The eve before Christmas eve.
Scully took off her reading glass and gazed at her partner, who studied an ancient x-file in front of him. Mulder's own reading glasses had fallen to the bridge of his nose and he pushed them up as he rubbed his eyes wearily. She reflected silently to herself that she had seen this scene a thousand times, they sit across from each other, working on their report or researching old files. Except he was older. She was older. But she smiled to herself at the intimate familiarity that they still shared, even after all these years.
“Scully,” Mulder called, looking up from his file. “I'm going to get something from the vending machine. Do you want anything?”
She played with her gold cross and the quarter necklace absently. “Hm?” She looked up from her thoughts. “What was that, Mulder?”
“Do you want something from the vending machine?”
“Yes, please,” she smiled slightly.
Their partnership was on delicate ground as they began to rediscover each other once again. It started out simple enough as Scully going back to the unremarkable house to work on case files, Mulder occasionally spending the night at Scully's apartment because she would protest he was too tired to drive the hour's commute back to the country. One thing led to another, and while neither would admit it, being too proud, they had come back together. Mulder began to spend the work week going home with Scully and they would venture back to their home in Virginia country side on the weekends. When Scully lost her mother, it just pushed them back together even more.
“What do you want?” he asked.
“Surprise me,” she replied, gazing back down to her report.
He chuckled and pushed up himself from his desk. He went down the hall and pushed a couple of crumpled dollar bills into the drink machine and selected a Sprite for her and a Coke for himself. Gazing at his office door, he noticed the holiday wreath that Scully had affixed to the office door. When had she done that? Looking down at his watch, it was the 23rd, Friday. Shit. When had Christmas sneaked up on him?
He ventured back down to their office and presented her with the Sprite. “So,” he began tentatively, realizing that she had not mentioned any Christmas plans. He eased himself down into the office chair. “Wanna go to a haunted house?”
She looked up and arched an elegant eyebrow. “And you steal my car keys again?”
“Well, we could car pool.”
She chuckled and he smiled, glad he could get her to laugh slightly. She never laughed anymore. Her mother's death on caused her to grow quieter and more serious. “Mulder,” she said, shaking her head.
“No, but seriously, you going to see Bill or Charlie for Christmas?”
“No,” she said quietly, without looking up. “Bill is still in Germany and I think Charlie is taking a cruise with his kids, wife, and in laws or something in the Caribbean. I don't know.”
He shifted uncomfortably, trying to work up the courage to suggest they spend it together without frightening her and confirming they were a couple again. Scully looked at her watch suddenly. “It's already three? Shit.”
“I am late for the hospital,” she said. “I promised the Mother Superior I would volunteer in the ER tonight, they're a little short staffed.”
“Oh,” he said, trying to hide his disappointment.
Scully got up and went to her purse. She dug through it and pulled out a key. “Here,” she said passing it to him.
“What is this?”
“A key to our apartment. I have been meaning to give it to you for a month now. I'll be home around ten tonight and I figured we could spend the night in the city and go back out to our house for Christmas this weekend tomorrow morning.”
He took the warm key from her hand and paused, realizing what she had said. “Wait. Our apartment?”
She looked up and realized what she had said as well. Then she smiled slightly. “Yeah, I guess so.”
“So does that mean were official again?” he asked, standing up. He kissed her teasingly. “Hm?”
The gentle kissing and signs of affection. She smiled thinking of where those small little things tended to leave and how in their old age, they never lost that flame. She returned the kiss gently. “We were never unofficial, just a little lost. Look, I am going to be late. I'll be home tonight at ten...”
“Why don't we go out tonight instead, grab a late dinner? I'll pick you up at the hospital?” he asked.
“You can pick me up any time you want,” she teased, giving him a rare, real smile. Mulder chuckled.
“Can I now?”
He had gotten up and placed his hands on either side of her, effectively trapping her. Her smiled softening as she caressed his cheek and then moved to straighten his tie. “I'm already late as it is and the last time we weren't exactly quiet...”
“Come on,” he goaded. “I need to know if you've been naughty or nice.”
“Mulder,” she coaxed. “Not here. Not now. Later.” She smoothed his tie. “Now, go home and get us packed for this weekend. Go be a good man wife. And pick me up from the hospital tonight at ten.”
“Yes, Ms. Scully,” he smiled, kissing her goodbye. “I will say this, old age has really mellowed you out. I remember a time you would threaten to shoot me for kissing you in public.”
“We really aren't a secret anymore,” she replied. “Tonight at ten. Remember!”
She pulled on her coat and gathered her purse. She left and Mulder smiled to himself. He really did not care about Christmas, he was just happy to have her back.
. . . .
The lanky teenager picked up his skateboard and sat on the bench across from the hospital. The other teenagers continued to skate in front of him. He had startling crystal blue eyes and shaggy unkempt brown hair that went every which way. He was glad they had finally found a skate spot that really did not care about them as long as they stayed out the way of the ambulances and patients. Christmas was always a sad time for him. Two years prior, he had lost his adopted parents during a Wyoming blizzard on the way back from church Christmas eve. He then found himself in the care of a some distant great aunt that lived in Washington D.C on his dad's side, his only living family. But then, she had died suddenly two within six months of him getting to the nation's capitial. Now, he was a ward of the state, another nameless kid stuck in foster care.
Will really didn't mind the foster home he was in with three other teenagers his age. The foster parents were nice enough and kind of let him do his own thing. They were the ones that encourage they put his energy into something useful instead of lashing out and getting in trouble with the cops after losing his parents and that distant aunt. So he got into skateboarding and he wasn't that bad either. One of the other kids stopped skating and noticed the distant look in Will's eye.
“Van de Kamp!” he shouted. “Will!”
“What's going on, Van de Kamp?”
“You're always thinking,” the other teenager mocked.
“At least I know what I am doing,” he came back. “Who wrote your last paper for you and got you the A+? Hm, oh yeah that was me. Lay off, Tommy.”
“You think you're so cool, don't ya?” Tommy came back. “Super secret mysterious kid shows up to school.”
Will gritted his teeth. Tommy was a part of a few kids he knew from high school that skated. He wasn't really friends with any of them. He hadn't had friends since he left Wyoming, but they kept him around because he was ridiculously good at school work and it did not take long for Will to figure out he could turn a quick buck by writing someone's paper. But he really was not friends with anyone.
“Shut up,” he said. He hated Christmas. He hated everything about this day. “Just shut up.”
“Tell you what, Van de Kamp. I know you have been in trouble before so you know what you're doing.” He paused, spotting a doctor with red hair and impossibly high heels shouldering her purse and walking towards the hospital. “That woman. I got a dare for you, get her purse, and get away clean, I'll leave you alone for the rest of the year, and for 2017.”
Will bit his bottom lip in thought. It was tempting but he did not steal. “I got in trouble for curfew, not stealing ladies' purses.”
“What? You a chicken?”
“No.” Will got up and clutched his skateboard. “No. Fine. I'll do it.” He eyed the woman walking across the sidewalk. Those heels should make it easy for her not to chase after him. And he did have his skateboard. “Just watch for cops, okay?”
. . . .
Scully did not pay any attention to the group of kids skateboarding. She was lost in her thoughts, allowing herself to grow excited about the idea of being with Mulder again and enjoying Christmas as they had in the past years, staying in bed all day, making love, cooking a good dinner, and watching A Christmas Story at night. She was happy to have her family back. Scully was so lost in her thoughts, she failed to hear the wheels of a skateboard approaching behind her and some grab her purse violently. In her shock, she lost hold of her bag.
The kid skating suddenly lost his balance and fell off the board. He did not look over his shoulder as he scrambled to his feet and began to run. Scully sighed, not really wanting to run and chase after some kid in her new heels but she was not going to let some hooligan take her bag.
When Will heard the incessant clicking of heels behind him, he looked behind to see the woman chasing him effortlessly. Surprised with what he saw, he failed to noticed the wall in front of him that he was quickly approaching.
It happened fast and Scully physically winced when she saw the kid slam into the brick wall. But she took advantage of the moment and withdrew the cuffs she kept on her from her jacket pocket. The kid rolled with agony as she said, “You're under arrest.”
Fuck. Will had to snatch a cop's purse.
“For what,” he groaned. “How do I know you're a cop?”
Scully quickly withdrew her badge. “Try FBI.”
“Shit,” he groaned. “Shit.”
“Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?” Scully asked, pulling the kid to his feet. She looked up to see the other kids watching the exchange wide eyed and then hospital security coming to greet her. “Stop struggling.”
She finally had a moment to glance at the kid and he briefly looked into her eyes before looking away in shame. The one thing that left her momentarily shocked was the blueness of his eyes.
“Dr. Scully,” the security officer greeted. “Are you okay?”
“Yes,” she said mildly, passing the teenager off to the security guard. She regarded the lanky teen. “Get a doctor to check him out. He may have a concussion.” She gathered her fallen bag up from the cold ground. “And call his parents.”
“Not the police? Do you want to press charges?”
“It's Christmas,” she stated simply, watching the teen lower his head and stare at the ground. Her heart softened and she lost her zeal. She looked at her watch. She was already three hours late now for the volunteer hospital shift. “Have a good evening, Joey.”
“You too, Dr. Scully.”
Will looked up surprised and watched the red head doctor/ FBI agent began the walk back to hospital. He glanced to the security guard and watched the guard sigh. “You're damn lucky, kid.”
“Define lucky,” mumbled Will, “I'm in so much trouble.”