Her eyes continued to sting and brim with tears as she thought. She thought about what he had told her. She could remember every word. She was sure that, if she had enough time, she could sit down and replay the entire thing from start to finish in her head without missing a beat. Scully could see how Mulder's slightly insecure nature could come up with such an inane conclusion as he did. Of course, he was blaming it all on himself, as usual. And, in essence, it was a very selfless gesture that he was making to deny himself her in order to protect her from him. But at the same time, there was something that wasn't right about it. Scully finally knew what she wanted to say to him.
She turned to face him. Boy did he look scared. Scully probably would have laughed a little had she not still felt so emotionally drained from his confession to her. Her eyes continued to well up with tears that she continued to wipe away with her fingers. She was sure that her face was a mess of mascara, but somehow, that didn't seem all that important right then. When she finally began to speak, her voice was choked and strained and filled with emotion.
"Mulder, I really resent that." She said and Mulder's eyes grew wide with shock. He opened his mouth to speak, but she cut him off, "No, you had your turn, now you're going to listen to me. I really resent the fact that you seem to think you can just make the final decision for the both of us here. Mulder, I'm not Diana. And I resent the fact that you seem to think that just because she couldn't handle a relationship with you that I automatically can't either. After everything we've been through together, Mulder, I just can't believe that you have so little faith in me." Mulder began to protest again, Scully cut him off again, "no, I'm not finished! I love you, Mulder." She said almost angrily. Then she stopped, placed a hand on her chest and spoke again in a soft whisper, "I love you…and that is something that I am unbelievably certain of. It is the only thing I have ever been completely certain of in my entire life. And I am not going to let you decide for me whether or not I am going to be able to love you at all just because of a bad marriage that you experienced over eight years ago! It's not fair, Mulder. And I'm not going to let you get away with it. It's just not right for you to punish me, by denying me you, just because you made a stupid mistake almost ten years ago by jumping into a bad marriage. Didn't it ever occur to you, Mulder, that maybe it wasn't your fault after all? You said it yourself, your relationship with Diana had never been ideal. Didn't you ever think that if it hadn't been the X-files that distanced you from her it would have been something else? Your marriage with Diana was probably doomed from the start, but it was inevitably your obsession with the X-files that ended it. But Mulder, even if it's still your obsession, that doesn't mean that the same thing would necessarily happen to us." Scully paused, it seemed as though she were finished.
Mulder was looking directly at her. Even though most of her words had been angry, they had come right from her heart and he had been utterly moved by them. Now his eyes were damp and he suddenly felt very ashamed of himself because, once again, he had behaved like a complete ass when he had actually thought that he was doing what was best for her. He sniffed and said, "Can I say something now?"
Scully thought for a second, then she said in a soft voice, "No…not yet." She inhaled deeply through her nose and slowly walked back over to the chair she had been sitting in, never taking her eyes off Mulder. Mulder watched her too as she slowly sat down, scooted her chair as close to his bedside as she could and gently took his hand in both of hers. Once again, tears glistened in her eyes. "Mulder, throughout our partnership…and our friendship…we have seen each other at our very worst. In every respect…both physically and emotionally. And no matter how bad it's gotten, we have never failed to be there for one another. I feel that I have proven myself worthy as your partner and as your friend…now I want to prove to you that I am worthy to love you. I know you, Mulder. I know you better than you know yourself. I know it won't be easy, but," Scully chuckled softly, "if I haven't left you by now, after everything you've put me through over the last five years, I think it would be a safe bet to make that there isn't much you could do now that could ever drive me away from you. I love you, Mulder. I know what I'm getting myself into by letting myself love you. And I want you anyway." Scully smiled softly at him, trying to tell him that she was finished. When Mulder didn't say anything and just continued to look at her with a face that was streaked with tears and heavy with emotion, she added, "I'm done now."
Mulder laughed softly and turned his head away as he let all her words sink in. He looked back at her with a warm smile on his face and tears glistening in his eyes. "Those are mighty sweet words, Miss Scully, but are you sure you know what you're doing? It's an awful big risk to take."
Scully smiled, "Mulder I almost lost you tonight. I don't care what the risk is in loving you. I just can't risk losing you again."
Once again, Scully said just the right thing to make Mulder tear up just a little bit more. He still didn't think he deserved her. But if she was this determined to be with him, he wasn't going to protest anymore. He pulled himself together as best he could and made an attempt to lighten the mood a bit.
"So are we in it together, partner?" Mulder asked her with a broad grin on his face as he held out a hand to her as if he wanted to shake hers.
She smiled, took his hand and shook it mockingly, "For better or for worse."
Mulder gave her a coy grin and said, "Besame, Scully…" She smiled. Then he gave her hand a little tug and slowly pulled her towards him. Scully leaned over and kissed him gently. And they knew then that any risk in the world was worth taking if it meant they could be together, always.
*Besame is Spanish for "kiss me."
This story belongs to Rachel Brown, All rights reserved Copyright 1998