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The kiss broke with a contented sigh, and they rested their foreheads together for a moment, before they opened their eyes. Mulder grinned, caressing the side of the other man’s face, letting the tips of his fingers dive into the short strands of hair as he gently grazed his skull, drawing lazy circles.

“I’ll go and check on dinner”, John Doggett said, with a slight hint of regret in his voice.

“Yeah, okay” Mulder said, almost whispered, and released him from his protective embrace and sat back.

John Doggett leaned forward however and followed him as he leaned back against the back of the coach. He gave him a last kiss, before getting to his feet and leaving the room. Mulder smiled to himself, but then sobered and turned his head in the opposite direction, where Alex Krycek stood casually, leaning back against the wall.

He slowly stood and moved closer, casting a glance towards the hallway leading to the kitchen, over his shoulder to make sure John was out of ear shot. Then he turned back toward the other man and glared at him, mostly out of habit, to let his continued resentment for the man show, just for the record.

Alex Krycek merely grinned, a taunting, exaggerated grin, fit for a wolf who’s just shed his wool. Although, that was ages ago, Mulder thought.

“My, my”, Krycek murmured in that special voice of his, that infuriatingly taunting, and sexy, voice. “Fox Mulder and John Doggett, locked together in domesticity, who would have guessed…”

He snorted to himself and let his gaze wander across their living room, taking in every inch of wallpaper and framed photograph that were in his line of sight.

“Don’t be jealous”, Mulder replied, twisting the tone of his voice into scathing sarcasm. “You’ll ruin that perfect shade of green.”

Krycek’s gaze immediately went to the other’s face, eyes steely, glittering with what he hoped came off as warning. Seconds passed them by as they stared at each other, mouths thin with quenched words, neither willing to back down from the unspoken challenge within the eye lock.

Finally Mulder’s mouth twitched into a joyless smirk, just before he broke the silence, his gaze as steady as before:

“What’s the matter, Krycek, death’s got your tongue?”

“What’s the matter, Mulder”, he mimicked in a murmur thick with underlying emotion. “Afraid you’re seeing things again and need to hear my voice to confirm you’re not crazy … Well, here’s a news’ flash for you, Mulder, hearing voices… isn’t considered that much healthier on the sanity scale…”

Mulder rolled his eyes and thus broke the eye contact, he also turned his face away, his body following the movement, getting ready to turn its back on the ghost of his nemesis and ignore him, like he’d become accustomed to, even before said nemesis had turned into a ghost.

“And I am not jealous”, Krycke added.

“Sure”, Mulder replied.

No sarcasm behind the words, Krycek noted. In fact, no emotion at all. Just another polite brush off. But Krycek wasn’t about to be dismissed so easily this time, he wasn’t ready to go, he still had some loose ends he needed to tie to some of Mulder’s, he wasn’t ready to leave him, not just yet.

“After all, I have nothing to be jealous about…”

That caught Mulder’s short lived attention and it wheeled him back in, although he kept his face guarded, his eyes blank, but Krycek knew. He smiled slightly, but quickly recovered before the other man took notice.

“If you kissed him with half the intensity and feeling that you used to gather when you delivered all of them punches…”

“Shut up”, Mulder interrupted, his voice hard, but his face still calm.

“Or if you mustered half as much… eagerness, for you… lovemaking, as you did when you pushed your body up against mine when we were fighting… why, Johnny over there wouldn’t be able to walk for weeks…”

“I said shut up”, Mulder bit out. “There was never anything going on between you and me, you rat bastard. I loathed you. But I love John.”

He fell silent briefly and seemed to take a composing breath. Krycek waited patiently, curiously even, watching Mulder’s face as his eyes flickered before settling back on his own. His lips curling into a nasty sneer, then he spoke again.

“I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to see that the after life hasn’t changed you, Krycek… Trust your twisted mind to compare kisses ti fist fighting…”

“Yeah”, Krycek quipped. “And blow jobs to gun pointing.”

He dropped his gaze to Mulder’s Adam’s apple when it bobbed with movement, then continued to stare into his eyes, the way he’d never managed to do in life, at least not for more than a heartbeat. Now he relished the sensation of the contact, felt a shuddering pleasure to sense, to know, how it affected the other man.

“You wanted me, Mulder”, he murmured, almost in a sing song tone of voice. “And knowing you the way I do, you probably beat yourself up over beating off to mental pictures of me…”

“You would think that”, Mulder muttered, the emotions behind the tone not so easily translated anymore, but Krycek knew his heart and head, inside-out. He knew. Mulder’s gaze flickered away, the contact broken and only remained as a whisper of memory, but Krycek was determined to get it back, couldn’t get enough of it now, now that he could afford to savour it.

“Yeah, I do”, he said. “Wanna know what else I think, Mulder… I think you still want me”, he almost taunted, and forced himself not to look away, not to waver, not to even blink, as Mulder turned his pained gaze back on him. “…and you hate yourself for it.”

“Go to Hell…”

Krycek gave him a suggestive look. And then he told himself he’d only imagined the way Mulder’s eyes twinkled, but then those kissable lips twitched as well and formed a bitter, but sincere smile, which could have been sad, or just tired, or barely at all. Just a ghost of a smile, and for a brief moment, Alex allowed himself to mirror it. He felt strange… to openly give Mulder a smile again, with no ulterior motives, no deceit, not even any ties attached to it which he would use as strings to try and control Mulder as a puppet, no nothing.

Mulder recognised that smile, he recognised all those things that Krycek wouldn’t say aloud, and he knew as well. He took in the unfamiliar face, transformed completely by a mere alteration of expression, and he allowed himself to be consumed by it, before it faded again and slowly, and at the same time instantly, turned into empty space.

Mulder pressed his eyes shut then, and hated the way his chest seemed to clench at the knowledge he felt deep in his gut; that he would never see Alex Krycek again, alive or otherwise.

Krycek lingered in front of him, watched his defences crumble, watched him break down, savoured the picture it presented, and then he left as quietly as he’d come. He was done here. He was free to move on.

 

The end.