Scully hung up her dress in the small room she had been directed to use inside the church. A portable crib had been set up, which she was glad for, as she might need to corral Faith in it as she got ready.
"I can take her, Scully," Mulder said, as he hung up Faith's dress and set down the backpack. Her headband, tights, and shoes, together in a separate bag, were set on the table.
"No no, us ladies need to get ready together, isn't that right, my sweet?" she asked as she kissed Faith's hands before Mulder handed her over.
"I won't take long to get ready, and Skinner will be here soon; he can help me out if I need it," he said, giving her a look. "I don't want you to feel rushed or anything."
"We have an hour, Mulder. We told Skinner 3 o'clock and the wedding is at 4; that's plenty of time. I don't want her dressed until as close to 4 as we can get. You remember Saint Patrick's Day," she said with a look, and he shuddered.
Faith had worn a new green dress that day, and just before they had arrived at the local parade, a massive dirty diaper had ruined the dress, dirtied the car seat, and forced them to drive home with the windows down.
"Yeah, I remember that day. Okay, well, call me and I'll get her, or have Skinner come over. Take your time, my ladies." He kissed Faith and then looked at Scully. "See you out there." He smiled and she shook her head with a smile of her own.
"See you out there," she replied, kissing him before he left the room and closed the door.
Faith looked at the door, then back at Scully, and then back to the door as she pointed. "Daddy will be back. Dada. He'll be back soon, don't worry my love." She bounced her and made her smile before sitting on the loveseat in the room. "Today Mama and Dada are getting married, my girl. Wow .. every word of that sentence is slightly bizarre."
She shook her head with a laugh, at the thought of not only getting married, but the little girl on her lap. "Faith, you don't have the slightest idea the enormity of this day or of your existence, but you will. We will tell you. Daddy will continue his book for you, and you will see it every day with our love for each other, and for you." She held Faith to her chest, stroking her hair and back, kissing the top of her head.
They sat together, Scully's eyes closed as she sang softly to her. No song in particular, the tune and humming all that mattered. Faith lifted her head and looked at Scully, touching her face and smiling. Scully made a silly face and Faith laughed.
A knock sounded at the door and they both turned at the sound. "Who could that be?" Scully asked Faith, as they stood up.
"Dana, it's Walter," she heard from the other side of the door.
"It's Uncle Walter," she said, looking at Faith. "How exciting. Is everything okay?" she asked, raising her voice.
"Fine. Mulder sent me to check on you and Faith. Do you want me to take her?"
"No, we're okay," she answered, slowly swaying her in her arms, and smiling. "Maybe in twenty minutes you could come and get her though?"
"Okay. Twenty minutes," he agreed and then he was gone.
"Well, my love, looks like we better get started. I'm going to set you in the crib there with some toys, okay? Then we'll get you changed and ready for the big moment." She set Faith in the crib and put in some of her books and a snack cup with a few Cheerios inside.
Scully set about fixing up her hair and makeup, listening to Faith play and eat her snack. When she was ready, aside from her dress, she laid the changing mat on the floor, and took Faith out of the crib. She grabbed her dress and laid it on the side of the crib. The bag of extras was also put in reachable distance as she sat on the floor and changed Faith's diaper. She made her laugh by blowing on her belly, and then put on her tights.
"Okay, now the dress, my sweet little girl," she said, kissing her cheeks. She slipped it on over her legs, slid her arms through the straps, and zipped up the back. She sat her on the mat and put her headband on, with the bow off to one side. Last, she put on her shoes, smiling at how well the outfit had finally come together.
"You are beautiful, Faith Mulder," she whispered as she kissed her cheek and then stood up, bringing Faith with her. She double checked everything, making sure she was good to go, when there was another knock on the door. "Oh, your Uncle Walter is always so punctual." She smiled as she opened the door and he stood there with his arms out, ready to take Faith from her.
He did so quickly, telling her he had it under control, she would be okay, and he would be back for her soon. Scully waved goodbye and closed the door. Looking over at her dress hanging and ready for her to slip into, she smiled. Before she put the dress on though, she cleaned up the mess Faith had made, gathered up her clothes, books, and snack cup, and threw out her dirty diaper.
Once everything was organized, she took the dress from the bag and stared at it, touching it softly. She took off her clothes and put them in the backpack. Taking the dress off the hanger, she stepped into it, and zipped it as far as she could. She stepped in front of the floor length mirror and stared at her reflection. The dress fit perfectly now, having been altered and taken in a couple of inches. Once again, she thought of how beautiful her mother had been in the dress and smiled at the new memories it would create.
"Thanks again, Mom," she whispered softly.
She took a deep breath and smiled, adding another bobby pin to her hair, making sure it stayed where it was supposed to in the loose chignon she had created. Slipping on her shoes, she looked at her complete outfit, and smiled.
Taking out her makeup bag, she grabbed the mascara and applied it to her eyelashes, waving her hand in front of her face to speed up the drying process. As she put it back, she heard a knock at the door.
"Come in," she called, and reached for the lipstick in her bag. Skinner popped his head in the door and she smiled as she caught his reflection in the mirror. "Come in." She told him again and he stepped in all the way.
She applied her lipstick as he walked closer to her, then dropped it back in the bag as she turned to him. He looked exceptionally handsome in a dark steel gray suit with a lighter gray button down shirt, which she had not noticed a few minutes ago. He shook his head slowly as he looked her up and down.
"You look stunningly beautiful," he said with a smile, bending to kiss her cheek. She did not kiss him back, not wanting to get lipstick on him.
"Thank you. Could you zip it the rest of the way for me?" Turning around, she waited as he zipped it up. "Okay, I think that's it. Oh, no. Wait."
She stepped to the small table across the room and picked up the boutonniere Mulder had brought home on Sunday after his afternoon with Tampa. It was one pink and one white cherry blossom sprig, tied together with a thin ribbon, closely matching the color of their dresses and Mulder's tie.
"How did he know this exact color, Mulder?" she asked yesterday morning, as she stood holding the container from the refrigerator in her hand.
"Tampa wanted to know our colors," he answered with a shrug. She stared at him and he smiled. "I sent him a picture of my tie so he had an idea and he had them made up for me to bring home."
"What else are you two planning?" she asked him, putting it back in the refrigerator, wondering what other surprises he had up his sleeve.
"Sorry, Miss Scully, but that would be telling," he said, making a zipping motion across his lips, and tossing away the imaginary key with a grin.
She took the boutonniere out of the box now with a smile and walked over to Skinner. "This is not my idea, but I have to admit that it does look good. Don't tell Mulder," she said as she pinned it on his lapel. He hummed a chuckle and then she noticed his tie: midnight blue with tiny gray alien heads. With a soft laugh, she touched it, adjusting it a little, and giving him a look. "Mulder saw this no doubt?"
"He did, but …" He stepped back and pulled up the leg of his pants. "He didn't see these." She laughed as she looked down at the matching socks. Lifting her eyes to his, he winked at her, and she pulled him in for a hug.
"Thank you, Skinner … Walter," she whispered. "Thank you for so many things." He held her tightly and then let go, nodding at her as he stepped back.
"Would it be weird to hear that I am?" she laughed, and then took a deep breath.
"No, I don't think so. So how about we get this show on the road and calm those nerves?" he asked as he crooked his arm out and she threaded hers through it. One last look in the mirror, and they walked out the door.
Down the hall they went, the church doors growing closer. Breathing out, Scully shook her head at the nervous feeling in her stomach. It was silly to feel that way, especially as they had come to the church today, from the home they shared.
"You know, it's not too late," Skinner said softly, motioning toward the door outside. "We could make a run for it. I'm not as pretty as Mulder, but …" She glanced sideways at him, and he grinned. It was enough to break her nervousness and she laughed as she rested her head on his arm.
"It's a fine offer, but … a person can't run away from their own heart," she said quietly, stopping at the closed double doors of the church entrance and looking at Skinner. "That man in there took a piece of my heart the first day I met him. He didn't do it knowingly, but it happened all the same. Every day I've spent with him, for over twenty years, a little piece of my heart has become his and vice versa. Sometimes it seems as though we're playing an unending game of Risk, where the reward is not territory won, but love … as sappy as that may sound."
"Sappy? Dana ..." Skinner said softly, shaking his head with a smile. "I watched you two for years, wondering when you were going to finally figure it out. To see what I saw. I teased you about the silent communication the other day, but it is truly something to witness. Not every partnership has that, work or marriage. But you two … I can't describe it. It's love, Dana. Sappy, messy, and beautiful. You two deserve it. This moment, that little girl, and … one day … maybe he'll find you two again. So for now, sappy sounds pretty good." He grinned and Scully shook her head as her eyes filled with tears.
"Come on, don't do this to me," she whispered. He took a handkerchief from his pocket and handed it to her. She dabbed at her eyes and took a deep breath, exhaling loudly. Closing her eyes briefly, she took another breath, then looked at him, scrunching her chin.
"Ready?" he asked, sticking out his arm again. She nodded and handed him his handkerchief back. Taking his arm, she exhaled and Skinner knocked loudly on the door, and stepped them back a couple of steps. She looked at him in confusion, but he simply shrugged.
She could hear movement on the other side of the doors and then soft music began to play. As the doors opened, she stood frozen in place, recognizing the song. It was Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel. A song she had told Mulder, to the best of her recollection, only once, was the perfect wedding song. As she stood there, hearing the music begin to swell, knowing he chose it because she had said something about it years ago, it had never sounded so perfect or beautiful.
She looked at Mulder at the end of the aisle waiting for her, Faith in his arms, and it hit her that they were actually doing this - getting married. Married. A man she might not have looked twice at, stood waiting to declare himself to her for the rest of their lives. Past, present, and future lives, they would always be together. She knew it and that knowledge made her take her first step forward.
Skinner stepped with her and the pressure of his touch was the only thing stopping her from running headlong down the aisle, the way she had wanted to do when she was seven and taking her first communion.
Years of extra study classes, she wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Her mother's touch and warning tone had slowed her as Skinner's gait did today, but for opposite reasons. The anticipation of communion had been more exciting than the actuality of it.
This though … this would not be.
"Slow, Dana. Enjoy this moment," Skinner whispered, and she did as he said, slowing her step as she glanced to her left. She saw the candles where she and Mulder had come back to one another and as far as she was concerned, had been married in that moment, no priest needed.
You didn't flee, you saved us both. You didn't give up on anything, Scully, least of all me, or us. You saved us.
I love you, Scully. More than you could ever quantify or understand.
She looked back at Mulder and wondered if he had the same thoughts, being here in this church. He smiled at her as they drew closer to the end of the aisle. Faith bounced in his arms, then reached for Scully as they walked up the stairs to the altar. Scully kissed her hands, but did not take her from Mulder.
Skinner stepped closer, Scully's arm dropping from his, and her hand reaching for Mulder's. He handed Faith to Skinner and took both of Scully's hands in his own.
"You are so beautiful," Mulder said to her and she smiled. He bent his head and kissed her. She put a hand on his face, holding him there, his lips soft on her own.
"And may I add … my my," she replied, her eyes flicking up and down his body. His black suit was perfect with the crisp white shirt and slate blue tie. He also had a cherry blossom boutonnière and his cologne was intoxicating. When her eyes met his, he raised his eyebrows and she smirked at him.
A throat cleared and Scully looked to her left to find the priest grinning at them. She felt her face flush as she stepped back, her head down and a smile on her face as she took Mulder's hand again. The priest cleared his throat once more and Mulder squeezed her hands. She looked up at him and he winked.
"Fox and Dana, you have come here today to be joined in the eyes of God and man," the priest began, and that was the last Scully heard from him.
She stared at Mulder and saw him through the years. Standing in the rain, heat, snow, and wind. Running to catch a suspect or escape from something heinous. Their lives were lived in car rides, arguing over the radio station, and the proper temperature that was most desired. Airplanes and motel rooms, where they learned one another's temperaments and pleasures. She knew by their fifth case that he would go out of his way for a good cheeseburger, but shrugged when the motel water ran brown for a few seconds. He knew she preferred to sleep without noise, so he kept his television low if they had adjoining rooms.
Their lives were not normal, at least not compared to how others lived theirs, but it was their lives and their story, and still she would not change a day. Every twist and turn made them who they were and for that, she could find no fault as to how their path was laid out before them. She squeezed his hands and he squeezed back, a smile on his face.
"Dana?" She turned and looked at the priest and he smiled. "Did you have some things you wanted to say?" She nodded and looked back at Mulder, taking a breath.
"So many things I could say, promises I could make, but we've already said them all, here in this church in fact." She laughed softly, and he smiled. "The most important thing I could say, all that truly matters, is that I love you. You hold the other half of my heart. I have been yours and you have been mine for so long, Mulder, this…" She waved her hand around before taking his hand again. "This is just a formality."
She smiled at him and he squeezed her hands. "That's not exactly fair of you, Scully. You took some of my words," he said, his face serious, but his eyes dancing, causing her to laugh. "Scully, you are my one in … what seven billion by now? It's you, Scully. It's been you since you came into my motel room that first case and bared yourself to me. Oh." He looked at the priest with wide eyes and Scully laughed. "It's not … see, she thought … it was mosquito bites, but …"
"It's okay. Please continue," the priest said with a laugh, and Mulder sighed with relief.
"I knew from that moment, Scully, that I could trust you, and that was all that mattered. That moment led us down a path, both together and separate, but now we're here, finally getting it right. I love you so much," he said, looking into her eyes, as she smiled at him.
The priest began to speak again, but she did not hear him. She looked into Mulder's eyes and saw herself reflected in them. How many times had she seen herself when she looked at him this way? Younger, greener, wide eyed with wonder and innocence. Older, experienced, hurt, and doubting the world around her.
But she never doubted him.
Yes, they had stumbled, had nearly broken beyond repair, but never would she doubt his relentlessness and his drive to hold truth to power. His dedication to the truth and desire to bring light into the darkness was one of the reasons she fell in love with him. He was her center, always pointing north, showing her the way back when she strayed too far.
"What?" she asked, jumping a little, surprised to see the priest standing there, her focus and thoughts being only on Mulder. They both chuckled at her and she shook her head, looking back at Mulder.
"I asked if you would have Fox, to be your husband, in sickness and health, wealth and disparity, remaining faithful to him, parting only in death?"
She smiled, her eyes wet with tears as she hoped to convey how much the two words she was about to say meant to her. Her love lived in her eyes, he had told her once when he had been reminiscing over the ways he had said he loved her in the past without actually saying the words. She had drawn a blank at the words she had spoken to him and looked at him in a panic, until he pulled her into his arms with a smile.
Your love has and always will live in your eyes, Scully. I can be across the room and feel it on me. It's quiet, yet it's louder than a chorus of people, and I can hear it without hearing a sound. You look at me, with those big blue eyes, and that's all I need.
He smiled and she knew he had heard her, just as he always said he did, their silent communication being theirs and theirs alone.
"And will you, Fox, have Dana to be your wife, in sickness and health, wealth and disparity, remaining faithful to her, parting only in death?"
Mulder stared at her, his grip on her hands tight, conveying to her the things he was thinking and feeling. She nodded as he had done and he smiled and nodded back.
"Have you the rings?"
Skinner stepped close to her and handed her Mulder's ring first. She held his hand, staring into his eyes, saying a million things without saying a word. Her love poured over into this simple act of sliding a band of gold onto his finger. When she felt his hand shake a little, she knew he understood. This was not commonplace and he had been so right in not going to the courthouse and being just a number. This was precisely how it should have been.
Skinner handed Mulder hers next and cleared his throat, giving him a look. He smiled and Scully grinned at him as he stepped back with a wink.
Mulder held her hand and slid the ring on her finger. She stared into his eyes, hearing all he was silently telling her. Love, adoration, thankfulness, hope, faith, and patience, all hung in the air and surrounded them. She felt love like she never had before and she could not stop the tears from spilling over.
He let go of her hands and softly wiped her cheeks and then her eyes. He rested his forehead to hers and whispered his love for her. She nodded and they heard a throat clear again.
"You got us in trouble," he breathed, and she giggled, tears spilling out again, happiness unable to be contained. He wiped her cheeks and stepped back with a wink.
"By the declaration of love and the giving of rings, you have been bonded together by a vow only death can break. By the power vested in me, I pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss your bride."
Muider grinned and then his lips were on hers, kissing her with love and a promise of forever. She held his face and kissed him back, a promise sealed, vows unbreakable.
Mulder pulled her close, swaying as he held her, whispering his thanks that she went along with this crazy plan.
"It was exactly as it should have been," she whispered and he hummed.
When she pulled back, his hands stayed at her waist, his forehead against hers, his love whispered again. She heard a whistle and looked over to see Skinner whistling and clapping as he held Faith, who looked at him and then clapped her hands with a squeal of delight.
He stepped over and hugged them both. The priest shook their hands and asked for Skinner to come with him to prepare the wedding certificate. Skinner handed Faith to Scully, kissing her cheek as he did.
"It's about time," he said quietly, giving them each a stern look. They laughed and Scully held Faith close to her. Skinner walked off the altar and followed the priest, but they remained behind, taking a moment together.
They looked at each other and Mulder kissed her again, taking Faith from her and kissing her cheek as he did. He pulled Scully to him and they stood in a close embrace.
"Married, Scully," he whispered. "Holy shit. Oh … sorry." She looked at him and saw he was glancing up, his expression repentant. He looked down at her and she kissed him.
"Holy shit indeed," she said, and his eyes widened as he looked up and around, as though expecting the sky to fall on them. She laughed and Faith clapped her hands. Mulder lifted her up and she laughed.
Once more they stood, holding one another, before Scully broke away and took Mulder's arm. They walked down the stairs and down the aisle, Faith babbling loudly in the echo of the church. As they reached the end of the aisle, she glanced at the candles, pausing in her stride as she did.
Looking up at him, he nodded with a smile, and they walked over to the candles. As they stepped into the alcoved area, her mind returned to the last time they stood there, their hearts sure, but their mouths tripping over the words.
"I was pregnant," she whispered, looking at him and then at Faith, whose eyes were big as she looked at the glowing candles. "I had no idea, and yet here we stood making a life changing decision. Our leap of faith, literally." She touched Faith's leg, then her back. "Mulder …"
He nodded and reached for the matchstick beside him and lit it on a nearby candle. Holding it out to her, she held the end of it with him, and together they lit their candle. Mulder shook the flame out from the matchstick, set it down, and put his arm around her shoulder and she around his waist.
She closed her eyes and offered up a prayer, for happiness, wisdom, guidance, and above all, love. Love that would shine on past angry words, sad moments, hurts that would seem so large but actually tiny in retrospect, and through any suffering they might experience in years to come.
Opening her eyes, she squeezed his waist and then moved to hold his hand, their fingers locked together. "I love you, Mulder," she said, looking into his eyes.
"I love you, Scully, I mean, Mrs. Mulder. Oh … no. I regret saying that immediately," he shuddered, with a disgusted look on his face. She laughed and Faith looked between them and then touched Mulder's face with her hand.
"Dada," she said, looking at him and they froze. He looked at her and then let go of Scully's hand to hold her tightly to his chest.
"Oh, Faith," he whispered, and Scully's eyes filled with tears. "My little Squatch …" He held her close and shook his head. "My girl, I love you so much." Pulling back, he looked at her and then at Scully, tears in his eyes as well. "Scully …"
He shook his head and then looked at Faith, kissing her forehead, whispering he loved her so much. He chuckled and Scully tilted her head, a curious smile on her face as she wiped her eyes. He shook his head and smiled, glancing at the candles.
"A plus B equals C," he said quietly, and she grinned.
"That it does," she answered softly.
Once more they stood staring at one another in the light of the candles, a bond that began twenty six years ago and was reforged last year, that had now been made unbreakable. Wrapping her arms around him, she closed her eyes, her prayer now one of thankfulness and hope.
Reason and faith in harmony, forever and always.