New Year's Resolutions

By Jeannine Ackerson


Dec 25, 1996


Rating: PG. (It's pretty clean)

Spoilers: Lots of minor mentions to episodes up through the end of season 3. (That way our friends overseas can read this)

Disclaimer (and all you lawyers at FOX please take note): The X-Files as well as the characters portrayed therein are property of C. Carter, FOX Broadcasting, and 1013 Prod. AND they don't belong to me.

Relationship: MSR. If you're still not convinced they belong together, even after seeing "Pusher", then skip this.

Summary: As midnight approaches, our heroes think about what changes they'd like to make in their lives for the new year.

Hi All! I'm skipping the "usual" Christmas story and going straight to New Year's. Actually, if you must know, I wanted an "N" story for the Alphabet Files. <g> So, this is my take on what New Year's resolutions I think M&S should make. <eg> But anyhow, on to the story . . .

They'd flipped a coin to see who's apartment they'd have the "affair" in, and he'd won. Sort of. So Fox Mulder had ended up having to clean up his place and buy the champagne. In turn, Scully had been required to bring the food. It was just as well since his cooking skills were somewhat limited, and she'd had years of working in the Scully kitchen during the holidays to hone her talents. Which in Mulder's opinion were considerable. And delicious. But he wouldn't admit it. At least not to her.

And of course, Dana Scully wouldn't admit it, but she liked cooking for Mulder. It gave her a chance to make sure he ate well. It was bad enough that she knew he slept on the couch they now both sat on, but at least she could make sure he got a decent meal every now and then. But she wasn't about to let him know that she felt the need to take care of him.

So the two partners relaxed in Mulder's apartment, stuffed from her meal of chicken Marsalla, and watched the New Year's festivities on the television. Not very exciting, but at least it was *something*. They'd decided since neither of them seemed to have a life outside of work, it had just seemed 'right' to celebrate the New Year together.

Just for a moment, Scully thought about just how apropos this was. The wildest, loudest night of the year and they sat in his apartment, watching TV. It was a far cry from what she considered the norm for them: the often scary and regularly strange cases that constituted the X-Files. The constant activity and paranoia that went along with working in their department. In fact, it had been quiet in their basement office since Christmas. It was almost . . . spooky.

Scully suddenly laughed at the thought, catching Mulder's attention, and he turned his head to look at her. She quickly stopped and threw in place her professional mask. Just because it seemed like they didn't have a life outside of each other didn't mean that they shared *everything*. And she wasn't quite willing to share this particular thought with him. At least not unless he asked.

That was always her downfall she thought with a sudden realization. If he asked her something, she had a hard time not answering. And answering truthfully as well. The only real lie she could ever tell him with any regularity was her standard "I'm fine" line, and she knew he didn't believe her anymore when she said it.

Pulling herself from her reverie, she noted that he was still watching her. She could almost see the wheels working in that brilliant mind of his. He was considering something, but she wasn't sure of just what yet.

"So Scully, what's your New Year's resolution?" Mulder asked lightly, yet with a slight edge to his voice. He leaned back against his couch and folded his arms behind his head as he waited for her reply.

Her mind considered the question Mulder had just posed to her. At first she thought just to answer him with a straight, "I don't know," but the way he had asked it stopped her and she decided to ponder it for a while.

A resolution spoke of making up one's mind to do something. And of all the things she wanted to do in the new year, it was to tell Mulder the one thing she'd never told another living soul: tell him that she had fallen in love.

She thought he might have suspected who it was that she was in love with, but he'd never said a word. Had never made any hint that he'd noticed the way she acted around him, cared for him, loved him. He hadn't acknowledged her feelings. He'd just kept the status quo.

So she'd done the same. Making loving touches seem neutral. Passionate gazes seem concerned. Kept the smiles and pain to herself as much as possible to keep from blurring the line he seemed to be happy in maintaining. Done nothing to let Fox Mulder know she was in love with *him*.

Sometimes though, she wondered if he felt the same way she did. With a sigh she finally she returned to the question at hand. Without a second thought, she gave an answer that was politely neutral, but still open to interpretation.

"Maybe to take some more vacation time this year," she said aloud, part of her wishing there was someone to take on vacation. Like a man with a severe case of paranoia and a proprietary hand on her back. One with stunning hazel eyes and lips to die for. Yeah, right, like that was going to happen, she reprimanded herself fiercely.

"Ah Scully, you can't do that and leave me all by myself. Just think of the trouble I'd get into," he replied with a sorrowful puppy dog look that melted her heart every time she saw it.

"Well, you could take some too," she suggested, in an effort to be helpful.

"And do what? It's not like I have a life or anything. Where would I go? And I don't particularly like taking trips alone," he complained. Just the thought of not working, and being on vacation by himself was unappealing. Besides, no exotic locale or sight could compete with his work. Especially considering the *view* he had there, he thought with a instantaneous surfacing of his buried emotions. Not that it wasn't an unwelcome one, but it just wasn't a proper thought to be having about one's partner

"You could always come with me . . ." she offered with the slightest smile.

Once the words were out of her mouth, she snapped it shut in a rush. Oh my God, did I just say that? she thought with shock. Then after long seconds passed, she hazarded a glance in his direction. He sat there silent. Then she realized that he hadn't said anything. No joke, no innuendo, nothing. Which had her puzzled. Why hadn't he said anything?

Truthfully, Mulder hadn't said anything because he was in shock. He sat there stunned, his expression fixed but the emotions whirling in his head and heart. What had she just said? She didn't mean it like she'd said . . . she *couldn't* have. That would mean . . .

You're just reading into it what you want to hear Mulder, he told himself sternly. She can't think the way you do. She can't feel the same things that you do. She wouldn't want to be with you 24 hours a day on a purely social basis, with no Consortium or Bureau, would she? No, she couldn't . . .

"What about you?" she asked suddenly, breaking his train of thought.

"What about me what?" he said distractedly.

"What's your new year's resolution?" she repeated, her voice soft.

He had to think about that. Of all the things that he wanted next year, he had half a dozen come to mind. But the one thing that was more important to him than the rest, he didn't think he had the resolve to ask for, to make it his goal for the new year. So he covered his emotions and opinions with the obvious answer.

"Besides finding Sam you mean," he said with a wistful tone, and forced his gaze away from her.

Silently she cursed herself for making him think of Samantha. It wasn't like she wasn't on his mind all the time anyway, but the question had just made him think about it a little harder.

"Sorry Mulder. I didn't mean for . . ." she began, but he cut off the rest of her comment.

"It's OK Scully. No harm done. But other than the stuff I want every year," he said carefully, slipping over the real wish he had. "I'd like to try and go the next year without landing in the hospital."

They smiled and he laughed a little. It was a big joke between them that he always seemed to be getting banged up and landing in a hospital every other case. She just couldn't see him surviving a year without something happening to him that required a hospital visit.

"So, are you quitting the Bureau to make sure that you can keep your resolution?" she questioned with a upturned eyebrow.

Again they were smiling, and he made a face at her, and they then were both laughing.

"Nah. If I did, then I wouldn't have any fun. I mean, how could I go on without being chased by men in black. Or finding flukemen in sewers . . ." he said, smiling broadly.

"Don't forget chasing after aliens in trucks and going up against poltergeists," she added, smiling at the fond memories. Although not all of them had been good times, a lot of them had been, mostly because they'd been together.

"What about the tribal curses and little green bugs?" he threw back.

She paused for a minute. They'd almost died on that last one. She remembered his words as clearly as if he'd said them yesterday, "It'll be a nice trip to the forest." Hah. It had been far from that. Then the thought of bugs lead her mind to another case, one with darker memories for her.

"If we're talking bugs . . ." she murmured, not really wanting to bring up the case. Bring up that "certain entomologist".

"Well," he stammered uncomfortably, then switched subjects. He didn't want to think about it. "At least it wasn't as bad as Comity."

A sudden silence dropped around them with the thickness of a blanket. They'd gotten past that incident, but the old wounds were still there, ready to be reopened. Scully knew there was one way to cut the silence, and finally heal those wounds once and for all, but it involved risk. Everything would have to be laid on the table . . . she'd have to tell the *total* truth.

And it was a truth she wanted to tell him so badly. And so she went ahead and said something she'd never before admitted to him.

"You know, the real reason you can't leave the Bureau is that I'd have to get a new partner. And I don't think I could find another one who has such good timing when it comes to saving me," she said emotionally, "another one who would sacrifice so much to protect me."

"How's that?" he squeaked out, not believing what she'd said. One minute their thoughts were back in Comity, fighting with each other.

The next moment, Scully was admitting that not only did she need him, but that she accepted his protection. Relied on it. He was starting to wonder what exactly was going on. They hadn't even had any of the champagne yet. His mind and emotions were already in a free fall with those words, and he wasn't sure if he was up to hearing her next reply. But he was going to do it anyway. Just on the off chance that . . .

"Let's see," she recalled, setting up the list in her head. "Tooms, Pfaster, Modell, the alien bounty hunter, the cannibal sheriff in Arkansas, the list goes on. Even with Duane Berry . . ."

"Scully," Mulder said with a slight protest in his tone, "I wasn't there for you when you needed me then. They took you . . . and I wasn't there."

She could hear the pain in his voice and knew it was mirrored in his soul. All because he felt guilty for not coming to her aid when she'd called for *him*. That *one* time. No matter how many other times he'd actually been there, that one occasion still haunted him. With a sudden surge of determination, she made up her mind that she wasn't going to let that particular demon hurt him anymore. This new year he *wasn't* going to feel guilty for that. Not if she could help it.

"Yes you were. You were there when I needed you. You helped bring me back. Were you or were you not there at my bedside at the hospital? Were you or were you not there when I woke up? Were you or were you not there to give me the strength of your beliefs?"

He was silent. Yes, all of those things were true, but . . .

"You've always been there for me when I needed you Mulder. Physically, emotionally or spiritually."

Again the silence descended on the room, the only sound that of Dick Clark talking about the upcoming countdown in Times Square. Mulder sat there and stared at his partner, his best friend. And for the first time, he wondered what had really kept her with him. Why she'd done so much for him. He decided right then that he had to know before the new year.

"I owe you so much, more than I could ever pay back. You've rescued me so many times. From death, from myself. I ditch you and you come find me and take care of me. I'm in pain and you console me. I'm in trouble and you defend me. And I don't know why. Is there anything you wouldn't do for me Dana?" he said softly, almost as if beseeching her to answer the question with his heart's desire. The words he'd kill for her to say to him.

Her breath caught just a bit when she hear him say her name. There was something going on. Something tangible that was there in the room with them. If she said the wrong thing now . . .

But then, if she said the right thing, and he felt the same . . . She couldn't even finish that thought without feeling goose bumps run along her skin.

"No," she said simply. She watched as his throat struggled to work. This was affecting him as much as it was her.

She let her hand reach over and cover his where it lay against his thigh. She could feel the heat burn her skin. Then she knew what she had to do. Keep this one new year's resolution . . .

"Is there anything else Mulder? Any resolution to do something that you should have done last year, or have wanted to do?" she asked softly, almost pleadingly.

Mulder looked at her. Really looked at her. He watched the blue eyes for any hint of what was going on behind them. And beneath their shifting color was something that he could swear was more than friendly. More than caring. It looked positively smoldering. And what took his breath away was that it was directed at him. What he'd wanted to see in his partner's eyes all these years was there, and all he had to do was admit he'd seen it there. Admit his feelings for her.

"Really I have just two things," he began, but faltered. Only when he felt Scully barely caress his hand did he feel courageous enough to speak them. "First, I wish I hadn't told you not to call me Fox."

He looked at her and saw the most radiant smile he'd ever seen. It even outshone the time he'd woken up in Alaska after she'd saved his life. One of many times. And now she was smiling at him, because of what he'd said. Because of the implications of that admission.

"I like that idea. So, do you want to let me call you Fox?" she whispered, her voice lyrical in its tone as she spoke his name for the first time since waking from her coma. And with it he felt the familiar wash of emotion he'd come to associate with his feelings for her.

He suddenly noted that somewhere along the line he'd moved closer to her, and now, all he had to do was reach over and pull her to him . . . God, he wanted to, but he wanted to make sure she wanted that too.

"I think I'd like that Dana," he said, his own tone hushed as he leaned in towards her. Slowly he reached the hand that wasn't covered with hers towards the back of her head, and stopped just at the edge of her collar, fingering the reddish hued strands that lay against it.

Deliberately Scully moved and tucked a leg up underneath herself, turning towards Mulder. The moment of truth was here. She just had to follow through. She watched him watch her. Wished that he'd finish what he had to say. Prayed it was what she thought it was.

"So Fox, what was the second resolution?" she questioned as her hand moved from his to brush against his cheek. With that slight move, she saw his eyes darken visibly, turning from hazel to nearly black. And the fire behind them just couldn't be disguised any longer. He wanted her as much as she wanted him.

"To expand on the best relationship I've ever known. To put the fate of my heart in their hands and hope for the best."

He dropped his eyes for just a second, and then raised them in a deliberately slow manner. Once he locked his gaze with her again, he took a deep breath and gave voice to what he'd been harboring in his heart and soul for two and a half years.

"I love you Dana Katherine Scully, and my New Year's resolution is to have you as my partner, in every way the word can mean," he breathed, putting a hand around her waist and pulling her into his space. Their lips were inches apart, and he ached to kiss them, but he had to finish first. "So Dana, can you help me with my resolution?"

"Most definitely Fox William Mulder. I love you too," she replied, leaning in to brush her lips against his.

Then they were kissing in earnest, his lips suctioned to hers, their hands on each other's bodies, claiming each other in a way they'd always wanted but had continually denied themselves. And as they kissed, in the background the television blared . . .

"3, 2, 1, Happy New Year!!!"


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