Title: Okay to Believe
Classification: Vignette, Angst
Keywords: M/S Friendship
Spoilers: Beyond the Sea
Disclaimer: Mulder and Scully are not mine. I just borrowed them from Chris Carter and 1013 to play for a while. No harm done!
Archive: Anywhere, but please let me know Feedback: Please! firstname.lastname@example.org Summary: When is it okay to believe?
Okay to Believe
<<After all you've seen, after all the evidence, why can't you believe?>>
Although lost in her thoughts, some part of her brain responded to the ding of the elevator, prompting her to walk forward.
<<I'm afraid. I'm afraid to believe.>>
She stopped at the door to his apartment. She lifted her hand to knock, then hesitated.
<<You couldn't face that fear?>>
She had always faced her fears; her eyes closed, she swallowed and knocked on the wooden door before her. She could almost see his long strides bridging the gap between the couch and the door. It swung open abruptly, startling her momentarily.
"Scully? Is something wrong?"
She didn't answer his question. "Can I come in, Mulder?"
He moved to the side without a word, gesturing for her to enter. Concern was etched in his features. She realized absently that this was to be expected when your distraught partner appears at your door in the middle of the night. For a moment she felt a wave of guilt for disturbing him at this hour, especially when he had just been released from the hospital the previous day, but upon seeing the black and white horror movie on the television, she reassured herself that Mulder's sleep habits, or lack thereof, were the same as usual.
She heard him softly close the door behind her as she walked to the couch and sat down. He followed her only halfway there, lingering in the threshold of the living room. Scully knew he wasn't sure what to say, but she continued to stare at her lap.
Mulder cleared his throat. "Do you want something to drink?" he finally asked.
"No," she replied, her voice barely above a whisper. She made eye contact with him for the first time, making no effort to hide behind her usual mask of cool professionalism. His sharp intake of breath told her that even in the semi-darkness of the apartment, he could see the emotions in her eyes.
"How do you know?" she asked him, her voice almost faltering. "How do you know when to believe?"
She held his eyes for a beat longer before dropping her gaze back to her hands. Mulder finally moved from his position in the doorway, moving past her and taking a seat beside her on the couch. Neither spoke for several minutes.
She sighed and turned toward him. "Mulder," she began slowly, "I have never met anyone like you. You're always so strong, so sure in your convictions."
She lifted her gaze to meet her eyes, finding them a deep hazel that was almost frightening in its intensity. It was the first time she had found herself the focus of the passionate dedication that he usually directed toward his work, the case at hand. It was somewhat disconcerting, but also flattering, to be the recipient of this level of attention.
"Sometimes I just can't understand how it's so easy for you to believe in anything and everything." She laughed softly. "You know, I used to be much more open-minded."
"Open-minded? Are you sure we're talking about Dana Scully here?" he teased, not to mock her but as an attempt to keep the conversation light.
"Well if we'd met about ten years ago, you probably wouldn't recognize me, Mulder."
"Are you trying to tell me that in your wild college years you sported blue hair and a nose ring?"
She shook her head and swatted him on the arm, but then quickly returned to her earlier train of thought. "I was extremely naive. For that matter, I'm finding out every day in our line of work that I'm still extremely naive, but at the time I was completely idealistic. I had no idea how much evil there is in the world, how many people are out to deceive--"
Out of the corner of her eye she saw him open his mouth to speak. "Don't start with the government conspiracies, Mulder, because I'm referring to society in general." He closed his mouth before uttering a sound.
"I didn't used to doubt people," she went on. "If someone said something to me, I took it at face value. I didn't feel compelled to analyze everything to determine whether or not there was truth in it, searching for hidden agendas or ulterior motives. I was raised to believe that people are good. My father--" She trailed off, and Mulder reached for her hand immediately. The gesture almost unraveled her. Scully struggled to maintain her composure.
"My father always taught us to be truthful, to have integrity. I guess I went through most of my life expecting everyone else to follow the same morals. After a few years in the real world, I was...disillusioned. People I'd trusted lied to me, betrayed me. The circumstances aren't really important except that they taught me to be certain of things first, to obtain proof before blindly going out on a limb, before...allowing myself to have that kind of vulnerability. It was a huge part of my decision to go to med school. As a scientist, I was trained to weigh evidence and then make conclusions based on data. I found myself doing so more and more in every aspect of my life. It felt like the right path to be on."
He didn't say anything, somehow sensing that she wasn't finished with what she needed to say but that she needed time to collect her thoughts. He had the uncanny ability to read her perfectly, despite the fact that they had known each other for only a few short months.
"Ahab--" she began but then cut herself off. "My father and I have always been close. On some level I've always felt like I was his favorite, as silly as that sounds. Losing him...Mulder, it felt like the world fell out from under me. I was ready to believe anything, even if it came from Boggs."
He nodded, but still made no move to speak.
"Mulder, ever since...it happened, I feel like I'm back where I was ten years ago, ready to believe everything I'm told."
"Well Scully, that's completely understandable. Your father was a huge presence in your life. He was obviously a big part of who you are, and now you feel like you've lost your foundation. You're looking for a way to ground yourself again."
"I knew the psychologist in you would surface eventually," she said, smiling for a moment. Her seriousness quickly returned. "Mulder, after what happened with Boggs, the way he got to me...I'm afraid that I need something to believe in so badly that I'll latch on to anything."
"Scully, there's something I've wanted to ask you for a long time now."
It wasn't the response she had been expecting, but she nodded for him to go ahead. He hesitated for a few moments before asking his question.
"Scully, you're a scientist. Like you've told me time and time again, you need proof of things, so what I don't understand is...why do you wear that?"
He pointed, and she looked down at the gold cross hanging around her neck as always.
"I can't think of anything more intangible than the existence of God. If you need proof for everything else, why is that an exception?" he asked.
She thought about how to answer him. "Well, I was raised a Catholic, first of all."
"Scully, I hardly think that you of all people would settle for an easy out like that."
"Mulder, I said 'first of all,'" she reminded him. He raised his hands in mock surrender.
"As a child I always accepted the religious teachings I learned from my parents, my Church, in Catholic school. I just assumed it was the truth because it was all I was exposed to. The idea that God didn't exist just never occurred to me. My mother gave me my cross, and I've always worn it since then.
"But in college, although I didn't have the crazy hair or the nose ring, I...changed, like I told you earlier. As I started to lose my faith in humanity, I lost my faith in God as well. I was cynical, I was unhappy, and I felt completely lost in everything. At one point, things got really bad. I was absolutely miserable; everything seemed to be falling apart around me. Everything was wrong."
One look at Mulder told her he knew what was coming next, but he didn't want to hear the words. Scully almost stopped. She had never told anyone about this, but for a reason she couldn't explain, it felt right to be telling Mulder. She continued her story.
"One night I had reached rock bottom. I felt like there was no point in anything anymore. I had never in my life seriously contemplated suicide, no matter how hard things had been, but that night I thought it was the only choice I had. For that matter, I wanted that choice, wanted to be able to have that kind of control. I had planned everything out. I was going to jump from a bridge just outside of campus. I left my dorm in the middle of the night and got in my car."
Mulder had his head in his hands now. She was here, she was alive, but from the looks of it he felt as though it were happening as she told him.
"I was a couple of blocks away when a little girl ran in front of my car. She must have been four years old. It didn't even occur to me at the time how strange it was for a little girl to be out alone like that at 2:30 in the morning. I slammed on the brakes, and less than a second later, a truck sped through a red light in the intersection in front of me, right where my car would have been. I looked back towards the girl, and she was gone. It was a completely open area, Mulder. No one could just disappear like that. I was so stunned I didn't know what to do.
"It felt like years had gone by, but it had only been a couple of seconds. Then I heard tires squealing and the loudest crash I had ever heard. The truck had slammed into a car down the road. I jumped out of my car and ran over there. The truck driver was fine, of course, but the guy driving the car was in bad shape. The truck driver radioed for help and I stayed with the man, putting pressure on his wounds. When the paramedics got there, they told me that if I hadn't done that, he would have lost too much blood before they'd arrived. Because I did, he made it to the hospital and pulled through after surgery."
"Another part of your decision to go to med school?" Mulder asked, relief evident in his voice.
She smiled. "Yeah...Mulder, if I hadn't seen that girl, I would have been killed, and not at all the way I thought I would that night. Maybe I wouldn't have gone through with it anyway, but after what happened there was no doubt in my mind: I was supposed to live, and because I did, someone else did too. The feeling I had after it was all over...I just fell to my knees and cried, and then I thanked God for saving my life."
Mulder stared at her, his face unreadable. He held her gaze without moving for what seemed like forever. Finally, he pulled her to him in a tight embrace. "I'm glad you were saved, Scully," he said softly.
Since she'd been assigned to the X-Files, she had respected Mulder. He was a brilliant investigator and a truly decent man, who never made her feel inferior like other colleagues had in the past. Even if she didn't share Mulder's beliefs, she believed in the work they did together. It made her feel that any detriment to her reputation her current assignment had earned her was worth it. She valued their partnership and had almost instantly felt a trust with him. In that moment though, with his arms around her, she realized that he genuinely cared for her, not just as a partner but as a friend as well.
"Scully, that was your answer," he said as he pulled away from her.
She furrowed her brow in confusion. "My answer?"
"The feeling you got that night that restored your faith in God...that's how you know; that's when it's okay to believe," he replied.
She nodded, his explanation making sense to her. "Thank you, Mulder." She smiled and reached for his hand. He took it and smiled back at her.
She chuckled softly and reminded him, "Mulder, you don't even believe in God."
"In this case, Scully, it only matters that you do."
"I've been meaning to ask you about that though," she continued. "Why is God the only thing you don't believe in?"
He seemed to struggle for a way to respond, and then she saw him put up an emotional wall.
"I think that will be a conversation for another night, Scully." The finality of his tone warned her not to push the subject any further tonight.
She nodded, hoping she hadn't offended him.
"I'll get you a blanket, Scully. I don't want you driving home at this hour," he said as he rose from the couch.
She opened her mouth to argue but then decided against it. "Okay...thanks."
When he returned, she asked, "what about you?"
He let out a self-depricating laugh. "Scully, I've told you I don't sleep. Don't worry about me."
He sat down on one end of the couch and motioned for her to lay her head on his thigh. She hesitated for a moment, telling herself that it was
unprofessional, but in light of their conversation tonight, she convinced herself that this was what friends did for each other.
She lay down, her cheek resting on his leg, and he pulled the blanket over her. After a few tense moments, she willed herself to relax. She was safe here; she could feel it.
Mulder resumed watching his movie with the volume low enough that it wouldn't disturb her. She wasn't sure if he knew she was still awake, but after a few minutes he whispered, "thank you for coming to me, Scully."
She drifted off to sleep, thanking God for bringing Mulder into her life. This time, she knew it was okay to believe.
Author's Notes: Thanks for reading! Please take the time to send some feedback. This is my first fic in almost 2 years, and for that matter I'm not too fond of most of my old stuff. Let me know if I should keep doing this! And Killeen, I told you you'd eventually get your birthday fic. Okay, it's almost two months overdue, but better late than never, right? I'm also thinking of making this the first in a series of conversations about faith. I asked Killeen to name four episodes and she replied with "Beyond the Sea", "Revelations", "All Souls", and "all things" all off the top of her head. As I was brainstorming, I saw the faith connection in all of them. Obviously, this story can stand alone, but I'm thinking of exploring the others and tying them together as a series. Any thoughts on that?
If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to XFKirs
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