Title:  "Commitments"
Author: Angela W.
Category: MSR/Religious issues
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: Major ones for "Signs and Wonders" and
"Biogenesis". Minor mention of events from other eps
prior to "Signs and Wonders" (midway through Season
Summary: Mulder and Scully have a discussion about
faith and their relationship. Told in first-person,
Mulder's POV.
Disclaimer: Mulder and Scully do not belong to me.
They are the property of Chris    Carter and 1013
Archive: Feel free to archive anywhere!
Feedback: If it's positive or contains serious
discussion of the religious issues mentioned in this
story. If you're not a religious person, or don't feel that religious issues belong in fanfiction, you may wish not to read the story.

Author's Note: The religious community mentioned in
this story is loosely based on a real group of nuns
who do, as portrayed, provide medical care in
Appalachia. I do not know the exact location of the
convent and the particular nun mentioned is not, to
the best of my knowledge, a real person.


As Scully sits on my hospital bed looking at my
snakebit face, she suddenly smiles and leans over to
give me one of those forehead kisses she favors. "You
about ready to get out of here?" she says, leaning in
so that our faces are touching and her voice is no
more than a whisper in my ear. "The doctors said I
could take you home."

"I'd like to get out of here," I confirm, "but I don't know that I'm up to flying."

"Actually, I thought we'd drive," she says. "It will
only take an hour or two longer than it would to drive into Nashville to catch a plane, fly back to D.C. and do that whole retrieving our baggage and fighting Beltway traffic thing. Also, there's some place I wanted to stop on our way back, if you don't mind."

Within an hour, I'm dressed and out of the hospital
and we are heading through Tennessee toward the
Virginia state line.

"Where is it you wanted to stop?" I ask Scully. She's
at the wheel and that always makes me a little antsy.
It's funny, I have absolutely no problem with the fact that she handles dead bodies with more aplomb than I do, is more gun savvy than I am and saves my butt more often than I save hers. But, whenever we're in a car together, some kind of guy-instinct kicks in and I feel like I ought to be the one driving.

"All these religious attitudes - from the
ultra-fundamentalism of the Signs and Wonders Church
to the anything-goes attitude of the community church
- have left me in need of reconnecting with my own
faith. There's a place on the Virginia-Tennessee border where I'd like to stop for a bit," Scully says. "You're welcome to come in with me, but if you've had enough of other people's religions for awhile, you can just stay in the car."

"What is this place? Like a church?" I ask.

"It's a convent, actually," Scully replies. "The nuns
there are all either nurses or doctors. They run a
clinic and provide home medical care to the people of
Appalachia. I spent some time there a couple of years
ago. After my cancer and Emily and everything."

"You were on a spiritual retreat there?"

"Actually," says Scully slowly, "I was considering
joining them."

It takes me a minute to digest this statement then I
turn to Scully and stare at her in open-mouthed
surprise. "You were thinking of leaving the F.B.I. to
become a NUN???"

"It was something I considered. But after I spent a
few days there, talking with them and praying, I
realized God wasn't calling me to that lifestyle."

I am stunned into absolute silence. I've always known
Scully takes her religious faith seriously. After her
battle with cancer, I know she recommitted herself to
it. I wouldn't have even been totally surprised to
find out she'd considered becoming a nun when she was
much younger, like in her teens. It is, I after all, a reasonable and acceptable vocation for a Catholic
woman. But that she just recently, in the time since
we've been partners, seriously considered such a move
amazes me.

"You never told me," I say, not even bothering to try
to keep the hurt out of my voice.

She looks over at me and smiles, then removes one hand from the steering wheel to clasp mine for a moment. "I would have, Mulder. Believe me, if it had gone any further, I would have. In fact, one of the
requirements before joining the community even on a
trial basis is to discuss the possibility with the
people in your life it would most effect. That would
have meant you more than anyone."

We turn off the main highway and travel a few hundred yards down a small blacktop road to a gravel driveway. Between the pines, I notice a cluster of buildings. "Did you want to come in with me?" she asks.

"Yes," I reply. I have a bizarre, irrational fear that if I let Scully go in alone they'll capture her and keep her. I know these are nuns, not commandos, but I go anyway.

We walk toward the building that seems to be the
convent; the clinic is connected to it by a breezeway. "Most of the nuns will be busy with patients," Scully explains. "But Sister Cecilia will be home. She's too old to take an active part in providing healthcare anymore, so she mostly just prays and tends to the housekeeping activities."

Scully knocks on the door and a small, elderly black
nun opens the door. Funny, I always think of nuns as
being white, but I suppose they come in all races.

"Sister Cecilia, it's Dana Katherine. Do you remember
me? I spent some time here a couple of years ago."

"Of course," the old nun replies in a beautiful,
melodious voice. "Come in my dear."

I enter behind Scully and Sister Cecilia beams up at
me. "I see you've brought your husband with you."

"We're not married," I explain, for probably the
fiftieth time since Scully and I have been partners.

The old nun is not deterred. "In her heart, you are
her husband," she says. Then, reaching out to touch my chest she adds, "Just as, in your heart, she is your wife." Part of my brain informs me that I really ought to be pissed off that yet another religious person is discussing what's in my heart as if they know better than I do. In this particular case, however, Sister Cecilia is right.

Scully seems to be handling all this without a hint of embarrassment. She moves onto what is apparently, for her, the purpose of the visit. She explains to the old nun how she was frightened off the snakes, but also frightened by the other preacher's "if it feels good, do it" approach to Christianity. After they speak for a few minutes, I see the peace return to Scully's face. She kisses and embraces Sister Cecilia, then we turn to leave. Before we make it to the door, she stops us for a. . .well, a blessing, I guess.

"Continue to take care of each other and love each
other. God be with you."

As we walk back to the car and drive back to the
highway, we're both silent. Finally, I say, "Is this
going to be another one of those things we never talk
about? Like that whole Eddie Van Blundht thing? Or our kiss a few weeks ago?"

"Not unless you want it to be," Scully replies.

"Why did you consider becoming a nun?" I ask. "And
what did that nun mean about me being your husband in
your heart?"

"She also said that I was your wife in your heart,"
Scully points out.

"Well, yeah, but. . ."

Scully smiles softly and shakes her head. "Well, since I brought us here, I guess I should start the
conversation. I considered becoming a nun because it
seemed like my life so. . .empty. My father was dead.
My sister was dead.  Emily was dead. Other than you
and my mother, I didn't really seem to matter to
anyone. I'd just been spared an almost certain death
by the miraculous disappearance of my cancer. I
thought maybe the combination of all those factors was leading me into a life of service to others through the sisterhood. That, finally, I'd found a way to make a difference. To put my medical degree and my life to good use."

I nod slowly. I've always known that Scully wanted to
make a difference in the world. It's the whole reason
she joined the bureau in the first place. "What about. . .the other part?" I ask slowly, almost scared to use the word "husband" again.

Scully swallows and stares straight ahead through the
windshield, not even looking at me out the corner of
her eye. "One of the first things the nuns discuss
with any prospective novices is whether or not she is
truly free to make a commitment to the sisterhood or
whether there are other commitments she must honor
first. Everybody knows that married women can't become nuns. Widows, on the other hand, are allowed to join a convent, but only after their children are grown. Because first they must honor their commitment as mothers. Those are the obvious ones. But sometimes a woman has a commitment that is less obvious, but no less real in the eyes of the Lord. Perhaps to an elderly parent or a disabled sibling. . .something like that. Anyway, through private prayer and discussions with the nuns, I came to realize that I'd already made a commitment. To you. To aid you in your quest, to be your partner, your friend. That to leave you would be an act of infidelity as bad as a married woman abandoning her husband. I guess that's why Sister Cecilia used that analogy."

I am quiet for a moment then I said. "Scully, I know
you don't believe in psychic connections, but after
what you just said I'm absolutely convinced we have
one. Maybe Sister Cecilia is psychic, too, and tapped
into it, or maybe she's just a good observer of human
emotions. But about us, I'm no longer in any doubt."


"Those words, those phrases you used. They're almost
exactly the same as ones I've used twice, in two
totally dissimilar circumstances."

"What circumstances?" Scully asks, glancing at me

"The first one, about you being my wife. . .remember
when my Mom had her stroke a couple of years ago and
you stayed with me by her bedside until she began to

"Sure," Scully answered.

"I went back up there, alone, the next weekend. You'd
explained to me all about my Mom's condition and what
questions I should ask her doctor and everything. So I asked her doctor a whole lot of scientific-type
questions. Finally, he asked me if I was a doctor
myself. I answered, 'No, but my wife is.'  It wasn't
until I was driving back to Washington the next day
that it occurred to me that you're not, technically
speaking, my wife."

"When was the other occasion?"

"It was more recent. Will you listen to the whole
thing before you kick me out of the car?"

"Of course, Mulder."

"It involves Diane Fowley," I begin slowly and watch
Scully tense up. Her knuckles go white on the steering wheel. "She was in my apartment last spring. Right when I first started having those headaches. I suppose I must have let her in - she's never had a key  - but I honestly don't even remember doing so. I had a terrible headache and I woke up and she was there. I wanted her to go away. I wanted you and I knew you wouldn't come to me as long as she was there. But I couldn't think of anyway to phrase that without sounding rude to Diane. So when you phoned and she answered . . .well, I just told you I was okay. But then things got kind of. . .ugly."

"What happened?"

"As you know, or I presume you know, Diane and I were
romantically involved at one time. It was brief, and
not particularly important to me, but it's a fact of
my life. From the time she came back from Europe,
she'd been hinting that she wanted us to resume our
previous relationship. I wasn't interested, and more
or less told her so, but I tried to be polite about
it. Whatever you thought about her - and I'm not
saying you were totally wrong - she had been my friend at one point. As you may have noticed, I don't have so many friends that I can treat any of them in a cavalier fashion. But that night. . .Diane virtually insisted that we resume our physical relationship. I flat out refused. I told her that infidelity had never been part of who I was."

"What did Fowley do?"

"She went nuts! Started screaming that being faithful
to a woman I wasn't married to - wasn't even sleeping
with - was a concept that made no sense. I told her it wasn't about sex or legal documents. It was about love and trust and commitment. She said that if I felt that way I ought to *BE* committed. . .and the next thing I knew, I was!"

"So you're saying the whole reason you ended up in the psychiatric ward was because of your fidelity to me?" Scully asks.

"No, quite the opposite," I reply. "It was all part of a divide-and-conquer routine. Spender Senior - and
I've pretty much reached the conclusion that Diane
must have been in it with him, at least at the
beginning - wanted us both out of the way. I was the
easy one. I mean, it was no great leap to get doctors
to assume I was crazy; it's a tightrope I've been
walking for years. You were more difficult. They
wanted you to believe I'd betrayed you. For you to be
so hurt and so angry with me that you'd abandon me.
Take a bureau transfer to Salt Lake City, come here to join the nuns. . .whatever it is you would do if you believed I'd completely and irrevocably broken the bond between us. As much as it pains my masculine ego to admit this, I don't think Diane was really thinking about me at all when she made her offer. I was just the means to an end. The person she really had on her mind during the whole encounter was you, Scully. If I had given into her pleas, I'm sure she would have made absolutely sure you found out about it almost immediately. Hell, she might have even have arranged things so that you walked in us!"

Scully is silent for a moment, then she says, "She
tried to make me think you had betrayed me. When you
were first in the hospital. The funny thing is, if
she'd simply told me the two of you had resumed your
sexual relationship. . .well, I *MIGHT* have believed
that. I wouldn't have wanted to, but I couldn't have
discounted it as totally impossible. But she told me
you'd said you no longer trusted me. And I *KNEW* that wasn't true."

"So what'd you tell her?"

"Told her she was a liar. Then I set out to find a
cure for you."

I chuckle. That's my Scully.

Scully gives me one of her beautiful, radiant smiles
and reaches out to hold my hand again. After a
moment's silence, I say hesitantly, "Scully, can I ask you something kind of personal?"

"This whole conversation has been personal, Mulder.
What else do you want to know?"

"Well, your religious faith. . .I don't understand it. But I want to. Do you think. . .would it be all right. . .if I started coming to church with you?" I hold my breath, waiting for an answer. I've long since commandeered all other aspects of Scully's life. We're not only together during the workweek, I drop by her place or drag her out on cases on Saturdays. I phone her at all hours of the night. Sunday mornings are currently the only time she can safely assume she won't see or hear from me, and now I'm asking for that time, too.

"Of course, Mulder. After all, it's something that
husbands and wives really ought to do together," she
replies with a smile.