I got the idea for this story driving home from my own trip to Disneyland with my best friend on the 21st, and I promised myself I would have it up by Christmas Eve. Even if that meant staying up until the wee hours of the morning on Christmas Eve—because it's kind of a Christmas story and what's the point of it's posted after Christmas?

Anyway, I'm not promising anything great…but hopefully it's fun and hopefully you enjoy it at least a little.

Review if you'd like—I'd like to know how it was received!

Thanks everyone, and Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays!

Natalie


"Scully, have you ever been to Disneyland?"

The question caught her off guard. They were sitting in a diner in a small town in southern California after having wrapped up a case—not an X-File, as it happened, but they had had a hand in it anyhow. But, she thought, what an awkward question that was to ask—nothing had prompted it; it was completely out of the blue.

"Huh?" Perplexed by his train of thought, she responded somewhat lamely.

"Disneyland—you know, the happiest place on earth, have you ever been?"

"Yeah, a few times when I was younger, when my dad was stationed in San Diego. Have you?"

Mulder smiled "Once. When I was little, too—the whole family took a vacation out to California, and we all went to Disneyland. It was so much fun—one of the happiest days of my life and one of the best memories I have of my family together." Scully smiled as Mulder continued "Nobody fought. The whole entire day, not one ill feeling was expressed…it was perfection. I was convinced it was the place itself. I was convinced it was magical."

"I see you were interested in X-Files at an early age." Scully joked, but inside she was happy to see Mulder with a happy memory of his family—he had too few of those.

He chuckled "Yep. Don't you think it's magical?"

"I don't know."

"What do you mean you don't know—either it's magical or it's not."

"Well, I mean, I don't know if the place is magical in and of itself, but in the effects that it creates in children, in people in general, in its principles concerned with imagination, I think that it could be."

"No, Scully—the place is magical. And I'm going to prove it to you." Mulder said, smiling conspiratorially at Scully.

She arched her eyebrow "How?"

He smiled. "We're going to Disneyland, Scully."

"Mulder… I don't think…" she began, but he cut her off.

"Come on Scully. It's Christmastime, so it'll be all decorated and whatnot, I've heard that's really beautiful, and we're only an hour away, so we can book our flight for day after tomorrow, and still have time to go to Disneyland…I'll even pay….please?"

She laughed at his enthusiasm, before sighing and, of course, agreeing.

"Okay, Mulder." she smiled "We'll go to Disneyland."

Mulder smiled, quite excitedly if Scully read him right (and, of course, she did). "Great!" he said "We leave tomorrow at 6 in the morning!"

"6 in the morning, Mulder? That's in six hours!"

"Well, then I suggest we get out of this diner, and get our rest!" he exclaimed as he slapped a twenty dollar bill on the table and exited the booth.

Scully, rolling her eyes, followed suit.

Twenty minutes later, as Scully got ready for bed, she thought of Mulder's enthusiasm—it made her smile still. He was like a little kid in his excitement, and it made her happy to see him so carefree—that was a side of Mulder she wished she could see more.

And, truth be told, she was excited about going to Disneyland, too. She hadn't been in a very long time, and never at Christmastime, and never with someone she…well, never mind about that last part. But, she was excited nonetheless.

It seemed only a moment before she was awakened by an incessant knocking on her door. It seemed as though 6 o'clock in the morning had come sooner than she had expected. She groggily got out of bed and shuffled to the door, and opened it to see Mulder bright eyed and bushy-tailed holding a cup of coffee.

"Ready, Scully?"

She scowled at him "Do I look ready?" Mulder surveyed Scully, her hair was in disarray and she was still in her pajamas. But, he thought, she still looked beautiful.

He chuckled "No, I guess not. I'm gonna go back to my room and get all my stuff together, but hurry up, Scully!" he said before he left her room and closed the door.

She went into the bathroom and washed her face and brushed her teeth. She then came back to her room to try to decide on an outfit. She really didn't have many choices, she had only brought along two outfits aside from her business suits. One of them was a gym outfit in case she decided to go running, and the other was a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt. She, of course, chose the latter.

She looked in the mirror—not the best sight she'd ever seen, but it would have to do. Sighing, she swept her hair back into a ponytail, letting some of the wisps fall around her face. Yep, she was definitely ready for a day at Disneyland—she definitely looked the part, that was for sure.

She packed up her stuff, grabbed her coffee, and was out the door, headed for Mulder's room. She knocked, and within a second, the door swung open "Hiya Scully!" Mulder said as he opened the door and looked down at her. He smiled when he saw her, and he couldn't stop grinning.

"What, Mulder? What is it?" she asked, suddenly self-conscious.

"Nothing." He said, still grinning.

"What?" she demanded again.

"Nothing… you just look so cute." he said, grabbing his suitcase and closing the door behind him.

His declaration made her blush, and she looked down at her feet to try and hide the pink that had flooded her cheeks, but he saw it anyway. "Thanks" she mumbled, and then proceeded to the car.

As he was pulling out of the motel parking lot, Scully allowed herself to survey his attire. He wore a gray sweatshirt and a worn pair of jeans, with his hair sort of tousled, as though he had just rolled out of bed—which he probably had. He looked good, she concluded. He looked sexy. She blushed at her turn of thoughts, and then turned to look out the window.

She knew she should stop fantasizing about her partner, but she just couldn't, she hadn't been able to for awhile.

So, she was thankful when Mulder's voice interrupted her thoughts. "Are you excited Scully?" He glanced at her, but then returned his eyes to the road.

She smiled "Yeah, Mulder" she admitted, "I am."

This seemed to please him, and he smiled at her "Good! How about some music?"

She laughed slightly, "Sure, Mulder, I could listen to some music."

He turned the dial and sound filled the car, he turned it until the static subsided, and a station came in loud and clear. It was music that neither one of them had heard, but it was a pleasant sound, so he left it there.

Minutes passed in silence, with nothing between them but the music. It was nice, this comfortable silence. They'd had it for awhile, and then lost it, but somehow, it had returned, and they were both thankful for that.

Scully thought of their lives—she had one of 'those moments.' The kind where you realize that everything in your life had happened for a certain reason, and in a certain manner that had brought you to a certain point on any given day. The kind where you realize that any choice could have affected the outcome—whether you ate breakfast at this diner or the other could have changed your life. She thought about this until Mulder's voice again broke her thoughts. But, this time, he wasn't speaking to her, he was singing along with the radio.

"Mulder, what in the…" she started, but he cut her off.

"Shhh, Scully, I love this song!" he said, and continued singing.

She listened to the music, it didn't seem like the type of music he would listen to. "Mulder, who is this?"

"It's the All-American Rejects, Scully. It's called Dirty Little Secret."

"The All-American Rejects?" she asked, with an arched eyebrow.

"Yeah." he said, and continued singing. "I'll keep you my dirty little secret, dirty little secret, don't tell anyone or you'll be just another regret, just another regret…who has to know."

Scully laughed. Hysterically. So hard, in fact, that she could not stop.

Mulder laughed too, "What, Scully? What's so funny? Don't you sing along with the radio?"

She was finally able to control herself when she responded "Yeah, Mulder, sometimes I do, but not when anyone else is in the car…"

"Just because I'm comfortable with my serenading skills, does not make me a spectacle."

She laughed again "No, no, Mulder, you're right. It's your serenading skills in general that make you a spectacle."

"Ha-ha very funny. But it's a good song, Scully, a really good song."

"I'm sure it is, when sung in the right key." she joked, then looked out the window to see the first sign for Disneyland. "Mulder, look! We're almost there."

"I know, just a few more miles, and we'll be there."


"Jeez, I didn't realize they'd raised prices so much!" Mulder said as they stood in line waiting to purchase their tickets.

"Why, how much does it cost?"

"Oh, just short of an arm and a leg."

Scully looked at the sign "50 dollars? Are they kidding? Is this a joke?"

"fraid not, Scully." They made their way up to the front of the line "two, please."

They purchased two tickets, a hundred dollars worth of tickets, and made their way into the happiest place on earth, which apparently doubled as the most expensive place on earth, too.

It wasn't too crowded, and it allowed them to move about freely and not worry about being separated. Mulder was like a wide eyed child, and Scully could tell that it brought back happy memories for him—memories he sometimes shared with her. Like the time that he and Samantha rode splash mountain together for the first time. How excited she was when the characters sang, and how scared she was when it came time for the big drop.

Mulder still remembered the look of terror on her face in the photo taken on the drop—a photo that his parents had purchased to commemorate the trip. How wonderful that day had been.

And Mulder was determined to make this day just as wonderful. He and Scully rode as many rides as possible, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain…basically all of the mountains, before it was time for lunch.

Mulder said he'd get the food while Scully searched for a table. After about a half an hour, he came back, tray in hand. "Here's your ten dollar burger, Scully, you better enjoy it." He said as he placed the tray in front of her.

"Thanks, Mulder." she said, as she bit into one of the fries. "I'm starved."

"Me too, all this walking and adventure has worn me out!"

"Oh yeah, definitely."

They ate in silence for a few moments, before Mulder spoke. "Are you having fun, Scully?"

She looked at him "Yeah, Mulder, I really am."

"Good." he sipped on his straw before continuing "So, do you believe me that this place is magical?"

She chuckled "Because I'm having fun and eating a ten dollar burger? No, Mulder, I think you know me better… I think you know it'd take more than that to convince me. I'm going to need some proof."

"Is that a challenge, Dr. Scully?"

"I think it just may be." she said.

"So, I have to prove to you that this place is magical—what do I get if I win?"

"Hm, what do you want?" She questioned, a suggestive hint invading her tone. She hadn't meant for it to be there, but it was nonetheless.

He smiled—grinned, really, and replied "My, my, Scully, now that's a loaded question." returning her suggestive tone full-force.

She blushed, and looked down into her food trying her hardest to avoid being noticed. He laughed "Scully, how bout I just prove this one to you because I want to. No rewards, no bets, just fact."

"Sounds good, Mulder. Too good to be true, in fact. How do you plan to prove it to me?" she questioned, curiosity getting the best of her.

"You'll see, Scully, you'll see."


After lunch they were blessed with a new burst of energy, and headed over to adventure land, where they decided to ride Indiana Jones. It was there that Mulder noticed some man—attractive by some standards, he assumed—staring blatantly at Scully. This man was making no qualms about ogling Scully—and that made him mad.

So, in guiding her in line, Mulder placed his hand on the small of Scully's back and looked the man square in the eye.

Scully did not miss that outright display of possessiveness, and smiled despite herself. She should be appalled that a man was figuratively laying his claim to her, but, she wasn't. She didn't care because it was Mulder who was staking his claim—it was Mulder who was saying that she belonged to him. And deep down inside, that made her smile. Even if it was just a natural reaction, in her mind, because Mulder was so protective of her. It had little to do with anything else, she told herself—but she was still pleased with the display. And Mulder was pleased that it had worked—the man stopped staring at Scully. In fact, he hardly looked her way throughout the rest of the wait for the ride. And that made Mulder smile.

After Indiana Jones, Mulder decided he wanted to go on the Haunted Mansion—it was completely transformed for Christmas, after the movie "The Nightmare Before Christmas." It was an amazing transformation, even on the outside—pumpkins lined the grass surrounding the mansion, and candles were placed atop the mansion itself. It was a huge transformation, and Mulder seemed in awe.

Once they got inside, it was apparent that the transformation of the ride was whole—the pictures on the wall were changed, and everywhere you looked there were pictures of characters from the movie.

The line was uncharacteristically long, and it seemed to take them forever to get to the front of the line, but eventually the time came. They both got in their buggy, as directed, and settled in for the ride. It wasn't long before Mulder leaned over to Scully and whispered: "Hey, this would be a great make out ride, don't you think, Scully?"

She was taken aback by his comment, and was left speechless.

"I wasn't suggesting, Scully, but if you're interested…" he teased.

She slapped him on the arm "I think not, Mulder. We're hardly sixteen." she said, then felt strangely giddy at the idea that he would even joke about making out with her.

"Hardly." he concurred, then turned back to the ride.

They went on a few more rides as it began to turn to dusk, then Mulder had a suggestion.

"No, Mulder. Absolutely not."

"Ah, come on, Scully, please?"

"No, Mulder. I am not going on that ride. Absolutely not, no way."

"Why not?"

"Well, for one thing, the people are annoyingly creepy, and for another thing, the song gets stuck in my head, and I can't get it out."

"Scully, you can't come to Disneyland and not go on that ride."

"Watch me."

Five minutes later, they stood in line. Scully was pouting, and Mulder was as happy as a bug in a rug.

"Scully, it'll be fun."

"No, Mulder, it will not be fun. I absolutely hate It's a Small World After All."

"I know—but it's like, Disneyland's theme ride or something. You can't not go on it."

"Apparently, because here I am." she said dryly.

They were just about to the front of the line when it happened. When the Small World ride lit up into an absolutely beautiful sight. "Wow." Scully said.

"Tell me about it. That's absolutely amazing."

"I don't know if I've ever seen so many lights all in one place."

"Yeah, their electric bill must be through the roof."

She looked at him and chuckled before turning back to the sight before her.

Suddenly, he took her hand, "Scully, I can't believe I'm standing here with you." he said, looking at her profile.

She jolted as she felt his hand join with hers, and her heart melted at the tone of his voice—she was stunned. She looked at his hand joined with hers, and then looked to his face. She started to respond, but was interrupted.

"How many in your party?" the attendant of the ride asked.

Mulder didn't respond. He was still looking at Scully. "Sir…how many in your party?" the attendant repeated

Mulder was shaken into reality, then, and held up his fingers indicating two. There were just the two of them. Just the two of them in the entire world as far as he was concerned. And there was no one else he'd rather be alone in the universe with.

They got on the ride, each still a little dazed from what had happened—neither knowing what to say. So, they sat in silence, watching as the characters sang their songs and danced their dances. Trying to convey a deeper message—that the world was small—that everyone shared one thing: love.

For the first time, as cheesy as it sounded even in her own head, the lyrics to the stupidly annoying song hit home. It was such a small world—so very small—and she was never more aware of that until that very moment, sitting with Mulder in that stupid boat.

What things had transpired to bring them together in this place at this time for this purpose? Amazing, it seemed, that years ago she didn't even know the man sitting beside her, and now, she couldn't go a day without him.

She hated that dependence, but knew without a doubt that it was there. And the fact that it was there was somehow okay, because it was there for Mulder. She would have tolerated it for no one else in the entire world except him. He was the exception to all of her rules, she thought.

He was the exception to every rule she had ever set for herself. She had told herself to keep her distance, to never become emotionally attached, to always be able to walk away from anyone and anything. But here she was, close to him as ever, completely attached emotionally, and unable to walk away from him and the X-Files. Yes, he certainly was the exception.

"What are you thinking?" his words invaded her thoughts for the umpteenth time that day.

She smiled, a wry sort of smile—one that he couldn't quite put his finger on. "I'm thinking, Mulder, that it really is a small world after all."

He smiled as the ride came to an end—it certainly was.

They walked for awhile, heading towards Main Street, towards the center of Disneyland, really, unsure of what their next move would be. They walked in silence—a somewhat awkward comfortable silence. Mulder wanted nothing more than to take her hand, but he didn't, he just walked.

And he thought. He thought about her—about how much she had come to mean to him. He'd sworn that he'd never let anyone in, that he'd never let anyone close to him. But, she had. Somehow, somewhere, he had let her in. He hadn't meant to, it was just something that happened, something beyond his control, it seemed. As though he were destined to trust her, destined to open up to her, destined to let her in, destined to…love her. She and no one else knew the secrets of his mind, she and no one else he allowed to know him inside and out.

Such a strange world it was—small, too. He would never have imagined that first day in his office what she would come to mean to him. That day, she was just another means to an end, someone not to be trusted, and certainly not someone to be admired or loved. Yet look where they were now—look where he was now. Helplessly sitting in the palm of her hand, and she didn't even realize it.

Look where they were now, walking the streets of Disneyland—together yet somehow painfully apart.

They eventually reached the center of Disneyland, and noticed a crowd beginning to gather. "Looks like we made it just in time for the fireworks show, Scully."

They made their way to a railing, and leaned against it. "Looks that way."

"Wanna watch?" he asked a hint of excitement in his voice.

"Sure. I'll watch." she said. She hadn't seen fireworks in ages.

Just as she finished speaking, the first firework shot up into the air with a loud pop. Startled, Scully slightly leaned into Mulder, intent on watching the sky, neither one noticed.

The fireworks show got more and more intense, with the colors bursting in the sky like a kaleidoscope. "Wow, that's so beautiful, I'd forgotten how much I liked fireworks." Mulder brought his gaze down to Scully, and looked at her profile. She was beautiful, absolutely beautiful.

He responded to Scully, but he didn't take his eyes off of her. "Yeah, me too."

Sensing his gaze, she looked at him out of the corner of her eye. "What?"

"You're beautiful." he stated matter-of-factly.

This brought her gaze away from the sky, and to the floor—suddenly she had butterflies in her stomach. "Thank you." she said.

He brought his forefinger to her chin and lifted her gaze to meet his. "No, Scully, I really mean it—you're beautiful."

He began leaning towards her. "Mulder…" she started, but he silenced her by tracing a finger over her bottom lip.

He brought his head down further, until they were touching foreheads.

"Mulder…" she began again, her voice suddenly dry.

"What, Scully?" he whispered.

"We…can't." she said, as her voice broke—she was on the verge of crying, a rare event for her, but the moment was so emotionally charged.

Overhead, the fireworks display continued.

"Yes, we can, Scully. We can." he assured.

"No…we can't."

"Why, Scully, why not?" he questioned patiently.

"Because, we're partners, it's against the rules—if anyone in the bureau ever found out, we'd be separated, and then God only knows what would happen to the X-Files, Mulder, to your life's work…" she was rambling but he cut her off.

"Scully, you're my life's work."

His words made hers catch in the back of her throat, but still, she continued. "And Mulder, if they found out—well, I don't even want to think about what could happen to you…I just don't think that it would be smart, to be connected like that, I mean…" the thought made her sick to her stomach—what could happen, what probably would happen.

"Scully, Scully, shhh, shhh… it's okay, it's okay." he swept her into his arms, trying his best to comfort her. "I don't care about all of that, I don't care about any of that—the only thing I care about is right here, Scully" he gestured between them "the only thing I care about is you—and what's between us. I love you, Scully. I'm in love with you."

"Mulder, no… no, no, no." She said, shaking her head, as tears filled her eyes.

"Yes, Scully…yes, yes, yes. And you love me, too, I know it, I know you do. You're just scared… that's all. But, Scully, I won't let you be scared of this, of us, of anything. I would never hurt you, Scully, never." he put his hand to her cheek and caressed her there.

Her eyes were filled to the brim "I know you wouldn't Mulder, I know that. Of course I know that. But…"

"Then, there's no buts about it Scully. Tell me you love me."

"Mulder…"

"Tell me you're in love with me Scully, tell me."

She sighed, and shook her head as a tear rolled down her cheek. "I'm in love with you Mulder. Helplessly, I'm afraid."

He wrapped her into his arms again, "Then that's all that matters—that's the only thing that matters."

"But…"

"No Scully. No buts. I can soothe all of your fears, do you know why?"

She remained silent.

"Because…" he leaned down to whisper in her ear "I'll keep you my dirty little secret, Scully—who has to know?"

She laughed at that—"Oh, Mulder, I'm just…" she couldn't say it—she couldn't say she was scared.

"I know, Scully, I know you're scared, but it'll be okay. I promise you. I love you." He smiled "I love you, and that's all that matters—that's it. I don't care about any of the other stuff, Scully—only you… only us…only this."And with that, he bent down to kiss her—it was a gentle exploratory kiss. He searched her mouth for the first time—but certainly not the last. Each of them felt butterflies in their stomachs and heard fireworks overhead—the tenderness emanated from his lips, and transferred into her heart—she was so very much in love… and so was he.

Eventually, he pulled away. "So, Scully, did I convince you?"

"Convince me of what, Mulder?"

"The magical nature of Disneyland." he reminded her.

"Well…" she leaned up on her tiptoes to playfully bite his bottom lip, "I think you've made a believer out of me, Mulder."

He laughed and drew her into another kiss—another perfect kiss between the only two people in the world, in the most magical place on earth.

They were each other's exceptions, and each other's magic…not to mention each other's dirty little secret—they completed each other in the gigantic world that was, indeed, very small after all.


Wellp, there you have it—it's nothing much, but it is 4am on Christmas Eve's morning (in Southern California anyway)—and I'm tired. But I promised myself that I'd get this story up before Christmas, and three hoursandtwelve microsoft word pages later,I did.

My main purpose was to give you guys a little Christmas treat (assuming you enjoy my writing)—so, I hope you enjoyed it at least a little. If not, then I have failed miserably in my endeavor, and I apologize greatly, but I still wish to wish you a happy holiday…

…filled with magic!

Thanks for reading,

Natalie