Criminal Minds © CBS.
AN: Part 8 of the Shadows Within saga, and once again a Supernatural crossover. A reviewer kindly informed me of the lack of reaction from Hotch, so we decided the best way to fix that would be to write about Hotch coming face to face with a demon. Here's where my twisted little mind went with it.
The Demons Among Us
Honestly, Hotch never thought this would happen. He kind of assumed that everything Castiel and Bobby had told him was true, but not applicable to his team. After all, why would demons come after them if they already faced the worst humanity had to offer? He just didn't think much of it.
In retrospect, he really should have.
It is one of the rare nights that Reid spends time with Hotch and Rossi, and no one else. They go to a nice restaurant (courtesy of Rossi) and just enjoy each other's company. No fuss, no cases, nothing to get in their way. Reid wants to go to the bookstore down the street, and Hotch and Rossi oblige him. They'll do anything for their youngest.
There's a back alley that leads from the bookstore to the parking lot where Hotch left his car. The three of them take it, Reid fighting to get his books into his messenger bag and Rossi basically laughing at him for buying so many. Hotch eventually has mercy on the kid and holds the bag open so Reid can get the books in. That's when he notices the titles.
"Interesting choice in reading."
Reid almost flushes. "Well, after what Bobby told us, I figured it couldn't hurt to be prepared." he says. "Bobby already sent me all the books he has on the subject. Did you know there's a lot more than just demons and angels out there? It almost makes me wonder if we're in the right line of work."
Rossi laughs. "Reid – humans I get. Let's not talk about monsters right now, okay?" Reid grins and nods. Hotch can see his car from here. He pulls out his keys, but a voice stops them in their tracks.
They turn around. There's a young woman standing behind them. She doesn't look threatening, but there's something about her that sets Hotch on edge. He doesn't like how she knows Reid's name. He doesn't like the way she smiles at him.
He doesn't get much time to think about it. Reid is backing away, his eyes widening in terror. Automatically, Hotch and Rossi draw their weapons and aim them at the woman, closing rank to keep Reid out of her line of sight. Her smile widens. "You don't really think that will work against me, do you, Agent Hotchner?" Her eyes flash black.
Hotch feels himself go cold. He doesn't need Reid to tell him what this is – what he's suddenly dealing with. The others, who usually keep their distance during private nights, are suddenly mobilizing. Hotch knows that, at any minute, the entire force of the BAU is going to come storming down on this one alley, and he's not sure they can win.
Reid is more than just scared – he's terrified. Castiel's Grace should keep him off most demon radars, so this woman must be more hardcore than the rest. She's willing to take them on and risk an angel's wrath. He's trembling as he reaches into his messenger bag for the other thing Bobby sent him.
The woman approaches them. "Move."
Rossi snarls. "Make me."
She waves her hand. Rossi goes flying towards the wall, Hotch quickly following suit. They both slam into the brick hard. Rossi has the wind knocked out of him. Hotch struggles back to his feet. Somehow they both kept their grip on their guns.
What? No! I'm not –
She's after you – get the hell out of here! "Stay back!" Rossi shouts. He's still on the ground, but his gun is trained just as accurately as Hotch's. "Come closer and I'll shoot!"
Finally, Reid gets a grip on the small vial Bobby sent him. Without a thought (he's not getting any closer to the demon girl than he absolutely has to) he throws it at her. It shatters against her face, and she screams as it burns her skin. It leaves no marks, but smoke rises from her face. Her lips twist in a snarl. "You dare!"
Before Reid can react, her hands are around his throat. "You dare! You think you can hurt me!" Her grip tightens, and Reid can't breathe. He struggles, hands gripping her wrists, but she's inhumanly strong. He kicks her hard in the stomach, and she barely flinches. "I'll kill you!"
Hotch has the better shot. He opens fire, hitting her three times right between the shoulder blades. It works – she lets go of Reid, who drops to the ground, gasping desperately for air. She doesn't fall down dead like he hoped. She grins at him instead. "I told you, Aaron, that won't stop me. There's only one gun in the world that can kill me, and you don't have it."
Reid catches his breath long enough to speak. It's not English, though, and Rossi barely recognizes the Latin as an exorcism ritual before the woman turns around and punches him in the face. It doesn't stop him. He keeps chanting, and the woman convulses. She glares at the young man. "See you around, genius."
Suddenly the woman is gone. She simply vanishes into thin air. Rossi's eyes are wide, his entire body trembling. Hotch holsters his gun. "Reid." The younger agent is still on his knees, breathing heavily, face even paler than normal. He looks like he's going to pass out. Hotch rushes to his side and crouches down in front of him. "Reid!"
Reid holds up one hand. "Give me a minute – I need to wrap my mind around this." he says shakily. His voice is rough, but nothing that frightens Hotch. The older agent just reaches forward and pulls Reid to him, holding him tightly, much like he did when they finally got him back from Tobias. Reid allows it. When Rossi joins them, placing his hand on Reid's shoulder, he still doesn't flinch. This is more physical contact than he's used to getting in one go, but he can handle it.
He needs it as much as they do.
This is how the others find them – still sitting in the alley with Hotch refusing to let go of Reid. Morgan looks at Rossi. "What happened?"
"When I figure it out, you'll be the first to know." Rossi says. "Ask Reid, assuming Hotch ever lets him go." He still sounds unsteady. JJ looks from Rossi to Morgan to Hotch and Reid. Prentiss is the one who finally moves to pull Rossi back to his feet. After a few more minutes, Hotch and Reid also separate and stand.
"You're staying with me tonight." Hotch says.
Morgan nods. "Hope you got room for all of us."
That night, after everyone else goes to sleep, Hotch finds himself standing in the kitchen with a glass of water. He doesn't move. He simply stands there until he hears the person he's been calling.
"I did warn you."
"You also said you would keep them away." Hotch rounds on Castiel. It's probably not the smartest thing he's ever done, challenging an angel, but neither was shooting a demon. "What happened?"
"It was supposed to work." Castiel retorts. "What did this demon look like?" Hotch briefly describes her. Castiel nods. "I know her. This will not happen again." His voice is dark, and Hotch does not doubt him in the least. Castiel considers for a moment. "How is Spencer?"
Hotch sighs. "Fine, for now. Damn it all, she almost – " He stops himself. The team needs rest, and they don't need his ragged emotions giving them nightmares. He fixes Castiel with a dark stare. "Make sure she pays."
Castiel nods. "I will." With that he's gone.
"So that's the angel." Morgan walks into the kitchen. "Not much to look at, is he?"
Hotch chuckles tiredly. "Neither is Reid." Morgan nods. Hotch turns to him. "Looks like we'll need more than just the standard training."
Morgan grimaces. "I think we're going to need a lot more than that. I mean, come on Hotch – demons and angels? Seriously? What the hell?"
"I know." Hotch sighs. "Reid says there's more than just them out there. I don't know how much of that we need to worry about, though."
"Hopefully none of it." Morgan sighs. "Hotch, how are we supposed to do this? I mean –"
He cuts himself off, but Hotch already knows. This is Reid. This is the young man they all swore to protect the day he opened their minds, even if he didn't know it. How are they supposed to protect him from the supernatural if they can't even guard him from the mundane human evil?
Rossi's voice answers them. We'll just have to train him, so he can take care of himself when we can't do it. Just like we do all our agents. Now get in here and stop thinking about it. The kid's gonna have nightmares as it is.
Hotch nods and walks back into his room, Morgan following him. Hotch let Reid take his bed, and now he watches as his youngest curls into the blankets. His face doesn't show distress, but Hotch has been through enough nightmares with Reid to know one is brewing. It won't take long for his dreams to take him places he doesn't want to go.
Morgan rolls his eyes. I'll take the couch. You stay with the kid. When Hotch starts to protest – after all, he was going to take the couch to let Morgan actually have some space to spread out – Morgan adds, Come on, Hotch. You're the only dad the kid's ever had. Stay with him. There's only so much a big brother can do. With that he leaves the room.
Hotch stays on top of the covers, but the minute his body settles onto the bed Reid curls into him, his death-grip on the pillows slackening as he calms. Any member of the team can calm him like this – even Garcia, who has already fallen asleep downstairs – but Hotch needs to be the one. He needs to know he can still protect Reid, even if it isn't from anything more threatening than his own mind.
He closes his eyes and lets sleep claim him.