Fandom: Criminal Minds, Highlander
Characters: Aaron Hotchner, Ramirez, OFC, OMC
Pairings: None, eventual Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid
Series: Immortal Beloveds
Word Count: 2408
Tags: Immortals, Ostracizing, Alternate Universe
Warnings: Temporary Major Character Death (LIke very temporary)
Aaron was a warrior. Part of the Military, and when war came to the territory, trying to unite all the territories of Germany, he went like any good soldier. He wasn’t afraid of death, no it was his resurrection and what it all could mean that scared him. He didn’t even know why he was the way he was, not till he met a very enigmatic Spaniard, by the name of Ramirez. Aaron knew his life was going to change forever.
Aaron surged up into a sitting position and took in great gulps of breath. He was clutching his chest where he had been stabbed. He looked around and saw many of his fallen comrades wondering why the hell he was alive. The wound had been fatal. It was as stab to the heart. One of the Roman soldiers had lost his sword and came at Aaron with a dagger that he had tucked into one of his bracers. His memories were still fuzzy, but what he knew was, he had been dead. He was trying desperately to remember what the hell happened. He looked down at himself and saw that all his wounds were healed, though they left scars behind.
Aaron was trying to figure out if he was some type of undead. He had heard stories as a boy in his village of Hochwald. He knew he was very far from his home, having been conscripted in the army to battle the invading Romans who were spreading their religious tyranny all across the lands of his home country. He had wanted nothing to do with the war, but of course Germany’s generals had a much different idea.
It wasn’t that Aaron couldn’t fight, he could. From the time that he was a small child he had been trained in many different types of fighting techniques, his father having been a retired soldier. A high ranking one at that, but Aaron didn’t care to know. He would have much rather learned to read, and go to school, but his father was of the opinion that he should learn to fight and follow in his footsteps.
Now, he looked upon the devastation around him, the battle done, most of the soldiers having moved on, but the few that were left were made to clean up the bodies that didn’t get sent to the triage tents. Slowly standing, Aaron hadn’t noticed the young woman that had been watching him. When he stood and made to walk towards her, she screamed and ran off. Frowning, he shook his head and started towards the camp, hoping that it was still there and he would be able to get some rest.
“Hold up,” a voice yelled at him from behind. Aaron turned as he furrowed his brow. “Sweet Jesus. Aaron, I saw you fall…”
“Karl, thank god. I…I don’t remember much…”
“Get back,” Karl held up the cross that he had been wearing around his neck. “You are not my friend Aaron. You are a devil.”
“Karl, it is me, please, you have to believe me.” Aaron took a step towards his friend, who just raised his sword menacingly.
“Don’t come any closer or I will have your head.” Karl held his sword up making Aaron stop walking.
“What are you doing?”
“You are not Aaron. I watched my friend die in battle. Now, if you don’t want me to kill you, leave. Leave now and never come back.”
“Karl, my family…”
“Thinks you dead.”
“But I’m right here. I’m not dead.”
“Last warning,” Karl growled as he kept his stance. Aaron looked towards the camp and could just see his wife and daughters standing there, watching him with fear on their faces. They had come to help out with the wounded. He took a step forward and they took a step back. Pain and anguish seeped in, he couldn’t believe that his family was rejecting him. He didn’t understand at all what was happening.
“Karl, please…” Aaron pleaded. A pack was thrown at his feet and his daughter, Liesl stood there, not looking at him. “Liesl…”
“You are not my papa.” The young girl yelled as she kept her eyes downcast. Tears leaked as she said in a shaky voice, “Food, some clothes, and a few coins. Please just go, go and let us mourn my Papa.”
Aaron was stunned for a moment before he reached down and picked up the pack and slung it on his shoulder. Taking one last look around he walked away.
“A pint and a plate of the special.” The man asked in perfect German as he sat down on a stool in front of Aaron. Turning to the kitchen Aaron called out the order, then poured out a perfect pint for the man.
“2 silver.” Aaron set the pint down in front of the stranger.
Money was thrown on the bar and Aaron tucked it away in the money box.
“You look like you’ve been through something,” the man said as he took a long pull of his ale.
“Maybe I have, why do you care? I’m just a barkeep.” Aaron glared as he moved off to fill orders from one of the bar wenches.
The man looked around at the place. It was cleaner than most, the wooden floor gleamed, the tables were heavy and well cared for. The large fireplace that had long cooking stews set inside it was warm and inviting. The smell of sawdust on the floor hid the stench of unwashed human bodies. The windows had heavy shutters that could probably survive an attack. Same with the doors. It didn’t surprise the man, he knew how often the area was ravaged by wars and fighting.
Aaron kept his eye on the stranger, who was looking around his bar. He was proud of the place he built, and the woman he hired for his kitchen was clever and the food was hardy. Every morning he hunted and fished in the area and brought back what was good. He would butcher and clean his catches and leave them for her to decide how she was going to cook them. If he was lucky to get wild boar, he would set-up the smoker he had built and smoke the ribs, the bacon, and other parts of the swine. Then his cook would make something fabulous. It didn’t take long to build up a reputation as a clean establishment that served good ales and food.
The ales took longer for him to figure out, but in his wanderings, after having been ostracized from his family and friends, he apprenticed to a brewmaster that showed him everything he knew about making ales. When Aaron had found the area that would eventually be the Maiden’s Staff Ale House, he knew this was where he was going to settle for a while. He cleared the land, and built the place himself. He would wander into town to do odd jobs to help build up his coin to buy those things he couldn’t build or forge himself.
He had several acres of forest on one side, and a river behind him. There was some concern during his first year when the snows had risen that the river would flood in spring, but he took precautions and he was able to save his pub.
“I know you are more than just a barkeep. But, that conversation can wait till you are done for the day.” The bell sounded that orders from the kitchen were ready, and Aaron moved off to grab the plates. He set the strangers down in front of him, then went off to deliver the rest.
There was one main rule in Aaron’s pub. No fighting. He employed a few wenches who gave him a portion of their nights earnings, and it was good for business, bringing in trappers, hunters, soldiers, and others. He was good at keeping the peace, and had very few incidents. He wasn’t above throwing his weight around when things got out of hand.
He kept his eye on one particular trapper that had given him problems in the past. He was handsy with the serving wenches, as well as with the prostitutes. When he heard a loud noise and a slap, he excused himself and went to see what was happening.
“Rolf, you’ve been warned to keep your hands off the staff.”
“And just what are you going to do about it Hoechner?”
“Don’t, just take your stein and leave. This is your final warning, one more and you won’t be allowed back.” Aaron crossed his arms and kept the glare on his face.
The man called Rolf stood and looked like he was going to do something, but all he did was down his ale, sneered at Aaron and left.
“That’s a loose one Hoechner, you watch your back.” One of the other trappers said as he threw money on the table to cover everyone at the table. “None of us like that soddy prig. He over trapped an area, and now we are all paying the price. Just holler if you need any help.” The man stood and slapped him on the arm.
Aaron took up the money and just smiled at the men at the table. He knew them all by name, and knew they were good people. Gruff, prone to tempers and infighting, but overall good men. He walked back behind the bar and they the money in his money box. A few minutes later most of the dinner crowd was leaving.
“You don’t mind if I stay do you?”
“Up to you,” Aaron said as he grabbed the soap and bucket to get some water from the river to clean the tables. Once that was done, he swept up the sawdust, then went to his pile in the back and threw fresh on the ground. His stash was getting low and he considered making more, but he knew it was probably more practical to buy hay later on. After cleaning, he checked his barrels and changed out the ones that were running low. He consulted with his cook, who was pulling some of the pork from the smoker, the meat falling apart. The best parts she set aside to serve with potatoes and some root vegetables. The other bits she chopped and added to the vegetable stew that had been slowly cooking all day. Aaron helped where he could. When that was all done, he went back to the bar area and took the first of the days take and hid it.
“If you’re going to loiter, I might as well know your name.”
The man smiled as he turned around in his seat. He lifted his cup indicating he wanted more drink. Aaron poured and set the cup back in front of him.
“It is Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez, at your service.” The man bowed his head in greeting.
“That is quite the name.”
“You can call me Ramirez. And I know what you are.”
Aaron stiffened and his hand went to the sword that he had in easy reach under the bar top.
“And what is it you think I am?” The glare was back and he was ready to fight if he needed to.
“You are a man that cannot die. You were thrown from your own family and friends when you woke up on the battlefield after a fatal wound should have killed you. I know you have wandered for almost eighty years now, and I know you’ve already killed two others of our kind.”
“I should throw you out.”
“But you aren’t going to because you want to know what it all means.”
Aaron contemplated a moment and took his hand away from the sword. Taking a deep breath he came to a decision. He did want to know more, he wanted to understand why his life was like it was.
“Alright, so tell me.”
“Not till tonight when we can really talk. Your customers will be arriving soon.” Ramirez smiled, content to sit and watch.
Aaron’s heart raced as he watched Ramirez knowing that finally after all this time that he was going to get the answers that had been so elusive to him. Maybe, maybe after he knew what it all meant he could move on. He had only stayed in Germany so that he could send money to his family, and the bar gave him the stability he needed to still provide for them, even if they didn’t know who their benefactor was. A man he friended on his wanderings was a student of the law and had helped him draw up a contract showing a trust for the family of one Aaron Hoechner, son of Wilhelm Hoechner. He had been able to sell off his commission in the army, and that was the seeds that started the trust.
Aaron had gone to his village several times over the years, disguising who he was. He wanted to make sure his wife and daughters accepted the money, and that they were thriving. It had broken his heart when Imke remarried, but he couldn’t deny any happiness for her. He had been happy to see that they had been using the money, the house he had built was still in good repair. His daughters were in good clothes, and had been sent to the small schoolhouse to learn to read and write, which he was very happy about. That was a luxury that he had not been afforded when he was boy. He could do numbers, enough to keep his business running. Reading and writing he had his cook, who said her father had taught her as a child.
The last time he went back to the village was when his youngest Liesl got married. He stood off to the side and watched as her step-father gave her away and it almost killed Aaron. But, she had looked so happy and that was all that he could think about. He had left the gift, a hand carved set of dishes and utensils, made from the blackwoods near the pub. He stayed just long enough for her to open it, and just the look on her face was all he needed.
When Liesl had looked around to see who had left the gift, Aaron tried to hide, but their eyes met briefly and the small smile on her face broke his heart. He nodded and knew he would never go back. It hurt to much to see his children and grandchildren and never be able to hold them, never be accepted. He had said his final goodbyes to them as he walked back to where his horse was waiting and made the long journey back to his pub.
Aaron was pulled from the memories as the rush of customers for the supper crowd came in and he got to work