Brevity II Challenge to Circe's Artist Challenge Elements: hand
holding, autumn leaves, smiles, gift, waterfall

Author notes: Love you Fibbie for continuing to be my inspiration
to start, faith to write and encouragement to finish. To SweetSallie
for your never ending love, compassion and encouragement.

The October breeze subtly lifted and shifted the autumn leaves that
covered the path like a patchwork quilt as it whispered through the
trees. The coolness in the air caused a chill to run down his back.
As he shivered, the warm hand he was holding slipped around his
waist and her warm body snuggled up to his as they continued their
slow walk through the woods.

"Is it much further, Mulder?" she asked quietly as he draped his
arm around her shoulder. "It's starting to get cold."

He kissed the top of her head and whispered. "Not much. I
promise."

As they continued to walk in silence, the gentle wind whispered
through the trees as he thought about all the years they had been
together. The countless hours pouring over a gruesome case file or
the terrifying hours sitting and waiting beside a hospital bed.
Through many days and nights of worry and anger. Through it all
she was still by his side. It had not been easy, all these years.

He smiled thinking back to the beginning. At first, she seemed to
be running after him, always two-steps behind. But as time passed,
he would look backward for her, only to realize she was right
beside him the whole time. She continued to stay by his side, even
though she would stumble along the way, and continued to amaze
him with her compassion and strength. Her love for life and for
him continued to overwhelm him at times, leaving him with a
sense of awe, admiration and a depth of love he had never felt for
another human being before.

The path widened, leading them onto a grassy hill overlooking a
large lake. On the other side was a magnificent waterfall that fell
about 150 feet to the surface of the lake. The sun was setting,
making a spectacular backdrop for the waterfall.

She gasped, let go of the hold around his waist and stepped to the
edge of the hill.

"Oh Mulder! It's beautiful," she breathlessly said with wonder and
amazement.

Mulder slid his hand in his pocket and retrieved a small box before
he wrapped his arms around her waist, resting his chin on her
shoulder.

"Gorgeous," he whispered in her ear and kissed her neck.

"Thank you for bringing me here. It's a wonderful surprise."
Scully stepped back in his embrace, taking comfort from the
warmth of his body.

"I have another surprise for you," he whispered again.

Mulder held out his hand with the small brightly colored wrapped
box resting in his palm. She reached out with trembling hands and
wrapped her fingers around the package.

"Mulder..." she whispered

"Open it, Scully."

Scully slowly opened the package.

"Mulder...what...it's..."

"Scully." He turned her around, placed a palm on her cheek when
he saw the tears in her eyes.

She took a deep breath and smiled as the tears began to trail down
her face. "Yes," was her only reply.

Mulder took the ring from her trembling hand, slipped it onto her
finger and raised it to his lips. Then he wrapped his arms around
her and pulled her close. "I love you. Always."

She tightened her arms around his waist and whispered, "I love
you. Forever."

Mulder and Scully watched the sun slowly disappear behind the
waterfall, wrapped in each others warmth. As the darkness fell,
whispers of love floated on the cool autumn breeze.

THE END.