(Opening 'teaser' montage. Music: "You're Standing On My Neck" – Splendora.

Daria and Lynn sit side by side in Ms Li's office, looking warily at each other.

LHS science lab. AP standing with Stacy behind a lab table. AP looks at a beaker simmering over a Bunsen burner on the table, then at an empty test tube in Stacy's hand, then ducks under the table. A moment later, he grabs Stacy by the front of the shirt and pulls her down as the glassware on the table blows up.

The woods somewhere. Daria and Lynn are sitting around a campfire. Lynn holds up a hand and they both take on a tense, listening posture.

LHS gymnasium. Jane is in gym clothes, waving her arms in a 'pass it here' gesture. Seconds later, a basketball flies into shot, hitting her in the face hard enough to knock her over.

LHS corridor. Daria is wearing a slinky black dress and looking miserable and resigned. Upchuck leers something at her; Daria raises an eyebrow, gets an 'oh what the hell' look and then kicks him in the groin.

LHS auditorium – stage. Lynn is onstage, holding a knife to her throat and yelling something at Mack, who looks extremely taken aback. Cut to the seats, where O'Neill looks ecstatic and Daria, Jane and AP look impressed.

Morgendorffer corridor. Jake stands in the doorway of Quinn's room, looking sad and horrified. Quinn, talking on the phone, looks at him scornfully and slams the door in his face.

Zen backstage area. Nick and Casey Wright from the Back Alley Name-Droppers are involved in a fistfight. Trent gestures to Jesse, who walks up to the two of them and knocks their heads together; both combatants drop.

Trent's Plymouth. Daria, Jane and AP staring out the passenger side windows. Facial expressions are confusion, disbelief and anger respectively.

Daria and Lynn side-by-side again, smirking slightly. As the original montage sequence, the camera pulls in and then out again to reveal two interlocking circles; one contains the Daria logo and the other contains a corresponding 'Lynn' version. Writing in Daria font reads, "Daria in…")


A Daria Fan Fiction [TLAS 3:11]

(Scene: Lynn's living room. Daria and Jane are asleep on sleeping bags on the floor. Nearby, empty pizza boxes and soda cans litter the coffee table. Lynn and AP are curled up on opposite ends of the sofa. Lynn's asleep, head resting against the arm of the sofa; AP is watching the TV with sleepy, glassy-eyed apathy. On the screen is the final scene of the X-Files episode "Duane Barry".)

Scully: (from TV) What the hell is this thing, Mulder? It's almost as if … it's almost as if somebody was using it to catalogue him.

(There is a gasp from the TV, then the sound of breaking glass and Scully screaming Mulder's name. Lynn sits up a little, eyes still closed, makes a bleary, worried-sounding noise and raises her arm in a defensive gesture. AP looks over at her, concern fighting through sleepiness.)

AP: Just the TV.

Lynn: (immensely groggy) Oh. (beat) What time's it?

AP: Two-thirty-six a.m.

Lynn: (groan) Mein Gott. (takes off glasses, rubs eyes) Where're we at now?

AP: Scully got snatched.

Lynn: Oh. (sets glasses down on coffee table) Wake me when we get to '3'.

AP: (puzzled) Season 3? But that won't be up until…

Lynn: (settling onto the sofa arm again) No; there's an episode called 3. (beat; sitting up a little) With the Father, the Son and the Unholy Spirit? (looking over her shoulder at him) The one with the vampires?

AP: Oh. (big yawn) Kay.

(Lynn looks at him with fond rue, then sits up, grabs her glasses and puts them on.)

Lynn: Never mind…

(AP blinks and goes back to watching the TV.)

(Cut to a few hours later. Sunlight is starting to peek through the curtains. AP, asleep with his head leaned back, stirs a little, blinks and then raises his head. He looks at the TV, sees an image of Dana Scully's tombstone – this is "One Breath" and he's missed the episode he was supposed to wake Lynn up for by a long way. He looks down – Lynn has fallen asleep again, this time with her head resting on his leg. He looks surprised, a little nervous, but not at all displeased. He raises a hand, about to stroke her hair, then remembers her defensive awakening of earlier and thinks better of it. Looking at her, he remembers their earlier conversation.)

Lynn: (thought VO) This is none of your affair, and believe me, you don't want it to be! … I'm not in love with him! I barely LIKE him. I sure as HELL don't TRUST him. And anyway, what do you care? … We all have our secrets, don't we? I'd prefer it if you let me keep mine.1

(AP chews his lower lip thoughtfully. Then he blinks sleepily and looks back at the TV. Cut to the TV screen. Mulder is standing at a nurse's desk, throwing papers.)

Mulder: I want to see her admission forms. Who did this to her? I want to see what tests have been done!

(Cut back to AP. He looks down at Lynn with concern, tenderness and a bleary sort of anger. He's nearly asleep again.)

Mulder: (OS) Listen, if you're hiding anything, I swear, I will do anything, whatever it takes, I'll find out what they did to her!

AP: (vague mutter in Lynn's general direction) The truth is out there. Huh. And I'd beat it out of you if I could.

(He yawns and settles back.)

(Scene: X-Files office, FBI headquarters, Washington, DC. AP is sprawled in a desk chair, in the same sleeping posture from earlier, but he looks quite different. For a start, he's at least a decade older. His hair is tamed in a Mulder-esque way, and he wears the traditional fade-into-the-woodwork suit of the FBI agent. He starts awake when he hears:)

Lynn: (OS; older-sounding) Asleep on the job AGAIN, McIntyre?

(AP looks up. An older Lynn is leaning in the doorway. Her hair's held back in a loose clip, and she, too, wears a suit. She looks at him with sardonic amusement.)

AP: Well, can't unearth the truth on low sleep rations, Cullen. (beat; concerned) You sure you should be back so soon?

Lynn: (mild annoyance) McIntyre, we discussed this. Don't coddle me.

AP: I'm not. I just… (sigh) Well, have it your own way. You always do, anyway.

(Lynn gives him a slight smile and walks into the office. She steps over to AP's desk and looks through a file. She flips through some documentation – a photograph of Max Tyler paper-clipped to a coroner's report; a picture of Tom Sloane [a.k.a. Rust for TLAS fans] clipped to a missing-person's report; various hospital records and police reports.2)

Lynn: To think – the first new X-File after the shut-down and it's me. (sardonic chuckle) Wish I remembered more. You'd finally get your wish – full-fledged convert.

AP: (rueful) Yeah, well, I THOUGHT I had one. (to Lynn's raised eyebrow; nearly spitting) Sloane.

Lynn: Forget him, McIntyre.

AP: But he … he was the one who got you INTO that mess! He told them where you and that Tyler were! Then he poisoned Tyler to keep him quiet! If not for him…

Lynn: I know. I do READ the files, you know. (beat) Follow Campbell's advice. Let it go. It's over now, anyway.

(AP looks at her, and then sighs)

AP: There's not a lot to do around here. Clean-up; paperwork; all the bureaucratic crap that…

Lynn: …That makes us government employees.

(They share a small laugh.)

AP: C'mon; let's ditch the paperwork. It'll keep till later. Drinks to celebrate the re-opened X-Files. (when Lynn hesitates) I'm buying.

Lynn: It's not that. Tonight's bad. I … have a date.

AP: (stunned) But … you just got out of the hospital! Who WITH, that Daly guy?3

Lynn: That … is none of your affair, McIntyre. (mischievous, nearly evil smirk) Now, if you're ditching, so am I.

(And she walks out again without a backward glance. AP looks worried – this isn't like her. After a moment, he gets up and follows her out.)

(Scene: a bar. Music: "Games Without Frontiers" – Peter Gabriel. AP wanders in with feigned purposelessness. He wanders over to the bar and mutters something to the barmaid. She nods and walks off, and he 'casually' surveys the patrons. At a corner table, nearly shrouded in shadows, he notices a man and a woman; he can barely see them, but the woman looks like Lynn. He takes the drink offered him by the barmaid without even really looking, hands over a bill, and keeps watching, squinting in the smoky air. Realising he has to get closer, he waves away the change the barmaid is offering him and moves away from the bar with studied casualness.)

Barmaid: But … that was a fifty…

AP: (over his shoulder) Keep it. No one tips barmaids and I think it's a damn shame.

(With the barmaid still staring at him, he moves away from the bar and closer to the table. Sure enough, it is Lynn there, but she doesn't look like she's on a date – more like she's having a business discussion. And then he gets a look at the face of the man she's with…)

AP: (confused whisper) Sloane?

(And so it is. Lynn is deep in serious conversation with an older version of Tom "Rust" Sloane, hair slicked back like Alex Krycek wears it. AP staggers backwards, hands his drink to a passing guy [who looks at him like he's insane, but AP doesn't notice] and leaves the bar as quickly as he can while still being remotely quiet.)

(Scene: dark street. Music plays on. AP is walking quickly, trying to outrun his thoughts. He passes an alley, and arms shoot out and grab him, dragging him into the alley.)

AP: Hey!

(Scene: the alley. Music plays on. AP struggles, grappling for his gun … and sees Trent, pointing a gun in his face. AP relaxes in Trent's grip, but his face is stony.)

Trent: You remember this high-capacity compact Sig Saver .40 calibre weapon, right? I used it to stress a point once before. I am doing so again.4

AP: What's wrong with her? What's she doing with HIM?

Trent: Why do you persist in pursuing things that will lead them to the connection I've made with you? I told you before; there's nothing you can do to bring her back.

AP: What are you talking about? She's not dead! (Trent chuckles) And stop laughing at me! I don't see how I'm being a schoolboy this time! She's sitting in a bar with the man who gave Tyler and Cullen's whereabouts to… (Trent still chuckles, and AP shoves at him, heedless of the gun) Stop LAUGHING at me, damnit!

(Trent does. His face goes hard as he tightens his grip on AP and presses the gun into his temple.)

Trent: This is too close to me. Back off. (lets go of AP, steps back) But I'll give you this much, Mister McIntyre. (beat; deliberate) Watch your back with her.

(And Trent dashes off without another word, leaving AP to stare after him, stunned.)

END ACT 1 – ADVERTS [Lead-in: Trent getting into AP's face with the gun]

Men in Black on DVD: The time is 6 a.m., and you're being woken up to loud alien garbling advertising "exciting new features" on the MIB DVD. Pleasant as a sandblaster to the brain.

Energy Drinks: Don't recall the name, but the advert is an office scenario with a secretary cheerfully dealing with a hectic office scenario because she's drunk essence of royal jelly. Coffee does it just as well for me.

(Scene: The Lone Gunmen's Office; Washington, DC. Music: "Heresy" – Nine Inch Nails. Daria [neat brown suit], Jane [scruffy T-shirt, ripped jeans] and Andrea [black slacks, grubby white shirt] are watching AP attentively. AP looks miserable and confused.)

Daria: So you have no more information than this?

AP: Look, the guy was pointing a gun at my head. When people do that, you don't try forcing them to play Twenty Questions.

Andrea: You think Cullen…

AP: I don't know WHAT to think. They wanted me partnered with her so she could poke holes in my work; make it look worthless. But after everything she's seen and done… (resolute) No. She's not a traitor. I don't think she's acting of her own free will.

Jane: Mind control?

AP: Got anything on that?

Andrea: We might. We never DID establish what that branched DNA was for. Give us some time.

Daria: Wait a minute. It might be wise not to jump to conclusions here. That branched DNA was inactive – it was waste.

Jane: That could be what they WANT us to think.

Daria: If it HAD a purpose, we would have found it by now.

AP: YOU think she's a double agent, Morgendorffer?

Daria: I'm not saying that. I'm just pointing out that jumping to conclusions is a dangerous thing.

Andrea: Anyway, she CAN'T be a double agent, McIntyre. From what I can tell, you and that Sloane guy were drawing paycheques from the same person.

AP: I know what I mean and so do you. (beat) He said something about 'bringing her back'. Maybe this is what he meant.

Daria: And has this Mr X given you any reason to trust him? I mean REALLY trust him.

(AP thinks about this for a moment, looking lost and frustrated, and then it hits him.)

AP: Yes. I threw it away, but yes.5

(They all watch him carefully. He doesn't elaborate. Daria raises an eyebrow.)

Daria: All right, then. We'll do some research and see what we can come up with. (beat) But don't expect miracles, McIntyre.

(AP doesn't answer; just stands up and leaves.)

(Scene: what would be Skinner's office. We see Nick [tidily dressed in understated FBI suit/tie combo] sitting at a desk.)

Nick: McIntyre…

AP: Look, I'm FBI. I'm after information. That's my JOB, damnit. (beat) Now you know more than I do – always have. I'm asking for this.


Nick: (sigh) All I know are rumours – all I hear is code. They give me just enough to know that what I give you is just bait.

AP: They.

Nick: You know who 'they' are, McIntyre.

AP: Cancer-man? (to Nick's nearly imperceptible nod) And Cullen?

Nick: (carefully) There's been … some aberrant behaviour. Occasional tardiness. Reports perhaps not as carefully made as they could be. But McIntyre, she just got out of the hospital. People are making allowances. (beat) Maybe you should too.

AP: So you're saying turn a blind eye? The same way everyone does to EVERYTHING around here?

Nick: McIntyre…

AP: NO. (beat) This is going too far.

Nick: I've told you before about turning this into a crusade.

AP: It would have been a crusade if she'd died. THIS … this is a rescue mission.

(Nick regards him carefully as he stands up and walks out.)

(Scene: 'Mulder's apartment. AP asleep on the sofa. Something goes *thump* against a door and he jolts awake. He scrubs his hair and looks at his window – he has put a masking tape "X" on his window, apparently on the off-chance.)

(Scene: Apartment building corridor. The door opens. AP steps out and picks up the newspaper, unfolding it. Something drops out of the folds and lands at his feet. He picks it up and looks at it. It's a CD, to all appearances. He frowns at it.)

(Scene: Lone Gunmen's office. Music: "Spaceman" – Babylon Zoo. Daria, Jane and Andrea are sitting in front of a computer monitor. AP stands behind them, scowling.)

AP: Show it again.

(Daria moves the mouse and clicks. We now see the computer screen. A window shows Webcam footage – a dark street, quite late. Lynn exits a bar, followed by Tom. She hands over a set of keys. He opens the passenger door for her. She gets in; he shuts the door behind her and moves to the driver's side, getting behind the wheel and starting the car. Jerky cut to another dark street. A nondescript black car is parked there. Lynn's car pulls up in front of it, about 300 yards away. The doors open; Lynn and Tom step out. Lynn looks at the other car, seeming somewhat reluctant. Tom takes her by the arm. She frowns at him but allows herself to be led towards the other car. The passenger door opens; cigarette smoke nearly billows out of the open door. As Lynn is nearly thrown inside, we catch a glimpse of Jerome Smythe, smoking a cigarette. He nods at Tom, who closes the door behind Lynn. He gets into the front passenger seat. The car drives away. The footage ends.)

AP: There. Now does THAT look like someone who's acting of their own free will? (beat) Damnit, what did they DO to her?

Daria: (sigh) Well, we went through all the channels we know; as far as her hospital records show, no one did anything to her that would explain this.

Jane: But who knows what the hospital records AREN'T showing?

AP: Look, can we FORGET about the damn hospital? They told us there was no hope for Cullen and look how that turned out! They know squat!

Andrea: And that's different from what we know how, exactly?

(AP scowls at her.)

AP: Did you find ANYTHING else?

Jane: (sigh) Yes, we did. See that file over there? (AP looks at a small folder and nods) Well, that's what we came up with that COULDN'T apply. The rest…

Daria: One and a half zip disks. Changes to the brain chemistry induced by drugs; straightforward hypnosis; electrochemical implants…

Jane: We even went through some of the wackier theories, like pod people and body swapping. Just to keep you happy.

Andrea: It could be anything. Or (shrug) it could be nothing. (beat) Ever considered she's being threatened into this?

AP: Come again?

Andrea: Well, think about it. People seem to want you stopped, but if they'd wanted you dead, you'd be worm food by now.

Jane: Or something more fiendish and insidious. I figure something … inventive would have been done to dispose of your remains. Like Hoffa, only more high-tech.6

(Daria rolls her eyes.)

Daria: I think the point being made here is that if they can't mess with YOU, they can mess with HER. She was hired to do a job – and that job was to keep you from doing yours. She isn't doing her job. Maybe this is their way of making sure she does.

Andrea: After all, SHE doesn't know that they don't want you dead.

(AP thinks about this.)

AP: Run that past me one more time. Plain English preferred.

Daria: She thinks that they're going to do bad things to you unless she discredits your work.

Jane: She blows the X-files to hell, or you die.

Andrea: That plain enough English for you?

(AP blinks.)

AP: Uh … yeah.

(Scene: X Files office. Music: "Pure" – Three Colours Red. Lynn is rifling through a filing cabinet drawer. She doesn't stop when AP slams through the door.)

AP: I want to talk to you.

Lynn: (not looking up) So talk.

AP: (slightly derailed) Um … uh … what are you looking for?

Lynn: (still rifling) Just doing some housekeeping.

AP: (best to blurt it out) I saw you in the bar with Sloane last night.

(Lynn freezes.)

Lynn: I don't appreciate being followed, McIntyre.

AP: Well, *I* don't appreciate being lied to. That was no date. And where'd you go afterwards?

Lynn: Home. Alone, not that it's any of your business.

AP: (grabs her coat and holds it to his face) It reeks of cigarette. You don't smoke.7

Lynn: (cold) I was in a bar.

AP: It wasn't that smoky. Stop feeding me crap.

Lynn: (turning to face him) Why don't we start with what you know and where you got the information that you're so quick to turn against me.

AP: (really stuck now) Um…

Lynn: (severe) I'm waiting.

AP: (sigh) We're all worried, Cullen. Campbell wants me to back off – make like nothing's wrong except you've been … sick. I asked … a contact … for some information. (holds up the CD.) Cancer-man?

(Lynn just glares at him. There is a long silence.)

Lynn: You're quick to judge what you don't understand.

AP: Then tell me what to think! You're sitting in bars with the man that betrayed you and nearly got you killed! You're getting into cars with the man who probably gave the order! (horrible inspiration) He said … he said he liked you. That he liked you and that was why he returned you to me. (nearly yelling) What did that MEAN, Cullen?

Lynn: (also nearly yelling) How the hell should I know? I was somewhat indisposed at the time!

AP: (grabbing her by the shoulders; actually yelling) What are you doing for him?

Lynn: (also yelling) It's none of your affair!

(There is silence as they stare at each other, trying to calm down. For a moment, we're not sure if they're going to calm down, go back to yelling or kiss – all three possibilities seem likely.)

AP: Cullen … no matter what you do or don't do for them, they're not going to kill me.

Lynn: I know that. (to AP's look) They kill you, they make you a martyr. They couldn't deal with a martyr. Your cause, if you want to call it that, is getting enough support as it is. (beat) Is that why you're so paranoid about this? Because you think it's your fault?

AP: Well, tell me what I should believe. (beat) And it's your cause too … isn't it?

(Lynn just looks at him. Then she shuts the filing cabinet, grabs her coat from AP's hands and walks out. AP stares after her, looking scared and unhappy.)

(Scene: 'Skinner's office. AP is sitting in a chair across from Nick, his face contemptuously smug. Campbell seems to be hiding a smug smirk of his own.)

Nick: What this time, McIntyre?

(In response, AP throws the CD onto the desk between them.)

AP: The Cancer-man has her. It's either blackmail or mind control, I don't know which yet. But she's not associating with him because she wants to, that much I know.

Nick: (smug smirk starting to show) Hope that's eased your mind a little, at least.

AP: (surprised as all hell) YOU got me this? But … but I…

Nick: I wouldn't squawk too loudly about this into the wrong ears, McIntyre. It wouldn't do either of our careers any good.

AP: But… (sigh) Never mind. (beat) Do you STILL think I should let it go?

Nick: Strictly on the record, I stand by my opinion. Off the record… (meaningful pause) …you know what my opinion is.

(AP considers this, nods and gets up to go. He stops for a moment, then turns around.)

AP: What do you know about…?

Nick: If you ask questions, sometimes you get answers. And sometimes the answers are dangerous.

(AP gets the message and leaves without another word.)

(Scene: X Files office. AP enters … and finds Trent sitting at his desk.)

Trent: You're still snooping around. (beat) And you're getting too close.

AP: (pulling a gun) SHUT UP!

Trent: I take it you have every intention of destroying your best source of inside information on some petty little bid for revenge?

AP: I said SHUT UP! And you can screw your inside information because some things are more important! Now if you know something, tell me or I promise you, I don't care what they do to me if you die.

Trent: At this point, McIntyre, I know about as much as you do.


Trent: Believe what you want. You will anyway.


Trent: She's good at what she does. That's all I can tell you. They LIKE people who are good at what they do.

AP: Why the hell'd they hire Sloane, if that's so true?

(Trent does his coughing laugh.)

Trent: Because he's too stupid to be seen as a threat. (beat) Or maybe he's not as dumb as you need him to be.

(AP fumes over this for a moment, then cocks the gun.)

AP: (hard) Get out of my office.

(Trent, still chuckling, leaves.)

END ACT 2 – ADVERTS [Lead-in: AP & Lynn face-to-face, arguing]

BT Cellnet: Something about cheap text message service. I'd prefer spend a little more money and a lot less time by just calling the person and delivering my message vocally.

Next in the Look-Alike Series: Yentaism comes back with a vengeance for our heroes and heroines in "Sets and the Single Girls".

(Scene: the bar. Music: "Bad Blood" – Ministry. A car motor is heard. A car door opens, then shuts. Lynn walks into shot. She stops at the door, hesitates, then sighs and goes in. A moment later, AP pokes his head out of an alley and looks furtively around. Then he steps out casually and walks into the bar.)

(Scene: bar interior. Music plays on. AP is at the bar, nursing a beer. His stance is casual but his eyes are fixed, not on the middle distance, but on a couple in the corner. [No prizes for guessing who.] Lynn seems to be arguing about something. Tom is calm but slightly cruel-looking as he replies. Eventually, Lynn tries to stand up, but Tom reaches for her wrist and grabs hold tightly. He says something, the vehemence in his tone written on his face, and she sits down again with a slightly beaten expression. Tom smirks. AP scowls.)

(Scene: the same, some time later. Music plays on. The barmaid is casting annoyed eyes at AP, who is still nursing the same beer. Someone jostles AP, knocking his arm and spilling beer all over the place, which seems to annoy the barmaid more.)

AP: (turning to the jostler) Hey, watch it!

(The man [think Jesse Moreno in a FBI-issue suit and his hair tied back] gives him a smug grin and then leaves. AP scowls suspiciously and turns back to the table where Lynn and Tom had been sitting… only to find it empty. AP slams a fist on the bar.)

AP: Damnit!

(And he races out.)

(Scene: bar exterior. Music plays on. He arrives just in time to see Lynn's car drive off, Tom at the wheel. Cursing under his breath, he gives a whistle. Conveniently [well, it's his dream sequence], a taxi pulls up. AP piles into the front passenger seat.)

AP: (OS from in taxi) Follow… ah, hell, never mind. FBI; I need to commandeer this vehicle.

(The driver's side door opens and a short, squat man is shoved out onto the pavement. The door shuts. The driver gets to his feet as the taxi is thrown into gear but is left to shake his fist and scream after AP as the taxi peels rubber down the road after the other car.)

(Scene: dark road, elsewhere. Music plays on. The black car is parked at the far end again. Lynn's car pulls up some 300 yards away from it, as before. The driver's side door opens and Tom steps out. He goes around to the passenger side and opens the door, gesturing at Lynn to get out. Lynn scowls at him but complies. The taxi pulls up with a screech of brakes nearby and AP steps out, gun and badge in hand.)


Tom: (mocking; pulling a gun of his own) No, YOU freeze.

AP: You have no authority. You just vanished!

Tom: Did they revoke my badge number? I don't think so.

(AP scowls at him, then turns to Lynn.)

AP: Come on. We're getting out of here.

(The sound of a gun cocking and aiming reaches his ears, and he turns his head. The driver's side door of the nondescript black car is open, and an equally nondescript man is standing behind the open door, his gun trained on AP. Then the back door opens and, in the same smoke-billow, Jerome Smythe steps out.)

Jerome: By all means, go to him. But consider there are consequences.

(AP watches as Lynn looks at him, then at Jerome and the man with the gun, then at Tom. Then she looks back at AP. Her eyes are sad.)

Lynn: I'm sorry.

(And, careful not to go anywhere near AP, she steps towards the nondescript black car of her own accord this time. Jerome ushers her in, goes in after her and shuts the door. The driver keeps his gun on AP, his eyes narrow. Tom, however, smirks.)

Tom: Stay out of this.

(He, too, heads towards the car and gets into the front passenger seat. The driver gives AP one last narrow look and then gets into the car, which reverses, then U-turns and drives away. AP watches, then goes up to Lynn's car and kicks it as hard as he can…)

(Scene: Cullen living room. AP's head snaps up; he blinks, then scrubs at his hair [Einstein-esque].)

Mulder: (from TV) Looks like somebody wanted to put this operation permanently out of commission.

(AP looks at the TV. The screen is showing a scene from "Firewalker" – Mulder looking around a laboratory. A man emerges and takes a swing at Mulder's head with a mountaineering pick. The noise from that wakes Lynn up all over again; she makes the same defensive gesture and worried noise as before. Without thinking, AP puts a hand on her head and strokes her hair.)

AP: Just the TV again. Go back to sleep.

Lynn: (not even truly awake) Hmmkay…

(Lynn settles down again with a small sigh. AP looks at her. He seems completely awake now, and inordinately confused.)

(Scene: Pizza King. Music: "Losing My Religion" – REM. Daria and Jane, sitting on one side of the booth, are looking at AP, who looks a bit sheepish.)

Daria: It makes more sense than you think it does. Jerome Smythe IS involved.

AP: Yeah, I suppose. After all, he DID just about tell you it was his fault.

Daria: Not his fault, exactly. It was more like he gave me the impression that he was somehow involved.

AP: There's a difference?

Daria: The statement that it was 'his fault' means that he was directly responsible – that it was something he did or ordered done. And I don't think he'd do that to his own daughter. The statement 'somehow involved' is more like … more like he could have prevented it, had he known the consequences of an action or inaction of his, but didn't.8

AP: (mulling this over) Oh. (beat; change tracks) But Sir Naps-a-lot as Mr X?

Jane: He spends a lot of time with her. You know, in Mystik Spiral rehearsals. Who better to warn you of aberrant behaviour than someone who spends all that time with her?

AP: (grudging) Yeah, I guess. But still… (beat; different track again) Poppa Bear as Skinner?

Daria: Same deal.

Jane: He's in the band. He sees differences in Lynn that we might not. (beat) And he was the first member of the band to actually express any worries in real terms.9

AP: (last chance, but not holding out much hope) That Rust guy?

Daria: None of us trust him. Who better to cast as the low-man on the villainous totem pole?

AP: (sigh) Fine. I think I'd rather be losing it than think that any of that made any sense, but fine.

Jane: Why? I mean, it sounded vivid and kinda cool… (to his look) …in a mind-twisty sort of way.

AP: She shut me out. She just looked at me, said she was sorry and walked away without looking back. I mean, what does that say?

Jane: It was just a dream, AP. Don't read too much into it. It's just your worries making pictures, that's all.

AP: (sigh) Maybe you're right. But sometimes dreams mean something. So what does THIS one mean?

Daria: Well, to me it sounds a bit like wish fulfilment. As Mulder, you had the courage to ask the questions you can't make yourself ask in real life. (beat) And it ALSO means that you're as confused as we are and your subconscious is trying to make it all make sense.

Jane: (wry) That or you overdid the cayenne peppers again.10

AP: I think I preferred the weird monsters. THEM you could explain away. (beat) I guess the files were a … (drums fingers on table) not the ones that use like and as, but the other ones.11

Daria: Metaphor.

AP: That's the one! (beat) This … this couldn't be my fault, could it?

Jane: Don't see how.

Daria: Unless you count the fact that keeping you – and us – out of whatever she's up to is probably keeping us safer than we care to think about.

(Dead silence.)

Jane: New topic?

Daria: Name it.12

(Still more silence. AP is thoughtful, putting pieces together. Finally, he just shakes his head.)

AP: Next time I say I want to eat two of those damn pizzas … for the love of Mike, don't LET me! It's more trouble than it's worth!

(Daria and Jane smirk at him in a 'told you so' sort of way.)



I apologise to any non-X-Files fans out there. This was a crossover/parody that was, in my mind, begging to be written, because of the parallels. If you haven't seen "Duane Barry", "Ascension" and "One Breath" … whoops. I haven't included many of the endnotes – just the more specific stuff. So I guess, to be fair, I should explain some of it here. In "Duane Barry", a crazed ex-FBI agent who claims he's been abducted by aliens takes his psychiatrist hostage [he wants the aliens to take the doctor and not him in the next abduction] and then takes some more hostages in a travel agency. Mulder talks him down, essentially, but he breaks free, somehow locates Scully and kidnaps her. "Ascension" sees Mulder trying to track Duane Barry before he can hand Scully over to the 'aliens' – and failing. It additionally shows Alex Krycek in the role of a spy for the Cigarette-Smoking Man instead of just the juvenile incompetent that we saw him as in his first appearance. He is reputed to have given Duane Barry Scully's location, he almost certainly poisoned Duane Barry before he could give any kind of evidence, and he tried to kill Mulder by crashing a tram car he was in. A couple of episodes follow ['3' being one of them] and then Scully is recovered, comatose and poisoned by 'branched DNA', in "One Breath". A lot of reference is made to that episode because this fic would replace "Firewalker" as the next episode if it were really the X-Files universe. Hope that explains things, and sorry about the long-windedness.


1] This was in the previous fic, "None of Your Affair". [Back]

2] The following will be of immense use to you, believe me. It marks which Daria TLAS character is playing which X-Files season 2 character. I don't want to change the names and it'll be hard to tell in several cases.

AP McIntyre – Fox Mulder
Lynn Cullen – Dana Scully
Daria Morgendorffer – Byers
Jane Lane – Langly
Andrea Thorne – Frohike
Tom Sloane (a.k.a "Rust")[see note] – Krycek
Jerome P Smythe – Cigarette-Smoking Man or "Cancer-man"
Trent Lane – "Mr X"
Nick Campbell – A.D. Walter Skinner
Max Tyler – Duane Barry

If you have arguments with who's playing whom, talk to my muse, I have no control. 8o)

We finally found out Tom's surname in "Is It Fall Yet?" – the recent interstice movie thing. And you can thank the spoiler chat that was happening that night on #lawndale for the fact that I know that. [Back]

3] Doctor Daly is the doctor mentioned in "One Breath" – the one that was on duty when Mulder barged in. [Back]

4] "One Breath" again. Mr X's line: "This high-capacity compact Sig Saver .40 calibre weapon is pointed at your head to stress my insistence that your search for who put your partner on that respirator desist immediately!" [Back]

5] As above. Mulder is given the opportunity to off the guys that took Scully, but instead he goes to the hospital and stays by her side, talking to her. He lost a chance for revenge, but… [Back]

6] The more derailed end of the conspiracy theory demonstrated by the Lone Gunmen is usually displayed by Langly, the paranoid's paranoid. [Back]

7] A lot of this fic is about parallels. The coma Scully was in during "One Breath" parallels with the one Lynn was in between "Liaisons" and "To Kill a Misery Chick", for example. The parallel I'm drawing here is from "Thrash of the Titans", when AP notices the smell of gunpowder on Lynn's jacket. [Back]

8] It's the impression we get from what little he lets loose in "To Kill a Misery Chick" and "Sister, Sister", anyway. [Back]

9] "Thrash of the Titans" – Nick makes an issue out of Lynn's being late once [likely because it isn't a habit of hers]. [Back]

10] Once again, a reference to AP's masochistic pizza of choice – tuna, onions, capers, artichoke hearts, cayenne peppers and shrimp. Extra garlic optional. First seen in "Relation-slips". [Back]

11] As we see several times [and get documentary evidence of in "An Irony of Errors"], AP is no great shakes with the English language. [Back]

12] And, so as not to forget that there were episodes of Daria prior to TLAS, we have a quote from "I Don't" [following Amy's description of young Helen as 'a tightly-wound pain in the ass'.] [Back]


Daria Morgendorffer et al are the creations of Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis Lynn but are owned by MTV, a Viacom company, copyright 1997, 2000. [Apparently, this is possible by 'work for hire', a concept that eludes me.] Lynn Cullen and AP McIntyre, on the other hand, were created and are owned by me, one Janet 'Canadibrit' Neilson, copyright 1999, 2000. Touch my characters without consulting me and it will go hard with you. This is a "substantially transformative" derivative work, apparently [what a highfalutin way to say fanfic], and is protected by the Supreme Court's decision in re Campbell v. Acuff Rose Music, so keep the copyright notice where it is and don't post it for money. If you do so without my permission and that of MTV Networks, I WILL pull a Lynn Cullen on you. And then I'll call lawyers.

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