Circulus Vitiosus is latin for 'Vicious Circle'. I'm sure this episode has been thoroughly eviscerated and rewritten by other writers, but I'm taking my turn at it anyway. Thanks for reading!


"Wait." Mulder's voice stopped them, suddenly calm, almost soft.

Scully motioned to the doctor to let him continue, let him speak while he was relaxed again.

"I'm very, very far in the past...It is hot and bright, even in here, in the...the palace. The Pharaoh, Weneg, is meeting with his advisors. He is Cancerman. He...he worships the sun, he knows they came, he'll betray us to them," his voice grew louder, and he became agitated at this.

Scully started, disbelieving.

"I guard his wives in the next room. There has to be about a dozen, though the Queen is not among them. Hidden in the corner is one of the newer ones, she is young and doesn't smile." Mulder grew agitated, shifting in his seat, breathing in sharply. "She is Scully."

Her eyes widened, her mouth dropping open as if about to protest. Married to Cancerman? Jesus, the thought turned her stomach...funny, Mulder looked a little sick too. She shook her head, and regained her stoicism.

Mulder frowned. "It is only the three of us here. Samantha, Melissa, their souls are not yet born...but we, we have been tangled forever it feels like...even this is not the first time. Again and again, we always find each other..."

Suddenly his head jerked, facing up toward the ceiling, and he took a deep, almost gasping breath. His mouth stayed open, and his grip tightened on the arm rests. He inhaled another heavy breath, and Scully moved to go toward him, but then he spoke again.

"We are lovers here...Scully and I..."

She froze, hand on her mouth, heart suddenly beating in her ears.

"It's so, so...safe. There's no death, no pain here, none of the torment of our other lives. It's just us together...and she smiles...for me." He exhaled slowly, his head lolling gently to the side. "I'm watching her sleep."

She'd never seen his features look so soft, never seen him look so at peace, and with his words, it was a little unnerving. But not so much that she couldn't appreciate what that moment of peace would mean to him if he remembered it after this. Even in his sleep, Mulder was so often tormented by his past. Scully breathed in deeply, air shuddering in her throat.

Mulder's head jerked again, all signs of peace disappeared from his now pale face. His voice came out low, and filled with dread. "No..."

The hypnotist leaned forward. "Agent Mulder, what do you see?"

"Cancerman, he found us. He's furious. He's got Scully, he's hurting her, and...men, the other guards, they have weapons, knives..." Mulder trailed off his head jerked around. His breathing grew labored, and his face twisted up in pain.

Scully again went to go to him, but jumped back when he suddenly yelled.

"No! No! Don't! Leave her alone! No! Stop! Scully! No! No!" He was yelling and twisting around in the chair, sweat beading on his skin and pain morphing his features.

"Stop it, bring him out," Scully urged the hypnotist, desperately. One hand was clenched at her side, and her heartbeat was echoing inside her skull.

"Agent Mulder, I'm going to count back from five, when I reach one, you'll no longer be in ancient Egypt, but in with us in the present time. 5--" Mulder cut him off.

"No, no...Scully, he's going to kill us..." His voice cracked with a tearless sob, as he resigned himself to their fate.

The hypnotist looked at Scully, and she nodded urging him to continue.

"Five...four...three...two...one...Agent Mulder?"

Mulder almost seemed to sag against the chair, his head falling to his chest. He lifted his hands to his head, feeling exhausted, but remembering nothing. His brow felt damp, he pulled his hands back. No blood, sweat then. He looked up at Scully, asking her silently what had happened.

She stood stiffly, with a hand still on her mouth, her eyes lit with a look that was Scully's alone. Fear, concern, awe, some combination of them that Mulder had seen before.

"Scully?"

That one word held an entire conversation worth of questions. Scully finally exhaled, and the light in her eyes dimmed back to her usual calm professionalism.

"It's alright Mulder, it's over."

She would tell him about it later. He may not remember it, but she wouldn't soon forget it. Scully needed time to think; Mulder would listen to the tape, and get some answers soon enough.

--

The evening following the mass suicide and aborted raid Mulder and Scully were back in their basement, working on paperwork. He didn't seem to want to go home, and she was worried that he'd barely said anything since finding Melissa's body. So, she proofread the same paragraph for the fifth time, and he stared blankly at his own form.

They were sitting across from each other at the desk. The only desk in the office that put them less than a foot away from each other every time they did paperwork. It also resulted in unintentional games of footsie that tended to lead to intentional ones out of pure boredom.

Scully looked at her partner, his head angled slightly down making his already full bottom lip look pouty. She considered that this was all too accurate to his mood, and even complimented his continued silence.

"Mulder."

He looked up from his untouched form, but said nothing.

"Would you please say something?" She set her pen down, and pressed her lips together. She was tense.

"Like?"

"Anything, Mulder. You're never this quiet." She released her lips, and relaxed her body. Just one word out of his mouth put her more at ease.

He actually smiled. "Here I thought you were tired of my ten-minute diatribes about conspiracies, aliens, mutants, and Bigfoot."

"We've been down here together for four years, Mulder. If I was going to get tired of them, I'd have done it long ago." She returned his smile.

He was quiet again, before asking, "What if there was more than one?"

She frowned. "Sorry?"

"Bigfoot. Would they be Bigfeet? Bigfoots sounds wrong." His concentrated face said he was seriously considering the question.

"Just Bigfoot, I think. Or sasquatches? Sasquatchi?"

He chuckled, but didn't verbally respond. The office fell silent again, with Mulder staring off somewhere beyond his partner's shoulder, and Scully still watching him with some concern.

Suddenly he looked at her, "Scully, he's been working with them this whole time."

"Could you clarify 'he' and 'they'?"

"Cancerman and the aliens."

"Mulder, I looked up that name you said, Weneg. Historians have determined him to be the same person as Raneb, who ruled in the second dynastic period. He was known for ushering in the worship of the sun god, Ra, but that's it. There's no evidence that he made contact with beings from another planet."

"How were the pyramids built, Scully?" He demanded.

Scully inhaled sharply. "Obviously, that is still something of a mystery, but I refuse to believe it was aliens. Besides, Raneb, Weneg, whatever his name was, ruled around 2800 BC, the first pyramid was built around 2600 BC."

"Yes and, it makes perfect sense."

She gave him a look. No, she did not see.

"Scully, he invited them."

"You think Cancerman, or rather his incarnation in 2800 B.C. invited aliens to help his descendants with some architectural projects?"

"I don't know, Scully, but it makes sense. There have been reports that the Nazis had and were working with alien technology. The Vril Society, the 'Bell' craft they developed, Operation Paperclip, we know that one for a fact. And, Cancerman was a Nazi. He's always been working with them."

"Mulder, I'll grant you that he's an evil bastard, but 5000 or so years of being reincarnated to help aliens takeover the planet? That's a bit much to swallow."

"Then look at us."

She eyed him. "I'm looking, but I'm not seeing."

"As long as Cancerman has been around, so have we. We are meant to stop him, Scully. Maybe, that's why we keep coming back, what we have to learn."

"That we have some secret destiny to prevent the enslavement of our race by alien beings?"

"That's what I'm thinking," he said, finally leaning back, relaxing.

"Then explain Samantha and Melissa. How do they fit it, why only show up in the 1800s or 1940s?"

"I think...I think maybe they were to help us along. In 1940, we didn't look at Cancerman as anything more than a Nazi, we were too busy trying to survive to try and stop him. In Egypt, he was a Pharaoh, we both ranked much lower than him, and we saw him as a threat to our affair, not a threat to all of mankind. Samantha was the trigger that put us in his path in this life, she is the reason I started on the x files, and by default why you did."

Scully nodded very slowly, a sure signal that she understood, but had concluded that he was nuts. "And Melissa?"

"To lead us to this moment now. I would never have tried to regress into my past lives without her. We needed to see, needed to know, Scully."

"Because in this life, we're stopping invading alien forces," she concluded.

He nodded, smiling, knowing full well she thought he was crazy. "We've been set-up, Scully. Cosmically."

She just shook her head. But, Mulder wasn't done yet.

"Scully, do you believe we were lovers in ancient Egypt?"

She gaped, but quickly covered. "Uh, I...I guess I don't really know. Do you?"

"Yeah, I do. You saw me under Scully, you heard me. If I wasn't seeing that, what was I seeing?"

She exhaled loudly. "I don't know, Mulder. You already had the suggestion of past lives in your head, it isn't completely implausible that your subconscious mind would use that bit of knowledge to create these scenarios."

"Scully, do I strike you as a closest tranny?"

Her eyes widened, showing surprise for only a few seconds before she settled again. She responded through pursed lips." No, you don't."

"Do you think I hate you?" His face was passive, patient. Scully's was not.

"No, Mulder, of course not. Why?"

"Then why, in any part of my mind, conscious, subconscious, or as yet undiscovered, would you think that I wanted be a Jewish woman or see you married to Cancerman? Jesus, just the thought of him touching you makes me want to pull out my gun and go caveman on him." His voice had gotten progressively louder as he spoke.

Scully chose to overlook his obvious protectiveness of her, and continue on the safer course of conversation.

"I didn't say you did. Maybe you read a story about the holocaust as a child, or saw a movie, or something, that resurfaced during your hypnosis."

He nodded. "Okay, it's plausible, I'll give you that. But Scully, never, even in my worst nightmares, have I ever imagined you being Cancerman's blushing bride."

She thought about that a minute. "Well, it could be a simple case of some very colorful projecting."

He offered only a dubious look in response.

"They sent me down here to spy on you and debunk your work, effectively making me part of them, whether I wanted to be or not. In your...vision through hypnosis, I was allied with Cancerman as his wife. Here, now, I was seduced by our work, I allied myself with you, and in your vision I was seduced by you, and became your lover. In both scenarios, I was technically allied with Cancerman, but in both I chose you."

"He killed us back then, Scully." His voice had gone soft, barely above a whisper.

"Yes, but we're still fighting him today, aren't we?"

He nodded, looking toward the ground. When he picked his head up, he was grimacing. "You notice that all of those scenarios ended with death, Scully? Violent death."

"The Jewish woman didn't die."

"Not in the part I saw, but it was the Holocaust, it's likely that she eventually died in a concentration camp. And you were already dead in that one--violently, by the way."

Scully held up empty hands. "Maybe we just have bad luck."

Mulder laughed. "Says the scientist."

"Well fine, what's your big explanation?" She smiled. There wasn't even a hint of seriousness in their discussion now, it was just a game until one of them ran out of steam.

"What if...what if we create an almost toxic effect when we're put together, causing a reaction that always ends violently?"

"You mean, like you're baking soda, and I'm vinegar, and together we..." She gestured outward with her hands.

"Create a sweet science project, yeah."

She raised an eyebrow. "Okay...then why wouldn't our first encounter in Egypt have been our last? And you were my daughter during the holocaust, why would it have taken thirty plus years to achieve such a reaction? And for that matter, why are we both still living now? And why would we keep coming together if that was the case?"

"Whoa Scully, slow down that train," he told her, pausing to think. "Maybe the effect takes time to build."

"Then why would we keep coming together, if all we're meant to do is destroy each other?"

Mulder sat for a silent minute puzzling that over, then he grinned. "Maybe fate is eventually going to throw us together in such a way that we'll just blow the whole world to shit."

"We'll be the cause of the apocalypse?"

He cocked his head to the side, as if asking, why not?

She grinned. "Mulder, your argument is leaking like a sieve."

He shrugged. "Can't win 'em all, Scully."

"No, I guess you can't."

"I'm inclined to believe the former anyway," he said.

"That we're going to save humanity?"

"Yes. You're a doctor, Scully, you heal, not destroy."

"And, you Mulder?"

"Oh, I'm just as gentle and harmless as a little baby cat." He grinned, stretching, and pulling his lanky frame from the less than comfortable desk chair. "Come on, it's late, and I need a drink...you're buying."

Scully rolled her eyes, but grabbed her bag and jacket, and stood up to follow him out.

They walked down the dim hallway after locking up their office, and Scully hit the button on the elevator. There was only one--up--you couldn't go further down than the basement.

Mulder leaned close to her ear, and spoke low, almost alluringly. "So Scully, I seduced you?"

The elevator dinged, and Scully climbed on, holding the door and smiling. "I don't know, Mulder I might have been wrong assuming that...maybe I was the one who seduced you."

He grinned and climbed on beside her, whispering to himself. "Everyday, G-woman."