November 9, 2017
Mulder is lost in a whirlpool of events...but where exactly is he? In an unknown location, in hell, or maybe in his own subconscious? NB: This won the Alternative Universe category for the XFU Challenge 2009.
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TITLE: Lost Within
RATING: R - some violent imagery here and there, and strong language.
CATEGORY: MULDER ANGST/MT/MSR
SPOILERS: Closure/Requiem/Within, and a hint of Little Green Men! (All take place in alternative universes.)
SUMMARY: Mulder is lost in a whirlpool of events...but where exactly is he?
ARCHIVE: Ephemeral, Gossamer… Anyone else...please ask me first.
FEEDBACK: very much welcomed
DISCLAIMER: All X File character's belong to CC,1013 & Fox, but have been lovingly borrowed for a while. No profit was made and no copyright infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This was written for an XF fanfic October 2004 challenge named 'Welcome To My Nightmare." I also received some inspiring feedback from
David Duchovny himself!
NB: This story won the Alternative Universe Category at X Files Ultimate Fanfiction Challenge 2009!
I am lost within
Confused and alone
And find my true home
Images taunt me
Nowhere to hide
So much torment
Deep down inside
Yet beneath the pain
Your warmth shine's bright
As you take my hand
Leading me to the light
You're heart is mine own
Two souls are entwined
Our paths have been chosen
For the sake of mankind
by Penny Evans
"Please leave me.....let me go! Leave me the fuck alone! No more......noooooo more!
He stirred, but found he could not move. As swirling mists began to close in on him, he felt himself falling deeper into the inky blackness. Time seemed to stand still....and yet rush by at an alarming rate. None of it made any sense, yet at the same time filled him with clarity. Images formed, then dispersed like grains of sand suddenly caught up in a howling maelstrom. Was this what people meant when they stated that their whole life passed before them, before death claimed their souls? So, was he dying.....or being reborn? Fear grasped at his very being almost choking him. Why was this happening? Where exactly was he? And the biggest question of all that loomed in his mind was how could he escape? And if so....where to? Unless this was all within his own mind? In that case how could you break free from your own thoughts? This was hell personified!
"Ok, get a fucking grip, Mulder" he heard himself utter. His words sounding frail, like shattered glass. "Best to try and rationalize, not panic and lose myself even deeper inside this abyss." He felt a rush of air fill his lungs as he took a deep breath. Then he exhaled very slowly. Ok, Mr. brilliant profiler, you're so great at sketching out other folks characterizations.....let's see if you can work out your own psyche?" Surely this had to be his own subconscious fighting for some explanations....to....understand...? WHAT? He took another gulp of air. Easy. Try...to...stay calm.
A sudden flash of intensely bright light took him by complete surprise. "What the..?" It seemed to penetrate his very soul, and the fear began trying to rear it's ugly head once more. For a few moments he was blinded. Then as his vision slowly returned, he thought he saw shadows forming in the eerie illumination. They began to shape themselves into people...human beings? No. Something else...something tall, spindly and grey...with almond eyes, reflecting the inky blackness that still surrounded him. Although, now he was caught up in this sphere of piercing light. "Wha...what do you want?" Wasn't this his ultimate question for these creatures from another dimension of space and time?
He received no answer. The 'aliens' didn't even seem to be acknowledging his existence...that is if he was even alive? So was this his own personal hell he'd been sent to? Sharing this realm with EBE's certainly would be the worst thing he'd ever want to experience for all eternity. Given a choice he would much rather have preferred an endless vacation in heaven, on a fluffy white cloud, with Scully by his side. Safe, warm and totally loved. But obviously he hadn't had the luxury of choice. He felt hot tears sting his eyes and begin to slowly trickle down his cheeks. Scully? Where was she? Why wasn't she here with him? Another thought invaded his mind. Maybe she deserved better than this? Perhaps she was in that other world, with the fluffy white clouds, playing a melancholy tune on her harp...because she missed him. "There you go again," he cursed himself. "Making out you're so important in her life? You can be such a conceited bastard at times!" Obviously whoever is in charge of this weird scenario certainly doesn't think you are the 'be all and end all' of her universe...or you'd have her beside you right now.
Without warning a cold chill ran down his spine and all thoughts of Dana Scully disappeared into the ether. He felt a light touch on his shoulder and a soft voice whispered into his ear. The name he'd been christened with.
"Please let me see," he begged. "I need to know who this is." However his mind already knew. He concentrated hard on trying to turn around, but to no avail. "Samantha?" he called into the light, or the darkness...whichever would listen to him. Starting to feel frustrated with this whole insane experience he yelled, "God, please! Whatever this is, just let me see her again!" Again? Oh yes, now he remembered. He'd witnessed her playing with other children in an ethereal setting. What had they been called? Walk-Ins. Lost souls transported in starlight, looking for new homes. His sister was amongst them now, after they had saved her soul from suffering an unspeakable horror in her lifetime. So what was she doing here? Unless..? There was that feeling of dread once more. Perhaps he was following the same fate? But this certainly didn't feel like salvation...more like he was being condemned. Was this his own personal purgatory...a means of cleansing or damning his soul for all of eternity?
Slowly, the light receded along with the alien figures. What now? He blinked several times, and then she was just standing there. The same vision he'd seen when she ran towards him, and flung her arms around him. Fourteen years old, long ebony hair flowing all around her shoulders, and that same smile on her lips. "Fox, it's you."
Now it was complete confusion that controlled his mind. "Sam..? Why?..What are you doing here in this..? (Ok, no way you can describe it exactly) "...place?" He shuddered and felt the tears begin to well up once more. "Are you really here?...And where exactly is HERE? Can you tell me, Sam?"
His sister began to offer soothing and comforting words. "Shhh, it's ok now. I'm here, Fox. You've found me."
Mulder clung to her small frame, hardly daring to believe she had returned to him. From where? That didn't matter right at this moment in time. Wherever they were now? Who cares! Sam was here, back in her brother's strong embrace. He would never let go of her ever again! Allowing a smile to invade his lips, he gently stroked her hair. Whatever the circumstances that had led him to this unreal world, he had found his sister. His goal was now complete. What he'd desperately wanted all his life, was now a reality. Sam was safe.
"Fox?" Her brown eyes looked into his own, a hint of sadness clearly visible.
"What?" he asked, quietly. Still holding onto her, tightly.
"Did we ever finish that stupid game?"
He looked puzzled. "Game?"
"With those colored pieces....I can't remember what it was called."
" I don't....," he hesitated, "No, we never finished it."
"Why not?" Her question was asked with such innocence.
An avalanche of memories flooded back, almost drowning him in a shroud of darkness. "B..because, you were taken away from me, Sam."
"The light? Did that come for me?"
"I..I.." He was beginning to choke on the tears that were now threatening to flow. "Y..yes. It..it... 'They snatched you from your home, your family." Now his words were pouring out. "I tried so hard to find you. I discovered these abandoned case files on the paranormal and pursued them with a vengeance, praying they'd eventually lead me to you. I got myself so entranced in finding you, nothing else mattered to me. Not even my own life, sometimes. Thank god I had Scully with me while I was working on those X-Files..."
She interrupted him. "Fox, what are X-Files?"
He was just about to give her a reply, which probably would have been an unintentional rambling description of his work within the FBI. When suddenly he felt a powerful surge of energy hit him with such force, he thought he'd lose his balance. Then he heard a young girl's scream, loud and terrified. Please god, not again...not again....NOT AGAIN! echoed in his mind. A painful realization ripped through him. His arms were empty...she was no longer in his protective embrace. "Nooooo!" he cried out. "Don't do this to me! Please don't take her away from me again!" he begged. The tears began to flow heavily. "God, have you no fucking mercy!"
Another voice, a concerned female voice...coming from where?
"P...please, don't leave me alone...not here."
"You're not alone. Mulder, open your eyes. It's alright now. Shhh."
"But..but she's gone. Sam's gone!" he whimpered, helplessly. "I couldn't keep her safe."
"I'm here my love."
Once again, that voice, gentle, caring...and strong. Was it penetrating into this frightening unreal situation he was in? Would it get him the hell out of here? Slowly, he felt an inner strength start to well up inside himself. Her strength. All he had to do was follow this voice, and he would be lead to safety. Or so his shattered mind wanted to believe. "S..Scully?" He felt her name tremble on his lips.
"I'm right here, baby. Right here."
The darkness appeared to be diminishing, slowly but surely. "Wh...where are you?" he stammered.
"Open your eyes, Mulder. I'm right here."
"I..I'm lost," he muttered, despairingly. "H..Help me."
"No." Her voice was firm, but oh so gentle, "You are ok. It's all going to be ok."
Now there was a light. Oh, not again! Please don't let this be a trick. Don't let those greys return with his sister in tow...just to tease him with such cruelty. He couldn't bear it! But this light seemed different somehow. Softer. Warmer. Comforting. And there was someone in this radiant glow...or something? The figure was in shadow, but cloaked in a brilliant halo of luminescence. Her presence suddenly filled him with an overpowering feeling of, what could only be described as 'Love'. Was this a heavenly body who had been sent to rescue him from the depths of despair and loneliness? An angel of God? Could this being show him the way out of his tortured subconscious? Maybe with her celestial strength she might help him find the hope he knows is out there somewhere. And it will lead him to the 'truth'?
His eyes flickered open, and he realized he was lying in her arms, one hand tenderly stroking his hair. He was close to her chest, being rocked gently. Her own long auburn hair tickling his nose. She was beside him in bed. He could feel her heart beating softly against his cheek. He lifted his head to look straight into those eyes, deep pools of blue. He knew then and there that he could remain swimming forever in her loving gaze. Then she leaned in closer and lightly brushed her lips against his own, enveloping him with a sudden warmth and security he never wanted to lose. Then he felt the tears beginning to fall.
"Shhh, shhh", Scully soothed. "It's ok, Mulder....it's ok. It was just a nightmare, that's all. You're safe now."
He clung to her, afraid that if he let go she'd disappear out of his life. But that couldn't happen, not in this lifetime or any other for that matter. They were kindred spirits, two souls destined to be a part of each other for all of eternity. The truest of lovers. Suddenly, a revelation hit him full force. Now it was clear...all of it. He no longer needed to let himself get dragged down into his own, private hell, where nothing had any meaning anymore. She...Scully was his light, and his Truth.
Pain shot through him like a razor sharpened knife. Wait a moment?...It WAS such an implement cutting into his own naked flesh! There was so much red...and a tearing screeching sound pierced his eardrums. "God! Make it stop! Please make it STOP!" Was he screaming those words out? He wasn't sure. He was however sickened by the smell of his own blood that was now seeping out of a huge gash in his torso. Then without warning the whirring blade ceased and vanished from sight. He was left in complete darkness once more, until circular lights were turned on all around him, encasing his tortured body in their harsh beams. Now he could see he was lying at an odd angle in some sort of weird chair. It seemed to be made of a hard metallic substance and his skin felt clammy and cold against this contraption. He couldn't move no matter how hard he tried. Something was holding him firmly against the 'chair'. As realization began to kick in, he discovered to his horror, metal spikes were holding him in place. They had been plunged into both wrists and ankles. Jesus! Also he felt as though his cheeks were being pulled, inhumanely stretched by metal hooks. What the fucking hell was going on?
"Sculleeeeee!" he found himself yelling as if his lungs would burst. Mulder was trying so hard to understand what was happening to him. "Heeeelp!" He closed his eyes trying desperately to shut out the incessant physical pain his whole body seemed to be encased in. Oh god, this can't be happening! He'd been lost in a nightmare where the aliens had returned his sister Samantha, only to then snatch her from him once more. Then his beloved Scully had gently woken him from that particular hell. He had found himself safe within her arms...all fear had been vanquished. He'd found meaning with her...his truth. But now?
"This cannot be fucking happening to me!" He allowed himself to blurt out the words. "She was just part of the dream", he whimpered, swallowing hard. "But this is the fucking nightmare?" However it felt all too real, especially the torturous suffering. His mind unwillingly responded to his situation, and he knew where he was. This was the alien spaceship that had abducted him from Bellefleur, Oregon. Now those little grey, slanty-eyed bastards were subjecting him to tests...but for what reason? Memories flooded in, and he saw himself in the woods with Assistant Director Skinner. Red laser beams cutting in crisscross patterns across the forest ground. Why in god's name did he have to go wandering off? Then, of course, put his hand into some kind of energy force field? That had been it then. They had claimed him and there was no going back to Scully...and safety. No, now he was going to lie in excruciating pain, while his life force poured from a gaping wound. So, he was going to die here....alone and afraid?
"You chose this," he whispered bitterly. Oh yes, he had badly wanted to prove the existence of alien life. Well congratulations, Mulder, he thought. You got your wish...up close and fucking personal! Happy now? Far from it!
He could feel hot tears coursing down his cheeks, and didn't try to hold them back. Then his body was convulsing in hard wracking sobs. "Fuck aliens! Fuck the X-Files...and fuck my sorry existence!" Now he so desperately wanted to return to the world he'd first found himself in. Anything was better than the reality he was facing now. Well hopefully he'd slip into unconsciousness soon...the sooner the better. Surely he had now lost so much blood, he wouldn't stay alive for much longer. Fine! "Give me back my nightmare", he mumbled, his voice hoarse from crying."
The pain had subsided into a numbness...no feeling at all in his body. Then he felt himself slipping down...down into the blackness. Soon after that his vision faded. Last thing to go, was his final thought. Then there was nothing more to worry about after that.
"Fox! Wake up, Fox!"
"Huh..?" The voice was shrill but sweet, and sounded rather mischievous. A peal of laughter followed.
"You are SO lazy!"
Slowly he opened his eyes, to discover a young girl of about eight or so smiling down on him. "W..where am I?"
"You're in bed butt munch." she teased
"S..Samantha?" But it couldn't be.
"C'mon Fox. You promised me we'd go to the park today."
"Huh..? I..I did?"
Slowly he raised himself up, then the revelation struck hard. He couldn't have been more than about 12 years of age. What the heck? He was in their bedroom, at home in Chillmark, and his sister was right there with him.
"You were so fast asleep...I thought you were dead," she joked.
Once again he was trying to put the pieces together, and make sense of it all. Once again it was a hopeless task. "Erm...I must've been dreaming."
"I'll say," she chirped lightly. "You were tossing and turning for ages."
"I..It was a scary dream," he replied, "a real scary one."
"Oooh, tell me. Tell me!" she said, excitedly. Then began bouncing on his bed.
He grabbed her arms gently, to refrain her from this new game. "I can't Sam....it didn't make much sense. It just felt...I dunno. Spooky." Spooky? It had been one of the most frightening dreams he'd ever experienced in his young life. Something he didn't want to share with his little sister. But why not? After all, it was only a nightmare.
Fox Mulder jumped out of bed and hugged his sister tightly. "Ok, Sam. Gimme a few minutes to get dressed and I'll take you to the park."
"Oh goodie!" she cried. "Yeah, it wouldn't look good going out in your PJ's," she added with a smirk.
As she left the room, he shook his head. "Forget it," he told himself. "It was only a silly dream. I must have one weird imagination though, to manifest images like that!" He grinned, "You're really one spooky dude, Fox William Mulder."
The mists swirled all around, pulling him into an even darker pit of despair. "No, not again!" he yelled into the blackness. "Let me stay twelve. Let me stay with Samantha and take her to the park...please." Almost immediately after he'd spoken those words, there was that piercing bright white light invading his senses once more. "Oh god, don't return her then take her away again. You cold, unfeeling alien bastards!" Then there was the caring, strong female voice...his angel. His truth. But she was also just part of this neverending nightmare wasn't she?
No, he thought. I don't want to wake up in her arms, safe and secure as I feel her soft skin and the touch of her gentle lips. Because then it will all be taken away from me...just like Samantha. "God, let this end!"
"Shhh, it's ok. Mulder, you're safe now."
"No! I don't want to open my eyes, and be back in hell. Let me go!" he screamed
He felt her touch as she held his hand, squeezing it gently.
"It's ok, baby. You're in the hospital."
"N...no," he stammered, still keeping his eyes firmly shut.
Her voice remained calm, and soothing. "Shhh, love." A hand stroked his hair softly. "We were on a case, trying to solve yet another X-File. The guy we were pursuing turned out to be nothing more than your regular psychopath. He shot you, Mulder. Don't you remember?"
"I...I don't," he replied. It was true, all of it. He didn't remember anything except the darkness, the harsh light and the excruciating pain.
"Mulder...it's ok to open your eyes," she said softly.
"I don't want to," he replied, stubbornly.
"Mulder, I'm here with you. You're going to be ok. The bullet's been removed successfully and you'll recover just fine. You're going to feel sore for a while, but the main thing is you'll be alright."
That pain? He could feel it radiating from his chest...where they sliced into him. No! No! He didn't want to be in the 'chair' again.
A kiss as soft as silk brushed across his forehead, and then against his lips. This was different. There had been no signs of gentle affection on the alien spaceship. Taking a breath, he slowly opened his eyes. Bright light hurt them instantly. Like the spherical illumination that had appeared, with those greys? No, it wasn't as piercing as that. Hospital lights. They were just fluorescent bulbs in the ceiling...nothing more.
Slowly he turned his head...and there she was. "Scully?"
"I..I'm in hospital?"
"Yeah." She smiled. "Boy you sure make a habit of ending up in these places on a regular basis."
"I..I got shot?" he asked, quietly
"Uh, uh. How many times is that now, Mulder? I think you could go for a world record with your bullet wounds."
"Scully? Is this...are you real?" He had to ask the question, no matter how weird it sounded in his own ears.
"Well I was last time I checked," she teased. "Mulder, honey, you've been through a traumatic experience."
"More than you think," he replied, in a whisper.
"What do you mean?" she asked, concerned.
"Nothing...it was just a nightmare."
Hell of a one to boot as well. As he leaned into Scully's tender embrace and felt her warm kiss upon his lips once more, he knew he'd finally escaped the darkness. Psychiatrists sometimes suggest you should write down your dreams, to help unlock the subconscious mind and reveal all it's secrets. Hmmn? Well, he'd had enough revealing to last a lifetime. Still maybe if he wrote them down, he could share them with the woman he loved? She'd helped him through plenty of them in the past. He could give it a snappy title as well like...
"Welcome to my Nightmare."
"Huh?" she asked puzzled, as she felt him snuggle into her embrace.
"Later," he said, softly.
The images he'd been bombarded with were starting to fade away now. All that was left was that intense white illumination and a strong feeling of apprehension. There was another voice which seemed to be beckoning to him? No, there were many voices. Mulder's eyes opened, but to his horror he discovered he couldn't focus on anything. There were no shapes, no darkness, no light...he was completely surrounded in a nothingness, an empty void.
"W...what the..? he began, trembling. "What's happening?"
He looked frantically around, but there was no one to be seen.
"Just let go."
Slowly he began to realize that these disembodied voices were a part of himself. But how could that be? "Please!" he called out, helplessly. "Tell me what's going on? Why am I here?"
"You are part of the CC project..."
"The WHAT project?" he interrupted.
"Collective Consciousness," the voices replied. "However you constantly rebel against us. Trying to become one solitary mind, instead of being a part of the whole."
"I...I do what?", he asked, alarmed.
"You are strong willed and extremely stubborn. Therefore the Creator feels you are ready to return."
"To what?" He was so totally confused. Was this just another nightmare that he was caught up in? He hoped so.
"You have undergone a vigorous testing process," the voices continued.
"T..Test? What test?"
"HE calls it the Multi-United Labyrinth of Dimensions, which exist as Eventual Realities."
Suddenly the letters formed clearly in his mind, as if he'd known them all along.
"Who am I?" he cried out.
"No one yet. But you will be. You have a very important role to play in your next life. It is an assignment HE believes you are capable of. But take heed, for you know it will not be easy. You have already seen glimpses of what lies ahead. A dangerous and difficult path, full of pain and suffering. Yet you will also be rewarded with love from a kindred spirit. She will be there to guide you. Together you will undertake the most important journey of them all.
"Which is what?" He was almost afraid to ask.
"To save mankind!"
At that precise moment in time she wished she was anywhere but here. The young woman was ready to quit! She was in so much pain...everything hurt like hell. "Unnngh!" she moaned, her long brown hair sticking limply to her face, reflecting a sheen of sweat.
"You're doing fine," a voice said, reassuringly.
She looked up and saw the nurse standing beside her bed in the delivery room. Her hand was being held by this young lady. Not her husband. Oh no. He had to attend yet another highly classified government meeting. So important, that he couldn't even make it to witness the birth of his own child. "Damn him!" she muttered under her breath.
"One more push," she heard the nurse say. "You can do it!"
It felt like she was using every last ounce of her strength. When suddenly, it was over, leaving her completely exhausted...yet delirious with happiness. She heard a tiny baby's cry and knew it had all been worth it.
"Congratulations!" the doctor announced, brightly. "You have a son."
The young nurse carefully placed the tiny infant in his mother's arms and smiled. "Do you have a name for him, Mrs. Mulder?"
"Yes," she replied without any hesitation. "Fox...I'm going to call him Fox."