Disclaimer: Not mine. You know the drill.
Written for Haven's "Rec Me, Baby" Challenge; thanks as ever for the inspiration. Also, many thanks and a New Year's Champagne toast to Tali!
"My dream sonata has the beauty of prayer A prayer my lonely heart has set to music That when I wake, my darling, you'll be there But when I awaken, you're gone, it seems Like my sonata, you are only in my dreams"
--Nat King Cole's "My Dream Sonata" (David Mack)--
She glances at her watch again. Damn it, Mulder. He wouldn't stand her up, would he? Of course, it IS Mulder after all, and this is her idea. Not always a good combination. She peers through the glass lobby doors of the Kennedy Center, trying to spot his tall frame among the groups of people filing into the building. She's decided that she won't take it personally if Mulder doesn't show up. She has her own ticket; she can enjoy the concert by herself, but she still harbors some hope that he will join her. She's still not quite sure what strange impulse prompted her to invite him in the first place, on that dreary day at the Hoover.
They had just returned from a frustrating meeting with Skinner, who had torn up their case report and insisted that they find some other way to explain why a boy just vanished into thin air. This turned Mulder's mood from annoyed to indignant, and he had been muttering and slamming things around on his desk ever since. She had tried to drown him out by humming a piece of soothing music to herself, but it wasn't working, and then the idea popped into her head.
"Mulder, do you know what you need?" she asked loudly, to make sure he heard her over the noise of slamming desk drawers.
"No, Scully, I guess I don't, because it appears you are about to enlighten me," he shot back at her.
"I think you need to spend the afternoon at the symphony."
"What?" His scowl was replaced by a genuine look of surprise and he had stopped all motion and stared at her.
"You heard me. Some classical music would be just the thing for you. It's relaxing yet stimulating at the same time. It would help ease your stress; you're too easily frustrated these days. I think you need some rejuvenation, Mulder. Being exposed to new things is a great source for that."
He was not convinced. "I know what classical music is, Scully. I'm not a caveman."
"No, you're not. But when was the last time you actually went to the symphony, Mulder?"
"Point taken. So what are you prescribing, Dr. Scully?"
"I think I'll check the Kennedy Center schedule and find a program that's suitable. And I'll even treat you, if that's any incentive." Did she actually say that? Her mouth seemed to be moving faster than her brain. But she'd put the invitation out there.
"Hey, Scully, if you're paying I'll let you drag my ass just about anywhere." Mulder had replied with a grin.
So she had perused the calendar, selected a Sunday afternoon program that she hoped he wouldn't sleep through, and bought the tickets.
And now it's just ten minutes before the concert is to begin, and here she is, still waiting for Mulder. She rocks on her toes and stares out of the glass doors again. The streams of people have thinned to just a scattered few, and finally she spots him coming through the far door. She can't help but smile at the sight of him, his trench coat billowing behind him, his cheeks pink from the January cold.
"Sorry I'm late, Scully," he offers. "Did I miss anything?"
"No, you're just in time," she says as the lobby lights begin to flicker. They have just enough time to check their coats before hurrying inside the theatre. She makes sure he has a programme, and they settle into their velvet seats. Mulder leafs quickly through the programme.
"What are we hearing today?"
"It's a selection of Beethoven piano sonatas. I thought that something lively might hold your attention. I wouldn't want you to sleep through the experience now, would I?"
"Wow, Scully, you really do want me to dig this, don't you?" he says, poking her arm playfully with the programme. The lights have dimmed and the man behind them lets out a loud "Shhhhhh!" at Mulder's remark.
The pianist begins to play and the wondrous notes of Beethoven's muse spill from the instrument into the room. The music starts quietly and slowly and swirls around her like an old, magical blanket. She relaxes into the seat and forgets about Mulder for a moment, losing herself into the beauty of the piano and the sounds it makes.
She's about to close her eyes and fully give herself over to the music when she notices something else; she and Mulder are now sharing the armrest between them and his arm is pressing against hers. It feels warm and it feels nice. She turns to look at Mulder. He's watching the performer intently and seems to be listening. She turns her own attention back to the stage but now that she's aware of the contact between herself and Mulder, she can't ignore it.
Nor can she ignore the feeling of his hand, as it suddenly reaches for her own. She looks down to see his long fingers curl around her own, smaller hand and wonders if he realizes what he's doing. She glances up at Mulder and finds that he is looking directly at her. She feels herself flush at the intensity of his gaze. Swallowing hard, she leans over to whisper at him.
"Mulder, are you paying attention?"
"Yes. My favorite part is coming up, here," he whispers back. She's too startled to reply, so she turns her attention back to the Beethoven and the sounds coming from the piano keys. The music soars over her and Mulder's thumb gently strokes the back of her hand. The sensations of sound and touch overwhelm her and she gives herself up to them, closing her eyes to listen and feel.
As the sonata concludes, she feels the spell break when she reflexively slips her hand out of Mulder's so she can applaud. She turns to look at Mulder. He's also applauding, but he's watching her and not the performer. The lights come on, signaling an intermission, and she needs to say something to Mulder but she also needs the ladies' room more. By the time she's endured the long wait and returns to her seat, the lights are dimming for the next piece and her chance to talk to Mulder is gone. She slides back into her seat and looks at him apologetically.
"I'm sorry I took so long, Mulder. It seemed like every woman in the building was in line for the ladies' room."
"That's alright, Scully. I've been getting acquainted with old Ludwig here." He waves his programme which is open to the biography of the composer. "He was quite a guy."
"Shhhh!" hisses the man behind them again, as the pianist takes the stage. Mulder starts to turn around and she grabs his forearm as a warning before he makes the situation worse by insulting the man. Mulder gets the message and faces forward again, taking her hand from his arm and once again enfolding it with his own. He leans in close, his lips brushing against her ear.
"Enhances the music," he whispers.
His voice and warm breath send shivers through her as his hand holds hers tightly. The music starts and without turning her head, she feels Mulder move away from her and settle back in his seat. His hand remains around hers, and she gently entwines her fingers within his. There is no need to look at him now. She sits and revels in the warmth of Beethoven's music and Mulder's touch.
At the concert's close, they slowly make their way out of the theatre into the frosty January evening.
"Thank you, Scully. I had a wonderful afternoon," he tells her.
"You're welcome, Mulder. I'm glad you enjoyed it. But how did you know the Waldstein sonata?"
"That's why I was late. I stopped to buy a tape so I could listen to it on the way over here and bone up on my classical music a little bit. The Waldstein happened to be one of the selections on the tape, and I really liked it."
She can't hide her pleasure and smiles warmly at him. "It's one of my favorites."
"I can see why. It's dramatic and romantic at the same time," he says, taking her hand as they walk slowly toward the parking lot. She's glad neither of them are wearing gloves right now.
"Now, Scully, it's your turn. I think I know just the thing to rejuvenate you."
"And what would that be, Mulder?" she gives his hand a slight squeeze.
He smiles a wicked smile. "Touch football."
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