Title: Things Undone 5: Snipe Hunt (9/24)

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. 
______ 

"It was the kind of desperate, headlong, adolescent calf love that he should 
have experienced years ago and got over." 

~~Agatha Christie -- Remembered Death~~ 
______ 

FRIDAY, APRIL 2, 2000 
SIERRA CLUB OFFICES 
8:30 A.M. 

FROHIKE: 

Getting Langly out of bed this morning was a chore. Then again, getting 
myself out of bed this morning was a chore too. We arrive at the appointed 
hour only to discover that we look no worse than our competition, who also 
apparently spent their night out getting plastered after yesterday's events. 
The equipment has been set up for our video tutorial session, we've received 
confirmation that the regional offices have received their FedEx packages 
with our software, and Langly and I have worked up the slide show with 
screen shots and instructions to illustrate the problems and their 
solutions. One tech is focusing the video camera as I sit behind a table. 
Langly looks up. "Hey, wait a minute. That's a camera!" 

I roll my eyes. "No shit, Sherlock. What did you think a video conference 
was? Morse code on a telegraph line?" 

He looks frantic. "No way, dude! You know I have a philosophical problem 
with having my image bounced off a satellite." He waves his hands in front 
of his face and leaps from his seat as though he'd been sitting on hot 
coals. "Ain't gonna do it!" 

"So how the hell do you plan on holding up your end of this conference?" The 
tech and the assembled drones are staring at us now, and Langly's standing 
behind the tech, behind the camera. 

"I'll do it from here, man." 

"Yeah, and how am I supposed to tape you from there?" the tech asks. 

"You aren't!" 

"What about the stuff you're putting up on the whiteboard?" I ask. 

"Just the whiteboard, dude! No pictures of me! None, none, none!" 

The tech groans and shakes his head. "This is gonna be a long day," he 
mutters. By now, half the room is starting to snicker. At least they'll be 
entertained. I sigh and shuffle my notes. I remember trying to get him to 
cooperate when we had to talk to Mulder this way, some case about invisible 
elephants and alien zoo animal abductions. Byers and I ended up doing it all 
ourselves. Once we get started, things smooth out, but the only part of 
Langly that's preserved for posterity during this performance is his right 
hand, as he waves papers in front of the camera, scribbles on the 
whiteboard, and talks from off screen. We do manage to get our tutorial 
done, but it seemed to be far more entertaining than anyone expected, and 
certainly more than we intended. 

Through the whole thing, Langly is whining about how soon we'll be done, and 
when can he get out of here. I try to make him keep it to a minimum while 
we're actually being taped, but as soon as the camera is off for breaks, 
he's frantic about what exact minute it is, and when Deb should be arriving. 
"Dude, she's not going to get here any faster by you whining about it. And 
she's not going to arrive within ten seconds of the time she predicted, 
either. You have to take traffic and the weather and whether she has to stop 
for gas, and whether she's going to be sensible and stop for some sleep 
first into account as well. I know you want to see her, but she really 
shouldn't be driving if she's been awake for days already. You do want her 
to arrive in one piece, don't you?" 

"Of course I do, and she's gonna be fine. Don't you even suggest that she 
might get hurt on the way here. Don't jinx it, man!" He looks like he's 
about to strangle me. Naturally, I would never wish his lady friend any 
harm, I just want him to remember that things don't always happen as 
anticipated, nor on an exact schedule. This is going to be one long, 
annoying morning. 

LONE GUNMEN HQ 
2:30 P.M. 

BYERS: 

I've already been up a while when the guys come back. I'm not going 
anywhere, so I'm not in a suit, but I did slip into my best pair of jeans 
and my favorite Irish wool sweater. We'll be having a lady guest later in 
the day, and I don't think I'd make the most positive impression lying 
around in my pajamas and bathrobe. More than that, though, I feel energized 
again. I don't feel like lying around doing nothing anymore. I got up, made 
my tea, and turned on the news. I'm more or less able to identify my eye 
medications by the colors on the labels now, and although it's difficult, I 
manage to do it myself today without getting too much of it all over my 
face. I'm listening to some panel discussion about gun control, pumped with 
a lot of passion but very little in the way of facts, when the guys finally 
stagger in. Frohike looks like something a starving alley cat would reject 
as too disgusting to eat. "How'd the tutorial go?" I ask him. His response 
is to snort, roll his eyes, and point to an exhausted, bedraggled Langly 
trailing him. 

"It would have been fine if someone didn't divide his time between whining 
about being taped, and whining about being late for his lust object's 
arrival," he snaps, giving Langly the look parents use on children who've 
misbehaved on a family trip. Langly, of course, is not in the least 
chastened. 

"She's not a 'lust object,' you pervert! And you know how I feel about my 
image being bounced off a satellite!" 

"Langly, we're getting a nice chunk of change from this. The least they 
expect from us is to do our jobs!" Frohike yells at him. 

"Hey, I was holding up my end!" Weariness, tension, and an excess of sake 
last night have taken their toll. Both of them seem about ready to murder 
each other. 

Frohike groans in disgust. "I'm taking a nap." He turns to me. "If you feel 
like killing him, be my guest. In this case, I won't mind if you don't wait 
for me." He stomps off to his room and slams the door. It's likely the only 
sound we'll hear from him for a few hours will be snoring. 

"What a prick," Langly mutters as he tosses his heavy, hung over body on the 
sofa. "You make any lunch, dude?" 

"Do I look like the chief cook and bottle washer around here?" I demand. 

"Well, matter of fact..." 

"Listen, I'll make something easy if you clean up the kitchen." 

"Whoa, whoa man, I just cleaned it!" 

"Right. Two days ago. It needs to be done again." 

"What do you mean, again?" 

"Langly, I'm sorry to report that housework isn't a one-shot deal." 

"So like, how often do you have to do it?" 

I would burst out laughing if he wasn't so pathetic. "What the hell do you 
think I've been doing around here every Saturday morning for the past eleven 
years?" 

He has to think about that one. "Well, like, I know you don't sleep as late 
as me and Frohike. I, like, kinda thought you watched cartoons." 

"I attempt to keep this place marginally habitable, no thanks to you." He 
just looks puzzled. "Sorry, Langly. Housework is only like sex in that once 
is not enough. By the way, you got a package from Nordstrom's. I see you're 
trying to fool your girlfriend into thinking you have some class. Too bad 
she's about to find out otherwise." 

"Fuck you, Byers." 

"So let's see what you got." 

"Don't feel like it. I'm tired. I'm hungry. I want Deb to get here." 

"What time are you expecting her?" 

"Around four. She got off at one." 

"Three hours is under average traffic conditions. Just remember that she's 
got to get over the Delaware River Bridge on a Friday afternoon. Last time I 
checked, that hardly qualified as average driving conditions." 

"You and Doohickey, man, you're both a real pain in the ass, you know that? 
She's gonna be here on time, she has to." 

"So are you going to clean the kitchen, or are we both going to starve?" I 
lean back against the wall with my arms crossed in front of me. I hear him 
muttering some scatological suggestions as he makes his way into the 
kitchen. Instead of being affronted, I'm amused. He's in a positively foul 
frame of mind. Well, for the past few weeks, I've been taking it on the chin 
about Sari from him and Frohike. I haven't breathed a single negative 
syllable about his loud, adolescent lusting after Dr. SaintJohn. But while 
Langly was pouring it on, he forgot one small thing: payback is a bitch. And 
guess what, Ringo? It's payback time. 

"All right, I did it again," Langly sulks. "You gonna make lunch now?" 

"While I'm doing that, it might be a good time for you to pick up around 
here." My vision isn't blurred enough that I can't see Langly's expression. 
It's one of complete disbelief and confusion. 

"You mean it's not just the kitchen you have to do over?" 

"You have to do it *all*, Ringo." 

"But we don't have that many empties lying around, and we still got coffee 
mugs. Why should we wash mugs while we still have some?" 

I smirk. I'm being unkind and I know it. I'm going to enjoy being an enfant 
terrible this afternoon. After all, Langly gets away with it enough. "You 
don't want Dr. SaintJohn thinking you're a complete slob, do you? At least 
not right when she arrives." 

"Jesus fuck," he groans audibly, but he grabs a trash bag and begins to fill 
it. He'll be amazed at how full it actually gets. Two days can be a long 
time in the world of housework. 

I prepare us a sumptuous feast of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. 
As is his habit, Langly dumps roughly half a bag of Goldfish crackers into 
the red broth. For some reason, I've always been bothered by the idea of 
yellow fish swimming in a sea of red soup. Usually I don't say anything. 
Today, however, I don't have to follow the usual rules. "Little kids eat 
their soup like that," I badger him, trying not to smile. 

"Fuck you, Byers." This is a phrase I'll hear over and over again today, I'm 
sure. 

"Dr. SaintJohn might be less than impressed." 

"She likes the same stuff I do." So much for the myth that doctors have any 
knowledge of nutrition. Or if they do, that they would consider practicing 
it. 

"Speaking of which, what are you going to feed her while she's here?" 

Another confused look. "Feed her?" 

"Yes, what are you doing about food?" 

"Uh... umm... well, I figured we'd go out, or we can hit the 7-11 if we get 
an attack of the munchies." 

"I'm guessing you weren't planning on cooking." I know damn well Langly 
can't cook to save his life. "Well, at least she'll live longer that way." 

"Byers, you been in lockdown way too long, you know that? You need a fucking 
hobby." He rises from the table. "I'm done here." 

"Forget it, Langly. You are my hobby. And aren't you forgetting something?" 

Ringo sticks his tongue out at me. "I ate all my lunch." 

"The dishes, Blondie. You have to wash the dishes." I cover my mouth to 
conceal my amusement as I return to the TV room, leaving him with the mess. 
Maybe I'll be a little more appreciated after this... Nah. Never happen. I 
have a wonderful time nagging Langly half to death as the afternoon passes. 
He's muttering and sputtering, but at least it's keeping him occupied -- and 
me. I'm having considerably more fun than I expected. 

He finally opens the bounty from Nordstrom's. "Whoa, nice stuff. Get a load 
of this, Byers. Even you'd approve." 

I hold the package close to my face and use my one serviceable eye. "310 
thread count, very nice. Good color, too." Sari, or more likely her personal 
shopper, chose a slate blue. He's ripping open a package of towels. 

"Wow, get a load of these. They're huge." He's unfurling a bath sheet. "Man, 
put one of these on Fro, he'd have to wear it like a toga." The image of 
Frohike in a bath towel toga was not one I needed. "I'm gonna go put these 
sheets on my bed." 

"Langly, you have to wash them first. The towels, too." 

"But they're clean. Nobody's ever used 'em." 

"They put sizing in them to help them maintain their color and form until 
you get them home. They'll be a lot softer if you wash them first." 

"Oh, like she's gonna care. She sleeps on those horrible gurneys when she's 
tired. Not exactly my idea of a comfy bed." 

"You want her to be impressed, don't you?" I love taunting him. It makes the 
time go by so pleasantly. My afternoon's been almost bucolic. 

"But, it's like almost time she'll be here!" 

"Fine. Let her think you're a clueless bachelor." 

"I am a clueless bachelor." 

"That doesn't exactly require further advertisement, does it?" 

"But what if she gets here and I'm at the laundromat?" 

"Then she'll wait. Unless she develops some extraordinary common sense in 
the meantime." 

He grabs the bundle and stuffs it into a bag. "I hate you, Byers." I thought 
by sending Langly to the laundromat, I might work in a little bit of peace 
and quiet, and some relief from his adolescent mooning and moping. This was, 
regrettably, not to be. The phone rings approximately every five minutes. 
"Is she there yet?" 

On the sixth call, I simply answer the phone, "Not yet." 

"That's not what I called for. I gotta know about this Downy shit. What're 
you supposed to do with it?" 

After explaining the finer points of fabric softener usage, I settle in, 
hoping for a reprieve. Instead, the phone calls increase to approximately 
every three minutes. No woman in labor was ever such a disaster as Langly 
waiting for his young lady. Finally I get thoroughly annoyed and turn the 
phone off. I leave the answering machine on, though, strictly for my own 
amusement; I'm having too much fun listening to Langly's hysteria on the 
other end. I haven't had this much fun since the last time I did a good hack 
and crack. I can't wait to get back to business as usual, but in the 
meantime, this will suffice for entertainment. A little after half past 
four, there's a buzz at the door. I check the video monitor to see if it's 
Dr. SaintJohn. There's a woman standing there. "Dr. SaintJohn?" I ask over 
the intercom. 

"Not today. I'm not working. Is Ringo there?" 

"He's on his way back from the laundromat, come on in." I haven't met her 
before; I'm a bit surprised to find that she's taller than I am. She's 
attractive -- shoulder length light brown hair, green eyes, and endless 
legs. "I'm John Byers, one of Ringo's friends and associates." 

"A pleasure." She has a firm handshake. 

"May I take your coat?" At that moment the phone rings. "That'll be Ringo," 
I tell her. "Just keep quiet. I'm not going to tell him you're here yet. 
Let's surprise him." I turn off the answering machine so she won't hear his 
outburst over the phone. Just the one he's likely to have when he returns to 
the office. 

A few minutes later, I hear heavy footsteps racing up to the doors. "Open
the fucking door, Byers!" he screams. Dr. SaintJohn stands up behind me. I
think she's as nervous as he is. Langly's in the doorway, clutching a bag of
freshly washed and dried laundry. Unfolded, of course. "Goddammit, Byers,
you are such an asshole..." he stops cold as soon as he realizes who's
behind me. Let's see if she was set off by his juvenile behavior. Nope, this
hasn't phased her. He drops the laundry and she just about knocks him over.
I step back and take a seat as they engage in a prolonged lip-lock session.
I should have made popcorn. 

When Ringo finally comes up for air, he leads her back to where I'm sitting.
"Deb, this is John Byers, and he's an asshole." Mission accomplished. For
now.

End part 9

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