"Okay, so, ah... nobody google me for a few minutes, okay?" Langly sounded distracted and distressed, not quite panicked, but not far over. His face was pale and horrified in the glow of the screen his eyes were locked onto, and the seriousness of the situation was underscored by the sounds of an empty pop can bouncing off the railing behind his chair followed by another being opened.
"Well, nobody was going to, but now that you mention it..." Frohike teased, from the other side of the room.
"I'm completely serious! Just don't do it! I'm... I can fix this!" Langly sounded like he might hyperventilate, the words breathy and inconsistently timed.
"That's a really nice photo of you," Byers said, after a moment, leaning down their shared desk to see what Frohike had found. "What's the source on that? It doesn't look like one of the parking lot photos from when Allie--"
"Not in the dark, it's not." Frohike opened the page in another tab, along with a few others that looked like they might be what Langly was worried about. "Is that Bollinger's work? I thought you had a restraining order."
"We do have a restraining order. That's at least part of why I'm pissed, and why I'm trying to figure out how the hell he got this one past me." The sound of typing from his side of the room grew faster, keys clicking as his fingers flew across them, trying to track down the original source of the image. "And the pictures are bad enough, but it gets worse. Whatever you do, if you find the banner-size one, don't scroll down."
"Well, if 'worse' isn't a picture, then I don't have to worry about my screen suddenly being full of your naked ass." Frohike flipped through a few tabs, as Byers grabbed the edge of the desk and rolled his chair closer to the screen Frohike was working on.
"I'd almost prefer my naked ass on the internet. I'm pretty sure it would invite less speculation. Who the hell does this?" Offence finally won over panic.
"What the hell?" Byers gaped in stunned amazement at the next page Frohike opened.
"Sirens of the Siren," Frohike read from the screen in front of him, "erotic tales of the finest bodies in law enforcement."
"This is gross," Langly complained, seventeen tabs of it already open in front of him. "It's completely disgusting. It's--"
"There's a section dedicated to you and Dr Reid," Byers observed to Langly, pointing it out to Frohike. "Apparently someone's decided you're an actual Bureau technical analyst, instead of a part-time consultant."
"I'm a little more concerned by the section for Sol Todd and Villette." Frohike opened both in new tabs, leaving the main list for future perusal. As an archivist of the erotic, he told himself, he had a professional duty to at least witness this, if not preserve it. Besides, there were a few more names he wanted to look for.
"Oh. Oh, that's not... I'm really... Are there any of these that don't involve the word 'daddy'?" Byers couldn't tear his eyes away from the screen, gawking like a man at a seven-car pileup on a freeway, as Frohike scrolled down the list of Todd/Villette summaries, some of them with surprisingly well photoshopped cover images.
Frohike stopped scrolling and squinted at a summary. "Who in their right mind looks at Villette and thinks he's buff?"
"I don't think anyone's right mind was involved in this," Langly muttered, opening another page in an abject inability to leave bad enough alone. 'The imp of the perverse', Reid would've said. "Wha-- I do not giggle!"
"Sometimes you do," Byers observed, looking thoughtfully at anything that wasn't yet another story involving an absurdly handsome Agent Villette blushing at turns of phrase anyone who'd ever read anything Solomon Todd had written in his entire life would never put in his mouth. "Not often, but you do."
"Bottom of the barrel dirty jokes, when you're drunk," Frohike said, nodding. "You giggle when you're trying not to laugh and doing it badly. It's right before you start whooping hysterically."
"When have I ever been that drunk?"
"Yeti waitress," Frohike said, and Byers nodded. "You were drunk enough you passed out in a gravel parking lot, on top of your camera."
"Well, I sure as hell don't tee-hee when somebody grabs my ass while I'm cooking," Langly snapped, rolling his eyes just to stop seeing that paragraph.
"You're much more likely to beat someone with a hot spatula," Byers agreed. "While cooking... That just seems like a terrible idea. Why would anyone do that? Burns are not sexy."
"Burns would be inevitable if I was wearing ... that." Langly declined to specify, his face twisting in astonished disgust.
"Okay, we've got a lot of you in a dress and Reid as a hooker, but place your bets: do we have anything with both?" Frohike leaned back and looked over his shoulder to where Langly sat straighter than a fencepost, on the other side of the room.
"Did you just say 'Reid as a hooker'?" Langly turned his head so fast, his chair followed. "The guy who won't even shake hands because other people are gross?"
"He's shaken a lot more than your hand..." Frohike raised his eyebrows.
"Yeah, well, obviously I'm not gross."
Byers choked on a laugh and tried to look innocent.
Langly pointed at him. "Special Agent Neurotically Clean says I'm not gross."
Frohike scoffed, looking over his shoulder. "Kicking your laundry under the bed doesn't count as cleaning it, Langly. Does he know you--"
"A disturbing number of these people seem to think you'd be more attractive tied up and crying," Byers observed, uncomfortably, as Frohike continued to scroll down.
"Special Agent Chicken-No-Chopsticks disagrees, and so do I."
Frohike opened his mouth like he might ask, and then just didn't. "I think this is a drinking game," he said, after a moment. "Langly in a dress, take a shot. Langly tied up and crying, take a shot. Reid's a hooker, take a shot."
"Villette calls somebody 'daddy', take a shot." Byers nodded.
"Can I take all the shots for what we've already scrolled through?" Langly sounded like he was trying to figure out how to set someone on fire over the internet. "Maybe I can forget it exists."
"You will die if you drink that much alcohol," Byers argued, heading for the bottle of vodka in the freezer.
"That might be an improvement," Langly muttered under his breath.
"Did you just say Mulder?" Langly squinted owlishly at the single screen they all crowded around, drunk enough that he had to hold his glasses half an inch out to actually see anything.
"A whole lot of Mulder and Scully, although I think I just scrolled past a Mulder and Rossi, if you want something really weird." Frohike reached for the whiskey, the vodka having long since met its end.
"Okay, some of these people have to actually have met Mulder," Byers decided, after a moment spent skimming summaries. "Almost all of them have him deciding it's aliens, or there actually being aliens."
"Every time there's sex pollen, someone pour me another one." Langly rested his face against his forearm on the edge of the desk.
"You will die," Byers said, yet again.
"Still not convinced that wouldn't be an improvement. Did you see the one with me and Hafs?"
"I thought that was surprisingly well-written, actually," Byers argued. "There were lines that were close enough that I'd almost venture Reid's neighbours wrote them."
"I do not sound like that." Langly huffed.
Byers looked like his eyebrows might take flight. "I beg to differ. We've all heard you."
"I differ." Frohike's eyes turned toward Langly. "No begging involved, especially not for any of Special Agent Sweater Vest's body parts in any orifices, speaking of having heard you."
"Speaking of Special Agent Sweater Vest..." Langly's phone rang, and he answered it without picking up his head. "Hey, gorgeous. Frohike was just noting your perfect virtue. ... Yeah, laugh now. You're not going to be laughing in five minutes. Is Sticks-and-Bones with you? Oh, good. It's a party." He put the phone on the edge of the desk. "Go get the door, Byers."
"Why do I have to get the door?"
"Because we've been living here for fifteen years and you always get the door." Langly tipped his head to turn one eye up at Byers in annoyance. "Besides, I'm drunk, so you get the door."
"What about Frohike!?" Byers protested, gesturing at the man between them.
"Get the fucking door, Byers." Frohike clicked on another story and choked on a laugh.
"Oh, god. Now what?" Langly groaned and mashed his face against his arm, again, glasses creaking in protest.
As Byers's footsteps descended the ramp, Frohike finally managed to string words together. "I'm offended on your behalf. This cover banner -- somebody stuck your head on a porn star, and they didn't even do it well."
"What?" Langly sat up, glasses askew, and leaned in to get a better look. "Could they not even match the skin tone? This is horrible! If you're going to do it, do it well! You can see the lines! Did they even take the blur tool to that edge? Who the hell is responsible for this atrocity?"
"To be fair, they probably couldn't match the skin tone. Real humans have skin tones distinguishable from marshmallow fluff," Frohike drawled, picking up the loupe from next to his monitor and then putting it back down. Blowing up the image on screen would be less pixellated, but he'd had enough to forget that for a split second.
Langly sputtered, unable to make it through a word before he found something else in the preceding five minutes to be offended by.
"Yikes." Chaz leaned over the back of Frohike's chair, to get a better look. "Not your best work, Langly."
"Not his work at all." Reid appeared at Chaz's side and Byers squeezed past them to get to his seat. "I recognise the background on this site. When did they get you?"
Langly looked like he might stand up to get in Reid's face, if he were less drunk. "You knew? You knew and you didn't say anything?"
"Garcia found it. She, ah... thought it was something I should see, after she found the one that involved myself and Derek Morgan as werewolves."
Chaz's eyes drifted toward Reid, the rest of him dead still. "Werewolves? I can see the tropes from here. How bad was it?"
Reid swallowed, squinting at nothing in particular, as he tried to put his opinion into words. "Well, I certainly admire the, ah... commitment involved in producing ninety thousand words of genuinely bizarre fiction, however I'm not sure this person had ever encountered any information about wolves that didn't come from a fantasy novel, and I'm absolutely certain it's not possible to become pregnant like that."
"Oh, great," Langly muttered, dropping his face back onto his arm. "Ass-puppies. My boyfriend's werewolf ass-puppies on the internet. I'd nuke this site from orbit, but I'm pretty sure there are backups and the fallout would be... I don't want to be standing under that."
"I think we should blame the CIA." Chaz smiled mischievously. "Don't look at us! It was probably the Agency!"
"Blame it on Homeland, and they'd take credit and write some puff-piece press release about combatting internet sex trafficking," Frohike scoffed.
"Okay, okay, we nuke it and plant a rumour it was the No Such Agency." Langly twisted his chair around and his head rolled so his ear rested on his arm, and he could look up at the federal twink twins.
Chaz put his hands up and shook his head. "I'm not fucking with the NSA. I like my ass firmly attached to my body and not in federal prison on unspecified charges of treason."
"What ever happened to us being the voice of truth and standing up for the rights of the individual?" Byers argued, pouring another shot for himself and tapping on the screen. "Todd/Villette daddy kink."
Chaz looked ill, taking a few slow breaths as Reid put an arm around his waist, without looking. The hand on his hip grounded him, but there were no words he trusted to let out of his mouth.
"Oh, hey, here's a threesome with your girlfriend, Agent Jareau, and the federal fuckmagnet, back there." Frohike turned a wry look on Byers and sent the link to the window on the screen closer to him.
"She is absolutely not interested in me." Reid held up his free hand, defensively. "Neither of them are interested in me. I'm pretty sure the only people in the world who actually want to sleep with me are in this room."
"That's not what the internet says," Byers protested, eyes rounded in amused horror. "I've got a reader-insert over here."
"Pretty sure none of these people know you," Langly assured Reid. "I mean, most of them seem to think you're actually more technologically competent than their grandparents."
"I could be, there's just no reason to complicate my life with it." Reid shrugged, his arm untangling from Chaz, as he stepped forward to lean over Frohike's shoulder for a closer look. "Oh, wow, that's..."
"How bad is this one? Are you a blushing virgin just waiting to be ravished?" Langly snorted and shoved his shotglass toward Byers.
"Ah, no, this... That is... disturbingly accurate. Those are things I know I've said and will probably say again."
"We're pretty sure your neighbours wrote at least some of these," Byers finally admitted, looking into the shotglass he rolled between his fingers. "I can match some of that to things I heard before we got the walls redone, and we don't have neighbours, here."
Reid squinted at the screen and cleared his throat. "That doesn't read like my neighbours. That reads like my ex..."
Langly snorted. "At least she's got a right."
"One could argue the neighbours do as well," Byers argued, pasting a link into a telnet window and kicking his chair back down the desk to his own screens. "They've overheard things that may have been intended privately, but if you can hear them clearly through the walls, I think the expectation of privacy goes out the window."
Frohike leaned forward, cackling. "I think I'm looking at a winner. A lot of these don't mention age or assume everyone's around the same age, with the exceptions of Todd and Rossi, but I just found--" He took a moment to catch his breath. "This writer is convinced that Langly's in his twenties."
"Because I still look amazing, fuck you very much."
"Oh it gets better," Frohike promised, pointing to the summary on the screen, as he read it aloud. "'Hotshot technical analyst Frank Arroway can't keep his eyes off his handsome older partner. How much trouble will he be in, if his hands follow his eyes?'"
"A lot." Chaz nodded. "So very much."
"I don't even have a partner!" Reid protested. "We're an entire team!"
"Wait, he's older?" Langly sat up, eyes squeezed shut as his hands gripped the edge of the desk. He was not that drunk. He'd only had-- okay, maybe he was that drunk.
"Hey, just because you called me a discount grad student doesn't mean other people can't tell I'm creeping up on forty. Ageless beauty isn't for everyone!"
"Ageless beauty?" Frohike looked at Langly and then turned around to look up at Reid. "When did you start drinking? He looks like a fucking muppet!"
"No, I look like a fucking muppet." Chaz raised a hand and pointed at himself.
"Face by Brian Froud, body by Jhonen Vasquez," Langly teased, eyes still closed.
"And you still want to do me, so what does that make you?"
Langly opened one eye to look at Chaz. "Horny?"
Chaz tipped his head to rest it against Reid's. "And you're in love with him?"
"I never said it was a rational decision!" Reid twisted away from Chaz and dropped into Langly's lap. "Probably one of my better decisions, but entirely irrational and one I protest I had very little actual control over. This is not something I would have done on purpose, but I have no regrets."
"I think I've got one for weirdest almost believable scenario!" Byers called down the desk. "Mulder/Rossi, aliens made them do it."
"I really can't argue that," Reid said, after a moment's contemplation. "I never knew Mulder, but I'm pretty sure aliens or sex pollen are the only things that are going to get Rossi in bed with a man."
"Then you definitely want to give the Rossi/Todd section a miss," Frohike advised, nose crinkling. "I should've given it a miss. That could almost have been good, if there was a single writer over forty involved, but the entire zeitgeist is off. These are people who read about it, at best, not people writing from any sort of experience."
"If one takes Duke at his word, he was a common experience, in his time." Chaz realised there weren't nearly enough seats and sat on the edge of the desk between Byers and Frohike, blocking a pair of screens not currently in use.
"Okay, but back to the one that sounds like my ex, who I'm pretty sure it's not--"
"Because she's dead?" Langly snorted.
"Wrong ex. I know you know I have more than one. You're the one who ran my phone records."
Byers kicked his chair back to look down to where Langly sat with Reid across his lap. "You what? Langly, you can't just--"
"The hell I can't. I did. And how do you think Penny found out you were married? It was a lot more than your phone records, because you don't have phone records, Byers."
"This is my conversation to have with him, and I've already had it." Reid's voice cut straight through the beginning of the argument.
"I still think people who know you suspiciously well are just your neighbours." Frohike shook his head. "I've seen the blueprints for that building. You can probably hear every time next door farts, sneezes, or turns on the kitchen sink, and that means they can hear you."
"I can't express how much I dislike the idea that people who live in such close proximity to me are writing explicit pornography about me. I'd rather find out my ex has a wicked sense of humour."
"If you call her and it's not her, you've just pointed someone else at this site," Chaz pointed out, hooking his heel on the desk so he could rest his chin on his knee.
"They're getting enough hits without the help. And this site is huge -- I'm filtering for names we know. There's hundreds more names we don't know. There's fifty states worth of field offices and all the locals, too." Frohike tossed a window onto the screen above Reid's head. "If I open it up just a little on the search, we start getting things like a bunch of county sheriffs cooking dinner for Villette. Some of them look like they might've been written by those county sheriffs. You've got a hell of a fanclub, Villette."
"Okay, you know what this needs?" Langly pointed at Frohike.
"It's already a drinking game, and you're already hammered, Langly."
"I'm not that drunk," Langly insisted, as the room spun around his head. "This needs subversion. We can't kill it, but we can fuck it up."
"You can't just spam it." Chaz looked over Frohike at Langly.
"I am way more subtle than that. We've got three journalists and an academic in a room. We have examples of the genre. We can flood them out with exactly what they never wanted." Langly grinned lopsidedly. "Someone remind me where I put that randomizer I like, because I don't want to rewrite it. We get it to feed us weird bullshit prompts, and then we write them and post them. Nobody will ever look at our names again, because all the stories are fucking terrible."
"They're already terrible, Langly." Byers got up from his chair and wobbled. "I'm making more coffee. I believe I have had enough to drink."
"So we make them more terrible!" Langly shouted after him. "And grab a case of Jolt for me and Villette, while you're down there!"
Sorry/not sorry. This is completely unedited, because I just wanted to get it off my desk before my FAMILY RETURNED. Yay other people's holidays. One more chapter.
"Just because I dislike computers, that doesn't mean I can't type." Reid didn't look away from the screen, where line after line of a fluffy romance involving Hafidha, Nikki Lau, and a colony of Aeslin Mice unspooled. "I type eighty words per minute. I'm just usually doing it on a manual typewriter."
"Which is why he sounds like he's going to punch a hole in the desk with his fingertips," Chaz teased, halfway into a completely uncomfortable harem comedy featuring Duke and half the Computer Crimes unit.
"And your keyspacing is weird," Reid complained, still typing. "And this keyboard isn't clicky enough."
"Are you even old enough to want a clicky keyboard? Is that the three years between us?" Chaz laughed, shifting to settle himself better in the beanbag chair, laptop wedged between his knees.
"It's two years, almost exactly, and you know it." Reid scrolled up to get a better feel for what he was about to write. He could remember every word, but looking at them helped him focus, as he framed the next scene. "Clicky keyboards have better resistance and they give strike feedback. I'm used to a manual typewriter, remember? You haven't hit the key hard enough, if you don't feel the typebar hit the paper."
"I'm buying you a keyboard." Langly looked up and flicked a wadded candy wrapper across Byers's field of view. "Roll me another one. I just posted Mulder and clone-Mulder, aliens made them do it."
"Did you finish the Mulder/aliens one?" Frohike asked, trying to find erotic uses for cream cheese he hadn't already written between Penny and Scully.
"Yeah, that was the one before this."
"Reid/Jareau, high school romance," Byers announced.
"Please don't," Reid said quietly, eyes still on the screen. "If it's me and JJ, just... please don't. Morgan and Garcia are funny. Gideon's a little awkward, but I can handle that. Prentiss... I may never be able to look her in the eye again, but it's still probably hilarious. If you roll me with Alvez, I'll probably link him to it, just to watch his face. But, not JJ. Please, not JJ."
"Right!" Byers nodded. "Re-rolling that... Scully/Falkner, tentacles."
Chaz started to laugh, sliding down in the beanbag as he descended into wheezing cackles. He opened his eyes just in time for the laptop to fall, slamming him across the forehead. "Ow, shit. ... Falkner. Tentacles. Oranges."
Langly watched in bemused horror. "Hey, I've never seen someone laugh themselves to death, but that doesn't mean it's an experience I want."
"Which one of us is MillionHeadedMonster?" Frohike asked, suddenly.
Chaz raised his hand, still trying to make it through a whole breath without laughing.
"Somebody apparently likes your work."
Chaz blinked, struggling to sit up in the bean bag chair. "Wait, what?"
"Was that the Brady/Mulder bathroom sex, the Lau/Jareau domestic bliss with frozen hot dogs, or the one where I'm Falkner's hot pool boy?" Langly asked, tipping his chair back to try to see Frohike's screen.
"Ah... none of those, actually. This is you and Reid? I don't remember us rolling this one. Was I in the bathroom?" Frohike clicked to load the story from the comment notification. "Happily married fluff, according to the description."
Chaz flickered, gone and there again, still stuck in the beanbag chair.
"Don't," Reid said, quietly. "Even if they can't see you, I can, and it gives me a headache."
"This is some profoundly nauseating shit, Villette. Well done." Frohike nodded as he read, Byers looking over his shoulder.
"I think it's sweet!" Byers protested. "Even if I can't imagine you sitting still for it, Langly."
"No, he's really like that," Langly muttered, shooting a sharp look at Chaz.
"I know what the two of you are like." Chaz peered awkwardly around the corner of his laptop and the knee that was almost in his eyesocket. "And I know what Spencer wants even better than he does. I just wanted it out of my head. A world in which he teaches, you do unspeakable things to computers, and nobody dies because the two of you aren't working hard enough or fast enough or otherwise doing the impossible. And I know you like that apartment, Spencer, but if I'm giving you the perfect life, you're getting windows in every room. And a bed. And a guest room so you can stop feeling guilty about the bed."
"Do you know what that would cost?" Reid looked horrified.
"It's a fantasy, Spencer, just roll with it." Chaz rolled his eyes at Langly. "You write him getting abducted by jizz-milking aliens, and he doesn't blink. Give him a nice house in the suburbs, and suddenly he's worried it's not realistic."
"Suspension of disbelief only goes so far, in this economy!"
Byers nudged Langly and pointed to a line. "Does he really look at you like that?"
"Like he's hallucinating? Yeah, all the time. No, it's not heatstroke."
"I don't hallucinate before the third day," Reid protested, finally getting up to see what they were talking about. "'Gazing up his pale, tight body, with a look of wonder, like a man still coming to terms with the idea that wanting and having weren't just for other people'? I'm--"
"He's totally calling you out." Langly pointed at Chaz.
Reid turned just in time to see the beanbag chair shift, dumping Chaz sideways onto the floor, still clutching his laptop. "You say that about me, but what about you and your absolute panic-induced aversion to being happy?"
"Personal experience. I know it when I see it. You are me, Spencer. This is not one of those places where we're different people. Well, except for the part where I don't look at Langly like that."
"And speaking of you, where the hell are you in this 'perfect' world?" Reid caught himself about to lean over Chaz, and backed up instead, leaning against the edge of the desk.
"Hey, if nobody else has figured it out, I'm not giving them ideas." Chaz squeezed the tape wrapped around one side of the laptop screen, trying to close the gap where he'd lost a screw, years ago. "Oh, for fuck's sake."
"Buying you a new laptop, Villette," Langly threatened, reaching out to pull Reid into his lap.
"I like my laptop like he likes his apartment." Chaz finally stood up, kicking the beanbag chair back into a shape he was willing to try to sit in.
"Yeah, but unlike his apartment, I can build you something that feels the same but actually does what you want it to. More space on the drive, less crap under the keys, a lot less duct tape..."
"Langly/Villette, domestic fluff, arguing over hardware," Frohike muttered, opening another document.
"No!" The word came from Chaz and Langly at the same time.
"If nobody else is doing it, don't give them ideas," Chaz said, again.
"Seriously. Nobody's connected Villette to either of us, and I'd rather it stayed that way," Langly agreed, shifting his thigh so Reid would be sitting between his legs instead of on them. There might have been more of Reid than Villette, but that didn't mean his ass wasn't still uncomfortably sharp. "Hey, if I cry, do you think that lady cop would find a way to keep Bollinger longer, this time?"
Reid sighed, suddenly tired. "On the one hand, I hope not, because that would be exactly the kind of perversion of the system that shouldn't be happening, but on the other hand, I'd really like us to be able to go out for dinner and not worry about photographs ending up on the internet."
"So, try it and be grateful for whatever we get. Right." Langly nodded.
"He's really good at hysterically distressed," Byers pointed out. "It's really distracting. You should have seen him at my dad's funeral."
"Garcia/Langly, hysterically distressed, probably something about a corpse," Frohike suggested.
"If it's corpses, he's just going to be throwing up," Byers reminded Frohike.
"If it's corpses, Garcia's more likely to be distressed. She's never gotten comfortable with the--" Reid stopped talking at the sudden confusion spreading across Frohike's face.
"Holy shit..." Frohike hit a button to turn on the screens above them and started displaying comments on those. "Gentlemen, I think we made it worse instead of better..."
"Six new comments on that fluff?" Chaz cleared his throat, ears flattening against his head as he looked up. "Sorry, guys. I was sure reality would be too banal for anyone to handle."
"Oh, you don't get to take all the credit. Prince_Charmed, over here, is getting some serious love for his handling of the Gates/Lewis princess in a tower prompt."
"Can I just thank you again for putting Lewis in the tower?" Chaz finally shoved his laptop onto the desk on Langly's other side.
"She's a long-term academic." Byers shrugged. "It just made sense. And Hafidha was the perfect rebellious knight."
"I'd tell her you said that, but I know she'd find a way to make me regret it." Chaz shook his head. "And there would be swords."
"Do regret and hot hackers with swords really belong in the same sentence?" Langly stared speculatively into space.
"Maitreya." Byers raised his eyebrows.
"Did you have to bring that up? I'd finally almost managed to forget that ever happened," Langly huffed.
"And speaking of things you're going to want to forget, Dick_Hammerfall, the internet is really into all your Mulder/aliens stuff."
"Mulder would be really into all my Mulder/aliens stuff." Langly snorted. "Come on, I'm pretty sure the guy used to jerk it to bigfoot documentaries."
"And in the end, you're the one banging the cryptid." Frohike gestured toward Chaz. "... Don't tell me. I don't want to know."
"So, have you and I stayed under the radar?" Reid asked, reaching for the coffee Langly wasn't drinking.
"Not even slightly." Frohike shook his head. "The lesbian adventures of genderswapped Solomon Todd is getting disgustingly popular. Who even reads these, at this hour? Where are all these readers coming from?"
Chaz's phone chirped and he checked his texts. "I'm changing my name and moving to Sao Paolo."
"What's up?" Byers turned his chair around.
"Read me some of those names?" Chaz continued to stare at his phone in horror.
"QueenOfSpades, InscrutableOriental, ItsNotBeige, Hassenpfeffer, RedRedWine..." Frohike looked back over his shoulder to see Chaz still staring, one hand pressed over his mouth.
"We know all of them," Reid breathed, that same horror crashing across his view of the day. "Oh, god, tell me they haven't gotten to me, yet."
"Too late, there, ServantOfSophia. They are all over your Garcia/Tan robot orgy."
Langly sat up straighter, nearly tipping Reid onto the floor. "You wrote a robot orgy? Where was I for this?"
"Mulder/aliens sex pollen, probably."
"Hafs just texted me a link to the pool boy one. I quote, 'You have to see this. Cop fangirls think Frank would be hot as a pool boy.' I'm not sure how I feel about... Oh, shit. It's Hafs." Chaz shot a panicked look at Langly. "If she doesn't already know, she's going to."
Langly stared at Chaz like a cow looks at an oncoming train. "Oh, shit. Purge the caches! Reset the external IP! Reconnect to the VPN! But, purge everything! I don't want the timestamps giving us away! She's going to kill us. She is absolutely going to kill us."
"I'm not sure if she's going to kill us for doing it, or for not inviting her..." Chaz tipped his head from side to side, weighing the options, as Langly tried to type around Reid.
"Does it really matter? We're all gonna die!"
Reid's phone pinged and he opened the text, dread creeping across his face. "Garcia thinks Chaz's domestic fluff with all the windows is the sweetest thing she's ever read. I'm... I'm going to tell her to print it out for me."
"Oh, christ. Oh, crap. Oh, god damn." Langly's fingers flew across the keys. "This is not how this was supposed to work."
"Garcia has an alert for new stories about people she knows." Reid groaned. "We've been flooding her inbox all day, and they were funny enough that she's been sending her favourites to everyone else. She just hasn't bothered to send any to me, because she knows I'm not even going to try."
"Wait a minute..." Chaz leaned over Frohike's shoulder. "Pull the results for 'ItsNotBeige'. I've seen that before now. That's in the listings somewhere."
"Villette/Lau, superhero AU," Frohike said, after a moment. "It's a whole series. A couple hundred thousand words. InscrutableOriental faved it."
Chaz groaned. "Of course she did. And what's she writing?"
"Reyes/Falkner, crimefighting family shenanigans."
"Fucking Reyes," Chaz and Reid said at the same time, and Reid looked surprised.
Reid nodded. "What about QueenOfSpades?"
Byers looked nervous as Frohike pulled up the results.
"Reid/Arroway, hair-brushing kink." Frohike pointed at Langly. "Don't tell me. I don't want to know."
"Low ratings, though," Chaz observed. "There's definitely no porn."
"Are these all our co-workers writing about each other?" Reid blinked, swinging his legs down from the arm of Langly's chair, so he could stand up.
"Not all of them." Frohike shook his head. "None of these names exist before the last six months. In the same period, with faves and comments on the stories we're looking at, we also get GrayLife, DiplomaticallyImpaired, BatCountry, WhiteBread, and WalkTheLine."
"Everybody knew about this except us." Chaz texted with one hand and covered his eyes with the other.
"To be fair, that's about how long I've known," Reid reminded him. "I just never imagined it was this... ah... extensive? Popular?"
"Hey, is Hassenpfeffer writing anything?" Langly asked, with the awareness he could answer that question, himself, but with no desire to actually do so, when Frohike seemed relatively comfortable retrieving and displaying results.
"Lots of genfic, in which Villette has the social skills of a turnip and keeps getting into slapfights with Brady. One comment from GrayLife, I quote, 'You're an ass.'" Frohike kept scrolling. "Uh... and that reader-insert fic that Reid was so upset about."
"What!?" Reid leaned over Frohike's shoulder, nearly elbowing Byers in the face.
"People who would know exactly what you sound like..." Chaz offered a sympathetic look, considering, not for the first time, soundproofing the condo.
"So, now that we know what we just walked in to, what are we going to do about it?" Reid asked, looking around him, trying to ignore the fact that Hafidha was writing disturbingly accurate erotica about him.
"Go in, tomorrow, and pretend this was entirely news to us. Be appropriately outraged, when people bring up, say, the jizz-milking aliens or frozen hot dogs. Pretend, of course, that we had nothing to do with any of this." Chaz handed his phone to Reid. "I've been setting up for that. Hafs is getting a kick out of horrifying me with stories by MillionHeadedMonster and Dick_Hammerfall, which tells me she hasn't figured it out, yet."
"Pretty sure she's not going to," Langly assured him. "I got your laptop, too. We disappear somewhere in Luxembourg. And I did it manually, so she can't just look at it and know it was me."
"So, none of this ever happened." Reid nodded slowly. "I'd suggest dinner, but I'm not sure any of us could eat, after that."
"Oh, god, don't talk about food," Langly groaned, tossing his glasses onto the desk and resting his head on the edge of his keyboard.
"I could eat!" Chaz smiled much too cheerfully.
"Yeah, but when are you ever not hungry?" Frohike asked. "Isn't that part of that whole cryptid thing?"
Byers put a hand on Frohike's shoulder. "Even so, he cooks. Two cryptids, and both of them cook."
"It's not statistically likely, however much it would improve the lifespan of the average anomalous individual. More of us are left-handed than cook with any amount of skill." Chaz jammed his hands into his pockets. "You're just lucky like that. Speaking of which, what kind of freeze-dried pseudo-food am I going to have to improv with, tonight, if he's not cooking?"
"Did I not just tell you not to talk about food?" Langly complained loudly.
"Discuss this in the kitchen?" Byers suggested, standing up and leading the way down. Chaz and Frohike followed.
"I still think you should take out that hideous fake porn-star banner," Reid whispered to Langly, as the conversation about dinner faded into the depths of the building. "You are so much better looking than that."
"You going to prove it to me?"
"You going to throw up in my lap, if I try?"