Title: These Endless Days
Rating: R
Criminal Minds
Universe: Creatures of the Night (Part Three)
JJ/Hotch; Morgan/Prentiss
Genre: Supernatural/Drama
The forces of darkness are creeping ever closer to war. Before the team can pick a side, they have to figure out who's actually fighting.

Chapter Thirteen

Any other case, Morgan would have insisted on taking his bike to Babylon. It's a fair ride – a little over twelve hours, if he's going top speed, and not making any stops. The problem with air travel, is that it's not particularly fun for werewolves. Or for vampires. Even Rossi occasionally gets a headache from the altitude. Since it's the best way of getting around quickly for cases, he's learned to deal.

Somehow, it's a little easier now that it's just him and JJ. Fewer people means more room, and less chance he's going to crack under the tension of the last few days. JJ's down the other end of the jet, reading a book entitled Werewolf Etiquette.

Laptop open, he hunkers down in a corner and video-calls Garcia.

'Hey baby girl.'

'Hey there, honeybunch. What can I do you for?'

'So I'm thinking...a little off the record.'

'You know "off-the-record" is my middle name. Unless it involves another woman, in which case, my heart is torn.'

'Well, technically, it is,' he said. 'But it's a centuries old psychopathic vampire woman who I need to know how to kill.'

'Oh, well in that case, I've already got a bazillion sources on that. The trouble is narrowing it down to the things that are actually true. Somehow, I don't think that a simple stake would cut it. Unless you think you can find a super-magic stake imbued with the magic of the demons of the seven hells, or something like that. '

'Well Hotch hit her with a regular stake last time, and it didn't do anything. What about decapitation?'

'I get the feeling that your issue is going to be actually getting close enough to use any of these methods. And of course, this is assuming that Emily doesn't beat you to the punch.'

There's a long silence. Neither of them seem willing to bring up the dragon in the room. The fact that maybe Gwydion has purposefully sent her to her death. Because really, there's no way he could have expected her to win.

If it comes down to it – if this war is really as bad as they think it's going to be – then a full-frontal assault might be their best option.

Not that anyone wants to take that option. If it comes down to it, though, Derek wants to make sure that they have a way of taking out the matriarchal vampire for good. It might be against protocol, but things have progressed a little beyond that now.

'Okay, here's some stuff that might be either a big load of coddlesplotch, but also possibly might not be. I'm assuming you're familiar with the history of the Fallen?'

'The basic stuff,' Morgan tells her, offhandedly, meaning that he'd learned a bit about it at school, but only remembers the key events. 'Meteorite falls to the ground, and a tree grows in its crater. Warring factions think that the tree is some holy symbol, so they each ask for one wish to be granted. But that's just myth, isn't it?'

'I think it's one of those things where there's a little bit of truth and a little bit of not truth,' Garcia says. 'But, there are some sources that suggest a stake forged from the tree can turn even the deadliest vampires to dust.'

'So then all we have to do is find a tree that may or may not be a complete fabrication?'

'Essentially, yes. But I'll keep digging. There might be a spell or something. Maybe our friend Mister Rossi can dig up some wizard allies that aren't so keen on vampire domination, except I kind of get the feeling that that's exactly the kind of battle we want to avoid.'

Wonderful, Morgan thought to himself.

This "war" that JJ had predicted was starting to look more and more like a reality.

Of all the cities that JJ has ever visited, Babylon is the place that least resembles one. Most of it is low and scattered – in the downtown area, the only building that stands much over a few stories is the Tower, which exists as a tourist attraction more than anything else.

Not surprising, considering that Babylon has the highest werewolf population in the country. They don't do covens in the same way vampires do, and they definitely don't liked cramped spaces. Put it all together, and it means that the buildings are wide, and spread out. From most vantage points, you can probably see the sun set.

Uptown is a little different. The last twenty years or so has seen an upsurge in the vampire population, much to the chagrin of the local populace.It's led to a lot of street violence, and a lot of tension between the two species.

There's a war here already, JJ thinks to herself. Maybe it's the same war. Maybe it's a war that we've been fighting all our lives.

'You grew up here?' JJ asks, as they wait at the cab rank. Even though they have official clearance to be here, it's probably better that they stay under the radar as much as possible.

'Yeah,' Morgan says shortly, apparently disinclined to elaborate. They've worked together for almost five years, but really, JJ doesn't know all that much about his past. She tries to suppress the sudden influx of psychic energy he's pushing out, but fails.

A young boy in an ill-fitting suit and tie, standing by his father's graveside.

The same boy, not a year older, confined to a hospital bed, infected with the same disease that had plagued his father.

Her whole body jerks as she pulls away from his thoughts. If he notices that she's read them, he doesn't say anything. She makes a mental note to take her prescription to the pharmacist the first chance she gets.

She knows that the virus responsible for his condition is not passed down biologically – not in the same way it is for vampires. If a werewolf wants to have children, they have to do so with a human. It's part of the reason why werewolf/human relations are so much more amiable than vampire/human.

There are other ways for things to be passed down, though. Some families see it as a rite of passage – when the child reaches a certain age, they're old enough to join the pack. Sometimes, it just a matter of increased contact resulting in an attack. JJ's not entirely sure how exactly Morgan had been turned, and she severely doubts that he'd ever actually tell her.

They're close, but they're not close.

The cab takes them downtown, to a hotel that is clearly designed for out-of-town werewolves. It's not far from the Wall of Kathar, which, come full moon, serves as a barrier between several thousand werewolves, and a nigh empty city. For hundreds of miles in any direction, there's an unending vista of nature – forests and rivers and mountains. A patch of enduring beauty amidst a universe of chaos. Already, that allure is in question, the darkness of the coming battle pushing in from all sides.

The beginning of the end.