Between Saviors

by Mary Kleinsmith (

Spoilers: Everything up through season 7

Summary: An especially bad case of the holiday blues plagues a very despondent Mulder

Rating: PG

Classification: MTA, SA, MA, MSR

Archive: Yes, anywhere

Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully, and everything related to them belong to Chris Carter and 10-13 (even though I know we philes could do it better ), with magic added by David and Gillian. I'm only borrowing them.

Feedback: Please, please, please, please, please, please, please?

Between Saviors

The colored lights didn't seem as bright this year as they had in the past. This was nothing new to Fox William Mulder. His first memory of Christmas decorations had to be from when he was three or four. The lights back then had been brighter, full of more colors. Cheery red, white, and green hues had greeted him everywhere. But the years had gone by, each one, the colors and lights fading bit by bit. They changed drastically the year Sam was taken, and thereafter, the "bits" became large and more pronounced.

The year Scully joined him on the X-Files was the first time they'd brightened just a little. That year was magic - before everything that had happened to her because of her association with him. Then the Christmases came where they were dealing with her abduction, Melissa's death, her cancer, his own father's death. This year, the lights for him were non-existent. He'd lost his mother, by her own hand no less, when he hadn't been willing to take the time to even call her. And while, at the time, he'd declared himself free, the final loss of Samantha was another blow in a year he was glad was coming to an end. He wanted to think that next year would be better, but that hope was lost long ago. Things didn't get better for Fox Mulder. They stayed the same, or they got worse. 1992 was a year that would never come again.

It seemed to Mulder that he was getting exactly what he deserved. Yet another part of him wished with all his heart to be rid of the guilt. Men and women all over the world did worse and felt far less responsibility for those acts. It was these thoughts that drove Mulder into the streets on this cold December evening. It was too icy to run as he normally would have, so he wandered aimlessly, taking no notice when the snow began and the temperature dropped.

Trudging through the snow on the sidewalks, or where he could best guess them to be, Mulder's fingers and feet grew numb before he realized that he had to take shelter. He'd walked too far to be anywhere near his apartment, but a welcoming light shone from the colored windows of the building to his right.

Mulder hesitated a few steps from the door. St Mark's Roman Catholic Church. Organized religion was Scully's thing, not his; but then, any port in a storm, right?

He never knew what drew him to the door. Intellectually, he knew Scully found some comfort in going to confession. Maybe, somehow, that comfort would transfer to him if he sat in there for awhile.

The last thing he expected as he settled himself in the tiny room was to have the small door slide aside.

The formless voice began. "In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen." The silence that followed obviously meant he was supposed to say something, but he had no idea what.

"Hello, is there anybody there?" the voice came again, and Mulder noticed how kind the voice seemed.

"Yes," he responded in a whisper.

"Do you want to give your confession?"

Do I? Mulder wondered. Maybe he could give it a try and see if it helped. "Ummm . . . yeah . . . I guess so."

"then you may begin."

Silence descended again, and the priest's tone grew in frustration.

"You may begin, young man."

"I . . . I'm not sure what to say."

"Son, are you Catholic?" the man behind the screen asked with realization.

Feeling suddenly self-conscious, Mulder began to rise. "No, I just thought . . . I'm sorry. I shouldn't have come in here. " His hand was on the doorknob when the priest called out.

"Wait!" He must have sensed that the agent had stopped because he added, "You don't have to be Catholic to be deserving of God's love. Please, come back."

Mulder returned uncertainly to the chair he'd fled just a moment ago.

"I can't really hear an official confession, but if you need to talk, I'd be glad to listen. Maybe we could take a more comfortable seat in a pew where we can talk face to face." The voice was warm and caring, and Mulder found he didn't mind opening up to this man. But there were limits.

"Thanks, but I think I'm more comfortable if I don't have to face anybody. Is that okay?"

"The priest could hear the uncertainty from the man sharing his confession. He was obviously on the edge. "That's fine, son. My name is Father Broyles, but people call me Hank for short. What can I call you?"

"Umm . . . William will do for now."

Sensing the man's uncertainty, Father Broyles added, "and in case you don't know this, anything you tell me in here is totally confidential. It won't leave the confessional unless you want it to."

There was a heavy sigh before William's voice came again. "Thank you. That's important for your own safety as well as mine." That comment concerned the priest - was this man paranoid? He definitely sounded like a man in need of help. Before he could question him, though, the voice added, "don't worry, I'm not crazy - I just work for the government. FBI." Even while stating these facts, the voice was strained and pain filled.

"What has you so upset, my son?"

"Well . . . it hasn't exactly been a banner year for me." He chuckled bitterly as he added, "but then, I haven't had one of those since I was a pre-teen."

"That sounds like you're longing for a return to your youth."

"I guess, in a way, I am. If I could just relive those years, I'd do things the right way."

"What would you do differently, William?"

"More things than you can imagine. Starting with my sister, Sam. When I was twelve and she was eight, I was babysitting her. She was so furious - told Mom and Dad that she was more mature than me anyway. Maybe she was right." The pained laugh came again. "She was abducted from right before my eyes, and I didn't do anything to stop it."

"Did you try?" he asked in his gentlest voice.

"Yes, I tried. I just couldn't." A small sound that almost sounded like a sob came forth before the man spoke again.

"I don't know if my parents consciously blamed me or if it was subconscious, but our family fell apart after that. I promised them that someday I would find her and bring her home. I couldn't keep that promise . . . at least not for 28 years."

"So you did eventually find your sister."

"Sort of. Well, I found how and when she died. The people who kidnapped her were performing illegal experiments. I found out later that my own father was involved with them. She lived until she was 14 - being experimented on and tortured all that time."

"But how do you know this?"

"I found the diary she kept. She didn't remember me very clearly, yet she wrote almost every day that someone would be coming soon to take her home. That was supposed to be me, but I failed her."

"That seems kind of harsh, son. I'm sure losing your sister was very painful for you and your parents."

"The family broke down, Dad was driven to drinking too much, and Mom spent all day in her room. All because I screwed up."

Father Broyles sighed. Obviously, he was going to have to go about this another way. "How is your relationship with your parents now?"

"Both my parents are deceased. My father was murdered in his own bathroom a few years ago. I was right in the next room, but he died anyway. An enemy of mine killed him in cold blood. And I lost my Mom earlier this year." The man's voice broke.

"Tell me about that, son. I'm sure it's hard, but I think you need to."

"I was out of town on a case with Scully." The priest guessed this was William's partner. "She called on my cell phone and asked me to call her back when I got home. I was up to my neck in work and she didn't sound like it was that urgent. I figured it could wait until we'd solved the case. Then, part way through, Scully came to tell me that she'd committed suicide."

"I'm so sorry, son," Father Broyles said, trying to fill the silence in which he believed the man to be silently weeping. "She must have been in a great deal of pain."

"If I'd called her back, she might not have done it," he said sadly. "At first, I thought they'd killed her, too, but Scully said it was definitely suicide."

"You've mentioned Scully before. Is this your partner?"

"Yes, sir. She's also a forensic pathologist and did the autopsy." He seemed more comfortable speaking on this topic.

"That must have been difficult for her. Had she met your mother before her death?"

"Several times. She's been there for me . . . more than I deserve."

"So Scully is also a friend, not just a coworker."

"Yes, she's both of those. Heaven knows why she stays, but she does. She's been hurt a great deal because of me, and every time I look at her, that's all I can see."

"What's happened to her that you could have stopped?"

"About a year after she was assigned as my partner, she was abducted by the same people who took Samantha. When she was finally returned three months later, she was comatose and nearly died. The doctors and her family held no hope. She recovered, but the tests left her with cancer a few years later, which she also survived by the skin of her teeth. Then, later, we discovered that she can't have a child. All she's got is a partner who drags her all over the country, away from the little family she has left." The self-deprecation in his tone saddened the cleric.

"It sounds to me like you've had a great deal of loss in your life. But I haven't heard anything for which you need to repent."

The bitter laugh came again, brittle and on the verge of breaking. "do I have to go over it all again? I should have stopped it, but I didn't. They all suffered because of me."

"What exactly could you have done that you didn't? I don't hear any sin that you've committed," the priest argued logically.

"You want traditional Christian guilt, Father? Try this on for size: I planned my own death. Even had the gun to my head before I was interrupted. If I hadn't been, I would be rotting in hell right now."

"It sounds like you're not doing much better right now, but humans and God can both forgive. Why did you want to take your own life? What drove you that far?

"I learned that Scully's cancer wasn't mere happenstance. They gave it to her intentionally in order to get to me. They used her as a tool - like you'd use a hammer or a screwdriver."

"Who told you this?"

"She did. She's the most honest & caring person I know, and she wouldn't lie to me about it. Besides, God only knows why, but she cares for me. She wouldn't say it unless it was true. We both value the truth more than anything."

"When she told you, how did it make you feel?" Father Broyles asked, feeling more like a psychiatrist than a priest. But then, sometimes they were one in the same.

"Dead inside. . . . Like I had already died and my body just didn't know it."

"Had you ever felt like that before?"

"Only once . . ." the man said, his voice cracking.

"When your sister was taken," the priest answered for him. He heard a grunt of agreement. "Do you realize you've made the same statement about each of these events? Both times you talked about the abductions - your sister's and then your partner's - you said, 'I should have known,' but I've yet to hear why you feel so strongly about this. I don't mean vague innuendoes, I mean specifics. Why should you have known?" His voice rose louder with each word.

"I don't know!" was the response, equally as loud.

"Why?! Tell me!" Louder yet and even more demanding.

"I don't know!" A near-shriek now.

"Tell me!" The loudest yet.


Silence fell like a lead balloon, the only sound coming from the other side of the screen that of the heavy breathing of the man who'd taken refuge there.

"William? Are you all right, son?"

When no answer came except more panting, he realized that it was the sound of the man's silent sobs. "You didn't remember being taken, did you?" he said, his insight serving him well.

He didn't need an acknowledgment. "You buried it so deeply that you only knew that you felt responsible. Because you came back - healthy and whole - when the two people you love most in the world did not. First a sister, who never was returned, then Scully, who came back sickly."

The sobbing was no longer silent, the man sounding like the small boy he once had been.

"It must have hurt them so much."

"Because it hurt you just as much? What did they do to you?"

"Tests. Horrible tests. But then they sent me home. They said I wasn't 'suitable.' They took Sammy because I wasn't good enough."

Dear Lord, the Father prayed silently. Let me guide this lost soul. "So you feel like it's your fault. Because you couldn't keep it from happening to them."

He could almost see the man's nod. "William, it may be true that you experienced all of it first, but that doesn't mean you should have been able to prevent it. You were only a boy when Samantha was taken - that is just too much to expect from an already-traumatized twelve year old, don't you think? And before you answer, I want you to think about it with your mind instead of your heart."

There was silence for a moment before he spoke. "Yes, I guess it wouldn't be possible for a child to protect another child from several adults." He still sounded like he didn't believe it.

"Good. Try to keep that in mind, okay? Now about your partner. I have a feeling this is a little different situation, but you still feel responsible, am I right?"

"Of course. She'd have a safe, happy life is it weren't for me."

"You say 'safe' and 'happy' like you can't have one without the other. Do you know agents at the FBI who are happy?"

"Well . . . yes," came begrudgingly.

"Are their lives necessarily safe? Doing the job they choose to do?"

"Of course not!" The man nearly snapped.

"Being an agent is dangerous, even under the best of circumstances. Was your partner an agent when you met her?"

"I know where you're going with this, okay? Yes, I admit she'd still not be safe if she hadn't been assigned as my partner. But at least she'd be healthy. That's what's important. That's all that matters."

"So if being near you made her end up getting sick, why is she still your partner?"

"Because I'm selfish. I could force her to leave, but I can't imagine doing this job without her."

"And after all that's happened, she won't leave you either." Father Broyles thought for a minute. "It sounds to me as if she loves you as much as you love her."

The words were hardly out before he heard a gasp. "it's not possible," he heard whispered.

"Yes, it is, son. You see so many faults in yourself that you can't see what she sees. Try just once looking at yourself through her eyes."

"But . . ."

"You do love her, do you not? You wouldn't be this upset if you didn't. God does not create love between a man and a woman to be denied or taken for granted. It must be recognized in the light of day and acted on with all the human heart."

"But what if you're wrong? What if she doesn't love me in that way?" The man was uncertain, almost childlike.

"Trust me - I have it on the highest authority." There was no movement on the other side of the screen. "Get out of here, son. I think you have better places to be."

Father Broyles thought he'd have to tell him a second time when William finally said, "Well . . . I can think of one." The voice's tone this time was almost cheery. "Look, would you mind if I came back again? Just to talk?"

"Absolutely, son. I'd enjoy talking to you face to face and meeting your young lady."

"You'll like her," the man said with joy in his voice. "She's even Catholic."

He heard the sound of the agent leaving the confessional. It wasn't proper procedure, but he rushed from the confessional to watch the agent's last few steps as he left the church. For a man who had been in the throes of a depression when he came in, now, an hour later, he seemed to have a new lease on life. Sometimes you just had to help them refocus. It was days like this that made him see God's will in letting him do what he did.


It wasn't his own comfortable parish, but it was nice to get out every once in awhile. Performing the New Year's Eve service to a small, intimate crowd was almost like sitting beside a roaring fireplace.

In the dead of winter, even at this hour, it was dark enough to be able to enjoy the candle light. He wished more people had managed to come, yet was enjoying the intimacy of being able to look every person in the eyes as he delivered his homily. It wasn't very often he got to personally greet every parishioner as they left the service, either.

One young woman remained in the pew after the others had left, her head bowed in prayer. The candles reflected off her raven hair. Finally, after crossing herself reverently, she approached the visiting priest. "Welcome to our parish, Father . . .?"

"Father Broyles. Thank you, Miss . . .?"

"Scully. Dana Scully."

"Well, Miss Scully. You look like a very happy young lady this New Year's Eve."

"I have reason to be," she beamed, her smile growing. "Two weeks ago, the most important person in my life was in a depression I couldn't seem to shake him out of. I was worried for him . . . More than worried."

"And there's been a change?" Red hair . . . petite . . . and had she said her name was Dana Scully?

"A miraculous one. Not only did I get him back, but . . ."

"But what?"

She blushed, her face turning the color of her hair. "But he's letting me love him - and he loves me back."

"That's a very odd way to phrase it. He lets you love him?"

"I guess it's more that he accepts that I can love him. I never expected that. And he just seems more . . . comfortable . . . with himself." She closed her eyes for just a moment, hiding her expressive blue eyes.

"It truly does sound like that's cause for thankfulness."

"Most definitely. And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to be going." As she turned to leave, her open jacket revealed the hint of a leather holster and the butt of a handgun.

"Are you a police officer, Dana? I couldn't help but notice you're armed."

"FBI agent. I wouldn't normally wear it when I'm off work, but it makes my partner feel better. He's waiting for me outside. We're spending the New Year together." Her smile at this prospect put every candle in the church to shame.

"If you don't mind, I'll walk you out. I'm going to my car, too, and it's always better to have company, isn't it?" He smiled gently down at her and gestured for her to proceed him.

"I don't mind at all." Father Broyles and Scully separated at the sidewalk as they went in opposite directions. Still, he stood at the car listening rather than climbing in where it was warm. He just wanted to hear . . . And he wasn't disappointed.

"Hi, Scully," a tall, dark haired man said, taking the red-headed woman in his arms and planting a kiss on her forehead.

"Hi, Mulder," she answered, blushing as she pecked him back on the lips.

"Are you ready to go? We can pick up our dinner on the way home."

"Sounds perfect. I'm so glad we're spending our New Year's Eve this way."

"Me, too. Have I told you how beautiful you look tonight?"

"You have all evening to tell me that, Mulder."

"No, Scully. I have all my life to tell you that. And that's going to be a very long time."

The Father knew that this was the man who had been so despondent just a few weeks ago. Most of the time, men in his profession didn't get to see the positive results they had on others, but this time, it was wonderful. He recognized the voice, and recognized the joy in that voice. And he knew his advice and prayers hadn't been in vain.