Chapter Summary: The time has come, and a four letter word is uttered. Finally, a future settles into place.
Chapter Twenty Nine: The L Word
Tony was standing on the porch looking over the vast landscape of Will’s ranch. He was bundled up in his winter coat, hat, and scarf because even with the outdoor heaters that his friend had on the porch, it was still Montana at the end of November. The others were inside talking comics and superheroes. While normally Tony would fake his way through, or just listen in enjoying Aaron’s presence, he had bigger things on his mind.
There was something about this place that inspired introspection, and spending so much time around a couple as happy and connected as Will and Robert had him focused on his own relationship current and most recently ended.
“You’re gonna catch pneumonia out here, and then your team will murder me scattering my parts across the globe so I can’t be identified.”
Tony snorted and glanced over his shoulder, as he felt Aaron’s arms wrap around his waist. “You’ve been quiet.”
“Did you mean it when you said before that we should go at our own pace?”
The silence wasn’t as disquieting as it normally would be. The conversation had happened weeks earlier, and he knew his boyfriend was trying to recall his specific wording. Without Reid’s amazing memory available, he had to do with his own more mortal recall. They all couldn’t be living breathing mutants like Dr. Spencer Reid, and if he secretly was an X-man fanatic the geeks inside never needed to know.
“I did,” Aaron finally assured before Tony felt a kiss placed on the outer edge of his ear before it was tucked back underneath his hat. “I still do. As I said then, we’re old enough to know what we want. What business is it of anyone but ours how fast we proceed?”
“I love you, and I want to be with you forever,” Tony pronounced quietly, his voice heavy with emotion and for some reason grief. He was so tired of always doing what everyone else wanted him to do. He was tired of trying to live up to standards of every fucking person around him that in no way met anything he wished for himself. He was tired of always being just a little bit short of good enough. He was tired of not ever putting himself first.
“I want us to buy a ridiculously too big house for two people, just because we can afford all the extra things. I want a room for Trent when he comes in town, because he’s been the only family I had for most of my life that gave a fuck, and it breaks my heart that he stays in hotels because he doesn’t see a need to buy something he’ll mostly never see. I want to have a small house out back of our too big house for anyone we love that needs a hiding place, because they’re all insanely important to us, and they should all have a safe haven. I want to buy two little dogs and name them Bogart for the boy and Bacall for the girl. I want us to take vacations around the globe because we can afford it, so we can remember just how fucking lucky we are. I want us to retire some day to a house on the beach in Hawaii and be surrounded by Chin and blend his ohana with ours.
“I want to never have to give a fuck what NCIS did to me because it won’t matter anymore. I want my father to be put in prison for the rest of his life, not because he does bad things now, but because he did bad things to me as a child. I’ll take having him locked up for the bad things he does now though, as long as he goes away forever. I want sleepy mornings reading to each other. I want late nights shooting pool or darts or playing music in our too big house with friends hanging out. I want to never have to worry again about if its ok to show how I feel or say what I think without worrying about being told I’m weak or stupid, and I never want to be made to feel like less of a man because I don’t meet someone else’s standards again. Mostly, I don’t want to wait anymore to feel like it’s safe to say I love you or to be over what Gibbs did to me or for whatever fucked up reason my brain comes up with. So, I’m just saying it now because I need to, and I hope to every fucking deity in existence that you’re ready to hear it.
“I love you Aaron Michael Hotchner, and I need you in my life forever.”
“I love you back,” Aaron whispered in his ear, his arms tightening around Tony’s waist. “Not because I feel like I have to say it now, but because I want to. I want to live in that ridiculously big house and have way too many rooms, with a house out back for whomever we love that needs a safe haven. I want your cousin to have his own room or suite in our too big house because he’s that important to you, so he’s that important to me. I love the idea of two dogs and would love to add a cat named Wolverine because I know you love X-Men and don’t wanna tell me. I want to see the world with you and retire to Hawaii with Chin’s ohana and ours because it sounds like being in heaven while we’re still alive. I’m letting you tell Will though that he’s not retiring to Montana.
“I don’t just want to see your father in jail, I want to kill him with my bare hands for what he did to you. While I’m at it I wanna kill Gibbs and Ziva and Abby too, and now I’m worried I sound like a serial killer. I want to help you forget what NCIS did to you because they don’t deserve that kind of power over you. Mostly, I just want to spend the rest of my life making you feel safe and loved and secure in the amazing man that you are. I want to remind you every day that you’re enough just as you are. I want to show you that it’s ok on the days that you feel insecure and can’t help it. I want to make you laugh when you think that it’ll never happen again. I want to hold you when you feel like you’ll never stop breaking. I want to help you breathe when you think you’ll never find your breath because you’re that scared. I want to know that every day there’s someone watching out for you and that the person doing it is me. I love you. Not because I have to or because you said it first. I love you because you made me whole again, and I’m secretly a romantic and couldn’t picture a better moment than in this gorgeous place.
“I love you Anthony Dominic DiNozzo, Jr, for the rest of my life, and far, far beyond the end of our days.”
Tony turned and buried his face in Aaron’s neck inhaling the scent of his boyfriend, his lover, his partner, his mate, his today, his tomorrow, his now, and his forever.
End Note: One more chapter!! I can’t believe it, but I am determined to get back to this story. So, hopefully they won’t be gone forever.
Also, I am posting the first chapter of my new story shortly after this goes up. I want to make sure to advise thought to make sure you read the note at the beginning on the first chapter. I am putting child abuse/neglect/rape tags on it. I wanted to stress though that these are going to only be conversational mentions. There is absolutely NO graphic descriptions or scenes showing the abuse. There is only one scene with violence and that includes an exorcism and a normal fight between brothers. I don’t think it’s too bad as these subjects are triggery for me also. The pairing is Tony/Sam Winchester and has Aaron Hotchner and Spencer Reid as Tony’s brothers. It’s a complete AU fic. So, expect OC-ness out of the boys.
I have several short fics in the works. We’ll see if they get finished. Thank you for following this ride, and I hope you enjoy the final chapter, which is a jump into the future. Not everything is wrapped up. So, don’t expect all answers to come the next chapter.