Series: Long Journey
Fandom: Criminal Minds, Sentinel
Category: Established Relationship, Sentinels/Guides, Angst, Happy Ending,
Pairings: Hotch/Reid, Morgan/Garcia, JJ/Will,
Spoilers: Through Season 10
Summary: Aaron tries to bring Spencer back so that he can be whole again.
Aaron hated waking up. In his dreams, Spencer was there with him and everything was happy. He could believe for a short time that nothing bad had happened. He’d never kicked Spencer out of his life, and Gideon had never gotten his hands on his Guide. He’d never hurt the one person in his life that he was supposed to protect above anyone else, other than Jack.
Waking up meant facing a reality where Spencer was gone. Sure there was a body in the house, and that body looked like Spencer, but no one was home. The body didn’t do anything that remotely resembled Spencer. It hurt more to see the shell of Spencer walking around than it did to be separated from him over the six months he’d been living with the Director. It was his penance.
Aaron clutched the thin frame in front of him and pulled him closer. Spencer shifted and burrowed closer. It was the same every morning after he got home from a case, Spencer would end up in bed with him. Nothing sexual happened, Aaron hadn’t been able to get hard for many months before this had happened. The doctors called it muscle memory. Spencer’s body craved touch, what little Guide gifts were left needed the touch of his Sentinel and this was the best time.
While Aaron was asleep, he was affectionate. He would hold Spencer close and share body heat. The cold feeling in the bond never went away. It was still there and it had him cold all the time. Jack wasn’t feeling as bad anymore, but Aaron was pretty sure that Spencer was feeling it. The sweats and long sleeve t-shirt that he dressed in to sleep with a heavy blanket was a clue.
It had been four months since that horrific day at Gideon’s cabin, and still they were no closer to snapping Spencer out of the state he was in. Four months of hell in Aaron’s eyes. The first month, he’d been in therapy. The whole team had been. Aaron had talked till he was blue in the face. Finding out that someone they counted as a friend had been the one to harm Spencer. A separate team was looking into Gideon’s life from birth to death to try and figure out where he snapped and how he had hidden it for so long.
After Spencer was released from the hospital a huge debate had been had between four Sentinels where Spencer was going to go. Aaron had wanted to take him home, hoping that being around him and Jack would help snap him out. Morgan and Prentiss wanted Spencer as far away from him as possible and the Director wanted him safe. In the end, Spencer had gone to Prentiss’s on a trial basis. That had stuck for a week.
Then one morning, Aaron woke up with Spencer in his bed. For a few minutes, until he was able to get the Guide awake, he thought that Spencer had come back, but one look at finally open eyes and he knew the truth. The horror set in minutes later. He dialed Prentiss and asked her when she dropped off Spencer. The rushed run through Prentiss’s apartment had sounded over the phone. Spencer travelled the distance between the two places on his own, in the middle of the night. He’d left the other Sentinel’s place and reset the alarm, crossed the city, and slipped into Aaron’s not setting off his security or waking him or Jack. After Spencer had done it three more times, once more ending up in Aaron’s bed and the rest on the couch, it was decided that Spencer would stay with Aaron.
All of Spencer’s things were moved into the guest room right next to Aaron’s, the one he had stayed in before they bonded. Life settled after that. Jessica stayed over on the nights that Aaron was out of town, as Spencer wouldn’t settle with anyone else sleeping in the house unless it was Will or Garcia, who filled in when needed. During the day a nurse stayed with him. The Director had insisted on it. The nurse was a kind matronly woman named Denise, she was an online Guide that had never found her Sentinel. The first time that she had touched Spencer’s skin, everyone around them had waited with baited breath, but there had been no reaction.
Diana Reid had been notified by Garcia a limited version of what had happened and she understood that Spencer was ill. The team had listened in while the two had talked and Aaron was fairly certain that she understood more of what her son was going through than anyone else.
Spencer shifting in front of him pulled Aaron from his thoughts. The Guide was rolling to his back, which meant that he was awake. Aaron kept his arm across his chest. He’d learned that Spencer would let him know when he didn’t want to be touched anymore.
The doorbell ringing scared the both of them. Spencer actually jumped. The sound of Jack moving to the door made him realize that he’d probably slept too late as it was rare for Jack to be up before him. Jack wouldn’t open the door but he would see who it was.
“DAD!” Jack yelled but he wasn’t scared, and that was the only thing that stopped Aaron from jumping from the bed. Spencer though sat up and his eyes went right to where the door was down a floor. That intrigued Aaron. “It’s grandma.”
“Grandma?” Aaron asked himself. His own mother was dead, and there was no way that Haley’s mother was on his front porch. Spencer got up from the bed and started to move towards the exit of the room when it hit him. It was Spencer’s mother. It was Spencer’s MOTHER!
“Spencer, get dressed before you go downstairs.” The answer was a nod and the Guide moved to his room. Aaron quickly changed out of his sweats and a t-shirt into jeans and a polo.
“Let her in, Jack but don’t touch her. Treat her like you treated Spencer that first day, please!” Aaron called out, knowing that Jack would hear him. The door opened.
“Hello, Professor Reid,” Jack said and then two sets of footprints sounded on the floor in the entryway. Neither set were Jack. There was a nurse or a doctor with Diana. Aaron moved to wait outside Spencer’s room for him.
“Hello, Jack. You are much more handsome than Spencer led me to believe.”
“Daddy told you about me?” Jack asked, shocked. Aaron was shocked as well, as far as he knew Spencer hadn’t told her a thing about either of them.
“Why yes, it was a lot later than what I would have wanted but then I don’t do well around Sentinels. Spencer told me all about you the last time he visited me. We had even set up a visit for your dad and daddy to come visit. If that visit had gone well, you would have come to the next one.”
That statement was like a knife to the heart all over again. There was nothing to be done, so Aaron shoved all the feelings down. He braced himself and moved past the bedroom. Spencer joined him as he crossed the Guide’s bedroom.
“Agent Hotchner, my name is Diana Reed,” Diana said from where she was sitting in one of the chairs in the living room. Her eyes looked at Spencer who was standing just behind him but she looked right back at Aaron. “I’ve been medicated pretty heavily, don’t worry. My Guide gifts are suppressed at the moment. This is Doctor Norman.”
“Nice to meet you, Agent Hotchner.”
“Professor Reid, Doctor Norman.” Aaron wasn’t sure what to do. He just stood there. Jack feeling the tenseness of the room asked to be let go to play and Aaron let him. This wasn’t a social visit.
“Myra Cooper visited me at Bennington about a month ago. I know that Miss Garcia called and explained a few things that had happened but she didn’t tell me the whole truth and I can understand why but Myra, she told me the entire truth as she and her husband know it. The only good thing that has come out of this whole thing is that the Consortium was able to track that man and find a few others like him.” Diana shifted in her seat and stared Aaron down. When he couldn’t take it anymore, he looked away, sitting on the couch as he did. Her gifts might have been suppressed at the moment but there was no way to deny that she had been powerful before she’d been shattered.
“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t regret what happened. My part in it all.”
“As it should be but that’s not why I am here, Agent Hotchner. I am not here to make you feel bad. I have two reasons. The first is to let you know that while my former husband has not seen his son in two decades, he’s going to try and go through the courts to get custody of Spencer.” Diana finally looked at her son. There was such heartache in her eyes when she did. Spencer looked at her and smiled. He moved over to sit at her feet, head curled against her leg. Aaron had seen pictures of her and him like that in albums that he’d found in Spencer’s things when moving him back into the house. “It’s part of why Doctor Norman is here. Given that William still lives in Nevada and Doctor Norman is the leading expert on Guides, he came to evaluate Spencer before William even gets far enough. Now I don’t know how much Spencer ever told you about him.”
“I’ve looked him up since everything happened.” Aaron had found all he could on the Reid family, only to hit walls a great deal.
“Good. He won’t win but I know that Spencer is fragile right now. The stress of having to go into a courtroom and be paraded in front of all those people. I love my son fiercely and I won’t let them harm him.”
“Doctor Norman, if you’d like to speak to Jack, I can fetch him.”
“No. Right now I just want to watch. How he interacts throughout the day. I was also made aware that…” Norman pulled a small notebook from his jacket pocket. “Spencer has a room here but on the nights you come home from cases, he ends up in your bed.”
“I don’t do anything!” Aaron tried his hardest not jump up and get as far away from Spencer as possible. The young man was still just sitting down at his mother’s feet. Aaron’s loud words made him jerk in surprise, but there was no reaction other than that.
“No, I know. I was told he walked several miles to get to you when he missed you. Whatever happened between him and you before the other Sentinel got a hold of him, that can be dealt with when he gets out of this state. Right now this is what he wants.”
“The second reason I came with Doctor Norman is that I wanted to meet you and your son. What you don’t understand of what happened to my son, Agent Hotchner, is that he retreated into his mind to save it yes but also to save the bond with you and your son. He’ll come out when he’s ready and we need to make sure that you are here for him.”
Aaron was woken up to the sound of his ringtone going off. It took him a few seconds to figure out what it was. It was the ringtone for Spencer’s phone number. He grabbed the phone, his heart in his throat.
“Dad?” Jack was crying.
“Jack, what’s wrong?” The heart that had been in his throat was now in his gut. What was wrong and why was his son using Spencer’s phone?
“The cops came and took Spencer away. Something about a court order, I don’t know but Denise is on the phone with the Director right now. I grabbed Spencer’s phone from his room and I called you. Dad, come home. He was crying when they took him away.”
“I’ll be there as soon as I can.” Aaron hung up and turned to pound on the wall beside the bed. It was the room that Morgan and Rossi were sharing. The thud of feet told him that someone was up. Aaron dressed and had the door open by the time that Morgan and Dave opened their door. Prentiss stepped out on the other side as well.
“Dave, I need you to call Strauss. We have to get back to Virginia now. Get a team sent here.”
“Cops came with a court order and took Spencer from home. Jack says he was crying. Other than jumping at loud noises, he’s not shown emotion. This could make him go farther into his shell. I need to get there now.”
“I’ll call and get you the first flight out, whether it’s civilian or military,” Morgan said as he turned back into his room.
“Prentiss, call Garcia. I want her with Jack as well as Jessica. Denise called the Director so he’ll notify the Council.”
“What’s going on Hotch?”
“Spencer’s father is trying to get custody of him. Until I look at the court order, I don’t know a thing.”
It was an hour before the jet was ready and a three hour flight, but Strauss had another team enroute and ordered Aaron’s team back home. Garcia had already brought Jack and Jessica into Quantico and they were waiting on the tarmac when Aaron descended the plane. Strauss and the Director were waiting there as well.
“It’s gotten more complicated, Hotch,” the Director said as he stepped up.
“The Council stepped in and pulled him from the custody of the cops that were trying to give him over to the Summerlin police.”
“That’s good.” Summerlin, the location of where Spencer’s dad had lived since he’d left his family.
“Yes but in the resulting argument between sides, Spencer slipped away from them. The cameras caught him leaving the station but that’s where he was lost. I have Sentinels and Guides from the bureau looking for him and I’ve pulled rank in the area. Right now I am the top dog and I made sure every single cop from Summerlin knows it. I want your team on the streets. Miss Garcia is waiting at the SUVs to help direct you guys into what’s been done to find him.”
“I’m going to be very upset with everyone if he’s hurt.” Aaron looked at the face of the Director and Strauss. Spencer was wandering the city, alone. “Garcia, I know that we just got Jack and Jessica to Quantico but I don’t want strangers at the house. I would like the three of you to wait there. My office is set up and you should be able to use it for what you need.”
“A familiar face in case he comes back. You have it, Mon Capitan. I’ll have Derek drop us off.”
The overnight search turned up nothing. Spencer was nowhere. Aaron didn’t like it. Spencer wasn’t at a place mentally where he could hide like this. A chilly morning breeze whipped up and Aaron shivered. He was standing in his backyard. Then it hit him. The breeze had felt cold. He hadn’t felt cold breezes in a while.
Closing his eyes, Aaron reached into himself. The coldness was gone. He could feel Spencer as much as he’d been able to before he’d gone into the state he was in but there was something else there. Fear. The fear was so overwhelming.
“JACK!” Aaron yelled as he snapped his eyes open. Jack came running. “Jack, reach for Daddy.”
Jack looked at him with a funny face for a few seconds but then closed his eyes. After nearly a minute, Jack’s eyes opened and Aaron could tell that he felt the same thing. Spencer was awake.
“Morgan, Prentiss, Garcia,” Aaron said as entered the house with Jack following behind him.
“What’s up, Hotch?”
“He’s awake. That cold feeling is gone. He’s still hiding and I don’t know why but he’s awake. He’s actively hiding from us.”
“We have to figure out where he would hide at. If he’s not here, where would be feel safest?” Prentiss looked hopeful.
“Quantico but he won’t go there,” Aaron supplied.
“Why is he hiding from us? Until we know that we can’t figure out where he is.”
Aaron turned to Garcia. “Find out everything about the cops that came from Summerlin. There has to be something there. Morgan, alert the Director and then I want you out there. Prentiss, stay with Jack and Garcia. I’m heading out, Jack.” Aaron knelt to look his son in the eye. “I’ll bring him home. I promise. I need you to stay here in case he comes home.”
“Okay, Dad. I’ll stay here and wait.”
Aaron kissed the top of his head and looked at his team. JJ and Dave were at Quantico running the search from there with the humans. The Director was leading the search for him with the Sentinels and Guides in the area. Aaron was too emotional and he knew it.
Seven hours later, Aaron was sitting at the park where Spencer came to play chess but there was no scent of his lover. The Sentinel/Guide teams had come across his scent four times but lost it just as quickly. Aaron was at his wits end. They had figured out why Spencer had run like he had. Garcia had gotten the footage from the police station from when the Council had arrived to take him into their custody until Aaron could get back. There was a moment when a man had entered from a back room at the station and Spencer’s head had snapped up. The man had never been visible in that instance but looking back they had found his face. When the chief of police, the lead officer from Summerlin, and Frances Cooper had moved to the chief’s office, Spencer had used that confusion to leave. Spencer had looked at the camera as he’d left and Aaron could see from the look in his eyes that he was back. Something had happened.
The man had thrown a fit when he’d figured out that Spencer had slipped away and for now Aaron was keeping away from the Summerlin Police and William Reid. He was going to let the Director handle that part because he was afraid that he would harm the Sentinel.
A small yip from an animal drew Aaron’s gaze up from where he had been looking at his hands in defeat. The park was pretty empty, at least in the area he was, he hadn’t seen a single dog with it’s owner. There was no one in sight. He tried to find the animal but couldn’t. The yip came again, this time closer and Aaron turned to try and find it. The glow of eyes from a bush thirty feet away had to be where the sound was coming from. The animal shook the bush and then inched forward, it’s head barely visible. Aaron’s heart stopped. He took a step forward but the red fox disappeared backwards again.
Aaron pulled his own Spirit Animal from him and it appeared on the bench ten feet away. The fox’s head turned to look and then started out of the bush again. Moving steadily forward towards the falcon. When it was fully free from the bush, Aaron started to cry. It was Spencer’s Spirit Animal. When the fox was just a few feet away, the falcon jumped down and stood still while the fox sniffed at him. When the fox rubbed it’s entire side against the falcon, Aaron took a step towards them. This time the fox stayed. It waited for him and when he got within touching range, it ran the few steps and started to wind between his legs.
After a minute of rubbing on his legs, the fox took off into the trees. Aaron tried to follow but he couldn’t. Instead he moved to his SUV, following his falcon that had taken flight and seemed to be following the fox. He hoped it was following the fox.
Phone on speaker, Aaron called Garcia and had her conference the team in. “I think I can get to him.”
“You think?” Morgan asked.
“I was in the park where he plays chess trying to think and his Spirit Animal came to me. I’m now following it.” Aaron paused when it led him out of town. Where was he? Then it clicked. “Oh my God. We’ve been thinking wrong all along. Instead of places he would go, where wouldn’t he go? The fox is leading me to the woods on the outskirts of town. I want just the team. My falcon has landed. I need to go. Track my SUV.”
Aaron hung up and grabbed his phone as he jerked himself out of the vehicle. He didn’t lock it or anything. Barely remembered to grab the keys. He could see his falcon through breaks in the trees above but his eyes stayed with the fox as much as possible.
Two miles in, the fox stopped on a set of rocks that were by the river. The falcon landed on the upper edge of one of the rocks. Aaron manouvered around the rocks and found Spencer sitting there. His legs were tucked against his chest with his head on his knees. It was a perfect little hideaway. The rock outcropping had a cover over top and the rocks blocked all lines of sight unless one went into the mouth. There was fifteen feet between Spencer and Aaron.
Aaron stayed at the mouth, not wanting to scare Spencer. The fox moved to sit at Spencer’s feet, rubbing on his legs, but the Guide didn’t react. Aaron felt his own falcon land on his shoulder before jumping. He settled on Spencer’s shoulder but there was no reaction. He gasped.
That got a reaction out of Spencer. The Guide’s head shot up and he locked eyes with Aaron. The Sentinel didn’t move. This was all on Spencer. His decision of what he wanted to do.
“How did you find me?” Spencer whispered. His eyes were full of fear and Aaron didn’t like it. He wasn’t sure if the fear was just there or if he was scared of Aaron.
“Your fox led me to you.”
“What?” Spencer started to look around. His eyes sliding past the fox and the falcon. “Where?”
“Right in front of you. My falcon is on your shoulder.”
Spencer buried his head on his knees. “I need Morgan or Prentiss.”
Aaron felt tears on his face. He crouched down to sit. “I’ll get them but I have no reception here. I’ll have to leave. Can’t I help you?”
Spencer didn’t answer for a long minute. He stayed stock still but then finally looked up. “Why do you care?” The words were whispered but with Aaron’s hearing, he heard not only the words but the emotion behind them. Aaron was ten feet away from Spencer but there was no way out other than the entrance that Aaron was blocking. If the Guide couldn’t see his own Spirit Animal, he was no way in control of his gifts. If Aaron scared him, Spencer could hurt or even kill him.
“No matter what happened between us, you are a Guide in distress, Spencer. I can’t ignore that. Let me get you out of here and I can help you.”
“He really came and got you?” Spencer looked up at him, standing as he did.
“He led me several miles to here, Spence. I have a lot to make up for.”
Spencer nodded and moved a step closer to Aaron but he stopped like he wasn’t sure. Aaron slowly stood up and opened his arms while he stepped to the side. Spencer could go to the side and out into the woods or he could step into Aaron’s arms. His Guide’s eyes darted between the opening and Aaron. Back and forth. Back and forth.
Then he took off at a run to Aaron. The Sentinel took a few steps towards his Guide as Spencer jumped up into his arms. The younger man wrapped his legs around his waist as soon as he touched him, arms around his neck and buried his head there. Aaron wrapped an arm around Spencer’s back to help hold him steady and the other hand went to the back of his head to hold him there.
The bond flared to life and it nearly dropped Aaron to his knees. He felt the full body shudder from Spencer.
“I’m so sorry, Spence. I know the truth now. I am so sorry.” Aaron felt tears on his neck and pulled Spencer even tighter against him. He’d wanted this for so long. To hold Spencer again. To have it be Spencer again. The sound of running feet had Aaron tempted to drop Spencer and shoved him behind. To protect him but the sound of the breathing and the heartbeat of the person running to him stopped his reaction.
“Spencer, Jack’s on his way, he’s about a mile out. I don’t know who brought him.”
The Guide nodded against his neck but didn’t let go. Aaron wasn’t going to be the first to let go. He heard Jack moving ever closer but Spencer still wasn’t letting go. Jack slowed down as he neared the rock outcropping. He stayed on the outer edge. After Jack had been standing at the edge for a few minutes, Spencer unwrapped his legs and pulled out of Aaron’s arms. He moved out of the rocks and Aaron followed. Jack was alone or he would have never let Spencer out first.
Aaron watched Spencer crouch down and pull Jack into his arms. He turned down his hearing so that he wouldn’t hear the words being said between father and son. He kept watch, he wasn’t an idiot. Any one of the Summerlin police could have slipped away from surveillance and followed him. He saw Morgan and Prentiss at the edge of his sight, both were watching Spencer with Jack. Morgan’s eyes though kept moving to him. He knew he wasn’t going to get any alone time with Spencer to talk for a while. The other Sentinels on the team would make sure of it. He was watching Morgan so closely that he jumped when he felt a hand on his cheek. Turning, he found Spencer standing in front of him. He turned his hearing back up.
“Aaron? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. I was just trying to give you privacy.”
“Oh.” A strange looked passed over his face but it was gone in seconds. Aaron wasn’t sure what it meant but he’d have to wait to figure it out. While the bond was open on both ends, there was still things being hidden from him by Spencer. Aaron was going to let it go. For Spencer no time had passed since he’d been in the hands of Gideon even though it had. The team had learned to cope but he hadn’t. Aaron needed time to get him to open up and talk. Time he wasn’t going to get for a while.
Jack grabbed Spencer’s hand and they moved towards where Morgan and Prentiss were. Aaron followed behind.
“Director wants us back at Quantico. The Council is there as is William Reid. The Summerlin police were not allowed on base. The Council is not happy that he brought humans into this and is still pursuing this. We’ve kept it a secret that Reid has woken up.”
“I’ll handle my father.”
Spencer followed Aaron and Morgan into the bullpen where the Director and the rest of the team was. Jessica had Jack in another part of Quantico. Aaron had only ever seen pictures of William Reid but he hated the man in the instant that he got a look at his son.
“Actually it’s Agent Hotchner, or Unit Chief Hotchner. Since we are both Sentinels, I won’t make you call me that.” Aaron stopped five feet away from him and stood ramrod straight. He felt Spencer stop at his back.
“My son belongs with his family. I already have a spot for him secured at Bennington. Doctor Norman is waiting for us in Vegas.”
“His family is here. You have no right to dictate his life.”
“You have no right to keep him here after you threw him away,” William demanded as he took a step forward.
“That’s rich coming from you,” Spencer said from behind him. He moved around Aaron, keeping a hand on his hip. “I want you gone, William. I want you out of my area of control and I want you to never come back. You have two hours to get the cops from Summerlin out as well. If need be I will have the local Sentinels escort you out.”
“You are awake?”
“Yes. I am. Are you going to follow what I have dictated. I don’t trust you around Guides. Also,” Spencer stepped closer to William and Aaron tried to grab him and pull him back. Spencer dodged the hand and turned to glare at him. Aaron raised his hands and moved back. “You will tell me where Sentinel Smythe is and you will tell me now.”
“You don’t scare me, Spencer,” William said.
“I should, father. I should scare the shit out of you. Watch the Sentinels around me. They are not watching you, they are watching me. Behind me are the two most powerful Sentinels in a five state area plus two others and they are not afraid of what you will do to me but what I will do to you. I don’t know what Sentinel Smythe and Gideon have told you over the years but I promise you, father Doctor Norman wasn’t going to keep me there. The second you would have dropped me off, he’d have locked down the hospital and waited for Aaron and Morgan to come and get me.”
“What would Doctor Norman care about you for?” William asked.
“You were going to put me in that place and take control of my trusts from mom’s family. You would have not been able to get a single dollar from them. The second that Jack bonded with me as my child, he’s been my heir. The second you committed me, that money would have gone to him after paying for my care.”
William looked at him in shock. “That’s what you are going to do with your legacy? Give it to the child of the man who hurt you?”
Spence smiled. It wasn’t a nice smile. Aaron had never seen it before. Spencer took another two steps and it brought him face to face with his father.
“My mother’s legacy?” The laugh that left Spencer’s mouth was creepy and it sent shivers down Aaron’s spine. This wasn’t a Spencer that he had ever seen before. “Don’t know much about Bennington do you? Never been inside. No Sentinels are allowed past the first floor. Sitting probably right now in a third floor sunroom, writing in her journal is Diana Reid.” William’s eyes widened at his words and then Spencer went on. “She’s alive and well. You tried to kill her but you never succeeded. I protected mother from you for years and you never knew it. All that money that you wanted? It’s gone. I have enough saved up to put Jack through college and to live how I want with my books but you’ll never been able to touch it.”
“And talking about the man who hurt me? He may have thrown me out but he didn’t rip the bond from my mind. He took me into his house and cared for me. He’s nothing like you.” He turned and stepped right into Aaron’s arms, letting his Sentinel hold him. “Two hours. Now where is Smythe?”
“Waiting at your house for you to come back.”
“Leave, because she is no longer your concern.”
William Reid turned and left, picking up a Marine escort as he neared the elevators.
Spencer exited the SUV in front of the house that he knew he’d been living in for months but couldn’t remember a single second of it, he’d lived in his head and had worked through many issues. He’d had nothing but time to work through so many things. He didn’t like the not knowing though. He had one of Aaron’s personal guns at his back, a reassuring weight. Jack was with Jessica in an SUV around the block. He’d been awake for a little longer than what Aaron and the rest of the team thought. He’d been awake from the moment that one of the cops from Summerlin had touched him to help him into their car. It had been easy to fake with those who were not used to what he did and didn’t do in the state. If it had been Aaron or any of the others, he would have been figured out.
“She won’t hurt me. Not right away,” Spencer said as he tucked himself into Aaron’s side. The team was scattered around, waiting to move in on their mark. Aaron didn’t say anything, instead he just pushed at Spencer’s back to get him into the house quicker. Their entire plan hinged on a single solitary fact. Something that Spencer hadn’t told Aaron yet. He was going to tell him as soon as they were alone. Aaron unlocked the house and ushered Spencer in, shutting and locking the door as quickly as he could. As soon as the door was shut, Spencer stepped away from Aaron. The game they were playing was hard on him. He could still feel all the anger that Aaron was keeping locked up inside over what he had done, what he had kept from him.
“What do you mean?”
“It wasn’t until I got a good look at William that I figured it out. I never understood her reaction to me. Why she hated me. Then I figured it out. She’s a year and a half younger than me. I don’t know who her mother was but her father is William Reid. She’s jealous. I am sure that once he left mom and I, he went to whoever her mother is and lived with them. Some time after that William figured out how powerful I was. He regretted leaving. Do you know how much power and respect he would have gotten if he’d never left. I would have been one of the most sought out Guides for bonding on the west coast.”
Spencer’s instincts were screaming at him to just kiss him. To grab Aaron’s face and take what he could. His brain was telling him it was a horrible idea and his heart? His heart just wanted him to curl up in a corner and cry. Instead he did nothing.
“She’s your half sister?”
“Yes, I am.” Smythe said as the click of a gun cocking sounded in the room. Spencer spun to look at where the sound came from and found his sister with a gun leveled at Aaron’s head. “I was his precious little daughter and then you had to come out as the leader of this area. I knew who you were long before that. I’d known since the first time I saw you. You smell like him. Gideon was supposed to shatter your mind and then kill himself when he saw what he had done. I was six when Gideon saw you for the first time in Vegas. He was there on a case and he saw something in you. It wasn’t hard to play with him. He always came back and checked up on you. Then when he came to Cal-Tech, I had a friend who kept an eye on you.”
“You are insane,” Aaron said. His eyes were calm. There was no way to signal the team that she was already in the house. They were outside waiting to find her.
“You’re a powerful Sentinel, Hotchner but you can’t dodge a bullet at this close. So just shut up.”
“You turned a Sentinel crazy?”
“No, the bits were there already. I just tweaked them. He watched you from afar at Quantico and so did I. He needed little pushing at that point. Then he had a breakdown and left. I stepped back and then he moved back to DC and it didn’t take long after you bonded with Hotchner to twist him more. He had friends who were skilled enough hackers to get what we needed to destroy your relationship with Hotchner and then you were alone. The only thing that he didn’t do that I wanted was he was supposed to kill the kid. Losing him would have pushed you both so far apart that it would have destroyed you. It wouldn’t have been long before you took your own life.”
Spencer looked into her eyes and he saw the truth. William had been so hung up on leaving them even though he had done it on his own that he’d destroyed her life as well. There was such clarity on what he had to do. She would never leave him alone. Never. Her mind was easy to invade. He’d not done it for a long time. Not since he’d joined the BAU. Smythe gasped in shock and her hand started to squeeze but a quick jab into her brain and her entire body froze.
“Spencer?” Aaron asked.
The empathic weight in the room was so big that if Garcia or Henry would have been in the room, they would have dropped to the floor. Neither of them were ready for what Spencer felt like when he truly let all of his powers out. Smythe screamed. This is what he could have done to Gideon if he hadn’t been drugged. Aaron dropped to his knees, gasping because it hurt to breathe. Spencer had felt this once before in his life. He knew what it had felt like because his mother had showed him what it would feel like so that he kept a secure lid on his powers. It would have been so easy for him to hurt anyone if he wanted.
“Adriana Smythe, I find you lacking in what it means to be a Sentinel. So I unmake you.” Spencer reached out with his hand and touched her forehead. All of her extended senses were wiped from her brain. The pathways that led to them were fried. No one would ever be able to fix her and the pathways would never heal. It wasn’t painful, not physically. Mentally it was like being set on fire. Smythe dropped to the floor as her eyes rolled up into her head.
There was no way that Morgan and Prentiss hadn’t felt that and weren’t on their way. Garcia and Jack, he knew, would have felt it. Jack was too attuned to him not to have. It was too much on his weak body. He dropped to his knees and the world swam. The last thing that he saw was Aaron’s worried face over top of his and his lips moving.
Aaron felt the body so close to his jerk. Smythe had stopped speaking and the empathic field that he’d gotten used to coming off his Guide doubled.
“Spencer?” As he spoke the words the field doubled again and again. Aaron couldn’t stop himself as he felt to his knees. He’d never felt anything like this before. It hurt to breath, it hurt to think. He heard Spencer say something and he tried to focus on the words.
“…lacking in what it means to be a Sentinel. So I unmake you.” Spencer reached out and touched her forehead. It happened again, the empathic weight tripled this time though. His breath caught in his throat and Aaron felt like he was going to die. Then Smythe fell to the floor and the empathic weight was gone.
Aaron recovered quickly, taking gulping breaths of air as Spencer fell to his knees. He watched his Guide’s eyes lose focus and he tried to reach out and catch him but his limbs still weren’t responding. He was only able to lean over and look into Spencer’s face.
“Spencer?” Aaron said as Spencer’s eyes rolled back in his head. He reached out and touched his face, he could feel the beat of his heart in his cheek. The bond was there pulsing feeling back into his body slowly but he couldn’t move much.
The front door opened and Aaron was able to move. In a flash, he was crouched over Spencer with his body protecting his Guide and a snarl ripped from his throat. He recognized Morgan but no one was getting close to Spencer. A quick shove and Morgan had the door shut. Aaron heard the squawk from Prentiss on the other side but he didn’t care.
“Hotch, man. Calm down. Just calm down. I’m not gonna touch Reid. I promise. Let me get Smythe out of here.” Morgan stayed by the door but pointed at the former Sentinel on the floor. His words had to have been heard by Prentiss because she stopped banging on the door.
Aaron thought about his words and what they meant. When he was sure that Morgan wasn’t going to move any closer, he quickly lifted Spencer’s upper body up and dragged him backwards. When his back hit the wall he stopped. Morgan moved forward only far enough to grab a hold of Smythe’s foot and pull her towards him. He knocked on the door and it was opened. Prentiss helped him get her out of the house.
“We will be outside, Hotch. Just let us know what’s going on when he wakes up, okay?” Morgan was out the door before Aaron could reply. He was worried about Spencer. He didn’t know what his Guide had done and why he was asleep. His heart rate seemed fine but there was nothing out of him. He knew what he wanted but for the first time in a long while, he was unsure if he had the right. His only thought was getting Spencer somewhere safe and that meant the bedroom. It’s where his backup weapons were and only had one entrance. He could feel the gun that he had given Spencer pressed against his stomach. His own was on his hip and a secondary at his ankle.
Holding Spencer in his arms bridal style, Aaron stood up and moved to the upper areas of the house. The bed was still unmade from where he had rushed out for a case at five in the morning. That meant his smell was still on the sheets. He laid Spencer down and covered him up. When Spencer shifted around in the bed, pulling Aaron’s pillow from under his head and wrapping his arms around it, he made his decision. He quickly changed out of his suit and into jeans and a t-shirt before snuggling in around his Guide.
Aaron had spent months learning the beat of Spencer’s heart. When he had been in his coma-like state, it had never varied. The beat was constant. Every time Spencer shuffled around on the bed it would spike up and then drop again once he had stopped moving. He spent what felt like hours relearning what his heart beat sounded like. He was so focused that he almost missed the intake of breath when Spencer woke up.
“Hotch?” Spencer asked, his voice small and whisper like.
“Don’t,” Aaron begged. He didn’t want Spencer to call him that. His Guide tried to pull away but Aaron held on tight. Spencer’s breathing became ragged and he struggled for a few seconds and then settled.
“I don’t know what you want from me.”
“I am so sorry for everything. I am so sorry for letting anger blind me to where I just kicked you out without talking. Garcia found out everything when you went missing. The unaltered transcripts that were filed with your therapist. That you didn’t remember a thing. I should have talked to you.”
“I should have told you about mom.”
“She came for a visit.”
Spencer shifted so suddenly that Aaron didn’t have a chance to stop him. His Guide spun in his arms and looked at him, his face so confused that Aaron wanted to lean down and kiss him. He didn’t fight the urge, he cupped the side of Spencer’s face and kissed him. A few seconds of no reaction and then Spencer was kissing him back. Aaron let Spencer dictate the kiss. When the younger man’s tongue traced his lips, he opened them wide, letting their tongues tangle. He knew that this was a bad idea but he couldn’t help himself. This was better than his dreams, better than his memories. Spencer’s hands on his face, cupping his cheeks and pushing pulled him out of his thoughts. He looked into Spencer’s eyes and saw the happiness there but pain too. He would try for the rest of his life to get rid of that pain. His Guide ducked his head and buried it in his neck.
“Your mom showed up at the house with Doctor Norman and told me about your father trying to get custody. She spoke to Jack. She spoke to me. She met the entire team. She apologized for having you keep her a secret, that she begged you to let everyone think she was dead. Given her level of paranoia after William left, it was understandable that you would seek her permission before telling even me about her. I also understand why you wanted to do it in person and not in a letter. She had a small freak out here. Nothing Doctor Norman couldn’t handle but I could feel her gifts pressing at her mind.”
“She’s not left Bennington since I put here there,” Spencer whispered.
“I’ve done many irrational things over the years while working for the FBI. Your mom is a Guide and while she doesn’t live in your area, she’s yours to protect because she can’t protect herself anymore. You’ve proven time and again what you will do to protect Jack and Henry, I should have expected no less for your mom.” Aaron tilted his head to the side so that he could listen to the area around the house. “We aren’t going to be able to push off Morgan for much longer. I figure by now Smythe is in Consortium hands. I can’t hear Jack but that doesn’t mean anything at this point.”
“Don’t want to get up.” Spencer snuggled further under the blankets and wrapped himself around Aaron. He was quite happy with that, but Morgan and Prentiss would want to see Spencer to make sure he was fine and talk to him to figure out what he had done to Smythe. Hell, Aaron wanted to know as well. When Spencer’s hand snaked under his shirt and wrapped around his back, Aaron figured it out. The bond was making him skin hungry. It wasn’t a sexual touch, just a reassuring one. It wasn’t that hard to understand. Spencer had bound the bond and it wanted reassurance. His Guide wasn’t ready for what they had been before the end of their relationship. That would take time to build back up but just like when Spencer had sought him out while he’d been in his coma like state, he needed touch.
“You need to eat. I know that I do.” Aaron shifted and Spencer’s head moved away from his neck, he tilted it to where he could see his Guide’s eyes. “Why don’t we get settled in the kitchen with some food and coffee and we can talk to Prentiss and Morgan and have someone go and get Jack and Henry. Henry has been missing you something fierce.”
“If I have to get up out of this bed, I demand coffee.”
Aaron chuckled as he laid a kiss on the top of Spencer’s head. “Of course. I have some of the expensive stuff you like.”
“You hate drinking that!” Spencer locked his eyes with Aaron’s and just stared.
“I do hate drinking it but I was trying everything I could think of to get you back, Spencer. I was outside the room when it happened, Spencer. I felt you leave me and I felt so cold for so long. I couldn’t get warm. I slept in this bed in long sleeves and sweats and shivered all night. Even the nights when you would…” Aaron stopped. That was a discussion that would be better had when they weren’t curled around each other in bed.
“Slip into bed with you? I can smell myself on the sheets, Aaron. On my pillow, on my side of the bed. I’m not going to freak out. I know that I was away for at least four months. I also know what I could and couldn’t do during that time. What you wouldn’t do.”
“You knew what you were doing?”
“It’s something instinctive with Guides but it can only be done by powerful ones and bonded ones at that. I knew exactly what I was doing and I knew that I could stay that way for the rest of my life. It was better than the alternative, I thought. I would have ended up in worse condition than my mother. My mother was just as powerful as I was when I came online. I’ve only gotten more powerful since then. I could have killed any number of people who were there. Knowing now that you were right outside, I can’t say that I should have made a different decision.” Spencer started to move the hand that was on his back. It lightly traced up and down, up and down. Aaron let the feel of it sink him into a state of bliss. He could feel how calm and happy Spencer was. It felt wonderful to be wrapped around him again.
Aaron wasn’t sure how long they stayed like that, just relaxing back into the bond but he didn’t want it to end. The slamming of the front door though had Aaron tensing before the sound of Jack and Henry talking floated up the stairs to his ears.
“I guess they got impatient,” Spencer whispered as he placed a kiss on Aaron’s neck before untangling himself from his Sentinel. He was dressed in jeans but the button down was wrinkled. He stripped the shirt off and pulled out one of Aaron’s older shirts, slipping it on. Aaron knew what Spencer was going for and it wasn’t going to make the team happy. If Morgan had his way, the Guide would be going home with him or even Prentiss, possibly the Director but not staying with him at all.
The front door opened again and several pairs of feet entered the house. It was the team. This was not going to be fun.
Spencer left the bedroom as soon as he pulled on Aaron’s shirt. As far as he was concerned, they were back together. There were still things that needed to be talked about but the main two items had been discussed. He could feel Aaron’s worry and knew that it had to do with the team. Jack and Henry were waiting for him at the stop of the stairs. Spencer dropped to his knees as Henry took off at him. He gripped the little Guide tight in his arms. It felt so good to hold him. He could hear Jack stop just inches from him but his son didn’t push it. He waited until Spencer held out an arm before he stepped to get his hug as well.
“Worried. Give him a few minutes, Jackers. He’ll be down in a few minutes. Why don’t we go and get me some coffee?” Spencer stood up, keeping Henry in his arms. Jack took a hold of his free hand, pulling him down the stairs and into the kitchen without even looking at the team gathered in the living room. Once Spencer had sat Henry down on the counter, Jack moved to the doorway, glaring at someone. Spencer wanted to tell him to stop it but he could use the few minutes to gather himself. Henry was chattering away about what he’d been doing while he was sick.
“…And Miss Penny has been helping me. How do I tell her that I liked her help but now that you are back, I don’t need her help anymore, Uncle Spencer?” Henry asked.
The name stopped Spencer cold as he was pouring water into the coffee pot. He looked at the boy sitting by the sink in shock. Uncle Spencer? When had he earned that name? Henry just stared at him, waiting for an answer.
“We can talk to her together, Henry. I’m sure she will understand and won’t be upset but I am sure that she will miss you. Maybe we can both help you from time to time with working on your abilities.”
“That sounds good. I’m glad you are better, Uncle Spencer.”
The name again. Spencer finished with the water and moved to stand in front of the Guide. “Henry, why do you call me that?”
“Because you are Jack’s daddy and it’s weird to call you just Spencer when he calls you daddy. So I asked mom and dad and they said that uncle would work.” Henry looked up at him, worrying his hands together. “It’s okay isn’t it?”
“Of course it.” Spencer kissed the top of his head and then helped him jump down when he held out his hands. Henry ran right past Jack and up the stairs before Spencer could yell at him. The running footsteps came to a halt just outside the master bedroom. The thud told him that the Guide had run into Aaron, literally. He couldn’t hold back the chuckle.
“Hi, Uncle Aaron.”
“Hi, Henry. Where were you off to at such a quick run?” Aaron’s voice was soft and full of amusement. It carried right down the hall so there was no way that the whole house wasn’t hearing it. Jack was peeking around the corner, looking at his Guide with a smile on his face.
“I wanted to get the book from Jack’s room and show Uncle Spencer.”
“Oh. Well go ahead and grab it but please walk.”
“Yes, Sir!” Henry said.
Jack started laughing and looked back at Spencer. “He saluted dad!”
Spencer shook his head laughing. The coffee was almost done brewing. It was at least done enough to where he swapped out the pot for a mug and then filled his mug before swapping the two items again. He poured in the sugar and then took a hesitant sip. It was perfect. He turned around once more to see Jack glaring at someone again.
“Jack, it’s fine. Just let Morgan in.” Spencer leaned against the counter, his back settled against the edge of the fridge. Jack looked at him with a frown on his face. He could understand Jack not wanting another Sentinel, even a bonded one around him right now. The only thing keeping Aaron away was that he knew that Spencer needed to handle this on his own. Jack didn’t have the wisdom for that yet. “Jack.”
“Fine.” Jack stepped aside. He snorted and then turned to follow his Guide up the stairs.
Spencer was not looking forward to his teenaged years. Then again no parent did. Finally he looked at Morgan.
“Reid. How are you feeling?” Morgan looked unsure but he stayed at the edge of the room. He acted like he wanted to move across the room and crowd his space.
“Better now that I have had a good nap.” Spencer took a sip of his coffee and felt Aaron check on him over the bond.
“I destroyed Smythe’s abilities to touch her Sentinel gifts, for all intents and purposes she’s human and given enough time she will feel human to all Sentinels and Guides. It was a little much after not using my abilities for so long. It drained me a great deal.” Spencer wasn’t going to pull his punches with any of this. He liked that the team was trying to protect him but he could protect himself now.
Morgan looked at him in shock. “Seriously?”
“Yes. It’s not even the first time I have done it. It’s what I would have done to the Sentinel in the forest if Aaron hadn’t gone feral.”
“The Sentinel from the case in New Orleans, where JJ met Will. When following up, we never understood why she was put in solitary for so long after sentencing.”
“When Aaron becomes the Director of the FBI, he’ll be read in on all the facts. There are three other Guides within the United States that can do this. Two are military and the other works for the CIA.” Spencer pushed at the bond to get Aaron to move down into at least the living room. He didn’t like the silence in that room nor the fact that neither Jack nor Henry had come back down yet. When he heard his Sentinel on the stairs, he dropped his final two bombs of the day. “I will be staying here, Morgan. The Director knows my mind on all of this and will support me all the way. Aaron and I have talked and things are worked out. That is not to say that it’s not going to be hard for a few weeks but it is what it is. Also please try and remember this little fact, there are only two Guides in the whole of the world that can break a bond once established between a Guide and a Sentinel, no matter what. And only a handful of people in the world know that they can do it.”
Spencer let those words sink into Morgan and the rest of the team’s heads as he drained the last of his cup of coffee. He could feel the mood in the room changing.
“Aaron couldn’t keep me in this bond if I didn’t want it. When I picked what I wanted to do with my life, I had a lot of choices. Think tanks, pure science jobs, teaching, starting my own company. I chose the FBI because of the bureau’s policies on Sentinels and Guides. It’s one of the most forward in this country. I also knew that no matter what, whoever was in power at the time would respect me and my powers. The Director has never done anything that makes me regret working for him.”
“I thought that both sides have to agree for a bond to be removed?” Morgan asked.
“No. I could at this single moment reach into your mind and sever it from Garcia’s forever and it wouldn’t harm either one of you. I’ve done it where a seriously messed up Sentinel or Guide has bonded with someone innocent. I am able to break the bond in a way that would allow the innocent party to find someone else if they so choose but the crazy one can’t. I’ve only ever had to do it by force once and if I hadn’t, a Sentinel would have gone insane because her Guide had been tortured so much that she had gone insane. To this day that Sentinel visits her near daily at the hospital. The Guide will never recover. So remember that when you think that you know what’s best for me. I know my mind. I know Aaron’s mind. You don’t. So enjoy the fact that I am well and whole and back.”
“So that’s that? You spend a few hours talking to him and everything is fine? Reid, man he kicked you out of the house.” Morgan looked ready to explode.
“He didn’t set out to have the bond severed. He wasn’t able to make that step, Morgan. That gave me hope. He allowed me to see Jack and never once spoke a bad word about me in front of him. He didn’t handle it in the best way but I know well what a shock like that can do to someone. My relationship with MY Sentinel is that, mine. You butt out or I will throw you out of my house.” Spencer kept his eyes locked with the Sentinel and didn’t back down.
Morgan raised his hands in supplication and backed out of the kitchen. Garcia and JJ were next into the room. Garcia moved up like she wanted to hug him but stopped a few feet away. Spencer smiled at her and opened his arms and she squealed as she hugged him so hard he could barely breathe.
“I’m okay, Penelope. Body, mind, and soul. I’m okay.”
“Oh, Boy Wonder. I missed you. You didn’t feel right and I didn’t like it and you were gone and I just couldn’t!” Garcia started to cry and Spencer just held her and let her get all her emotions out. JJ stepped up and tried to help calm her down by rubbing at her back but all she did was sob harder. Aaron entered the kitchen with the two kids, Prentiss and Morgan on their heels. Rossi was last into the room. The older man would want to talk to him alone, just to make sure but he would take Spencer at his words.
“I’m here now, Garcia.” Spencer’s eyes sought out Morgan and the Sentinel came and took his Guide, tucking her into his arms and holding her tight. As soon as Morgan crossed the room with her, Aaron moved over to him, taking the empty mug that his Guide had set out for him. He filled it with coffee. Spencer was shocked when he didn’t settle there. Instead he moved to stand behind him, settling a hand on his Guide’s lower back.
“Why was Smythe so obsessed with you?” JJ asked, seemingly the first to want to break the silence.
Spencer didn’t answer her. Instead he turned to Rossi. “Ask your question, Rossi. I’ll get to yours after, JJ.”
Rossi snorted and then smiled. “You said you basically unmade her. Who do you have to justify that to?”
“My Sentinel and now the Council. There has never been a case where it had been done and it deemed wrong after. If I was corrupt enough to do it to an innocent, I would go insane and not be able to touch that part of me anymore. It’s happened once in history. I was given the okay by the Council once they figured out the depth of how crazy she was. That was a week before I was taken by Gideon. She’s been in hiding since then.”
“How did you know your father knew where she was?” Prentiss asked.
“She’s a year and a half younger than me. Her birth father is not on her record. The Council spent months trying to find out but I figured it out in seconds after seeing her father. Within the hour, my father will be leaving Virginia and hopefully never returning. I don’t know if he will still love her now that she is no longer a Sentinel.”
“She’s your sister?” Rossi asked. He looked like that thought hadn’t even crossed his mind.
“She has quite a few traits of my father and it didn’t take long to see it. Other than having knowledge of where my father was, I’ve not cared for much more information than that. I never looked at pictures. I’ve made him think for over ten years that my mom is dead. He focused on me because of that. Especially when he found out how much money mom’s side of the family had. It was easy. Bennington will do anything to protect those inside their halls. You were able to access it because I made sure the FBI could find her if need be. The Director was very helpful with that.” Spencer took a deep breath. “Look I know that everyone is happy to have me back but I need time. I would like time to get used to this. I just want a few days. Can I get that?”
“Of course,” Rossi said. Morgan opened his mouth but the look from Rossi and Garcia stopped him cold. Morgan closed his mouth with a snap. Garcia pulled him from the kitchen and Rossi followed behind. Prentiss gave him a nod. That left JJ and Henry.
“Bring Henry by tomorrow morning. We’ll keep him overnight,” Spencer said as he moved over to give her a hug. Henry raised his arms up for a hug as well. Spencer lifted the young Guide into his arms and gave him a hard hug. JJ and her son left and then it was just the three of them. Jack tucked himself in at Spencer’s side and Aaron settled in at his back. It was going to be hard getting back to where they had been but it was worth it.
One Month Later
Aaron was standing outside his office waiting. He’d been back to work at the BAU for two weeks after spending two weeks with Spencer and Jack and sometimes Henry. Spencer had spent the past two weeks getting everything done to come back to the BAU, without the team knowing. He wanted to surprise them. He’d found a case for them and he was getting ready to pull them all into the conference room to start discussing it.
“BAU Team, conference room!” Aaron said with a grim look on his face and more force than necessary. The team was back to a better keel but Morgan still tried to test him on occasion. That wouldn’t go away until Morgan’s senses trusted that Aaron was back to his old self. That wouldn’t be until Spencer was back where he belonged.
“We have three dead in Columbus, Ohio,” Garcia said as she clicked over to the images of the bodies found. Her back was to the screen but she wasn’t looking at anything but the table.
“The UnSub drains them of their blood?” Spencer asked as he entered the room. Aaron had heard him making his way up the stairs and had kept still. The entire team’s heads turned to look at him. Aaron knew exactly what he was dressed in. Black slacks with a light purple shirt and a dark purple vest. His hair was shorter than Aaron had ever seen on him but he liked it. He was also wearing a pair of black and white converse. His gun at his hip.
“Reid?” Garcia asked.
“Full reinstatement as of,” Spencer paused to look at his watch, “twelve minutes and thirteen seconds ago. Passed my gun qualification as well. So Ohio right?” Spencer took the seat next to Aaron. Garcia looked down at the table again and then back up at him in shock.
“I don’t have a file for you.” Garcia pouted at him but she was saved when Aaron slid him over a paper file with a small smile.
The jet landed in no time and the team split up. Aaron sent JJ and Spencer to look at the newest crime scene while he and Dave went to the station to get set up. Morgan and Prentiss took the SUV after dropping them off and made their way over to the morgue to look at victims one and two.
Spencer put the SUV in park before shutting off the engine. JJ was looking solely at the crime scenes in front of them. What had once been a beautiful park was now cordoned off with police tape in three sections. The first two were barely visible from where Spencer had parked.
“Brave. To come to a place where you have dumped two other bodies and dump a third with police coverage,” Spencer mused.
“Yes. Intelligent as well. Not a single cop saw or heard them.”
“But none of their Sentinels were on duty at that time. The body dump was two hours earlier than the other two had been. Did the UnSub’s timeline change or did the dump happen when no Sentinel was on duty on purpose?”
“Let’s go see what we see,” JJ said with a smile and a pat to Spencer’s arm.
Spencer let JJ take the lead. This was his first crime scene since waking up and he wanted to make sure that he didn’t overload himself. Aaron had wanted to come with him but he said that his hovering would make him more likely to overload himself. His Sentinel hadn’t been happy but had given in.
“Case willing, Jack still good to come over this weekend?” Spencer asked as he held up the police tape to let JJ pass under it first.
“Of course. I am sure the two of you would like some alone time. Hotch had said that Jack’s been clingy.”
Spencer laughed. “Clingy is an understatement. After I came back from visiting mom last week, he didn’t leave my side for two hours. Doctor Norman said that mom is doing well all things considered. She took the news of William’s marital betrayal a great deal better than I even thought. I think that she might be finally healing from all of that.”
“Will she ever get better?”
“No. She might be able to actually come visit me and things like that but live on her own outside Bennington? Never.” Spencer stopped and let his eyes take in the crime scene. There was something really off about it and he couldn’t put his finger on it. All three men killed had been drained of blood. The first and second at the location of their death but the third was done at another.
“That’s sad but I can see why. Watching Henry with Jack. I can’t see Jack ever hurting Henry like that, not after everything that you and Hotch have gone through.” JJ moved around the edge of the scene before she snapped on her gloves to touch at the spots where the footprints were taken from. “Two sets of prints, one big and one a little smaller.”
“Children learn from their parents. Aaron’s weren’t good parents. Sean is human and didn’t understand a lot of what happened.” Spencer looked at what JJ was pointing out. The second print was only a shoe size or two smaller than the bigger of the prints. “Two UnSubs, given the trail of blood where they walked.”
“You’ve met Sean?” JJ looked up at him in shock.
“No. He calls on occasion and talks to Aaron and sometimes Jack, but he’s never asked to talk to me and I won’t force him to.” Spencer looked out to the other scenes. “I want to go look at the first scene. Want to stay or come with me?”
“I’ll come.” JJ stood up from her crouch and followed him as he moved around the park. As he got closer to the scene, he knew what he was feeling. He stopped, grabbing JJ as he did. He wasn’t nice and jerked her back, nearly wrenching her arm from her socket. “Spence?”
“Don’t. Oh, God. Don’t get any closer. We need Aaron and Morgan here now. I need my phone.” Spencer jerked his phone from his pocket and dialed Aaron’s number without ever looking at the screen.
“Aaron. I need you and Morgan here now. Leave Prentiss at the station. I also want the LEO’s Sentinel/Guide pair here. No unbonded Sentinels or Guides are allowed in this park.”
“Spencer, what’s wrong?”
“Folie à deux. The first crime scene is awash with empathic markers. It’s a bonded pair, Aaron.”
“Fuck. All right, stay back and we will be there as soon as possible.”
Spencer hung up his phone and looked at JJ. She looked horrified. She knew the terms. She knew the ramification of this. Spencer did too. The pair wasn’t going to go down without a fight.
“Some would like to believe that our natures keep Guides and Sentinels from becoming monsters like this but we know it to be different. It’s just as easy for us to snap as it is for humans. It’s just usually caught by the other half of the bond but in this case, both went crazy. We don’t know the trigger yet but we will find it. We will stop them.”
“How do you stop a bonded pair like this? I’ve seen bonded pairs in action before. I’ve seen you when you went after Hotch. How can we stop them and not harm others in the process?”
“How do you know that’s what they are?” JJ looked scared and Spencer pulled her close to him.
“Because I can feel both of their excitements. With the third killing, they changed everything up. WIth the police presence they weren’t going to get the time they wanted to do it all at the dump site. They have a kill site now. To find them, we are going to have to find the kill site.”
“This isn’t going to be easy is it?”
“No. I don’t know how CPD’s Guide didn’t feel this. I could feel the empathic imprints on the scenes from the second we pulled up. If the Guide walked the scenes, he should have felt it.”
“Chase Martin. His wife is the Sentinel, Amelia Martin. They’ve been on the force for ten years here.”
“Do you always do this? Check up on people?”
“In locations that are not under my control? Yes. While we always alert the highest Sentinel and Guide in any area we go into, we have passes to be able to move about without doing it. All government agents who move about the country do. It was set in long ago. We try and be nice though and alert everyone but usually, the Sentinel at least knows we are coming by the locals alerting them that they are getting the BAUs help. Aaron and I are very popular right now. I doubt there is a Sentinel or a Guide in this country that doesn’t know our names, especially those in law enforcement.”
“Sentinels are territorial.”
“Some can be very much so yes but others know when help is needed. If we are denied entrance to a city based on a Sentinel not wanting our help when the local government has asked for us and more killings happen, it looks very bad. That Sentinel can lose their job. I’ve come across a few unbonded Sentinels that have tried to use their will to make me look at things how they want it looked at. Manipulation of evidence as it were. They knew who the UnSub was and I wasn’t seeing it that way. I usually was correct.”
“They knew they couldn’t control you yet they tried.”
“Yes. Aaron has to deal with more than what you think when we are on cases. I’m usually at the station working on the geographic profile as well as whatever else is needed. I deal more with the locals on a one on one basis. Today, he went to the station first. As time goes by and he gets used to me being on the team again, he’ll calm down. For now, I live with two overprotective Sentinels who are going to act the epitome of what they are when I am around strangers.”
“He sent you here with me, not Morgan and not Prentiss.”
“That’s because I forced it. I’m not weak and I don’t need taken care of. They’ll calm down with time. Aaron’s here.” Spencer turned his head as the other SUV parked right beside the one he’d drove and two unmarked cars stopped as well. As soon as the Sentinel/Guide pair stepped out of one of the cars, Spencer went on alert. He pulled in his gifts sharply. Hiding himself like he had done for such a long time. Aaron looked at him with a strange look. He’d felt it, Spencer knew that. The single small hitch in his step was the only show that he’d caught on. His eyes had darted over to the pair. “Follow me.”
JJ followed Spencer as he moved to the second crime scene. He got within ten feet of it and he turned to look at Aaron. It was a different pair. Morgan was at a disadvantage as he didn’t have Garcia with him but Spencer could help him and keep him stable if this came down to a fight.
“Agent Hotchner, we were told that your Guide was coming on this case,” the Sentinel said as she looked at Spencer and JJ. “Where is he?”
“His qualification was a little tricky,” was the only answer that Aaron gave. It wasn’t a lie. It had been tricky.
“So you have a fill in Guide to help keep you, Agent Morgan, and Agent Prentiss level? A little tricky isn’t it?”
“He does well enough for us.”
Morgan and Rossi were slowly moving towards Spencer and JJ. Spencer had JJ out of the pair’s line of sight. Only the Sentinel would be able to fire her gun and hit JJ where she was behind a bush.
“He feels a little on the weak side,” the Guide said as he looked Spencer up and down. He was over twenty feet away and the feel of his mind was already making the more powerful Guide sick to his stomach. This needed to be handled carefully. This was the only bonded pair on the force but it was odd that none of the unbonded Sentinels or Guides knew that they were doing it. Either the pair was really good at hiding or there was a lot more corruption in the police force than there should be. Spencer didn’t know which he wanted to be the truth.
“Reid, drop when I say,” Morgan whispered behind him. Spencer only minutely nodded his head. He heard the drawing of Morgan’s gun followed by Rossi’s. He didn’t know the plan but he could do what was asked.
“So who cleared the scenes after CSU took what they needed?” Aaron asked. He was calm and collected looking but Spencer knew he wasn’t. He could feel the emotional turmoil inside him. Aaron was figuring out just as much as he was. It wasn’t good. Nothing good was going to come out of this.
“After all collectable evidence was gathered, the detectives whose area this is came in. Those are the two that you met back at the station,” the Guide, Chase answered.
Spencer’s eyes were locked on Amelia though and she was watching him as well. He could tell by the way she was looking at him that something was up. Spencer couldn’t do much though at the moment, as long as she didn’t see him as a threat, she wouldn’t treat him as one.
The bushes to the right started to rustle. Morgan’s attention was drawn to them and a quick flick of Spencer’s eyes told him that Aaron’s was as well. Back to Amelia and he saw the gun being pulled from Chase’s holster followed quickly by the pair of detectives standing by Aaron. A man and a woman stepped from the bushes with shot guns drawn on Rossi and Morgan. The only two without guns on them were JJ and Spencer, the two weak ones in the eyes of those around them.
“Let’s all step out into the open,” Amelia called out. Spencer stepped out first and JJ followed him. Morgan and Rossi went around the other side of the bush. Aaron was standing with his hands above his head. “Drop your weapons.”
One of the detectives looked at Aaron. “All of them.”
Aaron dropped his main piece on the ground a few feet in front of himself and leaned down to take out the secondary. When he straightened back up, he looked at Spencer. The look on his face told him everything. He was to do whatever he could to get them out of there. With two insane pairs and two humans it was going to be hard to take them all out. What would take out one set wouldn’t the other.
“This is going to get messy. There is no way out of this now,” Spencer said. He stayed in front of JJ. She was sweating and Spencer could smell something new on her scent profile. There was no way that Morgan and Aaron were missing it either. He nodded his head slightly at the human detectives. Aaron nodded back. “You’ll have to kill us and then his Guide will come after you. No one would stop him. He’d get a pat on the head.”
The Guide with the shotgun looked at Spencer and then at Amelia. “What shit is this? You letting them play you?”
“What do you mean?”
“The beanpole is Spencer Reid.”
Spencer chose that moment to unleash. He released enough of an empathic wave that the humans were knocked out while the Sentinels were just dropped to their knees. The Guides were barely affected. Spencer turned quick as he could and punched the Guide with the shotgun as hard as he could. Aaron went after Chase. Morgan ran full tilt at Amelia before she could stand up. Spencer turned to the unknown Sentinel. His mind was weak. He was concerned for his Guide and rightly so, Spencer was pretty sure that he’d broke at least her nose if not some of the bones around it. He didn’t even react when Spencer reached into his mind and knocked him out. Aaron had Chase in cuffs as did Morgan with Amelia. Neither would be able to break out, not without serious injury. Rossi rolled the unconscious Sentinel over and cuffed him. Spencer pulled his own cuffs out and jerked the Guide to her feet. She protested but the more powerful Guide just spun her and cuffed her.
“How long will the humans be out?” Aaron asked as he moved closer to Spencer, leaving his charge in Morgan’s hands.
“An hour. I was afraid that if it was stronger it would kill them.” Spencer pulled his cell phone out. He dialed a number he’d only called once.
“Doctor Reid, I’m surprised to be hearing from you.”
“All three victims were killed by two pairs of bonded with help by at least a small faction within the CPD.”
“Our thoughts exactly. Obviously, we can’t take the bonded to the station. Is there someone in this town you trust to meet us at the park and take control of them?”
“There is. I can’t fly out until the morning. I’m in LA. Charlotte can be there in two hours. I’ll send her if you can stay. This is going to fucking bite us in the ass. How could we have missed this? Columbus is the fucking capital. God damn it, Reid. If it had been any other BAU team.”
“It would have been a slaughter. The Martin’s didn’t recognize me. They thought I was some fill in Guide. Get here as soon as you can. I need a nap so I am going to my hotel room and letting Aaron wait. I have a pregnant woman who is freaking out.”
“Pregnant?” JJ and Rossi asked at the same time.
“You didn’t know?” Spencer asked as he hung up on Evan. JJ shook her head. Her hand dropped down to her stomach. She looked at Aaron next who nodded.
“How did you know, Spence?”
“Scent profile. I am nowhere as good as Aaron or even Morgan but something changed and you feel different to me. I wasn’t around you when you were pregnant with Henry.”
JJ smiled at them. Spencer could feel her happiness.
“Spencer, you and Rossi take her back to the hotel. I want you both to stay with her. I don’t trust this town and I heard what Evan asked. We can stay.”
Spencer was stretched out asleep and covered up on the bed when Aaron let himself into the room. It was late and all Aaron wanted to do was sleep. He needed a shower before that. He grabbed his shower kit and moved into the bathroom, pulling the door shut before he turned the light on. The shower was quick. He only needed to get the grime off from the day. He’d left his sleep clothes out in the room so he toweled off and stepped out of the bathroom naked. He, on purpose, kept his eyes from the bed.
While their relationship as Sentinel and Guide was strong again, the personal side of that relationship was still pretty rocky. They slept in the same bed again, every single night. Chaste kisses in front of Jack but when they were alone, nothing. It frustrated Aaron but other than showing his love for Spencer everyday, there wasn’t a thing he could do. Spencer needed time and Aaron was more than willing to give it to him.
The Sentinel didn’t notice until he’d bent over that the room was a lot darker than it should be. He flicked his eyes over to the window to see the curtain pulled. It hadn’t been when he’d gone into the bedroom. He could hear Spencer’s breathing but before he could pinpoint where, Spencer had him spinning into the wall and crushed his mouth in a kiss. His Guide wasn’t wasting any time. His hands were on Aaron’s hips, thrusting their groins together and the Sentinel could tell he was naked.
That did it for Aaron. He grabbed Spencer’s thighs and pulled him up. This was familiar. This was normal. It had been a year but it felt like it hadn’t been that long. His Guide’s legs wrapped around him and then his arms went around his neck, never letting their mouths disconnect. He didn’t know who opened their lips first but the taste of Spencer exploded across his mouth. He wanted to stop and ask if Spencer was sure but the pure need that was screaming across his brain from the bond told him all that he needed. When he was certain that Spencer was settled, he turned them to where Spencer was against the wall and he ripped his mouth away from his Guide’s.
“Please, Aaron I need you. I need you in me. On me. Please,” Spencer panted into his ear. It was easy to let the words drive him to what he wanted as well. He backed up letting them fall onto the bed. Before Spencer could say a thing, he rolled them trapping his Guide below him. As soon as he had his legs under him, he started to thrust into Spencer’s groin. One of the younger man’s arms let go of his neck and snaked up under the pillow. Aaron could just make out the movement in the darkness . His eyes had adjusted to the pitch black but he knew that Spencer couldn’t see a damned thing. It was erotic as hell.
A bottle of lube was pressed into his hand. “Please.”
Spencer begging was driving Aaron wild. Leaning up, he snapped open the bottle. It had been too long and he wanted this so bad that he could taste it. Spencer keened when his first finger slipped in. He swallowed his Guide’s moans as he prepped him. He was thankful they had been placed in a sound proofed room but he still worried about sound carrying. The pleasure radiating off of Spencer was so massive that he was sure that the whole hotel was feeling it.
Sliding home inside of his Guide, Aaron thought that he wasn’t going to last once he was fully seated. Spencer was tighter and hotter than he remembered. He buried his face in Spencer’s neck and waited for him to be ready. When he shifted his hips, Aaron knew that he was ready. He only pulled out a few inches because he didn’t want to lose that connection with his Guide.
There was no way that this wasn’t in response to the scene at the park earlier in the day. He couldn’t deny Spencer anything that he wanted or needed and at the moment, Spencer needed this bad. He set up a slow in and out pace and when the younger man tried to speed it up, he grabbed the Guide’s hands in one of his and held them tight on the pillow above their heads. He used his other hand to hold down Spencer’s hips.
“Aaron, please. Please. I need it.”
“No.” Aaron leaned down to kiss him again, letting his tongue slide in and out of the other man’s mouth at the same pace that he fucked in and out of his Guide. “I know exactly what you need and I am giving it to you.”
Aaron kept the slow pace up until they were both covered in sweat and his leg muscles burned but still he didn’t stop. That edge of need that had been radiating off Spencer was long gone and all that was left was love. The hand on Spencer’s hip moved up to wipe away the tears that were flowing out of his love’s eyes. He released his hands and and cradled the Guide’s face with hands forcing Spencer to look at him.
“I love you, Spencer.” He kissed his Guide with all of his love pouring out. Spencer had wanted a frantic fucking to prove that he was still alive, Aaron had turned the tables on him. That part of Spencer that had been shut off to him broke open as Spencer came. At the first clench of muscles, Aaron followed right behind him. The fear that Aaron would leave him again washed over the Sentinel and he kissed those feelings away. Spencer grabbed his face, not letting him pull away as the kissed Aaron like he was drowning and his Sentinel was a source of air.
“I love you, Aaron. My Sentinel.”
“My Guide.” Aaron pulled Spencer close, wrapping his arms around him as he rolled to side side, pulling the other man with him. He didn’t want to let go.
Five Years Later
Spencer looked out from his window in his office into the bullpen. Morgan, Garcia, JJ, and Prentiss were standing there with the two new members of the team. The missing member of the team entered the bullpen and stepped up behind his Sentinel. Scott had been a welcome addition to the team in place of Rossi when he had retired two years prior. Spencer had known who he was as soon as he had seen the tattoo on his neck. The sigma level Guide had fit right in with the team. Spencer had almost not gotten there in time to stop Prentiss and Scott from shaking hands. Aaron had figured it out first and ushered the three of them up to his office. A stand down of a week had been used to get the team used to not only the new member but that their new member had bonded with Prentiss.
It had been the biggest change up until a week prior. In the space of a day, the Director had stepped down due to health reasons and that spiked a few changes in the BAU. The plan had been in place but not for anytime that soon. Aaron had taken his place at the head of the FBI and it was a given that Spencer couldn’t go in the field like he did. His abilities were in complete control but if he was injured in the field then Aaron would be unable to work and it just wasn’t a good thing. And being away from Aaron for long periods was not something he wanted. It was easy for Spencer to step out of field agent status but what to do with him? In the end, Cruz had taken a position elsewhere and Spencer had been put up to Section Chief of the BAU. Morgan was Unit Chief with Prentiss as his second in command. The Sentinel hadn’t been upset with the change at all. In fact, Morgan had been really happy.
Spencer’s office was Aaron’s old one and Morgan took Rossi’s. Prentiss was happy staying in the bullpen as that’s where Scott was. The two members that replaced him and Aaron were Kate Callahan and Ashley Seaver. For the first time ever, females actually outnumbered men on the team. The five women were happy to push that in Morgan and Scott’s faces.
“They having a good time?” Aaron asked as he stepped up behind Spencer, wrapping him into a hug. The Guide settled his head on his Sentinel’s shoulder.
“What’s going to happen when Seaver finds her Sentinel?”
“Depends. We’ll see how Callahan works out. If she’s doing well, I’ll get space made for him or her on the team. Seaver waited her time for a space on the team. She deserves to stay if her Sentinel wants to join her.”
“Rossi told me our team is like a matchmaker for Sentinels and Guides.”
“Morgan’s team now, Spencer. Morgan’s team.”
“They’ll always be our team.”
Aaron hummed and he pulled Spencer in closer. A rush of emotion told Spencer that Jack and Henry were arriving. The pair usually stopped by after school was out, at least once a week to visit with the team while working on homework. Jack had his arm wrapped around his Guide holding him close. The two were close. A lot closer than other pairs who found each other while young and online. The four adults had already talked about the fact that none of them thought that the two of them were going to last much past when Henry hit the age of consent for the state of Virginia. The pesky problem was that Jack was going to be over eighteen when that happened.
“What are you thinking about?” Aaron asked as he brushed away hair from Spencer’s eyes.
“The wedding. Jack found the notebook JJ and I have been using to plan it. He’s excited. He thinks it’s an awesome birthday present for Henry and by extension him.”
“It’s still almost three years away.”
“Yep and he’s a boy in love and is happy that he won’t have to sneak around and hide. He told me he was prepared to wait until Henry turned eighteen but we both know that before then, the bond would have them wanting that closeness.”
“Garcia’s been hinting around at a wedding for us. She and Morgan got married. Hell Scott talked Prentiss into getting married.”
“Pfft. I’m happy with what we have. Not like getting married gives us anything more than what we have. It doesn’t prove that I love you more or that you love me more. Not like you want it either.”
“I know. I think she just has wedding fever. It’ll pass. Even though I think she has ours half planned.”
Spencer let the love he felt from Aaron wash over him. They’d gone through so much to get to where they were. Their life was pretty perfect now. A wedding wouldn’t give them anything but stress and they’d had enough stress in their life. A piece of paper and a set of rings weren’t worth it. Outside of work, Spencer wanted stress free. He was happy, Aaron was happy, and Jack was happy. That’s all he needed.
Thank you all for sticking with me during this series. I’m sad to see it end as I am sure you all are but all good things must come to an end.