By Christine Leigh
Summary: Mulder's birthday, 2010. A sequel to "Cold Wine, Warm Night." Post-IWTB
October 13, 2010
"It was a red Schwinn. Fire engine red. It came with training wheels, but I'd already learned to ride so those never saw the light of day."
Six had been the happiest birthday of Mulder's childhood. There had been others before everything changed, but six is the one he returns to on that rare occasion of reminiscence. There had been chocolate cake with an inch of the densest fudge frosting slathered all over the surface as well as between the layers, and when his father wheeled his present into view, he about burst with excitement at seeing his first bicycle. The weather was still warm, so the party had been outside. Like tonight.
"What is it about the first bike, Mulder?"
"Freedom. The feeling that you could fly anywhere on the planet. Or off." It's odd, he thinks, given the nightmares of his future life, but that's exactly how he felt at the time. He remembers thinking that he could have gone to Pluto on that bike.
"That's it, Scully."
Making love on the porch was a brilliant idea, but then his wife is brilliant. They are wrapped in blankets and nothing else. An unexpected rain earlier in the day had left the night air balmy, but the October chill will return by morning. If not for that, Mulder would angle for a camp out. He's feeling considerably younger than his 49 years. He turned to face Scully.
"My first birthday as a married man has been an unqualified success." He took her hand and kissed it. "That cake is a home run." He'd eaten two pieces earlier, and having worked them off in the past couple of hours, he is now considering a third. The night is young, yet.
"Liza will be pleased." Liza is Father Ybarra's assistant, and for lack of a better description, Scully's friend. So far she'd recommended a laundry, two restaurants, and now a bakery - all winners.
"I could go for another piece. How about you?"
"If it comes with another glass of wine, yes."
"Scully, you're brilliant, you know."
"More than usual?"
"Tonight I'd say yes."
"And, why is that?"
"You've made a happy day of a day I haven't cared to acknowledge for most of my life. You cooked a gourmet meal and chose excellent wine. You found a great cake. And, probably most important of all," he paused and grinned, "you took tomorrow off." She returned his grin. He let go of her hand and rose. Maybe they *could* sleep out here tonight. He walked to the kitchen, not unaware that Scully was enjoying the view. His ass is holding up just fine, thank you.
He returned with a tray holding two pieces of cake, two fresh glasses, and a half-full bottle of wine. It isn't like him to get sentimental over a birthday, but what he'd said couldn't be truer. He feels happy. It won't last forever, but what does? He can imagine thinking back on this day and remembering it as a happy one, and that is a big difference from the past. They are building, or re-building, a life together. The first attempt didn't work, to say the least, and there will always be a child in the room, even though he is long gone from them. It's a different hurt than it was when it was fresh, and will continue to transform. As will they.
Scully stood up and wrapped one of the blankets around her. Mulder set the tray down at the top of the stairs and then grabbed a blanket for himself. Then they sat down on either side. All wrapped up and no place to go, he thought. The adage didn't apply, though, as he was where he wanted to be. He filled their glasses.
"I'd like to make a toast."
"I should be doing that, Mulder. It's your day."
"That means I get to do it my way."
He lifted his glass. "To the person who has made a happy memory. She's made many, actually, but today was a tough one. She did it, though, and I love her. To my wife." They touched their glasses together. Then their lips. Soon it was a contest between kissing and sipping. The edge went to kissing; the cake was rather neglected for the moment.
"Mulder, can I have one small say?"
Scully lifted her glass. "To my husband. I want this day to be happy for you, always."
"Scully, this is better than flying to Pluto on the red bike."
"Was that your plan?"
"I was six, remember."
"And now Pluto's been kicked out of the club."
"Yeah. So much for that." He took a bite of cake. It was delicious. Nothing like dessert upon dessert, he thinks, as he looks at Scully.
"Happy Birthday, Mulder. Love you."
~ End ~
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This story is (c) Copyright 2010 by Christine Leigh. "The X-Files" and its characters are the property of the Fox Network and Ten-Thirteen Productions and are borrowed here without profit or intent for profit.