Belief

Not Mine. Sigh.

Summary: This is the sequel to "Unbelief". How

would Scully handle being in charge, and how

would Mulder react to NOT being in charge?


Belief.

From 'Unbelief':

Thirty minutes later, Special Agent Fox Mulder

exited the elevator on the basement level. He

approached the door to the office that still had his

name on it. 'That'll have to change,' he thought.

He raised his hand and knocked.

"No-one down here but the FBI's most unwanted,"

came floating through the door in a husky alto.

Mulder had to contain a chuckle at that. 'Let's

rewrite history,' he thought. And he opened the

door.

"Agent Scully, I've been assigned to work with

you."

"Well, isn't it nice to be so highly regarded?" she

responded with a grin. Then she sobered, and

asked Mulder to sit. "We have to discuss some

issues before we can go into the field again,

Mulder."

"What issues would they be, Scully? That you went

behind my back to take the X-Files off me?" he

asked her.

"Actually, no, I didn't do that. Skinner told me he

was going to take you off the X-Files as a

punishment. I offered to act as lead agent instead

of you being removed from the X-Files. Skinner

agreed to that, but he wants you to do the right

thing."

Mulder was simmering by this point, and he let it

show. "So, I have to do as I'm told by you, or I don't

get the X-Files back?"

Scully's eyes gleamed with anger, but she refused

to let it appear in her voice. "Let me remind you,

Agent Mulder, that the reason you are in this

situation is your propensity for leaving your

partner on her own. For the next month, you will

work on cases of my choosing. You will not go off

on your crusades without first informing me of

your expected absence. And, you WILL NOT ditch

me while we are in the field. Do you understand?"

As she had been speaking, Mulder's eyes had begun

to darken in anger, and he was about to open his

mouth when she beat him to it by saying, "If this is

unacceptable to you, then I need to begin

reviewing the personnel files that Skinner gave

me."

This comment had the same effect as a red rag to

a charging bull. "What I understand is that you are

going to finally do what you should have six years

ago: shut me down!" he all but shouted at her.

That last remark sent Scully over the edge. She

stood, walked around the desk to Mulder, and

started talking. "I'm not the one shutting you

down, you are! I'm doing all I can to keep the X-

Files open, and to get you back to being the

Agent-in-Charge of them. You seem determined to

lose them by whatever means possible." All of this

was delivered in a cold, flat voice, and had more

effect on Mulder than if Scully had screamed at

him. "If you really want to blame someone for

shutting the X-Files down, you don't need to go any

further than Diana Fowley." Mulder opened his

mouth to protest, but Scully held her hand up to

stop him. "Just think about it, Mulder. The X-Files

were on a fairly firm footing before she showed up

and YOU let her interfere. You and Fowley are

responsible for this situation. I'm just doing what I

can to restore the X-Files to a solid foundation

again." The anger started to bleed out of his face

as Scully walked back to her seat and sat down.

A troubled silence settled over the two agents.

Scully looked at him thoughtfully, and said, "Can I

ask you a question, Mulder?"

"Okay," came the quiet response. 'At last, he

seems to be listening to me,' she thought.

"Are you happy with me as your partner?"

He looked at her, dumbfounded. "Of course,

Scully. You know that you're the only one I trust."

"Your actions speak louder than your words, Mulder."

At his questioning look, she continued, "If you truly

trusted me, you would at the very least tell me that

you had a lead you had to follow. You would also give

me the option of coming with you. You don't trust me

to watch your back in these kinds of situations, and

you don't allow me to choose."

Mulder looked at his partner, and had the grace to be

ashamed of his actions. "I'm sorry, Scully. Can I have

another chance?"

She smiled, a thin, sad, smile, and said, "Of course."

Scully took a deep breath, and let it out. "So, Mulder.

Do you think you can make it through the next month

according to the rules?"

He gave her a small grin, and said, "Bring it on."

###

The next three weeks passed in relative calm.

Scully chose the cases in consultation with Mulder,

and he worked enthusiastically with her in solving

them. He was making a real effort to follow 'the

rules', and wasn't being too much of an ass about

it. Sure, there was the occasional slip up where he

joked about Scully's science, but they were both

trying to make the new work relationship succeed.

As well, Mulder had taken to dropping in on Scully

in the evenings. Sometimes, he'd bring dessert,

sometimes a movie. To Scully, it seemed as though

he'd come to a decision about their personal

relationship as well. The fourth time he showed up

with a movie, she called him on it.

"Mulder, are you coming on to me?"

He chuckled, and answered, "Why, yes, Agent

Scully, I am. Are you offended by my

presumption?"

"Not at all. I like it, a whole lot."

As he was leaving her apartment later that night,

they kissed properly for the first time.

So, there they were. It was the last seven days of

Mulder's probation. The work was moving forward,

as was their personal relationship. Scully was

pleased with how things were turning out, but the

Celt in her was waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It was just about to, but she didn't see it coming

until it was too late.

###

The two agents were on their way to Bridgeport,

West Virginia. There were reports of lights in the

sky, to which Scully said, "And that's unusual in

what way?" As well as the lights, people were

disappearing for several days at a time, and on

their return, looked beaten up. Mulder, naturally,

plumped for the classic abduction scenario, while

Scully was more inclined to wait for physical

exams and blood test results before voicing her

opinions.

The first couple of days were full of witness

interviews and site visits. Scully reviewed all the

medical reports on the victims. As usual, the two

of them disagreed about the causes, but worked

together to get to the bottom of the mystery. The

local police were, surprisingly, more inclined to

believe in Mulder's alien abduction theory, and

were more than happy to contribute their own

ideas. It was the end of their second full day in

Bridgeport, and they were finally eating dinner

and discussing the case.

"Why can't you accept what I'm saying, Scully? We

always go down this path, and this time, it looks

like I'm right," Mulder finally said.

Scully took a breath, and exhaled slowly. "Because

that's part of who I am, Mulder. I need to look for

proof, and you know that about me." She paused

for a few seconds, and continued, "Why don't we

go back out to Jim Rowley's property tomorrow,

just to eliminate him completely as a suspect,

then we'll look more carefully for extraterrestrial

evidence by the lake?"

Mulder knew what it cost her to even say

extraterrestrial, so he nodded his agreement. They

looked at each other, and rose in unison from the

table. Mulder took Scully's hand, and they walked

the short distance back to their motel. At her

door, he kissed her very softly, and wished her a

goodnight.

The following morning, Dana Scully was ready to

spit nails. She had knocked on Mulder's door so

they could get breakfast together, only to

eventually find that he had taken off during the

night. She called the sheriff's office for a ride to

the station, and was told that her partner had

called Sheriff Gray to say that he'd been called

away, but that Scully would be finishing up the

case. One of the younger deputies picked her up

about twenty minutes later, and the two of them

were en route to the Rowley property.

"Agent Scully?"

'Yes, Deputy Webb?"

"Do you think that Jim Rowley is dangerous?"

Scully considered the question carefully before

answering, "No, I don't think so, but it doesn't hurt

to be prepared."

When they arrived at Rowley's place, the air

seemed heavy, and Scully felt uneasy. She drew

her weapon, and had just motioned for the deputy

to do the same, when she saw Jim Rowley throw

open his shed door, and saw the gleam of a gun

barrel. She threw herself towards the deputy,

shouting for Webb to get down when she felt the

impact of bullets at the same time as she heard

the shots fired. Somehow, Scully managed to turn

her body as she went down and squeezed off three

shots of her own. She landed heavily on her right

side, and the impact of her right hand on the

ground caused her to lose her grasp on her

weapon. She heard Webb fire, then heard him call

the sheriff for backup and an ambulance. Then

everything went black.

###

Dana Scully was floating somewhere in a dark

haze. She was vaguely aware of voices, and aware

of how heavy her body felt. She heard someone

call her name, and struggled through the thick

darkness that seemed to hold her down. Finally,

she was able to open her eyes, and the familiar

face of her supervisor was the first thing she

recognised.

"Nice to have you back with us, Agent."

"How long. ." she slurred.

"You've been in hospital for six days, and we were

beginning to wonder if you were ever going to

wake up," Skinner answered.

She shook her head to clear it, and immediately

regretted it. "Where am I?"

Skinner responded, "Bethesda Naval. It's got the

best trauma centre in the region."

Scully nodded carefully, then asked, "What's the

damage?" as she gradually came to full

wakefulness.

Another man had entered her room, and

introduced himself as Doctor Peter Symes. "You

were hit five times by a semiautomatic weapon."

As her eyes widened in surprise, the doctor went

on. "I know you're a doctor, so I won't dumb it

down. One slug smashed your left cheekbone, so

there was surgery to repair that. One slug in your

left collarbone. Broke the bone, so that's been

pinned. One slug in the top rib on the left side.

That's been pinned as well."

Scully grimaced. That accounted for three bullets.

From the look on the doctor's face, as well as how

Skinner looked, she knew that the best was yet to

come. "Okay," she said, "now tell me the worst."

Symes looked at Skinner, who nodded once. "Last

two slugs entered your upper left arm, and

shattered the humerus. You now have three

titanium pins holding the parts together."

"That's not all, is it?"

"No. Dr Scully, Dana, at best, even with intensive

physical therapy, the most function that you'll get

back in your left arm is 50%. And, it'll take at least

twelve months to get to that point."

Dana Scully nodded her head slowly, then looked

at her boss. "That's loss of field agent status, if not

a medical discharge from the Bureau, isn't it, sir?"

Skinner looked her directly in the eyes, and said,

"Yes. I'm so sorry, Dana. But with this kind of

injury. ."

"I can't do autopsies, I can't hold a weapon

properly: hell, I can't even type now!" She seemed

to slump down even further into the bed. Symes

walked closer, and clasped her good shoulder

briefly, then he left the two agents together.

Skinner said to her, very gently, "Do you know

where Mulder is, Scully?"

"No. He ditched me sometime early in the morning

that this happened." Something struck her then,

and she asked, "What about Deputy Webb? Is he

okay?"

"You saved his life, Scully. You warned him as you

were hit, and somehow you managed to shoot the

suspect in the shoulder as you were falling. You

did it. You kept that man alive."

"Yes, sir. But nothing that I do keeps my partner

around, does it?"

Walter Skinner had no answer to that, and Dana

Scully turned to look out the window at the watery

autumn sun.

###

Special Agent Fox Mulder walked down the hallway

to the Assistant Director's office after yet another

two-week suspension. This time, he was actually

quite concerned about his future.

He had been contacted by Marita Covarrubius that

night in Bridgeport. She claimed to have

information about Samantha, and he was off

without a second thought. After following Marita

around for three days, he picked up a message

from Skinner informing him of his suspension, so

he decided to keep going. He had left Scully a

couple of voicemails, telling her in vague terms

about his whereabouts and activities. He finally

came to his senses after another week when he

discovered that his contact person was Diana

Fowley, and that she was waiting for him at the

motel. In his room. In his bed. Naked. It was the

slap in the face that he seemed to need. Finally,

he had begun to acknowledge to himself that not

everyone who said, "Samantha," actually knew

anything about her. Now he had to face the music,

not only from Skinner and the Bureau, but from

Scully as well.

He entered the outer office, and was immediately

sent in to the inner sanctum by Skinner's assistant,

Kim Cook. Something was definitely not right.

After telling Mulder to sit, Skinner got straight to

the point.

"How badly do you want to keep your job, Agent

Mulder?"

Mulder was dumbfounded at Skinner's bluntness. "I

love my job, sir. I'd do just about anything to keep

it."

"Including running the X-Files?"

Now Mulder was getting confused. "I thought that

Scully was the Agent in Charge of the X-Files, sir.

Has that been changed?"

Skinner stared at Mulder balefully. "Have you

spoken with your partner at all in the last three

weeks, Mulder?"

"Not really, sir. I've left messages, but she hasn't

gotten back to me yet."

"That's because she was shot the morning after you

ditched her," he said as he passed Mulder the

reports on the Bridgeport case. As Mulder got over

his shock and started reading, Skinner continued

talking. "Scully's actions saved the life of the

deputy that was acting as her backup. She disabled

the shooter, and when the local sheriff's office did

a search of the property, they found enough

weapons and ammunition to arm Somalia. Your

partner is going to receive a commendation from

the Bureau, as well as recognition from the people

of Bridgeport." He glanced at the younger man,

and added, "Kind of makes you wonder if she

would have been injured if her real partner had

been there, doesn't it?"

Mulder shook his head as he took in both what he

was reading, and what Skinner had said. "So, why

am I getting the X-Files back?"

"Because Scully argued long and hard to the review

panel that you were the best-qualified agent to

run them, and she was able to convince the panel

of that. She was also able to convince the panel

that the X-Files needed more agents on it, and the

panel accepted what she had to say."

"Couldn't say no to the hero, huh?" Mulder asked

with more than a trace of sarcasm.

Skinner reacted angrily to Mulder's attitude, and

almost shouted, "Cut the crap, Mulder. They

couldn't say no to the facts as Scully presented

them." He let Mulder think about that for a few

minutes, then Skinner went on. "She came in from

the hospital, and presented an iron-clad argument

for you being in charge, and the need for extra

agents. She had all the evidence she needed at her

fingertips, including the type of personalities that

the new X-Files agents would need. She even

offered to preselect a group of agents to make it

easier for you to make final decisions about who

should be there."

Mulder was astounded. Scully had been injured in

Bridgeport, yet was doing all she could to get

Mulder back onto the X-Files as Agent-in-Charge.

Something was tickling at the back of his mind,

but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. He

looked at Skinner, and asked, "So, when is Scully

due back on active duty?"

He cringed visibly at the grim look Skinner gave

him. "I suggest you take that up with Agent Scully,

preferably at your earliest convenience.

Dismissed."

Mulder picked up the files in front of him, and

almost ran out of the office. He needed to find

Scully, so as he jogged down the corridor, he

pulled out his cell, and hit the speed dial.

"Lone Gunmen."

"Frohike, it's me. Do you know where Scully is?"

There was a noticeable pause before he answered.

"She's been released from the hospital, and Byers

is taking her back to her apartment."

"Just now?"

Frohike grunted. "You're a schmuck, Mulder. How

hard have you tried to get in touch with Scully

over the last three weeks? No, don't answer me,

because I already know. Not at all!" The older

man's disgust at Mulder's actions was apparent.

"There was a lead. ."

"There always is." Frohike interrupted him. "Byers

called me a while ago, and said he expected they'd

be back at Scully's about 2pm." He coughed, said,

"I gotta go," and ended the call. Mulder stared at

the phone in his hand, unwilling to believe that he

might have damaged his friendship with the

Gunmen because of his actions towards Scully. He

needed to get to her, so he changed direction to

the parking garage.

Two minutes later, all the security guard saw was

Mulder's brakelights blinking as he peeled out of

the parking lot.

###

John Byers had been careful to maintain a

respectful distance as he escorted Dana Scully to

her apartment door. Byers knew that it had just

about killed Scully to ask he and his friends for

help. When he had asked her why she hadn't called

Mulder, she simply shook her head and didn't

answer. Byers hadn't pushed the issue, but he

knew from Frohike that Mulder was on his way to

Scully's home, and Byers just wanted to do his

good deed and make a clean getaway. He had the

feeling that the interaction between Scully and

Mulder was not going to be pleasant. Langly had

hit that particular nail on the head when he had

casually observed that 'Scully is going to go

ballistic on Mulder's ass: totally thermonuclear'.

Byers had already been to Scully's apartment to

make sure that everything was in order. He had

asked Scully a couple of days earlier about her

mom, and hadn't been too surprised by Scully's

answer.

Her mother was visiting with her brother Charlie

and his family. Her mom was going to spend a

week or so in Ohio, then all of them; Charlie,

Mary, the boys, and Maggie Scully, were all going

on a two-month tour, starting in Ireland, and then

going on to the rest of Europe. Under no

circumstances was Maggie Scully, or any other

Scully family member, to be told of Dana's

injuries. Dana herself would tackle that once her

mother was back in the United States, which

wasn't going to be until late January.

Byers had placed Dana's bag on her bed, and

asked, "Do you want me to unpack for you?" Her

answer surprised him.

"If it's not too much trouble, John. I'd really

appreciate it."

He gave a soft chuckle, and said, "You can trust

me, Dana. I won't tell Frohike about your

unmentionables."

Dana smiled a little at the thought of the little

man rifling through her underwear. "I'm just

grateful for your help."

"You know that Mulder would have been happy to

help you out, don't you?"

She sighed. "Maybe once upon a time, but not

now. He left me a total of three voicemails in the

last three weeks. Each one was vague on details,

and said nothing about where he was or what he

was doing. I thought we were finally getting

closer, but I can see that I was wrong." Dana

moved to the chair, and sat down heavily.

"Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be enough for

Mulder."

Byers was intrigued. Here was the stoic Agent

Scully, revealing what she was thinking and

feeling. Despite his original feelings of urgency, he

felt compelled to be a listening ear for his friend.

"What do you mean?"

Dana had shrugged her coat off, and the heavy

sling was obvious. "I mean that all anyone has to

say to get Mulder to jump is to say 'Samantha' or

'Cancerman' or 'Krycek', and he's off and running,

saying 'How high?' Before this," and she indicated

her arm, "I was able to at least go after him, and

get him out of trouble. I can't do that any more.

He'll be even less inclined to tell me things now."

Her defeated tone concerned Byers much more

than what she had said. "Don't worry about

Mulder," he said with more confidence than he

actually felt. "I think he'll surprise you."

"Who's going to surprise who?" came the monotone

question from the bedroom door. Mulder had

arrived.

"It doesn't concern you, Mulder," said Dana. "Why

are you here?"

Mulder and Byers both cringed slightly at the cool

tone in Dana's voice. Byers took the opportunity to

start moving towards the door. As he went, he

said, "I need to get going now, Dana. Don't forget

that Millie will be here at 5pm, and if you need

anything. ."

"Just call. I will, and thank you for everything.

Please thank Frohike and Langly for me, won't

you?"

"Absolutely," Byers responded as he left Mulder

and Scully alone. Mulder followed Byers out to the

front door, and stopped him. Byers turned to

Mulder and answered the unasked question. "We

were the only ones she felt she could rely on."

"She could have asked me to help."

Byers looked at Mulder sadly. "When?" was all he

asked as he walked out the door. Mulder closed

the door and threw the lock. 'What did Byers

mean?' he thought. He turned at the noise coming

from Scully's bedroom, and went to investigate. He

saw Dana trying to finish hanging things one-

handed, so he moved to take over. He was

surprised at her reaction.

"You can see I'm safe at home now, so you can

leave."

The disbelief registered in Mulder's voice as well as

on his face. "Don't tell me, you're fine, right?"

"You can see that I'm not, but I'd like you to leave.

I can do this for myself."

"Sure you can, Scully. Why don't you sit back down,

and let me do this for you?"

"Why do you even care, Mulder?"

That comment, spoken in a soft, cool, voice, broke

through the veneer of calmness that Mulder had

been trying to maintain. "Are you saying that I

don't care?"

Scully sat back down in her chair before she

answered. "You ditched me, after you said you

wouldn't."

"I had to follow a lead on Samantha!"

"You said that you'd tell me if you had to leave,

and you didn't."

"I didn't have the time to tell you. I had to leave

right away."

"You didn't have the time to tell me. You had the

time to check out of the motel, and you had the

time to tell the sheriff, but you didn't have the

time to tell me. Okay. Now I know the way things

really are." All delivered in that same soft, cool

tone that was starting to make Mulder panic a

little. He was about to say something when she

asked, "Did the lead pan out?"

He looked ashamed as he answered, "No. Same old

crap. I don't know why I allow this to keep

happening." He arranged his face into the puppy

dog look, and asked, "Forgive me?"

"Not this time, Mulder."

"What?" he exploded. "What do you mean, not this

time?"

Dana Scully stood up and looked him directly in

the eyes. "Take a good look at me, Mulder. What

do you see?"

"I see some bruising on your face, and your arm in

a sling."

She gave a rather unladylike snort. "Right. Did you

read the medical report?"

"No. Skinner told me that you'd been shot, and you

look okay. I mean, how bad can it be if you're out

of hospital, right?"

Dana's face grew hard, and her tone got even

cooler. "Well, Agent Mulder, sit down on the bed,

and I'll explain exactly how bad 'this' is." She

waited for Mulder to sit, and once he was settled,

she began speaking again. "The facial bruising is

the result of having a shattered cheekbone that

had to be surgically repaired. The sling is solid and

heavy. Do you want to know why?"

Mulder was just getting over the surprise of

understanding that his partner had actually been

shot in the face, and nodded. "The sling is like this

because I had my left collarbone broken by a

bullet, and the rib below it broken by another

bullet. But that's not all. I also took two bullets in

the upper arm, and they weren't through and

through. No, those two bullets went into the bone,

and shattered it. My upper arm is being held

together by three titanium pins. But do you know

what the best part is?"

Mulder swallowed, and said, "I'm think I'm afraid to

find out."

"You should be. After seeking second, third, and

fourth opinions, the most function that I'm ever

going to have in my left arm is 50%. And, it's going

to be at least a year before I even get to that

point. Do you know what that means, Mulder?"

He had started looking sick himself by this time

and shook his head, as he didn't trust himself to

speak without starting to sob.

"What this all means, Mulder, is that I will no

longer be able to do autopsies. I will no longer be

able to hold a weapon correctly. It means I can no

longer be a field agent. It means that it will be

months before I can do even mundane tasks like

washing my hair or making dinner. It means that I

am no longer your work partner."

Mulder was almost rendered speechless. "I don't

know what to say, Scully, but sorry seems to be

the place to start."

She huffed out a short, humourless chuckle. "Sorry

doesn't even rate as a starting point for this,

Mulder." Dana paused for a moment before

continuing with, "This is also the end of our

personal relationship."

"What! Why?"

"You have to ask why?" Mulder nodded, and

motioned for Dana to go on. Shortly, he wished

he'd left when she first asked him to. "I don't think

you really accept how much I love you. If you did,

maybe you'd treat me a little better than you do."

He started to react, but Dana ploughed ahead.

"No, you wanted to know, so I'm going to tell you.

You're always saying that I'm the only one you

trust, but your actions show me that you don't.

You ditched me, and as a direct result of that

action, I no longer have the career that I want. I

am almost out of the FBI, and somehow, I have to

find a job where not being fully fit is acceptable.

That's not going to be easy." She drew a breath,

and wiped away the tears that had been falling

silently. "How can I have a relationship with a man

who makes it obvious that he doesn't trust me?"

He couldn't contain himself any longer, and stood

to go over to her. She stopped him in his tracks by

raising her uninjured hand. "No, Mulder. I can't go

on like this. I can't trust you anymore. In a

personal relationship, both partners are there for

the other, and I can't trust you to do that. That's

what your actions have shown me over the years."

Mulder wiped his eyes, then said, "But, Scully, I

love you. I'm in love with you. Surely that must

count for something?"

Dana sat down in her chair again, and gave a deep

sigh. "Yes, it counts, but it doesn't change

anything. I can't ask you to change, and I won't tie

you down, not when I can't help you anymore. I'm

a liability to you and to the work."

He slowly dropped to his knees, scooted over the

floor, and stopped in front of her. He took her

good hand in his left hand, and raised her chin so

that he could see her eyes. When she finally

looked at him with storm-filled eyes, he said,

"Please, Dana. Let me prove to you that you can

trust me."

She shook her head as she replied, "Not this time. I

have been too damaged by this series of events,

and I need to recover from this."

"Then let me recover with you," came the softly-

voiced request.

"No." Dana drew in a deep breath, and exhaled.

"This is something I need to do for myself." She

withdrew her hand from his, and said, "Please,

Mulder. Just let me be."

He stood, and wiped his face again. "I'll let you get

some rest, Dana, but believe me when I say that I

will prove myself to you." He got to the bedroom

door, and turned and said, "I do love you, Dana

Scully, and I will prove that to you." He walked

back over to where Dana was sitting, and kissed

her very softly. "I'll be back tomorrow. I love you."

Then he was gone.

Dana rested her head on her good hand and let the

tears come.