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Fic: The Way Things Were… Or Are

The Way Things Were… Or Are (Shifter Snippet)
Cross: In Plain Sight
Summary:The Shifters and Shamans ‘verse is a dark world and every one has their secrets.

(previously)

Derrik Morgan leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes with a sigh. The scent of the BAU plane was comforting and never more than after a hard case. No other Shifter encroached on this territory. It was his in a way that few other things were. Even the houses he redesigned and retrofitted weren’t his. A hand dropped to his shoulder and Derrik relaxed further. It’d be silly to reject Hotch’s silent offer for mental healing. He could feel any potential damaging mental ruts being diverted to productive pursuits. Acceptance settled into Derrik’s bones. Peace would soon follow and control would trail after the peace.

Derrik needed to write out his refusal for the job transfer again. Yes, Derrik was an alpha Shifter and yes alpha Shifters preferred defined territory and a clear cut hierarchy but Hotch bypassed all that. Hotch taught by example how a true alpha protected and cared for his pride. (Okay, so it’d be Derrik’s pride someday; it was Hotch’s pack/team now.) By example, Hotch taught the responsibility and iron clad control that Derrik didn’t have a chance to learn from his father. Derrik still had lessons to learn before striking out on his own.

Control was an elusive ideal, sometimes. Control was not being overpowered by someone’s perfume or being distracted when prey crossed his path or, in his case, putting the moves on any pretty girl who smiled at him. Control was not being led around by the animal under his skin and exposing himself as a Shifter. The lion was easy and natural. It knew what it wanted and didn’t like human restrictions. It didn’t care to fit it in. Derrik had worked too hard to fall to the predictions of his nature now.

Genetics helped control. Though whether it was the assistance of a parent’s example or the actual strength of the genes was up for debate. Just another facet of the nature verses nurture argument. A routine, healthy eating (according to your animal) and exercise were all vital to control. Human and Shifter contact ground the beast. Hotch was the best of both worlds.

But there were other methods to control. Tradition stated that Shifter who killed a Shaman in his (or her) shifted state had the best control. It wasn’t all tradition, Derrik knew. He had experienced added control when he had killed a serial killing Shaman at the beginning of his career. The BAU had tracked down one Shifter who’s main victimology requirement was ‘Shaman.’ That hawk’s control had been extraordinary. Derrik would never have been able to peg the man as a Shifter if Hotch hadn’t pushed him into a Change.

Derrik would bet that the war between the Shifters and the Shamans began when one Shifter killed a Shaman and then told his pack/pride/group of the results. It was a wonder that they hadn’t rendered each other extinct long ago.

He sometimes wondered if the world governments knew the affect of a Shaman kill on a Shifter. Was that why they hired Shifters in the US Marshal Service and licensed so many as bounty hunters? Not only did the Shifter stop the Shaman, but their control improved each time. If a Shaman was to be returned ‘Dead or Alive’ they were almost always returned dead. Not that a Shaman wasn’t perfectly capable of killing anyone trailing or attempting to capture them. A strong Shaman could permanently damage the cognitive abilities of anyone they choose with a single strand of hair. Derrik had met and profiled enough Shamans to realize that, as a group, they would rather be dead than captured or imprisoned.

Even knowing all this, the three dead Shamans on Mary Shannon’s (a crazy were-puma, but that’s probably her human side) official record twist Derrik’s stomach into knots. He worries about the two currently in her protective custody and wonders when they disappear from Witness Protection.