Characters: Tony DiNozzo, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, G Callen, Sam Hanna, Eliot Spencer, Parker, Alec Hardison, Hetty Lange
Relationships: Tony DiNozzo/Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo/G Callen
Warnings: Non-Cannon Compliant: NCIS, Non-Cannon Compliant: NCIS LA, Out of Character, Not Beta Read, Callen’s real name is mentioned, Gibbs living up to the Second B, Tony leaves NCIS, PI!DiNozzo, Parker is a secretary, Humor
Prompt: “This ring won’t fit just anyone.”
Notes: A portion of this was originally posted for my 2016 EAD stories. What was posted has been tweaked some and then expanded on. I don’t anticipate more of this.
There are some familiar faces not listed. Mostly they were used because I detest creating OC’s, and didn’t see the need to put a lot work into something so short. Not to mention they amused me in the roles I put them in. There is some OOC going on with some of the characters. Some day I will be nice to Gibbs again. I swear.
Summary: Tony buys a ring thinking that he’s found his forever. Instead he finds himself alone, without a job, and headed to LA. Six months later, he is surrounded by people who aren’t what they seem working as a PI. When familiar faces run by it’s fate, or is it? Sometimes things just are not what they seem.
Things May Not Be What They Appear
Pairing #6 Tony & G. Callen
“This ring won’t fit just anyone.”
Tony smiled shyly looking at Gibbs, the hope clearly reflected in his eyes. The older man however, looked less honored and more annoyed or regretful. “That ring won’t fit me Tony.”
“Boss, we can… I’m sure it…”
“No, Tony.” Gibbs turned his back on the younger man, moving to sand down the board he’d added to the boat the night before. “I’ve worn enough rings. I don’t plan on wearing anymore. Maybe I wasn’t clear about what I was looking for here. I have no intention of being your forever. This was just meant to be a little fun when we each wanted it. You’d never be able to stand up to the amazing woman that Shannon was. You’re just not… enough. That right… that ring just won’t fit me.”
Tony felt his stomach dropping, as the numb panic made its way through his body. The longer his boss and lover talked, the more humiliated and devastated he felt.
“Maybe it’s time you moved on, DiNozzo. Take one of those positions you’re always being offered somewhere else. I think you’ve outgrown NCIS.”
Wordlessly, Tony found himself nodding, before the flight instinct kicked in. Turning he fled up the stairs, and out the door. He didn’t stop running until he found himself sitting at a terminal at Ronald Regan. Blinking he shook his head and looked down at the ticket in his hand. Looking around he saw what he guessed was concerned TSA security watching him.
Quickly he pasted a fake, but friendly smile on his face waiving at them. Once they’d turned away, he glanced down at his ticket. “Huh.” Searching his pockets, Tony made two calls. One to the only person he really trusted at the moment, and knew wouldn’t try to change his mind. While Jimmy might not understand, hell Tony himself didn’t understand what was going on, he would make sure to pack up Tony’s things before the vultures could get to it.
The second was to Director Vance. That conversation was more difficult, and at the same time slightly cathartic. Tony found that he just didn’t feel the need to weigh his words, and found himself speaking truths that he never thought he’d reveal. After promising to put his notice in writing, Tony hung up and laying his head back closed his eyes. He had a few hours to kill before his flight left. Since he was never able to sleep on an airplane, he figured that he better get his rest in then.
He had been in LA for six months when the inevitable happened. He had a house on the beach, and his newly obtained PI License hung on the wall of his new office. He figured that he was about as close to Magnum as he was gonna get. He’d spread the word to some of his contacts who lived on this side of the country, and his phone had started ringing almost immediately. He was standing outside his new office enjoying the nice California smog when someone ran past with two familiar people following not close behind.
Having seen the guy toss something in a nearby trashcan, Tony rolled his eyes and watched to make sure no one got it before the guys could come back. Five minutes turned into fifteen, which turned into half an hour before Tony realized that the men weren’t coming back. Hollering into his also newly hired secretary, Tony took the gloves and camera that she brought out then proceeded to document the item as best as he could. Finally he just grabbed the whole trash bag, and moved back into the conference room in his office.
Ignoring the wrinkled nose look Parker was giving him, he laid newspapers out over the table, before he dumped the trash out. He then dialed a number he had in his phone, but had never used.
“Who the hell is this?”
Snorting, Tony shook his head finding an interesting looking device of some sort. He wasn’t really sure what it was, but he’d been with NCIS long enough to know he shouldn’t touch it any more than necessary. “You’re eyesight going in your old age, Callen?”
The long pause on the other end amused him maybe more than it should, but he could just picture the frown on the other man’s face. “Who is this?”
“I’m hurt,” Tony replied instead of answering the question. “I think you missed something while you were out on your jog.”
“It’s about nine inches long, and three inches wide. Black, and looks kinda like a rapid charger, but with the chase you and Mr. Clean were giving I’m guessing it’s not.”
“Where are you?” Tony couldn’t help but snicker. He was probably gonna pay for being so difficult, but couldn’t help but amuse himself. He knew Nell and Eric would be able to find himself in no time flat. “Double Oh Investigations. I am sure Mr. Beale and Ms. Jones can find me. I’ll be waiting for you and Telly Savalis.” Not only did Tony end the call, but he turned off his device and pulled the battery. No need to make things easy.
Heading into his supply closet, Tony retrieved one of the electronic device evidence bags he’d recently acquired, and headed back to bag the device, leaving the rest scattered in case they wanted to look for something else. After putting his information on it, Tony locked it in the safe in his office, and headed to warn Parker of the impending visit.
“Parker we’re getting visitors.”
“So?” The blonde frowned up at him.
“You’re the secretary, Parker.”
When she just continued to look at him, Tony snorted amused once more. He silently wondered if all this smog was going to his brain with all the amusing moments he was experiencing lately. Eventually he just chalked it up to being happy in his new surroundings and went back to trying to hold a conversation with his somewhat insane secretary.
“They’re Feds, Parker. Be nice. Show them into my office, and no stealing anything from their pockets in the process.”
Parker just pouted back at him as she started slurping her soda. “You take away all my fun.”
Watching her and the soda made him a little sad, but soon his amusement returned as he thought of another annoying name to call Sam. Snorting again, Tony turned and headed back to his office waving a hand absently as he left. “I know, Parker, I know. Tell Hardison I appreciate the security upgrade.”
By the time Callen and Hanna showed up, Eliot and Hardison were out front, and Tony was working on day to day paperwork. Hearing Eliot and Sam jawing at each other, he stopped what he was doing, and moved to the safe to pull their device out as he listened to their conversation. He was just shutting the safe door, when Eliot announced them.
“Boss, those NCIS agents that you were expecting are here for their toy.”
Tony smirked as he turned to greet his visitors. “Thank you, Eliot.” He replied fighting not to roll his eyes, when his friend just moved to a corner of the room where he could watch.
Of course Hanna wasn’t going to let the man’s presence go unmentioned. “You that soft now, DiNozzo that you have to hire thugs to protect you? Or, are you that dirty? Must be hard to keep all the enemies straight these days. No one likes a dirty cop.”
Pausing for a moment, Tony studied the former SEAL before shaking his head, as he moved to sit behind his desk.
“Marine,” he corrected. When Sam just lifted an eyebrow, Tony explained further. “I know you SEALs don’t like them much, Senior Chief Petty Officer Hanna, but he was a Marine not a thug. While he may have slipped off the path for the while, that has been excused by SecDef himself thanks to unselfish actions on the part of Eliot and his two partners in their previous security venture. Not that any of it is any of your business.
“For your sake, I am going to ignore the remark about me being dirty, and we’ll just chalk it up to you being embarrassed that you lost your evidence. I mean Agent Callen was in the back, and therefore couldn’t have seen your evidence get thrown in the trash. You on the other hand were about five steps behind him and should have had a clear view of what he did. Frankly your insult is weak and cliché. Definitely not your best work, Uncle Fester.”
Turning his attention to Callen, he held out the digital device bag. When Sam went to grab it, Tony pulled it back glaring at him. “I don’t play with assholes, or reward bad behavior, Special Agent Assbutt. Eliot, show Lex Luther to where I laid out the trash bag for his inspection. Please, make sure that he doesn’t wander. He doesn’t have a warrant or reasonable cause to be nosy, and he sure as hell doesn’t have my permission.”
He could tell from the expression on his face that Eliot was hoping the man would try something. Tony had to admit, if only to himself, that he would love to see the SEAL brought down a peg or ten. Unfortunately, despite the fact that he was glaring, Sam went peacefully.
Turning his attention back to Callen, Tony once more held out the device, noticing that the agent had moved to sit in one of the chairs in front of the desk. The blonde nodded his thanks. “Don’t mind, Sam. He’s cranky that he missed the dump.”
Tony tilted his head to one side as he debated his response. “I’m not trying to start something, Callen. It’s been my experience though that some people are just assholes. Since I’ve not had an experience with your partner where he wasn’t a dickhead, I am assuming he fits into that category.”
Callen just chuckled appearing amused and shrugged. “He’s a special cupcake that’s for sure. Seriously though, we owe you big for this. If it had gotten into the wrong hands it would hurt a lot of innocent people. I am guessing that the bad guys are gonna come looking for it. Do you need our assistance in case they try to break in? I’d be happy to offer some… afterhours protection detail.”
Tony snorted at the special cupcake comment, and just shrugged at the thanks. He found the afterhours comment though both intriguing and amusing. “Just because I don’t work for NCIS anymore, doesn’t mean that I don’t want to help people anymore. I just… I can’t do it for NCIS any longer. There’s a typed statement in the bag along with the memory card from the camera I used to take pictures. If you guys need anything more from me, you now know where to find me.”
Callen nodded. “I heard some pretty wild stories about why you left.”
Tony sighed and glanced down the hallway outside the door behind his guest for a moment as he considered what to say. “I left with some encouragement, because it was time. Despite my obsession with Magnum PI when I was a kid, I never thought this would be a real job path, but interestingly enough I find it satisfying. If I thought you were serious about that afterhours stuff, Callen, I would take you up on it. I think there’s a lot more to you than what you offer. If you ask again sometime, maybe I’ll say yes.”
Hearing Sam barking at Eliot, Tony just shook his head, as he noticed Callen rolling his eyes. “I can’t take him anywhere. I think that’s my queue. Thank you again on behalf of NCIS.”
Callen stood, and moved to the doorway pausing before he looked back. “And, for the record, Very Special PI DiNozzo, I was very serious, and I will be asking again.”
Tony leaned back in his chair, and closed his eyes listening to the sounds of Callen corralling his partner then the two leaving. Fortunately, his crew decided to leave him to his solitude, and he found himself falling into a light doze as he fantasized about all the things he might find underneath the grumpy exterior of one G. Callen.
A couple days later, Tony was sitting at the bar in his favorite out of the way place. It looked like the pubs that he’d seen the last time that he was in England and Ireland. They always had some kind of game on, and there were enough regulars that he could have a fun conversation, if he wanted one. On the other hand, there weren’t so many people there usually that he couldn’t brood alone, if that was what he wanted as well.
That evening, there just happened to be a classic college football game on featuring his National Championship Game when he was at OSU on one of the million ESPN channels. He had a mug of dark ale in front of him, and had put in his dinner order, when he felt someone sit down next to him.
“Nice pass, DiNozzo.”
Turning his head, Tony smiled recognizing the voice, and happy to see who had, unexpectedly, joined him. “Well now, if it isn’t my favorite man with no first name. Where’s your partner Shaq?”
Callen chuckled, shaking his head. “He wants to punch you in the face, you know that right? And, I can’t even repeat what he wants to do to your so called thug.”
“I can honestly say that the feeling is mutual, on both parts. I have a low tolerance for judgmental asshole marines and SEALs these days, and I would LOVE to see Sam take a swing at Eliot. He’d get his ass handed to him. Don’t overlook Spencer’s size. He may not be the tallest guy you’ve seen, but there are very few that can keep up with him, and honestly Sam Hanna is not going to be one of them.” Tony drawled taking a drink of his beer, as Callen ordered food and his own ale.
“So, what happened that made you leave NCIS?” Callen asked turning his attention back to him once the barkeep was gone. When Tony didn’t answer immediately, he just cocked an eyebrow at him.
“You sure that you wanna know that? I know that you and Gibbs are buddies, and your partner has used up all of my patience and good humor.”
Callen opened his mouth, probably to make a smart remark Tony guessed, but the expression on his face must have made him rethink it because he then grew serious. “No judgment here,” the NCIS agent promised.
“Gibbs and I had a… thing. I was in love. I found this amazing antique wedding band. I bought it, and when I asked him to marry me he said no. He then told me that I wasn’t good enough, and wouldn’t be able to stand up to the amazing woman Shannon was. Basically, he wasn’t going to even try, and told that I should moved on. So, that’s what I did.”
Tony studied the game, which was about to begin the second half, ignoring Callen’s stare. “I don’t know what he told the team, and frankly I don’t give a shit at this point. From the vile emails that I got from Ziva, McGee, and Abby though it sounds like it was about as real life as Harry Potter. Hell, even Ducky was rather cold shouldered when I called him. So, fuck ‘em. They should know me better than whatever horror story he created. If they don’t after all these years, then I don’t need them in my life.”
Callen frowned down at the bar top. There was no question in his mind that Tony was giving him the truth. He’d been in the game long enough that he knew when even the best liars were spinning a story. This was no tall tale or even a little white lie. Gibbs had thrown Tony to the curb, then created a massive lie to cover up his embarrassment so the others didn’t know what he’d done.
He’d gotten a call several months back that suddenly made a whole lot more sense. The only two people that he really knew were Gibbs and Abby. It had been Abby that called him, but he’d texted Gibbs who basically supported Abby’s line of what he now knew was bullshit. What troubled him further was that Hetty seemed to be going along with the fantasy. He hoped that it was because she didn’t know the truth, but he couldn’t help but wonder. She and Gibbs were quite tight, and things with her hadn’t been… well something had felt off for a while.
“Can I ask you a question? It’s about Director Sheppard’s death.”
Tony sighed, but nodded. “Might as well put all of our cards on the table.”
“Why did you abandon your assignment?” Callen asked, and lifted an eyebrow when the Italian snorted. On the TV a much younger DiNozzo made an amazing pass to extend the opening drive for OSU.
“When the director gives you a direct order, do you generally disobey when you have no valid reason to?” Tony asked, and Callen frowned.
“She told us that she wanted alone time. We argued, and she made it an order. I’ve been with the agency long enough to know when to keep pushing, and when it’ll only get us all killed. Staying with her would not have changed the outcome, other than the fact that Ziva and I would be dead as well. Knowing what I know now I can see that she knew she was dying, and didn’t want to suffer. If she could correct an old mistake at the same time, then so be it. Svetlana was her mess, and being the good little Gibbs protégé, she was trying to change what she’d done. If I had it all to do over again, I would still obey her order. She hadn’t been thinking right for months, but that doesn’t mean that I am letting her get myself and my partner killed for her suicide mission.”
“Gibbs said that you asked for the time off. That Ziva told him the story you were telling wasn’t the truth, but they didn’t have evidence to prove it.”
Tony turned to look at Callen smirking amused. “Do you believe everything that comes from Mossad assassins?”
Callen just cocked his head to one side then shrugged. “I generally don’t believe anything that comes from anybody. I’m a cynical, untrusting, prick. For the record, I believe you.”
Tony nods his thanks and studies the man before responding. “Maybe you need a change of scenery. I could always use a partner, and I think you’d be surprised how liberating it is. The door is always open, Man-Without-A-First-Name.”
Callen just eyed him, and as food was brought to them. The rest of the evening was spent talking smack about Tony’s game skills, and generally enjoying each other’s company. If Callen happened to leave for work from Tony’s apartment the next morning wearing one of Tony’s dress shirts… well hopefully Special Agent Stick Up His Ass wouldn’t notice.
Six weeks later, Tony was sitting at his desk reviewing a client’s file when he heard a commotion from up front. He and Callen had been seeing quite a lot of each other, when the other man’s case schedule allowed it. So much so that Tony was pretty sure half of Callen’s wardrobe was in his closet. Neither man was willing to mention that fact though. So far, they were playing the going with the flow game. It was a nice change though from his previous relationships, and both had admitted to each other that they were enjoying the time they were spending together. Tony made it clear he wasn’t interested in a fuck buddies situation after Gibbs, and Callen promised that wasn’t what he had in mind. If something changed, he promised he’d let Tony know right away. So far though, it had been smooth sailing.
Frowning, he stood up and walked to the door, but couldn’t see anyone. The voice he heard was one he’d been expecting though. “Eliot, you can show Ms. Lange back to my office.”
Moving back behind his desk, Tony didn’t bother to hide his disdain for the woman as she was shown in. “Thank you, Eliot. Close the door will you?”
“You sure, boss? She’s got a reputation, and I don’t like leavin’ you alone with her.”
Tony turned his gaze away from the diminutive figure sitting in front of him to the retrieval specialist who was becoming a good friend. “I am familiar with her. If it will make you feel better, then you can hang around outside of the door to show her out. I promise you though, I have this.”
Eliot nodded and closed the door as he left, but Tony knew he’d be standing directly on the other side.
“I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised at the company that you are keeping, Mr. DiNozzo. Thugs, hackers, and thieves go well with a conman and sellout like yourself. It appears as if you have decided to follow in your father’s footsteps. I don’t want you in my city. You and your riff raff need to relocate yourselves.”
Tony leaned back in his chair and smiled. Folding his hands together, he rested his elbows on his chair arms, and tapped his chin with his index fingers.
“Eliot,” he called out. He wasn’t surprised when the door opened, immediately. “Do me a favor, and have Hardison send the gypsy file. He’ll should have the contact information. Then, ask him to come see me, please?”
Eliot nodded, and smirked at the woman that Tony could tell he disliked. Despite what he’d done in his past, the man had a rather high sense of honor. A manipulative former cold war spy would grate on his every nerve. Tony watched him resume his position, and turned his attention back to his annoying guest.
“Am I supposed to feel threatened now?” Hetty sneered spitefully. “I think that you’ll find, Mr. DiNozzo, that it takes more than some two bit PI and his criminal associates to scare me. Whatever you are doing with Callen I suggest that you stop immediately. I am not an enemy that you want to make.”
Tony smiled gleefully at the clueless woman, as he reached out and dialed a number. “Eliot!”
The man stepped in with Hardison following him in, just as Tony’s call was answered. “Just a minute, sir. Eliot, I’m gonna lockdown the room. I thought that you’d feel more comfortable inside.”
He watched the man nod, and move to take a spot where he could defend Tony, if needed, and Hardison moved to stand between Tony and the other wall with his tablet. Hetty was not even trying to hide her displeasure. She was about to get a rude awakening. The woman may have some high powered friends, but not as many as she used to. There were those that had grown tired of her games.
“Sorry, sir. The visitor has finally arrived. I wanted to double check that everything is still a go.”
As he was talking to his boss, Tony used the program that Hardison set up for him, and began the lockdown procedure. Immediately, the windows were covered by steel panels, which lowered from the ceiling. The door was covered by another panel, and the picture on the wall retraced up into the ceiling to reveal a large plasma screen. When his boss, Director Tom Morrow of Homeland Security, appeared on the screen, Tony hung up the phone.
“Tony,” the older man said in greeting. “Agent Hardison, please dial in SecDef and the Attorney General, please? Agent Spencer, it’s nice to see you fully recovered from the last job. Henrietta, you look a little unsettled. I wish I could alleviate your fears, but I’m afraid this time it really is as bad as you’re thinking it might be. Tony, how did the initial meeting go?”
Tony couldn’t help the grin on his face. He didn’t like Henrietta Lange, and was going to enjoy the reality check that she was about to receive. “About as we expected, Tom. She came in and made it known that she’d found my team’s cover files, or more likely Nell did. She then insinuated that I’d taken after Senior, and followed it up with threatening me and the team telling us to get out of her town. I apparently missed her being elected mayor of Los Angeles, and last I checked Senior was locked up in a Monaco prison. Hardison, check on that for me will you? Let’s make sure that he didn’t somehow schmooze his way out, and he’s still a guest of Albert II’s finest penitentiary.”
Tony looked back to the woman across from him who was clearly trying to figure out what was going on. “After that I decided I was going to send Callen the information that I gathered on his family. Alec and Eliot returned last night with the verification we were waiting for. Callen’s father was more than happy to have confirmation of his son’s health and is looking forward to hearing from him. Henrietta then advised me that she wasn’t an enemy that I wanted to make. I am assuming I was supposed to become intimidated at that point and beg for her to go easy on me, if I just left town with my evil little minions.”
On the screen Assistant Attorney General AJ Chegwidden snorted, and Secretary of Defense Jack O’Neill rolled his eyes. “She does remember who you worked for, Tony. Doesn’t she?” Jack asked, and the AG answered.
“I doubt that she cares, Jack. It’s been my experience that she only concerns herself with how wonderful she was, and how she can bend people to fitting into reality as she sees it. Henrietta thinks that she’s untouchable.”
“What is going on gentlemen? I demand an explanation.” Hetty snapped, unhappy with what she was hearing.
“Tony, why don’t you start,” AG Chegwidden suggested.
“NCIS is being investigated for the actions of the current and previous directors, SecNav’s questionable connections, as well as the actions of certain higher ranking team managers and operations managers, of which your name is listed. There are too many unsanctioned ops, unethical treatment of subordinates, and other questionable items such as hiring Mossad agents. Then allowing the same agent to continue with the agency, even after it’s been proved that she sent classified materials out of NCIS to a foreign intelligence agency. It was suggested by my former boss that I quit after I asked him to marry me, because I wasn’t good enough to marry, just fuck.”
Eliot growled, and Tony flashed him a smile. “Since I wasn’t comfortable with the way NCIS was being run anyway, I took his advice. Fortunately for me, Director Morrow was more than understanding, and happy to take me on board with Homeland. He even gave me a promotion! How about that! Homeland wanted an OSP Team of their own in LA, and I always did like warmer climates better.
“Before I hired on, they asked me what I knew, cleared me of any wrongdoings on my part, and then told me about the investigation.”
“Naturally, having been scorned because Jethro didn’t return your affection, you rolled over like a dog,” Hetty snapped, and Tony lifted an eyebrow.
“What exactly do you think he should have done, Henrietta, when his new boss asked him about unethical and illegal actions going on?” SecDef O’Neill asked frankly. From the way that the woman’s eyes widened, Tony could tell that she’d momentarily forgotten about the audience as the monitor was just out of her line of sight.
“Please do keep in mind that the Cold War is over, Ms. Lange. You are not now, and never were irreplaceable. You are to be upholding the laws of the United States of America. You should be upset to hear that NCIS directors have violated the law, not be mad at how we may or may not have found out!” AJ snapped, and Jack took over from there.
“I’d say the fact that you think Tony should have kept quiet about the Rene Benoit fiasco, and Vance’s vendetta related to his wife’s death that got innocent people and confidential informants who were providing intelligence on our enemies speaks volumes as to you being highly unsuited for your current position.” Jack drawled playing with a pen on his desk.
“SecNav,” Hetty snapped only to be cut off by the AG.
“Is being relieved of his position. He is on his way to a meeting with the president as we speak. Director Vance is being detained right now to explain his actions. Ziva David is being taken into custody, and will either be put in jail or deported. Her citizenship is being revoked. While we don’t see that you’ve broken any laws, we certainly have issues with how you are running your team. I won’t even begin to tell you how disappointed I am in your apparent lack of ethics. Since SecNav is essentially relieved of duty, it is my honor to tell you that you are being let go. While we appreciate your many years of service, we feel that you’ve lost touch with where that line between right and wrong is. Assistant Director Granger will be taking over until a new Operations Manager is appointed.”
Morrow grinned at Hetty who was glaring at the men with angry defiance. “Don’t worry about Callen and the rest of the team, Henrietta. Homeland will take good care of at least him. I wouldn’t mind seeing that Detective Deeks join our ranks either. They’re being read into what is going on as we speak. I’m sure once he finds out that you knew not only that Gibbs was spreading bullshit about DiNozzo, but also that you’ve known all these years who his father is and how to find him that he’ll be more than eager to accept Tony’s offer. I look forward to what my LA team can accomplish with such talent working with them.
“Tony, Agents Blye and Hanna are up to your discretion. If you make it easy on the Hanna I will be most disappointed.” The three men then said their goodbyes, before Hardison ended the transmission.
Tony sat looking at the woman across from his desk. A part of him felt sorry for her. He only hoped that when the time came, he’d know when to walk away. He had a feeling that the problem with Henrietta Lange was that she was scared to death of what little she’d have left without her career. He expected an argument. He expected Parker to have to throw her out. Instead the woman just sent one last glare his way before getting up and leaving quietly. He truly hoped that it was the last time he ever saw her, and that she found some kind of peace after this. She had, after all, done her country a great service when it needed her the most.
Later that evening, he was sitting on his couch in nothing but his boxers eating popcorn with extra butter and caramel apple gelato right from the carton. He hadn’t really expected company. So when Callen came down the basement steps, he was a little surprised. He hadn’t even heard the front door open, not that he was terribly surprised.
“I need to know. I need to hear it from your own mouth. Was this whole thing just the assignment?”
Tony quickly shook his head as he stabbed his spoon into the softening frozen treat. “No, absolutely not. My assignment didn’t have anything to do with you. After you came to the office, Morrow mentioned he wouldn’t be opposed to having you on the team, but there was no honey pot element to this thing. We didn’t even investigate anyone in your office beyond Granger and Hetty.”
“She really knew where my father was this whole time?” Callen asked sounding more than a little broken by the thought, so Tony just nodded.
“He can’t wait to meet you,” Tony offered quietly. “Obviously we have to be careful. He still works for us getting people out of there to other countries, but we’re really confident that we can at least get you two some real face to face time together. Eliot and one of our other operatives, Brian O’Connor, told him all about you. He’s so fucking proud of you, Callen.”
“Did he…” Callen started then stopped, moving to sit next to Tony on the couch. Tony watched the man take up his spoon and shovel a big spoonful into his mouth.
“Grisha Alexandrovich Nikolaev,” Tony said quietly and leaning over kissed the man next to him. “It’s nice to make your acquaintance. I know you’re upset by what happened, and tomorrow I am happy to tell you anything you want, including information about the job offer for you, Kensi, and Deeks. I’ll let you convince me to take Sam if that’s what he wants. Not tonight though. Tonight I want to get to know The Man with a First Name.”
Callen smiled, and this time he stole a kiss, before launching into a recap of his day. Tony couldn’t help but compare how much nicer this was than what he had with Gibbs. Maybe he’d send the bastard a bottle of good bourbon. After all, the best thing he ever did for him was to say no. Maybe someday the ring he had hidden would be put on Callen’s finger. It really was the perfect ring. He just hadn’t had the right man at the time to offer it to. Luckily for him, he’d found the man of his dreams in sunny California.