Lord of Misrule (The) by Dyann Z

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The Lord of Misrule by Dyann Z

Lord of Misrule cover

TITLE: The Lord of Misrule
AUTHOR: Dyann Zimmerman
RATING: R/NC-17
KEYWORDS: MSR; RST; Holiday-fic. Not even the smell of an X-File in here.

SUMMARY: Mulder and Scully spend the holidays together and discover what they want out of life. Schmaltzy, smut-filled fare.

DISCLAIMERS: Please sue me. I’d love my fifteen minutes.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Lord of Misrule (master of revels); In Europe in the 15th and 16th Centuries, somebody appointed to organize celebrations, especially at Christmas.

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— 1 —

DANA SCULLY’S APARTMENT
DECEMBER 21st, 11:07pm

The television was on; tuned to something that Mulder was watching and something that Scully was paying no attention to whatsoever. He was already in bed, laying flat except for his head which was propped against too many pillows. Scully was piddling around the bedroom, putting away the dry cleaning, getting out the clothes she had decided she wanted to wear for her last day of work before the holidays. The television was barely audible to her, but Mulder chuckled away at something every couple of minutes and she began to wonder what he was laughing at. “What on earth are you watching, Mulder?” she asked as she was crawling into bed, noticing a rather common looking woman on the screen doing nothing more than sitting behind a desk.

“‘Sunday Night Sex Talk’,” he answered, reaching to grab the remote to turn up the volume.

“Mulder, it’s Thursday…” she said flatly, fluffing her pillow behind her, figuring he was just trying to get a rise out of her.

“I know, but I think it’s a repeat. You’ve got to watch this, Scully. This woman is hilarious… and you just might learn something,” he said, wagging his eyebrows at her. Scully looked at him suspiciously before glancing toward the television, finding herself watching it. Mulder watched her, witnessing her expression grow into total incredulity within the short time span.

“Mulder, who… what IS this?” she asked, looking at him, unbelieving that she had just heard the little old lady give a detailed dissertation on the advantages of cock rings.

“She’s a ‘sex educator’” he smiled to her, the teasing gleam sparkling in his eyes.

“In other words, she has no credentials and is a self-appointed ‘expert’,” she said, moving to lay down further in the bed. “If the woman was actually trained, she might point out a few of the potential dangers of her little toy there…,” she finished, turning over to pillow her head on her arm. “Goodnight, Mulder.”

He turned off the television and the bedside light and snuggled up behind her, wrapping his arm around her waist as he kissed her neck. “I like your form of sex education better, Scully. It’s hands on,” he teased her.

She finally chuckled, covering his hand with hers, bringing it to her mouth to kiss his fingers. She turned on her back to look at him, lifting her head to kiss him lightly on the lips. “I’ll miss you while I’m gone, Mulder,” she said, a true sadness to her voice.

“How long will you be gone?” he asked, his hand instinctively rubbing her stomach through her pajama top, his other hand propping his head up to look down at her.

“We’ll leave Saturday and we should return Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest,” she answered, her fingers subconsciously rubbing his chest. “It depends on what Mom wants to do. She’s a little nervous about spending the holidays with Aunt Olive… afraid she’ll be in the way of their family celebration, I think.”

“But it’s her sister…”

“I know. I keep trying to remind her of that. If she really wants to feel uncomfortable about it, she ought to be me for a few days,” Scully chuckled.

Mulder had been invited to go along but he felt Scully was just being polite, not wanting him to feel excluded, but not really expecting him to go. Her aunt had been widowed during the past year and asked months ago for Margaret and Scully to come to her home in Pennsylvania for the holidays. Margaret had not known how to say ‘no’ and Scully had not known, at that time, how much she would want to be at home for Christmas… with Mulder.

“I just want to be here with you, Mulder…” she said softly, snuggling close to him, lifting her leg over his hip as she slipped her arms around his neck. “I want to have Christmas with you.”

“It’s just a day, Scully. If you get back on Tuesday, then we’ll call that day Christmas. If it’s Wednesday, then Wednesday will be Christmas… for us. Okay?” he said lovingly to her, giving her a soft, but lingering kiss.

“You would be welcomed, Mulder. You are with me and that’s all my family needs to hear,” she said, her way of asking him, but not pressing it.

“Yeah, tell that to Bill,” he kidded her.

“He won’t be there. He was delayed on his ship and won’t be ashore until at least the 28th,” she smiled at him. “You’d be safe.” She saw a bit of dejection in his expression, knowing that he really hadn’t had much experience at family holiday happenings and worried that he felt he wouldn’t be wanted. “You are always wanted, Mulder. Don’t ever think that you aren’t…” she whispered to him before kissing him firmly, holding him tighter to her.

He returned her kiss, easing her down onto her back, slipping his thigh between her legs. “I love you, Scully,” he said into her ear as he nuzzled her neck.

“‘love you, too,” she mumbled, unable to speak much more when his hand moved to her breast. She could feel his breath quickening against her chest as he moved down to unbutton her top. His mouth felt like all she ever needed when he began to lick and suck on her nipple, his hand massaging her other breast.

Soon, all clothing was relinquished and the sounds of their lovemaking echoed in the darkness of her bedroom. He came first and helped her to climax with his fingers, not much being required. He rubbed his palm against her slowly, softly, to help her come down after, something he always did and something she always needed. She fell off to sleep quickly, her steady breaths floating lightly over the hair spattering his chest. He lay there thinking… about her and how sad she had seemed that they wouldn’t be together for Christmas…

DANA SCULLY’S APARTMENT
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22nd 6:07pm

Scully was able to leave work a little early, things being fairly slow just before the holiday. She and Mulder had joked that they seemed to be about 20

of the total work force on duty at Hoover that day. She had left Mulder in the office to finish a few reports that were due the previous week so that they would, at least, be turned in before the beginning of the New Year. She had gone home, a thousand things on her mind, and had begun to pack, do some last minute laundry and wrap a few left over presents. Mulder was due over later with dinner and they would have the rest of the evening and night together before she had to leave the next morning.

When Scully had finished packing her smaller bag, her underwear and pajamas all neatly stored and had selected a couple of things to hang in her garment bag, she noticed it was after 7:30 and Mulder still hadn’t arrived. Snow had begun to fall mid-afternoon, but the accumulation hadn’t been much when she had driven home a few hours ago. She opened her front shades and could see the snow continuing to fall against the glow of the streetlight. She hoped to herself that Mulder hadn’t been involved in an accident or wasn’t hopelessly delayed in clogged traffic. She had everything finished for her trip and wanted him there.

Her thoughts had no more than entered her head when she heard a key in the lock and turned to see Mulder enter the apartment… carrying take-out in one hand and a large suitcase in the other. He moved to give her a quick kiss as he sat down his bag and kicked the door shut with his foot behind him. “Sorry I’m late, but the restaurant took forever,” he said, moving into the kitchen to set the take-out on the counter next to the sink. “It’s goddamned cold out there, Scully. I think my voice raised an octave just walking from my car to your door.” He was chattering quickly, only then noticing her still standing by his suitcase, looking at it.

“Mulder, what’s this?” she asked, nodding her head toward the luggage.

“My stuff… clothes. Thought it would be better for your Aunt Olive if I didn’t wear the same underwear for four straight days,” he said, moving to her.

“Mulder, you don’t have to do this…” her voice soft and tentative, a tone Mulder rarely heard from her.

He laid his hands loosely on her hips, looking down at her with the smile that always just made her melt. “That’s what people do, Scully. They go to each other’s class reunions even though they know they’ll be bored stiff; they go to movies they don’t want to see; they go to Aunt Olive’s for Christmas…”

Scully returned his embrace, then moved back so that she could look at him. “Or chase aliens they don’t want to chase…” she said, smiling to him, then moving up to kiss him— hard. “What’d ya bring for dinner?” she said, finally going to the kitchen to look in the sack he had brought.

“Scully, right now, I’d rather have dessert,” he said, putting his arms around her waist from behind, kissing her neck.

“Let’s eat first and have our dessert in bed, okay?” she answered, looking back at him. “Besides, you’ll need your nourishment for tomorrow,” she joked, before turning around to kiss him. “And for later tonight if you’re good.”

“So who else will be there… at your aunt’s, I mean?” he asked. Mulder put a couple of plates on the table and emptied the takeout into serving bowls while Scully opened a bottle of chilled white that she had almost forgotten she had in her refrigerator.

“Most likely, all three of my cousins. Betsy is great… you’ll like her. Her brother, Tom, is… quiet, I guess you would say, but a bit ‘different’. I kinda think you two might just hit it off, Mulder,” she said, being a bit mysterious.

“Different, huh? Is that your way of telling me he’s as weird as I am?” he kidded her.

“You’ll find out, Mulder… Soon enough,” she smiled.

“Anybody else going to be there?” he asked then, his mouth full of salad.

“Well, yes… my other cousin… Ruth,” she said hesitantly. Mulder noticed her reticence to mention the last one, his curiosity beginning to peak.

“What? Is she the one they keep in the basement or something?” he asked.

“No such luck…” Scully answered, almost under her breath. “To be frank, Mulder— she’s a bitch. A gossip mongering, petty, childish woman… And I don’t like being around her,” Scully finished, her mood now serious. “She has caused me grief at times in my life, Mulder and I just choose not to spend any more time with her than I have to. But this trip meant so much to Mom…”

“I’m sure things will be fine, Scully. It’s Christmas…”

DANA SCULLY’S APARTMENT
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23rd 7:05am

“Mulllllder… God… Ohgod…” she moaned, her arms wrapped around his neck, her legs around his waist. His hands were under her bottom, her back against the tile of the shower as he pumped into her, the sound of her back squeaking against the ceramic echoing in the stall. The water that was cascading over them went unnoticed as her climax hit, the pulsing of her inner muscles sending him over the edge shortly after. He managed to sit down on the ledge, still holding her now limp body on his lap.

“Jesus fucking Christ, Scully…” he managed to blaspheme through his rapid breathing.

“Mulder…” she chastised, her face still buried in the crook of his neck.

“Sorry. Guess that isn’t exactly appropriate Christmas language, huh?” he teased, lightening the intensity a bit. “And, I would guess, not the kind of thing Aunt Olive would find humorous.”

“How perceptive of you…” she said, finally raising her head to look at him. “Twice last night and once this morning… I just hope to be able to walk when I get to Aunt Olive’s,” she joked as she stood, reaching for the shampoo. He took it from her, squeezing out a small dab in his hand and began massaging it into her hair. She leaned back against him, feeling his love throughout every nerve of her body, hoping his love for her would be enough to get them through the next few days.

HOME OF MARGARET SCULLY
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23rd 11:33am

Mulder and Scully had finally gotten dressed, after another detour to the bed before loading the car with luggage and packages. She kept telling him that they were going to be late, but provided no real resistance to his physical advances and his suggestion that they have ‘one more for the road’, as he so delicately put it. The snow had stopped and most of the streets were generally passable, but the temperature had continued to drop during the night and it seemed like it had taken forever for the car to warm up and the windows to defrost.

When they pulled into Margaret’s driveway, she had looked out the window wondering whose car it was. When Mulder exited the driver’s side, Margaret’s curiosity was even further peaked, an instant fear coming over her that something had happened to her daughter. But when Scully stepped out of the passenger’s side, she grinned to herself and hurried to the door, pleased to see that Mulder had agreed to join them for the holiday.

After loading the car and heading out to I 270, Mulder settled in for the drive and expected Scully and her mother to talk most of the way while he tuned them out and just drove. But they were barely on the interstate before Scully nodded off to sleep and Maggie began to converse with him about, of all things, his work. It seemed that Scully had shared a lot more with her mother than he would have ever expected and Margaret was noticeably more open minded than her daughter about strange things that went bump in the night.

“Your work seems so fascinating, Fox. I know Dana thinks so,” she told him, surprising him.

“She’s said that to you?” he asked.

“Many times. I couldn’t tell you the number of times that she has called me after returning home from a case and rattled on for ever about you… what you do,” she relayed. “I knew she was in love with you before she did.”

“I think everybody did,” he chuckled, remembering all the years he dropped hints that Scully didn’t take. Maggie continued to tell him stories—of Scully’s youth, med school, her trials and tribulations—things that Scully had never really mentioned.

“She loves you very much, Fox. I have never seen her happier… more content. I know she is… guarded with her emotions sometimes… keeps things bottled up. But don’t ever think that just because she doesn’t express it that she doesn’t feel it,” she finished quietly.

“Mrs. Scully, I know Scully has always been… reticent to let her feelings show, to express what she is really feeling sometimes,” he said. “But not with me… not anymore.” ‘If you only knew’ he thought to himself, feeling a subtle rush thinking of just how ‘expressive’ Scully had been in the shower that morning.

They drove for almost another hour before Scully woke up, immediately disoriented and wanting to know where they currently were. “Not too far from the Pennsylvania border, Scully,” he told her. “We should be in Somerset in about 45 minutes. You need to stop for anything?”

“No, I’m fine. I’ll take a drink of your water, though,” she told him, reaching for the bottle he held between his legs, the cup- holder full of half-empty coffee cups. After taking a drink, she returned the bottle to the place she had found it, giving him a sly grin before kissing him quickly on the mouth. And Margaret watched the whole interchange silently, surprised, but pleased at seeing her daughter so relaxed and affectionate with him.

“So, Mom. I assume you have figured out that I won’t be staying at Aunt Olive’s with you,” Scully said, turning to her mother in the back seat. Her mother nodded and smiled slightly, having realized that fact, almost as soon as she had seen them arrive at her house. “We’ll find a motel.”

“Got one. The Keystone Inn. Ever heard of it, Mrs. Scully?” Mulder asked, knowing exactly what was going through Scully’s mind at that moment.

“No… and it’s ‘Margaret’—please.”

“Mulder, I swear if that place has stained sheets or deer antlers hanging over the bed, I will be sleeping with my mother at Aunt Olive’s,” she grumbled at him.

“Scully, you have no faith in me,” he teased, glancing at her next to him. “If you’re not a nice girl, Santa may just take your Christmas present back to Fredrick’s of Hollywood,” he said, reaching over to wiggle his finger in her ear.

“Uh hum… I am still here,” Margaret said, slightly embarrassed by their personal interchange. Scully leaned her head against the headrest, closing her eyes and telling herself that this was going to be one Christmas to remember.

HOME OF OLIVE KELLY
SOMERSET, PA
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23rd 6:31PM

The three of them had arrived about 3:30 and it had taken Mulder four trips to bring Margaret’s stuff and all the gifts into the house. The snow had started again about half an hour before they arrived, so he found himself cleaning the sidewalks and wondering if coming with Scully was going to be much of a holiday.

Scully’s aunt had been very cordial to him and seemed to be a nice, conversational person. He thought she looked like Scully a bit, making him realize that Scully resembled her mother’s side of the family more than she did her father’s side. The four of them had had a great dinner, Olive proving to be a terrific cook and insisting that he eat seconds and thirds of just about everything. But he sensed that Scully was uncomfortable for him, sure that she would probably rather have been in Idaho.

Mulder had been his mischievous best, finding every way he could to keep Scully on edge, doing things to her just out of the view of her mother and aunt. He’d reach under the table and pinch the inside of her upper thigh just as she was telling her aunt some unknown story; he’d drop his napkin on the floor and bite her knee as he bent over to pick it up; she’d be sitting quietly and he’d offer something like ‘Hey, Scully, why don’t you tell your aunt about the Tooms case?’, leaving her to dig her way out. He realized if her stares could kill, he would have been dead several times over. But he also knew she was enjoying every minute of it, even if she would rather die than admit it.

Finally, Scully had offered their good-byes, and had almost pushed Mulder out the door and to the car. She had gotten inside and left Mulder to clean the snow from the windows and waited silently as he pulled out of the drive. Finally, when she looked at him, the goofy expression on his face, like a kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar, was more than she could take. She burst out laughing- -and laughed out loud for a good two miles.

“Mulder, I ought to kick your ass,” she said, still unable to stop smiling. “I think my Aunt is, at this very moment, asking my mother if the two of us are on drugs or something.”

“I am, Scully… the drug called luuuuuv,” he teased her, his goofiness making her laugh all over again.

THE KEYSTONE INN
SOMERSET, PA
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23rd 11:21pm

They had barely made it in the door and put their luggage down before they made it to the bed, Mulder mercilessly tickling and kissing her beyond what she could tolerate. “Please, Mulder. Let me get our clothes unpacked and get a shower before you get any big ideas,” she told him. He eyed her for a moment before relinquishing his hold and let her up from the bed.

Scully had been pleasantly surprised about the Keystone Inn. It was quite nice, elegant actually, and he had gotten a suite, so it had a small living room almost separate from the bedroom and bath. It even had a fireplace and a small balcony, but a lot of good that would do them in December, she thought. Scully had gathered her things and had definite plans to soak and relax for awhile and read a little on the book she had been working on for a few days.

When she finally made her exodus from her cavernous haven known as the bathroom, she seemed to exit in a puff of smoke as the built-up steam escaped into the room with her. What she saw when she came into the room was unexpected and just further evidence that Mulder had yet to grow beyond adolescence. A small lighted plastic Christmas tree sat proudly on the dresser, the lights softly twinkling. And Mulder reclined on the bed, his head propped on his hand, his total attire consisting of a Santa hat, the fur ball on the end seemingly moving of its own volition, and a small red ribbon tied around the end of his semi-erect penis.

Scully shook her head, her chin touching her chest as she began to chuckle, thinking to herself how she would have never imagined herself choosing a man like Mulder to be her life’s mate. She moved closer to the bed, finally looking at his reclining form, him smiling like a Cheshire cat. “You’re proud of yourself, aren’t you, Mulder? You think that your little… thing here is just going to make me fall into that bed with you so that you can have your way with me, don’t you?” she said, trying to hold back the smile that he recognized was actually there.

“You don’t say ‘little thing’ to a naked man, Scully,” he said flatly, patting the bed next to him. “C’mon, Scully, fall into this bed and let me have my way with you…” She laughed then, again shaking her head at what an absolute nut, albeit lovable, sexy, nut he was. She dropped her robe as he lifted the covers before they crawled under them together.

Scully scooted toward him, laying her head on his chest as he reclined on his back. “What’d ya get me for Christmas, Mulder?” she teased.

“You mean we’re exchanging gifts this year, Scully? You forgot to tell me…” he teased back.

“I know what you’re getting,” she teased coyly.

“I know what I’d like to have…” he told her, turning to his side, causing her to roll to her back. He smiled at her, then moved to kiss her as he massaged her breast, moved his thigh between her legs.

“I think you know you’re gonna get this anyway,” she kidded him, returning his kiss.

“Oh, I’ve got you a gift, Scully. It’s something for a cold lonely night…” he teased as he continued to move his hand, kiss her neck.

“Mulder… if you got me anything that could be even remotely construed as being… um… personal in nature, pleeeease do not give it to me at my aunt’s house,” she begged kiddingly, but not so kiddingly.

“Well, one present is something you might… oh, use in bed,” he told her, his kisses moving down her neck to the tops of her breasts.

“Ummmmm,” she moaned as he began kissing her nipple before taking it in his mouth. “Please, Mulder, save—oh!— that—umm… gift for when we’re alone,” she finished, her breaths quickening as his hand moved between her legs.

“I just hope…” he said softly, kissing her abdomen, causing her to shudder.”…that… um, god, you smell good… your present, uh, fits your, you… that it isn’t too large,” he said, accentuating his last word. Various images of what possible large thing she could use in bed Mulder had bought her flashed through her mind until his fingers slipped inside her and all thoughts went south.

“Mulder, stop teasing me,” she told him, her fingers slowly stroking his scalp as his fingers slowly stroked her, his kisses now on the inside of her thighs. “Please don’t… oh, god… anything in front of… oh, right there… the others,” she said, almost moaning, but warning him one last time not to embarrass her in front of her family.

He looked up at her, seeing that her eyes were still open, and gave her his best shit- eating grin. “Let’s just say you’ll be able to feel your present here,” he said, kissing her thigh. “And here,” kissing her mound. “And here,” kissing her abdomen. “And let’s not forget here,” he finished, kissing her breast. Then he kissed her on the mouth as he reached for himself and found her opening, entering her slowly, feeling her shudder again.

“God, I love you, Mulder,” she managed to say, her eyes closing, already finding herself very close to climaxing, trying to hold back a little longer. Mulder put his arms under her, holding on to her shoulders as he began to move a little faster, thrusting deeper. She kissed his neck, his shoulder, her hands feathering up and down his back. He grasped the underside of her knee, pulling her leg up and out away from her body and that was all it took. She gasped, her muscles tightening, her toes literally curling and, as usual, her breath stopping until she fell over the edge. He could feel her heart pounding against his chest, her inner tissue massaging him in waves, his resolve to take it slowly for a while now gone. He finished fairly quickly after she did, emptying into her in several sharp thrusts, his breaths ragged against her ear.

They lay together afterward, holding each other under the warmth of the blankets, her head on his chest, her leg between his as she lay half over him.

“That was better sex than what I had with that woman in the elevator this morning, Scully,” he said in his best monotone.

“Good. You were better than the bellhop from last night, too, Mulder,” she said dryly, not missing a beat. She gave him a small smile, kissing him before laying her head back against his chest. “‘Night, Leroy— I mean, Mulder,” she said, him feeling her smile against his chest.

“‘Night, Louise…”

HOME OF OLIVE KELLY
SOMERSET, PA
Christmas Eve, 9:13am

The family breakfast reveille had been set for 8:30, Scully’s cousins to be present with spouses and various offspring as well. But Mulder and Scully had been ‘sidetracked’ before leaving the motel, before leaving the bed, actually.

“Mulder, I don’t think we’ve had as much sex since we’ve been together as we’ve had in the last few days,” she told him after they had finally dressed and were on their way to Scully’s aunts.

“The holidays bring out the best in me, Scully,” he joked, not having really thought about it until she mentioned it. “Are you complaining?”

“No! No…” she smiled to him. “I just hope the reason we are so late isn’t written all over our faces when we get there.”

But it was, Scully unable to hold back a blush when her mother had asked her about their late arrival. Cousins Betsy and Ruth were there with their children, Betsy’s husband to arrive later in the day. Tom and his wife were also there, their only son spending the holidays with his fiance’ in Greenwich. Ruth had grinned at them, eyeing Mulder up and down, making an offhanded remark, her statement of ‘If I had that, I’d never get out of bed, either.’ embarrassing Scully even further, particularly when Mulder just shrugged.

Ruth and Tom still lived in Somerset, Betsy having moved to Philadelphia where her husband was a professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Betsy was a Clinical Social Worker, doing part time work with adolescents and actively raising her two children, now adolescents themselves. Ruth’s husband was an accountant, Ruth choosing childrearing as her full-time profession, well, secondary to stirring the social pot around Somerset, Scully figured. Ruth’s three children, unfortunately, appeared to be chips off of her block, fairly rude and sulky the few times that Scully had been around them. Tom and his wife ran a bed and breakfast, the Pines, and owned and operated a small chain of bookstores. He essentially ran the Pines, his wife preferring the traveling involved in taking care of their stores.

Everyone had exchanged hugs, some welcomed, some not. Margaret had poured Mulder and Scully each a cup of coffee and offered coffee cake which Mulder took and Scully declined. “We’re kind of just getting our day lined out,” Olive had said to them, trying to change everyone’s focus away from Mulder and Scully’s late arrival. “What do you two need to do yet today?” Scully had explained that she had a couple of things to pick up, Betsy saying she did also. Tom had mentioned to Mulder that he was going to the gym for awhile, so Mulder had found his escape, giving Scully an obvious kiss before he left, just to pull her string.

“So, Dana, how long have you been seeing Fox?” Betsy asked her, dipping her teabag in the hot water of her mug. They had stopped for a small lunch before shopping, wanting a respite from the cold and the flurried snow.

“Seeing?” Scully asked, a chuckle to her voice. “I’ve known him for nine years; he’s been my partner,” she said, glancing up from her wassail to look Betsy in the eye for her reaction.

“Really? You’ve been together for nine years and this is the first I’ve heard of it?” Betsy chided.

“Well, if your definition of ‘together’ is what I think it is, then we’ve only been ‘together’ for about six months,” Scully confessed.

“You seem very happy, Dana. I’m happy for you,” she said sincerely, always having felt closer to Dana than she had her own sister.

“I am, Betsy… happy, that is,” she smiled, more to herself than her cousin. “We’re very different and never in my life would I have ever pictured myself with a man like Mulder, but I never pictured myself as ever being this happy, either.”

Scully and Betsy had picked up a few last- minute stocking stuffers and Betsy had dropped Scully off at the motel to clean up and change and wait for Mulder. The family would meet back at Aunt Olive’s for dinner at 6:00 to eat and exchange gifts and go to Mass at midnight. Betsy’s family had gotten a motel also, the teenagers preferring it so they could play in the arcade room and swim in the pool.

Scully was in the shower when Mulder arrived in the room, just stepping out of the bathtub when he stuck his head in, seeing her in her naked glory. “Mmmm, Scully…” he teased, moving toward her in his perspiration soaked t-shirt and sweats.

“Don’t you touch me,” she said, slipping her robe on as she stepped back from him. “We don’t have time and you smell like three-day- old socks.” He smiled at her, stripping off his clothes and stepping into the shower as she dried her hair. She was dressed in her slip and bra when he finally came out of the bathroom, scrubbing at his hair with a towel. Her back was turned, but she was watching him in the dresser mirror, having a sneaking suspicion he was up to something. He walked up behind her, putting his arms around her from the back and rubbing himself against her slip. “Don’t even think about it, Mulder. You are lucky I am still speaking to you,” she said, putting on her earring as she moved away from him.

“Scully, I was just kidding with you. Sometimes you’re a little uptight, you know. Your family could care less,” he said, referring to the fact that she was the only one embarrassed by their late arrival and his various jokes and open signs of affection.

“Put some clothes on, Mulder. We’re due at six and we are not going to be late,” she said, stopping in her tracks, putting her face in her hands. “Goddamn, I sound like a shrew.”

Mulder moved over to her, gathering her in his arms, holding her close, rubbing her bare back. She just held on to him, realizing Mulder was right; she just needed to relax. “I’m sorry, Mulder. I’m always so on edge when Ruth is around and it’s stupid. Just plain stupid,” she finished, moving back to look up at him.

“You wanna tell me about it?” he said quietly, going to the closet to get his clothes. She slipped on her skirt, a mid- calf length black wool, and a deep burgundy cashmere sweater, the scooped neck showing off her cleavage quite nicely, he thought.

“She told my parents about Daniel,” she said bluntly, bending to pull the bottom of her slip down evenly under her skirt. She sat on the edge of the bed, slipping into her shoes, reaching for her watch on the nightstand. “It caused a rift between my father and I that I’m not sure ever totally closed, Mulder. And it was nothing more than a fun afternoon of gossiping to her.”

“I’m sorry, Scully,” he said, slipping on his sweater, moving to sit next to her on the bed. “But our relationship is different. We have nothing to hide or nothing to be ashamed of by arriving late for breakfast because we’ve been making love,” he said, taking over for her, fastening her watch around her wrist. “And besides, ole Ruthie just ain’t worth it, Scully. She doesn’t deserve a second of your time.”

“I guess I have been blaming the messenger some, haven’t I?” she admitted, holding his hand, rubbing her other hand over the back of his. “I just want to have Christmas with you… and Mom.”

“Next year, it’ll just be us… you and me. How’s that sound?” he asked her softly, the sweet look on his face making her feel she could never love him more than she did at that very moment. She stood and moved in front of him, between his legs, pushing him backwards onto the bed before lying on top of him. She kissed him hard, passionately, her fingers caressing his face, sliding through his hair. He lay there stunned for a moment, finally moving to embrace her and return her kiss with an equal amount of fervor. She stopped and pushed herself up with her hands, giving him one last intense look before extracting herself from him and standing.

“Come on. We need to get going…”

— 2 —

HOME OF OLIVE KELLY
SOMERSET, PA
Christmas Eve, 6:23pm

They were gathered in Olive’s dining room, the kids in the family room, eating their dinners while watching an old Christmas movie with Barbara Stanwyck. The doorbell rang and Olive smiled a knowing smile, it very obvious that she was expecting the person who had arrived. She opened the door and in walked Bill, the snow blowing in the door with him. “Bill!” Margaret gasped, immediately jumping up and running to greet him. “How did you get here?”

“Good luck and lots of connections, Mom,” he said, returning her hug. Scully had followed her mother and embraced him, sincerely glad to see him. “You look great, Dana.”

“I thought you were still out, Bill,” Scully said, her arm still around his waist as they walked further into the house.

“I’ve been in port for several days, but we were on high alert and restricted to the ship. I called in a few favors and was one of the few that got a 48-hour leave,” he said, removing his coat and gloves. He was all smiles as he walked into the dining room, until Mulder stood and turned around to face him, Bill totally ignoring him. There were other greetings and hugs, everyone making room for him at the large table, Olive getting him a plate and a glass of wine. “I called Aunt Olive yesterday and we devised a plan,” he said, looking pleased with himself.

Mulder and Bill continued to ignore each other, not particularly rudely enough to be seen by others and unnoticed by everyone but Scully. “This is such a nice surprise,” Margaret said to no one in particular. Scully squeezed her mother’s hand, giving her a confirming smile, hoping for her mother’s sake that her son behaved himself.

They finished dinner in good humor, everyone seeming to enjoy each other and the conversation. Even Ruth was fairly subdued, finding nothing available to irritate anyone with. Everyone moved to the living room to exchange gifts, the kids getting theirs and heading back to the family room, having cared less what the adults had yet to open.

Several gifts were passed around and opened, Mulder and Scully buying her mother a round trip ticket to San Diego to see Bill, its significance somewhat lessened by his surprise arrival, but none the less appreciated by her mother.

Margaret had gotten Scully a few smaller things and Mulder a nice leather athletic bag, a suggestion from Scully. And much to their surprise, Margaret had gotten them a gift certificate for a trip to a beach house in North Carolina for the weekend of Scully’s birthday; the gift earning her a snort from Bill and a ‘well, well, well’ from Ruth. Scully ignored both and after thanking her mother for the joint gift, gave Mulder a lingering kiss in front of Bill, Ruth, God and everyone, a gesture that made Mulder practically grin ear to ear.

Mulder picked up a beautifully wrapped rectangular box and handed it to Scully and she gave him a larger box, wrapped in New York Knicks paper. “Where’d you get the paper?” he asked, genuinely impressed.

“Knicks.com,” she answered quickly, smiling at him.

Mulder opened his gift, the box containing several things; a sweat suit, another pair of his favorite running shoes and two Oxford t shirts from his alma-mater, more items she was able to get on the internet.

Mulder gave her a kiss as a thank-you and then looked at her expectantly, ignoring the roll of Bill’s eyes. “That’s the gift I was telling you about last night, Scully… remember?” he said to her, the smirk on his face, coupled with his words, causing her to blush across her exposed chest straight up her neck to her fair cheeks. She hesitated, truly afraid that she was about to be embarrassed beyond belief.

“Ooooh, come on, Dana. Let’s see what Foxy got you,” Ruth tantalized, recognizing Scully’s discomfort and Bill’s escalating irritation.

Scully looked at Mulder, seeing in his eyes that it was really okay, so she began to tear the paper, staring at the box before suddenly lifting the top from the bottom to expose— pajamas… flannel men’s-styled pajamas. The overwhelming relief on her face made him laugh, which made her laugh and the two of them sat there on the couch laughing to themselves like there was no one else in the room.

Even though the joke was the best part, they were actually quite nice pajamas… the creamy chocolate satin piping striking against the soft butter color of the flannel. “Ralph Lauren… Nice, Mulder,” she said, moving to kiss him lightly on the lips, an action that drove Bill from the room, his mother following quickly to the kitchen after him, something that, unfortunately, wasn’t lost on Ruth.

“Bill…” she warned, seeing that he was steaming.

“What, are they going to screw on the floor next?” he said to her, pouring himself a glass of wassail from the punchbowl on the kitchen counter.

“Oh, Bill, stop it,” Margaret said, losing her patience with him.

“Well, hell, they’re practically making out on the couch,” he said interrupting her. “He’d better not be staying here… If he is, I’ll get a motel.”

“He already has a motel, Bill, if it were any of your business. Listen… Fox makes your sister happier than I have ever seen her in my life and I’ll not have you spoiling that. Do you understand me? Bill?” she said, her eyes telling him that she meant business.

“I’ll leave it alone—for now,” he finished, leaving the room, giving Ruth only a glance, her spot just outside the kitchen door insuring that she had heard everything.

A little before 11:30, everyone divided up to go to Mass, Bill driving Olive and Margaret, Mulder and Scully taking their own car so that she could drop him off at the motel on the way. The snow had picked up during their few hours in the house and the accumulation appeared to be at several inches by that point.

“Why don’t you let me drive, Mulder. Then I can just drop you off at the motel,” she said as he started to head to the driver’s side of the car.

“I’ve got it,” he said, getting into the car after opening the door for her.

“I’m proud of you…” she told him, reaching for his hand.

“For what?”

“For not saying anything to Bill. I was about ready to slap him myself, so you showed amazing restraint,” she said, smiling to him.

“I’m not a total lout, Scully. I can be normal when coerced,” he smiled slightly to her.

“Coerced?” she asked, knowing full well what he was insinuating.

“Yes, if I want keep my balls,” he said flatly, his humor eliciting a laugh from her, despite the crudeness of it. “…And have some purpose for them later tonight.” She chuckled again, squeezing his hand again, wishing they could just go back to the motel and have their own Christmas. She leaned her head against the headrest, enjoying the beauty of the snow flying into the headlights of the car, suddenly realizing he hadn’t made the turn to their motel.

“Where’re you going?”

“With you to church,” he said matter-of- factly.

“Mulder, you don’t have to do that… It doesn’t bother me that you don’t believe in what I believe in… my religion,” she said softly to him.

“I’m not converting, Scully,” he smiled to her. “I’m just accompanying you to Mass on Christmas Eve because I want to be with you.”

“Gee, Mulder. Christmas at my aunt’s… dealing with Bill… going to Mass… I’m gonna owe you big time,” she smirked at him.

“BIG time… and I’ll collect later,” he grinned at her.

“Deal…” she smiled before settling back against the seat.

ST. PETER’S CATHEDRAL
SOMERSET, PA
Christmas, 1:04am

After Mass, the family was gathered in the foyer, discussing various ideas for the day’s activities and all agreeing to meet around 9:00am for breakfast, several gifts having been saved for Christmas morning. They were all buttoning up, moving to exit the church when Bill spoke to Scully. “Dana, you can ride back with us. Then Mr. Mulder doesn’t have to go out of his way,” he said, his whole demeanor condescending.

“We’re staying at the Keystone, Bill,” Mulder told him, figuring he’d just lay it on the table.

“We’re?” Bill asked like he was speaking to a dumb child.

“Yes, ‘we’re’ Bill,” Scully answered. “And we’ll see you for breakfast,” she said, taking hold of Mulder’s hand moving toward the large ornate doors to leave.

Bill grabbed Mulder’s arm, turning him around. But before he could say anything, his mother’s voice stopped him dead in his tracks.

“William Douglas Scully! You are in church!” she whispered as vehemently as she could, the others looking on in stunned surprise. She stepped between the two men, looking half their size, and turned toward Mulder who was still staring at Bill. “We’ll see you two in the morning. Goodnight, sweetheart,” she said, giving Scully a soft kiss on the cheek. “Now, go on.” Mulder reached around and over Scully to open the door, pulling his collar up as they exited into the blowing snow.

KEYSTONE INN
SOMERSET, PA
Christmas, 1:40am

They had been fairly quiet on the way to the motel, Mulder needing to concentrate on his driving, the roads becoming more snow-packed and hazardous in just the hour they were at Mass. When they got back to the motel, Scully had had a bit of a cry while alone in the bathroom removing her make-up, readying for bed. She came out in her new pajama top and panties, forgoing the bottoms for tonight. “You like?” she said lightly to him, turning around to show him.

“I like,” he said, already having the fire going, processed logs having been furnished with the room. She sat down on the couch, wrapping her legs underneath her, pulling the afghan off the back of the couch. Mulder went back into the bedroom area to retrieve the plastic tree and plugged it in next to the end table by the couch. He turned off all of the lights in the room and found a station playing Christmas music on the clock radio next to the bed. He snuggled up next to her, covering them both with the afghan.

“I’m sorry about Bill…” she told him, a sadness to her voice that he didn’t want her to shoulder.

“Scully, let it go. It isn’t something that is ever going to change and he doesn’t bother me. The only thing that bothers me about the situation is that it bothers you… I know you’ve been crying,” he said softly, bending to kiss her temple. “Let’s just be together tonight and enjoy this.”

“And this is nice, Mulder…” she said, leaning her head against his shoulder as he wrapped his arm around hers. The fire flickered an orange glow around the room, the colorful tree lights casting just enough light so that they could see each other easily. “Where’d you get the tree? And when?” she asked, wondering how he’d sneaked it in without her noticing.

“Wal-Mart… just before I picked you up to go to your mother’s. Henderson had one on his desk and told me it came with the lights, ornaments, including the special little plastic star on top… all for five bucks,” he joked. “Nothin’ but the best for you, Scully.”

“You make a girl feel so special, Mulder,” she teased back, giving him a kiss, rubbing her hand on his thigh. “You want to open your other presents tonight or tomorrow?” she asked.

“It doesn’t matter to me, Scully. It’s been so long since I’ve actually paid much attention to Christmas, that I defer to you,” he told her, truly indifferent about how to do things.

“Well, if we open them tonight, then we can sleep in longer tomorrow…” she told him, moving off the couch to retrieve the bags containing their gifts. They each dug into the bags, sorting the gifts into separate piles, examining each one like little kids. “Open this one first,” she said, handing him a small sized box wrapped in solid green paper.

He grinned at her, ripping the paper and ribbon off quickly, opening the white box. It was an ornament; the first issued Hallmark Star Trek Enterprise. “Scully… where the hell did you get this? This is nearly impossible to find…” he told her, knowing she had to have paid several hundred dollars for it.

“Tom found it. He does a lot of antiquing, for their bed and breakfast and I’ve had him on the look-out for the last couple of months,” she said, enjoying seeing him happy.

“Scully, I know about how much this had to have cost… you really shouldn’t have,” he told her, lifting her chin for a soft, slow kiss. He reached over to the tree, plugging the ornament into the light string, all of the ship’s lights illuminating. He hung it on the tree, the ornament proving to be way too heavy as the small tree plopped over, causing Scully to snicker, then feeling sorry for him at the disappointed look on his face. “I’ll just set it on the table,” he said slightly embarrassed. “You’re still gonna beam me up, aren’t you, Scully?”

“Maybe later…” she said, smiling at him. Mulder sat a fairly large box, wrapped in Santa Clause paper that any two-year-old would love, on the floor in front of her. She continued to smile at him, a ‘what IS this?’ look on her face. After tearing the paper from around the box, she used her fingernail to slice the tape that held the flaps together. She opened it only to find a slightly smaller wrapped box sitting inside. “Is this a scavenger hunt, Mulder?” she asked, unable to remove the smile from her face. She lifted the second box from the big one on the floor and tore the paper off slowly, tentative about what she might find inside. As she expected, she found another colorful box inside, again, only slightly smaller. “Mulder, is there actually something in here or is this your version of putting coal in my stocking?” she teased.

“Patience, Scully. Patience…” he said, moving the empty boxes out of her way. She opened three more boxes before finding a red envelope with only her name printed on the front in his handwriting. “There is something in there, Scully,” reading the look on her face that she thought his joke might just be an empty envelope.

Scully opened the envelope finding a gift certificate for two for the poshest day spa in Washington– the full treatment. “Wow, Mulder…” she said, touched by the fact that it was for two so that she could take a friend. “Thank you. I’ll probably need this as soon as we get home from this trip,” she kidded, leaning to give him a kiss. “For two… you can go with me.”

“Uh, uh. Slightly too girly for me, Scully,” he answered, handing her another box, much smaller, the wrapping very obviously done by him and his manly fingers. Scully thought to herself how much she liked what his fingers were capable of, but realized it wasn’t gift wrapping.

“Another one?” she smiled at him, having some difficulty with the ribbon that was tightly tied around it. Once the paper and ribbon were removed, she opened the lid and lifted the tissue paper, finding a gold bracelet, plain, but classically beautiful. “Mulder, it’s beautiful…” she told him, the facets cut into the edges of the gold sparkling from the glow of the fire.

“Read the inscription,” he told her.

Scully lifted the bracelet to an angle where she could see the underside, speaking aloud. “Marry me?” she read, her voice soft, almost unbelieving. She almost gasped, her hand automatically going to cover her mouth. “Mulder… I… I don’t know what to say,” she said, her voice breaking. “You surprised me with this… We’ve never talked about marriage.”

“Let’s talk about it now, then,” he told her, moving closer to her, putting his arm around her shoulders, afraid he’d done the wrong thing. “I love y–”

“Yes,” she said, interrupting whatever it was that he was going to say. “Yes…” she repeated, moving to straddle his lap, her arms wrapping around his neck as she buried her face into the crook of his neck, her tears starting to flow. “Yesyesyesyesyes,” she said, kissing his neck, moving back to look at him, kissing him softly, but passionately on the lips.

“You mean it?” he said, his voice trembling now, too.

She leaned back from him, looking at him… smiling at him. “Did you actually think I’d say ‘no’, Mulder?” she asked softly, sincerely questioning if he really thought she didn’t intend to spend the rest of her life with him.

“Well… I hoped you wouldn’t, but I didn’t really expect you to answer so… immediately. I mean, you analyze everything, Scully,” he said quietly to her.

“I don’t put what I feel for you in the same category as the paranormal, Mulder… although maybe I should,” she teased before giving him another lingering kiss. He smiled that smile and her body almost dissolved against him, her head falling to his shoulder. “God, I love you…”

He stood up, holding her against his body, hers almost dead weight except for her legs wrapped around his waist. He could hear her soft sobs; feel her tears against his neck as he walked toward the bed. He laid her down, kissing her before he stood and walked around to the other side of the bed. He pulled his slacks off, almost forgetting his socks; Scully hated to see him in his underwear with socks. He pulled his sweater off, watching her laying there watching him, hearing her breath beginning to quicken. He crawled onto the bed, moving over to her side, bending to kiss her softly. “Let me undress you, Scully…” She gave him a quietly assured smile, his confirmation that she trusted him, loved him beyond what he had ever imagined.

They made love three times during the rest of the early morning. Slow and loving; frantic and passionate, their last time them pleasuring each other separately. They had never had oral sex in isolation, having always previously pleasured each other as foreplay before intercourse, needing that closeness to finish.

Scully had stirred in the middle of the night, opening her eyes briefly, finding Mulder just watching her, the colors of the still-lit Christmas tree reflecting in his eyes. She smiled at him, reaching her hand up to caress his face, her thumb rubbing across the bone of his cheek. He kissed her, moving his body over hers, his hand slipping between her legs as he continued to kiss her, his tongue tangling with hers. She reached for him, moving her hand from base to tip, squeezing and releasing him softly as she did.

“Lay back, Mulder,” she whispered to him, moving under him so that he would roll to his back. She laid over him then, moving down his body, kissing and licking him as she went, hesitating at a nipple, his navel. She took his tip in her mouth, sucking lightly as she massaged her tongue against it. She held onto the base, moving her hand up and down as she continued to suck him, swirl her tongue around the underside of the ridge.

She licked up and down his length, massaging his scrotum, running a fingernail lightly against his perineum, her last gesture causing his hips to buck forcefully. “Jesus, Scully. Goddamn…” he said, barely able to speak between his panting. “I’m really close… uhhh, god… if you want…” She continued to alternate between sucking him, taking him in as far as she could, and licking his length. “…to change your mind,” he panted. “You’d better do it now…” She gave him and extra hard suck, pumping his shaft with her hand, getting so wet herself that she felt her fluid start to leak onto the inside of her thigh.

“Oh, shiiiiiiittttttt…” Mulder gasped as he let loose, Scully covering him with her mouth, taking most of it in, massaging a few errant drops into his abdomen with her finger. She crawled up over him, lying on top of his body as he tried to breathe again, her body needing satisfaction soon. He grabbed her bottom, squeezing her cheek before sliding his hand down, his finger slipping inside her. “Doing that turned you on that much?” he asked her, feeling how wet she already was just from pleasuring him. She nodded, her head lying on his chest, her fingers playing with his nipple.

She moved up on him, her head now buried near his neck, the feel of his chest hair moving against her breasts giving her goose bumps. He rolled them onto their sides, kissing her before moving down her neck, rolling her onto her back. He continued kissing and licking, lingering on her breasts only briefly before kissing his way further down her abdomen, lifting her now-limp legs over his shoulders before settling at her center. He inserted a finger, then added a second as he licked her labia, his other hand holding her lips open to expose her engorged clitoris. He could feel the muscles of her thighs beginning to tighten against his face, moving one finger out of her to open his palm against her as he continued to lick. He pushed against her anus with his now-free finger, but stopped after her immediate response of “Mulder!” sounded like apprehension rather than pleasure. He began moving his finger to search for her g-spot as he finally took her clitoris in his mouth to suck it, his slight nip of it with his teeth sending her skyrocketing, her hips coming up off the bed.

“Mulder, God!” she panted, her orgasm so hard it felt almost painful. “Please stop for a minute… I can’t…” She couldn’t finish, her body still shuddering, her internal muscles throbbing against his fingers. He let her come down for a few moments and then licked her softly, removing his fingers to massage her lightly, slowly, helping her to try to come down. He moved up to lay his head beside hers on the pillow, her eyes still clamped shut, her breath still coming in hard pants. He placed his hand on her heart, feeling it pumping, at least, double its usual rate.

“You okay?” he said softly to her, his hand smoothly running over her stomach, her abdomen, taking her hand in his to kiss her fingers.

Finally she opened her eyes taking a couple of seconds to actually focus and look at him. He thought if at that moment, he looked up the word ‘sated’ in the dictionary, he would find her picture there. “Mulder…” she said, her voice barely more than a breath. “I have never climaxed that hard in my life… never.”

He smiled at her, kissing her softly. “Oh, I don’t know, Scully. Does the floor of your living room ring a bell?” he reminded her.

“Close… but not… oh, god,” she said, taking his hand in hers and moving it between her legs, clamping her eyes closed again.

“Still need some help?” he asked her quietly, rubbing his palm against her slowly, feeling her labia still twitching. He helped her to finally come down, Scully moving to lie half over him, burying her face against his shoulder, seemingly embarrassed at her display. “You’re so beautiful when you come, Scully,” he told her, trying to alleviate some of her shyness about it.

She chuckled against his chest, snuggling closer to him as he pulled the sheet and spread over them. “You have such a way with words, Mulder,” she said, lifting up to give him a kiss, laying her head back against him. Mulder knew her, knew that she would be asleep as soon as she laid her head back down. And she was.

HOME OF OLIVE KELLY
SOMERSET, PA
Christmas Day, 11:21am

On the way to her aunt’s, Mulder and Scully figured they had probably slept a total of about an hour and a half, given the late hour they’d gone to bed and the hours they’d spent making love. They had giggled about it in the car, not necessarily because it was so funny, but probably more due to the fact that they were punch drunk from being so tired. Scully had been serious when telling him she was going to call her mother and cancel for the day, but Mulder had talked her out of it, convincing her that it might hurt her mother’s feelings and certainly wouldn’t endear him any further to her brother.

Despite the accumulating snow, they had made it on time, Ruth making a comment congratulating them on that fact. Bill was on the phone to his family when they arrived, all of them already up, despite California time. Betsy’s children had opened their remaining gifts and were still in their pajamas watching TV in the family room, while Ruth’s offspring were playing some new video game they had gotten that morning. Mulder and Scully had saved a couple of gifts for each other— clothes, CD’s, alien socks— and were both sitting at the kitchen table having coffee and various breakfast foods that Olive and Margaret had enjoyed making.

The whole morning had seemed like something out of a 50’s sitcom until Bill had overheard Scully telling her mother about her bracelet… and its inscription. “Dana… what… what are you going to do?” her mother asked, looking at her daughter and Mulder for a response, the smile on her face growing by the second.

“Well…” Scully hesitated, smiling at Mulder. “We’re going to get married… sometime… We haven’t exactly discussed when yet,” she chuckled nervously. “It sounds weird to even say it.”

“Weird is my business, Scully,” Mulder joked, trying to ease some of her discomfort. He reached to rub her back, smiling to her in comfort.

“Weird is right,” Bill said, entering the room after hearing most of the conversation. “This will not happen, Dana. You are not going to be shackled to this… this weirdo for the rest of your life!”

“Bill, enough!” Margaret told him.

Scully stood, moving to leave the room, to not give him opportunity to make a scene. Bill grabbed her arm to restrain her from leaving, ready to say more to her. But before he could speak, Mulder stood and was next to her in an instant. “Bill, take your hand off of her,” Mulder said calmly.

“Mind your own goddamned business. You aren’t part of this family now and you aren’t going to become a part of it,” Bill told him as if he would command it, it would automatically happen. Scully had already pulled her arm away from him, leaning into Mulder’s side, her anger having changed into hurt— hurt that her brother would behave this way toward her.

Mulder wrapped his arm around her and spoke to Bill calmly. “Bill, this is our business. You don’t get a vote,” Mulder said. Bill reared back to let loose with a right cross, Mulder ducking at the last minute and Bill’s swing grazing the side of Scully’s cheek. She stumbled slightly, but Mulder whirled to catch her, grabbing her around her waist with one arm. “Scully, you okay?” Mulder asked, helping her to sit on the closest kitchen chair. She nodded, not really hurting physically, but stunned that her problems with her brother had finally escalated to physical hostility.

Mulder turned to look at Bill, just standing there, almost as stunned as Scully. “If Scully and your mother weren’t here, I’d—”

“Bill, get out of this room— now!” Margaret said, stepping between him and Mulder, physically pushing Bill from the room as he stared back at Mulder before finally glancing at his sister still sitting in the chair.

“You okay, Scully?” Mulder asked again quietly, bending down to look at her cheek.

“I’m fine. I’m… a… it just startled me,” she said sadly.

“Scully, I think it would be best if I leave,” Mulder said sincerely. “You need to be here with your family, your mother. I’ll go back to the motel and see you later this afternoon. We can have some time then.”

“Mulder, I think it’s best if we both leave. You aren’t leaving without me and if I have to so much as look at my brother…” she said, unable to finish her sentence, knowing there could be many options to fill in the blank. “WE are together, Mulder. I love my family, but it is US now. You and me,” she said, laying her palm against his cheek, giving him a soft kiss.

Margaret returned to the kitchen, sans Bill, the sadness reflected in her eyes. “I’m sorry,” she said softly. “Are you alright, Dana?” she asked, tilting her daughter’s face toward her with a finger under her chin. “Is it going to bruise?”

“No, Mom. It’ll be fine,” Scully said, barely able to look at her. “And you don’t need to apologize for Bill.”

“Well, maybe I do, Dana,” she answered, sitting in the chair next to her. “I let him take on that ‘man of the house’ attitude when your father would be away and after he died… well, your brother has just gotten out of hand and for that, I’m sorry.”

“Mom, I think Mulder and I will go… We have a nice room at the motel— Mulder even brought a tree— and we’ll get room service and have a nice day alone,” Scully told her, trying to convince her mother that they would still have a holiday.

“Dana, I don’t want you spending Christmas day in a motel,” Margaret said.

“We won’t be, Mrs. Scully,” Mulder said, Scully glancing at him not quite understanding what he was getting at. “I can get the lodge this afternoon if we want it.”

“Then you go,” Margaret said, standing to look at him. Scully looked at both of them like they were speaking French, wondering what ‘lodge’ they both seemed to know about.

Finally, Mulder addressed Scully, knowing she was in the dark about what he was referring to. “I have a lodge reserved for us through New Years, Scully. I was going to surprise you tomorrow, but I think it’s best if we go today.”

“What? Where?” Scully asked, standing to face him.

“Not far from here. Near the Laurel Ridge of the Alleghenies. We can be there in a couple of hours.”

“You had this all planned?” she said, beginning to smile at him, then looking at her mother. “What about Mom?”

“Bill can take me back to Washington. Tom had agreed to, but I think Bill needs a few hours alone with me,” she said sternly. “And you two go out the back door. I’ll… no, Bill will make apologies for your exit. Now, go– and enjoy yourselves.” Margaret kissed and hugged them both, giving her daughter an extra smile, hoping that, someday, she and Bill would be able to be brother and sister again.

— 3 —

STONYCREEK LODGE
NEAR MT. DAVIS, PA
Christmas day, 6:10pm

The lodge was absolutely beautiful, breathtakingly so, Scully thought. Their drive from her aunt’s house had been equally scenic, the snow continuing to fall, but the roads were easily passable; the tourist area fully prepared for the weather. They had gone to the main lodge to register, but Mulder had rented one of the individual cabins. The bellhop had taken their luggage to their cabin, Mulder and Scully choosing to walk the relatively short distance from the main lodge to their location. They were close to a ridge overlooking the Stonycreek River and a beautiful glacial lake.

Their cabin was classically built of logs with a full porch across the front and a two story deck off the back. The front door opened to a great room; kitchen, living room and dining room all one open, flowing area with a cathedral ceiling. The second story bedroom was a loft opening into the great room, the stairs made of logs as well. In the corner of the main room was a large stone fireplace; the end of the cabin overlooking the lake made almost totally of glass. The cabin wasn’t huge but the openness and the double story of windows made it look much larger than it actually was.

“Mulder, this is absolutely breathtaking,” she told him after the bellhop had left. “How did you know about this place?”

“You know how resourceful I can be when I’m on a mission, Scully,” he kidded, walking up behind her to put his arms around her waist. “Just call me the Lord of Misrule himself.”

“And Mom was in on this…” Scully stated more than asked.

“Yeah, kinda. I was going to wait until you returned from your Aunt’s and then surprise you. But then when I decided to go along, that I realized you really wanted me to go, I moved the reservations up a couple of days. Your cousin Tom was going to take your Mom back to DC,” Mulder finished, kissing her temple.

“And the Christmas tree?” she asked, wondering if all the cabins had a live, decorated tree.

“Well, let’s just say I owe our bellhop a major tip when we leave,” he said, almost embarrassed at what he agreed to pay for this little favor. “We can do what we want here, Scully. We have the cabin until the 2nd and have full access to the main lodge.”

“I want to see the bedroom,” she said suddenly, grabbing his hand and almost pulling him up the stairs. The room was beautiful as well. A massive rustic wood four poster bed was centered in the room, a home-made wedding ring pattern quilt covering it. Another fireplace was situated in the corner and the large glass doors at the end of the room opened onto the balcony, complete with a wood-burning heater for winter use.

“Whatdya think, Scully?” he asked, hopeful that she was happy and had had some time to put the confrontation with her brother out of her mind.

“Bed. Now,” she said, already pulling her sweater off over her head.

“I guess that’s a vote of approval?”

After they had christened the bed… and the Jacuzzi in the bathroom, they had checked the refrigerator for food, finding a few basics, including frozen pizza in the freezer. They had opted for the pizza and were sitting on the couch in front of the fire, both of them in their robes, their feet propped up on the coffee table. “Merry Christmas, again, Scully,” Mulder told her, tipping his beer to touch hers in a toast.

“Merry Christmas to you, too,” she said, giving him a quick kiss. “What a difference a few hours makes.” She smiled a bit of a wicked smile at him then but he saw her other reference reflected in her eyes. Only a few hours ago, she had had one of the worst incidences in her life and now here they were, still sated, enjoying a meal together alone in a beautiful, secluded log cabin, watching the snow softly fall.

STONYCREEK LODGE
MAIN LODGE
December 26, 9:02am

They had spent much of the night on the couch, finally waking when the fire had gone out and Scully felt a chill. They decided to go to the restaurant in the main lodge for breakfast, wanting to check things out, see what was going on for the rest of the holiday week. The breakfast buffet had been huge, everything available from fresh fruit, which Scully opted for, to made-to-order omelets, which Mulder ordered on his second trip through the line, having loaded up on just about everything else on his first. The dining room was crowded and only a large table with two other couples seated at it was available.

Mulder and Scully had barely introduced themselves and sat down when the older couple left, having finished their breakfast. “So where are you from?” Scully asked the couple still seated at the table with them. The couple was from Chicago, having heard about the lodge from friends of theirs who live in Philadelphia. Both were professionals, Jack being an editor for publishing company and Beth being an occupational therapist at a Chicago hospital. They had two daughters, one six and one nine, both staying back in Chicago with Beth’s mother, giving the couple a short vacation to enjoy some time together. They had taken the red-eye and were getting a bit of breakfast before heading to their room for sleep.

“FBI, huh?” Jack asked. “Sounds exciting.”

“Sometimes too exciting,” Scully responded, smiling at Mulder.

“So, you getting away from the kids for a little R & R, too?” Jack asked Mulder, pouring himself another cup of coffee.

“Uh, no… no. We’re just… well, were just here to have things a little less exciting,” he answered, smiling uncomfortably at Scully.

“We spent Christmas in Somerset with my family and Mulder surprised me with this little vacation,” Scully filled in. “We’re, um… I guess you could say we’re celebrating our engagement.” Mulder looked at her and smiled, still not believing that they would actually be married at some point.

“Congratulations!” Beth said, lifting her orange juice in a toast. They all toasted with their juice and coffee and enjoyed over an hour’s conversation, all four of them hitting it off well, immediately enjoying each other’s company. Beth and Jack were staying in the main lodge and finally went to their room for some sleep, the four of them planning to meet for dinner at eight.

“This seems weird, Scully,” Mulder said as they were walking around the lodge, seeing what was there.

“What seems weird?”

“Us… as ‘us’, doing something so normal as meeting another couple for dinner. I’ve never really been a part of a ‘couple’ before, not in the classic sense anyway,” he said, a bit of melancholy to his voice.

“Have you?” “Well, yeah. I guess Ethan and I were a couple… in the classic sense. We had friends; socialized with other couples,” she said, looking at him.

“Did you like that? I mean, have you missed having that kind of life?” he asked, Scully knowing exactly what he was hinting at.

Scully stopped, moved to look directly at him, making him look at her. “Mulder, as I’ve told you before, I wouldn’t change a day of the life I’ve had with you– none of it. Even all of the bad things that have happened to us… it all led us to where we are right now,” she said, moving her arms around his waist. “And… I’m about as happy as I can stand right now.” She kissed him lightly then, not being one for very much public display of affection.

“Mean it?” he asked softly.

“Mean it.”

They toured most of the lodge, a huge monstrosity of a building having been built after WWII when the returned soldiers had been booming babies. The main lodge had originally been a family-oriented winter vacation spot, but over the years, it had become more upscale and most of the activities were for adults, not really catering to children. Most of the individual cabins were built later and were used year round. The neighboring mountains provided winter activities and the lake was used for both winter and summer events. So the place was a quiet goldmine, a well-kept secret that wasn’t far from several metropolitan areas. Places like that usually became touristy after a while, but somehow, this place had remained a secluded little paradise.

MULDER & SCULLY’S CABIN
December 26, 11:42pm

The dinner with their new-found friends had been nice, the couple proving to be interesting and Jack having almost as sick a sense of humor as Mulder. Scully had laughed until her face hurt, the three glasses of wine she had enhancing her mood quite a bit. Not only her mood at dinner, but after they had returned to the room, Mulder realized that her libido had been enhanced as well.

“Mulder, if you aren’t in this bed in five seconds, I’m going to use alternate means,” she teased, Mulder still in the bathroom.

Finally he came out, his Santa hat and little red bow in their appropriate places, the plastic Wal-Mart tree in his hand. “Remember this outfit?” he asked, her laughter echoing throughout the bedroom.

“You can keep the hat, but the bow is in the way,” she said, still laughing at his silliness. “Now, get-in-this-bed.” He plugged in the tree, setting it on the dresser. The bow and the hat came off and were tossed on the bedside table before he crawled in under the covers beside her, snuggling against her already naked body. “Ummmm, you feel good,” she said, snuggling into him.

Mulder could taste the wine as he kissed her, surprised she had drunk as much as she did. He could barely take his eyes off her all evening, enjoying watching her have a good time, talking with Beth, laughing at his and Jack’s sick jokes and double entendres. “You were so beautiful tonight, Scully,” he said to her, kissing her nose as they faced each other.

“Mulder, that was the same outfit I wore Christmas Eve,” she replied.

“I wasn’t talking about what you were wearing, Scully. I was referring to how you were acting; how much fun you were having; how relaxed you were. It was nice to see,” he said softly to her, kissing her forehead. She moved further on top of him, kissing him thoroughly, her tongue exploring every corner of his mouth, finally sucking on his bottom lip.

“You make me so happy, Mulder. I love you,” she said before kissing down his neck, moving down further to find his nipple, sucking it into her mouth. She nipped at it, realizing she’d bitten a little too hard when he flinched. “Sorry,” she chuckled, still on a bit of a wine high. His hands rubbed her back, massaged her bottom until she had moved far enough down that he couldn’t reach her any longer. She took him in her mouth, sucking him, swirling her tongue around the head. Her hands didn’t stop, rubbing his abdomen, his thighs as she continued to suck him, finally kissing his testicles, an action that got her a laugh. She moved up over him then, laying flat on top of him, kissing his lips. “I love doing that,” she told him, truly enjoying making him feel good.

“And for that, I am sincerely grateful, Scully,” he smiled at her. She sat up then, reaching behind her to take him in her hand, centering him before sliding down slowly, taking him in easily due to her wetness. “Uhhhhh, Scully…” She began to move up and down, leaning forward onto her elbows, continuing to undulate on top of him.

“Bend your knees…” she said, her voice barely more than a whisper. She pushed against them, giving herself more leverage, pumping harder, her breasts rubbing back and forth against his chest. “Jesus… you feel so good…” she breathed. He put his hands at her waist, letting her know he wanted her to sit up and she complied. He counter thrusted her movements, their coupling becoming faster and more vigorous. “Oh, God, Mulder… I’m almost there,” she panted.

Mulder moved her bottom only slightly and that was all it took, her orgasm almost catching her by surprise. “Uhhhhhhhh, God,” she managed to groan after she was beginning to come down. He held onto her, pumping up into her, his release following soon after, filling her in several hard pushes. He relaxed his knees, pulling her down to him, enveloping her in his arms, holding her to him as he tried to catch his breath. He could feel her smile against his chest, thinking to himself that he would keep that smile on her face for the rest of their vacation.

STONYCREEK LODGE
Four days later
December 30, 3:30pm

“Shit, Mulder. Help me get out of this thing,” she said, unable to get the ice- packed zipper of her snowsuit to open.

“What’s it worth to ya?” he teased, already stepping out of his.

“Come on, I’m freezing,” she said, her lips a delicate shade of blue. “I want to get into a hot shower.”

Mulder helped her out of her rented suit, her underclothes consisting of a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt. They had gone snowmobiling, the snowy landscape beautiful and the ride exhilarating. Scully had been doing great until the leg heaters on her machine quit working and the six mile return trip to the lodge had practically made an ice cube of her. Mulder had gotten the shower warm for her, Scully stepping into his embrace as she stood into the stream of water. “My ass has no feeling, Mulder,” she said, finally getting some feeling back into the rest of her from the shower and Mulder’s embrace. He rubbed and squeezed her bottom trying to help her circulation and just enjoying rubbing and squeezing her bottom.

“Warm yet?” he asked, continuing to rub her back, down her arms. She stepped away from him then, looking up and giving him a grateful smile.

“Yeah,” she answered, reaching for her shampoo. “Wash my hair?” she asked, handing him the bottle. They finished their shower, him exiting before she did, leaving her to just stand in the hot stream for a little longer. When she entered the bedroom, he was squatting in front of the fireplace, encouraging the kindling to start. “What do you want to do tonight?” she asked him, squeezing her hair dry with a towel.

“Are you serious?” he replied, smiling at her.

“Well, besides that…” she said, knowing what he was insinuating. She sat in the chair next to the loft railing, watching him fiddle with the fire he was still trying to start.

“I don’t know. Beth and Jack invited us to go to dinner.”

“Do you mind doing things with them, Mulder?”

“Mind? No, why would I mind. I actually like them,” he said, finally getting a flame going.

“I know you planned this vacation just for the two of us…”

“Scully, we have plenty of time to ourselves. Having a dinner or two with them is fun. It keeps us from getting sick of each other,” he teased.

“There’s also a movie being shown in the main lodge tonight,” she said, still sitting, just watching him move around the room in his nakedness, admiring his body, his lack of modesty.

“Yeah? Something good?”

“Well, probably not something you have in your video collection, but something in keeping with the season… ‘Holiday Inn’” she said tentatively, knowing that Mulder would rather have his teeth drilled than watch some sappy musical.

“Oh, Scully…” he groaned, finally finding his robe and coming to sit in the chair next to her, looking proudly at his fire.

“Beth and I could go. You and Jack could go… do whatever. I wouldn’t hate you for it,” she smiled.

“So we’re meeting them then?” he asked, reaching for her hand.

“Yeah, let’s do…” she said, standing, bending to give him a quick kiss. “I need a nap. Care to join me?” He followed her to the bed, both of them dropping their robes, sliding in under the covers, snuggling together to stay warm. Scully dropped off quickly, Mulder not even feeling like a nap, but never wanting to pass up an opportunity to snuggle with a naked Scully.

SNOWCAP LOUNGE
STONYCREEK LODGE
December 30, 10:32pm

Mulder and Scully had napped for almost two hours, Scully actually waking before Mulder and calling Beth to confirm dinner plans. The dinner had been delicious, the conversation entertaining and the four of them had enjoyed all of it. They all agreed to skip the movie, opting instead for the music of the jazz quartet playing in the lounge. They had managed a table toward the back so they could talk over the volume of the band and had all sampled the hotel’s homemade eggnog.

“We don’t socialize with other people much,” Mulder had answered when asked what they did for fun when at home in Washington. “We work a lot… and well, we don’t advertise our relationship around town.” Beth and Jack looked at him a bit blankly, not quite understanding why. Scully jumped in, thinking they could be getting the wrong idea.

“We’re partners… at the FBI. So we don’t really want the powers that be to know that,” she clarified.

“Oh… And a relationship between partners is against the rules, I assume?” Beth asked.

“Well, not exactly,” Scully began, glancing toward Mulder for help, him just giving her a smirk. “We wouldn’t get fired, but they could split up our partnership and we don’t want to be assigned to different sections. Our work is… um… unique.” Mulder smiled at her, telling her ‘good job’ with his expression.

“Unique? How?” Jack asked, his curiosity peaked. Finally, Scully looked at Mulder, her expression telling him to handle this one.

“We are assigned to a section that gets the cases that are considered unsolvable; that may be… unusual in some way,” he explained, Scully relieved he hadn’t used the word ‘paranormal’.

“Wow, that sounds fascinating,” Beth commented. “Makes our lives seem rather mundane,” she chuckled.

“I could use a little ‘mundane’ once in a while,” Scully smiled, deciding it was time to change the subject. “Let’s dance, Mulder,” she said, hoping he was in the mood. They had never really danced together before, not really, and she wasn’t sure Mulder even liked to dance. She was wrong. He had a great lead and his rhythm made her wish they were back in their cabin, alone.

“Mulder, you never cease to amaze me,” she said in reference to his skill, enjoying dancing with him, being held by him in public. She wasn’t much on public displays of affection and seldom cared what other people thought but had to admit that she kind of liked the other women in the room watching her handsome partner. “Every other woman in this place is jealous of me right now, Mulder. I don’t know if you realize that,” she teased him.

“Yeah, right, Scully. They don’t know I chase aliens for a living,” he snorted.

“Well, I do and you are the sexiest man in this room… and very good on your feet, too.”

“I was one of those geeky kids in dance school, Scully. You’re the only one I’ve ever told that to, so if it gets out, I’ll know where it came from,” he teased. The music stopped then, the band going on a break, Mulder and Scully returning to their table. Jack had bought another round and the eggnog seemed a bit heavier on the rum than it had during the last round.

“I really don’t drink much,” Scully said. “So after this much eggnog, I ought to sleep really well tonight,” she joked, taking another sip.

“Not if I have anything to say about it,” Mulder joked, Beth and Jack laughing, Scully reaching to smack his arm.

“Keep that up, Mulder…” she said, her warning clear to him, Jack and Beth continuing to laugh.

The four of them stayed in the lounge for a while longer, sometimes talking, sometimes just listening to the music. Mulder and Scully danced again when the band began playing a very bluesy version of ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ that was ‘let’s go back to the room and fuck’ music if there ever was any and Mulder was definitely ready.

“Scully, you may think I’m good on my feet, but if I don’t get you horizontal in the next five minutes, I’m taking you right here on this dance floor,” he whispered into her ear, their bodies moving slowly, pressed together closely. She tightened her arms around him, pushing herself against him, not really deliberately, but feeling a bit inebriated which always made her more openly amorous.

“After the song. This has always been my favorite Christmas carol,” she said, looking up at him, her look he recognized as a kiss request, which he obliged.

“I think it has just become mine, Scully,” he whispered to her, the tickling vibration of his voice against her ear felt all the way to her groin. After the song, they went back to the table, Scully gathering her purse, taking one last sip of her eggnog before announcing they were calling it a night.

“Will we see you tomorrow night at the New Year’s party?” Beth had asked her. There was a formal celebration in the main ballroom of the lodge the next night, complete with fireworks at midnight.

“Ummm…” Scully hesitated, she and Mulder having discussed celebrating alone in their cabin. “We haven’t decided yet. Are you and Jack going?” Scully asked, Mulder and Jack on the other side of the table discussing something or other.

“Yeah. We’ve been married almost fifteen years, Dana. A New Year’s Eve alone doesn’t hold the appeal it does for you two,” she kidded, knowing full well what Scully was thinking. Scully laughed then, realizing that fact. They said their goodbyes, Mulder and Scully enjoying their stroll back to the cabin, a light snow falling, sparkling against the moonlight.

“I think I’m drunk, Mulder,” Scully said after the cold night air hit her.

“Really?” Mulder chuckled, looking down at her as she walked beside him, leaning into his side. “You seemed okay inside… a little tipsy, maybe.” Scully didn’t say much more as they walked to their cabin, Mulder dropping his keys before unlocking the front door, fumbling a bit with the lock. He laughed to himself, feeling a bit silly at being so anxious to get Scully into bed.

But as soon as he opened the front door, Scully ran toward the stairs, running up them two at a time, heading straight for the bathroom. She had thrown her pashmina toward the bed, slinging each shoe off before making it to the bathroom. She almost fell to the floor at the base of the toilet, for once thankful that Mulder had failed to put the seat back down. Barely making it in time, but luckily doing so as she began to wretch, barfing every ounce of her eggnog into the porcelain that had just become her best friend. Mulder could hear her throwing up as soon as he reached the top of the stairs, moving to the bathroom quickly, hoping to help her.

“Leave me alone, Mulder,” she said between heaves, embarrassed that he was seeing her sick.

“Scully, let me at least hold your hair out of the way…” he said calmly to her, gathering her hair in his hands. She heaved several more times, less and less coming out of her each time. Mulder managed to wet a washcloth with his free hand and wiped the back of her neck and her forehead before giving it to her.

“Can you help me up?” she said finally, her voice so soft he could barely hear her. He slid his arm around her waist and lifted her to a standing position, closing the lid of the toilet as he flushed it, setting her down to steady her. She was exhausted from her vomiting, her body dehydrated and shaking from her exertion.

“Okay now?” he asked, squatting down next to her to look at her directly, brushing her hair away from her face.

“Yes… I think,” she said, trying to give him a small smile as she continued to wipe her face with the cool cloth.

“Let me help you out of your dress, Scully,” he told her, reaching behind her to unzip it. She stood, stepping out of her dress as he helped her.

“I think I’ll take a shower…”

Mulder had gone back downstairs, making sure their cabin was locked for the night, returning upstairs with a glass of Sprite for her, finding her still in the shower. He took her robe to her, checking to make sure she was doing okay. He returned to the bedroom, plugging in their little tree and getting undressed to his boxers, hanging his suit and her dress in the closet.

Finally, she emerged from the bathroom, a towel around her hair, the sash on her robe only loosely closed. He could tell she was still embarrassed, not really making eye contact with him since she’d come from the bathroom. “Scully, it’s no big deal. It happens to all of us. Those last eggnogs were a little strong,” he said, trying to comfort her.

“Well, I feel stupid, Mulder. And I’m sorry…” she said, dropping her robe and climbing into bed, the cool sheets feeling good against her skin.

“Nothing to be sorry for, Scully,” he told her as he crawled in next to her. “How do you feel?” He propped his head on his elbow, looking down at her as she rolled to her side to face him.

“I think I feel better lying on my side,” she said, realizing she still felt nauseas. “I’m sorry I spoiled our plans…”

“Plans?” Mulder asked, not understanding what she meant.

“What we were talking about on the dance floor,” she reminded him.

“Oh, those plans… I just want you to feel better, Scully. I’m sure we’ll have time for more… plans,” he kidded her, accentuating his last word. He kissed her goodnight, tasting toothpaste and Sprite, as she rolled over to her other side, fluffing the pillow a bit under her head. He spooned up behind her, laying his arm over her, lightly rubbing her stomach. “This help?” he asked.

“I don’t think so, Mulder. It seems to be better the more still I am,” she said, just needing to sleep at that point. He moved his arm lower, wrapping it around her hips as they both fell off to sleep, both hoping her nausea had gone.

MULDER & SCULLY’S CABIN
STONYCREEK LODGE
New Year’s Eve, 7:34am

“I feel… like crap,” she moaned, rubbing her eyes, finally able to open them. Mulder was sitting on the side of the bed, two Tylenol and a large glass of ice water all ready for her. She took the pills with several large gulps of the water, giving him a shy smile that told him she was still apologizing for the previous night. “You are an angel, Mulder,” she said, sitting up to give him a kiss.

They went downstairs, Mulder having made coffee and Scully could hardly get to it fast enough. “How long have you been up?” she asked, noting he had several things for breakfast already out on the counter.

“Oh, an hour or so, I guess— you need to eat something, Scully,” he interjected, thinking of that hot coffee going into her very empty stomach.

“Toast… only,” she said, giving him a weak smile.

Scully’s stomach had settled about midmorning and she and Mulder had retired to the couch, Mulder leaning against some pillows, Scully leaning against Mulder. The television was muted to a morning news program, but neither was paying much attention to it, both of them reading. The fire in the fireplace would pop every now and then, an errant voice carrying just right across the ice being heard from the skaters on the lake.

Scully’s mind wandered, worrying about her mother, how things with Bill and the rest of her family had ended. She had called her mother after she had returned to Washington, her mother reporting that Bill’s mood hadn’t improved much, his opinion that he deserved an opinion about Scully’s relationship not changing. Her mother had seemed fine, but Scully knew she was distressed about the rift between her children. “Thinking about your mother?” Mulder asked out of the blue, rubbing her thigh.

“Mulder, how do you know that?” she asked incredulously, turning between his legs to look at him, wondering sometimes if he could read her mind.

“You haven’t turned a page in five minutes and I know the deal with Bill is still upsetting you,” he said, closing his book and tossing it on the coffee table. She set her book next to his and turned around fully, reclining against him, laying her head against his shoulder. Mulder wrapped his arms around her, rubbing her back, over her bottom, feeling her sigh. “It’ll work out, Scully.”

“How do you know that?” she asked sadly.

“Because you both love each other… in his own way, he loves you,” he told her, bending to kiss her forehead.

“He wants to control me,” she stated.

“I don’t think that’s it, Scully. I really don’t. If it was just control, he’d pull his macho act with everything, not just when I’m involved,” he said.

Scully moved up to straddle him so that she could look in his eyes. “You think it’s just you? Why?” she asked, truly unsure why he thought that.

“Because of your sister. He blames me,” Mulder told her flatly.

“You think so…” she said, not really believing that Mulder would take on this blame also.

“I know so. He told me so,” Mulder confessed to her.

“When?” she asked quietly, but disturbed that Bill had done so.

“When you were sick… in the hospital. He blamed me for that, too,” Mulder told her, still lazily rubbing her back.

“Oh, Mulder, I’m so sorry… You know I don’t feel that way… or my mother. You do know that, don’t you?” she said, her eyes pleading with him to believe her.

Mulder looked in her eyes for a moment, searching for any sign that she wasn’t telling him the whole truth and found none. “Yes… yes I do, Scully,” he said, pulling her closer to him, embracing her tightly. “I love you, you know.”

“Yeah, I kinda figured that out,” she smiled, moving to kiss him, wrapping her arms around his neck. She wiggled slowly against him as she continued to kiss him, their tongues leisurely enjoying each other. He pulled at the hem of her top, Scully finally letting him lift it off over her head, not wanting to break their kiss. As soon as he unfastened her bra, he bent his head to take her nipple in his mouth, sucking it hard, nipping at it, then laving it with his tongue. “Mmmmmm,” she hummed, her whole body beginning to hum, her back arching as he repeated the process on her other breast.

Scully moved her hands under his t-shirt, her palms smoothing his stomach, his chest, pressing her thumbs into his nipples. He pulled his shirt off, his expression serious, his passion causing his breath to quicken, his heart to pound. He rolled her over on her back, standing from the couch, pulling her jeans and underwear off hurriedly, not waiting for any assistance from her. He pulled his sweats off with one hand, reaching down to stroke her face with his other. He joined her on the couch, lying over her, kissing her again, hard, forcefully, reaching between her legs to feel for her readiness.

“God, Mulder, I want you,” Scully panted. His fingers found her dripping wet, her passion as obvious as his. He moved himself to her opening and entered her in one forceful stroke, her back arching, her eyes closing in near ecstasy. He pushed in as far as he could go, easing back out slowly, almost pulling all the way out before pushing in slowly, deeply again before pumping several times quickly. He rotated his hips against her, pushing against her pelvic bone, then undulating in more quick thrusts. “Mulder, I can’t keep up,” she tried to tell him, unable to match his changes in speed and position.

“That’s the point, Scully,” his voice deep and breathy. He put his right, then his left arm under each of her knees, pushing them forward until her thighs were almost parallel with her body, then increasing the speed of his thrusts, a move that sent her over the edge.

“Mulderrrrr! God…” she whimpered. “Oh, God…” Her body spasmed, almost convulsed as she climaxed, her inner muscles grabbing him hard in quick squeezes, her whole vulva quivering. Mulder held himself as still as he could until she could focus again, letting her ride out her orgasm. “My knees…” she said, her voice barely a breath, barely able to breathe herself. He released his hold on her knees, her legs falling limply to the couch before he began moving in earnest again, feeling the muscles of his abdomen tighten, his testicles constricting so tight he thought they would explode before he came. He thrusted only a couple of more times, his hips snapping against her as he erupted, his deep groan echoing in the silent room.

“Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, fuuuuuuuuckkkkkk,” he cried out, his breathing almost as loud as his groan. His body was quivering against hers, Scully holding him, smoothing her hands up and down his back, one foot rubbing over the back of his thigh, his calf.

“Um, Mulder, on your side, honey,” she said to him softly, his body weight becoming too much directly on top of her. He shifted, carrying her with him, holding on to her until he was flat on his back and she was lying on top of him. She laid her head against his chest, her ear over his heart listening to the pounding beat, knowing it as a sign of how much he loved her. Her leg was between his, feeling their fluids on him against her thigh, the feeling giving her another shiver. She smiled when he pulled the afghan from the back of the couch over them, knowing he was mistaken about the reason for her shiver.

“You okay?” he asked her softly.

“Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?” she responded, kissing his chest.

“I, uh, that was a little different for us,” he said, testing her response.

Scully moved, just enough to prop herself up to look at him before kissing him softly. “Yeah, it was. Care to tell me what spurred your… urgency?” she asked, smiling at him, letting him know she liked it.

“You. You and your little wiggle. Not one of your more subtle moves, Scully,” he said, giving her his little smirk.

“It worked, didn’t it?” she said, sliding down to lay her head back on his chest, smiling to herself.

— 4 —

MULDER & SCULLY’S CABIN
STONYCREEK LODGE
One hour later

They were napping, at least Scully was; Mulder was just biding his time until she woke, hoping for a replay of an hour ago. They still hadn’t dressed, just enjoying lying skin to skin… being lazy. Mulder was giving thought to waking her, teasing her about drooling on his chest, when he heard a loud knock at the door, startling him. “Shit!” he said, trying to move up a bit to see over the back of the couch.

“Mmmmmm, Mulder, don’t wanna get up yet,” she mumbled against him.

“Scully, someone’s at the door!” he whispered to her.

She jerked up, looking into his eyes with her startled ones. “Shit! Mulder, pick up these clothes,” she said as she scrambled off of him. The sound of another knock quickened their movements even more. “Get some pants on!” she whispered loudly, gathering her clothes and running up the stairs to compose herself, Mulder not missing a glance at her naked form leaping up the wooden staircase.

“Just a second…,” Mulder yelled to the mysterious visitor at their door. He yanked up his jeans, zipping them and pulling his t- shirt over his head almost simultaneously. He lifted a couch cushion and tossed his boxers and socks under it, spotting Scully’s bra at the last minute and tossing it there, too, before hurrying to open the door.

“Hi. Is this a bad time?” Jack asked, him and Beth standing in the blowing snow, shivering, noticing that Mulder seemed a bit off kilter.

“No… no. Um, come in. Come in,” Mulder said, finding himself stuttering like an idiot. “How about a beer?”

“Sounds good,” Jack answered, looking around the cabin. “Nice place.”

“None for me, thanks,” Beth said. “Where’s Dana?”

“Um… upstairs. She’s… uh, taking a shower, I think. She should be down in a little bit,” Mulder answered, ushering them into the living room area. “What brings you two out and about?”

“We had been, um, napping and decided we needed some fresh air, so we walked over here to see if you and Dana were going to the New Year’s Eve party tonight,” Beth said.

The three of them sat down, Jack and Beth on the couch and Mulder in one of the side chairs facing them. Suddenly, Mulder noticed a healthy third of Scully’s bra hanging out from underneath the couch cushion, very near Jack’s right leg. Then, he heard the sound of Scully’s bare feet against the wood of the stairs, turning around to see her descending, dressed in her jeans and a clean sweater, her hair combed, pulled back with a headband.

“Hi,” she said, coming into the living room, sitting on the arm of Mulder’s over-stuffed chair. “What are you two doing out?”

“Came to see if you guys are going to the big party tonight and… to see what one of the cabins look like, if the truth be known,” Beth admitted, smiling toward Scully.

“We hadn’t really talked about it…” Scully said, glancing at Mulder. “I mean we talked about it, but hadn’t really decided.” Mulder nudged her, Scully looking down at him wondering why he had done that, noticing him trying to indicate something to her with his eyes. But when Jack moved his right leg to cross it over his left, she saw it; saw her taupe, lace bra hanging out from under the cushion of the dark brown couch.

Scully’s blush was noticeable, Jack and Beth suddenly feeling uncomfortable, realizing there was something going on that they weren’t privy to. Jack stood, taking one last swig of his beer, holding his hand out for Beth to get off the couch as well. “I guess we need to be going,” Jack said uncomfortably, taking Beth’s hand. “Maybe we’ll see you tonight…”

Their uncomfortableness was palatable and Mulder and Scully both felt it, neither wanting their new found friends to feel responsible. “Look behind you,” Mulder said to them out of the blue, glancing toward the errant bra, Scully staring at him with a ‘what the hell are you doing?’ look if there ever was one. Beth and Jack turned around, of course, seeing the bra hanging out from under the cushion, both of them simultaneously putting everything together and coming up with the obvious conclusion.

There was dead silence in the room for a few long seconds, then both of them lost it, laughing out loud, Beth holding her stomach as she laughed. Scully turned to Mulder, her looking at him with the stare of death until he gave her his typical Mulder smirk and she, too, began to laugh, despite feeling her blush heat her neck and face. “Mulder, did you have to do that?” she said, shaking her head.

“Good one,” Jack said, still smiling, raising his hand to give Mulder a soft high five. They walked toward the door then, Beth and Scully lagging behind them a step or two.

Beth looked at her and smiled, Scully’s embarrassment still present in her expression. “Don’t worry about it, Dana. Jack and I were um… ‘napping’ just before we came over here…”

HARMONY LAKE
KEYSTONE LODGE
New Year’s Eve, 2:17pm

After Jack and Beth had gone, Mulder and Scully had decided to stop by the main lodge for lunch and noticed the skaters on the resort’s lake. Rented skates and all, they had enjoyed a leisurely skate, enjoying watching the children; enjoying skating with each other, holding hands. Scully was a good skater, having had access to an indoor rink when living on the base in San Diego. Mulder had only skated a few times before, but as a natural athlete, he didn’t embarrass himself.

“I think this is the best Christmas holiday I’ve ever had, Scully,” Mulder told her out of the blue. When he did, she slid to a sudden stop, took his face between her gloved hands and kissed him firmly on the lips, seemingly totally oblivious of everyone skating around them. He had grinned at her after she moved back and began skating, pleased that she was giving up some of her reserve about being openly affectionate with him.

“What was your favorite Christmas, besides this one,” he smiled to her, still holding her hand as they skated.

“Oh, I guess I’d have to say…” she thought a few moments before finishing. “…when I was six. It was before we moved to sunny San Diego and were living in Annapolis. Of course, I didn’t know it was my best Christmas at the time…” she smiled. “But, we had snow; we went to New York to see ‘The Nutcracker’… I think my parents knew at Christmas that we would be moving to San Diego that February, but we kids didn’t know it yet. Christmas just never seemed like Christmas again after that year…”

They skated over to the refreshment area, Mulder getting two hot chocolates before joining her at a table near one of the heaters. “Favorite Christmas gift,” he said to her, his statement actually a question.

“Besides my bracelet?” she smiled, giving him another kiss. “A ten-speed red Schwinn bicycle when I was in third grade. I had hoped and hoped for it, but didn’t think I was going to get it. And by that age, I knew Santa wasn’t going to help me out,” she kidded, looking at him, her non-verbal request for him to answer the same question.

“Besides my Star Trek ornament?” he smiled. “I guess it was… when I was thirteen. My grandparents got me a motor scooter–best gift, worst Christmas. It was the first one after Samantha was gone. Talk about Christmas never seeming like Christmas again…” Scully laid her hand over his, Mulder bending to give her a quick kiss. He was enjoying being able to do that. “Favorite Christmas… movie.”

“That’s easy. ‘White Christmas’” she said quickly, smiling proudly.

“Yuk. Why that one?” he asked, unbelieving that she had picked something that sappy.

“Missy and I used to sing that ‘Sisters’ song. We thought we were damn good at it. And every year, my parents would listen to us do it just like we were actually good at it,” she chuckled.

“Movie still sucks, although Rosie Clooney was pretty hot in that, now that I think of it,” Mulder kidded her. “Best movie, no question, is ‘It Happened on Fifth Avenue’,” he said, just knowing she had never heard of it.

“Mulder! No, you haven’t heard of that movie!” she said, standing, incredulous that he had named an obscure movie that she had only ever seen twice.

“You’ve actually seen that movie?” he asked, almost disappointed that he hadn’t stumped her.

“Yes. Yes… We saw it on the late-night movie as teenagers and loved it and then never saw it again until I was in med school. Missy, Charlie and I were home, at my parents’ house, for the holidays and we actually caught it again and were so excited…” she said, unbelieving that she and Mulder would both know that little known movie.

“Don DeFore,” he said.

“Gale Storm,” she said, challenging his obscure knowledge.

“Alan Hale, Jr.,” he countered.

She thought for a moment, racking her brain, trying to come up with just one more star of the movie… and couldn’t. “Bastard,” she teased, smacking his arm as he grinned at her. “Favorite song?” she asked quickly.

“None of them. Christmas songs are quintessential schmaltz, Scully.”

“No fair. You have to pick one, even if you consider it the lesser of the evils,” she told him.

“Uh… ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’” he replied.

“Mulder, you just said that because I already told you it was mine,” she said, feigned disgust in her voice.

“Well, I’m hoping that you are ready to go back to our cabin and that answer will help me get lucky,” he kidded, smiling his silly smile at her.

“Mulder, when have you NOT gotten lucky with me? Particularly on this trip?” she teased, truly wondering.

“Good point, Scully,” he said, figuring he’d better let it drop or he really wouldn’t get lucky. Mulder stood, taking her hand before they skated back toward the exit.

MULDER & SCULLY’S CABIN
KEYSTONE LODGE
One hour later

Scully was puttering around the kitchen, gathering a few things from the refrigerator, scouring the cabinets for a skillet and a spatula. “What are ya doin’?” Mulder asked, walking up behind her, laying his chin on her shoulder.

“Making an omelet; I’m starving,” she said, breaking two eggs into a bowl.

“You didn’t eat much at lunch.”

“I still didn’t feel too well. I think the fresh air did me good. Certainly made me hungry,” she continued, whipping the eggs and pouring them into the hot skillet.

“Made me hungry, too,” he added, kissing the side of her neck.

“I’ll make you an omelet. What do you want in yours?” she said, not understanding his meaning, until she turned around to look at him. “Mulder… Do you ever think about anything but sex?” she teased.

“Not when you’re around,” he smiled. She turned back to her cooking, adding cheese to her almost done egg mixture.

“So, that’s all I am to you, huh?” she asked kiddingly, flipping the edge of the omelet over the other, removing it from the burner.

“No, not all. You are cooking me an omelet, aren’t you?”

“Damn it, Mulder!” she laughed, smacking him with a towel, going after him as he dodged her first attempt. She chased him around the counter, into the living room area, facing off from him across the couch. “I WILL get you.”

“Is that a threat, Scully?” he teased.

“No. It’s a promise,” she smiled to him, turning her back to him to return to the kitchen area and to her omelet. But before she made it, she felt his arms grab around her from the back, lifting her, her back against his chest, her feet dangling. “Mulder, put me down!” she laughed.

He hiked her up a little higher to get a better grasp on her as he carried her toward the stairs. “Down is the operative word there, Scully.”

“Mulder, my omelet,” she said, absolutely caring less about it, but just keeping the banter going.

“Your mid-afternoon snack will be served in the bedroom,” he told her flatly. She let him carry her, not even keeping up with her feeble efforts to get out of his grasp. She let her head fall back against his shoulder, turning to kiss the side of his neck. He reached the bed, freshly made by the hotel staff while they were out, and laid her on it face down. He laid over her, kissing the back of her neck, rubbing himself against her. “You want to get naked with or without my help?” he asked her.

“Without. It’s faster that way,” she answered as he let her up, both of them undressing quickly and jumping back onto the bed. They turned to their sides, looking at each other for a few seconds, both beginning to smile at each other. “We’re pathetic, Mulder. We get away like this and all we do is screw like a couple of bunnies…”

“And you think that’s pathetic?” he kidded. “Pathetic, Scully, is that we let seven years go by before we did this the first time.”

She laughed, then moved closer to him, wrapping one arm around his neck, the other around his waist as she kissed him softly. They kissed leisurely for several long minutes before they intensified, Mulder’s hand drifting down her back to massage her bottom, then pulling her leg up, over his waist. He pulled back to look at her, finding the look of arousal in her eyes almost overpowering. He grasped her thigh then, moving it off of him to maneuver her to lie on her back.

Scully looked at him, his deep love and desire for her mirrored in his eyes as he looked at her, her body. He stayed on his side and smoothed his hand over her; her stomach, her breasts. He caressed her skin with his palm, up her arm to her neck, then running a finger down between her breasts all the way to the auburn hair between her legs. He bent to kiss her, his hand sliding between her legs as she opened them to give him access. She thought his first touch always felt like an electrical shock, her hips reflecting what her body was feeling as they trembled.

They made love slowly, neither in any hurry to climax, just enjoying the feeling of each other’s skin, the movement of each other’s body. They lay together afterwards, still petting each other, kissing, allowing their breathing to slow, their bodies to cool. “That was nice,” Scully told him softly, stroking her hand over his stomach.

“Nice? I’m not sure that’s a compliment to a man, Scully,” Mulder teased, kissing her forehead as she lay in his arms.

“Well, it should be,” she answered quickly. “We don’t always have to go at it like it’s an athletic event, Mulder.”

“Is that what you think we do?” he asked, not sure what she was meaning.

“No… no, I didn’t mean it that way, really. I just meant that achieving an earth shattering orgasm doesn’t always have to be our goal.”

“But orgasm is the ultimate goal, Scully. At least it is for a man. You don’t have sex with a goal not to finish. I doubt a woman would want that either,” he noted.

“I’m just saying that the means can be the goal as well as the end… sometimes. Sex is a physical thing to men; it’s an emotional act to women, Mulder,” she said, snuggling closer as she lay close to him. “That’s all I’m saying.”

“Do you think I ignore your needs, your emotional needs, when we make love, Scully?” he said, a note of hurt to his voice. “Or that there is no emotion in it for me?”

“No!” she answered quickly, sitting up to look at him. “Mulder, you are the most attentive, thoughtful… loving man I have ever known or could ever imagine, for that matter,” she said, making sure he understood. “Sometimes I feel selfish because you are so devoted to pleasing me that I sometimes wonder if you are being as satisfied as I am.”

Mulder laughed, looking at her like she had just sprouted horns. “Scully, all you have to do is touch me and I could die a happy man. I still can’t believe that you even let me in the door let alone in your bed,” he said, caressing her face. “Just being with you satisfies me beyond words…” She smiled at him, laying over him to kiss him softly.

“Come on, let’s get ready and meet Jack and Beth, at least for dinner,” Scully said, moving to get out of the bed. “We don’t have to stay ‘till midnight if we don’t want to.”

Mulder grabbed her hand as she moved to stand, causing her to turn to look at him, see the loving look in his eyes. “What?” she asked softly.

“I love you…” he said simply.

Scully bent to give him another light kiss. “On second thought, we could even skip dessert…”

MAIN LODGE
KEYSTONE LODGE
New Year’s Eve, 9:40pm

“I feel absolutely decadent,” Beth said after taking the first bite of her Bananas Foster, the smell of the burning liqueur still permeating the air.

“I don’t,” Mulder smiled, taking another large bite of his Creme Brulee. The four of them had had a meal fit for the Queen’s court and were making their way through their second bottle of champagne. Mulder re-filled his glass, offering to top off Scully’s.

“No thanks, Mulder. That stuff goes right to my head. I’ll save another glass for midnight,” Scully said, smiling to him, not wanting to spoil their plans with a repeat of the other night.

“I heard that the band playing tonight is kind of a staple here at the lodge,” Jack said, wiping his last bite of dessert from his lips. “A lot of swing, big band stuff mostly… but supposed to be good.”

“I think a bunch of drunken people on New Year’s Eve would probably think a dead Lawrence Welk sounded good,” Mulder joked.

“So are you two gonna stick around until midnight?” Beth asked, smiling at Scully.

Scully looked at Mulder for confirmation, but recognizing, by the look in his eyes, that it was totally up to her. “I guess we’ll hang around for a while, okay?” she said, answering Beth, but asking Mulder. The four of them enjoyed a little more conversation before moving to the main ballroom which was already starting to fill. They were seated at a nice table, more toward the back than the front which was perfect for them, not wanting to be too close to the band’s speakers.

The band had proved to be as good as Jack had heard it was, complete with audience sing- alongs that even Mulder had found entertaining. Scully had giggled at Mulder’s reticent participation, but loved him all the more for staying with her and, at least, acting like he was having fun. And, as predicted, horns and blowers and confetti were passed around to everyone and, as predicted, no one could resist testing them, the sounds of horns and noisemakers permeating the room above even the volume of the band.

“Having fun?” Mulder asked into Scully’s ear. Beth and Jack were dancing, a fast dance that Mulder had vetoed. He had scooted his chair close to Scully’s, his arm over the back as she leaned into his side. She looked up at him, smiling, reaching up to remove a lipstick smudge from the edge of his lip with her thumb, residue from an earlier kiss.

“Yeah. You?” she asked, still smiling at him.

“Believe it or not, I am,” he said sincerely. “But I’m looking forward to getting back to the cabin, too…”

“Me, too,” she said, smiling at him again, rubbing her hand lightly up and down his thigh.

“You want to go now?” he asked.

Scully looked at her watch, seeing that it was only about ten more minutes until midnight. “It’s only a few minutes until the new year. Let’s wait. Okay?” she said.

“Okay. Then we can go back to the cabin and welcome in the new year with a bang…” he grinned to her. She rolled her eyes, but he could see that they were smiling, Scully having exactly the same idea.

Mulder and Scully went to dance, Scully wrapping her arms around his waist. Her head was against Mulder’s chest, her eyes closed, almost oblivious to the fact that the song had stopped. Mulder lifted her chin with his fingers, noticing the look on her face and realizing that she may not make it the remaining few minutes until midnight after all. “You still here?” he chuckled to her.

She slipped her arms around his neck and kissed him, her hand now caressing the side of his face. “Let’s go…” she said, her arousal very recognizable to him.

Then the bandleader announced for everyone to get ready, only one minute to go until midnight. “Come on, let’s ring in the New Year and then we’ll go,” he said, taking her by the hand to return to their table.

“Ready?” Jack said, handing Mulder and Scully a noisemaker or two from the table.

Ten, nine, eight… the announcer began to count down. Everyone was standing, noisemakers in hand waiting to do what it is people do at the first second of a new year. Seven, six, five… Mulder wrapped his arm around Scully’s shoulder, she wrapping hers around his waist as she leaned into him, surprising herself that she was so disinterested in the festivities and just wanting to be alone with Mulder so suddenly.

Four, three, two, one— Happy New Year!!! Scully tossed her noisemaker on the table, instead wrapping her arms around Mulder’s neck, her lips immediately to his. He wrapped her up in his, his embrace so tight he lifted her feet from the floor as they continued to kiss, totally unaware of the deafening noise going on around them. They were still kissing when the band began to play the perennially schmaltzy ‘Auld Lang Syne’, Beth and Jack’s midnight kiss ending several seconds earlier.

“Hey, you two,” Jack said, tapping Mulder on the shoulder. “We’re gonna go…” Mulder and Scully finally stopped kissing, Mulder letting his grasp slacken, her feet finally returning to touch the floor. Scully grabbed his hand, smiling toward Jack and Beth, almost forgetting that she and Mulder were actually with other people.

“Yeah, us, too,” Mulder told them, handing Scully her purse, unsure if she even remembered she had one with her. The couples said their ‘good-byes’, Jack and Beth leaving for home the next morning. They vowed to meet there again sometime, all of them meaning it, but knowing it wasn’t likely to happen. Mulder and Scully rode the lodge’s trolley back to their cabin, the snow falling lightly, the temperature hovering just below freezing.

When they entered their cabin, the tree was lighted and a nice fire glowed in the downstairs fireplace, seemingly dancing to the slow melodies of the Christmas carols playing on the stereo. “Mulder? How did you do this?” she asked, smiling to him. Mulder figured he owed the bellboy so much anyway, what were a few more bills. He wanted everything perfect.

“I have my ways, Scully. Remember, I’m the Lord of Misrule…” he said, helping to remove her coat and hanging it on the hall tree just inside the front door. “Let’s go sit by the fire for a little while…” he said, taking her hand.

“What are you up to, Mulder? I thought you wanted to… get into bed as badly as I did,” she said to him as she followed, stepping out of her heels before reaching the couch.

“All in good time, Scully,” he said, smiling at her as he tossed his jacket over the back of a chair. They sat on the couch, Mulder moving as close to her as he could, his expression growing more serious.

“Mulder, is there something wrong?” she asked, unsure what all this production was about.

“Scully… I… I was serious about getting married,” he said, taking hold of her hand.

“As was I, Mulder. I hope you know that…”

“Well, I don’t want to hide it. I mean, I want us to be just like any other ‘normal’ couple,” he said, not quite making his point clear to her. “That’s what I’ve felt like here, Scully. Not having to hide our relationship… And I don’t want to go back to Washington and have to suddenly start hiding it again. I don’t want to do that anymore,” he finished.

“Mulder, first of all, we’ll never be like any other so-called ‘normal’ couple— I’m glad to say. But I have enjoyed being… open about our relationship. I never really thought that aspect really mattered, but after these few days, I don’t think I could go back to all the subterfuge either,” Scully told him, leaning her head against his shoulder.

“Scully, look at me,” he said to her, Scully raising her head to return his look. He reached into the pocket of his pants and opened his hand to her, a small green velvet box resting in the middle of his palm.

“Mulder…” she said softly, recognizing the type and size of the box for what it was. Mulder opened it, revealing a large emerald ring, two diamonds on each side down the sculptured gold band. “Oh, my god…”

“I didn’t want to get anything too traditional,” he said quietly. “I had it made in a little jewelry shop near ‘M’ street.” He took it from the box, taking her hand to slip it on her trembling left hand. Scully looked at it, thinking about what the ring meant as the tears she had been holding slipped down her cheeks.

“I love it… you,” she said, turning to him, holding his face in her hands as she gazed at him, smiling before kissing him softly, lingering a bit before pulling away. “We’ll get married as soon as you want, Mulder.” He kissed her then, wrapping his arms around her to lift her fully onto his lap without breaking their kiss. “Mmmmmm, Mulder. ‘You remember how you promised me we’d ring in the new year…?” she mumbled between kisses. He had unzipped her dress just enough to slide it off her shoulder and was kissing her there, across her chest to the tops of her breasts. “I’ll meet you upstairs…”

Mulder turned off the tree and closed the doors of the fireplace before making sure the doors were locked. When he got upstairs, Scully was in the bathroom, so he built a small fire and plugged in his little plastic tree that he knew would become an annual keepsake.

Scully came out of the bathroom naked, his Santa had proudly perched atop her head, her finger immodestly twirling his little red bow. He smiled, practically leering at her, frozen in his spot in front of the dresser.

“You are way over-dressed for this occasion, Mulder,” she smiled at him, turning down the blankets of the bed and crawling in.

“Well, you stole my outfit,” he was able to joke. He pulled off his clothes in record time and practically jumped into the bed with her, immediately snuggling up to her, kissing her neck, her lips.

“How long have you been carrying this ring around, Mulder?” she asked as he continued to nuzzle her neck, taking off her had and tossing it across the room.

Mulder looked at her, laying his head next to hers on the pillow as she rolled to her side to face him. “Two years,” he coughed out.

“Two years?!” she gasped.

“I’ve loved you for a very long time, Scully,” he said softly. “The ring helped me to have hope.”

“I’ll love you forever…” she said, moving to kiss him softly. She moved on top of him, rolling him to his back, still kissing him soundly, their tongues vying for control. He wrapped his arms around her, rubbing her back down to her thighs. She spread her legs, moving her knees to the bed, lifting herself over him as he held his penis for her. She centered herself and then slid down on him, both of them sighing at the sensation. She didn’t move for a few seconds, just savoring the feeling of him inside her.

Mulder held on to her waist as she set up fully, feeling his length push against her cervix. “God, you feel so good,” she moaned as she began undulating against him. She placed her hand on his stomach, holding onto his sides as she began moving up and down on him.

“Jesus, Scully…” Mulder sighed, his head tilting back onto the pillow, his eyes clamping shut. “Uhhhhh, just like that…”

She smiled, watching him, feeling her arousal soar seeing his reactions to her movements, her loving of him. She bent forward a bit, her hands sliding to his shoulders, causing her clitoris to rub against his pubic hair. She pushed harder, feeling the eminent release of her orgasm spiral within her abdomen. She moved her hips side to side a couple of times and that was all it took, her hips jerking, her thighs trying to squeeze together against his. She held her breath while her muscles clamped him, the tissues of her fleshy folds throbbing against him.

“Ohhhhhh, god…” she finally breathed, her body melting to lay over him, the hair on his chest against her breasts giving her entire body goose bumps. She tried to start pumping against him again, but he needed more.

Mulder rolled her off of him, onto her stomach, then laying half over her back, his erection rubbing against her hip. “Is this okay?” he asked, not knowing if she would want to finish this way.

“Whatever you need…” she answered softly, barely more than a breath. He moved her knees forward, raising her bottom into the air as he moved over her, bending to kiss the back of her neck, behind her ear. He held his weight on the hand of his outstretched arm, using his other hand to find her opening with his penis. She was still incredibly wet, confirming to him that she just wasn’t doing it this way to please him. He slid in easily, moving his arm to hold her around her abdomen.

“Oh, my god…” she said as he began to pump, the feeling of him very different than he felt in the other positions they had tried. He moved his hand, fingering her clitoris as he continued to move in and out of her and she climaxed again as soon as he pushed hard on her engorged bud.

“Ohgodohgodohgodddddddd…” she cried, her body shuddering, barely able to handle the sensations he was creating in her. He held onto her hips, shifting his weight from his arms to his knees as his thrusting became harder, his hips slapping against her firmly, as she tried to keep from screaming, literally screaming.

He could feel his orgasm in every muscle of his body, his semen erupting into her with every thrust he could manage. She collapsed under him, the words of her whimpers indiscernible to him, the sound of his rushing blood almost deafening to his ears. He managed to shift most of his weight to his side before collapsing on top of her, his penis slipping out of her as he did. She reached back to stroke him, feeling both of their fluids on him, now on her hand. He knew what she was asking for when she did that and reached between her legs to stroke her softly, helping her come down.

Mulder shifted to his back, his breathing still erratic and labored as she rubbed her palm against his length one last time before lying next to him, the feeling of her new ring against his sensitive skin sending little shock waves through him again. Her head dropped to his shoulder, the muscles of her body so sated, they barely responded to what her brain was trying to tell them to do. A few minutes passed before either one of them said anything.

“Scully…” Mulder sighed.

“I know, I know…” she said, the movement of her lips against his skin tickling him. He moved to lay her on her back then, shifting to hold his weight on his elbow so that he could see her. Their eyes held each others, both of their smiles growing in tandem. “That was… I don’t even know what that was,” she smiled, her voice still not much more than a breath.

“I think that is what’s known as ringing in the New Year with a bang,” he teased, bending to kiss her softly. “God, we’re good together…”

“Yes, yes we are…” she said, snuggling into him as he wrapped his arms around her. They lay there together, watching the snow fall lightly outside their window, hoping that their lives together would be half of what they had found during this last week. Somehow, they both knew it would be…

The end

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