Title: Comrades Under The Gun
Author: Sue
Written: March 2002
Category: General
Rating: PG-13 (Language)
Archive: Anywhere, fine.
Spoilers: WARNING: Provenance
Disclaimer: All the X-Files characters and references are property of C. Carter, 10-13 Productions and FOX. No infringement.

Summary: Missing scene.


Chapter I

The cockiness in the sound of the voice was unmistakable. "Who else was she gonna call?" Frohike asked the rhetorical quietly, as the miracle infant nestled within his arms tried plugging up his right nostril with his little fingers. No sooner had the eldest Gunman gently but firmly worked the infant's 'wrigglers' out, William stuck his thumb up Frohike's left.

"Us, that's who--the only ones left *they* trust." From behind the battered microbus' weathered steering wheel, Langly piped up again, "It was just a matter of time. They're runnin' outta options." Recalling the edge in Mulder's voice the last time he'd contacted them, Langly adjusted the rearview mirror, then checked his watch, and followed that up by scoping out the immediate environs of the filthy alley. He was nervous, and unlike most times, he wasn't concerned about his being unable to mask it. These five additional minutes of waiting felt like an eternity.

Byers nimbly reached for the oversized bottle and diaper bag, judging that William's sudden display of being out of sorts had its roots in hunger. After unzipping the carrier, he selected one of the still relatively warm bottles containing Scully's breast milk. He uncapped the brand new glass bottle, hiked up his suit sleeve, and sprinkled some spots unto the underside of his exposed wrist.

"Ah, this'll do. Frohike, here," he said, tapping his chum's shoulder lightly. "Take it."

Melvin leveled his fingerless gloved left hand back in Byers' general direction, anticipating for the bottle to be fitted into it. When he was holding it, he jauntily remarked, "Gimme a good old-fashioned glass bottle over that stupid contraption Yves made me strap, 'cos she wasn't about to, to my chest that last time we pulled babysitting duty, any day a the week."

"Stupidest thing you ever told us you did, ever," Langly complained, timing the remaining seconds of the last minute they had. "You ain't got the build for tits."

"Unlike you, punkass. Now shut-up an' get ready to drive like you've never driven in your life to get our asses to ol' Virginnie--minus your usual smart lip."

Langly huffed, "Yeah, yeah, I'm about to be on it." The edgy blond took a deep steadying breath. Suffering from a bad case of the shakes, his hand sought the ignition. Frohike eyed him uncertainly. "It's all gonna be cool." Even before he'd finished saying it, he wished he believed it. His stomach was a new configuration of knots. Byers frowned, which Langly caught in the rearview. "What's up with the evil eye, Byers, man? You see somethin'?" Langly reconnoitored around their vehicle, in apprehension.

"Before we get on ninety-five, I think it'd be a good idea to stop at the first pharmacy we spy," he stipulated, breaking off his inventory of the pale blue carry-all. "In all likelihood, in Scully's haste--"

"Not to mention the tyke's near-death experience," Langly irritably inserted while reaching over to straighten William's Cerulean blue cap before it snowballed down the front of Frohike's mail of leather.

The day that Langly stopped cutting him off like that would be the day they'd never have to explain to Jimmy what buffers were.

"He's going to need a lot more disposables than the ones here, for his stay at the bunker. How many Drug-Rites in our neck of the woods?"

"Good idea, John," Frohike awarded, giving the cap another battening down pat. If only getting William to take the bottle into his mouth was as easy. The kid was fussy, or just missing his mom. The poor, little trooper. The missing-in-action stepfather of two sighed in regret of paternal missed opportunities of his own. What sort of future would this wide-eyed innocent have? His father, although the jury was still out on that one, in Frohike's view, a persistently hounded fugitive...his mother beset by one adversity after another.

A fine start to life...

"Melvin, want me to take him?" Byers offered, seeing how much trouble Frohike was having, feeding the squirming boy.

"He's like jelly missing the peanut butter, swaddled in a blanket of ball bearings," Frohike vented, already hoisting the carseat back to Byers with the bottle precariously positioned in the baby's lap. "I give up."

"Maybe the idea of eating with your ugly mug simperin' down at his doesn't appeal to him," Langly badgered.

"Shut-up, Langly," Frohike hotly let loose, but was careful not to let go of the carseat until Byers had it safely within his hands. "Get us outta here, pronto 'fore we're made."

Byers beamed into the baby's cherubic face, and nipped a rosy cheek between the digital knuckles of his fore- and middle fingers. There was no doubt about it, that was Mulder's nose, in miniature, if ever there was one.

"We're gone." The interior of the trusty van filled with discontent within seconds. "Dammit," Langly swore, but softly at the sluggish gearshift then, keeping the child's presence in mind as though the other cuss words he'd uttered in the space of time between their getting into the van up until this moment didn't count. "We are, soon as I can get this antique on wheels ta rev." He pitched Frohike a disgusted sidelong look.

"Quit complainin'. At least it's all paid fo--" Breaking off, Frohike squinted hard at what he couldn't quite make out at the opposite end of the dim, squalid alley. It looked like an SUV that had come screeching to a halt; silvery, but he wasn't able to tag its make or model if his life depended on it. "What the hell is this?"

Spouting apropros dialogue from 'Star Wars,' Langly chuffed, "I've got a really bad feelin' about this," not craving any answer that spelled danger. The understated had been spoken in a wisp.

Repeating alarms were going off in Byers' head; loud, clamorous ones, coupled with the churning in his agitated stomach as he glanced up from the drooling infant entrusted into their care. "What the hell's what?" he barked, straining to see what had his friends baffled, and sounding over the edge.

Not squandering another precious moment of borrowed time, Langly had 'Gilgamesh' lurching convulsively forward. At the precise second of his maddeningly flooring the whining, spluttering collector's item again, a hail of shots in triplicate rang out which ravaged the microbus' balled tires.

"What the FUCK!" Langly railed, sickened because in that very instant, he knew he was losing control of the van.

Frohike made a mad grab for the steering wheel, but was violently thrown back against his seat when the microbus' careening, forward momentum was violently halted upon impact with the onrushing pole, jutting up from the concrete like a stanchion from hell.

Byers, his body badly jolted, threw himself over the baby, and the words he and his comrades had promised Scully he repeated as a litany to the little one who had begun to whimper. Were they about to fail her?

In the front seats, he heard the belabored groans of misery and grievous moanings of his friends. His mind convulsed over how badly they were hurt for their not wearing seatbelts. He wasn't that bad off, he realized, amazed, only badly shaken up, for not having buckled up for safety.

What happened, however, in the next jumble of confused moments, played out like a dream sequence; a very bad one. The sound of the sliding door being pulled open, and the brutal jab of a gun muzzle jammed up against his throbbing temple.

In the blowsy woman's eyes he saw nothing, and for the first time in his life, he knew what it felt like to see his life flash before his own eyes which were welling up with tears. This was different from the time Timmy had held that gun on him in Vegas. This time he was bombarded with the point of diminishing returns of the situation. When he could finally speak, he didn't recognize his own frail voice, faltering, begging for time.

He knew what this soulless creature, bereft of pity of any kind, wanted, but the promise made to Scully was the mandate decreeing it must come down to this...

With the muzzle gouging his flesh, Byers heard the faint click of the trigger thunder in his ears only to echo instead of fading away. His trembling bordered on uncontrollable.

"Oh, dear God," he stammered, but unflinchingly, staunchly refusing to abandon the gurgling baby's flank, he mustered, "it's not ending like this. Hell no--not over William's dead body, nor mine..."


Comrades Under The Gun - Chapter II. The Path of The Conquerors... The Gunmen's Revenge

Scully's Apartment
6:00 p.m.

Moments before a frustrated Monica Reyes closed the door to Scully's apartment behind herself, Frohike, still brooding, made sure that he got the last definitve, parting shot in.

"You got a problem with us, sister? We'll make it real easy for ya. We're not in the habit of failing our friends, Johanna-come- lately."

Resisting the urge to reach the feisty gnome in two strides to throttle him, Reyes leveled a dismissive cant of her head at him instead.

"We're not about to start now," he committed, sounding rough-and-ready. If she wanted a fight, he'd give her one. Where the hell did she get off putting them down to Scully? "You got that?"

"Yeah," Langly chipped in, folding his long arms across his broad lean chest, posturing with his entire body. "We do what Scully needs ta have done." He flicked his unruly locks of white gold behind his angular shoulders, with chips on both of them. "Screw the F.B.I.'s duplicity," he, spat, not sounding as juvenile as he often did. Muttering with a one-track mind stream of consciousness about him, he uttered, "Skinhead's the most bogus of all, when ya think about it. I'll *never* buy he's workin' both ends against the middle. Like I kept tellin' Mulder that all these years. Nanite-man's ethics stink. I don't trust any of you dudes, 'cept Scully." Having thrown his most surly look at Reyes, he stalked back to the tracking computer with Frohike raptly on his heels.

Byers, feeling an acute need to apologize for his colleagues' roughhewn display of discourtesy modestly offered, "We're all under tremendous strain."

Monica nodded, hesitantly giving him a constrained hint of a smile. There was a shadow of admiration behind the weariness in her eyes. With a good deal of reservation, Byers met her eyes. "It was a courageous thing you did with that phone. A quick-thinking heads up." Such intelligence in his eyes, and the humility of his knowing that intelligence isn't worth a damn thing where conscience is lacking, Monica soberingly reflected, softly shutting the door behind her.

Parking Lot Telephone Booths Near A Goodwill Clothing Drop. 9:22 p.m.

William heard the curious 'ping-pinging' sound coming from he knew not where; hearing it made him smile, off-and-on, though. The most significant thing his young mind told him was that he was getting hungry, and tired, and most of all, he wanted comfort and succor from the most important person in the world to him at this stage...his mother. He missed her firm, yet loving touch, and her warm maternal smell above all.

Despite this prolonged separation, which, instinctively, he knew was different from all the times she had left him in his grandmother's care, he hadn't cried.

The gruff, rough-handed woman he was with now, and whose voice which carried he heard coming from outside the car, was certainly not his mother. But of course, William knew this, regardless of how tender his age. He was, after all, his father's son down to the last ordered combination of alleles of his genotype...


The Trader's Diner
Outside Calgary, Canada
- 3 days later 2:42 A.M.

Byers kept a bead on Frohike, who was hard at wiring work over at the pick-up, from the beat-up Commercial van they'd rented from Jaleel at half the going rate, seeing the wheeler-dealer was one of Langly's shadier, but long-time friends. With 'Gilgamesh' out of commission, they had to make do with this inferior stand-in.

"How's he doin'?" Langly quired, with his eyes glued cohesively to the two- dimensional topography of the laptop's screen. Once again, he swore mercurially at the portable, temperamental computer, ruing that the machine was winking out too much for any appreciable margin of reliability.

"What's wrong?" Byers demanded, keeping an eye on Frohike's methodical progress, while keeping tabs on Scully and the 'religious UFO fanatic' seated in the booth in the cheesy diner, by the window.

"I should've upgraded this piece of crap weeks ago, before this," Langly berated.

"He's finishing up." Worriedly, "Is it picking up the signal?" The anxious look in his eyes rivaled the worried one on his face. "Frohike's coming back."

"Yeah, yeah, but it's sorta readin' weak and--"

"Dammit, Langly, you'd better do something about it. We can't let Scully down. Not a--"

"You'd better not say, 'again,' man, 'cos we didn't let her down a first time. You're lettin' bitch number two make you buy into it."

Byers was all set to tear a gaping hole in Langly's points of view, but his chance evaporated as soon as Monica, Langly's new poster girl for pain in the ass of the month, climbed back into the van from the opposite side, just as the fanatic started up the pick-up.

"Get ready, Monica," Scully advised over her cell phone, once the man holding her son had pulled out of sight, and she had already risen from the booth, and was heading for the front door.

"Hold on," Reyes told her.

As though not knowing his own strength, adrenline-pumped Frohike slid the door open, nearly upsetting it off its track, and conspiratorially informed, "His car's wired."

"Here we go," Monica said, and imitating greased lightning, traded places with a as serious-as-death-and-taxes Frohike.

The Gunmen monitored the two women as they raced for the parked 4-door, with Scully practically tearing the door open, and dropping into the driver's seat, upon reaching the vehicle. Monica plunged into the passenger's seat, and Scully backed the car out, wrestling a reverse bootlegger turn out of it.

Scully allowed the pick-up to gain enough distance. And now, driving down the same road they had lost sight of the truck on some time ago, Monica tipped Scully, "They say he's about a mile, ahead, turning off the highway."

"What about these hills?" Dana snapped crisply, her mind divided between her driving and the condition of her baby. "Are we gonna lose him in these hills?"

"Yeah, yeah," Frohike goaded, on pins and needles and then looked inquiringly to Langly. "How are we in terrain?" he tweaked.

Perpetrating his All-Star smirk-and-bravado, Langly bragged, "That transponder will track this guy driving underwater to Brazil." The blond's eyes bugged, then, and he internalized...oh, no--not the hell again.

"Langly?" All the air had fizzled from Byers' lungs, and his chest burned like a never-ending night of acid reflux sans Digel. "What just happened?" His eyes, made larger by emotive expression, crossed as he razed the side of his friend's perplexed looking face with them, having seen good and well what had happened.

Damn this piece of junk to solenoid purgatory, Langly mentally maligned, reading as plainly as Byers was the impossible '--Signal Lost--' In dire frustration, he clubbed the inflexible keyboard with his fist, the handy solution to all things glitchy, yelping a little over the dull throb of pain just incurred.

"We're coming to a turn," Monica spoke rapidly into the phone, "is this it?"

"Uh..." Frohike faltered to a hedge. "Yeah. Turn," he reassured.

"I think they lost the signal," Monica, sounding somewhat wheezy, exhaled over to Dana.

Scully balked, turning half-askance to gawk at Reyes. "Well they have to get it BACK," she mandated, doing a double take at her fellow F.B.I. agent.

Over the phone, Monica heard Langly blisteringly erupt, "A PIECE OF CRAP!!!"

"Hey--louder, why don'tcha?" Frohike, glaring, reproved under his breath, smothering the phone with his hand.

"Tell 'em we're working on it," Byers seamlessly inserted with an encouraging lilt, and pleading eyes that had gone grittily somber.

"HERE--" Frohike dickered, his patience having finally unraveled, and he stuck the cell phone to Byers. "You be the messenger!"

Byers accepted the phone, but not the assignment, staring at Frohike with mouth open, and acutely aware that there was nothing to be said, unless by some miracle, Langly retrieved the elusive signal, which he was feverishly ciphering in rapid conjunction with typing, to do.

Suddenly, the laptop screen went black, and Langly, going beserk, went into no holds barred uber-geek mode, until the screen was again aglow with the GPS, and Langly's mind crackled as it deftly unhinged one algorithm after another to recapture the trolling signal. "Keep heading straight," he cried, nearly at the top of his lungs. "He's under two miles ahead of you."

Byers thumped Langly hard on his back, uncommonly impressed. "Nice piece of covering your ass, hairboy." He was borrowing from Frohike, more of late.

"*Ours*, collectively," Langly breezed over to him. "One for all, all for one," he said, revealing the extent of the 'due diligence' he felt, about that, and everything in-between that they were about.

Over their phone, they heard Scully say, "Thanks, guys," having regained her composure, while flooring the gas pedal through the floorboard.

"It's okay now," Monica corroborated, "We have him in sight..."

Langly slammed the cover down on the laptop, drumming his fingers upon it. "That settles it, dudes, no more mock-ups for a song. I'm usin' the money I've been savin' up like forever for the D&D convention I was gonna attend later this month, to get that toppest of the line notebook I have wet dreams about. I'm done with droolin' from afar...those days are so way over. It's time we begin rollin' with the twenty-first century."

Nearly 1 hour and 20 minutes later...

Byers, having kept a stringent vigil ever since the three of them had observed the agents' car streak away, roused his dozing journeymen upon catching the first glimpse of the women's vehicle returning.

"Frohike, Langly," he said triumphantly, "they're here." He spilled out of the van, fleet on the move, having rousted himself to one-hundred percent alertness, with Langly beginning to stir, whose sluggish, ill-timed movement caused the 'piece of crap' balanced upon his lean thighs to skitter to the floorbed.

Now there was justification, he thought smugly to himself, becoming more awake. "Th-they're okay?" he asked of Byers, not realizing the suit had left the van long ago, Langly, with his droopy eyes still at half-mast, yawning. "She got the kid?"

Frohike, though bone tired, smiled in broad satisfaction. Remembering, he grabbed up the night vision goggles which lay upon the dashboard. Through the darkness that was illuminated only by the bounty of bright stars twinkling above in the vast firmament, he said, "Yeah, think so," his voice rife with accomplishment. He moved out himself now, and confirmed, "Yeah. I can see his cap. Monica has him."

"Ugh, that smart-ass bitch," Langly spluttered as though he were having a bad dream, "she and Krycek would've made a match made in hell." He tumbled out of the van to stand beside Frohike who whole- heartedly agreed with him.

The anxious trio crowded up to the driver's side, waiting for a visibly exhausted Scully, who, nevertheless, wore a look of deep contentment, to emerge. She did, only after Monica settled her peacefully- sleeping son into her arms, and Byers opened the door for her.

Happiness shone in her eyes as she beamed at the three of them, with Byers pinching the baby's cheek gently between his fingers, the way he'd done in the alley. Words were unnecessary to convey the depth of her gratitude for all their help getting William back to where he rightfully belonged. Back to her, and one day very, very soon back to Mulder, the father missing in action, who would never leave them, never leave *all* of them, once he came home for good.

William's 'uncles' were just as single- minded about that as Scully.

"Thanks, guys," Scully bestowed while buried deep within the core of the tight web they'd spun around her, "we'll never be able to thank you for all your help, all the time." Her voice caught, remembering in that instant, in detail, the many, many number of times throughout all these numerous years, they'd selflessly come to their aid, and the close-knit, human knot about her tightened. "I love all of you...v-very much," she attested, susurrating the avowel, as the Gunmen closed rank, kissing first the crown of her head, then the baby's, en masse.

"What happened?" Frohike asked, smiling at Scully, still caught up in the special luster of her eyes...the way she was looking at him, and then her visual range expanded to include them all.

"Later. I'll tell you later," Scully promised, hugging William close to her breasts so his head fit snugly beneath her chin.

The Gunmen nodded in unison.

Following the enduring, and sentimental Scully and The Gunmen group hug, which a quietly-observing Reyes had receptively taken especial note of the tenderness of the communal embrace, the two teams divided off quickly into their respective vehicles and drove away from before The Trader's Diner, never looking back.

...Tooling, the van tagged behind the four-door. The conquering young mother was once again behind the wheel. William stirred in Monica's arms, and Scully smiled over at him. Her ragtag band of Knights in Shining Hardware faithfully acted as rear guards, never losing the pace.

End

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