Solace

Summary: After being rescued from an animal testing place, Kowalski has avoided the group. Skipper has to step in and be the father he was to all members of the team but Kowalski if they don't want to lose him.

This is a fic I wrote not that long ago and decided to post up. Will continue Black Blood soon just as soon as my muse comes back. Same applys to my Merlin fic; my plot bunnies keep leading me astray!

It's a high T because the fact animal cruelty is the main topic and it's a little graphic and it mentions drug. If you want me to rate it higher, tell me. If you don't like press the back button!

I wrote it because the fact that I'm rather annoyed with the way Skipper acts with Kowalski. Does anyone notice how much he acts like a father with the other two? Private, understandable, he's the younger but even Rico is treated like a son quite a bit. Yet with Kowalski I rarely see that. Most of the time it's just brotherly type relantionship; the only thing I've picked up that is a a father-son thing is that when Skipper not there's it's Kowalski that inherits the leader role. And that's also because of his status!

I was kinda hoping to see some in Brain Drain which is why I haven't posted it. But nope, none! Am I the only one bothered by it?

So I wrote this as a father and son fic for Skipper and Kowalski. So no slash! (by the way what is Skipper/Kowalski called. Kowalper? Skiwal? Skipski? KowalSkip?)

Kowalski had not left his lab.

Skipper sighed, staring into his cup of coffee and stirring the fish around in it. It had been a week; a long, long week and Kowalski had hardly stepped out of his lab.

Well he did come out for things like food and training; all the things Skipper required him to do. But other than that Kowalski had stayed locked in his lab for the whole week.

A whole week had gone by since they had rescued Kowalski from that animal testing unit.

A few months ago the team had been out on the streets, helping out Max or 'Moon Cat' as Skipper still liked to call him. The four of them were just heading home when out of nowhere Officer X had ambushed them.

They had tried to escape, using every skill they got to escape this mad almost inhumane man. They had managed to kick him to one side and make their way down into the sewer. Just as Kowalski was making sure Private went down the sewer drain, he was suddenly yanked back by a rope round his neck and thrown into the back of Officer X's van. The other three were far on their way back home when the cold realisation that Kowalski wasn't with them dawned upon them.

Of course Officer X was no longer with the Animal Control. The team had made sure of that as they searched high and low for Kowalski, staying up way past Private's bedtime just to look for him. Instead Officer X was now working with top scientists...who used animals to test their cosmetics upon.

It tortured the three penguins when they found Kowalski months later in shackles, beaten, cut and drugged. They had come just in time too; one scientist was about to spray a cosmetic into Kowalski's eyes; probably blinding him no less. Skipper's knocking the human out was a little harsher then usual and he didn't really need to punch the man, when he was already out, again but no one commented on it.

Kowalski had not said a word. In fact it turned out that thanks to one of the drugs still in his system he didn't recognised them at first, struggling away from them when they tried to set him free. The drug had turned him feral, making him hiss and growl more so than even Rico ever did. Rico, being psychotic as he was and being able to with stand Kowalski ravage attacks, was the only one who managed to calm Kowalski enough until the drug wore off and Kowalski's hazed blue eyes blinked back into awareness. Then Kowalski had just looked to the floor, quietly nodding when Skipper gently told him he was safe now.

He had accepted Private's tight hug and when they got home, Marlene's hug too. But the hugs were empty making Private and Marlene both uncomfortable and to let go just a few moments after, worriedly glazing up at the tall penguin. Once he was allowed, Kowalski had retreated into his lab sharpest.

He would mainly be working on something in his lab but when anyone entered or asked he would hide everything and say it was nothing important. However sometimes he would not be working on anything. The three had opened the door to check on him sometimes, just to find him sitting at his desk, heads buried in his arms. Either Kowalski would quickly pretend he was doing something or the other penguin would quietly back out of the lab before he noticed them.

Skipper was worried. Kowalski had been gone for several months and during that time had undoubtedly been in pain. Skipper hadn't wanted any of his team members to go through something like that. That was why he kept his past hidden and always made sure Blowhole thought him the top enemy on the list, not one of the others. If anyone had to go through all that; it should have been him; the team leader sacrificing himself for his team, a captain ready to go down with his ship. Not Kowalski.

Unfortunately, as much as he would like to, Skipper couldn't change things around so that it worked out the way he wanted. Kowalski was the one who went through that bloodcurdling experience and there wasn't anyway Skipper could change that. The only thing Skipper could do now was helped Kowalski in the aftermath. Which would be easy to do – if Kowalski wanted help that was.

Whenever Kowalski came out of his lab, either because Skipper ordered him to or he couldn't push away the hunger for food any more, he kept quiet and distance. If he could, he would not even go near the others, silently fixing up breakfast while he knew the others were engrossed with TV before he would zip back to his lab. When Skipper ordered him to join them at the table, he would sit silently, only answering questions that were asked. No longer would he drone on about scientific terms and phrases until the others begged him to stop. Whenever he would talk it was always in a cold steel tone as if he wasn't interested at all in what the others was talking about. However Skipper noticed the way Kowalski would sometimes hide a tremble and knew that cold voice was just a cover.

Training wasn't any different. If Kowalski wasn't needed, he would stand a distance away from the team, absorbed in writing in his notebook. When he was needed for a training activity, he did so quickly and silently, without any expression what so ever. It was like working with a silent computer. The tasks were done quickly and easily but unless you turned it off the computer would soon overheat or malfunction. Skipper was caught ordering Kowalski to stoprunning another hundredth lap, worried that Kowalski could easily out work himself.

He was quietly and effectively shutting everyone out.

It wasn't just getting to the penguins. Marlene was constantly coming over to check up on him. Even Julien and his servants popped round, through Julien would unsuccessfully attempt to act unconcerned. The whole zoo was all worried about Kowalski, asking whenever Skipper went past if Kowalski was alright.

Skipper would answer the questions quickly and then quickly got rid of the questioners. He knew right now, Kowalski didn't want people constantly checking up on him. Kowalski had made it quite clear through his silence; he wanted to be left alone.

However it wasn't safe to leave Kowalski alone either. Private had told him why just the other day. The young penguin had opened the door of the bathroom to find Kowalski, leaning over the sink, staring angrily at his reflection. Suddenly, his flipper balling into a fist; he slammed it into the mirror, shattering it. This sighting was later confirmed when Kowalski, came out his lab for a snack; his right flipper was bandage, already a little blood soaked. ;

Skipper wasn't sure what to do. It wasn't like it was the other two. Then it would have been so much easier.

Skipper often said that his team mates were like his brothers. Yet he also liked to think of them as his sons as well. Private, obviously, was the youngest son, sweet and cuddly and easy to comfort when down. Even Rico, who was wildly insane, needed a fatherly comfort either when his psychotic mind went overboard or when his superstitious mind got him deadly afraid or simply when he and Miss Perky didn't seem to get along. Kowalski however was different. He would make the oldest child; the mature one of the lot. He was much harder for Skipper to think him less of a brother and more of a son. Being someone of intellect and logic, Kowalski was much easier to go to for advice rather than the other way round. Skipper would look upon Kowalski to be the one to step up when he wasn't there but when it came down to comforting the genius? It was an entire different matter.

An entire different matter that, if Skipper didn't learn about soon, could lead them all to end up losing the lieutenant.

Skipper had sent Private and Rico out; Private to Mason and Phil's and Rico to the broaches. They had argued, Private especially. But Skipper's orders were final and they slunk away slowly. Skipper now had to just figure out what was the best way to approach this.

Suddenly the sounds of crashes and slams jerked Skipper out of his thoughts and into battle mode. It was coming from Kowalski's lab.

Seems like thinking before acting won't be used...again, Skipper thought as he rushed over to the lab door. The sounds were worrying Skipper and he prayed no one was trying to kidnap Kowalski again.

What he didn't expect was Kowalski to be the one causing that entire ruckus.

Skipper slammed open the door to find the lab uprooted and shattered. Test tubes and jars were broken into million pieces on the ground, tables thrown all over the whole place. And standing in the middle of this uproar was Kowalski. He had paused throwing stuff, heavy panting as he held up an engine for one of his machines.

Skipper made to step into the room but Kowalski growled, sounding almost as feral as when they had found him.

"Don't come into this room any further, Skipper, not less if you want to get things thrown at you." Kowalski hissed, "I won't hesitate and will not hold any responsibility for my actions."

He glared icily at Skipper, daring his leader to disobey his warning. Gone was the peaceful hard working scientist in his eyes. It was replace by such anger and hate that the mad look Kowalski had as he said the words 'science haters' with that green monster cube was nothing in comparison.

Skipper raised his arms in surrender, showing his wasn't going to do anything, "Take a deep breath, Kowalski," He ordered softly.

Kowalski did as he told, his breath ragged. Skipper slowly edged his way forward.

"That's it. And another," Skipper said gently and Kowalski again took another breath, "Just calm down."

That wasn't the right thing to say.

"Calm down?" Kowalski shouted, rage building up again, "Calm down? It's not possible to calm down! I cannot take it anymore; trying to be calm and act like I wasn't affected whatsoever! I've been trying all week to do that but every single second I feel like killing someone!" With that he threw the engine to one side, not even flinching when the engine caused a small explosion, pieces flying everywhere, "I just can't take all of this pity! Ever since I got back everyone has spent the last week pitying over me!"

"They're all worried about you, Kowalski." Skipper said. Kowalski shook his head.

"Oh no. They pity me, Skipper, that's what it is. Oh poor Kowalski can't even manage to not get kidnap by a human. Oh poor Kowalski couldn't even escape an animal testing unit whereas the other penguins would probably been out of there in half a second flat. No, poorKowalski had to end up waiting for months, praying that his team would rescue him while the humans did whatever the hell they wanted for their little 'tests'. I did not ask for pity, Skipper!"

Again, Kowalski lashed out, smashing more test tubes and finally upturning another table. Skipper tried not to flinch.

"You don't even know what it was like! They don't just prick you with a little needle, oh no, they do anything that possible to test there cosmetics! One minute you're slathered with makeup that makes you itch all over, the next your force to choke some vile liquid down that burns your insides! You're not an animal; you're a disposal object to them! And it's not just that! Those drugs don't all make you lose your mind for hours on end or make you feel so sick you can hardly move. They're bloody addictive. It took all my might this week not to run back to that place of torture for more and that's only because I've been trying to remake them!"

He gestured over to a box of needles, thrown upside on the floor and littered everywhere. Skipper cringed away from them, not only in fear of them but in shock of what Kowalski had been trying to do with them.

Suddenly Kowalski drooped, his anger started to slowly seep away into cold steeliness, "I waited for months, Skipper. Months and months of pain. I thought you all forgot about me; you didn't care."

Skipper opened his mouth to fire down that remark when Kowalski glared at him.

"Don't interrupt me, Skipper. I know you do care...after all you did rescue me in the end." Kowalski said. His tone was bitter but Skipper knew that it was only to cover up sadness. "But still, I thought I was alone there. All alone...just waiting for the right cosmetic that would end my suffering and for my body to be thrown into the disposal bin. Like I said before, there I wasn't an animal just an object to be used when needed and just to be chucked away once cannot be needed."

Skipper slowly approached him. Kowalski stared at the floor clenching his fists.

"For most of my life, I wanted to be a scientist. Yet during those months I saw nothing but scientists doing unspeakable things to us." He looked up, staring into Skipper eyes with anguish, "That makes me no better than them, Skipper! If they can cause this much pain in simple research, cause me to become a rotten shell of myself with self loathed and hatred filling me to the very core, how much pain will I cause?"

"You won't cause any pain." Skipper said, in front of Kowalski now.

Kowalski weakly scowled, "How do you know about that?"

"Because," Skipper placed his flippers onto Kowalski's shoulders, "I know you. You're nothing like those good for nothing humans. While they make things for their own needs you make things to help others. They don't have hearts, Kowalski, if they can do this and not feel any remorse. You however have a great heart and would not dare think of hurting others if it isn't necessarily. Not all scientists do such things, you know. I know that because I'm looking at one right here."

Kowalski stared at Skipper, wordlessly. His eyes prickled and he was about to furious wiped them away when Skipper stopped his flipper.

"You can cry, Kowalski," Skipper said, "It's alright."

Immediately Kowalski's eyes welled up and he let out a wail. He sobbed hysterically, falling to his knees as he clutched Skipper, crying in his shoulder. Skipper held onto him, patting his back as Kowalski wept away the mask he had worn.

That was how Marlene found them, the military leader hugging the lieutenant in the middle of a ruined lab. Kowalski was half asleep, still sniffling weakly.

Skipper looked up at her presence in the doorway but did not moved until finally Kowalski's sobs calmed and the scientist drifted off into sleep. Then Skipper gently picked him up, Kowalski not being heavy not only from his structure but also from the fact he had little to eat during those months. Skipper carefully edged his way out of the room, Marlene following him.

He laid Kowalski down onto the bottom bunk, covering the blanket over him. Kowalski immediately frowned in sleep as he felt Skipper's absence so Skipper gently stroked the boy's forehead, ruffling his black feathers as he ease Kowalski back into a peaceful sleep before he stirred.

Marlene watched silently, not daring to interrupt the touching moment. However she soon coughed slightly and spoke.

"How's he doing?" She whispered.

Skipper didn't pause from stroking Kowalski forehead as he answered. "He's getting better."

Feeling Marlene's raised eyebrow rather than seeing it, he looked up at her, "He's still got a long way to go yet. But he's no longer going to be isolating himself, hiding his feelings and that's a step up in my book."

"What happened to the lab?"

Skipper sighed, "Like I said; he's no longer gonna hide his feelings."

Marlene rubbed her arm, nervously, "If you like, I can help you clear it up."

"Nah, the boys and I've got it covered." Skipper said before sending her a smirk, "Besides, wouldn't want you to cut yourself."

Marlene watched Kowalski thoughtfully. If Kowalski had actually gone and tore down everything he spent his life, hopes and dreams on then he was in a lot of pain. You had to be so angry enough to do something like that – and hurt too. She couldn't help but feel a little unsure at Skipper's reassurance even through Skipper had kept it truthful as possible.

"At least he's got you to help him through." She murmured, causing Skipper to look up questionably.

"I'm not daft, Skipper. Even through the four off you act like brothers most of the time; the others do look up to you like a father figure," She grinned. As she looked at Kowalski again it faded into a soft smile, "I'm glad that you've shown your father side to Kowalski. He rarely gets a chance to see it."

"Hey, have you seen Rico? I have my work cut out making sure he doesn't get into trouble!"

They laughed quietly. Marlene's faded as she slightly turned, about to go but wanting to say something before she did.

"Still, I'm happy to see that you do care for him." She whispered softly, glazing back down at Kowalski, "Goodness knows how much he needs it right now."

"I know," Skipper said.

And with that Marlene left, leaving Skipper to continued stroking Kowalski's forehead as he slept; a father making sure his son wasn't plagued by any nightmares.


A little Skilene bit for all you Skipper/Marlene fans. Or if you prefer Marski see it as a Marlene/Kowalski ending with Skilene friendship :)

Please review.

:) & waves