Title: Power Play
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Universe: Creatures of the Night (Part 1)
Pairing: Morgan/Prentiss; JJ/Hotch
Summary: Tensions are running high when a vampire joins the BAU, but all differences must be put aside as the team investigate a series of suspicious werewolf murders. AU.
Author's Notes: This is a peace offering to make up for the fact that I haven't updated anything in forever. The muse decided that she doesn't really want to work on the pieces that actually need to be finished. Betaed by Windy City Dreamer.
Creatures of the Night: Power Play
The reserve's official name is the William Kenbridge Lycanthrope Sanctuary. The local shapeshifters call it the playground. It's where, once a month (or sometimes twice) every lycanthrope for twenty miles around comes to shift. They strip off their clothing, and transform under the light of the full moon. The other twenty-nine odd days of the month, it's simply a park, albeit a park that does not allow visitors. Occasionally, a member of the pack will visit the playground at another time, but they are only permitted to do so after having signed in with both the leader of the pack, and the local liaison. It's a system designed to protect both the pack, and the surrounding population.
Because God knows there are enough dangerous things in the world.
Tonight, it's three days out from the full moon, and the playground is not empty.
Michael Joseph Conrad was not born a werewolf. There are no born werewolves. Sometimes a half-wolf, or a quarter-wolf is born, but never one that has only a shapeshifter's blood running through their veins; a fetus could never survive that painstaking transformation from human to beast.
Thanks to the stringent laws put in place by the government, every werewolf, every vampire, every fairy wizard with a bad haircut is required to be registered with and monitored by the Department of Health and Human Services. The name is a misnomer really; there's hardly anyone left in the world that's fully human, and just as few of them are in need of healthcare. After all, there's not much that can stop a silver bullet. Because of these laws, there are only two surefire ways to become a werewolf.
The first, and most common method, is to be a foolhardy traveler who has the misfortune to encounter a rogue wolf; a wolf that barely even remembers how to be human anymore, and thinks that everything with a heartbeat is fair game. The second way is to voluntarily become a wolf; to fill in a requisition form with the Department for a werewolf in a dark suit to knock on your door, make you fill out a waiver, and then take a big chunk out of your arm. This is a far less common occurrence, for one simple reason; lycanthropy is incurable. A wolf is a wolf for life, and life can be a very long time for some lycanthropes. Sometimes the only way out is a silver bullet to the head. A silver knife to the heart.
Michael Conrad found himself on the wrong end of a rogue wolf, in another place, another time. Now he's found himself on the wrong end of a knife. The silver poisons his body in the way that no traditional toxin ever could. He is being poisoned from the inside out, his body wasting away.
Silver is a death knell to a werewolf, in the same way that holy water is to a vampire, or cold iron is to a fairy. It affects different lycanthropes in different ways – sometimes the body dies almost instantly, sometimes it spends hours writhing, trying to get that poison out of its system.
The death of Michael Conrad is not quick. His howls go unnoticed, mistaken for the calls of the rogue wolves that inhabit the surrounding woodlands. Not even government crackdowns are enough to kill them all.
He can feel the hair along his spine raising, body refusing to commit to either state; at this point, he is part man, part wolf, and shifting endlessly between the two states. It's an episode that persists until the last breath finally escapes his body.
Aaron Hotchner stares blankly at his supervisor.
On his Driver's License, his government I.D., his passport, the "species" section reads: Human. He, the same as 2.8% of the rest of the population of the world, has no supernatural ability whatsoever to put to his name. He doesn't mind. In fact, he's silently proud of the fact that he has been able to make it so far in life on his own two feet. Unfortunately, though, it does make encounters such as these difficult.
He watches as Erin Strauss runs a tongue along her slightly pointed fangs. She isn't interested in his blood – no openly rogue vampire would ever last in government. She's out to get him in a much subtler sense. For a vampire, she isn't that old – maybe eighty or ninety max – but she knows how to play the game. And she knows how to piss Hotch off.
'You can't be serious,' he says, staring at the file in front of him; the newest member of his team, it seems. The last person he would ever have chosen were he the one making the decision. Truth told, he doesn't know her. He's never met her. But he has had far more experience than he would have liked with her family. By definition, they are rogues, but their ties are so strong that that none have ever dared bringing them up on charges.
'Am I ever not serious?' Strauss asks him. Her skin is pale, as though she is in need of some good old-fashioned Vitamin D. He knows that if he opened the blinds, there would soon be a smoldering pile of ash sitting in the Section Chief's chair. She's nowhere near powerful enough to brave the sunlight. The best she can hope for is the imitation bulbs that occupy the room's light fixtures. They're almost indistinguishable from the real thing. Almost.
'I've had dealings with her family,' Hotch protests. It's a mild word for the occurrences of the past. Dealings. He still has the scars.
'There is evidence to show that she has relinquished contact with her family.' Strauss narrows her eyes, as if unimpressed with the thought of someone doing so. 'Emancipated herself, if you will. I assure you, Agent Hotchner, this decision was not mine to make.' It's a statement with some bite to it, no pun intended. Strauss is saying, quite simply, that she isn't particularly happy about this situation either. That she'd sooner send this new agent to the grave than bring her into the Behavioral Analysis Unit. This, more than anything, intrigues Hotch.
Name: Emily Prentiss
It's enough to mix hefty amounts of suspicion in with his curiosity. As ordered, he will bring this new team member into the fold, but he'll make sure that a cross is always handy.
And that's nothing new.