- Rough Draft
- Work in Progress
- Character Bashing
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Alternate Universe
- Established Relationship
Tony didn’t feel right. It was not in a –I have a cold coming way. It was total dread and fear that something was wrong. The type you felt in your bones that you couldn’t shake. It didn’t make sense as he was at home with his Guide and their son. He and Aaron were enjoying a relaxing sunbathe in the back garden, wrapped around each other and to be honest, his day couldn’t get any more perfect.
So why wasn’t the dread shifting? Tony thought back to the last time he felt like this and almost growled at the memory. The last time was when the Reaper attacked Aaron in his own home – so what was it now? After all, he could see Jack and Aaron were okay with his own eyes.
Almost as if to prove his paranoia right both Tony and Aaron’s spirit animals appeared in front of them from the Spirit Plane. You couldn’t miss Tony, Aaron’s slinky Siberian Tiger or Orso, Tony’s big, American Black Bear. They were both stretched out, hackles raised and ready to attack. There was no doubt in Tony’s mind – they sensed that something was wrong. He checked on Jack first, instinct insisting that they protect the young in their tribe.
Jack looked at Tony, his little hawk clutching onto his shoulder. He knew what was wrong and told his Daddy’s Sentinel. “Grandpaw is in trouble.”
Tony would never dismiss his stepson’s words and he felt for the empathic bond which linked the entire tribe. Gibbs was in theory mundane although it wasn’t true, Gibbs was a Sentinel who’d long ago suppressed his abilities. Tony knew something bad must have happened if he could now feel Gibbs’ coming online.
Aaron clutched Tony’s hand, picking up on his fears and gently reminded his sentinel. “Let me do it. It’s my duty.”
Tony let him as anchoring the bonds within the tribe was the Alpha Guide’s role. Tony didn’t give up the skin contact as he was as much as an anchor to his Guide, as Aaron was for him. Tony was proactive though, he got his phone out and started to work on the issues. “Toby we have a problem. I think Gibbs is in trouble. Little Jack and I both sense it.”
“I’ll get on it,” Fornell promised.
Aaron’s eyes opened as he withdrew slowly from the mental bonds. He told his Sentinel the facts as they stood which frustratingly wasn’t enough to be able to find him. “He is shot and in pain. There is no one around him.”
Fornell gasped out loud hearing it, as he was still on the phone because Fornell knew heads were going to roll. Gibbs had shocked them all by retiring and offering to consult on a case-by-case basis. On paper he was an FBI consultant as he wanted to keep an eye on his boys and then last week, the Secretary of the Navy had asked him for a favour. It was too big and Gibbs was too much of a patriot to say no.
Tony didn’t care about politics too much right now. He had weight in his position both as the Alpha Sentinel of the Territory and as Assistant Director of the FBI. If someone was the cause of Gibbs getting shot, well, heads would roll in a literal sense. The Sentinel laws meant he could literally tear their heads off and no one could even charge him. You see, anyone who believed he was a civilised man had never threatened anyone Tony thought of as family.
Aaron was too well connected with his sentinel and he knew that Tony planned to tear up places in order to find Gibbs. He would do anything he could to support Tony so Aaron put the all call out to the team and to Ellison and Sandburg. Tony wasn’t going to play nice so it was only fair to let Ellison play too.
Gibbs clutched his stomach, he hated getting shot. This felt worse than normal though, it was like his skin was on fire and the bullet felt like a burn on his skin. He sighed with relief as he felt an animal land on his stomach and the pain became manageable. He didn’t need to be an investigator to know what had happened. He was sure that someone was laughing at the idea of him coming online so late in life. Oh well, he would adapt to his circumstances and one bonus, his eyesight was already improving.
Gibbs managed to focus on his spirit animal. “So you’re my animal huh?”
His eagle did not look too impressed with him. She wasn’t cutting him any slack for being shot and her look at his question was one of pure disdain. Gibbs hissed out. “I’m okay. I cut off the pain.”
That got him a peck and he realised why too. It just showed being shot did not help his decision-making skills. He could acknowledge it to his spirit animal. “Okay, so I will keep touch up a little.”
That earned him a cheek-rub of affection. Whilst he would love to keep her close, it wouldn’t be prudent. He needed medical attention and he needed it now. “Go find Tony for me.”
He got one last peck on the cheek and she took flight.
Tony had dreaded the day that he had to go back to NCIS and had, in fact, put it off for as long as he possibly could. He didn’t need or even want to step foot in the place ever again as he loved working with Aaron and making sure the BAU had all that it needed. Tony had even found he could complete all the damn paperwork the place generated as per his deal. The deal with the Director was simple – he would continue to do it as long as he got to join the team on their cases. It wasn’t like they were going to stop him. You just didn’t tell a Sentinel they couldn’t follow their Guide, well, not if you liked your limbs attached.
Hotchner grabbed the keys. “I’ll drive.”
Tony nodded because his senses were primed right now for attacks against the tribe. It would make driving annoying to say the least. Tony saw Jack looking nervous and worried in the doorway of the kitchen. “Hey kiddo, your Aunty Jess is coming to stay with you.”
Jack didn’t like it, you could tell, but he would be strong as he knew his Dad and Papa Tony needed to find Grandpaw. “You gonna find Grandpaw?”
Tony smiled because he loved how sure Jack was that they would find Gibbs. “Yeah kiddo, I will hunt him down myself.”
Jack hugged his Step-Dad. “Be careful and listen to Orso and Daddy.
“Always,” Tony promised, ruffling Jack’s hair. It was an easy one to keep too. Tony had been blessed with good fortune and a family that he would fight to keep.
Tony was on the phone with NCIS switchboard and was transferred to the Director’s secretary. “This is FBI Assistant Director Dinozzo. I need to speak with Director Vance immediately.”
The secretary, Cynthia, froze upon hearing the demand in his voice. She knew Tony from when he had been at NCIS with her while Jenny Shepherd was in charge. “I will see if he is available.”
Tony wasn’t going to be brushed aside. “Cynthia, it wasn’t a request. I am coming as the Alpha Sentinel of the Eastern Seaboard.”
The gasp let him know just how far the gossip hadn’t spread.
Tony really didn’t care what story NCIS spread about his departure to make themselves feel better. He had one concern right now and that was to find Gibbs. If he was forced to play stupid politics for too long he was siccing Blair on them as he enjoyed that kind of shit way more than Tony did.
Aaron was focussing on the road but using their bond to send feelings of reassurance. “We will find him, Tony.”
Tony wasn’t contemplating any other option. “I know. I just want to know whose ass I have to rip to do it.”
It was funny how something that had filled him with dread before, was now just fine. It helped to have a burning righteous anger to support you and a Guide willing to kick ass with you. They pulled up to the gate.
“Can I help you, Sir?”
Aaron handed over their FBI badges that also showed their status as Guide and Sentinel. “I’m Guide Hotchner and this is Sentinel Dinozzo, we’re here to see Director Vance on Sentinel Business.”
Tony glared at the guard who seemed to want to stall and smelt nervous. “Jaimie I’m this close to starting a sentinel hunt – you don’t want to get in my way.”
The guard paled realising it was their Tony Dinozzo. “In you go, Sir.” The security guard did not make enough money to warrant upsetting an Alpha Sentinel – he wasn’t suicidal.
Tony grinned a little bit ferally, smelling the fear on the guard. It wasn’t Tony’s fault as he would remain that way until they found Gibbs. It didn’t mean he couldn’t find the occasional bits of humour though. “Was it something I said?”
His Guide gave him a rare smile. “I think it was the glaring. I love how everyone thinks I’m the scary one.”
Tony shrugged, as the couple didn’t bother to correct anyone on their assumption as it usually worked in their favour. “I’m scary when it counts.”
Aaron never doubted it. He’d seen it first-hand and there was a part of him that was really going to enjoy watching the NCIS people really see who his Sentinel was. He figured there was more than one person in for a rude awakening and had a fleeting (and inappropriate) wish he’d brought popcorn for the show.
Aaron didn’t even let the lift doors open fully before he issued the soft command. “Tone down your sight.”
Tony whirled around confused. “What?”
“Sight! There is too much orange.” Aaron said haughtily.
Tony laughed out loud at that comment. He did agree with his guide and did as he was told, knowing that any sentinel who made war with their guide deserved everything they got. Tony turned around and came face to face with his old team-mates.
He listened as they accused, blamed and yammered on about all his faults as unfortunately, his hearing was too good not to. Looking at his Guide and seeing the rage on Aaron’s face on his behalf made him smile as he realised something. Their validation or opinions didn’t matter anymore. They were nothing to him. They did not care for him and they were not his family as that was the BAU/FBI. So he did the worst thing possible to McGee and David.
He turned his back on them.
Chapter Two: Not who we once were.
Tony didn’t care what Tim and Ziva thought any longer. They were not his objective – Jethro was. His adoptive father was injured somewhere and needed his help. Tony wanted to know what he was working on, then he would take it from there.
As a hand touched his shoulder he didn’t think, he just reacted. Tony spun, using a cop’s trick to put his attacker on the floor. Orso materialised to use his paw to keep the attacker down. From her horizontal position, Ziva looked rather annoyed and somewhat scared.
“What are you doing?” She demanded. Her eyes burning with fury, she would not be humiliated like this, she was Mossad.
It was Aaron who answered for him. “Tell me, Agent David. Just how stupid are you?”
“I’m an NCIS Agent, there was no reason to attack me.” she insisted. She looked ridiculous as she squirmed on the floor under Orso’s paw. Due to the strong manifestations of their Sentinel and Guide gifts – their spirits animals were far more corporeal than one would expect from a spirit animal.
Aaron bent down so he was eye-level with the woman. “You put your hand uninvited on a bonded Alpha Prime Sentinel. And you are wondering why you are on the floor?”
She flushed as she hadn’t believed the rumours about Tony. Her arrogance would be her undoing in the end, Tony could feel it and so could Aaron. His Guide was gearing up for his own dressing down when Vance appeared.
“What is going on?” The NCIS Director demanded to know.
Aaron didn’t look ruffled. “Your agent put her hands on my Sentinel without his invitation. He reacted accordingly. In case you’re wondering, this is Orso, his Spirit Animal and he has no intention of moving until even a vague apology occurs.”
Vance now understood the scene and hated that he was backed into a corner. He took a deep breath and made a mental note to find a suitable punishment for David. He hated having to apologise but there was no way he could avoid it. “Sentinel DiNozzo, please accept my apology on behalf of my agency. It seems some of my Agents need a refresher on how to interact with Guides and Sentinels.”
Tony brushed off his jacket and at the same time Orso let off Ziva. “I appreciate that, Director. I just need information on Gibbs’ whereabouts as I know he is injured but I don’t know where he is while he was working for you. It is vital I find him as I think he has come online.”
Vance glared at the two agents. Gibbs had gone out with David and McGee: surely they wouldn’t have been stupid enough to leave him alone. He turned on his own agents demanding to know. “Where is he?”
McGee explained, trying desperately to figure out a way to justify their behaviour. “He went door to door. He didn’t return so we assumed he went to check a lead. He was always doing that, Director Vance, when he worked here.”
Vance growled as he definitely did not like where this was going. He asked. “Did he check in?”
McGee frowned, looking at David. Christ, the probie was still being led by his tail. Tony would pity him but this was about Gibbs. “Where were you?”
“Now see here … we did nothing wrong.” McGee tried to say but you didn’t need to be a sentinel to know that it sounded like a weak defence.
Tony rolled his eyes. “I don’t care about blame, I will let Vance and the Sentinel Council deal with you. I just want to find Jethro. Now, where is he!”
The last bit was laced with power. Everyone around him shivered and Aaron clutched his hand, a subtle way to keep him grounded. He wouldn’t go feral as it wouldn’t serve a purpose but it didn’t mean his anger wasn’t primed to explode. The agents here had never seen it so they didn’t know just what he could do when provoked. Aaron spoke, breaking the tense atmosphere.
“Tony considers Jethro a member of his pride. You will tell us what you know. Do you know what happened to the last person who harmed a member of our pride?”
“No, nor do I care,” Ziva remarked.
Hotchner rolled his eyes. You can’t beat a Mossad superiority complex. He couldn’t resist adding. “You should know – Tony stabbed the Reaper in the neck and staked him to a wall to save my life.”
Hotchner could see the moment when her reality sunk in. This was not the clown she thought she knew. Tony was a dangerous Sentinel if nothing else. As the others looked in shock at his Sentinel too, Tony snorted. “What? I was having a bad day. He was trying to harm my guide, he didn’t deserve any pity.”
McGee felt like his world was crashing down around him. This was not his co-worker, well, not one he had known. Could he have been so blind? Christ, what had happened to Gibbs?
“Look I can take you to where we conducted the interviews.” McGee offered, sure nothing was wrong. Correction, hoping nothing was wrong as he wasn’t sure what would happen otherwise.
Tony bit out. “No need.”
Ziva shared a look with McGee, annoyance evident on her face. “You need our help. You said so, even if you are a mighty Sentinel.”
Tony had a feral grin. “Sweetheart, an Eagle has just landed on Gibbs’ old desk and I know who that will belong to. Her attitude just matches Gibbs’ to perfection.” Tony knew time was of the essence but he was not yet done. “I will launch an investigation into this mess when Jethro is safe.”
Vance’s face looked like he’d bitten a lemon. DiNozzo had a lot of influence in their world now and he didn’t know which one he would prefer – an FBI investigation or a Sentinel Inquiry. He looked at the two Agents he had thought were good enough to at least follow basic procedure. “My office now. You will tell me everything.”
Tony was driving using the Eagle flying above his car as his navigation. It was different to a standard SatNav but he could adjust. Tony knew the urgency of the journey, they had to hurry as Jethro was weakening. He focused on the simple task and let Aaron raise hell on the phone. He could do it himself but he was concentrating on driving, plus his Guide was so hot when he let loose like that.
The Eagle led them to a gated community – Tony knew this was where the door to door inquiries were taking place. As soon as the car stopped, the Eagle chose to land on his shoulder. For a metaphysical bird, it sure knew how to announce its presence. Tony understood the bird’s anxiousness as a dead Gibbs was not something he was willing to contemplate. Tony knew they were close to Gibbs as he could feel the tug that linked all the members of his personal pack to him. The tug was a comprehensive imprint of all senses that Tony could find anywhere in a city with his power level.
Aaron touched his hand. A light touch, meant to ground. “You will find him.”
Tony stretched his senses as it was so easy now. It took less than fifteen seconds for him to find Gibbs. He focussed on the scent of blood. “This way.”
They both had their guns in their hands, pointed down but ready to fire. Tony wasn’t being stealthy. “Gibbs! Where are you?!”
Tony could hear a rustle in the bush so he headed over to it. Sure enough, he could see a foot sticking out from under it. Tony moved the branches aside uncaring of how rough it felt against his skin. Sure enough, he’d found Gibbs and he’d definitely been shot. He was pale and his breathing was too ragged for Tony’s liking but Tony was focussing on the fact he was in fact still breathing. “Aaron we need an Ambo now!”
Aaron didn’t waste time with calling the normal emergency services. This was going to be delicate as Gibbs was emerging at the same time as dealing with his physical injury. It was going to make treatment tricky, to say the least. His call was to the local Sentinel centre and they were already en route to their location as he’d informed them of the situation on their drive here.
Hotchner joined his sentinel in time to hear Tony talking in a low voice to Gibbs. “Come on Papa Bear, you gotta keep it together.”
“You … found me.” Gibbs managed to say, voice weak due to the injury. This was the last time he ever went into the field without Tony or the BAU backing him up.
Tony had to roll his eyes. “We both felt it when you got shot. I have already gone down to NCIS and I will go back once you’re safe.”
Gibbs was panting as the pain increased, he knew he was safe now so he was letting himself feel more. It was safer and he could do it now but that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt. He couldn’t believe Tony had gone back to NCIS. Tony had sworn never to return as it was so toxic to him and his Guide. Christ, he must be in a bad way. The next time Davenport asked him for a favour he was going to tell the man where to go. He needed Tony to have all the facts and he had to trust Aaron to reign in Tony’s more protective instincts.
“They left me alone over comms.”
Tony sucked in a breath because it was unconscionable to even think it. He could have asked who had left him but he didn’t need to. He knew exactly who had left Gibbs without backup and he was going to have their badges taken away from them. He would use standard legal means at first and if that failed he would ask Sandburg and Ellison for a Sentinel Hunt against threats to the tribe. How dare they?
Their arrogance had clearly grown since he’d left the agency even though he hadn’t thought it possible. Tony patted Gibbs’ arm in an attempt to reassure the man. He wasn’t too sure who was reassuring who but it worked. Aaron could sense the edge of a zone which in his injured state could be fatal to Jethro.
Hotch was the one speaking but the cadence was all Tony. “Hey big guy, no checking out. Who will take Jack fishing?”
Tony knew what Aaron was trying to do and he supported it. “Yeah, Jack told us to find his Grandpaw who is hurt.”
Gibbs flinched and Tony knew why. “Reign it in. They are here for you.”
“About damn time.” Gibbs groused.
Tony had to laugh, it was more a weak chuckle but it gave him hope. Gibbs was grouchy and demanding and that was him at his finest.
Tony stood up to let the healers do their work. There was some amazing work the healing Guides could do. They could stabilise the patient’s shields, encourage minor healing to take place and the lack of shock would help improve Gibbs’ chances.
Tony stood back to let Gibbs be loaded into the ambulance and asked his father in all but blood the most important question. “Where do you want me?”
Tony wanted to be by Gibbs’ side – there was no doubt about that but it didn’t mean under the circumstances that it was the best choice. Gibbs whispered his reply but to Tony, with his enhanced hearing it may as well as have been shouting. “They have to be held accountable.”
Tony didn’t like it but his instincts agreed with Gibbs’ decision as much as it may suck. That didn’t mean he wasn’t going to stack the deck in his favour. Aaron had guessed the first thing and was already on the phone to Tobias. After all, Gibbs was an FBI consultant who was on loan to NCIS so Gibbs being injured was going to raise some questions about the care of one of “theirs”.
Plus, there was the friendship between Jethro and Tobias which meant he wouldn’t leave him alone in the hospital.
His Guide knew how he thought so Aaron was already setting plays in motion that would cause ripples for a certain Agency and its key players. Tony decided to join his Guide and played his own trump card. He phoned the Alpha Prime Guide of the US. “Hey Blair, I need your help and I think we can see how far Erin has come along.”
Aaron whipped his head around with disbelief. He couldn’t believe what his Sentinel was thinking, it was ludicrous but then he started thinking it over and his own amusement kicked in. If the situation wasn’t so serious, it would be hilarious.
CHAPTER 3 – The Bitch is Back.
Erin Strauss had enjoyed a meteoric rise at the FBI until she ran afoul of Anthony DiNozzo. She could be mad at him but it would be unfair as there was only one person she could blame, herself, and she was fully aware that her own ambition had blinded her. It was a humbling realisation that the Alpha Prime Guide of the US had had to hammer home.
She was serving as the Media and Departmental Relations lead for the Sentinel and Guide Council. She hated it and now had a much healthier respect for Agent Jareau, who had to deal with the press every day.
“They did what?” She said unable to comprehend that anyone, let alone experienced agents, could leave an agent unprotected in the field. It didn’t just speak of arrogance, it spoke of crass stupidity not to mention negligence.
Blair shrugged. “That’s the problem … We don’t know what they did. What Tony knows is they all left together to investigate a case. The two agents have returned to NCIS and Gibbs was shot in the field and has come online.”
Blair nodded as it was a mess in the making and one they needed to clear up quickly. He would not tolerate any American Agency being careless with Sentinels or Guides. “Tony has a gift for you.”
Erin looked up in surprise as she figured Tony wasn’t her biggest fan and was unlikely to ever be. “Dare I ask?”
Blair smirked. “Well, he wants answers and is understandably in an angry state. He says he’d like you to help him “storm the castle”. Something that he feels you would be uniquely qualified for.”
“And how is Sentinel Gibbs?” Erin asked, knowing how close DiNozzo was to the older Agent. There had been a few in the centre who had questioned the close relationship between the two.
Blair chuckled. “He was in pain but as he was loaded into the ambulance he was ordering Tony to hold them to account.”
Erin was agog. “DiNozzo is not at the hospital?”
Blair shook his head. “It’s not what Gibbs wants. He knows he will need treatment and Tony would mother-hen him to death. It’s best if he has a distraction.”
Erin shrugged. “Does this mean I can pass on Media meetings today?”
She asked it tentatively but figured if you don’t ask, you never know.
Blair chuckled. “I can’t watch anymore as they are too painful. I believe your boss wants you back soon but in what position I cannot say.”
Tony and Aaron were waiting for Strauss outside the NCIS building. Aaron could see his Sentinel was steaming and nudged him. “Relax, you don’t want to give them any quarter … or excuse.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “I would like nothing better than to rip the smug expressions right off their faces.”
“Now you are just channeling Orso,” Aaron said, amusement lacing his voice.
Tony smirked. “Well, he is my spirit animal for a reason.”
The animal in question made himself visible and hugged his Sentinel and then his Guide. Orso had long claimed Aaron and little Jack into his Sleuth and Tony and Aaron found themselves both relaxing because what else can you do when getting a big bear hug by an actual big bear.
Strauss managed to meet them with a cordial nod. She wasn’t being rude, in fact, it gave Tony hope. All the literature you should read suggested it was rude to shake hands with a bonded Sentinel as it messed with their senses. It was fine if they offered their hand to you but otherwise you should keep your hands by your side.
“Are you saying these Agents left one of their own without backup during an active investigation?” Strauss was spitting mad.
Tony shrugged. “We don’t know for sure but we are going to find out.”
Strauss frowned not understanding why she was here. “You are a walking lie detector … Why do you need me?”
Tony was honest with her. “My instincts are primed to destroy right now. I need you to unleash your inner bitch so I can keep my temper in check.”
Erin looked delighted with her brief as it was something she could do with ease. “I understand but whatever mess you feel like making I will help you clear up. I never could stand Leon Vance. Shouldn’t Aaron be helping you keep calm.”
Aaron snorted. “I’m the cheerleader right now.”
Erin was speechless which was a rare occurrence for her. She couldn’t imagine straightlaced Aaron Hotchner as a cheerleader or causing trouble.
It was there and then that Tony decided sometime in the nearish future he may come to like the woman. As long as she could convince Aaron that any bad blood between them was in the past. After all, it was the slight against him that started their issues.
They were greeted by Agent Balboa, who Tony was fond of and he was guessing Vance hoped Tony wouldn’t rip Balboa’s head off. It was a rude assumption as he wasn’t an animal and besides, he had specific targets in mind for his wrath and it was a narrow list of four. Tony was flexible on two of the names, it all depended on how much they knew.
The tension in the bullpen was so thick it didn’t need a Sentinel to notice. Tony gripped Aaron’s hand knowing that if it was distasteful to him, it would be repugnant to his guide who picked up so much of other people’s emotions. Tony couldn’t help but poke at the situation mainly to see what he could learn. “Wow. Friendly working environment. I’m guessing Walters and Smith have left the building?”
Balboa shook his head. “No, but they don’t look comfortable.”
Oh well, so much for not throwing his weight around immediately. Tony didn’t give a shit to be honest because a Sentinel-Guide pair were being forced to work in such a toxic environment. Tony shared a dark look with Aaron. His guide could guess what he was going to do and just nodded his support. It was the right thing to do.
“Walters, Smith, get over here.”
The Sentinel Guide pair in question made their way to him. They looked sheepish, much like children being sent to the Principal’s office. Walters as the Sentinel was the one to speak up, “Alpha?”
Tony rolled his eyes. “You do not ever have to work in such an emotionally toxic environment. Go home. I’ll be pissed if I find out that you’ve done so in the future.”
Erin watched the pair nod and stride away – the relief palpable and even obvious with how they left the bullpen.
Tony turned back to Aaron and Erin. “What the hell is going on here?”
Strauss snorted. “Vance not knowing how to utilise his personnel effectively. Do you want to pull the Sentinels from the Agency?”
Tony thought about it as it was a serious move. If he issued the decree, he knew he would get the support of the Council. Whilst he would hate it, he wouldn’t tolerate any of his people being risked out of stupidity. “It’s an option.”
“Sentinel DiNozzo, Guide Hotchner, it’s good to see you,” was Vance’s greeting.
Tony wanted to challenge the blatant falsehood as Vance was not pleased they were back. His heartbeat told Tony everything he ever needed to know and seriously, has the man still not learnt enough about sentinels to know not to bother lying to one? “Oh, and this is the FBI Liaison to the Sentinel Council, Erin Strauss. I figured she would be best to represent all interested parties.”
Vance paled as he realised that Tony was going to go after the perpetrators using all avenues available. This was not just going to have repercussions for David and McGee but the entire agency.
“How is Gibbs?”
Tony pursed his lips but answered. “I found him shot and in pain. He’s at one of the centres being treated as he came online at the same time.”
Vance’s eyes widened as it was unheard of for a Sentinel to come online at his age. He did not envy the ex-sniper that was for certain. “I see. Would you like to come up to the conference room to hear what we have ascertained so far?”
Erin, Tony, and Aaron made their way upstairs and once through the doors sat on one side of the curved table while Leon and the lawyer were on the other side. It was cute how Leon thought by not calling Ziva, Tim or Abby that they wouldn’t be held to account. Tony would let him keep his illusion for a little while longer.
Erin had in front of her a formal notepad. “So please tell me what happened up to Sentinel Gibbs getting shot.”
Vance signalled the lawyers. “The sworn account of Agent McGee explains they tracked a lead to the gated neighbourhood.”
Erin wasn’t bothered the by the dog and pony show. As far as she was concerned, she was just interested in the facts. “Let’s get to the part where Agents’ McGee and David returned to NCIS without Sentinel Gibbs.”
Vance sighed. “There appears to have been a communications breakdown. The Agents were in the surveillance vehicle to monitor … Sentinel Gibbs and after two hours they called out to him and asked him to return.”
Erin’s eyes gleamed with the scent of a poorly concealed lie. “I see, now may I ask who exactly you thought would accept that story?”
Tony was so goddamn glad for the bond between him and Aaron as it burst with amusement even if outwardly they portrayed stony silence. “I think we should ask Agent McGee, Agent David and Ms. Sciuto to attend the meeting as well.”
The lawyer and Vance shared a worried look and it was amazing they ever managed to pull any type of cover-up, to say this was paper thin would be polite at best. Vance took the lead as he was the Director. “Why would you need the forensic technician?”
Tony put on a brittle smile but it wasn’t enough to hide his anger. “You implied there was a communication breakdown. So I want a report about the service status of the equipment used by the person who’s responsible.”
Aaron sent approval down the bond as that was a nice direction to take the conversation. Strauss wrote a short note on her pad. How far? Complete audit or Sanction?
Tony couldn’t deny that all his instincts screamed at him to destroy the agency as they were responsible for harming one of his own. The more rational, less primal part of his brain knew that was unfair as it was not every worker at fault – more likely it was just the deadly trio about to darken his path. He’d hated the idea of seeing them but now he was over it as they had messed with Gibbs.
Vance didn’t like the idea that he had to summon his staff. “I don’t see why I should!”
Strauss smiled but Tony could imagine that there were Great White Sharks with friendlier smiles. Strauss couldn’t resist poking Vance adding with a sweet tone. “I completely understand how you wouldn’t want to get to the bottom of inconsistencies of your reports. So we can finish this meeting and Sentinel DiNozzo and Guide Hotchner can go check on the status of Sentinel Gibbs?”
She let the idea pause before letting the hammer fall. “Of course, if I was to do that then I would recommend to the Alpha Primes that they should send the full auditing team into NCIS to decide whether the full agency should be sanctioned.”
Vance growled. “That would mean no Sentinel or Guide could work for us ever again.”
Strauss quirked an eyebrow. “Only if you were found to be mistreating them … Would that be a worry?”
Aaron smirked for a fraction of a second and Tony was inclined to agree. He might have had fun tearing them apart but this was better. Tony could literally smell Vance’s squirming. It smelled a lot like fear and panic. He was going to buy a super gift for Strauss if nothing else. He was thinking maybe flowers as it was not yet at the level where he would be handing out diamonds as a gift. The amount of discomfort Vance was radiating was MasterCard “priceless” and deserved a reward.
“No, of course not.” Vance pressed a button on the table. “Cynthia, can you ask Agents’ McGee and David, along with Ms. Sciuto to come to conference room one?”
Abby pranced up the stairs, looking all kinds of mad. “What is going on? Did you hear Tony is in the building and he still thinks he’s too good to come and talk to us?”
McGee knew this wasn’t the case. “Abby you need to be careful because this is not the Tony we knew. He is the Alpha Sentinel of the Eastern Seaboard and an Assistant Director of the FBI.”
Abby threw her hands up in the air. “We were his family and he just left us.”
Vance stood at the top of the stairs. “Agent McGee, Technician Sciuto you are required in the briefing room now, please. Where is Agent David?”
McGee shrugged because he had no convincing way to explain that she had gone home today. As a result, he decided to say nothing at all. “Not sure, Sir.”
Vance just stared at him. “Phone her, and tell her to get her backside to the briefing room. NOW.”
With his piece said, Vance turned on his heels and walked back into the briefing room. Abby and Tim shared a look trying to see if they knew what this was about. Tim took charge. “Look, I will call Ziva. You better get up there, Abs.”
She knocked on the door. “Come in!”
Seeing Tony there, Abby was about to launch into a tirade about him leaving them. She couldn’t though as all words died on her tongue. He may look like their Tony but this was someone new, he was radiating fury and danger in a way that she could never remember.
She felt worried and concerned for whoever had upset Tony – not knowing it was Tim and Ziva she should be worried about.