Chapter Nine: Making Decisions
Tony was sitting on the back deck watching the ocean waves crash into the beach then roll back out when he heard someone come out onto the deck. Seeing a beer bottle appear in front of his face, Tony looked up and nodded a thanks to Jason as the Master Chief then settled down on the wooden deck chair next to him.
“How’d today go?” Tony asked softly taking a long sip of the beer as he studied the man he was still getting to know.
“It went,” Jason cursed running a hand through his hair obviously agitated. “Ray won’t shut up about Spencer.”
“The rookie from Green team?” Tony asked and when he got a nod, he just gave a quiet hum in return as he turned his gaze back to the water.
“Sounds like you have thoughts too,” Jason bitched, and Tony chewed on the inside of his cheek for a few moments trying to decide if he wanted to interfere. Being on base, it was nearly impossible not to get dragged into the gossip that went around. So, Tony was fully informed on Clay Spencer and the footsteps of his father that the younger man was trying to fill.
Word around the base was that Ash Spencer was the tip-top of what a SEAL could be, or he was before he decided to become a media darling. Most people couldn’t seem to decide if they hated Clay because he was daring to try to, what they perceived as, follow in his father’s footsteps. Or, if they hated him because Ash let them down and he wasn’t around for them to focus their hatred towards. Tony and Seeley though had spent quite a long-time discussing Clay with Matt Simmons one evening, and the thing they all agreed on was there was more to the kid than his cocky attitude.
“I know a mask when I see it, Jason,” Tony finally offered quietly after taking a deep cleansing breath. “I’ve worn one since I was 8 years old, and my mother died. I use immature jokes and a chameleon personality. Clay uses arrogance and aloofness. He acts like he doesn’t need anyone because he doesn’t think he has anyone else. The thing is that he’s probably told himself that he’s the only person he needs, so long that there’s probably a part of Clay that believes it.
“What that kid needs, Jason Hayes, is you. He needs you to get in his face because you give a shit about him. He needs Bravo team to show him why having family is so important. He needs people that he can learn to let his guard down around and just be him, whomever he decides Clay Spencer is. That kid is smart. Jason. Really damned smart, and you and I both know, even though you’re being a stubborn ass about it, that he can go far as a SEAL. That’s not gonna happen though unless he has the right person leading him.
“Even if he did manage to not get Bravo and still succeed as a SEAL, the second he gets out he’ll be done. He’ll be a statistic somewhere or a case on my fucking desk. You look at him and see his father just like everyone else. From what I see in his file though, Ash Spencer wasn’t around enough to mold that kid into anyone. He needs someone he can look up to. Someone that will mentor him and make him understand that relationship isn’t temporary, but forever.”
“Jesus, Paddington, am I recruiting a SEAL or a kid?”
“Both,” Tony said quietly and seriously making Jason pause. The smart comment he was about to let fly never making it out of his mouth. “You’re getting both because that’s what that kid needs, and once he’s Bravo you aren’t gonna let up until he knows you’re more than just his Team Leader.”
“You seem pretty confident of a lot of things I haven’t agreed to Special Agent in Charge,” Jason griped, and Tony just grinned before bumping their shoulders together.
“How is everything else going? We haven’t had much time to talk since Nate died. How are you doing with that?”
Tony watched as Jason stood up and paced away before moving to a nearby point where he could lean on the railing and look out at the ocean. “I keep thinking about Nate and this kid that everyone wants me to take, and envisioning this punk kid taking Nate’s spot on the team.”
“He’s not taking Nate’s spot,” Tony countered with a frown as he fought to stay seated. He was wishing that Seeley was there and not off somewhere chasing Fletcher Pearce, their latest scumbag. The whole best-laid plans and shit definitely described the Office of the Director case.
Pearce had been on Tony and Seeley’s top 5 most wanted list for three years now, and Tony knew that there was no way his brother and friend was gonna stay home when the news of the sighting came from Interpol. Fortunately, there were a lot more people now to look after Parker, and the pre-teen didn’t need as much attention as he had at 5 years old when Seeley started his new job.
“And stop changing the subject. I asked about you, not the team. If you wanna talk about the team instead of yourself that’s fine but say so. Stop dodging.”
“Maybe it’s none of your goddamned business,” Jason snapped back, running a hand over the top of his head before beginning to rub his thigh, a nervous tick that Tony noticed he had when he was agitated or uncertain.
“There’s that Second B coming out, Hayes,” Tony threw back before taking a deep breath, then standing, moved to lean close to where the SEAL was leaning, only facing him.
“I know I’m not Seeley, and I know that we haven’t actually decided to do this thing that’s between us. We’re in this weird are we gonna or aren’t we gonna early stage. I do know this though. You can bullshit your team. You can bullshit the Navy shrinks, but you can’t bullshit me. I spent nearly a decade with a man consumed by grief so old it woulda been in high school.
“I also know a thing or two about masks as I said earlier. Everyone has them. Everyone uses them. I made a living using them and needing to recognize them. So, how are you doing? I’ve lost teammates. I’ve even had them die right next to me. Had bits of the brains and blood and skull of one sprayed over me once when she was shot in the head, and I can tell you I wasn’t ok for a long time. I’m worried about you, and I want you to know I’m here if you need me.”
Tony wasn’t sure he’d reached him when Jason’s laser stare remained fully focused on the vast span of ocean stretched out in front of them. It wasn’t until the quiet forced words began that he knew he’d made the right decision on calling Jason on his diversion attempt.
“It’s my responsibility to bring them home alive. Mine. Everyone keeps telling me that it’s not my fault and that I couldn’t have done anything. That doesn’t do much for the wife or the son that he left behind. I’m supposed to find a way. I’m supposed to make sure they all make it back to their families, and I failed.”
“You’re not Superman, Jason. Even without being allowed to read all the mission details, I still know that you did everything you could to get him back. When you couldn’t do that alive though, you made sure that his widow and his child had a body to bury. Not all of them do. That being said, I get it, but you have to find a way to forgive yourself for this, Jason, or it will eat you alive. You certainly can’t use this as an excuse why Clay Spencer doesn’t belong on the team.
“You can’t use Nate as a reason not to take Clay if he’s the best candidate for Bravo Team. You certainly can’t take all your grief and your anger about Nate out on Clay. It was bad enough that you were blaming him for shit his father did.”
Tony watched Jason’s elbows spread and his head dip until it was nearly touching the wood of the railing. “You’ve had two big blows close together, Jason. Even if you and Alana had been separated for a while, you were still married and have been friends since you were kids. Now one of your men dies under your charge, and it’s gotta feel like the world is caving in on you. I just want you to know that if you need a hand to help pull you out of the hole or a light in the dark, I’m here.
“Whether it’s for you to yell at or cry on or just sit in silence and stare at the wall. I’m here.”
Eventually, Jason nodded, and Tony took a chance at reaching out to rest a hand on the man’s back, relieved when the SEAL shuffled closer to lean their bodies together. Jason wasn’t going to be ok today or even tomorrow, but Tony was determined that it would happen, and he’d do everything he could to ensure it.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Tony was sitting in his office reviewing yet more reports, feeling like all he did anymore was review reports when he became aware of someone coming into his desk and throwing themselves into one of the chairs in front of him.
Lifting his gaze off his screen without moving his head, Tony noticed Jason sitting in front of him, arms crossed over his chest, an obvious sign of a Jason snit. Not one to indulge temper tantrums though, Tony forced himself to focus on the reports he was finishing, and the Director needed. It was only when he was done that, he lifted his gaze and arched an eyebrow at Hayes.
“Having a snit are we, Master Chief?” Tony asked leaning back in his chair and picking up his water bottle to take a drink as Jason did his best to glare Tony into submitting to something known only to him.
“The fucking strap killed our HVT,” Jason snapped angrily. “If he can’t follow simple mission parameters then he has no place on our team.”
“Fine, don’t take him,” Tony said not in the mood to continuously indulge a man in his early 40s in his temper tantrum. “I am sure Alpha will be thrilled to have him. Aiden has gushed quite a few times about the possibility of having Clay on their team since you seem to be hellbent on being a dumbass. Although, I am curious, did you even talk to Clay about what happened? Why he shot the guy that you were to bring in alive? Or did you just immediately throw a Master Chief-sized temper tantrum to put the strap in his place? My guess is that you were just an asshole and didn’t listen to a thing Clay tried to tell you.”
Jason stood and turned to leave, but just before he left the room, Tony steepled his fingers together, resting his elbows on his desk and tapping his forefingers to his chin. “I’m curious though why you keep coming to me to whine about this shit when you know what the fuck, I am gonna say.”
When Jason stopped and turned to glare at him again, Tony just arched an eyebrow before letting his hands fall to rest loosely curled together on his desktop.
“I mean, Seeley is in his office. He’s in quite the mood himself, and I am sure he would have been thrilled to share in a bitching session with you, as you know. His mood hasn’t improved since you saw him this morning. I am quite sure that he would have sat and listened and nodded along with your ranting, maybe even thrown a few insults Clay’s way as long as you let him pout about missing Pearce again even though he knew going there it would be a shot the length of the Grand Canyon that the creep was still in Paris.”
Jason just remained where he was merely shifting his body weight from one foot to the other. So, Tony decided to unleash some of his own frustrations and make his point clear. “And yet, here you are leaning in my doorway, knowing I wasn’t going to baby you and give you some bullshit, of course, your right, Master Chief All-Knowing, All-Seeing, All-Temper Tantrum throwing. So, either sit your ass down in my chair and act like an adult or go pout in Seeley’s office. He has a child the same age as you’re acting. He’s much better suited to humor you. All I have to offer are truths and facts.”
“You are seriously a pain in my ass,” Jason sniped moving back to sit down in the chair, but Tony just arched an eyebrow again unimpressed.
“And yet… you came back into my office instead of going to see Seeley.”
“Maybe I like the punishment,” Jason snarked, and Tony’s lips twitched as he rooted around for a file he’d been compiling and carefully not making digital.
“I don’t think our developing relationship is ready for your sexual kinks, Master Chief,” Tony shot back making sure to emphasize the word Master and let his voice grow slightly husky, earning himself a half glare half grin as Jason was forced to shift uncomfortably in his chair. Finally finding the folder he wanted, Tony held it out but didn’t immediately let go when Jason took hold of the other end.
“This stays here. The information in it stays between us. Some of it is public knowledge and some isn’t. I checked into him because you had concerns and I wanted to make sure that we weren’t just ignoring them. then later find out that you were right. Spoiler alert though, you aren’t.”
Jason huffed but finally pulled the folder out of Tony’s hand, but the SAC was happy to see that he did get up and close the office door before coming back and digging into the information in the folder.
“Remember when I said that Clay Spencer was smart? I wasn’t kidding. Just for reference, Einstein had an IQ of 160. The smartest man I have spent a decent amount of time around is a profiler at the BAU and a friend of mine. His IQ is 187. He also reads 20,000 words a minute and has an eidetic memory. Clay’s IQ is 172. John’s partner Rodney McKay likes to tell people he’s the smartest man on the planet. His IQ is 190. Clay Spencer’s is higher than Einstein, lower than Reid and McKay, but I would say he’s in some pretty fucking exclusive company.
“While my knowledge of genius’ is limited, I can tell you that the common theme amongst them is that they have a lower EQ or emotional intelligence than most people. That being said, from everything I have heard Clay is like a unicorn amongst smart people. He actually has the ability to be charming and witty when he feels comfortable.”
Tony paused long enough for Jason to look up from his folder and waited for Bravo One to nod his understanding before he continued. “Clay speaks at least 6 languages. I say at least because from what I have uncovered, those are just the ones he would count himself fluent in. He has a passing knowledge of several others, but either doesn’t read or write them or can read and write but not speak or some other combination. As someone who is multi-lingual, let me tell you that shit is hard, even if the languages are similar. I can speak four, but all of them I learned as a child.
“The second thing I learned is that Ash Spencer needs to be put in the Father of the Year… Not Club along with Senior, your father, and Seeley’s father. When Clay was six years old, Ash apparently got tired of having to deal with “his brat” when he was home and forced his wife to ship Clay off to her parents who lived in Liberia. Six, Jason. They shipped a first grader out of the country because Ash thought he was too loud.
“By the time Clay was 10 his mother was dead, and Ash had yet to come to see him. I was shipped off to Boarding School at 8. It wasn’t fun, but at least it was in the US. It wasn’t a foreign country where I didn’t understand the culture or speak the language. From what I have been able to gather, Clay’s grandparents, who were missionaries, were strict but loved him until they were murdered by local rebels when he was 16.
“When he came back to the US, Ash wasn’t any more interested in being a father, and Clay ended up in foster care until he could get himself emancipated. He joined the Navy the very day he turned 18, and word is that his dream right from the jump was to be a Tier One SEAL. I understand the drive. Aiden has had the same one, from what I understand, literally his entire life.
“Word on base is that most of his team doesn’t get along with him, other than Brian Armstrong, his best friend. Apparently, the two met in basic training way back when Clay was a pimple-faced 18-year-old and have managed to find their way back to each other in the 7-ish years that they’ve been serving. Coincidentally, Brian’s background isn’t much better than Clay’s. My guess is Brian understands Clay and Clay understands Brian. Although it’s unclear if Clay is even aware of Brian’s background.”
Pausing Tony waited for Jason’s reaction and was relieved to see the Master Chief both appeared to have calmed down and looked to be actually listening this time. Frankly, Tony could only hope that he was, because the more he learned about Clay, the more he wanted the kid on Bravo. Although, Aiden swore that if Jason didn’t take him, Scott would. Still, Tony’s gut said that kid needed Jason Hayes.
“Now, I’m not usually one to play the dick measuring game only with crappy fathers. In my opinion, there is no such thing as my childhood was worse than yours. They’re all hard in their own way, and who am I to say mine was worse or better than anyone else’s. However, I would like to tell you what it’s like being alone in the world.”
Again, he paused and waited for Jason to nod that he was listening before continuing. To buy himself some time, Tony nearly drained his water bottle before he began. “Maybe the reason I keep getting at you about Clay is that I see a lot of myself and my life in Clay’s Jason, and I know what it meant to me to find a Gunnery Sergeant who saw something in me.
“See, before I met Gibbs, had spent most of my life alone while surrounded by all these people. I was incredibly isolated until my mother died, and then Senior shipped a grieving child off to Boarding School. Then all of a sudden, I was surrounded by kids my age with lives and interests and all these things I didn’t understand. I was quiet and shy. I liked old black and white moves and reading books. I spoke four languages at 8 thanks to the rotating cooking staff at the family mansion.
“Everything I learned about friendship before I met Gibbs I learned from spoiled or abandoned rich kids, or in the locker rooms or my frat house at OSU. I’ve always had a ton of acquaintances but never a lot of friends, Jason. My old team hated me because they said I was juvenile, but that was the only way I understood how to act in some situations. The one serious relationship I had ended up leaving me at the altar because she got cold feet. Literally, at the altar, Jason.
“Senior disowned me at 12 because I embarrassed him by getting caught by the police in a hotel room in Maui that he abandoned me in when he forgot that he brought me. He stole my trust fund to run one of his scams. He refused to pay for my college education because I wouldn’t go into his so-called business. When he met anyone I knew, he would introduce himself as The Real Anthony DiNozzo. He’s a conman. He’s had enough wives to start his own WNBA team.
“I was an angry, isolated, and terribly lonely child who grew into a chameleon as an adult. I did undercover because I was more comfortable playing a role than being forced to be what others decided the real me was all the time. I was obnoxious. I was arrogant. I was incredibly good at my job. So good that I was the youngest Detective in Philadelphia PD history, and took down the Malcuso family. Any of this sound familiar?”
“I don’t know if I’m more mind blown that you worked in my hometown, or you’re the one who took down The Don. My mother talked about it for months. She’ll be demanding to meet you.”
“Well, as long as it isn’t in Philly, then I am willing. I’d rather not die, and because the Don loves me, he refuses to kill me unless I go back to Philly.”
“Wait, he likes you? You put him in prison.” Jason gaped and Tony almost giggled.
“We exchange Christmas cards. He still says I’m his favorite son and is sure someday I’ll come back home to run The Family.”
“Oh my God, you make my brain hurt,” Jason moaned rubbing his temples, and Tony just smirked.
“I hope that isn’t all that you got out of that, Master Chief because, in my opinion, Clay Spencer needs you,” Tony said his voice husky from emotion. Annoyed, he shifted his gaze out the window next to his door that he used to watch the bullpen. It wasn’t until Tony was sure that he had himself under control that he continued.
“People question my relationship with Gibbs all the time. For years at NCIS, they called me his Loyal Saint Bernard. They assumed that I was nothing more than his yes man. I got nothing but crap because I did my fucking job and I stayed loyal even when it was hard and really not fun. The thing is though that despite how Team Gibbs ended, Leroy Jethro Gibbs gave me a lot in my life.
“He taught me things that most kids learn from their fathers or parents. He cared about me, even if it was in his own way. I fucking hated head slaps, but I understood what they meant. I hated that he didn’t respect my place in the chain of command, but I also understood that for him sometimes he needed the team to be his family more than his team. Sometimes for himself and sometimes for me.
“Then, when I found my real family, and everything at NCIS imploded, he didn’t kick me to the curb, saying his job was over. He followed me, Jason. He picked me over his substitute daughters twice in Ziva’s case. To this day he’s a part of my life. Fuck he lives in our fucking beach mansion and has some, are they or aren’t they, thing going on with my Papà.
“Clay needs that badly, and I doubt that he understands it. Because I sure as fuck didn’t before Gibbs rescued me. I was serious when I said that you were getting a SEAL and a kid, Jason. Because if you don’t save Clay, then he’s not gonna make it. As much as I respect Full Metal, I don’t see him being able to fill a hole in Clay’s life that is perfectly Jason Hayes shaped.”
“I don’t know how to forget Nate,” Jason said quietly rubbing his thigh anxiously. “I keep looking at his name in the list I keep on my phone of all the men I’ve lost over the years. I’m afraid to get attached to this kid, and then have the world yank him away from me, Tony. I don’t think I can survive another one.”
Tony took a deep breath and slowly let it out, hearing what Jason was saying. “But what if that never happens? What if Clay has a long, successful career? What if years from now, people look back at your career, and they see him at the forefront of your legacy.
“What if they stand around and bitch about him being a Mini-Jason. Another pain in the ass who thinks he knows everything and never follows the rules, but for some reason, his men would run through walls of fire for him. What if you are that thing that changes his whole life, and at the same time, maybe Clay will bring something to yours that you don’t even realize you need yet.”
“What’s that?” Jason asked softly, and Tony had to take a deep breath weighing his words in his mind before speaking.
“A responsibility bigger than Bravo Team that no one else can fulfill.”
At Jason’s sharp intake of breath, Tony knew he’d struck a blow. When the Master Chief eventually nodded, then stood and left, giving the door jamb a tap on his way out, Tony could only hope that he didn’t push things too far.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Several weeks later, Tony was in the music room housed in a room in his wing, listening to the party going on in the Entertainment Room. Bravo Team and Alpha Team were in there celebrating their new rookies Clay Spencer and Brian Armstrong respectively. There had been a close call with Brian that could have ended up in death.
During a training mission, Armstrong’s primary parachute hadn’t opened. When he’d pulled the cord for the secondary chute, it hadn’t opened immediately either, but fortunately, had opened just in time to save the young trainee from certain death. Instead, he’d ended up with only minor injuries thankfully.
It was the investigation into that accident that had Tony hiding in his music room instead of out with the teams. He wasn’t sure he could look at Clay and Brian, knowing what he did. Worse yet, he wasn’t sure he could look at them suspecting what he did but couldn’t prove.
“I thought for sure that you’d be partying with us gloating that I took all of your advice and wisdom.”
Tony turned around on the piano bench to see Jason leaning against the wall, the door shut. He was surprised that he hadn’t heard the man coming in. While the music room and the entertainment area weren’t close, the party going on was loud enough that he thought he would have heard the volume increase. Although he had been in a zone trying to forget the things he knew and suspected.
“I was hoping that there would be enough celebrating going on that you wouldn’t notice I wasn’t there. I’m pretty sure my mood would just bring everyone down.”
“Does this have something to do with why Seeley keeps looking at Clay and Brian like he’s seeing ghosts?”
“He could be if things had gone differently,” Tony reminded smashing the keys angrily and then stroking them gently with his fingers as if asking for forgiveness.
“The chute thing was an accident, right? Are you saying that it wasn’t?” Jason asked and Tony leaned forward letting his elbows rest on the small lip in front of the keys. His head in his hands.
“Jason, let’s talk about this Monday, ok? We’ll explain. Just enjoy this.”
“Something is going on,” Jason pushed, and Tony could hear him moving as he watched the SEAL’s reflection in the glass until he was standing between Tony and the window. “Something is going on with one of my men, and I want to know what it is.”
“Two weeks ago, you hated the kid, now you’re demanding answers? Just let it rest, for now, Jason.”
“I want to know what’s going on!”
“Jesus Christ you’re a stubborn ass!” Tony shouted and stood shoving the bench back with the backs of his knees before pacing away then back closer to the piano. Stopping to look at Hayes wearily.
“You knew this about me already when you convinced me to take the kid,” Jason reminded frankly, and Tony rolled his eyes heavenward.
“I’m gonna regret that for the rest of my life because you’re never going to let me forget it.”
“Does that mean that you plan on me being in your life for the rest of it? Don’t think that I’m letting you distract me, by the way. I want to know what the deal is with Clay and Brian.”
Tony let out a loud growl tossing his hands in the air before closing his eyes and counting to 10 in the four languages he knew. “I think I want you in my life for the rest of it, although it’s moments like this that make me question the wisdom of it. This is your last chance Master Chief. It’s my recommendation that you wait till Monday, but if you want to know I will tell you.”
“What’s going on with Clay?” Jason repeated like a broken record, and Tony just sighed, hanging his head before answering.
“The parachute accident wasn’t an accident,” Tony replied softly as he moved back to sit down heavily on the piano bench.
“A member of Charlie Team’s Support Team was arrested tonight on the charges of attempted murder of one Clay Spencer. It was just dumb luck that Brian got the chute, not Clay. Apparently, Clay was supposed to have that one, but they were messing around, and it seems they didn’t realize that they’d each grabbed the wrong ones.
“Krzysztof Bauer said that it was a disgrace that Clay was allowed to become a SEAL, and at first tried to play it off like he was disgruntled by the book that Ash wrote. However, Nick and Dean felt like something was off, and kept pushing him. Eventually, he said that Clay was an ungrateful son who didn’t deserve to wear the trident with how he treats his father. He said that Ash Spencer was a legend and Clay wasn’t fit to lick his boots.”
“So, Ash has a rabid fan that went after Clay?” Jason questioned, a frown marring his handsome face with age lines. “I mean, that’s horrible, but I feel like there’s more.”
“You never give up do you,” Tony growled frustrated, and Jason just shrugged a shoulder.
“Again, you already knew this about me. Just spit the rest of it out, will you?”
“We had to question Ash Spencer after we found out the reason Krzysztof did it to see if he had any interaction with the man.”
“I’m not liking where this is going.”
“Let’s just say that our interview ended up with Senior Chief Spencer saying that we couldn’t prove he’d tried to kill his son and that Clay would never believe it.”
“Sonofabitch,” Hayes breathed, turning to look out the window instead of at Tony.
“I told you that you should wait till Monday.”
“What’s being done?” Jason asked, and Tony guessed he was watching him through the glass.
“Senior Chief Spencer would be right,” Tony said quietly and knew Jason would hear how unhappy and frustrated he was by his tone. “We can’t prove it. We tried goddamned hard, but Spencer, as distasteful as he is, was damned good at being a SEAL, which taught him just enough about avoiding detection that nothing we came up with was definitive.”
“So, he’s getting away with it?” Jason asked quietly as he turned to put his back to the wall before sliding down to sit on the floor.
“I’ve been trying to figure out what the fuck to do with my suspicions the entire flight back from Los Angeles. Seeley says we have to tell the kid what I suspect, but I just… Sometimes I hate my fucking job, Jason. I hate the ability to put myself in people’s shoes. Right now, I hate that I know Clay Spencer so fucking intimately without having met him beyond incident interviews because Senior was a horrible father, but at least he never tried to have me killed.”
“I’ll do it,” Jason said quietly, and Tony frowned down him.
“Jason,” Tony started but didn’t get far, because he was quickly cut off by a hand, held up in the air.
“It’s my job, Tony. He’s one of my men. Not only does he need to know, but Bravo and Alpha need to know the truth. Since they’re all staying here in the bunk room downstairs, I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll fill in Clay and Carter, then Metal and I will fill in the rest of the two teams. Clay is ours. This is a Team thing now, and Ash Spencer is no longer part of the brotherhood. I’ll do it.”
Not knowing what to do, Tony had sought out the one person he always looked to when he got stuck on a case. After explaining the whole incident to Gibbs, his mentor and former Boss had just shaken his head and told Tony that he wouldn’t have to do a thing.
“It isn’t somethin’ that you’re gonna understand, Paddington. Not saying that to insult you, just… somethings can’t be fully understood unless you’ve been in the mud and the dirt, bleeding and sweating and sure you’re about to die with someone. Spencer may not have all that with his new team yet, but I guarantee you there’s no way Hayes is letting you be the one to tell his rookie what his father tried to do. Ash Spencer was a SEAL. The brotherhood will close around that kid and protect him. Ain’t your job this time.”
“OK,” Tony conceded echoing his understanding of what Gibbs had been trying to tell him. “Let me know if I can do anything.”
Jason nodded but stayed where he was. Eventually, Tony turned his attention back to the piano, and let the music flow in an attempt to soothe them both.
End Note: I write fanfiction for fun. It’s a hobby and a stress relief. I refuse to angst over my writing. What you see is what you get. Errors, plot holes, and all. Thank you for reading my story!