"I've been trying to think of things we have not yet done together," Tad looked at Scully from across the table at her favorite French restaurant.
"What have we accomplished on your list so far?" Scully asked while taking a sip from her wine glass. The red of the Cabernet dying her lips a deeper shade.
"So far we've gone to dinner numerous times."
"Gone to the movies several times together."
"Went to the philharmonic, twice."
"I guess we should take it to the next logical level," Tad came to a conclusion.
"I'm only separated, Tad. Mulder is refusing to sign the divorce papers. Legally I'm still married."
"That's not what I was thinking, though that would be nice. I was actually going to ask you if you'd like to accompany me to the Congressional Christmas Party on Thursday?"
"Tad, I don't know what to say."
"Just say, 'Yes, Tad. I would love to be your date'."
"Yes, Tad. I would love to be your date," Scully repeated.
Tad grasped her hand and kissed it, "Thank you. You have made my Christmas wish come true. I'll be at your house to pick you up at 6. Sound good?"
"I look forward to it."
Mulder sat at his desk finishing the report for their latest case. He needed the practice after being away from the FBI for sixteen years.
"How's the report coming along?" Scully asked out of curiosity.
"I'm a bit rusty. I'll have you proof read it before I submit it. If that's okay? It's due on Wednesday."
"Email it to me," Scully said a she grabbed her things to leave.
"Yes. I have some reports to finish for the hospital. They're due Monday," Scully decided to keep her real plans for the evening to herself.
"Need a ride home?" Mulder asked while briefly looking up from the computer screen.
"No. I drove this morning. Thanks for the offer."
"Merry Christmas, Scully. I'll see you Monday," Mulder said as he resumed writing the report.
Scully paused at their office door, "Merry Christmas to you, as well," and she left.
Scully didn't like lying to Mulder, but she was unsure how he would have taken the news that she has been dating Tad O'Malley for the past seven months. She had not slept with Tad, though she had come close to accepting his offer twice. Scully was still deeply in love with Mulder. She couldn't ignore that fact.
Tad arrived in a limo promptly at 6. He was dressed in a classic black tuxedo and presented Scully with a Christmas corsage. Scully wore the sleek dark green dress she had purchased 5 years ago for a dinner party for a medical conference in New York. It was Mulder's favorite color on her. He said it brought the Irish out in her. She laughed at the memory.
"You look magnificent," Tad complimented.
"Our chariot awaits," Tad said as he held the door open for her.
Mulder sat in the living room of their unremarkable house listening to old records and practicing the guitar he purchased eight months earlier. He had purchased the instrument as a form of therapy for his depression.
The salesman included six free lessons as an incentive. Mulder paid for an additional six lessons. He wasn't the greatest guitarist, but he could play well enough to look as if he knew what he was doing.He turned the sheet music to the song "He'll Have To Go." Mulder began to strum the notes and sang along.
"Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone/ Let's pretend that we're together all alone/ I'll tell the man to turn the jukebox way down low/ And you can tell your friend there with you, he'll have to go"
"Whisper to me, tell me do you love me true/ Or is he holding you the way I do/ Though love is blind, make up your mind, I've got to know/ Should I hang up or will you tell him, he'll have to go"
Tad introduced Scully to his Senate colleagues in an attempt to impress her with his connections. He had a lot to learn about Dana Scully, including her disinterest of men with power. When she was younger she was drawn to them, but after meeting Mulder she discovered she was more interested in men with quiet strength who's morals could not be bought or compromised.
"There's a lot of Washington power in attendance, Tad," Scully observed.
"The annual Christmas party always draws the most attendance. Lots of deals are made here. Lots of money exchanged as well."
"Taxpayer dollars at work."
Tad stood up and offered his hand towards Scully, "Care for a dance?"
Scully accepted and Tad waltzed her onto the floor. The band the Congressional committee hired to play looked like a throwback to the days of Glenn Miller and His Orchestra. All 25 musicians wore tuxedos with starched collars that looked uncomfortable.
Tad drew Scully closer to him and spoke low into her ear, "When your divorce is finalized, I plan on asking you to marry me, Dana."
Scully stopped, "What?"
"I would like to marry you when your divorce from Fox is finalized. I've thought about it for the past six months."
"Tad, don't you think you're, we're, moving a little too fast? We barely know each other. I knew Mulder for six years before we had our first kiss...."
Tad interupted, "And look at how well that worked out for you. It's time for you to throw caution to the wind. Be spontaneous and impulsive with me. I would marry you tonight, if it were possible. We could go talk to Mulder and convince him that signing the paperwork is the best thing for all of us."
"Tad, I'm truly flattered, but Mulder and I have to work this out between us. It's not that easy to end a relationship that has spanned over twenty years. There is a lot of history between Mulder and I, not all of it bad."
"You sound as if you're still in love with him," Tad looked deep into Scully's eyes.
"A part of me will always love Mulder, Tad."
"I believe I may have misread you, Dana."
"Thank you for all of your kindness, Tad."
"The least I could do is drive you home."
"No,Tad. I'll call a cab," Scully replied as she kissed Tad on his left cheek and made her exit from the ballroom, leaving Tad standing alone near their table.
Scully arrived at her house. It sounded so much quieter tonight, and lonely. She made her way to the bedroom to change clothes. It was still early, only 8:30. Mulder would still be awake. She reached for her phone, but set it back down on her dresser. She would go see him instead.
She put on her coat and grabbed her purse, then got into her SUV. On her way out of DC, Scully picked up some Chinese food and a six-pack of beer. Mulder probably hasn't eaten since lunch.
Mulder was listening to the stereo while lying on the couch when Scully parked her vehicle in front of their house. She knew Mulder was still awake when she saw the lights on in the kitchen.
She made her way up the porch steps, carefully juggling their takeout and beer while inserting her keys into the lock. A familiar song filled the home. Scully walked into the living room and found Mulder, eyes closed, listening to Jim Reeves. He looked so peaceful lying there.
She paused the music, which caused Mulder to jump from the couch in a defensive posture, "Jesus, Scully!"
"I'm sorry, Mulder. I didn't mean to startle you."
"Startle me? You almost gave me a coronary," Mulder placed his hand on his chest. He looked at his watch, "Why are you here? Shouldn't you still be at the Christmas party with Tad?"
"You know about that?"
"Yes," Mulder continued to rub his chest while heading toward the kitchen to retrieve an aspirin. Scully followed him carrying the food and beer. He grabbed the bottle of aspirin from the cabinet, along with one of his anxiety pills, and put both in his mouth. He turned on the faucet and leaned over the sink to take a drink, then wiped the excess water from his chin.
"You knew I was going out with Tad and said nothing?"
"I've known for at least five months, Scully," Mulder said as he grabbed a beer.
"How did you find out?"
He twisted the cap off from the bottle and took a long swallow, "I still have friends that work on The Hill."
"You knew I was lying to you when I left work earlier today?"
"Yes," he replied and opened another bottle, handing it to Scully.
"Yet you said nothing?" She mindlessly brought the bottle to her lips.
"If it makes you happy to be with Tad, then who am I to stand in your way," Mulder explained as he grabbed a container of Chow Mein and a fork, and made his way back to the living room. He stopped at his desk and retrieved a red envelope he had written "Merry Christmas" on and handed it to Scully.
"What is this?" Scully looked at the letter sized envelope.
"It's your Christmas present," Mulder gave her a slight smile, "Go ahead and open it."
Scully picked up the letter opener and ran it along the crease of the envelope. Inside were their divorce papers. Scully began to cry, "You signed them?"
Mulder moved a little closer to her and placed his hands on her shoulders, "I want you to be happy. If it means without me, then I accept your decision. Merry Christmas," and he placed a kiss on Scully's forehead.
Scully rested her head on Mulder's chest. He felt her tears soak through his shirt, and hugged her tightly never wanting to let go. She backed away and looked once again at the signed divorce papers. She walked past Mulder and stood in front of the fireplace. The remains of the fire still glowed hot. She opened the protective screen and tossed the paperwork inside. The pages briefly smoked then ignited into flames.
"I can't do it," Scully said as she watched the papers turn to ash.
"I thought it's what you wanted?"
"So did I," she wept, "I went to the party with Tad and he introduced me to all of these powerful men, and all I could think of was you. Those men reminded me of everything I DIDN'T want in a partner; power, greed, status. You are the complete opposite. You're everything I NEED in a partner."
Mulder moved closer to her. He cupped her face softly in his hands and kissed her deeply. Scully pulled back and looked up at his face, then patted him on his chest. She walked back to the stereo, and pressed play to continue the song she had paused earlier. She walked back to Mulder and embraced him once again.
"Tad is a horrible dancer," Scully spoke into Mulder's shoulder as they began to sway to the music.
Mulder laughed, "Sounds like Tad needs a lesson in romance."
"You can't say the words I want to hear/ While you're with another man/ Do you want me? Answer yes or no/ Darling I will understand"
Scully stopped, "I want to come home, Mulder. That's all I want for Christmas."
"Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone/ Let's pretend that we're together all alone/ I'll tell the man to turn the jukebox way down low/ And you can tell your friend there with you/ He'll have to go"
"That has been my Christmas wish for the last four years."
* The X-Files were created by Chris Carter
*He'll Have To Go © Beechwood Music Corp., Campbell Connelly And Co.ltd., Beechwood Music Corporation, Central Songs, Emi Music Publishing France
Songwriters: Joe Allison / Audrey Allison