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: Jilly and Azure
“So what’s going on with Spencer?” Jethro asked as he sipped his second cup of coffee.
Rossi pushed his plate out of the way and propped his elbows on the table, folding his hands together into a fist. “I’ve been working with Spence since he transferred out here. For the whole time I’ve known him, he’s always been strangely flat on an emotional level, but it’s a weirdly artificial flatness. I’ve asked, and he admitted that despite his mother’s clinical diagnosis as a paranoid schizophrenic, she still carries the genetics to be a Guide. She’s dormant, but she has it. I’m a Wolf Guide, and I’ve been around people who were declared dormant and I know what someone who has that condition feels like. He doesn’t feel like those people.”
Tony watched as David reached out and grabbed his coffee and took a sip before carefully setting the cup down, lining the handle up just so. “Spencer says that he was tested at twelve and the test came up positive for a strong expression of the genome. Kid’s been tested every year he’s been at the FBI and he still shows the same expression on his genome. He’s not dormant. We all know he’s not dormant, but he’s not online.”
Tony blinked and filed that factoid away. He took a deep sip of his tea and hid a grimace. The cup was cold. Reaching out, he grabbed the teapot he had prepared with his current favorite blend. He had had a feeling that he was going to need all the assistance with the day that he could get. Sipping the beverage, he listened as Rossi finished his explanation.
“From what he said, the Alpha Pair of Las Vegas have been very interested in the results of his testing since the first time he went in. Every few years, the testing seems to include a full in-depth psionic review. Since this is his first job away from Las Vegas, and frankly, his first professional job out of school, they are coming on strong to get him back for testing. He let me know about the scans and something about them just doesn’t sit right with me.” David sighed and carefully spun his coffee cup on his plate and was silent for several heartbeats.
Tony sat up and put his cup of tea to the side. That was not normal for any Pride to do to someone who might be a latent Guide. With the levels of hinky he was getting off Rossi, it was looking more and more like he needed to talk to Reid to get a handle on what was actually going on.
“What’s Dr. Reid like normally? And how does he seem when he talks about the scans?” Jethro asked as he looked back and forth between the two Guides.
Rossi didn’t respond immediately, just sipped at his coffee. “He’s said that the rest of the world seems to be at a further step removed for him than for the rest of us. Spencer is normally very detached from his emotions. He has them, I’ve felt them, but given the way he was raised, he doesn’t seem to understand them when our coworkers express them. When I asked about how he felt after a scan, he looked at me like I was insane.”
Alarm bells were now officially going off in Tony’s head and he wanted to get Reid in front of him now. How David hadn’t made the connection, he didn’t know, but it needed to be addressed. One more item to add to the list of things his Guides needed to know. “David, just from what you’ve been telling us here, it sounds like someone bound or contained him. And the trips back seem to be reinforcing the binding,” Tony told his Second.
The Wolf Guide blanched when Tony laid his suspicions out for the three of them to go over. His sentinel just growled. And the Lion Guide knew exactly why. Because someone who by rights should have been a part of his Pride, wasn’t. There was no way in the world Jethro would let that lie. “What does he feel like now?”
“Honestly? If I have to say anything about his mental state at this time, I would say that he felt like he’s been trying to come online.” David looked, and more importantly to Tony, felt, like he was honestly concerned for his friend.
The Alpha Guide reached out and pulled his planner out of his backpack and opened it to the current date. Flipping back and forth, he tried to find an open spot where he could go to the Center to interview Reid. Everything was booked, bar a three hour block that day. Reaching out through his Bond to his sentinel, Tony tapped the bare spot on his calendar to attract Jethro’s attention.
“I figured it would be soon.” Jethro shrugged. “I should be okay at the office and, at this point, the evidence has to be checked in and given to Abby. We don’t have much for us to do until she gets back to us with the results and that will be at least twenty-four hours in some cases. I can do paperwork while we wait.”
Tony let his gratitude flow across the link to his sentinel and turned towards Rossi. “So, if you can get Spencer to the Center at 1500, that would be great. I’ll meet him there.”
“He’ll be there. Thank you, Tony. It doesn’t feel right, letting him go back to Vegas.”
The drive into work was mostly silent. Tony had a fair idea of what was going through his sentinel’s head and it was nothing good. Hell, it was going through his own head too. That meant that he once he had all the evidence; he was going to be doing some major damage.
“I thought that Alpha Pairs were supposed to protect everyone in their Pride,” Jethro murmured as he moved his way in and out of traffic.
Tony didn’t even bother to notice how close they were getting to the other cars on the road. His sentinel was a damn fine driver and he had no problems with how he was handling the car. Clearing his throat, the Guide shrugged slightly. “S&G pairs are as human as the rest of the people surrounding us. They might actually think that whatever’s been done to Reid is the best thing for humanity. I’m pretty sure that they’re wrong, but that’s my opinion based off of what Rossi’s told me. I’ll be doing my own evaluation of Spencer when I see him this afternoon.”
Jethro growled and Tony could see that his hands were white knuckled on the wheel. “I know Reid. And there is no way that kid is a danger to humanity.”
“I really hope so, Jet,” Tony told his partner softly.
Neither man spoke for the rest of the drive. As soon as they pulled into NCIS, they headed towards the evidence locker and the secured refrigerator. Grabbing gloves, the Pair pulled them on before starting to log the evidence in. It was relatively boring work, but it needed to be done quickly. Once the last ‘i’ was dotted and ‘t’ was crossed, they trundled the whole mess down to Abby.
Tony was used to tapping the warning signal by this time and used the brief rest to flip through the list of evidence they had managed to collect. Abby was going to be supremely busy and he had no idea how she was going to get through it all.
The turnover was as swift as they could manage it and the Goth didn’t seem to mind how quickly they left her to her work. Tony headed back to his desk and started logging in the various photos they had taken the day before while his sentinel went to talk to the Director. Thirty minutes later, his email pinged twice and he quickly clicked on the missives. The first let him know that Burley had boarded his plane to his new duty station and the NCIS agent in charge of escorting him had reported that they were just about ready to take off. The man had mentioned that he would be checking in at each leg of the journey. Tony was happy Burley was gone.
The second email was from Reid, agreeing to the meeting at three. Taking a deep breath, the Lion Guide tried to settle his emotions. He was going to need some time meditating before he talked to Spencer if the situation kept upsetting him.
Tony quickly typed out his report for the scene they had processed the day before and uploaded the multiple memory cards of pictures to the database. Their victim had not died an easy death. If it hadn’t been for some conclusive evidence tying everything to their one victim, he would have been looking for multiple murders to account for what had been discovered.
But everything they had found pointed to one man who had caused the mess in the barn and the house. One very strong, very creepy fucker, Tony thought as he moved through the pictures, labeling them with information. Each shot with an evidence cone got a small description added
The alarm on his phone buzzed to let him know he had two hours to get to the Center, and Tony closed down what he had been doing. He took the time to forward the compiled report to his Sentinel before standing. “I’ll be at the Center until at least six. Do you want me to swing back to pick you up?”
Jethro looked up from his own report and Tony tried not to smile at the way his sentinel blinked and then shook off his own work haze. “No. I think I’ll ask Ducky to drop me off.”
Nodding at that, the Guide grabbed his backpack, badge and gun before running a hand over his partner’s shoulder. “Call me if you need me.”
“Uh-huh. You too,” Jethro told him with a small quirk of his lips.
Tony made certain to grab the car keys and headed out without another word. This would be the first time they would be spending a substantial amount of time apart and he wasn’t too sure how they were going to do. With how new their Bond was, they were doing great to actually be able to work at NCIS.
The guide pushed those considerations aside for the moment. He had a possibly latent guide that needed him to be at the top of his game. Obsessing over what couldn’t be helped wasn’t going to serve anyone. In a moment that seemed to show that the universe wasn’t against his errand of compassion, traffic was light and he got to the Center about thirty minutes after he left NCIS.
Pulling into the staff parking lot, Tony paused. As the Alpha Guide Prime of the region, he should have had a dedicated parking spot. The last time he had been to the Center, he had had a spot. Today, someone was parked in his place and the car was a rental from the tags.
Tony carefully parked his car in the space reserved for his mate and took down the information about the car that was in his spot. He had no idea what in the hell he was going to fully do with the information, but… Oh, who was he kidding? The short walk to the main offices of the Center gave him just enough time to decide that he was upset and Tony knew that he wasn’t going to be taking the situation lightly.
Time to put the fear of him into whomever had invaded his Center.
One of the first things he had put on his list after he had found out who he had Bonded to was looking into how the local Center was run. What he had found hadn’t pleased him in the least. With Jethro’s help, he had started reorganizing the place and yet… It still wasn’t running as smoothly as the one he remembered from his childhood. While that might have been due to the lead Pair that had run it, Tony wasn’t going to bet the farm on that.
As a Guide and as a cop, he was aware that institutional rot was a real thing. It could also happen very quickly. He had suspicions that that this Center was rotten from the heart out. If that was the case, they would need to razed it to the ground. If that was done, it would cause waves through their Pride and all the Prides in the surrounding territories. With the case they were on, he wasn’t certain he and Jethro could take the time.
But, and it was an important but, if they didn’t and things continued the way he feared, letting the status quo stay could lead to disaster.
Drawing in a deep breath, Tony thinned out sections of his outer shield and took a read on the building before him. Most of the place was filled with the feeling of industrious work, of people doing what they loved and enjoying their jobs. There were some pockets of discontent, but when the Guide homed in on those areas, he could tell that they were coming from the area set aside for counseling. If all he was feeling from there was some mild discontent, the day was going well. However, there was an area full of anger, resentment and disdain on the bottom floor of the building. From what he knew of the layout of the Center, that area was where the main conference rooms were.
Fantastic. Tony pulled all his feelers back in and ran his ID over the sensor to get into the back hallway of the Center. Once inside, he headed towards the area where there was the most conflict. As was befitting a Sentinel and Guide Center, it was very quiet, but not silent, with just enough air movement to spread the scents of the olfactory garden planted in the main lobby through the building. If it hadn’t been for his abilities, he would have needed to get directions to whatever was causing the mental waves in the building.
Once he had that dealt with, he was going to deal with the assholes who had taken his parking space. Because it was clearly marked as his and yeah, he wasn’t going to let that stand. Or was that stay parked? Whatever. Standing in front of the double doors that led into the conference room where the emotional storm was building, Tony took a deep breath before shoving the panels open and taking in the scene before him.
Spencer Reid was sitting halfway down the table, staring at two people who were doing their best to intimidate the latent Guide. Tony didn’t even glance at them as he studied the younger man. Reid’s face betrayed nothing of his emotions and the senior Guide suppressed a small smile at that. Rossi had been right that there was something very off about what was going on with the good doctor. If he had been mundane he would have been leaking his uncontrolled emotions all over the place. Since he wasn’t, he wasn’t mundane.
The other two people in the room were also about as far from mundane as could be. Tony continued to walk down the conference room until he stood right behind Spencer. Settling his hands on the FBI agent’s shoulders, he squeezed lightly before addressing the duo across from them. “I find it amazing that the Alpha Pair from Las Vegas is here in Washington DC, in my Center. It’s also amazing that you didn’t bother to let either me or my Sentinel know you were coming out. Add in the absolutely boggling fact that you pulled Dr. Reid away from an appointment I made with him to meet with you, I have to think that you two are up to something shady. Now, anyone want to explain what’s going on?”
Tony combed back through his memory to try to remember the names of the Pair leading the Pride out in Sin City and kept coming up with a blank. That wasn’t normal for him. Pushing more energy into his shields, the Lion Guide could feel them snap into place. From the minute flinch that crossed the face of the Guide across from him, more was going on than just two people being assholes.
The Guide took a deep breath before waving a hand at Reid. “Mr. Reid is one of our Pride and we are worried about his mental health. Because of this, we decided to come out to check up on him. Sorry for not letting the local Pride know ahead of time.”
“Doctor or Special Agent Reid, not Mister,” Tony snapped. He remembered their names now. “After all, Mister Brooks, if you can’t be bothered to respect that, why should I respect you?”
The sentinel half of the pair, a Stephan Green, shot Spencer a faintly poisonous look before glaring at Tony. “We have been the leaders of Reid’s Pride for twenty years and we are affording him all the respect he deserves. We examined him after we found out about his mother’s mental breakdown. He carries the marker genes for schizophrenia. It was determined that he would be contained for both his health and the health of the Pride.”
Tony suppressed the urge to rear back in shock and firmed up his jaw. Containing someone was normally the final step in judgment for the most heinous of crimes in their community. That the Alpha Pair of Las Vegas had done that to anyone was a red flag. That they had done that to Spencer was even odder. Rossi hadn’t mentioned anything about the younger agent being diagnosed with the mental illness and nothing Tony was sensing hinted that he was so afflicted.
Pushing his abilities out through his physical connection to Reid, he tried to get a discrete read on him. Nothing. It was like Spencer wasn’t even home in the body before him. Tony extended his outermost shields around him and almost nodded in satisfaction. That was helping. Leaning forward, he directed the younger man to the space he had claimed as his office in the building. He kept his peace as Reid walked out. Now to take care of the two before him.
“So you went through the Council to get this sanctioned, right? Spencer was examined by Dr. Sandburg and the conclave of Wolf Guides to determine if there were no other options available?”
“As I said, Reid is a part of our Pride. We aren’t in the habit of bringing minor things like this to the Council’s attention,” the Guide told him. Tony could feel Brooks aggressively pushing his aura out, trying to overwhelm him into compliance.
Tony felt the snarl of his spirit animal curling his own lips as he looked on the other man. Andrew Brooks’ spirit animal was, if he remembered correctly, a water buffalo. Specifically a Cape Water Buffalo. They were aggressive, territorial and perfectly capable of killing whatever got in their way. His Sentinel was a Tasmanian Devil. The man was perfectly matched in temperament to his Guide.
“I don’t count containing someone as a minor event,” the Lion Guide fired back. “And neither does the Council. That you do is horrific.”
“Please. Like they don’t do the same thing all the damn time. At any rate, we just took care of Reid before he became a problem for our community. Now he’s a functioning member of society and when he eventually breaks from reality, his break won’t takedown a Pride. The block is for the best,” Brooks told him with a smug smile.
“And, since he is contained, we won’t lose a Sentinel when he blows. So yes, we are doing a service to the community,” Green chimed in.
DiNozzo held his peace for several moments as he tried to process what he had been hearing. The level of arrogance the two before him were displaying was horrifically breathtaking.
Tony took a deep breath and pushed for clarity. “Just to make sure I understand this… Dr. Reid’s mother has a mental illness and, in a case of better safe than sorry, you contained him when he was a child. Then in later years, you’ve come back to reinforce the containment on a man who shows no sign of the illness that struck down his mother. Just in case?”
The Pair across from him shrugged. “Yes. It’s better he’s contained and harmless than a potential threat to our community,” Brooks agreed with a smile.
“Uh-huh. Well, isn’t that a thing,” Tony muttered.
He took a deep breath and tried to figure out all his options. If he left things as they were, the Pair would likely continue to impose their beliefs on their Pride and anyone who they came across who didn’t fit their idea of proper humanity. If he ordered them held, the political fallout would be massive. But it wasn’t in him to let things go. After all, he had become a cop to bring justice to those who had no one else.
Mind made up Tony firmed up his outer shields and settled himself. As a Buffalo Guide, Andrew Brooks was potentially as aggressive as a Lion or Wolf Guide, and might even be as strong. But… Tory was no pushover. And he was certainly far better trained.
The Pair were staring at him and the Lion Guide smiled grimly before pushing his mind out in a single, explosive rush. The surge of power overwhelmed the two people in front of him. Tony watched as they both slumped unconscious, and he didn’t feel an ounce of guilt. He drew on his inner reserves and tried to calm down.
His phone gave a very imperious ring and Tony snorted softly. For all that Gibbs acted like a Luddite at NCIS, he was actually pretty decent about technology. Decent enough to reprogram the ring tone on Tony’s phone to the Imperial March. Sliding the acceptance bar over, the Guide took the call.
“No one would believe you know what to do with a phone, but I know better,” Tony greeted his Sentinel.
“And you aren’t going to tell them either,” Gibbs told him cheerfully. “Now, you aren’t really expecting me to have missed that surge, are you?”
“No, I didn’t,” Tony muttered. “I have two people who are going to cause us all sorts of problems over here.”
He could hear the sounds of the squad room in the background fade and what had to be the door to the stairs closing. Semi-privacy was the best he could expect at work unless they used their suite. “You’re still at the Center, right?”
“Yeah, and I will be for hours yet. I still have to talk to Spencer. I think it’ll be a bit longer than what I originally planned for,” Tony said. He pinched the bridge of his nose, holding the pressure there to ward off his pending headache.
“Okay. I’ll take care of things here. Abby doesn’t have anything back yet. She says at least another six to eight hours,” Gibbs told him.
The relief at knowing he wasn’t letting the case down was amazing. “Thank you. I’ll take care of the two assholes and then Spencer.”
The wordless sound of agreement his Sentinel let loose was adorable and Tony stayed silent for several moments as Gibbs listened to the rhythm of his body through the phone.
“Thanks, Tony. I’ll let you get back to it.”
Tony concentrated on his breathing after ending the call, using the exercise to calm himself down even further. The confrontation with the Vegas Alpha Pair had shattered his temper and despite his conversation with Gibbs, there was no way he could get near any of the people outside the conference room without regaining his control. A quick check showed that the Pair was down for the count.
Since his guests had managed to be utter assholes, he was going to need some backup to handle them. He wasn’t able to get ahold of Blair, so he left the Senior Guide a message. Tony checked his watch and sighed. He had blocked out an hour for his discussion with Spencer and he had twenty minutes of it remaining. Sighing softly Tony shrugged. Gibbs knew that he was going to be late and that was all that mattered.
To take care of his latest headache on the other hand, he needed some onsite backup, and he needed it soon. Whoever he called needed to be strong enough to keep the Pair down. His choices in his Pride were limited. So he called Rossi.
“David, Tony DiNozzo. I need you down at the Center.”
His Second made agreeable noises, and Tony could hear him making his excuses to the BAU before ending the call as he entered an elevator. He had at least two hours before the Wolf Guide arrived, Time enough for some meditation with his guest.
He had a quick word with the Center’s security before heading to his office. They were happy enough to supply him with several sets of handcuffs. It took him only moments to cuff the Pair’s arms behind their backs and then to their chairs. He made absolutely certain that the guards knew that at no time were any of his Pride members to be left alone with them.
Tony paused for a moment to settle his mind before pushing the door open. Dr. Spencer Reid was sitting on his couch, carefully reading one of his textbooks. From what he could see, it looked like the younger man had pulled all his books on Sentinel studies and was almost finished with them. Thinning his shields, the Guide could tell that his guest was far calmer than he had been in the conference room. He settled onto the meditation mat he had left out and studied the other man.
At only a bare handful of years younger than Tony, Reid was amazingly smart, possessed more doctorates than could be believed and was actually a very sweet guy. He was also the most emotionally stifled and smothered person he had ever met. If Vulcans actually existed, Tony was sure they would feel like the man before him.
He could feel his own emotional landscape finally smoothing out and Tony shifted slightly as he got comfortable. They had the time to allow the BAU agent to finish his book. He let his eyes close and dropped into a meditative trance.
The sound of the book closing pulled him out of his state and he looked at his guest. Spencer was carefully placing the book on the stack before him as he opened his eyes. Tony took a deep breath and waved a hand at the mat before him. “Come on over.”
“Said the spider to the fly?” Reid asked with a raised eyebrow.
Tony shook his head slightly and wriggled his fingers in invitation. “You are no fly, Doctor.”
“And you are no spider,” he was bluntly assessed.
“No, I’m a very large kitty cat. Let’s find out what you are, shall we?” Tony invited.
He actually wasn’t surprised that it took Reid a few moments to make the journey from the couch to the mat. “What makes you think I have a spirit animal?”
“Call it a hunch, but I think there is one in there,” Tony offered with a smile.
As he watched the younger man fold himself down onto the meditation mat with more grace than his lanky form suggested, Tony was sure Reid’s spirit animal would be something feline. Humans, in his experience, took on characteristics of their spirit animals. Which could be good or bad depending on what school of thought a person subscribed to. It might even explain the Las Vegas Pair, Tony thought with an internal shrug.
“Are you comfortable?” Tony asked.
Reid shifted slightly and then nodded. Tony breathed out and folded his outermost shields around the younger man. Lines of tension that had seemed to be related to the BAU melted away.
“That’s you?” Spencer asked as he cracked one eye to stare at the senior Guide.
“That’s me and the protections that my sentinel offers through our Bond,” Tony agreed. “He helps protect my mind, I help protect his physical body. We both get the emotional support we need to do our jobs.”
“Impressive,” Reid allowed. “So does the fact I felt you do that mean anything?”
Tony laughed lightly before settling back onto the mat. “Let’s find out.”
He had done guided meditations before, but never in circumstances like this one. Tony could feel the damage done to the younger man and it was stirring a horrific amount of temper that he could not let loose. Spencer didn’t deserve it and the two who did were out of his reach. At least for the moment.
Using the lightest touches he could, Tony soothed the mental landscape before him, leaving a path for anyone to follow. He had no idea how long it was before something responded and he opened his eyes.
Rossi was sitting on his office couch standing guard and staring at the spot in front of Spencer. Curled up on the meditation mat was a very young and rather beat up caracal kit. His lion was lying on the rug, rumbling and shaking the room with his purr.
“Spencer?” Tony pressed a mental query against the newborn Guide. “I need you to open your eyes.”
Reid’s eyes popped open and he looked down. “Well, shit.”