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And now…on to our story!
Double Double, Toil and Trouble
TV Prompt: Happy Days – "Welcome to My Nightmare"
Fog wafted over the decrepit surroundings as seven sets of eyes stared in horror at the only place the small hamlet of Foster, Massachusetts had that would afford them a night's sleep.
Startling as a raven cawed above, Derek Morgan was the first team member to snap out of his horrified stupor. "No," he said firmly, shaking his head as he eyed the rusted sign for the bed and breakfast ahead of them. "Nope. Nuh uh," he declared insistently, crossing his arms defiantly over his chest as he took a pronounced step back.
"Morgan," JJ sighed as she shifted her small tote bag to her other shoulder, "It's this or the SUV for the night. Everything else is booked."
"And you couldn't find a Motel 8...an Econo Lodge?" the profiler yelped, his eyes widening as he turned to look at JJ with a censorious glare.
"Have you SEEN a motel or hotel around these part?" JJ snapped, her eyes flashing in the dimming light as she barely resisted the urge to swing her bag against the man's broad shoulders.
"It's not JJ's fault that are plane couldn't take off due to the fog or that we've just finished a case in the middle of nowhere," Rossi offered supportively, stepping beside the media liaison as he shot Morgan a quelling look.
"Why couldn't we just go back to our original hotel rooms again?" Reid asked curiously, his intelligent eyes cataloguing every centimeter of the wooden exterior. "I mean, it wasn't the Ritz, but compared to this...," he said, gesturing weakly at the rundown facility in front of them.
"I already told you," JJ ground out defensively, her shoulders stiffening. "We gave up our rooms because we assumed that we were leaving tonight. I am not responsible for acts of God, people!"
"Trust me, Jayje," Emily said with a leery look toward the B&B, "I don't think God had much to do with this. I'm pretty sure it was his counterpart."
"It's fine," Rossi insisted. "As long as it has a bed and a shower, I think it'll fill our needs for a night, don't you?" he asked Hotch meaningfully.
Coming to stand on JJ's other side, Hotch eyed the house cum inn in front of them. "We've stayed worse places," he remarked dryly, though he'd be hard pressed to name the time and location that event had occurred. But his pragmatic side quickly reminded him that beggars couldn't be choosers…and he didn't relish the thoughts of spending the night in some small-town airport lounge.
"When?" Morgan challenged, still backing away from the wrought iron fence. Bumping into the sign behind me, he growled, "Oh, you've gotta be fucking kidding me?"
"What's the matter now, my chocolate god of thunder?" Penelope sighed, turning to look at her best friend as the screeching metal filled the night air.
"Bates Bed and Breakfast," Morgan yelled as he pointed wildly at the sign, shaking his head.
"So, good 'ol Norman is branching out," Garcia shrugged, snapping a picture of the sign with her phone, reminding herself to post it as soon as possible.
"So not funny, Baby Girl," Morgan grumbled under his breath as he hastily moved in the far direction . "It's Halloween night in freaking Massachusetts, home of the witches, and we're staying at the BATES Bed and Breakfast!"
"When the hell did you become a supernatural alarmist, Morgan?" Dave snorted with a roll of his dark eyes.
"He hates Halloween," the entire team said in unison.
"I DON'T hate it," Morgan muttered defiantly. "I just don't understand glorifying the things that go bump in the night."
"Look, everybody," JJ said, holding up a hand to stall what was certain to become a free-for-all, "You have a choice. I've reserved rooms inside that fi...that establishment," she continued, wisely amending her original wording as she pointed toward the faintly glowing windows in front of them. "Whether you join me inside is entirely up to you. Each one of you is more than welcome to sleep in the SUVs. I, however, am tired and am desperately in need of a hot shower. I'm going inside," she said emphatically, marching toward the rickety steps leading into the rural inn.
Glancing over at Hotch, Rossi shrugged as he muttered, "Hell, I'm too old to find a bucket seat comfortable for anything but driving." Hitching his go bag higher on his shoulder, he turned to follow the tiny blonde who was currently stomping her way up the cracked sidewalk. Pausing for a scant moment at the iron gate, he drew in a deep breath as he quickly crossed himself.
"Did anyone else see that?" Morgan's high-pitched voiced yelped into the cool night air. "If Rossi ain't willing to walk in their without higher protection, then I ain't going at all."
Rolling her eyes at Morgan's antics, Garcia crossed her arms over her chest as she declared, loudly, "Well, I for one am not going to let a little ghostie or goblin scare me away from either bed or breakfast." Grinning suddenly, her eyes widened as she said, turning toward the front porch, "Oh, maybe they can tell me if they have regular hauntings! I bet I could get some great photos to put up on Facebook."
Waving his arm frantically toward the one woman he had expected to have on his side, Morgan groaned, "They've sucked her in!" Turning toward his unit chief, he beseeched, "Come on, Hotch! Surely you can find us something else. We can't all just go willy-nilly inside without investigating other options!"
"I believe JJ had already performed that bit of reconnaissance for us, Morgan, and this was the only place in town," Hotch said drily, wisely choosing not to comment on Morgan's current phobia. Pushing open the gate, the loud screech filling the air, Hotch held it open as he met Emily's eyes. "After you, Prentiss."
Pushing Reid in front of her, Emily frowned as she stepped forward, shaking her head. "I'm half with Morgan on this one, you know."
"Finally!" Morgan exclaimed from his position a full ten feet away from that creaking gate. But his sudden pleasure faded as he watched his supposed ally move inside the fence, followed by the last two members of his team. "Wait, Prentiss! I thought you were on my side!"
"Ignore him, Emily," Garcia called back, already on the rickety front porch of the venerable establishment. "He's like a puppy. When he gets tired and hungry enough, he'll join the rest of us inside."
Watching as his colleagues slowly disappeared through the aged wooden door of the broken down wannabe inn, Morgan grumbled to no one in particular, "For the record, this is bullshit!" But as the last person on their team stepped inside the door, Morgan hotfooted it up the sidewalk, carefully stepping over the many cracks.
No sense tempting fate….right?