Part Gunfic-Part Skinnerfic, a healthy dose of both!
Title: Runaway (1/3)
Author: Amazon X
Feedback: It's necessary for me to become a better
writer. What did you like? What didn't you like? How can
I make it better?
Category: Drama, Relationship, Episode Related
Spoilers: "SR 819", vague reference to the Gunmen scenes
of "Existence" and 
"Anasazi" and of The Lone Gunmen series "Bond, Jimmy Bond"
Rating: R, for language
Summary: Langly befriends a street kid who holds
Skinner's life in her hands.

Archive: Tell me where my children live is all I ask,
along with my 'nym.

Disclaimer: All characters from The X Files and The Lone
Gunmen belong to Chris, 1013 and Fox. I'm not here for the
money, just the love. Frankie's mine.

Notes: This takes place pre-season 9, which means it's
got a Rat (Krycek). I figger, it's around the end of Season 7, and since there's
no time-frame of  "The Lone Gunmen" since Mulder appeared in their
season/series finale, it's possible, that Alternate Universe, didn't include the
abduction, so mine doesn't.

Author's Notes: Thank you with all my heart to my two
betas, firstly, Everly Dawn, the bestest girl of eva was,
and to the new kid in town, Cynth, who is there for me
since Eve has way too much on her plate right now. This
plot bunny shit on my carpet, with just the image of Frohike holding
the kid's arm, asking about her making it to the shelter before they ran
out of beds. It flew out of my fingers pretty fast, but was hanging around
for a while.  Thankfully, it's out there and I hope it helps answer that
damn question, just what did happen with those damn nano-cytes?


"She'll be here any minute," Langly said, trying to calm
Frohike. "Look, when I ask her to do stuff, she does it. 
Never mind about anything else, OK?"

Frohike shook his head. What did they know about this
little girl beside the fact that she was in awe of the
blond hacker? He'd gotten her out of a jam, erasing her JD
warrants. When she went to court on a possession charge,
she was let off easy, since it seemed no one was looking
for her. Then she proceeded to disappear on Langly, which
she was known to do on a regular basis. But she showed up
periodically to swipe various things for him. He would
usually buy her lunch or dinner for that. He wasn't
interested in her in a romantic way, since he had a good
decade on her in age. But he wanted to make sure she was
fed, at least. He didn't want to tell Frohike and Byers
that she was a 
street kid, but Langly had the feeling that Frohike knew. 
Byers, maybe he had an idea.

The doorbell buzzed. Langly looked at the monitor-it was
her. He could tell, even from the fuzzy image on the dusty
screen. He opened the door and she looked up at him, no
expression in her eyes. Street kids show no emotion, it
gives away their weaknesses.

"You got it?" he asked.

"You doubt me?" she spat back.

He stepped back to allow her in, giving her a wide berth,
with a sweep of his arm. She wore a large black fatigue
jacket, baggy, dirty jeans and black combat boots. She
never took her jacket off in the offices. Langly figured
she kept most of her possessions in there. And in the red
backpack that never left her shoulders. She looked at
Frohike and Byers with the same stoic gaze, through her

Byers smiled and said, "How are you today, Frankie?"

She continued to stare at him. Always in a suit, always in
a tie--not like the blond one, she thought, with a mental


Frankie almost never spoke to them, and if she did, one
word sufficed her. She liked Langly, but the others, they
were kinda freaky, all living together. The Fibbie was
there, too…and a redhead. What the hell? she thought, a
feeling of unease beginning to creep into her mind. 
Frankie turned to the table she knew Langly worked from and
laid the little black unit on the top. Then, without
another word, she abruptly walked away toward the door. 
She stood by it, hoping that they would open it and let her

"How did you get that?" the redhead asked Frankie, moving
in her direction.

"I got it. Look, I gotta go, okay?" she said with her back
to the room, praying to get out quickly. The guy Fibbie
grabbed her arm and spun her around to face everyone. How
did he creep up on me like that? she considered a moment.

"This thing holds my friend's life in its memory chips. I
want to know exactly how you got your hands on it and whom
you took it from. Start talking."

Frankie pulled her arm away from him. "Fuck you, I don't
hafta tell you anything."

She turned back toward the door and a man who she hadn't
met yet blocked her way. She fumed, How do these people
keep sneaking up on me?

He was a little taller than Langly, kind of muscular with
short-cropped blond hair that was darker than Langly's. 
And he had clearer blue eyes, deeper, but not like that
bearded guy's eyes. These looked harsh.

"Mulder and Agent Scully both asked you questions. And you
don't get out until you answer them," the big blond said.

She turned to Langly.

"Who the fuck…"

"That's Jimmy," Langly explained. "He's new on the staff. 
And he used to play football. So, you're not getting out
of here. Just tell them. It's okay. No one's gonna hurt

Frankie took a deep breath. Her hair was hanging in her
face, a mass of brown and black braids and stringy strands.
She didn't bother to tuck it away from her face, happy
that they couldn't get a good look at her. Any law
enforcement was always a problem and the less these Fibbies
could make out of her description was good, she considered.

Scully stepped forward and, taking Mulder's arm, said,
"Enough, Mulder, back off. She's obviously on our side. 
She brought the PDA here, didn't she?" Scully stepped
forward toward Frankie, strategically in front of Mulder
and asked, "Can I call you Frankie?"

Frankie shrugged. So, they screw and she's in charge, huh?
she gathered of the couple standing before of her.

"Well then, may I speak with you alone? We can have
something to eat upstairs." 
Scully indicated the stairs toward the private living area.
Frankie had never been that far into the building before.

The thought of food tempted Frankie greatly. She wanted to
stuff herself since her next meal was anyone's guess, but
the last thing she wanted to do was show any kind of need
to this woman, someone she didn't even know. Reluctantly,
she nodded, followed the shorter woman up a flight of
stairs to a kitchen, and looked behind her at the stunned
group of onlookers.

"Have a seat," Scully offered. "I'm Special Agent Dana
Scully and I work for the FBI."

Frankie acted as if she hadn't even heard what Scully said.

Scully began to go through the cabinets as Frankie dropped
into a chair. There wasn't much, but she did find bread
and peanut butter. The fridge wasn't as scary as Scully
would have thought, but there was jelly. They had the
basics. Then again, Mr. Huevos Rancheros did love his
Emeril and Alton Brown. She was surprised by the lack of
food. Frohike probably hadn't gotten Jimmy and Byers to go
shopping yet.

"I wish I could offer you more, but this isn’t my kitchen."

Frankie shrugged again, then all but inhaled the sandwich. 
Scully put a can of Mountain Dew, most likely Langly's, in
front of her and the girl guzzled it down.

"So, would you like to tell me how you managed to get the
PDA?" Scully asked, sitting across the table from Frankie.

"I ripped it off that guy. The one who wears the green
jacket like mine. He's all freaky looking, beard and long
hair. Why?"

"How did you get it from him?" Scully asked leaning
forward to show interest and attention.

Frankie shrugged. "He hangs outside that big building in
Arlington. I followed him, watched him a while, then just
rushed him and I grabbed it. My buds helped me. We all
were like running down the street, mobbed him and I took
off with it. His hair is a wig, too. You can tell."

"And are you sure you got the right one?"

"I saw him use it. That's the only one he had."

"You've saved a man's life, you know." Scully smiled at
the girl. "He's my boss…and my friend. The information in
that PDA will be very helpful. I think he's on his way
here to see it, and if I heard Mulder on the phone
correctly, to meet you."

Byers appeared in the doorway. "Mr. Skinner will be here
shortly. He asked that our guest remain on premises to be
properly greeted."

Frankie didn't acknowledge the statement. She knew the
goon wasn't gonna let her leave so she was stuck anyway. 
She looked at her watch--a cheap $2 watch, but it kept time
well enough; half past eight, she needed to go soon.

Scully followed Frankie down the stairs, amused as the girl
climbed on a worktable. Frankie huddled herself into a
ball, hugging her knees to her chest, and was convinced
this wasn't going to be fun. Plus, she knew it was going
to be cold out that night.

Skinner arrived within the half-hour, looking very tired. 

"So? What’s the story?" Skinner asked, quickly, a note of
impatience in his voice.

He still wasn't completely healthy after being released
from the hospital. But he had made his way back to his
office and was working again. Dressed in one of his old
Marines sweatshirts, jeans, and loosely tied Timberlands,
he looked like a different person. Everyone in the room
had seen him before, in his AD "tight-ass" attire, but was
taken by surprise by his difference in appearance. As soon
as he was in the door, he went straight to Langly, who had
attached wires from the PDA into his laptop.

"Well," Langly began, "it's definitely not a Palm Pilot. 
It's got some hairy programming. I'm gonna work on it for
a while and see what I can come up with."

"Don't kill me in the process," he said, half
sarcastically. They weren't sometimes known as the Three
Stooges for nothing, Skinner thought. Then again, they
were also known as the Three Wise Men, in most of the
circles they traveled in.

"Mr. Skinner, I'm hurt," Langly teased. He put his hand on
his chest and his face contorted in mock pain. "The first
thing I did was disable the send capability. You think I
want a federal murder rap on my back? I got enough
warrants out on me."

"Well, you won't have to worry about that anymore. You
make sure that thing will harm neither myself nor anyone
else and your record will be cleared. I guarantee it." 

Skinner took a deep breath. He turned to Frankie and
looked right at her. "Now, are you the young lady who got
her hands on that?" He didn't even look away from Langly,
how did he know I was here? she demanded of herself. She
was beginning to think that she was out of her depth with
these Fibbies. They moved and acted faster than she could
react to keep the upper hand for herself.

Skinner actually had to look up at Frankie where she sat. 
He could see she had gray eyes, cloudy and kind of red. 
The smudges of dirt on her face and hands told him not only
hadn't she done laundry in a while, but she hadn't bathed
either. And through all this scrutiny, Frankie didn't
acknowledge him, only looked down at her watch.

Through her bangs, Frankie checked out this new guy
carefully. He was Jimmy's 
height, but if anyone could be bigger, this guy was. She
thought he looked like he snapped logs in half for fun. 
Bald head, with a little left in the back that was going
gray, and those little wire-rimmed glasses that everyone
wears now, he was just like any other old man, though
Frankie. She wondered for a moment where and when she had
lost her glasses, time in the streets being a little hazy. 
She quickly dismissed the thought. She did notice his face
was strong and hard. Yet, he was looking at her like she
was a real person or something close to it.

"Look, I gotta split. It's late and it's gonna be cold

She moved to jump from the table but Frohike grabbed her
hand. She turned to him and he could see the wild fear in
her eyes. This kid had issues, he thought.

"Frankie, why are you so worried about the time?" Frohike
asked, keeping his voice calm and quiet, but firm.

"I gotta go, okay?"

"So you can make sure you have a bed at the shelter?"

There, he said it. Only the incessant tapping of keys on
Langly's laptop broke the silence in the room. He
continued to type, thankful he could hack and listen at the
same time. Frankie pulled her hand from Frohike's grip,
but she didn't move from the table. 

Byers stepped toward her cautiously. "If that's the case,
then you're staying here tonight," the bearded man said,
with a voice so soft and gentle, it was almost comforting. 
Frankie turned to him as he continued, "I can't let you out
of here and not know if you're going to be safe. You've
done far too many favors for us not to offer you a proper
place to sleep."

For the first time since she'd visited them, Frankie swiped
her hair from her face and tucked the long dirty strands
behind her ear. Byers wasn't surprised to find she was a
lovely young lady, behind the hair and dirt. Skinner took
her hand, disregarding the dirt, and looked into her eyes,
but she pulled it back quickly.

"I won't hurt you, Frankie…I won't let anyone hurt you. 
You saved my life getting that PDA. And do you realize you
may have saved many others? You're a very brave girl."

Scully stepped forward, her doctor instincts taking over. 
She could see in Frankie's eyes all the terror caused by
all the attention. People she didn't know were reaching
out to touch her, and she was trapped in the warehouse with
Jimmy standing guard at the door. Scully thought Frankie
must be frightened worse than she had ever been before.

"All right, everyone, back off," Scully commanded, taking
over the situation. The men all stepped back from her. 
Only Scully stood before her. "Do you have a place to
sleep tonight, Frankie?"

Frankie shook her head no.

"Then maybe you should consider Byers' offer. I can tell
you truthfully, you will be safer here than in any shelter
or any other place you can think of. No one from the
outside can get in. And no one inside would consider
harming you in any way. I trust these men. I've had to
trust them with my life before. And they haven't
disappointed me yet. Will you stay?"

Considering the redhead's words carefully, Frankie nodded
her assent. The lady was pretty decent so far.

"I need a shower, too," the girl admitted quietly. Scully

"I'm going to take your guest upstairs and show her around,
gentlemen," Scully 
informed everyone. "Where is she staying?" She directed
her question at Frohike.

"I'll work on that," Jimmy said, taking his cue from
Frohike's silent nod in his direction.

Skinner walked to the door and said, "I have some things to
do. I'll be back in a while. Langly, keep working on that

"Yes, sir," Langly mockingly saluted the man, who didn't
laugh at the insult before slipping out and disappearing.

Frankie followed Scully back up the stairs and further into
the house. Scully showed her the bathroom first. Frankie
was impressed that it was rather clean, knowing that Langly
was a slob. Bet that Byers guy probably cleaned it,
Frankie thought. Scully walked out and said, "How about a
place to do your laundry, too?"

Scully revealed a closet that had a washer and dryer in it.

"What'll I wear?" Frankie asked, concernedly.

"I'll get you something."

Carefully, Scully coaxed the young girl to undress. 
Frankie hesitated a moment, not sure what the other woman's
intentions were.

"Frankie, I'm a doctor. My interest is purely medical. I
want to make sure you’re not ill."

Frankie looked skeptically at Scully, but realized she had
nothing to lose at this point. Dropping her large coat on
the bathroom floor, Frankie revealed the many layers of
clothing she wore to insulate her. After kicking off her
boots and dragging two pairs of socks off, she dropped the
oversized jeans on the floor, followed by a hooded
sweatshirt. Next went a pair of sweatpants and another
sweatshirt. Lastly, Frankie, taking a deep breath to
steady her nerves, pulled down a pair of cotton leggings
and slipped a long sleeve cotton Henley off. Looking
Scully in the eye, wearing only a t-shirt and no underwear
of any kind, she garnered her last reserve of strength and
slipped her t-shirt off. Immediately, her arms came up to
shield her body from Scully's eyes.

Scully's heart broke when she saw how painfully thin
Frankie was. Her ribs and hips poked out against skin that
should be almost white but too dirty to tell. There were
random scars, some looked like stab wounds or slices from
various sharp instruments. But there was nothing to cause
the agent to think Frankie needed immediate medical
attention. Scully turned to go to the door, but Frankie
grabbed her arm. Scully turned back around to see that
Frankie had crossed her arms over her chest again, more for
comfort than for modesty.

"Do you think they have a spare razor?" the girl asked,

"I'm sure they do. I'm going to go find you something to
wear. Why don't you raid the vanity closet and see. I'll
let them know you used one."

"Okay. Um…thanks. This is really cool of you, and them."

"Kindness is always returned in kind."

Scully left the bathroom. She heard the lock click into
place as she walked down the hall. As Scully passed
Frohike's room, he walked out and intercepted her in the
hall. He had his blue bunny pajamas in his hands.

"Give her these. They're women's pajamas, anyway."

Scully could see the admission was embarrassing for her
friend. She took the clothes and looked at them.

"Why do you wear women's pajamas?" she asked, finally
deciding to risk the question after years of speculation.

"It's hard to find comfy jammies in my size. Women's are
just nicer to sleep in. And I'm old and weird enough to
get away with it. But, she can have them." He turned to
go, but ended up turning right around again to ask, "Is she
all right?"

"She's not hurt, but she has been. And she's far too thin.
I'll bet she hasn't had a normal period in months."

Frohike blushed and turned his face away. Scully realized
her slip, forgetting she wasn't speaking to another medical
professional, or Mulder for that matter, with whom she knew
she could always speak freely.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that. It's just I'm
worried about her. She's so young," Scully said, shaking
her head. "As soon as she gets a little settled, she
should see a doctor for a full work up, blood and
everything. I'm sure it's been more than half her life
since that's been done for her."

"Why don't we take it one day at a time, Dr. Scully?" he
said, while looking over the rim of his glasses at her. 
She blushed and smiled at him.

"I just seem to be saying all the wrong things to you. I'm
sorry, Frohike."

"Quite all right, my dear. I'm going back downstairs. 
Tell our lovely guest to join us when she's finished." 
Frohike patted Scully's shoulder in friendship.

Scully nodded, then went back to the bathroom door and
rapped lightly. She could hear Frankie in the bathtub,
probably soaking. "Frankie, I'm going to leave a pair of
pajamas for you to wear tonight outside the door. They're
Frohike's but he guarantees they'll fit. We're all going
to wait downstairs. You have the whole floor to yourself."

"Thanks," Scully heard through the locked door. 

She went back to the first floor. Skinner had returned and
in his hands he held a Queen-sized Aerobed and Tommy
Hilfiger fresh linens for it. Scully was impressed,
knowing he must have spent quite a bit of money on that. 
The bed was huge, with an inflatable platform to it, so she
wouldn't sleep directly on the floor. He was talking to
Byers and Jimmy about where to set it up. Byers was
thankful for the purchase since the only other option for
Frankie would have been an old Army cot. Mulder and Langly
were still working on the PDA. Frohike was reading some
websites about child welfare in Maryland. Scully looked up
at her boss.

"This wasn't necessary, sir. I'm sure she wouldn't mind
the cot they have."

"Scully, this is the least I can do for her," he said,
distracting himself from his embarrassment by cleaning his
glasses. "She risked her life mugging Krycek like that. 
And I plan on making sure she's taken care of."

Scully hadn't seen that level of determination, or care, in
her boss' eyes since he tried to find the killer of his
ill-fated one night stand years ago. Jimmy was going to
haul the items up the stairs and into the storage room. It
was the only room on the second floor that had heat and a
working door. He'd fit it with a lock for her. The kid
was big and quiet, thought Scully, but he wasn't as stupid
as people thought he was. He hid the bags behind some
storage shelves to make sure Frankie wouldn't see them when
she returned. And soon enough she did. If they hadn't
been expecting her, they wouldn't have recognized her.

She was wearing Frohike's blue bunny pajamas, but her hair
was wet, clean and 
combed back from her face. Her face was scrubbed clean, as
were her hands, which was all they could see of her, and
her bare feet. She looked like a completely different
person. Langly looked up and actually stopped typing.

"Well, Jesus fuck, you look great! About time you became
human," he said with an approving smile.

"Fuck yourself, dickhead," she threw back playfully.

"Whoa, potty mouth. You better watch that. They don't
talk like that around here," Langly admonished.

"Sure as shit we fucking don't," Mulder chimed in, catching
the joke. Frankie cracked a smile. "She smiled! Holy
shit, Frohike, get the camera! I'm opening a new X File!"

Frankie laughed at Mulder. She knew he was performing for
her benefit, and she 
certainly felt like laughing. 

Langly looked back at the laptop and continued working,
smirking through the strands of blond hair that fell in his
face. He continued trying to crack the nano-code, to be
able to get the little machines to shut down in Skinner's
body. Frankie sat in a chair, pulling her feet up from the
cold concrete floor, and looked at the big man whose life
she'd saved. He must be a sight all dressed up, Frankie

"So what's your real name, young lady?" he asked, crossing
his arms. Scully looked at him and watched as he went into
a modified AD mode, to question her, but not to spook her. 
He leaned back against a worktable.

"Why?" Frankie's defiant chin came up to punctuate the

"So that I may address you properly. I'll start, then, I
guess. My name is Walter Skinner. I'm an assistant
director for the FBI. Those two," he indicated Mulder and
Scully, "are my agents. You can call me Walter, if you
like. And now you."

Frankie looked at the group, who had all gone back to work
at various things. Jimmy had disappeared. Byers was
typing at a computer, as was Frohike, and Langly was still
doing his thing with Mulder. It was just Scully, Skinner
and she talking. That Scully lady was pretty cool, she
thought. She looked back up at Skinner.

"Well, Walter, are you sure you need my name?" she asked,
warning lacing through her words.

"Yes, I'm afraid so. I'd like to know to whom I owe my
life." He spoke softly, filtering the gravel quality out
of his voice.

"Okay, whatever. Frances. My name is Frances." Giving in
is easier than this back and forth shit, she thought.

"Any last name?"

"Not yet. I suppose I'll grab one some day. Can I use

"I don't think so. You were born with one, weren't you?"

"I think so. But I gave it up years ago." Frankie was
beginning to enjoy the volley of words with Skinner.

Skinner looked down at Scully, indicating for her to leave
them alone. She joined Mulder with Langly. Frances looked
up to the harsh brown eyes that softened as he knelt on one
knee before her, taking her hands in his.

"I want you to know that I'm not going to turn you in to
the police, or child protective services or anything like

"I'm 19, for God's sake. I'm an adult." She pulled her
hands away and shoved them under her arms.

"Really? You hide your age well," he said with a smile,
trying to be charming. Frankie cracked another smile and
blushed. She's warming up, thought Skinner. He stood up
and leaned back against the worktable, folding his arms
over his muscled chest. "So, I've got a first name and an
age. How about you tell me what part of New Jersey you're
from, since your accent is still evident."

"I'm not from New Jersey. I think I'm from New York, or
something, but I ended up down here a few years ago. 
Things are kinda fuzzy. You know?" She was seriously
enjoying playing the role of smart-ass.

"I know what you mean. Pot does that to you. I barely
remember high school," Skinner admitted ruefully, shaking
his head.

Frankie let out a deep "yeah right" kind of laugh. She
looked at Skinner and thought, Great, he's trying to
*relate* to me.

"Oh, I did my fair share of drugs in my time. I was in
'Nam for most of it. I'm 50 years old, after all. Drugs
were abundant and I took what I could. And I pay with my
high school football years being mighty hazy."

"That just may be age," she said, dryly. Jab, gotcha,
Walter, she giggled inwardly.

"Oh? And you think I'm old?"

"You're not as old as the Stones, are you?"

"No, not quite as old," Skinner answered with a laugh,
something he didn't do very often at all. He turned the
direction of the conversation back to Frankie. "So…how did

"End up on the streets? Forget it. Everybody's got a
story. Mine's the same as everybody else's." Frankie did
not want to get into the "After School Special" that was
her life.

"How about you run it by me and let me judge for myself?"

"How 'bout you back off a little? I told you enough for
now." Frankie bristled a bit and needed to change the
subject. "Hey, I'm hungry."

Scully looked at her, having kept track of the conversation
discreetly. She guessed the sandwich she had made Frankie
wasn't enough.

"I could use food," Skinner decided. "Pizza? I'll buy."

"Yeah, baby!" Langly shouted. "Pepperoni and sausage,
mushrooms and olives. And pineapple."

"Ringo, you're disgusting," Frankie said. She turned to
Skinner and said, "Whatever you want, man, since you're
buying. And get some diet Pepsi. I hate Mountain Dew."

Langly blew a raspberry at her from across the room. 
Skinner pulled out his cell phone and ordered enough pizza,
garlic knots and soda to last throughout the night. He was
happy to converse with Frankie, so long as he didn't worry
about the "blond wonder" holding his life in his hands. At
least he's still typing, Skinner thought, fleetingly. When
Langly stopped, then there could be things to worry about.

Skinner tried talking to Frankie for a while, pulling a
chair over to sit with her. But Frankie had given up all
the information she wanted for the night. She seemed
relieved when everyone but Langly broke for food. He
continued to type, ignoring the pizza that she placed by
him. Frankie looked at him as he intensely worked to save
the big guy. She grabbed the slice and held it by Langly's
mouth. He ignored it a moment, then took a bite. Frankie
put it down, then went up to the kitchen to get him a
Mountain Dew. She set it by him. He looked down at her
and said, "I would eat, but this is important, Frankie."

"Yeah, I know," she agreed. She waited a beat, then asked
a question that had been nagging at her mind all evening. 
"Hey, could that Palm Pilot guy really have taken me out?"

"Yes," Langly said, all joking put aside. His eyes
reflected the serious tone of his voice. "His name is Alex
Krycek and he's extremely dangerous. He killed Mulder's
father and Scully's sister and countless other people. And
I think you should stay here a while. He could come
looking for you. You're way safer here than anywhere else,
since he doesn't know where we live. We've moved since he
found out about us."

Langly didn't stop typing as he spoke. He had the uncanny
ability to think about 4 different things at a time. In
gaming, that always threw his opponents off. And it
impressed Frankie as she spoke with him.

She went back to where Skinner sat. She looked him in the
eyes. She looked away a moment, then back at him, sighing

"McKirk. That's my last name. You can look it up. But
you can't tell my dad I'm here. My mom's dead. Good

He nodded. He knew she was safe if she stayed in the
warehouse, as were they all. Krycek was probably
desperately trying to find the PDA and would kill anyone
who got in his way.

"Why can't I speak to your father?"

"Look, enough, okay!" she stated firmly. "I'm not gonna
bother you with the stupid details of my life. And I
really don't wanna talk about it anymore."

Skinner nodded. She was closed up and he didn’t want her
distrusting him any more than she already did. But he
would look into her past and see why she didn't want her
father knowing where she was.

Jimmy loped down the stairs with a goofy smile on his face.
He looked at Frankie and said, "Your room is ready. You
wanna see?"

She looked at him with wide frightened eyes. Scully
stepped into Frankie's line of vision, trying to comfort
the girl with her presence. Frankie noticeably relaxed her

"Relax, Frankie. C'mon, I know where it is. I'll show
you." Scully offered her hand to the frightened girl for
comfort. Frankie accepted it and followed the petite
redhead up the stairs. Frankie looked back at the group of
men who seemed to be ignoring her. Maybe she could relax a
little here. Scully knows the place pretty well, Frankie
noted. And she's a decent kinda lady. She wouldn't lie,
would she?

Scully stopped at a room that had a normal door, not like
the glass sliding doors on the other bedrooms. This door
was made of heavy wood. There was the platform air bed
with the pink frilly sheets and blanket that Skinner had
purchased. The heat had been turned on in the room and it
warmed their cheeks in contrast to the slightly chilly
offices. Someone had turned on a lava lamp, which bathed
the room in an ethereal green glow.

"I guess this is where you'll sleep," Scully said, finally.
She checked the door and there was a huge slide bolt that
looked brand new on the door. 

Frankie closed the door, with her and Scully in the room to
check if the bolt worked. She yanked on the door with all
her might once securing the lock, but it didn't budge. 
They wanted her to be seriously safe. She turned to Scully
and said, "They're pretty cool. This is really nice of

"Well, let's go downstairs and you can tell them that."

They went back down and Frankie looked at the group who
were all staring at the laptop Langly was using.

"Um, thanks. That's nice of you guys to do that for me."

"Don't mention it," Jimmy said. "Besides, Mr. Skinner
bought the bed and sheets and stuff. I just set it up and
put the bolt on the door. Works good?"

"Yeah, thanks. Maybe I'll get some sleep, tonight."

Frohike walked over to her and said, "You sleep as long as
you need. Then, in the morning, we'll talk about plans for
the future and what's going to happen. OK?"

"Sure, whatever." Frankie shuddered imperceptibly at the
thought of "plans for the future."

Skinner was intently looking at Langly, who was typing,
when suddenly the blond yelled, "B-I-N-G-O! I got it!"

"Got what?" Skinner asked, perking up.

"The code! I found the algorithm they're using. I can
shut them down if you want, Mr. Skinner. They'll just
leave your body. But we'll never know anything more about

Skinner rubbed his strong jaw. No, he didn't want the
nano-cytes inside his system any longer, tempting someone
to kill him again, but he also didn't want to waste the
unique opportunity to assist the medical world to
understand the technology inside his body. He looked at
Scully, then Mulder, whose blank countenances didn't hold
his answers. The Gunmen had the same expressions. Frankie
finally broke their silence, in exasperation.

"Fuck that, get rid of them! You think whoever put them in
there wanted you to live? Fuck 'em at their own game. Get
rid of them, Walter. You keep them inside you, someone's
getting another iPac or something like that and you're
fucked. I didn't go through all this trouble for you to go
off and actually buy the farm."

Skinner nodded solemnly.

"She's right. Disable them, Langly. I don't want to ever
worry about them again."

Langly nodded and entered the correct commands. Skinner
was waiting for some flash of pain or a cramp or something.
But there was nothing. Langly looked up.

"They're off. They should, you know, pass through. You're

Skinner put his hand on Langly's shoulder and looked into
the younger man's eyes. There were no words and the glare
of light from both their glasses obscured their eyes. 
Skinner grabbed his jacket and headed for the door. He
turned back to Mulder and said, "I expect you and Scully in
my office at 10 AM tomorrow. And make sure your files are
straight. Goodnight."

Jimmy let the big man out and locked the door again. 
Frankie watched the monitor as Skinner walked up the
stairs, not looking back. Scully tried to discreetly wipe
a tear from her cheek, but failed as she let out a soft
sob. Mulder put his arm around her shoulder, pulling her
to his chest. Frankie turned to the stairs.

"I'm going to sleep."

She ignored the calls of goodnight and locked herself in
the room. She got into the bed and looked at her backpack
in the lamplight. She pulled out her journal and pen to
scribble down all the details of the night. She wanted to
remember the best night of her life. She would sleep
soundly for a few hours, then take off. She set her watch
alarm to go off early in the morning. That Skinner guy was
gonna haul her ass back to her dad, she was positive. She
could tell by the way he spoke to those Fibbies. And she
knew the streets were better than her father's clutches any