Kay, so, I'm gonna actually try to finish this one. YES IT'S A SKILENE. Because I fucking love Skilene. Woot. Anyways, the actual "Skilene" doesn't happen till the last paragraph, so yeah. Basically it's really depressing, until I get to writing part two.
Kowalski's eyes sleepily focused on the florescent computer screen in front of him. He had been tirelessly working on reconfiguring the security programs on the HQ database. At 1 AM, he still hadn't finished, and the glare of the screen was blurring his vision. The scientist took a moment to stretch and shake off hours of sitting in one place, feeling his joints pop satisfyingly. For some reason, his team mates seemed to be up as well; Rico was watching some late night action show while Private organized his Lunacorn collection. Skipper must have been outside somewhere, because Kowalski hadn't seen him for the past half hour. He wasn't sure if anyone else had noticed, but Kowalski thought Skipper's recent behavior was strange. Lately he seemed to be more and more isolated from his team and everyone else, even when he was with them. Kowalski decided he should check up on him and see if he was ok.
Climbing up the cold steel ladder and up into the open air of the city, Kowalski's eyes searched around the perimeter of their habitat. Skipper was standing next to the water's edge, but he only stared at the slightly shifting surface. Kowalski called out to him, but it took him a moment to actually break his gaze from the water and turn his head. "Uh... Right. I should get inside." In a rather anxious manner he scurried to the hatch and crawled down. Now Kowalski was sure something was wrong. He had never seen Skipper act so distant before. Retreating back into the HQ as well, Kowalski hesitated. "Um, Skipper... Are you alright? You seem like something's bugging you." Skipper casually replied with "I'm fine. It's just some insomnia, that's all." He tried to add a little bounce to his voice to give the illusion that there was nothing wrong, but Kowalski could see right through it. But he left it alone. There was no use in interrogating Skipper, especially at 1 in the morning. He crawled to his bunk without another word, deciding he would finish his programming tomorrow. Soon Rico and Private joined him, but Skipper never came to bed. He must have thought everyone was asleep by now, but Kowalski quietly watched him. He sat completely still with no expression, staring blankly at nothing. Something about this forced a shiver down Kowalski's spine. He was tired before, but now he was awake, his mind reeling with worry for his friend.
Skipper lifted his head from where he was sitting. He managed to fall asleep, if only for a few minutes. Now he could feel the weight of fatigue pulling on his entire body already. It's not like it wasn't already there, though. Even before the sleepless nights he felt drained of energy. What was wrong? Nothing seemed interesting anymore. It felt as if someone had taken a vacuum and sucked the color out of everything. Now things he once found cheerful or sentimental only felt like useless objects with no meaning behind them. He took a moment to realize how fast this change had happened. He really couldn't tell when it started, but he also knew some of it had always been there. All he knew for sure was that he felt worse. He hated this feeling the most because not only could he not name it but it took control of him. And he hated not being in control, especially over his own mind. Skipper was sure the boys had noticed as well. Kowalski had eyed him strangely all of last night and Private and Rico seemed hesitant to talk to him unless they had to. It really was the worst, whatever this was, because it even pushed the ones he cared about away. Although he acted as if he wanted to be alone, the more he was, the worse he felt. Something felt very wrong, but he couldn't tell what. How was he supposed to pull himself out of this if he couldn't even tell where to start?
Skipper shakily stood up and decided that if he couldn't sleep, he might as well take a walk around the zoo. Maybe it would pull his mind away from the dark void eating him up inside. As he crawled out of the HQ, he saw the boys still asleep, and realized it was still early. For him, a night felt like a lifetime, and he'd lost track of the time. Walking across the cool pavement of the habitat and clumsily hopping over the fence, he thought to himself more. There was no real obvious reason he was feeling this low, so why did it... Hurt so much? He had tried to hide it from everyone because of how weak it made him feel. He felt like he was selfish, and had no right to feel like this. He had a good home, was well fed, and had good friends. But yet it still didn't feel right. Gazing around as he strolled through the isles of the sleepy zoo, he caught a glimpse of the lemurs making morning smoothies. Burt stretching his trunk. The chimps reading the morning paper. Still, seeing them sparked no real emotion in him, good or bad. But after a while of watching them he felt like he was missing out on something. Why? He hated the things the lemurs did and reading the newspaper wasn't enjoyable enough to be envious of. Regardless of what each of them did, they still seemed happy. And it only made Skipper feel lower.
He passed through the entire zoo before he circled back around to head home. Most of the animals were still asleep, only a few had been up. Just before he hopped over the fence lining the penguin habitat, he heard the snap of a shell behind him. He climbed up to the top of the fence, ready to hop over, but he spotted Marlene laying outside the entrance to her habitat with an oyster in her paw. She caught his gaze and, after finishing her oyster, skillfully hopped over the wall lining her habitat. "Good morning, Skipper." She said, bringing a paw to her face and rubbing the sleep from her eyes. When she didn't get a response her smile faded and concern filled her gaze. "You look tired... I'll leave you alone so you can get some sleep..." She turned to leave but Skipper hopped down from his fence perch. "No, it's ok. I can't sleep right now anyway." Marlene still looked concerned. "I just didn't wanna bother you, well, lately really... You seem a little... Depressed." Something clicked in Skipper's emotions. Is that what this was? This terrible feeling? Depression? Marlene looked as if she had said something offensive, but Skipper realized it was true. "Well, I haven't been feeling myself lately." Suddenly Marlene's expression turned from worry to a warm look of understanding. "Well, if, you know... You ever need me... I'll always be there for you," She stuttered, and gave Skipper a quick hug before she hesitantly returned to her home. Like a little Christmas light, a little feeling filled Skipper's chest. One that didn't make him feel like life was worthless. It was small, not enough to overcome the void in his heart, but it was... Fuzzy. Like the feathers on a newborn duckling. Not only was this a welcome feeling, but it was one he wasn't sure he had quite experienced before. Something about the warmth in her eyes... Her voice... Her touch... That he never truly appreciated until now. Something that was there all along that only shone through when he felt broken down. As Skipper entered his HQ, he suddenly felt like he could breathe a little. Like the darkness loosened its grip on his soul. And he was content enough that when he crawled into his bunk again, he fell into a much needed sleep.