Anyways, I've got a new fic for all of you out there! It's almost ready to be posted, I'm still waiting to hear back from one beta, but here's a sneak preview. It's the/a first part (once I decide which stories I've written are going to be involved in this) in a new series I'm working on, my own version of a crossover between Harry Potter and The X-Files. Hopefully it's a little different than anything else out there. Enjoy! Oh, and any suggestions for a title would be great, because I'm totally tapped out.
There was an insistent prodding at his back. “Go away,” he mumbled, burying his face in the soft substance beneath him. It smelled comforting, like moss and damp with just a tinge of exhaust and fertilizer in it. He could almost imagine a breeze ruffling his hair.
He was prodded (more like kicked, really) again, and this time a voice accompanied it. “Mulder, get up you stupid berk.” From somewhere a car horn blared, setting off a pounding ache in his head.
Fox Mulder flipped onto his back, shaded his eyes from the sun, and glared. “What the fuck do you want?”
Douglas Kirke, a fellow Madgalen College student and very good friend, glared right back. “If you don’t remember, we passed out in Brockwell Park last night after having god knows what at that Hallowe’en party.”
“Ohhhhh.” Mulder groaned, and hauled himself unsteadily to his feet, letting his dark hair fall into his eyes to protect them from the overly bright sunlight. It was his idea to go to the party. Even after three years in England he missed the American (and especially the New England) sense of the holiday and decided that this year he would try to recapture the feeling. Douglas had spoken to a cousin of his down at Kings’ College, and so Hallowe’en was spent in the Herne Hill section of London in a series of dorm rooms accompanied with loud music, drunken students, and more than a few suspicious substances. The morning after, however, was never pretty. “What time is it?”
Douglas checked his wristwatch. “Twelve-thirty, or thereabouts.”
Mulder winced, dusting dried brown leaves off of his trenchcoat. That, plus a sweater and jeans, was the extent of his Hallowe’en costume. Although he had the sinking feeling that he had some eyeliner and red and gold glitter splashed across his face, if the smears across the back of his hands were any indication. “What time did we fall asleep?”
He shrugged. “All I remember is that I was pretty sure I saw daylight.” Douglas looked the worse for wear as well, with light brown hair spiked up in directions no sane human sported normally. “Look, you want to go find a pub, maybe get some food into us before we head back to Oxford?”
“That’s probably a very good idea.” Mulder winced and rubbed his temples, feeling the throbbing there increase as he stood up straighter. “Oh, hell.”
Douglas laughed. “You know, for someone as smart as you are, how could you let yourself get so fucking pissed last night?”
“It’s a bad time of year.” While Douglas was a very good friend he probably wouldn’t understand about Samantha. How could he even begin to explain, when he himself barely knew what happened? There was a bright light, screams, and then nothing until Mulder woke up a week later from an unexplainable coma. No, that wasn’t the sort of thing he normally shared with people at all. “You were saying something about food?”
“Down this way.” The shorter man led Mulder out of the park and onto the nearby street. It was a Sunday afternoon, and life was buzzing about, people coming back or heading to the shops, and more than a few students in a similar situation to them. The air was crisp, making Douglas pull the sleeves of his leather jacket down to cover his fingers and reviving Mulder’s spirits just a little bit. A meal and some hair of the dog would help also. There was a vague tickling feeling somewhere in the back of his head. A harbinger, perhaps, but of what, he had no idea.
They walked for a while, looking for a pub that would take them in their current state. They received more than their share of stares. Mulder seemed to get the bulk of it; apparently All Saints’ Day was not the time to be sporting red and gold glitter across one’s face. “Hold up a second,” Douglas said, stopping and kneeling. “I got to tie my shoe.”
As Douglas laced his boot back up, Mulder leaned against the brick wall of a building, shutting his eyes and letting the sun warm his achy bones. He only had vague flashes of what he did last night, but he knew there was alcohol involved, and bodies whirling about beneath a strobe light. He remembered feeling frantic, that if he stopped moving the darkness inside would storm in and take over.
Without warning, a body crashed into Mulder, sending him stumbling against the wall and the other person tumbling onto the ground. Mulder got himself back together fast, and bent down to help the other person to his feet. It was a young man, the same height as he was with black hair and striking grey eyes. His garb was kind of strange, a loose sort of overcoat or maybe a bathrobe, but a guy with glitter on his face really had no right to ask questions. “Hey, you okay?” Mulder asked.
The man, who looked to be about the same age as Mulder, gasped for breath and looked around wildly. “Where…where are we?” Mulder glanced at Douglas, who took over.
“Herne Hill, in London,” he provided, staring at the disheveled man with what Mulder thought was worry.
“Herne,” the man mumbled, eyes darting across the ground. “Herne the hunter, with the stag’s horns on his head.”
“Leader of the Wild Hunt,” Mulder chimed in. Sometimes the urge to lecture just overtook him. Not many people were fond of that habit of his. “Starting on Hallowe’en night wolves and hounds chase evil beings from the land and warn people of invaders.”
“Mulder, shut up!” Douglas groaned, no doubt rolling his eyes. Mulder was too focused on the young man he was propping up to notice this though. He seemed to be undergoing a transformation. He stood up straighter, a sense of determination appeared in those grey eyes. He nodded once at Mulder.
“Cheers, mate. Thanks.” Without another word the man continued down the street, walking with a quick and strong pace.
“What the bloody hell was that?” Douglas asked, shaking his head slightly.
“Every day is like Hallowe’en,” Mulder replied with a shrug. They started to walk again, but were stopped by a commotion about thirty or so yards away being caused by the young man who had just run into them. He was facing another young man, shorter and rounder, with thin blond hair. They were in profile, with the dark haired man pushed up against a parked car. But something didn’t seem quite right.
“What’s he got behind his back?” Mulder murmured, his breath starting to speed up. This did not bode well at all…
“What?” Douglas said, taking a few steps closer.
The blond one shouted, loud enough to carry his words on and on. “Lily and James, Sirius! How could you!”
“The blond one, he’s holding something behind his back.” Mulder squinted, and leaned forward to get a better look. The one called Sirius had pushed himself off the car and stood straight. He looked as if he were about to say something. “His hand’s twitching.”
The street exploded, a burst of flame and heat and pressure. It knocked Mulder and Douglas back into the wall, choking on the cloud of dust and debris that suddenly arose.
“What the fuck?!”
Coughing, Mulder took a few steps forward and waved a hand in front of his face to clear the smoke away. He could make out a giant gaping fissure in the middle of the street, the asphalt torn up and gathered into steaming piles. There were bodies scattered around, like rag dolls abandoned and tossed into a fireplace. He spotted Sirius, standing right at the edge of the massive pit, staring at a bloody pile of something on the ground. And he was laughing.
It was the laugh of the lost, Mulder knew from experience. When the world was crashing down around your feet and there was no hope at all to be grasped at, sometimes all you could do was laugh.
From out of nowhere another man appeared, older than them, and wearing a funny looking lime green bowler hat. He was pointing something at Sirius, and waving his hand at other people who were arriving on the scene. They surrounded him, and appeared to bind him up. “We have to tell them. He didn’t do it, it was the other one!” Mulder took a few stuttering steps forward, only to be stopped by Douglas’s grasp on his coat.
“No, we need to get out of here,” he said, pulling Mulder backwards.
“Bu-but they’re going to arrest him, and he didn’t do it!” Mulder cried, his innate sense of justice wanting to do the right thing.
“Look, just trust me on this, Fox.” Mulder's head turned quickly at the use of his given name. “I’ve got a wretched feeling that something bad is going to happen to us if we don’t get the hell out of here now,” Douglas insisted, and Mulder stopped fighting. Douglas had an instinct in him that, when it chose to show itself, was better than E.S.P.
“Okay. Let’s go.”
Douglas nodded. “Good. D’you think you can run?”
“Yeah, I think so. Still a little sore, but I’ll manage.” He rubbed at his left ear. “And I think a little stunned from the blast.”
“We’ll make up some stupid story and go to hospital back in Oxford. Right now, we run for it.” Without another word they turned and ran, not stopping until they were safely inside the nearest tube station.
* * *
None of the wizards investigating the blast on Half Moon Lane noticed the two muggles running away from the scene. They had far more pressing things on their minds.
* * *
The next day, in a slight haze of painkillers from the hospital (they had told the doctors there about a Hallowe’en and an early Guy Fawkes Day party that had gotten a slight bit out of control. It didn’t look as if the doctors believed them, but it was painfully obvious that that was the story they were sticking to) Mulder opened the door to his dorm room to find Douglas standing there holding up a paper from London. He handed it to Mulder, who took it with a puzzled look.
“Check out the article on the bottom of the page,” Douglas sighed, coming in and collapsing on Mulder’s bed. Mulder shut the door behind him (really, the whole dorm did not need to see his boxer shorts, all he was currently wearing) and sat on his desk chair.
“Gas explosion in London yesterday…Sirius Black…connected to a notorious organized crime lord recently taken down…plead guilty this morning…hauled straight to prison.” Mulder tossed the paper onto the floor. “He didn’t do it.”
“I know. I know that, and you know that. But Scotland Yard won’t believe it, if only because he pleaded guilty. We say something and we’ll be laughed at and tossed out on our sorry arses.” Douglas sat up, running a hand through his hair.
“This is wrong.” Mulder stood up and walked over to the window, staring out at the watery sunlight of a November afternoon.
“Yeah, but we can’t do shit about it. Look, I’m gonna go see Genny, try and distract myself a little.”
“She’s a lunatic. Lovely girl, but a lunatic.” Innogen, or Genny, was Douglas’s girlfriend who worked at one of the libraries in town.
“She’s just eccentric,” Douglas smirked, pushing himself off the bed and walking over to the door.
“She keeps a pet owl, and ties little bits of paper to its legs for some inexplicable reason.”
“Yeah, but I love her anyway.” Douglas stopped for a moment near the door, then turned around to face Mulder’s back. “Look, Mulder, go out, get pissed as all hell, get laid, and just forget about it. Just put it out of your head, because there’s nothing a couple of idiot Uni kids like us can do.”
Mulder just nodded, still staring out the window, at the bare branches like stag’s antlers. He would try to forget, forget the feeling of helplessness and the sense that something should be done, but it would not be an easy task. And as hard as he would try to put it out of his mind, he had the very strong feeling that this was something he would probably never forget.