Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
e-mail: jfc@freeshell.org
Feedback: Please, to the above address!
Archive: By permission only
Rating: PG-13 for language, at least
Category: VHA
Spoilers: None whatsoever
Timeframe: Middle of season seven
Keywords: NOT Actorfic--well, not really...
Summary: Mulder sees another side of life.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Any resemblances between this story and the Spike Jonze film of Charlie Kaufman's script "Being John Malkovich" are entirely intentional and meant as an hommage. However, it does not contain any spoilers for the film beyond its basic premise. Submitted for your consideration: if satire is what closes on Saturday night, what is a parody of a satire?

DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and the whole X-Files gang, not to me. This story is just for the entertainment of my online friends and myself, not for any profit.

COPYRIGHT: (C) Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, jfc@freeshell.org, February 29, 2000

Please don't redistribute or alter this story in any way without the express permission of the author. Thank you very much.


Do long distance charges include 900-numbers, and will the government reimburse them as a business travel expense? Scully sat at her desk under her hot desk lamp surrounded by heaps of crumpled receipts and Mulder's worm-scrawled notes pondering this very question when she noticed he'd been gone for some time. The last thing she could remember him doing (after a morning of furiously typing a batch of e-mails, scribbling some notes to himself, and making some hushed phone calls) was receiving a call that seemed to make him very happy, then rushing out in a blur of Armani, shouting "Don't wait lunch for me!" over his shoulder. It was now about four-fifteen, and Scully was starting to worry.

Twenty minutes and two more totaled columns later, she was growing rather concerned, so picked up the receiver of her phone and dialed Mulder's cell number. It began ringing almost immediately, but for a moment, she thought she could hear its ring muffled somewhere inside the office. "Shit!" she swore, popping out of her chair to rifle his desk for the small phone that he must have left behind, stretching the coiled cord of her phone between their desks.

However, the ringing became louder, and suddenly seemed to be coming from out in the hall. She looked up and was startled to see Mulder appear in the door, where he stopped short, his phone chirruping from his pocket.

"Mulder?" she asked, her receiver still wedged between her shoulder and her ear.

He didn't answer, his eyes focusing on a nonexistent point about three feet in front of his head.

"Mulder--your phone?" she tried again, abruptly noticing the handset under her head, whereupon she recradled it, stopping Mulder's cell mid-ring.

Still in a daze, he dug his phone out of his pocket and just stared at it for a moment. "It stopped," he reported muzzily, restating the obvious.

Scully turned her full attention to her partner at last, and she was dismayed to see the state he was in. Aside from his apparent disorientation, his face and suit were smudged with grime, his hair was wildly askew and littered with crushed leaves, and were those grass stains on his shirt front? For that matter...

"Mulder? Where is your tie?"

This prompted him to look down at his chest, as if picturing the tie he'd been wearing when he left. After an extended pause, he replied, "I don't know."

She hurried to him and walked him to his chair, where she gave him a gentle shove to sit him down when he didn't sit down on his own. Looking in his eyes sharply, she at last asked, "What the hell happened to you?"

As she could have predicted, he sighed deeply and answered, "It's a long story."

Hopes of getting home in time for the six o'clock news fading in her head, Scully returned to her desk, retrieved her chair, and rolled it to a comfortable distance from his, then sat down to listen. "Okay, Mulder. You have my undivided attention. Spill."

He visibly sorted through opening gambits, discarding several before he settled on one. "I've, uh, been on a little trip."

"I can see that. Why don't you tell me about it, preferably starting at the beginning?"

His eyes still had not turned back out to her, but he began speaking anyway. "A Mr. Stuart Philpott called me this morning with information on a new X-file."

"Is that so? What did he have?"

"Well, Mr. Philpott said he was the sole caretaker of a "portal", as he called it, so I went to check it out."

"What kind of portal?"

Self-awareness reluctantly crept back into his gaze. "I'll get to that. What was weird was where I had to go to meet him."

Scully waited for the rest of his sentence, but it was slow in arriving. In exasperation, she finally blurted, "Okay, I give up! Where?"

She could have guessed that his next words would be "Where what, Scully?"

"Where did you have to go meet him?"

"Meet who?"

"Mr. Philpott! The guy with the portal!" she fairly spat.

"Oh," he interjected. "Do you know him?"

"Aaauuuggghh!" Scully wailed. Her hands, previously clutching the arms of her desk chair, flew to nest in her hair. "Just tell me where the hell you went to see this guy about his portal, why the hell you look like you just crawled out of a compost heap, and what in the hell this has to do with the X-files! Please?"

"Don't you want to know what I found there?"

She could have sworn he was being obtuse on purpose. "I'm sure you'll tell me, Mulder. Please just fill me in on *some* portion of your day's adventures, before I have to shake it out of you!"

With a quiet calm, he looked at his partner and admonished, "There's no need to get violent, Scully. I've just seen things today that I never imagined..."

Taking a deep, cleansing breath, she began again. "Like what?"

His eyes softened and were slowly suffused with what she could have sworn was sadness, making her hope very hard that he wasn't pitying her for one thing or another. She *hated* it when anybody tried to pity her. "Life," he replied obliquely.

Frustration transforming into curiosity, all she could answer was, "Huh?"

"Oh, Scully," he sighed, suddenly smiling. "You have no idea..."

"Try me, Mulder. Just tell me where you went."

The faraway look in his eyes was promising: maybe some hard facts were getting firmed up in his head. "Stu..."

"Stu?" she interrupted.

"You know: Mr. Philpott."

"Okay--Stu. Go on."

"Stu called me this morning when he could get access to his portal. That's why I took off in such a hurry. When he called, he asked me to meet him at the Smithsonian Metro station."

"The underground one in the middle of the plaza?" she asked, encouragingly.

"Yeah, you've been there. Anyway, you know those "Employees Only" doors down there?"

She didn't, but she nodded to keep him talking.

"Well, Stu works for the Metro system, so he had a key to let us in one of those doors. We waited, and when nobody was around, we went inside."

"And the portal was inside?"

"Yeah. Well, it was inside a closet inside an employee lounge behind a couple cartons of out-of-date Metro schedules..."

"His portal was in a closet?"

"Yep. Nobody knew it was there until he found it."

"How many people know about it now?"

"Just Stu and me. Oh, and his wife."

"That makes sense," Scully interjected reassuringly, not sure if it made sense at all.

"You see, she'd seen me interviewed on one of those "Unexplained Phenomena" shows, and suggested he call me."

"...after he'd told her about the portal..."

"No... after she'd been through it..."

"*Mrs.* Philpott went *through* the portal?"

Mulder's face took on an enlightened glow. "Of course! You should try it sometime!"

"Whoa, whoa," stalled Scully. "I don't even know where it goes yet. Why don't you tell me about it?"

"Sure. It's just this little bitty door down by the floor. I mean, Stu thought it was like an access door to the electrical system or something."

"But it's a portal..."

"Precisely! And you won't believe where it goes!"

She was forced to emit a long-suffering sigh. "Probably not, Mulder, but tell me anyway."

"It goes straight into somebody's brain!" He looked as pleased as a kid who had finally learned how to ride a bicycle without training wheels.

One of Scully's eyebrows traced its well-worn route up her forehead. "Into somebody's brain..." she repeated incredulously.


He apparently wanted her to guess, but she didn't feel like playing games. "Whose brain?"

"David Duchovny's brain!"

"David Duchovny? As in the movie star?" she asked, frowning in confusion.

"Yeah! Isn't that cool?" He looked as if he hoped that his enthusiasm was infectious.

Unfortunately, it wasn't. "You mean you went through some kind of little door in a closet in a Metro station and got to pretend you were a movie star... You think that's cool?"

"No, Scully, you don't understand! I wasn't *pretending* I was him--I could see the world through his eyes!"

"*Really* him, huh? You were *really* inside David Duchovny's brain?"


"How did you know that that's where you were?"

"Well, Stu had already been through the portal..."

"...as had his wife, didn't you say?"

"Yeah, but that's not important. He knew where it ended up."

"How do you get from a closet in a Metro station to somebody's brain?"

"I don't know. All I know is that I went through the little door and found myself in a long, dark tunnel. It was kinda like a carnival funhouse..."

"I was about to say that it sounded sorta Freudian..."

He looked indignant. "Hey! Who's the psychologist around here? Anyway, it was more like one of those near-death things you read about--"

She cut him off again. "No, *you* read about those..."

"Okay, that *I* read about... So I was traveling down this long, dark tunnel--"

"On foot, or was there a little car like in a funhouse?" Scully was starting to enjoy baiting him, but tried very hard not to let it show.

Squaring his shoulders in a self-possessed manner, he corrected her. "No, Scully. If you must know, I was sliding down the tunnel on my stomach."

"Well," she offered, a barely-concealed snicker behind her words, "that explains what happened to your tie..."

"Maybe," he affirmed, continuing his fantastic tale. "The next thing I knew, I was looking in a mirror. I thought I was looking at myself at first, but then I realized that it was David Duchovny's face looking back at me."

"C'mon, Mulder! You don't look anything like David Duchovny!"

"I don't know... I kinda think I look a *little* bit like him..."

She regarded him critically for a moment. "Okay, maybe a *little*, if I squint..."

"Let's just say that I knew it was going to be him, so I wasn't surprised that it was his face in the mirror."

"If you say so. Then what did he do?"

"Well, he went into a bedroom, and there was a baby girl sleeping in a crib."


"Yeah. It was funny: I could sort of feel what he was feeling as well as see what he was seeing."

"So what could you feel when he saw the baby girl sleeping?"

"Scully, I'm surprised at you! Don't you read *any* of the Hollywood gossip magazines?"

"No. Why?"

Mulder's eyes softened as he smiled and reached across his desk to take Scully's hand, which had been clutched nervously near his nameplate. "It was his daughter, little Madelaine."

"You're sure?"

"Trust me, Scully. I mean, he felt such pride and love looking at that little girl! It was like he was looking at the future, and all the promises one little life could hold. It was incredible..."

She found herself swallowing a lump in her throat to ask, "Then what happened?"

Breaking his gaze from hers, possibly to hide a lingering mistiness in his eyes, he continued. "Somebody came up behind him and put her arms around him."

"Somebody? I'd guess that was his wife, right?"

Mulder smiled at the memory. "As a matter of fact, it was. His wife Tea came up and put her arms around him--well, around *me* to be precise--and he turned and kissed her."

"What was that like?" She looked genuinely curious now.

"Well, you've been kissed, haven't you, Scully?" Noting her nod, but not the slightly haunted look in her eyes, he added, "It was wonderful. Warm, sweet, full of love and caring and passion. It wasn't like anything I've ever felt before in my life..."

"Then what?" she asked, almost as if she wanted to change the subject.

Hesitating a bit, he proceeded. "Um, they went into their own room to, uh..."

"Oh, no!" barked Scully, suddenly appalled. "You're not going to tell me that you fucked his wife, are you?"

He was quick to jump to his own defense, though something prevented him from looking her in the eye. "No, no, no... I wasn't there that long. But I knew--I could feel it. I knew that more than anything in the world at that moment, he wanted to make love to his wife."

Disregarding the suddenly increased temperature of the room, she asked, "So was this just like some weirdo porn-flick for you? Did it turn you on?"

At last he caught her gaze and held it for a moment before speaking. "I won't lie to you, Scully. Yes, it did."

Scully licked her lips nervously, but did not reply.

"And you know what else?" She shook her head "no", not daring to look away. "It made me sad that no one had ever made me feel like that. I mean, women have turned me on before, but not one had given me the feeling that he had right then."

"Why?" she asked, as if she were afraid of his answer. "What feeling was that?"

Mulder thought quietly for a few heartbeats, then chose a word. "Happiness. He was at home with his darling daughter and the woman he loved, and he was truly happy. I don't think I've ever felt like that."

A hush hung in the office as Scully processed this information. "Wow. What happened to you then?"

He seemed to shake himself from his reverie before continuing. "I sorta got sucked out of Duchovny's brain and pow! I landed right back in the middle of Smithsonian Plaza."

Disbelief supplanted the regret that had painted Scully's features. "Oh, right. I guess that explains the grass stains on your shirt. Lemme guess, Mulder. You really just took a long lunch, then fell asleep on the grass for a couple of hours, losing your tie somewhere along the way, and made up that stupid story to explain where you'd been!"

"You mean you don't believe me, Scully? You don't think this is an X-file?"

"No, I don't," she said, standing up at last and stretching before reaching for her briefcase and jacket.

"Wait!" he beckoned. "You're going to leave without considering the possibility that this really happened to me, that I am not pulling your leg?"

"Yes, Mulder, that is exactly what I am going to do."

"But didn't it make you think a little about what would make you happy in your life, Scully?"

"Yes, it did." She came around to his side of the desk, bending her head very close to his. "I know exactly what would make me happy right now."

With a hopeful gaze that glided back and forth between her lips and her eyes, he replied, "What, Scully? What would make you happy?"

"It would make me happy to be at home, on my sofa, wearing something a little more comfortable, with a glass of wine in my hand, watching the six o'clock news. Alone! Good night, Mulder." She stomped out of the office without a backward glance.

Stung by her disbelief, Mulder reflected upon all he had seen and felt, and wondered what he'd have to do to feel like that again. Maybe the Lone Gunmen would believe his story, or maybe he'd just have to call Mr. Philpott again...


Auto-Feedback Link! E-mail me with any comments!