A/N: And, so, we come to the final leg of this journey- I never meant to keep this a WIP. But, alas. This final chapter, therefore, might feel rather disjointed- since I published this in 2007, and it is now 2012, I've had nearly 5 years to grow as a writer and as a person-therefore, the tenor of this chapter might be rather different than the preceding ones.
I've done my best to keep it in line with the rest of the story. Hopefully, I suceeded- if not, I still hope you enjoy.
Now, for the conclusion of Trust, Half Baked, and the Loss of Feminist Values:
I felt my heart drop immediately into my stomach—the thought of confessing everything to him makes me instantly nauseated. It always has, but even more so now, post-Diana.
"Mulder, I—" I stutter, glancing down and to the side, doing my best to try and find somewhere safe—but it's no use, he's cornered me; I feel like a trapped animal, which isn't a feeling I've ever particularly enjoyed. "I don't know what you want me to say, Mulder." I finish, finally meeting his eyes again.
His gaze is steady, filled with the intensity I've long come to think as synonymous with him—"I want what I always want, Scully," His voice is quiet, and I find myself leaning forward to hear what he'll say next, even though I already know what it will be—he wants from me what he's spent his entire life searching for, "The truth."
I feel something inside me begin to quiver—it feels suspiciously like the walls I've spent years building up, but it might just be my legs. They feel like they're about ready to give out. I do my best to process the information; Mulder is asking me for the truth. He is asking me for the truth about why I was jealous of Diana Fowley stumbling back into his life—why I was jealous of their relationship.
I have given him so much these past few years, I have given him so much of who I am, and here he stands asking for the one thing I've withheld. The one thing I've never been sure I can give him.
"Because," I begin, my decision made, "She was taking you away from your work, from our work, Mulder." I lie.
I watch his reaction, and for a moment I'm back in chemistry class—I swear, I can almost see the reaction happening—his eyes darken and narrow slightly, and he leans his head closer to me. "Wrong answer," He says, through teeth that are nearly gritted. His anger has returned, full force—and it is fully focused on me. He has his hands on the wall on either side of me, and short of making a particularly messy and uncalled for scene, I am trapped.
"That's not good enough, Scully." He says, and his tone is dangerous—"One more chance. You have one more chance to tell me the fucking truth before I walk out of here." He moves his hand down the wall, leaning even closer to me so that I can feel his breath on my skin, "The moment you see my back heading through that door, it's done."
His tone is rough, harsh, and it's one that I would normally rebel against, were the stakes not so high. I wrap my mind around what he's telling me—that this is the last chance; if I lie again, he will leave, and who knows where he'll go—but, I'll never again have the right to ask.
"Mulder," I am astonished by the weakness in my voice, years of practicing maintaining vocal authority in the face of tribulation has apparently gone right out the window—I nearly shudder at the tenor of my quivering words. Shaking my head, I try again, with only slightly better results, "I don't know what to say," I'm stalling for time, and I know it—he won't leave unless I lie again, but he also won't participate in my games—he doesn't respond, his features stay the same.
Staring at him in front of me, I feel the gravity of the situation, and it's almost more than I can take. I have always been strong—I have always been able-bodied and able-minded, but my knees buckle under me in this moment—there is no way it will not be a defining one, and the thought makes my head spin.
For a moment, I think Mulder might have to catch me—but the buckle steadies itself, and I am proud of my body, even as my head is light. Because, even though I have always been strong and rational, I have also always been a little insecure underneath it all—and, though I never show it, I am so often terrified.
My mind runs in rapid circles around everything that could go wrong if I tell Mulder the truth; and it all keeps circling back to the end result I fear the most: I could lose him.
"Mulder, I don't know why you're doing this—" I do my best to supplant venom into my words, so that they come out angry, though all I feel is fear.
Mulder is unfazed by the tone—"You're the one that started it." He says, his voice even, "So, finish it."
I open my mouth to beg to differ—"I am not the one that s—"
He cuts me off, "I'm done arguing with you for today, Scully." His body is still, his eyes boring into mine. "Stop being a coward."
He's goading me, I know he is—I can sense it, I can feel it, but I also can't resist it. That particular defense mechanism—the "water off a duck's back" one melted years ago when it came to him.
"Fuck you, Mulder, you're one to talk," I say, my voice injected with true anger this time, "What do you want me to say? Do you want me to say that I was hurt by your relationship with Diana Fowley? By the fact that you chose her over me? Do you want me to say that I lost sleep over it—that I cried over it? That it felt like my heart was breaking into a thousand fucking pieces when I saw you holding her hand?"
Mulder stares at me, nodding slightly, almost imperceptibly—"That's a start. But, not good enough."
I place my hand on his chest, preparing to push him away from me—he's ready, though, and the action gets me nothing more than contact with his hard muscles—on any other day, that would not irk me.
"Of course it's not—you want everything, don't you? You want everything from me, and you won't stop until I have nothing left to give—until I have nothing left for myself, Mulder." He is silent, but he brings his hand to cover mine, still resting on his chest, he squeezes it slightly, dropping our hands at my side. He runs his thumb over the backside of my hand before he finally lets it go. His silence is deafening, it's working its way inside my head; I feel a bubble of courage rise up inside of me—propelled by the weight of so many years of withholding—it rises, starting in my feet, and it travels up through my body, until it finally reaches my mouth.
I'm still angry, but I speak anyway—"Do you want me to admit that the thought of you and Diana together drives me crazy with jealousy? That's what you want me to say, isn't it? You want me to tell you that I'm so fucking in love with you, that seeing you with Diana, listening to her call you Fox, and hearing you defend her left and right—that who she really is can be nothing but personal for me!" When I finish, I am out of breath—and I feel the sudden sting of tears behind my eyes; Mulder is still staring at me, his emotion unchanged—fear roots inside my stomach and crawls up and forces the tears from my eyes.
I can't help it—I've just revealed everything and I'm crying—"Is that what you wanted me to say? Are you happy now?" I ask, wrapping my arms around my body. I feel raw and exposed.
"Say it again." He says, his voice smooth and dark.
Jesus Christ, he cannot be serious—my vision is blurry, as I swipe at the tears.
"Say it again." He repeats.
I should feel indignant—I'm standing before him, raw and exposed—but, something in his voice, something I've never quite been able to name, makes me comply.
My voice is quiet, and he leans forward, so my mouth is nearly at his ear. "I'm in love with you, Mulder." I repeat, my voice raspy with emotion.
Suddenly, his mouth is on mine—I feel his lips pressing against my own lips, soft and so very unyielding—my stomach lurches, as emotion overtakes me. His kiss is demanding, urgent, and I feel my lips begin to move underneath his—my face is still wet, my tears caress his face, and on him I taste salt, spice, and home. My senses floored, Mulder kisses me deeply and passionately.
When he finally pulls away, he looks at me for a long moment, and he is nearly breathless when he finally speaks, "Say it again." He says, with a hint of a smile.
I smile, slightly, too. "I'm in love with you."
He kisses me again, softer this time—gentler, and less insistent.
"You do not know how long I've waited to hear those words fall from your pretty lips, Agent Scully."
I feel his pretty lips pressed in a kiss on my forehead—
"I'm in love with you, too, by the way." He says, grasping the sides of my face between his hands, the pads of his thumbs lightly tracing my freckles.
He says it so nonchalantly—as if it's not a revelation in our relationship, but something he's been saying all along. Maybe, I think, he has been saying it all along. His tone has a kind of 'in case you didn't know,' feel to it—and I forget, for a moment, that I actually didn't know. I'd had my suspicions, of course, my wildest hopes—but I hadn't really known until just now.
"Diana?" I say, smiling up at him. In the back of my mind, I realize that this is probably the only time I have ever said her name with a smile on my face—and it's likely the last.
"Fuck Diana." He says, his eyes twinkling—"Though, of course, not literally." He chuckles.
I laugh back—"No, not literally."
He moves his hands away from my face, and leans back against the opposite wall. He runs his hand through his hair, "What a night." He makes the observation on an exhalation.
I lean back against my wall, feeling grounded for the first time all evening. I nod my head in agreement.
"I meant it." He says, suddenly serious and somber.
I raise my eyebrow at him, uncertain of his meaning.
"Diana," He clarifies, "I haven't touched her like that since…" He trails off, trying to remember the last time, "Well, since before you. The only timeline that matters. And I haven't wanted to." Knowing him the way that I do, I can tell he has more to say, so I remain silent. "And I'm sorry. You were right to make it personal—it is personal. I don't know—she knew who I was once upon a time, so I made excuses for her, and I'm sorry for that. But, I never chose her over you, Scully—I could never make that choice. Not on the first day you walked into my office, and certainly not today."
I nod once, feeling his words envelop me—knowing and feeling the truth behind them. I smile at him, and he crooks a finger at me, "C'mere," His voice is velvety and I comply, moving into his outstretched arms.
He leans down and kisses me again, tenderly, his mouth moving against mine with the practiced art of someone who has loved me since the day I was born.
"Scully?" he murmurs, speaking against my mouth.
I open my eyes and see his gaze track sideways—I follow his look, trying to find his target.
He plants a quick kiss against my mouth, "Will you put the ice cream away now?" He queries, before kissing me deeply.
I pull back and chuckle, "Yeah, Mulder," I say, shaking my head as I step away from him and head toward the counter in the kitchen, "I'll put the ice cream away now," I grab the carton and stick it in the freezer, my eyes not leaving Mulder as he retreats back into my living room.
I put the ice cream away, I think, as I walk with steady feet and a clear head, into the living room; Mulder has made a home for himself on my couch, and I walk over to him—straddling him, I lower myself down on to his lap. He makes a sound in the back of his throat, and I circle my arms around his neck.
I lean my head down to him, and spare one final thought for my nemesis, but Diana Fowley is still a bitch—and then Mulder's body pressed against mine, the feel of his tongue against mine, his palms on my back, wipe all coherent thought from my brain, until I am left with only one resounding truth: Mulder—and I kiss him back, until he is left with only the resounding truth of me.