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It was dark, damp, and cold on Mulder’s commute in to work and it did nothing for his mood. It was the middle of a slog of bad days, and he had years of experience telling him that it would last months. Doctor, diagnose thyself with seasonal affective disorder. Dark in the morning. So cold he woke up aching. Short days, so short that he never saw the sunlight in the basement and, even if he and his new partner went outside during the day, D.C.’s cloudiness prevented any healing light from reaching their wrapped skin.

Their. It was new, interesting, to think in terms of more than just himself. He couldn’t run off so easily on cases now. He had to consult, or more like convince, his new partner. Scully. Dana Scully.

She was still a bit of a mystery, he thought, making his way through the basement hallway. He had studied her during their first few cases and she was a mess, a beautiful mess, of contradictions. Seemingly prim and proper with a sharp wit matching his. Small and delicate, but fierce and strong. Scully could hold more than her own against anyone, and Mulder wondered if that was an inherent part of her being, or learned trait from spending too much time in the boy’s club of the FBI.

His next thoughts were going to be of coffee and maybe leaving early, but they were halted as he reached the door to his office. Their office. Marked only by his name as it had for years, but now with a new addition. A wreath.

A simple wreath, green with red berries, hung just below his nameplate on the dark wood door. It was fresh, real pine and holly, and it was a wonder he hadn’t smelled it as soon as he was in the basement. His new partner had decorated their office for the holidays.

The door was shut, locked. Scully must’ve come in and placed this wreath, so carefully positioned in the center of the door, over the weekend. A wreath. Mulder can’t remember ever decorating an office for any occasion, much less just to celebrate the season. Much, much less due to someone wanting to feel at home near him, to nest and be happy during the holidays at work. He was stuck, momentarily frozen in front of the door, brain stuttering over what was in front of him. Scully had hung up a wreath.

The dark, damp, cold space down deep in his ribs cracked, letting a little light shine through.