AUTHOR: Jos Mous
DISCLAIMER: I own half of the characters portrayed herein. Unfortunately, I do not own the other half.
PAIRING: Let's not immediately spoil it.
NOTE: I know I have been pretty mean to Christians and their religion in previous fics, so consider this my attempt to make up to all those who do have their heads screwed on straight.
Patricia Cornwell was not the most fanatic religious person in the world. She was raised a good Christian, but didn't attend church very often and barely gave any thought to the Bible and what was in it. But Patricia did consider herself to be pretty religious and that was why today she entered a small wooden confessional and sat down on the small bench inside it. Even though practically nobody went to confession in this day and age of moon colonies and advanced genetic manipulation, there was still always a priest to listen to whatever was going to be confessed. Patricia gathered all her courage before she started.
"Forgive me Father, for I have sinned."
"What is the nature of your sin my child?" The priest on the other side of the thin wall asked. The voice was that of a woman. Patricia wondered briefly if she should keep calling her 'Father'.
"I've had rather impure thoughts." Patricia said.
"What kind of thoughts?"
"Well… you know… sexual thoughts and fantasies and stuff."
There was a slight snicker. "That can hardly be called a sin, my child."
"It does trouble me."
"And why is that?"
"Because it's always about me and… another girl."
"Is that bad?"
"But I hear all these guys say how being gay is wrong. That I'll go to Hell if I keep having these thoughts."
"And who are 'all these guys'?"
"Those priests on TV. People at school. Family."
"They are wrong."
"Of course they are. What is it that Jesus preached?"
"I'm gambling… love?"
"But not _this_ kind of love."
"And how do you know that? Because everybody else says so?"
"It says so in the Bible! You know, Sodom and Gomorra and all that."
"Do you know what that story is about?"
"Yeah, it's about a couple of towns getting destroyed by God because all the inhabitants were gay. Hence the word 'sodomite'."
"You're right about the destruction of the towns. But according to _my_ Bible there was a man living in Sodom, who was called Lot. Lot had only recently settled in Sodom and it quickly became clear to him that the inhabitants did not take kindly to strangers. Then one night, two men arrived at Sodom and set up camp outside the gates. Lot, knowing how the sodomites treated strangers, urged them to come to his house. The two strangers agreed after some persuading. The people of Sodom, however, heard of the strangers in Lot's house, formed a mob and marched towards his door. They demanded that the two strangers come outside so that they could 'know them'."
"To rape them."
The priest ignored the interruption and went on. "Lot refused to send out the two strange men because he knew that the mob would harm or even kill them. Instead he offered his daughters to come out so that the mob could have its way with them. A rather questionable offer, I admit, but it is also one that Lot would not have made if he had thought that every single man in Sodom was only interested in other men. Well, you know how the story ends, the two strangers turn out to be angels that were sent to destroy Sodom, but they spare Lot and his family. Sodom was not destroyed because of any alleged homosexuality, but simply because the entire city was filled with fear and anger against everything that they perceived strange, foreign or simply 'not normal'."
"That's the first time I've heard _that_ explanation."
"Then you've been listening to the wrong people."
"But still… if I tried to explain it to my family like that… I don't think they'd react well."
"Does your family know about your attraction to girls?"
Patricia hesitated. "No. I was hoping I'd never have to tell them."
"Because you were hoping that you were not attracted to girls after all?"
"I'm sorry, but I can't help you there. If you are gay, you are gay. If you are not, you are not. Just remember that God made you what you are and that He does love you, no matter what anyone else might say."
"That's putting it pretty simple."
"That's because it is pretty simple."
"So it's OK if a I happen to be gay?"
"That's what I said."
"Are you sure?"
"OK then…" Patricia said. "That helps I guess… it's not what I expected, but it might help."
"You must be very scared."
"Yeah. I feel like I'm… you know… comfortably in my own closet, but that they're a lot of people out there who'd like to yank me out of it and hurt me."
"Like the angels in Lot's house who were harassed by the people of Sodom, perhaps?"
"Is there something funny?" The priest asked.
"If you put it like that, sodomites are homophobes."
"I never said that." The priest said. And Patricia could hear she was smiling as she said it.
"Then what did you say?"
"I just said that sometimes texts from the Bible aren't used properly. Take the infamous Leviticus chapter 18, verse 22 where two men sleeping with each other is a called an abomination."
"And now you're going to tell me that it isn't?"
"Well, if two normally heterosexual men were having sex with each other during a fertility cult in honour of the god Baal, I'd call it an abomination too."
"Remind me to attend your services more often."
"Gladly. Now then, is there anything else I can help you with?"
"Are you sure I can be gay?"
"You make it sound like a decision. It's not."
"Sorry. I'm just… confused."
"I can imagine. Here you come in, hoping that I'll say I know the miracle cure for homosexuality and you end up being encouraged to simply admit and accept it."
"You all make it sound so simple."
"If you want, you can do it the difficult way. I too was firmly in the closet at one time. One very long time. Suffice to say, I didn't really feel all that well during that time."
"So how did you deal?"
"I didn't. I just felt miserable and angry and I truly hated myself. Then I went into college, started studying theology and the Bible. I especially looked closely at the pieces that are renowned for condemning homosexuality."
"Trying to stay in the closet too?"
"Trying to emerge from the closet as a confident heterosexual woman."
"It didn't work?"
"Well… I emerged from the closet. And I was confident that I had God backing me up. But I was still gay."
"Must've been nice."
"It was very nice. I even managed to get a girlfriend shortly thereafter. But that didn't mean it all got easier. People were still bigots back then as they are now."
"I'm facing a world of trouble, aren't I?"
"Well, not if you keep denying yourself."
"I don't think I can. Not after everything you've said."
"So you are sure then?"
"Don't guess. Know."
"Yes, Master Yoda."
"Don't make fun of me."
"You got any more advice?" Patricia asked.
"How old are you?"
"Right. I'd advice you to not come out to your parents just yet if they are really as close-minded as you claim they are. If you want, I can help you get in touch with people with the same problems as you."
"That'd be great."
"Are you really sure?"
"Yes." The priest sighed. "I am really very sure."
"OK, thanks. And thank you for everything else too, Father."
"Please." Said the priest. "Call me Nicole."
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