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Title: ‘Tis the Season

Author: KimK

Category: The so-much-fluff-it-makes-a-Persian-kitten-look-stark category

Keywords: MSR, AU

References: Basic familiarity with the characters and their families is all you need to know for this one.

Time Line: Well, it’s an AU, but we’ll say it takes place during Christmastime of Season Six–-when HTGSC would have happened.

Rating: G

Feedback: I ain’t too proud to beg, but I’d rather it not come to that-- elysium1121@gmail.com or k_nig_it1013@yahoo.com

Website: Read my other stories at http://kkrazy1013.tripod.com

Disclaimer: Alas, the characters of The X-Files do not belong to me in any form or fashion. I am simply borrowing them from CC & Co. for my own personal pleasure and treating them with the respect they deserve. They will be returned, unscathed and little happier, as soon as I am finished. So don’t sue, I’m filthy poor. MPAA owns the rating of G.

Summary: A blizzard traps Georgetown Memorial doctor Dana Scully and the VCU golden boy Agent Mulder in an airport together on Christmas Eve. Attraction ensues.

Thank you: Nell for getting this one beta’d quick as a fox so I could get this out before Christmas and for your friendship. Sara was MIA for the holidays, but I still love her.<g> As always, thanks to 1013, CC and crew for this show. Lastly, but not leastly, David and Gillian, ‘cause they rock.

Author’s Notes: I wrote this for a challenge at SimplyDevoted. This is the first challenge I have ever taken part in, as I usually avoid them. Maybe it will become a habit. More importantly, this is my first AU–-something I’ve been wanting to try a hand at for a while now. Enjoy.

 

‘Tis the Season

<^>^<^>^<^>^<^>^<

 

The airport was so ridiculous this time of year. Christmas always managed to play host to the nuts. If that weren’t bad enough, a raging blizzard outside seemed to be evidence that flights would be delayed, or worse, cancelled.

Holiday cheer wasn’t something he ever felt this time of year. He just assumed it had gotten lost in the mail twenty years ago and never resurfaced. Not that it mattered. Unlike ninety percent of the travelers today, he was going away on business, a murder case in St. Louis. Nothing like murder to bring on a little Christmas spirit.

"Flight 302 has been delayed until conditions clear up," he heard a woman say over the intercom.

It was going be a long wait, he could feel it. He loosened his tie and leaned back in his seat, thankful that he was not one of the many people standing about.

"Excuse me, please, excuse me," a woman said hurriedly as she forced her way through the throng of people. Her hands were full. One held a paper bag full of gifts, the other pulled a carry-on suitcase behind her.

"Did I just hear them say this flight is delayed?" she immediately asked him. He looked around, making sure she was addressing the right person, then gave a nod.

She sighed heavily and set her bag down on the ground. "I should have known. I think I ran two miles to get to this gate on time," she muttered.

"Here, take my seat," he said, standing and offering an ushering hand. Her blue eyes lit up, in gratitude shining, as she took him up on his offer. He couldn’t help but notice how beautiful she was, with her porcelain skin, auburn hair and those eyes. God, those eyes.

"Thank you," she said, sighing in relief.

He chewed on the inside of his lip then flashed a smile at her. "What’s your name?"

She let a smile breakthrough in return and there was no denying it: she was breath-taking. "Dana, Dana Scully," she said, offering her hand in a handshake.

He stuck out his arm to shake her hand and greeted, "Well, Dana Dana Scully, I’m Mulder." He saw her about to object to the last name only, but he beat her to it. "Just Mulder," he punctuated, winking. During the handshake he made quick observation of her left hand. No wedding ring. His stomach fluttered at that.

"Well then, Just Mulder," she said, bringing her hands to rest in her lap, "it looks like we’re stuck with each for a while."

 

"It looks to be that way." This flight delay was looking to be more of a blessing than he thought. He glanced at her gifts a moment then, "I’m guessing you have family in California, or are you getting off in St. Louis?"

"California. My brother is stationed there; he’s in the Navy. We all flock in that direction because he lives in the warmest state," she joked. "I assume you have family there as well. Though, I don’t see any nicely wrapped gifts lying around, so what gives?"

"I’m actually due in St. Louis and, unfortunately, this is a business trip for yours truly."

"Oh, I’m sorry," she said, obviously feeling guilty. "That must be hard this time of year." Her eyes shone apologetically and he felt the most surprising urge to take her in his arms. Instead he stuck his hands in his pant pockets.

"Well, I don’t have a lot of family to celebrate it with. Plus, I think I *might* be Jewish." He added an unsure look to the ceiling with the last comment. To ensure there was no pity felt on her part, and in case his quip wasn’t delivered successfully, he grinned at her.

A fleeting, closed smile was her response. It was incredible the different hues her eyes took on with each emotion that washed over her. They’d gone from azure to aqua to navy in the five minutes he’d known her. Mesmerizing was the only word Mulder could think of to describe this woman.

"Do you mind me asking what you do for a living?" she asked, changing the subject.

"FBI," he said succinctly.

"Oh, that must be fascinating." She leaned forward, expressing her interest.

He wanted to tell her it was overrated and draining, but thought better of it. What little they allowed him to spend on the X-Files division intrigued him, but they aimed to keep him busy with cases from the VCU division, like the case he was supposed to be flying to. "It keeps me busy."

A robust woman pushed her way passed the man standing behind Mulder, causing him to lose his balance and forcing him to catch himself on the back of the seat Dana was sitting on. She gasped at the contact, but quickly asked, "Are you okay?"

"Yes. Sorry about that," he said to her, looking up. If he could look into those eyes for the rest of his life . . . He pushed himself up from the seat, checking behind him to make sure he didn’t collide with anyone else in the process. "Hey, what do you say to some coffee? There’s that café at the end of this walkway," he pointed, "and we can sit and chat without holding up traffic."

She started gathering her things before saying, "I’m game."

The coffee shop wasn’t as packed as he expected it to be. They even found a table in the back, making themselves comfortable. It was a rather intimate setting. The lights were dim and their table was somewhat secluded from the ones closer to the front.

"So what is that you do, Dana Scully?"

She took a sip from her coffee. "I’m a doctor. Medical. I work at Georgetown Memorial, actually."

"Well, well," he said, waggling his eyebrows. He filed this piece of information away for later.

"Can’t be as exciting as the FBI, but I love it."

He rolled his eyes and a laugh almost escaped his throat. "Not as exciting as the FB–Are you kidding me? Being a doctor, now that has to have its own adventures."

"But you get a gun and a badge," she said, laughing a little.

"Psh, overrated advantages, I say."

She poured another package of Equal in her coffee before offering a treaty. "Let’s just settle that we both respect each other’s jobs and leave it at that. Deal?"

"Deal." He watched as she stirred the brown liquid. "So, tell me about your family."

She tapped her spoon against the cup and set it on a napkin, taking a small drink. "Well," she started," I have two brothers--Charles, or Charlie, is the youngest, and Bill, who is the oldest. Charlie is an accountant in Nebraska. He almost followed Bill into the Navy, but decided he liked numbers better. Sometimes he doesn’t make it to family gatherings, but work seems to have allowed him this year. Melissa, or Missy, is my older sister. She owns a small New Age shop outside of Arlington. Bill has a son, Matthew, and Charlie was married before Bill, to Tracy, and has twins–-Lily and Benjamin. Missy just got out of a serious two year relationship with her boyfriend, but I’m sure she’ll pick up a new one in no time. Then there is my mom, Margaret, who is just . . . She’s Mom," she finished, sounding somewhat triumphant that she explained them all so easily.

Mulder had his chin propped up with his palm as he leaned into her, genuinely enthralled. It was just families they were discussing, but the lilt of her voice drew him in so much that they could be discussing the theory of relativity and it would fascinate him. He couldn’t help but notice, however, that she’d left out any mention of a father, but by the time he decided to bring it up, she answered his unasked question.

"My father, Bill Senior, died a few years ago of a heart attack."

"Sorry to hear that," Mulder condoled.

"Thank you," she said. "What about you? I sense family is a bit of a sore spot for you, so if you don’t want to talk abo–"

"Hey, it’s only fair that I share, too, Doc," he said light-heartedly. Without thinking about it, he’d placed his hand on hers in assurance. She didn’t even flinch. Pulling his hand away, savoring the softness he’d felt those few moments, he said, "There’s not a lot to tell, though. My mom and dad divorced when I was younger, early teens. I had a sister, Samantha, but she disappeared when I was twelve. She was only eight. To this day we don’t know what happened to her." He shrugged, not thinking much of it. The memory still haunted him, but he’d gotten used to it. Dana, however, was pursing her lips together and he could see her eyes becoming watery as she tried to think of something to say to him.

"Hey." He reached across the table, daring to caress her chin. "You have a beautiful chin, try and keep it up," he said with a half-smile. "Don’t worry about me."

She shied away at the gesture, closing her eyes. Her cheeks blushed and it only charmed him more. She attempted to hide her embarrassment by bring her cup to her lips, forcing herself to look him in the eyes again.

They stared at one another for a moment before Mulder decided to seize the moment and add some more red to those perfect cheeks of hers. "You have remarkable eyes," he whispered in awe.

Not even trying to be sneaky about it this time, she set her cup down and covered her face with one delicate hand. Her chest started to shake in silent laughter before the sound broke through. "I’ve never received so many compliments."

"Never?" His mouthed dropped open at the very idea.

She shrugged, bring her hand from her face, then corrected herself. "Not in a row, anyway."

"Then by all means, let me beat my own record. Your smile is mesmerizing, your wit captivating, your laugh is musical, your eyes are, as I said, remarkable and utterly inspiring, your skin is flawless even with that sprinkle of freckles across your nose, your—"

"Please, please, Mulder, stop," she pleaded, her smile stretching from ear to ear. "I think that will do for now."

"For now? You mean there are chances of there being a later? Do tell, Dana Scully. Do tell."

She shook her head and leaned back. "You’re too much, *Agent* Mulder."

"Well," he leaned back as well, "I’d rather be too much than not enough." He raised his eyebrows, but was met with one raised eyebrow from her side of the table. He’d have to add that to the list.

"Flight 302 will be ready for take off at 5:35pm, if all passengers would please prepare to board. Flight 302," the speaker sounded.

"What time is it," Dana asked.

Mulder glanced at his watch. "5:15."

"Then I guess we should end our rendezvous and head back to the gate," she said, gathering her presents and standing.

"If we must then we must."

The line for boarding had already formed when they reached the gate. They took their place, waiting their turn.

Outside, people scurried across the blacktop, loading luggage and clearing the runways of snow. It was dead calm now, almost as if there hadn’t even been a blizzard. A blanket of snow lay over everything, but the flight crew seemed to be taking care of any hazards at record speed. It was still dark from the clouds, but the sky was safe.

Once inside the plane, Mulder and Dana pushed through the aisle, moving toward the back, together. Mulder made sure there was plenty of room in the overhead compartment so that Dana’s gifts left the plane with her unscathed. He stuffed his one small bag under his seat.

It wasn’t until take-off that they resumed conversation.

"Do you mind me asking what St. Louis is calling you up for?" Dana asked suddenly. They were able to convince the business man who was supposed to sit beside Mulder to allow Dana his seat.

"I actually don’t know all of the details and, technically, I wouldn’t be allowed to share much of them if I did. I just know he’s one sick character and they think I can catch him." At this point he dug out a bag of sunflower seeds from his jacket pocket and popped one in his mouth.

"So you’re a profiler."

He stared at her a moment, eyebrows raised. "Good call, Dr. Scully."

She just sat there a moment, as though she was trying to figure something out. She licked her bottom lip and blinked for the first time in a while. Finally it hit her, the surprise in her eyes alluding to that fact.

"Mulder. Fox Mulder. You caught Monty Props, right?"

At that moment the flight attendant asked what they wanted to drink. Mulder asked for an extra cup for his sunflower seed shells.

"Right?" Dana asked again, refusing to let it slide.

"I helped, yeah," he finally said, crunching down on the seed.

"Incredible. I remember reading about it; how you’re kind of their golden boy, if you will."

He chuckled at the very mention of being called ‘golden boy’. He’d been called worse.

"I’m sorry," she said.

Mulder scrunched his eyebrows, wondering what on earth she had to be sorry about. "About what?"

She turned more toward him, resting the side of her head on the back of her seat. "It just seems more like an insult given the look on your face. Being called the golden boy, I mean."

He shrugged, looking out the window a moment. "Not insulted, no. I just don’t like what I become when it comes to cases like that, any case really. I guess it’s just weird having people congratulate you for something that you had to almost cease to exist to accomplish."

A fit of turbulence hit the plane, but passed over quickly.

Mulder looked back at her and smiled. "Sorry," he said, taking the seed shell and tossing it in his cup. He hated the grim mood taking over when he was trying to get to know and hopefully ask out this amazing woman.

"Don’t apologize. I can see what you mean. From what I understand, becoming the killer is the surest way of finding him. I can only imagine what you go through." She placed her hand on his arm, her thumb sweeping over the sleeve of his coat.

"I actually have a confession to make . . ." she started.

Oh, God. She was married. A lesbian. An enraged woman who had sworn off dating, choosing celibacy over men.

"I, um, I actually strongly considered joining the FBI," he heard her say.

A wave of relief washed over him, but the statement still got his attention.

"It was a while back," she continued. "They actually wanted to recruit me from medical school, into Forensics, but I turned the offer down. Sometimes I wish I’d gone through with it. That’s why, earlier, I seemed somewhat envious of you."

His lip pulled into a half smirk as he brought his hand up to rest atop hers. "It’s never too late. I could always use a partner."

Tilting her head to the side, she seemed to consider his words. "We’ll see," is all she said.

It was then that their drinks arrived. Dana drank her ginger ale quietly, looking through a magazine, while Mulder indulged in his root beer, staring solemnly out the window.

It was too perfect, he kept telling himself. *She’s* too perfect, he thought even more. Somewhere, somehow, there had to be a glitch. She probably felt sorry for him and was just egging him on out of kindness. No. She wasn’t like that. It was genuine. Maybe it was just genuine friendship. Maybe after he got off at St. Louis and they said their goodbyes, that would be it.

That can’t be it, he felt himself almost say aloud. I won’t let it be.

"Would you have dinner with me." It burst out of him, as if he’d just been underwater for too long and needed air.

Dana looked up from her magazine, shell-shocked. But, it seemed, she was pleasantly shocked.

"When we get back, I mean. To D.C. or Virginia or whatever. Dinner. You. Me."

Slowly she closed the magazine before replying in a whisper, "I’d love to."

"Really?"

"Yes, really," she laughed out.

For the first time in his life, Mulder felt like breaking into song. Or break dancing. Or even breaking a glass or a plate and telling himself, "Maziltov!" However, trying to keep the shred of cool he still had in him, he just leaned back in his seat and nodded.

Somehow, from there, childhood memories became the topic of discussion. Dana dominated this topic of conversation, but Mulder wouldn’t have it any other way. From the heartbreaking story of shooting a snake to her year stay in Germany with her family to the birth of her nephews and nieces, he was enthralled. Others around them slept, watched one of the movies or worked on laptops, but they just reveled in the sound of each others’ voices.

St. Louis came too soon.

Dana had to switch planes during her, now, thirty minute layover. They walked together silently to her gate before it was no longer avoidable that their time was up, for now.

"I guess you should go catch the bad guy," she said, looking up at him.

"I guess so."

"You have my number, right?"

He gave a pat to his breast pocket. "Safe and sound."

"I leave for home in four days, though I guess you can’t go back until you, you know, do your thing."

He threw his head back in a laugh. "‘Do my thing?’ I’ll have to start using that around the office." He brought his hand up to caress her cheek, almost feeling his body melt. "I’ll call you in four days."

In the blink of an eye, she dropped her bags to the ground, throwing her arms were around his neck as she stood as high as she could to give him a hug. "Take care of yourself, Mulder."

He’d wrapped his arms around her waist as soon as his bag left his hand, his eyes closing at the contact. "Have a Merry Christmas, Dana."

"Scully," she said in his ear before she let go of him. "Call me Scully. Equal rights between man and woman, you see. It’s only fair," she bargained, that eyebrow popping up as a full-blown smirk graced her faced.

"Merry Christmas, Scully," he tried it out. Yeah, he liked it.

She turned away with a wave, ready to board in no time. Slowly, Mulder picked up his bag again and made for the escalator. Going down, he saw a giant Christmas tree in a small foyer between the gates and the metal detectors, fake presents underneath it. The sight made him smile.

Maybe Christmas wasn’t so bad after all.

The End

 

Author’s Notes:

The challenge actually called for them meeting on the way home for the holidays on the plane, not in the terminal, but my muse had other plans. Half way through writing this, I was hit with the idea of a sequel. So who knows? Maybe this *will* become a habit.

Oh, and the obsession with Scully’s eyes. Well, I kind of took that from interviews in the past with DD. David seemed to mention Gillian’s eyes a few times in past interviews, so I figured if it was his favorite feature of hers, it probably was Mulder’s too. Then again, apparently everyone who has the chance to work with her feels the same way. I dare anyone to object to the fact that her eyes are amazing, though. I mean, I know I’m jealous. <g>

I hope you enjoyed the story. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to all of you!