Title: Strawberries in Winter
Author: Gina Rain
Category: MSR, A, H
Rating: R (sexual content and a bit of naughty language)
Disclaimer: Mulder and Scully are the original creation of CC and 1013. But, I treat them nicer.
Spoilers: Nothing specific. Very quick mentions of snippets of season 8.
Archiving: As long as it's somewhere safe and warm, I'm happy.
Feedback: GinaRain@aol.com

Summary: Christmas, 2001. Mulder and Scully try to deal with a holiday that has not been historically pleasant for either of them.


Friday, November 23, 2001
Georgetown

Santa was bringing me a nervous breakdown for Christmas. And why the hell not? Mulder got his months ago. It was about time that fat bastard brought mine.

I leaned my head against the cold, germ-laden ladies' room wall. I'd have a lot of explaining to do when I got out of here, that was for sure. I'd have to tell Mulder why I bolted as our daughter's first picture with the jolly old elf himself was being snapped.

Snapped. That was it. I snapped. Just as Mulder had about six weeks after his return. I was seven and a half months pregnant and could see it coming like a runaway train. Mulder was too much "himself" since his reappearance in my life. Wisecracks always flowing forth. . .cool, calm, collected. Full of shit. Only I knew about the screaming sessions in the middle of the night. The cold sweats. The horror of not really knowing where he was for about thirty seconds upon awakening. It was so important for him to remain in perfect control. I couldn't fault him there. It was important to me, as well. Well, I suppose that is the understatement of some century or other.

When he put the old 45 of the 70's song, "Claire," on the turntable for the fourteenth time in a row, I picked up the phone. By the eighteenth round of "Claire. . .the moment I met you, I swear. . ." the doorbell was ringing and I was letting the doctor in. Mulder was rocking back and forth on the floor in front of the old record player surrounded by baby name books, muttering, "I can't even name her, never mind take care of her." Over and over. Like some demented mantra. Dr. Jenkins, a rather hip old psychiatrist with the longest gray ponytail I've ever seen on a man, injected a little tranquilizer into Mulder's arm before Gilbert O'Sullivan's love song to his niece was completely finished.

It was a safe bet we weren't going to be naming our daughter "Claire."

There was no way any of this was being done in a hospital. Hell, I hadn't even been sure I wanted to have the baby in the hospital. Mulder would not be going to another institution after all he had been through. Not this time. Dr. Jenkins came by for many a house call and then Mulder went to him. Daily. I saw improvement--daily. The biggest breakthrough occurred when Mulder announced that he would be sharing the details of what he remembered, through hypnosis and his own memories returning, as soon as the baby was born and we both were okay. His willingness to share was a big step in the right direction.

He kept his promise. And in the interim, he hadn't done badly at all.

"Lizzy is a cute name," he announced one day as he sauntered out of the bathroom after his shower.

"Lizzy. . .Elizabeth. Okay, what does it mean, Mulder?" I hadn't been paying that much attention to baby-names. We had a few weeks to go yet and besides, I had my hands a little full with the love of my life almost losing what was left of his fragile psyche. He had practically memorized volumes of every pre- and postnatal book ever written.

He smiled. A genuine-Mulder smile. Carefree. Really carefree.

"Who the hell knows? Who even cares? She doesn't have to live up to anything except being a kid. I just think it's cute."

I smiled. A genuine Scully smile, I suppose he'd say. What a relief. I walked up to him and grabbed his hand and placed it gently on top of my absolutely huge belly.

"Lizzy is doing cartwheels, Mulder. I think we have a winner. Elizabeth Mulder. Lizzy."

And we were doing well. All of us. Until yesterday. Thanksgiving. Until Mulder wanted to put up the Christmas tree. I told him I wanted a real tree this year, and it would have to wait, or it would be dead long before the holiday arrived. But that wasn't entirely the truth. The truth was that, for some reason, the holiday made me feel ill. Thanks to commercialism, the minute Halloween was over, we were all barraged with reindeer, lights and wreaths. All ready for the eager-beaver early shoppers. And I started feeling strange. This piercing pain deep in my stomach that wasn't the least bit physical hit me whenever I was confronted by a sign of the impending holiday season.

And, here we were on "black" Friday. . .in a mall, of all places, and the minute Mulder saw the most pathetic department store Santa imaginable, he lit up like a Christmas display and got on line. I stood with him, trying to talk him out of it.

"Come on, Mulder. The holiday season began. . .what? Yesterday? And besides. . .that Santa looks like he drinks. He'll drop Lizzy."

"He wouldn't dare. I'll have my gun trained on his head the entire time."

I bet he did, too.

"He's ugly. He'll scare her."

"Lizzy? She doesn't scare easily. Look at her." To her credit, she lived up to that reputation. Must be all the mutant chasing I did while I was pregnant. Not to mention that hike in the Arizona desert, looking for Mulder. Not to mention the bats and the parasites and. . .never mind. I was not mentioning any of those events. This child would be full of "piss and vinegar," as my Granny Scully used to say. In the meantime, she was having as good a time as any nearly ten month old baby could--looking at everything with wonder and trying to stick her daddy's too short hair into her mouth.

And then they were at the front of the line and I couldn't do it. I couldn't watch. Last year, I had promised myself that I would keep Christmas as a time of joy for my baby and while I knew she would never remember this first one, I also knew she'd want to see pictures. . .hear stories of it. And, she'd pick up cues from them. Daddy looking on with that little boy expression--probably truly enjoying the holiday for the first time since he WAS a little boy. And Mommy. . .well, she looked like the sugarplum fairy had been delivering bad fruit.

My eyes welled up with tears and I quietly bolted for the ladies room. Mulder saw me, but there wasn't much he could do, considering Santa had already taken the squirming Lizzy on his lap, and his lovely elves were happily doing their Kodak moment thing.

I washed my face in the sink one more time and went out to face the music. Mulder was on the bench outside, showing Lizzy the picture with Santa. She was trying to convince him it would make a nice snack. He looked up, concern etched on his face.

"Mulder, can you take Lizzy back home? I think I'd like to go somewhere before I join you."

"Sure. Where are you going?"

"Dr. Jenkins' office." That was really all that needed to be said. He looked into my eyes and just nodded his head as we quietly made our way out of the mall.

By the time I came home, Mulder already had the little picture framed and put on the mantle of our working fireplace. It looked nice. Mulder put his hand out and squeezed my shoulder. Talking would come later.

I had signed up for the "works." Well, you don't really sign anything, of course, but that's almost what it felt like. Five days a week of therapy. It's funny. I always looked at therapy as something that would not work for me. But every time I've gone, there has been some serious gut spilling. The shrink usually has to remind me when the time is up, instead of me looking at the clock. Dr. Jenkins was what would commonly be referred to as a "cool" guy. I guess that's what the youngsters use now. Funny, it was what was used in my youth, as well. What goes around. . .comes around. He had already heard the highly unbelievable Fox Mulder abduction tale, now he could hear from the little woman left behind. The man would probably die from terminal boredom after we graduated therapy.

After about a week, I started telling Mulder a bit of what I was feeling. Sharing was a very large part of Mulder's recovery, and it would be just as important to mine. We laid in bed, with the blinds partially drawn. . .street lamps making funny little shadows on our bodies as I used his shoulder as a pillow.

"I just don't know why it's all bothering me now. I have everything I want now. Everything." I played with the dusting of hair on his chest. Everything. My sweet baby girl and this man. I closed my eyes tightly as another searing phantom pain ripped through me. I'm sure Mulder could feel me tensing.

"She won't know the difference, Scully. This year is a freebie."

"That's not the point, Mulder. I just want every Christmas for her to be wonderful. Mommy's being a little freakish, so you can't have a Christmas? No. Absolutely not. It sets a horrible precedence."

"Tell me about it," he softly prompted.

"About what?" I knew full well what. I wasn't sure I had enough therapy to tell him that yet. . .or ever.

"About last Christmas."

I shut my eyes tightly. . .pushing back the memory. I had told him about some of the more horrendous things that had happened during his absence. Frankly, he wanted full explanations of the numerous scars that had appeared on my body since he last saw me. Besides, holding back would be futile. He'd only read the accounts in the files, anyway. But this? How could I tell him my piddling little story when I knew full well what he had been going through during his abduction. Every day. Including holidays.

"It's not like I can't identify. I know how hard it is to be the one left behind." He whispered, "Tell me. I want to know."

He wanted to know. We were supposed to share now. Everything. I looked toward the ceiling and started.

"It's strange. I had these almost picture perfect Christmases when I was a child. Or at least, I remembered them that way. And then later--well, you know. It hasn't always been easy. When the most fun you've had at Christmas was being chased by ghosts in a haunted house. . ." I trailed off. That was pathetic, but oddly true.

"Go on."

"Well, I had no expectations of Christmas last year. No good expectations, anyway. I went off to my mother's house--because that's what was expected. That's what we always did. My family was gathered and they were trying to be. . .I don't know. . .somewhere between uncomfortably cheerful--to buck up my spirits, and genuinely happy. . .because, well. . .they had their kids around them and it was the holidays and it wasn't their lives falling apart. So, after I left. . .and I left pretty early because I just couldn't stand it anymore--I went back to your place. I knew I had to pack up everything by the first week in January. . .and thought I could really get some work done and take my mind off of things at the same time."

"Damn bastard landlord," Mulder interjected. "Probably was praying for my abduction all along."

I smiled a little. He was probably right.

"I ran out of cartons midway and just started making piles of things that would go into the boxes when I replenished my supply. I went to the kitchen to get some rope for the recyclables. . .when I found that pathetic little string of Christmas lights you used the year before. That horrid little Charlie Brown twig you found and put the lights on because you knew I'd be dropping by? I took the lights and just. . .well, made this bizarre X shape on your window. . .that looked more like some demented butterfly than an X. But I plugged it in and stood back to look at it, when I fell over a pile of books on the floor and landed flat on my ass in the middle of the living room. I didn't hurt myself. . .the baby was okay. . .but it was just too much. I started crying my eyes out. I sat there for hours, Mulder. . .fallen books poking my backside, dust all around me. . .staring at that X--willing you back. . .willing for them to stop doing whatever the hell they were doing to you. To us."

He smoothed my hair back, even though it wasn't out of place. He placed a kiss near my ear and held me tighter.

"I don't want to skip Christmas, Mulder. A child needs to believe. Needs to feel the wonder I used to feel. And in spite of everything, there is a part of me that still does believe. I know you may not understand it because you haven't necessarily felt that way, and I'm not sure I completely understand myself. I just know I want her to believe in something greater than herself. I want us to celebrate Hanukah, if you want. . .and Christmas and learn about other religious holidays. I want her to feel the wonder of being so small in the scheme of things, but so great in the eyes of someone even she can't fully comprehend. I want that for her. Starting right at the very beginning. Anything less would be shortchanging Lizzy and that is something I have no intention of doing."

Mulder was silent for a few moments. It wasn't out of pity, and it wasn't out of not having anything to say. It was because he was thinking. God help us all.

"Okay--we can do this and not do this at the same time," he said at last.

"What?"

"You've tried to recapture Christmases of the past. Well, it isn't the past. We have both tried too hard in our lives to relive moments. They are gone. Case closed."

"Ouch."

"I'm not trying to be brutal. Just honest."

"Hence the term, brutally honest."

I could feel him smiling a bit.

"So. . .you want to do this for Lizzy. And so do I. I want her to celebrate life and the more holidays, the better. Hell, I even went to Thanksgiving dinner at your mom's house, so you know I want to make an attempt."

Make an attempt? Mulder was nothing short of perfect during Turkey day. And why not? His confidence level seemed to increase from the moment Lizzy uttered her first whopping yell on the day she was born. His girl had been beside him in her highchair, making a mess out of her Gerber sweet potatoes and Mulder was suddenly able to smilingly ignore Bill's glowering expression and pass him the stuffing.

"So. . .anyway, we did the family Thanksgiving ritual. But we won't do the Christmas thing with them."

"But, Mulder. . ."

"But, Mulder nothing. I would never, ever keep you away from your family at Christmas if it was something that made you happy. And maybe it will some day. Maybe next year, you will wake up and decide you really want us all to be with them. And we will go with bells on. Literally. But this year. . .can you really tell me you want to be part of that atmosphere?"

"No. I don't."

"Fine. So Christmas Eve and Christmas Day belongs to us. And specifically, Lizzy Leave all the details to me."

"What details?"

"Never mind. Let's get some sleep."

I felt him shift underneath me, trying to get into spooning position #11. No way.

I got up and straddled his waist.

"I thought you were tired, Scully."

"I am. And don't get happy." I said, but I was already too late judging by the persistent nudging I was receiving on my backside.

"What details, Mulder?"

I draped my upper body over his and breathed into his mouth.

"You can torture me all you want, woman, you won't get me to spill the beans."

Torture. Not a good word. He could tell that the minute it was out of his mouth and the nudging sort of dwindled down to a "never mind."

He held me close and whispered in my ear. "Trust me. Please. Just trust me."

"I do," I said and closed my eyes tightly against the flood of unwanted thoughts flowing through my mind. Someday it would all feel right again. Someday, we could use innocent words and let them remain innocent. I couldn't wait for that day.

Strawberries in Winter (Part 2 of 2) by Gina Rain

I waited a few days before Christmas before I called my mother with the specific intention of "facing the music." To my surprise, she already knew.

"Fox told me weeks ago, Dana."

Weeks ago? What did he do? Get right out of our bed that night and make the call?

"And you're all right with it, Mom?"

"Yes, dear. The first year being a family is very important. There's a lot of adjustments to be made. So, you just enjoy yourselves and we'll have a little celebration post-Christmas and pre-New Years. Just a quiet little dinner with the four of us. Sound good?"

"Sounds great, Mom. Thanks." The four of us. That did sound nice.

Mulder was amazing. He was even more amazing at night. And I don't mean just in bed. He had this two AM ritual going for a few days before I decided he might not just be sneaking off to the couch to watch ESPN or some other thing that might not interest me. I snuck down the stairs of our townhouse and found him in the kitchen doing what, for all intents and purposes, looked like. . .arts and crafts.

The window was wide open, he was sitting in his boxers and a tee shirt, with newspaper spread all over the table. Cans of gold and silver spray paint were lined up next to pots of glitter of every color imaginable. His beautiful, large hands were delicately holding little plastic rattles and pacifiers and turning them into the tacky works of art that could only be hung with pride on the boughs of a sturdy evergreen. I stood in the doorway, not knowing whether to burst into tears at the sight before me, run and embrace this man, or turn and leave him to his secret. He lifted his head up to me and smiled.

"Lizzy's tree."

"Where did you get all those rattles and pacifiers, Mulder? They don't look like Lizzy's."

"Ninety-nine cent store. They all looked like they needed to be recalled anyway, so I figured I'd save the kids of America and decorate our tree at the same time."

"They look. . .so cute."

"I've put your ornaments in the crawl space, Scully. Your old ones, I mean."

"Good. That's fine."

"I'm getting the tree tomorrow. Okay?"

"Fine, Mulder. "

"Really fine. . .or Dana-fine?"

"Really fine."

"Good."

And it did feel really fine. It felt better than fine. Therapy involved lots of demons coming to the surface; lots of fears to be faced. I still felt a little bit of unease at the thought of the holiday, but not the screaming tamped-down horror of a few weeks before. It had been foolish for me to think that I could go on with my life without bringing the nonstop tension and terror of the events of the last year and a half to the surface.

I came home the next day from running several thousand last-minute errands to find Mulder standing rather proudly at the door. Lizzy was in her bouncer, seemingly sharing in her father's excitement.

There was a small, four foot tree standing atop the end table. Mulder's handiwork was hanging from almost every bough, along with little-girl hair ribbons tied up in bows.

"Mommy's just in time, Lizzy. The first annual official Christmas tree lighting of the Mulder household. " And, of course, he had to punctuate it with the same sort of trumpet sound that blared from the Dr. Suess' cartoon-version of the Grinch every year for as long as I remembered.

He plugged in the tree and I thought we were in imminent danger of a massive power outage. He must have crammed about eight strings of lights on that little tree. But it worked. Lizzy gave it her highest rating of approval. She clapped her hands and excitedly uttered a resounding "Ah. . .goo!"

"We have liftoff," Mulder said. He looked at me with an almost shy smile, holding back till his unspoken questions were answered.

"It's lovely, Mulder."

The shine in my eyes probably rivaled our daughter's and Mulder looked at me with a quiet happiness. What we had now was all that mattered. Let the past go to hell where it belonged.

Lizzy rocked herself to sleep in her excitement and Mulder picked her up.

"Phase Two, Scully."

"What?"

"Now, it's our turn. Get dressed for dancing, babe. . .cause momma and daddy are having a rockin' Christmas of our own to celebrate."

"Mulder. . .we can't. . ."

"Details were left up to me, remember? Don't worry about a thing."

All right. I'm a control freak. I know that. I wasn't quite sure what he planned, or how he planned it. What were going to do with Lizzy? Who we were leaving her with? But he asked for my trust. And he never really had to ask. I did trust him--with my life. With everything.

I dressed in a dark blue dress with a nice "swishy" skirt and a tight bodice. He hadn't seen it before. I was saving it. . .for something. I'm not even sure what. I had bought it even before I got pregnant. It was nice to finally be able to pull it out. And, since we were going out, I took out the lovely sapphire necklace he bought me after I gave birth. "To match your eyes. . .and Lizzy's." I took a little extra care with my makeup and swept my hair up in a quick French twist for good measure. Why the hell not? Not counting the haunted mansion, I had never, ever been out on Christmas Eve before. It had always been family. It was kind of exciting. . .this change. In a nerve-wracking kind of way.

"I'm ready," I said, bursting through the door only to stop dead in my tracks.

The lights were off, except for the Christmas tree and the ten or so golden candles on the table. There were platters of finger foods. . .little tiny sandwiches, shrimp puffs, vegetables with dip, tiny pastries and a huge bowl of strawberries that looked like they had been dipped in lacquer. Perhaps they weren't real. Maybe it was part of Mulder's new arts-and crafts kick.

Mulder was just stepping out of our bedroom wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts that were giving off this. . .glow. I stepped forward and bent toward him to see what the hell that pattern was. Aliens. Glow in the fucking dark aliens on black silk.

"Aliens, Mulder?"

"Hey. . .we are reconditioning ourselves, Scully. Plus, these guys are very friendly."

"I can see that." Some of them were literally straining forward to make my acquaintance.

Mulder let out a wolf whistle.

"Wow. You look great. I guess I should have told you we were staying in, huh?"

I felt relief over that statement flood through me. I guess I was more of a traditionalist than I thought. I liked being home.

"It's all right. Is that it for your wardrobe, Mulder?"

"You want me to put on more? I've got a bow-tie somewhere."

I laughed. God, he was amazing. For a nonbeliever, he threw a mean Christmas celebration.

I wandered over to the table and started snacking. He put on some music in the background. Nothing too riotous, considering momma and daddy were supposed to "rock and roll" all night. But, perhaps that's not the rocking and rolling he had in mind. Well, that was even more reason to fuel up. I picked up a strawberry. It did feel lacquered. Pretty though.

"Are these things edible, Mulder?"

"Of course they are. . .why else would I put them out?"

"I thought they were something you learned to make in your 2 AM arts class."

"They are glazed strawberries, Scully. Tastes good. I sampled everything as I unpacked the caterers' boxes earlier."

"So. . .you mean to tell me this is not all home cooked?" I feigned shock.

"Please. . .would I do that to the mother of my child?"

I bit into the strawberry. It was edible. Nice little tiny crunch of sugar glaze and the ripe fruit within. Visions of sugarplums. . .I smiled to myself again. Mulder came up behind me and leaned over to get a strawberry for himself.

"Open," he said, poising the fruit by my lips.

I opened my mouth and took a bite, and he polished off the rest. . .or so I thought. He quickly turned me around and leaned down to kiss me. Strawberries in winter. Shared strawberries in winter. That's what he brought me. Little bits of magic when least expected. He pulled away just a bit, but his breath was still close enough to dance across my face as he spoke.

"So. . .this is our first real Christmas with absolutely nothing but us to worry about, Scully. You like?"

"I like very much."

"I'm glad."

He brushed his nose against mine. It tickled just a bit--in the nicest possible way.

"Open," he said.

"Where's the strawberry?"

"Occasionally, I like my kisses straight." I parted my lips and he bent even closer. . .brushing his bottom lip across my top one slowly and softly. Then, he moved a bit to do the same with his top lip and my lower one. Finally, he moved his head to the side and kissed me fully on the mouth, delicately moving his tongue between my teeth and stroking it slowly against mine. His hands rested politely against the waistline of my dress. I was amazed at how little movement there was in his body. His entire being seemed concentrated on expressing himself through what he was doing with his mouth. His warm, loving mouth. My hands were not content to just rest on his shoulders and I was beginning to move them up to his hair and drag his face down closer to mine when Mulder pulled away and our lips disengaged with a definitive smacking sound.

"What?" I said, sort of in a fog.

"Our song. . ." He spun me into the middle of our living room and pushed my body up close to his. . .cheek to cheek, one hand on each other's waists, the others clutched together and pointing straight out.

"Mulder. . .I don't tango."

"That's okay. I do. And I lead very well."

No argument there. Since he's been back, we've been dancing every once in a while. And in every session, Mulder has invented another "our song." This one was a doozy. "Hernando's Hideaway." Ole, indeed. He was dragging me across the floor and I was hanging on for dear life but he did know how to lead, and I definitely knew how to follow. Well, in dancing anyway. After a short while, I was able to follow the pattern of the dance and held my body next to his as we moved across the living room floor. He was getting remarkably moist considering his relative lack of clothing and I could feel the heat coming off his body and seeping through mine. His exaggerated movements put me in close contact with his arousal during most of the dance. This song was definitely going onto the list of top five candidates for the real "our song." At the final step, we collapsed on the couch in a heap.

"And you said you can't tango," he told me, eyes shining.

"I can't."

"Well, you gave me an excellent workout, so I think you've been misinformed."

"Mulder," I said, stroking his hair as he lay half on top of me, panting from our little exertions.

"Hmmm?"

"You wouldn't think I was regressing at all--therapy wise--if I made you lose the glowing aliens?"

"I think, as in any classical conditioning. . .you must have gradual exposure. So, I think we may have met the quota for the day. Although, actually, I did want to drag you in Lizzy's room for a minute. I dressed her in this little red sleeper with one of those nightcap things. You know, like you see in the baby magazines."

"Mulder. . .we have to keep you out of bookstores. She's sleeping now. I'll make you put on your pants and we'll take a look later." I slipped my hand into the waistband of his boxers and yanked down, exposing the right side of his behind. I ran my hand up and down the firm and well-toned surface, then gave a little squeeze. That particular "move" always works very quickly and efficiently. He lifted himself up a bit as I clumsily kicked off my shoes and wriggled out of my panty hose and underwear. It would have been easier if he had told me we were staying home, but not nearly as much fun. Mulder used my brief time out to fling the glowing aliens somewhere in the vicinity of the lacquered fruit. After pushing up a few layers of thinly netted petticoat, he quickly entered me. We were both smiling and panting a little from our clothing removal exertions when Mulder and I stopped moving at the same time. I tightened my arms and legs around him in an even stronger embrace and never lost sight of his eyes staring into mine. Behind him, in the distance, was our tree, spilling multicolored lights on his naked back. Even further, behind our bedroom door was our baby. . .about to experience her first Christmas ever.

I leaned up slightly and placed my lips on his. He began to move again. . . slowly, slowly and I met him in an equally slow pace. With each stroke I felt more and more. . .in the moment. Right here, right now. The past and pain were off somewhere else. Right now, I had the man I loved more than anything deep inside my body, moving with me as I moved around him and we were part of a family. One we created together. Nothing could feel so safe, so secure and ultimately, so sexy. The exquisite torture of our slow-motion love making was fading as I began to tune into the sounds of my gasps and his moans. . .his quicker, jerkier movements and the sounds of my swishy skirt being pushed up even higher to achieve a better angle. He groaned out words that were completely indistinguishable as any kind of human language, but which I understood immediately and echoed a few seconds later when my release shattered the lights coming from the tree into a million fragmented, kaleidoscopic colors.

We lay there sweating and panting, thinking and not thinking--feeling everything, yet in a completely carefree manner.

"Scully," Mulder murmured in his sex-stoned voice.

"Yes?"

"I got this book on Christmas traditions. . .and there is this Polish tradition that everyone holds a sort of vigil and the Christmas celebration doesn't truly begin until the first star is seen in the sky. You want to make our way over to the window and see if we can find it?"

"It's there, Mulder. Trust me." I wasn't moving anywhere. I was busy with some arts and crafts of my own. . .sucking on his neck to decorate his body a bit for this festive occasion.

"Okay. Then--we can begin celebrating?"

I giggled into his shoulder. What can I do with this agnostic who has pumped new life into a holiday that was not only stale, but terrifying? Who dresses our baby in the perfect Christmas-bunny outfit, without me ever having to ask, beg or cajole? Who fought like hell to regain what was once his and helps me in my struggle to do the same? What do I do with the man who helped me find hope again and actually makes me giggle?

There's really only one option open to me. The only one that has ever been open to me.

I love him.

In the end, that's really the only thing to do.
The End
and a Merry Christmas to all.

End Notes:

As always, a very special thank you to my beta, Christina, for all her help and encouragement.
This is in response to the X-files Quill and Scroll Society's fan fiction challenge.
Elements were:
String of Christmas Lights
A slow, sexy tango to the tune of "Hernando's Hideaway" with Mulder wearing nothing but black satin boxers with glow-in-the-dark aliens all over them
Mulder and/or Scully in formal dress
A Sapphire Necklace
A bowl of fresh strawberries
A huge stack of books about to fall over

This story is dedicated to my father. . . for leaving me a legacy of magical Christmas memories.




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