Title: Amor Ausente (3/3)
Author: Rhiannon Langly
Rating: PG-13 (language)
Summary: Byers and Frohike investigate the mystery of
Roanoke Island, while Langly looks for Mel.
Archives: Countermeasures, Gossamer, anywhere else:
e-mail.
Spoilers: LGM series and XF to this point. If you
haven't read the other stories in this series (The Darkness Within
and Blood Fire) you should do so, as I don't feel like adding a
kilobyte of replay action.
Disclaimer: Blahblahblah Chris Carter. Blahblahblah
1013. Blahblahblah just for fun, not profit.

-----

Manteo, NC: May 1


When Yves found me at daybreak, I was a cold,
shuddering little ball covered in twigs and dirt.

"Langly?" She shook my shoulders. "Come on, the boys
found it...

And I see you found *her.*"

I nodded.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

I shivered. "No. I...need a shower."

When we got back to the hotel, Frohike had hooked up
the video camera to the television, and were watching the tape
he had taken. Byers was sitting at the computer, digging
through some files he'd scanned with the portable scanner.

"Hey, Langly, you gotta see this," Frohike said, then
looked up.

"What the hell happened to you?"

Byers turned around. "My god, Langly, are you ok?"

Yves answered for me. "He's had a bit of a shock."

As I got in the shower, I could hear her explaining
what had gone on to the guys...That she'd seen Mel before I did and
had tried to stop me from going. That Mel was using a lot of
people for a lot of things...that naturally I wasn't in a very good
state of mind.

When I came out, Frohike came up to me and gave me a
hug.

"Women," he said and snorted.

Yves coughed. "Ahem."

"Present company excepted."

Byers, though, said nothing...only gave me a long,
hard look.

-----

That night, I couldn't sleep. It was all Mel, in my
thoughts, my dreams, awake, asleep, it didn't matter. I kept
seeing the day in my mind... 

So I got up to read the files and watch the tape the
guys had made.

Apparently the colonists had been taken by the CIA in
cooperation with the United Nations back in 1952. The world was
suffering a polio crisis and records had been found of a drug made
by the Croatoan people back in the 1590s that would halt the
onset of polio. It wasn't a cure, but it could stop the
advance of the disease until a cure could be found. However, due to
the colonists' poor relations with the Croatoan, the
entire tribe had been wiped out with a single warring clash in 1595,
before anything could be recorded as to the drug's contents.

The CIA project had removed the colonists completely
from Roanoke, seeing that as the only alternative to
history's destined death for the Croatoan. The fate of the 92
people taken was unknown. 

They left a plant to encourage the English to record
the method of making the drug.

And it was all recorded in a document that Byers had
found, old and crumbling in a room with a dismantled time
machine. The machine had malfunctioned with the effort of removing
the amount of colonists, and had been taken apart. No plans had
been left, 'for the good of humanity,' the paper said.

What a damn major exposť. It could give us decent
status among at least the reluctant conspiracy theorists, if not
'normal' people.

So why wasn't I thrilled? At least some good came out
of this trip.

"Hey, Langly," Byers said from behind me. "Rough
night?"

"Yeah. How'd you guys GET this? It's fuckin' great. 
Wasn't the place crawling with security?"

He laughed. "One lousy alarm."

"That's IT?"

"I guess it was lost and forgotten in the big turnover
at the CIA after Dallas...before they got too nervous. The alarm
took two seconds for Frohike to take care of."

"Won't they follow us on the paper trail? Won't there
be tons of people looking for this out here once we go public?"

"Scully destroyed the first paper I saw referencing
the project. We had found it in an abandoned warehouse in 
DC. Dollars to doughnuts, the CIA today doesn't know 
about it. Salk got the vaccine in 1955. The disappearance 
of Roanoke is an accepted part of history, and the machine 
doesn't work. It'll be fine."

He looked at me and paused, his tone changing.

"What happened, Ringo?"

"She's...gone," I said. It was true enough. "She
would have been better off blown up on L Street."

"She didn't mean to hurt you, Langly," Byers said. "I
don't think you were ever supposed to know."

I sighed. "Yeah. I guess that she thought originally
that she'd only do it to get one piece of information, leave, and
resume life. I get the feeling that this has happened more
than once, though. That's she's used people to do things again
and again."

"She was obsessed with the Project," Byers stated. 

"She thought that having you would help her get over it, but it
didn't. So then she thought that destroying it would help her
sleep at night. But the need for vengeance consumed her until
she'd used so many people and couldn't sleep at night knowing
that she couldn't go back."

"Exactly," I said, closing my eyes.

"It still doesn't take the pain away to know that,
though."

"No."

"I know it. Damn it, Langly, do I know that," he
said, his voice tightening.

And that was it.

-----

Byers doesn't speak much about Susanne or his past. I
know he still thinks about her, and I know that he's trying to
get over her. And now I don't blame him for trying, though I
disagree with what he's doing with it.

Love sucks, but it's what keeps him going.

I don't doubt that Mel's sorry for what she did,
somewhere deep below the rage and fear that make up her soul. She
needs to get that figured out. 'Cause she doesn't love me, not
really. She loved the idea of being able to escape her past with
me. And I need to just have normal love. If there is such
a thing.

I'm beginning to doubt it. 

Somehow I don't know if I'll ever be able to see her
again, with the knowledge of what she did and why she did it.

I'm still angry. I don't know if I can forgive her
for using me, using *everyone*...but me in particular. She helped
me get over some things, but she left me with more agony than she
took.

Her need to revenge herself is better than anything
else to her.

Everything else is but a game, a subplot in her life.
I don't know what to do anymore. Maybe I'll just bury
myself in work, in RPGs, in something.

Maybe I'll be like this forever...but then I'd be just
like her.

I need to stand up and take it. Maybe love again, I
don't know.

That doesn't mean that I can't hide this memory of a
lost love down deep inside in the darkness, where it will burn
like an open wound.

Everyone has a secret, a hole inside of them that
bleeds pain like a stab from a knife.

Maybe someday, someone will heal mine...as I will heal
theirs.

-----
FIN
-----

Author's Notes: I'm rather sad that I don't get a
chance to tell about Byers and Frohike's adventures in discovering
the time machine, but this is a Langlyfic.

Betrayal has been a theme throughout all forms of my
writing for years now...I've faced it in many ways, subtle and
explicit. 

Many thanks to the book "Ralegh's [sic] Lost Colony"
by David N. Durant as a resource on the colony at Roanoke and the
events taking place around it. Also big thanks to my
co-worker Jacob, who, one long worknight, helped me make the time
machine story make logical sense.

Manteo, North Carolina is a real place. Sloan's Ridge
is not; it is based on an area near my home where I discovered a
trench that looked to be a suitable fortress for a shadow
government refugee.

"Amor ausente" means "lost [or missing] love" in
Spanish. It is the name of a restaurant in Jacqueline Mitchard's book
"The Most Wanted." Stevie Nicks' "Trouble in Shangri-La" 
album is slowly becoming the soundtrack for this series, 
and the Ramones' "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" is the main theme.
Many thanks to Susi, Jackie, MJ and Countermeasures,
the people at Prospero. Phil Warren for real-time support, as
well as my teachers for not noticing my frantic
scribbling in the middle of
class.

I'll be back.

-Rhi

http://www.envy.nu/langlified