Chapter Three: The Advantage of Friendship
When Saturday came, it was decided that it was too risky for Tony to go to the Y and play ball like normal. So, instead, FBI agents Seeley Booth and Derek Morgan were invited over for a lunch cookout. They were the ones Tony wanted to see the most, and there was an offer that needed to be made to first Seeley, and then Derek if Seeley turned it down anyway. Things with the case were heating up, and there was a growing concern that an extra level of protection needed to be added for Tony.
Hearing the doorbell, Tony moved to the townhouses’ inner courtyard, which was off of the kitchen, where they would be hanging out. Tony wasn’t allowed to answer the door. The security risk was, again, determined to be too high. So, instead, Patrick or David, who had come up for the weekend to help, would do it. Wandering into the kitchen, after determining that the grill was hot enough, Tony was trying to decide between the chicken breast and a burger for Derek when he heard said friend call his name.
“In here!” He hollered turning slightly. “Der, burger or chicken breast today?”
“Chicken breast, man. Thanks.” The BAU profiler answered leaving Tony to decide if he should just cook everything that way it was ready for Patrick and David when they were ready to eat or not. Having decided to just cook it all and make dinner prep easier, Tony was just putting the needed meat on a platter when he felt his friends enter the room behind him.
“Hey guys,” Tony greeted and turning gave his two friends fist bumps before grabbing the platter and heading out to the grill. “There’s beer, bottles of tea, water, and pop in the fridge. Feel free to grab what you need and come on out. We’ll eat at the patio table.”
Tony put the chicken breasts on the grill first knowing that they’d need to cook longer and placed the burgers in the outdoor mini fridge before wandering back over glad to see Seeley had grabbed an extra bottle of tea for him.
“I guessed,” Seeley mentioned, and Tony gave him a nod of thanks as he sat down between them at the round table.
“So, what the hell is going on over at NCIS, man?” Derek questioned, and Tony smirked at how Seeley just rolled his eyes at their friend’s impatience.
“Way to let him bring it up, Derek. I thought we came to an agreement.”
“You came to an agreement,” Derek shot back with a laugh. “I don’t see any need to treat him like a delicate flower when we don’t even know it has anything to do with him.”
Seeley huffed and Tony just snorted again as he just barely managed to swallow his tea instead of spewing it all over the table. “I’m afraid it has everything to do with me,” Tony replied before Seeley could making Booth look smug and Derek pout.
“So, what’s going on then?” Seeley asked leaning forward, resting his forearms on the table edge looking concerned. “Can you say?”
“Yeah,” Tony assured, as he started picking at the label on his bottle with his thumbnail, “but only because I have an offer for you two.”
“Well Seeley first, because he’s the easiest to pull from his normal routine. Derek is the second choice if Seeley says no. I mean, Der will be the backup if Seeley says yes, anyway. I mean, not that I think Seeley will say no, but he could, and I mean I don’t blame him. It’s a huge mess. But…”
“Tone, you’re rambling, man,” Derek pointed out leaning back in his chair trying to look calm and collected as opposed to Seeley who just looked more intense.
“Ok, so I assume you two heard about the DJ that was killed in a shooting during his radio broadcast? He’d been talking about the Navy when he was killed? Well, MCRT was called in to investigate. For a while, we thought we were dealing with a terrorist cell, which I mean it was. It was just a home-grown terrorist group, not a foreign terrorist cell that had gotten into the country.
“So, I was in Royal Woods getting voice samples because we’d managed to trace the call to that neighborhood. Ziva and McGee were supposed to be in the car as my backup listening in.”
“Wait, you did all of Royal Woods alone?” Derek interrupted at the same time that Seeley butted in as well.
“Wait, you said supposed to.”
Tony huffed at them both and waited till his friends had held up their hands in apology before continuing. “Yes, alone. Yes, I said supposed to. At some point early into me getting voice prints, Ziva got tired of listening to my voice. When she told McGee to do something about it because she didn’t wanna listen to me and ordered him to turn off the sound, he did it.”
“They turned off your coms while you were in the field alone getting voice prints of possible terrorists because that bitch was tired of your voice?” Morgan growled as Booth just looked at Tony narrow eyed.
“Tony,” Seeley started then stopped, took a drink of his tea, and tried again. “That’s… I don’t have words for how corrupt that is! Please tell me you’re leaving that jackass agency! What the hell are they doing about it?”
“What he said,” Derek growled, and Tony played with his tea bottle making water rings on the tabletop glass, wishing he had a glass of ice and considering getting up to get one. Saying he’d be right back, Tony got up and headed inside getting three glasses of ice along with more bottles of drinks before coming back and distributing things before sitting down.
“When I went to the Director about it because I wasn’t sure Gibbs would believe me even with evidence, he told me that maybe I shouldn’t dish it out if I couldn’t take it. Abby told me to suck it up and stop being a baby. I don’t know what McGee thinks. I was too worried that big brain of his would start thinking about me pushing things and then the evidence disappearing before someone could get their hands on it.
“So, I just finished the case. Fortunately, thanks to getting upwards of 43 voice prints my voice gave out and I was pretty much desk-bound for the rest of the case. Which of course didn’t bother Ziva any because in her mind she got to take what she perceives as her rightful place at Gibbs’ side, while Ducky had me confined to my desk with orders not to talk.”
Pausing, Tony poured his tea over the ice watching the brown of the tea combine with the little bit of water that had gathered in the bottom of the glass as the ice melted. “You didn’t go to Gibbs?” Seeley asked gently as Derek had moved to mirror Seeley’s position leaning his forearms against the table.
Laughing humorlessly Tony rubbed his face vigorously then clenched his hands in his hair as he tried to wrap his mind around the whole Gibbs thing. “No, and given what has happened since then with Gibbs, I am not sure if I am happy or aggravated that I didn’t go to him first. Papà says that it’s not something to fuss over but…”
Seeley and Derek both started to ask questions but stopped when Tony blew air out his lips pressed together making a frustrated noise as he tried to settle his mind and emotions. “I know you have questions, but seriously. I need you two to listen and just… I gotta get through this.
“The day the case ended I talked to Abby and Vance right away and as I said basically got told to suck it up buttercup. So, that night when I went home, I called Brad because my voice was still shot. As both of you know, he acts as my general physician at times for things I don’t wanna take to my normal doctor despite the fact that it isn’t his normal field of practice.”
Tony shifted in his chair, and wanted to get up to pace, but instead settled for letting his knee bounce as he played with the label on the empty tea bottle. “I explained the situation to him, and he put me on sick leave to buy me some time. So, the next morning, I went to Patrick and just admitted to being a crappy son and asked for his help. I want you both to know he basically told me to stop it and we’re working on being closer. I assume you’ve noticed I’ve taken to calling him Papà. It seems I have two Italian grandmothers, one being his mother. So, he likes it.
“Yes, there will be consequences. We’ve hired AJ Chegwidden to be my attorney, and apparently, he’s also my uncle. So, he’s like my Attorney Uncle. Asst. Dir. Evans has this whole team put together to investigate. They’ve already served NCIS with subpoenas for the evidence, and Abby was caught red-handed trying to alter the voice file to take out the incriminating bits by Ziva and McGee. Not only that, but she punched Ian Edgerton when he stepped in as she was going off on Raven. So, Abby’s been arrested for Assaulting a Federal Agent on top of whatever else they find.”
Deciding he didn’t give a fuck, Tony stood and paced to the grill where he flipped the chicken and added the burgers. When done, he moved into the kitchen and poked at the salads he’d made stirring the anti-pasta salad and the potato salad before putting them both back in the fridge. He then checked on the strawberries for the shortcake and decided they were looking perfectly juicy before placing them back in the fridge.
Feeling a hand on his shoulder, Tony threw a half-smile at Seeley before moving back into the courtyard noticing Derek on his phone texting someone. Taking a deep breath and thanking Seeley for the extra ice he’d brought and added to his glass, Tony topped off his tea and started back in to finish off his crazy tale.
“Ziva is in the wind. We don’t know where she is. As far as we know she’s still in the US. Apparently, she and Abby were having some kind of sexual relationship. They found her alone at Abby’s apartment, but since they weren’t expecting her, she got away. Elijah has a huge knot on his head from where Ziva hit him with something. We’re damned lucky he only has a mild concussion. McGee is… McGee.
“He bitched and of course protested saying he didn’t do anything wrong but didn’t hit anyone. So, he’s been ordered to stay at home. Vance is fuming and is probably in deep shit. He’s under investigation for several things including the possibility that he isn’t really Leon Vance. I don’t know what’s going on there. I just know it’s pretty hush-hush and it’s all a big FUBAR. Gibbs umm…”
Tony stopped and took a deep breath letting it out slowly before he started and when Derek put a hand on his forearm, he flashed his friend a grateful smile. “Turns out Gibbs was the one person I should have trusted. Morrow and Rabb and your Asst. Dir. Evans are all involved in this fiasco. Morrow and Rabb went to see Gibbs to figure out if we could trust him or not, and Boss had a fuckin’ heart attack while they were confronting him. Sonofabitch apparently made me his Legal Next of Kin and Medical Power of Attorney.
“So, he trusted me with his life when I didn’t even have the faith to trust him with my co-workers’ betrayal. Papà says that I need to let it go but…”
“He’d be right,” Seeley confirmed equally as gently as Derek had, resting a hand on Tony’s other forearm, joining the profiler’s sign of support. “I’m glad to hear that you finally feel comfortable enough with Patrick you could go to him, but despite the fact that he’s your father you and Gibbs have nearly a decade of history. A lot of that being really good with the two of you sharing a close almost brother-like relationship. No matter what things have been like recently, there’s a lot there to unpack and sift through. I can’t imagine anyone blaming you for being conflicted over Gibbs. I assume there’s more though?”
Tony nodded and after offering a quick thanks proceeded. “Gibbs basically told Morrow and Rabb that he’d pick me every time before they had to take him to the hospital. So, he’s on our side. I haven’t actually been able to go see him yet because they think it’s too risky. I was there the night he had his heart attack, but they herded me out as soon as we got answers, which means I never got to see him.
“Eli David is already making quiet threats, and AJ doesn’t expect it will stay quiet much longer. So, I am being moved to the family estate that has a lot more security, but they still want me to have some kind of bodyguard. With everything going on, they let me give opinions, and I said you two. Asst. Dir. Evans thought that it would be easier to pull Seeley. So, Booth, you’re first on the list, but Derek they said you’ll still be needed so Seeley can get days off and stuff. Plus, if things get worse, they might do a rotation thing. I just… I know you guys have your own cases and things. I don’t…”
“Nothin’ to decide man,” Derek quickly assured with a shake of his head. “In fact, in my opinion, two would be better from the start. It isn’t like I don’t have a whole team that I work with. I mean, I know Seeley has his team at the Smithsonian, but strategically I think two right from the start would be better and then add more if needed. Either way though, I’m in.”
“I agree with Derek,” Seeley agreed throwing in his support. “Two would be better than one. What is the family estate’s security like? Like Derek, though I am in, either way, man. It’s good timing, too. Things with Bones have been, well let’s just say I’m ready for a break. Been thinking of a change of scenery myself.”
Tony arched an eyebrow but remained quiet. The subject of Seeley’s relationship with the archaeologist was touchy on the best of days. Tony had something of a love/hate feeling going on when it came to her. He honestly didn’t think she meant to keep Booth all twisted up inside. That didn’t help the fact that it kept happening though. Frankly, as far as Tony was concerned, if he needed a change, so did the former Army sniper.
“Well, you know how I feel about that situation. So, I’m not going to poke on what seems to be an open wound. You know I am happy to have you throw your hat into the ring with me man. Derek? How are things at the BAU.”
Derek held up his hands with a grin. “Sorry boys. I am perfectly happy where I am. I wanna help with this situation though, and I know Hotch will get it. He understands how important friends and family are. I think maybe we need to talk to whoever is in charge here about both me and Seeley being placed on your security detail. Then go from there. I’m not taking any chances with your life QB1. Mossad isn’t anything to mess around with.”
Nodding, Tony closed his eyes and let the emotions run their course as he tried to breathe deeply and calm himself again. Frankly, both Asst. Dir. Evans and Asst. Dir. Morrow had wanted a minimum of two people if not more assigned to Tony’s protection, but he had argued otherwise not wanting to be such a large disruption. The move to the family estate and staying away from Gibbs’ hospital room were the compromises he’d agreed to, to get the single protection.
This whole thing was a mess, and much more than Tony wanted to have to deal with. Gibbs’ heart attack had taken some of the wind out of his sails and in its place left him frustrated and hurt. It would be nice though to have his friends with him. He trusted them both with his life, and at the moment the list of people he trusted in that area was much smaller than it normally was.
“OK, but I want you both to know I need you to figure out a way that I can get in to see Gibbs before we move to the estate. I just… I don’t think any of them understand how much I need to see him.” Tony finally agreed looking first to Seeley and then Derek who both nodded.
“We’ll figure out somethin’ man. No worries. We’ll get you in to see your Boss, then get you the hell out of dodge before fuckin’ Eli and his evil spawn find you.” Derek grumbled with Seeley nodding his agreement.
Settling back in his chair, Tony ran his hands over his face and went along with the topic change as Seeley shifted the conversation to the upcoming weekend’s college football games. At some point, Tony asked about how Seeley’s cousin, who was a Navy SEAL, was and the talk shifted to the team’s latest exploits. Apparently, the team had recently gotten a hotheaded rookie from Texas that was getting on Jason’s last nerve. Seeley though found the whole thing hilarious and enjoyed his favorite relatives’ misery at being assigned responsibility for the newest member.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
It was around 3AM as Tony made his way through the hospital corridors on his way to Gibbs’ room. Along with Seeley and Morgan were a couple of Morrow’s most trusted agents from Homeland, which everyone involved agreed would probably be the best temporary addition for the visit. NCIS was out of the question for obvious reasons. No one knew who they could trust at that point, and while Hotchner had offered his assistance, he had a young child at home. After the Unit Chief’s bout with Foyet, Tony was reluctant to run the risk of Mossad setting their sights on Hotchner.
At some point in the process, SecDef had gotten involved, and General Hamilton had assigned a team of SEALs to do the outside protection at the family estate while Tony was there. Seeley had been a little disappointed that his cousin’s team wasn’t the one chosen but they were one of the Navy’s top SEAL teams. Tony wasn’t surprised that they were needed for a more serious situation somewhere else.
Tony was personally horrified and embarrassed that a team of SEALS had been assigned to his protection and thought it was overkill but got outvoted when he voiced his objection. Seeley eventually pointed out that there was a hell of a lot of ass-covering going on at the moment. He also pointed out that no one wanted to be blamed for something else happening to Tony. Derek had also pointed out that with this fiasco wrapped up in a domestic terrorism case, surely someone had voiced the question as to if they were sure what had happened wasn’t in some way connected to the Military at Home group responsible for the shooting.
As they stopped at Gibbs’ hospital room, Tony waited for one of the Homeland agents to check the room before Tony headed inside with Derek and Seeley. The two Homeland agents would be left outside the door to check anyone trying to get in. The nurse at the desk assured them that none of the staff should be trying to enter as they’d just finished their rounds. That was unless one of the alarms went off signaling their patient needed their attention.
Once inside the room, Tony stood looking at the bed not surprised to see tired blue eyes watching him. “You gonna just stand there and stare at me, Paddington?” Gibbs finally bitched quietly prompting Tony to move to his bedside.
“Sorry, Boss,” Tony offered once he’d stopped to stand resting his arms on the bedrails. “I mean, I know I’m a pain in the ass, but I never thought I’d give you a heart attack.”
Gibbs just rolled his eyes, and Tony saw one of his hands twitch he guessed longing to head slap him. “This ain’t your fault. None of this is your fault, Tony.” Gibbs insisted quietly and obviously tiredly.
“Both my regular doctor and Ducky have been bitching at me for years to make changes. Less coffee and more vegetables. Less stress and more sleep. That sort of shit. I just was too damned stubborn to listen, and it caught up to me.”
“Well, Patrick is already working on converting one of the guest houses at the family estate for you to recover in,” Tony informed and watched his boss frown at him.
“Don’t have to do that, Paddington,” Gibbs objected looking away for a moment then back to Tony. “Don’t deserve it.”
Tony huffed quietly when he heard a muttered, “Jesus does that sound familiar,” from behind him and took a second to flip off Derek before continuing.
“Look, can we just not do this thing where we both spill blood in an attempt to prove who fucked up the worst? The fact is I could have complained more to you over the years about the BS. I also could have and should have come to you directly instead of going to Vance. You could have backed me up more and supported my role as your Senior Field Agent instead of treating me like just another member of the pack. We didn’t though. So, here we are and all we can do is move forward.”
“When’d you get so smart?” Gibbs joked, and Tony just smirked as he offered a slight shrug.
“Patrick isn’t one for pulling his punches much, which you will find out for yourself.”
“I’m already well aware,” Gibbs grumbled, and Tony grinned remembering they’d already met.
“I forgot! You already had the Patrick Sheppard Lecture experience. Well, I doubt that this will be your last experience. I am sure he’s already working one up in his head about how you ignored your health issues. I mean, he would have been where you are if he hadn’t listened to his doctors. So, he’s pretty unforgiving there. Sucks to be you, Boss.”
“I think I liked you better when you hated me, Paddington,” Gibbs grumbled, and Tony just grinned at him.
“No such luck! So, look, I’m worried about Mossad and specifically Ziva realizing that she could use you as a target against me. We can’t really move you out of the hospital yet though. So, until you’re ready to move to the estate, Tom’s picked some of his top agents and they’re gonna rotate on a protection detail at your door. For once you’re gonna just accept it and not bitch about it. I can’t…
“I have a million things going on right now, Boss. I mean, it isn’t like I made my association with the Sheppards a secret. It was a really big deal when we found out Senior wasn’t my father, and Ziva and Abby are still giving me shit about abandoning the asshole. So, I had David to get protection for. Charlie has to have a protection detail, and the kids had to be removed from their private daycare thing and they have to be kept at home until further notice and how do you explain that to five-year-olds?
“Dad took a leave of absence from SI to stay at the estate and if he leaves it, he has to take some of the SEALs assigned to the protection detail with him. The person over John’s assignment had to be read in, whoever that is. They decide he and his Rodney just aren’t allowed to come home until things are settled. Aiden’s CO had to be informed and they’re talking about whether it’s safe to let him start his SEAL training. Even though it’s all he’s ever wanted. I’ve roped two of the closest friends I have into protecting me. So, if something happens one of them could die and it’ll be my fault.”
“Paddington!” Gibbs barked then let his head drop to the pillow, eyes closed. Eventually, he opened them back up and looked at Tony with a glare. “This isn’t your fault. Don’t make me say that bullshit again. This is on Ziva and McGee for turning off the coms. It’s on Abby for trying to cover shit up and punching a damned FBI agent. It’s on Vance for disregarding all agency policies to try and cover it up. None of that in any way is your fault.”
“I’m not even surprised you’re up to date on everything going on,” Tony sighed ignoring the grumble from Derek that they’d only said the same thing like 12 times. “Ok, I get it. I’ll work on letting it go.”
“Just, promise me you won’t fight the protection detail, Gibbs. OK? Ziva’s out there loose somewhere. While everyone has her picture, I don’t trust her. She has a history of running to you for help if daddy can’t get her out of her jam. I’m not risking you when it looks like we have a chance at resolving this mess between us. I mean, just because I found out I have an actual family doesn’t mean that you aren’t part of it suddenly. Unless you don’t wanna be.”
“Of course, I want to be,” Gibbs protested quickly. “I hate to ask because it sounds like you have too much on your plate already, but I’m concerned about dad being used against me if Ziva can’t get to me for help. I mean we just went through that bullshit with the Reynosa Cartel. I don’t want someone else going after him, and Ziva now is very well aware that he’s a vulnerability for me.”
Tony looked to Seeley who nodded before turning his attention back to Gibbs. “I’ll bring it up. I should have thought about it. My first thought is that he’ll be ok, but I’ll talk to the powers that be about sending someone or two down to protect him until this is over. If needed, I’ll call him and make sure he understands the threat is to me and that we’re just being careful. Jackson is awesome. I don’t want anything to happen to him.”
“Do you still have that sweater he gave you?” Gibbs asked, and Tony nodded smiling shyly.
“I do. I have it in this cedar chest I use to keep important things in I want to not lose. Does he know about the heart attack? I’m surprised he isn’t here.”
“Don’t wanna worry him,” Gibbs grumbled, and Tony rolled his eyes looking to the ceiling for patience.
“It’s recently been pointed out to me that good fathers love and worry about their children no matter what their relationship status is, Gibbs. You two may have fought, and I’m not taking sides in that. You both had your reasons for what happened at your girls’ funeral, but I’d say your dad cares about you a hell of a lot.
“At the very least he needs to be informed. Since I’m already calling him about the protection, I will fill him in on your heart attack and make sure he knows not to worry too much. You can’t just not tell him though, Gibbs. I mean, Jesus.”
“Fine, just do what you gotta do,” Gibb grumbled as his eyes fell shut before slowly opening again.
“You need your rest,” Tony observed and reaching out patted Gibbs’ arm. “We’re gonna go. Listen to your doctors and don’t give the nurses a hard time. Your protection detail will introduce themselves really quickly once we leave so you know their faces. I’m leaving those details to him. I’ll see you again once you’re moved to the estate. Until then, take care Gibbs, and you don’t have my permission either, damnit.”
“Got it,” Gibbs said slowly and tiredly but with a smile that said he understood the reference.
Tony then let himself be led out of the hospital noting the two Homeland agents slipping into the room as they left just as he’d expected. As he followed Seeley and Derek out of the building, his mind swirled like a whirlwind with all the things and people he was responsible for. He only hoped that he hadn’t forgotten anyone else.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
When Tony woke up later that day it was almost lunchtime. Given that it had been nearly dawn before they’d made it to the sprawling Sheppard Family Estate in Carolina County, Virginia by helicopter, he didn’t feel too bad about getting up so late. Yawning and scratching his stomach, he wandered out of his bedroom wondering where his friends were but didn’t get very far before spotting Seeley at the end of the hallway.
“Hey man, where’s Derek?” Tony asked motioning for his friend to follow him downstairs noting the gun on Booth’s hip.
“Sleeping,” Seeley explained as Tony made his way toward the kitchen to see what he could dig up to eat. “He took the first shift. We decided to each take a one man 8-hour shift and one shared 8 hour shift but rotating that way no one is always stuck with the whole overnight shift. Please tell me there’s coffee.”
“In this house, there is always coffee,” Patrick said as they stepped into the kitchen. “I even used the Keurig this morning for my decaf so that the rest of you can make full pots of caffeinated. Matilda made some chicken salad this morning, Antony. She also picked up some croissants on her way in for you to use for them. Special Agent Booth, there is some other lunchmeat if you do not like chicken salad.”
“Seeley, please, Mr. Sheppard,” Seeley asked following Tony to the refrigerator and peeking over his friend’s shoulder as Tony popped the lid off on the Tupperware bowl. “As for chicken salad that’s fine. That looks amazing. I expected grapes, which would have been a no.”
“Don’t like fruit in my chicken salad,” Tony muttered putting the bowl on the counter before going to the pantry to dig out the croissants and a bag of chips. When he came back, Patrick had put out some plates for them to use and the two set about making lunch before going to join the elder Sheppard at the kitchen table.
“Tell me what’s in this,” Seeley demanded before taking a bite.
“Frozen peas thawed, bacon, shredded cheddar jack, chicken breasts, then mayo with dill,” Tony explained before taking a bite and letting out a happy moan. Once he had swallowed, he went on to explain. “How Matilda knew my recipe for chicken salad I don’t know though. I’ve never eaten here before.”
“You mentioned it once over the phone,” Patrick explained quietly as he set down the tablet he’d been reading from. “When she asked this morning what you liked for lunch, I remembered the recipe and mentioned it to her. She was worried she put in too much dill weed. But I told her what you said.”
“Put in enough so that it looks like it’s way too much then add a little more,” Tony finished with a grin popping a chip in his mouth.
“This is awesome,” Seeley praised just having swallowed his second bite. “I’m gonna have to remember this. I bet Parker would like this. He’s like you, Tone. He hates fruit mixed with meat. Jason, too, now that I think about it. Oh, did I tell you? He got his promotion to Master Chief!”
“Yeah?” Tony confirmed with a grin. “That’s awesome! Tell him congrats for me the next time you talk to him.” Tony then looked from Seeley to Patrick and back arching his eyebrow in question but waited to explain who Jason was until Seeley gave the nod of approval.
“Papà won’t tell,” Tony said with confidence. “There’s generations of military service in our family. Jason is team lead over Bravo team. I’ve never met him, but I guess he and Seeley are practically twins.”
“Aah, something to be proud of indeed,” Patrick offered with a nod and a smile.
“Yeah, we’re pretty close in age so we were close growing up. Grew up close enough to each other that we could see each other when we needed to. We took turns hiding out at each other’s houses.” The last bit muttered quietly and Tony was glad that his father let it slide without asking questions. He knew how much his friend hated talking about his family outside Jason and guessed that the only reason the last bit slipped out was because he was most likely tired and distracted.
“Well, it will be nice to have a resource for Aiden if needed, that is if you think your cousin would be open to such a thing,” Patrick mentioned, and Tony grinned at his father.
“Aiden still not letting you help, I take it?” He questioned and Patrick just shook his head with a frown on his face, which made Tony let loose a chuckle.
“Have they decided if they’re going to let him into SEAL training?” Tony asked worried and was relieved when Patrick nodded.
“It was determined that it might be the best place for him. The commanding officers have been made aware of the threat though just to be on the safe side. I worry, but I would worry anyway. It isn’t fair to hold him back because of my concerns, and before you say it again this is not your fault either, Antony.”
“More mine than yours,” Tony said churlishly, and Patrick just rolled his eyes upward as if asking for patience. “Ok, ok, I give. I can’t help but feel bad though. You said that all Aiden has ever wanted was to be a SEAL, and now all this shit with Mossad is interfering with it.”
“Extra precautions are not a hindrance though,” Seeley argued before Patrick could respond. “And when you think about it, it may be good training for the rest of his group. See who takes this seriously and who doesn’t. I would imagine that they’ll have to say something to the others. Probably not the whole story, but something so that the people around him are aware of a possible threat. It’s a situation that none of them would get experience with otherwise, and probably not something their CO’s can easily replicate.”
Tony wasn’t sure how he felt about his life becoming a baby SEAL training exercise, but he got the point and kept his opinion to himself. “Any word on how long they think this whole thing is going to take? I mean, I know investigations take time, but I’m gonna go nuts if I have to sit around here for weeks or months with nothing to do.”
“Tom mentioned that would be an issue,” Patrick quipped with a slight smile on his face. “I told him I was familiar with impatience. It runs in the family, except for Aiden. I think he takes after AJ in that regard. It certainly isn’t his mother. Jordan is even more impatient than I am. At any rate, some people are coming to see you today, as well as Supervisory Special Agents Booth and Morgan. They will be briefing you three on your brother’s project Antony.
“Initially it was going to be just you, but once John heard that SSA Booth was considering a move, also, Tom thought it would be best to read in all three of you. The project could certainly use men of SSA’s Morgan and Booth’s upstanding reputations. Once they are done with that, I do believe that some cold cases are being brought for the three of you to work on together. Ones that had ties to NCIS and the FBI, I believe.”
“Oh, thank the Gods,” Tony muttered then shared a grin with Seeley knowing his friend hated being bored as much as Tony did.
“I believe Asst. Dir. Evans mentioned that Unit Chief Hotchner is even providing a couple of their cases that had Naval or Marine ties to see if you might be able to provide some insight they did not have.”
Tony offered a shrug but was inwardly excited at the thought of being able to try out his psychology degree. It was just a master’s degree, but he’d worked hard to get it and was excited to have some practical use with someone who did the job on a daily basis.
“Of course, Asst. Dir. Evans was not pleased that SSA Booth was thinking of leaving the FBI, but needs must and all that. I do believe there is a plot with the NCIS Interim Director, Morrow, and Asst. Dir. Evans as to a landing place for you both.”
“And just who is the NCIS Interim Director?” Tony asked curiously noticing the gleam in his father’s eye.
“Why Owen Granger, of course,” Patrick said smugly, and Tony just gave his head a shake not knowing why he even asked. With Morrow, his father, and Chegwidden all plotting together SecNav didn’t really stand a chance. Especially considering some of his choices were being examined in this whole situation making his own seat rather warm.
Tony thought maybe he should argue, but frankly, if they found a way for Tony and Seeley to work together, then Tony wasn’t going to complain. It would be hard to trust someone to watch his back for a while. That is unless that person was already one of the very few people he still trusted after this betrayal. Now they all just had to make it out of this alive to find out just what the three men had in mind for his future.
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!