a/n: it's been awhile since I've posted, but I promised AmorFati32 that I'd give her a Valentine's treat, and that is exactly what I did. thank you to her for being an amazing author and friend. xoxo.


Waking Up

by: dearpearlie

February 12, 1999

Scully had been out to lunch when he realized. He couldn't remember the last time he celebrated Valentine's Day. Maybe Diana… maybe that fling he'd had with a secretary in accounting for three months after she left. Mulder couldn't be sure what it was that was persuading him that unlike every other date on the calendar, Sunday the 14th was special. But the sudden feeling hit him that he wanted to celebrate Valentine's Day and he wanted to celebrate it with one person in particular.

She was due back any minute.

Maybe it was the particularly harrowing year they'd both been through. Since this time last year he'd called her his "one in five billion," then made her feel less than unique through his actions with Diana. He'd gone to the literal ends of the Earth to save her, lived side-by-side with her as her husband, and saw the breakdown of the very organization that had united them in their search for truth for the past six years. Through gunshot wounds and nanobots and "strangers" and high school reunions and baseball lessons… it was a year unlike any other he had experienced with her. And it had made him sure. Sure of his love and commitment to her—sure that he would do anything to spend the rest of his life with Dana Scully.

She walked in the door mid-thought, but even for his heightened sensitivity to all things her, he was startled when she noticed his daydreaming and asked if everything was alright.

"Wha? Oh, yeah Scully. Everything's fine," he said with a speeding heart rate.

Scully looked at him quizzically. But then she reminded herself that not a lot of things about her partner should surprise her anymore.

"Sometimes I wonder," she jested with a small smile. That smile. He'd been responsible for far too many of its absences.

They sat in silence, Scully reviewing autopsy reports for a case she'd been asked to consult on and Mulder sweating nervously. In their everyday lives down in that office, they sat in silence plenty of times. But Mulder couldn't stand it that day. Yes, they weren't talking at the moment, but the sound of his heart in his ears was as high as a heavy metal band playing on the edge of his desk. He was sure she could hear it. And before she guessed, before she even suspected, Mulder knew he had to take control of the situation. His mouth was dry when he opened it to speak.

"Sc-Scully?" he managed to get out, though afterward his lips were parched.

"Yeah?" she didn't even look up.

"What, uh, what are you doing on Sunday?"

She studied the air around her, trying to remember what medical journal she had promised herself to catch up on or if she and her mom had a breakfast date after church. Mulder was sure that she didn't even realize the date.

"Um, nothing as far as I know. Why? You're not looking at a case are you?"

"No. No, no, no, that's not it at all," he felt bad that that was all she ever expected him of being interested in her for. She was the most beautiful, intelligent, honest, caring person he knew—possibly in the entire world—and she needed to know how valuable she was. Not just as an agent, but as a person. As a woman.

The questioning gaze was focused on him yet again. It was like a spotlight.

"I was just wondering if, uh, if you'd, uh, like to go out that night?" Mulder was sure his voice had raised an octave or two.

"With you?" she asked in disbelief.

"Yeah. I mean," he started to talk faster and faster until he was sure he sounded like an idiot, "it's Valentine's Day and it doesn't have to be anything big. Just dinner. And we could see a movie if you wanted, or go out for drinks or to a show. There's bound to be some things to do, but if you don't want to go out we could always just—"

"Okay."

It was the simplest response. And it stunned him silent.

"Okay. Uh, when is good for you?"

"Seven?"

"Seven?"

"Seven," Scully was trying her hardest to hold back a grin that would split her face in two.

"Seven it is then," Mulder tried to relax back in his chair, but the truth was that he was more wound-up that he had been before. He knew he didn't come out and say it, but he hoped that Scully would know that he wanted to take her out as more than a partner or as a friend… as much as it scared him to admit it, he was ready to take the final step in his relationship with her. It was terrifying and there was always the possibility that she wouldn't feel the same way, but keeping his feelings bottled up was surely going to kill him. He had changed the whole dynamic of their relationship when he admitted to himself that he loved her endlessly, and it would be impossible to go back from that realization.

Scully smiled coyly and turned back to her reports, but not before making one thing clear.

"Oh, and Mulder? No Plan 9 From Outer Space."

XXX

Sunday took forever to roll around. And the time it took for the clock to make its way from noon to seven seemed even longer. Scully didn't want to admit it to herself, but she was secretly glad that time was moving so slowly. Mulder had come out of the blue and asked her out on a date more or less on the most symbolically romantic day of the year, it had to mean something. Scully didn't dare ask herself what. Because it would hurt to know that the man she had given her whole self to over the past six years and had finally admitted that she loved with all of her heart was taking her out on a Valentine's Day date just as a sign of friendship, or worse, because he was lonely.

But she couldn't get her mind off of the day he'd asked her. It was Friday, and she'd known when she came back from lunch that something wasn't right. He seemed off in the clouds, even more than usual. Then, when he spoke to her, his voice cracked and stuttered. And he'd asked to take her out, listing a whole host of things they could do just to be together on that day. It had been endearing, actually, listening to him race with what she could only pinpoint as nervousness. It had been like being asked to the prom by Marcus when she was seventeen. Mulder had sounded like a lovesick little boy.

She couldn't let herself believe that he was, though. Because Mulder, of all people, always kept her on her toes. Case in point: her door had been knocked on at 2 pm with a delivery of a dozen red roses from him.

Desperately hoping she was wrong (or right, she didn't know which), Scully had gone shopping. The dress she now wore was a black knee-length satin halter top, and her hair was pinned loosely on top of her head. The shoes she had on had a peep toe and yes, she'd splurged on a pedicure at a really nice salon. Her fingernails she preferred to do herself, but there was something so feminine about getting a pedicure that gave her extra confidence to go out on a date with her partner. Finishing the last touches of her makeup, she could hear him knock on her door at a quarter to, unless it was more flowers.

Surprisingly, it was. But the man behind them was what she really wanted to see.

Mulder couldn't believe how beautiful Scully looked that night. The dress she wore accentuated everything she had to show off without being risqué, her hair and makeup were dramatic and perfect, and she smelled incredible. He felt so lucky that she'd agreed to go out with him. It allowed him to really appreciate the woman behind his partner.

To keep her from seeing just what kind of effect her stunning beauty had on him, Mulder cracked a joke. He knew he'd have to to be able to make it the whole night with her.

"Scully, you didn't tell me you already had a Valentine," he motioned to the vase of roses he'd already sent her sitting on her entryway table.

"Mulder, you shouldn't have," she took the floral bouquet from his hands. It was mostly daisies and lilies, and possibly made her feel more incredible than the roses had. He shrugged.

"You look really nice Scully." Mulder could have kicked himself after those words came out of his mouth. Nice didn't even begin to cover it.

"Thank you. You don't look too shabby yourself," she stepped forward and straightened his tie. It was an act that she'd done before, possibly thousands of times, but that night, it made volts of electricity course through Mulder.

It was a moment that made Scully almost certain of why Mulder asked her to dinner. But then he moved away, taking her hands in his hands.

"We don't want to be late."

XXX

Dinner was at an exclusive sushi restaurant near the Capitol. Scully wanted to ask how he managed to get reservations in such a short time, but it would have ruined the mood. Despite his seeming rebuff of her in her apartment, dinnertime had been borderline intimate. They sat stove-side with the chef in front of them, so close she could see his Adam's apple bobbing up and down in his throat. In true Mulder fashion, he'd stolen some of her Philadelphia roll. She'd pinched him in the arm, and he didn't tell her how good it felt.

Maybe it was the Saki coursing through her veins, but on their walk to the movie theater, Scully draped herself around Mulder's arm. She was wearing his jacket. It looked much better on her than it did on him, he reconciled.

"Two for Shakespeare in Love," Mulder asked the young man at the ticket counter. He smiled and shook his head.

"Sorry sir, it's sold out."

He'd wanted to take Scully to a romantic movie. One where he could casually slide his arm around her shoulders and not-so-casually hold her close. By the end of the movie, she'd know exactly how he felt, exactly how he'd felt for more years than even he knew. It would be scary, no doubt, but maybe under the shroud of darkness and with a movie playing in front of them, Scully could have some time to think about his advances. In the least, it would give him the confidence to make the necessary moves he was always denying himself in the light of day.

"What about The Odd Couple?" she asked before he could recover from the disappointment. Nodding, the ticket man printed out two for The Odd Couple once Mulder gave him the cash, and Mulder and Scully made their way to a nearly-empty theater.

"The Odd Couple, Scully?" Mulder asked in disbelief once they took their seats.

"Yeah. We're kind of an odd couple, don't you think?"

Laughing, Mulder looked down at his lap. She was better than he deserved.

"Definitely."

XXX

Though delighted in their change of plans, Mulder couldn't concentrate on one second of the movie. Once again, his heart was thumping wildly and his palms were sweating like mad. Her smell and the feel of being around her was intoxicating. She was more than a friend, more than even a person. She was hope and trust and his faith could never be shattered as long as she was standing by his side. The past year had been horrible and tumultuous at times, and it wasn't until that very moment that Mulder realized how lucky he was even to still have her in his life. He owed her so much. He hoped one day he could show her what she meant to him.

Her eyes were still focused intently on the movie when she leaned over and whispered to him, "If you want to hold my hand, all you have to do is ask."

Mulder's heart stopped in his chest. He'd been gazing at her the entire movie, and apparently she noticed. And, as always, she knew him better than he knew himself.

"Dana Scully, can I hold your hand?" he almost wheezed.

He felt larger than life when she placed her strong little hand in his. And, if it were possible, it was even harder to concentrate on the movie than it had been before.

XXX

They didn't talk until they made their way back to his car. But they didn't let go of each other's hands either.

Sitting in their seats, Mulder finally had to blurt out, "I don't want this night to end, Scully."

Taking a deep breath and smiling, Scully said, "I don't want it to either," though she couldn't bring herself to look up from her lap.

"Do you want to go somewhere for drinks? I know we have to work tomorrow, but we don't have to be there for too long."

"Mulder?" she lifted her eyes to meet his, sensing another outpouring of words from his mouth.

"Yeah?"

"Let's go back to my place."

XXX

To save them from awkwardness, as soon as Mulder closed and locked her door behind them, she took his hands in her own once more and tilted her head up to his. Mulder tried not to think, but it was hard. What if it didn't work? What if he wasn't good enough for her? What if they were both caught up in the moment and would regret it once they came to their heads? Scully didn't think, though, and when he hesitated, she brought her hand up to cup his cheek and encouraged his head down to meet hers. They closed eyes and locked lips.

She tasted sweeter than he ever could have imagined.

His lips fit hers in a way that she didn't think anybody's ever would.

They kept it chaste, but when they pulled away, Scully gave him a scandalous smile.

"I would really like to do that again."

"We will."

The clock was nearing one, but Mulder and Scully felt they had all the time in the world to explore their new relationship better. Through half a bottle of wine, they sat on the couch and talked and laughed and confessed and cried.

"How long?" was the final question she asked him that night. He'd been rubbing her foot between his hands, and placed a gentle kiss to the top of it.

"A long time."

"When we first met?"

Regretfully, Mulder shook his head. "I didn't know how to love back then."

"Within a year?" Scully's voice hitched. He was doing wonderful things to her feet.

"After your abduction," it was painful to say. "I lost you and it broke me. How far I fell was in direct relation to how far I had already fallen."

"And you never said anything?"

"Hey, I wasn't the only one harboring unacknowledged feelings of love for their partner."

"We really are something," Scully set her wine on the coffee table because he was moving up her body, nearing her lips once more.

"An odd couple," Mulder joked just a second before his lips descended on hers. This kiss was more wanting, more intense—the natural progression of things ensued. They made it to the bedroom, barely, before succumbing to their needs.

XXX

"Mmmm," Scully answered his kisses the next morning. She could get used to waking up with him in her bed.

"I was afraid I'd just had a really good dream," he let her know, continuing his assault on her neck.

"I think we're just waking up," she guided him into her, almost making them late for work.


happy Valentine's Day! reviews are greatly appreciated!