TITLE: Objects, subjects – chapter 1 of 4
FANDOM: The X-files, House (crossover)
PAIRING: Dana Scully/Allison Cameron (femslash)
DISCLAIMER: I'm a poor student and neither own Scully nor Cameron, although, by God, I wish I did...
RATING: PG13... But will eventually reach NC17.
SPOILERS: None. (And for the record, I am pretending the disastrous seasons 6-9 of The X-files and subsequent movies never took place. The same thing goes for the ridiculous romantic storyline revolving around Cameron and what's-his-name British colleague.)
Hours blend into each other in this clinical place. The only window I can catch a glimpse of from where I lie is placed in a way that makes it impossible for my to ever see the sun itself. I have to deduce its route across the sky from the shadows of venetian blinds it draws silently across the white walls. They took my watch from me in order to get easier access to the fragile veins under the skin on my wrists. Even my cell phone is kept safely elsewhere to prevent an unexpected call from Skinner from causing a code Red for the poor guy attached to a heart-lung-machine across the hallway. Hours blend into each other... I have no idea what time it is or how long I've been here. Of course the fact that I spent my first hours (days?) here in a come does not exactly help – they have created a black hole in my calendar and forced me out of sync with the rest of the world. The last thing I remember is Mulders frantic yells from within the metal container, my red knuckles around the pistol with which I am trying to break the hinges of the locked doorway... And then a hollow, crunching sound. Like a bad sound effect in a movie, and this puzzles me for a second, because it does not at all go with steel giving in to my efforts. The logical conclusion – that it vas not the hinge, but my skull giving in – I never managed to draw before everything went black.
And now I am here. Awake, but not completely myself. First of all there is the time confusion giving me the sense of being somewhere in between dream and reality. Second of all my body does not exactly live up to its usual FBI standards.
I will recover fully – this they assure me, and my own medical background supports it. I am conscious, I can speak in whole sentences, remember my birthday, feel and wiggle my toes. The critical moment passed a long time ago, but I am still weak. Too weak to raise my voice for more than a few minutes at a time, too week to get out of bed or even sit in it. At the moment all active verbs in my life have been forced in to their passive grammatical form: Dana Scully does not 'dress' herself, she 'is dressed'. She does not 'take a bath', she 'is being bathed'. She is 'fed', 'turned' over in bed, 'helped' to the bathroom... It makes me sick to my stomach. Never in my life have I felt this much like an object, this pacified and completely at the mercy of other people's hands.
Surrounded by steel grey, my hospital bed is a white cotton island with easy access from all sides except the head of the bed, which is attached to a wall. It seems, after all, that I still have some exclusive rights to my bandaged head with all it contains. But my body, my thighs, my ass... They have become public property and transformed into inventory. In this clinical room my erogenous zones are reduced to tissue, my most intimate openings to simple waste canals that must be kept hygienically clean. To say that I feel unsexy would be the understatement of the century – I feel almost annihilated by latex gloved healer hands.
I think of all the times I myself have pulled on a pair of gloves. As a forensic pathologist, which obviously means the body touched by the gloves was already dead or even non-human – this had nothing to do with the gloves. My sense of reason tells me this, but my time confusion makes me wonder if I got the order of events, of cause and effect, wrong... Did I use gloves, because the bodies weren't human, or did they become this way the moment the latex flicked into place around my wrists? And in that case: What are all the gloves in this room doing to me?
There are exceptions. Moments, when I feel remarkably alive in spite of my location. A blonde doctor, some years younger than me, who always takes her eyes away from my medical records (abductions, brain tumour, gunshot wounds... there's plenty to read about) and meets mine when she is part of the rounds. And it does not seem like a rehearsed routine picked up at a crash course in doctor-patient relations – rather, it seems she is in fact genuinely interested in my story, not just my medical history. As if she wants to know, who I am and actually sees an individual there in the bed.
Every time she looks at me like that I feel I am put back together; when she is in the room I am almost the old me again. Her name is Allison – I know this because I have been eavesdropping on her conversations with colleagues – but so far I call her "Dr. Cameron", as it says on her name tag. I myself would have preferred it that way if I were in her place; it seems more respectful and furthermore has the advantage of effectively disguising my growing, unprofessional with to get to know her deeper.
Today she is the one changing my bandage and checking the stitches behind my right ear. I will have to comb my hair to one side for months, I think darkly to myself , like an old man trying to cover a bald patch. I feel the latex skin of gentle fingertips against my own shaven skin, as her blue eyes meet mine and she smiles.
"In a little while it won't show at all," she says, as if she has read my mind and is trying to comfort me. "It is healing just fine."
"Well, suppose I just have to appreciate the fact that I am not going permanently bald," I mumble sarcastically, and in response one latex fingertip gently strokes along my jaw line until it lets go and concentrates on a fresh role of gauze.
Was she caressing me? I am puzzled for a moment, but finally conclude that she probably just has a particularly careful way of palpating. Wondering more about it will lead nowhere, so I choose not to, as she re-wraps my sore head.
In reality I am just as much a medical object between her hands as between all the others, yet I can't help enjoying the contact just a little but. Her carefulness is so easily confused with tenderness, and right now I really need the latter and am more than happy to make the mistake.
She is heading out of the room a few minutes later, and I so want to make her stay.
"Dr. Cameron, you wouldn't happen to know how my FBI partner is doing?" I ask, just to ask something. Not that I don't care about the answer, but I have to admit having Allison and her present blue eyes around for a little while longer is my main agenda.
She stops in the doorway. "I don't know, but I can find out for you. Your partner, what's his name?"
"Fox Mulder. We were admitted at the same time, but I don't know if he is still in the hospital. I wonder why he hasn't tried to get in touch with me..."
"I'll look into it," Allison says and touches my arm through my sleeve, just for a second, before she heads out into the hallway. She does that a lot – touches me ever so briefly as if to confirm that there is contact; that she recognises that I am a human being with a body capable of feeling and appreciating her touch. I am sure she does not read all that into such a small gesture – after all, she is not the one lying here with an abundance of event-less hours to think and overanalyse – but that's how I experience it. As if I in a second, for a second, I get my complete, carnal body back with all the opportunities it entails.