Banner by me
Characters this chapter: Brian O’Connor, Emily Prentiss, Aaron Hotchner, Penelope Garcia, Spencer Reid, David Rossi, AD John Evans, Jack Hotchner
Relationships this chapter: Spencer Reid/Tony DiNozzo/Brian O’Connor, Tony DiNozzo/Brian O’Connor,
Chapter Warnings: Non-Cannon Compliant: NCIS
Word Count: 7,090/112,298
Chapter Summary: Brian catches a ride on the BAU jet, and pays his way with a story from his and Tony’s past. We go back in time and see Tony’s interview with Hotch that got him his position with the BAU. Tony shows Jack the best medicine for a headache. Then, Spencer, Brian, and Tony get back from their trip to NCIS. We find out if Spencer will get his way, or if AD Evans will be unhappy with his agents’ actions.
Chapter Notes: Even as I put this up, and with all I’ve written since I originally wrote it, the first section of this chapter is my favorite thing I’ve written ever.
Chapter Nine: The Best and the Worst of the Past, A Chance at another Beginning, and Moving on and Moving Up
~~*BAU August 2012*~~ * ~~*The Best and the Worst of the Past*~~
Brian remembered the first time he saw Anthony D DiNozzo, Jr. At the time, could he have never in his wildest dreams imagined that that scared, angry, little boy would become an elite Federal Agent. “Tell me about when you met Tony,” he heard and rolling his head smiled at Emily who was seated next to him. He didn’t miss how Hotch and Garcia leaned forward slightly. Chuckling softly, Brian smiled as he leaned his head back closing his eyes. “I was just thinking about that.”
“Flyboy was this short, pretty, angry, and quiet kid. First time I met him he was standing in the headmaster’s office. His Uncle Clive’s representative was with him. The asshole was this stiff British dude that acted like he was gonna get germs if he so much as touched Tony.” Brian rolled his head and opened his eyes to look at Emily. “I know it sounds crazy, but I think that we were connected right from that second. I remember his eyes were so goddamned afraid, and at the same time… He seemed so fuckin’ resigned to whatever was going on. I’m positive that no one had ever loved him before that moment.”
“Why Flyboy?” Garcia asked softly, her sensitive heart breaking for the boy no one had loved.
Brian grined big at that. “Fly, boy, fly.” He drawled in response making her quirk an eyebrow at him. Chuckling aloud, Brian turned his head to see Tony and Derek playing cards, with Spencer rambling on about something.
“It was practically the end of the year when they dropped him off, so he didn’t officially start school until August. Several of us stayed there year around though, and Tony was to be one of them. Once school was out, and the other kids were gone, we always moved rooms. Tony and I ended up together ‘cause we were the newest, and the others had been there forever. So, they already had their normal summer groupings.
“Since I had only been there two weeks myself, I hadn’t started school yet either. Tony basically stayed holed up somewhere until school ended. I got bored being inside though. So, I’d slip out, and go exploring. When we got put together in the same room, I realized how bad off Tony really was.
“He barely got any sleep. Every night seemed to be filled with these horrible nightmares where he’d wake up screaming like someone was trying to kill him. When he wasn’t having one of those, he’d lie there sobbing all night, calling out for his mamma in his sleep.” Brian frowns and closes his eyes again leaning his head back once more.
“It was probably the worst part of the whole thing. The whole… I couldn’t do shit, and it didn’t take long to figure out that no one at that place gave a crap about any of us. It was just this dumping ground for unwanted rich kids. There wasn’t a single decent caring adult in that whole place. We were just a paycheck to them, and it showed.
“I remember that we’d watched this black and white movie about pilots in World War I. Tony hadn’t slept in days. His temper was so close to the edge that you could practically see it. He was wandering around aimlessly, and seemed to have no idea where he was. You just knew though that pretty soon it was gonna get ugly. It had reached a point where I was willing to try anything to try and prevent it from all blowing up in our faces. So, I told him to come with me. Amazingly enough he did.”
Brian snorted and shrugged. “Turns out that Tony hates being inside. I mean, don’t get me wrong. He’s definitely not some outdoors lover who you’ll see wanting to rough it for a month in the Catskills or somethin’. But to just be outside playing ball or running around or whatever… he needs that. When we were kids though he’d literally NEVER go outside unless someone told him to. Didn’t matter if it was one of us kids, or an adult, but someone else had to initiate it. I think it had something to do with his father. I am almost positive that McSwirley wasn’t the first one to lock Tony in a small underground room.”
Brian gritted his teeth for a moment, and took deep breaths trying to calm his anger down. It didn’t matter how many years there were between himself and the memories. They never failed to piss him off. “You don’t have to continue,” Hotch offered. His voice soft and hard in that way that said he was really pissed off about something.
“It’s ok, Hotch, you all have known him long enough he won’t mind, just as long as he’s not the one who has to tell the tale. So, as I’d been exploring, I found that there was this clearing in the woods behind the school. It was a pretty good ways in, so you didn’t have to worry about being quiet, because there was no way anyone at the school could hear you. So, we get to this clearing and I stop at the edge. Tony comes up and looks at me, but he’s not speaking. He didn’t do a lot of that without prompting either.
“I remember looking around the clearing, then to Tony. All I said was…”
“Fly, boy, fly.” Tony’s wistful voice came over Brian’s shoulder. The group looked up to see a fond smile on Tony’s face. “That was probably the first happy memory I have as a child.” Holding out a water bottle for Brian, Tony gripped his shoulder before moving back to his seat.
Brian looked back at the group grinning. “Man he took off around that clearing like he’d been launched off a ship like a real fighter jet. His arms were stretched out like he was an airplane, screaming his head off. After a while I took off after him and we had this mock air battle like we’d seen on the show. When we finally wore ourselves out, we laid in the grass trying to catch our breath. Tony had the biggest goddamned smile on his face. I think that night was the first one that he’d slept without dreaming about his mother in some way, and waking up sobbing or screaming.”
Hotch nodded smiling slightly. “Why tell everyone that you met in college?”
Brian shrugs, and checks on Tony again before answering. “It’s not a lie. College Brian & Tony were different from boarding school Brian & Tony. We lost touch after boarding school. My father hated Tony for some reason, and wouldn’t let me use the address Mr. Rossi had given me to write him. We ended up at the same college supposedly by coincidence. I have a feeling though that a certain veteran profiler had a hand in that. After college we lost touch, again. I am pretty sure my father had a hand in it the second time as well. Fortunately for the world in general he’s dead now. So, he can’t cause any more problems for Tony and I.”
Emily looked somewhat awed, and a little sad. Brian understood how she felt completely. Garcia though looked like she was gonna get up and hug him any second. “If you’re nice to him right now, Garcia, he will freak out.” He offered softly. Tony was never good with kindness, but there were certain moments like this where he just could not take it. The tenderhearted woman nodded stiffly, and pulled out her laptop.
Deciding it was time to change the topic, Brian turned his attention to Hotch. Beside him, out of the corner of his eye, he saw Emily putting in her ear buds. “Thanks for the lift.”
Hotch snorted amused. “It’s the least that we can do. You made your way to us, and helped with the case. How did your assignment go?”
Brian snorted. “Cover almost got blown, but we knew that would be a risk. San Bernardino is too close to where I was born. We thought maybe that since I hadn’t been back since mom shipped me out when I was a kid that I would be safe. Figures Rome would be there. They’ll send someone else in. Boss said that if I could make it to you guys, he didn’t mind if I hitched a ride with you.”
“You were worried about Tony,” Aaron observed, and Brian lifted an eyebrow.
“Sounds like I am not the only one.”
“Spencer told me the first victim was a dead ringer for his mother.” Hotch explained. It was one of those things he regretted, but knew that even if he’d known in advance there’d be nothing that he could have done differently. He would have been doing the team, and Tony a disservice if he had tried to leave him out of it.
Brian nodded understanding. “He sounded bad when I called. My boss knows all about Spencer and Tony. He’s very understanding. He seems to think I’m going to end up with you guys someday, which I find amusing.”
“You would make a good profiler, Brian. The disturbance at the high school football field?”
Brian laughed grinning big. “It was a good place to play fighter planes. Derek had a blast.”
Hotch snorted and pulled out a file from his briefcase. “I am sure it was. Next time, Agent O’Connor…?”
Brian tilted his chin up at the official Unit Chief Tone. He wasn’t about to apologize for doing what was best for his oldest friend. “Make sure you call me, too. I haven’t done that since I was a kid, and it sounds like a good way to relieve stress.”
Brian’s jaw dropped open, as Hotch smirked amused at his surprise. Eventually, Brian made his way over to the card game, and pulled out a $20 bill holding it out to Spencer. “I told you,” Reid said not looking up from his book as he stuffed the money in his satchel. “Hotch isn’t as uptight as he seems. Fighter planes would be totally awesome.”
Tony and Derek laughed at the look on Brian’s face, and across the aisle, Rossi’s lips twitched at the boy’s antics. He was relieved that his figlio had made such good friends in this place.
~~* BAU October 2010 *~~ * ~~* A Chance at another Beginning *~~
Tony was wearing his very best suit and shoes, sitting in the passenger seat of Rossi’s BMW, and wondering where in the hell they were going. One place he was certain they were hot headed was the FBI building at Quantico. “Just a tiny question, Angelo. Where are we going?”
“To your interview with Hotch. You look nice, Figlio. The Italian designer is a nice touch. I approve heartily.” Rossi said smirking, and Tony rolled his eyes.
“You would. My immense suit collection would be entirely your fault. #2 on the list for the new place is a huge closet. We are not headed toward Quantico, Angelo.” Tony pointed out as his mind turned toward his thoughts of the search for a new place to live that he was going to have to start. “I want a penthouse. Seriously, Angelo, why are we not going to Quantico? Have you finally snapped and decided to kill me deep in some Federal Park Reserve?”
David snorted and while they were at a stop light turned to look at his almost son and rolled his eyes. “Figlio, you are something else. No, I am not taking you to a Federal Park Reserve to kill you. I have not lost my mind. Aaron is at home today. Jack had a headache, and to be honest I thought this would go better away from the office anyway. I know you’re gonna get your dander up about this, but I am gonna say it anyway. You need some extra care right now, Tony. You need a little less stress and a little more of the personal touch than the normal interview process. Is an exception being made there because you’re basically my kid? Yes. Is that relationship getting you the job? Hell, no! The timing just seemed to work out right with Jack not feeling well, and I am not ashamed to say I took advantage of it.”
“I don’t want this job because of you. I don’t care if that makes me overly proud.” Tony declared quietly, and Rossi sighed. Checking the traffic around him, Rossi pulled into the parking lot of an abandoned building. After turning off the car, he turned to look at Tony.
“I know this is hard for you. Despite the façade you put on for others, confidence and security in your position both in people’s lives and on the job are issues for you. Understandably so. You’ve been dealt a harsh blow by the fates kiddo. It seems like every time you think you’re settled the bitch just sweeps the rug from underneath you again. So, I understand that you are feeling like they couldn’t want you for you. I swear on Caroline though, Figlio, that isn’t what this is.”
Rossi sighs and gathers his thoughts for a moment. “Did I pull a few favors to work through the fraternization tangle? Yes, I will cop to that. I swear though I am not getting you this interview, and I can’t get you a spot on the team. When I let Aaron know that you were looking for a new home, I will admit that I thought you would do well on the team. That recommendation though came as SSA Rossi who is one of the founding members of this thing. I can also tell you that Aaron Hotchner has known me his entire FBI career. There is no way in hell that he’s hiring someone just because I recommended them. I guarantee Garcia got him a file on you that would make the NSA jealous.”
When Tony snorted amused, Rossi felt his shoulders relax a little. It seemed that he was making headway. “I can also tell you that Mateo Cruz doesn’t know me from Jack the Ripper. All I am to him is some old fart who keeps coming back like a bad penny. The only person that I know he has ties to is JJ.I may have gotten them to notice you, and I may have cashed in a few favors to guarantee you would be on my team. I did absolutely not get you this interview though, and I can’t get you the job. If you bomb this, and piss of Aaron, that shit’s on you, kid. So, don’t fuck this up, capisce?”
Tony rolled his eyes, and made a face at him. When he heard, “As if. I was born for this shit.” Rossi started the car back up, and headed back towards Aaron’s place.
An hour later, Rossi had been assigned to the living room to keep an ear out for Jack while the adults talked in the office. If Tony hadn’t been so nervous, he’d be exceptionally amused by this. “Nice suit,” he heard, and smirked and shrugged.
“I was practically raised by Rossi,” Tony snarked. “If I didn’t know how to buy an amazing suit he’d throw me out of the house.”
“I doubt it,” Aaron offered smiling as Tony settled in the chair in front of the desk. “He’s talk about you quite a lot over the years. He’s extremely fond of you.”
“I am extremely fond of him,” Tony admitted looking down to pick invisible lint off his pant leg. “He said that he had no influence on this interview?”
“He doesn’t” Aaron confirmed sitting back in his chair wondering where this was going.
“Then why would you possibly want me for your team?” Tony asked softly, and more than a little brokenly. It was only his years as a prosecutor hiding his feelings from a jury that allowed Aaron to keep his reaction contained. “My own team doesn’t believe in me. When I tried to be their leader, they rebelled becoming insolent and irresponsible employees. My best friend in the whole world sold me out because I talk too much. Why would you possibly want the joke of NCIS to be on the elite profiling team with the Behavioral Analysis Unit? What could I possibly offer that you don’t already have? I am not trying to paint you or Angelo in a bad light, but I honestly don’t see any reason why I would be offered this chance unless Dave arranged it.”
It was fortunate for Aaron that the younger man didn’t look up at that moment, because he was pretty sure that his formidable mask was failing him. What in the blue fuck was going on over at NCIS. When Dave came to him to ask how he would feel about his Figlio being a part of the team, and could he please think about it, Aaron almost hired the man on the spot. Aaron had been hearing Dave’s stories about his surrogate son since he’d met the man. So, naturally he already knew quite a bit about him. It was only his ingrained professionalism that kept him quiet.
Because he knew that there would be intense scrutiny eventually on this hire, he had Garcia run a background check more thorough than any she’d ever done before. As he’d suspected, nothing had come up to suggest that Tony DiNozzo, Jr. didn’t belong on his team. In fact, the check only served to support why he deserved the position. Degrees earned well after he’d started his law enforcement career, and in fact seemed to still be going on. Commendations from old departments that made it clear they’d beg to get him back. He’d even had a rather bizarre, and more than a little harrowing, visit from a CIA agent named Trent Kort who said they’d be bloody fools to not hire him. How the man even knew they were thinking about it was still a mystery to Hotch.
Once that was done, he’d quickly gone to Mateo, and together they’d visited John Evans at home… on a weekend… at the AD’s insistence. It wasn’t like it was a life and death situation, but the man had insisted. Considering he was the boss, and held all of their jobs in his hand, who was Aaron to object. The man made it more than clear that he expected Tony DiNozzo to be either employed with or somehow affiliated with not just the FBI, but the Behavioral Analysis Unit within 72 hours or he was firing everyone.
When Mateo argued possible favoritism complaints, the AD made it clear that he could give two rats’ asses what people thought about Dave’s relationship with the kid. Apparently the Italian wasn’t the only one who had taken an interest in Tony after Senior’s arrest, or who was pleased with the kid’s hard fought, and self-made success. The AD had basically dared people to complain, and Aaron almost hoped someone did. He rather enjoyed hearing the older man tear someone a new asshole.
Unlocking one of his drawers, Aaron drew out a file folder with the FBI logo on it, and placed it in front of Tony. “I think that you should look at this. Please keep in mind that only a very small handful were requested. The rest of them just came in, and honestly keep coming in. I have also gotten more than a couple phone calls. Those people emailed me at my request. I think you should look through that folder before you filet yourself on my desk.”
Frowning Tony opened the folder, and cocked his head at just the top page. Skimming it, he then slowed down and read slower because he was sure that he was misunderstanding. After the third read through he lifted his eyes to Aaron looking more than a little confused. “This is a recommendation from Trent Kort.”
Aaron nodded smiling. “Yes that one came with a warning that if my team treated you as horribly as the NCIS team had there would be dire consequences.” He watched amused as Tony flipped the page, and seemed to start the same process over again.
“This is from Dwayne Pride.”
“I am aware,” Aaron advised holding in his smile, but just barely.
Tony frowned shaking his head. “He’s one of Gibbs’ best friends.”
“So he let me know,” Aaron shared lifting an eyebrow. “He also had some additional things to say about the whole situation. Some things I had to call one of my agent’s husband for translation. The gist seems to be that he thinks you’re a hell of an agent, and he’s gonna be visiting Gibbs to remove his head from his ass because it’s obviously gotten lodged up too deeply to be removed without his assistance. Please, Tony, I think you need to just read those.”
It was a testament for how thin the younger man’s shields were that his emotions played so easily over his face. Once he was done, Aaron watched as he closed the folder, and pushed it away from himself. Then he once more studied his pants leg. “I don’t understand.”
“Agent Fornell told me that if the FBI could harness the DiNozzo Network they would never have an unsolved case again. You, Very Special Agent DiNozzo, have made quite the impression on a lot of people. I hope you noticed that a few of those letters are from people whose lives you saved. Others are from fellow co-workers whose lives you impacted for no reason other than they needed a helping hand. A Delores Bromstead called me to inform me that her cousin works in the department that does my team’s HR. I was informed that if I didn’t hire you and then treat you right, I’d never see a vacation day again.”
Tony choked out a laugh, and grinned shyly. “Delores is pretty ok once you get to know her.”
“She told me all about the doll,” Aaron admitted and Tony blushed.
“I was going to bail… Ziva talked me into it.” Tony insisted, and Aaron lifted an eyebrow.
“Delores also advised me that she’s not been the nicest person to you or anyone else at NCIS. She said that life hasn’t always been kind to her, but that you might have done the nicest thing for her ever. Getting her a gift isn’t the same as taking the time to do research to find out the one thing that she’s always wanted, Very Special Agent DiNozzo. That one act says a great deal to me about your character. As do similar stories from the security guard who retired, but still gets birthday cards and cigars from you. The janitor who you helped fill out Social Security forms for his mother. The mail clerk who you helped get a scholarship to college for his younger brother. Should I go on?”
“Please, no,” Tony protested weakly, and fidgeted. “I hate it when people are nice to me. It freaks me out. It’s not natural.”
When the office door opened unexpectedly and Jack barreled in, Hotch tried to contain his equal irritation at the interruption and worry that something else was wrong. Immediately he turned his chair, which Jack took advantage of climbing up to sit in his lap. Rossi ran in the door and winced. “Sorry, Aaron, he’s quick. I thought maybe the headache would slow him down.”
Aaron rolls his eyes as he ran a hand over his son’s back. “Head still hurt?”
When Jack just nodded, Aaron sighed. “It’s not time for more medicine yet. Daddy’s doing an interview, remembrer?”
Jack nodded again, but immediately pouted. “I’m bored. Nothing makes it feel better.” Turning his head, Aaron saw his son’s gaze fall on the anxious looking Italian. “Are you the new man?”
“Maybe?” Tony offered and winced. Aaron could tell he was clearly uncomfortable. “I guess that’s your dad’s decision. Headaches suck, huh?”
Jack nodded, and Aaron could tell he was intrigued by the other man. “Dos you get them?”
“Oh yeah,” Tony shared. “There’s really only one thing you can do for a headache.”
When Jack sat up a little clearly intrigued, Aaron arched an eyebrow at Rossi who seemed surprised. Dave had warned him that Tony wasn’t much for kids, and this didn’t feel like a forced encounter to make points during an interview.
“The Aristocats,” Tony replied, and Jack sat up a little more.
“What is Ariscat?” Jack tried to repeat, and Aaron was intrigued at the change slowly coming over the man in front of him.
“The Aristocats is a 1970 animated film… errr… cartoon made by Disney about a family of well to do cats who get help from an alley cat after a butcher kidnaps them. I watch it every time I get a headache or don’t feel good. My… my mom used to watch it with me when I was little like you. Interesting fact… it’s the last project to be approved by Walt Disney himself. He had been working on the Rescuers, but he… erhm… he passed away before it went into production.”
“Do we has this movie, daddy?” Jack asked turning his eyes to Hotch, who hated to disappoint his son.
“I don’t think so, buddy.” Aaron replied, and was surprised when Tony piped up.
“I have it on my Cloud account. If you have a tablet or something, I can sign you in to watch it.”
When Jack slipped down to head to Tony, Aaron was surprised. His son usually didn’t like new people. After the two left, he saw Rossi frowning in the direction they’d gone. “That was unexpected.”
Hotch lifted an eyebrow. “I thought you said he doesn’t like kids.”
“He doesn’t just not like kids, he basically hates them. They make him uncomfortable, because they remind him of all the things he didn’t have as a child.”
An hour later, the two men decided they better go hunt down the missing child, prospective agent. When they found them huddled up in Jack’s room under a makeshift blanket fort they were surprised to say the least. Peeking inside they could see Jack curled up and sleeping on Tony’s lap. The Italian’s expensive suit coat was being used as one of the side walls. His equally expensive tie was being used to connect another blanket to a bed post. His leather shoes were being used as what appeared to be weights to help anchor two of the corners to the floor. Both child and man were fast asleep, while Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat played in the movie. Quietly the two men left shutting the door to let the two of them sleep.
When Rossi just arched an eyebrow at him, Aaron snorted. “He was hired before he even got here. He’s an amazing agent, and the fact that my son apparently likes him is just an added bonus. I’ll call John and get the ball rolling. Your son is officially a BAU team member.” Pleased with the results, Dave strutted off pulling a cigar out of his pocket. He clearly deserved a smoke break for all of his hard work. For once, things were looking up for his kid. This time no one would be hurting his figlio.
~~* BAU January 2016 *~~ * ~~* Moving on and Moving Up *~~
Tony watched Spencer step off of the elevator, and head through the glass doors to the BAU section. Without pausing he headed up the ramp and into Aaron’s office, not bothering to knock. Tony looked at Brian, and they trailed after him knowing it was their turn to keep him somewhere in the ballpark of calm. Their amusement at the situation had died somewhere between the Navy Yard and the FBI building in Quantico. He wasn’t afraid to admit that he was more than a little worried about where his partner’s head was at. While the SecNav experience was less than stellar, Tony had experienced worse. From the puzzled looks Brian was giving him, Tony was pretty sure he wasn’t the only one confused about Reid’s continued ire.
‘What exactly is Spencer so pissed off about?’ He wondered to himself as he followed Spencer into Aaron’s office with Brian following behind him. The blonde shut the door to limit how many people could hear Spencer yelling. The young genius certainly was not holding back. Looking at Brian, Tony felt a little better when the undercover agent just shrugged. It wasn’t the first time someone had underestimated him, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. To be honest, Tony had built an entire career around being overlooked, and he’d done a damn good job of it too in his opinion. While it was true he’d been upset while at NCIS, he’d had time to calm down, and file the incident away as business as usual.
Spencer though seemed to think that some grievous injustice had been done to his reputation, and seemed to be currently trying to get Assistant Director Evans to promise that neither he nor Brian would be sent back without the full BAU team. Tony’d been with the team long enough at this point to know this was not business as normal. “Spencer, we can’t inconvenience the whole team because of a rude politician. It’s not the first time my capabilities have been doubted, and it won’t be the last.” Tony offered trying to soothe his partner. From the look he got in response though when the younger man turned to glare scathingly at him, you’d think he just killed puppies in Hotch’s office.
“That is NOT THE POINT!” Spencer snapped angrily, and Tony flinched. He’d not wanted to make things worse, but now somehow Spencer seemed to be as mad at him as he was with SecNav.
“I think it’s time to take a deep breath, Dr. Reid,” Hotch suggested dryly. When Spencer turned to let his opinion be known about that, Hotch just gave one of his trademark glares. This seemed to at least bring Spencer back to reality enough that he stopped talking. “How about we change the subject for a moment, and shelf the SecNav situation for a few minutes. Maybe that will get all three of you on the same page with that situation again, because I think somewhere in the drive you left the other two behind, Dr. Reid.”
When Spencer turned and looked at his partners, he was confused to see their expressions were not what he’d thought. Tony had one of his blank masks on, but Spencer was familiar enough with it to see the hurt and worry beneath it. Brian had put on his happy go lucky surfer boy persona, but again Spencer knew better and saw the hardened protector lurking beneath the surface. Replaying the last several moments in his head, he winced realizing where he’d gone wrong. It didn’t seem to matter how far removed Tony was from his father’s mental abuse, there were certain tones and things you just could not do. Taking out anger with someone else on him, and expecting Tony to understand was at the top of the list. All it would accomplish is for Tony to feel guilty, and Brian protective.
“I’m sorry,” Spencer offered softly biting his lip. “I wasn’t mad at either of you.”
Stepping closer to his partners, Spencer reached out and touched Tony’s wrist. The smile he got in return wasn’t anywhere near as real as he’d like, but it was a start. He would just have to make sure to be careful of his word choice for a day or so. “How about we discuss Agent O’Connor?” AD Evans suggested and Spencer turned to look at the man who had served as his sponsor at one time. He had grown to respect him greatly over the years, and felt confident the man would see this whole Brian thing Spencer’s way.
“Now, I have spoken with both Brian’s Unit Chief, and his direct supervisor. Both of them expressed how greatly that he would be missed as he is their best undercover operative. However, they also both admitted that they had been waiting for this to come for a while. They both seemed to believe that Brian is over qualified for his current position. After looking through his records I tend to agree. While he doesn’t have the masters or doctorate that we like, his dual bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice are more than enough.”
Spencer huffed and made a face. “He can go back with Tony and work on his Masters in Criminal Justice.” Behind him both men made faces, and Rossi chuckled.
“Kid, maybe you should keep in mind that not everyone likes school as much as you.” Rossi suggested, and Reid turned to see Tony and Brian were still making faces.
Pouting he stuck his lip out at them. “You are smart enough to both get a doctorate in it. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to do it.”
Tony smiled and reaching out ruffled Spencer’s hair making the younger man squawk. “Because I hated school, and not all of us can memorize shit the first time we read it. We can talk about it at home though, ok? I’m not saying no. I just don’t want to spend all my time going to classes and working.”
Brian nodded fast and smiled at Spencer. “Ditto what he said.”
Hoping to get the conversation back on track, Aaron interjected himself into their conversation. “Brian, has anyone asked if you are interested in a spot on the team? None of us want to take you away from your undercover work if that’s truly where you want to be.”
Brian frowned and shrugged looking to Tony then back to UC Hotchner. “It isn’t that I’m not interested, sir, I just honestly don’t know what good I would be to the team. It seems to me that there’s probably someone smarter and more qualified than I am. Shouldn’t they get the position? I don’t want… favors to be made just… well… not to be offensive, sir, but just because everyone seems afraid to tell Reid no.”
Reid flailed his arms around and squawked again opening his mouth to protest. Tony grinned though and reaching out turned the man around putting a hand over his mouth. “This is not your turn to speak, Spence.”
Spencer frowned as everyone else chuckled. He tried to stick his tongue out to lick Tony’s fingers to make him move his hand, but it didn’t work. His partner just laughed harder, and leaned forward to whisper in his ear. “That doesn’t work Dr. Reid. You should know from the things you have watched that I quite like a good lick now and then.” Spencer’s eyes got big at that thought, and he stilled as Hotch glared at them shaking his head.
Aaron had no idea what Tony was saying to Spencer, and he was pretty sure that he didn’t want to know. Shaking his head at them, he hoped Tony kept his hand there for a few moments if only so he could concentrate on Brian. “As AD Evans advised, Brian, your educational degrees are more than enough. I see in addition to your two degrees you, like Tony, take online courses here and there. Several of them will do well to assist us, especially the computer courses. We don’t usually have Penelope with us, and it would be handy to have someone with a deeper computer background on the team.
“Spencer can make do in a pinch, but he isn’t terribly fond of technology as you know, and truly hates doing it. I am guessing from the number of classes in that area that you’ve taken it’s something you enjoy?”
Brian nodded blushing. “It’s different than what I do on a day to day basis, so it usually gives me a break. Plus, since it isn’t directly connected to law enforcement, I can sometimes do it while I’m undercover. So, that helps me keep my distance sometimes. I don’t…”
Brian paused when he felt Tony touch his back. Turning his head he looked at the man he’d known nearly his whole life. Long enough that they were able to do that having conversations without words thing. This time though Tony seemed to think that a vocalization of this thoughts was necessary. “You would be good at this, BoBo. Spencer is right in that you are more qualified than what you are doing now. I am the last person that you will find who is gonna poopoo all over undercover work. People think that just anyone can do it, but you and I both know it’s not the case.
“It takes a certain skillset to do it as long as we have, and not get killed in the process. We also both know though that there’s also a certain level of luck that goes with it. Not to mention how much I know that it wears on who you are. Eventually either your luck is going to run out, or you’re going to lose yourself in the job. We have already talked about how the Toretto job could have gone the other way had your personal life been different. I can’t lose you to this job, BoBo. You know… when on my way to interview for this liaison spot, Angelo said something to me.”
Tony paused and looked to Rossi, who just leaned back in his chair and smiled. Turning his attention back to Brian, he continued. “He told me that he could make the recommendation, and he could work around the fraternization stuff, but that there was no way Aaron Hotchner was even interviewing someone because he made the recommendation. If he ain’t doin’ it for Rossi he certainly ain’t doin it for Doc. I can also tell you that in the 5 years I have worked with Aaron, I can tell you Rossi is right.
“If Hotch is willing to take you into the team is about you, and doesn’t have jack shit to do with what Spencer wants. No matter what we joke about. We deserve this, Brian. We busted our asses. We suffered through undercover gigs where he forgot that there was anyone else in the world who cared. We also both survived fathers who said that we’d both end up in the gutter. Now I’ve been in the sewer on the job, and I have to tell you that we’re about as far away from that as it gets.”
Brian scowled at Tony, but nodded. “I hate it when you do that shit. If Unit Chief Hotchner is sure, I would like a shot at that spot, sir.”
AD Evans nodded and clapped his hands together. “Good! One item down, one to go. Let’s go back to the SecNav issue. SSA DiNozzo, if you could keep your hand where it is, I think we have a chance at getting through this without any more passionate outbursts.” Spencer blushed red, and crossed his hands, but remained where he was.
AD Evans nodded and continued on. “Your paperwork has been finished, SSA DiNozzo. You are now equal to SSA Morgan, and will be sharing duties with him. I have also called Director Vance who said that he’s already started your exit process. No need for an email on your part. He did advise though that he is willing to get your recommendations on people to add to the team. Apparently AIC Gibbs has advised his team won’t go back into the field without all of the people needed to fulfill the job. I also spoke to the Director about this whole thing.”
AD Evans took a drink of his coffee before continuing. “His only concern is the relationship between you three, but he’s not willing to put a stop to the transfer because of it. So, we agreed upon a year probation if you will. I know that you and Spencer already went through this once, but we want to make sure this change doesn’t alter anything. He also expressed his support for your actions, SSA DiNozzo. I can tell you that he is as unimpressed with the current SecNav as you are, but that is to remain in this office. As to you going back… To be honest, son, I agree with Dr. Reid.”
When Tony started to speak, AD Evans held up a hand. “I’m sorry, but I’m not changing my mind. First off, this operation of theirs is way bigger than they let on. I am not willing to put the pressure on you three, because I assure you if it goes south, SecNav will point fingers at you. I am not allowing my people to walk into that position. Secondly, it is deplorable that they didn’t already have these bases covered. Despite the fact that you were technically on their payroll, they haven’t requested your assistance in years. So, for them to suddenly call you for a high profile FUBAR to save their asses is in extreme bad taste. Think of it like this… If the situation was a little different, and it was SSA Dr. Reid they wanted for something. Would you want him to walk into it without the full support of his team after what she pulled?”
When Tony’s face just hardened, John nodded. “Exactly. Here at the FBI, son, we watch each other’s backs. Every member on our teams is as valuable as the next. So, if NCIS wants our help, and I can guarantee they are gonna come calling again, they will have to take the BAU as a whole. I know you’re not happy to hear that, but… well suck it up buttercup. It is what it is.”
Tony nodded, and relaxed his arm letting it fall to rest around Spencer’s shoulders. The younger profiler though remained quiet. There was no need for him to speak again. After all, he’d gotten what he wanted. Tony would have the whole team to protect him, and Brian was safely away from the undercover job that was slowly destroying the man both he and Tony loved. Sometimes it was good to be the spoiled baby of the team. Even if he’d never admit to it.
End Notes: I mean, c’mon… did you really think Spencer wasn’t gonna get his way? LOL Next chapter has one of the rare scenes that doesn’t have Tony Spencer or Brian in it. The people in it are talking about Tony though. I think it’s an important moment, and felt it needed to be shared.