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Title: "Three for Texas"
Author: Angela W.
Rating: PG-13
Category: Crossover
Summary: Byers, Jimmy and Yves seek the help of an
eccentric computer genius and his wife. Told in first
person, Yves' POV.
Note: Michelle and Austin James are from a *VERY*
shortlived TV show of the late 80s called "Probe".
They've also appeared in one of my X-Files fanfics,
called "Access Denied". Michelle and Austin weren't
married on the show, but there were indications their
relationship was progressing in that direction.
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me.
Everyone from "The Lone Gunmen" is the property of
Chris Carter and 1013 Productions. Characters from
"Probe" are the property of Isaac Asimov.
Archive: Feel free to archive anywhere!
Feedback: If it's nice or contains *constructive*
criticism, feedback is valued. I'd especially enjoying
hearing from anybody else who has fond memories of
"Probe".

 

 

 

I can't hack this. I've been trying for days. I guess
I'm going to have to swallow my pride and go to the
guys.

Hours later, I'm sitting with Jimmy and Byers while
Frohike and Langley try to access the data. Finally,
with a sigh, Langley stands up from the keyboard. "I
can't do it," he says. "There's got to be a key, but I
can't find it."

"Do you know of *anybody* who could?" I ask.

"Bill Gates, maybe," Frohike suggests. "Or maybe. . ."
he glances over at Byers.

"Austin," Byers says decisively. "Sure, he could do
it. But he's not going to do either of *you* two any
favors. Not after your behavior the first time."

"Who's Austin?" Jimmy inquires.

"Austin James," Byers explains. "Founder of a Texas
computer company called Serendip. Probably knows more
about computers than Bill Gates and Steve Jobs put
together."

"*THE* Austin James?" I echo. "I've heard of him. He's
got a reputation for being a recluse. Are you saying
you guys have actually met him?"

"Heck, I used to work with him," Byers says. "And he
and Michelle helped Mulder and Scully out once. But
then I made the mistake of taking Laurel and Hardy to
Austin's lab. They each insulted his wife in their own
unique ways and he tossed them out on their ears."

"What did they do?"

"Langley called her a moron and Frohike made a pass at
her."

"Well, she *IS* a moron," Langley snaps.

"Michelle isn't a moron," Byers replies with a
decisive shake of her head. "She's just
technologically incompetent."

"Sounds like me," Jimmy says.

Langley glances over at Jimmy and starts to open his
mouth, but Byers frowns and shakes his head again, so
Langley remains silent.

"I didn't realize she was his wife," Frohike explains.
"Nobody bothered to inform me ahead of time that we
were meeting a married couple and Austin just
introduced her as his liason. I figured that meant
like a secretary or something."

"Liason to what?" I inquire.

"The rest of the human race," Byers says. "Austin is a
brilliant man, but he has the social skills of an
iguana. Michelle's a people person. Together they make
a formidable team. . .not to mention a great
marriage."

"So, will you take me to meet him, see if he can help
us?"

Byers nods. "You and Jimmy. We'll leave for Texas
first thing tomorrow morning."

***

Early the next day we're on a flight to Austin, Texas.
I shudder slightly when I remember the last little
adventure involving me, Byers, Jimmy and the State of
Texas.

"I expect you two to be on your best behavior when we
meet up with Austin and Michelle," Byers tells us
sternly, as if Jimmy and I were a couple of unruly
children.

"What should we keep in mind?" Jimmy asks.

"First, don't bring up the fact that his name is
Austin and he lives in Austin. He's heard that
observation a million times before. Secondly, do not
refer to his wife as either a 'moron' or a 'babe';
ignore the fact that she's only a few years older than
you are and treat her as if she's your mother. Third -
this one applies to you, Yves - don't even think of
trying to flirt with him."

I nod. "Can I ask you a couple of questions?"

"Of course."

"How old are they, anyway?"

"Austin's in his mid-40s; Michelle's about ten years
younger. They've been married for nearly nine years
and have two children under the age of five; a boy
named Parker and a baby girl named Ashley."

"Why are we bringing Jimmy with us?"

"I was actually kind of wondering that myself," Jimmy
adds.

Byers looks a bit embarrassed, but says, "Well,
Michelle has kind of a. . .hobby. She enjoys
matchmaking. She knows about Suzanne, so she doesn't
ever try to fix me up. I figure you and Jimmy will
keep her occupied."

"You mean I'm supposed to act as if he's my
boyfriend?" I demand increduously.

"Not neccesarily," Byers replies. "In fact, Michelle
will probably enjoy herself more if she thinks the two
of you have never thought about each other in those
terms before."

***

When we reach the James family's home, we're met by a
locked gate and a taped message that demands the
password.

"Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater," Byers replies.

"Who is this?" a male voice snaps.

"It's me, Austin; John Byers. I told you I was
coming."

"Are you alone or did you bring Tweedledee and
Tweedledum with you?"

"I didn't bring Frohike and Langley, but I'm not
alone, either. I told you, I've got a girl who needs
your help. And a young. . .associate. . .of mine is
here, as well."

"I'm assuming that, unlike the last ones, these two
are housebroken?"

"You have my word on that," Byers assures him.

"Enter," Austin snaps.

I explain my problem to Austin as soon as we enter his
lab. It's apparently separate from the house, but
connected by a breezeway. Austin plugs the disk I've
brought into his computer and begins a rapid series of
calculations. There is no sign of Michelle or their
children. I've formed a certain mental picture of a
woman who could be described as "technologically
incompetent" but yet managed to capture the heart of a
man who is a computer genius. My assumption is that
she's got to be drop-dead gorgeous.

So when a woman - holding a baby on her hip and a
little boy by the hand - walks in at dinnertime and
announces it's time to eat, I assume she is probably a
nanny or housekeeper. She's pretty enough, but not a
swimsuit model by any stretch of the imagination. Then
Byers jumps up and drops a kiss on her cheek.
"Michelle! How are you?"

"Fine, Johnny," she replies. "Come on, we can catch up
over supper; and you can introduce me to your
friends."

"Let's eat, ladies and gentlemen," Austin says firmly,
shepherding us all out of the lab and into the house.

"Michelle, this is Yves Harrow and Jimmy Bond," Byers
says. "Yves and Jimmy, this is Michelle, Parker and
Ashley James."

"Did the Master of Space and Time," Michelle indicates
Austin with a jerk of her head, "help you with your
problem?"

"I'm making progress on it, Michelle."

Just as we enter the kitchen, Parker runs ahead of us.
"Wow, Mama, pisghetti! I want some!"

I watch in horror as the little boy reaches for the
pot on top of the stove. "Parker, no!" both his
parents call out in unison. But Austin is too far away
to reach the child and Michelle would risk injuring
their baby girl if she stepped in between her son and
the scalding water. To my amazement, it's Jimmy who
sees and reacts the quickest, grabbing the little boy
with one arm and the boiling pot with the opposite
hand.

Within moments, the danger is averted. Michelle has
thrust Ashley into Byers' arms and led Jimmy to the
sink, where she's putting his hand into a basin of
cold water. Austin is holding his son in his arms, but
telling him sternly that he must *NEVER* reach for
something on the stove. I make myself useful in the
only way I can think of, by wiping up the water that
has spilled on the floor.

Michelle regains her composure first. "Johnny, go
ahead and put Ashley in her high chair; Yves, you can
help him if he needs it. Parker, come here and
apologize to Mr. Bond and tell him thank you. He saved
you from being very seriously hurt."

"Tank you, Mister Bond," Parker says. "I torry."

"It's okay, Parker," Jimmy assures him. "But your
Daddy is right. You should never, ever touch things on
the stove."

"Mama tolds me dat," Parker replied. "I forgetted."

"You gonna be okay?" Austin asks, joining Michelle and
Jimmy at the sink.

"I'll live," Jimmy answers.

"Want us to run you up to the emergency room?" Austin
inquires. For a man who is supposed to dislike human
beings other than his wife and children, Austin is
doing a remarkable job of showing empathy for Jimmy.
On the other hand, maybe people who save his children
from physical harm get a special dispensation.

"It's not necessary. If you have some antibiotic
ointment and some sort of painkillers, it'll be okay."

 

"Right here," Michelle says, swinging open a high
cabinet with a child safety latch on it. She spread
ointment thickly on Jimmy's hand, then places a couple
of extra-strength Tylenol in his other palm and gives
him a glass of water.

Finally, we all sit down to eat. It's delicious and I
say so.

"Thank you," Michelle replies. "I enjoy cooking."

"You do all this yourself? You don't have servants?"

"We have a housekeeper who comes in twice a week to do
stuff like vacuuming, laundry and cleaning the
bathrooms," she says. "And we have maintenance guys
for the pool and yard. But I take care of my own
children and do my own cooking."

"Jimmy, do you need any help with your meal?" Austin
asks. "I noticed you were right-handed when we were in
the lab and that's the hand you burned."

"No, I can eat okay with my left hand."

"Are you ambidextorous, Jimmy?" Byers asked.

"No, I only like women," Jimmy answers.

Michelle bursts into laughter at that remark. I open
my mouth to snap that she shouldn't be laughing at a
man who just injured himself saving her son, even if
he does get his vocabulary words a bit mangled, but
then catch sight of Jimmy's face. He's laughing right
along with her, as though the two of them share some
private joke. I suddenly realize that, in a way, they
probably do. I wonder how many of Austin's associates
other than Langley have called Michelle a moron? I bet
she and Jimmy are both used to being assumed to be the
stupidest person in the room. And, rather than resent
it, they both seem to get a kick out of the fact that
they're not quite as dumb as they're thought to be.

"Let me guess, Jimmy," Austin says. "You played some
sort of sport - I'd guess football, by your build, but
possibly baseball - at the collegiate level; maybe
even professionallly."

"Right," Jimmy agrees. "Football quarterback of my
high school and college teams. Then I was a third
string back up on nearly every team in the NFL for a
few years; I got traded so many times it got to where
I had to go out and by a newspaper every morning just
to remember what city I was in that month. How did you
know?"

"You have an unusally high level of physical
intelligence," Austin replies.

"You mean he has quick reflexes?" I inquire.

"It's more than that," Austin answers. "It's an
ability to react to what he sees before his brain is
finished processing it. I don't mean that as an
insult. There are multiple varieties of intelligence,
not just mental intelligence. Michelle, for instance,
has an extremely high degree of emotional
intelligence. She can be fooled by a false information
on a computer or in a book, but people can't lie to
her. She can always tell whether or not someone is
telling the truth."

***

It's late by the time we finish up in the lab. I'm
amazed that Austin was able to crack the encryption
code in a few hours, after I messed with it for days
and Langley and Frohike, together, couldn't make a
dent in it after several hours. He's even better than
I've always heard.

We wander back to the house and Michelle greets us
with a smile. "How's your hand, Jimmy?"

"Okay. I think the painkillers have really kicked in.
I'm sleepy."

"We'll head for a motel in just a minute, Jimmy,"
Byers tells him.

"No need," Michelle answers. "We've got two guest
bedrooms; one has a queen-sized bed and the other has
twin beds. Just feel free to set your own sleeping
arrangements."

I start to ask her what she means - naturally the guys
will take the room with two beds while I take the one
with only one - but then I remember what Byers had
said about her hobby of matchmaking. If it makes her
happy to speculate on whether or not Jimmy and I might
be sharing a bed, let her.

***

I'm in bed - alone - and almost asleep when I hear
noise from the bathroom across the hall; a bumping
sound and a muffled curse. I suspect it's Jimmy and
get up to see what's going on.

"Jimmy?" I whisper. "What's wrong?"

"Hey, Yves," he whispers back. "Can you get this open
for me? My hand's beginning to throb and, naturally,
all the painkillers in the house have childproof caps
on them."

"Sure," I say, twisting off the cap and putting two of
them in his hand, then filling a Dixie cup with water
and giving it to him. "Is there anything else I can do
for you?"

Jimmy's eyebrow goes up a bit at that, as if he
suspects a trick. "Really," I assure him. I'm honestly
trying to be sweet here, but I behave this way so
seldomly that I guess I can't blame Jimmy for being
skeptical.

"Would you help me get my shirt off?" he asks. "I
don't like sleeping with it on, but I couldn't manage
the buttons with my fingers all greasy from ointment."

"Sure, but let's go over to my room. There's barely
room for the two of us to fit in here." There seem to
be about five bathrooms in this house, and most of
them are spacious, but we happen to be standing in one
that's narrow.

Once we're in my room, I quickly unbutton his shirt,
then slide it carefully over his injured hand and toss
it onto the end of my bed. Suddenly I realize I'm
standing beside a rumpled bed with a nearly naked man
in the middle of the night. I wait for Jimmy to make
some sort of sexual innuendo, but all he says is
"Thanks, Yves. Now if I can manage not to roll onto my
hand, I can actually sleep."

It occurs to me that it might be difficult for a man
of Jimmy's size to sleep in a single-width bed without
reinjuring his hand. Without thinking, I blurt out,
"Why don't you sleep in here?"

"Huh?"

"You can have this bed. I'll go sleep in the other
twin bed. It's not like I'd be sleeping in the same
bed with Byers, for heaven's sake, just the same room.
He's hardly likely to leap across three feet of floor
space and attack me in the middle of the night. He's
not like that."

"Yeah, but he'd be embarrassed when he woke up the
next morning and saw you in the same bedroom with
him," Jimmy points out. "He's kind of old-fashioned
about stuff like that."

"Why don't we both sleep in here then?" I ask. What
the hell has happened to me, I wonder? Usually I spend
half my time fending *off* suggestions from one man or
another that I share a bed with him. Now I'm
suggesting it.

"Okay, if you want," Jimmy says with a shrug, as if
it's a matter of complete indifference to him whether
or not we sleep together. He slides into bed and
gestures at the bedside lamp. "Turn off the light,
will you?"

I lay down and turn my back toward him; within
moments, I feel his hand on my hip. "What are you
doing?" I hiss.

"Propping up my hand," he replies. "It hurts less if
it's elevated."

His breathing evens out and I think he's fallen asleep
when he mumbles, "Yves?"

"Mmm?"

"Why are you only sweet to me when I'm hurt?"

Oh, shit, Jimmy! Why can't you just try to probe my
body, the way any other man who wasn't "ambidextorous"
would? Why do you have to try to probe my psyche? "Go
to sleep, Jimmy," I mutter in reply.

***

When I wake up the next morning, bright Texas sunshine
is streaming in through the window and Jimmy has
cocooned himself around me. There's no other word for
it. His injured hand is still resting, palm up, on my
hip. He's snaked his other arm beneath waist and is
resting that hand just below my breasts. His legs are
intertwined with mine. And something that is
definitely *not* a gun in his pocket is poking into
the small of my back.

I untangle myself from him slowly, being careful of
his burn. Then, just as I walk out into the hall,
Michelle comes up the stairs and Byers steps out of
the bathroom. "Yves, have you seen Jimmy?" Byers asks.

"He's still sleeping," I reply.

"No, he's not. His bed is empty."

"His hand was bothering him in the middle of the night
and I, uh," I jerk my head backwards in the direction
of the room I just stepped out of. "Nothing
*happened*," I state emphatically, as Byers stares at
me with something like shock on his face and Michelle
regards me with a gentle, amused expression.

"I didn't think it had," she says quietly. "He's hurt,
after all. I'm sure you wouldn't take advantage of
that."

I feel a childish desire to stomp my feet and snap
that if anybody was trying to take advantage of anyone
it was the other way around. But then I remember that
it certainly hadn't been Jimmy's idea that we share a
bed.

"I just came up to tell all of you that breakfast is
ready," Michelle adds. "I made pancakes and bacon."

"Did somebody say pancakes?" Jimmy's sleepy voice
rumbles.

Okay, this is too weird. I duck into the bathroom
Byers has just vacated to grab a quick shower.

***

Later that morning, as we're leaving, I ask Austin for
some advice on a programming problem I have. He
listens carefully, then suggests a solution that would
probably have taken me months to come up with on my
own.

"Thank you," I say. "For everything. I won't take up
any more of your time."

"Wait a minute," Austin says, detaining me with a hand
on my shoulder. "You listened to the advice you asked
for. Now you have to listened to the advice you didn't
ask for."

"Of course," I nod.

"Two things: tell Jimmy whatever it is that you're
keeping such a deep, dark secret."

"How do you know I'm hiding something?" I ask,
startled.

Austin shrugs and the shadow of a smile flickers
across his face. "Michelle told me. Like I said,
people can't lie to her. Not even non-verbally. She
knows there's something about you that you don't want
people to know. There's no reason you should tell her,
or me or even Byers. But tell Jimmy. Whatever it is,
he'll understand."

"Michelle tell you that, too?" I inquire.

"Yeah."

"You said there were two things?"

"If he ever asks you to marry him, say yes."

Before I can respond to that, Austin opens the door
and helps me in, then turns and walks away.

 

Author's e-mail addy: tapw63@yahoo.com