Title: Swingin’ on the Vegas Strip (SotVS)
Ratings: R to be safe
Pairings: Nick Stokes/Tony DiNozzo/Greg Sanders, Established Nick/Greg, Catherine Willows/Warrick Brown
Characters: Tony DiNozzo, Greg Sanders, Nick Stokes, Catherine Willows, Warrick Brown, Others to be added later.
Warnings: CHARACTER DEATH, Angst, Bashing of NCIS characters, Mental Illness & Made Up Mental Illness, Warnings may change or be added to.
Chapter Note: Meh… Not sure I’m happy with how Jim came out. I’m also thinking of expanding the last half of this chapter, but we’ll see.
Chapter Word Count: 3840
Summary: In a world where Sentinels and Guides are commonplace, Tony’s always been labeled “Undetermined”. When he’s brought back from his Agent Afloat position, a friendly question makes him wonder what he’s doing. In the end, he accepts the Vegas Crime Lab night shift lead position. He’s shocked when the sight of the returning S&G pair sends his world into an explosion of sensations and feelings.
Nick and Greg are equally shocked when they feel a pull they never expected to feel again. After all, you can only have one Sentinel or Guide, right?
Note: This story is a WIP and not completed at this time. Please see the WIPs Master Listing for more information on the stories in this category. Character Death only occurs in the prologue.
Chapter Four: The Truth Comes Out
When the trio and Spencer got to Nick and Greg’s home, the Sentinel and Guide headed to their bedroom to change. Tony wanted a few moments to himself, and after quickly changing into clothes from his go bag headed into the backyard. Spencer wanted to spend some time truly alone before Blair and Jim arrived and headed straight to the guest room locking himself in.
Taking a deep breath, Tony closed his eyes and turned his face up to the sky. Nick and Greg lived far enough from the strip that the stars were easy to see as they twinkled in the sky above him. He was beginning to panic as the totality of what happened tonight began to really sink in. He’d come online as some kind of mythological SentinelGuide combination. He had not one but two mates, and the fate of Gibbs’ Guide and Sentinel lay in his hands.
This was on top of the pressure he already had leading a new team who adored their previous Shift Leader. As well as putting up with a difficult second in command who refused to educate herself on just Sentinel and Guide basics. In a matter of moments, he’d gone from an anomaly who was basically alone in the world to some super freak who had people tied to him forever.
Just as he was about to completely freak out, he felt arms slip around his waist and someone’s warm breath on his ear. “Breath, Doc,” Nick commanded before pressing a soft kiss to the sensitive skin behind his ear.
Tony tried to comply taking a shuddering breath as he felt Nick’s chin rest on his shoulder. “What are you freaking out about?” He heard the older man ask as someone took his hand.
“Everything?” He half answered half questioned as he turned his gaze to the side to see Greg looking at him concerned. Not knowing how to deal with that, he turned his eyes back up to the sky.
“I’m used to being alone, even when I have a million people around me and playing the part of the life of the party. Gibbs was the closest thing I had to family, but even he didn’t concern himself too much with how I was feeling, and if I was ok. Despite the fact that I was his Senior Field Agent for over five years and I had known him for longer, he never treated me as if I was any different from any other agent on his team. I’m used to being some undeterminable oddity that everyone just glances at with pity when they find out my S&G status.”
Tony huffs an obviously unamused laugh before continuing. “Now I have this… I have… I’m this super freak who can be a Guide and a Sentinel. I have two people connected to me forever that will always know every single thing about me. Not only do I have this new team I’m responsible for, but I have Gibbs’ Guide who it seems was thrown into a nuthouse because they didn’t know what else to do with him and a Swing SentinelGuide who has been injured and then thrown somewhere without anyone around who cares about him.
“And goddamnit, Gibbs is still fucking dead!”
Tony wanted to hide somewhere, but before the thought could even fully form, the Guide next to him stepped in front of him curling his arms around his neck trapping him between the two men.
“This Gibbs was important to you?” Greg asked softly, and Tony’s voice shakes more than he wants as he answers.
“Some days it feels like he’s the first person who ever gave a shit that I was alive. My father hates me, and spent most of my first 12 years either beating me or ignoring me. He shipped me off to boarding school when the new step-mommy said I was too difficult to handle during the summer break. My mom died when I was 8. I know I have frat brothers, so it isn’t really true. It’s just… Gibbs was… he was just…”
“The person no one else could be for you?” Nick asked softly still resting his chin on Tony’s shoulder, and the Swing nodded. “M’sorry, man. If it’s too difficult to have Spencer here…”
“No,” Tony interrupted also shaking his head from side to side to make his thought clear. “I have to look out for them. I can’t… I don’t know how to explain it. I just do. Spencer needs to be with us, and we need to find Aaron. They’re…”
“Tribe,” Greg finished letting Tony know that he understood. “I don’t know how you feel about the spiritual side of all of this. My Nana Olaf taught me a lot though as a kid, so I think I’m predisposed to believe more than some. She had visions, and I think I got my ability to see and speak to the dead from her. You… well the three of us now really, are at the top of the food chain. To be honest, technically, we’re above Jim and Blair because we’re a trio, and you’re a Swing. Nana and Papa Olaf believed in Swings. Even if I thought they were something like Unicorns. But, the three of us will for sure feel the urge to form a tribe, and I am thinking that you’re the reason I connected to Doctor Reid so quick. He’s definitely tribe.”
“I don’t know if I can do this,” Tony admitted quietly, and felt Nick squeeze him slightly as he pressed another kiss to his neck.
“You can, because you aren’t alone in this,” the CSI reminded him. “There’s three of us feelin’ our way along this trail we’re walkin’. There isn’t anything that we gotta rush into. We’ll figure everything out as we go along. As long as the three of us stay on the same page then fuck everyone else.”
Tony turned his head slightly, and rested his cheek against Nick’s as he turned his eyes back up toward the stars. He wasn’t sure how long he stood there with Nick behind him and Greg in front before the youngest of the three of them pulled away.
“Someone’s here. It’s probably Jim and Blair.” Nick suggested, and then nodded after a few moments. “Yeah, feels like them. We better go inside. I think that it’s time that we heard what they have to say.”
When they walked back into the house they found Spencer standing in the hallway between the kitchen and the living room staring at the front door with a look of half trepidation and half something that Tony couldn’t define. He could relate to the mixed emotion though. The Pinnacle Primes were looked upon with almost reverence by those a part of the Sentinel and Guide Tribe in North America, and it was hard not to echo that feeling. Yet, Tony couldn’t get over the feeling that they had fundamentally let down the two of them so severely that it cost Spencer a Sentinel and Tony an older brother substitute that he desperately needed.
Tony stopped to stand near the genius as Nick proceeded to the front door, while Greg headed into the kitchen to get some waters and beers. The second the Pinnacle couple stepped into the house, he heard a low growl fill the room. It wasn’t until the eyes of those at the door turned to him, and then Spencer took his hand that he realized it was him growling.
He saw Jim Ellison frown and move to take a step forward, and was immediately stopped by Blair. He overheard the Pinnacle Guide saying something to his mate about it not being the time for posturing, and Tony being stronger than him even in his newly activated state.
He didn’t really understand what the Guide meant, and got distracted when Greg stepped in front of him blocking the couple from his sight. “Hey, take a breath. It’s ok. They won’t be able to hurt Spencer. Not here. You and Nicky won’t let it happen. He’s safe I promise.”
Tony stared into the Guide’s eyes trying to let the words calm him. It wasn’t until Nick came over though and put a hand on his shoulder that he felt himself begin to relax. Mentally he let the moment move to the back of his mind where it could be worked on to determine what it meant that he needed them both to relax, and shifted his attention back to the immediate problem of the two Pinnacle Primes.
When he was as calm as he was going to get, Tony headed around Nick pulling Spencer along behind him, and headed for the couch. After placing Spencer in a recliner, and sitting on the arm Tony motioned to the couch and the other chairs for the two visitors, intruders his mind corrected, to sit. Blair chose to sit in the chair furthest away from their position, with Jim leaning against the back of it. Nick and Greg them sat on the couch between the two chairs with Nick closest to the Pinnacle pair.
“I’m sorry that we’ve intruded on your nesting time,” Blair started sounding sincere enough, but Tony was withholding judgement until the end of the conversation.
“I promise that we mean no harm to Spencer. If it wasn’t urgent that we speak to you, we would have waited a few weeks so you could settle. The way things have been going though we didn’t feel safe in delaying our arrival.”
“This have something to do with Aaron Hotchner being shot, and the other Swing SentinelGuides that have been murdered?” Tony asked sounding nowhere near calm.
“What makes you think there’s other Swing SentinelGuides? And, what business is it of yours where Hotchner is?” Jim asked straightening and crossing his arms over his chest.
“Because we’re not stupid?” Tony asked in response narrowing his eyes at the Pinnacle Prime Sentinel. “Seriously? That’s the route that you’re going to go? Play the arrogant dick and hope that I’ll just what? Go away? You do know his Guide is sitting right next to me, right? I assume, maybe incorrectly it seems, that being the fucking Pinnacle Prime Sentinel of North America that you understand how the connection between a Sentinel and his Guide works. And, you had met Gibbs right? You’re aware that he was very proud of his bastard side? You couldn’t out asshole him if you had to, Bubba.”
“Listen, Pretty Boy,” Jim started, but was quickly cut off by his Guide.
“Jim,” Blair interrupted frowning up at his Sentinel. “I told you that isn’t going to work. So, can it!”
“But, Chief,” Jim started only to be cut off again. “We can’t take the risk of…”
“No!” Blair shot back. “I’m tired of losing these people! You promised me we’d do it different this time. Now, Jethro trusted this man. So, we need to stop doing our ostrich impression sticking our heads in the sand and acting like there’s not a huge fucking problem!”
Tony’s lips twitched at the Guide’s moxie amused despite himself. So far, Ellison seemed to be a huge asshole, but he had at least a sliver of hope that Sandburg could be trusted. So, when the Guide looked at him, he tried to tame his hostility.
“Why don’t you tell us what you know or suspect, and we’ll go from there,” Blair requested, and Tony nodded, if somewhat stiffly. Looking to Nick and Greg for their opinion, he waited until they both gave their nods of agreement before proceeding.
“Thanks to Spencer we know that while Gibbs really did die, Aaron is alive and in a medically induced Swing Stasis. We know that you assholes tried to tell Spencer that he was dead, but had to come clean when he pointed out that he can feel him through their bond. We don’t know where he is, and I can tell you right now that’s changing before either of you are allowed to leave this house. We suspect that there’s been more deaths, because neither Aaron Hotchner nor I are unicorns. There’s no way that two Swing SentinelGuides showed up so fucking close together without there being others.
“As far as what business it is of mine,” Tony snarled angrily. “I was Gibbs’ Power of Attorney, and his Legal Next of Kin, even after his bonding. I was the sole heir to his estate, and I probably knew him better than anyone besides Tobias Fornell. And even if all that doesn’t mean anything, his Guide is right here next to me!”
Blair nodded. “Jim shouldn’t have tried to bullshit you about Aaron now or after he was shot. It was a shitty thing we tried to do, and Spencer, you have my deepest apologies. I should have put a stop to this nonsense way before Aaron came online. I just…”
Blair trailed off and sniffed before taking a deep breath. Tony ignored the glare that the tall Sentinel was sending his way, and refused to feel bad about upsetting the Guide. It seemed as if they hadn’t felt bad about trying to hurt Spencer, So, fuck them.
“I don’t understand how this keeps happening,” Blair uttered. “I take our position seriously. Being the Prime Guide over North America and Second to the Worldwide Primes isn’t just a job for me. It’s something I feel like I was born to do. I know that I wasn’t as close to Jethro as you two, but he was still my friend. You’re right. You and Aaron are not the first Swings. You’re also right that there have been others who have been murdered. There have been some in other countries, mostly England where the Worldwide Pinnacle Primes are located. However, the majority of where the deaths have occurred have been here in the US.”
Greg stood and took the Guide a bottle of water, which the older man took and immediately opened to get a drink before continuing. “It’s troubling to say the least, and at this point we’re open to suggestions on how to make it stop. We are fairly positive that the Americans for Mundane Rights is behind the whole thing, but we don’t know how they keep getting the information. There’s no indication that our servers have been hacked, and at this point none of the information on Swings is even listed digitally. When Aaron’s mating with Spencer and Gibbs hit 6 months, we had hoped that it was over.”
“Then Gibbs was killed a week later,” Spencer said, speaking for the first time since the duo had arrived.
Blair nodded regretfully before speaking again. “At this point we’re pretty much out of ideas.”
Tony cocked his head to one side as an idea tickled his brain. Filing it away to bring up when the Primes left, he decided to move on. “Maybe it’s time that someone else looks into it then,” he murmured.
“And you think you can do better?” Jim shot back, but Tony just snorted. He was over the man’s attitude.
“I think that while you and Blair were cops, it was in a smaller town in Washington. I don’t think that you had a ton of experience chasing serial killers. I think that your pride is getting in the way, because you’re used to being in charge and having all the answers. Well, tough fucking shit. I’m not interested in molly coddling you.
“Frankly, I’m more interested in staying alive, and seeing to it that Aaron Hotchner stays alive. I also know for a fact that the Las Vegas Crime Lab is second only to the one at the FBI. So, I have every confidence in my team there to help get this figured out. Not to mention that Spencer here was on the top Behavioral Analysis Unit at the FBI.”
Tony glanced at Nick feeling a bit of guilt, and when his Sentinel cocked an eyebrow at him, he knew the older man felt it through their strengthening bond. “Nick, when you brought up something earlier, I didn’t mention that I already knew about it, and I’m sorry. I’m used to it being highly confidential, and was a little surprised that you knew.”
Nick just smiled and shrugged. When he didn’t sense any upset through the bond, he gave a soft sigh of relief. “The Elite S&G Protection Unit you mentioned. I’ve worked with them a few times at NCIS, but beyond that my cousin Edward is part of one of their top Teams.”
“S’all new, Doc. No sweat. It’ll take a bit of time for us to get used to each other, and being comfortable with sharing secrets. ‘Specially for you when it comes to things that are confidential. I think I can safely speak for Greg and say that we understand there are things from your past with that agency you worked for that will always have to be kept secret.”
Tony nodded and felt himself relax a bit again. “I want Edward’s team brought here to Vegas to assist with protecting the four of us. I’m not keeping my status a secret. That’s obviously been tried more times than is sane, and has been proven over and over to be ineffective. I’m not sure telling the world will work either, but at least it’s new. It’s also going to make someone think twice about killing me when the whole world knows I exist. I would recommend that whatever Swing SentinelGuides that are alive be notified and it be suggested that they also come out of hiding. No one should have to live their lives as if they should be ashamed of who they are.”
“As I said earlier, I want to know where Aaron Hotchner is, and I want him brought here to Vegas. I want Edward informed, and I want another team assigned specifically to Hotchner until he can protect himself. I want all the information that you people have on the deaths of every Swing SentinelGuide as far back as you have records for.”
“I have a question,” Spencer said softly, and Tony turned his attention to the Guide sitting next to him. “How have you all managed to keep the Swing SentinelGuides a secret all these years? I mean, there are records of Sentinels and Guides going back as far as there is recorded history.”
“Mostly by humanity being horrible to each other,” Jim offered quietly. His previous attitude seemingly put away. “There have, over the centuries, been mass killings of Swings that got recorded as other things. Events like the Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials were targeting Swings specifically. Then because Swings are typically rarer, events like The Civil War, The French and the American Revolutions, World Wars I & II and The Black Death took a huge toll on their numbers.
“There have been numerous times throughout history that Swings were killed in large numbers, but it went unreported due to people’s fears or prejudices. At some point, they just stopped coming forward, and their existence was only known to people like Blair and I in positions of authority. It’s one of the reasons why Gibbs didn’t want Aaron to come forward. He knew how unkindly history had treated people like Aaron, and was trying to make sure there wasn’t a repeat.”
Tony sighed and cursed Gibbs’ stubborn need for privacy inside of his head. “Except, this is a different time than any of those periods. The fact that conspiracy nut jobs have always whispered about Swings being real meant they were never totally a secret. Beyond all of that in this day and age when smartphones with cameras are becoming more popular, and social media sites like Twitter are becoming more widely used there’s something to be said for there being a safety by being in the public eye.”
“It’s harder to kill someone that the whole world is watching,” Greg agreed softly, and Jim tilted his head to one side giving the appearance of reluctant agreement.
Tony watched the older Sentinel look at his Guide before Blair just nodded and took over. “Whatever you want, Tony. Like I said before, what we’re doing isn’t working, and I want these deaths to stop.”
“Shit is changing,” Tony said firmly eyeing Blair specifically. “I don’t know everything that went on before now, but I can assure you that no one is treating me like a second-class citizen, or that I should be ashamed of who I am. They’re also never going to separate one mate from another for some bullshit protection excuse ever again. I don’t give a fuck who I have to go through, but I will not allow it to happen anymore.”
Blair just nodded, and after studying Spencer a few long moments, he spoke once more. “Why don’t we take Spencer with us? We’ll take him to Aaron. That will give the three of you time together.”
“No,” Tony said immediately and saw Ellison stiffen quickly.
“I’m not trying to be insulting,” Tony said softly. “I literally can’t stand the thought of Spencer being out of my area of protection until I know he’s got someone either myself or Edward approve of to protect him.”
“He already sees Spencer as Tribe,” Greg threw out trying to help calm the agitation swirling around the room.
“Aah,” Blair offered nodding. “In that case, I’ll contact Edward tonight, and have him send a team to escort him here. He’s at Honolulu Hospital listed as a John Doe at the moment.”
Tony narrowed his eyes, and wanted to growl, but just barely held it in. “Call whomever you need and tell them that the 5-0 Task force will be taking over his protection until they get there.”
“Just how are you gonna manage that?” Jim asked once more crossing his arms across his chest.
“Danny Williams and I have been friends since childhood. We met at summer camp. All I have to do is call him and they’ll take over. I trust them a hell of a lot more than whomever you have watching him now. Steve McGarrett was one hell of a fucking SEAL, and there’s no way anyone’s getting past him to Aaron. So, make the call. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we need our privacy. I need time with my new Sentinel and Guide, and Spencer just needs time to himself without crazy people around.”
Blair nodded before standing. Tony was glad that the Pinnacle Prime Guide understood his need to have his… tribe, and didn’t that sound funny in his head, to himself for a while. Quickly, the duo was gone, and Tony was heading to the backyard to give Danny a call. The sooner he got that done, the sooner he could lock himself in Nick and Greg’s bedroom with the two men and get down to some cuddling time. Because damnit he needed a fucking hug. He was pretty sure that he’d earned it.