The X-iles

Unceasing Mysteries

Sweeney Todd Review
NonEssential and NonExistent's NonsEnse
Push's Pad
Xtreme Unction's Labor of Love
Sacred Heart's Ambry
Satchie's "On the Safe Side"
Site Correspondence
Aye, There's the Rum


A Fanfic-Related Fairytale

By Xtreme Unction


RATING:  PG-13 for language 

SPOILERS:  None.  This isn't your typical fanfic.  In fact, it isn't fanfic at all.  It is a tribute to fanfic  and a salutation. 

DISCLAIMER:  As a good friend of mine says, I disclaim just about everything.  This was a labor of love, not for profit. 

It was a Thursday evening in Rosario.  The heavy Argentinean sun was gliding low over the waters of the great Rio Parana.  Its gently undulating waters were painted with a hundred different shades of gold, glistening as if God himself had taken a brush to them. 

I was tired from a long day of work and ready for a relaxing night alone.  Rush hour traffic be damned, I left the lab at 6:00 in order to make it home before dark.  Driving west, I had the setting sun in my eyes, but the only sunglasses I could find in my glove box were blue-tinted, wire-rimmed shades.  I had to smile as I slipped them on.  They reminded me of all the things I love about life in this beautiful city.  Stylishly current, yet drawn with classical lines; technologically progressive, yet steeped in history; proud and independent, yet heart-achingly graceful.  I turned off my phone and turned up the music, loud enough to drown out anything that might seek to intrude.  This night was for me. 

When I arrived home, there was a large basket waiting on my doorstep.  I looked around nervously, wondering if any of my neighbors were watching me, as I stood there immobilized by shock.  Surely my heart was pounding loud enough to be heard across the quiet tree-lined street.  I paused for a moment before kneeling down to inspect the elegantly wrapped delivery. 

The card attached read, "Will you join me for a drink tonight?"  It was unsigned, of course.  I could feel a blush rising to color my pale cheeks.  He wanted nothing more than for me to log on to the Internet and talk.  Totally harmless, I told myself.  Sure, denial is fun in small quantities. 

I pulled aside the cellophane to look inside.  There was a bottle of cabernet sauvignon, some crackers, various cheeses, fruits, and a CD labeled "You know you want to. . ."  One of my eyebrows arched in surprise as I lifted the bottle out for inspection.  Silver Oak, 1997.  I murmured, "Very nice, Mulder." 

He hates it when I call him that, of course.  But his words, his ideas, and his wit -- they all spoke to me of the fictional character Fox Mulder, from that show we both love, in some inexplicable way.  It is why I opened up to him so readily, despite the daunting artificial distance of on-line conversations.  Something in me trusted him instinctively. 

Thus far, I have not regretted it.  He is incredibly generous, and I don't mean just this expensive bottle of wine in my hand.  He gives of himself in ways I have never before experienced; yet he expects nothing in return, except my friendship. 

We edit and analyze each other's writing.  I laughingly told him once that the best way to describe it is "the epitome of unhealthy psychotherapy."  He listens to me rant and rave about my life and my fiction, he helps me dig beneath my knee-jerk reactions, and he makes me examine every angle more deeply than I would otherwise.  Whether I am working on a professional report, original fiction, or our favorite escapist activity -- fanfic, he challenges me to confront my demons, and he introduces me to constellations in the creative heavens that I have never before considered. 

When he listens to me, he makes me feel like I am the most important, most beautiful, most intelligent and insightful person in the world.  But all the while, I must pretend he has no effect on me whatsoever. 

I hope I make him feel even a fraction of what he brings to my life, but I suppose I will never know.  He, too, plays his cards pretty close to his chest.  It is part of our unspoken agreement to protect this delicately balanced relationship from any kind of upheaval. 

Some days I mourn the fact that the bond we share will never go further than an on-line friendship.  In the years we have known each other, we have vigilantly guarded the invisible line over which neither of us is allowed to step.  Some days we dance pretty close to it, but we always mind our boundaries. 

I carried the basket into the kitchen and set it down on the counter.  After I popped the CD in the stereo, I set about decanting the wine.  My hand stilled, just as I was reaching for a glass in the cupboard, when I heard the first strains of Albinioni's Adagio in G minor.  I closed my eyes.  It's haunting melody transported me into another world. 

The first sip of wine was exquisite.  The bouquet reminded me of dark-paneled libraries and hushed voices.  I set it aside to breathe.  Slipping off my shoes and my slacks, I walked into the bathroom and started running a bath.  Vanilla scented bubbles rose quickly.  I adjusted the temperature and turned away.  

Thirty minutes later, I was ensconced in a thick terry cloth robe, looking out my balcony at the rising moon, with a glass of the Silver Oak in hand.  I wonder where he is tonight.  He travels a great deal, that much I know.  Sometimes, he even finds his way to my part of the world.  We joke about meeting for a drink whenever he is in nearby, but we would never. . . 

Never say never, I reminded myself with a sleepy smile. 

I usually log on much later, but if I did not try to reach him now, I might fall asleep without expressing my thanks.  I felt so serene. 

He signed on within seconds of me. 

M:  What do you know about MOOSE? 

So much for relaxed conversation over a glass of wine.  He was clearly in project mode.  I rolled my eyes and rapidly typed a reply. 

S:  You mean Meta-Object Operating System Environment?  It's an operating system being developed by computer scientists in the US, intended to make the Internet more secure and reliable.  It's based in part on robust object calculus, a type of calculus tailored to modeling distributed objects.  Very cutting-edge math.  Why do you ask? 

No reply. 

After a moment, I typed. 

S:  Tell me you aren't hanging out with Lone Gunmen types again.  Am I gonna have to kick your ass? 

M:  No, I'm just sitting here, stunned.  My God, I would never have made that synaptic leap!  I was thinking about large mammals with antlers in the wilderness.  You know?  Moose on the loose? 

S:  Oh.  LOL.  All caps, so I assumed you meant the acronym.  (By the way, hello.) 

M:  Your brain works in the most fascinating way.  (And hello to you, too.) 

S:  Fascinating strange or fascinating cool? 

M:  Definitely cool. 

S:  Well, don't be too impressed.  Advanced mathematics is not my field.  If you ask me about chaperone proteins and thermotolerance, that would be another matter. . .but I don't want to talk about work.  Ugh!  I had a long, counterproductive day at the lab and all I want to do is escape tonight. 

M:  Scully, what're you wearing? 

S:  LOL.  You don't want to know, Mulder.  It would inflame you beyond all reason.  *eye roll*  Tell me, instead, why you're musing on moose, of all things, on this fine evening. 

M:  There's a website called Mulder's Refuge.  Have you heard of it?  They are having a fanfic writing challenge.  The subject is moose. 

S:  Mulder's Refuge?  The Mulder Torture fanfic people?  ROTFL 

M:  It's not what it seems. 

S:  You surf that site, Mulder?  I do believe you have taken yourself to new depths of masochism. 

M:  First of all, don't call me Mulder.  It's only if I identify with that fictional character that so-called MT or Mulder Torture becomes a masochistic interest.  Second, it's not about torture in the "bad" sense of that word. 

S:  Is there is such a thing as "good torture"? 

M:  Hey, now.  Of course, baby.  Care to let me show you? 

S:  "Baby me and you'll be peeing through a catheter." 

M:  Duly noted.  LOL. 

S:  One of these days we are going to have to discuss why you go to so many of these websites. 

M:  One of these days, sure.  For now, I want you to write a moose fanfic story with me.  Will you do me that honor?  It would be fun to write together.  The deadline is today, so we have two hours to come up with something. . .

S:  M, I love the Mulder's Refuge people.  I really do.  I've been to the site and marveled at the talent.  And MT fanfic is an occasional guilty pleasure of mine. . . 

M:  It is?  *smirk* 

S:  OK, I admit I actually write it.  And I know that MT isn't really about hurting Mulder.  (I like the part where Scully fixes him afterwards.)  And I even hang out at Mulder's Refuge now and then. . . 

M:  I sense a "but" coming. 

S:  But let's get real!  We cannot write a fanfic story in two hours.  Not one that would be worthy of submitting to that site. 

M:  Why not?  All we need is 10 to 15K. 

S:  Speak to me in English, please. 

M:  About 2,000 words, give or take.  A cupcake, I swear. 

S:  lol @ cupcake -- that's 1000 words an hour, 16.67 words a minute! 

M:  But it's fanficPre-existing well-developed characters.  It ought to be easier than you think.  Come on, you know you want to . . . 

S:  Speaking of "You know you want to . . .", thank you for the gift basket and the music CD.  I love it. 

M:  Did you try the wine? 

S:  I am on my second glass right now.  You have impeccable taste, as always.  And the music is still going in the background. 

M:  I'm drinking the identical vintage and playing the same CD. 

S:  Really? 

M:  This is exactly how I imagined it would be.  Thank you for indulging me. 

S:  What a romantic thought.  If I didn't know better, I would think you're trying to seduce me. 

M:  If you didn't know better.  Of course.  *wink* 

I was melting at his words, but far be it from me to reveal this.  We play this game of cat-and-mouse. 

S:  Are these tracks all your favorites, or just the ones you thought I would enjoy? 

M:  A combination of both.  80 minutes is a lot of music. 

S:  Hmmm.  It's heavenly. 

M:  I struggled over that track list.  I'll have you know, it was a labor of love.  Doesn't this make you want to write with me? *hopeful smile * 

S:  I am honored by your invitation.  I would love to co-author with you, but -- perhaps when we have more time. 

M:  A bottle of wine, good music, a friend who shares your interests.  What time is better than the present? 

S:  The X-Files fanfic writers, especially the ones at Mulder's Refuge -- they are quite accomplished.  I dare say some of them are writers in real life, probably dallying in fanfic just for fun.  We wouldn't do their challenge justice in two hours.  If we submit crap, they may look upon it as a sign of disrespect.  I would hate for that to happen. 

M:  A) We wouldn't submit crap; have a little confidence. B) Even if we did, they're not judgmental that way. 

S:  It's your confidence that never ceases to amaze me.  Maybe that's what it takes to be successful in your field -- unshakable self-confidence, even when your work sucks. 

M:  Wow, such flattery!  Telling me my work sucks. . .does this mean you'll do it?  :p 

S:  LOL!  You are relentless. 

M:  Please. . .? 

S:  OK, but I want lots of NC-17 sex!  Everything Chris Carter wouldn't let them have on the show. 

M:  LMAO.  OK.  But let's put that in a dream or something. 

S:  A dream!  What the . . .?  How can you have hot monkey sex in a dream?  I don't want any of that floaty, diaphanous BS.  *wink* 

M:  Oh, trust me. . .it can be hot and "monkey" even if it isn't real.  And in the end, Mulder and Scully maintain their perfectly balanced unresolved sexual tension. 

S:  You and your UST . . . *shakes head * 

M:  When done well, UST can be delicious. 

S:  But don't you find yourself, some days, wanting to just throw all caution to the wind? 

M:  Some days I want that so bad that I can taste it. 

A long pause. 

S:  Tell me more about the challenge. 

M:  Nothing to tell.  "Moose on the Loose" is the prompt.  Less than 35K of moose-ish fiction set in the world of The X-Files. 

S:  Must it be "Mulder Torture"?  I don't want to hurt him.  I like him best when he is cracking wise, teasing Scully with sexual innuendo, "footloose and fancy-free." 

M:  He can be all that, and still be tortured. 

S:  But that's not your vision for this piece. 

M:  Who cares about my vision?  Yours takes precedence here. 

S:  You would subjugate your own vision to mine?  Unheard of. 

M:  What?  Am I that dominant? 

S:  Don't ask questions if you don't want to hear the answer. 

M:  I want to hear this answer. 

S:  Relax, Mulder.  You strenuously defend your point of view.  I can appreciate that, being a vigorous advocate myself.  It's what makes our conversations interesting.  Besides, I like dominance in some arenas. *wink* 

M:  Why is it considered impressive when it is a woman strenuously asserting her point of view?  When a man does the same thing, he is considered dictatorial. 

S:  Because men have systematically dictatorially repressed female intellect in most societies since the beginning of time?  When a woman breaks the cultural mold imposed upon her by generations of patriarchal thinking, it is to be applauded.  Just as men who buck the stereotypical expectations placed upon them are to be commended.  Why should you be congratulated for behaving exactly as expected? 

M:  Scully . . . marry me?  (And don't think I missed your risque comment about liking dominance in some arenas.  I'm just avoiding it for my own peace of mind.) 

S:  Are you sure you want to engage in this kind of socio-political debate with me, of all people, Mister?  (I know you're avoiding it, and that's okay.  I like to tease, but if you took the bait, I would most certainly run.) 

M:  LOL. Hell, no!  Kick-ass women like you scare me.  (Whatever you do, please don't run.  I would perish of a broken heart.) 

S:  You lie.  You have always admired strong, intelligent women.  Just look at your work.  It reflects your desires.  (Why are we conducting a separate conversation in parentheses here?) 

M:  Does this mean you will write with me?  (Because it seems like a safe way to address topics we are uncomfortable discussing directly.) 

S:  Like I said, you're relentless.  (What could you possibly think you can't tell me directly?  We tell each other everything.) 

M:  I'll take that as a yes.  (How about this: I love you.) 

S:  Oh, brother.  (I love you, too.) 

The line.  

The invisible line had been crossed, the intangible boundary breached. 

I closed my eyes, allowing the gravity of the moment to wash over me like the gently undulating waters of the great Parana River.  I felt beautiful, painted with a hundred different shades of gold, glistening as if God himself had taken a brush to me. 


We never finished the story we set out to write that night.  It, like the continuously developing epic of our relationship, remains an unceasing mystery.