Angels and Devils
Spoilers: Season Six, The End/The Beginning, Two
Notes: Mulder and Scully investigate church arson, listen
to old hymns and drink lemonade.
Angels and Devils
They'd been driving through the back country of South
Carolina for days investigating a series of church arson
fires. It was hot. "It's not the heat, it's the
humidity," Mulder kept saying.
Their next stop felt like a waste of time. It was a case
of vandalism. Fire was involved, so it was lumped in with
the other sites they'd been visiting.
In spite of the air conditioning, the afternoon and the
heat were making her drowsy. Scully let her eyes slip
closed and her thoughts wander.
Diana Fowley. Who was she to him?
She thought back to that nighttime car ride with Fowley and
Mulder, the first dread sense of some unseen force entering
their world, the apprehension when Gibson Praise revealed
Diana as a rival. Each time she remembered their enforced
quarantine-Diana pulling rank on her-she was outraged anew.
She wasn't sure if she was bothered more by Diana's
behavior, or by Mulder's lack of response to it. He seemed
so unaware of her feelings.
She had managed to maintain a loyal front, but inside she
was crushed. Each time she tried not to think about it,
the urge to understand it just became stronger.
Scully opened her eyes as the car made a sharp turn and
bumped along a gravel drive for a mile or so before
stopping in a clearing. Mulder parked and got out. Scully
sat for a moment, blinking in the sun, and then reluctantly
stepped into the furnace blast outside of the car.
The summer heat rose up in shimmering waves from the dirt
parking lot of the church. It reflected off of the chipped
white paint of the clapboard siding.
Mulder rolled his sleeves up to his forearms as he loped
across the parking lot.
There was a single El Camino parked in the lot with a
bumper sticker on the back that read "1 cross + 3 nails = 4
"His other car's a little red Corvette," said Mulder.
"I can guess the bumper sticker on that one."
"I would die 4 U."
Scully barely laughed. "Too bad God didn't bless you with
a better sense of humor."
"Scully, you wound me," he mocked, holding his hands over
Scully swiped at the beads of perspiration that were
beginning to tickle the back of her neck. She wore a navy
skirt and a white cotton blouse over a tank top and her
trademark chunky heels. Maneuvering across the uneven
ground in her impractical shoes was a task that required
her full attention. And that was fine with her. She
welcomed the distraction from her partner.
As they walked up towards the church, she noticed that the
structure was old. They explored the perimeter of the
building and found that while the front presented a unified
whole, the back had been victim to numerous building
projects. It was all uneven sidewalks and tripping
hazards. Beyond the church lay a grass field and a slight
rise where the rays of the lowering sun were streaking
through the branches of a lone oak tree.
A young man emerged from somewhere looking like the son
Buddy Holly never had or possibly a distant cousin of John
Mayer. His black-rimmed glasses screamed geek, but his
casual t-shirt and converse high tops suggested mellow.
"Can I help you?" he asked.
"We're looking for the minister," Mulder said, looking down
at his file, "Elijah Stone."
"That's me," he said eyeing them with curiosity. "You'll
need a blood test, a marriage license and mandatory six
months of pre-marital counseling, before I'll perform the
ceremony. But you don't have to become a member of the
"Oh no...we...we're not..."
"We're with the FBI," Scully said, whipping out her badge.
"We're here about the vandalism case."
"Oh," he said looking mildly surprised. "They sent the
"Yes, I'm agent Scully, and this is Special Agent Fox
"Reverend Stone, pleased to meet you," he said shaking
their hands. He noted Scully's cross and said, "You're a
She neither affirmed nor denied. "I was raised a
"I was raised a Baptist," he offered as though this was
information she might want to know. "Church burnings, huh?
But I don't know how you heard about ours. It didn't even
make the local news."
"We just want to make sure it's not connected to the
others," offered Mulder. "Rule it out if there's no
evidence of a hate crime."
"Hate crime," said the minister knowingly. "Yes...well, let
me show you the damage." He turned and headed around a
corner. Scully followed with Mulder close on her heels
when her shoe caught the edge of some jagged concrete and
she almost fell backwards. Mulder caught her under the arm
on one side, and got a handful of ass on the other. "You
all right?" his breath puffed in her ear. He didn't let go
of her quickly.
"I'm fine," she said, pulling away from him while tucking a
stray piece of hair behind her ear and straightening her
As they came around the side, Mulder could see something
burned into the white siding. The words "I (heart) Jesus"
were etched into the wood.
Mulder took out a notepad, "Is your congregation
predominantly African American?"
"Not at all," the minister laughed. "Not that they
wouldn't be welcome." He gestured towards the building,
"We've got a lot of teenagers around here. I'd say it's
more of a ... a boredom crime than a hate crime. Idle hands
are the devil's workshop and all of that. I don't even
think we'd prosecute if we found the perpetrators."
"Listen, you're welcome to do your investigation, but I've
got to get ready. Prayer meeting starts in about twenty
minutes," he said and he left them to go inside.
Mulder opened a pocket knife that he'd drawn from his
slacks, as Scully snapped on a pair of latex gloves and
pulled out an evidence bag from somewhere. While Mulder
scraped, Scully ran a finger along the edge of the burn
when she suddenly drew back with a hiss. It was a
splinter. "Damn," she said as she picked it out of her
skin and popped her finger in her mouth.
Mulder caught a flash of tongue and teeth before her finger
disappeared between her lips. He had stopped breathing,
but he was used to ignoring the physiological reactions of
his body as they related to Scully. "Lemme see," he said,
grabbing her wrist, but she didn't give, so instead of
pulling her hand away he simply pulled her off balance.
She let out a little screech and braced herself against his
shoulders. No sooner had his hands gone to her waist than
he was staring down at the top of her breasts which were
pressed alarmingly tight against his chest.
Scully watched his lips which were at eye level.
"Are you OK?" His voice was a toneless aphrodisiac.
Scully didn't answer, just reluctantly pulled back as he
took the hand at his shoulder between his. He held it up
in the light and appeared to examine it, then slowly
pressed it to his soft lips. Scully's breath caught and
her stomach knotted.
Just then they heard footsteps and drew back from each
other. "I forgot one thing," the minister said as he came
around the corner. "Man cannot live by bread alone," he
said, offering each a large styrofoam cup. "Lemonade is
also a requirement."
They accepted gratefully, glad for the distraction.
He looked at them both and shook his head as if to say, "I
may be young, but I know love when I see it." He waved a
hand and walked backwards. "Well, I've got to go in and
lead the service, so if there's anything more you need from
me, you have my information. Keep in touch."
They sat there staring at him like they'd just seen their
Mulder looked at Scully and shrugged, and they both sat
down on a low stone wall beneath one of the stained glass
Scully sipped at her lemonade; little slivers of crushed
ice slid down her throat. "This is fresh-squeezed," she
whispered with pleasure as the realization dawned on her.
"Man of many talents," Mulder admired as he lifted his cup
in a false toast.
They were content to sit companionably. The sun had set,
but it wasn't yet dark. The heat continued to radiate from
the ground and off of the building. The air smelled of
dust and late summer. The sounds of the cars as they
pulled up on the other side of the church drifted over to
them, a crunch of gravel, the slamming of a door, and the
quiet laughter and murmurs of the parishioners as they
greeted one another.
"Are they fools Mulder?" she wondered aloud.
"Isn't everyone?" he asked.
They could hear music as the congregation began a hymn, the
muffled sound swelling and surging its way into the
evening. She thought she might know some of the words, or
maybe she'd heard it somewhere before.
Teach me some melodious sonnet/Sung by flaming tongues
It was familiar, like an old Christmas carol, and yet it
"Do you believe in the presence of angels?" Mulder asked
sarcastically, his tone matching another time and place
from long before.
She let out a laugh, and leaned her head back, exposing her
soft white neck. The music continued and she grew serious.
The sound washed over them, piercing them with its longing
and desire. It had an air of innocence and earnestness and
a sense that if such things existed at all in the world,
here was as good a place as any to find them. Here with
these people who were doomed to fail in some way at their
quest, yet hopeful and faithful in spite of that knowledge.
Oh to grace how great a debtor/ Daily I'm constrained to
be/let thy goodness like a fetter/bind my wandering heart
to thee/Prone to wander, Lord I feel it/Prone to leave the
God I love/Here's my heart, O, take and seal it/Seal it for
thy courts above
The words, centuries old, had lost none of the ability to
express something about inconstancy and human frailty. It
stirred them as it had stirred countless others before
Mulder's leg bumped against Scully companionably as did his
shoulder. Feelings of kinship and comfort stole over her
quietly, alarming in their seductive pull. A pull as
seductive as the feel of Mulder's fingers barely brushing
against her chest as he took her cross in hand.
"Do you believe in God, Scully?"
"I don't know," she answered, with a sudden weariness.
"Let's just say, I don't want to believe."
"God cannot be logically proven."
"So why believe at all?"
She couldn't look at him as she took in a shaky breath,
"It's the only thing I have to explain the existence of
"My one in five billion?"
"My one in five billion," he said with a smile as bright as
a thousand suns.