Not Just Another New Year's Eve

By Mary Kleinsmith (Buc252@aol.com)

Spoilers: Anything up to and including season 7. Requiem and anything thereafter has not and will not happen in my universe.

Summary: Last year, Mulder and Scully had their first kiss on New Year's Eve. How will they manage to top it this year, now that the real new Millennium is arriving?

Rating: PG

Classification: MSR,

Archive: Yes, anywhere

Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully, and everything related to them belong to Chris Carter (the jerk!) and 10-13, with magic added by David and Gillian. I'm only borrowing them, especially since the fic writers have a better sense of what to do with Mulder and Scully than CC and Company does. Still, I'm not making any money on this.

Author's Note: This is in response to a fic challenge by Kimpa for New year's stories. I think I managed to touch on all the points she wanted included.

Feedback: Please, please, please, please, please, please, please?

Not Just Another New Year's Eve

By Mary Kleinsmith (BUC252@aol.com)

I knew that our relationship had been progressing. Maybe not as quickly as it could have, and definitely not as quickly as part of me wanted, but it was progressing. Still, it took me totally off guard when Mulder invited me over to his place for New Year's Eve.

After last year's kiss, and our increased amounts of time spent together, I expected a restaurant, a nice dinner, maybe a dance club if he was feeling particularly brave. No, that's not true. That was what I thought might happen. What I expected was to find he and I parked out in the middle of nowhere looking for lights in the sky or vampires or something like that.

I'd tried to find out his plans. I asked . . . I pleaded . . . I bribed . . . I even, God forgive me, fished around on his hard drive at work but came up with nothing indicating his plans. And not knowing was making me very nervous. I'm an orderly person, and I like to have all my plans planned to a tee. All my ducks in a row, as my Mom would tell me. This being caught off guard as far as plans were concerned was making me worry more than I knew I should.

Well, now that I've sat in my car and pondered it all for fifteen minutes, coming very close to making me late for my scheduled 7:00 arrival, it's time to get off my butt and go up there. Nothing is going to happen that you don't want to, I remind myself, and I know this. Mulder would never take advantage. But I know what I want to happen tonight, and a lot of my fear is coming from not knowing if Mulder wants the same things.

The walk from my car to the front door of Mulder's apartment building goes without incident, despite my fears that venturing out in heels rather than boots would create a problem. I must remember to thank his landlord for keeping the walk so well salted. As I arrive at the door, I pass a man I don't recognize coming out, and am relieved that I wore my long winter coat over my clothes. The guy's already been imbibing, based on the leer he gives me, and I wouldn't want a single thing about me to encourage him. I brush past him with every bit of my ice-queen image showing, and it luckily works. He continues on his way and I enter the building and proceed to the elevator.

The fourth floor, as usual, is dark. What Mulder's landlord has against lights, I'll never know, but there is only the bare minimum, and those are only turned on when absolutely necessary. Luckily, through years of experience, I know exactly how many steps it takes to bring me to my partner's door. I run hands over my hair, trying to tell without seeing if it was still in place and doing my best to ignore the slight trembling in them. It's probably just the cold . . .

Three knocks and some time later, I'm still waiting outside his door. Where the heck is he? I mean, this was his idea, right?

I knock again, ideas entering my mind that I'd rather didn't. What if he'd run off and ditched me again? What if he'd been attacked? What if he never made it home from the office at all? What if he's in there, but hurt. God knows Mulder's accident prone enough. Convincing myself that I'm more than justified, I set my oversized purse on the floor and extract my key chain from my pocket. Mulder's key is easy to find - it's the first one next to the fob he himself gave me for my birthday a few years ago. It's worn, and he kids me that if I get rid of the ugly thing he'll get me another, but nothing could replace this one, and I'm hanging onto it, no matter what. It's special to me, if only because it came from him.

The inside of the apartment is as dark as the hallway. I flick a switch and shut the door, turning to hang my coat on his coat rack. There's a sheet of FBI letterhead, used on the one side, taped to his door.

"Scully, I had to step out for a minute. Make yourself comfortable if I don't get back before you get here. - M"

I laugh to myself. The if clause was unnecessary and I know it, but I'm sure Mulder didn't think twice. I take the note down and fold it gently - a momento - and slide it into my purse, ignoring that fact that I'm now noticing that the writing on the back appears to be a draft of a report for Skinner. On second thought, I leave my coat on and instead investigate the apartment.

Mulder's kitchen, for a change, is immaculate and the table in his entryway has been cleared of everything but two chairs, two place mats, a flower centerpiece and a pair of tapered candles. I wonder what Mulder is planning for dinner. I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't even know if Mulder can cook, let alone is willing to do it in front of me. He's done a great job at creating an ambiance, though, so I should at least do my part.

I proceed to the living room, turning on the small light on his desk. I remember years ago when that light was used to summon his mysterious informant. I used it myself when Mulder was missing. Now, though, I only want to see it used for our own pleasure.

I've been in Mulder's apartment often enough to know where his CD player is, but I wasn't sure what kind of music he'd have for New Year's Eve, so I extract a small stack of my favorites from my purse. I know that he won't like all of them, and given that knowledge, I choose one I'm pretty sure he won't and put it in the player. I really felt like I wanted to hear it tonight, but this way, it'll probably be over by the time Mulder finally gets back from wherever he's gone.

Okay, okay. I know that Sheena Easton isn't exactly everybody's cup of tea, but I've always loved her songs, and was a big fan back in the 80's while I was going through college and med school. When I saw this CD - her greatest hits - on the store shelf, I just had to get a copy.

I slide the drawer shut after inserting the disk, watching as the numbers count up to ten. I skip ahead to For Your Eyes Only, unsure whether I want to hear this particular one, but it's too nice to skip. I'd made love for the first time to this song, back when I mistook a sex-starved med student for the love of my life. I learned the hard way, but still loved the song. Even that couldn't ruin it for me.

I wander around the apartment, almost pacing, while the song plays through. His desk, as usual, is a mess, but more orderly than I've seen it in a long time. I can see his obvious attempt at neatening up the place even if it didn't completely succeed.

My eyes are drawn to a note scribbled near his telephone. It appears to be a woman's name and a phone number, and I immediately feel anger. No, not quite anger. Jealousy. Who is this woman and why would my partner have her phone number. Not even her full name, as if Mulder's familiar enough with her to know exactly who "Chelsea" is. Mulder knows me better than I know myself, though, and he'd never leave something like that out for me to see if he wasn't more than willing to explain it. I try to calm myself, giving him the benefit of the doubt but making a mental note to ask him about it later.

I sigh heavily as the song switches to one called, "I Wouldn't Beg for Water". I love this song, and every time I hear it, I can't help but think of my relationship with Fox Mulder. It's the voice of both of us, as we've proven time and time again. We'd do anything for each other. I know I would do anything for him, and I am secure in my belief that he'd do anything for me, too. As Sheena says, I wouldn't beg for water, but I'd get down on my knees for you.

With the haunting tune playing in the background, I venture into Mulder's bedroom, surprised at my own bravery. I've only been in here once, but have a different image from that time, which I can't explain, of a mirrored ceiling and a waterbed, despite just how out of character that seems. Okay, I know he mentioned awhile back that his waterbed had sprung a leak, but a mirror? I don't know from where this is coming, but I'm pleasantly relieved to see that, as I remember, he has a completely normal bed and absolutely no mirror anywhere except above his dresser.

I'm drawn out of my study of Mulder's bedroom by a new song. I'd forgotten about this one, but as much as I Wouldn't Beg for Water is our song, When He Shines is Mulder's. Everything about him shines, from his incredible intelligence to those striking hazel eyes. Like the man in the song, he's sometimes a child and sometimes so very, very old, but that's why I love him. Yes, like the singer, I admit that I'm in love with my handsome partner. There's nothing more alluring than when he's putting all those nay-sayers at the bureau to shame with his talents, brushing aside their jealousy. He's gentle at times, strong at others (sometimes at the same time) and often temperamental, but he's always a bright star in the darkness.

My eyes fall on his fish tank, the residents circling gently in the water, the tank's light reflecting off their golden scales. Even Mulder's pets shine.

I hear a noise outside the door and quickly shut off the player. No way do I want Mulder to know the last song I heard was the beginnings of My Sugar Walls. If I'd been four years younger when it was released, I assure you it would have been banned in the Scully household.

Mulder must be having a problem getting his key into the keyhole because I've already got a new, more sedate CD into the player before the door is opened. I'm halfway to him before he realizes that I've already arrived, and his blush is adorable as I catch him with his arms full of bags.

"Hi," he says simply.

"Hi, Mulder. Can I help you with some of that?" I reach for them, but he backs away, using his rear to shut the door behind him.

"Nope," he says, smiling. "This is my treat, and I don't want you to spoil the surprise." He turns toward the kitchen. "Stay right there - I'll be back in a second." He continues to talk to me from in the kitchen, and I find that I miss getting to see his face while he's speaking. He communicates so much with things other than his words. His eyes, his face, that lower lip . . . I shake away the distraction when I realize that I'm missing what he's saying.

"So you must've just gotten here, huh? I'm sorry I had to step out, but the restaurant said they were going to be a little delayed." Ah, so he did get a take-out dinner of some kind. I don't mind - anything is good when eaten with Fox Mulder.

"No, actually I've been here for awhile." He emerges from the kitchen, a look of puzzlement on his face.

"Are you cold? Should I turn up the heat?"

"No, I'm fine," I answer him, smiling my best enigmatic grin.

"So why don't you take off your coat?"

"I guess I could do that, couldn't I?" I smile at him as he comes closer to help me with it, but I have it untied and off before he can get behind me. That was my plan, because I wanted him where he could get the full view when I revealed my new dress.

"Oh, Scully," he says in a breathless sigh. It took me days to find this dress after he asked me to come here. Nothing I had was good enough. He draws closer and runs a tentative hand over the satiny cloth on my arms. I'd looked at a similar dress with spaghetti straps, but when it comes down to it, I'm a practical kind of girl and it is almost January in Washington, DC. But a less-than professional neckline, a form-fitting bodice of the same red satin and a hem that fell a considerable distance above my knees equaled a dress I knew would catch Mulder's eye.

"Mulder, I can't remember the last time you were rendered speechless. I think I like it," I joke.

"If you wore this dress every day, Scully, I'd volunteer to give up speaking entirely," Mulder said, a blush again turning his cheeks crimson.

"You'd really want me to wear this to the office?" I asked.

"On second thought, no, I don't. Skinner already stares at you too much."

"He does not," I deny, deciding that distraction is the way to go. It's getting way too warm in here. "So what are we having for dinner?"

"Well," he responds, leading me to sit in a chair. "Only the best will do for the beginning of a new millennium, so we have, specially prepared by Kimberly's . . ." he disappears into the kitchen and emerges with two filled plates . . . "stuffed shrimp, clams casino, three kings salad, roasted potatoes and, for dessert, caramel-banana galette."

It takes a couple more trips from the kitchen before the table is filled, but he refuses to let me help him. I'm more than impressed with the extent to which he's gone on this meal, admiring the crystal water glasses and linen napkins with acute appreciation. He doesn't sit, though. Not yet."

He answers verbally my questioning gaze. "Just a couple more things," he says, lighting the candles, flicking off the overhead light, and returning to the table with a champagne bucket filled with ice and what I'm sure is a very nice bottle of champagne. Now, I'm the speechless one.

I watch soundlessly as Mulder finally sits in his chair. "I feel like I'm underdressed," he says, motioning to his tan Dockers and black Oxford shirt.

"You're just fine the way you are, Mulder," I say, laying a hand on his forearm to keep him in his seat. "All I want right now is to eat this fantastic meal with you." Okay, I want more than that, but this will do for now. Baby steps, I tell myself. I don't tell him what the sight of him in his form-fitting Dockers does to me, or how the black of his shirt makes him look so sexy. I'll get to that eventually, but not now.

After several minutes, I find I've fallen behind. Mulder is apparently better at controlling his impulse to watch me than I am at controlling my own to watch him. While I've been watching him eat, noting the grace of each chew, each bite, each lick of his lips, he's been finishing his meal. I hope he doesn't notice and think he's done anything wrong while I turn my attention to the food. It's delicious, as is anything Kimberly's makes, but I'm afraid to think about what this repast has cost my partner.

"My partner." That's such an open phrase. At work and to anybody who knows us through it, it means we work together. To us, for years, it's meant that we're best friends, bonded beyond any unbonding. And lately, I've given it a new definition in my mind. It no longer means, "the person I love as my best friend". Now it means, "the person I love so much, I want to spend my life with him."

I'll let you in on a little secret. I made a New Year's resolution last year, after Mulder kissed me. I resolved that before the year 2000 was gone, Mulder and I would admit to each other how we feel. We'd say the words, and they'd come to have new meaning for us. I'll grant you, this is letting it go until the last minute, but I swear, this night I'll explain my own feelings and do my damndest to get him to tell me his.

"How about I take these out to the kitchen," Mulder says, grabbing up our empty plates, "before we slice the galette." Before I can respond, he's gone into the kitchen, returning with two champagne flutes and a corkscrew.

He makes short work of the cork while I watch his arm muscles ripple through his shirt against the resistance it puts forth. I slice the rich dessert and we both have a slice before deciding we're too full for any more.

"How about if we finish the bottle in the living room?" I suggest.

"Sounds great," Mulder responds, scooping the bucket into his arms. When he nearly trips over my oversized purse, I remember something else.

"Oh, I almost forgot. My Mom gave me a late Christmas present, but she said it was for both of us and that we should only open it together."

"Well, that's cryptic," Mulder smiles mischievously. "I like your Mom a lot, Scully, but she's never been one to send me gifts."

"She absolutely would not tell me what was in it, and believe me, I tried to pry it out of her." I pull a brightly-wrapped box from my purse and lay it on his coffee table. "Why don't you read the card."

Mulder shrugs and removes the envelope taped to the package. It's a pretty normal Christmas card until he starts to read what she's written inside.

"Dear Kids, I saw this in one of the toy stores while Christmas shopping for Matty and thought it was too perfect to resist. You know each other so well, but think about how much more there may be to learn. Love, Mom."

"Now I am worried," I respond in reaction. "What's Mom up to this time?"

"I don't know, but why don't you open it?" Mulder suggests.

"Why not you?" I rebutt.

"Because I did the card."

"So, I carried it over here."

"Well, it's from your Mother."

"Enough!" I say, putting a stop to the bantering. "Why don't you do that side and I'll do this one." He nods in agreement and we both begin to work on freeing the paper from the box. My Mom should have been a professional at this, because it takes some time before the gift is revealed to us.

"Partners?" Mulder reads. And sure enough, my mother has given us a game called "Partners". I flip over the box this way and that until I find the game information.

"Over 200 hilarious and serious questions and a promise to tell only the truth will show you and your partner just how well you know each other." I'm afraid that the type of partnership for which the game was designed isn't quite the kind Mulder and I share, but it could still be fun. And who knows? "Well, Mulder? How about it?"

"You really want to play this?" He asks me in all seriousness.

"Sure, why not? Are you scared?"

"No," he answers, rising to the challenge with a laugh. "Anything you can dish out, I can take."

**

The sound of the nearby church bells chiming once to signal five minutes before the hour wakes me from a sound sleep, and I sit up suddenly, realizing I almost missed it.

"What's th'matter?" comes a groggy voice from beside me. It's Mulder, glorious in the resplendent moonlight that streams through his window.

"Nothing," I say, snuggling into his side again. "It's five minutes to the new year, Mulder. We don't want to miss seeing the millennium come in, do we?"

"I'm thinking right now that I like this millennium just fine," he smiles warmly before applying a row of kisses from the hollow of my throat up to my lips. I look around the room, seeing my red dress shining from where it's hanging on the bedroom door and then my cross, dangling from the lamp on the bedside table. It shines like Mulder, iridescent in the moonlight.

"Yeah, but just think how much better the new one will be," I say, trying out my best seductive voice. Not that it takes much seduction when two people who love each other are in the same bed sans clothing.

"As long as we're together, it's going to be great," he responds, kissing me passionately once again as we roll over. I run my hands over his strong, smooth shoulders, admiring the brand new shine that adorns the third finger of my left hand. I must remember to stop in and thank the folks at Chelsea's Jewelers for helping my fiancÚ choose such a perfect engagement ring.

When the stroke of midnight finally resounds through the room a minute or so later, we are truly ringing in the neaw year with a oneness unequalled. And as we are so joined, our eyes meet and we promise each other a new year - and a new millennium - full of promises that our lives with become more beautiful with each day.

The End