Title: Losing It: Take VI
Author: Zoë


Take VI


**

Skinner

Mulder flops onto the sofa with a mulish expression on his face.

I raise a brow in inquiry.

"Why are you so nice to him?" he blurts out.

"Because he's completely helpless." It's not just that, but it's also none of Mulder's business.

"He's not helpless. He's a killer."

"Mulder, unless you have some evidence you've failed to share with me, you have no proof of that accusation. It's not even the point." Mulder's not just annoying, he holds on to things like a terrier. "Even if we knew for sure that he was guilty of the things you've accused him of, what would you have me do differently? Leave him alone at the hotel? Not feed him? Kick him out of the car in the middle of nowhere? What do you want?" I check to make sure Alex is still sleeping.

He shrugs, then mutters, "You're not just taking care of him, you're protecting him."

"Yeah, I am. Leaving him alone in an unlocked car was inexcusable. The worse your behavior, the more I feel I have to protect him from you." It's not like Mulder to be so bratty. He can be a handful, but this is beyond the pale.

Sighing, he slumps in his seat. "I'm sorry... I'll knock it off."

I watch him skeptically, but he appears sincere. "Thank you. We need all our energy focused on solving this problem, not fighting with each other."

He nods and I notice Scully standing in the doorway. Guess she's been listening.

She sits in a chair across from me. After she dropped Alex, I was concerned that she might behave like Mulder, but she's coolly professional, so I let that particular worry go.

"You guys ready to get blood drawn," she asks.

Mulder gives an affirmative, and I nod. When she goes to collect her gear, I shake Alex's shoulder to wake him up. After a few tries, his eyelids flutter, then his green eyes are focused on me.

"Hey, Scully wants to draw blood. You up for it?"

He seems to register that he's resting on my arm, because his face flushes and he immediately tries to sit up. For the sake of his bruised dignity, I set him on the sofa between Mulder and me.

Staring straight ahead, he replies, "Anything to get this moving along."

Scully returns. She swallows hard when she sees that Alex is awake. "Um, it's going to be the hardest to do your blood draw-"

"Then do mine first," Alex interjects.

After a nod, Scully ejects Mulder from his seat, then sets up her stuff. She takes a careful look at Alex's arms and legs, then sighs. "Your foot is the best spot. It's not going to be comfortable."

"Just do it."

Scully is quick and efficient. Still, Alex's eyes tear when she inserts the needle. I can't help feeling sorry for him... helpless and no control over his emotions. I rub his back and he doesn't demur.

After putting a little band-aid near Alex's toes, Scully moves on to Mulder. I resist the urge to ask Alex if he's okay... I know he doesn't want anyone's sympathy.

When Scully gets to me, Alex suddenly wiggles off the sofa. He's bouncing a little as he asks, "Where's the bathroom?"

Scully tells him, then I say, "Just a minute and I'll help you."

"Nope. Can't wait." He heads off in the direction Scully indicated.

I'm about to stop Scully from proceeding, when Mulder gets to his feet. "I'll help him." Guess Mulder really is trying. I hear their voices from down the hall.

"Don't follow me, Mulder."

"You need help."

Scully gets the needle in my arm.

"Not from you. Go away."

"Deal with it."

The vial is almost full, so she releases the tourniquet.

"Hey!"

"Just go to the bathroom."

The needle is pulled out and Scully tapes a gauze pad in place. "Here... put pressure for a couple minutes."

Then Alex screams.

Scully and I run for the bathroom, but I get there first. Opening the door, I nearly fall over Mulder, who's on the floor laughing. Alex is... Oh, fuck. He's in the toilet.


Krycek

"You dropped me on purpose, you fucking bastard!" I scream at Mulder. The son of a bitch, little prick, cock sucker... Of course he waited until after I peed to drop me. I swear, I'm going to blow his brains out when this is done.

I register Skinner and Scully are here, but I can only focus on Mulder... who can't stop laughing. A very angry teenager bodily lifts him off the floor and dumps him in the hall. Immediately, Skinner tries to pick me up, but there's another stabbing pain in my foot and I scream. Unbidden, I feel the damned tears coming. I hate that I can't control my emotions in this body.

"What's wrong?" Skinner asks in a voice that's near panicked.

"My foot is stuck and it hurts." Hiccoughing sobs start. This is awful.

Skinner tries to free my foot, but his hands are too big. Scully nudges him aside, then feels around my foot, freeing it from its twisted position. Skinner lifts me and Scully wraps a towel around me. She has Skinner hold me while she looks at my foot. It's starting to swell... Maybe I'll break Mulder's ankles before I kill him.

Unable to help myself, I cry harder as she probes my foot. Eventually she pronounces that it's probably just a little sprain, but okay otherwise. She flushes the toilet and washes her hands.

From the doorway, Mulder whispers, "I didn't mean to actually hurt him."

Skinner looks like he's going to come unglued, but is saved from responding by Scully taking Mulder by the arm and walking away.

"Um... you want a bath?" Skinner asks.

"Hell yes!" I can't think of anything I want more right now that a bath. Well, maybe Mulder's head in that toilet.

Skinner sets me on the floor, washes up, then turns on the taps. When he's satisfied with the temperature, he pulls my shirt off and sets me in the tub.

The water feels so fucking good. Though I'd much rather be in a shower. I scoot toward the end of the tub, then sit under the faucet, letting the water pour over me. I hear Skinner laughing over the sound of rushing water.

Eventually, Skinner removes me from my waterfall so he can turn off the water. He grins at me. "Were you a water baby?"

"Oh yeah... no better place to be when you're a kid." I tap the surface of the water, watching it ripple.

He hands me a soapy washcloth. I find that my manual dexterity is a little lacking for the task of bathing. But I do the best I can. Skinner takes over to wash my back, then puts shampoo on my hair. Though this situation is sub-optimal, I push my discomfiture aside in the interest of getting any bit of that toilet water off of me.

"I'm sorry about Mulder," Skinner murmurs while rubbing my head.

I shrug. "He's done worse."

"Should I even ask?" He sounds displeased.

"You can ask, but I won't tell you." There's no point in getting Skinner involved in Mulder's and my problems.

He's quiet for a bit, then says, "Well, I'll keep him away from you. I don't know what's gotten into him."

"You don't?" I glance up into his concerned eyes. It hits me how young he looks. Poor Walter Skinner... still has to be Mulder's dad. "I do."

"What?" He looks genuinely puzzled.

"Mulder's every bit as affected by this situation as we are."

"You mean the stress is making him cruel?" He sounds disbelieving.

"No. I mean he's biologically affected like we are. Mulder has a lot of anger toward me. And he's acting on it with an amazing lack of impulse control. As an adult he had some issues with this already. Can you imagine what he was like as a kid?"

"Oh... I see what you mean. Shit."

"No swearing," I mutter while tapping the water again.

Skinner laughs. "Close your eyes so I can rinse your hair."

Water pours down over my head, and though it doesn't get in my eyes, I spend a long minute spitting soapy water out of my mouth. When I'm no longer orally affected by soap, I tentatively ask, "Why are you so nice to me?"

"You sound just like Mulder." Skinner sighs. "Several reasons... Regardless of what you may have done, you're still a human being, and deserve to be treated as such. Also, I'm very aware that you got the raw end of this deal. It's not pleasant for any of us but, to varying degrees, Mulder and I have it a lot easier. Last..." he hesitates, then continues, "you remind me a lot of my brother when he was little."

"Your brother?" I prompt when he doesn't seem inclined to say more.

"Yeah... I'm not sure why, because you don't really look much alike, other than the dark hair. I guess it's mostly personality, though that's hard to explain."

I contemplate a sponge floating on the water. "Where is he?"

"He was a casualty of Desert Storm," he replies without any emotion.

"I see." I have no idea how to respond to that.

Skinner pulls the plug out of the drain, then runs some clean water in a cup to rinse the rest of the soap off me. He lifts me out of the tub and wraps me in a towel.

I grab at one of his fingers, holding it until he meets my gaze. "I'm sorry about your brother."

He gives a half smile, then resumes drying me off.


Mulder

Scully's still glaring at me.

"I said I was sorry! At least I didn't drop him."

"That was an accident, and you know it." But she still looks guilty.

"It was an accident for me, too."

She arches a brow.

"It was!"

The other brow goes up.

"Sort of."

Both brows contract in a frown.

"Okay! I thought about it, but I didn't intend to do it. Then it just happened."

Lips pursed in disapproval, she shakes her head.

Skinner appears with Alex, who is wrapped in a towel, damp hair sticking out in every possible direction. He flashes me a mirror look of Scully's, and I roll my eyes. To my surprise, Krycek isn't glaring at me. Much.

Sitting as far away from me as possible, Skinner gets clean clothes out of the bag for Krycek, then quickly gets him dressed.

"Here... let me wrap his ankle." Scully holds her hands out for Krycek. With a certain amount of reluctance, Skinner releases him. She's very professional about wrapping his little ankle, but I can tell by the expression on her face that she's having a hard time differentiating Alex Krycek from the cute little baby.

That's just great... another Baby Alex fan. Bleck.

Sure enough, as soon as she's done with the foot, she bounces him on her knee. Fortunately for my sanity, Krycek looks as disgusted as I feel. Sensing the brewing storm, Skinner retrieves Krycek and settles him on the sofa.

Then everyone is looking at me again.

Finally, I break. "I'M SORRY!" I yell. I chew my lips for a second. "Okay... Krycek, I'm sorry I dropped you in the... you know. I don't know what came over me."

He just stares at me. I have to agree with Maggie... his gaze is disconcerting.

I drum my fingers on my knee waiting for someone to say something. There is nothing forthcoming. "What do you want from me? Pound of flesh? Admission in blood? I said I was sorry."

Krycek gives a sigh of exasperation, then says, "Well, you could take a swim in a dirty toilet. That would go a long way toward making me feel better."

With a groan, I bury my face in my hands. I'm never going to live this down.

There's a knock at the door. Scully gets to her feet. "That'll be my friend here for your blood samples."

I leap off the couch. "I'll get it!" Anything to not be in the middle of that ring of disapproving stares.

"Mulder, let me get it!" she calls after me, but I'm already at the door.

I open the door, then freeze in shock. As I slam the door closed, I hear myself screaming.

I've never been so scared in my entire life.

**

End Take VI

9 July 2004


This is where I left this story off more than a year ago... I apologize for the year-long cliff hanger.

Zoë

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