Title: Mulder Meets the Meddling Kids
Author: Cris Francis (yes, guilty as charged)
Disclaimer: I stole from everyone, but I made no money. Cool?

Summary: Mulder and Scully go out to investigate a possible landing site, and land themselves in a very strange place.


Scully looked askance at the box of choclates on her desk. It wasn't her birthday, she hadn't dated in ages, and none of the Lone Gunmen could afford Godiva. Kit-Kats were more their speed. So who could have sent it? She gingerly removed the box lid, but nothing jumped out at her. Lifting a dusky nugget of divine ecstacy to her nose she sniffed, then closely examined it's flawlessly smooth and imminently tempting shell. She tortured herself one more moment, then gave in to her weakness. Who cares where it came from.

Mulder interrupted Scully's moment of serendipity. Noisily banging the door open, he breezed by and scooped a modest handful of chocolates. "Glad you sprang for breakfast," he cracked.

"Not me," Scully mumbled around a mouthful. "I found it on my desk when I came in."

Mulder leaned over a trash can and spit out half-chewed nut cluster. "You FOUND it? And you just started eating it?"

"Hey, I looked it over first. It looked ok."

"It LOOKED ok? Scully, I know PMS cravings can be bad,-"

As he ducked behind his desk, Mulder reflected on how he would ever clean up all the candy now hurtling toward him.

**

Another day, another burn site. Mulder was glad Scully had gotten over that morning's altercation and was now in her usual mode of picking apart his theories and questioning the bejesus out of him.

They were in a place that should be officially known as "middle of nowhere, Virginia", except it wasn't exactly the middle of nowhere. It was very near a place he and Scully called "Coventry", until recently a shack that served as a safe house. Unfortunately, the secret was out. That's why he was curious about the sightings and evidence of a UFO, spotted not a quarter mile from the shack. It just seemed too much of a coincidence.

The site was easy to find. For miles and miles there was unrelenting forest; then, suddenly, there wasn't. An enormous circle had been burned into the forest, clear of everything but hard burnt earth. Mulder parked the car at the rim, and got out.

"My God, Mulder!" Scully whispered. "This is huge! And it looks perfectly round. We'd have no trouble getting satellite pictures of this."

"I bet we would." He kicked at the rock hard soil. "I bet we could stand the entire Whitehouse staff in the center of it, and they'd still deny it's here. Oh, well." he shrugged and went back to the car. "Let's get some samples and pictures."

"Mulder?" she said, quietly. "I d-don't feel so good."

"Radiation," he answered, not looking at her. "This thing's pretty recent, and I bet the geiger's going to sound like a fat man with bad gas in a moment. Maybe you should sit in the car for a moment. Scully?"

He turned to see her fall to the ground. He almost made it to her, before he too was sucking dirt. "The chocolates..." he murmured, and went nightie-night.


When they woke, it was still daylight; too much daylight.

"Mulder?" Scully tried weakly. "Mulder, the candy must have-"

"-been drugged," he finished, looking around in wonder. "And not the cheap stuff, either. Look at those colors!"

"Well, they WHERE Godivas. Why does everything look so bright and...un-natural?"

"You know, you're the doctor." He stood, cautiously. "I wish you could see what you look like!"

"You, too. Your hair looks like a helmet, and your teeth have no spaces between them."

"Wait; there's something familiar..." He snapped his fingers. "We're animated!"

"Occasionally cheerful, maybe; but I wouldn't go so far as-"

"No, I mean we're cartoons."

Scully raised one well-drawn eyebrow. "Mulder, I know I've accused you of being Looney-tunes, but-"

"I mean it. We're two-dimensional drawings. Look; no shadows."

"What...." Scully looked around. The place did certainly resemble something that belonged on tv on a Saturday morning. "Great. So how is this possible? And who's delusion is this? I mean; I'd never dream up being in a cartoon. You, of course, I can see. And how is it we're having the same delusion? And how do we get out of it?"

"Hey, maybe we should see if we're in our own cartoon, or someone else's."

"How do we do that?"

"Start walking."

"Which way?"

"Left to right, of course."

Following her partner with a smirk on her face, Scully mumbled "I had to ask."


They reached the other side of the burn site, and entered the forest. Before long, they spotted a slouching beatnik and a ridiculous looking brown dog.

"Like; hi there," the young beatnik said.

"Rrrello," the dog said.

"Oh, brother," Mulder said and turned to Scully. "Ok. Three things to remember: None of the monsters are real, it's usually a disgruntled employee, and Velma's always right."

"Rrright," the dog said. "Rrelma's arrays right."

"I don't understand any of this," Scully said, following because she couldn't think of what else to do. "But you know what, Mulder?"

"What?"

"It really scares me that you do." She trudged along through the strange forrest, where every fourth tree was exactly the same.




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