Dies Irae
by rac / August 2000

Rating: PG, slash

Disclaimer: Render unto Caesar the coin which is his. I just want to play with his troops.

Story Notes: Takes place sometime following the episode "Requiem". For those who notice, the order of the Mass sections have been creatively rearranged. Dies Irae: a medieval Latin hymn used in some masses for the dead, describing Judgment Day, the day the dead shall arise.

Author's Notes: It's amazing what folding the laundry will inspire. Yes, it's strange. Maybe it came from that fourth dimension portal that exists in all dryers...you know, the place where all those socks go. Grateful thanks to devo, Barb, Sam and JiM for reading and commenting.

Sooner or later, archived at my website: http://enook.net/hl/rac/rac.htm Basement, other list archives, yes.

Feedback to rac@enook.net, gracias.


*^*^*^*

I. Introit

The darkness is everything.

It has no beginning, no end. It just is.

Then the darkness shifts, becomes dynamic, fluid.

Something other than darkness exists.

Sound. Soft and loud, pleasant and unpleasant, close and faraway.

Sensation. Warmth and cold, soft and hard, pain and pleasure.

Frantic, he swims through an unknown sea, filled with unknown things.

He fears.

*^*

II. Kyrie

The sea is vibration around him: sound, sensation.

The veil parts, and a shaft of something new pierces the sea.

Light. Shapes and form and colors.

He trembles as the darkness recedes further away from him.

Scared, he tries in vain to hide.

He does not understand. He misses the cool peace of darkness around him.

He cries.

*^*

III. Gloria

The bright, loud sea moves around him, rolls over him.

He is still, quiet.

Something moves against him, hard, cold. He tries to retreat, but it pushes in.

A new thing melts inside him: sweet, soft. He lets the new thing in again.

The darkness is gone. There is only light now, light and sound and sensation.

He is no longer afraid. Somehow, this all-embracing sea is familiar.

Curiosity curls through him.

He hopes.

*^*

IV. Sanctus

The sea he swims in ebbs and flows with recognizable rhythms. They comfort him.

Ebb tide eddies around him: Dim light, soft sounds. Warmth.

He swims, relaxed and floating on gentle currents of vibration.

Something swims into the sea; a rumbling sound, quiet and soothing.

It tugs at him, drawing him relentlessly to the source, a whirlpool of vibration sucking him up, up, up

The sea recedes, leaving him lying, gasping for breath on the shore of a new world.

He sees.

*^*

V. Offertory

It is night. The lights are low, reflecting dully off panes of dark glass.

The rumbling comes from a different place. A silhouette, outlined against bright light, tall, dark. Familiar.

Instinctively, he strains for the sound.

"....will *not* have him transferred to the psych unit...if necessary, a private long-term care facility in Virginia...power of attorney...Dr. Scully has final say..."

The door closes, and the silhouette moves, walking toward the dark glass, rumbling softer now.

"...like to put *him* in restraints in the psych ward..."

The light shifts, lighting up the dark figure: a white expanse of brightness split by a slash of dark, a smooth reflection at the top.

The figure moves; something opens up and time shifts. A square of white unfolds in slow motion, small square into rectangle into large square. Then it is shaken into a long fold, snapping time back to normal speed as the cloth moves up to the figure's face.

Knowledge explodes through him like a foreign language decoded.

He knows that white square. He knows the hands wielding it.

He speaks.

*^*

VI. Credo

Skinner shut the door and strode over to the window. "Goddamned idiot, I'd like to put him in restraints in the psych ward, see how he likes it." He put his hand on the back of his neck and rubbed, trying in vain to relieve some of the tension.

He couldn't allow it. He'd allowed it before, and it nearly killed both of them. Not again. Whatever it took, he'd arrange it. He'd arrange for private care.

For however long it took.

His eyes blurred, and he cursed, reaching into his hip pocket and drawing out a neatly folded, clean handkerchief. Studiously, he unfolded it, focusing on the small square with all his attention, willing the unwanted show of emotion to subside. The wirerims came off, and he wiped his face first with short, brusque motions before circling the cloth over the glasses' lenses in a hypnotic pattern.

Dammed right, for however the hell long it took. Mulder was back. He was *back*. The rest would damn well come with time.

He thought of the poster now pinned on the wall of his study at home: *I want to believe*.

His mantra for the past long nine months. *I want to believe*.

Mulder had come. And now he would get better. Period.

Skinner sighed and slipped the wire frames back over his ears, folding and refolding the white cotton until it was a small square again before starting to slip it back into his hip pocket.

A rusty voice croaked out, "Only you."

Skinner froze, his hand stuck in his pants pocket, and looked over at the bed.

Two eyes stared back at him. A tongue tried to wet dust-dry lips. The voice grated. "No one else carries clean handkerchiefs anymore. Only you."

"Mulder." Skinner took the two steps to his bedside. "You're back." It was all he could say, the only coherent thing that formed in his mouth. He grasped the cup of water, letting Mulder sip from the plastic straw sticking out of the top.

Mulder's head flopped back against the pillows when he finished, faint lines marking his face. "Yeah...back. I was swimming..." The lines deepened. "Where was I?"

Skinner simply shook his head, his hand tightening his hold around Mulder's. "Too damn far away. I...I lost you. But you returned. You're back now. That's all that matters."

"Yeah..." Mulder squeezed his hand as his eyelids fluttered closed, "...'m back." He slid down into a normal sleep.

Skinner knew he should ring for the nurses and alert them that Mulder had awakened and was coherent. He recognized Skinner. It was the first time he'd been lucid in the three weeks since he'd appeared out of the blue, found walking down the side of a highway.

Skinner would ring soon. But not yet. He pulled the chair up against the edge of Mulder's bed and sat down, pulling Mulder's hand close.

First, he wanted to sit and look at a miracle.

*^*

VII. Agnus Dei

He is warm, wrapped tightly in the heat. It has a rhythm all its own, beating loudly in his ear. *Ka-thump, ka-thump, ka-thump*. The rhythm comforts him.

He breathes, smelling a familiar scent. Human. Male.

For a moment, *Other* memory intrudes into his pleasure, and he whimpers, not wanting to remember.

Immediately, the warmth shifts, pulling him closer. "Shhh, it's okay. You're here, Fox. Home in DC. With me."

Home. Walter. Yeah.

The *Other* is only a memory now, vague and unsettling. He has the odd feeling that at one time, with the *Others*, this place was only a vague memory.

But one that he dreamed often. A dream to keep him sane.

He noses into the warm skin next to him, lipping an earlobe. Real, no illusion. A pulse beats under the skin against his mouth.

Warm skin. Skin flushed with the ruddy blush of copper-based blood. Not pale and chill.

Human.

He closes his eyes, his ear plastered against the wall of Walter's chest. Listening to that familiar rhythm.

The steady rhythm beats like a drum, sacred and eternal. Keeping the *Others* at bay.

-=the end=-

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