Title: The High Dragon
Series: Here There Be Dragons
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Year: Season 5
Category: AU: Fantasy, Magic is Known, Established Relationship,
Spoilers: Up through Season 5
Summary: Spencer has to make a choice, save Aaron or stay hidden. It’s not a choice at all.
Notes: Remember that Henry is a little older in this series by two years.
Warnings: Graphic Depictions of Violence,
Spencer was relaxing back on the couch in the library when he felt it. He dropped the book to the floor and reached out. He could feel that Aaron was alive, but that was it. The bond was being suppressed by severe magics. He wasn’t going to worry yet. He’d asked to stay back from the case, and Aaron had allowed it. It had only been a few weeks since he’d killed Foyet and outed himself to his mate. He’d gone on two cases as Reed to show that he was okay, but right now he wanted to relax in human form for a while.
An hour was spent trying to read before he gave up and worked on cleaning the house even though it was spotless. When he still didn’t feel Aaron at the end of the night, he tried to call him, and it went to right to voicemail. Aaron’s phone never went straight to voicemail. He called Alan. He placed the phone on speaker and pitched his voice to where he sounded like Reed. It was simple.
“Hello?” Alan asked, sounding tired.
“I need you to find out what is going on with Aaron’s team, Alan.”
“Reed?” Alan didn’t sound so tired anymore.
“I stopped being able to feel where he was hours ago and he hasn’t come back. There is no area that large in the continental United States that he’s traveling through it.”
“Where did he go?”
“Are you prepared for what you will have to do if he’s hurt and captive and the FBI can’t save him?”
“I’ve been prepared for that for months, Alan. I’ll answer the house phone. Call me back on it.” Spencer clicked the button to hang up. He knew he wasn’t going to get to sleep and to call any of the team and reveal that Spencer could feel Aaron like he did would give more information than Spencer was willing to give. He eyed the cell phone that had been procured and the protective magics placed on it by Garcia. There was no way to trace the phone to him or Aaron. It was safe, and he used it to call Tria once a week.
Packing an extra bag of Aaron’s along with some of his new clothes, he used his magic to place it in a small pocket dimension so he could access it just in case. He debated putting one of Aaron’s guns in there but decided against it in the end. If this ended as he thought, a gun would be useless. He’d need his dragon form.
The phone ringing four hours after his call to Alan woke him from a light doze he hadn’t known he’d slipped into.
“Where is he?”
“He’s still working the case, and that is as much as they are willing to tell me. The Council is unwilling to give you the right to pass into their lands as they are afraid what it would do to those that Aaron is chasing.”
“He’s been taken captive hasn’t he?”
“They say no but I read between their lines, and I believe so. Give me until the morning to get out there and see what else I can find out. Just stay in the house, Reed.”
“Fine.” Spencer hung up and grabbed the cell phone. He dialed the number that he would never forget and waited. He started to pace as he listened for the click.
“Spencer? It’s a little early for this call,” Tria’s voice was tinny, so he figured he was on speaker. She had to be in her office alone or with Serena or in their bedroom.
“Aaron has been taken captive, and I am not with him. Whatever is wrong with him, I can’t feel it. I can feel that he is alive and that is it. He’s states away in Utah, and I think he’s on ancient lands.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Nothing. Alan is trying to figure out as much as he can. I will give him until the afternoon tomorrow and then I will go and take care of the Council and then get my mate back. I wanted to give you the heads up.” When Spencer felt the charge in the air, he stopped pacing and looked around. He could feel the charge of the thunderstorm outside, and he was actually feeding it and making it worse. Spencer pulled in his magic and listened as the storm calmed down to a normal rage. He didn’t need eyes on him just yet. That would come later.
“You do what you have to do, Spencer. I’ve made headway since we last talked and well…the money trail stops at the emergency fund for the West Coast Council. If you want to force their hand and claim your lands, you are more than welcome. Just make sure that you can hold them.”
“Oh, I can. My magic has nearly gone back to where it was when I was captured just over the weeks since Aaron unlocked the parts of the bond I was keeping down.”
“The sex has helped as well.” Tria laughed, and Spencer caught a note of something in her voice. She was upset about something.
“What’s wrong?” If it had to do with him, she would have outright said something.
“You know me too well. The youngling isn’t settling. She’s not talking to Serena or me at all. I don’t know what to do.”
“I’ll speak to Aaron. We’ll figure something out.” Spencer hated keeping the knowledge of Henry from Tria, but it wasn’t something he was willing to risk over the phone, even if he trusted the phone. His ten years estimate might be shortened by a great deal.
“Keep me appraised. I’ll keep an ear down for news as well.”
“I will.” Spencer closed the cell and dropped down onto the arm of the couch. He tossed the phone down with the house phone and listened to the storm again. Spencer needed to get rid of his energy, and there was only one way to do it. He quickly changed his form and took off for the open window on the second floor. He’d magicked the window long before to respond to him and only him. To anybody watching the house, the window would open and close, but if they tried to get in, they would be thrown backward and given that it was on the second story, they would be severely hurt. It was always magically open only allowing him to go back and forth. Not even air moved through the barrier.
Spencer was nearly half a mile up when the storm started to center around him. It reacted to his presence and grew to a massive storm that, if it were over the plains, he’d be worried about a tornado, but this area was too hilly for that. He juked in and out of the bolts of lightning that were arcing everywhere. This he could do with little issue. He let the storm grow and develop. The bolts struck to the ground, and he followed them, chasing them. His magic called to the storm, and it called back. Knowing that it was safer, Spencer settled the storm over the Potomac. For two hours he chased lightning bolts up and down the river. Only when he was tired did he finally turn towards home, letting the storm quiet back down.
If Spencer was going to have to do what he thought he was in the morning, Spencer knew he was going to need to sleep. Before that, he needed food. On his way, Spencer found the small farm that he always stopped at. When he landed, the farmer stepped out to greet him.
“Young Master Dragon, welcome. Having fun in the storm?”
“Yes. I’m finding myself hungry.”
“What are you in the mood for?”
“A whole cow.”
The farmer just laughed and waved for him to follow. Aaron had set up the deal with the farmer long before. Normally it was okay for him to hunt the small animals and deer around the house and for many miles around that but in times like this, he needed a large creature.
Settling back into the house an hour later, Spencer was tired. He was halfway up the stairs when he thought better of it. Spencer didn’t want to sleep in bed without Aaron. He moved back to the living room and dropped onto the couch, pulling the blanket off the back and falling asleep near instantly.
Landing outside the West Coast Council chamber, Spencer shifted to child form quickly. He released the magic he was using to hide from cameras and stood to wait. To all cameras in the area, he just appeared on the screens. He waited for five minutes while he listened inside the building. The security team was all for rushing outside and bringing him in while one of the council members wanted to wait.
Finally, the head of security stepped out.
“How may I help you?”
“I want to meet with the Council, now.”
“Tell them a dragon is waiting.” Spencer watched as the security guard just widened his eyes, and then a garbled voice echoed out of his earpiece. Spencer smiled and started towards the door. “Thank you.”
Spencer was led to the Council chamber. It looked exactly like the chamber had the last time he’d been in there over a hundred years before. He stopped in front of the chairs on the dais and barely gave them a look.
“What can we do for you?” One of the younger females asked. Spencer didn’t care to learn or remember their names at all.
“I want to know why I was denied access to these lands and I had to push and break ancient magic to even get access.”
“You broke the magical line?” the oldest woman on the Council asked as she stood up. Her chair sliding and echoing around the chamber hid the gasp from Alan, who was sitting on the side. Spencer looked right at him.
“I was denied access to move onto the lands and save my protector.” Spencer watched as the five Council members watched him. Two were scared, he could taste their fear on the air. The other three were mad. Alan was just staring at him. He was trying to figure out what Spencer’s plan was.
“And who is your protector?” the first of the mad male Council members asked. So far he hadn’t spoken yet. The other one was staying silent.
Spencer locked eyes with each Council member, holding that gaze for a minute each before moving on. He had a good idea who the one who had paid off Ethan was, but there were two other candidates as well. Finally, he looked at Alan.
The two females at the end are scared shitless, and they will be spared, but this will probably finish with the death of the other three. You are the lead for my Council. I would prefer to do it with your permission but I will without it as well.
Alan just nodded in response and then waved his hand in a do as you wish gesture. Spencer turned to look back at the other humans. He let a positively feral smile alight on his lips. The two scared females started to shake. The other three did nothing.
Shifting forms was easy, and no theatrics were needed, but for this time, Spencer used his lightning, and seven bolts shot out from his mouth. When the light cleared, he was standing in front of them in dragon form. He took several steps forward and stopped when his head was just a few feet from the edge of the dais.
“Judge Agent Aaron Hotchner. You know me as Reed.”
The man that Spencer thought was the one behind it all just sat there. He looked shocked as hell. The oldest female looked at Alan.
“Judge Hotchner is protecting a High Dragon, and you didn’t deem that we needed to know?”
“Aaron has never told me that Reed was a High Dragon. I assumed he was a refugee from the nest breaking of five years ago in California. It’s an interesting fact but doesn’t change a thing. Reed chooses his own protectors.”
“Spencer is too socially inept to be able to choose his guardian. We should pull him and set him under guard,” the man who had been silent the whole time spoke. Quick as lightning, Spencer shifted forms back to his child form and was behind the man. The man reacted by trying to run, but a hand on his throat and a partial change to talons had him stopping. Spencer let the claw dig into the neck, making pinprick holes in the flesh.
“So you are the one who paid to have Ethan hand me over to black market men. I should have known. You were the smartest on the Council at the time.” Spencer leaned closer and whispered in his ear. “If you hadn’t tried to have me killed, I never would have taken over the lands in your lifetime. I had no wish to.”
Spencer drew his clawed hand over his throat ripping out everything in his path. The man was dead before he got to the other side. The other two Council members tried to run, but with a shift and a burst of speed from his wings, he was in front of them. His dragon form blocked the entire doorway. The older woman was the first to react. He felt her pull on her magic and then the wash of a spell over him. He laughed and used his front leg to send her flying backward. She thudded against the wall, and he heard her heart start to slow down. She was dead before her body slumped over on the floor.
Eyes turned to the last one standing. Spencer spared a glance to see that Alan had a hand on each of the shoulders of the scared women.
“You are a worm lower than the other two. They hatched the schemes, but you went along for money and power. Then when the other two couldn’t be bought, you killed one and had the other killed and blamed them on a poor man who died for your cowardice. I hope that you like what you have wrought.” Spencer lunged, and the man fell to the ground. The smell of urine and feces filled the air. He let his form grow to full size and watched as eyes became large with full fear. “That’s right. I’m no weakling youngling. I was a master at magic long before your family line was even thought of. The only reason that I was captured was because I trusted Ethan with my life.”
“No.” Spencer laid his front leg over the body, holding him down. His middle claw rested on the weak point of the man’s throat. Slowly he increased the pressure, and the skin gave away. Instead of just pushing down he curled the claw. It followed his throat for several seconds, and then he jerked, ripping ribcage from body. The man was dead before he even knew it. Retracting the claw let the bone cage fall, and he shook his leg to get rid of the blood. He looked up at Alan and the two women.
“One council. I’ll figure out who on yours to keep. Those two stay on and you for sure. We can talk more in DC. I have to go and save my wayward Immortal.”
“Know where to find him?”
“I have a bead on Rossi and JJ. I’ll get to him through his magic, and I’ll go from there.”
David Rossi thought he’d seen everything. He’d been outside with the local Sheriff when a magical presence piqued his interest. For him to feel it, it had to be massive. He looked around but saw nothing before going back to looking at the Sheriff. The man wasn’t looking at him anymore though. He was looking up into the sky with his eyes wide. Dave turned to look and saw a large shape coming closer. His own eyes widened when he figured out what it was.
The dragon was as large as a house and a rust red color. It looked old as hell and Dave tried to fight the urge to run. It landed with a thud ten feet in front of him in a large open spot in the parking lot. The Sheriff thankfully didn’t draw his gun. Still, though, a group of cops came running out with their guns drawn. The dragon turned and looked at them and then snorted. The smoke billowed from its nose. The cops backed up as it opened its mouth and flames licked out.
“Your guns aren’t going to do a thing. Just put them up before the dragon takes offense and tries to kill you all,” Dave said as he moved closer to the dragon. When he stopped five feet away, the dragon turned to him. Dave looked in the eyes. He knew those eyes, but there was no way.
“Where’s my Aaron?” Reed asked.
Dave smiled for the first time in days. The sound of running feet alerted him to the fact that JJ was heading towards them. She stopped level with Dave and looked at Reed.
“Reed?” JJ asked.
“I can’t feel him like I should. I need to know where he is so I can save his ass.” Reed’s voice was hard and full of anger, and it scared Dave.
“Shrink back down, and we’ll show you where we think the UnSubs are operating from.” Before the words were fully out of Dave’s mouth, he had a regular sized Reed sitting on his shoulder with his tail wrapped around his neck like an anchor point. Dave took him to the map they had been using as their geographic profile. Reed took a jump and landed on the top of it, flipped around to where he could look at it upside down. He shook his head.
“It’s not right. There is no way that the UnSubs can be in that five-mile radius.”
“Only ancient magics can block our bond and well, if it’s ancient magic, it was placed by an Immortal, and those lands don’t work. Aaron and Spencer would never live in that location. Never.”
Dave’s jaw dropped at the mention of Spencer. The dragon rarely mentioned him. The senior profiler had figured that Reed was jealous of the relationship between the two Immortals.
“Walk me through this.”
Dave and JJ spent the next hour going through all that they knew. Dave was wary of the dragon being able to figure out anything. He was smart, but this was beyond a dragon who had no understanding of it. JJ brought over a stool that the dragon sat on. When they had told him everything, he blew a puff of smoke at the map, and a ring of slightly burned paper appeared. It was dead center in an area of woods that Dave knew.
“That’s where the witness of the last kidnapping lives. On a farm dead center there.”
“That’s where he is.” Reed turned on the stool and looked at them. He cocked his head to the side like he was thinking. “I’ll be hungry, and for safety’s sake, I would say that until I clear the area, only you two. He was with Morgan and Prentiss wasn’t he?”
“Then only you two. I know you, and I know how you feel. I am afraid that if a LEO comes onto the land while I am trying to help them, I’ll kill them.”
“Understood,” the Sheriff said as he stepped up. He smiled. “So you are Agent Hotchner’s dragon. I am pleased to meet you. Whatever you need, just tell me.”
“I’ll need fruit first. It’ll help more and then meat. Rossi knows what I like. I need to go now.” Reed jumped into the air and hovered while JJ moved to the door to let him out. Dave watched him leave and dug out his wallet when the dragon was gone.
“So where’s the closest grocery store? I want chicken and shrimp. Freshest you got on the chicken. Frozen shrimp is fine. Some grapes and maybe some strawberries if they are good looking and the biggest bag of peanut M&Ms you can get. Bring it back here and keep it all chilled. Anyone have some fruit you wouldn’t mind parting with?”
Every single cop scattered while the Sheriff took the three hundred dollars that Dave handed over.
“I’ll have it here by the time you get back. Go and take care of your team.”
The LEOs handed over a bag that had grapes and a mixture of other fruits inside. JJ took it as Dave started out the door.
Aaron cursed himself for allowing Spencer to stay behind. He could use the dragon right now. Spencer had wanted to stay behind, and he had agreed to it. He knew why, but he still kicked himself in the ass mentally. Morgan, Prentiss, and Aaron had been held captive for almost two days at this point. They had gone to a farm to talk to a witness and had been on their way back when a pack of shifters had forced them off the road. Talismans used to block magic dropped him and Prentiss before they could lift a magical finger. A gun filled with tranqs took out Morgan and then Aaron and Prentiss.
All three had woken up on a different farm not far from the one they had visited, they had seen it when they’d been driving. Aaron had woken up for the first time ever and hadn’t felt a single thing from Spencer. That would alert the dragon before anyone else that they had been taken captive, but he didn’t know what the dragon was going to do.
“Hotch?” Prentiss asked.
“I feel something coming. I don’t know what it is but…”
Aaron had been feeling it too but had chalked it up to their captives but as it got closer the feeling it was leaving in his body was changing. The slamming of a door alerted the three that they weren’t alone anymore. Aaron looked over to see the three UnSubs running towards them. They looked frightened as hell.
“What the fuck is that thing?” the sole female UnSub asked.
“I don’t know,” the taller of the males said.
The ground shuddered and then the barn door that had just shut shook on its hinges and then came crashing down to the ground. It was dark outside and whatever had knocked it down wasn’t visible, and then something moved in the darkness. The darkness wasn’t from the fact that it was night, it was the thing. The thing that had knocked down the door was larger than the door and was blocking all outside light from the barn. The building shook again and this time part of the side of the barn came crashing down. The thing shifted a little, and then two large blue orbs were looking inside the barn. For a second, Aaron thought that it was Reed, but there was no way as the thing was at least twenty feet above the ground and Reed topped at a like a foot and a half on all fours.
“Hotch?” Morgan called out, his voice shaking with fear.
“RUN!” the last of the UnSubs called out, but before he could even get a few feet on his shaky legs, a ring of fire appeared around them, trapping them. Aaron watched as the three of them huddled in the center as far from the flames as they could get. The blue orbs turned from them to look at Aaron and his team. The shackles keeping them trapped fell to the ground. Aaron felt magic wrap around him, but in his suppressed state he couldn’t fight it. The magic was ancient and powerful, and Aaron really hoped it was that old man or even the kid. That whoever this was was friendly. The magic was so much stronger than him. Aaron was lifted off the ground, and he moved outside of the barn. He was able to turn his head to see that Morgan and Prentiss were behind him.
Aaron was set down on the ground first, safely at the feet of the creature. It was too dark to see the creature other than its eyes. Aaron still couldn’t touch his magic, but this creature could, and that spoke a lot to its power. It was old and powerful, and again he wondered if they were saved or doomed.
“Pitiful humans,” the voice said, its tone soft and the voice rumbly. Aaron had never heard it before, but he was fairly sure that it was Reed. An inhalation and then exhalation and all three of them braced, but a ball of light appeared at the mouth of the creature. It floated up, and when Aaron saw the shape as well as the color of the scales, he relaxed.
“Reed?” Morgan asked. Reed lowered his head and butted it against Prentiss softly. The elf touched his snout, and a small light enveloped her. She had suffered the most at the hands of the UnSubs. She had regularly been beaten while Morgan and Aaron had to watch. When the light disappeared, her bruises and cuts were gone. Reed turned towards Morgan next, and the shifter gladly reached out his hand. When he was healed, Reed didn’t turn towards him. Aaron could feel his wounds healing already, the bond giving him what he needed. Touch wasn’t needed it seemed.
“Rossi and JJ are alone and ten minutes behind me. The locals agreed to hang back for the time being.”
Aaron stepped even closer and touched his front leg. As soon as he did, Reed’s form shuddered, and he shrunk to his standard size and draped himself around Aaron’s shoulders. His whole body was shaking, and Aaron knew what it was from. Reed still couldn’t feel him, and he still couldn’t feel the dragon.
“Our magic is…” Aaron stopped when he felt the hairs on his body starting to stand up. He knew the feeling of Reed’s most potent magic now almost better than his own. It arced off the dragon’s body and rushed out over the land around them. As soon as it reached the edge of the grounds, Aaron felt his magic come rushing back to him. It stole his breath, and the bond flared.
“Taken care of. All your things are inside in a room at the side. I can smell the gunpowder from here.”
“I’ll get them,” Morgan took off at a run back into the barn. The room was only fifteen feet away, and Aaron would have a line of sight on him at all time. The shifter appeared seconds later with his gun in his holster and credentials on his hip. In one hand were Aaron and Prentiss’s guns. The other held their credentials as well as all three sets of cuffs. He kept the cuffs but handed the rest over.
“Not going anywhere without me again. Stupid lower beings. Can’t keep themselves out of trouble for two seconds,” Reed muttered as he nipped at Aaron’s neck with his teeth. That bit of affection was new, and Aaron wasn’t sure what to think of it. Morgan raised his eyebrows at the gesture, and Prentiss just snorted. The Immortal had to fight back a blush because now was not the time for that and what it made him think of.
“You were rescued by us first, Reed,” Prentiss said with a small smile on her face. All three of them were exhausted, and Aaron knew that Reed had to be tired as well. He was fairly sure that the dragon hadn’t actually slept since he’d been taken captive. Reed snorted at her, allowing a large amount of smoke to billow out before he tensed. Aaron wasn’t shocked when he left his shoulders. The dragon flew over to the fire he was using to keep the UnSubs trapped. When he landed, he was the size of an SUV. He marveled at how well the dragon was able to change size. He hadn’t known that Reed’s size could differ. Another secret or just something Reed figured he knew, he wasn’t sure.
“I can feel the echo of every being killed on this land. If you had hurt my humans or my elf any more than what you did, I would have tortured you for years before killing you. As it stands, you are unworthy of your magic.” The ring of fire dropped, and Aaron stepped closer. He knew what Reed wanted to be done. The dragon didn’t even have to tell him. Aaron reached inside them and destroyed the spark of magic in each of them. As he did, he felt something else from Reed. The dragon had destroyed their entire magical line. The power arced out from the dragon and it sent a shiver down Aaron’s back. The shock that it could be done was astounding to the Judge. He’d never heard of it being done. The three of them collapsed, and seconds later Morgan was cuffing them. “We will talk about it on the jet and not a moment before.”
“Sure,” Morgan said. Prentiss nodded her assent.
The sound of a vehicle pulling up had Aaron moving to make sure it was JJ and Rossi. They exited the SUV with guns not drawn. Neither looked shocked at the size of Reed. There was a story there, and Aaron couldn’t wait to hear it.
“Scared the shit out of the LEOs and me,” Rossi said looking at Reed. The dragon only laughed. “Standing outside the station talking to the sheriff and this dragon as big as a house lands in the parking lot. I wasn’t sure what to do. You are the only one capable of taking on a dragon and well, I think you would lose. The dragon though looks around and then zeroes in on me and asks ‘Where’s my Aaron?’ Well, that meant only one thing. I admit. I like him cat sized better.”
The team started laughing, it relieved tension. JJ stepped closer to where Reed was, holding up a bag. Reed squealed. He shifted to his normal size and jumped to her shoulder as she held up a grape. That squeal got to Aaron every single time. The stress of the past two days lessened on his shoulders, and he relaxed, if Reed was relaxed enough to squeal, he could relax as well.
“He said he’d be hungry. Some very nice officers sacrificed some fruit from their lunches, and another officer is picking up some more as well as some meat for him,” JJ said as he petted him with her free hand. Reed arched into the touch.
“Some meat?” Aaron asked. Reed was barely chewing the fruit that JJ was feeding him. Aaron could feel how hungry he was. The magic he had expended had been massive. He’d seen what the dragon could put away in either form after expending magic.
“Three hundred dollars worth. Rossi gave him money.”
“Three-hundred-year-old spells placed by Immortals are hard to break.” Reed grabbed the bag from JJ and took flight, landing on Aaron’s shoulder. He took the bag from the dragon and held it so that Reed could eat without someone feeding him. JJ wasn’t offended. Reed trusted the team, but closeness was needed after the shock of the past two days. “It’s how I found you. I knew a general direction, but the spells weren’t hidden very well, just hiding you well.”
“To you maybe. I never noticed them,” Aaron said. Reed only snorted.
“Damned dragon fixed our geographic profile as well. It was off by about ten miles,” Dave bitched with a smile on his face. Reed only shrugged as he snagged a piece of cantaloupe and handed it out to Aaron. The Immortal took it with a smile on his face and ate it. He was starved and knew that Morgan and Prentiss were was well. The fruit though wasn’t actually calling to him. He wanted a meal.
“The Council will take it from here.” Reed grabbed the last grape from the bag. “We can leave as soon as the jet is ready.”
Aaron turned to look at Rossi who held up his hands in a ‘wasn’t me’ gesture and pointed at Reed. Aaron pulled Reed down from his shoulder and made the dragon look at him.
“They tried to tell me that I couldn’t come and get you. I may have gotten angry.”
“May have?” Aaron asked. The team was holding back laughter. Rossi was failing. They all laughed once the senior profiler started. Once they knew what was going on, when Reed finally told them the truth, well, they weren’t going to be laughing then.
“I don’t play well with idiots. The East Coast Council and West Coast Council will no longer be such. It’s the North American Council.”
“Reed…” Aaron wasn’t sure he wanted to know what happened but he needed to know.
“I may have fired most of the West Coast Council.” Reed wasn’t looking at him as he talked.
“Fired?” Morgan asked. The team stopped laughing and were now staring at Reed like they had never seen him before.
Aaron knew what Reed had done from that statement. He just wasn’t sure if Reed had just fired them or had set fire to them as well.
“He invoked ancient laws. He is the most powerful creature in North America.” Aaron looked at his team. Everyone was shocked, but Prentiss’s face told him that she had figured out what he was. Truly what he was. Nothing they said was going to shock her more.
“Lord?” Prentiss asked. Reed turned to look at her and snorted smoke at her. It shut her up.
“Jet,” Aaron said, and the team nodded.
Two hours later, the rest of the BAU team was boarding the aircraft. Everyone had gone back to the station where Reed had used his fire to cook meat for the three of them and had eaten his raw. He even shared his fruit, except the grapes, with them. It would hold them all off till they got home. Aaron wasn’t surprised when he found two members of the Council waiting for them when they got back. Nothing was said other than they would handle taking care of the farm. The two women looked at Reed like he was their worst nightmare. That told him that Reed could have possibly set fire or electrocuted other members.
Aaron and Reed had gotten to the plane first. Aaron had already placed clothes in the bathroom for Reed to change into when he changed to Spencer. He hadn’t been shocked when the bag had appeared in front of him on the table. He recognized it, and when he opened it, he found some of the clothes that they had purchased for Spencer. Prentiss knew too much about High Dragons, and it was better to get it all out now. The team didn’t notice that Reed wasn’t in the cabin as the jet took off. He’d found little hidey holes and sometimes napped in them. No one would be shocked if he was taking a nap.
“Reed took Lord status over the area?” Prentiss was the first to break the silence. Aaron didn’t answer; instead, he linked the computer up with Garcia. She looked at him, but he spoke before she could.
“Garcia, blackout protocols for your office.”
“Sir.” Garcia disappeared from the screen for a few seconds and then she reappeared. “Blackout in effect. Sir, it’s good to see you.”
The bathroom door clicked open, and Spencer took a step out. He was dressed in slacks and a button down, the clothes that Aaron had pulled out of the bag for him. He wasn’t wearing shoes, but he was wearing socks, mismatched ones at that. His converse was sitting on the couch right by the bathroom. He grabbed them and slipped them on.
“Spencer? How did you get here? Did Reed bring you with him?” JJ asked. She looked at Aaron and Spencer. He didn’t answer her just waited for Aaron to stand so that he could slip into the seat he always took as Reed when Aaron was sitting at the table. Aaron took the lid off the bowl of fruit that the sheriff had pressed on them, saying it was from his wife for the cute little dragon that had saved the town from the magic users. He slid the bowl over. He could feel just how tired Spencer was over the bond. He’s expended more magic in the past day than he was used to.
Rossi was the first to make a noise when Spencer started to eat the fruit. All of the profilers watched as he ate the fruit in near the same pattern that Reed always did. The shock in the room was thick especially when he shared a piece of cantaloupe with Aaron.
“My human name is Spencer Reid. I prefer Spencer for this form and Reed when I am in dragon form.” Spencer didn’t look up from the bowl of fruit as he ate piece by piece slowly. He was chewing it all the way as these pieces were a bit bigger.
Aaron watched the faces of every team member. He could tell that Prentiss knew that it wasn’t just a bond. Garcia was silent on the other end of the computer, but he was aware that she wouldn’t be for long.
“The Council didn’t want me messing up the case. I was just a child of a dragon. When I figured out they weren’t going to let me across the boundary between east and west, I got really mad. I flew out of the house, and before I was high enough up, I let my full form out. I landed just two hours later at the Council chambers. I stood outside in my human form, not letting them see me land. Security responded. When I was allowed entrance, I wasn’t shocked to find that a full session was in progress with Alan visiting from our Council.” Spencer stopped speaking to grab at the last few pieces of fruit in the bowl. He handed the final piece of cantaloupe over to Aaron before eating the last two grapes.
Dave surprised them by leaning over and setting down a pretty big bag of peanut M&Ms. Spencer reached out to take them but stopped and looked up at him. “Go on. I got them for you…well dragon you.”
Spencer smiled at him and opened the bag. He shook out a few, and when a blue one popped out, he handed it over to Aaron. The normalcy of it settled the team down. Seeing the human Spencer doing the rituals that Reed did calmed them.
“I wanted to stay in DC and just hide away for a while. Get my bearings under me, and then when I was ready, reveal myself. I should have known. The West Coast Council is wary of all dragons and for a good reason. I found out today that three members of the Council, I don’t know their names, Alan would. They were the ones that paid my best friend Ethan to chain me up. I killed Ethan seconds after the betrayal before my form was shrunk down. I’ve had friends looking for who paid him to do it, and they tracked the payment to the West Coast Council just days ago. I went into that room knowing that all or at least most of them weren’t going to make it out alive. I ripped the throat out of the ring leader, threw the most powerful into a wall, shattering every single bone in her body and tore the ribcage out of the last one.” The stunned silence that followed his words was deafening. Spencer looked at every single one of them.
Aaron knew why he chose the words he did and why he was telling them. Every single one of them saw him as the little dragon that needed to be protected. He’d wanted it that way for a reason. No one suspected any of that from him.
“How old are you?” JJ asked.
“As I am sure Emily has guessed, I am a High Dragon. Right now there are three total High Dragons alive in this world. One older than me and one younger. The one older than me is well aware of my status, and I’ve been in contact with her. The one younger than me well she is only a few years old and…” Spencer trailed off and looked at Aaron. “She is having issues, and I think I know what those issues are. The seven High Dragon eggs that were hidden across the globe were enchanted. The second that our mates are born, we hatch. I am exactly as old as Aaron. Just like the third dragon to hatch did so on October twenty-eighth two thousand and six at seventeen thirty-two.”
Aaron was shocked. Spencer was going all out. The Immortal looked over at JJ waiting for her to figure it out.
“Jayje isn’t that when…” Before Garcia could get the words out, JJ’s eyes snapped to Spencer.
“Henry was born, yes. I knew what he was that night that I met him, but you have to understand. I hold one thing in greater regard than my own life, and that is other High Dragons. Especially younglings. Brianna is the name she has chosen for herself. I haven’t met her.”
“Shit,” Morgan said as he ran a hand down his face. “You really go big don’t you?”
“I think that you once told me ‘Go big or go home’,” Spencer said with a smile.
“That was a prank to be pulled on Strauss you little shit.” Morgan started to laugh, and Aaron fit the pieces together.
“You two are the ones that died her hair that gawdawful orange?” Aaron asked. He looked between his dragon and the shifter, waiting for one of them to crack. Spencer only raised an eyebrow at him. Morgan looked away. “Strauss had Garcia spend three hours trying to figure out who put that candy in her office.”
“We know. Garcia was in on it as well, Aaron. Who do you think fixed the footage? I told Morgan that I would do the spell, but I wasn’t placing it. He had to do that on his own.”
“Is every single joke that’s been played in the office on one of you two?”
“We moved on from our war between the two of us when I figured out that Reed was going to win every single time. He’s tricky.”
“In this current form, Morgan. I graduated from a Las Vegas, high school at the age of twelve. I was a child prodigy. I had to have a tough skin to survive getting shoved into a locker.” Spencer’s face flashed, and Aaron knew that he hadn’t meant to say that. He hadn’t intended to say it at all. His form shuddered, and Aaron wanted to reach out and touch him, but before he could, Reed was sitting there. Instead the Immortal picked him up and set him in his lap. Reed draped his head onto Aaron’s arm that was on the armrest.
“That’s kind of adorable,” Garcia said.
“What happened?” Prentiss asked.
“He’s a little shaky on staying in his human form when emotions overload him. He was stuck in this way for five years. It feels safe to him. He’s been doing well. Other than when he’s around you guys, he’s stayed in human form since the night Foyet attacked.”
“So…” Morgan started. He looked down at Reed and Aaron saw the emotions as they crossed his face, protectiveness, wariness, worry. “How…”
“Aaron met me in human form the night of Foyet’s attack. Just seconds after I used his backup weapon to shoot him. After I’d pulled myself out of the library, I saw Foyet standing there with the gun. I knew one thing, I had to do a head shot because anything less and he could still pull that trigger. If it hadn’t been for the gun in his hand, I prefer to rip the throats out of the people who cross me. It feels good.” Reed’s head raised up, and he looked at those gathered around. “Let’s not delve too deep into that statement right there.”
The team laughed. Aaron had watched their faces as Reed had been talking and he knew they would never look at either one of them different for the lie. They were nearly as protective of the dragon as he was.
One Month Later
Aaron was in his office working when Strauss knocked on the door.
“We have a submission for the new opening on the team.” Strauss handed over a folder.
“What makes this one so unique that you have to hand deliver it?” Aaron asked as he took the folder. He opened it up and looked at the first sheet of paper. It seemed like the official submission except where a picture would be there was none, and there wasn’t a name as well. “Is this a joke?”
“No. It was submitted through the new North American Council, and Alan rebuffed me at every single turn. Since the Council was abolished, things have taken a weird turn there.” Strauss was fishing, and Aaron knew it. The knowledge of what had actually happened at the West Coast Council chamber was only known by a few. The other Judge for North America knew. Aaron had invited her personally to meet Spencer. That had shocked the hell out of her.
“I am bound by law, and you know it.” Aaron went back to the file. The psychological profile, the intelligence test, even a polygraph test. Whoever this was, he or she looked supegoodrb on paper. Aaron flipped over to the education section of the file. His mouth dropped open, and then he looked at Strauss in shock.
“Yes. I was rather surprised by that as well. That’s the kind of person we want as far as degrees goes. Alan told me that he reads at twenty thousand words per minute, has an IQ of one hundred and eighty-seven, and has an eidetic memory. The catch is, that’s all we get. What’s in that file and what he told me, which was little. I know that it’s a male. I know that he’s a magic user.”
“And you want me to accept him to the team because you want to have an in with the new Council. You know how I feel about politics and my team.”
“You can’t tell me that someone like that isn’t a wet dream for the team. His gun qualification score is good too. Much better than I would have thought for an academic.”
Aaron leaned back in his chair. He thought about it. If the person didn’t work out, he could be transferred to a different team or somewhere else in the building. “Call Alan and tell him yes.”
“Thank you, Agent Hotchner.”
Aaron nodded and signed on the line on the loose page in the file. Strauss took the page and moved quickly out and back to her own office.
“Was that the sound of you making Strauss happy?” Dave asked as he entered the office. Instead of answering, Aaron handed over the file for Dave to look at. “That’s a hell of a person there. He’s a little over-degreed isn’t he?”
“With an IQ like that? I’d say under. It can’t hurt at this point. If I didn’t find someone by the end of the week, the funding was going to go to another division. I’d rather take my chances than losing it altogether.”
“Still, Strauss is happy with you. When are you going to tell the team?”
“As soon as we can gather them. Alan sent the person here. Magical HR is keeping his secrets. There are only a few individuals in the world that would want to be hidden like that. Human or inhuman.”
“Risks look good on you, Aaron,” Dave said with a smirk before he turned out of the office. Aaron smiled. He reached out in the bond and called for Reed. The dragon was hiding out in the library at the Academy. He’d been holed up in there for two full days. At home, he was all right, but there was something else going on. Something was stressing him. Aaron was giving him the time to process it before he demanded to know what was going on. He hadn’t had a shift in weeks that wasn’t under his control. They had celebrated last night with a big dinner out.
A push back from Reed told him that he was on the way. He was the only one on the team that he was worried about taking a new person badly.
Ten minutes later, all of the team was gathered except for Reed. He kept looking out the door but found that he didn’t see the dragon at all. The only people in the hall were Anderson and another guy with shortish hair that Aaron didn’t recognize from behind. Anderson pointed towards him, but Aaron ignored it, going back into the room.
“Anyone saw Reed today?”
“No,” everyone but Dave answered.
“Not Reed but I’ve seen Spencer,” the senior profiler said as his eyes were looking at the door. Aaron’s head spun, and he did see Spencer standing there. He was leaning in the doorway, a badge hanging from the bottom hem of his shirt but Aaron didn’t pay it any mind. What he did pay attention to was the haircut. Spencer had made mention of wanting to cut it, but he hadn’t figured he’d go that short. It looked like something that belonged in a boyband.
“Spencer?” Aaron asked.
“Agent Anderson is really sweet,” Spencer said as he moved into the room and took the seat beside Aaron. “I’m here now. Go ahead and tell us what you were going to.”
Aaron looked at him but all Spencer did was smile. The dragon had never talked about wanting to be in human form inside Quantico. Aaron though turned his focus away from Spencer and started to speak of the newest member of the team. He was waiting for a blow up from the team, and Morgan delivered.
“Are you sure that was wise, Hotch?” Morgan asked, a little hot.
“Alan trusts him.”
“Alan trusted the West Coast Council,” Prentiss said.
Aaron leaned over to prop an elbow on the table and used that hand to pinch the bridge of his nose. The others were talking, and he just wanted peace for a second. Spencer was happy, and it was trying to push away his own feelings of stress.
“Why do you have a gun, Spence?” JJ asked.
Aaron snapped his eyes open and looked at Spencer who was just sitting there smiling. He was leaned back in his chair with one foot resting on the other knee. He did indeed have a gun on his hip, a revolver. The badge wasn’t a visitors badge either. It had his picture and his name on it.
“A magical person with no name attached coming from the Council over to the FBI? No picture? Really?” Spencer asked. He shook his head and laughed. “I had a life before I was taken. A life that I think would have led here eventually. I was at college when Aaron and Agent Gideon came for a recruitment seminar. I was a little too deep into things with Tria at the time, or I would have followed them to the academy as soon as I could. Would have made my first full meeting with Aaron fascinating.”
“You weren’t kidding? You actually went to high school? College?” Morgan looked shocked. Aaron wasn’t. He’d done the same thing except for the changing age thing. He’d gone to college with his current life.
“Oh yes, I did. Not something I would repeat. I thought it would be fun. It wasn’t. College wasn’t that bad. High school was horrible, but then I was pre-teen at the time.”
“You can shift ages?” Garcia asked.
“Oh yes,” Spencer smirked, and with a shudder, he was sitting in front of him as a kid. Morgan’s mouth dropped open, and he looked at Aaron. They both knew that kid.
“That was you?” Aaron asked.
“As was the old man. On the case, I could feel the magics she used, and she left a pretty big magical stain on her apartment that we had found. I wasn’t ready to give away that much then and well, I knew with the coin, you would trust me.”
“And then you convinced me I had a stalker!”
Spencer started laughing and shifted back to his mature form. It was that moment when Strauss entered the room. She stopped at the sight of the new man in the room and the fact that the entire team was laughing.
“Agent Hotchner, Alan has told me that your newest agent was already in the building. Is this him?”
“Section Chief Strauss, Doctor Spencer Reid.” Spencer stood up from his chair and shook her hand. She by rote reached out. As soon as her hand connected with his, she jumped a little and jerked her hand back. “Sorry. I forget you aren’t Aaron and aren’t used to it.”
“Aaron?” Strauss looked at Aaron for clarification.
“You have a bag of M&Ms on you. For Reed?” Spencer asked. Strauss looked at him in shock. Aaron stood up from his seat in time to catch Spencer’s eyes change from brown to the electric blue of Reed. “I’m sure you can understand the need for secrecy at the time, Chief Strauss.”
“Reed?” Strauss looked at Spencer and then at Aaron and back again. Spencer took hold of her arm and helped her sit down in the chair he had been sitting in. “Is this what has the Council acting so secretive on things?”
“At the current, the Council is still the primary authority for the whole of North America. The Council will come to me if they have something they feel they can’t handle or Aaron can’t handle.”
“And you are the applicant for the spot on the BAU team?” Strauss asked.
“Yes. As if I would let someone new on my team. I have these guys broken in just right.” Spencer was smiling as he talked. “Don’t need someone new.”
“What was that when you touched me?”
“By-product of being a dragon. I am closest to my lightning, so I have a low-level electrical field that arcs on my skin. As a dragon, my scales absorb it, as a human my skin can’t. It’s why I don’t shake hands much.”
“I am feeling a little better now. I should go and work on your paperwork. So…cases, Agent Hotchner?”
“I think we’ll be fine staying in the rotation.” Aaron looked at his team and saw their matching nods. The team was used to dragon Reed, human Spencer wasn’t going to be hard to get used to. Strauss pushed herself up out of the chair. She nodded at Aaron before she left the room. She pulled the door shut as she left.
“So…” Dave looked at Aaron and then Spencer. “How is this going to work? Everyone is going to notice that when Doctor Reid is around, Reed isn’t and vice versa.”
“Oh, don’t worry about that. HR is handling that as we speak. I think Jeanetta said something about the care and feeding of a High Dragon in human and dragon form.”
“Seriously?” Aaron asked.
“No joke. Alan is in HR helping them with it. Tria’s dragon form is pretty unknown. There are a few that know a dragon exists in Wales but no one connects the two. I am the trial run, and if I work out, well she’ll come out of the closet within the year. Those who I needed to be scared of are no longer around, and even if the three on the Council had friends, they aren’t coming after a High Dragon and his Judge. That’s just stupid.”
“Why a revolver?” Morgan was looking at the gun.
“Works better with my magic and my little electrical field. I’ve fried two glocks during testing. I am not sure how I didn’t fry Aaron’s glock the time I shot it. So, who’s going to give me the nickel tour? Show me around?” Spencer asked with a playful smile on his face.
“I like him much better cat-sized,” Dave said with a wry laugh. The whole team burst out laughing. Aaron smiled and pulled Spencer close to him. He’d make sure to read the email because he wanted to know what to answer if someone asked a question. Having Reed on the team had been interesting. Having Spencer was going to be even more so.
“Does this mean we can give him all the geographic profiles now?” Prentiss asked.