Cracked (Epilogue)
Author: Sue
Rating: PG-13
Category: Gunfic/Langly/Other
Spoilers: Three of A Kind. Teensie
brush with 'Like Water For Octane.'
Summary: So... What did 'Blondie' get up
to between the time he breezed off with
Jimmy and Timmy, to catch the floor show
that went along with 'the all you can eat
lobster,' before Scully arrived?
Disclaimer: All X-Files characters and
references are property of C. Carter,
Morgan & Wong, 10-13 Productions and FOX.


The 'irregularity' turned out to be nothing
more than interest compounded all wrong, all
big-assed backwards, to the incongruous tune
of initially being subtracted, only to be
added incorrectly over a span of a month.
Only to be deducted all over again. Talk
about loopy, man. The whoevers responsible
for the goof-up had really done a job on
Cin's account.

Once her new friend, the Manager, (maybe
he figures that once she dumps me, he has a
fighting chance...) and the know-it-all
wannabe Teller swallowed their massive
amounts of obstructive pride, and allowed me
to jump in with both feet to show them the
error of their bottom line, the whole ball of
foul-up was ironed out easily enough.
Considering the sizeable grand total of her
account as it stands, it was a ball the size
of what Atlas had to shoulder.

Patience and persistence --namely mine--
finally won out, and we left that stuffy
bank with every scrap of Scumbag's lucre;
nothing filthy about it either, I might add,
and I will, since I _can_ add, better than
any adding machine they have in their crusty
greenback depository. With or without paper;
floating decimals be damned.

We're on our way back to the hotel, and I
can't believe it's not any time close to
nightfall. All that advanced computation
took time. It's a mere shade off the one
minute mark after two. If I hurry, I still
might beat Scully to the lobby, since, when
I called the room to touch base with the
guys, Byers told me there'd been some kind
of 'incident' at the airport which warranted
police action, and she'd gotten caught up in
it. Fibbies, man...never off-duty; especially
the up-an-at-'em team of Mulder and Scully.

I lean heavily into the uncomfortable
seatback, and glance over at Cin, who, I'm
getting the feeling, is channeling her powers
of concentration on driving as an excuse not
to say anything. She hasn't said two words to
me since we left the parking lot. I'd feel
weird, but I've been concentrating on how
Byers and I will handle Scully.

Even chunka-monk's quiet, totally knocked out;
he crashed in his car seat not more than three
or so minutes into the drive. A lot of
excitement for a kid his age; hell, a lot for
me at my age, and much as I hate to admit it,
I'm nobody's kid. I never was. I've often
wondered what living in Vegas would feel like.
Knowing me, it'd be my downfall. I'd wanna
high-roll all day, and have zilch to show for
the gambling I have a secret addiction to.
D&D, and the other assorted gaming I do is
slick camouflage. Cin may still think my
sense of humor is one of a kind, but that
doesn't recommend my slappin' a stand-up
routine together and hittin' the Strip. I'd
most likely wind up in a dive worse than the
one she works in--I mean-- _worked_ in.

As I'm thinking about how I wouldn't miss the
sticky, humid D.C. summers, and my growing
fascination with Vegas' nightlife, when she
turns into the hotel's carpeted boomerang, I
don't even notice until she stops the car, and
turns to me. "That was quick."

"Richie, I've been thinking..."

I angle my leg up on the seat so I'm facing
in too. She's backhanding me. You'd have me
if you were to ask why. "Yeah, same here."
What's going on behind those perplexed baby
blues? "You looked spooked a couple of times
there. You okay?"

"Why, Richie? Why'd you do it?"

"Make like we were married?" I acknowledge,
the tops of my ears heating up; a sure sign
I'm blushing. Her lower teeth scuff her
upper lip which looks like it's quivering.
Hard to tell though, it could be owed to the
aimless dental action.

"No, I don't mean that. That was a surprise,
but I say we handled it handily," she says
with a little puckish smile. She rests her
hand on my knee. If she moves it up a little
higher, I won't mind. "You know what I mean.
I don't have to be computer-obsessed to know
what they did to Kevin Mitnick, as well-
publicized as it was."

"Hey, he's free now. 'Bout time," I wedge.

Cin sighs, a protracted one. "You risked
everything for me. I can't get over it. I'll
never get over what you've done... Why?"

Yeah, I had strong inklings about her
hacky-sackin'. I just don't want her to go
all 'megalo' on me. I get enough of that
from Jimmy when I buy him a beer. I did what
I did for her because I _wanted_ to; simple as
that. If she sees strings, I'll set her
straight, here and now. I'll cut 'em into

"You're supposed to say, 'thank you.'"

Her eyes tumble to the hand lying on me.
"I'll never be able to say _that_ enough."
Now they're matching mine, probe for probe.
"Richie, don't take this the wrong way, but
you're crazy--no hear me out. Okay?" That's
one fierce grip for a slender chick. Her hand
has creeped up to settle on the topside of my
thigh. Now I wish I had been working out all
this time. She'd make one hell of a masseuse;
the on the up and up licensed kind. No more
exploitation for her. I shut my mouth; she's
one of the few who can get me to do that.
"What got into you? What--"

"So I'm crazy for wanting you out of a
crappy situation, huh?" My yap's obedience
isn't a long-lived thing. "How could I walk
away with a, 'have a nice life' on my lips?
Seeing you in such shit? Seeing you again
brings it all back, babe; what I remember we
had. I promised myself that if I ever saw ya
again, I'd tell ya. I never got over you, and
I'm still not." I buzz my eyes over to her
sleeping angel, I don't dare look her in the
eyes now. His hand clutches the Velcro wallet
I had to let him have; the four tens I
borrowed off Byers are still in it. The
rugrat's got me good. "And... I dig your
kid. He deserves the moon, and the rest of
the solar system. That's why I did it. For
him and for you. Most of all _you_. I still
love you, dammit!" I sound like I'm running
out of steam when I say, "If that makes me
crazy, then yeah. I'm crazy, and proud of

When did she make the move into my arms? I
never saw it coming, but I'm glad I made time
to change my threads, and pinch me if she
doesn't feel good to these gangly appendages
which've craved her snug embrace for too long.
Leese needs a man with a clean slate; not a
shadow like me, who can't make a finite break
with a flickery past.

"I'll always love you..." I'm a little less
curt, but not by much.

"You could at least smile, saying that."

"What if I don't feel like smiling? I know
you don't feel the same about me."

"What are you doing tonight?" she asks in
wisps of soft breaths, and veers nearer to
my face which is a melange of indecision.
Shaking doesn't become me even though I do
it all the time when I'm so nervous.

A fleeting scowl on Scully's mug reminds me
what I might be doing, or rather, what she
might be doing to me; kicking my ass,
instead of what I'd rather be doing with Cin,
if I can get past my self-consciousness.
That's a big 'if,' even for it being Cin, who
I've wanted all along. It could be why I've
kept my virginity intact; I was always hopin'
my first time would be with my first, and one,
true sweetheart. "Help ya pack?" Well, that

"And I'll make dinner. I owe you for
breakfast." She shifts gently. "For
everything." Her lips find what they were
looking for, the spot a little ways from my
ear, and she goes to town. Oh, God...that's
one of _my_ spots if there ever are them. If
she keeps working on me like this, there's not
much chance I'm gonna last 'til later. "I
can't keep this much money, Richie," she
presses into my ear, as I nod. Cold shivers
are shocking my spine, and icy sensations numb
my lower extremities. The battle's on; the
mind over the 'joystick.' I squeeze my thighs
together and do the rock an' squirm a little;
down, boy...

"S-Sure ya can."

"Take half; no. Take as much of the money
as you want. I'll go cash in the Travelers'
Cheques right now." She brings both sets of
my knuckles up to her lips to assuage each
knobby joint.

"N-Nope. No w-way. Don't even think about

"But why?"

The orgasmic interlude passes once I take
several deep breaths. I've untangled myself
from her. "'Cos _you've_ earned it, the hard
way; it's owed ya. The dough's all yours."

"How do you know what's owed me?" She looks
unhappy, like I've told her she'll have to get
by on bread and water for the rest of her

"I know. You wanna argue with me? Huh? Do

"No. I don't. I'm not thinking too
straight." Yeah. That makes two of us.

"Well, having me over for dinner sounds great.
I'll tote the wine. Name what you like."

"Richie," she emphasizes, and I know she hates
it when I do a gloss over.

"Can we talk about this over dinner?" I delay.
While she's thinking it over, I press the
advantage. "So like tell me already. I gotta
go..." I fumble out of the car, trying to
stand on jelly legs. "What kind of wine?"

"You decide," she tosses at me, and I see
a little smile doing its best to get past
the budding stages. She's rolled down
the window and we meet halfway through it.
"One more for the road," she invites,
fishhooking her finger at me, and once her
tongue's writhing in my mouth, all thought of
Byers' crap gets pushed straight out of my
head which is zigging like it'll never stop.
I mewl into her mouth; she titilates the roof
of mine with her playful tongue. Like the
song goes...'that kiss, that's
criminal.' Instead of drawing away right
away, her tender lips lap and nibble-nip
around beneath my nose; my nostrils are
tingling, like the rest of me. "You're
delicious," she entices; I forget how easy 
breathing used to be, and I lip-bite her lips
back, like a man who's gone for weeks not
eating. She's turning me so on, and for once,
I'm going with it... I so want her.

"Later," I'm barely able to muster since my
strength feels just about sapped. My resolve
right along with it. " finally
learned how to kiss," I waggle under her nose.
Don't know what I'm using for breath now.

"Brat," she lambasts, with me hearing the
affection as she waves me off. "You've
finally learned the right moves," she
untethers, winking. How wrong she is. "You
and your magic fingers."

I wriggle the digits oh so ready to show her
how magical they wanna have the chance to be,
trekking the promised land, that is her body,
in question. "Oh yeah?," I say, bluffing my
way through to her desire, "I'll show ya
moves..." That's right...just keep on lyin'.

"Later." She blows me another demonstrative
pucker-upper and I don't pretend to catch it,
I do, and scarf it down the way I would
anything sweet and savory. "Can't wait,
baby," she pitches my way. 'Me neither,
baby,' I whine internally... 'Byers, man,
you'd better be glad we're this tight...or
I'd go with her right now.' She's got one
hand on the wheel, and the other is carrying
on like it's a dust mop being shaken out the
driver's window.

I straighten my glasses, grinning from ear to
ear. "Later," I yell, and wave back just as

I decide to call Cin now; better to get it
over with. The excitement isn't about to die
down just yet, but if I put this off any
longer, she'll think I'm not gonna make it
without a reason. Hell, I won't be makin' it;
not for dinner, and not with her. Not
tonight, leastwise. It so figures, man. My
big chance, and I've gotta put it on hold.

I'm in our room lying prone on the bed with
the lights off, and an ice pack numbin' my
skull. ...Can't believe I barfed up most
of my cookies like that outside the autopsy
bay. Most of all, I can't believe Jimmy's
dead. Why did he squish himself? It doesn't
make any sense. I never noticed any suicidal
tendencies. Last week, his twin Kimmy told
me they had this start-up idea for a new IPO
they were developing; some kind of graphical
support software. Jimmy had been hammering
away, shot through and through with the joy of
'creation.' A man that swept up doesn't 'off'
himself, and I can't see Jimmy picking a bus
as his method of preference.

Regardless of Scully's 'clinical' opinion,
it's still hard to believe he chucked himself
beneath the bus on purpose. Speaking of
which, she didn't seem all herself during the
autopsy; it was like she was seriously
trippin'. Since when has she ever called me,
'Cutie?' Never -- that's when, and she'd have
to be crocked from now into next week to say

I've punched the numbers and while I wait for
Cin to pick up, the gruesome sight of Jimmy
'shmooshed' underneath that enormous wheel
haunts my memory like the faceless phantoms
of my early childhood. Poor guy.

One minute, another, until finally...



"Richie. Wow; I'm glad you called. Dinner's
simmering. Turns out there isn't much to
pack afterall. I'll send for most of this
stuff. I'm sad I'll be leaving the Neon
behind. It's a great little car."

"You can buy as many of 'em as you want, now.
Jags too."

"But I'm still going to miss 'Neo', anyhow.
Look, I'll pick you up so you won't--"

"Cin, no..."

"Richie? What's wrong?"

I heave a sigh. "I'm really, really sorry,
babe, but I can't make it." I squeeze my
eyes shut as another wave of nausea rinses
over me; the curse of a weak stomach, man.
I hope Byers packed the Pepto, which I like
better than that other garbage he said he
brought; he's always good for doing the meds

Disappointment is stark in her voice.
"What's the matter? Did I do somethi--"

"Something bad's happened. Something really
bad." If I use 'really' one more time, I'll
bite my tongue.

"Oh no. What?"

"A friend of mine got killed a little while

"WHAT! Oh, no!"

"They're sayin' it was an accident, only
there's something squirrely about the way he
died, least I think there is. I'd like to
hang here at the hotel. See if there's
anything I can do."

"What makes you think his death is

"I don't know... I just do. Anyway, I wanna
see if I can find out anything more."

"I'm so sorry, Richie. Your friend, was he
into computers like you?"

"Yeah, way into them, like me," I say all

"Is there anything I can do?"

"No, but thanks." I struggle to sit up, and
swing my legs to the floor. "Listen. Have
you made flight reservations yet?"

"I was about to. I'm hoping for a flight
out no later than tomorrow afternoon. I
know, I'm asking for a miracle. Why?"

"Let me make 'em; from here. That way, all
you'll have to do is show up at check-in for
your boarding passes. Okay? It's on me."
It is for whomever I choose to bill it to,
that is. Too bad I don't have Scumbag's
plastic idents. Although...with a little
more diggin'...

"Stop. Richie, c'mon, you've done way too
much already. Please. I'll handle the

"How does First Class sound?"

"Like if you do it, you can forget about
coming around once I get back to Erie. I'll
have my mother tell you I've left no
forwarding address." Ah, another challenge,
I think, but not a monster. "Now I mean it.
Don't do the reservations."

"Coach then. In the tail?"

"I said no."

"You, strapped to the wing? Jeffy in the
care of a flight attendant; he in First

Her playful tone funnels through the receiver
once her laughter ebbs. "Richie, I don't want
to have to not see you again, because I want
to see you again. So just be cool, and let me
take care of my and my son's travel
arrangements. Let me have some pride. Can
you live with that?"

"You really wanna see me again?" I nip the
tip of my tongue as a warning.

"Of course I do."

"I mean, I don't want you to feel obligated
an' all..."

"I don't; I'm over the top grateful. I'm
still too stunned by you. Come by as soon
as you can. Sooner. Mom'll get such a kick
seeing you after all these years, and I
haven't thanked you properly...yet." 

Wow, that sounded incredibly sexy. "I didn't
do what I did for the 'yet,'" I angle.

"I know that," she avows, blasting her breath
at me on the other end. "That's not why I
want to... I just can't help feeling so
stunned. What can you do for someone who's
changed your life from darkest night to the
zap of broad daylight? Baby, you're too

"I liked you in that raunchy show."

"Oh, I bet you did..."

"Your tip..." I know I'm grinning like a
total jerk, so I get with my usual side-
stepping self. "Can I get your mom's number?
I don't remember it after so long, and she's
probably changed it, all this time." I used
to call her mom to see if she knew where Cin
was, but my calls saddened her, I could
always tell, so I stopped making 'em.

"No. It's still the same one. The one you
begged me for, the first time. And if you
liked me in my show, then you'll love me
for a private showing."

"Keep it warm for me." I smile sheepishly.

"Oh, don't worry..."

"So, like, run the number by me again..."
I recite it a dozen or so times once she's
told me; it's now committed to a memory
that's indelible for things of utmost
importance. "Great; got it."

"Don't forget it."

"There's no way I will." A jab of paranoia
takes a swipe at me, and I hear myself say,
"But just in case I do, and she's unlisted,
go to the Public Library; all of 'em've
got computers nowadays..."

"Richie, you know me and computers."


"Wouldn't it be better if you just gave me
_your_ number?"

No, it wouldn't; we've been having a hell
of a time getting our telephonic wires
uncrossed. Man, we had to do something.
A 'feeler's' latest attempt to fix a trace
via our lines. Least, that's my guess.
We're not accepting any calls, and we're
not making any either. If it's infiltration,
I sure as hell don't want the 'dug' getting
an earful of what Cin's voice sounds like.
I swear by e-mail, provided it's secure.
We've got ours, and all in-coming that, and
then-some. "Hey, ask a Librarian to hook ya
up. Get with a free e-mail SP." The only
option, making allowance for her

"A what?"

"A service provider. Set up an account
with Yahoo, Hotmail, whatever, and send me a
message. Doesn't matter, I'll reply. My

"Your addy?"


"Can you really see me doing this?"

"Yeah. I can. You better." I worry my
lower lip with fidgety teeth. "Like,

"Okay. So what's your e-mail 'addy?'"

"It's Blondie at wastedminds dot com."

"I'd better write it down." When she's
back, I repeat my hailer, spelling it out by
letter and symbol. "Sure you won't change
your mind and just give me your number

I shake my head, decidedly. "Humor me about
the elimination of total phone usage. I
know I asked for your number, but on second
thought..." If I called prematurely, it
would spoil the surprise of her homecoming
for her mom. "Just could ya? Cool? It'd
make me feel better all the way around."

"If that's what you want..."

"Yeah, it's what I'd like." I scratch my
head which feels like an elephant has been
sitting on it for an hour. "Just send me the
zip-mail as soon as you get to your mom's."

There's a pause, and I wonder if she's
waiting for me to say something. I'm about
to, but she interrupts. "Wasted minds, huh?
Since when has that ever been true, Einey?"

Whoa, there's another one she used to call me.
She'd tease how we looked so much alike, we
could be brothers. A very wasted mind,
sometimes. More times than she knows about at
this point. "When we're together again in the
flesh I'll--"

"In the flesh?"

"Yeah, in the flesh."

"Bet you can't wait. Our being in the flesh,
and nothing else... Like I said, I've missed
you too, Richie. Unless of course you might
make one of your computers jealous."

Don't get me started, I think, and shake the
'nad-stirring image loose before it gets too
firm a hold. "Uh... Uh, me and my computers
don't have that kind of relationship."

"Oh? Is that right? So all that talk about
'cracking' being better than sex was just
that?" she banters, "all talk?"

"Uh...well...mmmm... Yes, and no."

"So, you really don't need me."

"When I get with ya, I'll let you be the
judge." Her giggle makes me wish I was with
her right now. "I put what I said about
what I do wrong; maybe I gave you a warped
impression. I'm not weird like that."

"Not weird like what?" She sounds funny, and
not like she's gonna break out laughing, now.

"I _don't_ fantasize about doing soft and

"Come on. Did you think I took you seriously
when you said what you did?" She sounds as
though the matter should be closed.

"You looked like you did." Now who's tryin'
to fool whom?

She's giggling again, and I wonder if I should
say something even bolder than that last
crack. Do I have the guts? I blink, and the
next thing I know, Frohike's barging in, no
Byers though. "Babe, I gotta go," I shush
into the mouthpiece.

"Wish you didn't have to. Wish you were
coming for dinner... And dessert; especially

"Yeah. Like I said, I'm sorry."

"It's okay. Like I said, 'sorry about your

"Catch you and the small fry later." The
call is a heartbeat away from concluding.

"Richie, wait! Don't go. Thanks so much;
again. You bet you'll catch me back in Penna.
See ya there..."

"Bet. 'Bye."

"Wait--" Frohike turns on the light nearest
the closet. "Hold on-- Did you mean what you
said about... Still loving me?"

"Still; do. Like always, which is also what I
said. Book your flight, and get the hell
outta here."

"WAIT! Richie, be careful," she cautions,
all angsty and urgent. "I'd better see you

"You will, and I will."


"Back at ya."

"Never stopped loving you too."

My tongue freezes until I make myself stammer,
"Take care of the kid. I'm gonna be thinkin'
about that until I see you again." Our 'bye's
dovetail, and I plunk the phone back on the
nightstand, and stare at it long enough for
Frohike's interrogation to spring from
anticipatory lips.

"Who was that?" He sets the equipment he's
hefting down gently.

"That friend I mentioned earlier."

"The one you helped stick it to the snake

Frohike's ability for semi-total recall is
nothing to sneeze at. I've sorta made it a
habit not to, having learned from seasoned
experience. "The same."

"How'd that turn out?" He looks shook, like
he's fallen through a ceiling, or something
comparably high, a second time.

"Piece a cake, man, piece a cake..." Next
time I see her, maybe I'll be lucky enough
to get my piece, and whatever else she feels
like giving me. Stop bein' so damn timid for
once in my life. Do what'll feel so natural
with her. Only with her.

"Hey, man, what's with you?"

I look at Fro' dully, wondering if I should
tell him about the 'righteous' crack...
"I'm still feelin' wasted on account of the

"Still? There's a small bottle of Pepto in
Byers' kit, man." He shifts around. "Wanna
check out some more funky footage?" He's
uploading from the digicam, looking at me
expectantly. "Quite the eye-opener."

"Uh...yeah. Sure. What've ya got this

Sounding as serious as a tax audit, he
replies, "Something else Byers needs to see
asap, man..."

I'm certain I'm reading his whole come-across
right. "Mata Hari... 'The Ultimate Expose?'"

He nods, and my stomach grips. "A lot of
shit happens in ten years, buddy."

"Even more in, say...twenty or so." And I
think about Cin's cherubic-faced baby who
could pass for mine, any given day of the
week. Yeah, a lot can happen... And there's
a lot two people, who still care for each
other, can make happen, if they're meant to
be, that is...

Like I said, 'no strings.' I'm too afraid to
think so far ahead like that. I'll only think
as far as the e-mail since it's in her court.

Yeaaaah... Riiiight...

Since when have I ever been able to stop
drivin' myself crazy? I hope she follows
through for the match... Hope she wants to
see me again; hope she... Hope she...

Even as I watch the salacious stuff 'Hike's
recorded, which is gonna kill Byers, I've
thought about Cin's 'will she, or won't she?'
several dozen times already. I know what
she said, but paranoia won't leave me alone.
I won't be convinced until I'm holding her
in my arms, molding her body to mine.

It's gonna be a hard, 'on pins and needles'

Omniscience's Note...

A full day later, and that night, somewhere
in an exclusive quarter of Las Vegas, a once
obscenely rich man rues the day he ever
entrusted his considerable wealth into extra-
controlling agencies, and vows to recoup his
losses via ways peculiar to him.

He turns over onto his left side in the king
size bed. As he closes his bloodshot eyes,
knowing the only sleep that awaits him will
be fitful, he mulls over what he's learned
several hours ago... She and their love
child have disappeared as well. Conceivably,
which, outwardly appears highly fantastic,
could there be a seam of connection? If
there's any way his investigators can piece
together two and two, he swears he'll find
out...and then there truly will be hell to