Title: December Twenty Fourth
Author: Goddess Michele
Fandom: X-Files
Pairing: M/Sk
Spoilers: Season nine: "He's gone. He's just gone." - Dana Scully, Nothing Important Happened Today
Rating: PG13
Beta: none, but all suggestions are welcome.
Disclaimer: Boring but necessary disclaimer: C.C., Fox and 1013 own them, I'm just borrowing them for fun, not profit, and I promise to return them only slightly bruised, but in that good 'thank you sir and may I have another?' way.
Feedback: Yes, PLEASE! starshine24mc@yahoo.com
Archive: put it wherever you like, just leave my name on it
Summary: I don't know if this is even remotely what was in mind when the whole Bear and Bunny card thing came up, but I woke up this morning with this in my head, so here's my contribution. A whole lotta angst, but a smidgen of hope, too. Merry Christmas, everyone!


December 24th:

A tall man lies asleep on a long leather couch. His arms are crossed over his expansive chest, his legs stretched out nearly to the far arm. A soft cushion in some earth tone that matches the couch cradles a head that long ago said a farewell to curly dark hair. Only a stripe of silver now, but he's had years to come to terms with it, and besides, the one who spends most of his time playing with said hair, or lack thereof, doesn't seem to mind a bit.

Glasses which normally sit imperiously across the bridge of a nose that's been artfully rearranged once or twice lay open on the coffee table, and a face prone to much frowning and clenching of jaw now appears more relaxed, softer somehow without the barrier of artificial lenses.

Dark lashes shadow closed eyes and no worries crease his perpetually troubled brow. No weight burdens wide shoulders tonight, no knots twist in his stomach. He sleeps easily, his chest rising and falling in deep rhythmic breaths that slip from slightly parted lips that have lost their tightness, no longer forming a grim slash across his face. Smiles have never come easy for this man, but something similar, something contented and sure, seems to radiate from his still features, and he doesn't stir.

On the coffee table next to the glasses stands a small card. It is an Easter card, but doesn't seem inappropriate. On the front of the card stands a small white rabbit, resplendent in a vest of crimson and matching bow tie. In his soft white paws he holds a basket full of Day-Glo coloured Easter eggs and a single candy heart, which matches his outfit in colour and intensity.

Splashed across the top of the card are the words "Some Bunny Loves You!" and inside the card, in dark black strokes of ink which speak volumes about the sincerity of the writer, two words:

Soon. Fox

And beneath that, a tiny X.

***

December 24th, somewhere else.

In a too short motel room bed, a tall man lies sleeping. If his long legs were not curled up, they'd easily extend past the end of the hard mattress.

The man is turned on his side, one hand buried under the pillow his head rests on, the other curled into a loose fist on his bare chest. His visible skin-arms, chest, face-fairly glow under the neon glare of the flashing vacancy sign outside his window, and, as the bright light flickers on and off in welcome to road-weary travelers, the man's eyelids twitch in response.

A lock of hair tumbles down over his furrowed brow, and his head moves in response, like a horse shivering off a fly. The errant forelock stirs slightly, but stays stubbornly out of place, and the thickness of the dark hair throws an odd shadow over the man's face.

A sigh issues from his open mouth, then something mushy and sad that might be a word. He sucks at his full lower lip for a moment then releases it with another sigh, forming a child's pout, strangely at odds with cheeks and chin dark with rising stubble. More shadows in the dark, turning an innocent face into something mysterious and foreign.

He blinks again at the light, eyes opening but unaware. Hazel pupils glint black and gold in the chancy light, and then disappear behind a fan of dark lashes as he slips back into a restless sleep that he never really surfaced from. He rolls away from the window with a groan, and the hand under his head falls behind him at an awkward angle, all sinew and tense muscle and sparse hair, while the balled fist of his other hand flails out across the bed.

One foot protrudes from the sheets, graceful looking and slim of arch, and the man shivers as cold air caresses the sole and tickles his toes. Again he paws at the air beside him until his questing fingers brush over his target, and another sigh is expelled from a body which suddenly grows lax under the covers.

A crease in his brow suddenly smoothes itself and the tightness around his mouth relaxes. Nothing in the room this night will erase the dark smudges of fatigue under his eyes, or the tension which manifests itself as a band of hard muscle across his shoulders, but something old and fearful in him seems to have dissipated, and his breathing deepens into a more restful sound. His hand clenches around the object lying on the worn foam pillow beside him, then simply rests on it, and a stray dreaming emotion tugs at his lips, almost making him smile.

The teddy bear is large, plush and chocolate brown. A tiny red Santa hat caps one small brown ear, and its eyes are large and dark above a soft pink suede nose and a wide red yarn grin. Wide open arms ending in pink suede paw pads proclaim a loving hug, and as the man strokes the velvety fur, the tag around the bear's neck rustles softly over the pillow case, and the vacancy sign light illuminates these words:

MY NAME IS WALTER. HAVE A "BEARY" MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Beneath the cheery sentiment, in laundry marker, someone has written a tiny X.


Archived: December 30, 2001