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It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve

by KimK

Keywords: MSR, AU

Rating: PG

References: Basic knowledge of first season characters Reggie Purdue and Jack Willis.

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Thanks!: Sara, my trusty beta and wonderful friend, and my buddy Nell for doing back-up beta duty. To CC, 1013, Gillian and David. And to my readers, the real reason I write.

Summary: Happy 1999! FBI Agent Fox Mulder and Doctor Dana Scully bring in the new year, along with some surprises.

Author’s Notes: This is a sequel to my AU story ‘Tis the Season. It’s not that important to read ‘Tis the Season first, but I would recommend it for plot purposes. I had hoped to post this back in January, but RL got in the way of that. Enjoy! WARNING: Past this point, I am not responsible for the side effects of too much fluff. Read at your own risk.

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It was only her second day back home from California and she was afraid he wouldn’t call. Two days until she had to welcome in the New Year and she was pretty well convinced she would be welcoming it in by herself, a bottle of merlot in one hand and the immortal Dick Clark starting the countdown as the ball dropped. She hadn’t even made any resolutions yet.

Mulder had found his way into her thoughts more than she expected during her Christmas vacation. Part of her welcomed the feeling—the chemistry and attraction—while the rational side of her wondered what she was thinking, falling for a man she’d only known less than a day. For the first time in years she couldn’t wait to get home from Christmas, just so she could talk to him again.

He was going to call, she told herself. He couldn’t very well drop everything he was doing for her, especially a murder case. As a doctor, she knew that the job came first.

Eight-seventeen and she was finished with her pile of dishes. Placing the last saucer in the dish washer, she shut the door, turned the dial and prepared for a quiet evening at home.

Opting for music instead of television, Scully hit the power button and the air filled with the soft, velvet jazz of Miles Davis. She ran her palm along the back of her couch, her hips beginning to sway. Her imagination took over, thoughts of the mysterious Mulder wrapping one arm around her waist while his other dangled with hers to their sides, fingers entwined, flooded her mind. The shy smile that crept to her lips arrived unnoticed, her eyes having slipped shut and all conscious thought leaving her.

A saxophone crescendoed as the phone rang. Her eyes snapped open at the interruption and she turned down the music.

Scooping up the phone, she casually said, "Hello." Her cheeks flushed and her heart beat fast, she felt as though she was trying to cover up something; like listening to jazz and imagining a man’s hips swaying against hers in time with the music was a sin.

"Hey," a soft monotone answered back.

Just when she thought the heat in her cheeks couldn’t intensify anymore, it did. She couldn’t help the grin that accompanied it, and it felt as though she hadn’t smiled in years.

"Mulder?"

"I just got in. I wasn’t sure if I’d catch you at home or not."

Rounding to the front of the couch, she plopped down. "How did the case go? You work your magic and catch the bad guy?"

"I guess you could say I ‘did my thing’ and got out of there as soon as possible." She heard him shift, possibly moving the phone to his other ear.

"Good job," was all she could think of saying. Good job? She had to resist the urge to slap her forehead. Would you like a gold star, too? she thought sarcastically.

He was silent a moment before saying a genuine,"thank you," in reply. She almost sighed in relief, but then immediately wondered why she was trying so hard. For one thing, she’d never acted this way because of a man in her life. Another thing, he was already interested in her, the hard part was over.

"So, Scully, about dinner," he broke into her reverie.

This is it. I’ve lost him. He met someone in St. Louis who happens to live in the same apartment building as him. He’s decided that a girl like me and guy like him just don’t belong together. Immediately, she began to set herself up for disappointment.

"Well, an old colleague of mine is actually having a sort of shindig at his home for New Year’s and, well, I was wondering if maybe you’d," he cleared his throat, "if you’d like to go with me?"

A laugh of relief wanted to escape, but she gained control. "That would be wonderful."

"Really? You don’t have plans?"

Searching her mind for an answer that wouldn’t make her sound pathetic, she replied smoothly, "I do now."

"Great." She could almost see him smiling and it made chills run down her spine. "I’d love to talk with you right now, about your Christmas and, well, anything, but I’m spent and have a few things I need to finish up."

"Do what you have to do," she said.

"The party starts at nine, but it’s a come and go thing. Oh and it’s really casual, so just wear something comfortable. I’ll pick you up at around 8:45, that sound good?"

"Sounds good."

"Pleasant dreams, Scully," he whispered.

She turned the phone off and set it down on the floor. Reaching over for the remote, she turned the music up again and closed her eyes.

>*<>*<>*<>*<>*<>*<>*<

This was it, Mulder thought. He sat outside her house in his car, pep talking himself before walking to the door.

She said yes, Mulder. The hard part’s over.

Checking the rearview mirror one more time, he exited his car and walked to the front door. Her home was beautiful from the outside. She’d mentioned on the flight having owned an apartment at one point, but that she’d seen this place for sale and had to have it. On a doctor’s salary, he figured, it was pocket change to buy a house on a whim. Seeing it now, with its slate blue shudders against the red brick, he understood. The roof was still adorned with white Christmas lights and a tree could be seen in the picture window. He waited another moment before knocking, wondering if maybe he would catch her walking around her living room, waiting for him. No such luck, so he knocked.

She was a sight for sore eyes. An ice blue turtleneck hugged her curves perfectly; black pants, black boots and a cross necklace he’d only caught a glimpse of on the plane completed the outfit.

"Hi," she greeted, "come on in out of the cold, I just need to grab my coat."

He obeyed and stepped inside. She disappeared into what could only be her bedroom, while he looked around. Seeing some pictures on the fireplace mantel, he walked over to take a look.

She came up beside him, slipping on her coat. His attention was focused on a simple headshot of a woman, looking to be a few years older than Scully, with red hair.

"That’s my sister," she said.

Mulder looked at her then back at the picture. "Aside from the hair and eyes, you two don’t look all that much alike."

"She looks more like my mom, I think. I resemble my dad in a lot of ways." She finished wrapping an ivory scarf around her neck and began to point at the individual pictures surrounding the family portrait, naming off each person.

"Bill the strength, Charlie the humor, Missy the beauty and me the brain," she finished, choosing one word that she thought suited her and her siblings. A wistful tone belied the smile on her face, giving away that she wasn’t entirely satisfied with being known as the smart one.

"I beg to differ," Mulder commented, looking at her then back at the picture of her sister again.

A raised eyebrow was what he got in return.

"Well, I don’t know your family, so I can’t really agree or disagree, but I will say this: you’re the whole package, Scully."

Her eyebrow dropped as she shied away.

"We should head out; the roads aren’t really reliable tonight," he offered as her escape.

She wasn’t used to admiration of this nature, he silently observed and remembered his other attempts at singing her praises from the airport. All that did was inspire him to keep saying things like that until she believed it.

>*<>*<>*<>*<>*<>*<>*<

Aside from some rough spots, they arrived safely to the party. The house was quite large and, if the cars indicated correctly, there was going to be a throng of guests.

Mulder opened the car door for her and immediately offered his arm, playing the part of chaperone. She looped her arm around his as they proceeded with caution, the sidewalks icier than the streets.

A tall black man answered the door, smiling broadly at Mulder.

"Mulder, my main man!" he greeted, giving a friendly pat to Mulder’s back.

"Hey, Reggie."

Mulder and Scully walked in, the room full of people and music blasting through the speakers. They removed their coats and handed them to Reggie, who tossed them on the couch.

"I’d put them on the bed, but it’s full," Reggie explained. He swept his eyes over Scully then looked back at Mulder. "And who is this vision?"

Scully stuck out her hand first as Mulder made the introductions. "Reg, this is Dana Scully. Scully, this is Reginald Purdue."

"It’s nice to meet you, Reginald," she said.

"The pleasure is mine," Reggie insisted. "And please, just call me Reggie. Well, I better restock the snack table. Help yourselves, mingle; I’ll be playing host all night." He winked at Scully and vanished into the kitchen.

"Is he single?" Scully asked.

"Tired of me already?" Mulder countered, placing his hand on her back as he maneuvered them through the crowd.

She chuckled. "No, I mean, I didn’t see a wedding band and this just seems like an awfully big house for a bachelor."

They found their own special corner to talk before Mulder spoke. "His wife, Patricia, died about ten years ago of cancer, actually. He just got the courage to not wear his wedding band about two years ago. I don’t think he’s going to be able to part so easily with the house; too many memories. They were known for their parties. He didn’t want to break tradition after her death, so every year since he has continued with his annual New Year’s party and anyone who knows him knows about it."

Nodding, she looked around the room. "So, you said he was an old co-worker, like you don’t work with him anymore."

He looked at her moment, trying to remember when that had come up. The phone, earlier that week. "Ah, right. He suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder a few years back and was forced to retire. I think part of him was relieved; working in that unit takes a lot out of a person. He’s a fiction writer now, a damn good one."

"What types of novels?"

"Mystery."

"Anything I know?"

"Probably not. He’s having a tough time getting published, but he hasn’t given up yet. I bet I could convince him to let you read one or two, if you like?"

She didn’t say anything, just smiled at him.

"Do you want something to drink?" He leaned into her, sensing the unfamiliarity with the people around them was making her a bit nervous.

"I’d like that." He began to walk off, but she slipped her hand into his, holding it as he led her to the dining room.

A long table full of small sandwiches, fruit, vegetables with dip, buffalo wings, chips and other treats greeted them. A punch bowl sat at the end, a cooler on the floor filled to the top with beer and wine coolers right beside it.

"What’s your poison?" he asked.

She grabbed a strawberry and sank her teeth into it before saying, "Punch is fine, thanks."

They filled their snack plates and headed back to their corner. Along the way they were stopped repeatedly, Mulder introducing Scully to each person who showed interest, even to those who didn’t, which were usually women.

An hour went by, some people leaving, but their places soon taken by a new group of people.

Following the example of those around them, they set their plates and cups down at the nearest spot. A slow song began to play, All Blues by Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Mulder noticed Scully turn her lips up in a desirous expression as the song began, so he took that as his cue.

"Do you want to dance?"

A few other couples were walking to what must be the dance floor. She eyed them a moment before conceding with a nod. He took her hand in his and began to dance where they were standing, as most of the couples had done. His arm wrapped around her waist and he brought the hand he was holding up to his chest, resting it there. Her head settled against his chest while he placed his chin on her head.

The drums began to pick up, but only slightly, so they kept the same rhythm. Their feet shuffled only enough to bring them around in one full circle before the song ended. They stopped when the music stopped, but stayed in the same position. Reggie walked up to them only moments later.

"I see you two have made yourselves comfortable," he said smiling.

"A wonderful party as always, Reggie," Mulder extolled.

Reggie looked at him a moment, as if taken aback. "As always, Mulder? You haven’t been to one of these in years," he pointed out.

Mulder turned his head sheepishly. There were a lot of reasons he wasn’t all too social, especially the last few years. He’d just hoped he wouldn’t have to tackle that subject so early in the game with Scully. Undoubtedly she’d ask him about it later, and hiding anything wasn’t an option. He saw her look up at him quickly, but then she turned her attention back to Reggie.

"May I use your restroom?" she asked.

"Of course! It’s right down this hallway, second door on the right. There doesn’t seem to be line, so you better hurry."

She bowed her head in a thank you, turning to the hallway.

Reggie waited until she was out of earshot before letting out a soft wolf whistle. "Where did you find her?"

A proud smile took over Mulder’s face. "Airport, of all places. We were stranded, right before Christmas. She looked at me and I melted."

"Melted? Wow, I haven’t heard you talk like that since . . . Hell, I’ve never heard you talk like that. What gives?"

"Just look at her, Reggie. Those eyes, that smile. The way she talks is hypnotizing and her wit, well, it rivals mine. She’s incredible." Mulder was staring down the hallway as if she were standing right there.

"Wait? Did you say before Christmas? This Christmas? How many times have you two been out, Mulder?"

Chewing on the inside of his lip, Mulder replied, "Well, not counting the airport, one. This is our first date."

"Damn," Reggie drawled.

"I know."

Scully showed up just in time. That is, just in time to miss Mulder practically telling Reggie that he was falling for a women he’d known less than forty-eight hours.

"Did I miss anything?" she asked.

The two friends looked at each other. "Nah, we were just catching up. I haven’t seen this guy in almost a month," Mulder told her.

Reggie stuck around with them a while longer, giving him the chance to witness the joking between the couple in front of him and allowing him to see first hand that everything Mulder told him was true. Sneaking a glance at the old grandfather clock, Reggie announced, "Wow, it’s only seven minutes until midnight. I’ll be right back."

He vanished once again, leaving Mulder and Scully to their own devices.

They were talking a moment, Scully telling him a little more about her holiday, when she stopped suddenly. Her gaze was fixed on someone or something behind Mulder’s back.

"Jack," she whispered.

"What?" Mulder looked behind him to see Jack Willis talking to a group of people, obviously having not taken notice of Scully. "Do you know Jack?"

"Um, kind of," she stuttered. "Mulder, would you mind if we leave. I know it’s almost midnight, but . . ." she trailed off.

He saw her gulp and noticed that some color had drained from her face.

"Yeah, we’ll leave right now. Just stay right here while I grab our coats and say bye to Reggie, okay?"

"Would you mind if I wait outside?" she asked, taking another look over his shoulder.

He was trying not to sound concerned. "Sure, go on. I’ll hurry."

He found her outside two minutes later, beginning her walk down the sidewalk. Her arms were wrapped around herself, keeping in warmth due to her lack of jacket. Mulder hurried down the sidewalk, taking big strides to catch up with her.

"Hey, wait up!" he yelled. The walk to his car was going to take a while, having parked almost a block down the street.

Mulder finally caught up with her and was about to grab her hand when a patch of ice came out of nowhere and made his effort vain. He saw more than felt his feet fly over his head. Their coats landed in a heap on his stomach as he groaned. He heard her run up to him. Somehow, she missed every possible patch of ice.

"Oh God, Mulder!" She kneeled down beside him. Laying a hand on his forehead, she began to examine him. "Can you move?" she asked, feeling his ribs and squeezing his shoulders gently. "Mulder, please, say something!"

He opened his eyes to find her hovering over him. Her face was etched with worry, but he also saw the doctor in her taking over as she checked for injuries. Pulling back his eyelids, she asked him to follow her finger. He must have passed the test, because she started looking over his head. Finally, her palm resting on his chest, she stroked his cheek.

"You okay?"

He grinned at her. Bringing his hand up to glide over her arm, he replied, "I feel wonderful." Tearing his eyes away from hers, he looked over her shoulder and felt his grin somehow grow even wider. "Hey, Scully."

"Hm?"

"It’s 1999." As he said this, a clock in the distance began to chime. She looked behind her, in the direction he’d been looking, at a small clock tower half hidden beyond a brush of trees and houses.

"So it is." She turned back to him, smiling. It was then that she began to lower herself, keeping him from lifting his head off the ground. His eyes swept over her face, stopping momentarily on her lips before their eyes locked.

"Happy New Year," she whispered.

He met her the rest of the way. At first their lips brushed lightly, in uncertainty and caution, but soon her hand was cupping the back of his neck as their lips met full force. It tasted sweet, yet it was anything but. A whole new year could have gone by and neither one of them would have noticed.

Pulling away first, she began to smile shyly before removing the coats from where they’d landed on his stomach. "Come on, let me help you up," she said.

Lifting his arm off the ground, he swept some hair that had fallen over her face behind her ear. "I kind of like it down here. It’s cozy." He stared at her, willing that eyebrow to pop up. It did. "Okay, one more kiss and I’ll do whatever you say."

His hand hadn’t left her face, so when her face softened in permission, he brought her lips to his, sweeping them together only briefly.

After some effort from both of them, they were able to get Mulder off the ground. He groaned, having not realized that he wouldn’t come out of this unscathed.

"You’ve bruised your back. Let’s go back to my place, so I can put some ice on it."

"Ice? I think the sidewalk took care of that," he only half-joked as they got inside his car. Scully rolled her eyes before getting inside. The streets weren’t all that busy–-people still bringing in the new year, simultaneously avoiding the ice outside.

>*<>*<>*<>*>*<>*<>*<>*<

"Do you want tea or coffee?" she yelled from the kitchen.

"Whatever you’re having," came Mulder’s voice from the living room.

Tea it is, she thought.

She entered the living area, setting two mugs down on the coffee table before sitting down beside Mulder on the couch.

"Turn around," she said, her voice low and professional.

"What? Why?"

Pasting on a stern look, she twirled her finger in the air in command. Rolling his eyes playfully, he did as told and faced away from her. She lifted up his shirt, trying her best to stay in doctor-mode even while her hands glided over his sculpted back. The bruising didn’t hinder its beauty.

"Ouch," she said in sympathy, sucking in a breath.

He didn’t say anything for a moment and she couldn’t help but think he was reveling in the contact, paying no mind to the real reason for the examination.

"Hm?" he said quietly.

She pulled his shirt back down, pulling at his sleeve in signal for him to face her again.

"Well, it’s not too bad," she said succinctly. "You should be as good as new in a few days."

They looked at each other a moment, his eyes sweeping over her features. "What was that back there?" he asked suddenly, looking back into her eyes, his expression softening.

Clearing her throat, she leaned forward to pick up her tea and took a sip; breaking eye contact. Knowing good and well what he was asking, she played dumb while offering a coy smile. "Now, Mulder, if you don’t know a kiss when you see one, we have bigger issues in the future."

He chortled softly at that. "No, I know what *that* was, Scully. You know what I mean. That whole thing with Jack. I haven’t known you long, but I have a feeling you rarely have that reaction towards anyone." He reached over and began to twirl a strand of her hair between his fingers. "You can trust me."

Scully pursed her lips, thinking over how exactly she should answer. Cupping her hands around her mug, she sighed and delved into her past.

"Well, as I’m sure you’ve probably assumed," she started, "Jack and I were romantically involved. It was years ago, not long after I’d turned down the offer to work for the FBI. We, uh, met through friends. A blind date, actually. We dated for a few years, I even thought marriage was in the future. Things got . . . complicated." God, she didn’t want to talk about it, but if she really wanted a future with this man–and she did–it was now or never. She ran her tongue over her bottom lip twice before biting down on it and taking a deep, cleansing breath.

"He had a temper," Mulder filled in, the tone in his voice dark.

Her focus having switched to look at her computer, she shot a surprised look back in his direction and stared at him for a moment. "To put it simply, yes." Scully moved closer to him, taking in his grave expression. "Look, it was a long time ago. I got out of that relationship before he got physical and we remained friends. But," she laughed a humorless laugh, "when I found out a friend of mine who went on to Quantico married him, I just couldn’t be around either of them anymore. She started confiding in me, about how he would treat her, how she he was being unfaithful, and all I could think was that I’d told her about him, warned her, before they’d even met." She sighed. "He’s charming, a good friend, but . . . Y-you get the picture. I haven’t talked to him in almost five years."

Mulder’s hand slipped into hers and he kissed her cheek. "Thanks for telling me," he whispered.

She gave a nod and took a sip from her mug. "I’m curious about something, Mulder," she said after a beat.

"Shoot."

"At the party, Reggie mentioned that you hadn’t been to one of his parties in years. I know it’s not something I shouldn’t read into, I just saw the look on your face when he pointed that out and was wondering why that is?"

It was silent, aside from the hum of her computer and the sound of a party going on next door. He squeezed her hand, almost too tight, as he seemed to mull over what she was asking him. It must be big, she mused.

"I," he cleared his throat, "I actually sensed you would ask me about it. Truth is I’ve been doing this sort of side project for the last few years. With that and my work with the VCU, I don’t see much of anyone. I’ve also become somewhat of a joke."

Several seconds passed, and Scully didn’t feel his answer covered quite what she was asking. "Well?"

"Well what?"

Rolling her eyes, she pinned with a glare. "What’s the project? Or is it some secret government weapon that common people, such as myself, aren’t allowed to know about."

He let out a short laugh, nudging her in the shoulder with his own before he leaned back into the couch. "No, it’s just this other division that doesn’t necessarily have a lot of credibility–the X-Files. They’re so called unsolvable cases, because they usually involve . . ."

"Yes?"

"They usually involve," he rolled his hand over in the air as if asking for someone to help him out with the answer. "Paranormal activity."

She knew she was looking at him like he was crazy. Maybe that was the one big flaw she was waiting for him to reveal. Not married, not gay, but crazy. Somehow she sensed he’d been hoping to conceal this information until they were better acquainted, and she also could sense that this side project was something he wasn’t willing to give up without a fight. Giving him a half smile, she said, "You mean, like ghosts and aliens?"

"Exactly."

"Hmmm."

"What?" He sounded worried.

"I guess I never knew a unit like that could exist in relation with the FBI." She shrugged.

"Me either. It’s just something I came across one day; something I thought deserved some attention. That intrigued me for a lot of reasons, really. The cases I’ve come across, that I’ve gone out to solve are incredible. Unbelievable, really."

"I’d say," she muttered.

"I take it you’re what some might call a skeptic?"

"Mulder, it’s not that I–"

"Hey, don’t worry about it. Some might call you that, but I’m not sure I could label you as one. Skeptics are those who doubt habitually, unwilling to prove why they think the way they do. I don’t see you that way. From what I’ve learned about you, I think--let’s say if you were working with me on the X-Files--that you would want to make sure that there were other possibilities; work to prove your point while making me work to prove mine. I respect that. In fact, if you were to work with me, I imagine you’d give my work more credibility; give a scientist’s point of view so people wouldn’t call me Spooky for other reasons than they used to."

"What exactly are you suggesting, Mulder?" She smiled.

He looked away a moment, a grin crossing his lips. Casting her a sideways glance, he shook his head. "Nothing, Scully. Just that . . . Well, in the hours I have spent with you, I wish I had someone like you in my professional life, as well as my personal. And that I can’t help but wish that you’d become an agent." He turned to her. "Then again, we may have never met because rumors of crazy, spooky Mulder who likes to chase mutants and E.T. would have gotten around to you and scared you away."

Brushing her thumb over his, she whispered in a bedroom voice, "I don’t scare easily, Agent Mulder."

Mulder leaned closer, the air heated between them. "Yeah?"

"Yeah." And they kissed; the sound of car horns and laughter echoed through the streets.

Pulling away, Scully looked at the clock, sighing heavily. "I have to be at work in six hours."

"When do you get off?"

"Four."

"How do you feel about visitors, bearing gifts of food around lunchtime?" Mulder grinned.

Scully ran her hands through his hair, her eyes looking him over. "No objections. Just ask for me and I’m yours."

Fetching his coat from the closet, she escorted him to door, giving him a peck on the cheek before sending him out into the streets.

The End

Notes: I hope it was tolerable. There will be at least one more story for this universe, so until then . . . Do I have anything else to say? I don’t think so. Take care!