Faith in Believing Too
By Jeannine Ackerson
Spoiler warning: This happens sometime after "One Breath."
Disclaimer: The X-Files, as well as the characters portrayed therein are property of C. Carter, Fox Broadcasting, 1013 Prod., and most importantly: they don't belong to me.
Writer's note: I am using a Catholic church for this story because Scully is supposedly Catholic. Again, no offense to it or any other religion is intended in its use here.
Relationship: VA. This is a Scully story, and contains just a little angst. For those among you who are relationshippers, you can get a good feeling from this by reading between the lines (so to speak).
Summary: Still reeling from recent events, Scully goes to church and receives a visit from a higher power.
Hi All! If you read "Faith in Believing", then you already know that I put Mulder in a similar situation as Scully's in here. Anyhow, I got a real surprise in my e-mail: I was informed St. Anne's in the D.C. area really does exist (I thought I had made it up. I guess it was divine intervention!) Anyhow, "my informant" mentioned something to me about picking this story line up after Scully woke up, so, I put this together. Hope it lives up to its predecessor. (This one's for you VM.) So now, on to the story. . . .
It had been over a week since she'd woken up. A day since they'd released her from the hospital. And it hadn't been too soon for her.
She'd decided to go for a walk in the mild D.C. weather near the Naval hospital, just for a change of scenery. The weather afforded her a chance to be out and about, but the tall trees with their branches stretched upwards in bare protest were beginning to depress her.
Winter had usually been an enjoyable time for her, with Thanksgiving and Christmas providing the family a chance to get together. But this year was different. It had been early fall the last time she'd been walking around Washington. Now it was in the early stages of winter. And she'd missed it. She'd lost so much time, she felt like she was never going to catch up.
She'd continued to wander aimlessly, finding herself wrapped up in her own head, rather than the scenery around her. She passed the Naval hospital with a little disdain. She didn't want to be in another one of those again for a long while. The looming building held no interest for her, and she soon found that the rest of the area failed to catch her attention either. So she continued walking, crossing paved street after street.
Until she ended up at St. Anne's.
It wasn't where she'd been consciously planning on going. But since I'm here, she thought darkly, I might as well go in. Because after everything that had happened, even if she couldn't remember most of it, she had felt like her spirit was battered, just like her body had been. Only the fuzzy memory she had of being in a boat when she'd been in her coma had hung on and taken up residence in her subconscious. But it wasn't something she could crystallize in her mind. And it frustrated her.
She climbed the steps and headed into the warmth of the stone building, filled with something like respect as she gingerly made her way to the front of the church. As she walked along the center aisle, her eyes flitted to the relief's that ran in a wide band from one end of the wall, down the side, and then back up the other. The stations of the cross, she recalled with some difficulty. It had been a long while.
Meanwhile the soft, winter sun shone through the windows, illuminating the upper part of the church. Yet the bright colors that the stained glass made against the walls did nothing to ease the tension in her chest.
With surprise, she noted that there was no one else in the church. It was a week day, but she knew that some people ended up here from the hospital. Of course the hospital would have its own chapel, but it wasn't the same. But it seemed that today was going to be an exception. Which she was sort of glad for.
She rather preferred it silent, and she tried to infuse herself with the quiet serenity as she made her way to the front of the church. Without conscious thought, her hand brushed the pew backs as she walked. Her fingers grazed the solid, polished wood as she made her way forward. When she finally reached the front, she stood, looking at the altar that was draped with a green altar cloth. Then her eyes darted to the crucifix, hanging at the center of the wall directly in front of her.
And her eyes dropped, suddenly heavy.
Such suffering and pain. And for what, she thought tiredly. But she wasn't thinking about the man who'd risen from the dead. No, she was thinking of a man who was decidedly much more human. But who seemed to think the burdens of the world were his to shoulder, the evil done to people around him the result of his actions, their safety his responsibility.
And it wasn't right. If anything, he needed to be protected, to be allowed to make mistakes. To know that everything that happened to people he cared for wasn't his fault. He always thought things happened because of him, and she hated that. That, and the fact that he'd gone through this nightmare. Because she had been taken, and that because she hadn't been there, he had suffered.
But most of all, in that haze of not-remembering, she hated the thought she knew she'd had when she had been gone. That she'd lost faith. Faith in him.
It had been a painful revelation when she'd figured it out in the hospital. She might have said that she'd had the strength of his beliefs to him, but she couldn't remember if it had been really true. But once he was gone, and she'd been alone, she realized something. With everything she'd gone through, she had lost her faith. Many times when she'd been held she had resigned herself to die.
Because she didn't have faith that she would be found. That she would ever see her family again, him again.
But now, standing here, that realization hurt too much to bear, and her head slowly lowered, her eyes sliding shut as the pain and guilt hit her.
"He was here you know, my daughter," spoke a soft voice, breaking her revere, and her eyes opened and her head snapped up to see the elderly priest in front of her.
"Excuse me?" she stammered, surprised.
With a trained eye she examined the man before her, taking in his fatherly appearance, his white robes, the nearly silver-white hair, beard and moustache. And his piercing eyes, which she couldn't quite make out the color of. They seemed to shift in the afternoon light, from grey to green to brown. Just like Mulder's she thought to herself, then scolded herself for even entertaing for a moment such an notion.
"I recognize the cross. He was here, not too long ago either." It took her a few minutes to try and understand what this clergyman was trying to tell her. But he couldn't be right. He'd never said . . .
"I'm afraid you must be mistaken," she barely got out, her throat seeming to close up on her, her own emotions getting the better of her.
"No, I remember very well. He had lost his belief in something that was . . . very important to him. He despaired that he would never find it again. He was suffering a crisis of faith. Just like you are now."
Again she couldn't get anything to come out of her mouth, and so the old priest continued on, a kind, benevolent expression on his wrinkled face.
"You've been places many people will never see and others that no one should ever be. Places that most people wouldn't believe existed. The safe haven you were in; that other place where you felt pain and despair. You know you had the strength of his beliefs while you were there, yet you would not let yourself truly have faith. You skeptically denied his presence. You doubted. You believed you were alone. But his presence was always with you, in your soul. And that was what lead you here. Back to the living. That faith."
Faith, she thought. In him. She knew even if she didn't go to church often, she believed in God. Yet somehow she knew that it wasn't "him" that the priest was speaking of. The clergyman was talking about someone else.
When she'd hovered between life and death, he'd been there. She remembered now. His concern, his faith in her, his belief in her return had brought her back. And even through the long months when she'd been gone, had suffered who knows what, something had helped her, urged her to stay alive. A feeling that wasn't describable. It had just been. And now she knew what it was. It had been him. That part of her soul that harbored part of his. It had kept her going. And brought her back.
As the whirlwind of her mind began to slow, she brought her attention back to the priest, only to find him gone.
How had he known, she wondered to herself as she spun in a slow circle, looking around for the priest. Instead her gaze came to rest on a younger priest speaking with an older woman near the back of the church. Unhurriedly she made her way towards them, arriving just as the other woman turned to leave.
"Excuse me Father," she said simply, her voice still feeling rusty from the emotion that had sealed it temporarily. "I was just speaking with another priest here a few moments ago, but I didn't get his name. Could you tell me . . ."
"I'm sorry miss, but I'm afraid there must be some mistake. We don't have another priest in this parish besides myself, that is," he replied, his face registering a look of surprise, but understanding as well. This wasn't his first experience with this particular event. It was his second.
"But I saw, I spoke with him," she reported again, as if telling him would change his answer. In the meantime, she felt the presence inside of her, as well as one settling around her. And she knew the difference between the two.
"I don't know whom you saw, but I can assure you, I'm the only priest in this church today."
"I see. Thank you. I think I found the information I was looking for. Have a good day Father," she said distractedly as she headed for the doors. It couldn't have, she thought.
"God bless you," he called out to her as she slipped out the door.
And as Dana Scully started down the stairs, she realized she had been blessed. She was alive, returned to her life. And she had her faith back again. Faith and belief . . . in some extreme possibilities. It was hard not to believe when they happened to you.
1 week later
Agents Mulder and Scully's basement office
"So Scully, are you ready to go on another wild goose chase, looking for those EBE's you don't believe exist and debunk my theories?" he asked with a smirking grin. He liked it when she did those things, kept him in check. And so he teased her about her skepticism. But as her usually rapid fire retort was not forthcoming, he became concerned.
"What is it?"
"Mulder, what would you say, if I told you my disbelief, in extreme possibilities has taken, a dramatic shift?" she asked in a halting, self-conscious tone.
"I'd wonder what happened to my normally refreshing skeptical partner."
Silence reigned for long moments. But she knew, if anyone would believe her, it would be him. Even if she was still having trouble believing it herself. Gathering her courage, she opened her mouth to say the unbelievable words that had been rattling around in her head for a week.
"Mulder, you know last week, when I went for a walk? Well, I sort of wandered around, and ended up somewhere I hadn't planned on going. And . . . I had this strange thing happen to me. I was in St. Anne's church when . . ."
"Scully," Mulder cut in quickly, the edge to his voice stopping her cold. He wouldn't have believed it. That both of them had . . . That she'd . . He couldn't even finish those thoughts.
"Scully, I think we have a lot to talk about," he said, coming over to sit on the edge of her desk.
"So Scully, do you believe in miracles?"
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