Close to Christmas: Heck, It IS Christmas!

by Pattie

Title: Close to Christmas: Heck, It IS Christmas!

Author: Pattie


Category: Post-The Truth, AU (Only as long as they're in limbo), Companion Piece to Close to Christmas.

Spoilers: The Truth.

Summary: Mulder and Scully find that it's not all glitter and wrappings, but the spirit of the Season and love.


Archive: Gossamer. Any others please ask. I'll likely say "Yes".

Disclaimer: All X-Files characters belong to Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions and Fox Studios, and they still need their exercise. I do not get money to exercise them, and no copyright infringement is intended.

DECEMBER 24, 2002
6:30 P.M.

It had been almost a week since Doggett and Reyes were there to drop off a very special few things, including a rather large box for Mulder and Scully, with explicit instructions not to open it until Christmas Eve.

Scully sat writing in her Journal she had started after the mad dash away from the place where C.G.B. Spender had met his demise, and far away from the Military Brig. As she wrote a short sentence to end her entry, Mulder opened the door carrying their latest loads of laundry. "Have fun?" She quipped.

"Yeah. Somehow, I really do miss my old laundry room. There's at least a modicum of decorum in the old apartment building. At a laundromat, you just never know what lies at the bottom of the washer." He set two hampers full of clothing on the floor of the sitting room. "So, can we open the box yet?"

Scully gave him a mock frown. "Mulder! We've been so good these past few days. I think we can wait a bit longer. I ordered some Chinese Food, and it's in the kitchenette, so I suggest we eat it. I'm starving, because I was a such a god girl, waiting for you to come back." She closed her Journal and joined him at the table.

"Yes, I guess you have. We've both been good. As a matter of fact, I know that earlier today you went out to be good to me, so I spent some time being good to you while the clothes were in the back seat. And we're not opening our goodnesses until tomorrow morning!"

Scully broke open an egg roll. "Well, we were both good all this time. I see no reason why Santa would miss our little 'home away from home' tonight, do you?"

"Well, no. Why don't I just get us some of that wine we've been saving?"

"Sounds good to me. What shall we drink to?"

Mulder filled the glasses and handed one to Scully. "Well, I think... No, I won't say we'll drink to the end of re-runs of 'It's a Wonderful Life'. How about faithful friends, hope that never dies, and each other's company?"

"Sound good to me." Scully touched her glass to his. "As soon as we finish dinner, we can open the box, I guess. That is, if you've got no Christmas hauntings to go to, and I sincerely think it would be dangerous even to think of appearing, given the circumstances."

"That's right. After all, we do have to hang our stockings," Mulder agreed. And, who knows what we'll find in that box."

"I'm pretty sure 'The Truth is in There'," Scully snickered.

"One sip, and you're blitzed. You're starting to get a bit more like me."

"Don't flatter yourself, Mulder. I had a sense of humor long before I net you. Eat up. I'm just as curious about that box as you are, and, well, we're spending Christmas Eve together," she whispered. Then she thought about the meaning of her words. "You know, a year ago, I never would have thought we would be together ever again."

"I know. At times, I felt the same way. When I felt I had to stop the messages, it was because I thought it was best for you and William. Look at us now. We're here, we're alive, and there's hope."

Half an hour later, Mulder brought the big box out of their bedroom, while Scully was washing their drinking glasses.

"Mulder, I'd put my laundry away if I were you. Santa might not come if he knows you've been naughty," Scully joked.

"I'm on it. I just thought we should get cracking. It's almost 8:00, the night is young, and so are we... "

"And the clothes are fresh. I guess I'm having a hard time getting used to our relaxed rules, instead of the old routine. Let's see what's in there. I'm dying to know, and so are you, if you'd just say it."

It was a large, box, nothing special. It wasn't even wrapped. Just a large, brown box, corrugated cardboard. Mulder took his pocket knife and slit the tape along the top flaps. "I do believe, Dr. Scully, we have the makings of a Christmas Eve party for two."

Scully peered into the box. "Won't need any rubber gloves for this case. Looks like," she gave one item a good tug. "Looks like a picnic basket? Hmm... "

Mulder put his ear to the basket. "It's not ticking. But that could still be set off on opening... "

Scully smiled. "Brother! And you want to believe..." She opened the basket and found two champagne glasses, a bottle of champagne, a cheese basket with small jams, jellies and crackers.

"These aren't ticking either." Mulder held two bright red, fur-trimmed stockings, filled with ornate envelopes, candy, and tiny packages. Their names were lovingly embroidered. "Do you know a 'Dana" or a 'Fox'?"

"Oh, Mulder. We have to hang these up. Maybe under the window sill, since we don't have a fireplace."

"Will do. I think you can take care of the box one box there."

Scully took a medium-sized box from the bottom of the larger one. She quickly opened the plain, brown box, and there were several artificial evergreen boughs, a trunk, a stand, and about thirty tiny ornaments. "Mulder! We have a Christmas Tree!" Her voice echoed the voice of one very young Dana Scully. For a moment, Mulder thought he was hearing a six-year-old's exclamation of delight.

"Scully, a few days ago, I would have thought this was just something like Christmas. I don't know... not quite an ersatz, artificial Christmas. Let's get that champagne chilled, pop some corn up, and put the tree together. Heck, this isn't just an "almost Christmas'." He joined Scully who was sitting on the floor admiring their bounty and kissed her. She smiled. "Heck, it IS Christmas!"

"You bet it is, Mulder. It is."


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