Title: Lion Rampart
Fandom: NCIS, The Sentinel, Barney Miller, Criminal Minds
Relationships: Tony/Gibbs, Blair/Jim, Wojo/Barney
Genre: Oh, So AU and a Mystery
Warnings: Mention of murder, possible torture and I’ll add more as it comes. Expect sex, some rock and roll, the drugs are iffy and you can be certain that there will be low humor.
Notes: Yes, I am aware of what happened in the show BM. Tough. I wanted a good set of really tough characters to be decent role models for a young Tony DiNozzo and they fit. If this wigs you out, try the ‘back’ button. Both you and I will be happier.
Beta: No Beta
“Thank you for your timely save, Guide DiNozzo,” Director Morrow said evenly. He had carefully ushered the two of them into his office and waved at one of the chairs he had set up as a small conversation area. Tony was impressed. The man wasn’t putting his desk, and thus, his authority over them, up front and center. Classy move.
“All part of the calling, Director. And please, call me Tony. Guide DiNozzo gets to be very cumbersome after a while,” Tony said with a bright smile.
“I can see that, thank you.” Morrow gestured towards the pitcher of water and the glasses that were waiting to be filled. “Can I offer you something to drink?”
Tony waited a beat while his Sentinel took a blatant sniff of the air and then nodded. From the look on his face, Morrow wasn’t even upset at the apparent lack of trust, he seemed to even be expecting it. The Director filled three glasses of water and then took a deep sip out of his own glass before setting it down. “So, this isn’t how I wanted to meet you, but we have to work with what we have been given.
“I am fully aware that now that Gibbs has Bonded, a large number of responsibilities that had been in abeyance will now be needing his attention. He has already been dealing with some of the day to day running of the Pride, but this is going to be a bigger thing. Can you tell me what I can expect?”
“Uhm… Hmmm. You don’t ask the easy questions, do you sir?” Tony asked dryly. Thanks to Wojo, he had most of the answer, even if it wasn’t going to be all that helpful. “Most of the day to day running of the Pride will be easy stuff. More of what he has been doing now. I will be working on the health and stability portion of our dual role of running the Pride, and that might take me away a few times a month. Sometimes, most times, for a few hours at most. But since we are the Alpha Pair for the Mid Atlantic Territory, we are going to be hosting events, handling disputes and fielding calls from other agencies.”
Gibbs took over the narrative here, smoothly taking the verbal baton. “We might even see an increase in the number of Sentinels coming into the Territory. With some working to join NCIS. I am currently without a second in command, and that, plus nailing down some territorial things will be taking my off duty attention for a while. On the job, it will be the same as normal. I’ll just have DiNozzo on my team.”
“Expect him to be a bit more touchy about personal space,” Tony warned. Better to get this out now, to the boss, than have it show up and cause problems later. “Also, unless he is agreeable, having someone touch me without warning is going to go over very badly with him. To say nothing of how I am going to react. Remember Director, I was just recently a full detective at the Baltimore PD and my being a Guide wasn’t well known. Anyone who tries to haze me or be an asshole due to my status will likely live long enough to regret it.”
Morrow sat in silence for several moments and Tony was content to let him. Reaching down, he picked up his water and took several small sips. He was thirsty and the water was helping wash away the flavor of the wax thing earlier.
“Thank you for your honesty, gentlemen. Gibbs, we will be working with you and your Guide to allow you the time you need to get the Pride back up on its feet. I know it has been without an official head since not long after you moved back to the area and as one of the Federal Agencies who have dealings with it, I am happy that things are returning to some form of normal. Tony, if anyone gives you any shit about being a Guide and or being Gibbs’s partner, you have my permission to go as far as you deem fit. If that means that you rip someone to mental shreds,” Morrow shrugged and spread one hand, “so be it. If that means that you beat the shit out of them? Try to not permanitly damage them because I don’t want to be paying for anyone’s disability payments. Other than that? I don’t care.”
Tony blinked at the level of carte blanche he had been given. Not even in Peoria, where he had been well known as a Guide, had he been given this level of freedom. “Thank you, sir. I will try to live up to the level of trust you have shown me.”
Morrow snorted and waved a hand again. “Just try to keep Jethro from alienating every single Federal and local agency between here and the Appalachians and I think we will be fine. Also, you will be making the same salary that he does, with the same pay grade. Amazingly, you were within a level of him on the pay grade anyway with the schooling and the time in at the various departments you have served at. They all speak very highly of you, by the way, and requested that I ask that you consider them for another spot if you ever have to move.”
“I will do my best,” Tony promised. From the twin snorts he got, he had a sinking suspicion that his Sentinel was a bigger bastard than he had hinted at being.
“That is basically all I had to say, gentlemen. Now, I am very certain that you are wanting to get down to Forensics to see what Abby has for you. She seems to pull miracles out of the hat more often for Gibbs though,” Morrow said with a smile. Standing up, he looked at Gibbs before offering his hand to Tony.
Tony reached out and carefully shook the offered hand. Tom Morrow was a deeply calm and even tempered man, on an emotional front and honestly welcoming of the new Pair he had in his Agency. DiNozzo breathed out a quiet sigh of relief at the his emotional reaction. It would have been infinitely harder to work with someone who was hostile to him or his Sentinel.
“Thank you, Tom,” Jethro said quietly as he took the Directors hand next and shook it carefully. From the relaxed set of his shoulders, Tony knew that he considered their boss to be at least a good colleague if not a friend. All good things. “And you are right. I want to see what Abby has come up with.”
Morrow laughed and waved a hand at the door. “Get going, Jethro. But remember to get her a Cafpow. I don’t want to see what she will tell your Guide if you show up without it!”
“Agreed! Come on, Tony. I need some more coffee and we need to pick up Abby’s drink of choice,” the Sentinel said on his way out the door.
Tony waited a beat until his partner was most of the way out of the room and then nodded at his new boss. “Thank you again, Director. Have a good day.”
Morrow just waved and Tony put a bit of hurry in his stride to catch up with Jethro. On the way out the door, he noticed that the young lady who was sitting guard over the Director’s office was the same one as earlier and he took a deep sniff, trying to see if she had had anything to do with the stench earlier. All he could get was a lingering hint of female sexual arousal.
Well, his Sentinel was one hell of a soon to be silver fox, but still.
“So what is this Cafpow stuff I keep hearing about?” Tony asked as they walked down to what appeared to be his Sentinel’s favorite place in the world, an independent, non-branded coffee shop.
Jethro snorted and Tony basked in the waves of affection and amusement coming off him. “It is this sweet, slightly syrupy drink that has enough caffeine in it to light up the Marine Corps for a month. Abby drinks two or three 32oz cups a day.”
Dear god, Tony shuddered. He liked coffee as much as the next cop, but he wasn’t that fanatical about it. And he was more likely to reach for tea to fuel his caffeine needs. “And apparently you drink enough 20oz cups to get the Navy floating alongside the Marine Corps.”
The Sentinel nodded. “Yup. Have for years. But I’m used to it and really, the withdrawal headache is not worth the pain. On a normal, nonstressed day, I am down here about every two to three hours. On the bad days? I get them to fill an insulated box and hide it under my desk. I tend to blow through two of those on days like that.”
“Do you even use cream or sugar?” Tony demanded.
“Nope,” Jethro said simply. “I like my coffee hot, black and full flavored.”
“Geeze-us. I need to talk to your doctor about your blood to caffeine levels,” the Guide muttered as he walked into the coffee shop they had been aiming towards. He took a deep breath and smiled. The place smelled of freshly roasted coffee, clean pots and newly baked scones. He was going to like this place for that alone. At that moment, the shop was mostly deserted with the barista the only inhabitant. At the sound of the bell over the door, she looked up and smiled at them.
“Jethro! You’re late! We haven’t seen you in a week. Had a long case?” called the barista behind the counter. Tony was impressed since he could see her hands moving behind the extra shiny brass and brushed nickel contraption that was the coffee maker. Far, far more high tech than his fairly plain coffee maker at home. Or even his French press. This? This thing looked like it was one step short of sending someone to Mars.
“Not too long of a case, Marie, but I did get something good out of it,” Jethro tilted his head at Tony and when she had turned to look at him, nodded. “This is my Guide, Tony DiNozzo. Tony, this is Marie Hadgekins and she is the owner of this lovely place. Plus she makes the best coffee in DC.”
“You gushed. How cool,” Tony commented before turning to look at the owner of his new favorite place. “Lovely to meet you, ma’am.”
“You don’t have to ma’am me, Tony. Jethro hasn’t called me ma’am in years. Now, what can I get for you? I’ve already started on Jethro’s,” she said as she placed the first of two cups on the counter.
“I would like a Cafe Bombon, please for here while he finishes his first one of those and a Cafe au lait to go,” the Guide ordered hopefully. He hadn’t had a Bombon since the last time he had been to the Spanish restaurant catering to the embassy in New York.
“Oh, baby. Someone who is making me reach for my training,” Marie said happily.
Tony could feel the curiosity from his Sentinel and he just smiled. If Marie could make a Bombon, he was going to be ordering them. A lot. And if that meant that he was going to be spending extra time running to make up for the calories, then so be it. When his drink was carefully put up on the counter, the Guide leaned over and sniffed the aroma rising in gentle waves on the steam. It smelled and looked perfect, with each layer crisp and even.
A thorough stir with the demitasse spoon and Tony was ready to try his order. Rich, creamy and full of flavor, the taste exploded across his tongue and he almost moaned. Oh, this was a million times better than what he had gotten in New York. “Oh, I will be so, so fat. Thank you!”
Marie giggled from her spot behind her hissing coffee machine and Tony smiled. She had done an excellent job of getting a rare drink made for him. As a test of a coffee shop, the Bombon was a hell of a high standard, but she had passed it with flying colors. Reaching into his wallet, Tony grabbed a five dollar bill and shoved it into the tip bottle for her before walking over to pay for their drinks. And a scone. Because he was weak and they were butterscotch and fresh. He got two.
Meandering back to the table his Sentinel had claimed, Tony slid one scone in front of the other man and sat down to enjoy the last of this special order coffee concoction. He was one sip away from the bottom of the cup when the puppy eyes from his Sentinel broke him and he handed over the remaining drink.
“Thank you,” Jethro said without the least hint of smug in his voice, but Tony wasn’t fooled. Their Bond was vibrating with the feeling. Not that he cared. He liked indulging his Sentinel and he could tell that he was going to be doing it a lot.
“Not a problem,” the Guide said fondly as he broke off one corner of his baked treat. It was just as good as his coffee and yeah, he was going to be jogging an extra mile tonight. From the look on his face as he tried the Cafe Bombon, his Sentinel enjoyed the flavors and Tony nodded in satisfaction. “See. There is more to coffee than drip.”
“I never said that there wasn’t, Tony. And that is good. I might get that next time I am in here to relax,” Gibbs agreed.
They were silent for several moments while they picked over their scones. Breakfast had been long enough before that the snack was welcome.
Checking his watch, Gibbs waved back towards NCIS. “Abby should have something to go on by now. Maybe not everything, but she’s had enough time to get an idea of what in the hell was in that wax.”
Tony just nodded and popped the last bite of his scone in his mouth before picking up his cafe au lait and waving it in salute at Marie as she dealt with a customer. If his Sentinel was going to this place every couple of hours, he was going to have to switch to a skinny version. There was no way he could drink two or three of them a day without gaining weight.
Once they got out the cafe doors, he sobered up and tried to concentrate on what was going to be happening in the forensics lab. Hopefully they would have enough to hang someone for harming his Sentinel. Humming lightly as he drank from his excellent coffee, Tony contemplated all the things he could do to the culprit. Someone was going to be having a very bad day. Soon.