The Adversary: 3. Part Three


I’m humming to myself as I fill the Jacuzzi. He’s taken such an important step, the darling boy! I did wonder whether or not this might break him of and by itself, but it didn’t. I know when they’re broken, and he’s just damaged, not snapped. He’s proving to be very hard to break, as he predicted, and as I had hoped. Physical pain actually hurts him less than when I can inflict emotional blows on his psyche though – he visibly wilts after those. His earlier anger showed me I was getting close to something important to him, whether he realized that or not.


I fold up my sleeve to test the Jacuzzi for warmth, and then return to the salon. I pause in the doorway, rendered utterly speechless by the sight that awaits me there. Oh my! He’s never looked more beautiful. He’s lying on the couch; the blanket that was loosely wrapped around his body has fallen partially away, leaving most of his body exposed. His head is slumped back, on the armrest, leaving the long line of his throat visible, enticing me to cover it in kisses. I make no move though. I don’t want to disturb this delicious tableau. His skin is very pale, and he is covered with little marks; bruises around his ribs, courtesy of my dutymen, and long, red, livid welts all over his body. One butt cheek is just visible, and it burns and glows in the firelight, rosy with pain, in vivid contrast to the pallor of the rest of his body. His hair is dark where it has soaked up sweat, and is a mess of points and stray strands that sweep endearingly across his marble brow. He’s much thinner than when we brought him in, which serves to accentuate his ribs and long torso in a way that I find almost aesthetically pleasing. After torture he resembles the young boy he still is inside. He is vulnerable, hurting, and alone…and he is looking to me to fill the void in his life now that he has betrayed his lover. His cock lies languidly, abandoned and neglected on his thigh, and I so look forward to using that particular organ to show him that I can provide pleasure as well as pain. One of his arms is draped awkwardly across his body, and the other hangs, almost lifelessly by his side. The one nipple visible is dark red, swollen from its recent abuse. He reminds me of the painting, Death of Marat – that delicious, alabaster-skinned Marat lying in his bath, perfect in his absence of life. Mulder is absent of life at this moment. I’ve sucked him dry and now I have the joy of revitalizing him. I tiptoe closer. His long lashes are sooty against his pale skin, and his face is rendered all the more lovely by the pain he has so recently experienced. There are tear-stains on his cheeks, and his lashes are still wet, making them stand out even more startlingly against his flesh. His lips are cut in several places – more from his own bite marks than anything we have done to him, I think, and the jagged, red rips are a flash of bright color on this porcelain statue of perfection.


Ah, but bringing him to this was so lovely. He has been worthy of my skills, an excellent opponent. I wonder if he has any more tricks up his sleeve, or whether he will soon succumb? In a way, I almost hope that he will continue to struggle and surprise me – I think I could play with him until the end of my days and never grow tired.


He moves his head, ruining the picture, and those tragic hazel eyes look at me. He’s half out of his mind, and isn’t really sure where he is. There is confusion in his expression, and a wild panic.


“Hush, it’s all right, my darling boy. We’re going to wash you. We’ll use warm water to comfort you. Hush.”


He cries out as I beckon the dutyman to lift him, and carry him into the next room.”Hush, there’s no pain now. You’ve been very good and now you’ll be rewarded. I’m going to reward you so well, my darling boy. Hush, hush, hush.” I murmur the words to him over and over again, soothing him, as a mother soothes her child to sleep. He’s been through so much, and so bravely. What a dear creature he is, to take his pain so well, to suffer so nobly, and with such beauty. I don’t think I’ve known any other recruit suffer to such perfection, not even Charles’s spitfire assistant. Oh, but I love him so much! At this moment in time I love him more than words can ever express.


I watch as the dutyman lowers his precious bundle gently into the bath, admonishing him not to allow Mulder’s head to knock against the side, and then get undressed, and slip in beside my darling boy. Mulder’s eyes have closed again, and his head lolls back. He cried out as we helped him into the water, and I’m sure it stung in places, but now that he’s warm the sting is forgotten. I take him into my arms, and he comes, unresisting. I hold him for a long time, taking care to keep his chin out of the water. The lights in the bedroom have been dimmed, and he is lost in a dream. It’s just him and me, alone together in this shared, exquisite moment. I allow him to rest, spaced out as a result of the recent pain, weary beyond belief. After half an hour or more of luxuriating in being together, I move him to one side, and go to pick up the soap. He stirs, his hazel eyes full of fear.


“Please! Don’t hurt me,” he begs, his eyes dark with remembered pain. It’s breathtaking. The beauty of that look, and the suffering in those eyes – I can feel a lump rising in my throat.


“It’s all right, my dear one. It’s all right. I’m not going to hurt you.”


It’s like winning the trust of a wild animal, trapped and in pain. It’s so good to be able to soothe, and mend, and take care of him. When I release him back into the wild again he’ll be tamed inside, my beautiful, obedient little fox. Just thinking about that moment makes me want to weep. I pull him close again, and gently and carefully soap him all over. He flinches a little as I work – I have to keep my actions very measured and smooth so as not to scare him. Any sudden movement and he’s skittish, like a colt, full of fear. I take my time, and he just lies there, and lets me wash away the sweat, and tears. When he’s been soaped, I lovingly take the sponge, fill it with water, and gently squeeze it over his body. I think he likes this. The action of the water running over his body in this way is immensely pleasurable. The pain has heightened his senses you see, and he’s receptive to the slightest stimulus right now. He moans in my arms as the water anoints him, washing him clean of all that he’s suffered. Finally, I squeeze the sponge over his head, and he shivers, closing his eyes. The water coats those dark eyelashes, and, in the lamplight, in the water, he is like a shining god of despair. I pour shampoo into my palms and lather it into his scalp. I love massaging scalps and I know he loves what I’m doing because he puts his head back and lets me work the lather deep into his skin. It’s a special blend of aromatherapy oils designed to soothe, and he blisses out to the feel of my fingers on his head. Darling boy! When I finally remove my hands from his scalp, he gives a moan at the separation, which warms my heart. I pick up the sponge, and squeeze it over his head, and soon he is clean.


“Time to sleep, dear heart,” I murmur.


“Sleep,” he whispers, in a voice full of longing.


“My darling, I can’t bear for us to be parted, so I’m afraid I must tie you,” I whisper.


He moves his head, his eyes dark with those tragic, unshed tears again.


“No…please…” he whimpers.


“It’s all right. We’ll tie you as comfortably as we can – it’s a small price to pay for lying in my arms, after all.” I smile, soothing him, running my hand up and down his arm. I get him out of the bath with the help of the dutyman, and slide him into the large, inviting bed.


“Here…painkillers.” I swirl the soluble tablets around in a glass of water – he’s in no condition to swallow them whole – and then press it to his lips. He makes a face at the bitter flavor so when he’s swallowed them down, I give him a glass of plain water to wash the taste from his mouth. He wants to curl into a ball; he goes straight into the fetal position as soon as I release my grip on him, but I need to dress his wounds and can’t do that when he’s all scrunched up, so I painstakingly stretch out his limbs.


“Don’t move them, darling boy. Just stay very still while I take care of you.” I rub an entire tube of cool, antiseptic gel into his sore body, treating his welts thoroughly. I take this opportunity to examine that bruising on his ribs. I’ll be very angry with my dutymen if they’ve broken skin or bone, or caused any internal damage, but they have been as circumspect as I demand of them. My recruits are not the only ones I punish with the whip, and my dutymen are highly trained. Then it’s time to examine him internally. He gives a little cry as I part his buttocks, but I stroke his skin softly, murmuring to him lovingly, and he tries his best to relax. The speculum hasn’t damaged him – I’m very careful in my use of that particular instrument – but he’s been penetrated recently, and that, predictably, has caused some slight tearing. I soothe cool cream into his rectum. He isn’t badly torn, and he’ll soon heal with good food, comfort, and rest. Finally, I insert a suppository. Antibiotics will prevent any infection from getting hold. His immune system is very weak right now and needs a little helping hand. He cries out as I push the suppository home, and I hold him close, rocking him back and forth. The poor boy clings to me for comfort, which I’m more than happy to give him. The suppository was for his own good though; he’ll be much more comfortable now.


I wrap special, fur-lined cuffs around his wrists, and then tie them loosely to the headboard, giving him plenty of room to move around. His ankles are also cuffed, and chained, and again, attached to the bed. The worst he can do to me now is take a bite out of me. As he isn’t broken it’s a risk to sleep next to him but I can’t resist. I need to be close to him in the aftermath of what we’ve just been through together. I’ll leave my dutyman watching at the door, but even so, Mulder could do some damage if he woke up and felt desperate enough to attack. Like a wild animal, he might just wake up so confused and full of turmoil that he bites the hand that feeds him. Finally, regretfully, after weighing it up, I decide a gag will be necessary to render him completely safe. I fetch a gag of the softest cotton. It’s little more than a wad of cloth on elastic, and it won’t exacerbate the sores on his mouth. I slip it easily between his teeth and he moans and moves his head, those expressive hazel eyes registering his anxiety, but doesn’t put up any real fight.


“There, my darling boy. When you’re fully broken we can experience the joy of sharing a bed without the need for these restraints to come between us, but you’re not quite there yet.”


He makes no reply, merely closes his eyes and lets his head fall onto the pillow. I slip under the sheets beside him, and pull his naked body against my own. I’m very aroused by having him so close, and so docile, and he moans when he feels my hard cock digging into his buttocks, but I must delay my pleasure for now as it isn’t the right time to further consummate our growing love. I pet him instead, soothing him with little light caresses on his body. His hair is so clean and smells so divine that I bury my nose in it and inhale the scent of him. It’s intoxicating – he’s intoxicating. Finally, I rest my face against the delightful curve of his neck, and kiss him there, over and over again. His body is limp and acquiescent in my arms, so heavy, and so perfect.


“You’re loved, my dear boy. So loved. I wonder how you could have ever stood your lonely existence before. Here you are loved. I love you,” I whisper, and he is still, listening intently to my words. “I’m going to take very good care of you,” I continue, stroking his flaccid cock, which doesn’t respond in the slightest. Never mind. I’ll take care of that in due course. “My love, my darling one, so cherished. Don’t disobey me again, my sweet. When you’re good, we can share so much pleasure. Ah, so silent, so beautiful.”


I think I caress him for a full hour, my hard cock weeping with need the whole time. It’s the most delicious agony I think I’ve ever experienced. The sacrifices I make for this dear creature. Of course he doesn’t know that I’m not going to insert my hungry cock into his warm, captive body – I think he’s waiting for that to happen, but I want him to see that I don’t have to enter him in order to possess him. I can show my utter mastery of him just by tying him to my bed and lying beside him. Finally, I allow him to sleep, but I keep him in my arms. I won’t relinquish my hold on this precious prize, not now, not ever.


I take only my usual 5 or 6 hours of sleep. I really don’t require any more in order to feel refreshed. When I wake up he is still fast asleep. I let him rest – the poor lamb really needs to recoup his energy. I lie still, and just drink in the sight of him as he sleeps. There’s a little more color in his skin, and he’s breathing deeply through the cotton gag, assuring me that despite his little physical exertions of late, he’s in basically good health. He’ll take a few days to recover, but he’s young, and resilient.


I slide out of the bed, and he moans, and moves into the space I occupied, his chains clinking slightly as he rolls. The change wakes him up, and he glances around, bleary-eyed and confused.


“It’s all right, dear heart. I won’t be leaving you for long,” I whisper, smoothing back his hair. Thus reassured, he closes his eyes and is soon asleep again. I see to my toilet, dress, and then return to the bed with some paperwork, which I deposit on the nightstand. I like sleeping under sheets, but now that I’ve taken my own rest, I think the boy should be displayed for me to enjoy as I work, so I strip back the blankets to reveal his naked beauty. He stirs again, his eyes opening in panic, perhaps imagining that he will come to harm.


“It’s all right,” I murmur again, adjusting the temperature on the wall panel so that he will be warm. “I just want you on display, that’s all. It’s a crime to cover up all this sublime flesh, my love.” He shivers, but he’s too tired to care very much, and his head drops again, like a brick, onto the pillow. He’s no danger to me now that I’m awake, so I remove his gag, and untie his hands and legs, allowing him freedom of movement, and he stretches out, relishing his liberty. He sleeps for four more hours, while I sit beside him, glasses perched on the tip of my nose as I work. I only need glasses for reading – a sign of impending old age, I’m afraid. I used to have 20/20 vision in my youth, but the relentless march of time has robbed me of that. Every now and again I glance up, and allow my gaze to linger on his naked loveliness. He’s a delicious pink color now, warm and thoroughly comfortable, nestled up in my bed. His outstretched hand is just touching my thigh and I love the contact. Occasionally it all becomes too much for me, and I have to caress the naked creature; a little kiss to the hollow between his collarbones, a lick along the nearest earlobe, a tiny, gentle brush of fingertips over a nipple. He stirs and mutters when I touch him, but doesn’t wake.


The body often shuts down after extreme trauma, requiring far more sleep than usual, but all the same, he must dance to my tune, so I decide to introduce some kind of rhythm to his day. I’ll see that he gets plenty of sleep, but he will take it as and when I allow it. The chef makes a particularly tempting breakfast for us, and I take it from the dutyman, and sit on the bed next to Mulder with a tray.


“Mulder, wake up.” I pull him sideways so that his face is in my lap. He gazes up at me, blinking. His eyes are full of sadness – it’s going to be my pleasure to make them light up with joy in due course. “I have a delicious breakfast for you,” I tell him, stroking his hair.


“I’m not hungry,” he whispers.


“I didn’t say you had a choice, dear one,” I murmur lovingly. “You don’t.”


“I can’t,” he mutters, his eyes sliding away from mine and into some dark, soulful tragedy all of his own.


“Well, you can eat or you can be whipped.”


It’s a very simple matter, and it takes him less than ten seconds to open his mouth obligingly. I cut up a slice of bacon, and place it on his tongue, and he chews, thoughtfully, looking up at me the whole time. He swallows, with some effort, raising his head slightly to make the action more comfortable, and when he’s done I press some omelet to his mouth. He takes what I give him, chewing interminably slowly, but I have all the time in the world, and I’m a very patient man. When he’s eaten a fair sized meal I allow him to sit, and place a glass of orange juice to his lips. He drinks that down without complaint, gulping on it, so it’s clear that he was very thirsty. I fill a second glass with water and he empties that as well. Putting aside the food, I bring a pot over to the bed, and, sitting him on the edge, I take his penis in my hand. He looks at me with dull, blank eyes, knowing what he has to do, but even so it takes several long seconds before the first droplets splatter into the pot. He’s inhibited, but that will pass with time. After a while the flow becomes steadier and he relieves himself of a considerable sum of fluid, so that, also, was a pressing need.


“You must tell me when you need something, whether it’s the bathroom or water,” I chide gently.


“I need to go home,” he whispers, a faint ghost of my lovely, fighting Mulder in his tone.


“You are home, my dear boy. Home is a place where you’re loved, and taken care of. Home is where the heart is – it’s a cliché, but true all the same. Your heart belongs here, Mulder, with me. I’ll take good care of your heart. I won’t let you down as so many others have done before. The man you thought was your father, your lover, your real father – none of them gave you the love you deserve but I will.”


His gaze fixes on me, a puzzled expression in those limpid, hazel eyes.


“Why?” He asks, his lips forming the word although it barely has any sound to it. My heart almost breaks.


“Oh my poor boy.” I sit beside him on the bed, and take him in my arms. He comes, unresisting. “My poor, darling boy. I’ll love you because someone must! You’ve been neglected for far too long. All you needed was someone to take notice of you, and give you the attention you crave. The other men in your life have all failed you, but I won’t.”


He gives the faintest sigh, and then is still, and deflated, as if he has lost the capacity to breathe, and when he does take another breath it is noisy and full of fight.


“Lie back,” I instruct, pushing him onto the bed. “Let me show you just how loved you are.”


I go to the Jacuzzi, dip a washcloth in the water, then return, and gently stroke the cloth over his penis and testicles, parting his legs insistently as I work. He lies there, looking up at the ceiling, his face blank. When he’s clean, I put aside the washcloth, and fasten his arms and legs to the bed once again, so that he’s spread-eagled and immobile. Once he’s secured, I play with his captive body again, enjoying myself, but being very gentle. I stroke my fingers down his chest, and rub each nipple with tiny brush strokes until they harden. They’re still very sore, but they can take gentle caresses. I dip my head to suck on each one, and then lick my way down to his groin. He gasps when I take his penis in my mouth. I don’t think he expected me to pleasure him like this. He remains flaccid though, despite my best attempts to suck some life into him, and I am rather good at this, if I do say so myself. Usually this kind of stimulus is enough to have most men hard despite themselves, but he’s already admitted to a certain degree of impotence, so I wasn’t necessarily expecting this to be easy. I relinquish his cock, and move up the bed to gaze down into his eyes.


“Darling, you must come for me,” I tell him gently, stroking his hair back away from his forehead.


“Tell my cock that,” he replies, his eyes meeting mine for the first time. There’s just the slightest trace of his usual wry humor in those listless orbs. “I can’t help it if it doesn’t perform on cue.”


“But of course you can, darling!” I laugh, still gazing down at him fondly. “Look, my sweet, you’ve been through a great deal these past few days, and it’s understandable that you’re feeling a little low. That bastard Skinner took a great deal out of you, didn’t he?”


His brow furrows, and his lips twist, as if in pain.


“Hush, my love.” I stroke his breast gently. “Now, you can get over him. You have me now, and I want to give you pleasure. Your body deserves a little respite after the pain, doesn’t it?”


“I can’t force a hard on.” He shrugs.


“Darling.” My tone is firmer this time, and I place a finger over his mouth. “‘Can’t’ isn’t a word I want to hear from these divine lips. You can, if you try. If you really want to please me you will. Now, I don’t want to hurt you any more, dear boy. You need some recovery time. You need to be cosseted and loved. I want to do that for you but you have to let me.”


“How?” He asks, almost wordlessly. I slide my hand down to his cock and grasp it firmly.


“Well, my dear, the dutyman was so kind as to fetch your whip while you were sleeping. I have it here.” I nod in the direction of the nightstand next to his side of the bed, where his whip lies, furled. Anxiety creeps into those dull eyes.


“No…you promised no pain here,” he says, tugging on his chains. “You promised!” He’s like a child who has been told he won’t be getting a much longed for treat.


“Hush, dear one.” I soothe his hair again until he’s calm. “I don’t want to beat you, darling. You’ve been beaten a great deal and while that’s been good for you, and necessary, I’d prefer to be making love to you instead of hurting you right now. You need some love, dear boy. All you have to do is accept it.”


“Please…if I can, I will…just don’t beat me,” he implores. He’s right to be anxious. He’s in bad shape physically, and I couldn’t do more than administer the very mildest of beatings – although I will do that if it’s necessary.


“Darling, you’re going to have to trust me. I need you to allow your body to respond. It’s the mind that interferes you see, dear heart.” I tap his forehead. “Any cock would respond to what I was just doing to it under normal circumstances. It’s your mind that stopped that response. You have to allow it to happen.”


He swallows, and nods, and I reward him with a kiss.


“Good boy. It’s merely a choice between allowing yourself pleasure, or the inevitability of pain if you interfere or resist. Think of it that way.” His eyes register the starkness of that choice, and I smile, and pat his face reassuringly.


“There, there, dear one. Let’s try and keep the whip on the nightstand, shall we? It would be so much nicer for both of us that way.”


I snake my way back down his body, and end up at his cock once again. This time I take it in my hand and stroke it for quite some time. This won’t be quick, but I’m confident we’ll get some kind of result; he’s desperate to avoid the lash. I watch him while I work. He puts his head back, trying not to fight it, and his eyes fix firmly on a spot on the ceiling. His cock slowly begins to harden. It isn’t easy. Every time he looks close to getting what could charitably be described as an erection, he loses it almost immediately.


“Hold it, dear one. If you don’t come then you’ll be whipped, so just getting hard isn’t enough. You must hold it long enough to come,” I urge him.


He swallows, nodding, and grips his chains tightly in both his hands, concentrating very hard. His cock starts to swell again beneath my caress, and this time it looks more promising, so I lower my head and take it into my mouth. He gives a little cry as I skillfully administer a most pleasurable blowjob. He’s holding very well, but I know he could lose it at any moment. By raising my eyes I can see how much of a strain it is for him to concentrate on this. His erection suddenly fades, and I sigh in exasperation, sitting up again.


“Darling, we’ll give it one last try, but you need to relax,” I croon, stroking the side of his face tenderly. “You’re all tensed up, and that isn’t getting us anywhere. Just think of any fantasy you want. Maybe you’re the center of attention at a party, and there is a line of big, strong bikers all dressed in leather, kneeling in front of you and worshipping your cock. Does that work, hmm? Or pretty ladies, with tanned limbs, and large ripe breasts, their hair sweeping over your abdomen as they suck your penis. Now, let’s try again. If this doesn’t work then I’m afraid I really will have no choice but to whip you.”


His eyes are full of a kind of grim determination and he nods. I return to his cock, and begin stroking it again. If it weren’t such a pretty cock then this would be becoming something of a chore, but his whole body is a delight really, and it’s so nice watching his unguarded responses. He makes a conscious effort to relax each muscle in his body, and sinks into the bed. His lips are parted, and he’s gazing into the distance, humming to himself. His cock begins to harden again, and I take advantage of that fact by deep-throating it in a move that makes him gasp. Smiling to myself I suck down hard and his ass lifts away from the bed, his cock thrusting urgently towards the back of my throat. I allow him to continue with his thrusts and he gets into a rhythm, until finally I can sense that he’s about to come. Hallelujah! I draw back, and complete the job with my hand – I do so hate the taste of semen.


“Good boy!” I praise him whole-heartedly when he delivers a small amount of sperm, and he gives a smile of pure relief at having evaded a whipping. “You see. You can take pleasure. You just need to think less and respond more,” I tell him, cleaning us both up with the washcloth. He nods, doubtfully. “There now, what were you thinking when you came?” I asked him. “What little fantasy were you playing out?”


He looks me directly in the eye and shrugs. “I imagined you were Walter,” he whispers.


Damn! I told him he could use any fantasy he wanted so I can’t punish him, but all the same, I’m furious. Oh, I knew that all I’d done was remove Walter from his delirium, and, by means of his betrayal, loosen his grip on the fantasy he’s built up around his young lawyer, but I hadn’t anticipated this. Damn Walter Skinner. He’s there at every turn I take, and there is even the faintest hint of a triumphant smirk in Mulder’s eyes. It’s as if he knows that he’s hurt me – as if he takes pleasure in it. I force a smile, and get to my feet.


“Well, that isn’t what I wanted to hear, as you undoubtedly know. I won’t beat you for it, but as a punishment you can lie here on your own for a while, and think about matters. I have work to do in any case.”


I collect my papers from the nightstand, and take them into my salon. I can see the anxiety in his eyes as I go. He’s worried about so many things, not least being left alone with the enormity of his betrayal. The ramifications of that have yet to sink in. It’s possible that he even believes I have it in my power to bring Skinner here to take his place. His grip on reality is fragile enough right now to make that a possibility. Well, he can stew on that for a while because I need a rest from him. Breaking new recruits is a great joy but it can be so tiring as well. Damn this old body. I used to have more stamina. I knew he’d be a challenge but all the same…just when I have a breakthrough, he comes back with something unexpected. It makes him fascinating, but hard work as well.


Walter Skinner. He really is proving to be more of a thorn in my side than I had anticipated. I’m drawn to Mulder’s file, and glance through it, seeking information on the troublesome Mr. Skinner. After some searching, I find a few lines: Ex-marine, Vietnam, Assistant Director in charge of Criminal Investigations…it’s all so tedious. This is why I hate files. They give you the facts without giving you the information. Finally I come across something that does interest me – it’s a photograph. On the back is scribbled: Mulder. With Skinner. October 1997. I turn it over, eager to catch a glimpse of my rival. Mulder is the main focus of interest for the photographer, and Skinner is clearly secondary as half his face is cut off, but it’s enough to give me a flavor of the man. I put my head on one side and look at him thoughtfully. So this is Walter Skinner, my rival for Mulder’s affections. He interesting looking – not conventionally handsome but then neither is Mulder. Broad across the chest and shoulder, and an inch or so taller than my own dear boy next door, Walter Skinner exudes a certain kind of confidence and authority that I dislike intensely. Charles has it too.


Men like these always get their own way, whether in the best choice of mates, or money, power and status. It’s galling. What does he have that I do not? What subtleties of personality lie within Walter Skinner’s broad breast that Mulder goes back to him over and over again in our discourses? Three or four months, eighteen years ago, and yet the boy hangs on to them so assiduously. Of course working with Skinner must keep the memories fresh, and there is nothing like the pang of unrequited love to keep the emotions constantly razor sharp, like a knife directly to the heart. I need to know more. I need to understand this Walter Skinner. Ah, how I wish Charles could bring him here. I’d love to have my chance with a man such as this. I trace my finger over his outline, pondering the matter. Men like Skinner are a mystery to me. I understand Mulder all too well, just as I understand the demons that drive Alex. These boys are such lost souls, so strong and yet so in need of comfort. Childhood abandonment, loss, the absence of strong father figures and subsequent fixation upon them…all these are issues that I understand, as surely as the boys I break, but Mulder has something else, something I haven’t encountered before that gives him that extra dimension. Mulder is right; the fact that he works for the government, and that he is Charles’s son, are both powerful motivations for my enjoyment in breaking him. That and his bright, shining intellect of course. I’ve never met my equal in that regard before. No wonder he is becoming an obsession with me. A healthy obsession of course! I am a man in love, and it’s galling to find that I have such a deeply rooted and pernicious rival.


After thinking the matter through for some hours, I can’t help myself. I reach for the phone and call Charles.


“I need another file. I’m sure you can oblige,” I request. There’s silence on the other end of the line, and I take this as an invitation to proceed. “Walter Skinner. I need to know more about him. Could you send me the file you have on him?”


“Very well.” I can almost see him blow out a haze of cigarette smoke as he says the words. “How is it going with Mulder?”


“Good. We’ve had an important breakthrough. That is why I want Skinner’s file.”


“Then he’s broken?” His voice is very hard, almost rasping. I smile. Poor Charles. I sometimes wonder whether he truly wants Mulder to be broken or not. He longs for his boy to be the only one to resist, to show the strength of his own genes, and yet he also longs for an obedient son to do his bidding. What a dilemma!


“No, he isn’t broken,” I reply.


“Damn it, Laurence! You’ve had him for weeks.”


“And it takes time. It can’t be hurried. Remember your assistant? Some take longer to break than others.”


“The FBI is looking for him. I’ve had Skinner tracking me down, breathing down my neck. It isn’t easy keeping him at bay.”


“I’m sure.” I finger the photograph of Walter Skinner. He looks bullish, and everything Mulder has told me leads me to believe that he’s a determined man. “Maybe…I could distract them a little,” I murmur.


“How?” I can hear the interest in his voice.


“Ways and means.” I have the stirrings of an idea, but I must examine it from every angle before I commit myself. The beauty of it is that if I can find a way of making it work then it will also have considerable impact on Mulder.


“The others are growing impatient. They want to see him,” Charles says, in a cold tone. “Correction – they want to screw him.”


Damn, but I wish they wouldn’t keep interfering. “I can’t bring him yet. He isn’t ready.”


“Then make him ready. You have two weeks,” Charles snaps, before slamming down the phone.


The trouble with the Elite is that they have no concept of what an art form it is to break someone. It isn’t something you can hurry. It has to be finessed. You can certainly just bludgeon someone into submission but that isn’t breaking, it’s merely training. I could train Mulder from here. He’s reached a place where he’ll do what he’s told as long as I am around to insist. However the point about breaking is that the recruit learns to follow the orders of any member of the Elite, not just myself. I can’t be around to supervise them all individually every hour of every day.


I consider my options. Two weeks. It’s possible I might break him in that time but I can’t count on it – and if I have to get him into shape for a public appearance then that limits my ability to be truly creative. I could make him obedient, and even halfway skilled by then, but broken – no, although the little trick I have up my sleeve might push him further in that direction without marking his body any more, or rendering him less attractive for his debut in the Syndicate Smoking Room. The Elite do not like seeing whipped, demoralized, and bruised recruits who flinch away from every touch. They love the end results of what I do, but they don’t want to examine too closely how those results are achieved. They merely want willing flesh, and bright eyes, not downcast, withdrawn creatures, such as Mulder is now. Two weeks. I could restore at least some of his verve in that time, and tutor him in how to give pleasure…but it will mean me accompanying him when he goes to the Syndicate or he won’t perform. Damn. Just the thought of sitting in the car makes my flesh crawl. If he hadn’t been so stubborn, if I’d been able to break him sooner…no, I mustn’t blame the boy for that. I wanted a challenge and I’d have been disappointed if he had caved in too early. Very well. If that’s the way it must be.


Mulder is dozing when I return to the bedroom, but he looks up as I close the door softly behind me, and glance at him speculatively. There’s fear in his eyes, and they flicker to the whip. Although I said I wouldn’t beat him, he’s still afraid that I will, and that’s a good thing. It shows he’s malleable enough to be trained. I often do begin some rudimentary training during the breaking process, so it isn’t too inconvenient to have my plans altered in this way, although I’ll admit to being a little irked that my hand has been forced. I’m a very precise man, and breaking is an extremely precise art. I sit on the side of the bed and look down on my sweetly disheveled captive.


“How are you feeling, darling?” I ask him tenderly.


“I hurt, Larry,” he says honestly, those hazel eyes shining but still downcast. “Inside. I hurt inside.”


“I’m sure you do. Hold still, let me examine you.” I untie his legs, pull on a latex glove, coat my finger in lubricant, and open his legs. He makes no protest, and a cursory examination reveals that he’s doing fine but I’m not surprised he’s sore. “I want you to heal quickly, my sweet, because I have plans for you, so I’m going to help you along. Hush…don’t worry. My plans are entirely pleasurable. We’re about to embark on a great adventure, you and I. You’re going to learn so much in the next two weeks. Now open for me again.” I insert a suppository, and he bites down on his lip. Even the slightest thing distresses him right now, and it’s very beautiful watching him struggling with the pain. These government men, with all their training, don’t like admitting that they’re just flesh and blood like anyone else. I remove my finger, strip off the glove, and then take away his chains completely. He curls up immediately upon his release, hugging his knees to his chest, his eyes faraway and full of sadness.


“My poor boy.” I slide down beside him, and take him into my arms. “It will stop hurting soon, darling. Come here.” And he does! Oh, joy. He comes! He turns in my arms, and buries his face in my neck, and I can feel the wetness of his tears soaking through my shirt.


“I’m sorry, Larry,” he whispers. “Guess I’m not so much fun as the others you’ve broken, huh?”


“Oh darling. You couldn’t be more wrong. You’re just in pain. You need comfort. It’s good to accept it isn’t it?”


He shudders in my arms, and I know that he’s hating himself for needing to feel my hands gently petting his back, and soothing him.


“Yes, Larry,” he answers finally, in a low whisper.


“There…you’ll feel better soon. It isn’t as bad as you fear. The pain will soon go away,” I murmur, kissing that abundant dark hair.


“When I said I hurt inside, Larry, I didn’t mean that,” he whispers listlessly. I draw back and gaze into those dark, tragic eyes. “I meant I hurt inside.” His hand brushes his heart, and he looks at me in despair.


“Oh darling.” I place my hands on either side of his face, and kiss those full lips, and he accepts the embrace, even surrenders to it. “Darling, I’m sorry I had to leave you. You clearly need me right now. You feel so guilty about betraying Walter, don’t you?”


His eyes are clouded now, with some emotion that’s hard to read. He closes them, wearily, and when he opens them again they’re blank.


“I’d do it again,” he says, with terrible self-knowledge. “That’s what hurts. You think you’re strong, that you’d do anything for the people you love, but that’s a lie. When the going gets tough, all any of us care about is our own survival, isn’t it?” Those hazel eyes are so watchful. I smile, and deflect his inquiry.


“He wasn’t good for you. I’m disappointed that you chose him as your masturbatory fantasy when I sucked you. Darling…you don’t think…you surely don’t think…” I laugh out loud, and he looks at me, those dull wits sharpened slightly by his own surprise. “You don’t still hold on to some absurd fantasy that he’ll ride up on his white stallion and rescue you, do you?” I ask. His eyes register a dreadful kind of pain. Ah, so this was his secretly cherished hope. Poor boy! “Darling.” I pull him close and hug him. “Poor darling. He doesn’t care about you. He abandoned you once and he’s done it again.”


“I don’t believe that, Larry,” he says, stubbornly. He glances at the whip again, and shudders, then looks back at me for reassurance. “I’m sorry. I don’t want to be punished, but I just don’t believe that. Whatever happened between us all those years ago, he’s always looked out for me since he took on the X Files. He’s looking for me. Him and Scully.”


I’m very intrigued by his Walter Skinner now. Mulder is so very sure of the man as a person, if not as a lover. “Well, my darling, you’ll forget about him. He isn’t important any more. What is important is you; you and me. Did you enjoy feeling my mouth around your cock earlier?” He colors, and nods.


“Good. Then wouldn’t it be nice to return the favor…hmm?” I sit him up and he looks at me, that flush draining from his face. I slide over to the edge of the bed, and beckon to him. He flinches at the movement, clearly expecting a blow, or some kind of coercion. How endearing. Instead, I stroke his face, and he settles a little, leaning into the caress. “Darling, I want you to come and kneel between my legs,” I instruct softly. He swallows hard, and his eyes flicker to the whip again. “I won’t use it unless I have to,” I promise him. “Don’t make me have to, my sweet.” He nods again, slides off the bed, and staggers, unsteadily, to a position between my legs. Ah, but this is nice! I look down on his lovely face, so full of promise, and put a finger on those divine lips. “You have beautiful lips, my pet,” I croon. “They were made to suck cock. You do know that don’t you? You were made to suck men, my love. But it’s one thing to just suck, and another to perform. We need to teach you how to perform. I know you want to please me, don’t you?”


He looks so conflicted. On the one hand he wants to avoid pain, and he also wants to keep me happy so that I’ll continue to comfort and love him, but on the other hand he has never exactly seen himself as a sexual being, which is a shame.


“I know you don’t have much experience, which is why I’m here to help.” I caress his face lovingly. “I’m going to teach you how to be an expert. Men will line up just to feel those lush, warm lips on their cocks, my angel. Do you know that the first thing people think when they meet you is how it would feel to put their cocks between those exquisite lips? They want to bury themselves up to the hilt in this gorgeous mouth. Did you know that, my love?” He looks faintly astonished, and somewhat skeptical, which makes me laugh. “It’s true! Ah, you are so estranged from your own sexuality, my dear! Your whole life has been your work, and your quest. You’ve observed sex, from the comfort of your couch, but you’ve so rarely ever participated. You haven’t come to understand that you are sexual; you burn with sexuality, and I’m going to make it my task to instruct you in how to connect with that sexual side of yourself. When I’m done, you’ll be in heat all the time, always ready and willing to suck, and come, and be mounted. Now, for your first lesson, I want you to suck me to the best of your ability. I’m not going to do a thing. I want you to arouse me.”


He kneels there, those hazel eyes mute with a variety of emotions. He wants to do as I say, because he wants to lose himself in the oblivion of not thinking for himself. He’s still very tired and run down, and he needs time to recover. He dreads any further pain with a vengeance right now, and yet a tiny part of his heart rebels at being reduced to the role of whore. If only he could just let go. Finally, with trembling fingers, he opens my fly, and reaches inside as if searching for a deadly snake, his eyes fearful.


“It won’t bite, darling. Be more assured,” I instruct, and he nods, locates my penis, and strokes it. It doesn’t take much to have it springing into life. Just looking at those lips makes me want to sink myself between them. I’m soon hard, and he steels himself to do what he has to do next. I’m not remotely afraid that he’ll decide to take a bite out of me; he might if he thought he could win his escape, but he knows that all he’d do is wound, and that would earn him the kind of pain he can’t face right now. He looks at me again.


“Larry…please don’t make me,” he begins, and I put a finger over his lips.


“You’ll enjoy it, darling. You’re already salivating to feel my come in your throat. You can’t wait to give in to the sexual side of your nature. You can’t ignore it forever, my sweet. All these years of repression have taken their toll. You need to be unblocked. When you finally give in to your sexuality then you’ll wonder at all those lost years. You’ll wish that you had been sucking and screwing and enjoying the manifold pleasures of the flesh instead of sitting alone in a room with your video tapes.”


There are shadows in his eyes. The art of what I’m doing is to include a grain of truth in whatever I say. He might want to dismiss it out of hand, but there is always that nugget of honesty that prevents him. He has missed out for years, through his own personality and inhibitions, poor lamb. Now I will release him from those inhibitions. It’ll be my pleasure.


He licks his lips as if already anticipating the joy of sucking my cock, and then he lowers his head. His mouth is so warm, and my cock hardens even more as he slides his lips down the shaft.


“All the way to the back of your throat, my dear,” I instruct, leaning my hands back on the bed, and watching him critically. “There are a number of little tricks you might like to try. Deep-throating is always pleasurable of course, but you might also like to try fondling the balls as you work, like this.”


I put his hand on my testicles, and show him how to play with them to maximum effect. “And you can suck the crown, concentrate there…oh, very nice…lovely. That’s delicious…see, I always knew we’d find a good use for that quicksilver tongue of yours.” He’s a little clumsy, but he’s learning. I could come right now, but I won’t. I’ll hold it for a long time, to give him the practice he needs, and make his jaw ache a little. “Now, darling, you’re doing very well, but some more joy in your eyes would be nice. This is such a delicious moment we’re sharing isn’t it?” His hazel eyes are still flat, and lifeless. They really do need to reflect a little more enjoyment. “Do look as if you’re having a good time. Your relish for your work should show in those pretty eyes.” His eyes remain resolutely tragic, as he continues to wrap those beautiful lips around my hard penis.


“Mulder!” I snap sharply, and he stops what he is doing, flinches, and glances first at his whip, and then at me. “It isn’t a race. You’re not simply trying to get it over and done with as quickly as possible. You’re taking your time. You’re having fun.”


He nods, very slowly and uncertainly. “Fun,” he repeats.


“Yes, fun. Let’s put it this way – this is more fun than being whipped isn’t it?” I pluck the whip from the nightstand and his eyes widen in genuine fear. He leans back, away from me, as if he can escape which of course he can’t. “Isn’t it?” I ask again, tracing the whip over his naked chest. He nods, licking his lips nervously. “And you see, if I don’t think you’re enjoying sucking me, then I might just assume that you’d prefer me to be inside another part of your body instead.”


“No,” he says desperately. “Please don’t, Larry. It hurts. I’m torn. You said so yourself. You said so.”


“Well then.” I put the whip around the back of his neck, and, holding both ends in my hands, draw him back to my groin. “You know what to do.” And he does! He’s a very quick learner. His eyes are shining brightly as he dips his face once more to his task, and he has a kind of strange grimace at the corners of his mouth, which I think is supposed to be a smile. It’s a start.


“You might like to stop every now and again, and tell me how much you’re enjoying yourself, how pleasing it is having me in your mouth, how you like the feel of my cock, and it’s appearance, how much it’s turning you on,” I instruct, and he blinks and sucks for a bit more, before he draws back.


“Um, this is good,” he mutters, still playing with my testicles in his hand. “This is…hot.”


I slide the whip back and forth around his neck. “A little more conviction please, dear heart,” I murmur. This is often the hardest part for the new recruits. They can get so embarrassed.


“You taste so good, Larry,” he says, his hazel eyes burning with something more akin to rebellion than lust, but he’s suffered too much to make that more overt. And he really does want to enjoy himself. He knows that if he could, then it would spare him pain, so he’s longing for that. “I want to taste you again.” He dips his head for another bout of sucking but I’m content with that much – he’ll learn more in due course but he isn’t doing too badly for a first attempt. I decide to reward him by pulling him closer with the whip, and thrusting hard into the back of his throat, over and over again, until I’m ready to come. He chokes a little – this level of oral penetration is hard for the inexperienced, but he does have to learn so I force the issue. Then I slow down, draw back a little way, and come on his tongue, so he can taste me, rather than straight down his throat, where he’ll miss out on that delight. He swallows, almost retches, and, with one eye on me, tries to smile with an approximation of enjoyment. I release his neck, and smile.


“Clean me up, dear boy. Every single drop.” And he tongues my cock clean, but he’s become dull and lifeless again, which isn’t pleasing. I release the whip, and fix him with a stern glare. “All right, Mulder. That wasn’t bad, but you can try harder. Go and stand facing the wall,” I instruct.


“Please…no,” he whispers, his eyes fixed on the whip which I’m shaking out in preparation for what must come next.


“Five strokes, darling. Then next time you’ll do better.”


“Please.” He buries his face in my groin, and I gently disengage him, lifting his chin so that I can look in his eyes.


“Mulder, you need to learn the position I expect you to assume for punishment. When I tell you to adopt it you’ll do so quickly, without argument. If you argue then the tally just goes up.”


“Larry I’m trying,” he protests.


“So now it’s six and not five. Hurry, dearest. I don’t want to hurt you any more than necessary.”


He has a brief moment of internal struggle, and then gets up and walks, despondently, to the wall. I follow him there, spread out his arms wide above his head, and slap his thighs apart.


“This is the way you’ll stand for punishment, spread-eagled. You won’t move during punishment. If you do, then we’ll start again. You can scream, but I don’t want to hear you talk, or protest. Do you understand?”


He nods, so I step back and begin. I don’t do more than the minimum necessary to drum the lesson home, but, as I’ve said before, if a whipping is necessary at all then it should be delivered properly. There’s no point promising one and then delivering something half hearted. He has to know he’s been less than pleasing, so that he can adjust his behavior next time. That’s the essence of good training. He turns his head sideways, presses his cheek flat against the wall, and grunts with each stroke, but he takes his six without otherwise complaining, and when it’s done I turn his shaking, sweaty body around, and envelop him in an embrace. He clings to me, and I soothe him for a while.


“There, my dear boy. You are learning. It could have been so much worse. Now, follow me into the salon and I’ll feed you.”


I move into the salon, and sit, expectantly, on the couch, and, after hesitating for a moment in the doorway, he comes to sit beside me. His movements are still a little slow and stiff, but we’ll soon restore that gangly grace to his limbs. I feed him again, and he opens his mouth obediently to take each bite. We’ve only just finished eating when I receive a call that one of my old trainees is on his way to visit, at my request. Marcus is one of my success stories. He’s long since graduated out of the lounge and onto better things, and holds a position of some importance in the Syndicate now. He isn’t one of the Elite yet, but one day he might be. He bounds into the room a few minutes later, a wide smile on his face. He’s a very large boy now, quite fat, and his hair is gray at the temples, his cheeks ruddy. It’s been about 20 years since I broke him but I still remember every delicious detail.


“Laurence!” He exclaims.


“Marcus.” I kiss him on both cheeks, and he goes very still. Some lessons remain with the dear boys and girls forever. Marcus has been taking advantage of our facilities for many years. He lost his looks quite young, but luckily he had initiative and secured the patronage of one of the Elite, who took Marcus under his wing and trained him to use a weapon, and perform simple missions. Marcus progressed from there and I’m very proud of him. He glances at Mulder and smiles as he takes the seat I gesture him to.


“Still working hard I see, Laurence!” Marcus remarks. He’s gazing at Mulder with more interest now. “Isn’t this…?”


“Yes, it is.” I stroke Mulder’s hair and he looks at Marcus with hope in his eyes.


“Please, if you can help me…” Mulder begins, obviously imagining that Marcus might be an ally to him. Marcus laughs out loud.


“Hush, darling,” I admonish softly, fondling Mulder’s hair on my way over to the table where a fresh pot of tea is brewing. “Marcus isn’t here to talk to you. He’s come to visit me. My former trainees often stop by to spend some time with an old man.”


Mulder stares at Marcus with a look of profound disbelief in those hazel eyes. He doesn’t really understand how deeply I can affect people’s psyches, but he will.


“You’re lucky,” Marcus remarks to Mulder, accepting the cup of tea I hand to him. “The Syndicate takes good care of their own. I’ve always had the best of everything. It’s a good life.” He settles back in his chair, his rather large stomach bulging over his pants as evidence of his words.


“I think we can all see that Marcus,” I tease and he grins, and pats his bulk affectionately.


“But what’s the price?” Mulder asks, one eye still fixed warily on me in case he’s speaking out of turn, but I’m intrigued by what he has to say so I allow him to speak.


“You haven’t worked your magic on him yet then?” Marcus glances at me. Work my magic. Ah, what a wonderful way of describing what I do here.


“No. Not yet.” I fondle Mulder’s hair again, affectionately, and return to the couch to sit next to him.


“I was just a kid when I arrived.” Marcus shrugs. “The Syndicate sent me on the best vacations, saw that I had the nicest food, and fantastic clothes. When I turned out pretty smart at using computers, they called in the best tutors to teach me. I saw what a good life it is, and how they take care of their own.” He grins. “You’ll think the same way too, very soon.”


Mulder’s eyes are puzzled, but he wisely chooses not to speak.


“Darling.” I nudge Mulder’s shoulder. “Marcus and I have something we need to discuss. Why don’t you go and show him what you learned this morning while we talk.” He turns his head slowly towards me, horror in his eyes. “Go on, dear heart. Marcus looks in need of some entertainment.” I glance at Marcus and he smiles, broadly, and opens his fly without any further encouragement.


“Hurry, my sweet, or you’ll earn another whipping,” I urge, settling back in the couch and stirring my tea. Mulder slides across the floor, like a dog with his tail between his legs, looking utterly wretched. Marcus opens his legs obligingly, and Mulder crouches between them. I swear that boy has shrunk since we brought him in. He looks much smaller as he bends his head and takes Marcus’s cock into his mouth.


“Marcus, it’s your skill with computers that I wanted to discuss,” I say, taking a sip of tea. Mulder slurps away noisily, and Marcus takes a sip of his own tea, one hand idly stroking Mulder’s dark hair.


“Anything you want to know, just ask!” Marcus exclaims. “Nothing is too much trouble for you, Laurence. Not when you provide such great entertainments.” He grins down at Mulder.


“It’s very kind of you to say so. You see, I’ve read about this internet, and I’m intrigued by some of its functions. Would it be possible, for example, to set up some kind of…what are the words…live feed…using a camera, so that somebody could observe events from a distance without them being able to trace the source?”


“Oh sure.” He gives a little groan of pleasure, and smiles at me over Mulder’s head. Mulder is going about things in his usual somewhat dispirited way. Luckily I have a couple of weeks to improve that side of things.


“Oh, excellent!” I breathe. We discuss the details for a little while, and it really does seem to be relatively simple. Marcus comes, without missing a beat, and Mulder doesn’t have to be urged to clean him up which shows how quickly he learns. He really is a very smart boy.


Mulder is so exhausted after this brief interlude that I settle him back into the bed, lightly chained and gagged, and return to the salon to resume my conversation with Marcus. I have no idea how much Mulder either heard or understood of my conversation with my former trainee, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s irrelevant. After Marcus has left, I tiptoe back into the bedroom, and hold my dear boy as he sleeps. Tomorrow he will learn something new. It’s such an honor to be his teacher, and watch him blossoming under my tutelage to become a really useful member of society.


I wake before him as usual, and unchain and un-gag him before sitting down at my desk to work. He rolls over and goes straight back to sleep, which is good for him. It also means that I can have a few hours to myself. Every now and again I pause, and look over at the bed, where he lies sprawled in naked beauty. On one such occasion, I find him gazing at me with those dark, expressive eyes.


“You’re awake,” I murmur, and he nods, his eyes devouring me. “Well, you should have said so, dear boy!” I exclaim. “You’re not chained. You can come over and be with me. I expect you’re lonely and need a morning cuddle – hmm?” I beckon and he slides out of the bed, and walks towards me, like a toddler taking his first steps towards a loving adult. He comes straight into my arms, and I pull him onto my lap and hold him, rocking him gently back and forth. “Darling, I have some more work to do, and I know you need to be close to me right now. Why don’t you sit on the floor next to me, hmm?” He does as suggested, and his head rests against my thigh in a very pleasing way. After about ten minutes of silent work, I glance down at him, to find him staring hazily into space, his eyes unfocused.


“Darling.” I rap him firmly on the shoulder and he jumps. “I’m disappointed in you, dear heart,” I inform him and he gazes at me in panic.


“I’m sorry. What have I done?” He asks in a hoarse voice.


“It would have been nice if you’d offered to pleasure me while I worked, my love. I’m very hurt that you haven’t suggested it. I don’t expect to have to make all the suggestions for our mutual enjoyment.”


“You want me to give you a blow job?” He licks his lips nervously.


“No.” I sigh. “I want you to want to give me a blow job. Do you understand the difference?” He nods, his hazel eyes intelligently storing all this away.


“Larry, please let me suck you,” he says, promptly and obediently.


“What a delicious idea!” I clap my hands excitedly, and move my chair back a little so that he can crawl under the desk. I return to my work and pay him not the slightest heed as he works on my cock. It’s soon hard, and it’s very comforting to be able to work while my dear boy pays me such loving attention. He finishes, cleans me, and then emerges from under the desk.


“That was lovely, my pet. Now, in future you’ll remember to offer, won’t you?” I say, and he nods, slowly, and thoughtfully. I pat his head, and continue working.


“Larry.” He interrupts me a few minutes later, and I glance down at him over the top of my glasses.


“Hmm, my sweet?”


“Marcus was one of your trainees?” This thought has clearly been gnawing at him.


“Yes, dear heart. Twenty years ago. He was a very able boy. Not a natural between the sheets, unlike you, but still, a very able boy all the same. There isn’t anyone I can’t train, but few have your innate sexual allure, darling.”


“Innate sexual…?” He gives a funny little throaty laugh. “God, Larry, sometimes I wonder what you’re on. I’m gawky, my nose is too big, and I have so little sexual appeal it’s unreal. Trust me, I really don’t ever have to beat back the hordes wanting to date me.”


“That’s because it’s all untapped inside you, dear one. We’ll release it, but it is there.” I tousle his hair affectionately.


“Marcus…” He returns to the subject that is obsessing him, worrying at it like his namesake fox with a sheep. “He comes and visits you? He works for the Syndicate?”


“Yes. That’s what you’ll do one day, my love. You’ll live in your own apartment, and you’ll go to your job at the FBI, but secretly you’ll work for us. You’ll come and visit me too, my dear. You’ll probably make use of the facilities here. Once we get your libido racing I’m sure you’ll be more than happy to avail yourself of the many delights Laurence’s salon has to offer.”


“Twenty years?” He’s still busy processing that piece of information. “You’ve been doing this for that long, Larry?”


“Oh for longer than that.” I smile at him. “So you can see what safe hands you’re in, my love. I’m very experienced at what I do. You’ll be my ultimate – the culmination of my career. I’ll take good care of you. We’ll break you down and build you back up again together. It isn’t such a bad thing. You’ve seen Marcus – he leads a very happy life. And Alex, your old friend Alex Krycek – he’s very content with his lot in life.”


“Alex Krycek was never exactly my friend,” he snorts. “Christ, Larry, how did all this start? How did you figure out how to break the first person, and why?”


“You have such an eager, inquiring mind.” I smile at him fondly, deliberately not answering his question. “But you really do need to learn not to call me Larry. I did ask you to call me ‘sir’.”


“I know.” He looks up at me with a cheeky grin on his face. “But I think you like me calling you Larry.”


He’s right, damn him! It’s hard not to laugh at that wicked smile he has. He’s teasing me! I can’t remember when I was last teased. Few recruits dare, but then Mulder has always been different. He was different from the beginning. It’s so strange – either they call me ‘sir’ as requested, or they show their defiance by calling me all kinds of unpleasant names, until I beat that out of them. None of them has ever called me Larry, or tried to make me smile. I know I should have corrected him before about his use of the diminutive form of my name, but there’s just something about the way he says it; it sounds so affectionate, and intimate.


“Let’s keep Larry as a secret between us,” I tell him in conspiratorial tones. “When we’re in public I really must insist that you call me ‘sir’, but in private, maybe I’ll let you get away with certain liberties.” Sharing a secret is such a furtive, special thing! It’s something lovers do. “Then again, maybe I won’t.” It’s good to unsettle him. This way I can still punish him for it if I want, or not, however I please. “Now, my darling, I really must finish my paperwork. However…” I glance at him speculatively. “The dutyman over there looks a little bored.” I gesture with my head in the direction of the doorway where the dutyman actually looks pretty much the same as usual. “Why don’t you go and ask him if he’ll let you suck him, hmm?” Mulder recoils. He glances at the dutyman, with real fear in his eyes. “What is it, my pet?”


“He’s one of those who pissed on me,” he mutters.


“He did what?” I frown. Mulder looks up, hope in his eyes.


“They pissed on me, Larry.”


“Why did they do that? Did you upset them?”


“I wouldn’t run for them. They wanted me to run for them.”


“And you wouldn’t?”


“No. I lay down so they pissed on me,” he says, his eyes registering the full horror of that experience.


“Hmm. Well, that just won’t do. I’ll take care of that later when I’ve finished my work.” I smile at him and he smiles back, genuinely heartened by my words, poor lamb! This gives me a delicious idea! I finish off my work quickly, and then put a belt on Mulder, and fasten his cuffs to it, before placing his blindfold over those beautiful eyes.


“Where are we going?” he asks, clearly worried that he’s being taken back to the Delivery Room.


“Don’t worry. I’m merely addressing the problem you had with the dutymen. Come with me.” I pull him along the hallway, and he follows me so trustingly down to the dutymen’s common room. The place is always a mess, and it smells, but it’s their room, so I don’t interfere. I remove Mulder’s blindfold and unfasten his hands when we get there, and he glances around at the occupants of the room, blinking nervously.


“All right, dear one. Point out to me the dutymen who urinated on you,” I tell him. He swallows nervously, and the dutymen stare back at him, impassively. I can see various thoughts running through his head, not least of which is what retribution the dutymen will receive and the implications of that on his own safety. Finally, seeing no other option, he points out five faces with little nods of his head. I call the men forward, and have them stand in a line, then I turn back to address Mulder.


“Darling, I’m very upset that you chose not to co-operate with my dutymen when they asked you to run for them,” I tell him, and his eyes widen in a combination of surprise and confusion. “The dutymen do a very dull and boring job, watching over you, and occasionally having to pick you up and carry you when you get tired. It’s only fair that they have a few little rewards here and there.”


“They raped me,” he chokes.


“Well they’re allowed to play with you, my darling!” I laugh. “Now, in order to make it up to them I want you to go to each one and ask his permission to suck him.” He stares at me, soullessly. “Run along, my dear boy. Don’t make me wait or I might have to send you back to your room. And remember to enjoy yourself,” I chuckle as he walks slowly towards the line of men. “Kneel, darling. That’s right. Now ask him.” Mulder looks up at the first man and swallows hard.


“Please will you allow me to…” he falters, and we all wait. He must complete his task properly. “Suck you off,” he finishes, his face as white as chalk.


“Go ahead.” The dutyman grins at me over Mulder’s head, while Mulder reaches out to unzip the man’s fly, and fondles him in a way that’s fast becoming expert. Oh this is good! I had worried he’d fight some more and I’d have to beat him, but he’s clearly terrified of going back to his room – or worse, the Recreation Room. He bends his head to the task, his eyes closed tightly, and although he performs adequately, he doesn’t quite manage to imbue the act with any sense of enjoyment, despite my exhortations. He works his way down that line, asking each man for the honor of pleasuring him, and then applying himself to the task as if it’s some kind of grim duty. He swallows down copious amounts of semen, which leaves him looking a little green when he’s finished, and then he returns to my side.


“Beautiful.” I hug him, and then replace his blindfold and cuffs, and walk him back to the bedroom where I remove his restraints again. “We really will have to work on the enjoyment issue though, my sweet. Get into position. Five strokes.”


He goes without speaking this time, and accepts his strokes with the same silent sadness as he did the previous day. Afterwards I envelop him in another warm hug and hold him tight while he convulses against me. His eyes are dry, but he’s weeping all the same, spasming with unshed tears.


“It isn’t much to ask is it, dear one?” I murmur. “Just to enjoy your work. It would save you so much pain.”


“I can’t pretend it, sir,” he whispers, and the absence of his usual wry-toned ‘Larry’ lances deep into my soul. I hadn’t realized how much I’d miss it until it was gone.


“Not pretend, darling. I’m not asking you to pretend. I’m asking you to really feel it. It feels good, doesn’t it? Being sexual, giving pleasure.” He gives no answer, but there is a look of such hopelessness that I feel myself becoming quite aroused. “Let’s practice in private. We’ll go over it until you satisfy me,” I tell him, sitting on the side of the bed. “If you do well, then we’ll eat, and take a Jacuzzi together. If you don’t then I’ll send you back to your room to be tied down harshly for the night.”


It hasn’t been very long since he last pleasured me, and I’m astonished by how aroused he makes this old man. I don’t think I’ve ever trained a recruit who had the power to arouse me more. I sit on the side of the bed, and, after thinking about it for a moment, he comes over. I’m annoyed that he has to think about it, but that’s something we’ll work on. He’s still putting too much thought into everything; he needs to accept, to act more on instinct and order. He should be interpreting less and responding more. He kneels in front of me, and rests his hands on my knees.


“I’m tired, sir,” he murmurs, looking at me hopefully. This is the interesting thing about him. He knows that I am the source of his most intense suffering, and yet also that I am the only one who will comfort him, or offer him any kindness. The duality of that role sometimes confuses recruits, but he seems to have a very good handle on it. He’s always trying to reach the Larry who comforts, while at the same time he’s trying to disarm Laurence with smiles, and that dry toned, almost inflectionless, teasing voice of his. It’s possible that he might even succeed on occasion – but not this time.


“I know, my love. Just do this properly and I’ll allow you to wash out your mouth, and eat, and then sleep some more.”


He swallows, and it’s clear that the idea of being able to wash out his mouth is very appealing to him right now.


“But what if I can’t please you?” He asks. “What if I’m just not good enough?”


“You can be, darling. I’m convinced of that. I just want you to let go, and put everything you can into your task. Do that, and I won’t have to send you back to your room.”


He fixes me with a steady gaze. Even despite his suffering, there’s something going on in those hazel eyes, something I can’t always read, and that disturbs me a little. I’m usually very good at reading my recruits and while sometimes Mulder is quite transparent in both thought and feeling, at other times, like now, there is something going on behind the surface of those thoughtful orbs that eludes me.


He takes a deep breath, and manages a smile. I see that he’s resolved to do his best. He opens my pants, and my cock springs to life, eager to be out of its confinement.


“What have we got here?” Mulder murmurs. “Looks like you’re pleased to see me, Larry.” Ah, the return of the ‘Larry’. I can’t tell you how much that makes my heart sing. “I like that I can make you so hard,” he whispers. Oh, this is very good. I reward him by stroking his hair and beaming at him encouragingly.


“You’re pretty big, Larry. Very impressive,” he comments. In truth I’m no more than average in size, but it’s a sweet compliment all the same. “I can’t wait to wrap my mouth around your big, hard dick,” he says, his eyes shining in a dreamy kind of way. Oh! Adorable!


He lowers his head, and takes one long lick along my shaft, his eyes raised to my face the whole time with a cheeky, knowing look. Then he actually winks at me, and we share one of those ‘moments’ that make the world stand still – and my cock goes rigid with need. A second later, without any warning, he takes my whole cock into his mouth and sucks down hard, making me moan out loud in surprise and pleasure. His talented fingers find my testicles, and he plays with them as he works. He includes all the little tricks I’ve taught him, tonguing the tip of my cock, then taking me whole into his mouth, and all the time he has a look of rapt, joyful concentration on his face. He doesn’t look at me again – he is completely obsessed by my cock, and in between licks and sucks he’s murmuring sweet nothings about how much he loves doing this, and how hard I am, and how he’s going to make me come harder and faster than I’ve ever come before…it’s quite phenomenal. I knew he could be as focused in sex as he has been in his quest, and it’s a joy to be on the receiving end of all that ability. Finally, unable to hold on any more, I come inside that beautiful mouth, and he continues to slide my spent cock between his lips until my convulsions have subsided, and I’m utterly sated.


“Oh darling!” I exclaim, pulling his head up to my waist, wrapping my arms around him, holding him tight, and petting his hair, back and face. “That was perfect. You see – it’s easy when you try isn’t it?” I grasp his lovely face between my hands and look down on him with gleeful affection.


“Yes, it is,” he agrees, a little smile playing on his lips. I caress the upturned corners of his mouth with gentle strokes of my fingertips; so playful, smirking almost, even…triumphant? My grip on his face becomes tighter, and I wrap one of my fists in his hair, pulling his head back.


“You were thinking of Walter weren’t you?” I hiss, and his eyes flash the answer before his lips say the word. He doesn’t lie; he knows there is no point in lying.


“Yes,” he replies. “I’m sorry, Larry. Yes I was.”


A fury rises in my breast, and before I realize what I’m doing I find myself slapping him hard across the jaw, first one way, and then the other. He hangs in my grasp, his jaw stained a blotchy red by my blows, and I gaze at him in surprise. Was that anger? Real, genuine, blinding anger? I can’t remember the last time I lost my temper with a recruit at this stage in the proceedings. Usually I’m so in control. Damn him. I drop him, and he scuttles out of arm’s reach and crouches down in the tiny gap between the nightstand and the bed, his arms around his knees for protection. I take a few deep breaths and decide on a course of action to remedy the situation.


“Darling, I’m sorry.” I bend down in front of him, and hold out my hand. “I was taken by surprise. Come on out, my sweet. I won’t beat you. I just want to talk to you.” He eyes me warily, and I move a step forward. I could call the dutyman to move the bed, but then the whole matter would get blown out of all proportion and I don’t want that right now.


“Darling…just take my hand. I want to put a cold washcloth on your jaw. You’ll be fine. I don’t want you to bruise. Not when you’re starting to get your pretty looks back. Come here, my sweet.”


His eyes are still cautious as he weighs it up, but he knows he can’t stay there forever. Finally, slowly and hesitantly, like his namesake fox creeping close for food, he reaches out his hand and slips it into mine, so I can help him slide out from his little sanctuary. I sit down on the bed, and draw him onto my lap, clasping him around the waist, and just hold him. After several long minutes his arms slowly, oh so slowly, move into position around my shoulders, and he rests his head on my shoulder, his cheek against my face.


“There, that’s good. Tell me, my sweet, because I need to understand. The Walter you used to talk to, your young lawyer, who you would look at sometimes, and speak with – he went, didn’t he?”


Mulder exhales a long, deep, tragic breath and nods against my shoulder. “I don’t think he was real, Larry. He went away when I betrayed him. He hasn’t come back since.”


“Very well…so when you fantasize now, are you fantasizing about him?”


He’s still for a long time, and then I feel him shaking his head against my shoulder, and his fingers clutch onto me for support.


“So, when you just sucked me, you weren’t remembering him, your young lawyer – you were using a more recent masturbatory fantasy?” I inquire gently, pushing him away and looking into his eyes. “You were thinking about your boss, weren’t you?” He blushes furiously, but he nods, his eyes downcast. “You’ve probably sat in meetings with him, and imagined taking him in your mouth. It must have been hard, knowing that you once had the right to do that – you once had the intimacy to pleasure him, in the way you loved doing, but now so many years have passed, and you no longer have that right…and yet the emotions are still there, stronger than ever. Is that so, my darling?”


“Something like that, Larry.” He gives a lop-sided, bitter grin. “Walter’s one of those men who gets better looking with age. I was a bit thrown by the lack of hair, in the beginning,” he gives a little laugh, “but now it kind of obsesses me. It’s a part of him I haven’t known and I want to. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to run my hands over his bare scalp, and to lick it,” he admits, shamefaced.


“I see. So, now your lawyer has gone, but the Assistant Director has taken his place.”


“I don’t have any other frame of reference, Larry,” he tells me honestly, his hands still clutching onto me for dear life. “He’s the only man I ever slept with. I know you probably think that’s weird, and you’re right…my sex life has always been a disaster. I’ve wanted other men since Walter – hell, I’ve wanted women, but I don’t have the right skills to get them into bed. I bore them senseless talking about my work, or I don’t have anything to say at all. Sometimes I think I’ve spent too much time in my office, too long wrapped up in my quest. I don’t have the ability to just be with normal people any more. I know so much. I’ve seen so much…I guess I find it hard making allowances for people who don’t know, and haven’t seen. They seem so…I don’t know. We have nothing in common. Skinner though…he knows about me. He understands.”


It’s quite a little speech. I hug him reassuringly. “I know, my darling,” I tell him. “I understand.”


“With all due respect, Larry, you don’t,” he replies in that dry, flat, monotone. “You just see me as some kind of sex object. You seem to think my work isn’t a part of me when it’s been almost all of me for years. You don’t want to know about my work on the X Files, you just ask about my sex life, my past liaisons, what I feel, what turns me on. You’re not really interested in me, Larry, only in making me into the same as everyone else you’ve broken.”


What an interesting analysis. I knew there was so much more to him than I’ve ever found in my other recruits. I love the way his mind works; so thoughtful, so smart.


“Darling, you think too much,” I tell him with a little squeeze. “You need to think a lot less. Now, I have a little plan to help you with your Skinner issues.” It would seem that while I have rid him of his lover, the lawyer, Walter, I have yet to disengage his affection from his object of desire, the boss, Skinner. I think what I have planned might do that. “I want to help you, to free you of Walter Skinner so that you can enjoy yourself.”


He stiffens in my arms. “Ah, I can see you remember the last time I helped you on this issue.” I smile at him, and his eyes are almost incandescent with fear. “I’m sure you don’t want that to happen again, so I want you to throw yourself into your work for the next few days. If you do that, then I won’t have to beat you, will I?” I murmur, stroking his hair. “I don’t want to beat you – I want this lovely white skin unblemished. Will you be obedient, dear heart? Will you do your best?”


He nods, eagerly, anxious to avoid a repeat of his most recent experience downstairs. He has no idea that he’s playing into my hands in a way that will be equally devastating to his psyche. Hopefully, by the time I take him to the Syndicate building he’ll be under control, and obedient, even if he isn’t broken yet, and will still need constant supervision.


That train of thought reminds me of the impending nightmare of leaving my little salon and venturing outside. I can feel the hairs on the back of my neck rise, and a wave of nausea deep in the pit of my stomach. I have no choice, I’m aware of that, but the fear sickens me. I find myself holding onto Mulder now, my hands trembling slightly as I stroke his body in an attempt to soothe myself. He doesn’t know what’s going on, but he seems to sense something. His arms are big, and strong, and warm around me. He has such pleasing muscles. I can see why his Walter Skinner appeals to him. He isn’t as broad as the Assistant Director, but he’s still an imposing man. His hands stroke my back in little circles. Does he know he’s comforting me or is he just comforting himself through the human contact? He is certainly smart enough to have figured out that when I’m stroking and caressing him then I’m not whipping or hurting him, and his strategy recently has been to play on that, and to try and induce a caring response in me wherever possible, and not to anger or cross me. It takes me some minutes to compose myself. I wish I didn’t have this visit to the Syndicate hanging over me. I wish I could just enjoy being with him, and breaking him. My mind goes over my plans in respect of Walter Skinner. Really, that man is most fascinating. I look forward to having some contact with him, and measuring up my rival on a one to one basis. Mulder is sleepy. I can hear the change in his breathing. It’s time to bring our little tete a tete to an end. I gently disengage him and help him to lie down on the bed where he closes his eyes and falls asleep almost immediately. I fetch a cold washcloth and press it against his slightly reddened jaw, but I’ll feed and bathe him properly later. It’ll be a pleasure. For now, I need some space to recover from what was almost a panic attack. I also need to set some plans in motion.


After four days of hard work, I finally have a Mulder who is ready. I’ve spent considerable amounts of time training him in the art of giving pleasure with his mouth, and now he goes about his work with relish, and skill, although it’s clear to my expert eye that the former is entirely feigned. I haven’t beaten him for days, and he’s been fed the finest food and given painkillers, as well as antibiotics. His hair is starting to shine again, and his bruises have faded. We’ve nearly come to the end of this particular lesson. I’ll soon be able to start sinking myself into his ass again, which is a joy I’m looking forward to. As I’ve taught him how to give efficient, spirited fellatio, so I will teach him how to also give pleasure during anal intercourse. By the time I bring him before the Elite, only an expert would be able to tell the difference between him and my broken recruits; and the Elite are not experts.


I decide that the ‘event’ I have planned will have to take place in the Delivery Room – that’s best equipped to deal with the complex technological requirements. I leave Mulder asleep in my bed, and retire to my salon, where I sit for a while, drawing my thoughts together for the call I’m about to make. I have Walter Skinner’s cell phone number, and, when I’ve composed myself, I dial it. It rings twice before he answers it.


“Skinner.” It’s a deep, steady voice. Not flat, like Mulder’s tones, but charged, and firm, full of resolve.


“Hello, Mr. Skinner. I’m delighted to finally make your acquaintance. I’ve heard so much about you.”


“Who is this?” I sense a trace of impatience. He isn’t a man who likes to be toyed with. How unfortunate for him.


“I’m a friend of a friend,” I purr, warming to my theme and feeling a delicious thrill running through me.


“Is this about Mulder?” He comes to that conclusion very quickly. Mulder is clearly on his mind.


“Yes it is. I understand that you’ve been looking for him.”


“Do you know where he is? Do you have him? Can I talk to him? Is he all right?” Ah, such a worried torrent of questions. I can just imagine that wide brow furrowed in puzzled concern as he talks. He’s clearly very anxious. Maybe he still carries the same candle for Mulder in his heart that Mulder carries for him. It wouldn’t surprise me. I think the pair of them are idiots, to be honest. So many years of wasted time; it’s criminal.


“He’s more than all right. He’s very well. He won’t be coming back just yet though, I’m afraid. He’s enjoying himself far too much.”


“What the hell is that supposed to mean? Look, is he there? Put him on. I want to talk to him.” He’s so imperative, so dismissive. It irks me.


“You don’t give me orders, Mr. Skinner,” I snap. I hear him take a sharp intake of breath, but he’s playing for Mulder’s life here, so he’s not about to screw this up.


“I’m sorry, Mr…” He waits, but I don’t supply a name. “Look, I’m really worried about Mulder,” he continues. “Can’t you tell me where he is?”


“I told you, he’s fine, but he can’t come to the phone right now.”


“Then how do I know he’s okay?” He asks desperately. “How do I know this isn’t some kind of hoax?”


“It isn’t a hoax, Mr. Skinner. I can prove that to you. If you want evidence that Mulder is alive, and well, and doing fine, then be in your apartment, in front of your computer screen, at 8 PM. You have internet access?”


“Of course. What the hell…?”


“Just be there, Mr. Skinner. And keep this line free so that I can give you directions when the time comes.”


And with that, I end the call. He won’t be able to trace it. It was too short, it was to his cell phone, and, in any case, all Syndicate calls are routinely re-routed in the most torturous way so they travel halfway around the world before reaching their destination.


I treat Mulder to the most perfect day. I let him help me with my paperwork – settling some simple little invoices and filing them – but he seems delighted to be given something to do that doesn’t involve sex. Maybe he thinks I’m starting to see that ‘other side’ of him that he spoke about, but really I just want to keep the boy occupied before his big performance. The chef makes him his favorite meal – meatloaf followed by chocolate pie, and I allow him to eat it sitting up at the table in the salon, using a knife and a fork, rather than having him suffer the indignity of being fed. He grins delightedly all the way through.


“What is this, Larry? Is it my birthday, or something?”


I just smile, and pat his arm tenderly. I don’t eat anything myself. I’m far too keyed up about the coming event. Later, I bathe him, and then I massage him all over, with a blend of oils that smell almost as divine as the dear boy himself. Finally, as evening approaches, I rouse him from his nap, and fasten him to his belt, before placing his blindfold over his eyes.


“Where are you taking me, Larry?” He asks, anxiously.


“Back to your room, dear boy,” I tell him, tugging on the chain fixed to his belt.


“My room? Why? I’ve done everything you asked me, Larry. I’ve tried!” He protests, stubbornly digging his heels in, and refusing to move. “You haven’t had to beat me for ages, Larry. Please don’t take me back there.”


“You do try, Mulder, but you don’t convince me,” I tell him harshly, enlisting the aid of the dutymen to manhandle him out of the door and along the hallway. He comes finally, his breathing harsh and labored, and I can see that his overactive mind is supplying a plethora of atrocities that will soon be committed on his naked, vulnerable body.


I remove his blindfold and unbuckle his belt and cuffs when we get to the Delivery Room, leaving him completely naked, and he blinks in the dim light.


“Please, Larry…sir,” he says urgently. “I thought you were pleased with me.”


“Not quite pleased enough.” I smile pleasantly. “You see, the problem is that while you do very well in your sessions with me, you don’t apply yourself so well when I ask you to pleasure other men. I need to believe that you’ll do your best when I ask you to suck other men, even if I’m not in the room to supervise you, but at the moment you’re nowhere near achieving that. It’s a failing we need to address, Mulder.”


“I’ll try harder. I’m sorry,” he says desperately.


“Well…” I pretend to hesitate. “I suppose I could give you one last chance.”


“Please…just tell me what you want me to do,” he asks eagerly, his eyes glancing nervously around the room, and over to the instruments of pain that are displayed neatly on their shelves. He shivers as he notices the speculum, and that’s a very sweet sight.


“Well, why don’t you put on a little show for me?” I beckon over the dutyman I have selected for this task. He’s a handsome man, tall, with dark hair, and broad, muscular shoulders. “I tell you what, Mulder. I’ll go next door and watch while you impress me. How does that sound?” He’s certainly smart enough to have figured out that the mirror is of the observational, two-way variety.


“I can do that, sir,” he says urgently. “I’ll do my best.”


“Good boy. If you aren’t convincing enough then I’m afraid that I’ll have to keep you down here for a few days, so make sure you do your best work. The dutyman’s name is Paul. I want you to pleasure him to the best of your ability. If you do well then you can come back upstairs. Otherwise…” I give a shrug, and allow my gaze to flicker over to the large, steel anal speculum. Mulder licks his lips nervously, and keeps nodding, psyching himself up.


Paul takes up the position I have already discussed with him. He’ll keep Mulder in place, right beneath the overhead camera Marcus positioned for me earlier. It’s in a dark corner of the room, and Mulder won’t see it. He has other things on his mind after all, and it’s very unobtrusive. The camera is carefully positioned to focus on the two men, and doesn’t pry into the shadowy shelving, where the more alarming equipment is stored.


“I’ll be next door, watching, dear heart,” I tell Mulder, kissing those dry lips in order to soothe him. “I want you to really take your time, and remember to talk to Paul, and make him feel appreciated.”


He nods, and I unlock the door to the Observation Room to step inside. Marcus is already there, shirtsleeves rolled up, a broad grin on his face.


“How did you think this shit up, Laurence?” He asks. “It’s crazy, and so fucking good.”


“Natural genius, my boy.” I pat his arm fondly. “Are we ready to go?”


“Oh yeah. This is the website.” He brings up the site on his laptop computer screen. “And we just bring in the live feed.”


He presses some buttons and the next thing I know Mulder and Paul flicker onto our screen. The room is dimly lit, lending the footage an orange tone, but all the same the film is clear enough.


“Ah, the marvels of modern technology!” I smile at Marcus fondly. “You really are very clever, my dear. I have no idea how it’s all done!” He flushes slightly, and looks immensely proud of himself. It’s good to know that my praise still means so much to him, even after all this time. I glance back into the room. Mulder is reaching into Paul’s pants for his cock. Paul says something, and Mulder pushes the dutyman’s pants down around his ankles, revealing his naked butt. It looks so much more intimate that way. Then Paul removes his tee shirt, as previously instructed, and asks Mulder to play with his nipples. Mulder does so immediately, with eagerness, those beautiful lips kissing and caressing. His mouth trails down to Paul’s groin, and I glance at my watch; five minutes past eight. Skinner has had a few minutes to sweat. I turn to Marcus, and nod to him. “Send him the email.”


Then I pick up the cell phone Marcus has provided, and call Skinner.


“Skinner. Are you the man who called earlier?” He asks, almost immediately.


“Yes, I am. I have that proof you required, Mr. Skinner. This is a live visual. I want you to go to your email program and follow the link we’ve sent you. Then you’ll see your Agent Mulder alive and well.”


“What the…?” I can hear tapping, so I presume that he’s doing as instructed. A few seconds later I hear a muffled, “Christ.”


I glance through the window, and see Mulder sucking Paul with considerable enthusiasm, his hands kneading the dutyman’s naked buttocks.


“What the fuck is this?” Skinner demands. “That isn’t Mulder.”


“Oh yes. It is. Hold on while I prove it to you.”


I put him on hold, and press the intercom between the two rooms, signaling to Marcus to cut the sound to the website momentarily, so I can give Mulder some stage directions without Skinner overhearing. “Very good, darling, but draw back a bit, do some talking. I want to see the expression on your face.”


Mulder does as he’s been told, and now there can be no doubt that it is indeed he; naked, kneeling in front of a handsome man, giving head with considerable relish and enthusiasm. I signal to Marcus to restore the audio.


“Your dick is so big, and hard. I’m going to make you come, Paul,” Mulder’s saying, desperately trying to convince me not to torture him.


I pick up the phone again. “Convinced, Mr. Skinner?” I ask him.


“Christ what is this? I don’t understand,” he says in a low growl. “What have you done to him?”


“Done? Nothing. He’s just enjoying himself. You can see what a good time he’s having. He clearly isn’t being forced. No, your Agent Mulder has just gotten in touch with his true nature. I’m sure you understand what that is, Mr. Skinner.”


There’s a shocked silence. “What the hell are you talking about?” He asks, in a grim, low tone.


“Fox has told us all about you. How you were his first. He’s found other, more compatible mates now, though. He’s much happier with us than he ever was with you.”


There’s silence. Mulder deep throats Paul, who gives a moan of contentment. He winds his hand in Mulder’s hair. “That’s good, Fox. That’s so good,” he murmurs over and over again.


“What has he told you?” Skinner asks, in a neutral voice, but I can sense pure steel under the reasonable tones; this is a dangerous man.


“That you were a disappointing lover. That he’s been looking for someone better. He and Paul have gotten very close. Fox has decided to stay here for a while so you can stop looking for him, Mr. Skinner.”


“I don’t believe a goddamn word you’re saying. If this is true, let me talk to him,” Skinner says, in a low, hoarse voice.


“I’m sorry. His mouth is otherwise engaged at the moment, and besides, he doesn’t want to talk to you. However, if you’d like more proof…” I press the intercom again. “Dear heart, are you enjoying Paul?” I ask. Mulder stops what he’s doing, and looks at the mirror. His lips are swollen from sex, and he looks sultry, and sensual. His dark hair has flopped into his eyes and he’s glowing with a fine sheen of sweat.


“Oh yeah,” he says, smiling, putting on the performance of his life for me.


“Good. Is he better than Walter Skinner?” I ask. My tones ring out in the small room, clearly audible on the computer, as well as next door. Mulder hesitates, his eyes unsure, but he knows what I want from him.


“Oh yeah,” he says again. “Much better. This is so hot.” He moves his head forward and catches Paul’s cock in his mouth once again. I cut the connection and return to the phone.


“So you see, Fox is fine. He doesn’t need any help. He just wants to be left alone to enjoy his sexuality.”


“I don’t believe any of this,” Skinner whispers hoarsely.


“Why not? Just because you couldn’t give him any satisfaction doesn’t mean that someone else can’t,” I laugh, taunting him. It feels good to land a body blow on my rival. I can imagine that he doesn’t look so powerful and in control now. I can see him in my mind’s eye, the top couple of buttons on his shirt undone, his tie loosened as he paces around his apartment, always remaining in sight of the screen.


“Why don’t you sit down, put your feet up, and watch for a while,” I invite. “It’s a hot scene. Fox is putting on a little show for us. He’s quite an exhibitionist. You might like to open your fly and jack off.”


“Who the fuck are you?” He sounds almost faint, and disgusted beyond belief. Our Mr. Skinner is clearly as buttoned up and repressed as his ex-lover.


“I’m a friend of Fox’s. He and I are pretty close. Doesn’t he look good, Mr. Skinner? Aren’t you aroused? Maybe you’d like to imagine it’s your cock he’s sucking.” I let that thought hang between us.


“Listen, you son of a bitch, I don’t know who the hell you are, but I’m going to find out,” he snaps.


“Mr. Skinner,” I chide. “Fox told me about you, and how you won’t believe unless you see with your own eyes. Well, you’re seeing, Mr. Skinner. Believe. Fox doesn’t want to be rescued. Fox is enjoying himself far too much. He’s sick of you and the Bureau. Sick of the hypocrisy and lies he’s been fed all his life. Here he can be himself, and that’s why he wants to stay. It’s his choice.”


“His choice?” Skinner’s tone is skeptical.


“Well doesn’t he look like he’s having a good time?” I urge. There is silence for a heartbeat, and then two.


“You’re such a stallion, Paul,” Mulder is saying. Oh dear, the poor boy really has been watching too many porn videos. “I love having you in my mouth. Come inside me, Paul.” Paul’s head is flung back, and he’s thrusting to and fro in wild abandon.


“Well?” I ask Skinner.


“Mulder’s okay?” He asks, clearly uncertain about what he’s seeing. “He isn’t hurt?”


“He’s fine. You can see for yourself.” From this angle, with this lighting, none of the fading whip marks and bruises on Mulder’s back and buttocks are evident.


“Are you making him do this?” Skinner’s tone is confused, and strangulated. I can just imagine that he can’t tear his eyes away from the screen.


“Even if we were holding a gun to his head out of the range of the camera, do you think that he could perform with such relish, and skill under duress?” I taunt. Mulder chooses this moment to glance up, a look of total, if feigned, lust in his eyes.


“Come for me, Paul,” he says. “I love it when you come in my mouth so I can taste you.” I can hear a choking sound down the other end of the line that sounds like Skinner having some kind of apoplectic fit.


“I think I’ve seen enough,” he says, in a ghost-like tone. “That’s very interesting evidence you have there.”


“I thought you’d enjoy it.”


“Enjoy isn’t the word for it,” he says gruffly. Then, in a more desperate tone: “Mulder doesn’t want to talk to me?” Ah, that’s Walter talking, not AD Skinner. There is a soft center under that hard exterior.


“No. He doesn’t care about you. He doesn’t give a damn about you in fact.”


“I see.” It’s barely more than a whisper, and there’s a little break in his voice. “What do you want?” He asks, trying to regain his composure. “Why show me this?”


“Just to convince you to stop looking for him. Let him go, Mr. Skinner. He isn’t interested in you any more.”


There’s a heavy sigh on the other end of the line, part frustration, part shock but any reply Skinner might have made is cut off by the sound of Paul noisily reaching climax in the other room. He comes in Mulder’s mouth and Mulder swallows as if he’s eating a gourmet feast. He really is putting on the performance of his life, dear boy. If only he knew who else was watching.


“Do you need any more proof, Mr. Skinner?” I ask.


“No. I’ll take your message under advisement,” he snaps, in the language of the lawyer he once was, completely ill-equipped to handle this.


“Good.” I break the connection and signal to Marcus to end the transmission. He does so with a thumbs-up sign and a grin.


“That went well,” he comments.


“He won’t be able to trace the site?” I ask.


“No chance. False names, false addresses, our own server specially set up for the task.” He shrugs.


“Thank you, Marcus.” I put my hand on his shoulder, and am gratified to feel him stiffen just the smallest degree. Dear creature. They never forget. “As a reward, there’s a young lady waiting for you in room fourteen. She’s wearing that clothing that excites you so much.” I smile at him, and his eyes light up enthusiastically. I rewind the tape from the phone I was using until it reaches the desired place, put it in my pocket, and then return to the Delivery Room. Mulder looks at me eagerly as I enter, still on his knees, his chest heaving from the exertion.


“Did I do all right, sir?” He asks anxiously.


I stand looking down into those hopeful, hazel eyes, and smile, gently. “Yes, my dearest. You did very well indeed. You can return to the bedroom.” He looks so relieved, poor lamb. I replace his blindfold, cuffs, and belt, and walk him back upstairs, while he’s talking all the time.


“You know, Larry, there’s no need to send me back to that room again,” he’s saying. “And you know, about this blindfold – you don’t need to use this any more. Haven’t I proven that I’m trying? I thought we had something between us, Larry. You know, some kind of trust.” There he goes again – trying to appeal to my kind side. It’s very sweet and utterly pathetic.


“Darling.” I lead him into the bedroom, sit him down on the side of the bed to remove his blindfold and unfasten his cuffs from the belt. “You’re just buying time, my sweet,” I tell him. “You’re trying to keep me from hurting you too much because you’ve convinced yourself that Skinner will be along soon to rescue you. You think that all you have to do is bide your time, and keep me happy until then.” His eyes reflect the truth of what I’ve said, although he tries to keep them expressionless.


“I’m doing all you ask of me, Larry,” he replies. “I’m trying.”


“But you’re dreaming of rescue. You feel sure it won’t be long now, but you’re wrong, dear heart. Very wrong.”


He gazes at me silently, unsure where this is heading. “Didn’t I do okay just now? With Paul.” He licks his lips nervously.


“Oh yes. I loved watching you, and I know Skinner enjoyed the show as well.” I allow that little bombshell a few seconds to sink in.


“Skinner…? What are you saying?” His quick brain is trying to fill in the gaps, and figure out what I’ve done.


“I mean that we taped you, darling, and put your hot little scene with Paul on the net. I was talking to your Walter Skinner while he watched the whole thing. He sounded very aroused.” I smile, watching every single last hint of color drain from his face, almost in slow motion.


“Skinner watched?” he whispers.


“Oh yes. He sounded very aroused. Would you like to hear the tape?”


I take it out of my pocket, put it in the machine on my desk, and then press play.


“Come for me, Paul.” That’s Mulder’s voice, and his jaw tightens and clenches as he hears it. “I love it when you come in my mouth so I can taste you.”


There’s that small, shocked sound from Skinner, and then he speaks: “I think I’ve seen enough.” Mulder blanches even more when he recognizes Skinner’s voice, and, even worse, hears that heartbreaking little catch in Skinner’s voice. “That’s very interesting evidence you have there.”


“I thought you’d enjoy it.” Me.


“Enjoy isn’t the word for it. Mulder doesn’t want to talk to me?” Mulder can’t miss the resigned sadness in Skinner’s tones there; he flinches as if he’s been hit, and then bows his head, his fists clenching and unclenching uselessly at his sides.


“No. He doesn’t care about you. He doesn’t give a damn about you in fact.”


“I see.”


I turn off the tape quickly. “He agreed to stop looking for you. He could see you were happy enough here,” I tell Mulder. “So you can see that nobody is going to rescue you. I mean, why would Skinner carry on looking for you when he’s seen you give head to another man with such enjoyment and relish?”


Mulder is gazing at me, his mouth hanging slightly open.


“I didn’t know anybody could be so evil,” he whispers. “Not after all I’ve seen, and all I’ve been through. I never…” He breaks off, all the life drained out of him, and then suddenly, without warning, he charges. He takes both the dutymen and me by surprise, flinging himself across the room, his arms going around my midriff as he tackles me to the floor. We both land with a grunt, and he tries to land a punch, but he just doesn’t have the energy. It’s as if he’s been drained dry, and he slumps easily into the arms of the dutymen as they pull him off me. He’s gasping for breath as they carry him over to the bed and dump him there. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in greater pain, not even when I’ve been torturing him. He’s wheezing, his face the palest shade I’ve ever seen it.


“It’s all right, darling boy. I forgive you your little outburst. It’s hard saying goodbye to one lover, in order to let a new one into your life.” I stroke his back gently, while he kneels on all fours, trying to catch his breath. “Just let him go, dear one. He didn’t put up a struggle for you, so you don’t need to put up one for him. I’m here for you now.” I roll onto the bed beside him, and put my arms around his body, pulling him close so that his naked back is against my chest. He’s too winded to resist and lies there, listlessly, in my arms. “That’s right,” I croon. “Poor boy. You’re feeling all alone in the world, but there’s no need for that. I’m going to take good care of you. I’m going to be here beside you. I’ll fill the gap he left behind. Hush, hush.” I undo my fly, release my aroused cock, and gently part his buttocks. “There, there. I’m here now.” I thrust hard inside him with one smooth stroke, and he gives an inarticulate little cry. “There. Hold still. It’s just you and me. He’s gone. Walter’s gone. There’s no need to waste your life hoping for him any more. Hush, hush.” I rock gently but insistently inside him, then thrust with more force, back and forth, while he’s a dead weight in my arms. I continue to pound into him for some time before climaxing, but even then I don’t withdraw, but remain buried deep inside him. “I’ll stay here, dear boy. Just to remind you that you’re not alone. Hush, we can sleep together. There.” I motion with my head, and one of the dutymen comes over to tie Mulder’s hands above his body, but I shake my head when he picks up the gag. I don’t want to obstruct any of Mulder’s airways right now. He’s having enough trouble breathing as it is, and it wouldn’t be a good idea to make it even harder for him.


“Dear boy. Everything’s all right now isn’t it?” I whisper. “Hmm?” I squeeze him, enjoying the warmth of his ass around my softened cock.


“Oh Christ, Larry, what have you done to me?” He whispers, in the tiniest, most lost of voices. “What the hell have you done?”




Mulder lay awake in the darkness, watching shadows on the walls. He couldn’t figure out whether the shadows were real. Where was the light source? Maybe the shadows weren’t real. Maybe it was just his mind playing tricks. It felt good to be resting here, pondering this issue. He felt very peaceful. He remembered, as a child, watching the lights of the cars passing outside, seeping around the edges of drapes. There were no drapes here, because there were no windows. What kind of a building had no windows? There had to be windows somewhere. Was that why they blindfolded him when they walked him between rooms? Was it just the basement and the rooms that Laurence occupied that had no windows?


“Larry,” he whispered into the darkness. He could feel the other man’s hand resting on his naked thigh, and his cock was still lodged in Mulder’s ass. It felt different when it was soft. Mulder thought about that for a moment. Different. It didn’t hurt. Just felt…kind of warm. Not unpleasant. Mulder could have moved away while Laurence slept, but he wasn’t sure he had the energy right now, even if he had wanted to. Strange how good it felt to be numb. Lifeless. He could see his own hands, tied together, and loosely attached to a chain at the head of the bed. If he concentrated very hard he thought he might be able to move his fingers, but he wasn’t sure why he’d want to do that. His hands looked strange in the dark. He stared at them for a long time, trying to recognize them.


“Larry,” he whispered again. He heard a sound behind him, and his thigh was gently stroked.


“What is it, darling?”


“There are no windows in here, Larry,” Mulder pointed out, puzzled. He tried to remember whether there were any X Files involving buildings with no windows, but his memories slipped away from him, like water sliding over rocks. That was strange. Usually his mind was so clear. He wondered why it wasn’t now, but he was too warm, and comfortable to think too hard.


“No, my darling. No windows,” Laurence said softly, kissing the back of Mulder’s neck.


“Don’t you like windows, Larry?” Mulder whispered. “Wouldn’t you like to be able to see the outside world? To get some fresh air?”


“No, my sweet. What can the outside world have that could possibly interest me?” Laurence replied, his hand still stroking Mulder’s thigh, insistently, over and over again. “I have everything I need right here,” Laurence added, pulling Mulder even closer.


“Me? I’m enough?” Mulder asked, still puzzled.


“Oh yes. More than enough,” Laurence murmured.


“But when I’m gone. When I’m…broken,” Mulder whispered. “What will you do then…or am I broken already?” He asked, confused.


“Very nearly, darling,” Laurence whispered into his ear. “I think we very nearly broke you just now, didn’t we?”


“Why do you hate Walter so much?” Mulder asked. “I was wondering…what he thought…watching me earlier. Is it him you hate? Or is it me?”


“I could never hate you, darling.” Laurence squeezed him tight, reassuring him. “I do dislike your Walter Skinner though. He’s treated you so badly. It’s typical of his type. He’s a bully. The bigger, stronger boys always get what they want. They’re cruel. They don’t care. They never care, my sweet. Remember that. They won’t keep you safe, the way I keep you safe. It’s a jungle outside, darling. You have to find a skill that makes you useful so the stronger boys don’t hurt you, but you can never trust them. I despise them. But I love you, dear heart. I love you.”


“‘Love you too, Larry,” Mulder muttered, absently, staring at the windowless walls. “But when I’m gone you’ll be alone again.”


“You can visit.” Laurence patted his leg affectionately. He slid his hand up Mulder’s thigh, and took Mulder’s cock in his hand. Mulder felt it harden beneath the caress. “That’s good. That’s very good,” Laurence purred in his ear. Mulder glowed with the praise. It really was much easier to just let go. His mind returned to the shadows on the walls. They were trying to tell him something, if only he knew what. He worried at his lip with his teeth, trying to think. His cock was sliding back and forth in Laurence’s hand. Mulder lay still; he didn’t have enough energy to move. It didn’t feel like his body anyway. He wasn’t interested in it. He was more interested in the shadows. He closed his eyes, and then opened them again, staring at the shadows with a puzzled frown. He was very tired. He should rest. His cock spewed come over the sheets, but Mulder barely noticed. The shadows had a shape. Like clouds. He could see faces, but they were hazy, nothing too defined. It was fascinating. It also scared him. He somehow knew that if he figured out the mystery then everything would change, and that he would hurt, and he didn’t want to hurt. Right now he didn’t hurt. Right now he just felt very tired.


“Good boy,” Laurence said. Mulder smiled, absently. He didn’t know why he was being praised. He hadn’t figured out the shadow thing after all. Still, it was nice. He closed his eyes and fell asleep.


Mulder worked hard at being numb. It wasn’t always easy. Sometimes the shadows closed in, taking shape and form, and screamed at him, demanding that he notice them, and it took all his strength to resist them. When that happened he had to stand very still, and concentrate on his hands, or Larry’s mouth, or the dutymen’s boots, until the shadows passed. He also worked hard at pleasing Larry. Larry was all he had after all, now that Skinner wouldn’t be coming. He thought Larry was pleased with him although he couldn’t be sure. Sometimes Larry whipped him anyway, even when he said Mulder had done nothing wrong, and that was confusing, although he was trying to accept it.


“We have to get you ready for the Elite, my pet,” Laurence told him fondly, as he stroked that whip over Mulder’s back and buttocks, making Mulder cry out loud. The whip stung, but worse than that it had clarity, and Mulder didn’t want clarity right now. He was happy in his haze. It felt good. “We only have a few more days, and you have to be ready. You’re doing well, but we need you to be a little clearer. We have your compliance but at the expense of your smart mind, and wit, dear heart. When you’re broken it’ll be easier for us to restore that of course, but right now I’m working to a very tight timescale, so things have altered somewhat. I’m so sorry about that. It’s cruel to keep you in this limbo when I should be tipping you slowly over the edge, but I just don’t have time for that so I must concentrate on training instead of breaking. I hope you understand?”


“Do I have to understand, Larry?” He asked with a yelp as the whip cut deep into his buttocks. “I’m not sure I can.”


“No,” Laurence sighed, folding the whip away, and drawing Mulder into a hug. Mulder went willingly. These were the best times. When Larry wasn’t angry with him it was nice. He received hugs, and kisses, and he was told that he was a very good boy. Laurence went over to his desk, and Mulder followed, always just half a step behind. When Laurence sat down, Mulder sat eagerly beside him, and then slid past the other man’s legs, and opened his fly. He liked sucking Larry’s cock, because that made Larry happy, and when Larry was happy Mulder was happy.


“Shall I suck you, Larry?” he asked, looking up at the other man, his head almost bumping on the desk as he did so. “Or do you want to fuck me? Please fuck me, Larry.” Those were the words he had learned by rote, and he was pretty pleased with himself for delivering them so well.


“Not now, darling. Suck me, and then go and ask one of the dutymen to fuck you,” Laurence replied, not even looking at Mulder, but returning instead to his paperwork, a frown creasing his forehead as he worked. Mulder went about his task eagerly, as he’d been taught. He was a fast learner. Larry had said so. He finished, cleaned up, then crawled out and went over to one of the dutymen by the door.


“Please fuck me,” he requested. He had been taught that as well. At first, it had been hard to say the words. He couldn’t remember why, just that it had. He thought that probably the shadows had distracted him, making it difficult to concentrate. Larry had whipped him though and after that it had been much easier.


The dutyman looked down on him, and Mulder smiled. Look cheerful, willing, and eager, Larry had told him. Mulder undid the dutyman’s fly, and stroked his cock. “Please fuck me,” he said again. He knew he should say something else, and tried to remember the words. “You’re so big, and hard. I’d like to feel you inside me.” Those were the words. He also remembered the way to say them, with all the right inflections, and a little gesture of his head, a knowing smile. The dutyman glanced over to Laurence questioningly, and Mulder thought he heard the other man sigh.


“Oh, go ahead. It’s convincing enough, it’s just always the same,” Laurence snapped. “He isn’t thinking for himself. Still, I doubt the Elite will notice, and when we bring him back here I can finish breaking him. We can drag him back to reality and get his mind working again then.”


Mulder smiled, dreamily, and turned, on all fours, presenting his ass to the dutyman. If Larry wasn’t here, he knew he wouldn’t be able to do this. He was only doing it now because he wanted Larry to be nice to him. He wanted to make the other man proud of him, wanted to hear words of praise that would make him glow with warmth. Mulder felt hands on his butt, and then he was being entered. The shadows coalesced before his eyes, dancing and taunting him, and he closed his eyes, trying desperately to fight them, but they were still there, dancing on his eyelids now.


“Stop it,” he whimpered. “Go away. Leave me alone.”


The dutyman finished, and Mulder opened his eyes to see Laurence’s shiny, black, impeccably polished shoes in front of him.


“I’m sorry,” he gasped. “I didn’t mean…I wasn’t talking to him, I was talking to them.”


“Go and get your whip,” Laurence ordered, and Mulder obeyed, feeling sullen. That really hadn’t been his fault. That had been the shadows, making him say things. He felt aggrieved. He picked up his whip and returned with it, handing it over to Laurence, while he glanced at the floor.


“Oh dear,” Laurence commented. Mulder looked up. Laurence was examining the whip.


“What’s up, Larry?”


“It would appear that it’s time to inaugurate a new whip for you. This one is worn through.” Laurence showed Mulder the whip, and Mulder examined it, fascinated; it was worn. It was faded, and there was a deep crack where it had been doubled over. The edges were frayed, and the thin leather didn’t look as if it would hold together for much longer. Laurence went to a cupboard, and drew out a new whip, covered in cellophane. He ripped the covering off the whip, and swung the new implement through the air a couple of times, before looking at Mulder. “Go and get into position,” he ordered. Mulder went over to the wall, still feeling sullen. The shadows were dancing on the wall like flames, and he stopped, scared, and glanced back over his shoulder. “Mulder.” Laurence’s tone was firm. “I told you to get into position.”


Mulder swallowed hard, glanced at the shadows, and then back at Laurence. “Can’t,” he whispered. “They’re there.”


“Who?” Laurence was frowning, and Mulder felt a deep anxiety in his stomach. He knew he didn’t want to make Larry angry, but he couldn’t help it. He was torn between the shadows, and Laurence.


“The shadows, sir,” Mulder whispered, pointing. Laurence walked towards him, and he started to shake. Laurence looked him in the eye, his gaze searching.


“You know sometimes, little fox, I wonder whether this is an act. Whether you’re hatching some little deed of cunning. Is it an act, Mulder?”


“No, sir,” he whispered.


The shadows closed in around his shoulders, whispering to him. He tried to ignore them but it was hard. He watched Larry’s mouth open and close but he couldn’t hear what the man was saying, then he felt his shoulder being roughly turned and he was pushed up against the wall. He held position, screaming before the whip even hit his body. The shadows were eating him alive. With the pain came clarity. With the pain came memory. He fought against both. Fought to stay safe in his hazy sanctuary of numbness.


The whipping came to an end, and he sank down on his knees, his fingers scrabbling against the wall, pushing back the shadows. As the pain receded he knew he’d be able to fight them more easily. He could hear someone screaming, and his fingers were gouging holes in the plaster on the walls as he fought with the shadow creatures that were trying to take him back into the darkness where they lived. He couldn’t live in the dark. He couldn’t go back. There was nobody there for him now. Everybody had gone. At least here, in the haze, he had Larry. Larry would take care of him. He felt strong arms around his shoulders, and turned, desperate for comfort, holding onto Laurence for dear life, still screaming.


“It’s all right, darling boy,” Laurence soothed. “You’re fine. You’re all right. Hush. I’m here. Larry’s here.”


Mulder smiled, and looked into ice-cold, violet eyes. “Larry. Our secret.” He loved that Larry had just called himself by the name that Mulder had given him. It was something special between them. He loved that.


“That’s right, dear heart. Our secret. Sit down.”


He was pushed onto the bed, and he sat, obediently, not moving. He didn’t have the energy for unnecessary movement these days. The slightest thing made him tired. He slept a lot – whenever Larry allowed. Sometimes he fell asleep when he wasn’t supposed to; when Larry was feeding him, or he was sitting by the other man’s chair. He knew that annoyed Larry, but he couldn’t help it.


“I’m taking you on a little journey tomorrow,” Laurence told him, sitting on the bed beside him and petting his hair. Mulder leaned into the caress, closing his eyes. The shadows flickered and died, but he knew they’d be back. They always came back.


“A journey?” Mulder repeated blankly.


“Yes, dear heart.” Mulder wasn’t sure whether it was his imagination but those fingers stroking him seemed to be shaking.


“Not back downstairs?” Mulder shivered, opening his eyes to look at Larry. Something bad had happened to him downstairs, and he knew he didn’t want to go back there.


Laurence laughed. “No, darling. Somewhere different. It will mean going outside.” Laurence’s fingers tightened in his hair, hurting him.


“Outside?” Mulder worried his lip with his teeth. What was outside? He didn’t even know what time of year it was now, or where he and Larry lived. Mulder shivered. Maybe the shadows lived outside. They crept in through cracks under the door when nobody was looking. He wouldn’t be safe if they went outside. “I don’t want to go, Larry,” he whispered, resting his head on Laurence’s shoulder.


“Neither do I, dear heart. Neither do I.” Laurence sounded so sad. The other man threaded his hands together around Mulder’s torso, and hugged him to his chest. Mulder could hear Laurence’s heart beating and it was so fast it sounded like a bomb, ticking down the seconds before it exploded.


“Then we don’t have to go,” Mulder said simply, shrugging. “If you don’t want to go, Larry, then we don’t have to.”


“Unfortunately it isn’t that simple.” Laurence squeezed Mulder tight. “I’m taking you somewhere tomorrow and I need you to be on your best behavior. I need you to look to me for your cues at all times, and to do exactly as I’ve always taught you. You see, my dear…” Laurence trailed his fingertips over Mulder’s naked body. “There are some men who want to meet you.”


“Men?” Mulder looked up, and then gasped in surprise. The shadows were now dancing in Laurence’s eyes, making flickering shapes in the other man’s irises. Mulder tried to look without seeing but it wasn’t easy.


“Yes, dearest. They want to admire your beautiful body. You are looking particularly beautiful. They’ll want to play with you, to pet you, stroke you, and come in your mouth and ass. Some of them might want to beat you. Do you understand?” The shadows were twirling and dancing, beckoning to him. Mulder closed his eyes.
“I asked if you understood,” Laurence said, in a hard tone. “You will be the obedient boy I’ve trained you to be. You’ll do as they ask, and you’ll try your best to be pleasing, even if they want to hurt you. Are you listening to me?”


“Yes, Larry.” Mulder nodded without opening his eyes.


“Good boy.” Laurence stroked him again, and he relaxed.


“I’ll do it if you’re there,” Mulder whispered, trying not to think about those faceless men, touching him, fucking him, coming in his mouth, hurting him. If Larry was there he’d do it just to please the other man, but otherwise he wouldn’t.


“Yes. I know that.” Laurence’s tone was different. He sounded sad and resigned. “I wish that wasn’t necessary,” he murmured, stroking Mulder’s hair. “I really do. I wish I could send you there alone.”


“Don’t do that.” Mulder hung onto the other man, alarmed.


“I won’t. There wouldn’t be any point. You’d go berserk.” Laurence shook his head.


“If you don’t want to go, and I don’t want to go, then let’s just not go,” Mulder said again. It seemed very simple to him.


“We don’t have that option,” Laurence snapped. Then his tone became gentler. “You remember I told you about the big boys, the bullies who want everything their own way?” Mulder nodded. “Well, these are the bullies, my pet. We have to please them. Remember that you have to have a skill, something to stop them from hurting you. My skill is to bring you to them, to show them how good and obedient you’ve become. Your skill is to please them, with your pretty lips, and willing ass.”


Mulder nodded. “All right, Larry,” he whispered. “I’ll do that.”


“Good boy. If you do well, then I’ll reward you when we get home. If you do badly, then I’ll whip you to within an inch of your life, and send you back downstairs for a week.”


“You won’t need to do that, Larry,” Mulder whispered. “I promise.”


Mulder suddenly felt very tired again. He flopped back on the bed, and closed his eyes. The shadows danced on his eyelids once more, keeping him from sleep. You’re going outside, they whispered. This could be your chance to escape. Escape…escape…escape. The word echoed around inside his mind, and he moaned, and thrashed his head from side to side. There’s no point, he replied, silently. There’s nowhere to run to. Nobody to run to. No point. No point. No point.


Laurence woke him the next day, gave him his usual morning enema, then filled the Jacuzzi for them both to bathe. Afterwards he sat on the edge of the bath, and Mulder bent his head to suck the other man, as he usually did, but this time, for the first time, there was no response, no matter how hard he tried. Laurence seemed annoyed, and slapped Mulder away.


“Not today. We don’t have time today,” he snapped, but Mulder didn’t think that was the reason. Larry was tense. His shoulders were stiff, and he was even paler than he usually was. He looked like death. Mulder was shaved by the dutyman, and his hair was cut, styled and dried, and then Laurence made him bend over the end of the bed. Laurence inserted his lubed fingers into Mulder’s ass, stretching him. He took his time, reapplying the lube and returning his fingers to Mulder’s anus until it seemed to Mulder as if he had a whole tube of cold lubricant inside him.


“This is to loosen you, dear heart,” Laurence murmured as he worked. “Many men will wish to enter inside this lovely hole today, so we must prepare you for your big performance, hmm?” Mulder thought the shadows might have said something, but all he heard were the ssh-ssh of whispers that never quite came into focus.


Afterwards, when he was allowed to stand, Mulder looked at himself in the mirror, and grinned. He looked okay. He had a few welt marks on his back, but nothing much. He looked good. Better than when you last looked in this mirror, the shadows said, but he took no notice. He didn’t remember that time. Your eyes are made of shadows, like us, they whispered. You don’t look good; you look pale, thin, haunted. He ignored them.


Laurence fastened his cuffs together behind his back, and then buckled his belt around his waist. He turned Mulder around and attached a small, bulging leather wallet to the belt.


“Condoms, my dear,” he explained. “There’s no need to offer them. The Elite can take them from the belt if they wish to use one. Some of them are a little fastidious about such matters, and your ass will be receiving a good many visitors today, after all.” Laurence patted his butt, as if to illustrate the point. Then he attached a lead to the front of Mulder’s belt, and pulled him towards the door. Mulder was blindfolded, and ushered out into the hallway but this time they went in a different direction. Mulder had never been this way before but he went with Larry willingly. He was used to accompanying Larry while wearing his blindfold now, and he didn’t even falter as he was taken down the unfamiliar route. He was led down some stairs, to a cold, drafty room, with a concrete floor that he assumed was a parking garage. He heard a door open, and found himself being pushed into a car. He sat on unfamiliar leather upholstery that stuck to his naked flesh. A moment later he heard someone else get in beside him, and he was pulled over so that he was lying on a lap he knew all too well. He nuzzled into Laurence’s shirt, reassured by the other man’s familiar presence.


“There. Just relax. You’ll be fine,” Laurence said, but Mulder wasn’t the one trembling. “The windows are made of tinted glass,” Laurence whispered to him. “Nobody can see in. They should make them so that nobody can see out as well,” he murmured, under his breath. Mulder frowned. The shadows were screaming at him from beneath the blindfold. He ignored them. The engine started, and Laurence’s fingers dug deep into Mulder’s flesh. Mulder lay quite still, biting back a cry of pain.


The car started to move, a slow, rolling movement. Mulder closed his eyes beneath the blindfold, and allowed the motion to soothe him. He didn’t want to think about what would happen. He wanted to drift away in the haze of numbness, where he was safe. Larry was here. He would be okay. Larry would take care of him. Larry only hurt him when he had to, and he did deserve it – most of the time anyway. Laurence’s fingers were digging in even harder now. Mulder felt the other man’s clammy hands on his torso. Larry was sweating. Mulder couldn’t remember ever having seen the other man sweat. Usually he was so cold blooded, like a lizard. His flesh was always dry, and cool to the touch, never clammy like this.


“You okay, Larry?” He asked, turning his face to nuzzle Laurence’s shirt again.


“I’m fine.” The slightly acrid scent of Laurence’s body belied his words, which had been delivered from out of what sounded like a clenched jaw.


“You sure?” Mulder nuzzled the other man reassuringly. “I’ll do okay today. I promise. I’ll do what you tell me.”


“Be quiet.” Laurence’s tone was hard, and yet curiously shaky. Mulder felt him retch. He didn’t say anything because Larry had told him to be quiet. He wondered what streets were whizzing by outside, wondered, idly, what city they were in, and whether there were people walking by, just a few feet away, unaware that he was locked inside. The shadows told him he might be able to kick the door open, and run for his life, but he knew they were just trying to get him into trouble. Apart from anything else, he knew the door was locked, and there was no handle on the inside. His tied hands had brushed the smooth doorframe as he got in. He told the shadows that and they shut up.


He wasn’t sure how long the journey lasted, but he grew increasingly alarmed by Laurence’s behavior as it continued. The other man was shaking like a leaf, and Mulder felt a few wet droplets fall on his face. Whether it was sweat, or tears, he didn’t know. Still he didn’t speak. Larry didn’t seem to be in a mood to talk. Finally they arrived. Mulder wasn’t sure how long the journey had taken. Not long, he thought. Maybe fifteen minutes? He wasn’t sure he was a very good judge of time any more, but not long, all the same. Not too long. Long enough for Larry maybe – the other man was now crooning something, rocking back and forth as he did so, and his fingers were buried so far into Mulder’s flesh that he knew he’d have marks for a couple of days.


“It’s all right, we’re here now. It’s okay. We’re safe now. We’re fine…don’t worry, my pet, you can stop worrying,” Laurence said, as the car door opened. Mulder wasn’t sure if the other man was talking to him or not. He hadn’t been worried. He had liked the journey. It could have lasted forever as far as he was concerned because he never wanted to arrive here, wherever here was. He knew that here would hurt, and he didn’t want to be here. What if the shadows came back when he was asked to suck someone, or take their cock into his ass? What would he do? He hoped he was strong enough to fight them, but he was so tired.


He was helped out of the car, and into an elevator. He could feel the whoosh as they went up, and his stomach lurched, unprepared for the motion. Then he was being helped out at the other end, and ushered along a carpeted hallway. He started to shiver, and dragged his steps. Laurence put an arm around his shoulders.


“Keep going, dear heart. This is your finest moment. All you have to do is perform well for Larry. Hmm? Do your best for your Larry and make him proud of you.”


Mulder nodded, trying to hold on to that thought. He was taken into a room, and the door was shut behind him. The conversation in the room came to an abrupt halt, and he flushed in the silence. He could feel the warmth of a fire on the back of his thighs, and then his blindfold was removed. He blinked in the light. He was in a large room. The air was hazy with smoke.


There was one large oak table in front of some bookcases at the far end, and dozens of armchairs, many of them occupied. Mulder swallowed hard, as he faced down an audience of men, all of them gazing at him with hard, hungry, curious eyes.


“So, Agent Mulder has been brought to us at last,” one of them said. He was a heavyset man, with a large, jowly face, and a stiff neck. He looked at Mulder like a snake viewing prey, his eyes dull, but vicious. “How is the matter proceeding?” He addressed himself to Laurence. Mulder stayed perfectly still, staring into space. Flames were leaping in the grate, and the shadows laughed at him as they rose up into the chimney, mocking him. Look at him standing in front of his enemies, naked, humiliated, tamed. Nothing but a fuck toy. An orifice. Something to be used and discarded. A body to be entered and plundered.


“Very well, as you can see,” Laurence replied, addressing the whole room. “He isn’t ready to be visited at the salon yet, but give me another few weeks and he will. Then we can think about returning him to his life.”


“You’re sure that will be safe?” One of the men asked. “Can he be trusted to serve us after he’s been returned to his old life?”


“When he’s broken then yes,” Laurence replied.


“He looks fairly tame now,” someone said, with a laugh.


“He’s been well trained, but he isn’t ready for release yet.” Mulder detected a faint sigh of weariness in Laurence’s voice. He sensed that the other man hated having to deal with people who didn’t understand what he was doing, or the skill involved. He sounded like a proud craftsman addressing philistines.


Someone got up, and walked over to him. Two eager, rough hands reached out and examined him. Mulder blinked, and tried to stand still. Laurence’s violet eyes were burning into him, keeping him in place. The impertinent hands roamed freely over his body, fondling, squeezing, and slapping. He was turned around, this way and that, and displayed to the room.


“Butt out, spread your legs,” the man ordered, smacking the inside of his thighs. Mulder obeyed quickly, without even thinking. He was good at this. Larry had trained him to be good at this. His butt was slapped heartily and there was a little ripple of laughter in the room. “Turn around again. Eyes down. Good…” The man ran a hand over his chest, and then, without warning, took hold of one of his nipples and squeezed down hard. Mulder gasped, his eyes watering, but other than that he didn’t react. The man handling him looked him in the eye, trying to gauge his response, but Mulder’s gaze was hazy, and unchallenging. The pressure on his nipple increased, and he bit down on his lip, but remained in position. Finally, he was released. “Hmm, I’m impressed,” the man examining him said. “I never thought anybody could tame this particular pain in the ass. It’s going to make our plans so much easier to carry out, knowing we have another man on the inside. Especially Agent Mulder. Nobody would ever suspect him.”


“I agree. It’s all worked out perfectly,” the jowly man commented. He turned to Laurence. “I’d like to see a demonstration though,” he said. “I’ll be interested to see just how far his obedience goes.”


“By all means.” Laurence walked over to Mulder, and unlocked his cuffs. “He’s yours for the afternoon, gentlemen. I know you have business to discuss. Use him as you would any of the other trainees. He’ll be very unobtrusive in his work. Kneel down, darling, and wait to be summoned,” Laurence said.


Mulder did as he’d been told. A small whimper escaped from the back of his throat as he watched Larry move away, to go and sit in an armchair. He was all on his own now, in front of these men, naked, on display, with nobody standing beside him. He dropped his head, trying to block out the sight of those men gazing at him.


“Agent Mulder.” He lifted his head again. The jowly man was staring at him intently. “Come here,” the man said, beckoning with a crooked finger. Mulder got up, his throat dry, and went to kneel between the other man’s open legs.


“Would you like me to suck you, sir?” he asked. “Or would you like to fuck my ass?”


The man made no reply. He merely gestured to his groin, and sat back expectantly. Mulder reached out with shaking fingers, and opened the other man’s fly, searching for his cock. The man smelled strange, different. His cock was heavy and large, and had a faint aroma of urine. Mulder looked over to Laurence, a lump of revulsion rising in the back of his throat. Laurence nodded at him, and Mulder closed his eyes to fight back the shadows. He bent his head, opened his mouth, and started to perform the task he had learned. Run! The shadows urged. Get up and run for the door! Mulder ignored the voices. He knew there was no point. The man he was sucking picked up his newspaper and began to read as if Mulder wasn’t even there. A faint sigh went around the room, and then conversations started up again; one, and then two, and then the whole place was a buzz of conversation and he was just a part of the scenery. He was nothing special, nothing important; just another one of Laurence’s recruits. Salty come trickled down his throat, so he finished up, and tucked the jowly man’s cock back in his pants, then zipped them up again, as he’d been taught.


“Thank you, sir,” he murmured.


The jowly man ignored him. Mulder glanced at Larry for reassurance, and maybe some praise, and Laurence nodded at him, and gave him a small, tight smile. Mulder knelt, helpless, wondering what to do next but he didn’t have to wait long. The snapping of fingers alerted him. A man stood up, and Mulder went to him. The man grinned, and massaged Mulder’s ass with searching fingers, kneading it.


“Go and bend over the table,” he ordered. Mulder went. The wood was cool and hard beneath his naked stomach. “He’s got a nice ass,” the man said, and Mulder felt a hand stroke his butt appreciatively. “I’d like to take my belt to it, Laurence. Would that be all right? Raise a little color on it!”


“Certainly, Richard. That would be fine. Mulder loves to be beaten. Don’t you, Mulder?” Laurence asked.


“Yes, sir,” Mulder agreed, holding onto the table with sweaty hands. He heard a belt sliding through pant loops, and then it slapped against his buttocks, making him jump. The pain made the shadows dance behind his eyes, and it was harder to ignore them when they danced. He tried to remember to breathe as each hard stroke sent his stomach sliding further across that smooth, cold wood. He hung on, fighting the pain, and fighting the shadows. He could hear someone grunting, and thought at first that it was the man beating him, but then realized it was him. Six, seven, eight hard strokes with the belt, and then he felt his legs being kicked apart, and he was entered without warning. He bit back his shout, and concentrated on ignoring the shadows. They were clamoring for his attention now but he could ignore them. This would be over soon, and he’d go home with Larry in the car, back to the bedroom, and the Jacuzzi. Soon, soon, soon. He felt Richard climax inside him, and then he withdrew. Mulder stood up, shakily.


“Very good,” Richard said appreciatively. “I don’t usually rate male ass, but your fame has gone before you, Mulder.” He pinched Mulder’s cheek, grinning. “I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a piece of you. I might even visit you in the salon.”


“Thank you, sir,” Mulder whispered.


The room had returned to normal. Nobody was even looking at him. He hoped for some respite, but as soon as Richard allowed him to go, a slap on his ass showed him that somebody else wanted his services. He knelt, and sucked, and presented his ass to anyone who asked. The shadows were almost silent now. The haze surrounded him like a fog, protecting him, hiding him from sight. This wasn’t him. He wasn’t even sure who he was any more, just that it was more comfortable not knowing. Every now and again he glanced over to see Larry talking, or sipping tea. Each time, Larry nodded at him, reassuring him, and he returned to his task with renewed vigor. He didn’t want to upset Larry. He wanted to earn his praise. He thought he was doing well. He bent his head to another cock. The door opened, and closed, but people had been coming and going all afternoon, so Mulder took no notice. He heard a faint, muffled exclamation and ignored it. He finished up, and sat back on his heels, waiting for his next assignment. Cold leather brushed against his cheek.


“Come here,” a hard voice told him. A plastic hand came to rest on his shoulder, urging him to stand, and then it propelled him across the room, to an armchair in a dimly lit corner, facing away from the other chairs, towards a window. Mulder knelt, and began to open the occupant’s faded denim jeans, reached inside for the man’s cock, his mind still far away.


“Would you like me to suck you, sir, or do you want to fuck my ass?” He asked, not looking up.


“Mulder, for Christ’s sake. It’s me.” He felt two hands on the side of his face, one real, and one false, making him look up. Green eyes glowed at him, forcing their way through the haze, and the shadows ran at him, surrounding him with violent, hissing whispers, making it almost impossible to ignore them. “Me, you stupid, sorry son of a bitch,” the voice hissed. “Me.” The real hand slapped him across the face. “Wake up, Mulder. Christ, what have they done to you?”


Mulder fought to remain in the haze, fought with all his might to defeat the darkness of the shadows as they closed in on him. He didn’t want to know who this man was. Larry had said the men might want to hurt him, so he ignored the repeated slaps on his jaw, and bent his head towards the man’s groin, still intent on sucking the man’s cock, as he had been taught to do. A hand stopped him, grabbed his chin, and forced him to look up. He stared blankly at dark hair, dark as the shadows in his mind. They were screaming at him now – so loudly that he couldn’t ignore them. He licked his lips, and looked over the man’s shoulder, trying desperately to find Laurence. Where was he? He needed to look at Larry’s mouth, to concentrate very closely on the other man’s lips, and that way he might be able to fight the shadows. He saw Laurence standing by the fire, holding onto the mantle with his hand clenched so tight that the knuckles were white. He turned, glanced at Mulder, and their eyes met briefly – but then Laurence saw the window behind Mulder, and he blanched, and turned away again, swaying as he took hesitant steps towards an armchair. He sank gratefully into it, and didn’t look back. Mulder stared at the back of Laurence’s head, feeling lost, and forlorn. How could he fight the shadows if Larry didn’t help him?


“Mulder!” The man in front of him slapped him again, drawing his attention back to his work. He could do this. He could do this even without Larry’s help, if he just concentrated very, very hard. The man’s fingers were digging into his jaw, stopping him from doing his job though. Laurence hadn’t prepared him for this, and he didn’t know what to do. The shadows seemed to sense his confusion. They were so close now that they were engulfing him, eating him up with their darkness. The man in front of him leaned forward until his nose was almost touching Mulder’s, those green eyes glowing urgently.


“Mulder, it’s me, Krycek,” he said very slowly, as if talking to an idiot. The shadows reached up and swallowed him in one gulp. They darkened the recesses of his mind, and then exploded in a flash of light. He gasped as pain flooded into every single cell of his body, forcing him back into the clarity he had tried so hard to evade. He hurt. He hurt from the whip, and the sex, and the degradation and humiliation, and most of all he hurt from the loss, and the terrible, agonizing loneliness. Memories that had danced just out of reach came back into focus with hideous lucidity, and the lethargy that had claimed him for days dissipated in a flash of raw, intense hatred.


“Krycek,” he said, his hand going out automatically, reaching for his old enemy’s throat, wanting to squeeze the life out of him. Krycek deflected him easily, grabbed his hair, and held him still. His strong thighs circled Mulder’s naked body, trapping him. He bent forward, and spoke directly into Mulder’s ear in a low whisper.


“Listen, you stupid bastard, I want to help. I mean it,” he hissed again, urgently, as Mulder struggled against him. “Just shut up and listen to me. Christ, I had no idea they’d done this. I wondered what that crazy motherfucker Laurence was doing here. I can’t believe they did this to you.”


Mulder looked at his old enemy, his brain registering disbelief, but he saw, without any doubt, that Krycek was telling the truth.


“Listen to me, Mulder. I know you’re in there.” Krycek rapped his knuckles against Mulder’s forehead. “He hasn’t broken you yet or he wouldn’t have needed to come here with you. It had to be something fucking important to drag that psychotic old monster out of his lair.” Mulder’s eyes widened, and Krycek shook his head. “He’s got some kind of phobia, Mulder. I haven’t seen him step foot outside his salon since I left there myself. Now, if he hasn’t totally fucked with your mind then there’s still a chance for you. Do you hear me?”


Mulder nodded. “I’m here,” he whispered. “I’m listening.”


“Good.” Krycek let go of his hair, and Mulder sank down, resting his arms on the other man’s knees. Krycek glanced around the room, clearly checking to see if they were being watched, and Mulder trembled. What if they’d been seen? What if Laurence was watching them? “Suck me,” Krycek said, opening his fly. Mulder looked at him in mute rebellion. “For fuck’s sake!” Krycek hissed. “Someone will get suspicious. You’ve sucked just about every other dick in this room and mine isn’t any different. Now suck me off while I think of a plan to get you out of this.”


“Why?” Mulder asked, as he leaned forward, every instinct rebelling.


“Why am I helping you? Because nobody deserves this and because this might be the only chance I ever have of getting back at that fucking psycho Laurence.”


“He said he broke you,” Mulder murmured, his nerveless fingers finding Krycek’s cock. It was, at least, a younger penis than he’d so far sucked in this room, nestled in its bed of wiry, dark curls.


“That’s what he thinks. He sure as hell twisted me some, but he never fucking broke me all the way down like he did some of the others. You can’t believe all his shit, Mulder. I know it’s hard to resist, but he talks such fucking crap half the time. Remember that – it’ll help you. He says stuff, twists things, they sound real and you hurt too much to see that he’s just fucking with your mind. You have to learn how to agree with him, how to pretend to accept everything he says while inside you just keep telling yourself that he’s a crazy, pathetic old monster. You have to keep some small part of yourself that he can’t touch, that he can never get close to, because if you don’t then he has you, and then you’ll never escape. Christ, he taught you well.” Krycek’s hand came down on Mulder’s hair, as his cock sprang into life in Mulder’s mouth. “I still can’t believe it though,” Krycek murmured. “That they’d do this…they must really want you working for them. Or else…” Mulder glanced up, his mouth still sliding over Krycek’s cock. “Nothing.” Krycek shrugged, his green eyes dark with some kind of bitter knowledge. Mulder rocked back.


“If you’re thinking about my father then you’re probably right,” he murmured. Krycek’s eyes widened, and then he nodded.


“You know,” he whispered hoarsely, and his fingers stroked Mulder’s hair gently, almost absently. “You poor bastard, you know. I’m sorry. All right, we don’t have much time.” He glanced around the room again. “The only way I can get access to you back at the salon is in the Recreation Room.”


All the color drained from Mulder’s face, and he shook his head, mutely. “I’m not going back there,” he said in a hoarse whisper. While he had been lost in that numb haze he had been able to block out all memory of what had happened to him there, but now that he had his memories back, and the clarity of his mind, as well as his wits, he was terrified and panic stricken by the thought of returning to that room. Krycek took hold of his head, and thrust it back down to his groin.


“You have to. I can’t get down to the Delivery Room where he’ll be keeping you. It’s too well guarded, but every member of the Syndicate is allowed to use the Recreation Room. Laurence has guards outside the Recreation Room but I’ll find some way of taking care of them. I’ll visit every night for as long as it takes and see if you’re there. If you are, then I’ll do my best to get you out. But you have to do something to make Laurence mad. You have to get him to send you there.”


“No,” Mulder said, returning to his task. Krycek pumped into his mouth, back and forth, in a slow, steady rhythm. He wasn’t going back to that room on the advice of his bitter enemy.


“Then I can’t fucking help you.” Krycek’s voice was hoarse and gruff. He came in Mulder’s mouth, and Mulder swallowed down the retch that assaulted him. He thought of all the men in this room who’d had a piece of him, and he wanted to be sick. Now he longed to be back in that haze, lost in that protective fog, but it had gone. The shadows of his own mind had driven it away.


“Help me escape now,” he whispered. “Help me run.”


“You’re in the fucking Syndicate headquarters. There is no way I can get you out of here,” Krycek snapped. “Now do as I fucking say, or stay in that place and let Laurence fucking break you in two. I don’t care.”


Mulder sank back on his heels, closed his eyes, and then, finally, opened them again, with a nod.


“Good. Now fuck off and suck someone else before they notice.”


Krycek shoved him and he fell backwards. When he turned around, he found himself looking at a pair of familiar, shiny black shoes. He started to tremble, and looked up, in alarm. Laurence’s violet eyes were gazing down at him, piercing him with their stare. He felt as if he had Krycek’s escape plan written on his forehead.


“Alex,” Laurence said smoothly. Mulder watched as Krycek went very still, his eyes glowing darkly inside his suddenly very pale face.


“Laurence. How are you?” The two men shook hands, but Mulder noticed that Krycek’s fingers trembled slightly as they were held limply in Laurence’s thin, languid hand.


“I’m well, dear boy. How sweet of you to ask. I see you’re enjoying our newest recruit.”


“Yeah, that’s a wet dream come true. Fox Mulder on his knees servicing me.” Krycek grinned.


“I’m so glad you enjoyed it. We don’t see you very often at the salon,” Laurence said, one hand reaching down to pet Mulder’s hair affectionately. “I know Charles keeps you very busy, not least with the personal services he requires of you.” Laurence gave a knowing smirk, and Mulder glanced up sharply at Krycek, who swallowed hard, and then shrugged. “Maybe you’re receiving all that you need from that quarter, hmm?” Laurence raised an eyebrow, and, from his vantage point at their feet, Mulder saw Krycek’s good hand curl up into a tight fist. “Now, you mustn’t monopolize our new recruit. There’s somebody over here who wants to play with him.” With one final nod to Krycek, Laurence pulled Mulder to his feet, and ushered him over to a man sitting in an armchair by the fire. “He wants you to ride him, my pet,” Laurence said, his fingers digging into Mulder’s arm as he hauled him over. Mulder swallowed hard, and tried to remember to breathe. He wasn’t sure he could do this without the protective haze. He couldn’t do this clear headed, and full of hope for escape. He couldn’t.


The man in the armchair had opened his pants, and was caressing his hard cock, ready and waiting for him. Laurence positioned Mulder over the man, and pushed him down, opening Mulder’s buttocks and forcing him to ride the man’s cock. Mulder closed his eyes as he was impaled on the hard flesh, tried not to think as he rose and sank, up and down, Laurence’s hand gripping the back of his neck, stroking him there gently, making the fine hairs on the skin stand up on end. Laurence spoke to him softly the whole time, urging him on and reminding him of the consequences of failure. The client was fawning over him, sucking his nipples, biting his flesh with little nips, his fingernails clawing Mulder’s ass. Mulder considered resisting. Maybe if he fucked up now it would be enough to get him sent to the Recreation Room. Mulder wanted to do it, but his abused body wouldn’t respond to his commands. Laurence’s fingers, digging into his neck, inhibited him. He couldn’t do it. He just couldn’t. Not with Laurence there, standing over him. He had tried fighting Laurence ever since his abduction but nothing he did had worked. He had been beaten back at every turn. Each small triumph had been paid for in blood, sweat and tears – all his own. He needed to find the energy and strength to regroup. Krycek had given him hope…now he just had to use that hope to make one final move, one final, desperate attempt to escape. Not now though. He needed to think about the best way of doing this. If he made the wrong move he might just end up being beaten half to death rather than taken to the Recreation Room. Exhausted, as much by his own failure as the events of the day, he slumped down as his ‘client’ climaxed inside him. Laurence helped him up, and he was pushed over to the fireplace and onto his knees again. He sank there, his head bowed, the taste of semen in his mouth, utterly despondent.


When he looked up, he realized that the armchair closest to him had an occupant; an occupant who was gazing at him, transfixed; a silent occupant, who blew out spirals of smoke at regular intervals. He stared into a pair of hazel eyes, familiar and yet unfamiliar. He had seen those eyes in his own mirror. The man, his father, was staring down at him, with a pained expression on his face. Had his father been here all along? Had he witnessed what his son had been brought to? Had he taken pleasure in it? Mulder found an inner core of sheer desolation that broke through his fear, shame, and exhaustion.


“Is this what you wanted?” Mulder whispered to the man gazing at him with that look of such profound complexity. “Is this what you wanted for me when I was born – Dad?” His father’s shock at being recognized, and called by a name he had merely the most basic biological right to, registered only in a tremor in his index finger, which sent a cloud of cigarette ash dropping to the floor


“It isn’t a question of what I want,” his father said, in a slow voice, husky with repressed emotion. “We all have to make sacrifices.”


“I don’t see you making any sacrifices, Dad,” Mulder said. Their voices were low, choked with emotion, but the tension in the air was so strong it was almost tangible. Laurence broke off his conversation with the man who Mulder had just ridden, and looked around to see what his newest recruit was doing. The men closest stopped talking.


“Of course I did. I lost one son. I didn’t want to lose the other. I had no choice.” His father leaned forward. “You don’t understand, Fox. There’s so much at stake and I want you to have the inheritance I’ve worked so hard to carve out for you. I don’t want what happened to Jeffrey to happen to you.”


Jeffrey. His half-brother. A man he had disliked intensely, and now found he was related to by blood.


“What did happen to Jeffrey?” Mulder asked hoarsely, remembering the scene that had greeted him in his own office; his brother’s dead body slumped in front of his desk, his brother’s blood seeping from a bullet wound in his chest. “Was he expendable because you knew you had another son? A son you rated more highly, a son you wanted to inherit everything. Was it you? Did you have him killed because he failed you?” Mulder felt a wave of sheer horror as he saw a dull flash of acknowledgement in his father’s eyes. He had never realized…never believed. “Oh god. You did kill him. It was you,” he whispered. The room had gone still, silent. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Alex Krycek walking towards them with an urgent stride, coming to his boss’s defense like a good little foot soldier.


“You bastard. You killed him because he wasn’t good enough to take over from you? And you’ve done this to me because I’m not good enough?” Mulder raged, lurching forward, his one aim to crush his father’s smug face into oblivion and wipe any trace of the other man’s features from his mind.


“No, I’m doing this to you because you are,” his father told him, stopping him in his tracks. “I wouldn’t waste my time on you if I didn’t think so, Fox. I recognize myself in you. You have my determination to succeed whatever the odds, my single-minded vision, my belief in your cause, and even, although you’d deny it, a streak of my cold, hard ruthlessness running through your veins. You have my pride, even my arrogance.” He smiled, and took a deep inhalation of his cigarette. “You are your father’s son, Fox, whether you like it or not. I made a big mistake not bringing you up myself. I allowed you to be corrupted in your childhood. Now I want to undo the harm that was done then.”


Mulder couldn’t stop himself. His father was holding up a twisted, distorted mirror to his own features for Mulder knew that his genes had given him every single one of the flaws and qualities that the other man had listed. He was pounding into his father with his fists before anybody could stop him. He felt Krycek’s arms around him, pulling at him, heard the other man shouting at him to stop, but he plowed on regardless, desperate to sink his fists into his father’s flesh, to inflict on him some measure of the pain and suffering that he had endured. Even weak and tired as he was, it took four men to drag him off, and all the time he looked into those hazel eyes that mirrored his own, and wanted to kill this man not for what he had done to him, but for showing him what he would be if he just gave in.


Finally he was wrestled to the floor. He could hear Laurence talking to him, trying to exert control over him again. His father looked ruffled, and faintly ill, but he regained his composure, adjusted his torn shirt, and gazed down on his son where he lay naked, bound and defeated at his feet. Mulder thought he saw just the smallest flash of victory in his father’s eyes.


“You’ll thank me for this, one day. I don’t think you understand that I’m offering you the whole world; we’re talking about an entire planet, Fox. You always were the bright one, the one with the most potential. I watched over you for years, even when it would have been wiser to have you killed. I didn’t want to do that. I knew that if you would only come around to our way of thinking then you would be the best, most brilliant leader we could ever have. You could still be that. It’s a gift I’m offering to you…son.”


Mulder stared at the other man wordlessly, unable to believe what he was hearing. This wasn’t, as Laurence had suggested, his father abandoning him to the most appalling pain and humiliation because he didn’t care. No, this whole thing had been his father’s twisted idea of ensuring that his last surviving son came into the inheritance he so badly wanted him to have. The room had gone silent. Nobody spoke, or moved, except Alex Krycek who shuffled close to Mulder’s father and handed him his handkerchief, so that the older man could dab the blood from his split lip. Mulder saw the pity in Krycek’s deep green eyes as he gazed impassively down on him.


“I just want you to know,” Mulder said softly, trying to find words that would wound sufficiently, because words were the only weapon he had left, “that for all his failings Bill Mulder was more my father than you’ll ever be. I would rather have what he called love than your twisted parody of the word any day.”


He saw Alex wince, and shake his head imperceptibly, warning him not to go any further, and knew that he was straying onto dangerous ground, but this wasn’t about getting himself sent to the Recreation Room; he didn’t care about that right now. This was about something old, deep, and unsettled between him and his father. He couldn’t stop himself if he tried. There was one last thing he could do. As Laurence picked him up, and began hauling him out of the room, he spat in his father’s face. He would retain that final image of his father forever, spittle running down his chin. It wasn’t much, but it gave him back some of the dignity and power that he had lost since this nightmare had begun.


“You know I’m speaking the truth.” His father’s taunting voice followed him to the door. “The world is yours for the taking. All you have to do is accept your inheritance, son.”


Laurence was in such a hurry that he didn’t even bother with Mulder’s blindfold. He was so eager to get him out of the building that he didn’t even fasten Mulder’s hands behind his back, but instead swiftly secured them in front of his body, hustling him along the hallway as he did so. Mulder fought him all the way, his chest heaving at the recent exertion. He was bundled into the elevator, and almost lost his balance as it lurched into motion. He crashed against Laurence, and the other man’s fingers dug deep into his shoulders.


“I suppose,” Laurence hissed in his ear, “that this is your idea of obedience?”


“And I suppose,” Mulder snapped back, “that you’re shaking like a leaf because you’re scared of getting in the fucking car again.” He rocked back as Laurence slapped him hard across the jaw, almost sending him flying, but he had seen the raw terror in the other man’s eyes. The elevator reached its destination, and he was manhandled into the parking garage and over to a shining stretch limousine.


“Get in.”


Mulder stumbled as he was pushed into the car, and the door was slammed shut behind him. He watched Laurence hesitate outside the car door. The other man took several deep breaths, and paced up and down, wiping his hands alternately on his pants and through his stiff, lacquered hair, over and over again. He seemed to be talking to himself, soothing himself for what lay ahead. Finally Laurence had psyched himself up enough to get into the car. He opened the door, climbed in next to Mulder, and directed the chauffeur to drive them home.


“Well you certainly seem to have woken up,” Laurence commented, his voice quavering on the edge of hysteria, the pupils dilated in his violet eyes. “Was it all a lie, boy? Hmm? Were you feigning all along?” Mulder gave a startled yelp as Laurence grabbed his hair, and pulled him down backwards over his lap. “Well?” Laurence demanded. The other man’s whole body was shaking, and Mulder could smell his sweat.


“Don’t be an idiot. Of course it wasn’t,” he replied. “Christ, what happened to you, Larry? You’re a fucking mess. Look at you,” he taunted, enjoying the other man’s weakness. “Do you need to be in command of your environment so badly, Larry? What are you afraid of? Are you scared something might happen that you can’t control? Or do you secretly long for that too? Remember how you felt about that bruise I gave you? That felt good, didn’t it?”


“Be quiet!” Laurence snapped through clenched teeth. His eyes darted towards the windows, and he gripped the car seat with one hand and Mulder’s hair even tighter with the other.


“Or what, Larry? You can’t do anything in case we crash the car and the outside world comes tearing in, Larry. Is that what you’re afraid of? Is that why your bedroom doesn’t have any windows? Are you scared of the outside world, Larry?” Laurence slapped him hard across the face, and Mulder put his hands up to ward off the blow. He tried to calm himself. Taunting a man this close to the edge of hysteria, in such close confinement, wasn’t a wise move. However much he wanted to taunt and gloat he had to be smarter than that. He had to think. What was it his boxing coach had said? Box smart, Mulder. “It’s all right, Larry,” he said softly. “You’re going to be okay.”


Laurence made no reply. His adam’s apple bobbed convulsively in his throat. His eyes flickered towards the window and then back to Mulder, wildly, as if what he had seen terrified him beyond belief. A low, keening moan escaped from the back of his throat.


“It isn’t safe,” he hissed, a fine sheen of sweat rising on his face. His eyes were full of panic, and Mulder wasn’t even sure if Laurence knew that he was still there. “We need to get home. We’ll be safe when we get home. Home is safe.” He rocked back and forth, his knuckles white where he was holding onto the seat for dear life. “We’ll be safe at home, darling,” Laurence crooned. Mulder didn’t know whether the other man was talking to him or not, because his gaze was fixed straight ahead. Up until now, Laurence had treated him with varying degrees of brutality interspersed with kindness, but he had always been sane and in control of his actions. Now Mulder was seriously scared that Laurence would hurt him without even knowing what he was doing. The other man was rigid with panic, half out of his mind.


“How long has it been since you last left home, Larry?” Mulder asked, softly, trying to reach the other man before he flipped completely.


“It’s been a long time,” Laurence whispered.


“Twenty years?” Mulder pressed. “More?”


“No…there are sometimes little journeys that I have to make…sometimes I’m summoned. Not often though. If I can compose myself…our exit was too hasty…I didn’t have time to…” Laurence’s white hair was soaked dark with sweat. His violet eyes were incandescent with sheer, stark terror. Mulder felt a curious sense of pity, combined with hope. Maybe he wouldn’t need Krycek. Maybe he could find his own way out of this nightmare. If he could just get inside Laurence’s mind, and find his weaknesses, the way the other man had done to him.


“You have a phobia, Larry,” he whispered. “It’s called agoraphobia. Would you like me to explain that to you?” Laurence didn’t say a word. His eyes were concentrated, fixedly, on the back of the chauffeur’s head. Mulder warmed to his theme. He could do explanations. He’d spent half his working life explaining various terms and phenomena to people who didn’t understand what the hell he was talking about. Somehow, he had a feeling that it might not matter what he said. He couldn’t even be sure that Laurence was listening, but the other man did seem to be soothed by the sound of his voice. Mulder searched his photographic memory for a good explanation of Laurence’s phobia.


“You know, Larry, the term ‘agoraphobia’ has been widely misunderstood,” he said, keeping his voice as smooth and without inflection as possible. “Its literal definition suggests a fear of ‘open spaces’. However, this is an incomplete and misleading view. Agoraphobics aren’t necessarily afraid of open spaces. They’re afraid of having panicky feelings, wherever these fearful feelings may occur. For you, that’s when you’re out in the world, isn’t it? You don’t like cars, or streets. You don’t like seeing the sky, and trees. You feel safe inside buildings, any buildings, don’t you, Larry?”


Laurence swallowed convulsively, and his fist tightened in Mulder’s hair. He didn’t reply. “You feel especially safe in your own home, don’t you? You feel safe there because you’ve created a completely non-threatening environment. No windows, no glimpses of the outside world. And nothing happens there that you don’t control, totally and completely.” Mulder paused again. He couldn’t be sure that Laurence was even hearing him, but the other man’s grip on his hair became tighter when Mulder stopped talking, and loosened a degree when he started again. Mulder tried desperately to think of more facts to spout, in an attempt to keep his captor calm, so that the other man wouldn’t hurt him. He had a mental image of Scully, rolling her eyes at him as he commenced yet another dry, factual lecture.


“Agoraphobia arises from an internal anxiety condition that has become so intense that the suffering individual fears going anywhere or doing anything where these feelings of panic have repeatedly occurred before. A person may fear having anxiety attacks, ‘losing control’, or embarrassing himself in such situations. You’d hate that, wouldn’t you, Larry? You’d hate for people to see you lose control – especially your bosses in the Syndicate. Maybe you’re afraid of their reaction to seeing you like this. You’re a fastidious kind of man. Very tidy, very well groomed, very together, meticulous even – anyone can see that just by looking at you. It’s quite normal for you not to want people to know, Larry. Many people remain in a painful state of anxious anticipation because of these fears. Some become restricted or housebound, just like you, Larry, while others function normally but with great difficulty, often attempting to hide their discomfort. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, Larry. A lot of folks suffer from this condition. You could get it treated, but that would mean admitting that you have a problem.”


“No,” Laurence said in a low, desperate tone. “If you show any weakness then you’re lost. They use it against you.” He released his grip on the car seat, and smoothed his hand through his hair, over and over again, rocking back and forth as he did so. These repetitive movements seemed to calm him – or at least to distract him from the streets whizzing by outside. Maybe they gave him an illusion of control.


“Who’s ‘they’, Larry?” Mulder questioned gently.


“I told you about them – the older, bigger boys. They crowd around you, shouting, and jeering.” Laurence put his hands over his ears. Mulder frowned, trying to pull together all the tiny fragments he had picked up during his time with this sick, demented man.


“Was this when you were a kid, Larry?” He asked, his mind making one of its great leaps of intuition that he had relied upon all his life. “Were you an orphan? Were you brought up in a children’s home?”


“Home.” Laurence nodded, but Mulder wasn’t sure if he had gotten that right, or whether Laurence was just urging the car faster so that he could return to his sanctuary.


“Because your parents were dead? No…a grandparent…a grandparent died?” Mulder guessed softly. Laurence nodded, absently, but again, Mulder couldn’t be sure whether this was because he had made a correct guess, or whether Laurence was lost in some personal drama of his own. “You talked about parents not having time for their kids.” Mulder closed his eyes, and tried to bring back the memories of that conversation. “Is that what happened to you, Larry? Your mom and dad didn’t have time for you? They left you with your…grandmother? And when she died you had to go into a children’s home?”


“Inside the home was fine. It was when they used to make us go outside…to get some fresh air, they said. That’s where the worst of it happened. Inside is safe,” Laurence said firmly. Mulder gazed longingly at the streets whizzing by outside the car windows. If only he could crash out of this nightmare world, and back into a reality that he had almost ceased to believe even existed, but he didn’t stand a chance. He was naked, chained, inside this car with its tinted windows, and there were no handles on the locked doors. He was trapped in here, as surely as Laurence was trapped inside his own memories right now. He tried to pick up other threads of their conversations, to keep Laurence talking.


“What happened to your father, Larry? Why did he leave you in the home?”


Laurence opened his mouth, and closed it again, and when he started to speak it was in a faltering, hesitant voice, far removed from his usual smooth, cultured tones. “I was four years old…when he carried me from the ship…onto…onto dry land. I had just learned how to speak Polish and then they made me learn English. I can still remember the way the boat…rocked…and swayed…it was a stormy journey. I was sick the whole time. I’ve never felt so ill in my life.” Laurence gripped Mulder’s hair again, making him wince. “My grandmother took care of me through the sickness. Ssh, Laiurenty,” he whispered. Mulder gave a start of surprise; Laurence’s voice had changed completely. His accent was pronounced and guttural, and he sounded like a little old lady. “Ssh, Laiurenty,” he repeated, soothing Mulder’s hair gently with shaking fingers, as if he were the sick child, and Laurence had become the grandmother. He said something else in Polish, something that Mulder couldn’t understand, and then, abruptly, he was Laurence again. “I was so ill that it scared me. I made a vow never to go on a boat again, and I never have,” Laurence said, in a proud, triumphant voice. Mulder exhaled sharply; this man, who had assumed such nightmare proportions in his own world, was just a scared kid, imposing his own rigid, childlike structures on an outside world that had frightened him all his life.


“You were an immigrant? What happened to your folks, Larry? Why didn’t they want you?” Mulder inquired carefully. This might be the only opportunity he had to get into the other man’s mind, while his defenses were down. It was clear that Laurence was distracting himself from his sheer terror of being out in the world by talking, and saying something, anything, that would stop him from having to think.


“Mama couldn’t settle. She used to…used to…drink.” Laurence’s face was creased with pain. “Drank herself senseless. She couldn’t take care of anyone, least of all me.” There was a catch in his voice as he said that. “That was why I was sent to live with my Grandmother. She was kind. She was good to me…but she died when I was ten, leaving me all alone.”


“What about your father?” Mulder asked softly. “Wasn’t he there to take care of you?”


“Papa…Papa was a war hero.” Laurence’s face shone with both sweat and a peculiar kind of pride.


“A war hero huh?” Mulder said, keeping his voice low, and unthreatening, taking care not to jolt the other man out of his reminiscences. “Which war was that, Larry?”


“Korea.” The car turned a sharp corner, and Laurence emitted a high-pitched shriek that sounded like an animal in agony. Mulder moved his bound arms, grabbed Larry’s free hand in his own and started to massage it softly.


“Did he die out there, Larry? Is that why he didn’t come back for you?” Mulder asked, pulling his captor back again, distracting him from his fear in order to learn more. Laurence’s face twisted in pain, and he turned rage-filled eyes on Mulder, his body rigid with anger.


“He did come back for me,” he hissed. “I told the other boys in the children’s home that he was going to come back for me and he did!”


“What happened then?” Mulder whispered. “It’s okay. You can tell me, Larry. I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying with you. We’re going home together, remember?”

Laurence nodded, a stiff, staccato movement. “I was 13. I had been waiting, waiting, and waiting. Papa was going to take me home again. He was a war hero. I told the other boys, the bullies, that when Papa came back he’d grind their faces into the dust. He’d hurt them, the way they’d hurt me.” Laurence’s hands balled into fists, taking Mulder’s hair with them. He bit back a yelp. The other man radiated pure sadistic anger. After all that had happened to him at this man’s hands, Mulder felt more in danger at this moment in time than he had ever felt before. A lifetime’s pursuit of revenge had been created through one child’s bad experiences so many years ago.
“What happened when your father came back, Larry?” Mulder pushed, his tone as gentle as he could make it, massaging Larry’s stiff, cold fingers with his own. He wondered what would happen when they got back to the house, and whether Laurence would even remember what he had said. The other man was paler than a ghost, his body liberally soaked with sweat. His usually immaculate hair was tousled, and his fingers were trembling.

“He…gave me a packet of cigarettes, and a five dollar bill,” Laurence whispered, in a tone of utter desolation. “Told me I was on my own. He’d made his own way on the streets of Warsaw when he was my age. I could do the same on the streets of Chicago. Then he walked out of my life.” Mulder could feel the pain even through the years. It was still raw, still an open wound in the other man’s psyche.

“That must have been pretty devastating, Larry,” he said softly.

“No. No!” Laurence snapped. “What hurt was that they knew. They all knew, the bastards. I wanted to hurt their stupid, ignorant faces, to grind them under my feet for knowing, and for the way they gathered around me, taunting, and laughing, and jeering at me. I still do.” He ground the palm of his hand hard into Mulder’s face. Mulder tried to scrabble out of the way, desperately seeking some kind of purchase with his legs and bound arms, and finally managed to wrest his head away, and move it out of reach, choking. He rolled off Laurence’s lap, onto the floor of the car, and knelt, gazing up at his tormentor.

“I’m not them, Larry,” he whispered.

“Oh yes you are,” Laurence replied, in a chilling tone.

His gaze was now utterly psychotic. Mulder sank back against the panel dividing them from the chauffeur, filled with terror. Laurence reached out and tore at Mulder with his fingernails, gouging down his chest, and across his face, and Mulder curled himself into a ball, trying to stay as small as possible, and present the least surface area. Then it stopped. The car came to a halt, shrouded by the darkness of the underground parking garage, and with the cessation of movement came respite. Mulder could hear the sound of Laurence’s harsh breathing above him, and risked looking up. The other man was a mess. He was panting hard, and his hands were covering his eyes as he rocked himself back and forth.

“It’s okay, Larry, we’re home,” Mulder said, almost as relieved as his tormentor that the nightmare journey was over. “It’s okay, you’re home,” he whispered again. “You’re safe now, Larry. Safe.”

Laurence moved his hands, and looked down on him, still shaking.

“Home,” he said, unsteadily. “Safe.”


The walls of my house are soothing. I had them decorated in dark, olive-green, flock wallpaper. I love the feel of the paper under my fingers. It’s like felt; warm, almost living and breathing. I love my house. I can feel my equilibrium return with each step I take through its welcoming hallways. It hums to me. I can tell whether there is anything amiss by the sound of the doors opening and closing, and the creaking of the floorboards. Like a captain on a ship, I know my abode so very well. I can feel myself restored just by being here, comforted in my familiar environs. My step quickens as I reach the salon, and I sink down on my familiar couch, the fire warming me. I’m so cold. It was cold outside, and it’s making me shiver. If I just sit, and close my eyes, I’ll soon warm up. Then everything will be all right. The fabric of the couch is so familiar and soft under my fingertips. I play with it, stroking it gently, feeling that ugly nightmare receding. Maybe it didn’t even happen.


That’s strange. I could have sworn I was alone in the room. I open my eyes and see one of my recruits – Mulder – standing looking at me. The poor boy has a very anxious expression on his face, and he’s quite badly scratched, as if he’s been in a fight with a particularly vicious cat.

“What is it?” I murmur. Damn, but he’s watchful. Those hazel eyes are devouring me, eating me whole. He always was too knowing.

“Are you all right, Larry?” he asks.

“Of course. How sweet of you to be concerned.” I wave his inquiry away with a flick of my hand. The dutymen by the door are looking at me with very strange expressions. I can’t think why.

“You’re chained, dear boy? Why on earth are you chained? Anyone would think you were going somewhere. Dutymen – unfasten his cuffs.” I wave my hand negligently, and pluck my handkerchief from my pocket. It’s scented with lavender – good for clearing a headache. I press it against my brow, and inhale deeply, closing my eyes again.

“I don’t think you are okay, Larry. I think you’re very lonely. I think you want to be taken care of, the way you always take care of everyone else. Isn’t that so?” He really does have the most beautiful voice. It’s like velvet. I can’t believe that I ever found it wry or mono-toned. It’s soothing – very deep.

“Loneliness is a professional hazard, dear boy,” I tell him. I’d open my eyes but I’m very much afraid that the room will swim if I do. “Tell me, does the floor seem quite solid to you?” I ask him.

“The floor’s fine, Larry,” he replies in those comforting tones. “You’re shaking. I don’t think you’re well.” I hear him settle on the couch next to me, and then, hesitantly, he puts his hand on my arm. “You don’t need to be alone any more, Larry,” he whispers. “You’re safe now. You don’t always have to be the one in control either. You can rely on others. Not everybody wants to hurt you. We’re not all like that.”

Such a dear boy. I pat his thigh absently.

“I think you’d like to give up control, Larry. I think you want someone else to take charge. All these years of looking after everyone, breaking them down, building them back up, seeing to their needs…they’ve taken their toll, Larry. I think you just want to relax, and let your guard down.”

It does sound very appealing. The hand on my arm moves, and slides around my shoulder. He really does have such strong arms. Very safe. Very warm. I move slightly, just to get a little more comfortable. He smells so delicious as well, but then again, he always did. I nuzzle at his naked flesh, and then find myself resting my head on his smooth, creamy skinned shoulder. He rubs soothing circles on my back. I can’t remember ever having felt this loved. Oh, the trainees try, they really do, but they don’t love me like this. Nobody has ever loved me the way he loves me.

“The trouble with breaking people, Larry,” he whispers, “is that you can never tell whether they would have come willingly. You can never be sure whether it’s you they love, or whether they’re just afraid of your power to hurt them.”

“Hurt…? Why would I want to hurt anyone?” I ask in surprise. “What I do is for their own good. This way I can protect them from the others. I can make them into useful creatures who’ll do as they’re told and won’t answer back, and that way they’ll stay safe.”

“Is that the way you’ve always stayed safe, Larry?” he asks.

“Of course. I make myself useful to the people in charge. They don’t know what I’m thinking. They have no idea how much I despise them.”

“Ah.” He exhales into my hair, and I’m sure I can feel his lips press against my head. “You know, Larry, you don’t have to break people in order to keep them safe.” I open my eyes and look into his. They’re close, too close, and they’re full of affection. He touches my hair with gentle fingers. “Take me for example, Larry,” he says softly, as if he’s holding his breath. “If you break me – and I’m not saying you can’t – but if you do, then you’ll never be able to enjoy moments like this with me again, will you?” His eyes are so very sincere. “You’ll always have to be the one comforting me, taking care of me. If I’m broken I won’t be able to take care of you like this, Larry.” His fingers lightly stroke my neck. “Remember when I hurt you, Larry?” He whispers. “I think you liked that just a little, didn’t you? I think you’d like to feel someone else was in charge; someone big, and powerful, and strong. You’re attracted to power, Larry. You’re afraid of it, but you’re drawn to it all the same. You’d like to surrender to those strong arms you talked about. You remember that you told me that was why I was attracted to Walter? I think you understood that attraction because you feel it yourself. You want to sink into strong arms, Larry. You want to be held, and comforted. Nobody ever does that for you, Larry, and you want it so much. If you break me, then I won’t be able to do this for you, Larry. You can order me, but that won’t be the same, will it? If you break me, then you lose me, Larry. It happened to all the others didn’t it? You grew bored with them, didn’t you, Larry? When they stopped being interesting, after you broke them, then you got bored with them. I don’t want to bore you, Larry, and I don’t think you want that either.”

I trace my fingertips over his pretty lips; he always could say such interesting things. He tightens his hold around my shoulders. He has such strong arms…such beautiful, strong, comforting arms. I could stay here forever in these arms, enjoying this moment. Just he and I, lovers, entwined in our own little world. There’s no need for the outside world to keep intruding. We don’t need the outside world.

“So you see that you have to let me go, Larry. You’ll never know if I’ll come back if you don’t let me go. You do see that, don’t you?” He asks. “You don’t want me broken. If you let me go then I’ll always be here for you, in your mind, always fascinating, and interesting, the way you like me. But if you break me, I’ll be like all the others. I think you felt empty after you broke them didn’t you? You put everything into breaking them and then they left you.” I bristle at that remark, and gaze at him sharply. He comes back into focus, not my lover at all, but my recruit, my dear Mulder, my wild little fox cub. Ah, he’s so very beautiful when he’s playing me, fighting me, struggling to win his freedom; very beautiful indeed.

“No…no,” he corrects quickly. “You sent them away. They didn’t leave you, you sent them away, but the end result is the same. You feel empty when they’ve gone. Even when you achieve your greatest triumph, even when you break them, even at that very moment, the emptiness is already starting to creep into your heart isn’t it? You know you’ll send them away soon, and they’ll just be boring statistics. Just more people you broke. Special, yes, but not interesting any more. That’s why you don’t want to break me, Larry. If you just let me go, then you can keep me forever in a way.”

He’s right of course – about all of it. So right. I always said he was smart. Cunning. My clever Fox is very definitely well named.

“Oh, my darling,” I caress his face, and he smiles, those strong arms warming me through. I really do wish I could stay here forever. “You have been so worthy of me, dear heart. I knew you’d be the culmination of my work, and I was right. You are. If only you meant all those loving words you just spoke.” My fingers travel down to his throat, and slide easily around it.

“If only they hadn’t all been lies to deceive and destroy me.” I press my fingers deeply, viciously into his flesh, and he gasps, and puts his hands up to stop me strangling him. The dutymen come over to see if I need any assistance, but I wave them away and push him down on the floor. His face is covered in the myriad of tiny little scratches I gave him in the car, flecks of blood rising against his pale skin. I lean down over him, and smile. “Of course I must break you, darling; now, more than ever. You must see that. Take him downstairs,” I order the dutymen, and Mulder exhales loudly, and noisily, but there’s also something else in his eyes…hope?

“Don’t send me back to the Recreation Room,” he begs, those smart eyes glowing as the dutymen fasten his cuffs together again behind his back. “Please, not that! Anything but that!”

“Oh darling!” I laugh. “Of course not.” I grasp his hair, and pull back his head until his throat is exposed, so that I can look into his upside-down eyes. “Did Alex tell you I hadn’t broken him?” I ask, and those eyes widen in surprise. “Ah, is that what he told you? Maybe he even believes it, but of course I did break him. Did he offer to help you escape? Ah, of course he did.” It’s so obvious in Mulder’s eyes, but I knew it anyway. Alex and I have shared so much together. I know that boy like the back of my own hand. “Do you think I don’t know the way every single neuron in his devious little mind works? I expect he suggested the Recreation Room as your means of escape, yes? It’s the only place in here that he’d have access to.”

“No,” he whispers, a look of total, abject fear in his eyes. Ah, taking away his hope is like stealing candy from a baby. It’s so very sweet. I watch the color drain from his face, and his body slumps beneath my hands. It won’t take too long to break him now. He has nothing left to help him resist me. He’s failed.

“Alex Krycek won’t be coming to rescue you, dear heart.” I soothe his hopeless face with my fingers. “It’s just going to be you and me in the Delivery Room for the next few days. Just a few more days of pain, and then we can liberate the Fox Mulder inside, the one who wants so desperately to be free. Just a few more days of pain. You can take that, hmm? Just a few more days before I break you, and then you’re going to be so happy, my love, so very, very happy.”

I watch them carry him kicking and screaming out of the door, resisting to the last, struggling with every last ounce of his strength as they replace his blindfold, and manhandle him out of the salon. Doesn’t he know that it’s all over? He’s had his last toss of the dice and he’s lost. I do so hate bad losers. He really has been so very cruel as well; taking advantage of my small moment of weakness earlier to taunt me and tempt me. Charles was right; like father, like son. Mulder has the same ruthless core that I’ve seen in his father. I should have expected nothing less, but still! To use the little frailties I revealed to him under duress in such an evil way…the boy deserves everything he gets.

I take a quick shower, and spend some time alone to recover my equilibrium after what has really been a very trying day, but the matter can’t be delayed, and, although I’m tired, I’m far too excited to sleep. Finally, after all these weeks, my big moment is upon me.

It is time to go and finally break Fox Mulder.




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