- Character Bashing
- Discussion - Murder
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Alternate Universe
Chapter 13: Springing a Trap
In the foyer, Tony took one look at Aaron and he knew the answer to his internal query – Jack. Foyet must have grabbed Jack and/or hurt Haley in the mix. It was the only way he would get a trained Agent of Aaron’s calibre to walk into a situation blind and without back-up. After all, even the strongest people have their weaknesses and like any good father – Jack was Aaron’s.
Tony could see his anger and fear in just the way he prowled the entrance. “Why am I being kept here?” Hotchner demanded to know, asking the guard, not having seen Tony yet.
Tony didn’t react to the demand as he knew why but instead, answered him calmly. “I asked him to keep you.”
Aaron whirled around in surprise, almost as if he’d forgotten Tony. “I have to go, he has Jack.”
Tony rolled his eyes annoyed by the idea he would leave Jack with the psychopath. “I would never stop you going after Jack. I just don’t want you to go alone … That is a sure-fire way to end up dead.”
Aaron took a deep breath and nodded, still visibly rattled by what he’d been told but obviously starting to think a bit more clearly now. He spoke honestly from his heart when he said. “Thank you.”
Tony shook it off, he didn’t need thanks – it was the right thing to do not to mention his job. “Don’t thank me yet, let’s make sure we all survive.”
Aaron nodded and they went to his car. Tony was on the phone, he wanted to know how the protective custody got broken – and why the hell he wasn’t informed! If he’d been informed, he could’ve planned for it but now he would be reacting to a volatile situation with a crazy psychopath and those were his least favourite days.
“I need a trace on Haley Brooks and her son now!” Tony ordered.
Tony did not like what he was hearing and said as much. “Kort, you promised me they were the best so why does a serial killer have Jack Hotchner?”
Aaron clutched the wheel and put his foot down on the gas. A part of him had been hoping that the killer had been lying even though he knew better. “He has him?”
Tony sighed because it was a clusterfuck of the situation. “Your wife and son went out shopping today and they were in a Target store when Jack was snatched.”
Aaron softly corrected. “Ex-wife and where is she? Is she alive?”
Tony informed him. “She is receiving treatment and demanding updates apparently.”
Aaron had to focus on the matter in hand. He would not get into a conversation about Haley as she was no longer a part of his life. The end of their marriage had hurt but it was her actions that caused it. “Foyet wants to make me hurt … taking Jack would do it.”
Tony couldn’t even predict what was going through the man’s mind. He knew Aaron loved his son with all his heart. Every conversation with Jack mentioned had reinforced the fact that Aaron was a good father. Tony found himself trying to reassure him. “We will find Foyet and make him regret ever taking your son.”
Sadly, Tony wasn’t naive enough to make any promises about getting Jack back alive. Tony was clinging onto the fact that Foyet wouldn’t try to kill Jack until they were on site – Foyet would want to maximise the psychological pain for Aaron. It was a slim chance but if there was something Tony excelled at – it was maximising the slim chance.
Tony knew where they were going even if it wasn’t where Aaron was currently staying. This was the Hotchner family home. It would be a perfect place to strike him, where his memories were the strongest.
“Stop here. We don’t need to announce we’re here. Let’s keep some element of surprise.” Tony said firmly. He was thinking every angle, he knew Aaron had been SWAT at some point – it was in his file. “You know the rule book … Where is the silent entry point that Foyet won’t know?”
Aaron smiled. “It’s through the garage, it connects to the kitchen but it is a hidden passage. Haley used to joke that it was a smugglers house.”
Tony could appreciate the irony considering Aaron’s position. “Well, let’s be grateful so if you go in through the front door and serve as a distraction … I will enter quietly.”
“He will hear your gun when you cock it.”
Tony smirked and it was feral suddenly there was a knife in his hand – Aaron had not even seen it appear. “Rule 9, always have a knife, and I was trained by a marine.”
Tony shrugged, replying honestly. “It has got me out of a few jams during my time. Are you ready?”
Aaron’s wasn’t sure but he was an FBI agent and this was what he was trained to do. He pushed back his fear and feelings to focus on the goal – the safe return of Jack. “Yes.”
Tony gave him a fierce look. “I will see you soon and you better be alive.”
Tony whispered asshole as he disappeared through the garage. Aaron covered his entrance by loudly knocking on the front door. After all, he was the distraction so he would do it properly and keep Foyet’s attention on him to give Tony the best chance.They would use the obsession Foyet had against him to take him down – It was almost poetic.
“Do come in Aaron,” the nightmare voice ordered. Aaron bristled at the way the psychopath was inviting him into his own home. Walking in he noted how Foyet had positioned himself against an alcove in the hallway with Jack held in front of him. Damn it. The way he was situated made it impossible for Tony to get to Foyet without being seen.
Aaron couldn’t freak out at seeing his son in the killer’s arms even though that is what he wanted to do. “Your quarrel is with me.” He said, far calmer than he felt.
Foyet snorted in disbelief at the gross simplification. “My quarrel? You emasculated me!”
Jack was sobbing and Aaron wanted to make Foyet pay for every tear or bit of fear he’d made his son feel. Jack was innocent so Aaron did his best to appeal to the killer’s ego. “You want me, not Jack … there is no challenge in hurting a child.”
Foyet thought about the words but the glittering hatred in those eyes didn’t conceal any of the Reaper’s madness. “Challenge, no … but the potential for your misery, well, then he is just a means to an end and will suit my needs.”
Foyet was saying that if he had his way, Jack would die quickly followed by Aaron himself. Aaron watched as Tony stood to the side, just out of the eye line of Foyet. Aaron couldn’t believe that Foyet hadn’t heard his approach. He was guessing that Gibbs had taught more than using a knife to Tony but right now – he would take every bit of luck.
Tony’s voice rang out loud in the silence. “Hey, douchebag. He is just a kid.”
Foyet’s head whipped around with a grin. “So this is the new love interest, is it Aaron? Oh, now he is pretty isn’t he? Hurting him would cause you more pain than killing your ex would. That is why I didn’t kill her, you know. I figured you would be rid of the bitter ex-wife and you’d probably thank me.”
Tony hated serial killers, they were crazier than a box of frogs. So, of course, he couldn’t help but bait Foyet. “We haven’t even got to first base yet as I have been protecting him from your crazy ass.”
Yep, he was so getting another Gibbs’ lecture about how it was a stupid idea to taunt the serial killer. On the plus side, at least there would be no head slap this time – it wasn’t Hotchner’s modus operandi.
Foyet sneered, “Oh but he wants to go further than that. Just look in his eyes.”
Tony smirked at Foyet showing his natural confidence and with a wicked smirk added. “And you think you will get in the way of my life? Sweetheart, you are barely a blip, just an inconvenience.”
Aaron saw it, the anger and the desire to prove Tony wrong. The gun moved away from Jack and Tony threw a knife straight at Foyet. The knife hit Foyet dead centre in the middle of his eye. Sadly, Foyet got one shot off at Tony before he fell back dead. Tony fell back with a grunt but he would take the feeling of searing pain in his shoulder for a dead serial killer.
Jack scrambled over to his Dad relieved that they were all okay and they had stopped the bad man. He didn’t know the pretty Agent but Jack could see he was worried. He leapt for a hug wanting the comfort of his daddy but had to ask. “Is he going to be okay?”
Tony smiled at Aaron’s son grateful for the concern he could hear. He didn’t know the boy and he was worried for him but he was getting weaker and woozy from his blood loss. He hated getting shot, he had to check. “Did I get him?”
Aaron who was hugging Jack both for comfort and to keep him away from the sight of Foyet. “Yeah Tony, you got him.” He reached for his phone to call an ambulance but it was unnecessary. The gunshot had triggered the waiting forces to burst through the door. As much as Aaron hated having to move to the side, he wanted Tony to be healed so he moved out of the way so Tony could receive treatment.
Still, throughout the treatment Tony kept his attention on Aaron, choosing to ignore the pain from the gunshot by focussing on Jack and Aaron. He was glad that they were both safe from Foyet. If he was thinking a little clearer then he would have realised the second implication – he was now free to pursue Aaron.
He ignored the temporary stitches by ranting. “Good god, what an asshat … How could he want to hurt Jack? He’s awesome.”
Jack giggled into his Daddy’s chest. “He is funny.”
Aaron smiled at his son’s laughter and agreed. “I think he is in shock but he is getting the help he needs.”
Tony nodded knowing the drill. “Hate painkillers, they will make me loopy and spill all kinds of things. Stupid Foyet bringing a gun to a knife fight.”
Aaron understood what he meant. After all Tony had done, he could protect Tony whilst he was feeling vulnerable. “Don’t worry, I won’t let anyone near you.”
Tony started to lose his battle to stay awake. “It’s your oh so fine ass I am worried I will speak poems about.”
Aaron didn’t smirk because he had a reputation to maintain but he did notice a few of the looks he got from the team who had spilled through the door with the EMT’s. He had a few explanations he would need to give but not until Tony was on the mend. Christ, he better phone Fornell as he knew how close the man was to Tony.
Aaron stood over Tony’s bed as he slept. This beautiful, stubborn man had killed his personal nightmare and all because Foyet dared to threaten his son and him. The more time he spent with Tony the more enamoured he became. There was a cry of Daddy disturbing his vigil.
Aaron didn’t think, he just picked his son up and kissed his forehead, grateful that he would get a chance to still do the simple things. Aaron could admit that he was glad to have Tony and Jack in one room – it was his turn to look after Tony. He liked the appearance of his ex-wife far less. Aaron could tell this wasn’t going to be a fun exchange due to the scorn on her face. He didn’t need bitterness, he needed Tony to wake up so he could see those beautiful green eyes and thank him.
“You are standing a little close for a co-worker, Aaron.” She said by way of greeting.
Aaron could not believe she wanted to play that game here but he was up to the task. After all, she should be at least grateful toward the man who’d saved their son. He didn’t let the disrespect go. “He is not my co-worker, Haley and the divorce let me see who I like. At least I was decent enough to wait until we divorced.”
She flushed but her anger was stronger than her shame. “Yes, well your new love got hurt by your job too.”
Now that was an arrow to the heart. It was the one part of his job that he could never reconcile with, the idea of his loved ones or those closest to him being at risk. Still, at least Tony understood duty and the job and he was quick to dispel Aaron’s darker thoughts.
Tony may be injured and sleepy but he’d awoken upon hearing the unfamiliar voice, reacting to what could have been a potential threat. There was no way he was going to let this woman hurt Aaron any further. “Lady – I had the damn plague and survived, so a douchebag serial killer won’t scare me.”
Jack giggled. “He’s still funny Daddy.”
Aaron’s relief showed on his face and he didn’t even try and stop the smile. “Yes, he is.”
Tony frowned as he didn’t quite understand the scene. He knew who the woman was, it was the ex but she seemed jealous. It didn’t make sense as she was the one who had divorced Aaron. Then it hit him, regret was a terrible thing, she was bitter he was moving on. Well. Tough. Unlike her, he knew a good thing when he saw it and he would fight to keep it. He was awake enough to mess with her, grabbing Aaron’s free hand and squeezing it.
Haley’s gaze went frosty seeing their linked hands, she huffed. “I don’t need to see this. I’ll go down to the coffee shop and be back in an hour.”
Jack peeked at Tony from his Daddy’s shoulder seemingly not too worried about his mother storming away. Instead the little boy asked, “Will he be okay, Daddy?”
Aaron smiled because his son had such a big heart. “Yeah, the doctors want to make sure the bad man didn’t hurt him too badly.”
Jack motioned to be put down and Aaron allowed him, watching with eagle eyes as Jack approached Tony’s bed. Aaron knew the gunshot was a through and through and the hospital was demanding an overnight stay so they could monitor his plague-scarred lungs. His son approached Tony very carefully and, mindful of the monitor, hugged him.
Aaron could see the caution on Tony’s face but watched as he sunk into his son’s hug. Finally the look of awe as Tony listened to what Jack whispered in his ear. Aaron would love to ask what was said but it was clear it was a secret between the two people on the bed. He felt a bit left out until Tony patted the bed. “Come join us.”
Tony grinned at Aaron as he sat on the bed. “I won’t break.”
Aaron shook his head. “Let me stay worried for a bit longer.”
“Why should you?” Tony said with a grin. “Foyet is gone and you and Jack are safe. I’m happy.”
Jack giggled. “The good guys won Daddy.”
Tony pulled him in, if he wasn’t to move from the bed then he would pull Aaron closer. He wasn’t going to let him close himself off from him in fear. “We did, Jack, we did. Now let’s talk important things. What’s your favourite movie?”
Jack animatedly told him all about a fish and an ohana and how awesome the movie was. The talking and the excitement meant that little Jack fell asleep. Aaron stroked his son’s forehead seeing how calm and relaxed he was – a miracle considering everything that had gone on. Aaron had to say it once. “Thank you.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “Not necessary.” He said but he couldn’t stop the yawn from escaping his mouth.
Aaron didn’t care. “Sleep, you need it. I will stay awake.”
Tony, showing just how much he trusted the agent, fell asleep once more.
A little while later, the door slid open and Aaron had his hand on his gun. It was unnecessary as it was Fornell and Gibbs, they stopped short seeing a sleeping Tony and the young boy also sleeping.
Gibbs was pleased to see how taut the Agent was, and how quickly he’d gone for his gun. He needed someone good watching Tony’s six. “Foyet is gone.”
Hotchner nodded. “Knife to the eye, it was almost biblical.”
Gibbs smirked to Fornell. “And you told me that I shouldn’t encourage his knife fascination.”
Aaron could admit that he was slightly weirded out. He understood that despite there being nothing more than friendship between Fornell and Gibbs, this was close as he would come to meeting the family.
Fornell rolled his eyes. “I just don’t see what is wrong with a SIG.”
Gibbs had a big smile. “Well, you get into a fight with less than twenty feet between you and see who comes out on top.”
Aaron had to agree with the NCIS director, having seen exactly that. “He will be okay. They are keeping him overnight to check that his lungs haven’t been overtaxed.”
Gibbs nodded and staring at him intently asked. “Do you know how significant that is?”
Aaron was confused by the lack of explanation. “Significant?”
Gibbs snorted. “Tony sleeps like an active Marine and is twice as paranoid. If he is sleeping next to you then that speaks of trust. Don’t break it like so many before you.”
Aaron didn’t need to be a profiler to know that the briefest flash of pain he saw on Gibbs’ face suggested he was one of those who’d broken that trust. “I won’t.”
There was tension in the room and it all focussed on the resting Agent sleeping contentedly on the hospital bed. There were many choices ahead for Tony in the next few days and they would have far reaching consequences.
Epilogue: Home is Where the Heart is
The BAU had been visiting throughout the afternoon and all had been startled by the presence of Fornell apart from Rossi. No, Rossi had just chuckled and shook the man’s hand. “You gave us quite the liaison, not too keen on his psycho-baiting ways though.”
Gibbs snorted. “Sorry, that would be my fault.”
Tony pouted. “Hey, right here and now I won’t cook my special lasagne.”
Rossi clutched his heart in faux outrage. “You can’t take food hostage!”
Tony grinned. “I work with all the tools at my disposal.”
Rossi sighed. “Okay kid, you grew on me.”
“I’m a grown man,” Tony said but his pout made him look younger.
“True but still younger than I, so hence, kid,” Rossi explained with a triumphant smirk.
Tony shrugged and it made him wince as he’d forgotten for a second about the bullet hole that was repairing in his shoulder. “Can you out stubborn Aaron into going home and resting? Feeding him would be good too.”
“He is a grown man,” Rossi said, using his own words against him. There was a reason that he and Tony got on so well.
Tony rolled his eyes. “I currently have the temporary director of the NCIS with me. I can’t get much safer.”
Rossi chuckled. “Fine – but you can deal with the ensuing argument.”
Rossi got a picture of the relationship developing when Tony managed to miraculously out argue the trained lawyer and Hotch went with him.
Tony looked sheepish at the look Gibbs and Fornell levelled at him. “What? You said to stop Foyet and I did that, you stopped McGee and Shephard… I wasn’t planning on Ziva but I can’t say I’m unhappy.”
Gibbs looked shocked at that summation. He knew things hadn’t always been rosy between Ziva and Tony but hadn’t realised that it was this bad. “We’ve lost our entire team … and Fornell seems to have lured you over to the dark side.”
Tony grinned. “Nah boss, I have your back always, besides as fun as it was to work with the BAU … I want to do entirely inappropriate things that I am sure their frat regs frown upon.”
Fornell quirked an eyebrow. “Is this the good stuff speaking?”
Tony shook his head. “No, it is the repressed glory of Aaron Hotchner. I want to break down every wall plus you saw him with Jack. If I had ovaries … they would have exploded.”
Gibbs did chuckle at that. “Okay Tony – you should sleep now and we’ll hope you forget this.”
Fornell watched as Tony did as ordered. “Is this why he doesn’t like painkillers?
Gibbs nodded. “Yes.”
The next time Tony woke up Fornell had gone but the SECNAV was with Gibbs. “Hello, Sir.”
SECNAV nodded. “Well done on the Foyet case, Agent DiNozzo.”
Tony nodded as that was one thing that didn’t hurt. Foyet’s lucky shot had got him in the sinew cartilage of the shoulder making it the most painful type of injury. “Thank you, Sir. Sorry if I’ve caused you any headaches in the last week.”
Jarvis shook his head amused. “On the contrary, there has been great amusement and I should thank you for helping me rid corruption from the agency before it became a scandal.”
Tony was glad to have helped but self-preservation was the most important thing. “You’re welcome. So what’s next?”
Tony was asking because he knew what he wanted to happen with Aaron and given the way they’d cuddled on the bed with Jack between them – well, he was pretty sure Aaron wanted the same thing.
Jarvis smirked at the direct question, he appreciated those who got straight to the heart of the matter. “I have a proposition for you both and I think you will like it.”
Tony was curious. “We’re listening.”
Gibbs was ready to accept even a teaching position if it meant that he didn’t have to sit in the big chair and listen to one more boring meeting. He hated paperwork generated through his job, now he was considering setting fire to it.
Jarvis grinned. “I need special investigators and you will be my trouble shooters. If there is a hot case or a delicate case, you will take the lead. If there is suspicion of corruption or I don’t like the reports … you will go in and audit the situation for me.”
Tony was intrigued by the idea. “What do you say, Gibbs?”
Gibbs shrugged. “There is no one else I trust on my six, and partners again. Sounds right.”
The smile on Tony’s face could have powered the Eastern seaboard with how powerful it was. “Then yes, I’ll take it.”
Dates – they could be such a daunting thing when there were genuine emotions behind them. You want them to go well, to go smoothly, to be the best thing. You want them to be memorable so that you see the other person again and again. Aaron was no such stranger to those feelings so he was torn right now.
He’d planned it all. He had the meal, not Italian as he wouldn’t even try to compete. And then Haley was at his door, dumping Jack like he was a sack of potatoes. Aaron’s eyes glittered with anger for how she was treating Jack and his kid should never look that sad and forlorn. He’d forgotten for a second that Tony was even in the apartment with all the drama Haley was bringing to his door.
Tony had stood in the hallway just out of sight as he was well aware that Haley was hardly his biggest fan.
“You are unbelievable,” Aaron said, letting his disgust show through.
“He will be better off with you Aaron.” Haley said, trying to justify her reasons for dumping Jack with them so she could go on a cruise with her new lover.
Tony hated the look he could see on little Jack’s face. He could remember feeling and possibly looking like that when he was a little kid and he’d been left with the help … again. He stepped up no longer caring about her feelings.
“Hey, buddy. How are you doing?”
“Tony!” Jack screamed with joy and ran at him.
Tony was usually no good with kids but it was different with Jack. He scooped him up with an exaggerated swoop to pull him in for a hug. “Hey buddy, let’s go in the living room while mommy and daddy have a chat. You can tell me about these new movie characters you think are just the best.”
Aaron sent him a look of intense gratitude and love that Tony blushed. It didn’t matter, Jack was awesome and didn’t deserve this bullshit. He was more than happy to distract Jack whilst Aaron had a chat with Haley.
Aaron knew Tony was a keeper because when he was finally done with Haley’s bullshit – he found Tony engrossed in Lilo and Stitch, letting Jack tell him all about the characters and as he entered he heard Jack telling Tony the best quote. “Ohana means family and no one ever gets left behind or forgotten.”
Tony had shiny eyes because after today he could imagine why such a quote would resonate. “You know Jack, your Dad and I, we will never leave you behind.”
Aaron nodded sitting close to pair. Jack seemed to morph from Tony’s lap into the space between them.
Jack bit his lip. “Do you promise? Mom has.”
Tony and Aaron shared a look of anger but squashed it down. After all, now was not the time. Aaron answered. “No son, we won’t.”
Tony let himself be as vulnerable. “You know what I say, Home is Where the Heart is.”
Jack smiled brightly. “That’s right here though.”
Aaron started to relax and he looked at Tony and could see the understanding and the truth in his eyes. This may be new and if Tony hadn’t run screaming for the hills by now then he knew they would last – they would make it work. If nothing else, he had a secret weapon – Jack.
He was right because they did last – after all, your home will always be the place for which you feel the deepest affection, no matter where you are. Aaron knew that evening, for him, it was where Jack and Tony were – for Tony, it was with the Hotchner’s as he never understood why they let him in but he was smart enough to hang onto this gift and cherish it with every fibre of his being