Please enjoy my silly crossover fanfic of Xfiles meets Elfquest.
Mulder and the Mermaid: Or How Pearlshade Escaped the FBI
Agent Fox Mulder sat alone on a deserted city rooftop in Washington D.C. The wind was chilly, but he was dressed casually, without his usual dark jacket. Hugging his arms, he sat hunched into a corner, as much away from the night breeze as possible. The lights from other building windows seemed serene, almost like stars above an ocean, and his mind began to imagine what a vacation would be like...sipping a Mai Tai on some tropical beach, lovely ladies asking to be soaked in sun tan lotion...what a change that would be from his usual routine of hunting aliens and odd occurrences. Then again, a vacation would likely bore him silly in the first hour. There would be no challenge, no mental stimulus, no answers to seek.
Like tonight: a strange voice had left a message on his cell phone...this spot would show him something tonight it promised in mysterious tones. Realities he had not imagined, possibilities and truths he needed to see, the unfamiliar female had promised. Mulder had been too curious to refuse the invitation. Scully had said she'd call to confirm his safety, but hadn't been able to leave the lab and her latest investigation. His partner in the FBI never could let a cadaver rest; that woman was as driven as he was to solve any puzzle.
Suddenly a strange ripple in the sky appeared, a patch of pale blue sky began to grow, with jagged edges like shattered glass, Mulder saw the phenomenon spread like a crack in the heavens. There was no sound, no ship, no device...just this space that blossomed like a rip into daylight. Holding still, he was soon engulfed in brightness.
"Finally! They abduct me!" he thought as his body seemed lifted, moved, yet held gently in the soft glow. He had time to wonder where he would go, when his cell phone rang.
The sound pierced the fabric of the light in some bizarre reaction, sent Mulder suddenly spinning into a vertical tunnel, an absolute tornado like storm of violent speed. He landed with a wet splash, between tall waves of sea water intent on smashing him to bits.
Swimming now with all his might, he was hugely disappointed. "They've dumped me in the ocean cause they thought I could be traced!" he figured as he worked his arms frantically. "Now I'll drown in some storm at sea alone and never know why!"
The wind's howl was loud in his ears, the water salty as he swallowed involuntary gulps. He tried to get a view above the waves that chopped around him, but it was useless...he could see nothing but gray-green water in every direction. The sky did seem to be losing fury, the storm was lessening, and that meant he might have a chance after all. But land could be miles away or worse. His chance was slim.
Letting himself bob along with the current seemed a reasonable choice. He rested his arms, thought of how he'd gotten his vacation after all and smiled at the irony.
On the World of Two Moons, Pearlshade, an ancient elf with a shape-changed tail floated along peacefully near the surface. Her long locks of light gold hair parallel to silver scales helping her glide along smoothly, acting as a dorsal fin would have, she was balanced and graceful in motion.
A storm had just passed by her latest sea-nest. Pearlshade hadn't been bothered by the waves, but other animals had been stirred around her watery home, and now she was out to see the results. Had that squid been persuaded to leave his rocky hideout? She hoped so, as she was hungry.
Flicking her tail lazily, she was not ready for the odd sight of the dark legs poking down from above. Was this an elf or a human? The difference could mean life or death.
Circling downward fast, she retreated to her underwater cave to retrieve a weapon. She'd return with spear in hand before she tried Sending a mental query. An elf might be able to answer her mind, no human ever had.
Swimming slowly, still apparently undetected, she once again got close to the pair of legs intruding into her realm.
A pair of black socks still clung to the feet, making it impossible for her to count toes. No way to know if this being was a 5-fingered foe or a 4-fingered kin.
I am Pearlshade, daughter of the High Ones...do you hear me, stranger? she Sent without even a bubble escaping her lips.
The hands didn't slow their rhythmic swishing, this being didn't acknowledge her Send with even a change in the treading of the water. It needed to keep afloat, needed air to breathe, and was likely HUMAN!
One of them lost at sea was not a danger, but if there were more, ships full of searchers or fishermen, Pearlshade's peace in this lonely spot was shattered.
She needed to know if she would have to swim farther to find solitude, and there was only one way to communicate with a human.
Putting a bit of distance between the figure and herself, she poked her head through into the cold dry air. Blinking to adjust her vision she took in the sight of a dark haired, waterlogged male. Keeping her spear leveled at it below the waterline, she spoke in the latest version of the human tongue that she knew, "Ahoy. Are you alone out here?"
Sputtering with surprise, Mulder spun in the water to see a slender blonde woman floating just out of arm's reach!
"How'd you find me?" he asked, starting to swim closer.
"Halt where you are, human!" Pearlshade commanded with a lungfull of expelled air. Talking was something she hadn't done in a long while as she had been wandering alone, and it actually felt good to use the muscles.
"Human?" Mulder said oddly, halting his progress and looking closer at his supposed rescuer. Indeed, the woman did seem to be too thin, too small, and there was something very wrong about the angle of her eyes. As the next wave pushed him ever so gently he got a glimpse of her left ear. Pointed like a kid playing a Vulcan on Halloween.
"If you aren't human, what are you?" he asked, still trying to guess who's joke this was. Perhaps Scully had found some female friend to play this trick, make the call, drug him, drag him off the roof and dump him in the water with a kid mocked up to look alien. She normally wasn't the sort to mess about, but maybe she knew he was feeling burned out and planned a little fun?
"I am Pearlshade. You can call me that. Answer my question now. Are you alone?" Pearlshade did her best to smile, reminded that humans thought the gesture reassuring. Many other species reacted differently to the showing of teeth. Being underwater amid predators more often than above it had changed her own perspective.
"Yes, just me far as I know" Mulder said with confusion. "But I could be surrounded by half the Navy and not know it. Where the hell are we anyway?"
The question didn't mean much to Pearlshade. "Where" was a very vague idea. You could be near, far, under or above, but what did he want to know "where" for when he had eyes of his own? And what was a "Navy"? More human men most likely. And that was bad. Now she had to decide what to do with this one. Drowning them without a reason seemed cruel, but was often the best way to deal with them. They died fast enough without more of their kind to drag them away, and it was usually a mercy to spare them that bloated painful death they suffered in the end. Looking back with sympathy at the poor lost thing, so unable to survive on its own, she felt a swell of pity. It was intelligent, after all, and it was just possible that she might enjoy saving it. It could teach her more of the human speech, perhaps, if she could keep it long enough. Decision made impulsively as was her habit, she spoke again finally, "Come with me."
Frowning Mulder was completely thrown about this interchange. Normally in a conversation he was able to follow along just fine...question, answer, idea, action...but what was going on now? She hadn't even bothered to give him a clue, but instead was now swimming amazingly fast with just her head leaving a wake between the waves. Having no other choice, he quickly began his best breast stroke trying to keep her in sight.
"He'll never make it at his pace," Pearlshade decided as she turned to see him struggling so far behind her. Turning and diving, she dropped her spear to the bottom, noting the way it landed, before she zipped back to the two-legged swimmer. Rising right beside him, she turned to embrace him with both her arms and then used her powerful tail to propel them both. Keeping him from struggling was hard at first, he was strong and large, for all his apparent helplessness, but he soon concentrated on his need for air instead, and maintained an arched body pose which kept his face above.
Mulder had been swimming at his fastest when he had felt the bump of her against him. His first thought was "Shark" as he saw the flash of a silver tail, but then slender arms held him and they were speeding off into the blue. It wasn't possible, of course, but now the word leapt to mind anyway..."mermaid!"
He was having a dream...some sort of hybrid nightmare had him helpless in her arms...how often had he had this scenario play out in his sleeping brain? Chalk up one more...but a vivid one indeed. The water was spraying against his face, he was only able to catch a breath every few feet, and he could swear he could see her hand against his shoulder clasping with one-too-few digits. That tropical vacation idea had made his subconscious conjure a mermaid. Either that or he had finally found a real legend turned fact. Or, the third idea was slow to arrive, but he supposed he could have lost his mind. He wasn't one to doubt himself normally, but this was no alien, no government conspiracy, and certainly not what he had expected when he went up to that roof.
The golden sand began to brush against her backside as she floated face up holding the man. He would be able to wade up to the shore from here and thus she released him as they ceased moving. Flipping over again to breathe in the filling air, she spoke as she swam, "You call this an island, yes? You will be able to live here, I think."
"Wait, what island is it? How did I get here and what are you?" he blurted. His feet were once again on land, but he was still out to sea mentally. What if she just swam off and left him? Would he wake up in some hospital later to wonder if it had even really happened? That wasn't that uncommon but he never enjoyed it, and it made for incredible X-Files reports. His boss, Skinner, would scowl before signing off on yet another bunch of paperwork marked "inconclusive". Mulder really dreaded that scowl.
"I am Pearlshade. I have told you this. Are you injured in your head? Will you be able to live, feed yourself and survive?" she asked, now worried that the being was too frail or simple and she shouldn't have bothered to drag it to land. Pearlshade was no healer, and hadn't been around humans enough to know if they were sick. "I will bring you some food." she decided, and in a flash left in search of some soft fish that even a weakling should be able to consume.
Fox sat on the beach and shook out his one remaining sock. The other had been tugged off during that blast of a swim. He looked at his watch, now devoid of digital information, his cell phone, which also oozed water instead of letters on the screen, and his gun, still holstered securely at his waist. The sunlight dried the salt on his skin, making his clothing feel very tight, the few clouds overhead drifted by far above, and there was no sign of jets, boats or other civilization. He waited.
It wasn't a surprise when he once again heard that light voice announce, "Come, eat this!" The voice was pretty, lyrical and yet seemed so unfriendly. Commands, statements...no help at all in this situation.
Wading out to her, he was waist deep as she thrust a pair of dead fish at him. They were headless and bloody. He wracked his brain for mermaid lore, but didn't have anything in his head that might give him more of a direction for now. He took the fish and said, "Thank you."
He turned toward shore again, extremely disgusted at getting fish guts on his shirt, when he felt her hand slip up his leg to hold around his left knee.
"Human...will you live?" Pearlshade asked gently. She had felt guilty leaving the thing defenseless.
"My name is Fox Mulder, and yes, I'll live." he said, gazing down at her in awe. In the calm inlet, the waves no longer kept her full form hidden, and he got his first real confirmation that she was half fish below the waist. The female form that held him wasn't quite human either, being very ethereal and delicate, the features slightly tilted and their proportions just off the norm. "Are you asking because you hope I will or hope I won't, Miss Mermaid?"
"Mer-maad?" she mimicked. "Pearlshade. Elf." she said, touching one slender hand to her delicate bare chest. "Foocks Mool-der" she said touching his hip and looking up at him with a mix of humor and concern.
"Elf? No no...you're a mermaid. Wrong myth. Elves are wood spirits, you're a water being." he muttered mostly to himself.
"Humans call us Elves. What is Mer-maad? What kind of Human is Mool-der?" she asked, steadying herself by clinging to his leg as the waves gently pushed at the half of her that was now above.
"I'm an FBI Agent. And you are a Mermaid. You have a tail." he made these statements with all the determination he could muster. Saying it aloud did make it seem even more unreal. He suddenly wished with all his might for a camera, a net, a way that Scully could be made to see this creature. What would her face look like as he dragged this into the lab?
Pearlshade gave him a tilt of her head as she responded, "My form is changed, my blood is pure. I have no Mer-maad or fish in me. I am all elf in spirit." Impulsively she sought to confirm her words with a locksend, the normal way for elves to share the truth.
As her mind reached out toward his, a sudden gust of wind pushed at their forms and Mulder stumbled one step to the left in the soft sand, dragging the clinging Pearlshade just the few inches as well. The ripples in the water grew astoundingly large, another force seemed present also, and Pearlshade felt a familiar tingle. A magical pool had been created in this place by elves...firstcommers to this world who had shape changed to the environment for survival had joined minds and talents in this very place, and this world still held the echo of that power. The power glimmered in the air around the two beings now, feeding on the locksend that once again sang with pure elf blood, once again was awakened and called on to create change.
Mulder hunched down instinctively as the wind blew harder, a strange shimmer in the air seemed like heat waves, yet the temperature hadn't changed despite the gust. The black eyes of the mermaid were looking up at him, seemed to become the black expanse of space, glittering with stars, and he was falling, no flying between the points of light. Pearlshade was an elf, but more, she was an alien to this world, and he knew it. But he also knew he was no longer on Earth. Coneheaded beings flew beside him in a sphere of power, a spaceship like device constructed from the dust of their dying world. They were seeking new lives and had fallen to a new planet in a distant time that yet felt like only a heartbeat away. Two Moons lit the night sky instead of one as starving elves drew on mental abilities that were strained by higher gravity in order to become like the creatures who swam the seas. Tails grew from the limbs they had and became effective adaptations. All of this was instantly clear, though he didn't exactly hear it in words.
Pearlshade herself was also caught in the shared moment, living the history of her people, confirming her own origins, and more...she seemed to be confirming Mulder's as well. She felt him being pulled into that blue splash in the sky, dropped into the world she knew....floating, lost, confused, excited by the strange discoveries. She felt his desire for the partner he had left behind to share the knowledge. She knew he was more alone on this world than she by far, as he was also alien. The Humans here wouldn't be what he expected. There would be no "FBI" tribe for him here. And that was good, as he wished to expose her as evidence of alien life, of the paranormal, of magic, which Humans lacked. These words meant little to her, yet the actions he wanted were clear. He didn't mean to harm her, but she had to be captured, studied, questioned, learned from, and endless other purposes which would deny her her freedom. He himself was a captive to his own questions, to powers on his world which were large, misunderstood and threatening. She had no desire to be trapped there with him, but he needed to return to the place he understood. He would not thrive on the World of Two Moons with the Mermaid.
Feeling a swell of pity yet again, Pearlshade held onto the feeling of power that the aura of her kin had made, drew it to herself more and let go of the Human's leg. Backing away with her hands against the sand, she pushed against the human in the pool of magic.
She drew from his mind the sea of stars, drew from her racial memory the map of their travels, interlaced the two and launched Mulder in a pocket of air into the void. "Return home, Fox! Find your Scully, find your Truth!" she sent to him as she used forces beyond her to propel him to his homeworld. She bent time, bent space, used gravity and shaped air just as her ancient ancestors did, feeling her own body shrink in the distance as her link with Mulder held by a thread.
Mulder was standing with the elf, was not in the water, was blasting through space, was on a rooftop in Washington D.C. Mulder was blinking at the lights of the nearby skyscraper when his cell phone rang.
Reaching one cold wet arm down to hit "send" he felt a shimmer of that word ripple in his mind. He had "Sent" with Pearlshade, had been on another planet with an alien who called herself an elf and looked like a mermaid. But how could he ever prove it? Even the dead fish were gone.
"Mulder here" he said in a resigned tone, as he put the receiver to his ear.
"So did it pan out?" Scully's cool tones asked.
"You mean did I find some realities I had not imagined, possibilities and truths I needed to see? Don't be all wet, Scully. There's nothing out there but stars and dreams."