Title: Healing Faith
Note: Very churchy, sorry guys
Chapter 1: Case Beginning
"Afternoon Scully," Mulder said as I walked into the office. He was sitting at his desk with his feet up beside the blotter. There was a pile of sunflower seed shells on the desk beside him. There was a red trimmed file in his lap.
"Afternoon," I smiled. He reached into his pocket and pulled out another sunflower seed. He cracked the seed between his teeth and dropped the shells onto the pile. "What are you reading?" I asked. He swung his legs down so his feet were flat on the floor.
"Skinner dropped this in my lap this morning," he said holding the folder out. I dropped my briefcase beside my 'desk' and walked across to him. I took the folder and walked back to my chair. I sat down and opened the folder.
"How was your morning?"
"All right," I said looking up. I'd taken the morning off to visit with my Mom. Bill Jr. and Charlie were both visiting with their families.
"Only all right?"
"Charlie and I got into a play wrestling match and I won, Mom fussed over Matthew's broken arm and Bill and I had a huge fight."
"What about?" he asked. I looked up at him and studied his face for a minute.
"You," I answered finally.
"Oh, I should've guess. What have I done to you now?"
"I think the question should be, what haven't you done." I sighed. "It doesn't matter Mulder, he's just a big jerk."
"That's hardly anyway to talk about your brother Scully." Mulder smiled.
"Even if it is true, you should play nice. Especially with someone who can snap your neck," he said. "Or snap my neck," he added after a moment of thought.
"I'll protect you." I smiled and looked back to the folder. It gave the details of a fifteen-year-old girl who, supposedly, had the ability to heal. She was an orphan and lived with her only living relative, an Uncle. The name of the uncle immediately jumped off the page at me.
"Brain Ayre?" I said looking up at Mulder. He nodded. "Father Brian Ayre?"
"That's what it says. Do you know him?"
"Yes, Father Brian's my priest," I said still in shock.
"I thought your priest was Father McCue."
"McCue retired a few years back."
"Have you met this girl? Grace?"
"No," I shook my head. "I don't know him socially. I mean I've had dinner with Father Brian at my Mom's house, but he's always alone. He doesn't talk much about himself."
"I've already arranged an appointment with Ayre and Grace at two o'clock." Mulder said. I nodded.
"We better get moving then, traffic out there is a killer."
"Friday lunch time before a long weekend," Mulder said nodding. "People trying to escape Dodge for a while. Heading off early to beat the rush."
"It's a pity everyone had the same idea," I said pulling my coat back on.
Chapter 2: Finding Grace
Mulder and I pulled up outside St Katherine's Cathedral just before two o'clock. I led Mulder into the quiet church and towards the altar the front. "It's nice here," Mulder said. I nodded.
"Do you know what the main aisle of a church is called?" A soft voice asked from behind one of the pillars. Mulder and I both looked across and saw no one. "It's a Nave."
"Grace?" Mulder asked. The girl stepped out from behind the pillar. Light shining through one of the windows shone behind her head. The light illuminated her blonde curls giving her a halo. "Grace Ayre?"
"Yes sir," she nodded. She walked through the pews towards us. She stopped just in front of Mulder and held out her hand.
"Agents Mulder and Scully," he said and shook her hand. She smiled at him then turned to me and shook my hand.
"I know you," she said looking at me. Her bright green eyes sparkled. "You're a parishioner here."
"Yes," Scully nodded.
"Scully?" She said trying to figure out where she knew my name. "Margaret Scully's daughter. Dana," she said triumphantly. "Your mother sowed this dress for me," she said putting her hand on her chest. I looked at the dress it was a simply blue cotton pinafore. Grace had a white t-shirt under the dress and a cream-coloured wool cardigan over the top.
"Have we met?" I asked suddenly unsure. Grace shook her head and smiled.
"Not that I recall."
"Grace?" Father Brian said coming from one of the side doors of the church. Mulder and I both looked across at him. "Dana, what a pleasure to see you again. How are you?"
"I'm well, thank you Father." I smiled.
"Good, good." He nodded. "What brings you to church on such a lovely Friday afternoon?" he asked.
"Father Ayre. I'm Special Agent Mulder," he said.
"Of course," he said with a sigh. "You're here about Grace."
"That's right." Mulder nodded. Grace looked from Mulder to me a little confused.
"Come through to my office," Father Brian said. "It's just out the back."
"Thank you," Mulder said. Father Brian led us out the side door he'd just entered through and towards a small stone building just apart from the church. It was surrounded by a green leafy garden. Father Brian unlocked the wooden door and pushed it open.
"Please have a seat," he said. Mulder and I sat down. Father Brain sat behind his large wooden desk. "Fetch another chair from the store room Grace."
"Yes sir," she nodded and walked out of the room. She returned a minute later with another chair.
"I really don't see that the FBI should have an interest in my niece. She's only a child."
"Sir, we have reports from parishioners that Grace has the ability to heal. Our unit at the FBI investigates strange occurrences. Ritual healing, I believe, falls into that category," Mulder said.
"If Grace can heal, how is that a case for the FBI? Surely it's not against the law. She hasn't harmed anyone, she hasn't broken the law."
"No," Mulder shook his head. "It's just a case of interest for me. The X-Files, the cases I mentioned, they're a passion for me."
"I'm glad you have something to be passionate about." Father Brian smiled. "I understand now. I thought Grace was in some kind of trouble. The FBI doesn't usually call and make an appointment to see us. If this isn't an official interview, I'll leave you to talk to Grace alone. I have a group of school children coming through to talk to me."
"Thank you for your time Father." I smiled. He returned my smile.
"I hope to see you on Sunday Dana."
"Yes Father." I nodded
"Do you need me to give the children a tour Father?" Grace asked.
"I think I can handle it. You cooperate," he said.
"Yes sir." She nodded and smiled. Father Brain walked to the door.
"Give my best to your mother," he said to me before leaving.
"Is what these people say true?" Mulder asked looking at Grace. She smiled innocently.
"I can't lie to you, I know that, but please, you can't tell people. You can't."
"Because I don't want to be the centre of a religious cult. If people find out, they'll come to me to be healed. I hate to refuse, I hate turning people away, but I cannot bring ridicule to this church, to my Uncle. Do you understand? Father Brian could be turned away if this gets too big. Please understand, please."
"We won't expose you Grace. All we want is the truth. Our files are classified," Mulder said.
"I'm sorry to interrupt." Father Brian said looking at Mulder and I. "Grace, the teacher wants to spilt the group in two. Will you take one group on a tour while I speak to the others please?"
"Yes sir." She nodded. Father Brian smiled and disappeared out the door again.
"I'm sorry," Grace said standing up. "I really have to go."
"Can you contact us?" Mulder asked. "I just want to talk to you about this."
"Of course," she nodded. "I can catch a bus into the city and come to the J. Edgar Hoover building this afternoon if it's suitable," she said walking out of the office. She waited for Mulder and I to follow her before she locked the door. She pulled the large key out of the lock.
"Ok, we'll set up an appointment so you can get through security," Mulder said. Grace nodded and entered the main building.
"Grace, thank you, Mrs Ludlum has separated the groups for us. Please give these children a tour of the cathedral and a bit of history of cathedrals in general."
"Yes Father." Grace nodded. She turned and smiled at the group of children. Mulder and I stood in the doorway and watched her for a few minutes.
"Well, all cathedrals aren't the same, but generally they're built in the shape of a big cross. The main entrance, down there," she said pointing. "Usually faces west. We're standing in the Nave, the main aisle." She said glancing at Mulder and I. There's a south and North transept, for parishioners, or people attending church, to sit. Up there is the apse, and the ambulatory. And three small chapels."
"We better get back to the office," Mulder said. I nodded and followed him to our car.
"How did her parents die?" I asked as we drove. "Does the file say?"
"Yeh, ah, her father was killed in a fire a few months before she was born and her mother died during child birth. Father Ayre is her only living relative. He adopted her and raised her. He named her too. Grace Mary Ayre."
"I was raised in a religious family, but I can't imagine being raised by a priest," I said. Mulder smiled and handed me the keys.
"Especially a priest that home schools her," he said. "Twenty-four hour Sunday school," he said. I smiled and unlocked the car.
That afternoon just after four o'clock Grace knocked on the office door. Mulder had stepped out for coffee. "Grace, come in, have a seat," I said. She smiled and took the offered chair.
"Thank you," she said.
"How was your afternoon?"
"Very good, thank you. The children seemed to gain something from the day."
"That's good," I nodded.
"I noticed your necklace Agent Scully. It's very nice."
"Oh," I said raising my hand and touching the gold cross with the tip of my finger. "Thank you, it was a gift from my mother, a long time ago."
"Do you ever feel that religion was forced on you?" she asked suddenly. I stuttered for a moment.
"Sometimes," I admitted. "But I'm glad I have something to believe in."
"Would you choose anything else? If you could?"
"I don't think so."
"Have you ever wanted to?"
"I don't think so. Although, I'm sure there were some cold Sunday mornings I would've preferred to sleep in," I said. Grace smiled.
"Do you ever question your faith?"
"I have," I said. "But doesn't everyone?"
"Yes," She nodded. "What is faith to you?"
"Faith gives me something to cling to," I said. "That's what it is, it's a life boat. It gives me hope, hope that there's something else after this, something better. I can't believe that you die, and that's it. Faith makes me realise that I've been blessed, faith helps me to carry on, no matter what. It tells me that if I just believe, if I believe in God then I'll be saved."
"Ok," she nodded.
"Why? What's faith to you?"
"Faith is a divine gift, you don't have to earn faith but you can squander it. Faith isn't a privilege either really but it's something that you're privileged if you understand. It does make you worry when you think you've lost it. But eventually, when you most need it, you'll find faith again."
"Have you ever lost your faith?" I asked.
"Everyone had a moment where they reconsider their faith. Sometimes people have more than one moment. I think that can be considered as loosing faith. The thing of it is that if it's truly faith you'll always find it again. It may take a day or a year, but you will find it again. Sometimes not until the moment before you die."
"So you have," I said. She smiled and nodded.
"And so has Father Brian, and so has your mother. Everyone that has faith, questions it."
"Why are you asking me these questions?"
"I have a feeling you're going to need this information at some point. I'm just getting it out in the open. Do you have something else you'd rather talk about?" she asked. I shook my head. "It's obviously something you've thought about."
"I just don't know what to believe anymore. The scientist in me knows that there is no God, but the Christian in me just won't let up." I smiled.
"I understand." Grace nodded. "Torn between belief and knowledge. Belief is strength and knowledge is power."
"Something along those lines." I nodded.
"Let your knowledge tell you that the bible isn't completely justified and let your Sunday School teacher tell you that the bible isn't to be taken completely seriously. I was raised by a priest, I think I understand as well as, or better, then most people that the bible contradicts itself on more than one occasion."
"I guess it's no secret. People try and expose it every day."
"So you know that. But most of all let your heart tell you that there has to be some higher power out there. Not a power that changes our fate, just a power. Like an ambient sound, you can't hear it but you know it's there. It's always there."
"But they can detect ambient sound."
"They haven't always been able too. People knew there was something there. Maybe in a few hundred years there'll be a way to detect God's presence. Maybe God doesn't exist."
"There's something there." I agreed.
"People try and expose the bible as a fake, but what does it prove? Who does it help?"
"No one really, some scientists just got bored I guess," Scully said. "It'll make some people happy."
"It's like me really. What good will telling people what I can do achieve? Sure I'll be able to help some people, but someone or some people, will always be trying to prove I'm a fake. Why? Because their bored? Or to satisfy a personal vendetta against the church? It doesn't really matter. I don't want that to happen."
"I'm not saying I believe you Grace. I don't necessarily subscribe to my partner's theories. We don't share a passion."
"Not in the unexplained. You're both looking for a truth though aren't you?"
"Yes," I nodded. The phone on Mulder's desk started ringing.
"Dana Scully," I said lifting the receiver.
"Agent Scully, it's Assistant Director Skinner."
"Agent, I'm afraid I have some bad news. I'm sorry to do this over the phone."
"What is it sir?" I asked my gut clenching at the possibilities.
"It's Mulder. He's been shot."
"Oh my God," I said and almost fainted. I gripped the edge of the desk. Grace got out of her chair and came to stand beside me. "Where? When?"
"About ten minutes ago. He threw himself in front of a bullet headed toward a young boy. They're taking him to Memorial."
"I'll be there as soon as I can." I said and hung up the phone. "I have to go," I said looking at Grace. I grabbed my coat and ran out of the room.
"Excuse me," I said walking to the nurse's station.
"Scully," Skinner called. I walked over to him.
"How is he?"
"It's not looking good. The doctors say he's in a coma. He's lost a lot of blood. The bullet grazed his spinal chord. He can't breath on his own. They say it's only a matter of days before his heart just gives up and stops."
"There's got to be a way, there has to be something."
"I'm sorry." Skinner said.
"I have to talk to the doctors," I said. And I did, at great length, only to find that Skinner was right. Mulder was going to die. He'd just gone for coffee. I sat by his bed and held his hand. Tears streamed down my face. "This can't be happening," I said to his still, lifeless form. "This can't happen Mulder. Not now, not after everything else we've been through, you can't leave me here. I can't do this on my own. I can't loose you."
I prayed. I prayed for a miracle. Thoughts of Grace circled my brain. What if she could heal? What if I could talk her into healing Mulder? "I'll be back Mulder, I'll be back really soon." I said and kissed his forehead. I ran out of the room and back to my car. I drove to the Cathedral. I knew that Father Brain and Grace lived in a small cottage joined to the office I'd been in earlier that day. I had no idea what time it was. But there was a light on in one of the rooms downstairs. I knocked on the window just as rain started to pour from the sky.
Grace appeared at the window a second later. She looked shocked for a second then disappeared. She must have walked around to the front door because the next thing I knew she was beside me.
"Agent Scully," she said softly.
"He's going to die Grace, you have to make him better.
"Why?" I asked. If, I said if, you can heal people. Don't you want to? Don't you want to help?"
"Yes, of course, I said that already. But I can't, it's obviously God's plan for things to play out the way they do."
"But couldn't it also be part of God's plan for you to heal people?"
"Yes, but I can't heal everyone, and it's not up to me to decide who lives and who dies. If there was a way for me to heal everyone that wanted to be healed everywhere in the world, then I would. But I won't heal only the people in my general vicinity. It's not fair."
"Is it fair to let innocent people die?"
"It's God's will," she said.
"Please Grace, please, you have to help me. Mulder is the most important thing in my life, he's the only," I stopped suddenly. The rain cleared. "He's the only man I've ever loved this way."
"Why do you come here if you don't even believe me?"
"I do believe, I'm just afraid to admit that to myself," I said. "Please,"
"No, I can't," she said. It started to rain again. "We spoke extensively about faith this afternoon. I said you'd need that information, well now's the time."
"What do you mean?"
"All you need is faith." Grace said. "Faith in God."
"I don't think my faith is strong enough," I said.
"Nonsense. Faith in God is faith in God. If you believe something so outrageous such as that I can heal people, why don't you believe me when I say that true faith is never lost? Questioned yes, but never gone."
"I don't know."
"That's right, you don't know, and the only reason you don't know is because you're trying to complicate things. You're handed a pen and asked to give a signature. You detail your entire life story. I don't want your life story, I don't need to know everything, I just want to know your full name. Get my drift?"
"It's as simple as faith?" I asked.
"It's as simple as faith." She nodded. "As simple as believing you can do it," she said. The rain stopped again. "Come inside, let me get you warm and dry."
"No," I shook my head and pulled away from her. "I have to get back to the hospital. I have to get back to Mulder." I turned around and ran back to my car.
Chapter 5: Mercy
Grace was kneeling on a chair clutching Mulder's hand in her own. She was praying and I paused in the doorway to listen to her. "Oh Lord. Look down from heaven, behold, visit and relieve this thy servant. Look up on him with the eyes of thy mercy, give him comfort and sure confidence in thee, defend him from the danger of the enemy, and keep him in perpetual peace and safety through Jesus Christ our Lord."
"Amen," I whispered.
"Hear us, almighty and most merciful God and Saviour; extend thy accustomed goodness to this thy servant who is grieved with sickness. Sanctify, we beseech thee, this thy fatherly correction to him; that the sense of his weakness may add strength to his faith, and seriousness to his repentance: that, if it shall be thy good pleasure to restore him to his former health, he may lead residue of his life in thy fear, and to thy glory: or else give him grace so to take thy visitation, that, after hits painful life ended, he may dwell with thee in life everlasting, through Jesus Christ our lord."
"Amen," I whispered again. Grace blessed Mulder and kissed his forehead before standing and walking towards me.
"Recite your faith," she said. I opened my mouth to speak. She put a finger to my lips. "Only, if you believe it."
"I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth. And in Jesus Chris his only Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost and Born of the Virgin Mary," I started. She stopped me again and smiled. She handed me a small red book about three by two inches and about a quarter of an inch thick." She smiled again and walked past me. I looked up and saw Mulder looking at me.
"Scully," someone called me, "Agent Scully."
I gasped and came awake. I was sitting beside Mulder's hospital bed. His eyes were closed, nothing had changed. It was a dream. I looked up at Skinner.
"Have you been here all night?" he asked. I nodded. "You look like shit."
"It was raining last night," I said. I yawned and stretched something fell to the floor. A small red book. I bent down and picked it up. A gold cross was printed on the front on the side the words 'To heal the sick' were printed in simple lettering. I opened the book and read the prayer Grace had said in my dream.
I took one of Mulder's hands and started reading. After the final amen I added my own prayer. "Please God give me a miracle." I blessed Mulder and kissed his forehead. For a second nothing happened. Then Mulder's heartbeat started to increase and he started to gasp.
"What's happening?" Skinner asked.
"He's fighting the respirators." I said pulling the tubes from his mouth. "He's breathing on his own."
"Sweet Merciful Christ." Skinner said.
"He is merciful," I said softly. "Mulder, can you hear me? Mulder?" I called again.
"Scully," he said weakly and his eyes opened.
"Oh thank God," I said and started to cry. I squeezed his hand and placed soft kisses all over his face. "I love you," I said. He blinked rapidly a couple of times then smiled.
"I love you too," he said. I kissed him square on the mouth this time.
Chapter 6: Miracle
We returned to St Katherine's the following Sunday. I dragged Mulder along to church. He sat beside me and held my hand. After mass we stayed behind. "Father Brian," I said walking up to him.
"Dana," he smiled. "It's nice to see you here."
"Where's Grace?" I asked. "We'd like to speak to her, if that's all right."
"Grace," he said his face suddenly falling. "Grace can't speak to you."
"She became suddenly very ill in the early hours of yesterday morning. I called an ambulance and she was rushed to the hospital. They couldn't save her."
"Oh no," I said and felt tears well up in my eyes. "No, she, she can't," I shook my head and swallowed hard. Father Brain hugged me.
"Don't cry, she's moved on. She's with the Lord," he said tears contained in his own eyes.
"Um, can, can you tell me what time?" I asked.
"Eight thirty two. The exact time she was born," he said.
"I'm so sorry," I said. He smiled at me and nodded.
"Thank you for coming this morning Dana," he said. I smiled and nodded. I turned back to Mulder.
"The exact time you woke up." I said.
"What are you saying? Grace gave herself for me," he said putting his arm around my shoulder.
"I don't know. I just know that the only reason I have you is because of her."
"And because of God," he added.
"Maybe she was God," I said and chuckled lightly.
"Maybe," he smiled. We left the church together and walked along the streets hand in hand. I'd never know for sure what had happened. All I know is that I haven't doubted my faith once since that day. Perhaps that's the true miracle in it all.
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