Post Ep- How The Ghosts Stole Christmas
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Wrapping paper littered the floor as Mulder and I unwrapped the gifts we weren't going to buy each other. What I had previously believed to be a Hillshire Farms beefstick when wrapped was actually a package of round, different-scented soaps stacked on top of one another. I had the amusing thought of Mulder in the Bath and Body Works store being surrounded by salespeople trying to get him to sample different sprays and scents that they promise his "significant other" will love. I smiled at the thought.
"What's so funny?" Mulder asked, looking up from his effort to unwrap my intricately taped and wrapped gift.
"Oh…nothing," I grinned. He looked at me a moment longer, probably wondering if my mystery smile was more important than what was under the wrapping paper of the gift in his lap. Apparently, he chose the latter because he shifted his attention back to the gift.
"Geez, Scully, you're a magician with tape, aren't you? Is this another video for my collection?" He smiled suggestively.
"Sorry Mulder, it's not that great."
He frowned in mock disappointment. That is, until he got the present open. "Oh, Scully," was all he could get out before his eyes teared up.
"I wanted to give you something a little more personal this year, so I asked your mom if I could borrow some of your old childhood pictures. Every picture of you and Samantha that I could find I made doubles of." I had gone to a leather store and bought a black leather photo album. I had the front embossed with gold lettering. At the bottom, right-hand corner, the letters said "Fox and Samantha" and in the center of the cover in capital letters it read "BROTHER AND SISTER FOREVER." I watched as he gently touched the letters and the cover and opened it carefully. Moving closer to him on the couch, I looked over his shoulder as he gave each picture on every page special attention. The pictures ranged from their being toddlers to just a few weeks before Samantha disappeared. As he turned the pages, tears rolled down his face, but he never said a word. After he had finished looking at all of the photographs, he closed the album and just sat staring at the cover. For a moment I thought maybe I had gotten too personal and gone too far.
Then, Mulder put his arms around my waist and his head on my shoulder. As he hugged me, he cried. I ran my fingers gently through his hair comforting him. "I'm sorry, Mulder. I didn't mean to make you so upset," I said softly.
His voice slightly muffled, he said into my shoulder, "Scully you have no idea how much this means to me." He looked up at me with red eyes." After Samantha disappeared, mom and dad put all the pictures of her in the attic. I'd forgotten some of these pictures even existed. When did you get all of these."
"Remember that Saturday that you asked me over to your apartment to watch a movie? And then you got mad because, in your own words, I 'blew you off.' You called me on my cell phone when I was only halfway through the photo albums your mom let me borrow. I still had to make the doubles, pick up the photo album from where I got it embossed, and arrange the pictures inside the album." I smiled as I said, " And then you huffed and puffed around the office over the next few days because I didn't go to your apartment for a movie date." I loved joking with him.
"It wasn't a date," he said, but I noticed him turn a shade of pink. Oh, no, I thought disappointedly. He really had wanted me over for a date. Embarrassed, Mulder got up from the couch and sat the photo album upright on top of his television.
"Well, Mulder, we both obviously can't sleep, so why don't we watch a Christmas movie on TV?" I asked hopefully. When he looked unsure, I added playfully, "I might even let you put my arm around me." He smiled that sheepish, little-boy smile that I love and sat down next to me. The channel he had been watching before I came over was showing an encore of "A Christmas Carol," which he had just seen, so he began channel surfing. He settled on "Miracle on 34th Street." About half an hour into the movie, Mulder, who must have been working up his courage for the full 30 minutes, put his arm across the back of the couch. Okay…so maybe he needed a little push to actually put his arm around ME… but I can push… okay, maybe I shoved. He's so complicated. So, I snuggled into his side and found, to my happy surprise, that I fit perfectly into the crook of his arm. Then, pushing a little harder, I laid my head on his shoulder, tucking it just under his jaw. Feeling more comfortable, he not only put his arm around me but pulled me closer to him.
It was then that I realized something. Everything felt so right and so perfect. No case files, no work-related talk. No ghosts, aliens, or conspiracies. Just me, Mulder, and little Natalie Wood acting on the television screen in front of us. Apparently, Mulder felt exactly what I was feeling because I heard him let out a contented little sigh, sinking into the couch a little farther as he became a little more comfortable. I was comfortable, too… and now I was getting tired. But I won't fall asleep I thought. Right now my dream is coming true. For that night we weren't Agents Mulder and Scully. We were just Fox and Dana, spending the evening watching a movie and… cuddling? That's when it hit me full force: Mulder and I were like two love-struck teenagers cuddling on his couch… and I can handle that. So sleepy… I'll just close my eyes for a second… has Mulder always smelled this good? He's so warm… I'm so comfortable…
I woke suddenly to find that I had fallen asleep against Mulder's chest, who had stretched out slightly on the couch. The reason for my sudden awakening was Mulder's shouting. He was still asleep, and so I figured he must be having a nightmare. Did he have any idea how many nights I couldn't sleep after waking up from a nightmare?
"Mulder?" I shook his shoulder gently. "Mulder, wake up, you're okay. Come on, Mulder, please wake up." I was getting worried. Then he scared me terribly, jerking awake and sitting straight up, causing me to topple off of him to the opposite end of the couch. He sat panting for a moment, and then startled me by grabbing my waist and pushing my shirt up slightly, just enough to uncover my stomach.
"Mulder, what are you doing?"
He didn't answer. I shivered slightly as he ran his hand softly across the skin on my stomach. Then it dawned on me: the gunshot wound. I had been "shot" in the stomach and he must have dreamed about it. I tried to stop his frantically searching hand with my own. "It's okay, Mulder. I'm okay," I whispered. The TV had been turned off and the only light came from the soft glow of the lamp from Mulder's desk. His hand stilled on my stomach and he looked into my eyes, his own very wide His next words nearly broke my heart.
"I shot you," he said incredulously. Tears welled in his beautiful green and gold eyes. "I almost killed you."
"Oh, Mulder." I put my hands on both sides of his face. Tears began to run from his eyes and fall onto my hands. "No, Mulder, no you didn't. I'm right here. It was just a bad dream, that's all." His hand moved off of my stomach to rub his tired eyes. He was so adorable, looking like a sleepy little boy.
"Scully, I'm so sorry you had to go into that house," he said sadly. "You don't deserve to go through cases like this, but you do all the time because of me. I hate watching you get hurt because of this quest of mine. I don't understand why you're still here… why you've stayed with me this long."
He's so dense sometimes it amazes me. "Dang, Mulder, you just don't get it," I laughed. He looked at me, confused. Okay, I decided, I'm going to have to shove some more. No more walls, no more being scared. I don't care what happens, I have to tell him. "Mulder, can't you tell how much you mean to me? I've stayed with you so long because I want to go through things with you. Your quest is my quest. What happens to the X-Files happens to both of us. I've never known anyone so passionate and full of spirit as you are. I love watching you be so serious as you look over a file. I love seeing that thoughtful look come across your face when you're on to something and that loo on your face when you have a breakthrough in a case. I love watching you smile as you tease me, and I love the teasing itself, even though I brush it off sometimes." I stopped to see if I was getting through to him. He looked at me with wide eyes as if he couldn't believe what I was saying to him. I couldn't believe I was admitting it myself. Then he did what he does best: he teased.
"I want to believe," he grinned.
I kissed his forehead, and, smiling, asked, "Why are you so complicated?"
"Because you wouldn't love me as much if I were straightforward and boring." Then his face turned serious. "But in all seriousness, Scully, it's my turn now. I love watching you smile and laugh. When you do, everything I'm worried about and afraid of vanishes and you just seem to light up the room. I love the disbelieving looks you give me when I'm off on a tangent about ghosts, aliens, and conspiracies; and even better I love it when you follow me anyway. I love watching your redhead fury emerge when I do something stupid or when someone, most of the time me, gets in your way. I love hearing your voice on the phone on nights that I can't sleep and I call you, and I love that most of the time you don't mind and talk to me, helping me calm down after particularly bad nightmares. Scully, I don't think I'd accept another partner if you ever left."
"That's just it, Mulder," I said. "I'm not going anywhere." He smiled, then looked at the clock on his desk.
"Scully, it's 5 o'clock. Don't you have to be at your mother's house in an hour?"
"Come with me." Whoa… where did that come from? I hadn't planned on inviting him… it just kind of came out. But then I realized that I really, really wanted him to say yes. I watched as a few emotions crossed his face. First came excitement, but that was quickly replaced with hesitancy and fear.
"Your brother hates me."
"Bill can take a long walk off a short pier. Come on, Mulder. Please? Mom already told me she was going to give me presents she got for you to bring back. I know she'd love to give you the gifts herself. Plus, she makes so much Christmas food that we have leftovers for a week. When was the last time you had a good, hot, home cooked Christmas dinner?" I could tell he was warming up to the idea.
"Okay, Scully. If Bill behaves, I will. And in truth, I'd love to spend Christmas with the Scully clan. Will the mysterious Charlie be there? I'm beginning to wonder if you really have another brother."
"Yes," I laughed. "He'll be there with his wife and three kids."
"And Bill has one kid, right? Mathew? So there will be for children running around the house." A faraway look came over his face. "When Samantha was still at home, we used to play with our cousins a lot. Now I love to watch kids play together. I love kids," he admitted.
Smiling, I said, "Okay, Mulder. I'm going to go home and take a shower. Be at my door at 5:45 to help me load you car with the presents I bought, okay?"
"I'll be there, Scully."
I got up from the couch, and, almost as an afterthought, leaned down and kissed Mulder softly on the lips. "Merry Christmas, Mulder," I said as I straightened up.
"Merry Christmas, Scully. See you soon."