Whirlpool IV: Interlude: Darkness on the Horizon

by D. Sidhe

Date: Friday, March 14, 2003 4:08 PM

The Rather Fetching Betty is reading over the first draft of "Sleepless in Sammamish", (Caffeine, part nine, in case you've forgotten), and emailing me every few minutes to carp about things I left in after he pointed out, during the actual writing process, that it sucked small pebbles and fruit flies. I foresee a week or so of battles before that one gets out to y'all. It depends on how stubborn he intends to be regarding the ping pong balls and the lunch. I ain't budging.

     Whirlpool IV: Interlude: Darkness on the Horizon
     By D. Sidhe: Erika dsidhe@attbi.com
     Web: http://www.dsidhe.com
     Category: Pre-slash, WIP, part four of series.
     Pairing: Langly/Krycek, but that's the overall thing.
     Rating: PG for angst.
     Archive: Knock yourself out.

Disclaimers: I don't own any of these people. I'm not making any money off this. No offense or infringement intended.

Spoilers: Same as before. Sorta all the early Krycek stuff. I don't really have a date to pin on this one. Sometime after "One Breath", but before "Anasazi" at the latest. Or you can call it AU, I guess. Krycek has been revealed as a double agent, maybe, and blamed for the abduction of Scully, but very little else has been revealed about him, and Melissa Scully and Bill Mulder are still alive. This still isn't a timeline story.

Author's Note: This is Frohike, thinking. Or possibly just brooding. This takes place simultaneously with "Surf Line". There are exactly five sentences of dialogue, and exactly one swear word. It's not very long, and it's not very exciting, and there's things alluded to that don't get explained. I could have used actual plots from the actual programs, but that would involve people I'm not bringing in, and trying to pin a date to it, which I'm still not able to do. In any event, in my highly schizophrenic little world, even fictional people have lives they engage in while the TV camera isn't on them. We don't necessarily get to see everything, and maybe we shouldn't.

The kid's got me worried. I don't know what's going on with him. He's acting--you know what? He's acting like a rebellious teenager. That's not fair, really. But I'm worried he's hanging out with the wrong crowd again. Some of those hackers--I don't know. That's how he met that psycho Matt, after all. And, God, we almost lost him that time. Him and Byers. Byers still gets nightmares about that.

Byers. I know he's worried, too. Compared to Langly, lately, Byers is an easy read. But that's not really my business, I suppose. I'm not even sure Byers knows what's going on, anyhow.

And anyhow, I was talking about the kid.

Part of what worries me is his... well, we call it his partying. He's got kind of an addictive personality. To computers, to music, to the games, to drugs... to people.

For all his genius and all his paranoia and tough pose, he's really pretty naive about some things. It's so easy for people to use him.

He doesn't like the way the world works. He hates the lies, and the cons, and the way people use power against others. We all hate it. It's what keeps us doing this.

Byers deals with it through absolute faith that he can fix it all.

I try to fix what I can, but there's too much no one will ever be able to fix, and I just try not to think about some of it. The world's like a shipwreck sometimes. There are too many people in the water, and too few lifeboats, but you do what you can. And you keep doing it, over and over again until you're ready to scream because of how many you can't save, and then you save one more. And one more after that.

They say one person can't make a difference. Maybe that's true. But maybe three people can. It's a small difference, sometimes. A saved life here and there amidst the bodies that got past you. A few less dead tigers, a couple fewer political prisoners. A few less lies. A little more light in what can be such a dark world.

The light is often tiny, but that doesn't mean it's dim. A bright little pinpoint of hope that guides someone else who thought they were lost. With enough of us standing together--That's how you change the world. By doing whatever you can, whenever you can.

Langly's not old enough to have that kind of patience, and as far as I can tell, he's never had Byers' kind of faith. About anything, I expect. So he gets discouraged, and it's easy for anyone with the right kind of things to say to get to him.

Sometimes I wonder if he even knows he's being lied to. It wouldn't surprise me too much if he did. It's so much like the games, and the... partying, seeing only what he wants to see, and sticking with the stuff that shows him the world the way he wants it to be.

But he may not even know. He's pretty innocent sometimes. Of the three of us, he's probably got the least people skills. Maybe it's because he's a genius, maybe it's where he grew up, I don't know. I do know that it hasn't gotten any better since we've been together.

Living the way we do doesn't really encourage what an ex-girlfriend of mine once referred to as "emotional intimacy". We keep our distance, in a lot of ways. Partly that's because we're so different. Partly it's because of what we do. And partly it's because of, I don't know, circumstances. It's not that we don't trust each other. But paranoia gets to be a habit. So even if we did trust each other enough to really talk, I don't know if we would, just because we couldn't, or wouldn't, be sure no one was listening in.

And what we do is dangerous, so often. Sometimes I think that's why we stick to last names. Emotional distance. We're colleagues in a very dangerous business, too, and every time we go out to, what is it Mulder calls it, do a little funky poaching? Every time we do that, we're taking risks that we might not all get through okay. If one of us doesn't come back, what the other two of us has is so fragile, it'd shatter. So don't get too close, because at any moment it could be ripped away from you.

And that's, really, why I'm sitting up, staring at this same goddamned report for the last hour. I don't know what Langly's up to, lately. He's meeting someone, I know. That lame story about a story, well. I don't believe that. Not for a second. And a reminder? Right. He's got a cell phone, or a pager, he's hiding from us. Someone got in touch with him, and he bolted.

I think that's what worried me the most. Got my suspicions up. That he's trying to keep stuff secret. If he'd just said, "Going out for a while," I don't think I'd have given it a second thought. But he's been acting squirrelly, and that bothers me.

As long as the work gets done, and the code phrases are right, and the check-ins are regular enough, we really don't care too much what each other might be up to. So when someone's doing something he's got to hide, all the code phrases in the world aren't going to keep the other two of us from worrying.

I think we've gotten closer than we ever meant to, though. I have, anyhow. And I know Byers has too. I'm sitting down here reading this report over and over again. He's back in the files getting rid of the stuff we know isn't true now. When he worries, he organizes things. I don't need Mulder to tell me that's a kind of transference. Controlling what he can in a hope it'll help him live with what he can't.

I keep thinking maybe I should talk to him about it, but I honestly don't know where I'd start. Every time we talk, lately, it's about the kid, but we never get anywhere. We just worry together for a while instead of worrying separately. It's not even that we don't know what to do--it's that we don't know if it's appropriate to do anything. Whatever's going on, it's part of his personal life. At what point past that do we even have a right to interfere?

I'm still thinking about it when Byers comes out from between rows of file cabinets, and he gives me a questioning look. I just shake my head. I know he wants to talk, too, but he's not sure where to start either.

He lets out a sigh so quiet I almost miss it under the hum of the computers. Then he straightens up. "I think I'll make some tea," he says. "Can I bring you something?"

I clear my throat. "No, thanks. I'm okay." The first thing we've said to each other in hours. It's usually like that, but tonight it's been strained, the air thick with things we don't know how to say to each other, and aren't sure would help anyhow. "Thanks, though."

He nods and heads upstairs, and I doubt we'll say anything else to each other the rest of the night. I shake my head a little ruefully. It's just one of hundreds of things I wish I could do something about.

I have a feeling there're a lot more sleepless, uncomfortable nights in the near future.


Harpy dsidhe@attbi.com Handmaiden of the Goddess of Irony

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