Author's Notes: So as if I didn't have enough on my plate as it was, I got the urge to write a Halloween story. This is pretty much a team fic but the normal pairings are at least hinted at if not obviously stated. It will be several chapters that I hope to have up before Halloween night. I hope you enjoy. Would love to hear what you think. This takes place around the same time as Custody and The Farm but no real spoilers for those eps. Thanks to Tirsh for the feedback and the ideas.
Disclaimer: The show Flashpoint and its characters were created by Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern and belong to them and its respective networks. I am making no money off this story and it is for entertainment purposes only. However, this particular story is my creation and should not be used without my express written permission.
Things That Go Bump in the Night
"What the hell do you think you are doing?"
Spike Scarlatti kicked the old barn door shut with the heel of his foot as he balanced a bag and two large take-out beverage cups. His question was directed at the young woman posed precariously at the top of a ten foot step ladder. He set his parcels on a table that he passed on his way to grab hold of ladder that, at least in his mind, seemed in danger of tipping sideways at any minute.
Jules Callaghan glanced down at him as she stretched out as far as she could in order to tack spider webbing to the wall. "What does it look like I'm doing? As creepy as this old barn looks on its own, it won't really set the mood for a Halloween party without a little help from us."
Every year since Spike joined the SRU, on the closest off shift Friday or Saturday night to Halloween, Spike threw a huge costume party for the team. It had become a tradition that everyone looked forward to, especially Spike and Lew. After Lew's death just a few months ago, the team had wondered if Spike would go to the effort this year even though it would be the first time Halloween actually fell on a Saturday that the team wasn't working. While on patrol one day, Spike admitted to Jules that he wanted to do it for Lew, he wasn't sure he could do all the preparation by himself without getting depressed. Jules had volunteered to help without hesitation and with her promise of help, Spike had thrown himself into the party planning as if it were a world class event instead of a team party. Now, the day of the party, they had been working all day to transform the dilapidated barn Spike had found for the party into a venue worthy of Spike's Halloween seal of approval.
"Yeah but if you fall and break that pretty little neck of yours then Sarge will have my neck. I've kind of gotten attached to it, you know."
Jules verbally scoffed at the suggestion. "Me, fall? You're joking, right? Like that would ever happen."
As if to emphasize her point, she leaned even further out. This time one foot of the ladder did come up. Spike growled as he tightened his hold. "Yeah, I know, we've had this conversation before. You don't fall, but I have seen you make a few unplanned landings since I've known you. And those are as scary as a fall. You know you could get down and move the damn thing rather than stretch out like that."
Jules rolled her eyes. "In case you've missed it, I'm short. My arms only reach so far. If I climbed down and moved the ladder every time I reached my limit, I'd spend more time moving than tacking the webbing. Trust me, I've gotten quite adept at doing this. You should have seen me painting my house."
Spike shook his head. "I think I'm glad I didn't. I also think I'd be even happier if I wasn't seeing you do this now. Will you please get down? The webbing looks beautiful."
With a sigh that was probably more for show than for anything real, Jules descended the ladder. "Happy?"
Spike nodded. "Yes, thank you. Now that you have two feet firmly back on the floor, how about we eat. I picked us up a couple of burgers. I even ordered yours with those toadstools you like so much."
"Your generosity is noted. Weren't you going to pick up more supplies for the party? Wasn't that your real reason for leaving earlier?"
Spike nodded. "Yeah, I got a few more things in the car. Couldn't carry it and the food in at the same time."
"Why don't you go ahead and bring it in? I just have a little more webbing to put up and I promise I won't do any acrobatic stretching while you are at the car." Jules suggested as she moved the ladder to a new location. She was already halfway up the ladder again before Spike agreed to her plan.
"Fine but if you fall, I'll…Well, just don't fall or make an unplanned landing or whatever the hell you want to call it. Please." Spike pleaded with her.
He left the barn again and Jules went back to hanging her spider webbing, a grin on her face. She could see him through one of the windows and an impish gleam filled her eyes. When he closed the truck and picked up the box to return, she quickly shimmied down the ladder and tipped it over to the ground like it had fallen. Then she settled herself on the ground in a heap. It looked exactly as if the ladder had toppled and sent her crashing to the ground.
The door creaked open again and Jules controlled her desire to laugh and forced herself to remain very still. Spike was whistling as he came inside and as she peeked through mostly closed eyelids, she could see he hadn't noticed her position as he put the box he was carrying in the corner. Then he started to turn to her direction. He cursed and ran to her.
"Jules? Damn it, I told you. Please be okay. Damn it. Why didn't you listen to me?" His hands skimmed over her head and upper body as if looking for injuries. His fear was so genuine, she felt a little bad for her trick and opened her eyes quicker than she'd planned.
Spike sat back on his heels as she sat up. He was breathing hard. "Gotcha? You mean that was…You didn't….? You are a cruel, cruel woman, Callaghan."
Jules grinned cheekily and shrugged. "Oh right and like it wasn't cruel when you had me open that box this morning that you had rigged with the flash powder and confetti. You know what they say about paybacks, Scarlatti."
She hopped to her feet and brushed the dust off the butt of her jeans. Then she reached a hand out to help Spike stand as well. For a moment he just stared at the offered hand as if trying to decide whether to be mad about her prank or not. Finally he let her pull him up but didn't release her hand. "Just so we're clear, we're even now, right?"
Jules shrugged. "Maybe. For now. Depends on if there are any onions on my burger or not. If you didn't tell them to hold the onions, all bets are off."
Spike grinned. "And risk the hour long tirade about how vile onions are? I think we're safe."
They went to the table they had set up earlier in the day that would tonight hold the different refreshments people brought for the party and pulled out their food. As they ate, Jules picked up the pad they'd taken notes on about what needed to be accomplished while they were decorating. They were pretty well on schedule and should have plenty of time to leave and get ready for the party. "Did you get those table cloths from Sophie?"
Spike nodded. "Nice having a real caterer in the family. Someone who has a reason to have orange and black table cloths. Not to mention the food she brings will be out of this world delicious. But you are doing that graveyard cake you always bring, right?"
Jules nodded. The first year they had done the party, she'd found a cute recipe for a cake that was decorated to look like a graveyard. It was simply a box chocolate cake mix that she covered with a cookie crumble mixture that looked like dirt, With Pepperidge Farms Milano cookies broken in half to look like tombstones, whipped cream ghosts, gummy worms and pumpkins as decorations. Every year after that, Lew had made a special request that she make the cake again so it had become a tradition. Last night it had been a bittersweet job of getting the cake ready. "The cake is already baked and mostly decorated. Just have to add the finishing touches right before I come."
Spike grinned. "Great. I've got a little more work to do with the electronics to make this place sound as creepy as it will look. But I think I'm going to work on that after you leave. Want some of it to be a surprise for you as well. It's going to be awesome. After we eat I'll get you to help me bloody up the place a little, okay so maybe a lot. I think you'll have fun with that and you don't even have to climb that damn ladder again."
Jules cocked her head as she chewed her latest bite of burger. She swallowed and wiped her mouth. "I'm not sure if I trust that mischievous look in your eye Spike. It scares me a little."
"Nothing scares you, Jules." Spike argued after he snorted. "Trust me, it'll be the most fun you've had all day long. My buddy that is letting us use this place says it's going to be torn down starting Monday so we are free to do anything we want to the place. I promise you, it's going to be hard to top this year's party. It's going to be epic."
Jules dipped a fry in her ketchup and paused before popping it in her mouth. "Everyone's coming right?"
Spike shook his head. "Leah can't. Said she'd already made plans for the night before joining the team. She doesn't know what she'll be missing. But she's the only one that's going to be a no show. Winnie is even going to come this year since she's not scheduled to work either but I'm not sure who she's bringing with her. Wordy and Shel might be a little late; Wordy's doing the daddy thing and taking the girls trick-or-treating before they drop them off with the grandparents. Ed and Sophie are bringing most of the food so they'll be here early. Sarge finally broke down and asked that woman he's not really seeing but sort of seeing. Sylvia, I think? Sam and Anna are coming of course."
Jules had just taken a sip of her Coke and almost spit it out again. "Anna?" She hoped the squeak she heard in her voice wasn't as noticeable to Spike. She and Sam weren't together anymore. It was a decision she'd forced but they'd both agreed on because neither were willing to give up their spot on Team One. He was free to date anyone he wanted but she couldn't ignore the pain she felt every time she caught a glimpse of the fact that he had indeed moved on while she was still battling her feelings for him.
Spike nodded. "Yeah, you haven't met her? The two of them and Petra and I have doubled a couple of times for drinks and stuff. I'm hoping she can convince Mr. I-Don't-Dress-Up-for-Halloween to wear an actual costume this year. I'm thinking there's no way she'll show up in anything less than one of those hot little costumes that are way too expensive for the lack of material used. If you know what I mean."
She did. Jules toyed with her straw, no longer interested in her remaining fries. Sam was coming with a date. She'd have to see him with another woman on his arm. A date who, probably from what Spike alluded to, could probably fill out one of those skimpy costumes quite well. It shouldn't hurt given that she was the one that had insisted on the break but it did. She wanted him to be happy, she really did. She just really wished things could be different so they could both be happy - together. She set her drink down. "Yeah, well, I think the ribbing you gave him last year for coming as an off duty SRU constable might have convinced him to do something a little more this year. I think you and Lew were still giving him a hard time about it months later. So, you and Petra, things getting serious there?"
She hoped by diverting the conversation away from Sam and his date, it would ease the sudden butterflies that were fighting for escape in the pit of her stomach. It looked like she was going to be the only one to show up tonight dateless. Never before would that have bothered her; but knowing Sam was coming with a date, it did. Spike shrugged. "I don't know. She's nice and fun but I'm not sure she's really interested in me. She might not even come tonight. She was a little iffy about the whole thing; something about possibly being called in to work."
Jules reached out and gave his hand a squeeze. "She is an ER nurse and things do tend to get crazy on Halloween night. She's got to be interested in you; any girl would be a fool not to be."
He smiled his thanks. "What about you? I haven't heard you mention anybody special lately. You got a hot date tonight?"
"Nah, I'll be stagging it. So if Petra does get called in, you and I can hang out in the no-date section of the party. So, I realize this falls under the heading of stupid questions but are you coming as Batman tonight?"
"Haven't been anyone other than the Caped Crusader since I was five. See no reason to change now. You planning on being that cute little scarecrow you usually come as?"
She did have her scarecrow costume all laid out. It was one that her great aunt had made for her one year. It was so cute and comfortable that it was her usual go to costume, even though she got picked on for being such a farm girl. But now she had her doubts about wearing it. If Sam was going to show up with some sort of voluptuous bombshell, she wasn't sure she wanted to wear her costume that was just cute. Maybe she should run by the costume shop after they finished decorating, pick out something else. "I haven't decided yet."
Spike shook his head. "You do realize the party is less than eight hours away, right? That doesn't quite leave you a lot of time for deciding. So you ready for the fun part? You are totally going to love my idea for bloodying this place up."
There was something so boyish and infectious about his sudden grin that Jules couldn't help but be pulled out of her sudden melancholy. "Yeah, what's this brilliant idea you have?"
He went and retrieved the box he'd brought in just before discovering her prank. He set it on the table and pulled out two large Super Soaker water guns. He handed one to her. "Your weapon of choice, m'lady."
Jules shook her head. "What are we going to do with these?"
He pulled out a gallon jug of theatrical blood. "We fill the tanks with this and shoot it at the walls. The blood splatter will be amazing and realistic."
He was right, she was going to like this. But given their history of pranks, she thought she should put out a warning. "Just be aware, I have stops to make on the way home and I'd rather not look like an extra from some sort of slasher horror movie. So we shoot the walls and not each other."
Spike's grin widened but from the way he ducked his head, she knew he'd considered it. Then he shrugged. "It's Halloween, probably no one would give you a second look. But fine. Walls only." Then he added under his breath just loud enough for her to hear. "Spoilsport."
By the time they had finished, it looked like the barn had been the scene of a horrible mass murder. While she put the finishing touches on the interior of the barn, Spike went outside to line the gravel drive with skeleton lights that would glow red when turned on. By around three in the afternoon, they had finished everything they needed to do, save for Spike's mysterious electronic plans.
As Jules started to leave, Spike gave her a quick hug. "Thanks for helping me with this. I want this party to be great cause it's what Lew would want. But the thought of doing all this without him seemed overwhelming. Having you here to help made it not only bearable but fun."
Jules returned his hug with another reassuring squeeze and a kiss on the cheek. "We all miss Lew but I know you probably feel it more than the rest of us. I'm glad I could do this. I think Lew would be proud. I'll see you in a few hours."
"You betcha. Tonight's going to be a night to remember."
Spike had no way of knowing how prophetic his words were going to be and not in the way he intended.