AN: Written for the Halloween fest at alphas_fic on Livejournal. Prompt: Costume. This will not be continued.

Rachel in Costume

Turning a few heads, Rachel marched into the office more than a little frazzled, and she made a beeline for Dr. Rosen, putting her hands up in a defensive gesture.

"Dr. Rosen, I am so, so sorry coming into work dressed like this, but I have to take off today for a cousin's school Halloween thing, and I can't get out of it, more of a family guilt trip thing if you ask me, but it's for my cousin Zara, and I'll do it for her, but I am sorry! I would have called but I left something here, and I thought while I was on my way I could just tell you, but I am so sorry again..."

"Rachel, Rachel, it's all right," Dr. Rosen chuckled and tried to calm her as she babbled. He averted his eyes, but Rachel could see the smirk he was trying to suppress on seeing her costume. "We could use some excitement in the office today."

"Nice costume, Rachel," Hicks told her, staring at her approvingly. Rachel blushed from his statement.

"I was with her when she bought it," Nina said, flashing a smile. "The princess costume was so much cuter."

"Yes, well, I'm on a budget this week," Rachel said, and her blush increased. She lowered her voice to Nina. "Plus, you know why I couldn't buy that costume. It had..." She paused and made a motion with her hand over her chest. She cleared her throat. "It's not appropriate to wear around children."

"So what's this thing you couldn't get out of?" Hicks asked.

Rachel sighed and rolled her eyes. "Family thing. My cousin Petra signed up to walk the kids from school around the local businesses for trick-or-treating, but then she had to cancel last minute. She had no one else and begged me to do it. Plus, it was her daughter Zara's idea," Rachel said smiling as she thought of her young cousin. Rachel shook her head. "Now Petra owes me, and in my family..." She guffawed a little. "It's good when someone owes you a favor."

"Rachel!" Rachel froze when she heard her name called behind her, and she saw Gary move out of his office. He threw up his hands, incredulous. "You're a cat!"

Rachel smiled at him. "Hey Gary. I was just leaving for a school Halloween party. Just need to pick up my planner."

His brow furrowed. "This is work. Can we dress up for Halloween at work?" Gary looked at Dr. Rosen pointedly.

"Uh, well, this is a professional environment, but..." Rosen said as Gary moved forward, staring at Rachel's costume with a pout as he rounded her.

"Gary, you shouldn't stare," Bill said, but Gary ignored him.

"It's fine, Bill. Rachel knows I'm not trying to make her uncomfortable," Gary said, and Bill sighed heavily as his words fell on deaf ears.

"Actually, that's not a bad idea," Nina said, changing the subject and turning to Rosen with amusement. "We should have an office Halloween party tonight when Rachel gets back. We should all get costumes and put out candy and snacks."

"Tasteful costumes," Bill stressed.

"Aw, where's the fun in that," Hicks joked and Nina shot him a look.

"Well, I suppose we could. I don't know how Gary feels about this interrupting his routine..." Rosen said.

"I like parties. I like Halloween too, and candy. I could get a costume," Gary responded, still eying Rachel and back to Rosen expectantly. He seemed way too fascinated with her costume, and Rachel supposed it was because it was such a change for him to see her in such a way.

"Ah, I suppose we could," Rosen said hesitantly.

"Great, Hicks and I will go get the food. Be back later," Nina said, grabbing Hicks by the arm and pulling him along. Bill sighed with exasperation.

"I'm not much for Halloween," Bill bemoaned.

"Oh, come on, Bill," Rosen said with a little more spirit. "I remember that one work party you told me about where you and your wife went as pirates. I'm sure you still have that costume somewhere." Bill arched an eyebrow as Rosen grinned at him. "You have my permission to go get it, if you need to."

Bill groaned as he sauntered off, but everyone turned around when Rachel suddenly squeaked, as she was about to leave. She felt a tug behind her and she knew only one person left in that room. "Hey! Gary!"

"It's a tail! Ha! Rachel you have a tail!" He pulled Rachel's tail again, laughing and wiggling it, as she pulled it gently from his grasp. Blushing profusely, she mumbled to herself as she grabbed her things and left.

Calming down, Rachel couldn't help but smile at the scene, excited that her costume had influenced the idea for a party. Maybe it hadn't been such a bad decision to come into work after all, and she looked forward to coming back for the impromptu party.

More than that, she definitely couldn't wait to see what everyone's costumes would be.