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
Tony and Gibbs spent the drive home discussing the case, pulling it apart at each information point to exam in. it from all sides. They didn’t have any sudden strikes of genius, but both of them felt better about it after their discussion.
By mutual consent, they left work in the car. Unless they had no other choice murder and mayhem were left at the door so they could concentrate on themselves and Kelly as a family. As they walked in the door to the kitchen, both men allowed themselves to do a sweep of the property. The Guide knew when his Sentinel relaxed his control and allowed his senses to roam. Here, in their own home, Jethro rarely drew them in and Tony was happy that he had helped make the man’s home comfortable enough that he could do that. The brush of Jethro’s mind against his was an intimate caress and he had the mental impression of a large tiger swiftly moving through its native forests and finding all was well.
The mental sweep he performed was like coming home, each mental hill and valley was comfortable and familiar. After two months together, he was finally relaxed enough that it wasn’t an effort to unspool everything. Like his Sentinel, Tony allowed his gifts more leeway at home. It was one of the many things that allowed him to let go, to allow his on duty persona to fade away, and the inner nurturer he hid to come out a bit more.
Kelly’s bright mind was a welcome beacon, and the Lion Guide took the time to examine his charge from the outside. The younger Guide was flashing in and out of a variety of colors in a steady rhythm. Tony suspected the beat matched her heartbeat and from the speed, he expected that she was meditating. As his mental presence brushed hers, the flashing of her aura pulsed once brightly and then pulled back into her skin. He was very proud at how effortless that skill had become for her. There were Guides in his senior group that didn’t have the level of control over their gifts.
Then again, none of them had a fully trained Lion Guide as a personal teacher.
Like every other room in the house, the kitchen was spotless and Tony was big enough to admit that if he had come across a house as clean as the one he lived in anywhere else, he would wonder about the mental state of the inhabitants. But living with a Sentinel was reason enough to be a neat freak and Jethro had the Marine Corps training on top of his natural anal qualities, so the need was a bit higher than most. The level of clean he found in the kitchen was about on par with most surgical suites, but thankfully wasn’t achieved with Clorox anymore. A nice, herbal bleach that Dr. Sandburg had given him the recipe to had fixed the noxious smells and everyone was happier.
Speaking of the bleach, Tony checked the level in the large glass jar they had gotten for it. He had been happy to find the thing at the local Costco as they rolled out the summer stuff and had repurposed it without a qualm. Instead of lemonade or tea, it held the weekly batch of homemade bleach that they used to keep everything Sentinel friendly and clean. They were still over the halfway mark, so he didn’t need to mix up a new batch.
Sticking his head out of the pantry, Tony looked around to see if anyone was around. Seeing that the room was empty, he cleared his throat to call out to everyone in the house. “Hey, I’m planning on making dinner. Has anyone got a preference?”
There was a beat of silence and then the Guide heard feet hit the floor above him and head towards the stairs. That had to be Kelly since the mental feel of her had snapped out of meditation and into wakefulness at the same time as he had called out. The door to the basement opened and Jethro stuck his head out to look at him and then at his daughter as she hopped down the last step. “I vote for Sheppards Pie.”
Kelly’s eyes lit up and she turned towards Tony. “With the cheesy mashed potatoes and lots of gravy.”
“You know, that isn’t the quickest meal on the planet to make, right?” Tony asked as he walked over to the refrigerator. From the twin looks of disappointment he was getting, he figured that father and daughter expected that they weren’t going to get their meal. Ah, how he loved to mess with probability. “Good thing for you two that I made two the last time I cooked Sheppards Pie and froze the other,” he revealed as he reached into the freezer to pull out a Pyrex baking dish that was covered in saran and aluminum foil. Taped to the top was a Ziploc full of gravy.
He was just able to get the pie safely onto the counter before he was hugged tightly around the middle by his stepdaughter. “You are the best Tony. Awesome. And you saved the extra gravy too! I wondered where that went when I went down for a midnight snack!”
Snickering lightly at the attack, Tony hugged her back. “You are welcome. Why were you down here getting food at midnight?”
Kelly stepped back out of the hug and the Guide watched as her ears got a bit red. “You two woke me up again. And I was hungry, so I wanted to get something to eat. We had some bread left over from dinner and I was thinking I could dip it in the gravy.”
Jethro cleared his throat and walked out of the basement door to turn on the oven and Tony was amused to see that his ears were just as red as his daughters. “Do we wake you up a lot?”
Kelly shrugged as she went to the help get dinner ready. “Not as often as you did when Tony first moved in, but yeah. Sometimes I am hearing you two with my ears. You know, moving around the house, getting ready for bed stuff. Other times, I am hearing the emotions that you are letting off,” she paused and turned towards her teacher. “Tony, I know what you and Dad are doing then. Why aren’t I feeling anything like that? I mean, I can feel something related to it from people on the street, but not you two.”
Tony felt his own ears heat. God. The sex talk with a female Guide. Wojo and Dr. Sandburg would give him so much shit about this when they heard. “Because as much emotion as we are putting off, I am filtering it. There is no way in hell I will let you be around us when we are bleeding off those kinds of emotions. It is, frankly, not something that I want you to know about your dad and I. The random stranger off the street, I can’t control them. But I can make sure that you are only feeling the love that we have for each other and that we are having a good time. Not the other stuff. After all, you are twelve, and we aren’t living in the Middle Ages where marriage at twelve was the norm for female Guides.”
Kelly held her hands up and nodded, looking relieved. “Works for me! The people out there, the ones who I can feel when they get turned on, most of them feel okay. Like it is a warm feeling that comes and goes. The ones who make me uncomfortable, they feel slimy when they are thinking that way.”
The Guide watched as his Sentinel reached out and pulled his daughter into his arms. “That ‘feeling’ is a very warming thing, when it is with the right person. And I never, ever want you to be with anyone who can’t give you that. Which means that the ones who feel bad? Just stay as far away from them as you can.”
“I can do that, Dad,” came the muffled promise from his chest where Kelly’s head was tucked. Tony nodded at the expression on his Sentinels face. He would be going over how to tell who the scumbags were with his student at their next lesson. Kelly was already blooming into a beautiful woman and he wanted to make certain that nothing and no one messed with her.
Jethro nodded back and dropped a kiss onto the red head snuggled so trustingly into him. “Good. Now, dinner isn’t making itself. So, how about you get a salad started?” Tony raised an eyebrow at his Sentinel and the older man shrugged as he got a final squeeze before Kelly moved back to the fridge and started pulling out vegetables. “Don’t tell Ducky, but I actually like salad. Just not at every meal.”
Laughing lightly, Tony nodded before turning back to his portion of the dinner prep. The secret was safe with him.
“So you filter out the lust I feel for you, so no one else can feel how hot you get me?” Jethro asked as he wrapped his arms around his Guide. Tony was brushing his teeth and the Sentinel wrinkled his nose at the scent of the toothpaste. It was as homemade as the bleach and worked just as well, but the last batch wasn’t his favorite. When he got another dose of the scent, he dialed down his sense of smell and nodded to himself. Licorice and clove toothpaste was off the list of things he wanted around himself or Tony, and if he had to, he would mix up a batch of the Bergamot and Cardamom flavor. It smelled good, tasted good and blended well with both of their natural scents.
Watching Tony get ready for bed was no hardship and Jethro followed him out to the bed, carefully pulling the covers down before tumbling the taller man onto the plush surface and climbing in to straddle his hips. “Well?”
Tony ran his hands up his thighs before settling them around his waist. “Something that someone found out… Online Guide children can pick up the most amazing emotional cues. Now, this can be really helpful in keeping yourself out of trouble, or knowing who is the most trustworthy person in the room or any of a hundred things. But it has a downside too. If there is too much emotion, either good or bad, it can impact on the developing psyche of the young Guide in a way that is seriously detrimental.”
Jethro thought about that for a moment and then nodded. “This is why you are overhauling the Conservators.”
“Oh, yeah. You think I am going to leave my twelve year old daughter in the hands of someone who I don’t know down to their marrow?” Tony raised one eyebrow in disbelief. “Not happening. So I am going to be making some of my senior people miserable tomorrow morning and it is all so that little girl down the hall can get through her teenage years without know just how turned on we get. And if that means that I filter everything we put out until I can get her a qualified Conservator, I will.”
The Sentinel nodded and leaned down to kiss the man pinned under him. “Thank you.”
“You are welcome,” Tony muttered before pulling him down and yawning. “Now sleep. As much as I want a blow job or even sex, I’m not up to it tonight. My embarrassment threshold has been reached and I don’t need you two smirking at me in the morning.”
“Fine,” Jethro agreed around a yawn of his own. Reaching down, he pulled the sheet over them and snuggled in, the scent of his Guide rich in his nostrils. With everything right in his world, he fell asleep.
Tony stared down at the picture drawn in the froth of his latte the next morning and raised an eyebrow at the design. Apparently the barista was a geek. Raising the fragrant cup to his lips, the Guide carefully took a sip and beheaded Jabba the Hutt with one sure swallow. The plate of carbonite Han Solo cookies he was ignoring for the moment. As much as he adored those movies, the whole themed coffee thing was a bit too much right then.
“Okay. Thank you to whomever put this place on the list of meeting spots,” Tony started and when a hand waved at him, he nodded in their general direction. He would find them later. “I called everyone here today because I wanted to go over how Guides in this Pride are chosen and trained to be Conservators.”
“Why are we even having this conversation? I thought the S&G centers were the ones who trained those people,” bitched one of the Guides in the front row and Tony had to restrain the urge he had to lean over and smack her for her attitude.
“We are having this discussion, Guide Strauss, because it is the Pride who puts forth candidates for the Conservator position. And despite what you might want, you aren’t powerful enough to even try for it,” came the scathing reply from one of the Pride’s more senior members. David Rossi was one hell of a profiler and Tony had almost gotten down on his knees in thanks that the man was in his Pride, was willing to be one of his Seconds and had no want to lead. No one knew exactly what the man’s Spirit Guide was, but DiNozzo was betting on a Wolf.
“Ooohhh!” Strauss glared in Rossi’s direction and Tony mentally signed before grabbing the reigns of the meeting back.
“Guide Rossi is correct Strauss. Now the pissing contest between you two isn’t why we are here and I’m not interested in refereeing it today,” Tony snapped. He was using some of the tricks he had been taught to project his voice out to the whole gathering and nodded when they both quieted down. “I am going to adjust the ages and levels of training that I will accept in a Conservator and at this point, I don’t want anyone under the age of twenty to be considered. The candidates all need to have at least a Masters in Sentinel Studies and have a firm grip on their gifts. I don’t care if they agree to sleep with their charge, so long as the person they are acting Conservator for agrees and is of age. If I hear that a Guide in my territory is using their gifts to coerce sex out of anyone, I will beat them bloody and then make sure they can’t do that again. Ever. Am I understood?”
The wave of agreement was immediate and Tony relaxed slightly. Guides were human too, and they could make just as many mistakes as a mundane. He just didn’t want a mistake that had the potential to damage anyone to happen.
“Does anyone have a recommendation on how we can police the Guides who are acting as Conservators? Other than weekly meetings like this or me doing one on ones,” Tony asked the group.
“I can take over the running of that, Alpha,” Strauss offered, voice as smooth as silk.
Tony stared at the woman and wondered who she thought she was kidding. SSA Strauss did not volunteer for something like that position without the sure certainty that it was going to get her power. He took a deep breath and then pulled out the horrifically blunt portion of his personality and put a hammer to her power play, determined to destroy it utterly. “There will never, ever be a day where I give you that much power over any of the Guides in my Pride, Strauss. While you are a Guide, and a member of this Pride, you are not someone I am willing to put in charge of anyone impressionable. So, no. I won’t let you take control, you don’t get a say unless the idea is a damn good one that has been vetted by someone else and I am not assigning you to the job either.”
Face white at the public humiliation he had just delivered, Strauss nodded and sat back in her chair before picking up her coffee cup. Tony made sure to ignore how her hand was shaking as she sipped the hot brew.
“Right. So I’ll be interviewing all the senior unbonded Guides to see who will best fit the needs of the community. And then I need to talk to Director Bauknight to get the list of who they have as ready and available Conservators,” Tony said firmly.
“Bauknight is an acquaintance of mine,” admitted Rossi. “I can see if I can expedite that process.”
Tony thought about it while he took another deep sip of his coffee and then reached for one of the cookies on his plate. Han Solo died with no screams and Tony enjoyed the rich flavor of the cookie. “Do that, please. Also get me the national standards, if there are any, for the position. I also want information on how the Pride handled stuff like this in the past. I know that Jethro and I are new the whole leadership of a Pride thing, but we are trying to use common sense when it comes to things like this.”
Everyone in the meeting nodded, but Strauss, and Tony was satisfied with that. The meeting broke up into the more normal gossip and networking event that happened when Guides got together. He stayed put and enjoyed the remains of his latte and cookies, totally indulging his sweet tooth with the rich things. The whole place might be full of scifi memorabilia, but the coffee was damn good.
As he reached the bottom of his cup, he looked around to see if there was anyone who needed to talk to him. It had become habit for him to be available during the meetings he held with his Guides and from the low level anxiety he was feeling, someone had something for him. Tony set his cup aside and shifted slightly in his chair. A few minor changes in how he sat and he was now looking to be totally open and willing to talk, when he had been fairly closed off before.
Humans being what they were, his anxious person would see it as an invitation. He was just surprised to find out that it was Rossi who needed to talk to him first.