Disclaimer: They don't belong to me. All I did wasgive them a little holiday fun -- which is more than ol' Surfer Dude's everdone for them.

Rated: NC-17 for sacrilegious m/m sex on Christmas Eve. Krycek pays Mulderan unexpected visit on the most magical night of the year.

Spoilers: Vague ones for the Samantha eps, plus "Christmas Carol."I wrote this last year before "CC" or "Emily" aired,so there's a tiny timeline discrepancy. In this slightly AU version of thatuniverse, Scully arrives at her brother's house in San Diego on ChristmasEve, not December 21. Oh, and Alex grew his arm back for this one. He didn'ttell me why.

Thanks be to Carol and Ria for superlative beta way back when, and for otherstuff only they know about. Thankfully. <g>

This is what happens when I listen to too much Loreena McKennitt at Christmastime.I originally wrote this last year, and posted it to the M/K list. If you'vealready read it there, you can hit delete now. <smile>

Feedback may be addressed to: dnivling@redshift.com

Wishes, A Christmas Tale
by Sugar Rush

Mulder's apartment was dark and cold, had been ever since he got home fromwork. He'd turned on the lamp and heater and took a steaming shower, butthat'd only eased the chill for a little while. Even slumped here on thecouch fully-dressed and with a blanket tucked up under his chin, he stillfelt frozen all the way to the bone.

It was snowing now, he could see it, plump white flakes floating softly,silently to the ground just outside his window. By tomorrow morning everythingwould be covered in its cold, thick embrace. Good thing he wasn't planningon going anywhere.

The phone rang, splitting his reverie like a ripe melon; he swiped at it,finally snagging the receiver on his second try. "H'lo?"

"Mulder, it's me," came a familiar voice, slightly scratchy, distant."Just wanted to let you know I got in okay."

Scully. The one person he actually wanted to talk to tonight. "Howwas your flight?"

"Long and bumpy, rained the whole time. El Nino's making its presencefelt, even out here in California. Anyway, I just wanted to touch bases,make sure everything's all right."

He tugged the blanket tighter around him, fighting off a sudden icy fingerwiggling down the back of his neck.

"Mulder? You okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine, everything's fine," he mumbled. "Listen,you have fun with your folks, take lots of pictures, so you can tell meall about it when you get back--"

"You going to your mom's tomorrow?"

He knew she'd ask that, steeled himself for it, but that still didn't lessenthe physical shock the actual sound of the words sent rocketing throughhim. "Um, no, I... I, um, decided against it."

"Mulder--"

"I talked to her, Scully, just this morning, and...after what happened,after that confrontation we had a couple months ago, the accusations I made...ifI could take them all back I would, but I can't. It's too soon. A visitright now would do more harm than good."

She didn't reply right away; only her breath's soft, steady rhythm toldhim she was still there. "You're probably right," she answeredfinally.

"Scully, d'you ever wish that things...I dunno, that they'd turnedout different? That you could go back in time and fix it, make everythingcome out all right?"

"Mulder, why're you...what brought this on so suddenly?"

"Do you, Scully? Do you ever wish that?"

"I've wished...a lot of things," she said faintly, wistfully."Listen, I have to go, Tara's got dinner ready. See you soon, okay?"

"'Kay. Have a nice time."

"I will. G'night, Mulder. Merry Christmas."

He sat there for the longest time, still holding the receiver, finally puttingit back when it started emitting an annoying high-pitched whine. His stomachrumbled, reminding him that he hadn't eaten anything since that morning.Some soup sounded good, hot, steaming tomato soup, warming him from theinside out...

But there wasn't a can to be found anywhere. No tomato, no vegetable, noteven his choice of last resort, chicken noodle. Oh, well, maybe a beer woulddo the trick.

No beer. Not much in the fridge at all except for a couple of apples, ablock of hairy-looking cheese...

And a bottle of wine. Red wine. The kind with a cork instead of a screw-ontop. Funny, but he didn't remember buying it; he must've shoved it in thefridge a couple months ago and forgotten about it. Grabbing a tumbler fromthe dish drainer, he rummaged in a drawer until he found a corkscrew andwrestled the cork out of the bottle, half-mangling it in the process, sloshinga couple ounces into the glass, taking a hard-won sip.

To his surprise, it was good -- smoky, smooth, gliding across his tonguelike melted chocolate, comfortable warmth curling in his stomach. Just whathe needed.

He snagged the bottle and headed back towards the couch, stopping at thethermostat on the way, frowning when he saw the temperature indicator stillhovering in the mid-fifties; he could've sworn he'd turned it on when hecame in. Flicking it up to seventy-five, he held his breath and waited,finally hearing the furnace's initial click and whirr, then the soft whooshof heated air wafting up through the vent.

Rewrapping himself in his blanket's protective plaid wool cocoon, he startedflipping channels with the TV remote, slumping back on the couch, sippingwine, zoning out. One of the classic movie channels was showing IT'S A WONDERFULLIFE -- mercifully, *not* the colorized version -- and he stopped, watchingJimmy Stewart and his family decorating theie tree, smiling, singing, finallyfading to black.

He flicked off the TV, tossing the remote on the table, sitting up to pourhimself more wine, gaze sweeping the apartment as he did so. No tree, nodecorations, no Christmas cards. Scully was the only one who'd given hima card this year, and he'd left it taped to his computer monitor at work.He had a fake tree and some ornaments his mother had given him a few yearsago, but somehow it had just seemed like too much trouble to drag it outof the closet. Besides, he remembered all the decorations from when he wasa kid, especially that pretty blue foil angel Samantha'd liked so much.

He downed his wine in one gulp, poured himself some more. God, he wishedScully was here. Part of him resented the fact that she'd chosen to spendthis Christmas with Bill's family in San Diego, though another part of him,the rational part, realized simultaneously how selfish that wish was. Hehad no right to begrudge her this downtime, especially when only a few weeksago neither of them had thought she would live to see another Christmas.He had her back now, his partner and friend, safe and well. That was somethingto be grateful for.

Most of the time he was grateful enough just being alone; he liked the quiet,even on those still-frequent nights of insomnia. But tonight felt different.Tonight it felt like the walls were closing in, stifling him.

He tossed the blanket off, suddenly warm -- too warm. The furnace had kickedin with a vengeance, and between that and the wine, he was actually startingto sweat. It felt good, though. He took another sip, savoring the sensationof tiny fingers tickling all the way down into his belly, fresh waves ofheat radiating everywhere, leaving him pleasantly foggy-brained, driftingtoward sleep...

Drifting, but not quite there yet. He scooped up the remote again, flickingthe TV back on, idly toying with the idea of popping a tape in the VCR,but somehow the thought of watching porn on Christmas Eve left a sour tastein his mouth. Flipping channels, he finally stopped at the last one at thetop of the band, the one that showed a burning yule log all night on ChristmasEve. If this didn't bore him to sleep, nothing would.

He tossed back the last of the wine in his glass, then set the glass aside,eyes floating shut, listening to the faint crackle of flame coming fromhis TV, lulling his breathing to a slow, steady rhythm. If he just let himselfgo with it he could almost convince himself it was real, that he was lyinghere on a thick red carpet in front of a stone fireplace, soft gold paintingspiky patterns beneath his eyelids. Yeah, maybe if he just kept breathinglike this, kept his eyes closed, maybe he'd convince himself that thosefingertips trailing up his arm and shoulder, brushing the hair from thenape of his neck belonged to--

"Guess you liked my little present, huh?" came a voice close tohis ear, low, breathy, familiar--

Too damn familiar. "Jesus!" he cried, rolling onto his back, staringup into deep green eyes. "What the hell're you doing here?"

"Kissing you, or trying to. You didn't seem to be minding a secondago."

"Get out of here, Alex. Now."

"Mulder..."

"Get out before I smash your face in."

"Is that any way to talk to someone who's just trying to make yourChristmas wish come true?"

That almost made him laugh. Almost. "I never wished for this."

"Really? So what was all that you were saying to Scully, about goingback in time, putting everything right?" Another angry reply hung onhis lips, but Alex laid two gentle fingers there, and the words faded away."We never got a chance to spend Christmas together, Mulder. I regretthat, and I, um...think you do too."

He jerked back, poised to jump to his feet when something suddenly caughthis eye, something colorful, flickering in the background.

A tree, covered in flashing lights, colored balls, silver and gold tinselgarlands -- a real one, he could smell the sharp, spicy scent of pine halfwayacross the room. And sitting there at the very top, a shiny blue angel.Samantha's angel.

His fingers brushed the plush red carpet beneath him, eyes following, staring,seeing, not believing. Heat licked at his back, too immediate and intenseto be coming from the furnace. A fireplace, right where his TV'd been. Justlike he'd imagined a few minutes ago.

"Hope you don't mind me taking the liberty of redecorating," Alexmurmured.

"H-how'd you do all this?"

"You made a wish, and you drank the gift I left you." He noddedat the wine bottle. "A magic elixir. Makes anything you want tonightpossible."

"Oh, gimme a break, Alex!"

"You believe in UFO's, lake monsters and the Fiji mermaid, but notthis? Mulder, sometimes you really disappoint me."

Jesus, he was drunk, completely shit-faced, he had to be. Flopping backon the rug, he rubbed at his eyelids, sucking in deep, ragged breaths. Alexwasn't really here; he was a dream, a wine-soaked hallucination. When heopened his eyes again he'd be alone on the couch with the blanket back overhim.

He wouldn't see Alex's face, Alex's sea-green eyes looking down at him,hovering over him with serious intent, that tiny space between his eyebrowscrinkled with concern. "You okay?"

"Oh, God...oh, Jesus..." he breathed, reaching up, fingertipsmaking contact with warm, silky skin. "Th-this is real...you're real..."

"I told you."

"But...you still haven't explained how--"

"Don't fight it, Mulder. It's what we both want. Isn't that enough?"

"Alex, I don't...please..." He'd intended it as a protest, butAlex's mouth coming down on his turned it into a full-throated moan. Straymemories flitted at the edges of his mind, dissipating like morning fogas Alex's tongue swept gently, insistently between his lips, a hot burstof mingled flavor and sensation ripping through him, sweet and stingingand bitter all at once.

He was sure he'd pass out before they finally broke apart, chests heaving,mouths still scant millimeters from touching, close enough to taste Alex'sbreath, feel it feathering his own skin, soft and warm.

"I won't be here when you wake up tomorrow morning," Alex whispered,fingertips softly combing through the hair at Mulder's temple, lips dustinghis forehead. "The magic only lasts one night. Let's not waste it."

Mulder shook his head, this time with no danger of either of them interpretingit as a protest. The past was just that, shunted aside, forgotten, at leastfor tonight. He'd deal with any residual qualms in the morning. Right nowthe need between them was too strong, too urgent.

Alex grinned, leaning down for another kiss, languid and drugging, one handdrifting down to the waistband of Mulder's jeans, tugging his t-shirt free."Lift up" was all he said, and Mulder obeyed, sitting up brieflyto let Alex drag the shirt over his head. But when he tried doing the samefor Alex, Alex scooted away. "Hey, not fair..."

"Take it easy, you'll get your turn," Alex said, grabbing thewine bottle, pouring some into Mulder's tumbler, taking a long sip. "S'good.Want some more?" Mulder nodded, and Alex stretched out beside him,propped on his elbow, dipping two fingers in the tumbler, slowly, tantalizinglyanointing Mulder's lips with fat ruby droplets. Then he took another siphimself, swooping down to claim Mulder's mouth again, deep and rough thistime, tongues duelling, dancing a breathless, insane tango, tasting theirown tastes coupled with the wine, all musk and honey, sharp and smooth asa shiny new knife.

Alex rolled on top of him, taking his own weight on both hands, calmer,gentler now, raining soft butterfly kisses on Mulder's eyelids, tracingthe bridge of his nose with the tip of his tongue, nipping, licking at thecorners of Mulder's mouth, lapping at the last traces of wine lingeringthere like a greedy kitten with a bowl of cream. "You like?" heasked with a lazy smile, rotating his hips against Mulder's belly.

God, they were both hard as steel already, and all they'd done was kiss."Wh-what do you think?" Mulder groaned with a tiny upward pushof his own hips, just to make sure Alex didn't mistake his meaning.

He didn't, if his widening grin was any indication. "I think I wantyou naked." Alex was up on his knees in the next second, fingers fumblingwith Mulder's fly button, popping it loose, easing the zipper down overMulder's straining erection, hooking both thumbs in his waistband, yankingthe rough denim down over his hips along with his boxers.

Mulder wasn't sure if it was passion or the shock of his stiffened fleshspringing free that made him gasp, but the latter passed swiftly enough,the fire's warmth soothing, enveloping him better than any blanket. He letone hand drift downward, grasping, gently stroking himself, gazes lockingas Alex skinned his jeans down and off, green eyes sparkling, issuing awordless dare.

Mulder's fingers flew to the hem of Alex's t-shirt, tugging it from hisjeans, pulling it up as far as he could without help, Alex taking it fromthere, fingertips brushing, colliding, almost ripping the thin grey cottonat the seam, one sleeve tangling around Alex's arm, finally tossing theshirt aside. Then, sitting back on his heels, a dreamy little half-smilecurving his lips, he waited, letting Mulder look his fill.

Firelight painted his skin smooth and golden, accenting every delicate ripplein his musculature, like a Renaissance sculpture suddenly sprung to life.Mulder couldn't help leaning forward, touching one tentative hand to Alex'schest, skimming over the crisp dark hair right there in the center, tracingits path downward, all the way down to the waistband of his jeans--

And stopped, one arm wound about Alex's waist, fingers pressed to his belly,lips following, tasting, savoring his skin's warm silkiness and the soft,sweet tremor welling inside him, his own body responding in kind, part fear,part anticipation.

They tumbled to the floor, Mulder rolling on top this time, pinning Alexbeneath him, letting him twist and flail in vain for a few seconds, finallyquelling his struggles with another heart-stopping kiss. "My turn now,"he said with a smug grin, spying the tumbler of wine sitting on the edgeof the table, reaching for it, tipping it over Alex's chest, dribbling afew stray drops onto his skin. He bent down to lick at it, the tip of histongue grazing one bronze nipple as he did so, Alex squirming under him,writhing, back arching--

"You like?"

"Jesus, Mulder..."

"What's the matter, can't take a taste of your own torture?"

"Finish it."

"Unh-uh, not yet."

"C'mon, Mulder, I'm dying here..."

"Thought you said this was *my* Christmas present," he teased,falling to his task again, following the splattered reddish-purple traildown to Alex's navel, tracing the soft puckered rim, darting his tongueinside, lapping up the wine that had pooled there, grinning at Alex's strangledmoan--

Moving lower, fingers at Alex's fly, freeing him, peeling his jeans downand off, Alex grabbing them before he could fling them aside, fumbling inone pocket, pulling out a slim tube and some shiny foil packets.

"You thought of everything," Mulder murmured, leaning down toplant a soft kiss on Alex's belly, doodling a wet, squiggly stripe all theway across with his tongue. "How sweet."

"Oh, for Chrissakes, come on..." Alex groaned, voice smoky, ragged,all but gone. In his entire life Mulder had never heard anything half aserotic. "Just do it, Mulder."

"Do what?"

"You know."

"Say it."

"Wh-what?"

"You told me I could have anything I wanted tonight. I want to hearyou say it. I want to hear you beg for it."

"Y-you fucking bastard..."

"Say it." He waited a few seconds for a reply, but when none seemedforthcoming he picked up where he left off, alternately kissing and nippinga trail down to the sweet indentation where belly joined thigh, one handwandering, grasping Alex's hard shaft, beginning a slow, gentle stroking."Say it, Alex."

"You know I want it as much as you do...why d'you have to--"

"Say it or you can finish this yourself." It was cruel, what hewas doing; he could feel it, Alex's flesh twitching and throbbing underhis fingers, so red and swollen he knew it had to be hurting him. He skimmedhis thumb along the thick vein leading up to the rosy mushroom crown, smilingat the milky droplet pearling there, lapping at it with the edge of histongue, salty and bitter, yet sweet too, like the wine. "Say the magicwords."

"F-fuck me."

"What was that?"

Huge limpid irises glinted back at him, jade flecked with gold, rimminginky blackness. "Fuck me...please."

"See? All you had to do was ask nicely," he grinned, moving backup to give Alex a soft, wet kiss on the lips, reaching for the condoms andlube at the same time. His fingers were trembling, so he tore the packetopen with his teeth, raising himself up on his knees to roll it on, takinghis time, giving Alex a good long eyeful, then grabbing the lubricant, squeezinga cool, slippery blob onto his fingers, sliding his hand under Alex, betweenround, downy-soft cheeks, searching, probing gently.

He was satiny-smooth inside, hot and tight as a clenched fist, though heopened easily under the pressure of Mulder's fingers. It took all Mulder'swillpower to go slow, working the lube deep inside him with steady, fluidstrokes, Alex finally thrusting back, impaling himself, letting Mulder knowhe was ready.

He shifted a little, lifting Alex so that he could wrap his legs aroundhis waist, then, using one hand, positioned himself, giving a tiny push,then another, relief flooding him as he felt the gentle pop of entry, slidingthe rest of the way in with no resistance, slick, pulsating heat enveloping,engulfing him.

He stopped, gasping, eyes screwed shut, feeling suddenly as if he'd plungedheadlong into a pit of live coals. God, it was good, better than good, butit'd been so damn long for him, he wasn't sure he could last. He would,though. He had to.

"Hey." He heard a voice, felt a gentle touch brushing his wristand looked down, down at Alex lying there beneath him, lips parted, straywisps of hair spilling over forehead and cheeks, clinging to sweat-sheenedskin. "You okay?"

There it was, that low, breathy tone that sent fresh bursts of lust snakingup his spine, lodging at the back of his brain like a steel spike. Slowly,carefully, he started moving, rocking, sliding both hands under Alex's sweet,tight ass, cupping and stroking him, holding him for deeper, harder thrusts--

He felt it before he saw it, felt Alex clenching around him, muscles ripplingup and down the entire length of his cock, milking, squeezing, heard himgroaning, whimpering, hot, silky white jets shooting all over his belly,dimly realizing he was screaming too, convulsing, sweat pouring into hiseyes, slicing through his skin like a million tiny knives, ripping, flayinghim, every star in the universe going nova in his head at the same time.

He rolled to the floor, onto his side, boneless, wrung out, curling aroundAlex, softly kissing his shoulder. Smiling, Alex bent his head back so theirmouths could touch, sweet and wet and deep. "Get everything you wanted?"

His only response was to snuggle closer, bestowing another kiss. He didn'twant to talk, just lie here afloat in the hazy warmth of afterglow. Therest of the world didn't exist, at least for now.

Mulder let his eyes drift shut, pressing his lips to Alex's throat, skinstill salty-moist from their coupling, savoring the solid feel of theirbodies spooned together, the steady thump of Alex's heart, his warm, cleanflavor, smoke mingled with honey, just like his voice.

Funny, but he'd never known what magic tasted like before. And now he knew.

Now he knew.

-- END --

"The evening deepens and the grey
Folds closer earth and sky
The world seems shrouded, far away.
Its noises sleep, and I as secret as
Yon buried stream plod dumbly on and dream.

And dream..."

"Snow," Loreena McKennitt
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