Author: Sue (
Rating: M-14 (for mature audiences)
Category: Gunfic (Story)
Spoilers: Those you recognize.
Timeline: Events happening not too long after 'Three
Of A Kind.'

Summary: The discovery of a deep-cover covert
operation doing the Government's dirty work
in plain sight under the guise of environmental
activism and charity projects... And many
other discoveries along the way.
Disclaimer: All X-Files characters and
references are property of C. Carter and Company,
Morgan & Wong, 10-13 Productions and FOX. The
British chick's mine.

Thrown Back - 14/18

The Lone Gunmen HQ's
Late Saturday Night/Early Sunday
Nearly a Week and Half Later. . .

Byers was poring over the final proofs for the
penultimate article about ready to go to virtual
press. Unlike his usual uncomplaining self, he
grumbled as he worked, and the content of the
article, the loopholes inherent in airport
security, wasn't the source of his discontent.

It wasn't easy doing double the work, and he
wondered whether things ever would get back to
normal, whatever normal for them was. He looked
up when he heard the delayed warning, and their
newly-installed buzzer demanded his full
attention. The visitor grid's biometrics had
the readings for him, projected in a window that
popped up on his monitor, and he laid aside the
hard copy to get the door.

"Hold your horses," he said to the empty room.

Frohike was back with him. Byers shook his head,
looking distraught. The poor young devil, he
thought again for another night in a row.
"Coming, coming," he muttered all the way to the
brand new nickle-plated reinforced door, complete
with a 'peeper,' roughly the size of an eyeball.

With the last lock undone, Byers swung the door
open and glared at his colleagues. "This isn't
good, Frohike."

"You're tellin' me? Let us in, would ya," he
said, trying to get past his critical friend.
"This is as bogus as all get-out, man. He barely
touches food these days, but he feels heavier
every time I gotta go haul his sorry, skinny

"Look at the state of him. Drunker than a family
of regnant skunks."

"Outta that dive. I've had it. Next call's yours.
You clean him up. Help me here."

Byers nodded, his heart heavier than stone. Would
Langly ever be able to put any of this behind him
and move on? Doubtful, unless they sought out the
expertise of professional intervention.

"I... I--*hiccup* I lov'ya, Melvy...*hiccup*.
Do...don't be mad 'cos I suck." Langly waved
his left arm wildly, feeling no pain, as he bandied
the soft-casted arm with its severe sprain, about.
His facial cuts he'd sustained were scabby weals,
and since the flesh had not been deeply penetrated,
he wouldn't scar. Pity if that had been the case
on such a cute face.

"Love ya too, punk-ass, now let's get you in bed..."

"Y-You comin' w-with?"

"Sure, pal, sure," Frohike said finding himself
pitying him, and he browbeat himself for it.
His heart was heavy too, and he would have
promised him anything if he'd just stop this self-
destructive behavior as he brushed the knotty,
stringy hair away from Langly's bloodshot eyes.
That shiner, which was once his left eye, was gonna
be a mother come morning.

For all his intelligence, the blond was sure being
big time dumb now. He too much of a piss-faced
drunk to handle. Ever since he'd gotten back, his
norm was getting sloshed to the gills, as though
it was hs new mission in life, and it was driving
them, his closest friends, nuts. With each passing
day, he acted more like a madman, and it was
abundantly clear he cared nothing about how much he
was abusing himself.

This rash of non-stop drinking was far worse
than when Frohike had first met him, and they'd
struck up a solid friendship, unlikely as it
may have seemed at the start.

And what was with his consistent aversion to
booting up his computers? There was no way he
would ever be able to get the job done if he
kept this up, acting as though every RS-232
enhanced or by-passed networks were his worst

Frohike and Byers were at a tangible loss,
trying their best to understand the workings
of Langly's mind now. Whenever either Byers
or he pressed him for the reason for his flippy
behavior, which went beyond any paranoia they'd
ever witnessed him exhibit before, Langly'd
start ranting cryptic crap about not being able
to face 'them.'

Them who? Who the hell was *them*? Frohike was
willing to give his eyeteeth to know. He was
tiring of Langly's pat response...'Stop buggin'--
got that! You two get so on my nerves! Just
leave me the hell alone in this hell I'm in!'
That was sure nice talk comin' from somebody
who was supposed to be a true blue bud, Frohike
would often reflect.

These days, a body could cut Langly's weirdness
with a serrated knife, and after the first try,
the blade would come up dull.

As the three staggered along, Frohike shook his
head not knowing what to think as things stood,
but one thing was clear. If Langly kept this
up, teeter-tottering down this nowhere road,
with no signs of wanting to detour any time soon,
it meant the end of so much that meant the world
to the three of them.

As Byers came up under a drooping Langly to shore
him up better, he asked, "Where'd he get that
eye? Baby, that's a beaut."

"*Not* where did he get it. You know where.
Same place he got the one last week from. *Who*
gave it to him this time is the million dollar

"All right. *Who*?"

"You'll quake when I tell ya."

"To quote Mulder, 'Bring it on.'"

"I--I la-lov'ya too, John-John," Langly slurred,
zeroing in on the eclectic man's bushy right
cheek, and kissed it hard. "John-John, the

Byers flinched. "Dammit--Langly, don't *do*

"B-But, I *la-love* you," Langly insisted,
sounding six years old, but the epitome of
knowing that as gospel.

"Tell him, John, or he won't leave you alone,"
Frohike advised as the unsteady trio lumbered
on their tenuous way past a brace of humming
equipment. All pieces of what was theirs had
been left untouched by 'carpe diem' thieves,
who would have had a field day helping themselves
if the deterrent 'lid' of the 'cookie jar' hadn't
been furnished by the AI. "You know the drill
by now, man."

"T-Tell me, narkie!"

Byers screwed up his face, wincing in the wake
of sour, boozy breath blasted directly at his
nose. "All right, all right." The pause
juxtaposed between the bribe was deafening.
"I love you too, Ringo..."

A stupid, simpering smile, smacking of the
smart-aleck, spread over Langly's pasty face,
and the appeased, bombed-out-of-his-brain,
hacker dipped low as his knees buckled.
"*Hiccup*...I...I la-love ya too, Jo-Johnny

Byers returned to him a 'that's nice, I think'
sort of expression. "So who decked him?"
Once regrouped, they forged on to Langly's
renovated room. Byers and Frohike had finished
working on it thinking that new digs might snap
him out of his reckless binging.

"Ryan's, God rest his soul, old lady."

"Tallula?" Byers chirped as the three of them
tried squeezing through the doorway of the
drunk's flop at once. "Oh, that must have been
quite the fiasco. Obliquity reigns supreme."
Byers wrinkled his nose, clearly in disapproval.
Why was there a mountain of Langly's outlandish
drawers piled up in the far right corner adjacent
to the pile-up of various CDs (musical as well
as data)? Already, he was reverting his room
back to the way it had been. Why had they even
bothered sprucing it up?

"Well, it wasn't Bankhead," Frohike cracked,
grunting with Langly leaning heavily into him.
"Toolie was substituting for one of the bouncers

Byers' eyebrows flew up. "Good Lord. Not her
normal detail, although she certainly likes
being the heavy."

"Bet your bottom dollar that's right. Man, she
was murder on Blondie here."

"It shows."

"Goldilocks paid in pain for trading insults with
her tonight." Frohike winced, feeling some pain
himself. "Oh, my achin' sacroiliac." He rolled
his eyes when Langly demanded he give him a kiss;
a better one this time. Frohike was about to
tell him where he could go, but the tableau of
Langly's shameful floor show replayed in his
head, and Langly rammed his mouth into Frohike's
somewhat florid cheek, and the older man growled.
"When I showed up, ours truly was atop the bar
with a bottle of Jack Daniel's, or was it J&B?"

"Don't get bogged down with technicalities,"
Byers told him pointedly, spoiling for the
dirty lowdown.

"Think it was JD. Anyway, he had the friggin'
bottle, twirlin' it over his head, about to do
a swan dive into the payin' customers, don't
ya know. You ask me, I think somebody dared
him to strip."

"What led you to that conclusion?" It sounded
as though Frohike was being sophistic, as opposed
to Byers' more analytical way of thinking.

"He had his shirt off and was swinging it over
his head too," Frohike stridently fleshed-out,
"doin' this shimmy shimmy-shake. Probably
thought he was as sexy as hell."

"Madness...utter madness." Byers dropped his
head down, and it stayed down.

"He lost his footing and nearly took that dive.
When he almost lost his balance, the JD flew out
of his hand, and landed in mine."

"Da-damn good catch, Hickey-wickey," Langly
plied into one of the three pillows stacked at
the head of the airbed, once they'd laid him
down upon the cushiony collection of air.
"D-Don't make me walk the plank, Cap'n. I'll
be a good boy. I'll eat all me spin'ich." He
hoisted his head up, flipped himself over on
his back, and regarded them giddily through
rheumy eyes. Frohike had an inkling of what was
about to come, or more accurately, come up next.

Byers' heart went out to Langly. "Oh, Ringo..."
Langly puckered his lips at him, then dissolved
into burpy-sounding laughter. "Why all this
damn foolishness?"

"Oh, no--not again!" Frohike ran to snatch up
the Pokemon wastebasket over by the yellow
submarine yellow port-a-fridge, wherein the
secretive stasher kept his personal edible
goodies. This time the retches were dry; false
alarm. Phew-- Frohike set the basket down at
his feet. "Tullie'd just got finished hollering
for him to get down, and party-boy there tells
her to--"

Langly held up his right hand, middle finger.
"Go fu--"

"I get the *idea*," Byers slid in, and like a
plunger, kept puming. "Then what happened?"

"So, ol' Toolie, all two-hundred plus pounds
of her, grabs his leg tryin' to yank him off,
and after she got a piece, she did. Man alive,
his specs flew off, in my direction before the
wicked crash landing."

"Dear God..." Byers searched Frohike's face.
"Where are his glasses?"

"Safe at home." He patted his back pocket,
then extracted the trophy to show Byers. "Got
'em right here." Smiling, Frohike continued,
"He went down smack into her fist that was
ready and waitin'." He lay the glasses down on
the wicker flat-topped piece of furniture some-
one had thrown out a block away from Scully's,
and they'd painted sour lime green, doubling as
the nightstand, to the mattress' left.

"Ouch." Byers winced again for as many times.
"Sounds ghastly."

"It was, baby, damn straight it was. Think we've
heard him yell before? Ain't nothin' compared to
tonight. He opened up another range, and a whole
new cuss lexicon."

"As I said, this isn't good."

"It got real sloppy too. Folks began throwing
their drinks at him. Blitzed blondie kicked and
thrashed until Mrs. 'Saints Preserve Us'
'bomblasted' all over his raggedy ass, cast or
no cast. Hell--she dragged him down off the bar
while telling him to clear out--'Never come back.'
Kicked his keister outta her estab's door her own
he-woman messy drunk-haters self. She's one tough
dame who kicks serious 'tocks! Takes no kinda crap
from nobody. Reminds me of an older, crustier
version of Scully."

"Didn't you try to stop her? Poor man looks
as though Tullie used him to mop up the floor.
His nose bled, didn't it?"

"Hell, yeah. Lots. Right after she decked him
smack in it. What part of, 'takes no kinda crap
from *nobody*' didn't you understand? If I had
stepped-in, she would've used me as the dry mop.
No thank you very much. It was hell seein' what
she did to him, but I ain't crazy." Frohike
kicked at the wastebasket a little. "'Sides,
she had the worst half of the Donovan goons, as
back-up--Mackie. Jake took the night off.
Picture it. Me in a hard full body cast trying
to get the paper out from my hospital bed."

Langly startled suddenly, and cried out shrilly.
Recriminations bounced off the walls papered
with rock band posters. "MAARGOOO--for'--forgive
me. PLEASE!" His wailing went fever pitch, and
then the rest of his cries got swallowed up by
plentiful sobs.

His worried friends cringed, cursing themselves
for not knowing what to do.

"What's she exactly supposed to forgive him for,
I wonder?" Frohike asked, throughly mystified.
"Bein' a lousy lay?"

"Beats us both," Byers added anxiously. "I
would think she wouldn't have expected the moon
and the stars for his first time."

"I wouldn't put it past that snooty dame."

Langly continued thrashing all over the firm
mattress as though he were trying to fight his
way out of paper and plastic. He rammed his fist
into his mouth, and gurgled, "Rot in hell, Nairn!
Me too! ME most of all!!"

"Seems like he's on one mean guilt trip,"
Frohike whispered to Byers who had his eyes

"Too sad," Byers said in a mournful downdraft.
"But guilt about what?" He sank to the bed
with a view to comforting his tempest-tossed
friend as best he could.

Langly glared at them both, as though they
were the cause of his torture.

Gently, Byers stroked the anguished's sweat-
stained brow, but it did little to mellow him
out. If anything, Langly seemed to want to
fight him more. "What are we going to do with
him, Melvin?"

"Get outta here!" Langly howled.

"Now that's the sixty-four thousand dollar
question, John," Frohike pitched over the
harangue. "What's Nairn got to do with it?"

"Screw that bitch," Langly hissed.

Frohike pulled on his chin overshadowed by a
day's growth. "He's holding out on us, that's
what I'm thinkin', John. What really went down
after he left Mulder's with the girl?"

"Get the hell outta my room!" Langly sobbed.

"He needs more than A-A at this stage," Byers
stated firmly, rearing back from Langly a little.
Frohike watched Langly jerk back from Byers,
reacting as though the suit had smacked his face.
"He needs one-on-one kick-ass rehab with a
vengeance." Sounding serious as never before,
Byers went on, "Whatever he needs, whatever the
hell it takes...he needs exceptional professional
care. Expense doesn't matter--I'll pay for it!
He can't go on like this!"

"Easy, John. First things first." Frohike was
opening the drawer two up from the floor in the
squat bureau nearest to him. He produced one of
Langly's black Ts which read in thin stringy
lettering: 'Lighten Up.' On the back, in thick
bolded print, the closing argument: 'Being
Grounded Really Sucks!'

As though on cue, Langly screeched, "I k-killed

Byers seized his forearms. "WHAT THE HELL ARE
YOU TALKING ABOUT, RINGO?" He shook him hard,
beside himself with anguish for his bedeviled
friend. "*What do you mean you killed her?
You've got to tell us*! LANGLY--PLEASE..." He
softened his harsh tone. "Tell us."

Nasally, Langly whined, "I, I shoulda d-done
what Frohike sa-said." He sucked his snot in
powerfully, and gritted out, all congested,
"I... I."

"Like I told ya?" Frohike asked, giving Byers
a puzzled frown. "What did I tell you?"

Langly shuddered as though his whole body
would never stop shaking. "Ta-ta ke-keep on
goin'. Not to stop for nothin'." This latest
bout of enebriation was loosening his tongue
at last. He hadn't breathed a word of what
had happened till now. "Sh-she's dead 'co-cos
a me."

His friends exchanged looks of bewilderment,
suddenly inexplicably afraid to have him go on.
As Langly prepared to spill his guts, the door
buzzer summoned.

"Damn, it's Mulder," Frohike volunteered, "said
he was comin' over for more UFO data. I got it."
He needed to hear Langly's admission, but he also
needed a breather. "I'll be right back. Can you

Byers nodded vigorously.

As Frohike turned to go, he handed him the
T-shirt and, Byers requested, "Bring coffee.
I'll try getting some of it into him."

"Good luck," Frohike bade, his little laugh
filtering into the tiding. "Coffee all'round.
I could stand a hit myself. Hey, John..."


"Try getting that clean shirt on him." Frohike
reached behind himself and the soiled T-shirt
from his back pocket was in his hand. "This
one needs to be fumigated." He balled it up,
and flung it at the dirty underwear pile. Before
leaving the room, he spied a can of Lysol hanging
in the draped fishnet tacked up on the wall. He
snagged the can, shook it, and gave a few solid
sprays. "No sense tolerating the essence of vomit
if you plan on bein' his bunkee for the rest of
the night. I'll give Mulder your regards, man."
He fitted the half-used can back into an
outcropping of the lime green polyethelene mesh.

"Do I have a choice? I won't leave him alone
like this." Byers had one of Langly's arms into
a sleeve.

"Mulder's good with alkies. Maybe he'd be willing
to pyschoanalyze our boy, gratis."

"Your flippancy only belies your true concern,"
Byers insisted, giving Frohike a brief scowl as
he battled on with Langly getting the T-shirt

"Somebody's gotta see the humor in this. You're
forgettin' who still holds his hair back when
he's pukin' his guts out." Frohike scrambled
away. "Like old, bad times, eh?" He paused
before leaving the room. "I might haveta
march him back to the back alleys for another
refresher with my ol' 'Nam buds. The ones who
haven't croaked yet, that is."

Byers gave his retreating back a look laced
with doubt. Quickly then, he was forced to
take to his feet to avoid being kicked in the
thigh by Langly who had plenty of fight left
in him. The ailer had his head sandwiched
between massaging hands.

"Shut-up! Head hurts dammit!"

The outburst reeled Frohike back in. "YOU
shut-up," he boomed, "nobody tells you to get
ripped to shreds, punk-ass!"

Over the combative din, Byers sighed deeply,
wondering where this would all end, thinking
about the fitful sleep Langly had had the
other night. "He cried out her name, over and
over, the night before last when he'd fallen
asleep on the couch."

"Yeah, I know," and the 'Nam vet shrugged, his
angry look dissapating. "Never figured he'd
fall so hard, so fast like you, man." After
leaving the room, when he was half-way between
the physical archival files and the microfiche
viewer, he halted, wondering if there was any
java left. Things being what they were, they
probably didn't have enough grounds to make mud.

The buzzer buffeted him for the fourth time, and
he quickened his steps, shelving his train of
thought. "Yeah, yeah, I'm comin'," he grumbled.
"Dammit, Mulder, where's the fire!"

But, it wasn't Mulder...


End Part 14