a/n: This is my submission for the finallytuesday Halloween Fest challenge on livejournal. It is a very over the top, crazy idea, with a chapter three that is guaranteed to twist your brain. There are four chapters in all, and this is chapter one.
I must give my thanks to my two betas. To quack3790, thanks so much for helping me work through this completely crazy idea to give it some order. To jennifferbutterfly, who is not only an awesome beta'er, but today is her 20th birthday. This chapter is dedicated to her special day!!
I must give my thanks to my two betas. To quack3790, thanks so much for helping me work through this completely crazy idea to give it some order.
To jennifferbutterfly, who is not only an awesome beta'er, but today is her 20th birthday. This chapter is dedicated to her special day!!
For those that have read Take The Ducklings Bowling/When You Least Expect It, you might notice I borrowed a character to help the plot get started.
"I find it hard to believe myself," Ramone, a male nurse from the ER, said to House, Wilson and Cameron at the annual hospital Halloween party. "A hospital like this, with all the deaths, you would think there would be loads of weird incidents or urban legends involving ghosts around here." They listened intently, even though House suspected that this guy wasn't a paranormal expert, but someone who liked sharing stories while on coffee break.
Cameron was especially disbelieving. "There hasn't been one story?"
"Well, there is one tale that comes up at Halloween every year, but I think that it was invented by some doctor who needed a scary story for the pediatric ward."
Cameron's eyebrows raised in interest, her expression almost lost in the colors of the boisterous fairy costume she was wearing. "I like a good story, let's hear it."
House and Wilson rolled their eyes. There was nothing more ridiculous than grown adults sharing children's ghost stories. "I'm off to the bar," House said, turning to leave.
"There's no alcohol here," Ramone said.
"Not at this party, no." House walked out of the cafeteria, with Wilson following behind.
Ramone thought about joining them, and then shook it off, going on with the story. "About twenty years ago, there was a middle aged woman, a spinster with ten cats, who came in feeling ill and found out she had a fatal disease with only a week to live. As she clung to life in the ICU, she swore that if she couldn't have a man in this life, she was going to do everything in her power to get one in the next world. Once a year she comes out, looking for the ideal man, often harassing the ones she likes. A couple men she has taken, but they ended up coming back because they didn't prove to be worthy, completely unnerved by what she did to them in the process."
"That's a ridiculous tale," Cameron said, disappointed. "If that's a kid's story, the doctors around here need better imaginations."
"Tell me about it. Considering I'm gay, she obviously left me alone. Speaking of which, is Dr. Chase ready to come play for the other team yet?" He pointed at Chase, dressed deliciously in a cowboy outfit, who was talking to a young woman.
Cameron gave him a wicked grin. "He's too good at keeping his woman happy. I think I'd kill him if he wasted all that talent elsewhere."
"Lucky girl. I'd cling onto him too if given the chance." They both sighed while glaring at Chase with adoration.
Chase found the conversation mildly interesting, but this party was turning out to be really boring. He didn't see the point of grown adults putting on costumes, gathering together in a room and trying to have fun based on hospital talk and cheap snacks. Cuddy wasn't even here. When the Dean of Medicine ditches her own party, it's doomed for failure.
He all of a sudden slapped the back of his neck, feeling the hairs being tickled.
"Is something wrong?" The woman asked.
"No, just a fly," Chase said. His hand swatted something at his ear next. It felt like someone blew into his ear, but he was sure he was imagining things.
Cameron came over to join them. "I've gotta go," the woman said, knowing the signs when a girlfriend comes along to break up a conversation. "It was nice talking with you."
Chase felt another tickle at his neck. He was irritated now.
"What's wrong?" Cameron asked.
"A fly keeps bothering me. Come on, let's leave."
Cameron looked around him, not seeing a sign of an insect anywhere. "Sure, let's go. House and Wilson went to the diagnostics office for a drink. We could join them."
Chase shook his head. "No thanks, I'd still rather avoid House right now."
Cameron agreed for now, but knew this feud with House had to end soon. "Okay, let's go home. I'm getting tired of this ridiculous costume anyway."
"Yeah, I'm not liking mine either."
She gave him a seductive leer and brought her lips to his ear. "You know, it's a fantasy of mine to have my way with a cowboy. Lot's of roping involved, if you know what I mean."
Chase closed his eyes and his breath hitched, enjoying every bit of her advances, that is until he felt a pinch on his ass. "Not here," he told her in a low voice.
"What are you talking about?" Cameron asked.
Chase opened his eyes to see Cameron's arms at her sides. "Nothing, let's get out of here."
His head hurt like hell, throbbing hard at the top of his skull. His hands laid flat on the cool linoleum, the hardness beneath him adding to the evidence that he was on the floor. Something wasn't right.
Chase tried like mad to remember what happened, but it was all blank. He and Cameron were at the party, but it was too dull and they left. They were walking in the hallway and then…nothing.
He opened his eyes, and sat up in shock to see he was on the floor in the morgue. His sudden movement upward exacerbated his headache, causing him to cry out in pain. They weren't close to the morgue earlier, so he wondered what practical joker put him there. Someone had to have drugged him. He was so getting House for this.
His head turned to the floor space next to him, where Cameron's motionless body lied a foot away. He frantically crawled to her, wincing at another sudden rush of pain to his head. He felt for a pulse and found a strong one, exhaling in deep relief. He gave her a shake. "Allison, please, wake up."
Her eyes cracked slightly open, her dazed look telling him she still wasn't all there.
"It's okay, take your time. You're fine." He assured, clutching her hand.
"Wha…what happened?" Her weak voice asked, barely managing to get the words out.
"I honestly don't know. I just woke up myself. We're in the morgue for some reason."
"The morgue? How?" She closed her eyes and rolled her head back and forth, fighting to get her bearings. "My head hurts."
"Mine too," he told her. "I don't think they keep aspirin down here."
"Help me up," she requested. He pulled her with one hand, cradling his other in her back, raising her into sitting position. She held onto him tight when the room started spinning. "Something feels weird."
"Yeah, tell me about it." He looked around the room. It looked familiar, but it didn't feel familiar.
"Why is the room so cold?"
"I'm not sure. I thought it was just me."
She clasped his hand tighter and got up on her feet, noticing her attire on the way up. She was still in her costume, as was he. "We were at the party."
"I know. I think someone is playing a joke on us."
"It's not funny," she replied. "I hurt too much."
An attendant entered the room, brushing past, not seeing them at all. Cameron and Chase looked at each other bewildered, wondering why someone would not think it odd that two people in Halloween costumes were hanging out in the morgue at this hour. Maybe in his line of work, he'd seen it all.
"Excuse me, but did you see anyone bring us down here?" The attendant didn't respond to Cameron.
"Hey, did you hear her?" Chase said. When he didn't respond to his question either, Chase walked right in front of him, thinking the man might be deaf. He didn't see Chase, even though he was standing right in front of him.
"Hello, anyone home?" Chase tried to grab him, but his hand swiped right through him. He froze in shock, staring at his hand in disbelief. He tried to grab the man again, and got the same result.
A very freaked out Cameron walked over carefully and waived her hand in front of the man's face. He didn't notice her. She tried to touch him, and her hand flowed through as well.
"You think he's a ghost?" Cameron asked with a shaken tone.
Chase nervously swallowed. "Either that, or we're the ghosts."
Cameron was thrown by the comment. "What, are you saying we're dead?"
"If we were dead, wouldn't our bodies be on the table?"
Cameron walked over to the coolers, checking the labels just to be sure. "I don't see our names here. Maybe they haven't found our bodies yet?"
"Maybe ghosts can't see themselves dead," Chase answered, "which is why they walk around thinking they're alive. I don't feel dead."
Cameron wasn't in the mood for ghost stories. "Oh get real. This isn't the Sixth Sense."
"How do you know?"
Cameron grabbed Chase's wrist and abruptly twisted it, causing him to cry out in pain. "Dead people don't feel pain. Come on, let's see if we can find someone we know and get to the bottom on this."
"Oh boy." Chase reluctantly followed.
The hallway was loaded with normal activity, staff and patients in their own little worlds getting from point A to point B. Everything looked the same, except that no one made eye contact or even acknowledged Chase and Cameron. They rarely got greetings in the hallway anyway, but something here was off. Not only were the greetings absent, but they didn't get a strange glare, smile, nod, or anything
Cameron saw Brenda in the distance. "I saw Brenda at the party. I'll ask if she knows where House is."
They walked up to her. "Brenda, have you seen House?"
She didn't answer. She didn't even look at them.
Chase and Cameron shared a mutual gaze of alarm and panic. "Brenda?" Chase asked with dazed voice. She walked right by them.
They watched her walk away, too stunned to move and unable comprehend what was going on. Cameron pulled her hand to her forehead, pushing back her bangs. "We can't be dead."
Chase did a full circle in his spot, distressed how no one could see them. He threw his arms up in the air in frustration. "It's like we're stuck in a really bad Star Trek episode."
Cameron was puzzled by his reference. "Which series?"
"All of them. They all used the same plot lines."
Cameron smiled. "I only watched the Next Generation. I thought Commander Riker was hot."
Chase looked at her, shaking his head. They started walking again. "They were always messing with the time/space continuum. Bastards. Plus it was Counselor Troi that was hot."
"So, now you're suggesting we've messed up the time/warp continuum?" Cameron was incredulous.
"Space/Time continuum. Either that or this is a really bad dream."
Cameron swung her flat palm across his cheek as hard as she could.
"Nope, not a dream. Besides, both of us wouldn't be dreaming this."
He nodded. "I can't say I'd ever dream this."
They arrived at diagnostics, where the lights were out and there was no sign of life. "Looks like House went home."
Cameron sank into an office chair, sighing over the comfortable relief. "I can't be dead. I'm exhausted. Dead people don't get tired, do they?"
Chase sat in House's chair, and dropped his head down on the desk. "There has to be an explanation for this. Maybe we're in another dimension?"
"Sure, let's play differential on the possible theories of space and time, not to mention all the paranormal aspects. That should be a barn burner." Her head fell backward and she took in another deep breath. "Mulder and Scully never had to face this problem."
"They were chasing the paranormal, they weren't the paranormal. Anyway, we're probably more an anomaly in physics."
He frowned. "Yeah, supposedly."
Cameron looked out the window, examining the dark night. "You realize by morning people are going to miss us."
"Maybe they'll think we eloped or something."
Cameron flashed him a 'get real' glare. "They'll call the cops."
"Oh, then everything's great. When the police get involved, they'll get out their time/space scanners and come fetch us."
Cameron scowled, realizing arguing these points with Chase currently was hopeless.
Chase folded his arms on the desk and buried his head in between them. A hand began running through his hair, rubbing his scalp. "Oh, that feels great."
"What feels great?"
His head shot up, his face troubled when he saw Cameron hadn't moved. "Didn't you just give me a scalp massage?"
She shook her head, thinking he'd gone mad. That was until she felt something run through her hair as well. Instead of a massage though, her hair was yanked hard. "Ouch!" She twisted around in alarm. "I don't think we're alone."
"Of course not. You just can't fall into another world and expect to be alone." His sarcastic attitude changed and his face turned pale when he felt something grab his crotch. "I think we need to run away now."
Cameron briskly nodded in agreement and they both took off.
House and Wilson wandered into Cuddy's office, not at all happy about the early summons. A police officer and someone from security were in there as well. They both sat down, wondering what happened now.
"I didn't do it. Wilson's my alibi." House said.
Cuddy expected his smart ass answers. She wasn't in the mood for them, but she expected them. "You both were seen talking with Cameron last night at the Halloween party."
"Oh, so it's illegal to talk with Cameron. That makes sense. I plead guilty." House joked with culpable face.
Cuddy folded her arms, trying to communicate the serious nature of the conversation, wondering why she even bothered playing tough in front of House. It never worked. "Cameron is missing, and so is Chase."
"I definitely didn't do that," House sheepishly replied.
"What happened after you talked to her last night?"
"Nothing. She and Chase were fighting, so I assumed she went to find him."
"She told you that?"
"No. It was so obvious given her heartbroken puppy dog eyes gazing lovingly upon me. Chase has been avoiding me lately, so I can only picture his mope."
Wilson cut in. "I talked to both of them. They weren't fighting and were getting bored."
"What were they wearing?"
House rolled his eyes. "Costumes. Duh."
Cuddy grabbed her forehead. "What kind of costumes?"
"Cameron was a fairy something, frilly, party pink, you know, her fantasy life. As for Chase, I'm only guessing it was something fuzzy and cute. Just picture a giant koala or kangaroo."
"Chase was wearing a cowboy costume." Wilson said. "I'm assuming you checked both their homes."
"There's no evidence they came home to either place last night."
House stood up. "They've got to be in the hospital somewhere then. You check all the janitor closets?"
Cuddy huffed before walking over to the door and opening it, delivering the message it was time for them to leave. "The police will be by your offices later for full statements. As usual, you've been no help whatsoever."
House stood close to her on the way out and gave her a huge smile. "Glad I could help." Wilson followed behind and gave her a shrug.
She closed the door and smiled meekly at the officers, wondering why she hadn't fired House yet. Maybe this would finally be her chance.
a/n: I wanted to also give a big hello to the large number of new readers that have been going through my back catalog and marking some of my stories as favorites (I've been getting notices!). It's so thrilling to see so many new people introducing themselves to work I primarily created while bored at work. I really hope this one lives up to the rest!