Chapter Note: When I was writing this story I had Amy Allen from The Dead Files in mind when I wrote Tony’s Medium characteristics.
Chapter Six: Monsters, Murders, and Explanations
Four days and one more body later, both teams were getting frustrated. The BAU team was learning how very frustrating paranormal cases could be. In a case like their current one where the creature could masquerade as a human, finding the unsub was that much more difficult. They were all in new territory. The BAU team had never tried to apply their profiles to a non-human entity, and the paranormal team had never tried to apply a profile to one of their hunts.
To make things even more confusing, the latest victim hadn’t been found by a body of water. The young man had been found in an alley behind a local restaurant bar. The paranormal team had been thrown briefly, but after going back over their evidence determined that it was more a sign of desperation than it was having the wrong non-human entity.
Tony and Aaron had a discussion in private and decided to divide the team up into three units. They needed to try something new because everything that they’d done so far wasn’t working. So far they’d been trying to stake out places along the various waterways. The problem was there were too many spots to watch, and then the body shows up inland.
Will was taking JJ and Dave back to a secluded beach that they’d found signs of the creature at, but so far hadn’t had kill at. Dean and Kate were going to a popular bar that had a pool, and lots of twenty-somethings. Aaron, Tony, Sam and Spencer were going to a beachside bar with a live band set near one of the piers in town.
Tony and Aaron were hanging out together on the back deck of the bar, while Sam and Spencer had split up inside. The married couple was standing off to one side watching the crowd out back while keeping their eyes on the beach.
“Hey guys, I don’t see Spencer, and he hasn’t spoken in a while. I’m not an expert at these things, but shouldn’t we be able to hear him?”
“Yes,” Aaron said standing up straighter as he and Tony each scanned the area they were monitoring. “Spencer? Are you still on?”
When he didn’t answer right away, Garcia broke in. “Hotch, his earpiece is still active, but it appears to be on standby. For Tony and Sam who don’t use these, that generally means he’s taken it out. This particular unit transmits data when it’s placed in the ear, but if it’s taken out it goes into standby status.”
“I don’t see him inside,” Sam said sounding increasingly concerned. The youngest Winchester and the youngest profiler had been spending quite a bit of time together both on and off the clock. For once both Tony and Dean both were behind Sam’s latest romantic interest, and that almost never happened.
“Last time I saw him he was talking to a man about my height with long dreads and glasses. He had on a loose white shirt and looked to have a couple necklaces on. One might have been beads, and then I saw something white flash off the lights. It could have been some kind of bone or ivory. I think he had on black jeans or slacks, and I didn’t see his shoes. Shit!”
“This isn’t your fault, Sam,” Aaron assured as Tony pulled away from him. “I think you need to come out, Sam. I think Tony’s getting something. He’s pulled away from me and he’s looking toward the pier.”
“On my way! Whatever you do, don’t touch him, or let someone else touch him. Especially if he’s trying to track Spencer.”
“Hotch? Did we lose my Junior G-man? I didn’t even see he wasn’t transmitting! Oh my God! Did I get Spencer hurt?”
“Garcia,” Aaron cut on calmly. “This isn’t your fault. We knew that you would be stretched thin with three separate teams and four new people. Let the other teams know what is going on, but to hold their positions for the moment.”
“Yes, sir. Oh! Now Sam’s has gone to standby!”
Just that moment, Sam stepped up to Aaron looking worried holding an earpiece in his hand. “Can you tell Ms. Garcia that I took my ear thing out? I can’t listen to her and Tony, too. I found this on the table that Spence was at, Hotch.” The younger man put Spencer’s ear piece in Aaron’s hand, making the worry in the man’s stomach grow.
Aaron watched Tony slowly move through the crowd to stand in the sand, still looking toward the pier. Quickly, Aaron moved to follow them as he noticed the pair move toward the underside of the pier. “Garcia, I need you to put Dean or Will through to my earpiece. I need to know what to expect.”
“Will do mon Capitan,” Garcia replied and soon continued. “I have Dean in your ear. Tony has him listed as the go to tonight if he wasn’t available.”
“Hotch? What’s happened? Is Sammy ok?”
“Dean,” Aaron replied following the pair across the sand. “We have a situation, and I need to know what the best thing for me to do is. Spencer has gone missing. He took his earpiece out and we don’t know where he went. After Tony found out, he started staring at the pier, and now he and Sam are headed toward the underside. It’s possible we’ve found our non-human unsub. What can and can’t I do?”
“Follow behind them, but let Tony and Sam handle it if possible. Do NOT for any reason take a shot unless Spencer’s life is in danger and Sam and Tony are say knocked out or not responding to you for some reason. If you do take a shot in that instance, you better fucking be sure that it’s justified. Otherwise, wait for Tony’s decision as to first if it is the creature, and second if this is a jail or kill situation. You can then take a shot if Tony authorizes it. We’ve registered the team as temporary consultants so you’re all covered under our license for the duration of us working with you. So, you fuck up and Tony goes to jail.”
“Got it,” Hotch replied, forcing himself to stop thinking about his husband walking toward a possible killer monster, and instead think about what Unit Chief Hotchner would do. “Garcia, no chatter from this point out. Turn my team’s earpieces to hear only.”
Glad that he’d loaded the silver bullets into his gun, Aaron took his primary piece out. Taking a deep breath he continued forward and hoped that this would come out without any more deaths.
The second he heard Spencer was missing, Tony knew that the Kelpie was there. Pulling away from Aaron, he scanned the people on the back patio and quickly ruled them all out. He barely recognized that he’d moved out into the sand. There was something underneath the pier that was pulling at him.
Because he’d never felt a Kelpie, he could only go on his instincts and the information he was getting from his guides. Tony had three guides that spoke to him the most often. One was a thirty-five-ish-year-old woman named Anuaka who described herself as a gypsy and died during the Great Depression. The second was a sixty-three-year-old former slave named Malcum, who had worked as a doctor on the plantation he’d lived on.
The last and the one who talked to him the most was a former gangster, who had been born in Italy and came to America with his family in the early 1900’s and worked for Lucky Luciano, named Salvatore or Sal for short. Sal’s grandmother had been a healer and taught him all about a wide range of religions and beliefs. She’d been born in Ireland and moved to Italy when she’d met his grandfather one summer when he’d come to her small town. Sal had admitted that she would have been disappointed in him, and he hoped that by helping Tony that he was making up for the bad things that he’d done while he was alive.
The former gangster was insistent that he had to get underneath the pier if he wanted to save the G-man as he called the BAU team members. “He’s gonna gut him with them sharp teeth a’his if you don’t get ta moving!”
“Tony?” Sam called quietly, and briefly, he flicked his gaze toward Sam. Soon, though, he focused back on the underside of the pier.
“Sal says the Kelpie has Spencer, and if we don’t get to moving that he’s gonna gut him with his sharp teeth.”
“Sal your guide?” Sam questioned, and Tony knew that he was trying to make sure he had the identity on tape. Information from Spirit Guides could be used in a limited fashion if they’d backed up the information some other way. Since they had physical evidence that pointed toward or at least suggested, a Kelpie was involved, then they could, in this instance, use his advice.
“What can you feel?” Sam prompted.
“There is something non-human underneath the pier that I haven’t felt before,” Tony said as he continued to move toward the area.
“Can you feel Spencer?” Sam asked quietly using his phone to tape his brother.
“Yes,” Tony said but frowned as he continued to move forward. “He feels weird, though. Like…. He feels like when something takes over someone, and they aren’t thinking for themselves.”
“Like a Spirit?” Sam asked, needing clarification. Mental manipulation could be done various ways by non-human entities, and each felt differently. A Medium rated as Pinnacle Level like Tony was could easily differentiate between them.
“Noooooooo,” Tony said shaking his head, and Sam could see him making a face. “More like… like that witch that kept threatening to turn Dean into a toad.”
“So, it’s a magical manipulation?” Sam clarified, and this time his older brother nodded big.
“Yes, yes yup! Definitely magical. This thing…. He’s not right. Killer… he’s definitely a killer. Sal says he’s got the taste of blood in his veins and likes it a little too much. It’s a shame… such a shame.”
“Why do you say that? Why say that it’s a shame? Did he have a choice?”
Again Tony nodded big, and they were now within ten foot of the bridge. “Yup! He had a chance, but… but I think someone took it away from him. Someone stole his chance. Stole all of his chances. Such a shame.”
Sam stayed quiet at that. Had this not been his brother, and had it not been Spencer underneath the pier with that monster, he might be amused. He could never predict how Tony would react when he was under the influence of guides. Sometimes he was mostly normal like he’d been a few days back when they’d first talked to Meghan Flannery. Other times like tonight, he was a little… odd.
As they stepped into the dark underside of the pier, Sam was glad they had at least a little light on his cellphone to see where they were going. Fortunately, the moon, while not full, seemed unusually bright that night, providing extra light through the breaks in the wood above them. It allowed them quickly to spot Spencer and the man that he’d seen him talking to inside.
This was the part that he hated. Someone had to film what was going on. They had to have a visual record of this, especially when Tony doing was his Medium thing. Glancing over his shoulder, he was relieved to see Aaron hurrying toward them. Trying to keep an eye on Tony, Sam tried to motion the Unit Chief over to him. Luckily, the older man not only understood but obeyed.
“I need you to take my phone, and keep recording,” Sam ordered. “It would be better all around if I take the shot should Tony authorize it. Just pretend that you’re trying to get information from a victim’s family who saw something, but is slightly traumatized. You need to get the information from him about the Kelpie, and you need him to decide if he can be saved or if he has to die. You cannot though influence him one way or the other. It HAS to be Tony’s call. You also have to be careful not to pull him out of his headspace.”
When the Unit Chief nodded, Sam handed over the cellphone, then broke off to hide in the shadows to await his brother’s decision. He was pretty sure that he’d only have one shot at this massive beast.
“Tony,” Aaron started quietly trying to imitate what he’d seen and heard Sam doing thus far. “Can you feel the creature here?”
“Oh yeah,” Tony said stopping in a strip of moonlight. Aaron could see Spencer thrashing in the water with a tall man who seemed to be changing before his eyes, or at least partially.
“Sal says that the Kelpie is there with the G-man. He’s bad. Not right, such a shame. Gotta save him. Gotta…. The G-man won’t survive if we don’t save him.”
“What about the Kelpie? Can he be saved?” Aaron prompted as he watched the human head transform into that of a horse. For some reason, though, Spencer wasn’t fighting. Sam had suggested while doing his research that the Kelpie might be capable of enchanting his victims, and Meghan had apparently backed that up.
“Nooooooo,” Tony said shaking his head from side to side. Aaron couldn’t help but frown wondering what was wrong with his husband. He’d never heard him act so… odd. As if he were drunk or… almost like he was someone else. It was a little disconcerting, but quickly he shoved the thought aside. This was not only the love of his life but a man who saved hundreds of people every year. If this momentary oddness was what it took, then it was something Aaron could live with.
“Can’t be saved. Nope, nope, nope.” Tony said stepping forward drawing the creature’s attention. Hotch couldn’t help but shiver at the strange sound that was half scream and half neighing that came from the Kelpie.
“Let him go! Go! Let him go!” Tony called continuing forward until he was standing in the water.
“If he moves any closer he’ll cut off my shot,” Hotch heard Sam call. “Touch his back gently, and he’ll stop.”
Nodding that he understood, Hotch reached forward and placed a hand on Tony’s back, glad when the Medium stopped.
The creature was obviously unhappy at the intrusion because it let out an angry sound as it yanked Spencer momentarily closer before throwing him into the water. As he watched stunned, the creature quickly finished his transformation, drawing Aaron’s attention away from Tony. Unfortunately, the medium, still listening to his guide Sal, took another step forward.
“Down!” Sam shouted as the Kelpie reared up on its hind legs.
Not knowing what else to do, Hotch reached out and yanked Tony back causing them both to land on their backs. Fortunately, the water was shallow enough that he was able to keep the phone out of the tide. Quickly he moved the screen back to the creature just before Sam took the shot.
He’d never seen anything like it in his life. The creature reared back. Screaming in something that sounded like it was half anger, and half pain, it flung its front legs back as they transformed back into arms. By the time the creature hit the water dead, it hand turned back into a man. The white shirt it was wearing as quickly turning red as blood oozed out of the hole in the center of its chest. What was once a monster, now looked like nothing more than any other man.
When someone took the cell from his hand, Hotch was surprised when he realized it was Tony. Hearing Spencer cry out, Hotch looked over to see Sam helping the younger man out of the water and up into the sand. Vaguely he could hear Tony talking to Garcia, but he could only hear Tony’s side of the conversation.
“Come on, babe,” Tony said now crouched down next to him. “Let’s get out of the water, ok?”
“The Cell?” Aaron said realizing he wasn’t holding it, but Tony smiled softly as he helped him stand.
“I already took it and put it in an evidence bag to make sure it doesn’t get wet before we get the video off. I believe Garcia is working on that for me right now. I think you lost your earpiece when you grabbed me, babe, because she says your doohickey is listing as inactive.”
Lifting his hand, Aaron realized that it wasn’t in his ear any longer, and frowned. He couldn’t take his eyes off the man creature in the water. “What happens to him now?”
“Same as with a human death,” Tony advised drawing him out of the water and back to the sand. “The ME will come, and then if he isn’t certified for a non-human autopsy, one will come in to do the post mortem. Afterward, if he has a family, his body will be released for whatever their death ritual is. If he doesn’t, they’ll call in a local team to build a pyre and burn the body. There are a few teams in the New Jersey/New York area that are certified for such things.”
Aaron’s view of the body was cut off when his husband walked into his line of vision. “Hi.”
Taking a deep breath, Aaron ran a hand through his hair. “Hey, Sorry. I just… It shouldn’t be so… I mean I’ve seen hundreds of unsubs die I just…”
“You’ve never seen a man kidnap a coworker, drag him into the ocean, turn into a half man half horse so he could eat his innards, then get pissed, finish turning into a horse until he’s shot, and then turn back into a man as he dies? Gee, I can’t fathom why you would be thrown.” Tony snarked, and Aaron huffed before rolling his eyes.
Turning he looked for Spencer, and saw that he was talking quietly to Sam. “Will Spencer be ok?”
“Yeah,” Tony replied quickly. “There shouldn’t be any lingering issues. I’d recommend some down time like you would anytime an agent is put in danger, but… mentally there won’t be any lasting effects. Congratulations, Unit Chief Hotchner, you’ve caught your first Non-Human Unsub.”
Taking a deep breath, Aaron nodded and pulled his husband in for a hug. Closing his eyes, he tried to find his calm place again, but he had one thought looping in his head. It was the fact that there was no way his team would ever be able to catch something like this on their own. Maybe Cruz had the right idea with the permanent consultant slot for the Three Men and a Medium group.
The next afternoon, he stood near the banks of scene number five where Meghan Flannery had been found. Spencer was standing next to him with his arms wrapped around his middle. Near the water stood Tony, Sam, and Meghan’s grandparents. This time, no camera was needed, but Tony explained that he always felt more comfortable when he had Sam anchoring him. He did suggest though that with time and practice it was something that Aaron might also be able to one day help him do. Neither Aaron nor Spencer had been too keen on coming, but both Sam and Tony asked them too. Both men felt like it would help them to see this side of what they did.
They were standing far enough away to not intrude on their conversation, but when the direction the wind was blowing, they could still easily hear the conversation. Haley had already passed to the other side when Tony walked his house, so this was something he’d never experienced for himself. He honestly wasn’t sure if he was happy that he hadn’t had a moment like this with his former wife or not. One thing was for sure, though. It was very clear to see how much this chance to say goodbye meant to The Flannery’s. He wasn’t sure if this made the other acceptable, but it definitely helped. Tony had been right. He and Spencer witnessing this was necessary.
Aaron knew it was over when his husband stepped forward and kissed both of the elder couple’s cheeks, and then walked toward him and Spencer with Sam following chatting to him softly. When the brothers stopped in front of them, Spencer moved first, stepping toward Sam and quietly saying that he had some questions. The youngest Winchester nodded and led the team genius back toward the SUV listening intently.
“If those two don’t end up together, I’ll eat all my ties,” Aaron said as he turned his gaze away from the younger men.
“I’d say your ties are safe, babe,” Tony said with a soft chuckle evident in his tone. “So, did that help?”
Aaron nodded smiling as he took Tony’s hand and pulled him toward their vehicle. “Of course it did. Just like you knew it would. It doesn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy about the other, but… it helps. One thing is for sure. We’ll never be able to do what you all do.”
Reaching the vehicle, they parted momentarily as they climbed into the front seats, with Aaron driving. Sam and Spencer were already sitting in the first row behind them. “And, we will never be able to do what the BAU does,” Tony said frankly. “So? No one should expect you to be able to do our job. We have literally decades of experience, babe. You need us again, you know how to reach me.”
Aaron nodded smiling, as he pulled out onto the road. “That I do. Let’s go home.”
Two weeks later, Aaron was coming back from a meeting with Cruz and AD Evans. Three Men and a Medium were now officially listed as a permanent consulting team for the BAU. If the union of the two teams continued to work, the FBI was going to consider creating a specialized team to be added to Aaron’s Unit. The job would be the Winchester Brothers’ and Will’s if they wanted it.
He was just stepping through the glass doors into his unit’s area when he saw Garcia pacing. “Penelope?”
“Derek is in the conference room. He says that he wants to talk to us all, sir.”
Aaron nodded shortly, not needing much thought. “Call the team to the room. Not that they’ll be surprised since even Dave seems to be out of his office staring at the room. Let’s find out what’s going on.”
As the dust settled from the case, and the team no longer had the newness of a Non-Human Unsub to distract them, they all turned their thoughts back to their absent teammate. As much as they all cared about him, and even missed him, it became evident as the days passed that Morgan’s time with the BAU was over, even if that wasn’t what Derek wanted. However, the last time Aaron met with Section Chief Cruz, he got the feeling that it would be a mutual decision.
Stopping at his office, Aaron dropped off the papers from his meeting that included the forms Tony’s team would need to fill out on his desk, and then headed to the conference room. Seeing that he was the last to arrive, Aaron shut the door and took his normal seat next to Spencer.
“Derek, the floor is yours.”
His former agent was standing in front of the screen they normally showed evidence on with his hands in his pockets. Despite the no profiling each other rule, it would be nearly impossible not to see the nerves and guilt on the man’s face.
“Hey guys,” the nervous man started. “I appreciate you hearing me out. I know that I don’t deserve it, but… I wanted to explain what’s going on. It doesn’t excuse my behavior but…”
Aaron watched as the younger man took a hand out of his pocket and ran it over the top of his head. “I umm… you all know I was up for a promotion, and that I was leaning toward accepting it. Some of you know that at first, I wasn’t honestly sure if I wanted it or not. I knew Hotch didn’t think I was ready, and while it bugged me, I’ve always trusted his opinion.”
When the younger man looked to him, Aaron nodded and tried to give an encouraging smile. He knew this was hard, and he’d worked out a couple ideas of what could have been going on. None of them being good.
“What you don’t know is that a week after I was told I was in the running for the new spot my sister called me to tell me that mama is sick. She has stage 3 breast cancer. My sisters want me to come home, and I just…” Derek sighed and snorted.
“I got mad. I know that shocks you all, but suddenly I was furious that I was going to be torn between this job I wasn’t sure I wanted and my mamma. I mean don’t get me wrong. I love my mama to death and back. What makes it all stupid is that there isn’t even a question of what my decision is. I just… Instead of being an adult and telling you all, I was an asshole and took my anger out on you. That’s inexcusable, and I’m sorry. When I confessed to Mamma she kicked my ass around Chicago about three times. I know I hurt you all, but I can only hope that someday you’ll forgive me for being a jerk.”
“Oh, you!” Garcia wailed as she stood and crossed the short distance to Derek throwing her arms around his neck. Quickly, Spencer followed, and the rest of the group watched as the three friends sniffled and cried together.
Eventually, they all got a chance to talk to Derek to say goodbye. By the time the younger man got to Aaron though, they were the only two left in the room. “Hotch,” Derek started, but Aaron just stood and held out a hand.
“It’s been an honor, Derek,” Aaron said. Only when the man took his hand, Hotch pulled him in for a hug. “Someday, you are going to make one hell of a team leader. You need to work on your temper, and you need to open yourself to possibilities that don’t fit your belief system. I’m sorry to hear about your mother. Tony and I will keep her in our thoughts.”
“Tony?” The former profiler asked pulling back, with a small smile.
Aaron nodded showing his ring, then taking his cell out, showed Morgan the wallpaper, which was a picture Garcia had taken on the Kelpie case of the two of them together laughing. “My husband. I told the team on the case.”
“The uh… Kelpie?” Morgan clarified looking embarrassed. “Yeah, Cruz pointed out to me how much I fucked that up. I can’t say as I am fully convinced, but I’ll try to keep an open mind about it all. I’m happy for you man. You deserve someone who looks at you like that. I hope I find it for myself someday.”
“I have faith,” Aaron advised smiling. “You’re a good man, Derek. You just have some rough edges that you need to smooth down. After Haley left me, I never imagined that I’d fall in love again. I can honestly say though that Tony is the best thing that has ever happened to me. If there is ever anything I can do for you Derek, we’re just a call away. Learn from this. Grow from this, and someday you’ll have that lead spot you want.”
“Thanks, man,” Derek said giving him another hug, before turning and leaving the room.
Sitting down at the table, Aaron took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Derek leaving may have been the ending he knew was needed, but it didn’t make it any easier. Somehow, a part of him felt like he’d failed, just like he did with Elle and Jason and Prentiss. Shaking his head, he forced himself to turn his thoughts to the future. Monsters and murders. Unsubs both human and non-human. He knew that there would always be turnover on the team, but he honestly looked forward to seeing what changes this new avenue in investigating would bring them.