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SPOILERS: Just a slight reference to FTF, the movie. This story takes place in the sixth season, but doesn’t refer to any particular episode in that season.
KEYWORDS: Mulder/Scully UST
SUMMARY: After spending Christmas Eve in an airport, Scully and a sick Mulder spend Christmas at Mrs. Scully’s. What follows? Well, read and find out. Sequel to "Christmas Eve & Airports."

DISCLAIMER: Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, Maggie Scully, Bill & Tara Scully, and Charlie Scully are not mine. They belong to Chris Carter, 1013 productions, and Fox. I did however flesh out the character of Charlie Scully using my own imagination, and his wife, Mary, and two kids, Patrick and Lauren, are products of my imagination, which seems to be in overdrive today :-).

DEDICATION: To my online pal, Lauren, who is the best encouragement a girl can have. Thanks for pestering me until I finished and for reading just "one more part." <g>.

"Christmas & Mrs. Scully’s House"
(Begun: December 1998. Finished: January 1999.)
by Jen

"Scully, are we there yet?"

Dana Scully turned her eyes off the road for a second to glance at her groggy partner, Fox Mulder. She had to feel bad just by looking at him. He had fallen asleep in the car as soon as he got into it at the airport, but it didn’t look like it did him any good. He had circles under his eyes and his hair was now sticking up in a million directions. He coughed again, large hacking coughs that sounded worse then just a few hours ago. Of course when you’re sick, spending the night in a crowded airport doesn’t exactly help.

"Almost, Mulder," she promised, and made a mental check of the baggage she had in her trunk. She had stopped off at her apartment and picked up her gifts for her family (and managed to sneak Mulder’s gift past him) and threw them in the trunk while Mulder slept on in the passenger’s seat.

Now she continued to drum her hands on the steering wheel as she waited for the stop light to turn green. The temperature was a "lovely" 34 degrees out and the roads were a bit icy. Finally however, Scully managed to reach her mother’s house, and its Christmas decorations stared back at her.

She smiled as soon as she saw the wreaths and Christmas lights. Maggie Scully may not have any more kids at home, but that didn’t stop her from decorating. She would pay a local teenager every year to hang her lights. Scully recalled Maggie saying how the teen’s rates had gone up but she didn’t mind. As Scully looked at the house, she had to agree that the teen did a good job.

She parked the car on the street; she was lucky to find a parking space not to far from the house. She took the key out of the ignition and nudged Mulder, who had drifted off again.

"Mulder," she said softly, "wake up, we’re here."

Mulder stirred and coughed, lifting his eyelids to look at her. "We’re here?" he echoed, straightening himself up.

"Yep. Come on Mulder, my mom’s waiting to see you. And then I got to get you to bed." She opened the door, but not before she heard Mulder answer, "Oh, Scully, is that a promise?" She smiled as she opened the trunk. Typical Mulder remark.

She looked at the three bags of gifts in her trunk, along with the suitcases, hers and Mulder’s, along with her medical bag (with a sick Mulder, she never forgot that), and realized she would have to enlist one of her brothers’ help to carry stuff in. She didn’t want to bother Mulder, with him feeling so bad already. She grabbed a bag of gifts, closed the trunk and turned to find Mulder at her side.

He looked at her through fever-glazed hazel eyes. "One bag, Scully? Do you need help?"

Scully shook her head. "Don’t worry about it. I’ll get Bill or Charlie to get them later." Mulder grumbled at the mention of Bill, and Scully knew this day would be interesting. And it was hardly 10:30 a.m. They had the whole day ahead of them.

Mulder nodded and stood there. Scully nudged him again. "Don’t just look at it, G-Men, let’s go in." She began the walk toward the house, Mulder trailing behind. She rang the doorbell when she reached the door, though she could have just walked in. She heard several sets of feet, the door opened, and she was greeted by Maggie Scully, and a smiling Matthew Scully not far behind her.

"Aundie Dane?" Scully looked down to find Matty at her feet, squealing in his little one-year-old voice. She put her bags down, to pick him up.

"Merry Christmas, Dana," Maggie said as soon as Scully had Matty in her arms. "Where’s Fox?"

"He’s," Scully turned to find Mulder still standing(leaning) awkwardly at the door. "right there. Mulder, come in."

Mulder walked cautiously from the door, looking as if he expected something to come out and hurt him. Scully smiled and grabbed his hand. "Come on, Mulder, no one gonna hurt you. Yet," she teased, but frowned when she felt how warm his hands were. She picked up her hand to feel his forehead, but he brushed it away. Maggie saw the action and took Matty out of Scully’s hands.

"Dana says you’re feeling a bit under the weather, Fox. I’m sorry to hear that. Dana why don’t you take him upstairs?"

Scully nodded. "I think I’ll do that, Mom. Where are Bill, Charlie and company? I need some help getting some items out of my car."

"Everyone’s in the family room. Charlie brought up a cassette of Patrick’s Christmas play last week. It’s the cutest thing, too. Why don’t you get Fox settled and I’ll tell them you’re here. The kids will be happy you have lots of ‘items’ to carry in." Maggie headed toward the family room, Matty saying, "Aundie Dane’s her’!" Scully smiled and turned her attention back to Mulder who was smiling faintly at her.

"Scully," he started, "This is your family day and I don’t--" He was interrupted by a fit of coughs.

Scully raised her eyebrow and waiting patiently for his coughing fit to subside. "Mulder, stop it. Now let’s get you into bed." She turned Mulder toward the stairs and he let her led him, like a child up them. Right now he felt too sick to argue. A nice warm bed was sounding pretty nice to his ears.

He even let Scully tuck him into a bed, and she frowned, concerned with his suddenly high cooperation level. He closed his eyes as soon as he was in bed. Scully wasn’t sure if it was because he was feeling really bad or the fact that he didn’t want to face her brothers. Perhaps it was a little of both. She laid her hand on his forehead, and satisfied that he would be okay for a little while, she left him be.

She found her family in the family room, as Maggie had said, gathered around the TV. It was quiet as they stared at the screen and watched a smiling 6 year-old sing ‘Jingle Bells.’ It was so unlike the noise that Scully was used to hearing on Christmas day, but she did see wads of wrapping paper everywhere and she did see Charlie’s wife, Mary, picking up as she could. Scully didn’t see her mother or Tara anywhere, and figured they were in the kitchen, cooking. Scully smiled at the fact her mother had Tara to help her. But it also made Scully miss this family "togetherness" a little more than she was used to.
Matty was back on the couch sitting next to her older brother, Bill. As she walked in, Matty acknowledged her by fidgeting and Bill looked up.

"Well, look who’s here. Dana! Merry Christmas!" He said the words warmly, smiled, but she noticed he was looking around her for someone else. Mulder. Her mom must have told him he was coming.

"Merry Christmas," she said and the rest of the room turned to look at her. Charlie got up.

"Wow, Dana, I haven’t seen you in, awhile it seems. Mom’s been talking about you all the time though, in letters and the phone. About Dana’s new case and that she’s--"

Scully heard him, but only knew he was babbling, because she knew some of the things her mother talked about were not always good, hell her cases were one of them. One thing she thought Maggie disagreed with was her cases, but kept her mouth shut.

"—and the that partner of yours." Scully’s ears picked up at that word, along with Bill’s. "In fact Mom said he as coming by today. Where is he? I heard a lot about ‘Fox’ Dana’s partner," he said with a smile.

"He’s upstairs," Dana said and could swear she heard Bill mutter something under his breath. "He’s not feeling that well. Cold he caught on our case in New Jersey. And you better stick to ‘Mulder’ around him, Charlie. Mom’s the only one who can get away with calling him ‘Fox’."

"I heard that, too."

Scully seemed thoughtful for a second. "Just how much about my life does Mom tell you?"

Charlie smiled slyly. "You better pay me to shut up now, Dana."

Scully laughed. "Charlie Scully, shut up? Now that’s something I’d have to see to believe!"

Charlie laughed himself. "Bill told me that about a half hour ago, too. Want to see the tape of Patrick’s Christmas play? We’ve been carrying it around in Mary’s purse showing it to everyone we see."

"By the time we leave, your mom’s whole neighborhood will have seen it," Mary added.

"I’m just proud," Charlie admitted.

"Yep, proud of me!" a little voice piped up. "I’m a star."

Charlie tousled his son’s hair. "Enough, Patrick. Don’t want that head to get any bigger. Why don’t you say hi to your Aunt Dana?"

"Hi, Aunt Dana," the boy replied before running back off toward the TV. He joined his sister, who was busy coloring on the floor. Scully turned toward the girl.

"Hi, Lauren." The girl made no attempt to look up.

"Never mind her. She’s been involved in that drawing since she opened her new art kit from ‘Santa’ this morning. Not bad for a five-year-old, I have to say." Charlie turned. "Mom’s in the kitchen with Tara. She said she wanted to talk to you after you were done ‘visiting’. Dana’s in trouble," he teased in a voice that reminded her of many childhood memories.

"Am not," she said back. "How’s the accounting business going, Mary?" she asked Charlie’s wife.

"It’s okay. Slow. But of course everything picks up soon and I will have _no_ time on my hands."

"Since when do you have any now?" Charlie piped up and she nudged him in the shoulder.

Scully turned to Bill, who was still sitting quietly on the couch, Matty squirming in his arms. "How’s things, Bill?" She sat down next to him, and pushed a piece of fly-away hair on Matty’s head.

"Fine," he answered.

"Matty’s getting big. I was so glad to hear he was talking. Tara called Mom. She said as soon as he opened his mouth he never shut up. And Mom told her she better pray we don’t get another one like Charlie in this family." Dana smiled and was glad to see her brother crack a smile too.

"Yeah, just what we need. Not my son." He turned to face Dana better. "Mulder’s by, huh?" he asked casually, though Scully could tell it was anything but casual.

"Yeah, he wasn’t feeling well, and Mom invited him here." She didn’t say anything else on the matter. Neither did Bill. After all it was Christmas.

"Anyway," Scully continued. "I could use some help getting some things out of my trunk, and as much as I love Charlie, I’d like to do without having my ear talked off, so want to volunteer, Bill?"

She stood up and he nodded. "Charlie, can you watch Matty, I’m going to help Dana get some things from her trunk."

Scully and Bill headed out toward the car, the sound of Scully’s car keys echoing through the cold late morning. They trudged silently, and Scully didn’t want to bring up the topic of Mulder in a conversation, at least not with this brother. She opened her trunk and handed a couple of bags to her brother. Unfortunately, he got the bag that had Mulder’s gift sticking out of the top.

Bill sighed as he saw the gift. "How long is he here for, Dana?"

Scully grabbed the remaining bags and closed her trunk. "Well, Bill, _both_ of us may be leaving tonight."

"Dana, I didn’t mean--"

"Bill, I know what you meant. It’s Christmas, for God’s sake. Can we resume this conversation at some other time? I’d like to get inside and give out some gifts to my niece and nephews."

And with that Scully headed toward the door, Bill sighing and following her.

"Presents," Scully said as she gave the presents out to smiling kids. She had been surprised when she realized that with the exception of Mulder’s and her mother’s gifts, she really had wrapped everything after all. The kids tore through the wrapping paper like it was tissue and soon were opening more new toys and making more of a mess. Scully herself scattered about picking up paper when she remembered her mother had wanted to talk with her.

Scully entered the kitchen, the smell of her mother’s cooking hitting her before she even reached the door. "Something smells good in here," she commented as she walked in the door.

"Merry Christmas Dana," Tara said as she looked up from peeling potatoes.

"Merry Christmas, Tara." Dana turned to her Mom who was at the stove. She turned
and greeted her daughter, wiping her hands off on a towel on the counter.

"I made some soup for Fox, honey. It’s on the counter, if he’s up for it."

"Thanks, Mom. I’m sure when he wakes up he will be." She peered into the pot, and got a stern look from her mother.

"Dana Katherine don’t you go poking around on that stove. I already yelled at your brothers for that. That’s why they’re in the family room. How was your trip?"

"Busy. The airport was a madhouse this morning. Not to mention the minor delays we ran into on the runway. But we were lucky we got on an early flight."

Maggie nodded. "Terrible to be spending Christmas Eve in an airport."

"Yeah, well it happens I guess." Scully opened her mouth to continue her conversation when she heard footsteps upstairs.

"Guess someone’s up." Maggie handed Scully a tray with the soup on it. "Just how is Fox, honey?"

"He’s got a fever, and a little cough. I think it’s just a bad cold. I’ll go bring this to him."

Scully took the tray, grabbed her bag, and made her way up the stairs to find Mulder sitting up in the rumpled sheets, his new short hair sticking up as much as it could.

"How are you feeling?" Scully asked as she placed the soup on the bureau in the room. Mulder looked at her for a second, as if regaining his bearing.

"I’m okay," he said, his voice raspy and tired sounding.

"Sure you are," Scully said as she said on the edge of the bed. "My mom made you some soup if you want it Mulder." She gestured toward the soup on the bureau.

Mulder swallowed and made a face.

"Nauseous?" Scully asked, concerned. She was hoping he would be able to hold something down.

Mulder shook his head. "Throat," he said, then looked as if he regretted saying it.
"I’m fine, Scully. Really. Just not hungry."

Scully was already searching through her bag for a thermometer. When she found it,
she turned back to him.

"Okay, you don’t have to eat now. But I want you to try later, ok? Now open up, I need to get a temp."

"Scully, I’m fi--," Mulder started to say but as soon as he opened his mouth Scully shoved the thermometer in.

"Mulder, you are not fine. Let’s not start this game again, it’s Christmas." The thermometer beeped and she removed it and frowned.

"What is it?" he asked.

"102," she answered thoughtfully as she placed the thermometer down on the table next to the bed. She went rummaging through her bag again and came up with some Tylenol. She shook two pills out and grabbed the water her mom had placed along with the soup on the tray.

"Here take these. They’ll bring the fever down," she said as she dumped the pills into his hands.

Mulder sighed, but took them willingly, grimacing when he had to swallow them. Thankfully for him the gesture went unnoticed because Scully had her back turned.

"Mulder, get some more sleep. It’s the best thing you can do. I’ll be back in a while to check on you."

"Sleeping through the day was not what I had in mind when I thought about how I would be spending Christmas," Mulder mumbled as he fought off a yawn and ended up as coughs instead.

"Wait a second, I want you to take something for that cough, too." She went back to searching through her bag, and produced a bottle of cough syrup. She grabbed the spoon off the tray on the bureau and headed back over toward Mulder.

"Jeez, Scully, what do you carry around? A drug store?"

"With you, Mulder, it never hurts to be prepared," she teased as she spoonfed him cough syrup.

"Now go to sleep, Mulder. I’ll be back later." Mulder watched Scully walk out the door and yawned. Some Christmas this was turning out to be. He was stuck in bed by the order of one very convincing redhead. One very beautiful convincing redhead. <Woh, don’t got there, Mulder. Not now.> He was also putting out Scully’s family. He felt horrible about that. He’d have to find a way to pay Mrs. Scully back for this. He yawned again, unable to keep his eyes open. He’d find a way.

Scully tiptoed down the stairs, making sure she didn’t make a lot of noise to disturb Mulder. She walked back into the kitchen, still reveling in the smell of the food cooking inside of it. She opened the door to find Tara still peeling at the kitchen table and her mother still stirring at the stove.

"How’s Fox?" Maggie asked as she began to get plates from the cabinet.

"He’s ok, considering. He’s still running a fever, 102, and coughing, but I think he’ll be okay."

"Good. Now would you count the plates and see if we have enough. Then put yourself to good use by setting the dining room table." Maggie placed a bunch of silverware next to the plates. "And get Bill to get the highchair out. Oh, and ask Charlie if Lauren needs a book to sit on. I don’t now if she’s tall enough to reach the table, yet."

"Mom, I’m sure she’s fine. But I’ll ask." Scully scurried out of the kitchen quickly before her Mom began assigning her too many things. She dumped the plates and "accessories" down on the white linen that was draped over the dining room table. She ducked into the living room, and found the video of Patrick’s Christmas play long over, a football game was on in its place. Even Mary was engrossed. One thing Charlie had told his family about Mary when he started dating her was that she was one the biggest football fans he had ever meet. Interrupt her during a game and you deal with the consequences.

"Bill, Mom says get out the highchair, and Charlie, Mom wants to now if Lauren needs a book to sit on."

Neither person looked up.

"Sure, Dana, I’ll get it."

"No, she doesn’t need one."

Then they were back to their game. <Figures> Scully thought, remembering once how engrossed Mulder had been in a Knicks game. She could have stripped and walked around naked and he still wouldn’t have noticed her. She smiled sinfully at the thought.

The thought still floated through her mind as she set the table, silverware and all. Folding the napkins, and setting the glasses. When she was done, she stood back and admired her work with satisfaction. When she reentered the kitchen she found Tara no longer at the table with the potatoes but tossing a salad.

"Tell the boys and company dinner’s going to be on in five minutes. And if they’re late, well they know the rules," Maggie sat as she bent to check things in the oven.

The rules. Scully smiled at the remembrance of the rules set during her childhood and when she returned to her mother’s house to this day. And one of them was be on time for dinner or expect to go out to eat.

She gave the message to her brothers and within the next twenty minutes she was sitting down and highly engrossed in another one of her mother’s holiday meals. Scully’s mind however kept wondering toward Mulder upstairs, though she heard no movement and assumed he was still sleeping. She set aside a plate for him and hoped he was feeling up to eating something or she was going to get seriously worried.

Dinner ended a bit early when Patrick accidentally knocked over the gravy and it stained the white linen tablecloth. Maggie shrugged it off, saying "it can be washed" and "he’s only a child." Dana helped her mother clean up.

"Dana, the kids and I are going down to park to see if the pond’s frozen over. If is it, we’re skating, if not well, we’re throwing stuff into it," Charlie said with a grin that reminded Scully of the days when Charlie used to drag her down to the park with its pond and how he would throw rocks at the birds on the pond, and how she hated when he did it. He would tease her for it and they would usually get into a fight and come home either cold, wet, muddy, or sometimes all three.

"Anyway, want to come? Show the kids how far their Aunt Dana can throw a rock," he

"I can’t Charlie. Mulder’s upstairs sick and I have to check on him and bring him this-"

"Dana, go with your brother. You’ll have fun with the kids. I can take that up to Fox and watch him for you. You yourself said he’ll be fine." Maggie had taken the plate out of Dana’s hands and had grabbed her coat.

"Go on," she urged. Scully reluctantly took her coat and followed Charlie outside, Patrick and Lauren running ahead of them. Charlie had even bundled little Matty up and he ran as fast as his chubby little legs could carry him.

"Make sure he’s zippered," Scully heard Tara call to Charlie as they walked out the door. Maybe her mom was right, she did need a little "family" time out. Hopefully Mulder would be ok until she got back. She followed her brother and tried to push the little nagging bad thoughts out of her head.


Mulder heard the voice but tried to ignore it. The last thing he wanted to do was open his eyes and have Scully shove some more medicine down him.


That wasn’t Scully’s voice, he realized. He slowly dragged his tired eyes open and found a concerned Maggie Scully looking down at him. He struggled to get up, but Maggie laid a hand down on him firmly, pushing him back down.

"Fox, stay put. Dana went out for awhile and I just wanted to check to see how you were feeling." She sat on the edge of the bed in a motherly fashion, it reminded him of one of the rare moments his mother had taken care of him when he was sick, before Sam was gone.

"I’m fine, Mrs. Scully," he replied, but his voice sounded raspy and he found it hurt his throat to talk. <Damn cold> he thought as he tried to look more healthy and less sick in front of Scully’s mom.

"I’ll don’t appreciate lying, Fox, even when it is with good intention." <Damn, this woman is good> Mulder thought as she turned toward the bureau.

"Dana made you a plate. I brought it up, hoping you would be up to eating, but it doesn’t look as if you are," Maggie continued with a touch of a frown. Now Mulder knew were Scully got that frown of hers.

"No, I’m really fine," Mulder started again as he began to sit up, but found himself fitting a bought of dizziness. He let himself fall back down to the pillow under Mrs. Scully’s careful gaze.

"Well, you certainly don’t look fine to me," Maggie said as she reached for his forehead. She gave a frown not unlike Scully’s best ones. "Does Dana have a thermometer around here somewhere or do I have to go downstairs," she muttered, half to herself. She finally spied what she was looking for and Mulder grimaced. He could hardy stand _one_ Scully woman taking care of him, let alone _two_. This was some Christmas.

"Really, Mrs. Scully--" Mulder began to defend his case again, but lost as Maggie Scully shoved the thermometer once again under his tongue and Mulder was forced to do nothing but sit and wait under Maggie’s ever so cautious gaze. He sighed, and he didn’t want to admit it he was grateful for the care he was receiving. Though he would never admit it, he was feeling pretty bad. Headache, dizziness, and a sore throat that wasn’t seeming to get any better. Throw on a hacking cough and he wasn’t really a very happy camper. But he never let on. That would ruin his "game" with Scully. The game they played a lot more often than he wished they did.

The thermometer beeped and he waited patiently as Maggie looked at it. She didn’t seem happy with its results. "When’s the last time Dana gave you Tylenol?" she asked, fingering the bottle Scully had left out on the nightstand.

"I don’t know," Mulder admitted, guessing his fever must have gone up if Mrs. Scully wanted to shove more Tylenol down his throat. "When she last came up, I think."

Maggie looked at her watch. "That was about 3 and a half hours ago. Better wait a little while longer." She looked at him, pure concern in her eyes and Mulder once again felt so guilty for putting her out. She didn’t need to be worrying about him.

"Do you want anything?" she asked him and Mulder felt another pang of guilt hit him.

"No, I’m okay, Mrs. Scully." He watched as Mrs. Scully looked at him again then left him alone in room. Maybe he could repay Scully’s mom by taking her out to dinner with Scully one night or something.


The park was still the same as Scully had always remembered it. She had passed it on the way to mother’s house many times, but never stopped to really look at it. The cold air was all around her and the kids were running about and all she could remember was the many winters, summers, springs, and falls she spent here. She was an outdoor kid, contrary to other beliefs Mulder may have, she did like the outdoors. She may not come prepared or even know how to start a fire in the woods for that matter, but she did like the outdoors, as long as she didn’t have to stay _too_ long outdoors. Like a whole night unprepared in woods she didn’t know.

She and Charlie had a good time chasing after three children and talking about childhood days. They discussed the weather and work.

"So, who is this ‘Mulder’, Dana? I’ve been getting mixed signals from Bill and Mom. I’ve given Mom more credit because her patience certainly didn’t get passed down to Bill."

Scully looked at her brother and out at the park, assuring herself the kids were okay and within range. So, she knew how Bill felt about Mulder, and her Mom’s attitude was plain, she was used to her trying to set her up with many men, and Mulder was no acceptation. Though she did find her mother hit a few sore spots with him when it came to some of the touchy "events" that happened in the last six years she had been partnered with Mulder.

"He’s my partner, Charlie. He has been for the last six years."

"And I’ve never meet him."

"What is this, Charlie? The younger brother’s version of _Twenty Questions_?"

Charlie smiled and leaned back against the park bench he and Dana were sitting on. "Guess you could say that." His grin increased. "It’s hard to get a straight answer from our family."

Scully laughed. "Mom and Bill do disagree when it comes to Mulder."

"So what is this guy like, Dana? You work with someone for six years and you don’t exactly--" He raised his eyebrows in question, letting Scully complete the thought herself.

She hit in the elbow. "Charlie Scully, we are not sleeping together!"

He looked at her innocently. "I never suggested you were doing such a thing."

"Yeah, right. Mulder and I are partners, that’s all."

"That’s all?" He looked at her as if he didn’t quite believe her. Scully rolled her eyes; this was what you got from Mom’s and Bill’s opinions combined?

"Yes, we’re partners and friends."


"You now what I mean, Charlie. Friends." She stopped herself before she said anything else; the last thing she wanted to do was tell her brother Charlie about her relationship with Mulder. Not that there was anything there; it was just her thoughts and if she told Charlie she might as well call the newspaper and have a story run on it in the morning edition. Charlie wasn’t talkative for nothing.

"Okay, Dana. It’s just a younger brother wants to know what’s going on his sister’s life. And if Mom is going to be calling me about any weddings soon."

Scully gave her brother another punch in the arm. "You sound like Mom."

"Dana, Mom only wants you to get out more. You need to get a life. Whether it’s with this ‘Mulder’ or not, she’s worried about you."

"And she voices these concerns with you?" Scully sounded surprised. She knew her mother discussed her life, but she was hoping she didn’t discuss her _love_ life with her _brother_.

"Well, I called her and we got to talking. She didn’t want to talk to Bill, so…."

"She talked to you. She could have talked to me."

"And what Dana? Have you deny it? You really do need to get out then. And she means more than the usual plane trip you take on a case. A _real_ night out."

"With a man you’re implying?"

"Well, it helps." He glanced toward the kids, happy to see they had moved to the swings and that Patrick and Lauren were taking turns pushing Matty in the baby swing. He sighed. "I’m just saying, _Mom’s saying_, that you should get out at least once in awhile. I’ve never meet Mulder, but Mom says he’s nice, Bill says he’s well, Bill’s opinion never did matter to me. He’ll hate any guy that goes after you."

Scully’s eyebrow raised. "Goes after me?"

"Yeah from what Mom described, I would say he--"

"Mulder and I are not involved."

Charlie backed off, seeming to sense the forceful tone his sister’s voice had taken. Scully didn’t want to sound cold, but she didn’t feel much like discussing this topic now, in a park, in the cold, with her younger brother. Somehow she had pictured her brother Charlie like Bill, hating Mulder at first sight. Maybe he didn’t hear the whole list of reasons to hate Mulder from Bill. She certainly didn’t expect her brother to encourage her to "get out more" even if that meant getting out with Mulder. She felt Mom’s influence in the air.

"Yeah, I know, you said that. I’m just talking, Dana. The whole family knows I do a lot of that," he said, cracking a grin.

Scully smiled herself. "Yes, you do." She glanced down at her watch and realized she and Charlie had been out for almost an hour and a half, talking and catching up before the topic got to Mulder. The sky was beginning to darken, it was almost 5 o’clock "We better get going."

"Yeah, Mary wanted to get back to the hotel early tonight. The kids were up forever last night and she hopes to get them down early tonight."


Charlie looked at her sheepishly. "Yeah. We didn’t want to put Mom out. There’s four of us and she has enough to worry about. Plus Patrick’s in his ‘messy’ stage."

"Mom wouldn’t mind."

"Mom hasn’t seen how much damage Patrick can do."

Scully grinned. "Couldn’t be worse than you and Bill."

"Maybe you’ve got that right, but…"

"So it’s just Mom, Bill, Tara, and Matty at the house tonight?"

"And you and Mulder if she succeeds in convincing you to stay."

Scully got up off the bench. "Mom can be convincing."

"Maybe not that much, Dana. Look at you so far."

Scully stood still for a second, considering the comment. It wasn’t meant to be an insult, that Scully knew. Yet she knew it was true. Her mother had a totally different plan for her youngest daughter when she was born Scully suspected; one that didn’t include the FBI, cancer, and infertility. Yet her mother still respected her decisions, to a degree. Respect and liking were two different things.

"I guess you’re right. Let’s go back to Mom’s." Scully walked over toward the swings and scooped Matty out of the swings and began a walk back toward the house.

"Mom, we’re home!" Scully called as she, Charlie and the kids walked into the door.

"Aunt Dana, what time is it?" Scully looked down to find Lauren at her heels. She glanced at the nearest clock.

"It’s 5:15, Lauren." The little girl lit up.

"Patrick, RugratsŪ is on!" Suddenly two pairs of feet were making a beeline for the family room.

Scully watched Charlie trail after them and she was handing Matty over to Tara when her mom walked in.

"Mom, did you check on Mulder?" She shrugged out of her coat and shoved it into the hall closet.

"Honey, make sure you hang it so it doesn’t fall," Maggie warned as Scully was hanging her coat. "And yes I did check on him. He’d didn’t look like he was doing very well. I took his temperature and it was 103. That was up from before, right?"

"Yes," Scully said, with a frown, growing concerned as her mom spoke.

"Well, at the time, he said you had given him Tylenol only about 3 hours before, so I waited awhile. I went upstairs about a half hour ago and his temperature was still the same, so I gave him some more Tylenol. I did nurse some kids though some illness at one time in my life, Dana," she added with a small smile.

Scully relaxed a bit. "Thanks, Mom. I think I forget that sometimes. I’m going to check on him."

"He fell asleep as soon as I left Dana, so be quiet."

"I will, Mom," Scully replied as she headed for the stairs.

Mulder was still sleeping when Scully got upstairs. He had kicked the blankets down to the edge of the bed, and his brow was dotted with perspiration. She frowned a bit at that, but had to smile as she watched him sleeping. Just like a baby. <And acts like one, too> she thought, laughing to herself. She bent down to bring the cover back up over his shoulders when he stirred.

"Scully?" he mumbled and his hazel eyes opened, fever bright and unfocused.

"Shh," she said, as her hand ran across his forehead. Her frown deepened as her fingertips met the hot flesh. Her hands reached for the thermometer; his temperature hadn’t seemed to diminish any.

"Open up," she said.

Mulder shook his head. "Damn thermometer. Scully you have to get one of those ear ones," he said with a smile that didn’t last long. His voice sounded weak, like he was losing it.

"Sorry, Mulder. We FBI woman aren’t made of money," she added with a touch of a smile. "Now, open up before I stick it somewhere else."

Mulder sighed, well really coughed, and reluctantly opened up. Three minutes later the thermometer beeped and Scully removed it.

"103.4," she said to herself. She turned to Mulder. "Mulder how do you feel?"

"How do I feel?" Mulder thought the question sounded odd. "Do you want an honest answer?" he asked with a sly grin hoping to get a smile out of Scully.

"Yes, I want you to be honest." There was no smile on her face.

"Honest?" Scully sighed and sat on the bed.

"Yes, honest, Mulder. Think you could try that for once, Mulder? Trying something new each day is good for you," she teased.

Mulder looked her, but decided to play along with this new "honesty" thing. "I feel bad, Scully. Sick."

Scully looked at him with a face that said, ‘No, duh.’

"I know that, Mulder. I wanted you to be more specific."

"Okay, okay. My head hurts, I’m achy and most of all my throat is killing me. That specific enough for you?" God, he hated being sick.

"Yes." She sat on the bed for a second, thoughtful, then walked over to her bag and rummaged through it again.

Mulder grimaced when she did that. <No more medicine.>

She came back with her penlight and a tongue depressor. "Open up, Mulder," she instructed.

"Huh?" he said, looking at her.

"I said open up. I want to get a look at your throat." She looked at him seriously and he knew she meant business. He opened his mouth and let her peer down it. <I need to make a mental not to get sick anymore> he thought.

"I think you might have strep," she announced when she was done.


"Yep." She sat on the edge of the bed again. "Of course you’ll have to have a throat culture done to be sure. I think your FirstCare doctor is at GW tomorrow."

Mulder put his hand up. "Wait a second, Scully. My FirstCare doctor?" He looked down sheepishly.

Scully sighed. "Mulder, you didn’t." He nodded and didn’t meet her eyes. "Damn it, Mulder. Would it kill you to keep one physician for longer than three months?"

His fevered eyes twinkled. "Why bother? I have you."

Scully caught herself blushing at that statement. Luckily Mulder didn’t seem to notice. "Mulder, a pathologist is not the person you want to name on your insurance forms."

He shrugged indifferently. "It works for me."

Scully sighed again, though this time it was more of a tired sigh. "Well, Mulder it’s not going to work for your insurance company. Ok, I’ll try and see if I can get you an appointment with another doctor tomorrow, and we can get you on antibiotics. For now you stay in bed, you’re probably still contagious."

Mulder had begun to fall back down to the pillow, but his head perked up at the word ‘contagious.’

"I’m sorry, Scully," he mumbled. "I didn’t mean to--"

"Mulder, if I caught everything you came down with, I’d be a complete wreck. You might not even be contagious. How long have you been feeling sick? And don’t tell me it’s the snow bank in New Jersey, because I doubt you picked up strep from that."

Mulder laid his head back down on the pillows and sighed. "A week, I guess. I don’t know."

"A week? Mulder, you have to tell when--"

"I don’t feel good," Mulder finished, interrupting her. "I’m sorry, Scully. I’ve intruded your family time and--"

"Mulder, one thing you have to learn is to stop apologizing to me. It’s getting old," she said with a touch of a smile. She got up and tucked the covers back over Mulder’s shoulder and tousled his hair. "You get some sleep. I’m going to see if I can make that appointment. Maybe if you’re really lucky," she added, "I’ll run out and see if there’s an all-night pharmacy so you can get some more medicine tonight."

"Oh joy," Mulder mumbled sleepily.

Scully watched him close his eyes. He was so cute when he was vulnerable. She smiled. She wouldn’t admit it to him, but she enjoyed taking care of him. She had once told her mother that and her mother had smiled.

"I used to love taking care of your father when he was sick too," she had said. "He was whiny, uncomfortable, and always in a bad mood, but he looked so vulnerable and forlorn in those blankets. It always made me fall in love with him all over again. Florence Nightingale syndrome, they call it."

"Mom, Mulder and I," she had paused, choosing her words carefully, "I’m not involved with Mulder."

Her mother had sipped her tea and looked up at her. "I never said you were, dear."

Scully smiled at the memory, which was only a few months old, not too long after her return from Antarctica "trip" with Mulder. A nice quiet day, the last one she had had in a while. She stared back at his sleeping form, and suddenly felt some form of comfort.

"My Mulder," she whispered to herself and did a double when she realized what she had said and that she had said it out loud. She took another glance at Mulder, who was still snoring lightly. She sighed, grateful he had not heard her. She slipped out the door, closing it softly behind her. Her cheeks colored as she recalled the thought that had just run through her head.


Scully looked up and realized someone was calling her. It was Mary.

"Dana are you all right? You look a little red."

Scully blushed a little more at the words but shook her head. "I’m fine," she answered.

"Ok," Mary replied. "Charlie and I are, despite protests from your mother are going to take the kids back to the hotel. I know it’s only six-fifteen, but the kids are starting to wear out. They wouldn’t go to sleep until…." She pause. "1:30, I think it was. Something about staying up so they could catch ‘Santa’. Lauren is already nodding off in front of DougŪ, so I think that’s our cue."

"You’re coming back tomorrow?"

"For lunch. We’re don’t leave till Saturday."

"Yes, Charlie said you were leaving New Year’s."

"I have tons of paperwork to do." She and Scully began to descend the stairs. "You don’t know how close I was to dragging my laptop along on this trip. Charlie had to talk me out of it," she said with a smile, then gestured her head up the stairs. "How’s your partner? Maggie said he wasn’t feeling well."

Scully stole a glance up the stairs herself. "Yes, I think he has strep."

"Really. That’s a bitch with kids and even worse with adults. You must know your brother’s a baby when he gets sick."

Scully laughed as they made their way into the living room. "I know. He’s so dramatic. You would think he was dying."

"Who’s dying?" piped up a voice from in front of them.

"Speak of the devil," Mary said as Charlie approached them and kissed her. "You’re the topic of conversation."

"When am I not?"

Scully gave her brother a punch in the arm. "Don’t you get conceited."

"Don’t you know I’m already conceited, Dana. The kids are about to run to the rental car," he warned his wife. "I said good-bye to Mom, but," he directed his question to Dana, "I was hoping to meet this partner, ‘Mulder’, of yours."

"Not unless you want to go back home with strep throat."


Scully sighed and smiled. "You’ll have to wait a few days. Mulder has strep, so unless you want to catch it I wouldn’t go visit him if I were you." In truth, Scully was glad to postpone the meeting of her brother and Mulder; not because she was afraid they would hate each other, but because of the "ideas" she was afraid Charlie might give Mulder. After her discussion with Charlie she was a little afraid of his "ideas" herself.

"I don’t mind a little strep," Charlie said, but Dana stopped him again.

"And he’s sleeping. If you wake him, Charlie Scully, _you_ can pay the consequences."

"Sorry, Dana. I didn’t realize." He backed off; to him his sister seemed to protect this man as if they were already married. And he hadn’t even met the guy yet! "I guess we’ll get going then." He called to Bill, who was watching the news. "See you tomorrow Bill."

"Sure, Charlie. Bye Mary. Next time you should listen to Mom and abandon this hotel nonsense."

"Sure, Bill. Just wait till your kid starts to _really_ talk back. Bye, Dana." Charlie gave his sister a quick hug and departed, stopping to hug his mother again as she appeared next to the door.

"Don’t forget lunch at 12," Maggie called as the door closed. "I wish I could convince them to stay," she said, more to herself then anything.

"Don’t worry, Mom. Charlie’s will be back tomorrow, _way_ before you want him to be. After tomorrow the leftovers will be a distant memory."

Maggie smiled. "Well Bill I know you’ll help him in that department."

Bill sighed. "Well it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it."

"And you always volunteer," Scully teased as she began to gather some of her things. "Mom, I think I’m going to take Mulder home. I’m pretty sure he’s got strep and I have to make an appointment with a doctor for tomorrow."

Maggie grabbed Scully’s things out of his hands. "Nonsense, you and Fox can stay here. With Charlie and his family staying at that hotel, we have plenty of room. You can stay here and make the appointment."

"Mom--" Scully started to protest but Maggie interrupted her.

"Don’t argue with me Dana Katherine. You’re staying. I believe that Teresa Hamilton, remember the girl you went to med school with, has a practice around here. I was talking to her mother the other day and she was complaining about how her daughter is workaholic, how she was going back to her practice the day after Christmas. I’m sure you could make Fox an appointment with her tomorrow. She’s in family practice, you know."

Scully nodded amazed at the things her mother knew. "Ok, Mom, you win. We’ll stay, but only because I don’t really want to drag Mulder back to my apartment. I’ll look up Teresa’s number tomorrow morning and make an appointment."

"That’s good." She looked toward Bill, who was trying to hide the fact that he was less than enthusiastic at his mother’s suggestion. "Bill, close you mouth."

Scully shot her own look at Bill as she followed her mother into the kitchen.


His sister was right there. Less than a foot away. She looked at him and was suspended in mid-air and was slowing floating away from him.

"Fox, help me. Help me, Fox!"

But he was frozen, and she just got farther away. Suddenly the vision disappeared and was replaced with anther one.

She was laying on a table, people surrounded her, and she cried out. They were hurting her and she kept calling out. She was close to him, yet he couldn’t move; all he could do was watch, watch her torture. The smell of cigarette smoke floated past his nose and she cried out again, the pain obviously evident in her voice.

"Scully!" He cried at the top of his lungs. "Scully!!"

"Mulder, wake up."

Someone was shaking him, but the picture didn’t disappear from his head.

"Scully!" he called again, and heard the sound of his own voice, raspy and weak sounding.

"Mulder, wake up, it’s a dream."

Suddenly the vision disappeared and Mulder realized where he was. He opened his eyes to find Scully shaking his shoulders, standing in her bathrobe. Her red head fell to her shoulders, slept on yet still beautiful to him.

"Scully?" he rasped, still hazy. "Where are we?"

He felt her settle next to him on the bed. Her weight pushed the mattress down a little and he felt her warm hand find his own. "We’re at my mom’s, remember?"

He glanced around the room, and realized he wasn’t home; it was Mrs. Scully’s home. "I remember." He gulped and relaxed, then realized he may have woken up the entire household. "Did I wake--"

"No, you didn’t," Scully answered. "No one else is awake."

He sighed in relief. "Pretty bad, huh?"

He nodded and she gripped his hand a little tighter. "Want to talk about it?"

"Not really."

She nodded. "Ok, we don’t have to talk about it." Her hand reached for his forehead and he let her touch it, and could almost see her frown forming in the dark. "How do you feel?"

"Tired, I guess."

Scully looked at him (at least he thought she was looking at him, it was hard to tell in the dark), and finally turned to the nightstand, turning on the small light on it. Mulder squinted as soon as the small light hit his eyes.

"Mulder, are you okay?" Scully’s concerned voice asked.

"I’m fine," he replied as he watched her reach for the thermometer on the nightstand.

"Mulder, open up." He saw her concerned face in the shadow of the light. He felt so bad for waking her up that he opened his mouth willingly, causing a strange look from Scully as she put the thermometer in his mouth.

He looked down at the folds in her robe as he waited for the thermometer to beep. Her robe, the same one she brought on every case; the robe he had seen many times when he knocked on her door in the middle of the night. He had thought of buying her a new one for Christmas, but had realized he _liked_ her robe; it was her. Suddenly he realized that he hadn’t given Scully her gift, it was still at home.

"Scully, your Christmas gift," he mumbled, but with the thermometer in his mouth the sentence came out garbled and strange.

"Shh," she said as the thermometer beeped, a beep that Mulder come to recognize in the last twelve hours. Scully removed it, glancing at the reading in the limited light.

"Your gift, Scully. It’s at home," Mulder repeated, this time the sentence making more

Scully looked up from the thermometer at him. "What?" Then it dawned on her. "Oh, Mulder don’t worry about it. I still have to give you your gift."

Mulder began to sit up. "It’s at home," he repeated as Scully’s hands gripped his shoulders and gently pushed him back down into the bed.

"It’s okay." She tucked the blankets around him. "Get some more sleep. Your temperature isn’t any worse, but it also isn’t any better. I’m making a doctor’s appointment in the morning."

Mulder wanted to open his mouth to protest, but was fast asleep before he could open his mouth.

Scully listened to her mother make breakfast as she leafed through the telephone book looking for Teresa Hamilton’s office number. She smiled when she found it and punched the numbers into the keypad.

Her brother Bill sat at the kitchen table, the paper in front of him, and Matty was smiling away in his highchair beside him. Tara was out on an early morning diaper run, after she had discovered she was low this morning.

Scully let the phone ring three times before a tired voice picked up. Scully recognized it as her long-time friend’s and soon they were engrossed in a conversation, Scully almost forgot why she called. Almost.

"Teresa, before I forget, I called to make an appointment for my partner, Fox Mulder. I think he has strep."

"Yes, that’s the ‘Fox’ my mom talks about." Scully paused. "Yeah, 10:30 would be great. Thanks, see you then. Bye."

Maggie looked up from the stove where she was making pancakes. "make an appointment?"

Scully joined her brother at the table. "Yes, for 10:30. Mom, how much do you talk about me?" Scully inquired with a bit of a grin to her face.

Maggie smiled and shrugged. "You’re my daughter. I talk about all of you.’

"Be lucky your friends aren’t ranked," Bill muttered under his breath.

"I heard that," Maggie said as she put a plate of pancakes on the table. "I’m proud of you."

"Run now, Dana," Bill said in a mocking tone.

"Bill," Scully warned. "I’m going to check on Mulder." She shot a look at Bill and Bill played innocent.

"Dana, I’ve been good. I could have told that sob what--"

"William," his mother warned and Bill closed his mouth. Scully escaped the room before things could get to become worse.


Scully opened the door to find Mulder sitting up in bed, the sheets pushed down to his knees. He turned at the sound at her feet.

"Morning," she greeted.

"Morning," Mulder echoed back, his voice practically non-existent. It was still raspy and weak, yet worse then last night’s 1 a.m. wake-up call.

"I made an appointment for 10:30 and I don’t want any arguments."

"You weren’t going to get any."

Scully stood back, puzzled by his attitude. If he was being cooperative, he _must_ be feeling bad.

She sat back down on the edge of the bed and met his eyes. "So can you get dressed?" He was still in the sweatpants she had managed to convince to change into at some point yesterday. He nodded.

"Ok, I’ll be back."

She glanced at him worriedly as she left the room. He definitely wasn’t himself.

It seemed that a lot more people got sick over the holidays then Scully’s thought. When she reached Dr. Teresa Hamilton’s office, there were already people there. Not a lot but some. Scully understood why Teresa wanted to open the office back up today. She certainly had enough business.

Mulder was quiet and cooperative and that worried Scully more than if she had dragged him here kicking and screaming. He had grabbed a copy of People™ Magazine and was trying to look engrossed in it. Scully sighed as she glanced around the room.

A man sat with a little girl, looking about five, on his lap. Next to him was an annoyed mother glaring at her teenager son. Then came another pair, a couple, Scully supposed. The man was complaining and the woman was rolling her eyes. She turned to Scully.

"Men are such babies," she commented, then glanced toward Mulder. "Though your husband seems well-behaved. How do you do it?"

Scully opened her mouth to say Mulder wasn’t her husband, but she was tired of the explanation. Instead she just smiled. "You just happened to catch him on a good day. Usually he’s kicking and screaming by now."

The woman laughed. Mulder looked up from his magazine. "I resent that," he said before returning to his article.

Scully opened her mouth to continue the conversation, but a nurse interrupted and called Mulder’s name. She heard Mulder sigh, but after a punch in the shoulder, he reluctantly got up and followed the nurse into an exam room.

Ten minutes later, Mulder was sitting on the exam table, and Scully saw the relief that flooded through him when he realized for once he wouldn’t have to put on one of those gowns. The nurse had been in to record his temperature already and now he just sat there, waiting.

Scully handed Mulder another copy of People™ magazine.

"You seemed _so_ into in the waiting room," she teased.

"Don’t you know Scully? Reading about the celebs in People™ is a secret obsession
of mine."

"Now I know what to get you for your birthday."

"Ooo, have I graduated up from a tie?" he said, pausing to cough and swallow painfully.

"But, Mulder if I didn’t give you any ties, where would you get some normal ones?"

He opened his mouth to respond, when he was interrupted by the door opening and the door opening. Dr. Hamilton walked in, already looking boggled down for ten in the morning. Her brown hair looked as if it had just been pulled on. She sighed and pushed it back.

"Toddlers just love to pull hair," she commented. "Hi, Dana, nice to you. According to your mom, you ‘don’t visit as much as you could.’"

Dana smiled. "Well, yes, my mom says that to all of her kids."

"I’ll be doing that when my daughter, Sarah, I’m sure, when she grows up. Is this the infamous Fox Mulder your mom told me about? Your partner?"

Scully nodded. "Meet my partner, Fox Mulder. Thanks to him, my medical skills never get rusty."

"Gee, Scully, thanks," Mulder mumbled and smiled at Teresa, but grimaced as he swallowed.

Teresa saw the wince and walked over to get a tongue depressor. "I guess I don’t have to ask what the problem is. Throat?"

Scully nodded while Mulder tried to look as health as he could in a doctor’s office. It wasn’t working. The doctor glanced down at the chart she had in her hands, and noted the reading done by the nurse.

"Well, let’s take a look there, then. Open," she instructed.

Mulder groaned but obeyed and opened his mouth so the doctor could have a look.

"Well, Dana I think you are right. It’s looks like strep," she said when she was done. She walked over to the cabinets and got out what looked like a swab thing to Mulder. "I’ll do a rapid strep test here and then send it off to the lab for a follow-up culture just to confirm infection." She walked toward Mulder with her swab thing. "Open up wide."

Mulder eyed the swab, but after a ‘look’ from Scully, opened up and let the doctor stick the swab down his throat. It was a experience he would regret. His gag reflex kicked in immediately and all he wanted to do was reach up and pull the thing out of his throat. Scully sensed his discomfort and grabbed his hands, holding them. It had only been one second, yet Mulder felt he was in danger of throwing up. Finally he felt something scrape the back of his throat and the swab thing was removed. But as soon as it was removed, his throat began to hurt even more.

"I’m am going to take this down to our lab and I’ll be back with the results in about twenty minutes," the doctor promised as she walked out the door.

The doctor was true to her word, twenty minutes later she was back with the results. "It’s strep." She took out Mulder’s chart and began writing. "Are you allergic to penicillin?" She directed the question at Mulder, who had to look to Scully for the answer.

"No he’s not," Scully replied. Teresa nodded.

"I’m going to write you a prescription for penicillin then. You have to take this until it done, which should be about ten days." She looked at Dana. "After a day, he should be feeling better." Scully nodded and took the prescription from Teresa’s hand.

"Thanks, Teresa," Scully said as she offered Mulder a hand off the exam table. He reluctantly took it.

"Till the meds are done," Teresa told Mulder one more time.

"He understands, right Mulder," Scully answered for him as they walked out the door.

Mulder gave a nod, and rolled his eyes at Scully. She shook her head and smiled. Teresa watched the two walk out of the office as she made a couple of more notes on the chart. <Hmm, Dana didn’t tell me her and her partner were involved> she thought as the couple disappeared out the door.

"Bed, Mulder. You’re still contagious," Scully said as soon as Mulder walked back into the door.

"Scully," he whined, his voice raspy. "I went to the doctor…."

"Mulder," she said, "you have to be on antibiotics for at least a day before I’ll let you out of bed." She looked at his eyes, as they put on their best ‘puppy dog’ look. She sighed. "Listen, Mulder. I’m going to get you a glass of water so you can take your medicine. Then you and I can play one of the old board games my mom has around here. She has tons."

"I thought I was contagious?"

"Mulder, I’ve been around you already."

"Oh, ok." As they were talking she was guiding him up the stairs. She reached the bedroom that for the last day had been ‘his’ and pushed him down on the bed. "Why don’t you get back into your sweats? And I expect to see you in bed when I come back, ok?"

Mulder sighed. "For a game of Monopoly, I’ll get in bed for you."

"It’s a deal," she promised as she left the room and walked back down into the kitchen.

She found her mom, there, heating leftovers for lunch.

"Hi, Dana, I didn’t know you were back. Bill and Tara took Matty for a little walk."

Dana smiled at that. "I never figured Bill for the ‘baby walking’ type."

"You’d be surprised, Dana. What did the doctor say?" She got some plates out and placed them on the counter.

"Um, just that Mulder has strep. She gave him some antibiotics and I tucked him back into bed."

"Good," her mother replied. "You know that you and Fox can stay as long as you like here, honey."

Scully looked up from the prescription bottle she was reading. "Oh, Mom, we’ll both be out of your hair by tomorrow. I would leave today, but I want to make sure Mulder stays in bed for at least a _little_ while and it’s easier to get him to do it here," she said with a smile.

"Mothers’ house work charms."

Scully reached into the drawer and pulled out a spoon. "Mom, do you still have Monopoly™ around here?"

"Yes, it’s in the closet in your old room, I believe. Why?"

"I promised Mulder I’d play with him and he promised he’d stay in bed."

"Sounds like a deal. Just don’t beat him to badly," Maggie added with a smile.

"I won’t, Mom," Scully replied with a smile of her own. She grabbed a glass of water and headed up to see Mulder.

"Boardwalk, Mulder. With a hotel. You owe me 2000 dollars."

Mulder groaned. "You’re a Monopoly™ shark, Scully. You conned me."

Scully smiled. "I just said I hadn’t played since I was a kid. I guess I failed to mention I used to beat my brothers at the game all the time when I was a kid. Won the Monopoly™ tournaments, too."

"Monopoly tournaments?"

Scully laughed. "Yeah, we use to have those every once in a while in my house. It was part of the family ‘togetherness’ thing I guess."

"Just like the ‘good ole Scully Christmas’? May you should consider creating your own line of Hallmark™ cards, Scully. You could make a mint."

"Just roll the dice, Mulder."

"Okay, okay." As he picked up the dice, she looked at him. They had been playing for a few hours, and she was happy to see Mulder was getting back to old self. She was surprise to find he was into Monopoly, but then again she should learn not to be surprised by anything new she learned about Fox Mulder. His voice was still raspy she tell it hurt his voice to speak, but hat didn’t stop him. He did look tired though. The circles under his eyes stood out against his still pale face. She hoped he would be feeling considerably better in a few days.

"An eight. One, two, three…" He began to move his piece across the board and with his luck, landed on another one of Scully’s properties.

"How much do I owe?" he asked, grimacing as he spoke the last word.

Scully shook her head. "Too much, Mulder. You’re broke."

He looked down at his pathetic money pile. "I guess you’re right."

"I win," she said as she began to clear the board.

"No wait, give me a chance to beat you."

Scully smiled. "You can’t beat me, Mulder. And besides, you’re beat. I can tell from your eyes. So this is what you are going to do. You are going to let me check your temperature one more time, and then you are going to take a nap. Sound like a plan/"

"Do I have a choice?"


"I didn’t think I did."

Scully reached for the thermometer on the nightstand. "Open."

Mulder sighed, but did as he was told. Three minutes late she checked the thermometer with some satisfaction.

"102.4. Already done some. Good," she said. Mulder was still sitting up in bed. She gently pushed him down.

"Gee, Scully, if your mother were to catch us now…."

Yep, that was her Mulder.

"Lie down, Mulder."

"Is that an order?’

She gave him a look and he laid back against the pillows. She looked at him. "Go to sleep." She got up and began walking to the door.



"Thanks. Thanks for sharing your Christmas with me."

She smiled. "Anytime, Mulder." She remembered the gift she had for Mulder and had forgotten to give to him. She opened her mouth to tell him, but as she looked at the bed, she realized he was already snoring lightly.

<Oh, well. I’ll give it to him later> she thought as she walked down the stairs to join her family for lunch. She smiled as she descended the stairs. She realized Christmas had been nice, even though she spent Christmas Eve and part of the early hours a Christmas morning in an airport. It had been nice. Her brother Bill hadn’t said anything to Mulder, though she knew it was partly because she wouldn’t let him see him. She could deal with Charlie _after_ he met Mulder. _If_ she decided to let him. Yes, all in all is was a nice Christmas. No mutants, just family. And Mulder. <Well,> she thought as she pushed the door to kitchen open, <Mulder’s family, too.> She wouldn’t have it any other way.

"The End"

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