Title: Auld Langly Syne
Disclaimer: I employ these guys more than CC, but they ARE his, and I
thank him for letting me play with them. Becca is mine, you may use
her,as long as you don't kill her (and my husband asks that you don't
slash her;) Moire Langly belongs to Jessica Raine and is used with
permission. Watch for the continuation of "You Are the New Day",
featuring Moire, coming soon to a newsgroup near YOU.
Summary: Langly takes another step on New Year's Eve. This takes place
in the Messenger/Time/Tercet universe, where Gunmen rule.
All Gunmen, All the Time
"If you love me, let me know" email@example.com
Auld Langly Syne
It's the hair, the rock t-shirts, and the bad-ass ripped
jeans--everyone thinks I'm cool.
I'm not cool.
I hate New Year's Eve--HATE it. As a geek teenager, I hated it
because I could never get a date, and I'd end up either home,
babysitting my much younger sister, or hanging out in some other losers
basement game room, smoking weed, eating Wise Potato Chips, and
bitching about the girls that we REALLY didn't want, anyway, and the
lame-o parties we pretended we had been invited to. But even later,
when I DID go out and do the various bar scenes, I always felt a
sense of longing in the darkly loud and smokey social clubs, a
palpable desperation, a NEED. The frenzied beat of the house band, the
flushed faces and too-tight dresses, shirts unbuttoned down to THERE,
the crotch-rubbing bumping dancing--and the last hurrah as midnight
approached, the last pathetic grab to have someone, ANYONE, to kiss
when Dick Clark counted down that big apple. The celebratory sirens
of the premier of most any given year would find me wrapped drunkedly
and nonpassionatly around some sweet young thing, her tongue down my
throat and my hand in her pants, no names, no future, no regrets. I
rarely remembered going home; last year, I'd awoken late in the
morning of the first day of January in a strange apartment, sprawled
on a filthy linoleum kitchen floor, alone, naked, and freezing.
Terrified, I'd called Frohike, and he'd come to my rescue, keeping me
on the line as he'd tracked me on his cell phone. He was surly and
curt when he finally found me, hung over himself, but at least he knew
where he was...and he was dressed.
Frohike had met me tonight at the door, when I'd come late to Becca's
party, he was sniffing like a Bloodhound, his forehead creased with
worry. I assured him I was ok, pretended like I didn't notice he
was checking me for signs that I'd been drinking, and spent the next
half hour watching Becca and Byers play an unnervingly erotic game of
"Twister". And now, I stand in the corner by the CD player, nurse a
plastic high ball glass of Ginger Ale on the rocks, and long for a
double shot from the half-gallon jug of Jim Beam that's prominent on
the make-shift bar that is the island counter of Becca's kitchen.
It's been almost three weeks. Surely just one drink.....
I startle, guilty.
"When'd you get here? Are you alone?"
"Are you?" I ask nastily. I tamp down a sneer, try to squelch the
uncalled for, misplaced anger.
"Well....I'm with Mulder....kinda......I mean....."
"I'm sorry." I shrug, hold up my plastic cup. "This is....hard.
"Human." Dana Scully hits me with her 200 killowatt smile, and I
struggle not to flinch and pull away when she grasps my forearm.
"We...kinda thought we were going to have to send someone to find you.
We were relieved to see you come in." Her hand tightens on my arm.
"You're doing good, Langly...I know it's hard."
You don't know Jack, Scully. But I smile and top the hand on my arm
with my own meaty paw, squeeze gently. "You look good." And she does,
too. Her flaming hair is shining like a yearling chestnut colt, she
has color in her face, and the v-neck, button-front sweater top is
flatteringly tight, revealing that she has gained some much needed
weight. Only the slightly haunted look deep in the morning blue of her
eyes reveals the heartbreak she endured so recently in San Diego. I
debate about mentioning the lost child Emily,decide against it...
..it IS time for a new start, after all. "Where IS that partner of
"There," she cocks her head toward the kitchen, "with his new number
Becca is sitting on the kitchen island amidst the mass of liquor
bottles. Her back is to us, her arms are in the air, her hands going a
mile a minute. I assume her mouth is doing likewise. Mulder is
standing close, adding crushed ice to a pitcher of what appears to be
killer Margaritas on the counter beside her. He glances at her, an
amused smile on his face. She grasps his arm, gestures broadly;
Mulder's jaw drops, then he throws his head back and laughs out loud.
Becca hooks a foot around his waist and pulls him close, then her hand
shoots into the bag of ice, suddenly dips down the front of his shirt,
Mulder whoops and drags her from the counter, and they disappear behind
"God, she's something, isn't she?" Scully shakes her head and laughs
"I wonder if someone is going to be in need of a doctor there? HEY,
JEFF!" Scully yells in the direction of Byers, who's gesturing
animately himself, engaged in a conversation with two other couples.
He breaks off and winds his way toward us. I'm still yet taken aback
when I see Casual!Byers; I'm not sure I'll ever get used to seeing our
tight-assed, polyester suited computer nerd in leather pants and dusky
blue watered silk shirts, he looks like a different person. His hair
is rumpled and he's wearing wire-rimmed glasses. His eyes are their
natural shade of startling blue; again, I see the influence of Becca,
and pretty much can bet we'll never see him in the tinted brown
contacts again. He's grinning affectionate goofiness at Scully, she
reaches out and pokes his shoulder as he reaches us. "Your girlfriend
just assaulted my partner in the kitchen."
Byers laughs. "I saw that, he probably needs an ambulance by now.
Langly, we didn't think you were coming."
"I almost didn't." I'd feel better about the one-armed buddy hug he
gives me if he hadn't prefaced it with a surreptitious glance at the
glass in my hand. I can smell the rum on him--rum and Coke, no doubt,
the amateur--which kindles the anxiety flaring in my gut. My arm
comes up between us on it's own accord, my hand on his chest easing
him away from me.
Scully is nonplussed, but Byers steps right back into my space,
gestures across the crowded room. "Did you see that couple Frohike was
"There....almost behind you."
I turn my head, searching...and almost immediatly feel a splash on the
back of the hand that is holding my glass. I turn back just in time to
see Byers yank his fingers out of his mouth. I see pulsing spots
before my eyes. "It's GINGER ALE, you sneaky fuck, you happy now?
Here, you want it so bad...."
A hand encased in fingerless leather gloves wraps around mine and
jerks right before I let fly the glass of Ginger Ale into Byers
self-righteous face. Frohike eases the glass from my clenched fingers
and sets it on the stereo, pushes me ahead of him through the crowded
living room and around the kitchen island. "Get up", he says, nudging
Mulder with the steel toe of his boot. "Leave us alone for a second.
C'mon, Rebecca, you, too."
"No fair!" Becca protests. "I LIVE here...."
"Langly." Mulder is glassy-eyed and flushed, and I suddenly wonder if
it's the influence of the alcohol or the wild-haired brunette he's
pulling up off the floor. I don't want to know. "Did you try my
special....oh, that's right, you better not." Mulder snags the pitcher
of Margaritas with one hand and Becca with the other. "C'mon, Little
"Yes, Master." Becca hooks a bottle of Ballator‚ off the island and
shoots us a shit-eating grin. "Stay out of trouble, boys." She winks
broadly as she hoists the bottle to her lips; she's so beautiful, I
suddenly hate Byers with a blinding, jealous passion. My knees are
trembling; I lean on the island, but close my eyes against the
dizzying aray of alcohol literally right under my nose.
"Christ, I can't take you anywhere," Frohike mutters behind me. I hear
the clink of ice cubes, the blurbing fizz of pouring liquid. "Here."
Frohike touches a cool, full tumbler to the back of my hand. "Drink
this down fast."
I'm naseous with desire for a drink, but I can't believe he's OFFERING
me one. I stare into the depths of the clear carbonated liquid.
"What's in here?" I ask cautiously.
"It's just plain soda water." I blanche, and Frohike laughs. "C'mon,
Langly, I've seen you swig down straight Jim Beam and not even blink.
Sometimes, if you drink this STRAIGHT down...well, it's a piss poor
substitute, but it does give your system that little shake-up. You CAN
"I know--I lie to myself all the time. And I believe me...."
Frohike nods gravely, and I *know* he understands. My eyes are
suddenly stinging and my chest tightens with angst...my blood
pressure HAS to be off the charts. I raise the glass to my lips and
swig, before I really make an ass out of myself by bursting into
maudlin tears. I choke, Frohike pats me on the back, and I force
myself to keep swallowing 'till the glass is empty. My stomach
clenches and cramps. "Breathe," Frohike encourages. Good advice.
I know it's in my head, but I DO feel better. Not "good", but at least
I don't feel like I want to scream or punch someone.
"You ok?" Frohike asks gently.
I nod. "Yeah....that stuffs tastes like shit, and I feel a belch
coming on that'll tip the Richter scale. But....it did help, thanks.
And thanks for keeping me from baptizing Byers in Canada Dry."
"He's just concerned, you know...he cares about you."
"I don't NEED...." I stop, embarrassed, drop my eyes. Of course I
*need*...that's the problem. I just can't let myself... "Why DID you
help me, all these years?"
"You just keep GIVING, Frohike...and all I've ever done is belittle you
and push you away. I KNOW you said it's because of Marshall, but
"Maybe I'm just a sucker for blondes." Frohike smiles, and I finally
relax. I pick up the bottle of Jim Beam and pour him a generous three
fingers. He gives a litle moue of protest, but I gesture it's ok. I
pour myself a few shots worth of soda water, clink my glass against
"To bullheads, Melvin...long may we bitch."
Frohike laughs, and downs the bourbon in two smooth swallows. He
watches as I throw the soda back, my mock-fire water, smiles when I
finally do let out an impressive, rumbling burp. A statuesque blond
turns and gives me a disgusted sneer before sashaying back to her
significant other. Frohike smirks, "You blew that one, Ree. I think
she wanted you untill that little outburst."
"Yeah, right." I look around the crowded apartment, amazed that there
are so many people in this small space. They're overflowing onto the
balcony, amazing, considering it's sixteen degrees outside. There's a
couple perched precariously on the balcony railing, doing everything
but. Becca's plastered up against Byers again, and even Mulder and
Scully have their heads together over by the stereo. "What's with those
two, do you think? Anything?"
"Something," Frohike sighs, "I'm just not exactly sure what. I don't
think they know themselves."
"Christ, it looks like rehearsal for Noah's Ark in here. Except for
us. Everyone probably thinks we're gay..."
We look at each other "Not that there's anything wrong with that," we
say together, our homage to Jerry Seinfeld.
"Do you care anymore?"
"What," Frohike looks confused, "that we're not gay?"
I laugh "No. I mean Scully...maybe Mulder....you know, 'she's hot'."
"No....no, not at all. I'm not sure I ever did, really. Lust, maybe."
I have to grin at his honesty. "But I really think those two have
always had a... 'thing'. Always. "
"I think you're right." I look at the clock on the microwave; it's
11:21. I feel melancholicly contemplative as the last half-hour of the
year approaches. "Do you ever watch that FBI show that Mulder's always
"That one on FOX? I've seen it a few times. Those agents on there
kinda remind me of Mulder and Scully."
"No way, those two really ARE in love, they just haven't shown them
doing it yet. Anyway, Peter Boyle was on there once...."
"Didn't he win an Emmy for that?"
"Yeah, I think so. Anyway, do you remember, his character was this
pathetic psychic? And at one point, he said something like, 'what, is
everyone having sex except me?' Something like that. I laughed at the
time..it's not so funny anymore."
Frohike smiles, looks away, then looks back at me with a face that
shines with wonder. "I've met someone, Langly."
"Well, you don't have to sound so damn shocked, " he says indignantly.
"But...how? Frohike, you don't go ANYWHERE. This isn't one of those
1-900 women, is it?"
"Ha, ha." He looks pissed off, and I know with a cold certainty that
he's serious. "Frohike....who is she?"
"Ummmm...it's the one who's number I've been carrying around for a
month. It's Dee."
"The one from your past....the one you lived with."
Frohike rolled his eyes "You make it sound so cheap. We were GOING to
be married...I think. Anyway, it's her."
I'm floored. Of course,the last couple of monthes, I fell so far into
the bottle, Frohike could have been a father by now, and I wouldn't
have known. "How long?? When did you see her? Why didn't you BRING
her tonight? What...?"
"Easy, Skippy. I haven't really SEEN her yet."
"No, I didn't. I've TALKED to her ...twice now. And...." he turned
and looked at the clock. "I'm gonna call her just before midnight
"You old hound dog!"
He smiled smugly "I think it will be a nice touch."
"Yeah." I frown in thought. "There's someone I should call, too."
"Kinda. My sister."
"What was her name again?"
"It's pronounced 'MORE-ahh'. It's gaelic."
"Yeah, I DO remeber now. And she calls you by your middle name,
Frohike snickers. "I'm sorry, you just don't look like a 'Patrick' "
"Like I look like a 'Ringo' ?"
"No, Langly, NO ONE looks like a 'Ringo'. I like 'Ree'...I could call
you that. "
"You better stick to 'Langly', MELVIN. It could get confusing, your
FRIEND 'Ree', and your girlfriend, 'Dee'. You might forget which name
to scream out in....."
"Don't say it, Langly....." Frohike laughs, despite himself. "What
exactly went wrong with her and Mulder, do you know?"
"No...not really. Just that she thinks he's a jerk...of course, she's
right about that."
Moire had popped back into my life last spring, showing up in the
Gunmen office totally unannounced. She's nine years my junior, we'd
never exactly been close, but there IS just her and I, and we'd fought
to maintain some semblance of normality, now that we were both adults.
I found myself to be surprisingly protective of her, an attitude that
both annoyed and touched her. Her and Mulder had had a short, intense
affair that ended badly. That, on top of my secret drinking, had
alienated us once again. I haven't seen or talked to her in eight
"I've been going to meetings."
Frohike arched a brow. "AA?"
"Yeah." Frohike is shocked...and I'm kinda proud. "I'm not doing the
thirty meetings in thirty days thing, but...I bought the Big
Book...and I'm doing the daily reading."
"And....?" Frohike questions.
"I'm..." uncomfortable. "ummmm.....I'm OK....I guess. I don't have
a sponser, so some say I'm not 'serious' about recovery. I'm having a
tough time with the 'Higher Power' stuff. I think if there's a god,
he has a piss poor sense of humor."
" 'Higher Power' doesn't necessarily have to mean a formal god,
Langly," Frohike says softly, and I know, somewhere along the way,
Melven Frohike has had first hand experience with a twelve step
"I know....intellectually, I know. I'm having a .....rough time with
the 'spiritual' thing. I can't help thinking of 'spiritual' as a
synonym for 'religious'. It's NOT, they say." I sigh "I guess I'll
get it someday. Right now, I'm concentrating on the steps...especially
that 'make amends' thing. I've been thinking a lot of Moire. She's
really all I have, ya' know?.....family, I mean." I look away
...there's way too much emotion charging back and forth here. "You
"I know." He reaches into his pocket and pulls out his bazillion,
fuction cell phone. "Here. Go down the hall, there, into Becca's
bedroom. Call her. Call your sister."
I blanche and raise a hand. "No...Frohike, not now, I'm not ready."
"You're a chicken shit, Langly. Just do it."
"What'll I say???"
"Tell her you love her, tell her you hate her. Just CALL her."
"Can't, I don't know her number, anyway."
Frohike turns and squats down, rumaging through the bottom drawer next
to the sink. He pulls out a fat metropolitan DC phone book. "There.
"Frohike!" I sigh in resignation, and pull the book to me. " She's
probably not in here anyway, a single young woman......"
But there it is....MED Langly. Provocative and eye-catching because of
the THREE initials, and now I'm pissed because she IS listed. I'm
gonna call her, just so I can kick her ass.
"Go!" Frohike pushes me down the hall toward the bedroom.
"I won't leave you talk long, anyway...it's already eleven thirty, and
I told you, I want to call Dee. Now, go." He pushes me into the
bedroom and pulls on the doorknob. " Do it."
Jeez. This bites. The room is dimly lit with a conch shell bed lamp
and smells like cinnamon and apples. Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's
Eve celebration is on the 12" color tv on the dresser, the sound turned
down to a murmer. There are seven thousand coats on the bed and
Becca's skinny wierd white cat is perched on top of the pile,
sleeping. He startles awake when I sit on the bed, gives me a sour
look, turns onto his side, and commences to purr like a furry little
motor boat. I resignedly push the buttons on the cell phone, and wait
for the machine to pick up. My sister would not be HOME on New Year's
Eve, only losers....
"It's Lay...ummm...it's..." Jesus. How in the hell many names *do* I
have? "It's your brother."
Silence. Two beats. Then, disbelieving "Patrick? PATRICK???"
"You GUESS! What...what do you want?"
"Happy New Year to YOU, too, Moire. Christ, I'm glad I called, such a
"Patrick, where are you?"
"I'm at a party. I ..."
"Are you loaded?"
ZING. Fuck. Something tells me it HASN'T been eight monthes since I
talked to her.
"Patrick, if you're in trouble, tell me now. Don't bullshit me." I
can almost SEE her yanking the huge wire-framed glasses from her face,
knuckling her forehead in anger.
"I'm not in trouble. Moire, I'm not drunk."
"Oh. Well, that's a first."
Double fuck. I squeeze my eyes shut tight against the sudden burning
behind my eyelids, bite my lip. What have I done?
"I'm sober, Moire."
"Good for you. Where should I send the plaque?"
She's a nasty bitch. I must have been a real asshole to deserve this
kind of treatment. She was ALWAYS a smart ass, but not nasty. I take a
deep breath. "No, Moire. I don't just mean, 'I'm sober now.' I mean
I'm....uhm ...what's the phrase they use?..... Recovering."
She gives a short, bitter laugh. "Oh, Patrick, don't tell me YOU of
all people are going to Alcoholics Anonymous. Give me a break."
"I'm.....trying here, Moire. The making amends part....please....."
"So, you're what, on step three, or is that four?"
The door opens and Frohike looks in; I must look horrible, because his
eyebrows rise in questioning alarm. He starts backward, but I yell
"No! Wait! Stay!" I feel like I'm going down for the third time.
"Patrick? Do you have an audience there?"
Frohike has left the door open, and indeed, the sounds of the party are
filtering into the room. Someone, and I'm not sure it isn't Byers, is
chanting a VERY loud countdown, and is on eight hundred thirty nine
"No, Moire....it's just the party noises." I gesture to Frohike to
close the door, and the background immediatly stills.
"No, YOU listen. I"m really trying here, Moire. Please. I haven't
had a drink for nineteen days."
"Oh, wow. You don't get one of those little chip thingies for that, do
"No, " I mumble, "no chip 'till thirty days." Frohike's hands come down
on my shoulders from behind, squeezing hard. I'd give my right nut
right NOW for just one mouthful of Jim Beam.....
"I'll tell you what, Patrick," Moire says, "if you even remember making
"I SAID I'm sober!" I hate the pathetic catch in my voice.
"Yeah, you said that last time you called, too. Like I was saying
Patrick, if you remember this conversation, call me when you get that
first chip. THEN we'll talk."
"Happy New Year, Moire."
"Yeah, big brother, you, too. Like you're gonna remember this."
She hung up.
I draw a deep, deep breath and hold it, so I don't scream. Frohike is
holding tight to my shoulders, his thumbs gently rubbing the base of my
neck. I fold the phone carfully, hold it up and back toward him. I
have to get out of here. I have to....
"I'm all right."
"Everyone's NOT going to congratulate you and tell you how wonderful
you are, Ree."
"She's not 'everyone'...she's my sister."
He squeezes hard, shakes me. "You must have hurt her badly, Langly.
You don't remember, but you must have. Things weren't this bad
I HAVE to get out of here, I'm not getting enough oxygen, or something.
I'm seeing swimming red spots in front of my eyes. I pull away from
him, and get up off the bed. "Take your fucking phone, Frohike." And
shove it up your ass....
"Call your girl, Fro. Don't let me wreck YOUR New Year's, too." Oh,
poor me. I'm pathetic.
Frohike hesitates, glances at his watch. It's eight minutes to.
Indecision is a terrible thing, no?? The poor bastard's waited eight
years for this. "I....don't leave, Langly. We'll talk."
"Yeah." He starts to follow me out of the bedroom, but I stop him.
"Frohike, I'm going to the bathroom, OK?? I'm not going to slit my
wrist. Now CALL DEE."
I'm relieved to find the bathroom empty. The harsh light over the
vanity sink is not kind. My face is pale and pinched with shock, my
eyes look like two hot embers. I might as WELL have been drinking, I
look like I'm half plastered. I use the can and take a long time
washing my hands, splash a gallon of water in my face. I want to stick
the soft terry cloth towel into my mouth and scream.
I was hoping to avoid the actual BIG moment, but, with my uncannily
perfect timing, the ten second countdown is under way when I open the
bathroom door. I glance down the short hallway and see Frohike
standing by the bed, the cell phone pressed tight to his ear. His
right hand is clutched over his heart, and he's talking; his eyes are
closed, the eathereal light from the tiny tv back lighting him and a
beatific smile on his face. He's beautiful.
I step into the kitchen just as the ball hits botom, the cheer erupts,
someone has blasted the tv up, and the sad, haunting strains of "Auld
Lang Syne" rattle the windows ands shake the knot loose in my chest.
I seem to be the only one in the room not body-locked with someone. I
seek out my friends--Byers and Becca are so tightly joined, they look
like one strange, faceless animal. She has both arms wound tight
around his neck, one leg cocked at the knee and wrapped around his
thigh, he has one arm around her and the other holding tight to her
leg, behind her raised knee. They might as well be doing it standing
up, and I'm sick with lonely envy. Mulder and Scully are NOT kissing,
the only two in the room who aren't--they don't need something as
mundane as lips to bind them. His hands are on her shoulders, they're
forehead to forehead, she has one small hand on his chest and is
stroking his face with the other-- his cheeks are wet with grateful
tears that his partner and friend is alive to see the dawn of this new
year. There is no one else in the room, in the universe,and I can't
stand to look at them.
No one's looking. If no one sees me, it won't count. I grab the
bottle of Jim Beam off the island, open the door JUST enough that I can
escape, and click it softly closed behind me.
The first long draught is like going home.........