Title: Yes, Fox, there really is a Santa
Author: Vickie Moseley
Summary: Mulder’s disbelief is challenged
Category: Mild humor
Written for Virtual Season 11’s Winter Special.
Archive: Two weeks exclusive on VS 11’s website.
After that, anywhere.
Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters, I just
play with them. And I don’t own Santa Claus, but I
Comments and candy canes to:
Thanks and Happy Holidays to all our VS artists,
authors and readers. You guys are keeping the joy
Yes, Fox, There Really Is a Santa
By Vickie Moseley
Upon reflection, Mulder had to admit his situation
was his own fault. Remembering last year’s fiasco of
a Christmas Eve spent snowed-in at a crowded airport,
Mulder had suggested he and Scully head out to San
Diego the weekend before Christmas. Once there,
Scully had offered to take Tara out shopping, with
just a few days left before Christmas. Naturally,
Mulder had assumed Bill would be around to keep an
eye on the almost six-year old Matthew. Just as
naturally, Bill had a more pressing engagement, which
included picking up Maggie at the airport, who had
flown out separately to take advantage of a cheaper
flight she found on the internet.
Mulder had offered to go along and help with the
luggage, but Bill had quickly snuffed out that idea.
Matty tended to run off in crowds and an airport was
the last place Bill wanted to take him.
“Mom’s flight shouldn’t be too delayed, they only got
7 inches of snow at Dulles,” Bill had assured Mulder
with an evil grin. “We’ll be home before you know
That had been an hour and a half earlier and already
Mulder was ready to call for back up.
“Hey, would you like me to read to you?” Mulder
asked, searching the room for any diversion.
Matty gave him a look, a definite Scully genetic
trait that seemed to question whether Mulder had the
ability to read anything of interest. Finally, the
boy hurried over to the bookshelf and picked a book
from the bottom shelf, which seemed crammed full of
very thin volumes.
“This one!” Matty declared as he deposited the book
in Mulder’s lap and climbed on the sofa next to the
Mulder looked at the cover. “The Night Before
Christmas,” he read aloud.
Matty nodded enthusiastically.
Mulder nodded back and opened the book. “T’was the
night before Christmas and all through the house not
a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,” he
continued, and had to bite back a grin as Matty
snuggled into his side, not entirely unlike the
little boy’s aunt had done just a few nights before,
but for much different reasons.
“We used to have mice,” Matty said solemnly. “Daddy
Mulder coughed, well, choked was more like it. “I’m
sure he was just getting rid of mice, Matty. That
doesn’t qualify as ‘murder’.”
“Mommy said he murdered ’em. I’m glad. They ate
into my box of banana bread oatmeal. Little
Mulder choked again. “Now, I’m _sure_ your mom
doesn’t want you using that word,” he corrected
Matty looked up at him like he was the silliest man
he’d ever seen. “Read!”
“Oh, yeah. Where was I?”
“Mice,” Matty reminded.
“Oh, right. . . . not a creature was stirring, not
even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney
with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be
there. The children were nestled all snug in their
beds, while visions of sugar plums – -”
“My Daddy says fairies aren’t made of sugar plums,”
Matty advised Mulder seriously.
“I’m sure he’s quite the expert on that subject,”
Mulder replied dryly. “Mind if I continue?”
Matty gave him a shrug and settled back into the
” . . . danced in their heads. Whilst Mama in her
kerchief and I in my cap, had just settled our heads
for a long winter’s nap . . .”
Mulder made it through the rest of the poem by Dr.
Moore without further interruption.
“And then he exclaimed, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”
“I like Santa Claus,” Matty said with a yawn.
“I’m sure you do,” Mulder said with a fond smile.
Matty picked up on the neutrality of the response
immediately. “Don’t you believe in Santa Claus, Mr.
Mulder flinched, first, because Matty had followed
his father’s orders and put ‘Mr.’ in front of
Mulder’s name, and second because the little boy was
that perceptive. It was something he didn’t want to
get into with a child, particularly not a child who
obviously still believed.
“I’m sure there is plenty of evidence to support the
theory of a jolly old St. Nick,” Mulder said, and bit
his tongue when he realized he’d just parroted
Scully’s words from earlier in the week when they
were discussing a particularly outlandish case. He
hoped he didn’t sound as condescending as his partner
had when she’d said the words to him.
Matty frowned. “If you don’t believe, he can’t bring
you presents, Mr. Mulder,” he confided.
Mulder gave the boy a weak smile. “That’s OK, Matty.
I have everything I want.”
Tara and Scully arrived not much later and hot on
their heels were Bill and Maggie. The discussion was
forgotten, at least as far as Mulder was concerned.
Matty, however, couldn’t seem to put the idea out of
Later that night at their hotel, Scully cornered
Mulder about Matty’s suspicions.
“Mulder, why did you tell Matty you didn’t believe in
Santa Claus?” she demanded around a mouthful of
“I didn’t say I didn’t believe, Scully. I just
didn’t fall into the trap most adults do and assume
that kids are naive enough to ignore a lie when they
“In other words, you really don’t believe in Santa
Claus,” she said, after a rinse and spit.
“To be perfectly honest, no, I don’t believe.” He
moved past her to take the spot at the sink and
attend to his own oral hygiene. “And Scully, c’mon,
you can’t tell me you actually believe in Santa
Claus,” he accused. “Matty’s not here, it’s just you
and me. ‘Fess up!”
“Sorry, Mulder. I’m a firm believer.”
He stared at her, unconvinced. He even crossed his
“Mulder after all the crap we’ve been through, the
very fact that we’ve lived to see another Christmas
is enough to make me believe in not only a higher
power, but all the higher powers you could rattle of
from that photographic memory of yours. But in this
particular case, I happen to have empirical proof of
the existence of St. Nicholas.”
“You’re referring to the Bishop of the early
Christian Church in Asia Minor, I’m assuming,” he
said dryly, still not uncrossing his arms.
“No, I’m referring to the ‘chubby and plump, right
jolly old elf’ who crawls down chimneys. Or, in my
case, comes through the front door.”
“There’s a story here,” Mulder said firmly, backing
up to sit down on his side of the bed and scooting up
to rest his back against the headboard. “Tell me a
bedtime story, Scully,” he said in a singsong voice.
She grinned and crawled up next to him on the bed,
taking his hand. “I must have been four because I
wasn’t in school yet.”
“Early memories are the most unreliable,” Mulder said
She shot him an icy look and continued, undeterred.
“Dad was at sea that year, and that left Mom with all
the Christmas preparations. There were the four of
us kids and she was still buying presents for her
nieces and nephews, not to mention Dad’s family. To
say that she had a full plate was an understatement.”
“I can imagine,” Mulder interjected with an
affectionate smile. Maggie Scully was one of his
favorite people and he didn’t care who knew it.
“That was the year I wanted a Barbie. But not the
blonde bombshell they were selling on television day
and night. I wanted the one with red hair.”
“Midge,” Mulder supplied. At Scully’s cocked head,
he grinned. “Midge had red hair. She was Barbie’s
best friend. She ran around with some doof, can’t
recall his name, but I always assumed she had a thing
for Ken.” It was Scully’s turn to cross her arms.
“Sam had the whole collection. Complete with ‘Dream
House’,” he concluded.
“Well, at the ripe age of four, I just called her
‘red haired Barbie’ and I wanted one with all my
might. But in all the excitement of Christmas, I had
neglected to include that item on my wish list when
Mom took us to sit on Santa’s lap at the Base
Christmas Party. So Mom had no idea that’s what I
“And this proves the existence of Santa Claus . . .
“Because I wrote Santa a letter and stuck it in the
bushes outside our bedroom window. When I looked in
the bushes a few days later, the letter was gone.
Not only that, but on Christmas morning, there under
the tree was my Midge doll and the very outfit I
wanted for her.”
Mulder smiled and shook his head, then pulled her
into a hug. “Boy, with that kind of evidence, you
should write a book,” he chuckled.
“You still doubt he exists?”
“Scully, let me tell you a little story, though not
nearly as sweet as yours. When I was five, I wanted
to believe. But my next-door neighbor, Jimmy
Galbrath, was a year older and far wiser than I. One
Christmas Eve, we set up a recon mission, to detect
if there really was a Santa Claus. I had a bird’s
eye view of his rooftop from my bedroom window just
as he could see mine from his. We each stayed up all
night, until our parents called us down to open
presents and ‘see what St. Nick’ brought us. I can
tell you this; there were no reindeer, no sleigh, no
jolly old man in a red suit. But I still got my
Flexible Flyer wooden sled I’d been begging for since
Labor Day. From that day on, I understood that Santa
was the magic parents want their children to have,
and so they give it to them.”
She looked at him and shook her head. “This is
obviously a question of faith,” she concluded, arms
“And we rarely agree on that topic,” he noted.
She sighed and then leaned over and gave him a kiss.
“That’s all right, Mulder. Santa has a way of making
believers out of everyone.”
He didn’t have time to ponder that thought because
she was already busy removing his shirt and his mind
was quick to switch gears.
Two days later
Three women sat at the kitchen table, all with
“I’ve even looked online, Dana. It is not to be
found!” Tara exclaimed woefully.
“How about that big shopping mall downtown?” Maggie
suggested. “Don’t they have a ‘Legoland’ store?”
“They do, Mom. We’ve been there,” Scully said with a
frown. “Apparently, the one Lego set that Matty
wants is the one that’s completely sold out.”
“The manufacturer,” Maggie offered. “Surely they can
tell you the names of other dealers.”
“Tried them. They were caught totally unawares.
That new cartoon of dinosaurs just really ratcheted
up the interest. It wasn’t even in their quarterly
reports as a potential big seller. They admitted to
me on the phone that they were caught with their
pants down on this one. It’s a total sellout.”
“Just like those stupid Cabbage Patch dolls,” Maggie
muttered, shaking her head. “Or that crazy Midge
doll,” she added, more to herself than to anyone
At that moment, Mulder breezed in, carrying a load of
groceries. “They were out of the stick cinnamon in
the jars, Tara. I had to buy two little bags.”
Tara hopped up from the table and searched through
the plastic sacks he’d just placed on the counter.
“The fact you found any is a miracle, Mulder!
Thanks, these will do fine. But I didn’t give you
He gave her a disgusted look and shook her head.
“Tara, you’re feeding us, don’t sweat it. It wasn’t
that much.” He looked around to his partner and her
mother. “Did I miss something. Everyone OK? Nobody
got sick, did they?”
Maggie looked up, startled, and then smiled broadly
at him. “No, Fox, nothing so dire. We just can’t
seem to find the one toy Matty really wants for
Mulder nodded in understanding. “No chance of a
“You’ve talked to him, Mulder. What do you think?”
Scully asked. “We can’t find the Lego Dinosaur set.”
“He’s mentioned it about a hundred times in the last
few days,” Mulder agreed. “No way will that one get
by with a substitute. You can’t find it anywhere?
How about the net?”
Scully raised an eyebrow and he immediately
recognized his mistake at underestimating their
search. “Sorry, I should have known better,” he
“He’ll just have to be disappointed this year,” Tara
“Oh, sweetie, he’s getting so many other nice
things,” Maggie tried to reassure her. “I’m sure by
the time he’s got all his presents opened and around
him, he’ll never miss that set.”
Tara looked unconvinced, but gave Maggie a weak smile
and a nod. “Well, I better get dinner started.”
“I’ll give you a hand,” Scully offered, but Mulder
grabbed her arm.
“I was hoping we could get out this afternoon, see
the sights,” he said. He gave his partner a look
that said ‘just go along with me’ and reluctantly,
“Oh, all right. Uh, we’ll do clean up detail
tonight, Tara,” she promised.
Tara was still distracted by her failure at shopping
to give it a second thought. “Sure, that would be
great,” she said flatly.
“Where are we going?” Scully asked when they got
“We’re going to find that dinosaur set, or come home
on our shields,” Mulder informed her.
Scully frowned and caught his arm. “Why? Mulder,
it’s just one toy.”
Mulder shook his head and clasped his hand over hers
where it rested on his forearm. “He’s a believer,
Scully. Maybe we don’t share the same object of
belief, but I don’t want him to be disappointed.”
“He’s Bill’s son,” Scully pointed out with a smirk.
“So maybe I can score points with the next generation
of Scullys,” Mulder said with a grin. “C’mon. We’re
FBI agents. We track down mutant sewer monsters on a
daily basis. How hard can it be to find one toy in a
nation filled with strip malls?” He pulled out his
cell phone and started to dial.
“Who are you calling?” she asked as they both got
into the car.
“The experts in toys,” he replied and turned his
attention to the phone. “Yeah, Byers, it’s me. I
have a job for you guys, I think it’s right up your
Fourteen toy stores in all the San Diego metro area
and five phone calls later, they had yet to hear a
“Not even on Ebay?” Mulder whined. “No, I don’t
think they have a thousand bucks in the bank
somewhere, Langly. That’s totally out of line for a
kids’ toy at Christmas. Yeah, I agree. No, thanks,
and thank the other two. I appreciate it. No, I
won’t count this against your ‘case solved’ ratio,”
he added with a chuckle.
He’d no sooner disconnected that call when Scully’s
cell phone chirped. “Yes sir. No luck? How about
your contact in New York? No luck there, either?
No, sir, I don’t think we need to tax the Bureau
resources any further on this. Yeah, I will. Thanks
for trying, sir.” She closed down her cell phone and
sat next to her partner, looking equally dejected.
“Skinner’s a bust.”
“So are the boys. Nothing. That rotten toy set
doesn’t seem to exist on the North American
continent!” Mulder proclaimed angrily.
Scully rubbed his arm. “C’mon, it’s getting late and
we promised Tara we’d be over for dinner by 6.”
He took her hand and kissed it lightly. “I just
really wanted to find that for him.”
Dinner was a lively time, with Matty chatting non-
stop about all the dinosaurs he intended to make with
his new Lego set when he got it. Tara and Bill tried
unsuccessfully to steer his attention toward other
subjects, but the young boy was not to be swayed.
After dinner, Mulder was helping Scully do the dishes
when his cell phone rang.
“Byers, what have you got for me?” Mulder ended up
walking out the back door and into the yard to get
better reception. Scully finished up the dishes and
was about to join him when he came back inside.
“The guys have a lead,” he said quietly.
“On a set? A new one?” Scully asked, biting her lip.
“Yeah, only one hitch: it’s in Oakland.”
Scully scowled. “Oakland? That’s 700 miles away!
Mulder, there’s no way we can get something shipped
quickly to arrive tomorrow night! Not at this late
hour,” she said, glancing down at her watch.
“I know. That’s why I’m going to drive up and get
it,” he said firmly.
“Are you nuts! We can’t just disappear for, what, 15
hours to go pick up a toy! Mom and Tara are counting
on me to help finish wrapping the presents, and
Tara’s having the Open House tomorrow night, I can’t
just leave . . .”
“Scully, you don’t have to go!” he interrupted her
tirade. “I’ll go. If I drop you off at the motel
and leave now, I could be up there before daybreak.
The owner has it on reserve for me, so I’ll pick it
up when the store opens at 8 and hightail it back
down here. I should be back in time for the Open
House and no one has to be the wiser.”
“Where are you runnin’ off to now,” came a voice from
behind them. Mulder cringed and didn’t move, but
Scully turned to confront her older brother.
“For your information, Mulder has found that Lego set
Matty has been talking about. But it’s in Oakland.
He’s planning on driving up there tonight, picking it
up when the store opens and driving back. So just
lay off, Bill,” she warned.
“No shit, you found one of those sets?” Bill directed
his question to Mulder.
Mulder nodded. “It’s an independent toy dealer. He
has one set, reserved just for me.”
“I don’t work tomorrow,” Bill said, thinking aloud.
“I’ll go pick it up.”
“Bill, the guy won’t hand it over to anyone but me.
He’s a bit, um, well, on the paranoid side. He’ll be
expecting me, I have to show him identification to
get the set.”
Bill rolled his eyes and muttered a mild curse. “So
we both go. That way you don’t have to drive 16
hours straight and I can make sure you get that toy
back here in time.”
Mulder looked dubious and Scully looked concerned.
“C’mon, it’s a better plan than letting ER-boy here
go by himself!” Bill pointed out with a sneer.
Mulder looked over at Scully, who looked over at her
brother. “I’m not so sure of that,” she said,
“Let’s do it,” Mulder said finally. “If we get
started right now, we might even be able to catch a
few winks when we get back.”
Bill hurried out of the kitchen to let Tara in on the
plan while Mulder and Scully waited by the door.
“You will be careful,” Scully informed Mulder in no
uncertain terms as they waited for Bill.
“Scully, it’s not like we’re doing any ‘funky
poaching’ here,” he huffed. “It’s more like a college
“I saw that movie, Mulder, and you’re not making any
points with me by bringing that up,” she said, arms
crossing her chest. “I want you to get that toy, but
I want you both back here, safe and sound, tomorrow
“I’ll even be a good boy at Midnight Mass tomorrow
night,” he promised, two-fingered salute held high.
“I’ll be the one asleep on your shoulder.”
“Dana, you can drive your rental back to the hotel,
we’ll take my car,” Bill announced when he joined
them. “Got your cell phone, Mulder?”
“Fully charged,” Mulder said, patting his inside
“So is mine. Let’s lock and load,” Bill said firmly
and Mulder followed him out the door, after stealing
a kiss from Scully.
Mulder used his insomnia as an excuse to take the
first shift driving. He was a little concerned that
Bill would want to take this opportunity to rag on
him about what a horrible partner he was and how he
was ruining Scully’s life, but he lucked out. By the
time they hit the first interchange on the I-5, Bill
had the seat fully reclined in the big SUV and was
sawing logs and remained that way until the northern
side of Orange County. When Bill took the wheel,
Mulder politely returned the favor.
The sun was just peeking over the mountains when they
pulled into the parking lot of the little strip mall
in Oakland. The toy story, aptly named ‘North Pole,
Limited’ was on the far corner of the mall and Mulder
noted that it was an hour and a half until they
opened. A Denny’s shared the parking lot and Bill
pulled the big car over to a spot near the
Over bacon, eggs, hash browns, pancakes and coffee,
Bill couldn’t hold his curiosity any longer.
“So, you’re doing this to score points with my mom,
right?” he asked, pouring half the carafe of maple
syrup on his short stack of pancakes.
“Nope. I don’t need points with your mom. She likes
me already.” Mulder held back a smirk when Bill
snorted his disbelief.
“If you really want to know why I’m doing this, Bill,
I’ll tell you. I just don’t want Matty to be
disappointed this early in life.”
Bill looked Mulder over hard, as if seeing him for
the first time. Then he picked up a packet of
sweetener and dumped it in his coffee. “Well,
thanks,” he said grudgingly.
“Hey, Bill, if it had been a present for you, I
wouldn’t have crossed the street. Does that make you
feel better?” Mulder asked innocently.
Bill let a full-fledged smile crack his face. “Yeah,
well, I didn’t even go that far, Mulder. I didn’t
get you a damned thing.”
Mulder happily returned the grin. “Then we’re even,”
he said and both men went back to their breakfast.
It was eight o’clock on the dot when they pulled the
car back over to the toy store. A little man who was
a dead ringer for Bob Newhart was unlocking the door.
He was dressed in a bright green suit with a jaunty
pointed hat perched on his head. His gold frame
glasses just barely hugged the end of his pug nose.
“Gentlemen, may I be of assistance?” he asked
“I believe you have a package for me. Fox Mulder,”
Mulder said, pulling out his FBI wallet and showing
The older man took the wallet reverently and studied
the picture, then the man standing before him. “Oh,
we’ve been waiting a long time to meet you, Agent
Mulder,” he said happily. He handed Mulder back his
wallet and stuck out his own hand. “Maurice Selves,
at your service!”
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Selves. You’ve been a
subscriber to the Lone Gunman long?” Mulder asked
“Oh, yes. You might say we were the very first
subscribers,” the old man replied with a gleam in his
eye, “firm believers, yes indeed. Now, I know you
gentlemen are in a hurry. We can’t disappoint little
Matthew, can we?” He nodded at them both as he took
his leave to go to the back of the store and behind a
bright green and red curtain.
“Boy, this guy really takes this stuff seriously,”
Bill muttered, looking around. The toy store was
filled with toys, and was decorated right out of a
gingerbread house cookbook. Bill touched a giant
swirled lollipop near the door. “It’s even sticky!”
“Yeah, and you want to know how it got sticky?”
Mulder asked. Bill turned slightly green and backed
away. “I didn’t’ think so,” Mulder grumbled.
Maurice returned with a good-sized package and handed
it to Mulder with a smile. “Will that be cash or
charge and would you like to have it gift-wrapped?”
Bill stepped up to the counter, pulling out his
wallet. “Good deed finished, Mulder. Now it’s my
turn. And yes, I’d like that gift-wrapped. Can you
sign the tag ‘To Matty, From Santa Claus’?”
“Oh, yes. I have power of attorney,” Maurice said
with a grin and a wink.
When the toy had been wrapped and the bill paid,
Mulder and Bill headed out to the car. The sky
looked gloomy. “We better move it. We might hit
some rain on the way back,” Bill commented.
Seven and a half hours later, it wasn’t rain that hit
them. It was traffic. Bill glared down at the clock
on the dashboard, which glared back at him an angry,
digital 3:30 p.m. “Where the hell did all this
traffic come from?” he demanded.
Mulder had his ear tuned to the all news station
they’d found on the radio. “It’s a jack-knifed semi
about three miles ahead,” he said glumly. “They’re
suggesting alternate routes.”
“Well, it’s a damned good thing I ate breakfast, or
this would turn into the ‘Donner Party’ real fast,”
Bill growled. “So what’s an alternate route? I
promised Tara we’d be back by 5 and that’s in only
two and a half hours. Back roads take longer than
“Have you got a map in this tank?” Mulder sneered as
he pulled open the glove box. He finally found a
rather worn map of California. “How old is this
thing?” he asked as he gingerly unfolded it to keep
from ripping it more than it was already.
“Who the hell cares? It’s not like they change ’em
that often. It’ll get us home. Just find a road
that doesn’t go through every podunk farm town.”
Mulder had a brief flash of his conversation with
Maggie exactly one year before and shuddered. She
told him of a Christmas Eve long past and a family
lost on back roads. Like father, like son. But this
time, Mulder would be navigating and hopefully, would
manage to get them to their appointed destination in
Two hours later
“Son of a Bitch!” Bill howled as he looked at the
flat spare tire lying on the ground before him.
“What asshole would sell a car with a flat spare?” he
Mulder was crouched just a few feet away loosening
lugnuts on the flattened rear passenger tire. “I
told you, we should just call a tow truck,” Mulder
gasped out as the lugnut refused to budge.
“It’s Christmas eve, for Chrissakes, dumbshit! A tow
truck tonight would cost a fortune,” Bill growled.
He looked up and down the lonely two-lane road. Not
a house in sight. “I better call Tara.”
“Do you even know where we are?” Mulder asked, giving
up on the lugnut and rising to his feet.
“We’re . . . south of Los Angeles,” Bill guessed,
continuing to dial.
“And west of Las Vegas and east of the ocean, that
tells us nothing!” Mulder grumbled. He leaned
against the car, resisting the urge to kick the shit
out of the side panel. “I’ve always thought your
sister had a good sense of direction. Oh, wait,
that’s on your mother’s side. Guess you missed out
on that gene, huh, Bill?” he taunted.
“Honey, it’s me,” Bill said into the phone, ignoring
Mulder’s swipe. “Yeah, well, we might be a little
late. OK, yeah, we’re sort of lost and we have a
flat. The spare’s flat, too. Tara, why would I
check that, we just bought the damned car three
months ago?” He walked down the road several feet so
that Mulder wasn’t privy to the rest of the
Mulder shook his head and looked down at both flat
tires. Only to him, disasters of this magnitude only
seemed to happen to Fox Mulder. “No good deed goes
unpunished,” he muttered to himself.
The crunch of gravel on the road behind caused him to
spin around. A cherry red Mercedes convertible was
slowing to a stop just a couple of yards from their
stranded SUV. While Mulder watched, an elderly
gentleman with a flowing white beard and mane of hair
stepped out of the convertible and walked toward him.
“You boys seem to be in a bit of a jam,” the older
man said cheerfully. “Can I lend a hand?”
Mulder looked at the man, who had to be seventy if he
was a day and cringed. “Our spare is flat,” he said,
not wanted to insult the gentleman by pointing out
that he was probably too old to be changing tires on
“Does it have a hole, or just need air?” the man
asked as he surveyed the tire iron and the spare
lying on the ground near Mulder’s feet.
“I think it’s just out of air. It’s a new car,”
Mulder replied with a shrug.
“Detroit! No body pays attention to craftsmanship
anymore,” the old man said with a shake of his head.
“Well, I guess it’s a good thing I came along. I
have an air pump in my trunk. Keep it for my
recumbent bicycle. We can have you two fellas back
on the road in no time!” He clapped his hands once,
gave Mulder a congenial wink of his eye and headed
back to his car.
“We either start walking to a town or I start calling
around for a divorce lawyer,” Bill griped as he
walked up next to Mulder. “Who’s the old guy?”
“Don’t know. He just stopped to help. He says he
has a hand pump in his trunk.”
“Hot damn!” Bill exclaimed. “Shit, Mulder, our luck
The old man was good to his word and in a matter of a
few minutes, the spare was inflated and the flat
changed out. Bill tossed the flat in the trunk of
his car while Mulder started to pull out his wallet.
The old man caught his hand and shook his head.
“No need, son. Consider it an early Christmas
present. Now, you two better get on the road. You
have an early Christmas roll call and Matty’s been
waiting months for that set.”
Mulder looked up to shake the old man’s hand and
blinked. The man and his convertible were gone.
“Um, Bill,” Mulder said shakily.
“Grab that tire iron, will ya? We gotta get movin’!”
“Bill, did you see where the old man went?”
Bill looked up and around the side of the car. “It’s
Christmas Eve, Mulder. He probably had places he
needed to be.”
Mulder frowned, walked over to where the convertible
had been sitting, and kicked at the rocks on the side
of the road. Something shiny caught his eye. He
stooped to pick it up and saw it was a gold button,
embossed with the letters S. C.
It was getting close to eleven o’clock when they
pulled into Bill and Tara’s driveway. Scully ran up
to the car, pulled Mulder out before he could reach
for the door handle and kissed him for all he was
worth. When they broke the kiss, she led him into
the house and kissed him again for good measure.
“Not that I’m objecting, but Scully, you act like I
was gone for months!” he exclaimed happily. “What
“Mulder, when Tara got that call from Bill, we were
sure you guys would be stuck out there all night!
I’m just happy you made it home, and in one piece,”
she told him. “And with the toy,” she added as they
watched Bill deposit the brightly colored package
under the tree.
“Yeah, about the toy,” Mulder mused, but before he
could finish his thought Scully was pulling him out
the door to the car so they could leave for Midnight
It wasn’t until after church, when they were back at
their hotel, that Mulder got a chance to tell Scully
“OK, so the owner of the toy store was named Elf?”
“No, Selves, Scully, with two ‘s’es. And he just
looked, well, elfish. Not to mention that crack
about having the power of attorney to sign for Santa
“I’m pretty sure that was just a joke, Mulder,” she
said with a grin.
“But what about the old guy who helped us on the
“So you think Santa traded in his sleigh for a Benz?”
Scully asked with a gleam in her eye.
“Scully, the button I found said S. C. I think that
pretty much narrows down the list of possible
owners,” he said, crossing his arms. “Besides, he
knew about Matty and the dinosaur set. I know I
never mentioned anything about it, but he did. How
could he know about it if he wasn’t the Big Guy
“But Mulder, if it was Santa Claus, why didn’t he
just deliver the Lego set for Matty to Bill’s house
tonight? Why make you go through all that trouble?”
“He didn’t make us go through all that trouble,
Scully – we did! We’re the ones who decided to call
all over creation to find a toy at a store 700 miles
away. We’re the ones who decided to get off the
interstate and get lost. We’re even the ones to run
over that barbwire on the road and puncture the tire!
It wasn’t like any of that was his idea. But when we
were stranded and couldn’t complete our mission, his
mission, really, he came to our aid!”
Scully blinked and then smiled broadly. “So, now you
believe in Santa Claus, too?” she asked sweetly.
“How could I not, Scully? He got me exactly what I
“We haven’t opened a single present,” she pointed
“True, but what I want isn’t wrapped in foil with
ribbons,” he said, enfolding her in soft embrace.
“What I want for Christmas is right here, in my
She tilted her head to kiss him tenderly on the
mouth. “Then we both got what we wanted for