Okay, that summary was harder to write than you'd think, but it was the only that I liked. Enjoy the story and happy holidays.

December 24, 1999

5:15 p.m.

Scully pushed her door shut with a loud groan, shifting the bags in her hands so the mountain didn't come tumbling down. There was nothing quite like leaving Christmas shopping until the last minute. Work had been extraordinarily busy the last couple months, and it wasn't until she examined a calendar last night that she realized she'd only been in town two weekends since before Halloween. And, she'd worked one of those.

Once in her living room, she allowed the mountain to topple of it's own accord. Of course, it didn't. For the first time all day the bags seemed to have no intention of leaving her arms. Frustrated and tired, Scully all but threw them to the ground, and stomped into her bedroom.

She chose pajamas. If Mulder called, all he was getting out of her was a stint in her one-person battalion of gift wrappers. And, he'd seen her in her pajamas plenty of times. She didn't care. Covered in button-down purple satin, Scully padded back to her living room in her socks and surveyed her mess. Then diverted to the kitchen to grab supplies: tape, scissors, tissue paper, and a roll of blue and silver snowflake paper. A bag of cheap bows was somewhere in her former mountain.

The doorbell stopped her as she was headed for the living room. Damn it, Mulder! Backtracking a few steps, she yanked the door open without looking through the peephole.

Shit. Not Mulder.

Two figures stood at the door. In ski masks.

In took her only seconds to process the sight, and remember that her gun was safely locked away in the bedroom. Scully settled for pushing the door closed, leaning her whole body weight into it. One of the masked figures got in the way, and forced it back at her, knocking her to the ground. Not for the first time in her life, Scully cursed her petite size.

She grabbed the scissors from the supplies on the ground and scrambled up from the ground as the door shut, her pulse racing through her head manically. The figures stood before her, one locking the door behind him. She held the scissors out at them like it was a knife, the rapid beat against her brain reminding her that she wasn't prepared for a standoff.

"If you drop those scissors, we won't have to hurt you." The first man told her.

"I could just start screaming."

He snorted and glanced at his partner, they both looked at her simultaneously, and guns appeared in their hands. 22s were her guess, but plenty big enough to do the job. Her breathing grew faster, more shallow, like a frightened animal.

"What do you want?" She asked, still holding the scissors out.

"To have ourselves a merry little Christmas. Now, drop the scissors, sweetheart." He gestured with his gun.

Scully complied with a swallow and a sigh. This was not going to end well. They might beat her. Or rape her. Or...

She might die tonight.

5:30 p.m.

Mulder sighed, bored almost to the point of lapsing into a coma. He'd channel-surfed most of the day, barring the two times he'd gone running. He figured a third run might be pushing it, he wasn't twenty anymore. At the moment he was deciding between the few channels that weren't playing Christmas movies. If he saw 'It's a Wonderful Life' one more time, he was going to jam a picture frame down Jimmy Stewart's throat. A person could only handle so much 'feel good' entertainment before going ballistic on the world.

He desperately wanted to go see Scully, or at least call her. He was barely able to contain his desire to pick up the phone, and beg her to entertain him. But, he'd promised himself that he was going to leave her alone this year. No ghost-busting. No mutant-busting. No weird beastie-busting. Not even alien-busting. Mulder was going to let her enjoy her holiday, especially with how busy they'd been lately. She could use the R&R, and time with her family. That was his Christmas gift to her this year, peace and quiet over the holidays.

He would just have to find ways to entertain himself. Of course, there was always the Gunmen. His lips twitched into a half-grin at that thought, and he grabbed the phone.

"Lone Gunmen," A nasally voice answered.

"Hey Langely, you boys have any holiday plans yet?"

"Frohike's mixing his eggnog as we speak. And Byers, the sap, snagged us a copy of some Christmas hauntings VHS set. According to him, it's moving and spooky. Oh sorry, that's you isn't it?" He chuckled into the phone.

"Ha ha. That doesn't seem much more lively than my evening."

Langely was silent a moment. "Mulder man, we can't help you with anything today or tomorrow."

"Huh?" Now he was confused. The guys were usually very enthusiastic to help, and never shot him down before he even asked.

"We promised Scully. That's our Christmas present to her. You're grounded man."

Oh, he thought. But, why?

Langely confused his puzzled silence for angry silence. "Don't be pissed at her, she just doesn't want you going off without back-up. It scares the hell out of her when you disappear."

So that's what it was about. Mulder chuckled. "I know that. I was actually planning on being a good boy all by myself."


He rolled his eyes at his friend's surprise. "Part of my Christmas gift to her, a nice quiet holiday."

"Cool. So, you coming over?"

"Sure, tell Frohike to make extra eggnog."

Langely confirmed plans, and said goodbye. Mulder looked around his apartment. He should bring the guys something, but he hadn't bought anything, they weren't exactly the gift exchanging type. Then he remembered the bottle under the sink.

His father gave him a bottle of scotch for Christmas five years ago. It was fifteen year-old scotch then, now it was twenty. Oh well, it was unopened, and the older the better with scotch. He grabbed the bottle and breezed out the door.

6:00 p.m.

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart."

Scully could smell her hair burning. It made her stomach roll violently.

"Man, would you stop fucking with her, and help me?" Leo hissed at Lugg. He'd flipped on the stereo to Christmas music and cranked it up loud enough to cover some of the searching, but not so much that it would piss off the neighbors.

Leo, Scully had dubbed him, because he possessed the high-pitched, young quality voice that she'd only ever heard in baby-faced boys like Leonardo DiCaprio. She'd already developed profiles on her captors. Both young, with the smaller, slighter frames of men still in their twenties, and working class, or maybe just dirt poor. Besides the fact that they were robbing her, their coats were heavily worn, their boots were cracked, and their dark blue jeans (they were dressed alike in dark clothing from head to toe) were verging on threadbare. This she'd taken in before they blindfolded her with a piece of her own lingerie.

At least until they realized the silky material wouldn't stay put, and switched to a scarf from her closet. It was just as well, the delicate lace trim on the camisole had irritated her eyes.

"Man, I'm just having a little fun," Lugg insisted, extinguishing the piece of her hair that he'd set on fire.

Lugg had been so named, for no other reason than he was a moron. Leo was the brains of the operation, Lugg was just the buddy he'd dragged along. Lugg also seemed to be something of a budding sadist. Scully tried very hard not to flash to photos of women who'd been tortured and violated beyond belief, their deaths the kindest thing their killers had done to them.

"Have it later. We find everything valuable now, and have the rest of the night to enjoy her hospitality. Right, Dana?" His voice carried the leer she didn't need to see.

Scully didn't bother trying to respond through the gag shoved down her throat. They had found a use for that camisole by jamming it into her mouth, and holding it with a dish towel tied around her head. Her ankles were bound to the front legs of one of her dining room chairs with twine from her kitchen, and her wrists were bound behind her with the same. She could already feel the rope burn starting.

"Yeah, yeah," Lugg mumbled to Leo, before focusing back on Scully. "I'll be back, honey."

She heard his footsteps lead away to the kitchen. She jumped when he slammed a cabinet, probably looking for a jar of vacation funds, or wad of money hidden in some secret space. She had neither. The Bureau didn't pay well enough for that.

She'd thought when they found her ID that they'd leave, frightened of the consequences. Leo had been pissed, railing at his friend that he should have figured that out when he cased the place. His frustration had been quickly tempered by the discovery of her gun, as it would sell for a good price.

Scully listened to them open drawers, rifle through cabinets, and generally make a mess of her house. Every loud noise made her jump, unsure where it was, if it was Lugg screwing with her again. She tried to swallow, but her throat was already dry from the gag. A chill of fear swept through her. She was completely at their mercy.

Rather than panic, Scully settled for praying. For God to help her. For a mother's almost-psychic intuition to strike. For Mulder to come to drag her away for Christmas Eve ghost-busting. She closed her eyes beneath the blindfold, and watched their faces swim across her imagination.

This is my first chaptered XF fic in several years, so let me how I did. :) Also, I'm not really into torture, but as a warning, this one is going to get pretty gritty in future chapters. I've challenged myself to write a fic for each of the big holidays (American), and I didn't want to do a typical Christmas story. I kind of did that for Thanksgiving.

Thank you for reading, and Happy Holidays everyone!