Fandom: Criminal Minds
Universe: We Can Be Heroes
Characters/Pairing: Jennifer Jareau, Aaron Hotchner, Derek Morgan, Spencer Reid - gen
Summary: On the way home from Hawaii, the team run into some trouble of the fire-breathing variety. AU.
It was no surprise that the Volcanologist's plan was a pretty shitty one.
You would think that after being thwarted by us seventeen times, he'd have come up with a better way to try and take over the world. But no. It's all "change the orbit of the moon" and "bring meteoroids crashing down into the ocean."
No subtlety at all.
Today, they'd gotten there just in time to stop the weather machine in its tracks (nothing to do with tidal waves at all, as it turned out). Instead of the ferocious, destructive tempest that the Volcanologist had imagined, he'd have to watch the moderate thunderstorms from his prison cell.
At least it was over, and they'd be heading back home. The media presence had been limited on this one, which was unusual – most times, the paparazzi would have commandeered a fucking submarine just to get a shot.
But, for all intents and purposes, David Rossi was the one that fit the public perception of "superhero," (even if they did work as a team for the most part) and David Rossi was off the grid. That was a news story.
Hotch returned to the cabin of the jet, a frown superimposed over his normally stoic face. 'Dave went up against the Ripper again,' he explained. JJ raised an eyebrow.
'Emily was with him,' he replied. 'And they managed to take him out together.'
There was a delicate balance to the whole system. Some kind of Social Psych thing that JJ didn't fully understand, because in the end, she was there for dealing with the media, and for blasting pheromones at supervillains. The fact that Emily had accompanied Dave in taking down the Ripper meant one of two things: either she would be lauded as his successor, or the rumours would start to spread of their behind the scenes, raunchy love affair.
There was a reason for protocol.
JJ might have had a chance to ponder the matter more, but the jet suddenly began to shake – not the kind of shaking that was attributed to turbulence, but a very different kind. The kind you got when the plane was grabbed mid-air by tentacles (which had happened far too often to count). There was a reason they usually went supersonic.
Hotch frowned again.
'Dragon,' he said, perhaps upset that he hadn't picked up on it sooner. X-Ray vision was all well and good, but like all their powers, the range was finite. The storm clouds that JJ could see brewing through the window probably didn't help.
'Man, again?' Morgan complained. 'That's the third this year. I thought they were supposed to be endangered.'
'Someone could be breeding them,' Reid provided, standing to shuck his cardigan. Most of the time, they all wore the CAU sanctioned costumes underneath their everyday clothes. Customization was forbidden, because apparently it "encouraged defection," but in JJ's experience, what they wore had little to do with it. If a superhero was to go over to the dark side, then they'd do it regardless of what clothes they wore.
Morgan flipped open the hatch in the roof, designed for fights like this one. As he flew out, the dragon swatted the plane, causing a second, thunderous shake. Reid gave JJ a nervous look.
'He's angry,' was all the young man said, referring, JJ assumed, to the dragon. There were definitely benefits to having a telepath on the team. She wondered what they would have done before Reid joined; they'd started at the same time, so she never had the chance to find out.
"Brisk" was one way of putting the outside temperature, but really, it was an understatement. Without the suits, they probably would have frozen to death – not to mention suffocated. JJ made a mental reminder to thank Garcia again. It wasn't often that the fought dragons in the middle of thunderstorm clouds, but it happened enough.
'What is your business attacking us?' Hotch called out – standard procedure against any unfamiliar enemy. Unfortunately, the fact remained that not many dragons understood English, and their polyglot was on sabbatical.
The dragon responded with a ferocious wing swipe that Hotch easily dodged.
On a good day, in calm weather, on the ground, an angry dragon was no problem. Just an overdose of positive vibes from JJ to calm him down, and a quick right hook from Morgan to take him out. Up here was another story altogether. The wind and the rain meant it was hard to direct energy blasts; one stray gust, and it would hit Hotch instead. Admittedly, Hotch did need cheering up after recent events, but it was neither the time, nor the place.
A burst of flame interrupted both JJ's thought process, and her targeting; she flew upwards, a lick of fire barely brushing her toes.
'He wants revenge,' Reid called out. 'I think. Either that, or he wants to visit France. I can't tell.' Even Reid's eidetic memory and superintelligence couldn't quite wrap its head around the complexities of Draconic – the slightest difference in pitch could alter the sentence dramatically, as evidenced by Reid's on the go mind-read.
'Yeah, I'd say it's the first one,' Morgan yelled back, diving in towards the dragon's belly. He managed to grab hold for a few brief seconds, but the dragon rolled, and shook him off violently. 'JJ?'
'I'm trying,' she said, angrily. 'This shit isn't easy!' Maybe happiness wasn't the way to go. Fatigue, perhaps – she didn't usually use it on dragons, because they tended to breathe fire when yawning, but in this situation, she wasn't sure there was a choice. If the beast fell asleep flight, then it would drop down into the ocean. Then, all they'd need to worry about was retrieval.
'Out of the way,' she commanded, and the team scattered, leaving her the only clear target, which was the way it needed to be. Fingers pulsating with energy, she flew towards the dragon, letting off the blast at the last possible second.
It didn't take straight away, and she was treated to a clawed foot swiping her face before she managed to fly free.
As predicted, the beast gave a monstrous yawn shooting flames from its mouth and nostrils. Fortunately, none of the team were in its path. Then, as if it had been shot with a tranquilizer dart, it fell limp, dropping down to earth.
'I got it,' Morgan called, diving to catch their fallen foe before it sunk to the bottom of the ocean. With a nod from Hotch, Reid sped ahead to retrieve some dragon-grade restraints from the plane.
JJ blinked, blood caught in her eyelashes. With an almost curious hand, she felt the cuts; deep, but not too deep. Hotch flew in to hover beside her. 'Are you okay?' he asked.
'Yeah,' JJ nodded. There was a slight stinging pain, but the strike hadn't hit anything vital.
'Anybody order dragon?' Morgan asked, flying upwards with the creature in a one-handed grip. 'Meat's probably too tough to do anything with it, but you could probably make armor from the scales,' he suggested. A doubtful outcome, considering protocol dictated that they send the dragon to the dedicated Sanctuary just off the west coast.
Reid returned with the restraints, and he and Morgan made a show of making sure that the bonds were not too loose, nor too tight.
'We should get moving,' Morgan said, slinging the dragon over his shoulder by the tail. 'At this rate, the jet will have landed before we could even catch up with the thing.'
Really, they didn't need the jet – they'd all done the marathon, round-the-world flights before turning professional – but these days, that sort of behavior required a flight plan filed in advance. Some days, JJ regretted the decision to join the CAU, but then she remembered the health benefits, and the days spent in ICU, and that partially rationalized the decision. After all, you were liable to end up broke paying for hospital visits if you didn't have decent health insurance.
Eventually, they made it back to the jet, where the weather was much more agreeable. Morgan stored the dragon in the rather sizeable cargo bay, and Hotch managed to find the first-aid kit – which really needed to be restocked, and began cleaning the claw wounds on JJ's face.
'This puts us all over quota,' Reid announced, and JJ felt herself sighing in relief. She loved her job, but really, there were only so many times you could fight Godzilla before it got old.
'We should take a vacation,' Morgan suggested.
'Mmm,' JJ agreed. 'Hawaii's safe now, for another few days, at least.' Through Hotch's hands still treating her wounds, she took stock of his expression, which didn't look as at odds with the suggestion as she'd expected.
'Perhaps,' he said, with a hint of a smile twitching on his lip. 'Perhaps we should wait until the storms are over.'