By Mary Kleinsmith (Buc252@aol.com)
Category: Angst, Mulder POV
Summary: Mulder ruminates on his life
Rating: PG at worst
Keywords: MT, but only emotional
Disclaimer: This Mulder belongs to me, although his experiences belong to 10-13, Fox, and Chris Carter, as does Scully.
Archive: Yes, Gossamer, Ephemeral, MIJ, anywhere else. Just keep my name attached.
Author's notes: I've never been one for reading "thought" pieces, let alone writing them, but this one came from inside and demanded immediate attention. Don't worry, there'll be more "active" pieces soon.
By Mary Kleinsmith
He'd been invisible. Okay, maybe not literally, but if somebody had insisted he prove otherwise, he knew he wouldn't have been able to. He walked past the same people he passed every day. He nodded to the same neighbors. Greeted the same security guard at the Hoover building, emailed the same coworkers, so-called friends, acquaintances. Occasionally, one of them even wrote back, but that was a rarity. He drove to his folks houses where he'd be shown to a seat and never addressed again. He'd sit, try to talk, and eventually give up on filling the silence and go home.
He told himself he didn't mind. It was normal for him to be this way. Even fated. He was meant to be alone - it was the burden he had to bear, just as others had their own burdens. It was his life, and he'd grown used to it. If a moment became particularly desperate, there were places he could call to corroborate his existence. Restaurants who would bring food to his apartment - delivered by a real person who would talk to him and take his money. And the women at the nine-hundred number who would talk to him as if he made a difference in their lives, as if they cared for him.
At times, at the very worst, he wondered if he was really alive at all. How does one prove one's own existence? It was an old philosophical discussion come strikingly real for Fox Mulder. And when it got that bad, he had his movies, and the reactions they awakened in his body. And then, just for a few moments - moments of heat and rising waves and visions of a woman pressed against him - he felt truly alive. There was no denying the life that flowed through his body as he crested.
But even that high couldn't last long, and soon, he'd be back on his solitary couch in his solitary apartment, suffering from feelings he couldn't beat. If he couldn't rid himself of them, though, he could at least run from them for awhile. So he'd take to the streets, sneakered feet pounding the pavement until the breath was crushed from his lungs and he just couldn't run another step.
Maybe that was why he took on the X-Files and the Consortium. With this, there was finally something he could do to get him noticed. The only thing that had succeeded in breaking the invisibility before was his profiling, but that was worse, almost driving him to complete insanity. Invisibility was better than that. He sometimes wondered if chasing mutants and government conspiracies was any better way to confirm his existence, but until he found something better, he was going to stick with it. Because, even if he was invisible most of the time, at least he was alive.
If only it didn't hurt so damn bad. No matter how much he tried to tell himself that it was okay, that it was his life and his fate, it still hurt in a place deep in his chest. For a time, he'd gotten into going on line, for there he could find people who would messenger him or message him back if he initiated a conversation. But that never lasted either. Those faceless names would just disappear one day, stop messaging, or stop responding to his messages. They grew too busy for him, with their lives, their families, their children. Making conversations with teenagers, despite occasional accusations of being adolescent, just didn't do it, and he'd be back to being invisible again.
Then, uninvited, life changed, in the form of a petite woman who walked through his basement door. She drove him crazy. Second guessed his every move, challenged his every hypothesis, demanding more of him than anybody had in a long time. And when she looked at him, he felt that his eyes, at least, were no longer invisible. He knew she was looking inside him through those eyes, and if he wanted to raise his barriers, the need to be seen overpowered the instinctive protectiveness of his walls.
And saw him she did. He'd go home each night chastising himself for letting her so close - it was dangerous and foolish. But he needed it as much as he needed the air he breathed or the food he consumed. Maybe more.
So he let her get closer, trying to silence the voices in the back of his mind that warned of just how much she would be able to hurt him when she, inevitably, turned on him. Or, worse, walked away and left him to fade into nothingness once again. He didn't think he could stand going back, and in life, you either moved forward or backward. You couldn't stand still. He let her in, and before he knew it, his entire head was visible. Well, that made sense; she'd been reading his mind for months by the time they ran into Tooms the second time.
He found that, now that he was partially "visible," the loneliness wasn't quite so bad. He could talk to her, and she talked back. He could call her on a dark, solitary evening and she'd be not only willing to see him, but to sit down and share a meal with him. She entreated entry to his heart and he granted it wholeheartedly.
The amount of time with her increased, and he realized he was taking a more solid form. The security guards at the Hoover said good morning when Scully walked by his side. There were even people who stopped to talk to him, purely because he was her partner, he believed. And if the talk was disdainful, he didn't care. Even antagonism was better than invisibility.
By the time the Bureau grew wise to just how good they were together and split them up, she was as necessary to him as breath, as water. He feared them, feared her absence from his life, but he knew how dangerous it could be. So he stayed away, and while she prospered in her teaching position at Quantico, seeing him only occasionally, he felt himself begin to fade away. But those chance meetings, visits with her in a dark hotel garage or an emergency room cubicle in a small town, were enough to keep him in this world.
And then, she disappeared entirely. And so did he.