Beta Reader: pussycatadamah
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Criminal Minds, nor the characters from them and I do not make any money from the writing of this story.
Chapter 31- With New Eyes
Entering the office that morning was a new experience for Hotch, mostly because the moment he exchanged greetings with the MGA people, Aaron knew they were sharing the same secret. Donovan acknowledged it once they were in Aaron's office, door firmly closed to prevent anyone from eavesdropping their conversation.
"So, welcome to the community?" Larry asked. "I'm testing the waters here. I knew you were a fine colleague to work with but I hate assuming things." He was obviously unsure whether Aaron was one of those that accepted their kids and magic easily or the other half that feared and resented them.
"No, I'm happy about Jack," Hotch told the lilac eyed wizard. "Out of my comfort zone, obviously, but I'm happy for my son. I'm guessing you are a wizard?" it ended as a question because nothing was really certain, Harry had been particularly firm on stressing that just because people looked human that was not always the case and that the US employed all sorts of humanoid creatures, granting them the same status as wizards and Muggle's.
"Half wizard half fae," Larry replied as he made himself comfortable in one of the chairs. "Well, a quarter fae actually. Grandpa was head over heels for a girl, they eloped, had to relocate over here. Pretty colourful story and it happened during War World One," he shrugged.
"Fae," Aaron repeated. "Huh."
"Still digesting things."
"Read the books yet?"
Hotch paused. "Actually, not yet. I have a sort of guide to all this? We're taking things slow. So far I'm still impressed that dragons exist."
"Ah, Gibson's little protégé," Donovan nodded. "Merlin I'd give an arm to have him in my squad but the Special Ops have been salivating over him since the war in Britain ended."
"The Tom Riddle guy?" Aaron asked to be more certain. "The information I learned the past few days had been... enormous."
"I bet," Donovan nodded. "A little bit on our group, things you will learn eventually, Baker and Baker all both old families and Wilson is actually a Vampire so we always knew about the... you know."
"Broomsticks and dragons?"
"Nicely put, but yes. Looked into schools yet?"
Hotch sighed. "Yes, the pamphlets were many and moving and quite dizzying. Any suggestions?"
"Well, I'm from the area so I know that the Lombardia School is the best elementary in the area for the mini wizards and witches. Wonderful extra-curricular activities too. My nieces go there. They are also very tolerant. Harry told you about the godson?"
"His father was a werewolf," Hotch recalled.
"Prejudice runs deep," Donovan commented. "Now, enough chit chat. Let's talk about the case and any future ones."
Aaron looked more interested. "Your higher-ups had no problem with the outcome?"
"Define problem," the wizard stated. "What I need to tell you is what 'we' were doing while the non-magicals were doing their thing during the rescue. Then you will have a clearer picture of what happened."
"I'm all ears," Aaron replied.
"Good. And remind me to show you exactly how wizards operate in missions. I'd like a repeat of our good results and that can happen if all the cards are on the table," Larry Donovan told the Muggle.
Harry was about to ask Aaron something about dinner when he found his lover in the study. They had yet to talk about the little matter of Harry wanting to find work and the wizard was waiting to broach the subject later, after they went to a tour for schools to enrol the boys. What stopped the green eyed man was the fact that Aaron had finally sat down to read the guide he had been provided. He had skimmed through it and wished he had one such guide when he was eleven and about to enter Hogwarts. It touched all sorts of subjects, blood purity, politics, creatures and species, laws, money, shopping districts, schooling. It even explained what the basic subjects were and the various agencies as well as ways to contact them if you were a non-magical parent.
Still, Aaron sensed that he was being watched and raised his head from the book. "Harry, hey," he said in a low voice.
"Do you need anything?"
The wizard shook his head. "No, just wondering about dinner. How far are you into the book?"
Aaron raised the guide. It was over six hundred pages thick, complete with an index and a dictionary. The FBI agent was obviously a hundred pages into the book already. "It's actually pretty easy to read and quite detailed. There are two shopping districts here in Virginia were the magicals are gathered and sic residential areas. Gated communities for Vampires or Werewolves and Veela… so much information. Have you read this?"
"I skimmed the important parts," Harry admitted. "Wish I had it when I first learned about magic. I'll leave you to it?"
"I just need to finish the bit about currency and banks. Apparently here in the States we're lucky that we have only dollars. The ration about galleons and the likes of them are a bit of a mess."
"Galleons are true gold coins, no other metals added," Harry supplied. "I think I have one upstairs if you wish to see one up close."
"And these are kept in vaults?"
"Guarded by goblins and dragons," the wizard confirmed.
"Sounds like a fairytale."
Harry grinned. "It's your life now," he said and left Aaron to his reading.
From the outside, the MGA headquarters looked more like a law firm than anything else. It was a tall building, about twenty floors high and apparently it went far deeper underground, where the more blatantly magical areas were secluded and warded. Larry Donovan and Wilson (Aaron still had trouble believing the woman was actually a Vampire but he decided to take it in his stride) were waiting for him at the entrance. They handed him a visitor's card and escorted him to the lifts. Harry had told him once that magical interrogation methods were far superior to the non magical ones and Donovan was about to let him in on one such case. On the way down to sub floor nineteen Wilson briefed Aaron on the case.
"We are handling a case of Abraxan poaching," the dark skinned woman said. Now that she was not wearing pink shades Hotch could see her eerie eyes. They looked sensitive to light, even artificial light. "It's how we stumbled into our detainee in the middle of the forests. We were following a lead when Eddie Lynch fell into our radar."
"And how did he do that?" SSA Hotchner asked.
"He smelled of blood and terror, none of those were his," Wilson replied, a hint of fang showing.
Donovan cleared his throat. "The reason why your agency was not alerted is because Lynch is a squib. Third generation or so, but a squib none the less. And his victims while some of them were non-magical, the majority were like him and a few so called Muggleborn children were included."
"He's a serial killer," Hotch stated.
"And allegedly his victims reach seventy in numbers," Donovan.
"It's not been confirmed yet?" Aaron asked.
Wilson scowled. "Unfortunately nothing confirmed. We did search his house for clues but all we found were portraits of people. At least thirty have been filed as missing persons."
"And how do you know it's not a coincidence?"
"Good question," Donovan replied. "We know because the portraits were depicting them bloody and well… murdered."
Aaron winced. "And how long have you had him?"
"Six hours," Wilson replied.
They left the lift and entered a corridor that looked normal enough. It was similar to Quantico's corridors only there were no windows and the few posters around were magical.
"Here are the interrogation rooms," Donovan said, "We're heading to IR number five. Baker is already inside. We'll watch from the side room. Now, you know about truth potions?"
"Vaguely," SSA Hotchner replied.
Wilson nodded, "We'll administer Veritaserum and then we'll ask our questions."
"You can do that even if it's just a suspect?" Aaron asked.
"It's easier for both sides," Donovan replied.
"I could dive into his mind, get the information that way," Wilson supplied with a wicked smirk, "But he won't like it one bit."
"And intrusive questioning is not as concrete in court," Donovan supplied. "We can save the memories of what she'll see in a Pensieve… You know of Pensieve's?" At Aaron's nod he continued, "But truth serums are more accepted. Plus, some people react violently when their minds are breached. Here we are."
Aaron followed him inside and stood in front of the glass, looking inside the interrogation room. Eddie Lynch was in his thirties, a short but lean man. His eyes were a moss green colour and his face had a blank look. Baker was already inside, looming over the Unsub, along with a petite woman with red hair and big glasses.
"She's the Potions Mistress," Donovan explained. "Look at the case she brought with her? Only she can open it."
"There are three vials inside," Hotch remarked.
"Two are Veritaserum and the other is their counter," Wilson told him. "Only they have access to Potions. It's three drops per person and then… Then we'll know whether they are guilty or not."
"Can people override the potion?" the Muggle asked.
Donovan considered it. "It is possible," he conceded.
"And how do you know they are not influenced by it and just mimicking the effects?" Hotch questioned.
"Good question," Wilson said. "There are usually groups of people that are immune. Muggle's are usually not questioned by Veritaserum, that's too strong and might even poison them. Milder serums can be used and even then it's easier to delve into their minds because potions are essentially poisons to Muggle's. Those of creature lineage, like myself, Veela, werewolves, have a different tolerance to truth serums. You needn't concern yourself about those though. There is one more category to consider, but that's extremely rare."
"And that is?" Aaron asked.
"Very powerful witches and wizards," Donovan answered.
"There are categories to how powerful wizards can be?"
Wilson nodded. "Most witches and wizards are pretty average in power that is always spell wise you understand."
"Usually in law enforcement agencies are employed those that have special skills or are more powerful than average," Donovan explained.
"And how can you tell?" Aaron asked.
"Well, there are ways to measure magic but the rituals needed have been outlawed," Wilson replied. "For the last two centuries that is. But usually you can understand with spell use. Some spells need extra power to work. There is a whole range of spells that the majority are unable to cast. Other ways as well. Purebloods are usually rather magically gifted with their spells and family magics… They've started," she motioned to the interrogation room.
"We can continue our talk later," Agent Donovan told Hotch who nodded as he observed the potion being administered.
"Test Question," Agent Baker said, "Is your name Edward Lynch?"
"Yes," came the monotonous answer.
"Test Question," Baker repeated, "Are your eyes green?"
The Potion Mistress nodded. "Pupils are fine, pulse is good. The potion has taken. You can start with the interrogation Agent Baker," she said.
Josua nodded. "Have you ever killed anyone?"
"Yes," Eddie replied.
"How many? Do you know names?" Agent Baker said and sat back, "I want dates and areas the bodies are buried in."
Aaron watched as Eddie Lynch answered just that.
"Seventy four," the serial killer replied, "June nineteen ninety two, blond man…"
"Just like that?" Aaron asked Larry Donovan.
"Well, we do have to locate the bodies," he told the FBI agent. "Without concrete evidence the case might not stand and we need him properly convicted."
Aaron stared. "That is…"
"Impressive, right?" Wilson asked. "What you and your Profilers do is truly amazing. You get into their heads by studying their psychology and patterns, manipulate their egos and twist their minds to get them to trust you and reveal their agendas. Your team is pretty impressive as well."
Hotch smiled. "Thank you."
"You see now why a collaboration between our agencies is such a great idea?" Donovan asked.
The FBI agent nodded.
He wanted to be ready for the tour they had planned so he decided to read more of the guide he and been provided with. Only two days prior he had witnessed just how much potions could accomplish. It was terrifying really, knowing that there were people out there with such tools at their disposal. He knew that there were rules and very strict laws in place to protect the magical from the non-magicals and vice-versa but the knowledge was always at the back of his mind.
Aaron looked up and smiled at Jack and Teddy, both of them lingering by the door, in their pyjamas. "Come in you two, what do you want?" he asked.
"Nothing," Teddy replied even as he and the blond boy cautiously entered the room.
"What are you reading?" Jack asked.
"Well, it's a book about the magical world," Aaron replied.
"Is it about magical creatures?" Teddy asked. "Harry has a book on Monsters and the book is alive and has fangs and you've got to pet it or else it'll bite you."
Jack's jaw dropped. "Really?" he turned to his father. "Really?" he asked again.
"Really, really," Harry said from the door. "Weren't you supposed to wait for me to read to you?"
"We got bored," Jack told him, with Teddy nodding in agreement at his side. "Tell us about the book that can bite?"
"The Monster Book of Monsters," Harry recalled the book Hagrid had made all third years buy during his first tenure as a professor of Care of Magical Creatures. A chuckled escaped him as he recalled the huge cage at 'Flourish and Blotts' and later their stunned faces when Hagrid caressed the book's spine and the snarling book stopped acting like a feral dog.
"It's real?" Jack asked.
"I told you," Teddy piped up.
"A book that bites?" Aaron asked.
Harry nodded. "And snarls and rips other books to pieces. The Hogwarts library had many other, more dangerous books. There were charmed you see, or cursed. There was this one book that if you ever read it, you were forced to speak in rhymes your whole life."
Jack and Teddy both grimaced.
"Now up you go, story time and it's Jacks turn to choose today," the green eyed wizard told the boys who after feeble complaints and saying their goodnight to Aaron scrambled to do as Harry asked.
"Cursed books?" Hotch asked when it was just the two of them.
"Some books can be truly dangerous, depending on the spells cast on them," Harry replied, face serious. "Some books can burn your eyes, others can poison you slowly, a few grip your attention so that you forget to eat, drink and sleep until you die."
"Dead serious," Harry stressed. "Usually those books are considered improper use of magic and confiscated by the Aurors back in the UK. My school, Hogwarts, had some mildly cursed books in the Forbidden Library section and the Blacks have vast libraries where the books are cursed to drain the blood from… Muggle's or Muggleborns."
Aaron looked horrified. "Harry the more I learn about the magical world…"
"Hey, don't freak out," the wizard crouched down next to Aaron, "I'm telling you the worst examples, things I faced so you know that no one is trying to placate you that the magical community is perfect. It isn't. And when you find out the truly wonderful things… you'll truly love it, I promise," he said and kissed Aaron's cheek.
Hotch took that kiss and before his lover could pull back he claimed the green eyed man's mouth in a soft kiss, smiling slightly when they parted. "So you don't just enjoy scaring me?"
"That too," Harry replied and stood. "I've got a story to read."
"And I'm about to read all about magical schools," Aaron replied.
Harry nodded and left him to it.
The pamphlet from Lombardia was just as helpful as the guide Aaron had been reading. It covered everything from the Campus layout to classes and uniforms and anything Aaron thought to ask for. He had been there when Teddy had asked Harry whether he and Jack would be going to Hogwarts. He had recognized the name because the British boarding school was among the top school for magical education, catering to ages eleven to seventeen and it was primarily for British families, an elite school too, since most of the families that sent their kids there had been going for generations. It was like Harry had said; Hogwarts was for the wealthy and those of long lineages, the purebloods or half bloods. The US did not have schools that old and most of them were like regular schools and the students rarely boarded there. Harry had also told Teddy that as long as things were not safe they could not return to Britain and Teddy and Jack could not go to Hogwarts. The pout on Teddy's face had been cute but also heartbreaking. Apparently he had wanted to attend Hogwarts from the moment he learned what school was.
"Hogwarts is an old place, there's nothing like it anywhere else. The school itself is magic," Harry had told Aaron, not elaborating on that.
So Aaron settled for reading the guides to Lombardia, trying to get informed, like he would do for any other school he would take Jack to. When the actual day for the tour came he was feeling mildly better and hopeful that he would not seem too out of his depth. The boys had been left at JJ's to play with Henry for a few hours.
From the outside, Lombardia Academy looked like a regular private academy,
Complete with a tall wall and taller hedges and lots of greens. They were greeted at the door by Mrs. Kimberly Goodfellow, a perky, petite, witch that acted as school counsellor. She was part Veela and she thanked Aaron for rescuing the girls before donning her professional persona.
"Well, gentlemen, a little information about Lombardia. We're a relatively new school, dating back to nineteen twenty three. Most of the teachers are Alumni from Salem Academy for Witches and Yellowstone Academy for Young Wizards and some are our own alumni. The school itself has eleven buildings, most of them built after nineteen seventy but the architecture is deliberately colonial style."
"Are those cameras?" Aaron asked.
Kimberly nodded. "Modified to work around magic, yes. We take the safety of our students seriously. The MGA headquarters are here in Virginia and many agents have family attending here. We can't ever be too careful. Your profession is in that line of work, I'm sure you understand," she told Hotch. "Let's go through here," she offered as she turned up the path they were following. "This building is the main one, the Joan Murdock building, after the Potions Mistress that first started teaching here. Here are two auditoriums, the faculty offices and the theatre as well as the Non-Magical classes."
She went on to show them the inside of the building, corridors and club houses and then they left that building to head to the next one, the Library. It was the smallest building on campus but the books held within made for an impressive collection. Next they visited the buildings were the magical classes took place. Potions Labs were all situated in a building that was practically a fortress with all the protections around it. The Defence classes were situated in a separate building, along with Transfiguration and Charms. There was no divination but they had classes on numerology and Arithmancy and runes. And then again there were many other classes offered, like arts and music and various sports, magical and non-magical.
"It's like an elite private school," Aaron told Harry when Kimberly was out of earshot for a few minutes.
"You don't like it?" the green eyed wizard asked.
"I don't dislike it," the FBI agent replied. "She kept trying to show up… Hogwarts was it? Were there really moving staircases?"
"And walking armours and tons of portraits of various wizards and witches, some of them important historical figures and inventors and the like," Harry mused.
"She knows you went there."
"Aaron, I'm British, that's not a huge leap to make, that I attended Hogwarts."
"Harry she was anxious to impress."
The wizard smiled. "Trust me; the fees Lombardia charges are impressive enough."
Aaron blinked. "Just how expensive is Hogwarts?" he asked.
"Very," the younger man replied. "Here she is."
"Sorry about that," Kimberly said. "We were about to join the other parents. The Principal will give a speech and some of our Alumni and teachers are going to give speeches. Please follow me."
"Yes, of course," Harry told her.
"You like this?" Aaron asked him, "This place?"
"Well, it has everything and it will make their future better, an early start," Harry replied.
Aaron stopped and Harry copied him. Kimberly paused.
"We'll be just there," Aaron told her. He then turned to his lover. "You and Teddy… You're thinking long term." He was saying that as if only realizing this.
The wizard cocked his head to the side. "Was there any doubt?" Harry asked.
Hotch sighed. "You are searching for work and you stopped cashing the cheques. I know. I checked it."
"I stopped cashing them three months ago."
"I know that too."
Harry shot him a side look. "And?"
"If you're in for the long term…"
The wizard smirked. "You spoke to Rossi."
"Spoken to, more like it," Aaron said. "He told me that I'm an idiot for not appreciating that you want my body and not my money."
Harry snorted in amusement. "Now you believe me?"
Aaron kissed his cheek. "JJ will bring the boys to us after seven. We finish the tour and then we have some private time to ourselves."
"You changed your tune fast. A few weeks ago you would not let me talk about this."
"Yes well… I realized I was treating you a bit like you're helpless." He had done a lot of thinking about this subject. He and Harry had not really talked about the hints the green eyed wizard had been dropping. Once Aaron realized he was about to start making the same mistakes he did with Haley he stopped short. The relationship he had with Harry was deep and it spread to the kids, not just them. So he met up with Rossi after work. The older man had been smug, and proud like all his plans had been confirmed. He told Aaron a bit of something about what he and Harry had talked about and Rossi had basically told him to stop getting worked up.
"You have a partner in him Aaron. It's better if you're on equal ground now that you're in a relationship. He is right; you can't sleep with him and have him on a payroll. He's willing to still be around, without the money, and the situation at the house won't change." Then Rossi had gone quiet. "He's not like Haley, depending on you for money and comfort. Has he ever asked you to change? Questioned you about your job or your priorities?"
"You're saying I'm acting…"
"Like a caveman, yes," Rossi told him. "Get a grip. Him getting another job is perfect for you."
The conversation had gone on the same vein for a while until Aaron conceded that Dave had a point, many of them. He could talk to Harry about this later but now seemed like the right time.
"You know me and change," the profiler told the wizard.
Harry actually rolled his eyes. "The timing could have been better but… Aaron, thank you."
"I'm supposed to be thanking you," he replied.
"We can continue this later, there's much we need to discus and new plans to make," Harry said. "And our tour guide is trying to understand what's taking us so long."
Aaron turned and noticed Kimberly watching them. "We do seem unusually grim."
Harry snorted. "Let's go then," he said.
The second time they visited they brought Jack and Teddy along and the boys loved it. That was the deciding factor in the end.
… End of Chapter…