Some Weird Sin
Disclaimer and some such:
I do not have the rights to use any characters
officially associated with The X-Files/ Lone Gunmen
television series. I am using these characters without the
permission of FOX, 1013 Productions, Chris Carter, or
any other copyright owners. Of course, this is intended for
[non-profit] entertainment only, and no
infringement on copyrights or trademarks
was intended by the author.
Any similarities to people, places, and other works of
fanfiction are purely coincidental.
All other characters not officially associated with
The X-Files/ Lone Gunmen (including, but not limited to,
Smithee and Ellroy) are property of the author
and should not be recycled into another story without
No animals were harmed during the making of this fanfic,
except for two mosquitoes and one waterbug.
Cost of coffee drunk while writing this: $15.82
Cost of paper used to print out draft copies: $2.38
Cost of Anne Hawley's beta-reading skills: PRICELESS
The 'present' of this story takes place a few years
before The Lone Gunmen series timeline.
* * *
On a plane, somewhere over Ohio, trying to stay calm.
I've been on a steady diet of seltzer and
Dramamine for the past several hours.
The last time I made this trip, in reverse, I
couldn't afford to fly. It took me six days
to get from Saltville to DC by Greyhound, including
a few nights' sleep on benches in bus stations, with
varying degrees of seediness. I turned nineteen on
one of those benches. Anyway, it didn't matter how long it
it wasn't about me going anywhere.
It was about me running away from someplace.
As long as there was at least one state
between me and Nebraska, I felt free to take my time.
Things haven't changed that much; I still can't afford to
But I can't afford to wait six days either.
So I hacked myself a seat on this flight - Byers
looming over me, making sure I didn't boot anyone
off the plane in my favor, or give myself
anything higher than coach. I argued that coach wasn't
designed for people over five feet tall, and
Byers' diplomatic compromise was for me to get a
"Great," I'd said. "I can toss my cookies, be cramped and
uncomfortable, and surrounded by screaming babies, all in
Byers just raised his eyebrows; The Byers Ethics Look.
Coach it is.
And I know the queasy feeling in my stomach isn't from
the plane. It's nerves. From whatever's
going to happen when I land. What the hell am I
going to say? What do I say to a man I haven't seen
in ten years - a man who dislocated both
of my arms, at different times, from yanking
me around too hard? A man who begrudgingly
learned to cook something other than grilled cheese
after my mom left, so I could eat normal
food? A man who I disappointed horribly by not
wanting to follow in his footsteps? A man who -
Shit. It's simple and impossible: What do I say to my
I wrote my dad a postcard after I left Nebraska,
which I never sent, but kept it folded up in
my wallet for years and years:
Sometimes I get so angry at you I can't even feel it.
But I don't hate you, and I hope you don't hate me.
I think that pretty much sums it up.
* * *
My parents argued a lot when I was young. I mean,
when they weren't totally avoiding each other.
It was weird - I know my mom had pretty valid
reasons to be afraid of my dad. But the weird
thing is that I think he was scared of her, too.
Of her fragility, how easily hurt she was.
She was the only person who could make him feel guilty.
The walls in our house were thin. I could hear
them arguing at night, their voices chasing
each other around the rooms on the bottom floor. A
rhythm developed over the years: They'd start
fighting in the bedroom over something
petty and when it escalated to
all-out war, she'd storm into the kitchen. He'd
follow her into the kitchen, and after
a few rounds of shouting and throwing
dishes, she'd run to the living room.
He'd chase her into the living room, and
there'd be a another few rounds.
Things would break, furniture would get knocked
over. If it escalated to the point of
brutality, she'd lock herself in the
downstairs bathroom and leave him pounding
on solid wood until both of them ran out of energy.
The house got a lot quieter after she left.
Anyway, this dance would last about an hour.
It was a three act structure, with a variety of
climaxes, and generally ended up with her spending the
night at my grandparents'.
I trace back my love of numbers to these arguments.
Numbers; mathematics, coding, binary,
even hacking - I've heard people wax poetic about the
beautiful simplicity of these things. But what
I liked about them was their reliability. A
three, for example, was always a three.
It had a specific value that never
changed, and followed a rigid set of
laws that dictated how it would react to an
infinite number of variables, which also
never changed. I loved numbers because
I could trust them: They never let me down,
they didn't require milking or
plucking, and I could interpret and manipulate them easily.
So while my parents danced the two-fisted tango
downstairs, I would jam my fingers in my ears
and count, loudly. Loudly enough to drown out
"- hate you, you bully! You threaten, you bully
everyone around -"
One two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven -
" - what do you do? You sit around, all day, staring into
space, you lazy -"
- fourteen fifteen sixteen seventeen eighteen nineteen
twenty-one twenty-two twenty-three -
" - down? I don't want him to hear this. He hears enough -
- twenty-six twenty-seven twenty-eight twenty-nine thirty
thirty-one thirty-two thirty-three thirty-four -
" - bring this on yourself, I'm sorry, but if you'd stop
being so damn foolheaded I wouldn't -"
- thirty-seven thirty-eight thirty-nine forty the square
of forty is ix-point-three-two-four-five-five-five-uh-
three-something-something forty times forty is
sixteen-hundred divided by six is two
two-hundred-and-sixty-six cubed is eighteen-million-
one is seven seven fourteen twenty-one
thirty-five forty-two forty-nine
fifty-six sixty-three seventy sevety-seven
eighty-four ninety-one nighty-eight ninety-nine one-hundred
square root of one-hundred is ten ten minus ten is zero
anything multiplied by zero is zero one
plus one is two two plus two is four four plus four is -
I could trust numbers.
* * *