A Dozen Red Roses

By Jeannine Ackerson

 

6/5/97

Rating: G.

Disclaimer: The X-Files & the characters portrayed therein are property of C.C., FOX, 1013 Prod., etc.

Tissue warning in effect. I don't know if anyone will need it, but I'd be remiss if I didn't say something.

Relationship: Lots of MSR. Anti-relationshippers should skip merrily away from this story, singing their anti-shipper songs. <g>

Summary: Scully receives a strange bouquet of flowers on her wedding day.

Hi all. I was listening to my local C&W (that's Country and Western to all of you not in the know) station and heard this really beautiful song that had me in tears. And I realized that if I revised it, it would be perfect for Scully. So here it is and I hope you enjoy . . .

It had been a long time in coming, but she was finally where she had always envisioned she'd be. At the back of a church, getting ready to marry her partner, best friend and the man she loved: Fox Mulder.

She only had a few regrets.

One was that they still hadn't located Samantha. That lack would always be with Mulder. She knew that. They had decided that they wouldn't let that dark cloud steal the happiness that they'd found with one another. They were going to go on, live their lives despite that missing element in his life, in their lives by her absence.

Another was the fact that Missy was gone. Of all the days she could have used her sister, it was today. But instead she'd gone out to the cemetery and told her sister's headstone about her wedding. She knew that Melissa would have been happy for her.

But the one loss that was a gaping hole in her heart today was the fact that her father was gone. That Ahab wasn't there to walk her down the aisle.

Once her maid of honor and her mother had left, Scully stood and scanned the room, trying to take in everything through a veil of white and anticipation. By the door she saw a vase with a dozen red roses that she hadn't noticed before. Curious, she wandered over to take a look, wondering if Mulder had sent them.

Not like Mulder was the flowers type. No, she had found out early in the courtship, for lack of a better word that he was an unusual romantic. It wasn't the normal flowers and candy. No, she got a stuffed Marvin the Martian doll and a subscription to the Harvard Journal of Medicine through the year 2001. Just thinking about it put a smile on her face.

Looking carefully, she found the stationary envelope stuffed in amongst the flowers. Carefully she tossed back her veil and then pulled the paper holder loose and carefully slid the paper from the envelope.

At the top of the paper, she read the date.

April 4, 1973.

Twenty-five years ago. She would have been a kid then.

Then she saw the handwriting and knew who had written the letter.

Ahab.

The intensity of the moment buckled her knees. She had enough presence of mind to think sparingly of her dress before she dropped to the floor, her knees hitting the wood floor hard. The tears started to fall as soon as she began to read the words.

"Starbuck,

I've asked your mother to give you this letter to you on your wedding day if I wasn't there to share it with you. Being on a military ship, and out to sea, often in dangerous situations, I know that it's possible that one day I might not come back. So I'm writing this for you now.

I love you Dana. Of all my children, I have to say that you are my favorite. Not that I play favorites, you understand, but I see so much of myself in you, and your mother too. But most of all I see a spirit within you that is beautiful in its own right.

I hope that you never read this, that I am still with you to walk you down the aisle to the arms of the man you've chosen to be with for the rest of your life. Like I did with your mother. But if not, know that I would have liked the man you chose, because I know that if you love him and he loves you, that would be more than enough for me. Just be happy Dana.

So, today, take one of these roses to hold in your hand, and I will be right beside you. Best Always.

Love,

Dad"

She knew that her face was soaking wet, but couldn't move her hands from the letter lying nearly abandoned in her hands to wipe away the tears that were streaming down her face. The fact he loved her, had put it to paper only made her cry all that much harder.

After all the arguments they'd had over her choice of careers, this written affirmation of his love for her was more than she'd ever hoped to have. Even if it was over twenty-five years old, she knew that that kind of affection didn't die. No, even now, after the years of stressed meetings and avoiding certain conversations, she knew deep down how he felt about her.

He'd written this letter with the express intent that in case something happened to him, she would know how much he loved her. He may not have died like he'd expected, but he had passed before this day had arrived. Before she could get married.

And so her mom had carried out his last wish. She had sent the letter with the roses for him.

Oh, God she missed him. She'd missed him every day since his death, but today . . . she missed him *especially* today.

She was so lost in her grief that she didn't hear the creaking of the rusty hinges of the door as it opened.

"Scully?" called a tentative voice from the far side of the room.

Looking up, she saw Mulder standing there in the doorway, dressed in his beautiful black tuxedo. What was he doing here, she thought wildly. It was bad luck for him to see her before she walked down the aisle. And God knew they needed all the good luck they could get.

She tried frantically to get up off the floor, but her legs just wouldn't hold her and she crumpled to the floor again.

It didn't matter anyway, because Mulder had already flown from his place at the door to kneel by her side. Tender, loving hands lifted her face to his inspection, and careful fingers attempted to wipe away the tears that marred her cheeks. His eyes carefully inspected hers, looking for the source of the pain that was causing her this pain, causing his Scully to cry.

"Scully, your mom said I should come back here, That you might need me. What's wrong?" he asked, the concern audible in his voice.

She tried to give him a reassuring smile. Mouth the ritual "I'm fine Mulder" for him, but couldn't. She wasn't fine, not really. So, with difficulty she handed him the letter.

He took it carefully in his hands, glancing up once to make sure that she was alright and then returned his eyes to the scrawl across the page. Long minutes passed as he read the words written on the aged stationary and by the time he was done, he was fighting back tears of his own.

After he'd died, he remembered her wondering whether her father had loved her, if he had approved of the choices she'd made. She'd even had a chance to find out. Boggs had supposedly offered to give her her father's last message if she'd come to his execution. But she'd come and sat at his bedside instead. She'd chosen not to know.

It had been a decision he knew had always haunted her, and now . . . now she had received that final message. Years later and in the form of a twenty-five year old letter.

Letter still in hand, he reached out and pulled her to him, holding her tight. Her hands came up and clutched him, her tears still coming, but at a slower pace than before.

Finally after a long time, she pulled back and regarded him seriously, taking in the strength he was offering.

"He *loved* you Scully."

She smiled at him through her tears. It was true. Her father had loved her. And today, when she needed him most to be with her, he'd made sure that his presence would be there with her. Assured her that no matter what had separated them, he was with her now in spirit. And that though was enough to bring her some comfort at his absence.

"Yes," she said, as Mulder wiped away her tears carefully. "And I love *you*.

He smiled at that and then stood, pulling her up with him. Briefly he took her in his arms, holding her tightly. Everything that he had he would give to her, and he knew instinctively that she just needed *him*.

"I'm going to get back out there. I'll see you soon?" he whispered before kissing her tenderly on the lips.

"I'll be out in a minute," she replied.

He lightly pressed the letter in her hand and walked back to the door, peeking back in only for a second before slipping out. She simply watched him go, feeling him in her heart as he moved away from the door and on through the church.

She moved to the mirror, checking that the makeup that her mom had helped her with wasn't a mess. Satisfied, she turned for the door.

But before she got there, she stopped at the table with the roses and looked at the letter again.

A moment later, Dana Katherine Scully walked out the door to the entryway of the church, ready to walk down the aisle to meet Mulder, who was waiting for her there.

With a single red rose clutched in her hand.

-End-

I will tell you all, I usually don't cry listening to tear-jerker songs, but the first time I heard the song that inspired me to this story I was in tears. (It wasn't a good thing - I was driving at the time) Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this one. J.

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