Banner by me
Characters this chapter: Tony DiNozzo, Aaron Hotchner, Tom Morrow, AD John Evans, Spencer Reid, Brian O’Connor,
Relationships this chapter: Tony DiNozzo/Brian O’Connor, Spencer Reid/Tony DiNozzo/Brian O’Connor,
Chapter Warnings: Heavy Angst, Emotional Outburst, Implied Depression, Character Death
Word Count: 10,623/112,298
Chapter Notes: ** DO NOT SKIP THESE NOTES!! PLEASE READ!! **
OK people…. I need you to take this warning seriously. The third section is NOT happy. I bawled through writing the whole thing. My beta has done a quick read through, and she cried through it. PLEASE, if you struggle with depression (or even are just sensitive or going through a bad emotional patch right now) I recommend that you consider skipping it. It isn’t important enough to the story that you will miss anything if you don’t read it. I myself refuse to read through it again, and I wrote the fuckin’ thing. It’s a highly emotional scene, and important for Tony, but not more important than anyone’s mental health.
There is angst in the other two sections, and there are hints in the second section that Tony and/or Brian have or had bouts with depression. They are brief though. It’s really the funeral scene that is the hardest to read IMO. Frankly, I don’t feel it’s worth anyone’s mental health if you struggle with such things as I do at times. I will put a brief description at the end of this chapter for those that skip it but wanna know what happened.
On a separate note… I am completely ignoring NCIS season 13. That pretty much goes for all my future stories, but it will be relevant for part of this chapter.
Chapter Eleven: Emotions run high when Forgiveness is requested, the Reunion between Hope and Dreamers, and Offering up a Final Goodbye
~~* February 2016 *~~ * ~~* Emotions run high when Forgiveness is requested *~~
Tony was reading through an FBI file when he sensed someone stop next to his desk. When he’d switched from NCIS to the FBI, Section Chief Cruz received a request from the Cold Case Team that he be allowed to work on their cases instead of increasing his consult request case load. The Team Lead found out through the grapevine about Tony’s NCIS cold case close rate, and wanted to see if he could do that with the FBI cases.
Tony was more than happy to help them out. He found satisfaction in closing an older case, and getting justice for families that had been waiting years or sometimes decades for answers. They deserved justice for their loved ones death, or for the rape, attack, etc. that resulted in the worst moment of pain or terror in their lives. Tony felt that if he could give them answers then he was happy to help. With the addition of Brian to the team, the BAU would already be adding additional consultation help. So, Aaron was more than happy to agree to the request.
“Tony, with me. Our presence has been requested in the ADs office.” Tony studied his boss’ face before nodding, and standing to follow. He hoped AD Evans hadn’t changed his mind about the whole SecNav fiasco. It would suck to get yelled at now.
Since Hotch wasn’t able to give any information on the ride up as to what was going on, Tony didn’t know what to expect when he walked into the office. Seeing Tom Morrow sitting in front of the ADs desk though was not it.
“Tom?” Tony blurted as he frowned, and instinctively held out his hand to the other man who stood to greet him.
“Tony, I appreciate you meeting me. I am hoping we can get this clusterfuck my predecessor created resolved.” Tom expressed as he shook Tony’s hand. His normal serious expression present on his face.
“Sir?” Tony inquired following the older man to the couch and chairs in the ADs office corner. He noticed that Hotch hung back with the AD, and found himself thankful. While he was confused as to what was going on, he’d known the man forever, and trusted him not to pull anything shady. Tony firmly believe that if Morrow had still been running NCIS most of the bullshit that was the catalyst for him joining the FBI, both times, would not have happened.
“SecNav Porter has resigned. There were previous indications that she wasn’t right for the position, but her interaction with you was the icing on the cake, son. Between you and me, the President had other female options that would have been a better match, but we don’t get paid to make those decisions. Do we, Tony?”
When Tom patted his knee, Tony had to fight to keep his eyebrows from meeting his hairline. This encounter was… odd. While he and Tom Morrow did have a history that was generally friendly, this kinder more touchy feely interaction was starting to freak him out. Before he could question it though, the man continued.
“Anyway, the president has requested that I take over as Secretary of the Navy. I’ll admit that I am a little surprised. I’d be a fool not to take the offer though, and I understand his reasoning. The first order on my plate was to smooth this wrinkle out so that we can get your help with this case. I know you’ve switched to the FBI. AD Evans has made it clear that he’s not giving you back to us. Frankly, I don’t blame him. You are one hell of an agent, DiNozzo, and NCIS is not going to be better off without you. Tell me what we need to do to get your team on this case of Gibbs’? Lives are at stake, son, and we need our A-Team working this thing.”
Tony studied Tom for several moments before speaking. His first impulse was to just give in, but he wanted to make sure that he had the correct reasoning behind it before making a final decision. “I loved being a cop. From the night I had to listen to a little girl burn because I couldn’t save her, all I ever wanted to do was help people. When I went through the police academy in Peoria, I felt like I had found what I was meant to be. When Gibbs asked me to join NCIS, I was skeptical. The first case we closed though, I felt like I had made the correct choice. I really felt like I was doing good, like I was making a difference in the world.”
Tony paused, and took a deep breath to settle his nerves before continuing. This next part was hard for him to get out. It still six years later felt wrong to say. His loyalty to Gibbs ran soul deep, and may never be something that he could get rid of. “I respect Gibbs, and I love him like the big brother I always wanted. I could never again work for him though. I didn’t understand until I came here, and worked under Unit Chief Hotchner, what a real leader is like. I didn’t fully believe that I deserved to be treated with respect by the people beneath me. Even though I’d had the title of Senior Field Agent for years, I had never been given the respect of the position by the agents under me or by my direct supervisor. That is a problem that I didn’t understand before, but has been made clearly evident to me now. The chain of command is vital, and when you ignore it because you want to play power games, bad things happen.”
Tony clenched his fists, and wished desperately that Brian was there with him. Hell, he’d even take Spencer’s awkward, but heart felt, attempts at comfort right then. “I don’t understand how an organization like NCIS can continue to hire Directors who so easily forget how to keep their personal agendas out of the position. I’m not naïve enough to think it doesn’t happen other places. I, also, understand that all directors have different things that they feel are important to the future of their organization. There is a difference between deciding to focus on domestic terrorism over drug running, and deciding to go after a French Arms Dealer because you think he killed your father, or hunting down the man who killed your wife despite what other federal law enforcement agencies have warned you of. I can’t imagine though that other organizations have consecutive directors who forget law and policy in order to achieve their personal end games.”
Tony shook his head and looked up at Tom, his eyes burning with anger. “I can’t believe that other directors are so open and obvious in their favoritism of junior agents over senior ones. I find it hard to believe that other directors don’t understand they are creating an environment where people are fully aware that their own abilities and achievements have been and will continue to be blatantly overlooked by their boss. Surely the director of a Federal law agency should understand the type of morale problems that creates. I can tell you that AD Evans has never even come close to such an act. Despite the fact that I am completely aware of his fondness for Dr. Reid maybe over everyone else in the building. However, at no time do I feel like he’s favoring Spencer in any decision he makes to the detriment of the FBI or other agents. Hell I’ve actually heard him tell Dr. Reid to back off. Vance wouldn’t have DREAMED of telling his little pet McGee such a thing, and look what that caused.
“Ziva is in jail. Tim is DEAD. All because Vance was more interested in his favorites than doing his job. Abby is in jail, because Gibbs was more interested in his weird father/daughter relationship than reminding her that she can’t act like a freaking toddler who hasn’t had her nap every fucking time she didn’t get her way.”
Tony stood, and looked around. Seeing Hotch holding out a bottle of water, he walked over and took it. When his UC gave him a concerned look as his hand shook as he tried to open the bottle, Tony couldn’t even pretend that he was ok. When he felt his lower lip twitch, he knew that Hotch wouldn’t have believed him anyway. Guzzling half of the bottle, Tony headed back to lean against a wall near the new SecNav.
“Somehow you fucking people, and I understand that you weren’t there at the time, created a terrorism unit that DOESN’T HAVE ANY FUCKING UNDERCOVER CAPABLE OPERATIVES ON IT! How the FUCK does that even happen? These are NOT MY MONKEYS, it is NOT MY CIRCUS, and it’s NOT MY PROBLEM, but I am the one that has to fix it. I have to find you fucking people the operatives you need to fill your team. I’ve got that done by the way. You’re fucking welcome.”
Tony looked out the window in AD Evans’ office as he continued to speak. “You want to know what I want? I want you people to get your fucking shit together. To be frank, Tom, this will be the last goddamned time I will be fixing NCIS’ shit. I’m fucking DONE. I’m going to have to send my fucking… My Brian…. My safety blanket… my lover… my sanity…. The only motherfucking thing I have left from my childhood that doesn’t SUCK after a goddamned terrorist. I can’t do it myself or I wouldn’t be allowing him anywhere NEAR NCIS. I simply don’t have the capability anymore. I found people that showed me it was ok to just be Anthony DiNozzo, Jr, and I don’t fucking wanna go back. I don’t know how to go back. I don’t work undercover for the FBI. They are happy with the other skills I bring to the table.
“So, I’m going to have to send one of the two men I love more than anyone on this planet after a terrorist, when I fucking know that he shouldn’t be doing it. There is a goddamned good reason that Spencer and I have spent almost two YEARS trying to convince him to stop doing undercover. I am going to have to take the chance of losing half of everything I have. I’m gonna assure you right now, Tom, that if something happens to Brian, and I fucking LOSE HIM that I am bringing NCIS down to the fucking GROUND. There won’t be anything but bricks and rubble left when I am done, if he so much as gets a scratch.
“You wanna know what I want? I want to know that Gibbs is gonna treat his NEW SFA better than he treated me. I wanna know that Leon Vance isn’t going to be allowed to treat NCIS as his personal vigilante group going after people he hates, and catering to scumbags like Eli David that he likes. I’m not going in without my team. I’m not allowing Brian to go in alone. I want G Callen AND Sam Hanna going in WITH HIM. I don’t give a FLYING FUCK what cases they are working on. You want me and the BAU, I DEMAND they be assigned to go in with Brian. PERIOD.
“Then when this is over, I don’t wanna receive another request for my help or the help of ANYONE I hold dear from NCIS EVER AGAIN! That’s what I want, that’s what I demand, and that’s what you are going to have to give to get our help. This isn’t a negotiation, this is a fucking list of demands. Otherwise, terrorists or not, you and NCIS can go suck your own dicks, Secretary of the Navy Sir. FIX. YOUR. HOUSE!”
When Tony turned his head back, and looked at SecNav Morrow, he could tell the older man was irate. Frankly, Tony didn’t care. He had finally found the freedom that came with people who REALLY believed in him. The fact that the AD and his Unit Chief hadn’t made a single peep to interrupt him during his rant, spoke volumes to him about the trust and faith that they had in him. It also spoke volumes to him of their agreement with his feelings. Tony watched as Tom glared at him. He could tell the man was trying to calm down enough to just be able to speak. He was well aware that people didn’t normally talk to him like that. Tom Morrow had been a powerful man in their world for a number of years. He was used to be the one yelling, and others groveling and kissing ass to appease him. Tony also honestly didn’t give two fucks. He was completely out of fucks to give to anyone at NCIS.
“You certainly never were one that was afraid of speaking your mind, DiNozzo, when I was director.” Tom eventually began. “I don’t appreciate it when people speak to me like that. I appreciate it even less when it’s nothing but the 100% truth. It pisses me off that after I left, the fire and passion in you was drowned out by the ineptitude of my successors. Your honesty and your moral compass was one of our greatest assets. It was something that I felt Gibbs needed desperately before he hired you. He always found it too easy to jump off track when he was obsessed with something.
“It makes me even madder that the man who threatened to quit if I didn’t hire you, treated you so shabbily. I wasn’t aware that Jethro had gone so far off the reservation. I thought at least that a decorated Marine Sniper could be counted on to follow the fucking chain of command. It pisses me off that I’m going to have to give him a refresher course. I also wasn’t aware that Vance had Jenny Sheppard’s tendencies. She wasn’t my pick, and I had more than a few doubts. Again, there were other female leads that would have been better suited for the position.”
Tom sighed and ran a hand over the top of his head agitated. “You want Callen and Hannah, you have them. I will inform Henrietta as soon as I get back to my office. Your… Brian… will be the lead on the undercover portion of the operation. We will assign anyone you want to back him up.”
“I want Eric Beale sent out also to run the… MTAC part of the operation. I want the absolute best covering his ass. We have computer people who are amazing, but none who have his experience or abilities with these types of operations.” Tony insisted.
Tom considered the request, and eventually nodded. “I agree. I will inform Henrietta that his presence will be required, also. I would like at least the names of the people you are recommending. I’d like to make sure that we have done our research, but I am willing to hire whomever you suggest once I have done my own background check.”
Tony smiled sweetly, and Tom flinched slightly worried. He knew that look, and because of that understood that it wasn’t a good thing. “Colby Granger and Tara Lewis. Tara will be the new Senior Field Agent. Technically it’s Doctor Tara Lewis. She is a Forensic Psychologist, and specializes in getting into the heads of the bad guys without losing herself to them. I guarantee that she will not take crap from anyone especially one Leroy Jethro Gibbs. She has graciously agreed to accept the position of SFA on the Terrorism Unit with my blessing to hand Gibbs his ass the first time he starts up his Captain Ahab routine. She understands undercover, and amazing at nurturing green probies like Ellie Bishop. She is intrigued and excited to go to battle on a daily basis with my former tyrant boss.
“Colby Granger is one of those people like Callen who thrive on undercover work. He is incredibly chill, until its time not to be. He also is not afraid to get in someone’s face, and tell them they are a fucking asshat when needed. He certainly isn’t going to take anyone’s crap, or be made to work any kind of assignment without the correct backup. Colby formerly worked with the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division in Afghanistan. He knows terrorists. He knows the military. Hell he’s brought down American spies. He knows when to go off script, and when to stick to the rule book. He’s the closest thing I know of to me that I can trust to still give a fuck about Gibbs when he’s being an unreasonable jackass. Because of his military background, he’ll still follow orders in the field as he’s telling Gibbs to go fuck himself.”
When Tony stopped talking, Tom just looked at him for several long moments. Eventually he burst out laughing so hard and long that Tony was afraid that they were going to have to call for oxygen. “Oh my God. I wonder if it’s too late to change my mind. Maybe if I call the president now, he’ll let me quit.”
Tony heard the snickers behind them, and looking up saw both Hotch and Evans trying and failing to hold in their amusement. “OK, DiNozzo, you got what you want.” Tom advised.
Tony turned his attention back to his former boss crossing his arms across his chest, letting the warm water bottle dangle from his fingers. “Yes to everything. I am waiving the white flag. I will get with AD Evans once we are ready to proceed. I will have Callen and Hanna come over here to spend a few days with Agent O’Connor, so they can get comfortable with each other once they are in town. Thank you for giving us another chance at this fiasco.”
Tom stood and held out his hand. In response, Tony crossed the short distance to shake it understanding how the political game went. He may be an emotional wreck inside, but you didn’t piss on an ally as powerful as Tom Morrow. When Tom held on, Tony lifted an eyebrow.
“I mean this sincerely, Tony. We at NCIS have suffered a great blow by losing you. We are not now, and will not be in the future, better off without you. You have my word as a man that I will get this shithouse cleaned up. This bullshit favoritism and ignoring the chain of command will not continue. I don’t care who it is. I am sorry that we had to lose you to realize that there was such a big problem. I am deeply sorry that you had to lose your Probie because of NCIS’ fuckups. He started out as a good agent, and had we done out jobs, he would have remained a good agent. Thank you for your honesty. Once this operation is settled, you will be free, professionally speaking, from NCIS. I hope that the FBI really understands what a huge asset they have gained, and treats you with all of the respect you deserve.”
Tony nodded, unable to speak as Morrow patted his shoulder then turning shook hands with Evans and Hotch on his way out. Not sure what to do next, Tony just sat in a chair and, letting the bottle fall to the floor, studied his hands. He felt completely drained. He thought he’d worked all the NCIS bullshit out of his system already. It was 2016. He’d moved to the FBI six years prior. He should be over this crap by then.
Feeling hands on his shoulders, he looked up to see Brian’s beautiful blue eyes staring down at him filled with concern and love. That was apparently all he needed before the dams broke and gut wrenching, chest heaving, soul shattering sobs tore from his body. Immediately Brian’s arms wrapped around his shoulders as Tony sobbed, and tried to explain why he was upset. He wanted to stop, he wanted to calm down and speak clearly, but all he could do was cry.
All he could do was think of Kate’s face with a bullet in her brain, and her blood all over his face. All he could picture was Gibbs and Mattie Tyler lying dead on the dock, as Tony tried desperately to revive them. His plague scarred lunge screaming in protest as he fought past his limitations. All he could hear were Ziva and McGee’s snide comments about how he wasn’t good enough at being Gibbs, or at being himself, while Jethro was in Mexico. All he could remember was Abby stabbing him in the back, and doctoring the tape to protect people who had betrayed him.
His brain just kept flashing images… Blue lights in the isolation unit. Eli David’s sneering face in an interrogation room in Israel. Michael Rivkin’s drunken arrogance as he came at him with a piece of glass in his hand. Atlas handcuffed to him in a sewer. Jeffrey White’s eyes in his rearview mirror. Jeanne’s mask of betrayal when she found out Tony DiNardo was fake. Jenny Sheppard, Leon Vance, Mike Franks. Gibbs’ back as he abandoned him to go to Mexico. How in the hell had he survived as long as he had?
When he finally calmed down, his throat was sore, his eyes were gritty and dry, and his head felt like it was stuck in a vice. “Brian?” He felt a hand run up and down his back, as a bottle of cold water was pressed into his hand.
“Yeah, babe. We back to green?” Brian asked softly, perching himself on the arm of Tony’s chair. When Tony nodded into his chest, he just wrapped his other arm around his lover’s body pulling him in tight. “I love you, babe.”
“S’Hotch?” Tony whispered before draining nearly all of the water bottle.
“He and Evans went to Hotch’s office to work out the fine details of… whatever. You ready to talk about what happened?” When Tony just shook his head, Brian wasn’t surprised. “That’s cool. Hotch gave us the rest of the day off. How about we just head home? Spencer will bring all of our crap tonight.” This time Tony just nodded, and Brian squeezed his arms tight once more.
Dropping his head, Brian rested his cheek on the back of Tony’s head. He was tired of people hurting his lover, and just having to take it. One of these days, Brian was gonna take out one of these sonofabitches. For the moment though, he had a heart to piece back together one more time. After all, it belonged to a man he’d loved in some way since he was a child.
Closing his eyes, Brian breathed in the scent of Tony’s cologne mixed with a faint hint of anguish produced sweat. It hurt. Every time someone made this man bleed, Brian hurt. Every time they made him cry, Brian’s own heart broke. How many times could one heart be put back together? How many times could the same man be tormented before he couldn’t recover? Every time either happened, Brian could only hope that this wasn’t the time he couldn’t recover from.
Pressing a kiss to the back of Tony’s neck. Brian pulled his friend up, and put his hands on each side of his face. “How about we get out of here? I think there is a blanket fort, and some episodes of Magnum calling our names.” When Tony just nodded, Brian smiled softly, and taking his hand led him out of the building. He dared anyone to say a single fucking word.
When Spencer got home that evening, he had a bag of carryout Chinese with him. It was filled with all of their favorites, including several orders of crab rangoon, egg rolls, and shrimp toast. Pausing inside the front door, he could faintly hear the sound of a TV going somewhere. “I’m home! Food is here!”
Heading to the kitchen, Spencer pulled down plates, and got out the silver wear so he could dish up the food. As he did this he considered how far their relationship had come. There was a time in the beginning he would be upset that Brian was the one to come home with Tony. Not because he wanted to do so himself, but because he couldn’t.
Spencer was well aware of his short comings. Highly emotionally fluid situations made his skin crawl. He never knew what to say, and he didn’t understand what was going on. By the time he figured it out, things always changed, so he never got to a place where he felt like he understood what was happening. Eventually at some point he would force himself to do or say something, and it would always be wrong. It wasn’t until Brian and Tony that he was made to feel like it was ok to be him. It was ok to be really bad at those situations, and help where he could, without forcing himself into a reaction that would only cause further damage.
They made him understand that not everyone was good with the emotional stuff. They gave him the freedom to offer comfort in his own way. Picking up dinner, allowing hugs and cuddles without asking first, and even his rambling of some random fact gave Tony comfort. He said the rambles were like white noise, and let his brain forget the other stuff. In the past, people tried to convince him that he needed to get better at thrusting himself into these situations. The intense connection between Brian and Tony allowed him to offer his love and help in his own way. He absolutely loved them for the freedom that they gave him.
When arms wrapped around his waist, and a chin rested on his shoulder, Spencer turned his head, and smiled hesitantly. “Are you feeling any better?” When Tony nodded and squeezed him slightly, Spencer bravely leaned in, and pressed a quick kiss to Tony’s cheek. The small smile he got in return was well worth it.
“I got your favorites. Are you hungry?” When Tony just smiled again, Spencer smiled back. He had learned that it wasn’t unusual for Tony to go quiet after one of his emotional overloads. Sometimes they could last into the next day or beyond. Spencer suspected that the office would be extra quiet the next day, and maybe into the day after. From what Brian relayed in his phone call, this had been a whopper of a breakdown.
He watched his lover move off to get drinks out of the fridge, as Brian came over to help Spencer dish up food. When Brian nudged his shoulder with his own, Spencer looked over and smiled shyly. When the blonde leaned in and gave a quick kiss, Spencer couldn’t help but laugh and smile. He loved both of these men dearly. He loved the relationship that they had forged. His connection with Brian had developed slowly, and wasn’t quite what he had with Tony, or what Tony had with Brian himself. He’d also learned though that was ok, too. The best thing these two had done for him was making him feel like it was ok to just be Doctor Spencer Reid, and fuck anyone who thought otherwise. Because of that, there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for either man. NCIS better watch themselves.
~~* Early April 2011 *~~ * ~~* the Reunion between Hope and Dreamers *~~
Tony pulled the piece of paper out of his pocket that had his old friend’s address from his personnel file on it, and frowned. What the hell was his friend living in this dump for? Looking around at the Blue Beach Motel, Tony scowled at the blinking neon weekly rates section that actually read ‘ee ly ate’ thanks to the burned out neon letters. This couldn’t be right, but he didn’t dare call Garcia, and suggest that she was wrong. He liked his credit report the way it was, thank you very much.
Deciding to take the plunge, Tony got out of his car and walked up to room number 187. “This cannot be right,” he muttered aloud before lifting his fist, and knocking on the door.
He was about to walk off, feeling unsure and embarrassed, when he saw the curtain move, and heard a muffled holler from inside. The door was quickly yanked open and, before he knew it, Brian had him wrapped up in a massive hug. “Fuck, Flyboy, it’s really you.” He heard muttered into his ear, as he hung onto his best friend. He was half afraid the man would disappear if he didn’t.
“BoBo,” Tony whispered closing his eyes and breathing in the familiar scent.
When Brian finally released him from the hug, his friend’s hands moved to cup his face. Tony was considering a wisecrack but, before he could even come up with something good, Brian was pulling him in. He pressed their lips together in a not so chaste kiss, pulling Tony even closer than should be possible. Changing the angle of the kiss, deepening it to make Brian half moan, half whimper in the back of his throat, angling his hips to rub their cocks together with only denim separating them. He felt a tongue flick out over his lips. He tried to keep from moaning himself, but the sound wouldn’t stay in. The vibration made him want more. It needed released as much as his want for this gorgeous man in his arms. The kiss was…everything that he remembered and all that he needed. Brian himself was everything that he remembered, and all that he needed.
When Spencer sat Tony down, and told him that he had found Brian, Tony was speechless. When Doc admitted that he was hoping that they would not only renew their friendship, but their sexual relationship as well, Tony thought he was crazy. After many more discussions though, with not only Spencer but Rossi and Emily also, he finally gave in. He knew he should stop this though. Brian didn’t know about Spencer. Goddamnit it felt so good to be back in the arms of someone who not only knew him, but loved and accepted though. This man loved him even when all Tony’s masks were set aside. He’d always been the only one to love Tony when he’d laid his soul out completely bare.
Eventually the two had to come up for air, and the kiss was broken. Tony rested his head on Brian’s shoulder as he gasped for air. When he felt the weight of Brian’s head against his cheek he smiled. There just weren’t words for how much he’d needed this.
“Food and talk?” Tony asked softly, not really wanting to move, but needing to clear the air before his guilt ate him alive.
“As much as I’d like to take this right to bed, this place is nasty and you’re probably right. I can practically hear you fretting over something.” Brian admitted reluctantly. When he felt the man straighten, Tony stepped back and let him go, even though the little boy in his head was screaming, “No, don’t go!”
Eventually, the two made it back to Tony’s car, and they were headed toward a Mexican place nearby that Brian was swearing was the bomb. Unable to wait any longer, Tony blurted out, “What the fuck are you living in that craphole for?”
He heard his friend laugh, and glanced over just in time to see him shrug. “I mostly work long term undercover assignments, Tony. I can be gone anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months or more. Hell I did one gig where I was undercover for almost 2 years. That shit sucked, lemme tell you. The point is that I don’t really stay in town long enough to justify paying for an apartment. This place is shitty, but it serves its purpose. What’s the point of anything more than that?”
Tony frowned, and didn’t respond letting the words turn over in his head. It wasn’t until he’d pulled into a parking spot at the restaurant that he commented. Leaving the car running, and the windows down to let in the cool spring air, Tony ran his hands over the top of the steering wheel before turning his head to frown at his friend.
“The point is that living in crap continuously drags down your spirit. Living in the same environments, whether you are on a job or off, never gives you a sense that one job is done, so that you have a fresh mind when the new one starts, Brian. The point is that living in this hovel increases the chance that you’ll be recognized. Unless you can tell me that you’ve never done a gig in DC, or even on the East Coast. Of course, if you can do that I’ll fucking take off my leather shoes and eat the goddamned things.
“The point is that you are too goddamned special to me, Brian. I have to question what the fuck is going on with the team around you that they haven’t noticed you’re losing your fucking perspective. That they haven’t noticed you’re losing yourself. That you’re in serious danger of clinical depression, if you aren’t already there. The point is, Brian, that this is not your life.”
“You have no fucking clue what my goddamned life is,” Brian spat back, turning his head to look out the side window. “You disappeared. You left me by myself.”
“You’re right,” Tony replied. His heart heavy, and wishing that he could resurrect Brian’s father so he could kill the motherfucker, again. “You’re right. I did disappear. I left, and didn’t say anything other than I love you. You’re wrong though if you think I don’t know what your life is, or at least what it should be. Do I regret the way things turned out after college? Every motherfucking DAY! I know you though. I know you, and I know that this isn’t or shouldn’t be your life. I know that you are too smart not to know the danger you’re putting yourself into.”
“We promised,” Brian spat and turned to glare at Tony. “We sat there in that fucking dorm room, cut our fucking palms, and SWORE! Blood oath, Tony. It was your goddamned idea. SWORE that we wouldn’t leave each other again unless we… we had no choice.”
As if those final words were some release valve, Tony watched his friend deflate in front of his face. “I know you won’t confirm it, but I have to ask anyway. Was it my father? Did he do this to us?”
Tony bit his lip, and this time it was his turn to look away. He’d never blamed Gibbs for killing Hernandez. Not once. He’d not killed Brian’s father. He could never do that. He could never turn his gun on someone and kill them out of vengeance. No matter how much he wanted them dead. He understood how Gibbs felt though, because he knew what it was like to be in that spot.
He knew what it was like to have to make a life and death decision, and… decide death was the correct outcome. He may not have killed Brian’s father, but he hadn’t tried awfully hard to stop it all those years ago in Philadelphia. He certainly had never lost a single second of sleep over it, either. Not then, and he wouldn’t tonight. He, also, would never admit to his friend what his father had done to them after college, or what Tony had done to make sure he was out of their lives forever.
“I would never have abandoned you, I would have never stopped answering your calls unless I had a life and death reason not to. That’s the only answer you’ll get from me. Let’s go eat some Mexican.” Getting out of the car, Tony walked to the entrance and turned to look back, watching to see if Brian would get out.
He knew this was a test. He knew this was a huge moment in their friendship. He knew that if Brian got out of the car, then everything would be ok. He also knew that if Brian didn’t get out of the car then nothing would ever be ok again. The only thing that kept him going, the only thing that made him feel like his life had hope some days, when the darkness got too dark, was the knowledge that Brian and his love and friendship were still out there.
Everything Tony did every fucking day of his life, every person he helped, every slimeball he put in jail, every time he made the choice to do the right thing, he did it for Brian. He did it for the hope that Brian held in his hands. If Brian didn’t get out of the car he’d affectively be ending the last bit of hope Tony had in his life. Without the hope Brian held, Tony wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to believe in the promise of forever that Spencer was offering.
Brian had known him longer than anyone other than his father and Rossi. His father hated him. Rossi was basically his stand in father. Brian was the swing vote. Without Brian, Rossi would just be an anomaly, and Spencer would be only a dream. Without the hope of Brian, Tony was pretty sure that he’d go back to that kid he was before Brian ran into his life, and refused to leave way back at boarding school. Fortunately for Tony, Brian got out of the car.
He didn’t move until Brian reached the spot that he’d become rooted to just outside the door. It was lucky for Tony that no one tried to leave, or they’d hit him with the door. “You’re a jackass, and an idiot. Fortunately for you, I love you anyway.” Brian offered shaking his head before cupping the back of Tony’s to bring his head forward until their foreheads touched.
“I love you, ya crazy fucker. I loved you when I was a kid, and didn’t understand what it meant. I loved you when I was a horny college student, and would rather shag you instead of the hot cheerleaders. I will love you when we’re both old, grey, and pathetic living off of ‘hey you remember when…’ stories. My father is dead though. So seriously, if you disappear on me, again, I am hunting your ass down and kicking it, capisce?” Laughing Tony nodded, and grinned big, before pulling back to enter the restaurant. Looks like life was going to go on after all.
Not long after that, the two found themselves seated in a booth away from the other restaurant patrons. Coronas on the table, and a double order of queso dip, white with the jalapenos, already put in, as they perused the menu trying to decide on what they wanted for dinner. When the waitress came back with the dip, they ordered the steak fajitas for two. After she left, they did the catching up small talk. Where have you been? Who have you been with? What new enemies have you gained that I have to destroy?
Eventually the small talk ran out, and Brian sat a moment watching Tony. “Why don’t you just get out whatever it is that you’re stressing over. You know in the end I will understand.”
“That’s the thing. I’m not sure you will. Hell, some days I am not sure that I understand. I only know that it feels right, and it’s the most amazing thing that’s happened in a while… before today I mean. I don’t understand why it makes sense though, and most of the time the whole concept of being happy with it scares the crap out of me. So, I don’t know that you’ll understand, and that scares me even more. I cannot lose you, BoBo.”
“You’re not losing me, Flyboy,” Brian insisted softly and earnestly. “I will repeat it every day if I need to. You are not losing me. It’s not happening today. It’s not happening tomorrow. It’s not happening ever. Whatever it is, you and I will figure it out, just like we always do.”
Tony nodded studying the queso, eating intently for a few moments, as he tried to work out where to start. “I told you that I was a liaison for NCIS with the Behavioral Analysis Unit out of Quantico. One of the team members, Dr. Spencer Reid, he’s…. we’re…We’re dating.”
When Brian straightened surprised, and looking a little angry, Tony held up his hand. “Please,” he begged softly, “I need you to wait, and listen.”
Rubbing a hand over his forehead, Tony could feel his hands shaking, and signed. He was tired of the constant stress. “It’s been… I skimmed over a lot of things at NCIS. Things on my team were… bad when I left. My boss, Gibbs, is like my big brother, but he’s a crappy boss. He plays people against each other. Despite being a retired Marine Sniper he has no respect for the chain of command when it comes to his subordinates. I was his Senior Field Agent, but he never treated me as anything but just another agent on his team. The other two people on the team, Ziva David, who is the daughter of Eli David, and Timothy McGee were most of the time highly insubordinate. Tim wasn’t always that way, but he has that picked on kid syndrome. When he found someone who was willing to help him ‘get back at the jock’ as he saw it, he was all gung ho.”
Tony huffed and shook his head thinking about Tim. “I basically recruited Tim onto the team. He was this nervous, stuttering, geeky cyber nerd who had big dreams, but no way to accomplish them. I convinced Gibbs to give him a chance. Gibbs hated him. I trained him. Maybe my methods are outside the box, but the normal shit wouldn’t have worked with him.
“Ziva…. Ziva I never liked, never fully trusted. She got her job through favors and thank yous for helping former Director Sheppard. Her brother was an assassin, who killed one of my team mates. Hell SHE was an assassin. SHE created the dossiers that her brother used to eventually target Kate. She was, in my opinion, ordered to create chaos within NCIS, and she did so once she convinced her friend to place her on the premiere investigative team.
“From almost day one she seemed to be determined to drive a wedge between team members. She wanted Gibbs to see her as some kind of daughter substitute. She wanted me to be alienated from the others, and the only reason I can think of is so that my voice would be ignored. I’ve always been the one to step up, and call Gibbs on his bullshit when he gets out of line. If we were not on the same page anymore, which we weren’t because she was in my opinion successful in her mission, things, serious things, could slip by. Serious things did slip by.”
Tony picked up his beer bottle draining it, and ordering a pop when the waitress came over. He was driving after all. “I loved my job despite all the crap I had to go through. I loved it despite the whole getting stuck in the sewer handcuffed to a marine. I loved it despite getting sent undercover with the antiquities trader who turned out to be a serial killer. I loved it despite getting the plague, in my own fucking office.”
“I stopped loving it when a woman was hired who helped orchestrate the death of my friend. I stopped loving it when she had a team dinner, and everyone rubbed it in my face that I wasn’t invited. I stopped loving it when she shot me, because she fired her weapon inside a fucking shipping container, then told everyone it was a splinter. I stopped loving it when she hid a terrorist. I stopped loving it when she would have rather I have died when he attacked me, instead of him. I stopped loving it when my own director sent me to Israel to be questioned by Mossad, and then the princess got mad when I made daddy look like an idiot.”
Tony took a deep breath and ate a few chips and queso before continuing. “I stopped loving it when Ziva and Tim turned off the coms so they didn’t have to listen to me. We were doing voice prints in the field looking for a fucking terrorist, but they were tired of my voice so they turned off the coms. After that I refused to take anymore. So, I left NCIS, mostly.
“Since then Ziva’s been arrested. McGee’s been fired. Abby Sciuto, our forensic analyst, who was supposed to be my best friend, was found to have doctored the evidence to try and hide what they’d done. She then began stalking me, and tried to attack me outside of my new penthouse apartment. She’s now in jail, as well.”
Tony took a deep breath and peeked at Brian, when he saw the hard look on his face, and the fire in his friend’s eyes, he relaxed somewhat. “When I got to the FBI things were better, but still not great. Derek Morgan decided that I was a player. Jennifer LaMontagne decided that I was just a horrible person in general, and hates my guts. It felt like I couldn’t go anywhere and just… be happy. Somehow though… somehow then Spencer happened.”
Tony couldn’t help but smile at the thought of the genius. “Dr. Spencer Reid is the most genius genius that you’ll ever meet in your entire life. He’s almost uncomfortably smart sometimes. He has no sense of fashion, and is completely clueless about pop culture. For some reason, he likes me. I mean really likes me. Likes me enough to take the first step when I was trying to throw everything in my desk in a box, so I could quit because I wasn’t having any of the shit anymore.”
“I am assuming that changed,” Brian prompted smiling when Tony didn’t speak again after several moments. The waitress brought their food just then though, so Tony was saved from answering for several long moments while they got things settled. Finally though, as he build his fajita, he began to explain what his relationship with Spencer Reid was.
“It did change. We went out. Went to the Smithsonian, and a diner afterwards. Went to a Bogart and Bacall movie marathon at a theater. Spent New Year’s Eve together. He’s… I like it. He’s different. Our relationship it’s… it’s different, Brian. He’s… he’s actually why I am here. He found you. He found out about you through my stories then tracked you down. He… he umm… he decided that I needed a… a boyfriend? So, he talked to Angelo and… well… he decided that it should be you.”
When Brian just stared at him dumbfounded, Tony couldn’t help but chuckle. “Yeah, that’s everyone’s reaction. That’s part of why JJ hates me so much. She’s decided that this whole… relationship and how it works between me and Spencer is of my doing. The thing is… I mean… pretty much from day one I have let Spencer take the lead. He decides what he wants, and I just… I just try and give it to him.”
“And, he wants you to have a boyfriend?” Brian asked confused, and Tony nodded smiling.
“See, um, Spencer is A-Sexual. I have learned that isn’t quite as black and white as it sounds. Apparently there are all different kinds, and it seems to mostly differ from one person to the next. Spencer he umm… he doesn’t mind the cuddling, and he really loves kissing. He has no interest in sex, other than a onetime purely scientific experimental type deal.”
“Onetime… scientific… what?” Brian repeated feeling like he’d lost his footing on reality. When Tony just laughed, he huffed and took a huge bite of his own fajita.
“When I say Spencer is a genius, I mean it. He graduated high school at 12. Had his first degree by 16, and his first doctorate by 17. He is a completely scientific minded person. So, most things in life are an experiment. Sex is no different. He’s tried enough of it to know basically he doesn’t want it, but he keeps saying some day he’d like to find out if that includes with me. See, until he tries it with me, his mind can’t rule out the possibility that there could be an anomaly in his research data.”
Tony found himself laughing, again, as he watched Brian just shake his head. “Personally I doubt it will ever happen, and to be honest, I hope that it doesn’t. He doesn’t need to do it, he doesn’t want to do it, and a science experiment is a really bad reason to have sex with someone you love. It’s just how his mind works. He gets so caught up in… how the rest of the world lives their lives, and how his life isn’t that way. Most of his life he’s been told that it wasn’t ok to just be himself. Spencer Reid doesn’t want sex.
“Spencer Reid though does want ME to have sex, and he wants me to have sex with you. Also, in his words, he wants to ‘watch the beauty of them being with someone they care about, and if that person could like him too it would be nice’. So, Spencer found you. He wants you and me to be together. He wants me and him to be together. He wants you and him to have some kind of relationship. I am pretty sure that it’s a ‘you and me and him’ kind of thing.”
Brian frowned as he turned the story over in his head, while he created another fajita. He’d been propositioned a lot in his life. He’d figured out long ago that Tony DiNozzo was his one and only forever kind of person. Since that realization, there had been nothing that had dissuaded him from that belief. Tony was forever and love and home and comfort and being able to just be himself with no masks or acts needed. Now though when he finally finds his Flyboy again, there is another person already standing there who apparently wanted a relationship without sex with said Flyboy.
Brian didn’t quite understand it, but he’d never been one to discriminate against someone because of what they did or did not want to do in their bedroom. The world was filled with all kinds of people. He loved life. He believed in the right of people to live their lives however they saw fit, as long as that living didn’t harm others. He also knew Tony.
It may have been years since they were last together, but he could bet that he still knew what kind of person attracted him. It wasn’t about the looks. That’s what people got confused by. Tony could always be found with a physically wide variety of bed partners. For him it was something about the person’s mind or personality that drew him in.
He was a social butterfly, and could make friends with just about anyone. He’d talk to anybody who would stand still long enough to hold a conversation. If in that conversation something sparked his interest, he was going to become attracted. That’s just the way it worked. Relationship or not.
The thing was when he was with someone he was absolutely faithful. He just couldn’t stop flirting and socializing to save his life. It was simply too ingrained into who he was. It would be like to tell him to stop having hazel eyes. People always misunderstood that as well. They’d see him flirting or talking with a pretty girl, know he was dating, and assume he was trying to get into her pants. For Tony though, he was just… being Tony. Talking, socializing, flirting were as natural and necessary to him as oxygen and water. Some people didn’t understand or weren’t secure enough in themselves or their relationship to understand that you could be faithful and still flirt.
The more he thought about what Tony had described of this relationship, the more it made sense to Brian. Comfort without the expectation of more. Lazy days in bed watching movies. Afternoons spent wandering through museums. An attentive ear when he had a bad day, and needed to verbally release some frustration.
Spencer would give him something most people never offered Tony. A body, a love, a relationship, a home that wasn’t dependent on his being able to entertain, to perform, to be the perfect little boy dressed up in the cute costume and serving alcohol to his lush parents and their lush friends. Dr. Spencer Reid gave Tony all the things he’d never had as a child, and all the things every child really needed. Home, love, and security.
If he was honest with himself, Brian knew that there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for Tony. He’d set himself up as his protector when they were just children. He’d fallen madly head over heels in love with him when they were young men at college. He’d believed in him even when years and miles separated then with no contact. If Tony was bringing this proposition to him, then he believed in it.
Brian wasn’t quite sure what his own part was in this whole… threesome thing, but he’d take Tony anyway that he could get him. He loved him enough that some things just didn’t matter. He knew in his heart that Tony loved him back. Sometimes the little details just… weren’t important. Sometimes all that was needed was… well was to know Tony was there. He was getting that. He was getting his Flyboy back. The rest was just… details.
“It sounds perfect for you, Flyboy,” Brian offered smiling, as he watched Tony eat his food. “I can’t wait to meet him. It sounds like this is gonna be everything we ever wanted. Count me in.”
~~* May 2012 *~~ * ~~* Offering up a Final Goodbye*~~
Tony stood at the back of the crowd trying to blend in with others trying to pay their respects. Brian was on one side gripping his hand tightly. Spencer was on the other, his elbow looped through Tony’s and a hand resting on Tony’s upper arm.
He wasn’t going to come. He wasn’t sure it was appropriate. He’d gotten word though Gibbs from the family, though, that they wouldn’t be offended by his presence. Tim’s father had sent him a note saying that his son’s mistakes were not Tony’s. They recognized what the former SFA had meant in Tim’s life and would be fine with him being there. They admitted to Tony that he had come clean to them not long before he died. Admitting the things he’d done wrong, the things he’d lied to them about.
They told him Tim had meant to reach out, try and mend fences. That part might have broken Tony’s heart more than anything. The ‘what ifs’, what could have beens, and what should have beens were soul shattering. Tony appreciated them letting him know though. It helped the pain to ease slightly knowing that he wasn’t the only one who regretted the way it ended between them. His Angelo said that you never forget your first rookie or probie. That was certainly the case with one Very Special Agent Timothy McGee. Still though Tony thought it was best if he stood toward the back of the mourners. He wasn’t positive that everyone had the same feelings as Tim’s mom and dad.
The service was filled with family, friends, and even people from NCIS. Tony was glad to see the NCIS folk had put the things Tim had done wrong behind them, to acknowledge the man he was. He’d always been more disappointed in Tim than angry at him. Disappointed and hurt at the idea that someone he’d tried so hard to help succeed had turned on him. Had allowed himself to be manipulated so easily.
Tony must have gotten lost in his own head. When hearing Brian say his name, he blinked and realized that Sarah McGee was standing in front of him with Penny her grandmother by her side. He hadn’t spoken to them yet. Only to Tim’s parents. The last thing that he expected was to be hugged by them both.
“Thank you so much for everything you did for him,” Sarah offered. Her voice cracking as her tears started, again.
“He admired you so much, Tony” Penny relayed, her voice heavy with grief.
Tony didn’t know what to say. Hell, he was pretty sure there wasn’t anything that he could say. At that moment he was literally incapable of speech. It hurt so bad. He missed him so much. He regretted it all so fucking much.
If it wasn’t for Brian’s sturdy presence at his back, and Spencer’s quiet strength next to him, Tony was pretty sure he’d have fallen apart. He swore to himself though that he wasn’t going to cry. Not here, not in front of the family, not when others needed him to be strong.
He could cry with Gibbs in his basement. He could cry with Angelo in his study. He could cry with his boys in the privacy of their home. He couldn’t do it there in front of everyone. He just couldn’t share that pain with the world. It was hard enough with the four people he loved the most in the world.
When Penelope and Sarah pulled back, Tim’s parents were there. He hugged his mother, and shook his father’s hand. He couldn’t help but wonder how much longer the older man would make it. He didn’t look good. Not that anyone really looks good at their child’s funeral, but… all things considered he didn’t look good. Tony heard that he had cancer, and there wasn’t much time left. He had no doubt that Tim’s death was taking an extra toll on his health. Jesus, how would they handle a second death? Tony made a mental note to keep an ear out so that he could offer support when the time came.
Eventually, the family went away, and Gibbs came over with Ducky, Jimmy and Vance. More hugs and small talk were exchanged. Ducky dragged out of him a promise for a visit. Jimmy was issued an invitation for a guys’ night at the penthouse sometime soon. Gibbs gave a rub to the back of his head. Vance got a nod and a handshake. Tony wasn’t gonna pretend he liked the man no matter where they were at, or what understandings they’d previously come to. He might not hate him as much as before. He may be able to be in his presence without wanting to punch him in the face or throat as Angelo liked to threaten. He’d never like him though.
After the NCIS people walked off, he realized that the rest of the crowd had also left. That made it just the three of them standing there. Letting go of Brian’s hand and Spencer’s arm, Tony walked toward the casket. The top was covered in flowers. Reaching out, Tony put his hand on the top of the metal feeling the coolness under his palm.
“Jesus probie,” Tony whimpered, “it wasn’t supposed to be like this.”
When he felt his knees grow weak, he put his other hand on the metal, and dropped his head. “It wasn’t fucking supposed to be this way. We were supposed to be brothers. We were supposed to have a huge yelling blow out over all this crap, and get past it. You were supposed to invent some huge technological… thing and end up the King Elf Lord of the Universe. We were supposed to be able to sit on a porch… not at my house of course, ‘cause why the hell would I own something with a porch… but a porch someday as old geezers, and say hey you remember that time?
“You weren’t supposed to go first, Probie. Goddamnit! You fucking weren’t supposed to go first!! I’m fucking tired of people fucking LEAVING ME! How the fuck could you do this? I goddamned trained you better than that! FUCK!”
Tony sank to his knees and rested his head against the side feeling his shoulders shaking. “You weren’t supposed to let some fucking crack head home invader kill you because you wouldn’t give up a fucking watch. You weren’t supposed to go!”
When the tears eased, and his vision cleared again, Tony stood back up and placed a hand on the casket again. “You will be missed, Probie. I am gonna buy a dog, and I am naming him Probie, just for you. Not today. Not tomorrow, but it’s happening.”
Reaching in his suit coat, Tony pulled out his well-worn NCIS hat and placed it on the casket. “Keep it safe for me, Probie, and don’t let any of those featherheads up there forget who you are, Very Special Agent Timothy McGee.” Turning Tony walked away from the casket, glad that Brian and Spencer were there to hold him together with their arms, and their love.
Later that evening as they were all cuddled up on the bed, Brian leaned against the headboard, Tony in front of him with his back to Brian’s chest, and Spencer curled by Tony’s side with his head on his partner’s chest Tony thought maybe eventually it would be ok again.
“I thought you told me that Tim hated dogs,” Spencer inquired softly. Tony couldn’t help but chuckle wondering how the man had held the question in for so long.
“He didn’t just hate them he was terrified of them.” Tony explained, and smiled softly when Spencer pulled back and frowned up at him.
“I don’t understand. Explain, please?”
Tony nodded and leaned back into Brian a little more feeling his lover’s arms tighten around him. He let his brain wander a moment as he imagined Tim standing in the room corner glaring at him while laughing on the inside.
“If Tim were here he’d be standing with that pinched ‘Tony you are a moron’ look on his face. He’d call me all the names that he thought Penny wouldn’t smack the crap out of him for. Then he’d grin and start researching what kind of dogs would work best in apartments. He’d make spreadsheets and graphs, and spend all night looking crap up on the internet. When I got the little bugger he’d look at the picture, and nod telling me he was right of course. It’ll be perfect. We can get a girl, too, and name her Kate. Dogs live longer than goldfish.”
Spencer frowned, still not understanding, but filed it away to ask Derek later. Brian smirked and reaching over ruffled his hair making the youngest of them squawk. “It’s what a brother does, Spencer.”
Spencer turned the words over in his head, and finally nodded laying his head back down. Tony smiled as imaginary Tim just grinned and nodded before disappearing. “It’s been an honor knowin’ you, Tony.” He heard in his ear, as a cool breeze moved across him. Looking over he confirmed the window was closed, and the air conditioning and fans were off.
Closing his eyes, he let the tears fall one last time. “The honor was all mine, Probie. The honor was all mine.”
End Notes: For those that didn’t read the third section, Tony released his pain over the whole thing at the funeral. Tim’s family thanked Tony for all he’d done for McGee. Tony and Tim had a Sixth Sense type goodbye at the end before Tim moved on as the three boys (Tony Brian and Spencer) snuggled on the bed. All very sad for poor Tony
Big Kudos go out to Rivermoon1970 for her assistance on the kissing scene. I suck at such things. Really I am horrible at kissing scenes. It’s awful. I made my attempt, and she came in and wrote something kick ass, which I then tweaked slightly.
I hope everyone made it through this angst fest. The next chapter also has a dark scene in it that involves a flashback to Tony and Brian’s father and… the ending Tony hinted at in the second section. I don’t think it’s triggery, but I will have the appropriate warnings in the beginning notes. After THAT though I think there’s only mildly angsty things left.