December 31, 1994

Mulder walked down the hallway to Scully's apartment, feeling a little nervous as he was not coming over with news of a case. It was New Year's Eve and he thought she might like to go out, maybe see the fireworks on the other side of town.

As he raised his hand to knock on her door, it opened and he stepped back in surprise as she did the same, her eyes wide.

"Oh! Mulder! What… what are you doing here?" she asked, her hand on her chest.

"Uh…" He was having trouble thinking of an answer as he stared at her.

She looked different, but the same. Her hair was up, little pieces falling onto her neck in small curls. Her eyes were made up a little darker, making them seem even bluer than usual, which seemed impossible. Small silver hooped earrings hung from her ears and a silver diamond necklace lay where her gold cross would have usually been.

Her dress was dark blue. A simple no frills dress, one he imagined she would have purchased to wear to any function, thus making it a sensible item. Paired with the jewelry, her hair and makeup, and the silvery blue shoes she wore, however, it was an exceptionally beautiful dress.

"Mulder? You okay?" He looked into her eyes and nodded dumbly, still unable to speak. "We haven't been called out have we?"

"No, no not that," he said, clearing his dry throat. "But I see you're headed out. I'm sorry, I should have called first. I won't keep you. You enjoy your date." He said the last sentence with a feeling of bitter sadness, although he had no right to feel that way. She could, and should, go out and date a good man, someone who would care for her. But even as he thought it, he felt unbidden anger toward the unknown man, before he was brought back to the moment by her laughter.

"A date? No… not a date," she said, playing with her necklace. "I don't know if I would even know what that was these days." She smiled almost sadly and then laughed, shaking her head and letting her necklace drop. "No, I'm going to my mother's for a party she's throwing. It's sort of a… holiday/memorial/celebration party. It's been a year since my dad died and my mom wanted to have a party tonight instead of Christmas, so…" She shrugged and smiled at him.

He stared at her, having completely forgotten about her father; not that he had passed, but the time of year. He felt like an ass, her unusual quietness the past couple of days, now making sense. Sighing, he shook his head.

"Scully, I'm sorry. I… it's not that I forgot, I just… I'm sorry," he said with a shrug and a deep sigh. She smiled and shook her head.

"It's nothing you need to apologize for, Mulder. Please don't feel you should," she said softly with a smile and he took a deep breath and nodded, still feeling shitty. "Anyway, you came here for a reason, though not a case you said." She raised her eyebrows and he nodded, feeling almost silly now.

"I uh… I thought maybe you, if you were here, if… you didn't have plans-which you obviously do-you might like to do something. Dinner or…" He shrugged again and she smiled. "But, you should get going; please don't let me hold you up."

"Why don't you join me?" she asked and then laughed at the shocked expression on his face. "Seriously, join me."

"At your mom's holiday/memorial party? Ah, Scully, no I don't think I… that's… I don't think I should be at that family function," he said quietly.

"It's not just family who will be there," she told him softly. "Come with me. You obviously wanted to do something, so let this be the something." She smiled and he nodded, unable to say no when she looked at him that way.

She locked the door and slid on her coat, before they walked down the hall and out to his car. A bag in her hand, she explained she was staying the night and her mom could bring her home tomorrow. Opening the car door for her, she gave him a look, but a smile lay beneath it.

Her voice was different as they drove; breathy and happy, with a laugh close behind her words. She told him who would be at the party and stories about them from the past. but he heard nearly none of it. Instead, he heard every rustle of the dress she wore and the sound of her legs crossing and uncrossing. Combined with the familiar scent of her perfume, he was experiencing some new and complex feelings.

"Make a right here," she said, cutting into his thoughts, at the same time he turned on the blinker. Glancing at her, she stared at him and he nodded, letting her know he already knew the way, having been there many times during her disappearance.

They fell silent for the remainder of the drive, his thoughts on the last time he had been this way. "Scully…"

"Mulder, shut up. My mother will be delighted to see you, and Missy will be there, too," she said slyly and he looked at her again.

"Is she bringing her crystals with her? Any other aura reading instruments?" he asked with a roll of his eyes and she laughed.

"I'm sure she'll have something on hand," she smiled and he nodded.

They pulled up to the house and found the street rather full, the house lit up brightly, and heard the music and laughter as they walked up to the door. Not bothering to knock, she looked at him as she opened the door.

"Get ready," she warned, and he suddenly felt nervous, despite her teasing tone.

The room was full of people, mostly older, and the music was louder now that they were inside. A few people exclaimed over Scully and she was hugged by all of them. She handed him her coat as she was pulled into the group of people. He took her bag from her hand and stood back, not sure how or even if he wanted to follow her.

"Upstairs, second door on the right," he heard behind him. Turning around he saw Missy standing there with an unreadable expression on her face. He nodded, eager to get away from the party.

He ran up the stairs and dropped off her bag and coat, staying away as long as possible, before heading back down. At the bottom of the stairs, Missy handed him a glass with brown liquor inside. She stared at him the way she had in the hospital, as though she saw or heard things he could not.

He took a large drink and then coughed as he felt it burning the back of his throat. She laughed as she slapped him on the back and he coughed harder, clearing his throat.

"Happy to have you here, Fox… Mulder," she said, walking away with a laugh. He looked down at the liquid, knowing he would not be drinking any more of it.

He walked into the room, staying on the outskirts, nodding at the people he saw, but not staying to converse with them. Mrs. Scully saw him and did a double take, smiling when she realized she had seen correctly. She walked over and hugged him, stepping back and holding his face in her hands.

"I'm happy to see you, Fox," she said with a smile and he knew she meant it. "I'm glad Dana convinced you to join us." He stared and she winked at him. Someone called her name and she walked away, leaving him confused.

"Hey," Scully said, as she walked over from his left with a beer in her hand. "Here, trade you." She took his glass and handed him the bottle with a smile.

"Oh, wait! It's really strong!" he warned as she took a drink from the glass. She raised her eyebrows, swallowing it down without coughing.

"It's Irish whiskey. You think I haven't had this before?" She smiled and took another drink, surprising him once again. "Missy give this to you?" He nodded and she laughed as he took a drink of his beer.

God, so much better.

Someone called her and she turned her head, waving to them. Looking back at him silently asking him a question. He nodded and she touched his elbow before walking away, leaving him on his own.

Walking around again, he filled a plate of food from the buffet of items on the table. Taking his plate and beer, he sat down far from the party, watching everyone enjoying themselves. Stories of Bill Scully were being told, laughter and groans following the end of the tales. He saw Missy, Scully, and Mrs. Scully at different times with different people, wiping at their eyes, then all three hugging when they found each other.

As the midnight hour approached, Missy walked over and stood beside him. Silent, she watched the group of people gathered in the room. They both turned their heads as Scully's laugh was heard above the many conversations.

"Hmm," Missy said, a smile on her face. "Dana has always had a great laugh. I'm happy to hear it again." She looked at him and he nodded. "You helped to do that, Fox... sorry, Mulder. She said it herself; that she had the strength of your beliefs. I hope you understand what that entails." She stared at him and again he felt as though she was seeing something he could not. He nodded and looked away, her gaze too intense.

"I understand more than you may think," he said quietly and he saw her nod, falling silent again as they drank their drinks. He excused himself, needing to get away from her and the thoughts she had created in his head.

Setting his bottle on the kitchen table, he stepped into the backyard, taking a deep breath. It was cold, but it was welcome after the warmth of the house. Letting out a breath he saw it billowing out in front of him. Shivering, he did it again, needing some time outside before he went back in, ready to leave, when he heard the door open behind him.

"There you are, I've been looking for you." He turned around at Scully's voice and saw her smiling, her eyes happy and cheeks pink. "It's freezing. What are you doing out here?"

"Just needed some fresh air," he said, smiling as he waved his arm around.

"It's a lot, I know," she said with a sigh. "Is it too much?"

"Too much? Scully, I've been inside of a volcano… this is nothing." She laughed and nodded, stepping out and closer to him.

"While dangerous, at least the volcano was warm; it's seriously freezing out here." She rubbed her bare arms and he took off his jacket, sliding it across her shoulders, despite her protests. She shook her head, even as she pulled it tighter around her, and he smiled.

"One minute!" They heard from inside and turned to see everyone cheer, laughing as they grabbed horns and hats, getting ready for the new year.

"You wanna head inside?" he asked, looking back at her and she shook her head. "Too much?" he teased and she nodded.

"It will be. I know these people." He laughed as she nodded vigorously, her eyes wide. "They are a rowdy bunch. They look innocent, but…"

"You give them some of that Irish whiskey…"

"Exactly," she grinned and he laughed softly. They stared at each other as the countdown began. As it did, he saw a snowflake fall on her cheek. Reaching out unconsciously, he brushed it off gently and she froze, staring into his eyes.

"Five, four, three, two, one! Happy New Year!" Shouts and horns blared as the new year began. Another snowflake fell, landing on her eyelashes and she blinked, laughing as she wiped it away, his hand dropping from her cheek.

They both looked up and watched the snow falling quietly and gently. "How about that?" she whispered and he looked at her again. She smiled and he bent his head, kissing her cold cheek.

"Happy New Year, Scully," he whispered as he pulled back, smiling softly as he did. She stared at him and nodded, her eyes shining.

"You, too, Mulder." He nodded and then stepped back, clearing his throat, and looking toward the house.

"We should head inside. It is cold out here," he said with a shiver.

"I'm fine, I don't know why you're complaining," she joked as he put his hand on the small of her back and led her inside. He laughed and, when they were back in the warmth, she took off his jacket, and handed it back to him.

As he slid it on, warm from her body, she stood on tiptoes and kissed his cheek. "Happy New Year," she whispered and he smiled with a nod. She walked away and he stood in place, taking a moment.

Feeling his keys in his jacket pocket, he planned on making a quiet escape, but Mrs. Scully found him. A hug and a kiss on the cheek, she let him go, telling him again she was happy he had been there. He nodded and tried to leave, hoping this time he would be successful.

Catching Scully's eye, she smiled and he nodded, heading toward the front door. Finally reaching it, he looked back once more, smiling to see Scully happy and enjoying herself. His gaze landed on Missy and she raised an eyebrow, tilting her glass in his direction, and nodding. He nodded back and left the house, closing the door behind him.

Shaking his head, he walked to his car and got in, shivering as he waited for it to warm up. The snow was collecting on the windshield and he turned the wipers on, watching as it continued to fall.

Driving away, he smiled, remembering the feel of Scully's soft cool cheek under the warmth of his lips, and then the feel of her warm lips upon his own frigid cheek.

December 31, 1998

He debated calling her, knowing she was with her family celebrating the holidays, but he missed her. After their gift exchange early Christmas morning, she had fallen asleep on the couch, and he had watched A Christmas Carol again, the volume low as her head dropped to his shoulder.

He had woken her when the movie was over and she groaned as she put her shoes back on and rolled her stiff neck. Taking her gift, she had grinned at him, kissing his cheek and wishing him a merry Christmas. He had nodded and smiled as she left, closing the door and sighing, alone again.

The next week had passed by with a couple of calls, but she had the time off and he could find no excuse to tear her from her family even if he had wanted to. She deserved this, especially after this past year and then the haunted house fiasco. Rubbing at his stomach, he could still feel the pain of a bullet that had never existed.

"Folks, it's almost that time," he heard from the television and he looked up to see Dick Clark in Times Square, bundled up in the cold. "We are about a minute and counting. Grab that loved one and don't let them go." Mulder scoffed and shook his head as he leaned back into the couch.

"Thirty seconds. Everyone ready?" Reaching for the remote he turned the volume down, not needing to hear the celebrated merriment as he watched the time tick down.

The ball hit and a new year began. He watched all the confetti falling into the street, wondering who would be responsible for cleaning that mess in the morning, when the phone rang.

He sat up and lifted it, hearing music in the background as he brought it to his ear. "Mulder."

"MULDER!" He raised his eyebrows and held the phone away, her voice loud above the music. "MULDER, CAN YOU HEAR ME?"

"Scully," he said with a smile. "Yes, I can hear you."

"I… MULDER? HELLO?" He chuckled as he brought the phone closer and listened to her slightly slurred speech, knowing she tended to drink more around her family. Especially if Bill was in attendance and the whiskey was within reach.

"Scully, I can hear you, you don't need to shout."

"I'M NOT… I'm not shouting," she said, stage whispering at the end of the sentence, and he laughed again. "Am I?" She giggled and he raised his eyebrows again at the sound. "I was, I'm sorry. But you can hear me?"

"Have you forgotten how telephones work in your inebriated state, Agent Scully?" he asked and she giggled again. Shaking his head, he leaned back, the falling confetti and celebrating now seeming less annoying.

"I'm at my mom's and I… I have had some wine. And whiskey. And oh… this drink Tara made that had... rum or vodka… or something…" She was quiet and he laughed again, wondering what she was doing. "It was rum and other stuff and it was really good."

"Sounds like it," he laughed and she sighed, the music getting quieter, as she must be walking somewhere in the house. "You okay?"

"Phhh, more than okay," she slurred and he smiled, picturing the way her cheeks flushed and her eyes sparkled when she had too much alcohol. "Are you okay, Mulder?"

He smiled and nodded, even though he knew she could not see him. "Well, I'm not shot, or dead, so I can't complain too much." She giggled and then sobered quickly.

"Can you still feel the bullet though, Mulder? It's like…" She was quiet again, and he could picture her touching her imaginary wound as he was now touching his own. "Like it's there, but it's not. How is that possible?"

"I don't know, Scully, but I know what you mean." He moved his hand, shaking his head, as he heard her sigh heavily.

"Well… I just wanted to tell you Happy New Year... I should get back."

"The whiskey and rum aren't going to drink themselves," he teased and she laughed happily. "I'll talk to you later, Scully. Happy New Year."

"Yeah. Talk to you later, Mulder. G'night." He heard her phone disconnect and smiled as he replaced his own.

Looking back at the television, he watched couples dancing, singing, and kissing. He thought of Scully going back for another drink, giggly and happy, and he smiled again.

After the heartache of losing Emily last year, if anyone deserved to be happy and laugh more, it was her.

December 31, 2008

Mulder pulled up to the liquor store just as the closed light turned on and he groaned. Shutting the car off, he quickly jumped out of the car and banged on the door.

"Hey! Come on! Open up!" he yelled, hitting his palm on the glass door, staring at the worker inside.

"We're closed, man! It's almost midnight. It's New Year's Eve, man!" the man yelled back.

"No shit," he yelled back. "Why do you think I'm here? Come on! I need one thing, well… three, but I'll be fast. Come on! Hey!" He slammed his hand on the door again as the guy started to walk away. "Please, man. Look, I've got…" He took out his wallet and pulled out a fifty dollar bill, slamming it onto the door, meeting the guys eyes. "Fifty bucks. You don't even need to ring it up, you can make that decision." The guy stared at him and began to walk toward the door.

"Make it quick," he sighed, opening the door and extending his hand for the money, which Mulder gladly handed over.

"Thank you so much, I've been to five places and everywhere was closed," he said as he hurried inside, heading to the shelf of champagne, not caring which one he grabbed. "You have any of these chilled?"

"Are you fucking serious, man? This is a liquor store."

"Right, right," Mulder said, grabbing one that looked good, and turning around. "You have glasses? Like plastic ones?"

"Liquor store, pal, remember? Come on."

"Fine. Okay. I guess this all I need then. I'll figure it out. Thanks again, I really appreciate it."

"Whatever, man. I got a girl waiting on me; get out so I can lock up."

"I can relate. Thanks again. Happy New Year!"

"Yeah, yeah," he said as he closed the door and locked it, hurrying away and out of sight. Mulder grinned, glancing down at the bottle of champagne, then his watch. He needed to hurry; he only had about forty five minutes.

Half an hour later, he had the bottle in a bag, along with two coffee cups. On a plate in the bag, wrapped with cellophane, he had a croissant, some cheese, grapes, and a small chocolate brownie. He walked hurriedly down the halls of the hospital, hoping to find Scully in her office and not checking on a patient.

Poking his head around the corner, he saw she was at her desk, alone in the office, and he smiled as he stepped into the room.

"Hey, Doc," he said and she jumped.

"Jesus, Mulder!" she exhaled, placing her hand on her chest. "You scared the shit out of me! What are you doing here at this hour?"

"It's New Year's Eve," he said with a happy grin, walking closer to her.

"I know that."

"And you're working," he said, setting the bag down on the desk and looking around.

"Again, you're stating information of which I am aware," she said, raising her eyebrows, as he looked at her with a grin.

"Where's the television?"

"Where's… the television? In my office? Why would I have a television in my office?"

"We used to have one in ours," he said with a shrug, picking up the bag and reaching for her hand.

"We had many things in that office of which I wouldn't have here, so that claim isn't going to fly." She looked at him questioningly as he gestured for her hand. "What are you doing?"

"Come on, we don't have much time," he attempted to explain, glancing at his watch. "Thirteen minutes. Come on."

"Mulder…"

"The countdown, Scully, the ball is about to drop. Let's go." He kept his hand out and she grinned in slow understanding as she stood, stepping away from her desk.

"I'm on call…"

"Uh huh. Twelve minutes, Scully, tick tock."

"I might get called away."

"I'm willing to take that chance."

Taking his hand, she grinned and shook her head. "You're a terrible influence on me."

"Yeah, I am," he agreed with a grin of his own, gripping her hand tightly. "Let's go. Which way?"

"Out of here and to the left," she giggled, holding onto his arm as he pulled them out of the office quickly and stealthily, whispering loudly for her to be quiet.

"Down this hall," she said, close to his ear, and he pulled them through a door and they found themselves in an empty wing of the hospital. "Thankfully all the rooms aren't filled, we can use one of them."

"Perfect. Nine and a half minutes. This one is fine, 322. Get in, get in." He held the door for her and she giggled again. Looking around once more, just in case, he stepped into the room and closed the door. "Okay, here we go." He set the bag down on the bedside table as Scully turned on the lights and television, finding the countdown but leaving the volume low.

"So, what's in this bag you're carrying, Mulder?" she asked, stepping over to him and he stopped her with a hand up.

"Hang on, let me get things ready." He set the plate down, uncovering the food and arranging it a bit better. The cups were next and then the bottle of champagne. He checked once more then stepped back, allowing her to see it.

"Mulder…" she said, touching his arm as she looked at everything. "This is… this is wonderful. What's brought this on?"

"It's New Year's Eve," he told her again and she gave him a look, raising her eyebrows. "I know you know, but… I was at home and…" He sighed and she waited. "We don't exactly celebrate the holidays, but New Year's… it's kind of ours and well… you volunteered to work tonight and I didn't want to miss sharing it with you."

She smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him down for a kiss. "Thank you, Mulder." Another kiss and she stepped back, looking back at the plate and picking up the brownie.

Breaking it, she offered him half and he accepted it with a nod and a smile. He looked up at the clock and she did the same as she took a bite of the brownie.

"Five minutes," they said simultaneously.

"Should I open the champagne now?" he asked around the brownie in his mouth. He reached for it and she stopped him.

"I can't drink that when I'm on call. I can't, Mulder. Wait, is this… warm? Warm champagne?" She took it and looked at him, laughter in her eyes. "Seriously?"

"Hey, that was fifty dollars, so warm or not, we're drinking it," he said, taking it back from her.

"Fifty dollars? For that?" she asked incredulously. He nodded and she narrowed her eyes at him. "This brand of champagne doesn't cost fifty dollars. You bribed someone didn't you?"

"Bribe is such a dirty word," he said, beginning to open the foil wrapper. "I simply asked for a favor in return for some cash."

"Which is the definition of bribery," she laughed, stopping him from opening the bottle. "Mulder, I can't, and you aren't going to drink this whole bottle on your own and then drive home. Plus, it's warm, it will taste terrible."

"But, I stopped specifically for it, for this moment." He sighed as he looked at the clock. "Less than five minutes, Scully." He stared at her and she scrunched her chin at him. Taking the bottle from him again, she smiled.

"I don't need any champagne. You're here, Mulder. You brought chocolate," she said playfully, showing him the last bit of her brownie. "I don't need champagne." He sighed again and she tilted her head at him.

"Fine, but we will drink it."

"You chill it and we absolutely will." She smiled and he nodded, planning on putting it in the refrigerator as soon as he got home. He glanced at the clock again, setting the bottle down.

"Two minutes," he announced and she nodded, sitting on the bed and patting the space beside her. He sat down and she laid her head on his shoulder, lacing their fingers together.

"This is all I need," she whispered, lifting her head and looking up at him. "I mean, this is a good brownie." She popped the last bite in her mouth and he laughed, squeezing her hand. "You're pretty great, too, though." He laughed again and they turned their attention to the television.

"Forty five seconds."

"Hmm."

The volume down low, they watched the ball get closer and closer before it lit up announcing the new year. She sighed and looked at him, a huge smile on her face. Pushing a stray piece of hair behind her ear, he kissed her softly, her lips tasting of chocolate.

As the crowd cheered and celebrated, they kissed until his wandering hands had to be stopped, as she reminded him she was working. He pouted and she promised she would make it up to him. They shared the plate of food, glancing at the television, and laughing at their lack of celebrity knowledge.

Cleaning up, bringing their trash to throw out in a different bin, they turned off the television and the lights. Walking hand in hand, they went back to her still empty office, happy and smiling. She kissed him goodbye and reminded him to put the champagne in the refrigerator.

"I don't work tomorrow, we could drink it in bed," she said quietly and he raised his eyebrows. Taking a step closer, she placed her hands on his chest and looked up at him. "Naked." He shivered and she laughed.

"It will be chilled god damn it," he promised, already imagining the sweet taste of champagne in her kiss, possibly on her skin as well.

He left after one last kiss, driving home happily. When he walked inside, he put the champagne in the refrigerator and went to bed.

In the morning, along with some fruit, they lay in bed and shared the bottle between them, forgoing any glasses, drinking every last drop of the cheapest, most expensive champagne they had ever had.

Completely and totally naked.

December 31, 2016

Riiiiiiiiiing.

Mulder snorted awake, looking around as he realized he had fallen asleep on the couch, the New Year's Eve party playing on the television.

Riiiiiiiiiing.

He reached for his phone, yawning as he answered.

"Muldaaaaa," he said, rubbing at his face.

"Mulder? Did I wake you? I'm sorry. I…" He heard Scully say and he cleared his throat.

"No, just uh… must have dozed off. What time is it?"

"11:30."

"You… uh… what are you doing?"

"Umm, well it's New Year's Eve," she said with a sad chuckle and he nodded, sighing as he did.

"You're at home then? Your brother's not… no… he wouldn't be in town then, would he?" He said quietly and felt like an asshole. No, Bill would not be in town this year as he usually would come to see his mother over the holidays. But now…

"No, no he's not in town. And no, I'm… I'm not at home." Her voice was just above a whisper and he frowned.

"Where…"

"I'm outside."

"You're… you're outside?" He stood up and walked across the room, turned on the porch light and opened the door to find her sitting in her car with her head down. He saw and heard her sigh as she lifted her head and looked at him, her eyes sad although she attempted a smile.

Hanging up the phone, he stared at her, holding the door open, letting her make the decision to come inside. She nodded slightly and moved the phone from her ear. Shutting the car off, she picked something up from the passenger seat, opened the door and stepped out, closing it softly with a sigh.

Walking up the stairs, he saw it was a bottle of champagne and he smiled. Of course it was. She stopped at the door and handed it to him.

"It's chilled. We can drink it now."

"You don't want to wait for a…"

"No," she said forcefully. "I need a drink." She stared at him and he nodded, stepping aside to let her walk inside. Closing the door and turning around, he saw her taking off her coat and then realized how messy the place was, wishing he had cleaned up.

"Sorry the place is a mess. I…"

"It's fine, Mulder. Don't worry about it." She sat down on the couch and he nodded as he walked into the kitchen to get some glasses. Opening the bottle, he brought it and the glasses over to the coffee table.

He poured them each a glass as he sat down, handing hers to her. She nodded, no cheers or well wishes offered by either of them. He took a drink, sipping the bubbly sweet and simultaneously dry taste, causing him to cough and his eyes to water.

She drained her glass and held it out, silently asking for more. When he caught his breath, he obliged her, filling it fuller than before. Never one to truly enjoy the taste of champagne, he was more than happy to let her drink as much as she liked.

She took a large drink and sighed as she wiped her mouth, setting her glass down on the coffee table; her eyes downcast. "I drove to my mom's tonight," she said quietly and he exhaled with a nod, feeling the familiar knot of sadness over Mrs. Scully's death. "It was dark, as I knew it would be, but it just felt so wrong to see it that way. She always loved the holidays: the house decorated, music playing, drinks, good food."

"I remember," he replied, just as quietly, and she nodded, knowing he had attended many of those parties.

"I… I didn't expect to find her there, to find a happy and festive party, I'm not crazy," she said, raising her eyes and looking at him, and he smiled softly. "I just… I don't know. I miss her so much." Her eyes filled with tears and he took a deep breath as he put an arm around her shoulders, pulling her close.

She cried on his shoulder and he closed his eyes, saying nothing, simply letting her cry. They sat for a couple of minutes before she pulled back and stood up, walking into the bathroom and closing the door. He sighed, drinking down the rest of his champagne and refilling his glass halfway, leaving it on the coffee table.

When she came out, she sat beside him again, remaining silent. Reaching for her glass, she drank the rest of it and held it out for more. He filled it and she nodded her thanks, looking up at the television.

"Ten more minutes," she whispered and he nodded. She drank down the rest of her champagne and poured herself another glass. They were silent as they watched the television, draining their glasses and then the bottle.

"I'm sorry about tonight, Scully, I should have thought. I… of course it would be difficult. We should've made plans or something, I don't know." He sighed, watching the television and thinking of parties he had attended at Mrs. Scully's house. They had always been lively, with her at the center, her smile warm and her laugh loud and infectious. He shook his head and sighed again. "I know it's too late to do anything now, hell, it's nearly midnight, a new year… but tomorrow we could do… I don't know, something. Whatever you like, Scully. You pick. How does that sound? Scully?" He looked at her and saw that she was asleep, breathing deeply, her head nearly touching his shoulder, and her hands clasped in her lap.

He smiled as he watched her while behind him the countdown began, the new year unable to be halted.

Five, four, three…

He tuned out the rest of the countdown, focusing his attention on her; the beauty of her face, the sound of her breathing, the familiarity of them sitting on the couch watching television as she inevitably fell asleep. Pushing a strand of hair behind her ear, he sighed softly.

"Happy New Year, Scully," he whispered as he touched her face gently, his thumb brushing her cheek. Standing up, he took the blanket from the edge of the couch and covered her. Smiling at the sight of her there after being absent for so long, he left the television on, and shut off all but one light.

Lying down in bed, he thought of her downstairs, wishing she would stay, but knowing it most likely would not happen. Right now they were in such an odd place and walking carefully around one another. He hoped if she did not stay, at least she would sleep for awhile, leaving only when she was ready. Heaving a big sigh, he turned over, touching her empty side of the bed, and falling asleep.

He woke up the next morning and sat up, wanting to know if she was still there. Walking quietly down the stairs, he found the couch empty, the room cleared of their glasses, the bottle of champagne gone, and the blanket folded.

Sighing, he walked into the kitchen to make some coffee before he went back upstairs to take a shower. Halting his movement, he smiled as he took the sticky note off the coffee pot and read it.

Sorry I fell asleep and missed the beginning of the new year. Make it up to you with lunch?

And thank you, Mulder…

He grinned and readied the coffee, reading the note again, as he looked for his phone, intent on texting her a time and place. Pushing the home button, he saw she had already sent him the information.

11:30, Dina's Diner.

And underneath it, causing him to chuckle, was a gif of multicolored fireworks, spelling out the words Happy New Year.

December 31, 2019

"Here you go."

"Hm?"

"The popcorn, Mulder," Scully said with a laugh, handing him a red bowl with white snowflakes.

"Right, thanks." He took the bowl from her and she walked back to the kitchen to turn out the lights and grab their drinks. Taking their glasses from her, he set them on the coffee table as she sat beside him.

"We have about fifteen minutes, hopefully the champagne will be cold enough by then. I can't believe you didn't put it in the refrigerator. Have you not learned from the past?" said with a shake of her head, grabbing a handful of popcorn.

"If it's not cold enough, we can add some ice to the glasses."

"Blasphemy!" she mumbled around the popcorn in her mouth and he laughed.

"Shut up. Fifteen minutes in the refrigerator should be enough time to get that small bottle cold." She bumped him and they both laughed as they munched on the popcorn.

"It's still seems weird to watch this without Dick Clark, seeing as it still carries his name, especially. I like that it does, but still… it's not the same," she said with a sigh and he looked at her and smiled.

"Everything changes, Scully," he said, matter of factly and she gave him a look.

"I'm aware of that, Mulder. That's not what I meant."

"What did you mean?"

She smiled softly and sighed. "It's just… you know... Dick Clark was our guy." She shrugged and he grinned.

"Yeah, he was."

They stared at each other and then looked at the television, the volume muted as someone was performing a song and dance number.

"Who is that?" she asked and he shrugged, setting the bowl of popcorn on the table, sitting back and putting his arm around her.

"I have no idea, nor do I care," he said, kissing the top of her head. Closing his eyes, he listened to her quiet laugh as she moved around slightly. She put her feet on the coffee table, placed her arm on his stomach and her head on his shoulder.

Silence fell and he opened his eyes. "Don't fall asleep," he warned and she laughed softly.

"Not sleeping."

"Well, you're awfully quiet."

"Just thinking."

"About?"

"The millennium. The fear everyone had that the world as we knew it would end. I mean, technically the real millennium would have been the following year, as I told you at the time," she reminded him.

"Nobody likes a math geek, Scully."

"That's not entirely accurate," she said, squeezing his side, making him laugh.

"No, it's not. In fact, I for one find it highly arousing."

"Hmm."

Silence fell again and he watched the television. People were laughing, bundled in layers, their breath visible with every word they spoke. He shook his head, running his fingers through her hair.

"What?" she asked, though he had not said anything.

"Just thinking that, as exciting as it may be, I'd much rather be here in our pajamas, in the warmth of the house, our girl sleeping upstairs, popcorn within reach, and champagne chilling, than in a crowd of hundreds of thousands."

"You, Mulder? You would rather be here, just us, than in a huge crowd? I'll tell you… I'm shocked," she said, sarcasm heavy in her tone.

"Smart ass," he quipped and she laughed. "If you ever did want to go though, watch the ball drop in person, I mean-"

"Jesus Christ, no!" she said vehemently, shuddering against him, causing him to laugh. "I'm in fluffy socks and old pajamas, this is much more preferable." He laughed again and they fell silent.

"Three minutes," she breathed. "Have you thought of your resolutions?"

"Are you implying I need to change things about myself?" he asked, feigning surprise. She said nothing and he chuckled. "No, I haven't thought of resolutions. Have you?"

"No, because I am perfect. And immortal. So, what's the point? I have forever to make changes. Should I need to, of course," she teased and he laughed again.

"One minute. Do you want to get the champagne?"

"Hmm," she said, burrowing further into him and he smiled. He unmuted the television, keeping the volume low, as they watched the unknown celebrities gather together to countdown to the new year.

"It's not the same," he whispered and she nodded.

Ten, nine, eight, seven, six…

He moved his arm and turned toward her, looking down as she moved and looked up at him.

Five, four, three, two, one. Happy New Year!

He smiled at her and she smiled back, remembering the long ago night in a hospital waiting area, Auld Lang Syne playing through the television, as he made a brave decision and took a huge leap.

"You know, folklore says that at masquerade balls, when the clock struck midnight, people would remove their masks and kiss, warding off any evil that might befall them. Others believed that not kissing someone meant a loveless year ahead," he told her and she sat forward and then into his lap, staring at him and shaking her head.

"Nobody likes an unasked for history lesson, Mulder. Shut up and fucking kiss me," she whispered with a happy smile.

"A dollar in the swear jar, Miss Scully," he breathed as her lips brushed his.

"Worth it," she answered in the same tone, kissing him softly, reminiscent of that first one so long ago.

The second kiss, was anything but however, as was the third. He lost count after six, when her small, warm hands slid under his shirt, and up to his heart…

"So," he whispered into her hair, as they lay naked, wrapped around one another, a blanket pulled over them haphazardly. "We didn't get to that champagne, but this was much better."

"I certainly hope so," she whispered back, nuzzling into his neck, and he laughed.

"Always."

"Agreed."

He pulled her close and took a deep breath, the music from the television low and the song unknown to him. God, he was getting old. But then, her soft, smooth leg slid up his and stopped at his hip, and he felt his heart rate increase.

Maybe not so old then, he thought.

"I've come up with a resolution," he mumbled and she hummed. "I resolve we should be naked like this more often." She laughed and he felt it against his body.

"What a coincidence, that was my resolution, too."

"That's why we're so good together," he said with a smile and she hummed again. He ran his hand up and down her back as he felt his eyes growing heavy.

"Happy New Year, Scully," he whispered, hearing himself say it as though it were an echo from years ago.

"Hmm, happy New Year, Mulder," she breathed and he heard that echo again, as though their younger selves were somewhere in the room.

"I love you," he whispered, saying what he wished he had told her that night in the hospital.

"Of course you do, I'm a badass," she whispered back and he laughed, feeling her smile against his throat. "I love you, too." He hummed and she sighed, both of them then falling silent, as sleep came calling.

The new year would wait for a few hours at least, as they slept peacefully in one another's arms, memories and dreams intertwining as they celebrated New Year's, past, present and future.