Title: Things Undone 4: Alchemy of the Word, part 13
Authors: Erynn & Sally
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
"On my hospital bed, the odor of incense comes back to me so strong..."
~~Rimbaud -- A Season in Hell~~
MONDAY, MARCH 6, 2000
GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER
This afternoon it's been my turn to play baby sitter. I made Fro stop at El
Torito to grab dinner, seeing as I'm missing out on Frohike's killer roast
chicken. Plus, we're still trying to get Byers to eat. Hospital slop might
be a food group -- on Mars -- but not one that's gonna get any meat on poor
Johnny's bones. So I grabbed two Macho Grande Platters to go. I probably
way overdid it for Byers on that one. "You gonna eat that other burrito,
Byers?" Sorry, all I had was a BLT for lunch. Not enough to sustain a
"No." He sounds like he's too weak and exhausted to even pick up his fork.
"I'm done. Help yourself."
"Gracias." I dive into the chicken burrito, the corn cake, and the rest of
the rice he left behind. Good thing one of us was hungry, hate to see all
that good stuff go to waste. Poor guy. He's better than he was this morning,
but that's not saying much. He looks real wiped out and banged up. And they
took away his Demerol before I got here. Fuckers. He's on Vicodin and Motrin
now. Vicodins are nice, but there's nothing like a nice big hit of Demerol
when you're miserable. Except maybe a nice big hit of morphine. And a really
nice doctor... I boot up and plug into Byers' phone line. I don't like
working on an unsecured line, but I've got onboard security. Deb's on shift
tonight and I'm gonna stay in touch any way I can. I been thinking about
what to send back to her all afternoon. I finally decide on 'fantasy' and
hit the send button. Byers sighs. "Need more drugs, dude?"
"No. I'm just worried about Sari." Ooh, I was right, and so was Frohike. She
may not be hot for him, but I still say Byers has it bad for his latest
damsel in distress. "I wish she was here." Byers looks real sad, as well as
looking like he kissed the pavement big time.
"Well, like, I'm sorry I'm not as cute or interesting as your last baby
sitter!" That makes him turn red. Gotcha dude! I'd keep picking at him but
I've got a return email, and it's the Deb song playing! Her word is actually
two words. 'Kama Sutra.' Oh baby! All of a sudden it's very warm in here.
"Well, look who's blushing now." Byers might be banged up and tired as hell,
but he's still Byers and he doesn't miss a trick. Bastard. Somebody get that
boy some drugs, stat! He dozes off for a while, and I do some work on Sari's
stuff. After a couple hours he wakes up. "What're you doing?"
"Just working on some of Sari's salvaged files."
"I should be doing that."
"The hell you should. You're supposed to be resting, dude."
"Who's coming later?" He sounds like a little kid waiting for his favorite
gramma to show up.
"Dunno. Probably Frohike again."
"Oh." He sounds kinda disappointed. No doubt about it, he's hot for her.
"You really like her, doncha?" I'm not trying to be a pest, really. I'm
just, you know, curious. Inquiring minds want to know.
"She's a very nice person, why shouldn't I?" Uh-huh. And I'm a tall blonde.
Let's not overstate the obvious here. "You're making it out to be something
it's not." But he's blushing again. It's too funny.
My word d'heurre is going to be 'close.' That's what I wanna be with Deb. So
bad. I keep dreaming about what it's like under her clothes... clothes,
close. Sort of a play on words. I mean, I'm not gonna push. It's gonna be
her call. But if she calls skin games, baby, I am so there. "Sure, dude.
Whatever you say."
He sinks back into the pillows, or at least as much as you can sink into
hospital pillows. Ever notice hospital bedding's not about comfort? It's
about easy clean up. That means plastic and icky. Of course, seeing as I had
such a great doc at Penn (and lots of lovely morphine), I really didn't
notice that much. "You and Frohike are reading too much into this, " he
"Uh-huh." I'm on a tricky line of code here. I need to pay attention --
E-mail from the Debster again! Maybe it's a slow night. She could use one.
She writes back, 'warm.' Oh yeah. Once again, temperature in the room goes
up a few hundred degrees. I'm trying to be creative here, but only thing
that comes to mind is, 'you.' So that's what I type.
"Langly, you're a fine one to talk about adolescent hormone rushes." He's
kind of laughing at me, but it's hard for him with his face all messed up.
"Yeah, but I'm not denying mine. You are."
"You really don't understand. Can we drop this? I'm tired." Okay, he's
tired, I know he is, so I shut up before I get him all bent out of shape. By
the time I look up again, he's on his way to dreamland. He sleeps sound for
a while, and this gives me a chance to get some work done.
Deb must've gotten busy. It's about three hours before I get another post
from her. This time it comes back, 'you too.' Oh man. This is like such a
rush. This is even better than hacking and cracking. I'm loving it. I write
'us' -- it's a natural progression, after all. Right after I send the post
off, I hear Byers rustling around a bit. Shit, I hope he's not having a
nightmare. I set down the laptop and go over to him.
"Hey, bud, it's cool, everything's down," I put my hand on his arm. He's
like not really hearing me, and doesn't open his eye. I try to get him calm,
keep telling him everything's fine, he's safe.
He's trying to talk. Only thing that comes out of his mouth, though, is one
word. "Sari." Oh, but it's not like that. Right. Personally, I'd like it if
she was hot for him, too. I mean, she seems pretty righteous. She's sure not
way out there like Mata Hari was. Somehow I don't see her hanging us out to
swing in the breeze. Doesn't seem her style. I think she'd be there in the
trenches with us. Yeah, I think they'd be good together. Almost as good as
Deb and me... and I just might need to borrow one of Fro's videos when I get
I've been exhausted all day, and my head aches so badly I can barely focus
when I open my eye. The doctor told me it would be like this for a while, a
week at least, maybe two. I'm really not looking forward to the whole thing.
He also said that when they release me, probably tomorrow morning, that I'll
be on bed rest for at least two weeks. As in, stay in bed and don't do
anything. While my own bed is far more comfortable than this torture rack
they have me in, I'm not sure I can handle that. I've spent most of the last
two months almost motionless, lifeless and paralyzed by other kinds of pain.
Just when I thought I might be able to start finding a life again, or at
least something that vaguely resembled a life, I get the crap beaten out of
me and end up like this. I've had nightmares for years, but a new one has
joined the litany: Barry towering over me like a redwood, and the sound of
Sari's arm snapping.
Having Sari here this morning was comforting. She doesn't hassle me like
Ringo and Mel do. I know it's just how they show they care, but I'm too damn
tired to cope with it right now, and I wish they'd see that. Sari has a very
peaceful presence, and at least while she's near by, I know that she's safe.
I don't think that even her ex is stupid enough to try to come here and
assault her, with all these people around.
The guys seem so certain that I've fallen for her. It isn't like that,
though. Yes, she's attractive. She's also intelligent, talented,
compassionate, resourceful and brave. But she's on my mind because I'm still
afraid for her, not because I want to take her home with me -- at least, not
in that way. I've spent a lot of my time lying here thinking, even though my
mind hasn't been all that clear, because there isn't anything else to do
when I'm too exhausted to talk.
When I talked to Sari today, after we'd discussed her project and the
article I wrote last month, and I'd had some sleep, I told her a little
about Susanne. Not a lot, but the start of an explanation. And she said some
things that made me look at my situation again, with a somewhat different
perspective. I told her that I didn't think I'd really loved Susanne. She
said she believes I did, and that I still do. Her impression is that I'm
denying what I feel because Susanne's leaving had hurt so much, and perhaps
I didn't want to think of the last eleven years I spent loving her from a
distance as a waste. That I was trying to talk myself out of loving her so
that I could let her go, and that ultimately, letting go of her doesn't mean
I have to deny my love for her. She says that once I am able to let go, both
the love and the pain will fade with time. I don't know if Sari's right, but
it makes a certain amount of sense. If I were looking at someone else in the
same situation, I might come to that conclusion too. I know she's right
about one thing though -- I'm still not over Susanne. I don't know how long
that will take, but no matter what Fro and Langly think, I'll never be able
to love anyone else until I can honestly let her go. Even then, I think that
finding someone else, someone I can truly trust and let into my heart, will
be a very hard thing.
Sari said that when she left Barry, she still loved him, even though he'd
beaten her and put her in the hospital. She'd asked for a separation in 1996
and tried for nearly two years to work things out with him before she
finally got divorced. Apparently, she's still not seeing anyone, largely out
of fear. And who could blame her? "It wasn't worth it in the long run," she
told me. "It would have been better to just let him go and move on. I don't
know that it would have changed my situation, but at least it would have
changed me. I almost died for love, John. Don't be a martyr to your vision
of how things could have been with her. Don't let your love kill you. Find a
reason to live, and hold onto it with everything you've got. Because if you
don't, you're going to kill yourself, whether or not that's what you
They were painful words, agonizing even, but words I needed to hear. And
only Sari could have said them to me. Thinking about them has started some
strange alchemical transformation in me; hard and terrifying, but necessary.
I wish that Mel and Ringo could understand this, could know that what I need
from Sari isn't a repeat of my obsession with Susanne, but a friend that I
can talk to who won't judge me by a painful mistake I made when I was 25. I
need someone who can tell me the truth, and help me understand it. When I
met Sari Saturday, I felt the spark of something wonderful being born, but
that something is a friendship, the recognition of a kindred spirit, not
some wild hormonal attraction. What embarrasses me is not what I feel for
her, but how badly my closest friends misunderstand those feelings.
And so I worry about Sari being hurt again, or even killed, before we can
find a way to deal with her ex and ensure her safety. I worry that the guys'
rude innuendo will drive her away before she gets to know what they're
really like. I worry that when this is over, she'll move on with a new life,
and that I won't be a part of it. But I also hope. I hope that she'll want
me for a friend, and that we'll have the time to get to know each other. I
hope that she'll help me find a piece of my life that was stolen eleven
years ago; a world outside the shadows I've inhabited for so long. And I
hope that my friends will see the truth about what's really going on between
the two of us, instead of letting their imaginations run away with them. I
don't know, maybe that's too much to ask. I'm not feeling very optimistic
right now. But I think maybe, just maybe the sky might still be up there,
and I simply stopped being able to see it when Susanne left. If that's true,
then Sari is the first star I've found shining in that dark, hidden vault.
And I think she may know how to help me find the key that opens the door
to the rest of its wide expanse. It would be good to see the sun again.
LATE THAT EVENING
Mulder and I arrive to relieve Langly and take over watching Byers. John's
barely awake when we arrive, but Langly seems eager to get home and get some
rest. Byers looks over at us. "Hello, Agent Scully, Mulder. It's good to
see you," he says softly. He sounds completely drained.
"You guys come to spring me?" Langly asks.
"Yeah," Mulder says. "I'm gonna haul your skinny ass home, then I'll be back
here with Scully so we can take turns keeping Byers company for the night."
I greet Byers, read his chart, then examine him. "How are you feeling?" I
"I've had hangovers that felt like a warm spring day in comparison," he
Mulder and Langly make their noisy way out of the room, and I pull the chair
up next to his bed. "You're looking a little better."
"Death warmed over?" he asks. I nod and laugh. I'm glad he still has his
sense of humor. "Is Sari all right?"
"She's fine. I made her go to bed about an hour ago. She's very worried
"I wish I could see her," he says. "I'm worried about her ex finding her and
trying to finish the job."
"She's safe with the guys. And I don't think you'll have to worry about
Barry Guertzen for much longer," I tell him. He perks up a little.
"Did you find something?"
"Seems our boy was involved in some racketeering and money laundering. We
need to dig up some more information, but I think we may be able to get him
put away for a very long time. Combined with his assault on you and Ms.
Thomas, his history of violence, and the fact that he issued a death threat
against both of you in front of witnesses, I think we'll have a strong set
of charges, both local and federal. I think we could even make a good case
for attempted murder."
Byers smiles that tiny almost smile of his, and gives a satisfied sigh. "Now
that's the kind of news I like to hear."
"Yes, but is it the kind that will give you a good night's sleep?" I ask
"Oh, I think so," he mumbles, pulling the covers around him. "Might be the
first time in years."
end part 13