TITLE: Christmas Eve & Airports
SUMMARY: A snowy Christmas Eve at an airport.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Here's a little Christmas piece I started before "The Ghosts That Stole Christmas" aired. No gifts in this one, though, they kinda got lost in Mulder's storage area, better known as his bedroom. J Merry Christmas everyone!! Anyone who would like to view this story with a pretty snowflake background and Christmas touch can read it at http://members.tripod.com/Jen1121/christmas.html
"Bless you," Dana Scully said for what seemed the thousandth time. Her partner, Fox Mulder grabbed for a tissue. She stole a glance at him before returning her gaze back to the road ahead of her. He looked awful. Dark circles under his eyes that she knew came from spending last night up coughing and sneezing. She could hear him from the room next door. Oh well, that's what you get going out in December with no coat on she thought.
"We'll be home soon, Mulder," she promised. "Lucky for you we managed to get a flight back to D.C. on Christmas Eve. Which is a good thing, Mulder, because if I had to spend a Christmas stranded in Jersey because of one of your 'hunches'-"
Scully sighed and made the turn that led them to Newark Airport. She pulled the car up to the rental area they had first rented it from. Turning off the engine, she held the key in her hand and sat for a minute.
Mulder had already begun to open the car door, tissues in one hand, but stopped when he saw Scully wasn't moving.
"Scully, what's taking you so long?" He looked at her.
Scully shook her head and smiled. "I just realized I haven't even wrapped my gifts yet. Guess it's going to be a 'presents-stuffed-in-paper-bags' Christmas." She opened her door. "You owe me, Mulder."
Mulder sniffed and shut his door. "You'll forgive me when you get your Christmas present," he said with a sly grin.
"Oh, will I? It better be nice."
"Scully, are you mocking my taste?" He coughed and Scully sighed and smiled.
"Come on, let's go return this car and go home before you catch pneumonia."
Newark Airport, NJ Christmas Eve 4:45 p.m.
The airport was bustling with activity as Mulder and Scully entered. People rushed in and out. Children whined as their parents dragged them by.
"But I don't want to go to Grandma's for Christmas! It smells there!"
"Jacob John Keates, you know how I feel about whining-"
Scully watched the mother drag her son away and sighed. She _hated_ airports on Christmas. This was the last place she should be. she couldn't help thinking as she gripped her bag and walked toward the check-in station.
Meanwhile, Mulder was thinking the opposite. The busy airport was a welcome change of pace compared to his usual Christmas Eve. The Christmas Eve where his mother would call, and they would discover that once again they had nothing to say to each other. Then he would fall into a fitful sleep while watching all the "happy" Christmas programs on TV. Of course Christmas was always just a gift-giving time for him, being Jewish. He celebrated Chanukah as a kid, well kinda. Between the fights his parents had, the atmosphere was never "right" for celebration. And after Samantha disappeared it just got worse.
So here he was, 37 years old, and still dreading the holidays, Christmas, Chanukah, or whatever. They were never his favorite time of year.
Of course, holidays were much worse before Scully came along. At least now he had someone call him up and truly wish him a happy holiday. And, if she was convincing enough, he was dragged to her mother's for a few of the holidays. He remembered how she had roped him into Thanksgiving.
"I'll be fine, Scully."
"Sure, lounging on your couch and watching your videos. At least if you come with me you get food," she had said with a smile.
"I resent that, Scully. I will not be watching my videos. "It's a Wonderful Life" is on TV."
"And you can watch as well from my mother's than you can from here. And she has a better couch."
And of course, Scully had won the argument, so Mulder had sat through a Scully family Thanksgiving. And he survived, thanks to the fact Bill was unable to make it home for Thanksgiving (maybe God did grant small favors). It was a wonderful day, but he still felt out of place. He watched Scully laugh with her mom, and chat with Tara. Mulder even tried to get into the "family" spirit by playing with little Matthew. He saw Scully in her element. He began to wonder why she was still working with him when she could give it up to have a home life. He thought about it and then realized he was probably just lucky. He had a beautiful partner, who was also his best friend and-.. Mulder remembered that was the first time he had openly thought as Scully as his "beautiful" partner-..he never really used the adjective before. He had wanted to but---he felt-.strange.
Mulder glanced at Scully now, and watched her check her bags, then reach for his. Maybe his cold was blinding his senses, but he couldn't think of another time that she looked more beautiful. Whoah, what was that for? his mind told him, and he looked away from Scully, afraid she would see him blush.
He must has zoned out for a minute, because Scully was calling him. He turned and meet her blue eyes. A look of concern passed through them. They stood there, their eyes locked for a minute.
"Your bag, Mulder. You need to check your bag." She reached her hand out to his and Mulder got a chill when her hand connected with his.
What the hell is wrong with you Mulder?? What are you acting like a teenager now?? Scully's your partner, she's never been your-.
When Mulder didn't respond, Scully took his bag from him and dropped it to be tagged. Then she turned back to him, with her best "doctor's eye," Mulder turned away, but Scully caught his chin and turned his face back to her. She frowned and lifted her hand to his forehead.
"I think you're running a temperature. I have some Tylenol-"
Figures. Mulder tuned her out. He learned to turn her out during her "medical rants" a long time ago. He sighed. But with your luck it always is. Scully had finished her little "speech" and was now pulling him toward some plastic chairs.
"Mulder, sit." She pushed him down by the shoulders, a task not easily done by a five-foot-two woman to a six-foot man. She took the chair beside him.
"Our flight is running late. By at least 45 minutes. I checked with the desk." She routed through her purse as she spoke, and frowned when she came up empty-handed.
"45 minutes?" Mulder repeated, still recovering from his earlier thoughts.
Scully sighed and dropped her purse, looking at Mulder. "Yes, apparently there's a storm coming. D.C. may actually see snow this year. See you theories about the government's plan for global warning could be wrong," she teased with a smile.
"I'm never said that, Scully," he defended but was interrupted by another sneeze and a long round of coughing.
"That's it. You stay put, I'm going to get you some cold medicine."
"But, Scully, I'm fine," he started, but it was no use. She had waved him off and was steadily walking toward the airport shop. Mulder sighed let his head rest in his hands. His closed his eyes to the noise that was going to result in a major headache. He must has dozed off (even in such a weird position), because next thing he knew, Scully was shaking him.
"Mulder?" She sounded worried. He slowly lifted his head and met her concerned gaze.
"Yeah?" She frowned at him and lifted her hand once again to his forehead. Her frown deepened as she moved her hand down to his cheek. She turned to the plastic bag she had in her hands from the store. She reached into it and pulled out a bottle of Extra Strength Tylenol along with another item Mulder didn't recognize until the glass hit the light. Damn it. A thermometer.
"Scully, you better not be thinking of using that thing," he started, and Scully sat down next to him and began to open the bottle of pills.
"Well, Mulder, that all depends on you." She shook two pills out of the bottle and produced some orange juice from her bag. "I really would like to get a temperature, but if you take these pills like a good boy, I'll hold off for awhile." She smiled and Mulder suddenly got a warm feeling all over. He knew it could be from his fever, but he knew Scully's smile was enough to give him that feeling, sick or not.
Scully dropped the pills into his hand and handed him the juice. Mulder sighed, and not really wanting to have Scully take his temperature in front of a whole airport viewing audience, reluctantly swallowed both pills and forced down half the orange juice. But it was worth it when he got another smile from Scully. He smiled himself, inwardly laughing at the fact he felt like a little boy trying to please his mother.
Pills aside, Mulder sighed and leaned back against the chair.
"So, is the flight still 45 minutes late?" he asked. The crowded airport he relished only fifteen minutes before was suddenly becoming annoying. Whining kids, arguing couples, happy Christmas memories in the making--.he began to wish for his couch and "It's a Wonderful Life." At least then he could fall asleep and get rid of the headache that seemed to be getting larger every minute-..
Scully sensed his discomfort and patted his knee encouragingly. "As far as I know. But I'll go check." She narrowed her eyes in her perfected "doctor" look. "You _stay_ put." Mulder watched Scully walk toward the information desk, suddenly very interested in watching her walk. Smooth steps. He noticed how well she carried herself, and how much that made up for her height. No wonder she can always talk me into everything-. he thought with a smile. Maybe it was the fever, but he kept noticing the small little things Scully did now.
Her smile. Of course he had always noticed her smile. How pretty it was. But he never realized how much he relied on it. How much it could brighten a bad situation. But most of all how much he loved it when she smiled. He realized that she hadn't been doing to much of it, except maybe for the smile he got after his "trip" to Bermuda. Of course the lecture came along with it, but it was the smile he concentrated on. Of course he had blurted out the last thing he thought he would blurt out: "I love you."
And what was her reaction? "Oh brother." But her smile was enough for him to know everything was okay. Nothing had changed for them. But had he wanted it to?
He watched Scully, talking to the person at the information desk, and only one thought came into his head: yes. Did he want things to change for them? Yes. But would it happen? Had he meant it when he said "I love you"? Scully had reminded him he had a blow to the head, as well as plenty of drugs inhabiting his bloodstream, so at the time, he had dismissed it. But deep down he knew. He knew it in her smile. He knew.
Scully came back, her smile dissipating. Mulder's own form slumped at seeing her smile fading.
"What's wrong?" Scully sat next to him, and turned toward him.
"Well, remember that storm I said might hit D.C.?"
Mulder nodded, though he only vaguely remembering Scully mentioning it. Not the time to bring that up now though.
"Well, it's here. And we're stuck."
Stuck? "Say that again, Scully?"
"I said we're stuck. No flights to D.C. are leaving until tomorrow morning. So I decided to ask if we could rent a car. No such luck. Turns out the storm is coming up the coast. Supposed to hit here within the hour. The roads are already dangerously icy, I'm told. So, we're"
"Stuck," Mulder finished for her, and sneezed as soon as he finished. The sneeze soon turned to a cough, which soon turned into a series of coughs.
Scully frowned and sighed and took out the thermometer, playing with it in her hands. "Yes, we're stuck. Till tomorrow." She sighed again. "And I'm supposed to be at my mom's at six a.m. sharp to open Christmas presents."
Mulder immediately felt guilty. "I'm sorry, Scully."
Scully looked at him, taking his chin so she could see his face. "I'm only going to say this once. This is _not_ your fault, Mulder. Kersh was the one who gave us this assignment." She sat back, still wondering why he would give them an assignment so close to Christmas.
"But Scully, we could have left yesterday if I hadn't-."
"Fallen down that snow bank?" Scully teased, a smile creeping back onto her face. "It's not your fault you're clumsy, Mulder."
"Hey, I resent that, Scully!" Mulder defended, turning his head when another series of coughs decided to creep up on him again.
Scully shook her head. "Only you, Mulder, would decide to get sick on Christmas Eve."
"What can I say, Scully? I'm special." He gave her one of his trademark grins.
"Yeah and with your luck you'll end up with pneumonia by new year's." She sighed thoughtfully. "Well, I'd better call my mom and let her know I'll be late for the Christmas celebration." She picked up her purse and began digging through it again.
"Celebration? Is that what you Scullys call it?" The pounding in Mulder's head had began to lessen.
"Sure do. Everyone comes in for Christmas. Bill and Tara will be there, with Matthew, who I haven't since Thanksgiving. He was walking then. Tara said she thought he was even ready to say his first word." Scully looked of into the distance, thoughtful. A grin was on her face.
"Charlie's coming, too. Bringing his wife, Mary and their two kids. I've haven't seen them for-.awhile, I guess. My mom is probably cooking up a storm."
Mulder smiled, laughing a little. "What?" Scully said, puzzled.
"It's just, I've never seen you talk about your family quite like that. It's like watching someone from those Christmas specials describe a 'Christmas straight from the heart.'"
Scully nudged Mulder in the knee. "Well maybe someday you'll see me on one of those specials."
Mulder laughed. "Yeah sure. I can just see it. 'Dana Scully how did you spend your last Christmas?'" He paused for effect. "'Well I spent it in an airport in New Jersey with my sick 'Spooky' partner whose interest in the paranormal got me stuck there in the first place.' Quite a Christmas for the TV specials, isn't it?"
Scully laughed. "Well, Mulder, one thing I can never say is that you never make a Christmas Eve boring." Her tone softened. "Trust me, Mulder," she gripped his hand in her own, "I would never consider a Christmas Eve with you boring."
The airport bustled with excitement. Announcements about canceled flights were announced and eyes turned toward the windows. A soft blanket of white was adding to the white that already covered the ground.
"Wow, mommy look at all the snow!" a little girl cried. "The snow is going to be taller than me!"
An older boy next to her gave a mock sigh of sadness. "Oh darn! Guess we can't go to grandma's!"
"God damn mother nature! Why can't she wait till after Christmas!"
"Honey, watch your language in front of the children!"
Mulder saw Scully's eyes glued on the little girl who was fascinated by the falling snow. He watched her turn her head and smile as the girl happily pointed out every falling flake to her mother, who smiled and acknowledged her daughter's excitement. Then he watched Scully's face fall to her hands. And he knew why. Staring back at the little girl at the window, he noticed yet another little girl standing near her. A little girl that looked about four, maybe five. She looked about how old Emily would be this Christmas. Mulder reached for Scully's hand and this time he gripped hers. She turned to him and smiled.
"Thanks, Mulder," she whispered, "I needed that."
And for the next half-hour they sat there, hand in hand, and watched the snow fall and the children run by. It fell fast, covering the ground and whatever fell in it's path. More flights were canceled. The airport was closing. They were all stuck here for the night. Finally Mulder has to break his grip with Scully's hand to cover his mouth as another round of coughing hit him.
Scully looked at him concerned, and reached for his forehead. Mulder sat back, suddenly feeling slightly dizzy. He hadn't barely noticed he was sick before, but his body suddenly decided to make it known. He sat back in his chair as Scully frowned again, bringing her hand first to his forehead then down to his check.
"You feel warmer then before," she murmured, a definite frown on her face. Her hand moved to the thermometer she still had in her lap. Mulder shook his head.
"Scully, we've been though this. This an airport. I don't want to have my temperature taken in front of all these people."
Scully was silent for a minute. "Mulder, you're sick. I need to get a temperature."
"Scully, I-.." Mulder had started to rise, but a dizzy spell sent him back to his seat. He closed his eyes, willing it to pass, and praying no one except Scully saw him do that. He felt Scully's fingers on his wrist and knew she was taking his pulse.
"Mulder, come on, open your eyes."
He really didn't want to, but he opened them and was met by Scully's own blue eyes, shining. She sighed.
"Well, Mulder, you are definitely sick." She got up and stood in front of him, for once she was taller then he was. "I'm going to get some cough medicine from the gift shop, and then I'm calling my mother. I don't expect to see you move, never the less get out of that chair. Unless you want to relive the experience you had a few minutes ago." She gave him a long look then walked over to toward the pay phones.
Mulder sighed and closed his eyes.
He sighed and turned. Opening his eyes was not a top priority now.
"Mulder, come on. It's me."
Me? He listened to the voice again and smiled. He managed to open his eyes and once again found Scully's blue eyes staring into his own.
"Morning and Merry Christmas," she said.
"Morning?" he asked, his voice horse.
"Yep, you were sleeping when I got back from the phone. I decided not to wake you. You needed the rest. How do you feel?"
How do I feel? Mulder thought that other for a second. His throat was on fire, his head hurt, and overall he felt horrible. Only one response seemed fit.
"I feel like hell," he responded.
Scully laughed at his response. "I bet you do. Next time you won't fall down a snow bank with no coat on." She extended her hand and offered him help up. He grabbed her hand and after a few unsuccessful tries, managed to get on his feet.
Scully put a hand behind his back. "Come on, the snow let up late last night. We have just enough time to get the terminal and for you to take some cough medicine. Then it's back home and to my mother's."
Mulder groaned. Wait a second-.her mother's? "Your mother's?"
Scully nodded. "Yes. I called her last night and told her how I didn't want to leave you alone, sick on Christmas. So she said come on over. Nothing cures illness better then a bowl of my mom's chicken soup. Just wait."
Mulder stopped walking. "But, Scully I can't put out your mother. And you have your brothers coming with the kids-..And I'm not really up to chatting now."
"I know. You're getting tucked into the guest bedroom as soon as we get there. And my brothers won't mind. In fact, Charlie's been wanting to meet you."
Mulder took a deep breath, causing him to cough. "Even like this?"
Scully laughed. "Even like this Mulder. Come on, you don't want me sitting at my mother's all day worrying about you, do you?"
"Well, I'm sure Bill will love to see me," Mulder muttered sarcastically.
"Well, Bill can kiss my ass. Come on."
Mulder stood shakily for a minute. "Why Agent Scully, I've never heard you speak with so much _love_ for your brother."
Scully tightened her grip around Mulder's waist. "Mulder, my brother can be a real pain in the ass. Of course when I say it, it's in a loving way."
Mulder just smiled in return. Together they walk to the gate. Mulder looked down at Scully, and was content. This was how he liked it. He was one lucky guy. He had the best present in the world.
"Merry Christmas, Scully," he said as they reached the gate.
Scully looked back at him, surprised at first. "Merry Christmas, Mulder."
It sure is he thought as they waited to board the plane. It really is.
Merry Christmas (and a Happy Chanukah, even though it has passed) to everyone!!