Notes: MK Lyric Wheel, Married or Buried. Thank you Liz for the lyrics. I didn't go with literal interpretation of the lyrics, I just couldn't bring myself to do it, and instead I went with a fairly loose interpretation.
I walked around the garden, breathing deeply the heady fragrance. Scully had opted to use only the garden's natural beauty instead of importing more flowers for decorations. It was beautiful. She had done a wonderful job and without the aide of a wedding planner. I wondered how long she had planned this- since she was a small child, I suppose.
Instead of the usual chairs forming two sections and creating an aisle, Scully had decided to set up the tables for the reception and they would serve as seating for the audience during the wedding. She arranged the tables so that there was a small carefully disguised path down the center. The vows would be taken in front of the tables in a small area surrounded by twinkling white lights strung through the trees. The area would also serve as a dance floor later on with the string quartet playing classical music off to the side. No loud DJ playing dance mixes for my Scully.
The guests were slowly trickling in and settling into their seats. Most of the faces I didn't recognize, some I did from the bureau. But the faces that were missing were more noticeable. The Lone Gunmen for one. Doggett, too. I think he was more upset with Scully and Skinner's impending nuptials than I was. But I wasn't given a choice. After they had made the announcement, she had taken me aside and asked me to stand up for her and walk her down the aisle. After all the years of sacrifice for me, how could I refuse? She was and always would be my best friend.
I glance at my watch. The ceremony would start soon. I looked over at Skinner talking to some of his agents. Not a sign of nervousness. But he should be nervous, I thought unkindly. It didn't matter that this was his second go round. Scully was the prize. The Brass ring. I shook off my hateful thoughts and applauded his foresight. He was the one that stood by her and back her up, not the one that asked her to put her life on hold.
Scully's mom stopped me, reminding me of my appointed duty. It was time for me to be upstairs retrieving the bride to be. I took the stairs like a man headed for his execution. I knocked softly on her suite before I opened the door.
She took my breath away. I know all brides are angels on their wedding day. But Scully was more than an angel. She was the Madonna personified. No longer was she my sweet young partner, still sporting just a hint of baby fat. Scully was a woman now. All classical high cheekbones, full lips and bright blue eyes that glistened as her gaze fell upon me. My heart twinged. She should have been mine. What the hell went wrong?
"Mulder, are you all right?" she asked. This was her wedding day and she still couldn't stop thinking of me first.
"I'm fine, Scully," I assured her. "You just took my breath away."
"I look okay then?" she asked with just a hint of apprehension.
"More than okay. You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen." I gave her a reassuring smile. I knew she was a little nervous about the wedding, but there seemed to be something more on her mind. "Are you okay? Not getting cold feet at this late hour?"
"No, it's not that. But you look a little shaken. Do you want to talk about it?"
"Scully...I just," this wasn't the time or place, but I trudged forward. I had to know for my own peace of mind. "Why isn't it us getting married? Why Skinner and not me?"
"Mulder, you know the answer to that." She looked at her engagement ring and twisted it on her finger. When she looked back up there were tears in her eyes. "We love each other. Probably too much but not enough. I love you, Mulder. Never doubt that. It's just that I'm not 'in love' with you. Maybe at one time, while we were partners, I was in love with the idea of being in love with you. But that infatuation matured into the friendship I hold closest to my heart."
"With time..." I started to say before she interrupted to go on.
"Time. We had all the time in the world and none of it was for us. We love each other. I would have done anything for you, Mulder. I still will. But Walter and I, we do for each other. Equals."
"We were equals. I would have hung the moon for you. Given you the stars."
"That's just it. I didn't want the moon and stars. I wanted your heart. That part of your heart that you've kept hidden away from the world. And I realized too late you had already given that part of yourself away. I knew we couldn't become more than friends. I would have been second place. I'm selfish enough to admit I want to be first in someone's life. With Walter, I am. And Mulder, despite how I feel about you, Walter is first in my heart. Be happy for me. Please."
Scully wiped an escaping tear as she turned back toward the mirror. I knew what she was saying was true. I spent years putting my life and desires on hold, searching for the truth, and now I had it. And it was too late. Too late for a life with her and too late for a life with...No, damn it. I didn't want to go there. Not today. Not at Scully's wedding. I'll save it for later, when I'm back at home, alone.
Mentally pulling myself together, thinking I needed to face the facts and let her go. The last thing she needed was my melodramatic self-centered 'what about me' attitude. I embraced her from behind and rocked her as I looked in the mirror at the reflection of us. Kissing the side of her head, I whispered, "Thank you."
She smiled a watery smile at my reflection and pushed me away. "Help me with the veil and let's get this show on the road."
"You're the boss." I laughed and twirled her lace veil around my head.
"I always was, you just never noticed."
Music sounded downstairs, signaling us to make our way to the garden. "This is it," she said as she took a deep breath. I offered my arm and we headed off to her destiny.
The string quartet started the wedding march at the priest's signal after he spotted us at the edge of the guests. Everyone stood as I escorted her down the aisle. I could hear the murmuring. They all agreed with me. Scully was a stunningly beautiful bride.
They kept the vows simple. Modern enough for a liberated woman like Scully, but traditional enough to please her mother. I was surprised when I noticed the tears in Skinner's eyes. I guess in my self-pity, I failed to recognize the fact that he was in love with Scully and he knew exactly how lucky he was.
As I listened to the vows my mind wandered over the years Scully and I had been together. All the trials and tribulations. Everything we had overcome that made us what we were today. I knew what Skinner saw in Scully. Anyone that knew her for more than a day would see the same thing. Beyond her natural beauty was an inner strength. Scully had the capacity for forgiveness and understanding I still didn't quite comprehend. She had quite frequently suggested that I let go of the anger. Not forget the past and what we had been through, but put it in its proper place. The past.
Seeing the way Scully and Skinner were drowning in each others eyes, I finally started realizing what she was really trying to say. Until she had come to grips with her abduction, the cancer, all of the danger and numerous times of almost being killed, she would never be open to share her life and love with someone. It wasn't that I was a reminder of all those things; it was I couldn't let go. Just like it had taken finally seeing Samantha's grave and knowing in my heart it was real, before I let her go completely. As long as I let the past rule my existence, I would never be ready to let love in. Maybe that's the real reason I chose never to act on my feelings for...
Father Dominic started the closing prayer. I bowed my head like the rest of the audience but tuned out the words. I had no interest in hearing the glory and praise directed at an anonymous deity I didn't believe in. I chose instead to visit remembrances on all those I had lost. Maybe this was what Scully meant by letting go. Visiting each person and reconciling with the past.
My family. My father and his part in the Consortium that led to my sister's abduction. Like any child, I had placed higher standards on him and when he failed, the disappointment was so great I grew to hate him. Thinking back on his death, it wasn't his dying that caused me pain, but that I never found out the truth from him. Like the truth would have allowed him back on that little boy's pedestal he had fallen from. But my father was just a man, full of foibles and mistakes like all men are. I could finally see that now.
Thoughts of my father always led directly to my mother. Her cold indifference to me after Samantha's disappearance left a hole in my soul. Mother's are supposed to nurture their children, not turn them away leaving them to raise themselves. Realizing my father's role in the man I became, helped me see the part my mother's neglect played. As a child, I couldn't see past my own needs to see her pain. She had lost a child. During my years studying psychology and then profiling, I had numerous opportunities to see how the loss of a child rendered some people emotionally crippled. But until now, I never saw my mother that way. She was always so cool and collected and I translated that into she didn't love me. Both of us grieved over Samantha in different ways. Had we grieved together, things might have been different. But I can accept now, they didn't, and I am no different from thousands of other children whose parents were emotionally neglectful. It is a measure of a man in how he chooses to live his life. For years I let my upbringing rule me and colored my perceptions of the world.
There are so many people who lost their lives during the past dozen years or so, but my thoughts turned quickly to my friends the Lone Gunmen. Those three goofballs. So serious about the conspiracies, yet they still found time to have some fun. I envied them that. I can't remember the last time I actually had fun. Thinking back now, maybe Frohike knew the truth. He had told me once that in forgiveness I would find peace. Strange words from a strange little man and at the time I thought he was talking about Scully since they were spoken during a short separation. Later when Scully and I were partners again, I wondered why I never got the sense of peace Frohike seemed to suggest I would find.
Father Dominic ended the prayer and presented the new couple to the audience. Mr. and Mrs. Skinner. I could feel my mouth drop open at the shock. No way would I have guessed, my Scully would take Skinner's last name. She glanced in my direction with her little Mona Lisa smile and winked. We would definitely be discussing this at a later date and besides, she would always be Scully to me.
I stood at the reception table chatting with Scully's mom and trying hard not to gorge myself on canapés. Mrs. Scully didn't once harp on the fact she had once zeroed in on me as her prospective son-in-law. The happy couple cut the cake and then proceeded to the dance floor. I watched Skinner sweep Scully off her feet as they waltzed, gliding across the lawn with only eyes for each other. Skinner was quite the accomplished dancer. I would have never thought such a large man could move so gracefully. He is a handsome man in an unconventional way and the two of them made a striking couple.
I took a big gulp of my champagne. It hurt. Unbidden, I saw myself out there dancing with Scully. But she slowly morphed. Instead of a satin wedding gown, she was wearing an elegant charcoal gray Armani. Her eyes were green and she was no longer short. I blinked and the image remained. Her dark raven hair was short and slightly spiking. I leaned forward and whispered in her ear. "You are so beautiful today." Alex looked into my eyes and I leaned forward and initiated a long sweet kiss. I could hear our audience mummer their approval.
"Are you all right, Fox," Mrs. Scully asked, breaking the vision. Shattering it into so many pieces like a broken mirror reflecting what would never be.
Scully sidled up too me after a few more songs. She smiled and grabbed my hand, tugging me out to the dance floor. I gave a halfhearted protest, but I really wanted this last dance. I took her in my arms and waltzed her slowly around the grass, gently swaying in time to the music. I could feel her breath against my face as she tilted her face upwards from her position of resting on my chest.
I looked down into her eyes. Scully took a deep breath and shocked the hell out of me with her next words.
"Mulder, he's not dead and he's here. Walter and I have kept this secret from you, but after our engagement, I realized I was being selfish by keeping you in the dark "
"What are you talking about? Who's not dead?" I knew whom she was talking about, but I wanted to hear the words. The words would make it real. His name would make it real.
Scully looked at me with the same patience she looked at some of her hardheaded students. "Krycek. Alex. It wasn't him that Walter killed in the garage."
I felt like the world had dropped out from beneath me. Scully was practically supporting me at that point. Alex was alive. "I don't understand. How do you know? How could you have kept this from me?"
"It wasn't easy, Mulder. At first, it was bitterness. But when we talked after the engagement, I realized I wasn't keeping the secret for your protection, I was doing it so I could still have you."
"But you never lost me."
"I know, but at the time still was insecure enough not see that I would never lose you. I want you to be happy and I finally accepted that it was Krycek that would make you happy."
"Scully, where is he?"
"He's here." The tears in her eyes tumbled down her porcelain cheeks. "After we tracked him down, I went to him. I begged him to take a chance and come here today. He wasn't sure, he still didn't trust us and I wasn't going to say anything to you unless he showed."
I could barely understand the words she was saying. I frantically scanned the crowd for his face. As if on cue, thunder shook the sky and I found him. Time seemed to stop with our feet. Scully followed my gaze to him, and then she took my hand and guided me over to where he was standing.
We didn't speak. All I could do was stare into his eyes. His beautiful eyes I never thought I would see again. So many things had been left unspoken when I buried him in my heart after that fateful night.
Thunder sounded again and the sky broke open. The guests started running for shelter but the three of us remained frozen to our spot, oblivious of the rain.
Scully laughed. A deep belly laugh and I tore my eyes from Alex's face and looked at her. She reached up and pulled me down into a deep kiss. I knew what she was doing. Any last hope, any inkling that we would ever be a couple, ended with that kiss. She had what she wanted in Walter and now she was giving me what I wanted. I had always searched for the truth and Scully finally found it and handed it to me wrapped up in a faded leather jacket and blue jeans.
She ended the kiss and reached out and grabbed Alex's hand, pulling him to us. After she had placed our hands together, she stepped back and laughed again. Alex and I stared at her. I wasn't sure what to make of my best friend acting like a lunatic.
"Go out and have some fun," she said as she twirled around. Scully was soaked from the rain and her dress was splattered with mud. "You remember what fun is, right?"
I looked at Alex. He agreed with a barely perceptible nod of his head, never once loosening his tight grip of my hand.
Scully danced away singing at the top her lungs. "I know, you know, we believe in a land of love." She spun right into Walter's arms. He picked her up and swiped his tongue across her rain soaked lips before sharing a passionate kiss with her. He ended the kiss and looked at Alex and me, still standing in the rain, holding hands and not saying a word to each other. Walter nodded his head in approval and repeated Scully's words in the form of a question.
I tore my gaze away from the couple and looked at Alex. I suspect Alex thought I would interrogate him with what had really happened, where he had been and finally get the answers to all my questions, but instead I leaned over and brushed my lips against his and whispered Walter's words, "Do you believe in the land of love?"
"I want to."
"Perfect Kiss" by New Order
I stood there beside myself,
Thinking hard about the weather
Then came by a friend of mine
Suggested we go out together
Then I knew it from the start:
This friend of mine would fall apart
Pretending not to see his gun,
I said "let's go out and have some fun"
I know, you know, you believe in a land of love
I know, you know, we believe in a land of love
I have always thought about
Staying here and going out
Tonight I should have stayed at home,
Playing with my pleasure zone
He has always been so strange,
I'd often thought he was deranged
Pretending not to see his gun,
I said "let's go out and have some fun"
I know, you know, we believe in a land of love
I know, you know, we believe in a land of love
When you are alone at night
You search yourself for all the things
That you believe are right
If you give it all away
You throw away your only chance to be here today
Then a fight breaks out on your street
You lose another broken heart in a land of meat
My friend, he took his final breath
Now I know the perfect kiss is the kiss of death