“It’s still not too late to make a run for it,” Mulder said with a half knock as he entered the room. “M.” He froze, his eyes roamed over her dress and softened as they met hers. His eyebrows furrowed. ”You look beautiful.”
Maggie picked up the sides of her wedding dress and gave it a twirl. “Is it wrong that I can’t wait to get out of it?”
Mulder’s eyes widened and his jaw fell open in exaggeration. Maggie giggled. “Daaaaad. I meant I rather be in jeans and a shirt than in a dress.”
Mulder pressed his hands to his chest and let out a breath like she had just prevented him from having a coronary. Then his face crumbled. “You’ll always be my little M.”
Maggie’s eyes dropped to the floor to avoid her father’s emotion filled gaze. “I know Dad.”
“And know that I’ll always be here, on your side. No matter what.”
Her oceans locked with his as she raised her chin. She noticed his eyes welling with tears and hers began to blur. “Please don’t make me cry, Dad, my makeup will look awful for the pictures.”
“Okay,” he replied softly, planting a kiss on her forehead before assisting her with her veil. With a tearful smile, he crooked his arm and lifted it as an offering.
She snaked her arm around her father’s, His hand clutching hers as it rested on his bicep. “You ready?” he asked, and at her nod they walked arm-in-arm to the beginning of the procession. When the doors opened, Mulder escorted his daughter proudly down the aisle.
“I love you, Dad,” she whispered as the Wedding March began to play. She caught him wiping an eye and realised how lucky she was to have him.
When they got to the end of the aisle he carefully lifted the veil from her eyes and gave her a kiss on the cheek. His eyes peeled, his voice low so only she could hear. “You’re not changing your name to Skinner, are you?”
“No way,” she whispered back. “I’m a Mulder.”
Mulder looked above her warm cinnamon locks to the rows of people filling the pews, then his sightline returned to hers. He crooked his head to the side. “Not too late if you want to catch the midnight train to Georgia...”
Maggie smiled. “I’m good, Dad.”
“I know you are.” Mulder chewed on the inside of his cheek as he turned his head and stared at her soon-to-be husband, then over at Walter Skinner, his daughter’s soon-to-be father-in-law. Even though Ascher had a full head of curly honey bronze hair, he guessed his grandchildren might end up being a bunch of bald-headed beauties. As if proud of that fact, Skinner had a smirk that appeared to be cemented onto his face. Mulder bit his tongue and gave Ascher a quick nod of approval and stepped away.
As the priest started the introduction of the vows, Maggie heard the faint crunch of a sunflower shell between the teeth of her father. She fought off the bubbling urge to burst into a belly roll of laughter. Even at her wedding, he had to bring his sunflower seeds. Keeping her eyes steady on the priest, who was continuing the nuptials unphased, she noticed out of her peripheral vision, her father off to the side, spitting empty shells into the communion chalice, and then reaching into his pocket for another handful of seeds as if nothing had occurred. Ascher's father, Walter Skinner, covered his eyes with his hand pretending not to notice and her mother licked the top of her lip like she was imagining striking her father with a blunt object. As if feeling Maggie's eyes upon her, Scully turned and gave her daughter a pacifying smile. Maggie’s heart expanded and her smile widened. That was her mom, somehow always able to keep them grounded, and that was her dad, their Mulder, always being his authentic self.. and she couldn’t love them more.
The Priest interrupted the silent commotion. “Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward?”
“I do,” Maggie managed to squeak out with a straight face. Did Ascher really know what he was marrying into as he also proclaimed “I do”? Maggie mentally shrugged. Either way, he was about to find out…