Fall of Snow, Pacal's Tomb, and Thou, A

by stellar_dust

TITLE: A Fall of Snow, Pacal's Tomb, and Thou; or, How we stole Christmas back from the ghosts
AUTHOR: stellar_dust
EMAIL: daesharacor@yahoo.com
WEBSITE: http://katycat.net/xfiles_temp SPOILERS: How the Ghosts Stole Christmas .. some references to other things, but no spoilers, I don't think. RATING: PG
SUMMARY: Happy little Christmas story. Presents, a movie, talking, snow ...
ARCHIVE: Sure. Leave the heading. It'd be nice if you let me know, but it's not required.
FEEDBACK: Please. Praise and adulation, as well as constructive criticism, gratefully accepted. Non-constructive criticism will be deleted, and might make me cry. whimper DISCLAIMER: Not mine, Chris Carter's, yadda yadda. Hey Chris, if you make a movie out of any of my stories, I won't sue. Deal?

xxxxxxx

Mulder and Scully raced toward the couch, grinning like children on Christmas morning.

All right, all right. They were children on Christmas morning.

They sat down, wriggling. Mulder nudged her arm playfully. "You first, Scully."

"Oh, no way, Mulder," she answered, smiling eagerly. "You first."

"Okay .. okay. Let's see ... " He leaned forward onto his knees, making a show of shaking it next to his ear again. "Well, it sounds like a videotape ... " He turned his head to grin at her again. "Scully, you didn't get me 'Sci-Fi Babes Gone Wild,' did you?"

"Well, it was a close thing." Scully smiled mysteriously, kicked off her shoes, and crossed her legs on the coffee table. "I looked at it, and I thought to myself, you know, I bet he's already got that .. "

Mulder's eyebrows shot up. "You mean there really is a .. ?"

Scully laughed and swatted his arm with her gift. "C'mon, open it. I'm getting impatient here."

Mulder chuckled as he ripped the paper off his gift, then held it up to read the title. It was indeed a videotape. He blinked in surprise.

"Scully, how'd you - how'd you know I wanted this?" It was a PBS special miniseries on "ancient astronauts" - the idea that archeological relics show evidence of visitation by extraterrestrials to civilizations around the globe, from the ancient Egyptians to the Maya. "I've been trying to get a copy ever since it aired!"

"Oh, you know." Scully shrugged. She was beaming. "I was at the video store, and it just had your name on it."

"Wow. Thank you, Scully." Mulder couldn't stop grinning. He leaned toward Scully as though kissing her was the most natural thing in the world to do right then - but caught himself halfway there and turned the gesture into a stretch, draping his arm across the back of the sofa behind her. "My Christmas plans just got a whole lot more exciting."

Scully scooted around and looked back at him, frowning. "Mulder - do you really have nowhere to go tomorrow?"

Mulder glanced down and tugged at his ear. "Well, I-I was planning to sleep until about two, watch depressing Christmas television and play violent video games for a few hours, then maybe I'll let Frohike talk me into getting smashed with the boys ... but now I've got this great new movie to keep my mind off it, and you still haven't opened your present, Scully, and why do you ask?"

"Oh, just something a hallucination said to me tonight." Scully couldn't stay serious for long as she eased the wrapping off her short, cylindrical gift. "Mulder, you shouldn't have. An empty toilet paper roll?"

"Well, I couldn't find a box the right size." Now Mulder's face was alight with anticipation. "You have to look inside."

She held the tube up to her eye telescope-style. "I don't see anything, Mulder. It's all dark."

Mulder was practically bouncing with suspense, though he knew full well what was in it. "Scull-eeee .. "

"All right, all right, calm down." She nudged him playfully, giggling, as she plucked out the crumpled newspaper scraps one by one. Finally, she pulled out a small square of black plastic, and turned it over.

"Oh, my God." Scully ran her fingers over the plain gold cross earrings. Inexplicably, she felt tears start to form at the corners of her eyes. "Mulder, they're beautiful."

"I thought they'd match your necklace," he said, smiling. He reached forward to touch the cross at her throat, and caught sight of her face. "Scully, what's wrong? I'm sorry, maybe I, I shouldn't have - "

"Shut up, Mulder." She turned and hugged him fiercely, tightly. "It's the perfect gift and I love them. I'll wear them tomorrow."

Mulder raised his eyebrows in bemusement and slowly, happily, put his arms around Scully and gathered her close. "I'm glad."

Scully held his shoulders at arm's length and quirked her mouth mischievously. "Does this mean the next time we run into somebody claiming to be the Second Coming, you'll listen to my ideas?"

Mulder grinned back and thumped his video. "May-be. Does this mean if I want us to go to Egypt next weekend and stake out some ancient gods, you won't try to talk me out of it?"

They both laughed. "Better gods than ghosts, I guess," Scully answered.

Mulder leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes, smiling, content, enjoying the moment and the knowledge that Scully was sitting beside him. She eyed him pensively, glad that she'd made him happy tonight, considering. She put her hand on his.

"Mulder, why don't you come to Mom's house with me in the morning?"

He opened one eye and looked at her for a moment. "All right. I'd like that. I think."

They stared at each other.

"Um," Scully fumbled. "I would have asked you weeks ago - I was sure you'd have plans. You're welcome there any time, you know .. "

"Yeah. Your mom's mentioned that .. "

After another moment, Mulder eased his hand out from under hers, put the video on the coffee table, and stood up. "It's after two. You probably want to go home and sleep .. what time to do we need to leave tomorrow, anyway?"

"Well." Scully looked abashed. "Roll call's at 6 AM. Mom lives in Annapolis - it'll take at least an hour to get there. Pick you up at - five?"

"Yipe!" Mulder chuckled. "Now I understand your lack of enthusiasm earlier ... All right, then. ... Want some egg nog before you go?"

Scully blinked. "Uh, sure."

"I picked it up this afternoon - when I got your present," he called on his way to the kitchen. "Egg nog's always been one of my favorite things about Christmas."

Mulder put two glasses on the counter and opened the fridge. He turned, startled, egg nog in hand, when he saw Scully appear in the doorway. "Oh! I was gonna bring it in to you."

Scully leaned her head against the doorframe, arms crossed, and bit at her lower lip. "Mulder .. a couple hours of sleep won't do me much good tonight. Your movie in there is two hours long. I have a change of clothes in the car ... what do you say we just make a night of it?"

Mulder stopped mid-pour and turned toward her, slightly shocked, mouth half open. Slowly, a broad smile spread across his face. "Scully, you are really surprising me tonight." He gave his head a quick shake. "Yes, that sounds great. Why don't you go out and get your things, and I will make some popcorn, and set up the movie?"

Scully smiled mischievously back. "Don't forget to finish pouring, too, Mulder."

"Oh - right." He looked sheepishly down. He was still holding the carton of egg nog poised above the glasses. He set it down.

Scully stepped forward and put her hands on his arm. "You surprise me sometimes too, Mulder." She quickly stood on tiptoe and kissed his cheek. "Be right back."

Mulder watched her go, paralyzed. He was sure he had a silly grin on his face. What had she said earlier? "Maybe I did want to be out there with you ... " /Maybe she does want to be in here with me .../

xxxxxxx

When Scully came back inside, she was surprised to find almost all of the lights turned off, and the living room looking tidy - particularly the coffee table, which instead of its usual jumble of papers held only a large bowl of popcorn and two glasses. She put her bag down by the door. "Wow, Mulder," she said, shrugging out of her coat. "This has to be one of the fastest cleaning jobs in history."

"Not really." He tried and failed to catch a popcorn kernel in his mouth. "I just started a new pile." He nodded at his desk chair, which indeed looked on the verge of collapse. Scully rolled her eyes. "C'mon, sit down, movie's about to start." Mulder indicated the seat next to him on the couch.

Scully kicked her shoes off and sat down, curling her legs underneath her, and tucked a nearby blanket around her body. "You cold?" Mulder asked, concerned.

"It's snowing a little." She smiled at him. "It'll be pretty in the morning. But no, I'm fine."

Scully shifted closer to Mulder and picked up her glass. "Thank you for letting me stay tonight. Every time I close my eyes I see the two of us, dead, under the floorboards..." She shivered and took a sip.

"Huh," Mulder chuckled humorlessly. "Me, too. Worse than that, I keep seeing you with blood pouring down your front. ... I didn't really want to be alone tonight, either ... I'm sorry I dragged you out there." He turned toward her seriously and looked into her eyes. "Scully, you know that whatever happens, I would never, ever shoot you. Right?" /Even if it would mean we'd be together forever/, he mentally added.

She smiled at him waveringly. "I know. I couldn't believe it tonight. Maybe that's why it wasn't real ... But, like you said, I don't want to be alone." She leaned against him and rested her head on his shoulder. "I'm glad we were there, though. I learned some things. But I don't want to think about it anymore. Start the movie, Mulder."

He wrapped his arm around her, and complied.

xxxxxxx

An hour later, as the first segment ended and the Nasca lines faded into credits, Scully was snoring loudly. Mulder smiled to himself; he loved to watch her sleep. She looked so different, no concerns lining her face, so peaceful. He reached over to brush an errant hair off of her forehead, and as he tucked it behind her ear, he noticed a hint of gold, and realized she was wearing the new earrings. His smile broadened, and this time, he did kiss the top of her head, taking in the scent of her hair. /You do surprise me sometimes, Scully./

Scully must have noticed his touch, because she murmured and started shifting in her sleep. Mulder thought he could make out the words "lie down" .. and when she was finished moving, and smacking her lips, she was nestled comfortably on her side, head pillowed on Mulder's thigh.

He dropped his hand to her shoulder, sighed contentedly, and turned his eyes back to the television.

xxxxxxx

Scully woke when the video ended, gasped, and quickly sat up, rubbing at her eyes. "Is it - what time is it? Oh, my goodness, I didn't mean to go to sleep. Did I - "

"Yeah, you missed it." Mulder was chuckling at her. "Don't worry, though; I'll fill you in on the flight to Cairo."

Scully raised an eyebrow and looked at him askance.

"Kidding - kidding!" He raised his hands defensively, laughing. "It's 4:30. We should get going. I'll make some coffee." He stood up.

Scully sighed tolerantly, smiling in spite of herself. "All right. I should call Mom, then I'll wash up, and then, we need to go."

She picked up the phone, dialed, and Mulder could hear her talking from the kitchen, as he readied the coffee pot and brushed his teeth.

"Hi, Mom, it's me ... I didn't wake anyone else, did I? ... Good. ... No, no, everything's ok, we're just about to leave. I wanted to let you know I'm bringing Mulder after all. ... " She laughed. "Yes, Mom, I promise, we won't talk about work *at all*. ... Yeah, we're leaving in a few minutes. We'll be there a little after six, at the latest. ... Bill and Charlie and everyone made it in all right? ... Good. ... Okay. Merry Christmas. ... I love you too, Mom. Bye."

She put down the phone to find Mulder staring at her pensively from the doorway, a coffee mug in each hand.

"You know, I envy you, Scully," he said seriously, passing hers over.

She smelled the coffee, and cocked her head at him. "Oh?"

Mulder shook his head. "I haven't spoken to my mother in over a year. And I can't even imagine what Christmas there would be like. We haven't had a - we haven't a, well, a happy Christmas together since before, before Samantha was taken." He gulped his coffee.

"Mulder .. " she looked at him. "I wondered, but I didn't want to ask."

"It's okay, Scully. It's just - you have such a wonderful family. Thank you for sharing it with me, every so often." He set the mug down and headed into his bedroom, to find a change of clothes.

Scully sipped her coffee and stared after him, thinking.

xxxxxxx

They were both dressed and spruced up in no time, and as she waited for Mulder to pick out a tie, Scully leaned over his desk and peered out the window. In the very early light of dawn, and the streetlamps' glow, she could see - "Mulder, it's still snowing!"

She knew she should be annoyed, the roads would be even worse than usual, but somehow, this morning, the snow only made her happy.

"Is it really?" He leaned over her shoulder, pulling on his overcoat. He grinned. "Great! I'll race you to the car."

She ducked under his arm and took off, laughing. "You've gotta lock the door!"

"Oh, no way." He caught her by the waist on the threshold. "That would not be fair at all." Mulder turned the key and released her, and they charged up the hall, laughing, and pummeled down the stairs.

Scully reached the car first. "Ah-hah! Mulder!" She turned around to meet him - and caught a snowball in the gut. "Oh, no, you did not just .. "

She scooped one up and lobbed it at him, but he ducked, grinned, stuck his tongue out, and jogged around the corner of the building. Scully sighed and gave chase, grabbing another handful of snow along the way.

She tackled him in a snowdrift next to the front steps, and as they tumbled, she rubbed the snow into his hair. Scully ended up on top. Tiny snowflakes clung to every strand of Mulder's hair, and his nose and cheeks were red. He looked ecstatic. "I win," she grinned triumphantly. "Come on, now, let's go."

Scully stood up, brushed herself off, and offered him a hand. He took it and pulled himself up, shook off his coat, and ran a hand through his hair. "Yeesh, that's cold. What'd you do to me, Scully?"

"Oh, and who started it?" She grabbed his hand again, giggling, and led him back to the car. "I seem to remember ..."

"Lies, all lies! It was the bounty hunter, Scully! He shapeshifted to look like me, and he threw a snowball at you, and then he stuck his tongue out! It was so rude! I wanted to take him out right there but I didn't have a .. Scully .. Scully, don't you believe me?"

She was looking at him again, with an eyebrow raised, and trying desperately not to smile. She unlocked the driver's side and started to get in. "Merry Christmas, Mulder."

"Awww ... well .. Merry Christmas, Scully." He sat down and closed the door behind him, and they drove off happily into the sunrise.

Fin.


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