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Sleep to Dream

by Absinthe

WARNING: This may be confusing. Disclaimer:Scully and Mulder belong to Fox and Chris Carter, etc etc etc; Xena and Gabby and Hower and Argo belong to Rennaissance and Universal. This story takes place, in the X-files universe, through the episodes Duane Barry, Ascension and One Breath, and then skips ahead to some later eps. I think those were the titles at least. If I'm wrong, somebody tell me please? The Xenaverse is not presented in any particular order here.

Part One:

No, not now. Not again. Xena felt a familiar tugging at her ankles. She tried to close her eyes but she had no control over her own body. She looked down toward her feet. A child, no more than one or two years old gazed up through glassy dead eyes at her. She didn't need to ask who had killed it, she knew. She was just beginning to register the smell of smoke, the sounds of an army, her army, chaotically tearing apart the homes and lives of- of a village of anonymous people. People that had thoughts and feelings and needs. She heard a woman screaming, she turned to see... she couldn't move, she couldn't do anything to stop this. It was in the past. You can't change the past. She heard her own voice rip from her throat, "Kill them ALL!" and she broke a little inside.

"Xena," Gabrielle crooned, "Xena, shh." Gabrielle, roused by the sound of her friend's distress had moved to comfort the warrioress who, in her sleep, was laid vulnerable. The sleeping form in Gabrielle's arms whimpered.

"Oh Xena." She sighed, a tear running down her cheek. She wanted to wake her warrior, but knew better. Xena was as likely as not to hurt her before she had fully wakened, her well-honed reflexes causing her to reach for her sword unconsciously.

Xena sobbed once and jerked awake, pulling away from Gabrielle's grasp. Her face was pale. Gabrielle squeezed her hand gently, then let Xena withdraw back into her dark musings. It was useless to do anything else. Xena would do all she could to keep from exposing her past to the bard, even though it seemed inescapable. Gabrielle looked up from her hands to see that Xena had pulled her knees up to her chest, unable to control her emotions; the nightmare spilled over into reality.

Feeling Gabrielle's gaze, she choked out, "Go back to sleep, Gabrielle."

"Xena, I won't sleep with you like this." The red head frowned sternly. "What was it this time?" she asked again, as she did every time Xena woke herself like this. Ice blue eyes met light green. "Please Xena." She begged, not for the first time.

"Gabrielle..." Xena ran her fingers through her dark hair, her elbows resting on her knees.


The warrior forced herself to rise, to leave the campsite before she could say more. She left the warmth of the dying fire; she ran but did not feel it. She wanted to exhaust herself in order to fall into the dreamless sleep of the weary. She wanted to make a small escape from her thoughts and from the nightmares.

Gabrielle watched Xena's back as she left. Sighing, the bard fought the urge to chase her down and force her to let it out, but she knew better. Callisto had forced the Warrior Princess to confess to her crimes in front of a crowd of people once, and despite its privacy, Gabrielle's prying would be no less heinous than that. She did the only thing she could do, she lay on her back, and started counting the stars.

Scully woke sweating and breathing hard as if she'd been running. She looked around, momentarily disoriented. Flinging aside the blankets, Scully wanted to look for her sword but instead shook off the remaining wisps of the dreamscape. The bathroom light was on. She must have forgotten to switch it off in her need to get to bed the previous night. Mulder was driving her crazy. Even though they weren't allowed to work together any longer, he was really getting in over his head.

Wearily, Scully flicked the light off, glanced at her clock and realized she'd neglected to call Mulder about the implant that had been taken from Duane Barry's neck. It was either very late or very early. Considering that Mulder had never hesitated to wake her from much needed rest, she picked up the phone. She reached his answering machine and was in the process of leaving a message when she realized that she was not alone. The window behind her shattered. Scully went for her gun, but an arm wrapped around her legs, sending her to her knees.

"Mulder, I NEED YOUR HELP!" she screamed into the phone before it was wrenched from her grasp.

"Xena? Xena? I need your help. Is Mount Nestos north or south of the Sibar River?" Gabrielle gently shook the warrior's bluish face.

"North of the Sibar River..." Xena gasped out, feeling numb and exhausted. The bard sighed as the warrior's eyes slid shut again. The knife wound in Gabrielle's leg was beginning to show signs of infection, but she would go on. She gazed sadly down at the fallen warrior on the litter, wishing that she could go back in time and stop the trap that had so severely wounded her lover. She looked around for a few more moments, resting, before urging Argo forward. Xena bounced about excruciatingly in her fur-lined bed, trying to ignore the cold and the throbbing pain that seemed to engulf her entire body. The litter hit a stone and the warrior mercifully passed out of consciousness.

The wailing of police sirens woke Scully from her stupor. She tried to peer out of the tiny air hole that was drilled in the trunk. She couldn't hear very clearly what was said once the car halted. The officer and her kidnapper spoke for a few minutes before the voices approached the trunk.

"I'll have to take a look in there, sir."

"I have nothin to hide." Duane coolly replied.

Scully pounded furiously on the roof of the trunk with her bound hands, squealing through the rag that gagged her lips. The trunk popped open, and she made eye contact with the police officer, and then it was over. The uniformed man fell, blood gushing from a fist sized wound in his chest. Duane Barry hefted the still warm shotgun in his hand and frowned at his captive. Scully stuck her head out over the rim of the trunk, hoping that the tantalizingly near patrol car had a camera in it, and that the camera was running, and aimed in her general direction. She cast a piteous glance at the car before the trunk lid closed over her head once again.

In the dark, Scully was left to contemplate her situation while the car screeched down the road. At the absolute best, that patrol vehicle contained a camera that had gotten both a look at Barry and herself as well as the license number of the car. Scully clenched her jaw to keep from sobbing. All she could do was try to sleep, to let the dreams come.

This time, Xena was wearing something other than her leather warrior's garb. Dressed in a red and blue bodice with transparent baggy pants, she stood or rather cavorted, in an opulent dining hall. There were a dozen or so other women, all scantily clad, all dancing. Before the warrioress rested a box with a bronze hand print inlaid on its lid. Her eyes fixed on the box even as she moved away from the rest of the dancers and set to work being more provocative. The man at the head of the table watched her, occasionally calling to her and making lewd gestures. Xena smiled under the diaphanous veil that covered much of her face and fawned at him.

She approached the box carefully and was about to reach for it when she was foiled by the sudden appearance of a richly dressed man, King Gregor. There was some fuss, and in the end, the King left the room with the box. Pandora's Box. Xena turned panicked eyes to the man still sitting at the head of the table. He smiled at her, and with a gesture, commanded that she be taken up to his quarters for "later."

The warrioress lounged on a richly appointed feather-bed. Several hours later she was joined by the man from the head of the table. He was the king's advisor, Nemos. He slid onto the mattress behind the Amazonian woman and inhaled deeply of her hair.

"Ohhh, you smell soo goood." He sighed.

"Have no fear, I wish no pain, only pleasure." Nemos added, taking her stiffness for nervousness.

"I wish only to take your responsibilities from you, if only for a little while." Xena smirked behind her veil.

"Where is the king?" she added coyly.

"Just a few doors down."

"Am I really on the same floor as the king??" she tried to sound awed.

"Enough about the king. You spoke of pleasure." He leaned forward to nibble at Xena's neck. Her fist met his forehead instead, and he fell back onto the bed.

"And you spoke of pain," she growled and ambled off to find the King's chambers. Gregor was easily immobilized, but as Xena was about to beat a hasty retreat with the Box Nemos stormed into the room.

"Ohhoh. Xena. I'm sure you won't get away this time." His palace guards fanned out behind him.

"There are few things in life that I'm sure of." Xena fluttered her lashes at him. "But I'll betcha this'll surprise ya." She dove headlong out the window. Her hair brushed the dirt, and Xena twisted up to untie the curtain pull she'd secured around her ankles to break her fall.

Scully jerked awake to find the rope binding her ankles undone. The dreams were becoming more vivid each time. She had to shake her head a few times to clear the mists of this one from her mind. The car had halted again, but this time it wasn't for gas. No light filtered in from a street lamp. Scully lay perfectly still, listening to Barry's footsteps approach the rear of the car. Almost before she realized what was happening she was outside being marched across a grassy field. Duane kept a tight grip on her. A growing roar made it impossible for the captive FBI agent to distinguish the words he was screaming. A bright light appeared over the edge of the hill, blinding them both. Scully experienced a faint tingling sensation just before she blacked out completely.

Scully fell into the grip of a dream, but this time it was different, this time, she seemed to be looking through someone else's eyes. She was balanced on a tree limb, moving with the silent grace of a cat. Just below her, a red haired girl sat staring at the ashes of a fire. Argo stood saddled and ready to go nearby. Xena/Scully grinned ferally as she leaped quietly from her perch, landing a bare meter from Gabrielle. The bard stumbled to her feet, reaching belatedly for her staff. Xena/Scully scowled at her.

"You're lucky that was me." The warrior rose to her full height.

"Xena!" Gabrielle twirled her staff teasingly, a challenge in her eyes. "I've been practicing." Xena laughed affectionately and flexed her knees, inviting the bard to attack. The anger washed from her features. Gabrielle stepped forward, preparing to attack. Xena suppressed the amusement that threatened the rise to her face. Her bard was getting cocky. She sidestepped a blow easily, then caught the end of the staff on its follow through.

"Maybe a little too showy, huh?" the red head asked, suddenly finding herself lying on her back in the dust.

"Oh just a little." Xena grinned. She leaned down to help the bard to her feet. Gabrielle tried to use the leverage of her position to tug the warrior down onto the ground with her, but Xena refused to join her friend and instead straddled the smaller woman.

"Oh? Really?" she demanded. Xena pinned Gabrielle's arms over her head with one hand, and with the other she proceeded to tickle Gabrielle's most sensitive area, her exposed stomach. Gabrielle screamed and thrashed under the larger woman, trying to wriggle free and escape this torture. When Xena finally decided that the bard could take no more, she stood up, leaving Gabrielle to pull herself to her feet.

Argo bumped the warrior impatiently. Xena still had a hint of a smirk on her face.

"I owe you for that." Gabrielle did her best "menacing" voice. Xena just smiled. They walked in uncharacteristic silence for a few moments. Gabrielle was too busy plotting her revenge to chatter.

"Gabrielle? I can hear you thinking, don't even bother." The warrioress glanced at Gabrielle through the corner of her eye.

"So what am I thinking then?" The bard jumped in front of her friend, holding her staff out to block Xena's path.

"GabriELLe!" Xena simply knocked the staff aside and pulled Argo onward.

Mrs. Scully straightened in her seat by her daughter's bedside. She gripped Scully's hand more tightly and yelled for a nurse.

"Nurse! She smiled!" The haggard woman looked hopefully at the RN that rushed towards her. A glance at the comatose woman's face revealed nothing out of the ordinary.

"Maybe you should get some rest, ma'am," the nurse patronizingly suggested. Mrs. Scully frowned. She hadn't imagined it, her daughter had just grinned.

The firelight penetrated poorly, but where it touched was lit with bloody intensity. Xena/Scully crouched before the flames, staring at imagined scenes deep within the writhing flames. She almost unconsciously ran a whetstone down the blade of her finely crafted sword. Gabrielle sat directly across the campsite from the warrior.

"Dinar for your thoughts?" Gab broke the silence.

"Not now, Gabrielle." Xena firmly replied, trying not to look at her bard.

"Xena, it helps to ta-"

"I KNOW, I know, we've been down that road before. Go to bed." Xena returned her attention to the flames. The subtle (and not so subtle) signals the bard had been sending over the past few weeks weren't lost on the warrior. Far from it. Despite her desire to reciprocate, she feared unleashing any more of herself before the little bard than she already had. Xena knew the strength of her passions and the power of her body to carry through on them. She dared not approach Gabrielle as anything other than a friend; it simply wasn't safe for the smaller woman. Xena's thoughts roamed back, over the many lovers she'd had in the past. Willing and unwilling, not that they weren't all won over in the end.

Gabrielle roused several hours later. "Xena?" she demanded. "Get some sleep."

Xena shot her a look. The bard clambered out of her bedroll and circled around the warrior. She stopped to rest her small hands on Xena's shoulders. "Please?" She whispered. Xena rubbed her eyes with her calloused hands.

"All right." She ignored the heat that rose to the spots on her skin that the bard had touched and followed her obediently to bed.

She was sitting in a small boat. A rope attached it to a little dock on the shore. A tall man with sleepy eyes stood on the planking there, with an older woman. After an interminable period of time, the tenuous connection between Scully and the shore snapped, allowing her to drift ever farther out into the mist. She longed to call out but something prevented her from making the slightest of movements.

The man and woman on the shore were abruptly replaced by a cheerful looking woman wearing white. She called out, beckoning to the boat and its precious cargo. Scully felt herself being pulled back towards to the dock, to safety.

Xena smiled in her sleep just before she jerked awake. She glanced around anxiously to be sure all was right. Gabrielle snored softly nearby. The warrioress sighed, brushing off the strange shakiness that her dream had left for the waking world.

Scully was happy to be going back to work after her long incarceration at the hospital. She felt surprisingly refreshed, as the memories of her abduction beyond the long ride in the trunk of Duane Barry's car were mercifully dim. The dreams, however; they were as vivid as they were every time she woke from them. It seemed to take longer and longer to regain her footing in reality every morning. Scully was more than ready to return to work, to get back down to business, as it were. She was being reassigned to the X-Files. Skinner briefed her first thing on her first day back.

After a hug that was slightly longer than necessary, she and Mulder settled easily into their old partnership. Almost immediately, he tossed a manilla folder in her direction and began to brief her on his current case. Scully focused on him for the first few minutes, but seemed to lose him after that.

She was running in the dark, her booted feet not making a sound. Dodging around trees and leaping growths of underbrush, she dashed in pursuit of something.... something just out of reach, and only slightly visible as an occasional rustling of the leaves. "Gabrielle?" she called hopefully.

" I think we...." Mulder took the pencil from behind his ear. "Scully."

A tall man with a sleepy voice and hazel eyes peered at her as though waiting for her to say something. Xena stared right back.

"Who are you!" She demanded.

"What are you talking about, Scully?" His face filled with concern. "Are you all right?" He placed a hand on her shoulder. Xena glanced at the offending hand, and before the man could react, she had him pressed to the wall by his throat, his feet dangling several inches off the floor.

"Who ARE YOU." she spat.

"I'm Mulder, Scully... lemme down.." He clawed at her fingers, choking. Xena dropped him like a bag of rocks. She turned away from him and got a glimpse of her own reflection in a pane of glass. She touched her face with her fingertips. It wasn't her face. She saw a short redhead wearing strange, flimsy clothing.

"Scully??? What is it?"

"Who is this..Scully?"

"She's you..."

Xena shook her head as everything flooded back.

"Mulder... I'm sorry, are you ok?" Scully knelt in front of her partner, prying his fingers away from his throat to examine him closely.

"Scully? What happened?" Mulder coughed.

"It don't know."

"What do you mean you don't know? Scully... you tried to strangle me. Not to mention you were able to lift me clean off my feet." He stood up, towering over the diminutive red head.

"I'm sorry Mulder," she stammered.

"Sorry? What's going on with you Scully? Are you sure you're fully recovered?"

"I don't KNOW Mulder," she snapped, then glanced up at her partner apologetically. "I've been having these dreams...."

"Ya wanna tell me about it?" Mulder gingerly took a sip from a conical paper cup.


"Scully. Come on...."

"I'm having these dreams in which I am.. I'm a warrior woman, always with a little red haired woman named Gabrielle... I don't think they're... er... adhering to a linear timeline. Things change..." Scully's face flushed bright red.

"What things?" Mulder demanded from his seat on a corner of his desktop.

"Well, Mulder, sometimes, the little redhead and I, we're lovers, sometimes we aren't yet, sometimes.... sometimes things are just different. But they're all so vivid, and I don't forget them like ordinary dreams. Just now..." Scully said, watching her partner swallow, "I was dreaming again."

"Could it be a result of your abduction?" Mulder asked over the rim of his paper cup.

"I suppose it could, but-"

" Scully, I want you to see a hypnotist."

"WHAT? Mulder, you know how I feel about hypnotism."

"I don't know about you, but I have no desire to meet up with your 'dream warrior' again." He teased, rubbing his throat conspicuously. Dana Scully quirked an eyebrow at her partner.

"I don't think that hypnotism is going to help anything. I won't let it happen again."

Seeing the determination etched into her face, Mulder refrained from arguing any further. He loosened his unimaginative tie a bit to check his neck for bruises in the monitor of his computer. He glared significantly at his partner before he continued to brief her.

It wasn't until they were well on their way to the scene of the disappearance of a prominent vulcanologist that Mulder noticed she wasn't wearing her little gold cross.

"Did the chain break?" he asked.

"Did what chain break?" she irritably replied.

"On your cross. I've never seen you without it on before."

A strange, wild look passed briefly over the red head's face. The gods have never done much for me, she thought, but said aloud, "It was a relic from a dead faith, Mulder." Scully watched the scenery through the car window.

"Why now?"

"What does it matter Mulder? Maybe I just decided I didn't like it with this jacket!" I can't explain it. She pondered, but Xena wouldn't have worn it. Scully turned her attention to her partner's profile. And such a lovely profile it is too. She smiled unconsciously at him. He caught the look, if only for a second, before she turned away.

"What was that for?" He asked playfully.

"Just thinking."

"About what?"

"Shut up and drive." Scully flashed her partner a look of anger that said 'You talk too much' more clearly than mere words ever could have.

Xena/Scully stood behind Gabrielle, tying a gentle knot in a blindfold.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Xena asked.

"Yes. I trust you, Xena." Gabrielle assuaged her warrior's fears before the taller woman voiced them.

"Suit yourself." Xena shrugged and waved her hand in front of the bard's face to check the blindfold. "All set then, let's go." Xena started forward at her normal pace, tugging Argo along behind. Gabrielle listened to her lover walk away, then started tremulously forward. Her feet managed to find almost every uneven spot in the dusty road, and she stumbled along for a while before Xena returned to her side.

"How DID you manage this? This is really scary." Gabrielle grabbed Xena's shoulder as though it were a lifeline. The warrior said nothing.

"It was my idea, I know," the bard sighed, "I know." They continued to make slow, painstaking process, the bard chattering only when she wasn't tripping.

Around midday, Gabrielle tripped over her own left foot and tumbled headlong to the ground. Frustrated, she wrenched the cloth from her eyes and squinted into the noontime sun. Xena peered down at the young woman sitting in the dirt with her hazel eyes half closed and laughed aloud.

"Tired of this game already?" the warrior teased.

"Are you tired?" Mulder looked worriedly at his partner. Scully had been staring out the window in total silence for two hours. She cast confused eyes on her partner for a moment.


"Yes, are you tired? Do you need me to stop?"

"No... Mulder, I'm fine." Mulder continued to stare at her for a moment, she glared back at her partner.

"Pull over," Scully abruptly demanded.

"What for?"

"Pull over... please."

Mulder glanced in her direction, puzzled. Gravel crunched under the sedan's tires as it came to a halt in the emergency lane. Scully climbed out and circled around to the driver's side door. She opened it and ordered Mulder out. He seemed irritated , but something in her expression kept him from protesting. There was a fire in her eyes that he'd seen only once before.

Scully jerked the seat forward to accommodate her shorter legs, and after making all the other necessary adjustments, glanced in the rearview mirror and floored the gas. Mulder's head was jerked painfully backwards. The tires produced an agonized scream. The grey sedan squealed out into the stream of heavy interstate traffic, leaving a trail of rubber behind it. Mulder bit his tongue to keep from saying anything that might upset his suddenly touchy partner. She turned on the radio and flicked through the stations, only stopping when she found one that played vaguely Celtic new-age music. Mulder shrugged helplessly.

After that moment of relative calm, Scully kept her hands firmly on the wheel, and Mulder maintained a death-grip on the dashboard.

"Scully, I think you may have some un-aired hostility to deal with," he muttered through teeth clenched in a grimace. The red-head ignored him and continued to weave through traffic with the pedal pressed to the floor. Finally noticing her partner's distress Scully let up a bit on the gas , although she continued to pass anything moving slower than 84 mph. To take his mind off the world outside which moved oh so quickly past, Mulder began to yammer about a book he'd read on volcanoes.

By the time they reached a hotel the Bureau expense account allowed them, Scully was feeling more exhilarated than she had in years. Her partner, on the other hand, was exhausted. After four hours as Scully's passenger, he was ecstatic to see the world stop whizzing past and to hear no more angry car horns. He wondered, as he stood in the shower, if Agent Dana Scully was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Of course, after their ride down the interstate today, maybe Mulder was the one with PTSS.

As the elation of Scully's power trip wore off, she began to wonder why. She had never before felt inclined to speeding. Now however, she was seriously contemplating trading in her four-door sedan for a sportier model. Maybe a Trans Am. Never much liked the new 'Vettes she thought, or maybe I could find a Sting Ray in decent shape...this will require further research. Scully tossed her suit jacket onto the sagging bed, relieved to be free of it. Her skirt slithered to the floor, and she almost sighed in relief to be able to move her legs freely again. Scully kicked her pumps across the room, leaving two distinct imprints in the plaster.

She stared at them in mild astonishment, then proceeded to strip off her blouse. She bounced on the balls of her feet, enjoying the freedom of her state of undress.

"Scully!" Mulder hollered through the door. Scully jumped, only barely remembering to wrap up in her bathrobe before opening the door.

"What is it Mulder?" She was strangely pleased to see him.

"Are you alright? I heard some noises." His hair was still wet from a shower.

"Yeah...fine," Scully met his hazel gaze for a moment.

"Really? Are you? " Mulder watched her face intently through the three inch opening in the doorway. Scully glanced at the doorknob, pushed her hair behind her ears and pulled the door open a few more inches signifying her permission. A line from a Paula Cole song drifted through Mulder's head: "But now my anger is my best friend, be careful I may bite your head off." Scully sat cross legged on the edge of the bed and proceeded to pick lint balls off the coverlet. Through the corner of her eye she saw Mulder settle his lanky frame into the only chair in the room. The silence stretched out for thirty seconds that lasted a week.

"I think you need more time to recover," Mulder started off limping.

" I told you-"

"You don't need to lose any more time, I understand. But today, in the car. You're not yourself." Scully offered her partner a condescending smile.

"Oh no, I'm more myself than ever." Scully looked at Mulder, long and hard. "You don't really expect things to be exactly the same do you?" Mulder's face took on that sad, heartbreaking look that could make even his partner feel for him. "I'm sorry. Things have changed. A lot. I spent 2 days in the trunk of a car, and there are three months of my life that I can't remember. I feel more alive now....than...than..." Her voice trailed off weakly. When their eyes met again, Mulder's contained a look of understanding.

"Would you mind if I drove from now on?"

Xena walked in her usual silence, Argo plodding behind her. Gabrielle pushed ineffectually at the heavy underbrush with her staff.

"Xena? Are you sure you know where you're going?" the bard was favored with a look of pure irritation for that remark. Xena pushed a branch down and ushered Gabrielle past her. The skeptic bard stepped into a small mossy clearing. She spotted a tiny pool in the approximate center of the clear patch. The puddle (well, that's what it was) was kept fresh and cool by a minuscule spring, accumulating a few bare inches before it was absorbed by the surrounding soil.

Xena stood at its edge, peering down at her reflection. Gabrielle stepped up beside the warrior carrying their flagging water skin. Their reflections gazed into each other's eyes, Xena's placed a possessive arm around the bard. Sleepy hazel eyes met electric blue, the spell was broken. The pair grinned stupidly at each other and went about the business of replenishing their water supply.

Gabrielle stood up, brushed the mud off her knees, and was abruptly grabbed from behind. Xena wrapped her arms around the bards bare waist. Gabrielle twisted in her grasp and their lips met for a quick kiss that soon escalated to-

*Bleep* *Bleep*

Scully blearily slapped the alarm off. She sat up as slowly as she could, wiped the sleep from her hazy vision, then trudged into the bathroom to prepare for a *lovely* trans-continental flight. It was 5 am, Mulder, no doubt, was still asleep, or had not gone to sleep at all. A pounding from the other side of the room's left wall let her know that her partner was very much awake.

"Tell me again how this is saving someone money?" Mulder demanded on the way into the flight terminal. Scully didn't bother to reply. How driving 6 hours to avoid using the DC international airport to catch a six am flight to Washington state was beyond her. They suffered the usual hassle that carrying firearms onto an airplane involved with a minimum of arguing.

When at last they were allowed to go to their seats, Mulder , for once, did the gentlemanly thing and gave Scully the window seat. She knew she should study the case file that had been so painstakingly assembled, but couldn't concentrate on anything but the view. Eventually though, even that palled and Scully managed to read through most of the information.

"I want anyone who can walk out on the wall. No food and water for those who can't fight." Xena made eye contact with all the walking wounded in the infirmary.

"Xena, I need these people!" Gabrielle protested "These men will DIE without food and water!"

"It won't matter if we can't defend the compound." Xena grasped the bard's shoulder in a parody of a comforting gesture. The warrior stalked out, leaving her bard to decide who lived, and who died.

The head of the cornered Athenian Army was more than happy to hand control over to the infamous Warrior Princess. She spent a few hours planning and making sure the men knew that SHE was very firmly in power. She prepared a simple ruse, a light attack out the front gate of their stronghold to draw their strange enemy, the Horde, into the heart of their defenses. Once inside, not one of the foreigners with their strange tongue and even stranger weaponry survived. Xena made sure of that. She slit a man's throat with his own weapon. Caught up in the fire of the battle, she killed an escaping man with that same blade. Despite the great personal satisfaction she felt, she knew that the toll they'd managed to take was merely a drop in the bucket of the Horde forces.

Through the crowd of cheering Athenian soldiers, Xena caught a glimpse of Gabrielle's horror-struck face. Not even seeing that look on the face of her beloved could turn the warrior from her chosen course of action. She would get them out of this alive, if it cost her her chance at salvation. Xena could harness the lust and fury of the old days, and maybe get Gabrielle out; whole and well, that the bard remained so was her top priority. Her own soul came second.

"Please fasten your safety belts and turn off all lap-tops, we are about to land." A tinny voice echoed through Scully's head. She jumped, nearly spilling the papers that rested on the tray in front of her. Mulder was already belted in and was folding up his "Convenience Tray," obediently. They got off in Washington State to yet another not so unexplained X-File. A missing Vulcanologist, a silicon based life form that parasitized the human body, all in all, nothing out of the ordinary. Scully gained another impressive addition made to her medical resume, and Mulder found two more names to add to his list of people who thought he was crazy. After a suitable quarantine period, the two agents were flown back to the east coast. The flight back though, took them directly to D.C. Scully doubted that she'd ever understand bureaucratic logic.

Safe back in her own home, Scully searched the web for information about sports cars, cars in general, and the internal combustion engine. She came to the conclusion that what she wanted was a Corvette Sting Ray in wine red. Of course, black would do just as well. Scully yawned hugely and glanced at the clock. It was already near midnight, and she had to work in the morning.

The full sized bed somehow seemed too big, too empty to be slept in. When she tried Scully found she couldn't get comfortable. The mattress was too soft. Grumbling under her breath at 1:30 a.m. Scully gathered up the coverlet and camped out on the hard-wood floor where she slept soundly the rest of the night.

Steel sang through the morning air. Its wielder stood at the center of a forest clearing, her every movement poetry. The light glinted off of the finely crafted sword with its brass hilt as she wove intricate patterns with its tip. She spun it through the air, twisting the blade perilously close to her sides, her back , her left arm. Her mouth twisted into a animalian snarl and she completed the dance with a ferocious thrust to eh left that might have opened an opponent's rib cage. The grimace was replaced by a dazzling smile matched only in its incongruity by her blue eyes of liquid fire.

The warrior tossed her black hair roughly and sheathed the weapon. The sudden applause from behind her served more to delight than startle.

"You're up early." Xena stated without turning around.

"Couldn't sleep once you left. I was cold," Gabrielle smiled as the warrior turned to face her, one dark eyebrow arched. It was hot enough to make even the warrior princess uncomfortable.

"Drill. I'll watch you." indicating the bard's quarter-staff, Xena leaned patiently against a tree trunk. Gabrielle took up her staff and went smoothly through the movements that Ephiny and Xena had so patiently taught her. Wiping the sweat from her face, Gabrielle looked to her lover for some sign of approval. Xena nodded appreciatively then turned to tend to Argo.

Scully banged her head on the bed frame when her alarm woke her. Rubbing her forehead irritably, she quickly oriented herself. She gathered the blankets up from the floor and folded them carefully on the bed. Mulder was supposed to meet her at the shooting range for target practice this morning. She stood at the foot of her bed and examined the bedroom. It was empty. Not of furnishings no, but it was lifeless, only disturbed by Scully herself. A small sigh escaped her lips before she snapped herself back together. It was your decision. The Work first, you gave it up, You and no one else. Shaking her head silently, Scully slipped out and into the sedan.

The target range was surprisingly empty. Mulder was already standing in his usual alcove, his glock gripped in both hands like they taught at the Academy. Scully stood watching him, her eyes critically reviewing his use of the gun, and its effectiveness. His face mirrored the slight disappointment in hers when he failed to exactly center his shots. A look of pure malicious joy crossed the red head's face. Mulder noticed her presence at last as she stepped into the alcove next to his.

Scully pulled her gun from its holster. She ran a finger lovingly down its stock in a proprietary, almost sexual manner that was, fortunately, not seen by her partner. She fired five times, one shot directly to the center of the head, one to the heart, one to each shoulder and for good measure, a second to the head of her paper target. Though Mulder was impressed, a trainload of aliens bearing smallpox vaccinations couldn't have dragged such an admission from him.

A significant amount of time later....
By the time her tumor was diagnosed, Scully had already begun to suspect that something serious was wrong with her. At first, just before her abduction, the dreams had a minimal effect on her life. Sure, she improved vastly in hand-to-hand, and she found herself the owner of a Corvette Sting Ray, but who was to say that was really a result of the dreaming? The instances of the Xena personality creeping into her waking thoughts and behavior were rare, if violent. But now.... One morning Scully woke up and proceeded to roll her blankets into a bed roll and pack up to leave. Luckily, a precipitate phone call brought her back to reality.

The tumor was her explanation of choice. Mulder was doing his best to be solicitous and understanding, but he wasn't exactly at his mental best either. Come to think of it, Scully had no idea WHAT Mulder would be like if he ever WAS at his mental best. She slapped herself a bit and unrolled her bedding. Realizing that she was running somewhat late, Scully ran into the bathroom to brush her teeth and thought she caught a glimpse of raven hair in the mirror. She pretended she hadn't seen it and made a mad dash to work.

Mulder seemed a tad dazed that day, but really no more so than usually. They moved through the motions of their appointed tasks in the robotic fashion that had prevailed ever since the Eddie Van Blundht incident. She didn't like it, but what could she do? What could be said to rectify such a bizarre situation? It looked like the relationship between Scully and Mulder had knots to work out before they'd be on joking terms again.

Xena watched in horror as her bard came at her with a sword. Perdicus's sword. She would never forget that moment. Teach me how to kill her.... come on Xena, teach me HOW to KILL her. The feel of Perdicus's blade biting half heartedly into her stomach, the crazed expression on that usually serene face. The choice had been matter how important Gabrielle's blood innocence was to the bard, the red head's life was more important to the warrior. Xena had taught Gabrielle a little. Not enough to go up against Callisto surely, but it didn't matter. Xena had resolved at that moment to ensure that the bard never had the chance to pit herself against Callisto, even if it meant killing the bitch herself.
It was four am, and the phone was ringing. Even in her sleep grogged state, Scully realized that it had to be Mulder on the line.

"Mulder? What's wrong?" She mumbled. And of course, something WAS wrong. Incredibly so. Only Mulder would wake up in a strange hotel room covered in someone else's blood with no memory of what he was doing there. Scully made a mental note to check his water supply again before she took her big red 'vette on a pell mell drive to a holiday inn. She found Mulder sitting in the shower with the hot water turned all the way up, shivering.


Things only went downhill from there. The man was so pigheaded. He thought he could drive when he might have been suffering from an aneurysm. Mulder also thought he was remembering things. Things from his somewhat cloudy childhood that might shed some light on the shadowy men that both of them were working so hard to expose. He wanted to go to the town his parents used to spend their summers in. They went to a house he claimed to have been in previously. In spite of its overgrown state, inside the agents found two corpses, and inside those corpses they found slugs from Mulder's gun.

So Mulder spent the night in jail keeping his fellow inmates awake most of the night yelling for Scully. Scully, on the other hand, spent the night working to get her partner out of jail. She found enough traces of a hallucinogenic drug in Mulder's blood samples from the previous morning to have him released. He left her at the police station, but she followed him back to the overgrown summerhouse.

In the gloomy interior, Mulder was besieged by his memories. Memories so terrible as to have been buried since childhood. Scully tried to talk to him.

"Scully, go AWAY!" Mulder groaned, drawing his glock. She tried again.

"GO AWAY!" Mulder bellowed, leveling the pistol.

"Are you going to kill me too?" She watched her pain crazed partner wrestling with his subconscious. Teach me how to kill her Xena, teach me how to kill her.... kill her..... Scully's eyes widened.

"Its you." She whispered, as her eternal partner pulled the trigger.

The end. Of course, if you haven't seen the episode in which Mulder gets holes drilled in his wee head, you're probably wondering what happened aren't you?

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