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Finding Neverland

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Finding Neverland
A Supernatural/X-Files Crossover
Rated PG-13 for language

 

“Hey Dean? Come check this out.”

“What, Sammy?” Dean walked over to where his brother was bent over, headfirst in a low crack in the rock, so narrow as to almost not be considered a cave. The broadest part of it, at about mid-chest height for Sam, was barely as wide as his shoulders. “Find Bigfoot?”

“You know there’s no such thing, it’s just the shapeshifters having fun,” Sam said with some exasperation. “No, I saw a flash of light in there, a reflection maybe. I’m too big to get in, though. Maybe you’ll fit.”

“That’s what you get for being a moose, as Crowley would say,” Dean cracked, moving towards the cave as Sam backed away. “Damn, it’s dark in there. Kinda like your heart. Haha.” He glanced at his brother, who was stone-faced and clearly not amused by his humor, then sighed. Dean dug a penlight out of his jacket, turned it on, and paused before sticking it in his mouth. He glanced around, but the sandstone cliff they were at the base of was surrounded by the same quiet, brightly-lit, serene forest as it had been all day. You’d never know this was Ohio, he thought, with the cliffs and gorges and limestone overhangs. Looks more like Colorado, or Utah with trees.

“C’mon, Dean, quit stalling,” Sam said in an annoyed tone. “Nothing in there’s going to bite you.”

“And how do you know that? There’s probably bats if nothing else,” Dean retorted, putting the flashlight in his mouth beam-out and then placing his hands on each side of the crack and leaning forward to gingerly put his head inside. The narrow beam of light swept over an uneven brown dirt floor, patches of grayish rock showing through. The walls were, maybe, five or six feet apart, gradually widening past the entrance. Higher up, the dull stone walls disappeared into a darkness that the tiny flashlight beam didn’t reach both in front of him and above. It was very narrow and he felt a prickling of claustrophobia. He backed out, taking the flashlight out of his mouth and turned to his brother, who was waiting a few feet back with one hand on his knife sheath. “Nothing. Not a damn thing. Empty. Not going to bother going inside. Told you there—“

From inside the crack came a grinding, rumbling sound, then the smell of sulfur and rot, a dusty putrid stench. “Demons, Dean, get back!” Sam yelled, darting forward and grabbing his brother by one denim-clad arm, pulling them both away from the narrow cave entrance. “That’s sulfur!”

“No shit, Sherlock, I know that!” Dean snarled, batting his brother away. Both drew their weapons, Sam with his demon-killing knife while Dean had his Colt M1911 loaded with salt-packed .45s; they hadn’t expected demons here so that was the best he could do. It would at least slow the bastards down until the knife could be brought into play, he thought as they waited tensely. Without thinking about it Dean had immediately switched the flashlight to his left hand, crossed under his right wrist and pointed forward.

After the rumbling died away the next noise to come out of the cave was coughing, then a faint, choked-sounding woman’s voice said, “Where in the hell are we, Mulder?”

The brothers glanced at each other but didn’t remark, still waiting tensely to see what would come out of the cave.

“Hell if I know, Scully, head for the light over there,” a man’s voice replied, echoing slightly as it came closer. “Can you see anything?”

“Daylight,” she replied succinctly, and then the brothers caught a flash of auburn at the entrance which had them both en garde. “I can’t see anything out there, but I think we’re in a cave. It feels like rock around us.”

“I think you’re right, Scully,” the man’s voice said. Dean thought that he recognized that voice, then decided that he couldn’t have as it dawned on him who that sounded like.

“Cover me,” she said, and then Dean and Sam watched agape as a woman, crouched over, eased her way out of the crack in the rock, a Sig Sauer in one hand leading the way. Her deep auburn hair was cut in a shoulder-length bob, and she was wearing a black pantsuit with a white top beneath the jacket and clunky black high-heeled shoes. She turned, blinking as she looked around, and when she spotted them she immediately stepped to one side of the cave and then went into a firing stance and yelled, “FBI! Federal agents! Drop your weapons!”

Behind her, a tall, dark-haired man squeezed out of the cave, bent at the knees to the point where he was almost walking on them. His dark grey suit was too well-fitted to be anything but expensive, which he wore with a light blue shirt and a navy and black striped tie. Though his hair was shorter than Dean’s in the back, it was nearly as long as Sam’s on top. He, too, had a gun in his hand and the moment he was free, moved next to the woman and assumed a two-handed stance with his gun pointed at them. “You heard her, drop it!” he snapped.

Both Dean and Sam let their arms fall slowly, glancing at each other then back at the pair facing them with guns drawn and ready. “You gotta be kidding me,” Dean finally said. “Seriously, Sammy? Are they who I think they are?”

His brother nodded slowly, and then shook his head. “Think there’s a live role playing game around here? You know, like what Charlie’s into?” he said hopefully.

“I wish,” Dean said, still staring with some disbelief at the other pair. “I don’t think they’re shapeshifters, either.”

“What are you two talking about?” the red-haired woman said, clearly annoyed. “And, where are we? Did you bring us here?”

“Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio,” Dean replied, tucking his old Colt back into the waistband of his faded jeans and turning off the flashlight, which he suddenly realized that he didn’t need in broad daylight. He put it into the breast pocket of his denim jacket without saying a word, relived that no one seemed to have noticed, his face burning with personal embarrassment. He turned back to the pair facing him, reaching surreptitiously into the inside pocket of his jacket for the small plastic flask he always carried, unscrewing the top by touch. “And no, we most certainly didn’t. Are you, uh, actors or the real thing?”

“Actors?” the tall man said, lowering his gun and nodding at the woman to do the same. “Why would you think that?”

“Because I think we’ve been to your world, and now you’re in a similar situation,” Sam said, closing the sheath over his knife. “You’re Mulder and Scully right? From the X-Files?”

“How do you know about the X-Files?” the woman said suspiciously, snapping the safety onto her weapon but still holding it. “And what do you mean, ‘our’ world?”

“Because here, you two are characters in a TV show, just like we were over there,” Dean said, pulling the flask out and tossing holy water at the pair standing in front of them. They jumped back, startled, but he saw enough droplets fall on them harmlessly to know they weren’t demons. “I don’t know why this crazy shit always happens to us, but it most certainly does.”

* * *

The four of them were in Dean and Sam’s motel room, the brothers each on the end of a single bed while Mulder and Scully sat across from them in hard-backed chairs at the small table by the covered windows. The agents each had a bottle of water while the Winchesters nursed a beer. After some discussion in the forest they had decided to head back to town as it was getting dark and they all agreed that the motel room was as good of a place to talk as any. Scully was more reserved about it than Mulder, though Dean figured that she apparently had no wish the spend the night in the forest when it came down to brass tacks.

“In our world, you’re TV characters,” Dean explained again. “From a show that changed TV like no other ever had before it and never will again, I suspect.”

“You said that before. What do you mean, in your world? Where are we, other than in Ohio?” Mulder said.

“You’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. We’ve been to your Bizarro World, where you have no magic or supernatural creatures. Here, you’re Mulder and Scully. There, you’re David and Gillian, actors.” Dean said.

“And who are you in ‘our’ world?” Scully said, frowning.

“Over there, we’re a couple of actors with strange names,” Sam said, sidestepping the truth for the moment. “Our show was developed when yours ended.” He noticed that Dean was looking at him strangely and added in an aside, “I did some research while we were over there, dude.”

“So our, uh, our shows weren’t on the air at the same time?” Scully said.

“No, so I don’t know how we all managed to be here at the same time.” Sam said, picking at the label on his beer bottle. “Doesn’t make any sense.”

“Looks like time streams crossed, or maybe we moved between multiple universes,” Mulder said. “If we believe all this, and it seems like we have to.”

“And I thought Purgatory was weird,” Dean sighed.

The agents gave him a questioning look, but he just shook his head in wordless negation.

“So where were you two before you came out in the cave?” Sam asked.

Mulder explained that they had been tracking a shipment of what they thought were crashed UFO parts sent by the Consortium from Nellis AFB in Nevada to Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton. They were trying to find a back way to sneak onto the base when a bright white light had blinded them and, the next thing they knew, they were in inky darkness with light shining from one end. “And that’s when we found you, or you found us, which ever it was,” Mulder finished, then took a drink from his bottle of Dasani. “Shitty bottled water tastes the same, anyway.”

“What were you two doing out in the woods with weapons?” Scully asked, leaning back in her chair and folding her arms over her chest. She hadn’t touched her water, and Dean suspected that it was because she didn’t quite trust them yet.

The brothers exchanged glances, a complete conversation taking place as their eyes met. “First, let me explain,” Sam said slowly, gathering his thoughts. “Remember, we’ve been to your world, so we know that you guys don’t have some of the things we have here.”

“Like what?” Mulder said, holding up his half-empty water bottle. “Everything seems the same so far.”

“Most importantly, let’s see, your Bizarro World doesn’t have demons, angels, ghosts that can kill people, wendingos, vampires, shapeshifters, demi-gods, or anything else supernatural,” Dean said disparagingly. “That was actually kind of cool even though it was one hell of an inconvenience for us, but even better is how much we made as actors.” He rolled his eyes. “We could use that kind of money here, that’s for sure.”

Sam shot his brother an impatient look.

“Seems like your world is Bizarro World, not ours,” Mulder snapped back in response to Dean’s sarcastic tone. “Scully and I have seen things that most people wouldn’t believe, although no proof of angels or demons.”

“Not true, Mulder, remember the, uh, case with Father Gregory and the Seraphim/Nephilim? Or the Millennium Group zombies?”

He pursed his lips and nodded. “Okay, score one for angels, then. But other than that… everything we’ve discovered points to freaky biology, human fuckery, or aliens.”

“And aliens are about the only thing we haven’t stumbled across,” Dean said. “As far as I know, that is. Lucky us.”

“If I can continue…” Sam looked around at the others, setting his beer bottle on the old, flattened, once-green once-shag carpet between his feet. Resting his hands on his knees, he said, “Dean and I are Hunters. Hunters of… supernatural things. We hunt monsters, mostly, but also demons that come back onto the world from Hell and inhabit innocent people. Sometimes angels help us but they seem to be more of a hindrance most of the time.”

“Especially Cas,” Dean said sotto voice.

Ignoring him, Sam continued. “Anyway, most people don’t know about what we do, nor that such things exist, but we protect them anyway. Recently there have been some dismembered animals found in the Hocking Hills State Park, torn up like from a werewolf or maybe vamp trying not to eat people, perhaps even a rugaroo. We were checking it out. That’s all,” he spread his hands wide.

“So you’re, like, a two-person adult Monster Squad?” Mulder said with clear disbelief.

“Hey, at least we’re not chasing aliens and being made fun of by our contemporaries, Spooky,” Dean snapped back.

“You seem to know an awful lot about us,” Scully said suspiciously before Mulder could reply.

“Of course we do! Yours is the most famous TV show ever!” Dean replied with exasperation.

“So, in our world, you two aren’t TV characters until after our show is cancelled, have I got that right?” Scully said. “You’re just a couple of unknown actors to us, uh, our counterparts.”

“Not cancelled, ended after 9 crazy-successful seasons,“ Sam explained. “Your show is—was—a national phenomenon. And at the point in your timeline when you left, I don’t even know that we’re actors yet, probably just a couple of kids with dreams.”

“So what about your show?” Scully asked. “Was it as… popular?”

“It seemed like it was doing okay, at least until the majority of the production team got slaughtered by an angel assassin and we spent all the actors’ money,” Dean said. Both agents looked at him oddly and he just shrugged, offering no explanation.

“Wait, wait, I’ve got it, hang on,” Sam said, jumping up and going over to the closet. He backed out with his laptop in his hands, then went to the table and opened it between Mulder and Scully, standing at the end hunched over it. The other three watched as he tapped away at keys and swiped the trackpad, then finally uttered a victorious “uh-huh!” and stepped back, swinging one arm out at it. “Garth told me about this pirate TV show site, they have every show you can think of,” he explained to Dean. “Not sure if the wi-fi here is good enough to stream, but we should get enough for them to see it.”

Scully turned the laptop towards herself as Mulder got up and walked around to stand behind her chair with his hands on the back of it, fingers brushing her blazer. Both of their eyes widened, light flickering over their features as the brothers heard the familiar, eerie strains of The X-Files’ opening theme. Then Scully exclaimed, “Oh my God, that picture was from the Tooms case during our first year together!”

Mulder’s jaw was hanging open as he stared over his partner’s shoulder. “’The truth is out there’ is one of my mottos,” he said in a strained voice, wide hazel eyes glued to the screen.

Then came the sound of screaming, and a high-pitched man’s voice yelling “Help me! Somebody help me! Help! That guy's gonna to kill me! Help!”

“Holy shit! That’s Chaney, with the vampires!” Mulder said, glancing down at his partner, astonishment on his expressive face.

She looked back up at him, clearly shocked. “That’s Ronnie Strickland as we chased him through the woods after he drugged you,” she said slowly. “How did they—what—uh, never mind. Turn it, turn it off.”

Mulder leaned over her shoulder and shut the laptop lid, cutting off the screaming in mid-shriek. He raised incredulous eyes to the Winchesters. “That—that just happened last month,” he said slowly. “How did they… how could…” he trailed off, leaning on the back of Scully’s chair with both forearms. She sat, clearly stupefied, staring at the closed grey lid of the laptop. No one spoke for a few minutes, and the only sounds were the faint ticking of the alarm clock on Dean’s nightstand and the faint sounds of traffic from through the closed windows.

“So you guys don’t have any idea what brought you here, to our non-Bizzaro world?” Dean finally said to break the uneasy silence.

Mulder shook his head. “Not a goddamn clue.”

“Hey, I’ve got another idea,” Sam said, getting up and sitting in the chair that Mulder had vacated, pulling the laptop over to himself.

“No more of that… show… please,” Scully said, resting one elbow on the table and dropping her forehead into the hand it was bracing. Mulder squeezed her shoulder briefly, then gripped the top rung of the back of the chair as if it were a lifebuoy.

Sam typed and swiped for a few minutes, then sat back with a frown. “We may have a bigger problem here,” he said, then swiveled the laptop around so that Mulder and Scully could see it. Dean got up and stood beside Mulder, and wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry when he saw the pictures and headline on the website that Sam had found, TMZ.com. “X-Files’ Duchovny and Anderson missing, assumed together,” the large-type headline blared. Below it, recent pictures of the actors smiled out at them, and beneath that, another, smaller headline: “David Duchovny disappears from his trailer on the Californication set; Gillian Anderson missing from her London flat.”

“Oh. My. God. Is that supposed to be me?!” Scully said flatly, staring at the screen. “She’s older, and blonde, but she looks like me.”

“You’re hot as a fortysomething,” Mulder grinned down at her.

“You never do grow into your nose,” she snapped back without looking away from the screen.

“Yeah, well, that’s the actress who plays—played—you,” Sam said. “I think she’s in her forties now.”

“I agree with Mulder, damn fine forties,” Dean added. “Rowr.”

Mulder turned to glare at him and Dean grinned unapologetically, holding both hands up palms-out in a non-serious gesture of surrender.

They were silent for a few moments, reading the article. Though there had been much speculation regarding a possible relationship between the two during the time that the show had been on the air and again during the filming of the second movie in 2008, there had never been any proof nor had they admitted anything. Now it was assumed that they had run off together, although those close to the actors admitted that it was odd for them to leave without any possessions, especially as neither had contacted their children, or any other friends or family members or staff.

“Children?” Scully said, frowning slightly. “They had children? But it says—“

“Each of them married someone else and had kids,” Sam explained, paging down. “He has two and I think she has… yeah, here it is, she has three. A girl and two boys.”

Mulder was looking down at Scully with concern, Dean noted, then remembered from the show that Scully had been barren thanks to the bad guys, though he didn’t remember how or what had happened to make her so. He started to mention it, then snapped his mouth shut. The whole situation was surreal enough with going into all of that. If he really needed to know he was sure there were volumes of websites about it which he could easily find via Google.

“So you guys think that they got swapped to our world when we came here?” Mulder said, and Sam nodded approvingly. Dean was equally impressed with how well he was following their train of thought.

“If that’s the case then we’ve got to figure out how to get them, and us, back to the right timeline, universe, whatever,” Scully said urgently. “Outside of the havoc that could be going on with two actors pretending to be real FBI agents, their children can’t lose their parents like that.”

“They’re not going to be able to pass as us,” Mulder pointed out. “They’re a lot older. Only the voices sound the same.”

“I agree, on both counts,” Dean said, going to sit down on the bed again and leaning back to get his beer bottle from the nightstand. “But since we have no idea how you guys got here, how are we going to get you back where you belong?”

“How did you guys get back from our world?” Scully said, frowning slightly across the table at Sam.

He shook his head. “Angels and demons playing games, nothing like what’s happening here.”

“Yeah, and they’re all gone now,” Dean added. “No help there.”

“I… have an idea,” Sam said slowly. “It’s not much, but it’s something, and at least worth a try.” He looked up from the computer at Mulder and Scully. “In a two-part episode called Dreamland, you guys went to Area 51 and something, I don’t remember what, caused—“

“Hey, I remember that one!” Dean interrupted. “Mulder switched bodies with a MIB, played by the Spinal Tap dude. Was really cool when the old lady… what?”

Sam was glaring from across the room.

“Hey, just saying that I remember it,” Dean said defensively. “Whatever.”

“Anyway… my point being that in the episode, the time rubberband or whatever it was snapped back, and everything went back to being normal. Maybe that’s what’s happening here.”

Mulder shook his head. “That hasn’t happened yet in our world,” he said.

“Hang on…” Sam swung the computer back to himself and did some more tapping. “No, if Bad Blood—the vampire kid—just happened, this won’t take place for a few more months. November of 1998.”

Scully’s eyes sharpened as she looked over at him. “What year is it here?” she said suspiciously. “I noticed that your computer isn’t plugged into the wall yet it’s getting an Internet signal. And that website about the actors said 2008 like it was in the past.”

“That’s wi-fi—wireless Internet signals, it’s what we use now.” Sam raised his eyebrows and brushed his hair back, clearly stalling. Scully raised an eyebrow at him pointedly. “Twenty-thirteen,” he finally said, almost reluctantly Dean thought. “Yeah, technology’s come a ways in fifteen years.”

“You have no idea,” Dean said smugly, but didn’t elaborate.

Scully’s eyes widened and she glanced up at her partner, who just shook his head and squeezed her shoulder briefly again.

“So if this rubberband effect does snap back, do we have to be by where we came through, over, whatever?” Mulder said, going over to sit on the edge of Sam’s bed since the younger Winchester had taken his chair at the table. He handed over the half-empty bottle of beer, tilting his head to Sam’s thanks.

“If I remember correctly, no,” Sam said, again impressed that Mulder was following his thoughts so closely. Guy was well-written, he thought absently. “But it’s been a long time since I watched that episode so I could be mistaken. Maybe we should watch it,” he gestured to the laptop.

“I’m not going to,” Scully said firmly, twisting around and looking up at her partner again. “I don’t want to know what could happen in our future if that’s what it’s showing.”

“To be on the safe side, maybe we should stay by the cave where we came out,” Mulder said. “You never know, we might just get sucked back to our own time or something.”

“Well, we’re fresh out of camping gear and I don’t think any of us should spend a night out there unprepared,” Dean said. “Also, don’t forget the hungry critter who likes steak tartare we were out there investigating when we found you two.”

“Not a bad idea, Mulder, but Dean’s right,” Sam said. “We’d better stay here tonight and go out there in the morning.”

“Of course, if that’s not the case then we’re wasting our time,” Scully pointed out, then finally opened and took a drink from her water bottle absently. “It could be something else entirely.”

“It could,” Dean agreed. “But I think hanging out by the cave is a good idea anyway. Besides, it’s September, it’s not that cold yet. We can camp out for a while, set guards in shifts overnight. Save us some money on motels if nothing else.”

“It’s February where we’re from,” Mulder said. “But DC is going through a late winter thaw, which is why we don’t have coats or heavier jackets. I wish we’d come through when we were wearing jeans instead of work suits.”

Scully gave him an exasperated look. “How about you go get us a couple of rooms instead of—“

“You guys can’t get rooms unless you’ve got enough cash to pay for them,” Sam interrupted. “If you try to use a credit card it’ll come up as fake. Believe me, we’ve run into that.”

“How much does a room in this fine establishment cost?” Mulder asked, reaching into the inside pocket of his jacket for his wallet, his other hand waving around the wood-paneled room. Like so many that they’d stayed in, this no-tell motel had the ubiquitous half-wall behind the door, the bars on it decorated with frogs and lilypads for some reason, the nightstands marred with burn marks and the tiny kitchenette shiny with grease smears that no amount of cleaning could totally eradicate.

“Fifty a night,” Dean said.

“Holy God, no shit?” Scully said with disbelief, staring over at him. “A dump like this is only twenty at home!”

“Inflation, my friend, inflation,” Dean replied. “You wouldn’t believe the shit that’s happened in the last few years even if I told you. I’m not going to tell you who the president is, hopefully you’ll get to enjoy that one as it happens.”

“Doesn’t matter, I’ve only got thirty bucks on me,” Mulder said with annoyance. “How about you, Scully?”

She huffed. “Twenty; I don’t carry much cash on me, usually just enough for lunch. I end up losing my wallet too often to risk any more,” she added with a piercing look at Mulder, who pointedly ignored her.

“That’s enough for one room—we’ll cover any extra,” Sam said. “Get a double like we’ve got. Trust me, no one here cares if you two share a room.”

A light flush touched Scully’s cheeks before she turned away to dig in the pocket of her jacket. “Fine.”

Sam took the agents’ money then left to get the room while the other three headed out for supplies and dinner. While waiting for them to get back he went online and found the second Dreamland episode, fast-forwarding to the end where everything went back to the way it was. Though he doubted that the same thing would happen, he was fresh out of other ideas so it would have to do.

Dean picked up a party pizza and a large salad which all of them shared in the brothers’ room, then Mulder and Scully went off to their temporary digs for the night.

“Did you ever wonder if the actors who play us in Bizzaro World came over here when we got dragged over there?” Dean said later that evening as they were getting ready for bed.

“I never heard anyone say anything about it, but that was a whole different situation,” Sam said, flipping back the covers on his bed. “God, they use enough bleach to blind a demon from the fumes,” he said with a cough, waving his hand in front of his face.

“Considering what usually goes on in here, are you complaining?” Dean called from the bathroom, where he had just finished brushing his teeth. “At least they kill the germs. I hope.”

“You know, one thing I found interesting about those actors who played us is how much they look alike, just like we do,” Sam said, taking off his jeans and tossing them over his backpack beside the bed before sliding between the sheets in his briefs. “They had the same eye color, similar features, just like us. I wonder if they searched for actors who looked alike, or if it was just luck?”

“You’re twisting my melon, Sammy-boy, and I’d like to get some decent shut-eye for once since it seems we’re going to be roughing it for a while,” Dean said as he turned out the bathroom light and went to the small refrigerator underneath the chipped kitchen counter. Taking out a beer he elaborated, “Somehow I think we’re going to have some very interesting days coming up.”

A soft snore answered him and, grinning to himself, Dean twisted the cap off his beer and took it over to the bed, putting it on the nightstand. Picking up the remote, he made sure that the volume was low before turning on the TV, and then settled himself for an evening of fine adult entertainment.

* * *

The next morning, when they were ready to get started for the day, Dean went to call Mulder and Scully and realized that even if he’d remembered to get either of the agents’ cell phone numbers, they wouldn’t work. He tried to get Sam to go wake them up, but his brother gave him the room number and stayed put, saying that since he’d gotten the room Dean could take this one. “Call their room if you don’t want to go over there,” he said, sitting at the table with his laptop. “Besides, they’ll probably come here after they get up.”

“With any luck, maybe they disappeared back into TV Land,” Dean said, heading over to the coffeepot for a refill. “Listen, why don’t you—“

“I’m doing research, Dean. Remember, my job? Unless you want to wade through two million Google returns on the search for time travel.”

Finally giving up the argument, Dean shrugged into his denim jacket and opened the door only to see Mulder and Scully coming up the walkway towards him, looking rumpled and quite a bit worse for wear than they had the previous day. Scully’s hair, in particular, was a mess—damp, wavy and sticking out all over the place, unlike her usual neat style. Her face was clean of makeup and he noticed that she had a mole on her upper lip and a dusting of freckles across her cheeks, which he had never seen before. The wonders of TV makeup, he thought, and shuddered when he remembered the makeup he’d had to endure while pretending to be the actor who played him. Though they were wearing the same clothes as the day before, he noted that Mulder’s tie was nowhere in evidence though his shirt was buttoned most of the way up. Though it didn’t look like they’d slept in their jackets, the rest of their clothing was wrinkled. “What happened to you two?” he asked as they got near, stepping back and waving them in. “You look like you had one hell of a night.”

“We didn’t think to get pajamas, combs, toothbrushes, toothpaste—the list goes on,” Mulder said, clearly put out and glaring down at his partner for some reason Dean couldn’t figure out. “We didn’t even have enough shampoo, though there was just enough soap for both of us.”

Dean almost made a crack about showering together, but bit it off at the last second and pretended to cough as he closed the door behind them. Instead he said, “We’ve got extras of most of that stuff, except for the pajamas, if you want it. When we stay somewhere that has extras, we take them with us for those times that we run out.”

“Doesn’t do us much good now, although I will take a toothbrush and comb or brush if you have an extra,” Scully said as Sam rummaged through his carry bag which was open on his bed. “But I’ll wait brush my teeth after breakfast. I’m starving since Mulder ate the leftover pizza last night.”

“Yeah, breakfast is next,” Dean agreed as Scully took a narrow black comb, still in the package, from Sam. She disappeared into the bathroom while Sam hunted up the rest of the supplies from their extras, and they all heard her swearing and mumbling before she reappeared with her hair somewhat tamed. Mulder also managed to comb his hair into some semblance of order, so they headed out to look for a place to eat.

The brothers had just arrived in Logan the day before and went out to the forest after getting their room, so they were at as much of a loss as the agents as to where to eat. They finally found a cheesy-looking diner by the freeway, though Scully had wished out loud for a Denny’s or Big Boy. Dean didn’t have the heart to tell her that there were precious few left of either around. As small town diners went it didn’t seem too bad, though the looks they got when they were escorted to a table were not what Sam and Dean were used to, often feeling invisible as they went from town to town. He realized that two people in rumpled suits and two people in jeans and denim jackets were noteworthy, at least for a moment.

“So when we’re done here, are we going to pick up some camping gear so you guys can hang by the cave until Tinkerbelle waves her fairy wand to put you guys back where you belong?” Dean said after they’d given their orders to a rather wary-looking waitress.

“Sounds like a plan, but we don’t have any money,” Mulder said with a pointed look at the younger brother. “As you well know.”

“We’ll cover it,” Sam waved off his objection. “We should have some camping gear, anyway.”

“Yeah, because sometimes sleeping on the cold, hard ground beats sleeping in the warm car,” Dean said sarcastically. At a pointed look from his brother he relented. “Yeah, okay, we’ll spring for the stuff.”

Scully leaned over the table and put her hand on Sam’s arm, resting it on the sleeve of his plaid shirt. “Thank you both for helping us out,” she said in her direct way, looking back and forth between them. ”Something tells me that we’re damn lucky you were out there when we came out of the cave.”

They were saved from having to answer by the waitress, who delivered their drinks and disappeared again with no small talk. “So,” Dean said, picking up his coffee cup, “Why don’t you guys go do that, and I’ll go back to tracking the whatever-it-is that’s been ripping apart poor little Bambi in the forest.”

“Dean, I don’t think so,” Sam protested. “We don’t know what it is, and it’s too dangerous to go after it alone.”

“I’ll go with you,” Mulder immediately said. “If you really do have vampires and werewolves here I’d love the chance to see one.”

“Oh, these ain’t the cute Twilight or Michael Landon characters you may think,” Dean said. “Neither dies easy; you have to chop a vamp’s head off to gank it, and werewolves are even harder. You don’t even want to know how to kill a shapeshifter or rugaroo, which is what we suspect this is.”

“Sam, why don’t you and I get the camping stuff and let the macho men go wander in the woods?” Scully suggested. “I’ve seen enough ripped-apart corpses in my time to not want to deliberately go see another if I’m not on the clock. Besides, Mulder always gets us lost in the woods.”

“Macho, macho man,” Dean sang off-key, laughing. “No worry about getting lost, we’ve got GPS on our phones.”

“A direction finder? On your phones?” Mulder said incredulously. “The last time I used one I had to, ah, ‘borrow’ it from the FBI and ended up paying four digits to replace it.”

“Oh yeah, cell phones do a lot more than make calls these days,” Sam said, pulling his battered but serviceable iPhone, one of several different types, out of the breast pocket of his jacket and handing it over. “Check this out.”

The rest of the meal passed quickly as Sam was quite happy showing off the technology to the agents. Dean was chomping at the bit to get going so they parted at the curb where the Impala was parked. Sam and Scully headed up the street to a shopping plaza they had seen on the way to the diner, while Mulder and Dean were going out to the forest near the cave where this had all started. Sam planned to “get” them a car and they would all meet back at the cave in a couple of hours.

As they left the Dunham’s Sporting Goods store with two flat carts filled with camping gear Scully looked around. “Are you going to call Dean to pick us up?” she asked as Sam pushed his cart out into the busy parking lot.

“Uh, no, I was going to find us a decent-sized car,” he said, distracted as he looked around at the various cars parked in the strip mall’s good-sized lot. “Something big enough to hold all this, but not so big it’s a gas guzzler since we always replace the gas we use.”

Scully frowned, puzzled, then suddenly her eyes widened. “You are not going to steal a car!” she said forcefully but in a low voice, stopping in the middle of the parking lot aisle and grabbing Sam by the back of his tan corduroy jacket despite the fact that, even with her heels, she was a good two feet shorter than he. “I am a law enforcement officer and I won’t allow it!”

“Not here you’re not,” Sam argued, brushing her hand away and gesturing for her to move to the side as several cars were lined up trying to get by.

“Oh yes I am, it doesn’t matter where, when, or what time I’m in,” Scully said stubbornly, walking around to face him once their carts were out of the lane. For as tiny as she was Sam could feel the force of her personality and had a difficult time not just giving in to her. “Why don’t you just rent a car?”

“With what money? We’re damn near broke now,” Sam grumbled, running one hand through his thick hair. “We make most of our income by pool hustling and running scams on crooks, but that takes time.” He decided that mentioning identity theft and credit card fraud—always on the rich, but still—was probably not a good idea at this point.

Scully huffed, looking around. Then she broke out into a beautiful grin that showed the dimples on the sides of her mouth, and pointed to a line of Rent Me trucks of various sizes parked on the side of a Home Depot which was a few stores down from the Dunham’s they’d just come out of. “On second thought, one of those would do just fine if we need to, ah, ‘borrow’ a vehicle. And we wouldn’t have to worry about some family coming out of a store to find their car gone.”

Sam had to give it to her, for a fictional TV character she certainly had a good idea.

* * *

Several hours later Sam and Scully finished setting up the gear and were relaxing in folding camp chairs with a beer each in front of the pair of two-man pop-up tents. While in Dunham’s, Scully had picked out casual clothing for she and Mulder and now wore a pair of khakis with a white turtleneck tucked into them, a plain gray hoodie, and the tiniest pair of hiking boots that Sam had ever seen an adult fit into. She had pulled her hair back into a loose ponytail while they worked and now strands straggled out from it, curling around her face like auburn confetti strands.

“I wouldn’t have thought you’d like beer,” Sam said, raising his bottle of Corona. “You seem more like a wine-and-cocktail person to me.”

“Yeah, well, I’m a Navy brat and have rather plebian tastes, I’m afraid,” Scully said with a slight smile. “Mulder was surprised, too, the first time I had a beer in front of him. Actually I’m not much of a drinker, and I do like wine, but rarely touch hard liquor.”

“Dean worries me sometimes when he gets to drinking during a crisis, but he’s always gotten a handle on it,” Sam admitted. “We’ve had some really bad times, like after our dad died, when I thought I might lose him to the bottle. But he, and I, made it through them.”

“Same with Mulder,” Scully said, raising one eyebrow. “He often goes for alcohol during tough times, but he doesn’t overdo it for long. Besides, I think we’re getting too old for those hangovers. At least I know I am.”

Before Sam could reply Dean’s voice sounded from behind them. “Hey, looks like I found home sweet home,” he boomed, striding into the area in front of the tents and stopping before their chairs. “Not quite all the comforts of the that lovely motel in town, but not bad, not bad.”

Both Scully and Sam stared up at him with mouths open, and when Mulder walked into view from behind him she leapt up from her chair and ran to him. “What the hell, Mulder?!”

“What the fuck happened to you two?” Sam exclaimed, coming up out of his chair right behind Scully, who was scolding her partner even as she checked him over. Both Dean and Mulder looked like they’d been attacked by a weed whip or chain saw, with much of their clothes hanging in tatters although Scully found few actual wounds on them, mostly shallow cuts, bruises, and scrapes.

While Scully patched them up with the well-stocked first aid kit that the Winchesters kept in the car, Dean and Mulder took turns interrupting each other with the story. Sam was finally able to piece together that they had heard horrible cracking, slurping sounds coming from beneath a sandstone overhang and carefully approached it from both sides. Though a little muddled on what they’d seen (Dean swore it was a Bigfoot—a real one—while Mulder said Jersey Devil) the creature had become aware of their presence and tried to get away rather than attacking. But they had it flanked and both shot, but missed. Apparently that had angered the—whatever—and it went after Dean, who shot again and this time got it in the leg, slowing it down. But not before it took a swipe at him and knocked his gun away, and Mulder jumped on its back. When asked why he had jumped on it instead of shooting it, Mulder swore that he was afraid he’d hit Dean although both Sam and Scully suspected that it was more a surge of adrenaline than anything else. Scully was also remembering a few cases where, when given the choice, Mulder had wanted to capture a monster instead of killing it.

After that their stories got a bit muddled. The end result was that after tag-teaming the thing and a few minutes’ struggle, both Dean and Mulder got shrugged off and it disappeared into the woods. They had followed the creature’s blood trail for a while, but lost it when it disappeared into a stream. “The thing’s not stupid, that’s for sure,” Dean said as he dug through his pack for clean clothes. He was shirtless, and his jeans showed enough rips that they were unfit for public wear. His bare torso and arms were dotted with band-aids and small gauze pads taped on. “It clearly didn’t want to hurt us, just get us to leave it alone.”

“And it was eating a deer,” Mulder added, stripping off the remains of his blue dress shirt and standing bare-chested with goosebumps breaking out on his skin as he talked. Though it wasn’t cold, it felt cooler without clothes and Dean shivered a little too before he pulled on a plain black t-shirt, then donned a denim button-down shirt over it. “I think it might have been able to take one of us, but I don’t think it’s interested in man-meat. It just wanted to get away.”

Scully marched over to her shirtless partner, who was also dotted with bandages, and handed him a stack of folded cloth. “You’re damn lucky that I got us some clothes, because you certainly can’t walk around like that.” She flicked the dangling pocket of his pants before turning away. “I’m going in the tent, let me know when you’re both decent.”

“Thanks Scully,” Mulder called with laughter in his voice as she disappeared. He changed into the clothes she’d gotten him, a dark, rather stiff pair of jeans and a plain blue pocket t-shirt, though he put his dark dress socks and expensive shoes back on. Dean wondered why she’d gotten the hard denim instead of pre-washed as Mulder looked rather uncomfortable in them, but then decided that he didn’t really want to know.

It was getting near dark and Dean built a fire while Sam pulled out sandwich makings and paper plates, and set them on the lid of the cooler they’d bought earlier so they could each make their own. Scully dug out a couple large bags of chips and a six-pack of Diet Pepsi that they had also picked up at a party store on the way to the forest, though both Dean and Sam had beers instead. The four sat around the fire in camp chairs eating their simple dinner and talking as darkness drew down, each pair regaling the other with stories. Neither Dean nor Sam had the heart to tell the agents that they knew most of the stories, since the X-Files had been one of their favorite shows when they had managed to catch it while growing up.

“So, are you going to try and track that, uh, that… creature….?” Sam asked Dean as the stories wound down. “Or just let it go?”

“I dunno,” Dean said thoughtfully, staring into the fire with his beer bottle balanced on his flat stomach. “I don’t like leaving a monster out there, but on the other hand it’s not hurting people so…” he let his voice trail off. “I s’pose we should at least try to find it, if nothing else it’s hurt and could be dangerous.”

“I think we’ll stay here and wait by the cave,” Scully said, glancing in the general direction of the cliff they were camped at the base of, though they couldn’t see anything outside of the circle of flickering firelight. “Besides, I think Mulder’s guardian angel has had enough to do for the—“

“Angel!” Dean yelled, shooting out of his chair. His empty beer bottle went flying into the darkness behind him to land with an unseen, faint thump. “Why didn’t I think of it before, Sammy? Cas!”

The two agents looked back and forth between the brothers in confusion as Sam jumped up out of his chair as well. “Oh my God, yeah! Maybe he can help them!” he said, equally excited. “Call him, Dean! Pray your ass off!”

Mulder got up, Scully following suit. “What in the—“

“Hope we’re not out of soul phone range again,” Dean said to Sam, ignoring the agents, bowing his head and clasping his hands in front of himself in a parody of piety. “Callling Castiel, greatest of all angels, heed my—“

“I am busy. What do you want this time?”

Mulder and Scully goggled at the man who appeared in their midst, standing on the other side of the firepit between the brothers. He was of medium height and build, dark-haired with some beard shadow, totally unremarkable-looking, and yet there was something about him that made them look twice. He appeared annoyed, flipping back the sides of his tan trench coat and putting hands on lean hips beneath a grey suit jacket. “Dean, this had better be important.”

“It is, it is, Cas, trust me. This is agents Mulder and Scully, from—“

“The TV show?” Castiel said, incredulous, staring back and forth between the agents with wide eyes. “I watched that show, Dean, when I was stuck down here. How is this possible?”

“Damned if we know,” Sam said. “But they got here through a cave which is right over there, and we found out that the actors who play them in our world are also missing.”

“This is not important enough to interrupt me from battle plans, Dean!” Castiel said impatiently in his gravely voice. “What is it that you want?”

“We want to go home, “ Scully said. “I don’t know who you are or what it is you do, but we just want to go back where we came from.”

“I am an angel of the Lord,” Castiel said with flat factualness. “And I have far more important things to do in Heaven than deal with silly human problems. Don’t call me again, Dean, unless it’s really urgent.” And with that he disappeared.

“Well, it was worth a try,” Dean said, dispirited, as he sank back into his chair.

Sam was just about to sit down when there was a blinding flash of light and when he opened his eyes, all he could see were silvery spots twinkling against darkness. Rubbing his eyes he roared, “What the hell was that, Dean?!”

“How do I know, I can’t see a fucking thing, I’m blinded,” his brother’s voice came from nearby. “Had to have been Cas, but—“

“Where in the hell are we?” a familiar baritone male voice said, but there was something subtly different about the way it sounded from the voice they’d been listening to for the last two days. “And who in the hell are you two?”

Dean blinked, dashing pain-tears out of his eyes, until he could focus on the pair who stood in front of one of the tents. It was Mulder and Scully, yet not. For one thing, “Scully” had long, wavy blonde hair and “Mulder” had a two days’ growth of beard and longer hair than the character had ever been allowed to have, not to mention a bunch of string bracelets around one wrist and a barely-visible tattoo on his ring finger. The petite blonde clutched in his arms was wearing nothing but a tiny, lacy black bra and jeans, while he was shirtless and the fly of his pants was hanging open. Neither wore socks or shoes, their toes curling away from the cold ground as the temperature had dropped as darkness fell.

“David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, I presume?” he said, glancing over to see that Sam was goggling at them as well.

“Dave, what the fuck is going on?!” Gillian all but shrieked, causing all three men to wince. “One goddamn minute I’m in my house, then I’m in Scully’s apartment set but it’s real, and now where in the sam-fucking-hell am I?”

“Gilly, goddamn it, calm down and stop screaming,” David said, wrapping his arms tighter around her and turning so that she was shielded from the brothers’ sight. Then his jeans began to slide down and he had to use one hand to yank them back up. Holding Gillian with one arm and his pants with the other, he looked back at Dean. “Would you please tell us what in the hell is going on here, and would you happen to have something I can cover up Gilly with?”

“Yeah, whatever happened, the timing sucks,” she said from behind him.

“I knew it, dude,” Dean said to Sam sotto voce as he walked past him towards the tents. “They got it going on.”

While Dean rummaged in one their packs inside the tent Sam said, “We’re not sure what’s going on, but your fictional counterparts were here earlier. Somehow you and they got switched—“

“What fictional counterparts?” Gillian snapped, shivering.

“Mulder and Scully,” Dean said as he handed David one of his t-shirts for Gillian, then a button-down striped shirt of Sam’s for him. “That’ll have to do for now, let’s get you guys to town. And don’t bother asking too many questions, because we don’t have all the answers. We barely have any answers, now that I think about it.”

“Sorry we don’t have anything for your feet, I have no idea what Scully did with her shoes,” Sam interjected, noting their bare feet.

“That sounds like one of those stupid fanfic stories you used to like to read,” Gillian said to David as she wiggled into the shirt, which hung halfway down her thighs, while he buttoned his pants and pulled on Sam’s shirt, which was big even on him.

Sam and Dean shared a knowing glance; after having read the Supernatural books, they knew that anything was possible. “Well, you’re back from Neverland now, so let’s get you guys to civilization.”

“Got an idea,” Sam said. “I parked the Home Depot truck about a mile down the road with the keys in it, and I doubt anyone’s found it yet. Why don’t you take them there and let them drive the rest of the way to town? I’ll pack up this stuff while you’re gone and we can book as soon as you get back.”

Dean nodded. “Good idea, Sammy,” he agreed. Then he turned back to the couple and narrowed his eyes at them. It occurred to him that these two probably made way more than “J-squared”, who’d been paid way more than he’d ever imagined that TV actors made, and had to be mega-rich. “You two wouldn’t happen to be able to, uh, chip in for some of this camping gear we bought for Mulder and Scully, now, would you?”

finis