Spoilers: The Lone Gunmen Pilot
A/N: It seems only fair to post what's been keeping me occupied recently. I'm new to this fandom, and I'm just playing with my own little theories, which everyone else probably dismissed years ago... If you do happen to enjoy it, then I'm glad. The only warning is for UK spelling.
Summary: How much did Frohike really know about Yves before the Octium IV debacle? This is really a few missing scenes from the Pilot. Let's say Frohike/Yves pre-friendship, if we're lucky.
He was close. Despite not having a freakin' clue what he was really doing. But he knew he wouldn't be fast enough. They would be long gone by the time he even got a sniff of the AP. An arthritic tortoise would stand a better chance. He should have asked Langly to do it - but Langly would want to tell Byers, and he didn't want that. He let his gloved fingers rest on the keyboard as he got confirmation of the failed trace. It was only natural that this new kid on the block would want to have a go. And they were good. They had a reputation, but no one else he knew thought they were behind the Taiwanese bust. Frohike did. It had Yves Adele Harlow written all over it. Money, money, money. And danger. He wondered if it really was a woman. He raised his eyebrows, considering the possibility. He blinked. Yeah, it probably was a woman.
"Hey, Frohike, you want coffee?" Langly sloped across.
"Uh, thanks." Frohike quickly brought up the E-Com-Con website.
"Any luck?" Langly set down the cup next to his friend, and leaned over the desk.
Frohike swallowed, trying to calm himself after just averting the attempted hack. "We really need to download the blueprints of the building. Wanna do it now?"
Langly sneered a little, "You don't need me for that, Fro. I'm sure you can handle it," he paused, "Me and Byers won't be long. We're almost done working on the IRS story." He picked up his own coffee and headed back upstairs.
Frohike sighed in relief. He had a feeling even this simple task wasn't going to go as planned, and he didn't relish having to deal with one pissed Langly. Ever since Yves Adele Harlow had showed up a few months ago, nothing had gone to plan. He had no idea if it was malicious sabotage, or just that she was somehow involved in every dirty scheme he was trying to uncover. OK, so it had only happened a couple of times, but they would have been the best stories, and it was beginning to grate. One day, he would find the son of a bitch and shut him down. Or her. He just had to bide his time. But right now, he had to help figure out a way to get hold of an Octium IV chip.
He was intensely grateful, therefore, when he managed to access the estates files for the major corporation without any problems. He quickly scanned the list, and found the blueprints for the HQ in Virginia. It was downloading nicely. Too nicely. Within a few seconds, it was done. Frohike had a bad feeling about this. Licking his lips, he opened the file, the dread making his fingers tingle. He shut his eyes once he'd read the contents.
We meet again, Melvin. It is Melvin, isn't it? Sorry you didn't find what you were looking for. You'll have to try a little harder next time. Thanks for all your recent help. You do know how much your meddling assists me, don't you? One day, I'll thank you in person.
Yves Adele Harlow
He clenched his fists, as he took another look at the screen. How the hell did she know who he was? Apart from the paper of course. And it's Frohike, dammit! There didn't seem to be any way of getting rid of this parasite. Maybe he would tell Langly and Byers after all. Frohike searched the files again and finally found the blueprints. Harlow had foolishly hidden them in the tertiary directory, and only under a mildly different filename; they had to know he wouldn't look there. Maybe they weren't so smart after all. Maybe it wasn't a woman.
"Just get in, Langly." Byers motioned with his arm.
Langly had been pacing anxiously and muttering about injustice and inhumanity, as Byers unlocked the battered VW microbus.
"Yeah. Let's get out of here before they change their mind and press charges." Frohike pushed Langly ahead of him and climbed in.
"No way," said Byers firmly, "They can't risk the publicity." He slammed the driver's door and turned the key in the ignition, coaxing the engine to life with a carefully memorised sequence of pedal work and prayers. He took off as fast as he could, which admittedly was not very fast, to get some distance between them and the E-Com-Con building.
After he stopped seething, Langly offered, "So. Inside job?"
Frohike shook his head, and said, "No." The other two looked at him. "Guys. It was Yves Adele Harlow that took the chip." He gulped, and stared out the side window into the dark of the night.
Byers eyes narrowed a little and his mouth twitched humorously, "Yves Adele Harlow is a man?" He quickly glanced over at Frohike, before returning his eyes to the deserted highway.
Langly grimaced, "Byers said the guy who took the chip kissed you!"
Frohike rolled his eyes, "Yves Adele Harlow is a woman. And that was a woman who took the chip."
Byers and Langly exchanged glances. "Frohike, man," Langly said, "What makes you think that?"
"Money," Frohike answered without hesitation. "That chip is worth millions. Yves Adele Harlow is the only one I can think of capable of doing what she did." His hand instinctively went to his mouth, and his fingers brushed his lower lip.
Langly shook his head, "I can't believe what happened tonight. We were so close. I'm seriously unhappy."
Grateful for the change of topic, Frohike tried to figure on a course of action. First of all, he knew that Harlow must have bugged the warehouse, and he was going to look for the offending article as soon as they touched base. Then, if he found it, maybe he would tell the guys everything. It wasn't like he didn't have other things he'd never told them. It was always for the best.
"Don't call me sugar, Melvin." Yves put down her weapons, and removed her ear protectors. She frowned, "Are things really that desperate?"
A pang of hope lit in Frohike's gut. "Yes! Byers is on a 'plane that's about to crash if we can't get Langly through the encryption he's up against. I know you're not exactly crying about that, but please, I need your help."
He saw a flash of emotion pass across her face; it was unmistakable, but uninterpretable. It was gone so fast it didn't matter anyway.
"It will cost you." Her English accent was cold and hard.
Frohike felt sick. "Damn it Yves, I can't afford it, and you know it. Just help me out... I'd give you anything if I could."
She seemed to be considering his blatant begging, as they faced each other in a standoff. She licked her lips, and said, "Come with me." She brushed past him and headed for the locker room.
Frohike was almost frozen with shock for a moment, incredulous that perhaps she was actually going to help. He shook himself and hurried after her. He dived through the swing door of the locker room, and spied her shutting one of the little metal doors.
"They'll let me use the computer upstairs. Are you coming?" She raised one eyebrow and stared at him. She held up the chip, a shining gold square.
"Uh, yes, sure, of course, let's go." He mentally kicked himself for sounding like such a dunce. He still couldn't believe she was doing this. What was she hoping to gain? And there's no way she'd hidden the chip in the locker...
Yves was soon swarming all over the Firing Range office computer, having kicked out the manager with one well-placed stare. Frohike wondered briefly what hold she had over him, but he was pulled into installing the chip before he could muse on it.
"How long do they have?" Yves asked, peeling the cover off the back of the tower.
"It can't be more than five minutes." Frohike replied, his mouth suddenly dry.
Yves dark eyes were wide, "Oh." She said, and looked down as she concentrated on putting the chip into the board.
Frohike was soon engrossed in watching her work as she brought the computer to life in its new, powerful guise. She accessed and played the aircraft manual override encryption like an artist, and he was mesmerised. Within a couple of minutes, she had cracked it.
She leaned back in the chair, "I hope I was in time," she whispered, and looked up at Frohike.
"Yeah. Me too. Thanks... you know, for trying."
"I fully expect to be thanked in an appropriate manner." She blinked at him.
He frowned, "I told you, we're broke."
"Come on, Frohike. You have a better imagination than that. I thanked you the other week, the least you can do is reciprocate."
Frohike could feel himself flying upside down in that harness, being kissed by those lips...
"You want to string me up from the ceiling?" he shrieked. His cellphone rang in his pocket, and he scrambled to answer it, all thoughts of Yves' payment shoved from his mind.
"Frohike. ...Oh, thank God...Yeah, I found her...I'll tell you later," he glanced over at Yves, who was watching him carefully, "OK...and Langly? Good work." He flipped the phone shut, and sat down on the couch in the corner. "Byers and his dad are safe. It worked. Langly did it." Frohike looked at her, "You did it."
The corner of one side of her mouth may have turned up a little, "Just don't expect me to help you again, Melvin."
Frohike blinked, once again shocked by her callousness. "Whatever you say, sugar."
Yves got up and started removing the chip. "I don't know why you hang around with them, Melvin. You've got a brain."
He snorted, "Yeah, but I've got a heart too. So don't expect me to do the kind of stuff you do."
She held up the chip. "Don't you ever wonder what you could do with the kind of money this fetches, Melvin?"
Frohike's eyes glinted, "Oh, yes. I enjoy a good fantasy." He grabbed the chip, and bolted from the room, flying down the stairs as fast as he dared.
Feeling the chip in his pocket, Frohike walked down the alley that led to the warehouse entrance. He couldn't wait to show the chip to the guys, well, at a suitable moment, anyhow. A spectacular win like this was one to savour. They foiled the plane crash, and they got the chip. It was at times like these he knew exactly why he was here. And Yves Adele Harlow? He was a little closer to knowing his enemy, that's for sure. He had no idea why she let him get away with the chip, though. And had she really been asking him for a kiss? It was a cruel joke, damn her. Not that he wasn't a great kisser. A little out of practice maybe, and not at his best when upside down and in shock, but... nah. She'd just been kidding around, right? He was still going to shut her down... one day. He smiled to himself, and skipped down the steps.
A/N: See, I'm just playing with them. I'll put them back, I swear. Just... not yet.