This is for my kid sisters, who have grown into girls I not only love with all my heart, but ones that I actually like as well. Jessi, Franki, Maci, this story wouldn't have happened without you.
"Reid, I gotta say, I'm impressed," Morgan said as he examined the small piece of plastic tubing the younger agent had handed him. "Very impressed." He grinned and took a drink of his coffee. "Almost as impressed as I am that you actually asked Mac to go out with you."
Reid turned roughly the color of raspberry jelly. "I didn't ask her to go out with me. I merely pointed out that I was going to that particular coffee shop at that particular time and that if she also felt the desire for coffee at that time I would be glad to buy her a cup. And you know paramedics are statistically very close to police in the consumption of caffeinated beverages and-"
He was getting more and more nervous just talking about it and was talking faster and faster, so Morgan stopped him while he could still make out individual words. "So, when the conversation lapsed, you asked her for more prank advice, and this is what she had?"
Reid shrugged. "Actually, it was Ray's idea. He stayed in the ambulance for a long time, but he kept playing music over the two-way radio. Finally, Mac went out and got him, said that he wouldn't leave us alone until she did. So when I mentioned that the other prank went over well, he told me about this one. So, you in?"
"Do you really need to ask?"
A little bit of Scotch tape secured the nasal cannula, a small piece of plastic tubing EMS workers use to give their patients oxygen, around the lid of the toilet tank. The other end had been secured to the valve that pumped fresh water into the bowl. It was completely hidden, the only thing visible was the two prongs front and center that were made for going into a person's nostrils, and that was only if you knew what you were looking for. Stopping once more to examine their handiwork, Reid and Morgan walked casually out of the men's room. "So," Reid asked, suddenly nervous as he realized that he had just instigated the prank version of terrorist warfare. "Who do you think we'll get?"
Morgan shrugged. "I don't know. Whoever had the most coffee this morning, I guess."
Reid was suddenly sure this was a bad idea. It had seemed so simple, when talking to Ray the night before. The paramedic had even given him the nasal cannula to use. Now he wasn't sure if he had ever thought it had been a good idea, or if he was just eager to impress his date's partner. "Morgan, maybe we should…" He wasn't sure how to finish that sentence, but it had something to do with fixing the toilet before anyone got wet.
"You know, that's a good idea, Reid."
Reid looked at him, confused. "But I didn't exactly say anything."
"Sure you did," Morgan replied, taking his friend by the arm and leading him at a quick pace down the hallway. "You suggested we should get out of here as quick as we can."
"Huh?" Morgan wasn't sure if he was agreeing with him or-
"As quickly we can…quick is an adjective and quickly is an adverb."
Morgan rolled his eyes. "How about fast? As fast as we can?"
Reid nodded. "That works."
"Okay." They started down the hall, as 'quickly' as they could without looking conspicuous. But it was too late. Before they were halfway down the hall, they almost collided with Rossi. "'Scuse me, boy," he said, sidestepping them. "Too much coffee this morning."
Reid's stomach turned and he looked at Morgan in alarm. If it was anyone else…even Hotch had a deeply hidden sense of humor. But Rossi? No one but Hotch knew enough about him to even consider this stunt on him. Morgan had no idea what to do, but with Reid looking at him like that kid looked at Indiana Jones in The Temple of Doom, he had to do something. "Rossi!"
The older agent turned around. "Can this wait? Kinda in a hurry here."
Morgan winced. "Uh…There's no toilet paper in there."
Rossi looked at him funny. "Are there paper towels?"
"Soap, water, all the other essentials?"
This wasn't going well. "Yeah."
"Then I'll survive." He walked into the bathroom and shut the door.
"What do we do now?" Reid whispered to Morgan.
"We run like Hell!" Morgan whispered back urgently, shoving the younger man first and following close on his heels. It wasn't an answer, but it would at least delay their impending doom. In fact, wasn't it almost lunch time? Yeah, today was definitely a good day to go out to lunch.
Reid sat at his desk, and took a sip of coffee out of his travel mug. It had been uneventful since he and Morgan had returned from a long lunch, lingering over their food and drawing it out as long as they could. Neither was in a rush to get back to what awaited them. They knew without a doubt Rossi knew it was them, and they figured he would have their heads on a platter. Hotch had been scary. Strauss had been terrifying. But Rossi? Reid swore he would never pull another practical joke again.
He glanced over at Morgan, who was hunched over his desk as if trying to hide. Then he jumped a mile as he felt a hand on his shoulder. "How's it going, Reid?" Rossi asked, conversationally.
"I-uh-not bad, sir!" he stuttered. Morgan glanced his way and winced.
"Have a good lunch?"
"Uh-huh…" Reid answered.
Rossi pointed to Reid's coffee. "Nice mug…where'd you get it?"
Reid was totally unnerved by the line of conversation. He was prepared for yelling, or anger. This was something he didn't know how to handle. "Um…Garcia brought it back for me. From Palm Beach."
"May I see it?" Rossi asked, putting out his hand. It seemed such an innocent question, and Reid had no choice but to comply. Besides, maybe he really was just being friendly. He had read about how sometimes practical jokes could sometimes be viewed as a gesture of acceptance. Maybe that's how Rossi took it…
"Sure," Reid said, offering the mug.
Rossi looked closely at the blue palm tree on the background of a red beach, sort of a photo-negative. "So, I heard you went out for coffee with that little paramedic girl."
"Uh, yeah. Mac. She's nice.
"Cute little thing. How did it go?"
Reid wasn't sure how to answer that. He wouldn't be sure even if he wasn't looking for a double-meaning in everything Rossi said. "Okay, I guess. Gonna see her again?"
"Actually, we're meeting for dinner Friday."
Rossi smiled. "Paramedic, huh? I bet you'll get familiar with the ambulance then, huh?"
Reid definitely didn't know how to answer that. "Huh?"
He was still contemplating it when another voice spoke up from the other side of the room.
"Reid!" Hotch exclaimed from the door of his office. "Do you have those reports done yet?"
Reid furrowed his brow. "But their not due until tomorrow!"
Hotch nodded. "I know. Just checking up on you." He disappeared back into his office.
Reid shrugged. That was odd. He turned back around. Okay…now Rossi was gone too. He looked over at Morgan, who shrugged. Not a clue, e seemed to be saying. Well, Rossi hadn't taken his coffee, so Reid picked up the mug to take a drink…
And promptly spit it back out as sticky brown foam bubbled out of the now-open lid. "What the…?!"
Hotch walked out of his office, Rossi close behind, both trying in vain to hide their smirks. "I thought I said no more 'physics magic' at your desk, Reid."
He had grabbed a handful of paper towels and began mopping up the mess. "But I-"
Rossi looked at him. "Besides, Alka-Seltzer in the coffee isn't magic. That trick is older than you!"
Reid shot Morgan a look, and you didn't need to be a profiler to interpret it. It's on!