It's a great privilege to present the Best Medium Length Story for 2001.
One of the things I like best about the nominated stories this year is the incredible diversity. Five stories, five authors, five great spins on the M/K dynamic.
Thereís a little bit of everything in the tales from this talented group. The first chapter of a new series, the steamy PWP, a haunting story of pain and betrayal, the sting of what might have been, a humorous romp with a surprising emotional twist. Humor, passion, angst, love, regret, anger... It's all here.
Almost the Real Thing by Rushlight
"Penny for your thoughts."
Alex looked back in surprise and found Mulder sitting beside him, one arm draped across the back of the couch. He was taking a drink of his beer, but his eyes were serious as they met Alex's over the rim of the can.
Alex found himself smiling, and it occurred to him that the expression must seem every bit as wry and self-directed as it did on Mulder. "Don't waste your money," he said lightly, wincing inwardly at the bitter ring that hid behind the words.
Something in Mulder's eyes darkened at that, and he slid the barest bit closer across the couch, so that the fingers of his hand could brush up against Alex's shoulder. Alex found himself leaning into the touch without thinking about it, glad for the uncomplicated comfort that it offered.
"You did good out there today." Mulder's voice was low, obviously meant to be encouraging.
Alex nodded, giving in with some relief to the assumption that he was disturbed by the events of the past few weeks. For newbie Agent Alex Krycek, being thrown head-first into the middle of an X-file would undoubtedly be a traumatic experience. He steadfastly refused to admit to himself that he felt pleased to have earned a compliment from his stoic partner.
A Hand in the Dark by Black Coffee
Mulder tried to move a little bit away from Krycekís touch. Krycek followed, pressing their arms tightly together. Mulder cringed inwardly, wondering for the hundred time if Krycek really didnít know guys didnít sit this close with other guys, think of what it might look like, and if he was trying to make him uncomfortable. Then he said, "Evidence."
"Oh." Krycek clearly didnít expect any more information, had learnt not to, and instead just tilted his head a little, put his hand over Mulderís on the mouse and moved it a bit, clicking with their joint fingers on something on the screen.
Mulder tried to pull his hand back, but Krycek didnít let go. "What are you doing?"
The young agent didnít take his eyes off the screen as he kept holding his hand over Mulderís. "Iím just zooming it in. Look at this, Mulder."
Mulder looked while feeling his skin start to heat up a little. Damn! Did Krycek do this just to annoy him, just because he knew it made MulderÖ
And then, suddenly, the picture disappeared. The screen went black. Mulder heard Krycek breathe out a, "WhaÖ" and then the whole room became pitch black.
It's Probably Me by David S.
He laughs, lifting his head to the ceiling. The pressure of the gun at my head remains steady. "You're always good for a laugh, Mulder. I'll give you that." He lets go of my neck and sets the pistol down on the floor.
Sighing, he says, "I'm here to help you."
"Gee, thanks," I say with a big Beaver Cleaver grin. "That explains the whole..." I make a wave with my right hand motioning around. "...you know. Am I bleeding?"
"Just a little bit." He wipes a small stream of blood from my lip with his thumb. I flinch slightly at his touch. "Mulder, I just saved your ass. There were two men in your hallway about ready to shoot you and burn down this entire apartment complex."
"And you shot them in cold blood."
"No. I gave them a verbal warning and told them never to show up in these parts again. They said they were duly chagrined and left."
Str8one by MiK
He reached for his jacket, a black leather piece that looked a lot more expensive than any four of his suits. "Now ... we need a name for you ... in case someone asks."
I reached for my own denim jacket. "Lance?" I sneered. "Brick? Stone?"
He laughed. "Jon."
"Jon. It's a good name. Not too gay. Could go either way." He laughed again. "Jon."
He shrugged. "What's wrong with Alex?"
I pretended to give it thought before I nodded. "Yeah, I can see that going both ways."
He surprised me with an odd look, slightly warm. "Could you?"
Shards of Porcelain by Kelly Keil
Oh, Alex, I think, as a wave of almost sadness washes over me. Part of me wishes that I wasn't compelled to hurt him again and again. Part of me, the part that makes my erection throb, makes me revel in the taste and feel of him, hates the ritual that we go through on nights like this, when the air is thick enough to choke you. It doesn't matter. I didn't come here to feel good.
A voice inside me whispers, whom are you hurting? He wants it, you want it. You're lying to yourself, making justifications for --
No. I cut the thought off abruptly. I came here for punishment. Punishment for me, punishment for him. It amounts to the same thing. It is penance for the sadness in her eyes, the blood on her face.
(punishment for the shattered china on the floor)
Liar. You came here because you want to fuck him. Her eyes -- the doll's eye -- are just an excuse.