Title: CHANCE ENCOUNTERS III (1/1)
Story in 6 parts
Author: Josan
Date: Written July, 1999
Posted October, 1999
Summary: A series of chance encounters can have personal
consequences.
Pairing: Sk/K
Rating: PG-13
Archive: Ratlover, CJK, Basement.
Comments: jmann@mondenet.com


DISCLAIMER: These are the property of CC, Fox and 1013. But, by chance, I too encountered them.

NOTE: If the duties of a senior office on site are not as I describe them, I don't care. <g>

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CHANCE ENCOUNTERS: This being the Third (1/1)

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It was relatively early in the evening when Skinner shut the motel's cabin door behind him.

He rested his forehead against the door. Exhausted. Heart-weary.

The hostage incident was over.

As senior official in charge, it had been his duty to inspect the mountain cabin down the road when the crisis was over, to see to the bodies being bagged.

To inform distraught parents as to the contents of two of the bags. To suggest that neither be opened in their presence, that closed caskets should be considered.

To have obscenities yelled at him by a mother who would never hold her children again. To be blamed by a father for the death of his children.

To inform another set of parents of the death of their son, a son they accused the system, through him, of failing.

To console his negotiator, a woman with children of her own.

To thank the field agents, the local and state cops for their help. To try and abate their feelings of helplessness, to recognize the long hours they had put in to trying to resolve this situation without bloodshed.

Now, he had nothing left. Not even the energy to disrobe, to get rid of the smell of frustration, fear, horror that permeated his clothes.

He didn't even have the energy to hear the water running in the tub.

"Can you turn around?"

The voice drew him to try. Krycek.

He rested the back of his head on the door, too tired to try and straighten up. Too tired even to be surprised that Alex Krycek had shown up here in his motel cabin, in what was basically a cross-roads, in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Krycek stripped him quickly, efficiently. He was getting much more competent with that one hand.

He didn't speak, sensing that Skinner was beyond speech. He left him there for the time it took to go and turn off the taps in the tub. A shower would have been easier to organize, but the cabin didn't come with one. Went back and manoeuvred the man into the bathroom.

The water in the tub was hot, not unbearably so. Skinner knew he would fall asleep if he stayed in for any length of time. Then found he really didn't care.

Krycek took off his sweater to wash Skinner. The man's exhaustion was written on his face. His eyes were bruises of purple in a drawn face. He had never seen Skinner with stubble other than end-of-the-day stuff. He figured the beginnings of the beard represented the number of days the man had done with either little or no sleep.

He knew, from the media reports, that Billy Lee had kidnapped the Dawson twins a week ago, had been traced to the cabin three days ago. After that, there had been a news blackout.

Krycek wasn't sure what it was that had made him check who was senior officer. Or why, the longer the crisis went on, he felt it necessary to get here. It wasn't as though he could stand by the man in the field, or help with negotiations. He just felt that he had to come, and for once in his life, he put his needs before his orders from the Consortium.

He'd been with the FBI long enough to know what a senior officer's duties were. He had heard the mother screaming, the father cursing just like everyone else here at the motel which had been designated crisis centre. Had seen, from behind the curtains in the window of this room, Skinner move on to the van belonging to the kidnapper's parents. Had seen Skinner move among the men, console a silently crying woman. Had seen him stand by the ambulances that took the bodies away.

Had seen his face when he turned to walk over to the cabin assigned to him. Had even seen one of the agents stop another from following him.

He knew no one was going to come in and check on Skinner. It wasn't their job.

Skinner's skin had been cold when he'd undressed him. Now the heat was working and his body was warming up. He was also slipping down into the water.

Krycek pinched him awake. "Come on, Walter. Get up." It was like trying to get a gigantic bag of flour to stay upright. By the time he'd succeeded, he was almost as wet as Skinner.

He braced Skinner's hands against the bathroom door, dried him down quickly, propped him up again and got him out into the bedroom. After the tub, it was relatively easy to get the man into bed.

Krycek went to put some order in the bathroom, hung his wet jeans over the towel rack, checked to make sure the outer door was locked, even shoved a chair under the door knob to insure that no one would come in and take them by surprise.

He finished stripping, slid into the bed next to this man who had drawn him here. Skinner was sleeping fitfully. Krycek pulled him closer, snaked his arm under Skinner's arm to around his back, anchoring him solidly against him.

He dozed rather than slept so that when the nightmare started, he had no trouble waking Skinner up.

"Walter. It's over. Let it go. You did everything that you could. It's not your fault."

Skinner thought that Krycek was part of the dream. Suddenly dawned on him that the man was real, was really here.

"Alex? What are you doing here?" He tilted his head back to look into the face of this man who disappeared and reappeared in his life.

"Came to see how you were doing." He kept his voice soft.

"Not well." Skinner closed his eyes. "I lost them, all three of them."

"No. You don't take that kind of responsibility onto yourself. You didn't lose anyone, Walter. They weren't yours to lose. Their karma was bad, their time was up, God willed it. Whatever shit it is that you want to blame it on, but not you."

Skinner shook his head, silently disagreeing.

"You did your job. You got the best people in. I recognized Hennesey down there. Are you trying to tell me that she didn't do her best to get those kids out of there? Is that what you told her?"

Skinner shrugged, dispirited. "There had to be a key somewhere. Something I missed."

"Fucking shit, Walter." Krycek's anger got through to Skinner. He looked at the man, more alert this time. "You of all people should know that there are asshole- subhumans in this world. You dealt with enough of them in VCU. You've read enough of Mulder's reports to know that there are things in this world that aren't human in human form. Billy Lee was some amoral psychotic punk who got his jollies kidnapping and killing a couple of kids..."

"He tortured them." Skinner's voice interrupted Krycek's anger. He took a deep breath. "They started out as identical twins and he tortured them in identical ways.

"Then when he was all done, because they still weren't quite dead yet, he rammed his silenced gun up their asses and fired.

"Then he blew his brains out and died instantly. We found his jeans soaking wet with semen. Caked with it. All the time he was carving them up, he was coming.

"He was seventeen years old and his parents don't understand how he could have hurt anyone because he was such a sweet little boy."

Krycek hadn't move all the time Skinner was voiding. Now he grabbed Skinner's chin. Held it tightly. "He was a monster. The kids are better off dead." Skinner made a growling sound in the back of his throat. "What? Would you have preferred the kids to live? Like that? Blind. Maimed. Emasculated. Is that what you would have wanted for them, Skinner? Them alive so that you wouldn't feel like you'd lost your little battle with Billy Lee?"

"No!" Skinner pulled his chin out of Krycek's hand, pulled back from Krycek himself.

"Then what the fuck have you got to feel guilty about? You did your best. Your team did its best. You tried. The fact that you didn't get the kids out has nothing to do with you. It has to do with a monster who wasn't going to come out of there alive no matter what anybody did."

Skinner got out of the bed, was staggering on his feet.

Krycek joined him, stood close behind him, not touching him. "If you weren't so exhausted, if you had gotten some sleep in the last few days, if you hadn't talked to those people, the parents, you would know that you had done your best. That you aren't responsible for what happened in that cabin any more than you're responsible for Billy Lee."

He touched Skinner's shoulder then, had his hand shaken off. Skinner took a step further away from him. "You don't understand. If we'd found them earlier..."

Krycek was used to rejection. Found that Skinner's was more painful than he wanted to admit. He went to find his clothes, dressed.

Hesitating and then not touching for fear of further rejection, Krycek passed Skinner on his way to the door. "Sorry. I shouldn't have come. I thought maybe I could help." He stood at the door, his back to Skinner. "Instead, I seem to have made things worse."

He moved the chair from under the knob, began opening the door, ready to slip out.

"Alex." Skinner's voice was hoarse with pain.

Krycek stayed for a moment. Felt a hand touch his shoulder. He turned, back against the door. Skinner rested his head against Krycek's shoulder. As the first sob broke through him, he began sliding to the floor.

Krycek tried to hold him up, ended up on the floor with him. Cradling him. Listening to him empty himself of the grief of the situation.

Sometime before dawn he got Skinner into bed. He tucked the blankets around the sleeping man. Bent and kissed him on the temple.

Slipped away.

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End of Part 3
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