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Die Hard: Mulder vs. Scully

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“How about this one?” 

Mulder pulled a well-worn cassette tape from the movie shelf. He’d begun migrating his movie collection to DVDs then stopped immediately when streaming became a “thing,” unable to keep up with the tech. He liked his VCR. He had no reason to throw it out, and still held fast to nostalgic nights of the click/thud/ whirrrr he could hear in the background after the end credits would roll while he and Scully did a little rolling around of their own on the couch. 

He held up the tape hopefully, waving it in front of her. “Whaddya say?”

Scully shook her head no. “I want to watch a Christmas movie.”

“This is a Christmas movie,” he replied, completely earnest.

Die Hard is not a Christmas movie, Mulder,” Scully sighed, exasperated. “This is a ridiculous myth that needs to stop. It’s tearing apart families. It’s ruining Christmas,” she added dramatically.

Mulder looked at her, shocked. The egg nog was poured, the fireplace lit, the scent of pine wafted through the air. It was Christmas Eve, dammit, and they were going to watch Die Hard. 

“Of course it’s a Christmas movie, Scully! What-- who are you, right now?” Daggoo barked from the couch, in complete and obvious agreement with Mulder. Or at least, maybe. It was tough to know for sure.

“Someone grounded in reality,” she shrugged. Her eyebrow went up, the corner of her lip curling in defiance. 

“You don’t say?” He stood back, crossed his arms. Oh, it was on.

“Thinking Die Hard is a Christmas movie is the grown-up version of believing in Santa Claus,” she said.

His mouth fell open. “Scully, why would you want to hurt me like this?”

She laughed. “I’m sorry, but it’s true. It’s not a Christmas movie. It’s a guy movie.”

He set the remote down and sat down next to her on the couch. “Scully, this is very important. Because if we can’t get on the same page about this, I think it’s over between us.”

“Nice knowing you then, Spooky,” she grinned.

He sat back into the couch, still stunned. After twenty five years she still kept him guessing.

“Okay, Matlock,” he challenged, narrowing his eyes. “Show me your evidence.”

“What?”

“Your evidence. Prove to me it’s not a Christmas movie.”

She leveled her eyes at him. “If I’m Matlock in this scenario that makes you the prosecution, and that means you have the burden of proof.” She cocked her head, sat back into the couch, and tossed a piece of (unbuttered) popcorn into her mouth, staring at him expectantly. 

“Well played,” he nodded. “Okay. Exhibit A: It takes place at Christmas,” he pointed out.

“So does Eyes Wide Shut,” she countered. “So does Lethal Weapon. Do those put you in the spirit, too?”

“What... kind of spirit?” he asked carefully.

“Shut up, Mulder.”

“I object to your objection. Christmas doesn’t have anything to do with the plots in those movies. It does in Die Hard.”

“Hardly,” she scoffed. 

“It’s a redemption story. John McClane learns by the end his family is the most important thing to him.”

“That’s not what the movie is about,” Scully argued. “That’s just a happy accident. And the fact that it happens around Christmas is a happy accident, too.”

“Okay,” he said in his gotcha voice, “Exhibit B: Hans Gruber’s ‘ho ho ho’ line. Now that’s a key plot point in the movie, Scully.”

“Still not nearly enough to categorize it as a Christmas movie. What else have you got?”

“They’re at a Christmas party! On Christmas Eve!” Mulder was raising his voice now, exasperated.

“If you remove all the Christmassy elements, does it change the film in any way?” she asked.

His mouth hung open as he ran through the events of the movie in his mind. 

Scully pulled out her phone and began searching for something. “Aha, see?” she held it up triumphantly. “Amazon.com, genre: Action Adventure.” She typed some more. “IMDB: Action, Thriller.” She smirked. “Not a holiday descriptor in sight.”

Mulder felt like he’d been punched in the stomach. But he wasn’t prepared to give up. “That’s just… two opinions,” he sputtered.

“Look here, even Bruce Willis says it isn’t. Does his opinion matter?”

“Scully--”

“And right here, the producer of the film says he liked the idea of setting it at Christmas because Christmastime syndication is a great way to make some extra cash,” she said, pointing to an article.

“Ha!” Mulder shouted. “He knew it would get played during Christmas. Ergo, Christmas movie.” He made a graceful little bow, as if to say, we’re finished.

“Right. Nothing like a little greed to put you in the Yuletide spirit,” she muttered.

“Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?” he asked.

“Mulder, in all of our years together, you’ve been right a hell of a lot more than I have, and I’ll freely admit that. And if you want to go on calling Die Hard a Christmas movie, you can, and I won’t stop you,” she said. “But the truth is on my side this time.” She propped her feet up on the coffee table and scratched Daggoo behind the ears.

“Well, to quote your favorite Christmas movie, which is worse? A lie that draws a smile, or a truth that draws a tear?” he mock-pouted.

She sat forward and pinned him with a look. “The truth may hurt, but it’s all that matters,” she retorted. “My favorite person told me that once.”

The truth is, it’s a Christmas movie,” he insisted.

“Is the movie about Christmas? No? Then it isn’t a Christmas movie,” she declared with the finality he’d learned to adore over the years. Even when he knew she was dead wrong.

“You’re wrong,” he said, although he was completely out of steam. “I don’t know why and I can’t prove it but you’re wrong, Scully.”

“If I can put an end to this debate, can we pick something else, please?”

He leaned forward, elbows on his thighs. “If you can, sure.”

“Okay,” she said, sitting up straight. “If you happened to be the kind of person who organized your movies by genre, would you put Die Hard in with your action movies, or with your Christmas movies?”

He stopped, thought. She was right. There was no way around it.

“Fine, you win,” he sighed. He’d lost this round and he hated losing. 

“Thank you,” she replied smugly. 

“How’s that feel?” he smirked. She could have this one.

“Really good, actually. Gonna chase this feeling.” She took his hand and smiled.

He smiled back and exhaled, exhausted. He leaned against her, putting his arm on the back of the couch, softly combing his fingers through her hair. “So. You want to watch a Christmas movie.”

“I want to watch a Christmas movie,” she repeated. 

They sat in silence and stared at the blank TV screen in front of them as the fireplace crackled, their modest tree twinkling in the corner. 

“How about Fargo? ” he suggested.

Her eyes lit up. “Ooh, okay!”