Title: Strange Days I: XScout
Author: Fox's Gal
Rating: Um…I guess PG
Summary: That would spoil the surprise now, wouldn't it?
Disclaimer: We all use him, we all abuse him, none of us is authorized to do so. Does that stop us? Absolutely not! Fox Mulder is the creation and possession of Chris Carter, Fox and 1013 Productions. XScout belongs to herself, but I have borrowed her for this little fun piece of humor. I gave her back right away. Fox's Gal…well, that's me and, no, you can't use me without my permission either. Archive: Sure? Why not? Just tell me first so I can visit every now and then.
Feedback: Do I want to hear if you think I’m twisted? Of course I do! Email me at kmarie27@yahoo.com and tell me what you think.

"Strange Days I: XScout"
By Fox's Gal

The California heat had been driving her mad. The air-conditioning in her car was busted and (didn’t it just figure?) traffic was backed up for miles. XScout sat with as much patience as she could muster, chewing the inside of her cheek and tapping her fingers impatiently against the steering wheel. Could be worse, she mused. The radio could be stuck on a country station… She laughed despite her bad mood. Surely the other motorists would be thinking she was nuts, or at least close to it. And how far off would they be?

She chose not to answer that question.

In the distance, she could see the traffic light she needed to turn left at. It looked far off and shiny in the heat, the gases and fumes rising from all of the cars stacked up before it gave it a wavy effect. It couldn’t have been more than a mile away. She could have walked to it faster than she could have driven to it. All in all, ditching the car and walking home didn’t sound all that bad.

Home… The mere thought of the house, frigid with air-conditioning was enough to make her smile. Home, with her waiting computer and her latest creation. Her mind had been whirling lately with ideas for the story. So far Mulder had been shot in the leg, chained up in a basement and…what else? Oh, that’s right…the iodine. Can’t forget about the iodine. She occupied her mind with thoughts of the story…something about psychologically torturing a fictional character really took her mind off the heat.

Finally, she approached the light and turned. The traffic was much lighter now and she drove along the road, sighing in the air, cooler now under the many shade trees that lined the street. She pulled into the driveway and got out of the car, locking it behind her…though she wondered who’d be desperate enough to take such a beat up POS like that. She shrugged…in this day and age, there was no telling what could happen.

She smiled as she opened the door. Cold air greeted her, massaging the heat induced stress out of her body. A quick snack and cold drink of water first, then it was off to the PC. Time to immerse herself in the wonderful world of fan-fiction. She stuck the floppy diskette into the slot and pulled up her file directory.

“A” drive…My Documents…Permission…yes, yes…there we go…wait a minute. Wait a damn minute. What the hell is going on here?

The document was empty. Granted, she and Fox’s Gal had only gotten about 10 pages into their collaboration, but…come on, it was ten pages! All gone…

This can’t be right. No. I saved it as something else. This just can’t be right. She looked at every other document in the folder, a sickening sense of dread filling her stomach.

They were all empty. Erased. Vanished. Poof. Her entire archive…gone.

She closed them all and sat, flabbergasted, staring at the blank screen. She shook her head slowly. No…no, this isn’t happening. She tried again to open “Permission.doc” and again, she failed. Nothing had changed. Still empty. Well, at least Fox’s Gal had a copy of it. It was salvageable, at least.

Sighing, and hoping for a miracle, she scrolled to the bottom of the document. Perhaps she’d accidentally inserted some page breaks and it just *looked* empty. It was a long shot, but…

Nothing…except one single line of text:

What did I ever do to you?

The cursor blinked accusingly at her at the end of this statement. She rubbed at her eyes, sure that the heat outside must have fried her brain. This was ridiculous. Couldn’t be happening. Couldn’t be real. Just then, another statement flashed on to the screen:

Well, I’m waiting…

Curiouser and curiouser… This thing was obviously expecting a response of some sort. She felt slightly silly, and looked around quickly before resting her fingers on the keyboard.

I’m not sure if I know what you mean. She held her breath and waited.

I think you do, XScout. Tell me if any of these ring a bell: “I Know Someone,” “Where Are You,” “To Live For,” “Dreams,” “You’re Not There,” “Fear” tell me, do ANY of those ring any sort of bell whatsoever?

She swallowed hard.

I thought so. What, don’t you have anything to say for yourself?

Only that this is too weird to be real. You are a fictional character and while I am only too aware that I did not create you, I am unleashing creative energy by putting you into situations your creator will not put you in. She looked at the screen and snorted. You are not real. So there. Damn computer.

“How’s this for real?”

The other voice startled her and she gave a quick gasp as she turned around in her chair. Standing there, in her den…was *him*. No, not just the actor who played him. No, it was really, really him. Black jeans, leather jacket, gray T-shirt…he was real all right. Something about the way he stood there, leaning against the door jamb, arms folded akimbo. The way he was scrutinizing her with that manic hazel gaze. No, this was actually *him*.

There is no way anyone is going to believe this.

Now you know how I feel. His voice, familiar and yet not, echoed through her mind.


“I think you heard me.”

“Who…” God this was going to sound like an asinine question, “who *are* you?”

He put his hands on his hips and tilted his head, a smirk on those full lips she had written so often about. “You’re going to make me do it aren’t you?”

She bit her lip hard to keep the insane laughter from tumbling past her lips. “Do…what?”

He rolled his eyes and reached into his back pocket. He produced a vaguely familiar black wallet. As he flashed the ID at her, he said…with something that sounded an awful lot like amusement, “Special Agent, Fox Mulder. FBI.”

XScout bit down hard on her bottom lip. She found that she could only suppress the laughter by clenching her jaw. “Um…well…would you like to…sit down?” This really was too ridiculous. But, if it was a hallucination, it was an exceedingly pleasant one. What the hell, I’ll ride it out till the men in the little white coats come and pick me up.

“Thanks.” He grabbed a wooden chair and dragged it across the room. He sat and leaned forward, resting his arms on his knees. “Now, can you please explain to me what the hell I’ve done to you to warrant such abuse?”


“Well I certainly wouldn’t call it a pleasure cruise.” He leaned back, listing off of his fingers one by one, “I’ve been shot (several times, I might add), I’ve been kidnapped and tortured,” he stopped and glared at her, “iodine on a bullet wound? What are you? Some sort of sadist? I’ve had head injuries, I’ve had respiratory diseases and if one more hospital tube gets shoved down my throat…God don’t even get me going on hospitals. As if getting shot, stabbed, whacked over the head…as if this wasn’t bad enough then I get shipped off to the hospital and get poked, prodded, stabbed with needles and drugged…now the drugs…” he paused, “those aren’t so bad. But *why* do you have to make them wear off so quickly?”

“I—I’m sorry…I’ll…um, remember to work on that.”

“Good, good…” he hadn’t noticed the fact that she was still stymied at his presence. “Now, this…” he pulled a sheaf of papers out from underneath his jacket and rifled through them. “This bothers me.”

“And that would be…?”

“I can sum it up in two words: Character Death. I’m a nice guy. Sure, okay…there’s that little porno thing, but every one needs at least one vice, right? Right. But why on earth do you people deem it necessary to kill me?”

“Kill you?”

“Yes. Kill me. Why?”

She sat back in her chair and thought about this. Why, indeed? “Well, it does lend a bit of romanticism to it. I mean, you’re a tragic character, when it gets right down to it. Tragic characters are more tragic when they die. And you have to die for a cause. I mean, at least when we kill you, you die with honor and dignity.”

He made a face. “Yeah, that makes it so much better. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but ‘I Know Someone’ didn’t exactly have me pulling a Hamlet, if you know what I mean.”

“But the sheer tragedy of it…that was one where your senseless death was supposed to affect the reader. And face it, you like it. Deep down inside, you like it.”

“Sure. Fine. Whatever. You guys are the sadists, not me. How screwed up do you think I am that I actually ENJOY what you people do to me. Broken bones, concussions, viruses…hell, even spinal meningitis! Oh, that was loads of fun.” He stopped and looked at her in disbelief. “I still can’t get over that people read this stuff.”

She gave a little shrug, “Some people do…”

“And then there’s that page…what is it?” He stared hard at the floor in thought and snapped his fingers victoriously, “MulderTorture Anonymous! Now, what the hell is the deal with that?”


He went on, not hearing her. “I mean, come on! Can’t I just catch one break? There’s this Mulder Torture stuff, then oh God, don’t get me started on that Slash fiction.” He shuddered. “Jeez the only pairing no one’s thought of is me and Frohike.” The very thought made him turn an interesting shade of green.

“Well, there’s always the erotica.” She was trying to be helpful.

He only raised an eyebrow. “Have you *read* any of that stuff? Have you? I don’t know what’s worse; being chained to a floor and physically and psychologically tortured or being trapped in a hackneyed bodice ripper.” He appeared to think about it. “The chains almost sound good, you know what I mean?” He grinned.

Her eyebrow quirked.

He suddenly turned a violent shade of red, “Oh no, no…I didn’t mean it to sound like that. No…”

The laughter had started, there was no way she could control it now. This strange situation, augmented no doubt by the hellacious heat outside compounded with the fact that he had just said something that was…well, embarrassing to say the very least. Tears made tracks down her face and her stomach began to hurt. She caught a glimpse of him throwing her an utterly amused look before she turned to face the computer again. “You think those are bad…I have something to show you then…”

She had pulled up one of the more risque fiction sites where slash and S&M (um, that would not stand for “Scully & Mulder”) abounded. “See, right here…” she turned around to show it to him.

He was gone.

The chair was against the wall where it belonged. There was no sign of him anywhere. Vanished. Poof. Gone without a trace. She turned back at the computer. The story she’d been working on, “Permission,” was back up on the screen, the words staring at her tauntingly.

She pulled up her email and began typing…

To: FG
From: XS
Subject: Weird shit

You might be getting more than you bargained for when I send you this next installment of “Not Without My Permission.”

Trust no one, not even your own eyes.