Title: Christmas Magic
Author: Anne Milne
Email: annem@iprimus.com.au http: mum.milneyfilms.com
Date: December 2006
Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: Anyone you recognize doesn't belong to me. They've just come over to play for a while. They'll be back home by the time it gets dark, I promise. Really.
Category: Angst, MSR eventually
Rating: PG13 for language
Feedback: Pleeeeeeeeeease!
Archive: Go for it
Thanks: CC and Fox for the X-Files. GA and DD for bringing M and S to life.

Summary: The magic abounds at Christmas. Other stuff: I couldn't resist a piece involving Christmas. So sue me.


An older woman sat in a rocking chair in southern California, holding her grandson, and talking with him about Christmas. In the kitchen of the cozy home, the boy's parents were moving around, making preparations for their evening meal, and getting things ready for Christmas Day, three days hence. The man's brother and family would be arriving on tomorrow, and that would be wonderful for all. But, the man and his wife were worried about the man's sister, as had his mother. She had been uncontactable, and hadn't responded to the many messages left on her answering machine and voicemail. The older woman closed her eyes, and breathed a prayer: "Please, Lord, look after my baby girl. Help her to find her way home."

Three mature men in Maryland were putting the finishing touches on their festive decorations. They had been planning this get-together for some time, and knew that one of their guests, a lanky, dark-haired man, would definitely be there. Their other guest, a petite red-haired doctor, had yet to respond to the many invitations they had extended to share this festive season with them. They each prayed, in their own ways, for God to watch out for their lady friend, and help her to know of their concern for her.

The lanky, dark-haired man sat in his apartment, wondering where the red-haired doctor had gone. He knew that she wasn't with her family in California, as her mother had called him every day, wanting to know if he'd heard from her. He felt guilty at the doctor's disappearance, that it was quite probably his fault. He thought back to what had happened a week earlier.


**

He had been relaxing in his apartment after a hard day at work, when someone knocked on his door. He opened the door, and was surprised at the woman on the other side.

"Diana, what are you doing here?" asked Fox Mulder.

Diana Fowley, dressed to impress and bearing a bottle of good wine, replied, "I've come to spend some time with you before Christmas, Fox. Are you interested?"

Mulder considered his options. He knew that Scully was finishing up her Christmas shopping, and he was missing being around her. He looked at Fowley, and wanted some simple human contact, so he invited her in. She opened the wine, put on a CD of festive music, and proceeded to put into operation her plan to seduce Fox Mulder.

About an hour later, there was another knock on Mulder's door. By this time, he was a little dishevelled from fending off Fowley's advances, so he walked to the door, pushing his clothes back into place as he opened the door. Dana Scully stood on the other side of the threshold, holding a gaily wrapped gift in her hands.

"I know we said we weren't going to exchange gifts, Mulder, but Merry Christmas," she said as she gave him the present. Fowley chose that particular instant to come up behind Mulder, and act possessively, by placing her hand on Mulder's upper arm and moving it around onto his chest.

"Good evening, Agent Scully. In the neighbourhood, were you?" Fowley purred.

Mulder watched as Scully's face closed off completely. "As a matter of fact, I just dropped this off before leaving on vacation. Merry Christmas, Agent Fowley, Mulder." And Scully turned and walked away.

Fowley waited until Scully had entered the elevator, then turned to Mulder and said, "Good. Now that she's gone, maybe you and I can have some real fun."

Mulder looked up from the gift in his hands, and said, "I don't think so, Diana. I think that you should leave."

"Why, Fox?"

"It's not a good idea for you to be here. You belong in my past, not in my present, and definitely not in my future. Please leave."

Fowley's face fell, and her mouth set into a grim line. She reached out to touch Mulder, but he stepped away from her so that she couldn't reach him. He stood and watched as she gathered her things. With one last longing look at him, she turned, and left his apartment.

After Fowley had gone, Mulder turned his full attention to the gift from Scully. He opened the gift tag, and read,

"Mulder,

I saw this, and he reminded me of you.

All my love,

Dana."

'What have I done?' he thought as he read the card. Then he carefully unwrapped the paper, and opened the box. There, nestled on a bed of crumpled tissue paper, was a hand-blown glass fox. The colours were accurate, and he could almost see the hairs on the fox's coat. It was beautiful.

He removed the fox from the packaging, and saw that the fox was sitting on a glass stand that looked like a log. Engraved into the back of the log were the words, "With love, Dana." His heart swelled at the gift, but more so at the giver of the gift, and what she had come to offer him tonight.


**

Fox Mulder was not a man who believed much in God, but as he thought back, he prayed that his Scully would be kept safe, that she would be able to feel his love, and that she would find her way home in time for Christmas.


**

But what of the woman that all these people were so concerned for? Where was the daughter, the sister, the doctor, the friend, the partner?

Immediately after the incident at Mulder's apartment, Dana Scully had been amazed at her own strength in walking away without breaking down. She had managed to wait for the elevator doors to close before the traitorous tears began to fall, and those tears did not stop for some hours. She went back to her lonely apartment, which she had decorated in the hope of inviting Mulder over to share Christmas together. After what she had seen, that seemed unlikely. She knew that her mother had already gone to her brother's, so she packed a few things, and left for Baltimore.

After she reached her mother's home, she went upstairs to the room she lived in while still at home. She was careful to leave the security lighting on, to fool Mulder if he chose to drive by her mom's house. 'Not much chance of that happening,' she thought. She sat on the old single bed, and once again the tears threatened. She pulled herself together enough to leave a message on her supervisor's voicemail that she was unwell, and so taking sick days until her vacation days kicked in. She lay down, and the tears overwhelmed her.

The following morning, after allowing sufficient time for Mulder to be in the office, she went back to her apartment, where she dismantled the Christmas tree, and packed everything away. The only things she left out were two more gifts that she had for Mulder. She had planned on giving them to him on Christmas Day, but that wouldn't be happening now. She looked at her answering machine, and the light was flashing. She pressed the play button, and sat down to listen.

"Dana, it's mom. Fox called me last night, and he's worried about you. Please come to San Diego, and spend the time with your family. I love you."

"Hey Scully, it's me. We need to talk. (a pause) Last night wasn't what you think. Call me when you get this message."

"Agent Scully, this is Walter Skinner. Your sick leave is approved. Merry Christmas."

Dana erased the messages, and continued to pack things away. Once that was done, she trashed the perishables in her fridge, turned everything off, and left. It was now starting to snow, and the cold outside was more than matched by the chill in her heart.

She got into her car and drove away.


**

So, there she was, two days before Christmas, alone with her thoughts. She had listened to her messages every day, and it barely registered that those who loved her were becoming more frantic about her, where she was, and what her state of mind might be.

Dana Scully had always been a strong, positive person, but the last few years had tested that strength. The deaths of those close to her, like her father and her sister, had been heartbreaking, but it was finding and losing a daughter at this time of year that had done the most damage.

Dana knew that her family loved her, but she didn't feel able to be around her nephews and nieces. She knew that the Lone Gunmen were her friends, but she didn't feel that she had enough in reserve to be able to reach out to them. She had hoped that Mulder felt for her even a part of what she felt for him, but after what she had seen that night at his apartment, it was unlikely.

So Dana sat in the dark, surrounded by ghosts, feeling lonely and unwanted, but somewhere inside her, her soul was crying out to feel loved.


**

Fox Mulder and the Gunmen had been looking for Dana for the last week. There had been no activity on her credit cards; no-one matching her description had boarded any flights or trains; and she hadn't been seen by anyone. It was as if she had fallen off the face of the earth. Mulder was becoming more worried by the hour, and had been leaving messages almost hourly on her voicemail. Then his cell started buzzing, and he answered, "Scully? Where are you?"

"I guess you haven't heard from Dana either, have you Fox?" Wrong Scully.

"No, Maggie. I last saw her about a week ago. I think that her disappearing is my fault."

At Maggie Scully's snort of disbelief, he explained what had happened. Maggie listened to the tale, and asked a few questions, the most important of which was, "Fox, I know you love my daughter. When are you going to do something about it?"

"As soon as I find her, she'll never doubt how I feel about her. The problem is finding her."

He heard voices in the background, then a new voice came down the line. "Mulder, it's Bill. Have you been able to find Dana?"

"No, Bill, I haven't, but it's not through lack of trying," Mulder answered honestly.

Bill thought for a moment, then said, "Well, when you find her, bring her out here, and we can all spend some time getting to know you."

"Bill, I must admit I'm surprised. I thought,"

"That I hated you, right?"

"Well, yes."

"Dana loves you, and is in love with you. Mom tells me that you love her. Is that the truth?"

Mulder swallowed. "Yes, Bill. I love her more than I've ever loved anyone."

"So find her, and bring her here as soon as you can. The women will be glad to have a wedding to plan."

There was silence from the two men who loved Dana best. Then Mulder heard a sound like a hand hitting a forehead. Bill asked Mulder, "Have you checked mom's?"

"Yeah, I've done a drive by. No cars in the driveway. Why, do you think she's there?"

"Yeah, Mulder, I think she's at mom's. Go round the back, and get the spare key from the third flowerpot on the left. I think Dana's looking for a place where she can feel our dad's influence."

Mulder thought about it, then said to Bill, "I'll call when I've found her."

"You do that. Doesn't matter what the time is. Then you bring her out here as soon as you can."

Mulder ended the call, and was off to Baltimore.


**

Dana had been sitting in the dark for quite a while. The tears had been flowing unchecked, and she was talking out loud to herself about her lot in life. The blackness was gathering around her, and she was about to give up when the miracle happened.

"Starbuck? Why are you crying?"

"Daddy?" Dana asked, and as she looked up, she saw her beloved father, dressed much the same as the last time she saw him. "How can this be? Am I dying?"

"No, baby, but your spirit is. I've come to help you. You know, you've had a lot of people praying for you in the last week, more so than usual."

"Mom prays for all of us."

"Not just your mother, but your brothers have been concerned as well. Plus, those three strange friends of yours. You have many people that love you, Dana. You need to hold onto that love when things get tough."

Dana had been nodding as her father spoke, and when he mentioned the Gunmen, she gave a sad chuckle. "It doesn't stop me being alone, though. The man I'm in love with has someone else, and isn't interested in me."

"Starbuck, he most of all loves you. What you saw the other night was Fox wanting a human touch, plus she was trying to seduce him. It didn't work. Just after you left, he threw her out." Dana shook her head in disbelief, and her father continued, "He has been trying to find you since that night." A small seed of hope started to grow in Dana's heart, causing her to start to feel warm for the first time in a week.

"Are you sure about that, daddy?" she asked in a child-like voice.

"Yes, baby, I'm sure. Let him find you, then let him into your heart." William Scully, Dana's beloved Ahab, started to shimmer and fade.

"Daddy, don't go!" as she started to weep again.

"I have to, Starbuck. Remember to let him in," he said as he faded away. Dana shut her eyes and let the tears flow.

"Scully? Dana, are you in here?" called out a voice. Mulder entered the room where she sat on the floor, and moved to take her in his arms. "Oh, Dana, too many tears. Please don't cry," he said as he held her close. At his words, she dissolved completely, and the tears flowed more strongly. This time, though, the tears were not bitter, but rather healing, as she leant into the man that she loved more than life.

After a time, she looked at Mulder's face, and was surprised to see matching tears there. At her raised eyebrow, he simply responded, "Because I let you think for far too long that I didn't love you. And I do love you, more than I can express." She leant back into his warm chest, and listened to the strong heartbeat, all the while letting his warmth seep into her body, almost like he was warming her from the inside out.

"You love me?"

"Yep."

"Why?" Dana needed the reassurance that only he could give her.

"You are everything that I want and need in a woman. You give me more love than anyone ever has. You are beautiful to me."

"And Fowley?"

"Means nothing to me, and is never going to come between us again."

They sat for a while, then he suggested that they go somewhere else: somewhere a little more cheerful. With a watery smile, Dana agreed.


**

An hour later, they were in Mulder's apartment, which he had decorated just for her. Dana noticed that the glass fox had pride of place on the coffee table. She also noticed that the gifts she had left at her apartment for him were under the tiny tree, as were several other packages. He walked to the tree, and brought the gifts over so that they could open them together.

"Seeing as I have a head start, why don't you open this one?" he said with a grin.

Dana smiled at Mulder, and opened the box to reveal a cashmere sweater in different blue tones. She held it up and rubbed the soft knit on her cheek. "Mmm," she said, "I love the feel of cashmere next to my skin."

Mulder leered playfully at her. "I'm going to love the feel of it next your skin, too."

Dana laughed, and stroked Mulder's cheek gently. She passed him the smaller of the two gifts, and asked him to open it.

"This is great! Double passes to each of the Redskins home games for the rest of the season, and on the fifty-yard line, too!" He leant in, and whispered, "You wanna be my football buddy? It'll be fun."

She shivered at his warm breath on her neck, and nodded. "I'd love to accompany you to see grown men push each other around."

Dana's next gift from Mulder was a cashmere scarf that matched the sweater. She handed Mulder her last gift, and looked at him expectantly. He opened the gift to reveal a double picture frame. One side held a Mulder family portrait from long ago, when Mulder was eight, and Samantha was four, and all was right in the Mulder household. The other side held a photograph of the two of them. From the background, Mulder could tell that it was taken at the Gunmen's place. They both looked at peace with each other. It was perfect.

"Dana, I don't know what to say," he started, then couldn't finish.

She looked at the floor for a moment, then back up to his eyes. "I thought it would be good for you to have something that showed your past," she paused and swallowed, "and your future."

Mulder's eyes teared up, and he pulled her into his arms. "My future is with you, Dana," he whispered fiercely, "only with you." He sat back up and wiped his eyes. "Okay," he said in a more normal voice, "last one." He picked up the last gift, and handed it to Dana.

It was not a large gift, but had an unusual shape. As she started unwrapping, two airline tickets fell out. "Open dated tickets to San Diego, Mulder?"

"Bill said that the two of us need to be with family at Christmas. I thought we could leave tomorrow, being Christmas Eve."

Now it was Dana's turn for her eyes to tear up. She smiled at Mulder, and leaned in to give him a kiss on the cheek. Then she turned her attention to the rest of the present.

She opened the box, and gasped.

Inside was a pair of wedding bands and an engagement ring. The card in the box simply read, 'Please?'

She held the box out to Mulder and nodded. He removed the engagement ring, and slid it onto her hand. She whispered, "Yes, Mulder, I will." He leant in to seal the moment with a kiss.

William Scully looked at the scene in Mulder's living room. "Now, that's what I call Christmas magic!" he said to Melissa Scully. Melissa nodded, and the two of them took Emily's hands as they faded out of the room, where happiness had replaced despair, and love proved the greatest magic of them all.



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