Pairings/Characters: Kristen Bouchard, David Acosta
Summary: Kristen ponders whether or not she should take the job with the Catholic Church.
Date Of Completion: February 8, 2020
Date Of Posting: February 14, 2020
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Robert King and Michelle King do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 985
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Meant holy water
The Holy Mother
And saints galore!
You never really
"Growing Up Catholic"
Kristen stood on the steps of the church. It was an old and venerable building, the gray cornerstone etched with the date 1896. The carved oak doors were massive with brass handles. Taking a deep breath, she pulled one of the handles and stepped inside.
The vestibule was quiet and dark, the stone floor worn in places. A card table held weekly bulletins and a basket of food donations. She pushed open one of the vestibule doors.
She dipped her fingers into the font of holy water and made the sign of the cross, a smile coming to her face. The gestures had been automatic, like muscle memory.
The nave of the church was long and the ceiling high and vaulted. The stained-glass windows were beautiful, and Kristen could smell the sweet odor of incense. She was surprised to see a bank of flickering votive candles to the right of the altar. Votive candles were not common anymore, but apparently this parish liked the old tradition.
She slipped into one of the back pews after genuflecting. She hadn’t been to church in years. She had brought her two oldest girls twice a year for Easter and Christmas Eve Masses, but had gradually stopped even that. The girls had liked the experiences, especially Christmas Eve Mass, and now friends of the family took them every year.
David was sitting in one of the pews at the front. She didn’t want to disturb him. Besides, she had thoughts to think.
The altar was flanked by statues of the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph. The Virgin held the Baby Jesus, a serene, smiling mother, though Kristen would bet there were days she had felt harried. She smiled at the thought.
She pulled down the kneeler and said a quick prayer, half-guilty and half-angry. What good did praying for Laura’s heart valve to heal do? People prayed all the time and still got no answer. She abruptly sat up on the pew.
The church was nearly empty at this early morning Mass. Most of the parishioners were either gray-or-white-haired, and there were a few elderly nuns sitting up front. The Catholic Church in America was skewing older, and homegrown priests were hard to come by these days.
The Church must consider David a real catch.
Kristen wasn’t really sure if she wanted to get involved with the Church again. She disagreed with them on women’s rights, gay rights, birth control…you name it, she was opposed to their teachings.
On the other hand, sitting in a church like this could be peaceful. She easily followed along with the Mass. It hadn’t changed in years.
Just like the Catholic Church. It refused to change in these fast-changing modern times, and was paying the price, yet she couldn’t help but admire an organization that had lasted for over two thousand years.
Still, the priest scandals are really a disgrace.
Kristen crossed her arms. Working as an employee of the Church would make her uncomfortable. Could she get past that?
The work would certainly be interesting. As the priest on the altar took the podium to begin his sermon, Kristen let her thoughts drift. The sermon had always been her least favorite part of the Mass when she still was a practicing Catholic.
She could still use her skills as a forensic psychologist with the new job. And her teammates were promising. She already liked Ben Shakir. His snark and skepticism matched up with her own. And David Acosta? What made him tick? Why was he so eager to join a priesthood that was, at best, tarnished these days?
Not to mention he’s sexy as hell. Oops!
She glanced around guiltily. Thinking such thoughts in a church!
“…faith is the most important thing we as Catholics can have.”
Kristen was more interested in science than faith. The symbols of faith like holy water and votive candles were comforting, but she lived by the tenets of psychology. Rational explanations were her stock-in-trade, not prayers and miracles. Debunking superstition would be very satisfying.
The priest ended his sermon (thankfully, not long) and prepared the symbolic Body and Blood of Christ for Communion. Catholic belief was that the ordinary objects of wafer and wine were transmuted into the Body and Blood. Kristen knelt with the congregation for the priest’s invocation of prayers, and when it was time to distribute the wafers, Kristen stayed in her seat.
The incense smell great stronger and Kristen coughed. It was all part of the ritual, engaging the earthly senses as attention was directed to otherworldly concerns. It was all a great psychological show.
Ha, we’re more alike than I realized, the Church and me.
It would make sense to take the job. She was familiar with Catholic rites and traditions. Her skepticism and Ben’s would counterbalance David’s faith in investigating supposed miracles and demonic possessions, to name a few items.
If I can get certain guarantees, a real commitment of time and salary from the Church, I’ll throw in my lot with them. I’m betting it won’t be boring!
The organist was good at her job. She ended the hymn with a flourish, and it was quiet as everyone settled down after Communion. The priest sat silently in his chair on the altar for a few minutes, then stood for the closing prayers. The final hymn began and Kristen slipped out.
Out on the steps she breathed in the fresh air. Attending Mass after all these years had shown some things were timeless.
The oak doors opened and the parishioners began to trickle out. As David stepped out, he smiled when he saw Kristen.
She stepped toward him. In the shadow of her past, she was going to meet her future.
This story can also be read on AO3.
This entry has been cross-posted from Dreamwidth. Comment on either entry as you wish. :)