Title: Scully's 12 Days before Christmas
Author: EM
Email: memarks@execpc.com
Rating: NC-17 f/f implications
Spoilers: Just the ScullySlash list
Summary: Scully goes Christmas shopping for ALL the special people on her gift list.
Archive: Scullyslash ONLY
Author's Note: This little ditty is actually in tribute to the many fine writers who grace the Scullyslash list. Their talent is phenomenal, their characters engaging, and their efforts appreciated. With tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek, this story explores the sudden explosion in Scully's personal life. While no other authors' characters appear directly in this story, they are referenced as being in Scully's personal life. I took the literary liberty of allowing Scully to have several [okay a whole lot of] relationships going on at once · bad Scully; oooh wicked Scully [definitely envious of Scully].
DISCLAIMERS: The characters of Scully, Mulder, Skinner and others/events introduced on the X-Files are the sole property of Chris Carter etc., and are used here without permission for entertainment, not for profit. However the wicked thoughts are strictly mine!


Scully's 12 Days before Christmas

Day 1 (Cartridge in a VCR)

'Making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out whose naughty or nice', hummed through Scully's mind as she looked again at her Christmas gift list. Besides her brothers' families, small gifts for work acquaintances, a stocking stuffer for Skinner, the rest of her list was DEFINITELY going to be challenging. She wanted to find the best possible gift for these special people. 'Hmmm, mom shouldn't be too hard' mused Scully. Grabbing her car keys and checking her coat pocket for her cell phone 'wouldn't want Mulder to wonder why he can't reach me', smirked Scully as she headed out her apartment door and towards her car.

She parked her car near a mall entrance, locked it and headed for The Elegant Lady ö her first stop. She knew her mother loved walking in the woods at the family cabin and thought that a warm comfortable sweater would be perfect. She could almost picture her mother and herself lazily strolling through the woods enjoying the crisp winter air, admiring the first buds of green, or simply soaking in the rich earthy smell of summer in full bloom or the brilliant colors of autumn. She remembered fondly many of the Christmas holidays spent there with her family. So much had changed in the last 4 years, with both her father and Melissa's deaths. Scully made a mental note, 'wreaths for their graves'; they too would not be forgotten this upcoming holiday.

As she passed the video store her eyes wandered to the display heralding "Gifts for the Man in Your Life". 'Detour! Mulder possibilities' screamed her efficient brain and her feet made a neat right turn. Scully and Mulder enjoyed finding nonsense gifts that poked fun at each other. Last year she had given him boxer shorts with little green and gray glow-in-the dark aliens. His eyes had danced when he threatened to wear them to the office, turn out the lights, and drop his pants to see if they truly did glow in the dark. Scully smugly informed him they didn't need another X-file, claiming disembodied aliens sighted in their office. She'd already given him 'Alien Autopsy' for his birthday, but who knows, there were still plenty of other hokey so-called documentaries, not to mention the best and worst of sports videos. She couldn't bring herself to get him one of his "women on parade" videos. Nope, Mulder was on his own, or, perhaps the Lone Gunmen would meet that particular need.

She stopped to scan through the videotape titles under the A&E and Discovery section. Sometimes she found a biography tape that interested her. Her eyes came to rest on a particular title 'The Real Story: Love in the Ancient World'. She picked up the videotape and scanned the description on the back. A quirky smile formed on her lips, 'ooooh, maybe I can meet Mulder's unique needs; both titillating and educational. Perfect!' Continuing her exploration, Scully found videotape her mother would enjoy, 'Carols from Kings: A Celebration of Christmas', a Christmas carol masterpiece by King's college choir.

Resuming her trek, Scully entered The Elegant Lady and headed for the shelves holding sweaters. Her eyes carefully scanned the many hues, patterns and materials but none seemed to catch her interest. She then moved towards the racks that contained casual-wear outfits. Suddenly a tunic topic of soft white, swirled with a light spruce color and deep, forest green pine trees trimming the hem caught her attention. The matching pants, sans pattern, were a simple pull-on and the material was soft to the touch. 'Perfect', thought Scully, 'just like the pines near the cabin'. She knew the color would look good on her mother, but was it too much for hiking through the woods · still, it would be a great outfit for lounging about the cabin. She decided to get it, found her mother's size and promptly charged it on her Visa card. Her internal voice remembered to ask the clerk for a gift box.

Scully spent another hour at the mall, wandering into stores and selecting some items for her work acquaintances. Sitting at a small table in a cafŽ, she sipped her cappuccino and nibbled on her biscotti. 'Mission accomplished,' she mentally patted herself on the back and checked off one name on her list.

Day 2 (Viewing Eyes) It had been a frustrating day. As usual Mulder was nowhere to be found when paperwork was piling up and the AD was breathing down HER neck. Mulder had ducked out around noon, with some excuse about the Lone Gunmen having developed a new method to reclaim the lost X-Files. 'Hello Mulder, we don't do that anymore and I've gotten my ass chewed out more times than I care to by Kersch.' She'd ended up foregoing her lunch hour to insure that all the paperwork was completed on time. Compensating for the time, Scully was on her way to the CompUSA store in Alexandria. A little internet searching had led her to an idea about a gift for Perrin. Something to make the long distance that separated them a little more 'palatable'.

It didn't take Scully long to find the section she wanted and with the help of a young clerk, she verified that the Panasonic Egg Cam would integrate with both hers and Perrin's computers. Scully's eyes took on a dreamy quality and she thought about her 'buddy list' taking on a new dimension. Not only would there be one-handed typing, but now, a visual image that should sear their internal circuitry as well as heat up cyber wires. Where words alone had inflamed their imaginations, now the agonizing seconds of waiting for the next transmission refresh would be a tantalizing tease. Just thinking about the dark-haired, lithe and strong Perrin was having an effect. Her mind began to roam over Perrin's image, taking in her wonderfully sculpted body; framed in jeans, boots, and white button-down shirt. The brown hair and twinkling eyes were no match for the dazzling smile as wide as a western vista. 'Whoa there Scully I don't think having a meltdown in a computer store is a good idea.' Gathering her wits, Scully was heading to the checkout when her eye caught a display rack of discounted CDs. 'Supermodel screen savers, oh yeah that's right up Mulder's alley, ' mused Scully. She grabbed the CD, made her purchase and left.

Relaxing on her couch, Scully's mind drifted into blissful scenarios of typing to ecstasy and all the frustrations of work and Mulder drifted away in the pleasurable haze that now occupied her brain.

Day 3 (French Kisses) 'Why is it that the scent of chocolate can be as soothing and satisfying as sex,' Scullly thought as she entered the Godiva Chocolatier in the Georgetown Park Mall. 'Because chocolate stimulates similar endorphins producing a euphoric state' reminded the scientist side of her brain. Scully rolled her eyes and began taking in the variety of confections surrounding her. A pleasant looking young woman asked if she required assistance and soon a discussion of combining various treats into the perfect gift selection ensued. Scully decided that some dipped glace fruits would be among the selection. There was just something about Max that was utterly delectable and sweet. Scully's mind drifted back to several rather 'tasty' moments with Max and had to jar her consciousness back to the topic at hand.

With the assistance of the young woman, a rather sizable selection of dark, milk, and white chocolates was added to the gift. She selected a white wicker basket and carefully wrote a note to be included. After paying for the selection and filling out the forms with shipping information, Scully once again found herself outside the store. She knew Max would enjoy the treats and a small smile quirked at the corner of her mouth as she fantasized about a mutual oral sharing of the confections where the smooth texture and sweet taste would blend with other textures and scents distinctive of Max.

Scully pondered for a moment the way her vacation had turned into so much more. Max had been so patient, allowing Scully to come to terms about not only her sexuality, but also her level of commitment. Yes, their jobs were inherently dangerous and the sheer distance between cities made it a challenge, but it was one Scully had come to relish. She had thoroughly enjoyed meeting Max's friends and truly felt a part of their group and they had helped her take that final step in allowing her and Max to be together. It was nice to have someone who understood and accepted the dangers, frustrations and fears that came with law enforcement. Prior to Max there had only been Mulder. Now she had someone who loved all of her needs from work to play .

She found that her step had a bit more bounce in it as she headed to her car and for some strange reason 'Frosty the Snowman' kept playing through her mind.

Day 4 (Calling Cards) 'Somehow listening to Christmas music for 15 minutes while on hold just isn't festive'. Scully glanced at her watch and silently cursed to herself. What had possessed to make this call 45 minutes before a case meeting where she was to present the findings of her autopsy was beyond her ... 'Murphy's law just sucks me in each time'. All she wanted was to inquire about obtaining a gift calling card, which she intended to send to Maggie Doyle. That way, she figured the ER resident could call whenever and from anywhere · perhaps even during a rare lull in the emergency room.

She had enjoyed her affair in Chicago and loved discussing medicine with the young doctor. Of course nonverbal communication was also used with amazing comprehension between them. A small chuckle escaped as Scully began to remember the exact nature of that nonverbal discussion. Maggie had allowed Scully to explore her sexuality and for that she was eternally grateful. It had been a wonderful experience and Scully found she was now open to so many more possibilities.

Thankfully the USATel representative finally answered and Scully went through the particulars of the phone cards. She decided on a domestic card that pictured the Chicago Skyline. It was nice that Maggie would know how much time was still available each time she used the card. It was also possible for her to automatically renew the card if she so chose. Scully carefully gave the representative Maggie's name and address, while charging her credit card for the gift. Satisfied with her choice, Scully wished the representative a happy holiday and hung up.

She reached for the writing pad and changed mental gears · back to the notes and Christmas cards. For some reason, the imp in her decided to send one to Skinner. Even though he was no longer her direct report ... she appreciated his efforts on her behalf when Mulder took his Bermuda Triangle cruise. Without his assistance, Mulder would've perished and she suspected that Skinner wasn't willing to accept that any more than she had.

Day 5 (Golden Rings) Scully opened her mailbox and took out the assortment of junk mail, bills, magazines and a note from the manager saying several packages had arrived. Trudging up the steps to her apartment, she juggled her keys, opened the door and stepped inside. Placing her laptop, briefcase and mail on the table next to the door, she did an about face and headed down to the manager's office. Mr. Thompson lived in the apartment next door, but had a buzzer by the office. She waited patiently and her mind spun over a list of things she needed to do at work and at home. As the endless task list had items delete, added and resorted by priority she became aware of a voice. "Good evening Ms. Scully ... I bet you're here for your packages. One moment." He returned shortly and handed Scully two boxes. Scully gave the manager a smile and thanked him. Back up the stairs and into the haven of her apartment, Scully found a scissors and began the process of opening the packages.

The first package was from a jewelry artisan in upstate NY that specialized in Celtic jewelry. Scully's Irish heritage could appreciate the intricacy of the fluid designs created by the endless knots. She hoped that Lena would also appreciate the symbolism where the twists and turns formed an endless continuum. She had gotten a ring that held both a cross and a weaving pattern of Celtic knots. It was the perfect blend of religion and mysticism. Lena seemed to embody both as an angel who worked with troubled souls, trying to guide them in finding a final peace. She was bound by nature and it showed in her love of fishing and woodsy situated home. Scully found a peace there that she rarely felt in the city. She wanted the ring to symbolize the connection and continuity she felt with Lena. She awakened in Scully the knowledge that the pilgrimage of life was a spiritual growth that had to be unraveled as it was traveled.

Lena had challenged Scully's inherent scientific skepticism; which surprisingly didn't seem to matter. Lena was definitely an exception to the rule that Scully was delightedly willing to live with. Besides Mulder was actually comfortable around Lena; a fact that didn't go unnoticed by Scully. 'I do think that knowing Lena is gifted actually gives Mulder some peace of mind about his sister.' Trust was not something that could be sustained without the constant attention and care that Lena seemed to put into everything and everyone she helped. Scully knew that the gift she had for Lena, paled in comparison to the one that she'd received. She sat lost in thought, sipping her wine and recounting the moments she'd spent with Lena. Slowly, a happy and peaceful buzz filled her with a joy that she knew wasn't due to wine nor the holiday season. 'I have been truly blessed.'

Day 6 (Gourmet Goodies) Scully had spent 20 minutes going through her Windsor wine catalog and had finally decided on a 6 bottle assortment of reserve label red wines. They ranged from the heady Cabernet Sauvignon, to the piquant Zinfandel. In between was the mellow Merlot and the robust Pinot Noir, and the finely blended Carignane and Meritage. 'Now that should keep Kaz happy. What to put on the label?'. Scully had decided to order from Windsor not only for the quality of the wine, but also because they put personalized labels on the bottles. She was having a hard time coming up with a saying that was symbolic of Kaz. That delightful, enchanting woman who not only could cook like a chef, was artistically gifted, loved a variety of music, but also had a mind that could best any lawyer in a battle of minds and legalese.

Currently Kaz was in San Diego on a nasty case that had kept her from Scully for 3 weeks. Scully found she missed the JAG lawyer not only emotionally but also physically. With Scully's busy schedule, Kaz had to put Brandy in a kennel and it bothered Scully that she couldn't at least watch the dog for Kaz. She made a mental note, to try and find some time to take a ride to the kennel and insure that Brandy got her Christmas treat too. Kaz had called last night and told her that it looked like she wouldn't get back before Christmas Eve and that had blown Scully's mood. She had even snapped at Mulder today ... not that he hadn't earned it. Why did he volunteer her services as a forensic pathologist to the VCU without asking first. Of course she'd been left with no choice but to meet with Agent Williams. 'Mulder had a lot of gall after his latest fiasco in the Bermuda Triangle made me look like the latest burn-out case.' She definitely needed to redirect her thoughts before all good cheer dissipated.

She fingered the desk calendar she had picked up for Kaz on one of her forays to Barnes and Noble booksellers ... Legal Lunacies, a collection of outrageous laws, ludicrous lawsuits and crazy court cases. She knew that this would cause a smirk to appear on Kaz's beautiful face. The kind that sent tingles up and down Scully's spine and usually ended in a evening of intense lovemaking. She had also gotten Kaz a golden Celtic knotted heart, a symbol of eternal love. She held up the delicate heart on it's filigreed chain that symbolized all the hopes and feelings she had for this remarkable woman. 'Soon her heart whispered; come back soon; giving to you and with you is what Christmas is about."

And then it came to her 'Fine wine, like fine friends should be savored together'. She picked up the phone and placed her order and found that a bit of cheer had surfaced after all. Of course ordering that champagne and chocolates ensemble for New Year's Eve had definitely given her some erotic ideas.

Day 7 (Soothing Scents) Scully's whole body ached. She had performed two autopsies on behalf of the Violent Crime Unit afraid that a ritualistic serial killer was on the loose in the Tidewater area. Her sole thought was a relaxing soak in her tub, surrounded by candle light and soothing fragrance. It would wash away the memories of tortured flesh and endless dissection of internal organs. 'Gods, how does Clarice do this all the time, living in the mind of a sociopath.'' Perhaps a stop at Red Earth boutique would allow her to kill two birds with one stone. She had been agonizing over what to get Clarice for Christmas and perhaps a chance to escape the smell of death might be a good choice. 'Oooh, get a grip Scully, you are way too tired. Gotta lighten the mood.' She turned the car in the direction of the Vienna Mall and tried to work the kinks out of her neck while keeping her attention on the road.

Scully reflected upon her interaction with Clarice. It had been a unique experience to work with a profiler who wasn't as absorbed as Mulder by the paranormal. In fact, she reluctantly realized, that dealing with violent psychopaths was actually more frightening than the paranormal · simply because they were human and their actions while distorted were very real, and very disturbing. With Mulder, her scientific skepticism would kick in and it provided a buffer for her mind from the harsh possibilities of alternate reasons. Besides she found Clarice to be a warm, charming and highly intelligent individual. She understood only to well her reticence to make friends. The need for a tight inner control was sometimes what got both of them through the travails of their jobs. In spite of that, both women found they had much in common outside the domain of their work. Music, wine and reading materials had become topics of conversation. Scully thoroughly enjoyed the time she spent with her finding her personality and mind intriguing.

By the time she had reached the Mall, Scully had decided on getting a tea light aromatherapy diffuser and a set of bath salts. She only had to figure out which combination would be the best invigorating, calming or sensual. 'Well that's what sales people are for.' It didn't take her long to decide on a Sweet Earth and Quiet Moment gift baskets. They contained bath salts, votive candle, bath splash and soaps. She indulged herself with a sample selection of bath salts. For the diffuser she picked the Stress relief blend. She herself used the sleep blend and occasionally the sensual blend · 'Perhaps I'll get the opportunity to share that one with Clarice.' Satisfied with her selections, Scully headed home and fully intending to have a long soak in her tub using one of her selections.

Day 8 (Mistletoe Musings) Scully put her hands on her hips; cocked her eye at the Christmas tree trying to judge it she had it straight in the stand. Liv was coming up in about an hour. They were going to decorate Scully's tree. Several boxes of ornaments, garland, and lights filled the couch. In the kitchen was a wicker basket filled with cheese, pate, small loaves of bread, dried fruits, and various exotic spreads; along with a red and white bottle of wine. Scully had decided that the perfect gift for Liv was a gourmet picnic sampler. She knew that Liv had a voracious appetite · both for food and sex. She figured that a picnic beneath her Christmas tree would be the perfect gift and the perfect way to spend the evening.

Scully had spent the day scouring various Christmas tree lots in search of a tree·. 'Pine, spruce or fir?' In the end she settled for a balsam that was full and yet not too tall or wide. It would fit nicely within the space of her apartment. It had proved challenging to get it up the stairs and into her apartment. She'd dug in her storage area for awhile until she found the tree holder. She sighed at the memories the scent of evergreen brought · family opening presents, quiet walks in the snow, joyous and sometimes off-key singing after a few well rum- laced eggnogs. She missed those, but with Bill and Charlie in the service, it wasn't always easy to get together. She knew that Liv's family was in Chicago and hoped that this would help ease that "missing family" ache that frequented a person on the holidays.

Her phone rang and for a brief moment panic swept her. 'Liv can't make it.' Answering the phone she discovered it was Mulder instead. He rambled on about ghosts, suicide, and the perfect holiday haunting. 'Is he nuts or merely desperate for company?' Scully held the phone away from her head and contemplated having Mulder committed for observation. "Mulder, I am not going with you to that haunted house on Christmas eve. I have family and personal obligations ... that are more FESTIVE than investigating GHOSTS!" A few more verbal exchanges and an exasperated Scully finally hung up the phone.

She let her mind focus on the beautiful computer technician and the evening that lay ahead.

Day 9 (Dancing Dollies) Sometimes Marsh was an enigma to Scully, especially now as she stood in the lingerie department, trying to decide on a which was sexier ... the peach silk pajamas or the deep rose colored teddy ... not that she expected Marsh to wear these for any length of time. 'Gods even one dance with this woman is enough to send sparks of arousal blazing out of control'. A chief of trauma, who could juggle injuries and bodies with an innate skill and seeming ease, could toss Scully a curve by deciding to get a tattoo. All to appear sexier to her lover ... and indeed she did. It was hard to believe that an X-file brought them together and harder yet to overcome Marsh's fears for Scully's safety. Their strange journey had been tainted by the Consortium kidnapping Marsh and it was then that Scully realized this woman had touched her deeply.

She hoped to bolster Marsh's sense of humor and had bought a desk calendar of Medical Bloopers. At times Marsh's fears for Scully's safety would make the surgeon physically ill, and Scully wanted to ease those fears in the worst way. She needed Marsh to let the past go and concentrate on their future. Getting Marsh to laugh at life's foibles would bring down her anxiety level and allow daily frustrations to ebb and flow without undue concern.

She had considered getting those suction cup shades for the car as a hedge of privacy for their more amorous driving moments. But she decided that they really needed to exercise more control rather than less. Now she could add the fear of being in an accident half undressed, along with 'clean underwear' that each mother seemed compelled to instill in all children. 'Gods Marsh doesn't even wear underwear !' Rather than appalling her, a tingle ran down her spine at the image. 'Oh what the hell' and Scully decided to get the silk pajamas for Marsh and the teddy for her · yes they would definitely have fun removing these articles of clothing. Knowing them, they'd be lucky if they remained in place for more than 15 minutes. 'This could set a new record in the Guinness book of records.'

Scully's other package had been a ring, again of Celtic design that encompassed the yin and yang with smooth flowing Celtic lines. It represented the two parts of a whole, choosing to share a life together, blending their interests, thoughts and goals. She had a ring for herself that had the cross woven into a sharp lined pattern · the saving power of the cross intertwined with the love of another to travel the road of life. She knew that their path would not always be easy, but her mother had recognized that Marsh meant a great deal to her and had accepted her into their family. It was a beginning and even Skinner had benignly approved of their relationship. 'Darn, even Mulder had shared drinks with her · now that was scary · the two of them bonding.' Still Marsh had become an integral part of her life and one the Scully was unwilling to lose because of chance happenings, fears or conflicting schedules. She wouldn't be seeing Marsh till the end of the week. A surgeon's conference in New York, where Marsh was presiding over a Trauma panel, kept her lover away. But when she got back ... Scully had definite plans for their gift exchange.

Day 10 (Leaping Lasers) Now what did one get for a sexy, independent and determined intelligence specialist who could turn Scully's insides into quivering jello with her mere touch. Heather worked for the NSA, which is generally known for its low-key and highly secretive ways. But this woman radiated command · and sexiness. Scully could truly say that she NEVER had a dull moment in Heather's company. In fact, a few quieter moments might not be so bad. The two of them seemed to attract trouble as honey did bees. 'Bees? How I've grown to fear them and what they might carry.' Even Heather was at a loss to aid Scully and Mulder in their quest against the Consortium. Mulder didn't particularly like Heather, because of her attraction to Scully, though he was capable of jealousy. No, it went deeper than that; Heather had tried to lure Scully away from the X-files and Mulder definitely didn't enjoy losing his partner · his confidante. Scully knew that Mulder considered her his source, path, light? She did serve a purpose beyond partner and paper shuffler · even though he tended to go off on tangents, he always came to her. But Heather had offered an opportunity to be more than Mulder's shadow and Scully had been tempted.

In the end, they'd shared a lusty bond that was invigorating and wild. Scully found that she had a side of her hidden away and Heather relished bringing that facet of Scully to the surface. They'd spent many a heated night in quelling their passions. It was now time to return the favor.

Right now she found herself in Toys 'R Us looking at laser tag sets. Her eyes held an evil glint as she imagined her and Heather running around tagging each other with lasers. This mock action of the reality of their lives was a release from all the pressures that both endured. The thought of a pencil thin red beam tagging Heather's delectable cream white butt was causing a flood of emotions. Yep, nude laser tag definitely had possibilities and wasn't nearly as messy or stinging as paint balls. She decided to include a laser target that Heather could play with when Scully wasn't available. She chuckled to herself at the caution to use under adult supervision.

Day 11 (Lusty Leanings) Funny how people underestimated Holly, especially Mulder. It was like Holly was merely a fixture of the FBI building. She wasn't a stunning woman, nor was she aggressive, and didn't come equipped with the drool producing female attributes. Nope, Holly was just your everyday pleasant, hard-working, dependable government employee · which might be attributable to the fact that she had an absolutely devious mind when it came to finding places within and out of work to engage in sex. It was Holly who had turned on Scully's adventurous side and definitely had shown her how to walk the walk' She'd exposed Scully to gay bars including the ones into bondage where the wearing of leather was a standard. Supply closets, elevators and even the library were scenes for their trysts. Sometimes Scully was appalled that her staid self relished these moments. 'I guess that Catholic upbringing only encourages the rebel in me · look out patent leather shoes.' She chuckled and once again set her mind to the task of finding a gift for Heather. At first she thought of Obsession by Calvin Kline · and then settled on Escape · yep that was Holly. She'd spent a great deal of time selecting a beautiful hand-blown Egyptian perfume bottle. 'Okay, I'm a sucker for the story of the tears.' Still it was a nice accompaniment for the perfume.

Scully was glad she'd had the Video Catalog and could order by mail a video of "hunky men and busty women." She figured Holly would laugh her ass off over these pairings. Perhaps that was why Holly was such a good friend · Scully could let down the professional mask and just revel in her sensuality. Holly had even shown her where to find steamy smut on the internet · who knew that there was soooo much out there. Many a night that Scully spent reading into the wee hours, followed by many a lunch relieving that tension with Holly · no wonder she knew all the nooks and crannies of the Hoover building.

Day 12 (Angels Singing) After days of shopping, Scully had all her gifts bought, wrapped and sent as needed; but there was one more person remaining · and this required a gift from her heart. No material gifts would suffice for this special person. Today would be Emily's day · her lost little angel. Scully climbed the steps of Saint Anne, entering through the massive doors she headed for a side chapel where Father McCue was waiting. He had agreed to offer a simple benediction for Emily. Scully went to the side and lit a candle that was placed there for use by the supplicants. She knelt in the front pew and Father McCue whispered softly to her in greeting. He then turned to the statue of the Virgin Mary and began a series of prayers, that Scully enjoined in a low and steady voice. Her mind replayed images of the tiny child and how precious she'd become, a reminder of what Scully had lost and strangely a joy in knowing she could once again feel both sorrow and love. It wasn't long and the prayers were finished. She hugged Father McCue and thanked him for taking the time. He smiled fondly at Scully and wished her a happy holiday.

After he left, Scully remained in the chapel, soaking in the atmosphere of peace and serenity, laced with beeswax, incense, and wood polish. This soothing combination of scents had remained dormant in her memory, but now flooded her being with a familiar and welcome presence. She had lost so much over the last several years; her father and sister, her health and fertility, her faith and her sense of self-purpose. The science she used to ground her convictions and temper her religion, had been shaken by the computer chip in her neck, the possibility of alien viruses, the reality of children created for scientific cloning · sometimes it was too much.

She wondered if her little angel was in anyway responsible for the sudden influx of wonderful, warm, caring individuals that had graced her life over the past year. She had found aspects of herself that she thought were crushed by the endless dead ends and conundrums the X- files posed and seldom solved. Her life was now filled with thoughts of love, passion and companionship. Oh the faces were as varied as the patterns of snowflakes and each woman that had entered her life, brought their own unique flavor and exuberance, tantalizing Scully's spirit to seek more. Where before Mulder and the X-files were her focus; he now was only a backdrop to a panorama of possibilities that went far beyond her work, and this brought a soft smile to her face. 'Yes, perhaps Emily was my greatest gift · a guardian angel of my own.' With that thought Scully stood and left. Upon leaving the cathedral, she found a light dusting of snow adorning her car. As she started her car and turned the windshield wipers on, another thought popped into her head, "New Year's resolutions! I have got to pick just one woman · loving them all isn't fair · I have to do this." But Scully was never as good with her New Year resolutions as she was with her Christmas shopping.

The End

Addendum: For the curious, 90% of the gifts mentioned are indeed real and can be found in stores or via the internet.