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Lone Gunmen Fic: The Geek Rock Series

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Jun. 15th, 2005 | 11:53 pm
music: ben folds five -- brick

So, when I said that my goal for this summer was to finish all my unfinished fics? I really did mean all of them. This series has been hanging around, in one form or another (i.e. mostly in my head), since I was in college. This is probably the most obscure fandom I've ever written for, so this should be interesting. ^_^

For those who know the Lone Gunmen series, this is an AU fic and assumes that "All About Yves" and "Jump the Shark" never happened.


Title: The Geek Rock Series
Fandom: The Lone Gunmen
Summary: John Byers has one hell of a midlife crisis, complete with fast cars, fast women, action-adventure, leather pants and a doomed affair with a hot blonde (or two). (AU after Tango de los Pistoleros)

Prologue: Susanne


Susanne, you're all that I wanted of a girl
you're all that I need in the world
I'm your child, make me blush, drive me wild
Susanne, you're all that I wanted



September 9, 2001


She was waiting in the bar when he arrived. The place was understated, intimate, done in primary reds and blues. The windows were shuttered against the bright afternoon sun, leaving it only dimly lit by tabletop oil lamps and strategically-placed light fixtures. It was still early, only around three o'clock, and she and the bartender were the only people there.

"We've got to stop meeting like this," he said, taking a seat beside her at the bar and giving her a slightly sheepish smile.

"Still think that's funny, do you?" She took a sip of her drink, taking care not to look directly at him.

"I've never had much of a sense of humor."

"I think you sell yourself short." She signaled the bartender. "A scotch, please. Neat. And another of the same for me."

While the bartender busied himself making their drinks, she finally turned, leaning into him. Her knee bumped against his. "Hello, John."

"Hello, Susanne."

"Nice suit."

His scotch arrived and he took a long drink. "It's the same as all the others."

She laughed softly. "Maybe that's what's nice about it."

He finished his drink in a second swallow and stood.

"Meet me upstairs in an hour?" He slid the keycard to his room toward her across the bar. The bartender pretended not to notice with studied ease. Susanne put her hand over his as she took the key.

"I'll see you then."

*

He hadn't planned anything especially romantic. Planning ahead was a luxury they mostly didn't have, thanks to the secret codes and shifting itineraries they had to use to make these meetings even possible. As it was, they saw each other twice a year. Three times if they were especially lucky. Byers had a secret suspicion that fact bothered him more than it bothered Susanne, but that wasn't anything new, either. As it was they took what they could get.

When he made it upstairs to the suite, though, a bottle of champagne and two glasses were waiting for him. A single rose lay across one pillow, flanked by brightly-wrapped chocolates and a note thanking "Mr. and Mrs. Bledsoe" for choosing to stay with the Benjamin Hotel.

He took off his jacket, loosened his tie and went to get ice for the champagne. Susanne was there when he got back, standing in the middle of the room, her hands at her sides, looking slightly lost. Her face brightened a little when she saw him in the doorway.

"You picked quite the hotel," she said, as he closed the door behind him and shot the deadbolt home.

"Well, it's better than the last one, at any rate," he said.

She smiled slightly, the corners of her mouth just barely turning up. "The Comfort Inn in Missoula?"

"Chinese take-out and a six-pack of Sam Adams."

"That was really, truly horrible Chinese food. I still don't know what was in the fried rice, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to." She sat down on the bed. "Champagne and chocolate is definitely an improvement."

"The restaurant offers twenty-four hour room service. No moo-shoo pork this time, I promise." He stuck the champagne into the ice bucket and went to sit beside her.

She took her shoes off, tucking her feet up and leaning against his shoulder. "I would kill for some decent sushi. It's been years." She laced her fingers with his. "But there's time for that later."

"Much later," he said and kissed her softly.

"This is lovely," she said, leaning her forehead against his. "You shouldn't have, though. It's too extravagant, and too risky."

It was true; the Benjamin wasn't exactly low-profile. It was expensive, exclusive, and Manhattan was practically crawling with tourists this time of year. The two of them were hiding right in plain sight, thanks to one of Jimmy's occasional moments of accidental genius -- and one of his platinum cards.

"But I wanted to." He took her hand. "It's been two and a half years, after all."

"Has it already? What an odd anniversary to celebrate."

"It's the only one we've got."

She went over and picked up the complimentary bottle of champagne, scrutinizing it for a moment before she finally said, "All right." She popped the cork. It echoed around the room like a gunshot. "Let's celebrate then."

She poured two glasses and offered him one. He had to cross the room to reach her outstretched hand, and he caught their reflections in the large mirror on the far wall. He almost didn't recognize himself. He took the glass from her and moved in closer, letting his free hand fall to her waist.

She kissed him then, hard, one hand heavy on the back of his neck and the other holding her glass against her chest. When she pulled away, she toasted him. "Here's to the day I died."

*

Two days later, she was gone and he was alone again, waiting patiently for his 10:15 flight out of LaGuardia. At 9:03, he looked up from his cup of overpriced faux-Starbucks coffee and saw the CNN Airport News screen go red and insistent with a breaking news alert.

He recognized the building immediately, pouring smoke high above the skyline. People around him rushed futilely to the airport's windows. He stood up and walked toward the t.v., his coffee forgotten, his laptop pinging notifications of incoming emails in the few minutes before his wireless connection overloaded and went down.

The second plane hit the towers while he was standing there, helpless, and for a moment it was like watching his own death. His potential death, the unrealized one, the closest of all his close shaves, played out on television and turned him into a spectator.

All he could think, once he could think again, was that he had predicted this. They -- the ceaseless, tireless Them he'd spent most of his adult life working against -- had predicted this. They'd known it was coming and been powerless, or at least done nothing, to stop it. It felt like a final puzzle piece fitting into place, a nail in a coffin. Later, of course, he would question that assumption: What did They know, and when did They know it? But in that moment, watching flame and shadows and toxic dust blossom across the terminal's six tandem television screens, it felt like the one big truth he could count on, the only solid fact in the world.

(Continued in Part 1.)

*Disclaimer: The lyrics in the epigraph belong to Weezer, not me.

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