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, Other CSI: Vegas characters, Spencer Reid,
Warnings: CHARACTER DEATH, Angst, Bashing of NCIS characters, Mental Illness & Made Up Mental Illness, Warnings may change or be added to.
Chapter Word Count: 2835
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 and it is not Tony.
Chapter Three: Explanations Galore
The four men were settled in the Isolation room. Dr. Reid had coffee, which he was moaning over happily. Nick, Greg, and Tony were sprawled together on a pile of pillows of various sizes. The animals were even huddled together. Spencer had been shocked when his own Spirit Guide Archimedes, a Big Horned Owl that looked a bit unhealthy, made an appearance. He was immediately welcomed by Caan and Brando. Currently the big bird was perched on Brando’s back watching things.
“I’m not sure where to start,” Reid murmured softly clutching the coffee with both hands, and taking comfort in its warmth. “There are obviously things that you need to know about your new circumstance, but I don’t know how to begin that without telling you the truth about…”
“Truth about what, Spencer?” Tony asked softly leaning against Nick’s chest with Greg in his arms. Every so often he’d drop his cheek to rest against Greg’s hair. It was soft and he liked the blonde spikes. It reminded him of hairstyles he wore when he was younger and could pull it off. These days he was going for the partial slick backed look with glasses. He’d hated wearing contacts, and when he decided to leave DC, he decided to switch.
“Aaron’s not dead,” Spencer admitted biting his lip. When Caan, Tony’s cinnamon short hair, curled up in his lap, Spencer took advantage of its comfort curling his arms around the spirit guide.
“Only my…. Only My Gibbs died that day,” Spencer whimpered burying his face in the soft fur for a moment until he could continue.
“I don’t… I need to start from the very beginning, I think.” Spencer finally said. When he lifted his face to look at his three companions, they all nodded quietly encouraging him to go on.
“LJ wasn’t our true third. I am a guide, and Aaron was like you Tony. He was… He is a Swing SentinelGuide, which means that he has both guide and sentinel abilities. He can even be self-sufficient. Meaning he can regulate himself if needed. Although it’s recommended only to be used on occasion, and it only worked after he’d bonded with another guide and sentinel. No Swing SentinelGuide has access to their full abilities prior to bonding.”
Spencer looks up at Tony. “Actually, they’ve always said that they don’t have access to any of their abilities, but I think Gibbs has been using your Guide half, Tony, to regulate his Sentinel, when needed. Somehow. It shouldn’t have worked, but it seems as if it did. My theory is that because you two were so close, Gibbs told us he thought of you as his younger brother, that you’d formed enough of a bond to activate a tiny bit of your guide abilities. Did they ever test you after say the first year at NCIS?”
Tony thought about the question, and then shook his head no. “I had to be tested when I moved from Baltimore PD to NCIS, but I haven’t been tested since.”
“I would guess that you may have reflected as a latent guide had you been tested within the last few years. Without having met your true mates, I theorize that you could act as an emergency Guide for Gibbs as something like a… signal booster. I suppose though now we won’t know for sure…”
Spencer trailed off uncertainly, and Tony longed to go over and put his arms around the man. He sensed though that the young genius was no longer receptive to touch, and was happy to let Caan offer the comfort in his place.
“It’s a good theory, Reid,” Tony offered quietly. “It would have been interesting to know if it was correct. You said that Gibbs wasn’t your true third?”
Spencer lifted his head looking surprised that someone was interested in his theory, and smiled shyly. “No, our… Our true third was Jason Gideon. He… he didn’t want us though. He didn’t want anyone. When the three of us came in contact though the day I started, we immediately knew. He… he rejected us though. So, Aaron’s abilities went dormate until Gideon left us. I think that most likely the strain of the constant presence of the bond he’d rejected was what pushed Jason back over the edge when Sarah died.”
Spencer friend unhappily thinking of the Sentinel’s exit from their lives. “He’d tried to fool himself into believing that he could be content with a mundane like Sarah. It never would have worked though, and more he tried to force it, the more he broke. When she was killed, I think something in his head snapped. Last I heard, he lives in the middle of the dessert somewhere. I hope that I never see him again.”
Spence’s frown deepened, but when it turned sad, Tony guessed that his thoughts had turned to Gibbs. “Aaron and I agreed after Gideon left that it was time to begin looking for another third. Normally, a Swing SentinelGuide can only bond with their True Mates. The exceptions to that though are if the True Sentinel or True Guide are either killed or if one of the two reject the bond, the Swing’s SentinelGuide self will allow them to look for a compatible replacement. It isn’t easy though. The bond won’t accept someone who has a true mate out there somewhere, and they have to be an Alpha or Pinnacle level Sentinel or Guide. Gibbs… it took a long time to find Gibbs.”
Spencer sniffed and rested his cheek on Caan’s fur again as he continued to explain. “I always thought that once we found our new third that everything would be perfect, but… Gibbs and Aaron were worried. They wanted to keep everything a secret. Gibbs thought that there was a threat to Aaron, and it was the only way to keep them safe. When Jim and Blair came to see us, they agreed. Only they all lied. It didn’t keep anyone safe. Gibbs is dead, and Aaron is in a medically induced Swing Stasis. They can’t bring him out until we can find another replacement Sentinel. Only this time I have to do it all by myself.”
“No, you don’t,” Tony said firmly, and was glad when Greg’s head bobbed up and down in agreement in front of him. “Gibbs would want me to look out for you. So, even after you find this third mate, you’re stuck with me. You won’t be doing anything all by yourself anymore, unless it’s what you want. Can you answer some questions? Are you up for it?”
Spencer nodded rapidly, but remained quiet looking slightly stunned at the proclamation.
“Where is Aaron now? Is he here in Vegas as well?” Tony asked, and Spencer immediately shook his head no.
“I don’t know where he is, but I don’t think that he is here. I… I haven’t seen him since he was shot. They tried to tell me that he was dead, but… I mean… I can still feel him. I don’t understand why they’d say he didn’t survive when they have to know that I can still feel him. When I called them on their bullshit they were forced to admit that he’d survived and that’s when they told me about the stasis.”
“That’s,” Tony started and stopped as he scowled. “Greg, do you have a phone you can take some notes for me on? Would you mind?” Greg hurriedly agreed that he didn’t mind, and took out his phone allowing Tony to continue.
“Item number one is going to be finding Aaron and getting him brought here. It’s fucking bullshit that Spencer can’t go see him, and it can’t be good for either of them. I don’t know what fucking moron thought that up, but it’s changing. I have a question about the keeping the Swing status a secret.
“You don’t ever hear about Swings. People treat them like they’re unicorns. If they have to find their True Mates to come online, I can see how that would make things more difficult. Although, there should be some way to more easily find matches. Spencer, do you know if there are any other living Swing SentinelGuides who are active?”
Spencer shook his head slowly. “Jim and Blair told us that they’d all been murdered. There are only about 20 a year who come online unlike the thousands of Pure Sentinels and Pure Guides. Gibbs was convinced that you would be a swing though when he found out that Aaron’s status had always been Undetermined also. I think that it’s part of the reason why he wanted to keep things secret. He was trying to protect two people he cared for a great deal. He had problems with the coincidence that there were two Swings so close together also when so few come online a year.”
“Rule 39: There’s no such thing as a coincidence.” Tony said immediately.
“Rule 39?” Nick echoed sounding slightly amused, and Tony nodded looking back over his shoulder at his Sentinel.
“Gibbs had a rule for everything. I can see Gibbs going with the secrecy thing. He liked to do that… well with just about everything. It seems though like that route has been thoroughly proven to be a failure.”
“What’re you thinkin, Boss?” Nick asked running his hand up and down Tony’s arm. The Swing was fairly sure that if the Texan started playing with his hair, he might start purring.
“That we need to do an oppo.”
“That’ll be a hell of a lot of publicity,” Greg pointed out, and interestingly it was Spencer who answered.
“Is your privacy more important than your mates lives?”
Surprised, Greg just blinked as he looked at his new friend, and eventually shook his head.
“It’ll be harder for them to kill him if everyone has their eyes on him,” Nick pointed out agreeing with Spencer. “You know I’m the last one to want to be in the public’s eye, G, but in this case, I think that’s the way to go. We’ll need extra security. Especially if you wanna bring this Aaron here.
“The S&G Center has Elite Protection Units that are made up of former military and government agents from around the world. We should easily be able to request one assigned to Vegas until this is all cleared up. We gotta know that even going public won’t get rid of the threat completely. It’ll just hopefully slow them down some. So, we’ll need to stay diligent and accept help from professionals. Doctor Reid, what can you tell us about this bonding from here on out? Is it over or what?”
They watched as Spencer seemed to pull himself together again before answering. “The bond itself should be in place, but as with any mating, you’ll need to take a few days to yourselves. Plus, it will take two or three days for Tony to get used to his new abilities. If it works like it did with Aaron, he seemed to just… know how to do things. As we got used to each other, Gibbs and I would walk him through things, and that seemed to be all that he needed. Considering we couldn’t exactly take him to an S&G center, I guess that was a good thing. I would recommend that you take at least a week off. It’ll give you time to get used to each other, and for this Protection Unit to get here.”
“Do we know when Blair and Jim will get here?” Tony asked suddenly not able to be in the building any longer. He needed to be somewhere that felt and smelled like his mates, and had a lot less people. Before they could go though, he needed to resolve one more detail.
“Spencer, why are you at Bennington? Is that where you want to be? And, would you go somewhere else if you had somewhere to go?”
Tony watched Spencer pet Caan’s soft fur for a bit before he answered. “After Aaron got shot, I think I did something that kept him alive until they got there. I just remember my hands feeling warm, and like I had to keep him from bleeding out. When the EMTs got there though, they had to pry me off him, and then… Well, I don’t remember anything until I woke up in Bennington. I didn’t… I didn’t take it well at first. I missed Gibbs’ funeral. I didn’t get… I didn’t get to say goodbye. Every day I feel like he died alone and that he lived his last few months still not knowing how much he was loved. I don’t think that I’ll ever forgive myself for that stupid idea for Aaron and me to live apart from him. I feel like we let him down.”
Spencer sniffed and wiped a sleeve over his face to get rid of the tears on his face before continuing. “I couldn’t have been on my own, and I didn’t really want to see anyone from the team. I was embarrassed. I feel like it’s my fault somehow that Aaron got hurt. Emily left shortly after that, and convinced Derek to go with her. I think that Rossi retired again, and I don’t know where JJ and Garcia are.
“I stay at Bennington, because I don’t have anywhere else to go. I don’t… I don’t know if I can be alone again, but I hate being there. It scares me. It’s like my worst nightmare is coming true. I’ve always been scared that I’d turn into my mother stuck in a mental hospital, and look where I am now. I need Aaron back. I need to not be surrounded by everything I am terrified of every second of my day, but I still don’t have a place to go and I don’t want to be alone.”
“What if you came to live with us?” Nick asked quietly surprising Tony, and from the brief look of shock on Greg’s face matching the feeling through the bond it seemed he wasn’t the only one.
“We have the room. There’s a spare room that we never have anyone to stay in it. Neither Greg nor I are close enough to our family anymore to have out of town visitors. Our house isn’t huge, but both the bedroom and spare room are practically isolation rooms. When Greg and I redid the house, we made sure that both rooms could be used by a Sentinel without anything bleeding out beyond the walls or from outside the rooms into them. Plus, it’ll make things easier once the Protection Team gets here.”
Tony nods then turns his head to give his Sentinel a quick kiss. “You are an amazing man, Nicholas Stokes.” Tony turned his attention back to Gibbs’ former guide. “Spencer, I would love for you to come stay with us, and it surely would make me feel better. I’m going to say it, again. I know Gibbs would have wanted me to look out for you, and that’s what I intend to do. Not because I think you’re weak, but because it’s what is right and doing anything else would make me feel itchy scratchy.”
Tony looked down to his Guide to see the man watching Spencer intently. “Dr. Reid, I have already told you in Nicky’s truck that you had three people on your side now, and I meant it. I’m in on the whole Spencer living with us thing. I vote we go clear his stuff out of that… place and take him home with us. We’ve tested out the rooms as best as we can. If you can’t hear my H.I.M CDs in the spare room with the speakers on the other side of the door and turned all the way up, he should be good for any wild bunny sex that will be happening.”
“Now that sounds promising,” Tony threw out grinning, and Spencer looked like he was trying not to laugh. When he did speak, he was serious once again.
“There are exactly twenty three reasons floating around in my head as to why I should turn down your offer, and only two reasons why it seems logical to accept.” Spencer started before letting out a deep sigh and looking down at his hands. “There’s also one illogical reason why I want to do it. For once I am going with what I want, and not what logic dictates. You knew Gibbs better than I did, Tony, and I feel like to not accept your offer would be to dishonor his memory. And, well… I just want to. So, I’m going to say yes. Please, get me out of that hospital.”
Pulling away from his new mates, Tony crossed the distance between himself and Spencer, and slowly reached out to pull the younger man into his arms. “You have my word, Spence. You won’t ever see the inside of that place as a patient ever, again.”