Title: Going Home Changed
Series: The Stronger Will
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Year: Season Five
Tags: Sentinel/Guide, Sentinel!Spencer Reid, Guide!Aaron Hotchner,
Pairings: Aaron Hotch/Spencer Reid,
Characters: Aaron Hotchner, Spencer Reid, David Rossi, Derek Morgan, Jennifer “JJ” Jareau, Emily Prentiss, Penelope Garcia,
Spoilers: Up Through Season 5
Summary: Going home sucked. Especially when it’s for work. Spencer now has to go home to Las Vegas to hunt a killer killing teens at his old high school. The school is filled with old teachers he disliked, new teachers that bullied him, and the lead detective on the case was his chief tormentor. Going home just sucked.
Warnings: Canon Level Violence, Murder, Explicit Sex, Graphic Depictions of Violence,
Walking into a dark bedroom didn’t shock Aaron anymore. Instead, he just shut the door behind him and started to strip out of his running clothes. He’d not been able to run that morning due to a thunderstorm, and by the end of the day he’d been itching for it, so he’d done it after getting home. Spencer had gone home early to spend the afternoon with Jack. Aaron was still getting used to the neighborhood. While he didn’t have the senses that Spencer did, he was able to find the hamper in complete darkness due to his memory of the layout of the room.
Spencer had spent the past few weeks adjusting to darkness. His fear of the dark was something that he felt he needed to conquer, and Aaron supported him even if he didn’t understand it. The local Sentinel and Guide pride had tried to bring him in for training, but Spencer kept pushing them off, and Aaron supported him in it as well. Spencer was doing fine on his own, he wasn’t having zone outs, even if that shocked the hell out of the Sentinels and Guides in the area. His only zone outs had been before he’d come online. Spencer himself theorized that it was because of how long he was slowly coming online. That his body adjusted in a more natural way, closer what it had been like for the first Sentinels that manifested. He followed his instincts and Aaron was okay with that.
Aaron knew that Spencer was in the room somewhere. He could find him with his own extra senses, but didn’t, allowing the thought of being watched send excitement through his body. He tried to listen for breathing, but there was no sound of it anywhere. His Sentinel hadn’t been anywhere else in the house, and if he’d left, he’d have left a note. He decided to turn on a light, reaching for the lamp on Spencer’s side of the bed. His fingers brushed the shade on the lamp and something grabbed him. He was pulled just a few more half steps closer to the bed and a tongue licked at the skin around his navel. Spencer had been sitting on the bed watching him.
“You showered before you left the office. You showered there, and then changed into your running gear, and took off on a run as soon as you got home.” Spencer’s voice was rough with arousal. Aaron felt more than heard the intake of breath that told him that Spencer was scenting him. Aaron hardened the rest of way. “You smell wonderful.”
“Just-just for you,” Aaron said as he grabbed Spencer hair to try and direct him down to his cock. This was the time that he was happy that Spencer didn’t go for formal training. Being told what he should want from his Guide instead of just wanting what he wanted from Aaron. Spencer adored him right after a run. The first time he’d run during their days off to get adjusted to being bonded, Spence had fucked him until they both passed out.
Spencer fought the hold he had in his hair, his tongue dipping inside his navel before dragging up his chest, licking the sweat off of his body. It paused long enough to lick at his nipple before moving to the pulse point on his neck. Teeth scraped at his shoulder and hardness was pressed against his own. Spencer was trying to tempt him to be the one to give in and move for the kiss. It was a game to them, and today it was a game Aaron wanted to win. Hands grabbed his upper arms and then slowly trailed down, ghosting fingertips on his skin. When his hands were reached, they were grasped quickly and then let go. The hands settled quickly on his ass, grabbing his cheeks, pulling him in tighter to his Sentinel’s body. Too quickly as Aaron’s weight shifted and they fell onto the bed.
It was so dark that Aaron couldn’t see a thing, he couldn’t read Spencer’s face. “What do you want, Sentinel?” Aaron asked as he trailed his lips around the outer shell of Spencer’s ear. Spencer spread his legs, dropping Aaron into the V of them.
“Fuck me, Guide.”
Aaron shivered and reach for the lube that was kept on the little shelf under his nightstand. They had tried to keep it in the drawer, but Spencer kept pulling it off the tracks, too worked up so they kept it there. Jack never noticed it, and it was hidden from view unless one was right at the bedside. He slicked up his cock and slid a single finger inside Spencer. The younger man thrust down onto that finger and squeezed him tight.
“You’ve gotta let me go if you want me in you, Spence.” Aaron chuckled as Spencer let him go. He grabbed the towel on the floor, by feel more than sight. Spencer always put a hand towel there during sex. He wiped his hand on it. The thrill of fucking in total darkness was exciting. Especially since Spencer could see him. “Ready?”
“Yes.” Spencer trailed his hands up Aaron’s back, settling one on his head and gripping his hair, while the other gripped his arm. Aaron shifted to where he could slide inside Spencer and not get too far away from him. It had taken him awhile to get to where he would have sex with Spencer the way he wanted. He didn’t like the thought of hurting him, and even if he knew that he wasn’t hurting him, the thought that he might, stopped him. So it was saved for after runs.
Spencer was tight, Aaron could never believe how tight he was, every single time that they had sex. Spencer moaned as Aaron bottomed out inside of him. Aaron wanted to see him, wanted to see that look on his face. That look was the reason that he did this. The look of wonder as Aaron slid inside of him. He’d expected it to be different, after Spencer had come online. Because he was afraid, Aaron had spent a week and a half denying the urge that he had to fuck him. He’d allowed Spencer to take the reins each time. Until the time that Spencer took it out of his hands after preparing himself and holding Aaron down while he slid down his cock. The same look had fallen over his face as he’d been filled up, and Aaron stopped fighting him in that second, helping to pull him down those last few inches.
“Move,” Spencer demanded and Aaron started to. He pulled back enough to thrust inside him as hard as he could, Spencer dragged his mouth down into a kiss, unerring in finding his lips. Aaron chuckled as Spencer’s tongue wormed into the space between his lips, into his mouth. He sucked on Spencer’s tongue as he settled into a hard and fast pace. He pushed down on Spencer’s legs, folding him nearly in half. He braced an arm on the bed to keep from falling. Spencer broke the kiss and moved down to his neck, licking. The taste of him was erotic to Spencer and Aaron couldn’t understand it. With his heightened senses, the taste and smell of him should have been too much after a run, but it wasn’t.
Aaron was worked up from the thrill of basically blind sex and it didn’t take him long to tip over that edge. Spencer shifted to wrap his legs around his back, holding him in place as he shot inside of him. It was the quickest he’d orgasmed since that first week after they had bonded.
“My turn,” Spencer said and rolled them on the bed. Aaron felt himself slip from inside him. Before he could even get in a breath, Spencer had a hold of his hands, trapping them to the bed in one of his own, his arm straight and Aaron knew that he couldn’t break the hold. His preternatural strength was a shock even to Aaron.
Aaron didn’t know what to expect but nothing was not it. Spencer shifted his body down a little, Aaron’s cock slipping from inside him with ease. The hand pressed his hands down into the pillow even more, and Aaron groaned when something brushed the head of his very sensitive cock. He tried to shift so that Spencer wasn’t able to do that anymore, but he couldn’t. With Spencer’s legs holding his hips trapped and his hands being held down, Aaron was trapped. Spencer’s face buried itself in his neck and he inhaled, the draw of air over his still sweat slicked skin had him shivering again.
When his hands were released, Aaron reached out for Spencer’s head trying to use it to track him. He grasped hair at the same time that his nipple was enveloped by a warm mouth. Spencer mapped out his chest again with tongue, slipping lower but never going below his navel. He groaned as that tongue slipped down into it. He’d never known that his navel was one of his most erogenous zones on his body. He curled up, pressing Spencer’s mouth harder to his skin just as he heard the groan that told him that Spencer had come.
Seconds later, Aaron was pressed back down and Spencer was along the side of his body like a furnace. He knew that they needed to get up and at least rag clean up and change the sheets before they fell asleep, but he didn’t want to move, he didn’t want to get up at all. Instead he rolled to his side and wrapped his arms around Spencer.
“If you don’t get up, I’m not getting up,” Spencer said.
“Just a few minutes and we can go and shower. It’s not like it’s all that far, or that much of a hassle, you wet and naked, where I can actually see you,” Aaron said with a smile on his face.
“I-” Spencer stopped talking as the ringer on Aaron’s phone went off at the same time that a text beeped on Spencer’s telling them that it was a case. Aaron rolled over and dug his phone out of the pocket on his running shorts. Spencer’s was somewhere on his side of the bed.
“What’s the case, Garcia?” Aaron asked as he answered the phone and put it on speaker.
“Teenagers, all killed in Las Vegas. At Las Vegas High School. I have the jet being prepped and Anderson is running the files. I’m having the team meet at the jet.”
“How many dead?” Spencer asked. The bed shifted and Aaron was braced for the lights to come on in the room. Spencer was up and into the bathroom before Aaron could even process what he was doing. He came back out with Aaron and his kits, tossing them towards where their bags were on top of a low dresser.
“At current, five. There were two deaths that were classified as suicides, but once the third teen popped up on the murdered list, the previous cases were reopened, and there is just enough evidence that they truly think all the teens were murdered instead. I have all five case files printed for you, Boy Genius.”
“God speed and swift wings,” Garcia said before she hung up.
“Start showering while I call Jessica,” Spencer said and Aaron nodded and agreed. Before he could even get up off the bed, a text arrived on his phone. He looked at it and then smiled.
“Cancel the call to Jessica. Will and JJ along with Henry are on their way here. We are going to carpool and Will is on kid duty,” Aaron said loud enough for Spencer to hear from the bathroom.
“Then get in here and start the shower.” Spencer walked back out of the bathroom with what looked like a pair of headphones in his hand and an MP3 player. He hadn’t used it since he’d got his senses under control.
“LVHS is where I graduated, Aaron. The station that is located in the area that feeds the school will probably have at least one person that I graduated with. If you want me to work on the geographic profile and not put my senses to zero, I’m going to need this.”
“Pack whatever you need and if it comes down to it, the LEO will be removed from the case.”
“Like that is going to help.”
Aaron just frowned at him, but Spencer didn’t say anything. Aaron wasn’t really looking forward to the case. He never did when kids were involved but this was Spencer’s first trip home since he’d come online. Aaron had tried to get him to go to visit his mother, but the genius had put him off. Maybe now he’d find out why.
The jet landed and Aaron found himself nervous. He knew that part of it was from Spencer. Spencer was nervous. It was an emotion that he’d never felt from his Sentinel before. He debated pulling Spencer off the case for all of two seconds. They needed him for if nothing more than the knowledge he had of the area. He’d keep his Sentinel at the station, and Spencer wouldn’t fight him. Their roles as Sentinel and Guide only interfered in cases when Aaron wanted to do something that Spencer found stupid. Spencer was driving the first SUV with Prentiss and JJ inside with him. Aaron was driving the second with Dave beside him and Morgan in the back.
“You know that I can feel Reid’s nervousness, right?” Dave asked.
“I’m not shocked. I’ll put a tighter lid on our feelings.” Aaron set about doing that before he’d even stopped talking. He hadn’t been aware that he’d had such a loose hold on their emotions.
“What’s wrong with Reid?” Morgan asked.
“This is the high school he went to Morgan.”
“Oh. That’s…” Moran snapped his mouth shut and sat back. Aaron looked at him in the rear view mirror. He knew something, but Aaron wasn’t going to ask him to tell. Not yet. He could keep Spencer’s secret unless it became an issue. Spencer made a turn and Aaron almost missed it. Aaron’s mouth dropped open as Spencer pulled into a parking lot, and on the other side was a football field, and on the other side of that was LVHS. He heard Morgan snort and say something, but didn’t fully understand it.
“So the kid hasn’t gone home since he emerged right?” Dave asked as Aaron parked the SUV.
Before Aaron could answer, his door was opened.
“No. How do you want to do this, Hotch? You know part of why we were given this case was that we are a bonded pair. They requested a Sentinel and Sentinels aren’t sent out on cases with kids unless bonded.”
“Do you want outed as a Sentinel to your possible old school mates.”
“I don’t care either way. We can do like we did in Mississippi.”
“Let’s play it by ear. I’ll do introductions and you can step up or back as you will.”
It was the way they ran things. Spencer never took over as team leader, he didn’t see a need of it as Aaron listened to him. Other Sentinels had trouble taking orders but not him.
“I have us all doubled up. Hotch, Spence you two are sharing, Morgan, Rossi, and then Prentiss and I.”
“What hotel?” Spencer asked.
“No. You can call and cancel those. Their Sentinel friendly rooms are anything but.”
“It’s the closest to here.”
Spencer sighed and pulled out his phone. He looked at a text. “We’ll be crashing at a house a block over. A friend’s parents from my original grade in school are selling, and I asked if we could rent it for the case. It’s going it be cheaper than hotel rooms for us, and comes with housekeeper and chef.”
“How is that going to be cheaper?” Morgan asked as he looked at Spencer like he was stupid, which was a rare look for Spencer to be on the end of.
“The bureau isn’t paying. I am. It’s set up for Sentinels already, and the parents were a bonded pair. Once I heard they were selling, I contacted them about buying. For when I come to visit. I would rather stay in a house, and my childhood home isn’t rated for me at all. I sold it at a good price and have put in a bid on this one. If I like, I’ll be laying down a deposit before we leave.”
Aaron knew that Spencer had been looking at houses for that reason, but he hadn’t known he’d got that serious about a place.
“JJ cancel the hotel and I’ll inform Strauss. The budget committee will be happy about this.” Aaron slipped out of the SUV and Spencer didn’t move. Instead, he leaned in and laid his forehead on Aaron’s and closed his eyes. The team was silent except for JJ who was canceling the rooms. They never interrupted the time that Spencer took to ground himself. Given that this was all it took, it was a simple procedure compared to other pairs. He felt Spencer pull back mentally before he did physically.”Ready?”
Aaron turned and started towards the doors of the station. Morgan and Prentiss were behind him, and Rossi and JJ were next. Spencer was last and he liked it that way. Aaron was allowed to not shake hands with people, given his bonded status, but he was used to it, and Spencer didn’t care either way.
They were met just ten feet inside by the chief of police. Behind him were two detectives.
“Agents, My name is Stan Larson and these are the two detectives on the case. Detectives Brad Markus and Josh Hillman.”
“Thank you for having us. Agents David Rossi, Derek Morgan, JJ Jareau, and Emily Prentiss.” Aaron was about to introduce him and Spencer when he felt a hand on his shoulder. and Spencer was there. Aaron paused, watching as Markus and Hillman’s eyes widened.
“What are you doing here freak?” Markus asked.
“Detective Markus!” The chief said loudly.
“Chief Larson, I’m Agent Doctor Sentinel Spencer Reid and this is my Guide, Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner.” Spencer stepped in front of Aaron so that he couldn’t offer his hand. Aaron didn’t say a thing. “Do you have a room for us to set up somewhere?”
“Back here. Miss Jareau sent a list of things you’d need. We have them all in there, Sentinel Reid.” The chief motioned at a room and the entire team moved in front of Spencer into the room. Aaron let the other members go in first, Spencer stayed with the chief.
“Reid, I’m going to talk with the detectives, you talk with the chief?” Aaron asked. Spencer nodded. “Detectives, you can help us learn the case.”
“Sure,” Hillman said. He grabbed Markus’ arm and pulled at him. Markus’ eyes never left Spencer though.
Aaron shut the door and was shocked to find Morgan there.
“Harper’s brother?” Moran asked Hillman. The look of shock on the man’s face told Aaron that it wasn’t a good thing, being Harper’s brother.
“Yes and,” Hillman looked at Markus and then Morgan before he turned to Aaron. “Brad here married Alexa.”
“Detectives, I don’t want to hear freak used to describe my team member again. Surely, as a cop, you’ve grown up enough to not act like a child. Even if he wasn’t my Sentinel, I’d be telling you this because this is my team, Detective Markus.”
“You don’t…” Markus stopped when Hillman elbowed him.
“I don’t what?” Aaron asked.
“Nothing. He was saying nothing.” Hillman gave his partner a look that said that he had better not be saying a thing.
Aaron listened as the detectives went over the case. He was sure that Spencer was listening in. This wasn’t a Sentinel proof room. He felt little from the younger man and he tried not to look out into the bullpen. When he did, he didn’t see them. But he noticed the door to the chief’s office was shut.
“Hillman, we don’t like to take cases from LEOs, but we will. Your chief invited us in because he needs us. Think about that before you piss off our Sentinel. Because if he leaves, and he has every right based on what Markus has already said, we leave too.” Aaron wasn’t going to pull punches, nothing mattered, but finding the killer.
“We understand.” Hillman grabbed Markus’ arm and pulled him out. Spencer was walking towards them quick when the two detectives stepped out of the room.
“How long do you need to go over the files on the kids?” Aaron asked as soon as Spencer locked eyes with him.
“The Chief has all the files on the teachers as well.” Spencer turned to show two officers moving seven boxes into another room. “These are all the files on every single employee in the system that these kids have had contact with. I’d say two hours and seven minutes, more if I’m disturbed.”
“That’s good. We’ll step out here and I’ll have the team go to the sites.”
“Okay. The chief let me have the office that is Sentinel friendly. I can block everything out. I’ll take my phone in just in case.”
“Go.” Aaron motioned over his shoulder. Spencer left the room and then Aaron looked at Morgan. “I don’t want to know what he has told you, but just keep an eye.”
“I can do that.”
“You stay here and start the geographic profile. JJ, Prentiss, Dave, and I will go to the dump sites.” Aaron moved to the door and stepped out. “Markus, Hillman, do you two mind splitting up to show us the sites?”
“Sure,” Hillman said and Markus just nodded.
“Hillman, take JJ and Rossi to the first two and Markus you can take Prentiss and I to the last three since those are more centered here.”
Aaron wanted to get a good read on Markus before the man spent much time with Spencer. He watched as Markus paled but nodded.
Three hours later, Aaron stepped back into the station. He found Spencer working on the geographic profile while Morgan was talking with another officer. Aaron wanted to take Spencer to the last site, but he wanted to wait until later as there would be less humans wandering around. Spencer had a good grasp of using his senses for cases, but when there was too much input, he sometimes got overloaded. It was a slow process, and Spencer never tried to get out of using his senses.
Aaron wondered exactly how much of that was him really not caring what could happen to him if he over loaded his senses and how much Spencer saw his senses as tools, and he liked to use all of his tools. That scientific mind of his was a pseudo blessing in all of this, it seemed.
Morgan looked at him, and Aaron nodded his head towards the room that Spencer was in and Morgan nodded. He’d join them as soon as he could. The rest of the team filed into the room and the door was shut. Spencer didn’t turn, but his posture relaxed, he knew that they were there and he was listening.
When Dave was halfway through talking about what was found at the first sight of his when Morgan entered the room. He took a seat beside Spencer and handed over a sheet of paper. Spencer smiled and moved back up to the map.
“How is it going, Reid?”
“It’s going fine, but it doesn’t help us. The zone tells us that the school is ground zero, but we knew that. The geographic profile is that based on what Garcia was able to find, there are still many students who graduated from LVHS who still live in the area. Whether the UnSub works there, goes there, or used to go there, it doesn’t help as I can’t narrow it down more than that. The kill sites are all based around things the teens do for fun. One on location at the school, and four that are activity oriented. The teens that I went to school with all went to those same places to have fun. Our UnSub could live in the boundary lines that feed the school, or if they work or worked at the school, they could live outside that boundary.”
“Do you want to go through the school?” Aaron asked him.
“That would not be a good idea at the moment.” Spencer shook his head and turned to face him and the rest of the team.
“Because the teachers that liked me are no longer in the school, and a few that hated me are still there. And three new teachers work there that were part of my graduating class, and they actively hated me. At the moment, it would be better to keep me away from there. I’m sure that Markus and Hillman will let it slip quick enough to their wife and sister that I’m here and it’ll spread.”
“Pretty Boy,” Morgan started. Spencer looked at him and they had a conversation with facial movements and raised eyebrows on Morgan’s part and just blank staring on Spencer’s. Finally, the younger man seemed to collapse.
“Markus’ wife is Alexa Lisbon, her best friend Harper Hillman is Detective Hillman’s sister. Twins. They were two of the biggest bullies that I had in school, with Markus making my life a living hell in gym class. Detective Hillman wasn’t active in bullying me,. and while he tried to stop them, he never helped me. High school was a long time ago, and I won’t do anything to antagonize them but I will not allow him to harm you, Hotch. You are not to go anywhere alone with Markus.”
“You think he would?”
“The skinny freak genius has shown up as a Federal Agent and is claiming to be a Sentinel with you as my Guide. Markus is going to try something, but I have no clue what it is. He’ll want dominance over me and to get that he needs to be dominant over you.” Spencer was looking at him with a look that Aaron had never seen before. He was scared about something happening to Aaron. He was scared of losing him.
“I’ll always take someone with me if we are…”
“Everywhere. Markus is the pack alpha here. Only respect has the others looking at the Chief as above him. There are plenty of officers here that would cover for him as we are the outsiders.”
“None of us will go anywhere without someone else with us,” Morgan said, looking at Aaron. He nodded at the agent. “Does that help you calm down?”
Aaron nodded his agreement and Dave did as well. The girls smiled at Spencer and JJ moved up to lean into him. He wrapped his arm around her and whispered something in her ear.
“That’s a good idea.” JJ turned to look at Aaron. “Hotch, we need to do a press conference. Whole team.”
“Get it set up for as soon as you can.”
“Spence gave me the name of the big news agency here and a contact.”
“Someone I got through algebra and physics. She’ll talk to us and help us as much as she can. She called and left that message for me here at the station. It seems that it’s leaked which team is here already. If you want me to talk to the families, I can do that.”
“No connections with any of them?”
“No. Not to me or each other. From the preliminary profiles I’ve made based on what Detectives Markus and Hilman have done, each of these kids was an outcast for one reason or another.”
“Go over it for us,” Dave requested.
“Chandler Montgomery, seventeen. Male and gay. He had a few close friends according to his parents, but no one who ever came over to the house. Scarlet Iverson, fifteen. Female and according to others a lesbian, but her parents say that they didn’t know the validity of that. She played video games and paper dice games. Her circle of friends are a lot closer than many of the others who died. According to her friends, she wasn’t sure what her sexuality was. Those two were the supposed suicides. Chandler’s was more believable while Scarlet’s friends never believed hers.
“The next three happened over the past four weeks, while the first were over six weeks ago. John Samuels eighteen had severe acne, and his parents didn’t allow him to seek treatment for it, that learning to deal with it would give him an edge. He had an above average intelligence, but failed every IQ exam given to him, on purpose, according to his mother. He was found beaten to death in the closest park.
“Mariah Jameson,eighteen had tried out for the football team ever since she was eight. She was a loner on purpose. She ran track and field and played on the girls’ basketball team. Even her mother knows little of what she did beside sports. She read on her Kindle, and her mother is bringing that in for me to look at. She was found on the football field, raped and strangled to death. And the most recent victim is Scott Sanders. He was found dead on the school steps, his throat cut. He was a writer. His writings detailed the abuse many kids went through at the school. He used different names, but Detective Hillman had read enough to know that he could fit a few names with victims. It’s unclear at this time if he was a victim of choice or of necessity.”
“You think he might have been looking into the killer?” Morgan asked.
“Could have, or the killer could have thought that. His father brought over his computer after his death, and one of the officers is printing out all of the contents of his writing folders. I’ll read them over to see which it is. If he was getting close, it could help us.”
“So, none of these kids was in the popular crowd. None were in the same crowd. So it could be someone else like them, just lower on the totem pole who thinks that they needed to be gotten rid of, so they could shine as it were,” Dave said as his eyes were drawn to the pictures of the teens.
“Or it could have been someone in the popular crowd who wanted them gone.”
“Or an adult who dislikes them. We can rule out an adult. In fact, given the premeditation to make the first two look like suicides, and to rape without leaving a trace, It seems more likely.” Spencer’s eyes were on the geographic profile again.”
“Read the files in the morning. We will hit the ground running, but it’s getting late, especially for us as we had a full day. Let’s go to the house. It’s just after one. Let’s get in here by nine at the latest.” Aaron looked at Spencer. The younger man nodded.
“Yes, Sir,” Spencer said with a cheeky smile.
The drive to the house was silent for the most part. Spencer drove JJ and Prentiss there while Morgan drove Aaron and Dave. The house was not exactly small, and Aaron was a little shocked. There was a four car garage, and there was a car already parked in front of one of the stalls. Aaron looked at the house. It was a very long house set on a big property. There was a high privacy fence around the whole of the yard, it seemed.
“That’s a big house.” Dave sounded shocked as he opened the door. “You don’t pick small houses do you?”
“No,” Spencer answered as he stepped out of his SUV. “I like the house and the yard in the back is huge. There is a long hallway that goes from one end of the house to the other on the ground floor with a door at either end.”
“Jack is going to love it here,” Aaron said as he stepped up behind Spencer and wrapped his arms around him.
“I texted the chef and he’ll have breakfast ready at six. I am not going to get much sleep tonight. I don’t need it, and so I’m going to crash and when I wake, I wake. The car is mine from the old house.”
“Yours and you drive the Amazon?” Prentiss asked.
“I restored the Amazon during college. It was mom’s and had been breaking down slowly. I drove it to DC when I started at the academy. That thing runs better than most cars on the road.”
Spencer showed everyone to their rooms, no one had to double up. Aaron was showed their room first and he stayed and started to get their things in the bathroom set up. He traced the feel of Spencer all across the house. His Sentinel was not going to sleep much at all. Aaron knew that. He’d let his mind rest, and then start on the files that were going to be waiting for him. Most cases, Spencer slept about four hours a night. It was the normal amount for most Sentinels. He was pretty sure that the only reason he stayed in bed longer with him was that he wanted the cuddle time.
“Ready for bed?” Spencer asked.
“Tell them we’ll take the house. With your money and mine…”
“You’ve not seen anything of the house.”
“No, but you have been more relaxed here than anywhere besides our own house. The yard is large, the rooms are great, and this master room is perfect for you. You like the place, or you would have never brought it up.”
“I do like it.”
“We can buy it. It’ll be nice to have a place to go when we want time with kids or without.”
“Jack would love it here. It’s not a bad neighborhood. Are you sure?”
“Yes.” Aaron grabbed Spencer around the waist and pulled him in and kissed him. Spencer hummed and settled down into him. Trusting him to hold him up. “Let’s buy a house.”
Aaron wasn’t shocked that when he got up for the day, Spencer was gone in his car and the chef told him that he’d at least eaten before leaving.
“So you work for the people who own this house?” Aaron asked. He racked his brain for the man’s name but couldn’t remember at the moment what it was. Spencer had told him, as they’d laid in bed and talked about the house. The cleaning staff that rotated between several houses in he area.
“I work for myself. I started a company twenty years ago that I’ve grown to a pretty big business here in Vegas. It’s a company of chefs and cooks that cook for various visiting families. The Watsons used to be a top customer who lived here, and when I heard that Doctor Reid was possibly buying the house, I contacted him about what his plans were. Given that he’s just going to be visiting on occasion, I told him that I’d gladly stay on. When he contacted me about cooking for the team while you guys are here on a case, I volunteered. He buys the food, I cook breakfast and dinner.”
“My brother was killed in California fifteen years back, the BAU caught his killer. Rossi and Gideon. This is the least I can do.”
Aaron nodded and heard shuffling footsteps heading towards him. He turned to see it was JJ who had her phone at her head, listening to something. She was already dressed and ready to go. Even Aaron wasn’t that far along.
“Spencer is sending a LEO for me. He needs my help with some issues with press that have popped up.”
“I have a cup of coffee here for you, Miss Jareau and what Doctor Reid said was your favorite breakfast sandwich.”
“Thank you Reginald.”
Reginald Worthy. He remembered it all then.
“I’ll be right behind. I need to get some food in me and I think a pot of coffee.”
“Spencer said he had a cappuccino waiting for me at the station.” JJ wandered towards the front door and as she opened it, Aaron saw a flash of lights of a car turning into the driveway. The kitchen having direct line of sight on the front door was nice.
“The rest of the team will get up slowly. Rossi will be the last up.”
“Oh, Doctor Reid emailed me a list of who would be up and when, and what they liked to eat. I have oatmeal and orange juice for you.” The man turned to pick up a pot off the stove and turned back to him, it was full of oatmeal. Aaron wasn’t shocked Spencer had given him the team’s food preferences. He took care of the team, even before he was online. He made sure they talked, and they ate. It showed the type of Sentinel he was. That he cared for the team, and didn’t need to show his strength. He’d done it, but he didn’t feel the need to constantly prove it.
“We don’t usually eat lunch out, we send someone for it to a restaurant or have it delivered.”
“Doctor Reid told me.”
The sound of feet had Aaron turning to see Prentiss next in the waking up parade.
“Reid’s going to spoil us,” Prentiss said as she sat down beside Aaron.
“He’ll say we are worth it.” Aaron started to eat the oatmeal. It was prepared exactly how he liked it.
After breakfast it was a rush to get ready. Prentiss went in with him while Morgan and Dave were going to be about ten minutes behind. Spencer was buried in files in the Sentinel proof room that the station had. His head popped up and he smiled as Aaron knocked on the window. He didn’t wave him in so Aaron went to where JJ was.
“The rape was leaked to the news. Someone here talked and the chief is looking into it. He’s already asked Reid to play lie detector if he can’t find out who. Reid agreed.”
“How do they not have a bonded pair?”
“They do. But the Guide was shot last week and they are out. The Sentinel called and talked to Reid, and they were discussing something, but she is still pretty close to feral. Seems the Guide is in a medically induced coma. This station is a wreck. It seems the Sentinel has a hard time due to Markus. But his close rate is the highest outside of her, and he’s a good cop. I guess he does really good with victims’ families. He was in here from the moment Reid got here. So Reid put himself in there with the files and waited to venture out when I got here.”
“Good. What are you doing on the press?” Just like that it was back to a normal case. Aaron could feel Markus watching him. It was kind of creepy. Aaron kept a tight lid on his bond with Spencer and the leaking of emotions. Spencer was enjoying his reading in only the way he could. There was a pad at his side where he was sitting on the table cross legged, filled with his shorthand notes. Aaron had tried to learn them, but it was full of half sentences, and in some places half written words.
Just after lunch, in which JJ invaded Spencer’s sanctuary to pull him out to eat, Spencer and Aaron went to the chief to talk. The team had discussed what Spencer had found as well as talk of the profile. Since Markus and Hillman were still the lead detectives on the case, they were asked to join as well.
“Did the reading help any, Doctor Reid?” Hillman asked.
“Yes and no. It’s someone connected with the school, right now. Scott was sure of that, and he was asking questions. The UnSub had to have heard. I need access to all accident reports over the past four years. As well as all deaths foul play or not.”
“I’ll have Officer Smithson give you access,” the chief said.
“Good.”Spencer stood up as their chief picked up his phone to make the call. He laid his hand on Aaron’s shoulder and squeezed. Aaron rolled his shoulder not to dislodge the hand, but to show a reaction. Then he was gone. Aaron heard the door open.
“Doctor Reid, we have the files all on computer, but the paper files for the past five years are in the basement.”
Spencer didn’t say a thing, but shock came over the bond, so Aaron turned back to look at his Sentinel. He was staring at the officer.
“We shared a fifth grade class for two months before they pushed you up in grades again. Your reading speed astounded me and I guess it stuck. You chose to read Sanders’ writing on paper, I figured you’d like to read the files that way as well.”
Spencer turned and looked at Aaron with a smile on his face. Aaron smiled back, Spencer was going to have a duckling the rest of the case. That was going to piss off Markus, and he wasn’t sure what it was going to do to Hillman.
“Sir,” Markus started as Spencer shut the door. “He…”
“I’ve looked up Agent Reid, Markus. You called him a freak in front of the entire squad. I could tell it was a shock to see him, but still. You need to show him respect. Graduated with your class at the school when he was twelve. Several advanced degrees before eighteen. Youngest in the BAU, ever. When he joined the team, their solve rate grew steadily and they currently have a solve rate of ninety five percent.”
Markus looked shocked at what his chief said.
“Whatever grudge you have for him, I’d think on it before you get in trouble. There has been cities put on a blacklist due to how the Bureau’s Sentinels and Guides are treated.”
“Yes, Sir.” Markus said and stood up. Hillman nodded and moved out of the room after his partner.
“What’s the story there?”
“Reid hasn’t said beyond Markus and his wife were some of his tormentors in school. He’s above getting back at them, don’t worry.”
“I don’t want him suffering.”
“He won’t, but until Markus touches him, he’ll play nice.”
“And if he touches you?”
“I don’t know. We’ve never had that happen. No one has been that stupid, but then most places we go, we let them believe that I am the Sentinel. If it hadn’t been Markus on the case, Reid probably would have done that. We’ve had issues with cases where other Sentinels and humans try and prove Reid’s not a Sentinel or he’s a weak one. They come up short, he’s put one in a hospital who tried to subvert our bond by trying to dominate me. I didn’t even have a chance to try and drop him mentally or physically. The man didn’t get the chance to touch me.”
“Most units put the Sentinel in charge.”
“The team would follow him, but he doesn’t want the hassle. He doesn’t want the meetings so I stayed. He came online recently. I was chief before that, so we saw no reason to change it.”
“What is Reid looking for?” The chief did look perplexed. Spencer’s methods were strange even to the team. He made leaps in logic that he couldn’t always explain. The team had learned to follow as close as they could. Usually after the case was done he could teach them step by step.
“Something that caused the UnSub to snap. The premeditation tells us that he has been thinking about it for a while so we are probably looking for two stressors. He’ll probably call our analyst in Quantico and narrow the list down.”
“I won’t keep you. Thank you for talking to me. If I need to pull Markus, I will. I’d rather you stayed than him.”
“We don’t like to do that, but in this case it might come to him or Reid.”
The chief nodded and Aaron moved out of the office. He could feel Spencer’s excitement and was happy. He was alone with the officer, but there had to be someone in the records room. Morgan was standing outside waiting on him. Morgan always stepped up to keep Spencer happy.
“Pretty Boy found a few guys we need to check out. Do you want to go with me?”
“Reid wants me to read them?”
“Then let’s go.”
A day of basically nothing moving forward in the cases. The families were interviewed, and Aaron was tired. It was tiring to use his Guide abilities to read families, and tell when they weren’t being completely forthcoming. Mainly because he had to keep their grief from causing him to go into emotional overload. Spencer’s presence at the back of his mind, his sheer joy in a paper trail was the only saving grace of it all. It wasn’t hard to understand what Spencer was doing, but with the sheer amount of issues that popped up in Las Vegas, he had hours upon hours of accidents, deaths, and fights to look into. Spencer was inside the station while Aaron was in the front seat of Spencer’s car. It was a nice one. The door was shut and locked. He could see the shift change happening.
Then there was Spencer coming out with the officer that he had been with all day. Morgan had said that the officer had gone to five other station houses and picked up files of cases. The list of possible UnSubs was growing ever larger by the hour. Once Spencer had a large group, he was going to start to narrow it down more and more with Garcia.
“Too tired to drive?” Spencer asked as he got into the driver’s seat of the car.
“The others are picking up dinner. Morgan called and told Reginald that we were going to be late. So Prentiss found a diner a few blocks over and is picking up burgers, fries, onion rings. All that food we try and stay away from because this case sucks.”
“Good burgers there. I’d eat dinner there a lot after my after school activities . I could take over the table and work on my homework on the days that mom was having a bad episode. Then I’d bring home a milkshake, and fries, and we’d sit on the couch and I’d read to her while she ate. Then she’d read to me until I fell asleep. It was good nights with her like that that I remember most of the time after dad left.” Spencer was smiling. It was a type of smile that Aaron hadn’t seen in years. Not since the aftermath of the Fisher King case and watching him with Diana in the round table room. Sitting there listening to her lecture.
Spencer was proud to be Diana Reid’s son, and it was that pride, and that love that turned him into a strong man, and made him the Sentinel he was. He wasn’t strong in muscles or the urge to be in the lead. He was stronger than he should have been given his body mass, and had proved that in time of need or want, he could do what he wanted. Spencer cared for his family. And the team was his family. Jack was his family. Even Jessica was his family. It was a close family.
“Let’s go back to the house and get some food then try to get some rest..”
“Sounds like a plan.” Spencer turned the key in the ignition. The drive was short and it could have been a nice walk, but tensions were too high for it. Spencer talked about things he used to do in the area. Talking about his childhood in a way that he’d never done before. It was all happy things, and Aaron knew that he was staying away from the sad things on purpose. Aaron wasn’t going to push. They might not talk about the bad things until they got home. Safe at home in his own domain.
As soon as Spencer got inside the house, he didn’t move toward the kitchen where the sounds of the rest of the team were coming from. No, he went right up to the bedroom. He didn’t ask for Aaron to follow him, but still he did. Spencer stripped naked right in the middle of the bedroom and went for the shower. Aaron picked up his things before he moved to the kitchen.
“Kid come home with you?” Dave asked.
“He’s taking a shower.” Aaron found the two containers with his burger and Spencer’s and put his Sentinel’s aside. He grabbed a paper plate and loaded it down with fries and onion rings. A little dish with ketchup was set in front of him. He smiled at JJ. “He just needs to process. There is a lot of data and we have nothing to narrow it down.”
“There is more going on with him, Hotch,” JJ pointed out as she picked up her burger.
“And he’s not talking, and I can’t force him to. So far it hasn’t affected him other than loss of sleep, but we all lose sleep on cases that hit close to home.”
“I just wish he’d talk to one of us.” JJ sighed.
Morgan was looking down at his food and Aaron stared at him until he finally looked up.
“He’s doing fine,” Morgan said. His tone was strong, like he wanted to put an end to it all. “He’ll talk to who he wants when he’s ready, and you all know that no one can push him into it.”
The sound of bare feet on the floor was the only noise that Spencer made as he entered the kitchen. He leaned over Morgan and stole one of his biggest onion rings.
“Steal from your Guide, not me!” Morgan said with a laugh. Spencer bumped his shoulder into Morgan before moving over towards where Aaron was taking a seat on a stool. Aaron pulled him in close and let his emotions wrap around Spencer as his arm did.
Morgan opened the container with Spencer’s burger and passed it over to him as he munched on his stolen onion ring.
“There is a piece missing, and I can’t figure it out. I talked it over with Officer Smithson, but there isn’t any leap in logic for me. There are too many smells on the bodies and I can’t trace a single one between them. I can smell several kids, and adults that are on all three, but that doesn’t give me names. I need a fresh body with no taints and that makes my heart hurt.”
“We need sleep. Distance will help.” Dave pointed out. He was nearly done with his food. The rest were picking, and Aaron knew that they would stay in there with them unless he said something.
“You guys mind if I go eat in the room?” Spencer asked.
Every single team member piped up that it was okay. Spencer closed his box and snagged the plate of fries and onion rings that Aaron had picked out and moved to the stairs. Morgan scooted his leftover sides closer and Aaron ate off that plate while he finished off his burger.
“I don’t know if he’s wanting space from us, or all noises,” Aaron said.
“That station is a mess. They have a single room where the Sentinel can get peace, but for a Guide…” Dave trailed off.
“I get a lot of feedback and I usually don’t. I think, though, that having a Sentinel or a Guide for them is rare. It’s probably a stepping stone job before getting higher up. All the detectives are mundane and all pretty young. So either Markus has run the rest off, or no one really stays long unless they have an issue.”
It was another hour of talking about the case before they called it a night. When Aaron got up to the room, Spencer was dead asleep in the middle of the bed. Aaron smiled at the sight and after changing he crawled into bed with him. As soon as he was there, Spencer rolled into him, burying his head in his neck.
The call came at two in the morning. Spencer rolled over and grabbed the phone.
“Agent Hotchner’s phone.”
Aaron couldn’t hear a word of what was said, but the look on Spencer’s face told him that it wasn’t good. He wanted to grab the phone, but he didn’t. Worry and fear creeped over their bond and it set Aaron into fight mode. He stood up and started to dress. When he was decent enough he stuck his head out and screamed. Every bedroom door on the floor was open so it wasn’t but seconds before the sound of moving bodies told him they were all awake.
“Two girls didn’t come home from school. It wasn’t noticed until the mother got off shift at the hospital. She was watching a neighbor’s kid, who’s parents were out of town. Fifteen years old. Last seen at the school. Chief wants us to go right there.”
“One. Everyone stays inside until I tell you otherwise. The cops are getting there now, and are staying in the cars as well. Untainted, I might be able to track. The mother has her daughter’s clothes, and thankfully she hadn’t done the wash yet, or we wouldn’t have clothes for either girl that wasn’t tainted.” Spencer was dressed and Aaron wasn’t shocked to see his hands shaking. He trusted in his senses, but he was still afraid that using them to find someone would fail.
“Who do you want me to be?” Aaron wasn’t sure if he needed a Guide or a unit chief.
“Right now I need Hotch. I’m in control and I’ll stay in control. You will feel it if I start to slip. Until that moment I need a boss.”
“Okay.” Aaron nodded. He could do that. They were still learning. Still figuring out how to be what they needed for each other. “Let’s go. Drive?”
“Then you better get out before Morgan does.”
Spencer smiled at him and moved out the door. He didn’t grab his bag, and Aaron knew not to grab it either. If he’d wanted it, he would have grabbed it. The team appeared near as one as Aaron stepped out of the room.
“Where’s Reid?” Prentiss asked.
“In the SUV. We are going straight to the school. We can’t get out until Reid says so. He’s wants a clean field. Locals already have clothes for him and it’s labeled.”
“Then let’s go.”
Spencer already had the SUV on and Aaron got into the front with him while the rest of the team got into the two back seats. The fact that they had a three row was a change as normally they didn’t, but he knew that some did for situations where a Sentinel and Guide needed room. There was more than once where a Sentinel needed grounding in the field and the two back seats could be laid down into a long one.
“How long missing?” Morgan asked.
“Unknown. School let out at three and it’s now two so at maximum eleven hours.”
“School was the last known?” Dave asked.
Spencer started to spell out everything that he knew. He parked the SUV, but didn’t get out. The squad car next to them rolled down a window and handed over two bags. Both were sealed and had a name taped on them. Aaron watched as Spencer got out, shutting the door quickly. His eyes scanned everywhere before he took the bags. He watched as Spencer opened the first and scented it before opening the second. He went back to looking and moved slowly.
The inhuman growl that he let out shocked even Aaron as Spencer took off at a run towards the football field. Aaron looked over that way and could see the faint outline of something at one of the goalposts.
“Oh, fuck. Fuck. No. No. I’m sorry Hotch.” Morgan said as he opened the door and took off at a run. Aaron barely processed it before a sound of anguish came from where Spencer had taken off to, and he felt a pain so horrible that he nearly threw up. He opened his door and dropped to his knees, dry heaving as he looked towards where Spencer was on his knees at the farthest goalpost, and Morgan was at the first. Morgan turned and waved all of them towards him. Aaron moved slow and listened for the team behind him. Morgan hadn’t touched the body that was tied to the post. Now that he was closer he could see that Spencer wasn’t touching the body either, but he was on his knees at the base of the goalpost.
“Morgan, you can’t keep silent anymore.” Aaron could barely think with the emotions pouring from Spencer, but there was also this giant keep out blaring from him that Aaron couldn’t feel anything but the pain.
“The Owen Savage case…” Morgan started but someone behind them cleared their throat. Aaron turned around and Morgan did to
“I was one of the guys that tied Doctor Reid to the goalposts our senior year. We stripped him naked, and tied him there and left him,” Markus said. He looked at the post and the naked girl tied to it and looked guilt ridden. “He was so small and we were so stupid.”
“He worked himself loose because by the time that I found out, and came back to the school, he was gone,” Hillman said.
“What the hell went on at this school to him?” Aaron asked.
“I’m not shocked that he joined the FBI,” Hillman said.
“What do we do?” Markus asked.
“I don’t know,” Aaron said. He looked again at Spencer. His Sentinel hadn’t moved. “Let CSU get in here to take fibers and whatever they can find on this body.” Aaron looked at Markus. “Do you understand why now?”
“He was a better man than I am now over a decade ago. Do you want me to step back?”
“No. I want you to come with me and we will talk to him. See what he can tell us that we can’t see or smell.”
“What do you feel?”
“At the moment, just Reid. It’s all I can do to not crumple on the ground.”
Aaron moved over to him and as soon as he touched Spencer’s shoulder, it was all gone. All the pain, all the anguish. There was nothing but the feel of Spencer’s senses. He wasn’t aware that he was projecting. He wasn’t aware of what Aaron was feeling from him. He was tracing. He was scenting. If it had been anyone else, if he was unbonded, everyone would have thought he was in a zone out, but he wasn’t. He was qualifying every single scent that he could get off of the girl’s body.
“I can find him.”
Aaron had spent all night watching Spencer pace back and forth as CSU processed the scene and the bodies were taken away for processing. Once the second body was taken away, he moved to the station and there he paced in the Sentinel room. He wanted the school to start as normal. He had a scent. A single scent that he was going to trace back to the UnSub. He had no name. He had nothing but a single scent that he was going to use.
The second period bell rang and the only reason that Aaron knew that was that Spencer stopped his pacing and his head tilted to the side.
“It’s time. I want SWAT behind Doctor Reid. Get between him and whatever kids are in the room he goes into.”
“Yes, Sir,” the head of SWAT said.
“Markus, Hillman, go in behind SWAT. I’ll be behind you two.”
“I’m shocked you are letting me go in at all.”
“It’s your case. You’ve tried to get the UnSub before now it’s just that he proved too smart forensically. We don’t take cases unless we have to.” Aaron looked at him. “And I think you got a rude awakening this morning seeing those girls on the post.”
“It’s a hazing thing that has happened here for years. To see a dead body in the same way…When this is all said and done, I would like the chance to tell Doctor Reid that I am sorry.”
“That’s up to him.” Aaron looked as Spencer left the room and moved towards the door. He wasn’t sure if Spencer was going to walk, run, or drive to the school. SWAT was ready in their vehicles and the leader rushed to get into the passenger seat and took off towards the school. Morgan had been keeping a SUV running since school had started. Spencer did get into the SUV and it was a show of how into his Sentinel side he was that he didn’t buckle-up.
Spencer was out of the SUV before Morgan had even put it in park. Aaron got out as well and waited for SWAT, and the two detectives to go in behind the Sentinel. Aaron followed him in their bond. Feeling the thrill of the hunt inside of Spencer. The feeling of finding the scent followed by stopping at the door. Aaron opened his senses more and started into the school.
There was a stream of kids running out of a room with the two detectives coaxing them out. Aaron felt their fear but it wasn’t at Spencer it was at the teacher. When the last kid was out, Aaron stepped into the room and found Spencer at the back of the class with a teenager wrapped in his arms. It was a girl. Hillman was putting cuffs on the teacher and Markus was standing beside Spencer. He crouched down and said something and the girl nodded but didn’t let go of Spencer.
The side of the girl’s face was bleeding.
“Morgan,” Aaron said looking into the hall. “Get a medic in here.”
Morgan nodded. Aaron turned back into the room and found Hillman marching the UnSub out. Aaron waited for the medic to come in and escorted him over to where the teen was standing up and going to Markus’ arms. Hillman stepped close again as the medic and Markus escorted the teen out of the room.
“World Literature teacher. He started here two years ago. He wasn’t on the short list of suspects as not all the kids had him. He was on the long.”
“Arnold Pierce. His younger brother killed himself four years ago when he was a senior in high school. He was bullied and the school he was at wasn’t doing a thing to protect him. He was on my list,” Spencer said as he stood up.
“What did you track him with?”
“Medication. He is on several types and when he sweats, traces are left everywhere. It wasn’t on the other bodies because of time and the locations were trampled, but last night.” Spencer stopped.
“Their bodies were still warm. You were able to smell it as it hadn’t fully evaporated.”
“He was screaming at Elsbeth when I entered the room. He rounded on me and yelled that I wasn’t allowed in there. Two of the boys in the class were up out of their seats, ready to pull him away from her. She tried to run, using my distraction, but he backhanded her.”
“It looks like you threw him,” Aaron said as he took in the room. There was a collapsed table. Spencer wouldn’t get in trouble for throwing him. The girl’s bloodied face was enough to send any Sentinel into a rage.
“No. I growled and one of the kids said I was a Sentinel and the UnSub took off. I moved towards him and he freaked, crashing into the table. I didn’t touch him expect to keep him down with my foot on his chest while the kids ran.”
“Go start your statement,” Aaron said. Spencer nodded and moved out of the room.
“You two have one of the weirdest dynamics between Sentinel and Guide I have ever seen,” Hillman said.
“We really do but it works for us.”
“He…I regret that I never stepped in. I did better in college, got Markus to back off of things.”
“All you can do is change how you are in the future. And I think that Markus got a wake up call.”
“Yes.” Aaron looked around the room. There was going to be a lot of healing needed done at the school. And a lot of it had to come from the teachers and the staff that allowed the bullying to happen. The students needed to be talked to. There was a lot of work needing to be done but Spencer’s part was over once he got his report done. Aaron wondered if he’d be able to get him to visit his mother. It would help to settle him.
Aaron heard the near silence of the station and was worried. It had been noisy just moments before. He wasn’t sure that the officers could take much more. There had been the confrontation meeting between Markus and Spencer in the Sentinel room right after Spencer had come back from visiting his mother. Nothing had happened during it other than talking, but eyes hadn’t left the room, and neither had Aaron’s senses.
Morgan, JJ, Dave, and Prentiss were at the school, talking to the staff and families about what had happened. The teacher had snapped. His house had been a shrine to bullies and what they got away with. He’d thought he was helping the first ones. Right up until Mariah fought him and he snapped and raped her. From there he’d spiraled. The two girls that were taken and killed weren’t bullied in anyway nor were they bullies.
Aaron opened the door to the room he was working on closing out the case files. He saw two women who were standing entirely too close to his Sentinel. Spencer had dressed up a little to go see his mother. A nice three piece suit that stayed on the jet. Everyone on the team kept a few nicer outfits on the jet, just to be safe during cases. He wasn’t shocked to see that the main woman talking to Spencer had a wedding ring on her finger.
“Aren’t you just a big piece of yummy man?” the woman said. She smiled and leaned in just a little more.
“And why would I want to even touch you?” Spencer asked. Aaron heard two voices talking and then stop. He looked to see Markus and Hillman standing beside him. He could feel the utter shock from Markus and disgust from Hillman.
“There’s plenty of reasons to touch me,” the woman said again and she shifted and Aaron was pretty sure that she was trying to entice Spencer with her breasts.
“You have a lot of guts, Alexa. Flirting with a man in the same building that your husband works in and smelling of sex with at least two different men.” There was no smile on his face and the woman telegraphed her moves so that even the dumbest person in a room could tell she was going to slap him. Spencer didn’t stop her and didn’t even attempt to dodge it. He took the slap full on. It echoed around the bullpen and the woman with her looked very shocked.
“Alexa,” the other woman said.
“Thank you, Mrs. Markus for giving me a wonderful reason to have you up on assault charges. For striking a federal agent and for striking a Sentinel while he’s on duty.” Spencer turned to look at the three of them. “But I’ll let your husband deal with you. Miss Hillman, I suggest you not get involved.”
“How do you know our names?” the female Hillman asked.
“Alexa, Harper, may I introduce Agent Doctor Sentinel Reid and his bonded Unit Chief Agent Guide Hotchner? They helped us with the case of the dead teenagers.” Markus stepped up to stand beside Spencer and not his wife. “And Alexa, I think that signing the papers would be a wonderful idea on your part.”
“Are you any relation to that freak that had a crush on me? What was his name? Spencer. That’s it. Spencer Reid. He would have been better if he’d taken after you in looks.” Alexa asked.
Hillman snorted and just stared at her before he answered. “That is Spencer Reid, Alexa.”
“Thank you, Detective Markus,” Aaron said as he stepped up and shook Markus’ hand. Alexa and Harper both looked at him and eyed him up and down.
“I’m glad you like how he looks, Alexa. So do I. It takes all my considerable brain power to not get horny at the sight of my bonded in a suit.” Spencer smirked at her and Aaron subtly leaned into him to get him to shut up. He was fighting back a blush knowing that it wouldn’t do them any good.
“You are very welcome, Agent Hotchner.” Markus looked like he was going to laugh, but he held it in. Aaron nodded at him in thanks.
Alexa looked at Spencer then back at Aaron and scoffed.
“My lawyer will have the papers when, Alexa?”
Harper grabbed Alexa’s arm and pulled her back and out of the station as they went.
“That’s not the first time she flirted with co-workers, but it’s the first time that I’ve caught her cheating,” Markus said, his voice low. He looked at at his fellow workers and none of them were looking at them. “I’m sorry that she did any of that.”
“If you want to get your lawyer here, I can give you the name of the two officers she had sex with. I recognize their scent from working here. I can give a full deposition before we leave.”
“Actually, Strauss wants the team to give a lecture in Seattle at the field office there. So we have two days off before we have to head there. JJ and Prentiss were thinking a little Vegas vacation would be nice. Will, Henry, and Jack are on a plane heading this way right now. I thought that some days off with Jack and Henry would make you happy.”
Aaron stepped into the smaller living room that was closer to the back of the house. It had probably been closer to a den when the house was built, but the furniture inside and no doors had it feeling like a living room. Will and the kids had arrived with little fanfare and had set up in a room to themselves. The bumpers on the bed would keep Henry from rolling off and it was better that they sleep in the same bed. They had all learned that the hard way.
Setting down the second cup of coffee on a table, Aaron watched as Spencer’s spirit animal manifested. The fox jumped around for a few before moving in to rub all along Spencer’s back. It moved to Jack next and circled him several times. Spencer had better control of his spirit animal than a lot of older Sentinel and Guides who had been online for years. He wondered if it was part of him not having training. Spencer had refused training for Jack saying that Aaron could teach him better and JJ wanted Spencer to teach Henry.
The fox pranced around Henry, diving in to nose at his belly before jumping back when the boy tried to grab him. Jack was laughing and Henry was just giggling.
“You know that others are waiting to see you two crash and burn,” Dave’s voice was low so that the kids didn’t hear but he wasn’t trying to not have Spencer hear.
“Because he’s untrained and is seen to many as weak. And you have too tight a lid on yourself much less him, and you act more like a Sentinel than he normally does. It’s all prejudice and fear. If he’s a Sentinel, what others like him are out there?”
“And it scares them.”
“Strauss is fighting off the non-FBI Sentinels and Guides about pulling him in and making him train.”
“That would ground me. And I’d never let another Guide train him.”
“Do you know what she does?”
“She tells them about him coming out of his feral drive the moment that he was alone. And then she shows them the footage from the Sentinel room. The one where he can hear us and near gets you to let him out by his will alone. And how he dented the door. She tells them that she can’t spare him and that she won’t let him go without a fight.”
“That’s because even without a Guide until I came online, we had the highest solve rate of every team. She expects us to go up. Even with the B team having a bonded pair, we do better. She isn’t going to let us go without a fight.”
“What about the rumblings I hear about the State Department?”
“I have more clout now to stop that. Strauss didn’t understand, but she does now.” Aaron pointed at Spencer. “He won’t let it happen.”
“Are you telling me that a pride is forming around him?” Dave sounded shocked.
“Yes. I told Strauss it was the BAU pride. SWAT has one and Spencer will only answer to the Director in matters of Sentinel and Guide issues. If it’s straight FBI, he’ll follow the chain of command.”
“You are more than willing to hide behind him aren’t you?”
“If it keeps this family together, yes. I don’t think they have seen him pissed off yet.”
A yip from Spencer’s fox had Aaron shutting up and looking. Henry had a hold of it’s tail and Jack was trying to stop him. The fox yipped in seeming laughter and licked Henry’s face. Spencer crossed his legs and the fox pranced away from Henry and Jack. Starting to run around the room.
“How visible is that fox?” Dave asked.
“I don’t know. He scared a neighborhood kid with him a few weeks back.”
“I’m shocked he hasn’t named the fox yet.”
“He’s waiting to figure out a name. He says that the fox will tell him when he knows.” Aaron laughed as from the other doorway, Morgan and Prentiss stepped inside. Spencer ignored them. Aaron felt someone slip in beside him and raised his arm to let JJ tuck in at his side. He laid his arm around her shoulder. The feel of Will stopped just behind him and he looked to see him standing behind Dave. The kids were oblivious to what was happening around them as they listened to Spencer talking about his spirit animal.
Jack had his back to them so hearing what sounded like a kitten crying out shocked Aaron. The room went silent and then a little white ball of fluff tumbled out of Jack’s lap, it stood on shaky feet. It meowed again at Jack and then stumbled towards Spencer. Spencer reached out and touched him. The little kitten arched up into his hand and moved towards Henry but as he got close, Jack leaned over and grabbed him. The boy pulled him into his lap. Henry went from being on his knees to sitting on his butt. He started to cry. JJ tried to move, but Aaron kept a hold of her. Spencer shook his head as Aaron tightened his hold even more. Spencer reached out and grabbed Henry settling him in his lap. Henry didn’t stop crying. Jack tried to move closer but Spencer held him back.
“What’s he doing?” Prentis demanded and she acted like she was going to step closer, but Morgan stopped her. Jack let go of the kitten and it started to wander around again.
“Trust him, Prentiss.”
Seconds later, a tiny red panda appeared and stumbled around with the kitten. The panda bumped into the kitten and then tackle him. Spencer laughed as Henry started to giggle and then laugh. Jack was just staring at the two animals as they play fought in the middle of the room.
Aaron set down his coffee beside the one he had brought in for Spencer and moved towards his son. He picked up Jack and sat down with him in his lap. Aaron tugged on the little tether that was buried deep inside himself and with a low growl Shadow appeared in the middle of the room. He looked at the two little spirit animals and moved closer, nosing at the kitten until it fell over. The panda rolled onto it’s back and started to kick at Shadow’s head. Henry was laughing and Aaron felt the serenity over his bond with his spirit animal. Shadow nosed down into the panda’s belly before licking up his stomach to his chin. The panda kicked harder and the kitten ran over and jumped on Shadow’s head.
“Are you going to let him have all the fun Aminta?” Spencer asked. The fox yipped and dove in, bumping into Shadow and dislodging his head from the panda. Aminta picked up the panda by the scruff of his neck and carried him over to Henry, dropping the panda in his lap before laying down at Spencer’s feet. Shadow picked up the kitten and did the same. A new meow sounded and in between Aaron and Spencer a Serengeti cat ran. The cat flopped on the floor and stared at Aaron.
“Your cat is making himself at home Rossi,” Spencer said as he tipped his head back to look at Dave.
“Mommy, kitty!” Henry said as he held up his spirit animal.
“Panda, Henry. He’s a Red Panda. Jack’s is a Maine Coon Cat.” Spencer reached out and petted the Panda.
“The house is great Spencer,” Will said as he and JJ sat on Spencer’s other side. The others filed in and sat down.
“Thanks. The location isn’t the best as far as seeing the school, but I had a few friends who lived in the area, so not all memories were bad, and I didn’t like the other houses on the market that were close to Bennington that had Sentinel ready rooms. I am going to be making enough new happy memories here to make up for all the bad ones.”
“Pretty Boy…” Morgan started.
“I heard you and Markus. I am not upset that you were going to tell. I should have told everyone the moment we got here, but I wasn’t expecting the UnSub to tie anyone up that way. But what Morgan didn’t say is that mom was in the middle of an episode, she didn’t realize I was getting home late and I just…I never told her. It wasn’t something that would have helped her when she was lucid. Before I told Morgan during the Owen Savage case, I’d never told anyone.” Spencer laid his head down on top of Henry’s pulling the toddler in close. Aaron scooted over closer to him and wrapped an arm around him. “So I’m thinkin a cookout for dinner. We can go to the store and pick up anything and everything we want to eat and just have fun outside.”
“Who is cooking on the grill?” Morgan asked.
“Not me,” Spencer answered with a smile. He looked around at the others and no one offered. “So it looks like it’s going to be you Morgan.”
“That’s fine with me.”
“Can I help?” Jack asked.
Morgan looked up at Aaron. He smiled and nodded.
“Help?” Henry asked.
“Of course Henry. You and I can be Uncle Derek and Jack’s sous chefs,” Will said with a laugh in his voice. Henry crawled out of Spencer’s lap and moved to his father. So far the little boy had no issues with spikes in his senses. There was no documentation of someone coming online that young ever. He only lost control of his senses when he was very upset, and so every effort was made to not make him that upset. There were a lot of sleepovers between the two houses and Spencer had told them it would probably be that way all through their childhood and teenaged years. But they would not be alone. The bond between the two boys was full of friendly love at the moment with few hiccups like Jack keeping his Spirit Animal from Henry, but slowly that would change. When those two got old enough, they would be a force to be reckoned with. The ability to have a perfect bond. The knowledge that they knew each other perfectly.
“So burgers and brats?” Dave asked.
“Chicken too,” Spencer piped up as he leaned more into Aaron. Aminta started to fade from where she was. As if she was keeping the others there, they started to fade as well.
“Bye kitty, bye panda!” Henry called out as the two youngest spirit animals faded.
“They shouldn’t be able to do that should they?” Aaron asked, tucking his head in at Spencer’s ear.
“According to the papers put out by the Sentinel and Guide Association? No. Henry should be a mess and Jack as well. They circle around us, but I don’t let them get close. The Director has been very helpful in keeping them away given that they came online while being kidnapped. The bureau psychologists are keeping them away with statements about taking them away from their families would be worse than what was done to turn them on. We’ll know if they make another move anytime soon.”
“Good. How do you feel about a nap? I know you didn’t sleep well. Hell none of us did.” Aaron let his arm slip down, teasing Spencer’s stomach through his shirt. Jack wiggled and moved over to where Henry and his father were playing, he joined in with a giggle and squeal when he was tickled from behind by JJ. “Jack’s properly entertained.”
“You know the only way I am taking a nap is if we…” Spencer trailed off with a smirk.
“Oh, I know, but the room is sound proof and the team will take care of Jack. Let me help chase the last few bitter memories from your mind.”
“Go have fun,” Dave called out as Aaron stood up and pulled Spencer with him. Aaron laughed and Spencer blushed. When it came to sex, he still blushed a lot when it was brought up in front of the team. Aaron wouldn’t have him any other way.