and then blackness.
Krycek woke up in a strange bedroom, handcuffed to a thick iron headboard. He tried to focus, but it was difficult with his head throbbing. He'd been so sure the man was a cop.
And now he had no idea where he was. He considered making noise, but didn't think that would go over too well, so he waited. And hoped someone would come soon. He really needed to go to the bathroom.
He had just dozed off again when the door opening jerked him back to awareness. The big bald man who'd hit him stood there. This time he was dressed in a t-shirt and blue jeans, holding a bottle of water and two apples.
Krycek tensed, looking at him warily. The man tossed the water and apples on the bed, then fished a key from his pocket.
"You need to piss before you eat?" He asked his prisoner.
Krycek nodded. The man uncuffed him and Krycek sagged with relief and rubbed his wrists.
Krycek stood and wobbled slightly. The man reached out to steady him. Then, after recuffing his hands in front, the man spread Krycek's hair from around the bump he'd given him and examined it.
"My head really hurts. I might have a concussion."
"I didn't hit you that hard. Don't be a pussy. Come on," he said, urging Krycek toward the bathroom.
"You've got two minutes, then I'm coming in after you."
Krycek looked around the bathroom, desperate to find any kind of weapon, but his bladder demanded immediate attention. As soon as he finished, he carefully opened a cabinet.
"Thirty seconds!", the man warned.
Krycek grabbed a can of Lysol, waiting for the man to open the door.
"All right, I'm coming in!"
As soon as the door opened, Krycek raised his hands, aiming the disinfectant at the man's eyes. He swung his head to the side, missing most of it.
"You son of a bitch!" The man hit him once, hard, in his stomach, and he went down. Then he was yanked up by his hair and shoved toward the bed. Before Krycek had a chance to recover, he was handcuffed to the bed again, this time by his left wrist only. The man pulled his head up to look in his eyes.
"I was trying to be decent, give you some privacy, and this is how you repay me? I hope you enjoyed it. Because next time, you can piss on yourself. I don't care."
And then he was gone. Krycek lay there a long time, not moving. When the pain had faded to a dull ache, he picked up the water and drank, a little at first, to make sure his abused stomach didn't cause it to come right back up. When it stayed down, he tried a little more, then ate one of the apples. He saved one, and half the water. He wasn't really sure when he would be given any more. With nothing else to do, he pondered the fates that put him in the wrong place at the worst possible time. And he still didn't know what the fuck was going on. Who had he pissed off this time?
He got his answer presently. His host was back, this time holding a phone.
"Yes sir. He's here and he's not going anywhere." A pause. "Drop it at the usual place. Goodbye." He turned to Krycek. "Okay. Spender says I can tell you now."
The words electrified Krycek. He began to struggle.
"Calm down," the man told him. "I don't do wet kills. It'll be quick. First, though, he wants you to know why. You obviously know who Charles Spender is."
Krycek stilled. Charles Spender was well known in mob circles. He had a hand in everything, gambling, pornography, any illegal activity that could be imagined. Including car theft.
"What about him?" Krycek asked warily.
"You've been a pain in the ass for him for quite some time. When he asked you to . . . join his organization, you refused. He doesn't like to be turned down. And when you started moving into his territory, well, that was the last straw, so to speak."
"So you're doing his dirty work for him."
"I don't do anyone's dirty work. I get paid for what I do. I get paid well. And who are you to lecture me, some small time car thief."
"I'm good enough Spender's willing to kill me to keep me out of his way. And I heard you on the phone. 'Yes, sir, it'll be taken care of, sir'," Krycek sneered. "Sounds like you're his bitch to me."
The man advanced threateningly. He stopped abruptly. "I'm going to assume since you know you're going to die anyway, you don't care how angry you make me. As a rule, I don't hurt people before I kill them. But keep it up and I'd be willing to make an exception in this case."
Several things started to click in Krycek's muddled, panicked mind. No wet kills, he did his job and was paid well . . . and hadn't he been hearing that Spender had a new favored employee?
Krycek gasped. "Shit! You're Walter Skinner, aren't you?"
The man smiled. "The one and only."
Now there was a sinking feeling in Krycek's stomach. No one got away from Skinner. He was the best. Krycek figured he didn't have anything to lose, so he decided on a course of action that had served him well over the years.
"Look, Skinner, I'm sorry. As you might imagine, I'm a little scared. Nervous. I didn't mean to piss you off. I'm sorry."
"It's understandable. I promise you, I'll make it quick."
"How long do I have?"
"Spender gets back to town in a few days. He didn't really expect you to be so easy to find, or I'm sure he would've stayed."
Krycek thought of another unpleasant possibility. Spender was sadistic.
"He's going to be here? He won't - - you won't let him - - "
"Torture you? No. He knows I don't do things that way."
"Thank you. You hear things . . ."
"I don't do those kinds of jobs."
"You do have a good reputation. I mean . . ."
"I know what you mean. Look, I'm heading out for a while. I'll bring you back some dinner."
"I do have to cuff your other wrist, though."
After Skinner left, Krycek tested the strength of the cuffs, and the bed frame. Both were sturdy. He rattled the cuffs in frustration, then made his hand as narrow as possible, but it was hopeless. He thought of a Stephen King book he'd read once, admittedly not his best, but in it, a woman was handcuffed to a bed. She used a broken glass to cut the skin around her wrist and slide out of the cuff. It had made his skin crawl to read about her almost peeling the skin off her hand. But this didn't help him, because she had the advantage of having lost weight, and, unlike him, she had access to a glass. He pulled on the cuffs some more, only managing to bruise and abrade his wrists. Finally he gave up and fell into a troubled sleep, waking when he heard the door open. Skinner came in with a take out pizza box and beer. As he put it down, Krycek asked timidly, "Ah, Skinner, I need the bathroom again. Please?"
Skinner looked at him levelly. "This time I come with you."
He moved to unlock the cuffs, staring for a moment at Krycek's wrists. Krycek looked up guiltily.
Skinner cuffed his hands in front again. "I would've done the same thing. It's human nature."
Skinner followed him to the bathroom. Krycek unbuttoned, all too aware of Skinner's presence. He had a hard time urinating, and when it finally started, it seemed to go on forever. Skinner let him wash his hands, then they went back to the bedroom. Skinner left his right hand uncuffed as he had earlier. Skinner dragged a chair over beside the bed, then grabbed a beer and handed it to Krycek. He took another for himself, and opened the pizza, offering it to Krycek first. He watched his prisoner eat hungrily.
"How long since you've eaten a real meal?"
"A couple of days? When I'm working, I forget."
"You consider car theft an occupation?"
"Well, I'm good at it and it pays well."
Skinner laughed. "Same here."
"For what it's worth, Krycek, you're taking this well. You haven't gone crazy, or started begging, or tried to make me an offer I can't refuse. That's why I go for clean kills. I don't go for this bringing the mark home with me shit."
"Is this your home?"
"It's one I use."
"And is there anything I could offer you?"
"No. In the first place, Spender would have me killed. And more importantly, when I accept a job, I do it."
"Even if it's for an immoral man and I don't deserve to die?"
"You think a lot of moral men hire me? And think about it. If it wasn't me, it would just be someone else. Someone less . . . professional. Besides, you brought this on yourself. If you were an insurance salesman, or maybe a dentist, this wouldn't be happening to you. How'd you end up a car thief anyway?"
"I found out I was good at it in high school. Then when . . . later, I did it for quick money. By the time I stopped to think about it, it was the only thing I was good at. How did you become a hit man?"
"We're not talking about me."
"I told you, you tell me."
"My dad was a hit man. I followed in his footsteps."
"Your father didn't have a problem with that?"
"I didn't say that. I think he honestly believed we didn't know what he did for a living. He wasn't happy when I told him that I not only knew, but I wanted him to teach me the trade.
"At least you got to make a choice."
"And I suppose you didn't?"
"No, I didn't. That goddamned Spender . . ."
"What about Spender?"
"My father . . . he owed Spender money. He gambled. Mostly he lost, but that didn't stop him. He was a sorry ass excuse for a father. After Mom died, I was the one who got Lisa up for school, and I made sure she ate, and . . ."
"Yes. Papa owed Spender a lot of money. When he died, Spender came to me. He told me he was going to take Lisa as payment. She could make a lot of money for him. Pay off the debt. She was fourteen," Krycek finished softly.
"So you stole cars and paid him back?"
"So why does he hate you so much? Because you wouldn't give him your sister?"
"That may be some of it. Also, because he didn't get me. He told me he'd give me a break if I slept with him. Or he'd take care of me and Lisa if I'd be his . . ."
"So you told him no."
"And a little more. He told me that one day, he'd get what he wanted. That I'd pay."
"How old were you then?"
"Of course, you could be making up all of this. To garner sympathy. A condemned man will say anything."
"I could be. But I'm sure you have ways to verify what I've said."
"Maybe so. Doesn't change anything, though."
"Not even if you found out it was true?"
"I made an agreement with the man."
"Just . . . give me a few days. Satisfy yourself that it's true. I'll . . ." Krycek swallowed and lowered his eyes. "I'll make it worth it for you."
Skinner looked at him, incredulous. "You would offer yourself to me when you basically signed your own death warrant by refusing Spender?"
"You . . . You're not like him. I was wrong about that."
Skinner shook his head. "I'm finishing the job."
"Please . . . just think about it."
Skinner recuffed Krycek's right wrist, then gathered up the pizza box and beer bottles and walked out.
Walter Skinner cursed all the way to the kitchen. The boy had no right to do that to him. And anyway, he was a professional, dammit. But he'd had a bad feeling about this from the beginning. He hadn't wanted to work for Spender; he'd heard rumors. And now, here he was, breaking one of his own cardinal rules. Never bring your work home with you. And Krycek and his story. It would be easy enough to check. When Krycek had offered himself . . . better not to go there. Skinner headed to the basement gym. He found that a good workout often made things clearer. But this time, all he could see was green eyes and Krycek's quiet but determined "I'll make it worth it for you."
This was all fucked up. Always, he did the job, then took a few days for himself, got laid, and went on with his life. And now, here he was, thinking of fucking a man he would end up killing. As Skinner's desire warred with his sense of professionalism, he stomped upstairs. As he stalked into the bedroom, he startled Krycek, who'd been dozing. The boy looked like a deer caught in headlights. Skinner realized how he must look, wearing only shorts and what was no doubt an unpleasant expression. Krycek obviously assumed the worst.
"Is it time? Is Spender here?" he croaked.
Skinner shook his head. "No."
Krycek still looked frightened and confused. Then his gaze fell to Skinner's shorts. "Oh."
"Have you changed your mind, Krycek?"
"No," he said weakly, then cleared his throat. "No, I haven't."
Skinner walked to the bed, stopping to strip off his shorts, then moved to take off Krycek's jeans. He looked regretfully at the cuffs.
"I can't take these off. I'm sorry."
Krycek nodded. "I understand. Skinner, I . . . could you go slow, please? It's been a while and you're . . . big."
"Christ, Krycek! What do you think I . . . I'm not going to deliberately hurt you."
"I didn't mean - - usually . . ." Krycek broke off miserably.
"I don't know what you're used to. I'm not a sadist." Skinner went to his own room, coming back in with lube and condoms. He sat on the bed. "Pull your knees up for me."
Krycek moved his knees up to his chest. Skinner coated his fingers with lube and carefully eased one into Krycek. The younger man tensed, but forced himself to relax. Skinner used his fingers to stretch the tight ring of muscle, while Krycek managed to keep himself relaxed. Skinner looked in dismay at Krycek's limp cock.
"Krycek, put your legs over my shoulders," Skinner directed. He moved his right hand back to Krycek's ass, easing in his fingers again, while with his left hand, he stroked Krycek's cock. He moved his fingers around, seeking Krycek's prostate, and was rewarded when his cock twitched and began to harden as he stroked it.
"What are you doing?" Krycek asked, sounding nervous.
"As sexy as you are, Krycek, I don't like fucking someone who's unresponsive."
"But - -"
"Hush, and be still."
Skinner kept up his ministrations until Krycek was rock hard and moaning. He quickly slipped the condom on and positioned himself. He eased in slowly. Krycek moaned, perhaps in pain, and then relaxed again, and Skinner moved a little further. When he was in all the way, he put his hand back on Krycek's cock, stroking until Krycek begged him to do it, to fuck him. He did, slowly at first, but then as his need overwhelmed him, he slammed into Krycek, making them both groan. Krycek didn't last long after that. Skinner, feeling his own climax was imminent, grasped Krycek's cock, jerking him roughly until he shot all over both of them. Seconds later, Skinner went off, deep inside Krycek. He paused for a minute before easing out of Krycek and disposing of the condom. He looked back at Krycek, whose eyes were closed, his breathing returning to normal. He glanced up at the man's bound arms, grimacing at the new bruises and abrasions decorating the wrists. He got up to find the key, also grabbing ointment and bandages. And he got a washcloth and cleaned himself and the semiconscious Krycek, after removing the man's sweat drenched t-shirt. He went back for alcohol pads to clean the wounds. Skinner carefully medicated them and wrapped them gently in gauze before regretfully recuffing him. Skinner intended to take a shower and get in his own bed, but it was too tempting to fall out next to Krycek.
The next thing Krycek knew, he smelled bacon frying and realized he was very hungry. And thirsty, and sore, and he needed to go the bathroom again. Also, he didn't smell so good. He dreaded seeing Skinner. It was bound to be awkward. When he moved his arms, he realized that his wrists had been bandaged. As he was marveling over this, Skinner came in with a tray of breakfast food and coffee.
"Skinner, I need to go to the bathroom, please."
"I'm trusting you this time, Krycek. Don't make me regret it."
Krycek shook his head. "I won't."
As he took care of his needs, he thought of what Skinner had said, and was grateful he hadn't mentioned last night. Krycek had intended to just let Skinner use his body. But Skinner, damn him, had to have a willing fuck. And Skinner was a talented lover, there was no denying that. When he came back out, Skinner motioned to the bed and handed him his breakfast, making no effort to recuff him. They ate in silence, until Krycek asked, "Skinner, could I have a shower? I smell like . . ."
"Like you've been fucking?"
Krycek's face reddened, but he grinned. "Yeah, I guess so."
Skinner let him get in the shower, then closed the toilet lid and sat. Krycek let the water run over him, starting to feel clean for the first time in days. Krycek lost track of time, but Skinner was patient. When he was out and dried, Skinner pulled out some sweats for him to put on.
"Thanks," Krycek said, heading back to the bed.
"Krycek, maybe you'd like to come downstairs for a while?"
Krycek's eyes widened. "Yes, I'd like that."
"Hold on a minute." Skinner retrieved the gauze and ointment. "Let me rewrap your wrists."
Skinner carefully doctored the abrasions and bandaged them again. "I'm sorry about this, Krycek."
Krycek shrugged. "It's okay."
"So what do you like to do? Do you play chess? Checkers? Cards?"
They ended up playing chess. They were in the middle of a match when the phone rang.
"Mr. Skinner," Spender's voice greeted him. "My return is going to be delayed. I have business here that can't wait. You will hold him there until I get back?"
"Then we'll need to move him to somewhere more private."
"I intend to have a little private time with Krycek before you finish your work."
"That wasn't the deal," Skinner ground out, angry and a little frightened now. "I don't work that way. You know that."
"I've paid you well for the job, and I will pay you even better. What do you care? He'll be dead either way. I'll get back to you with the location."
The phone went dead in Skinner's hand.
"Shit! That son of a bitch!" He yelled, throwing the phone down.
Krycek moved away warily. "S - Skinner?"
"Spender! He's not coming back right away and he . . ."
"Nothing. I have some things that need doing. I have to take you back upstairs."
Krycek got to his feet and preceded Skinner up the stairs. When he got to the bedroom, he got in the bed and held his bandaged wrists out. Skinner made no comment, only sighed and cuffed him to the bed frame.
"I'll be going out. Is there anything in particular you want for dinner?"
Krycek grinned weakly. "Last meal request? I like Indian food, if it's not too much trouble."
Skinner went to get dressed, then headed out. He came back several hours later, and went straight to the bedroom, bringing with him the scent of curry. Krycek was awake and acknowledged the smell, closing his eyes and sniffing. Skinner uncufffed him, then asked, "Would you rather eat downstairs? We could finish our chess match after."
They ate the spicy food without conversation, both lost in their own thoughts. When they were done, and were throwing the containers away, the phone rang again. Skinner answered, then said, "Thanks for the rush. I appreciate it." When he hung up, he told Krycek to go on to the living room, he'd be right in. A few minutes later, there was a knock at the door, and Skinner answered it, taking a large envelope from the tall blond man standing there. "Thanks, and tell the guys I owe them."
The man smiled. "I will."
Skinner dropped the envelope on the hall table and went to join Krycek. They played for a while, Skinner's mind obviously not on the game.
"We can stop, if you want," Krycek said.
"Sorry, Krycek. Why don't you find something to read?"
Krycek looked over Skinner's book collection, selecting a book on concept cars and sitting on the couch to read, losing himself in the exotic and futuristic designs.
Skinner went to the hall table and retrieved the envelope, then went to his desk to open it. He slid out the contents, two photographs falling to the desk. He picked them up, recognizing a much younger Krycek. Obviously a school picture. Skinner looked at the other, a young girl, knowing it had to be Lisa. They shared the same green eyes, only where Alex's were haunted, Lisa's were smiling.
He read the various pages of information. His sources were thorough as usual, and he was able to piece together the story, much as Krycek had told it. Accounts from former neighbors and teachers, all agreeing on one thing. Peter Krycek was a sorry excuse for a father. Neighbors recounted how the children were frequently left alone, Alex being left to look after Lisa. There was no evidence of abuse, but there was considerable neglect. A couple of Alex's teachers reflected on their disappointment that Alex had dropped out. They agreed Alex was smart, and believed he could have earned a college scholarship if he had applied himself to his studies.
Skinner rubbed at his eyes and put the papers back in their envelope. He looked over at the couch where Krycek was now asleep, book fallen beside him. Skinner started to shake him, but instead stood looking at him. Asleep, he could still see some of the boy Krycek used to be. The wariness was gone, replaced by a peaceful look, his hair falling over his forehead. A look Skinner knew would disappear as soon as he woke Krycek up. Sighing, he reached down to shake Krycek's shoulder, but it ended up a caress to his cheek. Krycek stirred, and as he came fully awake, pulled back until he saw it was Skinner.
"What? Oh, sorry, I fell asleep."
Skinner grinned. "Yes. Ready for bed?"
Krycek headed for the bedroom he'd been staying in, but Skinner stopped him. "Alex, sleep in here tonight."
Krycek looked a bit surprised, but went into the other room, which was obviously Skinner's. Personal effects were laying about, and the bed was bigger. Krycek paused, uncertain. He turned to Skinner. "Skinner, I . . ."
Skinner came to him. "Alex . . ." He paused, unwilling to ask for what he wanted. Krycek watched him, then, understanding, got to his knees and unbuttoned Skinner's jeans, pushing down his boxer briefs to get to his already hard cock. He took Skinner's length into his mouth, Skinner gasping at the contact. Krycek used his mouth, making Skinner moan, but the big man stopped him before he came.
"On the bed," he said roughly. "I want to fuck you."
Krycek quickly undressed and got to his knees on the bed. Skinner pushed at him. "On your back."
"Skinner, just do it like this, okay?"
"On your back," he told Krycek implacably.
Krycek turned over, and Skinner took a moment to just look at him, the smooth hairless chest and long, lean limbs. Skinner had fucked many nameless men, pretty ones, some younger than Krycek, but at the moment, he couldn't recall a single one as sexy. He reached for Krycek's cock and began to stroke it, as Krycek looked panicky.
"Skinner, please, you don't have to do this."
"I told you, Krycek, I like a responsive lover. Now behave. Or are you backing out of your deal?"
"N-no, but . . . what about you? Have you found out that I was telling you the truth?"
"About your father, yes," Skinner said, still stroking Krycek's now erect cock. "The rest, my people are still working on. So, what do you say? Still want me to check it out?"
Krycek moaned as Skinner started to pump his cock, while at the same time pinching a nipple. "Ahh, dammit, Skinner, yes, check it out."
Skinner smiled and grabbed the lube, preparing Krycek, seeking out his prostate and making him moan louder. Skinner felt the exact moment that Krycek gave in to his desire and stopped fighting it. Skinner's desire was starting to overwhelm him. He couldn't wait to be inside Krycek. He hurriedly slipped on a condom, and entered Krycek slowly. When Krycek started to respond, Skinner took him roughly, the younger man meeting each thrust with the same intensity. When it was over, Skinner cleaned them up. Krycek was barely awake, snuggled against Skinner.
The next few days were pleasant. Skinner and Krycek played chess, worked out in the gym, and talked. Skinner discovered that Krycek was very well read, and liked a variety of books, classics and current bestsellers alike. Krycek found that Skinner had traveled extensively, and listened intently to Skinner's stories about where he'd been. Skinner cooked for him, simple meals of steak or hamburgers, and when Krycek took over the kitchen one night, Skinner realized Krycek was a much better cook.
And nearly every night, they had sex, Krycek slowly losing his reserve, and Skinner loved it. Every uninitiated touch, the gradual sense that Krycek now trusted him, the smallest indication, thrilled Skinner.
It was on a morning after one of their longer nights that the phone woke Skinner up, and he eased Krycek out of his arms to answer it. He had a short conversation, then hurried and got dressed, then went downstairs to wait for his courier to arrive.
The same man as before handed Skinner a new envelope.
"I'll be they really had to work to get this, huh?"
The blond man smiled. "Yeah. Everyone's scared of Spender. They've seen what he can do."
"Thanks, Jimmy, I appreciate this."
A half hour later, Skinner was pacing the living room when Krycek came down, rubbing his eyes sleepily. "Skinner, I'm going to - - " and stopped short when he saw the look of anger on Skinner's face. He stepped back as Skinner approached.
Skinner put his hand out. "What's wrong?" He asked gently.
Krycek visibly calmed when he saw the anger wasn't directed at him. "I was going to take a shower."
"We both stink already. Let's go work out, then we'll both shower."
Krycek followed him to the gym, stopping to do some warmup exercises. He watched Skinner as he worked out, but grew concerned when Skinner kept at it with singleminded determination. "Skinner!" Krycek finally said firmly. "Slow down. You're going to pull something."
Skinner looked up, forcing his thoughts aside. He had thought of nothing but the information revealed by the latest report. He now knew Krycek had told the truth about Spender. He had been hired to kill Krycek not because of business, but because Krycek refused to become Spender's whore. Now he had to decide what to do about it. The thought of Spender's hands on Krycek . . .
"What? Oh, yeah, you're right. Let's take a shower."
They both stepped into the shower, and Skinner grabbed the shower gel, lathering his hands to run them over Krycek's body. He'd discovered Krycek loved this. And he loved having his hair washed. It never got that far this time. Krycek responded to his touches, his cock growing hard. Skinner had been half hard already, and now he felt on fire. He grasped Krycek's cock, stroking it with slippery fingers. Krycek moaned, throwing his head back.
"Turn around," Skinner said, letting go.
Krycek turned to face the wall, bracing himself.
"You want this, Krycek, you want me to fuck you?" He asked roughly.
"Yes!" Krycek hissed. He pushed back toward Skinner, rubbing against the older man's prominent erection.
Skinner grabbed a bottle of bath oil from the shelf and used it to ease his entry. When he was inside and thrusting slowly, he leaned over to suck at Krycek's neck, marking him. Krycek shrieked and fought to stay upright as Skinner started to pound into him. Skinner, realizing he wouldn't be able to hold back his orgasm for long, reached around to grasp Krycek's cock, pumping it in time to his thrusting.
"You're mine, Alex," he said roughly as he brought Krycek off. "Only mine. Come for me."
"Only yours," Krycek said, before screaming out his climax as he shot against the shower tiles.
Skinner held him tightly and thrust even harder, yelling himself as he came deep inside Krycek.
Skinner kept them upright until the water washed away the evidence of their lovemaking, then he dried Krycek and himself and they both fell into bed.
Skinner was up long before Krycek the next day, making several phone calls. He made breakfast and they ate, then spent the day lazing around, Krycek reading and watching TV, Skinner at his computer and on the phone. After dinner, they played chess. After the match was over, Krycek was dozing on Skinner's shoulder, when the phone rang.
"Skinner." He listened for a minute, then replied, "Yes, he's here." Skinner paused again. "Fine, tell Spender he'll be ready then." Skinner hung up and turned to Krycek.
All the color drained from Krycek's face as his eyes filled with terror. He stood up, panicked.
"Krycek!" Skinner went to him. "Wait. Calm down and let me tell you - -"
Krycek struggled to get away. "No! You'll give me to him! He always gets what he wants."
Skinner fought to hold Krycek. "Krycek, dammit! Don't fight me. I'll fix this. I made a promise to you. Spender won't get his hands on you."
Krycek wouldn't listen, his voice hysterical. "You're lying! Son of a bitch! You used me. You always intended to give me to him!"
Skinner released Krycek, only to hit him, hard, knocking him out. Skinner picked him up and took him back upstairs, regretting that he had to be handcuffed again. Then he went to make his own phone call.
"The plan's been moved up. Tomorrow. I'll see you then."
Skinner decided he'd sleep in his own room, rather than face Krycek in his present state.
In the morning, Skinner got up and made breakfast, fixing a tray for Krycek. When he went in with the food, Krycek was awake, still looking a little panicky. Skinner winced at the bruise on his chin.
"I'm sorry, Krycek. I didn't want to hit you."
Krycek was silent. Skinner placed the tray in front of Krycek, then unlocked the right cuff.
"I'm not hungry."
"Krycek, don't be a baby. You need to eat. Drink at least, so you don't dehydrate."
"What fucking difference could that possibly make?"
"Krycek, I need to tell you - -"
"I don't want to hear any more of your lies."
Krycek glared at him, then lifted up the tray and shoved it to the floor, narrowly missing Skinner's feet. Rage rose in Skinner, but he forced it back; he knew Krycek was dealing with this as best he could. He took a deep breath and calmly began cleaning up the mess. He took it downstairs and brought back a bottle of water for Krycek.
"Krycek, if you suddenly had to leave, go away, is there anyone you'd miss? Your sister?"
"My sister's married and lives in California. She doesn't think much of me now."
"After what you did to save her?"
Krycek shrugged. "She never knew. Why all the questions?"
Now Skinner shrugged. "No reason. I have some work to do."
Skinner made his last call a little before noon.
"It's Skinner. Tell him Krycek's dead. He attacked me and I had to kill him."
"He won't be happy about this, Skinner. In fact, he's probably going to want to see the body."
"No problem. It's here. I haven't disposed of it yet."
"Sit tight. We'll be there in a few hours."
Skinner went back upstairs with clothes for Krycek. He uncuffed Krycek and gave him the clothes. "Get dressed."
Krycek started to shake.
"Move it, Krycek. Spender's on his way. I'm sure you don't want to be here when he arrives, do you?"
Krycek dressed quickly.
"Now, I need for you to hit me, Krycek."
"I need to look like I've been in a fight."
"Skinner, I don't want to hit you."
"Come on, I was going to kill you. Doesn't that make you angry?"
"Skinner . . ."
"Look, for this to work, I need to look like I've been attacked. Now, do it!"
Krycek hit him in the mouth, splitting his lip.
"Good. Now, right here," Skinner said, pointing to his cheek.
"Krycek, you pussy! Do it!"
Krycek hit Skinner harder this time, and he nearly went down. He looked at Krycek. "Much better."
"What's this all about, Skinner?"
"I tried to tell you. I have a plan. Work with me."
They went downstairs just as Skinner's phone started to ring. He answered, listened for a minute, then said, "Come on up."
Minutes later, a van arrived out front. Two guys came to the door with a body bag between them.
"Skinner, you owe us big for this."
"I know. Whatever you need."
"Where do you want him?"
"Upstairs. First room on the right. You're sure his face is unrecognizable?"
"Trust me. This guy's mother wouldn't know him."
"Oh, wait a minute. Krycek, give me your jacket. I need you to get this on the body."
"Cost you extra."
"Skinner, this is my favorite jacket," Krycek complained.
"I'll get you another. Give it here."
Skinner's phone rang again. "It's about time. You guys come on up, I've got him ready."
Soon, they heard a car drive up, then three men walked in.
"Walter, you have no right to complain about how long it took. You didn't exactly give us much warning. But we have everything, of course," the short man told him.
"I appreciate it," Skinner said sincerely. "Krycek, come here. Guys, this is Alex Krycek. Krycek, Melvin Frohike, John Byers, and Ringo Langly. They help me out from time to time."
After the introductions, the men who brought the body came back downstairs.
"Okay, Skinner, you're all set."
"Thanks. You guys are the best."
After they were gone, Skinner told everyone to sit.
"Look, we don't have much time, but here's the deal. Krycek, you're leaving with these guys. They have new ID, money, everything you need to get out of the country. Don't come back for a while. And don't come back here, or anywhere near Spender then."
"Skinner," Krycek asked. "Could I talk to you for a minute?"
Skinner followed him to the kitchen.
"What about you, Skinner?"
"I'll have to stay here until Spender's satisfied. If I leave too soon, he'll be suspicious. I'll meet up with you as soon as I can. Anything you need, if you have to contact me, go through the guys for it."
"Skinner, I . . ."
"We'll talk later. You need to get out of here."
Skinner sent Krycek on his way, then sat down to wait for Spender.
"So you killed him?"
"What can I say? That's why I like to do the job quickly. I wouldn't have been in that position if I'd killed him when I found him."
"Ah, well. In any case, it was unfortunate. What are your plans, Skinner?"
"Not that it's your business, but I plan to take a break. This job has been especially trying."
"I hope to work with you again, Skinner."
Skinner left that night, heading back to his real home. He spent a few days there, then got in touch with Frohike to let him know he'd be ready to go within the next two weeks. His destination turned out to be the Cayman Islands. He went straight from the airport and booked himself into a hotel well away from Krycek's.
That night, he took a cab to Krycek's hotel, making sure he wasn't being followed. Krycek looked great. He'd managed to get some sun, and seemed very at ease.
Skinner, however, wasn't so relaxed. "So, things have been going okay?'
"Yeah, your friends thought of everything."
"Everything's fine at home, too. Spender seems convinced."
"Let's sit down."
Skinner moved to a chair. Krycek went to Skinner and knelt in front of him, reaching for the button on his pants.
"Krycek, what the fuck are you doing?"
"You came to get paid, right? That's what I'm doing."
Skinner moved Krycek's hand. "Sit down. I didn't save you so you could become my fucktoy, Krycek. I did it because . . . Listen, you don't owe me. Your new identity, your new bank account, it all came from Spender, from the money he paid me to kill you. You'll need a job - - preferably not car theft - - but you can start over, wherever you settle."
"I see. So I get a new life, and you go back to being a hit man?"
Skinner smiled. "Well, it pays well, and I'm good at it. Actually, I had hoped . . . but, yes, I think I will."
"Will I see you before I go?"
"All right. If you want, we'll meet up tomorrow, maybe go to the beach."
They met up at the beach the next day. It was a breathtakingly beautiful day. They dropped their towels and ran into the clear, cool water. They swam and played until they were tired, then retreated to the beach.
"This is nice, you know?" Krycek commented. "I've never done this before."
"Never been to the beach?"
"Not just that. This is actually my first trip out of the US."
Conversation seemed to dwindle, the silence becoming uncomfortable until Krycek blurted, "Skinner, I . . . I don't want you to go. I want you to stay with me."
Skinner was shocked. "What about last night?"
"I had to know. If you had let me do that, then I would have known that there was no future for us. I know we're still miles away from a healthy relationship, but I don't want it to end."
Skinner, smiling now, said, "You know, I came over here hoping . . . hoping maybe we could have something. I thought I had really messed up when you said what you did."
"Are you willing to give up your . . . job?"
"Oh, yes. You know, I have never struggled as much with my conscience as I have in the past few days. All because of you. Have you considered that I could easily have killed you without ever knowing you? And I have killed people. A lot of people. Can you live with that, Krycek?"
Krycek thought about it.
"I realize you could have killed me. But you didn't. I say it's fate. And we'll both just have to deal with your past."
Skinner nodded. "All right."
"So what now?"
"Well, I have to get in touch with Frohike. Get them started on my new identity. Other than that, how about we go to the hotel and fuck?"
"I like that idea."
They grabbed their towels and headed to the hotel, undressing as soon as they were in the door.
"Did you bring anything?" Krycek asked.
"Yes," Skinner said, rummaging in his bag and throwing lube on the bed. He sat down, motioning Krycek over. "Let's do this right this time," he said, leaning in to kiss Krycek. It was a long, slow kiss, and Krycek was a little dazed when it was over.
"I've wanted to do that for a while," Skinner told him.
"Umm, yeah, that'd be good. Do it again."
"Lie down for me, Krycek."
He did and Skinner took his time exploring every inch of his body. He discovered Krycek was slightly ticklish on his neck, under his left ear, and very ticklish on the inside of his thighs. Skinner spent ample time with each area before going back between Krycek's legs to engulf his leaking cock. Krycek whimpered and thrashed.
"Skinner, that's enough, fuck me."
"Soon, I promise. Hold your legs up for me."
Krycek grabbed his legs behind his knees and Skinner moved down to Krycek's anus, teasing it for a minute before thrusting his tongue inside. Krycek shrieked and arched his back.
"Oh shit - - Skinner, that is so good!"
After he loosened Krycek up with his tongue, Skinner lubed him as well. He entered Krycek easily, and soon was thrusting hard into his eager, moaning partner. It didn't take either of them long to climax. They slept for a while, rising later that afternoon to make love again before showering and going out to dinner.
They spent a relaxing week going to the beach, sightseeing, and of course, having sex. At the end of the week, Frohike arrived, with new papers for Skinner. They all had dinner, then Frohike headed back as Skinner and Krycek began their new life together.
When they got back to the hotel, they began packing.
"You know," Skinner observed, "we should try and get used to our new names."
"Okay," Krycek agreed. "Wanna fuck, Jeff?"
Skinner laughed. "Okay, Steven, you're on."
Later, in bed, Krycek asked, "Do you have someone in the States you'll miss?"
"Not really. I'll miss Frohike and the guys, but you're all I need."
"That's sweet," Krycek said, then his voice turned teasing. "You know, I wish Byers had come. He's really cute."
Skinner growled and pounced on him. "I don't share, so don't get any ideas." he said.
Krycek laughed. "Neither do I. You're the only one I want."
"You know, we're very fortunate. Most people don't get a chance at a whole new life."
"You're right. I intend to make the most of it."
"Me, too," Skinner said, snuggling up to his lover.
- The End -