Okay, I kinda got the idea for Half-Life 2 fanfic when I began playing through the games once again last week. This more than re-ignited my passion for the series so I wondered what else I could do to further enhance my Half-Life experience.

So I combined my love of writing and English in general with my love of gaming and Half-Life and voila: Half-Life 2 self-insert fanfiction.

Anyway, enough of me wasting your time here. I'll let you read it without any further delays.

Okay, I lie. There's a lovely disclaimer for you to read first:

Half-Life 2 and everything else in the game and its successive episodes are completely and utterly owned by Valve. The only thing owned by me is myself.


Chaos Reigns

At least I have free time now. Time that can be used to kick back and relax. Or to do the mountain of homework I'll no doubt get given tomorrow. Bloody government allowing schools to set homework. Completely pointless, in my opinion. For now, though, it's probably a beneficial if I actually do something relatively productive in this free time. Like playing Half-Life 2. Or, rather, playing it again. What better way could I possibly spend my time?

Exactly. In no way at all.

Although a sneaky packet of salt and vinegar crisps would be nice. Yeah, I think that's a good idea. Along with some Pepsi, of course. Not coke, Pepsi. Indeed, I am a Pepsi man, to the utter dismay of many people I've met. You can't go wrong with a bit of junk food every once in a while, even if it does take you another month or so to burn it back off. Airsofting definitely keeps you more than just fit and healthy, so the junk food really doesn't matter, but oh well.

Thankfully, I'm on my own at the moment. Never did like too much noise. Never will, either. The hustle and bustle of city life really doesn't appeal to me. But anyway, by this time I already have my HP Pavillion G6 laptop whipped out and ready to go.

I'm an avid gamer, yes, but airsofting kinda takes its toll on your wallet if you're serious about doing it every week, as I am. It doesn't give you much money to buy a real high-end PC. I mean, my Steyr AUG cost just a bit over £550 when I'd finished kitting it all out: a few extra high-capacity magazines, woodland camouflage, holographic sight...it all adds up. Oh yeah, and an M203 grenade launcher. I guess I probably didn't need that but hey, it's insanely useful in many situations. Thankfully, my Glock 18 didn't cost anywhere near as much, otherwise I might as well hand myself over to the debt collectors to work as their slave for all eternity. And that's a very long time. Besides, I can run Half-Life 2 on high.

I take a quick glance over my shoulder just to check that my two airsoft guns are still there. Thankfully, they haven't been unexpectedly stolen since I last looked at them 15 minutes ago.

Yeah, paranoia does that to you.

Hmm. I only just realised that I'm airsofting tonight. Damn, today is a good day.

Oh! And headphones. Vital component in the gaming experience. Vital. I snatch up the in-ear headphones from just behind the laptop along with my iPod, swiftly make my way through the menus and select Trivium - In Waves before slipping the iPod into my black camo army combats.

Yeah, majorly contradictory, I know but when I'm in the mood nothing can deny me a good listen to some heavy metal. It gets me pumped as hell.

Right, okay. First mission. If you can call it a mission, anyway. Nice little speech by the G-man there. I almost know it off by heart actually. And I'm proud, goddammit. Anyway, it's probably best if I just do a speed run until I get to Kleiner's lab for the first time. Of course, not forgetting to throw the damn can right back at that arrogant S.O.B. That's part of the game I'll never forget, that's for sure.

After a few loading screens, Alyx...opens...the wall to the lab. Whether opening a wall is even possible, I don't know. It's more like a secret door, really...but I'm not interested in that rather trivial matter at the moment. There are more important things to attend to when you're Gordon Freeman. Things like...'testing' the mini-teleporter. Almost instinctively, I begin messing around with it, amusing myself with carefully placing the random crap available to me onto the little hot plate thing and teleporting it while Kleiner, Alyx and Barney are conversing with each other.

If I'm being perfectly honest, after all my playthroughs of Half-life 2 and its successive episodes, I still don't know why nobody cares if you start lobbing everything they own around the room. Or if the old crowbar somehow wedges itself into computers that are probably full of vital data. But oh well, it's a free world; Gordon has the right to smash anything and everything in sight. At least, it's as free as possible with the Combine there.

By the time I'd broke-er...finished with the mini-teleporter, the HEV suit was ready to go and, before I even knew it, I was required to go and place the plug back into the socket which, as expected, I did with relative ease. Now, though, it was my-Gordon's turn at the old teleportation.

After all these playthroughs of Half-Life 2, Barney's quips still manage to make me smile a little. He definitely brings a much more light-hearted view on the potential end-of-the-world situation they're all in. And I like that. Barney is probably the most awesome character I've come across in any game. Period. He has guts to infiltrate Civil Protection, that's for sure. I just hope he plays a bigger part in episode 3.

Goddammit, now I've just reminded myself that Half-Life fans will have to put with more trolling from Gabe Newell for the next 50 years as we still await its announcement. Y'know what I think his last words will be?

"Trololol!" while holding up the completed version of Half -Life 2: episode 3 before throwing it into a random fire next to him. Because he clearly loves having fans who hate him...and will then worship him endlessly when he releases even just a minuscule hint about the next Half-Life.

Anyway...now should be about the time that Lamaar pops out of that vent and-

-Woah. Hang on a second, what the hell is going on.

I know this isn't a lucid dream...I can't dream lucidly. Bloody hell, what kind of mind-fuck is this?

Come on Connor, don't act like a bloody idiot. You're just having your mind messed with by the...by the game.

Which is why you're being surrounded those weird white glowing orbs just like Alyx when she got teleported. This...really isn't *yawn*...good. I-I think I should...should just do whatever it is you do when you're...tired.

I groggily get to my feet, almost stumbling over the chair as I forcefully shove it away. I fall to my knees and grasp the nearest thing to me. Unfortunately, it was the gun. It simply falls to the floor with a dulled 'THUNK' under my weight. The white light suddenly increases in brightness to an almost blinding level. I raise my arm up to cover my eyes only to be met by the heart-stopping sight of that arm begin to slowly dissolve away. Before I can react or even comprehend what's happening, though, the blinding light vanishes only to be filled instead with the encompassing darkness of the void.

Voices. Voices are always good. It means I'm awake. Breathing. [i]Alive[/i]. Where I am is a completely different matter and something I don't give a damn about. The fact that I'm not in very tiny atomic pieces is amazing.

Science, you may baffle me sometimes but damn are you awesome.

"-no coincidence...impossible...how?"

Hey, the voices. They're getting louder. Maybe I can actually put together a sentence now that I-

"How the hell is he still alive, Dad?"

Ow! My ears! Okay, I wasn't expecting that. It was like they were just standing next to me and-

-wait...I know that voice from somewhere. I'm still pretty dazed, so I can't really place the voice with a person at the moment.

"I don't know, Alyx. This is far beyond anything we've ever seen before. Even Izzy doesn't know ."

Now that voice I recognise. Eli Vance. That means...shit. Shit, shit, shit. I'm in the Half-Life universe. Unless this is a bloody practical joke. Well, only one way to find out; actually letting them know that your awake.

"Well, when he wakes up I'll let you know. It can't be long now. He's already been out for a couple of hours."

"Alright, then. We'll see you soon."

Wait, what? Hours? Bloody hell, I'd better get this show on the road.

I slowly open my eyes and bring a hand up to them, rubbing them to try and properly wake myself up. As my eyes adjust to the light, I turn over on the mattress I'm lying on and come face-to-face with the cheerful, bright smile of the deuteragonist of Half-Life 2: Alyx Vance.

I'm not entirely sure what my expression was at that point but I'm pretty damn sure it was something along the lines of shock, surprise, amazement and maybe just a hint of 'what the fuck'. To put it simply, I don't know why I'm here or how I got here but I'm not complaining. Although I probably will start complaining when I come into contact with the headcrabs. Annoying little buggers.

"Hey there. How're you feeling?" Alyx asks me, obviously trying to make me feel a little less out-of-place here. I still don't actually believe what I'm seeing or hearing but for now I'll just go along with it. There are so many questions that I want to ask about this universe. I mean, I can actually speak to Alyx, Eli and...

...Bloody hell, I can actually talk to Gordon Freeman. I'm not playing as him. He won't be the silent protagonist we've all come to know and love. That will be a really odd experience.

Now that I'm actually here, or at least unless this is some sort of sick practical joke, I'm not restricted by scripted dialogue. I can ask literally anything.

"I-I suppose I'm doing good, thanks." I reply quite hesitantly and nervously, glancing around at my new surroundings, taking in everything I possibly can. "How did I get to Blac-I mean, wherever this is." I quickly correct myself, hoping that nobody noticed my slip up. Hopefully they'll just attribute that to me still being pretty dazed after that unexpected travelling.

Don't blow your cover Connor. If you do, you won't have the power of precognition, godammit. Then again, my whole presence here has probably messed up the whole timeline of Half-Life 2 as I know it. I mean...inter-dimensional travel? Yeah, i don't think anyone saw that coming. Not even the G-Man. We'll see soon, though.

"We...don't know. It was just so unexpected. All of it. Now Dr. Freeman needs to make his way here by foot." Alyx glances down at the floor and sighs a little. "It's a lot to take in."

Right, now I need to look confused about everything she's just said which is going to be more than just a bit weird. I know about everything that's going to happen but I can't do anything that could hint to it. This is one hell of a precarious position I'm in but I've got to keep my cool if I want to know what's going to happen in the future.

What exactly has been going on?" I ask, putting on my best mystified tone and confounded look as I swing my legs over the side of the bed and run my fingers through my long, messy hair. I probably should have cut it ages ago but I actually really like it like this. Headbanging is so much better when you have longer hair than your average Joe.

"Sorry, I just got a bit carried away." she laughs embarrassedly and rubs the back of her neck, glancing over her shoulder and then back to me, now smiling a little more. "It's…a long story. We'll tell you everything when I introduce you to a few people. I promise." Alyx gets to her feet and offers a hand to help me to my feet. Not that I need it but it's a friendly gesture and, well, it's Alyx Vance! Who in their right mind would refuse a helping hand from her? "I'm Alyx Vance, by the way." she introduces herself as I take her hand and she pulls me up to my feet.

"Connor Taylor. Nice to meet you." I say, my British accent coming out much stronger now that I'm gaining more confidence here.

"Likewise. I wish we could've met under more…sane circumstances" Alyx remarks as she leads me out of the large metal room and through a series of corridors littered with old pieces of paper, flattened cardboard boxes and a whole manner of other pieces of seemingly useless crap until we finally come to the familiar lab space from Black Mesa East. Eli and Dr. Mossman haven't noticed me and Alyx yet but when they do…

…There'll be some major Q&A, to put it lightly.