Cut Flowers
Quill

The best way to destroy an enemy is to lead him to safe ground. Victor Manfield...Once a Thief (the series)

Wednesday 11:57pm

The corridor was as dark as Mac remembered, but his fingers flowed across the pressure pads with a smooth knowing touch.    One more number... there. Mac stood back and gently pushed the door open. It had only been forty eight hours ago that he entered the FBI Building this way, and Mac knew that no Government agency, even the almighty FBI would have patched all the holes he knew were in this security system.

Closing the door silently behind him, Mac made his soft-footed way towards the rooms that held the evidence he had come after. Cameras whirred and clicked as Mac ghosted his way passed them all. The fact that he was still alive proved that Mac had been trained by the best that the Tsang family could provide, and as he broke the law yet again for his loving family, Mac Ramsey hoped and prayed that his father would exchange Vic for what he was about to steal.

Tuesday 8:23am

Victor looked around the plush office before he sidled up to Mac. "What the hell is going on? This is Washington, for God's sake! FBI Headquarters is just down the street and I'm standing around with this face!"

Mac walked over to Victor and gently reached out to cradle what Victor was pointing at. "And a gorgeous face it is too..." he cooed.

"Mac," snapped Victor, slapping the warm hands away, "will you get serious! Don't you think we should leave, before Mulder and the others start to look for us... me?"

"Victor, Victor, Victor," smirked Mac as he sMaced a quick kiss onto those perfect lips. "Don't you remember what Skinner and Mulder were talking about when we first met them?"

Victor shook his head.

"Krycek had left the fold - it seemed that he'd decided the same as us and walked out on them. If they call out the dogs to look for us, then those dogs just might find Krycek instead." Mac let his hand slowly move up and down Victor's arm... up and down, feeling the muscle tremble under his touch as his fingers caressed up and down, slowly.  Very, very slowly.

Victor stood looking down at the hand that was touching him as memories, disturbing memories surfaced. "Mac, this has all happened so fast," he muttered as he slipped his arm free of that disturbing touch. "I've still got to come to grips with the relationship between Krycek and myself."

"There is no way I'm going to let you back away from what happened in Skinner's office," smiled Mac, throwing a look at the oak desk that rested beneath the wide window.

Victor blushed as he saw where the man's eyes looked. "That was -- I wasn't myself," muttered Victor as he crossed the corner office to the wide window and looked out and down at the streets of Washington.

"Oh, you were yourself, Victor, and you were mine and you'll be mine again," said Mac as he followed his partner and pulled him into his arms. "And remember, I promised you'd be on top next time."

Victor closed is eyes, shuddering as he remembered the pleasure Mac had given him. "Mac," he groaned, burying his face into his partner's shoulder, lifting his arms to hold tight to that slim waist. "Please, Mac, this is all so..."

"...wonderful," finished Mac as he nuzzled into a handy ear.

"Strange... I was going to say strange." Victor pulled back, looking into those deep brown eyes. "Not too long ago you were knocking my head in because I was engaged to Li Ann and now..."

"And now," whispered Mac into his lover's ear, "now all I want to do is lock that door and put that desk through its paces and see if it's as comfortable as Skinner's..."

"For crying out loud, Mac," growled Victor, pulling out of Mac's arms again. "Will you get serious here. My life has just gone up in a puff of smoke and you keep bringing sex into it."

Mac grabbed the other man and spun him around, his face serious and grim, his hold tight. "You don't have to tell me about losing everything, Victor. I've forgotten just how many times this kind of thing has happened to me. And I didn't bring sex into it," Mac murmured, his tone of voice completely changing as his hand cupped Victor's cheek. "I brought love into it." And Mac lowered his head and kissed Victor.

Watching Mac's dark head lower closer to his, Victor tried to get his mind in order, to get his body to move, but all he did was watch as that face got closer and closer. Those long lashes moved down to rest on flushed cheeks and those lips opened to cover his. Victor felt Mac's hands slip down under the belt of his black slacks. Those hands that could open any lock ever made, that could pick a pocket with a smooth unfeeling touch, moulded against his rump and as he tried to jerk away from that hot touch, he slammed into Mac's aroused body. "Please... Mac, please, not now." Victor sucked in a lung full of air, "Let's go somewhere safe -- we really need to talk..."

"Talk, Victor?" smiled Mac as he nibbled on one of those perfect ears. "Haven't we been talking?" Mac let his hands clench hard on those mounds of muscle, and he felt the strangled gasp echo through Victor's chest.

Victor felt his mind slowly starting to turn to jello. It was bad enough before, when Mac used to drive him crazy all the time when he was just being a son-of-a-bitch, but with Mac acting like this -- Victor shuddered as Mac's tongue explored his right ear.

"Talk to me, Mac, please, just talk to me."

"OK, sweet lips," murmured Mac into the warm recess of Victor's ear. "I'm Paul York and your name is David Lancaster. We're importers," here Mac kissed his way across Victor's flushing skin, right to left and then latched onto his lover's left ear.

"What... what do we import?" The last word came out as a squeak as Mac nipped hard.

"Oh," murmured Mac, "a little of this," he slid his hands around the front of Victor's slacks and started to work on buckles and snaps, "and a little of that..." and he slid a seeking hand into that dark welcoming opening.

Victor, his hands resting on Mac's shoulders gasping like a fish out of water as Mac's gentle hands touched him, and his own hands grasped hard muscle, not realising that there would be bruises there by morning. "Someone's gonna come in," gasped Victor as Mac's knowing hands played with his body, freeing his erection of cotton and black denim.

"This is the office of the owners of York and Lancaster Enterprises, no one will come in unless they're invited."

"Mac..." whimpered Victor as he tried one last time to try and talk Mac out of doing this here and now.

"Shush," murmured Mac as he gathered Victor's hot body close to him, before kissing the man in his arms senseless.

They didn't make it to the desk this time. The two men collapsed onto the soft couch that was angled under the window, Mac cradling a dazed Victor on his chest - after all, he did promise that Victor could be on top, didn't he?

Victor lifted his hands until he held his lover's head still, dropping hot hungry kisses across Mac's flushed features. "Jeez, Mac, what you do to me should be illegal," muttered the hungry ex-cop between tasting that skin. He knew he was doing something completely insane, but Victor couldn't come up with any reason not to just let his body control his mind and let it carry him away.

Wrapping one of his arms around the narrow waist, Mac let his free hand rub und down Victor’s back. Spreading his legs, he let the other man’s cock

Thursday 12:16am

Mac wiped the sweat away from his face with a quick swipe of his forearm... This trip was worse then his and Vic's progress to Skinner's office several floors above his head. It isn't so much the alarms, grumbled Mac silently, It's all this jumping about. Where the hell are my partners when I need them? Partners? Li Ann was back with the Director and Vic? Vic was a guest of his double damned family. Mac eyed the last space of wired tiles, took a deep breath and jumped. Once his heart had stopped pounding, Mac started to work on the door lock. *

Tuesday 9:03am

Mac slowly slid out from under a trembling Victor. With his partner laying face down on the couch, Mac reached out an ran a gentle hand through that sweat soaked hair, smiling as he heard the muffled groan the man came out with.

Walking a little unsteadily over to the desk, Mac picked up the phone and waited for the woman to answer. "Lucy? It's Paul York here. My partner and I are going upstairs to get some rest... jet lag. When the airport calls about our lost luggage, take the message will you. Start scheduling the meeting with the other Board members for tomorrow... No, hold on... you better make that the next day. If the airport can't find our gear we're going to have to go and do a little shopping. Okay?" Mac listened to the woman's answer and smiled. "Now, remember, neither of us want to be disturbed."

Hanging up, Mac turned back to the couch, and watched as Victor flopped onto his side.

"Penthouse?" Victor watched as Mac stalked (the only word that would come to mind as he watched the man move like that) across the room towards him.

"Penthouse," growled Mac as he towed the half dressed man across the huge office. Opening another door exposed a private lift and in moments Victor found himself whisked up another level, into another world.

Freezing as the lift door closed behind him, Victor stood opened mouthed, staring at the beauty of the room around him. The colours, all vibrant and strong, the whole room was a strange mixture of east and west, and yet, as Victor slowly moved across the thick carpet, everything seemed to meld into a glowing beauty that took his breath away.

"Do you like it?"

The question finally penetrated and Victor turned and looked at Mac. "It's absolutely beautiful..."

Leaning against the Chinese cabinet that hid most of the modern electronics in the room, Mac smiled at the look in Vic's eyes. Now, if I could only get him to look at me like that.

Thursday 4:16am

Mac finally closed the last door behind himself. Now it was time for some fast footwork. His father had Victor and he now had the means to buy his lover's freedom. But Mac was no fool, the Tsang family had taught him many lessons and the one that always stuck in Mac's head was the lesson of living through to the end of the job... and after. The three video tapes hidden in the pockets of his coat felt hard and comfortable. Whatever was on them was worth a lot to his father, more then Mac's betrayal to the family, more then the death of his own blood son... 

Tuesday 11:34am

Victor explored the whole place, asking question after question about the pictures, the rugs, everything... Mac answered each and every one until he could tell that Victor was falling asleep on his feet. Manoeuvring Victor into one of the bedrooms, Mac laughed out loud as the man baulked when he saw the big bed in the middle of the room.

"I'm going grab a shower," smiled Mac as he quickly ducked the other man's swinging fist. Slamming the bedroom door behind him, Mac used the bathroom in the other bedroom enjoying the hot water until he finally let himself fully relax. Victor was safe, his confusion about his past at last put to rest with the truth that Mac wanted him to know, now all they had to was live the rest of their lives... together.

Tossing the damp towel over the end of the bed Mac knelt on the pushed down covers and smiled at the sleeping bundle that was the man he loved. Victor was curled around a pillow, his face buried in the soft mass.

Lifting the covers, Mac slid carefully into the soft embrace of the sheets and mattress, spooning up behind his lover, enjoying the warmth seeping into his bones. He wanted so much to make love to this man, to take that beautiful body to the ultimate heights that he knew he could share with Victor, but Mac knew that he'd have to go slow with his new lover. Victor was almost a virgin when it came to man-to-man love and Mac wanted to be the one to bring him across that line.

Resting his head on the pillow beside Vic's, Mac reached up and gently played with a curl of soft hair resting on his lover's neck, smiling as the body beside him wiggled a little.

"...Mac, stop it..." came the mumble from the pillow.

"Why," whispered Mac against warm skin, watching as his breath caused goosebumps to run across that beautiful skin.

"...tired..."

Mac grinned, then leaned even closer and ran his tongue across the back of Victor's cute neck. Suddenly the supposably sleepy figure next to him flipped him over and Mac looked up into bright smiling eyes.

"Hey," smiled Mac, "You were on top last time."

Victor ignored the words and the half hearted move to dislodge him and leaned down to press his lips against Mac's.

"Hmm, nice," whispered Mac when Vic finally lifted his head a little.

"You know what, Mac?" muttered Vic between nips at those fantastically swollen lips.

"Wh...?" replied Mac around Victor's hungry mouth.

"You talk a good deal, Mac, but can you come across?"

Shocked, Mac stared up into sparkling green eyes. "What did you say?"

"I said..." Victor leaned down and took Mac's bottom lip between his teeth and pulled, opening that mouth wide enough for him to really kiss the man under him. "I said," Victor tried again when he finally managed to stop kissing that fantastic mouth. "I said when are you going to put your money where your mouth is?"

Still shocked, and not too sure he really understood what the other man was saying, Mac just blinked a couple of times. Then Mac found himself sucking in a lung full of air as Victor slid down his body burying his face into Mac's twitching stomach.

"You touch me," murmured Victor against shuddering flesh, "with your eyes and your hands and I see and feel your hunger." Victor opened his mouth and sucked in a mound of sweaty skin, his tongue lifting Mac's sweat and leaving some of his own fluid. Victor felt Mac's yelp as he nipped, then loosen his hold, searching for another mouthful a little lower.

Mac arched backwards, his hands buried in the soft pillow on either side of his head. Victor, innocent little Victor, was driving him up the wall! The ex-cop was just about eating him and every time Mac opened his eyes and looked down, Vic was that much closer to his cock. Groaning Mac closed his eyes again... there was no way he could watch as his Victor explored his lower body. Even the man's warm breath was enough to make him explode.

"Vic, babe," croaked Mac as he felt Victor lift his head, "...can't... hurry, please..." The husky laugh from his lover had Mac shivering even more and Mac arched upwards.

"Oh, Mac..." came that warm husky voice, "you've been leading me around by the nose since all this crap started... I think it's time I started to do a little leading... what do you think?"

Then before Mac's overloaded brain could even think of an answer, he felt Victor go down on him. Eyes flared open in shock and Mac stared at the ceiling seeing nothing. His whole body had gone into pleasure overload and his brain had thrown in the towel and joined it.

Thursday 10:13am

Mac looked at the man he had once called father and felt himself tremble deep inside. "Where is he, old man? You promised me if I did this, you'd give him back."

Tsang looked at his only surviving son and slowly shook his head, "I am sorry, Mac."

Taking a quick step forward, Mac grabbed hold of his father's arms. "Sorry? You promised me..."

Tsang shook himself free, "It seems that your Victor didn't quite believe that you would come for him. He got out of his room and managed to get to the roof..."

Mac felt his legs fold under him, and closed his eyes, he knew what was coming, another loved one dead... Victor dead...

"...One of my men saw him and tried to capture him, he knew of my orders regarding Mansfield... Unfortunately, Mansfield didn't want to be captured... During the struggle the two men fell over the edge of the roof."

"Where is he?" whispered Mac.

"The police took the bodies away... I was able to recover my man's body, but when the police discovered just who the other body belonged to, well... the FBI stepped in and wouldn't give up the body."

"Christ.. Vic..." whispered Mac. "When did it happen?"

"The afternoon I took him."

Mac sprung to his feet, feeling the hot anger fighting through the cold. "The afternoon? But I spoke to you that evening, before I headed out!" Mac struck his forehead with the palm of his hand, "Oh, of course, what am I thinking of. If you'd told me he was dead I wouldn't do your little job, now would I?"

Tsang only stood there. "I am sorry, Mac."

Mac didn't say another word, he just turned and left.

Wednesday 7:35am

Mac sat back in the little iron chair and watched as Victor drank his cappuccino. One part of him laughed at the sight of the white froth around Vic's mouth and another part burned with the wish to be able to lick it off... slowly... very, very slowly...

The sight of the man at the table beside them with a paper brought the ex-thief out of his pleasant day-dream. Time for those kind of thoughts later! "Finish your coffee, Vic. I'm going to grab a paper... okay?"

He was waved away by the half sleepy man and Mac's grin grew as he decided that the pair of them really should head back to bed for a nap, a nice long nap.

Coming back to an empty table didn't really faze him at first... Knowing Vic, he was probably in the john, so Mac sat down and flicked open the morning paper. It was as he folded that first page back that he noticed something sitting propped up against Victor's now cold cappuccino. It was a business card, a plain white business card with only one word embossed on the front Tsang, and a phone number scrawled on the back.

"Shit," whispered Mac as the card was crushed in his fist. His family was back in town.

Now...

Washington wasn't a city he was familiar with, but Mac managed to find a bar with a dark corner and strong whisky.

"He's dead." Mac tossed back another glassful, then stared at the bottom of the empty glass waiting for the liquor to take affect.

"Why doesn't it work?" Vic was dead and every mouthful of whisky he drank fell into the empty pit inside and disappeared. The void ached and Mac rubbed a strangely steady hand across his chest and gut. Then something clicked: the whisky didn't, couldn't deaden the pain because there was no pain... No pain at all.

Mac filled his glass, then emptied it. "What kind of person am I?" whispered Mac to the empty glass. "Victor's dead. I loved that stupid, moronic bastard so damn much... but there's no pain." Again the glass was filled and emptied, filled and emptied, over and over until the bottle was empty. "I'm sorry, Victor, damn, I'm sorry..." he whispered, wishing that he could at least cry a little, but knowing that it had been burnt out of him years ago.

Mac looked at the bottle and then at the steady hand holding the empty glass. "Shit!" he growled to himself as he slammed the glass down, stood up and stormed out of the bar, looking for one with booze that would make him feel something... anything!

The fresh air after the smoke filled room was more a shock to his system then any of the booze he'd poured down his throat all afternoon. Pausing on the steps of the bar, Mac looked around with uninterested eyes, picked a direction, and started to walk.

Hands shoved down deep in his coat pockets, Mac walked through Downtown completely oblivious to all the attention his well dressed figure was attracting. When the street hustlers, male and female, tried to catch his eye, Mac found that one look managed to get then to back off. What Mac didn't know was that even though his body and mind was numb from shock, his eyes showed everything... every scrap of grief, anger and loneliness stared out of a pale, emotionless face.

-oo0oo-

After three other bar visits, none of which affected him at all, Mac reached the Hotel his father was staying at. The only difference in his appearance since he had left this place hours before was a torn pocket on his jacket and a bruise under his right eye... and a gun shoved in the back of his slacks.

Someone had mistaken Mac for a easy mark... and paid the price.

Tsang flinched inside as his son looked at him out of dead eyes but he hardened his heart. Mac owed him a life - a son - and Tsang was going to collect.

"Father," murmured Mac as he sat down and looked up at the head of the Tsang family.

"My son." He needed blood to pass the family onto, and Mac had always been the best, still was really. Tsang knew how almost impossible it was to get into the Federal Building and yet his son had done exactly that, twice.

"What is it you want, Father?"

"My family back..."

"Family?" Mac stood and poured himself a drink. "You have no family, old man. Michael is worm food. Li Ann is still playing all goody-goody with the Director. And me...?" Mac toasted himself in the mirror of the wet bar. "I'm as dead as Michael... and Victor."

Tsang moved forward and poured himself a brandy, then moved to stand in front of a painting that was so very familiar to Mac. ...a man in a big hat... Victor's voice echoed in his head.

"You are my son and my trust in you never wavered."

"Trust? You trust me?"

"Mac," Tsang's voice was soft and measured. "In all that time you were in jail... all the time you worked for that woman, you never used what you knew against myself or your family."

"Michael..."

Tsang shook his head, "Michael was... headstrong, and he wanted what he couldn't have; Li Ann."

Mac tossed back the rest of his drink, then poured himself another. "Headstrong," murmured Mac to himself as he remembered his brother. 'Yeah, Michael had been headstrong. Shit, all three of us had been headstrong...' Mac filled his glass again. 'Nothing could hurt us,' though Mac as he swirled the clear liquid in his glass. 'Christ, we went through life as if we were invincible... but that soon ended.' Walking over to the huge picture window, Mac looked down at the darkening city. 'Should have known,' mused Mac. 'I was alive and in love. Vic seemed to feel the same way about me... I should have know that fate was just waiting to kick me in the balls.' Mac emptied his glass again. "Should have known..."

"Known what, my son?"

Mac turned and looked at the man who had created Mac Ramsey from a hustling kid from the street. "Not to let my guard down, Father," replied Mac as he tried to fill that damn void. "Not to let my guard down."

-oo0oo-

Mac sat in the beautiful suite, sat looking at the artwork his father had shipped from Hong Kong, sat thinking of death. His eyes kept going back the Rembrant, ...a man in a big hat... Those words haunted him, but Mac didn't try to push them away. If they were all he had left of Victor, then he would let them echo in his soul until the end.

His father had finally left him to his drinking, and Mac welcomed the emptiness around him... matching the emptiness inside him. Rather then stand at the bar and pour drink after drink into a tiny glass, Mac picked up several interesting looking bottles and carried them over to the couch.

It was while he was experimenting with the mix and match taste of whisky, vodka, scotch and anything else that looked interesting when the meaning of the words his father had said finally hit the part of his brain still working.

"The FBI has him!" If the FBI took Victor's body then it was because they thought he was Alex Krycek! The half full bottle slipped out of his grip as the thought of what the FBI were doing to his lover's body blew up in his mind's eye. Struggling to his feet, Mac bolted for the john and barely made it in time.

Mac knew that when the cop's had IDed Vic's body, they would come up with Krycek's name... Mac knew this. And he knew what the Fed's would do with the body of the guy that had blown the whistle on that damn Consortium.

It didn't take him long to find Mulder's location and after his waltz into the Federal Building, the security on Mulder's apartment was easy meat...

Mac looked down at the sleeping Fed, then around the airy apartment. With one swift move, Mac flipped Mulder onto his stomach, his hands fastened with the agents own handcuffs. Shoving the now wakeful man onto the floor, Mac sat on the couch and put his booted foot onto Mulder's chest, holding the dazed man down.

"Where is he, you bastard?" growled Mac.

Mulder looked up at the pale faced man above him and it took his sleep dazed mind a moment to recognise Mac Ramsay.

"Wha'? Where's who?" he struggled to sit up, but the heavy foot on his chest pushed his back down.

"Victor, you shit! What did you do with him?"

"Look, Ramsay," grunted Mulder staring up at the hostile shape looming above him, "the last time I saw you and Manfield was in Skinner's office. I haven't seen hide or hair of either of you since. Now for god's sake undo these cuffs!"

Mulder didn't see the slap coming, but the pain made his head spin.

"Don't lie to me, Mulder. Father said the Fed's took Victor's body and you guys were the only Fed's interested in Vic."

"Body? Manfield's body?" The pain from the slap helped clear the sleep from his brain and Mulder recognised the pain in those eyes looking down at him.

Mac stood up and started to clap. "Oh, that was great - what an act... take that on the road, you could." Mac barely restrained himself from kicking the shit out of the helpless man. "Why, Mulder? Was it because I wouldn't let you play with him while he was alive? Was that why you ghouls couldn't give him a decent burial?"

"Ramsay, for Christ's sake - will you listen to me!" Mulder finally broke through the wall of hate filled words. "I tell you we haven't got Manfield. I didn't even know he was dead." Mulder struggled to sit upright and this time Mac let him. "How did it happen?"

"How? My past caught up with him." Mac reached out and roughly pushed Mulder backwards, again putting his foot on Mulder's chest. "The only thing is, Mulder, I-don't-believe-you!" With each word Mac let more and more of his weight down on Mulder's chest until the agent was gasping for breath.

"The Consortium..." Mulder finally gasped out.

"What?" Those two words froze Mac to the bone. 'Christ, The Consortium; they knew about Victor... Of course they knew, you moron,' growled Mac to himself as he stared down into pain-filled green eyes. 'Christ, they created the poor bugger.'

"Shit, shitshitSHIT." Mac fell back onto the couch, his weight lifting from the gasping Fed's chest. "The Consortium..." whispered Mac as he scrubbed shaking hands across his face. Pulling his hands away from his face, Mac stared at them. They were trembling... and his eyes, Mac blinked and watched as Mulder's form started to blur.

Gingerly Mulder sat upright, trying to keep his balance as he sucked air deep into his starving lungs as he watched the man who had just attacked him pass out. Struggling to his feet, Mulder silently made his way across the room to his desk. Fumbling open a draw, Mulder awkwardly searched through it until his blind fingers found his spare handcuff key. All the time watching the now still figure of his assailant, Mulder unlocked the cuffs. After returning the spare key to it's place, the FBI agent manouvred the unconscious man around until he was able to cuff Ramsay to the arm of his couch. Stepping back, Mulder wrinkled his nose at the smell rising from the other man.

"Smells like a distillery," muttered Mulder as he carefully checked the man's vital signs. While he waited for Ramsay to wake up, Mulder started to make some coffee, lots and lots of black coffee. *

"I know a site - it was mentioned on several of the tapes we used in court. We might find something there."

"Victor's body, you mean."

Ramsay had his hand in his coat pocket and Mulder knew that the bleak faced man was playing with the gun Mulder had returned to him. Not taking his eyes off the dark road, Mulder shook his head. "I didn't mean that, but maybe... maybe they'll think we won't look there as the whole place has been swept for information several times before and after the trail."

"So why are we going there?"

"Because these men are the most devious people I've ever met and if they wanted to hide something, that place would probably be the ideal location."

-oo0oo-

Mulder and Mac stood in front of the long window and stared at the white, white room.

Mac was struck by the feeling of deja vu as he saw the hunched over, straight jacketed figure in the far corner. Before he realised what he was doing, Mac had his face pressed up against the cold glass.

"Victor?"

The word was more a sob then a sound and Mulder shivered when he heard it. "Ramsay," he said swiftly, "Ramsay, that's not Victor Manfield, it's just a clone."

Mac just closed his eyes. 'Fucking clone...' Krycek's and Victor's voices echoed in his mind. 'Fucking clone...'

"Are you sure?" Mac was ashamed at the amount of emotion in his voice but he couldn't hold it back.

"Ramsay, you said Manfield was dead."

"That's what Father told me..."

Mulder moved up to stand beside the suffering man, his hand resting gently on the stiff shoulder. "It's all a trick, Ramsay. They've done the same thing to me, time and again parading my sister by me. Manfield in dead."

Mulder looked down the passage, finding the door that lead to the white room. Slipping a panel open, the FBI agent pulled out a clipboard. "Look, see! 'Clone T64, retrieved in Washington DC...' hold on a second..." Mulder flipped another couple of pages, and found the retrieval date, repeating it to the other man.

Mac listened with half an ear, caressing the thick glass with shaking fingers, watching the still figure that was oblivious to his and Mulder's presence. The date Mulder said seeped into his still half drunk brain and Mac spun around and pulled the clipboard out of Mulder's hands. That date - it was the same date that Victor had died.

"Damn him!" Mac whispered. "Damn him to Hell!" Slapping the papers back into Mulder's hands, Mac scrambled for his lock-picks. Because his hands were shaking so bad it took the ex-thief twice as long then normal to open the easy lock. Slamming the door open, Mac didn't even notice that the noise it made was muffled by the white padding on the wall.

"Victor!" Stumbling across the room, Mac fell rather then knelt beside the still, scrunched up body of the man he hoped was his lover. "Vic, babe, is that you?" Bloodshot eyes flicked open and Mac cradled the breaded face in his hands. "Vic?" he whispered, "It's me, Mac... Come on, babe... Victor!"

"Fucking clone..."

Mac recoiled as those words were croaked out, then he groaned and gathered the unwashed figure hard against him.

"Ramsay? Ramsay, what the hell's going on?"

Mac looked up into the confused eyes of the FBI agent standing over him. "It's Victor," he grinned as he started to unbuckle and unstrap the limp form.

"Manfield? But the papers said he's a clone?"

"Yeah," muttered Mac as he struggled with a stiff buckle, "so?"

"Do you mean to tell me that Manfield is a clone? But what about all those tests?"

Ignoring the man for the moment, Mac ripped the straight jacket off the body of his lover and threw it in a far corner. "Help me, Mulder. I want to get him out of here before they come back for him."

Mulder grunted as he helped to lift the limp form upright. "You think they'll be back?"

"Yep," grunted Mac he manoeuvred them back through the passages, towards the car. "I bet my father dropped Victor off here for pick-up. Father was always one for making a profit. He gets me back and makes a bundle on selling Vic here back to the Consortium."

"Ramsay," muttered Mulder as they placed Manfield on the back seat of the sedan, "as soon as we get back to my place, we are going to have a long talk."

Mac sat in the back of Mulder's car, cradling the smelly form of his lover all the way to the FBI agent's apartment.

"He's a clone, then?"

Mac looked up from the still figure in his arms and fleetingly met the green eyes in the mirror. "Yeah," he nodded, still stroking his hand over Victor's filthy hair.

"The tests?"

Mac looked back down at his lover. "Vic heard about all that clone shit during the Hearings and remembered what Krycek had called him. He had to know one way or another what he really was." Mac looked up again and his uneven grin flashed out. "Like I told Skinner before, I'm a damn good at going after what I want and I wanted to find the truth... So I did."

Mulder drove down the dark deserted streets, shaking his head in wonder. "And when you found out what he really was you changed the truth. You lied!"

This time it was Mac's turn to shake his head. "Victor was hurting. He didn't want to be a clone, so I brought him to people who he'd believe if they told him otherwise."

"But you still lied to him about himself... Why?"

"Why?" Mac caressed Vic's face with gentle fingers. "Because I love him. Because I knew he'd leave me if he ever knew the truth. Because I'm a selfish bastard and I love him so damn much that I don't give a flying fuck what or who he is as long as he stays with me and loves me."

Mulder took a deep breath as Ramsay's words echoed through his mind. He understood exactly what the man meant, and again he felt alone even though Ramsay and Mansfield were right behind him.

Suddenly he pulled over and stopped the car. Turning around he looked at the two men. "Ramsay, I can't take you back to my apartment. For all I know it's as much under observation as my old place. Have you got a place I can take the two of you to?"

Mac looked down at the dirty figure in his arms, then back at the Fed staring at him and came to a decision. "I'm going to trust you, Mulder. You know the Baxter Building?"

Mulder nodded. "The one with all the black glass windows a couple blocks from the Federal Building?"

"Yeah, that's the one. Drop us of in the underground car park. Can you do that?"

"But what if we're being followed?"

"I stole this car myself so it can't be bugged. I doubt very much that Father's told that Consortium of your's where I've been staying or else they would have taken Victor themselves."

Mulder started the car again and pulled out into the pre-dawn traffic. "So you're going to back to hiding in plain sight?"

Mac started stroking Victor's cheek again. "I've been hiding out in the open for more years then I can remember... before and after I worked for the Director. And at least there I can make sure that no one, no-one, gets near to Victor unless I want them to!"

"Secure?" asked Mulder as he took the key card that let him open the gate to the private parking garage.

"Hey," smiled Mac as he started to arrange Victor to make it easier to climb out of the car, "even I couldn't get in there!"

Pulling up in front of the lift, Mulder handed the security keycard back to the other man, then climbed out to help with Mansfield's limp form.

With one arm around Victor's waist, Mac used the other to open the lift doors. Then, with a foot in the door, he easily lifted Victor into his arms. "Thank you, Mulder. And I'm asking you... No, I'm begging you not to use any of this in your case against those bastards."

Mulder looked at that very familiar face that rested against Ramsay's shoulder and felt his need for his own copy of that face and body curl in his chest. "Whichever way you look at it, Ramsay, your Victor and my Alex are related, so that makes us family..." Mulder smiled at Mac. "And I stick to my family through hell and high water."

Mac returned the smile and hitched Victor a little higher in his arms so that he could use the card to access the lift all the way to the penthouse, non-stop. "See you, Mulder... but not too soon, okay?"

"See you..." Mulder watched as the lift doors closed and the up arrow blinked off. Then he climbed back into the car and dumped it on a side street with the keys still in the ignition. Then with his hands in his pockets and the collar turned up around his ears, Mulder strolled down the dawn filled street towards home.

-oo0oo-

Mac carried Victor's limp form across the deep carpet, heading for their bedroom and the bathroom there. Lowering his lover onto the rug beside the deep tub, Mac twisted the taps on and as water filled the black tiled tub, he quickly stripped off Victor's filthy clothing.

"Can't leave you for a minute, can I?" muttered Mac as he got Victor ready for his bath. "Go away for a paper and you get kidnapped..." Mac tested the water, then quickly turned the taps off. "I guess that just means I have to make sure you never leave my sight again..." Mac stripped off quickly, and after lifting Victor up again, he and his cradled lover slipped into the hot water. "What a damn nuisance you are, Vic..."

"...nuisance..."

Mac almost lost his balance as he heard the whisper from the still limp body in his arms. Quickly sitting down, Mac arranged Victor so that the man was laying down, his back resting against Mac's chest.

"Victor," he whispered into perfect ear, "Baby, are you alright?"

"...my head hurts, Mac..." Victor's arms came up and his hands touched and then grabbed onto the arms that crossed his chest. "What the hell happened?"

"Ahh, Vic..." Mac started to rock back and forward, his relief that he hadn't failed... that Victor was back where he belonged... that his lover wasn't dead... he hadn't failed...

It wasn't until the body in his arms twisted around and shaking hands cradled his face, thumbs wiping away moisture that had nothing to do with bath-water that Mac realised he was crying.

"Hey, Mac... what's all this?"

Mac grabbed Victor in a full body hug, not even noticing as half the bath water erupted out of the tub. "Don't you remember? My Family kidnapped you...I thought... My Father told me you were dead."

"Dead!" Those hands froze, then when they slipped under his chin and forced his head up. "You thought I was dead?"

Mac felt his jaw clench under those caressing fingers, but he wouldn't meet those beautiful eyes, he just let his hands re-discover Victor's skin all over again. "I lost you," he couldn't hold back the fear that crashed through his voice. "My past took you away... It took everything again, and I thought I'd lost you... Dead and gone... I failed like always. Dead and gone."

Those hands moved down to his shoulders and shook him. "Mac! Come on, Mac! I'm here and alive and you didn't fail. Okay?"

Mac pulled Victor even closer and rested his cheek against the dirt mattered hair, and started to rock again. "I can't do this again, Victor. If you try and die on me again I'm going to *kill* you." Mac didn't know why Victor suddenly started to laugh, he just sat there in the tub, Victor cradled tightly in his arms until the water started to go cold. His lover must have understood, because all he did was wiggle that little bit closer, wrap his own arms around him and just sat there quietly after a softly murmured, "We'll talk later."

-oo0oo-

Mac knew that Victor was awake, and Victor knew, that Mac knew he was awake... But the two men just lay wrapped around each other in bed. Mac hadn't left his lover's side since he'd found him. After the cold water in the tub had been emptied, then refiled, Mac had made sure that Victor had been, in his words, "washed squeaky clean..." making Victor laugh that husky laugh as he made squeaky noises as he rubbed a finger against a warm expanse of chest.

Mac let his fingers play with the clean smelling hair under his chin, his other hand sliding up and down the muscular arm resting across his chest. The body in his arms stretched a little, long feet pointing as Victor let his muscles feel the clean sheets under him and the warm body beside him.

"Do... do you remember what happened, Victor?" murmured Mac as he kissed the closest ear.

Victor slid around until he was now laying half under his lover. "I think the cappuccino was doctored," murmured the tired eyed man, as he lifted a hand to let his own finger curl through Mac's hair. "I didn't even react when two guys came to the table and asked me to go with them."

Mac felt that hand still in his hair. "I climbed to my feet and went with them... Everything after that is kind of blurry around the edges... I do remember... Once, it felt like I was Krycek, that I was in that white room, remember? Where Krycek got loose and almost made you a soprano?"

Mac felt Vic's hand slid down his body to cup that part of him that was damaged the most during that encounter.

"I thought I was Krycek and that I saw you..."

Mac gathered that bewildered face in his hands and smiled. "That was me, baby. Mulder and I found you locked away and we rescued you."

"Mulder?"

Mac pulled Victor into a soft kiss, his lips gentle against those of the sleepy man. "It's too long a story now, baby, but if it wasn't for Mulder I would be drinking myself into a drunken fog right about now, instead of holding you like this." Mac rubbed a trembling hand across flushed skin.

"Well, remind me to send Special Agent Mulder a thank you note."

"Later," smiled Mac as he placed another soft kiss, this time on a smooth cheek.

"...later," nodded Victor as he closed his eyes, Mac's kisses starting to drift across his face.

Letting his relief and his love flow out through his body, Mac wrapped one arm around broad shoulders and let the other one grip a milk white hip. Pulling at that hip, Mac let his growing erection slide between smooth thighs, feeling Victor's own heat rub at his belly. "This is it, Victor," breathed Mac into his lover's throat, "there's no way you're ever going to get rid of me now. I know what it feels like to loose you, and I'm never, never, going to go through that again. Ever!" With that, Mac kissed his way down to a broad, sweat slick chest and licked from one nipple to the other. He felt Victor's hands as they gripped his shoulders in a painful grip then those fingers loosened their grip to soft caresses.

Mac could barely hear the murmured words that came between the sighs and groans. He felt Victor run a string of kisses across his forehead and Mac buried his face in Vic's chest, hugging the man closer, breathing in the scent of the man, the essence of his lover. Then he kissed those lips he'd thought he'd never kiss again, first softly, then harder until he was holding Victor's head still as he plundered the taste from his mouth.

Lifting himself, Mac moved over Victor's body completely until he was kneeling between white thighs. Pulling himself upright, Mac slid his hands down Vic's arms until he was holding on tight to trembling hands. Looking down at the spread out splendour of the man he loved, Mac felt those tears start to rise again.

"Mac," whispered his lover. "Mac, I'm alive. I'm alive and here in your arms. Well, I was...in your arms that is."

Mac smiled through the mist that danced between himself and the man laying there.

Victor tugged at his captured hands. "Come on, babe, get back down here... It's chilly..."

Mac laughed and slid down until they lay cock to cock hearing his sigh of completion echoed by the body beneath him. Then with his elbows resting on the mattress, Mac cradled Vic's face as he started to move. Keeping his eyes open, even though his instincts wanted him to close them and savour the pleasure, Mac watched the face of lover. He needed to see the face of his love... Victor's face... Victor's beautiful, passion filled face as he made love.

Lowering his head, Mac hovered over Vic's flushed, sweat covered face, his mouth hovering over Victor's , taking in the other man's breath, tasting his living essence.

"Mine," whispered Mac, "mine, mineminemine." Mac lost himself in that face as he made love to Victor's body. Watched as with each thrust Victor would wince then sigh. Watch as with each push down, those perfect white teeth would pull at kissable bottom lip. Watched as those beautiful green eyes opened wide as his orgasm hit him, then Mac lost sight of those eyes as his own coming exploded in his soul.

Mac slid to one side of Victor's limp form. His lover had been on the point of sleep before he'd started to make love to him and now Victor was out like a light. Mac let one hand rest on Victor's moving chest, his fingers playing with the pearly white liquid before he lifted them to his mouth to taste his love's essence.

He hadn't failed. They were together and he was going to make damn sure that nothing and no-body were ever going to seperate them again... Ever.

Mac rested his head one Vic's shoulder and watched as that chest rose and fell over and over and over again...

x files email.jpg (3692 bytes)back to home pageX files next.jpg (2671 bytes)