22 September 1998
Title: Places: Carnival
Author: J. C. Sun
Disclaimer: Mulder belongs to Krycek. Krycek belongs to himself. Chris Carter, 1013 and other abstract, fictional entities lurk around the edges, hoping for a bit of the action. Good luck, you johnny-come-latelys.
Category: VAO Rating: R for profanity and fairly graphic sex. Summary: Come break my mirror.
Warning for m/m content.
First in a series of three.

-At the first turning of the second stair
I turned and saw below
The same shape twisted on the banister
Under the vapor in the fetid air
Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears
The deceitful face of hope and of despair. . .

Lord, I am not worthy
Lord, I am not worthy

              but speak the word only.-

--T. S. Eliot. 'Ash Wednesday III'.

Popcorn, cotton candy whirling against the spinner, scream of the Cyclone and maybe the roar of the Himalaya--where was the merry go round? A carnival wasn't a carnival without a merry-go-round and the closest approximation to that tinkling, dancing nostalgia was the old-fashioned potato sack race, now elevated four stories above the ground, people screeching down the smooth plastic tracks. The thought of jumping the tiny little bump that was the railing made him shudder--he could see the person sliding a little crooked, slanting across the track and , running into that railing, flipping head over feet, potato sack flying, hanging in the air for a tremulous moment above the fair-grounds, suspended amidst the Ferris wheel spokes and then falling straight down in a blur of surroundings. An awkward body painted all wrong on the hard-packed earth and he'd have to call the ambulance and he'd miss the mee--

Stop it, he snarls, gritting his teeth and balling his fists in cold self-contempt. Deep breath--he's here somewhere on the fairgrounds. You just have to find him. Close eyes, open eyes, and the greasy lights throb against his skull in the writhing beginning of a migraine. With the MSG from dinner, it's going to be a rip-roarer, three alarmer to leave him curled up underneath his bed by night's end. Unless he finds his cure, his cure--

that flyer for the carnival on his dresser. Location, directions, a specific night circled in red ink, then the spiky scrawl next to it.

You can have me if you catch me.

Mulder bit his lip, feeling the touch of actual food grease, Chinese food. Scully had made him eat before he left--those light blank eyes boring into him, and her mouth saying quietly, "What're you going back for?"

His guts had writhed--guilt? fear? anticipation? Did she know? She couldn't possibly know, could she? "I think there's something we missed today."

Those impersonal eyes narrowing, her fingers had curled on the edge of the motel comforter. They looked thin and bony, hardly alive--hell, she didn't look alive at all, ensconced in that black suit and hair tucked backwards, perfectly smooth. "You'd better eat before you go back, Mulder."

"There'll be food--it's a carnival, remember?" Him shuffling feet against the threadbare carpet, staring at the yellow-and-orange threads until they melded into blurs of viscous color.

"You won't eat." Pause, tilt of head, which his unfocused eyes saw as a little bar of white backed by tan wallpaper. "You'll crawl back at three-o-clock miserable, hungry, dirty, with the migraine from hell and you'll be cranky tomorrow."

He'd heard his voice from another body--sounded all urgent, forceful, even a little terrified. Watched the tall man fidget. "I need to go, Scully." Emphasis on the need, and she had tilted her head again, mourning bird with a crest of shiny blood-red and hollow face, that hollow face.

"Eat dinner before you go." Scully had thrust a half-full plastic container of hot-and-sour soup at him.

"But it's your dinner." Protest, then the treacherous stomach had growled, betraying for the smell of oil and meat and fried rice.

"I can get more." She made him sit down, settled the containers on his lap. "You won't eat at the carnival, and you're not leaving until you finish all of it. I know you're hungry enough." Pause, this soft little voice coupled by her little hand at his jaw, his cheek. She had such soft hands, tiny, smooth, like little birds. Like little hawks, slashing, coaxing. "You've got to eat more, Mulder--you can't keep this up without eating. You can't."

Did she really know? Did she suspect?

Could she?

Mulder jolts back to the carnival with a shudder, then realizes he's still standing there, frozen, watching the Ferris wheel. He swears furiously, tosses his head, makes himself walk forward. Krycek was here, somewhere--

The Fun House.

Mansion of Mirrors.

-do you want to see yourself tonight?- on a pink banner. Painted ghouls writhing up the side, an entrance wreathed in shadows, invincible against the floodlights. No line. Only a man in soft oily leather stepping in, going up the steps. Flash of face against floodlight, polished boots, polished eyes--

Mulder throws himself forward in a sort of quick trot, moving quickly across the carnival grounds. Right on the verge of the entrance, he steps in and it's a cane barring his path--look down to pruned face, eyes hollow shadows behind fishbowl glasses. Gleam of a metal tooth, hunched figure watching him from underneath a shawl, a wrap. Tinkle of earrings, wisps of hair lined against the lights--almost laughably archetypal.


"Three tokens please."

Mulder growls in frustration, then throws all the change in his pockets at her. She laughs softly, crackling, and removes the cane; he charges into the dark, blind, stumbling.

It takes a minute for his eyes to adjust so that he could see--Mansion of Mirrors was right. A hundred million reflections, mirrors shaped not only in the traditional ellipse and rectangle but as triangles jutting out from the walls. Spikes, wavy ones, angular mirror, a mirror folded into the silhouette of a crucified man, complete with bits for the nails through the wrists. Mulder amuses himself for a moment by trying to fit himself into the mold, then decides he's too tall. And amused grin, turn the corner into a hall partitioned by head-high mirrors, curved and distorted and glance down into them--

Mulder yelps and half-draws his gun.

Flesh, muscle of a back, fingers desperately gripping the edge of the mirror and a head thrown back. Soft wet noises, the crinkle of a man's pants around his ankles and another person crouched on the floor, sucking, head bobbing back and forth, head tilted back. Mulder blushes and turns away, ashamed of the voyeurism. Then, gold eyes flick over the cock and catch him. Dark, feline gold eyes, tilted, rimmed with kohl and set in a calmly androgynous face with a soft, delicate mouth wrapped around a cock. The eyes wink. Mulder chokes, reeling backwards as the eyes slip all the way down, covering the cock. A small desperate noise arching up into the air. The eyes smile, a narrowing of dark eyes over gold, and the eyes turn away, slipping back into the darkness.

And a hand yanks him by the shoulder; reflexively, Mulder slams an elbow into the area of the gut. The flesh gives way, falls down to the floor with a thud. Mulder follows, thrusting arms stiffly before him, letting the other person cushion the fall. Then, the rasp of skin and cloth over sawdust covered wood, grunts, rolling over and over and finally a thudding stop as Mulder pins the figure to the flooring and snicks the safety back on his gun.

And polished eyes glitter back up at him.

Mulder slips his gun back into the holster, but he keeps his knees straddling Krycek's chest. "Well, well. Look what we caught."

"Jesus, Mulder." Krycek's panting, chest heaving in the grey light; the noise is loud and rasping. "Fucking you is a health hazard. Every time I try to do it, you damn near blow my head off."

Mulder grins, lazy, pleased that he's come out on top for once. Doesn't say anything, just traces circles on Krycek's chest, slips a hand inside the leather jacket to play with a nipple through the cloth. Mulder yawns, eyes half-drooped, but when Krycek tries to shift him off, his legs close. Gradually, though, Mulder does move his weight downwards, sidling, hands flicking around Krycek's jeans to release a half-hard on.

Dark lashes fall around Mulder's cheeks and he takes the head into his mouth, tongue lightly swirling, painting long, complex spirals. Takes a little in, then Mulder rocks back to prop Krycek up against the wall, then unbutton Krycek's pants properly, push the denim down to around the boots.

Krycek looks down for a minute, eyes faintly bewildered, and Mulder has the pleasant feeling that's he's actually grinning. Sharp. Unpleasant. Rat-like.

Krycek's ass is clenched, hard, muscles tensed, skin over taut ball of flesh. When Mulder flicks a tongue up the side of a thigh, he watches the muscles ripple, the skin over the bone when Krycek cries against Mulder and grinds against air.

There're tightly clenched folds sliding inwards, wrapping around the anus. Hot, damp with the smell of Krycek. Mulder sliding his tongue up to the crease, then back down, tracing the juncture of leg and groin, little line of chained markings. Back, then, suck right on the edge, right there where the skin is puckered, folded on top of each other. Scrape of teeth, long, wet spirals, patterns on the underside of the ass, then back for a good long suck. Hear Krycek make a strangled noise, part moan, part whimper, part demand, mostly Krycek. Krycek's legs shift, spreading apart, and Mulder slips his mouth down the balls. Heavy, warm, still a little loose. A lick for each, then rock back again, just in time to see Krycek's head fling up, sweaty neck catching as a thin strip of silver light, shifting as Krycek gives a short, sharp moan and his hips convulse wildly, twisting; the face is wrenched hard against something. Mulder smiles.

And slams his mouth down on Krycek's cock.

Krycek sobs upward, writhing.

There's something indescribable about sucking a man's dick: the heft of it, the heat, the smells coming from the hair brushing your nose, the sweat, the taste of pre-come mixing with your saliva, the feel of a spit-dampened cock underneath your tongue, the contour of the slightly widened head. Mulder closes his eyes and rocks Krycek quivers, shaking, and Mulder smiles around the cock, and pulls away, starts fiddling with Krycek's pants.

A hand on Mulder's shoulder.

Mulder looks up.

Krycek smiles, nastily.

A hand slides down Mulder's shoulder.

The other hand punches Mulder, not hard, just enough to make Mulder's head whirl, knock the wind out of him, and send him sprawling across the floor. Mulder's legs fail and he shivers, desperately trying to force them up until a hand at his collar yanks him onto his knees, kicks them apart with a contemptuous flick of the boots. Mulder's head swings low, torso slung between upright shoulders, lips stroking the splinter-rough floor. A hand slips down the split of Mulder's ass, and the head swings up, moaning softly to a:

"Bastard. You said I could ha. . ." The words trail off as Krycek runs a hand, across the strained cloth at the crotch. Mulder gulps and tries again. "You said I could have you if I caug. . ."

The words die off when Krycek runs a stroke up Mulder's cock through the cloth. "You didn't quite catch me." Hands around undo leather belt, yank down pants. Pause, what Mulder suspected was stifled laughter. "Boxers. How prudish. How very Scully-ish."

He gets a little gasp when he trails his fingers across Mulder's bare flesh.

Pause. Mulder tries: "Bu--"

"Besides, you've already had a bit of fun tonight." Pause Krycek slathers some lube onto his fingers, and that finger goes in, then two, laying the faintest layer of chilled slickness, then Mulder curling when the fingers stab downwards. Another pause, the snick of dropping fly.

"Holy fucking shit." The words wrench out of Mulder and his hands claw into the hardwood floor. "Bastard." Mulder moans, rocking backwards, scrunching his eyes. Bastard, used only the barest amount of lube. Tiny little bit, just enough to be able to move, just a little, thin little grating layer, enough to move and not enough not to tear away flesh but enough to burn, to ache, enou--

Mulder tosses up his head and opens his mouth to howl in rage and pain, but he finds Krycek's hand there first, a stretch of salty, crevassed palm against his mouth. Snarling, Mulder hurls himself against that flesh and bites down, pinching a fold between teeth, hard enough that Krycek rakes his nails across Mulder's ass. But the hand stays, although Mulder can taste something faintly coppery.

"Why do you always have to be such a fucking dickhead?" Krycek's voice comes out hard, gritty, fingers digging into Mulder, who arches up, head thrown back and violently protesting this added pain. "So fucking loud, too." A furious squeeze at Mulder's mouth, twisting his lips.

Twist of the head and it's still there, mouth propped open, only muffled whimpers coming through, and shaking with rage, Mulder squeezes down hard, has the satisfaction of Krycek convulsing, a sharp, hoarse sob. Mulder's grins around the gag, and curves his back--jubilation is short though, for Krycek manages one more murderous thrust that makes Mulder bang his head against the mirror and the world spurt out onto the floor with every cant of his hips, writhing, twisting, sobbing as Krycek pulls back out and zips up in perfect composure.

Mulder shivers once, then stumbles up to his feet and pulls his pants up to his waist. Leans against the mirror, knees shaking.

"Fuck you."

Snort as Krycek draws "I thought I'd made it abundantly clear. Not this time."

Mulder leans braces his cheek against the cool, cool mirror surface, and tries to still the shaking in his elbows, the laugh in his chest. "Bastard." Closes his eyes and concentrates on getting the energy, the strength of mind to get his pants up around his waist.

"Mulder, you're pathetic." Krycek sighs, throws the cigarette away, then mashes the package back into his pocket and slides down to his knees, puts a soft, gentle hand on Mulder's quaking shoulder. "Let's get you up."

A little muffled noise, but Mulder lets Krycek pull his pants back up for him, refasten the belt, yank him back onto his feet. Mulder staggers onto his feet, aching miserably, but still lets Krycek prop a supportive arm around him. Krycek gives a little smile in the dark when Mulder's head droops to his shoulder, and lips whisper something against the leather jacket.

Mulder nearly trips on the stairs out and only Krycek's firm hand around his hips keeps him from saving the Consortium the trouble of killing him. Mulder glares at him, then yanks away from the hand to descend the steps alone with this slow, careful, shaking precision.

"Did you have a good time, gentlemen?"

The voice is cracked, wheezy, and Mulder starts--it's the old woman from the entrance, crouched on a little stool, looking more like a toad than ever. Bleary glass-blue eyes peer up at him, and he shivers convulsively.

Krycek doesn't--he laughs, flicks her a shower of silver coins. "An excellent time, little mother."

Pause as the woman tucks them into a hidden pocket. "Ah, come back soon them, sirs."

More laughter from Krycek as Mulder concentrates on hanging onto the railing with all of his strength. Krycek smiles. "We will, mother."

And the night is clear and cold out beyond the carnival, and the wind whips through the long grass on the hill. Down below, the Himalayas roars through the track; the Ferris wheel paints greasy tangent-circles, and if he closes his eyes, Mulder can almost hear the tinkle of that merry-go-round, blazing out from the center.

"I can't do this anymore." Krycek's voice is careful, quiet, nearly lost in the sound of the wind and the carnival.

Pause as Mulder shuffles his feat in the grass. "Do what?"

"You know what." Krycek looks up into an indigo sky that's speckled with pinpoint stars.

Mulder can't make the noises come out; his hands clutch convulsively together. "I. . ."

"You've got to tell her, Mulder. She has a right to know." Krycek shoves his hands into his pockets. "I won't do this again, not until you tell her."

Stammering. "I. . .Krycek, I. . .You know bloody well I--"

The sounds are said to the wind and the grass and the carnival lights, and Mulder takes in the empty black space next to him, then rocks back onto his heels and listens to the wisp of carousel music.


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22 September 1998
Title: Places: Asylum
Author: J. C. Sun
Category: VAO
Rating: PG-13

Chair, table, barred window, ceiling flaking softly down on me.

It comes down in these long slivers, drifting in these solemnly lonely bits, whiriling from side to side before resting on my pillow.

They're palpably heavy, almost feathery, though, and when I scrape a hand across the ceiling proper, a shower of chips fall into my palm.

I wonder how long it's been since they painted this ceiling.

A knuckle raps upon the slip of shatterproof glass set in the door, edge of orderly blue beyond. A disembodied voice sasy through the thick slab of metal, "You've got a visitor."



Alex came once, and back then the window wasn't barred and there was a mirror. And when he got reflected into it, I was. . .surprised. . .by how human he looked, how small and simple and *ordinary*, but then I looked back at the real thing and there was the sun caught up in his hair, a streak of brown, almost gold at the top but the dark, proper sable close to the scalp. Sitting on the bed, I could almost feel the prickling of it underneath my chin, him still standing in the doorway. Then there was that mouth, always caught up in a twist of half-smile, half-sad. And the small fine alert way his head was cocked at me, the color of his body against the hallway lights, this long, beautiful stroke against the doorframe. I could feel the gun--blunt, ugly Glock, carried at the hip, jauntily angling out underneath his jacket, smell the leather and sweat and Alex. He was lounging there, up at the door, easy and casual and he was so alive I closed my eyes for a moment to taste the bitter edge of it.

Then he'd tilted his head, smiled a little, that smile, all soft and un-Alex pull of the lips, so gentle and careful, and he said, "How're you, Mulder?" Quiet, low, careful.


That was the word for it, the way he turned his head, this way and that, the deliberate pace of his words, even the way the skin shifted across his neck, slid across his throat and curled around his jaw and especially in the way he wouldn't look at me, just the floor and the honey-colored walls. Turned into the room with the quiet flow of dark leather, moved about with shoulders drawn in, hands deep in pockets, and yes, that was a gun, all polished and tucked deep under his jacket.

My fingers ached.

"I'm sorry," he said, swinging into to me.

I blinked.

Why, he was crying.

Not wailing or sobbing, just these little damp speckles in the curve of his eye, on the edge of his cheek, and he was blinking hard against them. The shock traveled down my spine as I ran my thumb across his cheekbone. The first tear drop smeared, but I caught the second on the pad of my thumb, and then Alex swung his face up at me.

I kissed him.

Kisses. Little feather kisses on his jaw, down the line of his neck, his arms, on the pads of his fingers, faintly salty to the tongue. Down his back, in the hollows, in the small of his neck, the curve of his hip.

And later, afterwards, he was tucked around me, the sun came in slatted bands and danced on his bare hip.

I blinked, slowly, enjoying the warmth, the false safety of his arms tucked around mine. I gently lipped the turn of his shoulder, soft, then stretched back, head on the ground as he tilted his head up to the bands of light, let the dust motes touch his lips. I swiped a hand through the fall of golden dust, watching the bits part like the wake of a boat and remembering a bit about fluid dynamics, pressure within a closed system.

Outside, there came the sound of bare feet flying against linoleum. Rush of shouts, shod feet going after, then the clatter, crash. Shouts, and a long, thin wail slicing down the hall.

Alex moved for his gun. I put a hand on his arm, then, listened to the timbre of the crying.

"Anderson. From down the hallway." Pause, I traced the inside of his elbow. "Some newbie forgot to drug him up." Pause, as there was the clatter of a gurney wheeling by; soft, whimpering noise from the straps. A clipped voice made a prescription of Valium to the sound of crying.

Alex blinked.

I turned my face away and my words were too loud in the blankness. "It's the second time this week for him. They're taking him to the Level Two wing."

Alex's hand tightened convulsively about my hip.

"It's not bad as all that," I said. "You get your own bathroom and they take you out on the grounds at a different time. Plus you get room service."

Reassuring smile that was flaking away at the edges, hand on his bare arm.

I closed my eyes. Opened them, looked at the alarm clock with bright crimson letters on field of black.

"You've got to go soon." I remember saying. "Visiting hours are almost over."

Ignoring me, he said lazily, calmly, "I'm going to fucking kill her for this, you know."

Did his voice shiver? There was this little burr, and he whipped his head around the other side and looked out across the vista of bed legs and linoleum and the afternoon sun fading away into light steel.

And then I closed my eyes and wrapped my arms around him, said nothing, but smiled and simply kissed him again, just for the sheer comfort of his mouth under mine.


The deadbolt slides back, and the door creaks open on heavy iron hinges, and I hear feet shuffling. The guard saying that he'll be right outside and if y'want to get out sooner, just knock on the door and he'll get you out right away.

She's wearing a business suit, one of her business suits that half-disguise the sharp angles of the Smith&Wesson at her hip, the small bulge of her FBI badge. The visitor's badge is hanging from the lapel of her business suit, and her face very smooth, perfect, smooth.

As usual.

She paces around, the heels loudly clacking on the cement underneath the linoleum. She walks over to the little table desk, looks down at the menu for this week, the newspaper clippings, the safety scissors. When I open my eyes, the florescent lights make her skin sallow, even when she steps up to the window and looks past the bars.

"I'm sorry," she says, her voice quiet.

She's staring out of the window: she must be looking at the azelas, the Manderley azealas aflame in crimson. They line the gravel paths in long, flowing runs.

"You've told them not to let him in, haven't you?"

"What?" Turning of the head; the gloss moves across the surface, and her hands plant themselves wide against the ledge of the window. Her hands are death pale against the whitewash, and her silver watch winks the light. "Who?"

I shift position on the bed, tuck my feet underneath me. The paint chips are cradled in my left palm, and I don't say anything.

She blinks at me, a smooth flick of white over smoothly lying china-blue.

I smile at her.

She tilts her head and regards me solemnly.

And after that, she leaves soon after that.

The paint chips are heavy in my palm.

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