Chapter Two: Getting Help Outside the Box
Aaron sat in one of the conference rooms and hit the first available favorite in his contacts on his cell phone. As he listened to the phone ring, a smile crossed his face as he thought about the man who was his lover and husband. Loosening his tie and unbuttoning the top button of his shirt, Aaron pulled a chain out from underneath that held his wedding ring. Slipping the chain off, he undid the back and slid the ring into his palm, leaving the chain to lay on the table. Looking at it for a moment, he smiled and then put it on his finger just as the call connected.
“Three Men and a Medium. You see ‘em, we clean ‘em.”
Aaron chuckled at the greeting. It changed regularly, as Sam and Dean often took turns coming up with new jingles. He was often easily able to tell who came up with that week’s version.
“Dean picked the greeting this week, huh? I don’t think it’s quite up to his usual work.”
On the other end of the line, he heard a snort. “Hey, Hotch! Yeah, he’s moping because Candy dumped him. My guess is though that he’ll have a new fish on the hook by the end of the week. I’m thinking a guy this time. He’s had a few women in a row now. How’s the case going? Tony is just getting up.”
“Good Afternoon, Sam. How did the case go? Did you get things wrapped up, or do you need to go back, again?”
“Nah, it was pretty straight forward like we thought, and that demon pissing off Tony helped matters along. We got the house cleaned and exorcised last night, and then he and I did another sweep. He didn’t feel anything, but the grandmother that they don’t want to get rid of. Will’s gonna touch base with them in a month, but we think things are good now.”
Aaron smiled as he took a sip of his coffee. Three Guys and a Medium was created by his husband Tony, formerly DiNozzo, Jr and now Hotchner, and his two siblings, Sam and Dean Winchester. Later, they’d added JJ’s husband Will LaMontagne. After the man’s brush with death and having a second partner killed, the former PR Liaison confessed to him that Will was wanting to move out of the PD. Aaron knew his husband, at the time boyfriend, was wanting to add a fourth member to their team, specifically someone with some law enforcement background to help with research on hauntings, and help him deal with law enforcement when he was called in to assist for various reasons.
Tony hadn’t grown up with Sam and Dean, in fact, he hadn’t even known that they existed until he was in college. Tony had intended to play professional ball, either football or basketball, but had an injury in football his senior year that ended both dreams. After he’d recovered, he had been walking past a house when he realized that it was on fire. Rushing in, he’d found two siblings, a boy, and a girl, but had only been able to carry the boy initially. He’d intended to rush back in and save the girl, but the fire had been too bad by that point. Instead, he’d been forced to listen to her screams as she burned to death.
That moment was a huge impact on Tony’s life. He’d always known he was different from other people. He’d once told Aaron that he couldn’t remember a time in his life when he didn’t see or hear the dead.
He considered himself a Physical and Mental Medium, but most called him a psychic or psychic medium. He wasn’t as crazy about the latter two, but he generally accepted them without much fuss. His most frequently used mental mediumship was clairaudience or hearing the dead speak to him, although he was more often than not able to use clairvoyance or seeing the dead. He never used clairsentience, which was feeling the dead and didn’t like allowing the spirit to jump or possess him to get its message across. He told Aaron, early on in their getting to know each other stage that, at least for him, he believed allowing it caused more problems than it solved.
Tony’s mother, Elizabeth, was aware of his abilities prior to her death and had both supported and believed his claims of talking to spirits. While it was true that Tony had been incredibly attached to his mother before her death, as an adult looking back he’d recognized her alcoholism for what it is. He speculated that his mother had some abilities like he had himself, only unlike him she’d never accepted them. Instead, she chose to use booze to dull her abilities keeping them at bay.
His father, though, had no such tolerance for what he called foolishly, made up nonsense. Tony and the man he’d always believed to be his father, Anthony DiNozzo Senior, had always had a rocky relationship due to the senior being a horrible man and parent. When Tony’s mother died when he was a child, he found himself left with only his non-believer father. At that point, he forced himself to pretend it didn’t exist, just so that he could survive.
After he’d had to listen to the little girl burn, though, he had found himself struggling to move on. Late one night, he found himself standing outside the home, and being too tired from weeks of sleepless nights, hadn’t been able to fight his instincts. Approaching the shell of the former home, he had spotted the girl standing outside crying and afraid.
He’d told Aaron that after helping her to calm down and move on, he’d walked back to his frat house mentally laying out his new path in life. Interestingly enough, he’d gotten more support from his frat brothers than he expected. While sure there had been doubters and assholes, the supportive believers gave him the courage to stop hiding and finally just be himself.
Of course, when his father found out, he’d finally gone through when the threats he’d been making since Tony’s mother died, and legally disowned him telling him to, “Go find that Winchester bastard that spawned you.” The man obviously hadn’t considered the fact that the money Tony’s mother and his Paddington Grandfather left him in their wills would go with him. By the time he realized it, and the courts agreed the money was Tony’s, reconciliation was out of the realm of possibilities.
It hadn’t been easy because apparently, his real father had been mostly living off the grid, but eventually, he managed to track down John Winchester as well as half-brothers Dean and Sam. It hadn’t taken him long to realize that his real father wasn’t much better than his step-father.
John Winchester had been sure that Tony was infected by some kind of demon like his youngest son. Only, Tony was big enough to fight back when John became abusive. It quickly ended the bullshit that his younger brothers had to suffer through. Eventually, the brothers separated themselves from John, mostly due to Tony’s influence. When Sam wanted to go to Stanford, Tony and Dean followed hunting on the West Coast where they could be close to him.
When Sam’s girlfriend was killed by the same demon that got his mother, the brothers tracked it down, and eventually took it out. John had suddenly decided that his oldest son could be useful, but by then that ship had sailed. Dean still kept in touch with the man occasionally, but Sam and Tony had both almost completely written the man out of their lives. Tony had lived enough of his life with verbally abusive drunken fathers, and Sam couldn’t get over all the years of abuse and neglect he’d suffered through while being told that being himself wasn’t good enough.
The three brothers moved to the east coast in early 2005 and became Professional Investigators. Thankfully, through a series of unexpected events, the paranormal became more widely accepted within a year of that. The three brothers found themselves at the forefront of the new industry, with some help from a few of Tony’s influential frat brothers. One was now a US congressman, and another was a high priced defense attorney married to a popular DC psychiatrist.
Aaron liked Tony’s brothers. They filled those voids in each other’s lives that they had all been missing, and Aaron didn’t want to think about what the younger two would have had to go through had Tony not entered their lives.
“Hello, gorgeous. How’s the case coming? Have you figured anything out yet?”
Blinking, Aaron was pulled back out of his head, not even having heard Sam hand the phone to Tony. It had been a long case, with not enough sleep for various reasons. If nothing else, his husband’s presence should help him rest better at night.
“Only that this is outside our realm of experience. There’s no way that these deaths are being caused by something human. When you put it together with Derek’s nonsense, the team is like a big powder keg ready to blow.”
Rubbing his hand over his forehead, he heard his husband make a noise of sympathy on the other end of the line. “He’s still giving you trouble? Maybe it’s time you took a more firm action. I know you believe that something else is going on, but you said he’s hurting everyone on the team, including his best friends. That isn’t good for any of you.”
“We’re past that point, babe,” Aaron admitted, feeling equal amounts of regret and frustration over the whole situation. “Not only is he off this case. I had to suspend him, and send him home.”
“Shit!” Tony exclaimed, and Aaron knew he was aware of what that would mean. “So, his promotion is off the table then? How is the team going to handle that?”
“I don’t honestly know, babe. I am not sure I can let him stay on the team after this. I can tell that Garcia is afraid of him, despite her protests otherwise prior to this morning. Reid told him to fuck off today. I should have done something sooner.”
“Stop that,” Tony ordered sternly. “You’re doing the best that you can. There was no good or easy answer to this mess that Derek created. Your team is like family, and that calls for a different disciplinary structure. It isn’t like you just flat out did nothing before now.
“You spoke with everyone individually prior to this, and they all insisted that they were handling it, including Garcia and Reid. You’ve also kept the Section Chief up to date, and he could have demanded action be taken before now at any time, but he didn’t. Do what you have to do, and those people will be behind you. What are you going to do about your case?”
“Actually,” Hotch started, turning his mind away from Derek and toward the case. “I need to talk to you about that. I know that you guys are coming off of a case, but I need to know if you have room for a new one?”
“You’re bringing us in?” Tony asked not sounding as surprised as he maybe should. It just showed how attuned to him that his husband was.
“You don’t sound surprised,” Aaron pointed out. When Tony laughed he just smiled.
“Sam’s been watching airfare prices to the Cape May, NJ area,” Tony admitted making Aaron snort. “We’re really doing this then? We’re telling your team?”
Aaron didn’t even need to think about his decision before answering. “It’s time. I will tell them about us after we all get back from our scenes. I think without Derek it will go ok. They’re going to be confused of course, and maybe a little upset. Although knowing my team, they’ve all guessed something, and will hardly be surprised at all. Whichever it is, I think that things will be fairly settled by the time you guys get here. Bobby will be ok watching the kids?”
After the boys had settled on the east coast, Bobby Singer had moved from South Dakota to a small town just outside the Alexandria, VA area where they all lived. When both the BAU team and Three guys and a Medium had to be out of town, the older man acted as a babysitter. Jack and Henry loved spending time with their Grampa Bobby.
“Yup! He and the boys are working on some new car that Bobby got at the yard. You know how much Jack and Henry love that place. They’re in heaven. We’ll get our flights booked, and should be there sometime tomorrow. That will give your team time to settle down tonight from the news.”
“OK, Tone, I will see you then. Love you, and thank you.”
Tony returned his love, and after the call ended, Aaron got up to go find Kate. It was time to see how his newest agent felt about all things paranormal.