Note : This story is set in the "Blood & Roses" altaverse created by Katrina and maintained on her "Worlds of the Xenaverse" site. The basic premise is that Gabrielle is Bacchus' daughter and Xena is Ares', and they're involved romantically - but not in this particular story. This is a story centered around the bacchae bunny first seen in the episode "In Sickness & In Hell," and described in the prior two Flopsy stories. While reading those would be helpful, understanding that Flopsy is a bacchae, and a bunny rabbit, is adequate background information for this story - deep this ain't.
Spoiler Warning : None for Xena, but it is chock full of 'em for The X-Files. Basically, it assumes you have a fair grasp of knowledge of events up to the current (6th) season and can recognize elements for what they are based on minimal details - though to be truthful you can safely let a fair number of the references pass without losing much of the storyline : I wrote it so you didn't have to know much about X-Files continuity to enjoy the story - just accept what's written at face value. For those who do know, it takes place immediately after the events of the episode "Aqua Mala," and makes no major changes to either series' continuity.
Content Warning : Minimal violence, no sex, no innuendo, one corpse, and one angry bacchae bunny. No drugs, alcohol, or sexual violence - but there are one or two mildly naughty words. Other than that, it is a Gen Fic, and is suitable for anyone who routinely watches either series.
Xenite / X-Phile Disclaimer : Agent Mulder's insurance premiums were harmed by the production of this work.
Non-ownership Disclaimer : I don't own anything taken from Xena or the X-Files, mores the pity, nor - despite a brief mention - do I own any of the Looney Tunes characters. Besides, this is not for profit; I created Flopsy, but considering the derivation, I'm not about to try to make any money off her.
Author's Note : This was originally going to be Flopsy 4, but since the original Flopsy 3 is an Easter story, and I missed that holiday before completing that story, I haven't posted it yet. Since I now have a goodly while before Easter comes around again, I'll probably just go ahead and post that one soon anyway... <shrug> Such is life.
The ringing of the phone by her bedside roused the slumbering woman from her dreams. In the hazy unreality of the dreamscape, her naked body was being oiled down while the kinks in her spine were warmly massaged out by a six-foot, muscular, blonde Olympian. Unsurprisingly, irritation at being interrupted was clear in her bleary voice as she answered the phone. "Hello?"
"Hey, Scully, did I wake you up?"
Fox Mulder's cheerful tone did little to soothe her irritation. Back from Florida less than a day and already he was rousting her from bed at an ungodly hour... "No. I'm always this cheerful," she murmured sourly.
"C'mon, it's only..." he checked his watch, "11:21. What are you doing asleep at this hour?"
"Dreaming," she muttered, but already she could feel her irritation melting away, her aborted dream leaving a warm lassitude suffusing her as it dissolved. Blinking owlishly at the red glow of her clock, she forced herself to become more alert. "What is it this time, Mulder? Aliens? Strange water borne parasites? Cattle mutilations?"
"Nah... those can wait for tomorrow. My car broke down and I need a ride."
Scully almost fell out of the bed. "What?" she demanded. He woke me up to play cabbie? she thought incredulously.
Mulder exhaled heavily, his breath audible through the phone. "My car died."
Rolling her eyes, Dana Scully - medical doctor, FBI Agent, and perennial rescuer of Fox Mulder - opened her mouth to deliver a scathing critique of his person, habits, ancestry, and sexual practices, but instead simply sighed, once again relenting. "Where are you?" she wearily sighed in exasperation, her cotton sheets rustling as she threw off her blankets.
After telling her, Mulder added, "And would you hurry? It's too quiet around here... something's strange."
"What time did you say it was?" Scully asked, sitting up in bed.
He paused as he checked his watch again. "11:23. Why?"
"My clock says it's 11:24. Maybe you're suffering from a missing time phenomenon."
"Very funny, Scully. Remind me to remind you of this when your gift subscription to 'Celebrity Skin' starts arriving at the Hoover buildi..." He trailed off. "Uh, Scully?"
"What is it now, Mulder?" she retorted, looking around her bedroom for a clean shirt.
"Do rabbits have yellow eyes?"
Scully blinked. Now there was a Mulder-question she hadn't heard before. "I suppose. They're usually a sort of... green-gold, I guess. Why?"
"No," Mulder drawled. "I mean an 'open your crayon box and find the one labeled yellow,' yellow. Bright yellow. Real yellow."
"As in 'tequila yellow,' or 'cheap beer yellow?'" his distracted partner shot back. "And how much practice have you gotten identifying this color tonight?"
"I haven't touched a drop," Mulder protested. "I just thought I'd ask because something that looks like a bunny with bright yellow eyes is staring at me. It looks... hungry."
Scully rolled her eyes in exasperation. "Was 'Night of the Lepus' on TV again? It's just a rabbit, Mulder. It won't hurt you."
"No, I'm pretty sure it's not a rabbit... Doc."
Rolling her eyes again, Scully gave in to the inevitable. "How do you know it's not a rabbit, Mulder?" she asked, bracing herself for what was sure to be a truly horrendous Bugs Bunny joke.
"Because of the fangs. Get over here quick!"
Scully stared at the phone, which was now emitting a dial tone. He'd actually managed to sound panicked, with the hint of one of his "girly" screams entering his voice. If this was another one of his practical jokes...
She hurriedly finished dressing and ran out the door, barely remembering to close it behind her. Fanged bunnies? What had Mulder gotten himself into this time?
Fox Mulder carefully removed his hand from the receiver and backed away from the phone booth. He felt a wave of longing for the days when a phone booth was just that : a comforting enclosure of solid steel and plate glass he could hide within - safely locked away from this... this... bunny.
"Nice bunny... Nice bunny..." he began.
With a hissing cry, the rabbit pounced, lunging for his throat in a leap that defied gravity.
The FBI agent screamed and fell as the rabbit's teeth tore into his neck. The back of Mulder's head hit the concrete of the sidewalk, and the world went black.
He knew nothing more.
Flopsy - the bacchae bunny - snuffled briefly at the unconscious human, poking him gently with one clawed forepaw, then relaxed. Flopsy was quite pleased with herself - and the way the attack had gone. The tall human was unconscious, and now she was free to feed at her leisure.
The rabbit perched adroitly atop his supine shoulder and nosed gently at the wound she'd torn through the bandage that surrounded his neck. Delicately she crouched, nosing into the cradle of his throat and eagerly began to lap up the rich crimson blood that welled from the weeping wound with her cute pink tongue. Mmm... Delicious...
Frankly, no matter how good they tasted, Flopsy didn't like having to hunt humans. They were tall, vicious, and they always raised a fuss whenever she fed on one of them. It wasn't like there weren't enough of them about - surely they could spare one or two for her to eat every decade or so! Usually she didn't even kill them, but still they got upset about it. Humans were just funny that way. But, with this one unconscious, she'd be able to feed and be long gone by the time he awakened.
She drank quickly, sating her hunger on the trickle of dark blood. She fed well, drinking deeply of the warm liquid, but slowed when a wrongness began to disturb the air. Pausing in her feeding, the bacchae bunny froze, listening carefully with furry ears cocked. Rising to her haunches, she licked her delicate pink nose clean and scented the wind. Something, exuding an alien smell, was coming from behind her, attempting to be stealthy.
Turning carefully, she continued to groom herself, pretending to be unaware of what approached her. Flopsy's cheeks almost crinkled into a bunny-smile, her amusement at the thing's inept attempt to stalk her nearly overcoming her pretension of innocence; long before it approached, she could clearly smell it, hear its footfalls and soft breathing, and even faintly taste its exhalations on her sensitive tongue.
It was big; shaped like a heavily muscled man with a scarred face - but its scent told a different story. It was not a man... it wasn't even close to human. Flopsy waited patiently, ready to ambush the thing that threatened to take away her prey.
The figure stole up to the prone body of Fox Mulder, skulking through the shadows. When it saw Mulder's condition, it stepped from the concealing darkness into the pool of light and shook his head in amazement - and amusement. The figure, revealed to be the disguised form of an alien bounty hunter, had to suppress the urge to laugh aloud as he looked down upon his unconscious target.
The son of William Mulder, the thorn in the side of the Plan, a man who'd survived diseases both prehistoric and extraterrestrial, abduction, mutants, aliens, and mundane bullets, was finally brought low by... by... a bunny? It was a delicious irony, and one that would be savored by his employers for years to come. "Not that it matters, really; I'll be paid no matter how the human is killed. But it's so important to enjoy one's work," he mused with a small chuckle. Now to make sure...
Smirking, he drew a small cylinder from a hidden pocket located somewhere inside his clothing. Pressing a concealed button with his thumb, he triggered the release of a sharp shaft from one end, the spike that emerged making the device closely resemble an icepick.
At that moment, Flopsy pounced. She was not about to let her prey be stolen by this thing - and she'd faced too many sharp weapons over the years to allow it time to ready it's blade. No matter how ineffectual metal weapons were against her, they could still hurt.
The alien grunted, but made no outcry as the bunny's teeth tore through the skin of his neck. Truly, he had no need to defend himself : the retrovirus that pervaded his bloodstream would swiftly kill anything terrestrial that so much as scratched him - and that was supposing it survived the acidic properties of his blood.
Blood began to flow from his neck, corrosive green blood that steamed in the murky night air, bearing the lethal contaminant with it. Even as the alien stiffened from the pain of his injury, he backed away and tried to fling the now-poisoned creature away from him. He knew the bunny was dead, even if it didn't know it quite yet.
The bacchae squealed as she tasted the foul putrescence that was the thing's blood. A strangely burning lethargy suffused her body, and her furry hide flinched instinctively away from the gushing vile ichor. The green fluid stung as it splashed on her fur, smoke beginning to arise as the fine hairs began to smoulder. Even worse, it felt like her blood burst into flame, reminding her unpleasantly of how she'd felt when she'd eaten that plant in the bowels of that cave so very long ago - when she'd become the creature she was now.
Although racked by pain, the blood of both the god of blood and wine and his daughter flowed through the bunny's veins. The Olympian blood annihilated the alien virus, destroying it utterly - and allowing her blood to remain liquid and flowing. The god's power wreathed her like a second skin, protecting her from the corrosive fluid and shielding her sensitive skin from all but a mild stinging sensation despite the potency of the acid that was smeared and splashed across her body as she struggled with the alien.
Still, protected or not, the alien blood hurt where it touched her, and in defiance of the pain Flopsy snarled ferociously, redoubling her efforts. Digging in with all her claws, her fangs buried themselves deeply in the odd-tasting creature, tearing out small hunks of flesh with each jerk of her dainty head.
Gasping, the alien shook spasmodically, shaking his head in ever more wild efforts to get the thing to release him. It clung tenaciously, and resisted all his attempts to free himself. Even as he frantically struggled, the desperate thought raced through his mind, "Why isn't this creature dead...?"
The alien's efforts to break free were to no avail. He punched the creature, using the full power of his inhuman strength, but the rabbit simply shrugged off the blows as though they were nothing, digging ever deeper into his neck.
Now the alien was beginning to worry. Although the nape of his neck was his only true vulnerability, the rabbit seemed to be trying to eat its way completely through his throat - which would accomplish much the same result. Staggering down the street, he thrashed his head wildly about, trying in vain to detach the animal gnawing its way ever deeper into neck.
As his mind slowly faded away, the alien's final thought lingered even as his dying body slumped into the muck-encrusted gutter. "How...? We are invinc..." and then he was no more.
Flopsy spat daintily, trying to clear the taste of the dead thing from her mouth. She'd hoped to feed some more from the human after driving off the scavenger, but the taste the dead thing left in her mouth utterly ruined her appetite. Darting her tongue out in an attempt to scrape the thin coating of foul green blood from it, she hopped into the darkness, leaving the alien's body to dissolve into a puddle of putrid green slime in the gutter.
After a moment, all was silent.
In the darkness down the road, a shadowed figure sitting in a parked car quietly opened a cellular phone and dialed a number from memory.
The call was answered, and the sound of breathing came through the receiver. "Report," a raspy voice ordered.
The figure in the car stiffened, showing a feminine silhouette. She hadn't expected to directly reach... him. "Sir, per your instructions, I was following Fo... the subject. One of the rebels just attempted to assassinate him."
"Attempted? It failed?" Even with such surprising news, the voice on the phone remained perfectly calm and controlled.
"Yes sir," she responded. "After the rebel disabled his car, but before he could make the kill, Agent Mulder called for assistance. However, while he was at the phone booth, a... rabbit attacked and injured him."
"A rabbit?" Was that fear in that dark voice? No, it couldn't be...
"Yes, sir. When the rebel approached Fox to finish him off, the rabbit... the rabbit... Sir, it damn near chewed his head clean off," she concluded with a grimace. She had seen many strange and awful things, both in the service of her country and in the service of him, but somehow she knew that the memory of this attack would remain to haunt her for a very long time.
"I see." There was a pause, and the sound of a cigarette being lit came dimly through the phone's earpiece. "You've done well, Agent Fowley. Best be gone before Agent Scully sees you lurking about. Prepare a complete report on the incident and have it ready by tomorrow morning."
"Sir?" she asked in surprise. That was unexpected - and wholly against SOP. "What about the rabbit? It was able to kill one of them and live. What about...?" she trailed off uncertainly.
"Forget it," the man Mulder called "Cancer Man" harshly ordered, fingering an old scar on the side of his neck. His mind flashed briefly back to his own encounter with the blood-drinking rabbit, many years before in a lab near Tunguska. Although the bunny had proven immune to the black oil, the side effects of using its blood as a serum were found to be simply too... extreme to suit their purposes. Still, the rabbit's unsuitability was only a minor setback; the Plan still incorporated plenty of time to find a viable alternative.
Naturally, Fowley needed to know none of this. "Don't question my orders," he retorted, his voice rising only slightly as he rebuked his operative, "or presume to second guess me. I've watched presidents die. Simply do as you've been told and get out of there... Now."
"Yes sir," her car was started and moving even before the connection could be severed. With good reason : she knew full well that ignoring even such a minor warning from him would be tantamount to suicide.
Moments later, Agent Scully's blue Taurus screeched to a halt beside the small circle of light cast by the dim bulb flickering in the phone booth. Mulder lay nearby, prone on the cement. Even in the low light, she could see the fresh blood flowing, darkening the bandage that already covered his throat. Drawing her pistol with one hand, she dialed 911 on her cellular with the other, summoning an ambulance for her fallen partner.
Sticking the phone back into her pocket, she darted a glance around the deserted streets. Nothing. Whatever had attacked Mulder was long gone, she reflected, and he needs help. Pulling her emergency medical kit out of the back seat, she hurried to his side.
Fortunately for her, the dissolved corpse of the alien had long since dripped through a grate into the sewers. The two federal agents were safe from the retrovirus.
Coincidentally, the disappearance of the virus-laden remains had a secondary effect. As the goo that was the mortal remains of the alien bounty hunter oozed through the sewers, it wiped out a nest of rats that lurked beneath the streets - and that were the sole carriers of a freshly mutated (and thoroughly lethal) strain of primordial plague that had been unleashed when maintenance workers had unwittingly dug into a pocket of gas trapped in the bowels of the earth since before the last ice age. Neither the rats nor the mutant (but terrestrial) plague proved immune to the effects of the alien virus, and they both swiftly succumbed to its effects, the virus shrivelling into a merciful extinction as the rats that harbored it curled up and died, their blood solidifying into a plasticine solid in their veins. Since nobody knew about the virus, nor its sudden and coincidental extinction, there were no celebrations or sudden senses of relief, but it was still fortuitous for the Eastern Seaboard.
On the street above, wholly unaware of their good fortune in escaping the lethal plague, Agent Scully knelt to evaluate her partner's injuries.
All things considered, Mulder's wounds aren't that bad, Scully decided. The bandage that covered the wounds left by the tentacle of the water-creature in Florida had protected him from the worst of the injury, and the blood flow, while strong, was not rapid enough to indicate serious damage to a major vessel.
Preparing a bandage, she applied and maintained pressure on the wound while looking him over for other, less visible injuries. He appeared to be uninjured aside from his neck, and a bump on the back of his head. All perfectly normal... except for the four parallel scratches drawn down the side of his face. They almost looked like... clawmarks.
As Scully labored over her partner, her eyes kept being drawn back to those marks like iron filings to a lodestone. In medical school, one of her friends had a good luck charm, dating from her childhood, that she'd fondled obsessively before major exams : a rabbit's foot. If the claws on that foot had been only slightly longer...
The wounds on Mulder's face would almost exactly match the pattern that could have been inflicted by that ragged green memento. Shaking off the brief reverie with an effort, she refocused her attention on the wound in Mulder's neck.
An ambulance quickly appeared, and she gratefully let the EMTs take over, pulling off her latex gloves with a muted snap and a sigh of frustration. Scully wished she could treat Mulder's wounds herself, but bowed to the necessity of surrendering him into the care of others. She had an even less pleasant job than dealing with his still-bleeding wounds ahead of her : informing their boss of Mulder's latest injury.
She dialed with one hand as she followed the ambulance to the hospital, mentally searching for the proper phrasing. You'd think this would grow easier with practice, she thought with a wry frown.
As was to be expected, Assistant Director Kersh was gruff when he answered her call.
"Sir," she began.
"What is it Agent Scully?" he immediately responded, the underlying warning, "This had better be good," clear in his tone.
"Agent Mulder has been injured and is en route to the hospital."
There was a stunned pause, and then the sound of a body sliding between sheets. Finally, he spoke. "Again?" was all he managed to ask, startled amazement and incredulity coloring his voice. After a moment's thought he added, "How?"
Sighing heavily, Scully slowly told the truth as she knew it, pausing several times in the process to muster much-needed fortitude. "Apparently... he was attacked... and had his throat torn open... by a rabbit."
The line was utterly silent for several minutes. Eventually, the AD coughed, clearing his throat and enabling him to speak, despite his shock. "I... see. How is he?" he asked.
"Unknown, sir," Scully immediately responded, grateful to be returning to a topic she could treat clinically. "His throat has suffered a major trauma, and he has other minor cuts and abrasions. He's also unconscious, probably from a blow to the back of his head. I'm following him to the hospital, so I'll know more once the doctors there finish assessing his injuries."
"Call me back when you get further details," he ordered.
"Yes, sir." The sharp click as AD Kersh cut the connection rang loudly in the darkness. "Just great..." Scully muttered, following the flashing lights of the ambulance.
Her boss waited several heartbeats after hanging up, then picked up the receiver once more and dialed a number. "Walt? It's Kersh. Your prodigal got himself injured again. Once again... you won the pool. Congratulations."
"What?" he asked into the receiver. "How? Animal. Huh? Oh... a rabbit. No, I'm not joking. A rabbit tore out his throat. Yeah, me too... See me in the morning, and I'll give you your winnings. Yeah. Good night to you, too."
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These pages were last updated: August 6, 1999
© August 1999