Losing It: Take IV
Mulder flips off the TV and turns to face me. "We should go back to the facility and make them fix us."
"Oh that's just brilliant, Spooky," Alex mutters.
I intercept Mulder's predictable lunge for Alex, then point out, "Mulder, you're the only one who hasn't made a trip to the bathroom to see exactly what's happened here. Why don't you go have a look."
His lower lip protrudes in an obvious pout. "I don't want to."
"Go!" I point toward the bathroom.
With much muttering under his breath, he skulks to the bathroom. A moment later, he exclaims, "OH FUCK! I'm eight years old again."
"Yeah, you fucking asshole," Alex shouts.
I cringe, but force myself not to say anything. There was a precipitating event.
Mulder returns looking decidedly unhappy.
"How do you know you're exactly eight?" I inquire.
"Because I remember this face!" He points to himself. "When I brought home my school pictures that year, my mother gave me a hug--which was not usual--and said, 'it's okay, honey, all children go through a homely phase.'"
Krycek laughs so hard he loses his balance and tries to roll off the bed. I manage to catch him again, then toss him into the middle of the bed this time. He's a freaking menace.
"Mulder," I venture cautiously, "you're not homely." What the hell am I doing? Mulder's bruised child's ego is the least of our problems. And, truth be told, this clearly wasn't his best year. Too skinny, uncontrollable hair and his nose clearly developed before his other features. "Let's focus on what we can do, okay? Going back to the lab, while having a certain amount of appeal, is not very practical. At best, the threats of a bunch of kids without weapons makes them laugh hysterically, and, at worst, we wind up in the custody of the Rhode Island State Troopers."
"No," Alex chimes in. "At worst, we get age regressed again. You're ten, Mulder's an infant and I'm back to sperm."
"Or that," I murmur as I rub my hand over my face. Very helpful, Alex.
"We need to get some help," Mulder finally says. "The obvious choices are either Scully or the Gunmen."
Alex groans, but I just ignore him. "Let's just take it as a given that the Gunmen are going to be intrigued, but probably not very helpful. Clearly we need medical tests to find out what's going on with us. That means Scully."
Another groan from the vicinity of Alex.
Mulder nods. "We just have to get her to believe it's us."
"We can have Alex talk." I glance at the baby in question to find him giving me the finger. My lips twitch, fighting a smile. He doesn't have muscle coordination for it, so he uses his left hand to hold down the unnecessary fingers on the right.
"Maybe eventually, but if we do it too soon it would just freak her out," Mulder replies as if it were a serious suggestion. "You and I have enough data to convince her, but the trick will be getting her to believe us before she calls the police."
"Or child protective services," Krycek adds.
There's clearly a very special hell reserved for Assistant Directors.
Skinner looks beyond exasperated. It's small consolation for me getting the extremely short end of the stick on this one.
"So, Scully it is," Mulder says to Skinner. "I don't see any point in waiting. Let's get on the road."
These two apparently think they're making all the decisions. We'll see.
"All right." Skinner gets to his feet. "I'll gather everything up and put it in the car."
Very decisive. Guess it's all that management training.
Wanting to minimize the amount of future humiliation, I carefully navigate getting off the bed. It's a lot easier when I'm not dealing with an overly full bladder.
I head toward the door. Skinner reappears and says, "Everyone go to the bathroom... don't want to make any unnecessary stops."
Skinner picks me up before I have a chance to protest. Once we're in the bathroom, he starts removing my shorts. I grab the waistband for dear life. "I may look like a toddler, but I'm actually an intellectually mature person who is quite capable of making choices. Including when to pee!"
Closing his eyes, Skinner softly counts to ten. Praying for patience, eh?
"Alex, would you stop fighting everything. We need to get going, and I don't want to spend a half hour dealing with your newly found short man's complex, with the sole purpose of getting you to admit that you need help."
I... grunt. That didn't come out right. I try again. Another grunt. There's a sound I can usually make that scares the hell out of people, but my throat doesn't want to cooperate.
"Oh." Skinner's looking at me with an expression of dread. "Do you have to do more than pee?"
Fucking son of a bitch bastard asshole shit head... "No."
"Oh. Uh, good." Then he strips me of my shorts and positions me on the toilet. "Just go so we can get out of here."
I daydream of beating him to death while I start to piss. When I'm finished, he puts on the shorts and sets me on the counter. I expect the hand washing ritual, but instead, he lowers his zipper and prepares to... Christ, he's well endowed. I wonder if it stayed that size or got bigger as he got older? I glance up to find him staring at me with one brow arched. Feeling my face get hot, I look away.
A moment later, he's soaping up his hands, then rubbing them over mine. After he rinses his hands clean, he holds me over the sink to wash away the suds. To my surprise, he sets me on my feet and hands me a towel, before turning on his heel and leaving the bathroom.
When I emerge, I find he and Mulder whispering in the corner. Then both of them look at me.
This can't be good.
Skinner gives me a slight push toward Krycek while he reaches into one of the bags for what we need.
"What the hell is going on?" Krycek asks as I approach.
"Nothing," I reply with a shrug. Then I grab him.
I fully expected his struggling, though not his violent assertions that he doesn't want me touching him. Don't know why I'm any worse than Skinner.
Ignoring it all, I put him on the bed and hold him down. He tries to bite me, but it's pretty easy to evade.
Skinner sits on the bed. Krycek's eyes bug out when he sees what Skinner has. "You are NOT putting that diaper on me!"
"Keep telling yourself that," Skinner murmurs as he efficiently strips off the shorts and puts on the diaper. Krycek fights, but it's completely pointless. "I wouldn't like it any better in your situation, but we have a long drive ahead of us, and you don't have much bladder control."
"I swear, as soon as you let go, I'm taking the fucking thing off!"
I'd really like to remind him about his language, but I guess I'd be swearing, too. Instead, I offer, "Fine. Take it off. Then we can do this whole thing again. I don't particularly mind, and there's an entire package of Pampers."
"Mulder!" Skinner chastises. "Don't taunt him." Whatever, Dad. To Krycek, he says, "We need to get going. If you insist, I'm willing to play the diaper game with you, but know that you're going to lose."
"Fine!" Krycek yelps. "Let go of me."
Skinner nods for me to let go. We both watch to see what Krycek is going to do. He just slides off the bed and stomps to the door. Well, it's kind of like stomping.
We've barely made it to the car, when it's time for the next hurdle. "I'm NOT sitting in a car seat!" Krycek yells at the top of his lungs.
In a blink, Skinner has Krycek in his arms, hand over his mouth while scanning the parking lot to see if anyone noticed. Fortunately, we're alone.
"Look," Skinner whispers, "we can't afford to do anything stupid right now. We're already incredibly conspicuous. I don't want to give the cops any reason to pull us over. And nothing will get us pulled over faster than a baby not in a car seat!"
Krycek eventually nods, so Skinner cautiously removes his hand and gets bit for his effort. "Ow! You little..." He manages to stem the tide of epithets.
"I'll sit in the damned seat," Krycek fumes. "But you put your hand over my mouth again, I'll bite you even harder."
Clearly at the end of his patience, Skinner puts Krycek in the car, buckling him into the infant seat. I realize I'm snickering when Skinner tells me to shut up. I guess none of us get to have any fun.
Once we're in the car, I remind Skinner to drive around for a bit while we check for any surveillance vehicles.
"And here I thought you were the smart one," Krycek hollers from the backseat. "Checking for surveillance vehicles... Did you think to check for surveillance DEVICES?"
I really hate that he's right. I get out of the car and carefully search for any electronic transmitters. Sliding back into the seat, I offer, "Didn't find anything, but that doesn't mean it's not there."
Krycek snorts. "As if they couldn't figure out that we'd go right to Scully."
Can I strangle him?
Skinner just sighs with exasperation and starts the car.
After we've been on the road for a few minutes, I start to wonder at the lack of caustic comments from the backseat. I look behind me, then gape in shock.
Nudging Skinner's shoulder, I whisper, "You'll never guess..."
End Take IV
7 July 2004