Aaron Hotchner looked into the back seat of his car and gave his sleeping son a smile. It was hard for Jack to accept that they were leaving home. Jack wasn't happy, and it was mainly because he was the cause of it, and Jack knew it. Aaron had tried to stick it out, but Jack needed him more than Jack needed his father to stay in the FBI. Aaron would have loved to have remained in the FBI and stayed with his job. However, he had to make the best choice for his son.
The death of Haley had been the turning point. Haley had been Jack's rock in the world and the teacher of his magic and how to use it. Without her, Jack's magic was finding no one to settle on. His magic was lashing out in ways that made it impossible for them to stay in an area that was full of regular Humans. At least without caging Jack's magic and Aaron refused to do that. Binding magic was horrific to Aaron, and he had seen first hand what it could do to someone who was fully invested in their magic. Aaron had hidden his magic as a child, learning before he could talk that his father hated magic and didn't know what his wife was. Then Sean had been born, and he had just shone with magic. There had been no hiding it, and their father had bound the magic in his youngest son. Sean was the favored son, even after that and he had turned into a sociopath. He was still in the mental health facility that he had been in since he had tried to kill several classmates to see if they bleed the same.
Aaron had moved him from the standard ward to the magical ward as soon as he was old enough to do so. He was still never going to be able to live among regular Humans, but he was at least with people who fully understood what he was. They were able to treat him better with lower doses of medications that did help Magical folk and getting him off the things that didn't help him at all. Sean was Magical, putting a block on that magic didn't stop his biology. Aaron hated his mother for allowing all of that to happen to Sean. She had never stood up for either one of her sons.
Shaking his head to rid him of those thoughts, Aaron pulled off to the side of the road right at the town's perimeter. It was a large stone wall, much like the Great Wall of China, it wasn't that much like a wall at all, but the name had lived on from earlier times until now. Aaron got out of his car and made sure that it locked as he didn't want anyone getting into the car with Jack. The boy had enough trauma and didn't need more.
The magical wall was going to be his. He had been in the town enough, leaving Jack with Jessica who was going to follow them in two weeks. Jessica loved her nephew more than anything else that was in this world, and Aaron would never want to separate them, it was part of why Aaron had taken so long to make the decision. Jessica had jumped at the chance to get away from her father in the aftermath of the death of Haley. The man had gone nearly insane and tried to get custody of Jack. The judge that dropped that quickly stating that it would set a bad precedent that would see anyone in law enforcement have to worry about losing their children just because the people they hunted could come after them.
Aaron pulled his athamé from the sheath on his hip. It wasn't visible until he did that. He knew where it was so the magic that kept it hidden from even other Magical folk didn't deter him. He cut his hand and said the simple spell that would bind himself to the front line magical protection that the town had. New Haven was what it sounded like, it was a haven for those who didn't want to be entirely away from Humans. It was smack in the middle of the area near where Big Stone Gap was in Virginia and surrounded by parks and national reserves and the like. It wasn't hard to find Humans when one wanted to. It was going to be good for Jack to have that little bit of life back to him when he wanted it. The boy also loved nature.
The former peacekeeper for New Haven had upped and moved to a new area with little warning, and the town's protections had been fading over the last few weeks while Aaron had been getting his life in order to move. There was little for him to do to take over those protections. Aaron would know if anything happened in the town based on the spell he was weaving with his blood into the wall. It would all settle over the area over the next few weeks. Aaron was a magical powerhouse and could easily protect New Haven more than it had ever been protected. Aaron figured based on what he was feeling that the spells that had been over the town before were so much less than they were now. The last peacekeeper had been utterly ordinary. It was horrible how normal he had been. Aaron knew that he was in a class of his own really, but there were several classes between where he was and where this person.
It wasn't a wonder why the man had left. This had been way too much on him, and Aaron could tell that from the spells.
The magic washed over Aaron, and he looked up to see that there was something on the wall just about twenty feet away from him. It was a wolf. The animals of the world, even the ones that Humans could see were all a little magical. They all could feel magic and know when to stay away or when it was safe to go there. There were animals and creatures that were more Magical than others and were hidden from Humans for the protection of not just the Humans but the animals and creatures as well. They did not look natural, and Humans knew it and would attack them.
Aaron looked at the wolf and waited to see what it would do. He could see its eyes looking at him, it was like the eyes were shining. Aron looked up and into the sky to see the full moon behind him. It was what was making the wolf's eyes shine. Aaron blinked, and when he opened his eyes again, the wolf was gone. Aaron knew that wolves were a natural part of the world, but they were the most susceptible to dark uses of magic and would go insane. That wolf hadn't looked that way though.
Making himself move, Aaron forced his body back into the car. He was tired, but he had refused to move his son into a place where he didn't have control of the protections. The Town Elders knew that he was going to be doing it as soon as he got there and they were fine with it. Hell, they had been so damned happy to get Aaron at all.
The drive the rest of the way into town was short and the house that came with being the peacekeeper was so damned big, but Aaron knew that it was because of the fact that many town-wide events happened there. Hence the damned ballroom and other public areas on the first floor. The second held offices and other things for the people that would be working for Aaron and then the third floor was all private and just for him, Jack, and Jessica. There was a single lower level, and it held things like the potions rooms and various other things that Aaron might want like a room to practice spells in.
"Steve," Aaron said as he got out of his car in front of the house they were going to be living in.
"Aaron, thank you for upping your timetable when the spells started to erode." Steve held out his hand for Aaron to shake.
Steve had been Aaron's primary contact, one of the newer members of the Town Elders and the only one with the sense to make sure that they had someone powerful to protect the city as the peacekeeper. Steve had sought out Aaron just after he had retired from the FBI. Aaron had been courted by the man, and it had felt good to Aaron's ego. The ego that was bruised that he had not been enough for Jack and that it was taking him and Jessica both to keep him settled.
"You are welcome. Do you have issues with wolves in the area?"
"No," Steve said as he let go of Aaron's hand.
Aaron's magic swirled inside of him. Steve was kind of lying. The wolves were the issue, but it might just be that one wolf, and it might not be a horrible thing. There was an issue with the wolf, though. Aaron wondered what it could be. He nodded his head and vowed to look into it himself. If it wasn't a bad thing, it wasn't going to be an issue with him looking into it, and if it did end up being a big issue, Aaron could deal with healing the wolf and setting it on its way to go back to its pack. Lone wolves were not good, even in the Magical world.
The house looked kind of scary in the night, but it wasn't anything that Aaron wasn't used to. The house had probably stood in one way or another since Magicals had come and settled what was now the United States long before the regular Humans had. Magic had drawn them, the magic of the Natives and when it had come time for regular Humans to make their way, the Natives and the Magicals had banded together and shifted themselves into areas where Humans couldn't get them.
"Dad?" Jack called out from the back seat.
"I'll let you get settled in. There will be a town hall meeting in the ballroom tomorrow at 2 pm so that anyone who cares to can meet you."
"That's good. You said that there was a housekeeper who would help me?" Aaron asked.
"She and the cook will be there in the morning. Leave a note if you want something that will take more than half an hour to cook or if you want tea instead of coffee."
"Coffee first thing but Jack will want tea, but that will happen after I am up so she-"
"He," Steve interjected.
"He will have time to make it." Aaron nodded at Steve before he turned to open the backseat door on the car. Jack was already out of his booster seat and grabbing the stuffed rabbit that he had latched onto the first time that Jessica had taken him shopping after the death of Haley. Aaron agreed that Jessica didn't need to deny him that. It was looking a little ragged so Aaron would have to spell it back to pristine. That was the lovely thing about toys made with magic, they never wore out like regular Human toys.
Jack was already almost asleep again just seconds after Aaron picked him up. Aaron shut the car door and set the alarm on it. It also set the protections that Aaron had on the car itself so that no one but him could even spell themselves inside of it. Everything in the car could be easily grabbed by Aaron once Jack was settled in his bedroom. All of Aaron and Jack's things had been brought over, and Aaron had set them up the weekend before as Aaron had a lot of things he had to finish as far as the courts when it came to Jack and his grandparents before they could move fully. So they had stayed at Jessica's where Aaron slept on the couch, and Jack was in a rollaway in Jessica's room with her. Aaron had offered to stay in a hotel or something, but Jessica wouldn't hear of it.
"Are we home now?" Jack asked as they crossed the threshold. As soon as Aaron was entirely inside, he pushed his magic into the door, and it shut behind him. He would have to teach Jack that bit as soon as possible. The door would only open during certain hours with their magic and Jessica's. He would add the housekeeper and the cook to that as well so he wouldn't have to let them in every single morning.
"Yes, buddy, we are home."
"It feels good," Jack said, and he yawned and laid his head on Aaron's shoulder and was out before Aaron could get up the stairs to the second floor much less the third. Jack was already in his pajamas, so Aaron only had to lay him down and make sure that he wasn't going to roll out of bed with a check of the spells. He backed away to the doorway and waited to see if him moving away was going to wake him, and it didn't. Aaron stepped across the threshold and waited as well. Jack didn't stir at all.
Aaron made quick work of getting all of their things out of the back of the car, as well as some snacks for Jack that Aaron wasn't sure they would have at the store in town. Aaron was all for giving Jack what he wanted to make the transition easier on his son. It didn't take long for Aaron to get his things into his room and Jack's settled in the hall outside of his room so that he wasn't going to wake Jack with the noise of setting them down.
The house was much larger than Aaron wanted to live in, but it wasn't like he paid for it. The water and even the electricity were spelled into the house, and there was no rent. It was all maintained by the town for Aaron's protection of it. It was an excellent way to run the town. Everyone pitched in where they could. Childcare was even offered, but that was asking for trouble with Jack's issues at the moment.
Aaron checked out his official office and found that it was mostly a blank slate after removing the things from the last peacekeeper. Aaron would have to make sure that he made the room his. His law texts, Magical and Human were going to be the main thing in there. There was a note sitting on Aaron's desk, so he walked around to read it.
Before you added your protections to the town, we were unable to speak of a sensitive issue that we wanted to make you aware of. Even now, the few who are in the know are unable to talk to you about it. I am the only one. Even writing this note is a little troubling for me. IF you have not already seen him, there is a wolf who lives inside of town. He does not go outside of the wall except for making his kills for his food. He never has, and he will never harm a single citizen within the city. In fact, when some kids have made their way outside of the protections, he's defended them to the detriment of his own being. We have a skilled healer, so if he shows up at your place, please call the healer. He feels safer going to the peacekeeper, even though the one we had before had seemed to be a fraud on that.
Thank you for coming to New Haven, and we hope that you love it here.
Town Elder Krista
Aaron frowned at the letter and then his own memory of the wolf he had seen on the wall. There was no reason to know that it was the same wolf. Aaron could guess, but he could be wrong. Wolves were all around the area, and being on the wall wasn't the same as being inside of the town. Aaron would have to see if that was the same wolf or not. He could easily get Krista to describe the wolf to him. Even though it had been dark out, Aaron had a good memory of the wolf, especially the eyes. The size told Aaron that it was a male as even Magical tainted wolf females did not get that big.
The wolf looked like the Northwestern wolf by breed. The white on the body had been stark in color, and the upper part was a good mix of grays and blacks. It was a breed that was not native to the area, now that Aaron thought about it. Yet it seemed to be a protector of the town. Aaron had heard tales like that growing up and teaching himself magic out of books since his mother had never cared to teach him anything. It wasn't until high school that Aaron had started to get his education in all things magical. He was glad of it too, as that meant that he was able to learn what he wanted and needed without his parents looming over him.
Aaron went to his bedroom, which overlooked the backyard of the house. It was fully enclosed. While there wasn't an actual wall, there were magical barriers that allowed Aaron to see out into the area, but no one could look in. It allowed Aaron to not have to deal with people watching him. He was going to be the spectacle for a while, and he knew it. Small towns were always like that. It would wear off in time, and he and Jack would be fine.
The meeting the next day with the town would be where Aaron put his foot down about how the town was going to treat Jack. He did not want the town being weird around Jack, and he would protect his son. It was the biggest point in Aaron's life. He would do anything for his son and protect him; however, he could. There was nothing else more important in Aaron's life than Jack.