By Mary Kleinsmith (Buc252@aol.com)
Categories/Keywords: MSR, Holiday, Valentine’s Day, Written for VS10’s Valentine’s Day challenge
Summary: Mulder and Scully spend a romantic holiday.
Disclaimer: Scully, Mulder, and Maggie Scully – and all the Scully clan – belong to 10-13, Fox, and CC.
Author’s Notes: One additional disclaimer on this story. The Book of Lists belongs to David Wallace, and the Lord of the Rings belongs to J.R.R. Tolkien. I couldn’t put my hands on my copy of the Book of Lists, so I had to fudge on the page number, but the specific list mentioned is real. If anybody has a copy, feel free to let me know where I went wrong!
Feedback: Please? Much appreciated!
By Mary Kleinsmith (Buc252@aol.com)
“Wait just a second!” Mulder pled when he moved to open his door in response to her knock. He knew who it was going to be – there was no doubt. Scrambling about in his small dining area, he set up the borrowed screen, creating a hallway through which Scully could walk without seeing his Valentine’s Day preparations.
Out of breath, he finally opened the door.
“Hi,” he said bashfully.
“What are you up to, Mulder?” she looked at him suspiciously.
“Nothing at all. Why do you always presume I’m getting into trouble?”
“Because usually, you are, my love.” She pecked him on the lips as she walked by, hanging her coat on the pool-ball coat rack while he waited. “And, for the record, I’d call <that> ‘up to something’.” She motioned to the room divider with a grin.
“Can’t a guy try to surprise his lady?” Mulder asked with a roll of his eyes. Sometimes, it seemed all they ever did was converse in questions and eye movement.
He escorted her into the living room, which was unusually neat, he knew, and was pleased when she noticed.
“Mulder, I’ve never seen your apartment so clean.”
“It’s always clean, Scully.”
“Okay, so uncluttered.”
“Now I couldn’t very well entertain a beautiful lady with files and sweat socks laying around. Especially not today.”
“No, not today,” she said with a smile. It had been a long time since he’d had a Valentine’s Day where he didn’t feel like crawling into a hole and pretending he didn’t exist, and he wasn’t about to let the opportunity pass him by.
“Would you like some wine? I have a bottle chilling.”
She watched as he walked away, wondering what else he had in mind for their evening.. Heck, she’d have been more than satisfied with a quiet night snuggling on his couch in front of the TV, maybe a romantic comedy if she could talk him into it.
Scully rose, wandering about the apartment. It really was amazing what he’d done in preparation for their evening. Every spec of clutter had been picked up and put into its place, leaving a room that looked much larger than it usually did.
All except for the boxes half-concealed in the corner, she now noticed. Whatever else he’d put away, these were left out. Perhaps he just lacked the closet space, but she was intrigued. Especially since each box said, “Fox” on the side.
“What are these, Mulder?” she asked when he returned to the room, two glasses and a bottle of wine in hand.
“Childhood treasures,” he said simply, pouring two glasses. He approached, handing her one.
“Treasures? Like baseball cards and that kind of thing?”
“Not quite. Go ahead, you can look.” As she took down the first box and began to open it, Mulder explained.
“When Mom moved from the house to the apartment where she . . .” he swallowed, but she tried to hide her pride when he went on. “Where she died, she put all this stuff in storage. After her death, I just left it there – I wasn’t ready to deal with it yet. But the renewal was up for the rental space, so I figured it was time to take care of it. Most of it was just junk. Furniture that had no sentimental value. But there were these boxes. The things from my room and those that I’d outgrown and had stored in the basement.”
He knelt down beside her, and she wondered if she wasn’t pushing him. He seemed ready to delve into his past, but she didn’t want him hurt. Was he ready?
The first box was heavy.
“Ah, the Mulder scholastic achievement archive,” he laughed.
“Basketball <and> baseball?” she questioned, holding up two first-place trophies.
“There’s one in there somewhere for cross country, too. What can I say, there was a lot I was running from at that point in my life.” He shrugged, as if it were nothing to have gone through everything he had in his life and still come out as good a person as he was.
She found the coveted Cross Country trophy, as well as several other trophies and ribbons for sports. It was obvious that his knack for athletics wasn’t something he’d developed after becoming an adult.
“And these?” she motioned to stacks of papers.
“Reports cards,” he grinned in embarrassment.
She began to flip through them, impressed at the grades. Twelve years of primary education were represented, and even back then, his mind was remarkable. But she couldn’t help but notice that there were none for Sam.
Somehow, he knew what she was thinking. “After Sam was taken, Mom removed her report cards from the box. I’m not sure what ever happened to them – destroyed, I imagine. I couldn’t find them anywhere. They destroyed or gave away almost all of her things; I should have known then that they knew more than they were letting on. She wasn’t coming home, no matter how hard I wished.”
Mulder seemed to lose himself in his thoughts for a moment, and Scully tried to comfort him with a hand on his arm. Finally, he came back into himself. “I did manage to keep one thing.”
Opening a second box, under a worn Stratego game, he found a battered lump of cloth. At first she thought it was a piece of Sam’s clothing, but upon closer inspection, it was a very old rag doll. Mulder took it reverently and placed it in her hands.
“It was Sam’s favorite – she never went anywhere without it. After she was taken, Dad looked everywhere for it. He wanted to get rid of it with the rest of her things, but he never found it.”
“Because you had it,” Scully stated, not questioning, and he nodded.
“I was so sure she was coming back, and I didn’t want her to come home and not have her doll waiting for her.” He caressed the doll and then set it aside.
In the same box as the doll and the Stratego game, she found a child’s magic set and a pair of what appeared to be . . . pointed ears?
“What . . .?”
Mulder laughed, his mood lifted. “I was about seven the year I was Mr. Spock for Halloween. God, what a dork I must have looked like.”
“You were Mr. Spock with a tiara?” Scully chuckled, holding up a sparkling item.
“Sam was a Fairy Princess the same year. I never meant to hold onto that, but she asked me to hide it for her. Mom said she was going to put away the costumes for the year, and Sam wanted to be able to play Princess all year round. So I stashed it, along with my ears.” He took the tiny item from her. “I never realized how small it was.”
“You’re looking at it through the eyes of an adult now. That makes a big difference.”
“Telling me I’m grown is okay, just please don’t tell me I’m getting old,” he smiled.
She took the tiara back from him and placed it and the pointed ears gently into the box with other board games and unremarkable minutiae.
Sliding the last box over in front of her, she was surprised by its weight. It all made sense, though, when she opened it to find it was filled with books. On the very top was a dog-eared copy of a paperback book. “The Book of Lists, Mulder? So even as a child you were intrigued by the things most find inconsequential.”
“Scully,” Mulder said, and she was surprised to notice he was blushing a bit. “There is only one reason that I, at fourteen, owned that book, and it’s on Page 256.”
“Page 256?” She asked, and he nodded towards the book.
“Go ahead, look it up.”
She flipped through the book until she finally found the correct number. There it was, right in the center of the page.
“10 Positions for Sexual Intercourse?” she laughed. “Mulder, what was a 14-year-old doing with this book?!”
“Well, from a parent’s perspective, it’s one minor thing in a book full of educational information. Not that that’s not educational, mind you,” he leered. “I always suspected that the adults never read the entire book – just flipped through, checked out a few lists, and approved it. I actually saw it first in the school library, but then I got a copy of my own. My father wasn’t exactly . . . communicative on the specifics of interpersonal relationships. That book and the Playboy my best friend swiped from his father <was> my sex education. No wonder I ended up so screwed up.”
Scully pulled him close by the collar of his shirt, planting a kiss on his lips. “I see nothing screwed up about you, Mulder. And what you learned, you learned <very> well.” She wiggled her eyebrows and kissed him again, this time longer. When they separated, she kept the book in her hand. “I think I’m going to hold onto this for future reference.”
“A 14-year-old’s fantasy come true,” he laughed, but there was heat there. She broke the eye contact to delve back into the box.
“Lord of the Rings. . . So this is where it all began.”
“Where what all began?”
“Elves, trolls, dwarfs, wizards, monsters, . . . and a human man who saves them all. With a little help from his friends, of course.”
Mulder got a wistful look on his face. “I always wanted to be Aragorn.”
“So you could romance the beautiful elf princess?”
“No, I think it had more with wanting to have control over my destiny. I’m still trying to get that one. He had such personal power – he was a King, even when he wasn’t in Gondor. Even when he wasn’t sure who he was meant to be.”
“You related to that a great deal, didn’t you?”
He nodded. “Especially after they gave up on finding Sam.”
“We had to read it for school; it wasn’t really my thing, but it was good. Do you know what I noted most from this book, Mulder?”
“There are no people with red hair in Middle Earth.” They looked at each other in silence for a moment, and then both erupted in laughter.
“I never realized that before, but you’re right,” he said, wiping his eyes a few minutes later.
Scully went back to removing books from the box while she bit her lip. “Have you seen the movie? Or movies, to be precise?”
“Fellowship of the Ring? And The Two Towers?” She nodded. “I think you’d know if I had, but no.”
“Why not? I would have gone with you if I’d known you were such a fan.”
“I guess I was just afraid of being disappointed. That it wouldn’t live up to my imagination and expectations.”
“What could?” she kidded him. “But seriously. Please, come with me. There’s an old theater over in Georgetown that’s still showing them both.”
“Scully, I may not have seen the movies, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t heard of them. You’re talking about over six hours of theater.”
“Yes, I am. You got something better to do?”
“Call it my valentine’s gift,” she suggested.
“No way. You deserve better than that.” A buzzer sounding suddenly in the kitchen drew both their attention. “I’ll be right back – gotta check on dinner.”
She directed her attention back to the books. They were nothing remarkable; texts from school, books on astronomy, baseball, basketball – all he things she knew he loved even to this day. She almost gave up until she noticed the final book, sitting in the box crookedly. Removing it, she found . . .
“Where did you find that?” Mulder asked. She hadn’t realized he’d returned to the room.
In her hands she held a small, white teddy bear. It was adorable, holding a satiny red and lace pillow that said, “Be My Valentine.”
“Sam’s?” Scully asked.
Mulder grinned sardonically. “No, not this time.”
“Yours?” she asked, surprised.
“Sort of. I saved up my allowance and bought that for the first girl I loved.” He smiled, and Scully understood that this wasn’t true love, but adolescent love.
“And you never got the nerve to give it to her?”
“No, I did.” Mulder sat down on the floor closely beside her. But . . . well, I guess 14-year-old girls are just more mature than boys. You might say I loved her from afar. I walked right up to her and gave her the bear.” He took it from Scully’s hands, holding it for the first time in many years, she was sure. “I asked her to be my valentine.”
She waited, wanting to ask what the young girl said, especially since Mulder seemed hesitant to go on. Finally, he swallowed and did so. “She threw it back at me. Laughed and said I was a ‘geek’ and threw it back at me.” A child’s sorrow shone through in his voice.
“Oh, Mulder. I’m so sorry.”
“I got over it,” he said, moving to throw the bear back in the box. Instead, she took it from his hands gently.
“May I have it?”
“Scully, I . . .”
“Why would you want it?” he asked, puzzled.
“I just think . . . I think it should belong to somebody who loves you.”
Mulder’s eyes glistened in happiness as he nodded. “Know anybody like that?”
“I know a lot of people like that. But nobody loves you more than I do.” She kissed him, and this time, it was no peck on the lips.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Scully,” he said when they finally came up for air.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Mulder,” she responded. “Now help me put all this stuff away, then you need to feed me.” He looked at her questioningly. “I have a feeling I’m going to need my energy later tonight.”