Title: My Name Is Christmas Carole
Spoilers: Emily/Christmas Carol. And no, that had no effect on the title.
Summary: While playing Santa on Christmas Eve, one little girl's story touches Fox Mulder's heart.
Author's notes: Warning: this story is pure sap. If you don't like sentiment and weepy occasions, stop reading now.
Fox Mulder checked his reflection in the mirror and struggled to adjust the fake white beard attached to his chin. "Why did we let Skinner talk us into this?" he asked his partner, Dana Scully.
She peeked into the mirror over his shoulder. "Could this outfit *be* any more skimpy?" she grumbled rhetorically. "And by the way, we're doing this because you're a sucker for a pretty face."
"You think Skinner's pretty?" he inquired, grinning. "Scully, I never knew."
"Your stomach's falling apart," she said, ignoring him. She reached over and started pushing the stuffing back in the suit. "Think of all those kids, Mulder. They're looking forward to seeing Santa."
"Scully, we shoot bad guys. We sit in cars for all-night stakeout. We run through back alleys to chase suspects. However, playing Mrs. and Santa Claus was not in the job description."
She patted him on the shoulder condescendingly. "You're afraid of a few kids, Mr. FBI Agent?"
He scowled and snatched the red hat. "Let's do this."
"Are you Mrs. Claus?" a little boy of about four asked Scully.
"I am," she confirmed, mentally shooting a deadly glare at Walter Skinner. "Are you looking forward to seeing Santa?"
The harried-looking mother smiled tensely at Scully. "He hasn't shut up about seeing Santa all week."
"Well, you're next in line!" She gently herded him to Mulder, who was actually being a wonderful Santa Claus.
"What's your name?" Mulder asked the little boy. If thoughts could kill, Skinner would've been six feet under.
"Well, Blaze, have you been a good boy this year?"
"What do you want for Christmas this year?"
After the boy rattled off a long list of toys and games, Scully took their picture together. Promising to remember the list, Mulder sent him on his way with a candy cane.
Scully approached him and whispered, "This next group is from the County Children's Home, so prepare for your heart to be broken."
Most of the kids were eager to talk to Santa, and requested games and toys and stuffed animals. Then the last little girl came up and climbed up on his knee. She couldn't have been more than four, and she had clear, sad blue eyes. He made his voice very gentle and asked, "What's your name and what can Santa do for you?"
She looked him right in the eyes and said sadly but clearly, "My name is Christmas Carole, and I was born on Christmas Day. I don't know who my Daddy is and Mommy's gone away. All I want for Christmas is someone to take me home. Doesn't anybody want a Christmas Carole of their own?"
Her plaintive wish broke his heart. He summoned up his voice and managed to say that Santa would do the best he could. Then he sat her down on his knee and told her, "Now, remember to be to be good."
She said, "I will," and then walked away, turning to wave good-bye.
And he was glad she wasn't close enough to see old Santa cry.
Scully came up to him and asked, "Santa, what's wrong?"
He just shook his head.
"Are you crying?"
He managed a smile and said, "Mrs. Claus, are you implying that a four-year-old girl could make me cry?"
She smiled and shook her head. "I warned you not to let them break your heart."
Scully knocked on the door of her partner's apartment, smiling to herself. Those kids the day before had broken Mulder's heart, but she hoped he was feeling better today. She hoped he liked the gift she'd gotten him.
He opened the door without so much of a "Who's there?" She looked at him in surprise. He was positively glowing, which startled her. "Hey, Scully," he said cheerfully. "Merry Christmas."
"Hi, Mulder," she said carefully, smiling. "Merry Christmas. What, uh, what's going on?"
"Come on in." He grabbed her hand and tugged her in. "I want you to meet my guest."
"Your guest?" She wondered if he had a date. 'Mulder' and 'a date' didn't seem to fit together.
He pulled her into the living room and a most unexpected sight confronted her. A little girl sat on his black leather couch, carefully decorating a small Christmas tree while 'Miracle on 34th Street' played on the TV.
"Mulder," Scully said softly, "Who is this?"
He was practically beaming. "Scully, this is Christmas Carole. Carole, you remember I told you about my friend Dana?"
Carole looked up and Scully was startled by the intensity of the little girl's deep blue eyes. But she smiled and said directly, "Fox said you were pretty."
"Well, I didn't lie, did I?" Mulder grinned. "Early this morning I got up and dialed the phone," he told Scully, "And I made a few arrangements at the County Children's Home. They told me it would be all right to pick her up today. Now my little Christmas Carole won't ever have to say, 'I don't know who my Daddy is and Mommy's gone away. All I want for Christmas is someone to take me home. Doesn't anybody want a Christmas Carole of their own?'"
Carole had returned to decorating the tree, but now she looked up,"Will you help us decorate the tree, Dana?" she asked hopefully.
"I'd be honored," Scully said honestly, and joined the small girl and Mulder in putting lights and ornaments on the little tree.
Mulder handed Carole a treetop angel. She stood up to put it on top of the small tree.
Scully spoke up suddenly, an idea forming in her head. "Would you two like to join me and my family for a Christmas celebration?"
Carole lit up. "Could we, Fox?"
"I think that's a great idea," he said, smiling magnificently at Scully.
"Hello, everyone, we're here!" Scully announced, opening the door to her mother's house.
"Dana, you're here!" Tara, her sister-in-law, emerged from the kitchen, trailed closely by little four-year-old Matthew, his mouth stuffed full with a gingerbread cookie. The two women exchanged hugs. "Fox, I'm glad you made it," Tara said warmly. "And who's this sweetheart?"
"This is Christmas Carole," Mulder introduced. "Carole, this is Dana's sister-in-law Tara."
"It's nice to meet you," Carole said, a touch shyly.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Carole. This is *my* little boy, Matthew. Matthew, say hi to Carole."
"Who are you?" Matt asked boldly.
"I'm Christmas Carole," she returned, equally bold.
"That's a weird name."
"So?" Carole grinned at him. "My friends call me Carole."
"My friends call me Matt. Can I call you Carole?"
"Can I call you Matt?"
"Sure," she mimicked.
"Where'd you and my Aunt Dana meet?" he asked as Mulder set Carole down on the floor and she ran over to her new friend.
"Fox introduced us. He let me come to his house for Christmas, and he's gonna adopt me," she said proudly.
Bill, Scully's older brother, came in from out back. "Dana! You're here!"
"Hi, Bill," she said, smiling a little apprehensively. They hugged.
"And...you brought Fox Mulder." Bill arched an eyebrow at him. He'd never much liked Mulder.
"Hi, Bill," Mulder said, concerned, and probably with good reason:
Bill had been threatening to beat him up for years.
"Daddy," Matt piped up, "I got a new friend!"
"You did, buddy?" Bill cast a suspicious glance at Mulder and knelt beside Matt.
"This is Christmas Carole," Matt said happily. "Uncle Fox is going to adopt her."
"Hi," Carole said, suddenly shy.
"'Uncle Fox'?" Mulder mouthed to Scully. She shrugged, just as uncertain.
"Really?" Bill raised an eyebrow at Scully, who shrugged again. "Well...it's nice to meet you, Christmas Carole." He stood up, looking very confused. "Uh, Mom and Charlie are picking up Kate from the airport but they should be back any minute." Charlie was their younger brother, and Kate (Katya Scully) was his wife.
At that moment, the door opened and Maggie Scully's voice sang out, "Hello, hello, hello, we're home! Is that Dana's car I see?"
"Hi, Mom!" Dana called.
"Dana!" Kate greeted, giving her a hug. "And Tara, and Bill, and hi, Matt!" She turned after giving Matt a hug and faced Mulder. "You must be Fox Mulder."
He arched an eyebrow, looking uncommonly like his partner. "Let me guess, you're psychic."
"Be that as it may," she said, smiling, "I recognize you from the picture Dana sent. But I'm pretty sure I don't know you," she said to Carole.
"I'm Christmas Carole," the girl said bravely.
"Glad to meet you, Christmas Carole. I'm Kate."
"Call me Carole," she offered.
"Hi, Carole," Maggie said maternally. "I'm Maggie, Dana's mom." She raised a questioning brow at Dana, who smiled in response.
"I'm Charlie, her brother," Charlie offered. "Kate, honey, where do you want these bags, and what did you pack, bricks?"
"Gifts," she told him haughtily. "Dana, where did you meet such a charming little girl?"
"Mulder's going to adopt Carole," Dana said by way of explanation.
"Agent Mulder, Agent Scully." AD Walter Skinner stood up to admit the partners into his office. "I trust you had a nice holiday."
"Yes, sir," they said automatically.
"Uh, Agent Mulder, I see you've put in to adopt a little girl --Carole Gordon?"
"*Christmas* Carole Gordon, sir," he said soberly.
"Of course. Uh, on the record, I have to say that I can't condone your deciding to adopt a child at this point, given your marital status and the danger of your job situation."
"I understand, sir."
"But off the record -- this little girl couldn't ask for a better father, adoptive or otherwise."
Mulder blinked in surprise. "Um...thank you, sir."
Outside the office, Scully looked at her partner. "He's right, you know."
"Carole couldn't ask for a better dad."
"Hey, thanks." He slung an arm around her shoulders. "You want to come with me to pick her up at the County Children's Home? She's comin' home to stay today."
They picked up Carole without incident. She bid goodbye to all her friends at the Home.
At Mulder's apartment -- where they would continue staying until he could find a house within his price range -- Carole was delighted to discover the Christmas tree she, Scully, and Mulder had decorated still occupying a place of honor. She explored the apartment again and then returned, looking at her new dad with a solemn, worshipful gaze.
Mulder looked back at her proudly and put one arm around Scully and the other around Carole, saying to her, "Well, merry Christmas, Carole. I love you -- welcome home."
MORE LAST MINUTE AUTHOR'S NOTES: Pure sap, I know. But when I wrote this, it had just started snowing outside, and the first snow of the season down here always makes me feel sentimental... remembering Maine...the song 'My Name Is Christmas Carol' is a wonderful song by Steve Ewing. If you've never heard it, go listen! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, And Happy New Year! God Save and God Bless, Kristen. I love you all.
Nothing in life can hurt you except yourself, and of course barbed wire, but that's another story.
Doing STRANGE THINGS in the name of Art, and STRANGER THINGS in the name of CHOCOLATE.
My boss is a Jewish carpenter.
Therapy is expensive but bubble wrap is free.
Rock and roll doesn't create psychos, it helps psychos be more creative.