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Avoidable Feast

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“That—that is a large bird,” He says, and she glances over at him, to see what he means. He points in his leather gloves to the display of frozen turkeys that are stacked precariously for Thanksgiving, which is only in a couple of days. Scully feels a slight fluttering in her belly that she dismisses immediately, but there is no quelling the thoughts that she would soon vocalize:

“It’s going to be our first Thanksgiving together as a couple,” Scully says, brushing her fringe out of her eye. It was peeking out from a light blue knitted cap. Mulder, on the other hand had in a large polar exploration jacket—probably the same one he used when he had traveled to Antarctica and wrapped her in when she had nothing to wear.

She was fond of the memory, no matter how close to death they had been. Mulder was the kind of person to give you the shirt off his back and she had always liked that about him.

“Yeah.” He responds, his tone indifferent. Though it means a lot to her, she is afraid it means little to Mulder, who she did not know to celebrate any holiday. She had planned to ask him to join her and her family for Thanksgiving but she does not want to push Mulder into celebrating something he usually didn’t.

“Do you have any plans for that day?”

“Not really,” Mulder says putting his hands in his pockets, and walking along. She pushes the shopping cart after him, unsure if she should invite him, but his manner tells her that he isn’t interested, so she drops the subject.

 

Later at her place, when they’re both settled in, and watching TV, a commercial comes on regarding Thanksgiving dinner. She watches his reaction. It’s indifferent, and she briefly considers bringing up the family dinner, but she does not, looking away when he glances over at her. She leans her head on his shoulder, and his arm snakes around her, and she feels safe and comforted. And she yet she still can’t ask him.

That night in bed, she lays with him, his arm draped over her lazily, as he sleeps soundly, her in her silk nightie. She wants to ask him now, but the timing is wrong, and she knows they should be sleeping. There is a light tugging at her, and she wonders if he feels she is ashamed of him. She needs him to know this isn’t the case.

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and they are getting dressed to head into the office. She stands in front of him, fixing his tie and fussing over his appearance, and he is glancing down at her, indifferently. His look hurts, and she disengages him, giving him a placating smile and she turns to finish buttoning her blouse.

“Do I embarrass you?” He asks, plain as day, and her heart freezes up because it’s the last thing she expected to hear and yet he has every reason to ask it.

“No,” She answers quickly, not facing him.

“Look at me,” He says, and she does so slowly, looking him in the eye. He approaches her, and his large hands work to gently fasten her buttons, as he puts forth the question again: “Do I embarrass you?”

“No, Mulder, you don’t. I…” The words have trouble coming out, and he gives her a patient smile.

She calls them a couple, she can ask him to fuck her, and even calls him Fox sometimes, but she can never bring herself to say that she loves him, and although he already knows it’s true, he is patient and kind while she figures herself out.

“So what’s been bothering you?” He asks, and she looks down at his hands which are fixing her skirt.

“I… Well, I want to ask you something. I’m afraid how you’ll react. I mean, I don’t want you to think we’re moving too fast but… I want you to come with me to my mother’s house for Thanksgiving. I know you don’t celebrate holidays, and I know it’s asking a lot,” She says, looking everywhere but him, her fingers playing with each other nervously.

“–I’ll come. What time should I be here tomorrow? And should I bring something?” Mulder asks, and she looks up at him, surprised.

“I—I didn’t—I mean—oh Mulder,” Her tone is soft, genuine and heartfelt. He grins at her, and leans in to kiss her, his hand on the gentle curve of her back. Her hands are on either side of his face as she kisses him indulgently. “I thought you would say no… You have no idea how much this means to me… How much you mean to me.”

Her lips move against his, and he chuckles dismissively, disengaging her so they can finish dressing.

“I was wondering if you were going to invite me or not… I figured you weren’t going to because I embarrass you too much.” He admits, and Scully feels a pang of guilt.

“Mulder, no… I am not embarrassed of you, I was afraid you would say no. I don’t want you to think we’re rushing anything… I mean, we haven’t been dating for long and my family is going to meet you…”

“Scully, I don’t know if you figured it out yet but… the only thing that matters to me, is making you happy. You—you mean so much to me, I don’t think I can ever explain it. I just want you happy. You deserve that.”

She can’t find the words to express how she is feeling, but she embraces him tightly, her eyes closed as she takes him in. They remain this way, his arms slowly encircling her and holding her close.

“I… I wish you knew how much you meant to me,” Scully says, slowly disengaging him and smoothing out his shirt. “I still have a hard time showing my emotions, and letting others care about me because I’ve been so hurt and it’s just a change from how I’ve been treated in the past to hear that all you want is for me to be happy. That means so much to me—it’s why I don’t feel that you coming with me tomorrow is a mistake. Thank you so much.”

Mulder smiles warmly, taking in her words in earnest. Here she was thanking him for something that should have been obvious, and yet she tells him that people have not been so kind in the past. He can relate. She doesn’t know that when he’s at his worse, ready to give up, she is the star by which he aligns his compass. She doesn’t know how much courage she gives him, or that she makes him feel alive.

“I’ll try to bring a pie. Don’t worry, I’ll buy it. I can’t bake,” He reassured her, when he sees her getting ready to protest. She calms and he laughs in a good natured way, ready to meet her family the next day.