Co-authored with Mary Kate
Written December 1995
Synopsis: A holly jolly Christmas it is not when Mulder and Scully are snowed in together.
Disclaimer: The characters you recognize belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and Fox Television. No infringement is intended. The folk song mentioned is “Black Velvet Band” and has been covered many times. “Santa Claus is Watching You” was written by Ray Stevens. The identity of the original artist of “Santa Claus is Tapping Your Phone” remains unknown.
Mulder sighed. Scully was asleep in his arms on the couch. Clyde was snoring softly nearby. The television was turned to the Weather Channel. Right now, the meteorologist was ranting about the “heavy snowfall in the East, particularly in Washington, D.C., where it snowed a record-breaking two-and-a-half feet!”
He frowned at the set. “Yeah, bud, but you ain’t livin’ it.” He slid out from underneath Scully and poured himself another glass of eggnog. He would have to try to duplicate Scully’s recipe some time.
The telephone rang. He grabbed it before Scully fully awakened. “Hello?”
“Oh, Fox . . . merry Christmas.”
He smiled. “Merry Christmas to you, too, Mrs. Scully.”
I’m so glad my daughter isn’t spending the holidays alone! “Where’s Dana?”
“Well, she’s asleep right now.”
“No, I’m not,” came Scully’s groggy voice from the living room.
“Yes, you are,” Mulder protested, handing her the cordless. “It’s your mother.”
She turned it on. “Hi, Mom.”
“Happy holidays, Dana.”
“I heard the weather was atrocious! Are you going to make it down to Norfolk?”
“I think we can manage,” she said, giving Mulder a shy smile. He grinned back and continued to sip his beverage.
“What’s Fox doing at your house at this hour?”
She glanced at Mulder in the kitchen. He was filling another glass. “Getting drunk.”
Mulder picked up the other line. “That is not true. I am merely indulging in the holiday spirits.”
“Spirits is right!” Scully added.
“I wasn’t the one who put rum, brandy, and wine in the eggnog.” He hung up again.
“Dana, you put all three in?”
“Well . . . yeah. I’m stuck with Mulder. He’s been here for . . . ” She glanced at her watch with a sigh. ” . . . twenty-two long hours.”
“I heard that!” Mulder hollered, on his way to the bathroom.
Margaret smiled slightly. “Well, at least you’re having fun.”
“That’s a matter of opinion. My tree is crooked, my bulbs are broken, my dog is intoxicated, and my car is covered with snow.”
“Oh.” There was a crash on the other end. She sighed. “Looks like your bulbs aren’t the only ones broken. Sally just collided with the tree on her tricycle. I’d better go.”
“Okay, Mom. Love you. Bye-bye.” She hung up and shook her head. Sally was always breaking things. She had inherited her father’s klutziness. Scully’s youngest brother had always broken things, usually unintentionally, sometimes on purpose. Like the time he had decapitated Scully’s favorite Barbie doll. Or unloosened the screw on the school bully’s bike wheel. Hopefully Sally got most of her mother’s common sense and peaceful persona.
“Dinner is served,” Mulder announced with a butler’s accent. He handed her a bowl of Spaghetti O’s and a glass of wine. They sat around the table in front of the fireplace.
She smiled. “You know, Mulder, this hasn’t been too terrible of a Christmas weekend.”
“No, it hasn’t.” He sneezed. “All except for the cold I think I caught while crawling around under the bush and going to get dinner.”
She nodded. “I guess we’re going to have to buy more food and some cold medicine later, eh?”
While they ate, they watched the newest version of ‘Miracle on 34th Street’. Scully rolled her eyes through it, and Mulder watched with the awe and wonder of a child.
“Now that is better than any ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.”
She shook her head. “That guy just happened to look like Santa Claus.”
They headed for the kitchen and put their dishes in the dishwasher. “You mean you don’t believe?”
She frowned. “And that surprises you?”
“Scully, Scully . . . Santa is real.”
“Santa is a legend. I was listening to the radio, and there was a story about how Santa Claus’s image came about. It’s the self-portrait of an advertiser.”
“And where did you hear this?”
Mulder wrinkled his nose. “Who do you think brings your presents on Christmas Eve?”
“My parents did when I was little.”
“You are infuriating!”
“Tomorrow night, look in the sky. When you see a shooting star, it’s not a star.”
“It’s a meteorite.”
“It’s Santa Claus.”
She folded her arms across her chest. “You mean to tell me that on Christmas Eve, you stand outside in search of a flying elf?”
“He’s not an elf. If you say that, you’ll insult him.”
“Sorry. So what is he? An E.B.E.?”
He considered it. “It’s possible.”
“Yuh-huh, Mulder. Sure.” She stepped away from the counter and opened the refrigerator. “I need dessert.”
“Me too.” Mulder craved a sweet. “What about those peanut butter cups?”
“Um…” she stalled.
“What happened to them, Scully?” The way she stepped away from him, avoiding her eyes, told him something was up.
“Well…I ate them.” The last words came out in a rush.
“Well, I was really hungry and you were in the shower, so I ate them.”
“I bought them. I wanted one. Did you think of saving me one? Noooo.” He sat on the counter, depressed.
“I’m sorry, Mulder. Don’t be mad at me.”
“I’m not.” He heaved a huge sigh. “I just want something sweet. You know when that happens, right? It’s an obsession, a craving. I need something sweet.” He stared off at a fixed point in the distance.
“Well, maybe I could make a cake. I think I have a mix somewhere…” Her voice trailed off as she saw where his gaze sat. “No, not the gingerbread house. I spent all morning on it. I am taking it over to Mom’s house. No.”
He slid off the waxed counter, slowly heading for the cookie apartment. “This is an emergency. You don’t want me to die of starvation, do you? I could see the headlines – ‘FBI Agent Dies at Partner’s House – Domestic Dispute.'” He picked up the house, licking his lips.
“NOOOOO!” She jumped up, trying to take away the confection.
“Don’t think so, Scully.” Mulder held the gingerbread house high above his head. She jumped, but he was too tall for her.
“Come on, Mulder, don’t be a jerk.”
He stuck his tongue out at her. For a moment she was reminded of her battles with her brothers. What did I do back then? Remembering, Dana reached out and tickled her partner.
“D’oh!” Doubling over, he dropped the gingerbread house. Scully rushed to save the treat, but was too late. Catching only the roof, she watched as it dropped to the kitchen floor with a crash.
“Damn it!” She stared at her lovely dessert, shattered to pieces. Clyde, wondering what had awakened him from his twenty-three hours a day nap, wandered into the eating area, looking at the mess on the ground. Heaven!Wasting no time, he immediately began licking the ground.
Mulder watched the dog eat what was supposed to be his treat. Why me? It always happens to me. He quickly realized the hilarity of the situation and began to laugh, a long, loud laugh that reverberated through the room.
It was contagious. Soon Scully joined in, the outrageous happenings of the past two days catching up to her. The tears poured down her face, while Mulder held his sides, the laughing causing him pain.
“I needed to do that.” Scully dried her tears, smiling. She helped her partner to his feet. “You okay?”
“Yes.” He watched the dog eating the sweet treat. “I’m still hungry, though.”
“Well, I think I can help with that problem.” Dana held out the salvaged part of the gingerbread house. “Will this do?”
Mulder’s face lit up. “Definitely.” He reached into the refrigerator and pulled out the sparkling cider. “Care to celebrate, Doctor Scully?”
“I would love to, Mr. Mulder.”
December 24, 1995
“I have a huge headache.” Slowly Mulder rose from the sofa, trying not to cause any more pain to his body. “Scully?” No answer. He looked around the house, finding his caretaker in the kitchen.
“Morning,” she said, a little bit too cheerily for his taste.
“We’ll see about that.” He headed for the coffee pot and poured himself a cup. “Heaven.”
She stared at him. “You’re acting as if you have a hangover. As a doctor, Mulder, I can tell you that you cannot get inebriated from a bottle of non-alcoholic champagne.”
“That’s what you say. What’s for breakfast?”
“Raisin Bran. Did you look out the window?” she asked as she placed the bowl in front of him.
“What’s the point? I have seen sheets of snow before.”
“Not anymore.” She drew back the curtain on the kitchen window. “See? It’s stopped snowing and the roads have been plowed. You’re free to leave.”
“Trying to get of me, Scully?”
“Yes. Come on, Mulder. We’ve been cooped up in this apartment together for three days. We’re going to be spending the next three days together after this. I think we need a break.”
“I agree.” They sat there in silence, finishing breakfast. Mulder got up, put the bowl in the dishwasher, and gathered his belongings.
“Sorry to be an imposition on you, Scully.”
“You weren’t.” The mood became serious. “Thank you, Mulder, for keeping me company. You made a difficult time very easy.”
“So did you, Scully.” They stood there awkwardly for a few minutes until Scully broke the silence.
“I’ll pick you up at seven tomorrow morning, okay?”
The knock on her door awakened Scully. Making sure that she was decent, Dana made her way to the foyer, checking through the peephole before opening the door.
“Mulder?” The door flung open. “What are you doing here?”
“Hey, Scully. Are you ready?”
“For what?” She shook her head, as if to clear the cobwebs. “I told you we were leaving at seven tomorrow, right?”
“I’m taking you out. Someplace special.” His tone belied nothing else.
She looked down at her clothing: jeans, sweater, pink bunny slippers. “What should I wear?”
“What you’re wearing now.” Heading for the door, Mulder turned back. “Well, I guess you should change the slippers too. Now hurry up. We’re going to be late.”
“Yes, sir.” She pulled off the offending footwear and started to lace her Keds.
St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church
“Why are we here, Mulder?” Scully stepped out of the car and waited for her partner to meet her on the curb. “You’re not the religious type.”
“No, but you are.” He took her arm and led her through the double doors. “I know you are confused, Dana. I thought maybe this would bring back some good Christmas memories, as well as help you decide.”
Scully turned to thank him, but remembered the unspoken rule of silence in church. Instead, she smiled, blessed herself with holy water and made her way to an empty pew.
“Could everyone please rise and sing number 251 in the blue hymnal, ‘Angels We Have Heard on High’?”
The congregation rose, ringing in the coming of Jesus Christ. Scully watched in awe of the unity that the church possessed of the blind faith and trust they put into their beliefs. It’s been so long.
They sat, and the service began. It amazed Scully how much she remembered. She knew when to sit and stand, didn’t need to look at the book for the Our Father or the Glory to God. She listened intently to the readings of the Bible, and more importantly the homily of Father Steven.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome and Merry Christmas. Christmas is a time to commemorate the birth of our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ, but it is also a time of believing. Every day we have to believe. We have to believe that one day we will go to Heaven, believe that our loved ones are in Heaven, and most importantly believe in God. Every year it gets harder, but we pray that it will become better. When I was a child, I asked my mother was Santa Claus real. She looked me in the eye and asked me, ‘Do you believe in Santa?’ I answered yes, and she replied, ‘Whatever you believe in is real.’ If you believe in aliens, they are real. If you believe in yourself, you are real. If you believe in miracles, they are real. If you believe in God, He is real. Trust in your beliefs. If you believe strongly enough, anything is possible.”
He sat back down, composed himself, and sang out, “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.”
As Scully chanted the words aloud, she thought of the priest’s speech. Faith is a mystery. Somehow you just choose what you believe in. Sometimes it has to be blind, with no basis. The unexplained can be accepted with faith.
“Peace of Christ be with you.” Scully and Mulder shook the hands of their neighbors around them, wishing them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Turning to her partner, Dana reached out impulsively and gave him a hug. Surprised, Mulder quickly covered and squeezed her tightly.
“Thank you Mulder. I needed this.”
He wiped away the tears rolling down her cheeks. “I’m glad it helped you, Scully.” He kissed her on the top of the head, gently releasing her.
They walked to the car slowly, relishing the quiet moment between them. The services had touched both Mulder and Scully. He stared at her, transfixed by her understated beauty and quiet elegance. Her hair was pulled away from her face with a black piece of cloth, reminding him of an Irish folk song.
Her eyes, they shined like diamonds.
You’d think she was queen of the land
With her hair hung over her shoulders
Tied up with a black velvet band.
Scully’s thoughts were broken when she noticed Mulder staring at her. “What’s the matter?”
They had reached the car. Mulder unlocked the passenger side and opened the door for her. “How Irish are you?”
“One hundred percent. Both sets of my grandparents came from Ireland. Why?”
“I had a feeling.” He closed the door and circled to the driver’s side.
Scully didn’t get much sleep; at precisely seven a.m., Mulder was knocking on her door, and Clyde was barking. She groggily crawled off the couch, wearing the same clothes she had worn to midnight mass, and answered the door.
“Merry Christmas, Scully!” he cried cheerfully, his arms full of packages and other assorted goodies.
She felt like slamming the door back in his face but smiled as sweetly as she could. “Gee, Mulder, you shouldn’t have.”
“I brought your two Christmas presents, one for little Clyde, one for your mother, one for your niece, one for Skinner that you have to write your name on and sign the card, and a batch of chocolate chip cookies.” He dropped the packages on her kitchen table. “Now, hurry up. We have to get to Norfolk by lunchtime.”
“Mulder, it takes about two and a half hours. One hour and forty-five minutes if you drive.” She picked up the gifts that belonged under her tree. “We’ll make it in plenty of time.”
“Oh.” He shrugged. “Hey, where are you going with those presents?”
She stopped and turned. “I was going to put them under my tree.”
“No, no, you have to open them. Clyde, too.”
She looked at the bone with the red ribbon tied around it. “I don’t think he’ll have too hard of a time.”
“So give it to me.” He took it from her. “Here, Clyde!”
The Pomeranian heard his name being called and entered the kitchen, his little toenails clicking on the linoleum. He spotted a huge bone and barked, his tail wagging furiously. When the evil man didn’t give him the bone, he got upset, jumping up and taking not only the bone but some skin as well.
Mulder yelled out in pain. “Ow! Jesus, Scully. Does that dog have rabies?”
“Clyde!” she scolded as the dog tottered off with the bone in its mouth. She sighed and dampened a washcloth. “Here, put this on it until I can find my peroxide.”
He stiffened at the word. “Gee, thanks. This feels better already.”
She understood and glanced at her two packages. One was small and rectangular; the other was bulky and medium-sized. “Which one do I open first?”
“The bigger one.” He beamed. “You’ll like it.”
She raised an eyebrow. “If you insist.” She carefully began to undo some tape. “Did you wrap this, Mulder?”
“Like hell I did. They had free gift wrapping at the mall. Best to let qualified people handle the task.”
“Ah ha.” She removed all of the paper and discovered a white T-shirt. She unfolded it and read the message aloud. “‘Kiss me–I’m Irish’.” The black letters were printed over a large shamrock. “It’s . . . nice. Thank you.”
“You have to wear it to your brother’s house today. Your mother can appreciate it.”
“Okay.” She looked at him. “Let me go get one of yours. The other one I didn’t wrap because I kept tearing the paper.” She disappeared into her bedroom, shirt in hand.
He sat down at the table and sighed. He was tired. He hadn’t gone to church in a long time, much less one that started at midnight. But he knew that it had made Scully happy, which pleased him as well.
Scully finally returned, carrying a package and wearing her new T-shirt. “Here you go.”
He glanced at her. “Hey! It fits! I was right when I guessed your size.”
She frowned. “Mulder, the tag said ‘one size fits all’.”
“Really? I didn’t notice.” He picked up the gift and shook it. “Hmm . . . is it proof that Roswell was an actual alien landing?”
“Not exactly, but you’ll like it just the same.”
He ripped the paper to shreds to uncover the complete, up-to-date version of all of the episodes of ‘Red Shoe Diaries’. His face lit up. “Scully! These are all of the ones I missed on Friday night plus the ones that I saw but my VCR ate afterwards. Thank you!” He looked over the cover. “Where did you get this?”
“Well, I called Frohike. He directed me to a porno shop downtown. So I went there, told the cashier your name, and . . . she knew you . . . I told her what I wanted, and she got it for me.”
He squeezed her hand. “We’ll have to watch this together sometime.”
She shook her head defiantly. “Never. And if you bring that to Norfolk, I’ll kill you.”
“Bet your brothers wouldn’t.” He set it aside with a chuckle. “Open the other one.”
“All right.” She began the unwrapping process and, when she was finished, she found a gold wristwatch. She gasped and removed it from its box. “Oh, Mulder, it’s beautiful! Thank you.”
“Read the inscription.”
She raised an eyebrow as she carefully turned it over. Aloud, she read, “‘Keep searching for the truth.’ You shouldn’t have.”
“I thought it was appropriate.” He grinned. “Merry Christmas, Scully.”
“Merry Christmas.” After adoringly putting her watch on, she grabbed his hand and dragged him to the bedroom. “Come on; I have to show you your other gift.”
He followed her into the room and immediately noticed his other present. “I wondered what happened to it!” He went up to the ‘I Want to Believe’ poster that was now in a nice frame. “This is great. Thank you.”
“Now it’ll be preserved instead of full of tack holes and such.” She glanced at her new watch, which was already set at the right time. “You’re right; we’d better hit the road. Who knows what kind of traffic will be out on Christmas day!”
“Boy, it’s a good thing we brought my tape of Christmas music cause we’re gonna be here til next year.”
Scully sighed and glanced at the long line of traffic heading out of Washington on interstate 95. “I’m glad we left early.”
Mulder pushed his cassette tape in. The music began.
“Well, you may think you can sneak around, get away
With something but there ain’t no way!
Cause Santa’s no fool,
He’s really super cool,
He’s the secret head of CIA.
Eash, ash, the crime don’t pay.
You can’t do nothing cause you’re never alone.
He’s even got a wire tap on your phone!”
Scully shook her head. “Mulder, that’s ridiculous. What is that?”
“Ray Stevens. Don’t tell me you don’t know who Ray Stevens is.”
“Oh, I know.” She chuckled slightly. “I know.”
Clyde, who was feasting on his bone while sitting in Scully’s lap, growled at the music.
“And he say ‘On Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen and Bruce and Marvin and Leon and Cleetis and George and Bill, Slick and Dooright, Fred, Ace and Slide, Blacky and Queeny and Prince and Spot and Rover.’
So where’s Rudolph?
They say he’s on the stakeout at your house!”
“Christmas for the paranoid,” she muttered softly.
But Mulder heard her. “You want to hear paranoid? How about this? I picked this up off the ‘net. I had some of my musically inclined friends make it into a song.” He fast forward to the end of the song. “Ah, here it is.”
“You’d better watch out,
You’d better not cry,
You’d better not pout;
I’m telling you why.
Santa Claus is tapping
She sighed. This was going to be a loooooong trip.
Three and a half hours later . . .
“Oh, Dana, you made it!” Margaret Scully hugged her daughter. “What took so long? I thought you were leaving at seven.”
“We left at seven-thirty, and the traffic was terrible.” As she and her mother chatted, Mulder and Clyde made their way into the kitchen, where a nice Virginia ham was baking in the oven.
“Hmm . . . I always love a Scully Christmas.” He shook hands with Bill, Jr., one of Scully’s brothers. “How are you?”
He frowned down upon his little sister’s friend. He didn’t really like him. “Fine. And you?”
“Good.” He made sure his hand still had a blood flow to it; Bill had a strong grasp.
Sally, Charles’ daughter, ran into the kitchen. “Hi, Uncle Fox!”
He swung the girl up in his arms, not correcting her. “Hey, there, Sally! Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas to you, too. Where’s Aunt Dana?”
“She’s with Grandma in the living room.” He pulled a present out of his coat pocket. “Here’s your gift.”
“Gee, thank you!” She kissed his cheek and was set on the ground. “I have to put this under the tree.” She hurried off.
Scully’s youngest brother entered the room. “Fox! I didn’t know Dana was bringing you all the way down here for Christmas.” They shook hands. Charles liked Mulder much more than Bill did. “How’s work?”
“It’s good. What have you been up to?”
“Oh, the usual. Hey, we’re watching the football game in the other room. Care to join us?”
He smiled. It was nice to be accepted into a family. “Sure. Just give me a few minutes, okay?”
“Meet you there.” Charles grinned. “Great to see you again, Fox.”
Scully stepped into the kitchen. She gave her brothers hugs and kisses. “Going off to watch football, eh, fellas?”
“Yep,” Charles replied. “I even got Claire to watch it with us.”
“Oh, no, not Claire, too.” Scully sighed. “Who’s going to wash dishes?”
“That’s our job this year, dear,” Maggie told her, passing them and heading for the stove. “And dinner will be ready in fifteen minutes. You guys get washed up.”
Everyone scattered. Scully and Mulder headed outside to get Sally’s present.
“I’m glad the snow has subsided,” Mulder said as they opened the trunk.
“Not me,” she answered. “It made everything prettier. I can’t imagine Christmas without snow.”
“Well, think of all the people living in Arizona and California. Think any of them own winter coats?”
She shook her head with a laugh and closed the trunk, Mulder carrying the gift. She followed him and was struck with an ingenious idea. She dropped to the ground.
” . . . pants, either.” Mulder stopped walking when he didn’t hear his partner’s feet crunch in the snow behind him. “Scully?” He turned around just in time to get pelted in the face by a large snowball. Slowly, he put Sally’s present on the ground.
She giggled childishly at his expression. Her laughter stopped when he grabbed her and knocked her into a snow pile on the front lawn. She lifted her snow-covered head and frowned.
He grinned, kneeling beside her. “Still like the snow, Scully?”
An all-out snowball fight ensued. They were unaware of the amount of time they had spent playing in the snow until Maggie poked her head out the door. “Hey! Come on; dinner’s on the table!”
Mulder helped Scully to her feet, and they brushed themselves off. Arm in arm, they entered the house. He stopped and looked at her.
“What is it?” she asked in confusion.
He pointed to the ceiling.
She looked in that direction.
“Can’t break tradition, can we, Scully?”
“We could, but I don’t like to break tradition, do you?”
They kissed quickly, partly because their facial features were blue and frozen and partly because they had an audience. Mulder whispered to her, “I’ll get you later.”
She raised an inquisitive eyebrow and grinned. She saw her niece at the dinner table and gasped. “Oh, my God. Mulder, we forgot the present in the driveway!”
Suddenly, the final dinner guest, a friend of Bill’s from the Navy named Anna Wright, burst through the door. “Merry Christmas!”
Mulder went up to her. “How’d you get here?”
“In a car,” she replied with a frown.
Scully’s eyes widened. “You didn’t park in the driveway, did you?”
“Yes–why?” She pulled the wrapped box out from behind her back. “Looking for this?”
Scully breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank God.” Yet something still seemed wrong. “Where’s Clyde? He usually barks when someone arrives.”
Mulder gulped. “Uh oh. Um . . . Scully?” He pointed to the back door, which was wide open. “Where does Clyde hide when he’s in Norfolk?”
She sighed. “Here we go again.”