Title: The Glass Gambit
Series: The Guardians
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Fandom(s): Criminal Minds, Destiny
Relationships: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid
Characters: Spencer Reid, Aaron Hotchner, Penelope Garcia, Jack Hotchner, Emily Prentiss, Petra Venj, Variks The Loyal
Tags: Science Fantasy, Crossover, Death, War, Genocide
Summary: The hunt is on! Skolas has invaded Venus, and Petra wants to know why.
Year: The Far Future
Spoilers: Destiny: Through D2: Forsaken, Criminal Minds: Up Through Season 14
Notes: Trying my hardest to make sure that it’ll make sense, with time, for people who don’t play Destiny but you can find more information at the Destiny Wikia. Some Dialogue is taken directly from the source material.
Gift For: rivermoon1970
Aaron watched as Spencer scanned the screen with his eyes to figure out the best place to land. His eyes were taking in details too fast for Aaron to even understand any of it. Aaron trusted Spencer, he trusted G.A.R.C.I.A. to make sure that they dropped in the right spot.
“Ishtar Cliffs is the best spot. I see where we need to go. Anywhere else and we have a fight to get where we need to go.” Spencer turned to look at him. They were both in their armor but did not have their helmets on yet.
“Sounds good. I’ll finish getting ready.” Aaron stood up from his seat and grabbed his helmet. He heard the typing of Spencer’s fingers over the keyboard to load up the coordinates. When Aaron was done donning his helmet, Spencer was getting his on as well. G.A.R.C.I.A. appeared and scanned each of the guns that Aaron picked up. Spencer had his swords on his back already. Those had been pissing off Fallen every single time that they realized what he had on him, but Aaron knew that Spencer didn’t care.
Aaron had yet to get Spencer into the Crucible, but he hoped that soon he would be. Spencer needed to learn a little more finesse in fighting brawling style with the swords and against a variety of enemies. Aaron was still holding most of the records for the Hunters in the Crucible and the best streak for skirmishes with no deaths. Lord Saladin was happy that Aaron was showing the newer Guardians just what it meant to be an Iron Lord. It showed the newer Guardians that just because the Iron Lords were older, it didn’t mean that there was nothing they could give.
“Ready?” Spencer asked as the ship settled into a holding pattern above the Ishtar Sink area they were in. None of the Fallen or Vex had noticed them yet.
“Ready.” Aaron waited for Spencer to transmat out first before he followed. G.A.R.C.I.A. appeared beside them when they were materialized, and the ship started to take off.
“The House of Wolves is on the march. They’re surrounding Vex strongholds across the Ishtar Sink…every soldier under his command is down there. Skolas has either gone completely insane, or he’s become a tactical genius. I love fieldwork, but the hunt must end–now.” Petra sounded tired, and Aaron could understand that. The Reef had not been at war for a while, and while she had been working, she had not been fighting or delving for information. This was the kind of battle that wore soldiers down. Aaron looked at Spencer as his eyes scanned the area. Aaron wondered which one of them was going to break first. Aaron could feel it. That just one more thing would send one of them into a spiral. This attack on Spencer’s home left him reeling, and it was only the fact that he could do something about it that was making him hold on. For Aaron, though it was just a little too much in to short of a time for him. Aaron was thankful to have Jack. He loved the boy, and he had loved him before finding out that he was his. Before finding out that it was a piece of his past that was left over from before he was a Guardian. A connection to Haley that he had thought he would never have.
Jack had found out that Aaron had named his Ghost Haley and so the little bits of shell that Aaron had been able to scavenge were now sitting on Jack’s nightstand. Aaron heard him talking to her on occasion, like a child on Earth of old use to do to the heavens or even the Traveler. Dave had brought the shell to Aaron after Jack has asked about it, on one of his visits to Prentiss. Aaron still found that strange. He couldn’t fault any of the team for the relationships built during the war. War made strange bedfellows, but Aaron just found it hard to understand the Exos and their relationships. Aaron was also pretty damned sure that the Vanguard was in some sort of threesome relationship. That Aaron had not brought up with Spencer. Aaron wasn’t sure if he wanted to know for sure if the three of them were.
Aaron started up the hill that was blocking them from the area they needed to be in and just as he was halfway up, their comms crackled with Fallen language.
“Skolas said, ‘I am Kell of Kells. All Houses shall burn. All will bow before the Wolf banner.’,” Variks said over the comms, translating before Aaron could ask him to.
Spencer took off at a rush toward where the Vex was ready for them. The machines might not have invaded where they had landed, but they showed that they had known they were there the whole time. Aaron heard Spencer summoning his Sparrow, so he did the same. The mental component to that connection to his Ghost never ceased to amaze him. They both shot off toward where they needed to go. The Waking Ruins, if Aaron was reading the map on his HUD right before he traded that for his radar.
Petra’s comm crackled to life. “I’m getting a Fallen comm channel interlaced with Vex coding. Whatever he’s doing, I’ve never seen anything like this before. He’s mad!”
“Oh no,” Spencer said, and he kicked his Sparrow into the faster gear. Aaron barely had time to shift over into high gear as well before he could no longer see Spencer. Aaron followed the tracker on his radar to find Spencer, and he saw what had Spencer worried.
“Shit,” Aaron said as he stopped right beside Spencer as they stared up at the high point in the Ruins.
“Okay, that’s not a good sign. The Wolves are assaulting the Vault of Glass. What is Skolas planning…” Petra made the sound of a shocked gasp. “They’ve cracked the seal on the Vault! Get in there, Guardian. We have to stop them!”
“Shit, shit, shit.” Spencer shot forward again, and Aaron just watched as he aimed for the lower area where the Ruins made the platforms up to the entrance to the Vault of Glass. Spencer let go of his Sparrow handles and jumped up into the air, blinking forward to appear between Fallen with his swords drawn.
“Stupid idiot spent too much time with Morgan,” Aaron groused as he short forward, slowing down his Sparrow before getting off of it. Aaron made sure G.A.R.C.I.A. recalled the Sparrows before he started up the Ruins and fought Fallen on the way.
The Praetorians that generally guarded the Vault were headless and trying to take out anything that they could in an almost mad frenzy. It was kind of spectacular for Aaron to watch, but he knew that they would have to be taken out for them to get inside of the Vault and it needed to happen as soon as possible. Aaron drew his Sniper Rifle and stayed down below. He worked on the Praetorian that was getting closest to Spencer while his lover worked on the Fallen that were blocking their way into the Vault. Aaron wasn’t sure that he wanted to go back into the Vault. He knew precisely what waited there and he didn’t like it. Aaron hoped that the force that Skolas had sent was being held up by not having been in there before and he and Spencer could stop them before they got too far.
It took entirely too long for Spencer and Aaron to work on getting the Fallen and Vex forces under control before they were running into the doors of the Vault. It looked like the Fallen had gone for brute force instead of finesse like the fireteam had when they had breached the Vault. The doorway lay in ruins. A Captain lay in wait at the bottom of the entryway, and before Aaron could even think about what he would do, Spencer was jumping on it, and his swords were going through its chest.
There had been a point when Aaron had thought Spencer soft. Not ready for war. Then Aaron had learned what Spencer hid behind the mask that he let everyone else see. Spencer might not have been the type of warrior that Aaron was used to with the Iron Lords and his own Iron Wolves, but he was strong, and he was willing to do whatever it took to save whoever needed saving. Sometimes at the too great of a risk of his own life. Aaron was just glad that G.A.R.C.I.A. usually stayed hidden when they were not in the Tower. Even in the Reef she stayed hidden most of the time.
Aaron kept his Hand Cannon at the ready while Spencer swapped from Swords to his Sidearm as they delved deeper into the Vault. At the Trial of Kabr, Aaron laid a hand on Spencer’s shoulder to slow him down as they moved through. Spencer stayed at the slow pace. It would not do good for an enemy to get the drop on them there. Slower and slower they moved as they found no bodies, no Fallen, no Vex. Aaron wondered if the Vex were leaving the removal of the Fallen to them and were just watching to make sure that they didn’t fail. If they did, only then would they step in. The number of enemies had been much higher on the first trip into the Vault.
“They made it all the way to the Templar’s Well,” Spencer said as they looked down at the area below. They were going to have to go through the jumping area that was more like a puzzle than anything else to get to where the Fallen had to be.
“Skolas’ going crazy is the good version here…I’ve seen reports from Prince Uldren’s Crows—reports about the technology of the Vault. Really, just…awful stuff.” Petra sounded horrified and that kind of shocked Aaron.
“We know. We were part of the team that came into the Vault the first time and got most of that information. I just wonder where I Fallen got a hold of it to even wonder at what they could find,” Aaron said as he followed Spencer down into the first jump. Aaron made sure that Spencer was secure on the next platform before he followed just like Spencer waited until Aaron was good before he jumped to the next.
There were Fallen all over the bottom of the Well. Aaron watched them patrolling around. They were protecting someone. None of them were looking up though. A not a single one of the damned creatures kept an eye on the only way in an out of the Well. That Aaron found stupid. Aaron waved for Spencer to go first. He could cover Spencer’s descent into the deeper part before he followed behind him. Aaron frowned as Spencer landed down below before the Fallen even realized that he was there. Aaron picked off the two Shanks who came running. Spencer had the rest in hand. Aaron jumped, waiting until he was nearly down before forcing the jump up using his Light. Aaron raised his Hand Cannon and blew the head off of the Dreg that had come running from the side with hit’s knife drawn to stab at him.
Servitors, Captain, and Stealth Vandals were on the both of them as soon as the Drags and Shanks were dead. They fought as hard as they could as they tried to make it to where there had to be someone trying to get deeper into the Vault. Aaron felt something, and then there was a chime that made Aaron’s blood run cold. He looked at Spencer, and they both took off in different directions looking for the Oracle that the chime heralded the arrival of.
“Bad, very bad! Wolves trying to tap Oracles. Big glowing squares. Guardian, destroy the Oracles. Destroy them fast.” Variks actually sounded very worried for them though that could just be worry about the Wolves getting their hands on the Oracles and deploying them outside of the Vault. It was hard to tell, but Aaron was going to go for the comfort that Variks was worried about them. Aaron looked around the whole area and didn’t see an Oracle. He turned to help Spencer but stopped because the distance was a factor. He heard the sound of the Oracle blowing up followed by another spawning. Aaron looked around and cursed that it was not on his side.
Aaron waited for that third chime and was rewarded with the Oracle appearing in the middle on the lower section. Aaron fired his Han Cannon into the center mass until it was gone. The fourth chime was behind Aaron, and he saw that it was on the upper level. He rushed to get to it, but Spencer beat him. Aaron knew where the last two spawn points were, so he made his way to a spot between the two. He took out the fifth and then the sixth in quick succession while Spencer watched his back as there were Dregs and Shanks flooding the area.
“Variks, good work. Guardian, even better! Clear out the rest of those Wolves, and we’ll talk.” Petra’s comm cut off, and Aaron looked around to see where Spencer ended up.
The sound of the Scorch Cannon going off had Aaron running to find Spencer. His lover was in the middle of a mass of Shanks, grabbing them and throwing them into the walls all around while a Scorch Captain tried to get to him. Aaron fought to him, killing everything that got in his way. Back to back, they fought, taking out Scorch Captain and Dreg alike. Aaron picked up the Scorch Cannon that was dropped and used the last ten shots on it to take out more and more Fallen, including the next Scorch Captain to show it’s ugly face.
There were four in total and when they were all bodies on the floor only then did the Fallen stop flooding the Vault. There was still the mop-up of everything, but that was easy with no large creatures with big cannons running around. Aaron looked at those who were running. Aaron wasn’t shocked that a few Dregs were deciding that a little more time alive was better than falling at their hands.
“So Skolas wanted to use the Oracles as taps into the Vex network. This isn’t just a hunt. A Fallen House with Vex technology is a threat to the whole system.”
“It really is a threat to everything that’s alive in the Universe,” Spencer countered to Petra’s words.
“Things simple now, yes? We find Skolas, we put an end to Kell of Kells. Or… Wolves put an end to us.”
“You say that like we haven’t been hunting him from the start,” Petra said. Her tone was slightly upset, and Aaron could understand that. Every eye was turned to finding that damned Fallen.
“Need to do better.”
Aaron watched as the icon for Variks disappeared from his HUD, and then Petra’s winked out as well. He looked at Spencer and then back up where they had to get back up.
“Tell me the Fallen set up a transport plate?” Spencer asked before Aaron could voice much the same words.
“Yes,” G.A.R.C.I.A. said. A beacon popped on Aaron’s screen. Spencer turned that direction first, and Aaron followed along behind him. There was enough room on the plate for both of them, so Aaron tucked his G.A.R.C.I.A. in close and pressed the button. They appeared on the far side of the Ruins with no Vex or Fallen around. There was just enough room for the Ceres Galliot to pick them up.
Aaron looked around the area to enjoy the kind of beauty that Venus had while he could. There were no enemies attacking them, and it was kind of nice.
“You woke up in a nightmare last night,” Spencer said as the Ceres got close to them. he was looking at Aaron, his helmet just kind of turned like he was looking at him out of the corner of his eye.
“It was nothing.”
“You were muttering, Aaron and it woke me up. You force me to talk about my memories.”
“It was just the events before I was put into stasis is all. The minutia of the day in my brain. It wasn’t anything big. I promise.”
“Who is Jolder?” Spencer asked.
“She was one of the Iron Lords. She’s dead.”
“Well, I figured that once you said she was an Iron Lord. Everyone but you and Saladin is dead.”
“No, there are whispers of Lady Efrideet being alive. Guardians who think they have spotted her out and about in the stars while fighting the fight right now. It’s probably a fool’s hope that she’s alive, but I’ll hold onto it until I hold her body in my arms.”
“I understand that totally,” Spencer said.
“I keep seeing something in my dreams that I don’t remember having happened to me, but it just keeps being there. Yet it also feels like a half-remembered dream.”
“What is it?”
“It was when I was fighting a bit of Siva that had escaped the quarantine that we had. Just before I was put into stasis by Rasputin. I can’t remember the words said by the thing that attacked me, but it spoke my language. I might have attacked it first, but I am not sure. I can’t remember it, but it feels real.”
“You’ve already said your memories of that time are jumbled. Time will tell you if you get them back or not.” Spencer disappeared in the beam of transmat and Aaron followed seconds after. Spencer was stripping down as Aaron entered the ship. Aaron laughed as Spencer just dropped the armor down in a pile. G.A.R.C.I.A. would take care of it. Aaron added his to the pile and found Spencer sitting on the bed taking off his boots. He looked up at Aaron.
“We are the different ones, we have our memories or most of them. Why are we different?”
“Who knows? You sound like you had your memories from the moment you woke up. You remembered Sean, you remember Haley. Zavala has made it so that Guardians are not supposed to go looking into who they are. We’ve never had that issue, but Zavala also doesn’t realize what we remember.” Spencer cocked his head to the side and looked at Aaron. “There are moments I look at you and think that if it had lost my memory if I had been like every other Guardian then I never would have done anything with you. I hate that I could have forgotten Mara or Uldren. Could have forgotten the time that we were alive together. The pain I could have caused them both if I had taken off my helmet in the Reef and not known them. The pain of them thinking I was coming back only to lose me anyway.”
“Though it’s been hard on you, putting Mara and Uldren into that slot that Moira and Uilliam used to be. The ways that they changed over the years you were not around. The pain of that could have been spared you.”
“One of us had to accept the agony. In some ways, I’ve always been the stronger. Mara is different in her own way and strong in her own way, but she seeks to get away from pain while I accept it.”
Aaron couldn’t say anything on that because Spencer had been the one to leave the Reef to search. He had been the one to try, and when he had woke up, he had not left to go differently to where he knew his people were. He had stayed and learned before finally leaving. Aaron knew that if the Guardians had proved to be a force that could harm the Reef, Spencer would have blown them to kingdom come and left the ashes to burn while he went home to ready them for a fight. He had stayed and made friends.
“How would you ever choose?” Aaron asked.
“What do you mean?” Spencer looked very questioning as Aaron looked at him.
“If you had to choose between the Reef and the Tower?”
“There are a lot of factors of what would shape my decision. What’s making me choose? Did Mara or Uldren attack Tower? Did the Tower attack them? I would side with the side that was not the attacker. What other reason would there be?”
“You wouldn’t pick my side?” Aaron asked.
“You say that like if Zavala attacked the Reef for some reason that wasn’t justified, you wouldn’t be there to pick up a Reef made weapon and shoot the shit out of Guardians who attacked.”
Aaron to agree that Spencer had a point. He would always choose the side that was on the side of the right.
“Ready to go back to the Reef?” G.A.R.C.I.A. asked.
“Yes. Let’s go home,” Aaron said. He liked the look of happiness on Spencer’s face calling the Reef home. It was nice, and it was becoming home. Aaron wondered if they would ever settle as Guardians who lived on the Reef. He could see Zavala wanting a section in the Reef if things stayed the way that they were. Setting up a stronghold there as emissaries as it were. Aaron would do it, offer himself and Spencer up. The rest of the Fireteam just might follow. Aaron felt that Prentiss would love to come home. Dave would follow her. JJ and Morgan would be the only holdouts, but G.A.R.C.I.A. would be the deciding factor on that. JJ’s family would have to come with her, but Aaron didn’t figure that it would be that big of a deal.
Spencer smiled, and that smile was all that Aaron needed.