by Oracle

Title: God
Author: Oracle
Classification: VRA
Rated: PG-13
Key Words: Mulder/Scully married
Spoilers: for basically everything
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Archive: Gossamer, please. Email me before archiving elsewhere. I don't see why I'd refuse.
Summary: "Why would God allow this to happen? Why do bad things happen to good people? Religion has masqueraded as the paranormal since the dawn of time to justify some of the most horrible acts in history."
-- Fox Mulder, 'All Souls'

Comments: This story is in no way a religious or anti-religious statement on my part, just a character interpretation.

"If I summoned him and he answered me, I would not believe that he was listening to my voice.
For he crushes me with a tempest, and multiplies my wounds without cause;
he will not let me get my breath, but fills me with bitterness. If it is a contest of strength, behold him! If it is a matter of justice, who can summon him?"

--Book of Job, Chapter 9, Revised Standard Edition


"As I lay me down to sleep..."

Every night at bedtime, Fox and Samantha kneel beside their beds, hands folded on the coverlets, their eyes squeezed closed in concentration. Their mom says they're sending messages to God.

"...I pray to the Lord my soul to keep..."

They've been praying like this since they learned to walk and speak. It is as much a part of life as eating. As breathing.

"...If I should die before I wake..."

For some reason, their dad doesn't do it, but they've seen their mom get down on her knees and whisper at the foot of her bed. She used to only pray at night, but lately she does it during the day sometimes.

Once they came in from a rained-out game of baseball and saw her kneeling in the kitchen, her hands clasped on the tablecloth. Only Fox noticed the strange, sad, pleading edge to her murmuring, but he didn't know what to make of it.

"...I pray the Lord my soul to take."


Every night at bedtime, Fox closes his eyes before he enters his bedroom. He thinks that maybe, just maybe, he'll open them to discover Samantha lying in her bed, as though she hasn't been gone for almost six months.

He closes the door carefully, tiptoes into the centre of the room, and slowly opens his eyes.

Her bed is empty.

His parents are arguing downstairs, again. Like the droning of mosquitoes. He covers his ears and kneels beside his bed.

Even though he hasn't seen his mom pray in a long time, and even though she never says anything about God any more, except in vain, Fox still prays. But his prayer has changed.

"Dear God. Please bring Sam home. I'll trade anything you want for her, even me, so my mom and dad can be happy again. Please God. I miss my sister and I'd like her back now."

He wonders if tomorrow morning he'll wake to find her safe in bed. Mom used to say that God was kind, good, wise, forgiving and all-powerful.

God will take care of Samantha. God will bring her home.


Every night at bedtime, Fox tightens his arms around Phoebe. He tries to forget about the Wednesday afternoon when he saw her kissing an English professor beneath a lakeside willow.

Then he closes his eyes and tries to sleep, even though he hasn't had a good night's sleep in seven years. He doesn't pray any more.

Fox understands desperation now. He's studied it. He understands the stages, the details, of grief.

At the moment he's studying depression, but he can't concentrate.

He remembers his mom watching television late at night, her eyes gazing uncomprehendingly at the screen. There was always a glass pill bottle somewhere beside her, or broken against the opposite wall.

Fox didn't understand her then, but now he does, and he wishes he'd put a blanket around her shoulders and taken care of her, instead of sneaking out, night after night, to watch double-bill B-movies like 'Plan Nine From Outer Space' and 'Attack of the Giant Leeches'. In those years, there was no bedtime. There was school, and there were flickering TV screens, and darkness.

Maybe when he gets home, he'll be able to make things better. He'll make his mom smile again, because really, that's all he's wanted for a long time. Just a smile.


Every night at bedtime, Mulder paces around his motel room, trying to clear his head of the human monsters he now deals with, every hour of every day, every day of every month. Sometimes he wakes up sweating and screaming, afraid their darkness is encroaching on him, blotting him out like ink spreading through paper.

He doesn't know what to think about God any more.

If there is a God, He can't possibly be all-powerful, if He really is good, kind, wise and forgiving. Or maybe He's none of the latter. Maybe He is all-powerful, but at the same time, petty, greedy and cruel. Because Mulder has seen too much to believe otherwise. He has seen little girls like Samantha, cracked open like ripe watermelons. Buried alive. Starved to death. Mutilated. Burned, beaten, twisted and raped.

There's no prayer for Mulder, no hope. His mother can smile again but it looks like a crack in one of her china teacups. His dad has become a fully-fledged drunk.

Mulder doesn't believe that God will return Samantha, not any more. She must be buried somewhere, a shallow grave, or sunk to the bottom of a lake. Or maybe she's nothing but ash.

Who did it? Why did they do it? He doesn't think he'll ever know.

But there are other little girls he can save.


Every night at bedtime, Mulder lies awake on his sofa, the TV muted and flickering in the darkness.

Samantha is out there somewhere and he's going to find her, even if it takes the rest of his life.

He remembers listening to his regression tapes for the first time. "I want to believe." Finally, there was something to believe in, something tangible. Not a distant, ineffectual, possibly benevolent God, but real creatures, with real, albeit hostile, plans for mankind.

Even after all these years, he thinks, Scully doesn't understand, and maybe she never will. He might never save his sister but his work allows him to save something, to salvage some people from the wreckage of living, at least temporarily. Maybe he can even put a stop to the alien threat.

He feels it's worth dedicating his life to. He tries to keep Scully out of harm's way as much as possible, even though he knows it pisses her off. Apparently she wants an equal share in this quest, this journey with him that has already ruined her life.

Meanwhile, she refuses to believe that the aliens are here. Only about five months ago, he pulled her out of a cryogenic pod at the centre of an alien spacecraft in Antarctica. There's no denying what happened, ridiculous as the story may sound. Mulder has been able to understand, even respect, Scully's reluctance to believe. Until now.

He wonders if, all this time, they haven't been on separate pages, but have instead been reading completely different books. She refuses to leave, or to believe. He can't understand her at all. She won't believe.

But she does believe in God. Without proof, without reason, without any recent sightings, she believes in God. She calls it faith.

Mulder used to have faith. He doesn't know exactly what happened to it, only that it withered and died sometime in the eighties. He also knows that he doesn't want it back, whatever it is.

When Scully talks about God, Mulder understands why people call faith "blind". She gets this look in her eyes as though she can't sense anything except a soothing feeling that makes everything better. It's like a drug or a sickness, allowing her to avoid the truth.

God has never come to Scully's aid, as far as Mulder can tell. Just like God never came to his aid when he prayed for Samantha's return, all those years ago.


Every night at bedtime, Mulder holds his wife as she falls asleep. He lies awake for a while, still holding her, listening to her breathe, making sure this isn't a dream he'll wake from when he closes his eyes.

After a while, when Scully is deep into REM, her eyelids flickering, he climbs out of bed to go check on his son. Just to make sure.

The door creaks slightly when he pushes it open a crack, enough to see William tucked into his patchwork quilt, bathed in muted-gold nightlight. Then Mulder closes the door and returns to bed.

Sometimes he's satisfied when he slides in beside Scully. He kisses her on the forehead, wraps his arms around her again, and falls asleep.

But sometimes he lies awake late into the night, or even into the morning, thinking about God.

"As I lay me down to sleep..."

Sometimes he thinks, No, of course not. Sometimes he refuses to believe.

"...I pray to the Lord my soul to keep..."

Sometimes he cries quietly, trying not to wake Scully.

"...If I should die before I wake..."

And sometimes he thinks,

"...I pray the Lord my soul to take."


"You make pretty daisies pretty daisies love I've gotta find find find what you're doing about things here A few witches burning gets a little toasty here I gotta find find find why you always go when the wind blows"

--Tori Amos, 'God'

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