By Jeannine Ackerson
Rating: PG for a few 'bad' words.
Disclaimer: The X-Files, FM, DS and the rest belong to CC, but I'd be more than happy to baby-sit them for you Chris. . . <eg>
Relationship: This is MSR, because I've found that writing it is my favorite genre, even if some people can't see M&S like this, I can.
Summary: Scully contemplates exactly when she fell for Mulder, as he tries to come to terms with his feelings for her.
Hi All! This challenge came across many, many months ago, to use the Jerry Maguire line, and I swore I was going to get to it. So, finally, after months of trying to sit down and get the d*mn thing done, here it is. I hope you enjoy. So now, let's get to the story. . .
Dana Scully sat at the table, looking across the diner at the young couple sitting in the back booth. She noted their hands linked together, fingers entwined. They looked so young, so happy. Almost enviously, she couldn't help but wonder what it must be like to be young and in love.
The truth was that she couldn't ever remember being in love like that at their age. Sure, she'd had crushes, but never anything when she'd been in her late teens or early twenties that seemed 'permanent' like they seemed to be.
As the youngest daughter of Captain Scully, she'd grown up straight laced and barely dated before she went to college. And by then she was so focused on her future that she gave most of the prospects no notice.
But now, as she wistfully watched the young couple laughing, she felt an ache in her chest. When they looked at one another, she could tell how deep their bond was. It was more than transitory. The reason she knew was because she was familiar with the depth of the gaze they shared. Intimately so. They were like the ones she and Mulder gave each other.
And for all intents and purposes, she knew in her soul that she and Mulder *were* like them.
There was a bond between her and Mulder that transcended the mere physical. It was a spiritual link, if she could truly believe in that.
Yet she had learned not to dismiss whatever connection that they had between them. It was there, and no matter how hard she had tried on occasion to ignore it, it was still there for her to have to deal with. Physically and emotionally.
And the result was that she had gradually realized over the years that she loved her partner. As more than a friend and a partner. Like a woman loves a man. Like a lover.
She sighed inwardly as the thought made its way forward in her mind. How she had ever kept it out of her everyday thoughts for so long still astonished her. As did the reality of the feelings she held for her best friend and fellow FBI agent.
That last was a problem and a improbability. No one would ever believe that she'd fallen for her partner. The "Ice Queen" was too sedate, too polished, too rigid to do anything so spontaneous or irrational as to fall in love with her partner. But she had.
If anyone ever asked her when exactly she'd fallen for Mulder, when he'd stolen her heart, she would have told them that it was so long ago that she couldn't remember quite *when*.
But she could say that he'd had her way back in the beginning.
At "Nobody here but the FBI's most wanted." Well, maybe not that soon, but the reply to her knock at the basement office door had intrigued her. Aroused her curiosity more than the stories about "Spooky" Mulder ever had.
That was something she wasn't used to. Meeting someone and feeling a 'click'. She had introduced herself, then taken his hand.
It had been four years now. Actually, it was almost five now since that day when her life had irrevocably changed. And as the years and pain had come and gone, she'd only grown closer to the man she loved, even if he didn't comprehend how deep her feelings went.
For such a brilliant mind, it still shocked her that he didn't, couldn't see what was right in front of him. But then, she hadn't said anything to him all this time, so who was she to fault him for his blindness when she had been mute?
Feeling the weight of the truth settle on her shoulders, she let her mind wander as she stared that the lovers in the back booth. There was never going to be a day when he looked at her like that. She knew it now. Mulder was never going to see her like that. Never going to see *her* beneath the business suits and the carefully crafted FBI agent exterior that she wore.
She believed that without a doubt. And still believed it when the slight chime of the door behind her in the diner rang as someone entered. Not caring who it was, she let her focus stay with the couple and her mind stay in its fantasy.
At the doorway, the man who had just entered took note of everything in the room. He saw the red headed figure of a woman sitting alone in one booth just steps away from him and followed her gaze to the two lovers in the booth by the back. And as Fox Mulder watched his partner watch the couple, he saw something he'd never seen in her before. A softness in her eyes and her face. A loveliness that he'd ignored. There was something there that nearly broke his heart as he watched her regard them.
It was what he wanted to believe was a look of someone in love who could never have that in their life.
God, how could he have missed that look? It was the same one he'd seen on her face so many times, focused on him. A look of loss. A look of wishful thinking. What could have been had she never started with the X-Files.
He'd done that to her. Made her into this. Kept her from finding that in her life because he'd been selfish and wanted her beside him, solving the mysteries of the universe.
With mixed emotions, he started for her. Slowly he came up beside her, not wanting to startle her, and stopped beside the bench seat.
"Hello Scully," he said softly, the hint of worry in his tone.
Her head turned and she looked up into Mulder's concerned face. His eyes were red, almost as if he'd been crying, but she couldn't say for sure. But the guilt and pain within were easy enough to read.
"Hi Mulder," she said shyly and she felt a pang of guilt well up inside of her.
He'd come looking for her. She knew he would; that he'd be worried and upset. The way that they'd left things earlier in the office had ensured that he'd be concerned about their future as partners. The last few cases had been tough ones, and had left them feeling pretty abused. She knew that Mulder had taken it all extremely personally because he'd .stood there in the basement today and told her how sorry he was for dragging her through everything: the abduction, the loss of her sister, the deadly encounters and near-misses. How he'd destroyed her life in his dragging her along on his wild goose chases. He hit every sore spot between them in his dialogue of guilt.
And while he'd spouted off these things he believed had driven a wedge between them, she could only focus on how much those things had drawn her closer to him. So rather than saying something she might regret, she'd left the office for a long lunch.
If she had stayed, she knew she would have ended up telling him how much she loved him. That she could forgive him anything except his own self-bereavement. There was nothing to forgive anyhow. At least she didn't believe there was.
Scully watched as he stood before her in the restaurant. His body seemed stilted, as if he was repressing some kind of physical pain that made moving arduous. He stood there, his eyes filled with tears and pain etched in his face. His shoulders slumped and he seemed to be wavering on his feet. All in all, he looked a mess.
"I know why you left Scully," he said finally, and she stared at him, thinking that he didn't have a clue.
"I'm sorry Scully. For everything. The things I've done, the pain I've caused you and your family. It's all my fault, and I'd understand if you couldn't even stand to look at me anymore, let alone. . ." he said, then cut off his thought mid-sentence. The guilt and pain rolled off his tongue with his words and hit Scully without mercy. "If you hadn't walked in my door all those years ago. . ."
Her eyes closed as the pain assailed her. How could he think that she would blame him? Leave him? Loathe him? Her eyes snapped open as a spike of determination ran through her heart. She had to tell him the truth.
They deserved the chance to be happy, even if she knew they were both scared of it. For, she was certain, neither one of them had been truly happy in years. She wasn't even sure she knew what it was anymore.
But she did know that being with Mulder made her feel alive and cared for. Made her better than she was by herself. She knew that she needed him like air and wanted him just as much. And that was what loving someone was all about, wasn't it? Now, seeing him before her like this, it was all she needed for her to make her decision.
"Stop Mulder. Just stop," she said harshly, slipping out of her seat and moving to him, pulling him into her arms.
"Scully?" he asked dazed as her arms tightened around his waist. Then she ran her hands up his back and his eyes widened. He pushed her back gently from his chest to look into her eyes. "Dana?!?"
"You're so dense," she told him, her words filled with emotion, then ran her hands into his hair. Suddenly she pulled his mouth down to hers, and she placed a brief, passionate kiss against his lips. "I love you. I always have. Since day one. Since I walked in the basement all those years ago. . ."
There was a moment when shock flitted across his features as what she'd said penetrated his brain, then found residence in his heart.
She stood there now, waiting in anticipated silence. She'd bared her soul to him, yet he could still deny her her feelings. Deny them both this thing between them with a simple word.
She stood there and held her breath, waiting for his answer to her words.
It wasn't long in coming.
"Hell Scully," he said with more emotion than she'd ever heard in his voice before, "you had me at 'Hello'."
Then he smiled at her, and drew her head back to him, leaning forward and down with his mouth, searching for her lips. And in the melding of their mouths, another pair of lovers found their way among the little diner's patrons.
Ah, another happy ending. I think I should chuck this fanfic biz and write fairy tales. They always have happy endings, right? <bg> J.
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