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The One With the Haunted Silverware

Chapter Text

It started the same way every other one of their "cases" starts--everyone parked around one of the tables in the basement, which everyone has loving begun to refer to as "The Patty Tolan Public Library", as it had been filled with a ridiculous amount of IKEA shelving units, which contained books. Colossal amounts of books, of every possible genre and topic. History of the paranormal? Written by the best, of course. Map books? Got 'em in bulk, baby. An entire unit entirely dedicated to crappy 10 for 1$ harlequin romance novels that no one would fess up to owning? Yup. Those, too.

Anyway, regardless, it started like a normal case. Everyone had parked themselves around a table in The Patty Tolan Public Library, with a file folder in front of them.

"So," Abby began, standing at the head of the table.

"Here's the deal. Luxury hotel in an 'undisclosed location' has a ghost problem. Uh...owners say that to their knowledge, people have been complaining about "paranormal instances" since before they were owners, blah blah blah, lots on antiques, blah blah blah, says that it appears the ghosts haven't actually hurt or killed anyone yet, buuuuuut they seem to be, and I quote, much more aggressive as of late. The owners are offering six figures, and free rooms and meals for as long as we need to stay and for a week afterwards," Abby recited, flipping through her copy of the file to find details.

"All in favour say 'Ay', all opposed say 'Nay'," she added, to a round of all the ladies unanimously cheering 'ay'.

"I could use an all expense paid vacation," Patty said, standing up.

"A hotel? What's the worst it could be, haunted silverware?" Erin replied.

"Holy shit, really hoping it's haunted silverware!" Holtzmann cheered, grinning in her iconic "I'm-not-really-crazy-I-just-look-like-it" fashion.

"Get cracking then. Flight leaves at 3 tomorrow morning," Abby yelled over the din, already heading upstairs.

"Honey."

“WHAT THE FUCK?"

"Awesome!"

 

2:30 the next morning sees the four Ghostbusters with hazy eyes and horribly packed luggage.

"Remind me why the hell we're here at ass o'clock in the morning? I thought this hour was a myth," Patty groaned, sipping an over brewed, burnt airport coffee.

"Demon silverware," Holtz replied, looking as wide awake as ever.

"Do you not require sleep?" Erin asked, glaring at her friend.

"I do, hot stuff. I'm dying on the inside, believe me. As soon as we board this God forsaken plane, I'll sleep. I've been going..." Holtz said, staring at her watch, oblivious to the way Erin's face lit up red at being called 'hot stuff'.

"26 hours, now."

"Jesus Christ, take a nap once in a while," Patty butted in, scrubbing her face with her hands and sighing.

"I'm...not a fan of planes. I figure that if I sleep, I won't act like a very stressed out cat. That's what my ex girlfriend told me I reminded her of when we flew home to visit her family one year," Holzmann rambled, the lack of sleep becoming more obvious (and obviously going to her head).

"We think you're a very nice cat," Erin was quick to inform her, which earned her the worlds cutest smile from Holtz, and glances of "Bitch, what?" from Patty and Abby.

"Not really a cat person,' Patty said. Abby chimed in with "Allergic. To cats."

Erin rolled her eyes, and put an arm Holtz's shoulder, which she reciprocated by wrapping an arm around Erin's waist. Abby was obviously just about to sass them out of sheer exhaustion as the boarding call for their plane rang out across the airport.

"Showtime, ladies," Holtzmann said, helping Erin up, and gathering her luggage.

"Showtime."

"Not yet showtime,' Holtz corrected as they found their way to their seats. She'd been unceremoniously shoved into the window seat. Next to her was Erin, then Abby, then Patty closest to the aisle. She swallowed thickly as she watched the runway, and all their surroundings begin to move. She bit her lip, and dug her nails into the armrest.

"Hey. Hey," Erin said, pulling down the blinds so Holtz couldn't see things move, and flipping up the armrest to put her arm around her friend again.

"You're alright, Jill. We won't let anything happen to you," Abby promised, leaning across them to pat Holtzmann's knee.

"Thanks, guys," she whispered, as Patty simultaneously emitted a loud snore. Holtz chuckled nervously, as the other two laughed loudly.

It was at this point when they noticed that the rest of the plane was empty.

"I don't really know what I was expecting. Who flies the red eye from New York to Arizona on a Tuesday?" Abby joked.

"Yeah, you know, why are we flying from New York to Arizona at 3 am on a Tuesday?" Erin asked.

"Oh! Right. They wanted us to be subtle. So we're going to get there at about 8:30, adjust that for the two hour time difference, 10:30. Their check ins start at 11, so we'll have enough time to get something to eat and arrive with the rush. They've asked us not to tell their staff or other guests why we're there, and to be as quiet and non-destructive as possible," she explained. Holtz and Erin nodded.

"Do we have a disguise? Fake names?" Holtz asked with a little too much glee, and Abby chuckled.

"No fake names, but if anyone asks why we're there, we just say we're vacationing," Abby assured them, yawning. Erin nodded, and yawned too, and even Holtz was blinking slowly and barely listening. Erin de-tangled herself and Holtzmann, and stretched out before curling up as well as she could in an airplane seat.

"Well, I'm going to sleep. I'll see you in Arizona," Abby mumbled.

"Wake me if you need me, Jill," she added.

"Me too," Erin whispered, not realizing that Holtzmann was already dead to the world.

Chapter Text

As promised, 7 hours later, the girls were semi-rested, enjoying an early brunch at a cafe not far from their hotel.

"So...how 'bout that airline food?" Abby joked, desperate for conversation.

"Don't know much about the food, but the liquor is excellent," Patty replied, delicately patting at the edges of her mouth with a napkin. Holtz, Abby, and Erin stared at her with open eyes.

"Look. I was up an hour before any of you. If you want to bitch at me for having a mimosa at 7 in the morning, you should have been awake," Patty replied, crossing her arms.
"Not that I can understand how you slept. Miss Yates, you snore like a damn freight train."

"Oh-oh, did you hear that? I'm the one who snores like a freight train."

"Where did that expression even come from? If your train is snoring, you should not be riding it," Holtzmann asked, wrinkling her nose. Erin chuckled softly at the look of utter disgust on the engineers face. She tuned out Patty, who had instantly begun to explain the complete etymology of the phrase "snoring like a freight train", and watched Holtz's facial expressions as she became absolutely entranced by the explanation. She sat like that for almost ten minutes before Abby made a clucking noise at her.
"Hey, sleeping beauty, we're leaving," she teased. Erin blushed a deep red colour, and stood up, grabbing her luggage.

"Now it's showtime, ladies," Holtzmann said, wrapping her arms around the Ghostbusters closest to her. Erin giggled like a school girl, and Abby smiled at her friends, while Patty looked back at them and scoffed.

Checking in and getting their room keys was a clusterfuck, full of bureaucratic bullshit that was only solved when the owners were called down. They paled, and the Ghostbusters were ushered into a conference room.

"Nice to meet you," said one half of the couple, a portly older woman who was wearing a floral dress, cardigan, and had her hair pulled into a bun that made her look much more severe and stern than she really was.

"My name is April Smith, and this is my husband, Bill," she added.

"Nice to meet you, Mrs. Smith, I'm Erin Gilbert, and these are my colleagues, Abby Yates, Patty Tolan, and Dr. Holtzmann," Erin said with a smile, shaking both of their hands.
"Jillian, please. Lovely to meet you," Holtz said from where she was staring out a tall window, towards a large pool full of happy families, face strangely void of emotion. Mrs. Smith looked at her in concern, and Abby gently rubbed her shoulder, knowing her feelings about her name, deep water, and happy families.

"Lovely to meet you ladies as well," April continued.

"My son assured me you we well briefed on the ghost problem in the email, but I'd figure I'd go into detail. For as long as we've owned the hotel, people have been complaining of paranormal activity. Nothing too out of control-footsteps, slamming doors, that sort of thing. Any whatever's here, well, it's never tried to hurt anyone. But recently, the reports have been more frequent and intense than ever. Taps turning on and off, mirrors shattering for no reason, petty items missing from the guests. There's barely been a night without incident in months," Mrs. Smith recounted with a sigh.

"Don't worry, our team is on it," Abby assured, smiling brightly.

"Thank you, ladies," Bill said, wrapping an arm around his wife. April wrapped her arms around his waist, and kissed his cheeks.

"Now, our son Steven is around here somewhere. He moonlights as a bellhop, and our bartender at night. If you need anything, anything at all, please track one of us down," April tacked on.

"Now, the matter of the rooms. You're in 221 and 222, so east wing of the second floor. If you want to decide who's taking what room, we'll collect names, room numbers, and cell phone numbers so we can reach you if-"

"When," Bill corrected, cutting her off.

"When something goes awry," April said with a chuckle.

"I say we put the snorers together. Abby and Patty in 221, Erin and myself in 222," Holtzmann said with a forced smile. Abby winked at Erin, who turned a fascinating shade of purple, and excused herself to find a rest room.

"I'll take her stuff," Holtz offered with a shrug.

 

Cut to an hour later, when Erin is nearly biting through her lip in their new home for God knows how long.

A bed. One single god damn queen sized bed. Of course. What better romantic movie trope? Wonderful. Awesome. Spectacular. Amazing. Holtz, of course, had thrown her pillow onto the offending piece of furniture, and was already sprawled across it. Her normally bubbly, happy demeanour had been replied with a defeated screwed up expression on her face.

"Want to talk about it?" Erin asked, pulling Holtz's infamous "Screw U" pendant out of her mouth, where she was absentmindedly nibbling on it. Erin may or may not have had nightmares regarding Holtz breaking her teeth on the damn thing. She just shook her head, and tugged Erin's skirt so that she was sitting on the edge of the bed. Holtz flipped to lay on her back, and stared up at Erin. She mustered up a weak smile. Erin just smoothed her crazy blonde hair down, kicked off her shoes, and crawled up onto the bed next to Holtzmann, as close as she could get, nearly sitting on her.

"You have a thing about your name, don't you? Jillian. Latin, derived from the word for youthful," she said quietly. "My aunt was really into things like that. Names, star signs. All of it."

"It's not my name. I was a foster kid, pretty much from the time I was born. My name is just one step up from a serial number. The only person who knew what my mom named me is dead," Holtz said with a shrug, and Erin's mouth admittedly popped open.
"Not gonna lie, wasn't expecting that."

Holtzmann laughed softly at the look on her face and sat up.

"It's kind of fucked up, I know. That's why I have such a thing about my name. And families in general. I'm scared of airplanes because I'm an engineer and I know how they work, and that even the best, safest airplane could crash in seconds if the weather changed drastically and quickly enough. And I'm scared of water because I can't swim. Now that you know my life story, and apparently you've become my bedmate, you better tell me your life story so I know why you wake up screaming in the middle of the night," she only half joked, squeezing Erin's shoulder.

"Well! It all started the day I was born," Erin joked, leaning against Holtzmann.

"Basically, growing up with parents who think you're insane is a trip. They tried everything. Pills. Hypnotherapy. Shock therapy, once, almost. That was close, but I started screaming before they did anything, and that seemed to put a stop to things. They just sort of...left me alone after that," she said quietly. Holtzmann swore a creative, multilingual list of cuss words.

"You have to teach me at least half of those," Erin made her promised, laughing softly, and, surprising enough, Holtz laughed with her.

"Oh my god, do you think Abby and Patty are as screwed up as us?" Erin laughed between giggles. Holtzmann looked at her and shook her head violently through her silent bales of laughter. She tackled Erin suddenly, wrapping her arms around her as they hit the soft mattress. As opposed to being upset, Erin instead tightly clung to her friend, holding her close, and tight, and whispering about how she would always be her family.

Meanwhile, across the hall, Abby was surfing the web for articles about events in the hotel, and Patty was scanning a book of maps.

"Hey, Abs?"

"Yeah?"

"Think they know the couch is a pullout?"

"Nope," Abby said, looking up from her laptop. She met Patty's grinning eyes from across the room.

"Think we should tell them?"

"Nope."

Chapter Text

The afternoon passed in a quiet haze, without incident. Abby and Erin napped, Patty plotted out some other supposed haunted areas of the city on a map, and Holtz did everything she could to keep herself out of any (major) trouble. They regrouped shortly before five, gathering in Erin and Holtzmann's room.
"Not gonna lie, I fell asleep. You guys seen anything yet?" Abby asked, rubbing her eyes.
"Not yet," Patty replied, staring at a copy of the layout of the hotel.
"But I have a suggestion-lets go for dinner, and then find the Smith's. April told me they keep a binder full of guest complaints. Let's see if we can get our hands on that, and see if the activity had centralized itself to certain rooms or areas."
Abby, Holtz, and Erin stared at her from their various perches around the room.
"Oh boy, Patty. Make sure we don't have too much fun," Erin deadpanned, causing Abby and Holtz to snicker.
"Well, unless any of you idiots can summon ghosts, it may be the best shot we've got, since apparently our spooks have performance anxiety!"
Everyone laughed at that, even Patty cracking a smile and chuckling.
"But really-"
"Oh my God!" Abby cried, checking her phone.
"What?"
"KEVIN! I have 63 missed texts, 40 phone calls, and 22 emails. I completely forgot to tell him where we were going," Abby explained, to more laughter.
"Well, tell him where we are, and let's get dinner. I'm starving," Holtz replied between giggles.
"Every other night at 6 there's a dinner in the Grand Ballroom. We should go. Ballrooms seem like the kind of place you'd expect to be haunted" Patty added, getting off the bed and starting towards her own room.
"Why do you know all this?"
'"I read the pamphlets, smart ass."

"I wasn't expecting to have to go to something formal," Erin admitted, when they were finally left alone. She tore through her suitcase, gritting her teeth and sighing.
"Always so stressed, Erin," Holtz teased, tossing something at her. Erin unfolded it, and was astounded at what she saw-a dress. Not something she would ever expect to be in Holtz's wardrobe. She looked up at her with shining eyes.
"I bought it in anticipation of having to wear it after we got "famous", quote-un-quote, but no one has had an issue with me wearing a suit so far," she explained with a shrug. "I brought it on a whim."
"You're the best, Holtzy," Erin teased, locking herself into the bathroom to change.

In the meantime, Holtzmann got dressed as well. Tight fitting black pants, a blood red collared shirt, a vintage black vest embroidered with flowers. She tied a large, floppy bow around her neck with a black ribbon as a final touch. Just as she was fixing her hair, Erin came out, and her jaw dropped.
"Holy shit, Gilbert. Not a look I would have picked for you, but damn," she mumbled. Erin looked...radiant. The dress was simple, knee length, strapless. Made of soft, black velvet. Holtz suddenly found herself having to force herself to repress the urge to put her hands all over it. Erin blushed, and did a little twirl.
"I was smart enough to bring black heels," she remembered, pulling them out of her suitcase and slipping them on. She walked over to the full length mirror, and wrapped her arm around Holtz.
"We sort of match, don't we? We look...right, I guess. Together," she managed, playing with Holtz's wild curls.
"Hell yeah, we do," Holtzmann whispered, staring at them in the mirror.

"What's this feelings crisis I'm hearing in here?" Abby asked, bursting through the door, and scaring them apart. "Well, shit, Erin!"
"I know, right? She looks awesome," Holtz agreed, putting on her chunky black ankle boots. Erin grinned at Abby, who silently fist bumped her.
"DAMN, Erin!" Patty added as she waltzed in.
"Now that we've established that Erin is mind numbingly hot, can we eat?" Abby requested, smoothing down the skirt of her own Gilbert-esque skirt and blazer combo. Patty was wearing a pants suit in a soft peach colour, with a floral collared shirt.
"Hey, hey. We all look mind numbingly hot," Erin corrected, grabbing her wallet and room key. "So. Dinner. I'm all for it."

They made their way down to the Grand ballroom, and were seated quickly.
"So, keep an eye out for any funny business. I've got my EVP recorder, an admittedly weak proton pack, and a trap. I'm thinking that this bastard causes trouble because he's too weak to physically manifest," Holtzmann explained.
"You have all of that...where?" Erin asked.
"My pockets. What, did you think I was just happy to see you?" Holtz teased with a wink.
The waiter strolled over.
"Ready to order, ladies?" He asked. They all managed to agree on the roast beef except for Holtz.
"Do you have anything without an animal product in it?" Holtzmann asked, her voice surprisingly small and insecure. The waiter raised an eyebrow, and recommended soup. She quickly agreed, and scratched the back of her neck.
"Shit, Jill, I forgot. I always forget. I'm sorry," Abby said softly.
"No, it's fine, really. I don't mind as long as I'm not the one eating it," she replied with a shrug.
"You're a vegetarian?" Abby asked with a surprised look.
"I've seen you eat chicken nuggets. Remember when I came in late for my computer charger?"
"Soy, Erin. They're delicious," Holtz corrected.
"I just think animals are really rad, and the idea of hurting them upsets me," she admitted, causing Patty and Erin to simultaneously give her a side hug. All four of them jumped as a rumble of thunder rolled across the sky. They gave each other looks of confusion, before saying at the window. It was seemingly calm and sunny outside.
"Neat-o," Holtz declared, pulling her EVP recorder out of her pocket, and placing it on the table with a thunk. It was about the size of a cellphone, and about twenty times heavier. She turned it on, and the lights across the top light up bright.
"Awesome. Now we wait."

The wait for their meal elapsed without anything of interest. Eventually, the waiter arrive with three plates of food, and a bowl of soup. A boat of gravy was passed around. They each poured gravy onto their meat-except for Erin. Upon pouring the boat, she was greeted with a mass of gelatinous green goo.
"Oh, for fucks sake," she growled as everyone else laughed.
"Me! I told you! It's out for me," she declared, sighing. Holtz, fascinated, opened the boat, to find...it was empty. No gravy remained, but no ectoplasm, either. It was completely clean.
"Don't let them take this," Holtzmann instructed, moving the gravy boat under her chair.
"Also, kids, that's why I don't eat meat," she declared, taking a spoonful of soup. As soon as it passed her lips, she turned a horrible white colour, and leaned to twist behind her chair, hacking and retching. Patty rubbed her back, and tipped the bowl towards her. She couldn't help but chuckle at the bowlful of ectoplasm.
"That's what you get for being so smug, baby girl," she declared, just as the EVP recorder buzzed to life.

Chapter Text

"Pride," the box buzzed, and Holtzmann groaned.

"I get the message, holy shit," she murmured, sitting up and putting her face in her hands. She gagged again, and glared at the box.

"You're a bag of dicks, you know th..." Holtz started, her face going shock white and then nearly green. She covered her mouth with the back of her hand, and closed her eyes as everyone stared at her in concern.

"I'll take her up. Jill, did you ever find out what happens when humans ingest the ectoplasm?" Abby said soothingly, standing, and helping Holtz up.

"I think I'm about to," she replied, eyes watering, as she began to cough again. Patty clicked her tongue, and gently squeezed her hand.

"I'll be up in a little bit, okay? Patty and I will leave our phones on so you can reach us if you need us," Erin promised. Holtzmann nodded, and leaned heavily on Abby as they walked away. Patty pulled a zip-lock bag out of her purse, and poured the mess of ectoplasm into it. She then placed the bag, along with the bowl and gravy boat into her large, Mary Poppins-like purse.

"Come here, honey. We'll split this and send Abby's up to her," Patty offered. Erin nodded, and moved into a chair next to her. She picked at her potatoes, brain caught up in other things.

"She'll be okay," Patty promised Erin, placing a hand on her forearm. "She's a strong girl."

"I know she is," Erin said softly. "I know."

 

Upstairs, Abby was perched on the couch in Erin and Holtzmann's room, watching Holtz play with another EVP. She sighed in relief when it lit up, and placed it on one of the bedside tables, kicking off most of the clothes on her over-heated body and climbing into bed.

"Worst. Experiment. Ever," she groaned, sitting up only to cough, and practically collapse back into the bed.

"Sloth," the EVP beeped.

"Oh, fuck off," Holtz declared, pulling a pillow over her head.

"No, no. This is interesting," Abby mumbled, opening up the Gideon bible on the sparse bookshelf.

"I have a hypothesis," she mused out loud, sending the text to summon Patty and Erin. They arrived a few minutes later, Patty carrying a plate of food for Abby. Erin walked in holding the EVP, immediately noticing Holtz's body, clad only in sky-blue boxer-briefs and a matching bra. How was she gorgeous, even when she was sick?

"Lust," droned both the EVP Erin was holding, and the one on the table. Patty had to place the plate on the small dining table and excuse herself outside to laugh loudly, and Erin flushed an endearing shade of pink. To her relief, Holtzmann emitted a soft snore. She was sleeping. Awesome.

"The seven deadly sins!" Abby declared loudly, and Holtz snorted herself awake, only to lean over the side of the bed and dry heave. Okay, not super attractive now, Erin told herself with a wince. She sat gingerly on the edge of the bed, and Patty re-entered the room.

"What's the significance, though?" Erin asked, furrowing her brow.

"Hell if I know. But it's a start," Abby said with a shrug, sitting down to her dinner.

"Gluttony," buzzed the EVP's.

"Excuse you! A girl's gotta eat," Patty told them, to a despondent mechanical whine.

"Patty, did you just kill my babies by scolding them?" Holtz croaked, reaching out for the machines. Erin and Patty both handed her one. One was turned off, the other one reset, seemingly repaired, before Holtzmann curled up on her side, clutching her stomach and burying her face in the pillow

"Anything fun happen while we were gone?" Abby asked.

"A couple more funky thunder sounds, other than that, not much," Patty informed her with a shrug.

"Hey, Patty. So, these things seem to be blasting us with God's top seven list. You and I are going to go across the hall and see what we can dig up, and Holtz can sleep, and hopefully tomorrow we can regroup and do something useful," Abby decided.

"And I'm going to...?" Erin asked.

"You're going to stay here and make sure our weapons engineer doesn't choke on her own vomit," Abby said, patting Erin's shoulder.

"Oh boy! It's like that one year of community college all over again!" Erin mumbled, causing the weapons engineer in question to lift her face from the pillow to glare at her.

"Legal pad," she croaked in request, and Erin sighed softly as she dug through her bag to find one.

"Well, good night, ladies. Feel better, Holtzy," Patty said, ushering Abby out of the room, and leaving them alone. Erin gave the booklet and a pen to Holtzmann, who began to slowly, shakily write things down. Erin left her to her own devices, and figured that she may as well call it a night too. She locked herself in the bathroom, washed her face, and rooted through her bag to find pyjamas. Silk shorts and a tank top, as it turned out, was all her sleep deprived mind had packed her in the way of pyjamas. She returned to Holtzmann, who handed her a sheet of paper.

"My symptoms, in case I pass out and you have to take me to the hospital for ectoplasm poisoning," she said with a weak smile. Erin looked at the list, which started with nausea, ended with 'intense abdominal cramping', and was filled with medical jargon. "I dated a nursing student when I was in university."

"Oh, Holtz," Erin said softly, getting up onto the bed. She left the list on her bedside table.

"Would you like me to take your hair down?" Erin offered, and Holtzmann rested her head on Erin's thigh, her breathing laboured. Erin gently, ever so carefully, unwound her bun, and gently combed out the elaborate braids Holtz had tossed in.

"I'm sorry this happened. I feel like it's somehow my fault," she admitted, blinking rapidly.

"It's not, Erin. Really. I'll be fine," Holtz promised. She looked like a mess. Her face was white, her cheeks were pink, and her sparse makeup was smeared across her face. She rolled off of Erin.

"You are like a space heater, though," she mumbled, staring at the ceiling. Erin turned off all of the lights except for one of the lamps across the room, and crawled back into bed with Holtzmann.

"If you want to have a heart to heart talk, I feel like now is a good time," Erin offered, and she could see Holtz smile lucidly in the shadows.

"Good night, you sentimental fool," she said softly. She searched for Erin's hand, and squeezed it tightly.