Series: Here There Be Dragon
Fandom: Criminals Minds
Year: 2009 October Season 5
Tags: AU: Fantasy, Magic is Known, Hurt/Comfort,
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid, Jack Hotchner/Henry LaMontagne/OFC,
Characters: Aaron Hotchner, Spencer Reid, Jack Hotchner, Derek Morgan, Jennifer “JJ” Jareau, David Rossi, Emily Prentiss, Penelope Garcia, Jessica Brooks, Will LaMontagne, Henry LaMontagne, Brianna Clayton, Indara,
Spoilers: Up Through Season 5
Summary: Life can’t ever be normal. Spencer is taken from him and Aaron shows precisely what he’ll do to get him back.
Notes: I see Jaime Murray as Indara. Bailee Madison as Brianna Clayton. Simon Baker as Alan.
Warnings: Graphic Depictions of Violence, Torture, Kidnapping, Forced Drugging,
The pain started the moment he woke up. He had no clue where he or who he was. He felt his flesh on the table where he was bound. He could feel the leather bands holding his limbs. He felt that he should have been able to snap the leather but pulling at it, he couldn’t.
“Tell us how to get past the wards on your house,” a voice asked at his side. He turned his head as much as he could and stared at him. He had no clue what the man was talking about. He lived in a house?
“You gave him too much of the essence, idiot. He can’t even remember who he is much less how to get past the wards. You are going to need to wait,” another voice spoke.
Darkness crept into his vision, and he was left alone. He had no clue where he was or even who he was. He wasn’t going to panic though. Instead, he breathed and let his mind go blank.
Aaron woke up from a dead sleep with his back on fire. He threw the bedclothes off of him and ran to the bathroom unaware of his roommate. He stripped his shirt off and turned to look in the mirror, but his back was fine. Dave came into the room with him and looked wide awake despite the dark hour.
“Call Morgan. Now.” Aaron hurried back to the bed and grabbed his phone. Spencer and Morgan were on a case alone. It was supposed to be a quick one, and then they would join the rest of the team in New York. He dialed Spencer’s number, and it went straight to voicemail. He almost threw the phone, but he stopped, calling Garcia instead.
He didn’t even let her talk. “I need you to track Spencer and Morgan’s phones now. Call me when you have them.” He hung up and looked at Dave.
“It rang and went to voicemail. What about Spencer’s?” Dave looked worried.
“Straight to voicemail. Once Spencer figured out how to charge his phone with skin contact, it’s never gone dead. It’s off or broke. Neither are good with Morgan…” Aaron trailed off as the pain started again. It was so enveloping that he felt darkness take him.
His voice stolen, he couldn’t speak. The wood at his back was burning hot on his skin. He grinned as the skin at his back shifted from flesh to scales. He had no clue how he did it, but he’d take it because the burning wood no longer hurt him. He burst up from the table with wings spread. His magic was still suppressed, but he had mouth and claws. He landed on the first man and took him down. Claws ripping at throat and teeth pulling tongue free from his body. The man was dead before he landed on the ground.
Turning on the dead body, he looked at those around him and inhaled to release flames on all of them, but he found he couldn’t. They had suppressed his magic more than he thought. He watched as the lead man primed something in his hand. He could hear the whine of it before two barbs shot out at him. The first bounced off his scales but the second found a home where he’d been injured by them, a scale missing. He watched the man press a button and electricity shot out at him.
He laughed, spraying blood from the dead man all over the lead man. The little barb with electricity did nothing to him. He was so focused on the men in front he didn’t hear or see the one behind him, not until he was cracked in the head with something.
Aaron opened his eyes and saw Dave, Prentiss, and JJ above him. Aaron looked around. He was still in the hotel room, but Aaron didn’t know why he was on the bed. He tried to remember. A flare of pain along the bond told him what was wrong.
“Spencer’s being tortured,” he gasped as he sat up. The pain was different this time. He couldn’t place it.
“We have a team en route to New York. Alan is waiting in the ritual space of the local field office. We are getting fast transported to Texas to meet up at the field office there. The whole council is preparing the spell now. Whatever happened in Laredo has taken down every single magic user in a two-mile radius of where Spencer was taken. Morgan was found drugged and tied up in the closet of the hotel room. When they didn’t answer their cells when the LEOs called, they sent a unit. The room is trashed, and there is blood and scales. Whoever took him knew what they were doing. There was a syringe left in the room, and Morgan isn’t letting them take it out. He wants you to see it first. Can you stand?”
“Indara has raised up her own wards outside of Spencer’s, and they are war wards. No one, not even us can get through them. Will is with her. Jack was the first aware that something was up. He woke up screaming for Reed,” JJ said as she backed up from the bed.
“How long to get there?”
“Once we get to the field office? Two minutes from entering the circle. Alan said that it was going to put them out but getting you there is worth it, and there is no more energy loss sending all four of us than just you. You’ve been out for two hours, but Alan was afraid of you waking up in the circle. Something about breaking an ancient space when you were a thousand years old.”
“It still hasn’t been fixed.” Aaron stood up. His back still felt horrible, but Spencer was pressing down the bond. “Spencer is blocking the pain. I don’t like that. We need to go now.”
“The SUV is downstairs with lights and sirens going. Do you need any of your things?”
“No.” Aaron had everything he needed to kill whoever had Spencer on his person or within a small pocket of space that was at his will.
Aaron ran out of the room with the others on his heels. He bypassed the elevator and ran right at the stairs. Aaron hoped the others followed him. He thought about what he wanted and jumped when he made it over the rail. At the bottom was a cushion of air that caught him. He didn’t stop to wait for the others, he burst out of the stairwell and found several local agents waiting. He heard running steps behind him and finally turned to look. The pain along his back was ramping up again. It was taking most of his focus to stay awake.
“I can’t drive,” Aaron said through gritted teeth. He knew that if he was in this much pain, Spencer was in worse. He got into the passenger seat in the front and waited for the others. JJ flung herself into the back seat and scooted over so that Prentiss could get in.
“What the hell was that?” JJ asked as Dave started to drive them towards the main field office in New York.
“Air cushioning spell. Think of it like the inflatable air bags that stuntmen use. Or firefighters. It’ll dissipate within ten minutes. It was quicker than the elevator and the stairs.”
A scream ripped from Aaron’s throat as pain skated along his skin and spine. He tried to curl to remove the pain, but it didn’t help.
“Wings,” Aaron gasped.
“They are doing something to his wings. I couldn’t place it at first because magic can’t translate it right into my body. No matter what, if I pass out, if I die, you get to him.”
“Aaron,” Dave started as he pulled the SUV into park in a no loading zone in front of the office. Aaron didn’t answer, he shoved the door open far and hard enough that he wouldn’t have been shocked if it had broke.
“Carry me, Prentiss. I know you can. If I pass out, you have to get me there. The closer I get the more magic will lessen the pain. Right now it’s trying to get me to him as quick as possible. The closer I get the better I will get. And whatever you do, don’t get in my way. I won’t know friend from foe if they step up the torture.”
Aaron followed Dave into the circle and the second he crossed it, he fell flat on his face from the pain again.
He was in pain again but not from the herb. He couldn’t remember the name of it, but he knew that he would be dead before it’s full effects were out of his system. He could feel something at the edge of his mind, and he was shocked when whatever it was got closer. His mind told him that it was far away just a few seconds before. Thousands of miles and then in an instant, it was close, within a few miles.
“By the time your Immortal gets to you, you will be dead if you don’t give us the information to get past the wards to the tiny dragon. Then we will start in on him. It’s going to take four hours for a jet to get him here. So Reed, tell me what I want to know, and I won’t have to do this.” It was a new voice. Someone that he hadn’t met yet.
Reed? Was his name Reed? He tried to think past the herb in his system but he couldn’t. Then he felt it. The pressure along his wings. It wasn’t someone touching him. It was magic. Tainted, corrupted magic of someone who was wrong to him.
“How much did you give him?”
“You told us the dosage, and we tripled it. The dragon is a bloody nasty bit of work. He shredded Wiggins.”
“That’s why there are so many of you. I don’t care how many die. He’s bonded, so he’s worthless to me outside of telling me how to get past his dragon wards on the house. That little green dragon will make a wonderful trophy in my bed. If he can’t remember his name, he can’t tell me how to get past the wards. A triple dose means that it’ll be wearing off when his mate gets here, and I can’t be here when he is. He’ll know me.”
He tried to think, tried to open his eyes, and he did. He looked at the man in front of him, and he knew him. He didn’t know how but he did. His blond hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and his eyes were black. He was a human who had been using magic to stay alive. He knew now why his magic felt so tainted.
“You won’t touch Bri!” he said, jerking at the magic that was binding him. He didn’t know how he knew the name, but he knew he had to protect her.
“A name. So that means you know how to get through your wards. I’ve found that being nice isn’t the best way to get what I want so.”
The magic on his left wing increased, and he felt the first crack. He pushed the thing battering at his mind away. It was distracting him from keeping his mouth shut.
“I see why Aaron likes you. So silent. As if a beast can know love. Is that what you are trying to do? Keep quiet until he gets here to save you? You need not worry, Reed. I’ll have you broke long before he gets here. You know he spoke of you when he was younger. He could feel something on the edge of his magic.”
Four more breaks along the main bone that held his wings up. The pain was excruciating. He kept his mouth shut though. Magic was being used to break his bones which meant that they were not going to heal quickly. It was going to be weeks stuck in his dragon form. He tried to roll his head to see how big he was and found that he was small. His house cat size. He looked back at the corrupt man. He bit his tongue and let it bleed into his mouth, and when the man stepped close, he spit on him. He watched the hand coming and didn’t try and escape from it. It brought blessed darkness again.
“They have broken one of his wings.” Aaron gasped as he sat up in the ritual circle.
“I tried to move you but,” Prentiss didn’t finish it, and Aaron looked at her and saw the bruise forming on her jaw.
“No. It wasn’t you. It was your magic. Whatever is happening to Spencer, your magic is protecting you. How do you feel?” Prentiss asked.
“The pain is gone, but whoever has him, it’s not him that they want. As soon as we get home, JJ you are drafting a press release with Alan about Bri’s status. They want her. Whoever has Spencer wants to try and force a bond with her.”
“Don’t know that they can’t?”
“Those who crave power don’t see reason and think that they can be the ones to do the impossible.”
“There is a massive deluge of magic coming from a warehouse two miles away. We can’t get past it, and our strongest magic wielder is suffering burns on her hands,” someone said from the edge of the room. Aaron looked to see a conclave standing there. “We will be ready to send you home the same way. An injured dragon, no matter the form, will feel better at home.” Unspoken was the damage Reed could cause. In any form.
“The Council has made this a personal matter for you, Lord Hotchner. Whoever dies, dies. There will be no repercussions.”
“Good. I can feel the pull towards Reed. He’s still unconscious from the breaking of his wing.”
“Wing?” one of the conclave asked.
“Yes.” Aaron cringed as he felt more breaking over the bond. It wasn’t strong like before, but it was there. Those who had him was going after the other wing. “Get me there NOW!”
The pain no longer bothered him. His wings were shattered, and he’d lost all ability to do anything but scream. The man was alone with him now, all the guards sent out of the room. He was trained well in magical torture, but he’d never tortured a dragon before. In his human form, he was weak, in his Wyvern form he was still weak. In his dragon form, his body could be broke but his mind, his mind was protected by magic, and it wasn’t going to let him break. The natural magic he could fight, but the corrupted magic was near unbeatable when combined with the essence that had put him down.
The push on his magic, just at the edge of it, was closer. At the edge of the building. He had no clue who it was, but he knew that he needed to stay alive for them. Still, he pushed them away, he didn’t have the capacity to focus on them and the man in front of him. Then he watched as the man torturing him reacted to something. There was a shift in the magic around the place.
“The local FBI is getting brave. Sending in amateurs after someone who is holding a dragon.”
The man wasn’t paying attention to him at all. His eyes were focused on the middle distance, and so he struck. Jaw open as wide as it could go, he leaped. He closed his jaws around the jaw of the man and held tight, his magic was responding enough for him to grow just enough to set his front and back claws into the man’s chest and stomach. He flexed his joints and felt his claws pierce the skin of the man. He was swallowing the man’s cries of pain, and he waited. The first fist flew up to him, and he dragged his front claws down. Enough to hurt but not enough to kill. When the man screamed, he smiled and dug in further, missing the heart.
The man tried to fight him off by grabbing his neck, but he turned and bit at his shoulder, letting go of his jaw. He bit until he felt bone and then he put all his power behind the bite and jerked, separating bone from socket. When all the sinew and muscle had torn, he dropped the limb to the floor.
“How does it feel to have your limb injured?”
He turned and did the same to the other side, and the man screamed when he dropped the second limb. He was sick of the screams, so he ripped the jaw off next, taking the tongue as well. Next, he raked his claws down the man’s stomach, spilling his guts all over the floor. With his wings broken he could only drop to the floor and scramble away as the dead man fell over. He could feel the thing at the edge of his magic, and he pushed it away. He put himself in the corner and waited for a guard to come and avenge their master. His magic was coming back slowly, and he could taste the brimstone in his lungs and the ozone in his throat. Whoever came in the door was dying by fire or lightning. Whichever he felt like.
Aaron was at the edge of the building when he felt Reed push him away from the bond. He was worried. Aaron couldn’t think of no reason why the dragon would push him away. He could feel the pain over the bond, but it wasn’t bad. He expected it to feel worse given that he knew both of his wings had been shattered.
“Morgan, Prentiss, behind me. Dave, JJ I want you two out here. If it’s not us, shoot them. Morgan, shift before we go in. It’s going to take me a few to drop the wards on this place.”
“We tried to drop them but we couldn’t.”
“I’m not shocked. These wards.” Aaron stepped up to them. He touched the invisible barrier and pushed. He knew exactly how to break them, and it wasn’t good. There were only two people alive who knew the exact layering of wards that were present, and he trusted them above his team. Whichever person it was, they were going to die horribly. “Be prepared.”
Aaron worked on the wards and watched as Morgan shifted. His preferred form was a bear for strength, so when he dropped to his hands and knees, Aaron was surprised. As Aaron concentrated, he pulled off his watch. Aaron heard the gasp and smiled despite the situation. He handed the watch to Dave.
“Draconic rune,” Aaron said before the question could be asked. Spencer had laid two on him. One on each wrist. Weapons that only worked once before the dragon had to recharge them. They hadn’t the time to lay the sex runes, but Aaron had been making liberal use of Spencer’s. The skin hunger faded little by little over the time since the kids had started to live with him, but Aaron was quite happy with the level of their sex life now. “Don’t touch the blades, even if I drop them. They are attuned to my magic and will knock you out if you touch them. I don’t have enough control of them to allow others to touch like Spencer does.”
“Spencer doesn’t have runes like that,” JJ pointed out.
“He does. His are powered by his own magic, so they don’t glow like mine.”
“The scars on his arms,” Prentiss pointed out. Aaron nodded. He pushed one last time on the weak point, and the wards fell.
“Whoever laid them knows I broke them. Be prepared. Prentiss, body count.”
Prentiss closed her eyes and raised a hand. A pulse shot out of her hand and ran through the building. “Forty-five humans, four powerful users, and one massively corrupted user. I can get a slight fix on Reed. He’s trying to hide from me, but I can feel his pain. He’s not good, Hotch.”
Aaron waited until Morgan was fully shifted into the Siberian Tiger before he moved to the wall ten feet from the main bay door. Whoever was set up to defend the corrupted magic user would be expecting them to be going in the door. He wanted to surprise them. When the tiger nodded, Aaron reached out with his hand and pushed. The wall blew inward with the force of a bomb. The screams of someone told Aaron he’d hit someone. Morgan charged in first, and he heard the growl then the sound of ripping flesh. He moved in next with a second concussive blast ready to attack only to find that Morgan had killed the only person who had been at the door.
“I don’t think whoever has Reed expected you to break through.” Prentiss was at his back, ready to defend or attack.
“They didn’t. They weren’t expecting me at all. Not expecting the council to teleport us. Those wards were the ones that were used to protect my birth village. I’ve only taught two people those wards and the layering. They were brothers to me. Whichever one it is, they are going to die.”
Morgan took off towards the left and Aaron nodded for Prentiss to follow. They were good at this. Morgan was good at killing, but with magic users in the place, he needed back up. Aaron went to the left and smiled when he saw the four simple magic users ready for him. He stood there and waited, undoing the cuffs on his shirt and rolling up the sleeves. When the first fireball flew at him, he let it hit him. His shirt didn’t even catch fire. He absorbed the magic and flung it back, at ten times the power. He watched as the other three tried to turn tail and run as their friend turned to ash. That meant they were bought. Whatever the former friend had paid them wasn’t enough for their life. Aaron didn’t care.
He grabbed the first man to turn and used his own shirt to strangle him. While he was doing that, he unmade the floor and caught the other two fast. He stalked towards them as the first man died. He released the shirt and let the dead man fall.
“Who is paying you to die?”
“His name is Eóin. He said we were going to be gone by the time you get here, Lord Hotchner.”
“So you both know who I am. What does Eóin look like?”
“Tall with blonde hair. And.” The man stopped talking, and Aaron knew what he was doing before he had the action finished. The difference between regular magic users and him was that his magic submitted to his wishes while they had to coax it out. A swipe on his right wrist with his left hand had a dagger appearing in said hand. He dragged the sharp blade over the man’s neck and before he could even register his throat had been cut, he was bleeding out. Aaron turned to the other man and with a thought exploded his brain.
The battle bond that Prentiss had with the team flared brightly in his mind. Their hall was blocked by ten men and a woman. Prentiss and Morgan fought well together, and that was why Aaron paired them more than not. The sound of running feet had him looking up to see five men and three women running at him. He conjured a holster for the dagger, and he shoved it in. He needed to get to Reed and Eóin before Reed was injured more. He was getting smaller and smaller in their bond, and he didn’t know why.
Power wasn’t an issue, so he threw up two shields, one behind the eight people and the other in front. Then he started to heat the air around them and pushed it up. His new trick was just days old. Spencer had been training Jack, and his son had asked how to create lava. The dragon hadn’t shown him, but he did show Aaron. The lead male was the first to see the red above them.Before he could even draw breath to scream, lava was roping down to the floor. Their screams were deafening, but Aaron didn’t silence them. He wanted Eóin to hear their deaths.
He felt as Morgan and Prentiss dispatched their attackers and moved on as he turned a corner after making a hole in the pouring lava to walk through. None of his were alive. Surprise jumped across the battle bond, and Aaron paused. Thirteen more attackers surrounded the shifter and the Elf. Aaron knew they could handle it. He found an empty hallway in front of him, and he was shocked. If Eóin was going to send all of them to Moran and Prentiss to distract him, he had another thing coming.
Then a door opened ten feet in front of him, and he stopped moving. A man peeked his head out. Saw him and ducked back in. Aaron moved to the door and listened. The final twelve people were hiding out in there. He had his hand on the door, pushing raw magic into it and sealing it shut. He pushed his awareness along the wall and found another door and sealed it. Then he started working his magic to kill the people in the room.
Before he’d become the Judge for North America, his specialty had been poison. He pulled an unbreakable trio of vials from a pouch inside his pants pocket, his access point to his controlled space. He uncapped two and poured them into his hand. He touched his hand to the wall, and a hole appeared. He uncapped the third vial and cupped his hand with the other two and dumped them inside. His skin was the activator of the poison. Once he had the three mixed, he shoved the vial through the hole and sealed it. He didn’t need to see what happened to them. He’d seen it enough.
Aaron felt something over the bond with Reed, and he wasn’t sure what it was. There was little there. He was more worried about Reed’s mental status than his body.
The magic from the dead man fled his body as quick as the blood did through the wounds. As it fled his body the taint disappeared. The magic that was at the man’s core was familiar to him, it called to him. His own magic ached at the death. He wanted to know what this man had done to him. He waited for the death dealers who were making their way through the place. He felt every death some in ones and twos and then the small batches that died horribly.
An Immortal, a Shifter, and an Elf were making their way to him, he could feel the cores of their magic. He wondered if it was the people who had wanted him taken and the dead man was a distraction. He wasn’t going to be taken alive. His magic was back but not enough, and he could defend himself. He’d have to use claws and teeth, but he’d kill them.
The magic of the Immortal flared more, and he recognized it. It was the same magic at the untainted core of the dead man. They were coming to avenge his death. Looking around he tried to find an escape route. Revenge wasn’t something he was ready to deal with. He was crawling up the wall towards the heating vent when the door opened.
“Reed?” a voice asked, and he turned his head just enough to see the man standing there. He could see the resemblance between them. There was no way for him to escape without hurting the Immortal and the two behind him. And engaging them wasn’t something he was ready for. With his wings broken, he could shift size, it would hurt, but he could do it. He dropped to the ground, keeping his shattered wings tucked into his body. The landing hurt but being hurt was better than being a sitting duck. The chair he’d been bound to as a human was sitting in the middle of the room. He breathed out, pulling on the brimstone in his stomach and it caught fire. The Immortal looked at him in shock and kept the other two back out of the room.
“Hotch?” a male voice asked.
“I don’t know. He’s staring at me and set a chair on fire.” The Immortal wasn’t looking at the chair though. He was looking at him.
“And the man who took him?”
“Dead. Guts on the floor, jaw on the other side of the room and arms separated from the torso.”
“Who is he?” a female asked. The Elf. He could feel her trying to touch him magically. His magic responded like he knew her. Had the Immortal brought her to try and fool him? Had they all lost their minds? Did they really think that he was that easy to fool?
“I don’t…” The Immortal’s eyes focused on the dead man and his eyes widened. “Sean.”
“My brother. He was human, and he died in a skirmish between dark magic users and humans when he was twenty-nine. I saw his body, and I buried it. I can feel his magic. That taint is leaving now that he’s dead and he…” The Immortal stepped back out of the room. “The bond is so small. It feels almost like it did the night that Foyet attack where Reed hid it from me. Right now he’s going on instinct and Sean, and I feel the same. He’s not going to come to me.”
“Hotch?” It was the man again. The voice was starting to sound familiar. He reached out with his magic and felt at the Shifter. It brought up a memory of laughter and love.
“Sean was the one who shattered his wings. His magic shattered them.”
He looked at the Immortal and the sadness on his face and the pain. He moved forward, ignoring the body and the flaming chair. He got a line of sight of the man and watched as he dropped to his knees. The man wasn’t doing anything. Wasn’t calling on magic. He could smell poison. An old poison that reacted to a person’s skin. A poison that would kill everyone but that person.
“How was he alive?”
“Through no good magic. If he was after Immortality, taking Bri makes sense.”
“Even feral, Reed knew you,” the Shifter said. He sounded scared.
“I smell chamomile.” The Elf came into view, and he watched her as her eyes swept the room from the outside. He followed the gaze, and he saw it when she saw the syringe that had been tossed aside. He moved closer. His magic was reacting to the Immortal, and it wasn’t something that was bad. He pushed out and waited. That brush at the edge was closer, and it was stronger and better, and it made him feel safe. He took a few more steps closer, and the Immortal looked up at him. If they meant him harm, they wouldn’t be holding back.
Aaron looked at Reed as he crept towards him. He could see the fear in the dragon’s eyes. If he’d been dosed with chamomile, it explained nearly everything. The pushing away of the bond. The not recognizing him. A cup of the tea wouldn’t bother him, and he used it on Bri a good bit to help her sleep when Henry wasn’t at the house. But the essence of chamomile or chamomile oil would do this injected directly into his bloodstream.
Aaron only nodded his head. Reed took a few more steps towards him and strained his neck out. He held his hand out, and Reed stepped a little closer. Aaron held still as a little tongue slipped from blood stained snout and tasted the tips of his fingers.
Quick as lightning, Reed was upon him, claws turning his hand and exposing the Draconic rune on his wrist. It still glowed blue with Reed’s magic, he hadn’t used the long sword. The tongue slid over it, and the tingle Reed’s magic sparked on his skin. He felt the bond swell, and he could feel exactly how much pain Reed was in.
“Tuck in your wings the rest of the way.” Aaron touched the joint where the wings attached his back and felt for the nerves there. The problem with deadening them was that if he damaged them more, Reed wouldn’t know. Still, he needed to do it, and he knew it. He reached out with magic and felt the tension in the dragon settle. Morgan stepped closer, and Reed recoiled away back to the corner. His wings tightened into his body more, and the hair on Aaron’s head started to stand up. Before he could react and get out of the room, it was blocked by a wall of electricity. Trapping him in the room and the others out of it. “Morgan, Prentiss step back.”
Reed shifted and inhaled. The smell of brimstone filled the room, and Aaron was shocked as hell. An orb much like what the dragon had trapped himself and the kids in, formed around Aaron and the electricity barring the door disappeared.
“RUN!” Aaron yelled. The Shifter and the Elf quickly took off. For a few seconds, he thought that Reed was going to harm him. That his mind had been shattered by what his brother had done to him. Then he was jerked to the side. He was still in the orb and Reed bound off after them. His wings were tucked into his body, but he was showing them exactly how good of a hunter he was. He was quick in his smaller form. He’d rip them to shreds.
Aaron had to concentrate to get out of the orb, and it was only because he knew Reed’s magic so intimately that he was able. Still, he was afraid of what he was going to find.
He chased the Elf and the Shifter as they ran away from him. He’d felt the flare of magic in the Shifter’s form. He’d been about to attack the Immortal. With his wings tucked, he could run fast, and he was gaining on the two. They ran out the front of the place that he’d been kept in and into a crowd of people. He stopped when he saw all of them. There were too many! They were too spread to be able to kill them all with flame, and his electricity wasn’t charged enough. His magical core was low from the essence he’d been injected with. A man and a woman stepped up to the front of the crowd, and he waited to see what they were going to do. The woman felt like a normal human, but there was something about her. Some link in his magic. The man had a little magic, enough to train but not enough to do anything massive.
“Reed?” The woman asked. It was the same name as before. The name the Immortal had called him.
“JJ, don’t get close. He flipped in there.” The Shifter acted like he wanted to pull her back.
“Back up!” The Immortal yelled from behind him. He spun and tried to grow bigger so he could protect him more but his wings weren’t allowing it anymore. The pain flared again even with what the man had done to him. So instead he backed up until he was touching the man and settled into a defensive position. “He felt something in you, Morgan. He thought you were going to hurt me. All I get from him is a protective feeling. Just back up. Call the office and get that room set up to take us home. I think under his own wards it’ll be better.”
“No memory at all?” the Elf asked.
“Not that I can tell. He’s trusting his magic and while it took a little for him to recognize my magic was in tune with his due to the core of Sean…” The Immortal stopped talking and crouched behind him. He felt a finger trail at his side and then move under him to lift him up. He settled in the Immortal’s arms and then he felt it. The Immortal’s magic wrapped around him and helped to settle him. He could understand what his magic was telling him finally.
He shifted in his arms and moved up to wrap around his neck. He allowed that touch at the edge of his magic to fully touch him, and he felt the truth of the feeling. It felt wonderful.
“Aaron?” The name felt right for the man even though it wasn’t something that he’d heard. The name rang in his head.
“That’s me. And you are Reed. You’re mine. No one here is going to hurt you. We killed all the ones that were hurting you.”
“Dead?” He asked aloud.
“You killed Sean. I killed twenty-four of his guards. Prentiss killed…” Aaron turned to looked at the Elf and smiled at her.
“Thirteen. Morgan killed twelve.” The Elf stepped closer to them, her hand raised up. He clung tighter to Aaron’s neck and sniffed at the hand as it came near. He inhaled her scent, and it sparked a memory.
“Emily.” He had memories of playing games with her. Her smiling face as she beat him for the first time ever.
The human woman stepped up next, and he inhaled her scent. It triggered more memories because she had more than just her own smell on her. “JJ.” He strained his neck, and she stepped closer to him. He crawled from Aaron to her, and he felt her giggle. “Henry. Jack. Bri. BRI!” He turned to face Aaron.
“She’s fine. Indara locked the house down with her own wards outside of yours. No one is getting to them. I felt your worry for her, and I made sure she was safe.”
“Derek?” He called out as he looked away from JJ. He was used to their last names, but the last name wouldn’t tell the man that he remembered him. Morgan stepped up to him and held out his hand. “Learned German yet?” The memories of pranks he pulled on the man were bubbling to the front of his mind.
Morgan laughed and stepped closer with Rossi on his heels. He didn’t lean towards the newcomer, but he tried to smile at him. JJ shifted though, and his wings were bumped. He turned as quickly as he could, and Aaron was right there. The pain was horrible. His wings needed to be set, and before that, he wasn’t going to comfortable.
“Painful?” Aaron pushed him up to drape around his neck again. He turned his face into neck and tuned everything out. He knew they got into a vehicle and drove for a short distance. Aaron kept a hand on his hind leg the entire trip. He felt the shift from unprotected space to protected space. He felt Aaron settle and he looked up. The team was scattered around the edge of the circle.
“Hotch,” a female said.
“Destara, what you doing here?”
“Your dragon was taken. Where else would I be? I was late to the party, but I am going help with cleanup. Anything special need done?”
“Burn it to the ground,” he said. He looked at the woman and felt the raw power inside her. “Who are you?”
“Destara. I’m the other Judge for North America. Lord Reed, I’m glad that Hotch was able to find you. Given what had happened with the children and now Reed, I’m going to pull double duty. You worry about taking care of him and the BAU. Do we need to worry about fallout?”
“The man who took him had no one left in the world left to care about him.” He knew it. He didn’t know how but he knew. Then he did know. He knew how the man had got as close as he had.
“How can you be sure?” Rossi asked.
“Because his bloodline only lives on in his brother and nephew.”
“And they don’t want revenge?”
“Jack doesn’t know that he exists and Aaron thought him dead,” he said. The shock was palpable in the air.
“Brother? How is he alive?” Destara was shocked.
“Dark deeds. Reed is right. Burn the building. Turn it into a park. Nature will fix the corruption that his death had caused the land.”
“Your will, Hotch.” Destara nodded and stepped out of the circle, and she nodded at the gathered magic users. The magic swelled, and Reed felt himself being moved from Texas to wherever home was.
Aaron carried Reed into his office at the BAU. The dragon had passed out when they landed in the circle in the basement of Quantico. In the months that had followed him bonding with Reed, he’d learned all he could about dragon physiology. He knew what he needed to do, but it was going to be painful. And didn’t want to subject the kids to that pain because Reed wouldn’t be able to keep it inside of himself.
The pull to go home was massive, but he needed to set Reed’s wings first. He’d been shocked when they had appeared in the circle deep in the academy. It was closed more than it was open. Strauss had been waiting for them. The team was now in the bullpen. He knew they were worried. He was worried. He was waiting on supplies from medics to set and secure Reed’s wings.
“They are on their way,” JJ said from the edge of the door. A few seconds later, running feet sounded and Aaron looked to see a few medics running towards him. He set Reed down on the couch and stood to greet them. He felt the surge of fear one second after the first medic the room. He turned in time to see Reed’s tail disappearing into the hidden hole.
“Just leave the supplies please.” Aaron turned to JJ. “Something to entice him out? Coffee. Fruit. Chocolate.”
“Sure.” JJ took off towards the kitchenette.
“Agent Hotchner, we need to see him to give medication,” the lead medic said.
“He’s already been drugged once today. I don’t think I would be able to get a needle in him. Much less you. You aren’t going to be treating him anyway. I only need the supplies to splint his wings.”
“He said leave,” a voice said from behind the medics. Aaron looked at the medics as they spun. It was the AD. The medics nodded before leaving the room. “How bad?”
“Very bad. I don’t understand everything that happened but given that his bones aren’t even trying to knit themselves back together right now means that he’s going to be in pain for a long time and stuck in this form.”
“I have this area on lockdown. I was told that his pain is horrible. I asked the other users in the building to keep everything bottled. If your team doesn’t want to be around it, they need to get out of here now.” The AD turned, and Aaron followed him. The team was standing outside his office.
“We aren’t going, Hotch,” Morgan said. JJ came running with what looked like chocolate. She handed it over, and Aaron moved back into his office. He tried to connect to Reed, but the pain was flaring again. The blocks were wearing off. He was hiding. He was a scared little dragon who was more than willing to stay hidden to stay safe. Aaron sat down on the couch and held the candy out.
“Reed, come out, and I can set your wings.” Aaron tried to reach out again. He felt all the pain that Reed was feeling. If it weren’t for the fact that his wings weren’t healing, Aaron would be worried about having to re-break them to set them right. He needed to wait until the chamomile was out of Reed’s body before anything could be figured out. Given that it was a totally magical case, there would be no issue with having to fill anything out with the FBI. Destara and the Council would handle everything. His only worry was taking care of Reed.
The soft sound of claws on concrete told Aaron that Reed was moving. His head poked out of the wall. He held up his arm, and the dragon hesitantly crawled out. He nosed at the chocolate but didn’t eat it. Now that they were touching, he could feel nausea from the pain. As soon as he was settled, Aaron pulled Reed in close.
“Hotch?” Garcia called out as she stepped into his office. She had a small pouch in her hand. Reed looked at her. His head cocked to the side. She stepped closer and opened the bag, holding out a few berries from the bag. Aaron had never seen berries that looked like them. They had the same shape as strawberries but were silver with light green seeds. Reed nosed at one in her hand before grabbing one gently between his teeth. He drew it back into Aaron’s palm and bit into it. A little bit of juice fell from it. Where it touched on Aaron’s hand, he felt nothing. It was like the berry wasn’t there anymore.
“Alan had a local drop them off to me here before you guys got back.” Garcia slipped the other two berries back into the bag while Reed ate the rest of the first. “There are seeds inside. Alan said that Reed would know what to do with them. What does it do?”
“Numb,” Reed said as he settled down even more in Aaron’s hand. The bond was there, but there was little coming from Reed. It didn’t feel off though like when Reed hid from him. It felt natural. “Everything numb. Feels good.”
“Oh.” Garcia looked shocked at that.
“Stay here, Garcia. Have the others come in. Just to be safe.”
The team stayed near the door while Reed seemed to almost fall asleep in Aaron’s lap. It took over an hour for Aaron to set every single one of the fine bones in Reed’s right wing. A minor push of his magic and Aaron created a layer of magic across each break to hold it in place. It would hold for a few days before Aaron would have to do it again. He wrapped the wing carefully layering splints in and around to help with the worst breaks. Reed was silent the whole time, and Aaron wasn’t sure if it was from sleep or just the berry. He turned the dragon onto his back, setting him down on the couch. He looked over at the team.
“JJ.” The female agent moved over and crouched down. “The right wing wasn’t that bad but this one…His left is worse. I want you to help me hold it in place while I set them.”
Aaron worked for two hours on the second wing. The fine bones of this wing were near shattered. It was going to take a lot longer to heal than the other one. The only thing holding the bones in place was his magic. There was no way to stabilize all the bones of the wing with splints, but he could use them to help. When he was done, he rolled Reed on his front and pulled him up into his lap. Using a long-lasting adhesive spell, he basically stuck the wings to the side of his body. It was a mobile spell that would allow for the movement of the thin dragon body as he walked. Thankfully it had something that Aaron had known for a long while. He had used it a lot throughout the years. He wasn’t a good medic, but he knew enough.
As soon as his wings were safe, Reed rolled into him, trying to touch as much of himself to Aaron as he could. Aaron decided to splay his hand on his belly and felt contentment over the bond.
“He’s going to be in that form for a while.” Prentiss stepped closer to them, her fingers trailed down the joint. Aaron felt a little bit of extra magic being pushed into his body.
“What do you mean?” Dave asked.
“Break an arm, and he’ll be fine. He can move back and forth, the wound will transfer with him but this…his human body has no equivalent except his arms and taking those breaks into his arms would kill him with the pain. All of those breaks would center in the bones of his hand, and even if he survived it, his hands would be crippled. And I don’t think that magic could fix him. So until he heals up, he’s stuck in Reed form. We get cat Reed back all the time.”
“Can still help,” Reed said. He rolled to his side, even more, trying to get as much contact with Aaron as he could. His spine was bent around the curve from Aaron’s front to side. “Home?”
“Yes. We are going home as soon as possible.” Aaron knew that Reed wouldn’t fully settle into sleep until he was home, under his own wards and safe feeling.
Aaron laughed but grabbed the chocolate and held out each piece to feed him. The team settled down as they watched it. This was normal. This was something that Aaron and Reid had done since the start.
“I”ll tell the others they can drop the ward things,” JJ said as she left the room. Aaron stood up with Reed tucked on his arms, against his body. The team waited for him to pass before they followed behind. He figured that he would have an escort to his car. He wasn’t expecting his car to be gone.
“Anderson drove it home. I’m taking you two home. You don’t need to be separated,” Dave said. He shook his keys. Aaron nodded. He wasn’t sure exactly how well Reed would take to being in…Aaron stopped. Those weren’t Dave’s car keys. Those were the set for the SUV the team used. It was their dedicated one. He recognized the keys. There was a totally mangled key on the ring, where Reed and Aaron had been playing. Reed joking that he could drive just fine. That had been before the team had known he had a human form. It had been left on the ring while a second had been made as a show to everyone else that it was Reed’s SUV. It smelled of the team and had a small nest of things in the back of Reed’s that was never touched. He smiled at Dave. The man had a fond smile on his face.
Dave didn’t try and engage him in conversation for the drive home. Aaron was focused solely on Reed and how he was feeling. The bond wasn’t feeling normal. The memory loss was affecting it. He couldn’t wait to talk to Indara. The SUV stopped, and he looked at his house. Bri was not going to take her Alpha being injured well. Jack wasn’t going to take his Papa being injured well at all, so close to the death of his mother. The boy was just getting out of the worse of the nightmares and had been dealing well with him back at work the past month and a half. Until he was sure that Reed wasn’t going to be hurt more in the field, he was going to be grounded. Reed wasn’t going to like it, as Aaron’s partner or a member of the team.
“You need anything, let me know. I’ll keep the team away until you say.”
“Henry is not going to be leaving the house, so I see JJ and Will moving in for a while. Jack and Bri are not going to take this well. Henry won’t want to leave them.”
“And he shouldn’t. We’ll get it all worked out.” Dave turned his head a little. “When did the house next door sell?”
“I wasn’t aware it had. It’s sat empty for a long time.”
“With the Judge living next door? I’m not shocked.”
Aaron nodded. It was why the last buyers had put it up. They didn’t like living next to him. He wondered what the realtor had told them. He wondered if she was truthful that not only did a Judge live next door but also two High Dragons.
Reed woke up enough to shift in his arms. A nip of affection on his fingers to tell Aaron he was very awake. The small dragon climbed up and wrapped around his neck.
“Little hands.” Was all he said. His tail wrapped around his neck tight. So that he wouldn’t slip.
“Have a good night. Don’t forget to call.”
“I’m sure with Indara, we will be fine. But I will let someone know if we need something.” Aaron opened the SUV door and slipped out. Almost at the same time that he shut it, the front door opened. He would have laughed if he was up to it. Indara was standing there, one hand holding Jack by an ear. Her other hand was holding up a kitten-sized Sparkle by her tail. Henry was hiding half behind her skirt, and Aaron was almost worried. Sparkle was struggling in Indara’s hold. He felt Reed’s laugh. He heard the SUV pull away and was happy. Upset children were be not to be made a spectacle of.
“She won’t let them get away with anything. My ear hurts just thinking of what he had to have done to get her to grab his ear. She probably did something like it to Bri, and she shifted to Sparkle to escape it. Henry looks to be more sensible.”
“He is,” Will said as he stepped up from the side. Aaron looked at him. He’d come from the other house. What was he doing over there? “Did you know that money changing hands can get paperwork signed much quicker?”
“Excuse me?” Aaron asked. He looked at the man and then at the house. Will’s car was in the drive. Just seconds later, JJ pulled in. “You two bought this?”
“We felt it better given that the kids are connected that we live close and this house was for sale.” Will acted like it was no big thing in the world to buy one of the most expensive houses in DC just so that his kid could be closer to his mates. Of course, Aaron knew that many parents would resent having to share their young child like they were having to. To have another set of parents basically appear in the middle of their lives. Aaron had expected resentment from them, but that emotion was never on their face. Just love. Love of Henry and a growing love of Jack and Bri.
“The LaMontagne family is ancient,” Reed said as he perked up a little. He licked at Aaron’s ear before he jumped down to the ground. Aaron wasn’t ready for the flare of pain across the bond. It was only when Aaron’s accidentally allowed the pain to go back across the bond that he realized that Reed hadn’t meant for him to feel it.
“JJ and I were happy where we were, but given the growth in children we have acquired, it was felt we needed to expand. And the backyard is large enough for Sparkle. I know that your yard is too, but I’m sure there are going to be times that JJ and I are watching the three without Indara and well…we’d feel more comfortable in our own home. Indara has been working on plans for their nest as she calls it in the main bedroom suite.”
“We were shocked at how different these houses are,” JJ said as she stepped up. Reed crawled across the grass towards her, and she stopped as he climbed onto her shoe. She looked at Aaron, but all he could do was shrug. He wondered exactly how drugged his dragon still was. “The third floor is just two…well wings. There is no better term. The second floor is a library and other smaller bedrooms and such.”
“Massive kitchen? Big dining room?” Aaron asked. He’d never been inside, but he knew the designer. All of the houses in the area were designed by a magical woman. “My house was for the bachelor. Many rooms and a big living room. Yours was a family. Everything revolves around family. Two wings so that the kids could have their own and the parents their own but close enough to be practical. A massive kitchen for big meals.”
“How do you know that?”
“I know about mine because I designed it.”
“You were in Seattle before moving here to join the BAU,” JJ pointed out.
“Yes but before that, I was here in the late nineteen hundreds. That’s when all of these houses went up. I knew the family that owned your house. I watched their kids grow up. I watched the family move away. I’ve always come back to DC even though I have to leave when watching everyone age and die around gets to me. I’m an Immortal and death doesn’t touch me, but it gets to me.”
A screech from Reed had all of them looking to find him. He wasn’t on JJ’s shoe. He wasn’t in sight anywhere. Aaron looked at the kids and saw that Indara was looking at the front porch of JJ and Will’s house. The door was open. The kids took off at a run towards the house, Sparkle on Jack’s shoulder while Henry pulled Jack by his hand.
“What did you give him?” Indara asked as she caught up with them at the door to the house.
“That I am unsure of. It looked like a strawberry and was silver with…”
“…green seeds. Reed calls them numb berries as the actual name in dragon tongue is very long. He’s high. He’s always high after eating one and hungry. Has he eaten anything since he ate it?” Indara stepped into the house first.
“Chocolate.” Aaron followed her in and heard the sound of running feet up the stairs. He turned and looked at JJ and Will. “Will how many rooms are there on the second and third floors?”
“Too many to play hide and seek with a high High Dragon.”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
“He’s going for the attic,” Indara said as she stepped up to the stairway. She sat on the handrail and Aaron laughed as she started to slide up it. JJ stopped in her tracks while Will laughed with him.
“Hotch?” JJ asked, but Aaron ushered JJ up to the rail and Will picked her up and set her down on it while Aaron pushed with his magic. Once JJ was going, Will sat and then Aaron, they slid up. As they went higher, they moved faster and faster until they stopped at the top of the third-floor landing. “What was that?”
“The original elevator,” Indara and Aaron said at the same time.
“All older houses of magical people have it built into the stairs that have handrails. When chasing children who can summon air drafts and fly on them, one had to be as quick as them.”
“Is that how the kids beat us up here?”
“Yes.” Indara took the left doorway that led to the attic while Aaron took a right. When all four adults entered the attic, they found Bri in human form with Jack and Henry beside her while they looked at Reed, sitting in the small window of the attic, looking out. Aaron moved towards him. When Reed turned to look at him, he saw how bright blue his eyes were, and he stopped. He felt the change of the currents around the room. “Oh!”
Aaron turned to look at the woman and stopped when he saw that she was reaching out for Bri and Jack, shoving Henry towards his parents.
“What exactly happened?” Indara asked.
“He was tortured to give up how to get to Bri. We think he was given at least a single dose of chamomile extract.”
“Magical suppression as well as memory. Then with the inability to fly. Why are his wings not healing?”
“Because his wings were broken with corrupt magic. It was horrific. What he did to the people who had him was horrific but no more than what I did to get to him either.”
“His bond with you is the only thing that kept him from going feral. If you hadn’t been there, he would have been worse off than after you saved him from the bonds he was trapped in for five years.”
Will took a few steps towards him, and Indara reached out to stop him, but Reed growled just as she almost made contact with him. Indara drew her hand back. The younger man stepped right up to Reed and lifted him out of the window. He settled him on his shoulder but not around his neck. Aaron figured that Reed was talking to him and him alone. He started towards the door and just as he moved to step out it and down the staircase, Reed exhaled loud enough for the whole of the room to feel it. The room started to glow blue, and the charge was unmistakable. The door slammed shut.
“Wards?” Aaron asked and Indara nodded.
“Bri is his charge and by extension of that so is Henry and Jack, never mind the feelings he already has for them. He’s hurt and broken, and he knows it’s going to take a while to heal so the second set of wards around this house to protect will help in a way that he can’t.”
“Is he well enough to do it?” JJ asked as she moved towards the window, Aaron stepped up behind her and saw Will Reed appear in the backyard.
“Magically yes. The only reason that his torturer got the drop on him was he wasn’t expecting it,” Aaron said. He sighed. “And at his base, he felt like me. If we had been aware that Sean was alive, Reed would have known the difference. It’s why the trail left by Jack had so surprised him, and he followed him around the mall like he had. There was supposed to be no one alive that had my signature. He was probably distracted and felt just a brush of it on his own magic, and he allowed him in.”
“Sean?” Indara asked.
“My supposedly dead brother. He used severely dark magic to keep himself alive for the past five millennia. I was made to believe he was dead and I never thought anything different. Until I saw what Reed had done to his body. He looked nothing like my brother, but there was enough of the Hotchner family resemblance that I was able to recognize him when I really looked. With his death, his magic was cleansed, and I could feel him.”
“What did he do?”
Aaron looked at the kids and shook his head.
“I don’t think you understand,” Indara said. She smiled and tilted Jack’s head back. “What would you do if someone hurt Bri?”
“Make sure they couldn’t.”
“That ruthlessness that you feel, it’s magic. That push to get to him and to do anything to save him, it’s magic. If Bri were taken, these two sweet boys would do whatever they could to get to her. It’s horrific, but I’ve seen a toddler with barely any control who was bound to another child, kill with their element when a man struck her to get her to be quiet after she fell off a table and broke her arm. Magic protects minds. Jack’s own magic is what’s helping him heal after the death of his mother. It’s no less painful if he thinks of her, but it makes sure he’s not broken by it. Seeing horrific things is horrific, but he’s bound to a creature. You see a child, I see a young dragon.”
“He ripped Sean’s jaw from his head, his arms from their sockets, and basically disemboweled him.”
“I’ve seen Reed rip the ribcage from a man who was still alive. All because that man felt he had the right to touch a woman who told him no.”
Before any more words could be said, the air around them charged and then depleted in one go. Aaron looked at JJ and barely held in a laugh. Her hair was standing on end. He looked at the rest of the people in the room and saw that their hair was the same. His own hair was barely able to stand on end given how short and styled it was.
“The only difference in his wards is going to be finesse,” Indara said as she worked on getting Jack and Bri’s hair settled down. “And feeling. Will is the focal of these wards. While Reed erected them, Will is the only one that can change them. I wouldn’t be shocked if Tria and Serena can get through them and the team but others, much like me. Will could have any number of people who are allowed access.”
“So what exactly are you saying?” Aaron asked.
“That only people Will trusts will be allowed in, just like your own wards, Aaron. Trust is trust.”
Aaron just looked at her as she shuffled all three kids from the room.
“Will Reed be all right?”
“Time. He’ll be fine in time. Time to heal the breaks in his wings and to get over what has to feel like a betrayal. No matter what, Sean’s magic felt safe to him before the corruption was felt. He trusted, and that was betrayed. He’s not going to like strangers for a while.”
Hours later, Aaron settled down in bed. Reed had been in the library since dinner had been finished. All three kids were settled in Jack’s room while JJ and Will were in guest rooms. The team was going to meet the next day to see about getting the couple moved into the house next door so that they didn’t have to stay in Aaron’s guest rooms. He had no clue what his mate was doing as he’d locked the door.
Rolling onto his side, Aaron grabbed Spencer’s pillow and pulled it in so he could wrap himself around it. He heard the door creak open and then shut and heard the sound of claws on the floor and then Reed was jumping up onto the bed. He was getting ready to move when the dragon jumped up onto the pillow and settled there.
“New Grove Academy has an opening for Jack in a week, and Henry and Bri can start in January. Jack’s classes will start at ten am and finish at five. They have a daycare of sorts so that he could be dropped off at any time. The same with Henry and Bri in January. They will start in half-day magic, getting the bases of it all and then the second half is state required things. Jack’s classes will be a bit more structured in that it’s mainly state-required math, science, history and the like before working in magic in the afternoon.”
“And with how far behind he is?”
“He’ll have one on one magic lessons until he’s caught up with the rest of his class. They have a bonded teachers on staff that will work with them on their bonds, and there is another bonded pair of students in the grade above Jack. A Fae and a human. It’s the perfect school. We are expected tomorrow morning as early as we can get there to do a tour. The Headmistress is very excited to have them. No strangers are allowed across the wards on the school. Guests like us are given small windows, but once we cross back through, it’s revoked. Once the kids are enrolled, we will be allowed across as much as we want. I’ve already called JJ, and she and Will will go with us. Indara is going to stay with the kids, and she’ll be added late. New Grove is only fifty years old, but it’s a perfect school for them.”
“I remember reading about it in the brochures you inundated the house with. I’m shocked you don’t want Indara to teach them everything.”
“It as different with Tria and me. We were hidden. Tria is still hidden. But Bri can’t hide, not with us in the spotlight all the time. I’d rather embrace her being out there in the face of the world. With four of us running around, the world is going to start to take notice more and more.”
“And you want the other three safe when they hatch.” Aaron rolled the pillow to where Reed could stretch out on it. He did but settled down along Aaron’s belly. Touching as much as possible.
“And do they have a seer on staff?”
“No, but they will starting next year. The Headmistress has been kind of looking for one for a while now, but with Bri, she’s making it a concentrated effort. For now, Bri’s only going to get feelings. It’s going to be around a hundred years before she starts to get full visions. By then her magic will have a settled some, and the bond will be fully set. Only then will magic allow it to happen. For now, she’s going to get feelings, and that’s what she needs training in. Separating her own feelings from what magic is trying to push her towards.”
“You’ve been a busy little dragon.”
“You are not going into the field without me.”
“NO!” Reed lifted himself up to stand on the pillow. Aaron rolled over to flick the light on. As soon as he did, Reed crawled up onto his chest and stood there. Aaron knew exactly what he was doing. Trying to show dominance. He allowed it. Knowing that as much as the dragon didn’t want to be separated from him, part of it was knowing that with Aaron he was safe. With his wings damaged, his inability to shift into human form, or even go up or down in size, he was more helpless than normal. With Indara around, they didn’t need to worry about the kids, so it was just him and Aaron. When Aaron was on a case, he was his most vulnerable. His focus split. He’d love to use that worry about Reed would split his focus even more, but he knew that it wasn’t going to be. Not any more than if Reed was at home. Them being separated was what caused this to happen.
“You do as I say, just like before. While in the magical communities, we are recognizable, not all regular humans care about the fact that you are a High Dragon. All they are going to see is a pet. With your wings damaged, you are going to have to be careful. No running around on the floors. Stay up on desk or on someone’s shoulder. At all time.”
Reed bobbed his head up and down before he turned in a circle and laid down on Aaron’s chest, like a cat. Aaron sighed and flicked the light back off. He pulled the blankets up over himself. If Reed got too hot, he’d slip his head out. Just as he was slipping into sleep, Aaron settled his hand over Reed, protectively. Reed’s tail wrapped around his wrist, holding him there.