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Lead Me Out

Chapter Text

You'll wear those shoes and I will wear that dress, oh, kiss me.

How do I look?’

Stella turned around slowly to find the eyes of the person belonging to the silky soft voice coming from behind her. She blinked twice, three times just to make sure she wasn’t dreaming. ‘Wow, Dana,’ she said sincerely. Extending her hand she let her eyes wander all across Dana’s appearance, taking in her beauty as she felt Dana’s hand land softly in hers.

It was a sunny autumn afternoon somewhere in the English countryside. Stella had surprised Dana with an invitation to a friend’s wedding, Dana hadn’t hesitated and had said yes immediately, and she hadn’t regretted a second of it as today had been one of the most magical days in her life. Dana had arrived only this morning and they’d spent the past few hours driving to the magical location. The drive had been a quick three hours as they had been incredibly happy to be together again and all too soon the gate to a cobblestone path had been opened before them and they’d arrived. The scenery was that of a movie, fantastical and beautiful, and even though Stella was familiar with this part of England Dana had seen a wonder similar to hers on Stella’s face a couple of times as well.

The invitation had been for a weekend, today having been the day of everyone’s arrival. They would be staying in a barn that had been repurposed along with some other buildings on the property to function as guest houses. It really was a wonderful idea, very British, and with glorious lush fields on the one side and a lake on the other there really wasn’t anything else anyone could hope for. The fact that they were together again only made them happier and Dana had pointed out time and time again her gratitude towards the grooms and Stella for inviting her. Stella just smiled when she said it. Mike, Stella’s good friend, had embraced her like she was family and told her the wedding wouldn’t have been complete without the two of them. Dana had only met them once before but she could see the love and deep friendship that was there between Stella and the happy couple and Dana felt blessed to be invited.

She had felt slightly anxious before, telling Stella a few times that she could go alone, that she felt like she would not belong, she was afraid of feeling out of place and she was scared she’d somehow ruin some aspect of this experience for either Stella or her friends. Stella had remained calm and confident, rooted in reality and firmly seated in her conviction as she had told Dana time and time again that there was nothing to fear. She hadn’t belittled Dana’s anxiety, but she had stood by her and they had talked about it rationally. Stella had explained the long standing relationship she had with the groom and how he had insisted she bring along and she’d shown her how he hadn’t stopped his extensive array of complimentary texts to Stella after having met Dana the first time. Dana had confessed her unease and mild feelings of displacement at weddings to Stella and Stella had made a confession herself: This would be the second wedding ever she would attend and the first she would enjoy.

They were getting ready to go out for dinner by the water. The sun was slowly setting and they’d already seen the white tables that were set up behind the main structure, and Dana had sighed in wonder when she’d first discovered it. Taking Stella’s hand she smiled at the way Stella looked her over, seemingly approving of her choice of a thin denim-look dress with a light knitted c ardigan. She knew Stella liked the dress as Stella had picked it out for her the day before. Stella herself was wearing a cream colored blouse and denim skirt, making them a perfectly matching couple, and Dana made sure to smile appreciatively as well before taking Stella’s hand and allowing her to lead her out into the yard.

Mike and Thomas were waiting for Stella and her girlfriend on the great green lawn of the property that would host their wedding. As they saw the two women approach Thomas softly squeezed Mike’s hand. ‘They are so fabulous together,’ he said. Mike nodded, feeling moderately proud of his good friend for finally having followed her heart. ‘ They look happy.’ ‘They remind me of us, in the beginning,’ Thomas said, his voice hushed as the two approached. ‘Don’t let Stel hear you say that,’ Mike winked at him. ‘She might think you mistake her for a softie.’ ‘Oh come on,’ Thomas poked his elbow in Mike’s side, ‘Deep down she is and you know it.’ ‘And I love it,’ Mike agreed.

Love what?’ Stella smiled as she opened her arms to hug Mike, her long time confidant and friend. Mike welcomed her, kissing her on the lips before pulling her in for a cuddle before turning to Dana. ‘Nothing, dear. I’m so glad you’re both here. You are looking so good!’ He kissed Scully on the cheek before taking her hand and extending his arm, twirling Scully around. ‘Stel, you didn’t tell me she had a sense of fashion too!’ ‘Stella picked the dress,’ Dana laughed as Mike released her. She hooked her arm through Stella’s and leaned her head on Stella’s shoulder before looking around and taking in the scenery. ‘I’d say you are the ones with a sense of fashion, so I’m still taking that as a massive compliment.’ ‘You should, dear. Stella might have picked out that dress but you are rocking. It,’ he emphasized his words. Thomas greeted them both as well and pointed towards the tables behind him. ‘Find a spot, doesn’t matter where. The buffet is over there,’ he indicated. Stella smiled at him and looked over at Dana for a moment. Her cheeks were already slightly flushed with excitement and her hair shone brightly in the evening light. Their eyes found each other and they were lost in the moment until Mike sighed audibly. ‘All right, you two, head over there. Or get a room, but you’re making the rest of us look like amateurs.’ Stella threw him a look that spoke of both gratitude and a warning and Mike held up his hands in defense, smiling at the cheeky glint in Stella’s eyes.

Dana was the one to surprise both of them as she gently drew her arm away from Stella’s and put her hand on Stella’s back, her thumb on Stella’s spine causing her skin to gravitate towards Dana’s warmth. ‘I’ll keep her in check,’ Dana winked at the men, and Stella cocked her eyebrow. ‘We’ll see about that,’ she smiled, and she allowed Dana to lead her past her friends onto the lawn and towards two white chairs that Dana had chosen as their seating for the evening.

Scully was very aware of her hand on Stella’s back. She couldn’t remember a time where she had done this and as she thought about it her eyes were drawn to where her hand was casually holding the fabric of Stella’s blouse beneath her fingers. They reached the chairs and Stella turned around to grasp Dana’s wrist before kissing her lightly. Stella pulled one of the chairs back for Scully and Scully accepted it gratefully, the smile that had taken up residence on her lips no longer baring any trace of her previous anxiety. ‘Thank you,’ she said softly. Stella just blinked in affirmation.

When Dana didn’t sit down Stella smiled curiously at her. Scully held her eyes confidently, although Stella saw a slight trace of nerves run through the waves of blue and turquoise before her. Around them more people were starting to join, taking their seats, greetings being tossed around the table as many people knew each other. Stella’s attention was drawn to a few coworkers and she smiled courteously at them in recognition, but didn’t pay them much attention otherwise. ‘Stella,’ Dana said softly, and Stella’s eyes snapped back to hers. The muscles of Dana’s lips had relaxed and written across her face was pure peace, held together by fragile but golden threads of confidence and happiness. ‘Kiss me,’ Dana requested softly, and Stella’s eyes darted across her face to her lips and back up again.

There were a lot of people around. The crowd was humming around them, the sound isolating them as well as including them and Stella felt simultaneously very visible and very hidden as she granted Dana an answer with her eyes before her lips. Dana leaned in, overpowering everything and everyone in the yard with her silent words that shone from her eyes, her face and from her fingertips as they found Stella’s forearms. Stella stepped closer and pulled Dana in, circling one hand around her, Stella’s fingers curving into her spine to reclaim their spot as Dana gasped and leaned in without hesitation.

Oblivious to the outside world for a few minutes neither of them noticed how the crowd lowered their voices as they watched in awe. This wasn’t the couple they were here for, but what they were witnessing was something special nonetheless. Wives looked at their husbands, some wistful, some with a fire in their eyes that would have to wait until after dinner to be quenched. One or two memories were triggered. A few tears ran down smooth or age-rippled cheeks, some hands and souls found each other quietly under or above the white table cloth as everyone watched how Stella kissed her girlfriend as per request. As she leaned in Stella could name a few people at this table who knew the touch of her lips, but none of them knew the touch of her soul and it was for that fact that she wasn’t afraid to grant Dana’s request. None of them knew anything. The only thing that mattered was now, and now she missed Dana’s touch and she had desperately missed her lips since their hello kiss at the airport. She captured Dana’s bottom lip she felt nothing but air around her, light, white and pink and sunny and ginger all collided in her brain as she kissed Dana Scully a proper hello.