Disclaimer – I own nothing but the ideas
This is written for the Halloween challenge on Chit Chat on Author's Corner. I choose Hotch and Jack and was assigned the costume Superman. The following story is inspired by a picture I have seen on Facebook on AJ Cook's page (Google Halloween Minds – you'll find it trust me).
Thanks to my amazing beta – Flashpenguin, for all her help and little additions (especially with the ending – I always struggle with endings).
. . .
Hotch looked at his young son's puppy dogs eyes in disbelief, and then returned his glance to the costume on the bed. He had decided the fate of his son's co-conspirator in a millisecond, but was now struggling with a gentle way to let his son down.
"Jack, I think Auntie Pen was . . . um . . . maybe she was . . ."
"What Daddy?" the innocent eyes looked up at him.
"I think this is Auntie Pen's idea of a joke."
He watched as his son's shoulders slumped in disappointment at his comment. As Jack's face dropped to the ground Hotch became acutely aware of rejecting his son.
"Hey buddy," he ruffled the hair that seemed to be creating a barrier between them, "it was still a great idea, just a funny one too."
Jack looked up, a renewed twinkle in his bright eyes. "Really . . . so you'll wear it?"
"Of course I will, but you need to go and get ready too. Spiderman is waiting."
"Hey . . . if I'm wearing my Superman costume that you picked, you wear what I picked, and if I remember right you didn't wear it last year!"
"'Coz it was itchy," Jack whined.
"Go put something on underneath, because you and I have a party to go to."
With his son out of his room, Hotch sank onto his bed next to the hideous red and blue Lycra creation. PenelopeGarciayouaregoingtopayforthis,he muttered under his breath as he decided he had to get ready.
. . .
Walking into the large reception room of David Rossi's mansion, Hotch was feeling more than a little insecure. Some people were built to run around in a Superman costume, he didn't think he fit the criteria.
Jack was quick to run off and join some of the other kids, of people, Rossi had invited. Though it was pitch black outside the candle lit lanterns gave the grounds an eerie glow that enticed the youngest to play, despite what goblins might be lurking.
Hotch continued to force his way through the sea of guests in their brightly coloured apparel. He doubted he had recognised anyone on the way through to the kitchen. Hotch was glad he had agreed to stay over, then he could have a drink, and God knew he needed one.
Pouring a large slug of whiskey, he was jolted by a slap on his arse and a squeal that could only be described as ear-piercing. As he turned to face the offending person, he was pleased to see the shock on her face.
"You . . . but . . . how? . . . I mean . . ."
"You know that is similar to some of the questions that went through my mind this afternoon, Penelope," Hotch's mock stern tone barely contained the laughter that was dying to burst through.
"Sir, can I first of all state that obviously I didn't think it was you when I approached, or obviously I would have used a far more appropriate means of communicating my greeting. Second," a little hiccup escaped as she waved a second finger in the air, "my confusion is caused by the fact that you are somehow wearing the wrong costumes this evening."
Hotch couldn't resist giggling at the FBI's very own Wonder Woman, appropriately dressed, in front of him.
"Sir, this is so not funny. Can I use excessive alcohol in my defence?"
"Please Penelope; explain your defence before I give my judgment."
"Well, as you know you asked me to look after Jack this afternoon. At the same time I was in charge of getting supplies for the party and a costume for Mr. Grumpy - Morgan. While we were shopping for a costume, and a few decorations for Agent Rossi's humble abode, Jack told me you needed a costume. Hence the text you received asking if you wanted me to get you something. You said yes so I did…with Jack's help," the jumble of words tumbled out at twice her normal speed.
"You let my son choose my costume?" an eyebrow raised as he looked at the flustered tech analysis.
"In defence Sir, he picked a pirate costume, which moves me to the whole arse slapping moment. Which I believe I haven't actually apologised for and needless to say I am profusely sorry for and totally willing to do anything to gain your forgiveness."
"That is forgiven, however the Superman costume isn't, yet."
"As I was saying," Pen continued, "I was getting you and Morgan a costume. Jack chose pirate for you and I picked Superman for Derek. Obviously somewhere along the line the bags got swapped and, oh. . My . . . God . . . Derek Morgan in a pirate costume; now that is one image I never thought I'd ever see."
Hotch watched the smile cross her face as she drifted off to a very different place.
Snapping back she stared at him. "But Wonder Woman doesn't go with Pirate Captain!"
"Pen, trust me, in those boots he won't care. Getting back to the matter in hand, you are telling me that Morgan should have this and he has my costume?"
She nodded silently.
"Jack," he hollered, sticking his head through the door to the garden.
The youngster was quick to appear.
"Would you like to explain to Auntie Pen and me how I got the Superman costume?"
Jack looked down, shifting his feet nervously, his body language admitting his guilt long before he was willing to.
"Jack," his father's tone giving a clear warning.
"Coz you're my Superman Daddy, not Mr Morgan."
Hotch pulled his son into a tight hug, what could you say to a comment like that?
Pen stood and watched the tender father and son moment and sighed. It was worth not seeing Morgan in skin tight Lycra, when she was witness to a precious moments such as this.
"OK buddy, let's go through and find the others and you can have a drink before you go back outside to play."
As he grabbed a spooky cup from a tray for his son, Hotch stood beside Pen.
"I still don't get how you confused me and Morgan."
Pen giggled. "That's where alcohol comes into my defence, and I can personally recommend Rossi's cocktail making skills."
. . .
In the corner of the reception room most of the team had gathered. Henry, dressed as a spider, complete with extra legs came charging over to Jack.
"I'm a spider . . . rah."
"Henry I don't think spiders go 'rah'," Jack looked confused.
"They do so. . . 'Rah'," he repeated louder and more ferociously.
JJ laughed at her son's matter of fact answer.
Hotch stood beside her, joining the group.
"He takes after his mother," he muttered, receiving a dig in the ribs.
"Glad you made it, maybe you can save Will and me from Reid's explanation for why Will and I should swap outfits."
Hotch looked at the short Roman soldier costume JJ had on and the floor length toga Will was wearing.
"Please don't, I'm certain you look better in a short skirt."
JJ laughed. "Thanks, I think, but explain that to Spock over there."
She pointed at Reid, who was standing next to Rossi and Prentiss in his Star Trek outfit. Rossi was every inch the impressive host in his Dracula costume, a glass of deep blood red wine in his hand. Prentiss was in a flamboyant Ringmaster outfit, complete with bull whip. Hotch had to smile at the motley crew assembled before him.
"Has Morgan arrived?" he asked JJ.
She shook her head, before bending down to open a candy packet each for Jack and Henry.
"You know he hates Halloween," she added as she stood. "I'm surprised Pen didn't bring him with her, just to make sure he didn't get out of it like last year."
Hotch wished she had, and then the whole costume muddle would have been picked up a while ago.
"Penelope, have you heard from Derek?" JJ asked, glancing at her watch.
She smiled nervously. "Mmmm, yeah, a while ago. He's on his way."
. . .
Having put his young son to bed in a room with Henry, Hotch returned downstairs and headed to the kitchen to grab a drink. The huge smile on his face was evident; he loved nights like tonight when Jack Hotchner was so shattered he practically fell asleep in his father's arms. Entering the kitchen he heard familiar voices.
"Well you can swash my buckle any time, Hot Stuff."
Morgan's deep laugh could be heard by way of an answer. "Baby Girl in those boots, I'll do anything you ask."
"Told you," Hotch commented as he passed.
Morgan looked confused.
"Don't ask, Sweet Thing. One day I will explain, but right now all you need to know is that I have learnt not to judge a book by its cover tonight."
Watching the pair make their way back through to the main party Hotch poured another large drink.
"Make that two," he heard David Rossi's voice from behind.
Complying with the request he handed the drink over, clinking the glass slightly with his own.
"Why thank you, do have to give Pen her share of the credit, she helped."
"Oh she sure did," Hotch smiled knowingly.
"Jack picked it out."
"Suits you perfectly."
"Yours too. I never figured you to be a vampire; I would have thought that titled rested with your ex-wives."
"They drained my bank accounts, not my blood."
"True." Rossi drank long from his tumbler. He looked around at the party still going strong. "You have to admit, though, Pen did great getting this off the ground so late in the game."
"She does have a way of making things fall into place," Hotch admitted with pride.
"I think I'm going to hire a professional for Christmas, though."
"Smart man," Hotch agreed. The pair was quite for a long while. "But I think Pen's already got the Santa suit." He tried to hide his smile as his friend loudly groaned his displeasure.
Drinking his scotch, Hotch realized he had learned to like the holidays again. And the thanks went to Penelope Garcia.
Once he got out of the Superman costume.
This wasn't going to be any time soon.
. . .
Author's Note: BIG ANNOUNCEMENT - THE FINAL VOTING BALLOT IS AVAILABLE FOR THE SECOND ANNUAL PROFILER'S CHOICE CM AWARDS on "CHIT CHAT ON AUTHOR'S CORNER" FORUM. Please take this opportunity to recognize some wonderful author's and their stunning pieces of fic. Voting ends 11/30/2011. Two Amazon gift cards will be given to two RANDOM voters that take the time to vote in ten or more categories. Congratulations to all of this year's nominees. Now, let's all read some CM fic!