Title: Things Undone 4: Alchemy of the Word, part 10
Authors: Erynn & Sally
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Archive: Ephemeral, Gossamer, LGM, FLO, all others ask first so we know where we're being kept.
Rated: R for grownup stuff
Spoilers: We assume you've seen the series
Category: Gunmen -- angst, humor, a little romance
Summary: Sometimes words are more important in our lives than we think.
Stories in the Things Undone series:
Things Undone, by Erynn; a 5-part story wherein the Gunmen deal with some unfinished business.
TU 2: Mending the Tears, by Sally; a 6-part story wherein Fro and Langly go to the ER.
TU 3: To Carry On, by Erynn; wherein the Gunmen begin to deal with the repercussions of their adventure.
Disclaimers: We don't own the boys, but we sure wish we did. They and the other characters from the series are owned instead by The Powers That Be at Fox and 1013, the boys were created by Morgan & Wong, and they're all controlled by the folks at The X Files and The Lone Gunmen series. Other characters are ours, some of whom are blatantly based on people we know, frequently at their request. Don't blame us, we're being coerced. Quotes from Rimbaud are used without permission. Deepest thanks to Mel, our Tech Consultant Queen and resident cartoonist.
"Weakness or strength: you are there, it is strength."
~~Rimbaud -- A Season in Hell~~
MONDAY, MARCH 6, 2000
LONE GUNMEN OFFICES
Got Sari and Kitty packed off to bed. I could stand some sleep, but I know
if I turn in, no chance of crashing, not tonight. Well, why should I; Deb's
still up and wor... Deb. Oh man. I managed to get one word typed before this
whole fiasco started up. Then I accidentally hit the send button. The only
word I got typed was 'I.' It's one thing to use it in a sentence, but like
doing that, it makes me look way too much like the selfish bastard I really
am. Not the sort of impression you wanna make on a girl you're still trying
Well, maybe I ought to go over and try writing what I was really gonna say
in the first place. We do get to talk in email and on the phone, but I
always feel so cut off from her at work, so that's why I hacked into Penn
State Med Center's computer, see if maybe we can at least sort of keep in
touch while she's on the job. I dunno. After that last missive, she's
probably gonna think I'm a crackhead or something.
I'm real surprised when I boot up and open my mailbox and there's a response
from her. Probably telling me to go to hell. Couldn't blame her really. So
I'm pretty shocked and I don't know what to make of it when I get a reply
and all it says is, 'it's'. That was the whole thing. Maybe she got hauled
away soon as she started. Or not. Maybe she thinks it's a game. Well, two
can play at that. I just type the first thing that hits my head. I type
'bubble.' Don't ask me why, I haven't got a clue. I type it in, and hit the
send button. Hmm, wonder what she'll think of that. I hope she gets the
"You find anything, Langly?" Mulder's hammering away at Byers' terminal. I'd
almost forgotten he was here. I consider that a positive thing.
"Me? Huh? Uh... no, not yet." No need to tell him I'm just fucking around in
email with my girl. Wish I was just fucking with my girl, truth be told. We
haven't talked about it, but boy, have I thought about it. Haven't actually
thought about much else, to be honest. "You?"
"Well, our boy Barry's got a rap sheet about as long as Skinner's arm, for
starters. That should make this a whole lot easier, at least in terms of his
credibility. There's a long list of domestic violence charges, parole and
restraining order violations, some drunk and disorderly, even a couple of
"Why am I not surprised?" What an asshole. "You said you saw him? Why didn't
you just waste him?"
Mulder groans his woe-is-me sigh. He's got that one down. "Langly, do you
have any idea how much paperwork you have to do when you shoot someone? It's
my theory that it's the main reason most people in law enforcement never
draw their guns in their entire careers."
"What're you bitching about? Scully does all the paperwork anyway." Hey, she
says it and he never denies it. Lazy bastard.
"Scully -- oh shit. I gotta call Scully. She's gonna be really pissed if I
don't tell her about Byers."
"You know where the phone is, dude." And he can even put the voice scrambler
on, although that's about as much as we ever let him get involved with,
technologically. You know that the dude can't even program his VCR?
Pathetic. While he's dialing her, I decide I'm gonna have a discreet little
"Hey, Scully, it's me."
Scully sounds zonked. "Mulder, what time is it?"
"2:34 a.m." He's like, doesn't everyone wake their partners up at 2:34 a.m.?
She just groans like, what did I ever do to deserve this? Hey, Scully, we
all feel that way. "Scully, I just wanted to let you know, Byers got knocked
around pretty hard tonight."
"Byers is hurt?" Now she's kind of more awake. "How badly? How did it
"He's in GWU Med Center, torn retina, mild concussion, looks like he
wrestled the pavement and lost. He's had surgery, they seem to think he'll
recover just fine."
"How did it happen?"
"He had a run in with a small mountain. Saint Helens with a bad temper.
Ex-husband of a lady he's doing some work for."
"Is this a Bureau matter?"
"No, local law enforcement." But I can tell he's crossing his fingers. That
wasn't what he told DCPD. He's on it, and I bet you bucks she knows it.
"Where did you say he was again?" Scully asks him.
"GWU Med Center, West Pavilion. He was pretty out of it when I saw him.
Maybe you can catch him early tomorrow before you head in to work."
"It's already tomorrow, Mulder." She hangs up. He just shakes his head like
he doesn't get it. Well, he doesn't, but that's another story for another
time. Mulder suddenly realizes that it's possible I heard the whole
conversation, which, of course, I did.
"Were you snooping?" he demands.
"Who, me?" I feign innocence.
He shakes his head again. "Get some sleep, Langly. You're gonna need it."
"What about you?"
"I'm going to take a look at some of those Videos That Aren't Mine."
I'm not gonna sleep. I decide I'll join him. I nuke some Orville's
Artery-Clogging Special Popcorn. Might keep my mind off other things right
now. So I throw the bowl down in front of us. Unlike Sari, Mulder doesn't
ask if it's been washed recently; he doesn't worry about stuff like that
since he's a guy and he lives alone. He pops in a tape. I'd tell you what it
was about, but somehow, I manage to crash before we get past the trailers...
GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER
Byers is having a restless night, which is normal right after surgery, but
he desperately needs rest. He'll doze off for about 20 minutes at a stretch,
then wake up as though he's just had a nightmare, which he probably has. I
don't think having to go through a surgery that required him to stay awake
was a good experience for him. "Sari..." he mumbles. He's done this a lot.
He's also asked for Susanne, and fought off Landau a couple of times. It's
gotta be a mess inside his head right now.
I get up, grab a damp facecloth, and dab gently at his neck and face. The
coolness seems to soothe him a bit. "She's fine, Byers. Langly took her back
to our place, Mulder's getting her things, and between the two of you, I'd
say you were the one that took most of the hit for the team." He sighs and
leans back into the pillows. "Need some more pain meds, buddy?"
He nods. "Mmhmm... hurts." They've got him on Demerol, fastened to a PCA
pump, but one of my primary jobs here is to remind him to press the button.
He seems to forget that.
I sit with him and pat his arm gently, steadying him. "Try to get some
sleep, buddy. Best thing for you right now." He really does need it.
Unfortunately, it's not coming easily or providing him with any comfort. He
mumbles something incoherent, like he has most of the other times he's been
semi-conscious. Finally, I get him to close his eye that isn't bandaged and
he rolls gingerly to his side, trying to get comfortable and to avoid
hurting his eye any more than it already is. I return to my miserable excuse
for a chair and try to relax. It's hard when you know that within the next
half hour, you're going to be up again.
I think I'm dreaming when I hear a soft voice in the darkness. "Frohike?"
The voice is female, gentle, and low in pitch. I recognize that voice.
"Agent Scully?" I say gently, quickly pulling myself to my feet. "I'm sorry,
I must have dozed off."
"I'm sorry to wake you, but Mulder just called and told me about Byers." She
walks quietly over to the bed. The soft backlight gives her enough light to
give him a cursory once over. "What's he on?"
"Demerol, PCA pump. But he never remembers that all he has to do is press
the button. I think that's my primary purpose here, reminding him to flick
the switch. I'm surprised, since he was awake for the surgery."
"Awake but not as aware as he thinks he was," Scully explains softly. "He
was given Versed beforehand? Normally that's the case."
"He'll remember bits and pieces of it, but I wouldn't be concerned about him
being unduly traumatized by the procedure. I know some of the physicians
here on staff. I'm sure they tried very hard to make him comfortable."
"He got mangled pretty badly, as you can see."
She nods. "You realize he's going to be on complete bed rest for at least
two weeks, don't you?"
Well, no, I didn't -- we haven't had a chance to discuss home care and
prognosis with the surgeon in any detail. I shake my head. "He's in the
middle of a job, too. Looks like Langly and I are going to have to step in
to finish it for him."
"Which is why you need some sleep, Frohike."
"I'm not leaving the boy."
"At least try to rest. I'll stay."
"You don't mind?"
"After all you guys have done for me, you think I mind?" She looks at me
with a wry smile as if to say, are you insane or what?
Well, I am. But God bless her. I actually manage to fall asleep.
I'm curious about how all this happened. Byers tries to stay away from
trouble, but it just keeps finding him. He can be a very timid man, and I've
seen him spook like a rabbit before. Mulder's call has me wondering about
what's really happening here. He may say it's a local law enforcement issue,
but I could hear that tone in his voice that said 'I'm taking care of this.'
It didn't surprise me, being that Byers is the one who's hurt. It could have
been any of them, and he'd do the same. But I'm not going to get any answers
until I get Mulder and the Stooges all together in one place. I'm going to
want to talk to this woman whose ex assaulted Byers, too. I suspect that
there's more going on here than just some domestic violence case. Wherever
the Gunmen are, there's always some kind of weird conspiracy hiding nearby.
Byers looks bad, but from what little I know of the circumstances, I'm
suspecting it could have been much worse. I wonder how the woman is? Mulder
didn't say if she was here somewhere as well, and I'm not going to wake poor
Frohike right now to ask him. He looks like he's been through a meat grinder
too, exhausted and in pain. That chair can't be good for his back and
shoulder. The injury he sustained six weeks ago will probably continue to
give him a moderate amount of trouble for a long time to come.
After I've been here about half an hour, Byers stirs, muttering something I
can't quite make out. I think it's a name, but I'm not sure. He's moving
restlessly, and I reach out and take his hand. "Byers, can you hear me?"
He moans and turns his face slightly in my direction. "Scully?" he whispers.
His good eye is open a tiny slit, a line of pupil and iris barely visible
through his lashes.
"Yeah, it's me. Are you in pain? Do you need another dose of Demerol?" I
pick up the damp cloth that Frohike was using to cool him down earlier, and
gently dab his face and neck, brushing sweat-damp hair from his face. He
nods and gives a barely audible murmur, but I don't think he's really aware.
I give the button on the PCA pump a gentle squeeze for him.
"Sari..." he mumbles. I doubt he's talking about silk, so maybe that's the
woman. "...where... she..."
No one has mentioned her to me, and I'm sure that Frohike would have said
something if she were seriously injured, so I'm going to take a wild leap
here. "She's fine, Byers. She's safe." This seems to comfort him, and he
slips back into a drugged sleep. Susanne left him so recently, and hurt him
so badly in the process, that I can't imagine he's actually seeing anyone.
Mulder said he was working for the woman whose ex had injured him, though.
I'm guessing they were both assaulted, he tried to defend her, and hasn't
seen her since the ambulance brought them here. Somewhere in the haze, he's
still worrying about her, maybe reliving the assault. Maybe reliving the
incidents with Landau as well.
For all his paranoia and timidity, Byers has always been a gentleman. I
can't help but try to imagine the scene that must have gone down. Mulder
described the assailant as 'a small mountain.' Byers is neither overly tall
nor particularly bulky, and the image of him trying to hold his own against
someone that much larger than he is worries me. He's surprisingly courageous
at the oddest moments, and sometimes I really worry that it will get him
killed someday. Fortunately, this time he'll recover. I hope it's soon, for
everyone's sake. The boys have seen enough pain and trouble in the past
couple of months for any dozen people. Things need to get better for them.
And I need to help make sure they do.
end part 10