Please see Main Page for characters, content warnings, etc.
Chapter Two: A Guide Learns his Sentinel
Colby lay in bed looking at his Sentinel as he slept. The physical part of the bonding was completed, and he could already feel the beginning of the threads that make up Tony forming around his mind and soul. Physically his mate was nothing like he expected, but that didn’t seem to matter as much as it might for some people. For Colby, he just cared that his Sentinel was finally there. He had waited for so long. He had been alone for so long, but no longer. He would never again go to bed lonely at night.
Momentarily he dipped his head, resting his forehead on his Sentinel’s shoulder, needing to feel his touch, needing to smell his scent, needing to taste his skin. “I thought the licking and sniffing were my jobs.” Lifting his head, he saw his Sentinel’s amused eyes looking at him.
“Morning,” Colby offered smiling before lowering himself back down to lay with his head resting on Tony’s shoulder. “I can feel your Sentinel combining itself with my guide. It’s… it’s kind of amazing. It feels like a million little threads weaving their way into the empty spaces in my guide.”
Tony hummed happily as he began running his fingers through Colby’s hair. “I can feel your guide wrapping itself around my Sentinel. It feels like a wall of clouds filtering out everything but you. I agree though. It’s amazing. I’ve waited… I didn’t think it would happen. I’d… I gave up hope. Jesus, I’m sorry, Colby.”
Colby rolled his head slightly so that he could kiss the crook of his Sentinel’s neck. He felt a twinge of disappointment, but fortunately along with his ability to help his Sentinel came the ability to feel all of him. Including the regret, fear, and loneliness he had experienced while waiting. Those had been one of the first things Tony’s Sentinel had shown him. “It feels like you had to wait a long time. When did you become active?”
“During The Sentinel & Guide Activation when Jim and Blair met in college.” Tony offered quietly. Colby could almost hear the memory playing in his mind. When he felt the bed dip twice, he looked up to see both Lon and Payton had jumped up to curl around their companions. “Jesus, Tony! How old were you?” Colby asked trying to work out the ages in his head.
“Fifteen,” Tony offered absently, but Colby could hear the smile when he continued. “I’ve known Jim for a while. He’s been basically my big brother since I was a kid. Blair thinks that I was one of, if not the first person activated after they met, because of my connection to Jim.”
“Wow, that’s…” Colby trailed off trying to imagine what it would have been like to be 15, and so very different from everyone else at the time. “How did you meet Prime Sentinel Ellison? Are you from Cascade?”
Tony snorted, and turned his head to look at Colby. “Nope, I am from Long Island, New York. However my rich father disliked me about as much as Jim’s rich father dislikes him. He sent me away when I was just eight years old. We were at the same military school. Jim was assigned as my mentor the first day I got there, and we’ve been friends ever since.”
“Your dad sent you away to military school at eight!?” Colby lifted his head again propping himself up looking at Tony with a shocked expression on his face incredulous. “What did your mom say about that?” Even after his father died, and she wouldn’t get out of bed, his mother would never have allowed him to be separated from her.
“Mom died a few months before that,” Tony explained staring up at the ceiling. Colby could see Lon was curled up as close to Tony as he could get, and the guide could hear the panther’s noises of distress. “Senior wasn’t… he didn’t exactly have a need for a kid unless I could help close a deal. Of course, the one time he tried that he forgot me and left me in Maui. After that I spent all my breaks with Jim and his family. I mean, they might not get along great, but at least they never threw him out completely.”
“So, you’ve been without your guide for…”
“23 years,” Tony offered quietly.
“For Christ’s sake Tony,” Colby sighed then forced himself to calm down when he both saw and felt the wince of pain from his Sentinel through their connection. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have said it like that. I just mean that it’s no wonder that you gave up! Shit, I would have given up after 23 years. Hell I wasn’t even active ten years and I was thinking it might be hopeless. I don’t blame you at all. Not one little bit, so please don’t stress about that.”
Tony smiled humorlessly, and Colby frowned at the expression on his other half’s face. He’d never seen it before, and hated it already. “I think you’ll find I stress out about quite a bit. It’s kind of hardwired into me at this point, I think.”
Studying the man for a long few moments, Colby finally nodded, and leaning down placed a tender kiss on Tony’s lips. “Then I guess I will just have to make sure I am always there to remind you things aren’t as bad as they feel. When I can’t, I will just have to hold on to you to remind you that you aren’t alone in the darkness.”
Tony turned his head again to look at Colby who just looked back calmly. “You are really nothing like I imagined.” The FBI agent heard his new mate admit, and smiled remembering his own similar thoughts just moments before.
“Yeah, I was just thinking the same thing about you a little bit ago. I guess it’s a good thing for us that they ran these tests. We should probably get up, and make something to eat. I can’t have you starving to death on our first day together. Plus, I think we have some things to talk about.”
Tony nodded, and gave Colby a kiss before pulling away to get out of bed. “Do you mind if I shower first?” Colby just shook his head, and unabashedly watched his Sentinel’s ass as he walked out of the room. Maybe he wasn’t so physically different from what he imagined after all.
When Colby got out of the shower and dressed, he padded through the apartment wearing only a pair of boardshorts. When he found Tony, the other man was wandering around his living room poking at things. “I ordered pizza. You had moldy cheese, and eggs from March. Considering this is June, I thought maybe we should just order in. I hope you don’t mind pepperoni, sausage, and extra cheese.”
“I’m not picky about pizza,” Colby offered leaning his hip against a nearby chair as he watched Tony explore.
“I am,” Tony offered flashing a grin at his partner before turning back to the bookcase he was poking at. “There should never be a pizza brought in with any type of fruit on it. I’m from New York after all. We take our pizza seriously.”
“Got it,” Colby said smiling as he nodded. “No Hawaiian Style pizzas in the house. I assume you found the Sentinel friendly menus in the drawer?”
“I did,” Tony replied before he turned and wandered back near his guide. “If we’re going to be in LA at dinner time then we need to go to the store.”
Colby cocked his head at both the wording and the nerves that he felt through the still developing bond. “Where else would we be?”
He saw Tony take a deep breath, and saw him lift his hand. Colby felt his Sentinel run a finger down his arm, and guessed that he needed the touch. “In the guest house that Jim and Blair built for me when I visit?”
“Tell me what’s going on in your mind, please?” Colby asked quietly feeling like he was standing on shifting ground.
“I don’t want… My Sentinel is screaming at me to get you somewhere that it’s safe. That isn’t here in LA. It isn’t in DC, where people will be looking for me soon. The only safe place in the world since I was eight has always been with Jim. I don’t trust Don or David. They care more about their own agendas than they do you.”
Colby felt a pang of pain at the words, even though he knew they were true. When Tony cupped the side of his face with his hand, he could clearly read the regret in his eyes that mirrored the emotion flowing through the bond. “I also don’t trust the people at NCIS. They’ll be pissed and most likely trying to track me. To be honest I’m a little surprised that they haven’t already tried to track me down. I wasn’t… I wasn’t thinking last night, and it would be pretty easy for them to track me to here.”
“You think they won’t be able to track you to Ellison and Sandburg?” Colby asked confused. He knew that the pair would be the first place he would have checked to find the man if he was on Tony’s team. “I don’t understand why they would be tracking you though. Don’t they know you’re bonding?”
Colby flinched at the pain shooting through their growing connection, and didn’t try and hold in the need to reach out to comfort the man. Stepping up, he wrapped his arms around the man’s waist. “I know you have questions,” Tony offered softly.
“I want to answer them all. Just… We need to get some safe, please? The pizza should be here soon. I just got a large pie. It’ll be just enough to tide us over ‘til we get to the guest house. Blair will have that sucker fully stocked with one text. I made some calls. I can get us on a flight going that way. I just… I just need to let… someone know we’ll be meeting them.”
Colby wanted to press for answers then, but he didn’t need the bond to see the stress and strain his Sentinel was feeling. Tony was most definitely freaked out and hurt by something. Lon had been pacing restlessly around the lower level since Colby came down. If he was being honest with himself, the idea of going somewhere with his new Sentinel that they couldn’t be found was appealing. Hell, who was he kidding? He would do whatever he needed to soothe whatever was going on in Tony’s head.
“Sounds like a plan. Your bag is still packed. I’ll just throw some things in a bag while we’re waiting. How long before this flight leaves? What gate do we need to get to? ‘Cause LAX is a nightmare no matter what time of the day it is.”
Tony smiled big, and Colby arched an eyebrow. “We’re not exactly going to LAX.”
“I am suddenly afraid,” Colby drawled, and Tony’s laughter followed him to the bedroom.
As they were walking into the guesthouse at Jim and Blair’s, Colby was still shaking his head over the whole ordeal. “I cannot believe that you managed to sneak us on to a Homeland flight. One that, may I add, wasn’t even going north! They were heading to Mexico!”
Tony laughed as he led Colby to the bedroom to leave their bags. “Jim calls it the DiNozzo Network. To be honest ,though, the current Director over Homeland is the former director of NCIS. Tom’s a good guy, and a low level unbonded guide himself.”
“No shit?” Colby dropped his bag near Tony’s then followed the man back out of the room. Eventually they settled in the living room, after a detour through the kitchen to get drinks. “There was an insane amount of green things in that refrigerator.”
Tony laughed, and Colby could feel the amusement over the bond. “Blair is… well let’s just say he has a very particular idea of how a Sentinel should eat. I am guessing there will be another delivery sometime tomorrow. That will be Jim making sure I don’t starve because he knows there is no way in hell I am making smoothies with Brussels sprouts, or eating anything that has tofu in it.”
“You won’t find me arguing there. So, Sentinel, where do we start with the explanations?” Colby propped his head up on a fist letting his other free hand rest lightly on Tony’s bare leg careful to avoid the rash. They had changed into shorts before leaving LA. Tony had wanted to be more comfortable, and had found the rashes when he went to change. Apparently something in the detergent he used to wash the jeans he had put on was an issue. Unfortunately, he couldn’t remember the brand, so they would be rewashing all of his things to be safe. Fortunately their waist sizes were similar enough that he could fit into a pair of Colby’s shorts.
“I’m not working for NCIS any longer,” Tony offered quietly, digging at the paper label on the soda bottle with his fingernail.
“I sent an email to the director before I left DC advising her that I was terminating my employment. I don’t know how they will take it, but my guess is Gibbs, my former boss, is gonna be pissed. I’m not… the last year has kinda sucked. I got the plague. Morrow quit. My partner Kate was murdered. Gibbs’ ex-lover became director, and placed a woman who is the half-sister of Kate’s killer on our team. Since she’s gotten there she’s done nothing but remind us how much better Mossad is than NCIS, and try and divide our team.”
Tony took a sip of his soda, and Colby noted Lon had made an appearance. The Spirit Guide was currently pressing himself against Tony’s leg making noises of concern. “I’m in this sling because she… We were down at the docks investigating a lead, and got ambushed. We ended up locked in a freight container, and she, in all her highly trained assassin brilliance, decided to try and shoot her way out. Needless to say I ended up shot. It’s mostly a graze, but she told everyone it was just a scratch. They of course believed her.”
Colby could feel Tony’s pain, and had to fight to keep himself calm. In reality all he wanted to do was tear into those morons at NCIS. “Then I found out that she had a dinner. Everyone on the team was there, including the boss. I ,of course, wasn’t even invited. They took great delight in rubbing it in my face. I don’t… I know it sounds childish, but it hurt.”
When Tony looked up at Colby, all the guide wanted to do was wrap the Sentinel up in his arms. “I know she’s somehow partially responsible for Kate’s death. I also don’t buy the story of how Ari, the killer, died. I know she had to have taken the shot. Gibbs tried to claim that he shot him, but… I’ve been in law enforcement long enough to understand gunshot angles. I just… I don’t trust her. They may be willing to just forget, but I’m not. Gibbs won’t let my leaving just go though. He’s… he doesn’t like not being in control over a situation. I don’t care though. He broke trust first. He just… he just forgot about Kate, and replaced her with the little assassin princess like she was nothing.”
Unable to resist any longer, Colby put his bottle on the coffee table, and shifting closer pulled his Sentinel into his arms. He felt the pain Tony was suffering greater now that their physical contact had increased. Colby didn’t care though. All that mattered was the hurt seemed to be dulling the longer they stayed wrapped around each other. Slowly they each relaxed until both men were sleeping entwined on the couch with their spirit guides standing guard.