A/N: By far, the hardest chapter to write! None of the sentences were flowing correctly, Scully didn't sound like Scully, and I couldn't get them to the last line. But finally, I got it and I am proud. This is the first (and probably only) story I have written in first person, and I am glad I survived.
As I sat in the tub filled with extra bubbles, my thoughts wandered to the man who was currently making a mess of my kitchen. I hadn't meant to kiss him, it just kind of happened. I didn't really realize that I had done it until it was over. And it had only lasted a fraction of a second. The more I thought about it, the less I liked it. It wasn't so much that I had kissed Mulder as it was that it didn't happen the way I always thought it would. It's not like I haven't entertained the idea before. In my mind, it usually happens at the end of a case when we're both wired from the thrill of victory. We're flirting shamelessly and suddenly he leans over and we're kissing and there's fireworks. Usually I stop thinking right there because I know I won't be able to face him for real if I go any further. This kiss... it may have been Mulder, the only man I want to kiss for the rest of my life, but it left a lot to be desired.
I sighed and let the water out of the tub before wrapping up in a robe and heading for my room. I could smell something sweet from the kitchen, but there was no indication that anything was burning. I quickly dried off and changed into pajamas, not caring that I didn't look fancy. Compared to the hospital look I often sported, my cotton pajamas were practically Calvin Klein.
"Mulder, can I come out now?" I hollered. He laughed.
I followed his voice out to the living room where he was sprawled on the couch, thumbing through a medical journal.
"Was I in there too long?"
"So what's for dessert?"
"Sit down and I'll be right back."
I obeyed and could hear some rustling noises from the kitchen for a few moments before he came out holding a plate covered with a dish towel.
"Ta-da!" he exclaimed, pulling the towel off with what was supposed to be a magicians flourish. I couldn't help laughing and the silly look on his face and the simplicity of the dessert. Rice Krispie Treats.
"What's so funny?"
"How did you know that Rice Krispie Treats are my favorites?"
"I did my research," he answered, handing me one. It was still slightly warm and I smiled as he sat down next to me.
"Mulder, why did you do this today?"
"I told you already. You deserve a day like this."
"That's not what I meant."
"What did you mean?"
His hand was covering mine and I could feel his eyes on me.
"Mulder, do you love me?"
That came out a little blunter than I had planned.
"You know I love you," he answered, reaching up to tuck a stand of hair behind my ear.
"No, I mean... this was just so much. You thought of everything. You planned it and you managed to keep it a secret and you were even willing spend time around Bill. This wasn't just an ordinary birthday. In order to do something like this, you'd have to really, really love me."
"Scully, I really, really love you."
"Really?" was all I could manage to croak out around the tears that were about to fall. He chuckled and reached over to wipe my tears away.
The dessert was long forgotten as he pulled me into a hug.
"I've loved you for a long time, Scully. A very long time. You're my partner and my best friend. You're everything to me. I came too close to losing you, sweetheart. I needed for you to know how much I love you, just in case something happens again. I've wanted to tell you so many times, but I couldn't figure out how to make you believe me."
He pulled away gently and started to kiss the tears from my eyes and cheeks. It was almost too much and I had to reach up and stop him.
"Mulder," I started, hoping I could get it out before my voice left me. "I love you too. More than anything."
"I know, sweetheart."
Before I knew what I was doing, my hand snaked around his neck and pulled him closer. He smiled as he realized what was going on. His eyes asked and mine told and he closed the gap and kissed me. It was better than the first one, and one hundred times better than the ones I had imagined. It was soft and innocent, but conveyed more emotion than I could properly fathom. He pulled away after a moment, and tucked me under his chin.
"So, do you need you need to process that?"
I giggled as we shifted to a more comfortable position on the couch. He held me gently, one hand running up and down my back. I almost purred.
"Mulder, this isn't going to end once the clock strikes 12, is it?"
"No, it's not."
"Can we stay like this for a while?"
He nodded and kissed the end of my nose.
"As long as you want."
He pulled the blanket off the back of the couch and draped it over us.
"Hey, thanks for being born."
"Go to sleep, Scully. You're exhausted."
"You'll stay all night?"
"Yes, I'll stay."
"Goodnight Mulder," I yawned, beginning to feel the effects of the day.
I fell asleep perfectly happy, perfectly content, and completely safe. How he was going to top this birthday, I didn't know, but I couldn't wait to find out.
A/NII: thanks for sticking with me through this whole thing. It sure was fun, but now I am on the lookout for a Mulder and I'm getting depressed about the prospects. *sigh*