Chapter Five: Getting Answers from the Reluctant

 

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Chapter Five: Getting Answers from the Reluctant

 

 

Spencer slept until the sound of the landing gear lowering woke up. Once awake though, he remained quiet through their arrival at Paddington Castle, until he was forced to speak to greet Tony’s, Uncle George and Aunt Olivia. The older couple were as much his family and Sam’s and Dean’s at that point as they were Tony’s. He knew that his Mate noticed his quietness, but he wasn’t ready to talk yet. The reality of what was really happening had finally hit him, and he was struggling with it all. His brother was alive. The 12-year-old he’d been who refused to believe the falsehoods that he’d been given was right. All these years Alec had been locked in a box inside of his head, and what if he’d let him out before now?

Then on top of that, his extended family could have known the truth but didn’t say anything?

Spencer didn’t know how he felt about that. He was almost certain that Edward knew the truth, or at the very least, like Tony, he suspected what really happened. The fact that Edward then thought it was ok to leave Spencer in the dark was…. Well, he didn’t know what it was. Did Spencer do the right thing by keeping his mouth shut? Or, should he have spoken up? But, if he did say something, then what? It seemed apparent at least to Spencer how his Mate felt.

He didn’t often feel the burning rage through their bond that he felt when Tony heard Gideon say he’d looked for Alec. He wasn’t sure if Tony’s temper was on Spencer’s behalf or if the single encounter that he’d had with Alec had left that much of an impression. Or maybe the truth was some combination of the two, but Tony had been a mere hair’s breadth away from a feral episode. He couldn’t help but wonder if either Rossi or Gideon understood just how close things came to being very, very bad.

So, given his anger at Gideon looking into things, how would he have felt if Edward had done anything that could put Alec’s safety and security in jeopardy? The more he turned the question over, the surer he was in the answer not being a positive one. While it was true that Edward was not just Tony’s favorite of his cousins he was also a very close friend and almost brother, he wasn’t sure that even that bond would have saved the older man from Tony’s wrath.

The only logical conclusion then was that not even Edward could have escaped unharmed had he put Alec’s life in jeopardy by sharing what he either knew or even worse just suspected to be true. How could Spencer then hold the family’s silence against them?

And yet, it was so hard not to be upset that he’d been left in the dark for so long.

He had to wonder though… Uncle Stephen always told him that when he was caught between two choices, that the answer wasn’t always one or the other. Sometimes the answer was neither, and other times it was both. In this situation, maybe the latter was true. Maybe Edward did the right thing by keeping silent about what he either knew or suspected to be true about his friend’s supposed death. At the same time, maybe Spencer had the right to be upset about it even if it was, in fact, the right thing to do.

He was pulled out of his swirling thoughts at the feel of Tony’s hand touching the bare skin of his lower back. Turning his head, he saw his Mate watching him with worried eyes, and did his best to flash a reassuring smile. He didn’t think he did a very good job based on the increased frown on his Sentinel’s face, and the way Sampson appeared and pressed himself against Spencer’s free side. Unconsciously, he dropped his hand to twine his fingers in the massive Spirit Animal’s mane and finally, felt some relief from his anxiety.

Despite the fact that Samson was Tony’s Spirit Guide, it had seemed that since the second Spencer came online, the lion spent as much time with him as it did Tony. For a long time, he’d thought that was just how it went with a pair’s Spirit Animals, but then he noticed that Leonardo didn’t spend nearly as much time with Tony as Sampson did Spencer. He also noticed that other couples didn’t seem to have the same close relationship with their Mate’s Guide as he did.

For a long, while it bothered him that he couldn’t figure out the answer to why that was, but eventually Blair set his mind at ease. He’d merely told Spencer that there was no fixed standard to how Spirit Guides acted, and they would go where they were needed. He had theorized that because of the unique situation surrounding Spencer’s coming online and the age he’d done so, that his Sentinel’s Guide had taken up a role that Tony hadn’t been able to do himself. By the time Tony could, Spencer’s relationship with Sampson had been set, and there had never been a reason to change it.

“Spencer?” He heard, and blinking, forced his mind to focus on the current situation and not daydreaming about the past.

“I’m sorry, Uncle George, I wasn’t paying attention,” he admitted and was thankful when the older man just smiled indulgently. “Did you ask me something?”

“I just wondered if you’d all like to come into the library, and we can talk about whatever has brought you here unexpectedly.”

Spencer tilted his head to one side confused but then realized that Sam and Dean were halfway down the hall looking back at him. Each brother had an arm looped through Aunt Olivia’s who seemed slightly worried.

“Yes, sorry,” Spencer murmured as he bowed his head until he felt Tony’s hand press against his back again drawing his attention away from the floor.

“We can go up to our rooms so that you can lay down, Love,” Tony offered, clearly concerned, but Spencer shook his head negatively.

“No, I need to get this out in the air,” Spencer insisted biting his lip. “I’m sorry. I just… I can’t keep thinking about what if’s and I don’t think it’ll stop until I know for sure about who knew what.”

Tony nodded before pressing a kiss to Spencer’s temple, and the genius took a deep breath before following the others down the hall. He was thankful that the warm touch of his Sentinel didn’t move from his lower back. It was a grounding that Spencer needed for sure to get him through this upcoming talk.

When they walked into the library, he was surprised to see Stephen and Marcus there. “Uncle Stephen, Uncle Marcus, what are you doing here?”

Tony just snorted surprised next to him drawing Spencer’s gaze. “Wow, you really were caught in your head, weren’t you? George covered that a bit ago. They were supposed to leave last night but put off their departure when they found out we were coming. Are you sure you’re ok?”

“I’m fine,” Spencer insisted, and let himself be wrapped up in Tony’s arms knowing that his Sentinel needed his touch as much as he needed Tony’s. “I just can’t help but stop worrying about if we did the right thing by not saying anything all those years ago.”

“Oh, Spence,” Tony sighed as he put both arms around Spencer and pulled him even closer. “We can’t do that. I know it’s hard, but we have to believe that we did the best we could with what we knew at the time. Everything in me says that to keep pressing about what you knew and felt to be true about Alec’s death would only have put him in danger. I feel as strongly about it now as I did then. We’re going to find him, and this time I am not stopping until he’s standing in front of us. You have my word as your Mate.”

Spencer took an unsteady breath and burrowed even further into his Sentinel’s arms before pulling back with a nod. When he looked at the others, he saw both of the other Sentinels in the room, Uncle George, and Uncle Marcus, watching them with concerned frowns on their faces. Before Spencer had to deal with it though, Tony was once more stepping in.

One of the things he loved the most about his Mate was the fact that Tony always seemed to know when Spencer needed to handle a situation, and when Spencer needed Tony to handle it himself as much as he could. “Why don’t we all sit,” Tony suggested as he steered Spencer toward an empty chair and a half that they could curl up together in.

“We have information that we need to share. Is Edward in residence, Uncle? Or is he out on a mission? If he’s close, I’d rather he be here for this. Ashcroft too. Since I am fairly certain at some point, we’re going to end up at MI6.”

George Paddington, the Marquess of Montagu, who along with his wife Olivia had raised Tony, was the head of the Paddington family, and a former Director of MI5. He had been married to Olivia since they were in their twenties. Their son and eldest child, Edward, worked for MI6 in one of their top-secret divisions. Ashcroft Paddington was the youngest son of Uncle Clive. The second eldest Paddington child died a few years back leaving most of his estate to Ashcroft instead of the eldest son Crispin, who was thought to be something of a bad seed by most of the family.

Tony’s mother Claire had been the next of the four Paddington siblings, and then Stephen, who had raised Spencer, was the youngest of the siblings. It was because of his Forever’s close relationship with Stephen that he’d asked his Uncle to be Spencer’s Guardian. When Tony came to England, Edward and Stephen were the two that he was closest to immediately. Tony was the youngest of the three. Edward was three years older than Tony and Stephen was six years older than Tony. When Stephen met Marcus Tony had bonded quickly with the newest Sentinel in the family, and his bond with the Psychiatrist was as strong as the one with the Cousins.

Tony settled down in the chair, and Spencer allowed himself to be pulled down and arranged comfortably on his Sentinel’s lap. He couldn’t help but smile fondly at his Forever and his constant urge to cuddle and have the two of them close together. It was something that they’d had to work around at the BAU. Gideon had been stubborn about it and in the beginning, often tried to separate them declaring that it wasn’t healthy even for an S&G pair. Eventually, Blair and Jim had been forced to step in and have a talk with not only Gideon but Section Chief Strauss and Assistant Director Evans that S&G couples weren’t cookie cutter. You couldn’t fit them all in the same mold and expect it to work.

Looking back, Spencer could see how much Tony had forced himself to tolerate a situation with Gideon and Rossi that may not have been as healthy for him as he deserved. He knew the reason he’d done it was because Spencer wanted to work with and learn from the veteran pair so badly. He had no doubt that they would end up in some other kind of law enforcement or investigative position and was determined that the next one would be a better fit for what Tony need.

Soon after they were settled, Edward came in from some other part of the home. After they exchanged hugs with the man and resettled in the chair, Tony started the explanation. Spencer was just listening at the beginning but would step in when he was ready.

“A few weeks back a man named Ian Doyle came onto our radar thanks to one of our teammates,” Tony started, and Spencer noticed how Edward and George exchanged a look at the name. “I’m not surprised that MI5 & MI6 know who he is. My understanding is that Interpol has been chasing him for quite some time. Emily actually worked with Interpol before moving here and at one point had been undercover in his household working with his son. At the end of the op, Ian was in a foreign prison and believed that his son and his son’s mother were deceased. The problems started when he escaped from prison and learned that his son Declan was alive. Fast forward to a couple days ago, Emily was kidnapped and eventually injured. We were advised that she was dead, and that’s really where everything fell apart.”

Spencer’s hand on Tony’s leg tightened and quickly took over the conversation at this point. He didn’t want to risk Tony becoming angry again when he had to rehash Gideon’s bullshit. “She’s not dead. She’s not any deader than Alec is. When I was a child, I let myself be convinced that I was wrong in what I felt. However, over the years since then, I’ve actually had people I know die, and I can feel the difference between my former boss’ wife when she died, and Emily and Alec. I understand why I was lied to about Alec. I won’t say I’m happy about it, but I do understand. Emily is something different.

“Gideon tried to bullshit us, and it didn’t go over well. Then he announced that he tried to hunt for Alec using his contacts, and things got even worse. In the end, not just Tony and I but also Sam and Dean quit the FBI. We’re hunting for Alec, and when we find him, we’ll settle down where ever he’s at. I just… I need to know who knew that he was still alive.”

“Spencer,” Stephen started immediately but stopped with shock and dismay clear on his face. It was easy to see that his Uncle and Guardian had no clue that Alec wasn’t actually dead. As he watched, Stephen seemed to stop and try to compose himself just as a flash of anger crossed his face. “If there’s anything I can do to either help you find Alec or be reunited with him you have my word that I will do it. I am going to let my new position know that I need a few more days so that we can get this settled.”

Spencer nodded his thanks at turned his eyes to George ignoring the fact that he could tell Tony had his sights focused squarely on Edward. George seemed to be shifting his eyes between Edward and Spencer, but when the youngest in the room looked his way, the family Elder gave him his full attention.

“I assure you that I did not know your brother was alive, Spencer,” the older man promised with a frown. “I cannot tell you what I would have said or thought about it if I had known that you were telling the truth and not just caught up in your upset. I have my suspicions as to what happened but would not be able to speak on them at the moment. I do think though that at the current time it is foolish to continue a charade considering your current circumstances. I would suggest that we speak with M and see what she has to say about the whole deal. At the time your brother died, she was his handler along with Edward’s and another of their co-workers. She would know for certain what happened, and I would guess has some idea where he is at. Edward?”

Spencer turned his sights finally to Tony’s favorite Cousin and noticed the man was standing and looked somewhat agitated. Edward had always leaned toward the more proper side of things, being the future family head, but he was far more relaxed than some in his situation. He’d always thought that Tony had quite a bit to do with that and wasn’t surprised that it was Tony Edward was wholly focused on.

“You knew,” Tony said evenly, and Spencer could feel the turmoil through their bond and the emotions he was hiding underneath the mask.

“I can’t talk about it,” Edward insisted then swore at himself knowing that the refusal was as good as a confirmation for someone as perceptive as Spencer’s Forever was. “I can’t… I have to go. I’ll take care of M. Father, I will let you know when I have her convinced to speak with you.”

Without looking his way, Edward then hurried from the room, and not long after, Spencer saw the flash of the man’s Jag as it sped away from the castle.

“You know he would never have kept a secret that he didn’t have to,” Olivia said, speaking for the first time since Spencer entered the library, and the genius just shrugged.

“I know that,” he promised as he looked at Tony and then stood, pulling his Sentinel up before glancing at Sam and Dean. “I think we’re going to go take a walk in the gardens. Please let us know if you hear something from Edward before we come in?”

George nodded shortly looking concerned. Turmoil amongst family members never set well with the family elder. “Certainly, but knowing how stubborn Olivia is, I don’t expect you will get an agreement for at least a couple days. I will have cook arrange something light for dinner tonight, and then tomorrow she’ll make your favorites. We will do our best, Spencer. No one wants to see this separation continued. Most especially, Edward. No matter how it may seem.”

Nodding his agreement, Spencer led his little group outside so that they could shout and work off some negative energy in the vast expanse of the back of the estate.

 

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~

 

It was three days later that Tony found himself on his way to MI6 along with quite the entourage. Not only were Sam and Dean with himself and Spencer, but Uncle George, as well as Stephen and Marcus, had joined them. They hadn’t seen Edward since he left the day of their arrival abruptly but had been assured that not only he but Ashcroft would be there, also. Ash had also been absent, but it had been explained that he was overseeing something important and hadn’t been able to pull away for a visit.

The time since they’d basically gotten confirmation that Spencer’s feelings were right hadn’t done anything to soothe his anger. While he understood the reasoning, he wasn’t a fan of these people just pretending that what Spencer felt wasn’t happening. How did they not know they had to account for something like that? It was why the whole thing with Emily wouldn’t have worked.

Had they lived in a different world where Sentinels and Guides didn’t exist, of course, the secret would have been much easier to keep. That wasn’t the world they lived in though, and there was no way that Tony and Spencer were the only ones who felt the difference between Haley Hotchner’s death and Emily Prentiss’. In the days they’d been waiting, Tony had talked to Derek who called to both check up on them and also gossip about the things that had gone down in such a short time.

It seemed that Gideon and Rossi both had been pulled in for an emergency evaluation at the S&G Center in Cascade, Washington. Apparently, Blair wanted to personally oversee Gideon’s assessment to make sure that the wily profiler couldn’t work his tricks to fudge the results. AD Evans demanded that Gideon and Rossi be removed from their positions over the team and placed on leave. Jack Garrett was made the new BAU Unit Chief. Jack was a low-level Unbonded Guide who had fallen in love with a mundane woman and had several children whom he adored as a result. Derek had been more than ok with the move admitting that he didn’t feel ready to lead the team yet.

The team had been filled in on the bare bones of the truth of Emily’s situation, and for her safety things were being kept very hush, hush. Derek admitted that Garcia, being a mid-level Guide, had known something was off about what they’d said as she also could still feel something of Emily, and knew if she’d actually been dead those feelings wouldn’t be lingering. Derek, being a higher level Sentinel, had smelled the deceit on both Gideon and Rossi, but had been too caught up in the shock of what happened to process it right away. By the time he had, Tony and Spencer had already quit.

Their spots were already filled, and while the team was upset about that, they understood. Sentinel Matthew Simmons and his Guide Kate Callahan-Simmons were taking Tony and Reid’s spots. The pair had been bonded for three years and were newly married. Derek said that so far, he’d only met Matthew, but knew that he’d been on Jack’s previous team, and the new leader requested he join them when he realized there was an opening. While the team was upset that they’d left so quickly, but they all were going to do their best to stay in touch.

As they headed through the building, Tony’s eyes settled for a moment on Stephen, and not for the first time in the last few days he wondered what his Uncle and friend were up to. One thing he knew for sure was that the older man undoubtedly was plotting something. There had been too many secret calls and more than a few moments where he’d found the older man studying them deep in thought. He had no idea what his Uncle was going to be doing, but from the gleam in his eyes when he talks about it, Tony could tell that it wasn’t one of his usual teaching or dig lead spots. He also had a feeling that Alec being alive had something to do with his Uncle’s secrecy, but since he had no way of being sure, and the fact that he trusted Stephen to tell him when he could, he’d kept his suspicions to himself.

Well, and Spencer.

He shared everything with his Guide and would never keep something like this from him.

When they finally entered a large office, they found an older woman behind a massive desk with Edward behind one shoulder looking a combination of uncomfortable and thoroughly pissed off. Next to him, and behind the woman’s other shoulder, was a man Tony recognized as Edward’s friend James, who had a definite glower of displeasure on his face. Always happy to irritate the man, Tony flashed him a smirk and was delighted to see the man’s eyes narrow. When Spencer poked him in the side with a huff and Edward rolled his eyes, Tony didn’t even feel a little bad.

“Olivia,” he heard George greet and turned his eyes back to the woman as the others mostly settled in chairs. The exceptions were Sam and Dean who headed to settle on either side of the two chairs in front of the desk where they positioned themselves mirroring Edward and James. This time, Edward let out a soft snort as James showed an unimpressed smirk, but Tony wasn’t surprised. James Bond didn’t think much of anyone but himself. That probably wasn’t a fair thought, but he couldn’t help it.

The two had butted heads from the second Edward introduced them, and Tony didn’t ever see that changing. Given that Ed didn’t make a more significant effort to get them onto the same page, he guessed that his Cousin knew it was a lost cause. As Tony headed around Dean, he gave the man a pat on the shoulder and waited for Spencer to settle in the chair next to Sam before he sat down himself. Tony had no idea how this meeting was going to go, but the Sentinel didn’t have much hope that it would go smoothly. He made sure that his Uncles understood that this was his and Spencer’s show and that they were there as a courtesy only.

The days where he needed his Uncles to fight his battles for him was well past. While he required George to make their access to MI6 easier, by no means were they incapable of getting the information they wanted without even stepping foot inside the building. While he wasn’t entirely on Ashcroft’s level, Sam was actually a pretty damned good hacker in his own right, and often Ash used Sam as a way to test improvements in the various security systems of whatever he was working on.

Tony also trusted Dean’s ability, along with his own, to get in and out of anywhere that he needed. However, breaking into or hacking MI6 wasn’t really high on his bucket list, so he appreciated his Uncle George’s presence to get them there, and hopefully keep the woman on the other side of the desk a little in check.

“Good morning,” she greeted. Her hands were folded on the top of the desk, and slightly smug smile seemed to rest easily on her face. “I understand you have some misguided belief that you were misled about the death of one of our agents? 006, I believe?”

Tony saw Spencer frown out of the corner of his eye, and just barely held in a sigh of frustration. He didn’t understand what the fuck it was with these arrogant morons who thought they could circumvent an active bond a Sentinel or Guide had merely because they wished it to not exist. It was both stupid and dangerous, and he really hadn’t wanted to go over this fiasco again.

“If this 006 is my brother, Alec, then yes,” Spencer offered sitting in the chair with his back straight and not even close to resting against the back of the chair. “It isn’t misguided though, it’s a fact. I can feel that he’s alive. We’re here to get whatever information you have on the subject. We all understand security concerns and are happy to sign whatever non-disclosure documents that we need to. I just want to know where my brother is.”

“I am not sure who led you to the mistaken belief that he was still alive,” the woman George called M said calmly, “but that simply isn’t the truth.”

“I can tell you that while he was once part of our organization, he, unfortunately, died some years back in a most unfortunate accident. I regret to have to inform you that it was a situation of his own doing, and at the time he died he was considered a traitor to his country.”

It was only with years of experience in holding in his emotions and hiding them behind a mask that kept Tony’s jaw from dropping open. From the way Edward fidgeted behind her, and the way he could see Ash shift in his seat out of the corner of his eye that neither had agreed with the line of bullshit that they were being fed. While he could see how some level of arrogance might be needed to run an organization like MI6 or even a team as high profile as the BAU, it seemed that both Gideon and this Olivia woman had fallen way too far down the well.

“You do understand that I can feel he’s alive?” Spencer questioned, and Tony could hear the incredulous edge to his words. He hadn’t wanted to take over this meeting, but he’d warned Spencer that if she pulled bullshit anywhere near what Gideon did that he wouldn’t be able to help it. Fortunately, his Guide understood and admitted that he would welcome the help.

“Your feelings are frankly wrong,” she said with a simple shrug. “I would suggest that you get help because the British Government has irreversible proof that he died at the hands of 007 here when he was caught selling out British Operatives.”

Spencer’s mouth opened and then immediately shut before he leaned back in his chair with a small shake of his head. For his part, Tony had always been sitting relaxed in his seat, and only relaxed further as he began to pick invisible lint off of his favorite bespoke suit. There wasn’t often that he fell into his British side. Even as he’d lived in England as a child, he’d kept most of his American ways as he’d always intended to go home someday.

Edward had always said that when Tony went all proper British that people needed to really be scared. Tony always felt that the most valuable thing he’d learned from his Aunt Olivia and his Aunt Isabella was how to tear someone completely to shreds and never once lose his composure.

“Might I have a cuppa?” Tony asked as he brushed his thumb across the back of Spencer’s hand as he looked at the woman they called M within MI6. “I do find myself incredibly parched and could use a good spot of tea.” When Ashcroft choked on air, and Edward flinched, he knew that his Cousins were aware of what was about to happen. It was telling to him though that neither of them moved to interfere.

M narrowed her eyes at him before looking toward Ashcroft. “Q, would you please see to some drinks for our guests?”

As they waited for the tea to arrive, Tony sat calmly watching the woman whose eyes were narrowed as they looked his direction. Not in the least bit intimidated by this woman who was trying her best to hold onto a tired backstory, Tony just looked back at her as the others stayed silent around them. When he’d asked for the tea, he’d heard Dean swear softly, and wanted to smile. His best friend and sometimes bedpartner knew how much Tony loathed tea and much-preferred coffee. It was only when he was feeling homesick or about to tear into someone, politely of course that he indulged in a good cuppa.

Once Q was back and everyone was settled with their tea, Tony took a nice healthy swallow before he resumed the conversation. “In all my years in the Intelligence and Law Enforcement Communities, it never ceases to amuse me at how some feel they’re so much more important than they actually are. They clutch their little secrets to their chests as if they make them bulletproof or irreplaceable. I do rather find it pathetic, to be honest, because let’s face the facts, my dear, shall we? There’s only one Queen in this country, and my dear Olivia, you are not it.”

Tony heard someone choke on their tea behind him but forced himself to stay focused on his task. He paused just long enough for M to start to respond before he cut her off to continue. “And really, she’s quite the lovely creature, the Queen. I do always enjoy spending time with her when I visit. She’s actually quite funny and charming. I am quite curious as to your insistence on carrying about this charade because I was assured just yesterday as we met at tea time that we would have your fullest cooperation in this matter. She’s acutely aware of the years my family has served this country and the sacrifices that we made for it. When I left to go back to the States for schooling, she was rather supportive, and assure me that she would have no patience for anyone who would try to use it against me.

“No, I am afraid that having met the Queen, I must insist that you cease in your pathetic attempts in portraying yourself as something more than you are, especially in the face of overwhelming evidence to counter your claims. The Queen is a wonderful woman that deserves her subjects to put their lives on the line for her. You, Olivia, are not the Queen and thus far I cannot see that you deserve any such honor. Your little lap dog there behind you certainly doesn’t deserve such regal protection. After all, he is in some way responsible for this whole mess, is he not? And, I’m curious. How exactly is it that you know Jason Gideon? What exactly is the end game in the little competition you two have going on here with Spencer and his brother? Really, my dear, you can speak up at any time, or have you lost your ability to talk when faced with people who won’t just blindly follow along with your arrogant arseholery?”

“How dare you,” M seethed, but Tony once more cut her off gleefully. He could see behind her that James was itching to intercede, and Tony almost hoped that he would. He’d love to watch either Dean or Sam kick his ass.

“Oh, my dear, I think that you’ll find that I dare a good many things, but this isn’t even a challenge,” Tony countered smiling sharply. Beside him, he could see in his peripheral vision that Spencer was watching her calmly, but Ashcroft’s teacup had been hovering in front of his mouth far too long for him to be actually drinking.

“I don’t know why you think you deserve some kind of respect from anyone when you foolishly think that your will alone will negate unchallengeable facts. In case though that you are confused, please do allow me to lay out those facts for you. Fact: Alec Trevelyan, formerly known apparently as 006, is alive somewhere on this planet that we call earth. Fact: When my Guide, my Mate, my entire life was twelve years old his brother was gravely injured. You as his handler decided on some farce that would label Alec as both deceased and a traitor to cover some most likely reckless impulse that your little lap dog is responsible for that most likely made the prior plan impossible. I do hope that the previous version of whatever was to happen was much better thought out than this “if I just insist long enough surely they’ll believe me” notion of yours. It did not work well for Jason Gideon, and my dear, I can assure you that it won’t work well for you.

“I have been assured, that should you not be as agreeable and helpful as you should be that her Majesty is prepared to see to it that you are replaced with someone much more suitable to your position. I do believe that Gareth Mallory’s name was mentioned as well as Clyde Easter from Interpol. That last one was one I threw out I will admit. I don’t know Mallory well, but in having worked with Clyde recently, I can tell you that he doesn’t put up with a lot of bullshit. Even from his favorites. Now, was there anything that you shared with us previously that you would like to take back and change, Olivia dear?”

As he sat and watched M, Tony was a little afraid that her head was going to just pop off of her neck as red as it was. He was reasonably sure that the woman wasn’t used to her word being countered or having to deal with someone who had both the ability and the will to call her on her nonsense. Frankly, Tony had nothing to lose by putting his cards on the table. There was nothing that he’d said that was exaggerated, which made the whole thing even better. He was fairly confident that no matter what happened here two things would most definitely be happening after this meeting. M would be replaced, most likely by Clyde Easter, and Tony and Spencer would be leaving MI6 with the location of Alec Trevelyan.

It was just a question of this woman being intelligent enough to see the writing on the wall in front of her.

“You don’t have nearly enough influence to pull off what you’re threatening,” M spat back angrily, “and I can’t imagine her Majesty dirtying herself by having tea with the son of a murderer.”

“He may not, but I do,” George reminded as he spoke for the first time. They’d agreed that should M try and throw her weight around, and George felt he needed to defend his family that he could do so. “As you well know she’s consulted me on all appointments to MI5 and MI6 since I left active service, including yours Olivia. Given that my family has served hers going back literally a thousand years in one form or another, I can assure you that my words do hold sway with her. I agreed with my Nephew’s assessment of Clyde, and I am fairly sure that he’ll be selected as your replacement. It will certainly be a change for some, but I am sure in the end it will be for the better of everyone.”

Tony didn’t even try to hide the smirk he was directing at the irritating blond, who was most definitely who George was referring to. From what he’d interpreted from Edward’s rants when he was too far into his cups and felt safe with Tony to unleash, James needed reminding that what the 00 was doing was supposed to be secret, and not something that ended up on the evening news of whatever country he was in. Tony could tell from the way the other man’s face practically turned to stone that he knew it.

“As to her Highness not wanting to dirty herself with him because of the actions of Anthony, Senior well, that’s just rubbish.” George continued undoubtedly ignoring the byplay going on between Tony and Bond.

“The truth is that she is rather fond of Tony because he’s lifted himself up out of the rubbish his father left of his life. The fact that his father killed his mother and tried to kill him certainly should have no reflection on Tony. At least not to any decent human being, and certainly not someone who holds your position, Olivia. I am rather appalled that you look down on a victim such as Tony was or hold any child accountable for the actions of their parent. Now, why don’t we end this nonsense, and you just tell us what we need to know. I would much rather prefer that than to have to order you removed from this office now, and have the information gathered. Do not fool yourself into thinking that I cannot and will not do either though if you force me.”

Tony stayed outwardly calm when M turned her glower back in his direction. He didn’t know what the woman had against him, well before he deliberately tried to piss her off that is, but frankly, he didn’t care. All he wanted was answers, and honestly, he didn’t care one bit what happened to MI6 or Olivia as a result.

“Alec Trevelyan was targeted by a Russian Crime Organization after they saw him during an operation he was on. Apparently, they knew his birth father, and Alec looks startlingly like the man. They assumed that Alec was cut from the same ill cloth that his father was, and we decided to take advantage of it so that we could gain information on their activities. When they realized that he was not loyal to them, they put out a hit on him. Because they were targeting his real identity, we had to take drastic measures. The plan was for him to go into hiding with Spencer, but the orders got… Confused and James thought Alec had indeed turned to the other side. It was merely an accident that got 006 hurt, and James regrets his actions. At that point, we decided the best thing we could do was to report Alec as deceased. It was really best for everyone.

“Last I heard, Alec was working with the Americans at one of their Air Force bases at Cheyenne Mountain. I know nothing more than that though. The actual facts of his assignment were classified above my security clearance.”

“Best for everyone, or best for James?” Tony sneered dropping his polite façade. Behind him, he’d heard Stephen murmur a “bloody fucking hell” when Cheyenne Mountain was mentioned and filed that away in his mind to investigate later.

When he felt the weight of Dean’s hand on his shoulder, he paused a moment before continuing. “As for Alec being hurt being an accident and James being simply confused, well as us American’s say so crudely, I call bullshit. Edward, I am sorry for this, but Uncle George, I really must insist that James be barred from the family home from this point out. I don’t feel that the family is safe around him if he’s so easily… confused. There are often children present, and who knows when his confusion will endanger them.”

Tony saw James take a step forward, but as Tony quickly stood as a response, Edward grabbed his friend’s arm. “It’s alright, Tony. All things considered, I think it would be best for everyone if there were some space between James and the family for a while.”

When Edward’s eyes flicked to Ashcroft, Tony flinched slightly and turned to look at his younger cousin, who was obviously hiding some great pain behind the mask he wore called Q. “I would agree, Edward,” Ash finally offered as he set his cup down on the table in front of him. “If you would all excuse me, 004 is on a mission that I need to check in on. I do believe that he’s almost done. Once I have him safely on his way home, I will be coming out to spend some time with the family at the estate. I should be there in time for dinner. I do hope to see you before you leave Tony, as well as the rest of you.”

“Of course, Ash,” Tony offered quietly as he watched him leave. Inwardly, he cursed himself for forgetting about Ash’s crush that was possibly more than that for the irritating Bond. When he felt Spencer’s hand curl into his, Tony took a deep breath and pulled himself back to the present. “I think we have everything that we came here for then. Uncle George?”

“Yes, I do believe it’s time that we take our leave,” the Paddington elder confirmed, and without speaking further, Tony followed him out of the room gaining comfort from the warmth of his Guide’s hand in his. It would take awhile to get over his guilt of having hurt Ashcroft, and by the time he got home, he would be wondering if there was any way to work their youngest genius into whatever scheme that Stephen had going on.

Tony thought that just maybe distance would be good for Ash.

Whatever could they have going on at NORAD that required a former British spy though? The location to where Alec was definitely created more questions than it answered, but Tony finally felt like they were on track to solve all of the riddles.

 

 

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