Series: Here There Be Dragons
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Year: Season 4, Bloodlines
Category: AU: Fantasy, Magic is Known, Pre-Slash,
Spoilers: Up through Season 4
Summary: On a case in Alabama, Reed helps with a case and the team figures out how much affection Hotch allowed the dragon to get away with.
Notes: So I realized that I have dropped this series in the middle of when JJ is on leave after having Henry so, let’s say Henry was conceived early. K?
Hotch still wasn’t used to the looks from the LEOs when the team arrived anywhere. Reed drew a lot of attention, but it blew over pretty quickly when the BAU team got down to business. The officers in Harvest, Alabama were a little different. They were used to Faeries and Elves, not human magic users. For right now, Reed would stay back at the station with JJ. While the LEOs were curious, they didn’t try and interact with Reed at all.
Morgan and Dave were talking with the Sheriff about what they had found at the RV park when Reed took off flying over to them. He landed on the table next to Dave.
“A family that ritualizes killing together? Definitely not,” Morgan answered the Sheriff.
“You know if the family speaks Romanian, the spreading of the glass makes sense. It’s an Eastern European superstition for good luck.” Reed’s voice carried around the group and Hotch could hear it.
The Sheriff wasn’t paying attention to who was speaking. “So they’re Romanian. We already knew that.” The Sheriff turned to Dave.
“Not just Romanian. We are talking about people who are highly superstitious and obsessed with ritual.” Reed was looking at the Sheriff, but the man hadn’t figured out it was him talking. Hotch suppressed a grin. He wanted to see where this was going, so he allowed it for now.
“Romany,” Dave spoke.
“Romany?” the Sheriff asked, looking at Morgan. He was starting to look confused.
“More accurately someone who’s perverted Romany culture.” Reed flew off as Dave spoke about calling Garcia and Morgan dialed her. He landed on top of the board and acted like nothing had happened. When Hotch passed him, he petted down his back all the way to the tip of the tail, earning a flick with the end of that tail and a puff of smoke.
“They are going to try again,” Reed called out as Morgan hung up the phone. “The girl didn’t fit what they needed.”
Now the Sheriff looking at the dragon. His entire body language changed.
“That thing can talk?”
“And think,” Dave answered as he moved over to where Reed was. He pulled a piece of candy from his pocket and unwrapped it. The sound of the wrapper pulled Reed out of whatever he was thinking of, and he zeroed in on the candy. “Reisen?”
Reed flew down to his shoulder to take the candy. Reed stayed there throughout when the team gave the profile, sitting quietly but taking in everything. Hotch knew that dragons were smart, but there was something else completely going on with his dragon. It just helped cement that he was pretty sure Reed was hiding what he truly was.
Morgan rushed into the room and pulled all their attention from the profile. Hotch looked in horror at what Garcia had found. Reed stared at the new information with rapt attention. Hotch had never seen him so focused.
The newest abduction site was found, and the team scattered, leaving Reed alone at the station as it was all hands on deck. Hotch worried about leaving him there, but he wasn’t taking the dragon out to where he could cause an issue or be hurt. He was safest at the station house.
The fact that one of the girls taken captive was now taking captives with her husband and son was beyond the pale but it wasn’t the worst twist in a case ever.
“Nu le spunelor despre furititai.”
Dave watched as Reed’s head spun at her words. Prentiss was pulling Kathy away, and the boy was being escorted away.
“Don’t tell them about your brothers,” Reed said as he flew to land on the gate that split the cell from the rest of the station. Kathy’s eyes flew up to look at him.
“Păstra secretele mele, vechi.” Kathy stepped closer to the gate, but she stayed back. She looked scared of the small dragon.
“Nu. Niciodată.” Reed turned to Dave. “She asked me to keep her secrets, and I told her no. That I never would.”
“Mare de rasă.” Kathy gasped and moved away from the gate and never once looked at him again.
“What did she say there?” Dave asked, stepping up to pull Reed off the gate.
“Term of respect for dragons.” Reed never took his eyes off of her, and the flash of surprise on her face told Dave that it wasn’t what it meant, but he would leave it. He suspected that there was a great deal more to Aaron’s dragon than the Council was letting them believe and he knew for a fact that Aaron suspected as well. The Council wanted the dragon protected and was willing to lie to their most powerful Judge to get that to happen. Reed was no mere elemental dragon.
Hotch knew that something had happened that had seemed to upset Reed when Dave had been interrogating Kathy. Dave hadn’t told him about anything that happened, and he was sure that he was telling him the truth, so it was something that the older man hadn’t picked up on,
“So you know Romanian?” Morgan asked as he took the seat across from where Reed was sitting alone on one of the smaller tables. Morgan slid over an opened bag of peanut butter M&Ms. A few scattered out and Reed grabbed at them with his front claws. So it wasn’t just Hotch who had noticed that there was something wrong with the dragon.
“I know enough of several dialects to be able to converse at least a little with Romany.”
“What else do you know of the Romany? You picked up they were Romany pretty quickly.” Morgan reached down and shook the bag, so a few more M&Ms spilled out, and Reed leaned down and popped one into his mouth. A blue one rolled down the table and Reed grabbed it with a claw, tucking it close to the body but not eating it.
“The ancestors of modern day Romani people were previously Hindu but adopted Christianity or Islam depending on their respective regions they had migrated through. Muslim Roma are found in Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Egypt, Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria and form a very significant proportion of the Romany people. In neighboring countries such as Greece, most of the Gypsy inhabitants follow the practice of Orthodoxy. It is likely that the adherence to differing religions prevented families from engaging in intermarriage. Romanies often adopt the dominant religion of their host country in the event that a ceremony associated with a formal religious institution is necessary, such as a baptism or funeral. Their particular belief systems and indigenous religion and worship remain preserved regardless of such adoption processes. The Roma continue to practice “Shaktism,” a practice with origins in India, whereby a female consort is required for the worship of a god. Adherence to this practice means that for the Roma who worship a Christian God, prayer is conducted through the Virgin Mary, or her mother, Saint Anne—Shaktism continues over one thousand years after the people’s separation from India.”
By the time that Reed stopped speaking, everyone else on the plane had as well. The entire team was staring because it didn’t seem like he had taken a breath at all. Reed was unaware of what was going on around him as Reed was digging through the bag of M&Ms to find all the blue. As he found one, he would roll it down to the v between his hind legs. Finally once all the blue were empty from the bag, Reed noticed that no one was speaking. He looked up at all the faces that were looking at him.
“What?” Reed asked.
“Just surprised us is all,” Prentiss said as she smiled down at him. She and JJ were sharing the couch. Reed turned to look at her before it seemed he shrugged his shoulders and turned back to the bag. He carefully lifted a corner so that all the candies left in the bag slid out. Then using his snout, Reed rolled all the blue M&Ms inside the bag. Morgan turned to look at Hotch, and all he could do was shrug his shoulders because he had no clue what the dragon was doing. When all the candies were in the bag, Reed grabbed the open end with his mouth and jumped from the table, using his wings to guide him to where Hotch was sitting on the opposite side of the plane. He dropped the bag in Hotch’s lap before flying back and munching on the ones that were left.
“So you like the blue ones?” Dave asked with laughter in his voice.
“Reed has an obsession with sharing his food with me. It’s the first time he’s shared candy.” Hotch turned up the bag and let a few candies drop out before placing the bag in his shirt pocket. He looked over at Reed who was eating the rest of the pieces in a quick manner, only letting Morgan get a couple before the rest were gone.
“So, your coffee buying has at least tripled. I am sure that sweets have as well.”
“I’ve noticed that you guys are carrying candy around as well,” Hotch shot back. He softened the words with a small smile and Dave only laughed. Hotch stood up from his seat and took the one that Reed wasn’t sitting in. Reed turned and looked at him before snagging the last piece of candy.
“That’s because humans taste good with ketchup,” Morgan stated.
“Humans do not taste good with ketchup.” Reed cocked his head to the side as he looked at the other agent.
Dave stifled a laugh, but Prentiss wasn’t able to. She laughed out loud. “It’s a quote, Reed. ‘Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.'”
“Sounds close to a quote from Tolkien ‘Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.'” Reed cocked his head to the side. “It’s a much more valid statement. I do not know of a dragon that has ever developed a taste for human flesh, cooked or uncooked.”
“Speaking of which.” Hotch tapped on Reed’s side and waited for the dragon to turn to him. “One hundred.”
“Above,” Reed answered instantly. He looked at faces of the rest of the team and then back at Hotch. The older man nodded and waved his hand. “I’m above the age of one hundred. We are playing a guessing game, and he’s allowed once a month to pick a number, and I tell him if I an above or below. The first time was twenty, today was a hundred.”
“So you are a tiny dragon?” Prentiss asked.
“I’ve started growing again. I’ve grown two inches in length.”
“And twenty pounds in weight,” Hotch joked.
Reed’s head snapped around, and he stared at Hotch with shock all over his small face. He just stared back at the dragon. After several minutes the dragon looked away. Hotch knew that he would get paid back for the joke, but he didn’t care. The look on Reed’s face had been priceless. The looks on the team’s face were the same. The conversation started up again, but the dragon ignored everyone, flying over to the back of the couch and settling down.
By the time that Hotch walked into his house, he was tired and just wanted to sleep. The whole team was tired. Reed still hadn’t said a word to him, and it was starting to worry him. The second the door had opened, Reed had taken off for the library. Hotch put away his things and started his laundry before he moved towards the library. He knocked, but no noise came from inside.
If there was a room in the house that could be considered Reed’s it was the library. Hotch didn’t enter when the door shut unless Reed said it was okay. He tried the knob and found it unlocked, but still, he didn’t enter. It was the first time that Reed had ever taken a joke made by anyone on the team badly. Hotch hated that it was his joke. He knocked on the door again, and when he heard nothing, he opened the door. He’d rather Reed be mad at him for that than the joke.
The dragon wasn’t in the room. Hotch reached out with the bond and only receive a flare of emotion. Elation along with pride and hunger. Reed was hunting. That was the only time that Hotch had ever felt those emotions combined like that from him. Hotch felt better now. He could wait for Reed to get home from his hunting.
Hotch wasn’t sure what woke him, so he carefully opened his eyes. He was on the couch where he had sat down to wait on Reed to get back. He had to have fallen asleep. The warmth was surrounding him, the blanket from the back of the couch was draped across him, and Reed was lying on that.
“I’m all right, Aaron. I wasn’t upset earlier.”
“No, you were.” Hotch let the silence go for as long as the dragon wanted.
“I didn’t grow up with other dragons. I was raised by my mother, and that’s it. I get jokes, and I can play them and take them but personal jokes like that. I needed time to process. Next time I’ll have a good comeback for you.”
“Good. Morgan would love to have someone to talk to like that. Dave and I are just too different, but if you could get good at comebacks, he could have a lot of fun.” Hotch let one of his hands slide out from under the blanket and rest on top. Reed curled his tail around his wrist, and they both settled to finish a nap.