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 7/18

8:00 A.M.

Langly anchored his arm around her waist,
cinching her to him. "It's like the prick
wants to be seen, sittin' there as big as life.
I mean death." He wished he hadn't said that
when he saw how she took it, and wanted to work
wonders with masking tape and the wind tunnel
that was his mouth. "Sorry..."

"I've got to get out of here," she said through
a dry gulp.

"Now, hold on a minute," Frohike remonstrated,
stepping into her, the best he could do was
only imagine how she had to be feeling. Safe
to assume not good, judging by the stark pallor
her face had taken on.

"I spied him, and everything got very clear to
me," she replied in a tremulous, hollow voice.
"I'm so sorry I'm endangering you and your
efforts, adding to what you're already facing.
It's better I leave, which will remove any
*collateral* danger I pose."

Langly turned whiter than she while his heart
plummeted to rock bottom. Again, it was
safe to bet the farm that she'd heard every
discouraging word, including the rash crap he'd
vomited. "NO!" he exclaimed in the most
persuasive way he knew how. He bumped up his
whine to the next level. "I was talkin' trash.
You can't leave--I won't let ya."

Frohike folded his arms across his chest, his
heart undeniably moved by Langly's sincerity,
and something else he'd never seen his friend
of going on ten years unbridled
willingness to surrender his pride.

Byers looked out the window for the third time,
wanting to memorize that cold, calculating face
behind the 'bug's' steering wheel.

"Okay, this is how it's gonna go down, people,"
Frohike barked, assuming irrevocable command.
Once a Marine, always a Marine, he recalled
Skinner reminding him awhile back. "Listen up,
blond boy. It's time for splitsville. You and
Margot; Byers and me. You're gonna use John's
Cherokee. Mobility's the watchword. Keep on
the move."

He noticed Margot, and Langly, too for that
matter, hanging on every word. In her eyes
especially, there was a resilient look of quiet
hope intermingled with raw courage. It didn't
take an algorithm to see why his young friend
was so taken with her. Her physical comliness
only added butter fudge icing to the entire

Frohike licked his lips. "Byers and I'll head
for the complex as soon as you two are long gone.
Make treads for there as soon as you're outta
here. We downloaded the compound's schematic
layout before coming here, talk about complex.
C'mon, we gotta move on this. We'll pinpoint
exactly where we'll rendezvous. This isn't a time
for tooling around. We gotta hus--"

"Think splitting up's the coolest thing to do?"
Langly muttered, looking stunned all of a sudden.

"Got a better 'tour de' stratagem, buddy?" Frohike

"No," Langly said submissively, sounding weary.
Hunching his shoulders, he slouched. "Just don't
think it's such a good option is all."

"We stand a better chance if we split up. Right?"
Frohike brought home, unashamed of the commando
in him. "You gonna work with us here, or what?"

"Yeah," Langly said, sounding sour.

Margot took careful note of the way the Gunmen
were striving not to lose it, as they continued
to squabble. Striving, but Frohike and Langly
seemed as though they would be pushing and
shoving each other soon.

Feeling uncomfortably out of place, and not
making a fuss about it either, she unmoored
herself from Langly's side, deciding to be
political about the situation...the good of the
many overriding the good for just one.

She went for her jacket, which lay against the
side of the couch closest to the fish tank,
first. Uttering toneless words, she wished the
aquatic denizens well, and at the last minute,
re-analyzed her immediate course of action.
How could she reclaim her notebook and backpack
without the Gunmen noticing? Good one.

Not wasting any more time, she just went for her
things, tucking the laptop into the JanSport,
while the engrossed men haggled on in total
distraction. It hadn't been as hard as she
thought it would be.

She slipped into her outerwear while they
continued wrangling. With the Jansport securely
in place, she beaded a noiseless path for the
apartment door...

Frohike, looking satisfied and outspoken, upended
the noisy free-for-all. "Okay then, we--"

"Margot--NO!" Langly blared, looking wounded, and
hot-footed it over to her just as she had the door
open. He lodged his hand against it. "Where the
hell do you think you're goin'?"

"I'm leaving," she said meekly.

"The hell you are--dammit--NO!" Langly spluttered.
"You're not--not--without ME. GOT THAT?"

"I'll do the duck and dive on me own if you don't
mind. I'll be all right. Really." But she
couldn't look him in the eyes all the same.

"I *do* mind."

"Please, love, it's better this way."

"No it ain't--forget it!" He hurled the words
like live grenades. "We're in this together.
You leave with me, or else you leave over my
dead body!" Ignoring her hand on the doorknob,
he slammed Number 42, rattling the jamb, not
caring less what Mulder's nosy neighbors might

"Oh, dear..."

Looking concerned for another reason then, he
susserated, "I-I'm sorry. I'm wired."

"I'm sorry I'm so much trouble," she said
softly, sounding cowed, but grateful. "You

"Nah-ah. We both do."

Deeply affected, she moved closer to him,
sensing a different sort of bond between them
now. One she hadn't figured on. One she wasn't
used to before Gustin, and in his aftermath,
wasn't sure she could handle ever again. Why
should he care, she thought, finally able to look
Langly in his lucid eyes.

"Everybody," Byers said in alarm, having inched
over to the window, "he's getting out of the
car. Margot, Langly, I suggest you get while
the getting's good. Margot, going it alone
isn't an option, judging by the feral quality
in my firend's eyes."

"Heard that," Langly said, and squandered no
more time reopening the door. Byers threw his
car key, along with a varied assortment of
others, to him, and Langly tossed him the van's
on a key chain with a little skull-and-crossbones.
Kneading Margot out the doorway, he said full
of wily, "Lucky thing you parked around back,

"Get going," Frohike splintered.

"Wait--" Byers ordered sharply. He rushed up to
them, handing off Langly's warm-up jacket.
"WATCH yourselves." Swept up in the tension of
the moment, he enmeshed himself in-between their
bodies and tightly pressed his into theirs. "Be

"Yeah, man, it'll be cool," Langly assured, but
he rammed his index and middle fingers beneath
his glasses' frame, and swabbed. "Uh, sorry
'bout calling you a narc, before. And reamin'
ya about Susanne."

"I forgot you did; the way I usually do, Ringo."

"So, like where're we gonna meet up again? It
sorta slips my mind," the contrite man directed
at Frohike, as though it was an afterthought,
then promised Byers, "I'll be wizard with your
ride, man, so don't bagbite after we split."

"Be careful with *yourselves*. Don't worry about
the four-by-four," Byers mandated, thinking it was
good he'd had the late model tuned up recently,
but hated it when Langly glanced over his feelings.
"The watershed's off the main road leading to the
site. Check out its exact location on the road
atlas, it's circled in red. The atlas is in the
glove compartment. See you there at midnight,"
Byers said.

"Yeah, midnight, 'cos that's where we'll look for
ya. I mean this, dude, watch your back," Frohike
stipulated after gripping first one of Langly's
shoulders, then the other. He avoided thinking
about the loss of his over-the-long-haul friend
who was more like a son.

Truth be told, he loved Langly like a son, the
one he'd lost in that boating accident while at
camp, over eleven years ago. But it'd be a cold
day in equatorial South America before he'd ever
say so. Langly shared similar feelings about
Frohike, and, just as similarly, voicing them
ran along the same lines too.

"Yeah, yeah. I will," Langly promised.

"I mean it, Hippie boy." Frohike gave the 'kid'
a little punch on the chin. "Don't do a 'Scully'
on us."

"Don't plan on winding up at the South Pole with
a big-ass tube sticking outta me, bein' used for
my gestational abilities."

"What in the world are you talking about?" Margot
gave him a shocked expression.

"Later," he said, wanting to see if she'd
recognize how she'd sounded before.

"We'll watch each other's bacon," she pledged,
and gave the brave men they were leaving behind
firm hugs and kisses of appreciation upon their
cheeks, euro style, for the lengths they were
willing to go to for her sake. "I'm forever in
your debt," she said emotively.

Then they took off after they had shooed them

Running for the stairwell, with Langly dogging
her heels, Margot reported, "I say...Frohike is
the affectionate." He had squeezed her buttocks
several times before letting her go.

Langly grunted something tart which he didn't
want her to hear in so many words. "I saw what
he did."

Bounding down the stairs, Margot said, "He's
sweet, Ringo..."

He grabbed her by the elbow as she almost lost
her balance on the second to the last step.
"So are my favorite cookies. Mallomars. But
after three boxes even I get sick."


8:10 A.M.

With the door shut, Frohike and Byers barrelled
back to the front window as a team. Byers tugged
on his beard, absorbed in streamed thought.
Sounding worried he said, "He's just standing
by the car." He willed that the nemesis of
ambiguous biological makeup remained there long
enough to buy the stalked young researcher and
their gangly bosom buddy more time.

"Looks like he's sensing which way the wind's

"Margot's vitals, I'd be willing to bet," Byers
articulated somberly, wishing he knew the secret
of how the entity did it.

"I dunno, maybe Langly was right. Maybe we
*should've* stuck together," Frohike vacillated.

Clamping his hand down on his shoulder, Byers
reaffirmed, "No, Frohike, it was a good decision--"

"Not if it gets 'em killed, it ain't." he adjured,
shaking his head and looking regretful.

"C'mon, the options were limited. Your way, it
increases our odds. Otherwise, all our months of
toil, wasted, if he takes us all out."

"There's gotta be a way to kill that, that thing..."

"According to what we found, thus far, there hasn't
been a way invented. He's virtually indestructible."
Byers turned away from the veiled view to Frohike
who still looked nonplussed. "They'll be fine,
Mel. Despite his interpersonal shortcomings,
Ringo's a klieg of a bright bulb. Just don't tell
him you heard it from me. We wouldn't want that
swelled head getting any puffier."

"Yeah, we sure don't want that."

Byers nodded. "He's got some of the keenest
instincts for survival I've ever seen in anyone,
excluding present company, that is. Your war
record speaks volumes."

"Surviving the headcase you whimsically refer
to as dear ol' dad speaks yours," Frohike
attested, and rewarded the overachiever with a
glancing swipe off his upper arm. "You're still
too wound around what he thinks of you, ya know."

Byers dug his fingers into his beard. "I know.
He took great pains in caring, which I think is
why I'm such a disappointment to him now. He
thinks I can do something better with my life."
Switching gears slightly, he continued, "You're
the closest to a true father Langly's ever had.
He's come to respect, trust. I'd even go as far
to" Byers fished into his back pocket,
but decided to leave his wallet where it was.
He'd look at his father's picture when things
weren't so awry.

"Kid's got moxie. Not everyone tears loose from
heroin addiction and lives to tell." Frohike
shifted his eyes back to Max who was still poised
at the 'bug's' left fender. "But against *that*
spit on a stick?" Again, he glowered at Max.

Byers looked again too. "C'mon. We've got
higher ground to cover between now and midnight.
We'd better take off too."

"Oh, hell! The son of an EBE's on the move.
He's headin' for the back." Frohike raked the
sides of his head with his half-exposed fingers.
"Those two better be long gone. Damn I wish I
had a remote to work on him. Aim, zap--shut him
down in less time it takes to crap if he even

Byers opened his mouth in agitation a few times,
but said nothing. He was about to pull Frohike
away from the window, but Mulder's phone's
insistent twinging interrupted. Frohike
scrambled to pick it up from its scuffed mooring
on the coffee table.

"Yeah?" (Pause...) "That's cool, buddy."
Frohike threw Byers a tepid smile. "None too
soon. Don't sweat something like that now. This
line's secure. Mulder tightened up his act.
Remember? With our help." He resumed keeping tabs
on Max' stilted movements. The stealthy figure had
just halted his advance on Mulder's building. He
stood motionless several minutes as though in deep
contemplation, until. "He's loading back into the
bug," Frohike croaked. "Thundering herd, man--don't
stop till we meet up." (Pause...) "Bad, bad idea--
just keep--dammit, Langly, listen for once. Dedicate
to the script you--you." He was having none of
Langly's stubbornness, but just as he was about
to shout him down, Langly changed his tune. "Okay.
That's credible, get behind it, and stay that way.
Yeah, I got the number she just rattled off to
ya. Catch ya there. Later, man, work it beyond

There'd better be a later, he thought, ending the
call, and refused to think beyond a worst case
outcome of any description.

Then to Byers, after he'd pedestaled the phone,
he said, "She's got a mobile. He said they're
headin' for the Jeff Davis on Columbia Pike."

Byers watched Max roar away, a strange thought
playing devil's advocate then. "If only there
was some way to track him within a given radius.

Frohike threaded the needle as he hefted the
sizeable comportment case for their equipment
as they readied to leave. "Yeah, that'd help.
Too bad there's no time to cook one up. Whipping
something up like that would take time."


The Lone Gunmen's Headquarters
10:10 A.M.

If the traffic hadn't been a nightmare, they
would have been here a lot sooner. It had been
the worst ever, nearly driving Langly's patience
over the edge. What felt like forever had
finally ended, and they were where they needed to
be...well, where *he* thought they needed to be,
at any rate.

"Jackercrack anime you've got there, those two
belugas wavin' their flukes at each other, then
at whoever's eyes are on the screen." He wasn't
just paying a compliment. The visual was one of
the most imaginative he'd ever seen. He sort of
envied her having a laptop he wished he owned.

Langly stole another look over at Margot, who was
sitting beside him, but every moment or so had
watchful eyes travel to the videocam surveillence
screens. He eyed them too, and told himself to
hurry up with what he was doing.

"Al-almost done?"

He glanced away from the large monitors. "Uh huh,
just wanna make sure your powertrain can handle
the extra 'upage.'"

"Good." Margot got up and started pacing.

"Relax. I know. Easier to say than do, but once
this tool's in place, we'll have a handle, and
we'll both rest easier." He kept on with the roll
and press with the one built-in mouse, and then
synchronized his movements using the other one.

"So there's a good chance your module will work?"

"Better than a good chance. I used to do this
kind of stuff all the time back on the farm.
Tinker with ideas until they were reality. Only
now, the lapse time between brainstorm and
implementation into the real world is virtually

Warily, she surveyed his cluttered working
environment, with the strewn, scattered electronic
remains of di-cast cast offs of things taken apart,
but never put together again, diversely spread
among the shells of hardware and devices that
had been neglected for what looked to be an
indeterminable length of time. She couldn't help
but think about Frohike's biting, cautionary words
advising them to keep on the move, having heard
them barked clearly as they'd skirted by the
Potomac and then had doubled back.

"So, not too much longer?" she said, as calmly as
a gentle trade wind wafting along, but with
enough impetus to be felt.

"Shouldn't be. Scudding the sensoring sequencings
in place. The commands are jivin' even as we speak.
Once this part's done, all I'll have to do is some
final reconfiguring, and than 'voila.' We're in
serious, continuous tracking mode. Ability over
roughly a seven-mile radius. Five minutes more,

Her eyes flitted over to the screens again, and
this time he caught her agitated expression.

"You pissed with me?"

"Why do you ask? Do I looked 'pissed?'"

Langly hesitated, half sorry he'd said anything.
"Uh, well, like...kinda."

Margot drifted back over to his workspace. She
picked up what looked like a putty fist with
a gaggle of wires sticking out from the side
closest to her. "One of the banes of my existence,
not having a poker face."

Not a poker face, a sweet one though, Langly noted
silently, and halted his calculations for a
moment. "Don't think I don't care that you're
buggin' 'cos we came back here. I understand. I
really do."

She relaxed her hand on his shoulder. "I just
don't like our being here. I've got this freaky
feeling something bad's about to happen."

"You psychic?"

"I wouldn't call it psychic, exactly, rather it's
a heightened sense of foreboding."

"In other words, huh?" Langly pursed his lips,
and, straining the reprisal out of his tone said,
"We're not stayin' a minute longer than we have to.
Word up." Leaning way back in his badly-creaking
chair, he acknowledged, "Your ex wins in the
widest-bandwidth range, no contest, but we'll have
some range on him now too. Know where *he* is in
relation to ourselves. I'm not down with sneak-ups.
I'm counting on his having some form of residual
electromeg. throw-off. If we're about to get worked,
I sure as hell wanna know, even if it's nanos' before
it goes down."

"I hope you're right."

"Yeah, me too, but I'm banking there's a fair to
even chance power vectors run high with him." Her
notebook bleeped, then made a sound reminiscent of a
xylophone being struck. A glitch was in the making.
Swearing, Langly sequenced the, 'ctrl, alt, F3, F9 and
F12 keys, and breathed a sigh of relief, catching the
impending snafu in time. "Almost blew it." After he'd
finished keying like a maniac, he turned his attention
back to her.

"With determination like that, I don't think it's all
that probable." She laid the curious object down
next to her laptop, and sat down beside him again.

"You gonna be all right?"

She nodded, and tried looking more relaxed,
but there was no shame admitting what she felt.
Ashamed of feeling one of the oldest emotions
known to humankind? One never a respecter of
rank, political affiliation, gender. Or agenda,
the deepest beliefs.

As her dear philosophical uncle 'Pert loved to
say, 'There is none so cowardly as one who decries

"I'm frightened."

"Real understandable," Langly rejoined, as he
divided his attention with the last detail of the

"Not just for myself, but for you as well, and
your friends. You're risking everything for, well
not just for me, for the good of the public, but
the point being, me, a someone you barely know--"

"You didn't act that way back at Mulder's," Langly
reminded her, sounding on the more forward side
of shy.

Margot was blushing deeper than he had when
they'd been in bed together and she'd started
coming on to him. She touched his arm and Langly
dropped his eyes to it, feeling himself start to
warm. "I know, and, and well... I wasn't myself.
I mean I was myself, but I shouldn't have tried
forcing myself on you as I did. Can you forgive

Can I forgive *her*? I'm the one....I'm the
world class loser. She wants me? Why?

"I..." Langly cleared his throat and dared himself
to look into eyes that were all mellow. "I like,
didn't mind. Uh...I acted the way I did 'cos I
don't know how to act with women. I ain't ex-"
He scratched the side of his nose with the side of
his thumb. "Experienced." Round '2' for being
inexorably lame, he arched. She wants *me*? "I
don't handle my feelings too cool. I try dealing,
it always gets messy," he confessed, squirming in
his jeans which felt two sizes too tight all of a

"Does it explain why you tend to jump a bit when
*I* touch *you*? Not every time, mind, you, bothers you. As though it causes you
physical pain when you're touched, as someone
might who suffers from dysesthesia."

Langly nodded, looking stricken. "Only it's not's that...I got a lotta issues."

Margot stopped holding his hand, but held onto
her smile. "Issues or no, you attracted me
almost immediately."

"I, I did?" His half-moon of a smile seemed

"You do." Following a rib-tickling laugh, she
said, "You needn't look so shocked. You're
ever so attractive." Giving into her impulsive
nature again, she touched his cheek to coax that
fragile smile along. "Maybe you'll think me
daft my telling you this in one gush, as it were,
but you're all I've ever dreamed finding in one
man. Intelligence, a vivid sense of humor, a
quirky personality with merit uniquely its own...a
face I want to take between these two hands and kiss
your features off of..." She winked saucily to end,
"and a bum to die for."

"No kiddin'..." Langly bit the corner of his lower
lip. "Well I'll be damned," he said like a hopeless
guy forever destined to lack clues or cues to offset
how adrift she was making him feel.

"Oh, I certainly hope not."

He tried for re-absorption in the download, but she
was having none of his evasive tactics.

"You're the first man who doesn't feel he must
intimidate first, then dominate me so I'll want
him. I adore that, it's what's most attractive
about you." She removed one of his hands from her
keyboard, and this time he didn't twitch a muscle.
"You're therapeutic for me. My latency for
domination rearing its butting head, I cared little
about your feelings at your friend's apartment.
That's what I'm apologizing for, love. Dominating
someone else for a change. It's a bit intoxicating."

"So I've heard..."

"Sorry I took advantage, Ringo," Margot said with a
belabored sigh. "You've been far too nice to me."

She owned his undivided attention. "Is that what
I've been?" Turning away from the laptop's screen,
he said gently, "See, I bet that's the kind of
stinkin' thinkin' that's been gettin' you knocked

"I suppose i'tis."

"You should be treated nice. Why the hell not?
You can't let Neanderthals beat ya up so they'll
wanna be nice to you. There's so much contradiction
in that. Take it from a former whipping boy and
punching bag who's got old scars to prove it."

Their gazes held.

"You make so much sense, love. I'm an emotional
cripple, a basketcase."

"Is there room in that 'basket?'" Margot nodded
submissively. "Then we're two of a kind, I'd say."
His eyes began slipping off her face. "Maybe


"Well, ya know, when this is all over..." When
he cleared his throat it had a distinct choking

"I should ask you again?" she finished for him
as delicately as the subject warranted. "More

"It wasn't like I didn't wanna. I did--I do."
His face was so hot her fingers could get burned,
but they kept fondling his cheek. He vaulted
over the lump that had risen in his throat. "I...
I...see, I want love too. Not just sex--not that
sex is a bad thing." When Margot smiled there
were a lot of teeth involved. "I, I ain't some
guy who's gotta have it, screw true feelings..."
Langly ended his verbal skittishness. "It's just
that I crave love too." Unwittingly though, he
thought again, man, I so suck at this, and felt
dismal. "Trusting's hard for me--that is, I
don't trust easily. I mean."

"I do, and sadly, I've paid a high price, over
and over." Hanging her head, she said, "I've gone
about relationships all wrong far too long a time."

"Hey, there's room in that boat, 'cept, I've never
been in a real relationship with a woman. Maybe
'cos I'm afraid I'm like my murdering father."
The fingers of his right hand pressed themselves
into the soft plane of the back of hers. "Children
of abusers become abusers, so they say."

"I don't believe you could ever be anything like
your father, Ringo. True, I don't know you well,
but I just know you could never be the way he was
with anyone."

"Th-then, maybe you could g-give me a try?" he
broached, sounding the epitome of tentative.

"I'd like that," Margot said in one pleasant breath
which ignited his smile to its full potential. She
inched into his face, intent on making direct
contact, labially speaking.

"I, I don't have much practice with this, either,"
he defended, "s-so I'll probably suck."

"You do go on so..." Her button nose nuzzled the
tip of his prominent one. "Sucking's good, when
done right. Like this..."

Langly thought he'd faint within the next two

Their lips melded a second time, as naturally as
the breath they'd just shared. It was strictly a
'no-brainer,' the way she got him going.

After easing away from each other, she said,
sweeping her forefinger and middle fingers over
his lips, "Nothing wrong with any of that, lambkins.
You're magic. Good things come to those who relate."

The second kiss lasted longer, with neither
wanting it to end any time soon.


End Part 7