I just started to re-watching this show again and decided to dust off some stories that have been sitting around on my hard drive for the last 7 or 8 years. Some (like this one) I posted to varoious mailing lists years before while other were just never quite finished. That said this is just the firs,t but most likely not, the last of them. g

Disclamer: I don't own anything, but maybe a twisted idea and a few spelling mistakes.

Reading material

"Fawkes would ya' hurry up, the fat man is waiting."

"Just give me a minute would you," replied Darien as he continued to look at the racks before him. They held a number of magazines, newspapers, and books. A book would have been his first choice, but after scanning the titles he mournfully realized that he had either already read them, or he wouldn't touch them with a ten-foot pole.

"Fawkes," called Hobbes again from his spot by the cash register of the grimy little 7-Eleven.

"I said just give me a minute."

Tapping his foot impatiently about three times Hobbes glanced at his watch, than out the window to the black company van they were riding in, and finally back to his partner. From his spot by the register all his could see of the other man was the shaggy mop of hair as Darien continued to look down at something in front of him.

"I am not going to get reamed, just cuz' see through boy can't pick out a candy bar," muttered the older agent as he headed over to his co-worker. Besides Bobby had already grabbed Darien's usual snack, a Butterfinger, when he had grabbed his own favorite, a Baby Ruth. "Would you hurry up!"

Darien didn't even respond this time. Bobby came around the corner and was surprised to see rows of different reading material instead of different candy. The older agent rolled his eyes at the sight. He should have known, the kid was forever reading. Despite the evidence before him he asked, "What are you doing?"

"What does it look like I'm doing, I'm trying to find something to read."

"That isn't what we stopped for. We came to get enough stuff to hold us over until we get to the safe house. You know necessities," said Hobbes glancing over at the counter across the small store. It was covered with various items. There was an apple cinnamon muffin, a blueberry yogurt, and a fruit juice for Claire. Alex was getting the plain bagel and large cup of coffee she asked for. The Official had his own small pile of food accompanied by another large cup of coffee. And for the two agents there were two different types of chips, their candy bars, a big cup of double shot espresso for himself, and a large cherry slushy for Darien. Like he said necessities, just to tide them over.

"Reading material is a necessity Hobbes," countered Darien looking over more titles.

"No, it's not. Sugar and caffeine are necessities. What are you going to do with a book anyway?"

"Oh I don't know," replied Darien as he looked at his partner, the sarcastic look on his face matched by the sarcasm in his voice. "Read it maybe?"

"Very funny Fawkes. I mean when are you going to read it? We're on an assignment here. We don't have time to stop and have story hour."

"Ha, ha. Come on man. This is an agency mission here. We are going to a safe house to watch a witness. What is there to do, other than read?"

"How about our job? We are there to make sure that nothing happens to the witness while Claire and the Fish get the info they need to put that scum bag Jackson away. 'We' are there to keep watch. We can't be doing that and reading," scoffed Hobbes, rather unimpressed at Darien's lack of interest in the assignment.

"Wrong. The six goons we brought with us are here to keep watch. 'We' are here to get the witness out alive in case the shit hits the fan," replied the younger agent, giving his partner a 'tell me I'm wrong' look. Hobbes had to admit that was a pretty close account of the current assignment.

"Okay, fine, whatever. Would you just choose something already?"

"But there is nothing good here," said Darien a whine entering his voice.

"What about the sci-fi books over there?"

"Read them already."

"Okay, how about one of the books in the top five slots?"

"They were in the New York's top five list about ten months ago. This place must only get new stuff once a year."

"Well I'm sorry," snapped Hobbes. "I can't help it if they don't keep up with the most popular publications out here in .. in.." The older agent faltered slightly as he tried to remember the name of the little town.

"We're in the arm pit of the universe Hobbes. I don't even think this place has a name," answered Darien picking up a book only to put it back once he realized what it was.

"What was wrong with that one?"

"It was by Robert Cook."

"So?"

Darien gave Bobby an incredulous look.

"All he does is medical mysteries where they do scientific experiments on people."

"Ouch," said Bobby wincing slightly. He could totally understand why the younger man would not be interested in reading any of that man's books. "Well how about one, the western?" asked Bobby.

"Already read it."

"Of course you have," muttered the shorter man under his breath.

Hobbes looked at the selection before him that was quickly being whittled down to nothing. There was really only one section of books left, but Bobby didn't think Darien would go for it. On the other hand the older agent was getting tired of this. At this point he just wanted to get out to the van soon. That thought in mind he asked anyway.

"Well why don't you get just one of those," said Hobbes pointing to several different romance books. He waited a small grin on his face, for Darien's reaction.

"No thanks."

"What? You got somethin' against romance books?" teased the smaller man.

"No, I just don't like Harlequin. They're usually too sappy for my tastes. That and they have really lame sex scenes." Bobby stood there, his mouth falling open in surprise at his friends' words. Darien didn't see his co-worker's expression as he kept looking at various titles, and explained further. "I mean who would use the phrase, 'throbbing manhood'? I mean really, 'throbbing manhood'?" Darien shook his head, his tall hair swaying slightly at the movement. "I mean if you're going to write about sex, don't get all fancy about it. The word dick or cock will work just fine. Actually," paused Darien, getting a thoughtful look on his face, "I think the one I hate the most is quivering love muscle."

Hobbes blinked at his partner for a moment then quickly shut his mouth with an audible snap. Glancing over towards the counter, he noticed the middle-aged cashier was giving them a curious look, while chewing and blowing small bubbles with her gum.

"Fawkes!"

"Huh.. what?" asked Darien giving his friend a questioning look. Hobbes had the feeling that Darien didn't know what he had just said, but didn't care. It was getting late and they really needed to be getting out of there. The sound of someone laying on the horn from the van came as a godsend to the older agent.

"Just go out to the van."

"But I'm still looking.. .."

"Go!" Shouted Hobbes pushing his larger partner towards the exit. "I'll grab you something"

"What about the stuff at the counter," said Darien trying to head for the counter and their stuff. Bobby just shoved harder moving Darien towards the exit, the young man's face still holding its confusion at his friends' actions.

"I'll get it don't worry about it." Opening the swinging glass door, he pushed Fawkes through it. "Just go tell the fat man that I'll be there in a minute with the stuff." Darien looked like he might say something else, but the glass door swung shut. Shrugging, the lanky ex-thief headed for the black, rather non-descript van in the corner of the parking lot.

Letting out a sigh of relief Hobbes headed back to the bookrack. Glancing at the titles he realized that none of them were going to work. Darien had already marked them off the reading list. Moving to the next rack he found a bunch of magazines, but none of them looked promising either. Most of them were hunting, bodybuilding, computer, or crafting publications. Nothing that seemed to be on the kid's preferred reading list. Of course Darien had just admitted to reading romance books. Hell maybe he would get a kick out of a magazine that explained the finer points of knitting and needlepoint.

Glancing down the rack, he noticed the newspapers at the end.

"Perfect!" Snatching up a copy of the same paper they got in San Diego, he started to head to the cash register when something caught his eye. It was one of those trashy tabloids, The Weekly World News. He would have passed by, but the title just called out to him.

It read. "BIGFOOT KEPT LUMBERJACK AS LOVE SLAVE" across the top. In a minor insert was the catchy reply, 'Outraged wife: "He's no longer the man I married!''

There was a picture of course. The face of a man, caught with one of those despondent looks on his face was in the front while in the back ground was a fuzzy black and while picture of Bigfoot. The Bigfoot looked like someone dressed in a huge ape suit of course. The head and face looked like a cross between an ape's and a human's. Hairy and unkempt, the head seemed too small between the huge, black haired shoulders.

Hobbes couldn't help but laugh at it. The whole thing was so utterly fake. He could even see where the human head had been photo manipulated over the ape suit body. Still, he had to admit, Bigfoot was real. Hell he had seen, or rather 'not seen', the real thing. Looking at the newspaper he had to confess he was kind of wondering what the story said. Just to see how wrong they had it of course.

Hearing the horn again from outside, the agent jolted back to the present. Without thinking about the why of it, Hobbes grabbed the latest issue of The Weekly World News and tucked it under his arm with the other news paper for his partner. After all, if Darien got to have something to read on this assignment, then so should he.

Heading over to the counter, he told the check out lady to ring it all up and started digging though his packets for his wallet and the money he needed. Darien was right. This was probably going to be a long and boring assignment. He might as well have a little reading material too.

(end)