Story Archive

Messenger VII --

by gizzie

Summary: A gathering at Byers' apartment
Rating: R, for language.
Keyword: Lone Gunmen
Disclaimer: They're not mine, if they were, I wouldn't let them play here. I've already staked a claim on Byers, and now, I want Langly, too. Yes, I'm greedy. Becca is mine, you may use her if you don't kill her.
This is a companion piece to MessengerVI--Interlude
giznote--This story is not meant to provide plot continuation, or addition to the mytharc, this is primarily a character study. As for "Unusual Suspects"--I'll accept and use "Melvin" for Frohike, and even the unseen "Ringo" for Langly...but Byers will remain "Jeff" in my universe, my reasoning being "John Fitzgerald--J.F.--JF--Jeff" So there.
Thank you for flying gizzie net. "If you love me, let me know"

Messenger VII -- Coda
The tap-tap-tap at the door is muted, yet I startle at the intrusion of my blank-minded stare at the bleached wood table top. A pause, then a staccato chirp of the door buzzer and an urgent call "Byers?"
Mel Frohike. I'd know that voice anywhere, but still, with a subtle paranoia I've somehow gleaned from my association with the Gunmen, I check the peep hole. It *is* Frohike, slump-shouldered and staring at his boots. He knows.
I unlock and swing the door open just as he taps again, his hand freezes in mid-knock, and he blinks in surprise. "Rebecca!"
"Yeah. Come in. He's not here. I was just...come in...."
"C'mon," he says gently, and reaches, grasps another man by the elbow, pulls him unresisting into the apartment.
I don't recognise the man in the running shorts and sleeveless Tasmanian Devil sweatshirt for a second, then my stomach clenches and I can't stop a small gasp, my hand reaching out. "Ree."
It's Ringo Langly, not the healthiest looking man in the best of circumstances, now shaken and blank eyed, his long, white-blond hair skinned back in a pony tail, accentuating the sharp angles of his pale face. He's not wearing his glasses, and I'm not sure the myopic stare he fixes on me is because of that, or his obvious distress. He flinches when I touch him, draws back, looks over my shoulder. "Where's Byers? We need to tell him..."
"We know, Ree." He brushes past me into the living room, turns the television on. Frohike gives me a questioning look. "Dana called him...." I check the clock on the microwave ".....about an hour ago. She asked him to come get her. She was at Mulder's apartment."
Frohike frowns. "Jesus...was she THERE when he...?"
"No. I dont' think so, anyway....I don't know. God, even Mulder couldn't be THAT big a prick, could he?" Langly snorts, Frohike blanches. "Sorry." Jesus. Me and my big mouth. I reach out and pull Frohike against me, hug him hard. "I'm sorry, really. I just..."
"It's ok" He wraps his arms around me, holds me tight. "I'm just... surprised she'd call ANYONE to pick her up. Not tough Scully."
I pull away from him, cross into the kitchen to make coffee."When was the last time you saw her, Mel?"
"I don't know...a couple weeks, I guess."
"Yeah, well, she's not doing so good. This.... liable to be the last straw...she may quit fighting."
"Did she SAY anything?"
"I don't really know, she talked to Jeff. How'd you find out, anyway, did Jeff call you? I was going to, and I chickened out."
Frohike smiles weakly. " I heard it on the police scanner. I thought I heard it wrong the first time., but that "Fox" name is a little hard to miss." He bites his lip, drops his eyes "I was hoping these old ears were deceiving me." He gestures into the living room, where Langly is compulsively channel surfing "I picked him up running on Shaden Avenue." He drops his voice. "He's pretty shook, Becca."
"'s Jeff."
"Yeah" Frohike heaves a long sigh and, with a familiarity I didn't know he had here, crosses to the high cabinet over the sink, and pulls down a bottle of Jim Beam. The seal is still on it, and Frohike smiles as he cracks it "I got Byers this for Christmas LAST year....I can see you guys are big drinkers."
"Yeah, well, we're more winos, you know, but a little JB sounds good right about now." Frohike loads my mug and his as I pour a third cup for Langly. I reach for the bottle of bourbon, but Frohike raises a hand.
"Not for him."
"It's purely medicinal," I smirk.
"NO, Becca, he's an al...." Frohike stops abruptly, looks guiltily in at Langly. "just...give him a lot of cream and sugar, ok?"
"OK" You don't have to draw me a picture.
And here it is again....this blindingly strong devotion, this tie. I've never seen a group of people with the nexus of these three. Snap, Crackle and Pop. I think of the times I've seen them together, one talking, the other two nodding in unison. I've seen them with Mulder and Scully, the agents talk, the boys' heads swing from one to the other in triple tandem. They are truly connected, a team. It sometimes looks like a comedy act.
But no one is laughing now.
Frohike carries the coffee in to Langly, puts a hand on his shoulder, and leans down to talk into his ear. Langly nods and throws a quick glance over his shoulder at me, reaches up and squeezes the hand on his shoulder. He goes back to the compulsive channel surfing as Frohike settles into the chair opposite me at the tiny kitchen table and takes a long swig of the hot liquored coffee. He shudders and gives me a weak little smile.
"This is kind of like deja vu for me, ya know." He pours another healthy belt of JB into his mug but raises his hand in a negative gesture as I rise to get the coffee pot. "Did Byers ever tell you about the time Mulder was missing and presumed dead?"
I shake my head, pour more JB into my own mug, and throw an annoyed look in at Langly...I'm gonna stick that remote where the sun doesn't shine in about one minute....
"It was two years ago. His dad was murdered, there was a travesty with a missing government tape that WE had actually round-aboutly provided him with. That cigarette smoking bastard was involved somehow." He pauses and frowns at the memory. "There was a fire, Mulder was trapped underground in a box car. Scully came home without him, her and I had a soul searching talk in HER kitchen...with plain old coffee...."
"So, what happened?"
"We don't really know. Three days later, Mulder returned."
"That explains why you guys think he's the greatest thing since Jesus Christ, I guess."
Fuck me....this mouth of mine. I regret that crack immediatly, but it 's too late. Langly makes a strangled little sound deep in his throat, his coffee mug drops, and he overhands the remote violently, crashing into and cracking the sliding glass door of the balcony. Frohike over turns his chair, a combination of his haste to get to Langly and the effect of the Jim Beam. Shit. I pick up the bottle and take a long, scalding draught, wishing for the hundredth time that I had friends with NORMAL problems. Frohike sits on the arm of the couch, his arms tight around Langly's heaving shoulders. I cringe when Frohike turns cold eyes on me. "Rebecca, he's freezing, could you get him some clothes and turn the heat up in here, please."
Could you guys just get the hell out of my life and leave me the fuck alone??
I head for Jeff's bedroom, stop to crank up the thermostat....I can't really see the teeny numbers on the indicator through the liquor-induced fog of my eyesight, so I turn the little dial thingie and hope I turned it the right way. Rightie tightie, lefty loosie....doesn't really apply here, I guess. I giggle before I can swallow it, take another hit from the brown bottle....doesn't burn so much now. I pause just inside the door of Jeff's bedroom....I don't really know where he keeps his clothes. I open the closet--all tight-ass suits and stiff white shirts here--then pull open a few dresser drawers. God, he's neat. Perfect stacks of t-shirts, cute little rolls of black socks. I bet he irons his jeans. I giggle again, take another three or five swallows of fire water...whoa. This dresser must be on rollers, I swear it moved. I put the bottle on the cute little mirrored do-dad dish and yank open another drawer. TA-DA!! This one is full of analy neat folded sweats. I pull out a pair of forest green pants and a shocking red sweat shirt with the M&M candy guys on it. I can't in a hundred years picture Jeff buying this shirt --then I remember *I* gave it to him for his birthday. Ha! Green pants, red shirt--I find this extremely funny, Christmas IS coming, after all. The goose is getting fat.....I glance at the screaming red display on his clock's 6:45 am.
I'm drunk.
I stumble back into the living room. Langly is slumped on the couch, his big hands dangling between his knees. Frohike's leather jacket is draped over his shoulders, he's trembling still, but I see with relief that he's stopped crying. Frohike sits close, one hand just touching his friend's knee, watching him with a concerned wrinkle between his eyes. The sleeves of his denim shirt are rolled up, puzzingly unbuttoned half way down his chest, but he's still wearing those ridiculous fingerless leather gloves, and when he reaches for the sweats and gives *me* a dirty look, I want to peel them off his hands and slap his coolly angry face with them.
"Thank you," Langly mutters as he pulls the sweat pants on. Frohike helps him into the sweat shirt, then wraps the leather jacket around him again.
"We'll leave soon, bud," he murmers, "I just want to get you a little more warmed up. Jesus, Becca could you have found a louder sweat shirt??"
The tenuous hold on my control snaps, and I burst into angry, guilty tears. I don't need this shit. I'm getting out of here.
I'm fumbling with my coat, when the door rattles and opens. It's Jeff, who looks from me to his friends and back, looks around, perplexed, at the overturned chair, the spilled coffee mug , the broken glass of the balcony door, me sobbing like an idiot.
"Becca! Guys...what the hell is going on in here? And why is it so HOT in here?" I notice, then, the stifling heat of the apartment. I guess I turned the dial thingie the right way, but like everything else I do, I went too far. I giggle and Jeff turns to me "Becca, where do you think you're going, you're not dressed?"
"She's drunk." It's Dana Scully, behind him. Cool, placid, looking-like-shit Dana.
"Drunk? Frohike, what the...DRUNK???"
"Dana," I sob, hiccup, and try to wrap my arms around her "I'm so sorry. Mulder.....he was an ass, but he was YOUR ass...."
"REBECCA!!" Jeff thunders.
"It's all right." A third voice, in the doorway, behind Dana. It's a man...a tall, good looking man.
It's Mulder.
Fox *FUCKING* Mulder.
And his head is all in one piece. Dana has a hellof a bruise on her cheek, but Mulder...Mulder is JUST fine....
I try to swallow it, but the bitter little laugh bubbles up and out of my suddenly burning throat.
"You look pretty damn good, for a dead man." I hear a strangled little sound behind me, and KNOW it's Langly. "DUCK!!" I yell. I *can't* shut up. "He's gonna blow again!"
Langly grabs my shoulder from behind, pulls me out of his way. He steps close, looks Mulder up and down and shakes his head.
Mulder has the grace to look embarrased "Langly, I'm sorry. It wasn't supposed to go this far. We didn't want..."
"Mulder," Langly says softly, "one of these days, you're REALLY going to get killed...and no one's going to give a fuck."
Probably because I'm trashed, I don't actually SEE him hit Mulder. I see the blur of his flying fist, and Mulder is staggering back against the closet door. Langly pounds out the door, Mulder pulls himself together and leans out into the hallway "Langly!!"
Frohike pulls him back, closes the door. "Let him go, Mulder. He's too upset right now." Now he looks Mulder up and down, and Mulder flinches, rears back, raises a protective hand.
And I'm suddenly, hysterically laughing. Mulder's afraid little Frohike is going to clobber him, too.
"Hey." I tap Frohike on the shoulder. "Can I take a shot after you? Hmmmm???"
Mulder's face turns green, then grey, then swirly bluepurpleyellow.......
Dana is dragging me by the dangling sleeve of my coat, gets an arm around my waist, and hauls my ass into the bathroom, practically pushing my head into the toilet. Smart woman...she ain't a doctor for nothing. I heave and gasp as I bid adieu to Jim Beam. Dana holds my hair back--THAT'S a friend--and hands me a wet wash cloth when I'm sure the only thing left to come up is my liver.
"You all right now?"
I nod and press the wash cloth against my forehead. "You didn't see my eyeballs in there, did you?"
Dana snickers and rubs a soothing hand along my arm "Rebecca, what were you thinking??"
I'm choking and gasping on sudden tears, and she kneels down with me, takes me in her arms. "I was thinking he was DEAD, Dana. I never wanted....I don't want to despise him so much. You guys all adore him." I snort and sniffle, pull away from her, and wipe my face with the wash cloth. "You should have seen Langly...and Jeff. God, was that only two hours ago??" My head is starting to pound. "What the hell is going on, Dana?"
"It's a long story, Bec, and complicated. Mulder's been watched, we don't even know for how long. He's been set up to take a big fall. It's got something to do with the people who gave me this cancer." she smiles at my look of skepticism "I'm not sure of all the details myself, Rebecca. All I know right now is....I'm dying." I reach for her hand and she squeezes it hard, "and Mulder thinks he MAY be able to find the people that have the cure. But to do that,he HAS to remain underground...he has to STAY dead. It's complicated....."
Damn right. But....
"But why HERE, Dana...why Jeff??"
Dana Scully looks VERY uncomfortable. "This sucks, Becca...." she draws a deep breath, and looks me in the face. "Mulder has to move FAST...and it HAS to be today, right now. He's going over to the DOD to...." she stops, and Special Agent Mask falls into place. "I can't really say, right now. But....he left his apartment last night with just the clothes on his back. He needs a suit."
Wha.....WHAT???? My blood goes cold " two scared the shit out of ALL of us for a fucking SUIT???"
"It wasn't supposed to happen this way, all happened so fast. I wanted to call Jeff, but there were cops everywhere. And Skinner was there....."
"Does he think Mulder's dead. too?"
"Yeah. I....kinda lied right to his face...kinda. And I have to go to a hearing later today. Becca, he HAS to stay out of sight for now. He has someone elses ID...I really can't say anymore. Please don't be angry. Jeff isn't, not now. and I AM sorry...*we're* sorry.... He's going to try to help me save my own life, Becca. Surely YOU, of all people, can understand THAT."
I draw a trembling breath, and wipe the silent tears from my face. God, she loves him so.
"A *suit*...well, that explains why he didn't call Langly or Frohike."
"He trusts Jeff, too, Becca....not that he doesn't trust the other two, but him and's special. YOU'RE special, you two...."
We're holding each other and blubbering again...she feels like my ten year old niece, so little and frail. Hard to believe someone this small can be so big.
"We better get out of here," I sniff, " they're gonna think we went down the pipes. And if Mulder has to get out of here..."
"He showered at my place.....Jeff and I picked him up when we came from ...identifying the body." Scully shudders. "Ya know, Becca, that REALLY made me think....anyway, he just needs to change."
Jeff pulls me aside and catches me in a bear hug as we exit the bathroom. "Are you OK?"
"Yeah, now that I puked my guts out."
He smiles down at me, then turns to Dana " We have a plan, kinda. Frohike is gonna take you to the Bureau, since it's getting late. Mulder is gonna use my car, Becca and I will go back to Mulder's and get your car. They won't question that, since I picked you up. I should be back to the office by noon, at the latest, if Mulder needs me."
"What about Langly?"
"I'm gonna go find Langly, as soon as I drop you off, " Frohike says "He shouldn't be too hard to find in that M&M sweat shirt."
Scully frowned "Is he....?"
"He'll be okay..Langly's tough. He's just...." Frohike shrugged, "not so tough, sometimes. Like all of us...."
Scully wraps an arm around him and he smiles, blushing, looking at the floor. She nods to me "Why don't you go see Mulder...we really DO have to hurry, and you don't want to leave this thing hanging between you....not now..."
"Should we leave the building?" Jeff jokes, but his eyes are serious.
"No...I'll be good...."
I stand outside the closed bedroom door for a second, gather my wits. Mulder...shit....
I open the door and he startles, his hand going automatically to where his holster should be. It's a rather suggestive gesture, since he's just in boxers and socks. Very nice. He doesn't even look embarrased, and I think he's probably so used to women ogling him, nothing penetrates his cool. The curse of the drop dead gorgeous.
"Hey," he smiles softly, and I think maybe this could be dangerous, "close the door, huh, some of us are barely decent."
I suddenly remember that I'm in really sexy flannel pajamas with a coffee stain on the lapel, and god only knows if I puked on myself, also. I close the door and go to stand beside him, where he's studying Jeff's suits.
"You know," he says in that maddening monotone that curls my toes, "your man really DOES need some wardrobe advice."
"You'll shit when you see his ties, " I snicker. "Here." I dig to the far side of Jeff's closet, and pull out a charcoal grey suit. "This is his one and only Armani. I KNOW it is, because I bought it for him. I wanted him to look like you."
He smirks and pulls the pants off the hanger. "Has he worn it yet?."
"Just to my cousin's wedding, my family was VERY impressed." I watch him button the's pulled across his chest, but it'll have to do. "Wait, come here..."
"Just come here." I turn him around and reach onto the dresser, pick up the metal nail file. I pull the back of the shirt and make a small rent in the center of the back. Then I grab on both sides of the rent, and tear the shirt neatly up the back.
Mulder gasps and jumps. "What...what the hell did you do??"
I turned him around to face the mirror, tucking the shirt tails back in for him. "See? Now the shirt won't pull across your chest, and you can leave the jacket hang open, cos it's bound to be a little snug, too. Better a forty dollar shirt than a thousand dollar suit."
"You are amazing."
"Thank you."
And suddenly , we're squeezing the daylights out of each other, I'm fighting tears, and I can feel the suppressed emotion shuddering through him.
We laugh and pull apart, and he nods. "You first."
"I just....." I don't know what to say, now. I take a deep breath and gather my thoughts. "Fox..."
"Fuck....MULDER, there you happy, now ?" He winces, and I slap him as I turn to Jeff's closet to find a tie that isn't striped. "God, you're a pain in the ass." I turn back, hand him a striped tie anyway, and look into his eyes. He has beautiful eyes, deep hazel eyes that I would bet my life turn green when he's aroused. Bad thoughts. "Mulder...I don't really know where this animosity between us came from..."
"I know. You're a bitch." He smirks, and I laugh. "No, you really ARE..."
"Okay...besides that...." I catch his eye again, take his hand "I don't want us to keep at each other like we have. I KNOW now, that most of your animosity has been frustration over Dana, her illness" He frowns and I continue "I saw that that night at DonnaJ's...I saw your confusion, your pain" He looks away, and I squeeze his hand tight. "'and I DO understand what happened here, today, I think. It's just...Jeff cares about you so much. I hate to see you jagging him around, and the other guys, too."
He looks embarrased "I know...and I gotta admit to you, Becca, I'm a selfish bastard."
"No shit."
He chuckles, then gets serious. "But...I would NEVER do anything to purposefully hurt Byers, or Langly, or Frohike. I wouldn't. It's just that sometimes, I'm so focused on my goal, I run over anyone and everything to get there."
"I think I see that, Mulder."
"And right now...ALL that matters is finding this cure for Scully. Only that."
"I know."
He sighs and touches my cheek with a gentle hand. "You're a formidable opponent, Rebecca Foster. I'm glad you're on my ARE on my side...aren't you??"
I nod, wordless, and he pulls me into his arms. "You're the best thing that's ever happened to Byers. I hope you know that, too."
I nod again, feel a shudder go through him. "I really gotta go."
We exit the bedroom, Dana and Jeff meet our eyes, and both smile. Frohike heaves a great sigh of relief. "Phew! It was so quiet in there, we thought you'd killed each other."
Mulder and Dana are doing that eye thing. He pulls her over by the balcony,they talk quietly, then grab each other desperatly. Frohike chokes and looks at his feet, fumbles for his keys "I'm...I'll meet them outside, ok?"
"Yeah." I walk him to the door, an arm around his shoulders. He IS a dear man. I kiss him on the cheek, and he blushes to his roots. "If you need help with Langly, let me know. I'll talk to him. OK?"
"Langly will be all right. Thanks, Rebecca. I'm ....I'm sorry I got you drunk. Byers," he nods, "I'll see you later at the office?"
Jeff nods and waves. He's falling asleep at the table.
Mulder and Scully finally break apart, both self-consciously swiping at their eyes. Dana grabs Jeff and hugs him , murmmuring "thank you"s into his neck. She squeezes my arm tight and our eyes meet, and that's enough. We're both at emotional overload at this point, and our men are not too far behind us. Mulder extends his hand, Jeff moves to take it....we don't see who moves first, but they're suddenly embracing hard , an action that's been a long time coming . Mulder's "I'm sorry" and Jeff's "Just be carefull" fall on each other, they do that manly slap, slap, slap on the back thing so we know this is really not a HUG, god forbid, then Mulder and Scully are gone.
The silence is deafening. Jeff topples slowly against me,and we just hold each other for an extended minute. Finally, he shudders, kisses the top of my head, and pulls away . "Jesus. How boring my life would be without Fox Mulder."
I pull him over to the couch, and we sink down, snuggle together. I take his left hand in mine, toy with the wedding ring he still wears. "How DID you ever get together with him, anyway?"
He looks surprised. "I never told you that?" "No."
He laughs and pulls me tighter against him. "This is a good story. Actually, I met him and the boys at the same time. It was in 1989, I was working for the FCC, and I had this lame booth at an electronics fair ....."
"Enjoy life....this is not a dress rehearsal."
Feedback to: gizzie


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