Author's Note: Mwrarhaha. I be back, ye scurvy dogs. Another chapter of the story, and hopefully rather close to the end, being as otherwise it…you know, would've led to nowhere…
Oh, and, as a forewarning, try not to step in the mush on your way down.
"Hey-" Tom growled, trying to keep his tone serious, but failing miserably. "Hey, come on, cut it out already!"
"What else'm I gonna do?" Skinner mumbled as he continued to try and pull him away from the edge of the bed and kiss him.
Tom was a little aggravated, still trying to work his shoe onto his left foot. "You could try gettin' dressed."
"Always an option. One I rarely take, however." He said defiantly as Tom wriggled out of his grasp.
"You've got a one track mind."
"Lucky for you." He replied.
"Yeah, yeah. Hey, have you seen my other shoe?"
"Can't say I have." Skinner lied with a grin as he glanced down at the tip of Tom's discarded shoe sticking out from under the bed.
"Damn. Always losin' things…" he began to tie the shoe he had actually managed to salvage from the wreckage of their clothes and accessories scattered about the room.
Skinner snuck forward and grabbed him from under the arms, dragging him backwards into his lap. "Less clothes the better."
"Arg." He said in protest, reaching up blindly to swipe at him.
"Rrg." Skinner snatched his hand and blocked it as he leaned down and kissed him roughly.
"Okay, okay," Tom cried as he pushed him off. "Don't get me all worked up again."
"So ruin all my fun." He said disappointedly. "Hm…you're just so damn sexy when your trying to be serious."
Tom blushed and sat up, still looking around for his right shoe.
"Oh, are you turnin' red?" Skinner laughed.
"Shut up." He grumbled, cheeks flushing harder. "Ah." He stood, and, much to Skinner's dismay, retrieved his lost shoe. Realizing that Skinner must have seen it, he held it up to him with a raised eyebrow. "Haven't seen it, huh?"
He chuckled nervously and rubbed a hand behind his head. "Sort of hopin' you wouldn't find that."
"Whatever." He smiled and shook his head, trying to balance himself on one foot as he pulled the shoe onto the other.
"Gee, I wish I knew where that belt of yours went to…" Skinner sighed dramatically.
"Skinner, gimme a break." He still struggled on one foot as he tied his shoe, hesitant to sit down and risk being fawned upon again.
"Fine." He grumped, pulling out the said belt from under the covers and holding it out.
"Thank you." He took it and quickly fastened it through his pants as he chucked a pair of pants onto the bed. "Here. See if you can manage a pair a'these for a while."
Skinner begrudgingly did as he was told, pulling them on and fastening them. "Where's my shirt?"
"Floor." Tom answered casually.
"Mm." He looked around and scooped a crumpled shirt off the floor in front of the bed. "This ain't mine."
"Huh?" Tom looked over, then looked down. "Oh…uh, that's mine…"
"Great, so where's mine?"
"…on me." He rolled his eyes, knowing exactly what kind of reaction that was garaunteed to invoke.
Skinner laughed again, walking over. "Okay, don't try an' tell me that was an accident."
"I'd be willing to frisk you for it." He reached out his hands and touched Tom's sides with the tips of his fingers.
"I bet you would." He backed away, taking his own shirt in his hand and stripping the other off, tossing it to him.
Skinner relented from his sexual prowl and put the shirt on, watching Tom do the same before he headed for the door.
"Hold up, Tom, where's my belt?"
"It's right over…" Tom stopped and looked down at the belt around his own waist. "…Shit…"
"I thought it only fair to tell you. It is not that I don't respect Mr. Jekyll's privacy. Far from it." Nemo sighed, setting his glass on the dining table.
"Oh yes, I know." Mina nodded, still looking down at the white hankerchief she wrung tightly in her hands. "It's just that…Well I suppose it comes as a bit of a surprise, that's all."
"But that isn't all." Nemo continued. "The only reason I tell you that he has these feelings for you, because otherwise I condiser it his business alone to tell you, is considering the problems he is having. Problems that could become problems for the entire crew."
She lifted her head. "What is it, Nemo? What's wrong with him?"
"I can't tell you the specifics of the case." He admitted, folding his arms. "Because I do not know them. And although what I do know is somewhat sparing, it is clear what it is that is bothering him."
"…Is it Hyde?" she guessed.
"Yes." He answered simply. "It is something of that nature."
"Hm." She said in thought, already thinking of any way a problem could arise. "Did he tell you that?"
"He came to me in his desperation after that little disagreement he had with Agent Sawyer yesterday morning. He had threatened to kill the boy. Needless to say, it weighed heavy on his conscious." He recalled.
"He did what?" her eyes widened. "Whatever did Sawyer do?"
"It's difficult to explain." Nemo nodded to a servant who set down a tray of tea and crackers. "He tells me that Hyde is influencing him to do things that he would never do. Trying ot convince him that Mr. Sawyer had affections for you."
"I see…" she said, although now even more confused. "…Surely he should be used to Hyde's opinions by now. How could he have taken so much heart into what he had to say?"
"That is the part I do not fully understand myself." He said, pushing his glass of water aside in favor of the tea. "Would you like some tea, Ms. Harker?"
"…Oh, yes…please." She muttered absently, rubbing her chin in thought.
"As far as Mr. Jekyll told me," Nemo continued, watching the steaming stream of black liquid as it filled the small cup. "He feels that he is adopting parts of Hyde onto himself. He feels that Hyde has little to do with these outbursts, that they are entirely his own. It terrifies him."
"So I can imagine…" she agreed taking her tea and sipping it. "I had no idea this was going on."
"Nor did any of us up until yesterday. I believe we should speak to Agent Sawyer and Mr. Skinner when they're about. I know that they both played some sort of hand." He watched a throng of about five servants now serving breakfast on the table. They did their best to ignore what was being said, but he could sense their curiousity, causing him to lower his voice secretively. "And there is another reason why I tell you this, Ms. Harker."
"And what would that be?" she queried, feeling a headache coming on.
"I think that if anyone can help him, aside from himself, it would be you."
"Why is that?"
"He told me that he was in love with you." Nemo said in an even more quiet tone. "If that means anything to him, he will fight for you. And I was rather hoping, given my limited studies of chemical compounds, that you could work with him to…"
"…What are you saying, Nemo?" she set her cup down and took a step forward, raising an eyebrow. "You want me to help him reverse the effects of his syrum? Is that what you're after?"
"Perhaps, if it can be done. Or at least attempt to solve this new emotional chaos that has seemed to befall him. For him, hope and reason lie completely with you."
"If I…" she shook her head. "If I can help the man, surely I will."
"I am glad to hear it." Nemo looked over as he heard both Skinner and Sawyer coming into the room. "Agent Sawyer, Mr. Skinner." Nemo greeted, standing to face them with his hands behind his back.
"Hey there, Nemo." Skinner said with a wave, cracking his neck.
"Hey." Tom followed, shoving his hands into his pockets.
"We were just speaking of you, so it happens." Mina said as she turned to face Skinner, who was at the table with a cup of coffee already.
"Really?" he said dully, taking a drink.
"We were rather discussing Mr. Jekyll." Nemo explained, motion for Tom to sit down. "And the circumstances surrounding his outburst."
"Man's a loon." Skinner replied under his breath.
"He has a problem, Skinner." Mina said irritably. "You could at least show some decent concern."
"Well excuse me." He mumbled.
"So where is he?" Tom asked.
"He isn't up yet." Mina said as she straightened her hair. "I was going to get him up, but in light of the situation, I'm not sure that I should."
"What's wrong with 'im?" Skinner prodded, sitting in a chair.
Nemo took in a breath, shaking his head. "He is having problems with the Mr. Hyde."
"Even I coulda guessed that." He snorted, biting into a piece of toast.
"Henry has lived alone for years with no one but Hyde for company. Reacting in a social environment must be difficult for him." Mina leaned against the side of the table with an exasperated sigh. "I just wish there were an easy solution…"
"There is." Skinner grunted. "Either find a way to get rid of Hyde, or get rid a'both a'them altogether."
"This isn't funny." Mina scowled.
"Well who said it was?" Skinner tossed the corner of toast back onto the wooden table. "This isn't somethin' we can go fuckin' around with. Someone's gonna get hurt."
"That's a chance I'm willing to take." She snapped back.
"Not me." Skinner countered.
"Well if you can't take care of yourself, that is your problem." She stared at him with icy vampiric eyes. "Are you honestly so selfish that you can't aid a man in need simply because it provides an inconvenience?"
"Selfish? You've gotta be kiddin' me, are you nuts?" he growled. "It ain't me I'm worried about. You can defend yourself. Fine. I can take care a'my own. Fine. Nemo can get out of a scrape pretty good and Tom does well for 'imself, I'm worried about the rest a'this bloody crew. There's what, a hundred? Two? That's a lot a'lives we're talkin' about if this thing gets out of control. And when it comes down to it, the risk ain't worth it."
"We've gotten out of worse problems than this before." She quipped coolly, glancing over at Nemo. "If we could just understand what is going on in his head. Can I ask you, Mr. Sawyer, what you did that set him off before?"
Tom looked up and raised his eyebrows. "Me? I didn't do a damn thing. It was you wishin' me good mornin' that pushed him off his rocker."
A pang of guilt hit her as she looked away, remembering how she had almost unconsciously put on a flirtatious attitude with him the previous day. "Yes, well…you must have said something."
"Yeah." He confessed, resting his elbows on his knees and his chin on his hands. "I asked what was wrong with 'im and he blew up on me."
Mina momentarily paused in disappointment, having gotten no further than where she began in her quest for answers. "Then what is it that he said to you?"
Tom opened his mouth breifly, slightly uncomfortable. "Uh, I-"
"What does it matter?" Skinner intervened. "Point's that he lost his head. What are we gonna do about it?"
She took a while to glare at Skinner's form in annoyance before looking back to Nemo and Tom. "The only thing that we can do is speak to him. To try and understand what he is going through."
"Who's to say he's even up for talkin' about it?" Tom sat up. "He's been pretty scarce around here since yesterday."
"He is going to have to come to terms with the fact that he has no choice." Nemo said. "He knows what is right. He has reached out to us thus far, getting him to go a little further should not be a difficult task. And if he is unwilling to deal with the problem, I will purpose the obvious ultimatum. Either he gets this dillemma under his control, or he will not be welcome among us."
The room fell silent for a long while, each processing the whirlwind of sudden anxiety that they now faced. Mina looked down at the hankerchief in her hands once again and stood up straight, shoving it down into her pocket. "Well, all the same he will be expecting me soon. I suppose I should go and get him."
"Yes." Nemo nodded to her as she left the room. "And…Agent Sawyer, if you don't think I'm being too overly cautious…"
"Say no more." Said Tom, holding up a hand. "I'll go. Don't wanna make this worse than it already is." He stood and motioned a short wave as he exited the room.
Skinner looked over at Nemo with a strained sigh. "We're fallin' apart at the seams already, eh?"
"Not necessarily, Mr. Skinner." Nemo replied. "Not if we don't allow ourselves to."