I recently received a few reviews on an older story I wrote, Profilers at Play, requesting something in the same vein as that. This isn't quite it, but it's the best I can do at the moment. I'm constantly trying to think of a new humorous team antics story, but frankly, humor is really, really hard to write. So, everyone can thank Jada Ryl, BettyTheGreat and Elle-H 23 and everyone else who reviewed that story for spurring me into writing.
Also, thank you everyone who has reviewed one of the stories I've tossed out here in my little spring cleaning project! And, with great relief I get to say, spring cleaning is done!
Prentiss bid goodnight to the guys, and looked forward to getting at least a little sleep. They'd hit a dead-end in their efforts, and decided to head back to the hotel for the remainder of the night. They were at a crappy little motel off the highway that led to the middle of nowhere town in PA the unsub was operating in. It was the only place in town. Hotch was next door on one side, Morgan on the other, and Rossi and Reid were on the other side of Morgan. There was absolutely no drama or fanfare when they picked rooms, Hotch just handed out keys, and they went wherever they got.
Yawning, Emily slipped her keycard in, waited for the green light, and pushed the door open. She found the light switch on wall four inches away from the door, five feet up from the floor where it always seemed to be in places like this. The room was instantly bathed in light, and Emily closed the door, and took a step toward the bed, only to freeze in her tracks, pulse jumping instantly into a gallop.
It was just sitting there on the floor, at least three inches long, staring at her like it owned the joint. It's little head twisted to one side, antennas bouncing, as it seemed to study her, just like she was studying it. It's hard-shelled body twitched slightly as one legged moved, and her entire body tensed. She was rigid and frozen in step, ready to launch and attack if it moved. The cockroach seemed poised similarly.
Emily Prentiss was caught in a Mexican standoff with a giant fucking bug, and she'd never felt stupider or more terrified in her life.
Emily Prentiss had some pretty severe issues with cockroaches.
Then the bug began to skitter toward the closet.
Instantly on the offensive, she made for the bedside table, keeping one eye on her long-time nemesis, and yanked out the thick bible. Well aware that what she was about to do was probably sacrilegious, Emily headed after the bug. When she was close enough she threw the bible down onto it's little, armored body. It landed with a thud, and she stood there a moment, trying to catch her breath, body already trembling from adrenaline. Swallowing, she carefully crouched and delicately grasped a corner of the bible, counting silently in her head to calm herself before lifting it up.
The roach adjusted itself and started to run. Emily chased after it, slamming the book down on it again, and this time, she hopped on top the not very large surface of the book, and performed a poor imitation of a step routine. Oh yes, she was going to straight to Hell for that. After a good few minutes of that, she finally stepped back to the hotel carpet. Her body as tense as a rubber band stretched taut, Emily took several breaths slowly in and out to calm herself.
Then movement in the corner of her eye drew her attention back toward the bed.
Another giant cockroach was a foot from the queen-sized bed, still as the dead, silent as the grave, watching her, as if plotting revenge on her for ruthlessly slaughtering his...brother? Uncle? Cousin? Mother?
She once again crouched slowly, and carefully made to lift up the bible. The first one- which should have been as dead as disco-twitched. She dropped the book, and made for the door, hollering as she ran, "Morgan! Morgan!"
He was always keen to play knight in shining armor, he could come and vanquish the creepy, crawly beasties in her room. Emily pushed open her door, struggling to move so fast, and panic making her so clumsy that she stumbled outside, and nearly fell right into Hotch.
Hotch stopped her movement, and steadied her, eyes searching her for injury as Morgan came flying out of his room, wearing only his boxers, and armed with his glock. "What happened!"
Trying to catch her breath, Emily gestured to her room. "Kill them!"
Hotch and Morgan exchanged looks. "What?" Morgan demanded.
Reid and Rossi came stumbling out of their rooms in their pajamas then, both with their glocks held aloft, ready to face whatever had caused their colleague to scream for help.
Emily took Morgan's hand, and dragged him to her room, pointing out the still able-bodied creature, and the not-so-able-bodied bug still stuck under the bible. "Kill them, kill them, please," she nearly begged.
Morgan looked from one insect to the next, and then at his friend. "Have you lost your mind, Prentiss?"
She shook her head vehemently. "It won't die, and then the other one showed up. You have to kill them."
"What's going on?" Hotch asked.
Morgan glanced behind them at their three team members. "She's afraid of a couple of cockroaches."
All three adopted a look of such intense puzzlement it was almost laughable. Emily was not the type to easily lose her head, and yet here she was in a panic, half hiding behind Morgan, demanding he kill the bugs in her room.
"Would you please stop the chit chat, and kill them?" She asked, perfectly aware that they all thought she was insane.
Morgan turned to her, and he did not look happy. "Do you realize I thought someone was trying to kill you?"
Rossi snorted. "If someone had been trying to kill her she'd have put her boot up his ass, and then cuffed him. That she'd have handled fine."
"Don't I know it," Morgan mumbled.
She sighed. "Look, I'm sorry I scared you all, but—"
"If you are about to tell us that cockroaches were trying to kill you, I'm driving you to the nearest sanitarium," Rossi promised.
"Periplaneta americana, the American cockroach, doesn't have the mentally capacity or cognitive function necessary to engineer someone's death," Reid commented, silent up until now.
She glared. "Thank you for clearing that up, Dr. Reid."
Hotch sighed, "Alright, enough. Prentiss, what is going on with you?"
She looked at her feet, running her tongue over her bottom lip, before releasing a breath. "I have some issues with cockroaches."
"You think?" Morgan growled.
She sighed. "Would you please just kill them for me?"
The poor man was standing there half-naked and she was begging him to play exterminator, she so owed him a drink.
He sighed and shook his head. "Give me a minute." Then he headed back to his room, leaving her with an amused Rossi, a puzzled Reid, and a pissed off Hotch.
"You want to explain the hysterics, Prentiss?" The Unit Chief asked.
She pressed her lips together nervously, trying to think of the best way to explain her rather extreme issues with cockroaches.
"Are you afraid of spiders as well?" Reid asked, looking curious.
Emily shrugged. "I wouldn't want one as a pet, but they don't bother me as much as cockroaches...Why?"
"Arachnophobia is a very common among girls-uh, women," he quickly amended. "What you have is Katsaridaphobia, which is less common in general I think, probably because spiders are everywhere and cockroaches tend to be mostly in cities. It's usually treated with exposure therapy-"
"Reid," Hotch cut him off, then turned to her. "You have a cockroach phobia?"
She nibbled anxiously on her lip. "I don't think I'd call it a phobia..."
Rossi's chuckling drew their attention. "Emily, if that isn't a phobia, I'm Han Solo."
"What would you call it, if you don't call it a phobia?" Hotch asked.
"Wait, no explanations start until I'm done playing Orkin-man," Morgan said, returning from his room, wearing more clothing and his boots.
She nodded, and watched him walked into her room, and pick up the bible. He slammed his foot down on the twitching figure several times, until it couldn't possibly have survived (though how it survived her tap dance was a mystery). He looked around for roach number two, but the little bastard had run off. He exited the room, looking none-too-pleased with her, and parked himself in front of her. "Talk."
Emily sighed. "Alright uh, when I was seven my mother was transferred to Afghanistan, or at least she was supposed to be. We got into the country and were on our way when we got word a coup had overthrown the current president. For safety reasons, we were detoured and taken to this hovel in a village that I don't remember the name of. We were being hidden, so we couldn't be picky. It was a dumb, and...I remember when my mother turned the light off in the room we shared, cockroaches began to stream out of the wall. Dozens of them. They were not shy creatures, and I spent two nights sitting awake in bed, terrified, holding a t-shirt wrapped around my head so they wouldn't crawl in my ears, nose or mouth. I remember watching them crawling over everything in the room, while my parents slept beside me. That is why I have issues with cockroaches." She glanced at the ground, and then back at her colleagues.
Morgan's anger dissipated and now he sighed. "Well, rest assured it's dead, you are safe from the cockroaches now."
"The other one is still in there," she said.
"Actually, there's probably hundreds around the whole building," Reid commented.
"Reid," Hotch growled. "That isn't helping matters."
"One or a hundred," Emily said, "I can't sleep in there."
"It's fine, they won't bother you. They tend to be afraid of people," Rossi tried to reassure her.
"Either way, we should take our bags out to the cars to prevent bringing them home with us. Don't remove any clothing, we'll deal here tonight, and try to find another place tomorrow, even if it's in the next town," Hotch said.
Rossi, Reid and Morgan all nodded heading back to their rooms, but Emily remained rooted to the spot. Her boss and friend looked at her expectantly.
"I can't sleep in there, Hotch."
"What's your alternative?"
She thought a minute. "I'll sleep in one of the SUVs."
He looked at her pointedly. "Prentiss, you can't sleep in the car."
"It's not that cold, it will be fine."
"That isn't the point. It's not safe."
She shrugged. "I'll take my glock."
Hotch sighed. "I don't care if you have your glock or a missile-launcher, you aren't sleeping in one of the cars."
"I can't even read The Metamorphosis, Hotch. There's no way I can sleep in there."
"The Kafka novel?"
She nodded. "If you want to get back to bed sometime tonight, you'll drop this. I'm going to get my bag, a blanket, and a pillow, and go out to one of the cars." She held up her hands, as if she was done with the whole thing, and forced herself to walk back into her room.
Surveying the place, like she was clearing a room in a suspect's house, Emily moved quickly, grabbing her bag, and a pillow and blanket from the bed. This only after she'd carefully examined them for roaches or roach eggs. She met the guys in the hallway, three of the four giving her odd looks, and Hotch looking pissed, again.
"What's all that?" Rossi asked.
"Prentiss has decided that she's sleeping in the car," Hotch said, tone leaving no doubt just how unhappy he was with her.
"You're kidding, right?" Morgan asked, looking at her.
"I'm not sleeping with the roaches."
"Do you want to switch rooms?" He offered, being far nicer than she deserved at the moment.
"Thanks, but they'll be in your room too." Oh yes, she'd definitely crossed the line to nutjob.
"Come on, let's get this out to the car, so we can get some sleep," Hotch directed, leading the way from the motel.
They stowed the bags in one SUV, and then Emily made for the other one, already yawning and eager for sleep. She'd already said goodnight to the guys, who seemed a little reluctant to leave her out there on her own. She didn't care, she was a big girl and could take care of herself for one night. Emily moved to the backseat, and tossed her pillow down on one end, and folded her blanket in half, before laying that on the seat. She set the alarm on the phone, shoved her glock under the pillow, and then crawled in between the layers of the blanket.
It actually wasn't that uncomfortable, especially compared to some places she'd slept in her life. Of course, that didn't mean it was actually comfortable either, but she was tired enough that her eyes started to droop soon. Until a knocking on the window caused her eyes to fly open, and her hand to reach for her weapon. She flew up, pointing the gun at the window. Then she sighed and relaxed, unlocking the door.
"What's going on? You scared the hell out of me."
"Good," Morgan huffed. "That makes us even."
Emily realized then that he had a pillow and blanket with him. "What are you doing?"
"Keeping your crazy ass company. Switch with me, that row has more room."
She did without thinking, because she was too preoccupied trying to figure out why he was out there with her. Morgan began making up his makeshift bed, and must have sensed her still staring at him.
He turned to her. "Hotch and I didn't want you out here by yourself."
Her eyebrows rose. "So you decided to come out here and join me? That's...sweet."
Morgan climbed into bed then. "Yeah, well don't get too excited now, princess. Hotch and I rock-paper-scissored to see who would get stuck out here with you."
"Way to make a girl feel special."
He chuckled, and Emily fixed and climbed into her own bed. She heard him shuffling, trying to get comfortable, then he said, "Hey Prentiss."
"You know your completely out of your mind, right?"
"Yeah, yeah," she mumbled. His quiet laughter was the last thing she heard before falling asleep in her cockroach free mobile hotel.