- Discussion-Child Abuse
- Discussion-Domestic Abuse
- Discussion-Sexual Abuse
- Explicit Sex
- Hate Crimes
- Crime Drama
- Established Relationship
- Urban Fantasy
Aaron was kind of used to the sounds of Vegas. The race of police cars and rescue vehicles to wrecks, so he pushed those away from him each time. He and Dave were headed back from picking up dinner for the team to eat in their hotel rooms and talk without any ears listening in. Aaron wanted to have a frank discussion on something that was bothering him about the case in general.
“Aaron,” Dave said as he saw two squad cars peel out of the station as they got near it.
Aaron’s phone rang before he could say anything.
“Hotchner,” Aaron said as he felt his blood start to run cold.
“Hotch, where are you?” JJ asked just as Aaron clicked the phone over to speaker.
“Just getting to the station. Why?”
“Emergency responders just responded to a civilian calling in a kidnapping. A man and a woman were crashed into by two trucks and then taken from the SUV they were in. As soon as first responders got there, they noticed that the people had been stripped of anything that identified them and it was left behind, including guns and credentials.”
“Prentiss and Reid,” Aaron said as he looked at Dave.
Aaron didn’t know what to do and that scared him. If it was the UnSubs they were after, it wasn’t good, but there was also the chance that it didn’t have anything to do with the case and was Shea trying to kill Spencer. Aaron looked at Dave again.
“Dave, you have the lead on this. I can’t…I can’t be objective.”
There was a round of mad honking and Aaron saw that it was Clemmons and he was waving at them. He saw JJ in the front seat and nodded. He waved at them to go.
Aaron couldn’t remember the drive to the point where he saw the smashed up car. Morgan was already there. Morgan must have sent Clemmons to watch JJ when Prentiss had teamed up with Spencer to go and interview the family on the O’Halloran land. Aaron looked around at those who were closest to the crime scene, both those who were allowed where they were and those who were not. He saw O’Halloran himself with a woman beside him that looked pissed. He wasn’t sure that he ever wanted to cross that woman. Given the hand on her shoulder, she had to be Sally O’Halloran.
“Let’s go and find them,” Dave said as he opened his door to get out.
Aaron got out, but he didn’t go to the rammed SUV. He went right for O’Halloran. He smelled five Shifters that were not anyone on the police unit that was there and not O’Halloran. He assumed that they were the ones who had taken Spencer and Prentiss. The scents were all close, like siblings or even cousins. It was hard to tell with the smells of the city around, but he figured that it was a family, which fit for the profile of the small pack they were hunting. It could also be a good countermeasure.
“One of my pack saw it,” O’Halloran whispered as soon as Aaron got close. Aaron looked around to see that there was a lot of people around.
“Let me get your statement somewhere a little less crowded,” Aaron said, and he held out his hand for Sally as he held up the police caution tape. He looked around as Sally and then O’Halloran crossed under. There were a lot of eyes on them. Aaron wondered how many were from the Shea pack and how many were just the standard people who were too curious for their own good.
Aaron opened the door and let Sally and then O’Halloran slide into the middle seat before he got into the passenger side front seat. “So what’s going on?”
“I have sent my pack member that saw it all back to the station. They are settled in with the Captain right now telling this and showing the video that they got of the vehicles leaving. His phone was off when he realized he needed to record, so he had to turn it on. He didn’t get faces, but he’s pretty sure he can pick them out of a lineup. To start at the beginning. He saw a truck barreling through an area that we have set at fifteen miles per hour. He followed them to where he watched as they rammed the back end of the SUV. HE thought it was a drunk driver under he saw the second one. He was still too far to see the minute stuff, so he got as close as possible, which was when they had pulled Agents Reid and Prentiss from the SUV and were removing their phones and such. That is when he started his phone.”
“So they were lying in wait for Spencer and Prentiss to leave your lands to take them. They didn’t want to start a pack war on that. Federal agents taken on pack land would not have looked good for you. You would have declared them rogue and then gone after them. They are smart. Just as smart as this small pack we have been chasing across the city.”
“He got scents on at least two, near matching meaning family.”
“I smell the same, and there are five scents that I smelled. You did well on getting him out of here and to somewhere that he was safe. I’ll make sure that he’s not fined or charged for fleeing the scene of a crime.”
“The Captain already assured me of that when I called to let him know who exactly was coming. Thankfully, he has a good cover already. He runs a charity and made it seem like he was hitting the Captain up for money for it. The Captain does regularly give as the charity covers a lot of displaced people of all walks of life after a tragedy. We have a family of four we were doing a drive for as they lost their home to a fire started by a pair of teenage kids who were playing with fire. No one should bat an eye at him going in there, but he’s not going to leave until the Captain has an escort for him to go home.”
“That’s good. I don’t want to see him hurt. Pull your pack in, O’Halloran. Tell Lighthouse the same.”
“I know that you guys are close but…how are you going to hunt for him. That would take someone who was saturated in his scent.”
Aaron looked at O’Halloran and then at Sally. He wanted to trust them. He wanted to believe that they felt bad for what they did. He wanted to believe that they were good people who had mad a bad decision. He really hoped that he didn’t make a huge mistake with this.
“I’d be able to find him in the middle of a wind storm on a rainy day.”
“He talked about a partner but…You’ve helped him accept what he is — someone he trusts more than anyone else in the world. I’ll pull my pack back so that the scents are muddied. I’m sure that Lighthouse will do the same. It will still be hard to actually track him with the vehicle exhaust.”
“I know.” Aaron pulled out his phone and texted Garcia to get all the footage that she could. Aaron didn’t know what to feel when she texted back that she had already tried, but the cameras in the area, all of them, from police and state to small business were all messed up. That spoke to a lot of intelligence to mess them all up and not mess up other electronics. Aaron forwarded that to the rest of the team.
“The impact knocked them both out which is no small feat. So we can’t rely on them leaving us a trail. If they are in a car, it would be hard for me to track, but I might be able to. What vehicle did the pack load them into?”
“The trucks used to ram them.”
“So, modified trucks that could take out our SUV but still be able to run.”
“I have a young man I took into the pack a few years ago. He was running with hoodlums after he was kicked out of the Shea pack. Running with a crowd that boosted car to take to chop shops. I’ll talk to him to see if he knows who in the city can do that kind of work and quickly.”
“I agree that this whole case wasn’t set up to bring Reid here. Shea was shocked as hell that he was here. So it was a happy accident.”
“You think that Shea is behind this but what about those in his pack? Why would he kill them?”
“His pack is in shambles. He’s killed or threatened a lot of those that have left. He probably killed those in his pack who were going to leave. Vicky Slater was going to leave as soon as Janine’s family was safe. We are digging deeper and deeper into it all and finding that everything in some way shape or form goes back to Shea. That’s the other reason I would like your two packs to be on lockdown. If the business can’t be closed or they can’t leave their shift, make sure they are not alone.”
“We will. I’ve made sure that Cherish isn’t alone and that she doesn’t know about Doctor Reid,” Sally said.
“That’s the Valdez girl? Who bonded with Reid?” Aaron asked. He knew that Spencer would be upset if she were upset about him.
“Good. Please do keep her contained on that. Spencer would be upset if she were worried about him.”
“I’ll keep you informed. I have your cell phone number given to me by the Captain. I have Lighthouse’s as well, but I didn’t think a lockdown order would come from me very well given everything that is going on.” Aaron opened up his door and got out, running around to open up Sally’s door. She gave him a smile as she exited the SUV. Aaron waited for the both of them to get beyond the tape before he turned to the SUV. He planned on seeing and smelling what he could before he started to track Spencer through the city.
The smell of blood was the first thing that he smelled as he got close. There was blood on the driver’s side door. Aaron knew it was Spencer’s before he even got a good smell of it. Spencer almost always drove when it was him and anyone but Aaron driving in Vegas. Spencer knew the streets; he knew the traffic. Aaron saw where Spencer’s head had hit the side of the door; it was probably what knocked him out. What O’Halloran said was that Spencer and Prentiss had been pulled out of the SUV, meaning they had both been out. Aaron couldn’t see either of them giving up and being allowed to be taken without. The smell of Spencer when he was scared wasn’t in the SUV.
Aaron could see Spencer driving. He had been trained in combat driving though Morgan didn’t know that. Spencer had not wanted to learn from him. Spencer was still a little in awe after watching the SWAT teams practice one day at Quantico. Spencer had come back into Aaron’s office an stared at him for ten minutes before Aaron had finally decided that he couldn’t wait for Spencer to speak up. Aaron had been more than amused that night recounting some stories for Spencer.
“This was a planned extraction,” Morgan said.
“I agree. It was detailed out to where exactly to do it as well. There was light traffic according to Garcia in the moments that led up to it. It was a coordinated effort, and that is going to bite them in the ass. O’Halloran is checking into someone who could have modded the trucks to make them not break down after the ramming the SUV. It’s going to be easy to track a five-person pack that has trucks like that.”
“Five?” Morgan asked.
“Eye witness is back at the station with the Captain giving a statement, for safety.”
“Fuck. This is going to become a political mess.”
“Nope, it’s going to be a slaughter. They took my mate, Morgan and I will kill this fucking city to get him back.”
Morgan just looked at Aaron with shock on his face. Aaron knew that he had revealed more than he should have without asking Spencer how deep he wanted the team into their relationship, but he was hanging on by a thread. As soon as he had what he needed, he was going to go on a hunt, and he was going to demand that Morgan do it with him. He didn’t want to be alone, and he didn’t trust anyone else in the city to hold is back. There was also the fact that it wasn’t like any of the city slickers would know what the fuck to do with a massive Grizzly Bear.
The scent of Clemmons was close, and Aaron turned to see that Dave and JJ were with him. Someone would need to stay with them in human form to relay where they were going. Aaron wanted JJ and Dave back at the station to make sure that things were going smooth with everything else.
“Clemmons, you ever been used to track a Shifter through a city while on a hunt?”
“Yes, we have an officer that changes into a Siberian Husky that we use for tracking. She makes man hunts fun.”
“Good. I’m going to call your Captain and then I will be hunting Spencer with Morgan’s help.”
“A wolf and a bear? Shit.” Clemmons looked a little too excited for that, but Aaron understood that he was still so enamored with Shifters, even if he wasn’t one.
It was an hour before the cops could get out in force to make sure that the path that Aaron and Morgan were taking wouldn’t have civilians on it. The burning rubber from the tracks left by the trucks as they fled the area was a good starting point. From there it was just going to be tracking the scent of the trucks. One of which was leaking a strange mix of gasoline, oil, and transmission fluid. It was going to be easy to track as long as they didn’t double back on themselves that much.
Morgan was the first to shift. Aaron followed seconds later. Morgan would slow Aaron down, but he would rather have that than to be alone when he confronted the people who took Spencer. Aaron trotted over to where the mixture was the strongest, it made him want to turn his nose away, but he needed to keep that smell in his nose to be able to track it. He watched as Clemmons grabbed a rag and wiped up the mess some and sealed it into a bag. It would be good to refresh his nose without coming back to this spot.
Aaron settled himself down into the baser part of his mind. The wolf that liked to get out and run and was confined most of the time. He sniffed the scent he needed again and the trace of it on the air was directly in the path that he knew he needed to go. Aaron kept his pace slow enough to where Morgan wasn’t going to wear himself out but fast enough that he didn’t feel like he was too slow to find Spencer.
While Spencer was not awake, he was vulnerable. There was no telling what could have been done to him as soon as they got him where they were taking him. That they had not killed him and Prentiss right where they were meant that they wanted at least Spencer alive and Prentiss was a good method of them getting him to do what they wanted him to do. It was going to backfire, and Aaron knew it. Prentiss wouldn’t allow it, and Spencer wouldn’t fall for it. There was no way they were ever going to make either of them think that they were going to get out of there alive. It had taken Spencer a little bit to get over the whole thing with the compound from years before where Prentiss had been beaten because of them getting caught and Prentiss protecting him. Intellectually, Spencer knew that someone had to fess up so the other could easily do what Spencer did and they had both done their parts. Spencer was not and would never be the typical FBI agent. It would have been harder to sell him as the agent and Prentiss didn’t have the skills needed to get in as deep as Spencer had got before the end.
Aaron didn’t want Spencer to be where he was but he was with Prentiss, and those two understood each other well. The only thing that Aaron worried about was that after everything that had gone on and how much Prentiss knew Aaron loved Spencer and Spencer loved Aaron, she might give up her life to protect him. Aaron wasn’t sure what Spencer would do in that case. It could very well break him after everything else never had.
“Hotch?” Clemmons called out as Aaron stopped at a corner that he had passed two times already. The second time he thought he had followed a weak trail, but this time he knew he had not. They were doubling back and trying to throw them off. They knew the truck was leaking, but only one of them.
Aaron growled and let his tail whip back and forth in his anger. Aaron shifted back easily and looked at Clemmons. Morgan was just seconds behind him.
“They are laying false trails. The trucks had to have split up, and the one that has the leaks is not where we are going to find my missing team members. We need to regroup and think.”
“I have a report of a wolf howling,” a voice said from behind. Aaron turned around to look at the man who was saying it. He looked very unsure of himself as he said it.
“And?” Aaron asked.
“It’s thirty-two blocks over to the west. It was reported by a human who thinks that someone has a wolf pinned in an abandoned warehouse.”
Aaron shifted and took off that way. He knew he would be able to hear Spencer, if it was him, when he got closer. He heard Morgan’s lumbering run behind, the thud of his weight. He slowed down when he could so that he could catch up and stay with him. Morgan wasn’t made for running like Aaron was, but he was good at keeping up when he had to. Aaron counted the blocks in his head as he hit intersections. He heard the police cars that were making sure no civilians were in the way. He also knew one other thing; this warehouse was on the edge of Shea pack lands. Too close to Shea’s control for him not to have it there.
At two blocks, Aaron smelled it, old as hell blood. He put on a burst of speed, not caring about Morgan anymore. At one block he smelled new blood. At the edge of the fence, he smelled even newer things, like the smell of freshly ripped up bodies. There was no wolf howl anymore though.