Anasazi: Gaps
by Christina M. Simmons
Illustrated by Erin Livingstone

**Standard Disclaimer: All rights to characters and series owned by Twentieth Century Fox and 1013 Productions. No copyright infringement intended. No profit turned by the writing or posting of this work. Please don't sue me.**

Author's Note: When watching "Anasazi" for the first time, it seemed very odd to me that Scully would have been able to get Mulder safely to New Mexico without event. Krycek, fleeing, had more than enough time to turn out the dogs, so to speak. In that light, this piece centers around events that might have taken place on that cross-country drive to New Mexico. Rating? None to speak of. No sex or language or excessive violence. Comments are welcome, if you care to give them.

There was no car in the rear-view mirror.

There had not been any car there for several hours, and Dana Scully sighed.

It meant nothing. They were not safe.

"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you." That's what Mulder would say, if he were lucid.

If he were conscious.

She'd shot him. Shot her own partner, without thinking even once about it. She'd had no choice; she kept telling herself that... she'd found Mulder entirely irrational, with a gun to the head of an unarmed man.

Never mind that that unarmed man was, very likely, a murderer. Never mind that, according to Mulder, he was also an accessory to kidnapping. Her own kidnapping, several months before.

Good God, Dana, she groaned to herself. You're as crazy as Mulder. Crazier, even. Nobody's been pumping your system full of drugs. You've got no excuse.

At least she'd managed to stop the bleeding. Most of it, at any rate. The bullet had passed clean through the muscle of Mulder's shoulder, miraculously leaving the bone untouched. For that Scully gave silent thanks; there was enough working against her, working against Mulder, without a trip to the hospital...

She peered into the rear-view mirror again, then glanced anxiously at her partner's face. Mulder was slumped, unconscious, across the car's back seat -- his face pale beneath the fever-glaze of sweat, his breathing low, irregular. Contrary to the events of the past few hours, he hardly looked dangerous -- certainly not like a crazed would-be killer. With the thick, woolly blanket tucked in all about him and a shadow of a worry-crease across his forehead, he looked more like somebody's little brother. Scully turned her eyes forward again, out the front windshield and slowly heavenward, into the night sky.

The events of the past two days whirled about her... the drug-induced psychosis that had turned Fox Mulder, her partner and friend, into something unpredictable, almost an enemy. His erratic behavior and violent outbursts that might have already cost both of them their jobs. Or their lives. His acquisition of top-secret government computer files, now in her possession, would see to it that they were both off duty... permanently... if anyone caught them. Then the sudden, violent death of Mulder's father, that had pushed her partner entirely over the edge... that was the final hit, as much as he could take, pushing him to the very edge of his breaking point. It wasn't a clean line to step over, either, and Scully knew it. And she had only added to that when she'd shot him -- violating every fingerlength of trust it had taken her two years to build. Even if it had been for his own good.

It was up to her now, to get them through the fallout alive. Alone, until Mulder came to himself again.

Assuming that he would. Saner agents than "Spooky" Mulder had been known to crack under less strain... Scully forced the thought from her mind.

Her fingers found the scrap of paper in her pocket again -- paper with a name and phone number on it, a New Mexico area code. The computer files -- those damned files that had started this whole affair -- were encrypted. World War II Navajo code talk, and the only person able to translate was a cross-country drive away. It wasn't the most ideal of situations, given the events of the past two days... but whoever was after Mulder would kill to get those files back, making their only course of action to learn exactly what the files contained before that "whoever" could catch them. Bargaining power, if it came to that. Or a death sentence.

More likely a death sentence. And it had gone into effect immediately.

Mulder began to regain consciousness in the small hours of the night, not long after moonset. At first, he sat, stone-still, staring blankly at the pre-dawn nothingness rolling past. Shock would do that; he kept the blanket wrapped tightly about him, and he was shuddering with cold, despite the fact that his face was damp with perspiration. It was only when Scully asked quietly how he was feeling that he noticed her at all... and then, it was only to ask where they were. Then he had lapsed back into silence, and from there into a fitful half-sleep.

The rambling began in the strange, shadow-filled time just before false dawn. Mulder began talking to her, addressing her directly, if weakly -- Scully wanted to see that as a good sign. He went on in disjointed detail about cases that they'd closed months or years ago, insisting that they were close to finishing them... mixing details, confusing names and places.

When that thread had run its course, recent memory took its place -- memory of his father's death, more emotion than fact. Here Mulder grew agitated, insisting that he hadn't killed the old man and refusing to accept Scully's assertion that she believed him. When he began ranting about killing Alex Krycek, however, going on in progressively louder and angrier tones about exactly how he would go about it, Scully forced herself to pull over and administer a mild sedative. That quieted Mulder only slightly -- the dose was necessarily low - but what remained was bearable; she'd been through it that barely twenty-four hours before, at regular intervals, and almost knew what he'd say before he said it.

The childhood memories, when they came, very nearly broke her heart.

There was no time lapse, not for Mulder, not now. Everything had happened just moments before, and Scully could do nothing but listen to the wavering narratives, the near-manic degrees of emotion they inspired... the birthday parties, and the fishing trips with his father, and the visits to his grandparents' house. About summer camp, and his cat, Mephisto, who they'd had to give away because his sister Samantha was allergic. About Christmas Eve, the one night of the year when his father was certain to be home, and midnight mass... Scully had never thought of Mulder as religious in the least; he'd certainly seemed shocked at her Christianity. The stories were a steady flow, pictured with devastating clarity, told to her in that soft, melancholy voice that occasionally laughed but more often mourned for things past, things taken away forever.

And Samantha was at the center of everything. Long after memory of his father's murder had faded into the fever-haze again, the thoughts of his younger sister, gone too many years, rose up and engulfed him, until, exhausted and utterly drained, Mulder's voice faded into an uneasy silence.

Dawn was turning the shadows gray when Scully pulled over in a darkened rest area to check on him, temperature, bandages... and then he'd come suddenly awake from that dead sleep, eyes fixing on her, identifying her -- as Samantha.

He'd seized her then, held her, pleading with her in near- hysterical tones. Apologizing for things that couldn't possibly be his fault, for her abduction, for his failures in finding her, and for childhood "cruelties" that even Samantha herself couldn't possibly hold against him. Pleading with her not to leave him, promising that he'd never,ever let anyone take her away again. It wasn't her partner speaking, and Scully knew that -- this was a frightened twelve-year-old, tormented by his sister's inexplicable disappearance. She sat still, not wanting to fight him for release, waiting until the terror had faded in his tone enough for her to gently disengage herself and move away, leaving him silent and vacant- eyed once more.

Then she'd moved back into the driver's seat, numb and weak- kneed, sat limply, and prayed silently for strength -- for both of them.

Why, Scully wondered with a groan, did country music always seem to come in with the same piercing clarity, regardless of how remote or barren the road? And not just any country music... this was classic country, all twang and sob. The Book of Job, sung to a steel-slide guitar. The only other station with any trace of clarity was an A.M. talk radio station, right now hosting a "Best of Rush Limbaugh" marathon. Scully shuddered, and wondered if she wouldn't be better off with no background noise at all. Mulder, fading in and out of consciousness, was oblivious... but she'd been driving for hours straight now, and though it was broad daylight, her body was screaming for sleep.

At least Mulder was resting comfortably ... as comfortable as possible, at any rate. She'd stopped only long enough to change his bandages and check his vital signs: pulse normal, if slightly raised; blood pressure slightly low; temperature spiking. She hadn't dared to medicate him again, not until she was sure of the drugs already running about his system; she'd worry about a return of the psychosis if he regained consciousness. The last thing she needed was to kill her partner trying to save him.

She glanced into the rear-view mirror, an action that had become very nearly obsessive. There had been no signs of a tail since they'd left D.C, moving into the rolling greenness of rural Tennessee, and from there into the flatter expanses of Arkansas. In truth, seeing nothing back there only made her all the more nervous. It meant that whoever was following, and somebody almost certainly was, knew enough to remain hidden...

And then, as the morning rolled into the afternoon, she saw it.

On the long, flat stretch of rural highway in the middle of a weekday, other traffic was scarce. Scully had noted that from the onset of the trip -- it was her safety buffer; any other car was clearly visible. And this car was plain to be seen - it was miles behind, dropping behind the horizon from time to time in response to the swelling hills and dipping valleys. It didn't alarm her, not yet. It stayed with them, on and off, for the better part of the afternoon and well into the evening, passed occasionally by the lumbering big rigs that owned this section of interstate -- but then, there was really no place for it to go. Exits were few and far between; roadside rest stops a rarity. The car held a steady speed, even when she accelerated or slowed, but never fell far behind or passed them. At its closest, Scully was able to make it out as some sort of late-model Ford, either blue or black.

Then, as full dark took the landscape, it vanished without a trace.

That Scully noticed... and that worried her.

The car was there as she pulled into the gas station. There was no doubt in Scully's mind that it was the same one, however irrational the thought. How had it gotten ahead of her? She sat for a moment, deliberating, ready to move quietly through. But gas was a necessity... she'd no idea where the next service area would be. Risk a confrontation? Here?

Steady, Dana. You're tired; you're not thinking straight. They all look alike, those kinds of cars.

Which is why the FBI likes to use them.

The car was parked... no passengers. Very likely it had been sitting for a while... the hood, when she touched it, was cold. It could belong to the station attendant, or a patron of the diner across the street.

The blonde man in the blue business suit glanced up and smiled when she walked in the door to pay. He didn't approach her, only watched, lingering around the magazines, ignoring the pointed glances of the cashier. The cashier was not looking at him, though... he was watching another customer, a dark-haired man, not in a business suit. Scully froze. The second man did not move more than a step from where he stood, inspecting the selection of ready-to-microwave sandwiches -- but in the instant that his head turned, a sidelong glance, Scully met his eye and knew him.

"Ladies first." The business-suited man stepped aside as she paid for the gas with shaking hands, then nodded a courteous good night as she half-ran out the door. Alex Krycek still had not moved, and his car did not follow her as she pulled away.

Mulder's convulsions, coming on as the moon inched towards its zenith, were not unexpected. Their timing could not be worse, Scully groaned... but she'd seen it coming, at least. She'd abandoned the main highway as soon as she'd been able - opting for secondary roads would take more time, but would be harder for Krycek to trace. And now, lying low seemed the best option... for both their sakes. The weed-overgrown rest stop, set back from the main thoroughfare on an incline, was designed to cater to the needs of long-distance truckers - shadowy, but with a clear view of any moving traffic below, with one smallish outbuilding. Scully pulled behind the sheltered side of the building... oncoming traffic would pass before she became visible from the road.

She'd hypothesized, even before she'd proof to support her theory, that it was some form of drug at work on Mulder, fed in through his apartment water; the dialysis filter she'd found in the building's water tank confirmed her suspicions. But what sort of drug? Only tests on the samples she'd collected would tell, and that would have to wait, for now. But whatever the source, Scully hazarded that, in the time it took for sufficient levels to be ingested and produce the desired effects, Mulder's body had developed an form of addiction to the substance... it was part of his system, now, and the intentional purging process would trigger the inevitable withdrawal symptoms.

He'd been half-awake for some time when she noticed his shuddering -- not chilled shakes, not tremors of weakness; these were rhythmic spasms, and Mulder's face was drawn and very, very pale.

Every muscle in his body was contracting, trembling with the strain, and his skin felt hot and damp to the touch. The fever was spiking again. Eyes wide and glazed, Mulder did not seem to be aware of her at all... he was muttering incoherently, with growing overtones of anger and frustration, twitching spasmodically. With a sinking feeling, Scully rummaged about in her medical bag. The hypodermic needle and sedative were a last resort... one she really didn't want to take. But Mulder was in pain... that much was obvious. With a resigned setting of her jaw, she prepared the injection and settled next to him on the back seat, then shut the door behind her to prevent him from trying to bolt into the open.

Mulder flinched away from her, glaring, protesting as she grasped his arm. Scully held on firmly, found the proper point, and plunged the needle home.

Shutting the door had been a mistake, she immediately decided -- for no sooner had she managed to drive the medication into Mulder's bloodstream than he whirled on her, snarling with pain and shock.

"What the hell did you do that for?" It was the first coherent thing he'd said in hours. He snatched the needle out of his own flesh, staring first at it, then at her. "What is this?"

"Sedative." she forced her voice to remain quiet, conversational. "You were having convulsions, Mulder."

"You're drugging me?" His face darkened, and he flung the needle at the windscreen, hard. "You're drugging me?"

"It's for your own good..."

"Of course it is." And now his tone dropped into short, hateful syllables. "Just like taking my gun. Just like shooting me. That wasn't enough, Scully? You had to do more, didn't you?" He snorted, eyes leaping about the darkened car. "Krycek put you up to it, didn't he?"

"What?" And she could be genuinely incredulous this time. "Krycek..."

"Been in with it all along, haven't you? Can't believe I didn't see it!" He was talking animatedly now, punctuating phrases with angry hand motions. "You work for the same people, don't you? You've been in on everything. From the beginning. The reports... watching me... he's your partner, isn't he?"

"Mulder, you're making no sense." She reached for the door. He slapped her hand back, hard, then fenced her in between his arms, hands pressed to the window on either side of her head, anger overpowering any pain he might feel from that action. Scully retreated into the corner as far as she could go, her own heart beginning to pound an uneven cadence. Mulder was grinning at her, a disjointed smile, humorless...

"No... that's it. Making perfect sense, aren't I? Getting too close to the truth? Can't believe I was ever so stupid. Can't believe I ever trusted you." His face was inches from hers, features distorted as he shook his head slowly. "Never again."

"Mulder, please..."

"No." Slowly, deliberately, he placed one hand on her throat. Scully froze. Watching her reaction, Mulder tightened his fingers ever so slightly...

The professional mask went up immediately - part of her most basic training. If you show him fear, Scully, he's going to act on it. Be calm. Be cool. Wait him out. The sedative will take effect soon. You can't fight him in close quarters... he's got the advantage of height and weight.

The fingers tightened again.

He's also got a death grip on your throat, Dana.

The second hand joined the first. He could snap her neck now, if he wanted to. If he was strong enough. Even if he wasn't, there were ways of going about it. Crush her larynx. Suffocate her. Damned medical training... every possible contusion and fracture came bounding into her mind. Every possible way to die, literally at the hands of the one person she was supposed to trust with her life.


She had to try something....


She dropped the facade of calm.

"Mulder... Mulder, stop it...please..." she heard her voice break, caught his gaze and held it, exposing her emotions fully to his scrutiny. He could see her heart pounding, if he looked hard enough, she thought. The grip did not slack, and she allowed herself to tremble, but did not look away. Keep his attention, Dana...

Her voice dropped to a whisper as she felt the tears come creeping, not mustered, not false. "Mulder... you're hurting me..."

He did not release her immediately. Slowly, as though the words did not process clearly, he sat back, staring at her. She counted every breath, watched the expression on her partner's face shift from rage to confusion, and from there to a numb shock. When he finally took his hands from her throat, he turned that blank, glazed regard on them, as though they were somebody else's.

Then his shoulders began to tremble, then shake, and he buried his face in those hands, and began to sob, quietly, a small, lost sound in the confined darkness.

She reached for him instinctively, and he allowed himself to be gathered in her arms for a shuddering moment, murmured to soothingly, comforted for a scant handful of heartbeats. He did not return the embrace, only leaned into her warmth as if drawing strength from it. Then he pulled away again.

"Scully..." It was Mulder's voice that broke now, pleading with her. "Scully, what's... what's happening to me?"

"You're sick." Useless to even try to explain now; he'd never comprehend, or remember... so she spoke to him as she would to a child, to a young, fearful patient. "You're very, very sick, and it's going to take time to get you well again."

He nodded, understanding this time... but his gaze was unfocused, staring dazedly at his hands again. "I hurt you." It was half a whisper.

"It's okay..."

"I hurt you." He began to shake again, and his eyes were on her, unnaturally clear, shining fever-bright. A car passed by, illuminating his face for a moment before they plunged into darkness again. "Scully... I'd never hurt you. You know that, don't you? You believe that?"

"I believe you, Mulder." But his voice was rising now, desperate, hoarse.

"I... I couldn't hurt you. I couldn't. I..." The shining in his eyes took liquid form, and he leaned forward, reaching out with trembling hands. They were hot, clumsy on her face, her hair. "I wouldn't hurt you, Scully. Never. You believe me, don't you?"

She took his hands from her face, squeezing, trying to convey all her belief, all her faith, in one tangible gesture. "Always."

It was true. **Even when you're barely rational, Mulder, even when you're running off after Lord-knows-what, even when I don't believe what you're doing, what you say, what you think you know... I believe in you. Always.**

She smiled, holding his hands tight... and watched the drug begin to take effect, loosening the tight-strung muscles, drooping the eyelids, relaxing the trembling hands in her own. After a moment, Mulder leaned back into the seat, head lolling. He caught her eye once more, the gaze cloudy now, blurred.

"I'd never hurt you, Scully..." The words were throaty, slurred, a ghost-voice. "You're my partner..." And as the voice faded all the more, his fingers tightened on hers very slightly, one squeeze. "You're my friend..."

Scully noticed the car immediately when she woke. It was still dark, and she glanced at her watch, cursing softly - she hadn't meant to drift off at all. The last thing she recalled was tending to Mulder... the cool night breeze, the silence all around - she must have dozed off before she'd realized it.

But she knew that the other car hadn't been there before. The lower part of the chassis was visible beneath the trailer it was parked behind, and Scully had her gun out instantly, not quite shutting the door all the way. The noise would echo like gunshot here. She hugged the side of the nearest trailer, pausing only when the wheels concealed her own feet, creeping around the back. The other car was out of place, as was her own vehicle, among the few, hulking big rigs that had also pulled in while she'd slept. It was a late-model blue Ford... and there were no passengers inside.

Sliding back into the shadow of the rig, she scanned the parking lot. They were being watched... that much was unquestionable. But why hadn't they been taken while she slept? And why had the watcher allowed her to leave the car? Nothing moved on the pavement... but the shadow in the scrub bushes, not far from her own car, was definitely moving. Moonlight did not reflect off the silhouette of the gun in its hand. It was moving towards her car, peering in the rear window. That was it, them... they didn't want her at all. They wanted Mulder. Scully raised her gun. Even in the shifting paleness of moonlight, she recognized that moving shadow as Alex Krycek.

She did not even think twice about releasing the safety and pressing the muzzle into the back of his neck. Krycek froze, head turning oh-so-slightly, until he could catch her with his peripheral vision, just as he had in the convenience store.

"Drop the gun, Krycek." Scully's finger tightened on the trigger. Her hands were shaking -- why were they shaking? Krycek could feel that; he couldn't miss it. He shifted, lowering his gun, but did not drop it.

"Take it easy, Scully." he said, his voice oily-slick despite its soft, casual tone. "I'm not going to hurt him. Relax."

"Drop the gun." He didn't deserve a response. After all he'd done, after all she and Mulder had been through, he didn't deserve the warning...

"I'm not alone." Krycek nodded towards the dark bushes. "You know how it works, Scully. You know I'm just the point man here." He could be bluffing, or dead honest. Anger and frustration threatened to get the better of Scully's resolve.

"All I know," she said, steadying her hands. "Is that you, in all likelihood, murdered my partner's father. You tried to poison him, and when that didn't work, you killed an innocent man and framed him for the murder. You're the reason he's in this condition right now, Krycek, and you don't deserve half the chance I'm giving you."

"I didn't shoot him." The reply was as even as her own, reasonable. "You did that, Scully. Not me. And if we're talking about giving one another chances, have you stopped to ask yourself why I'm the one with the gun pointed to my head, and not you?" He turned just a bit further to face her, looking her fully in the eye now. "You were sleeping. I saw you. If I'd been here to kill Mulder, I'd have killed you, first." He paused, waiting for her response. "Don't you want to know why I'm here, Agent Scully?" He put a slight emphasis on the title, a condescending reminder.

"No, I don't."

"I'm here because you don't have to do this." He went on as though she hadn't spoken. "No one's holding you responsible for Mulder's behavior, Scully. No one blames you. We can't always be our brother's keeper." He sighed, running his free hand through his hair in the most casual of gestures, then deliberately put down the gun on the car roof, facing her fully. "Listen. We all know how you feel about Mulder. He's your partner. Partners look out for each other. But it's too late for him. It was too late when you were first assigned to him. He'd gone too was just a matter of time. You don't have to do this, Scully. You don't have to throw your career out the door for him. We know you would. But you don't have to."

A long silence, neither moving, neither speaking. He was telling the truth. Or part of it, at least - fragmenting it. And she recognized it for the truth, regardless of the speaker. That was what frightened Scully... and Krycek knew it, too. Every moment she hesitated validated that. She didn't have to do this...

Krycek, very casually, reached for his gun.

She had her gun to his temple, shoving him back against the car, but not swiftly enough to prevent him from pressing his own gun into her chest. For a moment, one lingering moment, their eyes met.

"They'll find you anyway, you know." he said softly, slowly... as though he had to choose the words carefully. "Even if Mulder had shot me, they'd still find you." His eyes held hers for a breath longer, and his face shifted subtly, softening, as if he was about to say more... as if he wanted to say more. Then, inexplicably, Krycek lowered his gun, closed his eyes, and looked away.

In a swift, fluid movement, Scully drew back her arm and brought the butt of the pistol down on Krycek's skull. His eyes rolled white, his knees buckled, and he slumped to the ground at her feet. She stared at him a moment... barely more. She left him where he lay.

The only thing she took from him was his gun.

They had found their way back to the highway when a soft voice from the back seat broke into Scully's personal whirlwind of thoughts.

"You're a better person than I am, Scully." Mulder said. Risking a glance, she saw him watching her fixedly, fighting the drugs to half-sit upright. His expression was muted by the blanketing dark and the sedative, but the dark spots that were his eyes were thoughtful, and, for the first time in days, he looked like the Mulder she knew once more. Aware of her, the car, his situation. He coughed, winced, touching his shoulder. "I'd have killed him."

So he saw everything, she thought. And remembered. It was promising.

"No, you wouldn't have." she told him. Then, smiling, she chuckled. "I still have your gun." And, from where he lay, Mulder twisted out a drooping half-smile, laughing soundlessly. Then his head dropped to the pillow. For a moment he seemed about to speak again - but then thought better of it, or could not find thestrength. His eyes closed, and he did not speak again after that.

One hour later, in the rose-colored light of a cloud-streaked dawn, they crossed the border of New Mexico.