A Rose For Mulder

By Jeannine Ackerson

 

Jan 30, 1997

 

*** Deb's Valentine's Day fanfic challenge***

Rating: PG for romantic situations and one bad word.

Disclaimer: The X-Files and the characters portrayed therein are property of C. Carter, FOX & 1013 Prod. No copyright infringement is intended.

Relationship: Hmm, let me think, yes, it's a MSR, so anti-relationshippers should probably skip this one. <g>

Summary: Valentine's Day for our favorite obsessed FBI agent takes a strange turn with a rose and an invitation.

Hi everybody! This is my contribution to the Valentine's Day challenge. I thought, in these liberated days, why can't the girl send the guy the flower? So, she does. And then it gets fun. <g> But anyway, on to the story . . .

He hated Valentine's Day.

With a passion.

That was funny, Mulder mused to himself, propping his feet up on his desk in his basement office. Passionately hating the most romantic day of the year. There had to be an X-File in there somewhere if he had the heart to look for it. But he didn't. Because Valentine's Day just hadn't been the same since he decided he was in love with his partner.

Not that being in love with Dana Scully was the problem. No, more than anything that was the solution. But not being able to do anything about the situation made it increasingly hard to look at love and romance in a favorable way. Plus the fact that he didn't think that Scully could feel that way about him sort of helped push him along on that train of depression.

So, here he was on Valentine's Day, a half hour after quitting time, not wanting to leave the relatively safe confines of his office. Cause here he had something to distract himself with. Work. At home . . . there was nothing that would be able to hold his attention for the rest of the night.

And tonight, all he could think about was the fact that Scully was probably on a date of some sort.

The only evidence he had to that hypothesis was that she'd left half an hour early, claiming that she had to get some things done for tonight. He'd just smiled wanly at her, and told her good night. Then he'd settled in for a long night of searching for the perfect case in his files and the trash transcripts that he collected from the Bureau's "unwanted" piles. He would find some wild goose chase for he and Scully to take on by morning. He always did.

The phone rang suddenly, and the precarious perch of his feet slipped from the desk top. Struggling upright, he reached over and snatched the phone on the third ring.

"Mulder," he answered, slightly out of breath.

"Agent Mulder," said the voice of his boss, A.D. Skinner in an authoritative tone, "Could you come up to my office please."

"Yes sir," Mulder mumbled, and hung up the phone.

He wondered for a moment what Skinner was doing there at such a late hour. Looking at his watch, he found that it was only 6:30. Not that late he conceded. Grabbing his jacket, he headed out the door, not bothering to lock it. No one would be wandering around at this late hour. Especially not down near the vault of the "FBI's most unwanted."

Mulder was still trying to puzzle out why Skinner had chosen tonight to call him up and request that he make certain that he and Scully schedule their recertification in the next month. It was such a minor thing, and he didn't know why he'd even had to go to his office for Skinner to tell him. Weird, he thought as he stepped out of the elevator and wandered down to his office.

The door was slightly ajar, and he didn't remember leaving it like that. Years of paranoia and suspicion had taught him well, and he retrieved his service weapon from the waistband of his pants. Holding it at the ready, he toed the door open, and then swept the room as he'd learned in his Quantico training.

But there was no one there. Nothing.

Well, almost nothing he realized with surprise as he noted something on his desk that hadn't been there before. As he replaced his gun, he walked over to inspect the item. Item*s*, he corrected mentally as he ended up in front of his desk, staring at what he was sure was a figment of his imagination.

There was a long stemmed red rose on his desk. Standing upright over it was a note card, plain white with a border of purple and gold. Looking closer, he realized that it was a piece of stationary. And it had his name on it. In bold script.

Picking up the note, he opened it, and read the message.

"The loneliest man is not the one without love,

But the one who has love and does not realize it.

Speakman's

7:10 p.m."

Now more than a little dazed, Mulder sat down in his chair and tried to figure out what was going on. Obviously it had to have been left when I was out of the office, which didn't leave a very big window of opportunity, he thought. Who has access to the building that would come down here he wondered, reaching over and picking up the rose stem by his fingertips.

What really confused him the most was that he didn't know who would be inviting him to dinner in one of the nicest restaurants in town. Ok, he thought, someone left me this rose as their calling card of sorts. Romantic gesture, but there's no name. And since I haven't had a date in more months, no make that years than I'd like to count, I don't have a clue who it could be.

He twirled the rose between his fingers, staring down at the delicate beauty of the dark red colored petals. He'd always liked roses. They had such a strength to them. Yet the right ones smelled so beautiful, almost fragile in their perfume. A total contradiction in terms.

As he spun the rose, noting that there were still some thorns on the stem, he caught sight of the time on his watch. It was already 7. If he was going to meet this mystery woman, he was going to have to leave *now*. Curiosity overriding paranoia he put his coat on and headed out for the night, closing and locking the door behind him, rose still in hand.

Luck was with him as he sped across town. The last thing he needed was to get a ticket and be later than he already was going to be. He made the light and turned into the parking lot just as the car clock read 7:12. Finding a parking place was harder though. Finally an old couple walked out and left in their antique station wagon, so he slipped quickly into the vacated space.

With a quick slam of the car door, he headed into the restaurant. As he approached the maitre'd's podium, the man looked up in pleasure and smiled.

"You must be Mr. Mulder. You're exactly as the lady described you. Let me take you to your table," the tall dusky skinned man drawled, taking Mulder past the throngs of people waiting and into the dining area.

Obediently Mulder followed the man, his mind still a bit numb. Whomever this woman was, she knew him well enough to describe him to a perfect stranger so they could recognize him. Then there was still the matter of who would have gone to all this trouble for him on Valentine's Day. They rounded a corner and the maitre'd showed Mulder into a private room. Giving the man a quick, questioning glance, he proceeded through the doorway to meet the mystery woman.

And his jaw dropped.

There sat an elegantly laid out table with champagne, candles and another dozen red roses like the one in his hand. And standing beside it was his *partner*. She smiled at him and he had to mentally remind himself to breathe and smile at her.

The breathing part just about halted though when he took a real look at her. She was gorgeous. She stood there, dressed in a black cocktail dress, with spaghetti straps and a low neckline. His eyes traveled a little further down, and noted that the hem of her skirt was well over an inch above her knee. All in all, it was probably the most revealing thing she'd ever worn since they'd been partnered. And it was a good thing too, or else he would have done something very unpartnerlike long ago.

Suddenly he realized who it was in front of him, and what they were doing. He was obviously having a Valentine's dinner with his best friend. Never in a million years would he have expected her to do something like this.

Dana felt like she'd let him have enough time to process everything, and walked slowly to him. With practiced ease, she laid a hand on his arm, then slid it down to the hand holding the rose. She smiled even more brightly. That he had thought enough of it, the invitation to come with it in hand meant a lot to her. It almost made the butterflies in her stomach go away. Almost.

With a careful, light grip, she circled her hand around his wrist and lifted the rose up to her eye level. After giving it a quick glance, she drug her eyes up to meet his still startled ones.

"I'm glad you liked the rose," she said simply, sweetly.

It took Mulder a moment before the words registered. Then he realized it would probably be a good thing to answer her.

"They're my favorite Scully. But you knew that already, didn't you?" he replied, his voice sounding a bit hesitant. He was still trying to figure out what she was up to with this dinner. Because it looked like a scene out of a romance novel in his opinion. But he wasn't about to get his hopes up. Yet.

"Not really, but I took a chance. Besides, they say you can never go wrong with a single red rose," she answered, then with a slight breath, she continued. "You know Mulder, it is alright for you to call me Dana."

He was sure that his heart had stopped when she said that. The way she'd said it had been so powerful, but she'd barely said the words louder than a whisper. Then he felt her thumb glide slowly across his wrist and thought he was loosing his mind. Every single sense and brain cell he had was telling him that Dana Scully, his partner and best friend was coming on to him. It was like a dream come true.

The only problem was that he couldn't believe it. Even though it was staring him right in the face.

"Dana, what's all this about?" he practically stammered, the intense blue of her eyes melting him.

"Mulder . . ."

Then he surprised both of them by interrupting her.

"Fox," he said gently, his empty hand reaching over and taking her other hand in his, squeezing tight. At the same time his mouth began to curve into a slight grin.

"Fox," she said carefully, the sound of it coming from her lips was like music to his ears, "Do you remember the message on the note I left you?"

Puzzled again, he stared at her as his mind pulled the information from the file cabinet of his eidetic memory.

"Yeah. It said 'The loneliest man is not the one without love, but the one who has love and does not realize it.' Why? What does it mean?"

"It means that while you've thought you were alone, you weren't. I've always been here. To take care of you. To . . .," she paused a moment, and looked down. There was a slight blush on her cheeks, and she looked back up to his questioning eyes with tears in hers, "love you. But because you didn't know it, you were more alone than if you had no one. So that's what this is about . . . to let you finally know the truth. That my heart, my love is yours, if you want them."

In an instant Mulder had her in his embrace and the rose in his hand dropped to the floor in favor of holding another, more precious prize. He couldn't believe the turn of events. Suddenly the worst day of the year was now the best. But he still had to answer her. Swallowing the tears that were threatening to break from his eyes, he prepared to tell her the words that had been fighting for utterance for two years.

"I love you too Dana," he whispered.

She pulled back in his arms and then leaned in to kiss him. He met her halfway, their lips molding to each other's with perfection. Finally Dana broke the kiss and then eased away from their embrace, taking Fox's hand in hers and leading him to the table. As they sat down together, sitting close and smiling happily, a stray thought struck Mulder, and he had to ask.

"Scully, did you set me up?" he asked incredulously.

Her grin only got wider as she figured out what he was referring to. She then mentally reminded herself that she'd have to thank Skinner for getting Mulder out of the office after she'd called him on her cel phone from the lobby. That recertification reminder had come in quite handy.

"Hell no Mulder. You walked right into it. Love sort of blinds you, don't you know," she replied with a smug tone.

"It certainly does, because I never knew Dana. I couldn't see it, how you felt, for the life of me."

"I know," she answered knowingly, then smiled. "Oh, by the way Fox, Happy Valentine's Day."

-End-

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