See the Main Page for Content Warnings, Characters, Relationships, Etc.
Chapter One: Finding Your Ohana Again
Tony parked the car, staring out the side window at the rows of graves in Oahu Cemetery. He wasn’t prepared for this. He certainly hadn’t expected that John McGarrett would be dead. The whole reason that he’d chosen Hawaii was because he’d needed John’s guidance. The way things ended at NCIS… Shaking his head, Tony shoved those thoughts away. He wasn’t going to think about NCIS. He had done what was best for himself and his son, TJ.
Looking in the rear view mirror he smiled watching Tristan Jordan DiNozzo, or TJ as Tony called him, singing along with the video he was watching on his tablet. He hadn’t been expected, but he’d been loved from the second Tony lay eyes on him. He could feel his son’s happiness humming through their parental bond. Tony was a guide with a pre-bond to his sentinel, whom he’d been taken from as a child. Back then people didn’t understand how bonding worked, and thought that there was no way he and Danny could have formed any kind of bond.
These days they knew that children could form a platonic pre-bond if they met their true match before they turned 25. No one knew, really, why that seemed to be the magical age. Shaman Guide Blair Sandburg theorized that it had something to do with how adulthood was viewed throughout history. Tony was just glad that if his five year old sentinel son met his guide before then, that the world had advanced enough he wouldn’t be ripped from his or her side. TJ’s mother Amber had been an unbonded sentinel who hadn’t known who her guide would be. She’d been thirty when she died, and was still looking.
Tony hadn’t known that Amber had gotten pregnant. He’d had a brief two week fling with her, and had kept in contact for work purposes. He thought that her job in the State Department might come in handy, and she’d thought his job at NCIS might come equally in handy. She’d never told him though, that their liaison had resulted in a child.
One day they were in the middle of a case, when the CPS worker they usually dealt with showed up in the bullpen. Amber had been killed, and fortunately she’d told her doctor and a coworker who the father of her child was just in case.
Tristan had been small, but a fighter. Five years later, Tony had not regretted making room for the beautiful little baby boy in his life. He’d promised himself that he would make his son his first priority, and that’s what he’d done. Maybe if he hadn’t been in the middle of trying to keep the team together while Gibbs drank rum on a beach in Mexico, this leaving thing would have happened earlier. As it was at the time he’d been pulled in twenty different directions, and by the time he had time to stop and consider his options, Gibbs had been back. For a long time though, TJ had been the singular bright spot in his life.
His son’s birth had though changed how he related to his supposed teammates. It somehow made it easier to tell them to fuck off, write them up for insubordination, and file a complaint against Abby for being unprofessional while Gibbs was on his siesta. They’d all been pissed off and expected that Gibbs would tear him a new one when he returned.
Surprisingly ,the team leader had come down on Tony’s side after learning all the facts, and ferreting out the truth with his enhanced sentinel senses. That included learning that when Tony’s son’s life was hanging on the line in NICU the only person who had come to sit by his side was Jimmy Palmer. He’d also smelled the jealousy, deception, and manipulation on them as they tried to swing the Marine onto their side. Gibbs told Abby specifically that she always whined that they were supposed to be a family, but Tony already had a family that treated him like that. So, what the hell did he need them for?
Tony had also lost favor with the Director when he turned down an undercover job. Gibbs also backed him up on that when he found out about it, and advised his former flame what he thought of her personal vendetta. When Ziva and Tim had turned off the comms on him as a joke during a domestic terrorism case, they’d found out there was no room in Tony’s life for such unprofessionalism in the field.
Sure he’d been known to pull pranks in the bullpen when he was bored or to lighten up a stressful case, but he’d never done it where someone’s life would be in danger. Ziva had been sent back to daddy in Israel, and Tim was currently working at Best Buy in their Geek Squad having been blacklisted from ever working in law enforcement again, or for any other government agency. Tony didn’t feel an ounce of sympathy for either of them. They’d also received black marks with their respective S&G centers, which would insure their future mates would know what they’d done.
The new team was awesome, but after SecNav almost cost him his life, Tony had to wave the white flag. The second he’d gotten his full memory back, Tony had tendered his resignation to Gibbs who understood, and said that he was proud of him for his decision. Tony would be damned if TJ ended up an orphan because his life wasn’t valued by his superiors. Not knowing what to do, Tony had packed up himself and his son, and set off to the only real parental figure that he’d known as a child. That man being Sentinel John McGarrett.
“Tony, c’mon! Check out the waves!”
Shaking his head to clear his friend’s voice from his head, Tony picked up the flowers on the passenger’s seat. “Ready, buddy?” Seeing his son nod enthusiastically in the rearview mirror, Tony got out of the car.
He’d had only two real friends as a child. One of them had been a boy named Danny that he’d met at summer camp a few months after his mother had died. Danny was now officially listed as Tony’s sentinel, even if they didn’t have a last name. The eight year olds hadn’t bothered to exchange last names not understanding, until it was too late, what little value the world would put on their friendship.
The second had been John McGarrett’s son Steve, whom he’d met when his father forgot about him and left him in Oahu. The Sentinel Detective had responded to the hotel’s call when they discovered the child alone, and the father hadn’t been seen for days. Senior had actually been doing business in Maui, but hadn’t wanted his son to ‘ mess up his deal ’. When he was done conning the widow he was trying to snare without success, he’d left the island in a hurry needing to start on his next victim. His child hadn’t even crossed his mind.
The last time Tony had checked on Steve McGarrett he’d been an active US Navy SEAL and unbonded sentinel. Of course, the last time Tony had checked on John McGarrett the man had been alive, so, who knew where his friend was. Laying the flowers on top of the car, Tony let TJ out of his booster seat. The two then walked hand in hand to the grave.
“This is the man we came to visit, papà?”
“He is, TJ. He meant a lot to me. I stayed with him and his son Steve for a whole summer when I was a bit older than you.” Tony smiled down at his son seeing the wheels turning in the little boy’s head.
“How much older, papà?” TJ finally asked, and Tony nodded his approval of the question.
“I was twelve. So, I was seven years older than you.” Tony replied as he found the grave. It was still dirt covered. The shooting had been recent. within the last several months.
“That’s more than two TJ’s, papà!” Tony smiled at the little boy patting his head. His son was smart. A lot smarter than Tony figured a five year old would normally be. The school had wanted him tested, but Tony wasn’t sure about it. He was still trying to make up his mind.
“Papà needs a second, TJ.” Watching his son walk a short distance to study the next grave, Tony turned his attention to the one before him.
“Jesus, John,” Tony muttered softly kneeling down beside the mound of brown dirt, putting his hand on it toward where he imagined his head would be. Carefully he laid the flowers that he’d brought with him in a vase near the headstone taking out the dead ones that had been in it.
“I don’t… I don’t know what the hell I am gonna do now.” Tony choked out letting himself fall into a sitting position. He was trying to keep it together, so that his son didn’t see him upset, but it was hard. John McGarrett had meant the world to him.
“I tried to do what you told me to. I tried to be the best man, the best guide I could be without Danny. I tried to listen to my superiors like you told me that a good cop does. All that happened was I kept getting screwed over. I don’t… I don’t know what I am supposed to fucking do now, John. I’ve worked my ass off, and now I have nothing left. I have nothing to make my son proud. I have… I don’t even have a damned job because I refuse to be killed just because people don’t give a fuck about me. I don’t… I could use some help here, Investigatore.”
Bowing his head, Tony clenched his eyes shut, trying to keep the tears inside. His shoulders were shaking from the emotion he was holding in, and he could only hope that TJ didn’t notice. “Can I help you?”
Looking up into the Hawaiian sunlight, Tony put the sunglasses back on that were in his hand. He hadn’t remembered taking them off, but must have at some point when he’d been talking to John. Standing he saw his son running over to hide behind him. “Papà?”
Tony held his son’s smaller hand in one of his as he studied the man in front of him. He was tall, coming a couple of inches above Tony himself. He had dark brown hair cut in a military style, and given that they were in Hawaii, Tony was guessing Navy. Although from his stance and Tony’s experience he was guessing SEAL. Looking back to the grave, and thinking about… “Jesus, Steve?”
Tony shoved his sunglasses on the top of his head as he watched his friend work out his identity. “Fuck, Tony!” Then he was hugged. He’d forgotten how completely awesome Steve hugs were. He poured out every ounce of love and affection he held for someone into it. It had always given him the feel of getting a mental hug as well as a physical one. Steve had one hand on the back of his head, and the other clenched the material at the lower back of Tony’s shirt. Tony figured he might be the only thing holding him together.
Tony for his part just clenched his eyes shut, and buried his face in the crook of his friend’s neck. It was just too much. The emotion simply refused to stay in any longer. When his own grief was combined with that which he could feel lingering on his friend, he just couldn’t hold it in anymore.
“Shit, buddy, I got ya. Trust me, I got ya.” He heard in his ear. He could faintly hear someone talking to his son, but still felt one little hand on his pocket. Whomever it was must have come with Steve, or at least he hoped that was the case. Trusting Steve, he let loose his anguish crying for the only adult that had really cared about the little lost boy that he’d been.
Eventually though the tears ended, and Tony pulled away taking TJ’s hand again. He smiled seeing his son glaring distrustfully at the islander who was crouching next to him. “I don’t know you. My daddy didn’t say that you were ok.” He heard his son saying, and patted his head.
“That is a very smart daddy you have there,” the man offered standing, and Tony saw Steve move to stand between them.
“Tony, this is Detective Chin Ho Kelly. He works with me at 5-0.” Tony smiled and nodded to the man before cocking an eyebrow at his friend.
“5-0? Last I heard you were a SEAL, and a damned good one. Since when do Navy SEALs work with Police Detectives?” Tony inquired putting an arm around his antsy son’s shoulders.
“Things… changed when dad… died.” Steve offered shrugging, and wanting to change the subject until the child wasn’t within hearing distance. “Now, who is this very smart young man? That was a good job there listening to what you’re dad told you.”
Tony watched TJ preen, and smiled big. He didn’t know if it was petty or not, but he was thankful that there was very little of his mother in the little boy. Only his beautiful blue eyes were not his father’s. In every other way though, he was Tony’s son.
“This is my son Tristan Jordan or TJ. TJ, the taller one daddy was hugging is the friend he told you about.”
“Steve?” The boy inquired looking up at his father who nodded. Looking back to the tall man, TJ held out his free hand as he looked way up at the SEAL. “It very nice making you kwaintance, sir.”
Steve nodded seriously, and shook TJ’s hand as Chin watched smiling big. “It is very nice making your acquaintance also, TJ. You are welcome to call me Uncle Steve if you like. You are Ohana after all.”
“Wha’s O… oana?”
“Ohana means family,” Chin offered smiling at the adorable little boy. “Your daddy meant a lot to Steve and to John. Steve’s dad was my mentor at HPD. He talked often about how proud he was of your daddy’s accomplishments. He loved telling the stories about how your daddy won the National Championship in two sports. That connection makes him family, or in the Hawaiian language ohana.”
TJ puffed out his chest. “Daddy was the bestest football an’ basketball playa in the world for that nasty Wolberine breaked his leg. We forgived him though ‘cause he maked daddy all better later.”
When two sets of arched eyebrows were turned on him, Tony chuckled and explained how Brad Pitt the Wolverine, not the actor, had become Brad Pitt the infectious diseases and Pneumologist doctor who saved his life when he got the plague.
“You got… ok you clearly need to come with us. We can go to headquarters, and get the others. Then I am declaring today a beach day. We can go back to my house, which has its own private beach area. I need to know how you ended up with the PLAGUE!”
“YAY! Beash!!” TJ cheered, and Tony laughed.
“You heard the kid. Sounds like we accept.” Tony laughed shaking his son’s hand making the little boy giggle. Setting off after the two other men, Tony looked back at the grave behind him and nodded.
“Thanks, John,” Tony said softly knowing that somehow, some way the elder McGarrett was still looking after him.