Notes and Disclaimers at end
Skinner aimed the gun at Krycek as the younger man glared furiously, moving back against the wall as he had been ordered to do.
"Your weapons, Krycek. Slowly and carefully. All of them," Skinner ordered.
He smiled as Krycek threw him a look of molten hatred and reluctantly obeyed. Krycek slowly reached behind his back and removed his Glock from its holster, placing it on the table next to him. He looked at Skinner. Skinner eyed him levelly, gesturing with his gun.
"Don't try me, boy. Get on with it."
Krycek sighed and rolled his eyes, and in a few moments, the Glock was joined by two switchblades, a set of brass knuckles and a strangling wire. Krycek held his arms out by his sides and gave Skinner a "what now?" look. Skinner smiled again. It was a smile that Krycek was not at all sure he liked. Skinner stepped closer, keeping the gun at chest level, pinning the younger man to the wall with his best AD glare.
"The other gun, Krycek," he said softly. "The one in your left boot."
Krycek's green eyes widened with shock. His mouth hung open for a moment before he clamped it shut, flushing furiously. How the fuck did Skinner know about his holdout? No one knew about that! He bent over and began to reach toward his boot, his jaw clenched.
"Slowly," Skinner warned.
He chuckled to himself. If looks could kill, he'd be cooling on the floor right now and Krycek would be halfway to St. Petersburg. Krycek shot him another defiant glare and slowly slid his hand down inside his boot, removing the snubnose .38 he kept strapped to his left ankle. He dropped it onto the table next to the other weapons and stood back against the wall again, extravagant and colorful fantasies of revenge already beginning to play in his mind. Skinner watched him coolly. Breaking into the rat's apartment had been easier than he'd expected. It had then been a simple matter of hiding in the shadows and waiting for Krycek to return home after a long day of murder and betrayal. The scuffle had been short-lived, the barrel of Skinner's gun pointing at Krycek's chest had been enough to convince him that it would be an unnecessary risk to try to draw one of his own weapons.
Krycek watched, barely able to contain his fury at being surprised by this office drone, this pencil pusher. Skinner calmly collected the weapons and stowed them in his briefcase, along with his own gun. He locked the briefcase and placed the key in the pocket of his jeans. Krycek followed all of this with horrified fascination. What the hell was Skinner up to? Krycek glanced down as Skinner pocketed the key. He had never seen the AD in jeans before. The tip of Krycek's pink tongue darted out and moistened his lips. 501s. Well-worn and form-fitting, lived-in. The faded denim cupped the impressive bulge just so... Krycek realized he was staring and looked up, directly into Skinner's dark brown eyes. Skinner's smile was maddening. So calm, cool and collected. He placed the briefcase on the floor next to the sofa. He glanced at Krycek.
"Take off the jacket," he ordered.
Krycek hesitated. The weapons were locked away now, maybe if he rushed him... As if he could read Krycek's mind, Skinner walked toward the smaller man. He wore a pale yellow polo shirt, the soft material draping itself across his wide chest, accentuating the rippling muscles of his shoulders and biceps. Krycek swallowed. How the hell had he never noticed those muscles? Those shoulders? Skinner stopped in front of Krycek and waited, his arms folded.
"I'll tell you what, Krycek. You want to get to that door, you have to go through me. Now, we can do this the easy way or the hard way. I think it'll save us both a lot of wear and tear if you just do as I say. This won't take long."
Krycek swallowed again. This whole situation had badly unnerved him. He had come home after a long hard day only to find AD Skinner hiding in his apartment. Not the usual order of things, to be sure. Now he found himself disarmed, and in more ways than one. Just exactly what the fuck was going on here? Those chestnut brown eyes stared at him resolutely, their expression unreadable.
"Wh-what won't take long?" Krycek stammered.
He felt a light sheen of sweat break out on his forehead. He had been expecting handcuffs, another sucker punch to the gut, maybe even a bullet. He hadn't been expecting Skinner to lock away his own weapon. To stand so close, looking at him like that. Krycek unconsciously attempted to move further away from Skinner, the back of his head rapping smartly against the wall. He winced and put up a hand to rub away the soreness. Skinner merely watched him, waiting for him to still.
"I believe I gave you an order," he said quietly. Krycek blinked.
"Huh?" he said stupidly.
Skinner continued to give him that calm, obelisk stare.
Krycek paused, then moved forward a little. The light gleamed mellowly on the black leather as he shrugged out of the jacket and dropped it to the floor. He stepped back again, feeling Skinner's eyes on him. Skinner stared at the younger man who stood before him, clad in a simple black T-shirt, pale fingers plucking nervously at the leg of his black jeans. Krycek realized what he was doing and forced himself to stop. Jesus, Alex, he thought to himself. What the hell is the matter with you? You're acting like a fucking amateur. You're a trained professional. If he were going to kill you, he'd have done it by now. Let him have his fun. Your chance will come.
Skinner turned his back on Krycek momentarily and moved over to the sofa. Krycek's face burned at the insult. You feel safe enough to turn your back on me? His eyes narrowed into glittering slits. I may be unarmed but I am still dangerous, old man. You'd do well to remember that. Krycek exhaled sharply, catching Skinner's attention. Skinner sat staring at Krycek for another few moments before Krycek's patience snapped.
"What?" he shouted, throwing his arms wide. "What the hell do you want? You got me, okay? You got me, you got my weapons, you got my jacket. Now what, Agent 007?" Skinner smiled again, a smile that bespoke the patience of Job. A smile that said he had all the time in the world. A smile that made Krycek want to smash it.
Skinner was doing the staring thing again, regarding Krycek almost as though he had never seen him before. Krycek knew he was hot, knew he was sexy. He had been sized up by the best, clothed and unclothed. So why did Skinner's silent scrutiny so unnerve him? He began to fidget.
"Stop that." Skinner's voice was soft but the tone let it be known that the order was not to be ignored. Steel in velvet. Krycek froze. He felt the cold sweat trickling down his back. Hating the tremulous sound of his own voice, he spoke.
"What are you going to do?" Christ, he sounded like a scared kid. Skinner eyed him, then patted his thigh with one large hand.
"I'm going to give you what you've had coming for a long time, Alex," he said calmly.
Krycek's eyes widened and he stared in disbelief. He called me Alex! He stared back at the older man, his lips curving into a seductive smile. Ignoring the alarm bells that the unexpected use of his first name had triggered in his well-trained mind.
Now it was Krycek's turn to consider Skinner, turning this new wrinkle over in his mind. Krycek's smile widened. So, old Walt was a spanker. He shook his head, giggling softly. This was going to be easier than he'd thought. Piece of cake. He sighed and stepped closer to the sofa, moving sensuously, tossing his head slightly, letting the light play over his sable hair, his pale skin.
"Why, whatever are you talking about, Wal-ter?" he purred, his husky voice accentuating the other man's name, giving it an undercurrent of insolence. He moved closer. Skinner observed him, giving no reaction.
"I mean," Skinner said, "that I am going to spank you. You've been needing this for as long as I've known you, Krycek, needing it badly, and I don't need to tell you why." He paused, watching Krycek glide seductively toward him. "When I'm done, I leave. That's it."
Krycek slinked closer. He was almost close enough now to touch his nemesis. He smiled again, pink lips parting over white teeth. He inclined his head back slightly, knowing the light from the nearby lamp was illuminating his emerald eyes, his creamy skin. Alex Krycek was drop-dead gorgeous and knew how to use it. He was going to play Skinner's game, all right, let the man think he was in charge and then... Krycek was nothing if not an expert at turning the tables. He stopped beside Skinner, letting his breathing become louder and more rapid, almost panting like the wanton slut he was. He undulated his hips slightly as he spoke.
"You want to spank me, Wal-ter?" he husked, letting the tip of that pink tongue be seen. He looked at Skinner through his lashes, batting them shamelessly, using his best contrite look. "I suppose I do deserve it. I've been very, very bad."
Skinner nodded thoughtfully.
"Yes, you have," he agreed. "Do you agree that you deserve to be punished?"
Krycek let his hand trail along his chest, the peaks of his nipples now visible through the thin black material of his T-shirt. He slid his hand along one denim-clad thigh, fingers fluttering close to his own crotch, drawing the other man's attention to the growing bulge there.
"Oh, yes," he breathed, "yes, Walter. Punish me. I've been such a bad boy. Please spank me."
He fluttered his eyelashes, bit his lip in a way that he had been assured was irresistible. Inwardly, he counted the moments until he could pay Skinner back for the humiliation of being caught by surprise in his own home, and for a few other things, too. For that truly memorable punch in the gut, for that cold-assed night spent chained like an animal to the fucking balcony railing. He simpered at Skinner, careful to keep his expression submissive.
"Take off your jeans," Skinner ordered.
Krycek obeyed, wiggling his hips as he did.
"Boxers, too," Skinner added.
Krycek blushed becomingly and slid his dark green boxers down, stepping out of them gracefully.
"Over my lap," Skinner commanded.
Krycek hesitated, mainly for effect, then slowly arranged himself over Skinner's well-muscled thighs. He thrust his round bottom upward wantonly, inviting the large, dry hand that tentatively began to stroke it. Krycek smiled. It was always the buttoned-down types, the ones you'd never suspect. This was going to be too easy. He could take a few love-taps from Baldy, and when he got his chance, it was payback time.
"You have been a very bad boy, Alex," Skinner agreed. "I'm going to spank you now. Is there anything you'd like to say before we begin?"
Alex wriggled slightly, rubbing his crotch against Skinner's lap. He lowered his head submissively, wiggling his bottom as he did, knowing how incredibly sexy he looked. He was in complete control.
"No, sir," he whispered, overacting shamelessly. "Just that I deserve it. I'm such a naughty boy. Teach me a lesson, Walter." Krycek had to work to keep the sarcasm out of his voice. This sincerely contrite stuff was hard work! He smiled chillingly, glad Skinner couldn't see his face. All he had to do now was to bide his time.
The first slap was so weak that Krycek had to bite his lip to keep from laughing. He whimpered softly in reply and wriggled his bottom a little more, making sure Skinner's attention was focused where he wanted it. Skinner gave him six more tepid swats. Jeez, Walt, Krycek thought disgustedly. Is that the best you can do? A derisive snort escaped before he could stifle it. He froze, afraid Skinner had heard. He turned his head slightly and gave a cautious look over his shoulder, but Skinner appeared absorbed in watching the pale skin pinken in response to the light slaps he had given it. Krycek stared down at the carpet as Skinner gave him another limp-wristed swat that wouldn't have made a six year-old sniffle. Krycek rolled his eyes. No doubt Skinner thought he was really giving him something to think about. Krycek sighed and whimpered a little more, gave another wriggle. The things I do to get by, he thought.
Skinner finished swatting one round buttock, turning the creamy flesh a pale pink, then turned his attention to the other. Krycek had begun to relax, and had to remind himself to wriggle and whimper occasionally. Like all the best child actors, he could cry on cue, but he thought he would save that for the big finish, if he could tell when that was. Krycek stifled a yawn as Skinner swatted the other cheek lightly. Skinner's thighs were comfortable and warm, and hell, it wasn't exactly a Swedish massage, but it wouldn't take much for him to fall aslee-
Krycek yelped in pain and surprise.
"What the fuck was that?!?"
He raised up and looked over his shoulder into the most chilling smile he had ever seen. In Skinner's hand was a lethal-looking wooden paddle with the words "Friendly Persuasion" written on it in large black letters.
"Warm-up's done, Alex," Skinner said brightly. "Time for the main event." He raised the paddle again and Krycek went berserk, struggling and flailing furiously, but to no avail. Skinner pinned his wrists behind his back with one big hand and effortlessly held him in place.
WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!
"OWWWWW!" Krycek bellowed. "Let me go! You're fucking crazy! You can't do this!" Skinner walloped first one cheek and then the other with the paddle, the pale pink skin turning crimson in seconds.
Krycek bucked and fought, his legs kicking fruitlessly, tears of pain and humiliation springing to his eyes. This wasn't how this was supposed to go at all! The paddle rose and fell again and again as Skinner methodically covered one side of Krycek's bare bottom and then the other, heedless of his struggles, concentrating the bulk of his efforts on the sit spot and the sensitive area where the buttocks and thighs met. Krycek's howls of fury grew louder, laced with a string of profanity in several languages.
"You motherfucker!" he spat. "You'll never get away with this! I'll kill you, you son of a bitch! I swear to God I will! They'll never find your body!"
The smart whacks of the paddle momentarily ceased, and Skinner leaned down, close to the struggling Russian's ear.
"Alex," he said quietly, "every time you curse or threaten me, you earn yourself five extra swats."
"That's five more," Skinner said thoughtfully.
Krycek's rage was incandescent as Skinner resumed the spanking, covering each quivering buttock with sharp, stinging swats. Krycek fought until he was exhausted, finally giving into the implacable, metronomic rise and fall of the paddle, the hand that held his wrists clasped behind his back like an iron manacle. He felt the sob rising in his throat and fought it as long as he could until it finally tore free and he cried in earnest, lying limply across Skinner's lap, his throbbing bottom feeling like it would simply burst into flames at any moment.
Krycek had no idea just how long he lay there, no longer struggling, sobbing loudly as Skinner continued the relentless punishment. Finally, he was dimly aware that the spanking had stopped and a large hand was gently rubbing circles between his shoulder blades. This kindness after the harsh spanking infuriated him and he tried to twist away, but was held fast. Krycek sniffled and hung his head, glad Skinner couldn't see his face.
"It's nearly over now," Skinner said, not unkindly. "We still have to deal with your additional punishment for cursing and threatening me." Krycek stiffened and began to thrash again weakly.
"No!" he cried. Skinner ignored him.
"Let's see," Skinner said, thinking out loud. "I make that fifteen extra swats you've earned yourself, plus five more for the Russian." Krycek swung his head around, his reddened eyes wide with shock. Skinner smiled and patted his shoulder.
"I speak Russian," he said. "Did I forget to mention that? All right, Alex. Twenty swats and then it's over."
Utterly humiliated, Krycek began to cry again, begging through his tears.
"No! No, please, Skinner," he pleaded through his hiccuping sobs. "Not twenty more, please! Please, I'm sorry, I didn't mean it, I'm sorry..." he broke off, crying too hard to speak.
Skinner rubbed Krycek's back for a moment before continuing.
"I know it hurts," he said, not unkindly. "That's why it's called punishment, Alex. It helps you to change your behavior. I warned you that you would receive additional punishment for cursing and for threatening me, didn't I?" He continued to rub Krycek's back, waiting for an answer.
"Y-yes," Krycek finally whispered. "I was upset, please, Skinner, don't spank me anymore, I'm really sorry for what I said, please just let me up." He began to try to twist and wriggle out of Skinner's grip again, but it was no use.
Skinner paused, continuing when Krycek was still again, stroking his back as he sobbed quietly.
"You know what I think, Alex?" he asked gently. "I think your problem is that never in your entire life has someone made a promise to you and kept it. I think you've learned that people don't mean what they say. That you can't count on anything." He leaned close to Krycek and lifted a hand to stroke the dark, sweat-dampened hair. "I'm going to prove to you now, Alex, that some people do mean what they say. I told you that you have twenty extra swats coming and twenty extra swats is what you are going to get."
Alex whimpered and sniffled. His bottom felt like it was producing enough heat to see Buffalo, New York through a tough winter. Skinner raised the paddle again.
"I want you to count them out, Alex," he said quietly. "I want you to think about what this punishment is for. It's time, Alex. Time for it all to stop. The lies, the deceit, the running. It has to stop."
Krycek raised his head, understanding that he was hearing something important, that Skinner's tone had changed. What was happening? He tried to think clearly through the pain.
"Count," Skinner said patiently.
Krycek squirmed, whimpering at the renewed assault on his already blistered backside.
"One," he gasped, the word barely out of his mouth before the paddle cracked down again.
"Two," he whispered, hot tears pouring down his cheeks and dripping off his chin.
By five he was promising a change in behavior that would render him all but unrecognizable to anyone who knew him. By ten, he had lost count, necessitating gentle prompting from Skinner. By fifteen, he was bawling like a two year-old. At last, the twentieth swat exploded across the sit spot of his left buttock and it was over. Krycek was faintly aware of being pulled into a sitting position, of a cool washcloth cleaning his face, soothing his swollen eyes. He felt himself gathered into strong arms, held against a broad chest, and he tensed.
"No," he whimpered, fighting with renewed strength. "No, let me go!"
"Shhhh, Alex," Skinner soothed, holding him close.
It didn't take long for Krycek's struggles to weaken. He lay passively in Skinner's arms with his dark head against Skinner's chest, Skinner's hand stroking his hair. Skinner felt the tears begin to seep through his shirt. He rocked Krycek gently, whispering to him the whole time. Finally, Krycek recognized the words, understood their meaning. He looked up at Skinner in shock. Skinner smiled, tears shining in his own eyes, and kissed Krycek reverently on the forehead.
"Love you, Alex," he whispered. Krycek was stunned, his sore bottom momentarily forgotten.
"Wh-what?" His green eyes were huge, tiny teardrops sparkling like jewels in his black lashes. Skinner touched Krycek's cheek gently.
"I love you, Alex," he repeated. "I have since the first moment I saw you. I couldn't stand it anymore. That's why I came here today. I had to do something, even if it meant risking everything."
Krycek's lower lip trembled. A long moment passed, a moment in which both men wondered what the other would do next. Krycek looked up into Skinner's kind brown eyes and then buried his face in that broad chest, felt those strong arms hold him tight. Krycek's voice was muffled against Skinner's chest.
"B-but you spanked me," he cried. "Why?"
Skinner rubbed circles on Krycek's back, rocked him gently again.
"You needed it, Alex," he whispered. "You've been out on the fringes for so long, out of control, with no one to look out for you, no one to say 'enough'." He paused and placed a finger under Krycek's chin, tilting his face upward. He leaned down and kissed away the tears that were drying on Krycek's pale cheeks. "I'm saying it, Alex," he said softly. "Enough."
Krycek clung to Skinner as though he were drowning, finally accepting the words he had waited his entire life to hear. He was loved. He was safe. He could stop running. His green eyes were suddenly clouded with concern.
"But what will we... how... what about... everything?" He gestured in frustration. "What about the FBI? The Consortium?" He shook his head in disbelief that a Bureau AD and a Consortium spy could even be contemplating this. "What about Mulder?"
Skinner smiled and leaned close for a kiss, his tongue parting those tempting lips, delving into the sweet, hot recesses of that incredible mouth. Skinner nibbled on Krycek's bottom lip, heard him sigh as he teased it gently. When he finally leaned back again Krycek looked up, dazed and flushed. He opened his mouth and closed it again. Skinner smiled and glanced at his watch.
"My retirement officially began an hour and a half ago. I've placed my condo on the market, cleaned out my money market account, and," he added, not a little proudly, "I passed the test for my pilot's license last week. I've got a little twin-engine Cessna down at the county airport and a cabin in Maine that no one," he looked at Krycek seriously, "no one knows about. I've filed a very imaginative flight plan. What do you say?"
Krycek gaped in frank amazement. How in hell had he ever thought that he had this man figured out? He looked down and smiled, feeling the hope growing inside, so warm and so wonderful. He looked back up at Skinner, his eyes clear and beautiful, shining with this long-forgotten emotion.
"You want me?" he asked softly, his voice trembling. "Even though I'm... bad?" he finished awkwardly. Skinner laughed and hugged him tightly again.
"You're not bad, Alex," he whispered. "And I think I can guarantee that from here on out, you'll just get better and better." Alex gulped at that, but wriggled contentedly inside the safe circle of Skinner's arms.
"Skinner? One more question?" Alex swallowed nervously. He glanced at the loathsome paddle which lay on the sofa beside them. "Just what the hell is so friendly about it?"
Skinner laughed again, a loud hearty roar. He dropped another kiss on Krycek's head.
"It's a hell of a lot friendlier than Spender, isn't it?" he asked. Krycek nodded slowly. "And it's a hell of lot friendlier than Mulder and Scully, isn't it?" Krycek nodded again. "Or federal prison? And it's definitely a hell of a lot friendlier than a bullet, isn't it?" Krycek nodded enthusiastically. Skinner grinned approvingly.
"If that's what it takes to keep you safe, to keep you from ending up in a shallow grave somewhere or disappearing into the federal prison system or God knows what else, then I consider it very friendly indeed." Krycek nodded again, biting his lip. He nestled in Skinner's arms, hearing the strong heartbeat as he lay his head on Skinner's chest. They sat like that for a few minutes, each man thinking about the events of the day, Krycek shifting uncomfortably as his sore bottom pressed against Skinner's denim-clad thighs. Finally, Skinner looked into Krycek's eyes.
"Do you need to bring anything?" Krycek looked around his small, bare apartment, then shook his head. He cast a hopeful glance toward Skinner's briefcase, which sat on the floor next to the sofa. Skinner chuckled.
"Oh, no," he said. "That's in the past and it stays in the past. You won't be needing those anymore." He gently slid Krycek off his lap and stood, the younger man wincing as his tender flesh made contact with the sofa cushion. Skinner picked up the paddle.
"And... you won't be needing that anymore, right?" Krycek asked hopefully, his eyes wide and innocent. Skinner smiled as he went to the closet by the front door and retrieved a black leather carryon bag. He unzipped it and stowed the paddle inside, unable to resist giving the bag a little pat as he zipped it back up. Krycek's expression was priceless. Skinner placed the bag on the sofa and handed Krycek his jeans and boxers.
"Oh, no, Alex," he said with a grin. "I have a feeling you might need a little friendly persuasion from time to time."
Notes and Disclaimers