Title: The Destruction of Love
Series: Demon’s Angel
Fandom: Criminal Minds,
Year: Season 8 & 9 (Spring 2013 going forward)
Tags: Canon Divergence, Established Relationship, Angels & Demons, Dark, Angel!Spencer, Demon!Aaron, Wing Fic, Hurt/Comfort, Angst, Drug Use, Creepy Demon, Torture, Two Fucked up Beings In Love, Codependent, Drug use
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid,
Characters: Aaron Hotchner, Spencer Reid, Jack Hotchner, David Rossi, Derek Morgan, Jennifer “JJ” Jareau, Penelope Garcia, Alex Blake, Tomriel, Asmodeus,
Spoilers: Up Through Season 8/9
Summary: Everyone on the BAU team knows that something happened between Aaron and Spencer only Dave knows the truth of the relationship. No one is prepared for a joint Demon & Angel assault on Quantico late one night when it’s only the team there. When the smoke clears, Aaron’s not sure he’s ready to pay the price for saving his friends.
Notes: Can I say I am sorry now?
Warnings: Graphic Depictions of Violence, Major Character Death,
Aaron sighed as he closed another file. It was Friday and he was not looking forward to a weekend alone. Jack hadn’t been back home since he’d ended things with Spencer two months before. He knew that he’d made his bed so he’d have to lie in it. He just wasn’t prepared for Jack to pick Spencer over him. He couldn’t fight him on it though. If he tried then the adoption papers signed by Spencer three years after Haley’s death would come out and then the whole sordid thing would come out. He wasn’t going for that. Dave was already horrible when it came to working together. He didn’t need the rest of the team getting onto him as well and unless he wanted to explain it all, he’d have to stay the bad guy in it.
Rooming with Morgan every single case was getting on his nerves but it hadn’t taken long for Dave to make sure that he was roomed with Spencer and JJ, Blake, and Garcia were all for it as he was helping Spencer though his horrible breakup. He’d tried to talk Morgan into rooming with Spencer but the man had said that he was afraid of what Garcia would do if he did.
Spencer acted like everything was fine on cases and inside the office. There wasn’t a hiccup at all once he’d got settled in the new way of life. There was a divide between them that Aaron had never thought there would be, it was for the greater good. It was for Spencer’s own good. The only real difference was that when the team did things together, it was rare for both of them to go. And if both of them did go, they were as far away from each other as possible. It hurt so bad for Aaron not to be able to sit near him, to not be able to touch in the few instances when they were alone. There was no brush of Grace over his body after taking down an UnSub to make sure he was all right even when he visibly was hurt.
“Holy shit!” Morgan exclaimed. It was rare for any of the agents to be loud like that so Aaron stood up from his desk and moved to look out the door. He looked for danger but found none. Then he saw it. Spencer was bent over at his desk, sliding his messenger bag underneath into the back corner. He’d done that since he’d started carrying it and other agents had tried to prank him. Underneath it was safe. When he straightened though, Aaron was shocked.
Aaron had met Nuriel so many years before with long hair and while styles had changed, his Angel never had. He always wore his hair in a longer style. Usually it was below his chin. His latest style had been messy curls that when untucked from behind his ears would just brush his chin. Two hundred years before he’d cut it to about ear length and Aaron had hated it. He’d been upset every single time that he’d looked at him until his Angel had used his Grace to make it grow again.
The air tingled with ozone and the only reaction from Spencer was for him to straighten up. He didn’t turn, he didn’t do anything. Nothing to try and calm Aaron down. He pulled in his anger and buried it. He buried it in the same place his love for the Angel was. It wasn’t his place to care what Spencer did with his body anymore.
“That’s a change, kid,” Dave said from a few feet over.
“I went in for a haircut last night and was talked into this.” Spencer was all smiles.
“By whom?” JJ asked as she looked at him. Everyone in the bullpen was staring at him. Even Blake was.
“Just someone I had go with me. I’ve never had my hair this short. It was a little nerve wracking.” Spencer gave JJ a shy smile and then the sound of clacking heels came down the hall. No one but Aaron’s eyes turned toward a racing Garcia.
“Stars and Garters, Boy Wonder!” Garcia stopped in her tracks when she saw him. “That’s cute.” Then she looked around and finally found Aaron. “Sir, Des Plaines just called. That’s the third body.”
“Okay, team wheels up in fifteen. We have a serial in Illinois.” Aaron watched for a few seconds as the team scrambled. Morgan ruffled Spencer’s hair and it got him and the rest of the agents laughing when Spencer tried to straighten it out. As soon as Spencer had his haired tamed, JJ reached over and did it again. Spencer huffed but didn’t do anything to fix it.
“It looks good on you Spence.” JJ slung her arm around his waist and pulled him in tight. Aaron waited for the next car.
“Given your reaction, Aaron. I’d say that haircut is a ‘Fuck You.”
“I don’t want to talk about it, Dave.” Aaron glared at him but the older profiler just smiled.
“Nice to see him stretching his wings out.”
Aaron watched him for cues, even using his own powers to see what the man’s internal body was doing but nothing was going on. It was just a phrase, not a poke at Spencer being an Angel.
“JJ is right. He does look good, especially after she and Morgan messed it up. Are you going to be able to work with him, knowing that he’s getting looks? Knowing that other people are finding what you cast away as something they want?”
The doors to the car opened and Dave stepped in but Aaron just stood there while they closed again. He made a decision to take the stairs. It would be better for Dave’s health. He closed his eyes for a few seconds to try and clear his mind but all he saw was Spencer with his hair short. Aaron was pretty sure that if he measured it, it wouldn’t go past two inches.
“Is that the teacher’s assistant?” One of the officers in the station asked as soon as Spencer started working on the geographic profile. Aaron saw that many in the station were looking at him, some faces he recognized, others he didn’t but there was the unmistakable look of appreciation in many.
“Doctor Reid,” Detective Calvin said as she approached him. Spencer turned and looked at her smiling as he did. She didn’t offer her hand. Aaron hadn’t realized that he’d made such an impression on them before. “I see you have your gun on you this time.”
Spencer blushed and ducked his head. Aaron bristled though.
“Nope. Haven’t failed a qualification since then. I need a detailed history of each of the dump locations. Anything that has happened there, small or large. Of course, I know at least one thing that has happened at the park but anything else.”
“Reid, you want help?” Blake asked as she stepped up.
“No thanks, Blake. You go with Rossi to the locations.”
Aaron watched as Dave and Blake left to go do what Aaron had asked them to. Morgan and JJ went to the morgue to look at the bodies, which left Aaron and Spencer alone for the first time since he’d kicked the Angel out of his home.
“Hotch, do you have the file on the first victim?” Spencer didn’t turn but he held out his hand. Aaron wanted to brush their fingers together. He missed his Angel so much. His entire being ached to pull him into his arms but he needed to be strong. He was doing this for Spencer. He might not see it for a while but it was the best for him. He handed over the file, making sure that skin didn’t brush skin at all. “Thanks.”
Aaron didn’t say a single thing.
It took two days and three more bodies before a pattern became apparent to Spencer and the rest of the team. As soon as it all linked back to Dowd, Aaron was worried for Spencer. He wasn’t worried about him dying. A lowly human couldn’t kill him but if he was shot through the heart, he’d have to fake his death and he wouldn’t be here anymore. At least as Spencer Reid, he could still see him most days.
At first the only big flash to the face had been the park but given it was a park and had a lot of significance to the whole city, it didn’t influence them. Then all the other places linked back to original victims of Dowd and then McCarty.
“So are we looking at a stalker or a spurned lover?” Dave asked. The team was behind closed doors, talking it all out.
“I don’t see anyone who actually knew him being willing to kill for him, eight years after his death.” Spencer was sitting with his legs crossed, spinning side to side in a chair. To anyone who looked in, he’d seem bored but Aaron and the rest of the team knew that he was thinking.
“What is their endgame?” Blake asked. She looked at Aaron. “What closed the case last time?”
“Me putting a bullet in the center of his eyes,” Spencer said nonchalantly. His tone was even. He was thinking so hard that he really hadn’t realized what he said. Blake and Dave looked shocked but Morgan and JJ were just looking at Aaron.
“He took the ER hostage as well as Reid and I. He wasn’t aware that I had a backup gun on my ankle. I manipulated Dowd to where he allowed me to kick Reid. That gave him access to my gun. Before Dowd could open fire, Reid put a bullet in his head.”
“Oh.” Blake reached out and patted Spencer’s knee. It was as if a gun had gone off. Spencer jumped up from his seat and rushed to the board. He grabbed a sheet of blank paper and wrote down the initials of the victims.
“We are missing a victim.” Spencer flipped the paper around. P. E. N. C. E. R. “We have six victims and we are missing one letter. It’s the last names of the victims, the last letters to be exact. Someone in this city is dead or will be dying soon with a last name ending in S.”
“You aren’t leaving this station, Reid,” Aaron said as he looked at the board.
“Why eight years? If it was Dowd’s death then one would think that he or she would have snapped right after his death.” Morgan looked confused as he spoke.
“We need to figure out the stressor. What happened in the days before the first death? Reid, you had Calvin give you a list. What’s on there?” Aaron asked as the rest of the team scrambled for all the files.
Spencer’s eyes kind of glazed over and started to flick back and forth like he was reading a page of text. “There was a drunk driving accident where an elderly woman with no family died. The drunk driver is paralyzed from the waist down but his family has abandoned him. There was a drowning in a pool, thirteen year old girl. And Calvin included a death certificate for a young boy with cystic fibrosis. He would have been one when Dowd was killed. There was no father listed.” Spencer looked at Aaron. The boy’s name was Andrew Stephens.”
“S,” Morgan said. He looked at Spencer and then Aaron. “You are really not leaving, Reid. One of us is staying with you.”
“Agents!” Calvin called as she opened the door to the room. “We have a hostage situation at the hospital. It’s a woman who is demanding to speak to Agents Aaron Hotchner and Spencer Reid.”
Aaron couldn’t help but stare at Spencer as the Angel boarded the jet. JJ was behind him with his bags over her shoulders. Morgan had her bags already stowed. Spencer was directed by both agents to lie down and Morgan had an ice pack ready for him. It was just a graze but the UnSub had got off a shot before Spencer had been able to fire back. He’d killed the UnSub with the same shot that had killed her lover. Amanda Stephens had snapped when her son had died before he could get a new set of lungs. She’d gone on a killing spree to attract the attention of the BAU and hopefully kill the man who had killed her love.
It was Sunday night and Aaron knew that Spencer would be going home to an empty house. Jack would have gone back to school hours before. JJ had offered to drive him home but Spencer just shoved her off.
When the jet landed, Spencer made his way to the bus stop and then he was gone. The rest of the team watched him and made sure he got on before they left. Dave had even left without saying a word. Aaron wanted to go back to the office and work but Strauss had put them on stand down. Instead he got into his car and drove home to an empty house. He could tell that something was off the second that he stepped inside. He left his gun in his holster. Whoever was in the house wasn’t human. Whoever it was, was also someone who had slipped past the wards without breaking them. There were only two demons who would have done that and a single Angel and none of those three would hurt him. Unless it was the Angel, it depended on his mood. He reached out carefully and felt for the Grace and found it. He followed it, making sure to pull his dagger as he got closer.
Tomriel was standing inside what had been Spencer’s library. The room was empty. There was nothing left of Spencer except for the desk. Aaron’s heart flared at the thought of what had happened the last time he’d been in the room. It felt like a lifetime ago.
“Aaron. It’s Aaron now, Tomriel.”
“No. Aaron is a human who you bonded with but Aaron is long gone right now. Suppressed so much. You are Denei.” Tomriel turned around and Aaron could see the glow of his eyes. “Do you remember the promise that I made to you once it was clear that you were never going to let Nuriel go? That you were not the Demon everyone was trying to make you out to be.”
Aaron bristled at his tone and his words. He took a step towards the Angel and was shocked when he passed through into the library.
“I’ve been here for two hours. The only evidence I see of Jack living here is pictures. His room is empty. There is not a single trace of Nuriel here either. I found a picture that he has in his home here and in this one, you are alone with Jack. Who removed him from the picture, Denei?”
“That is none of your business.”
“Nuriel is my business!” Tomriel reached out with his hand and Aaron felt a hand wrapped around his throat. He didn’t show fear. Tomriel wouldn’t kill him. Not while Spencer was still alive, hurt him yes but not kill him.
“It’s not like you’ve been around the past few millennia.”
“I’ve been around more than you think. I always check on Nuriel. So…Denei. Don’t run.”
“Don’t run?” Aaron asked. The use of Denei was pissing him off. What did the Angel think he was going to run from?
“When I come for you in a few months. I told you that I would kill you. Give the true death that no Demon comes back from.”
“Spencer isn’t dying,” Aaron scoffed. He looked at the Angel like he’d grown a second head. “He’s a little sad but he’ll get over it. He’ll get better and maybe he’ll choose to go back to Heaven.”
“He’ll never be allowed in Heaven, Denei. Not full time. Oh he’ll be able to visit. He’ll never be happy in Heaven. He won’t be happy on Earth. There are only two choices left for him. He’s going to let his Grace die of the broken heart he has or he’s going to Fall. If he falls, he’ll lose all feelings of this life and even Jack won’t be safe from him. You and your son will have to go into hiding until he’s more himself.”
“He’s not going to die and I know Spencer better than you. He won’t Fall willingly.” Aaron shook his head. Spencer had too much untainted Grace left for him to Fall without Aaron around. “And he’s too tainted to die of a broken heart. I tainted him too much.”
Tomriel just stared at him. Aaron had a feeling if he was human he’d have been a pile of smoking ashes.
“Can you remove the taint? I just want him to be happy.”
“He’s happier with you,” Tomriel said back quickly.
“He’s safer without me. You don’t…you didn’t see what I did. He tortured and killed a Demon when he didn’t have to.”
“Nuriel has never killed when he didn’t have to.”
“And that’s why I left him.”
“You are the stupidest Demon in the world. There is no way to remove that taint from his Grace. You don’t understand what that taint is…”
Aaron looked at Tomriel and touched the wall of the house. He’d upped his wards since Spencer had left. He wanted a way to make sure that Spencer left and didn’t get too hurt in the process. The wards on the house throbbed and then Tomriel was gone. Aaron stared at the empty library and sighed. When he left he pulled the door closed and vowed to never open the door again.
Spencer sighed as he set aside the cheese for the top of the casserole that was in the oven. He still wasn’t used to cooking in the kitchen of the apartment. He remembered where every single item in the kitchen was but it was muscle memory. He wasn’t used to grabbing the oven mitts from the wall on the right on the stove. At the house the mitts were on the left. A flick of his hand and the timer on the oven set itself for twenty minutes. He tracked his eyes back to the new bedroom. After it was apparent that Jack wasn’t going to go home to Aaron, Spencer had planned and plotted and then spent a weekend making a bedroom for the boy. If it wasn’t for how his wards were so set on the apartment and how hard it would be to break them and then reconstruct them at a new place, he would have moved. Instead, Jack’s bedroom was technically sharing space with the apartment next door. It was easier and he’d set it so that if the wards on the apartment fell, everything in Jack’s room would appear in the master bedroom of the house.
“Papa,” Jack’s voice carried from the small office where he was working on his homework. Spencer dropped the towel he’d been worrying between his fingers onto the table and moved towards the back of the apartment. Jack had one of Spencer’s tomes in his hands. It was one of the older books on Angels. “I’m trying to find Tomriel in here but he’s…he’s not listed.”
“That particular book only lists the Angels that Michael feels are worthy of God’s love. Tomriel sided with me and therefore was struck from it. This is one of fifty copies of this book. It’s not known that I have it. It’s how I keep track of my brothers. Are you finished with homework?”
“Yes. It was easy. I finished the hard stuff while waiting for you to get back from the case. Vass has offered to let me stay at his house on the edge of the grounds if I so wish on weekends you are on a case.”
“I know. He wrote to me. We’ve been writing back and forth. He wants me to come up for a visit next weekend, under the guise of having me inspect his wards and upping some so that you are safe.” Spencer leaned back on the wall and just looked at Jack. That spark of grace inside the boy was hard to miss now that he had seen it. He’d wracked his brain to try and see how he AND Aaron had missed it before. How everyone at the school had missed it. The wards that kept Angels out would feel his demoness and the spark of his Grace would be read just like the small spark that was inside of all fallen Angels who had turned. For Spencer it was easy to see why Aaron had never seen it. He was used to Spencer’s Grace. To feel it in Jack wouldn’t even register. Spencer though should have noticed it.
“You know that I love you, right Papa?”
“Of course, Jack.” Spencer smiled and moved to crouch in front of the boy.
“No. I don’t think that you do. You know that I have memories from before I could talk. I remember Mom more than I let Dad believe. Her betrayal even though he was cheating with you on the side hurts him. I see it sometimes when I smile. I know I look like her when I smile. I don’t remember much but I remember that the night that the Demon killed mom, I remember you. I don’t remember your face but the feel of your Grace. I’ve met many of the parents of other kids at the school, there is a sort of love between the kids and their Demonic parent but most of that is left over emotions that the Demon can’t control from their human host. Dad’s love.” Jack swallowed and dropped his head down. Spencer sat down on the couch and patted the seat beside him. Jack sat down, resting his back on Spencer’s side. Spencer draped his arm around the boy’s side and across his chest, holding him close. “Dad’s love feels different. After he finally merged fully with Aaron, his love grew even greater. I can feel his happiness and love when he looks at you and I.”
“Your dad loves you. He’s just a little lost at the moment. That’s why I feel like you should go and stay with him. I don’t need a babysitter.”
“Everyone that we meet, you always introduce me as your partner’s son.” Jack pulled at the sleeve of his shirt and then pulled his legs up to his chest. “You always have. Old college professors from your life as Spencer Reid to other Angels and the few Demons we’ve met that you’ve known throughout the years. I remember a conversation when I was three where you were trying to get me to say Spencer instead of dada. Dad came in and it changed to Papa but…why didn’t you want me to call you Papa?”
Spencer rubbed his free hand down his pants leg and leaned his head back.
“Did you know that your father has never called you our son?” Spencer let his shoulders droop and ran a hand over his face. “When we went to the school. He introduced you as his son, Jack. My love of you has never been called into question. For a while when you were a baby I thought that I loved you because you were Aaron’s but that’s not what it is. My Grace could have never transferred to you if that was the case. I love you for you but your father…I’ve never heard you referred to as mine.”
Jack huffed out a breath and then grabbed Spencer’s arm that was wrapped around him and pulled it up close to his neck.
“Right now I feel more yours than his. I don’t know what’s wrong with him. I just really don’t. I don’t see how he’s never realized how changed you are. I’ve read about some Angels and while I know there is a twist to the stories and the descriptions, you act nothing like them. I…Dad doesn’t feel safe. He’s done something to himself and I don’t like it. He doesn’t feel right and I can’t be around him. I tried the other weekend while you were at the college giving that lecture. I just tried to spend the afternoon with him but…He feels like my teachers and I don’t like it.”
“I won’t force you to spend time with him. I understand. I feel the wrongness of him as well but I can’t change that. Right now, he’s more like the Demon I met so, so long ago than he’s been since that day.”
The dinging of the oven time interrupted them and Spencer actually jumped. He’d been a great deal more jumpy since he’d started to live at the apartment. Nothing sounded right. Nothing felt right.
“No. Time to put the cheese on top. When it bubbles, it’ll be ready. Why don’t you get your homework packed away and then wash up.” Spencer tried to stand but Jack didn’t let go of his arm.
“You always did everything with the knowledge that you’d never be allowed back into Heaven. That tattoo, Dad thinks you won’t be allowed in Heaven again with it on you.”
“I didn’t do the tattoo to make him happy. There are those, on both sides, that hate that Denei and Nuriel lasted as long as they did. That we lasted that long. They’d rather kill your father or I and I know one thing, if I died, even now, your father would burn this world to the ground. He loves you but me…as much as he loves me, I’m his possession and if someone took that away from him. It wouldn’t be pretty. He’ll do whatever he can to keep me alive and if that day comes, my first job will always be to protect you. I couldn’t live if you died, Jack. I may never envisioned your father and I having a kid but I am not going to let someone else take you. This tattoo is a way to protect you. I have to be able to get to you wherever you are.” Spencer pulled his arm free and turned Jack around on the couch. “It’s your father’s blood on my back but if he hadn’t been willing I would have had Vass do it. Or the headmaster. The blood in the tattoo has no value other than sentimental.”
Jack nodded to show his understanding and Spencer was finally able to stand up. He moved towards the kitchen and turned off the timer, resetting it for ten minutes before he topped the casserole with the cheese. Jack brought out a book with him. Spencer was shocked when Jack opened it to a half written page. There was a pen tucked in the spine. He recognized Jack’s writing.
“Vass said it might be a good idea to write down all little power issues I have and the feelings I have at the same time. We go over it from time to time and see if I can control reactions. It’s helped a lot more than anything else I do.”
“What reaction did you have in there?” Spencer sat down beside Jack at the table. The table was covered in books and papers, most of which were related to cases. His time at home was filled with cold cases and consults as there was little else in his life now, when Jack wasn’t around.
“Nothing just making a few notes about things I want to talk to Vass about. Do you know dad’s origin?”
“He’s not a Fallen Angel. He was one of the first Demons that Lucifer created. It’s why he’s allowed to do as he wishes and Lucifer doesn’t care. He is loyal to Lucifer but he doesn’t blindly follow him. Lucifer finds it funny.”
“I…I’ve never heard Lucifer talked about that way. The Demons and Cambions at school talk about him like he’s God.”
“To them he is. He can be a sadistic bastard when he wants to but he’s always been careful around me. He respects me because of the choices I made, without a care to what happened to me. I wanted what I wanted. He did spend a thousand years trying to embarrass your father by interrupting us during sex. Then there was the party he threw for Denei after a particularly good fight he stirred up in Greece. He enticed every single lesser Demon there into flirting with me and seeing which one your father beheaded first. He surprised Lucifer by burying a dagger in the wall next to his head and telling him that he’d lose them all if he didn’t pull them back.”
“That sounds like dad.” Jack ducked his head and laughed. Spencer turned back towards the oven two seconds before the timer beeped again. He grabbed the mitt and opened the door to pull out dinner. Jack closed up his journal and served himself.
The discussion topic at dinner was the same as it always was on Fridays. Jack’s classes. What he was doing that he liked, what he was doing that he didn’t. Many of his history lessons intrigued him while his practical application classes sometimes freaked him out. They were halfway through eating when a knock came at the door. It didn’t take much for Spencer to reach out with his Grace to feel a human. A little more and he knew it was someone close to him. Rossi. That shocked him more than anything. He opened the door and looked at the older man with a look of shock on his face.
“Rossi.” The older agent still had a gun on his hip which meant that he’d just come from the office.
“Spencer. I’m glad I caught you…” Rossi stopped and smiled at the sight of Jack sitting at the table. “I wondered where Jack was going on his weekends home. Aaron’s been in a even worse mood since the breakup and I know that Jack wasn’t going home from that.”
“Uncle Dave. Papa, I’ll let you two talk.” Jack grabbed his journal and the stacked his plate on it, grabbing his glass of milk. He went to his bedroom and shut the door. Spencer felt the privacy ward activate. He wouldn’t be able to hear them when talking at all.
“He’s taking all of this rather well.”
“What can I do for you, Rossi?”
“I wanted to talk to you. I know that Aaron and I have been friends for a long time but that doesn’t mean I support him. I don’t need to know the particulars but I know that you really can’t tell the team much of anything without them putting A and B together. I had been hoping to take you out for a nice meal but you’ve already ate.”
“I made plenty. You are more than welcome to have a plate. It’s something called tater tot casserole. Jack loves it. I add extra cheese to it.”
“Sounds good. What do you have to drink?” Rossi took the seat that Jack had vacated and looked around.
“Milk, juice, water, coffee, and I think I have some beer left from the last time that Morgan was over.”
“Good beer or Morgan’s beer?”
Spencer chuckled as he ducked his head into the fridge. He knew what that meant. He pulled out the bottle of beer and set it on the table, waiting for the reaction. It was one of the few stout beers that Spencer liked. The Abyss was the name. Rossi whistled and gladly cracked it open to drink. Spencer dished him up a plate and set it down in front of him and tucked back into his own food, standing at the sink. He had a glass of water.
“You know, coffee and water are about the only things I’ve ever seen you drink. The occasional glass of wine when a meal is eaten at my place but that’s it.” Rossi was looking at him with a critical eye.
“I don’t like most sodas, too cloying. I’ll drink juice throughout the mornings when home but water and coffee, those I can drink hot, cold, and warm. Beer with pizza and wine with fine foods. I rarely touch the harder stuff.” It was harder to hide that it wasn’t affecting him. That brought out a thought of Aaron. Of what Jack had told him. His heart constricted but he shoved the thoughts away.
“Sorry about whatever I said to remind you of whatever put that look on your face. Christ. I…you know before coming back, I would have said that Aaron Hotchner had the best poker face in the world but after working with you for as long as I have and seeing you now with all the knowledge I have, you have the best. He just shows nothing. You. Your face deceives. Seeing you at work, it’s like nothing happened. Oh, you have your melancholy moments but those are for the benefit of JJ and Morgan and to a certain degree Blake and Garcia. But those moments are carefully timed out and never when Aaron is around. You aren’t showing a bit of weakness around him. He looks at you sometimes like you are warmth and he’s stuck in the cold.”
“I can’t change what happened. He’s the one that called it quits. I won’t go crawling back on my hands and knees.”
“How long is he going to tolerate that Jack’s coming here?” Rossi’s eyes tracked to the closed door that was Jack’s bedroom. Spencer hoped that his mind didn’t start to think about dimensions.
“For as long as Jack wants to come here. There are ways to hide things and my adoption of Jack is buried so deep that not even a bulldozer will find it but he knows that I’ll bring it up if he forces Jack to do something that he doesn’t want.”
Rossi chuckled and finished off his food. Spencer took the plate away from him. He started to roll up his sleeve to do up the dishes from dinner but stopped. The shirt he was wearing never stayed up. He deftly unbuttoned the whole thing and took it off, draping it over the chair he’d been sitting in before. He had on a tank top so he was decent enough.
“Aaron actually let you adopt him?”
“Not long after Haley’s death. Her family wanted nothing to do with Aaron and Jack and Sean wasn’t…Sean wasn’t a good option. He made sure that a cursory look wouldn’t find it but if something were to happen to him, his lawyer has the paperwork so that I won’t have trouble getting custody.” Spencer stopped the hot water but left the cold coming out slowly to rinse off the plates, moving to the faucet to the empty sink. The pan from dinner would soak once he had the remains packed away in the fridge after Jack was done eating. The scrape of chair told him that Rossi was getting up. He let his Grace track the man.
The touch at his shoulder scared him and he spun to stare wide eyed at the older man.
“When did you get a tattoo and I thought you didn’t believe in God. Why would you…” Rossi eyes flared out and he took a few steps back. The sound of a door slamming open told him that Jack was on his way. The running feet sounded a second later. “Fuck me.”
“Put them away, Papa!” Jack screamed and that’s when Spencer felt it. His wings were out. He pulled them back in and then he got a good look at Jack. His eyes were black, shining bright and Rossi was looking at him. Spencer moved faster than Rossi could process, placing himself between Jack and the agent. He reached back with an arm and tucked the boy close.
“Nuriel?” Rossi asked, his gaze darting between Spencer’s face and where his wings had been just a moment before.
“How do you know that name?” Jack demanded and tried to move out from behind Spencer. He was quick and slipped in front of Spencer, a ball of fire in his hands. Spencer reached out and pulled the fire into himself. He felt Jack ready another but not bring the flame out. He allowed that. Humans confronted with the supernatural were never predictable.
“I’m not going to hurt him. I promise. You can take my gun.” Rossi held his hands up high so that Spencer could lean over and take the gun. There was no use hiding anymore so Spencer popped the gun away into Rossi’s car. He grabbed the button up from the chair and slipped it on. Once that was done, he wrapped an arm around Jack, keeping him close.
Rossi backed up and took his seat back, draining his beer. He looked up.
“Anything harder in the place?”
“No. I threw it all out.” Spencer moved towards the sink area again and pushed Jack into the chair across from Rossi. He waved his hand and a tumbler filled with high end scotch from the vacation home in England appeared. The agent eyed the drink before taking a sip. He coughed a little.
“Wasn’t expecting that.” Rossi took a larger sip and leaned back. “So. You didn’t correct me. Nuriel. And Aaron is…”
“Denei,” Spencer stated.
Rossi’s gaze went to Jack. “Half Demon…”
“Yes. I know this is a lot to take in. Realistically, you would have died and never known what Aaron and I were. I’m just a little raw right now. I never would have hurt you. I promise.”
“I’ve done all the reading on Denei and his Angel. I don’t understand how he let you go.” Rossi looked even more upset than he had been before.
“Aaron doesn’t love me like that anymore. Oh, I’m sure that in his mind, I am still his. I’m sure that if I tried to date even a human, he’d rear his head and puff. I am no more than a possession at the moment. Something he doesn’t want others to have but he doesn’t want it at the moment either.”
“What happened?” Rossi asked.
Spencer looked away from him. Frowning as he did. He wasn’t sure that he wanted to answer the truth. He had ended a human life that night. Demonic possession of that level never turned out well for the human even if the Demon was pulled from the host. It was harder to make a host or a vessel than to take one over, even for Angels but it could be done. Demons never took the time, nor did they really care and Angels harmed nothing on their vessels so why bother. They had been about to make a teenaged host for Aaron to take over when a horrific car accident had destroyed the body that Denei ended up taking. His brain had been damaged beyond the ability to repair itself and only through Denei going into his body had saved him. It was a fine line for Nuriel. The body would have died and the soul gone to heaven but when Denei had invaded, they’d figured out the truth of that teenager’s life. His soul would have never gone to Heaven and the hell that he lived through living a life with Denei was more than enough payment for the horribleness he’d given people in his short fifteen years.
“I made a decision and protected Jack but it was a decision that Aaron couldn’t accept me making and it destroyed his love of me. I ended up being changed too much. I wasn’t Angel enough for him.” Spencer felt his wings itch. He hadn’t given in and flown for a long while. Turning away from Rossi and Jack he started towards his bedroom. “Excuse me.”
Spencer didn’t pay any attention to Jack or Rossi. He just fled. He pulled the bedroom door shut with his Grace and then just left, trusting his Grace to protect him.
Jack turned to look at his Uncle. The man was looking at the now shut bedroom door.
“Papa’s strong but he’s breaking. You saw his wings. The coloring and the way they look just horrible. I’ve never seen them look that way. Even after he’d been shot in the knee and had to keep his Grace from healing it. He’s fading. He’s dying of a broken heart. Dad can’t see it. He’s just ignoring him.” Jack got up from the table and moved to the fridge, grabbing another bottle of beer for Uncle Dave and bottle of juice for himself. He’d been tempted at one point to try beer or even the bourbon his Dad seemed to favor but after seeing his Dad drunk like he had been, he was staying far away. “Papa loves Dad with all that he is.”
“I’m sure that he does. I was raised on the story of Denei and Nuriel. Of course, I’m sure that it’s not the truth but I can’t see an Angel forsaking Heaven for anything less than an all-consuming love. I never identified with either one in the story but I always felt for Nuriel who lost everything. I don’t know what their relationship was like before. I only got clued into it not long before Aaron…Denei…”
“Aaron. Dad goes by Aaron. That’s a story that can be told by him or Papa.”
“Aaron left him. He just threw him away?”
“He thinks that he’s saving him, Uncle Dave. He thinks that he’s going to be the cause of his Fall. Papa will never Fall. I know that. He loves Dad and I too much to ever Fall. Instead, Dad is killing him and he can’t even see it.”
“While Papa loves me too much to Fall, he loves Dad more. Being thrown aside by him, it’s broken him and he’s fading. I meant that. He’s dying of a broken heart and all that Dad can see is that he’s too tainted to die.”
“And he’s not tainted?”
“Not in the way that Dad thinks. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been able to see bits of Papa’s Grace. Humans would call it an Aura. There has always been this dark tinge to the edges. Like someone took a piece of chalk and outlined it. It’s never gotten larger and in fact when he’s around me it thins. It’s Dad’s love. I think that the night that Dad threw him away, he saw that tinge for the first time and it freaked him out.”
“He saw Spencer for who he was for the first time and it freaked him out. What did he think that being with a Demon and being cut off from Heaven wasn’t going to change him?”
Jack laughed bitterly. That right there was one of the reasons that he loved his Uncle Dave more than most humans. By all intents and purposes, his entire world had just been rocked but here he was profiling his Dad. “It’s going to take something drastic for him to get his head out of his ass and see what the truth of this whole thing but I don’t know if I can get him to do that before Papa dies. If he was human, I wouldn’t worry but his Grace is dying.” Jack drained his juice and threw the bottle away before he moved towards the living room. It was dark out now. He heard Uncle Dave move around in the kitchen and then his steps stop just a few feet behind him. “The fact that his Grace is dying because of this means that he’s still the Angel that Dad fell in love with.”
“He just won’t see it.”
“Dad’s told me stories over the years. Did you know for the first three thousand years after Papa was thrown from Heaven, Angels came around all the time to try and prove to him that Denei was lying to him? They tried to prove over and over again but it always blew up in their face. Back then, Denei wasn’t loyal. Not in the bedroom. He’d seduce who he wished for fun and one time an Angel seduced him. That Angel went right to Nuriel and told him but Nuriel just laughed. He told the Angel all that proved was that his morals were just as corrupt as a Demon. Denei always told him who he bedded. He never lied about that and when he showed up where they were calling home at the time, Denei admitted what he’d done and then told the Angel that he was a particularly bad lay. He’d fucked whores who lied there and took it better.”
“That…I can’t see those words coming out of Aaron’s mouth.”
“I think that Dad was in the body of a thirty year old shepherd at the time, blonde hair. Dad had many hosts throughout the years. Papa’s had less vessels. Papa’s been in his current for over two thousand years. He ages it at his will. Dad’s more likely to hop bodies but he’s done it less since it upsets Papa. Did you know that Dad has only lied to Papa once, a big life lie that is? There’s been little things. Papa calls them things that don’t matter. Reasons for why he chose to kill this human over that one. Always to keep his Demon façade up, Papa says. That lie was horrible. Papa came here for a week. I didn’t know what to do. Then I found out that Aunt Emily was dead and the lie has something to do with that. Do you know what gave it away? Dad couldn’t really keep his mouth in the middle of sex. He begged for forgiveness. As soon as he said it, Papa knew. Dad gave him that week and when he didn’t come home, where he belonged, he went and forced him out.”
“I can’t tell who you are more like. I see flashes of both Aaron and Spencer in you. I’m going to take my leave. You have a Papa to take care of and I have a lot to think about. Angels, Demons, cheeky Half Demons.”
Jack just shrugged as he let a smile grace his lips. He didn’t trust Uncle Dave with more than he’d given him. His dad could crack him and get anything he wanted out of him. The older man stopped at the door and looked back at him.
“Do you know what he did with my gun?”
“Knowing Papa, put it somewhere you would find but not hidden so either in your safe at home or in your car.” Jack the door and pressed on the Angelic ward on the door. As soon as it fully set, he felt his Papa leave. He hoped the flight around the city would help him. There was nothing else he could do. Could only hope that he held onto Papa long enough to let Dad see exactly what he was doing.
The Grace inside him tracked the Angel as he flew around the city. He wondered again how his Dad had missed the Grace inside him. Vass knew everything as Jack had been unable to keep it from him. Especially when Jack had gone to the headmaster and begged that Papa be the one notified of everything. He hadn’t lied to him and the headmaster had been more than willing. It had proven to Jack that not everyone in the world was rooting for the breakup of them. The destruction of a love that showed it was possible.
Pushing out with his Grace Jack felt the wards shift again. He been practicing with his Grace as much possible. Vass had set up a practice room in the school that only the two of them could enter. He was safe in there. Here the apartment, he hid behind Papa’s Grace. He was safe.
Jack plans. Things that he needed to do if Papa died. He loved his Dad but he didn’t think that he could live with him if Papa died. He’d done research on Denei in the years before Nuriel entered his life and on the first while after Nuriel had loved him. The Demon was nothing like the Demon he was, even now. Jack knew his Grace would never survive living with his dad if Papa died. It would be destroyed probably taking his human soul with it. He’d turn into something horrible so he knew he had to protect himself. He’d know the moment that his Papa’s Grace extinguished.
Jack had gotten used to living in the apartment full time. It was summer he was out of school until the beginning of September. Vass had sent home plenty of work for him with their private studies. Thankfully there wasn’t a lot of ‘homework’ other than practicing his Demonic powers. He was allowed to do pretty much what he wanted as long as Papa knew where he was. He hung out with Marissa the most.
The wards on the apartment shifted and Jack was shocked to feel Papa still there. It wasn’t hard to be worried. He threw himself from the bed and ran to the main part to find everything as it had been when he’d gone to bed.
Opening the door to the bedroom, Jack peeked in on his Papa. The team was on paperwork catch up so that Dad could get everything filed for mid year evaluations. Nothing but a disaster was supposed to pull them into the field. So why had he stayed?
The phone was sitting on the nightstand with the cord dangling from where it had been charging. It was a new phone. Papa didn’t use his phone much so he never bought a personal one. It was just a work phone so when the time came for upgrades, he’d buy the phone and the Bureau would reimburse him some. Jack unplugged the phone and unlocked it. There was seventeen missed calls and several dozen texts. The last text from Uncle Dave and it said he was on his way to check on him.
Jack looked at Papa for the first time and found that he was pale. A lot paler than he normally was and he was sweating. Jack ripped the blankets back but Papa didn’t react. Then Jack saw the syringe. He remembered hearing JJ and Emily talking about when Papa had been younger and he’d been sick. Dilaudid. Dad and Papa had never explained why he’d taken it but knew when he’d been on it.
Grabbing the syringe, Jack dropped it at the wrong feeling of it. It wasn’t Dilaudid, it was worse. It was Angel’s Trumpet. Jack swept the offending syringe off the bed and reached out to touch Papa. The Angel jerked away from him and then Jack saw at least half a dozen more. Angel’s Trumpet didn’t react in Papa the way it should have. Whatever his bond with dad it had changed him. What should have killed him with a few ccs, only made him sick. He’d taken at least seventy ccs. It was proud that he probably wasn’t going to die from it. He realized that Papa kept that much on hand. There were always poisons in the house to take out Demons and Angels. Jack had been taught at a young age not to touch.
A chime alerted Jack that someone had texted Papa. He grabbed the phone and looked. Uncle Dave had just parked. Jack scrambled to his feet and traced to the front door swinging it open wide as the older man crested the stairs at a run.
“Where is he?”
“Are you alone?”
“Yes. Jack?” Uncle Dave looked worried as he entered the apartment. Jack went right for the bedroom and he heard the gasp when Uncle Dave saw the syringes.
“I have to go talk to someone. He tried to kill himself. He took enough poison to kill an Archangel. He should have been dead after one not barely breathing after seven. If he dies, get the hell out of here. The wards will fall and you won’t be safe. Just stay with him.”
“Go, Jack. I’ll stay. What… Aaron isn’t worried. He’s got the team suspicious.”
“I have an idea.”
Jack grabbed Papa’s cell phone and made a call to Derek. He picked up after a single ring. “Morgan. I’m in Vegas. Mom took a turn and is pretty sick.” Jack’s voice was pitched perfect for a worried sounding Spencer and he watched Uncle Dave’s eyebrows raise.
“Reid, you scared us. Rossi is headed to your place now.”
“The plane just landed. I didn’t realize the time until I turned my phone back on. I’ll call as soon as I know a time frame.”
“Okay. Take care of her Pretty Boy.”
Jack hung up sighed dropping the phone back onto the bed.
“That was very good.”
“Mimicking is easy. One of the first things I learned at school. I have my cell and you can call if you need. I won’t be out of range.”
Jack gathered his Grace and surrounded himself in it. They had worked on figuring out how Jack could come and go from inside the apartment for weeks. Papa had figured it out finally a month before. He teleported and landed on the living room of Vass’s house. The Demon sitting at the table in the small dining room with a paper in hand. A fork was hallway to his mouth.
“How do you get Angel’s Trumpet out of an Angel?”
Vass the fork and stood up. “There is no way to do it before it kills the Angel. Who attacked him?”
“He tried to kill himself. He injected at least 70 ccs into himself. It didn’t kill him, Vass. He’s unconscious. He was lethargic the last time he was injected with it and Dad didn’t let him out of his sight.”
“Who is with him now?”
“Uncle Dave. Papa accidentally revealed himself and chose not to wipe his memory. I thought that having someone besides me was helping and then I woke up to this. I don’t know what to do. I can’t get you into the apartment. I’m not even sure I can get Dad into the apartment.”
“A bath with lavender oil. The hottest water that comes out of the trap with at least thirty ounces of lavender oil. He should have plenty, the more you put in the quicker the poison will leave him. It doesn’t work quick enough to stop death. I wasn’t… No one can know that he would survive that. Call me if he starts to act funny.”
Jack nodded and disappeared again.
Vass looked out the window and touched the small shred of Grace that still lived in him. It wasn’t two minutes later that Tomriel appeared in his dining room.
“This is where you have been hiding,” Tomriel said as he took a seat across from where Vass had been sitting.
“How has he gotten ahold of so much Trumpet?”
“What do you mean?” Tomriel leaned up and looked shocked.
“One cc is enough to kill an Angel and currently he has seventy in him.” Vass watched the Angel’s face. There shock at the amount, not it being in him. “You knew he was taking it?”
“Five ccs every twelve hours to help. His Grace is dying and it’s causing him pain along with the pain of his broken heart. I’ve tried to get him to leave but I don’t think that space away from Denei will help, it could cause his death to hasten. I think the hope that Denei will see his mistake is the only thing keeping him alive.”
“Then we need to act.” Vass waved a hand and his food was gone. Books appeared all over the table. He would do this to save Nuriel and Jack. That Denei benefited was something he’d have to live with. Nuriel made his choice and he could only support him.
Jack sighed as Uncle Dave slipped Papa into the tub. He’d found the lavender and dumped the whole jar in. The water was so hot that Uncle Dave tried his hardest not to splash any on him. Jack didn’t have the strength to put him in safely or he would have done it.
Uncle Dave moved to the edge of the room. Papa was in the boxers he’d slept in but he could tell the man was uncomfortable.
“No,” Papa moaned and he moved, acting like he wanted to try and get out. Jack pushed him back in. The Angel started to thrash in the tub but he was weak and Jack was able to keep him pinned. “It hurts.”
“Jack. It’s too hot.”
“No. I can feel him. The pain of his Grace dying is what he’s talking about. He didn’t try and kill himself.” The truth was evident to now. “What did you dream of Papa?”
“What about Dad?”
“The night you were born. Him holding you and the love in his eyes. Fell asleep wrapped around each other and it was so beautiful. Please make it stop hurting Jack.”
“I will but we have to get this batch out of you. Please Papa, for me?”
Dave watched the son and father as Jack tried to settle Reid down. Even now months later, he was having trouble seeing the pain caused by Aaron on the young man. He wanted to go and box his ears, Demon or not. He felt at loose ends, there wasn’t a thing he could do but he wasn’t leaving Jack until the boy asked him to. He needed to talk to Aaron but afraid he’d tip his hand and alert him that he knew who they were. It was better to keep his mouth shut.
It was three hours before Jack pronounced Reid able to come out of the water. As Dave lifted him, Jack touched his arm and he dried instantly. He carried the young man to his bed and settled him in. He was shocked though when Jack took out a needle. There was five ccs of something in it. The boy injected it into the meat of Reid’s thigh. It was long minutes later that Reid settled into sleep on the bed.
“Angel’s Trumpet. It should have killed him but his Grace has changed so much that I don’t think it can unless it’s a massive dose. I didn’t know he was taking it for pain. I’ve pulled all the doses from the room. Five ccs seems to be what he’s been taking. I don’t know how to make this better.”
“Only your father can Jack. We need to get him to see what he’s doing to him. I’ve told the team I’m taking a long lunch and I need to go back. I’ll be back tonight to check on you two.”
Jack nodded and Dave took his leave. He wondered a few seconds if prayer would help. He didn’t know who to pray to. He could mess things up by paying the wrong person. He needed to save that for a last resort.
Spencer placed his last file into his out box. He looked to see if JJ had many left or if he would have to brave Aaron’s office to grab consults. Rossi stepped up and dropped a rather large stack of files down. He smiled at the man.
“I’ve got you, Reid. Don’t worry.”
“Spence, can I get you opinion on this file?” JJ set down a file and then wandered to her desk. Rossi moved over to Blake’s desk.
Spencer barely paid attention to what was going on around him as he read over the file. He felt Morgan and Garcia enter and pulled back before he felt Aaron. Jack and Rossi were monitoring his Angel’s Trumpet injections. Rossi took care of him when they were on cases and Jack handled the day to day when they were in town.
The noise in the bullpen ramped up so Spencer closed off his ears so that all he heard was JJ. He felt a weird presence and figured it was another team coming back from lunch.
“Can we help you?” JJ asked.
Spencer didn’t have time to react before he felt the grip on his hair and he was being jerked up and out of his seat. He looked to see two men and a woman standing in front of him with guns drawn. The team had their guns drawn and aimed at the three and whoever had a hold of him. He hadn’t felt them. He could feel them now. An Angel had a hold of him and the other three were Demons. He could feel wards going up to keep Demons, Angels, and humans out. He looked at Rossi and knew that he knew they weren’t human. At least for now someone in the room did. He saw now way out of this without outing who they were to the team.
“Let him go and we can resolve this peacefully.” Blake looked worried. Spencer looked to the side to see Aaron trapped in his office. He beating on the invisible wards. He looked back away, he couldn’t take it.
“Stupid humans,” the Angel behind him uttered. The body shifted and Spencer felt the tip of a blade being dug into the skin over his heart. He looked at it. It was a Demon Assassin blade. “There is only two ways this is ending and that’s with Nuriel’s death or Denei going to Hell and never coming back. Speaking of which.”
“DENEI!” The female Demon called out.
“Let’s all just settle down.” Rossi stepped closer to the female Demon. She hissed at him. “What can I call you?”
“Your death, human. Give us Denei.”
“You locked him out when you threw up the wards, Ephra,” Spencer spoke through clenched teeth.
“Do not speak my name in front of these humans.”
“You spoke my name. Why can’t I not speak yours?” He didn’t care about outing himself anymore. All he cared about was Jack. Getting out of this alive for his son.
“Don’t feed the delusion, Reid!” Morgan called out. He looked at the female Demon. “Look, we are all human here. He’s human.”
“This thing is no more human than I am!” Ephra tilted Spencer’s head back farther and it turned so that he could see Aaron’s office, which was empty. He closed his eyes and accepted that this was going to be his death. Aaron had left him. Left him and the team. With the blade over his heart, there was little he could do. With Ephra there, he couldn’t even use his Grace to get the team to safety. Spencer took as deep a breath as he could to start gathering his Grace. He’d give himself to save the team. He could send out a shockwave that would pull every single Angel in existence to where he was in the instant of his death. He opened his eyes to look at the Demons. He knew who they were now. He recognized their presence, even if he hadn’t seen them in over a millenia. Sabnock, Oriax, and Cimeries were lackeys that Belial had been lying to for a long time. Spencer had tried to get them to leave him but had never been able to do so. Even with Aaron gone, their death warrants were signed the second that he died. There were enough Angels that were friendly to him that they would be slaughtered.
“Reid, are you okay?” Rossi asked.
“Fine,” Spencer gritted out. His wings were itching to break free. There was no way to get out of this without the truth of what he was coming out. Cimeries moved a few steps closer to Spencer but kept herself between him and the team. The other two Demons smiled and then Spencer felt it. The digging of a hole in the wards. A few seconds later, Aaron appeared in the middle of the room between the Demons and the team. There was a darkness to him that had the team stepping back from him.
“Hotch?” Morgan asked.
“The guns won’t do a thing, put them up.”
“So are we finally going to get to see Denei in action? Are you going to show us that you are a Demon still?” Cimeries asked.
The blade dug farther into Spencer skin but he didn’t say a single thing. He just gritted his teeth. A slip of Grace echoed in the room and Spencer knew it wasn’t from him and it was too light to be from Ephra. It was another Angel. Probably whoever Belial was working with, there to make sure that their job was done. Spencer opened his mouth to speak but Ephra pulled his head back even farther.
“Silence, Nuriel,” Ephra hissed in his ear and he silenced himself.
“Look, Nuriel, Denei did come for you.” Cimeries smiled as she stepped closer again to Spencer. She traced a sharp nail down his cheek. It didn’t draw blood but it made his core ache. It felt wrong to him after being around Aaron so much.
“Spence?” JJ asked.
“So familiar with you, she is. Is she soothing the wounds left on you by Denei? Do you lose yourself in her? Do you fuck out your emotions into her pussy?” Cimeries disappeared from Spencer side and appeared behind JJ. Spencer jerked in Ephra’s hands and the blade dug farther in. Aaron turned to where he could see everyone.
“Let her go, Cimeries. Your quarrel is not with her.”
“Jealous, Denei? Do you feel jealousy in thinking that your precious Nuriel is fucking a human? A human woman?” Cimeries nodded her head at the two other Demons and they moved and grabbed Aaron, shoving him to his knees. He went willingly. There was no fight in him. Spencer was worried. “Brother do you not see it now? You always swore that he’d be loyal but look at what he does now.”
“I am not your brother. I never have been. No sister of mine would do what you are doing.”
“You threw him away, Denei. Tossed him from your life after so long. You finally tired of him and now what? Someone else wants him and you want to piss all over him and call him yours?” Cimeries moved away from JJ and stopped in front of Spencer. Ephra moved the blade away from his chest and he felt his shirt being ripped open. It was jerked down his back and thrown away.
“What is this?” Ephra turned him so that his back was to the room. His tattoo visible. He felt fingers trace it and jerked Ephra’s hands but the blade dug into his skin again. “Do you miss your wings? Do you miss being able to fly?”
“What do you mean?” Spencer smiled at her despite what was going on. He looked into her face and pushed.
“NURIEL!” Aaron yelled but it was too late. The wings sprang from his back and buffeted the air.
“Impossible!’ Ephra yelled.
The wards around them snapped tighter and Spencer wasn’t sure that even he and Aaron working together could get them out. He stumbled back out of her hold and ran right into Cimeries who grabbed his arms. His wings flapped hard but he was stuck fast. The Angel’s Trumpet in his system had him weak.
“Looks like you were wrong, Ephra. His Grace is pure.” Cimeries leaned forward, Spencer could feel her breath on his neck. She licked at the top of the joint of his wings and sighed. “The taint is there. No stronger than it’s ever been. Your own taint is worse, Ephra. Poor Denei, throwing him away to save him and you are going to be the reason he’s not saved.”
Ephra turned Spencer back around and wrapped one of her arms around him holding his arms behind his back and using the other to put the blade back at his heart.
“You have two choices, Denei. You go with Sabnock, Oriax, and I back to Hell and you never leave again. We will leave the Angel and the humans alone for the rest of their lives.” Cimeries dropped to her knees in front of Aaron. Spencer’s heart leapt in his throat. He knew how this was going to end. “Or I’ll kill Nuriel right now and you’ll be alone and ashamed for the rest of your life.”
Spencer watched as Aaron smiled at her. It was all teeth and horribleness. Spencer knew what his answer was going to be. Aaron didn’t believe that Ephra would stab him or Cimeries for that matter. There was nothing that could be done. He’d give his life for the team. Because that what this whole thing was down to. There was a reason that he wasn’t taken anywhere else. Here there was collateral damage that meant that any retaliation from him would result in the death of at least a single team member.
“I’ll never set foot in Hell again.”
Cimeries got to her feet and growled. “So be it.” She nodded at Ephra. The Angel dug the blade into where the was touching his rib bones and the she twisted it so it would slide between. The presence at the edge of his awareness came closer and he screamed when the blade moved again. It felt weird though. He looked up and saw the look of utter shock on Aaron’s face as the blade slid between his ribs and all he knew was pain and then darkness.
Aaron watched the blade slide into Spencer’s skin. He could tell the second that it pierced his heart. There was a flare of Grace and it knocked all of the humans onto their asses and the two Demons holding him were thrown back a little. Spencer’s body fell backwards when Ephra let go of him. As his body fell, his wings disappeared and he looked human again. Blood poured from his chest and Aaron couldn’t do anything but stare. The whole room was frozen. None of the Demons or even the Angel had noticed him slipping up his own wards as they had been talking.
The fire leaped from his hands with no conscious thought from him. The two Demons holding him screamed as they caught fire. He made sure they couldn’t escape and he knew the second the Demon inside the host caught fire. Cimeries tried to run but she was trapped behind his wards. Ephra stared at him and he smiled. He stalked her to the side where none of the team was. As he passed Spencer’s body he crouched and gently removed the blade from his chest.
“You are going to try beg? How is your life more important than his was to me?” Aaron rushed her and her body impacted the wall, the blade slid home into her heart. He felt the Grace as it died. Then he turned to Cimeries who was held in a cage of power. “Belial sent you to your death and he knew that. You are a pawn to him. Your death will mean nothing to anyone but me.”
“You threw him away!” Cimeries cried out.
“That was my choice.”
“You choose to kill him rather than go back to Hell.”
“I didn’t think you would be that stupid.”
“Is hell that horrid to you?”
“Hell wouldn’t have him.” Aaron stopped and closed his mouth. He disappeared and reappeared right behind her. Grabbing her hair, he jerked her head back and slit her throat. He held the body as it died and waited. The essence tried to escape but he was ready. He trapped it and filled it full of fire. He enjoyed feeling the Demon die.
As soon as it was dead, Aaron released the wards around the team. He threw the blade to the ground and rushed to Spencer’s body. He knew there was no hope. There was no way to survive that blade to the heart. His Grace was gone. Nuriel and Spencer were both gone. He lifted the limp body up into his arms, mindless of the blood he was getting all over himself. Spencer was already so cold. The Grace leaving his body had sapped it off all warmth.
Aaron pushed his head into Spencer’s neck and cried. Belial was going to pay. Every single Demon who was loyal to him was going to die. The sound of talking drew his thoughts away from murder and to Dave’s soft voice. He listened as the man explained it all to them. There was a single thing missing from it though. Jack. Dave had to know the truth of Jack if he knew all that he did.
“So Angel. Demon. What about Haley? Jack?” Morgan’s voice was soft.
“Haley was human,” Aaron said not lifting his face at from Spencer’s cold skin. “Jack is a half Demon and since Spencer and I split, he’s been living with Spencer. He wants little to do me.”
The air around them started to heat up. Aaron gently set Spencer’s body down before he burned it in his anger. His wards were still up but the death of the invaders meant theirs were gone. He didn’t know how to cover this up. Before he could even to face the team the AD of the FBI entered. Aaron knew then he was Demon. One just as powerful as he was.
“How did you kill two Angels and three Demons?” The AD was looking at him, eyes raked over the blood on his suit. “Was Doctor Reid the…” Power flared from the other Demon and Aaron knew him.
“Asmodeus.” Aaron wasn’t sure how he had hid like that. He’d been hiding as well but he never thought that any Demon would ever want to live like this. He’d done it because it was a job that Spencer liked. He liked it as well, there was just enough darkness that it fed his Demonic self but not enough for him to get lost in it.
Shock appeared on Asmodeus’s face. He looked between Aaron and then Spencer before going to Spencer’s side. His touch was reverent as fingertips touched his face. “Nuriel. Oh, Denei. I’m sorry. You.” He stopped speaking and Aaron found himself held still as the other Demon jumped up and slapped him across the face. Aaron’s whole body felt it, there was more than a little Demonic energy behind it. It felt wrong across his whole self, he was used to Jack and Spencer and humans touching him. “Why the hell did you let him take Dilaudid?”
“Because he is not a child.” Aaron wasn’t going to tell him he hadn’t known at first, he couldn’t admit that to his old friend. “He’s dead because of me so the Dilaudid doesn’t matter.” Asmodeus had been his closest friend Demon before Nuriel. After, they talked on occasion. He’d never known that he was not in Hell anymore.
“Hotch, Denei, whoever you are. Why is Reid dead?” Morgan moved closer to him as something started to batter at his wards. Someone wanted in. Before he could even figure out who it was, the wards fell and Jack was there. His son ran right for Spencer and dropped at his side. He started sobbing and hunched over the dead Angel.
“Papa!” Jack started to shake him. Aaron could feel the anger and grief pouring off of him. He tried to pull him up but as soon as Aaron touched his shoulder, Jack turned to look at him. He was used to black eyes. He wasn’t expecting white nor the pain of Grace that flared over his skin. “Don’t touch me!”
Aaron only realized he was moving when he stopped. Slamming into the wall, his spine tried to shatter. The pain didn’t matter to him. He just looked at his son.
“This is your fault. Papa is dead because of you. Because you are weak. You didn’t deserve him. Don’t touch him again and never touch me again.” The white in his eyes flared and Aaron knew exactly what it was. Grace but not just any Grace. It was Nuriel’s, he knew the feel of that Grace. Just as anyone would know Jack from how he felt like Denei. Aaron took a step towards him, his back hurting as it healed. Jack crouched in front of Spencer’s body and wings erupted from his back. Spencer’s wings had been white. Jack’s were blood red except for the edges. The feathers changed to black and then white. Aaron knew what he was.
“Demilim!” Asmodeus’s voice was barely a whisper but Aaron heard it. He couldn’t take his eyes off of Jack. He’d not been able to suss out why Heaven and Hell had wanted Nuriel dead but now he knew. How had he not seen the Grace in his own son? Everything that Spencer had done that night made sense, looking back. Why he had tortured the Demon and then killed him. He’d figured it out. Aaron hadn’t given him a chance to explain. He’d thrown him out. Jack had kept it a secret too. He could understand so much now. No Demon’s life was worth what would have happened if he’d told Belial about Jack. Aaron had done much worse protecting Nuriel and even Spencer had done a lot worse to protect those he loved.
“How long have you been keeping this a secret from me?” Aaron wasn’t sure that he wanted to know that his son could lie to him. He’d always been damned good at routing out liars. It’s was what made him a damned good profiler.
“I told Papa that night but I had known for a while. Vass helped me figure it out. We were going to tell you and then the Demon was there. I made Papa promise not to tell. You were killing him and couldn’t see it. Too blinded by your own pride and doing what you thought was right. I may be your blood child but I am the child of his heart, his soul, his Grace. I don’t want anything to do with you. I’m ashamed to be Aaron Hotchner’s son. I want my name changed and you had better do it.” Jack looked unlike Aaron had ever seen him. He looked pissed and Aaron couldn’t blame him. He’d settle down in time and Aaron would be able to get back into his son’s good graces. Jack was all he had left of his love.
“I have her soul but I don’t love her. She birthed me but she didn’t raise me.”
Aaron couldn’t speak. He looked at the son that he felt he didn’t know anymore. He was so stupid to have never seen it. The way that Jack’s abilities were messing up around Spencer. It was his Grace settling. Vass had known and hadn’t told them. The Demon hiding it and hiding him. He looked at Jack, the wings were new, he could see that. He wouldn’t be shocked if it was the first time that the boy had manifested them. At that moment, he did seem to be more Nuriel’s son than his own. If one looked at him, they’d take him for an Angel and not a Demon. He felt his heart breaking, hardening. The ache leaving him. He was alone.
“Jack,” Dave said as he stepped closer to the boy. Jack’s wings tucked in but didn’t go away. Dave looked shocked but not totally. He went willingly with the older profiler, even stepping away from Spencer’s body. Jack turned into his body, crying more and gripping him tight. Aaron ached to go over to him. Something must have given him away because Dave looked up at him and glared. For the rest of the team though it was the dam breaking. They moved over to him and Jack was transferred from Dave to JJ. They moved away from the body and Aaron was just stuck where he was.
“I’ll make sure that footage is wiped. We are going to have to figure something out. Fake an accident or something. We will work on it,” Asmodeus said. Aaron turned to look at him. But his eyes were drawn right back to where Jack was being comforted by the team and not him.
“You knew Dave?” Aaron asked. He took a step towards them and ignored the look on Asmodeus’s face that said he was doing something stupid. “Why the fuck did they tell you?”
“He only knew I was a half-Demon!” Jack yelled. JJ kept her arms around him, keeping his wings trapped but Aaron could see the twitching that said he was close to losing it. He could do a lot damage at the moment.
“I found out when I went to talk to Reid, to see if I could help someway. I wasn’t aware that Jack was going to be there. Reid took off his shirt to do the dishes and I startled him when I touched his tattoo on his back. His wings appeared. Jack felt it and came running. I think that he nearly burned me until Reid got him calmed down. It wasn’t much of a leap from him being a winged being to being an Angel to him being Nuriel after that case. Which led to me tagging you as Denei and Jack’s abilities made it easy to figure out he was a half-Demon. I wasn’t aware that he was a Demilim. Whatever that is.”
“A Demilim is a half Demon child imbued with the Grace of an Angel but the only way to pass on Grace is through procreation. Obviously that isn’t true given young Jack here. It’s why Nuriel was hunted. The hosts of Heaven and Hell believed that if someone was going to create a Demilim it was Nuriel. His love of Denei was too strong for their liking. They were too late to stop it. Grace grows slowly in children. The first spark had to have been transferred near birth. By age two at the latest. It’s been growing inside of him and his grief is what is manifesting wings ahead of where they should be. He is more magnificent than the seers that saw the first Demilim led us to believe.” Asmodeus looked proud as he looked at Jack.
“Why did they want to stop it?” Blake asked.
“An Angel loved the child of a Demon enough to give up some of his Grace to him. Do you understand what that means? Jack was uncorrupted. He had Demon in him but still he has Grace. Hell wants to prove that they cannot love and Heaven wants to make sure that others don’t start to believe that not all Demons are evil.”
“And some Demons are very evil,” a voice said. It echoed around the room and Aaron’s spine shivered. The humans huddled closer, surrounding Jack. “And some are cuddly teddy bears.” The lights flickered. “And some you can’t tell if they are evil or cuddly until they are standing in front of your with your guts in his hand.”
“What the fuck is happening now?” Morgan demanded. He looked like he wanted to draw his weapon, the whole team did.
A laugh echoed next and Aaron knew that laugh. He swallowed and wanted to run to Jack and take him away. His wings were still out and it was easy to see that they were Angelic wings. The lights in the room blacked out for a few seconds and when they came back up, a man was crouched at the side of Spencer. Aaron tightened his hands into fists. He’d fight if he had to. The man brushed fingers from Spencer’s brow to his neck. The lights flickered again and when they came back up he was standing in front of Jack with the humans all pushed away from them. Aaron could see him better now. His hair was white and his form lithe. He had a fighter’s build, that was evident beneath the skin tight t-shirt that he wore and the near painted on jeans he was wearing.
Jack just stared at him. The man leaned over and kissed his forehead. Dave tried to step forward but something was keeping him back.
“Whoever killed your Papa will die and I will bring you his entrails as proof. Hell may be coming for you and your father but I won’t let them have you. They have already taken your Papa. Who sent Demons and an Angel after him?” The man turned to look at Aaron.
“Belial.” Aaron looked for a reaction but there was none. The man leaned back and his eyes snapped to the wings at Jack’s back. The man looked over at Asmodeus. Asmodeus smiled and nodded. The man turned back and touched Jack’s face. There was a spark of reaction but it wasn’t like it had been before with Spencer. This was something different. He knew what Jack was and there was no way that Aaron could stop him from killing his son. It would be so easy for him. He figured out a plan. He’d never be able to touch the man but he could make it hard for him. To make his life a living hell and that was saying something.
“Little nephew in more ways than one. Nuriel’s Grace is safe in your body. I’ll make sure that no one goes after you. Asmodeus, put out the word that anyone who goes after Denei or his son will face my wrath for the rest of eternity.”
“Yes, Lord.” Asmodeus was gone.
Aaron took in a deep breath. Jack was safe. Then the man turned and before Aaron could do a single thing, a hand was around his throat as the lights flickered again. He was slammed into the wall behind him again. This time though, the wall was strengthened and it was him that yielded. He felt his skull shatter and several of his ribs break if his spine hadn’t been just healed, it would have shattered. He held his tongue and didn’t cry out. He heard gasps from the team as he was sure that they could see the blood pouring out his head. The hand on his throat tightened. He felt his neck start to break. He could feel the heart beating in his chest trying to slow down. His body was dying. His energies were not trying to heal him. That scared him more than anything.
“Lord?” Aaron asked. He hadn’t called him that in so long. The word felt foreign on his tongue and the man smirked at him. He was dropped but before he could move his arms were grabbed and he started to burn. He couldn’t hold back the scream this time. It was inhuman even to his own ears. He didn’t want Jack to hear it but he couldn’t stop it.
“I felt his death, Denei. I am still connected to them all. All of my brothers and I felt his death. I expected to find you on the warpath but instead I find you hiding like a little bitch. Belial is alive and out there and you are here.”
Aaron felt his head start to heal and his ribs but the burns were not healing.
“You were my favorite. You showed that we are more than what Heaven casts us to be, no matter which side of the coin we fall on. Nuriel showed me with what little of his Grace remains in his body what happened. Do you really think that Belial would have a way of keeping you in Hell? That I would allow it? Nuriel would rip Hell apart to get you free. I have Hell exactly how I want it. A petulant and grieving Denei would not do well in Hell. Nor would Hell be able to stand up to a Nuriel who was on the warpath. Love makes Angels strong and he’d have killed even me to save you.”
The team gasped and Jack, Jack let his wings unfurl, knowing that he was safe. While Jack had never met his ‘Uncle,’ he knew how to find him if he had needed him.
“Lucifer,” Jack whispered but it echoed around the bullpen.
“Yes, Little Nephew.” Lucifer smiled and leaned forward into Aaron’s space. Wings burst forth and the brilliant, bright white of them had the team covering their eyes. The brilliance of them didn’t bother Aaron and they wouldn’t Jack, but that was the difference between an Archangel and the rest of the Angels. With the wings came his Grace. Twisted but to Aaron it felt normal and nothing like Spencer’s Grace had felt even at the end of their relationship. The Grace was like a weight on Aaron’s chest. He couldn’t breathe. “You have to be forgiven before the burns will go away. You are going to be hurt exactly like a human and feel the pain like a human but I won’t let anything else kill you, only your own hand and Nuriel’s favorite blade will kill you. I can feel that little Jack is so angry with you. I can feel the righteous anger coming off him in waves. In fact at the moment, he feels more like an Angel than a Demon. He is correct. He is the child of Nuriel’s soul. But for now I think that father and son need to have a talk. Asmodeus will be coming back, I’ll protect the humans while you two talk.”
Aaron felt the pull and then he was in his office with Jack in front of him. He looked out to see that Asmodeus was indeed standing out there once again and Lucifer was leaning down to pick up Spencer. He was gone in a flash and the bodies all followed. The bullpen looked exactly like it had before it had all gone done. All evidence of the fight gone.
“I…” Aaron stopped and looked at his son. Truly looked at him. His wings were still there even without them he could feel his Grace now. It made his heart ache. He closed himself off to the pain. He could feel his energies trying to heal his skin but Lucifer had blocked that. The energies worked on his bones thankfully. “His Grace had been damaged.”
“That’s been there since I was a baby. The first time I saw an untainted Angel, I asked Papa what was wrong with their Grace. He explained it then. I never thought that you’d never seen it.” Jack looked shocked.
“It wasn’t. I would have seen it. His Grace has always been pure. I never let myself corrupt him like that.” Aaron couldn’t accept that he would have made a mistake like that. Everyone else had to be wrong.
“You didn’t want to see it and that night you couldn’t delude yourself anymore.” Jack sighed and dropped down into a chair. “Him killing that Demon that way shattered the illusions that you’d built up around your life together. You blinded yourself. Millennia he’s been fighting harming you. Even if you wanted it. It didn’t occur to you when he did that it meant he’d changed more?”
“How do you know that?” Aaron had never discussed sex with Jack outside of not coming into their room, even if he heard screams.
“I could feel the shift in him the first weekend home after that. And you, your Demonic energies were settled in the same way they had been after Foyet. I asked him point blank who you’d tortured and killed and he told me that he took the blade to you. He didn’t discuss anything besides that.” Jack jumped up and moved to the safe hidden in the bookshelf behind Aaron’s desk. Aaron knew exactly what he was going after, everything to do with their hidden life was in there. He pulled out a long thin box. Jack didn’t open it, he just clutched it to his chest. It was a feather from Spencer’s wings, lost in a fight with a Demon a hundred years after he’d been thrown from heaven. He’d turned it into a quill. It’d be just a pile of ash now. “I hurts. It hurts so much that Papa is gone but maybe this is the best thing. His love changed you so much. I’ve seen the histories of who you were and what you’d done in the name of Hell and this thing you are now is a mockery of both who Denei was and what Aaron became. You became so blind. Sticking Papa up on a pedestal and the first time that he even fell a little in your eyes you threw him away. I’m sort of happy that he doesn’t have to see you anymore.”
Jack marched over to the door and it opened. He ran right at JJ and let her wrap her arms around him. Asmodeus moved over and crouched in front of Jack and reached out to touch the box. The Demon was thrown back from him but he didn’t retaliate at all. He just righted himself and held out his hands in a placating manner.
“Take him somewhere safe. I’ll call you and let you know Dave when to come back to work. I’ll make sure that cases are handled and that nothing happens. I’ll figure out exactly what to do with Reid and the fallout.” Asmodeus was calm and collected.
Asmodeus looked at him and Aaron knew that he needed to get out of there. Aaron left with no words. He appeared in the den of the house. He didn’t want to be there but there was nowhere else for him to go that was safe. Lucifer was the only one that could get through the wards on the house without him knowing and right now he was itching for a fight. He grabbed the bottle of whiskey that was sitting on the coffee table but he couldn’t take a drink. He’d been killing his feelings with alcohol for months.
Dropping into his favorite chair, Aaron looked at his muddy reflection in the glass and amber liquid within. He’d never expected Nuriel to change like he had and he knew that he’d deluded himself. The others had thought the same thing but how could Ephra been so tainted and Spencer hadn’t? That was the main problem that he had. He’d fallen for sweet Nuriel who had a bite to his personality that had made him play a Demon’s game and win at it. Denei had set out to ensnare and cause the Angel to Fall but along the way he’d fallen in love.
Hurling the bottle into the wall didn’t make Aaron feel any better but the sound was startling to hear. He moved towards the mirror that was a floor to ceiling one. It was placed so that when they had sex on the couch, whoever was on bottom could see everything. Now he used it to look at his own Aura. It had been too long since he’d let it out. Too long since he’d taken a good long look at himself. The dark of his aura was sucking the light from the room but there at the edges, there was silver. It felt like the love the Nuriel had for him. It felt like the presence that he’d woke up to over their long years. There was just as much of a ring around his aura as there was around Spencer’s. Even with him dead it was still there. There was more than that though. There was something more to the core that held his energies. He nudged at it and pain that he’d never known cascaded up and down his body. The pain centered at his back after a few seconds. He dropped to his knees and felt that he couldn’t breath. His whole body was radiating pain.
And then there was nothing but darkness.