See the Main Page for content warnings, characters, relationships, etc
Prologue: Enough is Enough
Tony walked into his apartment, and after tossing his keys onto the side table, moved toward his couch and collapsed. Reaching into the sling that he had been forced to put on, Tony threw a small manila envelope onto the coffee table. He needed to change into something more comfortable, but didn’t want the envelope to get lost. He had a feeling that whatever was in there was important. He also had a dull throbbing headache that had Ziva David written all over it. He stubbornly had not been thinking about the item since it was first delivered to him.
Usually he didn’t have problems with his senses, but lately just Ziva’s very presence had been enough to cause him to struggle. Tony was trying not to think about it too much, or hadn’t been prior to the day’s fiasco. Now it was all he could think about. After spending the day trapped in the shipping container with her, he was getting a clearer picture of what may be going on with her. Mentally he made a note to make sure he had Blair add her to the list of potentials to watch. While she wasn’t online yet, there was definitely something to her. Something negative that Tony didn’t quite understand, but needed watching. Standing, deciding that he wanted to change and be more comfortable, Tony moved to the bedroom.
As he stripped off his clothes, he couldn’t contain the cough any longer, and paused to rub his chest as he was bent over trying not to bring up a lung. It was a good thing that he had just refilled his rescue inhaler. He had a feeling that he was going to need it over the next few days. Mentally he made a note to call Brad in the morning to see if he wanted to run tests. He wanted to know if he needed anything more than his normal meds to help him deal with the smoke inhalation from burning the counterfeit money. He hoped not. He hated the breathing treatments, and they seemed to be Brad’s favorite prescription.
Still rubbing his chest as he wheezed, Tony made his way back into the living room now wearing his comfiest OSU sweats, and old Philly PD t-shirt. Turning on his TV Tony turned to Pandora on his TiVo box, then selected the Luciano Pavarotti channel. He stood there for a few moments letting the music wash over him before headed to the kitchen.
He needed food. He really wanted alcohol. Specifically wine. It felt right for his mood. They’d given him a shot of something at the hospital ,though, and he didn’t want the alcohol to conflict with it. He had a feeling that whatever was in the envelope on the coffee table would require a level head.
Tony was standing at his kitchen island waiting for the two bacon weaves he had created for his BLTs to finish cooking when he felt something brushing up against his leg. Looking down, Tony smiled big, and immediately dropped into a crouch at the sight of his spirit guide, Lon, to give the animal a good scratch. He was a large black panther, and had been in Tony’s life longer than just about anyone other than the sender of the envelope in the other room. The big cat had appeared not long after Tony’s Sentinel half became active as a teenager, and he had been a constant presence ever since.
Tony had been in the first wave of Sentinels and guides who had activated as a result of Jim and Blair meeting at college. Jim had been a fifth year senior getting ready to graduate, and Blair had been a transfer student from another college.
Blair had started college at fifteen, and transferred to get the courses that he wanted to finish his degree. Despite the fact that he was only 18, he was already a senior himself thanks to summer classes, and his IQ helping him to test out of some introductory classes. No one knew just why their meeting had spawned the chain reaction that was known as The Sentinel and Guide Activation, but of course Blair had his own theories..
It was like the universe was just waiting for them to find each other. The second Jim laid his eyes on Blair, there’d been a pop felt by hundreds of people around the world. By the end of the day there were almost 200 new Sentinels and guides around the globe.
Initially the first appearances had seemed random. Blair ,though, felt that the best, and strongest had been awakened first. Since Jim tended to agree with him in these areas, despite his aversion to all things mystical, that was their working theory. Tony tended to agree with most of Jim’s decisions, so he agreed with the theory, as well. Since that first blast of activations though, it seemed to mostly work like a long weird game of telephone. One Sentinel or guide triggered the appearance of others that they knew who had been dormant. Usually only one or two at a time, but greater numbers of appearances weren’t unheard of for a particularly strong Sentinel or guide activation. Those activations then led to others and so on and so forth.
The newbies almost always were connected in some way back to a previous activation, but it wasn’t necessarily close. It usually happened within six months of the triggering activation. Sometimes the connection couldn’t be found it was so tenuous. Tony once heard of a barista coming online as a guide when one of her regular customers made his appearance.
There was a second way one’s Sentinel or guide abilities could develop, and that was upon meeting their Perfect Match. That didn’t happen as much, although naturally Blair had an opinion on that as well. It was Tony’s experience that Blair had an opinion about just about everything. He found, though, that it was in one’s best interest not to mention that. Generally speaking, the Prime Guide was normally right, so it saved having to kiss his ass later if you just went with it from the start. No matter how out there and dubious the theory sounded at the beginning.
Blair felt that as more and more Sentinels and guides made their appearances, the Perfect Match Activations would become more common. As Blair liked to point out, the universe seemed to walk to the beat of its own drummer. Tony figured who the hell was he to know what it was doing with this whole mess. Some days he struggled to understand the workings of his own team. So, forget the whole universe.
Blair was of the opinion that Tony was the first to make an appearance after Jim and Blair themselves. The reason being, because Tony and Jim were already so close prior to the event. The Prime Guide theorized that they’d already formed a platonic brother type bond, which they knew carried on to current day. Tony had never found his own guide, though, and had long ago given up his hope that it would ever happen. His pseudo big brother had been hinting recently that something big was happening, and he just needed to be patient. Tony guessed that the envelope in the next room was it.
When his meal of BLTs and his favorite tortilla chips was ready, Tony took his plate out to sit on the couch, removing the sling while he ate. Lon followed him, jumping up to lay next to him on the side with the bad arm. He noticed the big cat was staring at the envelope. Tony sighed, then set the plate down before picking up the package.
When he had come back to the office, arm already in its sling, there was a man waiting for him standing at the windows near his desk. The official logo on his suit jacket indicated that he was from the Sentinel and Guide Center. After the man confirmed Tony’s identity by checking his credentials, he simply handed over the envelope, and left. Tony immediately shoved it into the sling, ignoring the looks he was getting from the others. He didn’t make his connection to the Prime Sentinel Jim Ellison known, and he didn’t plan on letting the proverbial cat out of its bag at that time either.
Sitting back, Tony leaned closer to Lon, feeling the cat press against him as it shifted its position to try and see what he was doing. After getting the envelope open, Tony found two letters. One was an official looking form letter type document paper clipped to some other official looking information and forms. All of them bearing the S&G official logo. The second was a handwritten note in Jim’s messy scrawl.
I know you figured out I’ve got something happening. Well, you were right, and it’s finally come through. We’ve developed a way to predict active Sentinels’ and Guides’ Perfect Matches. The president is a huge supporter, and has given us some funding to see if we can do some good for our fellow brothers and sisters. This program to get those active matched up is just the first of the things we have planned. You know I put you at the top of the list, Tony, and we’ve found a name.
Before you make faces, this isn’t just a bunch of scientific tests either. Once we got a name from the system, I checked this guy out myself. I have to tell you this guy seems to be perfect for you. His name is Colby Granger, and he works for the FBI out in Los Angeles. Now before you go getting your panties in a twist about that, he’s more than an FBI agent.
Colby was an Army Ranger before signing on with the FBI, and worked in the Army’s Intelligence department just before the move. I feel like I’d be betraying confidences if I got too much more into his personal details, but trust me when I say you two are perfect for each other.
I’m asking you to trust me here, kid. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into perfecting this system. Hopefully you know that I wouldn’t be sending this letter unless I was absolutely 110% convinced. Colby has also been notified, and I found out that his team is on a case. However, Assistant Director Helmsley is more than happy to have you go out there. He believes that they should have everything wrapped up by the time you arrive.
This is it, man. You’ve found your Blair. You know how I feel about those jackasses at NCIS, and the way they treat you. Please, go find your guide before they get you killed. You know where I am if you need to talk. I’ve got big plans for us. This is only the first step. Trust me, trust Colby, and most importantly trust yourself.
Your brother in everything but the science shit,
Tony read through the letter several times before putting it down. Feeling a nudge from Lon, he turned his head to look at the big cat, who was letting himself be used for his injured human as a cat style armrest. He guessed that the animal guide felt his nerves and trepidation through their bond. “Jim says he’s found my guide, Lon.”
He could feel the ping of curiosity from the big cat, and nodded in response. “He’s in Los Angeles. My guide that is. Jim… you know how he feels about NCIS. I gotta tell you buddy after today, I don’t really know as I disagree. Ziva could have killed us in that container. How the hell does a Mossad agent not have a better sense of calm under pressure? How is she so panicky that she opens fire while locked in a freaking freight container? Then there’s the dinner…”
Tony huffed and smiled softly when he felt his companion’s irritation. “Yeah, kinda pissed me off too. Even if it does make me feel like a child being jealous of something that she, by all rights, didn’t have to invite me to. It’s her house. It was her party. I just… it’s the way they all took pleasure in rubbing it in my face, ya know?”
Tony sighed and glanced at the letter again. “I don’t think I wanna be there anymore,” he whispered. When Lon shifted and rubbed his big head against Tony’s chest, he smiled a little more. “Yeah, buddy, I think you’re right. Whaddya say we book the first flight out of this popsicle stand? I mean hell, I’m a movie buff, Lon! I was practically made for Hollywood! Colby Granger, here I come. I’m getting my guide!” The big cat’s purr of pleasure was the only sound of approval that Tony needed.
When the cat nudged his hand toward the plate Tony chuckled. “Yes, Lon, after I eat.” The deep purr of pleasure he heard made Lon’s approval clear.