- Death-Minor Character
- Discussion-Child Abuse
- Alternate Universe
NIS Field Office
Washington Navy Yard
Luckily, all federal buildings were mandated to have private rooms for sentinels and guides, regardless of the employment status in the building, so finding a bonding room was relatively easy. Tony let Gibbs enter first to sniff out the place, he hid a smile at the thought, and decide if it was safe enough to bring his guide into. A quick survey showed the room had been cleaned recently and fit the guidelines for a sentinel-safe room. The bed was neatly made, and a basket of lube, and washcloths sat innocently nearby. Tony tried not to focus on those things too much.
Instead, he watched his sentinel pace around the room and then relax a little as he decided it was acceptable. When Gibs turned to him, he entered the room, and pulled the door closed behind him.
Tony stared at Gibbs for a moment, taking in his stiff posture before asking, “How do you want to do this?” They’d talked about this process before, but a semi-feral episode could have changed everything. He watched the emotions flicker across his sentinel’s face, and knew Gibbs was torn. Silently, he waited for Gibbs to come to a decision, and after a few minutes his sentinel spoke.
“I want a platonic bond.”
Tony felt his heart sink a little, but covered with a smile and nod. “Alright then. Did they talk to you about the process?”
“Both,” Gibbs hesitated, “I’m not sure if I want a platonic bond forever. I…”
“It’s okay,” Tony interrupted. “This moves at your pace, remember?” He stepped closer to his sentinel. “Where do you want to start?” Gibbs shrugged, and Tony’s smile felt real this time, “How about with sight?”
He moved a step back, not body-shy at all, and quickly pulled his shirt over his head, and then pushed his pants off his hips. Across from him, Gibbs’ posture grew stiffer, and his gaze heavier. Soon Tony was down to his boxers where he stopped. He let Gibbs take his time looking at him, moving only when he gestured for a turn. He felt Gibbs move closer to his back and breathed in deeply, enjoying the scent of his sentinel: a mix of spice and wood shavings.
“Scent, next?” he whispered, not wanting to interrupt the intimate atmosphere that was developing. In answer he heard Gibbs take a deep breath, and his nose nudged the back of Tony’s neck. He held back a shiver. “Sometimes it works best to do scent and touch together.”
Gibbs’ hands came up to his shoulders, tracing down Tony’s arms, and his nose followed, gently grazing his bare skin. Tony’s breath caught in his throat, and he knew Gibbs was smelling the arousal that was scenting the air. The hands continued their downward path, drifting over Tony’s back, past his ass, and down his thighs, until Gibbs was kneeling down behind him.
Tony turned his head to look at his sentinel, and Gibbs gently pushed him forward, towards the bed that sat against the far wall. He settled on the bed, facing his sentinel. Gibbs stared at him for a moment before pulling off his own shirt, and climbing up the bed so he was cradled between Tony’s thighs. He buried his nose in Tony’s neck again and didn’t move.
Tony cautiously raised his hand to Gibbs’ neck, then his hair, and ran a hand over his sentinel’s head, enjoying the soft hair as it brushed through his fingers. He didn’t push, just let Gibbs take his time. Then he felt a warm, wet stroke against his pulse, and shuddered. Another stroke followed as Gibbs imprinted the taste of his guide in his memory. He licked and bit his way down Tony’s body, before making a pass back up, stopping when they were face to face. Tony smiled at Gibbs, and lifted his hand to Gibbs’ cheek. He turned into the hand, nestling his face fully in the hand with an a kiss he didn’t seem to notice.
It wasn’t until Gibbs stopped moving suddenly that Tony noticed it. Heavy against his thigh, a hard, heavy presence pushed, and almost instinctively Tony pressed up against Gibbs’ erection. He moaned softly, and Gibbs’ groan echoed back. Tony opened his eyes in time to see Gibbs’ widen in surprise, and the sentinel moved away from him. He leaned up on his elbows and watched multiple emotions flash across Gibbs’ face before finally settling on embarrassment.
“It’s okay,” Tony couldn’t help but reassure him, “I’m your guide. This is a normal reaction.” He watched Gibbs’ face shut down, and tried again, “It doesn’t have to mean anything. We’re doing this at your pace.”
He held his breath until Gibbs settled his weight on him again. His erection hadn’t gone down, but Tony did his best to ignore it, not wanting to push his sentinel any further. He waited for Gibbs to move, but nothing happened. “Did you need to imprint hearing?”
Gibbs flushed red, but shook his head. “I’ve had hearing imprinted for a while. I haven’t been able to help fixating on your heart.”
Tony flushed in response, but nodded. He lifted his hand to Gibbs’ face again and asked, “Are you ready for the rest of it?”
Gibbs nodded and Tony closed his eyes. For the first time in over a decade he tried to let go of his shields and let someone else in. It was instinct to keep people out, but the allure of his sentinel’s mind was more than he expected, and he felt his shields crack easily. He reached with his mind, and Gibbs reached back. A wholeness swept over Tony, filling the cracks and erasing the dark place that had been in his soul since he was twelve.
In his mind’s eye he could feel Gibbs’ emotions: protective, proud, satisfied, a little grumpy, and underneath everything Tony thought he could sense a small vein of love coating his sentinel’s soul. The bond that had been hovering between the two since the moment they met snapped into place, and it was like coming home.
They stayed wrapped together on the bed for the better part of an hour, waiting for Gibbs’ sentinel drive to calm down enough for them to be able to leave. Tony rested his head against his sentinel’s chest and listened to the heartbeat that echoed back, dozing peacefully. He didn’t move until his sentinel did, and then he only sat up and watched Gibbs rise out of the bed and hunt for his shirt.
Tony admired the view his shirtless sentinel made, looking his fill, and smiled as amusement filtered down their bond. He shrugged when Gibbs raised an eyebrow at him, then ended up laughing when his shirt was tossed at him, hitting his face gently. He gamely pulled his shirt on, and then stood to grab his pants, pulling them up and buttoning them as Gibbs pulled his own shirt on.
Gibbs walked to the door and opened it, looking into the hallway suspiciously before exiting the room, motioning for Tony to follow him. Someone must have been monitoring the door, because around the corner and down the hallway, not close enough to be a threat, Dr. Mallard stood waiting.
He smiled friendly at them, “I’m so sorry for Agent Franks,” at their confusion he explained, “When we noticed your abrupt exit, we reviewed the tape from the conference room, and saw what he said. I must assure you that no one at NIS feels this way, and offer our sincerest apology.”
“Who’s we?” Gibbs grunted.
“That would be Director Tom Morrow and myself. We felt it would be better for you to see a familiar face, so Tom stayed behind in his office. If you’re up to it, he’d like to speak with you.”
Tony was torn, wanting to confront the man who was responsible for Mike Franks and wanting to be home, away from this mess and with his sentinel. Before he could say anything, Gibbs was already accepting.
“I hope he has a good explanation.”
Ducky led them to an elevator nearby and up to a large office occupied by a bald, older man. He stood up from his desk when they entered. “Thank you for meeting with me. I’m NIS Director Tom Morrow. I know you’ve had a stressful day, and I’d like to apologize for that.”
Tony looked at Gibbs before saying, “No apology necessary. We know you can’t control other people’s actions. But we would like to know what you’re going to do about him.”
Morrow sighed, “We’re going to be taking him off active duty as we review his other actions, and he’ll be receiving at least a reprimand. We have a separate agent looking into his motivation for attempting to push you to go after your wife’s killer on your own.”
“How do you know that this agent is going to be able to be objective? We all know agencies have a history of trying to cover their asses.”
“Our new lab tech, who has been running the evidence for your wife’s case, is going to be checking his work. She’s come highly recommended, and her security clearance shows she’s trustworthy and wants to know the truth.”
“Can we meet her?”
“Of course.” Morrow picked up his phone, “Ms. Scuito? Could you please come to my office? I have some people who are interested in meeting with you and discussing your current assignment. Thank you.” He hung up the phone and looked at them, “She’ll be right up.”
To say the person Tony saw come through that door was not the person he expected would be an extreme understatement. The young woman couldn’t be much older than Tony and her dark attire and studded collar was a strict contrast to the joy and exuberance that bubbled from her, pinging every neuron in his brain. Even his new sentinel wasn’t enough to completely mask her happiness. Of course, neither of these impressions fit the picture Tony had in his mind of a forensic scientist.
“I’m Abigail Scuito! You can call me Abby! Or Abs! Either one is fine. I’m running the lab work for the investigation!” She bounced as she spoke, rocking a little, and Tony hid his smile. From his sentinel he could feel incredulity and a hint of humor.
Gibbs held out his hand, “Nice to meet you, Abby. I’m Jethro Gibbs, and this is Tony DiNozzo. We were hoping to hear more about what you’ve discovered.”
Her explanation of the investigation was filled with so much information and scientific detail that Tony had a little trouble keeping up. His science courses in college had been interesting, but he hadn’t taken enough of them to understand everything she was talking about. When Gibbs held up his hand to stop her, Tony was relieved.
“Abs! Break it down for us. What have you got?”
“Well,” this time she spoke slower, “Agent Franks probably explained to you how we discovered who Pedro Hernandez was?” At their nod she continued, “We’ve been keeping a close eye on cartel traffic throughout the DC area because of a sailor’s death. Your wife was a witness to a murder by the cartel after his death. She came to us, and we provided protection while coordinating with the police to find the killer. Sadly, we didn’t move fast enough getting her into witness protection. After her death Mike Franks took over the investigation, and he zeroed in on Hernandez. We are working with the Mexican government to try to extradite him to the US.”
“You might want to loop the Sentinel-Guide Center into the conversation,” Tony interrupted. Abby’s eyes widened and Morrow frowned.
“What interest does the Center have in the investigation, beyond the obvious?” he asked.
“Well,” Tony glanced at Gibbs out of the corner of his eye, knowing Darren and Claudia probably hadn’t mentioned this to him yet, “In special cases, such as crimes that involve guides, the Center might authorize a sentinel team to hunt down the perpetrator.”
“Shannon Gibbs wasn’t a guide though.”
“No, she wasn’t. But she also wasn’t the only person in that car. Kelly Gibbs came online because of that incident, and so did Jethro. That makes it part of their jurisdiction if they want it,” Tony could feel Gibbs tense up next to him, and frustration slipped through their bond as he pushed ahead, “And you want it to be, trust me. If you can point a team of sentinels in the right direction, nothing will stop them from finding the person who almost killed a guide. And you won’t have to worry quite so much about borders with the Center involved. It’s an international group, so there’s some leeway on jurisdiction.”
Morrow looked at Abby who shrugged. He frowned, but nodded, “I’ll talk to the Secretary of the Navy and if that’s what he wants, that’s what we’ll do. Are they going to want to investigate Agent Franks as well?”
Tony shook his head, “Probably not. If you’re as careful with your report and follow through with any punishments they probably won’t care. That’s not to say they won’t sanction him themselves depending on what you find, but they won’t argue with you about the investigation.”
Morrow sighed, and stood up. “Is there anything else you wanted to know?”
Gibbs shook his head, “As long as you keep us in the loop.”
“I will!” Abby nodded quickly, “I’m happy to!”
A few quick handshakes, none involving Tony, and they were out of there. In the car, Tony turned to Gibbs, “We need to go back to the Center.”
“They probably noticed our bond clicking into place, but we need to register it with them.” Gibbs growled a little, but turned the car towards the Center.
It was an interesting experience, driving in the car with his sentinel when he could feel the emotions thrumming through the bond. It had been exhilarating before because Gibbs seemed to be missing a bit of the fear gene when it came to driving, but the rush of adrenaline he got was more than Tony expected. It made the drive seem faster, and he whooped when they pulled into the parking lot.
“That was amazing!” he said, smiling brightly at Gibbs. His sentinel smiled back.
Waiting for them in the lobby was Claudia and Darren, both grinning widely at them.
“Tony, Jethro, I’m so glad that you decided to bond,” Claudia reached out and hugged Tony, and then quickly followed that up with a hug for Gibbs. Darren just clapped them both on the shoulder. “If you follow me, we’ll get your bond registered.”
They followed her to the back of the Center and into an office Tony had spent a lot of time in growing up, although not recently. He smiled to see some of his books and games still cluttered up Claudia’s bookshelves. Gibbs’ scrunched up his nose a little, and Tony wondered if he was picking up latent scents he’d left from long afternoons spent here.
As she walked over to her desk Claudia started talking, “It’s a fairly straight forward process, we just need to link your profiles in the server so your bond shows up across all of our centers nation wide. Once you’ve registered, there are some decisions you need to make, both personal and public.”
Tony took a deep breath as Gibbs frowned. He was pretty sure he knew where this was going and he had wondered if this was going to come up.
“What kind of decisions?”
“Mostly it’s setting up power of attorney and deciding what level of legal protection you’d like to give each other. In Washington, D.C. the bond is given legal partner status, and the rights associated with it, but outside of the D.C. area that can vary. You’ll have to decide how you want to proceed. And of course there’s Kelly. You’ll need to decide if you want Tony down as a legal guardian.” Claudia paused there, and her hesitation hung heavy in the air.
“What?” Gibbs asked, “What aren’t you telling me?”
“Your public decisions are a little more pressing,” Darren leaned against the doorway, his body casually blocking any exit.
“Just tell me.”
“It was always a possibility for Tony. It really just depended on who he bonded with.” Tony could feel Gibbs’ agitation along the bond as he grew frustrated by Claudia skirting around the issue.
“What is happening?” he growled.
“You need to decide your role as Alpha.” It was Tony who spoke up, and he didn’t meet Gibbs’ gaze.
“Alpha? I’m not an alpha.”
“Actually you are,” Claudia told him, folding her hands on the table in front of her. “It’s part of the reason we were so interested in your bond. As a high level sentinel, you were at more risk for extreme sensory lapses. With your guide you are much more stable, and capable of a great deal when you’ve been trained.”
“I don’t want to be an alpha. Don’t you think I have enough going on?”
“It’s not something you can choose. You’re going to find other sentinels and guides orbiting your pairing. It’s instinctual on their part. They can feel the power you have, and the protection you can offer.”
“I don’t want to be someone’s protector. At least not someone other than Kelly,” he paused and Tony felt his warm gaze, “And maybe Tony.”
“Tony can take care of himself,” he interrupted, “And it doesn’t have to be a big deal. You can be as involved as you want. There are plenty of alphas that don’t deal with pride issues on a daily basis.”
He reached over and squeezed Gibbs hand, feeling tension draining out of his sentinel.
“Like I said,” Claudia smiled softly, “We just have information for you to look at. There aren’t any decisions to be made today. Talk it over.”
Tony nodded and felt Gibbs’ hand move as he followed suit.