Title: The Defiant Ones
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Artist: blythechild , the art above is an original work and is owned and copyrighted to blythechild. Do not download or share said work. For the rest of the art for this story please click on the name and it will re-direct you to the page. Thank you.
Characters: Aaron Hotchner, Spencer Reid, David Rossi, Jason Gideon, OMCs, OFCs, Sean Hotchner, Haley Hotchner (Brooks), Jessica Brooks
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid, David Rossi/Jason Gideon
Genre: Angst, Shapeshifters, emotional hurt/comfort, bonding, mild A/B/O dynamics
Beta: DarkJediQueen, KliqzAngel
Word Count: 25, 166
Tags: Shapeshifters, Canon Divergent – AU, Not Canon Compliant, Hotch and Spencer are teens, species racism, accidental bonding, canon-level violence
Warnings: Implied/Referenced child abuse, Implied/Referenced child rape/molestation
Aaron Hotchner’s life had already been one of pain, anger, and ridicule. Most of it coming from his own Father. His Father’s Pack was afraid of him to the point that Aaron had become isolated from the other children. He was looking out the library window and thinking that it was not his fault that he was different. A quirk of genetics, a recessive gene on his Mother’s side manifested in him and made him atypical from those in the Pack.
Aaron thought back to the day that he had proclaimed he was ready for his first change and how excited he was. Aaron laughed softly to himself, the hate and derision for his Father came through. He knew he had homework to finish, but his thoughts were troubled. He had an uneasy feeling his Father had something planned for him, he just didn’t know what it was.
Aaron’s mind turned once again to that day, the day his life had become even worse than it had already been. That day his Father had shown some interest in him for the first time in a long time. He was eight when he first felt the need come upon him, and his Father was impressed. Wolves didn’t often want to emerge till they were at least thirteen. That right there should have told all of them that Aaron was going to be different.
Going out to the Pack grounds had been a cause for celebration and excitement. Aaron had learned to keep his excitement inside him because he knew that nothing in his life was ever quite that simple. His Father’s cruelty was such that Aaron knew even this could be taken away from him if Malcolm knew just how excited Aaron was. After a rare, fun day of camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities, Aaron’s Father announced it was time for him to try his first shift.
Aaron remembered clearly that day eight years prior when he was still a wide-eyed boy, used to his Father’s harsh temper, but up till that day, it never went anywhere. While his Father had not exactly been the warmest parent, he had never physically hurt Aaron. The emotional and mental abuse was bad enough.
It was with no little amount of nervousness and excitement that Aaron stripped, crouched on all fours because his Father advised him that it was the easiest position for his first change, then Aaron was slowly guided through. At first, it hurt, a lot, and Aaron struggled to keep it slow and steady like his Father instructed him to do. Then, when he finally did change, the snarl and growl from his Father surprised him. He had looked up, not with Wolf’s eyes, but with Feline eyes, Aaron was well and truly scared.
He thought that his Father was going to snap his neck right then and there. He went on pure instinct and ran. He ran as fast as his new form could take him, searching for a place to hide. He knew his Father was bigger and quicker than he was, but Aaron was smarter and smaller. He had outmaneuvered his Father on pure instincts alone. When he felt himself tiring, he came upon a small cave that was just big enough for him to crawl into and hide.
Aaron remembered how long he had stayed in that small cave, praying in his head for the Wolf to leave him alone. He crawled as far back into the cave as he could, hiding, scared and so very alone. When he heard the Wolf finally leave, he timidly peeked outside of the cave and saw that his Father was gone. He was wary, afraid to leave the safety that small cave had provided him. He crawled back inside and curled up, hating his form. This was one more thing his Father was going to look down on him with, one more thing that Aaron would be different about. He looked down at huge paws, even for his small size, and felt the thick warm pelt over his body. He knew he was some kind of feline, he just didn’t know what it was yet.
After several hours, he knew he needed to leave the cave, but his fear of his Father and what he would do to him had him staying put. It wasn’t till he smelled the presence of a different Wolf, one he recognized as his Mother, that he carefully crawled out of the cave on his belly. He looked up with fear, but when all she did was gently lick his face and encourage him out of the cave, Aaron came out. Slowly they had made it back to the campground where his Father was back in human form, dressed and waiting.
Aaron had stayed under his Mother’s legs, afraid of what his Father was going to do.
“I’m not going to hurt you, Aaron,” Malcolm Hotchner said, but the look in his eyes told Aaron something very different. “Change back now, or you will regret it,” the growl in his voice making Aaron tremble.
Aaron moved away from his Mother, knowing he had to do what his Father said or the consequences could be worse. He grabbed his clothes and put them on, trying to stay out of the way of the Pack leader.
“You disappoint me. The Hotchner’s have always been Wolves, and here you are, a feline. A Lynx no less.”
“Which is what many of the Brooks clan are. You knew this when you took me as your mate, Malcolm. It is not Aaron’s fault that he took after the Brooks side. You know for a fact that Jessica is, as well as my parents. I happened to take after a Grandfather.” Aaron’s Mother glared at Malcolm, her own feelings for the man were betrayed in that expression.
“Yes, it’s why I bartered for you, Annalise.”
“My Father should have said no. You’re a bastard, Malcolm. To scare our son for something that isn’t his fault,” Annalise growled back at the man, anger, and hate in her eyes, she barely controlled a second change as she stood, trying to protect her son.
Malcolm stood and stalked over to Annalise and Aaron stood there, transfixed, unable to do anything for his Mother. When Malcolm backhanded her hard enough that she fell over, he ran to her and glared up at his Father.
“Yes, I am a bastard, and you should remember that. I am Pack Alpha and both of you will show me respect.”
“I hate you,” Aaron yelled, knowing it was the only emotion he had left for the Father that he was always trying to please, yet nothing was ever good enough for him.
“You will respect me and my rules Aaron, now get up. We’re going home.” That was the day that Aaron learned what hate and pain were. That small sliver of love that he had tried to hold onto for his Father died that day.
Aaron pulled himself out of those memories as he looked out onto the property that butted up against the Prince William National Forest Park. They lived just on the edge of Manassas and their property connected to the Forest. Aaron knew much of the area by heart, especially all those places that he could go as a cat that his Father couldn’t go as a canine. He loved exploring the area and hiding when he needed to. Today felt like it was going to be one of those days.
Aaron was trying to finish the paper that was due the next week for his American History class before his thoughts had wandered to that day. He didn’t know why he had been thinking about it, Aaron thought he had buried it pretty deep, but evidently not deep enough. He had tried to get his thoughts back on his homework when his Father started to call for him. Steeling himself for whatever it was that his Father was going to hate him for this time, Aaron stood and carefully walked out of the library only for his eyes to land on the young boy standing by his Father’s side.
“Come with me.” Malcolm turned and stared off towards his office, tugging on a leash, making the boy stumble a bit, which made Aaron angry.
When they entered the office, his Father moved to sit at the large imposing desk that took up a good portion of the room. Aaron thoroughly hated that desk and wanted nothing more than to destroy it one day.
“Aaron, this is Spencer. He has been given to me as payment for a debt that his Father owed me. He is now your Pet. Take care of him for he is now your responsibility. I don’t yet know how a Coyote will be beneficial to this family, but, as you can see, he is an attractive boy, and has the potential for a strong mate. I’m sure you could find some use for him.” Malcolm glared at Aaron. Aaron knew this was some kind of test that his Father was giving him, but he was having none of it.
“I am not going to treat another human being like some animal, Father.” Aaron glared as he stood in front of the boy, who was glaring at him with such hate and anger in his eyes, that Aaron almost smiled.
“He will still be your responsibility. This will be the first of many as you start your training to be Pack Leader.”
“And what if I don’t want to be Pack Leader?”
“Don’t test me, Aaron.”
Aaron lifted a brow then turned to the boy. He raised his hands, but the boy leaned away from him.
“It’s alright, I promise.”
The boy watched him warily as he leaned forward again, still glaring. Aaron showed him his hands and slowly, but carefully approached. He took off the collar and pulled it way, showing Spencer.
“I’m not going to hurt you.”
“I’m not some Pet for you to do what you want with.”
“No, you aren’t, and I’m sorry for what you’ve gone through.”
“Like you care.”
“Believe it or not, I do.” Aaron turned to his Father and threw the leash on the desk. “I will not treat him like a thing. He’s a person.” Gently taking his arm, Aaron led Spencer out of the office and up to his room.
“You can have the other bed. The bathroom is through there, and if you want, in a little bit, I can show you the library.”
Spencer sat on the bed, and Aaron felt his eyes glaring at him.
“Look, I’m sorry for what’s happened, and if I could change it I would, but my Father…he isn’t a good man. I’m just trying to survive till I’m eighteen when I can get the fuck out of here. I know you have no reason to trust me, but I swear I won’t hurt you.”
“And what am I, some kind of thing for you to play with in the meantime?” Aaron almost smiled at the defiant tone in the boy’s voice. That kind of strength would do very well for him.
“NO!,” Aaron almost yelled, which made the boy flinch away from him. “No, I’m sorry I don’t want to hurt you. Look, I need to finish my homework. If you want to come down with me I can show you the library now, and you can read, or there is a television, and you can watch something. Just, keep your head down and don’t give my Father any reason to hurt you.”
He stood and walked over to the boy and held out his hand.
“Hello, I’m Aaron Hotchner.
The boy warily took Aaron’s hand in a surprisingly firm grip and shook.
“Spencer. Spencer Reid.” Aaron vowed right there and then to help protect Spencer no matter what happened. He would never let his Father touch Spencer, in any way.
“I swear, it’s an excellent library,” Aaron let the corners of his mouth curl up in a smile as he gently pulled his hand from Spencer’s.
Spencer shook his head and let out a sigh then gestured for Aaron to show him the way. When they got to the library, Aaron saw his little brother was watching some cartoons.
“Go do that in your own room, brat.” Aaron turned off the TV and crossed his arms.
“Hey, I was watching that.”
“And you can do that in your own room. I have homework.”
“Spencer. He’s going to be living here.” Aaron tried to be patient with his little brother, but his Father had spoiled the boy to the point that he thought he could do anything he wanted and get away with it. Not even his Mother tried to stop the boy from becoming an entitled, spoiled child. “Spencer, Sean, Sean, Spencer.” Aaron introduced them not even trying to hide his impatience with Sean.
“Daddy says you’re Aaron’s Pet. He also said when I’m old enough, he’ll get me a Pet, but someone better than a Coyote,” Sean smirked as he crossed his arms. He yelped when Aaron grabbed him by the ear.
“Go to your own room. And Spencer is a person. Don’t you ever let me hear you call him that ever again. Now get out of here.” Aaron let him go and didn’t care about the glare Sean gave him as he left the room.
“That was a little harsh, don’t you think?” Spencer stood there with crossed arms and raised brow glaring a little at Aaron.
“When you’re here long enough, you’ll understand that Sean is a pampered, spoiled, entitled little brat. He’s a Wolf and the ‘golden’ child.” Aaron stopped himself from saying anything more about his feelings about his brother. He saw that Spencer was now looking around, transfixed by the books on the shelf.
“Help yourself to any of the books.” Aaron watched Spencer for a few moments as he carefully looked over the titles. Long fingers skimmed over the leather bound tomes, a small smile on his face. Aaron almost couldn’t help watching. Spencer may be slightly awkward, but there was a grace to him that was begging to come out as he stood in front on the shelves, mumbling to himself. Aaron felt a little stirring in his stomach but ignored it. He was not going to let himself become attracted to the younger boy. He had plans to get away from his Father, and Spencer Reid did not figure into those plans. Taking his eyes off Spencer, Aaron got back to doing his homework.
After a couple of hours of silence, Aaron looked around the library. He had assumed that Spencer had left at some point, but he was still there. Spencer had curled up in one of the chairs with several books scattered around him. Curiosity got the better of Aaron, and he watched as those long fingers skimmed a page, his soft pink lips were moving, and bright hazel eyes were wide with curiosity and knowledge swimming in them. Aaron was mesmerized. He knew he was staring intently, but Aaron was so transfixed watching Spencer read that he almost couldn’t take his eyes away.
“Have you never seen someone read before?” The sharp tone of Spencer’s voice had Aaron blushing in embarrassment.
“Of course. I’ve just never seen someone read that fast. Can you really understand what you read at that pace?”
“I have an eidetic memory, and can currently read 10,000 words a minute, and my IQ is 187.” Spencer was so matter-of-fact about this information that Aaron chuckled a little.
“So you’re a genius.”
Spencer frowned at Aaron, then dipped his head back down, an embarrassed flush had pinked his cheeks. He faltered a moment in his reading, not responding to Aaron’s statement.
“I’m sorry. I don’t mean to embarrass you.”
“Don’t you? I mean, I am your Pet. It isn’t like you actually have to be kind to me.” The anger was back, and Aaron knew it was going to take some time to gain the boy’s trust.
“You are not a Pet, Spencer. I’m truly sorry.” Aaron went back to working on his paper as a little knot of something he couldn’t explain settled inside him. For some reason he really wanted Spencer to like him. He bent his head back down, not letting Spencer see the hurt his words caused. It was just one more thing in his life he had to get used to. Spencer may never trust him, and Aaron wouldn’t blame him.
Concentrating on his homework, Aaron tried not to pay any more attention to Spencer. He was almost done with his work by the time his Father came into the library looking for him. Aaron looked up at his Father, whose expression was cold and flat. He tilted his head indicating Aaron should follow him. Aaron had a good idea what was coming. He stood and walked over to Spencer and lowered his voice.
“Go to my room and don’t leave,” Aaron whispered in Spencer’s ear. “I’m serious, please Spencer. I know you don’t trust me and I don’t blame you, but please just trust me in this.”
Spencer frowned as he looked at Aaron for a long moment. Aaron wasn’t sure what he had eventually seen on his face, but Spencer just nodded his head before he gathered up the books and slipped past the two of them and went towards the stairs. Aaron then followed after his Father, knowing it wasn’t going to be pleasant.
Almost an hour later Aaron was staggering into his room and fell on the bed, looking away from Spencer. He hissed in pain as he curled up, trying not to cry. He had known what was going to happen when he followed his Father into that office, he had defied Malcolm Hotchner, and his Father did not take kindly to those that defied him.
“Aaron?” The question in the boy’s voice just had him curling up even more into himself. He heard shuffling in the room then felt the bed dip as Spencer sat next to him. The sharp intake of breath and Aaron knew what Spencer was seeing. “You’re bleeding.”
Aaron fisted his hands in his pillow to push down on the pain and rage that was boiling inside of him. When he finally got a hold of himself and felt that he could speak without breaking, he turned his head away from his pillow.
“It’s fine. I’ll be alright in a little bit.”
“Aaron, this isn’t fine. What can I do?”
“Nothing,” Aaron bit out as he carefully stood and walked into his bathroom. He ignored Spencer as he stripped, then stepped into the shower. Aaron hung his head down as the warm water washed over him. He didn’t hear anyone come in till the shower door was being pushed open, and he felt a hand on his shoulder. Aaron jumped and pulled away from the touch. He hated anyone touching him. His Mother’s hugs were the only thing he tolerated anymore.
Aaron was backed into the corner staring at Spencer, who was naked, in his shower.
“What the hell are you doing?” Aaron’s heart was racing as he glared.
“I just wanted to help. I know some first aid.”
“Please just leave me alone. I can do this on my own.” Aaron was shaking as he stared at Spencer.
“I…I just wanted to help.” Spencer looked at him with a lost look in his eyes. Two scared boys stared at each other as the water rushed over Aaron. It had felt like an eternity before either one of them said anything.
“Fine, but let me just finish my shower.” Spencer nodded and stepped out. Aaron felt like he was going to break. No one, not even his Mother had ever tried to help him after one of his Father’s punishments, and it scared the shit out of him. Slowly he finished cleaning up, then wrapped a towel around himself before going to his room to grab boxers and sweats. He kept his eyes averted as he went back into the bathroom to change. He came out a moment later with a first aid kit that he kept hidden from his Father.
“I ah, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you I just…” Aaron looked to the side when he felt his cheeks heat in embarrassment. He felt Spencer’s eyes on him. Eyes that looked too damn old for someone so young. Aaron could understand that one.
“I should have knocked. Why don’t you sit and I’ll see what I can do for your back.”
Aaron nodded and moved to sit cross-legged on the floor in front of the bed Spencer was going to be using. He took off the t-shirt and held it against his chest. When Aaron heard the sharp intake of breath, he made to move away from Spencer, but when the boy didn’t say anything else, just opened the kit, Aaron relaxed back. He was tense and knew it.
“I don’t like people touching me either. At least not people I don’t know. I’m sorry.” Aaron liked the sound of Spencer’s voice, and when he felt the cold of the antiseptic, he tried not to flinch away.
“You don’t have to do this, you know. I usually just…change and go for a run and it heals by the time I get back.”
“I want to.”
Aaron was not going to admit that the gentle touch of Spencer’s fingers made his stomach flutter just a little. He did not want to admit that the quiet genius fascinated and intrigued him. He also would not admit that there was a little bit of an attraction to the younger boy. Aaron didn’t want to get close. He would figure out how to get Spencer free of his Father, he owed the boy that much, then he would either go to his Uncle’s house or disappear altogether.
Then, dammit, those nimble fingers. Aaron locked down his feelings, and when Spencer was done, he slipped on his t-shirt and moved to his bed.
“Thank you. No one’s done that for me in a long time. It’s getting late, and school is tomorrow.”
“I’m registered, I just won’t know my way around.”
“I’ll help you. Just, get some sleep.” Aaron turned off his light and slipped into bed. He hoped his Father, and the nightmares stayed away for the night. Aaron really hoped that Spencer being there in his room would be the buffer he needed. There were days he didn’t think he’d survive his Father’s evil. He had no one to talk to, and no one would believe him anyway. Malcolm Hotchner outside of the home was charming, charismatic, and a philanthropist. No one would ever believe that the ‘kind’ lawyer who visited children’s wards, gave money away like it was nothing and appeared the all around family man, was a monster. Aaron just had to bide his time, and like every night since he turned 14, he ticked off the days and hoped he survived.
“Let me see your schedule.” Aaron held his hand out for Spencer’s schedule. His Father made Aaron put the collar back on, but once they got near the school, he took it off of Spencer. Neither boy said anything about it, and Aaron was grateful that Spencer didn’t fight him on it.
Spencer fumbled his books a moment and pulled out the schedule of classes he was given just a few minutes earlier when he had checked in at the administration office.
“Well, most of them are with me. The only difference is our Maths. You are in AP Calculus, and I’m in AP Trig. Our classes are across from each other. Say, how old are you? I didn’t even ask last night.” Aaron stopped in the hall near the lockers.
“14. Technically I should be in college already, but…” Spencer looked at the books in his arms and frowned.
“My Father.” Spencer and Aaron shared a look with each other and felt a bit of a kindred with each other at that moment.
“I should have graduated last year, but my parents wouldn’t let me. But, my counselor fought to get me in Senior classes. Once I graduate, I’m out of here.”
Spencer furrowed his brow and kept his eyes on his books.
“And you are coming with me. I won’t leave you there, I promise.”
Spencer just nodded. The bell rang for the first period, and Aaron wrapped a hand around the strap on Spencer’s bag. He pulled the boy along with him so that they weren’t late for Professor Rossi’s senior AP Literature class. It was one of the few classes Aaron actually enjoyed. Well, that wasn’t quite true. Overall he loved school, he just hated most of the kids in the school. It didn’t help that many of his peers were in his Father’s pack.
“Hey, wait up Aaron.” Aaron looked up to see not just one of his friends, but his favorite cousin in the world.
“Hey, Haley,” Aaron looked straight ahead as they made their way to classes.
“What happened?” She asked as she stepped in front of Aaron.
“Nothing. It’s fine.”
“Aaron Hotchner, it isn’t fine. Did he…?”
“No, not last night and I thought you weren’t going to ask me about that,” Aaron hissed under his breath.
“I’m worried about you, that’s all.”
Aaron gripped Spencer’s bag so tight that his knuckles were white. Spencer almost yelped when Aaron pulled him closer to the door.
“Who is this?” Haley scrunched up her brows as she took in the sight of Spencer.
“Sorry. Spencer Reid, this is my cousin Haley Books. Haley, this is Spencer.”
“Why is he with you?”
“Spencer was….given…to me,” Aaron bit out as he tried to get ahold of his temper.
“Mr. Hotchner thought to make me a Pet for Aaron. My Father gave me to him as payment for a debt he owed Mr. Hotchner. Aaron took off the collar and refuses to call me that. As a result…”
Aaron slapped a hand over Spencer’s mouth before he could ramble on even more.
“You need to tell Uncle what is going on, that is if he hasn’t guessed already.”
“I can’t. Look, when I graduate and get into college, I’ll be away from that bastard.”
“Aaron…” She was going to say more when laughter was heard from a couple of boys coming their way.
“Well, well, well, Hotch has got himself a new Pet. My Dad heard about it last night. Let’s see,” the boy mused as he walked around and looked at Spencer. “How’d you score this sweet little Omega, Hotch? You have to do a few…favors?” The boy laughed but didn’t see Aaron balling his hands into fists. He was about to take a swing when he felt a hand on his wrist. Aaron looked to see amused hazel eyes and a little smirk on Spencer’s face. The boy shook his head letting Aaron know he would handle it.
“I’m no one’s Pet, and don’t worry, an Omega who know’s their worth certainly recognizes an inferior Alpha when he sees them. I mean, even Miss Brooks here probably has more to…offer, and she’s a girl.” Aaron just stared at Spencer, trying not to laugh at the expression on the other boy was making.
“If you are trying to figure it out, Wilson, Spencer just insulted your lack of…manhood.” Haley crossed her arms and tried not to laugh.
“Hey! You take that back you fucking little Pet.”
Wilson tried to reach out as if he was going to grab Spencer. Aaron just grabbed his wrist and squeezed.
“You maybe bigger Wilson, but I’m smarter, don’t even try it,” Aaron growled low in his throat. Wilson was about to say something when the door opened and the Teacher leaned in the doorway.
“Aren’t you supposed to be in class, Mr. Dempsey?”
“Yes, Professor Rossi.”
“And since it isn’t my class, you can let go of my students and be on your way.”
“Yes, Professor.” Wilson and Aaron let go of each other, but Aaron glared dark and dangerous at the taller boy.
“Aaron Hotchner, stop threatening Mr. Dempsey and get inside the room, you too Haley.”
“Yes, Uncle.” Aaron and Haley had said at the same time before Aaron pulled Spencer into the classroom with him.
“You didn’t tell me you’re an Omega.” Aaron hissed through his teeth as he sat down with Spencer next to him.
“I didn’t think I had to,” Spencer grumbled back as he set his things down. “And David Rossi is your Uncle?” Spencer whispered under his breath.
“Godfather, but how do you know him?”
“Alright, let’s get started. Aaron, I see we have a new student.”
Aaron prodded Spencer to stand. He almost laughed at how red the boy got when he shyly stood up and turned to face the rest of the class.
“I ah, I’m Spencer.” Just as quickly he sat back in his seat and tried to make himself look smaller.
“Welcome, Spencer.” And, that was that. No more was said as Rossi went right into the day’s lesson. When class was over, Rossi asked Aaron and Spencer to stay a moment.
“So, he went out and did it, didn’t he.”
“Sir?” Aaron asked as he shuffled his feet.
“Kid, you know I heard, and you knew I’d find out, so spill.” Rossi crossed his arms and leaned against the chalkboard.
“Last night. But, I swear Uncle I’d never treat Spencer like that you know that.”
Rossi’s expression softened, and he sighed before he reached out and almost laid a hand on Aaron’s shoulder, then stopped himself.
“How bad?” Rossi looked Aaron right in the eye. Aaron looked down and away. He just shrugged his shoulder. “Aaron, you know you can come stay with me. There is no way that Malcolm would challenge me. I’m your Godfather for more than one reason, and you know it. Besides, he ever tries to lay a finger on me he would be in for a world of hurt.”
“I’m fine Uncle. I have to go.” Aaron kept his head down and rushed out of the classroom.
“You’re David Rossi that started the BAU for the FBI. Why’d you quit?”
“That is a long story, Spencer. Now, why don’t you go find Aaron so you can find your next class.”
“You know Mr. Hotchner is hurting Aaron.” Spencer crossed his arms in an almost imitation of Rossi.
“Unless he confirms to me what’s going on, I can’t do a damn thing. I know more than he thinks I do and until he opens up to me, I can’t help him.”
Spencer frowned a moment. He was torn between staying and talking to Professor Rossi or going after Aaron.
“Look, if you ever need to talk to me outside the school about Aaron, you can call me. Or, if you require help in any way, call me.” Rossi handed Spencer a piece of paper with Rossi’s number on it. “Now, get out of here before you are late for your next class.”
Spencer took the paper, said his goodbyes and found Aaron just down the hall outside of the boy’s restroom.
“Come on, we’ll be late for biology.” Aaron turned and started to walk up the stairs, Spencer hesitated for a moment, then followed behind. The boy was silent, not like he had been earlier that morning. Spencer didn’t want to have any sort of feelings at all for the older boy, but he felt drawn to him. He hated seeing others in pain.
The rest of the day sped by. Lunch had been a quiet affair with Spencer trying to fill in the silences with a bit of a ramble about the history of the area. Not even Wilson Dempsey, who Aaron explained was the school bully, tried to make trouble at lunch time. The only class Spencer was separated from Aaron was their Maths classes. That too went without incident. Spencer also only saw Haley a couple more times throughout the day.
Spencer observed how she was with Aaron and came to the conclusion that she was very protective of him. She hated seeing her cousin hurting and frankly so did Spencer. He was trying to figure out whether it was his biological instincts, circumstances or something more. Spencer just shook his head not wanting to deal with all of the confusing and conflicting emotions that had been churned up in him. He had been so ready to hate Aaron, but in less than a day Spencer too was beginning to feel protective of him.
“Hey, how was Calculus? I hear Mr. James can be a hardass.” Aaron sat next to Spencer as they got ready for their last class of the day.
“He seems tough, but it isn’t anything I can’t handle.” Spencer smiled as he reached into his backpack to get out a notebook.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had let you test out of this place. You’re smarter than all of us.”
Spencer blushed as he opened a blank notebook and fiddled with his pen.
“Hey, don’t be embarrassed, that’s a good thing.” Aaron was about to say more when the teacher came into the room and leaned against his desk. He pursed his lips and let his gaze wander over the students for a moment.
“Psychopaths, are they born or are they made? How do they differ from the sociopath? What are the circumstances that can contribute to a psychopath? And, are all psychopaths violent? We’ll be discussing pathology today and the differences between these two significant major personality disorders.” The teacher left his desk, turned to the whiteboards and started to write out several definitions. Aaron was furiously writing to get it all down, though he only needed to once, he liked to have the teacher’s notes to refer back to. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched Spencer scribble in some kind of shorthand that Aaron figured only the boy would know.
Aaron tried very hard not to think about Spencer being an Omega. The whole thing about his circumstances came into clearer focus. The reason why his Father had ‘gifted’ Spencer to him. He had the thought that his Father did this to try to kick his Alpha instincts in. He unconsciously growled low in his throat as he squeezed the pencil in between his fingers. He was squeezing so hard he made the pencil snap in his hand.
“Something you would like to share with the class Mr. Hotchner?”
Aaron’s heart was racing as his head whipped up to look at the teacher.
“Um, no Mr. Gideon.”
Gideon gave him an inscrutable look before going to his desk and wrote something on a piece of paper. He walked up to Aaron’s desk and slipped the paper onto it.
“Take a moment, Mr. Hotchner.” Aaron looked down at the hall pass, snatched it up and practically ran out of there. He pushed the door to the bathroom open hard enough that it banged against the other wall. Aaron paced back and forth trying to reign in his form as he felt his teeth elongate, his hands partially form and the beginnings of his pelt flowing over him. He leaned over the sink and closed his eyes. Taking deep breaths, Aaron worked to get himself under control. He hadn’t had a bout of accidental transformation in a long time, but realizing what his Father meant for him made him furious.
“Aaron?” He whipped around and looked at Spencer. “Are you okay?”
“No, I’m not fucking okay, Spencer.” Aaron struggled as he clamped down on the Lynx inside of him. “I figured out this whole thing. You, me, my Father. God, can that man be an even worse bastard than he already is?” Aaron slammed himself against the wall and slid down. He watched as Spencer carefully approached him.
“You know the floor of the average High School men’s room is full of germs. I can smell the traces of cigarette smoke, marijuana, semen, blood, and other smells I don’t exactly want to think about. So, I hope you aren’t offended if I just lean up against this here sink, which frankly is only marginally better, but I can pretend it’s cleaner than the floor.” Spencer lifted the corner of his mouth in a kind of smirk that bordered on a genuine smile. Aaron snorted and shook his head.
“You,” Aaron waved his fingers at his companion and shook his head. “I don’t understand how you are so damn compliant in all of this?”
“I’m not even sure what this is so I can’t get upset yet. All I know is what my Father has done and how he used me as part of his debt payoffs. Your Father’s motivations have no meaning for me at the moment. So, Aaron, why don’t you tell me what is going through your head.”
Aaron felt the inner animal calm down as he looked up at Spencer trying to understand this strange boy that has come into his life. Sighing to himself, Aaron stood and went to the sink to wash his hands. Spencer was right, the boy’s bathroom was gross. He chuckled as he looked in the hard water crusted mirror.
“My Father thinks that you being an Omega will somehow wake the Alpha in me. He thinks that with you being near me, especially if you go into heat at some point, that I’ll embrace my animal and become what he wants me to be.”
“You’re Father wants you to what? Rape me?” The look of shock on Spencer’s face had Aaron turning to face him.
“Essentially, yes. I know you have no reason to trust me, but trust that I would…could never do that.” Aaron looked down at his feet, not wanting to look Spencer in the eye.
When a hand cupped his cheek, he stiffened and waited. He didn’t pull away, but he didn’t lean into the touch either. All Spencer did was gently guide Aaron’s face to look at him.
“What does your Father do to you, Aaron?” Spencer’s voice was so full of compassion that Aaron couldn’t take it. He pulled away, washed his face, grabbed a towel on the way out and didn’t look back. He slipped back into his seat and kept his attention on the words on the whiteboard. He was not going to let his thoughts go there.
Spencer slipped into his chair, and both he and Aaron were fairly quiet during the rest of class. Aaron grabbed his bags when the bell rang and started to leave class. When his name was called, he slumped his shoulders and walked back inside.
“So, how are you handling this?” Gideon asked as he leaned a hip against the desk.
Aaron shrugged a shoulder not actually answering the man.
“Aaron, I don’t have to tell you what Dave and I want you to do. But, we can’t force you. I don’t think you are safe there and haven’t been for a long time.”
“I’m almost out.”
“But, at what cost.”
“I know you mean well, Uncle, but…”
“I just can’t leave yet, okay.”
“I have to go. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Aaron turned and walked out. Spencer frowned and went after Aaron. When they got outside of the school, Aaron saw his Mother’s car, and he walked towards it. He saw Haley watching him with concern on her face. Turning away from her, he approached the car and got in the back seat, leaving the front for Spencer if he wanted it. There was silence on the way home, and Aaron was quite happy with it.
The rest of the week only got marginally better. Aaron buried himself in classes, homework, reading, and anything and everything he could to avoid his Father. As the weekend approached Aaron became more apprehensive, something was going on, he had felt an underlying anticipation with his parents, which was not always a good thing. Aaron had no idea what was going to happen next, and it scared him. He was also aware that the upcoming Saturday was his birthday, and a big Pack run.
Aaron was curled up on the couch in the library staring out the window when he felt someone come in and sit with him.
“You’ve been quiet all week, are you okay?” The concern in Spencer’s voice had him wondering.
“Obviously it’s something, but I get it. We all have secrets we don’t want to share.”
Aaron chuckled softly as he shook his head. He turned to look at Spencer again.
“We’ve known each other almost exactly one week Spencer. Why do you care?”
“I don’t like to see anyone hurting.”
Aaron felt the truth in Spencer’s words. The boy had an incredible capacity for compassion. He also had a spine of steel, especially when Wilson Dempsey tried to bully them. Spencer was smart, though. Aaron almost laughed when he followed his companion to the basketball coach and offered to help with the team’s scoring average. The coach laughed at him at first, then he logged on the computer to the Las Vegas High School basketball teams scores. They were currently poised to take nationals and top Southern CIF championship. Spencer also showed him their standings before he had started to work with the basketball team.
The coach was suitably impressed, as was Aaron. The coach offered to give it a try. Spencer assured him that it was all physics and anyone that could handle a basketball could learn the physics of the game. Aaron sat and read while Spencer and the coach worked out a plan. The first test was the following week with an away game.
“Nothing can be done, Spencer.”
“What about Mr. Rossi and Mr. Gideon?”
“I don’t want my Father’s Pack to hurt my Uncle’s, Spencer.” Aaron hissed under his breath to keep his voice low. “If I go to them before I’m 18, my Father will kill them.” Aaron stood abruptly and walked out. He knew a part of him was irrational, but it would kill him if anything happened to the two men that had shown him what real parental love meant.
“Aaron,” the voice of his Father made Aaron shudder in fear on the inside. On the outside, he had perfected a stoic, almost expressionless look.
“I need to speak with you. Bring Spencer, it concerns him as well.” Malcolm turned on his heel and walked to his office expecting Aaron to do what he was told.
Going back to the library, Aaron told Spencer that Malcolm wanted to see the both of them. Aaron was scared about what this could mean.
Standing in front of the desk a few moments later, with Malcolm Hotchner glaring at the both of them, Aaron wondered what he had done wrong now.
“Since tomorrow is your 17th birthday, you will come with us on the Pack run. You will also bring Spencer, and I expect him to be collared. I didn’t go through the trouble of finding you an Omega for you to treat him as an equal. You will stand-up with me, and I will announce my plans to turn the Pack over to you when the time is right.”
Aaron’s heart pounded hard in his chest. He didn’t want this. He didn’t want to lead his Father’s Pack, in fact, he didn’t even want a Pack. He wanted out. His plans for himself included school, maybe finding someone to fall in love with and live a normal life away from Packs and harsh rules.
“Sir, you know….”
“I know what you think you want, Aaron. Someone such as yourself does not get this chance very often. Now, the only way for you to keep the Pack together is to embrace your Alpha, and you know there is only one way to do that. Even if…” Malcolm turned to look at Spencer, “He’s just a Coyote.”
“Sir, I don’t mean to question your decisions, but you can’t honestly believe that they will follow my lead. The Pack is all Wolf, and I…” Aaron gripped his hands at his sides. The shame he still felt for being different welled up inside him. He didn’t look away from his Father, he knew if he did, Aaron would lose even the small sliver of respect he had earned from the man.
“Well, it just means that you need to figure out how you will keep them together. A sly cunning Lynx can sometimes out maneuver a Wolf. You may not be bigger or stronger than them, but, when you apply yourself, you’re smarter. You just need to embrace your Alpha, which means it’s time for another lesson. Now, Spencer, you can leave. Aaron and I need to talk.”
Aaron looked at his Father and didn’t want to think what was going to happen now. He stiffened as his heart raced, his breathing shallowed and Father and Son stared at each other.
Spencer didn’t move. He had no idea what was going on, but fear poured out of every part of him. He didn’t want to leave Aaron alone with this man, but Aaron turned his head just slightly and nodded his head, telling Spencer to leave. Frowning, Spencer was able to finally make his feet move, but the fear for his new friend settled into a hard knot in the middle of his stomach. He reluctantly left the office and went to the shared room with Aaron. Settling down to do homework, Spencer worried but knew there wasn’t much he could do at the moment.
Grabbing a blank notebook, Spencer started to write, to plan. He had to figure out how to get them both away from this house and safe. He felt that they were both in danger, he just wasn’t sure how bad it really was.
Spencer was lost in a book when Aaron stumbled back into the bedroom. He said nothing as he stiffly walked into the bathroom and shed his clothes. Aaron turned the water on as hot as he could stand. He grabbed a washcloth and his body wash and scrubbed till his skin was raw, then scrubbed some more. The water hid the tears that fell as he tried to make himself as clean as he could. The hot water stung painfully, but it was better than what he was feeling inside him. After washing more than once, there wasn’t anything else he could do. He sank down onto the floor of the bathtub and pulled his legs to his chest. He knew it was inevitable, his Father had left him alone for far too long. Hope had bloomed that the bastard would leave him alone since he was given Spencer, but that hope was dashed. He wasn’t sure how long he was in there, but the door was gently opened, and the water was being turned off. He heard more than saw Spencer sitting on the floor outside of the tub.
“Aaron, I know I’ve only been here a short time, but you can’t keep going like this. You have people who care, who want to help you, why are you so stubborn? What happened tonight?”
Aaron pulled in tighter to himself trying to make himself as small as he could. He tried to fight the shame that welled up inside him, he couldn’t even look at Spencer.
“He told me he would do to Sean what he does to me. My brother might be a brat, but he’s just a little kid. I can’t let him hurt Sean. I can’t let my Father…” Aaron’s voice trailed off as he looked at the tiled wall of the shower. He didn’t want to look at Spencer. He didn’t want to find any kind of hate in his eyes.
Spencer stood and grabbed one of the larger towels and held it out.
“Come on, Aaron.” The gentle tone of Spencer’s voice almost made Aaron break as he stood on shaky legs. Spencer didn’t try to touch him, just held the towel for him and helped to wrap it around himself. He stepped out, and Spencer backed out of the bathroom. Aaron’s heart broke just a little. He was coming to like the younger boy a lot more than he had wanted to, now Spencer probably thought him tainted and disgusting. Slowly he dried himself off, his thoughts turning darker. He was startled when a pair of his underwear and sweatpants was laid out on the toilet seat for him. He turned his head to the side and saw that Spencer wanted to reach out, but wasn’t sure if Aaron would allow it. Aaron didn’t know why, but he felt like he could trust Spencer. He reached out and twisted one of his fingers around Spencer’s and when the other boy didn’t pull away, just smiled softly at him, Aaron knew he had a friend.
“I think you need some rest, Aaron. You don’t have to tell me anything, but I’m here if you want to talk.”
Aaron didn’t even stop his eyes from filling as he untangled his finger from Spencers. Aaron turned away and went back to the bedroom after grabbing his clothes and putting them on. Aaron was more tired than he realized as he crawled into his bed. When Spencer started to go to his bed, Aaron bit his lip as he watched Spencer slip out of his sweats, but keeping on his boxers and t-shirt. He didn’t know why but he reached out and took Spencer’s hand.
“I…” Aaron looked up at Spencer trying to find the words that were stuck in his throat. He didn’t understand why he felt all these feelings for Spencer. A week wasn’t exactly enough time to truly get to know a person, but the way Spencer was with him, compassionate, understanding, patient, Aaron felt like Spencer could be more than a friend, given time. He hated that eventually, he might have to leave him behind after finding a safe place for him to be.
“Aaron?” Spencer saw the raw vulnerability in Aaron’s eyes, but the grim line to his lips. It didn’t take a genius to see the older boy was fighting himself.
“Do you…would you…just for tonight?”
Spencer nodded as he understood what it was that Aaron wanted. Pulling back the covers Spencer slipped in next to Aaron and settled down. He had missed this. His Pack had been the type to pile on each other after a good run, the kids on one side, the adults on another. There was warmth and familiarity, bonding and family. Spencer’s heart ached in a way he hadn’t let himself feel since his own Father’s betrayal. When Aaron wrapped an arm around his waist, Spencer sighed and pushed back into that warmth. He held Aaron’s arm against him and didn’t say anything when he felt hot, silent tears spill down his t-shirt. Spencer knew Aaron needed to let it out with no recriminations for feeling what he was feeling. Spencer was more determined to help however he could.
Aaron slowly woke up and felt his morning erection as Spencer snuggled back into him. His heart sped up, and fear and shame shot through him. He pushed away from Spencer and ran into the bathroom. Closing his eyes, he willed his dick to do what he wanted it. He did not want to feel attraction to Spencer, and he didn’t want Spencer to think he would ever take advantage of him. Sex was something that Aaron didn’t think he would ever feel comfortable with, not after his Father and the things that he made Aaron do.
After relieving himself, thankfully his dick went down, leaving Aaron shaking and an emotional wreck. Splashing water on his face he walked back out to the bedroom and dressed for the day. Spencer looked like he was still sleeping, and Aaron felt a little part of his heart hitch in his chest. How could he ever be the Alpha that Spencer deserved when he was tainted? Not wanting to wake him, Aaron tried to be quiet as he slipped out the back of the house needing to be completely alone. He jogged over to his favorite spot then slipped out of his clothes. The change came naturally. Aaron no longer had to think about it. He stood there on his four legs, shaking out his thick fur. He took a moment to lick his paws.
His Father and the Pack may hate him for what he was, but he was practically made for this terrain. His large paws with thick pads let him find sure footing along the forest floor. His thick fur kept him warm on the coldest of days. Large pointed ears let him hear even the smallest of sounds. Aaron huffed as he started his run at a slow lope, then he worked up to a trot. After he had made his way further into the forest, he let himself go and set out at a quick pace. He could run in short bursts of 20 to 25 miles an hour. A little faster than a normal lynx. But what he could do better than most of the Wolves in the Pack was his leaping abilities.
Aaron ran full out, then backed off and trotted for a while. He let the coolness of the forest wrap around him and the smells of the trees and the earth invade his senses. He felt at peace here, no one to hurt him or touch him. No one to care for or let himself rely on. It was just himself and his surroundings. When a rabbit shot out in front of him, Aaron purred and growled playfully then ran after the creature. He found it quick enough. The animal was trying to get to its den, but Aaron cut it off, then gave chase when it ran away. Keeping up with the rabbit, Aaron bided his time. Then when the rabbit jumped up onto a group of fallen trees, he ran full out and leaped up catching the rabbit in his claws as his jaw wrapped around the creature’s neck.
With his prey in his mouth, Aaron trotted towards the stream where he washed his prey then set about making it his breakfast.
Content to lie in the half sun, his eyes closed, but his ears perked up on alert, Aaron heard the snap of a branch. His body stiffened, he laid there listening readying himself to run if he needed to. Growling low in his throat he waited for whatever it was to get close. Positioning himself so that he could pounce, he waited. The animal that made the noise loped into the clearing and Aaron pounced, pinning the creature down, his jaws around its neck. The animal submitted quickly which made Aaron back off. He growled even deeper letting the unknown animal know that this was his territory. Aaron looked closer and saw that it was a reddish brown looking coyote. Then, he saw hazel eyes that he knew very well. Huffing out his annoyance Aaron plopped down on his butt for a moment, then stood up and walked away. Walking along the creek, he stopped for a few seconds to dip his face in so that he could clean the blood off from the rabbit.
Straightening back up he started to slowly trot along the stream trying to get some distance between him and Spencer. What he didn’t count on was the Coyote’s stubbornness. Shaking his head, Aaron loped forward to get some distance, but Spencer followed. This went on for a while till Aaron gave up and let Spencer stay with him.
When the sun started to shine brighter, Aaron knew it was time to head back. He ran full out till he was back where his clothes were, shifted and slipped them on. Aaron stood there with his arms crossed over his chest and a hard glare in his eyes. He waited till Spencer was done and approached him.
“What the hell was that?” Aaron growled.
“I didn’t think you should be alone,” Spencer glared right back at him.
“Well, I’m used to being alone. I like being alone,” Aaron spat, not even knowing what he was angry about.
“I don’t believe that’s true. Last night you didn’t want to be alone.”
“Last night shouldn’t have happened.” Aaron looked away from Spencer, then started to walk towards the house.
“And why not?” Spencer was running after Aaron.
“Just, leave it alone Spencer. You, me it just can’t happen, okay?” Aaron yelled as his steps sped up.
“And why not? I mean, I know it’s soon, but you can’t deny what’s starting between us.”
“And what is starting? Huh? I can’t be you’re Alpha. Just leave me alone.” Aaron felt a tension in his whole body. He wanted to run away from Spencer, not as an animal, but as himself. He knew he was scared and lashing out, but he couldn’t afford to care.
“You don’t have to be anything you don’t want to be, Aaron. I just want to be your friend. I want to help you, and maybe, someday in the future, we can figure out what it is that I know you feel for me. I felt it last night.”
Aaron tried to harden his heart against Spencer. He knew he could never give him what he needed and it was breaking his heart.
“I can’t. I can’t give you what you need, don’t you get it, Spencer? I’m…tainted.”
“No, Aaron you aren’t. Whatever’s happened to you, let me help you.”
“You don’t understand. Please just leave me alone.” Aaron yelled as he ran off, not letting Spencer see his eyes fill. He wasn’t going to cry. He was done crying. He needed to keep his distance, and maybe, just maybe Spencer would just let it go.
Aaron ran. He ran as fast and as hard as he could. Aaron ran till his sides hurt, and his lungs ached. He ran till all his thoughts and feelings were pushed down deep inside him. When Aaron finally stopped running, he looked up and saw that he was at his Uncle Dave’s house. Slowing down he collapsed on the steps to the front, pulling his legs up and just sat there trying to understand what was happening to him, why he had let Spencer slip past his walls. Aaron didn’t want to care, that wasn’t true he did want to care, but he felt like he couldn’t care. He thought that Spencer deserved a better Alpha than himself than someone who was so weak that he let his Father hurt him, violate him, that he stopped fighting back.
Aaron was lost in his head when the door opened, and someone sat down next to him. An arm wrapped around his shoulders and pulled him close. He turned his head and buried his face against Dave’s shoulder while he fisted his hand in his shirt. He shook so hard that he thought he was going to break apart.
“Shh, Aaron. You’re safe, whatever’s happened, you’re safe.” Dave didn’t let go as Aaron fought with himself. They sat on the porch together for what seemed like hours. When Aaron finally settled he pulled back, his face red with embarrassment.
“I’m sorry,” his voice was almost a whisper as he turned away.
“You have nothing to be sorry for, Tesoro. Come on, come inside and have something to drink.” Dave stood up and prodded Aaron to stand as well. Walking inside, Aaron went to his favorite spot in the den and sat in his favorite chair. Dave brought him a can of soda while he had a cup of coffee in his hand.
“Aaron, what happened?” Dave asked as he sat down. He knew to be patient with the boy, pushing Aaron had never worked in the past, but if he had come, Dave knew something had happened, and Aaron was in turmoil.
“Dad wants me at the run tonight. He wants me to…” Aaron took a drink of his soda, letting the cool carbonation slide down his throat. “He wants me to collar and leash Spencer like he’s some Pet. He intends to announce that the Pack will be mine when the time comes.”
Dave was quiet as he sipped his coffee. He knew there was more, this wasn’t everything.
“It doesn’t matter. I don’t want any of it Uncle. I don’t want the Pack. I don’t want…Spencer. I want my own life.”
“Aaron, you know if you ask, Jason and I will help you.”
“I can’t leave Sean there. I don’t know what that bastard would do to him.”
Dave knew. He knew that Malcolm Hotchner would dote on that boy even more than he already did. Sean was born at a time when new blood tests had come out isolating the Were genes. Now, newborns could have their genetic testing mapped out, and parents would know right away if and what kind of Were they would be.
“You know what your brother is, Aaron. You also know that Malcolm would pour all of his energy into that boy. He already dotes on him, he won’t hurt him.”
“Because he’s Wolf,” Aaron spat out angrily as he shoved off the sofa and started to pace.
“Yes.” Dave wasn’t going to sugarcoat it for Aaron.
“I hate him. I hate him so much.” Aaron stood there rigid, his hands fisted at his sides. Dave stood and walked to him, but Aaron flinched away. Dave took another step and grabbed him in a tight hold. Something snapped inside Aaron, and he lashed out at Dave. Blindly he tried to push the man away from him, kicking and punching to try to break Dave’s hold on him. He started shouting to be let go and still Dave held on. They both heard running and footsteps into the den, Dave still didn’t let Aaron go.
“Let me go,” Aaron yelled as his hands changed to paws and he tried to slash with his claws. Dave just grabbed his wrists in a tight hold, then pulled him against his chest, banding strong arms around him. His heart was breaking the whole time, but he wasn’t going to let go, not for anything in the world. Dave knew if he let go now, Aaron would be lost to him and he wasn’t going to let that happen. He looked over and saw that Jason wanted to interfere, but Dave just shook his head as Aaron struggled, trying to get out of Dave’s hold. The boy was tiring, and finally, the fight went out of him. He started to sink to the floor, Dave went with him and held on. Collapsing in his arms, Aaron let out a keening cry which opened the floodgates.
Jason rushed forward and wrapped his arms around the both of them. The two men sheltered their Godson while he purged his emotions.
“Let it out, Son. Let it out. No one is going to hurt you, not here.” Jason whispered softly echoing his mates thoughts.
When Aaron slumped down in exhaustion, Jason used his preternatural strength and picked the boy up in his arms and took him to the room they kept for him and laid him down on the bed. Gently he ran his fingers lightly over his short hair, while thoughts of murdering Malcolm Hotchner ran through his head.
Walking back down the den, Jason saw Dave trying to pour some scotch into a glass, his hands shaking. Jason laid a gentle hand on Dave’s taking the alcohol from him and holding him in his arms for a moment.
“What happened? This wasn’t just one of those times Aaron needed to get away from his Father.”
“I don’t know everything. I have my suspicions that Malcolm isn’t just beating on that boy. I don’t know what’s going on. I wish he’d open up to me, to us.” Dave took a sip of the alcohol he was able to get into his glass.
Jason took a deep breath as worry settled in his heart for Aaron.
Dave wanted to say more, but he wasn’t sure where to start. He was surprised when the doorbell rang. Getting up, he went to answer it only to see Spencer standing on the porch steps.
“I followed his scent. I know it pretty well. Just tell me that he’s okay.”
Dave studied the boy for a moment then stepped aside to let him in. He then led Spencer to the den.
“Would you like something to drink?”
“Coffee? Aren’t you a little young for coffee?”
“Isn’t it a little early for alcohol?” Spencer shot back. When all he got was a chuckle from Jason, Dave shook his head and went to the kitchen. He came out a few minutes later with a coffee tray in his hands. Spencer took a cup and doctored it just like he liked it.
“He’s sleeping. As far as okay goes, I don’t think so. Do you want to tell me what’s going on?”
Spencer curled up in the chair he was sitting in and sipped at the coffee for a moment before he cleared his throat to speak.
“I don’t have any evidence, only from things I saw in my own Pack. Though my Alpha would never let it go on. Those who hurt their children were punished. The problem here is that Mr. Hotchner is the Alpha.” Spencer took a deep breath as he looked down at the cup in his hands. “I think Aaron is being sexually abused. I can’t confirm it, but I’ve seen the signs before.”
Dave’s eyes went cold and flat. Jason started to pace around the room, little growls left his throat as he tried to stay calm.
Spencer looked between them then explained why he suspected what he did. When he was done, Dave looked to Jason.
“Malcolm fits the profile. He’s a narcissist who needs to control everyone and everything around him. He would use it to control Aaron. It won’t be about the sex, it’ll be about the power. We need to get Aaron to open up.”
Spencer sipped his coffee, thinking.
“Alright, son, spill it,” Jason said as he sat down in the chair next to Spencer.
“I feel like I would be breaking a confidence, but I’m worried about him too. Especially with this Pack run tonight.”
“Spencer, if you know something.”
“Last night…Aaron came in the room and went right to the shower. It was so hot that steam was escaping through the door. I let him work through it then went to talk to him. His skin was raw.” Spencer frowned and told them the rest of what happened the night before. “This morning I was actually awake before him. I usually wake early. He,” Spencer hesitated because of how personal this really was.
“He had an erection?” Jason asked bluntly. Spencer nodded and squirmed a little.
“I think he was ashamed. He pulled away and left the room. I had the feeling he went on a run, and I followed. I want to help, but I don’t know how. I, I care about him.”
Dave and Jason looked at each other for a moment having a silent conversation between them. Dave nodded once then beckoned Spencer to follow.
“Be careful with him Spencer. He doesn’t like to show his vulnerability.”
“I don’t want to hurt him.”
“When he wakes, we’ll have dinner. Jason is calling Annalise to let her know he’s here and he’ll stay here till the run tonight.”
Spencer swallowed as he looked inside the room at the sleeping form of Aaron.
“He may push, but I have a feeling that you, Spencer Reid, are exactly what that boy needs.” Dave smiled at him then left.
Spencer silently walked into the room and shut the door as quietly as he could. He took off his shoes, socks, and jeans then crawled into the bed and wrapped himself around Aaron. A small whimper escaped the older boys lips, but almost unconsciously he snuggled closer to Spencer. Spencer held on tight, determined not to let him go.
Aaron tried to be mad that Spencer had been there when he woke up, but the feeling of safety and comfort he felt was almost overwhelming. He only ever felt that way with Dave and Jason. When he did wake, he had a terrible headache, but some water and a couple of aspirin later he was feeling a little better. He pushed down on the pleasure that the emerging Alpha in him was getting from an Omega wrapped around him. He didn’t want to feel anything for Spencer, but he felt like his inner Alpha wasn’t going to give him a choice.
Aaron and Spencer had talked. He apologized for earlier in the day, but Spencer just smiled and said that it didn’t matter. Aaron knew it did and was humbled at just how big Spencer’s heart was.
Dinner with his Uncles was good and he was grateful that Dave acted like nothing had happened. He knew they wanted to ask questions, but he wasn’t really ready to answer any of them.
His birthday hadn’t been forgotten either. Dave had given him some books that he had wanted as well as a beautiful leather jacket. Jason had given him an engraved pocket watch. He loved it immediately, even if the idea of a pocket watch was old-fashioned. Aaron had always liked the one Jason carried, so when he pulled his out of the box, he knew he was going to cherish it always. Spencer felt bad that he didn’t have a present for him, but Aaron told him that it was okay, there was no way for him to know, and that him just being there was present enough.
Dave had driven them back home, even though Aaron didn’t really want to go. He knew they had to get ready for the Pack to descend later that evening. When they entered the house, Aaron saw that his Father was there waiting for him. He looked the man in the eye, squaring his shoulders he waited for whatever punishment the man was going to dole out because he had been gone most of the day. When all Malcolm did was stare at him with arms crossed, Aaron stared back. Spencer threaded his fingers with Aaron’s forcing him to break eye contact from his Father.
“Come on. We have to get ready.” Spencer stared at Malcolm as well but didn’t let himself get intimidated. He knew from how his Uncle ran their own Pack that force and intimidation only hid a coward. Spencer was not going to let himself be intimidated by him. He gently pulled on Aaron’s hand, and the older boy finally broke eye contact. As they headed up the stairs, Aaron’s Mother tried to talk to him, but he ignored her as he continued on up to his room.
Getting dressed was a somber occasion. The two boys both dressed in dark jeans, Aaron pulled on a dark blue Henley, Spencer grabbed his dark purple Armani. Aaron was impressed but quickly pushed down on the need he had to touch Spencer. Turning to the bed, he picked up the collar that was laying there and tried to fight the guilt that welled up inside of him.
“I’m sorry Spencer,” Aaron frowned at the collar in his hand. It was a newer one, and he just knew it had been picked out and bought by his Father. It even had a thick ring hanging off of it, almost like one of those submissive collars he had seen in pictures on the internet.
“It’s alright Aaron. I know it’s not you, that it’s your Father.”
“I just,” Aaron ground his teeth together as he looked up at Spencer, his hazel eyes holding no malice against him. “I don’t want you to hate me.”
Spencer smiled and took a chance when he lifted a hand and gently stroked Aaron’s cheek with his fingers. “I don’t. I like you too much to ever hate you.”
Aaron nodded then wrapped the collar around Spencer’s neck. He attached the leash as his stomach roiled at the very thought of the boy he was coming to care about being leashed like a dog.
“Come on, before he starts to yell.” Aaron began to pull away, but Spencer stopped him, then leaned in and laid a chaste kiss against the corner of Aaron’s mouth.
Aaron’s face flushed, but a smile teased at the corners of his mouth softening his too serious expression. He didn’t say anything as they walked out of the bedroom together, side by side in a show of solidarity.
“Well, you certainly look like the Alpha I know is in there. Hopefully, after tonight you’ll finally understand your place.”
Aaron didn’t say anything, just followed his parents out to the car. The drive to the clearing where the Pack meetings were held didn’t take long at all. The area was actually just on the other side of where Aaron lived. Spencer held Aaron’s hand the whole way. The warmth of that hand in his was a comfort that he rarely ever knew. Almost against his own will, his fingers curled with Spencer’s seeking more of that warmth and comfort. A part of him wanted to take Spencer and just run. To get away from all of this, maybe find a Pack that would take them in and treat them better than his Father ever did. They could change their names, Aaron could find work to support them. As the car sped on towards their destination, Aaron dreamed and planned.
Every so often his Mother or Father would speak to him, he turned away not wanting to listen to them and would go back to his daydreams. He blamed his Mother even more for his situation because she did nothing to try to stop his Father’s cruelty. When they were heading out the door, Sean had thrown a temper tantrum because he couldn’t go. Aaron just rolled his eyes before walking out towards the car. Aaron just laughed because his parents were causing the situation with Sean and he was just going to get worse. Aaron thought it was no less than what they deserved.
When the car parked, he was pulled fully out of his head, and he looked towards Spencer. Those damn hazel eyes were looking at him, worry swam in them and all Aaron wanted to do was tell him everything was going to be okay, even if he didn’t believe it himself. Aaron was nervous by the time his parents exited the car. This was the first time in years that he had been allowed at a Pack run. His difference from everyone else had shamed and embarrassed him as a child, most of that feeling coming from his Father. He stepped out, then Spencer stepped out right behind him. Reluctantly, Aaron took the handle of the leash, hating every second he had to keep the boy in the damned collar.
“Come on, we’ll wait for the others over here.” Malcolm lead them over to the small amphitheater that had been built many years prior by a previous Alpha for the D.C. Pack. It wasn’t large by any means, one you’d see in a typical city park, but it served it’s purpose well over the years. Malcolm made Aaron and Spencer wait on the stone benches off to the side on the stage.
Aaron was vibrating with nerves as the Pack filtered in. His eyes caught Haley’s, who just smiled at him. Jessica was there too, this was going to be her first official run with the Pack. A hand on his thigh, at first made him flinch, but Spencer just kept it there, closer to his knee and the comforting presence of it made him relax. He hated that he felt so guarded with Spencer. Then that kiss flitted across his mind and made him blush a little. Spencer made him think and feel things he wasn’t ready for, that he may never be ready for, and the younger man was still too young to even do those things with. He would never do to Spencer what his Father did to him.
Looking at his companion, Aaron wondered for a moment if he could really keep him. Then he hated himself for his thoughts. Spencer was a person, not a thing, or a Pet if the boy stayed, Aaron wanted it to be his choice. He wanted to reach out and brush the hair that had fallen into Spencer’s eyes aside. He loved those eyes already. Bright hazel eyes that bordered on more green than brown. He never wanted to see those eyes in pain.
“Now that we are all here, and before the sun sets a little more I have a major announcement to make.” Malcolm had stood up and motioned for Aaron to stand and take his place next to him. “Everyone here knows my son, Aaron. I know I’ve kept him away from Pack runs and that is for a reason. His safety more than anything. A few of you out there have tried to hurt my son, and you suffered the consequences for it.” Several Pack members looked down in shame which made Malcolm smiled a cruel smile.
“I’m here today to officially announce Aaron Michael Hotchner as my heir and my successor as Pack leader when the time comes. Next to him is young Spencer Reid, Omega and will be my son’s intended.” There were murmurs, whispers, growling and a growing tension filtering through the Pack at this announcement.
“This is not a challenge,” Malcolm growled angrily, settling the Pack down. “Our Wolf numbers have been slowly dwindling over the years. Some have moved, some died, some have made their own smaller Packs. We can no longer ignore other’s in the area who could be beneficial to our numbers. Yes, traditionally we have been all Wolf, but with the way the world now works, that is no longer possible. Aaron and Spencer will be the start of including other Weres into our Pack.” Malcolm’s eyes changed, as did his arms, the claws came out, and his stance was pure aggression. “If anyone of you wants a challenge, I’m here.” The glare was hard and menacing as Malcolm stared down at the Pack members. Aaron knew no one would challenge him, the last time one of the Pack had challenged his Father the man had been gutted, a wife and two children had been left behind. No one wanted to leave their family like that, so no one accepted the challenge.
The tension was palpable as Malcolm stood there in his Alpha glory, confident in his position.
“Now, it’s also Aaron’s birthday.” Malcolm turned to his son, the fake loving smile on his face made Aaron’s stomach turn, but he could give as good as he got and smiled in return. “My gift to you.” Malcolm took a box out of his suit jacket pocket and handed it to Aaron.
With steady hands, Aaron took the box and opened it. Inside was a thick chain with a pendant on the bottom of it. It was a circle with a wolf’s head at the top, a lynx to the right, a coyote to the left and a tiger on the bottom. The whole thing was a hundred percent platinum, and the symbology was not lost on Aaron.
“This symbol shows my commitment to other Weres that want to join our Pack. My son will be the first to wear it, as will his intended.” Malcolm took the necklace and slipped it around Aaron’s neck. The weight of it and what it meant was not lost on Aaron. He also knew that if he ever did take over, he would have to fight tooth and nail to keep his position as Pack Alpha. Aaron was well aware that he wasn’t ready for the responsibility, and he didn’t think that he would ever be ready, but to keep up the show he accepted his Father’s gift.
“Thank you, Father. I will do my best to honor you.” The words felt like poison on his tongue, but at the moment it was the only thing Aaron could say. Any other words would weaken Malcolm’s position, and as much of a temptation as that was, Aaron knew it would put his whole family in danger.
“I know you will, Son.” Malcolm turned back to the Pack and threw his arms wide. “It is now time to RUN!” The Pack jumped up in excitement as they all ran to their favorite places to change. Aaron led Spencer to his own favorite place, Haley and Jessica followed him.
“Well, we are certainly not leaving you alone. Jess and I will be running with you two. Especially after the daggers that Wilson was throwing your way.”
“You don’t have to Hales. Spencer and I will be okay.”
“Not up for debate, Hotch. We are going.”
“Hotch!” Two voices rang out, and Aaron looked up to see two of his school friends, Mark and Simon calling after him. “We’ll come with you too.”
He was about to protest when both Spencer and Haley just glared at him.
“Fine.” Aaron rolled his eyes in fake annoyance then got down to the business of stripping and laying his clothes in a neat pile. He took off Spencer’s collar and felt just as relieved as Spencer did for it being gone. If he had it his way, it would never go back on again.
The six teens quickly got undressed and let little Jessica change first. It was her first run, and they all wanted to protect her as she changed. When she gave a yip, making the others laugh, Aaron, Spencer, Haley and the two other boys quickly shifted. They all circled Spencer and sniffed his Coyote form, committing the scent to memory. As they started to trot to the edge of the forest, howls went up from all around them. Even Spencer joined in, his eyes sparkling with joy. Aaron thought to himself that he needed to ask Spencer about his own Pack and what happened to them. He had been so focused on himself that he had not really asked any questions to try to get to know the Omega any more than he already knew him.
The little group loped off into the trees and stayed together, picking up speed as they went. Keeping Jessica in the middle of the group they formed a kind of circle to keep her safe. Aaron knew he and Spencer were the odd ones out, but most of the Pack was leaving them alone as they ran around them.
After a little while, Aaron had slowed a bit, and Spencer stayed back with him. Snuffling at the others, Aaron made them go on. Spencer bumped into Aaron’s side playfully. The two of them followed the rest at a more sedate pace, tumbling, wrestling, nipping and playing with each other. Aaron felt happiness bloom deep inside him at being able to let go and actually enjoy himself, and his Were form for once in his life.
Aaron never got too far away from the group, using his powerful legs he leaped towards them when he got behind. Spencer barked at him, and Aaron felt his amusement at his antics. After almost an hour, the group dashed off to the stream that was nearby and stopped to roll in the water, get a drink and flop down, needing some rest.
It wasn’t too much longer before they were all up and running again. Spencer was prodding Aaron’s playful side once more. The two of them were not paying as close attention as they should have. When they fell back, a large reddish-brown Wolf stepped in front of them, growling. Aaron knew exactly who this was, Wilson Dempsey. Aaron growled back at him, never backing down from a fight. He felt Spencer at his side forming a united front against their enemy, the Coyote was growling dangerously, and Aaron took a moment to be impressed. As a human, Spencer was thin and lanky, his tongue sharp, but not very physically intimidating. As a Coyote, he was tall, still thin, but there was a crackle of danger that surrounded him. Aaron moved closer and glared at Wilson. The air was virtually static around them as they stood there each trying to force the other to back down.
Wilson crouched into a fighting stance, ready to attack Aaron. Aaron saw what Wilson was going to do and when the Wolf lunged forward, Aaron rolled to the side. Spencer was on him, even though Wilson had about fifteen pounds on Spencer. Wilson easily shook off the Coyote then leaped at Aaron who grabbed Wilson with his claws, scraping down his side. Wilson howled in pain as he used one of his powerful paws to hit Aaron, his own nails scraping Aaron’s face. The Wolf and Lynx broke apart and growled, circling each other perilously. Spencer tried to figure out what to do. He knew neither himself nor Aaron was any match for the bigger wolf. Howling, Spencer ran full out to go find the group they had been with.
The fight with Wilson was vicious. Aaron knew he needed to put Wilson down to gain some respect from the Pack or others would challenge him like this as well. He had to out think the bigger, heavier Wolf.
They broke off, Aaron was bleeding from several slashes and bites, but he still was standing. Wilson wasn’t much better off. Seeing an opportunity, Aaron ran full out, up to a large fallen tree, then at the top, he leaped onto Wilson’s back with his claws out he dug into Wilson’s sides to hold on. The wolf howled even louder and started to run and shake his body trying to dislodge Aaron from his back. Aaron grabbed the back of Wilson’s neck in his jaws and clamped down. The wolf kept running at trees bashing into them to try to get Aaron off of him.
Aaron clung to Wilson as he was running, he felt something inside him snap as he was bashed against one of the trees. He had lost track of Spencer and the rest of the Pack. When Wilson ran into a clearing, with others of the Pack there, growling and snarling themselves, the wolf skidded in his tracks. It was hard enough to finally dislodge Aaron from his back. Both boy’s got to their feet, changing as they went.
As soon as they were both in their human form, Aaron used his fists to punch Wilson, forcing the boy to his knees. Aaron was still a bit feral, a bit wild. His eyes had not changed yet and if he wanted he could easily change hands to his claws.
“What the fuck was that?” Aaron yelled as he circled Wilson who was trying to stand back up.
“You’re weak. You aren’t even a Wolf. Why the hell would I even think to follow a pathetic Lynx like you? And the Coyote, you don’t deserve him. An Omega like that should be mine.” Wilson spat as he tried to move towards Spencer. Aaron got between them and glared hard while he curled his lips into a snarl.
“You need to learn your place, Dempsey,” Aaron growled as his fist connected once more to Wilson’s face. The boy went down on his knees, panting. His body was already full of cuts, scrapes and deep bruises from their fight. Aaron wasn’t much better, but it was nothing that a couple of changes wouldn’t heal.
“Jonathan, get your boy under control, right now!” Malcolm shouted into the crowd that had gathered.
Wilson glared up at Aaron with wolf eyes, then before anyone could stop him, he slashed at Aaron with a partially formed paw, claws out he ripped across Aaron’s stomach.
Spencer had been watching, and when Aaron went down, he saw red and leaped at Wilson in his Coyote form. He had the boy on his back, his jaws clamped around his throat and a threatening growl coming from his throat.
While the Pack was trying to figure out what to do, a large Tiger and Panther stalked into the middle of the group. The Tiger let out a loud, and frankly frightening roar as he paced dangerously among the group. The Panther loped over to Aaron to check on him, and the deep growl that came from him had the surrounding wolves frightened. Haley ran up and bumped into the side of the Panther. He turned and gently licked her face.
The Tiger turned back to a man and stood there, anger vibrating through every single fiber of his being.
“Spencer! Let the little shit go. You and Haley change back and watch over Aaron.” Dave turned and stalked over to Malcolm and laid him flat out on his back. “I blame you for this. You’ve kept Aaron isolated and let hate and prejudice towards him fester in your Pack. I’m invoking my rights as his Godfather. And I swear Malcolm you try me on this and I will bury you, understand?”
Malcolm stood and rubbed his jaw, glaring at Dave.
“You can’t just take him. He’s my son.
“Who you don’t fucking deserve. And you, Annalise, how the hell could you let this continue? You could have come to me at any time, and Jason and I would have protected you.”
“Dave, argue later. We need to get Aaron out of here and to the hospital. His wounds look bad.”
Dave was torn because Aaron meant the world to him, but he couldn’t leave without saying one more thing.
“He dies, and I will rip you apart limb from limb, and no one would stop me,” Dave growled again before he turned back to Aaron and helped to lift him up.
“We aren’t far from my car. We need to get him there fast.”
“This isn’t over…” Wilson shouted then was slapped across his face. “Dad! What the hell?”
“Do you know who that is?”
“I don’t give a fuck who that is. That bastard and his Omega…” Jonathan Dempsey grabbed his son in a painful grip.
“That, you ungrateful little shit, is David Rossi and his mate Jason Gideon. They run the largest feline Pack in Virginia. One word and they could wipe us out. Aaron Hotchner is his fucking Godson. If that boy dies because of you, we will be at war with Rossi’s pack and don’t think for one fucking minute that any of us will survive. Stupid idiot.” Jonathan let his son go and stalked off. Wilson stood there trying not to look as frightened as he felt.
The ride to the hospital was filled with fear and trepidation. Dave had found some sweats and t-shirts for Haley and Spencer to throw on quickly before speeding to the hospital. When they got there, Jason raced them to the emergency area and slammed on the brakes in front of the door. When a nurse ran out Dave could tell she was going to yell at them for parking in an ambulance area.
“You can’t park here.”
“Then get him some help,” Dave shouted as he flung open the back door of the SUV. The nurse’s eyes widened then ran back in. A moment later she was coming out with two orderlies and a gurney.
“Pack fight that got out of hand.”
“Name and age?” The nurse asked as she ran next to the gurney with Dave and Jason following.
“Aaron Hotchner, 17. He’s a Lynx, his fight was with a Wolf.”
“Good, that helps. Now I need you and your companions to stay back. We will help Aaron, but you can’t go back there, okay? Someone will come out and tell you what’s going on, but we need to get him stabilized first” The nurse laid a hand on Dave’s arm, trying to reassure him.
“Right, okay.” His heart was pounding hard in his chest as he watched Aaron disappear into the emergency ward.
A few minutes later Mark and Simon were running into the hospital.
“How is he? What’s going on?”
“We don’t know yet, he was just taken back.”
“Spencer, Haley, we grabbed your things. Here Mr. Rossi, Aaron’s clothes.”
Spencer took his pile of clothes saying his thanks to the boys for thinking of him. He went to the bathroom and quickly changed. Spencer splashed water on his face and gripped the sink. He couldn’t think about losing Aaron, and not just because he was protection against his Father, but he had come to care for the older boy very much. He didn’t realize he was crying till he saw tears splashing into the sink.
The door opened and startled Spencer. He stood and reached for a paper towel to wipe his face. When all that happened was Jason pulling him into his arms, Spencer let out what he was feeling. He let the older man comfort him.
“Aaron is strong, and you have to believe he will pull through.”
“He can’t die, Professor. He just can’t.”
Jason didn’t know what to say as he let Spencer go. The two walked back out to the waiting room and settled in for the long wait.
2400 miles away in Las Vegas Nevada, Andrew Reid was pacing in his study. His nephew was missing, and his good for nothing deadbeat brother was missing as well. It had been more than six months now, and the worst was going through his head.
“Alpha!” Came the shout from one of the Pack members that were trolling the internet trying to find any possible signs of Spencer.
“Yes?” He followed the young man who had run into his study back to his computer.
“I think I found him, Alpha.”
“Spencer or William?”
“Spencer, Sir. Look, this video was uploaded a few minutes ago to a website for the Arlington-DC Pack. It’s a large Wolfpack. But look…” A click of the mouse and a video file played. When it was done, Andrew was vibrating with rage.
“I’ll fucking kill him.” The assistant wasn’t sure who his Alpha meant, William or the man on the video and he wasn’t about to ask.
“Linda!” Andrew shouted as he made his way through the house.
“Darling? Do you have news?”
“That bastard of a brother gave Spencer to fucking Malcolm Hotchner of all people. Get packed, we are going to Arlington, Virginia. And I swear to god that man better have my nephew in one piece or I will rip him apart.”
“Okay, you need to take a breath and calm down. I know how much you love Spencer, so do I, but don’t go starting a Pack war. I’ll go pack our bags. Have Cecil call the travel agent to get us the fastest way out there.”
Andrew took a deep breath and knew that his wife, his mate, was right. He needed to calm down. Andrew would prefer to avoid a Pack war, even if they were on the other side of the country. He could sanction the DC Pack, let it be known that they were not welcome in Vegas or within 100 miles in any direction of the county, not just the city. That should make them think twice.
Finding Cecil, Andrew had the young Were deal with the travel agent while he went to go find his wife. By the time he reached their bedroom, she had two bags packed and was working on getting some of their toiletries together.
“That was quick,” Andrew said as he pulled his mate into his arms.
“I’ve been expecting something to happen. You need to calm down, and we need to approach this intelligently. I want to see the video, and you are going to watch it again, but this time don’t let that temper of yours get the better of you. We need to know exactly what we are walking into.”
“A pit of vipers,” Andrew spat as his temper surfaced again. When his wife just lifted a brow at him, he took a few deep breaths and nodded. “You’re right. How do we tell Diana?”
“We don’t say anything yet. We go to Virginia, and we get information. The Pack is still looking for William. You know when word gets out of what he’s done, other Packs will join in the search. He won’t have anywhere safe to run to.”
“I know. I just can’t believe my coward of a brother would use his son as payment, and for him to be collared like some pet, it’s despicable.”
“Yet it happens all the time.” Linda waited till her husband ran out of steam, arms crossed and raised brow she shook her head. “You know as well as I do that Pets are the communities dirty little secret. William is a coward and used his son to get out of whatever it was he owed Malcolm. Just remember, Wolves are very dangerous.” Linda didn’t even try to hide the worry she felt.
“We can be just as dangerous. I’m not afraid of that pompous jackass.” Andrew laid his head on his wife’s seeking the comfort he needed to keep his head about him. He also knew she was right. Andrew needed to view the video without getting angry. There was something about the older boy, something he needed to understand.
“When you are done, come to the study, and we’ll view the video together. There was something…I can’t really put my finger on it, but the older boy, he looked, I don’t know, he looked almost scared.”
Linda didn’t say anything else as she let her husband go. She would join him in a few minutes, then they would head out to the airport. She wanted answers just as badly as her husband.
Spencer paced the waiting room worried. He had tried to settle but couldn’t. Especially after Malcolm had stormed in wanting status on his son and Rossi kicking him out just before security did it for him. A social worker had already shown up, and Rossi was currently talking to them.
Haley, Simon, and Markus were huddled together in the corner. Spencer wondered a little about them. He had already figured out that Haley was an Omega, but she was certainly no pushover. He could see that they were close, and the two Alpha’s seemed very close to each other. Multi-partners were not unheard of in Wolf packs, or even in his own Pack. His Uncle Andrew and Aunt Linda had a third for many years till he was killed in a fight with a neighboring Pack who was trying to take control. It had devastated them, but Spencer’s Uncle had kept control and set sanctions on the Pack that attacked. Some of the members had asked asylum and Andrew had granted it. The leader was erratic and unstable. Spencer was very young when this had all happened, and no one was surprised at the eventual dissolution of the rival Pack.
Thoughts were twisting and turning in Spencer’s head, things he couldn’t stop thinking about. He worried too much about Aaron. He didn’t know why he cared this much this fast. He didn’t know if it was circumstance, or something else. Something inside him that was drawn to the older boy.
“Son, I think you should try and sit for a bit.” Jason led Spencer to a chair, and the calming presence of the Alpha had helped to at least make Spencer relax a little. “There isn’t anything we can do till we know what is going on.”
Spencer just nodded and let his eyes wander towards the doors that Aaron had gone through earlier. He was lost in his thoughts and his worry, he didn’t even notice when Rossi sat next to his mate.
“The social worker has some concerns about Aaron. She doesn’t want to make any decisions till she hears from the Doctor. She talked to Haley and their friends. She’s concerned about Aaron’s state of mind. I don’t blame her. Jason, how could we let this continue?”
“We did what we could, Dave. I believe that if Sean hadn’t come along, Aaron would have come to us sooner. He wants to protect his brother, even though he knows that Malcolm won’t touch that boy.” Jason threaded his fingers with Dave’s and watched the same door as Spencer.
The tension in the waiting room was high. When Annalise Hotchner came in with her son Sean, who looked like he had been crying, neither Dave nor Jason kicked her out.
“Anna,” Dave stood and kissed her cheek. “I should be angry with you.”
“I know, Dave. I’ve done everything wrong with Aaron, and he’s suffered because of my fear. I intervened as much as I could till Sean, then Malcolm used my youngest against me. I’ve failed Aaron, favoring Sean, and that wasn’t right.”
“Did you know Mr. Hotchner was sexually abusing your son?” Spencer stood and glared at the woman that he had barely any contact with.
“What? I…no, no you’re, you’re wrong. Malcolm wouldn’t…”
“Wouldn’t he, Anna? A way to exert his control. It wouldn’t be about sex, but it would be about control and subjugation. I should never have let Wilson accept Malcolm’s interest in you.”
“It isn’t your fault, Dave. What are you going to do?”
“It depends on what the Doctors find and how he comes through this. The hate and prejudice that your husband instilled in the Pack made it so that Aaron would have to always be fighting to keep control. He did this on purpose, a way to keep punishing Aaron even after he gives up control of the Pack. It’s abusive and disgusting. I will do whatever it takes to make sure that boy is safe.”
“Uncle?” Sean tugged at Dave’s pant leg and looked up with large, frightened eyes. Dave got down eye level with Sean. “Is Aaron going to die?”
“No. Aaron is not going to die. You just have to believe that, okay?”
“I’m sorry for being a brat.” Sean burst into tears, and Dave sighed as he pulled the child into his arms. He knew it wasn’t Sean’s fault. His Father had given him too much at a young age. Dave hated thinking that this was a tough but needed lesson for the boy.
“You have to do better.” Dave glared up at his Goddaughter.
“I know, Dave. I know.” Dave saw the guilt and shame on her face as she moved to sit next to Jason. When all he did was take her hand, Anna laid her head on his shoulder and tried to keep herself together.
Dave kept Sean with him while Spencer once again paced. It was another couple of hours till a doctor finally came out to talk with them.
“Family of Aaron Hotchner?”
Dave, Jason, and Annalise stood up and went near the Doctor. Spencer stayed close, but Haley and the boys with Sean stayed off to the side.
“The surgery went well. No vital organs were hit, but there was extensive internal bleeding. We were able to get that under control then get him stitched up and stable. He’ll have scarring, even after several changes to heal himself. Though I don’t recommend Aaron change for several weeks. He is going to need all the rest he can get for the next two weeks.
“I have some concerns.” The Doctor looked between the adults and Spencer didn’t miss the hardness that came into his eyes. “There was some bruising around his thighs and buttocks. Some of it looked older, some new. I ordered a rape kit. His X-Rays show several healed fractures, and a healed break in his arm. His back is riddled with scars. I’m going to be blunt here. That boy has been beaten and abused. I am not going to release him into a household where his injuries could get worse. Along with the rips in his stomach from the Wolf claws, he has broken ribs and several internal bruises that are frankly concerning.”
“I’m already working with a social worker to invoke my rights as Aaron’s Godfather. He is going to come home with me and stay with myself and my Mate.” Spencer could see that Dave was trying to keep a hold of his temper. Aaron’s Mother had tears in her eyes, but Spencer couldn’t bring himself to feel sorry for her. She chose one son over the other, by her own admission and it pissed him off.
“I’m going to also recommend an interim Omega, or someone he is close to that is an Omega to help keep him calm. He’s going to be in a lot of pain, and for the injuries to his stomach he will need to keep as still as possible for the first week of recovery, then limited movement till the wounds close completely.”
“I’ll do it.” Spencer moved close, and the Doctor just raised a brow. “I’m an Omega. I’ve helped Aaron a little so far. He trusts me, and I think with everything he’s been through he isn’t going to trust a stranger.”
“Alright young man.” The Doctor then turned back to the family, “Aaron is going to need counseling. I’ve, unfortunately, seen this kind of behavior in some Alphas before. Especially if the son or daughter shows the potential to be a particularly strong Alpha. I can’t guess to the state of his Father’s mind, but I have enough experience as a Doctor and specialist to guess. He isn’t going to want to give up control of his son easily, but I will allow you, Mr. Rossi, to take custody. I’ll give my recommendation to the social worker.” The Doctor moved away to talk to the social worker, and Dave walked out of the hospital.
Jason went after him. Spencer figured the two needed some time alone, he couldn’t imagine what Rossi was going through.
“Spencer, I should never have let Malcolm bring you into the house the way he did. But, I’ve never seen Aaron let someone in so close so fast. No words can make up for my complacency in what Malcolm has done to my son.”
“No, they can’t. In my Pack, any parent who treated their child like that? My Alpha would have put them down.” Spencer walked away from Annalise Hotchner. He didn’t want to hear her excuses as he moved to sit with Haley, Simon, and Marcus.
“He’s going to be okay. The Doctor wants an Omega to be with him to hopefully keep him calm enough so that his injuries heal right.”
“I’ll go, he trusts me.”
“No. You have two mates you need to be worried over.” The shock on Haley’s face almost made Spencer laugh. “You three are hopeless. Have you always been drawn to each other?”
“Yes.” Haley’s eyes widened as she blushed as something dawned on her. “Oh.”
“Yeah, oh, but it makes sense. I’ve always liked both of you, but didn’t want to ruin our friendship.” Marcus said as he took Haley’s hand.
“I don’t think anyone will be surprised. It’s not uncommon among Packs to have polyamorous relationships, especially social packs like Wolves. The three of you are highly compatible, and you obviously care for each other. There were several very successful poly groups in my own Pack back home. My Alpha…” Spencer’s heart hitched as he looked away from the three friends.
“I’m so sorry Spencer. You should be the one to stay with Aaron. He trusts you, probably even more than he trusts me. I think you have a bond of your own to worry about.”
“Yeah, I know. I’m not ready for anything though. We still don’t know that much about each other.”
“Then use this time to get to know one another better. Uncle Dave and Uncle Jason, they’ll protect the both of you.”
Spencer smiled as he leaned back in the uncomfortable hospital chair waiting to hear when he could see Aaron.
He was dozing off in the chair when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
“We are going to be bringing Aaron out. We’d like you there to hopefully keep him calm.” The Doctor said as he pulled away from Spencer.
“Okay,” he said as he stood, rubbing his face with his hands to help wake him up more. Spencer followed after the Doctor as they started walking towards the recovery rooms.
“I need to ask if you’ve started your heats, and when the last one was.”
Spencer couldn’t help the blush that crept up as he walked next to the Doctor.
“Oh, um, they ah started last year. I had one just before I came to DC, so I’ll be okay for another couple of months. I’m on a three-month cycle.”
“I would take care of it myself Doctor. I’m still a virgin. My Alpha doesn’t believe in letting the younger ones have sexual partners before we are ready.”
“You have a good Alpha then, Mr. Reid. I got your name from Mr. Rossi. And I know how many misconceptions there are out there among normal humans about Were and Omega heats.”
“It’s really no worse than a human female’s period. We had a few non-Weres in our Pack. Children get a thorough sex education on both human and Were anatomy and sex practices.”
Spencer fell silent as they got closer to the room.
“Now, we are going to give him something to counteract the anesthesia, but we want to do it slowly. Just hold his hand and stay close. We don’t want to do this too fast, or he could jerk and tear one of his stitches. He may be out of it, and he may not make sense at first, but those effects will go away once he has been awake for a while.”
Spencer walked in and took the chair next to Aaron’s bed. He took Aaron’s hand and laced their fingers together. He carefully watched Aaron as the Doctor slowly gave him the drugs that would help bring him out of the anesthesia. When Aaron’s eyes started to flutter, Spencer went with his instincts and laid a hand on the older boy’s cheek. When Aaron nuzzled into his hand, something stirred inside Spencer. His Omega wanted to purr at the trust Aaron was showing in him.
“Hey,” Aaron croaked as his eyes fluttered open and saw Spencer there.
“Hey, yourself. The doctor wanted to bring you out slowly. How are you feeling?”
“Like I got hit by a bus. Owww, why does it hurt to breathe?”
“That’s because you have several cracked ribs, young man. I’ll have the nurse bring in some painkillers, and we’ll adjust the bed out to accommodate Spencer. I don’t want you alone. We can talk more in the morning, but for now, we want you to have some water and get some rest. The water will help to flush you of any residual effects of the anesthesia.”
“No organs were damaged, but you have some very deep gashes on your stomach. I stitched them up, and you are going to have scars, but you are very lucky. Just an inch higher and the story right now might be very different. I’m going to leave you in the nurse and Spencer’s capable hands. If you need anything, let the Nurse know.”
“Thank you, Doctor.”
The Doctor just smiled as he left the room. A few minutes later two nurses had come into the room to help convert the bed to a larger one. One of the Nurses stayed behind and helped Aaron with some water and adding a painkiller to his IV. Once she was gone, Spencer took off his jeans and flannel shirt then crawled into bed, carefully wrapping himself around Aaron. He had not realized how tired he was till his head hit the pillow and he was out in seconds.
Spencer slowly woke to warm heat radiating from the other body in the bed. He buried his head against Aaron’s shoulder not wanting to look him in the eye as he flushed with embarrassment over the highly intimate moment. When he felt his erection, he felt his skin get even hotter. Slowly he tried to extricate himself from Aaron, but a small whimper had him settling back down. He tried not think about his predicament and hoped it would pass.
“It’s okay Spencer,” Aaron croaked, his throat was still sore from the day before.
“I ah, I just have to go to the restroom. I’ll be right back.” Spencer felt the reluctance from Aaron to letting him go, but he just smiled and laid a hand on the uninjured part of his stomach. “I promise. Just going in there,” Spencer pointed to the bathroom, “then I’ll be right back.” Aaron nodded and uncurled his arm from Spencer, who gently got up off the bed and went into the bathroom shutting and locking the door behind him. He leaned against the wall with his eyes closed and tried to will his erection to go away. When all his thoughts turned to Aaron and the feelings he was feeling for the older boy, they did nothing to help his predicament. The only thing he could do was try to quickly take care of it as quietly as he could.
Gripping the sink as he pushed his pants down past his hips, Spencer did what he had to do. Biting his lip as he spilled into the sink, he almost sagged to his knees at the force. Turning on the water, he grabbed paper towels and cleaned himself up, and the sink. He took a few moments to calm down, then finished his business, washing his hands once again, he put himself back to rights then went back out.
Aaron was looking at him with raised brows as he brought the bed up so he could sit up as comfortably as possible.
“You took a long time in there. Everything okay?”
Spencer’s face flushed as walked back to the bed and sat down on one end.
“Y-yes, everything’s fine, why do you ask?” he stammered as he looked down at the bed.
Aaron wasn’t stupid. He knew what Spencer was doing in there, he was a teenage boy himself, but sex, even touching himself had become tainted. He didn’t want Spencer to feel bad for it though, and Aaron wanted to make sure that he knew it was okay.
“It’s okay Spencer. I get it, and I’m sorry, didn’t mean to embarrass you.”
“How are you feeling?” Spencer asked trying to divert the conversation from the uncomfortable topic of sex and masturbation.
“Hurt everywhere. What happened? My memory is a bit fuzzy.”
“Wilson. After you and he had run into the clearing, where you were holding onto his back quite fiercely, you both turned and started yelling. Your Dad tried to get his Dad to control him, but the two of you started fighting again, he slashed out with a partially transformed claw. Then Mr. Rossi and Mr. Gideon showed up. He stood toe-to-toe with Malcolm, said he was invoking his Godfather rights, then we rushed you here.”
“Wait, what? Uncle Dave did what?” Fear and something else that Spencer couldn’t name flashed over Aaron’s face.
“I don’t understand, is that significant?” Spencer was trying to understand theses Pack dynamics.
“Basically he told my Father he was taking over as my parent. Godparents in a Pack like my Uncle’s, they take it very seriously. The family is everything to them. Uncle Jason is more in touch with his feline than Dave, but he still has those instincts.”
“Like how cats will take care of other species after they have lost a litter,” Spencer said more to himself than to anyone else.
“Yeah, but mix that with Dave’s deep Italian roots and family and protecting that family is everything.”
“Aaron, I’m going to ask you something, and I don’t want you to get upset, okay?”
Aaron took a deep breath and looked down at his clasped hands.
“Why have you not asked for help? If you knew they were there, wanting you, why have you not gone to them? Your Father, he’s killing you, Aaron. Maybe not physically, but in other ways.”
“I want to protect them. My Father, he could kill them Spencer and I-I that would…” Aaron took a deep breath trying to get his feelings under control. “If they got hurt because of me I wouldn’t be able to handle it.”
“Don’t you think that’s our decision to make Aaron?” Jason asked from the doorway. Neither boy had heard the men come into the room. “We don’t need the protection of a 17-year-old boy. You don’t have to always be the hero, Aaron.”
“I know, I couldn’t take it if he hurt you.” Aaron let some of the tears out because he couldn’t hold them back.
“That is no reason to keep all of this to yourself. But it’s out of your hands now, anyway. The social worker talked to the Doctor. Your Father is going to be receiving a restraining order by the end of the day and Jason, and I now have temporary custody till we can work out a permanent arrangement. And this is not up for debate young man.”
“Your Mom and brother are going to go into protective custody. I can assure you there are enough people that would gladly challenge Malcolm.” Dave sat on the bed on the other side of Aaron. “He is never going to hurt you again. This I promise you.”
Aaron didn’t know whether to be happy or afraid. For now, he pushed down on his emotions and tried to control the storm raging inside him.
“Well, it is good to see you sitting up young man. Before we get started, I’m going to have to ask you, gentlemen, to leave. When I’m done, you can come back in the room.” The Doctor had walked through the door and stood at the end of Aaron’s bed.
“We’ll be back, Aaron.” Aaron watched as the two men left wondering how his life had gotten so out of control.
“Do you want me to leave, Doctor?”
“Only if that is what Aaron want’s. Your presence helped him sleep most of the night, even the nurses were surprised.”
Aaron looked at Spencer and wondered about that too. So much had happened between them in only a week, he didn’t know how to process it.
Spencer grabbed a chair and sat facing the Doctor.
“Let me start by introducing myself, I’m Doctor Richards. I assisted in the surgery, Dr. Baines did the actual surgery. Aaron, I’m going to be blunt here. I don’t want to treat you like a child and from what your family has said, you are a very intelligent young man.” The Doctor waited for Aaron to acknowledge that he understood.
“We had a rape kit taken. We informed your Guardian that we took one. What we found was concerning, Aaron. Along with the X-rays that spoke of years of physical abuse. Now, I know you don’t have to tell me anything, but there is enough here to bring charges against your abuser. I know you are going to protest, but I’ve seen too many of these cases among the Packs. You have people out there that are concerned for you, and I agree.”
Aaron turned to the side and took a deep, steadying breath.
“It’s okay, you don’t have to talk to me, but I encourage you to talk to someone. Now, as far as your injuries, you are lucky in that no vital organs were hit. We’ve stitched you up, but you’ll have to be on antibiotics, and before you protest, even Weres can get infections. You will also have limited movement for at least a week to let your wounds close properly. Then, you can walk around for a limited amount of time for at least two weeks after. And no shifting whatsoever.”
“What?!” Aaron’s head whipped around to stare at the Doctor.
“You could open the stitches and bleed out. This is one of the areas of the body that can’t be easily healed by a couple of shifts. You need rest and little movement. Now, David Rossi I understand has now taken temporary custody?”
“Yeah, he told me.”
“Good. You are going to spend another night here at the hospital, then be released tomorrow. Rest, fluids and I want to see you eat something. If you aren’t eating, I will keep you here till you are. Understand?” The Doctor stood and made some notes in Aaron’s chart.
“Yes, Sir.” Aaron looked miserable, and Spencer knew it was because he hated to be down for any extended period of time. Aaron always appeared to have nervous energy to burn.
“Good. I’ll have something brought up for the both of you. How do hamburgers sound?” The Doctor smiled, trying to lighten the mood just a little.
“They sound good, thank you.”
The Doctor nodded then left the room leaving the boys alone.
Dave and Jason had spent a couple of hours with the boys, talking and planning. They went home to get a room ready on the bottom floor for Aaron so that he didn’t have to maneuver the stairs.
Aaron’s Mother and even Sean came to see him. Little Sean looked miserable as he saw his brother in a hospital bed, he had burst into tears and tried to fling himself at Aaron. Luckily his Mother stopped him. Aaron did let the boy come up next to him, and they hugged. Sean apologized over and over. Aaron just tried to soothe his brother, forgiving him.
Nurses came and went, giving him doses of antibiotics and other medications. He and Spencer talked about a lot of mundane things, both staying away from more sensitive topics.
“I got a new book, want me to read to you? My Mom used to always read to me.”
“You never talk about your Mom, Spencer. Why not?”
Spencer took a deep breath and was about to tell Aaron everything when there was a knock on the door. Frowning, Spencer walked over and opened to see who was there.
“Alpha!” Spencer practically shouted as he flung himself around the man.
“Hey, kiddo. Can we come in?” Andrew smiled as he wrapped his arms around his nephew.
“Of course.” Spencer stepped back to let his Alpha and the woman with him into the room. He hugged her tight as well. Spencer did not see the apprehension on Aaron’s face.
“How did you find me?”
“We had the Pack trolling the internet for any signs, as well as someone looking for your Father. There was a video upload on the website for the Arlington-DC Pack. From there we learned where you were after we landed at the airport. I was so afraid, Spence. I cannot believe my brother would be so cruel. But, now we are here, and ready to take you back home where you belong.”
Spencer turned to Aaron with the biggest smile on his face, and Aaron’s heart was shattering in his chest. Just when he found someone who cared about him, he was going to be taken away, and Aaron was breaking in a whole new way. Spencer didn’t notice as Aaron tried very hard to school his emotions.
“Uncle, I want to introduce you to Aaron Hotchner. Aaron this is my Uncle and Alpha, Andrew Reid, and my Aunt, Linda.”
Aaron swallowed hard as he looked at the three of them. He plastered on a fake smile and nodded.
“Pleased to meet you Sir, Ma’am.”
“Aaron.” Andrew turned to Spencer and laid a hand on his shoulder. “Come on, I think we have a lot to talk about.”
Spencer turned to Aaron and was about to protest that he wanted to stay.
“It’s okay Spencer. It’s family, they’re more important.” Spencer frowned at the odd tone in Aaron’s voice but didn’t have time to ponder it as his Uncle was leading him out of the room. Once the door was shut behind them, Aaron let himself grieve. He felt so alone now as something sharp twisted just behind his heart. Closing his eyes, he laid flat and tried hard to put those growing feelings he had for Spencer in a box. It wouldn’t do for him to hope, he lost that a long time ago.
“Alpha, I don’t like to leave Aaron alone.”
“Dinner and an evening with us won’t hurt. We have been looking for you for six months Spencer. I’d like to know what happened and if you know anything about your Father.”
Spencer felt something in his guts twist a little about leaving Aaron by himself. But, he had missed his Uncle and his Pack fiercely. Spencer acquiesced and followed them out to their rental car. He watched the hospital recede in the background as Uncle Andrew drove off feeling very unsettled. Spencer had his suspicions on what was happening, but he had never known a bond to happen that fast. He pushed down the anxiety that had started deep inside him at the thought of possibly being bonded to Aaron. When Spencer looked around after pulling himself out of his head, it didn’t surprise Spencer at all that they ended up at an upscale steakhouse. Spencer also wasn’t surprised when his Uncle was recognized as soon as they entered the restaurant. His Uncle was quite famous because of all his published books on his research into ancient Were societies and their place in history.
“Dr. Reid, I just have to tell you that I loved your latest book on the Anasazi caves and the paintings of Weres that you studied. Loved it.” The hostess gushed as she led them to a discreet, but nice booth. Linda slid in first, then Spencer next and Andrew took Spencer’s left side. Menus were placed in front of each of them, and Spencer was trying to find his appetite. After she had left, a waitress came by and took their drink orders.
“Spencer?” Andrew eyed his nephew with concern.
“I’m not hungry. I feel…I didn’t like leaving him alone, Uncle.”
Andrew and Linda exchanged a quick look over Spencer’s head.
“Why don’t you tell us what happened to you first.”
Spencer waited till the cup of coffee was in front of him, and he doctored it like he liked it. He knew his Uncle wouldn’t press till he was ready to talk. He took a few sips to settle the churning in his gut from being away from Aaron.
“I got out of class a little early and was walking with Celia and Ash. We started off towards the library. I wanted to finish my homework, and there were some research papers due for the college classes I was taking online. When we got to the library, Dad was there. He told me to get in the car, and at first, I said no, there was something strange, something I didn’t like about the way he was acting. Dad got upset that I wasn’t listening to him, so to keep the peace I got in anyway. He took my bag and dug out my phone. Pulling the sim and battery out he destroyed it. I was scared, Alpha. I thought about running, but….”
“Your Father was always quick. Ash and Celia came running to the compound, they knew something was wrong when you didn’t come into the library. We tried to track your Father’s movements, but the trail became convoluted.” Andrew gripped his wine glass keeping his emotions under control while Spencer continued with his story.
“We ditched the car, then took a variety of trains, short plane rides, buses and even a couple of used cars here and there. I tried calling a couple of times from a public phone when I could find one, but he caught me. When we arrived Virginia, we stopped at an older hotel that had keys and not key cards. He locked me in and said that he would be back. I tried the hotel phone, but it was disabled. He had pulled the cord from the wall when I went to use the bathroom. I then found out later that he told the Manager I was some kind of problem teen who had been seduced by a cult and he was taking me to a deprogrammer.
“I hate him, Alpha. I hate him for taking me away like that.” Spencer’s hands shook a little as he sipped at his coffee, then wiped his eyes to keep the tears from falling.
“He came back about an hour later. Told me to shower and put on the clothes he bought. After that he,” Spencer bent his head, not wanting Andrew to see the shame that crossed his face. “He put a collar on me. We took the back way out of the hotel, then he drove for about forty-five minutes on back roads. Finally, we stopped at this large mansion. That’s when I found out I was being used to pay off some debt to Malcolm Hotchner.”
Andrew tried to school his emotions as he heard Spencer’s story. The waitress came back and placed a basket of fresh bread on the table, then they all placed their orders.
“We are looking for William, and we will find him, Spencer. Malcolm didn’t hurt you, did he?”
Spencer was silent, picking at a piece of bread. He wasn’t sure how much to tell his Alpha. Spencer knew Aaron needed help, and though Dave was taking custody, Spencer thought that maybe Aaron should leave the area altogether. He was genuinely concerned about his safety.
“Spence, you can tell us anything, you know that right?”
“I know, Alpha. No, he didn’t hurt me. He, um, he gave me to his son, Aaron.”
“The boy in the hospital bed?”
Spencer nodded as he tried to nibble on some of the bread. His stomach was still churning at being gone from Aaron’s bedside.
“He didn’t hurt you did, he?” Andrew growled, and his eyes started to turn golden.
“No! No Aaron wouldn’t hurt me. He protected me. That night, when Dad left me there, Aaron took the collar off and threw it aside in front of his Father. Later…” Spencer frowned as he kept picking at the bread. His Aunt laid a hand on his, making him look up at her.
“Sweetheart, what happened?”
“Aaron told me to go to the bedroom and not to come out. He came up about an hour later…Alpha, he has scars. Remember Hawley?” Andrew’s eyes darkened, and his Aunt let out a shudder. “Malcolm reminds me of Hawley. I’m afraid for Aaron, Uncle. Even though his Godfather took custody, I’m afraid if he stays here, Malcolm will kill him.”
“Are you sure about that, Spencer?”
“Yes.” Food came and plates were put in front of the three of them. Spencer ate a little, but his appetite just wasn’t there. He was scared for the first time since being brought to Virginia. When Andrew and Linda pushed their plates away, they noticed how little Spencer had eaten.
“Kiddo, you need to eat.”
“I’m not very hungry, Uncle.”
“Maybe you just need some rest. We’ll get your food to go, then we’re going back to the hotel. Maybe some sleep will do you good.”
“No arguments, Spencer.”
Spencer huffed and slumped in his seat. The waitress came and boxed up their food and handed Andrew his card. Spencer didn’t say much as he followed his Aunt and Uncle back to the rental car. By the time they got to the hotel, Spencer was tired. He was just going to lay down for a little bit, then beg his Alpha to take him back to the hospital. He needed to be with Aaron, and he wasn’t sure why.
Aaron waited and waited for Spencer to come back. He had tried to eat something, but it all felt like a lead weight in his stomach. He laid back in bed, his stitches itched a little as he stared up at the ceiling. The nurses had come and gone, checking and cleaning his injuries, changing bandages and giving him his antibiotics. He hurt everywhere, and when he breathed his ribs and lungs ached. But worse than that, he felt emotionally drained. His thoughts started to turn dark as he looked up at the ceiling wishing Spencer would come back. He was anxious and was afraid that he was never going to see the younger boy again.
Hearing the door open, Aaron’s heart soared, until he saw Dave sit down in a chair near him.
“Spencer’s Alpha, he found him. They left, and I don’t think he’s coming back.” Aaron’s voice choked on that last part as he fisted his hand around the sheet, trying to stem the tears that welled up in his eyes that he refused to shed.
“You don’t know that. He could be back at any moment.”
Aaron just shrugged a shoulder as he looked down at nothing. Dave kept talking to him, but he wasn’t really paying attention. Aaron felt so lost without Spencer. He ached for the younger boy in a way he had never felt for anyone else, and he didn’t know why.
“Aaron?” Dave laid a hand on his shoulder.
“I miss him, Alpha.” Dave knew something was terribly wrong as Aaron was slipping into conventional terms. Dave had a small bit of empathy, a rare gift among Weres and laid a hand on Aaron’s arm to try to see if he could pick up any emotions.
“Aaron, I need you to talk to me.”
“I…” Aaron felt his throat close with the emotions that churned up. He shook his head then looked away, giving into the pain and fear. He didn’t know how to put into words what he was feeling, all that he knew was that Spencer was being taken away from him and there wasn’t anything he could do about it.
“Alright. You rest, Jason and I will be back in the morning.”
Dave stood and reluctantly left the room. He had someone to find.
After Dave left Aaron tried to roll onto his side. Though it hurt, the pain in his heart was worse. He wondered how he had let himself get so close so fast. He curled up on the bed as best he could without opening his stitches, and silently cried himself to sleep.
Dave did not have that hard of a time finding where Spencer had gone. Andrew Reid didn’t exactly hide his presence and when one of the women who worked at the hotel called Dave, he knew what he had to do. Dave was going to demand protocol, which Dr. Reid broke the moment he stepped into Dave’s territory. That would give him reason to talk to the famous Anthropologist and find out what he intended to do with Spencer.
Confidence oozed out of him as he knocked on the hotel room door. Dave, with Jason beside him, pasted on an easy smile as the door was opened.
“Good morning, may I help you?”
“Well, you can start by apologizing for entering my territory without telling me.”
“I’m sorry, but who are you?” Dave figured out this was Andrew Reid. The resemblance to Spencer was uncanny. The man looked more like Spencer’s Father than an uncle.
“David Rossi, my partner Jason Gideon. We are the Alpha pair of the Arlington feline Pack. You entered our territory last night and didn’t let us know, or call to ask permission to enter. I think there are a few things we need to discuss.”
“Well, I’m sorry Mr. Rossi, Mr. Gideon, but it was urgent I come here. Now I’m not sure what we need to discuss, but this is a private family matter. We will be gone within the day, so you don’t have to worry about us lingering.” Andrew eyed the man, a glint of danger in his eyes.
Dave just raised a brow. He was not intimidated by Dr. Reid.
“Oh, but it is very much my business when it pertains to my Godson and Spencer Reid.”
“What do you have to do with my nephew?”
“I think this discussion is better had inside your room, don’t you think, Dr. Reid?”
Andrew studied Dave and Jason for a moment noticing the twin expressions on their faces. After a short staring contest, Andrew moved aside and let the two men in.
“Please have a seat.” Andrew gestured to the couch, which Dave and Jason took. “Would you like a drink?”
“Just coffee, if you have it. If not water is fine,” Jason said as he leaned back and started to chew on a toothpick. “I think we have a situation here, Dr. Reid.”
“And what is that? I’m sorry I didn’t get your names.”
“David Rossi and I’m Jason Gideon.” Andrew nodded his acknowledgment as he handed the men some coffee from the small kitchen in the suite of rooms that the Reid’s were renting.
“So, what situation do we need to discuss.”
“Did Spencer tell you what’s been going on?”
“He told me some of it. I can infer the rest. I mean to tell you, Mr. Gideon, that I will not let my nephew stay in this situation. To have witnessed just a fraction of what he did is untenable. And, Mr. Rossi, I have to wonder just what kind of Godfather you are to have let someone stay in the situation they did for so long.”
“You’re right. And I blame myself for not interfering before. However, I couldn’t do anything till Aaron, or a legal entity confirmed my suspicions. I wanted to help him, I gave him a safe place when he needed it and tried to talk him into telling me what was going on. But, Aaron has a strong hero complex. In his mind, if he let himself suffer, he could save his little brother. He wasn’t going to leave unless he knew Sean was going to be safe.”
Andrew sat back in the chair he had settled into and crossed his legs at the knee. Sipping his own cup of coffee, he couldn’t deny the boy’s motivations.
“Brotherly love can be a powerful bond, even when that bond is irrevocably corrupted. So, what does this have to do with Spencer?”
“You know, don’t you, Spencer?” Jason looked up and to his left to see the boy standing just inside the small hallway to the bedrooms.
“I thought I imagined it.”
“No, Spencer, you weren’t. Aaron is hurting for you. He’s gone unresponsive, and I couldn’t get him to talk to me this morning. He almost popped open stitches in his effort to get off the bed, he wanted to hunt for you. They had to restrain him, Spencer. He was almost feral.”
“No. Please, Alpha, please I need to see him,” Spencer begged his Uncle, who just looked utterly confused.
“Dr. Reid, the boys have a bond. I figured it out last night when Aaron thought Spencer had left. He thinks you are taking Spencer away from him. I fear what he might do if you actually do leave.”
“I don’t know when it happened. It might have been the night…when I helped him with his injuries. I noticed it last night. We haven’t had sex or anything, it’s not like that. I think… I believe that we formed an emotional and possibly a mental bond. I don’t know. But, you know it isn’t unheard of, Uncle. Especially in overly emotional or mentally stressful situations, Alpha’s have been known to seek the comfort of the nearest Omega, and platonic bonds have formed. I read once a book on Alpha/Omega pairings that explained how many of the best pairings stated in their teens…” Spencer trailed off and blushed hard as the men in the room just watched as he rambled.
“I don’t know what to say to this.” Andrew stood and paced.
“I think, darling, that we should offer Aaron a place with us. Obviously, that young man is not safe, even in his own territory. Maybe, if we bring him with us, Spencer can help him heal, don’t you think?” Linda had come into the room and laid a hand on her husband’s arm, trying to help center him.
“I don’t like taking someone from their own Pack.”
“The thing you need to know, Dr. Reid, is that Aaron was never truly part of his Pack. His Father created a terrible situation for Aaron and kept him removed from the others. He wasn’t even allowed on runs. He would often either run by himself or come out with my Pack.”
“Why would his own Father not allow him to interact with his own Pack?” Andrew frowned and leaned forward in his chair. He knew how much a Were needed their Packmates and the isolation and separation anxiety one could feel when not allowed to participate in Pack activities.
“He’s not Wolf, Dr. Reid. He took on a recessive trait on his Mother’s side. He’s a Lynx, and it’s why Malcolm Hotchner hates Aaron, yet dotes on his younger son Sean.”
Andrew was horrified that a family would hate their child because of their Were status. Even though he had seen it often in his research, it still was never easy to hear. Even in his own Pack, there were those that had a recessive trait come out and were different than the others, but he would never kick them out or ostracize them for being different.
“We can ask him. Find out what he wants. No one has ever asked him, Alpha. But..”
Andrew watched Spencer’s face as the boy tried to form the words he needed, ones Andrew knew he might not like.
“Go on, Pup, speak your mind.”
“I don’t want to leave him. I don’t-I don’t think I could, Alpha.” Spencer looked all of his young fourteen years as he stood there nervous about how Andrew would react.
“You would go against my wishes, wouldn’t you Spencer.” Andrew stood and walked over to the boy and laid his hands on his shoulders. Spencer looked up into his Alpha’s face, straightened to his full height and looked Andrew in the eye.
“Yes, Alpha. I think he needs me more than you do.”
“Maybe you’re right.” Andrew turned to Rossi and Gideon who were just watching what was going on more than anything. “You would watch over him?”
“If it were Aaron’s choice to stay, we would take both boys in. But, let’s talk to Aaron, give him a choice. He’s had too many of his choices taken from him in his life. I want him to feel like he has some kind of control over his life.”
Andrew pulled his nephew into his arms and held him close. He knew he needed to let Spencer make his own decisions and trust what his instincts were telling him.
“Alright Pup. We’ll talk to your Aaron and go from there.”
Spencer smiled and felt a lightness in his heart that had not been there for the last few months. He knew what Aaron might say, but Spencer wanted to hear it from his own mouth.
Aaron was sitting on a flat rock among a long line of them that butted up against the small hill that was on the Las Vegas Pack’s compound. He had a blanket wrapped around his shoulders with a cup of hot coffee in his hands. He wasn’t prepared at first for the desert nights to be so cool. He thought about the differences between his home and here as he watched the blazing sunset. The first time he had seen a desert sunset it had almost made him cry with the beauty of it all. The variety of colors had surprised him, and no two ever looked quite the same. He often came out here to this place and contemplated how his life had changed so much in the last year.
It had taken him a while to realize that Spencer hadn’t truly left him when he was in the hospital, recovering from Wilson’s attack. His Father had tried to gain entrance to his room, but the two Weres Dave had stationed outside Aaron’s room wouldn’t let him in. His Godfather protected him to the best of his ability. When Spencer came back and crawled up on the bed, something that had broken in him started to heal. He never wanted to know the feel of separation from Spencer ever again. It was an easy decision for him to make when Dr. Reid made his offer. He would be away from his Father and hopefully, find some peace.
Aaron took a long drink of his coffee and closed his eyes savoring the quiet around him. He had thought the forests near his home in Virginia were serene, they had nothing compared to the desert. While it wasn’t completely silent, there was a kind of peace out here that he had never found back home. He still struggled with himself to feel like he belonged, especially because the Coyote’s had not shunned him like his own Pack had. Their acceptance and generosity scared and humbled him at the same time. They took him in, and the younger kits were always up for playing with him.
He had also found a kinship among the small number of Weres that weren’t Coyote that was mingled in with the Pack. Aaron was surprised that they weren’t treated any different than anyone else. It had taken him a couple of months to realize that he was truly wanted out here.
Taking a deep breath, Aaron smiled as he watched Spencer, in coyote form, playing with some of those very same kits of the Pack. When he finally acknowledged the bond between them, it started to grow and deepen. Spencer was a balm to his soul. They shared a bed, but nothing sexual had happened yet between them. Aaron was still afraid of the sexual feelings he had for the younger boy, whose birthday had passed just a few days prior.
Putting his cup down on another rock, Aaron spread the blanket on the desert sand and stretched out looking up at the stars. Even with the significant amount of property his home Pack owned, he still never saw the stars quite like he did here in Las Vegas. He had his hands on his stomach as he watched the night sky come alive. A few minutes later, Spencer was plopping down next to him, a smile on his face as he laid his head on Aaron’s shoulder, a hand over Aaron’s hands.
“Alpha said that your sessions with Aunt Linda are going well.”
That was the one stipulation that Dr. Reid had for Aaron. Counseling. Dr. Linda Reid was an expert in child psychology and abuse victims. That was the hardest part for Aaron, admitting what had happened to him at the hands of his Father. His first few sessions were tense and stilted as he talked about things with her he had never told anyone else.
“She’s easy to talk to. She,” Aaron bit his lip as he turned to look into the face of his mate…Aaron sucked in a breath as a realization hit him hard. He sat up abruptly and wrapped his arms around himself. Tears pricked the corners of his eyes, which he didn’t know why.
“Aaron?” Spencer asked as he sat up next to him.
“I-I… “ The anxiety attack came out of nowhere, but Spencer knew what to do. He gripped Aaron’s wrists with his long fingers and gently pulled down till Aaron had his head between his knees, taking deep breaths to control the attack before it got worse.
“You realized something about us, didn’t you?” Spencer gently ran his fingers through Aaron’s hair, helping to calm the emerging Alpha down.
“You, you’re my mate.”
“And that scares you.”
“What if I can’t be what you need, Spencer? What if I can never give you…what if we can’t ever….you need someone who can be everything for you.”
Spencer gently lifted Aaron’s head so that they were looking at each other eye to eye.
“What if we never had sex?”
Aaron nodded and felt his cheeks burn hot with his shame and embarrassment.
“Then we never have sex. I don’t need that to be with you, Aaron. You give me so much more. You give me love, companionship, understanding. You give me protection, even among the Pack. You don’t try to control me, and the first day we met, you defied your own Father, your Alpha for me, because it was the right thing to do.” Spencer gently wiped away the tears he knew Aaron would hate that he let fall.
“I do, you know…”
“Love you.” Aaron took a deep breath as a heavy weight seemed to lift from his shoulders. “I love you, Spencer.” The smile he got from his mate set his heart racing. He leaned forward, Spencer was still in front of him, hands still on his face, Aaron laid his lips against Spencer’s in an achingly sweet kiss. When he pulled back Spencer’s eyes were closed, his lips were slightly parted, and Aaron couldn’t help kissing him again.
“I love you too, Aaron. My Alpha, my mate, my everything. The one who defies the world, just for me. I will always cherish you.”
Aaron let out the breath he was holding as he moved around the blanket to sit back against the rock at his back. He pulled Spencer to him and wrapped his arms around his mate. The two of them sat there, watching the stars, not knowing what their future held, only knowing that they could face it together.