Title: Modern Miracles: Or, Uncle Frohike Saves the Day
Author: the idiosyncratic stanwyck
Rating: G

Summary: Take leftover curry; add Scully, Byers, Langly, a rainstorm, and a crying baby. Stir well.

Author's notes: Written for the Fando Baby Fic Challenge in honor of Tali and her newest addition. Challenge elements at end.

Surely they'd been joking about the curry.

At least that's what Scully was telling herself as she gripped her steering wheel, inching toward the dark, cavernous building where the Lone Gunmen worked and lived, in a part of town that emerged on the far side of"unfashionable" in a gray area somewhere between"disreputable" and "downright dangerous."

When she'd left home, it had merely been damp and dismal; now it was, to put it bluntly, raining like a son of a bitch, and she'd already been on the road for forty-five minutes. She sighed and focused on the red tail lights of the car in front of her, made blurry and indistinct by the driving rain sheeting down the windshield.

Yeah - they must have been joking about the curry. Not even those three could be so stupid as to -- no, really, it wasn't even worth contemplating. It had merely been a ploy to roust her out of her dry, comfortable apartment and get her to come over and help them. And it had worked, hadn't it?

The one good thing about the Gunmen's neighborhood was that finding parking was seldom a problem. Scully pulled into a space on the street, withdrew the key from the ignition, and sat still for a moment, listening to the rain drum on the roof of her car. Maybe if she waited a few minutes the storm would let up marginally.

But, Christ - if they hadn't been joking - if they were really feeding curry to a baby - they could have a serious medical emergency on their hands. After taking a deep breath for courage, Scully leapt from the car, slamming the door behind her, and dashed through the night.

An eternity seemed to tick by as she jabbed the Gunmen's buzzer repeatedly; by the time Langly finally admitted her, she was soaked to the skin. In their defense, the two men inside couldn't possibly have heard the puny imprecations of the buzzer over the operatic wailing of the very red- faced baby who was kicking his tiny feet and yanking on a limp strand of Langly's hair in time with his cries.

Byers rushed toward Scully, a look of relief mingling with the profound suffering on his face. "Agent Scully, I'm so glad you're here!" His eyebrows tightened resentfully. "It certainly took you long enough."

Such a reproach was patently unusual when it came from John Byers. Scully shrugged out of her dripping coat and tucked her sodden hair behind her ears. "I might've gotten here faster if I had an ark," she responded grimly. "I thought Langly said you were covering some mysterious assignment tonight."

Byers offered Scully a tattered but blissfully dry bath towel. "No, *Frohike* is on assignment. I've been here all afternoon."

Scully, increasingly puzzled, mopped excess water from her clothes and skin and watched as Langly bobbed and swayed with the baby. True, Langly had called her on her cell, and the connection had been terrible; but she had assumed that Byers, not Frohike, was missing in action. She would've counted on the quietest of the trio to be able to keep the situation under control.

"You're sure my presence is really necessary?" she had demanded over the phone. "Why don't you call Mulder? I'm sure he owes you a favor."

Langly had practically guffawed at that. "Call Mulder? About a *baby*?"

She'd sighed. Right - she had breasts and two x chromosomes, so she was automatically a font of knowledge related to all things baby. "Well, when you put it that way - but why the hell would you call me eithher?" she'd pointed out.

That's when Langly had played his trump card. "Hey, the kid's hungry, and we ran out of the stuff his mom left, and we already gave him a cherry popsicle. Can you put curry in a bottle?"

Now Langly held the baby out to her, but she sidestepped."Find me some dry clothes," she ordered, "and explain again how you ended up baby-sitting."

Langly shoved the baby into Byers' arms and trotted off into another room.

"He belongs to Stephanie Kim, across the hall," Byers supplied. "She's taking night classes to get her business degree. Tonight she has a big final, and her regular sitter called in sick at the last minute."

"We said we'd keep Joe," Langly said as he rejoined them, "but the little dude's been crying full blast for two hours. We've tried everything we can think of."

He handed Scully a wad of clothing. Upon closer inspection she discovered that she was holding a Butthole Surfers t- shirt and Tasmanian Devil boxers. Whatever - she was in no position to be picky.

Scully emerged from the bathroom in her borrowed clothing and obligingly took the baby. He quieted for a few minutes as he rooted in the vicinity of her breasts, but only began to bellow more loudly when he came up empty. "I know," she sighed to him, "it's kind of a tease, isn't it, Joe?"

"I'm surprised you didn't just look up baby-minding tips on the Internet," Scully said.

Langly scowled. "We can't. Frohike's rebuilding the Macs, so they're all out of commission. And my laptop is dead because Byers ruined it."

Byers glared defensively. "It's not my fault! I don't know why you left it in the kitchen sink in the first place."

Little Joe Kim was howling his displeasure and Langly and Byers were eying Scully reproachfully for not being able to work some secret female or medical magic when they heard the multiple locks on the apartment door being disengaged. Accordingly, the door opened and Frohike appeared. Byers and Langly rushed him as if they were groupies at a rock concert, and Scully looked on, mystified.

"Okay, okay, guys, quit'cher bitching," Frohike admonished his business partners as he scooped the baby from Langly's arms. "I got your messages and came as soon as I could."

He spared Scully a smile, apparently unfazed by her attire. "Hey, Scully. It was nice of you to give these lunkheads a hand, but Uncle Melvin's here now." He leaned down and spoke conspiratorially to Joe. "Hey, kid - do you miss your mom? You look a little cranky, there. In fact, I think the word of the day is 'cranky.' Uncle Byers is cranky - Uncle Langly is cranky - and Aunt Scully is -" His eyes narrowed."Wearing my underwear."

Ignoring the provenance of her garments, Scully looked on in shock. From the instant Frohike had taken Joe into his arms, the baby had fallen silent, making the remedy look deceptively quick and easy.

Who said there were no modern miracles? Compared to this, the fishes and the loaves were nothing.

The End

Challenge elements: baby, boxers, dead laptop, curry, cranky, quick, easy, and cherry. Oh, and it was supposed to be under 500 words, but for me, 1,200 is still a miracle of brevity.

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