Dead Air – Chapter 19: Reflections on Life & Love, Telling Mom, and From Goldfish to Furbabies


Banner by me.

Characters this chapter: Brain O’Connor, G Callen, Sam Hanna, Spencer Reid, Diana Reid, Tony DiNozzo

Relationships this chapter: Spencer Reid/Tony DiNozzo/Brian O’Connor

Chapter Warnings: None

Word Count: 5,906/112298

Chapter Note: Speculation in the third section about Kate’s time at the Secret Service is just that. It’s all made up in my head, and I have no factual information that suggests it to be true for the real life Secret Service. I used it as a plot point, and in no way intend to disparage the men and women who work for that agency.

Chapter Summary: Brian reflects on his life while on his undercover assignment with G Callen and Sam Hanna. During downtime he clashes with one of the NCIS agents. Then we go back in time to see Spencer’s conversation with his mother regarding his new relationship. It doesn’t exactly go as he had planned. The lastly we come back to present time. Brian is now home from overseas, and decides that the penthouse needs some more residents… of the furry nature.

~~* February 2016 *~~ * ~~* Reflections on Life & Love *~~

Brian was sitting in the hotel room that he was sharing with Sam Hanna and G Callen from the NCIS OSP office in Los Angeles.  The two men were talking quietly on the other bed, and Brian was taking a moment for himself.  He couldn’t really get true alone time, but the other two did their best to give him the illusion of time to himself.

Brian was glad that Tony had insisted on their presence. Their connection and familiarity with the area were big help.  When combined with Brian’s own contacts they had both a viable lead on their terrorist scumbag, as well as a workable plan to get them in.

Callen would be piggy backing in as the brother of one of Brian’s identities with Sam playing Callen’s bodyguard.  They had a few days though before they could get a meeting. So, until then they were mostly laying low. Although they were also getting out there to be seen and set their covers on occasion. It was a tricky balance, but one they were all familiar with.

Callen seemed to be alright.  He was what you’d expect from someone who had spent most of his adult life undercover, and spent his childhood bouncing around between foster homes.  He was a little aloof, and a lot hard to connect to. Fortunately, Brian didn’t need to form a lifelong bond with the man, he just needed to be able to trust him to watch his back. This was doubly fortunate when it came to Callen’s partner Sam Hanna.

The man came across to Brian as condescending and judgmental, and the blonde found himself constantly resisting the urge to use Rossi’s favorite throat punch on the former SEAL. Bri hadn’t felt comfortable around most military types since his boarding and military school days. The only ones that he’d ever been able to let in were Rossi and Gibbs, and both of those relationships were still works in progress even five years into his relationship with Tony.

Brian had come a long way from the hell of his childhood, and the years spent being judged as being a slacker by uptight military brats.  The assholes had only looked at his blonde hair and laid back persona before finding him to be lacking.  He’d been tormented and just short of abused by assholes who felt it was ok to pick on him because they interpreted some code to mean that they were superior to him.  He hadn’t had enough positive experiences since those days to convince him that people like Sam Hanna could be trusted.

Every time Sam spoke to or about Brian it the man came across like felt that he was lowering himself just by being in the same room as the blonde.  Callen tried to play the peacemaker, but frankly it was distracting. Given that Brian was in charge, and didn’t have time for the drama, Agent Hanna was on thin ice. If he didn’t watch it he was going to find himself watching the op from the sideline.

Brian had already warned Callen that he felt the two of them could pull this off just fine, and wasn’t going to let himself be bullied into believing otherwise.  He didn’t understand why the hell the SecNav had asked for Tony’s help when they had a damned Office of Special Projects that seemed to deal with this type of thing all the time.  Tony had suggested that there was some distrust between Morrow and Hetty, and possibly Gibbs’ ego hadn’t been willing to let go of his operation. The whole thing was a FUBAR, and Brian just wanted out in one piece.

He just kept reminding himself that he now had people who accepted and loved him for who he was blonde hair, blue eyes, and laid back attitude notwithstanding.  David Rossi had practically adopted both himself and Spencer. He was the former military man in Tony’s life that Brian liked the most.

Maybe it was because he felt more like a profiler, and less like a marine.  Maybe it was because Gibbs acted too much like some of Brian’s former instructors.  Whatever it was Brian was starting to feel as if Rossi was as much a father to him as he was to Tony. He knew that Spencer viewed him as an uncle that he’d always wanted, and was treated like a nephew by the older man.

They’d had dinners with Gibbs over the years, Brian, despite his own misgivings, could see why Tony held onto that relationship so tight. Even if he wasn’t sure that he could get to that point himself.  Spencer interestingly enough seemed to be amused by Gibbs most of the time, and happily stood up to that man when needed.  Maybe it was the nature of his job, and the years spent learning to build his own backbone while dealing with Derek Morgan.

Brian could see that there was clearly an affection between his lover and Gibbs.   He wasn’t sure if he’d ever see the man as a big brother like Tony did, but in the last few years the older man had relaxed some.  Because of that, he was starting to see beneath the crusty surface.  He was hoping if only for Tony’s sake that someday he could honestly call Leroy Jethro Gibbs a friend.

He knew though that he’d never understand how Tony worked for the man so long. While the Gibbs he normally saw away from work was growing on him, the asshole he’d seen at NCIS before Brian had left the country was intolerable.  There was no way he would ever work for such a tyrant, and was going to give Tony the blowjob of his live for surviving that as soon as he got back to the states.  It certainly explained why Tony was so damned fond of his current team.

The BAU team was awesome, and Brian liked every one of them.  Derek Morgan was everything that a brother should be, and Brian had already slotted him into that role.  Hotch had that big brother vibe that made Brian feel safe and protected. He knew that he’d never have to wonder where he stood with the man or worry that he wasn’t good enough.

Emily Prentiss was just a badass. Brian had always liked strong confident women, and the ambassador’s daughter certainly filled that role.

Kate Callahan was the team mother, and Brian adored her.  She was one of the only people that had ever been allowed to be nice to Tony and be tolerated no matter the mood.  For that alone she had Brian’s respect.

Penelope Garcia as a bright colorful light in a vast depressing darkness that Brian was finally pulling himself out of.  There had never been a moment that he’d seen her when she hadn’t made him smile.  It was literally impossible for Brian to pick a favorite amongst the team, because they all filled some role in Brian’s life that he’d desperately needed.

Rossi however was already threatening to retire again. He’d taken to bitching about all the trouble that Tony, Prentiss, Derek, and Brian himself were going to get into. Emily had tried to claim herself a perfect angel, and Spencer had literally fallen off the sofa on the jet he was laughing so hard.

Letting his mind wander at the thought of the genius, Brian wondered what Spencer was doing at that moment.

His relationship with him had certainly evolved since they’d met. The first year or so was awkward and a little miserable.  Brian had been too afraid to ask for what he wanted.  Spencer had been too self-conscious to think that a second person could love him the way that Tony did.  When Brian had finally stuck his neck out, and asked Spencer for more, he’d been sure that he’d crashed and burned when Reid hadn’t immediately responded.

Since then, Brian had come to understand how Spencer processed emotional things and emotional situations.  It took the younger man a bit to understand that aspect of things, and then figure out how he was supposed to process it.  Often times Brian noticed that there was a call to Hotch or Derek involved in the understanding process before a resolution was reached.

These days, Brian knew not to expect an immediate response to certain kinds of conversations. That day though he’d just known that it was all over.

Since then, both he and Spencer made it a point to take moments to spend together without Tony. Theirs would probably never be the great love that they each felt that they had with the Italian.  That didn’t mean that it wasn’t special in its own way though.

Slowly but surely, the two of them found common ground, and then built on it.  That then led to a stronger bond between the three of them, which made for a happier Tony. A happy Tony was really all that either Brian or Spencer wanted. So, oddly that strengthened their bond putting them back at that connection between the two of them being important in its own way.

Of course nothing would exist without Tony.  Literally everything in Brian’s life led him back to Flyboy in some way.  When Tony came back into his life, Brian felt like a newly rebuilt engine.

He might not be as good as he was when he rolled out of the factory.  He might have some miles on him, but he also had some shiny new parts, and a new lease on life.  There wasn’t a road that he wasn’t willing to explore. With Tony by his side, they all seemed possible.

It was hard to imagine how his life might have turned out if they’d never met.  Sometimes Brian thought that the two of them would always be those two scared little boys tossed into a boarding school with a monster by people that couldn’t be bothered with them. All while they were missing mothers who had been stolen from them.  Most times when he was in those moods, Brian came to realize that if that was true then it was ok.  He’d never before needed more than Tony, and couldn’t imagine a situation in the future that would change that.

Of course now he had Spencer to add into that equation.  Underneath the intelligence and uncertainty the genius worse like a skin was a spine of steel. The man had his own list of complaints to take up with the world.  The first probably being with a father who had thought it ok to abandon him with only a mentally unstable mother to care for him.  All because the man hadn’t been able to take what his wife had done to protect her son from Riley Jenkins’s murder.

Knowing what he did about the situation from Reid, Brian could understand how a lawyer would have a difficult time living with the knowledge that his wife had killed someone.  Even if that was the case though that would never make the abandonment of his innocent son acceptable.  In Brian’s opinion, William Reid was as bad as Anthony DiNozzo, Senior and Padraig O’Connor ever were.

The only difference between them and Reid’s dad was that on top of being selfish and a bad father, he was a coward as well. Brian wondered if maybe that wasn’t worse than Senior and Padraig.  At least they hadn’t cared and never let their sons believe that they did.  William made Spencer believe that he was loved before simply disappearing.  Abandonment was hard under any circumstance.  At least Brian and Tony had known the score long before their fathers left though. Spencer had believed that he was loved and safe.

Of course Tony and his own knowledge of their father’s hatred of them didn’t take away that hope that their situations would change.  In Padraig’s case, Brian was pretty sure that the man believed that he loved his son.  It might have been a twisted and cruel love, but the man probably had known no other type.

Brian had only met his seanathair (grandfather) Aengus O’Connor once.  In his opinion that had been enough. Regardless of all that the bottom line was they’d all had crappy fathers, but to him William Reid and the sins he’d committed against his son were the worst of the three.

“Deep thoughts?”  Brian heard, and opening his eyes, smiled weakly at Callen.

“Kinda,” Brian admitted surprising both himself and the NCIS agents.

“Too much downtime will do that to you,” Callen offered sounding as if he understood. From what Tony had told Brian about the man’s life, he believed that Callen probably did.

“That’s why you have to train your mind to ignore negative impulses,” Sam said smirking. Brian just wanted to smash his fist into the man’s throat. His snark and arrogant air weren’t helping the blonde’s restlessness.

“Not now, Sam,” Callen reprimanded softly, but his partner ignored him, unfortunately.

“It’s never not the time to teach discipline to those that are lacking,” Sam quipped. He may have been joking, but Brian’s mind and history didn’t interpret them that way. Nor were they willing to let the man off the hook a single time more.

Leaping off the bed, Brian ignored the fact that the man was built like a brick house as he thrust himself into Sam’s personal space.  “Why don’t you take your self-discipline and shove them up your ass, you judgmental prick?  I have had just about enough of you and your ‘I’m better than everyone else’ mentality.

“I met dozens of fuckers like you at military school. Every one of you jackasses treated guys like me as if I was a waste of space. Well, I hate to tell you princess, but you aren’t any fucking better than any of the rest of us.  If you think that I haven’t put my life on the line for my country then you don’t understand the first thing about my career. I believe in right and wrong, good and evil, justice and injustice just as much as you do, and if you can’t understand that then I don’t want you watching my back.”

Ignoring Sam’s attempt to stick up for himself. Brian turned to Callen scowling.  “You’re gonna have to rework your half of the plan.  I’m not letting him get me killed because he thinks that he’s better than me and doesn’t follow my lead.  I don’t care if he’s your partner or not. He’s out. PERIOD.”

Stomping back to his side, Brian picked up the hat that Brennan O’Rourke always wore, and stormed out of the room. Fortunately Brennan was known for his fiery temper, so if he someone was watching they wouldn’t be surprised in the least.

Back in the room, Callen was glaring at his partner. “I told you to knock that shit off. I told you not to take whatever bullshit you have with Deeks out on Brian. I told you that he wouldn’t get it or take any more of it.  Did you listen? Of course not.”

Callen grabbed his sunglasses and his own hat before moving toward the door. “You’re my partner, Sam, and I trust you with my life. Sometimes though I wish that you’d get over yourself. You can call Hetty to explain why the plans have changed, and you won’t be able to accompany us.  I have a brother to calm down.”

Sam watched Callen chase after Brian, and ran a hand over his head. This was not going to be fun.  Hetty was going to be pissed.

Brian was wandering through the market when he felt someone come up next to him. He was about to reach back for the gun that he’d kept on him since he’d left the states, when Callen spoke. “I have put him in his place, brother. I should have listened to you before it got to this point. I’m sorry.”

Brian looked up from the stand of books that he’d been studying to see real regret in Callen’s eyes.  “I know you trust him, Gregor, but he just isn’t right for this.  He and I don’t have the history that you two do, and I am not comfortable with him.  Ahmir will pick up on that, and our deal will be in jeopardy. I don’t think that any of us want that.”

Brian picked up two of the books, and wondered if he could indulge.  Brennan was known to partake on occasion in such intellectual things, and he had a feeling that Spencer would enjoy them.

“Books, Brennan?”

Brian bartered with the vendor over the price, and paid the settled on amount before answering. “I think that my doctor friend will enjoy them.  It’s always good to have such a person in your life.  You never know when their knowledge will come in handy.”

“This is true,” Callen replied laughing as he carried on his Gregor O’Rourke persona. The older man settled in at Brian’s side as they made their way leisurely further into the market.  They passed several stalls before he spoke again.

“Do not let Samael’s antics throw you off. The end is close.  I won’t let him ruin this for you.  You are almost free brother. Remember that.”

Brian took a deep breath, and nodded. His hand gripped the book tight enough that the edge of the cover dug into his fingers.  It was a reminder of what was in front of him. The sights and sounds around him were a reminder of what he was leaving behind.  “I just want this to be done, Gregor.”

“I’ll get you through this. You have my word. All those plans will be yours.”  When Callen gripped his arm, Brian stopped and nodded to acknowledge the man’s sincerity.

“I am holding you to that.” Brian advised, and continued his stroll. Callen was right. The end was in sight and he wasn’t going to let Sam Hanna throw him off of his game.  He was almost done, and had two amazing men waiting for him at home.

~~* Thanksgiving 2011 *~~ * ~~* Telling Mom *~~

Spencer walked into Bennington with his hands shoved into the pockets of his slacks. Tony had been trying to get him to dress more casually on his downtime, but Spencer knew a visit to his mother wasn’t the time to begin that.  A part of Spencer wished that he’d let Tony come with him to do this, but it was never certain how his mother would react to strangers.

Pausing in the common area where his mother was sitting, Spencer took a deep breath telling himself she’d always supported him. Then before he could chicken out, moved over to sit down with her.

After they’d talked about other things for awhile, Spencer knew he couldn’t keep stalling. His mother was having one of her good days, and she’d pick up on what he was doing soon.  “Mom, I have something to talk to you about.” Spencer admitted softly.  Diana put down the papers she’d been reading to him, and took off her reading glasses.

“I knew there was something wrong,” she proclaimed frowning. “What happened, Spencer? Is it that job of yours?  If the government has come after you they are going to have to deal with me. I will scratch all of their eyes out!”

“Mom, its not,” Spencer began frustrated and a little amused.  “It’s not bad, mom. It’s good. At least, I think that it’s good. I’ve… I’m in a… I met someone… someones?  I’m in a relationship with two men, and I’ve moved in with them.”

“Someones?” Diana repeated frowning.  “Explain this, Spencer. You haven’t turned into some kind of a gigolo have you?”

“Mom!”  Spencer squeaked.  “It’s not like that I… Their names are Tony DiNozzo and Brian O’Connor.  They work with me. Tony is on my team, and Brian works for another department. They… they accept me as I am, mom.”

Diana studied her son seriously.  “They don’t mind the sex thing?”

Spencer blushed shaking his head.  “No, mom, they don’t mind. That’s how… I met Tony first, and felt bad because he is… he likes sex a lot. So, I found Brian for him. They… they’re amazing, mom.”

Diana nodded then leaned forward. “Are they attractive?  You deserve men who are good looking, Spencer, but they need to be smart, also.  Are they sexy and smart?”

“Mom!”  Spencer shrieked feeling the conversation devolving out of his control, and Diana just made a face.

“Don’t be a prude, Spencer. I have had sex you know. You weren’t created in a test tube.”  Diana frowned at her son’s embarrassment.  “A mother needs to know these things. Are they?  Do they let you watch them? I know you enjoy that greatly.”

Spencer hid his face in his hands. He couldn’t believe the direction that their conversation had turned.  He felt his mother pat his head, and groaned.

“Why back in my college days, I experimented a time or two. There was these two girls…”

“Mother!” Spencer shrieked again wide eyed, and Diana just sighed.

“I hope these men of yours get you over this. Sex is a natural act. You didn’t answer my question, young man. Don’t think I didn’t notice.”

“Yes!” Spencer interrupted.  “Yes, they are sexy and smart.  They also let me… they let me do what I am comfortable with.”

“Oh, that’s perfect, baby,” Diana replied nodding. “All I want is for you to be happy. Do you love them? I want to hear about these men. Does that boss of yours like them. He seems to be a good judge of character even though he does work for our fascist government.”

Spencer smiled, and ignored his mother’s comments about Hotch relaxing back into his chair. The embarrassing stuff seemed to be passed.  “Hotch likes them. Rossi has known Tony since he was a kid. So, Aaron has known him longer than I have. I love Tony.  Things with him just clicked.  Brian I don’t know as well yet. We’re still working on things I guess.”

Diana reached out and patted his hand.  “Not every relationship is the same. Did they go to college? A college education is very important.”

“They both graduated from Ohio State University.  They’ve actually known each other since they were kids.  Not only do they both have their original degrees, but they take classes here and there as they have time.”

“Good!  You’re never too old to learn something new, Spencer.  Never forget that.  Now, what book should I select for the class next? I am torn between The Republic by Plato, and Oresteia by Aeschylus. Which do you think is more important and why? Come on now. No dawdling. I need your answer Mr. Reid.”

Settling in, Spencer smiled and turned his mind to his favorite subject.  Despite her illness, his mother would always be the woman that he respected the most.  As long as she accepted his relationship, no one else’s opinion mattered to him.

~~* February 2016 *~~ * ~~* From Goldfish to Furbabies *~~

Brian practically ran out of the building when he was finally let go. It was his  last debrief from hopefully his last major undercover assignment. He had an appointment, and he couldn’t wait to get there.  It was time that Kate and Probie came home.

When he finally got to the penthouse over two hours later, he was carrying two puppy carriers. Hearing sounds coming from Spencer’s library, Brian snuck down the hall, setting the cages on the floor just outside the room.  Opening the doors, he grinned as Kate bound out with an excited yip, announcing her presence to the house, and running into the room in front of her to explore.

“Was that a dog?” He heard Tony ask, which was quickly followed by Spencer’s, “Holy shit! A Puppy!”

Brian was in the process of trying to convince McGee to come out when he heard footsteps behind him.  “Whatcha doin, Bobo?”

“Trying to get Probie to come out,” he complain frustrated.  The frightened puppy definitely was not as adventurous as his sister, and seemed content to remain in the back of his current home.  Because he was glaring at the puppy, Brian missed the look of fondness on his partner’s face.

“Let an expert try,” Tony requested, and Brian was more than happy to step aside to let him.  The dogs were for them all in principle, but the blonde had a feeling that Probie specifically would always be Tony’s first.

When he stood up, Spencer was walking out into the hallway giggling as Kate licked his face. “I think she likes me!  Clooney’s the only other dog I ever met who didn’t hate me on sight.”

“I always knew that there was a wild child lurking inside of Kate,” Tony snickered before turning his attention back to the quivering brother.  “Come on, McGeek! Time to come out and play in the real world. You can play Elf Lord later.”  Astonishingly enough the puppy immediately bounced out, and into Tony’s arms.

“HA!”  He crowed, standing with the puppy safely snuggled against his body.  The grin on his face was confirmation enough to Brian that he had done the right thing.

“What kind are they?” Tony asked scratching behind Probie’s ears. With the way the pup’s tail was wagging it was obvious that the puppy was happy with his change in environment.  It seemed McGee was as fond of his new daddy as daddy was of him.

“They are yorkie poos,” Brian answered, and grinned when Spencer took over.

“A cross between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Miniature or Teacup poodle. They usually get no more than twelve inches tall, and weigh on average no more than ten pounds with the males being bigger.  So, Kate will always be able to perch regally on my arm or in my lap.”

Tony snorted nor even trying to hide the grin on his face. “Don’t worry McPup. We’ll make a manly Yorkie Poo put of you. No delicate perching and outfits for you. I wonder if they sell computers for dogs.”

Spencer perked up again petting Kate who was surveying her kingdom from the safety of daddy Spencer’s arm like the royal queen pup that she was.  “Actually they are creating computers that service animals can use to assist their humans. It’s also been shown that dogs can interact with touch screens. So, it’s possible that someday Probie could have his own tablet. Maybe he’ll watch Lassie!”

“Kate, of course, will have all of the accessories that a lady of her standing deserves,” Brian joked.

Kate gave a yip as if she was agreeing. Tony laughed imagining his Kate’s reaction to all of this. He hoped that she would come to accept it all once she worked past the obstacles that her faith would raise.  A pang of grief hit him as it always did when he thought of his lost friend.

Over the years there had been several moments when he’d wondered how things would be different had she been there instead of Ziva.  Kate was complicated.  She’d just been coming back to the person that Tony believed her to be when Ari stole her from them.

Tony had always believed that Kate wasn’t quite what she projected. The Spring Break picture proved that she at least at one time had a wild side that she’d let out. He had a feeling that the ultra-conservative Catholic schoolgirl routine was an over compensation to whatever happened to her while she was with the Secret Service.

It was no secret that women had a rough time in all areas of law enforcement, but maybe especially so in the Secret Service.  That agency was still more of a good ol’ boys’ club than other federal agencies.  Tony could only imagine what Kate had been forced to endure to get placed on the President’s detail.

The fact that she seemed to take the brunt of the punishment when her liaison was discovered spoke volumes.  Timothy Kerry was as culpable as she was, and should have been headed to the same dismissal that Kate had been.  Instead the marine who had been assigned to carry the football for the president had skated by, and served several more years in the position.

Knowing what he did of Caitlin Todd, Tony was fairly confident as to her thought process once she found out that she was the only one who was getting dismissed.  Kerry had received little more than a slap on the wrist.  That could not have set well with his partner, and must have helped to create the identity she’d assumed when she came to NCIS.

His suspicions of Kate’s true nature were helped along by having such familiarity with one of her former flames.  Steve Adler had gotten the cold Shoulder from his fellow frat brothers when they’d found out he’d shared house secrets with a woman just so that he could get into her pants.

It had only been after Kate’s death, and at Tony’s request that it be let go, that the brothers forgave him.  Steve may not have been Tony’s closest friend in the fraternity, but he’d known him fairly well.  Certainly he’d known him well enough to know that a repressed feminist would not have gotten in close enough to get the secrets that Kate had.

“Can I see our girl a minute, Doc?”  Tony asked. Spencer happily agreed without questioning him why, and he was thankful for that.  Poor Probie wasn’t as happy about it though, and Brian had to move to Spencer’s side to once more try and calm the nervous pup.

Taking Kate, Tony moved though the apartment giving her the tour, including an introduction to her fish self.  When they got to the piano, Tony moved around the instrument so that she could see the view from the window.

“What do you think, Kate?  I know that it’s not what you’re used to, but they’re good for me.  This place, the new job is all good for me.  NCIS just wasn’t anymore.  So, I had to find us a new home.  I’ve been here about five and a half years now, but it’s hard to tell how goldfish you feels about things.  She just swims in circles and eats fishy flakes.

“Do you think that you and Probie can be happy here?  I know this relationship with Brian and Spencer would have been hard for the Post-Secret Service you to accept. I’d like to think though that when you saw how happy that they make me you’d work it out.  I really need you and Tim to be happy here, Kate.”

When he looked down, the puppy was studying him with rapt attention. It was as if she thought that he was the most interesting thing in the world.  When she suddenly leapt up, resting her little paws on his shoulders so that she could lick his cheek, Tony just laughed happily.

“I think that we need to go to the pet store. Kate needs some pretties.” The puppy yipped and wagged her tail seeming to be fully on board with the plan.

The next morning, Brian was standing under a tree in the park near their house. He was watching Tony run around an open field with the puppies who were both on his heels.  They seemed to be enchanted by their new human.

“I’d say that the puppies have picked their favorite,” Brian heard.  Turning his head, he saw Spencer standing there holding two coffee cups.  Brian grinned, and took the one being held out to him. “No coffee for Flyboy?”

“He’s cutting back,” Spencer explained.  “He started while you were gone. He drinks coffee with his breakfast, but for the rest of the day it’s tea. Since he only likes that when it’s fresh, and prefers the loose leaf variety, I didn’t bother bringing any.  You did well with the puppies. I think that he really needed them. He talked about the real McGee and Kate quite a few times while we were working with NCIS.”

Spencer paused, and Brian could practically see him working something out in his head.  “To be honest, I am glad that we won’t be working with them anymore. It… that environment wasn’t good for Tony.”  Brian noticed that Spencer was chewing on his bottom lip, and turned his attention back to their mutual partner.

“They haven’t been for a while.” Brian noted quietly.  “I am glad that he finally took a stand, too.  I think that it was the Gibbs thing that made him let that negative relationship ride for so long. He didn’t want to let the guy down.  I think if the old SecNav hadn’t pissed him off, then he’d still only be a liaison. He probably would have even let them talk him into doing the undercover job that he wasn’t suited for.”

Brian could hear the confusion in Spencer’s voice when he spoke again.  “I know that Tony had Rossi. So, I don’t honestly understand the Gibbs thing.  If he didn’t have Dave, it would make more sense to me.  I mean, it mostly made sense until I saw them work together on a daily basis. There is certainly not a healthy working relationship between the two of them.  Gibbs just barks, and Tony just jumps.  Even when he says that he’s not going to do it.  I don’t understand why Tony would still want the man in his life.”

“C’mon, Spence, you’re a profiler.” Brian scolded gently.  “Forget that he’s Tony, and ask yourself why.”  When the genius just stubbornly remained quiet, Brian rolled his eyes. “OK, be that way.”

Brian took a drink of his coffee before speaking, again.  “No matter how horrible Senior was, he will always be Tony’s father.  No matter how much love Dave shows him, he will always be the man who stole Tony’s dad from him.  99% of Tony loves Dave more than he will ever love Senior, and the same amount of him hates Senior more than anyone, but possibly my father.  It’s that 1% of him that needs Gibbs, and sometimes that small amount is all that you need.

“I guarantee that you don’t hate your father any more than I hate mine or Tony hates his.  If you can tell me that there isn’t a part of you that doesn’t still scream for your father to pay attention to you and love you, then I’ll give up sex and cars.”

Spencer hid behind his own coffee before sighing. “It hurt to see him go through that.  No matter what I did, I couldn’t make it stop.”

“And, you never will.  Tony will always hold people too close even when he shouldn’t.”  Looking to the field, Brian smiled.  “But, if you want to help…”

Brian pointed to where Tony was running around, his arms stuck out at his sides making fighter plane noises. Brian guessed that the puppies chasing him were his backup.  “Play with him.  What do you say, Spence?”

Instead of answering, the genius just put his cup down, and took off. Brian followed close behind thinking to himself that it was all blue skies and sunshine from there.


Kate and Probie

Note: The nuclear football (also known as the atomic football, the president’s emergency satchel, the button, the black box, or just the football) is a briefcase, the contents of which are to be used by the President of the United States to authorize a nuclear attack while away from fixed command centers, such as the White House.


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3 thoughts on “Dead Air – Chapter 19: Reflections on Life & Love, Telling Mom, and From Goldfish to Furbabies

  1. Pingback: Dead Air Leads to Never-ending Possibilities Story Index | AngelicInsanity

  2. Pingback: Dead Air – Chapter Eighteen: Broken Vases & Undercover Jobs, Bullets and Big Brothers, & When Two Becomes Three | AngelicInsanity

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