Believer IX: In Holiday Spirit
Believer IX: In Holiday Spirit
Summary: Holiday cheer and an X-File besides. Disclaimer: Scully belongs to 1013, even though we have WAY better toys at our house; Elisabeth Shaugnessy is my creation. I do not profit from the use of any of Chris Carter's characters.
December 22, 1997
The phone's shrilling nearly made Scully drop her glass. "I thought you turned the ringer off!" The silence had been warm and clear as candlelight between them. It was the beginning of three days off this side of Christmas, and three days off after that, mornings of sex and hot chocolate and evenings of dinner and conversation. Scully sensed all of it fading like some exotic perfume.
"I'll get it." Elisabeth's fork hit her plate two bites into the lamb with cherry sauce. Maybe she rolled her eyes, or maybe it was the dim Christmas lights that gave them a spark that looked like frustration. Her sigh was audible as she moved into the kitchen.
"Mam?" Elisabeth's voice was colored with surprise. "Mam, what time is it over there? Is everything all right?" Pause. "Look, can I call you back, Mam? No, it isn't, I don't mean to fob you off but I can't hear a -"
She threw the cordless across the room. It hit the tree with a crash of glass icicles, and nestled in the branches for a moment. Scully blinked at it, brows arched. It was a few minutes before Elisabeth came out of the kitchen.
"I should call her back," she said at last. "Have we got a phone with a cord on it?"
Scully rose from the table. "Sweetheart," she murmured, slipping her arms round Elisabeth's neck. "You've eaten while standing every night of this week."
"I know, love, but I have to do this now while I have the nerve." She eased away from her lover with another weary sigh. "It's like some annual tax on having emigrated."
Scully unplugged the lights, stacked the plates and left the uneaten dinner to cool in the kitchen.
"No, Mam, I really can't see coming home this year. It's twenty-second December already, and I've never been so busy, and - yes, I know. I do love you. I do love you. No - no, please, I'd rather you not put Dad on. Tell him the practice is fine. Tell him I - wait-"
Scully hesitated in the bedroom doorway, but Elisabeth patted the edge of the bed beside her. In their year together she had never, to Scully's memory, mentioned her family. Nothing good, nothing bad, nothing at all about them was present in Elisabeth's life, of that Scully was sure. As she smiled at Scully now, her expression was harassed but not troubled. 'On hold', she mouthed, and leaned out to kiss Scully's earlobe. She pawed in the bedside table drawer and came up with a stale Milano cookie, which she munched as solace for the forgone lamb chop.
"Mmph - Dad - I've been fine and yourself?" Now her forehead creased. She left the bitten cookie to crumble on a pillow. "Dad, we've been over all this." Elisabeth's hand moved restlessly on Scully's thigh. "No, no it's not the money. I could get a ticket if I - no, I didn't say I - wait -what? What?!" She closed her eyes for a moment. "Ah, shit."
She dropped the phone and slumped into Scully's arms. "If not for you, darlie, I would hate Christmas."
"What's wrong?" Scully pressed small kisses along Elisabeth's hairline.
"He's had another heart attack. I've never heard him sound like that, he gave up on the argument. But he laid into me thickly indeed before he did."
"Your father wants you to come home?"
"Mm." Her hands curled on Scully's small shoulders, tenderness mixed with frustration.
"It might be nice, to go abroad for Christmas."
"What, you want - to go to Ireland?" Elisabeth said Ireland as though it was synonymous with the moon. "Love, it's not what you think..." She trailed off. " I mean, it's not... not Ireland from pictures."
"It's your home," said Scully gently. "That's good enough for me."
"I thought we were going out to your brother's," Elisabeth parried.
"My mother would love the ticket."
"But - but don't you want to spend Christmas with your family?" Elisabeth choked. "Besides, there's other things to think of, airports and Customs and crowds -"
The endearment made Elisabeth's head turn. It was not one she could remember Dana ever using; she had no idea how Dana could ever have even guessed it. Only one person, one dead person, had called her that. "Dana?"
"I'm going with you."
Shannon Airport, December 24
She had no idea how Dana had managed to get them on BWI's last flight out, or who she had taken hostage to get the first available connector on Aer Lingus. All Elisabeth knew was that she was groggy, cold, disoriented, and home. The ground underneath her didn't feel any different; the icy drizzle in the air was identical to the one they had left behind. But she was home.
She wondered for a moment if she looked like an American.
Dana was pursing her lips, leaning on her small, tidy rolling suitcase.
"The name of the town is what again?" She shook out the folds of her Ireland rail-and-highway map.
"Baile naGlas," Elisabeth replied, and her mind was correcting it even before she had formed the hard 'G'. "Ballyglass, Dana. It isn't on the railway." *It isn't on the map, either.*
"Okay, just as long as you know how to get there."
"We'll hire a car. It's a couple of hours' drive." She paused. Dana looked, to her lover's eyes, run over. She was unrumpled, and her hair was impeccable, but in the brightness of her eyes was exhaustion. * Christ, the woman has just traveled thousands of miles and it's Christmas Eve, Lissie. Get you to some hotel with four stars or so, and leave Baile naGlas to the drunks. *
"Lissie, Lissie, I've waited, you promised you'd come soon!"
Elisabeth whirled to face the speaker just behind her shoulder. "Maire -"
Nothing, no golden hair, no impudent white flash of teeth.
"Dana, did you -"
"Hey. Elisabeth." Scully was still leaning on the suitcase. She gave no sign of seeing anyone at all besides the Garda in the corner.
"I love you."
She pulled Scully against her, hard and sudden, for a kiss. "I love you, too."
End part 1
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