Series: Here There Be Dragons
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Year: Season 5 (August 2009)
Category: AU: Fantasy, Magic is Known, Established Relationship,
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid,
Spoilers: Up Through Season 5
Summary: Spencer reveals his secret in the most public way possible. Shifting to dragon form in the middle of a busy DC street. All to protect a child.
Warnings: Canon Character Death,
Spencer smiled as he took a sip of his coffee. The girl behind the counter fluttered her eyelashes at him and tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. It had been a while since anyone had flirted with him, he almost missed it except she blushed when his eyes didn’t leave her face. A hand on his lower back nearly made him jump but the burst of emotion from Aaron along the bond had him settling down. His mate stepped even closer and kissed his cheek.
“Ready?” Aaron asked.
“Sure,” Spencer answered and turned to leave. He watched the barista’s face as he did and saw the disappointment. Aaron used the hand at his back to pull him from the coffee shop. He hid his smirk into his coffee as he felt more emotions from his mate across the bond. Aaron was jealous, he’d never made anyone feel jealous before. This was one of their first big trips out since he’d started to work with Aaron at the BAU in human form. Before the only trips they had really done together was to get clothes for him. Today was a test on his spending several hours in human form with many others around. On cases, he did well but there was usually not a lot of people around.
Spencer stopped at the window of the bookstore and Aaron’s hand slipped off of him. He barely paid attention. There, on display, was a book on dragons. Not the mythological ones that most people thought of but actual dragons. He decided to step inside and look at it. It was massive. The size of a coffee table book but well over a thousand pages. He saw that there was a copy on a stand that people could flip through. He went right to the index and found what he was looking for. High Dragons. There was only a single set of numbers out from the words and he flipped easily to that page. He quickly scanned the page and then went back to read it a great deal slower. It was a small section that stated that High Dragons were not a myth but that the species as a whole liked to live as humans. That there was no way to tell a High Dragon from a dragon or a human when in either form, which was true. Aaron had suspected for a long time at what he was but had never been able to get anything concrete until he’d seen him sleeping in the library in human form.
Deciding that it would be a good idea to buy the book to look through, Spencer grabbed a copy and moved towards the register. His new debit card was in his wallet. It hadn’t taken as long as he thought to get things reactivated in the Spencer Reid name. Of course, Alan helped with a lot of that. He only realized once he’d paid and the book was in a bag in his hand that Aaron hadn’t followed him into the store.
Spencer moved quickly to the exit and found that Aaron was nowhere in sight. He reached down to his pocket and his cell phone but stopped. He hadn’t tried to track Aaron through his magic. They should be connected enough that he would be able to see a trail of his magic. It would be easier in his dragon form but he wanted the challenge of his human form. Tria was still worried about his magic being suppressed for as long as it had and issues that could arise from it. He’d had flare ups but nothing that he couldn’t control. There wasn’t a part of his magic that he wasn’t in control of anymore. Of course, his small bouts of healing were just that. He was still too young to be able to access healing magics too much. Even Tria wasn’t able to access them. The first and only time that he had was when he’d healed Prentiss, Morgan, and Aaron after they had been taken captive and beaten.
Closing his eyes, Spencer concentrated on the life near him. He could feel the ebb and flow of the humans. Human life was a bright spot in the world around him. He could feel a few shifters, even more elves, and quite a few faeries in the mall. It wasn’t hard to push them away as he opened his eyes again. Anyone who would have been looking at him would have seen that when he closed his eyes they had been brown but upon opening them the eyes were bright blue. He found the path that Aaron had made easily but off to the left, about fifty feet was another trail of magic. He cocked his head to the side and watched as the path went in and out of a woman’s lingerie store and then a children’s clothing store. If Aaron had made it while looking for him he would have gone into the knick-knack shop in between the two as well all the shops around. Spencer followed that trail. It was recent. Made within the last hour. He and Aaron hadn’t gone into any of the shops, he was intrigued on who had made the trail and why their signature was so close to Aaron’s.
The path led him through several more stores that were ones that Aaron would never have gone into before finally going into a toy store and it wasn’t leading back out. Spencer shifted his messenger bag and slid the book inside. A quick thought had the book halving its weight so it wouldn’t be awkward in the bag. His coffee cup had been tossed into the trash four stores ago so his hands were free.
Spencer entered the toy store and followed the trail of magic back to where the younger kid toys were. There were only two people back there. A woman and a little boy. When the boy turned, Spencer gasped. He looked like Aaron. That explained the trail. This was Aaron’s son.
Aaron would never lie to him. He’d said he had no children alive. That meant that this kid was unknown to him. His mate had a child in the world and didn’t know it.
The kid turned and looked at him. Spencer let the kid watch him for several seconds before he closed his eyes and reopened them. The kid smiled at the change in his eyes and turned back to look at the toy in front of him. The woman with him turned to move down another aisle and Spencer knew her on sight. Even without his eidetic memory, he’d know her on sight. He’d only ever seen a picture of her once. Aaron kept it in a book that had pictures and drawings of his entire life. Spencer had been intrigued by the human woman who’d held Aaron’s heart when he’d first come to live with him.
Haley Brooks was standing there with a child of Aaron’s. The timeline fit for the kid’s age. She would have been barely pregnant when she’d left him. Why had she never come to him? Why hadn’t she told him?
Spencer had a decision to make. He could trace that other magical line back to his mate and bring him back. He didn’t know what that would end with. He’d never seen Aaron with a child of his. He had no clue how his last child to be born died. Was it a good, natural death? Or was the child ripped from him before their time? His other option was to look into it all. Figure out why Haley was keeping Aaron from his child and maybe even try and figure out what had happened to the last of his mate’s children.
There was no way to stop Aaron from getting hurt. His mate was going to be angry of the years lost with his son and hurt that a woman he’d loved had kept the child away from him. He needed facts. He needed to figure out as much information as he could before he broke the news to his mate.
One Week Later
Spencer had made up his mind days before but he’d waited the week to actually do anything about it. He’d spent the morning on the phone with Tria after Rossi had picked up Aaron for work. That had prompted a long discussion the night before. Spencer wanted to just use the bus and subway system but his mate was leery about that and had forced him to take the car to get to work. Rossi had been fine picking him up but the dragon was a little shy about asking for help like that.
It wasn’t that he didn’t like to drive. He’d gone and got his license renewed as soon as he’d made the decision to join the BAU with Aaron. He could drive and there were times he liked to do it but there were others that it was a pain. Sometimes his mind went in too many ways that concentrating on it was hard. Driving in Quantico wasn’t that bad but DC traffic was murder and that’s where he was. He’d driven into the city to pick up a surprise for Aaron. Along with it had been some of his things from his old house in Vegas that he needed, personal and magical items. Tria had closed down the house and put it all in storage, Everything had been safer that way.
Stopped at a light, Spencer let his mind wander. It would be at least a minute before it changed. He was thinking of what he needed to do when he got into the office when a truck barreled past him. He watched the swerve of the truck and then he noticed the sedan that it was heading right for. There wasn’t a single thing he could do. He pulled his car off to the side as he heard the crunch of metal on metal. He was up and out of his car, grabbing his credentials and the keys but leaving his gun and bag in the car. The other cars around the intersection were stopped so Spencer could run right to the truck. He jerked open the door, the smell of alcohol was so strong that it nearly knocked Spencer on his ass. It took a moment but he was finally able to stick his head in and he felt for a pulse but found none. The guy hadn’t even been buckled in and there was little that wasn’t sliced to shreds on his head. The smell of blood was strong. The guy had hit so hard he’d caved in the top of his head.
Giving up on the dead man, Spencer moved to the sedan. He had to cross to the passenger side and he was happy he could open the door and leaned into the car, resting his knees on the seat. The woman driving was covered in blood and while her airbag and seatbelt stopped her from being tossed around, that part of the car was all smashed in and even as he reached for her neck, he knew that she was dead. The lack of a pulse confirmed it. When he pulled his hand back, her head shifted, her face visible and Spencer gasped, his head snapping around and looking in the back seat. He’d been so focused on the woman that he hadn’t noticed the kid in the back seat.
Jumping out of the front seat of the car, Spencer ripped the back door off it’s hinges. The boy in the back seat looked up at him with no fear on his face, well no fear of him. The tears were streaming down his face and Spencer knew that the boy knew his mother was dead. He reached out, the kid’s magic flared and the belts holding him into his car seat snapped. The boy was in his arms. There was blood on him but not much, just from the scratches from the glass. The seat had done it’s job.
“Where’s daddy?” The kid asked as Spencer tucked his head on his shoulder. Spencer turned from the car and saw that an officer had finally arrived on scene. He hadn’t even thought of calling the police. The officer was approaching them.
“I’ll make sure to get a hold of him.” The kid’s dad was going to get the shock of his life. Spencer focused on the kid and was shocked when he felt a brush of magic over himself. The kid was looking for something. Before Spencer could even try and stop him, the kid brushed on the bond and a protective instinct that he’d never felt before flared in his body. He was sure that Aaron felt it even in Quantico.
Then there was a hand on his arm and Spencer spun a little to look at the officer. The snarl ripped from his throat and the officer took a step back, scared for his life because of the sound. Spencer tucked the child into his side that was the farthest away from the cop but it wasn’t enough. It had been so long since he’d gone feral and there was no stopping it now. The shift to Reed was easy and seductive. He could protect the child better in dragon form. The world whited out for a few seconds.
Reed looked down at the officer as the man now ran away from him. He snorted and smoke rolled from his nose. Thankfully the human didn’t draw a gun. He felt Aaron trying to reach him over the bond but pushed it away. He needed to protect the kid.
That was all that mattered.
Aaron felt a rush of protective and possessive feelings from Spencer. He reached out in the bond and was pushed away. He snorted and then went back to work. He knew that Spencer had stayed back to talk to Tria about a few things and he must have gone on a hunt before heading into work that day. It was one of the only times that he was pushed away anymore. He finished that file and opened up the second, moments going by. The only thing he felt now was the slight feralness that told him that Reed was definitely hunting.
“HOTCH!” JJ’s voice called out from the bullpen. There was a tinge of panic in the woman’s voice and it carried him out of his office at a faster clip than he’d ever run before. When he stopped at the bar, he took in his team, all of them were looking at the TV and even as he turned to look JJ pointed at it. He wasn’t sure what he was looking at at first. The screen showed a woman talking but the volume was too low. Morgan started to turn the volume up.
“…We arrived on scene moments after it happened. Our eyewitnesses have told us that a wreck happened and one of the first on scene was a young man who sprinted over to the truck before checking on the people in the sedan. One woman saw the young man pull the child from the back seat but when the first officer on scene tried to approach the man snarled at him. The snarl was heard by all bystanders at the scene and then the young man changed.” The camera panned and Aaron sucked in a breath.
There on screen was Reed. He’d seen Reed in his larger, darker form enough that he knew him on sight. There was a sedan at his back and he was shifted to where his wing was down. Aaron had seen him in the pose enough to know that he was protecting something. The kid. Reed had the kid tucked against him, protecting him from the officer. The dragon had never done that before, even on a case with an UnSub. Oh, he’d protected the kids but never like that.
Aaron tried to reach out but that slight feralness that Reed got when hunting was magnified so high that Aaron couldn’t breach it. Reed was gone. All that was left was the dragon and there was no way that the dragon was going to calm down with all those people around him. The phone in his office started to ring, it was his secondary line. As Judge he’d be called to contain the dragon. Little did most everyone know.
“All BAU teams!” Aaron yelled. He waited till he had all eyes on him. “We need to get to DC and contain Reed. I don’t know what caused this but I have a feeling that the kid that he pulled from the car is still there at his side. If you are not on my team, I need you to help get civilians and even LEOs back from the scene. My team, I want you front and center. Go!”
The other teams scattered, heading right for the doors. His team did not move, waiting for him. He moved back to his office, grabbing his gun and credentials. When he made it down the stairs, his team fell into place around him.
“He can’t feel me. Whatever is going on, he’s feral. He’s never felt like this before. I don’t know what we are going to find when we get there. There is no way that I can drive so Morgan, you take the wheel. I’d prefer if we all arrive in two SUVs.”
“He wouldn’t hurt the kid, right?” Dave asked.
“No. He’s in protection mode. That I could feel before he became feral.”
Aaron took the front seat of the first of the SUVs that was waiting on them. One of the other teams must have had them prepared for them. He was thankful. He closed his eyes and kept trying to get to Reed in his mind but there was so much happening over the bond that he didn’t know how to break through. There was something more going on than just Reed going feral.
The near hour trip only took half that with sirens blaring and Morgan’s combative driving. Morgan pulled up to the police cordon and was waved in by the LEOs. Anderson met him opening the door to the car.
“LEOs are running the plates of the car now to try and get information on who the driver is. We know that it’s a female with blonde hair. The kid looked to be around the age of five. It’s a boy and the officer who saw him said he looked fine except for a few cuts before the dragon emerged. Reed isn’t answering them at all. We’ve not said a thing, just answering ‘no comment.’”
“Thanks Anderson. Work with the LEOs to keep people back. No matter what he does, he won’t hurt me or the team. Don’t let them draw their weapons. There isn’t a single thing that we can do about this. Dave, find my car. It’s here somewhere. Get his bag out. He usually keeps his phone in there. I will need it.” Aaron tossed over the keys to the car and turned to face his dragon for the first time. Reed had his head tucked near the wing that was protecting the kid.
“Hotch. The car, the LEOs have a name for us,” JJ said as she stepped up to him from where she’d exited the car. “Brooks. Haley Brooks. Isn’t that…”
The gasp from Morgan was enough of an answer. Aaron started forward towards his mate. “JJ, I want you up here with me. Stay behind me. I don’t know what he’s going to do. If I get him to release the kid, I want you to get him free. Reed would never hurt him but we have jumpy cops who have never dealt with a dragon before.”
“Sure.” JJ passed off her gun to Prentiss and Aaron did the same with Morgan even pulling his backup off.
“Are you insane?” One of the officers asked as he watched them remove their guns.
“All a gun is going to do is piss him off.” Aaron turned to look at Morgan and he saw the Shifter nod that he would keep an eye on him. “Reed!” Aaron yelled as soon as he and JJ got far enough away from the others.
“It has a name?” That same officer asked, his tone loud. Reed’s head turned and he started right at the man. Aaron watched as those bright blue eyes started to get brighter and brighter. He knew exactly what that meant.
“Morgan, silence him,” Aaron yelled. It drew the dragon’s gaze from the man to him and JJ, which was exactly what he wanted. “JJ, I want you to work on getting the bodies out of the cars. The smell isn’t exactly helping keep him calm. Get the MEs ready.”
“Sure.” JJ turned to move over to the other side of the street to bring the ambulance and the medical examiners onto the scene. The rest of the team was still in earshot. He’d need them next.
“Reed, I need to get these people from the cars. So I’m going to have Morgan, Dave, and Prentiss start to shift people around from the area over there then can you and the boy move there?” Aaron pointed over to the opposite side of the intersection. Reed looked over to where he was pointing. As soon as the words were out of his mouth, the rest of his team did as he asked. Where Reed was now, he was protected at his back by the two wrecked vehicles. The area where Hotch wanted to put him was protected by two buildings. “Can you do that?”
“Yes,” Reed answered. The entire crowd gathered around them gasped.
“Do you know who I am?” Aaron needed to know how feral his dragon was.
“Yes, Aaron.” Reed’s tone told him that the dragon thought he was stupid.
“Well, you keep rebuffing me in the bond. You’re feral right now.”
“I am well aware of that fact.”
“Then you understand why I’m a little worried.” Aaron didn’t turn from the dragon, trusting his team to protect his back. A small cough from Morgan told him that the area was clear and only then did Aaron look away.
I’m not the one blocking the bond, Aaron.
Aaron’s blood ran cold at those words but he took a few steps toward the new area to draw Reed’s gaze there. Reed watched him walk a few more steps before he started to move. He watched as his dragon tucked his wing in closer to the side of his body and then started to three leg walk over the area. It was slow going but Aaron figured that the kid was tucked close to his body with the missing leg.
This wasn’t just a bout of feralness over a child being injured. If Reed wasn’t blocking the bond, the kid was. Haley had been human and not magical at all if her kid was magical. The timeline was way too close. Aaron turned to see that JJ was staying between the rushing medical staff and him and Reed.
“He’s not going to let you take him JJ. I need to talk to Garcia.”
JJ smiled and handed over her cell phone. Aaron smiled back.
“Sir, my chocolate God had me looking up information on the kid and well…His name is Jack Brooks and he was born on October seventh two thousand and four. There is no father listed on his birth certificate. Locals have notified her next of kin which is her sister Jessica. She is on her way to take in Jack.”
“I’ll have Dave find her and bring her up,” Aaron turned to look at JJ as he spoke and she nodded, moving away.
“I have no picture of him, Sir. I can’t give you an answer to the question running in your head.”
“Thank you, Garcia. I think I’ve already got confirmation.” The question was running through his mind as he was sure it was running through the minds of the team.
“Yes, Sir. Anything else?”
“Can you go to my house? We will be heading there as soon as I can get Reed to change to Spencer. Or at least shrink down to fit into the car.”
“Of course, Bossman.” Garcia clicked off and Aaron pocketed JJ’s phone. She was still over talking to Dave. He watched as Dave handed over a set of keys and a phone to her before she turned to head back to him. As soon as she got close she handed over the phone. Aaron immediately searched for the phone number and called.
“Spencer?” Tria asked.
“Actually, it’s Aaron. I have a feral Reed in the middle of the streets of DC. He’s got a child tucked in so close to his body that no one can see him.”
“See, that’s what I want to know. Let’s say I have a child and he’s magical. How would the kid’s magic feel to him?”
“The same as yours. He would know your child by a touch if he was deaf and blind. Spencer told me you had no children alive right now.”
“Well that’s what I thought. Spencer turned into Reed in the middle of the streets after a cop tried to touch the kid. I am also having trouble getting a reading on Reed. He says he’s not blocking the bond.”
“The child’s mother was killed in a wreck. Spencer was first on scene.” Aaron looked around the scene. The bodies were gone as was everyone but the team.
“If that’s your child, you are the only one that Reed is going to give him over to. He’s never gone feral like this, Aaron. Never. You need to get him calm and the first step of that is getting the child calm. He won’t hurt you. Just approach him like it’s any other time. Call if you need me.” Tria hung up before Aaron could beg her not to. He sighed and handed the phone back to JJ along with her own.
“Reed, I’m going to come closer now.”
The dragon didn’t answer him, instead, he just stared. Aaron moved forward like he wasn’t worried that his mate could possibly react badly to his presence and hurt him. It was hard but he did it. When he reached out to touch Reed, the dragon shifted and his wing unfurled some. Jack was sitting on the leg of the dragon with a thumb in his mouth. He looked at Jack and knew. Jack was his.
“Jack, this is your dad,” Reed said, his voice pitched really low so that hopefully it wouldn’t carry. That confirmed what Aaron thought. Reed knew it was his kid as well. Jack dropped the finger from his mouth and just looked at him. It was several long minutes before he reached out to Aaron. As soon as the little hands touched his skin, Aaron felt it. This bond felt so different than the one he had with Spencer and it was a different feeling than any others he’d ever had with children long gone. The bond with Spencer felt the same but he could feel that Jack was scared and worried and so many other emotions and it was blocking Reed. The dragon was trying to keep Jack calm by taking on his emotions and it was making it hard for him to connect with Aaron.
Jack jumped into Aaron’s arms after that and buried his face into his neck. The little boy started crying. His emotions flowed over Aaron and he gladly took them. Reed shifted down to ] a smaller size. He stood shoulder to shoulder with Aaron. His eyes raked over the crowd gathered at the edges of the scene behind the barricades set up by the locals and Aaron got to watch as the entirety of the situation dawned on him. A shout from someone had the dragon’s head jerking towards the noise as his body shifted and Aaron and Jack were covered by a wing. Aaron kept his laughter down. It wasn’t a laughing matter but he’d protected Reed so much that it felt funny for the dragon to think he needed protection.
It’s Alan. The wing was drawn back at the words and then Aaron could see his friend moving towards them. Dave was walking with him but both of them stopped over ten feet away from them.
“My phone hasn’t stopped buzzing since this started. I’ve only taken one of those calls. I wasn’t aware that your lady friend had my number, Reed.”
Tria called you?
“She couldn’t get you or Aaron on the phone. It seems that the entire world has seen the video of you shifting into dragon form. The magical council in Britain is calling for you to be brought to England for training. She wants to speak to you before she makes a decision. Aaron spoke to her and she knows why this happened. She just doesn’t feel right giving away your secrets without speaking to you. As long as you allow her to reveal her own secrets, she’ll allow you to reveal your own.”
JJ, come take Jack. He’ll feel better going to a female right now.
Aaron heard the words so he figured that Reed was broadcasting to him so that he’d know what was going on. JJ started towards them and Jack went willingly to her. Aaron didn’t want to let go of his son but he knew what was going to happen. As soon as JJ moved back to where Dave was. Reed shifted into Spencer. He turned to look at Aaron.
“Are you ready for this?”
“To tell the entire world that not only am I one of North America’s Judges but that I am in a relationship with a dragon? Ready as I’ll ever be.”
The entire team plus Jessica Brooks was piled into the dining room at Aaron’s house. Boxes and boxes of Chinese food were scattered everywhere. Jack was settled on Aaron’s lap with Spencer on one side of him and JJ the other. The little boy had taken to JJ quickly.
Child Services had tried to fight Aaron taking Jack with him as he wasn’t listed on Jack’s birth certificate but the arrival of Jessica had changed that tune quickly. Jessica had taken the other woman aside and talked to her for several minutes and when the two had come back, Jack was allowed to go with Aaron.
Jack had eaten little but Aaron knew that it was normal. He was in shock no matter how stoic he acted. Having Jessica around helped to settle the boy but he hadn’t wanted to leave his dad’s lap since they had arrived at the house.
“Jack, Miss JJ is going to take you and Henry and you two can play in the backyard, how does that sound?” Aaron watched Jack’s face as he spoke. Jack’s face fell a little but he nodded. Aaron moved to hand him over to JJ but Spencer’s hand on his arm stopped him.
“Henry, where did you put Mr. Bear?” Spencer asked as he looked at the smaller of the two boys. Henry ran off into the living room and came back with a stuffed bear. Spencer touched the bear and it started to glow. Jack’s eyes widened and when the glow disappeared he grabbed the bear from the dragon’s hands. He crushed the bear to his body and turned back and forth. “Now, please go with Miss JJ.”
Jack nodded and took off towards where JJ was standing with her hand out. Henry followed after at JJ’s prompting. When they were out of earshot she turned to Aaron.
“What is he doing here?” Jessica asked, pointing at Spencer.
“Jessica, this is Doctor Spencer Reid. He’s a member of my team.”
“I am the highest ranking magic user in North America. I top Aaron and the other Judge.” Spencer relaxed back into his chair, picking at his food. “You’ve seen the dragon on the news, the little one that Aaron has had with him for a little while?”
“Haley told me about him. She was shocked that you accepted a familiar. She said you didn’t like them too well.” Jessica was looking at Aaron now.
“Oh, I don’t. Spencer is that dragon. He’s a High Dragon.” The look on Jessica’s face told Aaron that she didn’t know what that meant.
“I can change forms between human and dragon. I am more magical than Aaron and am Immortal. I am going to be blunt and ask the question that is the elephant in the room since Aaron isn’t going to. Why was Jack kept from Aaron?”
“Kept from him? Haley said that he kicked her to the curb when he found out she was pregnant.” Jessica looked shocked.
“No, I came home from a case and found that she had moved all her stuff from the house and she left a letter telling me that she wasn’t going to move back in unless I quit the BAU.”
“She told me all the time that you didn’t want kids.” Jessica shoved her plate away from herself and settled with her elbows on the table.
“I didn’t. I told her that up front. I don’t know if she wanted to try and change my mind. I buried my last family thirty years ago. They died in a car crash. I was thrown from the car but it caught fire before anyone could arrive on the scene. I wasn’t ready to try and start another family.”
“Oh, she never said that just that you didn’t want kids. Aaron, I’m so sorry. She told us things and we all believed them. I wanted to try and reach out to you about Jack but I trusted her and I didn’t want…you are a very high profile. You could bury us if you wanted. All this time and you didn’t even know about him at all. I’m not going to fight you. I’ll make sure that dad doesn’t. I just want to see him.”
“We can discuss that more later. Right now we have an issue. Most magical children bond with their magical parents at birth. Jack’s always had the ability to bond with me but it’s never been allowed to happen. Touch is needed. He bonded with Spencer in a way due to the magical signature of mine that he carries due to our own bond.”
“Aaron, I don’t understand magic and I never have. Just plainer words.”
“Jack’s bond with me is very new and very clingy. He’s not going to want to be separated from me for a while. It could be up to a month, maybe longer. Maybe shorter. Even if I wanted to give him an easy transition into life with me, that’s not going to happen. You saw how he was there? I asked him to go to another room and he was going to do it but he didn’t want to. That wasn’t him just not wanting to. That was his magic not wanting to be gone from mine. That bear that Spencer gave him, it has my magical signature on it. While it will work for short term, it won’t for cases. I’m going to be here in DC for a while.”
“So we are going to be down you and Spencer?” Morgan asked.
“Why would I have to stay?” Spencer asked. Aaron tried to keep the laughter in but the look of confusion on Spencer’s face was priceless.
“I…” Morgan started but the scream of Henry interrupted the adults. The young boy came running into the room and jumped into Spencer’s lap. Jack came running after and stopped when he saw where Henry was. He stopped a small scared look on his face. Aaron wanted to rush forward but Spencer set Henry down and then with a small flash and a crack of lightning, Reed was sitting in the chair. Henry squealed and clapped, reaching out and picking up Reed. He handed the dragon over to Jack who smiled and then the three of them were gone.
“And my dragon was just kidnapped by two children.”
“He turned into Reed,” JJ said as she entered the room. “He knows that Henry loves to play with Reed.”
“What was that flash and the crack?” Dave asked.
“That’s something he does for Henry. He did it once to scare me while JJ and Henry were visiting and well, the little boy loves it. I think he also did it for Jack’s benefit. Jack sees the dragon as his protector.” Aaron smiled as he heard Henry’s shrill laughter from the backyard followed by a burst of laughter from Jack. “What kind of magical training was Haley giving him?”
“Just the standard.”
“What’s his affinity?” Jessica just looked at him like he was crazy.
A burst of worry over the bond had Aaron on edge.
Aaron. Reed’s voice sounded worried so Aaron jumped from his chair and ran to the backyard. It was fenced in so he wasn’t worried about that. When he saw the flames his heart leaped into his throat. He found Jack and Henry who were both in Spencer’s arms. The small inferno was ten feet across and spiraling up like a tornado. Aaron could hear the others behind him but all he did was run to where Spencer was standing.
“I found his affinity. I was showing them the elements I have control over and then Jack saw the small fire and it leaped out of control.”
“Shouldn’t we be doing something?” Garcia asked but Aaron shook his head. He held out his hands for Jack and the boy went to him willingly. He moved over closer to the fire and waited for Spencer to move closer to the flames as well after passing off Henry to his mother.
“Jack, what made the fire do that?”
“I did. I was cold but I didn’t want to go inside. I just wanted to get warm.”
“Can you make it stop?” Aaron sat down and set Jack in his lap. He felt the air around them shift and watched as the fire slowly died down. It took nearly ten minutes. When what remained was only the small flame that Spencer had ignited, Aaron picked up Jack and cuddled the boy close. The boy was tired. Spencer reached down and as soon as his hand entered the flame, it was gone.
“We need to get him into a different training program. He’ll be in preschool this year.”
“Kindergarten. He started preschool last year. Haley was able to get him a waiver to be allowed into school early since he was born in October. He’s never done something like that before.”
“My fire is….seductive to him. Normal fire is pretty to him and nice. My magical fire is like sticking a child at a buffet of desserts when he’s hungry. He couldn’t resist playing with it, especially since he was cold. I’ll make sure not to bring out fire around him.”
“Haley never said he had any issues. She said that he hadn’t shown an affinity yet.”
“That’s because of her…” Spencer stopped and looked at Aaron. “Why don’t you go settle him down in the guest room?”
Aaron nodded and moved past his dragon, kissing him on the cheek as he passed. Jack even leaned in for a kiss from Spencer. Jessica just watched in shock.
Spencer watched Aaron make his way back into the house. He was ever so thankful that Aaron had a large house. It wasn’t anywhere as big as Rossi’s ‘mansion’ but it was very big. There was room for most everyone to stay over.
“Miss Brooks, would you mind coming with me into the library, where we can talk in a neutral setting.”
“Sure.” Spencer held out his elbow and she took it.
“Morgan, JJ would you like to join us?” Spencer figured that she would be comfortable with another woman in the room and Morgan was a good neutral person on the magical side of things. “You all know the rooms that you can stay in. I think that Aaron was putting Jack in the one next to our bedroom.”
The library furniture was turned around to where the four of them would be able to sit and face each other. Jessica took the seat beside JJ and Spencer took the one beside Morgan.
“When Jack started his magical education, what did Haley tell the school?”
“That Jack was born of a one night stand.”
“Children of Immortals are very powerful. Aaron’s family line has always had an affinity for fire. His long-dead family had one magic user out of four who didn’t use fire. I did a lot of research on him after he released me from my prison. If his teacher had known, he would have been tested for fire in much the same way that I just tested him.”
“You were trying to find his affinity, weren’t you, Pretty Boy?” Morgan asked with a smile on his face.
“Yes. I had a feeling he would use fire. Aaron was one of the few who had the ability to use all forms of magic but given that he was revealed to be an Immortal at a young age like Henry, it was understandable. We have a lot of issues to work through with Child Protective Services. We have a funeral to plan and a will to take care of. As well as custody and visiting arrangements to take care of.”
“His job hasn’t changed,” Jessica pointed out.
“No, it hasn’t. The brass will give him a month. I know that they will. You are welcome to stay the night and we can talk more in the morning. We are all still in shock. Today has been tiring and I know that your father and mother want to see you. They are more than welcome to come into town and stay here or I’ll put them up in a hotel.”
“You will?” Jessica looked shocked at his words.
“Of course. They are Jack’s family. We are all Jack’s family. He lost his mother but he gained a father and a large slightly crazy set of uncles and aunts.”
“And where do you fall in that?”
“Wherever Jack wants to place me.”
“What exactly is your role in Aaron’s life?”
“You know little of dragons but that’s normal for humans. High Dragons are rare. We are a different species from other dragons. You look at me and you see the age I represent and you saw pictures of me as Reed. I am not a young little thing, Miss Brooks. I was born at the same time that Aaron was. I’ve been alive for as long as him. When I met him for the first time, we bonded.”
“Haley spoke of bonds, there are many different kinds.”
“Most young dragons, which I let everyone think I was, bond with a magic user when they are too young to protect themselves. High Dragons only bond like that if not helped when young. I was taken in pretty young so I never needed that. That is considered to be a parental bond. There is also a bond much like Morgan and Garcia have. Friendship bond. It’s only created when nurtured for years. Sibling bonds and parental bonds are created upon birth when family touch each other. There is a love bond. It’s pretty common among magical users and other magical beings. The final bond is soulmates.” Spencer didn’t say anything about it because the name spoke for itself.
“Which do you two have? I saw the kiss. I didn’t think that relationships were allowed between those who are on the same team.”
“Soulmates. There is a great deal that they would allow of soulmates. They can’t keep me from him. Magical law doesn’t allow a dragon and their bonded, no matter what form of bond, to be separated. Of course, I proved what I’ll do when separated from him but that’s a story for another time. I am bonded to Jack as much as I am bonded to Aaron. There is nothing that I wouldn’t do to keep him alive and safe.”
Spencer let Morgan lead him out of the room while JJ stayed to answer more questions.
“When did you see him for the first time?” Aaron asked as he leaned against the dresser in the bedroom. Spencer was hanging up clothes in the closet but the silence told him that he’d surprised the dragon. He waited for several long minutes before Spencer appeared from inside the small room. He was dressed like Aaron, in sleep clothes.
“When we went to the mall together. I traced your magical signature as I’d never done it before and when there were two current ones, I followed the one that felt a little different. It led me to a toy store where I saw him.”
“And you kept it from me.” Aaron wasn’t angry. Confused by not angry. It was a week. He’d known over that week that something was up. He knew about the present the dragon had for him, he didn’t know what it was but hushed calls and emails and the sense of complete happiness just a few days before that mall trip told him that something big was up. He’d thought the issue that Spencer was dealing with had to do with his small bout of jealousy he’d shown to the barista.
“I was on my way to the office to tell you this morning. I’d given myself a week to try and figure out the best way to tell you. I knew you’d be hurt no matter what. I tried to find more information on him and her but she kept a great deal hidden. I also couldn’t look too much as it would draw attention. He’s intelligent. When I trace magic, my eyes glow blue and I was in human form so he saw me for the first time with glowing blue eyes that changed when I stopped tracing. He didn’t freak out.” Spencer stayed at the closet, his eyes were downcast. He wasn’t looking up at all.
Aaron started across the room towards his mate. Spencer raised his eyes and the Immortal was happy to see that he wasn’t scared. He pulled him close and kissed his forehead. “I should be so mad but gods, I don’t know what I would have done that day in the mall if you had told me then. I don’t know what I would have done at all. Today could have sucked on so many levels. If the truck had hit her just a few feet over, Jack could have been killed. You would have known about him but I would have never. I don’t envy you the choices you’ve made.”
“I wasn’t going to…”
“Shush. I know. You’ve never lied to me, not without a very good reason. You aren’t lying about this. So what choice had you made?”
“Going with the truth. Pretty much what I told you. I’ve run the scenarios over the week and there was no way to lessen the impact on you. I couldn’t even sleep last night.”
“I know.” Aaron had woken every single time that Spencer had shifted in bed. It was part of why he wanted Spencer to have the morning. He hoped that whatever was wrong would come to a head. This he didn’t want. He was happy to have Jack in his life. He wasn’t going to turn the child away. Nothing that happened had been Jack’s fault. Jack needed him. “I’ll talk to Strauss in the morning. Morgan can step up and lead the team until Jack’s more settled.”
“And you are okay with me going without you?” Spencer turned to lay his head on Aaron’s shoulder. His arms wrapped around him tightly.
“Of course. Morgan, Garcia, and JJ stayed. Henry crawled into bed with Jack. Prentiss and Dave went home. He’s going to head in first thing and try and work on some things with Strauss before I call. Prentiss didn’t feel like sharing a bed. So what did you buy me?” Aaron wanted the mood lightened. He felt the shakes as Spencer laughed.
“You are sort of blind. Morgan hung it up earlier when we got home. I didn’t want it in the car in the hot sun.”
Aaron pulled back to look at him with a raised eyebrow. “Where is it?”
Spencer kissed him briefly and then waved at the wall above the bed. Aaron turned to look, keeping him close. His jaw dropped. It was a large painting that he swore he’d never see again. He thought it was lost to the ravages of time. It had hung in the dining room of the large estate he’d lived in as a kid. The painting was of his village he’d grown up in. It had been painted by a wandering magical user. His father had bought it and Aaron had fallen in love at age five.
“I found it by accident and I knew what the place was. When I was young, I’d heard of you but never thought that we were destined. The woman who owned it didn’t want to part with it but I was able to get her to.”
“How much did you spend on this?” Aaron didn’t even want to think how much the woman had asked for. Magical paintings were expensive, especially ones that were over five thousand years old. It was probably the only painting to have survived the destruction of the village before magic had come out to the world at large.
“It was worth it.”
“Aaron. Just feel happy.” Spencer kissed him, hard and it was passion filled. Aaron backed him up until he fell onto the bed. The dragon laughed as he bounced. He reached out and pulled Aaron down on top of him using his shirt. “Let’s settle down for the night. There is no way you are getting anything with Jack and Henry both in the next room. Who knows how Jack is going to react to it right now.”
“I know. I just want to hold you. When I saw you on the news, I was afraid. The news is just going to increase. When should we expect Tria and Serena?”
“Within the month. They will probably bring Brianna with them. If they do, I don’t think I can keep Henry from them.”
“You said that there was a chance that Tria wanted you to take her in. So we go from no kids to two in the space of a month.” Aaron knew that Spencer was worried about Aaron resenting that he was probably the only one who could help the little dragon. She’d been refusing to leave dragon form for a few days the last time the two dragons had talked. Aaron had been prepared. “We’ll need to see about making sure the fence is protected.”
“That fence won’t keep Brianna in. She may be small but she’s going to be able to fly. As soon as her wings were fully developed, she could fly. For me that was five days. I made Tria so mad.”
“So what kind of intelligence can we be expecting. You have your eidetic memory, reading speed, and the high IQ.” Aaron shifted around on the bed to settle down as Spencer pulled the sheet over them. When Aaron let his hand settle on Spencer’s stomach, under the shirt, he felt the charge on his skin. His mate had been right. He had gotten used to it. It didn’t excite him as much as it used to but it was comforting to him.
“That’s…Tria has a really good memory but pretty close to your own. My quirks, as Serena called them, are my own. I had the same chance of getting them much like humans do.” Eyes closed, Spencer settled back into Aaron’s chest, linking their hands. “We need sleep. Tomorrow we get to face everything, including my outing to the world.”
“Don’t think about it,” Aaron whispered as he started to rub at Spencer’s stomach with their linked hands. He could tell how tired his mate was. Between not getting any sleep the night before and the stress of the day, he was shocked he’d lasted as long as he had.
Only when Spencer was asleep did Aaron let himself relax enough to go to sleep. He hadn’t wanted a child but he wasn’t going to turn him away. Jack needed him and Brianna needed Spencer. The moment that his dragon had entered his life it had been changed, this was just another little bump. His last thought was that it wasn’t going to be two but three as Henry and Brianna were going to want to be together as much as possible. What a life it was going to be.