By Leia Fee
Frohike opened the door wearing a big grin and a lopsided Santa hat. Scully stifled a laugh, then blinked in surprise as she stepped through into the warehouse. Coloured lights and sparkling decorations twinkled from almost every surface. Gaudy paperchains hung in huge loops from the ceiling and the array of computers flashed colourful, Christmas screensavers. Scully stepped forwards to look at the flashing fairy lights. No, she suddenly realised, not fairy lights but homemade strings of bare bulbs and LEDs, linked with brightly coloured wires which were twisted together and trailed back to a circuitboard attached to a shelf with sticky-tack. On closer inspections the tinfoil and plastic decorations were also homemade but they were still pretty, even if the overall effect was more seventies sci-fi than seasonal cheer.
“Looks like a Blake's 7 set in here,” Mulder commented from behind her.
“Yeah, well we did it on about the same budget,” Langly commented, wriggling out from under a desk and waving a greeting with a soldering iron still in his hand and his hair pulled back into a ponytail secured with a twist of tinsel. He ducked back under the desk and flicked a switch, setting another string of lights flashing in an intricate pattern.
Jimmy bounded up to them, wearing an even bigger grin than Frohike's, a large and extremely fluffy Santa hat perched on his head and tinsel adorning every limb and item of clothing.
“D'you like it? I made the paperchains.”
“It looks great,” Scully assured him.
Budget or not, the guys had obviously put a lot of time and effort into the preparations. Most of the workbenches had been cleared or pushed back to make way for a long table, covered with snacks and finger food.
“I made the sausages on sticks too,” Jimmy put in, seeing her looking at the food.
A snort from behind made Scully turn.
“Thanks for the warning,” Kimmy smirked at Jimmy, who seemed blissfully unaware he'd just been insulted.
“So can we expect more federal company?” Kimmy turned away from Jimmy to address Scully. “Apart from Blondie trying to solder his hair to the light controls, the evening's entertainment has been rather lacking.”
Well that explained Langly’s ponytail at any rate. Scully glanced back in his direction in time to see him squirm out from under the desk. He pulled the tinsel tie out of his hair and stretched. He shook his head to resettle his hair over his shoulders before pulling a face at Kimmy.
“Yeah well Frohike was going to do the lights. I offered to cook.”
“I guess burning hair does smell better than burning dinner.”
“Ah bug out, Kimmy.”
Scully was just wondering whether she ought to intervene before there was murder by soldering iron when Frohike saved her the trouble.
“So are you two going to argue about the food or you going to eat it?”
Langly had the advantage of position and nipped in front of Kimmy to be the first at the table, turning to cast a smug grin over his shoulder as he filled his plate.
Scully snagged a paper plate and slipped in behind Mulder, who had been almost as quick to reach the table as Langly. As she was helping herself to a slice of fruitcake, Byers threaded his way through to deposit a large bowl of punch in the centre of the table.
“Eat, drink and be merry,” he proclaimed with a large grin that suggested he’d already been sampling his own wares.
Frohike grinned and started dishing out glasses.
“Ah, the legendary punch. He was mixing this up all yesterday.”
Scully eyed the floating fruit, not trying not to think too hard about the probable alcohol content.
Kimmy was giving the bowl a very dubious look.
“Are the fumes safe?”
Frohike handed him a full glass.
“Just don’t light any matches nearby.”
Scully took her full glass and plate over to the still unoccupied couch before someone else claimed the seat. She settled herself comfortably and smiled. Unconventional it might be but for the moment she couldn’t think of any way she’d rather spend the holiday.
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