Title: CHANCE ENCOUNTERS III (1/1)
Story in 6 parts
Date: Written July, 1999
Posted October, 1999
Summary: A series of chance encounters can have personal
Archive: Ratlover, CJK, Basement.
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>
CHANCE ENCOUNTERS: This being the Third (1/1)
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
Now, he had nothing left. Not even the energy to disrobe, to get
rid of the smell of frustration, fear, horror that permeated his
He didn't even have the energy to hear the water running in the
"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 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
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
He knew no one was going to come in and check on Skinner. It wasn't
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
"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
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
"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
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
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.
End of Part 3