I looked up at the monitor in the middle of Lambert Airport. The word canceled flashed harshly by Deltas Flight 148 to Washington, D.C.
The east coast was under ice and snow and all flights were canceled. No matter how hard I stared at the monitor, the word kept flashing. Almost hypnotic in its steady rhythum.
I thought about my mom, her cooking, waking up to the smell of her pancakes and muffins. The sound of my nieces and nephews happy cries at discovering Santas visit. Going to church in the mid-morning. Of all things Christmas in the Scully tradition that I would now be missing.
But then I thought about Mulder. How his lips felt pressed against mine when he kissed me good bye an hour ago.
Merry Christmas, Dana Scully.
I walked down the corridor, searching the monitors for Mulders flight to Greenwich, Connecticut. He was headed back to spend Hanukkah with his mom, his first time in years spending the holiday with her. I didnt even know the flight number. I just knew he was gone and I wouldnt be seeing him for over a week.
The last time I saw him was downstairs in the baggage claim area. Mulder was returning the rental car. It had been a stressful case in St. Louis, one about a serial rapist on the run. Mulders expertise as a profiler was used to try and determine his whereabouts and where he might have fled to. We were tired and Kersh had us overworked. Both of us scheduled to the last possible minute on Christmas Eve. To top it all off, it had started snowing in St. Louis and it made us late.
I hated the snow.
His flight was leaving before mine and was in the opposite direction of my terminal. The story of our lives. Barely enough time to finish one thing before it was off to something else. This time, I wanted to talk to Mulder. Tell him things I wanted him to know before the holiday. Before the New Year. I had opened my mouth to say something, but Mulder heard his flight number over the intercom. He turned to me with his best apologetic face.
Thats my flight, I better go, he said, bringing his hand to my shoulder and giving it a reassuring squeeze.
Have a good holiday, I replied, suddenly realizing I wouldn't be seeing him. I wanted to hug him, but his other hand was holding his overnight bag and his shoulder was supporting a garment bag. I opted for a kiss on the cheek. I rose up and leaned in, but he suddenly turned his head to the right and I found myself kissing his mouth instead.
It was unexpected. I had no idea how long it lasted. But his mouth was warm and I could feel his breath escape against mine. He tasted of sunflower seeds and coffee. It ended as suddenly as it began.
He pulled away and smiled softly at me. Im sorry, Scully.
Sorry? I whispered, my head spinning still from the sensation.
Mulders eyes turned upwards. Mistletoe.
My eyes followed his. Sure enough, someone had hung mistletoe amid the pine roping and bows.
Ill call you when I get there, he said as he turned to go. He smiled again.
And I watched Mulder walk away, his tall form shrouded in his overcoat. He stepped on the escalator. I fought the urge to follow him. Instead, I watched him disappear out of my life. Frozen in place.
I shook the memory out of my head and walked to the ticket counter. Life had become so unpredictable lately. We had been through so much. Losing the X-files, Gibson Praise and working for Kersh.
Mulder telling me he loved me four weeks ago.
I touched my lips. They were chapped from the cold.
So much had changed, except for us. We were still together. Still searching for answers and finding only more questions.
I stood in line at the Delta counter for twenty minutes. The next flight they could schedule me on was tomorrow evening, weather permitting. They were even going to put me up for the night at a nice hotel downtown for my trouble and because it was Christmas Eve. How thoughtful. Christmas Eve alone in a strange hotel room.
I gathered my bags and walked through the airport, heading for the main exit to try and catch a taxi. Lambert was so crowded, and with all the flights being canceled, I had to fight my way through the gates. I made a mental note to call my mom and let her know I wasnt coming home tonight.
Someone was calling my name...or a name that sounded like mine. It was hard to hear in the crowd, but I heard it again.
I stopped and looked around at the sea of faces surround me.
Scully, over here!
It was coming from a small, airport bar over in an alcove. It was Mulder. He sat on a barstool, waving at me like a lunatic.
As I pushed my way through the crowd, I could feel relief washing over me at the sight of his face.
Scully, arent you going to miss your flight? he asked, taking another sip to finish off his drink.
Did you miss yours? I replied, perching on the barstool next to him.
Canceled. he said, setting the empty glass down. Id only been separated from him about an hour, but it felt like forever. He didn't even look the same. His tie was shoved haphazardly in his coat pocket. His hair all askew. A five oclock shadow had fallen on his cheeks. I could tell by his breath that this wasnt his first drink.
Mine too. Theyre putting me up for the night, I said, picking up his empty glass. Hard liquor, no doubt.
The bartender looked inquisitively at me, but I shook my head. Not wanting anything alchoholic.
Oh," Mulder said, smiling even wider at me. Well, I guess my bad luck has rubbed off on you. I was hoping youd have made it home.
Have you turned in your ticket yet? I asked.
Uh, no. Got it right here. He tapped his breast pocket. I just came here when I saw my flight was canceled." he studied me carefully. "So, where are you staying?
I pulled my voucher out of my purse, reading the name of the hotel. The Marriott Downtown.
Downtown? said Mulder, pursing his lips up in thought. Thats a ways from here. In the snow.
His last words sounded almost ominous. I didnt know if it was deliberate or it was from the alcohol.
Mulder, why dont you find out if your flight has been rescheduled? Im here until tomorrow night, I suggested.
Well, if youre here and if Im here, do you want to spend Christmas Eve together? he asked carefully, as if he was intruding on me in some way. We were off the the clock now. Anything that happened would be...of our own accord.
I reached out and touched his arm. I dont want to be alone on Christmas.
Mulders hand covered mine, his thumb tracing small circles. My face flushed at his touch. He leaned closer with a look of intensity. Neither do I.
Mulder managed to flag down a taxi for us. The snow was falling even harder, and a good three inches already covered the road. It had also gotten much colder. We huddled together in the back seat for warmth. Mulders face was red and his fingers were freezing. He had forgotten his gloves. I took the liberty of warming them in my mitten-clad ones, rubbing them back and forth. Moms stocking stuffer from last year had come in handy.
It took over an hour to get from Lambert Airport to downtown St. Louis, with highways being in the best condition and the side streets still covered. Our driver seemed unphased by the snow, but after a few skids, Mulder and I werent so confident in his driving ability. He took us right into the heart of downtown, which was lit up everywhere with lights. I peered out the window and tried to forget about the snow.
But it continued falling steadily and it filled me with such dread. The sight of it made me feel strange and sick.
Kinda like D.C., isnt it? Mulder commented, his face near mine as he stared out with me. Mulder was good at invading ones personal space, something that took me a while to get used to. He was always standing close to me, his hand often resting on the small of my back or reading over my shoulder. Mulder always gave me his undivided attention, his dark eyes focused completely on me when I speak. I had gotten so used to his presence, that sometimes when he wasn't with me, I felt incomplete.
Hey, thats where Mark McGwire his #62! Mulder exclaimed, pointing at Busch Stadium a few blocks ahead. They had put alternating red, green and white spotlights along the top, and it was glowing in the haze.
Scully, Mulder whispered, his lips suddenly against my right ear.
Yes? I answered, trying to focus on the Stadium and not his extreme proximity.
Im determined to make your Christmas better than last years.
That was a tall order to fill. Last year was Emily.
The Marriott was located right near the Stadium, and our driver pulled sharply up on the curb. Mulder shuffled me inside, holding my arm to keep me from slipping on the ice. I hadnt packed any boots, so my heels were little protection against the wetness and cold. Mulder took care of our suitcases and brought them in.
The hotel was beautiful, much nicer than a lot of the places Mulder and I ended up in. Wed been everywhere in the last six years, frequent flyer did not even begin to describe it. The X-files had brought us to most of the fifty states, Canada, and Russia. I told Mulder I was waiting for a fluke man to end up in Paris, so at least I can see France someday.
Welcome to the Marriott Downtown, the single hotel clerk said. Do you have a reservation?
I have a voucher. I started digging through my purse. My flight got canceled.
Yes, weve had a lot of that this evening, she replied, taking my ticket and typing the information into her computer. I can upgrade your room to a suite with a breakfast buffet. Would you both like a room overlooking the Arch?
I heard Mulder laugh underneath his breath. This happened often, people assumed we were together.
I need a separate room, he said, winking at her and wearing his know-it-all grin. Weve had a little fight and....
Mulder, I warned.
Careful, Scully, you need to be nice or Santa wont bring you anything tomorrow, he said, pulling out his wallet and slapping his credit card down on the counter. Or would you rather be naughty?
Mulder, I think youre naughty enough for both of us, I quipped.
The girl at the counter tried not to laugh at our banter. Are you both staying for one night?
Unless our flights get delayed tomorrow, I replied.
The computer printed out our receipts and she tore them off, reading the numbers. Room 768 and 1294. The elevators are around the corner. Enjoy your stay.
Thank you. I folded up the papers and shoved them into my pocket as we headed for the elevators.
Scully, why dont we meet in about an hour for dinner, at 8:00 p.m.? It looks like they have a nice restaurant here. I know its not a substitute for your moms cooking, but... he said, sounding apologetic. As if somehow, the snow and our predicament was his fault.
Its fine, Mulder, I said, taking my bags from him. Our fingers brushed in the exchange. Well make it work.
I was glad I upgraded my room. It looked more like a living room than a hotel room, with a nice couch and warm furnishings. The bathtub was huge, complete with whirlpool jets. I quickly turned on the water as hot as I could and walked back out to sit on the bed.
My shoes were damp, I quickly pulled them off and laid them to dry on the heater.
I peeled off my suit and searched for my toiletries bag. By the time I walked back into the bathroom, it was already steamy and warm. I sank into the tub, letting the jets soothe my cold limbs and tired neck. I had brought a small bottle of vanilla body wash, which smelled rich and relaxing. As I lay submersed, my mind drifted sleepily to Mulder and the passing thought that he could fit quite nicely in the tub with me. Of the look on his face smiling back.
Then the image faded and I saw Mulder, lying on the ice and snow beside me.
Unconscious. In the middle of that frozen wasteland all alone. I was sure we were going to freeze out there. That he was going to die saving me. I crawled across the bitter snow, clad only in his snow suit and gathered him in my arms. I could barely feel my hands, my legs, my face. I held him tightly, trying to share whatever body heat there was. I rocked him back and forth, whispering his name. Pleading with him not to die and leave me all alone. I promised God anything just to let him live.
I shivered myself awake and found that the bath water had grown cold.
I glanced at my watch, which I had left on the bathtub edge. It was already 7:30 p.m. and I had dozed off for a good fifteen minutes. I stood up, suddenly eager to get out of the tub. I wrapped a thick towel around me and padded out to my room, remembering something I had to do.
I picked up the phone and automatically dialed.
Hi mom? Its Dana, I said, sitting down on the bed.
Dana, we called the airport and they said your flight was canceled. Where are you? she asked, voice full of concern.
Still in St. Louis. Its starting to ice and snow here too, but they have me rescheduled for tomorrow night.
She sighed in relief. Well, Im glad your safe and sound. The east coat was hit hard. Is Fox with you?
I smiled when I heard his first name. Not Fox, Mulder. Yes, his flight was canceled too.
Good. At least I dont have to worry about either of you, she said. My nieces and nephews were yelling in the background, making it hard to hear her. Well miss you Dana. But well spend the weekend together. And, well have lots of celebrating left to do when you get home. If Fox has missed his holiday plans and wants to come along, Ive still got a spare bed.
Ill tell him, I said, cradling the phone against my ear. As if somehow, that would bring her closer to me. She always seemed to understand me, my job, the risks. And my mom rarely passed judgment. That understanding applied to Mulder, even though other people in my family blamed him for past events. I love you, Mom.
I love you, Dana. You and Fox have a nice Christmas Eve and Im thinking about you both.
Ill call you tomorrow. Night, mom.
I hung up the phone and stared at the receiver for a good five minutes.
I looked through my wardrobe, all wrinkled and distorted from my suitcase. There was nothing really appropriate for an impromptu Christmas dinner. And I wanted to look nice for Mulder.
One of my suits was a two piece ensemble, with a straight tank dress underneath a blazer. It was a dark hunter green. Without the blazer and a few accessories, I could make it work.
I dried my hair out, letting it be fuller and curlier than usual. I wore a little more makeup, in darker shades. I knew Mulder had never seen me in a deep red lipstick before. I had some small poinsettia earrings I could wear with my cross. As luck would have it, I had one pair of hose left with no runs. I felt almost nervous as I slipped into my dried shoes.
Or was it anticipation?
I saw Mulder standing in the lobby and it made my heart stop for a second. Id seen that particular suit on him many times, but tonight, it didnt look the same. The cut was perfect for his tall frame, the light pinstripes giving definition. He had even chosen a very plain and classic stripe for his tie. Normally, his ties were explosions of silk color that had a life of their own.
His eyes met mine and he made a face as if he approved of my choice of attire, pursing his lips and narrowing his eyes.
Mulder, I said, approaching him. Are you ready?
He winked at me. Im sorry, Miss...as beautiful as you are, Im here with someone.
You are, huh? I asked.
My partner. Shes about your height, wearing a black pantsuit, FBI badge on her lapel. She smells of formaldehyde, he replied. He was staring, his eyes wandering over me slowly. As if wondering who I really was. Did I reall look that different to him as well?
Well, if I see her, Ill tell her you already have plans with me, I said, returning his gaze.
There was a tension in the air as we stared at each other. And my skin was growing warmer under that gaze.
Our table is ready, Mulder said finally. Breaking the tension. His fingers casually reached over and grasped mine, lacing them with his. He pulled me into the dining room, turning to smile. Nonsmoking, of course.
Mulder held the chair out for me, and after I scooted in, his fingers came to rest on my bare upper arms. His face near mine. You look beautiful, Scully.
There was sincerity in his tone. It wasnt one of his funny offhand remarks or clever innuendo. It was serious.
Thank you, I replied, after he sat down across from me. It was a small table. Intimate. I noticed there was a bottle of wine chilling. Wine, Mulder?
He grinned his Cheshire cat grin. I pulled the vintage out. Finding a very expensive Merlo.
You know Kersh will love this on the expense reports, I said, looking over at him warily.
Its Christmas Eve, Scully. Thats the last time I want to hear Ebenezer Kershs name, he answered.
Our waiter came and poured the wine. First my glass, then Mulder's. I raised to to my lips, as he waited for me to take the first sip. It tasted smooth and rich and it warmed me from the inside out.
Do you like it? Mulder asked, his eyes studying my reaction.
Its wonderful, I replied. My face was flushing and he watched me take another sip. I had no idea Mulder knew anything about wine. But with his eidetic memory, who knew all the strange and useful things stored in there?
We had drank nearly half the bottle by the time our food arrived. Mulder insisted that I order something extravagant, so I opted for the seafood wellington, while he chose a prime rib. Id eaten many meals with Mulder, from fast food in the car to every greasy spoon across this country to fine restaurants at many hotels. Why did this one feel so different?
I called my mom, I said, spreading the napkin in my lap. She was glad we were safe and sound. Did you call yours?
Mulder avoided my eyes and stared down at his plate, Uh, yeah.
I bet she was disappointed, since you havent spent Christmas together in a long time, I surmised.
Well, holidays at the Mulders hasnt been exactly *happy* since Samantha. And, after the divorce....well, it was pretty nonexistent. You get used to it, he said, starting to cut his steak.
I guess this year, you both were starting over? I asked carefully, sensing there was something else wrong besides a missed flight.
Mulder sat back in his chair and exhaled. Silverware hitting the plate loudly as he let them slip from his fingers. Scully, Im not going to lie to you. Not tonight. I wasnt going to spend it with my mom. We tried getting together over Thanksgiving, and it didnt go well.
Mulder, I said, reaching across the table and covering his hand with mine. You should have told me. You could have come home with me.
I knew you were going to say that, and I didnt want you to make me the Scully Family Charity this year, he said sharply, withdrawing his hand.
The bitterness in his tone was a defense mechanism. Mulder was very good at pushing people away and I knew him well enough not be pushed.
Mulder, Im serious. When I spoke with my mom, she even invited you over for the weekend.
Oh, I know Bill would just love having me there, he said sarcastically.
Hell be gone by the weekend, he has to work. My mom cares about you, Mulder. Youre my partner, you watch my back, I said, exhaling slowly.
Scully, I dont want you to feel obligated...
Its not obligation, Mulder. Its because I want to be with you on Christmas. But I wasnt going to keep you from your family given the circumstances, I said, hoping he'd understand.
Mulder closed his eyes tightly, shaking his head. He leaned in again and took my hand in both of his. Im sorry, Scully.
Youre forgiven, I said, smiling reassuringly at him. Then I grew serious. This time.
Wait a minute, Frohike did made me a nice offer for Christmas day... he started. "I may have a conflict."
Really? And what might that be?
Checking out Y2K glitches by hacking into government computers, he answered, with a small grin.
"Hmmm, maybe Ill spend Christmas with Frohike, I replied, finishing another mouthful of shrimp.
Please, Scully...do you have any idea what hes going to say when he finds out Im spending it with you? I mean, thats Frohike Scully Fantasy #103.
I laughed out loud and covered my mouth with my napkin. I dont even want to know what one through 102 are!
"No," Mulder replied, laughing a bit. "You really, really don't."
We finished our dinner, reminiscing about the Gunmen and other strange characters we had met during our time together. Anyone who could hear us must have thought we were insane. Talking about shape shifters, demons, aliens and the Stupendous Yappi.
Can I interest you in dessert this evening? We have a special tonight-Death by Chocolate, featuring three kinds of chocolate, fresh strawberries and cherry liquor, the waiter asked as he cleared our table.
Dessert, Scully? Mulder inquired.
Wed have to split it, I doubt I can eat a whole piece by myself, I answered, looking up at the waiter.
"One plate, two forks," he replied, with a nod. Assuming we were together as well.
It was a good thing we only ordered just one. He brought back a large slice of cake placed on a triangular plate with two colors of chocolate drizzled over it in a crisscross pattern. Sinful.
I watched as Mulder took a fork and cut off a piece which I assumed was for him. But he brought it to my lips instead and waited for them to part.
Tell me what it tastes like, he asked softly.
I opened my mouth and closed it around the cake. It tasted like my moms brownies, only richer with cherry liquor. I smiled at its flavor. I smiled at Mulder. Its very rich.
Hmm, he said thoughtfully. His finger reached up to the corner of my mouth and wiped a bit of chocolate sauce off. I could feel my face flushing hotter at the touch. My heart raced even more when he brought his finger to his own lips and tasted it. Very rich.
I cut the next piece with my fork and pretended to put it in mouth, but then I offered it to him.
He laughed underneath his breath, gazing back at me. Are you tempting me?
What does the Death by Chocolate mean? Do you think anyone has really died from this dessert? I asked thoughtfully, distracting myself from the way his mouth tugged playfully at the fork as he took the slice in his mouth..
I think I might, he whispered, watching me devour the next piece with a smile.
After dinner, we wandered the hotel. Mulders hand holding mine lightly as we walked around. There was nobody in the bar, except a solitary bartender and one piano player. A young kid who looked like he was in college. He was tapping out Merry Christmas, Baby with a lot of flair for someone stuck working on Christmas Eve.
Wait here, Mulder said, releasing my hand. He left me by the bartender and walked up to the piano. He whispered to the kid, and they both stared back at me. Only God knew what he was telling him. I watched Mulder slip him some money before strolling back to me. With that grin that always made me wary.
How much did you give him, Mulder? I asked, folding my arms and raising an eyebrow at him.
He dodged the question and took me in his arms instead. Hell play any song you want. For as long as you want.
I had danced with Mulder before. Dancing was a wonderful diversion. You can hold someone as close as you want in public and it was completely acceptable. One hand was wrapped around my waist, the other surrounding my hand.
The kid played softly a familiar memory as we started to move.. He surprised us by singing, low and quiet to match his playing.
...make the Yuletide gay...from now on, our troubles will be miles away...
For now, troubles did seem very far away. My world was just Mulder, this evening, this dance. His body was pressed against mine, moving with me in perfect tandem. I closed my eyes and dreamt of Christmas past. Of Ahab. Of Melissa. Of getting up early on Christmas morning and fighting with my brothers over the toys.
...faithful friends...who are dear to us...gather near to us...once more...
I thought of Mulder spending this Christmas alone and I whispered a silent prayer of thanks that he was with me instead. The snow bringing us together.
...and have yourself...a merry little Christmas...now...
Maybe it was the music, the wine or the dancing. But I suddenly felt happy and giddy. I stepped away from him and grinned wickedly.
Joy to the World, I called out to the kid. The Three Dog Night version.
Mulder stared at me and I watched his face light up with recognition.
You said any song, Mulder, I reminded him.
He banged the keys hard and boisterously and started the song off for us. Jeremiah was a bull frog, was a good friend of mine, I never understood a single word he said and I helped him drink his wine.
Cmon Mulder, you made me sing this to you. Its your turn, I said, laughing as he swung me around in his arms.
Singin joy to the world, all the boys and girls, joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea, joy to you and me, Mulder sang softly along with the piano player.
I laughed again. The second verse was mine.
If I were the king of the world, Id tell you what Id do, Id throw away the cars and the bars and the wars and make sweet love to you, I sang loudly and off-key. That night out in the forest, I didnt have the nerve to sing that line to him. But I did now.
Oooh, Scully, you tease, he whispered as we rocked back and forth. His body pressing against mine.
Joy to the world all the boys and girls, joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea joy to you and me, the kid sang, smiling over at us.
Next verse, Mulder, I ordered.
You know I love the ladies, love to have my fun, Im a hot night rider in a rainbow flyer and a straight shootin son of a gun, he sang in a low and sexy voice, just to me. I wrapped my arms around his neck, holding him closer.
Joy to the world, all the boys and girls, joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea, joy to you and me...
We closed the bar. I had never closed a bar before, but at 1:00 a.m., it was time to go. Ryan, our piano player, wished us both a Merry Christmas. And from the look on his face, I was sure Mulder gave him a very large tip for staying.
My feet hurt from dancing and I took my shoes off, carrying them in the hand that Mulder wasnt holding. I smelled of cigarettes and sweat and Mulders cologne. We walked back through the hotel, which was now dark and quiet.
Something sparkling caught my eye and I stopped, tugging Mulders arm.
What is it? he whispered.
It was a Christmas tree. A huge Christmas tree at least 12 feet tall. It was lit up in pure white lights with a golden angel on top. The garlands were in gold and silver, weaving their way down. The ornaments reflected the light in glass shimmers of every color. It was just beautiful.
Merry Christmas, Scully, Mulder said, breaking the silence. Cmon, there is something else I want you to see.
It wasnt until we were on the twelfth floor that I realized we were going to Mulders room.
Its the view, Scully, he reassured me as he opened the door. You have to see this.
Mulder didnt even bother to turn the lights on. We walked across the dark room to the window and Mulder drew the thick drapes apart. Look.
I stepped to the glass and stared out at the river front. The Arch was a dark silhouette, reaching up to the sky and then falling back again. The lights from downtown were reflected in the river. Boats docked along the edge were decorated for the holidays. But there was snow. It fell into the water, it made the air hazy and it was everywhere. The sky was thick with it, and from the reflections, it made the night glow something unworldly. A silent storm of white. Unrelenting.
The view is beautiful, Mulder, I said quietly, my forehead and fingertips resting against the glass. Except for the snow. I cant handle the snow.
I felt his arms slide around my waist, pulling me back into his arms protectively. He knew exactly what I meant.
Do you think snow will ever be the same for us, after Antarctica? he asked.
I dont know, I whispered, my voice shaky and distant.
Images flashed in my mind again. Seeing the ship. Holding him. The sun blinding us both against the snow. Bitter, bitter cold. Mulder went to the end of the earth to find me. He risked everything to save me...and I couldnt even tell him...
Scully, he said gently. I had started to tremble and he turned me around to face him. I could feel the tears in my eyes, stinging. When I blinked, one fell and he brushed it quickly away. I never cried in front of Mulder, at least, I never tried to. I was supposed to be the strong one.
Antarctica. Im sorry I mentioned it, he whispered.
I was determined not to cry. I took a deep breath and tried to focus my thoughts on something. No, Mulder. Im glad you mentioned it. We never talk about. We never talk about that day. I can never repay you for what you did for me. For risking everything to bring me back. Sometimes Mulder...how I treat you...I dont know why you even put up with me. I mean, you tried to tell me something a few weeks ago, but I wouldnt listen. I just dismissed it as something you didnt mean, something said under medication. But its because Im afraid Mulder. Im afraid of losing you, of all that we are, of all that we have...Mulder, I dont know what Id do without you...
I was rambling, thoughts jumping in my head faster than I could verbalize them. Did he understand?
His eyes searched mine, I wasn't sure what he was looking for. But his hands were on my face, tracing the curve of my cheek, the fullness of my lips.
I dont know what Id do without you, Scully, he breathed.
Before I knew it, my lips were on his. I was kissing Mulder. Hard. I could feel the scratch of his stubble against my chin, his tongue in my mouth. Everything all at once. I wanted to pour everything I couldnt say into this kiss, I wanted my intentions clear. Our lips eventually parted and we just stared at each other.
I was not sorry.
I love you Mulder.
The words came out of my mouth. I felt a sense of freedom the moment they were spoken. It was over. It was finally over. There was no more denial.
Mulders eyes grew dark, but in them burned an intensity Id never seen before. He tilted my head up to meet his lips and he kissed me again. This time, it was slower and deeper. I finally had to break away to catch my breath.
It wasnt until Mulders thumbs brushed away tears that I realized I was crying again. But they were tears of relief, of frustration and release.
You are all I have, Scully, he said, kissing my forehead. Theres isnt a place in this world I wouldnt go to get you back. It all starts and ends with you.
Mulder stepped away from me and sat in an armchair. He reached out for me and drew me into his lap, into his arms. And we sat there in the dark for a long time, just holding each other. We spoke little, letting our hands and lips say what we couldnt. The deep understanding we had for each other was never more apparent. Our lives had been parallel lines, each mirroring the other. Now that final barrier was down, there was nothing stopping us from letting the lines cross.
There was no mistaking the haze that had settled in the air, the feeling in the room that surrounded us. It was arousal. All I wanted was to be with him completely. But Mulders hands stopped mine as I fingered the buttons on his shirt.
Scully, he breathed, my lips leaving his. You dont have to do this. Believe me, I could die right now and Id be a happy man.
I dont want you to die, Mulder, I said with a kiss to his ear. But let me make you a happy man.
I loved him. This was the man I loved and I wanted him. Wed nearly lost each other so many times already. How much time had gone by that I had wasted not being with him?
Then we kissed with reckless abandon, reaffirming our decision.
"No regrets?" he asked, before continuing.
"No regrets," I answered, unbuttoning his shirt slowly.
Mulder found the zipper at the back of my dress and I gasped when he pulled it down. I had to stand up to let it fall of my body and he smiled wickedly when I did. He stood up and embraced me, lifting me off my feet. We shifted closer to bed. It was chilly by the window.
His fingers had moved around to the sensitive skin my stomach, working their way up my ribcage then slowly back around. Caressing me gently as he explored my body.
He fumbled with the back of my bra and I heard a low moan escape his lips. His hands came around to the front and found the hook there.
In all my fantasies about you, I never had your bra fastening in the front, he whispered, with a smile.
Mulder was enjoying this. And I was not embarrassed or shy about anything, as I normally was the first time. This was Mulder, my Mulder. Thats what made it so easy, so pleasurable, so familiar. I already trusted him completely here.
His fingers unhooked my bra, and his hands slid over my breasts. My head reeled from the sensation. Skin on skin.
Suddenly, our clothes seemed like obstacles. I worked my arms out of the bra, feeling freed from its constraints. I pried Mulders shirt off, wanting nothing more that the feel of his skin on mine. All over.
You are so warm, Mulder commented, studying me thoughtfully. Your skin is all flushed.
"I'm warmer in other places," I breathed, kissing his mouth again. Then, I kissed his neck, his clavicle and worked on unfastening his pants. I think I impressed him with how quickly I managed to remove them.
Scully, remind me never to let you strip search anyone, he mused, his hands suddenly everywhere on my body. As if memorizing each curve and plane.
I could feel him against me, hard and insistent. It aroused me further, just knowing that there was no going back at this point. That I wanted him so badly inside me, to know what that felt like. It was powerful.
He picked me up and laid me on the bed, settling beside me. He kissed roughly and playfully as he slid my hose and panties down my legs. Leaving me completely naked.
You are so beautiful, Scully, he whispered, running his hand along my thigh.
I slid his boxers off, using mostly my toes to pull them down the length of his legs.
And your talents scare me, he said, with a smile. "Makes me wonder what else you're good at."
His fingers laced with mine and he rested back on the bed, pinning me gently as he settled on top.
Dont move, he ordered. I felt his body slide down mine, stopping to kiss me in various places as he worked his way lower. My heart began to pound harder. Anticipating his next move.
I was scared, I was thrilled, I was on fire. I felt out of control, wild and dangerous all at once. I watched the shadows on the ceiling as his mouth descended on me. The sensation of his face against my thighs, his tongue across my clitoris and the knowledge that this was Mulder was overwhelming. I gripped the headboard, trying to steady myself against him. He was kissing me in places I only dreamed of. I breathed raggedly and forced my body to relax. The tension was consuming me fast. And I wanted to take this slow.
My hands traveled down to his head and I ran my fingers through his hair, to get his attention. He looked up at me and I nodded. It was time, I couldnt hold on any more.
Mulders hands caressed me as he settled back against me. His elbows were on either side of my head, so his face was just inches from mine, his hands in my hair.
Slowly, I instructed, wanting to savor every single second. Carefully.
Anything you want. he answered.
I kept my arms around his neck, keeping him close to me. He moved with the utmost gentleness and skill into me and once I relaxed around him, I smiled at the feeling. We fit into each other. I could see his dark eyes even in the low light, they glistened. I wanted him to know.
I love you, I said, as his hands lifted my hips against him. I do.
Mulder stopped for just a moment and stared at me. He said nothing at all. Instead, I felt him inside me, moving, thrusting. Trying to find the right rhythm and motion for us. I felt a sigh escape my lips. What was unspoken, he was telling me in other ways. I could sense his loneliness and his need for me to want him this way.
I kept his eyes locked with mine, watching him make love to me. His face was at once mysterious and unreadable and yet, held an openness and closeness. I kissed him a couple times between jagged breaths as we fell into the rhythmic thrusts. He was watching my reactions. What pleased me. The sounds I made. He focused on me. I cried out suddenly, climaxing hard around him.
I was still reeling from my own pleasure when he came. It felt warm and wonderful and complete. He moaned and held himself inside me so I could feel him. Feel his release. To know he shared this with me.
He fell against me, his body collapsing over mine. I kept him locked in that position for a long time, neither one of us wanting to move.
I brushed the perspiration from his forehead and he gazed down at me. His face held no anxiety, stress, or whatever it was that constantly haunted Mulder. He smiled and I smiled.
I love you, he said, fingers smoothing the hair from my face. I love you so much.
They were the last words spoken before we fell asleep. Happy, satisfied and exhausted.
I crawled out of bed, the room was still dark. Mulder was still asleep, his tall form had been curled around mine. The clock read 6:23 a.m. Christmas Day. I never could sleep late on Christmas.
I quietly walked over to the window, our clothes and shoes were lying everywhere. The aftermath. I smiled.
I peered through the window and it was still snowing lightly. But, the heavy clouds were gone. In the mornings early sun, the snowflakes looked like tiny diamonds falling from the sky. Each sparkling, crisp, clean, white. It was beautiful to me again. The whole city covered in a blanket of sparkling snow for Christmas. A White Christmas.
Everything had changed because of the snow.
I smiled back at Mulder.
I decided to wake him up. It was time to start our new life.