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Title: It Was the Rock Tumbler, Wasnít It?

Rating: very mild PG

Category: MSR, S, H

Spoilers: "Christmas Carol/Emily"

Summary: A shopping mall Santa gets attacked, and Mulder and Scully are called in to investigate.

Disclaimer: Sue me. PLEASE. Iím bored.

 

 

FBI Headquarters

Monday, December 13

9:45 am

 

"Nice lights, Mulder." Scully stood in the doorway of their basement office, a small smile on her face.

Mulder had hung Christmas lights around the office. But not ordinary Christmas lights; blinking green alien heads mingled with Elvis heads to create a look Scully could only think of as ĎEarly Eclectic Mulderí. What was even worse was that the lights were blinking in synch with a synthesized version of ĎBlue Christmasí.

"Glad you like it," he replied with a grin.

She came in and set her briefcase down on her desk, which, she noticed, had a small alien Santa figurine on it. "I never really thought of you as the holiday type, Mulder," she said, sitting down and picking up the figurine. "What brought on this burst of holiday cheer?"

"The lights were a gift from the Gunmen. And Frohike said to give you this." He rummaged around behind his desk for several moments, finally tossing her a small, nicely wrapped box.

She eyed it warliy. "What is it?"

"If I told you, that would ruin the surprise." She shot him a look, and he chuckled. "Honestly, I donít know."

She untied the red bow and carefully began to open the pretty gold paper. When she saw the name of the store on top of the box, she looked up. "If this is edible underwear, I am marching right over there and kicking his ass."

"No, Frohike has more class than that." Under his breath, he added, "I hope."

She opened the box and for a brief moment, he thought Scully was going to start taking names and kicking asses. But then she chuckled, and he knew it was okay. "What is it?"

Scully held up a pair of red satin panties with a sprig of mistletoe attached to the waistband.

"Tasteful."

"I certainly think so." Smiling, she put them back in the box. "Tell him I say thank you, and that his chances of ever seeing these modeled are slim to nil."

"What about my chances?" Mulder gave her a coy look as he chewed on a pencil.

"On a scale of one to ten?"

"Yeah."

"I dunno, Mulder. We talking real numbers, integers, what?"

He rolled his eyes. "Math geek."

"Smartass."

The phone on Mulderís desk rang, and after a brief conversation with who Scully could only guess was AD Skinner, he hung up and grabbed his suit jacket. "Time to rock and roll, Scully."

"Where are we going?"

"Montgomery Mall."

"Mulder, aliens are not working at the Cinnabon.....at least not extraterrestrial aliens."

He chuckled as he guided her out the door, his hand on the small of her back. "No, Scully. Itís not aliens this time."

"Then what is it?"

"Youíll see."

 

Montgomery Mall

11:15 am

The mall was crowded for a Monday morning. People pushed and shoved past each other, hands full of bags, many with crying children in strollers.

"You mind telling me why weíre here, Mulder?" Scully asked as they exited the Nordstromís and walked into the main part of the mall.

"At approximately 10:13 this morning, three young men approached the mall Santa Claus outside of the food court and demanded that he give them all of his money. Of course, he didnít have any on him, so they beat him up some and left him, after stealing his watch."

Scully stopped dead in her tracks. "Three kids beat up a mall Santa. Mulder, why are we here?"

He turned and smiled at her. "Do you believe in Santa Claus, Scully?"

"Not since I asked for Barbieís Dream House and got a rock tumbler."

"Well, you can ask him yourself what the deal with that was."

She paused for a moment, then finally asked, almost incredulously, "Are you telling me the mall Santa thinks he really is Santa?"

"Give the little red-headed girl a candy cane," he said, handing her a small candy cane and giving her arm a tug to get her walking.

She unwrapped the candy cane and popped the curved end in her mouth. "Mulder.....this is not an X-File."

"Last time I checked, Santa fell under the Ďunexplainedí category."

"Yeah, heís in there with leprechauns and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy."

He sighed. "Were you always this big a skeptic, Scully?"

"No. It all started the year I got the rock tumbler. It was all downhill after that."

They entered the mall security office, where they were led to a small room where an older man sat with an icepack on his nose.

"Mr. Kringle?" Mulder said, sitting down.

"Yes, thatís me." The man removed the ice from his nose and smiled at the agents. "What can I do for you?"

Scully took a good look at the man in front of her. She guessed his age to be mid-sixties somewhere, as his hair and beard were all snow white. He was a short, rotund man, with dancing eyes and rosy cheeks.......mentally, she slapped herself and stepped forward. "Sir, Iím Agent Scully-"

The man gave her a look. "I think I know who you are, young lady."

Scully paused for a moment, then continued. "Weíd like to ask you some questions about your attack today, sir."

"Call me Kris."

Mulder grinned, obviously enjoying this. "Mr. Kringle......what exactly happened this morning?"

"I had just gotten out of the car and was walking towards the food court entrance to the mall, when all of a sudden these three young men stopped me and demanded my money." He shook his head sadly. "And to think that little Joey Whittaker used to be such a good boy. Anyway, I told them I had no money-I even opened my wallet for them-and they started kicking and hitting me. They stole my watch and ran off. And all I got was a bloody nose."

"Did you experience any head trauma, aside from the punch that bloodied your nose?" Scully was taking copious notes in her little notebook. "I would like to check for additional trauma, if I may."

"Go ahead, Dana, I trust you." The man smiled at her. "But the one punch to the nose was all I got. It was really all they needed.....Iím getting older, not as strong as I used to be."

"You said you knew who your assailants were," Mulder said. "Could you give us their names?"

"Well, I donít want to press charges," the man said. "I just want my watch back."

"If you give us their names, weíll do our best to get it back to you," Scully reassured him.

After a moment, the man offered up the names of his three assailants.

Scully began an examination of the manís head while Mulder filled out some paperwork.

"Name?"

"Fox, you always have been a bit obtuse," the man chortled. "You know my name."

Mulder smiled. "Yes, but for the record, I need you to state it for me."

"Kris Kringle."

"Mr. Kringle, I really hate to do this," Mulder said, "but do you by any chance have some form of identification?"

"Yes....thank God those hoodlums didnít take my wallet-but then, I donít have but a driverís license." He handed Mulder a card.

"You live on Bradley Boulevard in Bethesda, Mr. Kringle?" Mulder asked. "What happened to the North Pole?"

"Too cold, made my arthritis act up," he said, wincing slightly as Scully found a tender spot on his head. "Junior lives there now, oversees the elves and the toy production......although now with all this online shopping, the elves donít have much to do except point and click." He chuckled again.

"Mr.......Kringle," Scully said, "Iíd like you to go into the hospital for some tests. Nothing big, just come CAT scans to make sure that youíre really okay."

The old man turned to her and said, "Well, what should I expect from my biggest skeptic? Sure, Dana, thatís fine."

That was the second time he had used her first name......and come to think of it, he had called Mulder by his first name as well. She looked at him quizzically. "How......how do you know my name?"

He laughed a big belly laugh. "Because..........Iím Santa Claus."

 

 

 

FBI Headquarters

1:47pm

 

Mulder was sitting at his desk, idly flipping through some old case files. Across the room, Scully was filling out expense reports at her desk, humming along absently to the synthesized ĎBlue Christmasí that the lights played.

Something skidded across her desk. Looking up, she shot Mulder a look and then went back to her paperwork. The second time it happened, she ignored it. But the third time the projectile-a paperclip-hit her squarely in the nose, and she looked up again.

"Did you want something, Mulder?"

"What was the best Christmas you had?" he asked, looking over at her.

"Hmm, thatís a tough one. Give me a minute." She began chewing on her pen. "Iíd have to say the year I got my first bike. Why?"

"Just curious."

"What about you?"

He grinned. "That would have to be the year I got season tickets to the Red Sox. I was eight. My dad took me to every home game that season. What was your worst Christmas? The rock tumbler?"

"No, that only pales in comparison with the Christmas I asked for a puppy."

"No puppy?"

"Not only did I not get the puppy, I had also asked for a camera. Missy got the camera and a kitten, and all I got was braces, a set of encyclopedias, and flute lessons."

"You play the flute?"

"No, Mulder, I donít. In case you havenít noticed, Iím not what you would call musically gifted." She smiled wryly. "What I had really wanted was ice skating lessons. But Mom thought I should try to learn an instrument......more useful, she said. After about six months worth of lessons, I gave up."

Mulderís mouth dropped in a look of mock astonishment. "Dana Scully gave up on something? Will wonders never cease?"

"Mulder, shut up!" Her words were harsh, but she laughed good-naturedly.

"Let me tell you about a bad Christmas," he said. "Iím eleven years old. All year Iíve wanted this bike-a red Schwinn ten-speed. My parents promised me if I was good, if I did all my chores, if I didnít pick on Sam, I would get this bike. So, I do what they ask. Iím nice to my sister, I do all my chores, I do all my homework. I am sure that bike is mine."

"What happened?"

"Christmas morning I wake up and I just know that bike is under the tree. I run downstairs to the den, and there, under the tree, is a bike."

"How is this bad?"

"Would you let me finish?" He gave her a look. "Sure, it was a bike, Scully, but not the one I wanted. It was an old bike......not even a three-speed. It was one of those ones with the banana seat.....the kind the geeky kids used to ride. I was heartbroken. Utterly devastated. I felt so gypped." He laughed, remembering. "I turned to my dad and said, ĎWhereís my bike?í He said, ĎYouíre looking at it.í I remember pausing, and then saying to him, ĎYou mean to tell me I did all of that for a girl bike??í" He smiled over at her. "Needless to say, not only did I not get the bike, I spent the better part of the day in my room."

"At least I had the good sense not to complain."

The phone rang before Mulder could reply. After a brief conversation, he hung up. "That was the police. They found the watch. Iím going to go return it. Want to come?"

Scully smiled as she got up. "I always wondered what Santaís house looked like."

 

 

Kringle Residence

Bethesda, MD

2:41 pm

 

"Somehow, this is not what I had imagined."

They sat in the front seat of the Taurus, staring at the house. It was just a plain, ordinary single-family home, with a nice driveway and a porch swing. There werenít even that many holiday decorations-a wreath on the door, icicle lights hanging from the porch.

"Kinda disappointing, huh?" Mulder said to her. "Somehow I was expecting gingerbread trim and reindeer crap in the front yard." He opened his door. "Come on, Scully. Letís get a look inside."

Mulder knocked on the door, and a moment later Mr. Kringle opened it, dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt. Mulder must have looked shocked, because he said, "What, you think I dress in red velvet every day, Fox? That would be a heck of a dry cleaning bill." He chortled at his own joke. "Come on in."

"We found your watch," Scully said, handing it back to him. "It seems to be working just fine."

The manís face lit up. "Oh, thank you! I know this attachment to a watch may seem silly.......but it was an anniversary gift from the missus."

"Where is the missus?" Mulder asked, looking around curiously.

"She died back in August."

"Oh. Iím sorry."

"Me, too." He snapped the watch into place on his wrist and smiled at the agents. "Well, come on in, have a seat." He led them to a comfortable living room. "Can I get you anything?"

"No, thank you," Scully said.

Mulder looked around. "That a picture of your son?" he asked, gesturing to a picture on a side table.

"Oh yes, thatís Junior. Only 37 and already has white hair." The portly man smiled. "The curse of the Kringles."

Mulder couldnít help but grin. "He have any children?"

"Yes.....a son and a daughter." Kringle took his wallet out. "Thatís little Christopher, heís 9, and little Natalie, sheís 6."

Scully took the wallet from him and smiled at the children in the photos. They were undeniably cute, with big chubby cheeks and button noses. "Theyíre cute."

"Smart, too."

Mulder cell phone rang, and he slipped out of the room to answer it.

Scully handed him back his wallet, and as he took it, he said, "You donít believe me."

"About what?"

He gave her a look. "You know what I mean, Dana."

She sighed. "Look......I donít mean any disrespect, but the idea of a man who has flying reindeer and flies around the world in one night to deliver presents to every boy and girl is a little hard to swallow."

"It was the rock tumbler, wasnít it?"

"Not just that-" she paused. "How did you know?"

"Itís my job."

"Why did I get that rock tumbler, anyway?" She gave him a challenging look.

"If I recall correctly, that was the year you let all the air out of Billís bike tires and called your sister ĎMousy Missyí for six months straight."

"And that was enough to deny me Barbieís Dream House?" She laughed. "So much for benevolence."

He leaned forward. "Think about what happened that year."

"We moved to Norfolk from Boston. Charlie lost his first tooth. Bill started high school."

"Missyís best friend was hit by a car."

Scullyís eyes widened. "I had forgotten that."

"You see, Dana," Kringle said softly, "itís not just about whether youíve been naughty or nice. Itís about what kind of year youíve had."

"So kids whoíve had a horrible year make out better than those who did okay?" Scully was a little ticked. "So just because my best friend didnít die, I got crap for Christmas."

"No. Missy just needed that Dream House a little bit more."

Suddenly, she understood and she felt ashamed. "Oh." After a pause, she said, "Can I ask a question?"

"Go ahead."

"If you can grant any wish.........why canít you bring Mulder his sister?"

"Ah, Dana, always too smart for your own good." He laughed sadly. "I grant wishes, Dana. Miracles are someone elseís department."

"You mean you canít....."

Kringle shook his head. "No. If I could, donít you think I would have? Donít you think I would have let Emily live?" He sighed. "Dana......I know this is hard to hear. But you must believe me." He gave her a small smile. "How about telling me what you want for Christmas?"

Scully smiled and took out her little notebook and a pen. She scribbled furiously for a moment, then handed the pad to him.

He laughed heartily and replied, "You know, I think I can arrange that."

Mulder reappeared, looking apologetic. "Sorry about that. You ready to go, Scully?"

Closing her notebook, she smiled. "Yeah, I think I am."

 

 

Thursday, December 23

7:42 am

 

Scully was just finishing her coffee when her phone rang. With a sigh, she picked up the cordless phone and answered it. "Hello?"

"Did I wake you?" Mulderís voice was eager, like a kidís.

"No."

"Good. You have plans for tonight?"

"I am having tea with the Queen at six, but after that, Iím all yours."

He laughed. "Bring warm clothes."

"Why? Mulder, whatís going on?"

"Youíll find out. Bring a heavy coat, too." And with that, he hung up.

Scully shook her head and opened her briefcase, making sure Mulderís gift was inside. Then, she packed a gym bag with a sweater and jeans, and grabbed her parka on her way out the door.

 

 

5:15 pm

"Go change, Scully."

She looked up from her paperwork. "Why?"

"Always so full of questions." He gave her a look. "So that I can give you your gift and we can leave."

With a smile, she stood up. "Okay. Fine. But if this is a trip to the Antarctic, Mulder, youíre on your own."When she returned 15 minutes later, Mulder was already changed and holding two boxes. She eyed them skeptically. "There had better not be anything lascivious in those boxes."

"Who, me?" Mulder feigned shock.

"Give me that," she said with a smile, taking the smaller of the two boxes. With care, she tore the wrapping paper off and pulled out a long cashmere stocking cap in a delicate blue. "Mulder.........?" At a loss for words, she just held it up.

He grinned as he took it from her and put it on her head, pulling it down so that only a small fringe of red hair was visible from underneath it. The end of the hat hung down past the middle of her back, and she could feel it every time she moved. "I feel ridiculous."

"You look awfully cute, though." He handed her the bigger box. "Open this one."

She opened it warily. "Ice skates?"

"Yeah......You mentioned you had once wanted ice skating lessons......" He looked at her hopefully. "I thought we could go ice skating tonight."

Scully was touched. "So you do listen when I talk to you."

"I try not to make a habit of it." He grinned and helped her on with her parka. "Come on, letís go."

 

 

Ice Rink on the National Mall

6:00 pm

A light snow was falling, sticking to the ground and covering the Nationís Capital like a blanket. Even though the city was abuzz with rush hour traffic, there was a stillness in the city that gave it a peaceful feel.

Scully sat on a bench in the waiting area of the rink, while Mulder laced her skates up for her. "Mulder, thatís too tight," she said. "Iím beginning to lose circulation."

"Then itís just tight enough." He stood up and offered her his hand. "You ready?"

She wobbled as she stood, grabbing his arm to steady herself. "Mulder, maybe this wasnít such a good idea."

"Why not?" Slowly, he led her to the ice.

She took a tentative step onto the ice and her feet immediately slid out from under her. Mulder grabbed her. "Thatís why."

Scully managed to get her feet under her, and with Mulderís help, managed to stay upright. "Find your center of gravity, Scully," he said, moving in front of her without his arms ever leaving her. His hands found hers, and he held them tightly. "You ready?"

She nodded.

Slowly, Mulder began to skate backwards, pulling Scully forward. She wobbled a bit at first, unsure on her skates.

"Relax, Scully. I wonít let you fall."

Scully looked doubtfully at the kids whizzing past her like lightning. "This was a bad idea."

He chuckled. "Would you relax, please? Youíre doing fine." After a few trips around the rink, Mulder stopped them. "You okay? Ready to actually skate?"

After a deep breath, she replied, "Yeah. Iíll give it a go."

With Mulder still holding her hands, she began to skate forward, slowly at first, but picking up momentum as she became more confident."Watch out Nadia Comanece," Mulder quipped. "Here comes Dana Scully."

"Whereíd you learn to skate?" she asked, trying valiantly to not watch her feet. Instead, she focused on Mulder, keeping her eyes on his face.

"There was this pond near our house," Mulder said. "Sam and I always used to go skating there in the winter. She could skate better than anyone......she just had this gift for it. I remember-she had this cute hat, the kind with the flaps over the ears, and sheíd zoom along with her hair flying out behind her."A young boy in a Capitals jersey flew past them, and startled, Scully wobbled. Mulder grabbed her by the arm. "Whoa! You okay?"

"Yeah, just a bit startled."

He gave her a look. "You ready to do it on your own?" She looked frightened, and he smiled. "Iíll be right behind you. I wonít let you fall." He placed his hands on her waist. "Just go. Iím right behind you."

She started slowly, but Mulderís hands on her waist made her feel secure, and she gained confidence. Pretty soon she was all but zooming around the rink, and she didnít even notice when Mulder let go.

"Mulder........Iím doing it!"

"I can see that." She could hear the smile in his voice. "Youíre also doing it alone." He skated up beside her. "And you thought you couldnít do this."

She smiled. "I never said that."

Mulder laughed. "No, but you thought it."

"Did not."

"Did too." He reached over and yanked on the end of her hat. "You canít lie to me, Scully. I know you like a book."

"Do you?" She quirked an eyebrow at him, smiling.

"Yeah."

They skated along in silence, and suddenly, Scully reached out and shoved him hard. Shocked, his skates flew out from under him and flailing madly, he fell to the ice. "Bet you didnít see that one coming."

Mulder just sat on the ice, looking hurt.

"You big baby." Her words were harsh, but her voice was soft. "You provoked me."

"How about helping a guy up?"

She took his outstretched hands, and realized too late that this was a trick. With one quick pull, she toppled over, landing squarely on top of him. "Mulder! You jerk!" she laughed.

He laughed. "Payback is a bitch."

Sitting up as much as she could, she gave him a look. "Meanie."

"Takes one to know one." He reached up and brushed a snowflake from her nose.

Suddenly, Scully was hyper-aware of her surroundings. The snow looked whiter, the music was louder, the kids skating around them were faster. And Mulder was much too close for her to be comfortable. He was so close she could feel his breath on her face. Blushing, she struggled to her feet. "You plan on sitting all night, or are you gonna skate?"

He stood. "I think youíre right, Scully.......Iím too old for this."

"Are you hurt?"

"Nah. Just old." He gave her a grin. "Really, Iím just fine. But I think itís time olí Spooky Mulder went home."

Before she could stop herself, she heard herself blurting out, "Why donít you come over to my place?"

Mulder looked surprised, then pleased. "You sure?"

"Yeah. I think ĎA Christmas Storyí is on tonight." She smiled up at him. "Weíll make hot chocolate and eat those sugar cookies my mom dropped off the other night."

"Now youíre talking." He looked over at her with a smile. "Race you to the waiting area."

 

 

Scullyís Apartment

Georgetown

7:37 pm

"What the hell..........."

"Nice decor, Scully." Mulder gave her a slight push into her apartment, his hand on the small of her back.

Scully stood in her living room and looked around in amazement. Her apartment-which had been undecorated save a small tabletop tree-was now decorated. A tall tree stood in one corner, blinking with white lights and decorated with blue and silver ornaments. White lights hung from the ceiling, draped like a garland, and two stockings were hung from the fireplace. A pine garland trimmed the fireplace mantle, and a small wreath hung above it. "I.....I didnít do this, Mulder." She turned and gave him a look.

"Hey, donít look at me. I was with you all day."

"The Gunmen?"

"Not even theyíre this good, Scully." Mulder threw his coat on the couch. "Although the Barbie Dream House is a nice touch."

"What?"

"Look under the tree."

For the first time, Scully saw that under the tree was a fully-assembled Barbie Dream House. "Oh my........." She went over to the tree and kneeled down, running her hands over it.

"Hey Scully? I think you missed something behind the tree here."

Scully looked up to see Mulder carrying a Jack Russell terrier puppy, squirming in his arms. "This canít be for real......" she said disbelievingly, taking the dog from him. "This has to be some sort of weird dream."

"Scully, this dog just peed on my hand. Trust me, this is no dream."

Laughing, she smiled down at the squirming dog in her lap, and was rewarded by a lick on the face. "What are we gonna call you?" she asked him.

"Tinkles?" Mulder suggested.

Scully shot him a look.

"Let me guess, you want some literary name......." he sighed. "Cochise? Maybe Queequeg II?"

"Maybe we should find out if itís a male or a female first," she suggested.

"Youíre the doctor, Iím gonna leave that up to you."

Scully laughed. "Itís a he. He doesnít look like a Cochise to me, though." She held the dog up at eye level. "Heís not a Fido or a Spot, either."

"How does a dog look like a Fido or a Spot? Or a Cochise for that matter?" He sat down next to her. "A dog looks like what you name it."

"Suppose I want to call him Mulder?" she asked him with a smile.

"I donít know if Iím flattered or offended."

She sighed. "I donít know, Mulder. What would you name him?"

"Donít ask me that, Scully. Heíll end up with a name like Frohike."

She looked at the puppy once more. "Heís not a Frohike."

"So judgmental." Mulder laughed. "How about Elvis?"

"I refuse to name my dog after a man who died on the toilet. Iíd rather name him after a Star Trek character," she said disdainfully.

"Bones."

Despite herself, Scully laughed. "After Dr. McCoy?"

"Youíre a doctor, heís a doctor......makes sense." Mulder grinned.

"Yeah, it does." She held the dog up again. "How do you feel about Bones?"

The dog yipped in response, and Mulder laughed. "Sounds like a yes to me."

"Bones it is, then."

"Where are those cookies you promised me?" Mulder asked, getting up.

"In the cookie jar on the counter," she replied, getting up and sitting down on the couch, Bones still in her lap. She turned on the television and flipped channels until she found the movie. "Movieís starting."

Mulder sat down next to her, the cookie jar nestled in the crook of his arm. "Your mom is the best," he said, his mouth full. "You tell her anytime she wants to cook for me, she is more than welcome."

"You gonna hog all the cookies?" she asked with a smile.

He reached into the jar and pulled out a bell-shaped cookie, putting it in her mouth. "There. That should shut you up for awhile."

 

 

 

11:15 pm

Several hours and a jar full of Mrs. Scullyís sugar cookies later, the movie was over. Scully was leaning lightly against Mulder, his arm wrapped loosely around her. In her lap, Bones snored softly. Both were hesitant to move, as they felt so comfortable, but Mulder could sense Scullyís tiredness and knew he would have to leave soon.

"I should be going," he said, making no move to get up.

"Not until I give you your gift." She got up, waking the dog, and walked over to her briefcase. She returned to the couch a moment later, a small box in hand.

"This had better not be a tie."

She laughed. "Itís not a tie."

He shook the box. "Doesnít make a noise."

"Iíve discovered the best gifts donít make a noise when shaken."

He tore off the wrapping paper and grinned at the contents of the box. "Tickets to the Wizardís game......good ones, too."

"I hope itís okay......I know you like the Knicks, but......." Scully was apologetic.

"No, Scully, itís wonderful." He smiled at her. "Does this mean youíll go with me?"

"If you want me to."

"I do."

Scully smiled. "Yeah. Iíd like that."

Mulder got up and stretched. "I should be going."

"Yeah." She got up and saw him to the door.

They lingered in her doorway. "Thanks for the tickets, Scully," he said, taking her in his arms. "Itís just what I wanted."

"Thanks for the ice skates," she replied.

He moved to go, then noticed something hanging above the door. Looking up, he saw a sprig of mistletoe. "I think you owe me something," he said, pointing up.

Her face reddened. "I did not put that there."

"Doesnít matter." He leaned in close to her, looking deeply into her eyes. "Itís a rule. You have to kiss me."

"Suppose I donít want to?" she asked somewhat shakily.

"Do you want to?"

"No," she replied, inching forward slightly so that her lips brushed his lightly. Mulder took his cue and kissed her softly, his hand entwined in her hair.

"Youíre a bad liar, Scully," he replied.

"I know."

With a sigh, Mulder leaned back. "I need to get home, Scully, and you need your sleep." He kissed her lightly on the forehead. "Iíll see you Monday."

She gave him a look.

"Okay," he laughed. "We both know Iíll be calling tomorrow."

"Are you sure you donít want to come with me?" she asked. "Mom would love it."

He smiled and tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. "Call me before you leave, and Iíll let you know. Okay?"

She smiled, knowing this was the best she would get from him. "Okay."

After he left, Scully looked around her apartment in wonder as she cleaned up from their movie watching. She put the cookie jar on the counter and noticed a card sitting up against the toaster. Her brow furrowed, she picked it up and opened it.

ĎDana-

Hope this makes up for the rock tumbler.

-Kris Kringle

PS-hope the mistletoe wasnít too much. That was Foxís wish.í

Scully smiled and in her mind she could hear the old man laughing. She went to the closet and began rummaging around her coat pockets until she found her little notebook and flipped open to the page where she had written her Christmas wish.

ĎSurprise me.í

Well, he certainly had.

Scully sighed and picked up Bones, who was sitting at her feet. "Come on, you. Time for bed." The little dog yipped and licked her face, and she laughed.