Series: Here There Be Dragons
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Year: Season 4, Omnivore & Conflicted
Category: AU: Fantasy, Magic is Known, Pre-Slash,
Spoilers: Up through Season 4
Summary: When Hotch is summoned to Boston, he decides not to take Reed with him. When he takes the team up to Boston after the first murder after the death of Shaunessy, he leaves Reed behind again. What he doesn’t realize is that Reed tags along anyway.
Warnings: Graphic Depictions of Violence,
Coming home from a hard case, Hotch let himself into his home. Reed had stayed behind because of the content of the case, familiars in a big city getting killed. Reed hadn’t liked it, but he had understood. Hotch was home days earlier than what he thought he would be. Hotch had told Reed to expect him back on Saturday, it was late Thursday. He tossed his keys onto the table just inside the door and set his bags down before closing the door, quietly. It was after one a.m., and he hoped that Reed was asleep. Maria had called him every day after she checked in on him. It was the first case he’d left Reed behind on, and he worried. The rest of the team had noticed it as well, but only Dave had even mentioned it.
He wanted to be shocked when he found the light on in the small library. He knew that Reed had spent most of his time in there. Maria would set up books for him every day before she left, just as she always did. Reed had tried to tell her that he could do it himself with his magic, but still, she did it for him. He almost flipped off the light but the sight of a young man sitting in a chair, asleep, had him stopping. A mug of something was on the table as well as a plate of food. It was a sandwich. Hotch drew his weapon and angled himself better so that he could get a good look at the young man’s face. He took a few steps forward but stopped when he saw a small trinket in the man’s hand. It was a little bracelet that Reed had found in a shop when Hotch had been looking for a gift for Garcia. Reed played with it all the time and wore it like a necklace when he was home. The young man was holding it in his hand almost like someone would a rosary. Its clasp was undone, and it dangled loosely in his grip.
Putting his gun up, Hotch actually looked for the first time at the young man. His hair was brushing his shoulders and was messily curly. He was thin, much like Reed was. A book in his lap showed that he had been reading. There was no reason that someone would break into Hotch’s house to drink a cup of coffee, eat a sandwich, read books and then sleep in his library. This young man had to be Reed, in his human form. His face was beautiful. Reed’s human form was pretty damn nice looking. He looked to be in his mid-twenties, but that told Hotch nothing. The dragon could be in his thousands and Hotch would never know, the age of his human form was no indication of anything. Hotch knew how old he looked and how old he really was.
Everything he thought about his dragon was confirmed in those seconds, he never thought this was going to be how he found out. Hotch wanted to move up to and shake Reed awake, but he didn’t. Instead, he crept out of the room, going back to the front door. He opened the door and shut it again, letting the sound echo. It was several minutes later, and Reed was flying from the library, landing on the roost just a few feet from the door. Hotch had installed several around the house for him to land on after he’d taken to the ones Garcia had installed around Quantico for him.
“Hello, you. Were you sleeping in the library again?” Hotch stepped away from the door, grabbing his bags.
“No,” Reed answered, his tone telling Hotch that he was lying and wasn’t trying to hide it. It was a new way of teasing for the dragon, and it was all thanks to Morgan. He’d have to remember to thank the younger agent. He was sure to find something disgusting to give him to do on the next case. Sarcasm in a dragon just wasn’t right.
As soon as Hotch passed under him, Reed jumped down to land on his shoulder, curling around his neck. Reed was up to twenty pounds but didn’t feel that heavy when he landed. He was good at it. The light in the library was shut off. Hotch stayed away, figuring that once he was down for the night, Reed would slip in and take care of the sandwich plate and mug. Hotch would keep an eye out for both in the morning.
“Ready to go to bed?” Hotch asked as he slipped into his bedroom. Reed usually slept on Hotch’s pillow. Hotch wasn’t sure what he thought about that now that his suspicions were confirmed. For five months Reed had been staying in the house. That he felt comfortable enough to slip into his human form while Hotch was away, spoke a lot. There was every chance that someone would see him. Hotch would let him keep the secrets for now. He’d give him the time to reveal himself on his own. He was too tired to do anything else. He’d worry about the fact that he was sleeping in the same bed as a man who looked twenty-five at a later time.
Two Weeks Later
Hotch walked into the BAU mentally tired from his trip to Boston but physically amped up. Reed was hopefully sleeping at home whether in his bed or the library; he didn’t care as long as he was home. The dragon hadn’t been happy when Hotch hadn’t let him go to Boston with him. He had thought he was going to get a deathbed promise from Shaunessy to catch the killer known as the Boston Reaper. There was no reason to have the dragon go with him. Instead, he had driven the dragon home and then left for Beantown.
“Wasn’t expecting you back tonight,” Rossi said as he wandered out of his office. Hotch could see the laptop open on the desk, so it was a writing night and not a casework night. That was a good thing.
“Just need to go over a few things.” Hotch needed Garcia to try and find the personal ad. He’d already texted her what he needed. This case had always bugged him. Pulling out a case file tucked in the back of the drawer, he started to read. He only stopped when Garcia brought him what he asked of her. He sent Garcia home, giving her a chance to get some sleep. If what Hotch thought was going to happen, happened, the team would need all the sleep they could before they headed to Boston. He wasn’t going to go home because that meant talking to Reed and he didn’t want the dragon anywhere near this case. There was something coming, and he didn’t want the dragon hurt.
Go bag dropped inside the conference room they were using, Hotch turned to files that were on the table. JJ had worked hard on getting them everything they needed. He needed to speak to someone in charge of the Federal Building to get the team what they needed. As he left, the rest of the team filed in, dropping their bags near his. He found the IT person and made sure that Garcia would have a real connection to them.
When he walked back into the room, he stopped dead at the sight of Reed in the middle of the table looking at a file with Rossi, Reed only turned and glared at him before looking back at the file. He really didn’t need this.
“Don’t even start, Hotch,” Morgan said as he looked up from his file. Morgan pointed to his left, and he looked. His go bag was open. Reed had stolen away in his go bag. How had he done that? There had been no additional weight in it. Not with Reed’s size. Was he that out of it? Or was Reed getting better at using his magic?
“Garcia’s hidey holes are perfect. You didn’t even know I was in the room. I knew that the phone call was something that set you on edge.” Reed’s tone was light, but Hotch could read into it. He didn’t care for being left behind especially with something that had Hotch so upset over a phone call that he got on the next flight to Boston. He knew that he was dedicated to his job at the BAU and as Judge. It was the main reason that Haley had left him after being married only a few years. Reed was seemingly just as dedicated to staying with Hotch.
“You don’t leave the station,” Hotch said in his strongest voice. Reed’s head dropped, and his entire body language changed. He looked like a chastised child. The team reacted to it exactly as Hotch figured Reed wanted. All of them shifted a little towards the dragon and away from him. He needed them to understand. Reed still wasn’t looking at him, and he needed his dragon to know more than anyone else in the room.
“Hotch?” JJ asked. Everyone in the room was picking up on his fear.
“What was never released to the media and never published in books,” Hotch opened the file that he’d kept from the case long ago. He had no clue what happened to the other copies if Shaunessy kept them. He threw down three pictures onto the table in front of where Reed was. He’d apologize later for how he was acting, but the thought of the Reaper getting his hands on Reed had Hotch seeing red. “The Boston Reaper killed three familiars before he stopped. Slaughtered them. The Reaper is not a magic user, but he’s well versed in hiding from magic. I figured that out after I looked at the dead familiar. I wasted every bit of energy I had the first time around trying to find him. He’s good.”
Hotch locked his eyes on Reed and watched as the dragon looked at the crime scene photos. He looked up at Garcia next.
“I want to see all the photos of every crime scene.”
“Reed?” Hotch stepped closer to his dragon. Garcia started typing away on her computer while Hotch and the rest of the team opened every single file, scattering the photos all around the table. Removing objects that got in the way. When it became apparent, there were too many Reed jumped and grabbed the light hanging from the ceiling with his back legs. The entire team watched as he looked at every single photo.
“George Foyet…he’s alive?” Reed looked at Hotch as he spoke, but his eyes darted right back to the pictures.
“Yes. The Reaper miscalculated, and help got to him before he died.”
“Miscalculated?” Reed looked at him and only him. Then his eyes swept to the board.
Hotch wanted to ask him what he was doing. He’d known that Reed was intelligent. His information on magical creatures was invaluable and had helped on a few cases so far. This was different, though. This was a profile of a serial killer that had no profile, not one that anyone but he had worked on.
“The Reaper named himself. Your profile that you kept to yourself classifies him as an Omnivore. How has he not injected himself into this? Then or now? He blackmailed a decorated cop into stopping hunting him. He likes power. Who is one of the first people we would go to if it looked like the Reaper had started up again?” The Immortal read between the lines of what he was saying. He thought that Foyet was the Reaper. The problem was, Hotch couldn’t deny what Reed was saying. Was there anything this dragon didn’t know?
Hotch remembered Roy Colson from the case the first time around. He’d published a book about the Reaper. He was the primary source of information, but every address that Coulson gave them had no Foyet in it. Reed had caused Foyet to be looked at in a different way. He’d been ready to propose to a woman that he had only known a very short time. A woman who was very young. From there everything else fell into place. Now they had to find Foyet.
The items taken from Nina Hale and Evan Harvey were found in the third house that was searched. A search was started for other aliases and anyone convicted of a crime that a hebephile would be. Then the call came where Hotch had to turn down the deal. He would never take the deal.
It felt like a letdown when Foyet was caught as he boarded a bus just an hour after Hotch turned down the deal. He took what he could, though. Only four lives were lost in the aftermath of Shaunessy’s death.
Colson was reported missing by his boss two days later. His body was found after a neighbor called about a smell in a house she hasn’t seen anyone at for a few days. Foyet escaped from prison and wasn’t found this time, and there was no way to trace him.
Three Weeks Later
Hotch settled down onto the couch with his box of Chinese takeout. The team had just come back from South Padre Island. Aaron felt horrible for not catching the Dissociative Identity Disorder quicker on Adam Jackson. It had been Reed that had noticed it. Memories of Tobias Hankel had been on the faces of everyone on the team. The dragon was surprising them left and right. He truly wondered if Reed slept the whole night. All of his books had been read, and he’d ordered a few when Reed asked for them. He was tempted to just give the dragon a weekly limit and letting him order what he wanted up to that.
The want to protect Reed was getting stronger by the day, but there was something else there. Ever since he’d found Reed asleep in human form in the library, something had been growing in the bond. He didn’t think carefully about it. He didn’t want to.
“Who is Tobias Hankel?” Reed asked as he settled on the back of the chair beside the couch. His container of food was sitting unopened on the coffee table that Hotch had his feet resting on.
“He was an UnSub who had two alters inside of himself. The first was his father, who had bullied him into killing him, and it along with the drugs he was doing shattered his mind. The second alter was the Angel Raphael. They killed people that Charles and Raphael thought were sinners. We stumbled onto him by accident. JJ and I went out to talk to him about a report of him seeing a man going over the fence of the first victims. While JJ talked to him, I noticed that he was acting a little off, he seemed petrified of me. Moving around his house, we found his computer room. When he took off running from JJ and me, I was able to lock him in the garage before he could escape it. I sent JJ back into cell phone range, and we waited for backup before I released him.
“I listened to him talking to his alters for an hour while we waited. I was able at one point to watch him as well while he screamed that he was going to kill me like the witch that I was. It could have turned out so much worse.” The memories of what had been found inside the barn had haunted the team for a while.
“But it turned out fine. Everything turned out fine. You caught him.” Reed jumped down to the arm of the chair as Hotch leaned forward to set his Chinese food down on the table. He hadn’t been that hungry anyway. Cold Chinese would make an excellent breakfast or late night snack if Hotch woke up hungry. He watched as Reed slowly made his way over to him, walking daintily across the arm of the chair, then the arm of the couch and along the back. He stopped just at the Immortal, waiting. Huffing with laughter, Hotch shifted to the side and laid down with his head propped on the arm with his feet on the other arm. As soon as he was settled, Reed laid down on his chest, curled up in a ball. He quickly draped an arm across his chest, letting his hand rest on the dragon’s back and was rewarded with a tail around his wrist. Cuddling like this comforted him in ways that he hadn’t even known he was missing before Reed had come into his life. The tail wrapped around his wrist grounded him and let him know he was claimed.
“I had a wife a few years back,” Hotch blurted out as he laid there. He rarely thought of Haley anymore. He didn’t know why he brought her up now, but Hotch liked sharing things about himself because it showed that he trusted Reed and usually the dragon opened up about something about himself.
“What happened?” Reed asked, his voice sounded as tired as Hotch felt. He didn’t know why he was confessing this to the dragon. The team, minus Prentiss, knew about Haley. They had been around for the divorce and Haley leaving him while he was on a case just after Gideon had come back from the Boston bombing.
“She couldn’t take the hours and the time that I was gone. She also wanted a child. It wasn’t something I was ready for. I’ve buried too many children and wives over the years. Immortalism isn’t handed down by blood.” In for a penny, in for a pound, he thought as he closed his eyes. He could tell this much better if he didn’t have to see Reed. The dragon didn’t move. His head stayed tucked. “I want kids again, but I don’t know. I feel something coming, and I know that it’s going to be horrible. I’m not sure if it’s a case or something to do with the magical world.”
“We all feel it. Prentiss, Garcia, Morgan, and even Rossi with his limited magic. We can’t do anything but keep an eye out. There hasn’t been a real Seer in a thousand years that the Councils will work with, at least not here in America.”
“Two hundred.” Reed shifted that time. Hotch cracked open an eye to see the dragon staring at him. He looked puzzled and then snorted in laughter, resting his head back down.
“Above. You are early by a week.”
Hotch just shrugged in response. He closed his eyes again and took a depth breath releasing the final bits of that day’s stress. He could feel himself drifting off to sleep, but he didn’t care. His couch was comfortable, and he’d slept on it before more than he cared to admit. He was already dressed down into sweats and a t-shirt. His last thought was that it felt nice to have someone around while he was sleeping, even if it was a dragon.
Hours later, he dreamed of being carried to bed and laid down. The covers were dragged up over him, and he nestled down into the sudden warmth. He felt the tingle of magic as it warmed the bedclothes around him. It forced his body into a more relaxed state. The bed dipped, and he felt fingers brush against his forehead. He sighed. It was a sweet dream. He missed being touched. He arched his head up into the touch and was rewarded with a light chuckle. The hand disappeared, and he let out a little whine. The bed dipped more, and he felt warmth brush his forehead. It was soft, like lips and when he breathed in, he smelt ozone. The lips moved to his cheek and kissed it as well.
“Sleep, Aaron. I’ll be here to protect you,” was whispered in his ear. The voice sounded like Reed but yet not. He didn’t care, though. He was warm, and this dream was a happy one. The fingers cupped his cheek and then a firmer kiss was placed just at the edge of his mouth. “Sleep, My Immortal.”
And he did, feeling safe.