Believe II: Haunted Dreams

by Nikita

Title: Believe: Haunted Dreams

Author: Nikita

Disclaimer: I don't own the X-Files or anything related to it. No profit was made and a great deal of time and energy was spent. Don't bother suing...haven't got a job and all I have are student loans...go fish.

Summary: Continuation of 'Believe: Not For Me.' That story should be read first. Mulder awakes in the hospital and Alex struggles to help him.

Warning: M/M hurt/comfort, sex, schmoop, Mulder Torture angst and romance. If you don't know what slash is you most likely don't wanna know so go away. Also, mentions of sexual abuse and graphic descriptions. Read at your own risk.

Author's Note: I've gotten some terrific feedback on this story. It seems to have touched many and sparked much interest. I only hope that this continues to be true in the next installment. Major angst alert and I must warn you that there is no happy ending provided in this section. This serious subject matter took a life of its own and life's messiness doesn't always lend towards easy solutions... I do apologize for extending the story, but I thought I'd pacify you hungry lot by providing the next section as I work on the ending. Additional notes at end of story but do not read if you don't want the story spoiled

To all those who have had to hide bruises and lie...never forget your own strength.

XXX

Alex paced outside in the hall. The nurses glanced at him as they walked by, some with irritation but most with affectionate sympathy. They should be used to his presence by now. He'd been stuck out here for days. Mulder had awoken, groggy and disoriented three days ago and had very shortly ordered him out.

Out of the room and out of his life.

XXX 3 days earlier...XXX

5:15 p.m.
GWU Medical Center

Alex held the pale thin hand in his own gently, as if it would break. Mulder had yet to waken in the hospital so far except for a few brief times in the ER. Perkins sat in a cell somewhere consulting a lawyer and trying to weasel his way out of the charges being heaped on him. Assault of two different federal officers, attempted murder (that charge was unlikely to stick) and Alex had just informed Skinner that sexual assault should be added as well.

But Mulder was still unconscious.

Shifting in the hard plastic chair, Alex sighed and considered the hand he held. Gently rubbing the back of it with his thumb, he was startled when the hand suddenly clutched his tightly and the man in the bed moaned.

"Mulder?" Alex sat up in his chair and leaned forward slightly, watching his friend's face closely. The eyelids twitched and Mulder moaned again as he shifted in the bed.

"Don't try to move, Mulder. You've been hurt. You're in the hospital. Do you understand?" Mulder's eyes opened blearily and he glanced down at his body and seemed alarmed, he struggled to sit up.

"No! Don't sit up, Mulder. Wait a second and I'll get your doctor. Just lay still, okay?" Mulder didn't speak or look up, but he did stop moving. Alex stuck his head out the door and tried to wave down a nurse. Seeing Mulder's doctor he jogged down the hall to get him.

XXX

Mulder waited until Alex left the room before he shifted up in the bed a little. Pain flared in his ribs and his ass, but he was more concerned about what he could now see. His vision was slightly obstructed by a white bandage on his nose...broken? Beyond that he could see his left arm in a cast and his right hand was connected to an IV. It was warm and before he had moved it to shift in the bed it had been laying slightly off the bed towards the chair next to him. Alex had been holding his hand. He pulled that hand closer to his body and looked down once more. His legs seemed fine except that his feet were bare and cold. A tube poked out of the sheets and he groaned inwardly recognizing the catheter he was obviously attached to.

Alex returned with a balding gray haired man with a salt and pepper goatee in a white doctor's coat. Alex stepped back but stayed in the room as the doctor held his hand out. "Agent Mulder, I'm Dr. Stuart. You're in the ICU of the George Washington University Medical Center. Do you remember how you got here?"

Mulder flicked a glance at Alex before looking back at the doctor. "No. What happened?" The doctor nodded as he glanced at the various screens and readings around Mulder's bed.

"That isn't too unusual in cases such as yours. You have a concussion, though it doesn't seem too severe. You have a rather hard head." The doctor smiled and seemed to be waiting for a response to his little joke.

Mulder gave him a small smile, but he knew it was rather pathetic. "And?"

Dr. Stuart was unperturbed. "And you sustained other injuries from an apparent assault. Broken ribs, nose, your left arm as well as some extensive bruising on your arms, neck and pelvic region. There were other injuries which you would likely want to discuss in private." The doctor gave Krycek a significant look and Alex reluctantly nodded, leaving the room.

"I'll be right outside, Mulder. Call if you need me." Mulder didn't look at him, simply nodded absently, his eyes focused on the doctor.

Once the door shut the doctor looked far more serious. "As to the other injuries...there were some fresh tears and bruising in the anus as well as several older injuries. I must ask, have you been sexually assaulted previously to this attack?"

Mulder shifted his eyes to the window on his right. Staring at the blinds with focused concentration, he answered quietly, "No."

The doctor shifted on his feet and looked uncomfortable, "Sir, the damage was rather severe and not all recent. If - "

"No! I'm...in a relationship...he...we were a little rough is all. It's nothing. How soon can I get out of here?" Mulder looked back over with his last question. His face was stony and his eyes were cold, boring holes into the doctor.

The older man seemed to accept some of what he said, but didn't back down right away. "A healthy sex life may result in minor damage on occasion, but the type of trauma I found is not consistent with this. As for the recent damage...I highly doubt that it was consensual sex, especially when coupled with your other injuries... You are aware that the police and FBI have been involved?"

Mulder's eyes widened with a mixture of emotions. Fear, anger, panic. He tried to sit up further and winced at the pain. "No! I'm not pressing charges! I don't remember- It wasn't an attack. Where's Jack? I want to speak with him."

The doctor stepped back slightly. "Agent Mulder, please do not upset yourself. I'm afraid I spoke too soon...first you must focus on your recovery. I'll have the nurse come in with some medication for the pain and see if you can eat something. As for the rest of it...please don't upset yourself. I'll send your friend back in if you like?"

Mulder clutched the sheets tightly in his right hand and jerked his head in response. "Yes! Send Agent Krycek in here. Now."

XXX

Krycek was pacing the deserted hallway when the doctor finally came out of Mulder's room. Alex moved to open the door but the doctor held out a cautionary hand. "Mr. Mulder is very agitated right now. He asked to see you, but I feel I should warn you that he is resisting the idea that this was an attack. He's asked for someone named Jack. Is he the man that was arrested?"

Alex narrowed his eyes. "What do you mean-? I- Yes, Jack Perkins is his 'partner' and he was arrested for attacking Mulder. What did you tell him?"

"I don't know how much you are aware of the extent of his injuries and I can't tell you anything further. Patient-doctor confidentiality. I simply want you to be aware of his agitated state and that he may be in denial about his attack. You can visit him, but I recommend you do not excite him further. He needs to remain as calm as possible and rest. I'll give you a few minutes but the nurse will checking in on him soon."

Alex nodded reluctantly and watched the doctor walk away. He turned back to the door and this time eyed it with some anxiety. Exactly what should he expect?

XXX

Mulder watched the doctor leave before cataloging the injuries the doctor had mentioned. Broken ribs...well, he 'had' sprained at least one of them on the last case. Mulder supposed they'd broken when Jack had fallen on him... The concussion was likely from the bedside table. And when he'd knocked his head on the hardwood floor. Broken nose? He didn't remember it breaking, but he 'had' hit his face hard on the floor. Jack had grabbed his arm and twisted it behind his back. He must have twisted it a too hard, though. The snap of the bone breaking had been nauseating. The other injuries...

There was a knock at the door and Alex poked his head in. "All right if I come in?" Mulder nodded and shifted in the bed again trying to sit up more. The pain flared again and he tried to hide a wince but from Alex's sudden rush to help him...he obviously wasn't successful. Alex's warm hand gripped his right arm, steadying him as he helped Mulder sit up better, propping the pillows better behind him.

"Careful, Mulder. Do you want me to get a nurse? One's supposed to come with a painkiller."

"No. I want to talk to you while my mind's clear. Sit, Alex. And tell me just 'what' is going on."

Alex didn't seem to agree with his choice but nodded, sitting in the same chair he'd been in before. "Why don't you start with what you remember first, Mulder? We have an idea of what happened, but you're the only one that can really fill in the details."

Mulder stared at him for a moment, What about Jack? Didn't he tell them?... He broke eye contact and stared at the paper thin white sheets in front of him. The scratchy blue blanket was almost threadbare.

"...I came home from the airport...I was tired. Very tired...and I headed up to our room....Jack was waiting for me. He had- he had a piece of paper and...well, I don't know what it was but he 'knew,' Alex."

Alex shifted forward, he put a hand on Mulder's arm again. "What? What did he know?"

"He knew...he thought we were together. You know...he thought I was having an affair. I 'tried' to explain that we only- only play basketball, but he - " Mulder finally looked up at him again. "It was 'my' fault, Alex. I hadn't told him that we play basketball every week. I hadn't told him about you at all, really. I should have told him. He was jealous. I hurt him-"

Alex was frowning at him but at this last sentence he clutched the other man's arm tightly. "Hurt him? He hurt 'you', Mulder. The bastard-"

"But I hurt him 'first'! Don't you see? If I'd told him...I shouldn't have- It was my fault."

Alex stared at him in shock. What on earth was going through his friend's mind? The bastard had beaten him nearly to death...choked him...raped him. And he thought it was 'his' fault?! "Mulder...I think you need to get some rest and think about things..." Alex spoke slowly and clearly, as if to a child. "I don't want you to worry about 'anything.' Jack won't bother you here and you need to rest-"

Mulder's eyes narrowed and his face became serious. "Wait a minute! Where 'is' Jack? The doctor said something about the police...and the bureau? Who-?"

The nurse's arrival stopped this dangerous line of questioning with a tray of food. "Hello, there. It's dinnertime. It's mostly soft foods 'cause your face is likely hurting a great deal because of your nose. Try and eat as much as you feel up to..." The nurse wheeled over a small bed table and set down a brown plastic tray laden with food. A small cup of soup, pudding, milk, mashed potatoes and some sort of mashed mystery dish that may have contained meat. Mystery meat. It looked rather revolting.

"Uh...I could go get you something edible."

Mulder looked up and grimaced. "Later."

The nurse gave them both a disapproving look and began to leave.

"Hey, wait. What about his meds?"

The nurse glanced at Alex with greater disdain. "They should be coming shortly." She left before he could protest again.

Krycek rolled his eyes in disgust. "Now I remember why I hate the hospital so much. Are you sure you don't want me to-"

"Tell. Me. What. Is. Going. On. Where is Jack?" Mulder ignored the tray before him and pierced him with his gaze.

"You didn't finish telling me what happened, Mulder. The bureau will be sending another agent down to get your statement." Mulder's eyes widened and his face turned a sickly green color. Alex almost reached out to him again but he decided Mulder would likely reject him right now.

"Why?" It was a hoarse whisper that the younger one nearly missed.

"Why? Because you were severely beaten, Mulder. You said Jack was jealous. He hit you, didn't he? Beat you...choked you. Broke your nose and arm-"

"No! I- I fell. He shoved me, but I hit the table! And...it was a fight...he didn't mean to-"

"Didn't mean to?! Mulder, the man is a police detective. And he didn't just hit you 'once.' He hit you several times. And choked you! He nearly killed you."

"No! You aren't listening to me, damn it! He didn't- It wasn't like that! I don't want to talk about this! Where is he?"

"God, Mulder! The son of a bitch tried to come and see you. We interviewed him. The police...Skinner...we questioned him and he denied it. Said it was a fight that got out of hand. He attacked 'me' when I confronted him with his lies."

Mulder shook his head. "He was right. It got out of hand. That's all. Drop the charges...I'm not- Drop the charges, Krycek." Mulder's voice dropped low and hoarse. He slumped in the bed and faced his tray.

Alex slumped in his own chair. What the hell was wrong with Mulder? He'd never seen him act like this. Not before he met Jack Perkins. Mulder was a strong willed, cocky son of a bitch that didn't let 'anyone' get to him. Not really. He let others deride him, ridicule him over being 'spooky' Mulder that chased vampires and ghosts...but he never let them get away with crimes... Why was it he'd let a 'lover' do this to him? Someone who was supposed to love and cherish him? He had to pull out the big guns...Mulder needed to face this...face reality...

"All right. What about the sexual assault? He tore the shit out of you, Mulder..."

Mulder stiffened at first and then sighed. He kept his face carefully away from Alex's as he spoke. "How many times am I going to have to defend my sex life? It was rough sex. I- I liked it. Look, I don't care to discuss it ever again." Mulder finally looked back at him. "It was consensual and it was a fight that got a little out of hand. I'm not pressing any charges."

"Mulder! You-"

"No! I don't have to do anything! And I won't listen to you try to boss me around, either! Just get out! GET OUT!" Mulder threw the tray onto the ground. Food splattered everywhere, including Alex's clothes. Alex stared at him for a long minute looking at Mulder who had turned his face away once more, staring at a blank spot on the wall, his shoulders hunched defensively and his right hand clutched the bedrail so tightly his knuckles were white.

Alex took all this in and saw a man that was fiercely in denial. A man in terrible pain. "I'll give you some space, Mulder. But I'm not going anywhere." Turning, he left the room and signaled a nurse that Mulder needed some assistance.

XXX

So there he was. Banned from the room. Not only by Mulder, but his doctor who was considerably upset to find his patient in the state Alex had left him in. Much to Alex's dismay, Skinner had come and talked to Mulder only to leave several hours later and drop the charges against Jack Perkins. Alex had wanted to press charges for Perkins' attempted attack on him, but Skinner told him to let it go. For now. The bastard was released and although he hadn't dared step foot in the hospital yet...Alex was worried the man would visit Mulder.

So he paced, loitered, got in the way of nurses and made a general nuisance of himself until Scully finally made him leave the hospital. She was the only one Mulder allowed in his room and even she was given a mostly cold shoulder.

"Look, you're not doing him any good getting all riled up out here and upsetting the staff. Go home. Take a break. Come back in a day or two. Maybe he'll relax a little." Alex snorted at this but finally conceded. He was in desperate need of a shower and sleep in a regular bed after three days camping out in the hospital.

"What about Perkins? I don't want the bastard to see Mulder."

Scully nodded. "I know. But Mulder told me and the staff that he doesn't want Jack Perkins allowed in. He doesn't want to see him yet, either Alex. I'm still worried about him...but I don't think he'll let him in. He'll come to his senses... But he's still very angry with you. I think he's decided to blame you for this...it's irrational, but he needs to focus his anger on someone or something...and you've become the target since you're trying to get him to face some disturbing things. He needs space...and time... Just go and get some rest, okay?"

Alex shook his head. He wanted to help so badly, but he'd messed things up somehow. "All right. But you'll call me if 'anything' happens, right? And keep an eye on his room at all times?"

Scully gave him her 'you have to ask?' look. "Of course. Go." Scully gave him a little push towards the elevators and he had to stop himself from wobbling. God, did he need a rest. As he stepped into the elevators a young candy striper stepped off with a cart of flowers and balloons.

XXX

Pausing in the gift shop on the way to his car, Alex noticed a small vase of flowers caught his eye. Alex didn't know flowers very well, but the daisies mixed with the other flowers seemed cheering so he carried the vase over to the cashier. The vase was set aside for delivery later that evening as he left the hospital.

XXX

24 hours later, Alex returned to the hospital after work, but he felt much better after the decent night's sleep. He passed the nurses in the hall with a small nod and wave. Agent Robertson stood up from his chair and folded his newspaper.

"Hey, Alex. Nothing new to report. Just nurses and candy stripers today. I've got to get home to Linda." The young man looked tired, his tie loosened and collar unbuttoned.

"Great, thanks, Mike. I owe you one. Tell Linda I said hi." Alex clapped him on the back as the man nodded and left.

Looking at Mulder's door he let out a small sigh. 'Into the breach once more..."

Alex knocked on the door but didn't wait for an answer.

Mulder glanced up and saw his visitor, his expression quickly turned annoyed. "Alex - "

"No." The younger man shook his head and held up his peace offering. "I'm just dropping off these cookies Yiayia sent with me for you. They're your favorite." Mulder shut his mouth and stared at the container. It was rather large and crammed full. Opening the lid a crack he saw the powdered sugar cookies that he'd loved so much last time.

"Oh... Thank her for me, will you?"

Alex nodded silently, his eyes sweeping the room and coming to rest at the rather large vase of garish flowers and several balloons which dwarfed his small bouquet. "Wow...who gave you those?"

Mulder glanced at the rather colorful assortment but just as quickly glanced away. Staring at the cookies in front of him he shrugged. "Jack."

"Jack? He wasn't here today." Alex bit his lip and wished desperately that he could turn back time.

"Oh? That's good to hear. Which agent told you that?" Mulder's voice was deceptively light, but his eyes were a stormy green.

Alex shrugged and plopped down in the seat. No sense denying it. "Robertson. A friend of mine...I asked him to just keep an eye on things..."

"An eye on 'me' you mean."

"Yes. I'm worried about you, okay? My best friend was attacked and I'm concerned. Don't deny you'd do the same for me, Mulder."

That got him. Mulder looked away and then back, less angry. "You're right. Fine. But there's no need. I don't want to see Jack right now, anyway. You can call off the watch."

Neither man believed Alex's response, "Sure."

The visit passed with much less tension. Mulder had been moved to a regular room two days ago so they were able to watch TV.

Dinner arrived and both men watched silently as the orderly left the tray. Alex left shortly after...returning with a smuggled bag of McDonalds.

Finally, around 10 o'clock Alex left to get some rest before work the next day.

"Goodnight, Mulder. Get some rest. You should be ready to go home soon." Alex shrugged into his jacket. He decided not to mention that he wanted Mulder to go to 'his' home when that time came. They had only just gotten over the tension between them...best to wait until tomorrow.

Mulder waved goodbye and stared at the TV screen, unseeing.

How exactly could he go home?

XXX

Mulder stared at the flowers in the smaller blue glass vase. They were rather pretty. He didn't usually think about flowers other than buying some for his mother on her birthday and mother's day. Actually...he'd never been given flowers before. It was rather nice...not something he'd thought a man could want. Looking up, he smiled slightly at the shape of the balloons. Stars and spaceships. And one teddy bear.

A knock on the door startled him and he pulled his blanket up a little higher. Not another doctor's visit...

The door opened and Jack stepped in. His black hair was neatly groomed but his blue eyes were bloodshot and there were bags under them. He looked terrible.

"Fox...can I come in?" Jack stood ramrod straight, but his eyes were pleading. Mulder found himself nodding before he even processed the words, not knowing what to say he kept staring at the other man. "Thank you...we need to talk..."

Mulder nodded again, slower this time. They 'did' need to talk. Desperately. Things couldn't go on like this. Alex patrolling the hallways...agents 'checking in' on him at all hours. And not talking to his lover... Mulder wasn't looking forward to this conversation, but avoiding it was only making things worse. Maybe Alex would back off if he talked to Jack... See that Mulder wasn't avoiding 'reality.'

Jack sat down next to the bed and stared at his clasped hands a few moments before sighing. "I want to work things out, Fox...I realize I lost control. You always make me lose control..." Jack chuckled slightly. "Which isn't always a 'bad' thing, is it?"

Mulder stayed silent and Jack nodded jerkily, running a nervous hand in his hair. "You're right, that's not funny just now...I just- I don't know what to say, Fox. What do you want me to say?"

Mulder shrugged and stared at his hand as he plucked at the sheets. What 'could' he say?

"I want to know why you didn't tell me about Alex Krycek. Why didn't you tell me you met him once a week? 'Were' you fucking him?" Jack's voice was low, but instead of dangerous it sounded hurt and strangled.

Mulder looked up, surprised and shamed. "No! No, Jack. It was...we've always played basketball on Saturdays. For the last four years. I don't know why I didn't tell you... I 'should' have told you..."

Jack nodded and leaned closer. "Yes...you should have told me. It upset me to find out like that, Fox..." He reached out and pulled Mulder's hand from its obsessive plucking and held it firmly. Firmly enough that it almost hurt. Mulder stifled a grimace and instead stared at their hands joined together.

"Fox. Look at me."

Mulder looked up.

"If you say that you were 'just' playing basketball...I'll believe you. Were you?" Jack's voice was deadly serious.

Mulder swallowed but was careful to keep his eyes from wavering. "Yes, Jack. Just basketball. I was going to tell you..."

Jack stared at him for several minutes, silent. He then nodded slightly and his grip loosened slightly. "I believe you. And you agree you should have told me about him? Should have told me the truth?"

Mulder nodded shakily. God...why hadn't he told Jack? Or stopped seeing Alex? He felt a sudden wave of shame... He should never have lied... "Yes." His voice was small and broken. He didn't recognize it.

Jack smiled suddenly, a smile far wider than Mulder had seen in a long time. "Yes. You'll tell me the truth from now on, won't you, Fox?" Mulder nodded quickly.

"I forgive you, babe. You forgive me?"

Mulder nodded even faster, he was completely unaware of the tears running down his face. Oh, god, YES, he forgave him... "Yes, of 'course.' I love you, Jack." His voice was a choked sob on his lover's name. He 'forgave' him...god, if he could just NEVER screw up again.

"Oh, Fox. You know I love you. This was just a horrible misunderstanding. Horrible. It won't happen again, will it?" Jack kissed him fiercely and Mulder's nose was jarred slightly, setting the pain off but he ignored the renewed throbbing, returning the kiss desperately.

"No. Never again," he gasped when Jack finally leaned back. Jack grinned at his words again and pulled Mulder into a hug.

"Unh." Mulder grunted as his ribs made themselves known. Jack quickly let him go.

"Oh, honey...I'm sorry! You must hurt all over! Do you want me to get a nurse?" Mulder smiled slightly at the concern in his lover's voice.

"No. I want you to hug me again. I missed you."

Jack grinned again. Mulder couldn't remember him ever grinning so much. His lover pulled him into a surprisingly tender embrace this time and rubbed his back gently. His voice was a low rumble in his ear, his voice vibrating against Mulder's chest, causing shivers down his spine. "We'll get you home as soon as possible. And I'll make you homemade soup and take good care of you. Okay?"

Jack pulled back and looked at him anxiously. Mulder nodded and his lover hugged him one last time before letting go.

"I'll go talk to your doctor and get you released."

He left quickly and Mulder stared at the door as it closed.

XXX

Jack was packing his few things in a bag as Mulder watched, bundled up in a T-shirt, sweatshirt, sweatpants, socks and tennis shoes. It felt wonderful to be wearing his own clothes again. Jack had brought his favorite comfort clothes. He scratched at the tape where his IV had been and waited for the wheelchair to arrive so he could leave.

"Where'd this come from?" Jack held up the container of cookies from Alex's Yiayia.

No secrets. Absolutely none. "Alex's grandmother. She's a nice lady. Baked them just for me. Try one." Mulder watched him nervously. Jack frowned at the mention of Krycek's name but he quickly smiled and shook his head.

"No. I don't like eating food from old ladies...they aren't very sanitary." Jack shoved the cookies into the bag with force and zipped it shut. Mulder's forehead wrinkled but he quickly erased his expression and replaced it with a bland smile.

"Mr. Mulder?" A tall black man in an orderly uniform smiled pleasantly as he pushed a wheelchair into the room. Mulder nodded and the man helped him into the chair. "Bet you're glad to get out of here and go home?" The orderly was extremely cheerful and pleasant, but Mulder found himself unaccountably nervous all of a sudden.

"Um, yeah. Let's go home." He looked back at Jack who swung the bag over his shoulders and nodded with a rather serious expression. Mulder fervently hoped he hadn't messed up already.

XXX

Krycek arrived at the hospital late that evening. He was exhausted from work but determined to visit Mulder that evening. Punching the elevator button, he leaned against the wall of the elevator and stared at the lights as they flashed the floor numbers.

One...two...three... He pulled himself up straight and wearily left the elevator as it stopped on Mulder's floor with a small chime. Scully was waiting for the elevator as he stepped off. Catching sight of him she widened her eyes and reached over to grab his sleeve.

"Please tell me you have him."

Oh. Shit. "What?! Isn't he in his room?" Scully sighed and let go of his arm, folding her arms across her chest she shook her head.

"The nurse just told me he was released to go home with a friend. A man. I was hoping she meant you."

XXX

Alex banged on the door of the apartment Mulder shared with Jack Perkins. The numbers on the door rattled slightly from the force of his blows. Krycek wished the door was Jack's face.

"Just a minute!" Perkins voice was impatient and angry. Krycek squared his shoulders and checked his gun. Scully stood slightly to his left, she checked her own gun and nodded to him.

The door jerked open and the irate policeman glared at him. "What the fuck do 'you' want?"

Scully stepped forward before Alex could reply and pushed her way into the apartment. Alex smiled coldly and followed her in, Perkins shut the door quietly but firmly, his hand stayed on the doorknob.

"He's sleeping. I suggest you two leave." Jack's eyes were trained on Alex.

"I want to see him." Scully glanced around the apartment and headed towards the hallway. Perkins glared once more at Krycek but followed her. Alex trailed behind, taking in the sterile dcor. It was rather posh. How did a police detective pay for this? Mulder likely shelled out more than half of the cost.

The bedroom was darkened and Mulder lay in a large bed with light blue sheets and a dark blue comforter. Scully walked over and turned on the bedside lamp. Alex looked at the table it rested on with its sharp corners.

"Wha...?" Mulder woke and covered his eyes from the light, squinting at Scully. "Scully?"

"Yes, Mulder. We came to see if you were all right. Why didn't you tell me you were leaving the hospital?"

Mulder blinked at her and then noticed Alex in the background.

"Oh! Does Jack know-?" Mulder sat up unsteadily and Alex stepped forward but Jack emerged from the shadows and brushed past him forcefully, sitting down next to Mulder.

Steadying him, he put a possessive arm around the drugged man. "I know, Fox. I let them in. Your friends were concerned about you. I told them you were sleeping..."

Mulder looked contrite and glanced from Jack to Scully. "I'm fine, Scully. Really. You shouldn't have come." This last remark was directed at Alex.

"Why did you leave the hospital?" Scully asked, but her eyes made it clear the question was, 'why with him?'

Mulder shifted his left arm and scratched above were the cast lay. He was only wearing dark blue boxers, which happened to match the comforter. Alex wondered if Jack was such a control freak that everything had to be color coordinated...

"I wanted to go home. The doctor said I could go...and Jack wanted to take care of me. You know I hate hospitals, Scully."

Scully nodded reluctantly, her eyes carefully scrutinizing Jack. "I see."

Jack had obviously had enough. "Well, there you are. Fox is fine, but very drowsy from his meds and he needs his rest. So I think you should visit some other time." Jack stood and gestured towards the door. Mulder gave Scully an apologetic look but avoided Alex's gaze. He lay back down in the bed and Jack pulled up the comforter, tucking him in.

Scully turned and prodded Alex toward the door. "There's nothing we can do right now...Mulder needs rest. Let's talk elsewhere" she hissed into his ear. Jack turned back and escorted them through the apartment to the door.

"Fox is lucky to have such concerned coworkers. I'm sure he'll call you when he's better and able to get back to work..."

They were politely pushed out the door when Krycek blocked the door with his foot and wedged it open with his hip. Narrowing his green eyes, they glittered as he pinned the other man with his gaze. "If you so much as harm one more hair on his head...I'll kill you."

Jack's frosty polite look faltered and his jaw clenched. "Don't you dare threaten me in my own home-"

"It's no threat. It's a promise."

Krycek slipped out the door and it shut with a bang, the deadbolt turning rapidly.

XXX

Scully had driven them to Mulder's apartment since Alex had caught a ride to the hospital. As they left the apartment's parking lot Alex turned in the passenger seat to face her. "So? Now what do we do?" he demanded.

Scully focused on entering the traffic before she answered. "I don't know." She drove with complete concentration, carefully avoiding looking at him.

"What do you mean you don't know? I thought you wanted us to leave because you had a plan." Alex knew he was lashing out at the wrong person but he couldn't help the horrible frustration he felt. "Dammit! Turn around, then! I'm not leaving him with that bastard for another minute!"

Scully glanced at him finally but returned her gaze to the road, ignoring his instructions. "Look, Mulder needs time and rest and he's very vulnerable right now. As much as I hate to leave him there...he's an adult and he made a decision. If we were to argue with him right now...try to 'force' him to do what we want...we might lose. And I for one don't want to drive him further into that bastard's arms, do you?"

Alex growled and punched the dashboard with his fist. Damn the woman...she was right. Mulder was a stubborn sonofabitch and if they pushed...

"Hey! This is 'my' car, Krycek. Take your anger out on your own vehicle." She sighed and then tried in a more soothing tone. "We won't leave him alone. We can keep an eye on him. And on Perkins."

Alex reluctantly agreed as Scully dropped him off at his own apartment.

That night he dreamed that Mulder had left his lover and moved in with him. His dreams turned erotic as he stripped the dark blue boxers off of Mulder's lanky form and caressed the warm skin it had hidden... The alarm clock buzzed and he woke alone in bed once more.

XXX

The Next Day...

Alex knocked on the door impatiently. When Jack answered with a belligerent frown, he pushed past the man without comment.

"Hey! I don't remember inviting you in, agent."

Alex spared him a brief glance before heading towards the bedroom. "No, but I'm not here to see 'you.'" Entering the bedroom he found Mulder propped up against some pillows, a magazine lay open on his lap and his reading glasses were sliding down his nose. He was asleep. At Alex's entrance into the room, however, his eyes snapped open and he grabbed his glasses just before they fell off his face.

"Oh! A-Alex...what are you-"

The younger man smiled and tossed him an extra large bag of sunflower seeds. "I knew you'd be crawling the walls by now so I brought you something to keep you busy." He watched Mulder's face break out into a genuine smile before his friend glanced over his shoulder and the smile slowly disappeared.

"Thanks, Alex." Mulder set the bag aside on the bedside table without opening it. Krycek frowned and glanced behind him at Jack who was watching them closely with a blank face.

"What's up with you? You always rip into a fresh bag, Mulder."

His friend shook his head tiredly, "I don't feel like them just this moment...but thank you. How's work?"

Alex sat on the foot of the bed and filled him in on the latest cases as Jack stood in the doorway, silent and unmoving. The irritation and anger that Alex felt in being watched by the man grew and the tension in the room was making Mulder nervous. Eventually he decided he should leave so Mulder could relax and rest.

"Well...I guess I'll go and let you get some rest, Mulder... Scully said she'd stop by later tonight, though. Is there anything you need?"

Mulder opened his mouth but Perkins answered for him, "He has everything he needs, Agent Krycek. Thank you for your concern, though." The policeman moved into Krycek's space, attempting to intimidate him into leaving. Alex stood his ground and was about to act when a voice piped up from the bed.

"Yes, everything's 'fine' Alex. See you later." Alex glanced over at Mulder, his face was white and pinched. Hazel eyes pleaded with him to just leave. Sighing, Alex nodded and slipped out of the room.

XXX

In his car once more, Alex pounded on the steering wheel of his car. "Damn it!" Why was Mulder putting up with that asshole? His entire personality seemed warped. Meek, timid...almost submissive to the bastard that had beaten him. This 'wasn't' the friend he'd known the last six years.

He changed lanes and headed away from his own apartment and towards his Yiayia's. He needed someone to talk to other than Scully.

His grandmother was delighted as always to see him. "Alexander! Come in, koukla! I've made your favorite soup!" Alex smiled weakly and let her push a bowl of soup into his hands.

"Alexander, what's wrong? You look sad..." She turned down the TV sound and looked at him expectantly. The TV was never off...she was lonely and liked the constant chatter in the background. Even now she wouldn't turn it off...turning down the sound was as much of a concession as she would make.

"I'm fine. It's just...my friend."

Yiayia nodded, "You friend Fox? The one in the hospital? Is he not getting better?"

He shook his head, "He's out of the hospital, but..." He wasn't sure how much he could tell her. She was aware of his own tastes for men and she accepted it even though it went against her own beliefs. But that didn't mean he was sure he could tell her about Mulder's relationship...or his own attraction to Mulder. Still...he needed to talk so he found the whole story spilling out of his lips.

"...and I can't believe he went back to that ba- to that man. Why would he do that?" Alex slumped back in his chair and picked at the yarn of the afghan draped over the arm. He glanced up at his grandmother.

She looked very serious as she chose her words. "Why didn't you tell me this before, Alex? I thought your friend was hurt at work. You say he was beaten by the man he lives with?"

Alex nodded miserably.

"Well...I think there is something you should know. I don't know if it will help you or your friend, but... I was married once before I met your Papu -your grandfather." Alex glanced up surprised, he'd never heard this before. "...Your grandfather was a good man. Very nice. But the man I married first...he was not. He was violent and beat me many times..." She stared at the TV with a far off look on her face. Alex reached over and took her hand which she squeezed back but did not look at him yet. She slipped in and out of English and Greek as she spoke.

"I stayed with him for five years and he put me in the hospital six times. Once, he beat me so bad I needed surgery...he took me home when I was better and I thought I could leave him then, but I didn't...I was afraid and ashamed. I didn't want anyone to know that my husband beat me. That I made him beat me...and where would I go, anyway? I didn't speak English very well and I couldn't drive...I had no job... So I stayed. And I would have stayed until he killed me, except for one thing... I got pregnant. I was so happy and so scared. I didn't tell him until I began to show because I was afraid...I'm not sure of what. But when I told him...he got so angry that I had hidden it from him that-" his grandmother stopped with a choking sound.

Alex leaned in closer and felt her clutch his hand tighter. She finally looked up at him and finished, "...he hit me...many times...in my belly. He killed the child...I almost died, too. I left him then. I called my cousin that lived in Missouri and begged him to take me in. He didn't want to, but he finally came for me. It took a long time but I finally got a divorce and I met your grandfather a year after that. I was very afraid of men but Nick was very kind. I think he knew about my past but he never said so. I married him and had your uncle a year later. I was so glad...so glad I could still have children. And I've been blessed many times over."

Krycek let out a shaky sigh and reached over to the tissues, handing her one. She wiped her eyes and then grabbed his hand again. "So, your friend is like me. Scared and ashamed...don't be angry with him. It is hard to change...to 'believe' you are worth leaving such a bad man. My mother beat me many times as a child. I didn't think it was wrong at first when my husband beat me. It took a long time...be patient. Tell him he has a choice...that you are his friend. And Alex...you need to tell him you love him. So he knows that he has somewhere to go."

Alex found himself nodding but his mind was whirling with the story he had heard and thinking about what Mulder must be feeling. Did he really think he deserved to be beaten?

XXX

Two days later...

Jack shut the door after Scully and Krycek left from their most recent visit and returned to the living room. Mulder was sitting quietly on the couch staring out the window.

"Finally! I thought your friends would never leave." Jack sat down next to Mulder and put his arm around his lover. "You know...we haven't really been alone since you've been feeling better. Maybe we should take off this weekend. Go rent a room somewhere, go out...have fun... What do you say? Are you feeling up to it?"

Mulder glanced over at him. "I guess so..." Jack grinned and grabbed his chin, directing his head to the side for a kiss.

"Good. I'll make reservations. I'm going to go make us some dinner and you need to take your meds." He gave his lover one last kiss and went into the kitchen.

Mulder got up and followed him. Jack had opened the containers of food that Alex had brought from his grandmother and was emptying all of the food into the trashcan. "What are you doing?!"

He looked up from the last container and gave him a frown. "I'm dumping out that stinky Greek stuff your friend brought over. Yuck...you didn't want to eat that slop, did you? I'm going to make us a nice pasta and some salad. Go lay down." Mulder watched the last of the food disappear and Jack dumped the dishes in the sink before setting a pot of water to boil. He silently backed out of the room and went back to the bedroom.

Later that night, Mulder lay on his side of the bed, his back facing Jack as his lover lightly rubbed his shoulders. One hand dipped and began to rub his back slowly. Mulder squeezed his eyes shut and tried not to tense as the other hand dropped from his shoulder and drew down his spine and slipped into his boxers.

"Fox?" Jack's low voice whispered into his ear, causing a shiver down his spine. "It's been so long..."

Jack hadn't really touched him since the hospital and Mulder had been dreading this moment. Knowing that a refusal would result in talking and possibly an argument, he simply nodded and leaned into the touch. His lover chuckled knowingly and the caresses became harder...more demanding. Both hands were in his boxers now, kneading the flesh, spreading his buttocks before returning to his hips and gripping him hard, pulling him back against Jack's rigid flesh.

Jack rubbed his erection against Mulder's crack through the boxer shorts, his lover was already naked and ready. "I'm going to fuck you...so hard!" Mulder shuddered in both excitement and fear. He had only recently stopped aching in that area and the thought of being taken forcefully almost made him protest.

"Uh..." He stopped as Jack reached over and caressed Mulder's erection. All of his fears began to melt as his eyes shut and he let go of his control.

Obviously pleased with his reaction, Jack pulled down his underwear impatiently and spread his cheeks apart once more, fingers rubbing at his opening. Mulder gasped and opened his eyes but didn't look over his shoulder at Jack. "Lube" he whispered.

His lover sighed with impatient exasperation and flipped over to his bedside table. Mulder heard rummaging and grunts from Jack as he pulled off his underwear that was bunched down at his ankles. Just as he finished he felt Jack's demanding hands grip him and pull him back towards his lover. "Got it. Spread 'em." Jack's voice was hoarse with lust and amusement as he thrust a finger into Mulder.

"Oh!" Mulder clenched around the finger and had second thoughts until the finger crooked suddenly and found his prostate. His lover thankfully took time in stretching him but was quickly entering him once he felt Mulder was adequately stretched. With one powerful thrust, he gripped Mulder's hips hard and pulled him down forcefully. The room was soon filled with panting and hoarse yells.

Mulder finally came with a shout with Jack finishing closely after him. Jack lay on top of him heavily for several minutes before pulling out. "God...so Fox, how was that for a welcome home fuck?" Jack chuckled and slapped his butt before getting up for a towel. Afterwards, they lay spooned in bed, Jack snoring in his ear as Mulder lay staring at the alarm clock's illuminated numbers.

Images flashed before his eyes. Hitting the floor...flare of pain in his arm...his nose...Jack's breath was hot on his neck as he panted...

XXX

That weekend the two men went on a trip to New York. Staying in a rather posh hotel they spent the days enjoying the sights and events around them and at night they made love in the large bed or the Jacuzzi. Mulder returned to their apartment in a far better mood. That weekend had been the best ever since perhaps the first month of their relationship. Jack had made sure Mulder was well taken care of; checking that he took his pain killers and got plenty of rest. The two of them had enjoyed time away from the everyday pressures and tensions that awaited them at home.

Mulder had been reluctant to return to their normal routine, but Jack had work Monday and it was time for Mulder to check in at work.

Skinner was surprised to see him in his office that day but eventually agreed that Mulder could work half days at his desk catching up on paperwork until his arm had fully healed and the cast was off. Mulder rode the elevator down in a happy mood, whistling tunelessly. Back at work things would be even more normal.

Stepping into his office, Scully glanced up surprised. "Mulder? What are you doing here?"

Mulder grinned and slung his jacket off, hanging it on the back of his chair. "That's the problem with sick leave...people forget you work here. I'm just catching up on some paperwork. A half day."

XXX

Alex had been just as surprised to see Mulder at work that day. As he watched the other man pack up his suitcase and head home, he found himself wondering once more how Mulder had let himself get sucked into an abusive relationship.

He knocked on the door of the X-Files department and made sure Scully was alone before he shut the door.

"What's wrong, Alex? Mulder just left if you're looking for him."

"No, I was looking for you, actually. I was wondering how much you know...about Mulder's past. His childhood." Alex walked over and sat at Mulder's desk. As he did so he glanced up at the pencils stuck in the ceiling overhead. They made him smile slightly before he turned his attention back to Scully.

She pushed back from her work and crossed her arms, studying him. "What do you want to know? His sister disappeared at age 8, Mulder was 12. His parents divorced not too long afterward... Mulder lived with his mother during the school year but spent most summers with his father. He left for college at an early age...Oxford and when he came back he was recruited by the FBI."

Alex nodded, "Yes, but...what about his father? What do you know about him?"

Scully frowned at him slightly before sighing and rubbing her forehead. "I never met him myself. He died three years ago from a heart attack. Apparently he was an alcoholic."

"I didn't know his father had died...he never told me. Did he go to the funeral?"

Scully shook her head. "I'm not sure. I don't think so. He barely mentioned it to me a year ago. I was talking about my father and he mentioned that his own father had died of a heart attack a couple of months after mine. He never really discussed his father. He talked about his mother more. I've met her a few times. She's...a little cold. Indifferent. I don't think she ever recovered from her daughter's disappearance. From what Mulder's said...I think both parents blamed him for it."

How could his parents have blamed him for his sister's disappearance? Children are abducted everyday. There's no rhyme or reason for it. And Alex knew that Mulder tended to heap blame upon himself...no wonder, his own parents fostered that belief.

"Scully, do you know if Mulder's father...if he beat him?" The words sounded unnaturally loud in the quiet room. They seemed wrong somehow...spoken in the X-Files office. As if, surrounded by Mulder's work and obsession, they were somehow betraying the man by prying at his past.

Scully seemed to feel the same way. "I don't think we should be discussing this here." Alex sighed but agreed. Standing up he began to leave when she put a hand on his arm, stopping him. "Come by my place tonight...I'll tell you what I can."

Alex left work late that evening. Before he went to Scully's apartment, Alex decided to visit Mulder. He dropped by the apartment after work and knocked on the door. Mulder answered after a few moments.

"Alex? Did you need something? Jack's still at work. He called and said he'd be late." Mulder fidgeted with the doorknob, not inviting him in.

Pushing past Mulder, Alex entered the room and walked into the living room. "That's fine, Mulder. I didn't come to see 'him.' " Alex sat on one of the pristine white couches that was decorated with black pillows. What on earth possessed Mulder to pick such sterile furniture, anyway? It didn't seem his style at all.

Mulder didn't close the door right away. As Alex watched, his friend stared out into the hallway as if expecting someone. Finally closing the door, he walked into the room but didn't sit down. "What did you want, Alex?" Mulder's right hand went to his cast, his fingers dancing up and down the cast.

"Just to visit, Mulder. I wondered how you were. Will you sit down? You're making 'me' nervous."

Mulder gave him a small glare before sitting down on a chair, keeping a distance between them.

Now that he was here and Mulder was acting so cold, Alex wasn't sure what to say. The tense silence stretched for a few moments that were broken by the front door's lock turning.

Mulder sprang out of his seat as if on fire. Alex found himself standing quickly too as Jack entered the room.

"What's this?" Jack's voice sounded slightly slurred but he stood waiting for a response. Mulder shrugged nervously.

"Alex just stopped by to give me some papers I forgot at the office earlier. He was just leaving." Mulder looked over to him with pleading eyes. Feeling inexplicably guilty all of a sudden, Alex nodded and walked to the door.

"I'll see you tomorrow at work, Mulder. Don't forget Skinner's waiting for that report." Mulder and Jack stood frozen in their places as Alex let himself out. Once in the hallway, he let out a long breath and waited a few minutes. When he heard nothing but the deadbolt lock, he left.

Scully was waiting for him with Chinese food when he got to her apartment. "So where have you been? I gave up on you and ate already." She dumped his food into a dish and popped it into the microwave.

"I stopped by Mulder's first."

"Oh? Everything okay?"

"Not really...he was nervous as hell. Jack wasn't home and he was jumping out of his skin. Especially when the bastard came home."

The microwave beeped and she handed him the plate. Grabbing some drinks she led him to her couch. "He wasn't expecting him?"

"He acted guilty...and then he lied. Told Jack I was just there with some work papers. I took pity on him and said Skinner was expecting a report on them. He actually got me to lie for him...as if I did something wrong in visiting him." Alex speared a piece of chicken but set the fork back down.

"Well...you wanted to know about Mulder's childhood...I don't know much, but..."

Alex lifted his eyebrows expectedly.

Scully sighed. "All right. I told you that his sister disappeared...Mulder was supposed to be watching her while his parents were away. He doesn't remember much...I think it's a form of traumatic shock...blocking out painful memories. They never found her body or any trace of her. Last year, remember the case involving the serial killer that Mulder had put away that killed little girls and cut out fabric hearts? The one that Mulder got in trouble for when he got him out?"

"Yes, I wasn't in town but I heard the story from a friend at the bureau. From what I understood...Mulder let the killer get into his own head. Convinced him that one of the girls was Samantha? Mulder hasn't spoken of it and I didn't want to pry."

Scully nodded sadly, staring into her drink. "There's still one heart...one body unaccounted for. I'm not sure, but I think Mulder suspects it's Samantha...I'm not convinced, myself. Mulder's mother didn't recognize the fabric and the killer didn't have all the facts right. Mulder tricked him into the wrong house...It just doesn't add up. Anyway, during the case we discovered a body...Mulder was afraid it was his sister but he knew once he saw the skeleton that it wasn't. Samantha Mulder broke her collarbone. Mulder said it was an accident and I didn't really think much of it at the time. But...when I think of all the other incidents that I've seen in Mulder's medical records...he was rather 'accident' prone as a child, too. Several trips to the ER for large bruises and a broken arm... Put together they add up to a suspicious case, but no one ever investigated it as far as I can tell. No reports from Children's Services... Mulder's family is rather rich and prestigious...perhaps they were able to cover it up...or he slipped through the cracks... And if Samantha was abused, too... I- I don't want to speculate without all the facts... But...there's a small part of me...that wonders...what if Mulder witnessed something that night? The night Samantha disappeared? What if his parents lied to the police about her disappearing before they came home? It would explain Mulder's willingness to try and find another possibility for her disappearance... no matter how extreme..."

"Maybe that's why Mulder feels guilty...if he couldn't save her." Alex set his plate down and then reached over and took her drink, setting it down as well. Holding her hand he looked her in the eyes. "We don't have all the facts and it's all conjecture. That's one thing that Mulder seems to have in common with his family...he's good at keeping secrets."

A small grimace tugged on her lips, "Lots of secrets. I would have hated growing up in that house...no child should grow up like that. My own family didn't have much money and we moved around a lot because of my father, but we were happy... I'm very lucky to have Missy and my brothers. I can't imagine how lonely Mulder must have felt after Samantha was gone...I guess he still is."

XXX

Mulder watched Jack lock the door behind Alex and then turn back to him. Jack was silent as he turned his cold gaze on him. Nervously, Mulder started for the kitchen. "I was just going to heat up some leftovers-"

He hadn't made it halfway across the room when Jack grabbed his arm above his cast. "What was he doing here? Alone with you?"

"Nothing, Jack. He came with some papers and left. He wasn't even here ten minutes..." Jack searched his eyes before letting go of his arm.

After dinner Jack collapsed in bed and fell into a deep sleep. Mulder watched the numbers of his clock until he finally fell into a fitful sleep. In his dream Jack was holding him down...forcing himself into him...the pain was building and building until he screamed-

Mulder woke with a choked scream. Panting he looked over at his lover's quiet form.

XXX

To Be Continued...

Author's Note: This piece is obviously not the conclusion I'd hoped to reach. I'd fully intended for Mulder to finally free himself of his abusive lover but Mulder wouldn't cooperate and Jack was a manipulative bastard so the two ended up together once more...naughty characters!! : ) But...rest assured, I do have an ending in sight and it will be up soon.


If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Nikita