Date: Thursday, July 31, 2003 2:28 AM
GROVER'S MILL, NEW JERSEY
The unsettling click of the cuffs at his wrists turned Byers' stomach. He knew he shouldn't have tried to follow this up alone. The guys were out of town, nowhere near a phone. He wasn't sure where to turn for help, and he'd need to be bailed out.
Getting arrested sucked. He should know. It happened to him often enough.
The irony of being arrested in Grover's Mill while following up a lead on an alien abduction wasn't enough to amuse him. He sighed, shoulders slumped.
He half-listened as he was read his rights and shoved into the back of the police car. Naturally, his contact had escaped unseen. There would be no evidence on video, as he'd disabled the cameras before they infiltrated. Unfortunately, the clumsy idiot had tripped one of the silent alarms before Byers had been able to finish his security protocol breach.
He wished Frohike and Langly had been there. At least Langly would be able to make the records disappear easily enough when the guys got home. He shuddered to think what his arrest record would look like otherwise.
Who could he call? He pondered it during the drive to the station. Mulder wasn't a good candidate. If he got distracted between the phone and the door, Byers could be stuck in the cell for a week.
Scully? Probably still pissed at him for Las Vegas. She might leave him for a day or so just to make him suffer before she came for him.
Walter Skinner was right out. Skinner would make sure everyone knew why he'd been dragged out of bed before 4 a.m., and Byers would never hear the end of it.
Now, Doggett -- he might do it. Byers still wasn't sure how far Doggett would go for him, even after the mess they'd been in recently. Pull his ass out of the crossfire, sure, but get up at Oh God Thirty and drive to New Jersey to bail him out? He sighed again and shook his head. There wasn't anyone else. He'd have to take his chances. If Doggett wouldn't come for him, maybe he'd at least call a lawyer.
FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA
Doggett startled awake when the phone rang. He peered at the clock, groggy. 3:42 a.m. God, whoever was calling, it had better be an emergency.
"Doggett," he growled. "What."
"I, uh, I really hate to wake you, Agent Doggett, but --" There was uneasiness in the voice, a little fear.
Oh, God. It was Byers.
His eyes snapped open, heart pounding. "What happened? Where are you? You hurt? What about the guys?" If Rohrer had gotten to them -- no, he couldn't think that. If it was Rohrer, Byers wouldn't be in any condition to make a phone call.
"I'm fine, but I've been arrested. I'm in Grover's Mill, New Jersey. Would, um, would you come bail me out?" He sounded embarrassed.
"Arrested? What for?" Doggett stretched, suppressing a yawn, and sat up.
"B and E," Byers said. "I'd really rather not go into it right now. If you can't come, would you at least call me a lawyer? I'm at the county jail in Grover's Mill."
Doggett groaned. "Yeah, yeah, I'll be there. Don't say shit to anybody if you haven't already. It'll be three or four hours, though."
"Okay," Byers said. "I... Thanks. I really appreciate it. I'll pay you back somehow."
Doggett snorted. Byers was broke as a church mouse and they both knew it. He'd figure some way to get Byers out without it costing an arm and a leg. "Yeah, whatevuh. Lemme get on the road. I'll see you when I get there."
He staggered to his feet and went to wash his face. It wouldn't do to fall asleep while he was driving. Suit. He should probably wear a suit and look official. Maybe he could snow the county guys, tell 'em that Byers was one of his informants. They might buy it, and it was true, sorta.
What the hell was Byers doing in New Jersey anyway? Grab the keys. Coffee. He thought about installing an IV drip of the stuff, but his hospital stay was a little too fresh in his mind for that to be a comfortable joke. He'd stop at Denny's on the way out of town.
Once he was on the road, windows open, radio blasting, he was awake enough to focus. Sometime during the drive, he was going to have to call Skinner and explain why he wasn't gonna be in to work today. Thankfully, he was between cases. It was supposed to be a paperwork day. He could catch up when he finally got home. Reyes would cover some of it for him. Shit. He'd have to call her, too.
Even if everything went well and nobody asked any questions, he wouldn't be back until at least noon. If there were serious snags and they had to wait for a bail bond, it could be late afternoon before he even got Byers out of the cell, much less got them both home.
The idea of Byers in county lockup with a cell full of drunks and assholes didn't make Doggett very happy. Byers had become a friend, and a reliable one. Hell, Byers had risked his life for him, and he wasn't gonna let him rot in some cell if he could help it. He wasn't sure how safe Byers would be there, though. A quiet guy like that, he could get the crap beat out of him, or worse.
Yeah, he'd tell the county guys that Byers was one of his informants. Breaking and entering -- it was a lot of what Byers and his weird-assed friends did with their time. That, and chasing after shit that even Mulder thought was strange. Byers always insisted that he only followed up the stuff that seemed likely, but the Gunmen's definition of 'likely' didn't match too many other people's.
COUNTY SHERIFF'S LOCKUP
GROVER'S MILL, NEW JERSEY
Byers had refused to answer any questions when they brought him in. After calling Doggett, he told them he wasn't going to speak until he had an attorney. They'd put him in the drunk tank. It was punishment for his obstinacy, he supposed. They wanted to know what he'd been doing, and he wasn't about to tell them.
He shifted himself closer into the corner of the cell. One of the guys there was so drunk he kept trying to grope him. He didn't think the guy was gay, just so soused he couldn't tell Byers was a man. Several of the other inmates found the situation amusing. One had tried to hold him down and let the drunk paw him, until a guard had come along and broken it up. He'd tucked himself into a corner immediately afterward and stayed there.
The drunk was still eyeing him when the guard came back.
"John Byers," he snapped.
Byers stood up. "Yes?"
"Somebody here for ya. Come on."
Doggett must have arrived. Byers let out a relieved sigh and dashed for the door. The cop cuffed him again and led him away.
They walked down a long hallway, then went down two floors and the cop took him into the duty sergeant's office.
"This yer informant?" the cop asked.
Doggett nodded and waved toward a chair across the room. The cop shoved Byers into it. "Keep yer ass there, pal. You twitch, we toss ya back in with the horny drunk."
"Stupid shit," Doggett said, glaring at Byers. "You're gonna compromise the operation."
"Sorry," Byers muttered. He lowered his eyes. He wasn't sure what was going on, but figured he needed to play along.
"Shut up. I got a desk fulla paperwork to fill out 'cuz of you." Doggett turned back to the sergeant. "Okay, now where did you say you picked him up?"
"My guys found him in the Corona-Tech offices. Pockets of his clothes were full of a bunch of electronics gear. We figured industrial espionage or something. What are you Feds up to there, anyway? Anything you shoulda notified us about?"
Byers sat, silent, and waited. Doggett and the sergeant went back and forth about jurisdiction, disclosure, warrants, and at least two hour's worth of other legal trivia before he was addressed again.
"Okay, Agent Doggett, you can have your snitch back. Keep his stupid ass out of my county."
"You got it," Doggett said. "Come on, Byers."
Byers stood as the sergeant uncuffed him and released him to Doggett's custody. Neither of them spoke until they got into Doggett's truck.
"Thanks," Byers said. "What do I owe you for bail?"
Doggett shook his head. "You're not hurt, are you?" He put a hand on Byers' shoulder. Byers fought an urge to hug him. He knew there was surveillance here.
"The only thing damaged in this mess was my dignity."
"What the hell were you doin' breaking into that place?" Doggett started the truck and pulled out of the lot.
"Trying to get a story," Byers said, with a sigh. "I should have waited until the guys got home, but the informant was insistent that we had to move tonight. It would have been fine, but the guy tripped over his own damned feet and set off one of the silent alarms. By the time I realized what happened, the cops were coming in the door."
"And that informant of yours?"
"Gone. I have no idea where he disappeared to."
Doggett gave him a look. "You sure you weren't bein' set up?"
"If it were a setup, someone else would have gotten to me before you did."
Byers could see concern flash through Doggett's eyes as he glanced back at the road. "I suppose that's true."
"I'm sorry," Byers said. "I didn't mean to get out into this. The guys, they're gone for a few more days, and I didn't have anyone else to call."
"It's okay. I called Skinner and told him I might not be in today." He laid a hand on Byers' knee and squeezed. "Just glad you didn't get your ass hurt or anythin'. That shit in New York..."
"I'm sorry, Jack. Really. I'll pay you back."
"Didn't cost me anything. I bullshitted the duty sergeant. They released you without bail."
"Are they charging me with anything?"
"No. Got 'em convinced you're part of a federal investigation. The records of your arrest are gonna be expunged."
Byers slumped back into the seat. "Thanks. That's a relief."
"Am I gonna end up doin' a lot of this?"
"I hope not."
"How often do you guys get your asses arrested, anyway?"
"I try not to think about it," Byers said. He looked out the side window at the traffic.
"You need to be more careful. I can't be doing this much. I can only use the informant excuse so often before it starts gettin' around."
Byers looked back at Doggett. "Why did you do it in the first place?"
"I owe you."
Byers shook his head. "No. What happened -- I couldn't just run."
"It was a brave thing you did, Johnny. Stupid, but brave."
"What else could I have done?"
"You could have run, like I told you."
"What's done is done, Jack."
"Just -- Jesus, Johnny, try to be more careful. Try to stay out of this kind of shit. I really don't want to see you get hurt."
Byers put a hand over Doggett's where it rested on his knee. He squeezed gently. Doggett's concern moved him.
"Really, I'm okay. I didn't get roughed up, though one of the drunks in the tank did try to grope me." Byers chuckled. It wasn't quite so alarming now that he wasn't actually in the cell with the man.
"He was very, very drunk."
"Well, I mean, I can understand somebody wanting to grope you, but I think a little privacy would be in order."
Doggett grinned. "Well, I gotta have some amusement. You did haul me out of bed at 3:30 in the morning here."
"What time do you think we'll be back home?"
"Probably sometime between 1 and 2 this afternoon. I'm not gonna get any work done today."
Byers nodded. "I'm sorry."
"Nah. Don't be. If you get in trouble, don't be afraid to call me. I'll do what I can to help you out."
"Are you sure?"
Byers sighed. It was strange, the idea that he might actually have someone to rely on other than the guys. He liked it, though. "I really appreciate it, Jack. That means a lot."
"It's what friends are for, yeah? Watch each other's backs?"
Friends. That felt right, felt good. "Yeah, I guess it is." He smiled, then bit back hard on a yawn. Fighting it did no good though.
"God damn, Johnny."
"Sorry. I've been up for... I'm not sure. Maybe 36 hours now."
"I'm pretty tired too. Maybe we should stop and catch some sleep."
Byers rubbed his eyes. "I'm okay sleeping in the car, unless you want to stop. I've already messed your day up pretty badly. I don't want to make things worse."
Doggett shook his head and squeezed Byers' knee again. "Nah. Some sleep would actually help. Food, too."
"Okay," Byers said. "Next exit?"
"Yeah. Sounds like a plan."
MOTEL FIVE MOTOR INN
Doggett looked around at the small two-bed room. "Food first, or sleep?"
Byers looked exhausted. Doggett hadn't really gotten a good look at him before. Checking him over too closely in front of the duty sergeant and the other cops would have looked odd, and after that he'd been too busy driving.
"Sleep," Byers said. He sank down onto the nearest bed.
Doggett sat next to him. "Can't say as I blame you. You look fried."
Byers nodded. "Yeah." He started unzipping the front of the black jumpsuit he was wearing. The pockets were heavy with all the equipment the police had returned to him.
"Here, let me help." Doggett took it by the collar and let Byers slip his arms out of it.
Byers pulled his t-shirt up over his head and tossed it aside. Doggett started rubbing his shoulders.
"Mmmm." Byers let his hands fall to his lap and leaned into Doggett. Doggett slipped his arms around Byers. "Feels nice," Byers mumbled.
"Yeah," Doggett said. He pulled Byers closer. "You think we'll be okay here?"
"I don't know," Byers said. His eyes were half closed. "I'm too tired to move. I had no idea I was so exhausted."
Doggett set his gun on the stand next to the bed. "Anybody tries any shit, I'll deal with it."
"You did put out the 'do not disturb' sign, didn't you?" Byers asked. "I really don't think it's a good idea to shoot the maid."
Doggett chuckled. "Yeah, I did. Nobody's gonna be botherin' us. We'll get to rest."
Byers stood to slip his legs out of the jumpsuit. Doggett wanted to hold him, but figured it could wait another couple minutes until they got in bed. He tossed his clothes onto the other bed and took Byers' from him.
"Lie down," Doggett said. "I'll be right with you."
Byers pulled back the covers and slid underneath, still wearing his boxers. Doggett pulled off his socks and climbed in next to him. He tucked himself up against Byers and wrapped an arm around him.
"Mmm." Byers shifted his weight so the length of his body met Doggett's.
"You feel good," Doggett said, kissing the angle of Byers' jaw. "I'm glad you're okay."
"Me too." It was barely a whisper. "Thanks for coming to get me."
"Always," Doggett said, tightening his arm around Byers and snugging close. With a sigh, he tucked his nose into Byers' hair, wishing he could sleep like this every night. "Always."
It's Just Us Mice!
Mice's Hole in the Wall:
http://www.squidge.org/~surrealarts/mice.html mirrored at: http://www.inkpress.org/~mice
Please post a comment on this story.
Fandom: Lone Gunmen, X-Files
Title: Making Bail
Series Name: Well-Kept Man
Author: Mice [email] [website]
Details: Series | PG-13 | *slash* | 14k | 02/08/04
Summary: Byers gets his ass arrested. Who the hell else is gonna bail him out?
Notes: Spoilers: Do they even have those anymore? JTS does NOT exist.
Disclaimer: We deserve 'em more than CC does. They still belong to him, though.
Author's Notes: GAAAAAH! Another Peja challenge. This is set after WK3: Metal & Bone but before Shed a Little Light. Peja, you are evil. Evil, I tell you. I hate you. There are as few spoilers for M&B as humanly possible. Gods, I have *got* to get that story finished.
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