Keeping Up the Spirit  (PG-13)

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He looked around the house restlessly.  What was wrong with him?  He should be happy, at least content.  It was pretty obvious no one was actively looking for them, Scully had a job, a real job that she loved.  Yeah, he was still stuck in the basement, or at least in the back room of the house, but that was okay.


It was okay.  He could do research, necessary research.


It would be nice to take a run, but the caution of the last several years kept him from it.  He was just bored, right?  He wasn't jealous of Scully.  Well, maybe a little but not jealous


Maybe it was just the time of year.  The holidays were depressing for everyone, right?  And it wasn't like he could go buy her something spectacular.  On one hand he didn't really go out in public and on the other, he had no money to buy her anything.  Yeah, that was depressing.


The money was there, he just couldn't get to it.  What would he buy Scully anyway?  A watch, a sweater, a new car?  Some lingerie?  Okay, that might be fun for everyone.


He sighed, this wasn't a good time of year for them.  They had just passed the anniversary of Samantha's abduction, and were headed forward the anniversary of her father and Emily's deaths.  Shit, could he bring himself down or not?


But she was down too. She hadn't said anything, but she was feeling depressed.  The hospital wasn't everything she'd dreamed of and there was one of the priests that seemed to be down on her all the time.  What was his name, yeah, Ybarra.  What the hell kind of name was that anyway?


There had been some successes, she was the best doctor he knew, but because of that she felt things more deeply.  She was trying to save children.  That had to bring Emily to her mind, not to mention William.  But he didn't mention William, they never did.


There was one good anniversary coming up; they would be in the house a year in January - the longest they had stayed anywhere.  That led to the inevitable memory of the mirade of jobs they had suffered through - Scully waiting tables at a diner while he worked at the convenience store next door.  His work at the post office during holiday season.  Hell they'd done a little bit of everything to get by and stay under the radar.


They hadn't been able to celebrate Christmas, not with any 'style' since they had run.  He had insisted that she attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve every year no matter where they were.  He didn't attend with her, she did need some time alone and he hadn't mentioned the panic he had felt when she had disappeared into the darkness the first Christmas Eve or the relief when she returned a mere hour and a half later.


He wanted to do something for her, but what?


Well he could get her a tree, he wouldn't have to go anywhere for that. There were trees here on the property.  He could cut one down and bring it in.  Decorations?  He'd think of something.


He headed out to the shed to get the axe.  He needed to get going if he was going to have it up before she got home. 


There were boxes out here left by previous owners and he pulled down the one marked X-mas.  Hot damn, a tree stand.  It wasn't new and he'd have to test it to make sure it didn't leak, but a lot better than he expected.  There were a few old ornaments, dirty and most broken, but he'd look through the box more carefully later.


It didn't take him long to find the tree he wanted.  He must have noticed it before without realizing he was planning this.  It was several steps up from Charlie Brown at least.  He dragged it to the house and leaned it against the back wall while he went back for the stand.


It did hold water, so he took it inside and moved the chair to make room.  He took one of the most worn towels and put it under the stand, then brought the tree inside and settled it.  He turned it so that the best side was facing the door and stood back to survey it.  Not bad, now decorations . . .


Popcorn, he could string some popcorn and there were some red berries, holly or something on that bush on the west side of the house.  What else?


Hadn't Samantha made these little paper circles streamers and hung them on the tree.  He didn't have any construction paper but he could use the comics from the paper and those color inserts.  He chuckled to himself and headed for the kitchen to pop the corn.


While the popcorn was cooling he got the berries and then searched up a needle and thread.  It was fun in a weird sort of way.  He'd never done anything like this, but it was for Scully.  He cut strips from the color paper and glued the little circles to each other.  While that was drying, he fixed a casserole for dinner.  You know, he could make someone a pretty good wife if he kept this up.


He heard the car pull up and looked the tree over one more time.  Well, it wasn't Tiffany but he'd done a pretty good job considering what he had to work with.  He just hoped she'd like it, and understand . . .


Instead of retreating to his room to await her, he moved to the corner behind the door.  It was her reaction he wanted to see.


The door opened and she stepped inside pulling her scarf off but she stopped dead still at the sight of the tree across the room.  He saw her head swivel towards his office, but the door was open and the lights out.  He stepped forward and whispered in her ear.  "What's up, Doc?"


She jumped and whirled toward him.  "Jesus, Mulder!" But she was smiling.  "You did all this?"


"Yes, ma'am."


She approached the tree, touching one of the small icicle-looking decorations.  He'd taken a pen oak leaf and wrapped it in tin foil.




"It's perfect, it's beautiful.  Mulder - "


"There aren't any packages under there."


"I don't need any packages.  This is the best tree I've ever had."  He saw that her eyes were shining and his smile grew.


"I thought maybe Christmas morning I could tie a ribbon around me and you could unwrap me."  He noted her eyes traveling down his body.  "Then I could unwrap you and . . . "


"Always thinking of extreme possibilities, uh, Mulder?"  Her eyebrow was rising.  He nodded quickly and she burst out laughing.  She rapidly pulled off her glove and cupped his bearded cheek.  "I love you so much."


She saw his face go still and felt his eyes burrow into hers.  Even after all this time it seemed to surprise him when she said something like that.  She rose up on tiptoes and kissed his lips.  His arms were around her then holding her close.


"I love you, Scully," he whispered in her hair.


"Merry Christmas."






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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.