Title: The Darkness Within
Author: Rhiannon Langly 
Rating: PG for language (at the moment...)
Classification: Langly/other. Angsty sappy.
Spoilers: LGM series 1x04: "Like Water For Octane;" XF
season eight.

Summary: Langly confronts his own fears about never
finding love, as the Gunmen try to help a young woman
and Yves revenge their past.

Disclaimer: Langly, Byers, Frohike and Yves are
property of Chris Carter. They ain't mine. Melinda,
on the other hand, is mine. And no, she's not a Mary
Sue at all. By the way, the lyrics to "There But For
You Go I," briefly used here, are (c)1947 Alan Jay

Author's Notes: Yes, Langly has a buried passion for
Lerner and Loewe...Their sappy musicals can affect
even jaded me, so why not Ringo? I hate Jimmy Bond
and Yves, but Yves fits the story. Jimmy's
just...stupid. Thus, no Jimmy.

- - - - -

Part One: Never Known

I have a confession to make.

I'm 33 years old, and I have never slept with anyone.
Women see me and laugh. I've never understood that. 
So what if I still dress like a teenager? So what if
I have unkempt hair and glasses that rival the late
Buddy Holly's?

That's just physical. If humanity wasn't so damned
fickle, they'd realize that inside I love and hate and
fight god just like the rest of them. Not even Byers
and Frohike know some parts of me; the things that I
hide within the depths of my mind. Those parts that
I'd want to share with...her.

So I hide behind glasses and a computer screen,
keeping it all within.

- - - - -

She came on a Tuesday.

It's amazing that I remember what day it was, seeing
as I spend a good portion of my time inside, on a
computer. I just sleep when I feel like it. After
working all day at the Warehouse for a year, I figured
that there was no point to having another home. Why
bother leaving if you're just coming back in three
hours anyway?

I have my own room, Byers has his immaculate palace,
and Frohike...well, he takes the cot in the back hall.
Mine, unlike Byers', is covered in bits and pieces of
electronics, from the ancient Commodore64 in the
corner to the MP3 jukebox on the table. Orderly? No.
But "comfortable is the word, my friend."

That early morning, I lay in my bed under a Ramones
poster...lost in my own daydreams, par usual. Byers
had taken some woman or another to his room that night
and I could hear them as I tried to sleep. Suffice it
to say, it made for one hell of an uncomfortable
situation that I couldn't help but pay attention to.

To escape it, I turned my thoughts to the places
within me, the dark areas where I never go. You have
them too, the ones that hurt like hell to touch. And
I dreamt of her. The One, coming to me in the night,
just barely out of reach.

Naturally, I didn't sleep very well.

Now, before the sunrise, as Byers sang CCR in the
shower, I attempted to nap a little so that I wouldn't
pass out later and screw up whatever coding I was
doing. That is, I attempted...until a voice came from
above my head.

"Excuse me?"

Blearily, I looked for the source of the interruption.
"Uhmmm, hi," I said.

[Real intelligent, Ree.]
The face hovering above came into sudden clear focus.
[And to make matters worse, you've fallen asleep with
your glasses on. Again.]

"You must be...Langly, right? She said you were..."

A tall woman stood over my bed, looking slightly
annoyed. She had a short mop of flaming red hair, cut
to stay out of her way...and a pair of angry brown
eyes set in high cheekbones. A proud face.
Her husky voice continued.

"Well, are you Langly, or Goldilocks or what?"

"Yeah," I said, snapping up out of bed, forgetting
what I had on. "I'm Ringo Langly."

"Nice shorts, *Ringo,*" she said, looking just below
my waist.

It sucks to be a light-skinned blond for one reason,
besides the fact that you don't tan: when you blush,
you turn cherry red. [Ha, 'cherry' red is right.] 
And the first time you have a pretty woman staring at
your pineaple print boxers (my logic: who's going to
be seeing them, anyway?) is pretty damn embarrassing. 
Thus, I hurriedly put on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt
from the pile in the center of the floor.

"Welllll. What can I do for you, Ms...?"
Was this Byers' girlfriend?

"Call me Melinda. That's all you need to know for

"Excuse me a sec, ok?"

I booked it down the hall, banging on doors. Byers,
dressed in a skimpy towel, looked out with a blonde
bimbette behind him.

If she wasn't Byers' girl, then who was she? Shit.

- - - - -

The Gunmen, including a suitably dressed Byers, who
had sent the blonde packing, sat in the Nexus with
Melinda, who had to push a pile of papers off her seat
in order to be comfortable. Her face, when I dared to
catch a brief glimpse of it, still held a "don't mess
with me" look as she cleared her throat and spoke.

"Yves sent me," she said. 

Her attitude was natural superiority, which Frohike
raised an eyebrow at.

"I'm a grad student at Georgetown. Journalism and
computer science. Double major."

Byers raised his hand slowly. "So this means what to

"Yves thinks that you need a better writer on staff. 
Someone with 'official' training."

The three looked at me.

"What?" I said innocently. I'm a hacker, not a
natural writer. And since I'm the youngest, they make
*me* write copy.

"You'd go out and investigate, then bring me the
information, which I would turn into copy and layout
for 'Lone Gunmen.'"

"So you want to be our...girl Friday," Frohike stated.

"Sort of. I'm not a secretary, though. I'm not
making coffee for anyone."

"We can't pay you much," he continued in
publisher!mode, "Sometimes we can't even get the rag
off the loading dock."

"I'd work for free," Melinda said, grinning.
I looked at her with the famous Langly scowl,
guaranteed to kill any spirit.

"You might have to," I said cynically.

"Well, then I'll *deal* with it," she snapped back,
glaring at me.

Byers and Langly exchanged glances. "If you can also
deal like that with Langly ALL the time, you're in."
I rolled my eyes, turned back to the Pentium IV and
hit a key. A Ramones cover of "Needles and Pins" came
blaring out the speakers, just in time for me to
blatantly ignore all of them and lose myself in

- - - - -

So I spend all day working with computers. Does this
make me into a completely logical mind that has no
need for culture, that is, your stereotypical geekboy?

When I was little, back on that farm in Nebraska, my
mother would sing showtunes to me. 'Brigadoon,' 'King
and I,' 'Fiddler'...Never told anyone how much I
actually liked it. Listened to the records over and
over into my teen years, when I was informed how passe
it was to like that 'sap.'

The damage was done, though. I've long since
forgotten the lyrics, but the shows awakened a
romantic in this geek. The influence remains in me to
this day.

I told no one about my search for the One, though, not
even my best friends Byers and Frohike. I was afraid
that speaking it aloud would make it false.
That night, with a sudden flash of memory, I
downloaded a bootleg copy of the latest Broadway
"Brigadoon" from Usenet and watched it all. I didn't
realize why I did it until later. The main character,
Tommy feels that his life is wrong. He's unsettled in
a settled life. He doesn't know why nothing matters
to him anymore.

["I saw a man walking by the sea
Alone with the tide was he..."]

And that's just how I feel every moment of every day.
- - - - -

end part one

- - - - -

Part Two: With a Sigh

I sat at my computer every day for months,
researching, playing Age of Empires to reclaim my post
as King Langly the First. It didn't matter what I
did, as long as I could watch Melinda, sitting across
the room.

Her face, illuminated with the unearthly light of her

Her hands, typing something, with the percussive keys
clicking constantly. Writers and typists almost
always have thin, lovely hands. If you shake them,
you can feel the flexible strength within them. 
Melinda's were beautiful, except where her nails had
been bitten and ripped off.


"What do you want, Langly?"

"Never mind," I said, contemplating the prudence of
leaving her alone.

"Come _on_, Langly," she mockingly whined as she
turned her laptop off.

"Why did you choose US of all people to join in a
quest for knowledge? I don't see the appeal of
hanging out with three nerdy guys all day."

"Why not? I love writing, I love searching for the
truth. And..." She paused as if she was going to say
something, then reconsidered. "Hell, even you guys
have started to grow on me. You're good guys, though
it's obvious you haven't gotten laid in way too long,"
she said and laughed a little. I blushed. Luckily, she 
didn't notice, and continued

"So why not do the things I love and have fun."

Thinking she was finished, I turned back to Empires
and sicced a few armies on an invader.

"Besides," she said, "Pineapple boxers are a good

I wanted to crawl under the desk and die. 
Fortunately, the alarms went off at the front door and
I was...er...saved by the bell. Byers sprinted into 
the Nexus, tie tangled up and hair

"Get in the van, NOW! This way, Melinda. There's
been a security breach."

I looked at the computer screen again and sighed. I
was being coronated again...Frohike laughed as he saw

"Eat me, Doohickey." I unplugged my laptop and
Melinda saved her mysterious project, clutching the CD
to her like it was platinum.

"Let's book," she yelled to Byers over the sirens.

- - - - -

Maybe it was crazy, but at that moment, I saw here in
a different light. Her hair flying all over the
place, grabbing that disk like it was a life
preserver, elated by the heat of the moment. She
wasn't just another girl, she was part of the
Gunmen...even more than that to me.

We sprinted to the van, then huddled inside the dark
back end, the beeps of equipment in our ears. Suffice
it to say, it was cramped.

"Frohike, get your elbow out of my eye!"

"Once you get your mustache out of my EAR, Byers!"

Melinda, though, was strangely silent. Usually when
with all the guys, she joked and made sarcastic
remarks better than the rest of us. Today, she
suffered the dark in silence. In the shuffle of Byers
and Frohike, only I could hear her frantic
trembling...feel her descend into slow panic.

"Melinda?" I whispered with concern.

Her hand reached through the darkness, searching until
she found my face. Her fingers ran down my cheek,
like she was trying to see it with her hand. The
touch was light and shaky with her fear, that built up
and built up until...She screamed incoherently, words and phrases tumbling

"Please someone help, guys, I can't do it anymore..."

"I'm here, Melinda. We're all here to help," I said,
grabbing her hand.

I usually dislike touching people. I don't know why. 
This was different, though, familiar and part of

Frohike, who had left the van to investigate the
disturbance, returned and opened the side door of the
van. "What the hell is going on?"

"Melinda's had...a fright," Byers said. "Did you find
the problem?"

Yves Harlow appeared behind Frohike. "I was the
'problem,'" she said. She looked at Melinda, crouched
down and holding my hand tightly. "My god, I'm sorry.
I didn't know she'd be this bad off."

"What." I stated stonily.

"You see, there's something I didn't tell you about
Melinda. I shouldn't have just thrown her in like
this, but she needs your help soon."

"Why didn't you just ask, without putting us through a
charade," Byers sighed. "We would have helped her."

"It's not a charade," Melinda choked out. "I wanted
to work with you."

"Would you really have helped her? I doubt you would
have cared nearly as much."

I looked at the quietly sobbing Melinda, once so
strong and invincible, now broken down. It was
disconcerting and I felt pained.

"Why do *you* want to help? There's no profit in it,"
I spat.

Yves sighed. "Because it's my fault she's like this."
- - - - -

end part two

- - - - -