Title: Room 209
Category: Halloween fic; crossover (X-Files/Insidious); challenge fic; post-IWTB/mid-Insidious
~ Written for Bump In The Night and The Nursery Files' Crossover Challenge
There's still time to write your own! PM me for details
Summary: During the last week of October Scully is asked to take over the case of a comatose little boy. Strange things begin to happen in Our Lady of Sorrows soon after.
Author's note: Insidious just says Dalton is in the hospital for three months before his parents bring him home to care for there without spelling out what time of year it is...or why they bring him back home.
Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital
October 25, 2010
Leaves blew across the parking lot, still the similar in color to the hair of the doctor they were landing on instead of the rusty brown they would progress to after the groundskeeper managed to rake them in a submissive pile. At that very moment he was elsewhere on the property, leaving the woman to battle them on her own.
Frowning to herself, Dr. Dana Scully batted them out of her face and wondered if they were going to get one of those later season hurricanes that the weather channel kept droning on about whenever her husband got so absorbed in what he was doing that he forgot to turn off the TV when he left the room.
Her frown turned to a faint smile when she thought the word "husband." She and Mulder had decided that one good way to fight the darkness was to forge a more permeant union between them. Their feelings had never wavered, but the injuries that he had sustained while trying to help the FBI a couple of years earlier had reminded her that the law didn't care about their steadfast devotion to each other, but a marriage license would enforce either's ability to make medical decisions for the other if either was even more badly hurt. To that end they'd been married on December 23rd in 2008, so they were fast approaching their second anniversary.
"Doctor Scully?" a hesitate voice behind her asked and she jumped like someone had grabbed her because her mind was entirely on Mulder to the point that she hadn't noticed that she'd almost reached the doors of the hospital.
It was hard to say whose face was more red with embarrassment when she twisted around to see who had spoken. "Sister Ignatius," Scully said politely, realizing that she recognized the nurse behind her. They'd only spoken once but the young nun was shorter than she was which was enough of a novelty to be memorable. When the other woman just rang her hands without saying anything, Scully felt obligated to prompt her. "What can I do for you?"
To her dismay the nun's face immediately fell. "Oh," she began awkwardly, "I'm not sure you can. I mean, Father Ybarra..."
Scully bristled reflexively when the nurse brought up the idea that the priest would prevent her from doing something: shortly after she'd cured Christian and she and Mulder had concluded their involvement in the Monica Bannon case, she'd considered leaving Our Lady of Sorrows. Mulder hadn't told her what to do, but he had asked her why she wanted to flee, and she'd finally decided that she wasn't going to let the man have the satisfaction of driving her away. Still, she and Ybarra didn't get along much better two years later.
Sister Ignatius continued to look anxious, so Scully forced herself to smile. "Tell me what it is you need, and we'll worry about Father Ybarra after that."
If this made Ignatius feel better, she hid it well. The woman wrung her hands and looked down. "We have a patient, admitted two months ago, and I was hoping that you'd take over his care."
"Who is caring for him now?" Scully asked warily. There had to be more to the story - they wouldn't have admitted the child without assigning him a doctor, so someone must be overseeing his case at the moment.
"Oh." Scully knew Marjorie Guillen well enough to realize that the other woman wouldn't really tolerate Scully asking for her case. Doctor Guillen was an extremely competent woman about a decade older than she was, so she couldn't imagine that the child wasn't already in good hands, anyway.
Still, she had to be polite when she responded to the request. "Sister, you understand that I have no authority to demand, or even request, that another doctor give me their case-" she began.
"She doesn't want it!" Ignatius blurted out. Then she blushed again. A not very kind part of Scully wondered if she'd been drawn to her vows because it would limit her social interactions, which were obviously awkward.
"She doesn't like him?" Scully guessed. Even after working at the hospital as long as she had, it still surprised her how many doctors who worked with children simply didn't like them. There had been teachers in her own elementary school who had clearly had similar ideas, and she still couldn't understand why one would go into a profession where they had a lot of interaction with people they didn't like. It seemed sad to her, and not just for the sake of the children. She didn't know Guillen well enough to know how she felt about the kids in her care, but she did know that the other doctor was childless.
"No, nothing like that," the young nun said hurriedly. "You can't like him."
Scully raised her eyebrows, wondering if she was being asked to take on the case of a notorious brat. That was less than flattering: up until that second she'd been under the hopeful impression that her expertise is what recommended her, not her tolerance for misbehavior.
Apparently Ignatius realized that she'd given the wrong impression, because she looked down and gently shook her head. "Dalton is never awake to bother anyone, you see," she explained.
To her mild surprise, the nun disagreed. "Doctor Guillen says he's not in a coma."
"A vegetative state?" Scully asked as gently as she could. To have to ask that reminded her uncomfortably of the very first case she'd worked with Mulder. She never really had forgiven the ward nurse they'd spoken to for making a produce aisle joke.
"I'm not a doctor." Ignatius bit her lower lip. "But I heard doctor Guillen said that his brain scans are fine." Eventually she looked up. "She doesn't know why he won't wake up."
"Huh." Scully thought about this for a moment, and realized that there was a spark of excitement already building within her as she began to brainstorm reasons why a child wouldn't wake despite not fitting the technical description for coma.
"Doctor Guillen was hesitant to approach you-"
"Why?" Scully demanded to know.
The nurse shrugged, and the wind caught at her habit, making the black fabric ripple in a way that reminded Scully of crows. "You seem busy."
"All doctors are busy," Scully replied. "If she wants to speak to me, I'll hear her out."
"Oh, good." There was something that sounded suspiciously like relief in the other woman's voice, and Scully began to wonder if it was possible that Guillen and the young nun were friends, which would make Ignatius's concern more understandable.
The idea did leave her faintly envious, though. Father Ybarra aside, Scully had a cordial enough relationship with all of her coworkers, but she didn't count any of them as friends.
"I'll let her know I spoke to you," Ignatius added.
"Right," Scully said with a forced smile.
The unusual conversation faded from Scully's mind as she checked on one of her patients. Sydney Campbell greeted her with a shaky wave as she entered the room, and Scully offered her a warm smile in return.
Sydney was a pretty seventh grader with long curly brown hair and matching brown eyes. She'd been a perfectly average child until one morning she'd begun to display symptoms of a neurological disorder that was eventually diagnosed as subacute sclerosing panencephalitis; something that began to make sense once it emerged that she hadn't been vaccinated against the measles because her parents didn't believe in vaccinations. Compounding the girl's issues, they'd also hadn't sought treatment for her until she'd entered the second stage of the disease - it was treatable if diagnosed in stage one, but generally accepted to be fatal if not treated before stage two.
Consumed with guilt, her parents were seeking out all avenues of treatment for her, and surprisingly, Father Ybarra had authorized Scully to try even unconventional ones. Sydney had only been admitted a few days earlier, so Scully was still researching things that might help her.
"How are you doing today?" Scully asked the girl even as she began to take her vitals.
Sydney's response was to shrug.
Looking towards the window, Scully cast about for something else to talk about because she sensed that the girl would shut down if she continued to prod her about how she was feeling. Bringing the girl up for an EEG could wait a couple of minutes while she tried to improve their rapport. "I hear that they're going to show Hocus Pocus in the lounge tonight," Scully offered. "Do you think that you'll be up for watching it?"
"That's for babies," Sydney said dismissively. Her speech was still relatively clear, which was one of the reasons that Scully had agreed to try to find an approach that would help the girl survive the disease. Her mental deterioration was also mild as of yet, which was the only other hopeful sign that she might retain a reasonably good quality of life if Scully found a way to help her.
"You better not tell my husband that," Scully replied. "He loves that movie."
The teenager gave her a skeptical look. "He sounds weird."
"You have no idea." Scully smirked, glad that he wasn't there to hear his taste in movies besmirched. "He also likes that Ed Wood movie, Plan Nine from Outer Space."
When she looked up she noticed that Sydney's expression was blank, and for a fraction of a second she thought that the girl wasn't familiar with the cult classic, but it quickly occurred to her that Sydney was beginning to have a seizure.
Before the girl could begin to thrash around, Scully calmly made sure that there was nothing around Sydney that would injure her, and wrote off her plan to get an updated scan of the girl's brain. It would have to wait for a more opportune moment. She just hoped that Sydney had a lot of those left.
a/n: I can't promise I'll finish writing this before Halloween but I'll sure try