Title: Things Undone 5: Snipe Hunt (1/24)

Authors: Erynn and Sally

Archive: Ephemeral, Gossamer, LGM, FLO, all others ask first. 

Rated: R for grownup stuff 

Spoilers: We assume you've seen the series. There are some slight spoilers 
for the LGM Pilot. This little Gunmenverse takes off from the main line of 
the X Files canon universe after 3oaK but before FPS (which happens in this 
timeline in early May). 

Disclaimers: You know who really owns these guys and the other XF 
characters. It ain't us, much as we'd like to. Some characters are blatantly 
based on our friends. They made us. (BTW, you guys, you can put down the 
red-hot pokers now) Others, we just made up for our amusement. Chapter 
opening quotes used without permission. Remember, love not money is the 
motivator here -- like anybody would ever pay us for this stuff. 

Category: Gunmen ­ action/adventure, humor, angst, a little Langly romance, 
and a budding friendship. 

Keywords: Lone Gunmen 

Summary: It's hacker season. Do you know where your computer is? 

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; a vignette wherein the Gunmen begin to deal 
with the repercussions of their adventure. 
TU 4: Alchemy of the Word, by Erynn and Sally; a 17 chapter novella wherein 
words are more important than they seem, and Byers starts to get a life. 
If you haven't read them, you may be confused here. 

Author notes: 
Sally say: Special thanks to pigs in slop. We only want you to be happy. 
Erynn say: I never thought Things Undone would turn into its own little 
universe, but it's been a hell of a lot of fun writing with Sally. Thanks to 
all of you folks who have been enjoying the story and encouraging us to 
write more. You're the greatest. 

"Serious difficulties don't vanish by themselves, they are standing around 
your bed when you open the eyes the next morning." 

~~Vicki Baum -- I Know What I'm Worth~~ 

TUESDAY, MARCH 30, 2000 
10:30 PM 


Tell me again why we took this job? Oh yeah, we need the cash. If we hadn't 
been in need of a whole new set of scopes, a replacement scanner, a laptop 
to replace the one Byers mangled on Barry's thick exterior, and the latest 
and greatest in Pentium processors for half a dozen server machines, not to 
mention little things like beer and Tylenol and food (no small expense with 
this bunch), I'd have told the twerp that hired us where to stuff his job. 
Made me damn sorry I decided last week to sit down and have a look at the 
books; the real ones, not the ones we keep for the IRS. Byers normally does 
the accounting, and he does it like he was born with a Quicken packet in his 
hands. But he's been, for all practical purposes, out of commission for the 
past two and a half months, and it's going to be at least another three or 
four weeks before he can deal with something requiring that much eye muscle 
and concentration. I almost had a coronary when I did it. We'd pulled in 
some good money in the fall, but outgo was finally starting to exceed 

We completed our job for Sari Thomas, and she paid us, of course; she 
insisted on it. "Most of this is Sierra Club money anyway, not mine" she'd 
said. "It's not like you guys don't deserve this, and we do have a contract. 
I'd give you more if I could. You really saved the hearing for us." It was a 
nice piece of change, and would have sufficed for maintenance mode, but all 
our equipment is acting like the Enterprise in classic Trek. I feel like I'm 
Kirk, and Scotty is yelling, "Ye canna change the laws of physics!" 

The current job is for a web design firm called WickedWeb, headed up by yet 
another snot-nosed 26-year-old without a clue. They've had someone in their 
system for quite some time, and even knew about it, but only jumped up and 
screamed when data started disappearing. I asked why they didn't call when 
they first knew someone was in there. The infant CEO, apparently unable to 
come up with a clever explanation without a script, decided on a temper 
tantrum instead. I was not impressed. The only reason I didn't walk out the 
door right then is that the CEO's older brother was the best friend of 
Langly's college roommate; well before Langly dropped out, anyway. In this 
business, everything is about reputation, and while I think the CEO takes 
being a brat to new and dizzying heights, it won't help us if we start 
getting nasty to people we know. If the theory that everyone is only divided 
by six degrees of separation is right, then it's way too close for me. I'd 
like to be at least a thousand degrees removed from this particular jerkwad. 

Everyone's closing in on me lately. I feel like my best friends are a school 
of circling sharks. Mulder borrowed a stack of my videos and hasn't bothered 
to return them; he says it's the least I could do for bailing on him the 
night we were supposed to go to the Candy Apple. I hastened to remind him 
that Byers got hurt, but he argued that I was going to bail out before 
Byers' injuries became the main attraction of the evening. This is, in fact, 
correct, but he sniveled about it until I finally told him to help himself, 
just remember to rewind. I erred in not mentioning that I'd like them back, 
preferably while I'm still among the living. I shouldn't be so annoyed with 
him for something so petty, especially considering what he did for Sari, but 
I am. Besides, I can always get into his apartment when he's away and fetch 
'em back. It's just a pain in the ass, like himself. 

The other night I wanted nothing more than to get quietly and thoroughly 
drunk at the Limerick, alone. I did manage to achieve drunkenness, but it 
was hardly quiet and I wasn't alone. Mulder needed an audience, and Scully 
wasn't available, so I suffered the dire fate of having to endure Mulder 
whining. After an hour, I was even cursing the lovely Dana Scully, because I 
was the one having to spend time listening to his ramblings, not her. Then 
again, having him going off about life, the universe, and everything 
directly violates the provisions of the Amendment forbidding cruel and 
unusual punishment. 

The punishment continued into the next day, when we had to be up by 9 a.m. 
(the crack of dawn mind you) and go on this job interview. The CEO spent two 
hours asking us pointless questions, when I know he'd decided roughly two 
minutes into it that we would have the job. There should be a law against 
26-year-olds running corporations. On the way home, Langly whined that we 
didn't ask for enough money. I didn't get it. We asked for our standard 
rates. Granted, it doesn't pay as well as being a high-priced hooker or a 
union plumber, but it's not chump change, either. 

"They're *your* friends," I reminded him. 

"Yeah, that's why we shoulda soaked 'em. Deb's gonna be here end of the 
week, and I'm gonna need some cash." 

"What're you going to need cash for? I doubt you'll ever even get dressed," 
I snapped at him. 

"Jealous," he taunted back. And he's damn right, the little fucker. I hope 
his disposition improves when the object of his affections finally makes an 
in-flesh appearance. She's had reading and exams the last week and a half, 
meaning that there's been minimal word from her. He bitches and mopes 
constantly. Maybe if he did it more quietly, it wouldn't be so irritating, 
but Langly never was one to suffer silently -- or alone. If he's miserable, 
he's going to make damn sure we are, too. From that point of view, he's 
succeeding wildly. 

He'd get a hell of a lot more work done if he wasn't checking his email 
every five minutes and following it up with heavy sighing, a stream of 
cursing, or both. Today I told him that he could either shut up, or go to 
his room and come out when he was done jerking off. His revenge was to put 
my name on a bunch of mailing lists for gay porn sites. I tried to unsub 
several times, but no joy. I settled for an untraceable bounce back to his 
own damn box. We'll see how he likes that. 

Byers is still deep in recovery. You'd think I could extend some compassion 
to him, seeing as he really is suffering, but he, too, is working what 
remains of my last frayed nerve. He's still in pain, but the Vicodin gave 
him a miserably upset stomach, so he had to stop taking it. The nausea went 
away, but was replaced by a side effect of his eye drops; a sinus infection. 
Stopping the eye drops, unfortunately, is not an option, not if he has any 
hope of his sight returning to what it was. He can't use Benadryl, Sudafed 
or any other decongestants while his eye is still afflicted; too much 
drying. His doc prescribed oral antibiotics for the sinus problem, but those 
wreck his stomach too. He's eating poorly, and coping even worse. The only 
time he's marginally tolerable is when Sari comes to visit. She's managed to 
stop by once this week, and she does read to him, which he enjoys, but her 
work schedule is grueling, and her time's limited. I dread the evenings she 
can't make it over. He's way past the bounds of my sanity then. I tend to 
think of Langly as being more inclined to do a world-class snivel fest, but 
Byers is proving that, given the proper challenge, he can give Langly a run 
for his money. 

I've been trying to help the boy along, reading to him when I can, but he 
complains vociferously about my choice of reading material. Byers is into 
very esoteric fiction. Me, give me a good Tom Clancy or Dean Koontz any day 
of the week. Sari's been reading Rimbaud's "A Season in Hell" to him. In 
French. She says it helped her a lot when she first left Barry, but I keep 
wondering what the attraction is. Rimbaud's totally depressing, as if he 
needs more to be depressed about. He can't read or work, and he's still 
having a hard time focusing on a tv. The first couple of weeks weren't too 
bad -- he slept most of the time -- but now he's awake most of the day. I 
know he's in a miserable spot, and I'm really trying to be compassionate, 
but it's just not working. 

The only thread that keeps me hanging on to my fragile sanity is my new pen 
pal. Not long ago, I'd written Mel Scarlett and crew a thank-you note; the 
treatment Langly and I received by the staff was exceptionally capable and 
kind, even if one doesn't consider that Langly got some unusual personal 
attention from his doctor. Deb's coming this weekend, in fact. They'll 
probably play doctor the entire time she's here. Won't that be fun. 

I'd sent Ms. Scarlett an e-mail and followed it up with a delivery of 
irises, white and indigo, and was delighted that she returned my note. I 
returned her return note, and she followed suit. It's a comforting 
correspondence, mostly in that it assures me I'm not flying solo regarding 
my aggravation with my boys. I may not be quite physically old enough to be 
their father, but I sure feel like it most of the time. Mel is a divorced 
mother of two allegedly grown children. Her daughter recently announced her 
pregnancy and impending marriage plans in the same breath, and told her 
mother that it would be okay to combine the baby and wedding showers 'since 
you've always been cheap, Mom.' I'm guessing that broke is more accurate in 
this case, a condition I'm well acquainted with, but sometimes kids don't 
distinguish the difference very well. Her son took the semester off from 
college to 'find himself,' but from her descriptions, the only thing he's 
managed to locate so far is the remote control. She's a kindred spirit in 
this. We love our kids -- and do I think of Byers and Langly as mine -- but 
that doesn't mean that we aren't prepared to murder them in their sleep at 
least half the time. 

"I found the problem," Langly announces, as I'm musing on the sorry state of 
my life and disposition. 

"You're working? I thought you were just wallowing in your hormones." 

"Fuck you, Frohike. Not like the job was a real challenge or anything. Which 
you'd have noticed if you'd been doing anything except sitting there feeling 
sorry for yourself!" 

"I have every right to feel sorry for myself. I put up with you two." 

"What did I do now?" Byers whines from the sofa, disgusted. He's bored, and 
has nothing better to do than to listen to us bicker, or join in himself. 

"Shut up, Byers. I've had about enough of your whining," I snap at him. 

"Well, I'm sorry!" He actually raises his voice a little. "It's not as if I 
don't want to work..." 

"Oh, put a cork in it, Byers, you've only repeated yourself six hundred 
times today, and you know damn well you're supposed to be resting. I'd 
appreciate it if you'd do it a little more quietly!" 

He's about to come up with a snappy retort -- even drugged, Byers' tongue is 
sharper than you might imagine -- when the buzzer rings. I check the front 
door security monitor. It's none other than Ms. Sari Thomas. She was 
speaking at a dinner tonight; we weren't expecting her, but her presence is 
more than welcome. One of my headaches might actually be under control for a 

"Your chickadee's here," Langly teases Byers, as he goes to the door and 
begins the ritual of unfastening the locks and the security system. 

"Langly, will you just shut up and let her in?" Byers is not in the mood to 
be teased. He normally handles it with aplomb, but between the injuries and 
the medications, he's been in a positively foul frame of mind. 

"Hey Sari, whassup?" Langly greets her. She answers with a hug and a peck on 
his cheek, her usual greeting. The boy has no manners; he doesn't even offer 
to take her wrap. Velvet, not mink. She's a lady, and deserves to be treated 
like one, no matter how she's dressed. Tonight, though, she's dressed to fit 
her nature. She's wearing a green satin cocktail dress, absolutely plain, 
swept off the shoulders and slit up high enough to reveal a slender and 
rather shapely thigh, clad in a gartered stocking, although I think it 
wasn't supposed to be obvious. Her dress, which would otherwise have covered 
this particular tasty secret, has ridden up slightly under her sling. I'm 
very happy to report that she has no visible bruises. With Barry Guertzen 
taking a government-funded vacation, she's finally free of that worry. 

"Young lady, you do look lovely this evening," I tell her, rising to kiss 
her hand. I'm so grateful for her unexpected presence that I'd kiss anything 
on her the gods might require. Not that this would be a hardship, mind you. 
Right now, though, I'd kiss her bare foot if she'd been wading through a pig 
pen. She's got her hair coiffed impeccably, with a touch of dramatic makeup, 
yet nothing about it looks fake or overdone. And if Byers doesn't notice her 
looking like this, he's got a lot more than eye problems. 

"Thank you, Mel. I managed to filch you guys some dinner." 

Langly eyes her suspiciously. Only he could look a gift horse in the mouth. 
"What, rubber chicken?" 

She laughs good-naturedly. "No, this was an animal rights fundraiser, so the 
menu was organic and vegetarian. Lasagna with portabella mushrooms and 
Provencal sauce. It's actually quite good, and it should have been, 
considering this was a thousand-dollar-a-plate benefit." She grins wickedly. 
"I only steal the best for my friends." I'm not picky, I'm hungry, and 
between working on this project and listening to these two ruin my day, I 
haven't bothered to play Chef Frohike. I know how housewives feel when they 
go to great lengths to prepare a decent meal and nobody notices. 

Byers smiles at her; a real smile, I might add. In spite of his boredom and 
pain, we're seeing more of those lately. Unfortunately, he reserves most of 
them for Sari. I wonder if I'd do better if I was willing to read depressing 
French novels and Latin poetry. Or wear a green satin cocktail dress. Not 
that I'm especially interested in finding out, and I doubt my legs would 
pass muster. Sari excuses herself momentarily, presumably to 'powder her 
nose.' The three of us bring out the good dishes, which is to say the paper 
plates, and begin digging into the lasagna, a salad of baby spring greens, 
and garlic rolls. 

"She looks hot, Byers." Langly won't let up. 

"She always looks nice," Byers agrees, trying not to fall for the bait. I'm 
ready to smack Langly. I know where he's going with this. 

"Oh, don't even tell me you didn't notice just how tasty she looks tonight." 

"Langly, shut up." I'd like to enjoy my dinner in something resembling 

Of course, he ignores my and Byers' rising ire. "I'm telling you Johnny, if 
the way she looks right now doesn't get your guy juices flowing, I'm gonna 
have to conclude that you were castrated." 

"Langly, you are so far past rude, it's a wonder you werenąt strangled at 
birth," Byers snaps. He's trying to hold his temper in check, but his face 
is getting red, a sure sign that his temper and blood pressure are about to 
go through the roof. As are mine. Right now, that's something Byers should 
really be avoiding. 

"Rude? What, 'cause I'm admiring a pretty girl and wondering what the hell's 
wrong with you that you can't..." 

"I'm quite capable of noticing, thank you very much!" This time, Byers isn't 
so restrained. The petty bickering we indulge in normally doesn't get to me 
much, but at this moment, I can take no more. I let loose with a stream of 
invective that would make a Marine blush. It takes a while for me to really 
lose it, but I have, in this moment, officially lost it. I'm assailing 
everything from their honor and programming skills to their taste in 
literature and clothing, up to and including their manhood. I'm still 
completely absorbed in my blind red screaming fit when I notice a glimmer of 
green from the corner of my eye. I lost it so badly, I'd forgotten there was 
a lady present. I stop, but too late. She races off towards Byers' room like 
a scared rabbit. I hear a door slam behind her, then another. Two doors? Oh 
crap. She's got to be in the closet. God, I feel so stupid. 

Byers, of course, is now completely enraged. "Look what you've done now, you 
jerk! In case you don't remember, she's not very good around people that are 
out of control!" 

"Well, maybe if *you'd* maintain a little control instead of whining and 
whimpering and complaining all the time, I'd be able to hold on to mine!" 
He's gone, of course, to make sure Sari is all right. 

"Y'know, you're always on my case about what an asshole I am, but look what 
you've done!" Langly is much less reserved in his anger, and he's got his 
fists up. It wouldn't be the first time we've gone to blows. I duck, but too 
late; he nails me right in the jaw. Normally, he'd apologize immediately, 
but this time, he just stares at me for a second, then stomps off to follow 
Byers, his only sentiment being, "Fuck you, Frohike." 

No need to. Been there, done that. Never more than now. 

End part 1

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