Betrayal In The Garden III
By Jeannine Ackerson
Rating: PG for the suggestive ending.
Disclaimer: The X-Files and it's characters are property of C.C., FOX & 1013 Prod., etc.
Spoilers: Late 4th season - "Gethsemane".
Relationship: MSR! Fellow believers, you've waited patiently, here's your reward.
Summary: Mulder and Scully consider the aftermath of his 'death' and her 'life'.
Hi All! Well, as you probably know by now, I finished the follow-up to Betrayal, and left it with a happy ending for everyone. But I just felt like I could take it one step further and give us shippers something to smile about. So this is a romantic epilogue directly following Betrayal II. Anyhow, I hope you enjoy. . .
Mulder intently watched Scully as she settled into the couch and gazed at him for a moment, then looked away, only to return her focus to him again.
For some reason that was beyond him they couldn't stop looking at each other. He knew subconsciously that they had the need to reassure themselves that the other was alive, but it was as if they hadn't seen each other for years, rather than days.
And in a sense, he suddenly realized as he looked away from her, towards her fireplace, they'd gone longer than that. They'd gone a lifetime.
He hadn't realized until he'd held her in his arms just minutes ago how deep his feelings ran for the woman he called his partner and friend. It had never even crossed his mind that the sacrifices he had made for her went way beyond the boundaries of those limiting relationships. No other partner would do what he had. No friend would have gone as far as he had.
The things he'd done you did for someone you loved.
The *woman* you loved.
The acknowledgement of his buried feelings crashed over him like a tidal wave. He'd known, somewhere, somehow inside of himself that he loved Scully all along.
When did he first know he loved her? Consciously, it hadn't been until just minutes ago, when he'd seen her standing defiant against an armed assassin, head bleeding and gun wavering that he'd admitted to himself how much he cared for her, loved her. He'd been so scared that she'd be dead by the time he got to her. And it wasn't until he'd seen her alive, standing there that his heart had started beating again.
But unconsciously, how long had he loved Dana Scully?
He could guess at times over the last four years that he could have fallen in love with her. There were enough of them. Times when she'd come to his rescue, or he to hers. Moments when she'd demonstrated her loyalty to him, her trust and respect. Situations when he'd realized that he wouldn't be alive, sane, whole without her.
But in reality, he just didn't know *when* it had happened.
And then like he'd woken from a dream the answer arose from deep within his heart and soul.
He'd loved her *forever*.
There was no denying that anymore. All pretense and rationalization had been thrown out the window by his own emotions. His actions spoke louder than he could shout to the contrary.
And now he had the chance, the second, maybe third one to see if she loved him back. Because he had time now. She was alive, healed and they *could* have a future. If he just opened his mouth and took a chance. . .
Then he looked back into her eyes and lost all coherent thought.
Scully had been staring at him.
Yes, she had been staring at him for a while now. She would admit it to anyone. Seeing your partner back from the dead *again* did some wild things to your head.
And your heart.
She had figured it all out in the split second Skinner had hesitated. Mulder had 'died' for her cure. And that Skinner had helped ensure that the deal had been fulfilled.
It had scared her that Mulder cared so much for her. Was willing to sacrifice himself for her. And it touched her heart like she would never have believed.
Now, watching him before her, she knew that while he had staged his own 'death' to save her, he would have done it for real if there had been no other choice. Then of course, just a few minutes ago he'd come to her rescue, smashing in her door. And by doing so, she knew that he'd had to come out of hiding, had returned to his life to become a target again. And he'd done it to save her life yet again.
It was an overpowering feeling to know that you were more important to someone than their own safety. Their own needs. Probably their own life. And Mulder had proven to her that he valued her like that. She didn't have words to describe how it made her feel. But she couldn't help but feel it.
As it was, it was a feeling she knew well. She'd had her own epiphany about how she felt about Mulder days before. How much she would give for him. It had happened on the floor of his apartment, beside his lifeless form.
The moment that she'd seen his body, and thought that she might have been responsible for his death, a part of her had died with him. Even when she'd learned that she'd been cured, it was still an incomplete victory without him with her.
For what was the use living when the man you loved was dead?
That final insight had hit her with the force of a hurricane on her ride home from Skinner's office. If the assassin hadn't been waiting for her, she was certain she would have collapsed on the floor without his *or* Mulder's help. It wasn't every day that you realized that you loved your best friend and partner of four years. And that you had loved them for longer than you wanted to admit to yourself.
With the weight of those thoughts caused her eyelids to close. When she finally opened them again, she saw Mulder looking at her with a look in his eyes that she'd never seen before. And a smile that caught her breath in her chest.
They started to laugh. Only they, they both separately thought, could be so in tune to one another that the moment they wanted to confess their love to the other, their partner would start talking too.
"You first," Mulder said, deciding to wait a moment more before he said the words that would change their lives.
She nodded slightly in response. She was actually glad that he was letting her speak first. He needed to know how much what he'd done meant to her. How much *he* meant to her.
"Mulder, you know some of what happened after you. . . died," she started, conviction in her tone but then stopped, searching for what she needed to say and the words to convey it correctly. "But what no one knows is that when I looked at your body, had believed that I might have killed you. . . a part of me died."
It was Mulder's turn to have his face go ashen. He hadn't been expecting that. Maybe that she appreciated what he'd done, or that she was pissed at him for making the decision for her, or for ditching her like he had, even if he had the noblest of intentions.
But this. . . it bordered on. . .
"But it wasn't until I was coming home tonight, after seeing Skinner and figuring out that you'd sacrificed yourself for me, that I comprehended just how much I need you. How much a part of me you are," she said with choked words. "How much I love you."
Scully felt the tears slide down her cheeks at that last confession. It shocked her that saying the words would be so moving. She'd felt them in some degree or other for a long time now. But she had no idea as to how much being able to express her feelings to him would effect her. Or him for that matter.
Because she looked at him through her blurred vision to see tears of his own falling from his closed eyes.
For one split second, she thought she'd made a mistake. That the emotions she had should have been kept to herself.
Then he opened his eyes and looked at her. And every question she had about how he felt about her disappeared. For in his eyes she say total and complete understanding for her words, her emotions. Because they were reflected back at her tenfold.
Mulder reached a hand to her face, still in awe at the woman he called his partner and friend for saying what she had. For loving him. Then he pulled her towards him and smiled blissfully before he pressed his lips to hers, reveling in the feel of the soft, warm lips beneath his. Tears mixed with their mouths as they moved closer, deepening physically the love they shared that was already miles deep in their souls and hearts.
When they finally broke from the physical expression of their emotions, Scully smiled at him. Then she eased out of his embrace, standing before him. She gave a sideways glance at her mangled door, thinking that for just once she could throw the deadbolt and leave it at that. Besides. . . she did have a gun. And so did her partner.
At that she walked away from him, shoved the door hard, and threw the deadbolt, making sure it fell into place.
Then she turned around to find Mulder getting up from the couch and heading towards her, a knowing yet overwhelmed look on his face. The implications of her actions were very clear, and he wanted to be sure that she wanted this. The question was in his gaze, and she smiled at him and nodded her head just enough to covey her reply.
"I love you too Scully," he finally admitted softly. Then he swiftly picked her up, taking her in his arms and headed them towards her bed to start on their renewed future.
That's it! That's all she wrote folks. I hope this satisfied the relationshippers out there. I know it made *me* feel better. <bg> J.
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