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 - 2/18

Sometime Later...

Awaking with a start, Langly shook his head
until his brain cleared. He looked over at
his sleeping bedmate, glaring. "Put a sock
in it, Doohickey. Finish buzz sawing that
tree, or I'm gonna chop ya one!" Rolling over
roughly on the air bed, newly-purchased off
the Web, he smooshed his fist into the deep-
sleeper's plush belly. "Yo--I ain't playin',
man--turn it off!"

Buried beneath the raggedy, fraying quilt,
Frohike protested with a voice all edges,
"You better clamp down on that lip with tone,
and rework your attitude. Touch me again,
hippie jerk, and I'll--"

"You'll what, Hurricane Andrew? Keep me up all
night? Shazaam--mission accomplished. Your
snorin' *never* converts to bein' just so much
'white noise.'"

From the far side of the inflatable mattress,
Byers said thickly, "I'm for using the sock on
you both. Go back to sleep, both of you!"
The decibel level of his voice made them all
jump. Lowering his volume, he ended, "We have
a very big day ahead of us."

Stiffly, he rolled back over, hiked the covers
up over his head. Discussion closed.

Frohike and Langly surveyed the muted peaks
and valleys of his motionless, blanketed form
several moments before the older man yawned,
shoved nettlesomely away from his junior, and
settled himself back down into his coolish
niche. He snuggled up against Byers for added
warmth. His contented sigh was the last word.
He'd turned the AC up too high, but didn't feel
like getting up to adjust it.

Grunting in disgust, Langly swung his long legs
off the bed. The threadbare sweatpants he wore
hung on him. He squinted at his street-bought
Fossil, being too lazy to retrieve his glasses
which lay on a stool nearest the water cooler.
He always forgot to remove his watch before

The softly-glowing numerals on the watch face
read one-ten. Grunting, he stood.

He felt hungry since his routine midnight snack
had been majorly disrupted by Margot's surprise
arrival. He blinked a few times, thinking how
he was doing it again; thinking about her. His
jaw clenched.

What was it with chicks who tolerated abuse
of whatever description? None of it made
any sense. How could women like Margot take

Beatings, and he'd had his share, young in
life, had never held any attraction for him.
If he ever became someone's husband and father,
he'd never say he loved them one moment, and
then in the next, see how close he could come
to killing them. Inheriting aspects of his
father's quick temper wasn't a comfort.

Once his feet had located his Nike beachwear
sandels, he loped off in the kitchen's unlit
direction. The soft whirring sounds of their
Nexus were always a pleasure to hear, so he
listened to it a few more moments before dipping
into the nook. Rustling movement snagged his
attention away from the comfort.

"W--Who's there?" He badgered himself for
sounding like such a scaredy cat. Yet, such
were the times they were living through. Why,
just the other day, Byers had been certain
that he'd been followed from the DOJ, by an
unknown party, after receiving a dossier from
a mid-level source not far from the Library of

"I am," was the strong, confident reply.

Langly made a wide detour away from the pantry,
inadvertently bumping into one of the chairs
at the dinette table. Cursing mildly, he
muttered, "Blind as a friggin' spastic bat
without my glasses."

"Go get them, then. I'll wait."

"Wait for what?"

"Maybe you're as restless as I am, and might
enjoy a spot of early morning surfing. Though
I'm not the targeted demographic for the Voxxy
site, and you're a male of a sort, what say
you? The pages rippingly rock, that is if
you're into brash."

Margot climbed up onto her knees, hugging the
back of the couch. She brought the flashlight
up under her face, making it appear netherwordly.
Her antics took her back in time. Once more
the larkish youngster who'd get caught reading
beneath her bedcovers, which happened often
since she'd been a voracious reader even at six.

Twenty years later, and just as voracious when
it came to the World-Wide Web. She loved the
anonymity of it. She and her Uncle Rupert,
the confirmed bachelor, still living in that
attached, three-bedroom house in Surrey with
his entourage of stray cats. Since he was a
firm believer in e-mail, they were rarely out
of touch. He routinely kept her apprised of his
newest feline acquisitions.

"Sorta male?" Langly said, puzzled. "Don't let
the long hair fool ya."

Smiling widely, Margot hopped off the couch,
shining the flashlight upon Langly's chest.
"Ramones fan is it?"

He nodded, still puzzled. "Among other's. I
got others. This one's the cleanest until I
get around to washin' threads. My turn this
week." He took the flashlight from her and
shone it on her. "Can't sleep?"

"Uh ah. Adore some company though..."

As he mulled her invitation over, he saw she
wasn't wearing her skirt, only what looked to
be a shiny, slippery garment, most likely a
slip. The filmy blouse she wore was unbottoned
down to the initial peek of cleavage; more of
an eyeful than he was comfortable glimpsing
right off the bat like that on a flesh and
blood female instead of a VR one.

....Steady, dude....

Faltering, his cheeks grew hot, embarrassment
for her cresting. Flustered, he stopped
shining the light on her. He licked his lips,
mashing them together thereafter.

"Uh, uh, I dunno. It's like kinda very late."
Tongue-tied, he took stock of the fact that
she was generously-endowed in a Greco-Roman
statuesque way. Not an MDR as far as he was
concerned, more a Frohike predilection for
zaftigy chicks; accent on bosomy. Speculating
as to whether or not she'd had hers done, he
stammered on, "I like uh...well see I--"

"Please, have a go? It'll be fun, love."
Climbing back on the couch, she wheedled,
"You strike me--"

"Hey, I'd never strike you," he insisted,
employing knee-jerk reaction timing.

"Naturally not." She smiled broadly, touched
by his boyish intonation. "I only meant..."
She shrugged, and waited to hear what he'd
say next.

"Ye-yeah, okay. Sure."

"I say, you do seem to know your way around
OS's. What you did with my hopeless setup--"

"FDISKing. Well...something like it. Not all
that hard." For 'wizard' like him.

"My files really were in need of solid

"Re-configured patches..."

She winked at him slyly. "I do believe I'm in
the presence of genius, sir." There he was
gawking at her again.

He was a fair-haired picture of ambiversion.
"No big woop. I just plugged and played.
I, uh...sorta know a few things. Did what
I could to hook you up better." He wished
she'd stop laying it on so thick, it was

She's just a chick, he thought, the flashlight
shaking a little in his hand. His nerve

"Indeed; and refreshingly modest too. You put
Max's colleague, Willis, to shame. And as much
as I hate to admit it, he knew his bloody
operating systems. I concede him that."

"Lemme get my second pair of eyes. Hold
tight." It took him less than twelve seconds
flat to get back, bearing a colorful loaner.

"What's this?" she asked as he extended one
of his many T-shirts as an offering. She held
it up against her chest while Langly shone the
flashlight on her. To get a better read, she
held it away. "Hmmmm...enigmatic to say the
least. 'Exhaustively Re-programmed To Blow
Your Mind.' Catchy."

You say cool stuff too, he thought, and hoped
he wouldn't sound like a guy who didn't know
how to talk to women. "I went to this create
your own 'T' place I know, and had 'em create
this, special. I even picked out what colors
and design I wanted; the whole deal." Quickly,
he assured, "It's clean. I only wear this baby
on special occasions."

"Brilliant and aesthetically creative too.
A triple threat." Again, her generous smile.

Aesthetic? He considered, letting it roll
off. "A triple?"

"You're a smasher."

"And that's a good thing?"

Following a twitter of a laugh, "Quite."
She wondered out loud, "Why this to me?"

His shrugging caused the lettering of 'Ramones'
to bunch. "Thought maybe you'd find it more
comfortable than your clothes--I mean if you
wanna change. Didn't sound like you had a
lotta time to pack, havin' to get on the move
real quick like."

"Very considerate of you. It's a bit large,
but it'll do." Looking about, she asked,
"Where might I change?"

"I'll show ya."

The route to the bathroom seemed torturous.
Their facility was more like a closet;
cramped and a bare lightbulb was the light

That's a shower stall, she thought, chuckling.
She prolonged her curious inspection of
the lenticular, yellowing Mylar bay, their
shower. Uh, quite the homey touch; four cans
of shaving cream nestled at the greening drain,
she observed.

....Ah, why there's a razor blade beneath one
of the cans. No....there're several under each

Her brow wrinkled, but not in outright
disapproval Meloncholia set in as she began
changing. She stepped out of the shimmery
slip, finished unbuttoning the remainder of
the blouse. Hurriedly, she threaded her
head through the T-shirt's opening, and
finger-brushed her short mussed up hair out
of her eyes.

She studied her drawn looking face in the cloudy
mirror. She noticed that the mirror was cracked
in the upper right side where the joint was, and
feared what tomorrow would bring. Did she have
that many tomorrows left?

What was there to learn at the Society's complex?
Would Max be there, waiting for her? Waiting to
put a stop to her? All this worrying to the
point of obsession was doing more harm than all
the physical punishment he'd ever inflicted.
Margot shook her head, debating with herself

"Uh, hello? Miz? I mean, uh, Margot? You still
alive in there?"

"Out in a jiff, love..." She came out not long
after saying so. Frowning, she wanted his
input. "Too roomy?" The T-shirt was doubling as
a mini-dress.


"Do I look dreadful?" By the look on his face
she thought he might have mistaken what she'd
said for a trick question.


"Go on, admit it. I'm not easily offended if
you haven't already surmised, after your
Mister Frohike accused me of being a lush."

"Like he should talk, and it's just *Frohike*,
and he sure as hell ain't mine, and he should

"So, I look all right, then?"

"Real spiffy."

"You're being kind."


"Come on then, back to the couch."

"How 'bout pushin' back to my space? We can
have some real light for seein' a lot better
than we would just using your flashlight. And
we won't disturb Bye's' and Fro's beauty sleep

"I'm game. Which way?"

"Follow me."


Partially en route through the labyrinth,
Margot's burning need to know got the better
of her. "So, how long have you three lived
together like this?"

"Goin' on ten years."

"My word, that *is* a long time." She
hesitated before going on. "Are Byers and
Frohike...uh...and yourself, as well,

"Involved?" Langly threw over his shoulder.

"What I mean to say is... Well. I saw
Byers' ring... Are you men lovers?"

Langly stuck in his tracks, and she bumped
squarely into him. "You're kiddin', right?"

"Well, no. A 'menage a trois.' of a sort?
Although, I feel Esther's comments are
of'times, er--"

"What are you tryin' to say?" he yelped.

"Well, it's just that you all seem to be
rather uh, intimate. I just assumed...
Well, none of you are married; to women that
is. Oh, dear..." The nauseated look Langly
leveled at her made her concede that perhaps
the better part of valor was to cease and
desist. "I gather by that look you're
arrowing, you three aren't."

"Straight-up you better believe we ain't,"
he bit off heatedly. "We're just good friends,
lady. Word up. Good friends as in *buddies*."


"No--buddies. *Buds*. *Pals*! You clear on

"Forgive me," she apologized, the subtleties of
the nouns coming together for her. "I just
assumed...well, the trio of you sharing that
bed like that, behaving as cushy as three peas
in a perforable pod. I just thought..." She
bit the lower edge of the left side of her lip.
"Forget I ever said a thing, love." Margot was
glad it was just dark enough so her crimson
cheeks would go unseen.

Langly laughed, and it sounded strange even
to his ears. "Don't have a cow." Margot's
agitated expression softened. "Maybe we
do spend too much time together." At the
threshold of his private work and play area,
he said, "We're rennovating our rooms, so
sleeping space is at a premium. We've been
bunkin' up."

"How do you spell embarrassed?"

Humoring her, he replied, "Emba?...e-m-b-a-r--"

"Wrong. M-a-r-g-o-t. I'm nosey to a fault."

Langly grinned. "Me too. Fact, that's kinda
a job description for what we three do."

"Esther's clued me in, which is why she
suggested I seek you out." A few awkward
moments of checking the other out some more

"So, uh, c'mon." He was about to go in, but
he realized that he wanted something else.
Maybe she did too. "Hey, you hungry? He
wheeled around so suddenly, she got a tight
close up of his T-shirt in the same startled

Snickering, she said, "Do what?"

He steadied her with tremulous hands, worried
then if she would get the wrong idea. He saw
her peeking up into his bemused face. "Sorry
'bout that."

"No harm done a'tall. Hungry, am I?"

"Are ya?"

Nodding, she spoke up, "Famished. What have
you in mind, Langly?" In the mirror she had
looked as pale and drawn as dogbane. "Here
I am being curious again. Langly? What sort
of name is that?"

"Some sorta Scots-English tag. I'm from the
mid-west." He shifted on his feet. "Nebraska."

"Ah, I had a feeling; a distant countryman,
several generations removed. So, what might I
call you, other than by your surname? Fitfully
impersonal, that." Her eyes twinkled, taking
every square inch of his shyness in.

"You can call me Ringo, if ya want." She eyed
him and he quickly filled-in, "My nickname. My
first name's Richard."

"Ringo, eh."

"My real dad, the biggest loser ever born, was
big on John Wayne movies." Stupid, Langly
complained to himself....big time.

Indulgently, she encouraged, "Tell me about
yourself over our meal, if you'd like."

Was she for real? What would she possibly find
interesting about farm life? Smelly, up at the
crack of dawn, monotonous farm life. It was still
a relief knowing he'd never looked back once he'd
left it behind.

Incredibly though, the look on her pretty face
told him she was serious.

"Okay, sure."

Go figure. Chicks, he thought, weighing
the odds of one as attractive as she being
so attentive to him. Although, digging
into his family history was something he
never liked doing.

"Where shall we eat?"

"IHOP's twenty-four/seven, and it's not far."

"What's an IHOP?" There was a look of
intrigue on her face. Her fist lightly
connected with the flank of his upper arm.

She had to be joking, he thought, and saw
she wasn't. Sounding amused, he ribbed,
"International House of Pancakes. Don't tell
me you've never been." He was about to
return her mock-punch, but decided against
it, taking into consideration, that she had
done time being some nut's punching bag.


"Get ready to be wowwed. The food's beyond
decent, which is more than I can say for the
bottom of the barrel tack we've got on hand
here. Byers needs to go food shopping, but
there hasn't been time on account of our on-
going investigations."

"IHOP i'tis then. I'll just get dress--"

He caught her arm. "Can't ya just throw your
jacket on over what you're wearin'?" He
dropped her limb as soon as he realized what
he'd done, looking apologetic. She hadn't
been able to hide the little flinch. "Hey,
like I didn't mean to grab ya so hard."

"I'll get my jacket." While turning away,
Margot smiled.

"Lemme put on my Cons."

"And I'll grab my gear." She paused a moment,
but decided against saying what she thought
she might say.

Langly nodded, and went away quietly, not
wanting to disturb his sleeping friends. She
waited for him. After he'd re-set the keypad,
closed the door, and finished locking the
manual locks on the door's other side, he told
her with a focused gleam in his eyes, "With me,
if I don't eat when I need to, I get a little

"Should I take that as a warning?" Margot
teased, as they made their way to the van
which was parked in the limited access alley.

"Take it anyway you want," he teased back,
not realizing he was.

That warm, infectious smile of hers made him
wonder why in the world would anybody want
to beat her down. The more he thought about
it, the more his facial expression hardened.
Mean people sure sucked, he said silently to

The other bruises he'd noticed on her were
additional mute testimonies of what she must
have suffered at her ex's hands.

Her ex must be the worst kind of psycho, Langly
thought hotly, as he watched her settle herself
into the passenger's seat. He cursed the abuser
and his brutality silently too.


International House of Pancakes
Parallel to Route 237

2:15 A.M.

At the IHOP, Margot couldn't get over how
packed it was for it being so early. They
were nowhere near the airport. "Is this some
sort of American phenomenon?" she hushed at

Langly was brooding at their booth by a window,
overlooking the strip mall's parking lot.

"Ringo, are you all right?"

"No. Not. Where the hell's our waitress?
We've been here fifteen minutes already, man."
His sullen attitude hung on the air. Margot
reached across the table and patted his right
forearm. He inspected his bruised thumb, and
injured middle finger, wanting to flip the bird,
but didn't. "This sucker really hurts."

"Let me have a look," Margot said, throwing
him a soothing expression which he frowned at.

"You a medical doctor too?" Scully flashed up
in his mind for an instant, and it came back
to him how she'd said yesterday, when she'd
dropped by their installation, that she was
thinking of leaving the F.B.I. Mulder would
be better off without her, after what had gone
down in Dallas.

Langly sighed, upset. Just when he had gotten
used to her being around, she was calling it
quits. Was it so hard understanding why he
had a hard time relating to women?

"No. But I do practice first aid."

"I make a practice of getting hurt." Attempting
to show her his finger, the bird got flipped
inadvertently. He tucked his lower lip under
his upper teeth, looking sheepish.

"Pity it got cut like that. Why not go wash
the blood away in the Men's W.C.? I've got
Band-Aids in my--"

"The huh-where?" he interjected, sounding

"Oh, sorry, forgot...the Men's Room."

"It's like funny. I kept forgettin'. You
speak British."

Margot wrinkled her nose at the smart alecky
expression which had taken up residence on his
boyish face. "With a surname like, 'Langly' it
wouldn't be entirely out of character for you
to be more sympathetic. I'd like to think I
speak something of a blend now. As I told you
before the tire gave out, I've lived in the
States nigh on twelve years now."

"Long enough, I guess," Langly muttered, only
half-listening. He stuck the bleeding digit
into his mouth.

"That's hardly medicinal," Margot cautioned.
Langly just shrugged.

Their name-tagless waitress was a pudgy brunette
woman on the uphill side of her shift ending
which wouldn't be until six-thirty. She handed
them menus before stalking away. The graveyard
stint had never been her rewarding slice of
life, but making ends meet for a single mom
demanded relentless sacrifices. She loved her
children dearly, would do anything, short of
committing a felony, but there was nothing that
read she had to smile while waiting on so many

"Minus the flat, we would've been here way
before now. Glad I got that new tire the
other day at Louie's." He slid one of the
shiny menus nearer to him with a finger that
wasn't throbbing.

"Ringo, I really think you should wash that

"I just do this." He sucked louder. "Never
got any infections up till now." He held
out his hand, looking rife for receiving
first-aid. "Slap a Band-Aid on it, will ya?"
He wriggled his eyebrows and his glasses
seesawed precariously. "Nursie..."

"What cheek!" She rolled her eyes and said,
"I realize you're winding me up, but I'm not
kidding. I really think you should." She
ran a hand through her unruly raven tresses,
noting how 'full of it' his eyes were.

"I've got a medicinal mouth."

"Oh, really."

"Yeah. I use lots of mouthwash with high
alcohol content."

Margot shook her head, and resisted the urge
to slug his leg, albeit lightly, beneath
the table. "Please yourself then," she said
with a resigned upturn in her voice.

His eyes scraped the placemats that were
decorated with all sorts of tempting entrees.
"So...the Band-aid?"

"Fine." An amused grin split her face. He
found himself liking it when her big eyes
flashed all freaky like that. "Cheeky boy."
Margot opened her bulging backpack to hunt
up the large-sized can of Johnson & Johnson's.
Releasing the wide strip version from its
casing, she wondered if he was as accident-
prone as she.

"Put it on for me, yeah? All my fingees hurt
wrestling with that rusty jack."

Margot grimaced at him, and although he
thought she wouldn't do it, she did.


End Part 2