***Chapter Nine***

The next thing I knew, the lights were out and Walter was climbing into bed next to me. I could feel him settling down on his side.

"No hugs?"

"Fox? I thought you were asleep." He moved closer and gathered me in his arms.

I pushed away. "Last thing I remember, the bad guys were pulling off their masks and Scully was scowling at a mailing list."

I felt him nod. "That was a while ago. No dreams?"

"No dreams. This is nice."

"Yeah. Go back to sleep, troublemaker."

"Don't wanna sleep. Wanna make love with you." I began to kiss his face.

"Oh, God. I want to, but . . . are you up for it?"

"Ate half a bag of seeds. And check for yourself."

He chuckled and placed his hand on my crotch. "Yes, yes, you are. It's been so long . . . let me do the work this time."

"You're the boss."

"How come you only remember that when we're in bed?"

I just smiled. His hand was doing wonderful things.

He was the way he always was - slow, gentle and generous. It was a revelation to me. Before he became my lover, if anyone had bothered to ask, and almost no one did, I would have said I liked it rough and hard, that I wanted bruises the next day.

I thought that was what I needed, what I wanted, especially from other men. I thought that was what I deserved for not being the son Bill Mulder wanted, even as I rebelled against him in other ways. I never had any problems finding partners who would give me this, either. Even Phoebe - especially Phoebe - was happy to do what I asked.

As for pretty Krycek - he liked to get it rough, too. We were a perfect pair, beating each other up in the guise of sex. Good thing I didn't see Scully every day while I was with Krycek. Some days, the bruises were all too obvious. There were times I could hardly button my collar, my neck hurt so much. Maybe his disappearance saved my life. I don't know.

Walter never listened to that. At first, with Modell and Bowman in my head, pushing me to believe that Scully was dead, and living on Scully's tranquilizers, I was too out of things to protest. I didn't see him again, not that way, for weeks afterwards. He let me go. He let me find my way back to him.

It wasn't easy. I spent nights lying on my couch, thinking about the way he loved me, the way he took care of me, the way I felt in his arms. I missed him, but I had to convince myself that being with him was not a sign of weakness. He never pressed, but I knew he was waiting patiently. Walter could be surp