- Discussion-Child Abuse
- Discussion-Domestic Abuse
- Discussion-Sexual Abuse
- Explicit Sex
- Hate Crimes
- Crime Drama
- Established Relationship
- Urban Fantasy
Aaron wasn’t shocked when Spencer was the first on the jet. The team had ridden in two SUVs to the landing strip, so JJ and Dave were treated to the sight of Spencer’s leg bouncing up and down near constant from the second he got into the SUV to the moment he exited it. He near sprinted for the jet, and the rest of the team just hung back. Aaron grabbed their bags, it was a small fight that they had got into when finally settled into a relationship, but Aaron had been the one to come out on top. He liked doing little things. He knew that Spencer could do it himself. He knew that Spencer was more than capable but Aaron wanted to do it and Spencer indulged him. Though that also could have been the orgasm that Spencer was coming down from when he agreed. Aaron had no issue using his wiles, as Spencer called him, to get Spencer to agree to small and stupid shit.
Spencer let Aaron make his coffee most mornings as well, just like Spencer more often than not was the one to cook breakfast. It was small things that they liked to do for each other, things they had settled into that were nice that showed each other they cared. It showed the love they had for each other in small ways that they both liked.
“So I don’t remember the kid being like this last case we had in Vegas,” Dave said as he fell into step beside Aaron as Aaron made his way to the jet.
“That’s because he wasn’t anywhere near this at all. He smelled human, a little like he binge drank coffee but still human. Now he doesn’t, and he’ll explain that more once we are on the jet. His experiences with the three packs will help us all get the lay of the land. None of those packs have reached out to him over the years, so they had ignored an issue that they caused.”
“Why is it so bad that he was shunned?” JJ asked.
Aaron stopped on the base of the stairs up into the jet and looked at the two humans. “Because pack is family and when there are issues, packs bands together to take care of the weak and the young. Spencer was ten when his father left. He had a paranoid schizophrenic for a mother. There should have been a pack stepping in. The Reid’s were not pushed from the Shea pack when the uncle died, that came after, and for all intents and purposes, William Reid is still in that pack. That means the other packs washed their hands of a Shifter child with a possible violent parent. Do you know that Reid could have started to shift as early as six? Think about that with a violent parent and a wolf cub in the same house. There are reasons that packs take children in with no issue as long as that child has no claim from another pack.”
“Shit,” Dave said, and his eyes showed that he got it. “It was like leaving a loaded gun in the hand of a schizophrenic.”
“Yes.” Aaron waved the team up, and then he got on the jet. Spencer was on the couch which was an odd place for him, but when any one of the team got close to him, he glared. Aaron stowed their things and then dropped down onto the seat next to Spencer. The other four settled in at the table across from them.
Takeoff was quick and smooth.
“I should tell you guys part of my story,” Spencer said as he leaned forward.
“You don’t have to,” JJ said.
“It plays into pack dynamics, and while Reid hasn’t been in the pack for a very long time, it’s telling of what happened before and what could be happening now. Packs don’t just suddenly shift, they had issues that cause that shift. There could be a lot of resentment on the part of someone who used to be in the pack and isn’t anymore.” Prentiss patted JJ on the shoulder when it seemed like she was about to say something else.
Aaron took in the formation that the team had taken. Morgan and Prentiss were window side of the jet while JJ and Dave were in the aisle seats. Between the Shifters. It wasn’t that shocking to Aaron. Hell, he had seen the three of them do it before they knew about Spencer, usually each of them taking a human as it were and protecting them. Aaron had almost always taken Spencer which Morgan and Prentiss never questioned.
“My uncle was the pack leader. I remember him, a little bit. My memories are vague before two and little more concrete after I turned two. For me, as a child, the pack dynamic didn’t change at all. I still went on the runs with adults and other kids, some who shifted early and others who were still mostly human. I played with friends, and I learned to watch. I think it was what freaked out some of the parents. I didn’t act like a normal Shifter kid. I would rather read. Then mom started to have issues. Things became strained and because father didn’t want to take mom out and so I started to be isolated from the pack at age seven. I missed a lot of them, but things were okay. Then father left, and I tried to go to one of the runs. One of the other older kids shoved me and kicked me to get me to run away. I didn’t understand at first. Then the formal announcement came, and Jake Shea came to the house to tell mom and me that we were no longer allowed to have anything to do with the pack. A few pack members disregarded that and tried to help us; they were cast out as well. After that no one else came to help except for those that had already done so. I tried to seek shelter for us in the other two packs but was rebuffed.”
Aaron felt Spencer’s walls going up and he wasn’t going to push to have Spencer keep them down. This was even more than Aaron had ever got from him.
“We are taught from when we can first understand words that pack is family,” Morgan said. He sighed and looked at Prentiss before looking at Dave and JJ for a few seconds each. “Pack is the family that will outlast your immediate family. The pack is forever. So to shun a child, no matter the parent is sacrilege. To leave a child like that is horrific. He should have been taken from his mother and raised with another family while she was getting the help she needed and then when she was settled and herself, Reid could have been given back. The pack is a family that has your back no matter what. My pack in Chicago was why a man who had been molesting boys had been caught after the second. While I love my pack back home, I joined the BAU to help educate law enforcement on the patterns and behaviors of serial offenders and helping them stop it before it hurts too many. That mean BAU and that meant here. I still go on runs with them when I go home. They don’t hate me for leaving, and many are just happy that I’m trying to help everyone that I can.”
“I never had a pack to settle in with Mom’s job and running around the world. We had the staff that traveled with us, and it was as close to pack as I had. This is the first pack that I have had that I have stuck with for a long time,” Prentiss said.
“I went to Caltech, and I stayed away from the packs that had sort of formed up there. Most colleges have pack leaders that help control the wild, hormonal teenagers. I was tried to be forced to join up with them, but I kept pushing away. I acted out some until I was left alone. That was the only thing that got through them. So I was left alone to drink so much caffeine that while my body adjusted, I was wired for days sometimes. Then the final shift happened. Kids who don’t Shift early shift at the end of puberty, or thereabouts for them. After that final, forced shift for me, I never did again. Between that and the coffee I was drinking by the time that I turned eighteen, I was fully human smelling. I was kind of forgotten about, and no one cared when I went home for visits with mom. As long as I didn’t go to the areas that were claimed by the Shea pack, everything was fine. There are areas of Vegas that no pack claims as their own, I did everything that I could there and only ventured into other packs lands if there was no other way to get what I needed.”
“That sounds like a shitty time,” Dave said. He looked at Spencer though with a lot of pride.
Aaron knew where he was coming from. The team knew enough of his life beforehand to know that he had a rough time of it. Aaron could also see the look on his face that said that they were lucky that Spencer had never turned into one of the UnSubs that the BAU chased.
“It was, but then I went to the FBI Academy, and I did just enough to eke by on the evaluation when it came to the physical stuff. Even though I hadn’t Shifted, my body still was a lot stronger and faster than normal humans. I did not want to tip off anyone as to what I was. HR helped and understood and so no one knew what I was until Canada. Aaron got his arm stuck in a trap, and I was with Morgan and Prentiss as they found him. As much as coffee hides what I am, it blocks smell as well. I didn’t know that Morgan, Prentiss, and Aaron were shifters. I fled in fear because I had started to fear Shifters from the moment that I had been shunned by my back. From the moment that I had been attacked by someone, I called my best friend when I had been trying to reconnect with them. They were enemies, and now I had three of them on the team with me.”
“What happened to change that?” JJ asked.
“I had always felt safe around Aaron. Always. TO the point where I was going to end up doing something stupid and blurt out that I loved him. He showed up at my place after Canada, and he confronted me. He went about it the wrong way. Anger, strong emotions are usually what make a Shifter lose control and shift, but the things are that I had been feeling scared for so long that it didn’t do anything except really piss me off. There was a part of me that liked it though, like the attention, liked that he cared enough to try and fix me. Other things happened, and then in the middle of the night, I shifted. He woke up to a wolf in his bed.”
“Feeling safe, loved, cared for, that’s what made you lose control of yourself,” Prentiss said.
“Yes,” Spencer said with hesitation. “I had always felt safe around him. He made me want to be a Shifter again before I knew what he was. Aaron’s reservations were not starting a relationship with a normal human. Most of them don’t do well in this world, but you two had skirted it enough that Aaron doesn’t think you’ll freak out.”
“How did you figure out what he was?” JJ asked, looking at Aaron.
“I was hunting for Lucas Turner as a wolf when I got caught in the trap, but I needed something with his scent. Spencer was still in the barn when I went to get his scent. He tossed me down something that had his smell on it. He knew what I was on sight. That meant he knew about the world. It wasn’t until he ran when he saw me turn from wolf to Human that we figured out that he was one of us.” Aaron laid a hand on Spencer’s thigh as he had started to bounce his leg up and down again. Spencer stilled the leg, but Aaron could still feel how wound up he was. He wasn’t going to be able to settle until Spencer saw the reaction that the packs were going to have to him. Aaron would rather pull the team as a whole than to have Spencer sidelined at all. He refused to have Spencer feel like shit because a pack was upset that he was on the team. He would make sure that Strauss backed him as well.
“So how are we going to go about this case?”
“Reid is going to be with a Shifter at all times. On any other case, I would trust you two with his life, but pack dynamics are going to be very frayed here given what is going on. The Shea pack was the first to be hit. The pack leader blamed the other two until each of them had a body show up as well. Now the focus is a small or medium pack. According to the packet sent to us by LVPD, there are five medium packs that skirt the areas by the three big packs and uncounted smaller packs. A lot of packs like that are transient based on various things. The desert also draws in a lot of small packs, places to hide and be themselves. Most larger packs keep an eye on the packs that are there to make a fuss. We have had a few cases of packs that tried to kill humans to make us the dominant species on Earth. That obviously did not go well at all.”
“These packs are going to have a lot of tension,” Morgan said. He leaned forward, his eyes on JJ. “They are going to assume you are the weakest point in our team, outside of the Shea pack and thinking that it’s going to be Reid. You can’t let them push you around.”
“Okay, let’s go over what we know and what we need to know.”
The rest of the flight was spent trying to give Dave and JJ the knowledge needed, so they didn’t upset a pack as well as make sure that they had what they needed to not piss off the packs more. Spencer’s knowledge was outdated but a good foundation to build on using their own profiling skills.
Aaron was the first in the doors at the station house that was being used as the base for the case. It was in the middle of a free area where no pack at all ruled. The smell of a lot of Shifters filled Aaron’s nose as he had gotten out of the SUV and when he entered the main area after behind directed back to the bullpen, Aaron knew why.
“Look, the FBI is sending a team. They have four Shifters on it. They will help,” a man was saying. He was dressed in a suit, so Aaron assumed he was the Captain.
Morgan was beside Aaron while JJ and Dave were directly behind with Prentiss and Spencer bringing up the rear.
“Look, we know who is doing this!” another man yelled, and his hands nearly turned into claws. Aaron saw the fur start to peek out on the back of his hands. Aaron recognized the fur as fox fur which Aaron was pretty sure meant that this was someone from Shea clan. “Look for the runt that was cast out of the clan when he chose his mother over his clan.”
Aaron bristled at that because there were only a few reasons why a child would pick a parent over the pack and none of them were good. Usually, it meant that the parent was being abused in the pack. The fact that this guy called it a clan and not a pack was a little telling to Aaron. It was a new term that some packs used when their Shifters were not animals were typically pack. Mainly the ones that had more than one breed of Shifter. The Shea pack, even in accordance with the paperwork. That meant that Shea was trying to seem better than they were.
“Now according got the paperwork that you submitted about the past pack change, the old leader’s brother, the father of the kid you are talking about, stayed in the pack and divorced his wife and left a child with a violent, unstable mother.”
“He chose her. Austin Reid’s nephew chose his mother over the pack. I was there when it happened!”
Aaron knew then that he was looking at Jake Shea. The man was abhorrent, even by feel to Aaron.
“A child chose her? The pack didn’t force her to stay away and then attacked the kid? That’s what the report I have on it says.”
“It’s lying. Find Austin Reid’s runt nephew, and you’ll find he’s behind the killings.”
“Didn’t keep track of the little Reid did you?” Spencer asked as he pushed up to the front of the group. All of the Shifters in the room turned, angry that there were outsiders there. Two stepped up to flank Shea.
Aaron kept Morgan back to where Reid was slightly in front of them.
“Who the hell are you?”
“We are the BAU team that was sent here,” Aaron said as he flashed his credentials. “Answer the question, Mister Shea.”
“No, I didn’t need to keep track of him. Why would I?”
“Then you would have known that he went to college, got himself about seven degrees total, three of which are Ph.D.s, by the way,” Morgan said with a smirk on his face. “Then he went on to join the FBI and has been hunting serial killers for the last six years. And that he’s standing in front of you.”
Shea looked at Spencer, and the look of utter disgust on his face was appalling to Aaron.
“Then you can clear this up for me, Doctor Reid,” the captain said. He turned to his side and took a few steps away from Shea toward the agents. Aaron realized the slight that it was giving Shea and Aaron could tell by the look on the Captain’s face that he knew exactly what he was doing. “What happened?”
“My father kept my mom and me away from the pack after she started to get sicker. Then after he left, I tried to go back to the pack. I was shoved, kicked, and told that I would be killed if I tried to come back.”