I don't even know where this is coming from by this point. There is obviously a part of my brain that I don't use regularly and I think this is probably the reason why. Apologies for the delay, I want to use the old 'my dog ate my homework' but sadly, that would be a lie. The fact that it features Coop and Ian will hopefully make up for it. This one and Sunday to go!
As he wanders towards the apartment building, Billy Cooper reallyhopes that Don still has that ridiculous bed because motel beds just aren't cutting it anymore. He thinks about unstained sheets and the smell of cologne instead of feet as he wanders across the street. Stopping suddenly, he blinks. Old habits die hard regardless of how tired he might be, as proven by the fact that his eyes pick out the Dodge with government plates in the visitors lot.
He's reasonably sure Don would have mentioned it if Liz had been staying over, as a 'you're probably going to walk in on naked canoodling so enter at your own risk' kind of thing. Not that they haven't had those kinds of miscommunications before, he muses, remembering that one time in Phoenix especially. He quickly refocuses before he remembers too much and the grin gets too wide, concentrating on the fact that they did eventually learn to warn each other better, the car and the fact that he's pretty sure there isn't another government employee living in the building so while it makes sense for it to be Liz, he doesn't really think it actually is. Plus, a Dodge wouldn't have been his first choice from what he knows of the woman.
His first pick for that Granger kid, on the other hand? Definitely.
Seeing someone dozing in the front seat, he takes an unholy amount of glee in smacking his hand against the unsuspecting agent's window, and even more in kindly offering a change of underwear.
"God, kid, you're gold. No wonder Don keeps you around."
Finding a grinning Coop and sheepish Colby at his door at quarter after six on a Saturday morning really should have been a sign of the apocalypse, Don figures, but he stupidly lets them in anyway.
Besides, he rationalises as Coop snickers the whole way into the kitchen and Colby looks at him with pleading eyes, there really aren't many more ways this week can get weirder. If he's honest, he's kind of curious.
A cat is probably going to end up dead as a result of the curiousity but it is way too early to be thinking about consequences.
Megan wakes up on the floor of her own living room with pounding temples, hair tickling the side of her face and a head that may or may not be drooling slightly on her stomach. The tangle of limbs on the couch is obviously Amita and Liz and the rest of the room looks like some kind of college party gone very, very wrong.
She looks down at Ana and through the dull ache in her head realises that she should have picked the woman for a cuddler. Looking up at Amita and Liz, she is suddenly pretty sure that she still managed to get the better end of the deal. There was much more contact going on up on the couch than down on the floor.
Deciding she doesn't want to know where the limbs she can't see are, she lets her head fall back onto the throw cushion beneath it, blinks a few times and runs through what she remembers of the previous night.
There was a stop at the liquor store on the way home from work, she definitely remembers that because the man on the counter had thought they were going to hold the store up. She frowns as she recalls him offering himself as a sex slave in exchange for his life and then running out the back when they showed their badges and not returning until, presumably, after they'd left. She vaguely remembers dropping by a DVD rental place as well. The young boy on the counter had been too terrified to do more than squeak but the teenage girl had looked at their selection and instantly understood.
There may have been a sneaky discount involved, she can't remember.
They'd put Mean Girls on while Amita and Ana did something that they called 'making dinner' in her kitchen. There is a brief flash of alarm before she remembers that they'd actually turned out to be pretty capable and dinner, and possibly what is missing from the enormous tray of debris that may have once been nachos on the coffee table, was the only reason the four of them hadn't ended up in the nearest emergency room with alcohol poisoning.
She and Liz had vented their frustrations with Larry and Don. Amita and Ana had joined in as well and it was probably lucky there were no males there. They wouldn't have survived. Megan frowns again, they'd all had some reallybad dating stories.
Ana had been on a date once where the guy took her to a cyber café and watched really bad porn. After that, she thinks the conversation took a decidedly downward turn and they'd put John Tucker Must Die on. That seems to be where the memories get a little hazy and looking at the number of wine bottles around, she isn't really surprised.
Going back to sleep seems like the best idea she's had in a while so she twists a little, reaching down to put a handful of Ana's hair between the drool and her belly and then closes her eyes again.
Maybe they can all call in sick today.
Charlie is staring at the blackboards blankly.
There is something off about the expressions on the right side of it and he can't for the life of him figure out what it is.
He really wishes Don would go back to making the coffee, he's starting to think that making it himself is a good idea and there is not even a parallel universe where that is actually a good idea.
Still wide awake despite not actually having slept at all, Larry is pretty sure he hasn't thought of anything except Megan's red cowgirl pyjamas in approximately thirty hours.
There may have been a brief interlude of gratitude when Don had brought in Kyle Stenson's killer because frankly, Charlie was pulling mathematical rabbits out of a hat. While the problem had originally been intriguing, he is completely and utterly torn now. Megan seems displeased with him.
This is far more troubling than any of the millennium problems.
Colby is on his third coffee by the time they've eaten breakfast and Coop has crashed upstairs. Around his own coffee, Don grumbles about how heshould still be sleeping but Colby only feels bad for as long as it takes before he swallows another mouthful of coffee.
"You know, Don, you reallyshould have been a barista. I'm serious. You could have changed lives."
The disbelieving stare he gets in return is completely unwarranted so he goes back to his coffee.
David is in the conference room when Amita, Ana, Liz and Megan arrive. Megan is too hungover to do more than offer a half-hearted glare and sink into her chair, feeling sorry for herself. She and Liz had met outside the toilet earlier and shared a dread-filled glance. There are times when synchronicity is not a good idea.
When she reaches under her desk for a latte, her hand is greeted by empty air. She tries again, and a third time, before actually crouching down and looking at the place where she should have at least half a dozen of the canned drinks left.
Even the box is gone.
Liz, crouching beside her, goes pale and it has nothing to do with the hangover.
"Problem, ladies?" asks an amused voice.
Four heads spin around in unison.
Don enters the bullpen just before nine with Colby trailing behind him like some kind of oversized golden retriever puppy with an owner who was stupid enough to give him several cups of strong coffee.
One day he'll learn but he isn't going to hold his breath waiting for it.
He recognises Ian Edgerton instantly. The sniper is sitting happily on his desk, legs swinging and a smug look upon his face. "Eppes!"
To hell with it, he decides, if you can't beat them you might as well join them. Grinning, he nods his head. "Edgerton. To what do we owe the honour?"
What sounds suspiciously like a quiet wail comes from Megan's desk before Ian can answer. Don instantly looks towards the sound to see both Liz and Megan kneeling and half under the desk.
Amita and Ana, standing behind them, look decidedly worse for wear and Don figures that the girls night went about as well as expected for anything involving alcohol and having to go to work the next morning. "Liz? Megan?"
The glare he gets from Liz is less than deadly but he's sure that has more to do with the fact that he can almost see her temples throbbing and she's obviously having trouble keeping her eyes open than her actually not being mad at him. Megan just looks devastated, like someone has kicked her in the ovaries and then done the same to a puppy that she doesn't actually possess.
He shakes his head to clear it. Obviously the insanity is contagious and he's becoming infected.
"What happened?" Colby asks from behind him, sounding alarmed.
"The lattes are gone," Ana says at the same time Megan rocks backwards and into Liz's desk chair, somehow getting hopelessly twisted in the process. Don blinks, Colby makes a noise that might be horrified and Ian snorts audibly.
"And to think," the sniper is very obviously amused, "you guys are supposedly the envy of every field office in the country. Eppes, what did you put in their coffee?"
"He hasn't been making our coffee," Liz snaps. "How do you think this insanity started? It was all Granger's fault to begin with and now the lattes are gone and everything is falling apart because obviously you aren't here to threaten to shoot him!"
Megan's voice floats up from the tangle of limbs that might have resembled an FBI agent at some point. "Well said. If you're just here to laugh at us orif you're in cahoots with Don or, heaven forbid, Sinclair, Edgerton, I will not hesitate to kick your ass."
"Yeah!" Ana chimes in although the effect is somewhat ruined by the bloodshot eyes. "What are you even doing here if you aren't going to use that rifle to get our coffee privileges back?"
Ian slides off the desk quickly and joins Colby and Don. "Well, I was stopping by for some coffee but that obviously isn't happening." He leans into Don as Liz's eyes narrow dangerously and Megan begins to untangle herself from the chair. "On your go?"
Nodding, Don snags Colby's elbow and the trio make a run for it.
After hiding at the café down the street for well over two hours, because they couldn't go anywhere near the SWAT level with Colby in tow and they're pretty sure that Liz and Megan will be breathing fire for some time to come, Don's cell rings.
"Coop!" Don doesn't even care how ridiculously happy he sounds considering he'd only seen the other man four hours ago. "Sleep well?"
"I'm taking your bed with me when I leave, just a heads up. You can thank me for the consideration later when you help me steal a crane to get it away. Your people ready for masterclass?" Even through the cell speaker Don can practically hear the lazy grin on the other man's face.
"Anything to distract them from trying to claw our eyes out," he agrees. "We'll meet you out the front in a half hour, yeah?"
"Roger that. Have a sandwich waiting too, will you? I'm starving."
When they tentatively re-enter the bullpen, Coop is happily eating his sandwich and completely oblivious to the instant glares of Liz and Megan. Ana makes a half-hearted attempt at solidarity but her glare falls flat when Colby looks at her, betrayal and confusion written all over his face.
Don, a little in awe, attempts the same expression. If anything, it only seems to make Liz glare harder. He's almost positive she's taken a leaf from Megan's book and is attempting to make his head explode with her mind. A quick glance at Megan confirms that she has a similar glare directed at all of them.
He takes a moment to be ridiculously grateful, both for the proof that they all have thick skulls and that neither Liz nor Megan actually have the ability to makes things explode with their minds.
Disregarding David's aghast expression, Charlie's confused one and the reappearance of Larry's intent fixation upon Megan, the group invades the conference room. Temporarily united when presented with the prospect of disproving the jogging murderer cult theory, they manage to mix relatively bloodlessly.
Megan seats herself right beside Larry, deliberately invading his personal space and looking as coy as someone still suffering a hangover can manage. Ian thinks that it really is a rather impressive effort and briefly toys with the idea of commending her for it but she still looks like she could kill him easily. His reputation is rock solid and might be able to weather the storm but he would definitely rather avoid the blow of being thrashed by a hungover profiler if at all possible.
Ana leans across to Liz who is still refusing to acknowledge Don with anything but a glare and asks if she saw where Megan's hands disappeared to. Liz glances at the other woman and instantly blanches. That wave of nausea is not entirely the wine from the previous night's fault.
There are some wonders of the universe that are better off remaining unknown, in her professional opinion.
Clapping his hands, Coop sits on a table. "So good to be here, guys. I'm Billy Cooper from Fugitive Recovery and I already know a few of you. Edgerton and Donnie." The trio exchange a simultaneous chin lift and Amita can't help but feel like they should all be wearing reversed baseball caps.
Coop continues. "Sinclair and I bonded over stalking a lady's lingerie shopping through her trash a couple years back and Granger here and I met early this morning. So, for you others, you've got some measuring up to do. In the meantime, I'm here to talk about why serial killers do not generally have jogging listed in their hobbies section on their online dating profiles."
David tries to speak but Megan throws an eraser at him.
Ana leans towards Liz. "Found one of her hands."
Don is about ready to fire everybody, if he can stop laughing long enough.
David and Charlie argue with Coop the entire time. Liz keeps looking between him and Colby with expressions ranging from confusion to anger to what he kind of thinks is a cross between contemplation and arousal but he isn't going to chance that it isn't just a side effect of caffeine withdrawal.
Megan looks like the proverbial cat that got the cream. A somewhat stunned looking Larry is probably the cream. Amita and Ana spent the second half of the lecture, or the mudslinging match that pitted Charlie and David against Coop, passing notes. Don figures he could have warned them that there was no chance in hell they were going to win but he decided to take Coop's side and stay silent both because he thinks they're crazy and he likes Coop better anyway.
Ian just watches and Don thinks the way the befuddled look gradually becomes one of amusement is probably the funniest part of it all.
The sniper was right, to think that he's the envy of countless SACs across the country because of this bunch of lunatics.
Don makes a pot of coffee, deliberately ignoring the mad rush of half a dozen agents into the break room as he leaves, and takes a cup with four sugars and lots of milk over to Liz's desk. He doesn't know exactly what it is he's done wrong but he knows better than to ask her.
Better to just hope that looking appropriately pitiful and repentant will do the job.
His plan was a failure and Don decides to get out while he still has all his bits as Liz calmly spouts all kinds of insanity.
"Why don't you tell me what's wrong, Don? Honesty is a virtue. I won't be mad, okay so I will probably be mad for a while but I just want to know the truth."
He has no idea what she's talking about and neither does Colby when he makes it to the younger agent's desk where Coop and Ian are loitering too.
"Is it that time of month?" Coop asks curiously, craning his head around Don to look towards where Liz and Megan are talking quietly, hands flailing. "They could have one of those freaky menstrual links going on. Ma's would sync up with my sisters sometimes and man, Pop and I would just get the hell out of dodge when that happened."
Don groans and Colby tentatively pats his shoulder.
Liz's voice carries across the bullpen. "Look!"
"I say we get the hell out of dodge," Ian says calmly. "Can we take my car? Reeves' lattes are in the back and I don't want her to catch me with them."
Coming up on Sunday! Alan had no idea that inviting everyone over for Sunday lunch was going to end like this. Wardrobe malfunctions abound, Charlie tells David that the joggers really are innocent, Megan and Larry make up, Billy, Ian and Millie enjoy all the chaos a little too much, Alan and Liz have a very awkward conversation and then Don and Colby end up in the kiddie pool which doesn't really help matters.