HANG TIME (1 of 1)
Author: Sue
Rating: PG
Category: Scully/Langly Friendship/Humor
Spoilers: Three of a Kind
Summary: 'Scarecrow' and Scully do Vegas.
Disclaimer: Everything in this story belongs
to 10-13 Productions and FOX. Everything
except Cher, and 'Believe', of course.

"Adventures With A Lone Gunman - Hang Time"

This foray into luckless land had gone
on long enough already. She was hungry,
and if she didn't put an end to it,
they'd be here all night. Scully
barraged Langly with lethal scowls meant
to wither his resolve. But they were
having no effect whatsoever. Why was he
being a mule?

"I don't gamble, Hackerman, and if your
current track record is any indication,
neither should you."

Having placed his chips where he thought
they'd do the most good, he turned to
face her. The lanky computer wizard's 
eyes pleaded with her to let him finish
what he'd started, behind their large,
black-framed windows to the world. His 
luck had to change sometime; why, it could
do so at any moment. Quitting now was out
of the question. If he were to quit now,
they'd win. He'd had it with this losing 
streak which was helping to clinch her
estimation of him. A big time loser, or
so he thought. He knew his idea was 
brilliant, and he needed all the help he
could get. He'd get her to do it. "It's
not like I'm asking you to roll 'em,
Scully. Just blow on 'em. For luck. Do
me this one favor?"

"ONE favor? I've already done too many of
them for your merry band, as it is."
Assessing him critically, she asked, "Have
you ever shot craps before?"

Langly rolled his narrowing eyes again, and
hotly retorted, "Electronically, virtually,
or in this reality? Man, you're a rock."
He patted the gaming table's slightly curved
lip. "Oh, come on. What can you lose just
giving up some breath? Help me win back a
fraction of what Byers blew at Poker.

She wagged her head, filled with wonder over
how he'd suddenly become such a talker, and
considered what was in it for her.
"Superstitious are we? A rock, am I? All
right. I'll humor you only because you're
going to promise me that after you lose yet
again, as you have at the roulette wheel, the
blackjack table and quite possibly every slot
machine between here and the bar, you'll come 
along. We'll locate, your two friends, that
is, if they haven't left your room, and you guys
will buy me the dinner that saves your
collective you-know-whats from getting kicked.
I want one very nice dinner in Vegas before we
blow this glitter palace. Those are my terms.
The three of you owe me large."

"Yeah, like, whatever," the undaunted Ramones
fan conceded. He held the dice a hair's breadth
from her pursed, salmon-tinted lips and waited.
"Blow already!"

She blew, and watched Langly, wispy golden locks
and all, whirl back around to the gaming table
in triumph. He let the dice fly with an expert
snap of his wrist and fingers. All eyes,
belonging to the expectant patrons ringed around 
the table, were glued to the dice as they bumped
to a rest against the opposite side.

"A natural winner!" the croupier heralded, and
the crowd cheered the latest shooter whose hand
looked as though it was starting to ignite.

"Snap, crackle, pop," Langly shouted. He high-
fived a man roughly his age, and on the spur of
the jubilant moment, spun around to grab Scully
about the waist. He hoisted her off the ground
in a heady bear hug.

"Langly, feel free to put me down any time now.
Preferably, right this moment, or I'll kick your
as..." not wishing to appear less than genteel,
she self-expurgated, "butt, here, in front of
your new friends." She smiled evilly.

Heeding, but looking like the mischievious kid he 
irresistably was, whenever he hacked, with
consummate aplomb, into the virtually <unhackable>,
say for an example, the Department of Defense, he
quickly set her down. "Like, sorry..."

Then, wasting no time, he re-positioned the entire
pile of newly-acquired chips on the spot which
would yield the highest pay off, if he hit the
same way he just had. Eyeing Scully again, he
wheedled, "We're on a roll, Scully. Work your
mojo, and do the honors again, will ya?"

"Wouldn't it be wiser to cash in the chips now
instead of squan-"

"No--not yet. The spotted cubies like you. Don't 
disappoint them." He rattled the dice in his
sweaty palm, and then held them before her the
way he had a minute ago. "Do it again, Scully.
Poppa needs--"

"His head examined." She blew on the cubes and
glared at him. "I don't see why you have to bet
all the ch--"

Before she could finish, he had already rolled the

The rooters 'round the craps table issued a
collective, "OH...TOO BAD," and Langly swore
loudly enough for Scully to nail him with a
disgusted look.

"No!" he boomed, a determined looking gleam
twinkled in his eyes. "That's NOT how the game
is played. Go for broke." He took up the dice
again, hoping, it wouldn't be the last time he'd
be rolling them. "It's the hard way, or hit the 
highway. All or nothing. That's how the game is
played, Scully." He put the dice near her mouth
once more. "You should know, or have you changed
your line of work recently? Now, hit me again,
Lucky Lady," Langly inveigled.

As though his entire mezmerizing manner had her
enthralled, seeing a side of him she never knew
lurked beneath the hippie act, she nodded in
compliance, and gently blew into his palm.

"Roll that six, Langly," she said impetuously
in a boisterous voice, flinging herself into the
spirit of things.

"My King Fu's the best."

The entire roll sequence, once the dice left his
hand, banked off the far end of the cushioned
table with their coming up snake eyes, seemed to
play out in slow motion. The croupier, who had
taken a shine to the refugee from Woodstock,
sounding something akin to melancholy, stated the

"Craps!" Langly squeezed through gritted teeth.
He shut his eyes tight, loath to see his pittance
of a fortune being spirited away. When a vivacious
young woman with jet black, very short-cropped hair,
and fiery red lips blew him a kiss and mouthed the
words, 'tough luck, sweetie,' he balled his large
hands into fists and banged them into the table's
lip in raw frustration. Was there no end?

"Let's go, Langly." For a moment, Scully wondered
if he and the girl knew each other.

"Just once before we're outta here, I want to catch
a break. I'm not greedy. Just one itty bitty break.
Is that too much to ask?" He stared at his hands a
moment before thrusting them into the empty pockets
of his jacket. "So close, yet so far. That's how
it's been since we hit Vegas. Scully,...uh...hmmm...do
you have any money?"

"Come on," she encouraged. Taking his hand, she pulled
him along. "Let's get out of this den of pilferage
before any more 'lucky stuff' happens." She couldn't
explain it, but she started feeling sorry for him when
she thought she saw his lower lip quiver. "Look,
since it's our last night here, I'll even forget about
kicking your butt. Frohike's and Byers' are still right
up there, in line, though. Hey, to show what
a sport I am, I'll treat you to dinner. What do
you say?"

The zombie quality, when reality wasn't worth
dealing with, put in an appearance and the
disgruntled systems genius scarsely felt Scully
tugging him after her. All he kept thinking was
maybe the dice were rigged. Maybe?

They were deep in one-armed bandit territory when
Langly stopped dead in his tracks, jerking Scully
to an abrupt halt. He stooped, scooped up what
had caught his eye, and shot up to his full six
foot height, grinning.

"Back in business," he rejoiced, clutching
somebody's lost fifty-cent piece. Turning the
tables, he seized her hand, and led her to a slot
machine whose one-shot pay off was forty-five
hundred buckeroos. Before handing her the coin,
he kissed it, and wanted her to do the same.

"I will not!" she petulantly objected. Then,
relenting, she kissed her pinky finger and
touched the coin with it.

Aggressively, Langly ordered, "Drop it in
and pull the lever, Scully." There was no
'please,' tacked on to the end of his demand
this time. She marveled at the military
commander intonation of his delivery.

"Your faith in my ability to effect good fortune
is nonpareil," she said drily and sighed. "Okay,
I'm only doing this because you put on such a
brave face, assisting me with your friend Jimmy's
impromptu autopsy. Brave that is, before you
ran out puking." Shrugging, she slipped the 
coin in the slot, gave the lever a forceful pull
down and, together, they watched the machine go
through its paces.

Langly held his breath, through the face he'd
made in response to her partially-processed
comment, as the first element zinged, then locked
into place. Next, the second element, the first's
exact match, quickly followed suit. He placed
his hand on Scully's shoulder and gripped the 
bone hard. "Ouch!" she cried, "hey--lighten up.
I'd like to use my arm in later life, when I'm
rolling my wheelchair."

The third element, the first two's twin, whizzed
past their eyes, and he gulped. Bemused Special
Agent, and anxious, Lone Gunman stared transfixedly
as it looked as though it would hunker down with
its look-alikes.

Until, the neon-yellow little pineapple jammed
between big win and zippo; try again, palie.
No dice.

Beside himself with disbelief mingled with
utter chagrin, Langly smashed the side of
the one-armed bandit as the cheater had it
coming. The thudding wallop caught the attention
of a patrolling security guard, and Scully, with
her presence of mind never more than a blink away,
checked around them, and noticed his noticing.
Reading the look on the guard's face loud and
clear, she nudged her seething companion.

"Wacking these shiny toys is really frowned on,
Langly. Let's leave, as in now, before our luck
really runs out, and we get into serious trouble.
I've flashed my badge too many times for one day.
I'm starting to get a reputation...the redhead
who thinks she's J. Edgar."

"We were ROBBED, man!" Langly whined.

This time she had to agree. "I know, I kno..."
Her eyes bugged then, as a queer noise rattled
in her ears. "What the..."

"Scully, LOOK!"

The slot machine began disgorging a sparkling
torrent of bright, beautiful silver dollars,
after the fickle little pineapple had 'plinked,'
following its fortuitous shift into pay off position.
Astounded, Langly stripped off his jacket and
tee-shirt, and used them in combination to catch 
the shimmering, cascading downpour.

"You did it," she breathed in utter surprise.
She gazed upon him in sheer amazement. But, when
he looked up at her with a -- I could use your
help much, now get into it -- expression, she
assisted him with scooping up the plentiful
run-off by manning the jacket.

"Bite me--breaking over even feels real good,
man. Thanks, Scully," Langly said in a short
burst of breath, trying to catch his, as well
as the burgeoning coins, at the same time.
"I owe you large for busting up my losing
streak. I'll cut you in, don't worry."

"Don't thank me, I just did what you told me.
I merely dropped and pulled--".

"And kissed, the most critical factor," Langly

"As you told me to...although," she thoughtfully
opined, "if you really feel the need to thank me,
and you're waxing generous...go with it. I'll
accept some of the loot, sure. It'll defray the
cost involved in getting me out here under very
false pretenses."

Out of the corner of his eye, Langly spied the
flintly-faced security guard advancing. "Muscle's
on the move to deprive us of the booty. Let's
beat it." He lurched to his feet and started
moving off from the windfall site.

"I've got your back, Scarecrow," Scully assured,
calling after him and followed closely on his heels.
"I'm not leaving this great big casino they call
a town, without some satisfaction of the financial
kind. I think some of you has rubbed off. As
you said, just once an even break?"

Their fleetness and agility helped them lose their
tail, and once they'd made it into the only waiting
elevator, of the elevator bank, Langly pressed
the button for the floor the Gunmen were on. As
the doors closed, he said, "Best pay back I've
had in a long while." He hefted his bulging
tee-shirt, now serving as a sachel, and smiled
the biggest smile Scully had ever seen him wear.
"Told you I'd get lucky if you hung out with me."

She was sure he'd meant that in a purely Vegas
venacular sort of way, so she smiled too, although,
she wasn't one hundred percent certain, as she
stood with him in all his bare chested glory.
She didn't know him that well, after all.

"Without reservation, I'll say besting one of
those coin guzzlers at its own game beats being
deep frozen beneath the Antarctic, any day of the
week, Hackerman."

"Yeah, I bet."

"You don't mind my calling you Hackerman, do
you, Langly?" she said, for the first time,
sounding genuinely a tad more respectful than
she had sounded when they'd first headed out
together having decided, earlier that evening,
that killing a few hours with him had to be better
than sitting and watching Frohike download some
stale plug-ins, which had gotten boring, real
fast. Nonchalantly, she stuffed a number of
the coins she was carrying with his jacket into
the spaces of the shirt where there was room,
since the cotton had more give.

Shaking his head adamantly, he replied, "We're
cool. Knock yourself out, Scully." He stood
up straight as though being called to attention.
"Hackerman, at your service, ma'am. My Kung
Fu's the best."

"So you keep saying." She found herself
laughing along with him then, knowing that
if Mulder were here, he'd be laughing too. She
couldn't help but think, as they rode up, that
this normally reticent, and at times, at least 
that's how he seemed to her, shy, 'puzzle' under
all that hair, who bopped to the beat of a, no,
perhaps several different drummers, wasn't the
total geek Mulder usually made him out to be.
Despite Langly being one of his closest friends.

He certainly wasn't old Mister Laconic tonight.

"I've always been meaning to ask you, Langly. 
What exactly is 'Kung Fu'? I mean the way you
guys use the term."

"Oh, it's just hackerspeak."

"Well, I figured that, but what does it mean

The elevator stopped on the floor, and as they got
off, he answered breezily, "You still wanna buy
me dinner? After we divvy up the bread, that is.
I'll explain 'Kung Fu' in detail, then. Check it
out, without at least some decent Kung Fu
one-oh-one, you can't even hack into a compressed 
hotel registry. A proper definition that does
justice to the awesome totality of 'Fu' takes some
time; 'specially when you get into the more complex
aspects of multi-gradation levels, encompassing
its duplistic gradients of continuity. Okay?"

**WHAT** Feeling somewhat dizzy then, Scully
nodded, deciding to indulge him, if only to
discover whether or not he was putting her on
with jargon such as that which could cause any
layman or, woman, a serious nosebleed.

"Fine," she breezed back. "It sounds complicated,
but complicated's good when I'm in the mood to
handle it. I trust you'll break it down in
language that doesn't sail way over my head.
I'm a medical doctor, not a magician. But, I
really want to understand how you pull off those
mind bending hacker feats of yours."

He gave her an odd look, never figuring she'd be
the least bit interested in what made his world
go 'round. "Yeah, like sure. Knowing some
'weasels' might come in handy if you have to
hack solo sometime." Changing the subject then,
he continued, "By' and 'Hike are gonna freak-out
when they see all this manna. I told those guys
I know what I'm doing."

When they stood at the door of his room, Scully
knocked. Receiving no answer, she said, "Guess
your cronies are out. Tell you what, I'll treat
you to dinner, you treat me. Fair?"

"We're squared."

"Do you have the key to the room?"

Langly frowned. "No. They never let me hold
the key."

"Okay, we'll go to my room, put the money in my...


"Come on, what is it?"

"I can trust you, right?"

"LANGLY! I'm hurt! I'm an FBI Special Agent!
A good guy, remember? And I'm one of Mulder's
most trustworthy friends. He'd vouch for my
honesty, and strength of character in a
heartbeat. Of course you can trust me! How
could you think I'd rip you off?"

"Sorry, man, it's just that other than seeing
you when you come by with Mulder to dredge up
info for you guys...I don't really know YOU
that wel..." He discerned it was pointless
to continue this thread of conversation by the 
incredulous look, and what really did register
as hurt, in her eyes. In fact, he realized in
that instant, that he regretted he'd used his
mouth so thoughtlessly. "Like, forget it. I
trust you. 'Kay? Just trippin'."

Scully sniffed in that uppercrust way she used
effectively on Mulder when he got on her nerves,
knowing that Langly had voiced his concern in
earnest. "Okay, then. Now that that's settled.
My room: I have a small carrying case. I'll
dump it, you put the money in, don your shirt
and jacket, and we go to dinner. Done deal?"


They were just about to head for the elevator
when its doors parted and the other two Gunmen
stepped out.

Hurrying up to them, Frohike scanned Langly up
and down, with Byers securely at his side. "Lose
your shirt again, Lang?" the diminutive man
badgered, wondering what the delectable Agent
Scully was doing with his half-naked bud.

"Ha-ha a real joke--not," Langly countered.
"Yeah, Frohike, but it isn't the way you think."
He made a face at the gnome, and then lifted
his bundle to cover his chest.

"What's that you're holding?" Byers inquired,
poking curiously at the bulging contents of the
makeshift sack. "That's your tee-shirt isn't
it? And what's Scully doing with your jacket?"

"Nosy, aren't they?" Langly said to Scully. She
stifled a tiny giggle when she detected that Langly
had thrust out his chest to reply, "Four thousand
five hundred smackeroos in change." Throwing the
Fed a conspiratorial look, he went on, "Scully and
I broke the bank. She's better than a rabbit's
foot necklace, and a four-leaf clover nose ring."

"Broke the slot machine, is more like it," she
clarified with a qualifying raise of her eyebrow
for dramatic effect.

"So...that's what all the ruckus is about," Frohike
said, viewing the petitely tempting Special Agent
in a wholly new light. "The casino buzz is that
a redhaired knockout and the long-haired string
bean she was with, 'spotted' a slot that hadn't
paid off since October sixth, nineteen ninety-seven."

"We be them," Langly said proudly.

"I can confirm that," Scully chimed in. "It's
truly been a team effort." Switching gears then,
"So, uh, Hackerman, are we still on for dinner?"

Frohike gaped wide and did a double take.

"On. I'm down with it. We're copasetic." He took
the large canvas shopping bag of paraphernalia from
the Def-Con convention Byers was holding. He
stuffed some of the coins into his pants pockets
and poured the rest into it. Once Scully emptied
the loot she had into the bag, she handed his
jacket back to him. After he put his clothes back
on, he said, "All set. Let's hit it." He proffered
his arm, every bit the perfect gentleman, which made
Scully grin, and, together, they started moving off
for the elevator.

"See you later, guys," Scully called back to Byers
and her unhappy admirer. "Oh, and Langly says
I get a cut, so split it--"

"Scully gets half," Langly edged in, sounding
insistent. "Does that cover saving ALL our cans
from being kicked?"

"Wow! Saves and kisses," she gasped, shocked big time. 
The no nonsense Scully mask dropped securely into place. 
"You-hey, you don't have to...let's not get weird, here. 
You're the gambler. Technically, it was your fifty
cents. I was just along for the ride. That's way
too muc--"

"No, it's okay. You deserve it. You helped us
handle the Modeski situation. You broke my dry
spell. And you've held off kicking us black and
blue, up till now. You're all right."

Langly smiled suddenly then, truly setting a
precedent for his smiling and grinning so much in
one twenty-four hour time period. "We can discuss
the butt kissing later. Now, to address your question
regarding 'Kung Fu'...you see, once upon a time,
when the world was a mainframe..."

After they'd disappeared behind the elevator doors,
Frohike ran his hand over his head and griped,
"Langly? Having dinner with the disturbingly
intoxicating Agent Scully? The cosmic forces as
we've known them have been irrevocably skewed this
night, man."

"Get over it," Byers advised, unlocking the door
to their room. "This is Vegas. Anything can
happen in Vegas. Did I tell you I witnessed
a grand total of seven Elvii helping a little
old lady across the street this afternoon?"

"No, pal, I missed out."

"Well, it's true. I did. And I'm holding the
proof of how a man can come to this town and
nearly lose his shirt, but in less than twenty-
four hours land a windfall. After we process
his winnings, we have to finish downloading
the latest 'mock-ups' we got from Jimmy's friend
before we go home. They're just what's needed
to complete the favor we promised Mulder."

"Langly should be doing that," Frohike complained
with a hard-edged pout, "not having a cozy
tete-a-tete with MY favorite, indescribably
delicious Special Agent. Her attentive dinner
companion for the evening should be me, not
somebody who looks like he's had one bad trip too

"YOUR favorite, indescribably delicious Special
Agent?" Byers mocked, and gave him a pointed
look. "Get with the program, Melvin. Aren't
you forgetting Mulder? You know they're a thing."

"Me, forget? Ha! It sure appears SOMEBODIES
have forgotten who's supposed to be with whom,
tonight," Frohike growled, slamming, the door
behind them. Out of Byers' earshot, he mumbled,
"I'm telling..."

12 Midnight
Outside of Scully's room.

"Thanks for everything, Langly. Thanks for the
great dinner, and my not having to pay for any of
it, the thorough, yet very understandable
explanation of 'Kung Fu', the exciting show.
Wasn't Cher fantastic? The way she sings 'Believe'
is stellar." Scully's mind began replaying the
words of the hook she loved to hum...'Do you
believe in love, after love? I can feel something
inside me say ...I really don't think you're strong
enough, no...'

"Totally boss," her amenable companion for the
evening agreed, nodding enthusiastically. "Hey,
when we get back home, I'll show you some other
practical applications for 'Fu' at the lab."

"I'd like that." She drew in a little closer to
him. "Most of all, thank you for the two thousand
two hundred and fifty smackers. You're too much!"

"Me and the guys never really apologized for
tricking you, to drag you out here under false
pretenses. Electronically using the identity of
our best bud in vain. I'll make sure Frohike and
Byers', especially Bye' *never* try something
lame like that again. We get carried away sometimes.
So, don't mention it. I'll get your cut to you

Scully shook her head. "But, I must mention it.
I really wasn't angry, angry. Just annoyed. Okay,
VERY annoyed. I'm like that. I've got a short
fuse, it's all this red hair, but eventually I
get over it, and move on. OOOhkay, uh, at least
I'm trying to get over things more quickly.
Well...more quickly than I used to. I guess you'd
have to ask Mulder if I'm succeeding."

She studied his attentive looking face several
moments more, and then, sensing a certain, almost
adolescent shyness creeping into him, she started
drawing away, not wanting him to think she was
putting any moves on him. But, he didn't allow
her to, and he stepped in closer, reaching for her
hand to give her a hearty handshake.

"Yeah, I'm like that too with the short fuse thing.
Maybe, I've got the soul of a redhead. Thanks for
hanging with me. Like I said before, you're all
right, Scully..."

"You're pretty all right yourself, Langly..."
They stopped shaking hands, but neither one removed
their hands from each other's grip. "What time's
your flight?"

"Seven in the morning. Sharp, supposedly. What
time's yours?"


"Why don't you see if you can get stand-by for
our flight? Then, we can all fly back together,"
Langly said, looking optimistic.

"Maybe I will."

When it dawned on him that they were still holding
hands, he fidgeted and nervously began, "Well,
guess it's goodnight. Hey, like, if doing stand-by
doesn't grab ya, I'll stop by tomorrow before we
leave to give you the bread." He started to
extract his hand from hers, but she prevented him
from doing so.

"No, you don't have to. I'll come by at, say,
five forty-five. I think I will wait on stand-by
for your flight. I really hate flying, and flying
with strangers psyches me out."

Looking surprised, and schoolboy-pleased at the
same time, he said, "Solid!"

In earnest, then, he began undoing his hand from
hers, but not before, much to his complete
consternation, she strained, on tiptoes, to reach
his cheek to kiss it. He knew she saw him blush.

"Goodnight, Langly, and thanks again. It's been
fun. Fun, as in I haven't had such in a long,
long time. We've got to do it again, sometime.
Catch you guys in the A.M." Hurriedly, she
spun around, had the key in the lock, opened the
door with dispatch, and slipped away. On the other 
side of the door, she stood with her back against
it, bit her lower lip and chuckled. Softly, she
said, "'Night, Cutie..."

About three minutes later, Langly was still
standing there at her door, as though rooted to
the spot. With a slight tremor to his hand,
he touched the cheek she'd just kissed with her
feather soft lips and chuckled too.

"Wow," he whispered, smiling the widest face
stretcher he'd ever smiled in his entire life,
"she's _awesome_." While he waited at the elevator,
he looked back to her room and muttered, "I dunno,
but maybe Mulder should cut her some slack, man...
She's not all that icy." The 'ding' of the elevator
arriving brought him around, and as he stepped into
the car, he thought, 'Wonder if she'd go out with
me again?'