X-Files Christmas (An) by Fatcat

An X-Files Christmas cover

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An X-Files Christmas By Fatcat

An X-Files Christmas cover

Title: An X-Files Christmas Posted 12/25/02. Previously posted to FanFiction.net

Author:

Rating: PG (or less)at the beginning, and on to 17+

Category: MSR, AU (The way it would have been more fun—IMHO)

Spoilers: Probably

Cover art: Donnilee

Summary: Scully and Mulder are trying to make it back to DC for Christmas, but the most unexpected thing happens.

Disclaimer: This is really fun. Too bad I can’t do this for a living. Thanks again to CC, FOX, 1013 and all those others to whom these characters really belong.

~~~~~

“Well, that’s it, Mulder. Not a hotel or motel available in the entire area surrounding O’Hare Airport. Not a plane going in or out due to the weather conditions. I suggest we keep this rental car and continue to drive East if either one of us are going to make it home for Christmas,” Scully said with a sigh.

“Oh, come on, Scully, its ten days before Christmas. We’ll get home in plenty of time,” Mulder replied distractedly. He was driving through the blinding snowstorm that had closed O’Hare looking for the I190 onramp.

“That’s easy for you to say. You probably already have everything done for Christmas.” Scully definitely did not want to spend this Christmas away from her family.

“Right,” Mulder said. “I don’t have that much to do this year. I have your present and your mom’s. The Guy’s presents I can do on Christmas Eve. That’s just about it.”

“Ahhh, Mulder, how insensitive that must have sounded. I forgot about your Mom. I’m sorry,” Scully quickly apologized. “You know, you could come over to Mom’s for Christmas.”

“Yeah, and let Bill use me for a verbal punching bag again? Thanks, but no thanks. I think I’ll just have a quiet holiday this year,” he shrugged.

“Well, you should at least decorate a little. I know how much it lifts my spirits to come home to a festive apartment,” Scully said.

“We’ll see. Have you seen any signs for the I-294 interchange?”

“Yeah, I did. It’s about three-quarters of a mile up this road. We should be there any minute.”

Almost fifteen minutes later they finally reached the interchange to the freeway. The road was down to one lane and the Highway Patrol was turning away all but the most urgent-need travelers. After they showed their FBI badges and insisted that they were hot on the trail of a perp, they were flagged on to the South Bound entrance ramp.

“That was close. Another half hour and we would be staying in our car or at an emergency center tonight,” Scully said.

“Yeah, good thing I fueled up and bought some supplies just before we started,” Mulder agreed.

“Oh, heaven forbid that you would run out of sunflower seeds,” Scully said with a smile. “What all did you buy?” she asked as she rifled through the bags in the back seat. “You have enough to feed an army, and a blanket, Mulder? Cat litter?” Her face registered surprise.

“I just wanted to be prepared. Remember, I grew up in the northeast and I know how these storms can escalate,” Mulder said defensively.

“Okay, but this time, you’re doing the expense report. Speaking of hungry, do you want something to eat right now?”

“Thanks, I think I better concentrate on the road. The weather channel said it would improve the farther east we went. We are sort of running out of the storm, but it has the potential to swing east at any time. We need to put as much distance as possible between Chicago and us before dark. Why don’t you eat a bite if you’re hungry and try to grab a nap before you relieve me,” Mulder suggested.

“Yeah, I think I will. But first, I’m going to try to get us a motel booked up ahead. Do you have any idea how far we should be able to get by 5:00 or 6:00PM?” Scully asked looking at the map.

“No, I can’t guess this early. Let’s give it an hour or so and see how it goes. The turnpike will be a lot cleaner and faster than the Chicago area surface streets. Who knows, we may get to Cleveland or Pittsburgh before dark.”

Scully just looked at Mulder in amazement. “You were an Eagle Scout when you were young, weren’t you? You took the ‘BE PREPARED’ motto to heart,” she said with a laugh.

“Laugh all you want, but you’ll see. Better safe than sorry when facing a storm coming out of the mid-west,” Mulder smiled. “Just open a bag of sunflower seeds and a can of tea for me please. I’ll let you know when we’re going to stop.”

The drive through the snow was tiring. Their latest case had been a bust, but while on the scene of the incident they were investigating, they had stumbled upon a child-kidnapping plot and had once again been credited with the solve. ‘Sometimes you win when you aren’t even trying and sometimes you can’t win at all,’ Scully thought.

The sound of the wipers and the steady, hypnotic, driving snow made Scully fall asleep quickly. She snuggled under the blanket Mulder had so thoughtfully remembered leaving her partner to cope with the raging snowstorm outside the windows. She woke up when the car started to slow to a stop.

“Wake up, Sleepyhead,” Mulder said. “Time to take a break. Do you need to get out?”

“Um, Mulder, where are we?” Scully yawned, sitting up. “Have we made it to Ohio yet?”

“Ohio? Scully, we’re not even to South Bend yet. This trip just might take us until Christmas if the storm doesn’t clear,” Mulder laughed.

A quick pit stop and they were back on the road with Scully driving.

“Mulder, maybe we should call Skinner and let him know where we are,” Scully suggested.

“I think he will assume we’re trapped in Chicago, Scully…”

“Mulder, make the call.”

“Okay, okay, but I just know he’ll find something for us to do somewhere along the way,” Mulder grumbled.

“What kind of work do you think he could possibly dream up for us between Chicago and Washington?”

Mulder gave in and plugged his cell phone into the lighter. “I have a bad feeling about this, Scully,” he said as he dialed. “While I’m at it, should I call your Mom and let her know what’s happening?”

“Thanks Mulder, that’s a good idea. I know she worries about us when we’re out on assignment.”

Scully drove on through the storm and quickly realized why the trip was taking so long. Mulder contacted Mrs. Scully, but had no luck reaching A.D. Skinner. He left a voice mail message and decided to leave the phone on so they could be reached at his convenience.

“If you don’t mind, I think I’ll grab a nap while you drive for a while,” Mulder said and then yawned. “Driving in a storm like this is more intense than you realize.”

Scully just smiled and kept her attention on the road. She could see a spray of snow down the road and knew she was coming up on a snowplow. She decided the speed behind the big state truck was slower, but the road was better, so she slowed down and followed the truck toward the state line.

As she drove the storm dissipated. By the time the plow exited to to clear the opposite direction, she was driving on partially dry pavement. After a few minutes, she was back up to the speed limit and the Ohio border was quickly passed.

The ring of Mulder’s cell phone broke the silence in the car, waking Mulder and startling Scully.

“Hello? Sir…. Yes…we’re just about at the Ohio border……Sir, we’ve been on a case for over two weeks already and it’s almost Christmas………..I understand…..Yes sir, we’ll call you from the motel,” Mulder punched the off button on the phone and yanked the cord from the lighter plug.

“Well, I hate to say it, Scully, but I told you so,” Mulder gloated.

“Told me so, what, Mulder?” Scully asked.

“I told you that if we contacted Skinner today, he would give us another assignment on the way home and he just did—Bryan, Ohio. Have you ever heard of a place called Bryan, Ohio?” he grinned his ‘Told-You-So Smile’.

“Sure, it’s just about twenty minutes off this road at the Route 15 exit. Why do you ask?”

“Scully, I’m the one with the eidetic memory, remember? Did you memorize the map while you were driving? ” Mulder teased.

“I just happened so see a sign about two minutes ago that gave those directions,” she grinned. “What’s up?”

“Skinner wants us to go to Bryan to assist a team that’s stumped by a drug smuggling case. We’re to get settled and give him a call. He’ll have the other agents contact us with further details about the case as soon as we’re settled.”

“Drug smuggling? In Ohio? Why does he think we would be of assistance on a drug smuggling investigation?” Scully frowned.

“According to Skinner, a murder has been connected with this case and he wants you to do an autopsy on the victim tomorrow. It looks like our exit is next. Is Bryan north or south of the turnpike?”

“South. Get out your change, I used all mine at the last toll booth.”

In a matter of a few minutes, they had pulled off the turnpike and were searching for a motel room nearby.

“Not a room available, Scully,” Mulder said as he climbed back into the car. “Everything is booked solid for the night. The storm is racing eastward even as we speak, and we’re out of luck.”

“Oh, no! Did you ask everyone to check around for you?” Scully asked.

“Yeah, everyone but the guy in there. He had his hands full with a couple of irate customers as it was. I didn’t think he needed a game of twenty questions on top of all he’s facing.”

“Well, I have to run in and use the facilities. Let me see what I can do,” Scully said as she pulled on her coat.

“Yeah, bat those blue eyes at him and see what you can do,” Mulder grumbled. “I’ll go fill up the car and check with the attendant for information about a room.”

Scully threw him ‘the look’ and climbed out of the car. Mulder slid behind the wheel as he watched her walk quickly up the stairs and disappear into the lobby of the motel.

About fifteen minutes later Mulder was back in the parking lot next to the lobby of the motel where he had left Scully. He hoped she had better news than he did.

Scully ran out of the lobby and quickly climbed into the car. The air seemed warmer, but snow was starting to fall.

“Well, I have good news and bad news,” Scully said as she arranged her seatbelt.

“Okay, give me the bad news first,” Mulder said.

“Bad news first? Okay. The bad news is that you’re right. There’s not a room to be had anywhere along this entire stretch of the turnpike,” Scully said as Mulder groaned. “But the good news is I have booked us into a Bed and Breakfast called The Yoder House in Bryan. I got the last available booking. How about that?” Scully smiled but looked rather sheepish.

“Hey, that’s great Scully, isn’t it? You don’t look like you’re exactly thrilled about this,” Mulder was suspicious.

“Well, actually I’m not exactly proud of the way I manipulated the owner to get the room,” she sighed.

“And exactly what did you have to say to get this room, Scully?” Mulder asked.

“I told her we were on our honeymoon and got stranded by the storm after she told me she only had one booking available, the honeymoon suite. I feel just horrible about it, but all I could think about was sleeping in the car tonight and it just popped out,” Scully confessed.

“Hey, that’s okay. We’ve been undercover before as a married couple. This will work out. At least we’ll have a decent place to stay until this storm blows over. Come on, we have luggage and we don’t look totally unlikely as newlyweds. It will be okay, Scully.”

“I know, Mulder. I just don’t like to lie.”

“Well, think of it this way, now we have a cover story to use on this smuggling case,” Mulder smiled.

“Yeah, I guess so. Well, I wrote down the directions. Let’s get going,” Scully said.

A half hour later, they pulled up in front of The Yoder House.

“Oh, my God, Mulder. It’s a mansion! It’s beautiful! It’s, it’s….”

“It’s got to be extremely expensive, Scully. Hah! Skinner and the number crunchers will have a cow!” Mulder grinned. “This is great!”

“Why do you say that, Mulder?”

“Well, we are on a case. We were directly ordered to find lodging in this area. We are stuck with the last available room in the entire area. We have no choice but to stay here,” Mulder laughed. “It’s a tough job, Scully, but we were ordered to do it!”

Scully grinned and agreed. They pulled their suitcases out of the trunk and climbed the stairs to the entrance. It was decorated with two enormous evergreen wreaths, each in the shape of a heart, and each decorated with tasteful Christmas decorations in gold and red. Before they could ring the bell, a lovely woman opened the huge door and they were beckoned inside.

“Come in, come in. Welcome. My name is Cindy Coutcher. My husband Don and I are the owners of the Yoder House. This entry is an airtight room, used exclusively for entry in winter. Please take your time and let me hang up your coats. Someone will take your suitcases up to your room while we have a little tea to warm you up.”

Scully was caught staring at the dress their hostess was wearing. Mrs. Coutcher smiled and continued, “I don’t usually dress in the style of the home’s original era, but I do love to dress up at Christmas time. The clothing is so beautiful and warm! Let’s take a quick tour of the public area of the house on the way to the dining room.” She smiled and continued on through the second set of huge doors that opened onto a three-story entry. A grand staircase faced the entry. Next to the stairs was an old-fashioned looking elevator. Each was ornate and elaborately decorated with Christmas decorations. Tucked into the curve of the stairs was one of the several Christmas Trees to be found throughout the house. This one was a mere fifteen feet tall and decorated entirely in white, matching the white marble of the floor.

As they toured the house she kept up a steady patter of information on the beautiful home. “This house was built in the mid 1800’s. The gentleman who built it was an investor that realized he could make a killing on cattle speculation in Chicago. His wife was a local girl and wouldn’t leave the area. He compromised and built this house for her, but also built a railroad spur to his back yard and purchased a private railcar. At one point, he was one of the richest men in the world. Unfortunately, he learned too late that money was not the key to true happiness. When his wife died unexpectedly while he was gone, he found he had no reason to carry on. He died a broken man within a year of her death. He set up a trust fund to maintain the home and left this home to one of his employees, Joseph Yoder, a gardener with ten children.”

“Mr. Yoder loved this home and through good management had kept the house in his family for over ninety years. Unfortunately, none of the current generation wanted to own or maintain the house, so it went on the market. My husband and I have been here for five years now. We decided to share our home with others about four years ago. We are thrilled with the response to our Bed and Breakfast.” As she talked she showed them the living room, the dining room, the morning room, the library, three bathrooms, the hallway to the kitchen and finally the dining room where a full High Tea set had been arranged. Several other guests were seated at the small, intimate tables scattered about the room.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present our final guests for the weekend, Mr. & Mrs. Fox Mulder. Please be seated and we will begin.” She smiled at them and walked to the head table to begin serving the tea.

“Wow, Mulder, what have I gotten us into? I’ve never had High Tea. I just want a bath and some dinner,” Scully whispered.

Mulder put his head close to Scully and looked into her eyes. “I haven’t had High Tea since I left Oxford. You’re in for a treat, Scully. Just sit back and enjoy this. It’s going to be something to tell your Mom about if it’s half as good as I think it will be. Judging from the smells coming from those covered dishes, we’re in luck.”

“Mulder, I didn’t know you were a High Tea aficionado,” Scully smiled. “I guess it won’t hurt to have a spot of tea.”

“Great, just relax you’ll love it. May I get you a plate, Scully?” Mulder replied.

“Sure,” said Scully, a little bemused. “Fine.”

In a matter of moments, Mulder had charmed Mrs. Coutcher and was given a lovely silver tray for their table. Scully’s eyes widened at the mass of food Mulder had chosen.

“I didn’t know what you would want so I got a little of each thing that looked good to me, Scully,” Mulder said when he noticed her expression. “Go ahead, try some of these scones. And look, she even has clotted cream. How do you take your tea Scully? Ever try it with milk?”

“I’ll have it with lemon and a sweetener, please,” Scully said as she placed the individual items on her plate that interested her. “This does look tempting.”

Two hours later, Mulder and Scully were finally on their way up to their room. They had slowly eaten and drank tea and conversed with the other guests, falling under the spell of the grand old home. They were warm and contented and happy to be out of the snowstorm.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, dinner will be at 9:00PM. Anyone who wishes to dine in their suite, please let either Cook or me know and we will make arrangements for you. Just as an update, the storm outside has been upgraded to a potential blizzard. The roads are completely shut down to all but emergency personnel and individuals with four-wheel drive vehicles and a darn good excuse,” Cindy Coutcher said. “Thank you, I hope you enjoyed your High Tea.”

All the guests applauded and voiced complements to Mrs. Coutcher and to “Cook”. Everyone left to go in different directions.

Mrs. Coutcher escorted Scully and Mulder upstairs to their suite. As she led them into the ornate elevator, she explained that their room was on the top floor. It was in fact the entire top floor.

“We didn’t know what to do with the top floor when we moved in. It had previously been servants’ quarters. While we modern people think of the top floor as the signifying the best, the designers of this era thought only of the heat of summer rising to the top and the difficulty of transporting wood or coal upstairs for heating in the winter. Thus the top floor was not favored. My husband and I consulted with the areas’ best architect, Jessica Guthrie, and she was able to completely redesign the top floor into something quite special. I think you’ll like it.”

As she spoke these words the elevator arrived at its destination and the doors opened onto one of the most breathtakingly beautiful suite of rooms either Mulder or Scully had ever seen.

The entry was as ornate as the airtight entry below. Their sitting room was through double French doors. All the floors were hardwood with lovely antique Persian rugs throughout. The intricate woodwork was identical to that on the lower floor and the walls were painted a rich, spice color. There were several chairs, a huge leather couch, and in front of the fireplace was another settee. The television was hidden in an ornate wooden cabinet that also held an impressive stereo system and a large collection of DVDs, videos and CDs. There was a dining area and a wet bar in one corner of the room with a small refrigerator. The other wall was a series of French doors that let out onto a terrace now covered with snow. There were two doors off the sitting room.

Mrs. Coutcher crossed to the windows and closed the curtains, moving on to the French doors and doing the same. “I don’t think anyone needs a reminder of the snow tonight.” She walked around the room lighting candles and oil lamps.

“There is electricity up here, but I think with the storm, we will soon lose the electricity. Don’t worry, we do have a generator, but it will only run the refrigerators and the emergency lights and pumps. The fireplaces should be adequate to keep you warm and cozy. Your bedroom is through this door. Since you are on your honeymoon, I knew you wouldn’t need the second bedroom, so I didn’t have it prepared. The refrigerator and the bar are fully stocked.”

Mulder and Scully exchanged a furtive look.

“Please, help yourself to anything you wish. If there is something special you would like, please feel free to call down and ask. I cannot be certain we will have it on hand and of course, no one will be able to go out in this weather.” She moved towards the entry.

“Oh, and please feel free to wear any of the clothing you will find in the dressing room. There are all sizes and styles, I’m sure you’ll find something to your liking.” With a final glance around the room and a smile for the newlyweds, she left.

Scully and Mulder were stunned. They kept looking around the room. Every way they turned they were surrounded by beauty.

“Oh, Boy,” Scully sighed.

“Wow!” They both spoke at the same time.

“Mulder, I feel like the lowest of the low, lying about this being our honeymoon. I have to tell this woman the truth. We shouldn’t be in this room,” Scully finally said.

“Whoa! Hold on, Scully. We are going to pay for this room, or should I say the FBI is going to pay for this room with good old American plastic. We were told to stay and we would be contacted, so we will stay. I say we enjoy it.” Mulder said with a grin. “Hey look, they have all the classics videos, ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space,’ ‘The War of the Worlds,’ ‘Debbie does Dallas’, just kidding on that last one.”

Scully crossed the room and opened the door to the bedroom. She gasped and said “Mulder, come here.” She then disappeared into the room.

Mulder walked into a room that was decorated for romance. It was ornate in keeping with the era of the home and at the same time warm and comforting. There was a bed as big as an acre with a canopy of silk brocade covering it. Another fireplace and a settee were on one side of the room. There was a lovely chest of drawers and a small desk by the windows. There were two more doors leading from the room. Scully was nowhere to be seen.

Mulder crossed to the one of the open doors and almost bumped into Scully. She was standing just inside the doorway of the bathroom. A huge garden tub dominated the room. It was decorated with plants and bottles and vials of bath salts, soaps and bubbles. There were two sinks set in lovely antique side tables with ornately framed mirrors over them. There was a huge rack of snowy white washcloths, towels, and bath sheets between the tub and the sinks. There was a tile lined entry that intrigued Mulder. He stepped through the entry and realized what it was.

“Hey, Scully, this is a walk in shower. It’s huge. Come on you’ve got to see this,” he said as he grabbed her hand and pulled her into the shower. “This is big enough for even Frohike’s wildest dreams.” As he said this he looked at Scully and realized how uncomfortable she was.

“That’s great, Mulder, we could tell him about this place if we decide to ever admit being here ourselves,” Scully said as she turned and swiftly walked back into the bedroom. “Hey, where are our suitcases?”

“In the sitting room?” asked Mulder.

“Oh, Mulder, look at this,” Scully said.

Mulder walked back into the bedroom and into the second doorway. It was the dressing room-closet combination. Their clothing was neatly hung and their shoes were polished and put away. All Scully’s cosmetics were placed on the mirrored dressing table. There was a lovely little chair waiting to be used.

Mulder went back into the bathroom and found his shave kit had been placed on one of the wash stands, ready for use. Scully’s makeup bag and toothbrush next to the other sink.

“Scully, I could get used to this,” he smiled.

“Mulder, we have to talk. This is too much. We need to tell our hostess…”

“Tell her what, Scully, that we’re FBI agents? That we keep bad guys off the street? That we are in charge of the X-Files? That there is a conspiracy out there to sell out everyone on our planet down the galactic tubes and these same guys periodically try to kill us, but right now all we’re doing is tracking down one of her neighbors that happens to be a drug smuggling murderer? Is that what you would like to tell her, Scully?”

“Well, what do you think we should tell her, Mulder?” she asked defensively, turning to face her partner.

“I think we should tell her thank you. This is a great place and we should say thanks for sharing it with us at the last moment. I think we should relax and enjoy this great setup for a few days,” Mulder said, trying to ease her mind.

Scully stood looking into Mulder’s eyes for a long minute or two. She sighed and said, “All right Mulder, let’s just relax. I’ll start with…dibs on the bathroom!” She ran into the bathroom and shut the door, laughing.

“Don’t forget to call Skinner and tell him where we are, though I doubt our contacts will be working today,” she yelled through the door.

Mulder could hear her humming as she started her bath water.

“That’s okay, Scully, I have all the clothes out here. You have to come out sometime.” He yelled back as he dialed and left a voice mail for their boss.

With work taken care of, Mulder looked around. He decided he would light a fire. When he opened the glass doors to the fireplace he noticed approvingly it was gas logs. As he knelt to light the fire he was mesmerized by the view. The fireplace was up on a stone hearth, a little over knee high. When he glanced at the back of the fireplace he realized it was also glass and the huge garden tub was on the other side. His shocked brain finally recognized that it was a see-through fireplace.

The sight of a naked Scully preparing for her bath transfixed Mulder. She was bending over to pour the bath salts into the tub. The sudden appearance of fire in the fireplace startled her and when she looked into the fireplace she could see Mulder watching her. She got a bemused look on her face.

She crossed to the bathroom door and stepped out after she slipped into the robe provided by the Yoder House. Mulder stood up and was looking at her sheepishly.

“I’m sssorry, Scully, I didn’t notice you at first, but then I… I just couldn’t look away. I’ve always thought of you as beautiful, but it was a shock to see how naturally seductive you are. I was mesmerized by the stunning woman that is my partner.”

This confession stopped her cold. “Mulder…. I … Do you need to use the bathroom before I bathe?” she blushed. “I need to get my own robe and pajamas before I get in the tub,” was all she could say as she turned away.

Mulder stepped into the bathroom. Scully went into the dressing room and gathered her robe and pajamas. She stalled for a moment or two and finally exited and went back into the bathroom when she heard Mulder turn on the television in the sitting room.

Scully had lit the candles in the bathroom and was soon glad she did. The lights flickered once, and then again and finally went completely out.

“You okay, Scully?” Mulder called from the other side of the door.

“Yeah, I lit some candles before I started my bath, and the fireplace is giving off a lot of light. I’ll be out in just a few minutes.” Scully replied. “But I’m not hurrying….” she mumbled to herself.

About half an hour later, Scully came out of the bathroom. The room was slightly cooler than it had been before the electricity went out. Mulder was sitting in a chair in front of the French doors with the curtains drawn, watching the storm.

“Hey,” Scully said. “We’ll lose all the heat through the glass if you don’t shut that curtain.”

“I know, Scully, but I love to watch the snow blowing around. I have a few good memories about winter vacations we took when I was a kid, before Sam… I was just thinking about Christmas and how alone I am this year.”

“Come on, Mulder, you’re not alone. You have Mom and me and the Guys. What more could anyone want?” Scully said trying to cheer him up.

“Try a family Scully. At this time of year, I start to wish I had a real life like everyone else. Instead, everyone I love gets hurt or killed or disappears. Sometimes, I don’t think I even want to be around me. Hey, I don’t know. I guess it’s all Karma. I must have been bad in a previous life,” Mulder tried to smile. “Hell, I would even take a brother like Bill if it meant that I wouldn’t be alone anymore.”

Scully was seriously worried. “Mulder, keep talking like this and I might have you committed when we get back to DC.” She wanted to tease him out of his bad mood.

“Right! I’m okay. It’s just easy to spiral down sometimes,” Mulder said as he stood and closed the drapes. “It really is blowing out there. I wonder how many inches of snow this will be.”

Scully was walking around the room looking at everything. She stopped at the television and stereo equipment.

“Hey, Mulder, there’s a boom box over here. Now, if there’s fresh batteries in it…” Scully said as the room was filled with music. “Success! Maybe there will be a weather report on soon.”

She turned and looked for Mulder. He was just coming back in the room from the bedroom. His arms were full of blankets and pillows.

“I, ah, I thought I would just sleep out here tonight. It should be okay even without the electricity,” Mulder explained. “I left the fire going in the bedroom, so you should be warm. Just let me know if you need anything.”

“Uh, Mulder?” Scully said.

“Yeah?”

“It’s only 8:30 and even though we had a huge High Tea, I’m hungry. Shouldn’t we dress and go down to dinner? I mean, I think they should still be able to at least warm up some soup or something. We didn’t ask to have our dinner up here so I think they will expect us.”

“Oh, yeah. I guess I just assumed you would be tired. You know, after the last couple weeks and the driving through the storm… I’ll get changed.”

Scully went into the dressing room and freshened up her face. She decided to look as pretty as possible to match the beautiful surroundings. She sighed. She hadn’t brought casual clothes with her. As she looked through her clothes she noticed several plastic clothing storage bags hanging there and remembered Mrs. Coutcher’s offer of their use. She was curious so she opened the first one and peeked. This was better than Halloween.

“Scully, I’m decent.” Mulder called out a few moments later. He had changed into a fresh white shirt and pants that had been pressed earlier by an anonymous member of the great staff. Not very casual, but at least they are clean, he thought.

“Scully, are you coming? It’s almost 9:00PM. What’s taking you so long?”

Just then, the door to the dressing room opened and out walked a vision. At first Mulder didn’t register the fact that this was Scully standing before him. He stared at this woman and saw only his future, or was it his past?

Scully was dressed in a soft lilac silk gown. It covered her from neck to toe, but gave away more hints of the beauty of her body than a bikini would. It clung to her breasts and softly displayed the tiny waist she hid under fitted suits and pants. It skimmed her hips and clung in all the right places, falling gracefully away to barely scrape the floor. A dark lilac stole of cashmere settled around her shoulders.

She had pinned her hair up and added a pair of diamond earrings that Mulder didn’t remember seeing before. Her golden cross was the only other jewelry she wore. Her cheeks were slightly pinker than normal under his gaze. In her hand she held a dark coat.

“Well, Fox, how do I look?” Scully asked, more than a little uncomfortable at the close scrutiny her partner was giving her.

“Fox, is it?” Mulder stalled.

“Well, yes, Fox. If we are ‘undercover’ as newlyweds, I think it calls for first names while we’re around others, don’t you?”

“Alright, Dana. I’ll play along. By the way, the other times we were undercover we used aliases. Why our true names this time?”

“Mulder,” she said as she walked quickly up to him. “You know I was pretty shaky about lying to Mrs. Coutcher. I just didn’t think fast enough. I gave your name before I thought about it and she just assumed my name would be Dana Mulder. I’m sorry. Mulder, I’ll never let anyone know about this if you don’t want me to, but just for now, let’s enjoy the evening. Look what else I found in storage,” Scully said as she held up a man’s jacket. “I think this will fit you perfectly.”

“Oh, no, I may enjoy myself this weekend, but I’m not dressing up like Charles Dickens!” Mulder backed away.

“Mulder, just try it on. Your shirt and pants will look fine with this weskit and jacket. Please?” Scully asked.

“Dana, it’s purple,” Mulder shuddered.

“Mul…Fox, it’s very tasteful. Only the weskit is purple. It’s the only one that wasn’t totally gaudy or red. I know you cannot see red so I found one you could enjoy. Besides,” she said as she turned to look in the mirror behind them, “It matches my dress.”

Mulder snatched the weskit from her hand and shoved it on. It fit like a glove. It was very well made and had beautiful gold buttons up the front. The lump in the front pocket turned out to be a watch on a gold chain.

“Hey, Scully, look at this,” he said. “It has a watch and chain. Pretty cool, huh?”

“Why, yes it is Mulder. It looks like it was made for you. Try the jacket.”

Mulder pulled the jacket on and was very impressed with the fit of the jacket.

“You’re right, Scully, it looks like these clothes were made for us. What’s this?” he said as he pulled a long piece of cloth out of the pocket of the jacket.

“It’s a tie of some sort. It matches the weskit. Do you know how to tie it?” Scully asked.

“Yeah, it’s something I had to do in England. You wouldn’t believe the hazing rituals they have there,” Mulder replied as he quickly tied the cloth.

“There! All done. Shall we go?” Mulder held out his arm to Scully.

“Wait, let’s look at us,” Scully blushed.

They both turned to the large mirror and studied their reflections. The transformation was amazing. They didn’t look like the modern crime fighters they were. They looked as if they were from the 1890’s or early 1900’s.

Suddenly Mulder frowned. “Scully, you don’t have a ring. We’re newlyweds, you should have a ring.”

“That’s okay, Mulder, we’ll just say it’s getting sized.”

“No, wait.” Mulder started digging under his shirt collar and pulled out a long gold chain. A sparkling ring dangled on the end.

“This is a ring from my mother’s family. Her lawyer delivered it to me three days after her funeral. I didn’t know what to do with it, so I jut put it on this chain until I figured it all out. I want you to wear it, Dana.”

“Mulder…Fox, I…. Are you sure? Aren’t you afraid I’ll lose it, or someone might steal it or…?” Scully paused. ‘Or I might never want to give it back,’ she thought.

“Scully, I trust you with everything I am and everything I have. Please accept it,” Mulder interrupted her.

“I would love to wear your family ring,” Scully whispered as he slipped the ring on her third finger, left hand. It was still warm from the heat of his body. She was surprised that it fit her as if it had been made for her. She looked up into Mulder’s eyes as he gazed down at her for a long moment.

Mulder covered his embarrassment over the intimacy of the moment with humor. “Well then, wife, lead the way.”

They were not the only ones dressed up in period dress. All the other guests had discovered the lovely period clothing provided by the Yoder House and had indulged in the fun of dress-up.

“Dana, you look better than any of these other women,” Mulder whispered in her ear as he stepped to her side at the bottom of the stairs. He placed his hand lightly on what he thought of as his spot on her back and they began to walk to the dining room.

“Mul…Fox, does that mean that all the other women are dogs, or that I look beautiful?” Scully put him on the spot.

“Scully,” he said as he stopped and turned her to face him. “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. I admit I tried to not think about just how exquisite you are physically before tonight, but I was intrigued by you and your reputation before I laid eyes on you. But I’ve never had the courage to risk our partnership by allowing myself to think of us in a personal relationship. I…”

“Aha! The newlyweds are under the mistletoe.”

“Kiss her young fellow!”

“No stalling, kiss her!”

Mulder and Scully quickly looked around and realized that they were the subjects of everyone’s attention. They both looked up at the same time and saw the mistletoe hanging from the archway. They looked back into each other’s eyes.

“We’ll continue this conversation later,” Mulder said as he slowly lowered his head to kiss her.

“Okay,” Scully murmured as she blushed and lifted her lips to his.

This was not the first time they had kissed. They had almost kissed when the bee in Mulder’s hall had stung Scully. Mulder said that they kissed on a ship in another time in the Bermuda Triangle. They had kissed at New Year’s last year. This was not the first time they kissed, but it was the first time they both permitted their emotions to color their kiss.

A collective sigh from all the women in the group was the only thing that ended the kiss.

Scully and Mulder stepped apart to a round of rousing applause. They both were more than a little embarrassed that so many strangers witnessed this personal milestone. They grinned at each other and shrugged. They turned towards the dining room and while Mulder bowed formally, Scully executed a perfect deep curtsey for their audience.

Everyone laughed as they entered the room and searched for their places at the table.

Cindy Coutcher smiled and said quietly to them, “Well done, Mr. and Mrs. Mulder. Well done. I’m sorry I was unable to keep my exuberance about having a newlywed couple in our group quiet. Everyone here now thinks that you are his or her personal expression of young love. Please bear with us. We mean no harm by any of it.”

She turned to the other guests and said, “Please, everyone, be seated by your nameplate.”

They walked around the table looking for their names and found that they were not seated together but slightly down and across from each other.

“I have taken the liberty of seating everyone with a stranger this first night. This way we have something of an icebreaker and we all get to know each other better. It looks like we’re going to be even closer than anticipated. The storm outside has been upgraded to a full-fledged blizzard. They say it will rival the blizzard of ‘78.”

The door to the kitchen opened and the cook and her helper brought in the soup. “Ah, shall we begin?” Mrs. Coutcher smiled.

The table setting was lovely. There were candles everywhere. Their flickering flames reflected off the stemware, the china and the silverware. The food was wonderful. It was hearty enough to please the men and more than tasty enough to please even the most critical gourmet cook in the group.

All the women were dressed in jewel colors from different eras. The gentlemen, all dressed in dark jackets with brilliant weskits, were the perfect compliment to the ladies. Everyone got into the spirit of the evening and had a wonderful time.

Scully and Mulder were no exceptions. They laughed and talked to their dinner partners, as did all the others at the table.

There was, however, an undercurrent between the two that everyone noticed. At first it was just a humorous look or two that passed between them. These exchanges soon escalated into quizzical looks and then into silent communications and memories of shared experiences. A lifted eyebrow, a smile, a blush were all noted by everyone at the table. Their obvious infatuation with one another was highly entertaining to the other guests. A few thought that the couple had to be a part of the entertainment provided by the hosts. After all, what were the chances of newlyweds just happening upon a vacant room in the middle of a blizzard?

As the dinner came to an end, their host, Don Coutcher stood and offered a toast. “To Christmas and all the blessings of the Almighty! Now, if you choose, please join us in the living room for dancing and mingling.”

Scully and Mulder slowly walked toward the living room. Scully turned quickly to Mulder and said, “Do you want to go in there and mingle or do you want to go upstairs?”

“Scully, what are you suggesting?” Mulder whispered.

“I….I’m tired from driving. How about you?” Scully answered.

“I’ll make our apologies to our hosts and we can go on up,” Mulder replied.

In a matter of minutes they were back in their room. Scully crossed to the settee in front of the fireplace and sat down. Mulder also moved to the fireplace and leaned on the mantel looking down at Scully.

“Mulder, what?” Scully said, embarrassed by his lengthy stare.

“I was just thinking how the clothing of this era suits you. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you look more feminine and beautiful.”

“I do love this dress,” Scully said as she smoothed the skirt around her. “It makes me feel like a different woman. One who doesn’t have to prove that I am as capable as any man I work with. I feel like I did when I dressed up for my senior prom … somehow on another plane … not of this time or place. It’s a wonderful feeling, but not one for everyday. If I dressed in a less business-like manner at work, I’d be treated like a Barbie doll. It’s a tough world out there for women, Mulder. I guess it’s time I came back down from my euphoric cloud.” Scully rose and started to go into the dressing room.

“Wait, Scully,” Mulder said as he touched her arm. “Let’s have a nightcap before we turn in.”

Scully looked at him quizzically and shrugged. “Okay,” she said as she returned to the settee. “I wouldn’t mind a little glass of the blackberry brandy I saw in the bar earlier.”

“Ohhhh, Scully, I didn’t know you liked brandy!” Mulder teased.

“I don’t normally touch the stuff, but the blackberry brandy reminded me of my Grandma Scully. She used to make her own from a huge wild blackberry patch on her farm,” Scully smiled.

“I don’t think you ever told me about your grandparents,” Mulder said as he handed her a snifter of the brandy.

And so the hours went. Old memories were dredged up and shared. Old hurts exposed and healed. Old hopes revived and new ones came alive. Neither one brought up the subject of how unusual their conversation was. They both just relaxed and enjoyed it.

“Mulder, I forgot to give you your mother’s ring back,” Scully said as she started to go to bed.

“Please, keep it for the time we’re here. It will be better if it doesn’t disappear in the morning,” Mulder said. He moved to stand very close to her.

She looked up into his eyes and he said, “Don’t you think we should at least kiss goodnight? After all it is our wedding night,” he teased.

“I didn’t say that this was our wedding night-I said that this was our honeymoon.” Scully laughed up at him.

“Better yet,” he said as he swept her up into his arms and strode into the bedroom doing his best Clark Gable impersonation.

It might have led to a very romantic night if he had not tripped on the rug and hurled his ‘Scarlet’ onto the bed and into a huge fit of giggles. The mood was broken for both of them and they dissolved into comfortable laughter. They stopped laughing and exchanged warm smiles to acknowledge that perhaps tonight wasn’t the night to explore a new aspect to their relationship.

“Mulder, what’s happening here?” Scully wanted to be sure she wasn’t reading her desires into the situation.

Mulder answered a question with a question and a smile as usual.

“What do you think is happening?”

“Mulder, I need you to be serious. What are you thinking?” She worried her bottom lip with her teeth. Mulder recognized it as a habit she had when she was most upset or unsure.

He stared at her for a moment and decided that it was time to end the game they both played so well.

“Love. I think love is happening here, Scully. And not new love. I… I have loved you for years and I hope that you feel the same way about me. I know it feels sudden, but I can’t hide it anymore. I love you, am in love with you,” Mulder waited to hear her next words. They would decide his fate.

“I love you too, Mulder,” Scully said as she closed the distance between them and kissed his lips softly.

They smiled at each other when the kiss ended. Neither knew what to say next. They were in the middle of a case assigned by Skinner and yet, were surrounded by the most romantic surroundings imaginable. This was too new to them both, so they did what Mulder and Scully did best. They acted as if the kiss hadn’t happened.

“Scully, I think I should go back out to the couch. I won’t be cold if I leave the fireplace on,” Mulder said as he started to back out of the room. If he stayed he wasn’t sure that he could keep his hands off her.

Scully, quickly bunched her dress up above her knees and climbed to the end of the bed. She placed her left hand on the carved canopy and gave him an enigmatic look. “You know that we both could sleep in this bed comfortably don’t you? We just have to close the side curtains of the canopy and leave the bottom open to the fireplace. It should be adequate for the night,” she offered him an excuse to stay.

“Yeah, and if we leave the other fireplace on and close the bathroom door with the cabinet doors open, the water pipes should be warm enough not to freeze overnight.”

“Ooohhh, Mulder, talk Eagle Scout to me some more. You know how it turns me on when you’re prepared,” Scully teased.

“Scully, I think your drunk!” Mulder said. He was surprised. She had only had a glass of wine with dinner and one snifter of the blackberry brandy.

“I’m just teasing Mulder” she said. “Please stay here with me. I can’t believe you would want to freeze out there instead of being comfortable in here. We’ve shared a room before….”

‘But, we’ve never acknowledged how we felt before.’ Mulder thought. “Alright, Scully. I’ll just make sure all the lights are out.”

By the time Mulder changed clothes and came back into the bedroom, Scully had changed to her flannel pajamas and had pulled the canopy closed on the sides of the bed. She had nestled down into the down comforters and only part of her head and her left hand was exposed.

Mulder climbed onto the bed and looked at Scully. Her silky hair, her profile and her left hand that held the covers up on her shoulder were all he could see. The diamond from his mother’s ring sparkled in the firelight. It looked so right to see it on her hand.

‘Tomorrow, Scully. Tomorrow we talk,’ Mulder promised himself as he watched her sleep for a few moments.

He pulled her to him and wrapped his body around hers. He relaxed as their shared warmth and her heavenly scent soothed him to sleep. Surprisingly he slept through the night without a nightmare.

~~~~~

The next morning dawned sparkling and bright. There were icy patterns on the inside of the windows in the sitting room and bedroom. As chilly as the other rooms were, the bathroom was cozy. The fireplace had kept everything warm and in working order.

The two agents dressed in their own clothes and went down to breakfast.

“Well, two more early birds. It will just be a moment and the coffee will be done. Was everything all right last night? Not too cold?” Mrs. Coutcher greeted them as they entered the morning room where breakfast was served.

“Everything was just fine, thank you. I do need a cup of coffee this morning.” Mulder said smiling. “But I think my partner…wife could use one more than I.”

Dana turned her big blue eyes on Mulder, and smiled. “I’d love a cup of coffee, but tea would be fine if that’s what you’re serving.”

“Oh, we’re all coffee drinkers around here for everything but High Tea. What do you two have in mind for entertainment today?”

“Well, we weren’t sure. It really depends on what the weather is going to do,” Mulder answered. “What’s happening out there? It looks like the storm is over.”

“Oh, don’t be fooled. This is just a break in the storm. We already have twenty inches of snow and there is drifting up to fifteen feet in all the open areas. The turnpike is shut to all but emergency traffic, snowplows, tow trucks, rescue vehicles, etc. We’re supposed to get more snow within the hour. If you want to go out and take a walk in the snow, now will be the best time you’ll have for a while. If you’re interested, there is an incredible store called The Christmas House just six blocks away. I don’t know if they’re open today, but if they are, it’s worth a look. They have an incredible display of Christmas tree ornaments and seasonal decorating supplies and gifts.”

“Oh, and we have a number of parlor games planned for later. We’re fully stocked with food and fuel. Our guests should not be troubled by this storm at all, except for being confined to the house.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Coutcher, I know…” The ringing of Mulder’s cell phone interrupted Scully. She gave him an inquiring look and picked up on the unspoken message that it was work. “If you will excuse us, I think some of our family is calling.”

Mulder and Scully retreated to the living room couch in front of the fireplace. From the quiet one-sided conversation Mulder was holding, Scully realized that things weren’t going well with the investigation.

“Alright, sir. As soon as the storm breaks we will contact Thomas and Andrews. Yeah, we’re fine. We got the last rooms available in the area and they’re very nice. Thanks sir, we’ll keep in touch.” Mulder smiled at Scully.

“What’s happening Mulder?” Scully asked.

“What? It’s not Fox today? And by the way, where’s my good morning kiss, Mrs. Mulder?” he teased.

“Mulder, no one is watching we don’t have to pretend to be married and deeply in love right now,” Scully said quietly.

“Who says I’m pretending? I told you I love you last night. Why can’t you believe it?” Mulder was determined to have this conversation. He couldn’t continue to deny his feelings for Scully. He saw movement behind her left shoulder and whispered, “Warning! Warning, guest at three o’clock, kiss me now.” Mulder pulled her into his arms and laid a hot kiss on her.

A soft chuckle from behind them interrupted the kiss.

“Oh, good morning, Mr. & Mrs. Mentz,” Mulder grinned at them. We’ll be in to breakfast shortly. We have a little unfinished business to handle first,” and he returned to kissing his partner.

After a few minutes of championship kissing, both Mulder and Scully knew they had to stop. It was either end the kissing now or go back upstairs. They silently agreed that they were too hungry and embarrassed to go back upstairs before breakfast.

“Lets go for a walk as soon as we eat. I want to see if I can find out anything about our smugglers from the neighbors,” Mulder suggested as they walked hand in hand back into the morning room to have breakfast.

“All right. Let’s check out The Christmas House if it’s open. I might be able to finish my Christmas shopping there,” Scully said.

Within the hour they had finished breakfast and bundled up for their walk. They spoke to each individual in the neighborhood who was brave enough to be out shoveling snow. They asked seemingly innocent questions, but were getting all the information they needed to agree that no one in this area was aware of any drug smuggling.

“Well, I guess that’s that. We’ve done everything we can around here until we’re contacted by the local agents. There’s nothing more to do but to enjoy our downtime,” Scully said as she turned them towards the shopping area of downtown.

They found the Christmas House and spent an hour walking through the beautiful old brick Victorian, shopping and admiring all the individual displays.

Mulder was loaded down with bags and boxes as they exited the shop. “Hey, look, it’s snowing again,” Mulder said.

Even though it was the middle of the day, the sky had darkened and taken on a pinkish cast. Huge flakes of snow were falling, some as big as golf balls. It was one of the most beautiful sights they had ever seen. Silence surrounded them. The snow muffled the sounds of the few people crazy enough to be out in the storm. It felt as if they were alone in the universe, as if they were inside a cosmic snow globe.

Scully was watching the snowfall when she realized Mulder was looking at her.

With a small smile on her lips, she said “Mulder? What’s wrong?”

“I’m just admiring the view, Scully,” Mulder replied. “You know, I think we should decide to call each other by our first names for the rest of this case. I don’t want to slip up. I find it difficult to remember not to confuse the two names. Dana, Scully, Scully, Dana-they’re both names for my best friend.” Mulder picked up her gloved hands and gazed deeply into her eyes, “You are my soul mate, Scully. The woman I want to spend my life with.”

Scully was silent for a few minutes. She stood facing Mulder and as he waited for her to speak snow drifted down and quickly frosted their hats and shoulders. “I think we should use our first names for the rest of the time we’re here. When we get back in the car on the way to Washington, we should resume using our last names. As for the rest of our lives, I think that’s already been preordained. I think we are meant to be together, but I don’t know how we can be and expect our enemies to leave us alone.”

“Dana, I believe we’re meant to be together and not knowing how Spender and his buddies will react is not a good enough reason to deny our feelings. We’re going to spend the rest of our lives together, no matter how long or how short. We have no promise of time. No one does. All we need to be happy is a commitment from one another.”

Mulder saw the acceptance in her eyes and it drove him to pursue her before he lost his nerve. He placed the bags and boxes down carefully.

He got down on one knee in the snow and said, “Dana Scully, will you marry me?”

“Mul… Fox, get up!” she said as she blushed.

“Wait, wait, I’m not done. Will you always cover my back with your superior shooting skills? Will you hold my hand when I land in the hospital? Will you protect me from your brother Bill? Will you pick up my dry cleaning for the rest of our lives together? Will you forget about the bearing of children and think of the ones we can raise, together? Will you think of the trust and love we share, have shared and will share forever? Will you marry me, Dana?”

It seemed like an eternity to Mulder as he waited for Scully to answer his proposal. It was long enough that he was starting to feel the freezing cold wetness of his downed knee, but he didn’t take his eyes off her face.

“I can’t believe you want to tie yourself to a woman who can’t have children,” was her first response. But as impassive as she appeared to others, he could read the myriad of thoughts and emotions coursing through her.

Finally she spoke, “Yes. I’ll marry you, Mulder… Fox. We may both live to regret announcing our love to the world, but I will marry you,” she said as she leaned down to kiss him. The icy sidewalk they were standing on took its toll. She suddenly lunged forward and knocked them onto the snow-covered ground.

“Oh brother. Is that a portent of things to come?” she laughed as she snuggled into his snowy embrace.

“I think it’s just an underlying sheet of ice, Dana. Say, while we’re down here we might as well make use of our position,” he said with a grin and a waggle of his brows.

“I cannot believe you would want to consummate our engagement in this blizzard, Fox!” Dana was shocked.

“Who said anything about consummation. I was suggesting snow angels! I haven’t done this since I was a kid. Go ahead, Dana, you must know how.”

Together they laughed and made snow angels. They got up and moved several times to make just the perfect snow angels. This led to a snowball fight and soon they were wet and freezing.

They gathered up their purchases and went back to the house, entering through the back and leaving about a half ton of snow on the mudroom floor. They ran up the back stairs to their suite and each had a hot shower. Thankfully the electricity had come back on.

Scully kept trying to convince him that they were on a case and far from home. There was nothing they could do about their new relationship right now that wouldn’t interfere with their professional obligations. She didn’t know who she was trying to convince the most, Mulder or herself as they snuggled between long, slow, wet, hot kisses.

“Dana, we need to get married right away,” Mulder said as they forced themselves to slow down for the second or was it third time.

“Fox, I know it’s hard not to forget about work, but we have to ignore our personal feelings and get this case solved so we can go home. It will be difficult enough in familiar surroundings to learn how to separate our personal and work relationship.”

“I’ve been ignoring my feelings for you for more years than I can tell you, Dana!” he exploded. He turned and walked back to the window to cool down. “I’m sorry, Scully. I love you and now that I know you love me too, it’s difficult to wait. But I will. I’ve waited for this long, and you certainly are worth waiting for.” He smiled a self-deprecating grin and hugged her. “Ignore me.”

He dressed quickly and went back downstairs.

As she dressed, Scully kept rehashing his words in her mind. ‘Dana, we need to get married right away.’ What if that were possible? What if they could marry tonight and have their wedding night here in this wonderland of romance? Scully decided to see what she could do. She picked up the phone and called the county offices. She was amazed when she hung up. She thanked the Lord for their latest blood work that was still shoved in the back pocket of her briefcase. She only had one more thing to do before everything was set.

Dana found Mulder in the library, reading. She didn’t interrupt him. She went to find Mrs. Coutcher. She was more than a little embarrassed to have to admit that she had lied to her, but she needed her questions answered. First she had to tell her the truth about their relationship. While Mrs. Coutcher not thrilled to find out that Dana had lied to her, she was more understanding than Dana had anticipated. By the end of the conversation, she was actually excited about helping her with her plans.

A half hour later, Dana joined Mulder in the library. She handed him his coat and boots. “Come on Fox, we’ve got to get downtown right now.”

“What is it? Have you heard from the other agents? Where are we going?” Mulder asked.

“It’s just two blocks down and one over. We need to hurry in order to make it back before the weather gets even worse. There’s a special event planned for this evening and we don’t want to be late.”

Twenty minutes later they were climbing the steps of the courthouse. Mulder was totally amazed at the architecture of the old building. Just inside the front lobby there was a brochure stand with a number of papers on the Bryan, Ohio County Seat Courthouse.

“Hey, Scully, did you know that each side of this building is slightly different? Where’s Andrews and Thomas?” he asked, looking around.

His eyes widened when he spotted the sign above their heads, Marriage License Bureau.

“You said you wanted to get married right away, Fox. Do you still feel that way?” Dana asked shyly.

“Of course I do Dana, but why get a license here?” Mulder was puzzled.

“Mrs. Coutcher has arranged for a priest and a justice of the peace to come to dinner tonight. You and I will be married after dinner. It’s okay with the Coutchers. The rest of the guests will probably think its part of the evening’s entertainment. Other than the Coutchers, only you and I will know it the real deal. I want to start our life together right now. We’ve had years to realize we both know what we want,” she suddenly became shy. “What are you thinking, Mulder?” she whispered.

“I can’t believe that you don’t want your Mom and your brothers with you on your wedding day, Dana. I’m surprised you’re willing to forgo the big ‘White Wedding’ with all the trimmings and family attending. After all, you are your mom’s only daughter. Are you sure? About the family wedding thing, I mean?” he asked.

“I’m sure about everything, Mulder. I love you and I want tonight to be our wedding night-in the beautiful room and wonderful house we have waiting. All of this is better than any fantasy I could dream up. I want to be married to you, Fox Mulder. The wedding is just a formality. I want what’s in your heart. I want forever.” Dana stood there proudly with all the love she felt in her heart shining in her eyes. “Tell me now if this is too soon or too much. I’ll understand.”

“That took a lot of courage, Scully,” Mulder whispered, obviously touched by her honesty. “I love you and I want to marry you tonight. I can’t wait to start our lives, our very complicated lives, together. We’ll give your mom a one-year anniversary reenactment if she wants it. Let’s do it G-woman,” he smiled.

Within a matter of minutes they were done and back out on the sidewalk. The weather was getting worse and the walk home was getting difficult. Through the driving snow, Mulder spied trouble. He tapped her on the arm and pointed towards the four men ahead.

“I see it, Mulder. It looks like those two punks are robbing the other two men. Careful, they have guns,” Scully responded.

“Do you have your weapon, Scully?” Mulder pulled her behind the cover of a parked van.

“Of course, I couldn’t leave it to be found by the maid could I?” Dana said as she moved stealthily to the right and forward toward the four men locked in a heated argument.

Mulder moved to the left and when Scully was under cover yelled, “FBI, drop your weapons. You’re under arrest.” Both younger men swung around with their guns leveled, trying to espy the agent behind them.

The two men with their hand up, now behind the perps, just looked at each other in disbelief and lunged at their backs. They knocked the would be assailants to the ground and wrestled their guns from them. Both of the perps were handcuffed within seconds.

The older man gave a sheepish grin and asked, “I assume you are Mulder and Scully. I’m Agent Mark Thomas and that’s Mike Andrews.” The agents shook hands. “How did you know we needed help? I thought we had bought the farm this time. These two are both local athletes and not even on our list of suspects. They said we were getting close to identifying them, so they decided to ambushed us under cover of the storm.”

“Yeah, they would have gotten away with it if you hadn’t come along. Thanks,” Andrews added.

“You would have stopped them sooner or later,” Mulder quickly replied. “Better get them to the local police before this blizzard gets any worse. It’s your collar. We’ll leave the paperwork to you. See you around.” He touched Scully’s arm and they turned to leave.

“Hey, do you two need somewhere to stay? There’re a couple rooms opening up in our motel,” Andrews offered.

“Thanks, but we have our own rooms. We’re just going to ride out the blizzard and try to get home before Christmas,” Scully interjected.

“That was close, Mulder,” she said as they hurried down the icy sidewalk towards Yoder House.

“Yeah, I thought we were going to have to spend the rest of the evening with those guys,” he grumbled.

“You know what I mean. Those guys were almost toast,” Scully smiled.

“I know,” he grinned as he stopped and hugged her. “But I’m still glad we’re not going to have to include them in the wedding party.”

They hurried home to prepare for the coming evening. Right after dinner they went upstairs to prepare for the wedding.

~~~~~

Mrs. Coutcher had worked a miracle and produced wedding clothing for both of them from the storeroom. Mulder was rushed out of the suite after his shower, dressed in black pants and an evening coat. He wore a formal Scottish plaid over his shoulder. Mrs. Coutcher assured him it was his mother’s family plaid. He had never looked more handsome to Dana as she peeked at him leaving the sitting room.

The dress she produced for Scully was a three-piece confection. It had a creamy floor length satin skirt with lavish cream silk embroidery and pearls and faux diamonds on the bottom. The silk blouse clung to her shoulders and plunged into a daring vee that accentuated her breasts. The final piece was a cummerbund to tie the two pieces together that looked as if it were encrusted with enough real pearls and diamonds to support a small country. The rich pattern of pearls and jewels in the cummerbund was copied in the headdress that anchored a short, hand-knitted, ivory veil that was like a gossamer cloud. The shoes were a little big, but a couple of extra silk stockings shoved into the toes handled that challenge. Dana could not have asked for a more beautiful wedding gown.

As she put on all the under-pinnings and prepared for her wedding, she realized her hands were shaking. Dana Scully was scared. She got out her cell phone and dialed her mother’s number. Maggie answered on the second ring.

“Mom? Are you sitting down?” Dana laughed nervously.

“No, but I will if you think it’s necessary.” Maggie replied with a smile in her voice.

“Well, Mom, maybe you should. Mom….”

“Is there something wrong, Dana? Are you okay?” Maggie now sounded worried.

“No, no, Mom, there’s nothing wrong. It’s just…in fact everything is finally all right. Mom, I wanted to call and give you your Christmas present early. Surprise! Mulder and I are getting married tonight and then having the marriage blessed by a priest. I didn’t want to go ahead with this without telling you,” Dana confessed.

“Dana, you know I have always accepted Fox as your choice in life. Melissa said that you two had been together for eternity the first time she met Fox,” Maggie answered calmly. “This would make both her and your father very happy.”

“Thanks, Mom. You don’t sound very surprised by this,” Dana was flabbergasted.

“Well, I told him I wouldn’t spoil your surprise, but I guess the cat’s out of the bag. Fox call a few minutes ago and asked my permission to marry you. He seemed to feel it was very important that I approve since you father wasn’t alive to ask. I have to tell you, dear, it touched my heart in a way I never expected. He loves you darling. I know that no matter what happens in the future you two will be happy together,” Maggie was starting to cry.

“Mom, I have to hang up now, or I’ll have to redo my makeup. I love you,” Dana sniffed.

“I love you, too dear. Give my love to Fox,” Maggie said. “I can’t wait to see you both when you get back.”

As if on cue, Mrs. Coutcher appeared to let her know it was time for her entrance. All the guests were arranged in the marble entry. The white Christmas tree lights and a bank of large white candles were the only lighting in the room. From somewhere, the strains of Elvis singing “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” ended. The wedding march began and Fox stepped into the light from the other side of the landing on the second floor.

“I, um, I didn’t think you would want to be delivered to me like a chattel bride by a stranger, Scully. I want both of us to walk down the aisle like the partners we are.” Fox held out his hand and asked, “Dana, will you let me walk by your side now and for the rest of our lives?”

“I’m proud to be your partner for life, Fox. Nothing would please me more,” Dana answered.

This spontaneous exchange meant more to them than the service that followed. It epitomized their commitment to one another…forever. The tall, handsome man and the beautiful woman at his side were the personification of love and romance to all the guests. When the civil service was over and the priest had blessed their union, everyone was invited to stay and join in the impromptu reception.

The party was a splendid event. The food and champagne flowed freely. Cook had even whipped up a three level cake with white frosting and beautiful poinsettias in pink and red. The entire evening was as special as any couple could plan. All the guests thought that this was some of the best entertainment they had ever witnessed and couldn’t wait to tell all their friends and family members about the wonderful stay that they had had at the Yoder House. One couple booked the Bed and Breakfast for their daughter’s wedding.

The bride and groom slipped away shortly after midnight. They had danced and nibbled and drank until they were dizzy and thankful that the elevator was working. They opened the door to their sitting room they found the magic was still unfolding. There were candles everywhere and a huge bottle of champagne on ice and large bowl of fresh strawberries were arranged on a small table in front of the fireplace. There was soft music playing in the background.

Mulder held his hand out to Scully. She slid into his embrace and they danced with their arms wrapped around each other in a tight embrace.

“I could be content to spend the rest of my life right here, right now,” Dana said.

“So could I, but I think we have some other unfinished business to attend to,” Mulder smiled down at her.

“Whatever could that be?” she teased as she raised her eyes to meet his.

“Just this,” Mulder said as he kissed her passionately and swept her up into his arms. “I’ll try not to be as clumsy as I was last night. No more giggles for you!” he said with mock sternness.

Scully wrapped her arms around his neck and buried her face in his shirt. She was astonished at how nervous she was. She was not a virgin, neither was he. They had both loved and lost before. But they had danced around the edges of this love for several years before taking the plunge. It was more than a little scary.

Scully’s mind raced with questions. This was her partner, her husband, and the man she had chosen to spend the rest of her life with. How could she be this uncertain and nervous? Her logical mind took over. Obviously, she was scared because this was the first time with Mulder and she wanted only the best of memories for them both. The thoughts raced through her head until she became aware that he had just been standing inside the bedroom doorway, holding her in his arms, for several minutes.

“Did you ask me a question?” she whispered.

“Yes, I wanted to know where, uh… how… when um, where you wanted me to put you down,” Mulder whispered back.

Scully smiled, “I guess I’m not the only one who’s a little nervous.”

Mulder let her slide slowly down to stand beside him, wrapping her in his embrace. “Yeah, I am too,” he admitted. “I feel like I’ve waited for this moment for a long, long time, and now that it’s here, I don’t know where to start.”

He walked over to the bed and stared at it. “Part of me wants to say it’s okay and we can just sleep in each other’s arms until we both are more comfortable balancing our work relationship with our marriage…”

“Part of me wants that, too, Mulder, but mostly I think we both want the same thing,” Scully said walking forward to stand at his side.

He turned and gave her a quizzical look. “What’s that Scully?”

“I want to get naked and fuck your brains out, Fox Mulder,” she said as she launched herself into his arms laughing at the expression on his face.

“Mrs. Mulder, you’ve shock me,” he grinned. “I’ll give you ten minutes to get that dress off and back in here.” He turned her toward the dressing room and gave her a whack on the very well padded skirt of the beautiful wedding dress.

She looked over her shoulder and challenged, “I’ll give you five to get naked and pour us another glass of champagne.”

Mulder’s eyebrows elevated as she peeked back around the door and said with a smile, “Oh, yeah, don’t forget the strawberries I saw in the living room! And check the fridge for whipped cream.”

“Oh, you inventive G-woman! Your command is my desire,” Mulder shouted as he quickly stripped down to his boxers and socks. He ran out the door of the bedroom and slid to a halt in front of the fireplace. He gathered all the previously mentioned necessities and raced back to the bedroom. He jumped into bed and wiggled out of his shorts and socks. He spread the covers and poured himself a glass of champagne with seconds to spare. Damn, he loved it when Scully got bossy. He waited.

Dana Scully Mulder stood in front of the full-length mirror and stared at her naked body in the mirror. ‘Oh no, what have I done? I cannot go in there like this. I’m all scared and my God, I forgot about the stretch marks from the tests during my abduction. I don’t want to let him see me in the light. What can I do?’

She looked up and saw Mulder standing in the doorway with a bemused look on his face. “Dana?”

“I know. I’m not exactly one of the girls in your videos, am I?” she said quietly.

“What do you mean, Scully?”

“Do I have to say it?” her voice quivered but her chin rose in defiance of her fear. “All right…I’m not beautiful. I feel inadequate when I look at myself, Mulder. You are so handsome you take my breath away. I am never going to be the young, unscarred woman I once was. It’s been so long since I’ve been with someone, I forgot how much I’ve changed.”

Mulder crossed to stand behind Scully and put his chin on her shoulder. “Tell me everything you are thinking.”

“Look at me. Look at these scars, the tattoo. How can you look at me and not find me plain compared to the other women in your life?” Scully shivered as she felt his feather-light touch. “Mulder, what are you doing?”

“Kissing my wife. Kissing every inch of skin on that fantastic body of yours. I want to know every pore intimately. I already love you, I just want to explore you up close and personal,” Mulder said as he let his lips wander over her back and shoulders, moving up her neck.

“Scully… Dana,” he said as he turned her around. “I’ve seen you naked before. Remember Antarctica? I was there when you got most of these scars. Hell, I was the reason you got most of them. They are nothing to me—nothing but markers on the road of our lives. Don’t you see? I love you. I’ve loved you for so long I ache with desire for you. I feel such a great need for you that I’m afraid I’ll scare you away. I scare myself, Dana.” He kissed her again and again, his lips searching and seeking the path to his salvation.

“You are everything to me….I love you….Yes, right there… Yes….,” Dana’s logical mind melted into a puddle of hot blinding need as his lips continued to explore. She turned in his arms and kissed him. Their breathing became more and more frantic as did their kisses. Their hands roamed from place to place, satisfying their need to touch every inch of each other they could reach.

Mulder couldn’t hold back any longer. He planted a passionate kiss on Dana’s lips, reached down, grabbed her legs and lifted her up. She automatically wrapped her legs around his waist and seconds later Mulder drove into her. He stumbled towards the wall, pinning her as he thrust into her again and again. She was so hot he thought he would ignite before she had an orgasm. He slowed his movements to make sure that she was ready before he found his release.

He shifted slightly and moved one hand between them. He found her hot, wet and slippery and began to finger her clit as he slid in and out of her. She began to moan and make small noises deep in her throat. Suddenly she clenched her muscles around him and shivered as wave after wave of her orgasm hit her. It was too much for Mulder. He slammed into her again and again. This prolonged her orgasm and at one point, she wasn’t sure that she didn’t have a second orgasm. Fox Mulder threw his head back and howled with the force of his ejaculation. He eased his arm back around her legs and slowed the movement of his hips. Despite having an orgasm that felt like it started at his toes, he was still partially aroused.

Long languid stokes maintained their contact. They looked at each other and smiled.

“Not exactly the way I planned it, but I couldn’t ask for more satisfaction. How about you?” Dana smiled.

“I aim to please,” Mulder said as he carried her into the lovely walk-in shower. They pulled apart just long enough to adjust the multiple water jets and then turned to each other again.

“Have you ever seen such a great shower?” He asked. “I’ve had this fantasy ever since we walked in here and saw this beauty. Know what it is?”

“Yeah, I bet I do. Sit down on the ledge and kiss me.” Dana smirked as she climbed onto his lap.

They made love in the shower until both they and the hot water were exhausted. They dried each other with big bath sheets and took turns smoothing lotion all over each other’s bodies. Neither wanted to quit touching, kissing, worshiping the other.

They climbed into the bed and pulled the curtain shut leaving the foot open. They lay side by side and drank champagne and ate the strawberries and whipped cream. They made sweet, slow, love again and fell asleep entwined in each other’s arms.

The next morning, they found a breakfast tray and a stack of clean linens by their sitting room door. They found a tray outside the door every meal for the next three days, along with fresh linens each morning.

On the morning of the fifth day after their wedding, they decided they wanted to rejoin the rest of the world. They dressed and went down to breakfast early. Not early enough apparently, because the entire contingent of guests were present and gave them a rousing round of applause.

They found out the blizzard was finally over and the road east was passable. After breakfast they explained to Mrs. Coutcher how to calculate their bill and went upstairs to pack.

“I’ll miss this place,” Dana sighed as she zipped her final bag shut.

“I know. I don’t know how long it would have taken us to get to this point in our normal surroundings,” Mulder agreed.

“Let’s come back here for our anniversaries,” Scully suggested.

“It’s a date,” Fox said as he pulled her into his arms and kissed her.

Two hours later they were ready to roll. Dana made sure their bill was in two parts. All the wedding and extra honeymoon expenses were on their personal bill. All the standard room and board expenses were on the FBI. She felt no need to advertise their personal business.

They were only at the Toledo exit when Mulder’s cell phone rang. Scully was driving and Mulder answered. By the silly grin on his face, he was having a hard time being serious with Skinner. His final response was to wish him a Merry Christmas and to assure him that both he and Mulder would be in on the day after Christmas Day.

“Think he picked up on the hint, Scully? Or will this be an X-Files Christmas surprise?”

~~~~~

Author’s notes: Several aspects of this story are from Real Life. Some of the people named in this story are real people. The court-house in Bryan, Ohio is real and the architecture is truly awesome. All four edifices are different. It’s a gorgeous old brick building. Also real is the Christmas House. Each year the owners turn the fourteen ground-floor rooms of the magnificent old brick Victorian into a Christmas wonderland. I have many fond memories of shopping there each Christmas for ornaments and gifts. Try to stop in there some time if you are ever in the area. It’s just a block or two from the courthouse.

The Yoder House is a fantasy. It’s fashioned around the true life renovation of a fabulous house in the village of Waterville, Ohio that was built in the early 1800’s. Yoder is a name that anyone from northwestern Ohio will recognize as a prominent family name.

The bathroom in the honeymoon suite, however, is a real bathroom I once drooled over during a house tour in Folsom, California. And yes it was “to die for” gorgeous. I can only dream that I will one day have a bathroom as lovely.

Oh, and the divider is an inside accountant/math geek joke. Let me know if you get it.

A special “THANK YOU” goes to Donnilee who beta’d this story for me in time to post for Christmas Day. I really appreciate all her hard work and the pain she suffered de-hyphenating my story.

I hope you enjoyed my story. Have a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year. Remember: Jesus is the reason for the Season! And if you’re not Christian, take advantage of all the good sales anyway!

~~~~~

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