By Leia Fee
And I just stared at her. And all I could think of was the stupid flippant comment I’d made at the door and the one I wanted to make now. What again? Yeah, diversionary tactic, I know. I’ve heard the shrink talk before. Anyway it was about that point that Langly decided to park his ass on a chair that wasn’t there, which gave all of us a chance for some displacement activity. He’s not the easiest person in the world to shift if he doesn’t want to be shifted and he didn’t seem to want to do anything but sit on the floor and shake. Kept insisting he was fine which of course clued us in instantly that he wasn’t. Langly is a world champion whiner. He stubs a toe, we hear about it for a week. So once he starts insisting that he’s fine, something’s very wrong.
We got him onto the couch eventually and got a few drinks down him, by which time I needed a few swift ones myself and God knows how Scully felt. Much damn help we were. But then we were precious little helping finding him weren’t we? I stop myself sharply in that train of thought. Scully made it perfectly clear that she knew we’d tried everything. Anyway, Byers is already guilt-tripping enough for the three of us. And people think he’s the logical one.
Misery loves company they say, and we could at least be that. We listened while she told us how they’d found Mulder. The things that had been done to him. She sounded so calm, so quiet, but I could see it coming when she finally broke into tears. I got up and moved to put my arms round her.
I could argue that I was the closest, but it was obvious neither of the others was going to be much help. Byers is too uptight and Langly too skittish, the pair of them can barely deal with their own emotions let alone anyone else’s.
So I sat and just held her for a while, and thought about how, the first time I saw her, I would have jumped at the chance to be this close to her, and how I’d trade it in a second now to make her stop hurting.
She’s a tough one tough, our G-Lady, and she pulled herself together pretty quick. A whispered “Thanks,” and a watery smile and I was reducing to grinning like an idiot at her.
After that, we talked for hours about Mulder. It turned out she’d never gotten the details of how we first met him, so Langly regaled her with the tale. Me and Byers were just relieved to see he’d calmed down, so restricted ourselves to listening for any glaring errors. There weren’t any. Just a little poetic exaggeration here and there. Langly’s quite the story-teller when he wants to be. Must be all that time dreaming up plots for those D&D games of his.
Then we listened to Scully talk, laughed with her over the less-than-impressive first impression Mulder’d given her, listened to stories about the various cases they’re been on together. Heard about far too many narrow escapes they’d had.
“I was always afraid he’d get himself killed,” she said eventually. “I just didn’t think it would be like this.”
I thought maybe she was going to cry again, but she just curled up on the chair and gave a tired little sigh.
By this time we were all pretty far gone, so I wasn’t too surprised when Langly staggered off towards the bathroom. No prizes for guessing what he was doing in there. There’s not enough flesh on him to absorb the amount of alcohol he’d been putting away. I was just surprised his stomach hadn’t rebelled earlier.
After a few minutes Byers went to check on him, which saved me having to do it, so I sprawled out on the couch. I don’t remember falling asleep.
I’m not sure whether it was the pins and needles in my arm, or the crick in my neck or the draught round my ankles that woke me the following morning, but I knew I regretted spending the night on that couch.
I headed for the kitchen and was surprised to find Langly already there.
“You’re up early.”
He pulled a face.
“I fell asleep in the bathroom last night. The floor was cold this morning.”
“You look like shit.”
“Thanks. You want coffee?”
Did I ever. I gulped it down so fast I damn near scalded myself. Then I watched Langly—caffeine junkie extraordinaire—sit and stir his until it went cold, without taking a sip.
“You want me to make breakfast?” I offered.
He shrugged. “I was just going to have toast.”
Byers joined us in time to have some of Langly’s really badly cooked toast, but no one had much of an appetite anyway.
And so things go on. You’d almost think it was normal around here now. A bit quieter maybe.
We’ve been told often enough that we’re dealing in complete fantasy. Off in a weird little world of our own. We’d just joke that at least we weren’t as far from reality as Mulder.
Well this time reality turned round and bit us. Hard.
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