Switch: 3. Alex


“You!” Mulder took a step forward. Krycek grinned at him. Cancerman ran his hand through Krycek’s thick dark hair and smiled.


“I found Alex several years ago. He also is one of mine.” Cancerman told Mulder. “Just like you.”


“I’m not…” Mulder opened his mouth to protest but Cancerman held up a hand to stop him.


“Yes you are, Fox. Let’s stop having this battle. You’ve been mine for several years, it’s only recently that I’ve decided to let you know, that’s all. I thought it was time to bring you into line. Alex has reproached me for letting you run wild on several occasions and he’s quite right.


“He…” Mulder couldn’t find coherence in his thoughts. He had come here for one thing and was being shown something completely different.


“Yes. He’s very special to me.” Cancerman blew out a perfect ring of smoke. “Like you, Fox. Both special to me. So I thought it was time to bring you together. It’s what Alex wants, isn’t it, Alex?” Krycek nodded, glancing at Mulder with a predatory look in his eye. He got up and went over to Mulder, reaching out to touch the other man’s face. Mulder snapped and tried to punch him, only to find his arms grabbed from behind by Lewis.


“Naughty.” Krycek slapped Mulder’s face hard, then placed his lips against Mulder’s and kissed him, his tongue trying to force its way into Mulder’s tightly closed mouth.


“Alex!” Cancerman’s voice was harsh. “I didn’t tell you that you could touch him yet.”


“You said he was mine…you said…”


“I said no such thing.” Cancerman told him. “Fox is mine, just as you are mine. I might let you use him for a while but you are both mine. Now I’ll have to punish you.” He smiled and patted the chair next to him. “Come on, Fox. Come and watch. Come and see what fun it is.” Lewis propelled Mulder forwards and sat him down in the chair next to Cancerman and then, on a look from his boss, he took hold of Alex and began to undress him to the waist. Alex shot Mulder a murderous glance.


“This is your fault,” he hissed.


“Now, now, Alex.” Cancerman stubbed out a cigarette and smiled benignly. “Accept your punishment like a good boy. You know I hate tantrums and scenes.” He flicked his fingers and Lewis forced Krycek onto the ground, so that he was kneeling, then brought out a hassock. Krycek leaned over it as if this were a familiar ritual, swallowing convulsively. Mulder tensed, unsure whether this was real or not. It seemed more like a vision, a drug-induced dream. Lewis went and retrieved a long bamboo cane from the cupboard and stood over the prone man. Cancerman flicked a finger lazily.


“Proceed.” He instructed.


Mulder bit down on his lip as the cane made contact with Krycek’s naked shoulders. Krycek didn’t scream. Instead he breathed in deeply and sighed, flexing his smooth shoulders with their nicely toned muscles.


“He’s good isn’t he?” Cancerman grinned at Mulder, reaching for his cigarettes. Mulder made no reply, watching as Lewis brought the cane down on Krycek’s back a second time, leaving a distinct red welt. Krycek gasped. Mulder could feel his own muscles clenching and unclenching as he watched. He hated this. Even knowing it was Krycek who, next to Cancerman, he hated more than anybody else alive, even so, he hated watching him being systematically punished in this way. Now he knew how Skinner must have felt when forced to participate a few months ago. The beating seemed to go on forever but Krycek didn’t scream. His back was now criss-crossed with bloody welts and he grunted hard with every biting stroke, but not a sob escaped his lips. Finally, his hair sweaty, he tossed back his head and stared at Mulder, his dark eyes triumphant as he took stroke after stroke of the cane, his hatred and desire for Mulder showing keenly. Those eyes made Mulder shudder. They made a silent communion with Mulder, telling him that he would suffer for what was being done to Krycek, that he would soon be feeling this agony as well, that Krycek would own and possess Mulder just as he was owned and possessed by Cancerman. Mulder wanted to scream, to run, to hide, anything to get away from this hell but he found he could not move. He wondered if Cancerman would stop him leaving. What was it Skinner had said about consent? Somehow he knew it was too late for that. He had given consent months ago. He had sold himself the minute he had accepted that first, sick proposition. Everything else had led inevitably and inexorably from that moment to this, to here and now. Save me…he thought, remembering the note in his bin, wishing he had posted it under Skinner’s door or phoned his boss, left a message for him, anything. Anything to give him hope of rescue but there was none.


“See him.” Cancerman murmured. “That’s what you deserve too, Fox. That’s what I’ll give to you. No bonds this time, just you and the cane. Nobody holding you down, just you accepting what you must, what is right, what is your due. And afterwards…well Alex has deserved a reward don’t you think, Fox? I like to give rewards as well as punishments.”


“You bastard.” Mulder got to his feet, ran to the door, blindly scrabbled at the door handle.


“It’s open.” Cancerman waved his hand. “Go if you want. But if you do, I won’t punish you. And you want to be punished don’t you, Fox? There’s still a lot of sins you have to atone for aren’t there? Just think of Alex’s “attentions” as being part of that punishment.”


“A little pain? Soon over?” Mulder queried, quoting Cancerman’s words back to him.


“Why that’s right, Fox. I’m glad you take my words so to heart. Now come back here and sit down.” It wasn’t said sternly, or as an order, but it was a command none the less. Mulder swallowed hard, his hand still on the door, then let his hand drop, hating himself as he returned obediently to the chair, watching as Krycek’s punishment was continued.


Finally it was over. Krycek lay, breathing deeply, his eyes still triumphant.


“Good boy. Come here.” Cancerman beckoned and Alex got up, slowly, stiffly, flexing his shoulders again, still grinning at Mulder. He went and sat next to Cancerman, by his feet. Cancerman ran his hands through Krycek’s hair, bent down and kissed the other man lightly on the head. “Very good, Alex. Very good. I’m impressed. That was a hard beating.”


Krycek closed his eyes and leaned into Cancerman’s embracing fingers. “You see it helps to start the training early.” Cancerman told Fox. “I didn’t get Alex quite as young as I got you, but I got him fairly young all the same.”


“What do you mean?” Mulder asked, confused. “You only “got me” a few months ago.”


“Don’t be stupid.” Cancerman laughed out loud. “I’ve been preparing you for years. Since you were a boy. Although I was subtle then. I don’t suppose you even remember my visits to your family home when you were a child do you?” Mulder stared at him in horror. “Oh I didn’t harm you but I shaped you. In little ways, until I could claim you properly as an adult. Until I could set you to work. You’ve been working for me for some years now, Mulder and I’m very pleased with you.”


“I don’t work for you!” Mulder protested. He worked for the FBI, for Skinner and ultimately for himself.


“It doesn’t matter what you believe.” Cancerman shrugged. “But the truth is that you’ve been mine for most of your life. It’s only now that I’ve chosen to make you aware of it. To be honest…” he smiled quietly. “I’ve rather liked having you unbroken, blundering around, getting into mischief. It amused me…I itched to correct you of course, but all the same, it did amuse me. However, it couldn’t be allowed to continue indefinitely. I take my responsibilities very seriously. Almost as seriously as my pleasures…” Without warning Cancerman ran his hand down Krycek’s back with some force and Krycek screamed. “Good.” Cancerman took hold of Krycek’s hair and pulled the other man’s head back. “Denying me your screams. You know how I hate that, Alex. You should have known I’d make you pay for it.”


“I’m sorry.” Alex whimpered and the look of triumphant hatred faded from his eyes. He looked genuinely scared. “Please, I’m sorry.”


“Yes. I believe you are.” Cancerman put a gentle finger on Krycek’s lips to stop his whimpering and then turned back to Mulder. “Your turn now.” He smiled.


Mulder got up, his breath coming in shallow gasps.


“Stand still.” Cancerman said. Then he tapped Krycek on the shoulder and the other man smiled delightedly and got up, reaching out to unbutton Mulder’s shirt, taking his time, his vicious eyes imparting their glee in anticipation of Mulder’s fate.


“Not him.” Mulder turned to Cancerman. “Don’t let him…”


“He’s earned it.” Cancerman said. “And besides, I want to see it.” He lit another cigarette.


“No.” Mulder pulled back.


“Go then.” Cancerman shrugged. “But he’ll do just as well as anyone else for what you want. Why don’t you do what you did last time, and pretend it’s your boss? Nice, honorable Mr Skinner. Did you never wonder, Fox, where Skinner learned his skills with the switch? Did you never wonder why he lets me into his office?”


“Stop it. It’s not true!” Mulder put his hands over his ears. “I don’t believe it. I won’t believe it!”


“Never mind.” Cancerman flicked his finger and Krycek continued unbuttoning Mulder’s shirt, his insistent fingers moving slowly, sensuously, like a lover, knowing that it unnerved Mulder, that Mulder hated to be leered at in this way. Finally he stripped Mulder’s shirt away from his arms and was about to push Mulder down over the hassock when Cancerman stopped him.


“Bring him here. I want to see if he still bears my marks.” Krycek took hold of Mulder’s arms and pulled him over to where Cancerman sat, shoving him down on his knees in the position that Alex had so recently occupied. Mulder held still, his stomach rebelling, as Cancerman ran a nicotine stained finger down his back, finding the faint scars that remained from the last beating, fingering each one with a loving relish. “Good, very good. I like to leave a sign of my ownership.” Cancerman mused. “This time, Alex, make sure he is marked even more.” Mulder stifled a whimper as Alex grinned and pulled him back up, thrusting him down in front of the hassock.


“Well?” Cancerman watched, waiting as Mulder knelt there, upright. Mulder looked up into Cancerman’s eyes, took a deep breath, and then made his decision. He leaned forward, adopting the same position that he had seen Krycek assume. Cancerman smiled.


The cane felt different to the whip. It stung more, cut deeper, tore less. Mulder wondered how Krycek could have endured such a beating without crying out. He was soon sobbing out loud as the cane bit deep lines into his flesh. Krycek went slowly, moving around him like some sort of showman so that he could never tell where or when the cane would land next. The welcome pain flooded him with endorphins, aiding him in his quest to seek solace in the dark embrace of numbness that he had sought all his life and which had always eluded him. Here there was no lost sister, no grieving parents, no mistakes, no reproaches, no anger, no disappointment, no work, nothing of his life. Just him and the dark stone altar where he worshipped. He could feel the stone under his body, cold and hard, freezing into his chest and legs and he was tied here, a sacrifice to a god that wanted to devour and own him, an evil god who had claimed him for his own. The high priest took a knife and cut open strips of his back and he could feel the blood run down. Love me, hurt me, save me…he repeated. He was loved here – the knife loved him, the high priest loved him, the evil god loved him. They would hurt him for his own good and by being hurt he would be saved. It all made perfect sense. Mulder kept his eyes tightly closed as he repeated the liturgy. Love me, hurt me, save me…in the name of the darkness and of the pain and of the…he turned his head, hearing a sound. There was somebody at the altar with them, somebody who didn’t belong there, somebody as powerful as the evil god, somebody who wanted him back.


“Go away,” he murmured. “I don’t want to be rescued.”


“No. You want to be saved.” A voice replied. A man, dressed in white. Mulder giggled insanely. A white shirt…a tie, in this place? In the house of the evil god? He felt the ropes binding his wrists being cut, watched as the man disposed of the high priest, knocking him down, felt himself lifted up into strong arms, taken to the door…then the evil god appeared, smoke billowing around his head.


“You can’t take him. He belongs to me.” The god said.


“No. He has always been mine.” The man replied.


“He has chosen me.” The god insisted.


“It wasn’t his choice to make. He is mine. I’m taking him back.”


“Fox…who do you want to go with?” The god asked.


“You ask the slave who he belongs to?” The man’s tone was incredulous. “He doesn’t need to answer. His heart is mine, his soul is mine, his body is mine. You tried to seduce him from me, but you can’t change what’s inside him.”


“Fox?” the evil god asked. “Who do you belong to?”


“To you!” he cried.


“Who?” the evil god and the man, his savior, asked in unison.


“You.” He whispered.


“Who?” He could see them fading out of sight, reached out and clung onto those strong arms. “You,” he said. “Skinner. You.”


A slap brought him back into consciousness.


“I’ll ask you again.” Cancerman’s voice in his ear. “Who do you belong to?”


“Skinner…” he repeated, not sure where he was, who he was, what he was any more.


“I’ll ask you again.” Another slap across his face. “Who do you belong to?”


“Skinner…” He didn’t know any other answer. Why did they keep asking him the same question?


“Alright, Alex.” Cancerman looked angry. Why? How had he upset him? Why did his back hurt so much? “Why don’t you have your fun with him? I think he needs to be broken down a bit further, don’t you? He seems to be having trouble understanding some basic truths.”


Alex was galvinised into gleeful action. He knelt behind Mulder, pulled him back against him until Mulder’s bloody back was pressed tight against his chest, then undid Mulder’s trousers, pushing them down. His boxers followed suit, his shoes, even his socks until he was completely naked. He wanted to protest, to say he didn’t want this, but he knew he had no rights here, no power and besides, he deserved it. Alex held him tight, close, his dark eyes full of sex and want, like an unleashed tiger seeking prey. “I’ve got you now, Fox,” he whispered, his fingers running across Mulder’s chest, lightly, tweaking a nipple. “I’ll show you what you are, who you belong to and why,” he hissed. Mulder felt the other man’s fingers on his buttocks, prising him apart, pushing him forwards. He was back over the hassock again, clutching on for dear life, shivering as Krycek pressed his tongue against his bloody back, licking at his wounds, setting his teeth on edge. Then the hardness of the other man against his thigh.


“Don’t do this…please…” he whimpered but Cancerman was busy lighting another cigarette as if he were just watching television, his pupils dilated, aroused by the scene in front of him. Aroused by the sight of these two beautiful young men, their backs bearing the wounds of their recent punishment, one of them naked, the other half naked. Cancerman sighed. It was a lovely sight.


Now Krycek was smearing Mulder’s own blood between his buttocks and Mulder began to weep, softly, holding onto the hassock. Love me…hurt me…save me…he repeated, trying not to think about the hardness that was penetrating him, the pain, trying not to hear Krycek’s panting moans as he forced himself inside him. His own tightness was an obstacle. Krycek withdrew, entered again, pushing hard and Mulder screamed with pain. He was an animal, a fox caught in a trap. He was beaten, raped, humiliated, abused. He had never felt such pain, he was being torn apart by it. He felt Alex’s hot breath on his shoulder and his high pitched yell of excitement as he came, before slumping down over Mulder’s prone body.


“Now.” Cancerman pulled on his hair, tugging his head up until he was looking into his eyes. “Who do you belong to?”


Mulder hesitated.


“Who?” Cancerman asked.


“Skinner.” Mulder said, before passing out.


Skinner woke with a pounding heart. It was late, gone 3 a.m. What had woken him? He had dreamed strange, insubstantial dreams, full of ghosts and fleeting, disturbing images. Perhaps it was the dreams that had awoken him. He got up, pulled on his sweat pants, went downstairs, sure he had heard something. There it was again, a faint moan. He found his gun, went to the door, opened it cautiously. There was nobody there. Then he looked down and gave a gasp of sheer horror.


“Mulder?” The young agent was naked, badly beaten, and there was a note hanging round his neck. Skinner frowned and bent down. The note read “Property of Mr Skinner.” A look of intense anger and irritation passed over Skinner’s face. He pulled the note off Mulder, and dragged the man into his apartment, lying him down on the couch and covering him with a blanket. There was writing on the back of the paper. Skinner turned it over gingerly in his hands as if the note were poisoned and read it.


“Despite my best efforts, he refuses to submit fully to my ownership. He seems to believe that he belongs to you. I have no wish to keep another man’s property, Mr Skinner. I therefore return him to you. If I were you I would treat him harshly. That will, no doubt, bring out the best in him. It is also what he wants.” There was no question about who the note was from. Skinner crumpled it savagely in his fist and returned his attention to Mulder.


“Damn you, Mulder,” he whispered. “Damn you for this a hundred times.” He ran a bath, took Mulder in his arms and dumped him in it, his fingers gently exploring his wounds. They were pretty much the same as last time – less tearing but deeper, like cuts rather than jagged stripes. Mulder shivered under his touch.


“Krycek…” he murmured. “Krycek was there. He did this.”


“What does it matter who did it?” Skinner asked. “Because at the end of the day you’re the one behind it, aren’t you, Mulder? They just provide what you want.” He ran a sponge over Mulder’s back, poured cool water over Mulder’s sweaty hair and face, shampooed his scalp with soothing fingers, washing away the bloodstains. Then he lifted Mulder out again, wrapped him up in a towel, gently patted him dry then carried him upstairs to his own bedroom, laid him down in his bed and got in beside him. He took Mulder in his arms, held him tight against his chest. “Rest,” he whispered. “I’ll take care of you.”


“I want to belong…” Mulder whimpered. “I want to belong to you.”


“I gathered that much.” Skinner murmured wryly.


“Say I’m worthy…He said…he said he was all I was worth…that I wasn’t worth any more.”


“Ssh.” Skinner held him tighter. “You are worthy. Ssh.”


“I need to know.” Mulder clung onto the hands that were clasped around his waist. “I need to believe.”


“You do know. You can believe.” Skinner soothed him.


“Then tell me.” Mulder cried, like a child. “Tell me…”


“You belong to me. There. You belong to me.” Skinner said it over and over again and Mulder sighed, his body relaxing as he fell asleep.





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