SUMMARY: Scully shares the holiday spirit.
"You mean you've never done it?"
Marsh shook her head, looking guilty and defensive at the same time.
"Never? Not even as a kid?" Scully tried not to sound incredulous. There were clearly things she didn't know about her lover. It had just never occurred to her to ask.
"My mother tried, a couple of times, when I was small," Marsh admitted in a low voice. She knew this would be a problem, but she had hoped they could avoid it somehow. Last year Scully had been working, and it hadn't come up.
"And what happened?" Scully asked softly. She stepped closer, oblivious to the visitors and staff streaming out of the double hospital doors, crowding by them on the stairs. She had taken the afternoon off and surprised Marsh as she left work after a night on call. She had no idea her innocent suggestion would trigger such a response.
"I cried," Marsh said, acutely embarrassed.
Scully's heart twisted. She couldn't bear the thought of her upset. "Oh, sweetie! Why?"
"It's like having a corpse in the living room. I just can't do it."
Scully took a breath, chose her words carefully. This was clearly a serious issue. "Honey, don't you think that's just a teensy bit extreme?"
Marsh looked away, scuffed the toe of her black boot along a crack in the sidewalk. "Maybe -- yes -- a little -- I guess."
"I mean -- millions -- no, zillions -- of people do it." Scully was trying really hard not to smile. She had never seen Marsh quite so uncomfortable.
"It's murder." Marsh was starting to smile now, too.
Scully laughed, took her hand. "Come on, I've got an idea."
Marsh followed obediently as Scully tugged her eagerly down the street. Marsh loved to see Dana so excited, so carefree. She'd do anything to keep that glow in her eyes and that youthful exuberance in her voice. Anything -- absolutely anything.
"I'm not putting that thing in my Porsche," Marsh said flatly. "No way -- uh uh."
"It's only for a few blocks," Scully pointed out.
"We could tie it into the trunk," Scully suggested reasonably.
"It's filthy. There's mud on it," Marsh said, unable to hide her distaste.
"But it's not dead."
Marsh sighed. She couldn't argue that one.
Scully searched her pockets for her cell phone. "Mulder can probably come by with the bureau car."
Marsh flinched. Oh no, there was no way she was going to let Mulder in on this. She'd never hear the end of it. And besides, if Dana really wanted to do this, and it appeared that she did --
"Come on, let's pay the man," Marsh acquiesced, gracefully she hoped.
Marsh walked around it warily. It sat by the windows, tucked up cozily with a bright red blanket-thing around it's bottom. She sniffed.
Not too bad. Kind of nice really.
She knelt down, peered at the floor. No detritus. Not yet.
Scully approached from the kitchen, juggling two glasses of wine, a bag overflowing with brightly colored objects, and a battered box stuffed full of treasures. She handed Marsh a glass, and knelt beside her.
"Why don't you light the fire while I sort these out," Scully suggested.
A few moments later, Marsh stood in the flickering firelight and studied the things that Dana had carefully arranged on the bright red blanket. She'd never seen such unusual ornaments before. "Some of these look really old," she observed.
"It was a tradition at our house, that every year each of us received our own Christmas ornament. They add up after a while."
Marsh was touched by this small piece of Dana's history, and the sentiment which had prompted her to save these things all those years. "They're beautiful."
Scully smiled up at her dark-haired lover, thinking how good it felt to be sharing this time together. She could almost believe that they were just two ordinary people, celebrating an age-old holiday in quiet intimacy. For this evening at least, all the dark angels of her life were banished.
She picked out one of her favorites, and handed it to Marsh. Marsh raised an eyebrow in question. Scully smiled fondly. "Anywhere."
Marsh turned to study the tree, appreciating the tight symmetry of its branches, and the rather proud fullness of its form. The big root ball in the dark plastic container added considerable height to its compact four feet, and she had to stretch to reach the higher branches. She carefully placed the tiny hand carved wooden sled over a fragrant green bough, and stepped back to observe it. "What do you think?" she asked seriously.
Scully sat back on her heels, studying Marsh's form in the soft glow cast by the burning logs, and thought she had never seen anyone so beautiful. It surprised her still how one moment she could be completely absorbed in some mundane task, and the next she would glance up to see Marsh -- really see her, and she would be overcome with a mixture of tenderness and desire. Ambushed by the realization that this unique, complicated, incredibly special woman was hers.
"Perfect," Scully murmured.
Marsh knew that husky tone of voice. She grinned down at Dana, shaking her head slightly. "Uh uh," she said with mock sterness. "We have a tree to decorate."
Scully rose and took her hand. "It will keep," she stated, pulling Marsh toward the couch.
Marsh caught Scully around the waist, and settled into the deep leather cushions, lowering Scully onto her lap. She kissed Dana's neck, and nuzzled her earlobe playfully. "Besides, I don't think I can do it while that thing is watching."
Scully brushed her lips along the edge of Marsh's jaw, one hand working loose the buttons on her own blouse. She grasped Marsh's hand and slipped it under the shear fabric, molding Marsh's willing fingers to the contour of her breast. "It may be alive, lover, but I don't think it's sentient."
Marsh felt Dana's body quiver, and all thought fled. It was always like this, one second she was caught up in the demands and frustrations of everyday existence, and the next she was carried beyond the ordinary by the mere touch of Dana's hand. To be wanted by her was more exciting than anything Marsh had ever known. She felt in these moments that the purpose of her life was simply to love Dana well. The enormity of it humbled her, and was at the same time her greatest treasure.
She reached behind Dana's back and loosened the clasp on the light silk barrier, sliding her hand smoothly underneath and back to the front to capture the soft weight in her palm. Her thumb brushed lightly over the already erect nipple as she whispered, "It's okay, I don't mind an audience."
"Ooooo -- ," Scully murmured as she worked her hand between them, searching for Marsh's belt buckle, "now there's something I didn't know. We'll have to explore that some time."
With her free hand Marsh pulled at the hem of Scully's skirt, sliding the fabric up the length of Dana's thigh, catching her breath when she found bare skin. Then the thin bands of the garter belt. She moaned faintly in anticipation.
"Did you plan this?" Marsh whispered as her surgeon's fingers delicately loosed the stockings from the tiny restraints.
Scully laughed somewhere deep in her throat, almost a purr. She recalled her quick trip home to change before heading for the hospital. "Merely being prepared," she murmured, working Marsh's trousers open with equal skill.
As their hands slowly explored familiar territory made new by the undiminished wonder of their love, they kissed -- first lightly, teasing forays of tongue stroking lips, then deeper -- opening to one another, demanding, merging forcefully as passion flared.
Marsh reached higher, between Scully's thighs, gasping when she found no underwear in her path. "God, you are so bad -- and so damn good--"
Scully lifted her hips toward the tantalizing touch, wanting to go slowly but knowing she couldn't. Marsh's fingers squeezing her nipple and the possessive thrusts of Marsh's tongue in her mouth had worked their magic. The pressure was there already, pounding upward from somewhere deep within, primitive, mindless, uncontrollable. She was swollen, throbbing, ready. "Show me how good I am," she urged breathlessly, her teeth raking the side of Marsh's neck. "Touch me."
Marsh's head was whirling with sensation. Nothing aroused her more than Dana's need. Dana --hot and wet with excitement, hoarse with desire, rich with the smell of passion. Marsh clenched her jaws and tried to ignore what Dana was doing inside her pants. She didn't want to be distracted, but, god, she needed Dana's fingers on her.
Marsh brushed lightly over the soft hair, trailing a finger along the outer edges of Dana's desire, coming so close, but not quite touching the one place she knew Dana desperately needed her to touch. Scully echoed her motion, and they tormented each other until they were both barely breathing, backs arched, chests tight with the agony of expectation. "Please," they begged into one another's mouths.
They found each other at the same time, wrenching twin cries of surprise and pleasure from their throats. They knew each other -- the rhythms, the pressure, the secret places -- and they played each other until they were whimpering, twisting against each other with the need to explode.
Scully's eyes were closed, her face pressed to Marsh's neck, her hips pumping frantically into Marsh's hand, incoherent pleas nearly swallowed by her harsh breathing. And then the distant thunder, rolling through her belly. "Uh huh, uh huh -- soonsoonsoon", she panted.
Marsh felt her harden, lengthen, pulse with even greater engorgement - and then the faint contractions coalesced into a pounding, throbbing storm of release that brought Dana screaming to the edge -- and beyond. As it always did, the wonder of it stole Marsh's soul.
As only lovers who know each other well can do, Scully continued to fondle Marsh even as she succumbed to the titanic force of her own pleasure, tugging and stroking her without conscious thought until she pulled Marsh into the swirling vortex with her. When it ended, they lay spent and gasping in one another's arms, clothing in a tangled disarray.
"Is this a Christmas tradition, too?" Marsh asked dreamily, cradling Scully as she gently stroked her hand along the sides of Scully's breasts.
"It is now."
Marsh sighed contentedly and gazed toward the tree. It might be cute but she wasn't entirely sure about it yet. "What are we going to do with that?"
Marsh snorted. "I mean _after_. It can't stay here," she said in horror.
Scully burrowed deeper into Marsh's arms, happy to never move again. "We'll drive it out to my mother's, or some place in the country, and plant it."
Marsh stiffened. "That is not going back in my car!"
"Uh huh," Scully murmured.
Marsh was about to launch another protest when the doorbell rang. They stared at one another, then began frantically rearranging limbs and clothing. Marsh was on her feet first, tucking in her shirt as she made for the door.
Scully glanced at the clock. It was nearly midnight. "Is it Santa Claus?" she called playfully, finishing the last button on her blouse. She ran her hands through her hair, knowing damn well she looked just-fucked. She smiled across the room at her lover, not caring a bit.
Marsh glanced through the peephole, and observed the uninvited guest laden with brightly wrapped packages and wearing a sheepish grin. She sighed, and pulled the door open. "No, it's one of Santa's elves."
Scully grinned impishly at the visitor. "Merry Christmas, Mulder. You're just in time to help trim the tree."
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.