TITLE: ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Try At Christmas’
ARCHIVE: Exclusive rights and ownership to IMTP for the first two
weeks, but after that – as long as you let me know and keep my name
attached – it’s yours to archive!
SPOILERS: Nothing too specific, except a reference to VS10’s ‘Last
Kiss’. Also, might be worth having a basic knowledge of IMTP’s VS
seasons just for general character interaction.
SUMMARY: Will Bill Jnr. ruin yet ANOTHER Christmas for the two
agents, or can they make it work out in the end?
DISCLAIMER: As much as it pains me to say this, I don’t own any of
these characters – not a single one, dammit! The immortal CC, the
not so immortal Fox and 1013, and the irreplaceable DD and GA own
them (as well as a whole bunch of other people too numerous to
mention) I’m borrowing them without permission, but no copyright
infringement is intended so please don’t sue!
FEEDBACK: Oh, PLEASE!!! You know you want to! Go on, feel the
addresses firstname.lastname@example.org or SketchShipper@hotmail.com
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Written for IMTP’s Virtual Season 11 Winter Special
Challenge with lots of hugs and special thanks to the team there for
all the work they do and keeping the dream alive 🙂
DEDICATION: A big dedication to all my special friends in
Pitneyville. They’ll probably never see this, but they’re the best
people I have the pleasure to know, and if it hadn’t been for them I
mightn’t have even been here to write this, so ‘Thanks’ guys and gals!
DECEMBER 23rd, 2003
Over the years Dana Scully had come to expect that anything could
encounter her as she passed through the door into the x-files office
– Mulder interviewing somebody, Mulder in a bad mood, Mulder in a
good mood, Mulder ready for her arrival with a cup of steaming coffee
that she would eagerly consume as they sorted their workload for the
day. Once or twice she had entered to find Skinner in here, but it
was always Mulder that kept her wondering what would behold her each
What she saw today as she stood in the open doorway wasn’t anything
she had ever thought about seeing: her partner, tightly wrapped in
his black overcoat (scarf just as tightly wrapped around his neck),
standing on his desk pulling from the ceiling tile the pencils he had
thrown up there.
“Mulder, what the hell are you doing up there?” she exclaimed,
arching her brow and planting both hands firmly on her hips.
The sudden sound of her voice – no matter how pleasant he found it –
surprised him and knocked Mulder off-kilter as his head sharply
turned to look down at her. A foot slipped on something on the desk,
and his arms frantically propelled to try and regain balance. The
instinctive action was all in vain, though, and before Dana could
move to break his fall the deep sound of his impact with the floor
came from the opposite side of the desk.
There was a guttural groan from him before he shakily got to his feet
– using the wooden surface for support whilst the other rubbed the
back of his head.
“Mulder, are you okay?” she queried with genuine concern as she
stepped up beside him.
“What the hell you doing sneaking up on a guy like that?” Mulder
replied – still tentatively rubbing his injury. He let out a sigh
and was ready to wait for her answer, when his eyes suddenly fixed on
her. “Scully, there’s over two feet of snow out there and the
heating in this place isn’t exactly anything to boast about…How can
you stand there in just your suit?”
She gave a shrug and shot a glance at the small desk in the corner of
the room. “I was kinda anticipating a nice coffee for my arrival…
Pencils more important, I take it?”
His own brow sharply raised as he stared at her defensively. “I’ve
only just got here myself, and didn’t even get a chance to stop at my
place so I’m wearing the same suit as yesterday!”
“You left my apartment two hours earlier than me, Mulder,” she
frowned, pinning him with her glare. “How can you have only just got
here?… Unless there’s something you’re not telling m–”
“Hey! As I’ve already pointed out, there’s over two feet out there
on the ground, and whilst you may not have had too much trouble,
everybody seemed to catch the same early worm as me and left me
stranded in grid-lock traffic!” A pause, a shrug, and then, “Besides,
I bought you a latte from that little place down the block, but…”
He paused and awkwardly looked down at the frothy, hot liquid that
covered the floor, the bottom of his coat and the right leg of his
pants, “…some manic woman came bursting in and made me slip while
I was trying to re-stock on ammo!”
Feeling guilty for his fall and her wrong accusation, Scully
outstretched a hand to cup the back of his head (the tips of her
fingers gently running through his hair and over the growing bump
there). The office door was still wide open. and as they stared into
the depths of the other’s soul, both knew that they were taking a
risk, but at the same time they knew it was one worth taking.
“You can still drink it up,” he leered – eyes twinkling as he
slightly leaned in to her. “It’s not soaked in too much…”
He waited for her to pull away or to playfully nudge him or – more
than anything else – to lecture him on how they were at work and
needed to be careful in case they were overheard, but instead he
actually saw the corners of her mouth lift into a mischievous grin.
“Get through today and I’ll help warm you up later,” she whispered.
He leaned in even further, ready to press his cold lips against her
warm ones. With the door still open, though, that was when they knew
he’d crossed the invisible line they had had to draw in their
professional lives, and she stepped away – her hand lingering a
moment longer on his scalp before dropping down by her side.
“So, what have you bought my mother for Christmas?” Scully queried,
clearing her suddenly dry throat. “More to the point, what have you
bought me?” She smiled at him reassuringly to let him know it was
okay as she noticed the expression of guilt on his face – heck, she
had come close to reaching up and kissing him herself!
A sigh of relief escaped past his lips, but he didn’t reply.
Another set of plans for him to join the Scully family’s Christmas
gathering had been made, but as much as it made her happy to have him
there with her, and as well as he got on with her mother, the whole
idea made him cringe. Primarily because he knew Bill was going to
be there too.
“I got ’em…But you can wait til we’re there to see.”
Of course, she knew he was considering not going…Thinking up some
way that he could use to excuse himself from the gathering, but she
wasn’t ready to let him get that far.
“What is it this time?” she slightly snapped.
“I’ve been with you long enough, Fox Mulder, to know when you’re
concocting an excuse in that brilliant but often stupid brain of
yours! Why don’t you wanna come with me to Mom’s?”
“I do…but… Well, I mean, other than Bil–”
“How many times do I have to tell you I don’t care what Bill thinks –
I want you there and Mom wants you there and that’s all you need to
“I’m a little dubious about driving in this weather after the last
The trip back from her mother’s near the start of the year…The
station wagon across the icy road…Their overturned car…
Just thinking about it now made her shiver, but she had foreseen his
cause of panic and had made plans so that neither of them had to
Still he seemed to be thinking of excuses, though.
“And I just got word that they might have finally made some headway
reaching the bottom of the Money Pit, so it might be worth following
up those leads…D’ you know, Scully, still nobody knows who exactly
might have started digging that? Maybe if we solve it and they do
reach the bottom we’ll get a cut of the treasure!”
“Nice try, Mulder,” she smiled, shaking her head. “But I’m sure the
Money Pit can wait until after Christmas – it’s been hiding whatever
secret may be down there long enough…Another week or so isn’t going
to make much difference. Besides, you don’t need to worry about
travel – Skinner offered to drive us, and I think he’s filled his
vehicle with enough emergency equipment for a whole army.”
She hesitated slightly. “He offered and then Mom kind of invited him
to dinner so that he wouldn’t have to be alone…”
Yet another guttural groan from Mulder as he shakily lowered himself
into his chair. “Great, Big Bad Bill and our boss there to ruin my
fun… Can’t we just stop at my apartment and have some quiet time
together? Or, better yet, at your apartment?”
“Mulder, you spend so much time at my apartment your fish probably
think they don’t have an owner! Come on, it’ll be fun, and we’ll
make time for ourselves away from the others,” she coaxed, stepping
forward and reaching down for one of his hands.
“But the work, and…”
“You’re not getting out of this, Mulder, so you might as well give up
while I’m still being nice to you. The work can wait, and if the
Assistant Director can take some time off, I don’t see why we can’t!”
“You don’t wanna go to the Bureau party instead?”
“No, I don’t!”
That was the end of the argument, and the following day they were
packing things up to spend a long weekend at Margaret Scully’s house.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 25th, 2003
To say the snow was barely passable would definitely have been an
understatement, and as Walter Skinner’s car carefully made its way
down the back roads with its three-person cargo, minds kept thinking
about what they knew was packed in the trunk and how much they hoped
they wouldn’t need to use any of it.
Scully sat in the passenger seat next to their boss, occasionally
glancing over her shoulder at Mulder – who sat in the back seat
clearly lost in his own thoughts. But nobody spoke for at least
three-quarters of the journey.
“Did you get any word about the Money Pit, Mulder?” Dana suddenly
piped up (unable to deal with the cold and awkward silence any
“Huh?” came her partner’s stunted reply as he snapped out of his
reverie. “Oh, no…No, that one fell flat. J-Just a load of hype to
keep people interested, I guess.” He shook his head and she thought
he was about to add more, but instead he flashed her a smile and then
turned to look out the fogged window.
She couldn’t figure out if it was the journey or the fact that they
were travelling with Skinner that was eating at him the most. For
that matter, she wasn’t even sure which of the two was eating at her…
“The Money Pit?” Skinner’s deep voice chortled. “I didn’t realise
your workload had been light enough for you to chase that one up?”
“Far from,” Dana mused. “Mulder was desperate for an excuse to worm
his way out of this excursion, and that was the only one he managed
to come up with.”
“Sir, as surprised as I was at how desperate Mulder was to find an
excuse, there’s one thing I know he knows thanks to past lessons
painfully learnt: no ghost hunts at Christmas. I’ll leave it at
that.” Scully paused and cocked her head slightly to the side. “I
guess it could have been worse, though…it could have been something
involving the sighting of a real-life Santa.”
“Hey, I am here, you know!” Mulder exclaimed, perching himself on the
edge of his seat so that he could rest his arms over the back of the
ones in front of him. “Besides, we did get a couple sightings come
in, but I didn’t think you’d be interested!”
A loud burst of laughter exploded from the bald man driving the car,
and both agents turned their heads to stare at him with curious
“I’m sorry,” the A.D sniffed, sobering. “It was just, listening to
you two brought back some memories from my childhood…”
“Sir?” This from both Mulder and Scully.
Skinner shifted uncomfortably – wondering how he had gotten himself
into this – and then reached out a hand to turn up the car heater.
“When I was a kid – ’bout eight or so – there was this guy that lived
at the end of my block, and…Well, he was like the Candy Man – every
kid was his friend. And every year at Christmas he’d set up this
special grotto right inside his house with free entry…He even gave
out free presents…”
“You do realise these days he’d be suspected as a paedophile and
locked up, don’t you, sir?” Mulder interrupted, shooting a brief
glance at his partner.
“If you don’t want to hear this story, I’ll happily shut up now,”
“No, sir, carry on,” Scully urged.
“Anyway, Cody Harris from next door started the rumour that this guy
was really Santa Claus, just hiding out undercover in suburbia so
that he didn’t get found out. We all argued with him about how full
of shit he was – after all, everyone knew Santa lives in the north
with Elves! But, of course, the rumour spread like wildfire
throughout the school. Our parents swore that he was just a man
who’d inherited a lot of money from somewhere and was kind enough to
share his wealth… After a while, though, they started to get a
little suspicious of his intentions and snooped around – stopped us
from going near him.” He cleared his throat and ran his tongue over
his bottom lip as he continued to replay the memory is his mind.
“Then, one day, he just disappeared and was never seen again. We all
blamed Cody and his damn rumour, but it did make us all start to
wonder as well.”
Dana gave a contemplative nod and Mulder settled against the back of
his seat once again as the dark silhouette of Maggie’s house came
into view through the swirling curtain of falling snow.
“All that should really matter is what you believed, sir,” Scully
sighed, a little distantly.
The car pulled up into the driveway, and Skinner let out a snort as
he reached to unfasten his seatbelt. “You know, the irony is that I
didn’t know what I believed and still don’t. I was one of the kids
that shouted Cody down – as far as I was concerned, the old guy was like
the uncle I’d never had…Yet, at the back of my mind when I saw him
at Christmas dressed up like Santa in that grotto, it was just too
realistic to not believe in.”
“I’ve been saying the same about aliens and the paranormal for years,
and still everyone thinks I’m a crank,” Mulder grumbled, pulling
their bags out of the vehicle.
Before Scully could reply with a dry retort, there was the sound of a
front door being opened and then her mother’s voice joyfully crying
out, “You made it!”
“Cold, but safe and sound thanks to our chauffeur. Hey Mrs. Scully,”
Mulder smiled as Maggie gave him a brief welcoming hug.
“Hey, Mom,” Scully also smiled, moving to embrace her mother. “Are
Bill and Tara here?”
“Hi, sweetie. Yes, they arrived late last night. Oh, I was so
worried that the Parkway had been closed off and you’d been stranded.”
“We took the back roads…They weren’t pleasant, but definitely the
better route if what we heard on the radio is anything to go by,”
Maggie gave a nod and kissed her daughter’s cheek before turning to
face the assistant director. “Mister Skinner, thank you so much for
safely delivering possibly the nicest percentage of my family through
this storm, and joining us for this Christmas day!” she grinned,
outstretching a hand to shake his and then suddenly pulling him into
Mulder and Scully stood still and shared a playful glance as they
noticed the sudden blush that had colored their bosses cheeks (though
at the same time knowing that if they ever mentioned it he’d
immediately blame it on the freezing weather).
Skinner’s feet awkwardly shifted in the snow as he glanced down at
the shorter woman and gently patted her back. “That’s okay, Mrs
Scully. Thank *you* for inviting me here…I don’t want to be any
“oh, nonsense! There’s plenty of food and at least you can help if
another fight breaks out between Fox and Bill!”
“Make a cute couple, don’t you think, Scully?” Mulder breathed into
his partner’s ear.
She shivered at the feel of his warm breath against her skin and then
turned her head to stare at him. “Don’t even think about it,
Mulder. My father was one bald man enough for my mother, and I don’t
appreciate having the thought of our boss as my father-in-law
implanted into my brain,” she frowned sternly. Suddenly a smile
broke out on her face and he saw the thought of ‘But they do look
good’ lift her features.
“Now, hurry up out of this weather,” Maggie suddenly exclaimed,
brushing away the dusting of snow that had accumulated on her head
and shoulders as she stepped away from Skinner and regarded the three
of them, “before I have a family of snow-people in my front yard!”
“Knowing Mulder he’d still find a way for me to sign off on a 302 so
he could investigate that!” Skinner cracked.
Mulder remained silent as he picked up his and Scully’s bags and they
all entered the house.
After being blinded by the bright array of decorations and lights
that decked the rooms, ‘Hi’s and ‘Merry Christmas!’ greetings were
passed between Bill, Dana and Walter. The familiar hostile air
crashed down between Bill and Mulder, though, so after the FBI agent
had attempted a friendly ‘Hey’ only to be replied with a non-committal
grunt, he’d gently touched his partner’s arm and then moved out into
the kitchen where Tara was keeping an eye on the dinner.
Presents were handed out and eagerly unwrapped shortly after that.
“An alarm clock, Mulder?” Scully queried, first looking down at the
box in her hands and then up at her partner with a raised eyebrow.
“To replace the one I accidentally broke last week,” came his
“Maybe if you didn’t keep her out on stupid cases at all hours she
wouldn’t need an alarm to get her up in the morning,” Bill snorted in
Mulder shifted uncomfortably on the couch and then looked down at the
sweaty hands that fidgeted in his lap. Why had he come here again?
Oh, yeah, Scully wanted him here. That was the only thing keeping
him here. Of course, if it made her happy he would stay…He just
hoped it all ended soon.
‘I don’t care what Bill thinks – I want you there and Mom wants you
there and that’s all you need to worry about.’
He kept repeating her words over and over in his head as his eyes
slipped shut, so much so that he hardly heard her as she started
“It’s wonderful, thank you, Mulder.” It wasn’t until he felt the
press of her lips on his cheek that he looked up.
Skinner watched Scully kiss Mulder and smiled – wondering how much
longer he could keep their secret until he cashed in on the Bureau
Dinner played host to just as many snide remarks aimed at Mulder’s
tortured soul by the unstoppable Bill Junior during the fun banter.
Tara tried to keep a reign on her husband, and Scully and Maggie kept
a concerned eye on Mulder (Skinner remaining silent when the fun talk
stopped so that he didn’t get stuck too far out in the middle of the
battleground) until the final blast came during the group’s sharing
of Christmas childhood memories. Mulder had been struggling to come
up with a good memory when Bill had snapped, “For God’s sake, stop
trying to make us feel pity for you! If you can’t join in, why don’t
you just shut up and let us carry on?”
“*BILL*!” Tara, Maggie and Dana had all exclaimed at the same time.
Even Skinner felt the need to slam his cutlery down onto the tabletop
to express his anger.
Mulder sat quietly for a few seconds – letting the words sink in and
contemplating his next move – before clearing his throat and raising
to his feet. “Mrs. Scully…Tara…Thank you so much both of you for
that beautiful dinner – I think that was the best turkey I’ve ever
had!” he awkwardly smiled, not making eye contact with anyone.
“Would you please excuse me? With the trip and sitting down here, my
legs are in dire need of a stretch. Plus, your a-million-times-more-
beautiful daughter gave me a head injury a couple days ago that still
aches a little, so I might go outside, if that’s okay…?”
“Well, of course, Fox…” Maggie hesitated, shooting her daughter a
worried glance, “…but that’s not really necessary – we have pain
killers in th–”
“No, really… Fresh air is the best thing,” he assured, stepping
back. “Even the cold might help clear out the cobwebs.”
Mulder was just about to turn away when Scully’s small hand suddenly
grabbed a hold on his arm. “You’re not going anywhere,” she almost
whispered. “You’re part of this family and have as much right to be
here as Bill. I want you here…” Dammit, she wasn’t going to let
her brother get to her – wasn’t going to let what he insisted doing
to her partner get to them – yet still she felt her voice hitch in
He stared down at her and slightly bent to place his lips against her
ear. “I’m okay – just creating an easy diversion for that time away
from the others you promised me on Tuesday. Finish up and come out
front when you’re ready.” He kissed her and then slipped his arm
from her grasp as he left the room.
“Interesting manners you have there,” Skinner growled, staring coldly
at Bill. “I’ve heard about them, but always thought they were just
an exaggeration…until now.”
“How could you say that, Bill?” Tara blurted.
“Oh, I know,” Dana snapped, raising to her feet. “I know too well.
Every time you see him you have to see how far you can push him,
don’t you?” Her eyes fixed on those of her brother – the rage
building within. “Every Christmas you’re determined to ruin for us!
Is it because he was there to help me instead of you through my
difficult times? Was it be–…Wait a minute, I’m having a flashback
of asking these same questions time and *time* again before. You say
you care about me, Bill, but what you don’t understand is that
every time you take a swing and hurt Mulder you’re hurting me too!
Maybe you should try to consider *that* next time!” With a final
thump of her fist on the table, she turned away and left the suddenly
“You didn’t have to defend me…I’m flattered – if not maybe a little
turned on – by the force with which you did it, but it wasn’t
He was standing out in the front yard with his back turned to her and
looking down at something on the ground when she stepped out onto the
Scully wrapped her coat tightly around her small frame and then
stepped out onto the snow that compltely hid the steps that led up to
the porch. One thing she’d learnt to notice over the years was when
Mulder was hiding his feelings…But he didn’t seem to be doing that
this time. She could actually here contentment in his voice. The
raw anger still inside her begun to slowly fade.
“You heard?” she quizzed with a curious quirk of her eyebrow.
“I think the whole block heard,” came Mulder’s chuckled reply, but
still he didn’t turn to face her. “I was waiting for them all to
begin chanting ‘Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!’…Maybe even to see Bill come
flying through the front window!”
“What you d–” Her voice cut off as she stepped up beside him and
looked down at what he had drawn into the snow with the large tree
branch he still clasped in his gloved hands.
It was essentially a love letter to her, and as she read it she felt
the tears begin to well in her eyes.
‘Memories from the past? I may not have good ones from
my childhood, but why would I need them when the best
times I’ve had have been with you in the here and now?
You’ve given me a reason to celebrate Christmas, to
celebrate life, and no matter what happens or what Bill
says, that is all I need to remember.’
“He…He shouldn’t have s-said what he did,” Dana choked, looking
up at him.
Slowly, he turned, dropped the branch and then tightly embraced her
in the warmth of his arms. He knew he took her for granted
sometimes, especially when he ditched her, but he also knew that he
would never be able to face the day when she wasn’t there for him to
“I was considering Skinner’s story earlier about the guy they thought
might be Santa, and I wondered if maybe Bill was the Grinch,” Mulder
smiled against her hair. “But I don’t care what he says anymore,
Scully…Maybe once, but as you said the other day, all I should care
about is the fact that you want me here, and it is – I wanna be
beside you every step of the way, and to know doing that makes you
happy is the most precious gift to me.” He paused and took a small
step away so that he could stare into her still-damp eyes. “You know
the clock wasn’t the only gift I got you, don’t you? In fact, I
didn’t have any intentions of letting you use it.” A mischievous
grin spread across his face as a hand reached into the pocket of his
“You’re here by my side, that’s the only gift I need,” she told him,
mirroring his own emotions. “I just wish others would accept how
special what we have i–” For the second time within the last four
minutes he managed to cut her voice off as he held out a small velvet
“I didn’t wanna give it to you in front of Bill – that really would
have been the start of World War Three…The clock was just a decoy.
But, anyway, the store clerk said that if you don’t like ’em you can
get a replacement…”
Scully carefully opened the box and stared wide-eyed – mouth slightly
agape – at the beautiful diamond-studded, heart-shaped earrings that
lay inside. She wanted to say something – *anything* – but the
breath had been completely knocked out of her, and all she could do
instead was look up at him.
“Are they okay?” came his hesitant question.
“Mu…Mu…” She stopped trying to say his name and opted instead to
fling her arms around his neck and hold him, shortly before reaching
up onto tiptoe to press a kiss to his lips.
“I’ll take that as a yes!”
“They’re beautiful!” she gasped, pulling away to stare again at his
present. “God, thank you so much…for *everything*.”
“Thank *you* for being mine. I love you.”
Clasping the box in one hand, she reached out the other to grab a
hold on one of his. “I love you, too. Come on, let’s go back in
before the snow traps us out here or they think we’ve been abducted.”
Mulder nodded and gave her hand a squeeze.
“And, when everone’s gone to bed, I’ll give you your gift.”
There was nothing he could say to that without ruining the moment.
Then, as they moved toward the door he asked the question she was
surprised he hadn’t pitched to her a lot earlier: “So, did you
believe Skinner’s story? D’ you think that old guy could have been
Santa? …I mean, do you think Santa could be living undercover,
even maybe just a couple doors down?”
A brief pause before she nudged against him and simply sighed, “Who
The front door shut behind them, but as Mulder’s engraved words in
the snow filled up and the lingering sound of their voices
disappeared, the faint sound of ringing sleigh bells filtered the air,
and they were shortly followed by the deep chuckle of a large man…
…And was that a shadow passing the moon or a trick of the eye?…
AUTHOR’S NOTES (Part II): Thank you so much for reading this far.
Means a lot to my little soul 🙂 You could make it even happier by
sending me an e-mail to email@example.com! The VS Winter
Special Challenge page set out suggestions for the stories: ‘A “cold”
case file, A Santa Claus sighting, Holiday party – either at the FBI
or at Maggie Scully’s, and Character musings on the holiday season
(from Mulder, Scully, Skinner, Krycek, CSM, etc.)’ but I got greedy
and decided to use them all in some way or another – LOL!
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!