January 2018

The holidays were long over and Mulder was finally taking down the tree, the falling pine needles causing raised eyebrows and many vaccumings. The other decorations had already been taken down and stored for next year. Many extra totes had been added to the shed with old things being cleared out to make room for them.

Taking the tree out of the house and down the driveway for pick up, he breathed in the cold winter air. New snow had fallen and the ground was covered in a blanket of white. Setting the tree down, he looked around, taking in the view. The evening moon shone brightly across the road and he smiled. He always did love winter; the hush of the world as the snow lay about, covering the ugliness of the world and washing it new.

Scooping up a handful of snow, he formed a snowball, the cold stinging his fingers. Throwing the snowball, he smiled and brushed off his hands, bringing them to his mouth to warm them. Turning around, he walked back to the house, shivering as he did, his breath like a cloud around him.

Stomping up the stairs, he knocked any snow from his boots, wiping them on the mat and opening the door. Shivering again, he took off his boots, leaving them by the door, before walking through and into the living room.

Scully was at the kitchen sink, washing the dishes from the day. Turning his head, he saw Faith in the bassinet, her arms moving around as she lay inside. Walking over, he smiled as he looked down at her, lullabies playing as he watched her stare up at the toys hanging over the bassinet: A light yellow sun, a pink flower, a blue moon, and orange star.

"This orange star, Scully," he said and she sighed. He looked over to see her shaking her head. "It's not right and I still think we need to write a complaint letter."

"For the orange star, but not the blue moon?" she asked as she turned to look at him. "I'd argue the star is closer to the true color than the moon. A blue moon is preposterous, but at least a star could possibly burn and be seen as orange. So, take that into consideration when you start typing out that letter, pal." He smiled and walked over, pulling her close and kissing her. Smiling as she pulled back, she rested her damp hands on his chest.

"God…" he said, shaking his head. "That is so hot." She laughed and kissed him again, then turned and grabbed a dish towel, drying her hands. She rolled her eyes and he grinned. "I'll see about that letter later tonight." She winked and he shrugged as she walked over to look at Faith.

"What do you say we get out of here for a little bit?" he asked and she frowned at him. "Nothing big, just drive around, maybe grab a bite."

"In the snow?" she asked with a smirk.

"It's not too bad out. Just enough to make it quiet and peaceful. Come on, it will be good for us. We've been cooped up in here for a couple of weeks now and… it's depressing in here without the tree. I need some grieving time," he said with a sigh, dropping his eyes.

"Oh, don't even give me that look," she said with a laugh.

He sighed again and saw her feet as she walked over to him. As she touched his arm, he looked up, giving her his best puppy eyed expression, knowing she was unable to resist it. She sighed with a smile as she shook her head.

"Fine. Let's go take a drive through the snow," she said and he danced out his happiness, causing her to laugh.

"You go change and I'll get her ready," he said, dancing over to Faith and scooping her up.

"Change? I can't go in my pajamas? I'll wear a coat and some boots. We aren't going out to eat are we? We could do drive thru," she said.

"Well, maybe. You never know." He shrugged and she sighed, following him up the stairs.

Changing Faith's diaper, he dressed her in a long-sleeved onesie, leggings, and then her zip up pajamas. He took a little knit cap from her dresser, grabbed a blanket, and picked her up. He smiled as she gave a large yawn, stretching her small body.

"My girl, you are too adorable," he said, kissing her cheek and staring at her.

"Okay, I'm ready." He turned around and laughed, finding Scully in head to toe black clothing, holding a tissue to her eyes.

"Please don't laugh, I'm grieving. I've lost… my Christmas tree," she gasped, dabbing at her eyes, letting out a fake sob. He shook his head and walked over to her with a smile.

"You are too much. I love you."

"Mm-hmm," she squeaked, as she held the tissue to her mouth, her eyes closed. He waited and when she opened her eyes, they both grinned. He kissed her and they walked down the stairs.

Handing Faith to Scully, he stepped outside to start the car, letting it warm up as they got ready. Coming back inside, they packed up the backpack and put on their coats and boots. Mulder buckled Faith into her car seat, covering her with a blanket. Scully grabbed hats and gloves as she put on the scarf Mulder had given her for Christmas.

"Okay, let's do this," he said, picking up the car seat as Scully shouldered the backpack. Opening the door, she shivered, giving him a look. "It's not that cold; come on." She took a breath and let it out, pointing to the frosty air it created. "Yeah, yeah, shut up and get in the car."

Buckled in, he smiled at her as she directed the heaters toward her and turned on the seat warmers.

"You don't really need that, your ass is plenty hot," he said with an eyebrow wiggle. She laughed and slapped his arm as he drove slowly down the driveway.

Turning right, they continued carefully onto the main road. Waiting at the light, he looked left and right, then smiled at Scully.

"Which way?"

She grinned and shook her head. "How about straight through? But, let's avoid any cornfields." He laughed and nodded, proceeding straight when the light changed to green.

There were not many other cars on the road, a fact which Scully pointed out a few times. He looked at her and she shrugged, smiling at him. "I'm just making sure you see that people usually stay in when there is snow on the ground."

"Exactly why we're out now. No traffic."

"Mm-hmm," she murmured and raised her eyebrows, looking out the window. He chuckled and reached for her hand, threading their fingers together. "Even with some cars out, it's so peaceful and quiet when it snows. I've always loved it," he said and she squeezed his hand.

"Any time it snows?" she teased, and he smiled, remembering cases that had led to cold snowy forests, snow falling, cold fingers and toes. He remembered hot showers in motel rooms that never quite warmed him enough, but he also remembered the nights snow had fallen when they were on the run. The nights in cars when they had made their own heat, rinky motel rooms where they had done the same, the world silent around them.

"Yeah, any time it has snowed," he grinned, kissing her hand and winking at her. She laughed and nodded, glancing back at Faith. "She's okay." He could see her in the rear view mirror, thanks to the mirror they had added on the headrest of the backseat.

They drove for a bit, no destination in mind, simply needing to leave the confines of the house and enjoy a change of scenery. He turned on the radio and music filled the car; not any song he recognized, but he heard Scully humming along.

"Hey, how about the Third Diner? Maybe some soup and a sandwich? Hot cocoa to go?" he asked and she nodded. He turned left and headed towards the diner.

The street was nearly empty, resulting in a close parking spot. "See? The snow is good for many things. We've never lucked out with this kind of parking," he said as he turned off the car. She smiled one of her mysterious smiles that always made him curious as to what was she was thinking about.

They got out of the car and Mulder removed the car seat, setting it on the backseat to make sure Faith was covered properly. He pulled the canopy up to cover her even further before picking her up again. Stepping back, he closed the door and they crunched through the snow, walking towards the warmth of the diner.

Opening the door and stepping inside, there was a waitress wiping down a table; an older woman with short blonde curly hair, who turned to them with a smile, gesturing to the empty diner. "Anywhere you like," she said kindly. "Do you need a high chair?"

"No, thank you," Mulder said with a smile. "We'll take the booth there and the car seat can sit on the bench." She nodded and finished her task and then walked into the kitchen.

Scully set the backpack on a chair and took off her coat and scarf, hanging them on the coat rack. She held the car seat as Mulder did the same, shivering in the cold entryway. Taking the car seat from her, she picked up the backpack and walked over to the booth.

Mulder placed the car seat on the bench and slid in beside it, moving the canopy down and laying the handle back, allowing Faith the ability to look around. She blinked her eyes, staring up at the lights and ceiling. He smiled as he watched her, marveling again at the beautiful person they had created.

"Welcome to Third Diner, glad to have you here," the waitress said, drawing his attention away from Faith. He smiled as he was handed a menu and the waitress winked at him. "As you can see, you just avoided the dinner rush, so your food will be ready quickly." They all laughed and she nodded as she walked away, letting them have a chance to look at their menus.

"Mmm, French onion soup sounds delicious," he said and she nodded. "Or tomato soup." He smiled at her and she smiled back, thinking of their tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich meals. "I think I'll get the French onion and half a caprese sandwich."

"So you're just shooting for no kissing tonight, huh? Or any other plans?" she asked, not looking at him, her eyes on the menu. He kept staring at her until she glanced at him with a smile.

"What are you saying there, Scully?"

She shrugged, shaking her head as she lifted her menu and disappeared behind it. "Just putting it out there. You don't have to pick it up."

"Oh… I definitely want to pick it up. If you're offering what I think you're offering," he said, touching the top of the menu and pulling it down to see her eyes. She smiled that mysterious smile again and he felt it in his groin. "Are you-"

"Have you decided?" the waitress asked and Mulder nodded, his decision made.

"I'll have the chicken noodle soup, a side of fries, and an iced tea." Can't get much more bland than that, he thought, staring at her laughing eyes.

"Great. And you ma'am?"

"I'll have the French onion soup, half the caprese sandwich, and a water," she said, watching him the entire time, a smirk on her face.

"Wonderful. I'll bring that out lickety split." She took their menus and Mulder stopped her.

"You know what? I'd like to change my order. I'll have the same as her." Gauntlet thrown, they were both in it now, onion breath and all. Scully grinned and the waitress laughed as she walked away to put in their order.

"In for a penny," he said with a shrug and she laughed. Faith began to fuss and he took her from her car seat, holding her in his arms, her bottom half resting on the table. "Hey there, my girl. You coming to your dad's defense? That's awfully kind of you." Scully snorted and he looked up as she shook her head.

"It's just a good thing I fed her before you decided on this little excursion or I would be nursing her in this booth."

"Well, you couldn't ask for a more private setting in a public place," he said, looking around the empty diner. She laughed and nodded as the waitress brought over their drinks.

"Oh, look at her," she said and smiled at Faith. "She's so small and precious."

"Thank you," Mulder said, glancing at her name tag. "Thank you, Ruby." She smiled again and walked away.

He looked down at Faith and she stared at him with her big blue eyes before smiling at him, her whole body moving as she did. He smiled and shook his head, looking up at Scully. "She is so beautiful."

"I do what I can. She's got some good genes." She winked and he laughed, watching Faith once again.

Ruby brought their food out not long afterwards, and they each took turns holding Faith as they ate. When their plates had been cleared, Scully asked if they had any chocolate cream pie, with a wink at him.

Ruby went to check and Mulder buckled a sleeping Faith back into her car seat.

"Sending all kinds of signals tonight, Miss Scully," he said in a low voice and he saw her eyes dilate.

Six weeks had come and gone, plus nearly another four. It had been a long time since they had been intimate and he would not miss this chance if it was something she wanted. Never would he push her to do anything she was not ready for, but God, he had missed her touch.

"Just don't want you to miss any," she smirked and he hummed.

Not goddamn likely.

"We do have the pie," Ruby said, walking up once again, surprising them both, so engrossed were they with one another.

"Could we have… two? Yes, two pieces to go and two hot chocolates as well? Thank you, Ruby," Scully said and Ruby smiled at them as she walked away to prepare their order. "Two pieces is a good idea."

"Twice is always nice," he agreed.

"Indeed." He stared at her and she took a deep breath. Oh… turned on Scully was the absolute best.

"Here we are, your food to go and your bill." She set a bag down and a cup holder with two paper coffee cups. Mulder took out his wallet and handed her his credit card, and began to gather their items.

They stood up and Ruby brought back his credit card. They thanked her, Mulder leaving a large tip; both for her being out in this weather and because he had learned to do so, not wanting or needing a repeat of robots following them.

Scully put on her coat and scarf, handing Mulder his as she picked up the car seat. He reached for the backpack, the bag of food, and cocoas as they walked out the door and into the cold night.

Everyone and everything secured in properly, they drove away, one more destination in mind before going home.

She smiled as she saw where he was headed and he smiled back. Pulling up to the top of the small snowy hill, he parked the car and left it running, keeping them warm. He turned to her and she handed him one of the cups and he nodded his thanks. Faith slept on in the back as they looked at the city lights and drank their hot chocolate.

"Do you want some of the pie now?" he asked and she shook her head.

"This is enough. For now," she said with a grin. He raised his eyebrows as he looked at her and she laughed, looking out around them. "The world always seems to feel different when there is snow on the ground, don't you think? Quiet and almost… as if nothing bad could happen." She looked over at him and he nodded with a small smile.

"I was thinking along the same lines earlier," he said and they fell silent again, the radio turned on low.

A familiar song came on, one he had liked when it came out and then proceeded to hear in many movies, television shows, and even commercials. He glanced at Scully as the beginning whistling was nearly over. She was bouncing her knee and moving her head slightly. She smiled when she looked at him, singing softly as the song started.

Alabama, Arkansas

I do love my ma and pa

Not that way that I do love you

He smiled and sang back to her, as she smiled, her eyes shining.

Well, holy moley, me oh my

You're the apple of my eye

Girl, I've never loved one like you

Man, oh man, you're my best friend

I scream it to the nothingness

There ain't nothing that I need

Well, hot and heavy, pumpkin pie

Chocolate candy, Jesus Christ

Ain't nothing please me more than you

They both sang quietly and looked at each other with a smile.

Ah, home, let me come home

Home is wherever I'm with you

Ah, home, let me come home

Home is wherever I'm with you

"Mulder," she said softly and he nodded, remembering a time they danced to this song on a warm summer day, laughing as they did.

La, la, la, la, take me home

Mommy, I'm coming home

"It was so hot that day, do you remember?" he asked and she nodded.

"Almost too hot for what we did after we danced," she said saucily and he shook his head.

"Never," he scoffed and she laughed.

I'll follow you into the park

Through the jungle, through the dark

Girl, I never loved one like you

Moats and boats and waterfalls

Alleyways and pay phone calls

I've been everywhere with you

That's true, laugh until we think we'll die

Barefoot on a summer night

Never could be sweeter than with you

And in the streets you run a-free

Like it's only you and me

Geez, you're something to see

He took her hand and stared at her as the song created a new memory, one he wanted to merge with the old one.

Ah, home, let me come home

Home is wherever I'm with you

Ah, home, let me come home

Home is wherever I'm with you

He set his cup in the holder and took off his seat belt as she stared at him. "Dance with me, Scully." He opened the door and she protested.

"Mulder, it's cold. Come on."

"Nonsense. You come on." He stepped out of the car, and stared at her through the windshield as he grinned and walked around to her side.

La, la, la, la, take me home

Daddy, I'm coming home

"Jade"

"Alexander"

"Do you remember that day you fell out of my window?"

"I sure do, you came jumping out after me"

He opened her door and she sighed, placing her cup beside his as she took off her seat belt, staring at him and shaking her head, a smile teasing at her lips.

"Well, you fell on the concrete, nearly broke your ass and you were bleedin' all over the place and I rushed you out to the hospital, you remember that?"

"Yes, I do"

"Well, there's something I never told you about that night"

He took her hand, pulling her out and then to him. Leaving her door open to hear the music playing, he spun them around, her laughter echoing in the quiet of the night.

"What didn't you tell me?"

"While you were sitting in the backseat smoking a cigarette you thought was gonna be your last, I was falling deep, deeply in love with you and I never told you 'til just now"

"Aww"

Ah, home, let me come home

Home is wherever I'm with you

Ah, home, let me come home

Home is where I'm alone with you

They danced and laughed until the song slowed, causing them to do the same. Holding her close and staring into her eyes, he let the words of the song speak the way he was feeling.

Home, let me come home

Home is wherever I'm with you

Ah, home, yes, I am home

Home is when I'm alone with you

A happy smile and then a quick kiss, he twirled her around, causing her to laugh again. Their feet crunched in the snow and he committed another moment to his memory. Letting her go, she danced on her own, her eyes never leaving his, full of promise, love, and happiness, as the snow began to fall softly.

Alabama, Arkansas

I do love my ma and pa

Moats and boats and waterfalls

Alleyways and pay phone calls

Home is when I'm alone with you

Home is when I'm alone with you