Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, wish I did (especially Gary), etc., etc., etc.
"So you were home late last night," Rachel said to Nina, as they sat in the breakroom enjoying a morning snack. Gary wandered in, checking the refrigerator for the apples that Dr. Rosen kept stocked for him.
"It was a fabulous party!" Nina said, dipping her spoon into her yogurt. "I only wish Cameron would have gone with me, but he informed me that real men don't dress up for Halloween."
"Your costume was great," Rachel said, a little wistfully. "I wish I had the nerve to wear something like that."
"What did you dress up as?" Gary asked, sitting down at the table.
"Well, um, I, um, I dressed up as a dominatrix, but you don't know what that is, right?" Nina said uncomfortably.
"That's a lady who dresses in black leather and carries a whip and ties men up and spanks them," Gary announced matter-of-factly. As Rachel and Nina stared at him, he added, " I saw one on a movie, but I didn't understand it. I asked my mom but she didn't want to talk about it. She just told me to quit watching movies like that."
Nina and Rachel grinned at each other. "Right there with you, Mrs. Bell," Nina murmured.
"I like to dress up for Halloween," Gary said. "But I don't like to go to parties. Once Mom tried to take me to a party, but it was loud and everyone was talking too much, and I covered my ears and yelled for everyone to be quiet. We went home after that."
Rachel patted his arm sympathetically. "I understand," she said. "I don't like loud parties, either."
"And once she tried to take me trick-or-treating," Gary continued. "I always wanted to go trick-or-treating because everyone else from school went and it sounded like it would be fun. Mom finally said she'd take me, but she said I couldn't eat the candy I'd get because it was bad for me. But it was okay, because I didn't get any candy."
"Why not, Gary?" Nina asked.
"Because I wouldn't go to the doors when we got there," Gary said. "There were too many lights, and kids were yelling and running, and I didn't like it. Mom tried to make me go, but I just laid down on the ground and covered my head, so finally she took me home."
Rachel and Nina looked at each other, unsure how to respond. Gary continued, "I still think it would be fun to dress up and go trick-or-treating, and now I think I could, but I'm too old. I missed out."
He rose from his chair and threw his apple core in the trashcan. "Bye, Rachel. Bye, Nina. I'll see you later," he said, as he headed back toward his office.
Nina and Rachel sat in silence for a moment. "Wow," Rachel finally said. "I never even thought of how a loud, noisy holiday like Halloween would affect autistic people."
"Me, either," Nina said. "It's sad that Gary feels like he missed out on something special."
"Yeah," Rachel said, looking down at the table pensively. Suddenly, she sat straight up, her eyes sparkling. "Hey, I've got an idea!" she exclaimed. "Why don't we have Gary come trick-or-treat at the office? We can get Bill and Hicks to rig up doorbells for all our offices, and Gary can dress up and trick-or-treat all of us! Then we'll have a party in the breakroom."
"That's a great idea!" Nina agreed enthusiastically. "Let's do it!"
Halloween arrived. Mrs. Bell had been recruited to help Gary with a costume. Bill and Hicks had rigged up the doorbells for the offices. And everyone had assembled some treats for Gary.
Everyone was waiting in the hallway as the exterior door opened and Sandra Bell came in with Gary. "We're here!" she called. "Ready for trick-or-treat!"
Everyone studied Gary's costume. He wore a blue plaid shirt and patterned tie with black pants, a lab coat, and latex gloves. A pen was in his lab coat pocket, and a work badge hung from his lapel. His hair was neatly combed over to the side.
"So what are you, a mad scientist or something?" Bill finally asked.
"No, I'll give you a clue!" Gary said excitedly. He cleared his throat, and said, in a bad British accent, "Did you know that the dot over the lower case letter i is called a tittle?"
Everyone looked at him blankly, then Rachel exclaimed, "Oh, I know, you're that guy on the TV show Bones, right? One of the squinterns?"
"Yes, that's it! Vincent Nigel-Murray," Gary said. "My mom says I look like him."
Everyone studied Gary some more. "Yeah, I guess a little bit," Bill conceded.
"I can see some resemblance," Hicks agreed.
The rest of the group murmured their agreement.
"Time for trick-or-treat?" Gary asked hopefully.
"Give us one minute, Gary," Lee said, patting him on the shoulder. Everyone headed for their offices. The sound of doors closing could be heard up and down the hall.
Sandra Bell pulled out her camera, handed Gary a cloth bag shaped like a pumpkin with "Gary" embroidered on it and said, "Okay, Gary, let's go! You'll finally get to use your treat bag."
Gary went to the first door, which was Rachel's. "Look, Mom!" he exclaimed. "There's a doorbell!"
"Well, go ahead, ring it!" Mrs. Bell encouraged him.
Gary pushed the button and listened to the "ding-dong." Rachel opened the door.
"Trick-or-treat!" Gary said, holding out his bag.
Rachel put a Tupperware container in his bag. "Here you go, Gary!" she said. "It's my mom's hummus. She made it especially for you."
"I love hummus. It's all the same color and it's soft and squishy. Thanks, Rachel!"
"You're welcome. Happy Halloween!" Rachel stepped into the hall and followed Gary to the next door.
"Trick-or-treat!" Gary said, after he rang the doorbell and Hicks opened it.
"This won't fit in your treat bag, Gary, but Happy Halloween!" Hicks said. He held out a letterman jacket to Gary.
"Look, Mom!" Gary said excitedly. "It's got leather sleeves! And look, there's a G on it! That's G for Gary!"
"That's great, honey. Do you want me to hold it for you?" Sandra asked, snapping a picture.
"No, I'm going to wear it right now." Gary put the jacket on and ran his hand down the sleeve and over the patch. "Thanks, Hicks. It looks good on me, doesn't it?"
Hicks laughed. "Yeah, Gary, it looks good." He followed the growing group down the hall to Bill's door.
"Trick-or-treat!" Gary said as the door opened.
"Hey, Gary. Got something for you," Bill said, handing Gary a blue metal box.
"It's a box. What's it for, Bill?" Gary asked, turning the box curiously in his hands.
"It's a lunchbox, Gary. And look, it's got a lock on it." He handed Gary a key ring with two small keys on it. "Here's the key, with an extra in case you lose one."
"So I can lock my lunch and you can't eat it, Bill," Gary said. "No one can open my lunchbox but me."
"That's right, Gary. So now your lunch will be safe and sound in the refrigerator and you won't have to worry about anybody eating it."
"Thanks, Bill," Gary said happily, tucking the lunchbox into his treatbag and continuing down the hall.
The next stop was Nina's door. "Hey, Gare," she said, opening the door at the sound of the doorbell.
"Trick-or-treat!" Gary shouted. Nina handed Gary a large box.
"What is it?" he asked.
"It's a massage mat. You lay down on it and turn it on, and it massages your whole body."
"Like the foot massager but for my whole body? That's just what I wanted, Nina. You remembered I said that's what I wanted," Gary said, grinning. "Now my whole body can be as happy as my feet were!"
Nina laughed. "Yeah, that's right, Gary. You can be happy all over."
"One more office, Mom. That's Dr. Rosen's office," Gary said, heading to the last door. He rang the doorbell, then said, "Trick-or-treat, Dr. Rosen!" as Lee opened the door.
"Hello, Gary," Lee said. "I certainly don't want any tricks this evening, so here's a treat for you." He handed Gary a picture frame with a picture in it. Gary studied it a minute, then said, "It's the picture you took of all of us when you were trying out the timer on your new camera. Thanks, Dr. Rosen! I'm going to keep it on the table by my bed. Look, Mom!"
Gary handed the picture to his mother. Sandra saw a group picture of Lee Rosen and his Alpha team, shot in Lee's office in front of his desk. Gary stood in the center of the picture. Bill stood behind him, his hands on Gary's shoulders. Rachel and Nina stood on either side of Gary, with their hands on his arms. Lee and Hicks flanked the girls. Everyone was smiling and looking at the camera, including Gary.
"Sandra? Are you all right?" Lee asked gently, seeing tears in her eyes as he crossed over to her side while Gary chattered excitedly with the others about how much fun trick-or-treat was.
"Yes, I'm fine," she said, wiping her eyes. "It's just - he looks so much like he belongs here, Lee. Like he's part of the group. I don't have any pictures of Gary where he doesn't look like he's separate and apart, even if he's with other people. He just - he just looks so happy!" she said, the tears spilling over.
Lee patted her arm sympathetically. "I understand," he said softly. "I know you haven't been comfortable about some things that have happened here, Sandra, but Gary is happy with us. The rest of the team and I love him and we will do anything to protect him. I hope that gives you some level of comfort."
"Yes. Yes, it does," Sandra admitted, wiping her eyes. "Thank you, Lee, for everything you've done for him."
"Dr. Rosen, come on, it's time for the party!" Gary said, his eyes shining. "Rachel and Nina said there's decorations and games and everything!"
"That's right, Gary," Lee said. "And we all brought some snacks to share. I brought a big new box of pudding pops and left them in the freezer."
"I like pudding pops," Gary said happily. "I'm not practicing my social skills and lying now, I really do like them!"
Everyone laughed and headed for the breakroom, ready to share some Halloween fun.
Author's Note: That pudding pop bit in Episode 10, "The Unusual Suspects," is one of my favorite Gary moments so far! After Nina and Bill say Gary doesn't lie: "No, I do lie. I've been practicing, 'cause it's a social skill. Like the other day when I said I was going to have a pudding pop, I was lying 'cause I don't like pudding pops." (adorable grin) "That was a lie, I do like pudding pops. I just knew we didn't have any." Love it!