Best Novel

Each author nominated today put their blood and sweat into their writing. This holds especially true when speaking of the nominees in this category. They toiled over their stories for endless hours, the words pouring out until they came to the end with stories exceptional for both their quality and length. I applaud their hard work.

And the nominees are...

Another Side by Halfchild

You know, I shouldn't be so depressed by all of this. I really shouldn't. After all, it's not as if I've never been disappointed before. The last nine years of my life have been one string of them after another.

So why is this minor incident getting to me so badly?

I'm not sure, but I think it was Mulder's complete and utter silence toward me on the drive back. I was so damn sure that if Mulder ever discovered the truth, I could take comfort in the fact that he would suck it dry for all he was worth. It's what he's done with every other piece of meat he's cut from me before. I was prepared. That was the one thing that could get me through this - that I was prepared. For threats, for blows, for the possibility that I might finally have to make the choice between him killing me, or me killing him.

I was ready for any of that. But I was completely unprepared for his reaction.

So I sat there with my head resting on his shoulder, waiting with some vague sense of unease for whatever he chose to do to me. When he brushed me aside and stood up I sat calmly, as I always do, and waited for his fist to find my body. After all, I had consolation in the fact that I never hit back, I was fucking above that. We both knew the dance. But he didn't hit, he didn't do anything except stand there beside me and wait for me to rise. And then we got in the car and came here.

Right now, I'm curled up on the couch because as soon as we got inside, Mulder locked himself in the bedroom, and he hasn't been out since. I think *that's* where the disappointment plays in - I had expected so much *more* from him. More of anything but this.

A car passes by outside, headlights casting slits of light over me as they move through the blinds. My eyes narrow, any intruding illumination seeming too bright after the pitch blackness of the room. Another car passes by, then another, and I groan softly in protest, pulling the blankets tightly around me. They smell like him.

The Best Lies by Cody Nelson

Mulder wished he could come up with as reasonable an explanation for his own behavior. His previous sexual experiences with men had been encounters of convenience and curiosity, amusing but passionless. He wasn't particularly attracted to men, and if he had to choose a type he might be attracted to, it wouldn't be Alex Krycek, whose looks he would classify as ordinary and undistinguished. Yes, Krycek had a certain sweetness, an awkward charm that Mulder had once found appealing in a protective, big-brotherish sort of way. Those feelings were far from the overwhelming urge to rut that had overcome Mulder when Krycek kissed him. It had to be just an aberration; a sudden boiling over of all the tumultuous emotions Krycek caused in him.

Departure III by Imajiru

He's still shaking, and I reach down and place my palm flat against his chest to feel the pounding of his heart; his hand covers mine and holds it there as our eyes meet and lock. Your heart. Mine.

If I had for one moment imagined that my act of boredom, all those months ago in the abandoned warehouse, would lead us to this, I never would have done it -- this kind of intimacy is what I fear the most. But now that I'm here, that we're here, I can't imagine doing without it...

Do you know what you mean to me, Mulder? Do you?

Fish are Jumping by Jane Symmons

When Mulder suddenly grabbed hold of him to kiss him, Krycek fully expected a severe electric shock. Mulder’s lips burned against his, hot, sweet and lush, followed by an unexpectedly sensuous tongue which thrust into his mouth, plundering it violently. It was more of an oral rape than a kiss. Mulder’s hand grabbed the back of his head, holding him in place, grinding their mouths together so hard that Krycek began to fear for his teeth. Even so he answered Mulder’s ravaging tongue with a ferocity of his own which had nothing to do with hatred or anger but sheer animal passion. Clinging hard to each other, pressed chest to chest, erection sparking against erection, their tongues fought in a feverish bid for dominance, and because he knew which side his bread was buttered, Krycek let Mulder win every time. He allowed himself to be kissed over and over again until his tongue ached and his lips bruised and he was dizzy from lack of oxygen. The kissing was stirring up his emotions to screaming pitch. In Mulder’s arms at last, Krycek was forced to admit that it was his ex-partner that he had been longing for during his lonely exile, all the men he’d had mere pale reflections of this true desire.

A Fish Called Krycek by Sarah Bellum

They sat in companionable silence through the rest of the evening, Mulder every now and then lifting the tarp to check if their find was still breathing. It gave him chills to watch the swirls of water breathing pushed in and out of the almost human mouth. Lips exactly like a humans, but teeth more like a sharks. Even and white, but sharp, and replaceable if lost. Nose even and straight, just like an air breathing human. Only the eyes seemed odd. No human being had eyes that beautiful. Enormous eyes that gave a false impression of taking up half the creature’s face, dark green, maybe blue, framed in thick black... lashes? For lack of a better word, lashes would do.

If it had been human it would have been... an actor, a model, some rich man’s pampered pet. Someone's heart break and trouble. Someone that would be adored and cosseted. Mulder smiled slightly to himself. Well, fish-guy, looks like you’re going to be adored and cosseted now!

He ran his fingers over the delicate membranes of the dorsal fin, from the point it blended with the almost-hair, down to the torn edges at the base of the creature’s spine. Beautiful turquoises, blues, greens, all shimmering together like the feathers of the peacock. Darker blues of the tail blended with the pale, almost silver tail fins. Shimmering perfection was marred by ugly wounds, swollen, red tissues peered through the deep blue scales, travelled onto pink skin. Despite the best of care, tiny bits of flesh were loose in the water, and Mulder wondered if they should keep the healing wounds dry. So many things he didn’t know, couldn’t even guess at.

Il Travito by Cody Nelson

From Alex Krycek's diary:

I like Mulder. This is not a good idea. It's too easy to forget I'm just playing a role. I can't let him get to me.

I'm good at my job. I'm going to succeed at this. I'll do what I have to do. My boss told me that Mulder was so paranoid, he'd probably never really trust me. I told him, just give me a little time, I'll have him eating out of my hand. And I did. I thought it was going to be a pain, fawning over Mulder and waiting on him and pretending to be a believer. But he's so eager for the attention--he tries to pretend he's so cool and above it all, but I can tell. He loves it. And he likes me, or at least he acts like he does. Calls me at all hours of the night, just to talk. Keeps me at work till neither of us can keep our eyes open. God, he must be lonely. Still spends too damn much time with Scully, though. We'll have to do something about that.

And he's just too damn gorgeous for his own good. Big sad eyes and pouty lips. If he weren't the mark I'd have a run at him. The way he looks at me sometimes I half think I'd have a chance at it. Of course I never would. Don't fall in love with the mark--that's rule number one. It's just a job. Remember that, Alex. Never fall in love with the mark.

Soildarity by Laddona King

It had to be a dream. Nothing real could feel this good, or look as achingly beautiful as Mulder arched above him, eyes half-closed as the man rocked Alex's cock more deeply inside himself. And Mulder was so tight, so hot, his expression so sweetly at peace, Alex knew he would wake at any moment, the separation worse than any nightmare.

Gently, he moved his hand from where it rested on the sharp blade of Mulder's hip, sliding it up over ribs newly-healed, to settle over Mulder's heart. Slowly, his lover's eyes came open, fixing on his face, and Alex watched that blissful smile turn to pained concern. Oh God...

"Alex?" Mulder breathed, stilling his rhythm as he leaned forward, bracing his hands on either side of Alex's head. "What's wrong?"

//I don't want to wake alone,// he almost said, hating himself for putting that worried look on Mulder's face. //I don't want to lose you. I don't want to leave.//

//I can't believe this is real. I don't deserve this.//

Instead, he found a smile, wiping the desperate need from his expression. "Nothing. I just missed you. This is like a dream come true," he added lightly, his fingers stroking over smooth flesh, thumb grazing the hard nub of the other man's nipple. Something clenched more tightly around his heart when Mulder's sorrow only deepened.

"I know, Alex," Mulder murmured, lifting one hand to stroke the damp, tangled hair away from Alex's brow. That look of woeful understanding, and questions even Mulder wouldn't ask...questions like 'Will you stay?' and 'How much do you love me?' Alex wanted to erase them all. "It's okay. I'm here now."

And Mulder leaned in closer, and placed a gentle kiss on Alex's lips, more promise than passion. When he would have straightened again, Alex grabbed the back of his neck, pulling him down once more. God, the way he tasted, the sweet way he kissed, languid, as if they had all the time in the world... "Mulder," he whispered into those soft lips, feeling Mulder's ticklish smile against his own. "I love you... Don't--"

But no, swallow those words. Kiss them away. Drown them in his cries. Thrusting up, still hard, into Mulder's waiting heat, he ate the soft moans his lover made, let them take the place of what he could not say. When Mulder pulled away, sitting back into his stroke with a groan of pure pleasure, Alex could lose himself briefly in the beauty of the man above him, in the trust he had been given after all these years. After all the things he'd done to this man. //I'll make it up to you,// he swore silently, curling his fingers around the velvet of Mulder's cock. //Any way I can.// The hunt they had planned for the morning was just the beginning. If he could, he'd hand Mulder his Truth on a silver platter, with choirs of angels singing--if that was what it took to keep this, to earn some right to it, then he'd count it as cheaply bought. //Just don't let go...//

And the winner is...